Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

December, 2012:

Compare and contrast


This graphic rather made me chuckle.  It’s aimed at the American audience but most people who live in western social democratic type countries will notice many similarities with their own criminal gang running things.

If you know a statist this new year (and who doesn’t) given them a link to this simple graphic and watch ‘em splutter.

On a personal note, I might add ~ when anyone else makes ignorant ‘health’ pronouncements I ignore them at no cost to me, where as when HMG does it, I am of course paying to be lectured.  Similarly, if anyone else tells me windmills are the way to power the grid I laugh, whereas when HMG make the same point, I drive past loads of ‘em that I am again, forced to pay for.

Phelim McAleer to show his pro-fracking film on Mark Cuban’s AXS network

Dateline 12/25/12. Story continues, and there’s a photo of Mr. Cuban looking as if he’s playing football, at the source. Oh, and comments, too.

Major network set to show FrackNation, which attacks anti-fracking groups….

FrackNation, the controversial film supportive of fracking, has secured a television deal and will premiere January 22, 2013 on AXS TV., the cable channel owned by billionaire Mark Cuban.

“We’re excited to get the truth to the public,” said Irish-born Phelim McAleer, co-director and owner of Hard Boiled Films. “And we’re doubly excited to be working with AXS TV.

His wife Ann McElhinney who co-directed states “There has been a lot of talk about fracking in the media—from documentaries to Oscar-contending films such as Promised Land starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski—but what’s lacking is honesty and perspective,” said McElhinney.

I am not Farticus!

You know what the intermong is like: link, link, link…?

I recently discovered this utter gem:

Which is serendipitous. Sort of.

Spartacus Chetwynd (born Lali Chetwynd, 1973) is a British artist known for reworkings of iconic moments from cultural history in deliberately amateurish and improvisatory performances.

You want “amateurish” and improsivatory” performances you should have seen me trying to get a Dell to work with a claw-hammer back in 1998. There would also have been foul language (which I am given to understand is de rigeur in the farts and shitterature these days – I think I called it a right Compaq – at least that is what the owner thought they’d heard…). I don’t tend to use claw-hammers and foul language (that may be a lie) these days for it upsets the cat. Having said that I have never left the “present” of half a mouse on his bed so he can fuck off too. Or…

In 2012, she was nominated for the Turner Prize.

You don’t say.

And when I pissed in a White Lightning bottle and posted it to ‘em they tried to get a restraining order… For shame! My fault for I did science at university and perhaps more appallingly I also did a life drawing class there (optional extra that I paid like a couple of quid a week for and didn’t count for credit) in which I attempted to render a simulacrum of a nude model. Now call me disgracefully old-fashioned (or even staggeringly avant-garde) but I kinda thought being able to draw a nude and make it look like the subject was sort of the point of art. I have also done watercolour landscapes but then that puts me firmly in the antedeluvian class of Turner and such. I have never therefore artistically challenged anyone but unlike a zoo monkey I have never flung dung at anyone either. So, I never artistically dared anyone to keep their stomach contents on the inside either. If I had I’d probs be a sodding millionaire.

I once visited an installation (long story) which consisted of walking down a tunnel of “used” tampons. That was a Newcastle University MA exhibition. For my master’s degree I had to write a thesis on Gödel. Oh, well, the nature of spacetime or jam-rags? And they weren’t even real (the tampons spacetime is very real – it’s like where we live). I met the artist and the thing is she explained it all. Directly opposite Newcastle University is a Boots and she had a lot of red-dye so… I on the other hand merely had to figure out stuff about one of the greatest (and frequently abtuse) mathematicians of all time’s contribution to the feory of Gen Rel.

Sometimes you wonder who is mad?

The filmed performance of the piece by Ms Spartacus was summarised by Adrian Searle as, “The young woman who rode to her own death on the dildo see-saw at the Sugar-Tits Doom Club,” and described by Richard Dorment as, “Silly beyond words and teetered at times on the edge of porn – but once you start looking at it I defy you to tear yourself away.

Dirty old fuckers who would come (in every sense) to the opening of a school-girl’s bra.

