Friday, 19 September 2008

I do not believe it!!!

This story has been running for a couple of days but still merits comment. Preppy Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg had the brilliant idea (or more likely some moron in his office/party headquarters did but he clearly went along with it) that what the great British public would love above all was a cold call recorded message from him. A lucky 250,000 copped his automated message. There was apparently an opportunity after our hero's two minute peroration to provide feedback. An option starting with 'why don't you' and ending in 'off my line' Was presumably not among the options for feedback.

Helpful explanation for Mr Clegg: people hate cold calls and hate automated cold calls most of all. Hate probably understates it. Loathe may be getting warmer. Imagine the happy scene, there you are cooking dinner/putting the baby to bed/transfixed in front of Emmerdale when you are interrupted by the phone ringing. You drop whatever you were doing (preferably not literally dropping the baby) and hurry to the phone. 'Hello this is an automated message from Nick Clegg who would like to talk down to you for a couple of minutes' How many nanoseconds before the slamdown and stream of invective from irate voter in marginal constituency?

How stupid can the political class be? It has to be a sign of their disengagement from reality that they apparently imagine anyone would be remotely pleased to receive such a call or interested in the contents. And they seriously imagine this sort of stuff is going to make the great British public more likely to vote for them? Send for the men in white coats...

I blogged on cold calling back in June - have a look - it's a good laugh (very rude words indeed warning)

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Las Vegas

Still far too busy for proper blogging at the moment but a quick peep at Mike's blog (link to left as per usual) reveals that he has been to Las Vegas. Put me in mind of the Gram Pasons song of the same name...

Have the words too..

ooh, Las Vegas, ain't no place for a poor boy like me,

ooh, Las Vegas, ain't no place for a poor boy like me

very time I hit your crystal city

you know you're gonna make a wreck out of me

well, the first time I lose I drink whiskey

second time I lose I drink gin

third time I lose I drink anything

'cause I think I'm gonna win

ooh, Las Vegas, etc

the queen of spades is a friend of mine

the queen of hearts is a bitch

someday when I clean up my mind

I'll find out which is which

ooh, Las Vegas, etc

well, I spend all night with the dealer

tryin' to get ahead

spend all day at the Holiday Inn

trying to get out of bed

ooh, Las Vegas, etc

Cracking stuff, innit!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Yer Rock & Roll 16

Far too busy with all sorts of stuff to do any serious blogging at the moment so have a little reggae...

First clip is Toots Hibbert in his Toots and the Maytals manifestation with 54-46 Was My Number from way back. Don't ask me what the title means. Prison number? Some wag commenting on YouTube comment 'bump up the volume if you not rocking your dead'. Happily, empirical researches reveal that I am still alive ;)

Second clip is Buju Banton - the connection is that he recorded a fine version of 54-46 in duet with Tots Hibbert but annoyingly it's not on YouTube so have his Destiny instead. There ya go...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

I don't usually do memes...

I don’t usually do memes but an invitation from Charon QC has to be complied with. Charon does a law blog (link to left) and asks for 5 favourite non-law blogs to be nominated. He tagged me among others. I think that the good news is that the nominees don’t have to do anything. This is the end of the line. It’s a bit invidious and indeed arbitrary. How do you choose 5 blogs over the rest? Will the bloggers not chosen take offence? Please don’t – all the blogs linked to WR have considerable merit in my opinion – that’s why they’re there. I haven’t nominated Mr Bastard and Never Mind the Bollix because Charon already did. I say this in an attempt to avoid a middle of the night visit to the foot of my bed by distinctly displeased Glaswegian gentlemen.

At its best, blogging creates links between people in different places with different backgrounds, interests and world views. Not only that but the personalities and narratives of people you have never met – and almost certainly never will – can come over. Provided that you don’t treat the virtual world as a substitute for the real one, some sort of faux panacea for actual discontents, then this is a good thing. Okay, on with the nominations…

1. Bug Eyed Blog

Some bloggers put up profile or other pics of themselves but most I wouldn't recognise if I bumped into them in the street. Earl would be most easily recognised by the back of his right calf (above). I confess I'd like to have a beer with Earl one day should I ever find myself in New York. He likes his beer. He also likes movies, applying his mordant wit to a range of topics and his beloved Gia. Total top bloke...

2. Daisy's Dead Air

Daisy is the ultimate ageing hippie (no offence Daisy!). She's a serious Deadhead, a herbalist, a feminist and a polemicist of gale force 9 proportions. She blogs on politics, music and religion mostly. She regularlly confuses the US religious right - which has to be a good thing - they don't get her at all. One e-mailed her plaintively...

'I can't figure out what kind of Christian you are.You claim to be Catholic and then you quote Buddhists and Hindus. You talk about the saints and then you welcome people with gender confusion and affirm their psychosis. You casually use the F-word. What kind of Christian are you, anyway?'

'The fun kind' she replied.

3 Renegade Eye

Renegade is that most rare and exotic of creatures - an American Trotskyist. He also likes movies, tango, flamenco and jazz. What I like about him is that he has created an open blog with a range of commenters, many of whom disagree with him strongly on pretty much everything. This is not the political equivalent of the narrow sect of the saved talking to itself - it's a heterodox free forum. I like that.

4. The Corridor (A Cricket Blog)

I'm an unashamed cricket anorak and here I can indulge my addiction with fellow sufferers. Oh, and the site meter currently shows 1,206,810. Eat your hearts out! Doubleoh, and at the risk of causing transatlantic offence, a quote I came across today: 'there is a limit to what Americans can understand. That lmit is cricket'.

5. Ron Knee

This is the blogger in full on rant mode. I've an immense soft spot for Ronald, even if he does occasionally make me wince. Mainly because he's so bloody funny - and despite outbursts that would make a Tourette's sufferer blush - he obviously has a good heart. Not to mention his revenge against a certain Troll - one of the great moments in blog history - some of you know what I mean ;)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Yer Rock and Roll 15

It occurred to me that I haven't done a Yer Rock and Roll in ages - plenty of clips but not a yer Rock and Roll. It was inevitable that I would get round to Bob Dylan sooner or later and so here is the elderly gent. I only ever saw him live once - at Brixton Academy in the mid-1990s - the conventional wisdom is that he either turns up ready and willing to perform or he - well - just turns up and goes through the motions grumpily. Fortunately, the time I saw him he was willing and able and a fine concert it was too. I'm not going to all the stuff about Dylan's merit or lack of it as a poet etc so straight into the songs - two (very) oldies.

The first is Subterranean Homesick Blues. The clip is well-known - it must be the original promotional video. Watch at the end when our man get completely out of synch as regarding discarding the cards in time to the music...

The second is Highway 61 Revisited. I said I wouldn't launch off about Dylan as poet but the lyrics are very fine. The artwork is by an Italian guy called Giovanni Rabuffetti.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Oh dear...

