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April, 2012:

A classical education is clearly not required by the Met.*

While London looks increasingly like a city under martial law it is nice to see the Met still have time for pursuing nonsenses as well as going round looking like characters from some post-apocalyptic FPS game…

There were no complaints from the public when a Mayfair gallery exhibited a dramatic modern rendering of the ancient Greek myth of Leda and the swan in its window.

But the sensitive souls of the Metropolitan Police took a different view when they spotted Derrick Santini’s photograph of a naked woman being ravished by the bird.

Personally I quite like the picture and I think it’s a bit more “artistic” than “ravished”.

An officer took exception as he passed the Scream gallery in Bruton Street on a bus. He alerted colleagues and two uniformed officers from Harrow arrived to demand the work be removed.

“Alerted”? I mean this morning a copper in Leeds on his way into work spotted and then alerted his colleagues and then apprehended a double murder suspect. That’s “alerted”. And why two coppers? I dunno though in the current climate of Olympic and Jubilee paranoia I guess it’s lucky they didn’t send a SWAT team.

Jag Mehta, sales director at the gallery owned by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood’s sons Tyrone and Jamie, said: “We asked them what the problem was and they said it suggested we condoned bestiality, which they said was an arrestable offence. The show, Metamorphosis, had been running for a month and was really well received.”

Now that is the nub of it is it not? Bestiality is illegal though to be fair I’ve always tended to see it as it’s own punishment. But is “condoning bestiality” or indeed condoning anything actually illegal. Or did the cops just take offence and make it up? Like when they made-up a death penalty for being a Brazilian electrician in South London?

The final day of the exhibition was on Saturday and the gallery was taking down the artworks when police arrived. Ms Mehta pointed out that for prim Victorians, the myth of how Zeus, in the form of a swan, raped young Leda and produced Helen of Troy, was an acceptable form of erotica. But the explanation that the picture was based on a legend that had inspired countless generations of artists failed to cut the mustard with the police, she said.

They didn’t know anything about the myth. They stood there and didn’t leave until we took the piece down. They asked us whether we had had complaints and we said quite the contrary. Lots of people were intrigued by it.

As I said I rather like it. What is this about, really? I suspect at some level the cops were acting due to the our old friend – the absurd and illiberal Violent and Extreme Pornography Act. To summarize. This act potentially makes almost any image deemed pornographic potentially illegal. Everything from an old copy of the Sun (with Sam Fox aged sixteen back when that was legal) to this rather famous example of Japanese art**. Yes, it is retroactive and yes it applies to paintings or drawings or CGI as well. It is not just victimless thought crime (though it is) but it’s a also a strict liability which means that if a court decides it is Frankie Vaughn or could be construed as such you’ll be taken up the Gary Glitter.

It is understood that the incident was not recorded by police as a crime.

Because it wasn’t one. Or shouldn’t be. God knows. The law doesn’t.

*Or even a passing aquaintance with English law or Peel’s Principles of Policing. Or a Terry Pratchett Watch book.

**A peculiarity here is that this image would be regarded as very naughty by the Japanese due to the depiction of pubic hair. In comparison here it would appear now that a shaven woman is more likely to get you into trouble for making the image look child-like. Yes, an image seen to be of a child regardless of the model’s actual age can be illegal. Yes, the actual age of the model is no defence. And neither is the purpose for which the image exists. Here is a theoretical example. Let’s imagine my wife (33 – but still sometimes gets IDed for buying wine which like nude modelling is an 18+ thing) and I take some foxy piccies of her in the buff. I have potentially committed a child pornography offence even if it is entirely for private purposes. Of course if this photo-shoot ends with us having sex that is OK but filming or photographing it might be illegal if it was deemed by a court as a representation of a minor. The fact that this was an entirely consensual act between a married couple for their own fun with no intent to sell this is as kiddie-porn would not be a defense. This is strict liability recall.

I voted today

We had the local elections, so I strolled into the voting booth this afternoon, showed my ID, got my papers and voted.

