Saturday, June 02, 2007

[blogfocus saturday] up in arms

1 Maalie is up in arms about boring holidays:

A year or so ago I had a wacky idea to hold my retirement party in the Coto Doñana - one of Europe's iconic wildlife wetlands, situated in the delta of the River Guadalquivir in Andalusia, south from Sevilla in Spain. Since most of my friends have some interest in wildlife, I figured I might be able to tempt a few to join me.

I therefore felt delighted, flattered and honoured when no fewer than 26 representatives of my family, former colleagues and students, Maalie Courtiers and friends (including one from Australia) sat down to dinner with me at the restaurant of La Aldea

2 Wulf's Web Den is up in arms about boring flag designs:

All the nations of the world have flags and none of them have chosen to go with a simple, chic, black and white design. The colours often have as much symbolism about them as the other elements of the design, the patterns and motifs. However, how many flags would you recognise by colour alone?

However, I am left with one question - why did no-one pick purple when they were looking for inspiration?

3 Big Chip Dale is up in arms about Tuesday:

First, the dull news.

There are times in life when you just have to cast aside your thong and go with the flow. Today was one of those days. The schools have broken up for a week so the Chipster's normal routine has been invaded by prepubescents crying about who is a 'smelly head' and what so-and-so's brother will do when he gets back from the off license.

It was a nightmare and it go no better when Gabby shouted told them to clear off and they called her something obscene involving vinegar. That prompted Monica to wave her commando dagger in their general direction. Then there was screaming, calls to the police, a slight standoff involving police with guns...

4 Heather Yaxley is up in arms about green serfdom:

A new study reports lower carbon emissions from working at the office rather than at home. I don’t know about the other 3,399,999 million people who’ve escaped the rat race, but there’s no way I’m ever going to return to being a wage slave in a regular 9-5 office environment.

Besides, the heating at home would be on during the Winter months to keep my stroppy 22-year old cat warm.

5 Wayne, whom you don't know, is up in arms about how we light the criminals' way for them:

Should we as law abiding people have a duty of care to criminals that come into our homes? Midlothian council seems to think so. They have kept the lights on in an abandoned school to make it easier for criminals so they don’t get hurt. The electricity bill comes to £3000 per year.

I think this is stupid. No one should have a duty of care to criminals. If they hurt themselves they deserve it and it is their own responsibility.

6 LFB is up in arms about 20 mph speed limits which target the wrong people:

The majority of accidents are caused by people walking into the road without looking! Whilst speed could contribute slightly, the simple fact is the pedestrian should not have been there!

Be it a youngster dashing between parked cars, running across the roads, or even city centre pedestians and their refusal to walk an extra 30 yards to the nearest pelican/zebra crossing. Lets put the blame back where it truly belongs, at the feet of the pedestrian.

7 Tim Almond, the quiet man of blogging, is up in arms about the BBC:

A week or so ago, the BBC made a documentary about how some supermarket branches had staff who were doing things like trying to deliberately extend the shelf life of food for sale.

So, I was a little surprised to hear a report on Today on Radio 4, in which a freegan (along with a BBC reporter) were trawling through bins at the back of a store picking up food, condemning the waste of perfectly edible food.

It is right that supermarkets are investigated over matters of public health, but I don't think this is what the BBC is up to. For some time, they've had it in for the supermarkets.

8 Sally in Norfolk is up in arms about ... well ... about nothing really. Anyway, I want to know why she's home and not out rambling:

With Geoff still away in Copenhagen till tomorrow evening. I had time to go and visit my Craft club ladies, see what they have all been up too and start a project I have been meaning to start for a few weeks.

Why I want to knit a fluffy bag , I really don’t know !!!

What I will do with it when its finished , I really don’t know !!!

Maybe I will send it to welshcakes as we all know how much so loves hers bags……

More in a midweek Blogfocus [there's the little matter of the Blogawards first, you know]. Hope to see you then.

[saturday quiz] ten more to test you

1 Donald F. Duncan introduced in 1929 a toy based on a weapon used by 16th-century Filipino hunters. What is it called?

2 Which was the first credit card?

3 Name anything that happened in Britain on September 3rd, 1752.

4 In which Puccini opera do friends ply their landlord with drinks to avoid paying the rent?

5 Mrs. Thomas Smith of Ryde, NSW, Australia, produced a new variety of fruit in 1868. What is it called?

6 The city of St. Petersburg stands on which river?

7 Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in terms of population?

8 We know that a camel with one hump is a dromedary. What is a camel with two humps?

9 What's the world’s most popular Non Alcoholic Drink?

10 What are the caves at Lascaux famous for?

Answers here ...

