Monday, April 30, 2007

[ladies and gentlemen] the power of the sphere

I have Temptation now and the process by which it happened needs to be told.

In this blogging game, there are, quite frankly, some twits and some pretty evil characters.

Then there are people like Geoff Jones who is one [and I shan't start naming you all because it would not end by midnight] who belong to the "wonderful league".

You know precisely what I mean and this is the reason I blog, truly. I've now finished giving my message to the sphere, [see the last post for part of it]; so what is left now is just the sense of community and this is every reason to continue.

Realizing the situation vis a vis Temptation [the New Order song], Geoff sent me "Confusion", which is excellent and I sent back asking if I could possibly have Temptation and Hurt.

He sent and my e-mail duly bounced him. He left a message to help him out with a g-mail or better e-mail and I never replied [I was actually working at that time].

Undaunted, he went through a firm on the web and got it to me, I've now downloaded and listened and I can tell you I'm pretty chuffed. I'd love to be able to respond in kind and it might be possible.

This evening I have plans to run 10 Russian clips to show you some of the music over here and this will involve Audiograbber and Sound Forge. Keep an eye out for them.

So Geoff, again, a big, big thanks from me.

By the way, try this site too.

[lizard queen] private army at her disposal

Whilst plans are afoot in Britain to evict an 83 year old woman with Alzheimers disease over a money wrangle between the company, Southern Cross Health Care Ltd and her family, Jeremy Scahill reports, in the Asia Times of a different type of financial wrangle:

The Democratic leadership is arguing over the US$124 billion Iraq supplemental spending bill they still plan to keep funding the war [and thus] the estimated 126,000 private military "contractors" who currently come from such companies as Blackwater USA and the former Halliburton subsidiary KBR will stay put.

While many of them perform logistical support activities for US troops, tens of thousands of them are directly engaged in military and combat activities. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are now some 48,000 employees of private military companies in Iraq.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman estimates that $4 billion has so far been spent in Iraq on armed "security" companies such as Blackwater.

In January, David Petraeus, the general running Bush's "surge" plan in Baghdad, cited private forces as essential to winning the war. Petraeus admitted that he has at times not been guarded in Iraq by the US military, but "secured by contract security".

Contractors have allowed for a back-door near-doubling of US forces in Iraq through the private sector, while masking the full extent of the human costs of the occupation.

Although at least 770 contractors have been killed in Iraq, these have not been published and Paul Bremer, Bush's viceroy in Baghdad, issued an edict known as Order 17 in 2004, immunizing contractors from prosecution.

Then there is the issue of continued funding for the privatized shadow forces in Iraq. The Democrats' Iraq plan would have cut about 15% or $815 million off the supplemental spending [but then they dropped the plan].

A decade ago, Blackwater USA barely existed; yet its "diplomatic security" contracts since mid-2004, with the State Department alone, total more than $750 million.

Blackwater protects the US ambassador and other senior officials in Iraq as well as visiting congressional delegations; it trains Afghan security forces and was deployed in the Caspian Sea region, setting up a "command and control" center kilometers from the Iranian border.

The company was also hired to protect Federal Emergency Management Agency operations and facilities after Hurricane Katrina, where it [earned] $240,000 a day from the American taxpayer, billing $950 a day per Blackwater contractor.

Since September 11, 2001, the company has invested in building a private army - forces are deployed in nine countries, with a database of 21,000 additional troops at the ready, a fleet of more than 20 aircraft, including helicopter gunships and the world's largest private military facility - a 2,800-hectare compound near the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina.

It recently opened a new facility in Illinois ("Blackwater North") and is fighting local opposition to a third planned domestic facility near San Diego ("Blackwater West") by the Mexican border. It is also manufacturing an armored vehicle (nicknamed the "Grizzly") and surveillance blimps.

Erik Prince, ex-navy special-force multimillionaire heads the group. Senior executives include Cofer Black, former head of counter-terrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency; Robert Richer, former deputy director of operations at the CIA; Joseph Schmitz, former Pentagon inspector general and other retired military and intelligence officials.

Company executives recently announced the creation of a new private intelligence company, "Total Intelligence", to be headed by Black and Richer.

Now, put that together with the plans for the SPPNA and the deployment of FEMA, not as a different issue to the illumined objective, as one commenter claimed but very much an integral arm of the North American security plans.

