13 April 2010

Joy in Mudville

The Philly Daily News wins a Pulitzer.

This probably will mean nothing when they get auctioned off later this month because journalism doesn't mean anything to genius of the market; only the ability to generate cash does.

08 April 2010

Oh to be Danish....

...because in Denmark unionised workers only strike over the most important of issues; access to beer!

Election 2010 - day 2 - the papers have more

Let's start out there to the right, shall we? The Daily Mail harrumphs its way through an article suggesting that almost all the jobs created in the past 12 years have gone to bloody foreigners! (Not sure if Scots are included....) Before anyone blames me by the way you should note that I arrived in 1993.

Meanwhile The Sun, which also features an article about those thieving foreigners, has let their readership vote on whether to bring back hanging. Surprisingly only 43% said "yes". Except additional polls soon about drawing and quartering (although the last one will probably confuse the average Sun reader as it involves maths).

Elsewhere the Torygraph continues to accuse El Gordo of waging war on business, possibly by refusing to give business absolutely everything that they want.

Surprisingly Rupert's Times commissioned a poll that tells us that the voters don't think Posh Boy is ready. (We needed a poll for this?)

The Indie reports that the founder of the pink Tories has announced that he is voting Labour. This might have something to do with old Tory bigotry and B&B's.

The Grauniad does some actual reporting and discovers that the Conservatives' adviser on the £12 billion in spending cuts they plan to make runs a health company that stands to gain from NHS cutbacks. If only there were some word to describe this sort of behaviour.

The Mirror followed Posh Boy to Bolton where he was not greeted with much love by the workers at a bakery. He is quoted as saying “the good news from your point of view is the first few times when I opened it, after having obeying every instruction, there just seemed to be a bit of mush at the bottom". It is not entirely clear if he was discussing the Tory manifesto or his experiences with a bread baking machine.

And, last but definitely not least, once again The Star says "Election? What election?" Tits still on page three.

07 April 2010

Election 2010 - the papers speak!

The Daily Mail calls out Labour for declaring class war on Posh Boy. (Special bonus Richard Littlejohn edition: the Shadow Home Secretary may think that gay boys shouldn't stay at B&Bs but it's the damn lefties' fault. Mr. Littlejohn shall hereafter be known as the "Voice of Reason".

The Torygraph informs us that politicians lie. This is what passes as scintillating political analysis at the paper these days apparently.

The Indie hints that El Gordo is counting on a hung parliament and is already chatting up Nick Clegg.

Rupert's Times tells us that El Gordo has declared war on business and the source for this allegation is, of course, the Tory Party!

Rupert's other, less cerebral publication, the must esteemed Sun announces the arrival of D-Dave. As of yet no cape and his pants are still on the inside.

The Grauniad explores in some depth El Gordo's roots as a typical middle class nearly English working class Presbyterian Scot.

Last but not least The Daily Star metaphorically asks: "Election? What election? Tits on Page 3!"

06 April 2010

So what are you doing on the 6th of May?

As predicted el Gordo may a quick trip round the palace this morning and has called a general election for four weeks time. Let the sliming and lying begin.

The race is likely to be amusing even if none of the candidates inspire.

05 April 2010

Fasten your seat belts

Unless he surprises us the Prime Minister will set the date of the general election tomorrow and, against the odds, it seems it be a dog fight. The Tories remain their own worst enemies with Cameron nought but a cypher behind a smile, the baggage that is Lord Ashcroft and the fact that when you scratch these "New Tories" they're the same old thing not very far below the surface. It should be fun.

31 March 2010

Si si puede!

Today is Cesar Chavez Day. (Don't tell the Teabaggers!)

Getting juiced....

We've got an election coming, very soon, and it looks like it is going to be very interesting. I can hardly wait! Much better than election cycles that go on for years.

(Note to Americans: a hung parliament is not a reference to the size of the sexual organs of the male members.)

29 March 2010

Just how is Jerusalem above sea level?

It seems that global warming has resolved a long standing territorial dispute between Bangladesh and India. Perhaps this was Captain Codpiece's cunning plan for peace in the Middle East. Crank up your SUVs!

But what does Gaia think?

Environmentalist and futurist James Lovelock thinks that humanity is too stupid to do anything to prevent climate change in the coming decades. And with folks like these running wild it's hard to come up with a rebutal.

