Sunday, December 30, 2007

An Obscure Vacation Spot

So, looking for a good place to get away? Yet you don't want to go where everyone else goes. Well, how does camping sound to you? No, I don't mean camping out in the woods. How about camping on the beach?

You are looking at Perdido Key, which is located south of Florida.  I went there for Spring Break freshman year of college.  That's an ├╝ber-zoomed in view, as the key is much longer (with buildings).  It's run by the National Park Service, interestingly enough.  We only stayed a day because it was too windy to keep our tent up (we really didn't know what we were doing).  Having said that, this place is paradise.  Nobody, and I mean, nobody was in our view (with the exception of an old couple whom we passed on the road in).  Look at these photos and decide for yourselves.

If I remember correctly, the cost for a pass is only $6.  Therefore, it's extremely reasonable!  Also, Perdido Key is literally right across the straight from Panama City, so you can drive there to get anything you might need or want.  In short, it's the ideal (in my opinion) and undiscovered vacation spot.  So, think about it next time (instead of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Fort Lauderdale, etc.).  

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Canadian Perspective

I found this via Watching America. Read the aformentioned article. It provides a unique perspective of Canadians, who don't want to be integrated into an NAU.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

All your children are belong to us

I note that James is on a brief hiatus and as such I thought that I'd leap in with one of my rare posts—only my second, in fact—in order to fill the gap.

I would like to say a few words about ManHunt 2, a computer game that is causing some controversy, as it essentially involves the gamer playing the part of a character who hunts down assorted people and kills them in inventive ways.

After deliberation, it had been given a release in this country but now that is going to be fought in court.
British censors have won the right to fight the UK release of video game Manhunt 2 in the High Court.

A judge accepted the British Board of Film Classification's argument that the game had been approved for release on a misinterpretation of the law.

The game was banned in June but the Video Appeals Committee said the game could be classified and released.

The BBFC said that the VAC had been guilty of "a very serious misdirection of law" on the question of harm.

The judge said: "I have taken into account the high public interest in the possibility of harm to children."

Mr Justice Wyn Williams ruled the Board had an arguable case that should go to a full hearing.

Both sides agreed that the game was not suitable for children, but the BBFC argued that if given a certificate for release, it could still end up in the hands of minors.

The first point is, if these media releases—be it video games or films—are going to "end up in the hands of minors" anyway, then what point is there is giving them a classification in the first place?

And how will they end up in the hands of minors? Either through shops selling them to minors—in which case the shops are breaking the law and they should be prosecuted at every opportunity—or the parents are going to buy the game for their children.

In this second scenario, the parents have made a deliberate decision to flout the law and the warnings that come with the classification. Whatever the reason, we have to accept that parents have ultimate legal rights over their children; their wishes should trump both the classification board and the government. To deny that is to accept that the parents do not own their children and are not responsible for them: the state is, and the state should have preference over the parents as to what is suitable for the children. And that is an utterly unacceptable scenario—unless, of course, you are someone like Polly Toynbee, for whom such a situation would be the first step on the road to socialist Utopia.

The final thing to consider is whether or not violent computer games are responsible for violent behaviour. And the answer is that it is unlikely and, assuming that it follows the same projection as porn, we can actually say how unlikely it is. Or, rather, Strange Stuff can.
The available data is quite explicit. The availability of porn does not lead to sexual violence, it actually decreases the incidence of it.
The incidence of rape in the United States has declined 85% in the past 25 years while access to pornography has become freely available to teenagers and adults.

Not good enough? How about in the land of tentacle sex?
Within Japan itself, the dramatic increase in available pornography and sexually explicit materials is apparent to even a casual observer. This is concomitant with a general liberalization of restrictions on other sexual outlets as well. Also readily apparent from the information presented is that, over this period of change, sex crimes in every category, from rape to public indecency, sexual offenses from both ends of the criminal spectrum, significantly decreased in incidence.

Most significantly, despite the wide increase in availability of pornography to children, not only was there a decrease in sex crimes with juveniles as victims but the number of juvenile offenders also decreased significantly.

In short, in the case of porn, easy availability leads to a decrease in sexual attacks because, fundamentally, porn acts as a substitute for the act itself. As far as we can tell, violent computer games act in much the same way: they allow people to play out a fantasy and they are less likely to ape the acts that they see portrayed.

Therefore, whilst various campaigners may hail this court challenge to Manhunt 2 as a triumph for decency and common sense it is, in fact, anything but. But these special interest groups don't like to get in the way of a good moralising, because that is why they exist.

However, make no mistake: if this game's release is banned, the subtext here is that the state knows better than you how you should raise your children. And from there, it's only a short step to the state podding hutches of Polly Toynbee's dreams.

Cross-posted at Devil's Kitchen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cricket or Yachting for Boxing Day?

Matthew Hayden celebrates his 28th century in the Boxing Day Test

Align Centre Leopard and Wild Oats XI duel for position on Day 1 of the Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race

One of the great Ocean Races, the annual Sydney to Hobart, which always starts on Boxing Day is under way in perfect conditions. The winner for the last two years, Wild Oats XI leads the field and is favourite to win again, but weather conditions are likely to preclude a new record. The race includes a wide variety of yachts from the Super Maxi's which complete the trip in less than two days to smaller yachts which can take a week or more depending on weather conditions.

There is an excellent web site where you can track the yachts, read updates and see some excellent photographs if you are nautically inclined. I know James is.

Here in Australia, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race vies with the Boxing Day Cricket Test Match held annually in Melbourne as the major sporting events for this part of the year. For the record over 60,000 people and a huge television audience saw Matthew Hayden hit his 28th test century as India fought back to be marginally ahead after day one with Anil Kumble getting five wickets. Everywhere you go for the next few days, people will be watching and listening to the cricket. Even my mother in law set aside today to just watch the cricket and sew. Many are hopeful of a more competitive series than the Poms last year and it looks like they may get one.

