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Death By Exploding Mollusc

December 6, 2010



On 26 July 1953, a 25 year-old Cuban revolutionary named Fidel Castro led about 150 men in an attack on Moncada barracks, the strongest garrison of Fulgencio Batista, Cuba’s dictator and a puppet of American interests, corporate, criminal and political.

Dozens of Castro’s men were killed in battle, and Castro was captured and charged with treason. At his trial, he delivered an impassioned two-hour closing argument that was widely circulated under the title History Will Absolve Me!

Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but a public groundswell called for amnesty, and Castro was released in 1955 and went into exile in Mexico.

On November 26, 1956, Castro and a group of 81 followers, mostly Cuban exiles, set out from Veracruz, Mexico, aboard the yacht Granma bound for Cuba.

The rebels landed at Playa Las Coloradas close to Los Cayuelos near the eastern city of Manzanillo on December 2, 1956. In short order, most of Castro’s men were killed, dispersed, or taken prisoner by Batista’s forces. While the exact number is in dispute, it is agreed that no more than twenty of the original eighty-two men survived the bloody encounters with the Cuban army and succeeded in fleeing to the Sierra Maestra mountains.

The group of survivors included Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, and Camilo Cienfuegos. Those who survived were aided by people in the countryside. They regrouped in the Sierra Maestra in Oriente province and organized a column under Fidel Castro’s command.

On Jan.8, 1959, Castro’s victorious army rolled into Havana.

Castro claims to have survived 634 attempts on his life, mainly masterminded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. They involved poison pills, a toxic cigar, exploding molluscs, a chemically tainted diving suit and powder to make his beard fall out so as to undermine his popularity.

In four weeks, it’ll be the 62nd anniversary of Castro’s triumphant entry into Havana. Let’s have poems on revolution, revolutions and revolutionary leaders. Up the rebels…

  1. December 6, 2010 4:15 PM

    The Yankee imperialists thought you were a gastro-
    nome, so they thought to kill you with an exploding mollusc
    but it was Mowbray’s squid and a load of bollocks.

  2. December 6, 2010 5:57 PM

    Minus 9 here.

    One of my other half’s prized, years-old succulents has bitten the dust. It’s been in the porch and survived many cold winters but not this one. A household mourns.

    I went flying on the pavement this lunchtime. That must be why I doggedly defended Craig Raine – it’s what you do in situations of mild shock. Apologies for anything I wrote – I was in a state that……obviously thought Craig Raine was worth defending. There’s no medical name for it as yet.

    No sign of the big society out gritting the roads. Come the revolution they are going to be the first ones up against the wall.

  3. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 6, 2010 6:08 PM

    A song for winter…

  4. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 6, 2010 6:15 PM

    You’ve got a Raine haemorrhage there, ET.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 6, 2010 8:47 PM

      ! It’s a sub-zero haematoma.

      Sorry, just looking in for a minute…
      hope you’re ok, ET.

    • December 6, 2010 9:20 PM

      No harm done thanks hic though my defence of Raine could well be used against me if I ever attain the status of being hip and cool.

      I imagine it’s far worse in freepland

  5. December 6, 2010 6:35 PM

    Very good MM broke the succulent-gloom and opened up a wealth of possibilities for future use. To be saved for a last minute winner in injury time on PotW methinks.

  6. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 7:04 PM

    Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after Auden

    The Leon In Winter

    Poor Lev; he was never quite like other boys.
    The Winter revolution in the nursery was a shock;
    he raised the class-consciousness of all his toys
    and ordered his rocking horse to no longer rock.

    At college, while other lads were chasing girls,
    behaving badly and getting inebriated;
    Lev was thinking of the workers of the world
    and how they might be liberated.

    He was combative and up for loud dramas;
    you might even say, a bit of a prick;
    you didn’t need to be Nostrodamus
    to know his future featured an ice-pick.

    But that’s what happens, if ‘the people’ you’d save:
    the bastards will smile while they dig you a grave

  7. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 9:33 PM

    Apparently, Glaswegians call cunnilingus ‘growling at the badger’. I wish I’d known this when we discussing badgers the other day. Damn.

    • reine permalink
      December 6, 2010 9:59 PM

      Sure it wasn’t at the beaver? Of course you’re sure, forty lashes for me. Please.

  8. December 6, 2010 10:02 PM

    The revolution will not be televised
    At least not on terrestrial TV
    But it will be available pay-per-view
    Presented by Chiles, and in HD


    Mishari, I have a vague memory of you mentioning the Pyat novels a while ago. I’ve finally picked up the first, which was gathering dust on a shelf for upwards of 15 years. Now on number three and completely enraptured/entertained/scandalised.

    Weirdly, Pyat’s sojurn in Hollywood coincides with a weekend spent watching silent movies: Haxan, Pandora’s Box, Sunrise. I’m working through a 1996 ‘century of film’ style list. Great stuff but nothing I’ve not heard of before. Anyone know of any strange delights from the early days of cinema?

  9. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 10:27 PM

    I loved the Pyat books, XB. Moorcock at the height of his considerable powers. You don’t know whether to love Pyat or be horrified by him; I settled for both….and speaking of Moorcock, the other day I heard Julian Assange of wikileaks notoriety referred to as ‘Elric of Melbourne’…well, it made me laugh. [To get this joke, you need to know that Michael Moorcock wrote a series of sword and sorcery novels in the late 60s/early 70s featuring an albino hero named ‘Elric of Melnibone’-Sad Nerd Ed.]

  10. December 6, 2010 10:43 PM

    Elric, yes. Perfect.

    Pyat is monstrous but loveable for the reasons the greatest characters are loveable; he is naive, endlessly optimistic, completely delusional and finally tragic. As Mrs Corneilus says, ‘yor the softest touch in the world, Ivan, for all your ‘orrible ways’. Also, his terrifying right-ring views and racism are undercut constantly – and very cleverly on Moorcock’s part – by his humanity and generosity. He very rarely does any real harm.

    Did I say, I saw Moorcock give a Q&A this year after a screening of the Jerry Cornelius movie the Final Programme. His first act was to apologise to everyone who had paid to see it.

    Why a badger, I wonder? Why not officiating the otter, calling to the coypu or (in the case of redheads or the elderly) snarling at the squirrel? Which species is predominant in the Glasgow region?

  11. reine permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:45 PM

    Shay Gobhaire * is a Mayo man
    Lives in a cast-off caravan
    From which he directs a revolution
    Against Shell’s encroaching pollution
    Of his land

    “Shell to Sea” emblazoned on its side
    Shay tries his best to catch the tide
    Of zeitgeistic oppression
    Hard in a recession
    When jobs are at stake

    People call to Shay for tea
    The priest began a rosary
    “Think of the children
    It’s bewilderin’
    This is their future”

    “A future which may blow up in their face
    Isn’t this my very case?”
    Said Shay to the old padre
    Back from the missions near Sierra Madre
    “What the fuck do you know about gas?”

    “Jesus may have walked on water
    but what about my son and daughter?
    Look, father, I know you mean well
    But this isn’t bloody dingly dell
    A price is on our heads”

    And so Shay continues in his fight
    To move the pipe with all his might
    Out into the Atlantic
    Decrease the feel of frantic
    In his corner of the world.

    *the Irish “bh” is sounded “v”

  12. Captain Ned permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:45 PM

    Try Raymond Bernard’s ‘The Chess Player’ (1927), a bizarre melodrama set in the days of the Polish struggle from independence from Russia. There’s a glorious sequence which cuts between the heroine (whom the rebels have adopted as the spirit of their revolution) tearfully bashing out a nationalist song on a piano, and a large-scale battle ending in a catastrophic defeat for the Poles. The pony-tailed hero, now a wanted man, is disguised by a sympathetic aristocratic inventor as a chess-playing automaton, touring the courts of Europe and beating all challengers until he fetches up at the court of Catherine the Great, an old friend of the aristocrat. The climax involves a crime of lèse majesté, and an army of automata coming to life. Amazingly, part of this is based on a true story.

    ‘The Unknown’ (1927) is a Tod Browning-directed horror movie starring Lon Chaney as Alonzo the Armless, a limb-deficient knife-throwing circus performer in love with a very young Joan Crawford. Only he isn’t armless at all, just pretending. No-one suspects him, then, after he strangles the girl’s over-protective father. Complications arise when the heroine falls for a handsome strongman, provoking the jealous Alonzo to plot another fiendish murder…

    ‘Gunnar Hedes Saga’ (1923) is a Swedish film based on the novel by Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf. Young Gunnar is delighted by his nanny’s tales of his fiddle-playing grandfather, who became rich by herding reindeer. His proud mother forbids him to hear such tales, however, not wishing to have the family’s humble origins discussed. Years later, having given up his dreams of becoming a fiddle-player, Gunnar begins to study engineering, but after his father’s death he chucks that all in, and resolves to make his fortune as his grandfather did, by herding wild reindeer. The trip is a disaster; after Gunnar is dragged many miles through the snow by a reindeer, he starts to hallucinate, and becomes insane. Will the love of a beautiful but poor young woman cure him?

  13. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 10:52 PM

    Great stuff, Reine and some tasty leads from Ned.

    I think that’s exactly right, XB. Pyat’s unpleasantly reactionary and racist views are more the product of ignorance than malice and are undercut, as you say, by his courage and kindness (unlike, say, Flashman). And one can’t help but be touched by his absurd vanity and delusional romanticism..

  14. Captain Ned permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:02 PM

    Oh, and I can’t leave out one of my favourites, Jacques Feyder’s remarkable ‘Visages d’enfants’, filmed in 1922 but not released until three years later. Set in the Swiss Alps, it involves a sensitive boy who loses his mother and fails to adjust to his father’s remarriage. It boasts three of the most astonishingly natural child performers I’ve ever seen, and for the most part is a marvel of subtle observation of well-meaning human misunderstandings and cross-purposes. It gradually builds up to a marvellously emotional melodramatic crescendo. Plus, the actor playing the father is the spitting image of Michael Vaughan.

    Just watched a documentary about so-called ‘Krautrock’. I was delighted by Damo Suzuki describing himself as a ‘metaphysical transporter’, and Iggy Pop waxing lyrical about ‘pastoral psychedelicism’. Those were the days… if only I’d been there.

  15. reine permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:06 PM

    Thanks Mishari – it’s a big issue in a very tiny part of north Mayo. Causing huge discord in the local community which is literally riven by opposing factions.

    Licking the lobster … any takers?

  16. December 6, 2010 11:11 PM

    Thanks, Ned! Funnily, in the Pyat chapter I’m currently reading he befriends Lon Chaney. Chaney was, apparently, ‘very free with his expenses’.

    I have heaps of Krautrock (or kosmische as it’s now called); where was the documentary? Let me know and I’ll bring you 6GB of Faust, Can, Amon Duul II, Popol Vuh et al when we next meet.

    It’s the delusional romaticism that hooks it, Mishari; like Quixote. It’s astonishing that, having spent twenty years creating glorious imaginary worlds of science fantasy, Moorcock turned everything he’d learned to making the mid-twentieth century just as alien, fantastical and horrifying as any fantasy creation. And the bastard’s still going…

    • Captain Ned permalink
      December 7, 2010 10:55 PM

      You’ll be able to watch the documentary on BBC4 iPlayer until Friday.

  17. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 11:14 PM

    Wallop the scallop.

    Plate the piranha

    Tussle with the mussel

    Sorry..I’ll stop now.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 7, 2010 2:40 AM

      not to mention
      moistening the roisterous oyster.

      who said that?

  18. December 6, 2010 11:15 PM

    XB try the animation of Ladislaw Starewicz ( there’s a great one of insects at a ball ) or the documentaries of Jean Painleve which are sort of strange nature films – the one about vampires is genuinely disturbing.

  19. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 11:18 PM

    That’s very true, XB. Mother London and King of The City, for example….

  20. December 6, 2010 11:35 PM

    Thanks, ET. I just found a post from you on my blog from August, waiting to be approved! Shameful tardiness on my part. Many apologies. I’m just putting something new up there, now.

  21. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 11:37 PM

    I posted this song ages ago but it was someone else’s vid with just a static pic of RN so I made my own. What the hell…you can’t hear this song too often:

  22. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 11:59 PM

    There is a delicious irony in the fact that it is now the so-called liberal democracies that are clamouring to shut WikiLeaks down.

    Consider, for instance, how the views of the US administration have changed in just a year. On 21 January, secretary of state Hillary Clinton made a landmark speech about internet freedom, in Washington DC, which many people welcomed and most interpreted as a rebuke to China for its alleged cyberattack on Google.

    “Information has never been so free,” declared Clinton. “Even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.”

    She went on to relate how, during his visit to China in November 2009, Barack Obama had “defended the right of people to freely access information, and said that the more freely information flows the stronger societies become.

    He spoke about how access to information helps citizens to hold their governments accountable, generates new ideas, and encourages creativity.” Given what we now know, that Clinton speech reads like a satirical masterpiece.

    One thing that might explain the official hysteria about the revelations is the way they expose how political elites in western democracies have been deceiving their electorates.

    The leaks make it abundantly clear not just that the US-Anglo-European adventure in Afghanistan is doomed but, more important, that the American, British and other Nato governments privately admit that too.

    The problem is that they cannot face their electorates – who also happen to be the taxpayers funding this folly – and tell them this.

    The leaked dispatches from the US ambassador to Afghanistan provide vivid confirmation that the Karzai regime is as corrupt and incompetent as the South Vietnamese regime in Saigon was when the US was propping it up in the 1970s.

    And they also make it clear that the US is as much a captive of that regime as it was in Vietnam.

    The WikiLeaks revelations expose the extent to which the US and its allies see no real prospect of turning Afghanistan into a viable state, let alone a functioning democracy.

    They show that there is no light at the end of this tunnel. But the political establishments in Washington, London and Brussels cannot bring themselves to admit this.–John Naughton, The Groan, today

    Naughton, by the way, wrote an excellent book about the origins and development of the internet called A Brief History of the Future. Well worth reading.

  23. December 7, 2010 12:39 AM

    I’m surprised by the fuss; lying seems to have become such an accepted part of politics that it’s strange anyone should be upset. Blair and Bush seemed almost boosted in confidence when their lies were exposed – the point being that they could behave with brazen dishonesty, be exposed, and still retain their status and primacy.

  24. freep permalink
    December 7, 2010 12:42 AM

    Like you, Ed, I slipped and tumbled on the ice, outside the Library in Newcastle today. A kind young man, a student, helped me up and consoled me. He looked at me in the way the young look at pensioners, as if to say, ‘should you be out in this weather old chap?’ but when I smiled and said nothing was broken, there was disappointment on his clear brow, as if he was denied dramatic fulfilment. My smile was false; not because of a bust femur, but because I had wanted to be helped up and consoled by the exotic young fur clad female student behind him, who I imagined was a massage student. My advice Ed is to fall well.

    Revolution. All I can think of is Aleppo, no better for rhyming than Kropotkin, so will work on some other anarchists. Do you live near the Freedom Press bookshop off Whitechapel Road, Mishari? Used to be a fun place 40 years ago.

  25. December 7, 2010 12:47 AM

    Oh, and a long-overdue new blog-post here. (I’m experimenting with HTML, so forgive me if there’s a mess).

