Sunday, 31 October 2010

Ginger Rodents and Rachida Dati again.

Much excitement over here, I explain for overseas readers as Harriet ('Hattie') Harman who is Deputy Leader of the Labour Party has made some disobliging comments about Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury - the Beaker lookalike the rabbit mentioned last Wednesday. Hattie, who the rabbit met a couple of times a few years ago and didn't take to, pronounced of the Beaker lookalike 'many of us in the Labour Party are conservationists and we all love the red squirrel but there's one ginger rodent we never want to see in the highlands of Scotland - Danny Alexander'.

Um righty. A little gingerist perhaps. Cue uproar. George Lyon, Scottish Liberal Democrat election chair pronounced gravely 'there is no depths to which the Labour Party will not stoop'. A little hyperbolic perhaps. Hattie called him a 'ginger rodent'. She didn't try to blow him up or frame him as the supposed centre of a paedophile ring. Beaker can dish it back, it transpires. 'I am proud to be ginger and rodents do valuable work cleaning up mess others leave behind. Red squirrel deserves to survive, unlike Labour' he riposted.

So snooks to Hattie. Anyway, the upshot is that Hattie has withdrawn the gingerist insult and apologised to Beaker. Her remarks may not have been the most tactful thing to say in Scotland where apparently 5% of the population is - erm - ginger as opposed to 1% in Europe generally.

Meanwhile en France all is not well. Regular readers will recall former the French Justice Minister's unfortunate slip of the tongue when she confused inflation and - erm - fellation. As one does. Now some bold French fellow has e-mailed Rachida asking for 'an inflation'. Rachida was not amused and the poor fellow has been arrested. After being kept in a cell for 48 hours, he has been charged with displaying contempt towards a public servant (sic), an offence which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to a month and a €10,000 (£8,700) fine and is due to appear in court on the 3rd December.

This seems a touch over the top. The French sense of humour is sometimes more than passing strange but it does seem excessive for a democratic country to have a milder variant of the 'insulting the glorious leader' type offence that fills the prisons in various totalitarian countries used to prosecute someone for making a bad joke. Below is Rachida contemplating the bold fellow's unusual request. Hat Tip to Mahal.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Clive Head, Dissing Christine and Ashes

The rabbit confesses to never having heard of Clive Head until reading of him yesterday. He is a British realist artist, Head of the University of York's Fine Art Department and altogether rather wonderful. He is currently exhobiting at the National Gallery as a sideshow to various Canalettos and has become a surprise smash hit, drawing record crowds. Head is well enough known in the art world, and his paintings fetching up to £160,000 End galleries, but he has rarely made major headlines. His career was knocked back by a muscular condition five years ago, but he recovered and developed a style variously described as Hyper or Cubist Realism. His Cityscapes appear realistic but look closely. All is not as it seems. Above is Coffee at the Cottage Delight.

And here is Haymarket. He doesn't just do London, though.

Above is Prague, Early Morning.

And finally, we return to London for Rebekah. I'm not surprised the guy has become an overnight hit. There's something very singular and appealing about these pictures.

It goes without saying that anyone dissing Christine O'Donnell will have the rabbit to answer to. And so it is with some insolent fellow and his 'revelations' in something called The Gawker. The insolent fellow has posted a story 'I had a one night stand with Christine O'Donnell' - a misdescription of what took place if the rabbit ever read one. To come straight to the point, the insolent fellow 'reveals' that Christine and a friend pitch up asking to use the insolent fellow's flat to change for a Halloween party, which they do. Christine then carts the insolent fellow and his mate along to the party. Christine gets - let's just say - a touch over refreshed. She comes back to the insolent fellow's flat where various tendresses take place on a couch before a naked Christine hops in the insolent fellow's bed and sex does not take place.

And that's about it.

Being serious for a minute, it is a grubby little piece, which has rightly attracted condemnation including from quarters less sympathetic to Christine than the rabbit. Memo to insolent fellow: a gentleman does not discuss a lady's waxing arrangements - or lack of them and to announce as regards the same 'obviously, that was a big turnoff, and I quickly lost interest' is not nice at all. Nor is the picture of Christine still in pursuit later on 'before I was forced to make it clear to her that I wasn't interested'.

Oh fuck off!

Of course the dimwits in charge of Christine's election team duly shot themselves in the foot by denouncing the Gawker piece as the handiwork of her Democratic opponent Chris Coons. It wasn't and his campaign has denounced the piece. If only the rabbit had not been suspended from Team Christine then that kind of gaffe would not take place.

