Thursday, 31 March 2005

Who's next?

by Captain Oates

With the news of Christopher Ecclestone's vacation of the T.A.R.D.I.S after only one series as the time travelling Dr Who, speculation is rife as to who should play the 10th Doctor.

Ecclestone, who fears being typecast has left the show after filming only one series (now showing on BBC1). This leaves the BBC in a tricky situation as they are committed to filming another series, but need a new doctor.

There are several possible replacement doctors, whose names are currently being banded around:

My own personal favorite from these would be Richard E Grant, but feel Sir Anthony Hopins would be a better doctor - if only the Beeb could afford him! "Davros once tried to test me, I ate his liver with Fava beans and a nice chianti"

Wednesday, 30 March 2005

Kofi Annan

by Ted Hoffman

Kofi Annan has an honest face and fuzzy grey hair, he looks like a kindly grandad. I suspect this is a primary reason for the widespread belief in his scrupulousness, and the fawning support he seems to attract. It certainly can't be his success in his job, he just moves from disaster to disaster. If he looked more like Mugabe (i.e. a black Nixon wearing cheap glasses) he would be out in a shot.

Rule of the day 1 Update

by Ted Hoffman

The first rule of the day had been thoroughly discredited, both in the comments, and over at Pseudo Magazine. What was Brett Anderson thinking? It would seem he either has very idiosyncratic taste in album tracks, or never bothered to test his theory before trying to popularise it. A better explanation is suggested in a comment in the PM post.

It doesn't work on any album post-Brothers In Arms. The theory is based upon the premise that most albums have 13 or 14 tracks, which meant that Track 7 was - more often than not - the first track on the second side.

And this was where - traditionally - the first single would go.

Once artists began thinking in terms of CDs, which was arguably the result of Dire Straits forcing everyone to buy a CD Player to listen to Brothers In Arms, then there's no "2nd Side Opener" to think about. And so the mystique of Track 7 - like so many things - is lost to the advance of technology.

There are arguments that double-albums and/or Prog killed Track 7. I can see merit in those points, but still lay the blame - like for so many things - firmly at the feet of Mark Knopfler.
If Brett's record collection is primarily pre 1985, which is quite plausible, there is both a explanation for his observation, and an answer to why I, with a slightly more modern taste in music, found no such correlation. So Rule of the day 1 is reinstated.

Tuesday, 29 March 2005

Most Influential Songs in Rock

by Ted Hoffman

There is a list of the 40 most influential songs in rock music over at normblog. Just skimming the post, I'm not sure exactly where it is derived from, a friend of Norms I think. Never mind, I like lists, even if they are just made up by friends of people whose weblogs I read. I'll resist the pretty strong temptation to write a long post about how I disagree with many of the entries, because who gives a sh^t really.

Though there are at least 3 or 4 better choices for influential Stone Roses song than the one given.

Monday, 28 March 2005

The Smiths

by Ted Hoffman

With a name like ours (though in fact nothing to do with the Morrissey song), I thought I should at least link to this.

Iconic 1980s indie group The Smiths are to be studied at an academic conference in Manchester, their home town.
I've just spent an unproductive 20 minutes trying to come up with a suitable lyrical reference for the post title, though lack of sleep seems to have dulled my usually razor sharp wit. My best attempt was 'Manchester, so much to answer for', though apart from the meeting taking place in Manchester it doesn't work, 3rd rate at best, any ideas are welcome.

Sunday, 27 March 2005

Quote of the day

by Ted Hoffman

From today's telegraph:

The truth is that the war was probably not legal under international law. Those who believe that is a fact of cardinal moral importance have not yet had the courage to admit the inevitable conclusion of their position. It is that there now needs to be a "coalition of the willing" to restore the legal government of Saddam Hussein to its rightful position as the sovereign authority in Iraq. Tony Blair must be arrested and tried by the ICC, and Saddam should be the primary witness against him.

Commies are cool

by Ted Hoffman

Regular visitors to right-wing blogs like instapundit and little green footballs, will most likely have come across adverts for this T-Shirt, available if you must from here.

