Thursday, May 31, 2007

Now I've joined the commuting class I'm really not looking forward to going to work in the summer heat. Underground Cooling seems to concentrate on what can be done to cool the London Underground down, whereas I'll need suggestions on a more individual level. [via Going Underground]


The Tate have a Flickr group to accompany their current photography exhibition at Tate Britain. They are asking for a maximum of four photographs on one of the four themes of the exhibition, portrait, documentary, still life or landscape.

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The Sun claim Doctor Who will finish next year. I won't break out the cyanide capsules just yet, seeing as it's News International and the BBC we're talking about here I refuse to believe that The Sun's source is as good as the one that tells them everything the Prime Minister is thinking in Number 10. I wouldn't be surprised if Russell T. Davies wants to move on, he's worked crazy busy for the last few years getting Doctor Who and Torchwood off the ground, so if he leaves soon that's to be expected. But the Beeb hold the rights to Who, and I can't believe they'd be willing to throw in the towel, even if market share being what it is the new show doesn't get the viewing figures of the mid seventies heyday...

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The Princess Bride as a horror movie.

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We hate old people and it's all Walt Disney's fault apparently.

A study by American researchers at Brigham Young University, Utah, looked at 93 characters who appeared to be aged 55 or older from 34 Disney films going back 70 years.

...Typical portrayals of elderly people included showing them as toothless, hunched, and with cracking voices. Many were depicted with "saggy breasts", the researchers said in an article for the medical publication Journal of Ageing Studies.

The academics, who recognised that many Disney creations were based on Brothers Grimm fairytales, added: "Some of the films (15 per cent) contained only negative portrayals of older characters, and 71 per cent of the films contained at least one negative portrayal of an older character."

Their study concludes: "Why the portrayals of older people seem more negative when the consumers are children is uncertain."

I suspect that the academics really wanted an all expenses junket to eastern Europe to 'investigate' why the Brothers Grimm stories had negative elderly people stereotypes but the university wouldn't pay for more than a half dozen DVDs. And let's think of the films with positive portrayals of the elderly, The Princess Bride, The Matrix, Stop or my Mom Will Shoot! ...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

After meeting with Sarkozi in France, after snuggling with Shrubya in Washington, Tony Blair continues his worldwide tour with unpleasant right-wing scumbags by pimping British arms manufacturers to Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.

Mr Blair told reporters: "I find him very easy to deal with."

I'm sure Gaddafi will be putting that on the dust-jacket of his autobiography.

Now, I admit that I know very little about Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela but he seems to be getting an uncommonly easy ride while opposition media comes under attack. Admittedly he's not bombing them but Shrubya got given a much harder time when it was even suspected that he wanted to bomb Al Jazeera. Of course, mainstream media is biased, but what alternatives does Chávez have?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Music Blah Flowers

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Machine at Putney Bridge Tube Station

Machine at Putney Bridge Tube Station
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
Tried somewhere new today and found that Putney doesn't have much to recommend it. However, as I prepared to flee back to London this strange machine caught my attention while I stood on the station platform.

Liz Jones dumps Nirpal Dhaliwal for a horse. Has Dhaliwal turned her off bipeds for life? Emotional rubberneckers want to know...

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What does The Guardian have against Richard Dawkins? It's not like I particularly like him but it's like, another day, another article critical of him in Comment is Free, then when you look up the keyword 'richarddawkins' you realise that all but one of the articles are critical of Dawkins. It's a bit like the Grauniad's attitude towards transsexuals.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Glow-in-the-dark fur clothes. And it's not real fur either, presumably because they haven't persuaded mink to breed with jellyfish yet.

A sneak peak at the soon-to-open Creation Museum.

[via Wired]

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American tourists now less offensive than Brits, apparently.

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Labour turmoil over proposed police powers. Let's not hold our breath that the Government is suddenly going to rediscover it's backbone just because there's a change at the top.

What's really scary is the language Tony Blair feels free to use now that he's leaving Government:

"We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first. I happen to believe this is misguided and wrong."

Why does Tony Blair hate the people who elected his party to govern on three occasions so much? How can restricting my freedoms in order to defeat people who want to restrict my freedoms possibly work? And how did Tony Blair manage to get away with over ten years in power without ever once being called on his bullshit?