[gay parades] russia's view of the matter

I wrote about the Russian attitude to homosexuality here.

Bag wrote, I believe tongue-in-cheek … Quick. Set the Police on to her.

Not Saussure may have missed Bag's intent [or not] … Remember James is writing from Russia, Bag.

The link shows the homosexuals beaten up in the Moscow parade.

Russia is a country of family values and traditions. It believes that a man and a woman get together, marry and have a family, though not always in that order. There's always been deviance [using the term to mean 'differing from the norm in this particular society'] but in the acting profession and certain other sections of society.

It doesn't see any problem with what they call 'normal relations' as the model for society. It's a literal country. The doctor is dressed like and looks like a doctor. The airline pilot looks like an airline pilot. The pharmaceutical chemist looks like it, in his white jacket and mask.

A little girl looks like a little angel and stays with mama and babushka. A little boy roams the yards but not the streets. A man must be strong for his woman because there are many dangers. A woman must also be strong in her own way.

This is their society and true, it is changing, becoming more westernized.

Into this comes the foreign gay activist to coordinate a demonstration of local gays. The man is therefore on a hiding to nothing because he is directly challenging a huge society's values. I'm quite surprised he is still alive. Maybe he's on borrowed time, unless he can get out of the country quickly.

Please read nothing more into my comments than what I have stated.

[discrimination] voltaire maxim must prevail

Charles Robertson has said, upon his return:
It is, apparently, a problem that we don't have anti-discrimination legislation. But why?

I'm with him to this point. Then he adds:

It is certainly appropriate that such rules should be applied to public bodies. That goes without question - the government is paid for by all of us, and exists to serve our collective interests. Bigotry has no place there.

I must respectfully disagree. However, Charles qualifies his own remarks:

If the owner of Prejudiced Ltd has an irrational hatred of a given group of individuals, and doesn't want to employ them or trade with them - why force him or her to?

Charles then adds:

Please note: I'm not defending discrimination of any kind.

To which I reply, in his comments section:

I am. Very much so. People can say what they darned well like, as far as I'm concerned. The moment we make rules about what a person can or cannot say, it's the road to tyranny.

Having strongly asserted the Voltaire maxim, [mentioned here]I also assert the Free Jersey maxim - that if they want to shoot themselves in both feet by denying themselves access to a wider (and potentially more talented) pool of labour, and prefer to artificially constrict their own available market, isn't that a good thing as it will be harder for their business to survive?

Precisely. The only arbiter here is market forces. As for the public sector, he should have every right to bad-mouth, say, dirty Trinitarians - he just won't be promoted or given any position of note. He'll just be shunned. That's prejudice against him.

So yes - I defend discrimination because it's impossible to stop and because to try to legislate it out of existence is worse than the original offence.

And there is a self-actualizing tendency against the bigot anyway, without any legislation being required.

Friday, June 01, 2007

[language] storeroom of values

This blog tries to steer a neutral course on this issue but just had to report a conversation from today:

Lady client [seeing the post on reading maps]: What's heterosexual?

Me: Opposite of homosexual.

Lady client: You mean "normal"?

[blogpower awards] final categories posted

Annual Blogpower Awards

Categories have now been prepared and are posted over at Blogpower for your perusal.

[greener than thou] bush and the eu jockey for position

This is bad:

First some good: Angela Merkel has called for a major [ecological] deal, including slowing the rise in average temperatures by way of a cut in global emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

However, George W Bush, who has consistently refused to countenance Kyoto, instead seems to be trying to set up a separate framework on climate change talks outside the G8.

In Washington, he said the US would hold a series of meetings bringing together "nations that produced most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China".

"The United States is in the lead," he said. "The world is on the verge of great breakthroughs that will help us become better stewards of the environment."

I think if you look through this blog, which is generally quite pro-American, even pro-Republican, if not pro the current White House incumbents, you'll never find me refer to Bush as an environmental criminal. Now you can. Bush is an environmental criminal.

This is good

Odiyya reports that despite Bush's attempts to have it his own way:

Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in BC today amidst a ceremonial welcome by the provinces First Nations community. Arnold was given three ceremonial gifts before getting down to business with BC Premier Gordon Campbell and signing a five point agreement on fighting global warming.

The two leaders have committed to working together on the issue regardless of the participation of the US and Canadian federal governments.

So, while world leaders squabble over who'll get the kudos and whose plan they'll use, other leaders actually get down to business.