I'm hardly a fashionista, and I ain't no pinko commie neither, but the T-Shirt is very clearly awful, and in pointing out the supposed lack of coolness of 'commies' on such obviously poor clothing the effect is amplified to being actually quite embarrassing. Getting an attractive lady to model only informs us that even she looks bad wearing it; so you, unless similarly blessed with good looks, will look like a total pillock.

I should probably point out that I own a Samizdata T-Shirt, so feel free to disregard my fashion advice.

Saturday, 26 March 2005


by Dom Corrigan

Bill Clinton has a blog.

It’s a strange thing, being a politician. When I was running for office journalists asked me what my favorite song was. I couldn’t tell them the truth. My favorite song is “Be my Baby” by the Ronettes. Obviously I couldn’t say that, because it’s too romantic. So I decided to say it was “Don’t stop thinking about Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac.

And on Blogger too. Who knew?

It's gone. Maybe he's moved to Typepad. I'm sure there's some other clever political point to be made, but I'll leave that to the experts.

Google and the straight talking party

by Ted Hoffman

If you Google for Veritas, not only is The Silk's new political party not the first returned entry, it isn't even on the first page, in fact I couldn't find it in any of the first 5 pages of results. Some time taken out of destroying the liberal elite to organize a Google Bomb is in order.

Friday, 25 March 2005

Bobby Fischer

by Ted Hoffman

Similar to snooker, what makes you good at the game of chess, also makes you nuts. Bobby Fischer lost whatever grip he had of reality some 30 years ago, his website is testimony to that. It is with this as background, that my victory against Bobby 2 weeks ago in an online game of 'Fisher's crazy chess' should be viewed. This popular variant on the normal rules involves the moves available to a piece changing arbitrarily, and the eventual victor being decided by a cabal of Jews.

The BBC news piece I linked to has a great understated caption; beneath a picture of Fischer looking like a zombified member of The Band, is 'Now 62, the former grandmaster has not aged well'. Hopefully when he settles down in Iceland and is feeling a bit better, we can have a rematch.

Ancient & modern no. 1: The Sportsman

by Dom Corrigan

Compare and contrast.

CB Fry - an Edwardian "athlete". As an undergraduate at Oxford, Fry played football for England, equalled the world long-jump record (reputedly while smoking a cigarette), and took a 1st in Classics. Subsequently, he played for Southampton in the 1902 FA Cup, but is best known for his cricket. Fry played for England (which he also captained) & Sussex, with a first-class average of over 50 and, in 1901 six successive first-class centuries. He was subsequently offered, but declined, the throne of Albania.

Andy Fordham - 30 stone, 25 pint-a-day, darts player. Now officially, according to Sports England, an athlete and the new face of English sport.

Loving like cat and dog...

by Captain Oates

It looks like this over-amorous Dalmation pooch has got some serious explaining to do...

It looks like cats and dogs have kissed and made up, since my previous post Fighting like cat and dog

Thursday, 24 March 2005


by Charles Pooter

There has been a predictable attack on the use of juries in "complex" fraud trials after the collapse of the Jubilee Line fraud case. Reading the article it is obvious that the problem is not with juries as such, but with the kind of people that end up on juries. Perhaps it is time to reintroduce the requirement to own property before you can be eligible for jury duty? Perhaps we need to make it harder for middle class professionals to avoid jury duty? If my crimes are ever found out, I want to commit perjury in front of a jury of my peers, not a random selection of the unemployed, OAPs and housewives.

Draft posts about Robert Winston etc.

by Ted Hoffman

Low on ideas and keen on getting something posted, I've just glanced down the list of draft posts that never saw the light of day. Given some of things that do get put on this site, you can imagine the state of that not deemed good enough. So instead of trying to polish them up, I've decided to delete forever the articles on Robert Winston, orange food, swans and Steve Bell. I've kept the post about Chicken McNuggets, though it's staying in draft form for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

What have you gone and done now?

by Ted Hoffman

Watching the BBC news at ten I caught a journalist use the following phrase as a camera panned through a gutted building in Iraq.

'A mortar fired by insurgents into this school, killed a pupil'
Someone who deliberately fires a mortar into a school could be an insurgent, Merriam-Webster has a pretty loose definition. Noticeably weak choice of words though, like calling Stalin a rogue. I wonder what act of barbarity they would have to commit to become terrorists or murderers, whatever it is I'm sure they're working on it.

