zotz: (serious)
But I imagine you'll all get bored with it quite soon.

Apparently the Europe campaign has started already. Twice today people tried to give me a leaflet telling me why Scotland's better in the EU. So the rest of you aren't, apparently. You heard it here first1.

I didn't take their leaflet. Firstly because I doubt I'll find anything in a leaflet that I don't already know, and secondly because I'm sure they'll be coming through my letterbox soon enough.

Are you all familiar with Freegle? If not, it's another of these net things that's got a name with the same ending as another net thing so you know it's a net thing. Like happens with real stuff as well, like when Henry Ford was a big success with his cars so now all the car companies are called Tord and Lord and Bored and Snored and the like. Anyway, this is a mailing list, or rather a set of local mailing lists, where people give away stuff they don't want but which is actually still perfectly usable so they don't want to throw it away, and other people ask for things they could do with and definitely don't ever then just sell them. It's like eBay for cheapskates. I fit right in.

Anyway, someone's asking for books. Old books. Hardbacks. But just as decoration. I don't know if they're going to stick them on shelves or actually eviscerate them and make the spines into wallpaper2. I know they're probably not books people are going to eagerly be seeking out to read, but it still rubs me up the wrong way. As I've said before, bookburning is morally repugnant. We would never indulge in anything so terrible.

It's like the old records people ask for to "turn into art" (they're art already you little squit) or glue to walls. I've certainly seen some actually very good old records (if you like Acker Bilk, which personally I do) stuck to people's walls, and they looked in good condition too. Maybe I could find out what they care about and trash some . . . I don't know, vintage clothes, or dolphins, or something.

1:Not that I'm saying they're wrong, taken literally. It's the assumption that saying "Scotland" is going to work on me and "Britain" wouldn't, because of course we're all that small-minded.

2:Inevitably I've just started making up a mental list of people we could productively do that with. I can't help it. I wasn't even going to use the word "spine" and then it suddenly just slipped out by itself.
zotz: (serious)
WRT the death of Antonin Scalia, and the obituaries and meconium thereof:

[Error: unknown template video]

It has been so long since I linked to a vid here that the method is unrecognisably different.

Also, from the generally highly readable Crooked Timber, this fair and balanced piece on Scalia's practical philosophy of law and society, including links to extracts from the author's book "The Reactionary Mind".

I hope your VD was suitably itchy pleasant. I think the only things I've said to anyone all day were "Just these please . . . cheers . . . thank you" to the guy at the corner shop.
zotz: (Reasonable and compassionate)
'Spineless' animals under threat of extinction, say the BBC.

Well, frankly, I don't see what they expect us to do about it. Nobody becomes extinct these days except by choice, and if they aren't prepared to put their back into it and their nose to the grindstone then it's really their own lookout. When my ancestors were facing extinction on the African savannah, did they sit back and moan about it? No, they did not. They got on their bikes and drove Homo erectus to extinction instead, and I think there's a lesson for us all there.


Apr. 15th, 2011 09:06 am
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Apparently it's not just me that finds the Yes campaign shittier than I'm happy supporting.

Good God.

Oct. 12th, 2010 02:01 pm
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There are certain things you don't expect to come across over your morning cup of tea, and a press interview with human rights lawyer and all-round hero Gareth Peirce is among them. I haven't been so surprised to see such a thing since . . . Oh, Nigel TufnellBlackwell appeared in the same place nearly ten years ago. If you read one tendentious politically-motivated jeremiad today . . .
zotz: (primal)
Yes, it's a picture of me baring my torch. Obviously.

Writers Bloc had readings in Biggar and Prestonpans. Read more... )
Stephen Pinker gave a lecture for the Uni, which had to be moved up into the McEwan Hall due to demand. Contains swearing. Big, clever, funny swearing. )
Obviously at the end I did what I've done many times before - tried to work out what it says around the base of the dome. "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding: exalt her and she shall bring you to honour." Proverbs, chapter 4.

Much fun. After that I went out to Dalkeith country park for a drink with Jim the arsonist and his mates, which was also great. I found some lager in Tesco's called "Lech", which is a very funny name if you ignore it being Polish.

After that it was the Meadows Festival, which was a lot smaller than previously, but then it did have its legs cut out from under it in the meantime. This was the first one for two or three years, and pretty good for effectively a new first time. Hopefully it'll gather momentum again over the next few years. There was a genuine 9/11 conspiracy theory stall, which I didn't stop and ridicule in spite of the fact that I probably could get back in touch with a structural engineer who studied the collapse of the towers in detail - something that, famously, said wackos have never paid any attention to.