Photos from the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Official Site and Cricinfo

Cross Posted at Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe

Monday, December 24, 2007

[blog hiatus] just for a few days

Hamish, I'm speaking about you tomorrow.

Had to smile. Went to the usual "nourishing" page, my homepage and was not surprised to discover I'd dropped one place to third.

I was very surprised to see which post of mine Google chose to run - the one from a few days back, speaking of my place on that very page. Is this incestuous or is this incestuous?

OK, so I have to announce that my statement at Blogpower later this evening will be my last for a few days though I'll visit all on my blogroll over the next few days, in a more leisurely fashion and check the e-mail of course, which includes BP posts. I just won't blog.

The thing is that my health has deteriorated to the point where it's a danger so I must stop for now. The plan is to return to this blog on the 30th.

I would adore it if anyone could see his or her way clear to guest posting - I'd love to read one of your posts [maybe more than one]. Any photos - try to make them 400 pixels wide and centred. You might have to select and choose Verdana for best effect.

One last thing - I love my work over here but these guys never know when to stop. They've got me scheduled tomorrow morning to go to the TV station to speak on ... wait for it ... livestock breeding and milk production in Germany and Sweden! What?!!

I tell them it's Christmas Day.

They say: "Yes?"

No point even trying to explain - better to just celebrate Christmas on January 7th and be done with it. The text was just delivered to me [for the film] by a big, smiling bear of a man - lovely chap, lucky wife. Nice hearts, the people I deal with.

Have a good festive season. For those who won't be offfended - G-d bless.


[christmas] don't forget the families

If you wonder how I, a Christian, can accept Oestrebunny's post:

There are no Christmas miracles and if Santa is coming down your chimney it's more than likely that he's not a benevolent bearded man, but in fact your drug addled pikey neighbour attempting to pilfer your presents.

And before anyone starts up, I refuse to accept 'celebrating the birth of our lord' as an answer. We all know the Romans pinched these festivities from the Pagans. I know it, you know it. Lets just all accept the fact that Jesus wasn't born with glitter in his hair or tinsel around his neck.

... then we need to look more closely at what she's saying. She's only speaking the truth here - the current orgy of consumer debt based on this time of year and the false pretence of festive cheer has no basis in history.

On the other hand, it is generally accepted that this time be the one designated as His birth [even though I don't celebrate December 25th myself - mine is January 7th]. Kids do love the tree and tinsel and it is a chance for famlies to come home and be together. It would be churlish to set that aside, to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Enjoy your festive eve and day, especially as a family and I'll now toast to you with a glass of wine. Enjoy your family - it makes me feel warm just to think of it.

[wales] leading the way to a house of lords

Wow! How's this for an issue?

The people of Wales call upon the Prime Minister to end Unicameralism* in Wales by creating a second chamber, modelled on the House of Lords, entirely appointed to scrutinise the work of the elected Assembly.

The people of Wales are so annoyed by this lack of a Welsh House of Lords that so far only two people have signed the petition other than the author.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' he chortled in his joy. I have been arguing for a House of Lords, unaccountable to the governing party, for a long, long time.

Here are my proposals for the English Parliament, though I was still thinking Britain then. Then come follow up posts here, here, here and here.

Some good Christmas Eve reading for all.

Of course, it is only logical that the EU regionalization is henceforth scrapped, that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own bicameral parliaments and that the upper houses embody, as I mentioned to

... the country's traditions - comprised of historians perhaps, [national] lords, not English, church leaders and so on ...

The UK or Britain can be retained for defence purposes, such being administered from the Isle of Man.

[nepal] the times they are a changin'

Fascinating story of a monarchy on the doorstep of China now changing to a republic:

Nepal's major political parties have agreed to abolish the world's last Hindu monarchy as part of a deal to bring former communist rebels back into the government, the one-time insurgents said Monday.

The communists, who are known as the Maoists, ended their decade-long rebellion last year and later joined the country's interim government. But they withdrew in September, demanding the monarchy be immediately abolished.

The current monarch, King Gyanendra, heads a dynasty that dates to 1769, when a regional ruler led an army down from the hills and conquered the ancient city of Katmandu.

Gyanendra came to the throne in 2001 after a palace massacre in which the crown prince is accused of gunning down Gyanendra's older brother, the late King Birendra, and much of the royal family and then killing himself. The murders helped pierce the mystique surrounding Nepal's royalty.

Wonder how much influence China itself or the U.S. had on this matter? Also, what is the future for Hinduism?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

[wassailing] and maybe just a little mulled wine

What are your favourite carols = the ones you'd most like to hear tomorrow evening when they come round wassailing? The Top 10, according to the Classic FM poll:

1. O Holy Night

2. Silent Night

3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

4. In The Bleak Midwinter - Darke

5. O Come, All Ye Faithful

6. Once In Royal David's City

7. In The Bleak Midwinter - Holst

8. O Come, O Come Emmanuel

9. O Little Town Of Bethlehem

10. Coventry Carol

So do you have your ensemble ready? Don't forget to take a hot toddy with you when you go and in order to extract maximum cash, select just two or three carols and sing them over and over. But no less, as this will get you a beating.

Mrs. Beeton's recipe:

INGREDIENTS.- To every pint of wine allow 1 large cupful of water, sugar and spice to taste.

Mode.-In making preparations like the above, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted, then add the wine and sugar, and bring the whole to the boiling-point, when serve with strips of crisp dry toast, or with biscuits.

The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose; and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar.

