Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Stoke-on-Trent and Transylvania

I've posted before about Stoke but I looked at my diary for tomorrow and saw they're sending me to Stoke. For some bizarre reason (I don't know what came over me) I found myself googling 'Stoke is a dump'. I found a BBC message board headed 'Is Stoke a dump?'. I reproduce some of the comments...

"Sorry if you will found some grammatical mistake (English is not my first language.I rent flat on busy road. But what I see every weekend-just horrified me. Our youth (teen aged 13-16) they do drink a lot. They are quite but i think they do Else, may be drug/sex whatever. And I am interesting in WHO sold them an alcohol? And they always do these on dirty back “yard". Can you imaging what might happen to them in few years? I think our social service and its workers and system in general is too soft. Then the girls of 14-15 have children, and they children will do the same things. It is the life law. And I am badly surprised on TV you can see films about "poor" people who behave as I described abow, and majority accept it as normal. That’s mean they will never change. Isn’t it sad? It is "Trisha Show" on street. And what is most sad, the kids are not interesting of anything. I am sure it is because they parents (+40) live with girl/boyfriends, has no proper family. Nobody care.Thank you. Hope this letter will help to create positive solution. Bye."

Erm, quite so...

"Filth, Scuzzers, Slappers, and more Filth. The most horrible place I have ever been. Why don't the unemployed, wan'a'bee rappers (Hood of jacket over Baseball cap????????????????. What is that all about!!!) SCUM that hang around the Mcdonalds & and Argo's and the bus station, GROW UP, get a job and generally f-OFF!!! You social parasites. People, you are living out an insane, pointless, and pitiful existence. Do us all a favour, crawl away under a rock somewhere and DIE!!! ps Bentilee is infested with chav filth why can't the council send an exterminator out,(would pay extra taxes for that service!)"

So you don't like it much???

But Stoke has its supporters...

"Hey Up i Tink sum ov u peepz dissin stoke shud take anova look dere is worse places u can live n them ew r from stoke dissin it should be ashamed ov dem sens if u dont like it y dont they move sum were else like outta stoke okay so peepz call it stokie Broke on Trent hah but stokies can lafe bowt it but at de end ov de day its were i was born n i a stokie born n bread n prowd xxx big up all u stokies"

And yes, it is true, the people are friendly. The great debate continues.

It also emerges that Madonna dropped a brick while in concert in Spain by confusing Andalucia (Spain for the geographically challenged - that means YOU Madge) with Transylvania (Romania) Hmmm ...

Monday, 27 July 2009

John Dawson

The rabbit was sad to read of the death last Wednesday of John Dawson (right in pic above), formerly of wonderful 70s stoned cowboy impersonators New Riders of the Purple Sage. Their style was generally described as psychedelic country rock - which I suppose is as good a description as any. They began as a Grateful Dead offshoot but secured an independent life fairly briskly. Their appearance as in pic above shows what drugs can do to you ;) Dawson had retired from the music business, become a teacher of English and died of stomach cancer in Mexico aged 64. Their best album was in my opinion Gypsy Cowboy. I borrowed a phrase from the title track as working title of my first - and mercifully unpublished - novel until the title was changed at the suggestion of my then agent to - erm - White Rabbit. But Panama Red is probably their best known album and song. Have a listen. It's a hoot!

Monday, 20 July 2009

After 75 years and some bad behaviour...

'Nuff said...


How's this for bad behaviour? A scrap metal dealer called Martin Parry was spotted by the Old Bill using his mobile while driving. He tried to escape by driving his 3 ton vehicle on top of the pursuing police BMW with understandably alarmed police officer inside. The windscreen unsurprisingly cracked and the roof caved in. This was after a two mile chase. Into reverse...


So instead of collecting some minor penalty for using the mobile while driving Martin Parry copped six years.

Daft bugger.

Hat Tip to Nourishing Obscurity.

Friday, 17 July 2009

I've got to dash... no time for anything of any length but I loved this Steve Bell cartoon from yesterday so much I had to post it.



Hail to the -erm - chief.

I pause very briefly to add that Henry Blofeld - I pause further for a 'we are not worthy' - is in trouble for Twittering. He twittered that Test Match Special's assistant producer Shilpa Patel was 'divine in white, a cross between Mrs Gabriel, the wife of the Archangel and Cleopatra'.

Less than impressed, Ms Patel announced 'I'll kill him!'

Ms Patel's hubby.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Bastille Day Competition

Today being Bastille Day, what better excuse to post the best National Anthem in the world - The Marseillaise? Most National Anthems are excruciating, bombastic drivel but this is different - pure quality. Incredibly violent too - just follow the words.

Anyone any suggestions for worst National Anthem? Excluding God Save the Queen, which is disqualified on the grounds that it is too obvious a candidate given its general dreadfulness. In an exercise in controlled masochism, I'll put up the winning nomination..

Monday, 13 July 2009

Guess who got sacked?

