Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.



Comments

I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Thursday 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Hello,

I wish you all the very best for Christmas and of course, the New Year.

Here's a little bit of silly fun from 1955:



Until next year

Sunday 6 December 2009

My Position on Climate Change

Ha-ha!

No that's not exactly it, but in some ways not far away.

Of course the climate is changing; since it has been changing since the dawn of time, where's the surprise? And yet we are harangued daily about our so-called "carbon footprints" and our CO2 emissions etc.

I am often depressed at the lack of a sense of history amongst contemporaries and the current near-panic, fuelled by the alarmist media is a classic case-in-point.

Even today the ludicrously-incorrect phrase "global warming" is still to be heard. In case you didn't know, here are a couple of facts:

1. The earth has actually been COOLING since 1998.
2. The earth was hotter in medieval times than it is now: Chaucer wrote of vineyards in northern England. (Of course if the panic brigade is correct, this hot period was due to the fact that the likes of Geoffrey Chaucer and King Richard II drove Ferraris)

The medieval hot period was followed by "The Little Ice Age" a period of low temperatures that lasted until the 18th century since when the earth has been warming. I do not believe for one minute that human activity (by which I mean consumption of fossil fuels and industry in general - I admit to concern about deforestation which might be a factor) is responsible for any change in temperature trends - or if it is, it is most likely immeasurable.

And now we are to have, starting tomorrow, the ridiculous UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Too late to stop it, since it was only recently that the balloon went up in regard to the leaked data and emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, an institution that receives very large sums of money from around the world and is supposed to be the leading authority on the subject. The leaked documentation demonstrates that so-called scientists have been "losing" and manipulating data - presumably in the interests of self-aggrandisement and perhaps to keep the money flowing in. Please read the following:

Climategate - read all about it

By Andrew Bolt

Christopher Monckton writes the first book(let) on Climategate, the greatest scientific scandal in our lifetime. The summary:

The whistleblower’s data file revealed, for the first time, the innermost workings of the tiny international clique of climate scientists, centered on the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia, that has been the prime mover in telling the world that it is warming at an unprecedented rate, and that humankind is responsible… He had revealed what many had long suspected:

# A tiny clique of politicized scientists, paid by unscientific politicians with whom they were financially and politically linked, were responsible for gathering and reporting data on temperatures from the palaeoclimate to today’s climate. The “Team”, as they called themselves, were bending and distorting scientific data to fit a nakedly political story-line profitable to themselves and congenial to the governments that, these days, pay the bills for 99% of all scientific research.

# The Climate Research Unit at East Anglia had profited to the tune of at least $20 million in “research” grants from the Team’s activities.

# The Team had tampered with the complex, bureaucratic processes of the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, so as to exclude inconvenient scientific results from its four Assessment Reports, and to influence the panel’s conclusions for political rather than scientific reasons.

# The Team had conspired in an attempt to redefine what is and is not peer-reviewed science for the sake of excluding results that did not fit what they and the politicians with whom they were closely linked wanted the UN’s climate panel to report.

# They had tampered with their own data so as to conceal inconsistencies and errors.

# They had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures in the paleoclimate.

# They had expressed dismay at the fact that, contrary to all of their predictions, global temperatures had not risen in any statistically-significant sense for 15 years, and had been falling for nine years. They had admitted that their inability to explain it was “a travesty”. This internal doubt was in contrast to their public statements that the present decade is the warmest ever, and that “global warming” science is settled.

# They had interfered with the process of peer-review itself by leaning on journals to get their friends rather than independent scientists to review their papers.

# They had successfully leaned on friendly journal editors to reject papers reporting results inconsistent with their political viewpoint.

# They had campaigned for the removal of a learned journal’s editor, solely because he did not share their willingness to debase and corrupt science for political purposes.

# They had mounted a venomous public campaign of disinformation and denigration of their scientific opponents via a website that they had expensively created.

# Contrary to all the rules of open, verifiable science, the Team had committed the criminal offense of conspiracy to conceal and then to destroy computer codes and data that had been legitimately requested by an external researcher who had very good reason to doubt that their “research” was either honest or competent.

SOURCE

The above comes from a splendid (in that I agree with its content!) website called Greenie Watch.

There is plenty of eyebrow-raising material to be read there. Recommended. I particularly enjoyed this video, although sadly it seems that the presenter is still "on-message" even using the incorrect term "global warming" several times:



"'Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented!'‏

Ho ho, about time that that appalling windbag was deflated a little.

I am not generally given to conspiracy theory, but I know for certain that if anything (God forbid) is agreed at Copenhagen, then the result will be taxes. Now we have just endured a severe world-wide recession. Any connexion I wonder?

By the way, Greenie Watch included in a temperature trend chart the following, showing the temperatures at Copenhagen since 1880. I think that the graph speaks for itself:


Until the next time.

Saturday 28 November 2009

(Not so) Silly Season Story?

An "Alien" apparently. Picture source here

Just a quick one this time, from another article in the Daily Telegraph today.

The report states that the Space Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences says that aliens already exist on Earth. Mr Lachezar Filipov, who is the deputy director of the Institute is quoted as saying:

"Aliens are currently all around us, and are watching us all the time."

No, Mr Filipov, they are not actually aliens; they are ostensibly human.

They work for the police, the secret services, the tax authorities, the customs and excise, the health and safety departments, the race relations industry, the "animal rights" industry, terrorist groups, the music industry, and probably another 1001 nosey-parker organisations. Here in France there are also local busybodies who fulfil themselves spying on their neighbours and sneaking to the "Fisc" (tax authority) rather as "right-thinking" citizens did in Soviet Russia and Stalinist East Germany; these too are not actually "aliens" within the meaning of the word (though they are to me!)

