Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Grrr. Tony Blair stands up on the conference platform and claims that he's listening, but not in the sense of changing any policies based on what people were saying, implying that he had still more evidence of WMD in Iraq that no-one else in the world seems to have known of, and saying some generally chilling things about asylum, which sounded like getting rid of legal aid for asylum seekers and also the right of appeal against extradition decisions (presumerably that's getting rid of asylum seekers right of appeal, not the Governments when the judges allow them to stay). Highlights here, full text here. Newsnight has just had David 'Insanity' Blunkett on, who has LIED, AGAIN, about public support for his half-baked ID Cards scheme.

Execute me, pleads Muslim who killed his daughter over her Western lifestyle. Nope, you're just going to have to hang yourself in your cell like everyone else. Is 'honour killing' a social tradition or a religious one? Because if it's the latter we are living in a country where the more heinous religious traditions are rightly prohibited but the less severe ones, such as allowing religious organisations to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, are allowed to continue.

Trying to cheer myself up with the Pulp Hits DVD, the first 'Babies' video, with Candida trying to keep a straight face and Russell doing his best hard stare at the camera...

Oh look Patrick, it's a Bush Regime Card Deck and it's done by the pesky French! < runs away giggling >

Off work today due to being ill, the usual really, just like last month, and the month before, and the month before th- Hang on, monthly illness which tends to comprise of fatigue, headaches, a feeling of nausea, feeling bloated... right, I need a hot-water bottle and some chocolate!

Do you come from a crap town? The writers don't seem to think Maidstone is worthy of such a designation which i suppose highlights it's awfulness, it can't even stand out as being awful.

This whole thing about whether someone in Bush's administration leaked the name of a CIA agent seems rather bizarre. The impression I'd got over here on the question of Iraq was that the American media were still rather supine before the administration...

HACK: Mr. President, is there a faint chance that you've done anything that could have been seen as even slightly wrong in your life, especially since becoming president?
SHRUB: No, how could you even suggest such a thing?
HACK: Oh, please forgive my monumental stupidity (throws himself out of fiftieth floor window)

But it does seem as if the Administration were more rattled than it seemed, although to be fair we were busy watching Blair and Ali C dig themselves in to a hole with the whole Kelly affair. Hopefully there will be people in the American media who will remember that it should never be a crime to ask questions of those people the country pays to organise things and we'll sort out who said what. (There's a useful perspective on the affair at Mother Jones.)

Weird, according to Nedstat I've been having visitors from other pages with referrals I can't find. For example, if you can find where Bweezy links to me then please let me know.

Monday, September 29, 2003

New Labour has never been that good about disagreeing in public, so the fact that Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary has 'grave reservations' against ID Cards and, although her reservations aren't on the subject of human dignity per se, she has put her finger on one of the main problems of Government policy which stretches back before Labour came to power to the days of the Tories, the technology tends not to work at a cost that's usually much higher than what was originally promised.

Tired and grouchy this evening. Had an appointment at the dentists this morning for drilling and general dental torture to take out a couple of fillings, clear the gunk underneath then replace the fillings, leaving my head buzzing, not at all helped by the occasional stabs of pain in my head as my relatively hot body meets cold air coming in through one of the many cracks and drafts in my place. Also watched The Hours on DVD which probably didn't help me at all.

[Jack Straw] called on sceptics to "think for a moment" what the world would now be facing if action had not been taken. Well, let's see, the world would be facing a tyrant who six months before Sept. 11th the US Administration had confidently said was contained and did not have the resources to launch an attack on his neighbours.

He told the UN assembly that if Britain and the US had held back from war Saddam Hussein would have been emboldened, "every dictator encouraged", and the UN's authority "gravely weakened".

Whereas the US saying "Fuck the UN, we're going to attack regardless of what they say" really bolstered the UN's authority in the eyes of the world?

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The Deal was interesting. In places there was an incredible intense connection between the actors playing Blair and Brown as they slowly became friends amongst the detritus of the Labour Party of the early Eighties until the middle-point in the Nineties when, if the story the show puts forward is true, their marriage broke down due to 'irreconcilable differences' and Tony took custody of the Labour Party. And, short of the pair telling us exactly what they discussed in a restaurant in Islington, this is the closest we can ever guess. The acting was great all round, with clever use of actors playing the parts of politicians that would have a personal role in Tony and Gordon's story, John Smith, Peter Mandelson, but then also stock footage for the people that wouldn't, Thatcher, Major, Kinnock. In the first half of the story, which dealt with what happened to Blair and Brown during Labour's Wilderness Years, it reminded me of the similar show the BBC had done about Labour part spin doctors and party workers over a similar period, we had Gordon Brown arriving at the polling station in 1991 which would announce that he'd kept his seat, but learning at the same time that Labour had lost again. We had Tony Blair sitting in his darkened front room strumming away on his guitar.

All this followed Inside the Mind of Tony Blair in which journalists and a bevy of psychiatrists were canvased to give their opinions on Tony Blair and what drives him. It was fairly interesting stuff, how his first term persona of trying to agree with everything that everyone said to him has given way to a more unbending politician who has beliefs, such as the existence of WMD, and won't be put off by a lack of support or indeed evidence to back it up. In a week when the Hutton Enquiry has torpedoed the credibility of this Government and key figures within it, it just shows how useless and unfit the Conservatives are to hold any official position in the Houses of Parliament that they are not standing up and saying "look at us! we can offer an alternative!"

Well, it looks as though things may be calming down over in Barbelith City, at least until our resident troll fires up his next user name and starts kicking over the dustbins again. There's been a mostly unwaranted and unnecessary spate of soul-searching caused by one user deciding to kick up a fuss about another and being seemingly determined not to shut up until the other person was forced to leave, which they haven't, to their credit. Even though he's banned he turns to other people on the board to help in his campaign but at last it seems that he's following everyone's advice and keeping quiet too. Mind you, I'm saying this on a Sunday evening when anyone with any intelligence finds something else to do. I could log on tomorrow and find someone has detonated a dirty bomb in the middle of the Policy & Help forum.

Bah, all buzzzzzzzzzzzy energy and nothing to do with it, feel all static in the head and achey, is there a storm coming? I normally get headaches or going from cold to hot or vice versa, which is the more likely. Need Asprin. Listening to 'The Remix' on X-FM, there's just been an amazing 'Born Slippy' remix on, but either NTL or the station itself has crossed their wires with some other station, loud enough to make it's presence known, not enough to work out what station it is. It's unlikely to be pirates, either that or it's really weird pirates that'll play Muse and Dido. Anyway, you'll all be watching The Deal tonight yeah?

It's cruel, it's human, people degraded and devalued, just 'things', with no rights, no freedom, not guilty of any crime, yet with no idea when they get to leave. Camp X-Ray? No, Manchester. Close though.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Ludovic Kennedy in speaking a load of old crap furore. 'Minorities over represented on TV'? When? When popular soaps have a token Asian family in to run the corner shop but don't make any attempt to represent the true diversity of skin tones you get when walking down a street in London or Manchester? When I can't think off the top of my head of any TV show with someone who isn't white as the main character?

John Leslie says some parts of the media became annoyed with his success and set out to bring him down. John, you were a minor daytime telly presenter, before that you presented Blue Peter, a kids show. If people had wanted to bring you down because you were successful, wouldn't they have waited until you actually achieved something?

'Thousands' gather for Iraq demo. I've got mixed feelings about this demo and it's not just sour grapes from being stuck in the Greenhouse because I was unable to get the day off to attend. With a situation where we've completely screwed the infrastructure of Iraq, is 'Out of Iraq' really the message we want to put across? Shouldn't instead it be a dual message of accountability of Bush and Blair for the damage done and a proper commitment, under the UN, of restoring law and order and rebuilding the country? So perhaps the chant should be "UK and US Out of Iraq Open Brackets To Be Replaced by a Multinational Team Comprising of Nations Who Weren't Identified With Bombing The Crap Out of It Close Brackets".

Bush is supposedly making a state visit in a month or two to the UK, which after all the time Blair spent going over there is the least he can do. That sounds like a much more useful time to demonstrating. And if we could get Bush to be suspended off of Tower Bridge in a glass box, that would be superb!

Word Pirates. Not related to the recent International Speak Like a Pirate Day, but instead a site to complain about big business 'stealing' and 'subverting' the meaning of words. Rather deluged with the feeble brainwrongs of trolls at the mo but still worth a look.