The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately cleam, and should be kept exclusively for the purpose. Small tin warmers may be purchased for a trifle, which are more suitable than saucepans, as, if the latter are not scrupulously clean, they spoil the wine, by imparting to it a very disagreeable flavour. These warmers should be used for no other purpose."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

[quote quiz] five by two

Click for pic

The task

There are ten quotes here. Five people spoke or wrote all ten, two each. Try to match them:

1 I like a man who grins when he fights.

2 You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you're gone.

3 I am not young enough to know everything.

4 America is the land of the second chance - and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.

5 Last week, I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.

6 Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse.

7 I’ve spent a lot of time searching through the Bible . . . for loopholes.

8 A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.

9 Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

10. When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.

The authors

a] Groucho Marx, b] WC Fields, c] Winston Churchill, d] Oscar Wilde, e] George Bush Jnr

The answers

1c, 2e, 3d, 4e, 5b, 6a, 7b, 8d, 9a, 10c

[winter solstice] 'tis the season of goodwill

Click to zoom

In an earlier post, your humble correspondent

My whole current mentality is a siege mentality - to prevent being dragged into things.

Interesting then that this morning I was dragged into an issue that I have neither the time nor the inclination for at this exhausted time of year. It was done very cleverly, in such a way that I had no choice but to respond swiftly. Trouble is that no one else is remotely interested either.

It's a great pity that that had to happen because apart from that blot on the landscape, today has been fabulous. The panorama out there has to be seen to be believed and it's a further pity that I don't currently possess a camera to bring you shots of it.

The temperature is mild and the snow is lightly falling in big, soft flakes - but constantly. Roads are lined with mounds of vivid, glitening snow and the overall effect is of a hard-packed piste sculpted in a sort of tableau vivante, [if one can sculpt one of those].

Even further - I managed to pick up 12 James Bond DVDs dirt cheap and these include the first three Brosnan pieces I've been dying to see but could never find - until now.

Further even than that - today was "ladies day" and "Min Day" combined. Much cognac was imbibed and goodwill abounded. The last lady has just departed now. The hush outside and inside here in this warm room is so restful that I'd best et this posted and the quiz before Higham drops off into an inelegant snooze.

As Sean, of Omnium might say: "The Peace of the Night".

[russia-britain-europe] like the steps of a dance

Click on pic to zoom

First the news:
The European Union has called on Russia to reconsider its order to shut down two British Council offices. The Russian government said this month that the offices in St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg had broken laws, including tax rules.

In a statement, the EU expressed its concern, citing the importance of culture in the "EU-Russia partnership". Relations between Britain and Russia have worsened dramatically since the London murder of Russian exile, Alexander Litvinenko, in November 2006.
Some comments

This is more complex than it at first appears. It involves alliances and written agreements. It also flies in the face of attempts to create good relations. Any Russia-watcher would know that when an article like this appears in Pravda, then this is a fair barometer of government intention overall.

It is essential that Russia listens to Europe and yet bilateral agreements should be exempt from being tied into other issues. In practice, of course, they are not mutually exclusive.

Britain thinks Russia was out of order to bump off Litvinenko within Britain. And yet this has not been proved and further, this man and others like Berezovsky were using their privileged status behind their British immunity to attack Russia.

America was faced with the same situation in Cuba. Would they have been justified in attacking the missile sites in Cuba? This is not the same question as whether they would have been justified in invading Cuba. The question is: "How far is a nation justified in eliminating a threat to its security, especially when that threat is hidden behind a host nation's immunity?"

This is the question behind Al Qaeda, behind Gaddafi and Lockerbie, behind Iraq, behind Iran.

And who is in the best position to judge a nation's security interests? Is it that nation itself or that of the people within the country from whence the threat is coming? Example - imagine that a group of Brits in, say, Holland, are hell bent on hurting Britain's interests by stymying trade deals, security cooperation and whatever else between Britain and Holland.

Holland acts to protect these elements. How far would Britain be justified in intervening? Leaving aside the wrongs and rights of the issue itself, surely Realpolitik dictates that somewhere down the track there'd be a lot of aggravation involving alliances and commitments to assist.

Whilst neither Britain nor Holland would desire this state of affairs, international conventions would dictate that things must proceed along certain lines. So both sides would foresee worsening relations but what choice would there be, when those elements being protected in Holland are continuing to harass and nobble Britain?

As a Brit, naturally I see our point of view. Living here so long and being on terms with certain people in government here, I see the other side too. What I can't see is an immediate solution to the issue.

Thoughts on the map at the top

The map is what Europe might have looked like today if the Nazis had, in fact, won. It can be seen that both the United Kingdom and Russia are unresolved issues. From historical documents, it appears that Britain would have enjoyed semi-autonomous status, not unlike what they will have when the EU formally takes over in 2010. This would undermine British nationalists' ability to muster and motivate anti-union forces.

Russia is another matter. The view here is that there was no doubt Germany intended to subjugate the Russians and use them as slave labour, the less useful going to the gas chamber. Hence the added piquancy to their resistance at Stalingrad. They were, in their own eyes, fighting for survival or oblivion. Churchill's own warning.

In Britain, this would possibly not have been the case and the noted sympathies between the aristocracy in Britain and the Nazi machine, which have been commented on so negatively, might have been a softening factor in Nazi eyes.

It seems more likely that the disintegration of the Nazi Empire might have begun within Germany itself. Interesting topic.

Friday, December 21, 2007

[captain matchbox] my wahine in wang

This one's going to take quite some setting up.

In Australia, there's a road connecting Melbourne and Sydney [about 880 km] and it varies from four lanes each way, down to a single lane [at least it did in the mid '80s]. Naturally, there is heavy transport the whole time along the legth of the highway and also naturally, there are truck-stop cafs.

These tend to be beside the road in one horse towns, with one pump and one caf. The women serving in such cafs tend to be, well, what's the most polite term, not of the highest social strata? Plus they're Australian country and Australian country tends to be fairly ... er ... down to earth.