[blogpower awards] state of categories on friday

This is the state of play, as of Friday, concerning the Categories for the awards. Naturally, the categories need reducing - maybe 12 altogether. Please comment over at Blogpower [sidebar]:

Possible categories:

Shameless self promotion [8]
BestProse [7]
BestLayout and style [7]
Best Ranter [5]
Politically incorrect [5]
Sadly missed [5]
Prettiest blog [5]
Sadly Missed [5]
Tastiest blog [5]
Award for services to blogging [5]
Blogger we feel most sorry for [5]
Best Blogger [4]
Best Blogpower blogger [4]
Best Blog name [4]
Humorous post [4]
Under-rated [4]
Most unintentionally humorous [4]
Worthy blog [4]
Most over-rated [4]
Best Post [4]
Most curmudgeonly [4]
Best Fisker [3]
Most original blogger [3]
Best Political Blog [3]
Likely to be under security surveilance [3]
Collegiate blogger [for Blogpowerers] [3]
Likely to still be blogging 10 years from now... [3]
Best Blog by country [3]
Best Template [3]
Best Swearer [2]
Best Cultural Blog [2]
Best Transgender blog [2]
Slowest to load [2]
Best Expatriate blog [2]
Gracious loser in such a competition [2]
Most humorous blogger [2]
Prolific blogger [2]
Unintelligible [2]
Pre-pubescent language [2]
Weird blog [2]
Idiotic blog [2]
Moaner [2]
Best Award Scheme [1]
Prolific [1]
Diverse [1]
Fatwa-worthy [1]
Prolix blogger [1]
You could take home to your mother

Certain categories might be combined here. Remember that the final selection is posted this evening.

I have switched off comments on this post as they should more properly be put on the Blogpower version of the post.

[ségolène] still very much a chance

The headline said:

Ségolène Royal plaide pour une opposition constructive

… and well might she plead for this. She wants another shot five years from now, her personal popularity still intact. All she needs now is to separate herself from the "mad as a hatter" policies and infighting of her beloved left and she'd possibly be in.

Let's face it - Sarko is on a hiding to nothing. He was hired to do unpleasant things. No matter how well he does that, even including leftist women on his team, that will make him more unpopular. I know some French women and they don't like him - physically, as a man, that is. "Looks" is a huge factor with them.

Segie looks better. All she has to do is sit back, incapable of being attacked and enter, the queen, five years later.

[spamming] sometimes it's much more

I genuinely was not going to run another post on this topic but certain things have happened.

From the comments on the last post it is abundantly clear that it's a huge problem but even more worrying is that they're getting past the usual checks and balances. In other words, it is a human or a number of paid employees doing it with a stock pasted message. The captcha is then negotiated by hand.

I don't say it's right but my approach to anyone coming to this site is as follows:
1] If it's a "good site here" compliment and url, I ignore the guy. Especially if he does not have a standard embedded name above. They're getting better. They go into a long blurb now about how you "captured their thoughts exactly" etc. and then the url. Always the url.

2] If he comes back some other time and it's different, with no url, then I visit.

3] If I see his message anywhere else in the sphere, I go back and delete him completely.

4] If it was just a message and a standard embedded name link, then Google has done some of the filtering work already and I'm more likely to visit but after some little time.

5] If he's already in someone's sidebar, I'm also more likely to visit.
Old Friends

Sometimes our own friends have been drawn into something and they recommend us to visit such and such a site and join up. One therefore unwittingly visits.

I'd lay money our friend doesn't know what he's actually into and feels that we're off our brain to suspect the scheme. He'd be hurt that we suspect him of something nefarious but nothing could be further from the truth.

It's not that we suspect him. It's the scheme which is "all wrong". We merely have to sniff the air and pick up that unmistakable whiff. Here are some of the signs:
1] If there are some high-sounding but ultimately meaningless messages like "the world connected in cyberspace - a world in peace and understanding" etc., that's pure Djwahl Kuhl speak;

2] Formless, meaningless aquas and light pastel shades, so beloved of the "enlightened" and suggesting peace and mutual tolerance and understanding - this is a known front for these people;

3] Any talk of money. Any suggestion that this thing is connected with money, then colour me gone, even if it's just an offer to go "premium". Once you're in, technically you can stay "free" but it defeats the whole purpose of being in the scheme in the first place. Certain vital information access is denied you unless your "upgrade". Get out quick.

4] Graphics of characters in that hentai, postulating style, especially with black as a dominant colour, with bland expressions which leave you with a feeling of coldness;

5] Any suggestion of rewards for introducing your friends to the scheme.
My only advice here, as already mentioned, is "get out now, while you still can".