So basically neither porn nor art but some crapulence (arguably) “in-between” and worth the cunteth-root of fucketh all anyway. Kinda reminds me of a laptop I was asked to fix once. Nice piece of kit. High-end Acer. Now this otherwise attractive young-ish woman (the video codecs had gone to Hell so I was pointed in the direction of the videos) was naked on the machine, clearly like 7 months preggers and frigging herself into a fury whilst declaiming utter wank – or poetry as it is otherwise known. Well, I fixed the Codecs and the videos looked OK – for a certain value of OK. Her Mum, who gave me the minor task (and rewarded me with a pack of Stella – I would have preferred money which can also be exchanged for Belgian lager) said her daughter was an “artist”. What I didn’t manage to fix (Nick doesn’t do hardware with lappies) was the supremely fucked Firewire port. I’m like a doctor or a priest (I’ve heard it all before and I do not judge – more like a priest really because doctors are the most preachy fuckers on this planet) and I really don’t care what preversities you get up to with your Turing Machine (nobody gets to look at mine! – and it is encrypted to Angband and back).

But, I like to know what the score is if aksed (sic) for a fix. I have seen some fuckaroos in my time mind. I got it on for the DV being in the right colours but not on the IEE 1394 (because she was an artist I didn’t know if the vids were meant to be like that but I got it to look real and that was deemed OK – for a certain value of OK. I asked if a child had ever had access. I was told, “No!” but my tongue said otherwise (One wouldn’t have thought taste was that important but any (Firewire) port in a storm) for it had been buggered with strawberry jam and I had tasted it and I knew the owner had a small boy and there was a shed-load of Barney the Dinosaur vids on the HD. Not that I could fix the bugger, mind. Well, you have to de-solder the IEE 1394 from the board and replace it and I’ll be fucked if I’m doing that. I did fix the Codecs mind.

So, art… Well, I’m gonna get on my high horse now. Because my last trip was to Paris and the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay boast some of the finest works of art in the Universe. Why else do ya think I was paying EUR 3 for a sodding Coke when I can get one just down the road from Sayeed for 65p? And you need to take out a mortgage to buy a sandwich. A fine city but not a cheap one. Prague on the other hand is both fine and cheap. Last time I Czech-ed it was ace. I was staying with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend in Poland and he drives us just over the border (that is really weird for a Brit – the idea of having a border eight miles away) and we go to a pub and eat a Czech specialty – deep fried cheese, have some smokes and a couple of excellent beers – because the Czech Republic is a civilized place – as is Poland. The Poles do mighty fine vodka but for beer give me the Czechs any day. And that was also the opinion of my Polish host. But the deep-fried cheese was to die for! Oh and near the pub was an L-39 LIFT (look it up) on static display and a T-34. Cool!

Anyway, art?


(I’d move to Prague tomorrow if I could make head or tail of the preverse lingo).

The Dead Zone…

I’ve always thought of the time between Christmas and New Year as a kinda dead-zone when nowt happens. You know Soviet physicists called black holes “frozen stars”? That if you know a bit of Relativity (I do) is a pretty good description because of what happens at the event horizon is radial distance rather than time becomes the “driven” co-ordinate. What happens inside a naked singularity is beyond mere physics – it’s the “Woo-Woo stuff”. I have seen a naked singularity but that was in a bar in Florida and I really don’t want to talk about it. I have seen many things… Some like sunrise over the caldera of Santorini I shall never forget. Others I wish I could. Anyway, I was watching MTV’s “Greatest Hits of the ’90s” with a small ale whilst my wife slept and His Royal Felix luxuriated His Profound Majesty and luxuriatiated in front of the halogen “fire”. Here he is. I took the photo. If this doesn’t say “louche” to everyone then I pity the fool who thinks otherwise.


Happy New Year!

My Hero.

Nick did a brilliant job on Sir Patrick Moore’s obituary, but we just didn’t know how much of a Libertarian and anti Statist the great man was did we? My hat is truly doffed to you Sir Patrick, wherever you are.

The World is Mad!

I just heard Cherie Blair is to be made a CBE for “Services to Charity” and “Women’s Issues”. Now to be fair to Ms Booth she has advanced the position dramatically of at least one woman. Or perhaps she ought to have got it for “Services to Drama” for she (a) owns the world’s largest dressing-up box and (b) she is the real Lady Macbeth.

On the other hand I was vaguely amused that, as the BBC put it, Sarah Storey (our local heroine*) has been “Made a Dame” which makes her sound like some sort of transgendered gangster. Her hubby, the similarly gold-winning, Barney got nowt which is fair enough because he almost totaled me on his bike recently.

*I posted all my Crimble cards into her golden slot.

How to be a dictator (UK edition 2013)

1. Make guns illegal and the innocent unable to defend themselves against armed criminals or government thugs.

2. Subjugate parliament to your will by stuffing the place with thieving, lying, criminal non-entities who will vote for anything the three line whip tells ‘em to.

3. Remove the right to silence on arrest.

4. Make citizens prove they own stuff legally and thereby reverse the relationship between citizen and state where it is supposed to be accountable to you.