Things aren't looking too bright on the economic front, are they? The media is full of tales of gloom and doom. Inevitably, I start with house prices - the national obsession - now the picture no doubt variies from region to region but the general scenario seems to be that they are going south at a startling rate of knots. Further and faster than the headline figures suggest, I rather think. I talked recently to someone I know who is in banking in a serious way - 'down 35-40% over the next two to three years' she said. This has causes and consequences. The cause is well-known: the huge losses made by the banks with the collapse of the sub-prime market. Consequently, banks don't trust each other - let alone the punters - and the supply of mortgage finance dries up. I heard on the radio the other day that a couple with a 5% deposit wanting to make a first time purchase had onlly a year ago a choice of literally hundreds of mortgage products. Now they have two - and both are apparently bum deals. So the pool of people able to buy diminishes rapidly. So people having to sell drop the price and drop the price but still can''t sell. When they eventually do the discounted price sets a new benchmark.

Of course, even if not buying or selling, the property crash still impacts on people's perceptions. London in particular is full of people who have for years lived on the feelgood factor of having literally hundreds of thousands of pounds of equity simply by being an owner-occupier (subject to monstrous mortgage). The financial security blanket contracts or even disappears at a rate of knots. Feelgood turns into feelbad,

There are a couple more goodies in the pipeline: Firstly, in October the Government guarantees to the banks runs out if not renewed. Tax revenues must be plummeting and government finances under severe strain. Secondly, you will all have noticed the building sites with banners outside 'a development of 32 (or whatever) luxury apartmments by Spivco'. I always look at them and think 'I bet you wish you so hadn't bothered!' No doubt they do and many have been mothballed but a lot are beyond the point of no return and no doubt there will come a point when the developers cut their losses and dump the huge collection of identical two bedroomed apartments on the market. Watch this space (as it were)...

And apart from that, how is the wider economy? Well, 'apart from that' doesn't come into it. The whole thing is interlinked but the economy, while heading for recession, is also highly inflationary - petrol, fuel and food prices all rocketing. The Bank of England can't reduce interest rates because its primary duty is the control of inflation and the Banks wouldn't take much notice if it did. Sales of top of the range cars are through the floor as are sales of organic 9and therefore expensive) food. Personal savings have halved and a million people have dropped out of personal pension schemes (not that I blame them - they are a load of old rubbish). The only people who are doing well are apparently the discount supermarkets of the Lidl variety.

It's the Chinese curse - may you live in interesting times.

Someone said to me - why not nationalise the banks? Well that's so not going to happen but his argument was that we all need finance - we have a money and not a barter economy - so it's a kind of social service. Except it isn't a service and the only people who make money out of it are the clowns who award themselves stupefying sums of money by way of salary and bonuses for getting it about as wrong as can be possible.

Come the revolution, they'll be first up against the wall.

Okay, time to lighten up. Whatshername Palin has an unfortunate fringe known in the hairdressing trade as an Adolf Hitler. Like the late unlamented Fuehrer, she also has brown hair. With hat tip to Jailhouse Lawyer, imagine my shock at seeing this. Such disrespect!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Beau Bo D'Or Gallery

I haven't raided the consistently excellent Beau Bo D'Or (link to left) in a good while but he's saved me the trouble with a rolled-up 'rough animation' of some of his best-known images, complete with seriously bizarre music. Just sit back and - erm - enjoy!

The Lottery

I play the lottery on and off. I know it's a waste of money but I do. I've won the odd tenner but that's it. The lottery is generally a bad thing - a device for getting poor people to voluntarily pay extra tax. I rather liked the description of it as 'the desperation tax'. But that isn't the point I wanted to make. Last night I pottered into the living room just as the lottery results came up. The result was another example of the phoenomenon I call 'bunching'. There were three consecutive numbers, 33, 34 and 35 among the six balls drawn. This seems to happen fairly regularly - not necessarily consecutive numbers but sequences of two or three closely linked numbers. Conclusion: that the devices for juggling the balls before the draw are inefficient or the juggling is too short. Discuss...
Historical anecdote: after the Bill for the abolition of slavery was passed with an overwhelming majority William Wilberforce asked sidekick Henry Thornton “Well, Henry! What shall we abolish now?” Thornton replied, “The Lottery, I think.”
They did as well.
Random Thought: After Bill Clinton's performance at the DNC yesterday the question came to mind: why does he always remind me of the saying 'Sincerity! That's the thing! If you can fake that, you've got it made'.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Pinched from Earl

Now how weird is this? A couple of junior Damien Hirsts it seems...

Nice straight drive to slice cow in two as well.

The story that got buried...

You would have to be a pretty serious newshound to follow this one. There has been an israeli naval blockade of Gaza - a glorified holding pen - since Hamas inconveniently won the Palestinian elections. The resultant hardship includes - but it is not limited to severe shortages of medical materials.

The California based Free Gaza movement decided to try and break the blockade with two boats - checked by international monitors to make sure there were no armaments or dangerous materials on board - and a symbolic cargo of hearing aids and balloons (for the children). There were 47 crew members in the two boats, including an 81 year old nun and our very own Lauren Booth - but only one Israeli (I'll come back to that one). The boats set out from Cyprus - about a 30 hour journey.

Cue much Israeli huffing and puffing. 'A provocation' they whined. They were in a dilemma as to what to do. The military wanted to stop the boats by force and seize, interrogate and generally give a rotten time to the crew. This of course would attract huge international publicity and be public relations poison for the Israelis. So in the end they let the boats through and they arrived in Gaza to a rapturous welcome. Smart move by the Israelis, though. The story dropped off the radar. They made clear that this was a one off. The naval blockade remained and it ought not to be assumed that future boats would be let through.

A modest proposal: keep doing it and doing it with two refinements. Firstly, take actual as opposed to symbolic cargoes of medical etc supplies. Secondly, the preponderance of western activists in the crew makes it easy for the Israelis to dismiss the project as the usual western pro-Palestinians at it again. Maybe next time crew the boats with Israelis and Palestinians.

Then just watch...

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Crap Hotels and B&B's...

