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January, 2010:

Moment of Truth

Well, regardless of the nonsense Nick and various commenter’s point out here, at least some politicians live in the real world:

There ain’t gonna be any ETS in the US now. Not when even Barry can’t take his own speech seriously.

H/T  Jo Nova

Public Support For Unpopular Decisions

I don’t ever read the Guardian, honest, but in this case I followed a link before I realised where it led. We see here words of warning direct from the millipede’s bottom.

“The danger of climate scepticism was that it would undermine public support for unpopular decisions needed to curb carbon emissions, including the likelihood of higher energy bills for households, and issues such as the visual impact of wind turbines, said Miliband, who is also energy secretary.”

What does the word “unpopular” mean? Surely it means “without public support”. This is some strange form of doublethink – the people of this country want unpopular decisions! And Ed’s just the man to deliver those.

"Every­thing we know about life is that we should obey the precautionary principle; to take what the sceptics say seriously would be a profound risk."

Obey! That’s all we know!

Are you getting the subliminal message yet? “Danger! Obey!” Apart from that, the interview is pretty much empty of content. You don’t need to worry about the IPCC’s mistakes because its report has thousands of pages. There’s a “physical effect” of CO2, but that’s apparently all he knows about it. (6,000 years? Is that a typo?) And slightly more concerning but no real surprise – there’s “no doubt” that the next report will suggest even more dramatic changes have been happening, even though it hasn’t been written yet. Not even the events it will eventually describe have happened yet. (And remember, this is the weather they’re talking about.) So how does he know?

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.

Book Titles That Shouldn’t

A few days ago I was mooching in a book-shop…

I can’t recall the exact title but it caused a titter in Nick-land…

It went something like this:

“The History of the Trial – from Socrates to OJ Simpson”.

Now Socrates (pronounced “So-crates” for I have seen Bill and indeed Ted sharing a most excellent adventure) was some beardy Greek way back when pederasty was a thing to be flaunted – and not just in the Catholic Church either. So fuck him! Well you know what I mean – sort of. OJ Simpson on the other hand was some sort of sporting-man playing a game that appears to me to be simply an excuse for more statistics than the IPCC can trot-out.

Digression: I am a profound Ameriphile but not a complete one. America has done many wonderful things but is hardly perfect – is anywhere? Any “sport” that involves getting-out a tape-measure every five minutes is not something I can get into. I do though have a weakness for cheerleaders so I guess there is a compensation. I also have a weakness for belly-dancers so God knows where that puts me in the Great War on Terror. I suppose on the right side because I can’t imagine that humourless cunt bin Laden is much into the sensuous aspects of the exotic East. He probably thinks having a lamb pakora is pushing the boat out a bit too much. God alone knows what he’d think of a 72oz beer, a foot-long chilli-dog and a bunch of nubile teenagers stacking themselves…

Back to the rather dismal point though I’d prefer to stick with cheerleaders (and the beer and the chilli-dog if anyone is buying). But back, alas, to the point…

And then OJ Simpson became an “actor”. I use the word in it’s loosest and most perjorative sense (for he was shite). And then he stabbed his ex and her new boyf (yes, he did – allegedly – but he did didn’t he?) and then a supposedly scholarly tome titles itself after both “The Juice” and the father of the entire Western Philosophical tradition. Well obviously it didn’t title itself. It required some wankenstein of a cunt-pole to do that for it but you get my generalized drift and I am calling toss-pottery of the first water here and indeed fuckwittery of the second Bacardi Breezer as well. On someone. They know who they are and I just hope they can live with it. Although if I get them in a dark alley that will not need to be for much longer.

What next… “Fat, Lazy Fuckers – From Gautama Buddha to Jade Goody”?

