Friday, August 31, 2007

[culture and heritage] a fading memory

One of Banksy's

I swear I'm not a killjoy. In former days, if you liked breasts, you used to buy the Sun; if you wanted something harder, there was a little shop down the road or there was Soho. There was a place for tat and good luck to those who lapped it up.

There were others who preferred broadsheets - papers like The Times [former], The FT, Globe and Mail, NYT and so on and though a pain in the butt to read on the train, still, it was a good read once you had it folded into position and the crackling stopped. Plus it was great for a Millwall Brick.

Into this category fell the Melbourne Age. Staid old Melbourne was represented in this paper whilst for the print-challenged, there was always the Sun. The Age carried weight and conveyed authority. Now part of the Fairfax "stable", here are the sorts of headlines today:

1. Beach orgy shocks conservative Taiwan

2. Pastor had sex with daughters

3. Heroin addicted elephant to rejoin herd

Now I'm wondering if the April decision to turn all these into tabloids is connected with the distressing drop in taste over the past few years, rivalling Murdoch who's got most of the world press anyway.

However, that's not the most distressing thing. The most distressing thing is this:

Good Friday seems certain to become a part of next year's AFL draw, with the once-sacrosanct space on the football calendar likely to be filled by Carlton and Hawthorn.

Now I don't give a toss about the football these days [rugby and cricket are different] but I'm sure you see the point I'm getting at. Good Friday was always the last bastion and even when Easter Sunday fell to commercial pressures, GF remained respected in some sort of misunderstanding of the relative importance of the days.

Now we have yet another example of the relentless dismantling and rooting out of the last vestiges of Christendom and the west's cultural heritage, then they'll turn on the remaining believers and out of pure spite try to round them up and disappear them.

Oh how the west howled with anger when the Palestinians cheered and cavorted as the World Trade Centre collapsed and will the west do the same now that the new paganism in society and the g-dless blogosphere will gleefully chortle at this latest "victory for reason"?

Can you imagine Iran scheduling a match for the feast of Ashoura or Israel scheduling one for Yom Kippur? Or a Walpurgis Night Derby?

The jackboot is stomping out the flickering candle of Christian hope and joy wherever it can seek and destroy and one has to ask what more do they want? Why will they allow freedom of worship to all bar the Christian?

A whole generation has now grown up uneducated [and I charge that one must be of a former generation to be able to judge that], with a society now disintegrating around them [witness the subject matter on blogs and the divorce and crime stats], pressing on blindly, obliviously rudderless, down, down, down to the new feudal darkness of cold rationalism [as distinct from reason], the new 1984 and Brazil.

Surely that's enough for the forces arrayed against reason?

Not in the least. They have to spit on Good Friday and stomp out every last vestige of the ethical underpinning of our society, fearing something might go wrong and someone, somewhere, might stop and shout: "Hey, where are we all headed? What are we doing? Hey people, we're being lied to. Wake up!"

Pity suicide is not allowed because I now find myself completely at odds with the tat and mediocracy I see all about. I don't mind saying I'm feeling old, irrelevant and marginalized and I'm wondering how much is me and how much is what's happening out there.

I'm going to bed early.

By the way, I apologize in advance to all my friends for the crack at the g-dless blogosphere and the new paganism. I'm just a little distracted, that's all.

[computer] decisions, decisions

Every time I boot the computer now, I have to press reset but in the past two days, I've had to press it twice each time. Just now, I had to go through a long process to get in.

It's the video card and the Catch 22 is that I'd gladly replace it but it is of such an ancient type that no one sells it any more. So, the alternative is to get a new type but the motherboard won't accept the new type so I need a new computer.

I spoke to my Apple seller friend today and I'm getting a MacBook. We thought long and hard about getting the 15 inch Pro and it's not a case of money - it's more the usage of all the bells and whistles and putting the money where it's needed.

But this is also fraught because apparently there are new components coming in soon and it would be silly to buy the current model as is. Why is nothing straightforward?

The good news is that once this thing is up, I'll be able to zip from site to site and visit everyone rapidly. The downside is that at any moment now, say tomorrow, this current computer will irrevocably break down and therefore there'll be no site until the new components arrive and don't forget this is Russia.