Yesterday I went to see Mark Stewart and the Maffia. Read more... )
I've been reading my new (i.e. the older) copy of My Friend Mr Leakey today, which has been fun. I've noticed one thing, though - where the Seventies printing mentions Negroes as the victims of a particular kind of African devil, the older one uses a different word. It still starts with N, though. Pinker had mentioned it as currently the most taboo word in US English. I guess that in Britain it was still OK to use it in front of children as recently as 1948.

On getting back from the gig (OK, and from the pub afterwards) last night, I found a mail from a ticket agency with a whole list of stuff I've no interest in and details of Amanda Palmer playing at the end of September. Well and good, although I notice that Dolls gigs do apparently still happen very occasionally . . .

However, that wasn't the eyeopener. Other Dolls are afoot. New York Dolls, in Glasgow, anyone? In a venue the size of (and probably, admittedly, with the aroma of) a gorilla's armpit? That sounds like a good deal to me. And a couple of weeks later, Swervedriver.


Now that's not a name I thought I'd hear again. Still, tempting . . . I wonder if Dave Hetherington knows about this? I may have to pass a message via CJ.

Mixed week in politics, of course, SCOTUS have belted Bush one in the bollocks over Guantanamo. Your friend and mine Antonin Scalia, however, seems by all accounts to have delivered a shameless dissenting statementlamenting the effects of the actual decision, which would fly exactly in the face of everything he said about the grounds for his beliefs when he spoke in New College last year. Ah well. Maybe he's been misquoted.

Over here, a certain disastrous vote went the wrong way (but was tantalisingly close) and a Tory MP has resigned to fight his own safe seat at a point when the government's in trouble. His party leader, one David Cameron, described the move as "courageous", presumably meaning by Sir Humphrey's definition of the term. The words "nothing much to be gained" come to mind - he's likely to find that his only serious opposition comes from the Sun. If it descends into a farce and he ends up making himself and his party look ridiculous, he will undoubtedly go down in history as a political genius for finding a way to make the government look good in spite of its recent misadventures.

And if you think that sounds harsh, listen to what some other people are saying - one shadow cabinet member said. "There is a slight hint of self-indulgence and a slight element of tragedy. David cannot come back in a bigger position. He can only come back as even more self-righteous, but will he be more morally pure with a majority of 1,500 over the Monster Raving Loony Party? He has walked the plank and this risks looking like a pantomime."

I must finally mention that Weegie popsters The Hussy's are playing FOR FREE at the usually-execrable-but-I'll-make-an-exception-this-time 3 Sisters (on the Cowgate, if you've had the good fortune not to have come across it) on Sunday. Actually, they're playing in Manchester, at the Dry Bar, on Tuesday and in London Village (Purple Turtle, apparently) on Wednesday, so some of you could do a lot worse than pop along. Sadly, I've no indication that the other gigs are free, but I'm sure you can, as the saying goes, check local press for details.
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Well, I have a working 64-bit installation here, and yes it's fast. 2000*1500 onscreen also makes things look very very small indeed, but I like it. I don't know if I'll run it this hard all the time, but it's certainly nice to have the option.

I'm busily reading Capital of the Mind at the moment, which I heartily recommend - it's about Edinburgh and the Scottish Enlightenment. I haven't reached the bit about Hutton yet, but Hume, Adam, and various others feature very heavily. As you'd expect.

Kate and Tony were up over the weekend, and it was lovely to see then - after far too long a gap. Loads of other people came out of the woodwork to see them, so I had a great time talking to people like Richard Walsh, who I haven't seen in years. Fantastic stuff. I particularly enjoyed explaining The Broons to Kate, but it was all good. They've almost promised to come back to Edinburgh soon, which is almost good enough. Incidentally, I believe I have mentioned that you're all encouraged to come visit, but I'd rather like to emphasise that:

Come visit..

Thank you. This has been a public information announcement.

Further ramblings )
zotz: (Default)
The Lamlash Bay no-take zone's to go ahead. Well, that's good news. It's very small in itself, but it's cautiously expected to make a reasonable difference to nearby waters, and now that the principle's been adopted we can maybe see many more. I spoke to a couple of people from COAST last year - they seem to have worked very hard for this.