What that gives us is a very worrying scenario:

1] Iraq as a mere training ground;

2] A private contract army not subject to federal regulation or to the constitution of the United States;

3] Private command of forces, under the consultative eye of the NAAC, comprising the CFR.

I think you're getting the drift. All of this facilitated by the next president. The Illumined,phoenix wearing Lizard Queen perchance? This could be "Living History" we're seeing.

Still, the 83 year old lady, YL, won't have to worry about that soon, will she?

[forbidden fruit] mixing work and pleasure

Unusual for this blog to run two posts in a row on a similar theme but this one just couldn't be passed up.

It was the photo Sam Brett used which struck me first because it brought back memories of a spaghetti bar when I was visiting Melbourne and the lady at the time was wearing red shoes and red nail polish and the feet looked like that.

Call me an android but you know, I didn't appreciate it. Perhaps it was the rough way she did it, perhaps it was that I'm supposed to make the moves [unreconstructed male in this sense], perhaps it was … oh, who knows?

So, far from a turn on, it actually had the opposite effect and I tried to hide it but it all sort of petered out in the next few weeks anyway - not just over this, of course, but it was the start.

And what about the old chestnut: "Can a woman rape a man?"

Not one which often crosses your mind, I'll be bound and yet it's an interesting conundrum which I always wanted to put to the test. Fortunately, a wife at the time, given to sometimes doing things out of spite, waited until the day when I was as sick as a dog and then sprang.

There's a point in Life of Brian when his mother is asked: "Were you raped?" and she replied: "Well - at first."

So to Sam's point about mixing work and pleasure:

I must hear from a dozen readers and friends weekly who say they're facing a similar quandary: Do they pounce on their sexy work colleague, co-worker, boss or subordinate, or do they let it slide by the wayside?

Whether working in the same office or starting a business together, couples quickly learn it's often not the most pleasant situation - especially when it comes to handling prying colleagues.

Sneaky kisses in the office kitchenette? Clandestine winks during the weekly board meeting? Romantic lunches at the coffee shop across the street?

Clearly, in my situation it's right out because which of the dozen girls would you go with? How would you get the message to her anyway in front of the others, who are expecting such a thing anyway? And how could you go anywhere without being noticed in this town?

And finally, for what purpose? If one is halfway normal, there's your own sweetheart to meet, although forbidden fruit does attract some, I suppose.

[all above board] but dubious taste nonetheless

Very puzzling story, really:

Iceland’s parliament agreed to grant a woman from Central America Icelandic citizenship one month ago after only 15 months in the country on a student visa. The woman apparently has close ties to Jónína Bjartmarz, Iceland’s Minister of the Environment.

According to RÚV, the woman in question, who is in her early twenties, has a registered address at the Minister’s residence and is her son’s girlfriend.

I think this is an absolute disgrace. There are some amazingly moving home-grown products in Iceland so why import a Latino? I admit tastes differ but the Nordic honeys, such as in the pictures top left and lower right are totally irresistible, in my book.

Still, Jónína's son knows best, I suppose.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

[simplicity] that to which to aspire

I don't know why but I love stark images and simple living, the power of nature, polished wooden or tiled floors with rugs - it's restful, even in its power. I like much that is electronic as well. Apart from the image to the left, listen to this clip:


... and you'll get some sort of index to the way I live. My blog is no indicator - it's far more ornate than I am. A girl came to my apartment and she commented on the single light bulb hanging from the centre of the ceiling.

Ashamed a little, I said I hadn't found the shade I wanted yet. She said not to touch it - she liked it that way. I have tubular bells near my window - they hang from the ceiling too and tinkle when there's a slight breeze.

There are no curtains over the windows, no blinds. When we go to sleep, the grey light shines through and in the morning, the sunlight through the large windows hits the golden parquet floor. I like it that way.

I serve meals in 12cm white bowls, on thick wooden boards with a piece of toast and a glass of water beside them.

I love the imagery of Leonard Cohen. I love Haiku. And you?

[buttocks] one pair, slightly soiled

Anyone need a pair of buttocks? Newmania's selling his. Now, about the bollocks we were talking …

[new order] searching for temptation

Any one know how I can access New Order's original version of Temptation and then their later double album version? This emasculated midi does no justice to them. Trouble is, I can't buy from over here.
Oh, you’ve got green eyes;
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes;

Oh, you’ve got grey eyes ...