5. Restrict the right to trial by jury because some laws are just to complex for the proles to get but ignore the irony that if people can’t understand a law to judge it, how could they realistically obey it.

6. Make citizens seek your consent, before they protest against you.  Have the implicit idea implanted in their heads that you have the right to say no.

7. Increase the amount of time you can detain anyone without trial or charge.

8. Make some courts entirely secret, make reporting of proceedings a crime.

9. Ensure a supranational body like the EU, that you can neither elect nor dismiss has power to pass laws on a wide range of issues in your country

10. Remove the rules on double jeopardy, so the state can keep prosecuting citizens, for the same alleged crime, until they get the result, they want

11. Pass laws making certain views illegal, like hate-crimes and arrest people for holding views you don’t like from the political to the trivial.

12. Have the toughest libel laws in the world that only the very wealthy can ever access and pretend you don’t want government restriction of the press but those pesky Lib dems might just force you, reluctantly, to muzzle ‘em.

13. Introduce an ID card, so that not being able to prove who you are, when challenged by the state becomes a crime !!!! even though you know, this will have no impact at all on “terrorism” or benefit fraud (whichever is your latest nonsense to justify it).

14. Decide there are countries you kinda don’t like; invade them or back unknown loons on the other side and cause utter carnage and murder on a grand scale and make tough sounding speeches, whilst remaining safely 7,000 miles away yourself.

15. Rely on the weak-minded to think “Well if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear….and anyway, I’m not a terrorist” whilst they are distracted by televised singing and dancing contests that they get to vote in.

16. Ensure that actual voting is pointless and the major issues of the day are off the table and never discussed.  Realise that the most hopelessly enslaved are those who do not know they are enslaved.

17. Have a state-run and state-owned broadcaster that is pro-state.

18. Run a permanent budget deficit.  Have no coherent plan to remotely get finances back to balance.  Rely on counterfeiting of fiat currency.

19. Ensure your state run schools barely educate anymore (no point teaching the proles to think, they might see you for what you are) but keep up a remorseless barrage of propaganda of dubious educational value to ensure conditioning.

20. Maintain victimless prohibition-type crimes on the statute books and claim your policies are ‘working’ when it is obvious to anyone who can think they have failed.  Hope the population don’t see the war on drugs is a war on them.

21. Tax people at insanely high levels so they lack the income to take care of ‘emselves and will always depend on you for health, education and housing.  After a couple of generations of this, most will be simply unable to comprehend alternatives to your useless, rickety services.  Some of the ‘hard-of-thinking’ may even regard such alternatives as ‘evil’ in some way.

22. Have a really big public sector workforce so people rely upon you for income.  Employ simpletons with no real transferable skills in pointless jobs and make it obvious that outside of the state they would be much worse off.  Stand back and watch ‘em defend it with their very souls.

That’s how I would do it.  Thank God we don’t live in such a society.

Roman law, modern law and “Feudal” law – a hint as to what that wild madman Paul Marks is on about.

I am no legal expert (“we have noticed Paul”), but I do want to give an hint about what I am on about when I mention the words “Feudal law” or Roman law or modern law – it if be wrong….. well see later for my “get out of jail” card on that.

Before I say anything more I had better state that one can have serfdom without feudalism (for example the Emperor Diocletian established de facto serfdom by declaring that peasants could not leave the land – and many other legal systems had done this before him) and one can have feudalism without serfdom (places like Sark, feudal to only a couple of years ago, were not known for serfdom).

“Feudalism” is (if it is anything – other than just a word) a system where people swear loyality (they make an active choice) it is a MILITARY thing at base, and “feudal” law is about (fundementally) such blood contracts (after all one is swearing to defend someone to the death – one’s own death, and the other side of this contract, the obligations of one’s lord, has to be fundemental also) are based on tradition and custom – made into formal law. That is why (by the way) “Feudal” law can be different in different places – different old customs and traditions.

“Feudal” law can not, logically, be anything else (than old customs and traditions presented as formal law). as if this law can be changed by “the Prince” (either a Roman Emperor or a modern “legislature”) then they can not be part of a contract – as they are, effectively, “above the law” (because the can change it whenever they feel like doing so).

