Sunday, October 31, 2004

Tell everyone you know. Tell them to tell everyone else.

Internet Vets For Truth.

I'm sorry Patrick, but fuck you. Fuck the party you support and their crusade to make sure no child is left behind from the nuclear holocaust. Fuck the idiotic gimp you support for Presidency and his stupid brain-damaged, crack-addled dream to see the planet a radioactive cinder in order to prove himself a bigger man than his father. Fuck his friends that have taken what little honour and decency there is in being a conservative and making sure it has no place in the Republican party. Fuck them for sending men and women to die in Afghanistan and Iraq while when it was their time to serve used any means they could to stay out of harms way. I don't care if Kerry saw the enemy, shat himself and promised to tell them everything down to the combination on his piggy bank. At least he went.

The Democratic candidate is not ideal. But we don't have to say 'consider the alternative', the United States and the world has had to put up with him for the last four years.

Enough is enough.

Fuck Bush.

Woot! Oh yes, Richard Hatch, the Hatchster, is appearing in Battlestar Galactica on Monday. Now all we need is the Dirk and life would be complete!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Not much to say as I'm spending the weekend with my parents, playing on my Dad's new computer getting things to work properly. I have to keep reminding myself that reading the instructions and realising a power lead hasn't been plugged in does not qualify me as having 'L33T IT SKILLZ!!1!'.

Anyway, I wonder what 'Fudge' means in German and why someone was Googling for it in relation to Paul Merton?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Pope sticks in oar over EU difficulty about a new justice minister. "Sure he hates gays and his views on women are a century or two out of date, that's why I like him so much!" The ailing Pontiff was not quoted as saying.

From : Yes Bush Can Team
Sent : 28 October 2004 20:38:22
Subject : Yes Bush Can Apology

A week ago, we sent you an email asking for help debunking anti-Bush
documents. After receiving hundreds of responses, it become clear that
all the documents were actually real: the Bush/Cheney DUIs, the Ken Lay
letters, and even the bin Laden memo. For more information visit the
documents page:

We also received hundreds of emails from concerned bloggers that
eloquently expressed the problems with the Bush administration. And as
we traveled across America campaigning for Bush, we learned more than
we wanted to know about Bush's policies. We came to see that this
administration is a catastrophe for most people.

As a result, we are abandoning our support of Bush and officially
endorsing John Kerry for President. You can read more at the Yes Bush Can web site:
We deeply regret our misguided support and apologize for our previous
email. This will be the last email we will send directly to bloggers.
If you want to join us in supporting Kerry, you can find out more here:

Thank you for your understanding,

Yes Bush Can

Thursday, October 28, 2004

George W. Bush beats Gollum to be Total Film's 'Villain of the Year' for his appearance in Fahrenheit 9-11. Of course, this means that the army of special effects people behind George W. Bush will now have to work extra hard to mock up some footage of him accepting his award as well as all the usual pre-election appearences. I still say that the 'Bush walk' and the 'Bush voice' are still completely unrealistic.

Aaah, something to cheer everyone up on a Thursday morning, Robert Kilroy-Silk, who's BBC program was axed after he made inflammatory and racist comments about Muslims has quit the UKIP, branding them as 'barmy'. It's rather like the inmate in the asylum who begs to be let out because "the giant cactus and the monkey told me everyone here is mad".

And a positive Europe story. Incoming commission president Jose Manuel Barroso forced to back down over his plan to install Italian misogynistic homophobe Rocco Buttiglione as commissioner for justice. For some reason MEPs have to vote for the commission en masse, maybe it's hoped that if they lack the choice they'd vote to accept a group rather than turn them down because of one or two people. But Barroso has to suggest a new team that won't include Buttiglione.

The downside of this was that Peter Mandelson did squirm his way onto our screens last night to try and maintain that it's fine for Buttiglione to work for the EU when he holds these views but that he shouldn't let these views influence him in developing policy. I think. It was quite difficult to understand what on earth Mandy was saying, for a gay he's extremely adept at fence-sitting.

"Mr Kerry, welcome back, we missed you." Only a week to go before the last battle between the forces of night "Vote Bush/Satan!" and the forces of a Democratic party too scared to go with anyone who doesn't look like a Republican ("Vote Kerry! He's like Republicans from the good old days!") Polls now seem meaningless to everyone who's not a pollster as it seems there's been a groundswell of signing up from people who usually don't care who want to vote. I'm hopeful for Kerry now, but it's now just a matter of waiting and seeing. The papers seem to be full of reports of Republican dirty tricks, but maybe it's Democrats pretending to be Republicans in order to make the GOP look bad, or maybe it's Republicans pretending to be Democrats pretending to be Republicans... But what's worse is that there's already an assumption on the left that whatever the result Bush will steal the Presidency again, it seems that if it's close the election will be decided in court again, with Democrats unwilling to back down this time. Pledge of Action to Stop A Stolen Election.

The answer seems obvious: Naked Weakest Link between Kerry and Bush. No, I don't particularly want to see Kerry's bottom either, but when Bush can somehow have a perfect square bulge in the back of an 'ill tailored suit' that he wears in public, I don't see much choice. Now, some might say that anything which relies on Bush having to use his intelligence against Kerry puts him at a disadvantage, but the NYT has supposedly uncovered information proving Kerry is at a disadvantage to Bush* so let's just see how it goes. Or maybe Who Wants to be an American President. "Okay George, you said 'We invaded Iraq because...' 'of Weapons of Mass Destruction'. We'll see if you're right after these messages."

* though read this too.

Yasser Arafat 'extremely ill'. LGF have baited breath and celebratory cakes on standby. The questions are, who will replace Arafat, what will Israel do, and will the Palestinian people accept someone who might be less intransigent to working with the Israelis than Arafat? In many ways this could be a 'good' time for Arafat to die and a power struggle to take place, Sharon is tied up trying to withdraw from Gaza to use this for a territory grab but the fact that reporters are already saying that some Palestinians are seeing this as a slow assasination attempt by Israel, rather than an old man dying after three years in poor living conditions, can't be good for the immediate future.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Blunkett slightly changes ID Card plan. Unfortunately the new plan isn't to 'forget the entire thing as a really bad idea'. I have a sneaking suspicion that he has done this only because the original plan turned out to be completely impossible and, bound by conventional reality as he reluctantly is, he's had to give up on them.

Did anyone else see the NME editor on the Beeb yesterday talking about John Peel? Maybe it was only News 24. I might have been delirious but I'm sure that he tried to claim that John Peel and the NME were two equal forces bringing new music to the people of Britain. If that's true then it's a whopper of 'of course there's WMD in Iraq' proportions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Shit! John Peel has died on holiday at the age of 65. Peel's dead, Thatcher is still alive. It's official, everything sucks.

Homer Simpson tops poll for fictional Presidency. Y'see, after Bush we want a return to intelligence and integrity in the White House.

[via Mystifying Oracle.]

Meanwhile, the Rockall Times announces Democracy imminent in war-torn republic. For four dark years, the nation state and righteous world police force that is the US has suffered under the autocratic and speech-impaired jackboot of George W Bush’s reign of terror...

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Republicans steal democracy but the Democrats let them get away with it

Hi kids! It's M-I-C, K-E-Y, F-A-S-C-I-S-T!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Pssst! HHGttG in RA.