And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before ...

No, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before ...

Bolts from above hit the people down below ...

People in this world, we have no place to go ...

Oh, it’s the last time ...
Oh, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before ...
Oh no, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before ...

[predictions] what percentage have come true

Note the waving hand

Via the ever excellent Tim Almond, at his minimalist-look boffin site, a look at the predictions which have come true in the last fifty years. Fascinating stuff and the link to the predictions is over at Tim's site.

[shuggy observes] governors versus senators

Watch that hand, Hilly ...

It's not just Shuggy's perspicacity on the issue of Governors versus senators:
I didn't see the debate and I dare say Mrs Clinton did a fine job but I doubt she'll ever have to deal with a terrorist attack because I don't think she'll become President of the United States.

It's not just that Clinton is a divisive figure. Even without this, she has the same disadvantage as her rival Barack Obama: they're both Senators - and Senators have a terrible record in Presidential elections.
... but that of his commenters as well. I agree - governors do know better how to run a country. Besides, the Lizard Queen just must not get in to wreak her particular havoc.

Tiberius Gracchus has also covered the topic of the presidential race.

[blogosphere] last bulwark against the luminaries

It seems to this blogger that there is a tendency to what I hesitate to call provincialism amongst political bloggers.

The Americans are concerned with their own elections, as are the British and French and local issues dominate, e.g. the destruction of the British NHS and the U.S. southern border issue.

Brits look at EU issues only in terms of themselves and things like the French elections because of proximity to France and because of Segie.

Unwittingly, this is helping the anti-globalist cause immensely. Nationalistic meddling stymied the EU constitution which Jacques promised his masters would go through, like the Paris Olympics. Now, in slipping it through the backdoor, Merkel and Co. are openly showing their disdain for the "sheep".

Further to this, botching of the NHS and DTI big brother proposals has been a godsend in global terms, [though admittedly not too much fun for the victims] and Bush's attempts to sell his country down the drain [the SPPNA, March, 2005] are also meeting increasingly fierce local resistance.

Basically, it's clear that blogging, though lacking political power at this point, is still producing more highly educated computer users and these are practically the majority of sentient beings in the community.

This is good stuff.

One blogger doing a fine job looking both at local issues and the bigger picture is Croydonian but even he appears to be looking overseas with a local focus.

Increasingly, it's becoming necessary to see why, for example, the French election has ramifications down the track. A Sarko victory pressurizes Turkey's accession to the EU, already under threat and this, in turn, is threatening the moderate secularists in that country.

The continued hesitation on the part of the EU is playing into the hands of the extremists, hence the probability that the first cleric is about to be elected and Ataturk's legacy is under threat.

As students of British history and Gallipoli know, the Turks lie at the crossroads of all the coming action and they cannot be dismissed. It would be terrible if Turkey went the way of Iran. We personally are quite worried about this.

Cassandra, over at the Lighthouse, goes into some detail:

Taken at face value, this is an unbelievable statement: the Turkish military have the constitutional duty to safeguard Kemalist democracy and secularism in Turkey against the inherently undemocratic Islamic machinations of the AK Party, a wolf in sheep's clothing if ever there was one!

You might say that may well be so but what can we do on a personal level?

The answer is anything which stymies the globalist agenda, e.g. parochial nationalism, the demand for the English parliament, [this blogger has shifted on this once he thought through the implications fully], the globalist human inefficiency, sheer greed - these things are galling to the global luminaries and are really the last bulwark.

They're doing most of the damage themselves. Merkel's Bruderheist suggestion that the pan-European army is best left under the guidance of the Germans was wonderful.

Prince Charles's position, as confirmed by "The Illustrious Lineage of the Royal House Of Britain" [First Published in 1902 by The Covenant Publishing Co., Ltd., London] and with further confirmation by The College of Heralds, is that he is the the 145th direct descendant of King David and also, coincidentally, descended form the Prophet Mohammed [peace be upon him].

Naturally, this led to his application, just before full unification in 1993, to become the EU King of Europe but strangely, this was turned down by the European parliament.

According to Prince Charles at the time: "I am sure that many people consider that the United Kingdom is in an ideal geographical and historical position to act as an interpreter and mediator between the United States and Europe."