Finally, the pre-Ashes hostilities are hotting up nicely. Prompted by Unique Stephen (link to left) the rabbit can reveal that Cricket Australia have projected images of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke on to Big Ben. Ricky Ponting, it may be necessary to explain is captain of Australia and one of the all time greats - it has to be conceded - but otherwise an annoying chipmunk faced twerp. Michael Clarke is vice-captain of Australia and - erm - the other one. The caption reads 'DON'T FORGET TO PACK THE URN'. This of course is a reference to The Ashes and is bollocks because the Ashes are far too old and delicate to be moved out of their atmospherically controlled cabinet in the museum at Lord's regardless of who wins but the projection is harmless fun and echoes 2006 when images of Andrew Flintoff and Monty Panesar were projected onto Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Enter Westminster city council huffing and puffing and threatening criminal prosecution. Westminster city council's deputy leader, councillor Robert Davis, blustered 'the Palace of Westminster is part of a Unesco world heritage site, and it's both inappropriate and insulting for this important location and its buildings to effectively be abused in this manner. It's also a criminal offence'.

Somehow the phrase 'get a life' springs to mind. Oh and even if you know nothing and care less about cricket, invest 16 seconds of your life on the Harold Larwood clip at the foot of yesterday's posting. It's a sound investment.

Friday, 29 October 2010

How not to renew your vows

The Maldives are off the coast of Sri Lanka. where better than its sun-kissed beaches to go to renew your wedding vows? One Swiss couple did exactly that. The above clip shows them looking suitably respectful and reflective, palms upraised and heads bowed as if in prayer at various points. The officiant type person addresses them in a chant like voice, no doubt bestowing on their happy union blessings and the like.

Except he isn't. He is saying very rude things indeed. And of course because neither of them speak the local dialect, they haven't a clue what is going on. The officiant begins chanting in the Dhivehi language that 'under penal code clause seven, forbidden fornication is now legal'. Not sure I quite get his drift but 'swine' (addressed to the couple) seems clear enough albeit that 'most of the children you get will have spots on their skin. Because of these spots your children will be considered illegitimate children' seems more than passing odd. The clip above has running translation. Feel free to join in the ceremony.

Of course the Maldives government is having a fit, seeing the bad publicity damaging the tourist trade. On one level, there is a kind of conceit in buying in to something that is wholly unknown to both partners but assumed to be exotic in a good way. On the other the couple have acted in good faith and invested time, money and no doubt emotion in the occasion.

For some reason the words of Oscar Wilde on the death of little Nell came to mind. 'One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears...of laughter'.

The British, it emerges, are the fourth most overweight people in the world. A quarter of us are obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more, while four in ten of us are merely overweight, it emerges. Top fatties are Australians (71.1 per cent obese or overweight), Americans (69.9 per cent) and, a little oddly, the United Arab Emirates (68.4) coming in at third. The plucky Brits are just short of 67% obese or overweight. Our closest European rival is Germany at 62 per cent but in France the figure is 42.3 per cent. The rabbit is feeling smug on this topic, having lost 10lbs in the last few weeks. In the meantime, the England team sets out today for the greatest sporting event on earth in the rabbit's opinion - the Ashes. Here is a grainy old clip of Harold Larwood showing how it's done from the 1932/33 bodyline tour. Note the run up and action - erm - and result. Firm but fair. (Aussies were slimmer then)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Drugs, babies and head stomps

The above is Jeffrey Landigran who was no doubt not a nice person. He was convicted of strangling a man named Chester Dyer in Arizona a year later during an armed burglary and was sentenced to death. He had previously escaped from prison in Oklahoma while serving a sentence for second degree murder. Now the rabbit is opposed to the death penalty and has blogged on the topic before, notably here where I wrote among other things 'like anyone who has ever had to go though the autopsy photos of murder victims, I have no illusions as to the nature of violent crime. No doubt the great majority of these guys were guilty. I am against executing the guiltiest of them'.

Landigran's execution is in the news because there may be a British dimension to it. Capital punishment for murder was abolished here in 1968. There is no serious prospect of it being brought back and is contrary to the European Convention in any event. The UK promised in 2008 to lead efforts to strengthen EU controls on death penalty and torture equipment.

Sodium thiopental is an anaesthetic which is used used to knock out the condemned man before two other drugs that kill him are administered. Amnesty International has previously documented how lethal injection executions in the United States and elsewhere have caused excruciating pain and extreme mental suffering before death, with prisoners trapped in a 'chemical straitjacket' when the cocktail of three drugs is administered.There is apparently a shortage of sodium thiopental in the USA which is interfering with execution scheduling. So where did the sodium thiopental used to execute Landrigtan last Tuesday come from? The finger of suspicion points to the UK.

Archimedes Pharma UK, based in Reading, the only British firm to make the drug, denied knowingly providing it for use prior to the lethal injection. It says in terms that it has no control over the end use. The state of Arizona will not say where their supplies came from save that they came from the UK. The use by date on California's last batch expired in September but both California and nearby Arizona have new supplies with a use-by date of 2014. California states that their supplies came 'lawfully from within the US' but the only US manufacturer, Hospira in Illinois, has said that it did not supply California with the drug.