  26. December 7, 2010 12:55 AM

    Do they teach massage in our universities, now? No wonder the degenerate illiterates know no better than to vandalise our hallowed bastions of moral strength.

    I worked in Millbank Tower for three years. I imagine several of my old colleagues were hemmed in or menaced by the students. Ironic, as their job is to provide payroll for public sector workers in the court service. Still, vive le revolution and all that.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 7, 2010 2:35 AM

      University taught me nothing so practical as massotherapy, Exit… and tell me, why are red-heads lumped into the squirrel category with the aged? Answer me that, sirrah!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 7, 2010 2:37 AM

      Oh, I see now: red squirrel, grey squirrel.
      Sorry. Impetuous of me.

  27. freep permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:19 AM

    It’s always possible Sheppey College of Body Technology may now offer a B.A. course in Massage and Creative Oilings, exitb. But I only imagined such thins as I lay cold and broken in the slush. Will absorb your interesting piece on women of the 60s ….

  28. hic8ubique permalink
    December 7, 2010 2:49 AM

    Does everyone know about Yaktrax?

    They’re no good (ie. skittery) on pavement/macadam, but on
    universal ice and snow they give excellent traction.
    Not expensive and stretch onto any boots.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      December 7, 2010 8:49 AM

      Yeah. I’ve tried these. They’re OK at -41°C but as soon as you hit -42°C, your feet slip from under you like an ungainly 54-year-old at the local ice rink.

      Or was it 53?

    • mishari permalink*
      December 7, 2010 8:58 AM

      I find that a team of Emperor Penguins yoked to a sled serve my purposes well. At first, they were a bit on the slow side, but I found that mixing amphetamine sulphate into their sardine and fish-finger mash worked wonders.

      We drew many an admiring look when we attended the opera the other night.

  29. BoringShyTVCritic permalink
    December 7, 2010 7:52 AM

    How Snow Falls

    From the sky
    Feels wet, looks dry
    A kind of powder
    Dampish smell of chowder
    Dried into one’s coat

    On you and me
    Dandruffed hair
    Takes care
    To hit softly

    With little warning
    Night or morning
    Ta-dah, close your eyes
    Its whiteness belies
    Its terror

    Tentatively testing the ground
    Without sound
    No bells or whistles
    Coverall for thistles
    And other irritations

    Lovely I know

    Growling at the badger
    Walloping the scallop
    Tussled by the mussel
    Moistening the oyster
    Consoled by an exotic
    Fur clad, middle-aged
    Old-bag faggot-camp
    Clown, snaring badger
    Come above ground
    Level, in the line-breaks
    Krapp’s first ebook peta
    Demonstration, Murphy’s
    Final appearance
    Cuchulain’s first curtain
    Call on page eighty-five,

    Tell Jock Genton, you
    Need to speak with us
    We swear no Lie exists
    Everything is reasonable
    In Iraq, Afghanistan, yes
    Unlike Vietnam, what,
    How fucking dare you
    Boomers swan off into
    Sunset satiated, full

    Lies, zero-truth, a goup
    Of gangster diplomats
    Waving military carrots
    Sticking their armies in
    Iraq on the basis of tru
    Misinformation, CIA
    MI6 Operation Mass
    Docility, shout in face
    Torture does not exist
    Death is a release
    We are all normal, us
    Tell you, get it or die
    We make war on Terror
    Seek it out, sniff cables
    Cabals of International
    Community liars, fraud
    Above wars & reasons,
    For 9/11”s destructive
    Lies, miscalculations
    Never as it was, until
    The WH Bank is happy
    We are slaves, bought
    And paid for, ourselves
    Lost in the Fox, Murder
    Inc Bullshit Lies News.

    Turn it off, do not fear
    Terrorists in Afghanistan
    Availing of Corporate care,
    Private enterprise works
    The war on terror we are
    Proud of, our Homeland
    Security, TSA, Global
    Government, US Winner

    A war to be proud of

    Our War on Terror, B&B
    Official Invasion Propaganda
    Manifest music of what happens
    In our own war, IMF,
    International music fund
    Dreaming on a cloud
    Agent Orange, weapons
    Of mass destruction
    We use, Corporate Rule
    By Military might
    Power of the United Bank
    World accountants
    Raiding leveraged, asset
    Strip nations, their billions
    Gone, disappeared, erm
    Dunno, feck off, we aint
    Your America & never was,

    But broken shadow play,
    Lights turning off and on.

    It’s not the same old set
    Being believed anymore.

    Like the old elapsed memory
    awakened with a clear flake
    cold on the face,

    this new light before
    our eyes, a twinge of truth.

    Something indefinable
    satisfying our hearts,

    this snow falls and lands
    silent upon our face,
    and drifts into the heart.

    Love drifting into shapes
    that cannot melt,
    this is how the snow falls

    But time to go

    Reine, Boring Shy TV Critic, Soaring Skys call, away come away to the hill of a Gruntian poem of the week blog

    Raine Raine, Go Away, i stumbled across via David Wheatley, a university lecturer, the poor extra South Dublin intellectual culturally orphaned in Hull as a very significant twitcher & classy bloke with a few books out, at 26 his prose was the best in England, a veritable hot prospect published by Peter Fallon, craggy Raine’s favourite, most trusted, beloved brother-in-bard, perhaps; perhaps not, no one knows except these two poets, and until either communicate to me, the veracity of any claim which suggests or informs us readers, what the tru state of poetic play is between these two artist-editor-publishers, one is in the bardic dark, ages before the beginning of it with Homer & Shapcott, Martian-schooled senior poets wafting in print, our suspension of reality, passages of time it takes to manifest on our page, stage, in anecdotes & tall tales, fictions invented for a purpose of suspending one’s disbelief & imagination, making it Show Real Quare Princess Ogham Nut Majesty, Lo-Key Halloo Jah veteran has been i, unwell at the six-one news, pompous deluded public broadcast servants, there to serve a special interest community of the sovereign people’s Republic state of consciousness that carries a nation and fix the state of Ireland, make Her people laugh again, better this time, less grand and forgetful, dort board LUAS schooled red and green-liners, turning left or right, at Christchurch the choice was settled, normal, nice affluent Irish, or terrifying scanger demanding ye empty ye fuckin pocket, right now ye tunic, off, take it fecking off, right now ye tunc, bend away, ooh urm Brendan, Not The Politely Homicidal Poster Poets Blog again tonite, chatting doggerel, charm, poetic squibs, salvagable as a Narrator once again, narrating once again the high talk, ploughboy & the prince, faux moo shy tv critic, bi, 48, smokes, drinks, long term unreliable drug addict; must like pain, sorrow, misery & PVC games, tall, 5’5, size four, likes dressing up, very small penis, recently ended relationship with sex partner of fifty years, can accomodate, enjoy being humilated & growling at the badger.

    Boring Shy TV Critic.

  30. December 7, 2010 9:43 AM

    Given that 75mg’s of aspirin per day can reduce your chances of getting cancer by 25% I’m taking 300mg’s and reducing the risk completely.

  31. December 7, 2010 9:51 AM

    exitbarnadine: Grace Slick? Joni Mitchell?

  32. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:44 AM

    Danton and Danton

    A braggart and bully, shit in a wig,
    that fat stuffed turbot, that disgusting sham,
    betrayer of patriots, the human pig,
    we deduce that St Just was not a fan.

    And let’s be fair to that gaunt fanatic,
    the turbot had a raging thirst for cash,
    his policies may have been pragmatic,
    but somehow they always increased his stash.

    And yet this barefaced unrepentant crook
    could exhume his wife to see her once more,
    convince the mob to pause or seize the day
    by his ranting on the Convention floor,
    and walking to the guillotine could say,
    Show the people my head. It’s worth a look.

    Georges Danton, one and indivisible,
    the French Revolution made visible.

  33. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:46 AM

    Phew. Big italics job there. Must go and lie down.

  34. December 7, 2010 11:01 AM

    goldgathers: true, I did think of Grace Slick. White Rabbit would certainly fit my criteria. Joni Mitchell, to me, is more in the cerebral singer-songwriter tradition than a pop or rock artist. Or maybe I’m just biased against West Coast artists. The Doors certainly pioneered dark, brooding, Oedipal rock. I just don’t like them very much!

  35. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 7, 2010 12:06 PM

    Laura Nyro seems to have influenced a lot of people. God knows why, but there it is.

  36. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 12:55 PM

    This is how I feel about Craig Raine [Who?-Confused Ed.]

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 7, 2010 1:26 PM

      My fellatio detector is flickering.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 7, 2010 1:32 PM

      What an odd fellow you are, to be sure..

      BTW, I’ve just posted Season 1 of The Walking Dead, The last 3 episodes of SOA and Season 1 of Boardwalk Empire, plus that Tim Moore book about walking to Santiago with a donkey…

      Santa can kiss my arse.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 7, 2010 2:01 PM

      Thanks. I’ll leave a glass of British Sherry and a Tesco mince pie out for you. Don’t get stuck in the chimney this time.

  37. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 12:59 PM

    ..and I must say, I’ve always liked this Jefferson Airplane tune:

  38. December 7, 2010 2:43 PM

    Michael Moorcock!
    I thought I’d read his books en bloc
    I loved Corum and Elric when I was a spotty teen
    but I missed the Pyat ones, know what I mean?

  39. December 7, 2010 2:52 PM

    Didn’t cynicalsteve write a great poem about who would be put up against a wall come the revolution? Wasn’t it the one PotW featured?

    Was going to pen something on that theme myself but remembered that one and put my pen down.

    Off to the Bologna Book Festival tomorrow. Craig Raine, Laura Nyro and the Beastie Boys in a poetry, funk 24 hour slam-a-thon comin’ atcha. Ann Widdecombe’s doing the dancing.

    Oh all right I’m off to Amsterdam which in reality means 36 hours stuck in John Lennon airport in Liverpool waiting for them to clear the snow with a complimentary frappucino to lessen the pain of waiting.

  40. December 7, 2010 4:18 PM

    More on what happens to your free speech when it’s the ‘wrong kind’ of free speech here.

  41. December 7, 2010 9:22 PM

    more like the “wrong kind” that someone is very interested in you reading and believing (legitimized dramatically by Assange’s crucifixion)… which explains why Assange was granted global fame before this passion play was allowed to commence

  42. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 10:13 PM

    Yeah…there’s something awfully fishy about it all, Steven. Why, for example, given all of the tension and doings in and around Israel–Lebanon invasion, Gaza invasion, Israeli murder squad killing a man in a US-allied state, Israeli attack on Syria etc etc–but not a word about any of it.

    Plenty of chatter about fucking Kyrgyzstan but not a word about one of the world’s most volatile hotspots? How likely is that?

  43. December 7, 2010 10:36 PM

    The one good thing to come out of this is Sweden’s mythic “neutral” mask being yanked (npi) right off…

    I “believed” in Assange for a few days early in the year, I must admit… and it taught me a lesson about credulity.

    Not that I think Assange was in on the game from the beginning (or if he was, perhaps he thought he could outsmart them in the end)… I think the bastards duped him with the weight of his own hubris. When they finally sprung the trap (after he performed his duties), it became obvious that there were no Wikicontingency plans and that this supposed master-strategist really thought he could “stick it to the man” while being hosted by and relying on the services of PayPal and MasterCard et al!

    Difficult to believe he won’t end up, sooner or later, in a little room on US soil. Isra…I mean, uh… whoever it was… gets its intended message spread while the US/UK gets to A) enact draconian new anti-internet-free-speech laws B) put the fear of Gawd into future would-whistle-blowers…. win/win. All for the minor price of embarrassing a few diplomats.

    Then a few years down the line, JA will either do a Shayler and turn up in a skirt ranting about UFOs…. or, barely recognizing the photo of a heavy, balding, depressed Assange, we will read about his tragic “suicide”….

  44. hic8ubique permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:37 PM

    A distraction?
    They do it with smoke and mirrors?
    My thoughts turn to chocolate…
    Freep the Bruised (I hope not the Sprained) what sort of chocolate do you like best?
    There’s a bit of extra room in the flat-rate box after two sorts of maple syrup, so you must reveal your secret delicacies.
    Not jujubes, surely? The heavier the better… macadamia nuts?

  45. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 11:11 PM

    It’s pretty obvious whose benefit this is for. No sooner is wikileaks being trumpeted than that vile scumbag Dershowitz, an apologist for murdering children (because, you know… they might grow up to be terrorists i.e. people who object to being murdered and having their land stolen) pops up on CiF raving about bombing Iran because, get this…Saudi Arabia is all for it.

    Beautiful. So, we’re looking to Saudi fucking Arabia for ethical and moral guidance now? It would almost be comical, were it not so depressing..

  46. Reine permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:25 PM

    Was reading about Assange earlier in a bid to distract myself from budget blues…

    “His condom broke and he neglected to tell his partner” … wouldn’t be the first fella to do that. “broke” … was it made of porcelain?

  47. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 11:27 PM

    Not satisfied with 19 years in charge of the gas-rich central Asian state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocratic president of Kazakhstan, urged scientists today to unlock the secret to immortality.

    The 70-year-old leader stressed in a speech that a new scientific research institute in the capital Astana should study “rejuvenation of the organism,” as well as “the human genome, production of human tissue and creation of gene-based medicines”.

    In an aside to students, Nazarbayev added: “As for the medicine of the future, people of my age are really hoping all of this will happen as soon as possible.”–The Graun, today

    Maybe I’m over-sensitive, but I’m getting a distinct whiff of desperation…

  48. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 11:31 PM

    As an Aussie, Assange doubtless uses the ever-popular Sheila Brand, woven from recycled didgeridoos. I understand they’re quite brittle…

  49. Reine permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:35 PM

    That could lead to a discordant bj, I’d wager.

  50. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 11:37 PM

    I’ll bet Rolf Harris would know…tie me kangaroo down, sport, indeed…

  51. Reine permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:39 PM

    Ew, that’s a kangaroo I could happily bounce away from.

  52. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 11:40 PM

    Check it out–The Fab Four and Rolf tie that etc:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 7, 2010 11:49 PM

      That’s too catchy, will bother me now…
      Re, bj took me far too long. Just spell it out!
      (but tm was very fancy.)

  53. mishari permalink*
    December 7, 2010 11:46 PM

    Rockin’ Rolf…ooohhh and it makes me fucking wonder:

  54. December 7, 2010 11:51 PM

    “The court heard Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.”

    When I read this, my blood ran cold and I closed the website immediately, feigning a casual manner, when my wife entered the room…

  55. Reine permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:52 PM

    Miss Given can barely conceal her contempt. I’d wear gloves if I were her. Riotous Rolf.

  56. Reine permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:54 PM

    LOL SA, I had just read that when someone came in to discuss a weighty matter of precedent. Similar theme anyway.

  57. Reine permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:56 PM

    Spell out what Hic, bj? What Rolf gives his didgeridoo. Are my wires (like my legs) crossed?

  58. hic8ubique permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:59 PM

    No, yes, not yours, I just thought…it was …I don’t know.