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Passive-Aggressive Notes From Roommates, Neighbors, Coworkers and Strangers Blog. [via neatorama]

I'm going to use this on those rare occasions when I feel lonely, to remind myself of the advantages of living alone.


I doubt there's anyone still under any illusions about the charmless bigots and their hatred of humanity, if not then check this press release out, in which Stephen Green imagines what he thinks little girls are made of, then accuses those who are trying to stop girls in the real world from a lifetime of suffering and distress if they make bad choices when they are young of turning them in to tarts.

Biblical perfume [via Andrew Sullivan]. Yes, if you're a woman and so naturally unclean and an offence in the sight of our Lord, then you too can use the 'Spiritual fragrance' that 'mimics [the] spiritual process', whatever that means. What Would Mary Smell Like?

This guy introduces me to a new concept, the next step up from 'religious people' is apparently 'the Saved'. If Faith is of the Heart and is created by Love, it seems odd that those that would profess to have the strongest Faith talk a lot more about what they Hate instead. The Saved are chosen by God and there's nothing anyone on earth can do to become one of them, a position that makes Pat Robertson seem like some kind of tambourine-shaking bearded hippy.

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Police to be given powers to stop and question anyone they like whenever they feel like it. Have Tony Blair and John Reid considered just going on national TV and explicitly telling the British public to fuck off and die?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The BNP say Margaret Hodge is saying things they want to hear. Even at the worst point of Michael Howard's reign I don't remember the Tories getting the unqualified two thumbs up from the fascists.

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In Brief...

More thoughts later, but I just have to say that tonight's episode of Doctor Who was probably the best so far this season and probably up there with the best episodes ever. Let's just hope part two doesn't disappoint.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A side-effect of having spent the last couple of months on sleeping tablets is that I was more and less teetotal. Now that I no longer have to take the tablets I've celebrated by opening a bottle of red wine I was given when I left my old job exactly two months ago.

< glug glug >

Damn that's good stuff.

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Green Trafalgar Square

Green Trafalgar Square
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
So I've been in Trafalgar Square when it was all red and now it's all green, so when is it going to be blue or yellow?

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We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make it legal for Mark Thomas (the political activist / satire comedian) to demonstrate in parliament square without the need to apply for permission under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reject the home secretary's proposition of allowing non-firearms officers to carry taser guns.

The BBC issued the following article - More frontline police officers could soon be carrying 50,000-volt Taser stun guns under government plans. The Home Secretary John Reid made the announcement at the Police Federation of England and Wales' conference. Currently officers can only use the guns if they are opposed with a weapon. The change will also allow them to be used when confronted with any form of violence or threat. Amnesty International are opposed to the move, stating the guns have caused more than 70 deaths in america where they are most commonly used.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Repeal the Identity Cards Act 2006.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to award Alan Moore with an honour.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Refuse any application submitted by the ‘Church’ of Scientology for recognition as a Religious Organisation.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Best visual illusion of the year contest (warning, may cause bleeding from the brain!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kids supposedly worried about being kidnapped like Madeleine McCann says The Sun. The best thing is the picture that accompanies the story, of a 'concerned child'.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Doctor What?

Doctor Who- The Five Doctors Part One.
Doctor Who- The Five Doctors Part Two. [via Miss K]
Doctor Who- The 0th Doctor.
"HAM?! Moi ?"
"I didn't save the planet from the Daleks so that Gordon Brown could take over."

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How do you consummate a relationship with a building? Objectophilia.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

People have been having fun reviewing Richard Littlejohn's latest book at Amazon.

Since my subscription to the Daily Mail lapsed, my hourly apoplectic rage had begun to fade, my life seemed to have no meaning. This book has brought the crimson back into my previously grey life. After reading that my shoes are probably made in China my anger new no bounds. Imagine that! Chinese! Thankfully now my blood pressure is ris and I stride proudly barefoot. Thank you my saviour.

[via Linkmachinego]

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... And the Radio is Telling me to Love Everyone...