Perhaps it is time to consider whether we are an evolutionary dead end....

25 March 2010

Tonight in weirdness

I met my lovely friend Priya for a drink this evening (elle est ma faux-belle-fille). She has very curly hair that was recently cut very short and is now growing out a bit. We wondered if she could grow "Angela Davis hair". About ten minutes later my friend Liam arrives and asks me if I can remember a poem by either Primo Levi or Anegla Davis that began "first they came for the Jews..."

I do remember the poem which was not written by either of them (I think Levi used it as an epigram for one of his books and Davis may have quoted it at some point) but by a German minister by the name of Martin Niemöller.

I remember it because I had a t-shirt 15 years ago from the Anti-Nazi league that reproduced it on the back and it goes as follows.

" First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left to speak out for me"

The Reverend Niemöller survived the Nazis and died in 1984.


I am willing Priya to manage Angela Davis hair in any case.

Well we all knew he was a scumbag

I just didn't realise that being a scumbag would be quite so lucrative for poor old Tony. This goes past champagne socialism to pure-Peruvian-flake socialism.

24 March 2010

But where's the big mac?

It seems that over the past 1000 years or so the portion sizes in illustrations of the Last Supper have grown larger. Jesus remains skinny, not to mention curiously un-Jewish, because calories and partially-hydrogenated fats don't stick to God.

A point of order

It is logically inconsistent to claim to be pro-life and to simultaneously make death threats. But then logical thought has never been a weapon in these folk's arsenal.

My budget

As a (not quite) moderate (enough) drinker and a smoker once again I'm fucked. This is the second major whack we've had this year. When the government temporarily dropped VAT rates to 15% they upped the alcohol and tobacco duties so that we sinners didn't benefit. And when the rates went back up to 17.5% in January they didn't unstitch the increase so the price of a pint went up 5p and my baccy about the same amount. I reckon I have to go to the pub tonight to get a last jar or two at a mere £3.05!

23 March 2010

As a divorced person...

...I find it unfortunate that Debenhams is now offering a divorce registry service. I mean where were they when I needed them all those years ago....

I don't think anyone should tell the "marriage-is-holy" contingent. It will just make their heads explode when I'm not about to watch.

18 March 2010

It's a shame that Hunter Thompson is dead....

...because I think that this means that things have gotten weird enough for anyone, even him.

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Perhaps I have lived away from America too long. Perhaps I have forgotten that the country was always this way. Perhaps so but I think not. There was certainly this level of vitriol in the years before I was born and the effect lingered into my early childhood in the early sixties. But it was not like this in my adult years in America until I moved away in 1993. When did it change? I haven't been back to the states for the past nine years and maybe it is only distance that has altered my perspective.

Where has the humanity gone? When did we cease treating each other like human beings?

16 March 2010

No parent really wants their kids to be smarter than them...

...and it would seem that the (once) great state of Texas has a solution to that little dilemma; "fix" the kid's textbooks. Of course the real losers are (in no particular order):
  • The school children of Texas.
  • The school children and families in other states that are stupid lucky enough to use Texan-books.
  • The country.

Of course any countries that look to compete with the US in the "knowledge based economy" can only be jumping for joy.

15 March 2010

Beware of Daffo-panie

Officials in Cumbria are extremely worried about the lack of daffodils in the Lake District and the potential impact on tourism. (Who the hell goes to the Lake District in March?) So if you see a few get Tweeting....

12 March 2010

New York notices Sarf London, innit?

A nice write up in the NYRB about the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Well worth a visit if you're ever south of the river; not that tourists ever come further south then the South Bank.....

Are no traditions safe?

The annual Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling had been cancelled for this year due to health and safety fears. Possibly due to the saturated fat content of a big old hunk of Double Gloucester!

09 March 2010

Well he's not welcome here!

America's finest Big Fat Idiot has promised to flee the country if health care reform is passed.

As the official Yank in London (of and for London) I have veto power. I suggest he try somewhere where he might feel at home; perhaps Uzbekistan or Zimbabwe.