Mr Filipov also says that his Institute is studying 150 crop circles; I doubt he'll find anything there, although Reg Presley of the Troggs might be interested.


Reg Presley of "Troggs" fame.
Picture credit: The Sun


Until the next time

A Brave Man I think

This time it's Russia. I have generally concentrated on Russia's soviet past in previous postings hereabouts, but today I shall mention something contemporary.

There is, in reality, little real freedom of speech in the so-called democratic west; in recent Russia there appears to be rather less. There have been several murders of certain characters who had, it seems, the effrontery to criticise the system (a.k.a the Kremlin) and a distinctly laggardly approach to solving these dreadful crimes. Recently a lawyer has died in prison in Moscow, apparently as a consequence of the authorities withholding medical treatment. Of course President Medvedev has ordered an inquiry. I doubt if anything will happen though; I seem to recall that the president has ordered various inquiries... I have a nasty feeling that his prime-ministerial colleague is unlikely to be in accord.

Anyway, today's post concerns Russian outrage over a new film about the first Tsar: Ivan the Terrible. A prominent historian, Vyacheslav Manyagin, has asked that President Medvedev ban the film as it is deemed to be "an insult to Russian statehood" (!) Obviously M. Manyagin is not the "brave man" I referred to in my title.

The brave man is M. Pavel Lungin who directed the film. In response to these criticisms he made a very brave (especially in today's Russia) response. He said, in an interview with the Moscow Times:

"We can see a lot of the characteristics of his power today [...] After his reign, Russia was left behind in the process of progress. We have made no headway since that time."

I found this story reported in today's Daily Telegraph. Full article here.

Here's a picture from the film:

Nice... Picture source, here.

I sincerely wish M. Lungin a long and successful career...

Until the next time

Monday 23 November 2009

Moving - "Ukraine's Got Talent"

This video is stunning; it helps if you have a sense of history, and some knowledge of the beastliness suffered by the Ukrainians under "the great leader and teacher" a.k.a; mass torturer and murderer, Josef Vissiaronovich Stalin.

But even if you do not have this knowledge you are certainly bound to be in awe of the talent of Kseniya Simononva.



Until the next time

Monday 5 October 2009

A Little Silliness

Sorry friends that it has been so long; duty calls and at present I have WORK - that famous four-letter word - also known as "The curse of the drinking class."

Anyway, talking of drink, I came across this splendid bottle of wine today. Its contents were not, as perhaps might be expected, la merde!



Until the next time

Monday 17 August 2009

X-Ray

I have always enjoyed fine photography. Nick Veasey's X-ray photographs are fascinating to me and I suggest that you have a look at his site.




Bicycle by Nick Veasey

Until the next time

Friday 31 July 2009

More Annoying News

Dora Akunyili, the Information Minister of Nigeria, announced today that the death of one Muhammed Yusuf, the leader of a group of Islamist tossers called Boko Haram was "The best thing that could have happened to Nigeria." The group apparently modelled itself on the appalling Taliban.

The appears to be some confusion concerning the death of Yusuf, but reading between the lines, one is inclined to suspect that the Nigerian Police shot him out of hand.

Whatever the exact circumstances, the "Human Rights Industry" has moved into top gear. A Daily Telegraph article includes the following:

"The killing of suspects in police custody, many of them allegedly shot while trying to flee, is a well-entrenched problem in Nigeria," said Eric Guttschuss of Human Rights Watch. "The fact that the police apprehended him is to be welcomed, but his death while in their custody suggests a total disregard for human rights and the rule of law."

Human Rights? Rubbish. Look Mr Guttschuss: this bloke was a gold-plated, fur-lined, ocean-going arsehole. Good riddance, and if I were half the man I would like to be, I would have gone down there and put a bullet in him myself.

To clarify, this bastard advocated Sharia Law ("human rights"!!) which is quite enough to justify his extermination in my view - quite apart from his other schemes.

Yes, I AM angry.

Until the next time

Sunday 26 July 2009

Isn't Nature Wonderful?

This time, no sarcasm or irony - I mean it.

This year I have been growing some fruit and vegetables and thanks to the very hard and long winter we had here, this year has proved to be excellent for growing things.

The other day I lifted the first of my potatoes. Amongst the haul was the splendid specimen pictured below.


I do not feel that any further comment from me is necessary...

Until the next time

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Double Standards Day

I'll begin with the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Miss Sotomayor's story is akin to that of Miss Condoleeza Rice, a classic example of the American dream. From a very tough and poor background, she has risen high in the US judicial system, a tribute both to her hard work and dedication and to a society where such achievements are possible.

All well and good, but this does not in my view entitle her to spout rubbish. She said in 2001; "[A]wise Latina" with "richer life experiences" would reach a better decision in court than a white man." Now then suppose that I, who would be described in the US as a "white Caucasian male" were to opine that I, as said white male would reach better decisions than a black man? Imagine the row!

Double standard.

Next we have the tale of the rather unpleasant commercial supremo of Formula 1 motor racing Mr Bernie Ecclestone. Last week in an interview, Mr Ecclestone said he admired a dictatorial approach citing the example of Herr Adolf Hitler who, Mr Ecclestone said "got things done." The result of this politically inept statement was of course outrage despite the truth of the statement. As usual when political correctness raises its head, then truth of course has no relevance. Had Mr Ecclestone chosen Josef Stalin as his model I doubt that there would have been a fraction of the outrage - sadly - if any at all. Marshal Stalin certainly "got things done" and managed to murder many more people than did Herr Hitler - who incidentally was a great admirer of Stalin.