Rule of the day

by Ted Hoffman

'track 7 on any album is the best'

Brett Anderson on Radio 1's 'All back to mine'. Not too difficult to find an exception, but I think there is something in it.


by Ted Hoffman

Our visitors log shows a recent referral from this site, but the site (the purpose of which isn't immediately obvious) has no link to us. Any ideas as to how it, and others like it, come to be in our log? Just curious.

Something I saw in the Guardian...

by Ted Hoffman

Jonathan Freedland writes one of his occasional sensible paragraphs today.

Critics have attacked Howard for voicing his opinion on abortion, as if this is a decision taken elsewhere, far away from politics. But it is not. The law on abortion is written by MPs. It is they who legalised it, they who would change, or keep, the current 24-week legal limit. To complain if the subject is raised at election time, when we choose the men and women we send to parliament and who would cast those crucial votes, is to demand that the people be left out of that decision

Which is probably a good repost to this Leader in the Indie, if I could read the bloody thing. It costs a pound, I'm sure they used to let you read everything for free. A pound is more than twice the value of a printed edition; the clever critique I would have done will have to wait 'till I find a way of reading the article.

Sunday, 20 March 2005

Tardis tennis

by Ted Hoffman

I rather like the BBC website, but it obviously has a lot of money to splash around and no compelling reason to spend it in commercially sensible ways. One of the ways this manifests itself is the frivolous use of web technology bits and pieces. Take the oddly expansive selection of online Spooks computer games, and even speaking as a massive snooker fan, it can only be a select few who gain much from this flash animation. But I am genuinely amazed this idea ever got the go ahead, I mean really.


Thanks to the unique way the BBC is paid for eh?

Go on, wear this hat

by Ted Hoffman

Dr Rowan Williams...

...doesn't appear to be aware of how ridiculous he sometimes looks.

Playing against type

by Ted Hoffman

From a wealthy family, he lives in a castle and sports an excellent 'English style' moustache. What does John Thurso, formerly Viscount Thurso, think he is doing in the Liberal Democrats?

Saturday, 19 March 2005

Michael 'baby killer' Howard

by Ted Hoffman

Having a young child killed by a maliciously shot air gun pellet is tragedy enough for any mother. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I spend the rest of this post being abusive and insulting towards Sharon McMillan.

Since recently losing her son, she has been following Michael Howard around and loudly berating him for his failure to support her call to ban air rifles. This plan may or may not have any merit, it is not my intention to address that as such, though if it has any it is surely down to luck. It has been chosen because it is simplistic, I'd wager Mrs McMillan had spent all of 5 minutes thinking about it before rushing out of her house to berate politicians who aren't even in office. Tragedy or not, it is no excuse for rank rudeness and stupidity.

She has summoned up a group of cheerleading newspapers to support her, in response to Michael Howard saying that ‘banning the weapons would not solve the problem‘, I found this quote:

"It's incredibly insensitive for him to come out with something like this so close to my son's funeral. I think it's disgusting the way Howard and other MPs can oppose a ban when they have no idea what life is like on a housing estate full of air guns. They should stick to things they know about."
Breathe in, count to ten, ok. Did Mr Howard want your child to die? No. Is his opposition to your ban the result of his desire to kill children? No. Does your loss mean that he should politely agree to your political requests? No. Is it actually 'insensitive' to not agree with you? No. Is living on a housing estate really a prerequisite to having an opinion on the issue differing from that held by you? Obviously not. Ok that being the case please apologise to Mr Howard, I'm sure he'll understand, and go home.

There are many other ever more insane quotes from here, that would take me all day to go through, which would frankly be a bit mean under the circumstances. Suffering terrible tragedy can instil in people a drive that allows them to achieve almost anything, but that doesn't mean it is always worth doing.

If you're a racist, I will attack you with the North

by Ted Hoffman

You can watch an episode of the US version of The Office via this link. I rather liked it, but elsewhere it has been getting a pretty negative reception. Steve Carell, best known in these parts for playing Brick Tamland in Anchorman, plays the Brent character, amusing chap.