The Daimler-Benz scuppering of the joint Airbus project for fear of French dominance also helps the cause.

It's all good stuff.

Trade is particularly encouraging. National self-interest has scuppered Doha and now threatens to do the same within the next round, whilst at the same time reducing tensions by its very nature.

The World Bank [Wolfowitz] and WTO are coming in for enormous stick and the "sheep" are currently on a roll. But the "wolves" are not going to concede as easily as that. Keep an eye, for example, on the pan-EU security force and the constitution-which-is-not-a-constitution. You can do the latter by clicking on EU Sceptics in my sidebar.

Given that the MSM is controlled, [ex-boss Katie Graham and the Washington Post alone illustrates this],then the Blogosphere is the only medium still holding out against the luminaries and long may it be so.

Thinking small is thinking big in this situation - small nationhood, small government, local issues,focus on family and friends, lots of lovemaking and the imbibing of a modicum of the fermented beverage will scupper the agenda like nothing else.

Fortunately, this comes naturally to most people.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

[misty rain] gleaming swish of asphalt

It's 19:22 on a Saturday evening and the light is slowly fading.

The air is full of misty rain which has covered the dereks, the three new buildings at various stages of construction and the concrete fence surrounding the vast earth-dug site.

The sound of the swish of tyres on asphalt through the open balcony door is all the sound there is, except for the idiot drilling in the wall in the flat above. I'll go up shortly to terminate him.

The ecologically sound lamp in the living room gives a sulphur yellow glow to an already golden parquet floor and I sit adjacent, typing this to you.

At least I was.

Actually, I've just skipped onto the balcony and the scene below is pure cityscape and yet I recall it twelve years ago here - the edge of geography, the new housing area with the road petering out into a sand dune which ran down to the river.

Now they call it the Riviera and it features casino, Imax theatre, skating rink and a foreshore of Miami type housing. I prefer it the way it was.

Do you hunger for rain as I do? All my bitter-sweet moments were in such rain - I don't know, it stirs something inside and helps one forget.

I wish there were a pub somewhere within walking distance.

[marshall tucker band] laid back music

The Marshall Tucker Band were from the early 70s and played a flute, fiddle and piano dominated, very laid back and some said, quite loose and rambling music. Closest bands and singers of a similar ilk were Allman Brothers, Elvin Bishop and maybe the Eagles to an extent.

For a Britisher who didn't exactly grow up with American country music, I still liked their harmonies and there was one song which stood out for me: "In my own Way" which was quite relevant to a certain wife of mine:
I know sometimes you think I don't love you ... but I can't act like we just met all the time

And I can say without a doubt you're the only love I'd ever find

There's a special place in my heart that’s occupied by you;

There ain't no one on God's earth gonna take your place

And I can say without a doubt you're the only love I'd ever find

And in my own way I love you

And in my own way I need you

And in my own way I've got you

... and your love.

The lyrics were one thing but the totally unhurried nature of the song and the almost conscious way they dropped into minutes long instrumental phases twice, as if they were gathering their thoughts for the next verse, was quite appealing.

Sadly, I can't access this song on the web but I have found one of their other numbers in emasculated, awful midi form. I'm using Midi Shrine to give readers 48 hour access to "Heard it in a Lovesong", which was their only commercial success.

This can be accessed by clicking here.

I'm gonna be leavin’ at the break of dawn.

Wish you could come but I don't need no woman tagging along.

So I'll sneak out that door couldn't stand to see you cry.

I'd stay another year if I saw a tear drop in your eye.

Heard it in a love song [chorus repeated].

The Marshall Tucker Band.

[saturday quiz] opening lines of novels

Half a mark for the book, half for the author:

1 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,....

2 It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice.

3 At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening, a certain young man came down on to the street from the little room he rented from some tenants in S--- Lane and slowly, almost hesitantly, set off towards K---n Bridge.

4 Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

5 It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

6 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

7 Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.

8 Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

9 Mr. Sniggs, the Junior Dean, and Mr. Postlethwaite, the Domestic Bursar, sat alone in Mr. Snigg's room, overlooking the garden quad at Scone College.

10 It ws one of the mixed blocks, over on Central Avenue, one of those blocks that are not yet all negro. I had just come out of a three-chair barber shop where an agency thought a relief barber named Dimitrios Aleidis might be working. It was a small matter. His wife said she was willing to spend a little money to have him come home.