08 March 2010

Today in Schadenfreude

Am I the only one enjoying the spectacle of the Tories trying to 'splain away the disgraceful situation surrounding Lord Ashcroft's noble and patriotic tax dodge? When Norman Tebbit has him in his sight;s these can't be happy days in Tory Central!

(Not so) compassionate conservatism

Down wherever it is that Tom Delay is from they seem to think that people are unemployed because they like it. Or at least they do in the bar at the country club where he goes to make contact with the little people.

I would suggest that he is a small, evil and extremely un-Christian man but that would belabour the obvious.

04 March 2010

Double reverse irony

The British House of Lords has passed an amendment that will outlaw caste based discrimination in the workplace.

Isn't the House of Lords the ultimate exercise in caste based discrimination?

I have a few technical questions for the American Family Association

First - if the Bible is literally true you should note that an orca is not an ox.

Second - how will the stoning be executed? I know you're not all that big on science you surely you will have noticed that stones slow down considerably once they hit the water. Will you have to remove the orca from its natural habitat to make you weaponry more effective? Is this fair?

Lastly - as this is a second offense the owner must die as well. Will you simply stone the chairperson of Seaworld or must all the shareholders die as well? Will executions be simultaneous or will they occur on separate occasions in order to increase attendance?

You may reach me here.....

03 March 2010

Once again the scientists get it wrong

It turns out that dinosaurs are some 10,000,000 years older than previously thought.

Of course this finding does not apply in the Great State of Texas for obvious reasons.

Now he was a Socialist!

Former Labour Party leader Michael Foot has died at the ripe old age of 96. He was a marvelous orator, a writer, a fervent opponent of nuclear weapons and a Plymouth Argyle supporter. And yes, he was a real Socialist. A true lion of the left.

He will be missed.

22 February 2010

I have read Tom Payne and you sir are no Tom Payne

By happenstance I happen to be reading Tom Payne's Common Sense and The Rights of Man. I also, quite unfortunately for me, stumbled on a video of the right wing American commentator Glenn Beck comparing himself to the 18th century British radical.

I find it appalling that this narcissist has managed to get away with this extraordinary comparison. I can only imagine that it is that Americans are no longer taught about Payne because he thinking is far too dangerous to the corporatocracy that rules the states today and that he so well serves.

The two of them have one area of agreement; a contempt for government. Outside of that there is no common ground. Payne believed religion to be a force of oppression. He believed the concept of real property to be theft by force. He was a class warrior who opposed the power of the few wealthy to increase the suffering of the masses. He demanded revolution to rectify the imbalance.

Beck by contrast wishes simply to enrich himself; to placate his corporate masters.
He is without shame.

You may live in your own world, you own mind, Mr. Beck but you are not worthy of mention in the same sentence.

I shall leave you with a quote:

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."

17 February 2010

Ken Starr is (a) President

Perenial tormentor of the Clintons, extravegent waster of taxpayer money and all around good guy, Ken Starr, is now President of Baylor University.

Expect Baylor to launch a series of investigations into the whereabouts of that goddamn cigar in the morning.

25 January 2010

Don't forget the Neeps; don't forget the Tatties; and bloody well don't forget the Whiskey

Happy Burns' Night

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hudies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reeking, rich!

Then horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit!' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As fecl;ess as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Tho' bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whistle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
That jaups in luggies;
But if ye wish her gratfu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

20 January 2010

Another beautiful voice silenced

Kate McGarrigle dead at 59. I first heard her, and her sister, at the Philly Folk Festival in '70 or '71. Enjoy her here with her incredibly talented children. The video is poor but the music extraordinary.

18 January 2010

An object lesson?

Last Wednesday, the 13th, was the 168th anniversary of an event that should, but probably will not, serve as a not so gentle reminder to both the US and the UK that Afghanistan is a place where empires go to die.

On the 6th of January 1842 roughly 4500 British soldiers and around 12,000 of their camp followers left Kabul with the intent of retreating to Hindustan. On 13 January, seven days later, one man, an Irish Doctor by the name of William Brydon arrived in Jalahalabad. No other survivors were ever recorded.

Perhaps we shall learn but I suspect we will not.

10 January 2010

Happy birthday to me

My New Year's resolution is to bring this blog back to life with two or three posts a week. We'll see how we do.

PS - today is my birthday and as I'm off on the piss today won't be the start.