Are you an Illogician?

Friday, September 26, 2003

Sky One are showing another film about John unjustly accused by women (who are all bitches and whores) Leslie, with shots from his video diary of his quote year of hell unquote. Now, was it when Ulrika Jonnson accused him of rape or when all those other women came forward to accuse him of various crimes and misdemeanors that he thought "wow, I better video this, it'll make an ace tv show!"?

Oh Dickie, Dickie, Dickie, what are we going to do with you? (Answers on a Stamped Addressed Bigot to...)

MANCHESTER City Council is looking for a Lesbian Development Worker on 20 grand a year.
The post “has been established to facilitate the formulation and development of sustainable networks and self-organised groups among the Lesbian Communities of Manchester (their capital letters) and to co-ordinate volunteer involvement within the Project”.

Why? I wasn’t aware lesbianism was a disability.

That's because it isn't Dickie. No-one was implying it was, except you. Perhaps the Disabilities Officer of the council can explain to you what a disability is, whether physical or, as in your case, mental.

Quite the opposite, judging by the number of councils desperate to recruit them.

So why bring it up then Dick?

But what caught my eye in this ad from The Guardian was the sentence: “This post is funded by Comic Relief”.

I may have missed something, but I thought Red Nose day was about helping starving African children, not setting up “sustainable networks” for lesbians in Manchester.

If you'd paid attention to the serious bits during Comic Relief (you can normally tell them, they tend to have Lenry Henry, or Billy Connelly letting African children fondle his hair) or looked at the Comic Relief website, you'd have gathered that while two-thirds of money raised goes to help people in Africa, one-third is spent in Britain on projects solely designed to piss small-minded arseholes like you off. But then, attention to detail isn't your strong point is it Tolstoy?

Doctor Who returns. Hmm, it'll be interesting to see if this works. I was a fan as a young'un, although the decade in the wilderness followed by that awful TV movie with Paul McGann rather soured me. I hope they ignore that and choose a different actor. Names are being bandied around like Richard E. Grant or Alan Davies (presumerably for his superficial likeness to Tom Baker when he was Doctor) but I'd prefer it if they didn't get a big name for the part, someone known but not well known, as most of the previous Doctors were when they got the role.

It's a bit daft that it's taken this long to organise as every single department in the BBC has known for years that Doctor Who was one of their most marketable commodities except the one department that was responsible for saying 'yes' or 'no' to it being made. Even now it seems odd that it's BBC Wales making it, hopefully that's no more significant than BBC Manchester making Red Dwarf. As I can't be bothered to avoid making the obvious pun, time will tell...

It was the wrap-up on the evidence at the Hutton Enquiry yesterday, what on earth will Newsnight find to talk about now?
The QC for the Kelly Family, The QC for the Government, The QC for the BBC and The QC for Andrew Gilligan.

So, what have we learnt? That the dossier probably wasn't sexed up as such, and that might have been invented by Andrew Gilligan, who is unreliable enough in his evidence that his future career will probably involve writing for the Daily Mail. The Tories have overstepped the mark by calling for Tony Blair's head in this matter when clearly the fault lies with Alistair Campbell and Geoff Hoon for using Dr. Kelly to settle scores with the BBC (Tony Blair should resign for taking us to war on a number of falsehoods). The BBC were in the wrong for standing behind Gilligan before checking that his story was accurate, however, given the amount of daily hectoring they received, mainly from Campbell again, it's not surprising that they may have felt they had to do something before all their bases were covered.

Campbell has organised things so that he'll be leaving of his own free will rather than having to be fired by Blair or made to resign in disgrace. Hoon looks as though he intends to stay until he's forced to resign, causing more embaresment for Blair after similar situations with Mandelson and Byers. The BBC have already said that Gilligan won't work for the Today program again, having his own seperate lawyer at the enquiry suggests he's aware of how difficult his situation has become.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

I think I've been neglecting to point out how wonderful Plums is recently so I'd just like to reiterate that here and now.

Talking to her on via the telephonic aparatus about immigration she pointed out that Brighton faces a genuine danger of being swamped by the Yellow Peril... as the Lib Dems are currently in town.

Maybe you had to be there...

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
- - Dick Cheney, August 26 2002

"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."
- - Ari Fleischer, December 2 2002

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
- - Ari Fleischer, January 9 2003

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more."
- - Colin Powell, February 5 2003

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."
- - Ari Fleischer, March 21 2003

"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them."
- - Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22 2003

"We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."
- - Donald Rumsfeld, March 30 2003

"I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found."
- - Ari Fleischer, April 10 2003

"There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country."
- - Donald Rumsfeld, April 25 2003

"I am confident that we will find evidence that makes it clear he had weapons of mass destruction."
- - Colin Powell, May 4 2003

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
- - George W. Bush, September 12 2002

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."
- - George W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 28 2003

"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."
- - George Bush, February 8 2003

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
- - George Bush, March 17 2003

"We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them."
- - George Bush, April 24 2003

"We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so."
- - George Bush, May 3 2003

"I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program."
- - George W. Bush, May 6 2003

An interim report, compiled by the CIA-led Iraq Survey Group will say they've failed to discover any proof of WMD in Iraq.

It was also the second part of When The God Squad Came to Town last night. Mostly reinforced what was said last week. The woman running the project seemed sincere and wanted what was best for the people on the estate, who were sceptical, although the kids seemed interested. Once more the two girls that had joined the project early on needed help and advice which the project leader wasn't really able to give them, beyond asking God for his help. At one point they even decided to stop being Christians to see if they felt better. But the rest of the team seemed equally clueless and naive, they were quite good at bringing up examples from the Bible but less so at discussing it, when some lads, discussing sex before marriage, brought up the question of where Cain and Abel's wives came from and how did they get married they seemed rather flummoxed. For the 'scary Christian' moment they went to do some outreach in school and the project leader said something along the lines of "In school, it's a multicultural environment, so we have to talk about how 'we believe' this and 'we believe' that... Outside the school we can say to kids that we know this stuff to be the Truth."

But at the end of the film there hadn't been any major disasters and crime was down on the estate, which the Eden Project were claiming as their success. The two girls had returned to the project, though apparently one of them didn't consider herself a Christian any more, and the one of them who had been cutting herself in the past and at the end of the first part and beginning of the second hadn't done it again for several months. And the community had started to thaw towards them, so maybe it was a victory of sorts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

So, Breaking the Silence: A Special Report by John Pilger then...

God, I'm watching... ITV? It's been a long time since that happened, well, for more than five accidental seconds at a time anyway. And that probably makes me sound more snobbish and middle-class than I intend, but ITV shows no sci-fi, no news truly worthy of the name, few documentaries that aren't about soap stars and no comedy beyond 'You've Been Framed', and surely we've seen enough men doing terrible and accidental injuries to their gonads to last us until whenever George Bush decides to launch Doomsday on us all? So, watching Breaking the Silence I keep thinking, 'hmm, TV controls are off, it's saying I'm on channel three when I must be on Four', then remembering five seconds later.

Going in to it, I don't expect I'll be shocked. I suspect that I've heard a lot of what Pilger's got to say already. I've also got a feeling, based on the backlash last time ITV broadcasted one of his documentaries that it will all get dismissed as all part of the usual lefty peace-loving anti-US propaganda. Patrick wants to see it. I'd like for Patrick to see it. But in the end it won't matter a damn bit. The world will keep turning and in a few weeks no one will remember. But anyway, telly!

We open with black and white shots of people maimed and injured, while hearing the words of Bush and Blair echoing around us. John Pilger arrives to set the scene... September 11th... 'The War on Terror'... who are the 'real' terrorists who have killed more people than Sept. 11th and in far away (from the US and UK) poor countries... tell us John, tell us! Unsurprisingly he says it's the US, with people in power with a policy of 'endless war'.

He talks to Afghanis who have lost family killed by 'mistakes' made by Allied bombers. Pilger sets this opposite George Bush and 'Operation Enduring Freedom'. He talks to people who lost relatives in the WTC. The sister of someone who died in the WTC went to Afghanistan after the bombing to see what she could do to help. She met Orifa, whose family was killed, and went with her to the US Embassy to help her try to seek compensation. Unsurprisingly, they don't get far. Not even past the gates. Although not specific with figures, Pilger says that in contrast to speeches from Bush about how the US is the Afghanis friend and how they are sending the people food and medicine they have received less help than if they had experienced any other kind of disaster. We are shown entire villages of destitute people living amid rubble, in a country with poisoned water and littered with unexploded ordnance.