The husbands tend to be largish and inclined to think a little more simply than the city slicker, on average. They like things to be straightforward and have interesting ideas on decor, such as plastic palm trees in tubs.

OK, so into this we have a band travelling this highway - the Hume Highway - in their psychedelic van. But not just any band - a Melbourne inner-city comedy routine whose lead singer, calling himself Microphone Conway [real name Mick], a short, slender youth with slicked-back black hair and "city" written all over him, has a penchant for lounge crooning, a la combo.

Not only that but the whole band wear hawaiian outfits and sing of 'wahines" - Hawaiian for Polynesian women or goddesses. Lastly, we have the name of the town - Wangaratta - often shortened to Wang and this might be the reason the band was there at all [although the song below was performed pre-1990].

The sparks, therefore, fly and that's the subject of this little number. It's quite typical Australian humour, which is not always obvious and can be quite as dry as British humour at times. As for the bunny with the harmonica - Oestrebunny eat your heart out [or have a carrot].


[dysfunction] can strike at any time

Wonder why.

I always have [had?] the opposite problem. Can be quite an embarrassment at times, say in the fitness club when the lady trainer comes over to assist with your bench work.

[scots rule] listen to yer countrymen, broonie

Absolutely adore this one. Toque reports.

How very, very, embarrassing for Gordon Brown - the Scottish Parliament voted last night to demand a referendum on the EU Constitution.

The SNP and Scottish Tories said Mr Brown had treated the British public with “contempt” for failing to have a referendum before signing the treaty.

Hee, hee! May I share with you my experience of the Scots? In my early sportsmaster days, I tried to organize a Games at our school and invited members of many communities to join us - the Irish, South African, French, Italian and so on.

The idea was that they come and demonstrate a game or activity especially of their culture. I was hoping for some Welsh singing. We had a good response from all nationalities except the Scottish.

It wasn't that they were unwilling. As the spokesperson for the highland games explained to me on the phone, they just weren't talking to each other and so couldn't get organized.

Who couldn't get organized? The families, laddie, the clans. There was a feud running at that time. Instead, he gave me a whole lot of phone numbers for the various families and suggested I phone them individually and the very best of luck.

So the Scots ended up not being represented. I do love the Scots - interesting from an English Nationalist, isn't it? Except for Brown. He should be sent to Elba.

[blog birthday] jon turns two

That uber-satirist, Jon Swift, turned TWO this week. Do get over and congratulate him if you haven't already done so, people.

There's also a little milestone of my own. If you Google "nourishing obscurity", the obvious happens. But if you Google just "nourishing", it wasn't so clear until recently.

Now I'm proud to temporarily be in 3rd place - temporarily because it's a pitched battle against these Americans here.

Unfortunately, "obscurity" is still in obscurity but I'm not complaining.

[winter and the festive season] here with a vengeance

Today, December 21st, is the first of the three shortest days and I love this time. Our weather has also come to the party.

The type of weather we currently have is of the picture postcard variety - massive piles of snow everywhere and yesterday it snowed all day - big flakes filling the air, slowly and silently falling to the gardens, paths, hedgerows and onto the branches of trees.

There's a forecast minus 30 on the weekend so that will be the first really low temperature we've had.

Unfortunately, the health is not 100% just now and there's a variety of reasons, not least the constant battles throughout the semester. No overt battles but silent brickwalling, which in the end takes its toll. Need to recharge the batteries and avoid any dire New Year "celebrations". One or two commitments to take care of and then touch wood that I can keep people off my back for a week and a half.

I like the Orthodox Christmas better, on January 7th. We've had a rest, we're ready to start seeing people again and the weather always seems so much better then. The mood's better and I'm feeling better now just thinking about it.

Yesterday I got a little frosty myself over a most unimportant matter, with a client who had even brought a little food gift. That was a clear danger signal to back off and maybe postpone my RL work until after New Year. No point blowing a good relationship over something a tired mind might construe as worth the battle.

It's a dangerous time where people try to drag you into their agendas - BP members can see that from the latest mailing list posts but I'm having none on't. Ditto in RL here. My whole current mentality is a siege mentality - to prevent being dragged into things. I've disconnected the phone as an interim measure and the only way anyone can get to me is either via e-mail or with crowbars.

There's a nice cask of wine at the ready, the fridge is stocked up and the doors locked. Post-New Year, after a recharging of batteries, should then be a matter of getting round to any friends I still have left, for a bit of festive cheer. It's a lovely time over here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

[no denying] that there's denial and denial

Two primitive fishermen with spears step through the water and wait for the sand to resettle and for the water to become clear again. They're looking for flatfish.

A rainbow fish appears instead and one of the two doesn't want that fish touched. What's the most effective method of preventing it being caught?

I'd say it would be to accidentally on purpose muddy the waters and then the fish can't be seen. Not only that, it would now be tipped off and may well swim away out of range.

Maybe it's not the greatest analogy but you'll soon see where this is going. Maybe, as Lucia Flecha da Lima claimed:
"Paul Burrell was perfectly capable of imitating Princess Diana's handwriting."
Maybe so. Maybe not. A whole host of thoughts crowd into the mind, to be filtered through predispositions and prejudices and please don't claim you're unbiased or looking only at the facts. You might be trying to do that and so am I but we're restricted by our experiences, by our foreknowledge.

This woman won't accept that Diana felt that she was going to be killed. It doesn't gel with her experience. There are obviously those who would place great store on da Lima being "one of the princess's closest confidantes" and therefore this being an appeal to authoritativeness, in order to conclude the letter's a fake.

But we don't actually know.

