Wednesday, January 31, 2007

[surprise] most read posts on the site

Offhand, what are your most visited posts? There are three older posts viewed more than any others on this site and I have to say they’re a mighty surprise:

1] Barry Humphries and Norman Gunston;
2] Dr. Crippen Part 1 and Part 2;
3] The art of French dressing.

I see this from the ‘entry page ranking’ which doesn't tell us a lot, as our homepage is the most viewed and yet it's indicative. As I do various themes, some idea which ones are read and which are duds helps planning.

What about you?

[connex] now it’s faulty brakes and cancellations

Remember Connex and the wonderful times UK commuters had with them? And how they went downunder to wreak their particular type of vengeance? It’s now even worse:

Connex has endured a horror month of cancellations, forcing even more passengers into already overcrowded carriages. Under mounting pressure to allay public safety fears over the faulty brakes crisis, Connex chairman Bob Annells will meet transport regulators this morning before deciding whether to withdraw the entire fleet..

This precipitated an Age poll:

Should the State Government dump Connex?
Yes - 86%
No - 14%

Total Votes: 6243

Wonderful company. Wonderful.

[peerages] let he who is without sin cast the first stone

When I want a peerage, I shall buy it like an honest man. [Lord Northcliffe, 1974]

Perhaps I’m thick. Perhaps I don’t understand politics. I can’t see, for the life of me, what Blair has done so wrong that every PM before him hasn’t done. Far be it for this blog to defend Tony Blair but what’s with this arrest and charging business? As United Press said:

The entire affair turns on accusations that Blair and his team "sold" honors such as peerages and knighthoods in return for political loans and donations to the Labour Party. The reality is that every British government in history has rewarded its most generous and devoted supporters with the title of Sir this or Lord that. In the old days, Kings handed out such enoblements in return for loyalty in battle, or for acquiescence in the presence of an attractive wife or daughter in the royal bedchamber. These days, the reward is more usually for political and financial loyalty.

Then there is the affair of Jeffrey Archer. The darling of the Tories, suddenly he was in prison and what did he do any more than any other politician? Your answer, in both cases, might be a simple one: “They were caught.” Seems to me the party politics is far outweighing any actual wrongdoing. Ditto in the United States.

[blog evaluation] layout and graphics

The danger in running this post is that it will detract from the one before, which is far more important, especially Gavin Ayling’s observations. However:

I always invite criticism as to how to make this site better and certain bloggers have been helpful this way, inc. Disillusioned and Bored. As you know, I’m forever changing things and I’d like to put a few questions to you, if I might.

The poll below is designed to have multiple variants clicked but you can only 'vote' once:
Would you prefer to see on this site
My usual green tan maroon motif
Minima type sparse white with black motif
Devils Kitchen type red white colours
Samizdata type blue white grey colours
Busy design, changeable photo header
Sparse design, static geometric header
My usual Papyrus font
Verdana century gothic, as in this post
UKDP small news grabs
Longer, meatier posts on the main page
Longer posts, only short intro on main page
Lay off with the depressing posts eg the last
Make the posts more happy, travelogue type
Keep the mix of serious and light as it is free polls

[subversives] political bloggers beware

Hypnosis Comes of Age by G. H. Estabrooks, PH.D. Science Digest April, 1971, pp. 44 - 50

Clinical hypnotists throughout the world jumped on the multiple personality bandwagon as a fascinating frontier. By the 1920's, not only had they learned to apply post-hypnotic suggestion to deal with this weird problem, but also had learned how to split certain complex individuals into multiple personalities like Jeckyl-Hydes.

The potential for military intelligence has been nightmarish. During World War II, I worked this technique with a vulnerable Marine lieutenant I'll call Jones. Under the watchful eye of Marine Intelligence I split his personality into Jones A and Jones B. Jones A, once a "normal" working Marine, became entirely different ….

1975 Senate subcommittee reportage

Dr. Harris Isabel … daily fed his guinea pigs large doses of LSD, mescaline, marijuana, scopolamine and other substances. In exchange for participating in the experiments, the inmates received injections of high quality morphine, sometimes getting 'shot-up' three times a day, depending on their co-operation.

Brought before the Senate subcommittees in 1975, Isabel saw no contradiction in providing hard drugs to the very addicts he was employed to cure. Following public outrage, the CIA announced it had ceased its mind manipulation programmes. Victor Marchetti, a CIA veteran of 14 years who turned 'whistle-blower', exposed this to be untrue.

Excerpt from CIA notes, Jan 1955

To Director of Security Via Deputy Director of Security Via Chief Security Research Staff: Report of Artichoke Operations 20-23 January 1955. Between Thursday 20 January and Sunday 23 January 1955 … Interrogation lasted until 12:25 am when all except the subject left the Operations Room … At 2:36 am the first intravenous infusion began. Slow injections were continued until 2:46 am when recording and transmitting equipment was brought into the Operations Room.

1st fantasy introduced. Results during this phase were good and subject had no control. B. 2nd fantasy introduced… Following the conclusion of the general discussion, all technical apparatus was removed from the premises, and all participating personnel left the area.

Psychiatrist under scrutiny again By William Birnbauer, Melbourne Age, April 18, 2004

The controversial Melbourne child psychiatrist, Dr Selwyn Leeks, faces a second investigation by the Victorian Medical Practitioners Board, as well as possible criminal charges in New Zealand. Dr Leeks is already being investigated by the board following claims that he allowed children to be punished with electric shock treatment and pain-inducing injections while in charge of a psychiatric hospital unit in NZ in the 1970s.

These are just four fragments from a vast body of data, some of it freely available. And you think it’s not in operation and could never be used on the citizenry? Multiple choice question: which of these is the state more likely to distrust? a] the 9 to 5 worker who comes home and watches tele; b] cabinet ministers; c] malcontented bloggers whose identities and whereabouts must first be established and legal cases built against them?

Those words from earlier: “saw no contradiction”. Please click on this link and read this post by a blogger we know and respect. You noticed the name of the Act, of course: R.I.P. This is the type of black humour these people are renowned for. Rest In Peace indeed.

And still a substantial minority of the public approve torture ‘under certain circumstances’. Interesting. Presumably they don’t think it could ever include them, that a case could ever be constructed against them, personally.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

[blogfocus tuesday] environmentally friendly edition

Bonus question: This party dude is which of this evening’s bloggers?