It's got a clunky name but check out and enjoy Political Bohemian Rhapsody.

I've just finished reading The Female Man by Joanna Russ. I didn't much care for it. The spirit of Virginia Woolf looms large and, yes, I say that having only read A Room of One's Own, Mrs Dalloway and Orlando and not cared for any of them.

The Female Man is about a third Virginia Woolf rewriting Stranger in a Strange Land and two-thirds Russ writing A Room of One's Own. But while I like the slipping between fact and fiction, between the story and Russ's own thoughts, too often in this it ends up a muddled mess. It's disorganised, chaotic, ideas mashed together like a car crash. Parts of what little story there is are inexplicable unless you read the back cover. With that in mind...

The Female Man is a suspenseful, surprising and darkly witty chronicle of what happens when Jeannine, Janet, Joanna and Jael - four alternative selves from drastically different realities - meet. Joanna's world is like our own, Jeannine's world is even poorer & grungier, a place where neither World War II nor its resulting developments of technology have happened.

Now I didn't get this at all. And while the story starts with Janet coming back to our time from the future and Joanna picked at random as chaperone it's not made clear where Jeannine comes from or what it's like, except that Jeannine feels unhappy and suffocated by it, unable to tell whether marriage is escape or grave. Suddenly she's living with Joanna, disgusted when Janet has a relationship with a teenage girl.

Janet - the explorer - comes from 'Whileaway' where men have died off, leaving a world without the 'poisonous binary' of gender. Finally we meet Jael, warrior and assassin, who takes the other three to where the final war between men and women is being waged.

Now, it is made clear that Jael (unhelpfully more often referred to as 'Alice Reasoner') has brought them to her world (but not Janet back to the past, that was her own doing) in the last quarter of the book. But why only these three? She has a deal she wants to make with them, but why just them? Why not a multitude of alternatives of them? Possibly because the fictional part of the story is slight.

The Female Man, Joanna Russ' innovative science fiction novel, caused a furore when first published in the 1970s - it has a power that has stayed fresh, witty and WEIRD. A welcome new edition of a book that now looks as good as it reads.

Yes, well...

It's not even clear in Jael's world that men and women ARE at war but while all of the men in the book are stereotypical straw men who appear only fleetingly, thoughtless jailers of the female sex, the only distinguishing feature about the men of Jael's world is that the brush strokes are even broader, the charicatures are simpler. I'm not offended, look at Asimov's women to see the men were just as guilty AND getting published more often too. I suppose it could be argued to be Swiftian satire, four Gullivers adrift in a world of Yahoos. But is a call to metaphorical arms against an imaginary adversary counter-productive?

There is a funny scene when Jael is having sex with her (literally) brainless boy-toy. The other three J's walk in on her and Janet, who spends the book trying to understand these strange 'men' creatures while Joanna can't understand why she doesn't feel the lack of having no man in her life, exclaims "Is that all?" to Joanna. And while her future of Whileaway seems to be presented by Russ as a desireable utopian future she is at least honest enough to have Jael point out that it would almost certainly be built on the bones of a situation like on her world.

Russ finishes her book with the hope that one day her 'little book' will be redundant and so discarded. Unfortunately I would say that we've already reached that date less than thirty years later, though not for the reasons that Russ set out.

Anyone for a Camberwell Carrot?

Dear BBC,

I enjoy watching, listening to or reading the BBCs various services. Unfortunately it seems that Ms. Melanie Phillips does not. She regularly dispariges your output and in this article describes the BBC as both a Goebbel's Grotto and appearing on the BBC as a nightmare.

I therefore sincerely ask you to refrain from employing her or seeking her assistance in any capacity whatsoever. When most of us openly disparage employers, or potential employers, we find our services are often no longer required. Coupled with her own obvious distaste for working with you it might be best to leave her to her more natural habitat of the Daily Mail, with the events of the previous week they obviously have a shortage for hate-filled right-wingers.


And Moscow doesn't seem to be too pleased about the news last week that the US intends to put nuclear missiles back on British soil again...

I know there's 'see no evil, hear no evil', but for old Shiteyes this doesn't seem to be the case.

Blunkett legislates in order to remove one man's peaceful protest from opposite the Houses of Parliament.

And unsurprisingly, Tory MP in 'outrageous security risk hyperbole' lunacy...

Sir George Young, the Tory MP for Hampshire North West, has led the charge against Mr Haw, accusing ministers of an "inexcusable paralysis" for failing to get rid of him earlier. In a Commons debate in May he said that terrorists could hide behind the peace protester's banners and "pick us off as we arrive at or leave the House". No other democracy would allow "this shanty town" in the middle of the its capital, he said.

Royal Navy takes on first admitted Satanist.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Cranmer realised he was a Satanist nine years ago... He said: "I then read more and more and came to realise I'd always been a Satanist, just simply never knew."

Oh dear oh dear oh dear... My understanding of the situation a few years ago was that there were two main groups of Satanists. One 'group' had no sabbats, no church and no real affiliation with one another, they were more or less philosophical Satanists and as such weren't much different from you local Parish church, indeed for all you knew, your vicar could be a Satanist. IIRC Mr Cranmer is of the second group, they don't seem to be a religion either, more a pantomime that has never ended.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

"But Loz..." You whine in that voice you normally reserve for when the wounds have stopped bleeding and you've already smeared youself with Chunky Monkey and are giving me a booty call, "I already have all the Franz Ferdinand remixes I could possibly need!"
"Wrong!" I snarl, reaching for the proffered wrist. "You need one more. Mmmmm, bananary..."

If you fancy a pedometer and don't mind calling it a 'walkometer' then hie thee to Walkers Crisps site and sign up for one of their million free 'walkometers'. I'm fairly sure it's UK only.

London-based livejournaler naughtypixie needs help as their taxi has been stolen, with his wife's electric wheelchair in it.

Severus Snape + Remus Lupin

Which Harry Potter Slash Ship Do You Sail On?
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A hilarious article from Anthony Wells about Robert Kilroy-Silk and the messy disintegration of the UK Independence Party.

Wow, who would have thought it? Ken Macdonald QC said that the war on terror had sparked a growth in Islamophobia and led to a more divided society.

In latest news Iran endorses George W. Bush while some of his own relatives don't.

Friday, October 22, 2004

So.... my shit day.

Well, we were very busy, not necessarily a bad thing in itself. We're still doing a fair bit of signing up of new members, a small number are from the university halls down the road but mainly they seem to be just members of the public. In a sense this is good because it means they've seen us in publicity and thought "Cool! A library! We must immediately go there and hang out and it'll be the happening place to be! It'll be like Studio 54!" In another sense it's bad because we're at the end of three weeks after opening and our book selection isn't great at the moment, some areas are completely empty. Books are issued for three weeks, so stuff will hopefully start getting returned next week that was taken out in that week after opening. But I'm worried that people joining today will think, "they haven't got anything I like here, I'm going to go hang out under the railway arches and inject heroin into my ears instead!"

We had a couple of children's events going on. People often wonder how we get so many children to come to our library and it's quite simple: We kidnap them. Yes, much as in the film 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (now also a successful play, 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and TV series 'The Alan Clark Diaries') last night, after closing, the staff went out and scoured the local area, stealing children with the promise of some sweeties and rough non-consensual sex. We store them in pupae attached to the children's library ceiling then, at the required time, they are released. Due to the lovely wings they grow overnight they flutter down to the ground where the children's librarian reads them a couple of stories before they are gassed and put into drawers where they are held in place with extremely large pins.

