Wednesday, January 24, 2007

[thought for the day] old wives' tales

From Lord of the Rings, Celeborn the Elf King says, in answer to Boromir, who thought the former was repeating old wives' tales:

"Do not depise the lore which has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know."

[reykjavik acts] perhaps some species can be saved

After a rather torrid lot of posts from me lately, perhaps reflecting the current mood, in desperation I went to Iceland, which can usually be relied on for a cheerful post and I think it’s done so again:

The Environmental Health and Protection Office of the City of Reykjavík decided on Monday to give baby geese and other nestlings, hatched around the Reykjavík Pond next spring, food to secure their survival. A report says the growth rate of the bird species has come to a standstill.

“We take the report very seriously,” said the director of the Environmental Health and Protection Office, Gísli Marteinn Baldursson. “If we don’t take action now we might lose the variety of bird life we have enjoyed at Reykjavík Pond.”

In addition to feeding the nestlings hatched at the pond next spring, the Environmental Health and Protection Office of the City of Reykjavík has decided to take actions to scare the lesser black-backed gull away, which often beats the other birds to the food.

Hope they don’t overdo it and start losing the ‘lesser black-backed’ as well. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

[blogproblems again] the last of the hair disappearing

Dearest readers and fellow-bloggers – my computer has several problems.

For a start, the dialogue box says an MSVCR71.dll is missing, whatever that means. When I try to access your site by clicking on the sidebar link, another box appears and says some other element is missing, something connected with ‘language’.

I simply can’t get into your site.

I had seven goes trying to leave a comment on Notsaussure earlier and halfway through accessing two other sites, the IE6 just dropped out completely. In trying to access the e-mail, the computer just shuts down completely, then reboots. When I try to access my ‘manage posts’, it asks me to sign in every time and then asks me which way I’d like to sign in and then says an engineer has been called to talk to Blogger when I can’t reach the dashboard.

I have no knowledge how to fix these problems. I’m going to try to visit you and comment again now, after work but if it does the same, that’s it for the evening, I’m afraid, dear friends.

Bed will beckon.

[welcome cold] but not for long, unfortunately

Laze and zhem, just came home and it’s a nice, ambient minus 17 but they say it will get down to minus 20. Broke out the winter jacket and they laughed at it because it’s one of the old-fashioned thick fur, three-quarter length ‘dublyonki’ from ten years ago. They sniggered, I tell you.

Absolutely no one would be seen dead in one of ‘em today – these days it’s all fine fur and kid leather. I’m like someone from the wilds of Siberia, a throwback to Soviet times. And yet when I stand by the road with the hood up, cadging a lift, it’s a little too hot to wear and I give thanks for my jacket.

A friend asked how cold it got in Britain. Oh, minus 2, 3. There was once minus 17. So it doesn’t get cold, he smiled. Minus 2 – that’s damned cold. He looked at me strangely. The day I was on Hadrian’s Wall at 06:00, that was cold, I continued. Damp cold. Equivalent to your minus 30. He didn’t believe me.

[anti-americanism] anti-powers-that-be or anti-people

Notsaussure writes:

...I tend to distrust the Americans when they get directly involved in helping other people run their own countries because, over the last 40-odd years, they’ve not really had a particularly brilliant track-record...

So far, so good. We’re at one. Notsaussure continues:

...No, to my mind it’s not so much that if you’re in the Bush administration’s sight’s it’s evidence you’re doing something right as that if the US government decides to help your country towards peace and freedom, things are likely to get even messier than they and it’s maybe time seriously to consider emigrating somewhere safer...

There were studies done on Kissinger [Bilderberger, CFR and one of Them] which tracked where he visited and what accrued about a month afterwards in those countries. Rwanda was an example, so was Vietnam. E. Howard Hunt died today and he was proud of his destabilizing role – openly. There is evidence that Cheney was the new Kissinger. There were allegations by a woman in a published book, Trance Formation of America, about his extra-curricular activities and interestingly, despite it’s direct challenge, she was never sued.