All very fishy. No doubt states such as Arizona and California will do as they see fit. The only thing that can be done here is to see that they are not facilitated in so doing (which is probably a criminal offence under European law). Some serious tightening up would seem in order

On a more cheerful note, the list of top UK babies' names has just been published and Jack has after years and years at number one been knocked off its
perch by Oliver. Strangely, its female equivalent, Olivia, tops the girls list. Here and without further comment is the top UK 100 boys and girls names. The rabbit notes with some consternation that Andrew has dropped out of the top 100 altogether.

The rabbit has previously mentioned Rand Paul, Republican US Senate candidate in Kentucky and in particular of his association with a group of physicians who hold the unusual belief that Obama won the Presidential election by mass hypnosis of the electors. Above is a clip of how his supporters dealt with a female protestor. Comment is superfluous. The rabbit also saw an amusing piece on Channel 4 News last night in which their intrepid reporter attempted to ask some questions of Christine O'Donnell. Not liking the turn the questioning was taking, her minders asked exactly who the questioner was. 'Channel 4 News, British TV' replied the reporter. At this point Christine was hustled off. The rabbit could not help noticing that she has a very big bum, a fact that had previously escaped his attention. Repeated requests for an interview met with no reply.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

I meant to post this earlier...

The rabbit meant to post this earlier. For overseas readers and the uninitated, the person on the right is called Danny Alexander - he is Chief Secretary to the Treasury and therefore very important in the government. It is not an original thought, but he looks a lot like Beaker in the Muppet Show. The rough fellows are tormenting him with posters of 'Dave' Cameron, a Prime Minister and Nick Clegg, a Deputy Prime Minister with a rude word on the posters. We like a sophisticated approach to politics here as will be gathered from the above. Hat Tip to Charon QC who found this somewhere or the other - he forgets where.

The rabbit is amused to note that White Rabbit is now onstream at and thus hopefully helping bored solicitors to while away the idle billable hour. A warm welcome to all to the blog that guarantees to lower the tone. Talking of which, Mahal draws the rabbit's attention to a report in the Scientific American in which it is disclosed that Ozzy Osbourne's full genome has been analysed. Shocking as it is to have to report it, the analysis concludes that Ozzy has neanderthal ancestry. Who would have thought it?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Advert and Republicans

With Hat Tip to Catch Her In The Wry, the above has generated some excitement (so to speak) on the grounds that the woman in the advert has been dis-fellowshipped by her Church for appearing in it. The rabbit will only comment that it is difficult to think of a more violent attack on the English language than 'dis-fellowshipped'. Actually 'deplatformed' as in moved to another platform, a word the rabbit heard at Stafford Railway Station earlier today comes close to it. Apparently she will get re-fellowshipped when the advert comes out of circulation but not before. As for the advert itself, it is faintly surprising she doesn't use the proffered appendage as a handle.

The rabbit received an e-mail from Team Christine today. Ha! He thought to himself! No doubt an apology for suspending His Rabbitness and a plea for assistance to steady the Christine ship. But no. Not an a word of apology! The e-mail starts...

Dear Patriot

Huh? I'm not even American. It continues impertinently...

Will you help us get out the vote for conservative principles by giving $35, $50, $75 or even $100 today.

No I won't. Piss off. Trust this clarifies matters.

Meanwhile elsewhere on Planet Republican allow the rabbit to introduce the Republican candidate for Governor of Colorado. His name is Dan Maes and a fine looking fellow he is, I am sure all will agree. Dan holds to the novel theory that a bike sharing plan in Colorado is part of a 'well-disguised' plan to turn the US of A over to United Nations control.

The rabbit is shocked to report that people are laughing at Dan and he is showing at less than 10% in opinion polls.

How unfair.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Sequel

Occasionally a posting seems to generate a sequel. So it is as regards yesterday's posting on Diana Dors and comments thereon. Above is of course the Sergeant Pepper cover (again) and Diana is now clearly established front row right in the gold lame dress and white gloves. Some shameless plundering from Wikipedia discloses the identity of the rest...

Top row:
Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
Aleister Crowley (occultist)
Mae West (actress)
Lenny Bruce (comedian)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
Carl Gustav Jung (psychiatrist)
Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
Richard Merkin (artist)
The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
Huntz Hall (actor)
Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)

Second row:
Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
Aldous Huxley (writer)
Dylan Thomas (poet)
Terry Southern (writer)
Dion (singer)
Tony Curtis (actor)
Wallace Berman (artist)
Tommy Handley (comedian)
Marilyn Monroe (actress)
William S. Burroughs (writer)
Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
Richard Lindner (artist)
Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
Karl Marx (political philosopher)
H. G. Wells (writer)
Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
Sigmund Freud (psychiatrist) - barely visible below Bob Dylan
Anonymous (hairdresser's wax dummy)