The rabbit has been quiet of late - part of the reason is that I have been tearing about the Midlands plying my trade in assorted courts. Commuting is stupefyingly expensive on the early trains as well as exhausting (never an enthusiastic driver, I have sold my car - no regrets - and don't really do long distance hauls anyway). So, on an economy drive, I get the cheaper off peak trains and stay overnight in -erm - inexpensive hotels and B&B's (bed and breakfast accomodation for any overseas reader mystified by this acronym). I can tax deduct travel and hotel expenses but still have to find them upfront. I'm becoming some sort of expert on the cheaper end of the accommodation industry. Some thoughts...
The picture is very varied. Some cheap B&B's etc are actually fine - the odd one is very good value. The horrors are - well - horrific.
Let's call it the Fleapit Hotel, Stoke. I'd come up on the Sunday night and stayed in a very nice place a few minutes from the court at weekend rates. For weekdays the rate went up sharply so, remembering the economy drive, I rang the Fleapit Hotel for the Monday night when it became clear that my trial would go into Tuesday. They had vacancies - why am I not surprised? The Fleapit was at least secure. The front door key I was issued engaged in a battle with the lock just about every time. The interior was gloomy with the usual collection of rubbishy 'ornaments' on every available surface and fussy patterned carpets everywhere. The carpets had plainly seen better days and were apparently in the later stages of death by vacuuming. At least my room was clean and had plain white walls. Both room and bed were small but it was passable for one night. One particularly classy touch was the plastic mug supplied for in room tea/coffee. Presumably they didn't trust me not to break/steal a porcelain one.
I got talking to a guy who was also staying there. He was - I would guess - in his mid sixties.
'I've been put here by the council' He said. He'd just suffered relationship breakdown and had left his council place in Chesterfield and, coming from Stoke, had headed back there like an elderly homing pigeon.
'They're showing me a bungalow tomorrow. It's in a nice area. I'm going to take it. I've hit rock bottom. The only way is up for me after today'.
My heart really went out to him. He had no children and was a cancer survivor. I hope things worked out for him. It became clear that several of the residents had been put there by the council. Obviously this is done because the place is cheap but this seemingly guaranteed income stream provides whatever miscreant owns the place no incentive to improve it. One of the homeless persons was a friendly soul. I met him briefly in the evening and again at breakfast. He got up after eating his meal.
'One more beer and then I'll go to bed' he announced cheerily. It was about 8.30 in the morning. Another resident, a young man, looked as if he was in withdrawal.
I should say something about the surrounding area. Almost directly across the road from the Fleapit Hotel was a boarded up pub. They seem to do boarded up bigtime in Stoke with commercial and shop premises in various states of dereliction left, right and centre. I noted that 'Adult Shop' and 'Bargain Booze' seem to have survived this commercial holocaust as had a halal takeaway shop just down the road from the Fleapit. I had shish kofte and chips from there for dinner. It wasn't at all bad.
'See you later' said the duty staff bloke when I left in the morning.
'No you wont' I thought.
I moved on with much relief to Stafford and the Spittal Brook Inn - I've blogged on the Spittal Brook before and love the place and its gloriously crazy landlord to bits...
After a weekend back in London, it was Wolverhampton on Monday and a nice little earner. So up on off-peak train on Sunday night and, the economy drive still being on, a night in - let's call it - the Dog Hotel. I've looked at it online and comments by former guests are venomous. I copy and paste from the hotel website: 'All of our thirty-three bedrooms are en-suite, tastefully decorated and maintained to a high standard of cleanliness'. Erm, really??? A traveller review paints a somewhat different picture: 'Absolutely disgusting. Tiny, dirty and dangerous room. Stairway littered with broken plant pots, soil and dead plants (still there the morning we left). Reception area strewn with broken furniture and dirty bedding: an obvious health hazard and fire-hazard. 'Non-Smoking' room stank of smoke and had an ashtray near the bed. This was a week AFTER the smoking ban came into force, so clearly illegal. This hotel needs to be closed down before there is a serious accident there'.
Oh lighten up! Okay, the Dog is a dump but it is so awful it is pure comedy, unlike the Fleapit, which is just oppressive in its dreadfulness. I arrived to meet a very nice guy who seemed to be in sole overnight charge. The carpet in the foyer was waterlogged.
'We've had a flood' he explained.
'What caused it?' I asked.
'Just rain' he replied.
Righty... My room had a number of interesting features such as the wall mounted light which wasn't wall mounted any more but hung from the wall by its electrical cable. The en-suite had an interesting collection of cracked tiles. I thought at one point in the middle of the night that my bed was going to collapse. I wasn't doing anything energetic, just turning over. Usual nasty patterned flowery wallpaper and swirly threadbare carpet. Though as I say, the guy in charge was very affable and brought a late night beer to my room. Tuesday night, I stayed in a B&B in Leicester for pretty much the same price as the Dog Hotel. It was very nice indeed. Better than many hotels. I'm learning rapidly where to stay and where not to.
Quick change of subject - with hat tip to Downtown Guy (link to left) here is a list of top 50 dystopian movies, courtesy of something called Snarkerati
Parting shot - JoJo (again link to left) commented that Throwing Stones would be a more appropriate Dead song than Eyes of the World to go with my posting on Georgia. Here it is, then, complete with gnomes...

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Mostly Georgia...

The rabbit has been very much out of the loop lately. It seems that while everybody else is on holiday, the rabbit is being run ragged workwise and has just returned from a week out of town hopping from criminal court to the next criminal court and back to the first. Hat Tip is due to Ron Knee for the above image, taken at a motorway service station. Ronald was less than impressed by the service as was apparently someone else who took the opportunity to arrange the pen holder display so as to send out a message.

To the main business: I go away for a few days and a new cold war starts! Like the enormous majority of westerners, I knew next to nothing about Georgia but was suspicious of the news spin that seemed to portray Georgia as a latter day 'gallant little Belgium' of World War I fame. Fortunately, a friend who is a university lecturer and Russia specialist came to dinner last night. This is mostly his take on recent events.

Russia: the Russians have a overwhelming sense of national humiliation as regards the post cold war settlement of the 1990s (echoes of Versailles). They have some grounds for complaint as regards broken treaty commitments etc. They also have a deeply held belief that they are being encircled, particularly by NATO. The very pro US Poland in particular drives them crazy, principally as regards the possibility of US missiles being located in Poland. There have even been mutterings about placing Russian missiles in Cuba if this is done. They are seriously pissed off and intend to put themselves about, in particular in former satellite countries. Many of these countries have sizeable Russian minorities.

Abkhazia/South Ossetia: Stalin 'gave' these regions to Georgia in one of those arbitrary imperial line drawing exercises that has caused so much trouble subsequently when mutually hostile peoples with different and incompatible cultures/languages/religions/aspirations find themselves within the same borders. The South Ossetians for example are a tribal Muslim mountain people. They have nothing in common with the Christian Georgians and hate their guts. The general consensus is that if these regions were given a fully free and fair vote on their constitutional arrangements, Abkhazia would vote for independence with some form of association with Russia and South Ossetia would vote to become a part of Russia (and thus be reunited with North Ossetia, which is in Russia). The ceasefire following the uprisings in these regions in the early 1990s (involving Russian peacekeepers) held pretty well until Thursday before last.

Georgia: The Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili is incompetent, unpopular and hardly the paragon of democratic virtue he has been portrayed as in the west. He decided to boost his popularity with a military adventure to reassert Georgian authority over the dissident provinces. This has backfired badly on him as the unsuing disaster has made him even more unpopular than before.

What happened goes something like this...

1. 7 August - Georgian troops enter South Ossetia. This is entirely gratuitous and disturbs a status quo that had kept the peace.They meet resistance from the Ossetians and trash the Ossetian capital with rocket fire. They also attack lightly armed Russian peacekeepers. The timing is clever - the eyes of the world are on Beijing.