My computer mates cannot believe the pressure the inadequate current components are having to operate under so do not fear if I stop posting - you now know what's happening.

[edward pilgrim] took on the council and lost

Most of you are aware of the start of Arthur Dent's adventures when the council wanted to knock down his house to build a bypass:

It hadn't properly registered with Arthur that the council wanted to knock down his house and build an bypass instead. Mr Prosser said: "You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time you know."

"Appropriate time?" hooted Arthur. "Appropriate time? The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."

"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine month."

"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything."

"But the plans were on display ..."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

"That's the display department."

"With a torch."

"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs."

"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."

Are you aware of the incidents which gave Douglas Adams the idea in the first place? Many blogs, such as Guthrum the Old and Man in a Shed are bringing all sorts of government inanities to us but this one was more than an inanity - it was at best tragic misunderstanding and possibly sharp practice and at worst, callous indifference.

Do read the short Wiki version of it here:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

[hairstyles] getting one's values straight

In the comments section of my recent post on David Davis, the man who should be PM, the following exchanges appeared:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Just read TD's reply and have to say I agree with him that a change of leader is inappropriate at the moment, though Davis has nicer hair! Why am I bothered anyway as I would never vote Tory??

Sir James Robison said...

Nicer hair - now that's an angle I hadn't considered.

ThunderDragon said...

Nicer hair... aren't we back to style over substance here? :-)

Julie said...

Nice hair matters these days, it matters. :-)

This clearly had to be followed up so I ask you to consider this montage and nominate which hairstyle you'd vote for [by the way, the closest to mine is The Enterprise]:

Click for the big pic


[barre] darling of the luminaries

Hmmm, that tree will have to come down, once we can exterminate those fr--in' bees…

Excellent article in the FT by David Buchan [August 26] and not just for this reason:

Raymond Barre, who died on Saturday at the age of 83, was the favourite French politician of the world's financial and business elite.

[…] Above all, he was an internationalist, a member of the shadowy Trilateral Commission, bringing together luminaries from Europe, the US and Japan and, for many years after he ceased being prime minister, the main rapporteur of the Davos World Economic Forum.

Had to admire Buchan's courage - this is not some obscure blog but the FT, for goodness sake. His "luminaries" reference was particularly chuckle producing.

A friend of mine asked me today what I was going to do when they came for me and I said I'd offer to join them if they didn't "disappear" me first.

As for the article, do read it but I take issue with the adjective "shadowy" - there's nothing shadowy about them at all. They publish every damned thing they decide somewhere - as with the hyperspace bipass plans in the Hitchhiker's Guide and the incident it was based on.

[celia green] thought for the day

Essentially, there are two conflicting fields of morality or idealism. The first is old-fashioned territorial morality, of the kind promulgated in public schools and Catholic convents.

Then there is neo-tribal morality, antagonistic both to high ability and to any possibilities of psychological development in a centralised or expansive direction.

Discuss.

[black hole] there may be certain reasons

Ross Fountain had me laughing so soon over having strips torn off me by El Dave [Dave Cole] on another matter:

Astronomers are scratching their heads over a puzzling non-discovery, an enormous hole in the universe measuring nearly a billion light-years across.

I hesitate to offer my humble advice to such eminent astronomers, but when I discover a complete void when looking through my telescope, I usually check to see if I've left the lens cap on. That usually does the trick.

[russia] rushing to utopia ... or not

Ian Appleby has written an excellent post on life in Russia, referring to an issue many of us are talking about over here and what he describes is even more the case here in a bigger population centre:

Sadly, at least in my view, many of these low-profile dwellings, so redolent of the South of Russia, are slated to be demolished, so that shiny new apartment blocks, which could go in any country in the world, can go up in their place. Now, it's easy for me to grumble, I don't have to live in these houses, some of which still have very basic facilities.

Others, though, have been made very comfortable; they are clearly still usable buildings, so why waste their embodied energy by tearing them down? Well, and again this will hardly be news, the land they stand on, close to the centre, has rocketed in value. Developers will get a much better return on the many apartments they can build on the footprint of just one such house.