1 Very interesting that Deogolwulf should come up with this because I've been thinking the same thing:

“However mean men may be, they dare not appear as enemies of virtue; and when they want to persecute it, they feign to believe that it is false or they credit it with crimes.”

In case you missed that, here it is once again:

“Quelque méchants que soient les hommes, ils n’oseraint paraître ennemis de la vertu, et lorsqu’ils la veulent persécuter, ils feignent de croire qu’elle est fausse ou ils lui supposent des crimes.”

2 The Insomniac ponders the question many of us have faced – anonymity:

When I first started out in Internet discussions I used a pseudonym for a while. Switching to my real name had quite an impact as, without anonymity to hide behind, I felt the need to be more respectful to people – even though most of them lived on the other side of the world and there was no chance I’d ever bump into them. If I’d stuck behind a pseudonym I think this blog would be quite different and, perhaps, even less interesting than it is now.No-one should be forced to give up their anonymity though, as plenty of people don’t reveal their real names for some very good reasons: they might worry about possible consequences, either from fellow bloggers or, perhaps more importantly, their employers.

3 The brand-new-look Devil’s Kitchen has a notice which, I’m very sorry, by my reckoning, might just be a little too late to post on Blogfocus this evening:

While we are about it, can I just say that the new 18DS website is not great? It looks much better though, but I do think that there should be a much clearer signpost to the archives. Not that it helps, since I can't watch the archives; quite simply, nothing loads. Time to get onto their tech department, I think...

Yes, that’s my problem as well – the 18DS technology doesn’t work. They said they’d look into it in November but it must have slipped their mind. Anyway:

In other news, your humble Devil is back on 18DS on Monday night from 9pm until midnight. Do tune in...

Sincerely hope you all did and I would have too, had I been able to access it. How did DK look? Did he acquit himself well?

Eleven other bloggers plus the Mystery Blogger here.

[durrington walls] know anything about it

The press conference was this morning, apparently. Probably all over the blogosphere by now. The Pagans will be over the moon.

[questionnaire] which religion is for you

Somehow always suspected it. 2nd and 2nd last place surprised:


Hat tips: Vox, Quiz Farm

[church and state] madness is rife in high places

I never thought I’d live to see the day when the elected head of a discredited government would be enacting legislation to force a church, whose authority ultimately derives from a global source, to officially condone that state’s vehement attempts to enforce, in its own society, what, for the church, is a perverted practice and an abomination.

The ultimate source of the church’s authority, namely G-d, once wiped out two cities for that very practice. Therefore it’s hardly likely that that the Christian church is going to knuckle under to a tin-god’s most earnest efforts to destroy society on behalf of his EU, therefore global, masters.

This is the ultimate madness of the illumined stance, which is based on time-dishonoured policies:

1] the automatic usage of coercion and comprehensive regulation in any policy it pursues;

2] the implementation of a vast, nefarious network of corrective facilities and practices to reinforce No. 1 and to suppress all dissent;

3] the reduction of humans to a condition of serfdom and abject misery, using the language of, and under the guise of, ‘enlightenment’;

4] the adoption of societal practices which are clearly proscribed in the scripture of three major religions, in an effort to reduce humanity to the level of the bestial [e.g. the chav];

5] the destruction of the family, property and inheritance, religion, flora and fauna and the ecological balance of the planet.

This agenda breaks out at intervals, e.g. in the French and Russian revolutions, in both world wars and in Kosovo, Sudan and so on, in weather modification and in ecological destruction.

The agenda is clearly mad, in the sense that denial of harmony is mad and it’s been aped in book after book and film after film. It’s ancient, it’s simple, it’s quite easy to trace its ultimate source and it’s all about the simultaneous rule of and destruction of the earth.

For a Christian, who basically has the script before him and knows what’s happening in the next scene, the bewilderment of the other sectors of society is frustrating, as it guarantees the very process which everyone’s writing of and railing against.

And by the way, you do know where this ‘prisons crisis’ and ‘paedos-at-large’ business is going? Clearly, as Wat Tyler says, transportation to Oz is no longer an option and as there are not enough places in the prisons, where do they go? Well, the worst of them, killers, paedos and so on, are early-released onto society and the ones the state dislikes are moved to special corrective ‘anti-terrorist’ facilities for a bit of the old water and electricity treatment [legally of course].

Is this blogger off his brain? Only time will tell.

Disclaimer: This blog makes no claims nor any statement vis a vis homosexuality. That's not its concern. This blog makes many claims and makes a strong statement about state coercion.

[davos] pity they can’t ski there much now

The peerless and inimitable Martin K, of prior blogging fame, has a long history of ‘outing woollyness’, for example by making a request under the Freedom of Information Act concerning some of Ed Balls' assorted Bilderberg anointings and has now come to the party with a nice one on Davos, by Anatole Kaletsky, himself an alleged two time Bilderberger.

Kaletsky, in the Times, says that Davos, usually concerning itself with globalisation, active demand management, financial deregulation and the addition of three billion new consumers and producers to the global capitalist system, [Their summum bonum], apparently was discussing other issues this year.

He said the new buzz words were the unquestionable reality of global warming; the threat of an all-embracing conflict in the Middle East on the scale of a world war; the protectionist backlash against globalisation; the seeming inevitability of nuclear proliferation to alarmingly unpredictable countries such as Iran and North Korea and the rise of India, China and Russia, not just as big economic forces but as challengers to the cultural and political hegemony of the United States. He adds the breakdown of nuclear non-proliferation globally and the demographic dwindling of Western democracies.

Given that the writer, by virtue of his alleged associations, is well aware of what's driving the things he's referring to here, this raises so many issues, it’s hard to know where to start in a little post of this nature. Given that the Eastern power is based on population and money derived from that and that the Western power is based on old money, also that hegemony is the name of the game at the same time as global governance, the world, therefore, finds itself in a very different war to that which the media has presented – the war of the West v Terrorism, so beloved of Bush and Blair. That is largely tosh.

In fact, all of that has been factored in and the only real issue now is whether the illumined global governance can accommodate the primaeval instinct of, say, China, for hegemony. It takes few brains to realize they’ve accepted the global future but they’d like to be in a pre-eminent position in it and that’s what all the current jockeying and the inevitable bloodshed down the track is all about.

This post was dedicated to
Will. More in another post.