Oz is one of the few places where voting is compulsory, so if needing to show ID is a disincentive to vote then we have a conflict and a problem.

Well, we don’t have a problem, pert near everyone seems to be able to deal with the matter, few are ever called on to pay the fine for failing in their obligation (I was once), and there is very little electoral fraud either. I really don’t know what the fuss is about in the US over voter ID, unless, of course, there are people who like electoral fraud.

Just as an FYI, following the Labor wipeout by the tories in the Queensland state election a couple of weeks ago, today Brisbane City Council – right now, with 64.2% of votes counted, prediction is 68.7% for the tories, and 31.3% for the progressives.

Oh, diddums.

The Jerem(iad) Hunting of the Snark

According to The Guardian the greatest mystery of modern times has been solved by a cosmetic gynaecologist* from Florida. Yes, he has found the G-Spot of legend! The spot that launched a thousand Cosmos.

An aside: is it just me or are those magazines for ladies getting more bizarre in their sex “advice”. Cosmo or something claimed on it’s front cover recently to have discovered a load more sexual positions. Short of claiming to have re-jiggled human anatomy God alone knows how any of this is possible. I mean this is from the (in)famous Perfumed Garden written by a Grand Vizier for an Islamic Potentate way back…

SEVENTH MANNER-El kelouci (the somersault). The woman must wear a pair of pantaloons, which she lets drop upon her heels; then she stoops, placing her head between her feet, so that her neck is in the opening of her pantaloons. At that moment, the man, seizing her legs, turns her upon her back, making her perform a summersault; then with his legs curved under him he brings his member right against her vulva and, slipping it between her legs, inserts it.

It is alleged that there are women who, while lying on their back, can place their feet behind their head without the help of pantaloons or hands.

I think the second paragraph there is a bleg by the Vizier for funding for more field-work in India because it is mentioned this and other chiropractic delights are due to India where according to the author, “It is well for you to know that the inhabitants of those parts have multiplied the different ways to enjoy women, and they have advanced farther than we in the knowledge and investigation of coitus.”

Of course it was well known! It still is. It is one of the two central truths of sex that never go away. The first is the one hinted at here that girls from foreign climes are always dirtier. Whether it is performing the somersault without pantaloons or vaginally firing ping-pong balls in a Bangkok nightclub to the general hilarity of an Aussie stag party the grass is always greener on the other side of the verge. I shall quote Byron:

“What men call gallantry, and gods adultery, is much more common where the climate’s sultry.”.

The other thing that was ever thus (apart from vaginal intercourse which of course was ever thus or I wouldn’t be writing and you wouldn’t be reading this drivel) is the bizarre belief that every generation has that the stuffed-shirts of the older folks were never got off to get it on. Everyone remembers the “unamused” Queen Victoria rather than the one before Albert died and the very saucy letters they wrote to each other. I shall quote Larkin here:

“Sexual intercourse began in 1963 (which was rather late for me) – Between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP.”

Of course – and I have flicked through it once – DH Lawrence’s magnificent octopus is unreadable bilge and just isn’t sexy at all. Maybe it was for Lawrence but then he was a git.

Anyway, back to the G spot of myth and legend. Well to paraphrase an eminent Victorian there are lies, damnable lies, statistics and statistics about sex. Indeed “sexology” (he’s got an “‘ology” that makes him a scientist) is perhaps the shabbiest of alleged sciences. It is all made-up. De Sade, Sigmund Fraud, Alfred Kinsey, Alex Comfort – the whole lot of them said more about themselves than about anything else. I suspect it is down to the use of surveys which are generally misleading (or leading). I’m tempted to write a sex-book myself. Find someone you fancy (and who fancies you) and just you know make it up as you go along. Right! Done that! And you know what. That’s also the fun way to learn. On the job so to speak. Not reading bloody Kinsey! I mean even educated fleas can manage it.