2. The Russians are predictably enraged and Putin hot foots it back from Beijing. A successful counter invasion is mounted. My expert informant expresses the view that if the Russians had confined their activities to occupying South Ossetia, driving the Georgians out and restoring the status quo, then he wouldn't have criticised them. But they didn't...

3. The Russians set about teaching the Georgians a lesson. Russian troops penetrate deep into Georgia proper. the objective - apart from punishment - appears to be to disable the Georgian military. Atrocities follow.

4. The unreconstructed cold warriors in the west (and particularly the US) think Christmas has come early. Much huffing and puffing from the State Department. There is talk about fast tracking Georgia into NATO and even the EU. The EU is split as to how to respond between Atlanticists on the one hand and the very worried Germans and French (and Italians - a little surprisingly) on the other. Ceasefires are eventually cobbled together. At least for now...

My friend pronounces himself deeply worried. Incidentally, he is an American and an Obama supporter. He thinks these discontents may play into McCain's hands as he hangs tough and plays on his military background and experience. We shall see...

I use he phrase 'eyes of the world' above. So as a parting shot and to lighten the mood, here are the Dead with Eyes of the World...

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Still crazy after all these years and updates

Quiet in blogworld at the moment, I notice. It's a seasonal thing. Real life interrupted blogging for the rabbit last week and will do so next, but this story is irresistible. Mention Joyce McKinney to a British male of a certain age and a gigglefit will ensue. For the unintiated, here is the story. We go back to 1977.

Joyce McKinney was a former cheerleader and beauty queen from - why am I not surprised - North Carolina. She had also been, despite her claimed virginity - a topic the great British public heard much of - a soft porn actress and images of her as such can be found on the web (wholly unsuitable for a family blog, of course!). She conceived a passion for a 19 year old Mormon missionary called Kirk Anderson and when he set off to England to do missionary things, our heroine cashed in her life savings and set off in hot pursuit. So far so passing odd, then it gets seriously weird.

Arrived in Britain, McKinney recruited a stooge called Keith May and kidnapped Anderson at gunpoint (okay it was an imitation firearm but bear with me), drugged him with chloroform and drove him to a rented cottage in Devon. What happened then was that Anderson - another virgin apparently - was chained, spreadeagled, to a bed, with several pairs of mink-lined handcuffs (nice touch, the mink lining), and over the next few days he was repeatedly required to have sex with McKinney. She later helpfully explained that she had been anxious to bear his child. By way of further explanation, she added that the handcuffing had been necessary as Anderson had a dominant mother and thus such aids were necessary for him to attain - erm - satisfaction.

Anderson managed to escape and McKinney and May were arrested. Court proceedings ensued. the great British public found the case the most hilarious news story in years - it just pushed so many British buttons. The tabloid press were drooling. Sympathy for Anderson: zero. There was only one court appearance, an old-style committal with evidence. McKinney unburdened herself in those proceedings of the following immortal line: "I loved him so much that I would ski naked down Mount Everest in the nude with a carnation up my nose if he asked me to." Quite so. At least she said nose. Her counsel summed up the national mood with the equally immortal line "methinks the Mormon do protest too much".

Unfortunately, the fun was spoiled when the dynamic duo were granted bail and took the opportunity to abscond to Canada disguised as mime artists. Don't ask, I don't know why mime artists either. End of story? Not quite.

Earlier this week someone called Bernann McKinney was in the news. She denied being Joyce McKinney but she obviously is. Her pet pit bull - erm - Booger has been successfully cloned by a team of South Korean scientists. I have no idea why this needed to be done but our heroine seems very happy with her collection of little Booger clones. Thus located, in theory, she could be extradited to stand trial for kidnapping. I don't suppose she will, though. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman commented when contacted by the press "I'm sorry. I haven't a clue what you're talking about." That was then. This is now...

A couple of updates on recent postings on this blog. The Israeli Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the rubber bullet shooting of his prisoner in Nil'in (postings 21/25 July) has been 'reassigned' and charged with 'unworthy conduct', a minor offence not carrying a custodial penalty. The sergeant who pulled the trigger has been demoted to private and faces the same charge. Apparently, penalties would be much more severe if they had been caught smoking a joint. Other events in Nil'in: a 10 year old and an 18 year old have been shot dead by the Israeli army (headshots as usual) and one person at least is in custody - the father of the girl who took the film footage that busted the shooting incident. He is under house arrest charged with something not very serious. Injustice prevails as usual.

One good news story: Majid Ahmed, the straight A student who was refused a place to study medicine at Imperial College because of an isolated and spent conviction for burglary when he was 15 (posting 3 July) has secured a place at Manchester University instead and can hopefully realise his ambition to become a doctor..

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Ian Dury, Noddy, CSA and Olympics

I suppose I had better start explanations with Noddy. There may be readers with so sheltered an upbringing in some remote corner of the world as to have been untouched by the dead hand of Enid Blyton, She was a prolific children's author over several decades and a gruesome old bat in real life (free legal advice - you can't defame the dead). One of her most ubiquitous and annoying creations was Noddy, a wooden toy who lived - unimaginatively enough - in Toytown. He drove a taxi, was big mates with some sort of gnome called Big Ears and was constantly in various low level trouble with the local constabulary in the form of PC Plod. That's about all you need to know.

I'm not sure how well-known Ian Dury is in foreign climes - it's not just that he was very English - it's more specific than that, he was very London. He led a rock and roll band, Ian Dury and the Blockheads but he was far from just a rock and roller. His lyrics are unique for their wit, verve, whimsy and imagination. He was a one off and one of those people you will never read a bad word about from anyone who met him. He suffered from the effects of childhood polio and managed to get his song - Spasticus Autisticus - written for the International Year of Disabled Persons banned by the BBC despite his credentials in this area. The above clip, Fuck Off Noddy, is one of his little pieces of whimsy and delicious revenge on behalf of anyone who had their childhood blighted by suchlike twee rubbish. Dury died in 1998 after struggling with one of those horrendous cancers that just recur all over the place.

Changing subject, I read that 20% of claims by women to the Child Support Agency for - well obviously - child support, are made against men who turn out not to be the father. I merely raise an eyebrow.

Changing subject again, not many days before the Beijing Olympics,does anyone acually give a stuff about the Olympics as a sporting event? Pretty much all coverage so far has (rightly) been about Tibet, broken promises as regards human rights and non-censorship of websites, the polluted state of the Beijing air and social cleansing of the occupiers of unprepossessing looking homes or business premises around the Olympic stadium. Usually the Olympics is simply an overblown nationalistic crap sport feeding frenzy (I except the athletics, which is okay, from the crap sport category) but this time around the story isn't the sports at all - it's the Chinese regime. They must be spitting nails. Serves them right...

Back to Ian Dury and a song from him in rock and roll mode - Sweet Gene Vincent. Bear with it for the ballady one and a half minute intro. It's worth the wait. If unfamiliar with him, have a little rummage about on YouTube for such gems as There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards (whimsy) and Plaistow Patricia (famous - or perhaps infamous - for its opening barrage of very rude words indeed).