One swears to defend one’s lord to the death and he (or she – for a fedual overlord can be female) swears to unhold the law (as, for example, Henry the First of England did in his formal charter of 1100 – in order to get the people to rally to him against his older brothers) – if the “the law” is simply whatever they say it is (as with a Roman Emperor or a modern Parliament or other legislature) then this is not Feudalism – any more than the “my honour is loyality” of the SS was the warrior code of Northman (indeed, as Tolkien noted, to pretend that there is no difference between honour and loyality – and to hold that loyality is unconditional, i.e. that one will do dishonorable things if ordered to do so, is a direct and deliberate MOCKERY of the traditional honour code). One swears to to defend one’s lord to the death (one’s own death) in return not for “protection” (that is a Roman view of law – or a modern one – after all if one is promising to shed one’s life’s blood for someone else personal protection is not the main thing in play), but for JUSTICE for the upholding of tradition and custom. Seen as a manifestation in this world of divine and universal justice (different in details from place to place – but not in fundemenal PRINCIPLE and, for the same reason, not changing fundemenally over time). This is why the oath is a sacred thing – based on the creator of the universe and the natural law itself.

“All theory Paul – what does this mean in PRACTICE?”

Very well.

First for Roman law (i.e. late Roman law – the law of the Empire). For this I will turn to “Justinian’s Institutes” (Cornell University Press 1987). By the way this is only a tiny part of Roman law of the time – there were many volumes of the writings of previous law officers and the legislation of Emperors (actually the truth of the so called “Code of Justinian” is that most of it is not from Justinian and it is not a code, the “Twelve Tables” back in 450 B.C. may or may not have been a code, but the endless rules and regulations that Romans lived under more than a thousand years later certainly were not a code).

In this work it is stated (Book Two, section one “The Classification of Things”) that neither the seashore or rivers can be privately owned.

So no private beaches under Roman law – and no protected fishing (or protection of water supply from rivers) either.

Anyone may fish where they like – and no private person or association (what Romans would call a “collegia” – spelling alert) may restrict water supply by stating that it is private (they can do that with a well – but not with a river).

In the modern age such thing as Spanish law (that holds that no river is private) and even supposedly Common Law New Zealand (where the last Labour party government nationalized the sea shore) follow the idea that neither rivers or the sea shore (the beaches) can be private property.

It is very different under Feudal law – the notion of “private property” may not be formally stated (that depends on the exact type of “Feudal” law we are talking about – for example it was stated under the law of Norway) the King (as lord of lords) may (or may not) formally “own” everthing – but he certainly can not BEHAVE as if he does (more on that later).

And rivers and beaches can be de facto owned under Feudal law.

For example under Scots law (inherited from their local version of feudal law) right up to 1845, if you wanted to sell something you gave a public display of what it was – remember most people could not read.

And if you wanted to sell private fishing rights (something that can not exist under Roman law) you, as well making a speech before witnesses (plus anyone who wanted to turn up to the river to watch the former owner of the fishing rights sell them to someone else) you handed over a fish.

For land it was some earth (on the site you were selling – again before witnesses), for the hunting rights of birds it was a bird (again….) and so on.

Also under Roman law the owner of a transport service (say someone who makes their living with a couch or carts) or the owner of an inn (or other establishment of business) could not turn away a customer – could not “discriminate” against them (to use modern language) as the owner of a transport service was a “common carrier” and the owner of an inn provided “public accomidations”.

Feudal law does not even know what “common carriers” and “public accomidations” are.

If you owned a cart (or some such) you could transport people or goods. And if you owned a building you could put people up (in return for payment).

But you did not have to do so – if you did not want to.

Owning a cart did not make you part of a special caste that served the state (indeed the term “state” does not really fit into feudal thinking – it is a Roman term or a modern term).

Ditto if you owned a building and put people (if you had a mind to) in return for money, that did not mean you were a special sort of animal called a “public accomidations” person serving the needs of the state (whatever “the state” is supposed to be).

But all the above misses the point anyway……..

As the point is – if Justinian (or some other Emperor) had decided (on a whim) to change the above “legal principles” they could (they were above the law – and could make the law whatever their WILL wished it to be).

If a feudal overlord said one day “I have decided to change the law – after all the law is whatever I say it is”. People would have thought they had gone mad – they might even have called a priest to fight against the demon or devil that had taken over the mind of their lord.

Of course one would fight to the death to save the life of one’s lord – but the lord had no rightful power to “change the law”. After all that would mean a power to overthrow custom and tradition – the manifestation in the land (the spirit of the land) of the law of God, the natural law of the universe. This might manifest itself differently in different lands (depending on the customs and traditions of that land and people), but the fundemental principles of the law were divine and universal.

Of course Roman legal thinkers (like Greek Stoics and Aristotelians before them) also accepted the existance of natural law – but they held that state law trumped it.

“Feudal” thinking (when understood the concept of “the state” at all – which it did not really) held the exact opposite.