Friday, 18 March 2005

Blair faces opposition in Sedgefield

by Captain Oates

Ex MI5 agent David Shayler is to stand as an independent candidate against Tony Blair in the constituency of Sedgefield in the General Election.

Shaler said that he is neither left, nor right but is strongly in favor of defending democratic rights - something he feels Labour are eroding dangerously.

The former counter-terrorism officer, who was jailed for 6 months for breaking the official secrets act, said: "Our democracy is in crisis and unless we act now, there will be no democracy left fighting for."

Shaler planned to stand against Blair during the last election, but was unable to due to his court case, in which he was found in breach of the official secrets act.

"If we can encourage a large protest vote in Sedgefield, it would send a clear message to the politicians of this country that the people have had enough of autocratic leaders who fail to represent their constituents."

I for one wish Shaler the best of luck, I feel that if he could beat Blair, it would send a serious message to the Government that they should stop riding rough-shod over our civil liberties. - Go Shayler go...

The British Press

by Ted Hoffman

One of my favorite things about Britain is our selection of newspapers and their crazy journalists. They get a bit of a battering in this post at Harry's place, but I am pleased to say they've been rigorously defended in the comments, where I get this quote, which I like.

I always got the impression that the Telegraph's dream obituary would be someone who charged a Japanese machine gun nest armed only with a swagger stick and wearing a cravat, while the Guardian's was someone who helped set up the Ghanaian social services. There's a need for both approaches, of course, but which is going to provide the better read?
(Some editing and removal of slang for clarity)
The writer Buff and Blue wins himself a prized place on our blogroll, from which he can expect to receive a server crippling number of hits.

The Guardian (3rd biggest selling broadsheet, 10th highest including tabloids) apparently has a readership on par with the highest selling French newspaper Le Monde. Which I have no ready explanation for, though on first glance it does reflect rather well on the British.


Felix fights the ban!

by Captain Oates

Felix Fights the banA new website, launched today at the Foxhunter's Race, Cheltenham Racecourse in support of hunting. Felix is fed up with the Government ruining rural England - this site is his vehicle for defiance. Pay him a visit.

Fighting like Cat & Dog

by Captain Oates

Fighting like Cat & DogThis picture is perhaps the finest example of Cat & Dog fighting it really made me laugh - what's more is the cat really means it, you can tell by the rage in his eyes. If you have a picture of pet-on-pet violence to better this, why not link to it with a comment?

Click here for more superb Friday animal blogging at Shot by both sides

Welcome visitors from Tim Blair and the Cat Carnival. To see other catblogging posts on this blog, visit: -

To read the rest of our blog Little man, what now?

Cats and dogs have now kissed and made up, as can be seen in my more recent post loving like cat and dog

Dr Eugene Milne

by Ted Hoffman

The British Medical Journal has printed a study by Dr Eugene Milne into smoking, from which the BBC reports this:

Dr Milne also said he was disappointed the national target failed to encourage a narrowing of the gap between poor and rich areas.

In the north east, a third of men and a quarter of women smoke - above the national average.

"Against this background, it is disturbing that the smoking prevalence targets do not propose a narrowing of the inequalities gap," he said.

Blimey, what is it with the BMJ? Mr. Milne can be a card carrying lefty if he likes, but he must have pretty low expectations of his audience if he thinks he has brilliantly hid which side of the political fence he sits on and not allowed it to cloud his judgment. Perhaps his next study can tell us how smoking would be reduced by nationalising the utility industries.

Thursday, 17 March 2005

Ungrateful bastards

by Ted Hoffman

Our readership, such as it is, appears to have collapsed. Many more days like this and I will have to wheel out what I believe may be the best blog post ever. It has been sitting around in draft form for a few weeks, unwilling as I am to show up Brian Micklethwait (the writer of the current 'best blog post ever'). Though with little over 40 hits yesterday, perhaps the time has come.

Viewing figures appear to be making something of a recovery, so I am shelving the post, at least for the time being.

Saint's Day

by Captain Oates

I notice from our site statistics that we have a visitor from Ireland reading Little man, what now? I would just like to wish our friend across the Irish Channel a very happy Saint Patrick's day. I feel certain they will have a very good night tonight, with several pints of the black stuff and trust they are sporting a shamrock in the lapel of their jacket.