NATO went into a situation in Kosovo before it became a crisis, stayed while it became an atrocity, then suggested a solution. So yes, wherever the US or NATO go in the world, the moment the envoy flies in, it’s time for safety minded people to fly out.

Notsaussure puts it down to the type of leader the Americans demand but I think it’s important to identify what we mean by ‘the Americans’. If one means the American nation, then I’m not on board. If we mean the powers that be [and these can be seen in such films as Twilight’s Last Gleaming], then yes, these people are culpable to the fullest possible extent, as far as I can see.

[e. howard hunt] when things needed to be done

E. Howard Hunt has now died of complications from pneumonia, aged 88. Here is an abridged excerpt from Chapter 1 of All the Presidents Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, when the story broke open:

Woodward, who had been assigned to write Tuesday's Watergate story, picked up the telephone and dialed 456-1414 -- the White House. He asked for Howard Hunt. The switchboard operator rang an extension. There was no answer. Woodward was about to hang up when the operator came back on the line. "There is one other place he might be," she said. "In Mr. Colson's office."

"Mr. Hunt is not here now," Colson's secretary told Woodward, and gave him the number of a Washington public-relations firm, Robert R. Mullen and Company, where she said Hunt worked as a writer. Woodward walked across to the national desk at the east end of the newsroom and asked one of the assistant national editors, J. D. Alexander, who Colson was … "T he White House "hatchet man," he said.

Woodward called the White House back and asked a clerk in the personnel office if Howard Hunt was on the payroll. She said she would check the records. A few moments later, she told Woodward that Howard Hunt was a consultant working for Colson. Woodward called the Mullen public-relations firm and asked for Howard Hunt.

"Howard Hunt here," the voice said. Woodward identified himself.

"Yes? What is it?" Hunt sounded impatient.

Woodward asked Hunt why his name and phone number were in the address books of two of the men arrested at the Watergate.

The most fanciful claim was that he was one of the three - Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum – who stood on the overpass, observing the execution of JFK. More provable was that he was photographed near a fence at the back of the Texas Book Depository, in a secure area, some hours before Kennedy’s motorcade came by.

Shadowy figure he was and the regular biographical details alone make his story one of interest.

[wef] seeking solutions for that which attendees engendered

Concerns about global warming and resolving tensions in the Middle East are set to dominate the agenda of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting this week, with a lack of snow in the tiny mountain community of Davos a stark reminder of the warm weather.

About 2,500 business and political leaders are set to meet, beginning today, for the annual meeting of the minds to talk politics, economics and social issues in an atmosphere aimed at finding long-term solutions instead of quick fixes.

"We are getting huge demand from our members to place climate change and issues of environmental security at the very heart of the program of the World Economic Forum," said Dominic Waughray, head of environmental initiatives for the WEF.

Ha! Was there ever a more cynical exercise? Being integrally involved in the onset of both, within other fora, little wonder attendees are going to 'seek long-term solutions’. Dear, dear, tut, tut, they might as well say. What a terrible state of affairs we and those we've succeeded have collectively brought about since World War II.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

[blogfocus tuesday] potpourri of the strange and the not so strange

1 First up is a very worthy cause which I’m hoping you’ll all support just a little. Jeremy Jacobs' tragedy led to him dedicating himself to the cause of Breast Cancer ever since. He’s about to embark on a trek which is explained below and naturally needs funds for the Breast Cancer Campaign.

I'm receiving a few e-mails and hits concerning my Trek next month. For those of you who would like to donate to Breast Cancer Campaign, you're able to do so on-line here. If you would like to send me a cheque, then please drop me an e-mail to jeremyATjeremyjacobsDOTcom or call +44(0)8453 31 31 71.

Please pause a moment and drop him a line or click on the link. It's for a very worthy cause.