The King might give orders in battle and war (and so on) – but if his orders went against the law, they were void (at least to a man of honour). That is why “the spirit of Nurenberg” (“I was only obeying orders”) might be fine from a Roman point of view – but does not make any sense from a “feudal” one.

The lord may call upon you to fight to the death – indeed he should not have to call (you should do that without him asking). But he may not order you to rob or murder someone else – to commit an injustice.

Of course terrible injustices (mass murder, rape and so on) might still occur. But if someone said “what I did was lawful because the Prince (or council or….) told me to it” then they simply showed (even to a person with no learning at all) that they simply did not understand what the words “right” and “law” meant – and were, at best, insane.

Canon Law (church law – and it is impossible to understand “feudal” law without understanding the influence of religion upon it – whether Christian or PAGAN) held the same view – see Brian Tierney’s “The Idea of Natual Rights” (Emery University 1997).

Like Roman Law, Canon Law held that there was positive law (the commands of the Prince – of council in a Republic like Venice) and natural law.

But (like “feudal” thinking) it turned the Roman law thinking on its head.

Far from “positive” law trumping natural law – natural law trumped the “will of the ruler”.

Hence more than a thousand years of Church-State disputes (or disputes between Canon Lawyers and Roman Lawyers – in spite of them, in many ways, shareing the same tradition) they looked at things in reverse ways.

“That was just because the Church wanted to declare what natural law was – as a power grab”

Partly YES – but the Church always made a distinction between Christian practices (the rules of the Church) and the universal laws of God – that applied to nonChristians as much as to Christians (indeed even to nonChristians AGAINST Christians).

Of course some Popes and so on were corrupt scumbags guilty of every crime known to man – but some were not, and even the worst of them held that there were things they should not do (even if they did them) the idea that their WILL was law, would have been denounced as the vomit of the Devil (even by the worst Popes.

Canon lawyers (like “Feudal” ones) would have regarded the pretensions of modern Parliaments (and “human rights” courts) to change fundemental law as they see fit – as, at best, insanity and (more likely) as clear evidence that these “legislatures” and “judges” were agents of the Evil One.

And one must not think that such people were stupid or filled with silly fancies. Many of the Popes and theologians of the past were profound legal thinkers and philosophers – not every Pope spent their time chasing girls and murdering rivals (and even the oness that did often did good work also).

Still back to “Feudal” law – and a single example to come to the end of this post……

I draw from “A Summery view of the feudal law, with the differences of the Scots law from it; together with a dictionary of the select terms of the Scots and English law, by way of appendix” (John Dundas 1710).

As a general rule of thumb – the older an account of “feudal” law the better. As old accounts are more concerned with just laying the thing out – not (like Maitland and his, Blackstone influenced [no wonder the Founding Fathers of the United States despised Blackstone - with his doctrine that whatever Parliament declared was law], crew “explaining” what law “must” be i.e. whatever the state, Parliament, says it is).

Difference number 80.

“By the Feudal law no Man is forced to part with or sell his Few [fief of land] or any part of it.

By our law [i.e. law made by Parliament and so on] a vassel may be forced to give some part of it for High-ways and if his Neighbour be building a Park, or Inclosure, he may be forced to sell an adjacent corner of his Grounds to him, to perfect it”.

This is much like the so called “Edict of Quierzy” (877) which repeated the “old right” that not even a King of France could take the land of one person and give it to another (or himself).

To a Roman lawyer this makes no sense.

To a modern lawyer (such as that scumbag Maitland – and I am right to call him a “scumbag” after all he claims that no Act of Parliament “has ever been passed” that was irational or evil, so there is no need for any judge or jury to oppose an Act of Parliament as being against natural justice, a concept he scorns anyway – I could name a hundred Acts of Parliament passed before Maitland wrote that Devil-vomit lie, that were utterly evil and against basic natural justice) it makes no sense also.

As Maitland says, mocking the upholders of the “speculative dogma” of natural justice “We can  (its upholders seem to say) concieve that a statute might be so irational,  so wicked, that we would not want to enforce it; but as a matter of fact, we have never known such a statute made.”

Pages 107-108  “A Sketch of English Legal History” G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York and London (1915) chapter five (written by Maitland rather than his coarthor Francis Montague) on “Statute and Common Law”.

Oh you dog Maitland,  you pig  – may you be burning, even as I type these words,  for your lies. What of the Statute of Labourers that tried to reduce all peasants (including those who had always been free – such as the people of Kent) to serfs? Much in the manner of the Emperor Diocletian. Or the Stature of Artificers under the first Elizabeth that tried to turn all people (bar the rich) into de facto slaves – forbidden to practice any other trade than that of their father, and forbidden to leave the parish of their birth?  What of the “Black Act” (passed as late as the 1700s) that punished some two hundred crimes (some quite minor) with death?