On the other hand, if it is true, then very powerful personages wish it to be the accepted view that the letter's a fake. It's only logical that no stone will be left unturned. Against that, it's only one letter and only one peron rejecting it, long after the fact. To appeal to numbers who believe in it or not is pointless.

Hand in hand with this is the necessity to vilify the opponent and the standard subterfuge is to label anyone accepting the letter as a conspiracy theorist. End of story. No need to pursue it further.

Against that, there is the view that a certain type of researcher always leans towards the conspiratorial explanation and this clouds his judgement when it comes to something which can be explained away more plausibly, by less sensational means.

This is serial rationality and the rationalist always has the advantage over the passionate ferret in that he appears ... well ... rational. A prime example is Cheney who always sounds plausible, even though he's not saying anything which stands the test. He draws on a few stock phrases which appeal to the no-nonsense conservative and that's accepted as truth.

On the other hand, the rationalist could well be right. I've read some quite cogent arguments for the "single bullet theory" with JFK, now that the hysteria's died away. The claim to "likelihood", witnesses' testimony and the relatively clear view from the building behind JFK, let alone the grassy knoll, is powerful but it might, after all, be wrong.

To claim Oswald couldn't have made it down those steps and be drinking a coke is a straw man, as is the ludicrous diagram of relative body positions in the limo, used to disprove the single bullet theory. And the vehemence with which both sides stick to their entrenched positions precludes debate. Actually, I believe it was an ordered hit but that's neither here nor there.

So, this letter. It exists. It's Exhibit A. To not admit it as evidence, you'd have to prove Burrell could have forged it so well it got past the handwriting experts. And who's to say Burrell forged it anyway?

Finally, the murky muddying of entrenched interests who'll either pay or kill. Well, what can one do about them?

Does it matter? I think it does. If it's a forgery - why was it done? And who did it? Burrell, to revenge himself on the slights he felt by the princess and the boys? Maybe.

One thing I do know though is that the "water-muddiers", the flat deniers, the "everything must be a conspiracy" advocates - none of them have any place in this process of finding the most likely scenario.

Most likely scenario because I don't think anyone's going to uncover the truth.

[carla bruni] and sarkozy?

Stranger things have happened ... haven't they?

Vigilance (for Freedom), Even During Christmas Break

Office in Statehouse


One thing I really enjoy is waking up and finding that one of the "team members" on this blog has posted and this is an open invitation to some of my other guests to post as well.

Today it is
Matt, of Buckeye Thoughts, his blog sadly no more. Matt is a young American now stationed in Indianapolos and attending [or did] Purdue University, West Lafayette. And yet his blog dealt with the Buckeye State.

As you'll see from this guest post, his interests are wide and yet he and his friends over in the States have been getting more than a little worried of late by what they're seeing:

Seeing as how it is Christmas Break (I've been on it since 4:15 p.m. EST last Saturday), you all would think I could relax. I have been but at the same time have still been very preoccupied. The primaries for the two parties nominations of presidential candidates start in a few weeks. As a political science major, you'd think I'd care.

I do, deeply. Yet I don't care about either party. Yes, that's shocking to say that for the first time in my 20 years of life on this Earth, I don't care about either party. I've strongly identified with one since a young age (at first because of my parents, naturally, but later on because it held the values I held dear), but won't say which one. Both, to me, in this upcoming election are poised to sell my country outright to highest bidder.

On the one hand, this was announced. I'm sure you all remember James writing several posts on the SPP and how it threatened American sovereignty. Don't start to pop the champagne just yet. That announcement seemed very suspicious to me; I was right to be suspicious. Contrary to what some of you may think, I don't buy into conspiracy theories. When I first heard of this whole concept of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, I thought it was a joke, a conspiracy theory. After reading and doing research, I realized it was very, very real.

I even wrote a letter to my school's newspaper a while back about it, taking aim at a person who denied it (not an ad-hominem attack, but attacking his view that it didn't exist). He wrote me back, saying that upon closer inspection, the whole thing (the SPP/the plan to create the NAU) was simply just a dialog. I wish I could be as blissfully ignorant as him but I can't.

It seems every time I go abroad something happens. When I leave in January, something will be happening in March. In March, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments made by the District of Columbia, which is trying to uphold its ban on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in the district. The Court's ruling will be judicial precedent to a) repeal anti-carry laws nationwide or b) give precedent to the ability of where to carry (and the eventual confiscation) of firearms.

I should be happy; I'm on break. I am and yet I am very worried. This coming year could be the taking back of the US from those who would sell us out: the SPP and those who would oppose 2nd Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens. Make no mistake, I am not some whacko. I have said, many times, the Bill of Rights must be respected in its entirety (all 10 Amendments) or not at all. By the same token, 2008 could be the beginning of the end for my country. Regardless of what happens in March (the decision will be passed down, supposedly, in June), November will decide the future of my country. I hope someone comes in who is willing to stop the madness before it's too late. I hope...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[sex predator] allegedly at it again

Sex predator Debra Lefave

I know I'm late to the party on this but:

Why on earth didn't I have her as my teacher at 14? I can't think of one of the guys who wouldn't have been into it with her. We were all looking about for likely girls at that time and would have welcomed a bit of "lewd and lascivious battery".

Don't understand the "battery" part. We'd have been the ones doing the battery.

Not now of course - you don't know who's been in there and at what level of hygiene. Besides, she doesn't seem to be so much into the immature man.

It appears she's now at it again. Wonder what her problem is? Perhaps she was raped as a young girl, perhaps she enjoys undersized, under-aged equipment. She might even be a victim, visiting her victimhood on others. Can you feel any pity for her?

Either way she's in trouble and could be put away for 15 years. Do you feel it's as bad for a woman to be doing it with boys as for a man with girls?

I didn't ask if you "thought" it was as bad - I know you'd say yes to that but the question was - do you "feel" it's as bad?