The basic idea, if you don't fancy reading the article, is that areas are set aside so they don't get hoovered clean. There should - should - then be a thriving area of wildlife which will not only preserve species but also act as a fertile spawning ground. Obviously one such won't make a vast difference, butif there are signs of it working maybe it'll spread. We certainly need to work on fisheries management. It's been a disaster so far. The Clyde used to be an astonishing place to fish, but now there's only scallops and prawns. The herring fishery collapsed decades ago, and if I remember rightly there's only even one boat doing regular sea angling.
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That was the Scum's headline yesterday, you see - I skim their front page so you don't have to. Anyway, Kenny Richie has released after serving twenty years for failing to babysit a small child properly. Now, what exactly happened that night is still slightly unclear, but it's been obvious for years that there was no solid evidence that he set a fire. Nevertheless, at least one of the late toddler's family seem to have no uncertainty whatsoever - her aunt (according to the BBC) said in court Richey would "burn in hell". I don't personally see how the interests of justice are served by having the court solicit that sort of inflammatory statement, but doubtless the profane cannot be expected to understand these mysteries.

I have some reservations about criticising her for taking that point of view - her niece died, after all, which was and is tragic - but it does rather remind me of the people who went on believing that the Birmingham Six were definitely guilty and got away with their crime on a technicality. It's that sort of absolute certainty that creates miscarriages like this in the first place.

Weird comments reported elsewhere include the prosecutor, Mr Gary Lammers, saying "The fact that he spent 21 years in prison — I don't think that makes him a victim" because he's not the dead child. Apparently Ohio law says there's only ever one victim, even in very complicated situations. Well, you live and learn.

Richey is reported to have had a "New York strip" at lunchtime, which is apparently some kind of steak.

Meanwhile, back in Bay City, appeals are upcoming for Luke Mitchell and William Beggs. Should be interesting. I don't particularly envy those involved.

In other news, as I type it's neck-and-neck in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, with available estimates showing Clinton actually slightly ahead. 40% of the vote has still to be counted, but it doesn't look like the whitewash that has been being predicted1. I feel the need to describe her as the "Comeback Kid" at this point.

McCain seems to be ahead on the Republican side, which I understand may make things interesting, although probably not for Chinese values of interesting.

Update: Aaaand it's Clinton and McCain, sports fans, with Obama and Romney making generous comments about the winners. A useful lesson there about polls and volatility, methinks.

Fox's exit polls favoured Obama, CNN's favoured Clinton. Who was the better news provider? You decide.

1: Many thanks to Dr Dan Streetmentioner's excellent book at this point.
zotz: (Default)
Steve Bell's good today.

There's also a profile of Shane McGowan:

His girlfriend, Victoria Mary Clarke, was once called to his house to find blood gushing from his mouth after he had tried to eat volume three of The Beach Boys' greatest hits.

"[Shane] had become convinced that the third world war was taking place and that he, as the leader of the Irish republic, was holding a summit meeting in his kitchen between the heads of state of the world superpowers, Russia, China, America and Ireland," she wrote in the Guardian. "In order to demonstrate the cultural inferiority of the United States, he was eating a Beach Boys album."

Let's see Motley Cruet top that. Please.

xfm et al

Sep. 18th, 2007 09:46 am
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I was listening to XFM Scotland this morning - more because I never had than because I had any great hopes for it - and was gradually getting some idea what kind of station it is, when I suddenly had it rammed home exactly what kind of station it is. There was a news item about a classic rock band called the "Sex Pistols" doing a one-off gig to mark the thirtieth anniversary of their album . . . "Never Mind The Blank".

Oh, for fuck's sake. Scumsucking shitehawks.

And in vaguely similar news, have I mentioned lately that faith schooling's a total abomination?


Jul. 2nd, 2007 10:17 pm
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On Sunday I went to the FIlmhouse to see Conspirators of Pleasure as part of their short Svankmajer season, and very fine it was too. It came out about ten years ago, and I didn't see it at the time. Mostly live-action, with only a little animation, it concerns the strange and obsessive secret activities of six Czechs, and the connections between them. For some reason it got an 18 certificate, and I'd love to know how that was justified - there's no violence against people (although a couple of straw-stuffed effigies get it fairly nastily) and no nudity stronger than a couple of shots of a guy's arse. Nevertheless, it's a deeply diseased piece of work. As this review has it, "I don't think I've ever seen a film that is quite so obsessively fetishistic - almost everything that passes in front of his camera is given a weirdly erotic charge [ . . . ] it manages to present a portrait of human sexuality of unusual complexity and philosophical depth without once resorting to spoken dialogue". Perhaps they used the same phrase as for Crash - "general tone".