Third row:
Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
Anonymous (hairdresser's wax dummy)
Max Miller (comedian)
A "
Petty Girl" (by artist George Petty)
Marlon Brando (actor)
Tom Mix (actor)
Oscar Wilde (writer)
Tyrone Power (actor)
Larry Bell (artist)
David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
Stephen Crane (writer) - barely visible between Issy Bonn's head and raised arm
Issy Bonn (comedian)
George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
Albert Stubbins (soccer player)
Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
Lewis Carroll (writer)
T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")

Front row:
Wax model of
Sonny Liston (boxer)
A "
Petty Girl" (by George Petty)
Wax model of
George Harrison
Wax model of
John Lennon
Shirley Temple (child actress) - barely visible, first of three appearances on the cover
Wax model of
Ringo Starr
Wax model of
Paul McCartney
Albert Einstein (physicist) - largely obscured
John Lennon holding a Wagner Tuba
Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
Paul McCartney holding a Cor Anglais
George Harrison holding a flute
Bobby Breen (singer)
Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
An American legionnaire

Diana Dors (actress) HOORAY!!!

Shirley Temple (child actress) - second appearance on the cover

Evidently Jesus and Hitler were in line to be included but were excluded (for different reasons).

Findon mentioned that Diana Dors starred late in life in a TV sitcom called Queenie's Castle, which was set and filmed in Quarry Hill Flats in Leeds. Now the rabbit was born and brought up in Leeds and remembers Quarry Hill Flats. It's an interesting story.

The Quarry Hill area of central Leeds has quite a history. In the seventeenth century it was used for plague cabins (isolation units for plague victims) but by Georgian times it had become a popular spa (very sulphuric water evidently), Mary Bateman - a mass poisoner - was active in the area and bodysnatchers (for anatomical dissection) were active in the graveyard of the nearby Parish Church.

This is Allisons Buildings, Quarry Hill. The area was overcrowded and insanitary resulting in outbreaks of cholera and it was proposed to pull down the slums and rebuild as early as 1910. Quarry Hill Flats were in fact completed in 1938. The flats were apparently modelled on Karl Marx Hof flats in Vienna and built by Leeds City Council. It was the largest housing scheme in the country at the time and aimed to incorporate the latest housing ideas and techniques. Flats had solid fuel ranges, electric lighting, a state-of-the-art refuse disposal system and communal facilities.

The story of Quarry Hill Flats is an illustration of the problems I mentioned in guest posting on the Charon QC blog (link below). It was on a huge, ostentatious - perhaps even inhuman - scale and although considered state of the art at the time it soon became something of a disaster. The problem was the steel frame and concrete clad construction. It was uneconomic to renovate and in 1978 the whole complex was demolished.

I mentioned in a comment that British imitators of US stars tend not to work - and that Donovan was no Dylan but I like him. I like Catch The Wind in particular. Was there ever a better romantic song?

Oh and I mentioned that the Quarry Hill Flats were modelled on the Karl Marx Hof (how's that for an address?) in Vienna. So here is Ultravox with Vienna - how contrived a link is that?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Diana Dors...

For overseas readers and the young everywhere, Diana Dors was a British actress and a sort of British Marilyn Monroe. Her real name was - erm - Diana Fluck. The dangers posed by a missed consonant - and the kind of mistake made by a vicar introducing her when she came to open a fĂȘte as 'ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the very lovely Miss Diana Clunt' led to a rapid change of name.

But I digress. This is mostly the story of her first marriage to a man named Dennis Hamilton who she married in 1951 aged 19. It makes for an interesting story. As parental permission was then needed fro the under 21s to marry and her parents were understandably unenthusiastic about their daughter marrying a major criminal - for such Hamilton was, Dors forged their signatures on the permission document. She already had something of a track record as a wild child having spent £5,000 on a Delahaye Roadster 175S despite being 17 at the time and not having a driving licence. The car was sold at auction in 2010 for $3 million. Other youthful episodes featured being thrown out of a flat in Chelsea following complaints about loud noise and endless parties and a pregnancy resulting in a £10 abortion on a Battersea kitchen table. The marriage was at Caxton Hall in Central London, then a fashionable place for civil ceremonies. The registrar had a tip off about the dodgy state of the relevant paperwork and raised the topic with Hamilton.

Hamilton shook the registrar warmly by the throat and announced 'you’ll marry us, all right, or I’ll knock your fucking teeth down your throat'.

The registrar complied. The happy couple had met 5 weeks previously

Apparently Diana Dors could act but struggled for good parts, partly due to the notoriety of her associations and lifestyle. Hamilton introduced her to sex parties where she met the young Bob Monkhouse (British 'comedian' - only good line - 'They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They're not laughing now').

Very true that. Dors later had an affair with Monkhouse which lead to Hamilton threatening him with a cut-throat razor and the immortal line 'I’m going to slit your eyeballs!'

