now incorporating the Sudbury Hill Times

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Friday night without Jonathan Ross



Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand suspended by BBC

Brand is not guilty. Russell Brand is one of those indispensible mischievous spirits, who will always be in trouble, but who is not a craven and dismal lowlife like the other one. If you read the transcript (Telegraph.co.uk), you'll see that I'm right. It's Ross whose ad libs are crass and offensive, unleavened by any Shakespearian fool's talent to amuse, which is what Brand brings to the party. A real fool can get away with mockery and revelations - being a real fool is an honorable vocation, but being a professional creep is not. I am not jumping on this bandwagon - the cartoon you see above was posted here a few weeks ago. I've always said the same about Jonathan Ross.

Zoz

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's snowing tonight

 

11:23 pm, 28 October 2008. Spagnum

If the candidates were phones



This came today in one of those emails that circulate.

Mailroom

Boris: Eat, spend and be merry

Financial crisis: Eat, spend and be merry - this is not the end of the world - Telegraph

"We should remember that the boom-slump cycle is a natural part of our history; indeed, it is indispensable to our psychological make-up. It is like love. It is a basically incurable condition, and we revert to it again and again. First. we conceive the passion - the Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble, the dotcom or the property boom - and then we bicycle-pump our hearts with wild hormonal elation ..."

And it goes on. Almost impossible to excerpt - he writes like a dream. He's wasted on the mayoralty. Put his articles in a book and it would not be out of place on a shelf beside Patrick Campbell, James Thurber, or even the great Myles himself.

Feargal

Monday, October 27, 2008

Calling out the closet racists

What sort of worm of an individual says he or she is going to support Obama and then goes into a polling booth and votes the other way, on racial grounds? Do such people exist?

According to the media they do, but I don't believe it. If they do and if you are one of them reading this, you should be ashamed of yourself. How can such people live with themselves, are they completely craven and despicable? I suggest that there are very few if any such people, and that the media are, perhaps subconsciously, campaigning to construct such behaviour.

The BBC has all along tried to find winning angles for those who have opposed Obama, first Hillary Clinton and now McCain. They go on and on about what McCain has to do, and how some people may say one thing and vote the other way, anything to try against all rationality to see ways of making McCain win. It's the BBC and the unregenerate establishment that backs them that are thinking this way, and it is wishful thinking if not wilful distortion by them.

The reality is that most of the people of the US and the world are backing Obama, not McCain. Let's not make or find any excuses for any other outcome than a massive majority for Obama.

Zoz

Financial crisis: The collapse of globalisation?

In my not very expert opinion, this financial crisis looks very much like the collapse of globalisation. It is because there are no boundaries that a problem in one region affects the whole globe.

Thus faulty financial instruments have been built upon and tangled up in US sub-prime mortgages and other dodgy assets, both tangible and intangible. It is like the car ferry and tanker disasters that led to the hulls of such ships being partitioned, so that the flooding of one section would not spread throughout and cause a vessel to sink.

If this is the case there is no point throwing money into this problem. Only regulation will fix it, and then the bilge can be pumped out, section by section. It's impossible to "pump out the bilge" now, because the problems are still coming in from all sides.

Zoz

Friday, October 24, 2008

Poor Paddy works on the software

In nineteen hundred and ninety-one
The stripey braces I put on
I put me stripey braces on
To work upon the software, the software
I'm weary of the software
Poor Paddy works on the software

In nineteen hundred and ninety-two
From IBM to Fujitsu
I found meself a job to do
A working on the software

I was wearing stripey braces
Setting traces, shifting places
Switching cases as I was
Working on the software

In nineteen hundred and ninety-three
I played me Leonard Cohen LP
I went to work for her Majesty
On poll tax payment software

I was wearing stripey braces
Setting traces, shifting places
Switching cases as I was
Working on the software

In nineteen hundred and ninety-four
I landed on the Liverpool shore
Me belly was empty, me hands were raw
With working on the software, the software
I'm sick to me guts of the software
Poor Paddy works on the software