Double standard.

Finally I come to the British National Party, that recently won two seats in the European Parliament. I carry no torch for this shower which I consider to be rather repulsive on the whole.
Nevertheless, Mr Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP intends to challenge government attempts to exclude his party from various European Parliament activities. This article includes the following:

Under new guidelines, agreed by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Griffin and Mr Brons will be isolated and kept at arms length from the world of officialdom and diplomatic socialising.

"Officials will not engage in any other contact with elected representatives of any nationality who represent extremist or racist views, unless specific permission has been granted to do so on a particular occasion," a government spokeswoman said.

The article also reports that unsurprisingly the two BNP MEPs were not invited to a champagne reception hosted by Baroness (Glenys) Kinnock, the wife of the famous windbag Neil (now Lord) Kinnock. Mr Griffin said he didn't care about this and described Baroness Kinnock as a "political prostitute" rather unparliamentary language but I had to smile. The Kinnocks have trousered a fortune thanks to their activities in Brussels.

Why double standards in this case? Simple: either you have democracy or you don't; I daresay that there is a variety of loonies and eccentrics who are members of the European Parliament - of course they are 'OK' because they are left wingers! The "great and the good" the so-called "liberal democratic consensus" cannot bear the fact that the electorate might choose to vote for individuals with whom they do not agree or of whom they disapprove, but of course they are always happy to say "we have a clear mandate" when it suits them. If the BNP is elected then its representatives should have access to all the things that are available to any other member of the parliament.

Until the next time.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

French News Nonsense II

In February last year, I included a piece here called French News Nonsense in which I criticised TF1 for its programmes and lambasted France 2's Television News for its trivial content.

Well last night I watched TF1's 8 O'Clock news; the principal news broadcast of the day.

It began with six minutes devoted to Michael Jackson; naturally I groaned at this and decided to make notes about the rest of the programme.

Things are not improving in the world of French TV - at least in my view. Here's how the emission ran:

After six minutes' worth of the late Michael:-

A piece about the fact that shops in France will be opening on Sundays, France being very laggardly in this regard.

Then a rather long report that I did not understand, but the accompanying video showed some people sawing up logs somewhere in France; hardly earth-shattering.

Another longish piece showing French pompiers (firemen) practising with a helicopter somewhere in the mountains.

This brought us almost up to half-time.

8:15: A two-minute report about restaurant inspections in Corsica
8:17: A few seconds showing Président Sarkozy meeting some blokes at the Elysée Palace
8:17: A minute or so about some mayor of a little place in Northern France who is a member of the right-wing Front Nationale
8:18: Some stuff about the new French social security pay, the RSA
8:19: A report about the death of a Trappist monk in Algeria with some French historical content
8:22: Three minutes, no less, about the Muslim riots in China
8:25: Half a minute (!) to cover President Obama's visit to Moscow to discuss amongst other things the new Start Treaty
8:25: Two and a half minutes about illegal immigration in Greece
8:27:30: Half a minute about Président Sarkozy meeting British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown at Evian and their preparation for the G8 summit
8:28 Two whole minutes about the death of some bloke who was connected with a football club in Marseille
8:30: A brief report on the Tour de France
8:30: A story about the appearance of Jeanne Moreau at Avignon; two minutes
8:32: Finally a report about a fashion show that lasted about a minute or so -

And that was your TF1 news programme for Monday, 6th July 2009.

Links:

TF1
France2

I do not feel the need to comment further except to say that I cannot even watch tonight since TF1 and France 2 seem to have given themselves over entirely to covering Michael Jackson's obsequies!


Until the next time

Jacksonballs III

Luxurious: Image: Daily Telegraph

Well, it seems that I misunderstood the Telegraph's article to which I referred in my article last Saturday. Today the Jacksongraph says that Jackson's coffin cost £15,000, so I suppose they meant $25,000 in the previous piece.

Still an enormous waste of money - unless of course one is in the entertainment business!

Until the next time.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Jacksonballs II - A Question of Taste

London's Daily Telegraph, is it seems, continuing its trend - and no doubt fulfilling its editor's ambition - to becoming the most "dumbed-down" newspaper in Great Britain; it should rename itself The Daily Jacksongraph.

It is possible that in the paragraph above, I have maligned unfairly the current editor: perhaps he is required to act at the behest of the rather sinister owners, the strange Barclay twins. Nevertheless it would be something if they could make an effort to correct all the appalling typos (and poor grammar) that appear at least on the website.

Bizarre: The Barclay Twins. Picture source: This London

Yesterday the Telegraph reported that Jackson is to be buried in a "$25,0000" (sic) coffin. As this coffin, which rejoices in the name "Promethean," is made of bronze, gold-plated and lined with blue velvet to boot, I suppose that the price is $250,000.

The "Promethean" Coffin. Image: Daily Telegraph

This revolting extravagant display puts me in mind of two anecdotes.

First, following a visit to the home in Nashville of Ike and Tina Turner, a journalist was asked his opinion of the place. He replied "Incredible, I would not have thought it possible to spend three million dollars at Woolworths."

Second is a report I once read in a newspaper, of a man who left in his will £25 to "anyone who after my cremation, will deposit my ashes in the nearest convenient dustbin."

Now THAT was style.

Until the next time

Sunday 28 June 2009

Jacksonballs*

Yesterday I spoke with my mother on the telephone. She told me that she had removed the first four pages of her newspaper since she is not remotely interested in all the hullabaloo about the death of Michael Jackson. I agreed 100%.

The last occasion I can recall that raised all this absurd and exaggerated public grief was the death of the Princess of Wales.

