Friday, January 23, 2004


At this moment, what is your favorite...


"Wolf at the Door" - Radiohead

Bagel with butter and Marmite

3. show?

4. ...scent?
coffee in the morning

5. ...quote?
""And then we're going to Washington, DC, to take back the White House! Yeeaarrgghh!" - Howard Dean

Sunday, January 18, 2004


Dear Reader

For one reason or another, I am a Donut has suffered from neglect in 2004. It's not going to get much better in the coming weeks. The author is heinously busy at work. So much so that there's not even enough time during lunch to blog. Next Sunday it's off to Delhi - hopefully without the Belly - for 5 days. Blogging is likely to be minimal or on hold until February. Right now, as you'll see, it's limited to Fotolog, Friday Five and Unconscious Mutterings.

But, there's more to life than work and reality TV.

On the silver screen, Cold Mountain was overblown Hollywood tosh. "Touching the Void" meanwhile was a gripping mountaineering documentary.

The mighty Spurs are on a roll. Mid-table respectability is the goal for this season unless they can get through a tricky away tie at Man City in the FA Cup. My non-league faves, Hitchin Town, have suffered a mass player exodus due to lack of dosh, but a couple of good results have seen them clear of the relegation places.

Kilroy - racist or vox populi? Apart from forgetting to check his facts, he's displayed staggering naivety and brazen stupidity.

Sign the petition calling for a full judicial inquiry into the misleading of Parliament and the public by Blair over Iraq and WMDs. (Despite Anita Roddick - I hate the Body Shop.)

Looks like the wheels are coming off the Howard Dean for President bandwagon. Ho hum. Dean has Mondale/McGovern poll disaster written all over him. Now will Nader run?

Network Rail want to rejig timetables to reflect the reality of train journeys. My train never runs on time. The simple reason is the reality that commuter trains cannot keep to the timetable, especially when it takes a minute or more for passengers to disembark and embark at most stations.

Meanwhile, I am a Donut, the original Donut, Commuterland and EHL Online are sadly neglected. An eight day week is called for.


First attempt at pizza using our new bread machine.



  1. Berry:: cherry
  2. Fiendish:: Peter Lorre
  3. Bar:: humbug(?)
  4. Frank:: N. Furter
  5. Bend:: it like Beckham
  6. Fanatic:: crank
  7. Belch:: Barney Gumble
  8. Flagrant:: offside
  9. Burden:: carer
  10. Flimsy:: negligee

Friday, January 16, 2004


1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?
I'm too embarrassed to go down this road, but it was a quote from a Moody Blues song. I'll say no more!

3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?
A letter opener from my school

5. What would you like your epitaph to be?
He came, he had a few drinks, he broke a few hearts


Quick straw poll in the office found 5 to 4 in favour of holding the Olympics in London. Hardly a ringing endorsement, but hardly scientific.

Personally, I'm against as I would rather see the money spent on more urgent priorities for the capital, like improvements in transport, schools and a very large monument to "Sir" Ken Livingstone. (Or, more widely, ensure that our brave boys can get the body armour they need to shove democracy down the throats of Arabs. ((C) Kilroy, 1936))

Despite the bollocks spread about by the BOA, DCMS et al, study after study shows that the construction of sports facilities stimulates the local economy to a limited degree and is more likely to divert economic activity than increase it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Newly elected President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili will be on-line at the BBC News web site on Friday. Should be interesting.

Georgia is still held together with string. The unofficial self-governing region of Ajara has declared its own state of emergency.

Monday, January 12, 2004


Makes a mean bean casserole meaner.

Sunday, January 11, 2004


  1. Mitchell:: Brothers
  2. Mercury:: Rev
  3. Cycle:: gang
  4. Engagement:: party
  5. Alternative:: TVs
  6. Gang:: of Four
  7. Emotional:: outburst
  8. Skinny:: dip
  9. Hypochondriac:: wuss
  10. Insecure:: person

Friday, January 09, 2004


As one of the world's great statesmen prepare to meet one of the world's loveable cartoon characters - otherwise know as "When Homer met Tony" - take the Gruaniad's Simpson's quiz.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


...on Radio 4's Today Programme about winning the Presidential election in Georgia, the struggle ahead, battling corruption, positioning Georgia in global spheres of influence and avoiding assassination.

Monday, January 05, 2004


There are other football teams in Glasgow other than Rangers and Celtic. Partick Thistle prop up the Scottish Premier League. They play at Firhill, just a short walk along the canal bank from where we stayed in Glasgow.

At the other end, Celtic now have an 11 point lead after beating Rangers in the New Year's Old Firm game. But, notice that Rangers are a further 14 points ahead of third place Hearts. I tried to find the last time that Rangers or Celtic finished outside the top two in the Scottish top division. it's a long time. Looks like we're moving to that direction down south with the Man U-Arse hegemony (plus Chelsea until Roam gets bored).