When it comes to ths subject of Saint's days - what has happened to Saint George? Why do we Brits never celebrate his day? Afer all - he slayed a dragon for his title!!

Answers on a postcard (or a comment if you prefer)


Tuesday, 15 March 2005

The Bloggie awards

by Ted Hoffman

The results of the annual Bloggie awards are out today, I can't see them catching on, I am more familiar with blogs and blogging than most and I've heard of almost none of the winners or those nominated. A direct consequence I suppose of there being 8 million of the b!oody things, with about one in 4 blog readers also having there own blog, it's like voting for the best Gran. Best British blog was won by plasticbag apparently, though I've never heard of it.

A simple plan

by Dom Corrigan

OK, I've sent mine in - have you done yours? Neil Herron, the fine chap that started it, has already has his reply.

Mad scientist creates giant man-rat

by Ted Hoffman

Jeremy Rifkin author of The Biotech Century writes today in the Guardian about some crazy scientists who are splicing different animals together. The time has long since past where I would automatically treat the words of a scientist like Mr. Rifkin (if indeed he is much of a scientist) with automatic seriousness, so I hold out the possibility that he is a lunatic and is imagining a lot of this stuff. Regardless a great read, here are some of the best bits:

The first chimeric experiment occurred many years ago when scientists in Edinburgh fused a sheep and goat embryo - two unrelated animal species that are incapable of mating and producing a hybrid offspring. The resulting creature, called a geep, was born with the head of a goat and the body of a sheep.

......Some researchers are speculating about human-chimpanzee chimeras - creating a humanzee.

.......What they fail to mention is that there are equally promising and less invasive alternatives to these bizarre experiments, including computer modeling, in vitro tissue culture, nanotechnology, and prostheses to substitute for human tissue and organs.

A brief pause in my list of best bits to say that the above is probably nonsense, and certainly a dodgy use of the word 'alternatives'.

With chimeric technology, scientists have the power to rewrite the evolutionary saga - to sprinkle parts of our species into the rest of the animal kingdom as well as fuse parts of other species with our own genome and even to create new human sub-species and super-species. Are we on the cusp of a biological renaissance, or sowing the seeds of our destruction?

Fascinating, I wonder who would win if a geep were to fight a humanzee?

Monday, 14 March 2005

Labour MP tells overstretched Police to buck up!

by Captain Oates

Labour MP for Nottingham North Graham Allen has accused the Nottingham police chief Steve Green to buck up his ideas in response to a plea for help at the weekend.

Green, head of Nottingham Police told the Telegraph at the weekend that his force was unable to cope with the increase in murder investigations in recent times and that he may be forced to ask neighboring forces for help.

Sources show that the number
of cases have increased from 1 per
year pre-2001 to 21 annual
cases currently
Overstretched - Police Chief Steve Green

Allen accused the force of inefficiency and questioned the management of the officers. Claiming that such comments in the media were bad for police morale.

"handcuffed by political correctness and paperwork"

Michael Howard, tory leader claimed that the police were being "handcuffed by political correctness and paperwork" He stated that a police force under a Conservative Government would face lower paperwork burdens and a reduction of targets, allowing them to be more efficient in controlling crime.

This will become a serious election issue - the question will be not whether the government are spending enough money on the police force, but are they letting police spend it effectively?

The Conservative message is clear - cut the red tape, invest in modern equipment and allow officers to do their job - fight crime.

The Government's message is also clear - Stop complaining and buck up!

The Telegraph has this to say
The BBC carries this story

What's in a name?

by Captain Oates

It strikes me that if you wish to create a military training academy, without a sinister air, shroud of mystery or a sense of foreboding, don't call it Deepcut!

Sunday, 13 March 2005

Thought for the day.

by Ted Hoffman

People are always so impressed by my humanity when they discover how steadfastly opposed to the death penalty I am. I don't see why. It's my own ass I'm looking out for.
From Jay Pinkerton

Saturday, 12 March 2005

Repeating a lie does not make it true

by Charles Pooter

I watched Comic Relief last night. It was mostly un-funny, but one thing I found interesting was the increased number of reports about projects in the UK that are being funded by Comic Relief. Presumably this is because, rightly or wrongly, a subset of their potential donors have become cynical about their charity going to Africa.