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Yorkshire flag, Death Row and Clarence White

The rabbit has returned from a short break to notice a bizarre story as regards the Yorkshire flag (above). For overseas readers, Yorkshire is the largest English county and the population are - erm - a singular lot (I can say this as a Yorkshireman) and have local pride coming out of their ears. A local patriot by the name of Andrew Wainwright took to flying the white rose flag. The result: a summons by Ryedale District Council. The 'reason' was that the flag supposedly constituted advertising (advertising of what remains obscure) and was thus subject to a planning charge. The result was general uproar, ridicule and the mass ordering of Yorkshire flags by Mr Wainwright's fellow villagers. THere has been a happy ending, however. The summons was withdrawn in the face of general derision and the Flag Institute (a body I confess I had never heard of before) has registered the Yorkshire flag as an official emblem and thus exempt from planning permission. The newly officially sanctioned flag is to be carried in triumph on foot from Hull to York to arrive in time for Yorkshire Day - 1st August.

A victory over jobsworths with apparently nothing better to do.

On a more sombre note, I return to Texas Death Row - I have been forwarded an online petition for a new trial for a Texas Death Row prisoner named Reginald Blanton - I would ask all bloggers of goodwill to sign the petition and pass it on. The link also gives some information about the case including the bizarre, and apparently uniquely Texan, 'jury shuffle'.

As my posting on Texas Death row is now deeply buried in the dread 'Older Posts' here is the link...

Finally, and for no particular reason other than the song came to mind the other day, here from the beginning of time is a grainy clip of the late Clarence White of Byrds fame (killed by a drunk driver) with Truck Stop Girl. All together now (well those of you of a certain age anyway)

But he was so young/and on a ten city run/in love with the Truck Stop Girl...

Friday, 25 July 2008

Assorted musings...

A strange story from New Zealand - a 9 year old girl is in court guardianship there so that her name can be changed. The name her parents gave her? - Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii. At this point I pause to beat my head against the wall. The judge gave other examples of bizarre names in his ruling including Fish and Chips, Stallion, Sex Fruit and - erm - Violence. Now my general rule on officials telling people what to do is I'm against it. Here I make an exception. Being a child/adolescent is difficult enough without having to drag baggage like that around. As for the parents? Moderate words fail me.

Another tiresome example of the professions joining in with officialdom in mindless bossiness has surfaced. The British Medical Journal pronounces that bigger families are as environmentally dubious as patio heaters or gas guzzlers. Oh get lost you arses! This kind of medical pontificating is not confined to the printed word. I heard a mother of 6 on the radio saying that after the birth of one of her children she was gratuitously asked by some medical professional what she was going to do to prevent the next one. She told the medical professional where to get off. Quite right too. There is apparently 1.91 children per woman in the UK. If the rate fell to 1.7, the population would halve in six generations. Hardly an overpopulation crisis. Affluent people tend to have small families. If you are in a poor country and children are your social security system cum pension policy and infant mortality rates are high, you have lots. Remarkably, this state of affairs continues despite the strictures of the British Medical Journal. The rabbit is a father of 2 for the record.

Strange goings on as regards the clip posted on Monday. First the clip was taken down by YouTube and then Memphis Steve (link to left) reports that the link to the clip is blocked at his place of work. What is going on here? the clip is at least still up on the B'tselem website - - A modest proposal: could all bloggers of goodwill copy, paste and stick the link up on your blog. It seems the only answer to the deleters and blockers.

I'm off for a break in rural Bucks so no new postings for a few days but a random parting shot: why are there so many blokes wandering about in Argentina rugby shirts these days? Is it some sort of ironic statement or are we being stealthily invaded? just asking...

Monday, 21 July 2008

Without comment

I try to avoid blogging on the Middle East - it brings the crazies out to play but this clip from the occupied West Bank should have the widest dissemination possible. Comment is superfluous - but feel free to comment!

I did wonder about putting up something to the effect that some people may find this clip disturbing - but that's exactly why it should be seen.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Beer and other musings

Top blogger Earl (link to left) confesses to being a beer snob. Well if it's confession time - me too! Here are five particular faves:

1. Hobgoblin (Wychwood) - my current fave. A rich ruby ale. The Wychwood brewery's marketing/PR is amazingly good with the 'afraid you might taste something lagerboy?' poster being a modern classic.

2. Old Peculier (Theakstons) I've been drinking this since I was a teenager and had a bottle last night. A strong, dark sweetish beer.

3. Old Speckled Hen (Morland) Nice name - nice beer.

4. Dragon Stout (Red Stripe) - a very strong (7.5%) very sweet stout imported from Jamaica. It used to be very hard to get hold of now it's all over everywhere like a rash.

5. Stinger (Hall & Woodhouse) - an organic beer with tie in to all round good thing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

And with one exception, that's all English stuff. I said in a comment to Earl that Europe was the place for beer. One good thing about Belgium is the beers (he wrote resisting the obvious jibes about Belgium) - wonderful stuff, many coming from a monastic brewing tradition. Honourable mention is also due to the German beer purity law - the Reinheitsgebot (1516 and the oldest food quality regulation in the world - those clever Bavarians again!) - water, barley and hops and that's it. No mucking about! The Reinheitsgebot was repealed in 1987 but is observed voluntarily by the great majority of German breweries.

Moving on, to my embarrassment I neglected to mention in last Thursday's posting the role of my line editor in the crime novel. Damn, she's good! Deadly in fact and the book would be much worse without her input. Should have said so in the first place.

A strange story via Jailhouse Lawyer (again link to left). The local Amish are in a spot of bother with the State of Kentucky. They refuse to display flashing lights and an orange triangle on the rear of their horse drawn vehicle as required by state law (this sort of ostentation contravenes their religious beliefs and they use reflective tape and lanterns instead). Seven Amish are facing criminal charges, three other are appealing convictions for the same thing and the American Civil Liberties Union has sprung to their defence. Now, like 99.9999999% of humanity, this belief strikes me as bizarre but they are them and that's how they feel on the subject. There is a general point here - the right to believe whatever you like and put it into practice if you do no harm. There is no suggestion that the Amish have done any harm by their alternative safety measures. Maybe the State of Kentucky could let just them be?

Strange newspaper headline of the day from the sports section: "Wenger wary of 'killing' youngsters". I should hope so too...

Strange sporting event of the week: the selection by England of total unknown Darren Pattinson. Huh?

Grumpy Old Man type enquiry: why does no-one take any notice of 'no junk mail' stickers on letterboxes these days?

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Jilted John and other stuff...

Jilted John had better be explained for overseas and younger readers. He (real name Graham Fellows) was a one hit wonder in 1978 with a quirky byproduct of the punk era. The one hit was also called Jilted John - a tirade against his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend Gordon. One line stuck in everybody's heads: 'Gordon is a moron'. It got to number 4 in the UK charts to general bemusement. It sounds like it was recorded by a teenager in his garage - I wouldn't bet against it having been. So matters rested for decades.

