Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Overheard on tube...

I have nothing original to say, except perhaps that the Hotel du Centre in Wimereux is a nice place for lunch if you are on a cross-channel day trip, so instead I''ll repeat a snippet of conversation I overheard on the tube this morning.

"The problem with Bill Oddie is he's so arrogant now"
"Is he?"
"Yes, well he can charge anything he wants so he's quite rude"

That I never knew.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Vote Berube

He's kilometres in the lead, but still vote early, vote often. Via Chris.

Gulag at Guantanamo

Telegraph 21st Feb:

Straw says US Guantanamo Bay is 'no gulag'

Telegraph 22nd Feb:

Straw risks US fury over 'gulag' Guantanamo

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blogging

Most blogs are boring, overblown, and don't make a penny


argues the FT, in a longish article about blogging. It suggests that 12,000 page visits a day corresponds to around $1000 to $2000 in annual income if you have adverts, and of course not many blogs get that. That does means this site could get about $10 a year, which makes me seriously consider giving up the day job.

Rather amusingly the article asks many 'well-known' (ie American) bloggers whether they thought Marx or Orwell would have made good bloggers. Everyone agreed about Orwell.

The question was, of course, rigged. The great critic and editor Cyril Connolly fell into despair over the prolixity of Orwell’s wartime writing: “Being Orwell, nothing he wrote is quite without value and unexpected gems keep popping up. But O the boredom of argument without action, politics without power.”Connolly was the constitutional opposite of Orwell - a spry wit given to sloth, a portly bon vivant who masticated away his genius. But he recognised, in effect, how awful Orwell would have been as a blogger, and how he would fall into the kind of dross exemplified by the author’s “In Defence of English Cooking”: “Here are some of the things that I myself have sought for in foreign countries and failed to find. First of all, kippers, Yorkshire pudding, Devonshire cream, muffins and crumpets. Then a list of puddings that would be interminable if I gave it in full: I will pick out for special mention Christmas pudding, treacle tart and apple dumplings. Then an almost equally long list of cakes: for instance, dark plum cake.”

Friday, February 17, 2006

Gerard Baker

Is very disappointed that (he belives) the Bush Administration has abandoned neo-conservatism and is reverting to a George Bush snr style foreign policy, with no prospect of war with Iran.

Hyphens

I think this headline needs some hyphens, at the very least.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney man in intensive care

The man Dick Cheney shot has had a related heart attack and is in intensive care. Another American attempt to belittle us, with our pathetic deputy-leader punches man with mullet stories.

Wireless mice

Is it just me or are these all useless? I have had three of them. One just turned off after about five weeks, and nothing could get it to spring to life again. Another suddenly made the computer (a different one) shut down immediately, and it wouldn't restart with it plugged in. A third at home wouldn't work at all, except the buttons, and in the office was working fine until this morning, when it started to increasingly drag the cursor into the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, and finally just left it there, unable to move.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The 100 most dangerous professors

Via Crooked Timber, I see David Horowitz has updated his list of America's 100 Most Dangerous Professors.

Well good for the Americans.

But what about us? It's the same old story, isn't it? Americans are kept informed, and thus safe, about which professors are dangerous; we aren't allowed to know. Who knows what filth and degredation we might unwittingly be allowing ourselves to be exposed?

Where's the list of "100 most Dangerous Professors - UK edition"? Surely this is a task for Melanie Philips? It shouldn't even be too hard -- I imagine the UK university sector is probably a 10th the size of the US one, so she only needs to come up with 10

A step too far

I just misread the BBC's flash headline as 'David Cameron's wife Samantha joins Labour' rather than 'goes into labour'. For a second I thought it was the greatest political move of all time, rather than just a good one.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Face transforming

You've probably all seen this before, but I hadn't, and it is now wasting my Sunday. I think the 'old' you is particular good, though the Botticelli is pretty funny as well.

You're not getting to see me, but instead here's Tony Blair as, respectively, an Ape-man, someone from East Asia, and a child.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Elections gone

Next year's local elections in England could be abandoned under plans being considered by the government, the BBC has learned.


Ah well, no-one voted in them anyway. Perhaps he should scrap this year's ones as well?

Bits and pieces

The latest Populus poll shows that 59% of Britons think the Iraq war was wrong, and just 31% right. 62% to 38% believe British troops should be withdrawn as soon as possible, rather than wait until the country is stable.