[lexicon] the power of certain words

As every advertiser knows, the impeccably-placed word speaks volumes. Talking shop a little here, these seven words can alter perceptions:

1] really, as in: “She’s really quite marvellous for her age,” which one is not expecting her to be and you, personally, wish to convince the listener by taking it as read;

2] should, as in: “Should you see her, give her a message, would you?” which immediately, geographically and demographically pinpoints you;

3] I believe, as in Christie’s: “Raymond’s books are really quite clever, I believe,” which speaks for itself;

4] marvellous, as used above, which immediately identifies you as of a certain standard of education and of a certain age;

5] damned, as in: “The damned imbeciles,” which identifies you as a knockabout lad of a certain station in society;

6] quite, in combination and alone, as in your rejoinder to a tall tale of excuse: “Quite!”; and

7] the American: “Yeah, right,” which is the rare double positive as negative.

Pity we can’t show gestures through print as I’m given to using the raised eyebrow [always one], the stony silence, the long drawn-out: “Yes” and the bashful smile with the reddening cheeks, the litany of the rogue.

Monday, January 29, 2007

[know your politics] match the names with the quotes

Here are the quoters:

a The Lizard Queen
b Observer columnist Nick Cohen
c Nancy Pelosi
d Shafiq ur-Rahman
e Sir Nicholas Stern
f Tony Blair
g John Reid
h Dick Cheney

One of the quoters is a blind and did not give any of the quotes below.

... and here are the quotes:

1 "This open season of Muslim-bashing and Islamophobia has been with us for so long that one is little surprised about yet another Channel 4 'investigation'."

2 "It is necessary to a civilised society that those who are a danger to our society are put away. The public have a right to expect protection from violent and dangerous offenders. Prisons are an expensive resource that should be used to protect the public and to rehabilitate inmates and stop them reoffending. However, we should not be squandering taxpayers' money to monitor non-dangerous and less serious offenders."

3 "No one knows how many people demonstrated. The BBC estimated between six and 10 million, and anti-war activists tripled that, but no one doubted that these were history's largest co-ordinated demonstrations and that millions, maybe tens of millions, had marched to keep a fascist regime in power."

4 "It is very important that the report is discussed; a number of people have raised interesting points and we will be discussing them all. There are no certainties; but the broad conclusion that the costs of action are a good deal less than the damages they save, I think is pretty robust."

5 "The question is, we face a lot of dangers in the world and, in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of evil men and what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"

6 "The conflict we’re involved in—not just Iraq, but on the broader basis against Al Qaeda, against the threat that’s represented by the extreme elements of Islam on a global basis now—is going to go on for a long time. And it’s not something that’s going to end decisively, and there’s not going to be a day when we can say, “There, now we have a treaty, problem solved.” It’s a problem that I think will occupy our successors maybe for two or three or four administrations to come. It is an existential conflict."

7 "We owe them better policy. We owe them better initiatives. I believe redeployment of our troops is a step toward stability in the region. We are very proud of the effort made by our military, but this cannot be won by our military alone.''

Hat tips:
here, here, here and here.

[bryon drol] romantic poet of the 19th century

Brief bio: The club-footed Bryon Drol was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but chose to frequent the House of Drols bar, rather than take his seat with his fellow peers. Preferring solitude to bonhomie, he’d take his place in the corner of the bar at the end of the long red rug, observing all and sundry, sipping his ale and shrewdly noting the doings of one ‘Arry Naismith, whom Bryon was wont to call Child ‘Arrold.

Eventually, in 1811, he was persuaded to take his seat and in his maiden speech the following year, very nearly managed to get his throat cut, which later inspired him to write about the experience. However, he made a breathtaking getaway through the Sovereign's Entrance and they only managed to recover the seat by intercepting him in Belgium, enroute for Villa Datoid by Lake Geneva. Chief Inspector 'Arry Lamb released him though, on the grounds that 'ee was off his brain and a rite nutta'.

Here are two sensitive poems from his pen, dedicated, respectively, to his daughter Linda Lovelace and to his dear friendlet John Stonedel. You’re asked to vote, in the comments section, for that which moves you the more. Thank you.

Roll on, thou deep and dark red carpet – roll!
Ten thousand feet sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the rug with beer stains – his control
Stops with the door.

There is a pleasure in this toothless brood,
There is a rupture in the spleen for sure,
There is society, it shan’t intrude,
By the deep rug, as I throw up on the floor:
I love not them the less, but loneness more.

[middle-east] violence everywhere surrounding israel

It’s always puzzled me why there is just so much unrest in the land surrounding Israel. Gaza is a case in point.

The two sides have been arming themselves for months with light weapons - such as machine guns and rocket launchers, while talks that began last spring on a power-sharing national unity government have stalled. Iran and radical Islamists across the Arab world have bankrolled Hamas, while the U.S. supports Fatah and most of the weapons reach the tiny strip through tunnels under the 11-kilometre-long border it shares with Egypt.

Cut to Iraq and everyone knows the story there.Let me put it this way: if any one element in the equation were to be removed, e.g. Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Iran, Iraq, Israel, the US, would peace come to the region?

[life of brian] monday morning prayer

Judaean People’s Front or People’s Front of Judaea

It’s a tragedy that the only image people have of a Christian, the only image which makes it to the press, is of the radical US Christian Right and the Whitehouses over in Britain. It poses a dilemma because on the one hand, much of what they say makes sense – against the institutionalization of drugs, under-age sex, perversion and so on.

On the other hand, so many of these are either unpleasant or susceptible to mockery as people and the Jimmy Swaggarts of the world are so counter-productive as to have been almost ‘intended’. My image is far more grass roots – the Alex of High Places and Vox Days of the world. They can have a laugh, be a bit irreverent, just live a bit. Why do they have to all be stern faced, bible-bashing disapprovers?

I really can’t handle blind ‘followers’, ‘zealots’, ‘devotees’, whom I lump in with the PC left – these people would regulate your toilet-going hours if it wasn’t tolerant and all-inclusive.