Suddenly Pilger claims that a lot of the damage in Kabul is not due to the Taliban but the regional warlords. He says they've been funded by America for more than twenty years, before being put back into power 'by George Bush'. So, Bin Laden was trained and funded by the US, the Northern Alliance was trained and funded by the US, the Taliban drove Russia out (IIRC, but I'm not sure on that point), did the USSR not have ANY operatives in the country at all when they tried to seize control? Of course, many people have pointed out the US organising a situation where they train people who then turn around and fight them, with some considerable success, later down the road. Pilger seems reluctant to admit that the overthrow of the Taliban did some good and skips over it in seconds but then the subsequent catalogue of misery takes much longer to show us. The latest lot of US approved rulers being no better than those they replaced, just not Islamic. The freedom Bush promised for the women of Afghanistan has been ignored by the warlords now in control.

Then we get some detail on the past of Afghanistan, including the incredible assertion that President Carter approved the setting up of the Mujahadeen, NOT in response to the Soviet invasion but why? Pilger doesn't say why this should be, so perhaps we have to assume that Carter saw the way the wind was blowing and that Afghanistan was going to be the next site for the great game between the Cold War superpowers. Pilger goes on to say that September 11th gave Bush the 'excuse' to jettison the Taliban, who the US had had links with of one kind and another since Carter, including President Clinton trying to organise an oil pipeline through Afghanistan in the mid-nineties.

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who worked with George Bush Senior, reports how, when he was president, the people Dubya surrounds himself with were referred to as 'the crazies', though as some of them were part of that administration, who was 'crazy'? We now move on to the Project For a New American Century and 'Rebuilding America's Defenses'. Pilger talks to a principle member of this group, William Kristol, who says the problem has been that the US has not got involved in the affairs of the world since the Cold War ended. Pilger barely gets to his second sentence before Kristol starts butting in and trying to stop him from making any point at all. To his credit Pilger stands firm and, as Kristol tries to get him to admit that the US doesn't attack 'decent' countries (whatever they are) manages to turn it round to tell him that since WW2 there have been seventy-two interventions by the US into foreign countries, which rather irritates Kristol. We then see a list of forty-two countries and, to be fair, based on what I know not all of them have anything to do with the Shrub. Pilger is using some sixty years of US policy as a stick to beat George Bush.

We see the other September 11th, the one in 1973 when the US helped overthrow the government of Chile. We hear of US bombing in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. We see how the US supported Indonesia while it's ruler was torturing his people. But then Pilger goes on to show how thousands of torturers were given safe haven in America and trained at the 'School of the Americas' in Georgia. A US army officer in Afghanistan, questioned about allegations made that the Allies have been using torture to extract information from detained Afghanis gives the non-answer that it couldn't happen because the Allies don't have a history of using torture! We then turn to Camp X-Ray, and people held there despite in some cases being known to have resisted the Taliban and in other cases being in a different country with no links to terrorism.

Pilger is quite happy to insist that the war against terror is a War For Oil. He produces General Wesley Clark and a former Australian intelligence officer to say that Iraq's links with terrorism and holding WMD were lies. When Pilger confronts an under-secretary of defense in the US he insists that the Allies were not the ones that sold Saddam Hussein these weapons originally. Here Pilger is able to show proof that this at least was true. What is truly amazing, which I did not expect, was Pilger showed a press conference from February 2001 in which Colin Powell says that Hussein did not have WMD or the means to use them. Condeleeza Rice, in July, says that the US has been able to prevent weapons from getting to Saddam (So, at which point is the Bush administration lying and so proving itself unfit to hold office? Anyone?).

With regards to the Hutton Enquiry Pilger believes it has become a sideshow to divert attention away from the unjustified attack on Iraq (although I think Pilger is underestimating to some extent how bad it's turned out to be for the Government although he's right that the wider issue of the War has been almost forgotten while the inquiry continues). When Pilger asks the under-secretary who doesn't believe we sold Saddam WMD how it can be right for bad people to harm their citizens but okay or excusable for the Allies to do it, he just replies that the US doesn't harm innocent civilians. When pressed on this he clarifies it as the US does not target civilians. He interrupts when Pilger asks him a question about the thousands of civilians killed by the US to say he doesn't believe thousands is a correct amount. The US have no figures for how many civilians were killed just in Iraq, but insist that it was incredibly low, whatever that is supposed to mean. When Pilger presses his points he get asked, albeit jokingly, if he's a member of the Communist party.

And perpetual war is a means for Bush to try and control the media, and try and control the political agenda for his own means at home. The sister of the man killed in the WTC makes a direct comparison between the Bush Administration and Al Qaeda both believing God was on their side. Pilger quotes Norman Mailer saying America was becoming a pre-fascist state, McGovern wryly states that he hopes so, because other people have told him that the US IS a fascist state.
Pilger ends with a call to the second Superpower to stand against the US, the superpower of public opinion.

I do agree with most of what Pilger has to say because, as I said before, I knew most of it already, from other sources, reported piecemeal. I don't know whether a sceptic or a pro-war person would change their mind because of this, and Pilger does seem to be light on the sort of facts they might ask for, preferring instead for 'atrocity-atrocity-US Government involvement'. And as I said, at times he's attacking Bush for the crimes of his predecessors, although as it's not American policy to admit that Presidents do wrong I suppose that Bush is guilty for what Clinton, Carter et al did. What Pilger has to say about terrorism being dependent on who is doing the asking is a message that needs to be said, if the US Government has succeeded by saying what it wants people to believe is the truth so often then the only way the truth will be heard is by repeating that whenever possible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

From the It's a small small small small small small small small small small small small sma- [thunk!] world desk. Have I mentioned this New Opportunities Fund training that I'm involved with in our library service? Anyway, all the hard techy stuff is being done by Christ Church College in Canterbury. So I emailed them for help with part of the site that couldn't be accessed and got a reply back from someone there who I went to school with back in Maidstone around a decade ago! He was one of the prefects that ran the excuse for a school library. Our paths do seem to keep crossing every couple of years, when I worked in a school library in Sutton several years back I heard that he was working at another school library in the area. We never actually met then, but I did hear that he was seeing one of the sixth-formers from my school... Hello Ian!

... Oh and that guitar, so clean, so clear, and the crisp sound of the drums, a ten years late "fuck you" to grunge wanting purity through eating dirt, and her voice, as a solitary tear slides, almost unseen, down her cheek and she gives water to the dead, the dead relationship and she doesn't understand how it could be over even though Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus and Uranus will shortly be renamed as the planet ArseCandling to stop inappropriate jokes. Her voice, the voice of the universe in slow torturous heat death, spinning slowly back to oblivion in the black hole at the centre of creation, how could we possibly choose oblivion over her? Because they can't love us like she loves us. This is the language of the twenty-first century, bewilderment, pain, loss. "How can they hate us so much?" recast as the breakdown of a love affair, Romeo's dumped Juliet and gone to San Francisco and no amount of funky green code action is going to resuscitate that relationship.

Which is part one in a hundred part series on why that song is so great.

Monday, September 22, 2003

"Wait... They Don't Love You Like I Love You"

Most songs I can't really listen to more than once a day, no matter how good I think This is a Low or Won't Get to Heaven (The State I'm In) are, I wouldn't really want to listen to them more than just the once in a 24 hour period. It's only occasionally that I want to listen to a song again, and again, and again... Fischerspooner's Emerge, Dame Patti Smith's version of Gloria or Our Generation and now The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Maps which is a truly beautiful song. I've not been hugely taken with what I've heard of the YYYs to date, and indeed the b-sides are okay but not great, but I think I'll have to find their album and give it a listen.

Other purchases of the day, well, The Chemical Brothers Singles 1993-2003. I got the 'limited edition' but haven't listened to the second CD yet, the hits are all there in order. I suspect it's now a crime if you don't pretend that you always hated the Chemical Brothers, but there's a little part of my soul that will always respond to Let Forever Be.