I'm currently reading The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil by Professor Philip Zimbardo. In the early seventies he was responsible for the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and this book looks at that experience and also his time as an expert witness in the trial of one of the Abu Ghraib guards, as well as other examples of inhuman cruelty in the wider world to answer the question of whether people are born evil or made evil. I've always tended towards the latter, although my belief was somewhat shaken on learning in detail exactly what went on in the Nazi death camps in the Second World War. At the moment I'm only about a hundred pages in and a few days into the Stanford Experiment and it's amazing and somewhat shocking how far the students designated 'guards' and those designated 'prisoners' have already gone, but we can compare it with the testimonies of those released from Camp X-Ray to know that such behaviour is still prevalent, and mild when the rule of law still applies to put limits on the behaviour of those in the position of authority.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Turns out that Lloyd Alexander has died. I loved his Prydain books. I assumed he died donkeys years ago because we never heard of any other books he'd written over here.

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One of the few things you could say about Tony Blair's government is that they have had a generally more enlightened view about Lesbians and Gays (don't mention the Bis, whoops!) and have implemented several measures to, if not equalise them in society, close the gap between them and the straights. So it's a shame that, after signing a petition asking his Tonyness to Overturn the National Blood Service (NBS) ban stopping Gay and Bi (G&B) Men giving Blood to be directed to this response:

The Government has a duty to ensure that any rules applied to blood donation by the National Blood Service (NBS) achieve a balance between risk reduction and security of supply. The self exclusion criterion concerning gay men has been reached through a close analysis of the epidemiology of confirmed HIV and Hepatitis B positive tests among blood samples from people donating blood at United Kingdom Blood Service sessions.

The Government has been advised that every year from the analysis of nearly three million donations collected by the United Kingdom and Irish Blood Services, about 40 donations are confirmed to be positive for HIV. Of these, a third to a half are given by men who, following further enquiries by the NBS, reveal that they are gay men. Some are donating for the first time but some have given at least once in the previous two years and tested negative on the previous occasion. These figures indicate that some gay men are still giving blood in spite of the current rules.

Although safer sex campaigns have had an impact, it is still considered that the risk of gay men being infected with HIV remains sufficiently high to include the criterion that they should not donate blood. Unfortunately, this means there will be healthy gay men who would be suitable for giving blood but who are excluded by the rule.

However, it is not practical to expect donor session staff to be able to differentiate between gay men with lower or with higher risk lifestyles, so all gay men have to be excluded.

Forty donations out of three million test positive for HIV. Somewhere between thirteen to twenty donations out of three million come from men who identify as gay, and are HIV positive. This is apparently a valid reason for why all men who identify as liking Steve instead of/as well as Eve are barred from giving blood. It ignores the fact that, based on this tally, somewhere between twenty and twenty-seven donations come from people who insist they are straight, suggesting that there is a greater danger to the public from the blood of heterosexuals rather than gay men.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Well, this should prove to everyone that the Liberal Democrats are a serious political party, fit for government: The Eurovision Song Contest voting system needs to be changed because it is "harmful to the relationship between the peoples of Europe", an MP has said. Countries voted for their neighbours rather than the best songs, Liberal Democrat MP Richard Younger-Ross said.

Shock horror!

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Monday, May 14, 2007

This story is so funny that I'm assuming that either the journalist who wrote it is lying or Crusty Ethiopian-Hugging Pop-Toff Bob Geldof is having a laugh:

Bob Geldof has labelled the forthcoming Live Earth gigs organised by Al Gore, as "just an enormous pop concert", without any real goals. Geldof, 55, claimed the 7 July extravaganza was unnecessary because everybody already knew about "f***ing global warming".

Geldof is presumably bitter that, if Al Gore were to succeed, Africa would become a fertile food producer and Live Aid 40 would be a non-starter.

The pot said that without specific environmental commitments from governments, the concerts lacked the punch needed to enact change. He told the Dutch de Volksrant newspaper: "I would only organise [Live Earth] if I could go on stage and announce concrete environmental measures from the American presidential candidates, Congress or major corporations. They haven’t got those guarantees, so it’s just an enormous pop concert or the umpteenth time that, say, Madonna or Coldplay get up on stage."