Another issue is this:

The Russian legislature passed laws forbidding non-Russians to hold market stalls, the vast majority of which were indeed run by other nationalities. The law worked as a sop to the increasingly xenophobic tenor of (ethnic) Russian nationalism, but because there was not, for some reason, a rush of Russians to take up the new business opportunity - indeed, at least in Krasnodar, Russians who made living staffing market stalls for non-Russian employers have been hit quite hard - the law also had the happy side-effect of freeing up a lot of prime real estate.

I can't comment further on this because I'm too close to the process myself here but let's put it obliquely:

I just walked back to the main road to get a car and passed through a huge canopied market of the old kind. Nearly all of these have now been knocked down to make way for centralized mega-marts one has to drive to, to reach. Now this market today, on Pionerskaya, is wondrous - all vegetables and fruits in season are here.

Yesterday, the Min and I were discussing arbuz or watermelon and everyone knows you can get them in late June but they're full of nitrates. The time to buy arbuz is right now. Three weeks from now will be too late.

There's something satisfying in buying in season, rather than the irradiated product all year round. It might be prejudice but the Russian housewife is not a fool when it comes to food and she says that natural tastes better. Everything here was [and this I feel follows the point Ian was making] closer to the earth - you were in touch with reality and lived within your limited means.

It was perfectly fit for purpose. There is a danger of all that being lost.

Crossposted at Westminster Wisdom

[gays] time to get this in perspective

I was on Oscar's side in his dispute with the Marquess of Queensberry because of the latter's unintellectual boorishness.

Mine is a minor blog in the scheme of things, a mere blip on the radar and it's going to become even more marginal after this post.

Principles are the last resort of a rogue, sometimes more important to people than justice, decency and common sense. Occasionally though, principles force their way into one's consciousness and that dreaded position looms up before one - taking a stand.

I must now take a stand, which of course can only lead to my being swept off my little perch. So be it.

This blogger stated yesterday that he hadn't thought much about gays per se, except in oblique references to the gay mafia. My dealings with such people has been friendly and I count gays among friends. I don't know whether there are degrees of "gayness" and whether one is a bit that way or wholly so.

I do know that as a child, I was molested by family friends who were men and not just once. I never told about it because I was ashamed. I also know it affects people in different ways and am well aware of the vampire principle - that one can become one.

I hope I haven't done that but I certainly react with horror if a man even attempts to pat my shoulder or do a standard European embrace. I know I have to go through with it but it's nauseating to me to touch or be touched by another man and I hope I haven't over-compensated with women. As for girls - there used to be an inbuilt societal mechanism which protected them and long live this mechanism, I say.

By the way, that's precisely what is now being broken down by the corrosive moral degeneracy being pushed so hard by my implacable enemy in schools, film, music, upbringing and so on today. Girls of twelve no longer have any protection, are out roaming around freely and I'm wondering where the hell the parents are - are they living in zombie land or pretending it's not happening? Do they think that conferring such freedom on their daughters is leading the daughter to self-discipline?

I have news - things are happening with daughters and my source is big girls who now look back and tell.

Back to gays. This particular "thing" is not normal. Normal is being brought up with an emerging sexuality in cotton wool, well protected by two older generations of caring family, where teachers accept their responsibility to teach right from wrong and then after a hell of a lot of flirting and petting, partners are chosen and they marry. [Yes, I know - the railway cuttings blooming with wildflowers, the bobby on his beat and all well with the world.]

Yet this has been the pattern of interpersonal realtions in the majority of societies over time except for Caligula type aberrances and it protects children and keeps society sane. To point to societies which have gone soft and descended into this, such as ours now but to seize on it as historical justification is utter tosh and cynically ignores that socieites go through stages, just as ours is doing now.

I am dead against "gay bashing" or in fact "anyone bashing" and reject utterly being lumped in with the boors, the bourgeoisie and the intolerant by shrill overreaction to the tone of this article. I'm especially against intolerance of gays, if the participants are adult, so let me spell out what this blog is actually dead against:

1. the calling of aberrant behaviour an equal alternative and introducing the erroneous term "orientation" into the discussion;

2. the calling of this drive "moving on", as in "I'd hoped we'd moved on from this", when what it really means is "descending to oblivion";

2. the gay mafia driving the legislative process outlawing anyone who would call a spade a spade;

3. the hijacking of language, such as the word "spade" and rendering it unusable. I deliberately used the term now in its historic idiomatic sense and will continue to do so. I'll use "gay" to mean lighthearted, frivolous, happy; I'll use "rainbow" to mean that thing you see in the sky.