One of the reports was about domestic violence and about Comic Relief's funding of women's refuges. This is all very admirable, but the one thing that put me off donating any money was the repetition of the following bogus statistic:

"1 in 4 women in the UK experience domestic violence in their lifetime".
You can read a thorough debunking of this statistic here. As I've said before, I'm amazed people think these kinds of obvious distortions of language and statistics in any way help the people they are intended to help. They just stop people like me from donating money.

Won't someone please think of the lobsters?

by Ted Hoffman

There has been an ongoing protest outside a pub not far from where I live; I saw it driving past a week ago, but reading the local paper today made it clear what it was all about. The pub has a 'Lobster Festival' running this month, which just consists of it selling lobster in various forms. The best way to cook lobster apparently is to boil it alive, as the flesh degrades rapidly after it dies.

Anyway this has annoyed the usual crowd who usually get annoyed over these things; they have picketed the place pretty much every day, and graffitied the wall with 'Scum' and 'Free the lobsters'. Looking around the web for some more information led me here:

On a bitterly cold day banners and placards denouncing the suffering that lobsters are forced to endure before they end up on some carnivores plate lined the roadside next to the premises. The honks of support from passing motorists were encouraging as ever, activists know this place will be losing customers now and in the future.

I think they may be disappointed, the protest is not working very well. The chap who runs the pub has told the local paper that he has sold over 500 portions so far, and the protest has raised the profile of the festival so much that he plans to hold another one in the summer. It is hardly a surprise, I wouldn't expect the general public to have too much time for this scraggly group and their oddly precious views about lobsters.

One of the chefs from the halfway house who looked only a little over 16 came out briefly to show his sad immaturity, he was heckled back and decided to retreat back into the safety of the kitchens pretty quickly.

A good wholesome demo this afternoon spent educating the public about the suffering caused by humans to these majestic ocean animals.

The immaturity of this youth would have been in stark contrast to the grown adults outside holding placards saying 'House of death', and heckling 16 year olds. Even on it's own terms the whole thing is pretty stupid, after all their problem isn't with the lobster being dead, rather the nature of it's death, otherwise they would have to picket the Sunday roast or prawn cocktail. I don't imagine the lobster particularly enjoys being boiled, I probably wouldn't except it if it didn't make the thing taste better, but you would have to be pretty highly-strung to give too much of a sh!t. It is after all, only a lobster.

Anyway, if anyone is in the west midlands please show support for this establishment.

"..but it also makes me taste better, what cruel god created me this way?"

Friday, 11 March 2005

PWLVS (Part 3)

by Ted Hoffman

I'm in two minds about this one, but I'm keen to continue the middle eastern leaders theme established by myself and bogol.

Dr. ShipmanAyatollah Ali Khamenei

Thursday, 10 March 2005


by Ted Hoffman

Interesting character this Gareth Peirce, she's the lawyer currently representing the Belmarsh and Guantanamo Bay detainees, and by all accounts doing so pretty successfully.

She has a long history of taking on such cases, including representing the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six. Emma Thompson received an Oscar nomination for portraying her in the film 'In the name of the father'.

Gareth, funny name that for a woman.

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

moamar quadafi

by Ted Hoffman

There's an amusing look-alike available from the mighty bogol. I'll redouble my efforts and try and top it.


by Dom Corrigan

I saw an expert on biological aging speak, I think it was last year, who I remember saying, (I paraphrase a little)

"The first person to live to 250 may already have been born"

Which I was very encouraged by, planning to live to 250 myself. In the light of that, this interesting short post on Gene Expression was a bit disappointing,

While discussing aging with a colleague, she mentioned that the latest theory is that DNA damage is the proximal cause of aging, and that strategies to cure aging will be limited to future generations by this fact.

I was going to write more about this, and how dons have to exaggerate their research, to make baseless or unscientific comments and to package years of study into a soundbite, in order to keep their jobs. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the speaker, the date or the location of the talk, so the details are missing. Evidently my DNA is already hopelessly oxidised and I'll be put out to pasture as soon as I finish my PhD.