In the magical world of comics, Grant Morrison's 13-issue The Filth comes to a welcome end. After genre-shattering runs on titles like Animal Man, Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, Flex Mentallo, JLA and The X-Men, Morrison's quality control has had something of a downturn in the last year or so, normally a sign of distraction from working on other projects. The Filth (think James Bond crossed with the Family health Encyclopedia (1001 common ailments and how to cure them) has been the worst sign of this, in which Morrison has mashed together his most recurrent story ideas, dying cats, fiction/reality crossing over, both mental and physical sickness being just three examples and sold it as a comic. It has confused non-linear storylines, and a large gap where anything approaching an explanation would be. It does have a talking communist monkey assasin, which is one of the two good points about the thing. The other is the artwork by Chris Weston who has consistently produced some amazing visuals. When he worked with Morrison before, a brief run on The Invisibles, his artwork wasn't able to cope with the scope of Morrison's deranged imagination. However, in this instance he's outshone him.

The only other thing is to remind you to watch Breaking the Silence: a Special Report by John Pilger, one of the few times a year when ITV broadcast something worth watching and probably the last time if rumours that the channel's going to be bought out by Viacom come December are true. Pilger looks at 9/11 and examines the case for war.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

OK, my thoughts on the program, I was writing as it was on, so some quotes may not be exactly what was said...

Starts off with violent anarchists as though this is the only kind. Johan Norberg presents like Chris Morris in Brass Eye but looks rather like Orlando Bloom with Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen's hair. He says that global capitalism makes countries that embrace it rich. Where does this money come from then? Space?

Taiwan. Everyone in Taiwan is rich, apparently. Forty years ago there were sweatshops. 'Transitory' says Johan. So not here any more? And he seems to think that taking advantage of people is okay if it makes the country (but not it's people?) rich. From how Johan presents it, Taiwan is populated purely by company owners and 'well-paid software engineers'. But from talking to the people, it's the people that make their successes, capitalism less so. Aah, he's said Africa is a failure because they try to make everything themselves. So it's not that they can't afford those foreign anti-AIDS drugs then? 'Democracy is a side-effect of globalisation'. 'Globalisation brings wealth and freedom to everyone'.

Vietnam. 'Nike equals freedom' he says. And he's in Vietnam to see if it's true. Before he starts I'm not hopeful he's going to make much effort to find out the other view. Aah, the sweatshops are helping Vietnam to drag itself from poverty apparently. 'Globalisation is not a smooth ride, [but which] brings long-term benefits'. He talks to the sweatshop owner and gets a tour, looks like a factory floor anywhere in the Western world. Child labour has gone down by millions over the last ten years. The average pay is $54 a month, wheras stateowned businesses pay $18 a month. All the Vietnamese look well fed and smart. If Nike were to move on because wages in Vietnam have gone up then that's good because Nike have helped raise the wages. But where will these fired workers work?

What about the independent sweatshops who operate outside the rules for anyone that wants them?

Kenya. Johan is obsessing over property rights as the reason why Kenya is not successful, but PR cannot be considered part of globalisation surely. It's can lead to it certainly, but it's something that is not an integral part of globalisation. 'No two democracies have ever made war on one another'. Erm..? But there are changes being made in the prosperous towns that may lead to the kind of capitalism that will eventually let them become globalised. There are tarrifs on goods which is Kenya were in a position to export they couldn't afford to. So, why does this happen? Johan does not come out and admit that it is the needs of capitalism in the US and Europe that make them impose these tarrifs. So in some cases national capitalist needs themselves fights against true globalisation.

Brussels. More pictures of scary anarchists. They're the ones making the governments make rules to protect their own and not share the wealth with the poor nations.

I accept that capitalism can raise people up, I just don't believe it's the 100% of the population that Johan presents here. I also think he falsly simplifies the arguments of the anti-globalists in order to try and argue they are bad.

The fact that Johan doesn't seem to think there is ANYTHING bad about global capitalism makes me suspicious that he's not being balanced. If globalism was truly as good as he makes it then there wouldn't be this opposition to it. I know that Conservatives think the left-wing is anti-progress and anti-business but that simply doesn't make sense, that's the pat answer that people use when they don't want to actually think about it.

I seem to remember the Daily Telegraph were complaining that the BBC didn't put on programs that went against what the Telegraph believe are their addled hippy pink faggot beliefs. Channel 4 have managed to pause in their David Blaine/Big Brother/Friends love-in to put out what might be an interesting program: Globalisation is Good. I am a little worried as the write-up claims that he will be making the case that the anti-globalisation movement harms the very people they claim to represent. I am worried only because it implies that these global corporations spend their time giving out food and clothes to the poor people of the world. Tell the people who have BP oil pipelines going through their homelands, poisoning the land itself while hired thugs kill and maim without the company doing anything to stop them, that anti-globalisation is bad and they should be thankful to have the choice of dying by being beaten up or by poison. Hopefully, the presenter is going to make a bit more effort, as I think to succeed in his case he's got to show that the anti-globalisation movement is more harmful to the underpriveledged than the people they are against.

Will watch, will report back.


I'll be damned. You ARE bisexual AFTER all!

You sees "31 Flavors" as the ideal place to work.

You can get unequivocally turned on by eating Cheese 'n Crackers -

taking the little sticks from the wrapper and sliding them into the cheese.

You are definitely a sexual glutton, taking as much as you can ;)

Are *You* Bisexual? Click Here to Find Out!

More Great Quizzes from Quiz Diva

Phew, well that's a relief, I was worried there for a second that I might actually be a Presbyterian minister.

Buh? Whu? Why would you WANT to search for david blaine switched with a double during the ice stunt? (And why am I 10th on the list damnit?)

David Blunkett STILL on the 'bring in ID cards' tip. Y'know, I'm now kind of thinking, let's bring in ID cards because Blunkett has been working so hard to ignore everyone and their grandmother saying "ID cards, they're pointless!" that if we get them, he'll have to shoot himself because there'll be nothing left for him to achieve. Even the Tories are against it, though to make sure no-one actually thinks it's because they've considered the issue and think it a gross violation of personal privacy they've made it clear that Blunkett's plain is dangerously fruity and liberal to them.

But I love this this bit: Mr Blunkett admitted he did not know how many illegal immigrants are currently in the UK, but said ensuring they do not work illegally or draw from public funds and services remains a priority.
He said the government is likely to remain in the dark over exact numbers until it introduces an enforceable identification system linked to a register of all immigrants in the country.

Wake up Great Britain! This man has just admitted he wants to spend millions of pounds of your money on a scheme when he has NO FUCKING IDEA whether it will help or not, or whether there's a problem in the first place! If this man became Prime Minister we could declare war on Belgium on the off-chance it solves famine in the third world! Let's all flush out toilets in unison next Thursday and see if that retroactively stops the Great Depression of the twentieth century!

Erm, help me out here. Where's the fat woman on this page?

Go. Watch. NOW!
Then, play the Blaine game.
[via B3ta, again.]

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Smartmobs go all 'rabid music fan' with their attitude of "Of course, I was in to Flashmobbing before it became popular." Sorry, that should read 'absorbed into the culture'.

Are there really people in this world who say things like "Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?" Sometimes I despair.

But to bring you back down to earth with a bump... Conservative Christians Call For Boycott Of Gay TV Sponsors.

"To me, that's not a reality show about gay people," [Montana Family Coalition executive director Julie] Millam told the Billings Gazette. "A really good reality show for gay people would be five gay men dying of AIDS." [via Natalie Davis]

So, now I'm supposed to go find some moderate Christians to tell me that not all Christians think this way about gay people and they personally have nothing against them and blah blah flowers? Fuck that, I'm tired of the Catholic Church being run by a senile old homophobe with Parkinsons, the Prots with people like Ian Paisley foaming and frothing, the Anglicans being held to ransom by third-world countries with prehistoric views because they lack Jesus' moral courage to stand up and say "no, hating people is wrong." As long as any of you are more concerned with the small print which might possibly mean something might possibly be bad while deciding to ignore the large print saying 'be nice and lovely to everyone and leaving the judging to God alright?' you can fuck right off now and save us all the effort of having to reach out and slap you round the head.

However, to cheer those of us who have more than one braincell, Section 28 to be repealed at last. Now we can start recruiting schoolchildren to a life of sex and drugs- Oh what a giveaway!

... And an equally obvious "'Virus poses as Microsoft update'? How did anyone tell the difference?" gag too...

Yeah, yeah, Loz in predictable "Blimey, Julie Burchill's let herself go a bit." gag...

Three Jewish settlers have been convicted by a court in Jerusalem of attempted murder after a failed plot to blow up an Arab girls' school in the city.

The settlers said they wanted to take revenge for the killing of Jews by Palestinians.