Monty Python, who had an answer for just about everything and pricked [another of those words] the bubble of pomposity and folly, summed up the whole Thought Police mindset in the stoning scene in Brian. "Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah!" called out the unrepentant. Labelling the mindset of the religious elite and mob "Christian" shows either a very shaky or a deeply cynical grasp of theological history and a desire to lay the blame for human excess onto what is, after all, a quite pure set of criteria for living together.

Where does this leave gays? It leaves them with their partners, unharrassed, living the life they want and continuing to enrich the cultural and social history of nations and contributing to understanding and intellect, as opposed to boorishness and priggishness. It leaves the vast majority to get on with their own normal lives. The two meet at parties and are friends. Many readers of this blog who are gay are more than welcome because I don't judge you on your gayness but on your intelligence level.

But to call gayness or "bi-ness" normal and to try to drive public policy and get in to schools and spread this dangerous twaddle; to outlaw anyone who tries to oppose it and to lead campaigns of vilification against them - this is purely and simply wrong and as such, I simply won't be intimidated.

Now what are they going to do - press for my incarceration or something worse to punish me for having the temerity to speak sanity, thereby revealing their true selves? Are they going to ostracize me by never visiting my blog again and trying to prevent others doing so? In this increasingly convoluted society of today - I'd bet that's exactly what some would like to do.

However, to end on a positive note, I also hope there'd be those who would take it in the spirit in which it was given - a plea for sanity to return to our society before it's too late.

Graham Chapman - great example of the very long list of gay people who have enriched our cultural heritage

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

[petfocus] 10 pets, 7 owners

All right, the idea is that you match the pet with his or her owner but I have to tell you there are multiple pets with some owners and I'll try to drop hints along the way.

Sorry, Liz but you were in the last Petfocus and I'm afraid, under the rules, I can't enter your lovely pic but I shall give it its own dedicated post. Ditto Mutley, I'm afraid but send me a smorgasbord of Mutley shots and I'll run a Mutley Festival here.

So, without further ado, to the pets:

1. "The black one is Titan, 7 years old" and if he's half as combative as his owner, he'll lord it over the blogosphere.




2. This is my little dog Tala. Tala's a black, long-haired German Shepherd, a girl and very friendly. Tala means Wolf in American Indian.





3. Ben and Daisy the Rabbits with their tamers. They run wild in our garden now.





4. Flying Spaghetti Monster, just for fun.





5. Taken with a cell phone, presumably in Australia, this is Boots in the Sink.





6. "The white one is Missy, 4 years old (lil bit's favorite)" but unfortunately, the shot was taken with a cell phone and so I include the owner, rather than the pet. Don't you think she looks a bit like her dad?




7. Here's my Red Dragon, "Ordo" - a little tribute to my little-known Celtic heritage.




8. Spotty the Dog. He is an annoying and friendly Tenterfield Terrier.




9 Also taken with a cell phone from the New World, Raia's balancing act also affords us a good look at the owner's toilet.






10 And of course there is Hamish the backyard Cow.




And here are the possible owners [one petless extra has been included, just to confuse the issue]:

Answers here.

[harvey] lest we forget

This is a tribute to a fallen comrade:

“I don’t mind sharing my blanket but does he have to take so much?”

Whatever vicissitudes occur to us all, however we may all fall out over this or that, whichever way it all falls, as long as this blog remains, this photo remains.

[diana] public or private property

If there was ever a public figure who even admitted she was Queen of People's Hearts, it was Diana Spencer of the House of Stewart. So the outcry over the non-inclusion of the public at the memorial service seems justified:

Penny Junor said: "If it is a personal family occasion why have Elton John and Cliff Richard been invited? A family occasion could have been held at Althorp or in the chapel at Windsor Castle rather than in the middle of London. People will turn up because they want to see Cliff Richard, Elton John and the princes."

Whilst understanding the wishes of the princes, who have always been quite private in their leanings, do they have the right to deny the people access? How far do family wishes trump national interest?