PS. “the father of the entire Western Philosophical tradition”. I guess it could have been Thales or some other toga-lifter. But the point remains. Regardless of his bottological antiquities I was just stunned to see So-crates mentioned in the same sentence as the thorough waste of DNA that is OJ Simpson.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Shopping

Not long since I went to the newsagent and bought a pack of cigarettes. For this brief excursion I wore trainers, socks, underwear, a T-shirt, combats and a hooded-top or clothes as they are normally called. It would appear though that actually getting dressed to go out is a dying art (and we are not talking suitable attire for the opera either)…

Elaine Carmody had chosen her “best ones” in which to do the shopping. But not even this was enough to prevent the mother of two from falling foul of the new dress code at a branch of Tesco in South Wales.

Bosses at the St Mellons store in Cardiff have banned customers from shopping in their pyjamas, after members of the public complained that the sight of people pushing trolleys in their nightwear made them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.

St Mellons! Have I died and been re-incarnated as Sid James?

Those entering the store are now greeted by signs headed Tesco Dress Code Policy. “To avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others, we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted),” the rules decree.

Footwear must be worn at all times. I mean I know we had a recession but…

Ms Carmody, 24, was one of the first to be escorted from the premises by a security guard yesterday, after choosing the comfortable option to “pop in for a pack of fags”.

Is it just me (and my clearly Victorian values) but why did I feel the need to put on proper clothes (and to have a shower) before going out to buy ciggy-wigs?

“I’ve got lovely pairs of pyjamas, with bears and penguins on them. I’ve worn my best ones today, just so I look tidy,” she said, unhappily. “He said it offends people. But I’ve never seen anyone offended. If you’re allowed to wear jogging bottoms, why aren’t you allowed to wear pyjamas in there, that’s what I don’t understand. It is ridiculous and stupid. I go in other shops in my pyjamas and they don’t say anything.

Dear Mother of God! Why the flying fuckulence would anyone want to be seen wearing pyjamas in public? I mean nothing against them per se – my wife wears them – but my wife wears them in the bedroom, not in the fucking fish aisle of Tesco. And no, love, they are not the same as jogging pants. Jogging pants at least imply some level of physical activity. I have to H/T the missus for this one and she (helpfully/sickfully) pointed out that wearing pyjamas to the supermarket probs means not wearing a bra and that means duggs a swingin’ and (I quote a woman here) “unfetterred minge” and my wife was very insistent that anyone with so little self-respect that they go shopping in their PJs would not be wearing a bra or knickers. It’s a horrible thought but you just know that Ms Carmody is composed primarily of duggulent substances. And it weren’t me that first brought-up the word “duggs” in this context.

But wait… It’s not just the Welsh…

It is not the first time that pyjamas have been banned in public. In May 2007 staff at a GPs’ practice in Ancoats, Greater Manchester, imposed a ban after patients started turning up for appointments in their bedwear. A doctor at the clinic said: “We’ve had complaints. It’s lazy.”

That’s just up the road from moi. Ancoats though is an utter shiteration of a gaff. It has a Currys. I shall give it that which is (to quote my gran) pretty much leaving it with nowt but it’s eyes to weep with.

Also in Belfast, the headmaster of St Matthew’s Primary, in the east of the city, sent a letter to parents asking them to dress properly on the school run after 50 mothers turned up at the school gates in pyjamas. Joe McGuinness said that it was “slovenly and rude”.

In 2008 a Dublin café erected a “no pyjamas” sign, and in 2006 the Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah introduced a dress code to stop people wearing their nightwear to work.

It’s spreading… It’s got to Shanghai.

We is all buggered.

PS written at my wife’s computer whilst wearing very little…

A Blow Against Justice

A businessman has been fined £60 and had his driving licence endorsed for blowing his nose while stuck in a traffic jam.

Michael Mancini, a furniture restorer from Prestwick, Ayrshire, was given the fixed penalty and docked three penalty points after leaning over and pulling out a paper handkerchief to wipe his nose when stuck in Ayr High Street. Mancini said that his van was in neutral with its handbrake on, and that he was flabbergasted when he was signalled into a parking bay by an approaching policeman.