As one does.

Dors later went to Hollywood where a very public affair with Rod Steiger and Hamilton beating a photographer senseless didn't advance her career. RKO, who had brought her over to Hollywood, were soon looking for a reason to fire her. Apparently, though, a Sheikh was so taken with her that he offered Hamilton 23 camels for her. She seperated from Hamilton in 1956 after he started an affair and planned to marry an obscure actor named Tommy Yeardye after divorcing him. Returning to England, Dors' contract with Rank was cancelled by mutual consent. Yeardye contrived to get himself arrested following an altercation with a policeman and Dors fell for a young comedian called Richard Dawson. She asked Yeardye to leave and accused him of having stolen £18,000.

Dors and Hamilton were divorced in 1958 and Hamilton died of a heart attack in 1959. She married Dawson in the same year, had two sons with him and more affairs (it gets a bit hard to keep up with the affairs) and they divorced in 1966 or 1967. She was later made bankrupt but entered into her third and final marriage to actor Alan Lake in 1968 at Caxton Hall (again!). Lake, an alcoholic, went to jail for his part in a pub brawl. She had one live and one stillborn son with Lake. They both converted to Roman Catholicism in 1971.

The end of her story is that Diana Dors was diagnosed with cancer in 1982 and died of cancer in 1984 aged 52. Six months later Lake committed suicide with a shotgun, sixteen years to the day he met her. He is buried next to her.

There is a biopic of her dating from 1999 called The Blonde Bombshell. There is no point in being censorious about her car crash of a life. Her story is mostly a sad one, a headstrong young woman with too much money and too little guidance. She didn't wear well but the first photo does show a pretty young woman, already in the clutches of an older - and downright evil - man. She appears on the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. See if you can spot her - it's not too hard. Hat Tip to the rather wonderful Another Nickel in the Machine (link to left) for black and white pics and some of the narrative.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Time to be serious mostly...

I suppose it's not surprising to learn that hotels are a principal outlet for sex trafficking in under age children. The Hilton chain of hotels has 32,000 hotels in 77 countries. There is a Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children From Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. Hotels who sign up to it train their staff to detect, report and assist girls and women forced into the sex industry. Apparently it is pretty basic stuff but reasonably effective but Hilton Hotels has not signed up to it.

After brothels were found in Hilton hotels in Ireland and China (thus causing the relevant hotel to lose its 5 star status) and a touch embarrassed, the chain made all the right noises. At least the Irish case involves adults but is it too much to ask Hilton to train its employees in basic detection? Even if the reaction to adults running brothels in hotels is a weary shrug, children are different and there is in particular a lot of trafficking in child prostitution in the far east. Hotels are a potential primary facility for this. Maybe Hilton hotels could do the right thing soonest?

There is presently in progress an Israeli civil case brought by her family into the death of Rachel Corrie. For those not up to speed on this story, Rachel Corrie was a 23 year old American woman who was killed in the Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003, crushed to death by a bulldozer as she was acting as a 'human shield' trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian family. She plainly had huge courage and paid the ultimate price for her courage.

Killing westerners makes for bad publicity and the case of Rachel Corrie generated huge amounts and included the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie and so the Israelis decided that one of their farcical pseudo-inquiries was necessary. This was duly completed but its findings never published. Thus the family took the only step possible and brought a civil case. The driver of the bulldozer gave evidence yesterday in conditions of anonymity and behind a screen. There is a gagging order as regards the identity of the army driver who drove the bulldozer that crushed Rachel Corrie to death (if anyone knows this person's identity feel free to tell the rabbit who will duly breach the gagging order).

The driver came out with the following gems:

As regards the fact fact that he had not gone to help Ms Corrie as she lay on the ground he said 'we are not allowed to leave our vehicles'.

Asked why he had not radioed for an ambulance, he said 'it was not at my level of command'.

Asked later in his testimony if he had seen the foreign activists carrying anything that suggested they were terrorists he said 'they were carrying loudspeakers and a sign'.

It goes on...

But finally there is 'I am a soldier. You carry out orders'.

I believe this is known as the 'Nuremberg Defence'. It is right to say though that focussing attention on this goon - regardless of his revolting lack of regret or human empathy - misses the point. Look up beyond him to the chain of command.There are the real villains of the piece.

Less seriously, a considerable amount of amusement has been caused by BBC political reporter Nick Robinson losing the plot after someone held a placard behind him while he was broadcasting. Temper! Temper!

Finally, a bit of silliness is in order. This particular piece of silliness was first posted on White Rabbit in April 2008 and gets a dusting down and recycling to go with the equally recycled passive-aggressive oldie posted yesterday.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Another flying visit...