In nineteen hundred and ninety-five
When Billy Gates was only five
When Lady Ada was still alive
And working on the software

I was wearing stripey braces
Setting traces, shifting places
Switching cases as I was
Working on the software

In nineteen hundred and ninety-six
I changed me O.S. to Unix
I changed me O.S. to Unix
To work upon the software

I was wearing stripey braces
Setting traces, shifting places
Switching cases as I was
Working on the software

In the year of two thousand and one
Poor Paddy's millennium bug was gone
The sod had to give up his coke and rum
To work upon the software, the software
I'm sick to me death of the software
Poor Paddy works on the software

Ganache

Thursday evening

 

6 pm, 23 October 2008. Sphagnum

It's somewhat stormy tonight. This was the scene earlier, the gathering storm.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Music in the background for news: why?

I bloody hate all the muzak they play when reporting things on the television and radio, don't you? I can't play my guitar and have the news or anything else on in the background, because they keep playing stupid portentous music (news) or other mood music. Why do people who make news and other factual programs have to try and turn them into early twentieth century cinema style productions, when all they have that is real is a picture and text? Who the hell do they think they're fooling, and who are they fooling? But more than that, why? Why, Why, Why auntie/points of view! Does anybody give a damn? Why are we treated like factory farm pigs?

Zoz

Whoever gets their vote out will win

Don't believe the poll leads for Obama, this is going to go to the wire. The McCain/Bush party will have a high panic factor and will get their maximum number of voters out. If there is any complacency in the Obama supporters, the election will be stolen again. I've just been listening to a report from Missouri and the polls are virtually neck and neck on average. Missouri is THE bellwether state, which means that the Republicans may steal this election. And it will be robbery. And there will be riots, if not outright civil war.

Zoz

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday evening



 

6:15 & 6:20 pm, 22 October 2008. Sphagnum

High School Massacre 3

Film review: High School Musical 3: Senior Year | Film | guardian.co.uk: "Clive James once said that some cultural artefacts are so bland they 'taste of cellophane'. High School Musical 3: Senior Year makes cellophane taste like chicken jalfrezi. Yet behind the blandness - perhaps even generating the blandness as a symptom - there is something weird and conflicted going on."

It's no wonder there are high school massacres. There will be more thanks to Disney. It's juniors who are watching this crap and thinking it's going to be like that when they're teenagers. It's not. This is some sort of crypto-fascist propaganda, it's a big advert for the consumer society, trying to show how it makes everything shiny and wholesome. It doesn't, it grinds you into the ground, and it's dirty and violent. We should show kids having to form cadres to build flood defences, setup field hospitals for nuclear fallout burns. Let's do the future right here!

Zoz

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baboon wrecks vintage bus

Jeremy Clarkson causes outrage after blowing up Routemaster - Telegraph: "The presenter, who is known for his controversial views, destroyed the classic British double-decker in a huge fireball as part of his new DVD, Thriller."

He's more known for being a stupid, annoying twat.

Zoz

Friday, October 17, 2008

BBC iPlayer - BBC One Sessions: Duffy

(broken link) Download available for one week (UK only)

"Backed by a five-piece band and a string section, Duffy runs through songs from her chart-topping debut album, Rockferry, hits include Mercy, Rockferry and Warwick Avenue."

She's brilliant in her own way, unique, and when she hits the high note on Warwick Avenue, it's a classic moment, in a new classic song. Very nice string arrangements.

Bartell D'Arcy

Monday, October 13, 2008

The tortoise and the hare

Plan for a cartoon: 2

A tortoise with the head of Gordon Brown hauls Canary Wharf up a hill to a plateau, passing by a hare with the face of David Cameron sound asleep by the side of the hill, with a suburban house that he was hauling askew in a ditch behind him. The sea is at the bottom of the hill and rising, about to reach Cameron's toes.