  59. Reine permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:00 AM

    Ah, you are an innocent abroad really. Good job I’m here for the contrast. Ha ha

  60. December 8, 2010 12:00 AM

    It’ll be so much easier when these screens are projected directly on our retinas and no one else can see them…

  61. December 8, 2010 12:01 AM


    it’s B-E-E J-A-Y

  62. hic8ubique permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:05 AM

    Good job, Re, mm hmm.
    It’s the Stairway flash-back that makes me more naive than latter… no, I can’t. Just carry on.

    Stop it Stephen. So unjust.

  63. hic8ubique permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:06 AM

    I can r e a d: S T E V E N.

  64. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 12:07 AM

    Just showing off my html chops, hic, flashy bastard that I am. I see that a UK judge has refused to grant Assange bail, doubtless fearing that he’ll do a flit…yeah…with MI6, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, Special Branch, every newspaper in the frigging world etc, all camped out in his hip pocket, I can see why that would be a worry.

  65. December 8, 2010 12:08 AM

    I must not be a cynic… I must not be a cynic…

  66. Reine permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:11 AM

    ‘night all, stairway to heaven calls. “Bye, see ya, love ya”.

  67. December 8, 2010 12:11 AM


    Just tugging your pigtail in a Huck Finnish way…!

  68. December 8, 2010 12:13 AM


    same here… off to go weigh down the wife….

  69. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 12:14 AM

    ‘…but I reckon I’ve got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest ’cause Aunt Hic, she aims to civilise me and I caint stand it; I been there before’–Huckleberry Augustine

  70. December 8, 2010 12:16 AM


    Christ yer quick

  71. Reine permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:16 AM

    Well I won’t be playing any didgeridoo tonight … be gentlemanly, unAssange enough, to make sure she is awake.

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:16 AM

    I’m feigning neutrality in a mythic way…!

  73. Reine permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:17 AM

    I might do that!

  74. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 12:17 AM

    One of my favourite books, S. And, I believe, the first great American novel (that is, a novel that unlike, say, Moby Dick, could have been written nowhere else).

  75. December 8, 2010 12:19 AM

    “be gentlemanly, unAssange enough, to make sure she is awake.”

    during or after? surely one of the two will suffice. It’s the cad who counts on neither!

  76. Reine permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:21 AM

    True for you, sir, true for you.

  77. Reine permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:22 AM

    When I stand accused of that I resort to Hic’s “I was just feigning neutrality in a mythic way”. So annoying to have to be woken up to say it though.

  78. hic8ubique permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:25 AM

    weigh down the wife has a good ring.
    being woken up eliminates all sorts of sensible bother, yes?

  79. hic8ubique permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:33 AM

    now you’ve all made me overcook the haddock.

  80. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 12:42 AM

    Is that some Down East euphemism, hic?

    The judge who denied Assange bail said:

    “I am satisfied that there are substantial grounds to believe if I granted him bail he would fail to surrender.”

    Hilarious. Evidently, the judge is too dim to have noticed that Assange did exactly that…this morning.

    Looking into my crystal ball, I see lucrative directorships with Amazon, PayPal, Halliburton etc for Swedish Director of Prosecutions Marianne Ny…

  81. BoringShyTVCritic permalink
    December 8, 2010 1:10 AM

    Assange and a show trial in America, in a high security court on a military complex, chained and in a jumpsuit, or allowed civvy dress, but either way, fifty machine gun toting Brave, brainwashed American kids escaping poverty, prison guards for this highly dangerous individual who merely presented the Truth people like Clinton don’t want coming out, because of blah blah blah, it exposes her hypocrisy?

    The ‘international’ community she speaks of, meaning America & the English speaking Corporate America States, demanding …what exactly?

    We pretend they don’t lies and take an interest in the pressing concerns of the day, hypnotized by their propoganda dominating an unfree press people like Pilger expose as the tool of an Invisible Government seeking to dominate the world by might of force, for the Banks, Bushs, Blairs and handful of obscenely rich families in this world, who agree they are doing it for us, not themselves, deep acting stooges performing financial rape, engaged in a war on truth, a few people deluding themselves, causing mayhem around the world, preparing us to accept ever increasing set of civic restrictions, security measures for a false War on Terror, the innocent victim shtick, exposed for what it is – Lies.

    It is Clinton and the generals, mad on killing an invented enemy, CIA bought and paid for, black-ops, billions in off-the-books secret budgets, spent on…what? Getting us compliant to their nightmare world, a few peoples’ Plan for the Planet, these next few years..

  82. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 1:17 AM

    That’s why I’m going to leave this planet, Des. Just a few wrinkles to work out…

    It’s interesting to read this, from an article in Time Magazine of Jan. 1951:

    The word “American” no longer has a good sound in that part of the world [the Middle East]. To catch the Jewish vote in the U.S., President Truman in 1946 demanded that the British admit 100,000 Jewish refugees to Palestine, in violation of British promises to the Arabs. Since then, the Arab nations surrounding Israel have regarded that state as a U.S. creation, and the U.S., therefore, as an enemy.

    The Israeli-Arab war created nearly a million Arab refugees, who have been huddled for three years in wretched camps. These refugees, for whom neither the U.S. nor Israel will take the slightest responsibility, keep alive the hatred of U.S. perfidy.

    No enmity for the Arabs, no selfish national design motivated the clumsy U.S. support of Israel. The American crime was not to help the Jews, but to help them at the expense of the Arabs. Today, the Arab world fears and expects a further Israeli expansion.

    The Arabs are well aware that Alben Barkley, Vice President of the U.S., tours his country making speeches for the half-billion-dollar Israeli bond issue, the largest ever offered to the U.S. public. Nobody, they note bitterly, is raising that kind of money for them. —Time Magazine, Jan. 1951

    It would be unthinkable for a major US newspaper or magazine to write like this today. The screaming, hysterical accusations of ‘anti-semitism’ would rattle the heavens.

    But note the prescience of “…Today, the Arab world fears and expects a further Israeli expansion.”

    Then read todays New York Times:

    President Barack Obama has abandoned attempts to persuade Israel to slow West Bank settlement activity, officials said Tuesday, dealing a major blow to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and one of the president’s top foreign policy initiatives.

    After months of trying to broker a formula under which Israel would impose a new, temporary settlement freeze in return for U.S. promises and incentives, two American officials said the administration has concluded that course won’t work. The decision was expected to be announced later Tuesday.

    The White House’s bid for a Middle East peace settlement was a longshot from the start, but its apparent breakdown comes at a time when the administration is struggling on a number of fronts abroad.

    There is slow progress in the Afghan war, increasing friction with China and the embarrassing deluge of confidential diplomatic cables released by the website WikiLeaks.

    Yep…it’s those pesky wikileaks again. They certainly seem to be working out well for some people, no?

  83. hic8ubique permalink
    December 8, 2010 2:54 AM

    As you must know, M, Down East they are so taciturn that euphemisms need not be spoken, but hover implicit in the atmosphere.
    Fortuitously, the haddock was not so far gone as I had feared.

    Don’t you be leaving the planet just yet, please… at least not til sometime after they shut down the internet; I’m still working out the kinks in communication through the higher dimensions. It’s do-able, but not usually as much fun~ yet.

  84. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:29 AM

    A great post on David Wilcock’s site.

  85. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 8, 2010 7:34 AM

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 8, 2010 5:04 PM

      Aren’t they beautiful! I love them. Thanks, Des :)

    • December 8, 2010 6:49 PM

      But you guys know that the “UFOs” in this video looks like the kind of lens distortion you get when a pinpoint light-source is out of focus… ? Ie, distant helicopters sporting search lights would generate similar images; when I was a boy, stars and planets looked very much like that through my refractor telescope before focusing.

      I’d like to see the videos shot from immediately under the thingies… why are the camera-wielders always so far away?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 9, 2010 12:45 AM

      Are those phenomena what people mean when they talk about ufos? How funny. They don’t appear out of focus to me Steven.
      (I’m myopic, so I’m all too familiar, and we see plenty of helicopters here on the coast) Lights out of focus have a diffuse aura.
      They don’t look like ‘flying objects’ at all. What I see is an ignition of some sort which generates a field (or several fields) that persist coherently for some time. I’ve not paid any attention to ufos or ‘aliens’ … but those are exquisite. I’d love to see that happening.
      Perhaps it’s an infra-terrestrial agency? Something about the magnetic field reacting with?? I wonder…
      something that manifests as fractal.
      I suppose they could occur during the day and be undetected, washed out in sunlight.
      Do people think the northern lights are evidence of alien beings?

      Along the Steven Augustine train of thinking, I suppose it’s possible the phenomenon is exploited in order to manipulate the populace into a fear of malign alien creatures.
      But they look delightful to me.

    • December 9, 2010 9:38 AM

      “They don’t appear out of focus to me Steven.”

      Hic, if you have a video camera with an auto-focus function and nearby objects (like the foliage in this video) are in the foreground, and pinpoint light sources are in the deep background, the auto-focus will keep the foregrounded objects sharp while leaving the pinpoints of light out of focus. At the 29-second mark, can see the little lights appear to expand as they go out of focus; until that moment, they were just little lights. The foliage in the foreground is confusing the auto-focus function.

      “Along the Steven Augustine train of thinking, I suppose it’s possible the phenomenon is exploited in order to manipulate the populace into a fear of malign alien creatures.”

      No, it’s to sell stuff, Hic.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 9, 2010 12:46 PM

      I’m not challenging your interpretation, S, it’s just that to me they look like piezoelectric phenomena organising around a vertical axis, like spinning tops.

      (Now I must go to the shopping mall to quell my anxiety ;)

    • December 9, 2010 12:56 PM

      Hic! Do you mean some kind of plasma phenom (as in “St. Elmo’s Fire”)? The only piezoelectric phenoms I was ever personally familiar with were the crystals in the receiver of the antediluvian telephone of my childhood… and the spark-generator on my self-igniting gas stove of the 1980s… both back in the days before the science of household appliances had far-outstripped my early-20th-century-style knowledge of physics (laugh)…

  86. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 8:03 AM

    I dunno, Des…Wilcock says:


    …then follows with his ‘evidence’:

    My intuitive data has been very, very consistent in telling me the “negative elite” will not succeed. Any apparent victory they may expect to have is not part of the grander script this planet is being led through — by high-level angelic beings, for lack of a better term. [love that insouciant ‘for lack of a better term’]

    During the last three years I have had at least 200 different dreams all saying the Old World Order will be defeated in a very obvious and dramatic fashion.

    It all sounds a bit gaga, frankly. And what the hell is it with deities and ‘angelic beings’? If they really want to impress, really want to be loved, why don’t they just create paradise on earth.

    I mean, I just don’t get all this ‘upstairs, downstairs, in my lady’s chambers’ crap from omnipotent beings. Why do they have to behave like characters in an especially convoluted John Le Carre novel?

    One of the posters remarks:

    I also wonder that about Julian Assange. He certainly “seems” like he could be an ET. He’s one of those people I just get that vibe off of.

    Erm….right. Because Extra Terrestrials are so diabolically clever and incredibly powerful that they get nicked by UK police and prosecuted by Swedes and have their credit-cards cut off…To Infinity and Beyond!

    If Star Trek had had to deal with aliens like this, the series would have lasted for one episode.

  87. December 8, 2010 11:02 AM

    I like the notion that any creatures so advanced that they can cross the gulf of intra-solar (or inter-galactic) space would then sort of creep around after arriving here… the way I tiptoe around anthills and make sure that I don’t freak out the squirrels, in our garden, by manifesting my god-like powers.

    What’s useful about the “UFO” meme is that you’ll quite often find it bundled with factual (and therefore dangerous) “theories” about government and/or corporate malfeasance… They’re very predictable about discrediting such theories by pairing them with popular nonsense (Elvis/ UFOs/ Bigfoot/ Angels/ 2012, et al) on websites designed for that purpose. If you find otherwise plausible material about evil-doing at the highest levels and two-thirds of the way into the text you stumble across the off-putting apparent non-sequitur of a reference to “Grays” or “Reptilians” or “Angels”… you know you’re onto something. Don’t curl your lip with disgust… don’t think “I’ve just wasted 20 minutes reading crap from a loony”… think, instead: ….aha!

  88. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 11:36 AM

    Admittedly, there’s some interesting stuff on the guy’s webpages, but I’m always irritated by the diversions into UFO, ET stuff…it’s just so unnecessary, unless, of course, that’s the intention (as you say).

    But that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Surely, it’s a simple matter for someone to distil or refine the pertinent info and post it elsewhere, with all the nut-jobbery taken out?

    Reading the dingbat stuff always gives me the sensation I get when I start talking to someone in a pub or at a party and, you know, they seem sane enough.

    Then, without warning, they start coming out with stuff like ‘…the Jews control the world’s satellite networks…black people have smaller brains than white people…the Bush family are shape-shifting lizards from the Crab Nebula…’ and I think ‘Uh-oh…’ and make a great show of examining my watch as I say ‘Jesus, is that the time? Been nice talking to you etc etc…’.

  89. December 8, 2010 1:31 PM

    “But that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Surely, it’s a simple matter for someone to distil or refine the pertinent info and post it elsewhere, with all the nut-jobbery taken out?”

    Those actually interested in revealing any truth, of course, don’t fuck with dropping little merdes in the punchbowl of revelation and do just that (plenty of sites of reliable alternative-journalism: Dave McGowan, John Judge, a lot of Sherman Skolnick and Mae Brussell)… I’m referring to the websites dedicated to destroying any such revelations (a la Icke, Fintan Dunne, and so forth); these tend to have massive traffic and eclipse the genuine truth-giving sites and effectively contaminate the field.

    Then there’s the hucksters turning a profit on the patronage of the fearful-credulous… that’s a big part of it.

    “Reading the dingbat stuff always gives me the sensation I get when I start talking to someone in a pub or at a party and, you know, they seem sane enough.”

    That’s the modus… suck you in with initially persuasive/ plausible material and then (after you’ve invested some time in reading; ie, when the hook is firmly through your cheek) disgust you with utter nonsense, so you discount everything you’ve heard, the sane stuff along with the loony stuff.

    You’ll notice that post-“Loony” Shayler does this; unlike natural loonies, who hit the ground running with the mad stuff (with a very small fraction of non-mad content), he tends to start an interview with reasonable-sounding accusations… a solid three-ten minutes of it… then, suddenly, he’s talking about Angels and Shape-Shifting Lizards (or is that Icke?). Which very neatly discredits the rational content and ensures that audiences will begin tittering the minute you say the word “Rockefeller”… (or whatever). That’s how Disinfo works (not to be confused with the “limited hangout” technique).

    And then there are the actual loonies to contend with….

  90. December 8, 2010 1:42 PM

    Rule of Thumb, re: Conspiracy Hucksters: they will have very slick websites with lots of stuff to sell (as opposed to a couple of cheaply-priced books)… an “Online Store” is usually a very bad sign. If they can be hired to give seminars, they are to be avoided at all costs.

    The genuine article tend to be driven by a compulsion which overrides the desire for money and though they may have books to sell, they usually end up giving away all the info for free.