The problem with this self-feeding "grief frenzy" is that it gives an opportunity to many public figures to spout rubbish. After Princess Diana died we had the smarmy performance of prime minister Tony Blair; this time the one that (unfortunately) caught my ear was Jackson chum and black activist Al Sharpton. Mr Sharpton observed in his wisdom that Jackson had, long before Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama brought black people to the fore (he used the ludicrous phrase "person of colour").

Mr Sharpton should read a book or two.

Admittedly, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong were not renowned for their dancing but I think that I would be correct in saying that they were moderately successful (world stars in fact) and they were around long before any of the Jacksons were a twinkle in the eye of their allegedly rather unpleasant father.

Finally I should add that I consider that Michael Jackson was very talented and an excellent entertainer although he did nothing for me - not my sort of thing. There was however one song which I always enjoyed - largely I have to say because of the contributions of Steve Lukather and Eddie van Halen. Sorry, embedding is forbidden:

BEAT IT

A death is indeed a death, but right now I would prefer to think about Neda.

Until the next time.
* Thanks to Private Eye

Thursday 25 June 2009

North Korea Again

For those who like me are fascinated by this bizarre state, there is a most interesting website: North Korean Economy Watch.

Reading through some of the articles was a most enlightening experience. For example there was a long article about the state of computing there; apparently the North Koreans are especially expert in computing, which given the sanctions imposed on the régime is remarkable and really rather sad - of course I feel sorry for the individuals whilst deploring the absurd, and as revealed by a subsequent piece about reinsurance, corrupt régime.

There is also a fascinating piece about North Korean art.

Well worth a look, but as a reality check there is also North Korea Uncovered about which I wrote recently.

Until the next time

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Iran/Neda

The Iranian Theocracy has ordered that there should be "no prayers" for Neda, the 27-year-old woman murdered by the revolution's thugs.

Words fail me.


Until the next time

1 GHz

Toshiba has announced the world's first "smartphone" that runs at 1GHz.

Another reminder for me about the rapid passage of time - but it's only nine years since the first 1GHz PC was announced.

This one used a 700MHz AMD processor over-clocked to 1GHz. This was possible because the computer, built by Kryotech had a built-in refrigerator!

Here's a review from January 2000

Image source: here

Until the next time

Thursday 18 June 2009

More on Iran

The Guardian is providing comprehensive coverage of the uprising; plenty of excellent links in this item

Until the next time

Wednesday 17 June 2009

IRAN

You are all probably aware of the upheaval in the Islamic Republic of Iran, caused by blatant election fraud and vote-rigging by the friends of "I'm a dinner-jacket."

I am merely posting this to express my support for the very many brave protesters there. Bloggers and journalists have been captured or have gone into hiding whilst the government there attempts to shut down means of communication - portable phones, Internet etc.

The Iranian communications ministry still seems to have a problem with Twitter; it seems that this is the means whereby thousands are able to remain in touch and meet today for example for another enormous demonstration in the face of atrocious behaviour by the likes of the Revolutionary Guard and the unpleasant volunteer vigilantes whose speciality is simply beating up demonstrators. This group, or more correctly, bunch of cunts, is known as The Basij. The following comes from a Daily Telegraph article covering the day of mourning (Thursday) for the protesters murdered by the Holy Islamic Régime of Iran...

Meanwhile the authorities are making careful preparation for Tehran University's weekly prayers tomorrow. A state news agency declared that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will lead the Friday prayers flanked by the Basij volunteer Islamic militia.

"Alert Basijis... with their epic presence, will take part in Friday's prayers to be led by Ayatollah Khamenei," the agency quoted a statement issued by the militia.

The Basij, which was established to defend the Islamic Revolution and has been at the forefront of the crackdown on protesters, warned the defeated presidential candidates that they must "explicitly dissociate themselves from the rioters".

Prayers!! What a fucking joke.

Here's a link to a Twitter post - note the messages of support. It is fascinating to see how technology is changing the way of the world - perhaps... The link came from an article on Wired.com.

For this writer, the situation confirms my view that revolutions are seldom a very good thing. Yes the Shah and his secret police SAVAC were pretty ruthless - rather like the secret police of the Czar of Russia, but what came afterwards was/is definitely worse.

Finally I note with interest that like the totalitarian régime in North Korea the Revolutionary Government of Iran has a penchant for crappy posters! First, North Korea:

Image source: Guardian
And now, Iran:

Image source: Wired.com

Such absured publicity should be graced with titles I think. How about "Forward to 1937" for the North Korean one? Easy to come up with a title for the Iranian poster of course: how about "Looking forward to the fifteenth century (Allah permitting)"? Another possibility of course, is "Beards R Us"

Until the next time

Saturday 13 June 2009

Bullets & Zimbabwe

Once again more depressing news from Zimbabwe which appears more or less to be in its death throes. The "power-sharing" agreement appears to have done nothing to change the plight of the people there.

We are informed that this year, the nations of the world have spent about $1.7 trillion on armaments. The lion's share of this vast amount belongs of course to the USA ($604bn) unsurprising considering that rightly or wrongly, the USA wishes to do its best in trying to address international problems a policy I find infinitely preferable to that say of Russia that appears only to wish to defend its paranoia, both externally and internally.

Included in the enormous total mentioned above are the UK and France ( around $60bn each), Russia ($55bn), Italy ($40bn) and so on.

A common item in defence purchasing is the 7.65mm rifle round. A quick search found this site which is offering 7.65mm ammunition in boxes of 20 rounds - with "full metal jacket" at $60, $3 per round.