A posting by Mrs Hall (linkypoo to left) on passive-aggressive notes put the rabbit in mind of this offering, which was posted in a very early White Rabbit. Apologies to readers with long memories and a more substantial - and for once serious - post to follow tomorrow all being well. Oh and below is from the immortal Beau Bo D'Or via Tony to whom Hat Tip. Overseas readers - never mind. It would take too long to explain.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tenniel mostly...

Not a great deal of time on the rabbit's hands but I did happen for reasons too involved and uninteresting to explain to look at John Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland today. Of course one sits at the top of White Rabbit - the rather splendid White Rabbit with Trumpet Here are a few more starting with Dormouse being put into Teapot. I don't know what came over me....

Then we have the Caterpiller Smoking Hookah as per the Jefferson Airplane song. One can only wonder what Lewis Carroll - or the Reverend Charles Dodgson to give him his real name - had in mind. Okay he had a caterpillar smoking a hookah in mind but....

I do like this one. Father William balancing eel. As you do. Nice waistcoat by the way. They knew how to make waistcoats in those days.

And here we have Alice's hand dropping the White Rabbit. Ouch!

And finally we have Alice and animals in circle. Well mostly birds in fact, including an already extinct dodo if I am not mistaken. Years ago I read an annotated Alice which explains the meanings. Like much literature purportedly for children, it has subtexts for adults - now mostly inaccessible without explanation but easily understood by reasonably educated contemporary readers. It does strike me - again - how Wonderland is no - well - wonderland but a dark and surreal place.

To change the subject totally, the rabbit posts only occasionally on football, leaving the rest to the more football obsessed among us - but following a recent exchange of comments here are is a rendition of the splendid Chelsea Scum Song as performed by the Elland Road choir. Very uplifting too.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Bad sex and trees...

Nuts to the Man Booker Prize! The Pulitzer Prize - what's that? Phooey to the Nobel Prize for Literature!! The real big one is the handiwork of that most distinguished - erm - organ - the Literary Review. - the Bad Sex Award.

Each year since 1993, Literary Review has presented the award to the author who produces the worst description of a sex scene in a novel. The award itself is in the form of a 'semi-abstract trophy representing sex in the 1950s' which depicts a naked woman draped over an open book. The award was originally established by Rhoda Koenig, a literary critic, and the late great Auberon Waugh, then editor of the Literary Review.

The award is helpfully explained to have as its objective 'to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it'.

And quite right too. The rabbit has assiduously avoided passages of sexual description in his fiction - not for any prudish reason but because it's damn nigh impossible to get them right plus also his former line editor Barry Fantoni advised him that 'people who read descriptions of sex acts - there's a word for them'.

Indeed there is as Christine O'Donnell will confirm (yup - the rabbit can work her into any topic).

Anyway, the winner of the Bad Sex Award has always been the author of a work of fiction but this may be about to change!

I apologise to those who have just been abruptly seperated from their lunch by this image. It is by Beau Bo D'Or and commemorates the happy occasion when Cherie got preggers after being too embarrassed to take her contraceptive equipment (believed to consist of a JCB digger/excavator and a tanker full of lard) to Balmoral on a visit to the Queen.

Yes - Tony Blair is among the nominees for the big one - the 2010 Bad Sex Award - for his autobiography A Journey. Amusingly, the award is for fiction. One might even think this fact is a dig at B.Liar in itself. Here is the steamy passage for the delectation of a wider public...

'That night she cradled me in her arms and soothed me; told me what I needed to be told; strengthened me. On that night of 12 May 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct'.

Oh Barf!!! Okayyyyyyy..... He wins! Enough! Somehow I can't see him turning up to collect the award - the chicken!

While on the subject of bad sex, the Italians have found a novel and controversial method of dealing with a prostitution problem - chopping down trees.

For decades, local law enforcement and politicians have struggled to police the Bonifica del Tronto road, a haven for the sex trade that runs inland for more than 10 miles from the Adriatic coast alongside the river Tronto. The powers that be have tried all sorts of spiffing wheezes to stop this problem - CCTV cameras, 24 hour patrols, financial penalties.

Etc - all to no avail.

Now - and highly controversially - the regional government's public works chief, Angelo Di Paolo, announced that the time had come for drastic measures. He said he had agreed with provincial and municipal representatives to cut down all the vegetation 'around and along the banks of the river Tronto', where the prostitutes ply their trade. This proposal has unsurprisingly caused uproar among environmentalists who complain that the scheme would destroy 28 hectares (69 acres) of woodland vital to local ecosystems.

The rabbit has a more modest proposal for solving this problem. Have the offending passages from Blair's book translated into Italian and have them broadcast VERY LOUDLY INDEED from strategically placed PA systems around the area where the prostitutes and their punters are at it. Should put them right off their - erm - stroke. Think Vogon poetry in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Hat Tip to Mahal.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

If you ever wondered....