[pet focus] progress report

Delighted to be able to say that no less than 6 more pets have been submitted for the:

2nd Pet Focus

... coming up this evening around 19:30, London time but let's not rest on our laurels. We need more pets! So please send the photos to:

jameshigham@mail.com

... until 15:00 today, London time.

[not gay] only a little bit, occasionally

Republican US Senator Larry Craig of Idaho said today he was not gay and had made a mistake in pleading guilty to disorderly conduct after his arrest at a Minnesota airport men's toilet.

"I am not gay, I never have been gay," he told reporters in Boise, Idaho, and apologised to the people of Idaho for what he said was a "cloud" over Idaho because of the incident. "I did nothing wrong," he said.

Some wag also put words in his mouth, "All I did was play with another man in a public toilet cubicle and they call me gay. And it's entirely untrue that Matt McCoy and I ever met in a Des Moines carpark."

Incidentally, Senator McCoy has an interesting CV: Active in the Boy Scouts of America his entire life, his love for children can be seen from the photo and he is a parishioner of St. Johns Lutheran Church.

Just the sort of man to entrust your child to.

[stupidity] there's a little bit in each of us

The thing with stupidity is that there is always someone looking down on you, thinking you are just so limited, at the same time that you're having a good laugh at some other klutz.

It's a dangerous occupation.

However, Bill Bryson [Notes from a Big Country, Black Swan, 1998] is right when he says there's an awful lot of it about. Maybe it's the dumbing down of education, maybe it's the high-death diet the west eats, maybe it's the water. I think it has something to do with clubbing.

See what you think as I hand over here to Bryson:

Here, for instance, is the actress Brooke Shields, without any help from grown-ups, explaining to an interviewer why you shouldn't smoke: 'Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life.'

Well said, Brooke.

Bryson was a little before Denise's time but I'm sure she would have earned an honourable mention.

And here is the singer Mariah Carey getting to the heart of Third World troubles: 'Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.'

Whatever is the stage beyond the mind boggling is the stage I reach each time I read that quotation.

It takes the form over here of swaggering about, nodding sagely and mocking gutturally whilst gesticulating with flailing arms and highlights the most pressing need for the truly stupid - the need to find someone even more stupid than themselves.

And yet, one can't help but feel that they're happy in their wild animal luxury and one last thing - we are, none of us, getting any younger and intellect … well … well it does sort of drop off, you know.

I think that's what I was trying to say.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

[calling all pets] anyone out there?


The Beagle Boys humbly ask:
Is no one out there going to feature us tomorrow evening in the Petfocus? 'Cause, you see, James only has two entries and surely someone has a pet he or she loves whom you'd like to see featured in the Super Petfocus on Wednesday? No?
Peter Panda adds:

Hey guys, I don't mind lying around all day like this but I'm waiting for you ... waiting for your photos. Send pics of your dearest pet in all his glory [or hers] to jameshigham@mail.com.

Petfocus Wednesday

[scheduling breaks] life or death situation

Chronic lateness has been put down to everything from lack of sleep to ego.

I've previously posted on the absolute necessity for sleep, why schedules fail and scheduling "buffer" breaks. Three answers came from clients today:

1. the fear of wasting even a few minutes to the point of leaving at the last minute;

2. perfectionism and the inability to delegate;

3. trying to cram as much in as possible - this can be related to greed but not always.

Case 1

Take "A", a businesswoman and mother who's running a balancing act 24/7. She knows that if she leaves the office at 11:30, she can get to me unstressed but if she leaves at 11:33, it causes all sorts of problems.

Couple this with the need to justify the moments spent in the car by doing two or three other jobs "on the way", thereby satisfying someone else [who?] that time is not being wasted. Trouble is, pulling the car over and thinking: "I'll just pop in and …" hardly ever takes account of reality.

It is never "just a minute", as the old lady fumbling with the change in front of you drags that out nicely to six or seven minutes and the vague youth behind her adds another two minutes.

Having given yourself this task and feeling a failure if all three jobs aren't done, you try "on-the-road" task N2 but this involves going onto another street and then there is a traffic jam.

So, eight minutes late for your appointment, having failed in one of the jobs and stressed out from hurrying on the road and answering five calls on the mobile during this time, you plonk yourself down in the armchair and Higham says: "Relax!"