Matters became “a little bit surreal”, he said, when he wound down his window and was promptly charged by the stern-faced PC Stuart Gray, a man known locally as “Shiny Buttons” in recognition of his zealous attention to detail. “I honestly thought it was a joke,” said Mancini, 39, who was booked for failing to be in control of his vehicle.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’. But he was absolutely deadpan. He’s a policeman, so you’re not going to start shouting abuse at him. I thought, ‘What is the world coming to?’ You pick the papers up every day and they are full of horror stories — but this bloke has nothing more to do with his time.”

We have murders, rapes, robberies. We also have runny noses.

PC Gray earned notoriety for doling out a £50 fine to Stewart Smith, another Ayr man, who dropped a £10 note from his back pocket. Mr Smith was charged with littering.

Ladies and gentlemen we have ourselves a fascist! That is beyond human comprehension. Not even Bill Gates goes around chucking the folding-stuff about with gay abandon. Coins, yes, he chucked a few hundreds worth of quarters at Steve Job’s conservatory when Zune was revealed for all to see as the crock it truly was. Some of us know things. Dark things. I, for example, know how to give Ballmer a stiffy in just two words…

Mr Mancini’s first instinct after his arrest last October was to contact the press and express his outrage, but he decided instead to give Strathclyde Police the opportunity to drop the case. They did not, and last week the local procurator fiscal reaffirmed his determination to proceed.

Well they would wouldn’t they? I mean it’s not as if anyone is commiting real crimes in Strathclyde is it. And let’s face it… A middle-aged furniture restorer has a much easier collar to feel than some tooled-up Albanian gangster who is ripped to the tits on crystal meth.

The district court has no power to award costs, so even if Mancini’s case is dismissed, he may face considerable expense.

“It is absolutely crazy, but I have no option but to press on,” Mancini said. “The police must show some common sense. I believe absolutely in road safety, but I am not going to sit back and accept a £60 fine and three points on my licence for something that I didn’t do. I will fight this all the way.”

Good on Mr Mancini!

Bill Aitken, MSP, the Conservative justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament, condemned the police behaviour as perverse. “Frankly, when this sort of thing happens, it is quite depressing for those of us who wish to uphold the Scottish legal system. This matter should proceed no further.”

Good on Mr Aitken! Except it should go much further. Mr Mancini deserves a full apology and PC Gray deserves to spend the rest of his career valeting the force’s 1.6L Astra diesel squad cars if he’s bloody lucky.

PS. Never utter the phrase “core dump” to Ballmer. I did once and got away with it by spraying him with a pressure-washer but it was a close run thing. You might not be so fortunate. And having his Vista forcibly installed is something I wouldn’t wish on Osama bin Laden. Not that it would install – well, not without much kicking and screaming anyway.

Via The Times.

Camera Obscure

I’m in the market for a new camera. I’m also in the market for a new PC and as I’m 36 possibly a convertible to drive through Paris… Life is getting expensive. But that’s good because it only means I have more of it to live with. Anyway, I’d pretty much consigned myself to DSLR and spending… Well, FPS is an issue for me and has been since I failed to get a shot of a pelican just entering the water in Florida three years ago. So that means a grand roughly. And if you’re gonna spend a grand then why not 1200? And that way penury lies.

But what about this… Any thoughts. The spec looks good. The FPS is good, the 28mm wide-angle is good and 15x optical is great – that range would seem to obviate the need for several lenses and they cost beaucoup for DSLRs. As someone brought-up on a Pentax Super-A I couldn’t give a flying one about “face detection” but anything more sophisticated than a pinhole these days seems to have more modes than London, Paris and Milan… My brother’s Nikon seems moderately more complicated than the flight-deck of the Death Star. It’s got a mode specifically for children skipping. Not hopping – that’s a different mode and it automatically calls out the Paedofinder General and supplies him with your exact location via GPS.