Does G-d have a sense of humour? That should be the burning question on everyone’s lips. You remember the scene where Brian of Nazareth loses his sandal while running from the crowd of would-be Messiah-makers in the Judaean desert? Says everything about zealots:

Man in crowd III: He has given us a sign!
Man in crowd V: He has given us...his shoe!
Man in crowd III: The shoe is the sign! Let us follow his example!
Man in crowd IV: What?
Man in crowd III: Let us like him, hold up one shoe and let the other one be upon our foot, for this is his sign that all who follow him shall do likewise!
Man in crowd III: No, no, no, the shoe is a sign that we must gather shoes together in abundance!
Woman in crowd II: Cast off the shoes! Follow the gourd!
Man in crowd V: No, let us gather shoes together! Let me!
Woman in crowd: Oh, get off!
Man in crowd IV: No, no, it is a sign that like him we must think not of the things of the body, but of the face and head!
Man in crowd V: Give me your shoe!
Man in crowd IV: Get off!
Woman in crowd II: Follow the gourd, the holy gourd of Jerusalem!
Gourdy part of crowd: The gourd! The gourd!
Man in crowd VI: Hold up the sandal, like he has demanded us...
Man in crowd III: It is a shoe! It is a shoe!
Man in crowd VI: It's a sandal!
Man in crowd III: No, it is not! It is a shoe!
Woman in crowd II: Cast it away!
Man in crowd III: Put it on!
Man in crowd IV: Now clear off!
Man in crowd V: Take the shoes and follow him!
Woman in crowd II: All thee who follow the gourd!
Man in crowd VII: Stop! Stop it! Stop! Stop! Let us...let us pray! Yea, he cometh to us. Like the sea to the grave...

Let us pray: Save us, Lord, from all door-knockers, tele-evangelists and thou-shalt-notters and grant them all a sense of humour, if you would be so kind. Amen.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

[blog round-ups] in case you still don’t know

Britblog Roundup

Needs no introduction to old-timers but there might still be some Blogpowerers and others who don’t know about this. Plus two of the BPers are in it this week. I called it a breakthrough but Tim put me straight on that. You have to nominate a particular post to him at britblog AT gmail DOT com, then he posts it.

Being of the opinion that every bit helps, this ‘creaking old warhorse’, as fresh as the day it was born, can be checked out late on a Sunday afternoon.

Scottish Blogging Roundup

Have to confess I don’t know a lot about this one but I recognize many of the entries. It's run by
CuriousHamster and doctorvee, the latter whom I know quite well and presumably it works on the same principle as Tim Worstall’s. It appears to be posted on a Saturday.

[euthanasia] thou needst not strive, officiously …

I appreciate how Tony Sharp lightened the tone when he said:

It may seem shocking to some people, but after a lot of thought and soul searching I have come to the conclusion that in some extremely limited circumstances there is indeed a strong moral justification for euthanasia. More specifically I am thinking of one circumstance in particular. Namely any occasion when the draft EU constitution shows signs of life.

Of course he was referring to the EU but I misread that and wrote a comment about euthanasia itself and when that topic comes up, the question of my own mother comes up. I’ve stewed, many times, over whether to post on her and have always held back on the grounds that it’s a little close to the bone for most readers and it drags her story out of the family and into the public sphere.

It was not that ‘E’ word in her case but it was a case of there not being any point any longer. So, I believe it was with full knowledge that that which was supporting her … well, I think you understand. I’ve never ever thought that that was wrong. She was then and I am now quite pragmatic over such matters and I have no desire to prolong my stay when I’m quite clearly past my time, just as I have no desire to overstay my welcome in any situation now.

I just felt that Sunday was the appropriate day to write this thing, if at all.

[sunday quiz] today’s ten are a little harder

1] How many counters does a player start with in Backgammon?

2] Who was John Kerry's running mate in the 2004 US Presidential election?

3] After how many years marriage do you celebrate your Emerald wedding anniversary?

4] Contrary to popular belief, brides do not walk down the aisle to the altar. What do they walk down?

5] Europeans are familiar with A-4 size paper. What is the area of A-0 paper?

6] In Roman numerals, what is the letter M with a bar over it?

7] What is the Turkish custom of Falaka?

8] Who is Bibendum better known as?

9] Who won the 1936 'Miss Hungary' title but had to give it up because she was under 16?

10] Where would you find together a verso and a recto?

Answers are here.

[retail jungle] one false step and you’re gone

Surely with a touch of sour grapes, Marshall Lester, a Gap director from the 1980s recently said, "Gap has gone from being a destination store that everyone wants to shop at to being a store that no one cares about."

But the slow demise of Gap, the global retailer of ‘modish nonchalance’, mirrors the turning of the tide for other giants as well.

No one is suggesting McDonald’s is in any kind of trouble but the 2002 watershed and the rethinking of future strategy shows that no giant is immune from a change of fortune and in K Mart’s case, the demise was spectacular.

The Sony/Nintendo story is a case in point. Choosing the wrong video variant, Beta, Sony recovered, then came the copy protection scandal and then the battery problem. There’s something not right at that company.

Apple were down and out before ipod but even now, things are changing and the iphone may be needed to keep the ipod afloat. One company I see in real trouble is Microsoft, as more and more abandon it for a decent provider and a reaction of disgust really seems to be setting in with not only geek operators.

Marks and Sparks are a good case study. With a strong menswear division, it failed to read the signs and lost market share, then threw ideas at buyers which failed to enthuse. Perhaps it's found its lifeline in online sales.

It’s a gossamer thread which suspends a company at the top of the tree and one or two decisions can create a K Mart type over-reaction which will kill it more quickly than anyone could have anticipated.

[testimonials] numbers 21 to 30

21] An Insomniac Sporting David Hume’s tagline: “Truth springs from argument amongst friends,” Matt Murrell, the goatee bearded blogger from … well, no one knows where from, he keeps it a dark nocturnal secret … and who invites you to click on his face, is a fearless writer, counting Fisking Central and Wall of Speech as two of his regular haunts; he’s a central Blogpowerer and he’s also guest-blogged at Dave Hill and Alex of High Places. The boy gets around. It’s not unfair to describe him as a libertarian – he certainly takes fairly freewheeling positions on most issues, including the Blogpower issue and has a sense of humour, as when he described his efforts at Fisking Central as: “It's a little rushed, and I think I started channeling Rumpole of the Bailey at one point, but still worth a look.” Just as his own blog is well worth a look. Well worth returning to, in fact.