Anyway…

Ostrzenski, a cosmetic gynaecologist and director of the Institute of Gynecology in St Petersburg, Florida, examined the anterior vaginal wall in the body of a deceased 83-year-old woman and, as the New Scientist reported, found “a clearly defined sac in a layer between the vagina and the urethra close to the perineal membrane”. The sac, furthermore, was “around 16 millimetres from the upper part of the urethral opening” positioned at a 35 degree angle, and “less than a centimetre long”. Inside, Ostrzenski discovered a “‘worm-like’ structure with three distinct regions that broadly ‘resemble erectile tissue – normally found in areas such as the clitoral body’”.

That is class science that is! I mean New Scientist is a vile rag (I always preferred Scientific American until that too dumbed down to the level of an eight year old). Do I need to point out the methodological flaws here? I don’t think so. Anyway Ms Barton of the Guardian witters on to no apparent purpose** for several hundred words further…

I suspect personally that the G spot is a semi-myth. There is something that feels a bit different roughly where it’s meant to be but I’ve never found it opened the gates of female sexual paradise. Maybe it does for some but they are all of course in other countries where the climate is sultry and undoubtedly having wild swinging from chandeliers sex with (or maybe even without!) pantaloons.

*Think of it as extreme vajazzaling. Actually this is possibly untrue and I suspect The Graun is incorrect in it’s use of “cosmetic”.
**Much like most searches for the G spot. Or to use the technical term a “frigmarole”.

James down under

I really don’t think Dellers interviews well. He is defensive, antagonistic and sarky to his interlocutors. Admittedly, this bloke was feeding him loaded questions, but most do.

I have heard him on other interviews, and he really needs to lighten up.

Anyway, I am going to hear him natter on in Brisbane on Wednesday evening. I’ll let you know what I think.

Actually, driving to Sydney for this on Tuesday evening, then driving back to Brisbane for this on Wednesday evening.

Bit of driving there, nearly 2k Klicks

You are not wrecking your energy security quickly enough, you are Very Naughty Nations!

Thus spake the International Energy Agency (IEA) to a bunch of more than twenty international energy ministers gathered in London this week.

The wagging finger of authority was delivered when the IEA warned not enough is being done by nations (that would be the faltering western economies) to avert significant climate change in the coming decades.  You read that right.  By obeying the IEA  we can stop the coming of the next ice age catastrophic anthropogenic global warming in its tracks and, by George (no, not that one), we had better jolly well comply or we’ll be sorry.

So David Cameron, like an errant schoolboy hauled before the headmaster, immediately went down on bended knee and tongued IEA sphincter promised to spend billions we haven’t got to build more wind farms.  Apparently he’s unaware the contributions to the National Grid from the existing wind farms are negligible.  That they are incapable of keeping the lights constantly burning in the smallest of hamlets without back-up from conventional power stations that burn fossil fuel.

Ask the residents of the tiny island of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides about the reliability of unsupported renewable energy.  They discovered to their cost that wind power isn’t the planet saving, renewable energy panacea they believed it to be.

Therefore let us ignore the facts, because iDave clearly has, that the UK economy has slipped into a double dip recession, that there has been no increase in global warming, catastrophic or otherwise, for fifteen years and that all the climate alarmists’ science climate modelling techno-scrying has been thoroughly discredited.  Let’s ignore that James Lovelock, a hardcore alarmist contemporary of Hansen and Gore, has seen the writing on the wall and is rapidly distancing himself from the steaming heap of bovine ordure that is CAGW; that he donned sackcloth and ashes by admitting publicly he was wrong.  Let us instead concentrate on destroying our energy capacity and letting poor people freeze to death in the winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes.  After all, isn’t that why people voted for Cameron in the first place.  Oh, wait…

So what the hell is the IEA and how come it thinks it has the brass necked clout to dictate the energy policies of more than twenty countries?

(more…)

The Grauniad

I didn’t know renowned was a synonym for derided.

I support the Prime Minister

I won’t go into the deeply embarrassing details about Peter Slipper, and how such a waste of space came to be appointed Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives. Suffice it to say that the following interview with a Cabinet Minister demonstrates the calibre of the people and government which arranged it.