Then we acquired a Prime Minister, first name Gordon. The satirical possibilities of Jilted John were realised. This clip is by the improbably named Herr Kamel. It also looks like it was produced in a teenager's garage and I was tutting disapprovingly at the spelling mistakes. It has its moments though - Clare Short and John Reid appearing to give varying manual demonstrations of the dimensions of the Prime Ministerial appendage. Near the end, there is the announcement 'Andrew Neil was not harmed during the making of this film'.

Why not?

Completely different topics now. The long promised update on the crime novel. I have completed the edits. The cliche is true: the writing is in the re-writing. My tendency to get a word or phrase in my head and repeat it (I think - or at least hope - this is pretty universal) is truly alarming. In particular, I discover I have a fixation with the word 'eventually'. The editing has resulted in a huge cull of eventuallys. A few were spared but not many. Spotting sentences that add nothing to the narrative flow but rather interrupt it has been a necessary task. Conversely, I have got carried away with myself here and there and added detail. Anyway, that's my best shot for now and the agent has been e-mailed. Experience tells that agents invariably demand further re-writes. It's as if they feel they aren't doing their job if they don't. I'll report on progress or lack of it.

I haven't done an Old Bailey Chronicles in a good while. Yesterday's featured case, a murder trial from 1742, is far too long to copy and paste. But take a look - it makes a fascinating read -

As a parting shot and for no reason other than to improve the musical quality after Jilted John, here are Sly and Robbie with Shine Eye Dub.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Lots of serious stuff in the news of late, so naturally something not very serious. No less distinguished a body than the Fabian Society wants the word 'chav' banned. The use of the word "chav" should be banned by the media and individuals with left-of-centre politics because it betrays a "deep and revealing level of class hatred' they pronounce.

For overseas readers, the nearest US equivalent to this peculiarly English word - now passed from slang into the mainstream - would be 'trailer trash'. The origins of the word are a matter for debate but the most accepted theory is that is derives from the Romany word 'chavi', which simply means child. The characteristics of chavdom are low socio-economic class, appalling dress sense and a tendency to criminality. Female chavs are sometimes described as 'pramface' - a refererence to their precocious reproductive habits.

Is there a serious point here? Ermmmmm.....

Social contempt is hardly new. the term 'oik', now only used ironically, was the equivalent to chav for previous generations. Snobbery is a deeply unattractive trait and those with wealth, power and position sneering at those with none of these is an unedifying sight. Getting political for a moment, the Labour Party has long ago abandoned its working class roots and the white working class has in return a sense of - well - abandonment. Those not wholly alienated from the political process (understandably - what's in it for them?) are easy prey for the likes of the BNP, who have cleverly tapped into this sense of alienation and abandonment. The problem is hugely bigger than smartass remarks at middle class dinner parties.

Does banning chav from the public discourse help? I don't think so. I'm reflexively against banning things - there's far too much of that sort of thing about. Maybe the Fabian Society would be better occupied applying its mind to more serious issues of social fracture and alienation.

Friday, 11 July 2008

A bit of law...

I have had the occasional complaint (but not many) that I don't do enough law on this blog. So here is link to a podcast I did with Charon QC (link to left) last night. You can listen me droning on for about half an hour about witness anonymity if you've nothing better to do. The best moment was when I clumsily clicked away a link just before Charon asked me a question on the clicked away material. I fumbled to get it back. 'Oh, light a cigarette' I said as I fumbled. Click! The Charon lighter can be heard loud and clear. Those in the know will appreciate that no Charon podcast is complete without a cigarette being noisily lit.
The picture above is called Nine Pleaders by Jedd, who is a retired Police Officer who has made a second career as a cartoonist and artist. You may recognise the character fourth from the left. The background to the picture is the now mercifully long gone dock brief system. Barristers would turn up at court without any cases and sit and wait hoping to be assigned by the court to represent some defendant incapable of paying for their representation. If selected, they went to the cash office on completing the case and were given a guinea for their exertions. If not selected, they went home - or back to chambers - empty handed. Brutal stuff...
Nice spats, though!
A short sporting digression:
Cricket: didn't England do well yesterday? 309/3 and a Pietersen ton. So much for the much vaunted South African pace attack! Okay, that's tempting fate...
Football: like all people from Leeds, my hatred of Manchester United knows no bounds - for example those of reason - but I almost sympathise with them at the moment. Almost, but not quite. Their star striker, Cristiano Ronaldo wants away to te late Generalissimo Franco's fave team - Real Madrid. Man Ure point out that he has signed a contract with them. Ronaldo complaints bitterly of 'slavery'. Excuse me??? His contract is worth over £100,000 a week. If that is slavery, bring it on!!! I further read that he is out of action for 10-12 weeks following an operation. So that's £1-1.2 million plus for hopping around on crutches. Nice work if you can get it.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

From the BBC via Jailhouse Lawyer

Teenager finds bat asleep in bra

A teenager who thought movement in her underwear was caused by her vibrating mobile phone found a bat curled up asleep in her bra. Abbie Hawkins, 19, of Norwich, had been wearing the bra for five hours when she plucked up the courage to investigate.

When she did, she found a baby bat in padding in her 34FF bra. The hotel receptionist said she was shocked but felt bad for removing the "cuddly" bat. "It looked cosy and comfortable and I was sorry for disturbing it," she said.
She was sitting at her desk at work when she decided to investigate the strange movements in her underwear.

"I put my hand down my bra and pulled out a cuddly little bat.

"That shocked me very much at the time, but it scuttled off under the desk into the dark. I was shaking from head to toe. It looked quite cosy and comfortable in there so it was quite rude of me to take it out. When I realised it was a bat the first thing that occurred to me was how did it get in there.

"I felt quite sorry for it. Perhaps I should have left it there and given it a good home. I did not notice anything as I put my bra on. The night before I had had one or two drinks and I was getting ready quickly.

"The bra was in my drawer but it had been on the washing line the day before. When I was driving to work, I felt a slight vibration but I thought it was just my mobile phone in my jacket pocket."

The bat was captured by one of her colleagues and released.

the shipping forecast...