What of so many other Acts of Parliament – both so irational and so wicked that no one (other than a monster) would uphold them?

However,  I hope the idea of law as trying (in the circumstances of  time and place) to give effect to the principles of jusice (NOT the WILL of the ruler or rulers – in the mannor of the late Roman Empire or of Thomas Hobbes and his “Legal Positivists” with their Hell vomit doctrine that whatever the “legistlature” declares is law)  makes a some sense to libertarians.

As for my errors – no doubt many and terrible……

I offer the words of John Dundas.

“If this Treatise should happen to be less correct, the Reader would be pleased to give himself the trouble to mend the Errors, and excuse what is amiss, this Book being given to be printed by a certain person when the Author was our of Town, and knew nothing of the publishing of it, not having designed so soon to send it abroad into the world.”

Merry Christmas

Or, of course, Happy Yuletide if you prefer. (Me, I like the presents…and the various scenes in public parks, store windows, so forth–whether Santa, elves, happy wild creatures in the snow, or *gasp* the Nativity Scene…streets decorated for Christmas…FOOD…and the music.*)

May Santa deliver all the gifts you wanted, without getting any of them stuck in the chimney!

And may all the critters to whom you are valet get an extra helping of their favorite treats.

*Music: The Messiah, natch, the “Carol of the Bells” (Robert Shaw version, please), and if you are so fortunate, John Lewis’s arrangement of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”–I forget how it’s entitled on the album. Much additional worthy music, of course, but that’s the bare minimum.

Merry Christmas to all ;) ,


Best Libertarian films?

Reason TV recently did a light-hearted piece on Libertarian movies.  I thought it somewhat wide of the mark and so I present some personal choices for great films with Libertarian themes, and of course I invite you to do likewise.  You have to be sick of the mandatory but un-watchable Christmas offerings, right?

First is the 1960 classic “Spartacus”  Apart from some giants of the screen, Olivier, Douglas, Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov there is much to love about this one.  Epic battle scenes, beautiful sets, some censor-busting stuff about oysters and snails, great dialogue, casting a black man as a hero (Woody Strode) and of course the eternal struggle between slaves and those who would oppress them.  Quite beautiful.

The we have “The Outlaw Josey Wales”  You knew there would be an Eastwood film in there somewhere right?  The refusal to bow down to corrupt murdering authority and general manliness of Eastwood is something to behold.

Looking at the classics I love “Gone with the wind” Is there a better character in all of Hollywood than Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler?  You love the blockade running and the great line to the effect “Cause? I believe in Rhett Butler, he’s the only cause I care about” Great stuff.  That and I seem to have a weakness for beautiful, slender but emotionally unstable dark women*

Then we have another Maverick from Hollywood’s golden era “Casablanca” Sure Rick gets a bit selfless at the end but for most of the movie he is a tough, wise-cracking individualist, even at the end he had paid off the police more or less so we can forgive him that one.

That’s my take, what warms the cockles of your liberty-minded hearts?

* You may guess Mrs SAoT does not read this blog

This is it!

It’s become something of a tradition around this gaff for me to post this for Christmas. (obviously if you prefer you can always listen to (should be thrown of a) Cliff Richard’s simply magisterial rendering of “Mistletoad and Whine”).

So to all of you, a very Happy Christmas!

I once almost spent Christmas in NYC (Christmas Day itself was in Miami – and that was cool – or rather warm enough to swim and then wind-up with a bunch of Jews in a bar on South Beach with a pint (US) from a micro-brewery and a cigar (from Cuba – there are ways and means)). But I spent the night two days before Christmas drinking whiskey and smoking weed on a roof-top in lower Manhattan overshadowed by a pair of of buildings that aren’t there no more. It was bitter cold but the company was excellent and I had my Jack Daniels coat on and a spliff and I was in NYC, somewhat drunk, reasonably stoned, on a roof looking at the Chrysler Building all lit-up and the World was most wonderful. And I was with a gorgeous woman.

I mark that Crimble with a white stone.

So have fun. I shall!

That’s it? You have nothing more to say?

Damned insomnia struck again the other night and so after a quick scroll through the internet, I found myself watching “Jeff Randall’s Christmas Dinner” Basically, the pretty decent Mr Randall interviews three captains of industry over dinner and drinks and gleans their collective wisdom.  It was about 3am and so I decided to listen to what they had to say.

He was talking to a mobile-phone hawker, a booze-hound* and some chick who ran a series of burger outlets.