Answers here.

[blogfocus saturday] here's to your good health

1 Tom Paine minces no words when he is annoyed about something and this is no exception:

The prigs at Alcohol Concern believe (like so many other Statist swine) that they know better than us how to bring up our children. Both my daughters were introduced gradually to alcohol from a young age in the French manner, with a view to their learning to appreciate quality wine in joyful moderation. Understandably, Alcohol Concern's demand to criminalise such an approach, has brought Devil's Kitchen into full, fine, fulminating, foul-mouthed form.

2 Spicy Cauldron also has something to say on the Alcohol Concern matter:

Introducing alcohol from an early age, educating children as to its proportionate usage and enjoyment, is a far more effective barrier to drink problems developing in later life than banning alcohol outright until a child is no longer a child at all, but an ill-informed adult with an awareness that the taboo can then be indulged in with gay abandon and little in the way of social controls, next to no risk of a prison sentence for anti-social and extremely violent behaviour.

Alcohol Concern, please take note: a call for greater education would have been warmly received as sensible and considered. Prohibition and criminalisation never work, and it is only right that you receive flak for suggesting these as appropriate courses of action for government to take.

3 Russell Roberts, at Café Hayek,gets sooty on coal:

I love it when the bootlegger and the Baptist are the same guy. The WSJ ($) reports:

The founder of a group that ran a series of newspaper ads attacking the coal industry for selling a product that they called "filthy" says the campaign is ending.

The effort, promoted as pro-environment, was sponsored by a rival energy company, a natural-gas-production company, and sparked a round of protests from members of Congress and trade associations.

4 The only problem with what is otherwise, here, an excellent blog is Tony Emmerson's refusal to take comments. Still, the post is good, for all that:

For years my dear Grandfather kept a daily record of his barometer readings. I remember as a child seeing the book in which he noted and plotted the twitch of a needle. The world was a small place then. All the boffins doing their sophisticated works at the Met Office (apart from that hot weather girl who was the sister of somebody famous) could tell me nothing more important than the contents of that slim and faded volume. There was something profound laid in those years of carefully drawn lines of different coloured inks, even if they told a story that everyone around me already knew: Buxton has crappy weather.

5 Dr Crippen cannot be accused of succinct posts. They cover every current news item, ramification and every twist of every NHS issue. You want NHS? Go to The Crip:

Bloody, whinging, whining junior doctors. It is all your fault. Add you onto the lazy GPs, the fat-cat, swan-eating, port-swilling, golf-playing consultants and those useless nurses, and you can see why the NHS has failed.

It must be true. My Lord Warner says so.

Lord Warner, has launched an extra-ordinary attack on all those who work in the NHS. He cites "productivity" issues and resistance to change within the NHS as the major causes for the failure of Labour's investment programme and programme of reform.

6 Electrolicious is an electrically delicious journo-poet and she's focussed on Gen X and Y just now, the DNA of future society as we know it:

As part of my new job, I've been reading a lot about the work-styles of Gen Y (aka the Millennials). Although my birth-year (1975) technically puts me into Gen X territory, after reading various articles discussing how Gen Y is hyper communicative and assertive but also plagued by narcissism and an obsessive need for connectivity, I would like to proclaim that I identify more with Gen Y. Then I wonder if perhaps this is because I spent so much time at raves in my early 20s — raves where most everyone was 5 years younger than me. Is Gen Y contagious?

7 On the grounds that we should reperesent all point of view in the Blogfocii, may I present the Urban Commando, Will, in all his red star glory. The Young Ones would be proud:

The majority (yes - that's right - you heard me correctly) of the left (or what passes itself off for that distinguished tradition) has thoroughly botched its job on this most crucial of matters. This manifest truth is apparent if one examines the 'anti-war movement' in this country and most others - it is the enemy of the World's working class, the enemy of the Jews, the enemy of the Afghan people, the enemy of Palestinians, the enemy of Iraqis, the enemy of the Kurdish people and the enemy of everything I've ever f---ing well fought for or cared about. Capitalism is truly puking up undigested barbarism these days (truefact).

8 Let's finish up, this evening, with one of our own - Calum Carr - and his take on the Scottish issue:

Nothing new about this. Not even newsworthy. He spoke therefore he lied: that’s the Blair we all know.