As a regular listener to Test Match special, I am used to the five minute interruptions for The Shipping Forecast. I don't mind at all. I have no interest in shipping and only the most rudimentary idea what the forecast is on about. It doesn't matter. It's pure poetry. Here's today's, Just enjoy..
The general synopsis at 1300:
Low Forth 998 expected Forties 994 by 1300 tomorrow. Low northern Ireland 998 expected Humber with little change by same time.
The area forecasts for the next 24 hours:
Viking North Utsire:Northeast veering east or southeast 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times. slight becoming moderate, occasionally rough in north Viking later. rain or showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.
South Utsire:South or southeast 4 or 5. Moderate. Rain or showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.
Forties:Cyclonic 5 or 6, occasionally 7 in west. Moderate or rough. Rain or showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.
Cromarty:Northeast backing northwest 5 to 7. Moderate or rough. Rain or showers. Moderate or poor.
Forth:Cyclonic becoming northwest 5 to 7. Moderate or rough. Rain or showers. Moderate or poor.
Tyne Dogger:Southwest, veering northwest later, 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times. moderate, occasionally rough. Rain or showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.
Fisher German Bight:Southwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times. Moderate, occasionally rough. showers. Moderate or good.
Humber Thames Dover Wight:Southwesterly 5 or 6, occasionally 7 in Thames and Dover later. moderate, occasionally rough. Showers. Moderate or good.
Portland Plymouth Biscay:Southwest veering west or northwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times. moderate, occasionally rough. Showers, but rain in south Biscay. moderate or good, occasionally poor in Biscay.
Fitzroy Sole Lundy Fastnet:Southwest veering northwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times. Moderate, occasionally rough. Showers. Moderate or good.
Irish Sea:Southwesterly veering northwesterly 5 or 6, occasionally 7 in north later. Slight or moderate. Rain or showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.
Shannon Rockall Malin:North backing northwest 5 or 6, occasionally 7. Moderate or rough. rain or showers. Moderate or good.
Hebrides Bailey:Northeast backing north 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times, becoming variable 3 or 4 in west Bailey later. Moderate or rough. Occasional rain. Moderate or good.
Fair Isle Faeroes:Northeasterly backing northerly 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times, but 6 or 7 in southeast Fair Isle. Moderate, increasing rough in Fair Isle. occasional rain or drizzle. Moderate or good.
Southeast Iceland:Northeasterly 4 or 5, becoming variable 3 or 4 later. Slight or moderate. Occasional rain or drizzle. Moderate or good

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Say, is this Balmoral???

I keep pinching stuff from Ron Knee's blog. I'm sorry officer, sorry Ronald, I couldn't help myself...

So Hat Tip in order and on with the explantion. Overseas readers, ever dreamed of a romantic holiday in Scotland? You should you know! Just to whet the appetite here is a typical day in a typical Scottish holiday camp. Bet you're packing already! This camp is run by something called Haven Holidays whose official website offers 'everything an adventurous and fun seeking family is looking for'. So it would appear. The bloke in the white T-shirt is her father. I wonder if he has ever considered a career in the gentle sport of gut barging. Brochure no doubt available on request.

On a completely different topic, Bozzer foolishly didn't take any of the helpful tips on this blog as to how to dress for Gay Pride. Big mistake! Instead he wore a pink stetson. Doesn't he look a muppet???

Saturday, 5 July 2008

4th July...

A belated 4th July greeting to all American readers. It's just an ordinary day here and I spent it tearing around English seaside resorts - to visit courts not beaches. Anyone who accepts the challenge to get from Margate to Brighton in rapid succession by rail is plainly a little crazed but I got away with it. The evening was spent recuperating over Pimms, beer and vin blanc with former pupil and former senior clerk among others. Damage: not too bad ;)

Especially for the 4th July - I came across the clip above on Bug-Eyed Earl's blog (link to left) so Hat Tip in order. It's Brad Neeley's 'Washington'. Brad Neeley is a cartoonist and animator who - why am I not surprised? - had something to do with South Park. This clip always cracks me up...

Parting shot - Brucie and Pals performing Darlington County at the same Paris concert as my very first Yer Rock and Roll posting. Tenuous link: it's a song about a bad day out on the 4th July...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Yet more random stuff...

The fine looking fellow above is named J. Neil Schulman. What the 'J' stands for remains obscure but I assume it is not rhyming slang in the manner of J. Arthur Rank. Hank (Downtown Guy - link to left) reviews dystopian ficton in his blog. He reviewed a novel by J. called Alongside Night. He didn't like it much and said so. So far so what? Well - enter the author into Hank's comments box in the highest of high dudgeon. Toys flew out of the pram left, right and centre. Our man's dignity - which is plainly immense - was offended. Take a look at the exchanges - they are hilarious.

I can understand that a bad review can hurt. It takes a lot of effort to write even a poor book but self-justifying huffing and puffing is not the way to go about it. Either what Ernest Bevin once described as a 'complete ignoral' or more subtle forms of revenge are in order...

Next topic: this one is rather like shooting fish in a barrel as everyone agrees about this one. Everyone except Imperial College, that is and the more voices raised against the injustice they have done the better. Majid Ahmed is a straight A student and a volunteer with disability charities. He wants to be a doctor. He applied to study medicine at Imperial College. They turned him down - not on academic grounds but on the ground that at the age of 15 he had an isolated conviction (now spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act) for a not particularly serious burglary. Cue generalised uproar. Everyone agrees this sucks but Imperial College have dug their heels in. They will not reconsider. I hope some medical school has a more decent and less boneheaded attitude and offers him a place. It's hardly unusual for fifteen year old boys do dumb things, saying nothing about their worth as adults. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Not having Sky and with Channel 5 playing up on my livebox, my cricket following this season has been largely via Test Match Special on radio. I notice that we are on short rations as regards Henry Blofeld's commentaries. It is suspected that this is policy. By way of explanation, Henry comes across as the ultimate upper class twit. He gets the players' names wrong, misdescribes the action and launches off on digressions on such topics as pigeons, buses and - erm - fruitcake (old ladies send him cake to sustain him through a hard day's commentating). Now if Henry wants to witter on thus, that's just fine by me. His catchphrase - 'my dear old thing' - addressed to whoever he may be speaking to at the time always brings a smile to my face. The man is a national treasure. The BBC apparently disagrees - they want 'younger' and more 'inclusive' commentators and Henry is being shunted to the margins. Memo to BBC: more Henry not less you dolts! I notice Phil Tufnell is commentating this year. Now I would pay to listen to Tufnell and Henry commentating in tandem...

Henry Blofeld - we are not worthy...

Monday, 30 June 2008


Following on from my last posting, MiMi made some helpful suggestions for Bozzer's - um - wardrobe for Gay Pride. Now I suspect that our man is not on sartorial home ground for this one so all people of goodwill should come to his aid. Here is my suggestion for headgear - it is apparently called a fascinator and is a snip at 75 smackeroonies. All other suggestions gratefully received - come on people! It's your public duty...

Fashion Corner..

Speculation reaches fever pitch (or possibly not) as to what new London Mayor Boris 'Bozzer' Johnson will wear for Gay Pride. Beau Bo D'Or (link to left) has a helpful suggestion. Very Bozzer, I'm sure you'll agree. The only thing that troubles me is the resemblance to an overweight Boris Becker - the only player ever to get me even mildly interested in tennis. They are both called Boris, and have you ever seen them in the same room??? :-O Bozzer also occasionally reminds me of a hairier Donald Trump. Perhaps he is an alien with the capacity to mutate in appearance. I think we should be told.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Yer Rock & Roll 14

Time for some more music. When I did my earlier posting on reggae, I didn't include any Bob Marley - seemed too obvious. But here he is. Two clips from early Wailers - as opposed to Bob Marley and the Wailers. I touched on my proposition that Marley lost his way when he became a big international star, sang in standard English and parted from Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer before. The early stuff, though, is as good as it gets...

