Monday, December 31, 2007


Thanks to The Devil's Kitchen for pointing out this particularly terrifying device.

* exits room clutching groin in imagined pain *

Never gona 4get...

The father of the 13 month old child killed by a family rottweiler has left a tribute to his dead son on their Bebo site.

“Never gona 4get ya lil man, RIP 4eva n always, miss ya so much, ur mummy sez i can ave ur iggle piggle, so gna keep him in car wi me xxxxx.”

The grandparents have said a 16 year old should not have been left in charge of the 13 month old child. The mother was soon to celebrate her 18th birthday, so must have been 16 when she gave birth, which I guess, means 16 is an acceptable age to bear children, but not necessarily an acceptable age at which to care for them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What Happens When the Police Go on Strike?

Would the same thing happen here? The following extract is taken from Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate and describes his experience of a police strike.

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin's anarchism. I laughed off my parents' argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundered shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Songs in an Off-Key

I've pilfered this meme from The Girl with The Golden Mind

1. Put your music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT (this is in capital letters, so it is very serious).

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY? Out of Focus - Mick Jagger


3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GAL? If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go - Curtis Mayfield

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Take it Back - Pink Floyd

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? So Many Things - Francoise Hardy

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Let Me Light Your Fire - Jimi Hendrix

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? Rhumba de Burros - Ignatius Jones

8. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS? Let Me Go Lover - Dean Martin

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Harder Better Faster Stronger - Daft Punk

10. WHAT IS 2+2? Did You Hear What They Said - Gil Scott-Heron

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? Irish Blood, English Heart - Morrissey

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? Music to Watch Space Girls Go By - Leonard Nimoy

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? Don't You Feel My Leg - Maria Muldaur

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? Lullaby - Jake Thackray


16. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Praise You - Fatboy Slim


18. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? Trouser Freak - The Bonzo Dog Band

19. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? In My Own Words - Craig Armstrong


21. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? The Dope - The Dandy Warhols

22. WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS? It Ain't No Fun - Shirley Brown

Friday, December 07, 2007

Muffin Man, I Hate You

On days when I work in The City I take the bus from Crouch End to Finsbury Park and then the train from Finsbury Park to Moorgate. I usually travel at about 7.30 - it's busy but bearable and it's only a short journey - 15 minutes or so.

This morning I was a little later than normal so I knew it would be crowded. It was. Very. At Drayton Park, a bloke had to muscle his way on the carriage forcing us all to pack ourselves even tighter into the standing section. It was rammed. This bloke then decided he needed something out of his bag which was on the floor. To the great inconvenience of others around him he started squatting down to shuffle around in his bag and then stood up with a chocolate muffin in his hand. He then proceeded to try to eat the chocolate muffin. This train was packed. Most people were wedged in so tight they could barely lift their arms which were clamped firmly by their sides and held in place by other surrounding bodies and there was this bloke holding a chocolate chip muffin about an inch from his face and only able to eat it by crooking his head forward and nibbling off bits off it. As the train jostled and he struggled to eat his bloody chocolate chip muffin crumbs and chocolate chips fell, landing in the folds of the clothing of people around him. As the train stopped at each station there was the usual exchange of bodies and people jostling or squeezing past each other to get in and out of the carriage. More muffin detritus was distributed and spread over people's clothing. As the journey continued I could see the flecks of soggy brown dough and half melted chocolate discolouring and staining people's lightly coloured clothing.

Just how fucking hungry do you have to be to be so fucking inconsiderate that you cannot wait less than 15 fucking minutes to get to your destination, walk to your desk and eat your fucking chocolate chip muffin there, perhaps even with a nice cup of tea?

I dearly hope this gimp was a diabetic or something and therefore absolutely had to get his sugar jolt at that precise moment. I suspect he wasn't and he was simply an inconsiderate, weasily looking, good for nothing, little scrote.

Of course nobody said anything.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Armed and Extremely Dangerous

This is the feelgood song of the day. Yet again, Danny Baker surprises his listeners with another crackin' tune.....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Teh Early Years

This is in response to Slaminsky's suggestion to post embarrassing, childhood photos. I think these two shockers fit the criteria.

Crime and Punishment

I've been somewhat vexed by the whole teddy bear naming Gillian Gibbons story that's been all over the media for the last week and will, I expect, continue to be so for the rest of the week I guess. There have also been some really quite vitriolic comments made about pretty much everyone involved in the whole thing. So, I'm going to have a go at my take on the whole event so far.

To me, this appears to have been a primarily political act by the Sudanese government. Discrediting Westerners seems to be a fairly solid plank of government policy. They know it will run well with the people and shows the government to be asserting itself against the old colonial powers. This is a government that tells its people that Westerners are kidnapping Sudanese children and using them as organ donors for rich Westerners. Wrapping this anti western sentiment up as an act of blasphemy only serves to ramp up the severity of the crime perpitrated.

A lot of people have commented that the logical response of Western governments should be to remove the financial aid that Sudan is currently enjoying from the West. That'll teach 'em, say the commenters. As I understand it, the aid is not being given with the suggestion that it supports the Sudanese government or the oppressive regime that it operates. The aid is given purely for humanitarian reasons. The people being helped by what little aid that gets through are refugees of political acts by their own government. If it were not for those acts the people would not be displaced. fleeing, or starving. Sudan, if it chose to, would be capable of supporting its own people. It just chooses not to for political expediency. So, removal of aid would not hurt the government but certainly would hurt people who are already victims of their country's own oppression.

Our own Foreign Secretary has suggested this is a delicate situation that must be handled carefully to avoid offending the Sudanese religious sensibilities. Well, I guess that would wash if this was simply about an offence against Islam but it palpably is not. Treading carefully may be expedient in gaining the release but it looks horribly like appeasement to me. We should be criticising not only the politics of the act but also the fundamentalist Islam back story that is propping the whole thing up. The UK government has got the support of British muslims who have said this is a grotesque misinterpretation of their religion and the government, by failing to overtly criticise this misrepresentation only reinforces many people's view that Islam is a religion that is out of control.

Some other have commented that in the UK, we have recently introduced laws that could lead to similar prosecutions in the UK. That is so wide of the mark it beggars belief. Whilst many people, me included, are very uncomfortable about having any law that specifically suggests a crime against religion is wrong, it could never be used against someone who chose a religiously inappropriate name for a teddy bear or suggested idolatry. We should have a law, I believe, primarily against inciting violence or hatred. I don't really think any law should specifically mark out religion as being a special case. A crime is a crime. Inciting any sort of violence against another is a repellent act and there should be a law against it. Proving it might be difficult but religion does not need to be a special case and the religious lobby is powerful and sufficiently vociferous and well supported to fight its own battles, even in our own supposed secular state.

As a side issue, the UK government must be absolutely loving it as this "touching human interest story" is managing to keep some very uncomfortable stuff about our own government out of the headlines and shows our politicians favourably as they exert their diplomatic skills. Skills that have been sadly lacking of late in many other areas of the world. Lets face it, the release was always going to happen, the Sudanese government just wanted to see Westerners coming to them, cap in hand and begging for clemency.

So, Gillian Gibbons will return. I dearly hope she maintains her stance so far, that she was happy to be in Sudan doing something she wanted to do. Any reaction should be directed against the government of Sudan and not against its sadly misinformed population or desperately blighted refugees. If a proper reaction to the government of Sudan, under the auspices of the UN (please, no more military interventions) was not to happen, now that would be a real crime.