All I really want is a light meter, focus control and to set aperture and exposure but then I am old skool. I was taught photography at university way back in the ’90s when things were primitive (it was a mandatory part of a physics degree – and yes it involved dark-room stuff and loading 35mm film from a big roll – not cartridges – by touch in the pitch blackness). My brother’s even newer camera doesn’t even have a view finder and it doesn’t need one. You could tie the bloody thing to a shoe-lace and whirl it around your head and it would still take the perfect shot. But where is the fun or artistry in that?

And that’s another reason not to go DSLR. If I’m going to drop a grand on something I don’t want to be thinking two years hence that I wish to drop another grand on something even more whiz-bang. You know – something that also makes the tea or whatever those wizards of the Far East think of next. I mean 150 quid is something I can spend and not get upset that it gets out-moded but over a grand… Well, I’d want it to voice-coach me through shots sounding precisely like Ansel Adams. I’d want it to take that piccy of Half-Dome without leaving Cheshire.

Any advice will be appreciated and there must be some f-stop philosphers reading this tripe. What I’m really curious about is… Well… I almost caused a riot in a camera shop when I asked about manual focus (the old Pentax coming out again) and whilst this machine has what it calls “manual over-ride” I don’t think that’s the same thing. But I would like to set the focus automatically and then re-compose and get a different light-meter reading if you see where I’m coming from. Because I don’t always want to focus on what is at the centre of the image. Anyone who has used an auto-focus camera to take a pic of a cute bug or beautiful flower through grass will know exactly where I come from here.

Anyone has a proper review of this camera then they get a CC in Z virtual cigar. Deal? I did find one but it was in Thai which was about as much use to me as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

PS. It also uses SD which is good. I have many SD cards. Why do Canon DSLRs still use CF? I thought that went out with the sodding Vikings.

QOTD

I googled my real name once.

Top of the list was a Californian porn actor.

By an insane coincidence that could only happen in real life, he had shagged my ex-girlfriend’s husband.

- Commentator El Draque.

Pure poetry.

Sack the lot

Well, I guess it’s official now – the motley CRU are a bunch of crooks, but a six month statute of limitations means they can’t be called out.

I can see the argument now – “Nothing wrong with what the CRU did. After all, despite all the sceptic hysteria, no one was prosecuted.”

Who do you think will be the first to come out with that one?

Modest and self effacing

Or the greatest love story of his time?

More from Barry’s America

 

H/T Ezra

Confession

God, I’m so predictable, a creature of habit.

My dirty little secret is I am a Radio 4 junkie. Yes, I really am. My alarm went off by turning on the Today program every morning, except on Sundays, when I got Farming Today, and it didn’t turn itself off until after I had left for work.

The radio in the kitchen was on all day, aural wallpaper as I pottered about – In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, Eddie Grundy and his latest schemes, and even the occasional letter from a Mrs Trellis of North Wales – all day, every day.

Sad, isn’t it? And after that year on year immersion I am STILL not a socialist. Amazed?

So what happened when I left Blighty? Cold turkey, although admittedly with the occasional lapse.

Changing the subject, I have just set up a dedicated media computer, radio, movies, tv card, Internet connection, every CD ripped to disk giving me a juke box with thousands of tracks. Great machine. Wanted to do one of these for ages.

So what am I doing with it? Here in Queensland?

Yep, you guessed, I am streaming Radio 4.

Working in the office, watching a movie on my general purpose pc, working on a document, it doesn’t matter, Radio 4 on in the background.

Leave home in the morning? Radio 4 is playing. Get home at night? Radio 4 when I walk through the door.

All of which serves no purpose at all, other than as a lead up to and explanation of the following statement -

I was cooking dinner and listening to Jenni Murray on Women’s Hour tonight – look, I’m ten hours ahead of the UK, it’s all heavily time shifted .

There, I have said it. Anyway I was getting a bit annoyed at the attitudes everyone present was expressing (Yes, I know; not just Radio 4 but Women’s Hour, what should I expect?). The topic under discussion was Universities and the way students were turned out. Everyone, academics and journalists, accepted as given the idea that the Universities role was to educate students for a job, the ideas of knowledge for knowledge sake, and that a university was a community of scholars, simply didn’t get a look in.