"We're sorry. We'll serve our time in jail. It's no big deal. Anyway, it's better than being blown up at a bus stop,"

But perhaps it's worth looking at these statistics of the numbers killed by each side. Of course, the US are in a difficult position, they cannot support a UN Resolution condemning Israel for saying they are looking at the possibility of assassinating Arafat, because Israel is just copying what the US did (or wanted to do) with regard to Saddam Hussein, but I think the only strategy for giving Israel security involves trying to help the Palestinian people, rather than driving them into the arms of the fanatics. They can't remove Arafat's support by killing him, but if they give the Palestinians peace, help them to rebuild, encourage attempts to find ways to live together peacefully then they will get the security they crave.

Terribly excited to find out from Do You Feel Loved? that the Pet Shop Boys are releasing what is effectively Discography Version 2 in November. When I started getting into music at the relatively late age of thirteen or fourteen The Pets were probably the first band that I was interested in, and got all the albums, the two books and was a member of the fan club for a year or two. Of course, when they returned after releasing Discography it all went a bit dodgy, the wildly inconsistent Very (though Relentless is superb), the awful Bilingual, the slight-return-to-form Nightlife, I drifted away from them in the 90s and got the last album out of the library and couldn't believe how bad they sounded. So I may well try and get this new collection as the cap to my life with the Pet Shop Boys.

So, had a fun time last night, even though I spent it in Filthpubs. First to the Princess Louise to meet the London-based Bicon-ners, then along the road to The Crown to meet an impromptu gathering of Barbeloids gathered to welcome Boy in a Suitcase to London. He looked like someone out of The Strokes, one of the ones that play the guitar and always seem to have bed hair. Not to say BiaS had bed hair. He had very fine hair from what I remember. Which isn't too much.

I bought some trousers at Kate Lehav last Monday, yeah, more ILLIG gear. Really nice, black trousers with big red Xs over the pockets on each leg. The only drawback is they've got these stupid drawstrings at the bottom of each leg, which are way too long and no matter what I tried, in the end I could only let them trail along the ground. And I was worried on the escalators in the Underground that they'd get caught and I'd have my trousers ripped off me. Tacking them out isn't really much of a solution as then the trousers flap open worryingly. Lozette has told me to get a LJ sorted out post-haste. If I do I'll post a picture of them over there. Lozette, not as tall as you might think from the picture in her LJ. :)

Back on The Strokes, from what I've read so far Paul Morley isn't particularly keen on them in his new book Words and Music. I wasn't even aware he was a music journalist, as he quit writing professionally before I first got my hands dirty on a copy of the Melody Maker, and just thought he was 'that bloke that pimped his opinions on 'I Love 19XX''. It's pretentious in that true music journo style, the first twenty or thirty pages working on a 'one-page readable, two-pages gibberish' ratio before settling into a stride, using Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out of my Head' and a piece of experimental music from several decades ago that Morley may have invented. But as Kylie drives to the glittering city in the 'Can't Get...' video she tries to decide whether Morley is the right person to write her autobiography, gives lifts to Cage and Satie and tries to overtake Kraftwerk who are driving a car ahead of her. Once Morley gets over the difficulty of trying to start the book (and after all Greil Marcus had the same difficulty, the first chapter of Lipstick Traces is awful nonsense) it does turn out to be interesting.

To cheer you up on a Saturday morning, making ten-year-olds listen to Radiohead. [via Barbelith]

Friday, September 19, 2003

Stand back Skeletor! Be gone plastic Transformers tat! It's the mighty Librarian Action Figure, with 'realistic shooshing motion'. < sigh >
Still, if you've got a He-Man lying around I'm sure you could fit that sword in her hand easily.

Meanwhile, for both Patrick and me, 112 Gripes About The French.

Beware the people who do not criticize. Beware the country where criticism is verboten. Beware the country where men obey like sheep.

That Blaine is a large lady's garment confirming article in full. [via Troubled Diva.]

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Joe is making me want to campaign for the right to cold showers at work by sticking this up. Jesus, you should put a warning up, how am I supposed to concentrate now...

Annie, told me,
Get out of here, head for the sea,
The sun is hot and the air is clean...

< whimper >

I'm sorry to whoever's been looking for Davenport/Depp 'PotC' slash in Germany where I seem to be top of the list. Surely there's some out there somewhere?

Most people that give a toss expect Blaine to fail. I'm not so sure, though he won't be breaking any records as Time Out this week reported that some fifty years ago someone stayed in a box for about twice as long as Blaine is attempting.

I quite like the Wake David forum, 'It's not big, it's not clever, it's a grown man in a plastic box... Oooh, shazam'. Meanwhile The Sun anxiously reports that 'HUNDREDS of gays are to attack Blaine’s box with raw sausages in a bizarre internet stunt.'

Suddenly summoned back to the Mothership (well, the Closed Library anyway) at lunchtime, to spend a fun couple of hours doing what I was doing a month or so back, reallocating stock. I've actually reached the end of that now, so hopefully I won't be back here any more, most of the furniture is gone, as is all the empty shelving. Still the occasional rattler at the door but these seem to be students from the uni halls down the road who are new to the area and so are strangers to our custom of putting up a BIG FUCKING SIGN saying we're closed.

Following on from last night, what appears to be The Eden Project homepage. The group that were in the program last night are mentioned, somewhat briefly, here.

If I were writing for the Daily Telegraph I could probably fill out the requisite number of words complaining about perceived bias in that film, but it's hard to say what the truth of the matter is. The two girls who joined the project early on and who's video diaries we saw through the show didn't appear to be getting any kind of pastoral support at all. We didn't see them going to any church or church-kind of meeting, neither did they seem to have any contact with the people running the group except when, as I mentioned, the woman running it gave one of them a lift home after they'd been suspended from school. As they drove to her house she asked God to help the girl sort her problems out and when she got a text message later to say that the girl's mother hadn't grounded her for being suspended she seemed to think that was God's grace in action and that the job was done.

So where is the support? I'm not particularly keen on church meetings, especially the more radical wings, as they tend to reinforce what might be unhealthy norms on vulnerable people but the way the two girls acted they seemed to think that they were alone and not receiving any help at all. If the Eden Project is just to spread the word of GodandHisSonJesusChristwhodiedonthecrossforalloursinsHallelujah! where do they point them on for the rest of their lives, or do they leave that to them to work out for themselves.

I don't doubt the woman running this branch of the Project truly believes that she is doing God's work and doing good work but I don't recall anything mentioned in the program about any training she received prior to taking part in this and am concerned, as the vicar they spoke to was, whether they might end up doing more harm than good. Which is not to say don't try, but she seemed to be locked into a viewpoint of 'you're either for us or against us'. It wasn't expressed, but when the woman who was renting the shopspace and the vicar didn't welcome them with open arms she seemed to get rather suspicious.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Mum's now just said in front of her kid that she wished she'd just stuck to having dogs. Sharon (the head of the Eden Project) has claimed that the kid not getting grounded shows the power of a prayer that she said before dropping her off at home to tell her Mum she'd just been grounded from school. The girls don't seem to be getting any kind of support to build up their own self-esteem, which could possibly be BBC Bias at work, all we see is the Eden project telling kids that THEY'VE got to change but don't seem to have anything other than prayer to offer as a means to do this.

So, quite intelligent brand work done by the Eden project, let the kids play on SNESs on a bus for several hours and then suggest they might want to go upstairs where they get told the bit about burning in the fires of hell and encouraging everyone to pray. And they're telling this to kids who don't have much by way of a future. I presume the Alpha Course are for the posh middle-class types... The two teenage girls seem to have joined the Eden project pretty soon after meeting them, one of them has a mother who is just clueless "Most of these kids are vegetarians. How can a kid be a vegetarian?" so it's not surprising that they're looking for a replacement for their parents. But unsurprisingly that friction between them and their parents is now translated to their relationship with God, which seems worse for them because it's their soul at risk now.

Fucking Hell. Three minutes into When the God Squad Came to Town and I'm already shocked and scared by these people. Happily telling kids that unless they convert to Christianity they're going to go to Hell.

Your soul is worth £11285. For your peace of mind, 73% of people have a purer soul than you.

And even though I said I didn't support The War Against Terrorism...

We Want your Soul.

http://www.kithology.net/trannyfuck Unfortunately you'll find the actual website doesn't live up to the promise of the address...