Anyway, so at the same time this is going on, we've got a shitload of builders in the other side of the library. Two lots really. There was a trio of electricians who seemed to be right out of the League of Gentlemen, they looked slightly inbred and seemed to be having some big emotional breakdown in the staff corridor. The other group were fitting the fixtures for the library cafe. First we had to move a load of free-standing shelves five inches to the left because the counter was longer than was initially thought and was now pressing against the David Brin books on the Sci-Fi shelf. So we had to take the books off the shelves, detach the shelves, move the frame, reattach the shelves... My three years of librarianship had prepared me for this by telling me that if we took the books off the shelf and piled them in order we could quickly reshelve them afterwards. Unfortunately the caretakers were doing it so they just pulled books off and made piles at random so it took us about two hours to order and reshelve them. To make things more exciting our electricians managed to short out half the lights on the ground floor. My manager said he'd heard one of them call out to their mate "Is it the black or the grey wire that's live?" So we were shelving in semi-darkness.

But even better the people assembling the cafe counter presumably found they couldn't put the bits together because one of them brought out a powersaw thing and was making a massive noise sawing stuff. The next thing was a pungent smell of burning plastic. The windows have all been fixed shut because of our air conditioning, this sucked up the smell and made sure it was distributed evenly throughout the entire library. But there was no barriers put up, so any children could have walked up and placed their heads in the path of the saw without anyone noticing. Things are fun when we don't have to worry about Health and Safety directives. However, we were safe as they stood in the entrance hall and screamed in terror at the screeching noise of the circular saw.

I've had a shitty day at work and my sanity now hinges on this question:

Do the crinkles in crinkled chips (for Americans that's fries not crisps) actually confer any difference in taste? Because I'm now incredibly worried that they don't, which means madness.

In November there is a real danger that a bloodthirsty tyrant will be voted back in to power. His thought processes are strange, his manner of speech bizarre, he's surrounded by men who sometimes seem barely human. Luckily Michael Moore is here to expose him, and them, for what they are. Before you go to vote, you MUST see this website, you must see the accompanying film, you MUST know the sort of man you are voting for!

Shrubya's War Against Intelligence goes on: 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program... Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission... Eighty-two percent of Bush supporters perceive the Bush administration as saying that Iraq had WMD (63%) or that Iraq had a major WMD program (19%). Likewise, 75% say that the Bush administration is saying Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda. Equally large majorities of Kerry supporters hear the Bush administration expressing these views--73% say the Bush administration is saying Iraq had WMD (11% a major program) and 74% that Iraq was substantially supporting al Qaeda.

Lie, lie and lie again Bush, that's all you're good for.

After the hijab, now Sikhs are under pressure from France's 'no visible signs of religion' law.

Wanted: healthy women, aged 25 to 40. Must be willing to stay in bed for two months.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

It's a double-whammy by the Law of Sod.

The people that really need to be in the room when I'm explaining how the reservations work, because I have a sneaking suspicion they're the ones that have been cocking up things since The Closed Library reopened, aren't there to here it. Of course. Because they don't work on Thursday. Which is the only day we can have meetings.

Water has been draining very slowly in my flat and having a look outside I saw the problem. My drain has been clogged up with crap by the builders next door, in my landlord's house. When I knock on the door it turns out my landlords have gone away for 'a while', as they're having the whole house professionally redecorated. So I find the builder that looks most likely to be in charge and have asked him to do something about unclogging my drain. I wait and wonder whether anything will happen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Blogger seems to have taken a real downturn recently. Longer times to post entries and now I find I have to copy all my entries before I post them, in case Blogger feels like eating them instead.

Had the NTL engineer come to look at my box (filthy!) this afternoon. After fiddling about he decided the reason behind my intermittant loss of signal was due to the signal being too weak to my box. I was a bit dubious about this as I never had any problem receiving BBCs 1, 2, 3, 4 and News. Anyway, he went away and, sure enough, come the evening, my box was dropping the signal again. So now I don't have any choice but to wait a week, again, for someone to come and take another look next wednesday morning. Like with my computer. This is certainly a downside to living alone. Maybe I should advertise, 'weirdo seeks M or F, no sex but will be expected to open the door when engineers come to fix Loz's stuff'.

Little Britain last night was disappointing. They've got rid of the quick jokes between each of the main sketches, which was a shame, their absence did make the show look noticeably lighter on jokes. There's also the Fast Show factor, keeping in characters that have run their course because they are the catchphrases that people associate the show with. Vicky Pollard was back, with her "yeah but no"'s, and Lou and Andy "yeah I know". But their sketches were, I think, the worst of the episode, Matt Lucas and David Walliams don't seem to have any idea for new situations for them so are retracing their steps. Vicky, shoplifting again! The Fast Show did much the same and, after the first episode of each season, you knew who the new characters were and what they were going to say. Of course, it was easy money, but it's a shame that Lucas and Walliams appear to be going down that route rather than coming up with new stuff. My tastes in comedy aren't towards waiting for the catchphrase, to me that's like Dido in comedy form. Marjory Dawes, the tyrannical leader of 'Fatfighters' is another old joke that you can't reinvigorate just by getting Vanessa Feltz to guest on the show, especially as the style of character was already done as Pauline the Restart Officer in League of Gentlemen. I was disappointed by the copying of sketches from the charity concert but maybe that's been because I'm watching the first series DVD and saw them only yesterday.

I can't actually remember that much of the rest of the show, all I can bring to mind are the old ladies running the fete, one of whom is copiously sick whenever someone mentions things like the poor, immigrants, gays, etc. And Sebastian and the PM, another character that came to a natural end at the end of the first season (although it was joyous to see the strangely tiny Nigel Havers playing the Leader of the Opposition). I'm crossing my fingers that the rest of the series improves on last night, else it'll become another Smack the Pony, a great first series that falls apart subsequently.

Trying to feel sad. Trying... to... give a... shit... Nope, it's just not coming. I can't think what's wrong...

I think it's time to practice the dance I'll do when we hear Thatcher's snuffed it.

Newsflash: The Rapture occurs in middle of Presidential debate

There's a number of good webcomics here, but I really liked The Guy I Almost Was about growing up and finding 1990 wasn't the gleaming cyberfuture we were promised. It's sad and funny at the same time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"Please, Maggie, no more lesbian jam!"

Whoops! New head of e-gov says that the Government's ID Cards scheme is 'technologically impossible' to achieve.

The library closes in forty minutes.

And then we stay open for another three hours for staff from other libraries and ex-staff to come and marvel at what a lovely new library we have, or had anyway until the public came in and made such a mess.

Why on earth did I agree to stay here for this? I don't need to be here. I could have said no with no-one thinking any the worse of me?

There will be booze however.

I won't be working tomorrow.

There will be booze.