Jo Nova Redux

This started as a comment on this.

I got to about 5 mins too! essentially it seemed to be taking the moral rather than the hard-edge. I personally regard the existence (or otherwise) of God(s) as a genuine philosophical question. By which I mean one with an objective answer*. If we reduce it to a nanny in the sky judging whether we’re naughty or nice then it becomes meaningless. Because if we think like that then we are denying reality. That is not a statement by me on God’s existence or otherwise. It’s deeper than that. I suspect strongly a lot of folks believe that the belief in God’s existence is more important than God’s existence. You see what I’m getting at? They were arguing the toss as to whether morality is possible without God(s) and it had taken a decidedly instrumentalist approach. Without God(s) can we be moral? A meaningless question as posed and answered. I would have had vastly more respect for Cardinal Pell if he’d said, God exists as revealed in the Bible and he says act like this and not like that rather than weasel himself into a sort of we have to believe in God or all Hell breaks out because you see that would also work if God was merely a polite fiction.

Essentially a moral argument either for or against God is circular. Pell requires God for morality, morality exists and therefore God does. Did we create Him? That is a potentially interesting question in a Spinoza-ish way. Dawkins requires the non-existence of God for the same reasons and I bet if I’d watched more he would have been quoting the Old Testament and I think Deuteronomy and Leviticus would have figured.

But no Pell argued that religion is nice (not the same as arguing it is true) and the questioner when I could take no more was full of the same. But what really turned me was Pell’s argument that Christianity (by which he meant Catholicism being a cardinal and all – so fair play) emancipated women. It wasn’t that long ago folk had to smuggle contraceptives into the Irish Republic. Hell’s teeth the IRA once had a debate. You see they’d figure the best way to add the sulphuric acid starter to a fertilizer bomb was in a condom but could they countenance the use of an immoral object? Tricky this morality lark isn’t it? I found this truly peculiar because as a kid I had a couple of condoms. Yes, I did. They were in a Golden Virginia ‘baccy tin. My survival kit as advised by Brian Hildreth. That was years before I even found girls vaguely interesting. The tin lid was pierced to form a heliograph – I was that sad. In a survival situation your condoms are useful water-carriers. I suspect a survival situation with comely lasses on some desert island is not exactly one you want to be rescued from anyway.

If anything truly emancipated women it was sex without kids.

*Even if we can’t figure it out (and we haven’t) it is still an objective question like Dark Matter or the Solar Neutrino problem. Or (and this is the monster) the interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

Do it

Anyone interested in Victorian historical documents has to go look at Tim Blair, and I mean right now.

Go.

Now.

Comment to Jo Nova

Jo, given the number of comments on your site I won’t comment there, I’ll comment here instead.

Having turned off the television on disgust after spending no more than five minutes watching George Pell demonstrate to Richard Dawkins that he had no idea of the basics of Darwinian theory, and watching Professor Dawkins demonstrate equal ignorance of Christian theology to Cardinal Pell, I had low hopes of Q&A last night.

I didn’t watch I Can Change Your Mind, because I had no expectation of an informed discussion, just lightweight surface skimming. Your opinion piece confirms that expectation.

I switched off the following linked Q&A, again after five minutes, because I saw no one putting forward or talking science, all the science, rather than just talking around variations of something usually called ‘The Science’. Frankly, I found the little I did watch embarrassing and trite. I may be being unfair on what came later, but why would I keep watching in hope when I had none?

I’m sorry I missed seeing your bit, but really, did you expect them to treat you seriously? The treatment of James Delingpole by Sir Paul Nurse, scientist turned political activist, provides a template of what all rationalists and sceptics should expect. For the time being at least.

It may very well be the case that we are starting to prevail in the scientific argument, but programs like this show we still have a long way to go before we win the politics. What saddens me is that even after we do, none of these people will be called to account for the deaths and waste they are engendering.

Update:   For the rest of you, James watched the whole thing; he must have a stronger stomach than do I.

Relativism

Actually Uncle Joe Stalin did not attack Japanese forces till after the first Atomic Bomb went off.