If you had a system of delegation, you'd have farmed out those jobs last evening [nothing's going to change before next morning] and everyone will know what he has to do. You very politely and gently extricate yourself at 11:25, promising to deal with all matters the instant you return to the office and somehow, by not caring about time, the road seems to open up before you.

This is no accident - everyone else is rushing so if you don't, you create spaces in the traffic you wouldn't ordinarily see and the result is either that when the unforeseen traffic jam comes up, you still get there with a minute to spare but if it doesn't eventuate, you get close to McDonalds seven minutes early and can drive through and get a salad and tea.

Case 2

I asked "C" on Saturday why she couldn't switch off her mobile phone even for fifteen minutes.

"I'd lose business."

"What if everyone who deals with you knew you had an important meeting at 16:30 and couldn't be contacted for 20 minutes? Surely they'd phone after the 20 minutes."

"Not all."

"Then do you want such people as partners? Aren't they going to bring you grief in the long term?"

She's now repetitively stroking her hair. "You don't understand, James. Often it's something I want myself from them and I have to go to meet that person - there's no time."

"Why can't you do a quick calculation and if you know it will take you 20 minutes, ask the potential partner if 45 minutes is OK? Then use 12 of those minutes sitting in a café, with a tea or coffee, going over your thoughts and the last 8 watching the wall TV or staring into space."

"I can't do that."

"Why not? Are you frightened to contradict the partner so early in negotiations? Do you think he really thinks you're a lazy person? He doesn't know what you have on your schedule - so schedule in a buffer just for yourself. A little victory for the day. Or is it something psychological in yourself that every minute must be accounted for?"

Smile.

"Tell me, C, if you suddenly found yourself with a spare 7 minutes, could you flop down on the divan and wickedly do absolutely nothing, would you fill it doing two or three of that backlog of jobs that you and no one else knows how to do or would you get to your next appointment early?"

Smile. "Could you lie on the divan?"

"Yes and plan out the rest of the day."

"But that's not lazy."

"Relaxing enough to give yourself thinking time is never lazy. It's staying sane."

Lastly

Christine O'Kelly has an item on e-mail obsession and how it eats time. While I agree it is good to have a system, all clients today disagreed that you should only check once a week.

My method, for what it's worth, is to keep two windows going - my site and Google Reader and the other my e-mail on the whole time I'm online. A pop-up lower right tells me if anything has arrived. When offline, I lose all interest in people contacting me and concentrate on the client.

I stay in dial-up because it prevents people from interrupting me plus it's cheap. Don't know if that's the best way but it works for me. for now.

[blog tactics] most annoying ones

Chicken Yoghurt's very own cartoon which I stole from him because it quite frankly said what I was thinking.

Just had a comment dropped on my last post: "Hi, I'd like to do an interview with you."

Many of you have possibly had this as well.

My reaction is that it is spam and have blocked it. Even if it is legit, we don't know this person, he's asking personal details and for what? There are a number of departments of state doing this under the guise of blog surveys.

For me, if:

1. The comment is obviously unrelated to the post;

2. It contains a request for you to go to another site whose url is provided;

3. He doesn't take your e-mail and personally e-mail you,

then this is spam.

Pop-ups. There are pop-ups and pop-ups. Rotten Tomatoes works with them as its way of operating and they're OK to me because I solicited that info and it was given in pop-up form.

Sometime back I ran a survey through Surveymonkey and a pop-up appeared top left of screen. Though less obtrusive there, it still annoyed more than a few people who chose to respond to the survey through the traditional channel.

Worse are the pop-ups which obscure the text and require you to click a box to remove them. Never do that, as you are legitimizing them by that click. If that happens to me, I give them thirty seconds to go whilst I'm in the kitchen and then I click out of the site if the pop-up is still there when I return.

Memes annoy me. They were once fun but have become a pest.

Blog Awards have mushroomed out of all proportion and many are emanating from professional and semi-professional sites generating them to spread across the web, not for any legitimate feeling between bloggers.

Though I really appreciate the thought when the ladies send these to me, it would be better if they had designed them - I would proudly carry such an award from such a person. I notice one blogger still carrying my green award I designed. Thanks for that.

Let's face it, a thousand things annoy me so I'm not the one to ask.