So, nothing like what you did two years ago then? And if you're suggesting that you already had the guarantees before the concert, isn't that an acknowledgement that they were just one big ego trip for you?

He would have a point if he talked about how carbon unfriendly a big concert like this is likely to be, but he didn't. Idiot!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

The R U Sirius Show and Neofiles With R U Sirius will be attempting to stream video and audio while the shows are recorded, today at 2 PM Pacific or 10 PM GMT. There have been a few teething problems in the past few weeks, so cross your fingers before heading to the website.

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Unmanned drones to be remote-controlled by Skynet satellite system. Oh come on, what more do you need?

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Do you know what time it is?

Sadly I lack a busy enough life to make one of these worthwhile, but I quite like the 'show interest and maybe we'll manufacture some of the little fuckers' angle of the creators.

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A link to a link to the best story ever.

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Hmmm, There's that Hallowe'en episode of The Simpsons were Homer gets cloned and there's a Peter Griffin in the crowd, but are these examples of it going further, or is it just a case of "The Simpsons Did It!"

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The Guardian does seem to have a lot of articles slamming Richard Dawkins and the 'New Atheists' recently.

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Come on, what do you think a group blog by Daily Telegraph readers is going to be like? Wonder no longer...

David Cameron frustrates me... He... says that people should stopping using the words “Islamist terrorists” because it apparently stigmatizing all muslims. He said that IRA terrorists were never called “Catholic terrorists” because if they had been called such, it would have been a disaster... There are a handful of moderate muslims who are happy to condemn the extremists in their communities. But there are not enough.

So the UK entry for Eurovision was saved the ignominy of nil point by its few European friends left in Ireland & Malta... Cast Terry Wogan and the dead hands at the BBC aside and let another public broadcaster like Channel 4, or even Sky (yes Sky) be given the reigns to enhance the image of the UK in Europe.

Can you imagine someone calling you from your local bank and introducing himself with: 'I have had a stroke and this is why I speak with a foreign accent.'? Its not a scam or fiction. Its just a Birmingham guy (should I say a dumb Birmingham guy?) called Richard Murray as reported BBC yesterday. I as shocked to read that this 30 years old guy had a stroke and lost the power of speech. Now he speaks with a heavy foreign accent. I don’t think this is a problem. He should be glad to be able to speak after a stroke. Even more: He should be glad to be alive. However he seems very worried for being different... Don’t bother Mr. Murray. Next time you have a stroke, maybe you will lose your voice so accents (whatever they from) shouldn’t be a problem anymore for you, should they?

The prophecy about Christ is the most important one in the Old Testament; so is the prophecy about Antichrist in the New Testament. The Jews failed God then. Would Christians fail Jesus now?

I've always been puzzled regarding our politicians falling over themselves to integrate us deeper and deeper into the EU. To be honest, I never understood what the attraction was. The Treaty of Rome, the Maastricht Treaty etc etc.......means SFA to me, to be honest. As far as I can see, we don't seem to get much, if any, benefit at all from being members of the EU. We seem to pay billions upon billions into the Brussels coffers, and all we seem to get back is yet more lunacy in the form of useless and trivial legislation... I'd much prefer it if we could stop throwing all our money into the EU, and tell Brussels that they can stuff their membership. What are they going to do? Invade us? Do me a favour. I want my country back. My England that I grew up being so proud of.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Heartfelt Plea

I'm writing this in the faint hope that whoever took Madeleine McCann is reading this blog. If you're The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and you took her, could you hurry up and dump her body where someone can find it? Now that the whole Blair/Brown thing has passed the nation's media has become fixated and it's utterly revolting. The Mirror or the Mail shot it's load too soon by trying earlier in the week to suggest it was the parents fault their daughter was kidnapped but the longer we go on without any real news the more the country will let itself get wound up until families are claiming they've had Madeleine appear to them in visions and cure their granny's colic, or some fucking artist desperate to make a name for themselves will make a life-sized model of her out of dog excrement. That one missing child gets more airtime than continued official attempts to restrict our freedom is just wrong.

Oh yeah, blah blah, hope they find her alive, blah blah, not too emotionally scarred by the experience, blah blah either way Mum will be in OK! magazine by the end of the year.