What became clear listening to these people was that although the polytechnics have renamed themselves universities, the reality is that the universities have all become polytechnics.

Space Race Cancelled to Pay for Global Warming

There’s a report of a rumour that NASA have been told by The One to stop mucking about trying to explore space, and work instead on saving Earth from Global Warming.

I realise that this is likely to send Nick into orbit on a burning column of pure apoplexy. He was really looking forward to spending his declining years paragliding in that delightful retirement spot on Titan.

The view from Titan

Looks lovely, Nick. Shame, eh?

It’s probably worth noting that everyone regarded the NASA effort Ares to exemplify the worst of big government procurement – massively over budget and using already outdated technology – and that this doesn’t stop commercial spaceflight efforts. But even so.

It might have been a wasteful way of spending of other people’s money, and it might (had we been American) be that as taxpayers we would be annoyed we didn’t get a choice in the matter, but at least it was being wasted on something we want, as opposed to something we definitely don’t.

 

There is, on the other hand, a suggestion that some of the money is going to go to commercial space to develop “space taxis”. A lot less money, but in trying to placate the space fans, could Obama have actually made a move in the right direction?! Well, you know what they say about a stopped clock…

Shoah

I have been to Auschwitz and to Dachau…

On this day 65 years ago today the Red Army “liberated” Auschwitz. This is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and some of us at least will not forget.

I have seen the gas-ovens but I have also seen the gibbet upon which the Russians hung the SS guards. How could I not? Where do you think the gibbet was erected? It was directly in front of the ovens. Sometimes justice is poetic.

This, I hope, shall not again happen under my watch. Europe has to be better than that. Hell’s teeth we are better than that. At least I am.

29/308,466,891

What’s that fraction about?

H/T Devil’s Kitchen – but don’t go there otherwise my game is up!

A Tale of Two Rapes

This sickened me…

A boy of 13 who overpowered a woman then raped her in front of his two friends will spend just three years locked away for his crimes.

Balal Khan – thought to be one of the youngest convicted rapists in Britain – targeted the 20-year-old as she walked home.

He subjected her to a severe beating then screamed at her ‘Do what I say or I’ll kill you’, before putting her through the ordeal of a terrifying sex attack.

Then he stole her bag and phone and even took a call from his victim’s boyfriend to whom he bragged about what he had done.

And it’s that final little detail that really does it for me. I’ve been wondering why? I guess it’s that these sort of stories are so commonplace that I naturally focus on the particulars. And that particular is grotesque.

But after pleading guilty to charges of rape and robbery the teenager was sentenced to just three years because of his age – and because he said ‘sorry’.

His age should not come into it. If you are old enough to rape you are old enough to know not to. And “sorry”. Sorry is something you say when you forget to water a neighbour’s cactus. It don’t quite cut the mustard for forcing someone to the ground, kicking them in the head (which could potentially be conceived as attempted murder), raping and then robbing them. Personally I think the sentence was too long. I would have given him a mere five minutes in a locked room with the lady’s boyfriend, two spoons and a rusty agricultural implement. But that’s just me imagining what I’d want to do in the place of that lady’s boyfriend.

He later sold the phone and iPod, but not before making a call to his parents’ home. The mobile’s call records led police straight to Khan’s address.

Not the sharpest tool in the box is he?

In a police interview he told officers he had tripped the victim and stolen her bag.

The court heard scientists later found Khan’s DNA on swabs taken from the victim.

Naomi Perry, mitigating, said he had shown remorse for what he had done.

He apologised after finally admitting his offence to police and also when he entered his plea at court.

‘We are dealing with a very immature young man,’ Miss Perry said.

‘He has been having anger management classes and he feels these have helped him.’

So how sincere was this apology? I mean he was banged to rights wasn’t he? And “anger management classes”! Oh, give me strength! Rather than three years in borstal l think it still ought to be shake-out the cutlery drawer and fetch something semi-oxidised from the shed time for the miserable little scrote.