Fantastic stuff. Massively recommended.

Mr Inglis has given me the OK to tell you about his Writers' Bloc MySpork page, where you can listen to a few of the clips recorded at their readings. Currently you can hear Hannu Rajaniemi reading his poem "Numbers" (the bit about numbers stations existing is entirely true) and Gav himself reading "From a completely unexpected direction" (you should probably, for best results, know that before starting he had left a selection of carrier bags on and around all the tables). I know for a fact that he has an awful lot of excellent material he could put up there, so it might well be worth keeping an eye on that for developments.

In a slight surprise, the Subway is closing. The management, and apparently all the various clubs, are moving to the Hive, on Niddrie Street. Apparently the Hive is nicer. That would not, to speak frankly, be difficult. The place has always been a noxious little dive of poor reputation, and what higher recommendation could there be than that? Many years ago some friends of mine saw the Clash play there. Rather more recently (but still not actually recently) I and some friends saw Radiohead. At around the same time (perhaps even that night) I saw a support band (Tinkerbell's Dope Ring, IIRC) do a mad thrash version of Groove Is In The Heart, with (if memory serves) vocals verging on the yodel during the chorus. Someone said they'd heard that it was likely to become an R'n'B (or what passes for it these days) venue. I can't see it. Bling? In a hole like that?

In the runup to the new smoking ban Doon Sooth, the Guardian dropped into a Hull pub to record a couple of prize comments from disgruntled tobacco devotees:

"I smoke 100 to 120 cigs a day. The ban will kill us"

. . . and . . .

"They'll be banning sex next."

Now, technically speaking it hasn't been legal to get it out and get on with it in the middle of a busy pub for quite some time, but why let sanity get in the way of a good rant? Well, either that or Hull's a more fun place than I've been led to believe.

And finally, and definitely not raising the moral tone at all, thanks to whichever of you it was who posted this link - file under "Don't children make you laugh?" Not necessarily worksafe. Entirely textual. Neither big nor clever. A couple of my friends have a story that would fit in neatly there . . . but I'll let them decide whether to share it.
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God Hates The World, apparently. Warning: may trigger anger or extreme hilarity. And yes, it is for real - there's actually a statement on their website specifically addressed to the UK, in which their erudite rhetorists address the British people as "poopy pants" for being overly supportive of the evil homosexualists.

zotz: (Default)
Several of you expressed deep joy over the decades-overdue legal decision to allow the Chagos Islanders to return to their archipelago1, but nobody linked to Steve Bell's take on it. Neither have any of you mentioned that you can now get cartoons by Bell, Rowson, or several others, on Tshirts.

Incidentally, anyone after a sofa? I know someone with a sofa and a few other matching pieces going. Old, apparently, but in good nick. I would, but I already have more sofas than I have arses.

And, for the benefit of you young'uns who didn't get to watch not The Nine O'Clock News and can't work out what [livejournal.com profile] original_aj and I are sniggering about, have a look at :

Songs of Praise

The American Express advert

Question Time

The Judge

Constable Savage


and, of course . . .

Gerald the gorilla

1: No, this is not just an excuse to use my favourite word. It's much much more than just an excuse to use my favourite word.


May. 17th, 2007 12:47 pm
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New Scientist has a handy breakdown of climate-related misconceptions which could usefully be pointed to any contrarians you might happen to see in pubs on . . . . oh, Saturday nights in the Dagda or wherever.

This is good news. In my view, anyway. I can't find the actual draft bill, though. {Ah - it's here]

I'm quite disappointed we're not going to have a leadership election. I was definitely going to vote for McDonnell if we had (he's funnier, as well as proposing stuff I gree with more) and while Gordon was pretty much certain to win I think it would have been a very worthwhile process to actually argue the tossdiscuss policy. Perhaps someone would even have persuaded Gordon to leave some useful hostages . . .

In more frivolous news, El Reg reports that novelty act Rednexx are up for sale. Apparently they have a world record for longest song name, for a little ditty called The Sad But True Story Of Ray Mingus, The Lumberjack Of Bulk Rock City, And His Never Slacking Stribe In Exploiting The So Far Undiscovered Areas Of The Intention To Bodily Intercourse From The Opposite Species Of His Kind, During Intake Of All The Mental Condition That Could Be Derived From Fermentation - 52 words, 306 characters.