What things annoy you on the web?

PET UPDATE: Still only two entries to tomorrow's Blogfocus.

Monday, August 27, 2007

[important notice] calling all pets

No, this is not Hilary Clinton and I have to tell you it's not a very funny joke. Hilary shows no reptilian characteristics whatsoever and it would be simply actionable to call her one of the lizard people.

Wednesday is Blogfocus Pets Evening Part 2.

What would be nice from everyone not featured in Part 1 is for you to send a piccy of your darling pet [it need not be a dog, cat or lizard] plus your site url or name, before midday Wednesday to:

jameshighamatmaildotcom

Please make the size about 300px or more, in JPEG form. I'll run the Blogfocus on contributions received and if there are fewer than eight, then I'll re-run other shots of pets from Part 1.

UPDATE: Two entries so far. Anyone else want?

[next pm] here he should be

Thunderdragon, who currently has some woes of his own, has posted, under Gun Control:
There is no doubt that David Davis has scored a significant goal against Home Secretary Jacqui Smith with this open letter.
Have I not consistently said and continue to do so and I think Iain Dale is right on the money with this one, that the very best talent the Tories have is sitting right beside the current shadow PM?

But no one listens to me.

The man can run rings round the opposition and most certainly the powers that be that I blog against [plus Labour] would not want Davis anywhere near the controls. Better to have a malleable puppet like Blair and Cameron.

As Leo Amery said in 1914 but it is still pertinent today:
For twenty years, he [H.H. Asquith] has held a season ticket on the line of least resistance and has gone wherever the train of events has carried him, lucidly justifying his position at whatever point he has happened to find himself.
David Davis for PM and Boris Johnson for London. That's all.

[erudite bloggers] three examples


When a blogger titles his posts:

Here they come, a-clucking and a-flapping ...

or

My new favourite word Anthropogenic, in which he writes:

I'm convinced! I'm convinced! Back to the Middle Ages, everyone! Back to when everyone was nice and nobody hit anyone and nobody died, ever, and everyone had enough to eat and was warm and cosy all the time and we used to make our own entertainment and get change from sixpence... I think I am having one of my funny turns, Nurse... and all because because we weren't using oil. Yay!

or Campaign for national Stop Beating Your Wife Day ...

and Slave traders of the world unite ...

then he has to be something special. When a blogger writes:

In times of insanity, it's good to know that there are rational minds to light the beacon of reason for rudderless souls such as I...

and includes titles like All-Change At The Department Of Vengeance, writing:

Dirty Barry Thorpe MP vowed today to exterminate red tape in the revenge process and crack down upon activist nay-sayers. Addressing a baying, drunken mob, the new Minister for Vengeance promised a more streamlined system which would cut the interval between accusation and execution to a maximum of five minutes...

...or Befuddled Egyptologists Struggle With Unfamiliar Hieroglyphics

… then he also has to be something special. When a fearless blogger courts disaster with:

Liverpool is to be European Capital of Culture in 2008. One must charitably suppose that it is culture in the anthropological sense...

to which Dearieme asks:

European Hubcapital of Culture?...

then follows up with a Francis Galton quote:

Whenever I have occasion to classify the persons I meet into three classes, ‘good, medium, bad’, I use a needle mounted as a pricker, wherewith to prick holes, unseen, in a piece of paper, torn rudely into a cross with a long leg […] I used this plan for my beauty data, classifying the girls I passed in streets or elsewhere as attractive, indifferent, or repellent...

he is, in fact, a blogger of the first order. All three of these worthy gentlemen I shall not attempt to emulate, only admire from a distance.

When I compare this to the sentence I keep harping on about ad nauseam, as a prime example of all that is poor in blogging today:

No it's not a monster - it's a f-ck off big grey cloud. But hey ho. The wind and rain make the sea look more picturesque and wild 'n all that cr-p...

... and chuckle at the wry observation of one correspondent last evening, who noted, concerning a currently popular blogging philosopher:

How did [he] recently describe a friend? He would not say in two sentences what he could put into 50...

...I then give silent thanks for the likes of the worthies further up the page and others whose turn of phrase and capacity for wry observation, coupled with a wicked turn of phrase, places them at the very head of the Blogostocracy.

Just one man's opinion, of course.