Friday, June 26, 2009

[who's the daughter] seems it's difficult

Hints: Naples, well-known politician, grand-daughter of a dictator

All right, obviously it was too difficult even for Welshcakes - Alessandra Mussolini

[michael jackson] r.i.p.

Nothing really to add to that.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

[optimism] better for the mental health

Life likes to teach some lessons. There are essentially four major blows which could befall me and it's been like this since I came back to Britain. One happened today but it's still too early to know the extent of the fallout.

Naturally, my friend said, 'Don't worry about it.'

Right at that point, I saw this:

Farrah Fawcett, the "Charlie's Angels" star whose feathered blond hair and dazzling smile made her one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1970s, died Thursday after battling cancer. She was 62.

When you see the nature of her cancer, it does put things into perspective. I've had, for a month or so, a very mild form of tinnitus but I was reading the other day about the bad stuff and it's anything but what I have. Mine only partially intrudes but heaven help those who have the full-blown version.

Still, there are ways to come to terms with tinnitus, there are ways to get round my own little matter in a few months but there's no way to come to terms with Farrah Fawcett's cancer.

Everything is relative, really, isn't it? I admire eternal optimists who can't see how our society has been brought to the impasse it has and their enthusiasm is infectious. They genuinely believe we're about to turn the corner and maybe we should just throw in our lot with them and adopt their point of view.

[neda latest] seventy professors detained

From Maildotcom:

Seventy university professors were detained in Iran in a widening government crackdown on protesters, according to a website affiliated with Iran's key opposition figure, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says he was robbed of victory in a rigged presidential election.

Hundreds of protesters and activists are believed to have been taken into custody since the June 12 vote, in which Iran's ruling clerics declared hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide.

Still, the most senior dissident cleric in Iran, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, warned the authorities in a statement that trying to snuff out dissent would prove to be futile.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn.

[guess who] the one on the left is

Clues in the comments.

[housekeeping] back into it soon

There are some issues right now, of which health is one. I suspect, though loathe to admit it, that it might be an age and diet related thing. That's only an issue when it takes sleep away. Back a.s.a.p.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

[neda and daw aung san suu kyi] apply the pressure

Al Jazeera reports:

Shirin Ebadi, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel peace prize winner, has told Al Jazeera that she is prepared to represent the family of a young woman shot dead during a protest in Tehran.

The woman, named as Neda Agha Soltan on social-networking websites, has become a symbol for people protesting against the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

Ebadi told Al Jazeera on Wednesday: "I am personally prepared to legally represent her family against the people who ordered the shooting and those who fired at her.

This Saturday, June 27th, is the sixth day after the murder and Thursday, July 30th is the 40th day. Hopefully, some sort of massive protest will ensue in Iran.

Some notes

1. One wonders how much protest there would have been if it had been the music teacher killed or some old man. Of all the people to shoot, why a girl who could easily become a catalyst for the end of the Islamic oppression?

2. It wouldn't have saved her but all that shouting around her could hardly have been a nice way to go. To feel that bad and to have people near you screaming at you would not help your passing.

3. I notice that many blogsites have now dropped off this topic but if we mean it, we should keep referring to it at least every two days, plus on those key days, just to keep it fresh. Otherwise she died for nothing.

4. The demonstrations and press in Los Angeles were exemplary but how to transfer that anger to the Iranian blockheads? The net has been great and that pressure will keep up. Perhaps we should be noting Iranian bloggers and thinking out what we can do to support them - the problem, of course, being their providers.

[alfred hitchcock] notorious

All of it - just let the youtube change over itself. If it doesn't, then I don't know what to do.

[tv licensing] waiting for the stasi

Some of you might recall your humble blogger's apoplexy over receiving a letter out of the blue threatening:

You may be cautioned and interviewed in compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 or Scottish criminal law. This interview may then be used for the purposes of prosecution, including a court appearance and a fine of up to £1000.

Peter, of the TV Licensing blog
, advised me:

Ignore the letter. As Liz rightly says, even if you went to the time and effort of responding (which you're not obliged to do, despite what they tell you) they'd only ignore you anyway.

Moving closer to Manchester [and possible work], that seemed to be an end to that. Not a bit of it. This excrescence seems to be going on all over Britain. After the fourth letter, I did phone up and was immediately asked my name.

Now, here's where I was within my rights not to answer - I was doing them a favour by calling, with respect to the address I was living at - but that didn't seem to phase them.

I decided to tell them, as I have nothing to hide and owe nothing to them. Their letter had said that if you gave them the details they wanted, then that was an end to the matter, unless their detector van picked something up.

Now of course I didn't believe a word of it but it was still a shock to get a follow-up letter, not from Manchester but from Bristol:

Thank you for telling us that you don't need a TV Licence. It is unfortunately necessary for TV Licensing to visit homes to confirm there is no TV being used. We do this because, when we make contact on these visits, a quarter of people are found to need a TV Licence.

Now that is not what the previous letters stated. The impression was clearly given that if you 'confessed' you were the occupier of the premises, the detector van did the rest and that was all that was necessary.

Instead, I find that whether or not the detector van detects a TV being used, they're still going to come into my home. That's what they really want to do. Peter's advice was therefore sound - don't trust the bastards because they lie.

We all read about the lies of Brown or the lies of this department or that and we do believe it but it doesn't really come home to us until we can compare two separate letters from a government utility, using standard forms and those forms are either a lie or at the very least, highly misleading.

Deliberate misinformation to gain access to one's home.

Call me naive but I'm shocked to see such a bald-faced lie in print, from what is meant to be an official section of the state. I know I blog a lot about these things but to see it in front of my eyes is ... well ... a shock.

So now, by playing along with them, I'm waiting each evening for the knock on the door from the State Stasi who have the power to prosecute me if they see anything they construe as evidence - it could be something the previous owners had done.

This is a country of rights? Seems more to me like a case of playing the bully .

This is an ad on my site from this morning. Note the tone.

[almost wordless wednesday] captions please

The post attached to this, which can be seen in RSS, is scheduled for the evening - otherwise, this wouldn't have been wordless. Go on, say it ... :)