Actually, if you look at the official file, she looks remarkably like someone I briefly knew and who was also not noted for her chastity.

Doesn't thrill.

[commercialmas] fractal landscapes and escape

More than one girlfriend has concluded I'm s-o-o-o-o passive. One perspicacious wife said I was impossible to live with. Good - I like being impossible.

The high energy, high output level you see on this blog is no illusion but it's fragmented. The other 30% of the time I wish to do nothing and see nobody. I detest shopping of any kind and my mate's birthday/Christmas double is filling me with foreboding. And his woman wants me to come round there for a meal because she likes me and I know that means presents buying, whatever they say to the contrary.

Why would they want to bother with me?

There's a "fabulous" three level department store complex not 300 metres from me but I can't bring myself to enter that Palace of Glitz. I know I have to, to buy the gillette products we traditionally give one another but it's pressing on the brain.

Buying them is no problem. Entering that monstrosity is.

I put that down to my last girlfriend who forced me into every shop and boutique in the city more or less all day, every day. Nice negotiating those perfect breasts in boutique cubicles all day, every day but we could do that better at home. I detest shopping. And dancing. Sometimes dancing is good, in some cafe in the evening where there's a small floor and just her but the imperious dancefloor where everyone has to find a jostled piece of floor to face one another like Wyatt Earp at High Noon, wiggling one's appendages and pretending it's fun?

Where can I run to?

Enforcement is the problem. Well, in Higham's case, it's very real and it's getting worse. I have to go to Uni today - ugggh. I have to go to the Min. When I eventually get to both it'll no doubt be fine and we'll make the most of it but I don't want to.

Commercialmas is the pits and office parties are the direst of all - fine for young people who can only deal in externals, as someone famous said but well nigh soul destroying for someone with half a brain. And not only for the young. Was trapped some years back, tricked in fact, into something I'll never forgive that girlfriend for.

She knew about these things and insisted I come to the Big Do at her parent's place which would have been bearable if she'd been there but where was she when I punctually arrived and no one else was there?

She was in the city doing the rounds of parties, wasn't she?

Guests from the outlying reaches of the extended family [hers, not mine] started awkwardly arriving with their enforced smalltalk and after the first few vodkas, the direness really began. When the first tipsy pair of middle-aged shriekers got up to sway to the television music, that was the signal to leave.

About 22:30 she arrived. I glared, made my excuses to her mother and left. Enforcement and trickery. Two things I detest.

Yesterday the water didn't arrive. There were supposed to be two 19 litre bottles delivered and they didn't. Someone phoned mid-afternoon but wouldn't announce him or herself so I didn't speak on the other end. Happens all the time. So, no water. Did I phone to enquire? To complain? Not Higham - it happened, so it happened.

Now it appears they're terribly sorry and can they make it up to me today? The van broke down in traffic and the man could only get here outside the appointed time range. Could they deliver it today? No. I'm too busy. I'm working. My Wednesday girls want to come earlier tonight [I have two girls visit me every Wednesday evening for a few hours] but I'm going to phone and tell them I can't.

This is going to surprise those of you still reading this but I detest December 21st to 23rd, the winter solstice. Three things I detest. You know why? Because the days get longer after that and I love short days of five to six hours. I adore December 21st to 23rd for that reason. This is my time of year now and it's disappearing fast.

The snow fell yesterday and fell and fell. I adore it. Two things I adore, apart from the Holy Infant [had to get that in somehow] and a girl in my arms. Four things I adore. And nice food. Ach, I need a woman. But I can't go near one. If I do, the arms will be lovely and the lips a delight but she'll drag me round to parties and want to go last minute shopping and want to talk, talk, talk the whole time and introduce me to people.

All I want to do is to hold her and take her for a meal and spring pleasant surprises on her and get the urge to dance with only her and then to snuggle up while the snow falls outside and watch some video we've seen 200 times.

But she won't. She'll want to DO things, achieve things and complain about my passivity and buy huge amounts of pointless food [and shoes] but she can't get one ingredient she needs at this shop so we trawl all the shops in the city until I'm keeling over with weariness and she'll make us waste what little end of year money there is on irrelevancies. For guests we're never going to see again till next Commercialmas.

So, if I can't have a woman to keep warm [one of my specialities in the night] because of all the other baggage which goes with it, the only alternative is to shut off all the lights and telephone and hide. Everyone who invites me for a drink I'll profusely apologize and promise to see them in the New Year, which I shall.

Around January 7th, up will pop the Higham and he'll be raring to go, even to shop a little. [Well, on reflection - not to shop.] Uggh, it's all so depressing this season. Tell you what I really must do and I'm going to get off my butt and do it today or next week - I really must buy the wood at the Stroy-Mart [DIY] and build that little feed table for the birdies. The little dears have been visiting everyday, pecking about and hoping for a winter feed and I've done nothing about it yet. I feel s-o-o-o guilty. What delight that will be through the winter for all of us.

So, enjoy all your parties and bonhomie - I wouldn't wish to take it away from you for one second. Don't let me be a wet blanket in the back of your mind - think of it as a catalyst to determinedly party even harder and enjoy every minute of the Palaces of Glitz and clubs and the swirling mass of crowds you have to negotiate.

Why are there no available women who just like a quiet Christmas at home without presents of any note? Just one Gillette deodorant will do for me. Why can't I just go downstairs, not 300 away, find a nice pot plant to give her and why can't she be satisfied with that? [Well of course I'd no doubt add a number of other little things I'd know she'd love.] Why does it have to be The Expensive Present? The gold ring or some such? Isn't there a non-acquisitive woman anywhere on this deteriorating planet of ours? Are they all on the take? All the ones who come near me are. But there have to be some honeys somewhere. Why can't we just spend a set amount of Christmas money on each other instead of wasting it on acquaintances and going into hock? Why can't we just make love for a week and only go out to walk in the forest and across the square to the opera house in the falling snow to see Swan Lake or the Nutcracker and to pick up champagne and supplies and then pop our heads up above the snowscape on January 3rd?