Andrew Allison Labelling himself a ‘liberal conservative’, keen on small government and personal freedom, Andrew is very much of my way of thinking on most issues. A Witanagemot Club member and therefore for an English Parliament, not to my way of thinking, he takes a libertarian stance on most issues but one wonders how he'd apply this to driving instruction in Hull and for how large a road transport vehicle. One also wonders if he prefers the term Humberside or East Yorkshire. One thing for certain, he’s a fine and fearless blogger and should be on everyone’s list.

As a dodo What a great concept – to write obituaries of all the things which are dead, buried and gone, from freedom of speech through to Denny Doherty, the Mamas and Papas singer. Writer and dramatist George Poles, writer Simon Littlefield of Sky Pirates music blog and Hugo Kent of A Message from Albia, have a concept but unlike many great angles which go the way of all things, they infuse information and humour into their blog, which they tag: “the obituaries you’d like to see” and the result is a necro-treat. Whether it’s heterosexuals hiding the sausage in the English Counter Reformation or the death of Branscombe Beach, Dead as a Dodo is right on the scene. Go to it rightly, lads.

24] Bel is thinking Bel is a Margaret-nostalgic, non-imbibing university law-lecturer who appears to support her gender, as all right thinking ladies should, whether it’s anxiety over Cherie Blair’s safety or taking Samuel Coleridge to task for neglecting his daughter’s poetry. She describes her posts as ‘rants’ but I see them more as ‘common sense with an edge’. Always with a keen sense of justice and bemoaning the absurdity of over-reaction, e.g. with Jade and with the Devon ‘salvaging’, Bel tells it as it is and shoots from the hip. Fine blog.

Chicken Yoghurt From the blog title itself to the everchanging animations at the top of the page, NCTJ qualified journalist and writer Justin McKeating is clearly an A-lister with a dark sense of humour. Hailing from the north but tied down in Brighton and reputedly of a politically leftist perspective, Justin explodes pomposity, underhand doings and general woolly-headedness wherever it is found, like barrels of gunpowder in a parliamentary cellar on the 5th of November. The Blog Digest is his must-buy collection of the very best of the UK blogs and one of his own blogs from the past, Bar Room Philosophy, brings to mind our own Pub Philosopher. Clearly a comic book devotee, one wonders what strange directions that sizzled brain will drift towards as he prepares his next rip-snorting expose.

26] Corporate Presenter Articulate and friendly, with a very keen sense of social responsibility and sociability, the East Finchley public speaker and radio presenter Jeremy Jacobs' sense of humour is also revealed through his blog work, such as in I can't talk, I'm on the Blog. Having grown up in Margate, [where I was very nearly employed in the late eighties], before inexplicably leaving that resort for London, he tragically lost his sister to breast cancer and has been supporting the Breast Cancer Campaign ever since, embarking in early February, 2007 on a trek in the Maasai Mara in Kenya to raise funds for the campaign. In the words of A Young Conservative, “I think it is safe to say that he's an inspiration to us all.” Read this blog for, as the Tin Drummer said: “a fascinating mix of presenting, media, politics and humour.”

27] Onyx Stone A gem of a blog, [couldn’t resist it, sorry], tech-savvy computer scientist Onyx, with an eye for the ladies, is a libertarian par excellence, as well as music devotee, always with an eye for the absurd. He also writes 5-7-5 syllabled Haiku poems. As his recent involvement in the great Blogpower War has shown, he can also be a bit naughty but after all, what’s blogging for? This is definitely a blog out of the ordinary and in our game, a knowledgeable dude like this, who challenges our way of thinking is good to have close at hand.

28] Blognor Regis Bob Piper calls him a “twat” and that immediately elevates Blognor Regis into the stratosphere of uber-blogging. With Iain Dale’s further [genuine] approval, this then is a blog to scrutinize closely. Not averse to the female of the species, BR also sports a jaundiced sense of humour but I wouldn’t want you to get the idea he has a one track mind. Keen Blognor Regis Cycling Club racers have far more to do around Felpham and Middleton - BR takes a keen interest in the local area and by definition, in local bloggers as well. With humour like his comment greeting: “You are the audience. I am the author. I outrank you,” replies to commenters on musical bands like: “I've seen better bands on a cigar!” and with pieces on anything from Buster Crabbe to weighty matters in India, this blog is a must read for the afficianado.

Disillusioned & Bored The canine with the ennui at the top of the blog gives an indicator of what is to come and D&B further explains that he “can't stand the level of debate that is passed off as real political discourse.” He it was who began the Voluntary Code Free Zone, whose banner adorns all the best sites today and the list of his readers reads like a who’s who of blogging. A wicked, yet puerile sense of humour, of the doctored photo variety, guarantees a loyal band of avid readers but the bulk of the posts reveal a shrewd commentator on current events and past. So stop off for a treat at this blog, if you’re feeling at all disillusioned and bored by it all.

Daily Pundit "Yo Churchill!" he cries and UK Daily Pundit is off in hot pursuit of the unspeakable. Master of the short grab news item, UKDP’s views are made abundantly clear in his petition to Tony, demanding the right to “remain free to comment on government policy, ministerial decisions, political correctness, Islamic extremists, the weather and anything else that takes our fancy, without fear of censorship.” With post tags like “Times Forced to Apologise Over Gay Sheep,” you know you’re in for an irreverent but incisive treat, three or four times a day. With the three column, fully armed lists of sources to draw from and his own Blog-web-round-up facility, this makes the law enforcing UK Daily Pundit a must-not-miss daily read.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

[blogfocus saturday] a little out of focus this evening

An American Minuteman

Another Focus, without a focus, due to time constraints and slight illness but still, I hope you’ll enjoy the round-up:

1 The Baron opens with his debate about gun laws with us limeys:

In my post from earlier today about gun crime in Britain, one British commenter had this to say: No thanks. We don’t want a gun culture like you have over there. You can keep it. Some of the other commenters, including other Britons, disagreed.

Let’s recapitulate what American “gun culture” is based on, namely the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

2 The old argument about free trade and protectionism gets a new twist at Café Hayek:

The deep lesson here is that, just as moving to freer trade does indeed upset some economic apple carts, so, too, does protection upset some economic apple carts. Given that both free trade and protection cause some specific job and business losses, protection cannot be justified -- as so many try to justify it -- by pointing to people whose economic expectations will be upset by freer trade. Free-trade advocates can counter with similar accounts.