If you ever wondered about the rabbit's political views, resisting the temptation to suggest that maybe you should get out more, the rabbit has done a guest posting on the Charon QC blog. The picture is of course Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. Nice. For those not exercised by such matters, here are the Dead (we haven't had any for ages, have we?) with Trucking. Note how Mr Weir misses his cue.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Saturday meanderings...

A blogger - if I told you who I'd have to kill you - recently drew my attention to a site called Was this not, he asked, a gross breach of privacy? Prima facie yes. I quote from their blurb...

Want to find out where your partner or employee is?
Want to track his or her whereabouts?
Well, good ol' Google Earth just got better.
Type in his or her (any) cell phone number,
as long as that phone is turned on,
and you'll get the location of that person!
Give it a try, it's incredible !!!

Now the rabbit knows the technology exists. He has been to seminars on cell site analysis, which is increasingly used in (serious enough to merit the expense) criminal and civil cases. Why shouldn't the terminally paranoic and untrusting use this technology to snoop on their other halves? No doubt there is money to be made out of this. But here's the odd thing. The good people at trackapartner don't ask for money. They seem to be doing it out of the good of their hearts. There are various other pointers that not all may be as it seems. Check out this link (it's quite safe). Just enter any phone number - or not even a proper phone number - 123456 will do. Then sit back and watch (not office safe).

With Hat Tip to Laci the Dog, this is what happens when you dunk a McDonald's hamburger in hypochloric acid. Not that much, it seems. Further proof of what resilient little fellows McDonald's burgers are is below. It will be noted that we have a picture of two burgers. One is contemporary with the photo, one is twelve years old. This week's rabbit competition is to work out which is which, Answer at the bottom of this posting. Further Hat Tip due to Laci.

Oh dear, without the rabbit's helpful guidance following his suspension from Team Christine, it has to be reported that Christine O'Donnell is behaving as if - well - she isn't playing with a full deck. Christine has been musing about evolution. 'Why' our heroine enquires, 'aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?'


I'll get back to you on that one, Christine. In the meantime here is a pic of the young Christine about to go into one because she's losing....

The rabbit has been intrigued by recent events in North Korea. the place would be an endless source of inintended comedy were it not for the fact that (a) the population is overwhelmingly starving and (b) the loons who run the place have nuclear weapons. There aren't too many fat people in North Korea but the Great Leader Kim Jong Il is reputedly in bad health, possibly from a surfeit of McDonald's burgers (see above) and has decided to begin the process of handing over power to his appointed successor Kim Jong Fatboy sorry Un. Fatboy has been displayed for the admiration of the masses.

It must be fun to be in the North Korean military, You get to wear really stupid hats. It's like one long fancy dress party. Further enlightenment can be found at the very informative Official Webpage of The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). It's a hoot. Particularly good is the FAQ page...

The first question is on everybody's lips...

Can I get a signed photograph from Leader Kim Jong Il? Answer: you betcha!

Followed by at 13...

Is North Korea a dictatorship? Answer: No (it then goes on a bit)

I had wondered how these maniacs manage to retain power when the population eats grass. I can only think that the answer is that an elite (basically the army) are bought in by relative privilege - apparently no 'normal' person lives in the capital Pyongyang - and the elite obliges by preserving its relative power by grinding the rest of the population into the ground.

To end on a cheerful note - here is The Wailers with Duppy Conqueror - a song a fragment of lyrics therefrom didn't make it into the

rabbit's most excellent novel
It was to do with copyright and B. Marley's estate's copyright people wanting money and a delay. But that's another story.

As a parting shot and with hat Tip to Memphis Steve, the above quite amused me. Quiz answer: the burger on the left is 12 years old.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Beau Bo D'Or

The rabbit was sad to see that Beau Bo D'Or - of whom he is a huge fan (link to the left for a parting collage) - has closed his site. The YouTube clip above is another collage of his best-known images. I am undoubtedly biased but one of my favourites was the (British General) election poster from last May - Disobey 6th May - words by the rabbit, artwork by Beau Bo D'Or (all seems a very long time ago, doesn't it?). Cheers, Neil and all the best for the future, You have a singular talent.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A flying visit...

I seem to be very time poor of late so have been falling behind on my blogging duties - a lot of travelling mostly. Grantham today, Gloucester tomorrow. Etc. Etc.
Above is another Glen Baxter to be getting on with plus Catch Her in The Wry (link you know where) set me thinking about words in the English language that don't rhyme with any other (English) words. Here is a list of 70...