In today’s Times (26 April 2007, sorry no link) he accused Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP and likely to lead the largest party after next week’s election, as follows:

When Alex Salmond gets up in the morning what is on his mind is fighting England.”

Fighting: this from Mr Military man. “Who’s up for a fight?” “We are”, says Tony. “Well, not me, of course, but “my” troops are up for it”. He has no shame!

Fighting England”, he says. What absolute rubbish! I have seen or heard nothing to suggest there is any truth in this.

I have seen reports that the SNP will try to manufacture issues on which they can claim that the Westminster government is not acting in the interests of Scotland.

Dem's fighting words and more of these on Tuesday evening, the national day over here. So crank up those old gramophones and dust off your copy of The Internationale. Go out to the garage and find 1] a hammer and 2] a sickle.

Bye for now.

[kryptonite] curse of lex luthor

Love those tights.

You'd expect that with my mindset I'd take the Superman Curse onboard and you'd be right. I do indeed think there is something in it but not as much as Wiki has tried to ascribe to it.

Now a new warning has been backed by science:

Warning to Superman: Stay clear of Ottawa. With the help of our very own National Research Council, scientists have identified a mineral with virtually the same composition as kryptonite, the space rock that makes the Man of Steel more like a man of straw.

It all started in Serbia, where geologists working with mining giant Rio Tinto unearthed a drill core of a rock they couldn't match to any known mineral. So they contacted Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.

But when Dr. Stanley typed the composition of the new mineral -- sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide -- into Google, he was astonished to find that it matched up with kryptonite. "He said, 'I nearly fell off my chair,' " says Dr. LePage. "And we had a good laugh."

The rock will be named jadarite, after Jadar, the place in Serbia where it was discovered, Dr. Stanley said.

I think this stinks. It should be called Kryptonite or White Kryptonite and tried on Arnie. If found relatively harmless, it should next be tried on the black-faced Lizard Queen to discover if she bears any resemblance to humankind.

Or not.

[betty boo] you can dance to this music

In the late 80s and early 90s, the rap phenomenon was well under way with such luminaries as MC Hammer et al and the Brits looked likely to be bi-passed in this new era.

The 60s swing which had given place to 70s complex sounds and the alternative punk distortion itself gave way to early 80s ska and a host of British bands - Madness, Bad Manners, the Beat, the Specials, Selecter and the classic Splodginessabounds spring to mind.

Yet the American incursion was strong. Into this came the 1990 album Boomania, generally regarded now as a masterpiece of the genre, by Kensington girl Alison Moira Clarkson.

Those who remember the microphone malfunction in Melbourne which ended her career or the interviewer who came to her house asking her: "So what do you do?" and her classic, shocked reply: "I'm a singer" - all of that aside, not enough people give Boo her rightful place in the history of popular music.

She stood out in a sea of rap as:

1 British;

2 White [sort of - she was a Malaysian Scot];

3 Possessed of a damned good album, musically speaking.

I don't know if it was her or whether it was her writers or producer or whoever - whatever, the thing gelled and I, for one, now miss her rhythm, if not her caustic, egotistical lyrics. She was also easy on the eyes but I wouldn't want you to think that influenced my thinking. Oh no.

You remember her?

[By the way, compare Boo's photo to that of the Minnesota phenomenon Ruthie Z. If her photo is not currently in MyBlogLog, wait some and it will hopefully reappear.]

Friday, April 27, 2007

[men & women] it takes hard work ran an article a long time ago, well before my blogging days, rating the following as the things which a girl most wants from you:
# Listen

# Support

# Admire

# Pay attention

# Learn

# Grow

Finally, try to be the kind of person she would want to be with. Staying in shape, engaging her on emotional and intellectual levels and helping out are all tangible ways to let her know that she matters to you.

I would add these:

# being clean

# having a sense of purpose

Girls might add:

# no really bad habits, e.g. drugs

# confidence

Adele Horin, in the SMH, August 14 2002 said:

# Happy couples around the world were the ones who tended to put their relationship first. They had a strong sense of being a couple, while retaining their own identity. They looked after each other.

# Each partner compromised and adapted to please the other and was prepared to give more than they received. They were the president of each other's fan club.

# These marriages took effort and ongoing maintenance, but the couples did not regard it as a hard slog. Rather, they brought an attitude of goodwill to the compromises required.