This, of course, is a challenge. Can any of you think of a longer one? I'll open with Test Dept's magisterial Long Live British Democracy Which Flourishes And Is Constantly Perfected Under The Immaculate Guidance Of The Great, Honourable, Generous And Correct Margaret Hilda Thatcher. She Is The Blue Sky In The Hearts Of All Nations, Our People Pay Homage And Bow In Deep Respect And Gratitude To Her, The Milk Of Human Kindness.

53 words, 320 characters. Beat that.

Finally, I'll mention that there's a Writers' Bloc reading tonight at the Tron Tavern, and Gav's having a solo reading, and launch of a new edition of Crap Ghosts, on Saturday at the same place. Details can be found here.
zotz: (Default)
Beltane VidosRead more... )

Dreams. Read more... )

Gigantor! Yes, we're having a Gigantor on Friday. Read more... )

The Crimea have a new album out, and it's available to download for free in its entirety Read more... )

Shellac are playing London next week. Read more... )

There was a program on last night about Gilbert and George, and I enjoyed it hugely. Read more... )

Anyway, if you'd like to download a Gilbert and George piece to print out, it's here, but only for the next day or so.

My work this week has involved looking at a couple of upcoming bills - the Human Tissues and Embryos Bill and the Climate Change Bill, as you ask. There are a couple of consultations relevant to them still ongoing, if any of you are interested. Read more... )

I can also recommend the new Screaming Banshee Aircrew album. I've listened to it a few times since the weekend and it's very good.
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Even apart from the concerts, it's been an interesting week, a;though not a brilliant one for everybody. Neon last Sunday with Mark and Lauren, a train to London on Monday, a work course on the various administrative sections (libraries, door security, and so on), what they can do for us and for people in general, who to talk to, and so on. I have pages and pages of notes, which I'm supposed to type up for the benefit of orkers. Back to Ayrshire on Thursday, which actually meant pounding the pavements of the deprived and brutal lower east side of Millport. In the blazing sunshine and gentle sea breeze. Oh, the humanity!

I hadn't been on Great Cumbrae in twenty years, and it's quite delightful. Lots of little tenements, of course - closes and deucharies everywhere (whatever a deuchary might be).

It seems to have been more honestly brutal back here, though. Monday is, of course, Beltane and two of our torchbearers have been attacked in the last few days. One was beaten up on the Meadows on (I think) Thursday and had his jaw broken (hors de combat, of course). The other, also nearby, was stabbed a little on Friday, but he seems to be maintaining that it's only a flesh wound and is soldiering on. You're a better man than I am, &c.
zotz: (Default)
Firefox is annoying me severely. Ff2 is probably not going to be any better.

Anyway - happy new year, everyone. Several of you have commented on last year having been a bit of a trial. I hope this year's much better - including the ones who had a good year, of course.

The Guardian today has an interesting interview with James Flynn, of the interesting "Flynn effect" - the observation that raw IQ scores have been rising by about three points per decade across the industrialised world for more than the last century. This, of course, is now a well-established result, regardless of what pessimists, eugenicists and Daily Mail leader writers will tell you.

I also came across this page again - pictures of the world's largest diesel engines. Work safe, of course, although if you're prone as me to bursts of impressed profanity when you're surprised, then be warned.
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There's a rather interesting article in today's Grauniad.

Annabel volunteers the opinion that Asian immigrants are a "bloody bore" while black people are "ghastly". "I'm a racist," she declares proudly. "We've got to keep little UK basically Anglo-Saxon."

She pauses, and asks whether I agree. "Well madam," I reply, "I am the central London organiser of the British National party ..." .

And also, as it happens, an undercover Guardian journalist. I'll be interested to see the BNP's comments on this.

Last night I was helping Alison pick up stuff for the solstice bash and we nearly got mown down by a high-speed reverser in the car park. This was the sort of reversing I'd do to get a hundred yards back to a passing place, not right outside a supermarket's front door. The driver mouthed "sorry" and sped off. I guess she didn't see us and didn't realise that we'd had to get out of her way.

Still, I got a New Statesman out of it - with an article by Clive Stafford Smith and a story by Ursula le Guin (thanks to whoever pointed that one out), so the risk was probably justified.


zotz: (Default)

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