The BBC takes a pounding over it's role in the Kelly affair. Jesus Christ Gilligan, you had a perfectly fine story there, why did you have to go and fuck things up for? The Daily HateMail and The Sun have been perfectly happy to try to crucify the BBC so far based only on the little voices in their head that won't let them sleep, now they've got facts to back them up they're going to be insufferable. All we can do is hope that the same thing happens when the Government come back for the second round, I've got a feeling that Geoff Hoon's "it wasn't me guv" routine won't be sufficient this time.

Sex that is. Shops, they're fine with those.

So, who's been looking for Sex Shops in Maidstone? Don't you know they don't believe in it there?

When I need to look like I'm busy I tend to flick through Update, the official magazine for Cilip members which once contributed headlines to the missing words round at the end of an episode of 'Have I Got News For You'.

Anyway, they mention that there's a push in Scotland to get public libraries there to loan out copies of open-source software to the public, an Edinburgh-based advocate Robert Kerr is trying to get libraries to accept his donations. I don't know much about Open Office but it sounds like a great idea. I doubt that Kerr would have much luck south of Hadrian's Wall though. There's the European Computer Driving Licence, which conflates the ideas of being proficient in using Microsoft Office components with being proficient with computers. There's also the People's Network, an admirable plan to help all libraries help the disadvantaged members of society (and foreign au pairs, if you happen to work in one of the more affluent London Boroughs) access ICT and the Internet, again through Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Still, based on the Government's usual way of doing things, I suppose we should be thankful that Capita aren't involved. Despite the way their 'patches' seem to have disrupted the smooth running of my home PC I'm not violently against Microsoft and this latest clever ploy to try and get total dominance of the PC OS market, what concerns me is that they've succeeded in making themselves invisible so that neither ECDL or the People's Network mention Microsoft at all, as though it would be as pointless as saying "Whilst you're learning you'll be breathing a cheeky hydrogen-oxygen compound that we like to call air. And don't worry that you'll suddenly go flying into space, the force of gravity is here to keep you grounded!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The Elfgeek also tossed me this link which analyses your blog entries and decides whether you're male or female based on looking to see how often certain words appear in what you've written. I gave it the last couple of days of entries and got:

Female Score: 1342
Male Score: 1926

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Hmmm. 'him', 'like' and 'has' are apparently feminine keywords, and 'some', 'ever' and 'well' masculine ones.

Sleep position gives personality clue. Of the positions outlined here 'the foetus' is probably closest to the position I sleep in the most, though the study doesn't seem to take into account 'tossing and turning' which probably describes myself when asleep the best.

Back to what passes for home base these days, which I shall hence refer to as 'The Posh Library'. I'm feeling monstrously disinclined against working today, after a nice evening in London chatting with Elfgeek, who I met at Bicon. Hope I didn't bore him too much, I prefer to meet new people when I'm in a group for the first couple of times, that way if we really don't hit it off or there are awkward pauses in the conversation there's someone else around to pitch in and help out. Still, I don't think we did too badly and he did introduce me to this cool Japanese restaurant on Wardour Street.

Anyway, despite heading home at a fairly early hour and not being the one who had to negotiate a completely different way home due to the Central Line trains not stopping at Tottenham Court Road, Ijust don't feel like working today. I feel fine which is why I'm in*, just one fraction of a painful head and I would have been staggering to the phone to announce that I couldn't possibly make it in because I'd developed seven different types of lurgi and was possibly even clinically dead. I have just never got the hang of throwing a sickie, even if my illnesses have tended to clear up by lunchtime I was always feeling rough when I phoned in, and was quite pleased that the one time I did force myself to go in I did turn out to be quite genuinely ill and had to leave at lunchtime. But pretending to be ill when there was absolutely nothing wrong with me at all? Never occured to me.

*Which is not to say that when I'm at work I automatically give 120% all the time of course...

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Please sign this important petition.

As if the Daily Telegraph going on about 'BBC Bias' as though it were a physical thing that slaughters children wasn't enough already, Andrew Sullivan is doing it too and claiming credit for turning the Telegraph onto the idea as well. And to think conservatives like to fulmigate about a gay clique running everything... ;-)
But perhaps Andrew can explain to me Iraq and Sept. 11th are connected. Because I've heard people often say it as though it were fact but never backed it up. So, what aid did Saddam give that allowed the Sept. 11th attacks to take place? Who were the Iraqis involved in the Sept. 11th attacks? What support did he give afterwards? What changed in Iraq post Sept. 11th in Saddam's favour that wouldn't otherwise have happened? And why has Bush shown remarkably little interest against the 'war against terror' going on between Pakistan and India, or Russia and Chechnya, or Zimbabwe against anyone that disagrees with the vote-rigging President, to name but three examples.

I've managed to get my computer talking to my digital camera again. I tried downloading more patches from Microsoft first, hoping that between last weekend and this some Microserf had said "Blimey! Our patches accidentally stop our computers from talking to Kodak Easyshare Docking Stations! Better write a patch for that!" But after downloading what was there and uninstalling and reinstalling the Kodak software there was still no joy. Stage two was going back to the Kodak website, and I decided to try downloading the more advanced copy of the Easyshare software on offer there, when it was finished and installed... no joy. It now had a function which I could use to see what devices it could 'see' and it just did not believe the Docking Station existed. As it was the only thing I could think of left to do other than restarting the entire system I tried connecting the computer directly to the camera, I didn't think that would work but somehow it did and I was able to finally download the pictures I took last weekend.

I still believe this is a problem with the computer and not the camera or Docking Station. If I hadn't successfully downloaded pictures through the DS before downloading all those patches then I might believe that the DS was half bust, that it was recharging the camera's batteries but the connection to the computer had been broken. As it is I'm wondering whether to take it back and get it exchanged just in case something went ping! in it concurrently with me downloading security patches from Microsoft. Hmmm, what would Jesus do?

Been an absolutely gorgeous day here today, it seems Summer hasn't quite decided to give up on us yet, and from looking at the BBC Weather site they seem to think it'll be lasting until Thursday at least, which is nice.

So I took advantage of the good weather to go out and do a walk round Chelsea, starting and finishing at Sloane Square and going down through the Royal Hospital, along the river bank, I saw the Buddhist Pagoda on the other side, then back up to the Kings Road for the home stretch. Fashionable types everywhere, of course, my poorly formed political beliefs would lead me to be snappy and waspish about the lot of them but I'm too tired and, as I didn't actually see them setting fire to poor people or drinking champagne with toasts to the health of Tony Blair and evil I'm going to let that pass. It was just a really nice day. On the quieter parts of the walk, in the garden of the Royal Hospital, or the little empty streets like Swan Walk or Old Church Street there was a sense of anticipation, like the world was saying "Get ready, it's all going to change soon." Maybe I've been reading Northern Mysteries and Magick too much.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Just watched the Last Night of the Proms on telly and despite the waving of the union flag and the singing of a verse of 'Rule Brittania' that has not been technically accurate since somewhere right near the beginning of the Proms, over a century ago, did find it an exciting experience. The BBCs cables were put to good use to allow a medley to start in the Royal Albert Hall, then pass on to the Proms in the (Hyde) Park, then to similar events in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, before back to the Royal Albert for the finale. It all seems to have gone a bit Rocky Horror Show, there is a costume and props to bring and various actions to take part in at various times in the evening, such as blowing an airhorn out of time with the music. There's probably a script for it out there on the Internet somewhere...

As it's September, so nominally Autumn, I've no longer got any excuse to avoid restarting the projects I'd decided to put off until Autumn. So this past week I've been re-acquainting myself with NLP in 21 Days. Should be pretty much ready to go onto the new chapters during this coming week. Then I just have to get the writing going again and nothing can stand in my way!

You have to register (Boo!) but there's a good feature on Jeffrey Eugenides in the Daily Telegraph books website in relation to the paperback release of his last novel Middlesex. If you haven't read this yet you really, really should. It's amazing.

If you don't believe me, read some reviews here.

So, let's just say that you were President of a fairly large country. Despite suffering one of the most shocking terrorist attacks in recent years you've squandered that goodwill by trying to order other countries about, then trying to cajole them through a mixture of lies, economic blackmail, insults and, in the end, petulent foot-stamping. They tell you not to do something because it'll all go wrong, but you do it anyway and it does. Now you're running short of money and any minute now your fairly tame media is going to wake up and expose your lies and start telling your people about how many of your own troops have died in a foreign country. You need foreign help, urgently. So do you go and admit that you were wrong, or at least say the sort of things that would make foreign governments minded to help you, or do you go in all guns blazing, try to make out that your deficiences are the fault of other governments and demand that they help you get out of your mess? Are you George W. Bush?