Can no one find $3.00 to extinguish the disgusting and excessively long life of "Dr" Robert Mugabe?

Until the next time

Sunday 31 May 2009

Another look at North Korea

In my recent piece about this secretive, pariah nation, the last Stalinist State in the world, I observed that North Korea is starving its population to build nuclear weapons and missiles.

Recent research however suggests that the "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-Il and the elite of the régime are managing to live very luxurious lives - whilst the remainder of the population relies on food aid. These facts are revealed by an organisation called North Korea Uncovered which has done a great deal of research about this mysterious state. I came across this via an article in the Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph piece includes a slide show which is well worth a look.

In my recent article I referred to the "deeply unattractive Kim Jong-Il, and so he is, but how about this fine fellow? He is the Dear Leader's eldest son, Kim Jong-nam and a possible candidate for the succession. A delightful prospect.

Picture source: Reuters-JNN via Daily Telegraph

Of course looks aren't everything are they? Perhaps he isn't a paranoid maniac?

Until the next time

Saturday 30 May 2009

Vergatorio - are the wheels coming off?

Of course I am referring to President Chavez of Venezuela - again.

It seems that his career is starting to resemble a sort of low-budget version of that of the appalling Joesf Stalin at least in regard to micro-management and paranoia.

He has sacked, transferred and imprisoned many members of his military forces according to the New York Times; the General seen in the picture below, chatting with "Old Raspberry Beret," is currently in prison and says he will remain there until Chavez is no longer president. I hope he does not have to wait too long!

Chavez with General Baduel. Picture source: New York Times

Until the next time

Friday 29 May 2009

North Korea

Hello again.

The recent news that North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon, and also launched a couple of missiles, reminded me that I have really given scant attention to this tragic failed state and its vergatorio of a ("dear") leader - the deeply unattractive Kim Jong-Il.

Yes North Korea, the country that cannot feed itself, yet has resources to build missiles and even nuclear weapons; not cheap undertakings even there.

Anyway a visit today to the excellent Dark Roasted Blend site, which I strongly recommend, provided a photograph perhaps even more terrifying than one of Kim-Jong-Il surrounded by all his brass-hats: North Korea's secret weapon...

Picture source: Dark Roasted Blend

They should be wearing sequinned swimsuits and be performing at the London Palladium - just like the Tiller Girls used to:

The Tiller Girls. Picture Source here

Altogether more wholesome I think and certainly less threatening.


Until the next time

Thursday 28 May 2009

"Vergetario" strikes (yet) again


Yes, it's ol' Raspberry Beret again, every Venezuelan's favourite vergetario (probably not actually).

This time he has a real treat for his citizens: a four-day TV show starring - himself!

Christ! What a y-a-w-n!

Really I have to say - you couldn't make it up!

Until the next time

Tuesday 12 May 2009

"Raspberry Beret" is at it again

Yes it's that (appalling) man again, up to his control tricks.

First, in an act reminiscent of that lunatic Mugabe, President Chavez of Venzuela has sent in troops to take control of foreign-owned oil service companies: "This is a revolutionary offensive" he says. Idiot. Already under pressure since the lower oil price makes his silly socialist schemes more difficult to sustain, this act will probably in the longer run have a serious impact on oil output. Just like Mugabe stealilng white-owned farms and giving them to his terrorist and murderous associates. Second, as you will see from the Telegraph article, he is trying to suppress the free press so in this respect he is copying his friends in Russia.

Well now, Raspberry Beret's latest brainwave is the introduction of a portable telephone, just the sort of thing for a President wouldn't you say?

Chavez has named the phone "Vergatario." This translates as "prick" meaning penis. (In French the word is "Verge" so French visitors are always amused when they see the English road-sign that reads "Warning: soft verge").

A prick with a prick
Image: Daily Telegraph

Chavez is a dangerous clown.

Until the next time

Thursday 30 April 2009

Wonderful - I Love It!

I have just been reading on Wired.com about Claude Elwood Shannon, described in the article as the "father of information theory" a description thta appears to be entirely justified, judging by the content of the article which of course lists Shannon's many achievements.

But for me, the thing "wot swung it" was the wonderful toy this genius had on his desk, described as "The Ultimate Machine".

I want one!



Please send me one - somebody.

Untilm the next time.

Sunday 26 April 2009

More Rubbish

It is reported today in the Daily Telegraph that a former BMI (British Midland Airways) stewardess, one Miss Lisa Ashton, has been sacked by the airline.


She lost her job because, outrageously in my view, she was required by her employer to wear a demeaning garment called an abaya (in plain black too) and walk behind all men regardless of their rank, when on duty in Saudi Arabia. An abaya in this case is a robe that covers the entire body except the face, so at least it is not as absurd as a "burkha," however there are abayas that cover the face, leaving only the eyes visible.  When I lived in West London, I used to see women dressed in these - enough to give one nightmares frankly.  In my search for the image reproduced below, I found that there are abayas whose appearance is improved by decorative embroidery.  Perhaps BMI should issue them decorated with the airline's logo?!

An abaya.  Image source: The Muslim Boutique

There are two points here. First, it is awful I think that such orders be issued by an employer; second, there is no law in Saudi Arabia that requires the wearing of this bizarre costume and neither is there a regulation requiring women to walk behind men.

Even more depressing, a British employment tribunal has upheld the company's decision.  The Telegraph article reports: It ruled there was no evidence that women would regard BMI's requirements on wearing the abaya, or walking behind men, as "placing them under any disadvantage."