2 Ballpoint Wren takes us to the domestic world of bulldog cleaning kits:

I don’t think anybody except a bulldog owner understands the stuff you’ve got to do to keep the little guy clean and sweet. In our case, we’ve got a “Bulldog Kit” in our family room: a basket filled with stuff like cotton swabs and pads, nail clippers, hydrogen peroxide, ear cleaner, wrinkle cleaner, and a certain secret weapon which makes its debut in this comic. Although any brand of this particular product will do, I very much enjoy the name of this one. Yes, it really does exist, too. It works great on both ends.

3 Cleanthes has a sure fire way of getting out of bed each morning but not necessarily at one with the world:

Mrs Cleanthes will be the first to agree that I am not “a morning person”. It is in this context that the Radio 4 Today programme appears to display its only redeeming feature - its ability to get me out of bed. A few minutes of the staggeringly inept Carolyn Quinn or that impossibly arrogant toad, Humphries, and I leap into action, figure wagging admonishingly in the general direction of White City. If anyone were to find a way of converting invective into usable, transmissable energy, in a sort of grown-up allegory of Monsters Inc., Humphries et al would indeed have a claim to be saving the planet.

Eleven more bloggers plus the Mystery Blogger here.

[history] can’t fathom vorty, freddy and harry

This is the sort of day when a man’s mind naturally turns to questions such as:

1] Whatever possessed Vorty to invite Hengy and a bunch of savage Saxons over for tea and cocktails in the first place? What, in that miniscule mind of his, did he possibly think was going to be the outcome of Saxon ‘assistance’ in his Pict and Irish campaigns?

“Er, right, well that’s that done. We’ll be getting back to Saxony if you don’t mind, Vorty. I think we might have left the cakes on the hearth, tell the truth. Thanks for the beers.”

2] While we’re at it, what possessed that Athelney woodcutter’s wife to even think Freddy was going to attend to supper on the hearth when he had things like saving Wessex and driving back the Danes swirling around his noodle at the time? Didn’t she notice his distant, semi-detached look as he cupped his chin in his hands and brooded?

Didn’t it dawn on her that she had an undomesticated, unreconstructed king type person on her hands? And why cakes, when a good hunk of beef and bread and a vat of wine would seem to have been more to the immediate purpose? And did she think a bit of scolding was going to endear herself to him?

3] And whatever possessed Harry, the second of that moniker, to allow the fyrd to go back to their farms, just when Will the Con, Harry the Hard Man and Tosser were getting ready to come over and pay a visit? I mean, surely Harry was King, wasn’t he?

I know that this was actually the point at issue and that he was excommunicated for cheating and that Haley’s Comet had appeared but still. Why didn’t he just go and get them again and if they kicked up a fuss, tell them: “You ignorant prats. We got bovva, so get your gear, get in line and come down to Hastings with me and you can go home next week, orright? Otherwise there ain’t gonna be a next week, you go’ it?”

You’d agree that these are pretty vital questions to mull over with our beef, bread and vino this evening?

[russian brains] why do they never learn

Strange brains, the Russians. Last evening, the television was full of heavy snow four hundred kilometres to our west, cars stalled, bogged, crashes everywhere, following the week or so of awful rainy, sleety, drizzly British weather.

Everyone knows that this town’s weather comes to us next day. So what do we find? An eleven [11] car pile up on the pontoon bridge, cars travelling within a metre of each other at about 80kph on a slippery road. Really wise. Naturally, this occurred at peak hour and the tailbacks were unbelievable. Ambulance, police, the whole works.

Plus, the atmosphere is such today that everyone’s really, really knackered and dragging his and her feet about, making errors, myself included and there’ll be a lot of people getting an early night tonight, again myself included. Thank goodness the Focus is ready.

Quick check of the thermometer and this is more like it – minus eight and supposedly dropping to minus fifteen overnight. Lovely night for toasting marshmallows, cuddling up with one’s sweety – that sort of thing.