    Btw: It went largely unnoticed, recently, that an article in the New York Times confirmed the existence of Project Paper Clip… just as MSM confirmed MK Ultra under the Clinton Admin and The Gulf of Tonkin incident was outed, in the NYT, this year, as a false flag…. all of these “theories” being the bedrock of the Permanoid Worldview for the past 30 years or so and the kinds of things you could be laughed out of a cocktail party asserting until very recently. It should make us think.

  91. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 3:46 PM

    No wonder I’m confused–what with the real CIA loonies, the fake CIA loonies, the real CIA fake loonies, the fake CIA real loonies, the loony loonies, John Bolton etc etc. It is, to coin a phrase, a wilderness of mirrors.

    Mind you, I’ve always maintained that rejecting all ‘conspiracies’ as nut-job stuff was evidence that one hadn’t been paying attention. A certain amount of paranoia is not just healthy but vital.

  92. December 8, 2010 3:56 PM

    And let’s not forget “The Fake Book” and “The Real Book” and “The Fake Real Book”…

  93. December 8, 2010 4:01 PM

    BTW: that Time article from January ’51 is sterling stuff… where’d you dig it up?

  94. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:27 PM

    Wilcock comes up with the most positive spin of all the alternative theorists, leaning towards the side of light and love; reflected in the generally benevolent tenor in the hippyesque commenters. The posters on Ben Fulford’s site are more dingbat, most fitting the template Steven and Mishari mention; whilst Icke’s commentators come across as the least credible.

    I don’t know what the truth is, I just found myself naturally drawn to all this stuff, after stumbling into an inexplicable experience myself, seeing, for a few seconds, something inexplicable close up, in late summer, at 40.30 am Sunday/Monday, Alexander Palace, N. London when walking the dog.

    That was about 12 years ago, and since then I have been quite prepared to believe anything is possible. Once you have seen summat there’s no obvious earthly explanation for, you can never unsee it, only rationalize what you saw as:

    1 – Not real but a trick of the mind, an hallucination, which I am quite prepared to accept, particularly as the dog didn’t show any sign of being aware of what I saw.

    2 – It was real.

    3 – A third explanation. Like when a conjurer does a trick and you can’t for the life of you work it out, until being told how it was done.

    This was before I’d got into writing, and managed to get the experience into verse about six years later, in a poem De Danann Tall.


    It still perplexes me to this day, and, from a creative point of view, certainly unlocked the imagination, because a few-second, one-off ‘vision’ altered, shifted one’s perception of reality from believing in the world as it is, prior to the ‘vision’, to suddenly having the foundations of it undercut, albeit briefly, in a way that one’s mind becomes open to the chance of anything being possible.

    I won’t go into the details of what I saw, as I did that in the local pub in North London where I was living at the time, for a night or two, telling anyone who’d listen about what I saw, or hallucinated.

    It was only when I began telling someone about it and he cut me off; uninterested in this revelation that – if tru’ – affected the whole of humanity; with his own boast that he had been a participant filming a Vanessa programme on females stalking their ex-boyfreinds; that I shut up about it. In the days afterwards, it struck me that, though I knew what my eyes had seen (even if it was hallucinatory), far from others taking my word for it; it’s the sort of experience to get you labelled a nutter. Especially in the pre-net days before the wealth of information and sightings were brought together in a systematic way.

    The experience was a one off. I was the same before as afterwards. I didn’t start going doolally and shouting from the rooftops or become bright and shuiny eyed about it; just carried on life as normal, but with this one, ten second experience marking a before and after point in what my mind thought of as Reality.


    Some sort of handle was got on it, about two years after the event, when I got chatting to a middle-aged New Yorker in a bar-cafe in Holborn, during my lunch hour. He looked like Max Von Sydow, drinking whiskey, & it was just me and him in there. He staring into space drinking bourban, and me drinking a coffee.

    We struck up conversation, and he told me he was in London on business concerning patents for farm-machinary, that some people in the then newly opened East European markets, were pirating; and he was litigating from London. He looked like he had the weight of the world on him, and it was one of those meetings between two strangers who, knowing we are ships passing in the night, feel comfortable sharing information we wouldn’t normally under the same circumstances, telling our secrets to one another, unconcerned, safe in the knowledge we were too disconnected from one another for them to be embarresing.

    I asked him if he was ever in the military; he said he had been, and, told him about what I saw, and I will never forget his response. He said that in centuries past, I would have seen angels, but because now our whole existence is dependant on and dictated by technology (from the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep); that what I had was a religious vision, manifesting itself with a technological cloak. Akin to Blake or Swedenborg seeing angels, but via the lens of a late 20C manifestation of, whatever it was.

  95. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:47 PM

    Cheers hic, didn’t see your comment itll now.

  96. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:33 PM

    A while back I first heard about Homeland of Security FEMA camps, alleged concentration camps being prepared by the post 9/11 NWO, to house the domestic ‘threats’ to America, and am watching it now.

    9/11, false-flag, black-ops, inside job, like the Reichstag fire, its purpose to kick start the final phase of the billionaires in the Bankruptocracy.

  97. Captain Ned permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:36 PM

    Ode Occasioned by the Death of a Gentle Revolutionary

    In Rhondda, Dave the Druid lies,
    Where slowly brew the herbal teas!
    The incense sticks shall ward off flies
    And scent his grave with odoured breeze!

    In yon deep pile of tie-dyed sheets
    His ethnic drums shall now be laid,
    That he, whose heart to bongo beats,
    May dance on pills while music’s played.

    Then maids and youths shall whitey here,
    And, while the ganja’s passed around,
    Shall sweetly seem in Gaia’s ear
    To hear some righteous reggae sound.

    Remembrance oft shall haunt the hills
    When Wales with pissing rain is blessed,
    And oft suspend the farmer’s thrills
    To grant his worn-out ewe a rest.

    And oft as Sloth and Vice repair
    To squatters’ den or commune vile,
    The friend shall view yon hippies’ fair
    And at the dreadlocked crusties smile.

    But thou, who own’st that hash-decked spot,
    Ah! what will every bong avail?
    Or joints, endowed with finest pot,
    That turn their smokers’ faces pale?

    Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye
    Shall scorn thy pale shrine, somewhat small?
    For him, sweet Dave, may Mojo die,
    And Che desert his postered wall.

    But thou, foul stream, whose filthy tide
    Bears used condoms and rizzlas torn,
    Now waft me from the drenched hill’s side,
    Where many sandaled drop-outs mourn!

    And hear, the rhythmic bongos fade,
    Bright Day has hushed the wasted crew!
    Yet once again, dear parted shade,
    The vicar’s child, again adieu!

    The muddy meads, assigned to bless
    Thy life, shall mourn thy timely doom,
    Their drugged-up flower-girls shall dress
    With Afric beads thy Celtic tomb.

    Long, long, thy stone and pointed clay
    Shall tease the tripping Briton’s eyes:
    ‘Shrooms! Frogs in pink pearls,’ shall he say,
    ‘In Rhondda, Dave the Druid lies!’

  98. mishari permalink*
    December 8, 2010 11:31 PM

    Great work, Ned.

    Steven, that excerpt from Time was quoted in a piece over on

    Des, I in no way meant to imply that I find the idea of visions and waking dreams implausible or sneer-worthy. On the contrary. It’s just that all this UFOs/ETs amongst us stuff seems so absurd. ETs travel across the galaxy to make crop circles? To walk amongst us in disguise? To secretly meddle in human affairs (but not, evidently, secretly enough)?

    I’m not saying it’s impossible… It just makes no kind of sense. It’s as if these super-advanced ETs have travelled light-years to join the Book of the Month Club or to shop at Tesco or something.

    I see Allied Irish Banks are still paying out €40million in bonuses – despite being on the brink of receiving another emergency bailout from the Irish government. They must be pissing themselves laughing. And I thought Brian Cowen being the most highly paid state leader in Europe was funny.

    Time to organise an angry mob, Des, Reine, Jack, Bill…

  99. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:17 AM

    It’s all down to individual experience and belief. If someone has an inexplicable, one-off vision of something incredibly strange, like I did, their mind, from that point on, will perceive reality in a far less certain light.

    The thing with all this stuff (and this is the first time I have written of it publically), is that there are lots of lazy people latching onto it online, with no first hand experience of seeing the inexplicable things they want to believe in, and whose threshold of proof generally, is laughably low.

    Flocks of nutters who pick up a grain of truth, then twist and pervert it into fitting their own world view that, for example: Obama is Communist hologram, back-engineered from some above top seceret MJ12 black-ops project, that began when the Zytilion greys – in league with the Xytillion greens from a billion light years away – came here to make crop circles and live amongst us until the allotted date, as per the Mayan calender, when they, a tru American patriot, living in a trailer, ex-military, posting what their contact from the local Milkway Representitive Dept tells ’em, daily on youtube; is outed as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

    Like anything on the net, the needles of truth are buried under a mountain of chaff, and it’s finding ’em that’s the tricky bit. Sussing out the info from the disinformation, lies and outright mentally ill ravings of the unhappy lot mad at their governments.

    and make central to their new-age hippy act

    There are some current conjecture on space travel, that

  100. Divine Cosmos permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:19 AM

    Arggh, last two lines shouldn’t be there.

  101. mishari permalink*
    December 9, 2010 12:25 AM

    Glenn Beck? No,no,no,nononononononono…the man’s a toxic fool and a pocket-lining hypocrite (at the expense of his credulous ‘fans’). Mind you, it’s the perfect way to utterly discredit any story: get Beck to peddle it. But, honestly, Des…FEMA? The clowns who couldn’t get fresh water or food to 10s of thousands of stranded New Orleans residents? That FEMA? They couldn’t organise a glass of water, let alone a conspiracy.

    Poor old @deadgod seems to be slipping or perhaps it’s just his/her eagerness to get in a dig at the perceived ‘music trumps meaning’ tendency:

    goldgathers, why are you questioning the meaning of the poem’s words?

    But Bill already answered that question:

    As Carol mentions, the poem hinges on a layering of analogies: the (to me) incomprehensible “unshaven prickle of a sharpened razor”, “the sinusitis of perfume”, snow/love/poetry. How convincing are they? They need to be good given that the poem lacks, to these ears, much in the way of verbal music.

    That is to say, absent the music, one must address the ‘meaning’–or have I missed something?

  102. Divine Miss permalink
    December 9, 2010 5:35 AM

    I was in a rush out the door b4, and posted in haste, in the middle of watching it, this longwinded documentary comedy containing a few bits of information on the Corps, that Jesse delivers over a loud doomy soundtrack, screaming a manufactured Concern; as if just because he wants it to be tru to the televisual entertainment and ratings ethos, it will be – the most mindblowing ‘reality’ tv out there; two top-level conspiracy nutjobs teaming together, Ventura and Alex (whacko) Jones, in a new age of gaga American TV Star, peddling our brand of doom & Conspiracy.

    The great thing about all this, as intellectual sport for poetry-touched luvvies, is one gets to feel as Yeats must have; on a mission to speak of knowledge beyond what’s knowable, with a straight face that slips into eloquence over the years of practice sifting thru extreme comedic idiocy that draws us to it, observing a parade of people acting in our capacity of the ‘real’ human beings with an amazing Truth to share, as if we Know what it was i hallucinated, the once, for five seconds, that changed one’s neural map & pattern of understanding reality, as the eye apprehended, the ears did not hear, the dog ignored, and a most bizzare ten seconds in one’s life; seeing something unknowable to the mind, eye, lie, shit, mystical manifestation, disinformation of an event in the one bit of poetry that caused it to write out in verse, De Dannan Tall, perhaps?

    Who knows? – the poets considered at present, corporately successful, who sell books and are viewed by Establishment critics, in their lies about the truth of poetry as i speak & believe it — somewhere between an artist driven by an inner accountant & a clown; sober, serious, and yet never taken in so, by any but tru’ freinds in the publishing gang on the field of play as Editor, publisher, academics doing marvelously well in old world orders, dinasour luvvies bankrupt at source, our game a vocation as doggerelist hacks, professional blatherers of anything but the one Vision at the root of our calling, life in poetry, the universe & everything – connected to the intelligence and imagination. Not.

    Perhaps the poets one chides, are imbalanced because they have not Amergin’s prose-poem, that answers in fifty lines – a question: Where is the root of poetry in a person, in the body or the soul?

    The academic poets who proliferate today; dry, sober, studious and not in it for the craic, but the illusion of divinity-as-them, boring wine & cheese pretenders who’d wobble and run from those colleagues sporting in print on the field of Letters, a text one considers of supreme importance to those of us who want to Know what poetry is.

    DmS, letters alteratively patterned, the basis of ogham, the code of an alphabet & cipher with which to express as the bardic knowers did, the most important text introduced them, at the start of their 12 years in drag, in which all the information left on the reality of ogham scales that caused the birth of a vernacular Goidelic proto-language, in print being itself. An indisputable textual reality, at the core of a system of poetry one would think the competition might at least listen to me about; seeing they aint got it ’emselves, this prose-poem that makes poetic reality for this unpublished duffer in search of divine knowledge from Craig and Don, Sean and David, all the lads and girls excluded from the top echeleon of the Establishment propoganda dept of Royal Poetry experts on waffling only what is knowable to themselves alone, because very few apart from Establishment wannabes, who waste their time training at this school of poetry; its success measured not in the unknowable, off-the-map gaga source, but in the accountancy department of their local HRH HQ, a library and knowing their place, that a Royal Poet is the shared goal, ultimate success measured outside of oneself, enobled not from within but by one better, Higher up than them a ‘commoner’ majority kept in chains, intellectually, when debating with me, until they read the Cauldron of Poetry.

    One message, one goal, to find a co-poetical presence who’ll let me be their Master poet to whom they can listen and learn from, award, hand over cheque and cash to, make me a star in their lower chamber of second hand plastic Homers and latinate sources, not their own, in the strictest of sense, but England’s core poetic myth Inc & fair play, but come on, why not be different and stop being office working fearful and compliant tuncs, and revolve as per Amergin, in the prose-poem; a bore’s bible, long term addicts’ of rhyme’s ultimate light, a genuine bardic voice answering where it is, body and soul balancer of sound at source, the god within us all, consciousness in ascension, c’mon ye nucts, ooh per yrs it’s all Corporate Poetry, Propaganda, novelty, intellectually undressed, Globish failure as a poetry picker, critic, judge, jury and executor of busting rhymes in a time far past, the source of a bard, and the Officials knowing zilch of it. poetry is a crime, it’s a dirty big secret, it conspires, rhyme and history, divines the coming of something on a page that lives once the author has gone, posterity’s main act, a middle aged man unrecognised in the one art chosen for him by whatever God it is that teased De Dannan Tall outta, urm, not an Establishment poet but a ‘real’ woman trapped in a mans body, one sidhe balanced evenly in all, mum, dad, forest, thicket stage, one world poetry cartel, coming your way, give it to me, halloo Mullingar Moran

  103. Divine Miss permalink
    December 9, 2010 6:22 AM

    He’s so crooked he sleeps on a spiral staircase, so thoroughly corrupt everytime he smiles an angel gets gonorrea. He’s had so many facelifts his face has moved to the top of his head and you have to get on a stepladder to watch him lie. And you can;t trust any of them. We all think we are very rational and very secular, but we make gods, all the time.