The article quotes Miss Ashton as saying: "It's not the law that you have to walk behind men in Saudi Arabia, or that you have to wear an abaya, and I'm not going to be treated as a second-class citizen," she said.  "It's outrageous. I'm a proud Englishwoman and I don't want these restrictions placed on myself." 

Miss Ashton has contacted the human rights organisation, Liberty and may also seek a judicial review.

I for one, wish her the best of luck.

Until the next time.

Thursday 16 April 2009

A sort of coincidence - sex and travel

On 13th April, the Daily Telegraph reported the extraordinary case of a Norwegian driver, who whilst exceeding the speed limit was enjoying (I presume) sex with his girlfriend who was sitting on his lap (with her back to him). It seems that he will lose his driver's licence.

It is normally my practice to include pictures in my blog articles, but sadly it seems there are none available!

I was reminded of this story on reading on Wired.com today, an arguably even more extreme example of the genre: this time a helicopter pilot, one David Martz, in the (oral) act with a Swedish porn star (with the rather improbable name of Puma Swede) whilst flying; this was actually filmed! In the Wired article there is a censored edition. Meanwhile for the curious here is a snap of Miss Swede:

Image source: Wired.com/Autopia

Until the next time.

Sunday 12 April 2009

Operetta - and Blogging

A curious subject this, for what is generally a rant blog, but having lacked inspiration for a couple of weeks, and feeling disinclined to comment about the G20, Jade Goody etc. I have been somewhat lazy.

Finally this afternoon I decided I would like to read some poems of John Betjeman. It was easy to find "In Westminster Abbey", "Business Girls" and his masterpiece "A subaltern's love song."

However, as often happens, the Devil finds work for idle hands and I came across a wonderful parody of a famous Gilbert and Sullivan song. I have no intention of writing here about this famous partnership and of course Wikipedia has an excellent entry about them here.

The original song is from The Pirates of Penzance: "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-general":

This video will remind you of the tune



I am the very model of a modern Major-General
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse

With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotepotenuse


I'm very good at integral and differential calculus
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral
I am the very model of a modern Major-General

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral
He is the very model of a modern Major-General


I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's
I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus
In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous
I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies
I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore

And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinapinafore


Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform
And tell you ev'ry detail of Caractacus's uniform
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral
I am the very model of a modern Major-General

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral
He is the very model of a modern Major-General


In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin"
When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at
And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat"
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery
In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy
You'll say a better Major-General had never sat a gee

You'll say a better Major-General had never sat a gee
You'll say a better Major-General had never sat a gee
You'll say a better Major-General had never sat a sat a gee


For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral
I am the very model of a modern Major-General

But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral
He is the very model of a modern Major-General




Now for the masterly parody of the above (SOURCE):

I am the very model of a blogger very general.
I've a life that's existential and really quite ephemeral.
I know things geographical and sometimes cosmological,
From Timbuktu to Doctor Who and space that's hyperbolical.

I'm known to take up stances that are seemingly theatrical,
I sometimes put up blogs that are rhetorical not factual,
About political positions I express the strongest views,
With oh such vitriolic comments as I send to those j'accuse.

With oh such vitriolic comments as I send to those j'accuse.
With oh such vitriolic comments as I send to those j'accuse.
With oh such vitriolic comments as I send to those j'accuse.

I'm seen as someone serious and sometimes perspicacious,
I eschew every posting that is trivial or scribacious.
In short, I have a life that's existential and ephemeral,
I am the very model of a blogger very general.

In short, he has a life that's existential and ephemeral,
He is the very model of a blogger very general.

I know a pyrric victory can be somewhat heterodox,
I answer the agnostics, I've a liking for unorthodox,
I quote from almanacs all those predictions quite vicarious,
In comics I enjoy their blogs nefarious, hilarious.
I follow fellow blogger's trials, their lows to their epiphanies,
I know all those subscribing to the Greek school of Diogenese,
Then I can learn so very many things I never knew before,
And now "postglacial isostatic re-adjustment" makes one more.

And now "postglacial isostatic re-adjustment" makes one more.
And now "postglacial isostatic re-adjustment" makes one more.
And now "postglacial isostatic re-adjustment" makes one more.

Then I comment on those blogs that I think do clearly misinform,
And tell you ev'ry detail seeking your opinion to reform.
In short, I have a life that's existential and ephemeral,
I am the very model of a blogger very general.

In short, he has a life that's existential and ephemeral,
He is the very model of a blogger very general.

In fact, when I know Tok Pisin, and the fine art of baldaquin
When I can talk of Anne Boleyn and why King 'enry did 'er in
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I can Google at,
And whose tomb bears the inscription, "palman qui meruit ferat".
When I have learnt to progress beyond English rudimentary,
When I know more of grammar than a practiced prothonotary,
In short, when I've a smattering of syntactic ergativity,
You'll take bloggers very general into the fraternity.

You'll take bloggers very general into the fraternity.
You'll take bloggers very general into the fraternity.
You'll take bloggers very general into the fraternity.

For though my general knowledge, which is more than rudimentary
Has only been brought down by short-term failings of my memory.
But still, I have a life that's existential and ephemeral
I am the very model of a blogger very general

But still, he has a life that's existential and ephemeral
He is the very model of a blogger very general

Excellent and jolly clever I think.

Finally, whilst looking for the video above, I found another, posted by one Mr Grumpy:





A search on YouTube will demonstrate to the curious amongst you - who have time to spare - that there are numerous parodies of this famous tune - even including "I am the Very Model of a Modern Homosexual."

Until the next time

Sunday 22 March 2009

More on Saudi-Arabia

I recently mentioned this state in my first article about nations making themselves laughing-stocks as a result of bizarre ideologies.