# How couples handled inevitable conflicts was also crucial. Criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling spelt death for a marriage. Humour could defuse conflict and salve wounded egos.

# Couples married for 40 and 50 years worried that young people did not have the commitment needed to carry them through the hard times.

The themes which keep coming through, as far as I can see are working hard to keep the thing going,wanting to keep the thing going and perhaps the hardest - being reasonable to the other.

[islam] fine in a muslim world

I live and work in a Muslim republic, within part of the government and surrounded by Muslims. This republic has always been Muslim, the way of life and the architecture is largely Muslim and there's absolutely nothing to be said about that.

I'd marry a Muslim girl tomorrow.

Our government here sees Britain as a Christian country, regrettably maybe but there it is. This doesn't prevent great warmth on both sides when we visited Britain earlier in the week and that's one reason "trade" is such a positive field of international activity - it is all-accepting and diplomatic and the only criterion is mutual benefit.

Tim Worstall detests the DTI and they seem to be having their problems just now but internationally, the DTIs of the world go a long way towards smoothing out differences and preventing conflict. I've observed this happening at close quarters. They really can slant the strategy to the best advantage of business, locally.

That's why I believe the government should be run by business or people who understand business and not by Imams or Archbishops. And that's why there is, in my view, dismay in Turkey and delight in France at this moment.

Two aspects in a middle-east online article illustrate this:

In Turkey, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, 56, a pious religious conservative, has been nominated for the presidency of Turkey by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He seems certain to be confirmed in the post by a parliamentary vote on Friday. This has alarmed liberal Turks who fear that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy of secularism will be eroded.

In a warning against radical Islamism, Turkey’s outgoing President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer -- himself a stalwart secularist -- went so far as to declare that Turkey’s secular system was facing its gravest threat since the founding of the Republic in 1923.

It would be an unmitigated disaster in Turkey. So much work has gone into the secularization and a rejection by the EU could well drive it into the arms of the jihadis. That's why, though I think Sarko is infinitely preferable to Segie, it would not be so good for Turkey.

The article continues:

In France, presidential front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy makes no secret of his distaste for militant Islam -- and perhaps, if the truth be told, for Arabs and Muslims in general -- especially in the form of alienated youths of North African origin in the rundown suburbs of Paris and other French cities.

He is viscerally opposed to the entry of Turkey - a country 99 per cent Muslim - into the European Union. He is the only French presidential candidate to make his position on this issue absolutely clear. If he is elected President, Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Commission in Brussels are likely to face serious obstruction from Paris.

Not wanting to seem softer on crime than her rival, Ségolène has suggested that youthful troublemakers should be sent to military boot camps. But, this apart, she projects a gentler, more caring image than Sarkozy.

And this is why Segolene would be a disaster for France. She is playng catch-up-policy the whole way, her party machine is a mess and her platform keeps changing according to the prevailing political wind. And yet, in Turkish terms, she would be preferable.

Sarko is remembered for this sort of thing as well:

More controversially, however, he praised the Algerian army for cancelling the second round of general elections in 1992, thus preventing an almost certain victory by an Islamist party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). "Algeri was very brave to interrupt the democratic process," Sarkozy said. "If the army had not acted, one could have had a Taliban regime in Algeria."

He failed to mention that the army coup triggered a 10-year civil war in the 1990s in which well over 100,000 people died -- and of which this month’s suicide bombing was worrying evidence that the struggle is not yet over.

And this article "failed to mention" that it was precisely the FIS which triggered the atrocities in Algeria. What middle-east online is saying is that because the French prevented the FIS coming to power, that the FIS revenge massacres were the fault of the French. Not even I would accuse the French of that.

This article gives a different take:

Western pressure led to elections in 1991. The Islamists were leading and would've won. But the generals decided to cancel the elections. That's when it turned into all-out war between the Islamists and the Army.

The biggest Islamic guerrilla force was the AIS, connected to the FIS, the Islamic party that would've won the elections. But AIS looked like squeamish moderates compared to the GIA, another Islamic militia that does its killing south of Algiers.

So, in a nutshell, Sarko is better than Segie for France. If Sarko gets in, this will impact on Turkey, which needs the EU membership to both stay secular and to act as a possible bridge between the western and eastern worlds. A little like Egypt once did.