Monday, 7 March 2005

Here lies a "Gent"

by Dom Corrigan

From an article on the crumbling fabric of Shakespeare's burial church in today's Independent, we learn that the records pertaining to his burial are rather brief, reading only,

"Will Shakespeare, Gent."

I rather like that.

Sunday, 6 March 2005

People who look vaguely similar (Part 2)

by Ted Hoffman

Phantom (The Ghost Who Walks)Shabina Begum

People who look vaguely similar (Part 1)

by Ted Hoffman

Bashar AssadCaptain Darling

Friday, 4 March 2005

and finally....

by Ted Hoffman

Sudan's ambassador has written to the Food Standards Agency, asking it to change the name of Sudan 1 to prevent further harm to Sudan's reputation.

Sudan 1 has written to the UN demanding that the Sudan be renamed to prevent further damage to the reputation of the cancer causing dye.

Thursday, 3 March 2005

Change of plans

by Ted Hoffman

IBM have had this TV advert running for a while, the transcript can be read here (second one down). It goes by the name of 'Paris-London' and features two business chaps in opposite parts of the world. Whatever work they do keeps changing, and wherever it is they are meant to be seems to alter by the second. Modern technology, which we here at LMWN fully support, has allowed them to work in this fashion, but that doesn’t mean doing so is a good idea.


by Dom Corrigan

A headline in today's Times caught my beady eye,

Jackson spin-doctor recalls PR disaster

Not being a celeb watcher, having just read a recent Oliver Kamm article, and having been indoctrinated to connect "spin" with "Labour", my first thought was that this was about Robert Jackson, rather than his more famous (surely "honest"? -Ed) brother Michael.

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

by Charles Pooter

Interesting piece by the BBC's Jon Silverman on the effects of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which allows something called the Assets Recovery Agency to confiscate property from British subjects without a criminal trial. The most disturbing bit of the article is this:

"From next year, with the police and other agencies set to keep half of all assets seized, many more such orders will be applied for, whatever the legal objections."
Talk about unintended consequences. This will set up some interesting incentives for cash-strapped or just plain greedy police forces:

"Excuse me sir, would you mind telling me how you paid for this rather expensive looking car?"

"I won some money on the horses officer and bought the car with cash."

"A likely story sir. [Speaks into radio] Control, can you tell Sarge that we can afford that gold-plated toilet after all."

Holy crap, he was right!

by Ted Hoffman

Still plenty of time for things to f*ck up of course. Though if events go as they appear that they might be going, George W Bush will be putting on his cowboy boots and performing an impromptu dance called 'I was right all along, you bastards' - and I for one will be joining him.

Please excuse the language in this post.

Wednesday, 2 March 2005

An Observation

by Dom Corrigan

Reading Harry today I discovered that the Observer newspaper has started its own blog.

Harry writes,

Already there are commenters to the Nick Cohen post claiming the Observer Blog can't be a blog because it is not independent of the Guardian media company.

I don't think people should get worried about 'big media' blogging. There might be a case for concern if such media were buying up existing bloggers...but a paper setting up a site for their journalists to blog isn't a threat to anyone, its just another addition to the big mix.

And, as usual, Harry's pretty much bang on. The thing is, given the hotshot journos who write for it, most of the writing on the Observer's new blog doesn't really grab me. Now, it could be that this is because they're a bunch of Lefties, but I read and enjoy the brilliant Oliver Kamm, Crooked Timber and Normblog daily.

It could be that they are essentially writers for the Guardian, an organ whose credibility has been largely fisked out of existence by erm, more or less everyone. We've even had a go.

No. What makes a good blog is enthusiasts who think, have an opinion and write well. The Observer's blog has writers who are skillful with words, and have an opinion, but having used their best thoughts in their published work, can they really write something different? Is there any reason for us to go there, rather than to the newspaper or to the multitude of other great blogs out there? I do not believe so. While there are some good corporate blogs out there, the great blogs belong to the independents. May it always be so...

"How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill;

* * * *
"The man is freed from servile hands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
Lord of himself though not of lands
And, having nothing, yet hath all.

An anthem for bloggers?