The Guardian's Operation Clark County, an attempt to get Guardian readers involved in the US Election by writing to undecideds in Clark County and swing them towards Kerry, was a bad idea from the get go. I know I would have been annoyed if I received, out of the blue, a letter from the States suggesting that I should vote Labour at the next election to thank Mr Blair for his principled stand in the War Against Terror. At a time when patriotism tends to swell, and for an election in which incumbents tend to try and resurrect the living god aspect of the Roman caesars, letters from the once-occupying power were never going to go down well. The Guardian has printed some of the responses it has received and I can't really blame people for being annoyed. Just as Fox News lied about Communists supporting Kerry I hope this action from the Guardian doesn't drive any undecided voters Bush's way.

Venusberg has more wise words to say on the subject here.
And the inevitable American backlash starts here with Operation Guardian, where Americans are offered the chance to write to a Guardian journalist and tell them exactly how their tree-hugging, lefty, communist, feminist gay ideas are wrong and how they should embrace conservatism.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Open Guide to London looks good but the little Pessimism Pixie wonders how long it'll last before it degrades into flame wars, a playground for junior hackers and the attractions listed start secretely adding their own 'fair and balanced' reviews?

There's an interview with Spaced/Shaun of the Dead director/co-writer chappy Edgar Wright here.

Diamond geezer is halfway through a week of walking the Prime Meridian line in London. It's fascinating stuff.

No comment. [via Plasticbag]

Pro-Bush broadcasting in America still on track, Anti-Bush programming dropped. Of course Bush isn't personally involved in this. He doesn't need to be.

You are the Roger Delgado Master! Swave, charming, sophisticated, you are loved by all and feared by all. We will obey you.

(Doctor Who) Which Master are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Aaaah, Chick Tracts. "I guess Communism has all the answers!". The Gay Revolution is underway! "When he left your mom... he sinned. But when he did it to marry the other lady... he really messed it up with God.". "We know the devil and his witches love to see kids go trick or treating... cuz Halloween pulls them into witchcraft." It's true I tell's ya. Trick or treating made me an gay!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

So, this supposedly 'British Buffy' show Hex starts on Sky tonight. Seeing as I've watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and read The Witching Hour by Anne 'Nobody Edits Me!' Rice and Stalking Tender Prey by Storm Constantine I don't think I need to waste any time watching this.

You Should Be a Pimp for Halloween!

You Should Be a Pimp for Halloween!

What should you be for Halloween?

It'll be Greenham Common all over again. Tony Blair agrees to the return of US missiles to Britain as part of 'Son of Star Wars' policy. BLiar consistently takes decisions that harm our interests for the benefit of the US. So why don't we get to vote for the US President?

What is it that makes me suspect that Yes Bush Can isn't a genuine Conservative effort to get Bush and Cheney re-elected? Hmmm... (Check out the Patriot Pledge too)

UPDATE: According to that miracle of the information age, the Channel 4 News, it's all part of a scheme by those American pranksters, The Yes Men.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

So, I've finally seen the pilot episode of Stargate: Atlantis. I liked it. However, that's because it's pretty much like a good episode of it's parent show, so if you didn't like that you won't care for this. I wonder whether there's any specific plan for this series other than the do a show each week and see if a theme suggests itself, we hear of but don't get to see any of the Wraith, the bad guys for this show, but will they do anything more than fulfil the same function as the Go'uld do? Whilst shows like Deep Space Nine and the last series of SG-1 have shown that you can create an ongoing story through little more than making sure that you don't close off any ideas until it's absolutely necessary, it leads to a less satisfactory story telling experience for me. Take the first two episodes of the latest series of SG-1. Again with the Replicators. They were quite interesting, four years ago, but they're continually brought back, the threat is completely ramped up a bit higher and then they are dispatched. Until the next time they come back. It's like comics, the Fantastic Four defeat Doctor Doom but a few months later he's back with some new idea.

And while we're at it, could we have a bit more variety than that same Canadian forest outside Ottawa or wherever it is that they land in every week? This week they were supposed to be going to the planet that the Asgard mine for the metal they use to build their ships. Strangely, this planet looks suspiciously like a forest in Canada. When the Stargate: Atlantis crew decided to check out a nearby world, it too looked remarkably like a densely wooded area somewhere north of the United States. If you're getting tax breaks from filming there, couldn't you use the money to go a bit further afield?

Sky One have also shown the new Battlestar Galactica mini-series, as a prelude to the proper series next week. I was impressed, it was a lot better than it had any right to be. I was slightly distracted by the highly edible James Callis (the photos really don't do him justice). I also kept thinking that I've seen him somewhere before but I suppose all British actors in American TV shows seem the same after you see enough of them. Playing Baltar he does therefore fall in to one of the two traps of British actors, he's playing a baddy. However, the first thirty minutes or so prove that he's not in the second stereotype of being sexually repressed in any way.

As to the changes between this and the original, though I liked some aspects of the original I was never in love with it, so I don't particularly mind that Starbuck is now a Y-chromosome-free character, just so long as there isn't some ridiculous sexual tension written in between her and Apollo. I must admit that I do regret the loss of the storyline from the original that the Cylons were created by the devil, but as this show is rebooting from scratch it would hardly be surprising if they repeated it again. But how they're going to contrive to keep the Cylons in the game after escaping them in the mini-series I wait to see. Bringing in 'human appearing Cylons' (and I hope Callum Keith Rennie's character gets to stick around) is an obvious cheat and money saving device but at least the Galactica does look genuinely old and low-tech, unlike the titular ship in Enterprise where you can feel the designers champing at the bit to be flashy. And considering nothing happens in the mini-series except everyone who's not on Galactica gets killed by the Cylons (and a few dozen rabid fanboys have coronaries) it's a surprisingly uplifting experience. This is generally down to it's superb cast (especially Edward James Olmos, the new Adama). Whether they necessarily have great parts to play we'll have to wait and see, Baltar is a nice mix of arrogance, cowardice and intelligence, but Starbuck is little more than a butch dyke who isn't into girls and Apollo a rich kid with an attitude problem towards his father. But there's plenty of time for this to change, and things might just get better...

Well, thank goodness we're the good guys or people might think this was intolerable. Detainees held at Belmarsh high security prison without charge or trial have become seriously clinically depressed and are suffering from anxiety, with a number becoming psychotic as a result of their indefinite detention, a report by some of the country's top psychiatrists concludes. Some of the men have suicidal thoughts and many have self-harmed, ranging from cutting their bodies to attempts at hanging, according to doctors.

Yikes! (Not for those of a nervous disposition)

American woman writes 'Everyone in the UK hates me!' column for the Guardian. Boo bloody hoo. Note Carol Gould's disdain for the englishwoman, who she dubs 'Lady E'. Note her claiming anti-Semitism as something that only happens against American Jews halfway down. Note her admission at the end of the piece that she doesn't actually feel unsafe in her London home. Wonder whether it's such a slow newsday that the Guardian has to buy articles from what looks like a fairly unpleasant right-wing American mag that has Ann Coulter as a columnist, links to (you really should check it out if you haven't sometime, the Beeb is on their permanent shit-list because it doesn't arm it's journalists and get them to shoot Palestine whenever they go in there) and they offer books on why Kerry and his wife are frauds.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What Shrubya's been hearing through his earpiece... Otherwise, if his speech after his re-election mentions anything of 'large deep-pan pizzas' and 'a large bottle of Coke' you'll see I was right...