I shall skate blithely over Khan’s assumed religion (and it’s assumptions about women) for that would be mere idle speculation. Instead I shall turn to this story that shows that even in the above case where we didn’t punish a rapist approriately at least we at least didn’t punish the raped…

A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.

The girl’s father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant.

By what through the looking glass logic did that transpire?

The girl was raped by a 20-year-old villager in Brahmanbaria district in April last year.

Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper reported that she was so ashamed following the attack that she did not lodge a complaint.

Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.

Her rapist was pardoned by the elders. She told the newspaper the rapist had “spoiled” her life.

“I want justice,” she said.

Given the propensity for floods in Bangladesh I assume an even rustier farming tool could be easily obtained (and spoons can be found anywhere). To answer my own question, note the use of the word “fatwa”. Yes, it’s your friend and mine the Religion of Peace yet again! It happens all over the Islamosphere. Stories like this leak out of Shoddy Absurdia and Yemen all the time. They turn up from Somalia and Sudan to Iran and Indonesia and, alas, also in my own dear England*. This is not due to cultural or tribal stuff because the only cultural connection between all these places is Islam and its deranged attitude to sex. You can’t shake hands with a woman unless it’s your right hand and you possess her and then you can do whatever you want with her for she is yours. You know in the same sense that this here keyboard is mine and I can triperight whatever I want on it. For it is mine.

Am I alone in thinking of Islam as resembling not so much the ideas of a middle-aged man but of a spotty teen who can’t get a date? I guess that maybe brings us back full-circle. Of course most hormonally challenged teens don’t act as Master Khan did and just retire to their rooms for a quiet wank whilst thinking of… I’m not down with the kids so I wouldn’t know these days. And if I push the question as to who adolescent boys now think about whilst masturbating then I shall be facing longer in chokey than Khan. So we can spike that one, OK?

I do though wonder how things might have turned out if Muhammed had attended “anger management classes”? Moreover I wonder what would have transpired if he’d copped an unfortunate one courtesy of some spoonage and an item from Job’s tool-shed.

But of course we can’t say that because Muhammed founded one of the Great Religions**. You know the ones (apart from Christianity – obviously) that we have to respect by force of the law.

Well the hell with that! I know right from wrong which is more than that C7th kiddie-fiddling, bacon-dodging, vagabond warlord did. Or the weird beards of C21st Bangladesh.

I also have a canteen of cutlery (Oneida no less!) and after the recent meterological inclemency access to some extremely rusty gardening equipment…

H/T for the first story to Julia of Ambush Predator. I shall stop nicking your stories when you stop blogging good ones. Deal?

*1993, Derby, England. It was reported on East Midlands Tonight (BBC) that vigilante gangs of “Asians” were beating-up female students at the university (sort of) there coming back from night-clubs. They “excused” their behaviour on the grounds that they thought the University of Derby students in their clubbing gear were prostitutes as if that were OK. I seem to recall that Peter Sutcliffe used a similar “just cleaning-up the streets” attempt at mitigation. But then Sutcliffe was thoroughly round the bend…

**”Great, meaning ‘large’ or ‘immense’; We used it in the pejorative sense!” – Simpsons

Movies

Finally went to see Dances with Smurfs last night. As everyone says, visually stunning, but the storyline sucked. The antiAmericanism and anticapitalism were blatant and garbage, and the stupidity of just about every character was absurd.

Ok, so it was all about defending property rights, I guess I have to give it that, but it was still crap.

For someone so concerned with the beauty of Gaia, or whatever the Pandoran equivalent was, Cameron really stuffed up the ecology. Critters a cross between a rhinoceros and an elephant living in the rainforest? That lot would turn any environment into grasslands tout de suite. Horses in the jungle? Seriously?

Hunting with a bow and arrow in the rain? String will get wet and lose tension long before it brings down a gazelle. Gazelles in the jungle? Designed for speed but lurking in the undergrowth? How does that work?

Sigh.

I guess I spoilt it for myself by picking holes the whole time – still, visually stunning.

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