My week of exile at The Greenhouse is almost over, back to my regular branch in a few days time, which I've probably been at for no more than a week in total since I 'started' there in mid-July. In the end I've actually fairly enjoyed my time here, if it weren't for the fact we don't have any privacy from the public and the council house environs making me uneasy I wouldn't mind staying here longer. Certainly now it's not so hot outside it's not so unbearable inside.

History repeats itself, again. The US and the UK are pressing Iran via the UN over nuclear weapons. It's got 45 days to explain exactly what it's doing in possible attempts to build a nuclear weapon. Military action is unlikely, what with the army's of both countries tied up in trying to kill the Iraqi population, but sanctions may be levied. This has got to be opposed. We cannot bring in sanctions against a country that is no current threat to the Western World, starve it for a decade so that when Jeb Bush decides to buy the White House in a decade he's got his own beaten country to invade.

The events of the summer have shown that Bush and Blair either lied about the danger to the West from Saddam Hussain (as evidenced by Tony trying desperately to make it all about the people of Iraq dying under Saddam's cruelty (but not that decade of UN sanctions)) or, if you want to be fairer to them than they deserve, were misled by intelligence reports. So when Bush tells us that sanctions against the people of Iran are necessary in The War Against Terror, just as it was necessary to invade Iraq and Afghanistan because a group of Saudis attacked the United States, how many times are people going to listen to this before thery stand up and say "bollocks!"?

Does David Blunkett actually believe that no-one has a right to privacy? Plans for storing the DNA of everyone, mandatory ID cards and while he's on a roll he wants to force ISPs and phone companies to keep detailed records on usage for up to 12 months. I love this paragraph.

The voluntary code of practice published yesterday has been delayed for more than 18 months because the communications industry sees it as unworkable and has consistently refused to sign up to it. But yesterday the government made clear that if the voluntary approach did not work, it would force the companies to store the data.

Which makes me now think of Blunkett as Midas: "For the last three hours there has been a voluntary arrangement with the waves for them to retreat down the beach of their own accord. As they have refused to do that I'm now making it mandatory that they withdraw."

Friday, September 12, 2003

OK, this is mean and probably of interest only to Barbeloids, but Rage has got a job at a bank. Suddenly 'fucking shit up' isn't her number one priority of the day.

Otherwise, this rant from Saxey has cheered me up immensely.

An amusing article from yesterday's Grauniad about Blaine in a box.

And check this page for Blaine-related gaggery.

John Reid, who probably thinks he would be better off as Minister for Defense rather than Minister for Health made his job application today by trying to defend Blair over the attack on Iraq.

"He took a decision ... that by either appeasing or backing off that would not in the long run give us a risk that was less than taking on terrorism and getting rid of the threat that was Saddam Hussein," Mr Reid told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Because, you see, if he were Minister for Defense John Reid would get the briefings that say that while Saddam was in charge the danger from terrorism was low because he didn't get on with outfits like Al-Qaeda, whereas in the chaos in Iraq now if they were to make a move they would be able to move unhindered, especially when the US Army shoots Iraqi policemen. While he's just Minister for Health John Reid has to rely on what he reads in The Sun so doesn't make any pronouncements that have any relation to the truth.

Post-work yesterday headed into town for round two of the Mord-rid meet at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese off of Fleet Street. Strange strange place. Pretty much how I always imagined Bag End from 'The Hobbit' to be, lots of small, low ceilinged rooms as we slowly descended down, down, down... Fittingly everyone had gathered in the lowest cellar of the pub, which was thick with city types and cigarette smoke and an ambient temperature slightly lower than the melting point of skin. Plums was trying to convert anyone around to bisexuality, Ariadne was showing off her holiday snaps on one of them posh camera-phone doohickeys while Anna DeL was showing off the hat she stole from her Nan. It's a filthpub so I was on the cola all night, as Haus explained to me the concept behind Francine Pascal's 'Fear' series of teen books.

On the tube into town I sat opposite a woman who looked like Claudia Christian from Babylon 5 dressed up in a suit like Patti Smith on the Horses LP. So that's a couple of my fantasies in one attractive bundle.

Another day of transferring stock around. And came across this series of books- 'T-witches'. It has the tagline 'Twins. Witches. Exactly.' Now, what on earth is that supposed to mean? Is it because it would take up too much space to write 'Twins. Witches. We know that we're in no way original or new, that we're ripping off that Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Charmed vibe something chronic but do you know how little the authors get paid for writing these formulaic books? So why should they put any effort into coming up with new ideas? We can't all create Sweet Valley Hookers or Mildly Alarming Street you know.'?

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Been transferring some cowboy and western stock from one branch to another this morning, I know, it's non-stop excitement for me right now. But consider this cover and this one. Now remember, the only gay cowboy is The Rawhide Kid. Oh yes.

< giggle > David Blaine tortured by smells coming from nearby burger van. I'm not sure exactly why I think this is dumb, as Auntie Skater says, people have been doing pointless stupid things since the dawn of civilisation. But I don't think it's anti-Americanism and it's certainly no skin off of my nose if he succeeds or fails, I just think that all these things to try and distract him are very funny.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I'm trying to resist the urge to put the central heating on. Honestly it's not that cold, I've just had a lovely hot bath and I'm sitting here in a t-shirt and trousers and everything is f-f-f-f-f-fine.

Anyway, for lack of anything worth watching on telly tonight watched Daredevil on DVD. I must admit to having a soft spot for the big lug that is Ben Affleck but after a pretty good flashback to his childhood thing which explained how Matt Murdoch got his powers it all went a bit crap. Murdoch, who as far as anyone knows is a blind attorney, follows a woman who of course he can't see clearly, even with his 'radar sense', and they fight in broad daylight in front of dozens of witnesses. It's lucky absolutely none of them know who he is, despite it all being in this small part of New York that Murdoch lives in. Jennifer Garner is that woman, someone who doesn't look remotely Greek playing a Greek (although Erick Avari, who plays her father, has been an Russian Jew in Babylon 5 and an Egyptian in Stargate, so he gets around a bit too), is adequate as Electra, while Colin Farrell is largely embaressing as ludicrous Oirish assassin Bullseye. Michael Clarke Duncan is woefully underused as criminal mastermind Kingpin. I won't bother explaining the plot as just mentioning the characters probably gives enough hints as to the storyline for those that care about these things, at no point does the writer think to do anything unexpected so if you can picture Affleck in red leather you're pretty much there. Even Joey Pants can't do much more than hang around on the periphery looking faintly embaressed.

If it's Wednesday it must be that time of the week when everyone wonders if Geoff Hoon's going to loose his job again. But down the bottom of this report we have some of Tony Blair's defense of his Defense Secretary.

Mr Blair denied that the report had been leaked by anyone in Downing Street and paid tribute to Mr Hoon, saying that under him British armed forces had won a "magnificent victory" in Iraq and were now playing a "heroic" role in the rebuilding of Iraq.

The 'magnificent victory' that's seen more allied troops die since it happened, and I wasn't aware that there was much rebuilding going on in Iraq yet, 'heroic' or otherwise.

The Metropolitan police (and let's remember, this is the same Met that wants ID cards for everyone and a big old database of everyone's DNA) have used anti-terrorist legislation to stop a legitimate demonstration in London today. Even David Blunkett is concerned, though only because he thinks they're using the wrong set of powers to curb peoples rights.

Harvey Milk High School opens for a new term. Nice to see the Fundies picketing children, telling them they're going to hell. They really know how to win hearts and minds don't they? [via Danono]

Jaffa Teal'c
Jaffa Teal'c.

How do you like your Teal'c? (Stargate SG-1)
brought to you by Quizilla

How on earth did that get there? I'm shocked, shocked I tell y- Mmmm, Teal'c.

You're Daniel!

What Stargate Character Are You?
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My Daneel...

The Daily Telegraph has decided to stamp it's little feet about the long-haired hippies that infest the BBC and use it to beam out leftist propaganda into our homes 24/7.