    Everyone went apeshit when Barack Obama got elected. I was delighted; everyone was thrilled, a sane rational human being in an important office. Great. But his biggest problem is everybody else is us; coz everybody’s in love with him.

    He stands up there very convincing and commanding and makes sense – ‘ this difficult time everyone needs to work together and be realistic about what we’ve gotta do’ – and all that stuff, and everyone’s looking at him: ‘no, you do it – you are super jesus, you’re so handsome when you’re serious. Do you work out?’

    Dylan Moran (in part 2)

  104. Navan Comedian permalink
    December 9, 2010 7:25 AM

    Perfume is a good example of a product gone all wrong. When I was a child, that was a semi-exotic sort of thing and it was called something stupid like fleur de fleur, and you would give it to your mother or an aunty at Christmas and it was advertized by some dopey looking woman in a field in a filed of sunflowers, who looked like she’d been hit by a tractor, because she was going [falls back in slow motion waving arms] [laughter], because she couldn’t get over how nice she smelled.

    And now, we’re so jaded, because we’ve consumed too much, our attention can only be grabbed in a violent way; so its always advertized by these constipated exoskeletal bitches who are sneering at you, and it’s called something horrible like Homocide, Dysentery, Urban Dysentery, for boys & girls. What’s wrong with that?

    We’re the only organism the planet is actively telling to fuck off, by burning things, freezing things and melting things on us. It’s like going past the ocean and seeing it spit out whales, fuck off I’ve had enough of you.

    Passing the eucalyptus tree as the koala hanging on and the tree’s going get the fuck away from me [top half of body quickly tick tocks side to side] [laughter]

    Now you’re in the forefront of all that because you’ve got real weather here – dramatic weather. You open your front door and everything might be gone; you might be two and a half miles down the road in a flood. In Britian and Ireland where people talk about the weather all the time, all day – there’s no story; there’s no weather. But Irish people especially, insist on drama, so you’ll hear things like, orrrgh it was fierce mild it was touch and go there for a while.

    God doesn’t work, science doesn’t work, consumerism certainly doesn’t work; so where do you go; where do you end up? We end back up with each other; there’s nowhere else to go.

    People. You have a very important decision to make early in you life. Are you going to be alone, or are you going to be with somebody else? Are you going to be sane, or not lonely?

    A couple is a strange thing. It’s an organism that’s half as intelligent as the most intelligent member, and you both know who that is; because you’ve got two people walking around together all the time, trying to remember all the different shit they have to lie about to each other.

    Oh, going to see those people over there are we; terrific, I hope it doesn’t stop anytime soon.

    There’s a lot of pressure put on you to find the right person. You’re told if you don’t find the right person, your life is fucked, forget the whole thing; you’re dead. Which is rubbish. There’s billions of you, we’re all the fucking same. If it’s not him it’ll be her; or if it’s not him it’ll be them. There’s millions of people for everyone; there’s more than enough, we’re very overstocked on ourselves..

  105. December 9, 2010 11:25 AM

    I’ve tried repeating the answer to deadgod, mish, but I doubt it will do any good. My repeated failure to use the jargon of theory makes communication difficult there.

    Great fun on the Bruno Schulz thread with a nice person called Kuba and a self-promoting Internet “translator” both determined to win something that isn’t a contest. I need obooki to respond to the inadvertent assertion that “most of the volumes of modernist fiction” are badly written (a preference for bananas of yellow colour over yellow bananas being a mark of “modernism”, it seems). I can’t be arsed asking for a definition of modernist fiction at this stage. Wasn’t it a revolution of the word, he added in a desperate attempt to go on topic here.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 9, 2010 12:58 PM

      gg, Mishari assures us there is no such consideration as ‘off topic’ here. It’s positively revolutionary.

    • December 9, 2010 2:34 PM

      Ah, but I like to put myself through these verbal qymnastics, hic.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 9, 2010 10:56 PM

      Reine will be pleased to learn of your dedicated interest in qymnastics.

    • reine permalink
      December 9, 2010 11:38 PM

      I don’t think the moustache would withstand a backflip Hic but he is dexterous, I’ll grant you.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:07 AM

      That was supposed to be a ‘quimnastics’ joke ;P

    • Reine permalink
      December 10, 2010 12:45 PM

      Ah, sorry Hic. Read it too quickly.

  106. mishari permalink*
    December 9, 2010 11:37 AM

    That’s the thing, Bill: the question was redundant–one discusses a poem’s ‘meaning’ when there’s not much else to discuss. I should have thought that was obvious even if you hadn’t actually articulated that very point.

    Next time, pepper your comment with stuff like ‘Bayesian analysis’, ‘the perceived text’, ‘the cultural paradigm of consensus’ and ‘outmoded, colonialist perceptions of sexual identity subvert a mytho-poetical whole’.

    He’s sure to offer you a biscuit.

  107. December 9, 2010 11:50 AM

    A dry biscuit, no doubt.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      December 9, 2010 4:05 PM

      arrowroot and
      fig newton
      (low gluten)
      aid digestion

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 10, 2010 12:13 AM

      I haven’t noticed deadgod use much jargon. When you can follow his train of thought he has some remarkable insights. An adornment to the blog.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:05 AM

      I agree with you, MM, ornament-wise.
      christopher marlowe seems shockingly jargony to me, but deadgod gets wound around his own thought processes in the most fanciful ways (though I wouldn’t recognise the jargon if Cheryl Cole were singing it from my bowl of granola).
      When I feel intellectually obscure and peculiar, I can consider how much worse it must be for dear old deadgod.
      Ultimately, I adore a person who is so irretrievably and unapologetically himself.
      That describes each of you, doesn’t it, including Reine, who is of course none other than ‘her’ inimitable self, and Zepherine who’s been too scarce lately…
      Zeph! what do Maine Coons wish for for Christmas?

  108. hic8ubique permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:53 PM

    Here’s some shopping therapy:

    • reine permalink
      December 9, 2010 11:36 PM

      Enjoyed that Hic, thanks. I love a bit of Messiah at this time of year – first performed in Dublin, don’t ya know?

  109. Gay Man permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:54 PM

       space test

  110. hic8ubique permalink
    December 9, 2010 10:53 PM

    I wasn’t thinking of plasma, Steven (they actually made me think of Sufi dervishes, who must be onto something good) but I looked up ‘ignition’, familiar to me in the embryological sense, which led me to the idea of a self-organising ‘holon’… from there I got to the wiki-up on ‘Bohm diffusion’, looked at the sort of formula I associate with academic sadism, and just before giving up saw a reference to ‘plasma’ .
    so yeah something like that. I just wanna see it!
    If I’d known the ufo people were talking about those things, I’d have paid attention.

  111. reine permalink
    December 9, 2010 11:59 PM

    I think this fella is coming back to lead the revolution:

  112. mishari permalink*
    December 10, 2010 12:13 AM

    ‘…wankin’ bankers…’. Brian Cowen could learn a thing or two from that fella.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 10, 2010 12:14 AM

      Good-looking beard, too.

  113. reine permalink
    December 10, 2010 8:22 AM

    While what he says is true in every rational sense, I abhor this kind of windbag who lives abroad and likes to wax lyrical about the motherland. If you got caught in a lift with him, I would bet you would get out 20 floors early and walk the rest of the way! And as a shrinking violet, I find that language most objectionable.

  114. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 10, 2010 9:04 AM

    I’ve heard it said that Ireland’s greatest asset is its expatriate base, but never from anyone living in Ireland. Your reaction when presented with the truth is rather like that of a democrat listening to a republican. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand it perfectly, as a long-term expat. It must be very specific to Ireland, but it’s an illustration of the divide and rule principle at work. It shifts focus from the real issue (us and them) to one clouded by personal or partisan concerns (us and us). This happens in myriad ways, and the combined effect is usually enough to dilute concerted action. But egg on Prince Charles’ dinner jacket is taking things a bit far.

    Mind, I’d only give him 5 out of 10 for use of swear words.

  115. Reine permalink
    December 10, 2010 10:44 AM

    You are right of course, Henry, and many of our expats have done the State a great service in various ways. I just felt that the likes of yer man above would bore the arse of ya when he came home on his two week holiday sporting his crocodile shoes about what a great fella he was, “sure wasn’t I born in a ditch and look at me now”. Marvellous at telling us what to do and then fu*king off back to Amerikay. Which goes to show that Irish begrudgery for which we are famed is alive and well in someone who would like to think she is above all that. You have made me examine my conscience and find myself wanting!

    I could curse better than that too, even on a slow day. But never in front of my father… or Hic for some reason.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:26 PM

      Because I’m such a prig?! No, no!
      I usually reserve my vulgar outbursts for moments of utmost extremis…or comic timing.
      That gives the most satisfying effect.

    • Reine permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:31 PM

      No, not a prig at all. Just not at all coarse. Which I amn’t myself to be honest (really)… but I do go into overdrive when in extremis or for the purpose of hilarity.

  116. Reine permalink
    December 10, 2010 10:47 AM

    I still wouldn’t want to get caught in a lift with him.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:30 PM

      That remark reminds me of this performance, which I found recently when Pam Ayers was being scorned by MM, and I needed to see what that was about. We do recognise the type she describes…

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 10, 2010 3:48 PM

      Funnily enough Mrs M heard it on the radio in the car yesterday. She found it very amusing. I can’t think why.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 7:40 PM

      That is funny. At the time you were speaking ill of her poetry, I found the video and actually considered suggesting on that basis that PA might be the real-life Mrs MM.
      I must have blenched at the thought of dragging an innocent spouse into the PotW fray.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 10, 2010 9:01 PM

      I just blenched at the thought of being married to Pam Ayres. The idea is going to haunt my dreams for years to come: an intensive course of psychotherapy is likely to be necessary. Thank you for destroying an innocent man’s peace of mind.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 10:17 PM

      Had I only suspected you were in possession of peace of mind!
      I might have suggested Mrs MM was fictional, as well as your mother-in-law, all the inhabitants of and visitors to your island domain, including the neighbours’ dogs who poo your garden and the seagulls, who create some sort of objectionable fracas… I’ve forgotten what.
      My vision of you with peace of mind, MM, consists of the entire IoW deserted, a good television with all the sport available on demand, and air-drop Tesco bundles, oh and dvd’s and books from Mishari, delivered by non-soiling carrier pigeon.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 11, 2010 12:02 AM

      As a replacement for the heavily soiled postman that would be excellent. Your vision has much to recommend it, and I shall be drawing God’s attention to it in my prayers before I fall into bed.

      My vision of you with peace of mind consists of dogs, very long 19th century symphonies, shoes and yoga. God, it’s a nightmare.

  117. Reine permalink
    December 10, 2010 11:01 AM

    At risk of provoking comparisons with repeat posters elsewhere, I suppose he reminds me of a “type” – too long gone to actually know what life is really like at home but knows enough to blather on about it. They usually, and I am generalising, have some misty eyed notion of the homeland. Several of my uncles left here at a very young age and went to London and the two who did not marry were caught in a kind of time warp – didn’t assimilate into the new culture (mind you, it was not a good time to be Irish in London) and retained a fixed and romanticised view of home as they had left it. Everything else changed around them and they were literally lost in the middle of it.

    Now beardy seems to have a good grasp on things but I have a feeling he might like to think the virgins still dancing at the crossroads would give him a turn about the tarmac in exchange for a Hershey Bar.

  118. mishari permalink*
    December 10, 2010 11:40 AM

    Reine, the costas of Spain are crawling with similar (but far more unpleasant) ‘types’–ex-pat Brits who are expert on UK current affairs because they read the Daily Mail and The Sun and Hello! magazine.

    They frequent ‘English’ cafes for the bangers ‘n’ mash, drink crap lager in ‘English’ pubs, whine about the Spaniards and almost without exception, don’t speak a fucking word of Spanish.

    I mean…can you imagine living in a country for 25 years (as some of them have) and not learning the bloody language?

    They make themselves especially punchable when they spout barely-disguised racist tripe about Britain’s ‘immigration problems’. The irony of ex-pats moaning about foreigners is, of course, lost on these knuckleheads.

    Their opinions on anything, including their own prostate troubles, are less interesting than my cat’s.

  119. Reine permalink
    December 10, 2010 12:24 PM

    Yeah, that’s another thing. The whole “if we hadn’t let the immigrants in, we wouldn’t be in this mess and we wouldn’t have all these diseases” brigade. Drives me crazy, got an email submission pre-budget saying that if we sent them all home, we’d be as right as rain. Makes me ashamed that I share a nationality with these people. Frighteningly, much of it comes from well educated people one would expect would know better but there’s a very strong (strong) tea party element here.

  120. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 10, 2010 12:58 PM

    Are there many immigrants in Ireland?

  121. Reine permalink
    December 10, 2010 1:11 PM

    Is that a loaded question MM?

    This might shed some light on matters:

  122. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 10, 2010 1:18 PM

    Not at all. I was just seeking information – I hadn’t heard that it was a problem. Sorry if I seemed impertinent.

    • Reine permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:29 PM

      No, just couldn’t “read” the question MM, sorry if I seemed suspicious!

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 10, 2010 3:26 PM

      I should have been clearer.

      10% was a higher figure than I would have guessed, but seems to be about the same as the UK (which I just looked up). Immigration is a theme which seems to be latent in any casual conversation over the last few years. The chap who came to service the boiler last week started in on it before he’d even got the cover off the machine. I demurred, but it’s like talking to the religiose: rational argument is pointless.

    • December 10, 2010 4:17 PM

      If I had more time on my hands I’d organize an Immigrant Exodus to leave the “racially pure” Germans alone with themselves for ten years (banning all foreign music/food/movies/fashion/TV and travel plus forced repatriation of the millions of Germans abroad) to call their bluff and teach them a fucking lesson. Sort them out in a month.

  123. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 10, 2010 1:27 PM

    Here’s an interesting way to lose an hour or so…

  124. Kevin Kilmainham permalink
    December 10, 2010 1:42 PM

  125. mishari permalink*
    December 10, 2010 2:00 PM

    Des, that link doesn’t lead to anything…or rather, it leads to a dead .swf page…unless it’s just me.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 10, 2010 2:38 PM

      no, me too.

  126. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 10, 2010 2:55 PM

    I received the book just now, Altesse, thank you, which I’m looking forward to reading. No DVD, however. Should I be instituting enquiries?

  127. mishari permalink*
    December 10, 2010 3:08 PM

    No, no…I didn’t realise until after it had gone off that I’d forgotten to include the DVDs.

    They’re in the post as well but in a separate envelope. You’ll probably get them tomorrow.

    Do watch Boardwalk Empire. It really is very good, albeit a bit of a slow-burn (rather like The Wire was, for me, at any rate)…

  128. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 10, 2010 3:27 PM

    Will do, and thanks again.

  129. December 10, 2010 6:08 PM

    Received the DVD yesterday, meister, thanks! Look forward to having a look and catching up on other things tomorrow.

  130. mishari permalink*
    December 11, 2010 1:08 AM

    Glad it arrived, Simon. BTW, you do know that it’s not playable in standard DVD player but consists, rather, of files that you drag and drop to your desktop (or wherever you wish) and view with a media player (I highly recommend VLC Media Player…it’s free, Open Source and will play any media file you can think of.