In that article, I drew attention to the appalling sentence of whipping handed down to a 75-year-old widow for "mingling with men to whom she was not related."

Today I read in this IHT article that the Saudis consider themselves victims of terror carried out by Islamic extremists. In fact as the article explains, commendably the Saudis are training hard in order to defeat the jihadists.

Saudis training in anti-terrorist tactics
Picture: IHT

As Private Eye might remark: "shome mishtake shurely?" It is hard to believe that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs my little blog to draw attention to the fact that the absurd Wahabi theocracy that prevails in the Kingdom can only serve to encourage those fanatical crackpots who wish to turn the world back to the fifteenth century with the aid of beards, burkhas, AK-47s and shaped charges?

Ironically the fanatics say they wish to destroy the Kingdom; whatever could they think up to replace it? The Taliban I suppose!

Until the next time

Sunday 15 March 2009

Another Laughing-Stock

It was only a few days ago that I wrote a piece about how a country or state can make itself a laughing stock. Being the way I am, I inevitably included my usual suspects: Zimbabwe, North Korea, China and so on. I made the point that all such a state has to do is to adopt some crackpot ideology - e.g. extreme Islam, extreme nationalism, Stalinist Communism etc.

Well today's Daily Telegraph reports that a Super-State is (again actually) making itself a laughing-stock. The Super-state is of course the European Union and the ideology utilised this time is political correctness, another of my pet "hobby-horses."

Unbelievably - to me at least - these crazy people want to ban such words as "Miss" and "Mrs" and of course their equivalents in other European languages such as "Senora" and "Senorita" and "Madame" and "Mademoiselle." All language it seems shall be "gender-neutral" in future.

The reasoning? Well it seems that it is thought that female members of the European Parliament (MEPs) might be "offended" - that damned word again.

I am furious that anyone who might be occupying a seat in the European Parliament should be so incredibly stupid as to be offended by the use of words such as those mentioned above. I am also furious that such a stupid initiative should be yet another charge on the taxpayer resulting from the insane regulations that continue to be issued from Brussels.

The article points out that every pair of rubber boots sold in the EU must be accompanied by a "User Manual" - printed in 12 languages!

Imagine: first a page telling the owner not to burn the boots and to dispose of them in an environmentally-responsible fashion, blah blah. Then a list of the multifarious organisations that have declared the boots (no doubt at vast expense) fit for use. These pages of tedium would perhaps be followed by illustrations showing how to put on the boots and perhaps how to walk in them.

Potty, absolutely potty.

Until the next time

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Amusing Post...

Once again I simply must plug CM's excellent blog Jour Après Jour. She has a knack of finding wonderful items and being mullti-lingual she oftens includes English ones.

The latest item, Si les navigateurs etaient des femmes (If web browers were women) is a gem - click on the "lien" (link) in the article and you will find a page in English; most amusing and surprisingly accurate in many ways.

Until the next time.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

How to make your country a laughing-stock - or perhaps not...

The easiest way to make a country a laughing stock is to practise some sort of stupid ideology. Good examples of this would be Kim Jong-Il's ludicrous Stalinist state of North Korea, a country which cannot feed itself yet produces missiles and Albania under the rule of the pathetic Enver Hoxha - and of course Pol Pot's Cambodia.

Another state that should be a laughing stock is Saudi Arabia, with its Islamo-Facistic religious régime complete with its own Mohammedan Gestapo, the so-called "religious police" praise its bloody holy name... Of course when you have the world's largest proven oil reserves and stupendous quantities of money, others tend not to laugh so much, but condemning a 75-year-old widow to a whipping? Barbarians for all their revolting holiness.

The tragedy of course is that these perverted states and in the case of Tibet regions, are a nighmare for the persecuted innocents who are not allowed freedom of expression - no laughing matter for those poor souls.

Zimbabwe, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Belarus, Chechenya, Tibet, Russia, China etc. etc. etc.

Until the next time

Sunday 8 March 2009

"Then you'll never hear surf music again"

So said Jimi Hendrix in "3rd Stone from the Sun".

Well I disagree: of course there was crap in the "surf" genre, but the Chantays' 1963 hit, "Pipeline" is brilliant.

See and hear for yourself:



Until the next time

Saturday 7 March 2009

More on Bankers and the Financial Crisis

Source: Private Eye No 1231

Recently I wrote something about British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Sir Fred Goodwin, erstwhile Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive.

It was reassuring to find today following the arrival of my copy of Private Eye, that Lord Gnome seems to agree as the cartoon reproduced above suggests.

There is interesting coverage in the same issue from "In the City". "Slicker" writing about the pension row says:

"What has followed has been little more than political posturing, not just by Harriet Harman but also by Brown, Darling and Myners. They all know that legally, Goodwin and his pension are probably bombproof but cannot admit that because of their failure to act back in October."

"Slicker" of course has a lot more to say - generally indicating that the situation has arisen ultimately for reasons of saving face - and of course Goodwin was reportedly a pal of Browns...

Finally, this evening I received an excellent email from a friend. For those of you who are baffled by the complexities of the "financial products" that led to the current crisis here is a straightforward explanation:

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin. In order to increase
sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are
unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of
the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers
loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood
into Heidi's bar.

Taking advantage of her customers' freedom from immediate payment
constraints, Heidi increases her prices for wine and beer, the
most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank
recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and
increases Heidi's borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the
alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these
customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These
securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really
understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are
guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the
securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager
(subsequently of course fired due his negativity) of the bank
decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts
incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Heidi cannot fulfil her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs
better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar, having granted her generous payment due
dates and having invested in the securities are faced with a new
situation. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is
taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-
clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties.