By the way the pro Soviet element in the atomic development were all pro bombing Japan – they did not develop their “nukes are too terrible to be used” opinion till the Cold War with the Soviets.

Turning back to the Oslo murderer – the ardent William James fan (right there on his Facebook page – but the media were too lazy to look, and most of them would not know who William James was anyway).

The calculated murder of a lot youngsters – basically boys and girls.

In what way does this undermine “multiculturalism”?

Of course it does not.

As it makes these young people the poster children for multiculturalism – and makes the left (such as the Labour party in Norway – but also the left in other lands) more popular than it was before.

A few seconds reasoning would show the above was the likely outcome.

But then the Oslo murderer rejected objective reasoning (as he rejected objective reality).

What would happen would be what he WILLED to happen. Reason was just a slave to his desires – a slave to his passions. Reason would be USED to see how he could kill the most people – not in deciding whether to kill people.

Remember he is not emotionless.

He did not weep for the dead children – but he wept when he watched his own propaganda film.

- Paul Marks.

I do know who William James was. I have a rather different view of the man from Paul. But Paul is correct in terms of the way in which James can be interpreted. But that is a class comment and the last line is a killer.

You can tell you live in Cheshire when…

This morning I had a medical appointment. I don’t sleep. I was very tired for it which I guess means I presented with the condition. It also meant I presented with my wife. I like her appearing with me for medical issues for a very simple reason. I like to have a recording angel – that’s a William Gibson ref – when Case gets quizzed by the Turing Heat.

Anyway, the doctor says make an appointment with Alison the nurse for an EKG and some blood tests. Fair enough except the receptionist says for the EKG appointment I am not to have any body lotion on. According to my wife I pulled an interesting face. I was born in the RVI in Newcastle in 1973. Body lotion! For hell’s sake! I know practicing homosexual men who would regard body lotion (whatever that is) as being a bit gay.

How very dare they cast such nasturtiums! I mean it wasn’t that I thought I was upset about questioning my sexuality. Not that I care anyway being a socially liberal kinda guy and like you know I know I’m a heterosexualist. I mean it was obvious – I was there with the missus -the same woman since 1999. No, it wasn’t that. Someone accuses me of being gay – well water off a duck’s back! If I don’t regard homosexuality as wrong so why should I care? But this was hinting at meterosexuality like I waxed or did meditation or read the Indy or was a Green or something. Christ almighty! I go to airshows and read Tom Clancy. Body lotion! Sheesh!

Fun and Games for all

Last week there was an Athiests Convention in Melbourne, a group of Muslims came along to protest….

H/T Tim Blair

Walter Duranty Prize

The first annual Duranty Prize will be given for what our readers consider the most egregious example of dishonest reporting for the fiscal year 2011-2012

Personally, I think there should be awarded in at least two categories.

The first, as above, and the second, well, why should dishonest and mendacious ideologues of past years not be allowed a chance to win as well? Award one for grand efforts in previous years, or even one for outstanding lifetime contribution to the cause of misinformation and propaganda.

Michael Moore? How about the New York Times itself? The home of the late and loathsome Walter Duranty himself.

Are you aware that Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize has never been withdrawn? The NYT retains Wally as a winner in its list of Pulitzer laureates, albeit with a caveat.

Update:  Tim Blair heads this as Win a Wally. Apt, in Oz slang a wally is a fool, an idiot and a failure.

Progressive Protectionism Eh?

Well those are two words guaranteed to bring a Libertarian like me out in hives almost instantly.

But see what you think. There appears to be a bit of a media slanging match going on between Colin Hines of Compass , who is more than a little bit Green, being an advisor to Caroline Ludicrous, our one and only Green MP, and Tim Worstall,  of the Adam Smith Institute.

I’ll let you pick the bones out of the two arguments yourselves, I only have a humble A Level in Economics myself, but I certainly know the misery and poverty that the madness of Merchantilism wrought.

Do click on the link in Worstall’s article if you want the full Hines rant.

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