With genetic engineering, we might be able to create such a woman. I think the model would sell like hotcakes, particularly to impossible men such as myself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[unexpected pleasures] moment of truth

There'll be no strings to bind your hands
Not if my love can't bind your heart.
And there's no need to take a stand
For it was I who chose to start.
I see no need to take me home,
I'm old enough to face the dawn.

Just call me angel of the morning Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.
Just call me angel of the morning Angel
Then slowly turn away from me.

Maybe the sun's light will be dim
And it won't matter anyhow.
If morning's echo says we ve sinned,
Well, it was what I wanted now.
And if we're the victims of the night,
I won't be blinded by light.

Just call me angel of the morning Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.
Just call me angel of the morning Angel
Then slowly turn away,
I won't beg you to stay with me
Through the tears of the day,
Of the years, baby baby baby.

Just call me angel of the morning Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.

[moving violation] written in the psalms

Today's cautionary tale:

A poor priest has been ordered to recite Psalms daily for three months as "punishment" for being unable to pay a parking fine. Father Jose Conejo told Chilean judge Manuel Perez he could not pay the $A116 fine. "He will have to recite seven Psalms from a book in the Old Testament," Perez said.

Here are some suggestions for psalms he could cite:
Psalm 32 1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 51 16: For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 111 7: The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. 8: They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
So, with your next "moving violation" [somehow sounds better than "traffic offence"], get out the dog collar and bib, whip it on over your tie, slip on the porto-cassock then, when they pull you over, mumble: "Bless you, my son," make a few humble hand gestures and quote the above.

That should do the trick. But whatever you do, don't say I put you up to it.

[posh girls] spicy tension bubbles over

Posherexia doing the lion's share of the work

Time for a bitchy post:
Geri Halliwell, Mel B, Mel C and Emma Bunton became incensed at the special treatment Posh was receiving. Beckham wore the highest heels which meant she towered over the rest of the girls, and during the encore she did not wear her cape with her hood up, as was part of the ensemble, preserving her perfectly groomed hair.

A source said: “All of these silly petty things just got on the nerves of the other girls. And to top it off when Victoria kept getting the loudest applause and cheers, it really grated on the others."
Ooh, claws retracted, ladies - the Beck's not worth the stress. And what was it George Harrison said?
The good thing about them is that you can look at them with the sound turned down.
Although in Skeletal Spice's case, the anorexia isn't a pleasant sight.

[ecb] altruistic bastards

Ah, isn't that so altruistic of the ECB:
The European Central Bank has allocated 348.67bn euros($502bn; £249bn) to banks at a below-market rate in a refinancing move to ease tightened credit markets.

It is one of five central banks that have injected billions in emergency cash into money markets.

The aim is to cut the cost of lending between retail and commercial banks, which has jumped in the past few weeks.

Excuse me, the aim is to go silent on speculative lending [including sub-primes] in the banking sector then, when it all implodes, to lend directly to said greedy institutions at fire-sale rates, thereby creating direct indebtedness, as distinct from statutory indebtedness and thereby creating a direct pressure line on the average punter.

Something very useful when the crunch comes.

[touch and go] find you very attractive

The test of an ongoing concern of any note is if it is readily accessible in Wiki.

Touch and Go are not so accessible unless you type in all the words Touch and Go Band Wikipedia.

The thing is, they never really were a band, let alone that there is an entity called Touch and Go Records as well [not them] and heaps of Touch 'n Go other things. So it's a labour of love but finally worth the effort. And even if you do get into their personal site, it says not too much.

They themselves say, in their blurb, which has definitely changed from the scratchy liner notes in the early 2000s:

Touch And Go is the progeny of an unholy alliance between television composer David Lowe, veteran radio presenter and music journalist Charlie Gillett and co-founder of Oval Music, Gordon Nelki. The trio conceived a new concept based around largely instrumental jazz-based tunes with an ‘economical’ use of lyrics — quite unconventional by today’s chart standards.

Would You…? [uses] a sampled vocal clip and trumpet jazz licks played by James Lynch, over a Latin rhythm.

And the girl? The sultry voice behind the success of the project?

Her name is Vanessa Lancaster and she's a UK based "voice-over artist for numerous UK TV commercials and has modelled both on the catwalk and for beauty products. Her other television credits include Emu’s World for ITV and the James Bond movie Octopussy."

The trumpeter, James Lynch, is one of the UK's top session musicians, appearing in a lot of shows , including with the BBC and has also toured with the Spice Girls and Robbie Williams.

So you've got the picture - a studio project without a face but a fun one nonetheless and a unique sound for all that. And that girl .....

Now cut to the 2000s. Clearly, David Lowe felt that it would all just fade away but Eastern Europe had other ideas, expecially the Ukraine and there was a demand for a human presence as some sort of face for the "band" - Eastern Europeans don't fully understand music they can't "see".

While David Lowe "writes [most] of the material, produces, arranges, and plays drums, keyboards, and most of the bass, as well as doing some of the vocals. Most of the parts are filled in by a cast of various musicians, none of them part of Touch and Go officially, contributing vocalists, brass, and wind parts, guitar, and violin," Vanessa and James front the "band" and co-write songs.