The first thing that struck me was how remarkably mainstream and conformist all their views were.  I don’t imagine too many mavericks or original thinkers get to run large corporations, but really, this lot were pub-bore material in the first segment.  Randall asked what they thought of the Olympics and they all thought them wonderful.  Possibly because people rang each other more while getting drunk and troughing burgers for all I know, but no-one mentioned the four/five fold over-spend or the dead legacy or where the money was coming from to fund the jolly.  Quite disappointing.

The he got onto more serious topics, namely the Euro.  None thought it doomed.  None thought the fundamental over-spend that social democratic western governments all engage in MUST bust their currencies and presumably they all thought that 25% unemployment in Spain was wither sustainable or fixable as none addressed it.

They all knew the economy was in the doldrums of course but claimed or possibly hoped for better times next year.  I guess when you are the boss you must sound a bit optimistic; saying “We are probably canning half of you next year” doesn’t make for a happy Christmas party.

Now it is of course possible that they were all highly intelligent people who thought that sounding like a conspiracy-loon in national TV might not prolong their careers and thus simply trotting out clichés was de rigueur but I have to say, they were not an overly impressive group.  It is also possible that each works so long and hard at their respective businesses they struggle to find the time for wider strategic contemplation.  And let’s applaud their rising up the greasy pole in the first place, but if there was any real insight, any nuggets ~ they weren’t sharing.

I had always thought that the various CEO’s I had encountered in construction were unusual in being largely stupid, noisy, alcoholic, brown-nose bullies who would get lost on the way into the IQ test**.  Maybe such characteristics extend beyond construction?

*By which I mean someone who sells alcohol rather than is overly-keen on it of course.

** For the avoidance of doubt I do not suggest any of Mr Randall’s guests share any of those characteristics nor are navigationally-challenged.

Apocalypse postponed – again.

We all know it was finito on the 21st. Due to the end of the Mayan Long Count.

Except it like wasn’t… Mind fair play to the Mayans – they still exist and still have their language and culture – shorn of human sacrifice – that does happen in Mexico mind mainly as a result of the deathly tango between “The War on Drugs” and the gangs… But that’s another matter…

But quite a few of them made a few quids out of new-age twats. And if a hippie and his or her money is parted due to ancient and brilliant mathematics and astronomy then Nick is happy.

Over at the “Christian Science Monitor” they have a round-up of their top-five failed (obviously) prognostications of global doom. They are all corkers…


The Millerites* – serial prognosticators of doom – kinda like religious Alan Hansens – but there was a “Great Disappointment” for them when the world didn’t end in 1844. They split and we got the Seventh Day Adventists and ultimately the Branch Davidians.


December 21st (again) 1954. This is a cracker…

Martin’s followers, many of whom quit their jobs and gave away their possessions, gathered in her home to await the aliens. (Martin’s husband, a nonbeliever, slept upstairs through the whole thing.) To avoid being burned by the flying saucer, her followers removed all metal from their persons, including zippers and bra straps. Midnight came and went and the group became increasingly agitated. Finally, at 4:45am, Martin said that she received another message from Clarions informing her that God was so impressed by her groups actions that He changed His mind and decided to spare the earth.

I love the fact hubby slept through the End of the World and what sounds like some sort of deranged Dianetics orgy. I mean why worry about the clap if it is the End of Days? Or maybe it was like the Heaven’s Gate “Away Team” who watched Star-Trek videos before they drank the Kool-Aid (or whatever). Some of those even castrated themselves so they didn’t get a stiffy when Lt Uhuru fiddled with the Crimble dec in her lug. Me, I lugged the ‘scope and Pentax out the back and got some pretty decent photos of Hale-Bopp. With my girlf and a cable release. Mentalists. I mean I knew my Solar System Dynamics lecturer Carl Murry had a year’s sabbatical in Florida to work on his book so why worry? Prof Murry is still with us and so is Florida. The book is available from Amazon. The paperback is fifty quid. There is a used hardback for nigh on nineteen hundred quid. I assume it is a mint signed first edition or similar. Very bright chap Prof Murray. Looked to the future. I have a copy of the earlier ring-bound photocopied version with my own spider-crawl marginalia.


Hal Lindsey. Bog standard apocalyptica though repeated – often. He now claims (after his predictions for 2000AD didn’t come to pass) that Prez Obama is setting the stage for the antichrist. If the antichrist is Joe Biden I think we can all sleep safely for he is a moron.


Pat Robertson, who in a 1980 broadcast of “The 700 Club” said “I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world.”

The world didn’t end in 1982, but “WKRP in Cincinnati,” did.

So why was Mr Robertson running in several desultory attempts for the presidency when it’s all effed anyway?