The poll also puts the Tories 1% ahead, shows the Lib Dems up 2%, and shows a majority of Britons both believe the cartoons should be 'banned' and believe papers should have the right to publish them if they wish.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oliver Kamm interview

There's an enjoyable interview with Oliver Kamm in Frontpage magazine (the magazine of Laurence Auster!). The content is reasonably interesting if you like that sort of thing, but what makes it such fun is that one can't help but feel sorry for Oliver faced with the clear lunacy of the interviewer, the managing editor of FrontPage, Jamie Glazov. Glazov, author of "The Hate America Left" and various other dreadful pieces , was the guy who 'accidentally' missed Michael Berube's answers off a debate, and then accused him of intellectual laziness. He apparently adds stuff to the interview aftewards (which is hardly intellectually rigorous, and I am surprised Oliver doesn't mind), and is also apparently such a good editor he is unaware that Oliver is listed on his own website as being a columnist with the magazine. Finally, the comments, have to be read to be believed.

Monday, February 06, 2006

One year on

It's one year since the blogosphere was graced with Michael J Totten's 'most embarassing weblog post ever', and to celebrate here are some choice quotes. Feel free to leave your own personal favourites.

I respected them more, too, because they stood up to me and Christopher Hitchens. They are not servile people. They will never, ever, be anyone’s puppets. They are gentle and decent, and at the same time fierce and formidable. You really do not want to mess with them. And they’re great to have on your side


“Who the hell are you?” Atiyyah said to Hitchens as if I weren’t the last one to speak. “Some Brit who lives in New York!”


“If you wanted more Iraqi support,” Atiyyah bellowed at Hitchens,” you should have given us more money and food once you got there!”

“So you’re saying, sir, that you can be bought,” Hitchens shot back.


“Red or white,” he asked.

“Wine. Is. Red!” Hitchens said, and I couldn’t agree more. I had a 24-hour hangover from cheap white wine in a box when I was 14 years old. I haven’t been able to touch the stuff since. Even the thought of the taste of white wine makes my stomach do somersaults.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mick Hucknall

Almost a year to the day after Michael Totten's most embarassing blog post ever, we have possibly the most embarassing interview ever, Mick Hucknall, in the Observer's "This Much I know" column.

I've loved being a bachelor. They threw me in the candy store and I ate the lot! If I go out and end up in bed with two women, what's wrong that with that? I had a great time. If they want to tell their story that's their problem. They're the ones who end up looking like cheap whores on the front of a magazine with their tits hanging out.


Gordon's done a brilliant job. Anyone who can forget what it was like under Major is a fool. But Labour need to be brave with social and moral issues. Tony Blair's a friend. I've said to him, 'You should have waited on Iraq'. He listens.

German and UK taxation

David Smith, in a piece called 'Wheels coming of UK plc', says:

The consequences of the government’s extravagance on spending, and the accompanying increase in the tax burden, are coming home to roost. A decade ago, the tax burden in Britain was decisively lower than in Germany...But this year, says the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Britain’s tax burden will be 42.4%, higher than Germany’s 42.1% and well above America, which has come down to 32.7%.


It's worth noting I think that also according to the OECD Britain's tax 'burden' was higher than Germany's in 1985, 1990, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. The UK did have lower total government revenue than Germany for much of this period, having much lower non-tax receipts (such as dividends from public companies, or fines etc).

1940s science

In a second-hand bookshop in St.Leonards I picked up a compilation of editions of "Armchair Science", apparently a British popular-science journal of the 1940s. It's actually a cracking read, especially 'latest gadgets' (did you know the home breadmaker (or 'table-top' as they call it) was invented in 1941?) but some of the tips from readers seem somewhat dated, particularly R.Collins of Harrow, who writes:

Alcohol aids Night Drivers

Motorist readers of Armchair Science will be interested in the findings of researchers of drinking alcohol before driving. It is claimed that a cocktail or other alcoholic drink improves a drivers ability to see in the dark. This is due to the effect of alcohol on Vitamin A in the body.


Next month a "ophthalmic authority" writes:

...Alcohol cannot do this...the writer of the letter omitted to point outit ...diminishes concentration..judgment...perception...makes them sleepy

Friday, February 03, 2006

Those cartoons

One thing I don't understand about the debate is why people feel that one can only sympathise with the newspaper in question (or the cartoonists) by reprinting the cartoons. Most bloggers and many in the media believed that the CPS was wrong to prosecute Nick Griffin on free speech grounds, and yet I didn't see a mass campaign to reprint his words of wisdom.

Of course this argument doesn't apply if you don't find anything in the cartoons to be offensive at all, or if you do think they are (or some are) offensive but actually wish to offend.