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That's a big puddle.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

"Who's that in the corner? It's the Archangel Gabriel, that's me converted, I'm a new man, hallelujah!"

Seriously, I'm off to church now.

Oh wait, it's raining. Oh well, I'll just go to Hell instead.

'State Britain' by Mark Wallinger at Tate Britain

'State Britain' by Mark Wallinger at Tate Britain
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

Spent the morning on buses, from Southwark to Pimlico, then up to Camden. I can only really put up with London buses outside of rush hours and by giving myself plenty of time to travel small distances.

Popped in to Tate Britain in the middle and saw the State Britain exhibit by Mark Wallinger, which has been nominated for the Turner Prize. It's a recreation of the first anti-war protest of Brian Haw, still camped out down the road in Parliament Square.

I managed to take one photo before an official told me off. Normally I wouldn't dream of taking photographs in the Tate, I can't get sufficiently worked up for the whole 'holding art for the public' argument. However, it strikes me as intensely funny and an underappreciated part of the artwork that, copied as it was from items confiscated as they were from someone who was breaking no laws and exercising his legal right to protest, it is someone else's property and I'm not allowed to take photos of it with my crappy little camera.

The bus to Camden went around the back of Parliament Square where, at the front of which, the real deal keeps going strong. I wonder what his plans are for the post June the 27th era?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's definitely a good day for bad news. If only once big contracts went over budget the ministers responsible had to pay themselves. Work's hardly started on the Olympics or the ID Card scheme and already money that could have been spent on rebuilding schools or paying nurses wages so they can live as well as work in London is being pissed away on them.

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We're going... back.

NASA start drumming up enthusiasm for their return to The Moon with a movie trailer. [via BoingBoing]

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gilbert and George art give-away from the Guardian, only lasts about another fourteen hours.

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It amuses me that, while glancing at wikipedia, the page on Gordon Brown has had to have anonymous editing disabled while Tony Blair's page hasn't. I don't know whether this means that Brownites should be considered more trustworthy or whether that means that they're too busy to engage in tit-for-tat while Blairites now have time on their hands waiting for tomorrow.

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Hang on!

Watching PMQ, Tony Blair has said that the Home Office is changing to 'The Ministry of Justice'. Is he in some sort of race with himself to see which future dystopia we reach first, Airstrip One or Mega-City One?

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Paris Hilton begs for clemency on the grounds that she supposedly brings pleasure to millions. Well, that might work if the American justice system was more inquisitorial.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

At last! Now we know who is responsible for Torchwood , Robin Hood and the bafflingly popular Most Haunted and their shitness, it's all the fault of women!

British TV standards are deteriorating because the BBC is "run by women", astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has said. The Sky at Night host also described female newsreaders as "jokey" and called for separate channels to cater for the needs of the different sexes. "I think it may eventually happen," the 84-year-old told the Radio Times.

What's great is that Sir Patrick is in that clique of BBC people who, when they spout bum-dribble of this order, the BBC say:

A BBC spokesman described Sir Patrick as being one of TV's best-loved figures and said his "forthright" views were "what we all love about him"

rather than:

A BBC spokesman sighed and described Sir Patrick as being "very old" and said his "forthright" views were "why we don't put his show on during the daylight hours"

Maybe he should have said that the BBC is run by women and they are all gay.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Ahhh, this is more like it, it's a bank holiday and it's bucketing with rain, and apparently will be continuing to do so all week.


This am your news

Let's ease in to this gently by going with The Sun, always trying to position itself as The Onion for urban Conservatives: Paris Hilton scared of prison lesbians. Elsewhere, Pete Doherty has apparently been caught with drugs again but no doubt the trial judge will find some way to see this as proof that he's trying to stop taking drugs and he'll get off scott free.

In real news The Times reports Cameron's Conservatives finally ready to start explaining what they stand for, which is handy just after a national round of local elections which were seen as a referendum on the Labour Government. Seeing as the Murdoch stable seem happy to big up Blair while giving Brown any number of paper cuts it seems the first principle of Cameron Conservatism is to get News International onside, hence the fact that The Times seems to have been told what will be said tomorrow. There's still some scepticism apparent, as we wait to see whether Tories are desperate enough for power again yet that they are willing to go with Dave.