3 The Latic, Pete, explains why he is a slave to his computer and I identify with every word here:

Who said that man can always triumph over machine? Maybe no-one did, but it's a widely held belief. Well, let me tell you that my laptop tells ME when it's time to stop. How? Simple - it just gives up, which means I have to. It will whirr along quite merrily all day, doing all that I ask of it then, bingo!!, I'll hit a link, up comes the egg timer - and there it stays relentlessly, unswervingly, immovable - ad infinitum.

Eleven more bloggers plus the Mystery Blogger here.

[election 2008] focus on rudia and hilly

According to The New York Times, [no link, sorry], New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani performed in female attire, posing as "Rudia the Transvestite" at a nightclub. The occasion was the annual "Inner Circle" show.

Hillary, meanwhile, is almost certainly cleared of allegations about her friend Susan and the gay lobby is unhappy about her ambivalence on their issue.

So, America, there are your likely starters, currently running neck and neck. Good luck.

[meme] six unusual things about myself

Tiberius Gracchus dropped a meme onto me some days ago and the reason I’ve been tardy in posting is that I simply couldn’t think of six unusual things about myself. Plus these exercises induce you to be self-indulgent. Well, as there’s no other way but to be self-indulgent, here is an end of semester report on James Higham:

1] At any given moment, Higham doesn’t know what he’s doing. For example, if he’s in Finland and he’s met a Finnish drinking buddy on the boat and agrees to be the man’s navigator on the journey to the Arctic Circle and if they stop at a roadside café and the man asks if Higham knows where they’re going, he’ll answer, reassuringly, “Trust me.” With a lady, if it doesn’t seem to be working, he’ll try something else until it ‘takes’. This is one of the best arguments for fidelity - you learn the other. He also knows nothing about trade, education or blogging.

2] On a road journey somewhere, Higham lacks ‘reversability’. There’s something missing from his brain, perhaps due to things imbibed in earlier days. He can always find his way somewhere, even without a map, weaving in and out of the traffic and mounting footpaths but once there, he has no way back. The route just fails to implant itself in the brain, having been a creative and lateral route in the first place. “Do you, James, in fact, have any idea how to get back?” she breathes, evenly. “No.” “No?” “Not in the least. I was deliberately wasting your time,” he adds, pythonesquely. “Let’s just make love and I’m sure something will come.” This sort of thing loses him marriages. He did find his way home that day though, miraculously, she conceded.

3] One of his favourite tricks, alas no longer possible in the modern office, was to have two phones on the desk, of the bulbous receiver/microphone, horizontal handset type and when they’d both ring at the same time, he’d shout and rabbit chop the ends of both receivers so they’d spring up into the air and then he’d catch them in mid-air [quite often]. Another trick he loves and still practises, is to crack two eggs simultaneously, breaking them enough for the contents to go into the bowl and then flinging the shells, with a flourish, into a bin three metres away. That was the old hamburger shop gambit and it had to be three metres exactly. As age has crept up, he’s ceased bowing to an imaginary audience and increasingly tends to drop one or both eggs.

4] Higham is fanatically punctual [actually – early] for any appointment, even Blogfocus but when it comes to a lady, he loses all sense of time and proportion, the lotus syndrome. The uni girls know that if he’s ever late, it’s either because of a five car pile-up on the road or else he’s with a lady [well, actually the lady]. The former is more common and whilst on the topic of ladies, he doesn’t understand why he appeals to those under 16/18 or so and romantically to those over 30/32 but never to those in the 18-30 range but it’s always been so. He’s never got far with this intermediate range. Recently, he’s been experimenting with arriving late for appointments, with ready-made apology but that doesn’t feel good so he’ll probably drop the idea.

5] Higham suffers from what he thinks is Wilson’s Syndrome. The body temperature drops and the complications begin. People ask: “Do you have a temperature?” as if that’s the sole criterion for illness and he replies: “Yes, 35.5.” The thing is then, he can’t be idle for long – the body has to keep moving and working and sleeping-in is usually followed by glugginess. Better not to do it. Plus he doesn’t feel the cold unless it’s very cold. Anything over 25 degrees Celsius and he’s in trouble. People don’t say: “The iceman cometh,” for nothing. Actually, they don’t say it at all.

6] What people are usually struck by, given his blogging and working persona, which sometimes resorts to role-playing and manic acting to make its point and in his occasional lovemaking which usually gets a bit more physical and exploratory than bargained for, given his fine, upstanding character, is that when at home, he’ll suddenly switch to extreme, prosaic passivity. He can lie on a couch for two hours, reading or get up at 12 noon on Sunday, something he has in mind for tomorrow. As Eric Oldthwaite was once accused of by that pigeon keeper, Higham can be a ‘boring little tit’.

So, over to you, Russ and Don, Pete the Latic and Melanie P.

Friday, January 26, 2007

[climate change] un draft report debate

The UN Report will say:

■It is more than 90 per cent certain that human activities have caused global warming.
■Global temperatures will rise by 2 to 4.5 degrees.
■Earth will be increasingly unable to absorb rising carbon dioxide.
■Sea levels could rise by between 20cm and 60cm in the next 100 years, and will continue to rise for 1000 years.
■Snow will vanish from all but the highest peaks.
■More extreme, violent weather will ensue.

However, a different article says:

■Geological coring data shows that natural rises in carbon dioxide levels follow temperature changes rather than cause them;
■It is also a fact that more than 90 per cent of the greenhouse gas effect is caused by water vapour, and the contribution from man-made carbon dioxide is estimated at 0.1 per cent;
■The source of information is claimed by an exclusive few — government-funded scientists with an array of climate-change models and large computer systems;
■We would not like to buy at the top of the sharemarket cycle, nor should we buy into a possible global warming peak without a responsible and wide-ranging debate;
■1975 Newsweek Report saying temperatures were falling, not rising, based on the last 40 years;
■Even the man in the street sees himself as an expert.

Clearly the CO2 question above is the one which is in dispute and where both sides flatly contradict one another. Len Walker, the author, is a civil engineer, not a climate expert. However, I did find a site supporting Len Walker’s statement about CO2. Unfortunately, it was published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, so we’re back where we started.

The UN report is written by 2500 scientists, citing 6000 reports and reviewed by 750 experts, operating under a United Nations banner. The UN banner worries me, as the UN has a global political agenda. However, the question still remains: “Why would 2500 scientists go to the trouble of destroying their reputations by stating a clear scientific error, even if UN backed?”