The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on
the non-drinkers.

Until the next time


Sorry about the formatting of the story above; HTM 'ell refuses as usual to let me do anything

Thursday 5 March 2009

Effrontery

Yes, effrontery - in other words, a bloody cheek.

I have three instances for you to consider.

First, we have the recent case where in some London play, members of the cast performed something called a "Haka" which by all accounts originates with the Maori natives in New Zealand. The Maoris, or at least their spokesman objected to this performance on the grounds that "it insulted their culture."

Second, the Chinese have protested about the sale of a couple of old bronze figures which they say were stolen from China around 1860. Supposed to be worth around €14 million apiece, the Chinese say that the sale of these sculptures "insults their culture." Indeed some individual representing some sort of Chinese interest actually bid for these items, won the auction and now refuses to pay. The Chinese seem to imagine that the current owner will just give the sculptures back to China! Dreamers.

And finally we have the story from Gibralatar reported today in the Daily Telegraph. Yesterday, the Princess Royal arrived to perform the official opening of a military clinic. The Spanish Government has protested about the visit saying "It is an affront to Spain." Why?

My word, isn't everybody quick to take offence?

The Maoris protest about some dance routine about 10,000 miles away; what the hell has it got to do with them? None of their damned business is it?

The Chinese protest about the sale of a pair of sculptures; they have possibly a bit more of a case, but frankly it was 149 years ago - are they really serious?

The Spanish of course have an absolute bloody cheek. Gibraltar has been British since 1713 - ceded by Spain as part of the treaty of Utrecht. What goes on there is none of their damned business; it is a British colony. As Gibraltarian resident observed:

"As for Spain, well what happens here is none of their business," she commented. "They lost Gibraltar 300 years ago and its time they got over it and left us alone."

All over the world we have countries, groups, religions and individuals taking "offence;" we have the ludicrous situation where prime ministers and presidents apologise for events hundreds of years old.

What's the matter with all these people?

Until the next time.

Saturday 28 February 2009

The Pariah

I wish that I could find the words to express my disgust and loathing in connexion with the repulsive individual pictured below.

His well documented behaviour indicates that he is quite clearly mentally deranged - either that or he is not human.


"Dr" Robert Mugabe, the black Stalin (though not as bright) with another nasty-looking bum behind him
Picture: Daily Telegraph

Will no-one rid the world of this pustule? I am no hero, just a blogger, but if the USAF would care to lend me a "Predator" drone, I would cheerfully press the "button." even at the risk of "offending" his Chinese friends.

Until the next time.

Politicians? How I laugh at them

With bankers around the world being generally in bad odour as they are, probably correctly, being held responsible for the economic and financial crisis, there has arisen a superb opportunity for politicians to score, as they see it anyway, a few points.

A perfect example is that dour, unimpressive failure, British Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown. Mr P.G. Wodehouse wrote that "It is never difficult to distinguish between a ray of sunshine and a Scotsman with a grievance."

It is never difficult to distinguish between a ray of sunshine and Mr James Gordon Brown MP.

Given the staggering losses amassed by the Royal Bank of Scotland over the past year, and its subsequent "bail-out" by the British Government (taxpayer) Mr Brown is very upset that the erstwhile chief executive of the bank, Sir Fred Goodwin, is receiving a very large pension. Mr Brown, typically playing to the gallery, feels that Sir Fred is not entitled to this pension and says that he is investigating legal remedies to "claw back" Sir Fred's pension. Mr Brown , according to this BBC article, said "The behaviour in the Royal Bank of Scotland, where very substantial additional pension awards were given, is something that makes me angry and will make the public of the country angry," (playing to the gallery of course).

Sir Fred Goodwin
Picture: The Sun

Could this be the very same Mr Gordon Brown, who as Chancellor of the Exchequer, sold off a substantial part of Britain's gold reserves resulting in staggering losses for the country (i.e. the taxpayer)? And was it not Mr Brown who arranged matters such that the bankers were able to proceed with the risky practices that now (not in 2007...) attract such opprobrium? And how was this stupendous demonstration of incompetence punished? Why, they made him Prime Minister! If he is not a hypocrite, Mr Brown will no doubt understand when I state that I consider it entirely unacceptable that failure should be rewarded in this way and that I call on him to resign without delay and of course, sans pension.

Mr Spike Milligan of Goons fame once said "People in glass houses should pull the blinds before removing their trousers." Step forward Mr Brown - or on second thoughts, perhaps not.

A final word concerning Sir Fred and the bankers. During his time as chief executive, Sir Fred built up RBS into the world's fifth-largest bank; the bank was very profitable for some years. Sir Fred also built up a very large pension fund for himself, the last contribution to which, he claims, was authorised by the government last year. The pension fund is therefore Sir Fred's money. He will have used the money to buy an annuity. By what perverted interpretation of justice the government proposes to expropriate him of his personal assets I cannot imagine, but I should watch your wallets if I were you. And it is worth remembering that if Sir Fred pays standard UK income tax, the exchequer will receive something like £250,000 annually, just from the pension income.

Compare Sir Fred's career with that of the disastrous Lord Simpson. Simpson took over from Lord Weinstock as chairman of one of Britain's beacon success stories: GEC. Within five years his brilliant plans had turned this success story into a bankrupt ruin. No doubt he enjoys a fine pension still... (I am guessing but I'll bet I am correct!)

I hold no particular brief for bankers: whilst I accept that banks are necessary I consider them largely as robbers. Nevertheless, better ten Goodwins than one Brown (or Simpson!).

Until the next time