A - Almond, Angry, Angst, Anxious, Aspirin
B - Bachelor, Breadth, Bulb, Bulbous
C - Calumny, Cannabis, Caveat, Chaos, Chimney, Chocolate, Circus, Citrus, Citizen, Condom
D - Denizen, Depth, Diamond, Different
E - Eighth, Elbow, Else, Empty, Engine
F - Fift, Film, Foible, Fugue
G - Galaxy, Glimpsed, Golf, Gulf
H - Hostage, Husband
I - Iron
J - Justice
K - ...
L - Laundry, Luggage
M - Monster, Month, Mulcts
N - Ninth, Neutron
O - Obvious, Of, Office, Olive, Orange
P - Pint, Pedant, Penguin, Pizza, Plankton, Plinth, Promise, Purple
Q - ...
R - Reptile
S - Sanction, Sandwich, Shadow, Silver
T - Transfer, Twelfth
U - ...
V - Vacuum
W - Width, Wolf
X - ...
Y - ...
Z - ...
So your challenge people, should you be prepared to accept it, is to find words that rhyme with any of these. Hat Tip to Hubpages.
Plus, to soothe the furrowed brow as you think about this knotty problem, here are The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain with Teenage Dirtbag. I may be in a silly mood but I kid you not...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Van Morrison and YouTube

Some time ago all Van Morrison's stuff came off YouTube. There was some sort of more general kerfuffle about YouTube and copyright at about the same time and it is a well known fact that Van the Man protects his commercial interests very fiercely indeed so I assume that he/his commercial people demanded that the (free and therefore problematic) material be removed, no doubt in the belief that making YouTube take down his material was to his commercial advantage. I can only assume that there has been a change of heart in this regard as Van's stuff is back up again. Above is Sweet Thing from the absolutely astonishing Astral Weeks album. Astral Weeks and Moondance just drip with romance and desire. Who could resist with one of those albums as the soundtrack to the evening? Well not many as I recall ;)

Let's liven up the tempo with our man performing Star of the County Down with the Chieftans. If Sweet Thing is silky and seductive, then Star of the County Down fizzes with sheer exuberance.

And then from when Van was just the lead singer with rough edged Belfast band Them, here comes Here Comes The Night. Strange man but a genius...

Friday, 8 October 2010

Bad news, I'm afraid...

"You have been suspended from Christine O'Donnell for Senate

Sorry, Andrew Keogh, you can not access Christine O'Donnell for Senate as you have been suspended. If you think you've been suspended in error, you can contact the administrator".

Quelle horreur! as the cheese eating surrender monkeys would say. The rabbit had a peep at Chrstine's website yesterday evening to be greeted with this devastating news. Of course I thought I must have been suspended in error and so immediately contracted the administrator saying that either there had been a terrible mistake or the North Korean infiltrator mentioned yesterday, Kim Il Skot, had been doing bad things. I further informed the administator that Christine would be very upset if she heard of this.

No reply from the administrator. Having given these matters careful consideration, I have concluded that it is my unpleasant duty to withdraw my support from Christine. Someone with such bad judgement as regards her staff (Kim Il Skot and the supine 'administrator') cannot possibly be relied on. I have further bad news for Christine, the jackpot on the Euromillions draw tonight is a very acceptable £112 million (that's $177,788,340.94) and the rabbit has 4 lines and is quietly confident. When I win Christine ISN'T GETTING A PENNY by way of donation!

NUR!!! NUR!!! NUR!!!

More seriously, I was relieved to finally get a response. It had got like trying to bait a collection of blocks of wood. How dumb are these people? Okay, don't answer that...

Even more seriously, the rabbit has from time to time expressed that the gruesome gargoyles who run China are excessively indulged because China is viewed as the up and coming world economic - and by extension political - power and therefore it is best not to upset them no matter how revoltingly they behave.

It is therefor pleasing to note that imprisoned Chinese democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is doing an 11 year stretch for 'inciting subversion of state power' (sic) having done 3 years in a labour and re-education camp (how creepy is that for an idea?) previously for 'disturbing the social order' (sic). He sounds remarkably moderate "I oppose systems of government that are dictatorships or monopolies. This is not 'inciting subversion of state power'. Opposition is not equivalent to subversion".

One pleasing aspect of the award is that the Chinese government has gone batshit crazy and a volley of toys have gone flying out of the Chinese governmental pram. "Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law. It's a complete violation of the principles of the prize and an insult to the peace prize itself for the Nobel committee to award the prize to such a person." whinged the Chinese foreign ministry. There has been an attempt to bully the Norwegian government (the Nobel prizes being a Norwegian thing), summoning the Norwegian ambassador to Beijing to tell him that relations between China and Norway could be damaged. He explained that the Nobel committee is an independent body and not under the control of the Norwegian government but no doubt such subtleties are beyond these gorillas.

The US, German and French governments have called for Liu Xiaobo's release following the award. I haven't seen that the British government has done the same. If I am right about this then maybe Wild Bill Hague could get on with it and do so?

On a lighter note and for the weekend, here is another Glen Baxter cartoon. Think of this as you do the Saturday morning shopping. Our man does some animated ones too such as this and this and this. Have a good weekend all (except Kim Il Skot and the 'administrator' - I hope the cat wees in your shoes). I expect I'll be back over the weekend, though.