The Guardian has an article on New Atheists, they loathe religion far too much to plausibly challenge it, apparently. Google currently gives 'about 44,000' results for a search. The claim that Richard Dawkins goes too far in attacking religion is not a new one, nor is it particularly inaccurate. The problem is that by trying to grab a bunch of authors who have nothing in common other than having written books attacking the religiosity most commonly typified by the Conservatives of the United States and the Conservatives of a number of Muslim countries < pause for breath > and calling them The New Atheists makes it seem as though they sit together in their secret volcano base plotting each day how to defeat religion.

"What are we going to do tonight Richard?"
"The same thing we do every night Dennett, try to vanquish the religions of the world!"

Also, by ignoring completely what may have caused this small spate of anti-religious books (and their apparent popularity) Madeleine Bunting gives the unfortunate impression that religion of various denominations had been pootling along for the last decade minding it's own business and hurting no-one.

I've never really understood religious anti-Darwinism and anti-evolutionism, I'll admit I haven't read On the Origin of Species but I have read the Bible and, while it's true to say that it doesn't say that God creates evolution it says nothing to deny the possibility and would also suggest that God is a non-omnipotent being, with limits, who needs six days to make a planet and who needs a day to rest up. I haven't got a copy to hand so I'm not sure if it explicitly states that God creates the passing of time or the ability to reproduce through the interaction of people's naughty bits. Anyway, this is just a long preamble to a link to an article in the NYT in which Conservatives are battling the ultra-religious elements in their own ideology over Darwinism. I've always assumed that the urge to oppose Darwinism was no more than the desire to oppose what the Religious Right assumed the scientists stood for, birth-control, abortion, separation of church and state and so on. Can the Conservatives take the Republicans back from the Christians? Could they still have power if they aren't following an unreconstructed two-thousand year old ideology?

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Another road wind-farm idea.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What the- ?! Oy!

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Nirpal Dhaliwal - Watch Part Twelve.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven.

God look at all that. It all started last August with Nirpal telling us how men rock and how the cock is king. Oh look, it's last Sunday's newspaper, let's just have a quick read... < rustle > What's this?

Woe is me & Ms Jones ; Chronicle of a divorce foretold ++ Their marriage was played out in their newspaper columns. Now comes the split.

She is Liz Jones, the uptight, neurotic former editor of Marie Claire, whose fame is down to her ober-confessional musings about her younger, feckless, selfish, serially unfaithful husband.

He is Nirpal Dhaliwal, 11 years her junior, a man who even on their wedding day - a £20,000 gig at Babington House paid for by the bride - preferred to get drunk with his mates. Together, they are Britain's most talked-about media couple, locked in mutual loathing as their diatribes against each other both enthral and repulse the readers of their columns. It is an arrangement that has been financially beneficial to both.

Are they really 'Britain's most talked-about media couple'? God that's the most depressing thing I've heard since the news that 'Peter Andre was recovering'.

Now, though, this fairy tale is at an end. After seven years together the pair have finally split. She has booted him out of the marital home, and served him with divorce papers. The reason? His adultery, of course.

"Yes, he has been pretty shit," Ms Jones, 44,

Heh, do you remember the first episode of Absolutely Fabulous when Patsy was distraught because a newspaper printed her real age?

said this week. "We are going through with the divorce. I think my readers will be relieved. The little fur babies - no, he's not going to take them with him, they voted to stay with Mummy.

Oh God.

He was a very good cat- monitor, let's just say that."

I think there's a typo here as I'm fairly sure Liz constantly complained about him either nearly sitting on the cats or not feeding them.

This is a typically Jonesesque reference to the mercifully childless couple's cats, the one aspect of their life together that they both seemed to enjoy.

Mr Dhaliwal was unusually reluctant to discuss the break-up. "Nice try, but I won't be changing my mind," he said. "I'd rather not do an interview right now, it's just a bit too soon." His column in the Evening Standard revealed they broke up while on holiday earlier this month.