    Charles and Camilla were due to be driven the short distance from Clarence House to the London Palladium, near Oxford Street, to be greeted by Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, and sit in the VIP box to watch the show hosted by Michael McIntyre and featuring Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole, Take That, and many more.

    Having seen the television pictures of the disturbances outside Parliament, the Prince reportedly joked: “Hopefully we’ll be able to brave our way through.”

    Actually, the couple had no reason to worry. Their route did not take them close to Parliament. They were travelling in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, donated to the Queen to mark her silver jubilee in 1977. The police laid on motorcycle outriders, while officers from the Special Escort Group travelled a short distance ahead of them, and passed along the entire length of Regent Street without setting eye on any protesters.

    But just as the royal motor entered Regent Street from the Oxford Circus end, about 300 protesters who had broken away from the main demonstration in Whitehall ran up the same street from the Piccadilly end.

    It was the luxury make of the royal car and the presence of the motorcycle outriders which caught their attention. About 20 of them swarmed around the car, throwing missiles and shouting “Off with their heads!”

    The Rolls-Royce has reinforced windows, but the passenger window on Camilla’s side was wound down, reportedly enabling a rioter to push a stick through and prod her in the ribs.–The Indy, today

    I was deeply amused by this. The useless parasitical fuckers are lucky they escaped with a mere ‘…prod in the ribs…’.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 11, 2010 1:28 AM

      My blue blood is bruising my ribs
      abused by these immigrant plebs.
      Though I’m a tough bird,
      doubtless you’ll have heard;
      I’d rather a prod from his nibs.

    • December 11, 2010 4:12 PM

      Ah, that would explain why I haven’t been able to get it to work all afternoon. Sorted! Thanks again.

  131. December 11, 2010 10:27 AM

    After being away from media coverage a few days was interested in the latest wikileakery. Apparently US diplomats have been bitching about Indian government officials. only when one journalist bothered to check this out it appeared that wherever these emails are they are not in the stuff wikileaks released.

    so now it’s just make up anything you like, release it into cyberspace and 99% of journalists will swallow it. cunning.

    re: ex-pats. The most spectacularly awful ones I’ve met are the ex-Brits in Australia. Truly repugnant and all to a man/ woman campaigning vigorously to close Australia to any more immigrants.

    “There’s no room!” was something we heard a few times. Australia is so vast and empty you could dump most of the population of SE Asia there and it probably still wouldn’t feel crowded.

  132. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 11, 2010 11:37 AM

    I wouldn’t have thought that was any different from normal journalistic practice, ET.

    I don’t think I would fancy taking on Camilla mano a mano, even as a younger man. All that horse-riding and badger-strangling must turn the muscles to steel. I expect they chained her to the car seat so she couldn’t jump out and tan a few student backsides.

  133. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 11, 2010 11:39 AM

    mano/mano/man! Hangover.

  134. December 11, 2010 11:50 AM

    MM indeed but the potential repercussions just seem a little more dangerous than upsetting a celeb or MP. Plus you do wonder what is going on here.

  135. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 11, 2010 12:29 PM

    I can’t find the story, ET, but bitching about Indian government offficials is hardly news. I’m told it’s a major preoccupation of 99% of the population of India. In a more general way I see what you mean, but I assume there are back-door channels to clear this sort of thing up, or at least offer a new set of fabrications. I mean, it’s diplomacy we’re talking about – extremely sophisticated lying. It’s a major problem with the leaks – the context is often missing.

    Did you see Jonathan Powell’s article about the leaks? He was very impressed by the quality of the reports from the US embassies, much better than he’d managed when he was a diplomat. An interesting angle.

  136. December 11, 2010 12:42 PM

    I was interested because we seem to have problems with leaks and problems with things that aren’t leaks but are pretending to be leaks.

    Maybe it’s a new stringent test for diplomats ( given Andrew’s abject failures in this dept. ) to see if they can spin gold out of these pig’s ears.

    Have seen nothing these last few days other than Charles + Camilla’s faces of shock. I can imagine it wasn’t pleasant but I wonder if in reality it was any worse than the mountains of innuendo and slurs that the Daily Mail brigade whipped up against Camilla when she was the “other” woman.

  137. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 11, 2010 3:15 PM

    It is interesting. It’s a pity that the only person (as far as I know) with actual experience of government on this blog (ie Reine) is unable to discuss it. I’m a cock-up rather than conspiracy man myself, but what I base that on is just what I’ve picked up in 40 years of unsystematic reading (though now that I think about it, I remember my A level history teacher was always telling us to adopt a Hume-like scepticism vis-a-vis cause and effect where history is concerned). Those tidy theories which seem to explain events so neatly underestimate the wild contingency of human life.

  138. Reine permalink
    December 11, 2010 7:21 PM

    I find my finger getting very twitchy sometimes but regrettably I have to shut off that side of my brain. If I started on it, I’d never stop.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 12, 2010 12:26 AM

      You can put it all in your memoirs. I hope you’re keeping a diary.

  139. December 11, 2010 11:37 PM

    “I was interested because we seem to have problems with leaks and problems with things that aren’t leaks but are pretending to be leaks.”

    ET, I guarantee you won’t be coming across anything like the following in a “wikileak”… for material that’s *genuinely damaging*, you have to go to the marginalized, ridiculed, mocked, ignored, unpaid “wacko” underground… which, strangely, we laud, romantically (as samizdat), when it’s “behind the iron curtain”, while on *our* side of the curtain, I guess we still prefer the slick professionalism of the Dictated Press in all its many guises; in any case…


    ISLAMABAD – 2009 OCTOBER 28-FOUR American citizens were caught red-handed by Capital Police in the early hours of Tuesday for photographing sensitive buildings. All four were dressed in traditional Afghan outfits and were found to be in possession of illegal weapons and explosives

    According to details, police personnel deployed here at Nawaz Chowk, sector F-8, intercepted two suspicious vehicles in the early hours of Tuesday. During the search, police recovered weapons from their custody. The riders of these vehicles were found to be American citizens. They were all dressed as Afghans.

    The number plates on both vehicles (IDM 2030 & LG 501) were found to be fake. The police personnel called for backup when the Americans refused to allow them to search the car. High Ranking Capital Police officials reached the site within minutes and had the vehicles searched, recovering 2 M-16A1 rifles, 2 handguns and 2 hand-grenades.

    The police held the American citizens in custody for an hour before the Interior Ministry interefered and had them released without charge even as preliminary investigation was being carried out.

    -Interior Ministry Covering Up For US Mercenaries And Terrorists-

    In 2005, Iraqi Police arrested and locked up TWO British operatives in Basra who were dressed in local Arab gear, shooting at innocent civilians in a busy market with automatic rifles and driving a vehicle laden with explosives, intended to go off in the middle of the busy market. British tanks tore into the prison and rescued both these men. In Pakistan, it seems all the Americans need to do is make a call to the Interior Ministry and have their terrorists released.

    -PKKH Editorial-

    There have been several incidents during the last few months of foreigners carrying illegal arms in the federal capital. Some foreigners were found not only carrying illegal weapons, but also threatening, harassing and frightening the public in Islamabad. The law enforcement agencies have been particularly efficient in tightening security measures around the city as a response to citizen complaints.

    In the most recent incident, four American nationals who were disguised as Afghans were caught with illegal arms on Tuesday at a posh sector of Islamabad inhabited mostly by senior Pakistani diplomats and politicians. The police personnel intercepted two suspicious vehicles and recovered illegal weapons from in possession of the Americans in both vehicles.

    The Americans were also seen taking photographs of buildings around the area while some videos of sensitive locations in Islamabad were also found with them. During the preliminary investigation, the Americans falsely claimed that they were US Marines – and were taken to the police station for further investigation. After the personal intervention of those high up in the Interior Ministry, the Americans were allowed to leave without being charged. Some sources disclose that the US Embassy officials intervened in the matter by contacting higher-ups of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry and had the culprits freed.

    The Interior ministry, when approached for comments on this story, affirmed once again that there existed no law in Pakistan that might allow any foreigner or diplomat, including Americans, to move on busy roads of federal capital with illegal arms.

    It was not the first incident of such kind in the Federal Capital where foreigners were picked up by police for possession of illegal arms. It has become almost a norm that police intercepts foreigners violating national laws including possession of illegal weapons, and are freed after Pakistani “influentials” come to their rescue.

    Some days ago, police officials deployed at a security check post in Islamabad stopped two Dutch personnel and recovered sophisticated weapons including hand grenades, bombs, and sophisticated guns from their custody. The police lodged a formal complaint, however, no action was initiated on directions of Interior Ministry and the matter was hushed.

    William Ven and Tomas Smith were the two Dutch men caught roaming around with sophisticated weapons, bombs and hand grenades in a blue BMW, registered number of which was IDL 4191. Sources on the condition of anonymity reveal that both officials were working for the notorious Blackwater Co. (Xe) and were almost certainly out on an assassination mission, target of which is still unknown. Sunny Christopher, a U.S. embassy official who was following the blue BMW was out there to provide cover.

    Before the security agencies could confirm their connection with Blackwater (Xe), the interior ministry again came to their rescue and saying that the men were ‘Dutch embassy officials’ – which appears to be an attempt to cover up Blackwater’s questionable activities on the media. During the past few weeks the local media had been particularly vocal on the Blackwater issue and this incident would have further fueled calls for action against the various US-linked private security companies operating on Pakistan soil involved in suspicious activities. What’s not so surprising is that no probe was done with the alleged ‘Dutch diplomats’ and no explanation or apology was offered.

    Both dutch men were released a while later after the U.S. embassy intervened, and were put on the next flight out of Islamabad immediately.

    What is particularly alarming is that such incidents continue to occur in the nation’s very own capital city while government in their attempts to temporarily ‘settle’ the matter issues hollow statements. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, has stated on many occasions that no foreigner would be allowed to carry illegal arms. “The violators would be dealt with an iron hand,” he adds.

    However the Americans have relentlessly continue to violate the the law of the land and no iron hand strikes – and in fact the violators are given a safe passage each time.

  140. mishari permalink*
    December 11, 2010 11:46 PM

    Steven, Mencken understood:

    “Here, more than anywhere else that I know of or have heard of, the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly – the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat-slittings, of theological buffooneries, or aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies, imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances – is so inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night, and to awake every morning with all the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-school superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows.”

  141. December 11, 2010 11:59 PM

    I do enjoy the occasional late-night contemplation of harlotries, M, if HL will accept that…

  142. mishari permalink*
    December 12, 2010 12:25 AM

    North Korea asked America to arrange an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang, saying that it could help to persuade Kim Jong-il to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

    A confidential cable dated 22 May 2007 from the US ambassador in Seoul to Washington reveals North Korean officials “suggested” to the Americans that because Kim Jong-il’s second son, Kim Jong-chol, was “a great fan” of the British guitarist, a “performance could be an opportunity to build goodwill”.

    The report adds that “arranging an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang… could be useful, given Kim Jong-il’s second son’s devotion to the rock legend”.–The Graun, today


    I’ve been re-reading Mencken’s Prejudices. Christ, he was fun. Even when I completely disagree with him (as I often do–he was a bit of a reactionary) he was never dull.

    I would be shocked to learn, Steven, that you didn’t now or at some time in the past, have a copy of his The American Language. A hugely entertaining and informative book.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 12, 2010 1:09 AM

      NOT fun, NOT entertaining.

  143. hic8ubique permalink
    December 12, 2010 1:08 AM

    I was tortured and reduced to tears, at the tender age of 15, with the task of understanding and summarising H.L. Menken, author of fat books of evil memory.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 12, 2010 1:57 AM

      I’d better say ‘tormented’, rather than ‘tortured’
      or even rather than: ‘subjected to harsh interrogation techniques’.

  144. mishari permalink*
    December 12, 2010 1:55 AM

    Your loss, kiddo. You should try to forget your teenage trauma and give Mencken another go. Although he’s fundamentally unsound on Wagner (Mencken loves him), he’s very funny.

    Good joke seen on a wikileaks thread: ‘…Palin thinks a Trotskyite is someone who likes to ride horses at a gait faster than a walk.’

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 12, 2010 2:03 AM

      Don’t believe that 19th century thing from MM; it’s only in auditory recall.
      I believe you about HLM, but…that horse may have left the barn.

  145. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 12, 2010 11:21 AM

    People yakkity-yak a streak and waste your time of day
    But HLM will never speak unless he has something to say

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 13, 2010 1:12 PM

      It was bad blog form to give Menken your initials, Moon ( I meant it may be too late for me to forgive him) but I always welcome a reminder of your abiding presence.
      What a valuable skill it is to keep silent til one has something to say, as basic as waiting ones turn in traffic, and seemingly as difficult.

  146. Reine permalink
    December 12, 2010 1:45 PM

    MM, I opened the Observer mag to see you (my impression of you) looking back at me – you’ll have to decide whether it was Elmore Leonard or Eduard Limonov.

  147. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 12, 2010 6:19 PM

    More hair than Leonard, more wrinkles than Limonov. The latter sounds like someone Simon should avoid on his visit to Russia.

    I haven’t noticed anything from you on PP. Blocked? I’ve been trying to finish a rebellion poem for the last five days. I need about six lines, but they’re not happening.

  148. Reine permalink
    December 12, 2010 8:29 PM

    Didn’t realise there was a PP, have been up the walls between work and Christmas tree purchase and installation and a social engagement on Friday night from which I am just about recovered … will make my way over. See, that’s why my poetry never reaches a level of craft, if it doesn’t come in twenty mins, that’s it. I have no patience for the long haul.

  149. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 12, 2010 10:46 PM

    Two poems in 90 minutes. You’re setting a cracking pace there. Still buying trees? The Mowbrays went artificial 20 years ago and have never regretted it. Yesterday in M&S Mrs M saw a quarter-tree, designed to fit into the corner of a room. I’m tempted, though uncertainty over the number of Christmases I have left to ‘enjoy’ makes it an economic gamble.

  150. Reine permalink
    December 13, 2010 12:07 AM

    I felt I owed you at least one MM and I had a window between my dinner of spaghetti with prawns and reclamation of the sitting room after X Factor results.

    Yes, a real tree which we went to buy yesterday – we, being the 6′ 4″ child who was a marvellous asset when it came to hoiking out a tree and patiently asking “this one?” several times until his tired and emotional mother bonded with one. HI went all grinch and refused to come on the tree hunt, forecasting all sorts of dire parking problems and crowds but the true reason for his demurral became clear when we came back to find him unravelling fairy lights in front of the Liverpool game. It’s a lovely tree, festooned with all manner of mismatched decorations accumulated over the past twenty years since I first became responsible for a tree of my own. Candles, poinsettia, cinnamon cones, pommanders and a crib complete the festive scene chez nous. One is not supposed to put Jesus in the stable scene before Christmas eve but I am always too drunk by then to remember so he’s there, warming up to the big denouement.

    A quarter tree? Well blow me down, I never heard the like. If Mrs. M likes it, go mad and buy it for her. Your poverty will be her gain, eh?

  151. Reine permalink
    December 13, 2010 10:16 AM

    MM, your verse about the unwilling anus was highly amusing but outdone by far by your subsequent explanation of it.