My Stupid Library User O' The Day Story: Someone was a bit annoyed when they looked at a big sign about where everything in the library is. Reason? Because the sign lists 'Music Books' on the ground floor, and 'Music Scores' on the second. She complained that 'Music Scores' were 'Music Books', so where were the scores? I know that we're supposed to be socially inclusive, but surely there must be a point where we're allowed to say "No, sorry, you're too stupid. You'll have to leave."

Still, I've now managed to go through an entire week without getting trapped in the lift. Yay me!

Poll reveals eight out of ten countries favour Kerry for President.

The results show that in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Spain and South Korea a majority of voters share a rejection of the Iraq invasion, contempt for the Bush administration, a growing hostility to the US and a not-too-strong endorsement of Mr Kerry. But they all make a clear distinction between this kind of anti-Americanism and expressing a dislike of American people. On average 68% of those polled say they have a favourable opinion of Americans.

Tony Blair suggests that we should all stop talking about Iraq (and the small matter of how he and his mate George have fucked it up mightily) and talk about things like African poverty, climate change and a more effective UN.

A new BBC three-part series starting next wednesday claims that the threat to us of global terrorism is vastly overrated and more a new outbreak of American 'reds under the bed' style paranoia or similar bursts of fear in this country directed towards a specific subsection of the community such as the Spanish, Irish or Jewish over our longer history. Even dirty bombs are a myth, such devices, even if they could be made, would be unlikely to deliver enough radiation to poison one person.

Of course, such terror-debunking is quite rich coming from the BBC, which has in the last year turned crisis management into a game show...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Busy couple of days. Her Plumsness came up and we went to Bisexual Underground and chatted to many fabulous people, even though the weather outside was foul.

Spent a lazy wednesday morning watching music telly on my fkcued NTL box. I keep loosing the station for periods of about twenty to thirty seconds, easily solved by flicking away from that channel and back, but annoying when it can happen several times in the space of a few minutes. NTL do seem to be aware of the problem as they've left a message about it on their answerphone but the problem has now lasted several months and I'm getting tired of it, so another phone call may be in order, despite it's usual complete lack of effectiveness. I've had enough experience of this sort of thing working in a library to know that you can't always get to speak to someone who can help you on the phone but you mustn't take it out on the poor person answering you. I'd do the obvious and switch from NTL but don't want the expense when my future isn't clear enough to judge how many more years I'll be staying where I've moved to, and I can't give up my digital TV.

Anyway, Miss Fabulous went in to town to have her hair done, I went and splurged in Virgin. I bought Little Britain which has some wonderful extras, like some Live sketches they did at the Royal Albert Hall and deleted scenes. I also got the Chris Cunningham DVD, mainly for the Aphex Twin and Madonna videos as I've already got the Portishead and Bjork ones elsewhere. It looks like an extended version of an old late night Channel 4 music show called Mirrorball which highlighted work by a particular director, only this has got his other non-music work too. And then finally Pet Shop Boys - Performance. I had this on video ages ago, it's ridiculously pretentious but at the same time has some brilliant moments, such as Chris in his pants (that's the UK not US meaning) doing We All Feel Better in the Dark and an encore with Neil and Tennant getting in to bed dressed as angels.

We regrouped for warm drinks and food at First Out and scoffed over an article in yesterday's Independent by Johann Hari about Derrida. I only know keywords on the man but even so disagreed with the thrust of Hari's 'I come to bury Derrida not to praise him' article. I took some photos of Plums which she insisted made her look 'special' and we went our seperate ways.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group are intending to broadcast a one hour anti-Kerry documentary on all their stations two days before the election. They are not intending to offer any right-to-reply, or broadcast a similar anti-Bush show. Indeed, they seem to have manouevered around broadcasting rules very deftly so that they aren't required to show balance. In the past, they've shown a very pro-Conservative bias, such as not showing the Nightline episode with the dead soldiers rollcall. If you're so inclined, you can sign the 'Stop Sinclair' petition here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Traffic Lights For Peace.

Shiteyes Blunkett in unsurprising display of total arrogance non-shocker. Mark Oaten is technically correct in what he says, but New Labour hasn't been able to defeat the Government over other unpopular measures, such as tuition fees or the War in Iraq, so does he seriously believe they'll vote against Blunkett's plans for ID Cards and state-sanctioned terrorism?

Tony Blair continues to not apologise for his mistakes with regards to the War Against Iraq. He has in the past and continues to apologise for the intelligence being wrong. Yesterday Jack Straw formally withdrew the 45 minutes claim. But BLiar is apologising for something that is not wrong. He is saying the intelligence on Iraq's WMD capabilities were wrong, they weren't. As we know through information released to the public via The Hutton Inquiry and the Butler Inquiry the information the intelligence agencies had was absolutely right: Iraq had neither the weapons or the capability to produce them. What BLiar won't, and politically cannot, apologise for, is the manipulation of this data between the intelligence services and the 10 Downing Street produced dossier. The evidence of Government manipulation in both cases was so blatant that in both cases the establishment men doing the investigating had to carefully limit their terms of reference so they wouldn't have to admit the Government had lied to the people it was supposed to work for.

And now we have BLiar trying to say it's all all right because the final UN report showed Saddam Hussein wanted to develop WMD again some day. He and Straw say the report shows that UN sanctions weren't working, despite the fact that the fact they didn't have any WMD after ten years of sanctions would seem to prove the complete opposite. It comes down to an insistance the war was valid because, if the world was completely different and if there had never been any UN sanctions against Iraq, then Saddam Hussein would want to have WMD. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed, not because of the way the world is, but the way it would be if everything was different.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Does Senator Lurch have a chance?

A Book Too Far #36:


Monday, October 11, 2004

... I want to take a magic marker on to the Tube and append all the posters advertising Grrove Armada's Greatest Hits with the tagline "you know more Groove Armada than you think you do' with the line "...And if I could find some way to make you pasty-faced fuckers pay for it, I would."

Anywhey... I got this today, another Mixing It inspired purchase, and am enjoying it a lot. Very tunnelly. Oh right, get me to explain my 'electronica as tunnel/cavern music' sometime...

fug•ly (adj.)
frightfully ugly; of or pertaining to something beyond the boundaries of normal unattractiveness. Ex: "That 'Kabbalists Do It Better' trucker hat is fugly."
[via Fluxblog]

Sunday, October 10, 2004

So I watched The Torture Garden of Gethsemane. I found it... interesting initially, fading to dull about a third of the way through, at about the point where the story ends and Mel Gibson starts abusing his inner Messiah. Of course, it didn't help to have people going around planting stories before it's cinema release that it was in some way a faithful telling of events as they happened. I don't know what source text Gibson used but it wasn't the bible most of us know. It was really the film of the book in the same way as the Lord of the Rings films were adaptations of the book, the basic essence the same but distilled, changed and percolated, in this case through the mind of a Catholic with enhanced self-pain issues. If you've ever been to a BDSM party in LA and had Mr. Gibson ask if he can whip you, please let me know.

The film starts off promisingly with some lovely shots, especially the first initial swoop from the heavens into the Garden of Gethsemane. However, such great camera work quickly fades into the pedestrian, while a similar idea that nature is all out of whack with the capture of Jesus (Gibson ripping of Macbeth) similarly fades into the night with some strange CGI wolf-bear thing. Jesus, when we first meet him, seems half-constipated, half-nauseous, Gibson's idea seems to be that Jesus is literally taking on the responsibility for all the world's sin, he has indigestion from being a sin-eater on a global scale. But again, nothing really comes of this, the ridiculous amount of bloodshed might have been in some way artistically justifiable if some deliberate link was made between this punishment and our sin, but just because practically everyone watching this film will know the Bible story doesn't mean Gibson doesn't have to put in these parallels. The Gibson Christ isn't dying for our sins, he's dying because the Jewish spiritual leaders find him objectionable. And I'll address that in a minute.