Now, here's the thing again - Vanessa Lancaster just don't gel in my mind as a vamp singer - look at that body language. She comes across to me as a happy girl, flattered to be included in something as much fun as an ongoing Europe-wide touring band. I mean, she clearly doesn't get down and dirty - look at the way both of them are dressed and he's the epitome of the cleancut Brit TV show session muso. And yet they sing:
I find you very attractive ... would you go to bed with me?
Vanessa was taken to task about this by the host of a late show in Bulgaria, Slavi Trifonov, who was keen to know if she often asked strangers to sleep with her.
She replied that when they wrote the lyrics they were looking for the craziest questions that they could ask somebody. The songs are often constructed around the sort of come-on lines used at the social get-togethers of the well-heeled and fashionable, added Lynch.

Uh-huh but there's more.
The song's accompanying video feature[s her] asking the same question to various inanimate objects including an iron and a shopping trolley.
Now I'm already beginning to really like this bit of fun, let alone the duo themselves and the superlatively catchy music but the next part clinched it for me. As the Sofia Echo explained, they visited "Sofia's First English Language School for a question and answer session in a small classroom packed with eager pupils."

Whoa there! This is a sultry nightclub act whose songs have been used by American pole dancing troupe G String Divas, raunchy and heavy with sexual innuendo. And they're invited to a school, to talk with the children? Well, you know, I'd probably ask them too - there's something very attractive about this pair.

Now, in a very minor way, I've also trodden that path. When I first came over here, I was taken to a school to meet "staff and students" and was also very politely mobbed. In their case it differed:
The pupils were keen to know if the two stars liked the school, what they thought about Bulgaria, and if it was difficult to compete in the music business. Lancaster answered and asked the students what they wanted to do in the future and if they found it hard to study English.
I too was mobbed by dozens of kids demanding autographs and I know full well the attraction of Eastern Europe for urbane westerners enjoying something a little different. There's still a fresh eagerness over here and great honour bestowed on guests, which is just lacking back home.

Wiki also notes:
As of 2007, the ensemble is still touring Eastern Europe and performing their popular tracks from the mid 1990s


Now one of my favourite "bands", Touch and Go's website is here. Google if you'd like to get this music. More here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

[whatsamatter you] itsa notsobad

Getta yerself ova here quik 'n press play.

When you've listened and the window goes small, go to the frames at the bottom, scroll across and press help.

Then listen to it one more time with a difference.

All comments on this ditty at Ian's place, please.

[lizard queen] warmth and integrity

The Lizard Queen, alleged felon and shady customer, in her latest campaign strategy, now wishes to be seen as compassionate and caring for the ordinary American. It's quite touching:
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, trying to warm up an image some voters perceive as cold, starts a drive Monday to showcase her personal side with testimonials from friends, associates and constituents she has helped.
I think that's fair enough. No point swinging over to Overt Compassion before Monday - it must have been apparent at their strategy meeting that there would be no votes in it before Monday, after all.

Lovely lady, Hilly - the quote indicates that only "some" voters perceived her as lacking warmth. Actually, 50% of them.

It's possiby a little unfair to her - reptiles are cold-blooded creatures, after all. If I could offer some advice - she needs a Checkers Speech of some kind, even a Socks Speech but she must be careful not to dump Socks N2 on an unsuspecting friend once the presidency is secured, otherwise the press might get hold of it again.

[today grain] tomorrow meat and water

Simultaneous floods in Europe, drought in Australia and cold in South America has both depleted grain supplies and are currently inflating food prices, coincidentally as the expanded, newly expanded EU and the SPPNA come into being, with one major thrust being relief in poorer areas such as Africa:

Officials forecast US wheat stocks would shrink to their lowest level in 60 years, dropping from 312m bushels to 280m by the end of the 2007-08 crop year. The US is the world’s biggest exporter of wheat and importing countries are bidding heavily for its crops as other exporters cut supplies.

Cold weather damaged crops in Argentina and drought affected Australia’s wheat production. Flooding also damaged European crops. Michael Lewis, of Deutsche Bank in London, said the decline in stocks and rising shortages in large parts of Asia suggested 2008 “could deliver another year of . . . price shocks”.

Other commentators aay the stockpiles are due to increase, not decrease, in 2008/9. The EU has reversed it's 10% fallow rule to start stockpiling again plus the French farming Minister has called for a rethink of the whole farming industry. Uh-huh:

So is Mr Barnier ready to take the next step, and contemplate a radical shrinking of the market-distorting Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), now that farming is, in his own description, back to being a more straightforward business involving profitable supply, and rising demand?

Is he a French farming minister? Why yes, he is. So instead, his conclusion is that more state intervention is going to be needed, and the CAP will have to remain the "primary economic policy of the European Union".

Interesting. What effect will this have on, say, sheep farmers who depend on reasonably priced grain? And will calling land back from fallow work in the short term, given the deterioration factor? And are biofuels to blame for a large portion of the problem? Has it been artificially induced over the last two decades with changes in farming technologies?

So, all this has pretty well been written up and perhaps it's time to look at the next items on the list - meat supplies [soy production targets a good indicator here] and drinking water. I'm particularly looking at the latter.

The former is in the news mainly through foot and mouth and bird flu. The latter is a longer term problem this blog has touched on before. In this country almost everyone buys pre-treated bottle water - a huge industry indeed but still cheap, at 90 roubles for 19 litres.

At least they still bring it to your door here, unlike in other parts of the world. And in Southern California there is yet another solution.

Whichever way you dice it or slice it, it's going to mean big money to those in control of basic life-sustaining supplies. So your choice seems clear - either work your way into the upper echelons who are barely affected by global crisis, stay with the other 98% blithely oblivious until it happens or be one of the micro-percentage who are adopting lateral solutions until such time as they're shut out of the food chain altogether.

Another interesting study is the largely unsubstantiated fungal toxin warfare, such as Plan Colombia amd Agent Green but it seems to me it is becoming increasingly unnecessary, what with the poisonous air and water we now endure - we currently have an epidemic in our city anyway, for example.