Late note: having now gone through 11 random ‘climate change myth’ sites, the layouts are impressive, for example this one, complete with graphs. However, there is no evidence backing the assertion about CO2, no links to a credible scientific authority. In the end it’s just a blogger’s assertion which directly contradicts 2500 scientists.

That’s the dilemma.

[sole post today] whatchoo lookin' at, eh

So, they’ve finally admitted it. But it’s only part of the story. Here’s another comment.

For my articles on all of this, please see posts 1 and 2, which continues here, with appendices a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, and n [Yes, I know I numbered wrongly]. All of which shows that the process has been deliberate and not due to simple neglect, in the least.

The combination of the dumbing down of education, together with the other policies and trends mentioned below, produces a culture of chavs and droogs. This is my take on how we got there:

# Personal access to scripture was suppressed in the middle ages by virtue of:

a] having been kept in Latin;
b] bibles being chained to the pulpit;
c] keys to the church being in the hands of certain men.

# Personal access to scripture is suppressed in the modern age by virtue of:

a] the priests of the secular in key positions in society, actively ridiculing and suppressing;
b] only the humanistic ethic being taught in institutions of learning;
c] cessation of the oral tradition from parent to child;
d] the culture of unwillingness to countenance and read a scriptural document, whilst giving learned dissertations on all other philosophical systems;
e] it took three generations to get to this point.

# Philosophy, by its very nature, is speculation. Scripture is ancient documentation.

# Scripture, in particular the gospels, lays out a social plan which, if followed, is sustainable and productive. It actually works. Therefore it must be suppressed because it empowers individuals and runs society along wholesome lines.

# With the final suppression of a society's code of morality, the only law is satanic law, the dog-eat-dog law stated by Anton le Vey as: “Do as you will.”

# Values now get turned on their head, the rich prostitute is now venerated and aspired to and heads are filled with things which don't matter in a sane society. Society comes loose from its moorings.

# The spirituality of the child is now catered for by the nightclub and drugs. The spirituality of the adult is now catered for by the need for new acquisitions and the provision of palaces [shopping centres] to provide these. ‘New’ is the key buzzword.

# The rise of usury in mid-Europe put governments into debt with financiers and with one particular group, whose symbol, the XX, is now preserved in one company’s name.

# Western government debts are never written off; they are paid off. Ipso facto, governments have owed financiers over the centuries and have gone deeper and deeper into hock, principally through war. Debt creates power.

# Financiers have certain pillars propping up their culture:

a] the unit cost of goods is always out of all proportion to income;
b] it’s not necessary to have ready money to buy what we fancy – they’ll lend it and we’ll pay it off on the never-never;
c] with the money ‘saved’, we can buy other things, thereby ensuring steady income and increasingly more windfalls [bankruptcy, repossession] for the financiers and government.

# Western society has been weaned off a barter economy and onto a debt economy, with plastic replacing cash. The message is that because of the severe dislocation between price and income, the only way to achieve your dream is to go into debt to a financier.

# The known characteristics of illuminism are:

a] militarization and hierarchical regulation of society, where sovereignty is in the hands of a remote central authority, acting down through its vassals;
b] the progressive erosion of personal freedoms;
c] the suppression, weaning off and eventual destruction of spirituality;
d] the destruction of the family through:

[i] culture of tolerance and social and moral relativism, condoned and even abetted from the ruling class;
[ii] advancement of homosexuality as an equal alternative, rather than as a branching off from the norm, together with attempts to create ‘families’ bypassing the standard family structure, which was designed to nurture children;
[iii] promotion of philosophies holding that the traditional marriage is too difficult, too restrictive and contrary to societal health;
[iv] making accessible hardcore pornography for all, including the young, through the internet;

e] progressive restriction of independent travel by using external threats such as terrorism and climate change to restrict and regulate movement;
f] reduction of population through war and of the intelligentsia through oppression.

What is the net effect of all these elements combined? A society like in the films Brazil, 1984 and the Time Machine and historically real societies like the USSR and revolutionary France.

This article was simply a forlorn attempt, with no great hope of success, to help stem the tide.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

[rabbie’s day] great chieftain of the puddin’ race

A captured haggis ready to eat. Does it remind you of … er … anything else? No? Just wondering.

Some of you will recall the opening of the Haggis Season. Well, today is Rabbie Burns Day and Colin’s waiting for you, immediately you’re done here.

There's even a wee Haggis poem by Robert Burns, Colin advises. This is the first verse of Tae a Haggis, spoken prior to the ritual decapitation of the poor wee beastie prior to being devoured:

"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the Puddin-race! Aboon them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of a grace As lang's my arm."

[firefox] advice please, people

Browser share for last 100 visitors to this site

I know you all said switch to Firefox but what do I actually have to do to changeover? I found it, it said Download, it's compatible but
The Morningstar's comment freaked me. Windows might have to be reinstalled as a repair? How? How will I know?

Has anyone out there actually switched from IE6? I suppose everything needs reinstalling and my internet provider will probably have to be told, yes? New e-mail too but that's not a problem.

Are there any glitches with it?

[women] are completely equal to men ... or not

They’re bigger and stronger than before but does that mean that the desire to be equal should mean more sets for women – 5 sets, the same as the men – or has feminism gone over the edge? Here are the results of the Age Poll:

Yes - 69%

No - 31%

Total Votes: 201

[leslie nielsen] the naked gun series

Frank Drebin saving the Queen from assassination

Do you also have a secret liking for classic lowbrow comedy?

2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted the first Naked Gun the 39th greatest comedy film of all time. It was also voted the 14th best comedy of all time in a Channel 4 poll. They’re quite some accolades for a basically B movie and a B movie star.

Leslie Nielsen was born in
Regina, Saskatchewan on February 11, 1926 and it took him years of straight roles before he was cast as Dr. Rumacker in Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker’s Airplane! [1980]. He was 54 years of age.

It was another eight years before the same team reprised a former TV series and
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad [1988] was born. Touting some big names: Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy and O.J. Simpson, before the murder rap, there was a definite chemistry between the cast in this film which wasn’t really recaptured in the sequels: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear [1991] and The Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult [1994].