    Simon, I was trying to post on your blog but have forgotten my password – in the middle of trying to reset it. When I set passwords for things, they seem completely logical to me at the time but invariably elude me later. Of course, it never occurred to me I could use the one for everything.

  152. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 13, 2010 12:40 PM

    Yes, I was surprised to see that Parisa ‘occasionally misunderstands’ humour.

    I don’t think Mrs M was interested in buying the quarter-tree, but the solid geometry appealed to the mathematician. What a nice chap your son must be. Had I suggested such an expedition to mine he would have questioned my sanity. Nice bit of description, I thought. You have a gift for the domestic vignette.

    Got the discs, today, Your Grace. Thanks, and thanks too for the personal note, which I’ll put in my scrapbook.

  153. hic8ubique permalink
    December 13, 2010 12:58 PM

    Haiku for the Vicar

    Balsam fir fresh house
    effervesces Christmas scent.
    Otherwise, fake it.

    You got a personal note, MM? How intriguing.
    I too enjoyed your explanation {mirth},
    deadgod’s (death by exploding) bollocks,
    and Reine’s vignette.
    You do have that gift Re, I especially liked “hoiking”.
    MM’s son has been deprived of this ritual task.
    I never had a special term for it til now.

    You should buy the quarter tree, MM. Even if you only live to use it this once, it will become a distinctive Mowbrayesque heirloom, wondered at down the generations.

  154. hic8ubique permalink
    December 13, 2010 1:04 PM

    The Widow-makers’ Overthrow

    for leaf-blower,
    then snow-thrower.

    Such horse-power
    and shovel

    bent over.

  155. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 1:24 PM

    Anus poems? Oh dear…I’m afraid to look.

  156. December 13, 2010 1:37 PM

    MM nothing beats the pile-up of dust on a plastic Xmas tree.

    Chez nous we have almost lost any sense of why we need Xmas decorations pretty though they be. Perhaps we need to celebrate Festivus like the Costanzas in order to combine a seasonal celebration with not feeling we’re towing the Xmas line.

    The last lot of Xmas lights remained up over the years until they stopped working. Should anyone be wondering or indeed worrying about the austere Stalinist line I’ve taken here they have been replaced.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 13, 2010 3:24 PM

      We still put the decorations up and get the tree out (but not until Xmas Eve) regardless of whether children are here or not. I’ve no idea why. Mrs M deplores my taste for paper chains, I’m mildly critical of her bauble fetish, but the Trials Of Strength take place over the tinsel.

    • December 13, 2010 4:03 PM

      Extensive research at the Taylor but not strictly Taylor household ( our combined austere Stalinism also extends to marriage remember ) has revealed that the combination of Xmas lighting with gas-fire lighting ( there’s no chimney alas ) warms the place up an extra 3.75 %.

  157. hic8ubique permalink
    December 13, 2010 1:38 PM

    It’s worth it. My laughter prompted spousal curiosity, so I had to go as far back as Carol’s vehement condemnation of certain performance poets and read through the sequence aloud.
    He won’t ask again anytime soon…

    ‘Empathy’ (on PP) is an example of your strength in conversational verse, Mowbray. I couldn’t say whether it’s your strongest suit, but you sure have the knack of it. Well done.
    I looked for ‘Beemer’ since I’ve always imagined it spelled that way, and found this trivia:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 13, 2010 1:47 PM

      (The link doesn’t work, but if you google ‘beemer’ you may go to the first option for this terminology trivia.)

  158. reine permalink
    December 13, 2010 1:44 PM

    “Thanks you guys”. Yes, most of my humour derives from my domestic arrangements which run to strange. I could write a great book about it were all the main characters not alive and well poised to sue for slander. HI is not a tall man (unlike D’s father) so would not have been as useful in the hoiking department. I still made him feel horrible for refusing to come on the trip even though I was relieved to know he would have the lights unravelled which always causes meltdown – they have a life of their own, fairy lights, between 7 January and c10 December every year.

    I can’t visualise a quarter tree.

    Yes, Deadgod’s was a witty observation. This post has had a strange trompe l’oreille(sic) effect on me every time I open it… a painful and messy kind of death that I imagine.

    Not an anus poem as such Mishari, although I’m quite sure he could come up with the goods there too.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 13, 2010 2:05 PM

      That’s interesting you can’t envision a quarter tree, Re.
      I immediately thought of the different ways one might quarter a tree.
      In this case, think of an inverted ice-cream-cone shape, bisect it longitudinally, put the long flat side against a wall
      bisect it again (discard all but one piece) and push it into a corner. The top will be a point, and the flat bottom the shape of a wedge of a quarter of a pie.
      Can you see it now?

      Another way to quarter a tree would be to ‘top’ it. So the Mowbrays could have a little tree on their table if they were to use just the top section in a flower pot with pea-stone to brace it up. No hoiking involved.

      The most amusing image was of MM firing up the radial-arm-saw and ripping his 20 yr old fake tree (longitudinally x2) so it could be shoved into a corner.

      It takes one minute to entertain, much longer to account for such flights of fancy.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 13, 2010 3:12 PM

      That’s what I mean (the first part). Not much point to a quarter tree in the US, where (going on what I’ve seen on TV) living space is generous. It’s different here – there are some new houses at the end of my street where (I’m told) the sitting-rooms are about 10’x10′. Cram in a sofa, armchairs and 32″ TV and a quarter-tree might be your only option.

      I save my chainsaw for carol-singers.

  159. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 2:41 PM

    Nobody but nobody understands seasonal merriment and joke-type laffs better than scientists. I mean…they’re scientists: they know stuff. Check it out:

  160. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 4:07 PM

    …and The Jeffrey Archer Award for ugliest word of the week goes to….@Nameless007, who on this week’s POTW gives us ‘un-privileging’…and in a poem, no less.

    Meanwhile, this just in from one of my favourite web-destinations, Korea News Service:

    Pyongyang, December 12 (KCNA) — The Brazil-Korea Friendship Association issued bulletin titled “The supreme commander and soldiers” on Dec. 3 on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of General Secretary Kim Jong Il’s assumption of the supreme commandership of the Korean People’s Army.

    The bulletin in its preface noted that there are many touching stories conveying the loving care shown by Kim Jong Il for his soldiers in the period of his ceaseless field inspection of KPA units.

    The bulletin cited facts when carrying articles in high praises of the personality of Kim Jong Il as a great man who shows deep loving care and warm benevolence for the servicepersons under such subtitles as “My sons and daughters”, “Day for soldiers” and “Blank left over”, etc. [Seriously–that’s what it says–“Blank left over”-Convulsed Ed.]

    and tractor production is up. North Korea–leading the world in big hats, 50s technology, flag-waving and marching in close formation.

  161. December 13, 2010 5:19 PM

    I was hoping to sneak in a second Xmas this year as the Russian Xmas falls 13 days later than ours, but now it seems I shall be going 3 days after. My flat is all ready; the red carpet is waiting to be unrolled at Ekaterinburg airport, and I am wondering if the Hunter winter wardrobe is sufficient…

    Just for MM:

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 13, 2010 11:35 PM

      Looks like I’ll need to call my friends in the Chainsaw Club.

      The holly and the ivy
      when they are both full grown
      of all the trees that are in the wood
      we love to chop them down

  162. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 5:27 PM

    Ekaterinburg? Isn’t that where they shot Nicholas and his family? Don’t forget to pack your bullet-proof thermals, Това́рищ

  163. December 13, 2010 5:49 PM

    Indeed it is, but I am told the cellar is no longer available as a place of pilgrimage, a church having been built over it… I’m not keen on churches, as a rule, despite once having enjoyed the favours of an American girl in a pulpit in Milan, but perhaps I shall make an exception for this one.
    Bullet-proof thermals? Do they stock them at Primark?

  164. December 13, 2010 6:23 PM

    DVDs arrived Mishari, many thanks. Them Texas Blues plug a hole in my chronology – don’t have a lot of early electric blues.

    We bought our first xmas tree at the weekend – a small Normandy pine (sounds like a dog); it was wonderfully Christmassy watching my beloved decorate it with baubles, angels, stars, Easter Island heads, Hieronymus Bosch figurines, battery-operated Chinese cattle, the plastic Shakespeare from my desk and assorted other colourful ephemera.

    Strange sight, the son of a Pink Floyd member protesting against tuition fees. I would have assumed he didn’t need no eduaction. And what education he did have was clearly squandered – his defence for clambering up the Cenotaph was ‘I didn’t know what it was’. Bring back national service, I say. Actually, bring back WWI. Let them pay off their debts the old fashioned way – illiterate, covered in mud and surrounded by corpses.

  165. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 6:33 PM

    Glad to hear it, XB.

    You’re right, though. This Gilmour sounds like a ghastly twerp. How can you not know what the Cenotaph is or what it symbolises?

    Here’s a hint, Charlie: the reason you won’t be taking university classes entitled Aryan Medicine; Why The Jew Must be Exterminated; The Inferiority of The African; and The Philosophy of Adolf Hitler is the sacrifice made by those whose memorial you failed to recognise.

    Fucking moron.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      December 13, 2010 7:48 PM

      In his defence, it does look like he’s been stitched up like a kipper. There are more photos of him on display in the papers than have been taken of me over the last fifteen years. His ego must have thought it was perfectly natural for photographers to take an unusual interest in him. Anyway, I have it on good authority that the newpapers reported a rumour that he is said to have told pals that he was under the influence of drugs on the day in question.

      Boys will be boys and dicks will be dicks. I wonder if deep down he was trying to annoy his right-wing reactionary stepfather or taking after his Eton-educated father and activist poet, John Henley Jasper Heathcote-Williams?

    • December 13, 2010 8:06 PM

      His father’s Heathcote Williams? That explains it. HW wrote the lyrics to a Marianne Faithfull song that’s got some right proper swearing on it.

  166. hic8ubique permalink
    December 13, 2010 6:36 PM

    and here is a ‘carol’ for the ExBeagleChrist household.

  167. December 13, 2010 7:14 PM

    To be fair he didn’t say that he didn’t know what it was. He said he didn’t know that what he was climbing on was the Cenotaph, and that if he had known he wouldn’t have done it. More interesting is that he is has been arrested on suspicion of ‘attempted criminal damage to the Union Flag’…

  168. December 13, 2010 7:17 PM

    My comment is awaiting moderation? I never thought I’d see the day on PH…[Sorry, it happens sometimes, God alone knows why-Ed]

    • Reine permalink
      December 13, 2010 8:24 PM

      Was it the one about the carnal activity in the pulpit that was moderated? My Catholic guilt never allowed me to do anything more than exchange a longing look over the sign of peace in the confines of the church although I did get up to no good when staying in a priest friend’s house many moons ago… not with the priest… he was out ministering to the sick and I was supposed to be manning the phone. (I didn’t hear “the phone” part).

      Those songs are bloody marvellous.

  169. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 7:19 PM

    I love that, hic. I’m going to have to make my own version…(this wonderful track is by a Columbus, Ohio a cappella group called Throat Culture).

  170. December 13, 2010 7:38 PM

    True, Mishari – although, ironically, if Germany had won WWI there would have been no National Socialism – he would have been a contented if unsuccessful painter, full of the kind of national pride John Major admired, with no inferiority or seething paranoia. He might even have moved to Berlin and met Christopher Isherwood.

    Thanks for the ‘carol’, Hic. It’s like someone stuck a microphone in my ear and recorded my inner monologue.

  171. December 13, 2010 7:51 PM

    He did WHAT to the Union Flag? Probably rolled it up and injected it like an acid doobie then listened to one of his dad’s drug rock pop records.

    I wanted to illustrate this with a cartoon but I couldn’t find the one I wanted. So here’s something else on patriotism.

  172. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 8:03 PM

    OK, here’s my version:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 14, 2010 12:18 AM

      You wasted no time at all, I see, Mishari.
      It’s a fine complement to a piece that thoroughly deserves your compliment.
      I can’t seem to lay hands on the disc, but Easter Island Head was the best thing on it.
      I’ve heard some astonishing work from Bobby McFerrin as well, but he must be familiar to you?

      Simon, you too were fast off the mark. Russia so soon?
      I recommend seal-skin.

      I was looking for the Jake Thakray ‘Twat’ video that someone here (Moon?) posted nearly a year ago.
      It seems to have vanished, and I so wanted to send it to a friend who would find it therapeutic just now…
      Any clues?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 15, 2010 1:30 AM

      Catching up a bit… I’m familiar with the relative paucity of living space, MM, (Good morning:) but that would inspire me to decorate a tree in the garden or to have a tiny one indoors, not to have one that looked as if it were entering corner-wise through seemingly solid walls.

      I hope you have a proper bathtub and not one of those, well, mini horse-troughs that swing out from under a counter-top.
      The reason… I’m getting to it… is because your feeling of an ‘arthritic torso’ may well be caused by muscle strain from coughing, in which case a daily soaking in Epsom salts baths might provide significant relief.
      Just a thought. There are other wonderful sea-salt and essential oil preparations, but I know I’ll lose you if I get too carried away~~~

  173. mishari permalink*
    December 13, 2010 8:46 PM

    Ah, well, Hank…maybe I was unfair to the boy. I didn’t follow the story. That’ll teach me to go off half-cocked. Interesting that he’s actually Heathcote-William’s son.

    • December 13, 2010 9:29 PM

      He was probably stuck between reciting “Whale Nation” or playing a 25 minute long guitar solo to the sound of cash registers ker-chinging. No wonder he didn’t know he was on the Cenotaph.

      Was he the one who poked Camilla with a stick?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 13, 2010 11:29 PM

      I think that was Bryan Ferry’s lad. He must have thought she was a badger.

      You don’t need a password to post on Simon’s site, Reine. I use the name/url option.

    • Reine permalink
      December 13, 2010 11:42 PM

      Thanks MM, all I was trying to say anyway was that Uncle Harry sounded like a fine fella. I get the quarter tree now; HI also explained it to me and said it was a special species … I believed him for a split second (even knowing it was artificial). He is very widely read in the non-fiction area so I thought he might have tripped across a fascinating story about M&S cultivating the first quarter tree … this is no ordinary Christmas tree etc…. While being widely read can make a person very interesting, the corollary is that I sometimes wish he had a mute button. Politics is his main interest – as if I don’t have enough of it… football and music feature large as well.

  174. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 14, 2010 12:05 AM

    I was intrigued by your passing mention (during the two hats episode, I think) of HI’s revolutionary oration. It sounds interesting, though I suppose it’s a closed book. He must be gratified by Liverpool’s return to form. It won’t last.

    So, got to go. I have some opiate-based stuff to stop me coug h ing w hi c h is ma king me dr o w s

  175. Reine permalink
    December 14, 2010 12:13 AM

    Sleep well MM. hope the elixir eases the coughing. He didn’t say much about the match, pretended not to notice it was on. He seems to channel James Larkin at times who also had Liverpool connections. ‘night to you and anyone else who knows me…

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 14, 2010 9:24 AM

      Christ, they lost to Newcastle, didn’t they? I was thinking about the Villa game. Drugs. Avoid them.

    • Reine permalink
      December 14, 2010 9:32 AM

      Hope you slept well.

      I had thought some black and white clad team seemed to be winning, even from my limited grasp of things.