He wrote a couple of years ago about how the couple were reunited after one of his numerous extramarital forays. "My wife threw me out after discovering I've been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt. At the height of passion, I asked her, 'Who's the boss?' The question threw her. Initially, she wouldn't give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. 'You are,' she finally gasped. 'You are!' "

The couple met in 2000 when Ms Jones was editor of Marie Claire and married three years later. But if ever there were two people with more spectacularly different views on sex, relationships and household chores, they have yet to be found.

He was so unhappy that his weight ballooned to 17 stone, yet supposed her friends must be jealous because she had such a handsome spouse. She hated having to pay for everything, that he could never keep anything tidy, and never bought her a present.

Ms Jones wrote about all this in columns for three newspapers. She also managed a book. He was out of work at first, but was given his break to respond to her constant carpings with a newspaper column and also became a novelist.

So what was the fascination? Oliver James, a psychologist and author of Britain on the Couch, said the couple's columns revealed a type of "demented control-freakery" in both of them. He argued: "It is a form of exhibitionism and we all read it because we are interested in the ups and downs of any relationship, particularly the downs."

Following the comments of Tory MP Patrick Mercer at the start of March about the Army and soldiers from ethnic minorities Nirpal got a few commissions, such as this one from the Guardian. However, the spate of teenagers being killed in March allows him to share abgout the time he took a knife into school because he was sure a bully was going to go after him. Then we get to the 21st of March, and a familiar theme re-emerges...

Why busy women drive each other crazy
Evening Standard (London); Mar 21, 2007; NIRPAL DHALIWAL; p. 12

A TEACHER friend of mine recently joined a school where he was the only male member of staff.

Being gay, he was automatically designated the role of shoulder to cry on, as each woman took him aside to bitch about the others and whine about their lives in general.

He was unnerved by how much they complained about being busy and overworked. He did the same job as them, but wasn't nearly as stressed as they were. The complaint of busyness was just a charade, a frenetic pantomime, as the women competed with each other to seem more committed and indispensable than their colleagues. Women compete with each other over everything. Bearing in mind their insane constant politicking, it's difficult to take them seriously when they opine about their fraught modern lives.

A new book, CrazyBusy by Dr Edward Hallowell, tells us how we're all fatally overworked. Lo and behold, women have shot off the mark to say he doesn't appreciate the importance of being busy. As Anne McElvoy remarked in this paper yesterday, "I feel particularly irked by being told by a man that excess activity is Not Good For Me and that I would do better to sit down and contemplate the finer things in life".

Women actually equally two women as far as I can tell, one of whom wrote for two seperate papers. So obviously most of the sisterhood had a problem with their post in March. As far as I can tell this book is about how ALL of us are overworked, everyone on every point of the gender spectrum, I suppose it could be argued that because it's only two journalists that have written about this book and women at that that Nirpal is justified in concentrating on one sex and how they fulfil the criteria of this book.

No man will ever appreciate the turbocharged nature of female existence. Men don't whip each other into frenzied anxieties about our weight, outfits, choice of partner (or the lack of one), homes and tastes in decor, holidays, children (and their schools, clothes, activities etc), and so on and so on.

So, this would rather suggest that Nirpal doesn't believe that men are ever busy and that's because they don't do trivial things like bring up kids or the washing up. This makes amusing reading when you consider Liz's complaints about how little he does around the house. Maybe he thinks sloth is the man's greatest virtue?

Men compete with each other, but only in cases where we know we have a chance of a clear and outright victory: a specific goal at work, say, or the seduction of a particular woman.

Some women might feel seduced by not having to do all the work perhaps, while her husband sits on the sofa. Oh well, it's easy to be wise after the event.

Like a fantasy figure in a martial arts movie who parries thousands of arrows directed at him, modern women are in a constant fight to fend off the ceaseless volleys of barbed criticisms that may come their way.

My wife can be described as crazybusy. She strives to ensure that our beautiful house is immaculate and that its interior is up-to-speed with fashion; her wardrobe is never out of date; and she stocks the cupboards with exquisite trendy foodstuffs.

But to maintain this pristine glossy-magazine lifestyle, she must work like an ox on amphetamines.

She complains of being overworked, but won't admit that this is the price she pays to live beyond the reproach of other women.