The BBC's mental assumptions are those of the fairly soft Left. They are that American power is a bad thing, whereas the UN is good, that the Palestinians are in the right and Israel isn't, that the war in Iraq was wrong, that the European Union is a good thing and that people who criticise it are "xenophobic", that racism is the worst of all sins, that abortion is good and capital punishment is bad, that too many people are in prison, that a preference for heterosexual marriage over other arrangements is "judgmental", that environmentalists are public-spirited and "big business" is not, that Gerry Adams is better than Ian Paisley, that government should spend more on social programmes, that the Pope is out of touch except when he criticises the West, that gun control is the answer to gun crime, that... well, you can add hundreds more articles to the creed without my help.

See, it's bad to think it's bad to be a bigot. The Telegraph newsroom will soon be kitted out with 'Straight Pride' t-shirts.

Now, none of the above beliefs is indefensible. The problem is that all of them are open to challenge and that that challenge never comes from the BBC. Fine, for example, to make a documentary about the sufferings of people on death row in the United States, but why is there never a documentary made by someone who believes that the death penalty cuts crime?

I'm not sure how things work in Lord Birt's privatised BBC, so is the thirteen part documentary, 'Walking With Government Murderers' something that the BBC decide to make, then put out calls for people to offer to do it, or something that a production company decides to make, then the BBC decides whether or not it wants to buy, or is it somewhere inbetween the two?

I've, admittedly halfheartedly, been looking for right-wing criticism of the BBCs coverage of the bombing of Iraq, to find out what it was that so incensed the soldiers on the Ark Royal that made them turn over to Sky News. The only two things I can think of are the BBC admitting that there were allied casualties too, and John Simpson being a bit annoyed when the British troops he was with came under friendly fire. I've not had much luck finding anything so far.

But meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph, accountable to no-one except it's owner, has started Beebwatch, to expose those dope-smoking Beatles-record-listening sandle-wearers for what they are:

(Filed: 10/09/2003)

The BBC's agnostic head of religion, Alan Bookbinder, denies that the corporation treats Roman Catholics unfairly. One wonders how he squares this with Today's hounding of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, or the BBC1 documentary that raised the possibility that the Virgin Mary was raped by a Roman soldier.

The BBC's lack of respect for the Catholic Church expresses itself in many ways: for example, in frequent references to the Pope's frailty and in the disproportionate airtime given to Catholic dissidents.

The item on last Wednesday's Woman's Hour about priestly celibacy was a classic. The peg was the suicide of a priest who had fallen in love with an RE teacher, Jan Curry. The report was built round an interview with Curry, who denounced the Church's "hypocrisy".

Her views were echoed in the studio by Jan Walker, wife of an ex-priest, who didn't see why married ex-Anglicans should be allowed into the priesthood. A Catholic spokesman, Fr Francis Marsden, described celibacy as "a sign of great spiritual fruitfulness"; but then the supposedly impartial Jenni Murray pitched in.

"Isn't there a terrible hypocrisy there?" she said - and, later, in response to the point about married Anglicans, "How do you deal with that particular hypocrisy, Fr Francis?" In contrast, Jan Walker was asked whether celibacy contributed to the "marginalisation of women".

If Murray had been even-handed, she could have reminded Walker that her husband had broken vows of celibacy - unlike the maligned former Anglicans. The impression given was that Jan, Jan and Jenni were speaking for "women", with poor old Fr Francis defending male hegemony.

In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of British Catholic women who strongly support a celibate priesthood; why was one of them not invited to present an alternative viewpoint?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

A federal judge in New York has allowed lawsuits over the 11 September attacks to proceed against airlines, aircraft makers and operators of the World Trade Center.

OK, I can understand, kind of, being allowed to sue the airlines and aircraft manufacturers, though I think the litigants will have a hell of a time proving responsibility, but suing the people that owned the WTC? On what grounds? For being a tall building with intent to loom? For not being built on springs so when the panes crashed they didn't just tilt back and then catapult the planes into the bay? It seems a bit sad that people work on the assumption that it's always necessary to find someone to blame who has the money to pay for it.

More news from the Approach of the Guilty Until Proved Innocent State desk: Police seek DNA record of everyone.

[Kevin Morris, chairman of the Police Superintendent's Association] said a compulsory database would enable the police to solve crimes more quickly, and prevent them happening.

In the name of seven different types of fuck, two of which are purely theoretical, HOW?! I give them a sample of DNA and they somehow magically know that some man is going to commit a crime a hundred miles away and in two days time? Did they all watch Minority Report with massive hard-ons? The police have no automatic right to attack my privacy unless they can show strong evidence that I have committed a crime.

Then there's this plan, following on from the Laming inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié, that there will be file of information on every child in the UK. It seems unlikely that this plan won't be backed, in these modern times when parents have been conditioned to see a paedophile in every shadow it would be political suicide to stand against it, but if you follow the line on, combine this with the database on troublesome children and there's a lot of information that can go into their files to haunt them when they become adults in David Blunkett's ID card controlled future. Anyway, Sir john Stevens may be right about criminals sticking out in the future, they'll be the only ones with clean criminal records.

I don't want to be here! I'm middle-class. I was brought up lower middle-class with aspirations of middle-middle-class! I was brought up in a broadly middle-class town and went to a grammar school. So I don't want to be walking round a working class estate where the kids skiving off school are siting drinking cans of Special Brew while an already drunken mother staggers after her daughter shouting "Oy! Scabby c**t!" Oh for closing time, when I can flee back to my comfortable middle-class part of town where nothing exists to challenge my preconceptions.

Otherwise, my days been nice, if rather frantic at times. I've kept being asked for things which the branch manager seems to have hidden before she went on holiday but the big list of tasks she left for me before she left has been slowly but steadily decreasing.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Remember September 11th? There are some people who won't forget.

It does have one of the most annoying Irish men on telly, James Nesbitt, but Canterbury Tales on BBC1 this Thursday looks like it's going to be quite good. According to that website it has an actress called 'Buffy Davis', so Joss Whedon wasn't lying when he said Buffy wasn't a made up name...

Dick 'Electric 6' Valentine on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, it's like a three-dimensional Beavis sitting there.

Britain and the US have combined to come up with entirely new explanations of why they went to war in Iraq as inspectors on the ground prepare to report that there are no weapons of mass destruction there.

Last week Mr Blair declared at his Downing Street press conference: "Let me say why I still believe Iraq was the right thing to do and why it is essential that we see it through. If we succeed in putting Iraq on its feet as a stable, prosperous and democratic country, then what a huge advertisement that is for the values of democracy and human rights, and what a huge defeat it is for these terrorists who want to establish extremist states."

'Stable, prosperous and democratic'. Bang up job so far Mister Blair.

He added that if anyone were to ask the average Iraqi whether they would prefer to be still living under the old regime, "they would look at you as if you were completely crazy".

Well, I suppose it depends on whether they prefered the corrupt law of Saddam to the absolute lawless anarchy they have at the moment.

What kind of thinker are you?

For many years, people used IQ tests to try and determine someone’s intelligence. However, some researchers believe that IQ tests do not take into account the fact that different people might think in different ways, and have different strengths and weaknesses.

Most people would agree that Mozart was a genius - but Mozart would probably have struggled with Einstein’s theories just like the rest of us. This doesn’t mean that one man was more clever than the other – they just thought in very different ways.

Many psychologists now believe that what we call intelligence can be subdivided into different categories, all of which can all be measured independently. Different kinds of thinking are needed to solve different problems.

You are a Linguistic Thinker

Linguistic thinkers:
Tend to think in words, and like to use language to express complex ideas.
Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.

Other Linguistic Thinkers include
William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank

Careers which suit Linguistic thinkers include
Journalist, Librarian, Salesperson, Proof-reader, Translator, Poet, Lyricist

You are an Intrapersonal thinker

Intrapersonal thinkers:
Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves
Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them
You understand how your behaviour affects your relationships with others

Other Intrapersonal thinkers include
Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene

Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include
Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist

Hmmm. What kind of thinker are you?

The above does seem fairly accurate to me, certainly shows I've picked the right career anyway.

I'm extremely irritated as it seems my downloading of Microsoft security patches have messed up my computer so it no longer recognises that I have my camera connected to it. It's the only change I've made my computer since the last time I uploaded photos so that must be why. Honestly, before I downloaded anything from Microsoft my computer worked properly.

Weird Googling update.
I'd love to know what connection Damient Hurst has to the suicide of an australian, it's just a shame that I'm the only response it brings up.
And what relation does 'bull in a china shop' have to a video and England?

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