Zoz

Shurely shome mishtake

McCain can't at the same time support the $700 bn plan, which includes buying up the toxic mortgages, and float this new claptrap about spending another $300 bn to buy people's mortgages. It's the same money, is it not, and the same mortgages? Watch out for more hokey promises with phoney funding to try and buy the election.

Zoz

Sunday, October 12, 2008

No compromise with clerical tyrants

Hanged for being a Christian in Iran

"A month ago, the Iranian parliament voted in favour of a draft bill, entitled 'Islamic Penal Code', which would codify the death penalty for any male Iranian who leaves his Islamic faith." (Telegraph)

Read the article. There can be no compromise with such atavistic and moronic clerical tyranny.

Zoz

Gordon Brown's eyesight is causing concern among aides

Gordon Brown's eyesight is causing concern among aides - Telegraph: "Gordon Brown is struggling with increasing problems due to his partial sight, it has emerged."

I know I tend to blow with every wind, somewhat, but I do feel that I have underestimated Gordon Brown here in the past. I have characterised him as Jeeves to Blair's Wooster, and I still feel there is something in that. However, one should remember that Jeeves was a brainy old cove too, if a little fleeter in response than our present P.M. What I now see is that Gordon Brown's mind is high torque but low acceleration. In effect the contest between him and Cameron is like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, which at this stage is looking like the part where the hare takes a nap, and the tortoise trudges onwards to victory. In times of crisis, a different sort of leader is needed - you actually need a curmudgeon, you need a slow but sure approach, not a quicksilver chirpy chappie.

Zoz

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nightfall window lights

 

Friday, October 10, 7:07 pm. Spagnum

Nothing too much, just out of sight

The Daily Download - NME.COM

"'You'd say to him, 'Too much, man' and he'd say, 'No, nothing too much just out of sight.' So I grabbed that and suddenly you could see where it was heading and I followed that trail.' [...] it's hard to remember the last time McCartney sounded quite this ferocious. At times the track recalls the fire-and-brimstone intensity of Spiritualized, while the frantic coda finds Sir Paul whimpering like a dog over scabrous bursts of slide guitar. 'Flaming Pie' it is not.

Download The Fireman (Paul McCartney and Youth) Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight

'Electric Arguments' is released on November 24 on One Little Indian Records."

Bartell D'Arcy

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The correct form of greeting when in N. America

Among ordinary people in N. America, the usual greeting is "Barack Obama to you!" to which the polite response is "Barack Obama and Joe Biden to you!" For extra formal and extra friendly greetings, one may begin with "Barack Obama and Joe Biden to you!" to which the correct response is "Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi to you!" On sombre occasions, grand formal events etc., the ultimate greetings are: "Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi to you!", and a subsequent reply would contain "Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy to you!" [to the original speaker]. For jocular effect (ensure the occasion and company are appropriate) you may add Barney Frank, Bill and Hillary etc, but this is considered vulgar.

Harry Lemon, Travel

Republicans 'gently tossing in the towel'

Video: Tomasky talk: Republicans 'gently tossing in the towel' | World news | guardian.co.uk

That's not very hygienic.

Zoz

Sunday, October 05, 2008

McCain campaign: nuclear option is the only way we can win

Sarah Palin: Barack Obama 'palling around with terrorists’

"A former McCain strategist, familiar with the senator’s tactical discussions, told The Sunday Telegraph he would pursue the “nuclear option”, attacking Mr Obama personally in the campaign’s last four weeks." (Telegraph)

Now think carefully, what would happen if people who take this view were elected? Translate it into world affairs. Got your answer?

Zoz

Thursday, October 02, 2008

First of October

 

 

7:10 pm, Wednesday, 1 October 2008. Spagnum

It's getting dark earlier every day, as the earth rocks away from the sun. Strange to think that our few seasons are measured out in the sways of a stony globe spinning, rocking and swinging around a star, which is a thing on fire. (Fr. L.B.H.)



October Song (The Incredible String Band)

Newsmusic Desk

Banking small print: Your savings may disappear

They're always so punctilious about reminding us that "investments in stocks and shares may go down as well as up" but when did you ever see a clause to the effect that money you save in a bank might disappear without trace?