And finally my personal fave. The Prophet Hen of Leeds. This one is instructive for utterly contra to millennial or apocalyptic visions this shows that the good folk of Yorkshire then, as now, have a warped, nay, fowl, sense of humour. And in these final days it is good to have a certain sense of continuity.


Now we only have the enforced jollity of Crimble. Ho, ho, ho! to look forward to.

Something I saw in the Telegraph darkly amused me. The Crimble Special of the execrable “Call the Midwife” on BBC1 (which has displaced the “Who” spesh – Dear Gods!) said it would, “Have you crying into your Christmas pud”. True, in a sense. In the sense of outraged boredom and terminal tedium.

Merry Christmas everyone!

(Bah, humbug!)

*Not to be confused with the Miller Lites which is only the end of beer (as if that wasn’t bad enough).

Why I despise the Daily Mail.

Hypocrisy is the short answer.

The longer answer is their cutsey-named “Femail” sidebar on their website. It by and large consists of stuff like this. Note the second image where Ms Moss’s nipple is clearly visible. And this from the valiant crusader (that’s all over the front page of the print edition) against online pornography. This is the online version. See also this

I don’t know how they got these pictures – they look rather too HQ to be paparazzi but I dunno. I mean it could be a publicity stunt for Moss (who I note from the TV doesn’t seem to be advertising any perfume this Christmas) or it could be the long-lense lads. But… I dunno. The Mail are hypocritical scum either way. Personally I think pornography (however hard or soft) which is done with willing (and paid) participants is morally vastly superior to paparazzi stuff. But that is by the by. Both articles are available in seconds from the Mail website. How can they square that circle? Or do they want the Mail reclassified as an opt-in soft-porn rag? Because this is very far from the first time “Femail” has published “compromising” pictures of ‘slebs.

Or… pictures of say, Rihanna’s (very nice) bottom in her skimpies in the “Femail” column whilst editorialising elsewhere on the corrosive effects on teenage girl’s self-esteem of pictures of “perfect” female bodies or claiming this is resulting in ever younger boys sexually assaulting girls. And all this whilst claiming implicitly (explicitly) to be the moral keel of the nation.

In a sense it would be fitting and sweet if they were cast into the outer darkness of “Asian Babes” or “Monster Jugs” – hoist indeed upon their own petard. But I object to this censorship anyway and in deep principle. Somebody has to decide what is unsuitable for kids and I think that ought to be us adults. This is not a matter for government. It really shouldn’t be. It also implies mission-creep for there is already talk of websites involving deliberate self-harm. And what after that? It’s just government control of the internet.

Our playground. Not there’s. They only hate it because they don’t understand it. And they are small people, pathetic people. People who do not believe that individuals can ever do the right thing without coercion, if not outright violence.


No, have a clue. Have even the sketchiest grasp of what you are talking about, understand that the issue maybe more complex than your toddler-like brains can grasp. Hope no-one notices that as uber-wealthy Hollywood types you already have bodyguards and the armed protection you would deny others as well as high-security homes protected in ways beyond the reach of ordinary people whose lives are touched by crimes daily.

Demand bans on ‘assault weapons’ because no-one could commit a crime with a Glock 22 and a bunch of regular capacity magazines. er, wait. Not listening, ban them anyway. Show your staggering historical ignorance by failing to realise that unless your ancestors had assault weapons in 1776 you’d still be British.

Assume all criminals would automatically had in their AK’s and you wouldn’t just be engaged in a futile effort to disarm the law-abiding who don’t do crime and you wouldn’t just leave them wholly vulnerable despite copious evidence of exactly that in the UK.

Require a criminal background check despite the fact that this simply allows the government to decide who is entitled to protect themselves and who, frankly isn’t. Ignore the fact that it’s a handy database when the time comes to exert total control when you seize all guns like dictators always do. Can’t have the plebs with a means to defend ‘em selves.

Ignore the fact that if someone starts shooting, phoning the cops is pointless because they simply can’t respond in time; just keep repeating “ring the cops”

Confirm your ignorance by not realising that the right to bear arms was the symbol of a free man in the middle ages and that those denied the right were serfs. Ignore that fact that the most vicious dictatorships always try to deny gun rights because guns are a guarantee against an over-mighty state.

Fail to note that those who rely on the government to protect them are regularly screwed by their own government or someone else’s but a rifle in everyone’s home makes the prospect of subjugating a population so unpleasant that even the Nazis didn’t try it (Switzerland).

In short, go back to making rubbishy films or dismal sitcoms for simpletons for which you are amply rewarded and leave the thinking to grown-ups.

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