A quick recap for the uninitiated: Hazel Blears is a hideous dwarf who first Blair and then Brown kept in the Cabinet as Minister for No-one Can Remember What. Blears managed to neglect to pay tax on some property she had made a killing on via public funds. Brown pronounced himself unimpressed and Blears behaviour 'totally unacceptable'. Blears 'voluntarily' paid the £13,000 in tax some nasty people had been suggesting she ought to have paid in the first place. She made a big display of wagging the cheque in front of the cameras (see above). Blears was NOT sacked but resigned as part of an attempted Blairite coup against Brown on the eve of Euro/local elections. her timing pissing off the three remaining grassroots Labour members.
So far so grubby and uninteresting.
Enter Lisa Greenwood, a very junior civil servant, who sent an e-mail from her work computer to Ms Blears's website saying MPs had "swindled taxpayers".
The e-mail contained her work address at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (don't government departments have stupid names these days?)Miss Greenwood contacted the minister via a link on a website called - erm - She wrote to 'I was appalled to see you on national television this morning waving a cheque around as if it was going to make everything OK. You are not sorry at all. (Only sorry that you have been caught.) You are a disgrace. Why haven't you been arrested and why have you not been sacked? Not that my comments will have any impact. I doubt you will even read this'.
Lisa Greenwood was understandably pissed off that the money Blears had trousered until caught out was only £3,000 less than she made as an annual salary. Initially she had tried to send the comment via her personal hotmail account but for some reason she couldn't send it that way. So she sent the e-mail via her work address.
Result - she has been fired for breaching civil service impartiality rules. Blears wasn't sacked - but for this infraction the unfortunate Lisa Greenwood was.
Two questions arise: firstly, why such an extreme penalty exacted for what on any sensible view ought to be viewed as a minor infraction at worst? It just looks plain vindictive. Secondly, how did the use of the work e-mail address come to the attention of the Department for Whatever-it-is-called. Has she been fingered and if so by whom? But there is a mystery here. Theyworkforyou have pointed out that it would never have revealed who the person posting the comment was, and moreover that that comment has never appeared on theyworkforyou. This seems to be accurate. So if this is right, how did the Department for Whatever-it-is -called know about the heinous comment? Do they spend huge amounts of time checking on theoir own staff e-mails? It would be interesting to know. The rabbit is contemplating an enquiry to this effect under the Freedom of Information Act.
On a more cheerful note, what drama to end the First Test! Two points: though I don't knock 20/20 cricket - it's hugely entertaining - it could never produce drama such as that laid out in the last hour or so as Anderson and Monty defied all logic and expectation. Like the Alamo except more so. Secondly, how typically English - to produce a sort of triumph out of a complete shambles. Makes you proud (sort of)...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Gary McKinnon and extradition

The pic above is of Gary McKinnon, also known as Solo. He is a Scottish hacker and has been diagnosed as suffering from Aspergers Syndrome (by no less distinguished a person than Professor Simon Baron-Cohen (cousin of BrĂ¼no or whatever he is called in real life). Gary McKinnon - I suppose I have to say allegedly although there doesn't seem any dispute over what he did - hacked into 97 US military and NASA computers. He is evidently very good at this sort of thing. To get an idea of where he is coming from it is necessary to understand why he was applying himself so diligently to this hacking - he wanted to prove the existence of UFOs, antigravity technology and "the suppression of 'free energy'" (no I've never heard of this either - it's apparently some sort of conspiracy theory).

You get the flavour of the guy - The US government however, its dignity thus affronted, wants to extradite him as some sort of cyber terrorist. He was originally arrested in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act. The CPS declined to prosecute. The US government then went for extradition. The story is really how supine the British Government is in face of the US demands for his extradition. Under British hacking laws - and he contends that the oiffences were committed here - he could face up to 5 years in prison. The Americans want to make an example of him and he could receive a sentence in the US if extradited measured in decades.

And the response of British Home Secretaries? John Reid: approved the extradition with unsurprising alacrity. Jacqui Smith (if you'll pardon the expression) waved the extradition through without even seeking any guarantees as regards bail or return to the UK to complete his sentence. Alan Johnson reprises the Pontius Pilate gig, announcing that his hands are tied. Ther is a more general problem here. And there is a general problem as regards the Anglo-American Extradition Treaty. It is cock eyed in that there is not equality as regards safeguards. The issue of inequality as regards US/UK extradition came up before with what came to be known as the 'NatWest Three' (he typed struggling to work up any sympathy for bankers).

The problem goes broadly like this: The effect of the US/UK extradition treaty is that that UK citizens have fewer rights to due process of law than do American citizens. It centres around provisions in the treaty that require Britain to surrender its citizens on American request without the Americans providing a jot of evidence that they are guilty of anything. The treaty is not reciprocal. The UK must provide evidence of guilt before an American can be removed under the treaty.

What collection of snivelling sycophants agreed to such an unequal and fundamentally unfair treaty? New Fucking Labour, that's who! There have been Parliamentary challenges to the treaty. They have come to nothing. In the particular case of Gary McKinnon, the courts (including Europe) have been to no avail so far. Further comment seems superfluous. Perhaps it's time for us to declare independence and start by telling the US where they can put their extradition treaty.