Whilst in the Garden, Jesus spends his time choking on the ground while being watched by the devil, an interesting performance by Rosalinda Celentano. She was by far the most interesting thing in the film, James Caviezel as Jesus being rather hampered by the fact that most of his performance involves whimpering with pain after being hit, gasping with pain or falling over. But while Satan spends a lot of time drifting through crowds as though she's walked off the set of Braveheart again her appearance has no real purpose. Ze gives no reason for why ze is there. It's a welcome touch of ambiguity in a rather plain script from Gibson, but he seems at a loss for why the devil should be there, just a strong moral conviction that ze should be. And it's a very Book of Job-like devil, where the devil is a rank or job title, rather than an entity's name. I can imagine that just before hirs first appearance ze was discussing with God about what faced Jesus and whether ze could pull it off, obviously some serious money has been put down that he couldn't. Hir anger at the end seems a little baffling unless you consider the idea that ze lost the bet and now has to mow God's infinite lawn for an aeon or two.

At one point during the whipping Satan is walking around carrying a large demonic child, who is enjoying the show. Now, Judas is driven to suicide by children he sees as demons, it's implied these are sent by Satan, rather odd unless ze is doing a favour for God by getting rid of the traitor. So it might be one of them. But there is no reason given for why Satan is suddenly carrying it in hirs arms, why hir isn't carrying it in any of hirs preceding or subsequent scenes or where it went. It's more like an extremely blatant continuity error, initially Satan is carrying the baby around all the time, then Gibson changes his mind and shoots new scenes without the baby, then forgets and leaves this one in. But that can't be the case, surely?

Is the film anti-Semitic? Can any film about the death of Jesus not be? No matter what Gibson and his Dad's religious views are, Mel starts from a baseline of Catholicism, so it's little surprise that the film is a recruiting tool for the Roman Church. Here we have the myths of authenticity, the Romans are Italian, the Jews are Jews, but the Christ family, Jesus, Mum, brother(?) and Mary Magdalene are suspiciously European for people who are also, let us not forget, Jews. Alright, so it's not as bad as Robert Powell but still there. And although Mel might not have the blood libel line subtitled (and the subtitles on my DVD were pretty bad, there were whole scenes where nothing was translated at all, like most of the courtyard torture scene) the fact that he didn't see anything wrong with putting it in says something. His defenders might argue that it's in the bible so it has to go in the film, no matter how unpleasant and unfortunate, but he buggers around with so much else, take the Last Supper scene for example, "You are my friends. There is no greater love for a man to lay down his life for his friends" That's not what the Bible I read actually says, so a line which 'justifies' Christian persecution of Jews has to stay? Sounds fishy to me. Even more so when Gibson crowbars in the creation of the Turin Shroud by a woman giving a bloodied Jesus a dishcloth to wipe his face with. This isn't even apocrypha, this is a recently created myth which Gibson nonetheless takes as gospel truth.

With this film, the thing you want to know is, at which exact point did the over the top blood and gore get too much? Very quickly actually, about fifty-four minutes in when Jesus is being brutally caned and scourged by Roman guards and has forgotten the safe word. Not being a Christian I need some dramatic intent to engage with, something Gibson resolutely refuses to provide, it makes one wince the first few times, then it just goes overboard into overhearty grand guignol panto and gets in the way of the telling of the story. One of the earliest unpleasant things the guards do to Jesus is toss him over a wall. The chains they put on him arrest his fall about twenty feet down just above the ground. When he suffers no ill-effects from this you realise what you're dealing with here. We're in a Lethal Weapon film where people can get shot in the belly a few times and, so long as they're good, walk away fine, albeit with a tendency to stagger for a bit to show how injured they are. Gibson brings no psychological insight into Jesus to the table, indeed seems afraid to even attempt it, so tries to cover it up with blood. If he can't show you Jesus' heart, he's going to have a damn good go at showing you his other internal organs. We see almost nothing of Jesus the man, Mary Magdalene isn't there because of trendy modern notions that she was the wife of a Rabbi Jesus, she's just there when he arrives at the gates of Jerusalem, looking in a bit of a bad way. She then spends the rest of the film crying about him with his Mum. The weirdest scene in the film is a brief glance of life at Chez Christ before Jesus decided to become a prophet, he's working as a carpenter, and invents the chair. Now Gibson has the entire Bible and a wealth of other material to draw upon, yet for some reason his one stab at making Jesus human, he invents the idea that Jesus invents a thing for sitting on. Still, it must be a success because in the present day everyone, the Rabbis, the Romans, they're all using them. I would have thought the royalties would do very nicely.

And roughly one hour ten minutes they set off to Jesus' crucifixion. Now there's not much more that can be done to Jesus for a bit, he already looks like Tom Cruise in Interview With the Vampire when he's a malnourished mess at the end. So we basically have about thirty minutes of Jesus staggering along, then falling down. Still no character development or insight, just lots of tripping over. More often than not in glorious slo-mo. After the fourth time I was thinking it would be better if they dragged the cross themselves and just strapped him on to the top of it. As it is the story descends into farce at this point. At one hour thirty-five they're nailing Jesus to the cross. Then, when they've done that they flip the cross over, just to bend the nails they've just driven through his flesh. I'm then surprised that they get the cross up and in it's hole first time, I was genuinely expecting they'd drop it first time, Jesus-side down.

The thing that always concerned me, learning about this stuff while growing up, was the exact nature of Jesus when he's on the cross. Son of God or Son of Man? There's arguments both ways and I suspect it depends on whether you believe or not, but to me if it's the Son of God on the cross then the sacrifice is less, you're killing something non-human and you might as well nail a horse to the cross and say that humanity's sins are washed away. A human son of God however, someone who could be any of us, would be a genuine sacrifice because it would remind us that we could, if we play our cards right, do alright by God. Gibson takes the opposite view. But by subjecting his Jesus to ridiculous amounts of pain and torture where it's made pretty explicit that it's only his superhero status that keeps him going long enough to be nailed to a cross for me robs the film of it's relevance.

But then, Gibson's not making a film for Godless atheist fence-sitters like me is he?

Oh, by the way, I hope I'm not spoiling it for anyone if I say that Jesus dies at the end. And it's nice to see Har Mar Superstar in another acting role as Dancin' Herod.

Well, I suppose it saves time. Wisconsin TV announces Bush has already won 2004 election. [via BoingBoing]

Scam-a-lam-a-ding-dong! My Dad just phoned to say he'd got a letter offering a book of our family tree (complete with coat of arms) and he was wondering if it was legit. Alas, it took just a few seconds to type the publishers, William Pince Publishers into Google, to find out that it was indeed nothing more than a scam. For me the 'coat of arms' was what set alarm bells off as, far as we know, our family have been dirt common Londoners since the eighteenth century at least.

Hey, have you forgotten any north European countries recently?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Because I love you all I'm pointing you towards this drum and bass remix of the Rentaghost theme tune by the mighty Thriftshop XL. (The Monkees/Hives clash is worth grabbing too.)