Two clips of early stuff - complete with Bunny Wailer and the Mystic Man. The first is Stir it Up. It's a love song but it's more than just a love song - it's seriously erotic. He did erotic very well...

The second clip - Rastaman Chant - is not rock and roll or indeed reggae at all. It is credited to our old friend 'Traditional' but as Rastafarianism only dates back to the 1930s, it can't be very old. Taken literally, the core beliefs of Rastafarianism are - erm - well - like Haile Selassie was divine?? But it's not really about that - at core it's a black identity thing. I've known and liked a number of Rastas and my own experience is that the genuine article are what they say they are: peaceful men. Mind you, the beard helps. I once met a Rasta at Ochi Rios who greeted me as follows (I write as spoken):

'Yes man! Beard man! De beard is a sacred ting! Moses an' de prophets dem all had beards!'

Ermmm... Quite so...

Rastaman Chant moves - haunting and elegaic.

With Hat Tip to MiMi - if you wondered what the rabbit got up to in his spare time, here is a clip from something called America's Got Talent. No, I'm not giving up the day job ;)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Nice to see a DIY return for the stocks. Hat Tip to His Holiness at Ron Knee

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Zimbabwe - a modest proposal...

Why not pretend Mugabe has weapons of mass destruction and invade? Cartoon by Martin Rowson

Sunday, 22 June 2008

More random stuff..

Before footage disappears from YouTube completely, here is a clip of Kevin Petersen's switch hitting routine. Explanation: he converts himself from a right handed to a left handed batsman as the bowler runs in. Then he belts two sixes (like home runs Americanpersons). This caused some consternation. Was it legal? The MCC who are in charge of the laws of the game decided that it was. Though I agree, I suspect that this decision was as much for commercial as cricketing reasons. Furthermore, it's a high risk strategy on the part of the batsman and I further suspect that only someone as outrageously talented as Pietersen could get away with it too often.

The disappearance of this footage from YouTube (presumably at the insistence of Sky TV) raises an interesting topic. Some performers, notably Van Morrison, have demanded that all clips of them performing be taken down. Strictly, they are of course entitled to take this stance but it does seem like a piece of miserabilism. What serious commercial harm do the YouTube clips do to them? I did think of doing a posting on Irish music a while ago, a project rapidly abandoned when I discovered every single Van Morrison/Chieftans clip had been taken down from YouTube. Miserable gits! Credit to the Dead who have never given a stuff about unofficial merchandising/bootleg taping/putting any old clip of them up.

A completely different topic: last night I watched a TV documentary on Unity Mitford. This set in motion a thought: as a child, I was told that Hitler's real name was Schicklgruber. Was this true? Cue online researches. The short answer is 'no'. Explanation: his father (name Alois) was born out of wedlock to Maria Anna Schicklgruber. The father of Alois (surname Heidler/Hitler - same thing apparently) married her later and Alois was eventually legitimised and took the surname Hitler. Twelve years later Adolf Hitler was born. So where did the rumours come from? Well apparently the answer is that British intelligence dug up this story and - Schicklgruber being a silly sounding name, at least to British ears - decided to milk it for all it was worth for propaganda purposes. So now you know (apologies to those who did already)...

As a parting shot, some good news. Local authorities have been told by the Local Government Association to cut out 100 words of incomprehensible bureaucratic gibberish. Out goes, among others, 'coterminosity', 'place shaping', 'predictors of beaconicity' and 'stakeholder engagement'. This kind of drivel defeat the purpose of language, namely communication. It excludes instead. If the public sector excludes then the private sector infantilises. One of many reasons I avoid fast food outlets is that they make you speak their idiot language when ordering. Should you find yourself in a fast food outlet, just listen to yourself reciting the puerile guff you have to spout...

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Blimey!!! :-O

Very reassuring to know, I'm sure you'll all agree...

Hat Tip to Tory Troll

Friday, 20 June 2008

News Digest

The Rabbit has been silent so far this week - a combination of working out of town and editing the crime novel (coming along nicely as you ask!). So here are a few snippets from the week's events that might have been blogged on at greater length.

Next week sees the start of Wimblebore, the most tiresome event in the sporting calendar. The Rabbit does his level best to ignore it completely but it does manage to intrude despite best efforts. It also makes 5 Live, one of my radio stations of choice, un-listenable-to for a fortnight. I always laugh when it rains on it while simultaneously fearing that the rain may extend it and/or cause Cliff Richard to sing. Then there is the annual farce of the gallant British loser - the mantle has passed from Tim Henman to Thingy Murray (pictured below). YAWN...

On a more sombre note, state terrorism in Zimbabwe is beyond belief. One African politician asked why they are bothering to have an 'election' at all. The only explanation I can think of is that the state terrorists see it as an opportunity to murder, brutalise and generaly terrify the population into submission.

A bizarre story from British Columbia. Feet keep appearing on beaches there, minus the rest of the former owner. So far five feet have appeared, four right and one left if you were wondering. No-one knows why. The latest is that some hoaxer has left an animal paw in a trainer on a beach. The local coroner pronounces this as 'reprehensible'. I don't suppose he would say 'that was a good giggle'.

For an apparently mild-mannered man, the Rev Martin Dudley has caused quite a stink. The reason? He presided over a service inevitably described as 'gay marriage' for two clergy. Cue inevitable huffing and puffing. Some thin lipped woman appeared on the TV news the other day pronouncing 'if I had my way, I'd have them all unfrocked'. Isn't winding up people like that fun? The reverend gentleman's full title is Rev Dr Martin Dudley BD MSc PhD FSA FRHistS AKC so his main crime is being overqualified in a public place. It puts in mind the average electrician or complementary practitioner who always seem to have a string of incomprehensible initials after their name.

Euro 2008 potters along nicely enough without English participation and the Rabbit has given it intermittent attention. It's actually a decent competition and in many ways better than the World Cup. The British media attempt to drum up interest, they having a load of coverage on their hands, was amusing with the 'who do you support?' gig. The great British public's answer appears to be either 'Holland' or 'couldn't care less'. I am apparently among 1.4% of the British population in wanting Germany to win.

Oh dear -- I have been tagged for two memes. I have decided I don't do memes. Sorry! As a peace offering to Daisy in particular, above is the Dead's Sugar Magnolia from The Grateful Dead Movie -only recently posted on YouTube. Look for the huge guy with the beard and the hat dancing at the beginning of the clip. Who is he? They should have given him an Oscar!!! Annoyingly the clips ends before Sugar Magnolia segues into Sunshine Daydream but you can't have everything...

Thingy Murray