Australia 649/5 at time of writing, Cruel and unusual punishment.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Suddenly there's a lot of it about

Following yesterday's pic from Iran, here's an elderly woman on crutches confronting Chinese troops in the ethnic disturbances in Xinjiang province. Damn - she's got guts.

More frivolously, Unique Stephen seems to be getting excited in Sydney - otherwise noted for its Harbour, Bridge, Opera House and bonkers Archbishop - exclaiming 'Boonie Boonie Boonie' in a comment on my last post. This is quite normal for an Australian and need not cause alarm. Continuing my educational campaign for the cricketingly challenged 'Boonie' was an Australian cricketer noted for two things: his alarming moustache (see left) and his drinking talents.
Our man holds the record for consuming cans of beer on a flight from Sydney to London, namely 52 in 1989. This broke the previous record held by Rodney Marsh (45) except there is an argument as to whether Marsh actually finished can 45 and he may only have equalled the previous record held by Doug Walters. I'm very glad I wasn't sitting next to the beer monster at the time given that he once honked all over the pitch at the Adelaide Oval in a WSC game. He went on to score 122 and win the Man of the Match award which shows the power of positive vomiting. He could bat a bit but that's beside the point.
Ever vigilant in the cause of freedom of speech, some particularly insidious censorship has come to the rabbit's attention and needs exposing for what it - erm - is! Twitter has banned Mrs Slocombe's Pussy (see below) from its hash tag tweet list - whatever that is. As is only right and proper, at one point 'Mrs Slocombe's Pussy' overtook Michael Jackson and Iran elections as the most used Twitter phrase. The Nazis at Twitter having done their worst, hash tagging 'Mrs Slocombe's Pussy' now apparently produces 'no results'. Twitter is run by Americans and one explanation is that Americans don't get it and think - perish the thought - that there's something rude going on here. Tsk! A dirty mind is a perpetual feast! Shame on you! Have some more...

Monday, 6 July 2009

Excellent stuff from Iran

Hat Tip to Natasha Phillips via Charon QC

And with the Ashes upcoming, here is a helpful explanation for the cricketingly challenged.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Belated 4th July greetings...

By tradition going all the way back to - well - last year, the rabbit sends 4th July greetings to his American readers. By tradition, the greetings are a day late. Last year I posted Brad Neely's Washington and Bruce's Darlington County - - This year a story - American readers will have to bear me if this is well trodden ground for them - the story is hardly known over here. The snake - rattlesnake to be accurate - thing begins with Benjamin Franklin and a political cartoon made as a woodcut during the French and Indian war featuring a snake chopped into eight bits. The snake represented eight colonies with New England as the head and South Carolina as the tip of the tail in order as per the east coast. the slogan was 'join (later unite) or die'.

The snake began to become a symbol for the colonies as independence grew closer. The United States navy was established in 1775 and set about recruiting Marines to help intercept British ships bringing military supplies. The first Marines (from Philadelphia) they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles and the motto 'don't tread on me'. The flag above is called the Gadsden Flag after a Colonel Gadsden of South Carolina who presented the yellow rattlesnake flag to the Commander of the US Navy and to the South Carolina Legislature. The flag is still sort of in use and associated with the US Marines. It is also associated sometimes with right wing extremism, which is a pity as it is a fun flag and a fun story.

Okay, here are the elderly gents with Uncle John's Band, including the lines...

'Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like? Their walls are built of cannonballs, their motto is don't tread on me...'

Ending on a distinctly non-American topic, the rabbit is counting the days down to resumption of the greatest - as well as one of the most historic - sporting conflicts in the entire history of everything. Come on you Aussie bastards - BRING IT ONNNNN!!!!!!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Planet Bonkers and Mrs Slocombe's Pussy

The image is of course The Tyger by well-known top bloke Wild Bill Blake. While on the subject of tigers, the rabbit was distraught to read the following headline - 'Pet tigers told of Jackson death'. Evidently Michael Jackson - for it is he - owned two tigers called Thriller and Sabu but they were adopted by Tippi Hedren who has some sort of animal sanctuary.

Our heroine has had a chat with the tigers. 'I went up and sat with them and let them know that Michael was gone' she helpfully explained.

She hoped they understood. Then she (surprise, surprise) asked for donations.

Planet fucking bonkers...

While on the subject of cats, the rabbit was sad to read of the death of actor Molie Sugden. Her most famous role was of course Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served? Mrs Slocombe was of course devoted to her pussy. Who, I ask anxiously, will look after her pussy now Mrs Slocombe is no longer with us? Perhaps give it regular strokes...

I'm taking my cue from Tippi Hedren and am inviting donations. Cheques should be made out to me personally and should be in substantial sums.

Thanking you all in anticipation

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Didn't know this...

...but today is Canada Day.


Hat Tip to Savannah for pic, pinched from her blog. While on the subject of pinching things, I helped myself to this from Jailhouse Lawyer. He seems to be suggesting it is something to do with Michael Jackson. Tsk. Such poor taste.