Zoz

UK & Irish banking crisis: An insurance scheme

Savers in stampede to safety

Lenihan told Darling that the decision to safeguard all deposits at six banks had not been planned, but had been an emergency move to prevent the collapse of one Irish bank leading to the failure of another.

The Treasury said last night that the chancellor had been given a sympathetic hearing. Darling made two calls in response to signs that savers were rushing to open accounts at Irish-backed banks, including the UK Post Office, whose accounts are provided by Bank of Ireland.

Under pressure from furious high street banks, the chancellor urged Lenihan to make the scheme open to British banks operating in the republic.
(Guardian)

Guaranteeing deposits sounds all very fine and dandy, but imagine what that means for the banks! They can spend, spend, spend, do what they like, go hog wild, because no matter what they gamble and lose, or how much they pay themselves, it doesn't matter - the government will pay the depositors. That can't be right, surely? I mean, if I had any savings I'd want them guaranteed, but...how is that going to work?

Am I the only one who thought that money in banks was safe before? How naive, apparently. I thought there were regulations and that the money you kept in a bank was owed to you and backed by some sort of insurance or whatever. But nada.

That is the solution to the problem of safeguarding deposits, then: insurance. The banks must pay insurance premiums into an insurance fund and when one of them goes bust, they must cease trading forthwith - like any bankrupt business, not carry on trading while insolvent, which is illegal for ordinary businesses. The more risk there is in their line of business, the higher their premiums would be set. That should stop them from taking undue risks with people's money.

Then the government backs only the insurance scheme, which creates a commercial buffer zone and guarantees efficiency as far as practicable. No direct "guarantee", but a quid pro quo in return for insurance premiums paid to a state or European central insurance system. To work, it must be made compulsory for all banks.

The same advice goes to the US legislators: make your system a free-standing state-backed insurance agency. Don't pour money into a failed system, because it will flow out through the same holes that are the problem, and you'll be down $700 billion, more indebted and still have the same problem you started with.

Zoz

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Inside the slave trade

Special investigation by Johann Hari

"... It took me to places I did not think existed, today, now. To a dungeon in the lawless Bangladeshi borderlands where children are padlocked and prison-barred in transit to Indian brothels; to an iron whore-house where grown women have spent their entire lives being raped; to a clinic that treats syphilitic 11-year-olds. ..." (Johann Hari, Independent)

Maybe part of the £5,000 from the 2008 Willesden Herald short story competition went to help the shelter described in the article? Let's hope so.

Zoz

The New Writers Handbook, Vol. 2

Advert by Gombeen™
Amazon/Willesden Herald linkThe intro by Ted Koooser is interesting. He was US Poet Laureate for a while. He talks about writing "from life" versus the comparative poverty of writing from imagination. In one example he says that when describing the scene at a birthday party, it's the lace coming away from the edge of a table cloth, or the bent tine on a fork that will evoke it, and not candles flickering on top of the birthday cake. In other words, he claims that imagination will tend to the clichéd. He makes a strong case, but I'm not sure he didn't imagine that lace himself just then, if you see what I mean. It's worth getting hold of the book just to read his intro, really, but there are loads of other interesting articles as well [not to mention the one by yours truly*]. (There Now)

The all-new 2008 edition (Vol. 2) of this annual anthology of best advice for writers is now available in stores everywhere:

The New Writer's Handbook, Vol. 2
edited by Philip Martin
with preface by Ted Kooser (U.S. Poet Laureate)
Scarletta Press (ISBN: 978-0-9798249-2-0)
softcover, 288 pages, 60+ articles
$16.95

Expert tips & techniques for writers at any level.
"Satisfying & surprising" said Library Journal in a Starred Review of the first volume. Annual readings to refresh your craft and career. (Scarletta Press)

* "Common Faults in Short Stories", based on this article by Steve Moran here in The Willesden Herald. Ed