Naughty, naughty, Mr. Naughtie

by Charles Pooter

"We get from time to time people saying you're biased in favour of the Labour Party. Every time I ask people - show me a case of that bias, explain to me where we got it wrong and why what we said was so unfair - they seem to be unable to do so."
- BBC correspondent Andrew Marr, 11 May 2001

"If we win the election, does Gordon Brown want to remain
- James Naughtie, Today programme presenter, BBC Radio 4, interviewing Ed Balls, former chief economic adviser at the Treasury, today (2nd March 2005).

Audio here, about 5 minutes in (found via comment on Biased BBC).


by Ted Hoffman

Personally I couldn't give two hoots if Shabina Begum was allowed to wear whatever it was she was trying to wear. I can certainly do without the self important speech that she chose to give afterwards.

"...rather it was a consequence of an atmosphere that has been created in Western societies post 9/11, an atmosphere in which Islam has been made a target for vilification in the name of the 'war on terror',"
"It is amazing that in the so-called free world I have to fight to wear this attire."
Get a grip! It is not amazing; having a school uniform policy that is limited in some way is hardly an example of tyranny.

You need never miss a post!!

by Captain Oates

We have installed a new gizmo, which will notify you by e-mail as and when we update this page, so you need never miss a post!!

Click here to visit the link, or scroll to the bottom of the blogroll to find the link yourself.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2005

New term fails to go off with a bang!!

by Captain Oates

Reading through a back copy of the Telegraph today, I noticed an article which was worthy of note. The story centers around a 14 or 15 year old public school boy from Suffolk, who had been busying himself with a bizarre chemistry project over half term.

The boy had idled away the hours of the holiday with his chemistry set, and a downloaded page from the internet. He proudly took the fruit of his labors along to show-and-tell and presented his chemistry master with a home made sample of "Napalm." The master was decidedly unimpressed and simply exclaimed "OH GOD!" before calling for help.

The Police were called, who in turn called in the Bomb squad based in Colchester. The bomb squad agreed that the substance was "potentially harmful" and needed to be removed and disposed of. This gave the pupils the afternoon off school, as the chemistry lab and adjoining classrooms were all evacuated, to allow the bomb squad room to work.

"The teacher just reacted with
horror and said: 'Oh my God'."

A spokesman from the military said "It was not actually napalm, but we are not disclosing what it was. We removed the substance and disposed of it safely."

No news has been forthcoming about the boy's educational future, but you can be sure he would have been expelled from a state school for pulling such a prank. He's just lucky he'd finished his napalm before the new anti terrorism laws come into being. Although - this youngster could cause more damage under house arrest methinks!!

The recipe for the napalm substitute is disturbingly easy to find, a quick internet search using fairly unimaginative search terms comes up trumps almost instantly.

One suggests that DIY napalm production is perhaps not the safest pastime, and anybody planning on creating a homemade airstrike is thoroughly discouraged. Why go to the hastle and potential danger of making the stuff yourself, when you can buy it online here!?

Ain't it about time?

by Charles Pooter

This one slipped me by. I don't know when it happened, but Ain't It Cool News has finally been given a facelift. I've been visiting this site since I first started using the interwebs in 1996 and its layout has been pretty much static since then. In my opinion this is a landmark event. The site will remain my primary source of movie news and more importantly of state of the art insults (from the famously venomous "talkbacks" on the site, where visitors don't hold back on their opinions of films and of the site's portly propreitor Mr. Harry Knowles of Austin, Texas). Now if only Harry would give the site an RSS feed...

One in seven UK children in poverty: bullshit!

by Charles Pooter

The Guardian's appropriately named Sarah Left uncritically reports on a Unicef press release claiming that "Despite government efforts to improve the living conditions of poor children, the UK still has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world". Rather predictably, poverty is defined in relative terms rather than as an absolute measure of wealth (or the lack of it). In this case poverty is defined "as households with income below 50% of the national average ". I'm sure I don't need to point out to readers of this weblog how meaningless this is. What amazes me is how anyone who likes to think of themselves as progressive can still cling to the idea that these kinds of obvious distortions of language and statistics in any way help the poor or underprivileged of the world. Is there really still anybody who believes that stagnant equality is superior to economic growth with inequality but plenty of social mobility?