Incident Report: Friday 08th October, 5:00 pm.

O, M and I were in Lower One for the last hour and closing whatever the reference library is called now. Everyone was out and we were going to use the lift to get down to the ground floor. However, when we were all in I pressed the button for the ground floor, the outer door closed but the inner door did not, it got about three quarters closed then seemed to stick. We tried pressing several buttons but they didn’t work. I then pressed the emergency call button. The emergency call button did not work. With the library closed we tried to attract the attention of whoever was still downstairs. I started drumming with my feet on the floor of the lift. This was heard downstairs but they didn’t realise where it was coming from. Eventually C came up, saw we were trapped and went back downstairs again. Nothing happened for several minutes. Then L came up to see why we hadn’t brought the Ref till down. She saw we were trapped and went back downstairs. After a short while C came back up to tell us they were going to lower the lift and went back downstairs.

After another couple of minutes we began to go down. K was operating the manual release and seemed to stop every few feet and had to be persuaded by L and C to keep going. When we got downstairs it turned out that neither C nor K knew/had remembered about the key to manually open the lift doors and it was only L that had gone to find it. However, neither she nor C were able to open the lift door and it took K about a minute of fiddling around to open it, despite L explaining to him what to do.


1) The ground-floor/reference side inner door is broken.
2) The lift should not be used again until we can be sure that the in-lift emergency call button will work.
3) I don’t think we have the emergency call out phone number of the lift company on the safety notice in the lift-engine room, though I could be wrong.
4) Immediate refresher training on lift emergency procedures for all staff but especially for all custodians likely to work in The Reopened Library. The only custodian present when the lift emergency procedure was explained was P. K and the others don’t know what to do. We had a similar situation with P being the only custodian who knew where the power source for the security gates was and how to turn them on/off.
5) As part of custodian duties when the library is being closed they should have to bring the lift down to the ground floor and lock it for the night with the doors open. If the lift had broken down when we were halfway between the lower-first floor and the ground floor I wonder if we’d been noticed.
6) Is the lift shaft airtight when all the outer doors are closed?

What did you do at work yesterday?

Is Bush Wired?

Hmmm. Soldier appears in court over fake Mirror 'abuse' photos. So, a lone agent out to discredit a paper that has been anti-war?

Friday, October 08, 2004

There's a trailer for Neil Gaiman's upcoming film Mirrormask at the official site. As it doesn't give any explanation of the story I'm more excited by the lovely Dave McKean designwork.

A day after a Minister finally apologises for some part of the British involvement in the Allied invasion of Iraq (although they are still insisting it's the fault of the intelligence when we know it was the people in government who tried to misrepresent it) it's reported that British hostage Ken Bigley has been killed by his kidnappers.

There's a trailer for Team America: World Police here, the puppet film by the South Park team. Looks unsurprisingly a bit Thunderbirdsey in execution. Apparently simulated violence in the film, including people getting shot and other puppets getting their head blown off is okay, simulated sex isn't. Which rather shows the confused value systems of censors today. They don't mind if this film were to incite someone to go out and kill a load of people, but to go out and have sex? Baaaaaaad film.

Anyway, I've got Jesus Christ: Carry on Bleeding out from the library to watch this weekend. That'll be fun.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Paul Hunter, get yer hair cut!

Bush on Iraq. [via All Facts and Opinions]

Finally received a Babylon Five Series 4 box set that wasn't smashed to bits by our wonderful postal service. As ever the similarities and allegories to the current situation are there to see, bogus arguments over 'weapons of mass destruction', a president trying to bring about a state of totally totalitarian control by manipulating information to make his people feel afraid and unsafe, and then the episodes I watched tonight, where the destruction of everything is avoided by our heroes standing between the forces of order and chaos and telling them they have no right to run their lives. That though they may both believe absolutely and without question that they are right and what they do is right for everyone else, that they have no right to take away peoples freedom to choose, to be independent.

Of course, that's where it all falls down with regards to real life. Even if you could somehow get Osama and George together in the room you'd never be able to get it through to them that they don't have the right to destroy the world.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Republicans have at last managed to find something to try and get Michael Moore prosecuted for. Yes, while their leader has started wars for no reason other than personal dislike , has torn up international treaties to try and stop pollution destroying this world, has announced policies to penalise the poor and reward the rich and enshrine hate in the Bill of Rights, the GOP is concerned that Michael Moore is 'bribing' students to vote with packets of noodles.

Heh heh heh, I remember watching this when I was a seedling...

This is just... disgusting. There are no words.

In June 2002, the police say, members of a high-status tribe [in Pakistan] sexually abused one of Mukhtaran Bibi's brothers and then covered up their crime by falsely accusing him of having an affair with a high-status woman. The village's tribal council determined that the suitable punishment for the supposed affair was for high-status men to rape one of the boy's sisters, so the council sentenced Ms. Mukhtaran to be gang-raped.

As members of the high-status tribe danced in joy, four men stripped her naked and took turns raping her. Then they forced her to walk home naked in front of 300 villagers.

In Pakistan's conservative Muslim society, Ms. Mukhtaran's duty was now clear: she was supposed to commit suicide. "Just like other women, I initially thought of killing myself," said Ms. Mukhtaran, now 30. Her older brother, Hezoor Bux, explained: "A girl who has been raped has no honorable place in the village. Nobody respects the girl, or her parents. There's a stigma, and the only way out is suicide."

But then, this woman did something unheard of.

[I]nstead of killing herself, Ms. Mukhtaran testified against her attackers and propounded the shocking idea that the shame lies in raping, rather than in being raped. The rapists are now on death row, and President Pervez Musharraf presented Ms. Mukhtaran with the equivalent of $8,300 and ordered round-the-clock police protection for her.

Ms. Mukhtaran, who had never gone to school herself, used the money to build one school in the village for girls and another for boys - because, she said, education is the best way to achieve social change.

"Why should I have spent the money on myself?" she asked, adding, "This way the money is helping all the girls, all the children."

Unfortunately the Pakistani government has neglected its pledge to pay the schools' operating expenses. "The government made lots of promises, but it hasn't done much," Ms. Mukhtaran said bluntly.

You can donate via the NY Times.

The BBC News website has been wiki-ed up by stefan who's a bit disappointed by how dull and uninteractive the original is. Check it out here. As a start it's interesting, turning the main text into a collection of wikipedia links is of dubious interest to average punters, but hopefully BBC Online will take this as the friendly prod it's intended to be rather than someone stealing their copyright. Someone proxied the Odeon cinemas website earlier in the year to make a site that wasn't so irritating to use, they came down like a ton of bricks but at least they added an option for more friendly ticket/times info.

As a non-technical type meself (I know, I hide it well don't I?) the future for the Internet I'm most interested in is more personalised internet content, something similar to the computer systems in Minority Report, grabbing screens of content and throwing them away when I don't need them, taking a scene/web page and going into greater detail within it. A while ago Tom was interested in attempting more interactivity between users and Barbelith, starting with the user able to chose between a variety of website skins. Sadly real-life seems to have got in the way since...

Doctor Allawi, acting C.E.O. of Iraq Inc. goes to the United States and reassures the Bush electorate that everything is fine in Iraq. He goes back to Iraq and admits they have significant problems.