The plot is virtually irrelevant – the kidnapping of the Queen by a zombie baseball player – but it was the running gags and the slick scene changes, coupled with the obvious chemistry between a 62 year old Nielsen and Presley in the risky and risqué romantic subplot plus the great supporting role by OJ, as Detective Nordberg, Nielsen’s sidekick, which made the film. Here are some quotes from the Naked Gun series:

Frank Drebin [Nielsen]

# The truth hurts doesn't it, Hapsburg? Oh sure, maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts.

# There is always risk. Like getting up in the morning and crossing the street... Or putting your face in a fan.

# Like a midget at a urinal, I'd have to be on my toes.


Mayor: Now Drebin, I don't want any trouble like you had on the South Side like last year, that's my policy.
Frank: Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in front of a full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy.
Mayor: That was a Shakespeare In The Park Production of Julius Caesar, you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!

Vincent Ludwig: Drebin!
Jane Spencer [Presley]: Frank!
Frank Drebin: You're both right.

Frank: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
Jane Spencer: Goodyear?
Frank: No, the worst.

Frank: Interesting... Almost as interesting as the photographs I saw today.
Jane Spencer: I was young. I needed the work.

[Frank Drebin, angrily breaking up with Jane, turns at the door and faces her, putting his nose in the air]
Frank: And I'll tell you another thing: I faked every orgasm!

Norberg was shot by a gang of thugs and lies in a critical condition in hospital. The brother officers break the news to his wife:

Mrs. Nordberg: Oh, my poor Nordberg! He was such a good man, Frank. He never wanted to hurt anyone. Who would do such a thing?
Frank: It's hard to tell. A gang of thugs, a blackmailer, an angry husband, a gay lover...
Ed: That's no way for a man to die.
Frank: Ehhh, you're right, Ed. A parachute not opening... that's the way to die. Getting caught in the gears of a combine... having your nuts bit off by a Laplander, that's the way I wanna go.
Mrs. Nordberg: [crying] Oh... Frank. Ohh this is terrible.
Ed: Don't you worry Wilma. Your husband is going to be alright. Don't you worry about anything. Just think positive. Never let a doubt enter your mind.
Frank: He's right, Wilma. But I wouldn't wait until the last minute to fill out those organ donor cards.
Mrs. Nordberg: [starts crying again]
Ed: What I'm trying to say is that Wilma, as soon as Nordberg is better, he's welcome back at Police Squad.
Frank: Unless he's a drooling vegetable. But I think that's only common sense...

Some further quotes here:

Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

[headmastership] how you change over time

You might like to picture this: you’ve just been confirmed as the new headmaster of a minor but geographically significant school, with a century of tradition. Apparently appointed for your vision and your blend of youth and experience, the chairman invites you into the boardroom with an extended hand and says: “Welcome aboard.” A glass is put into your hand and you feel both honoured and awed by the task ahead.

What happens to you over time?

1] You learn to take nothing on trust once you’ve been burnt a few times. Pretty women cut no ice. Respectable, suited businessmen cut no ice. The pretty little girl in tears could easily be acting. You reject stereotypes, such as the community leader who must be a fine character by definition and you often find the opposite. Often, the higher you go, the greater the dirt. However, your default demeanour is always friendly and gentlemanly, especially to your rivals. It’s just that you take much of what they say with a grain of salt.

2] Whatever ability you had to judge character reaches a much higher plane with experience. Every day, in all situations, your judgement is being called on to sort out a dispute, approve a contract and so on. After all the early mistakes, you do it better. You develop little rules which sound crazy but nevertheless work, e.g. never employ a woman who wears denim to an interview, has piercing or is a religious nut.

3] You begin to be ruled by the schedule and you reach the delegation watershed – either you delegate to trusted subordinates or you go out of your mind. You accept, to a certain percentage factor that they’ll always either let you down or not understand but you never hold it against them or write it down. You never hold grudges.

4] You try to keep the working day below about 15 or 16 hours and schedule in blank spaces – very vital. You either take care of your family or divorce. Twenty minute rest periods are fiercely protected by the secretary and you emerge refreshed. You either love your community or you must get out. The stress is too great otherwise. You learn to pace yourself and never regret if something wasn’t done today. Do it tomorrow morning.

5] You learn to get out of the office and interact with all sections of the community, from the maintenance man to the littlest child. You know each of their particular problems and follow them up. If the cook’s away, you step in [also saving money]. If the drain’s blocked and you’re right on hand, you put on gloves and clear it.

6] You take on the coaching of one of the underage sports teams and do the same training you require of them [almost]. Saves gym fees and gets you fit and out in the open air. You eat properly and when you forget, your wife or secretary doesn’t. You follow doctor’s orders instead of being a hero.

7] Your mind starts to compartmentalize. In any one hour, you might have to discipline a recalcitrant student, greet local dignitaries Mr. and Mrs. Patel and their son as they seek to enrol him, then perhaps you’ll hear the complaint of one teacher about another, then it’s off to the Heads Association luncheon and so on.

8] You quickly learn your own limitations, both character-wise and capacity-wise and all your flaws are thrown into sharp relief, for all to see. One of mine was the tendency to let things slide, to gather data and advice first and to stew over it before acting, even if some saw this as dithering.

9] You learn to break the incident-reaction-regret cycle. Remove the immediate danger and schedule a time for the matter to be heard, with no snide remarks whatsoever in the meantime. This was particularly important for me because one of my failings is that I don’t suffer fools gladly and my tongue is too sharp.

10] You can’t afford the slightest whiff of scandal or your school will be empty by next morning. Reputation becomes everything and the greatest crime, the greatest enemy, is ‘drama’. You’ll hear out a teacher who’s complaining about some child and then reply: ‘That may well be so but I see more drama coming out of your class since your appointment here than all the other classes combined.’ This is the only time you react swiftly and nip the trouble in the bud, before it damages the community and by association, yourself.

11] You become implacable and a certain steel enters your soul. Once a decision is made, you never go back on it or regret it, if it’s originally been thought through. You fire after two warnings, without regret. Once the dead wood’s been cut away, soon everything falls into place and people know where they are. Your loyalty is to all those dependent on you and you brook no attack on those people.

12] Despite all this, there eventually comes a time when the cumulative effect of the stress makes you less efficient or gets you bogged down and you have to know when to let go, to hand over the reins and seek new horizons. Otherwise you become a cynical, unpleasant shell, have a heart attack or both. Mental health is everything, otherwise you can’t operate. Soldiering on is stupid in this game because you’re short-changing your dependents.