So, Mikhail Sakaashvili looks certain to be the new President of Georgia. Not any big news there as it had become pretty clear that with other Opposition leaders standing aside, "Misha" was going to get a clear run. The official results won't be announced until 20 January.

Jonathan Steele in Saturday's Guardian sees the political upheaval in Georgia as part of a wider game - a new Cold War between the US and Russia, if you like. Steele argues that the US had a big part to play in former President Shevardnadze's downfall. The threat of civil war and Shevardnadze's links with Russia tipped the balance in US eyes.

I'm not so sure.

Shevardnadze had always been seen as a friend of the west. He was, after all, Gorbachev's foreign minister as the Soviet Union gradually unwound and effectively surrendered in the Cold War. Here was man that the west could trust as leader of the newly freed Georgia. In retrospect, Shevardnadze never stood a chance. The unravelling of the Soviet Union left in its wake the new economic elite - some might call them criminals. At the same time, this small nation was wreaked by civil war in the early 1990s. Shevardnadze was a hero for ending the conflict. But, having dealt with the breakaway regions (although unsuccessfully), he was not able to halt the rampant corruption and was never able to ensure that the rule of law applied.

A vast proportion of the people had had enough of the corruption, the ever spiralling poverty and the lack of law and order. It was people power at its greatest.

But , the main opposition, as represented by Sakaashvili, Burjanadze and others are not necessarily pro-western or pro-US. True, they want Georgia to regain respect in the international community. Painting Shevardnadze as too close to Russia and Sakaashvili as a man with which the US can do business may be too simplistic.

Anyway, as Mary Neal says: "Misha will be the new president now. He's cute enough, I guess, in a puchlinky kind of way ... i.e. "full of cute baby fat"."


Farewell to a true maverick - Sheila McKechnie. More recently, the Director of the Consumers' Association, I first came across McKechnie when she was Director of Shelter, the housing charity. At the time, I worked on housing policy issues and I was always struck by her ability to get to the heart of issues without resorting to political dogma. This at a time when the Tories had a fearful majority. But, battle she did. "Fearless campaigner": yes. But, never head in the clouds idealist.

Nice quote from the Chancellor, Gordon Brown:

"In everything Sheila did, her commitment was to expand people's rights. She was truly a champion of people's rights - campaigning hard and often controversially for change all the time she led Shelter and the Consumers' Association. Throughout her career, starting in the Trade Union movement, she constantly challenged organisations to put the rights of people at the centre of their mission. No-one will ever forget her unfailing support for great and noble causes even as her health deteriorated. She will be sorely missed."

Sunday, January 04, 2004


Changing a light switch.


  1. Vintage:: wine (or is it Whine)
  2. Longing:: for you
  3. Specimen:: bottle
  4. Mock:: trial
  5. Shit:: happens
  6. Friday:: five
  7. Cruel:: person
  8. Insufficient:: funds
  9. Pessimistic:: person
  10. Grin:: and bera it

Saturday, January 03, 2004


A picture from our walk along the towpath of the Crinan Canal on 26 December.

Buying food and drink at Sainsburys helped us earn enough points on our Nectar card for two "free" return flights (just the £58 tax to pay).

But, what about the cost to the environment?

On returning home, I made contributions to plant trees to replace the carbon our trip expended - so -called Carbon Neutral flights. I know it would have been better had we not flown. But, if a small proportion of those who fly volunteered to meet the carbon cost, it would help a bit. Better still, aviation should meet the cost of externalities like environmental damage.


What one thing are you most looking forward to . . .


Spending money (and gift vouchers) on a DVD recorder.

2. ...over the next week?
Trips to the movies - "Touching the Void" and "Cold Mountain"

3. ...this year?
Making our new home, our new home.

4. ...over the next five years?

5. ...for the rest of your life?
Life with the one I love.

Friday, January 02, 2004


Had to share this picture of a rather camp looking Santa in the window of the very pleasant Horseshoe Inn in Bridgend, Scotland.

We had a peaceful drink there on Xmas Eve then tramped around prehistoric sites in the Kilmartin Glen.


I thought there was some sort of bizarro-world link between these seemingly unrelated links.


It seems that the Universe may be expanding at an ever-expanding rate. Here's an interview with Astronomer Royal, Sir Nigel Rees, from this morning's Radio 4 Today Programme - guest edited by Stephen Hawking.


Proof that Santa doesn't exist

"...Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound."

"The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per Second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force."

Ho-ho-ho-ing all the way to a hernia.


Meanwhile, boffins are winding up their watches.

"When Big Ben strikes midnight tonight, spare a thought for scientists who take a keen interest in the passing seconds, hours and days: among these elite timekeepers, a dispute simmers over what the time should be...

""Leap seconds", in the form of an extra pip, are sometimes added in December to delay Big Ben and keep atomic time in tune with the cycle of day and night determined by the Earth's rotation. This practice should stop, argue some scientists.

"The row has emerged because, although we still don't understand what time "is" (some say it does not exist at all)..."

So, that's it. Life is just an illusion expanding at close to the speed of light.