In his speech, Dr. Allawi, who has cast himself as a tough leader since taking office in late June, insisted that elections would go ahead in January as planned, but he acknowledged that there were significant obstacles standing in the way of full security and reconstruction. The nascent police force is underequipped and lacks the respect needed from the public to quell the insurgency, he said, and American business executives have told him that they fear investing in Iraq because of the rampant violence here.

Though Dr. Allawi joined President Bush last month in boasting of having 100,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi policemen, soldiers and other security officials, he acknowledged Tuesday that there were difficulties in creating an adequate security force. "It's clear that since the handover, the capabilities are not complete and that the situation is very difficult now in respect to creating the forces and getting them ready to face the challenges," he said. He added that "the police force is not well equipped and is not respected enough to lay down its authority" without backing from a strong army.

Now Paul Bremer has said the administration messed up in Iraq, Kerry calls on Bush to try a new policy of admitting the truth for once. Since the invasion of Iraq ended there have been any number of examples and proofs that what Bush and Blair has not been good for the people of Iraq or the people of our countries or even the world. Why no-one is putting this together and giving it to the American people I don't know.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Rumsfeld accidentally tells truth about Iraq/Terror links, world narrowly avoids spinning off axis.

The US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a speech that he knew of no clear link between the al-Qa'ida terror network and Saddam Hussein, although he later backed off the statement and said he was misunderstood.

On the contrary, I think you've been clearly understood for some time now...

Following on from yesterday, Fox have slightly amended their story about the so-called 'Communists for Kerry'. Natalie at AFaO seems to be suggesting that no-one should care that Fox are going to lie again and again about Kerry because we should just accept that it'll happen. It might be a reasonable attitude to take if it was one Fox held with regards to the actions of others. However, this isn't the case.

And some hopeful news, as an appeal on behalf of the people detained in Britain's Guantanamo Bay reaches the courts. Nine men held without charge or trial for almost three years under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, passed after the September 11 atrocities in the US, are seeking to overturn a court of appeal ruling which backed the home secretary's powers to detain them indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore's latest salvo in The War Against Terrorists in the US Government is a book of letters he's received from troops in Iraq.

Pink Paper folds after seventeen years. Mind you, I'm surprised it lasted so long after that attempt to become a 'paid for' magazine a few years ago, when the gay community said "no, we want something for nothing". Oh well...

Monday, October 04, 2004

So, the Closed Library reopened today. Absolutely manic. I guess I'd come to perceive my job, due to the council not giving a toss and all those arguments with members of the public who think that public servents are less than the crap on my shoe, as slightly pointless. I didn't think they'd come flooding in, I didn't expect any of them to either notice or care about the effort that had been put in to the place. I spent last week telling people "keep a note for yourself, I bet negative complaints outweigh the positive ones by a ton". It seems I was wrong on all counts. The community does care about whether we're there or not. We had, allegedly, several thousand people flitting past the counters (so, divide by three and that's still over one thousand people by mid-afternoon). Positive comments about the new look library seems to have outnumbered the complaints, most of which come from people who could stand before the throne of God and sniff "Showy aren't you? Stand up straight. Call Yourself a deity?" When we explained that there are books which won't go out for a couple of weeks so as to get a decent turnaround of stock, that was accepted. Lots of people coming to join the library as well, that was all some staff were doing all day, which we didn't expect.

Of course, this isn't what the future will be like. And hurrah for that. Things will settle down and could do so as soon as tomorrow. But for today I felt like I was part of a team that made a positive contribution to the local community and was valued as such. Thanks to everyone who made that possible.

George W. Bush. Keeping America Scared.

I didn't actually see the Bush/Kerry face-off last week and I'm kind of regretting it, because it seems like it was great fun and we could have pretended to ourselves for a moment that Kerry was going to win the presidency. As it is, I'm having to make do with second hand reports of Bush choking on what's supposed to be his specialised subject, "Terror and the inflicting of it on the American people". I suspect though that in the long run he'll be saved by the proportion of the American people who's specialised subject is "The rest of the world and the not giving a shit about it". Never mind whether Nader splits the vote or not, we should send back all the Americans who live in other parts of the world, they seem to be the only ones who are aware of exactly how much more difficult Bush has made it to be an individual from the U.S.A. outside of it.

Anyway, it's been interesting to see what Bush's friends have been doing to try and distract people from the reason for Bush's poor performance, being that he's a dimwit who has never had to justify any decision he's made in his life, he has no proof for anything he says or does and invaded Iraq for a number of psychological reasons involved with trying to beat his Dad at something and the hopes that a really big fireworks show will distract people from his manifest failings as a human being. Fox tried the unusual tactic of suggesting that Kerry was the only gay in the beltway. When called, they did give a sort of apology, much like a school kid looking down at his shoes and mumbling something because he doesn't want to be seen to apologise to the weedy kid he was punching. However, they then moved on to finding some Communists who supported Kerry, except that this is actually a Republican group which supposedly uses satire to expose how socialism doesn't work (whereas the Republican party presumerably uses real life to expose capitalism's shortcomings).

And Drudge is at it, claiming Kerry had a cheat sheet. Let's see, Kerry is behind on points and the Republicans are jumping on everything he does and inventing stuff wildly when he doesn't. Kerry's weakness is considered not to be his knowledge but rather his patrician-like performance. Both participants have been forbidden to bring anything to the debate. So why would Kerry cheat? I can see Bush doing it, possibly, because I'm not convinced that in the evening he can remember what he had for breakfast, but I can't see a reason why Kerry would cheat, unless it was a script that said in big letters: "Bush is a poo-poo head. Get angry at him!!!1!"

A retiring senior American general has said that people being held in Guantanamo Bay have never provided any useful intelligence on Al Qaeda activity, produced only the kind of bogus confessions that people give in an effort to stop being tortured, and that Bush and Rumsfeld have knowingly lied to the public every time they've suggested they've received useful information from the torture interrogation of those captured in Afghanistan.

What the-? Armed intelligence officers yesterday raided the Amsterdam home of Paul Bigley, the brother of British hostage Ken Bigley, in the hunt for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the Arab terrorist group which is believed to be holding him. It looks as though the 'official' reason for this is that they suspect that Bigley might have an email from al-Zarqawi with his address saying "next time you're in Iraq, pop in!" but then later in the article it's suggested that in it's heavy-handedness it's more to frighten the family into shutting up and stop telling the country's media that Ken's blood would be on Blair's hands if he was killed by the terrorists.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

But what is it going to do with them?

Luke Skywalker's Schooldays. [via B3ta]

At bloody last!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

"Dude, are you even supposed to be at work today?"
"Don't get me started." -The Return of Jay and Silent Bob. Or something.

Just back from a morning at The Closed Library. On my day off. Yep, me yam hero. We'd still got boxes of books that needed to be discharged and shelved come closing time yesterday evening so I popped in to help with that. Luckily we had library assistants in today so I was able to get them to do most of the shelving. We had a few more boxes turn up before lunch and everything needs to be rearranged on the shelves to try and disguise the areas where the stock hasn't arrived yet but I want to have some pretense of a weekend's break before we reopen on Monday so I'm back home now with Shaun of the Dead in the DVD player.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Slacktivist, reading and critiquing the Left Behind books so you don't have to.

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