      The Christmas “stipend” has arrived from Daddy in the post. Hurrah. Poor fella, every year he tells us it will stop next year and we insist that it does but every year we factor it in to defraying our Christmas expenses in part. We’d get an awful shock if he actually heeded us.

  176. Reine permalink
    December 14, 2010 9:15 AM

    Mishari, following your outcry on the matter…

    From today’s edition of The Irish Times:

    ALLIED IRISH Banks has backed down from paying €40 million in bonuses to executives following a Government warning that it would not provide billions of euro in funding to the bank if it did so.

    Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan wrote to AIB yesterday evening informing it that the provision of further State funding was conditional on the non-payment of any bonuses, no matter when they may have been earned.

    The board of the bank subsequently held an emergency meeting and decided not to pay the controversial bonuses, dating back to 2008, to 2,400 employees.

    In his letter, Mr Lenihan said the financial difficulties of the bank were clearly a “supervening event” which was not contemplated at the time the bonus payments to staff were agreed.

    AIB said last week it was contractually obliged to pay the bonuses withheld from capital markets staff under the terms of the bank guarantee for the unit’s profitable performance in 2008 after an employee won a test case.

    The High Court had ordered the bank to pay €160,000 to trader John Foy, who was one of about 90 staff who had taken legal action against the bank over the bonuses. Mr Foy will be paid his bonus in spite of the intervention last night by Mr Lenihan. The Minister said the award to Mr Foy would stand as the Attorney General had advised that the “dishonouring of the judgment by the board was not permissible”.

    However, none of the other staff eligible for the bonuses are now to be paid.

    In a statement issued after its meeting, the AIB board accepted that without the State support that has been provided the bank could not have survived. It also conceded that it would continue to have to rely on the State for support for some time into the future.

    Mr Lenihan, in his letter, informed AIB executive chairman David Hodgkinson that he was extremely unhappy about the prospect of substantial sums being paid in bonuses to AIB staff.

    He said that they were referable to a time when the State had to provide financial support to AIB to enable it to survive.

    “As AIB could not be in a position to pay without State support, past, present and to come, I believe that this condition is reasonable and proportionate,” he said.

    Mr Lenihan, in a later briefing last night, said that he would be bringing legislation to the Dáil tomorrow to give statutory backing to the decision.

    The change will be made as an amendment to the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill, which will enshrine the memorandum of understanding with the European Union and International Monetary Fund into Irish law.
    (end quote)

    Well… the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill, that’s something to look forward to late into the night. …”supervening event” is to become my excuse of choice.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 14, 2010 9:59 AM

      Great…and it reveals the UK government’s (Labour and ConDem) bleating about ‘contractual and legal obligations’ for the mendacious waffle we always knew it was.

      Mind you, I suspect that the Irish government feared that an actual violent revolution would ensue if they had paid out those bonuses.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 14, 2010 11:42 AM

      I’m not too sure about that. I’ve no doubt m’learned friends are rubbing their hands over the situation, and they have a point. Once you start mucking about with contracts retrospectively, where will it end?

    • mishari permalink*
      December 14, 2010 12:32 PM

      I think ‘…a “supervening event” which was not contemplated at the time the bonus payments to staff were agreed.’ covers it nicely.

      After all, if I hire an electrician to re-wire my house and promise him a bonus if he completes the work in a specified period of time, but his cutting corners and shoddy workmanship cause the house to burn down, I don’t think I’m obliged to pay that bonus.

      Surely these bankers bonuses are connected to ‘performance’? And just as surely, they failed.

      There’s no contract so iron-clad it can’t be broken. Fuck ’em. Imagine you’re Boo Boo…now imagine the bankers are Yogi Bear:

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 14, 2010 7:15 PM

      Sounds like bollocks to me. Surely the lawyers (and bankers have the best) will make mincemeat of it, unless the bank employees are prepared to surrender their rights. More generally the entire financial system is based on the honouring of contracts. Start fucking around with it and the whole thing might collapse. I don’t know how Irish law works, but in English law that one payment (to John Foy) sets a precedent which the courts will be unable to ignore. Is it possible to legislate on payments which have already been ‘earned’? Sounds dodgy to me.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 14, 2010 8:21 PM

      According to wikileaks:

      By the time of this conversation in September 2009, the FSA had published a code on pay which demanded that bonuses be deferred over three years or more and allowed banks to be able to “claw back” bonuses paid if performance turned sour in later years.

      Gordon Brown’s government demanded that major banks sign up to the code and one cable shows the pressure exerted by the City minister, Lord Myners, to win support from international banks.

      One cable dated 3 November 2009 recalled a meeting between Myners and eight major banks a month earlier, on 14 October in which the minister had convinced the banks to adhere to the code a year earlier than they had wanted to.

      “Prior to the meeting with Lord Myners JPMC (JP Morgan Chase) and other firms understood from the Financial Services Authority that they were being asked to sign on to changes effective 2010.

      Only at the meeting with Lord Myners were they told the FSA rules would also apply to all 2009 bonuses (my italics). JPMC signed on, believing it did not have another choice. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs echoed this view.”

      Now, if I understand this correctly, all the banks mentioned signed up to an agreement which retroactively changed their contractual obligation. Or did I miss something?

    • mishari permalink*
      December 14, 2010 8:36 PM

      Furthermore, aren’t bonuses discretionary? I mean, isn’t that why they’re called bonuses? I was under the impression that people had no idea what the size of a bonus would be. Are bonuses actually even covered by contract law (except where they clearly are)?

  177. Reine permalink
    December 14, 2010 10:00 AM

    This was on the radio as we ate breakfast; I thought we were on the wrong channel. D tells me it has taken the Internet by storm. By a group called Rubberbandits who do lots of these send up “songs”. I’d be happy to provide a translation…

  178. Reine permalink
    December 14, 2010 10:08 AM

    Here they are anyway, if even I can’t make out some of the words, y’all have no hope. First verse seems to be missing above. Daddy would take the stipend back if he saw me lowering myself to this kind of coarseness!

    I’m at Amanda’s weddin, In a church on Thomas Street
    I’m lookin at a bridesmaid, and she lookin back at me
    …………, ask her if she wants a lift
    back to the hotel, anything goeS, well finger and a shift
    She says Fitzy drives a Mitzy, and he offered me a spin
    Enda have a Honda, so I might just go with him
    and Darren …… , in his Subaru
    so what the fuck would make you think I’d wanna go with you

    I said Fuck your Honda Civic, I’ve a horse outside
    fuck your Subaru, I have a horse outside
    and fuck your Mitsubishi, I’ve a horse outside
    if you’re lookin for a ride I’ve got a horse outside

    She said I don’t believe ya
    I said it’s fuckin true
    I swapped him for a bag of yokes in 1992
    I don’t need insurance, I don’t need no parkin space
    and if you try to clamp my horse he’ll kick you in the face
    I don’t pay no tax, fuck NCT
    you’ll arrive in style if you ride with me
    and the boys are walkin over, jinglin their keys
    I look the fuckers up and down and give them one of these

    I said Fuck your Honda Civic, I’ve a horse outside
    fuck your Subaru, I have a horse outside
    and fuck your Mitsubishi, I’ve a horse outside
    if you’re lookin for a ride I’ve a horse outside

    Giddy up now baby, bless my soul
    I rode the fucker round a field back since he was a foal
    He runs a bit like Shergar, and he jumps like Tir na nOg
    He looks like Billy Piper after half an ounce of coke
    and the boys are lookin jealous, as I lead yer one away
    and just before I close the door I look at her and say
    Would you be my girl, and she says I will of course
    if ya grab me by the ponytail and ride me like a horse

    Fuck your Honda Civic, I’ve a horse outside
    fuck your Subaru, I have a horse outside
    and fuck your Mitsubishi, I’ve a horse outside
    if you’re lookin for a ride I’ve a horse outside

  179. Reine permalink
    December 14, 2010 10:11 AM

    They are a hip-hop duo from Limerick, the geographical note is pertinent.

  180. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 14, 2010 11:43 AM

    Oh, I see. Lyric by Billy Mills?

  181. freep permalink
    December 14, 2010 1:01 PM

    I like a horse better than a Vauxhall. I would like hoofs at the end of my legs, to save on shoe leather, but I would also like a curlew’s beak for poking around, and a kinkajou’s tail would come in handy when tree pruning. God’s great design lacks flexibility. (A dorsal fin too.) (but a trunk might frighten a woman).

    • Reine permalink
      December 15, 2010 12:09 AM

      Not me, it wouldn’t !

  182. mishari permalink*
    December 14, 2010 10:42 PM

    As funny as this vid is, perhaps even funnier is the number of people who’ve posted comments like ‘hey, they can’t do that! We need the moon for tides and shit’ and ‘Man, those N. Koreans are really crazy’ and ‘Is that even possible?’

  183. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 14, 2010 11:27 PM

    In the Allied Irish case, the bonuses had already been ‘earned’ (in 2008), and the bank had guaranteed to pay them. That one employee had been given his bonus, and the other employees hadn’t, seems a simple denial of natural justice. Whatever one’s feeling about banks and bankers, I don’t think governments should be allowed to abrogate law in that way. On reflection, it may be a convenient time-wasting tactic by the Irish government. It will probably take years for the case to come to court, by which time a new administration will be in power and they can make a quiet out of court settlement. In the meantime a major embarrassment can be avoided.

    On the wikileaks disclosure, I don’t know when bank bonuses are paid (or negotiated), so it’s possible that the bonuses for 2009 were still only theoretical. In fact, I don’t know anything about them, whether they are contractually arranged or paid on some other basis. You’ll remember that the basis for changing a contract is that both parties have to agree to it, in which case contracts can be altered retrospectively (which is what I meant about the Allied Irish employees surrendering their rights). Presumably JPMC and the other banks could bring enough pressure to bear on their employees to allow them to vary their contracts. It doesn’t sound like the Allied Irish employees want to be a party to that.

    What I remember on the Fred Goodwin case was that he was untouchable from a legal point of view (I think he volunteered to reduce his pension in the end). Which is terrible in a way, but in another way is good news for us citizens.

  184. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 14, 2010 11:34 PM

    Opiates and legal discussion: not a good combo.

  185. mishari permalink*
    December 14, 2010 11:42 PM

    True. Just stick to the opiates, is my advice. Leave the legal argy-bargy to those who are being paid eye-watering sums to do it…which ain’t you or me.

    Although, for what it’s worth (i.e. not much), I have read of a number of cases where a judge has set aside a contract on the basis that information that would have materially affected the negotiated terms of the contract was withheld from one of the parties (e.g. this bank is going down the toilet)…

  186. Reine permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:00 AM

    Just in, wasn’t ignoring the discussion on banks, couldn’t access site. Fintan O’Toole of the IT had this background info – the legal issues will play out for a long time to come but I think there is a certain element of “banking” on people not to have the balls to pursue it in the prevailing climate. I wouldn’t; bankers are not a timid lot as far as I can ascertain.

    Forget the link thing again Mish, sorry. Have it bookmarked so will revise when not hanging tired.

  187. Reine permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:22 AM

    I have a barrister friend who earns more in a day than I do in a month. Should have taken silk rather than developed a penchant for wearing it.

  188. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:23 AM

    A verbal contract, eh? A murky business, but it must have stood up in the High Court.

  189. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:27 AM

    Time for me to put this case to bed, m’lud.

  190. Reine permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:29 AM

    God speed up the stairs MM. Sending you best sleep inducing vibes, free of charge.

  191. mishari permalink*
    December 15, 2010 12:39 AM

    I wonder if he still wears that nightcap–the one that makes him look like Dopey in The Seven Dwarves?

    And for an even bigger laugh than the sight of MM going to bed, check out the Uncyclopedia’s entry on Richard Littlejohn (Pron: kŭnt)

  192. hic8ubique permalink
    December 15, 2010 1:33 AM

    *ergh* My comment went way the blazes up there somewhere.
    So I’m trying again here:

    Catching up a bit… I’m familiar with the relative paucity of living space, MM, (Good morning:) but that would inspire me to decorate a tree in the garden or to have a tiny one indoors, not to have one that looked as if it were entering corner-wise through seemingly solid walls.

    I hope you have a proper bathtub and not one of those, well, mini horse-troughs that swing out from under a counter-top.
    The reason… I’m getting to it… is because your feeling of an ‘arthritic torso’ may well be caused by muscle strain from coughing, in which case a daily soaking in Epsom salts baths might provide significant relief.
    Just a thought. There are other wonderful sea-salt and essential oil preparations, but I know I’ll lose you if I get too carried away~~~

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 15, 2010 11:59 AM

      Yes, I agree with you treewise (those houses don’t have gardens, just a car park), a small one would be better. A quarter-tree might make a useful conversation point, however, depending on your level of social maladroitness. How are you?, what terrible weather we’re having, have you seen my quarter-tree? Perhaps I will get one.

      I don’t think I’ve had a bath since about 1990, but I take your point. My problem is of considerably longer standing than the cough, unfortunately, but thanks for your interest and suggestions.

  193. mishari permalink*
    December 15, 2010 10:00 AM

    I see those inept (or crooked) buffoons at Moodys are talking about downgrading Spain’s credit rating from AAA to Aa1. I can’t believe anyone still takes these people seriously.

    For fuck’s sake, Moodys (and Standard & Poor’s) spent the 90s and 2000s rating mortgage-backed securities (i.e. debt-backed securities) as AAA, when a child of 10 could see that they were a time-bomb.

    How the hell can you rate securities as AAA when it’s impossible to quantify the potential debt-liabilities if they go belly-up?

    Every mention of the credit-rating agencies should be preceded by a health-warning: “Attention! These agencies, through incompetence and/or criminality played a major part in crashing the world economy!”

  194. December 15, 2010 10:13 AM

    Interesting that the UK government is planning to punish hospitals if someone ends up on a mixed ward yet feels there’s nothing they can do about bankers and bonuses.

    NOT that I think mixed wards are a good idea but it gives an idea of who they think should take the blame for our current woes.

    My pancreas is in rebellion
    Its duties it does shirk
    If I don’t put in some insulin
    The bloody thing won’t work.

  195. December 15, 2010 10:46 AM

    It started with the pancreas
    Now the revolution won’t stop
    My whole body is rebelling
    Now my kidneys have started to pop.
    Abrasions and skin blemishes
    Previously just minor hitches
    Now my entire body area
    Is covered in nasty itches.
    My body’s range of defences
    Downed tools and stayed away
    My iron-clad constitution
    Is on a permanent holiday.
    There isn’t a minor ailment
    That I haven’t recently caught.
    Is that perchance a beauty spot?
    No it’s a bloody wart.
    I’ve hair where it shouldn’t be
    No hair where it should
    To make things more embarassing
    My wooden leg’s not made of wood
    As far as situations go
    This situation is well shoddy
    I need to sit down in talks
    With my rebellious body.

    It may well be that a solution
    Is pretty easy to find
    But that will be as nothing
    To ongoing discussions with my mind.

  196. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:16 PM

    An excellent comment on the Vile Body, ET. I think I’ll have to let my rebellion poem go. I’ve given it a Camilla-style prod. Nothing.

Comments are closed.