When my wife, a former anorexic, says that she doesn't care what other women think of her, I don't believe her. She did, after all, starve herself to meet a female standard of perfection. Today's women do live at an exhausting pace, but it's only because they continuously flog each other to do so.

Yep, according to Dr Nirpal, if any woman feels tired it's the fault of other women. But then we seem to have a month of radio silence, except for:

Daily Mail (London); Apr 17, 2007; NIRPAL DHALIWAL; p. 26

'Enrage'? This all reads like the greatest hits of Nirpal Dhaliwal, men just want sex and, unless they're a straight-talking guy like Nirpal they'll put up with completely unreasonable demands from women (such as not behaving like an arsehole) to get it, women want men to be arseholes and treat them badly and any woman who says otherwise is lying, Nirpal is great in bed and a lot younger than his wife, all the old favourites.

HAVING an afternoon drink with a friend last Sunday, we found ourselves sitting beside a trendy twentysomething couple whose conversation we could overhear all too clearly. Actually, it was just a monologue by the young woman, who spelled out each of the banal uninteresting problems and worries that plagued her life.

All of her mind-numbing anxieties - about work, her friends, what to buy someone for their birthday - were articulated in excruciating detail over the next two hours in a grating, whining voice.

God, aren't women annoying with their 'empathy' and 'actually giving a shit for what other people think and feel'?

Her companion gazed empathetically into her face from across the table, listening intently as he stroked her hand to comfort her. He was paying her the sort of devoted, patient attention that only a man in desperate want of sex can manage.

Hah! The faggot!

Any other guy would surely have found her blathering unbearable. From the tension in his jaw and the way his eyes narrowed as his hand slid ever upwards along her bare arm, it was obvious there was only one thing on his mind.

And he was prepared to listen to two hours of her garbage in the hope that he would get it.

Does anyone else think this is actually describing how Nirpal and Liz met?

In their idiotic way the couple exemplified a fundamental truth about men and women. We exist in two different time zones. Men want to be happy right now, today, preferably in the company of a beautiful woman. Tomorrow can wait.

Women, on the other hand, are constantly concerned with the future, and with their prospects financially, emotionally and sexually.

Yet this man was quite clearly sublimating the desire for sex that Nirpal assumed he had to some future point in time, because he was sitting there listening

While this girl prattled on about her vague hopes and worries for the future,

Or does maleness contain an elastic concept of 'now' that is centred on 'today', while femaleness exists up to an uncertain point in time in the far future?

her boyfriend was anchored by his carnal desires into the immediate here and now.

They exemplified what I've come to realise over the years: that men and women have almost nothing in common, other than the desire for sex and, if they have any children, a shared concern for their wellbeing. Besides that, we have very little interest in each other.

I haven't read the rest of this article yet, so I'm just going to go and check... yep, he does actually manage to get through the article without using the metaphor of the praying mantis.

The reason, I believe, is that we are fundamentally selfish beings, only really interested in ourselves.

Nirpal, you're supposed to be looking into the abyss, not a mirror.

Some people claim to be lovingly entwined with their partners. They're deluded or lying. I'm in my mid-30s and have met no such couple.

And you've met everyone have you? When did you meet my parents? Or my aunts and uncles? Or my married cousins? Or the myriad of Patrick's relations?

I've known couples of all races and ages, some of them in arranged marriages - all of them simmering with tension and dissonance.

Yep, that's usual. When my Mum calls upstairs that dinner's ready and she get's no response there's a bit of simmering going on there, it doesn't mean that she feels the need to denounce her marriage as a sham when Dad comes down to the dinner table.

I've never met a couple I've envied. I don't feel sad admitting this.

Why should you? It's a good thing not to be envious.

I feel liberated.

You better not be coming to Pride this year.

I no longer cling to the myth that relationships create happiness, and I don't feel guilty or alone when feeling dissatisfied in my marriage.

Oh, so you are married then? Well, I suppose the paperwork can't get done in a few weeks.

Everyone else feels this, whether they admit it or not.

Men and women speak two different tongues. We can barely even get to know each other, let alone make each other happy.

OK, the next sentence doesn't follow on from the last, so either Nirpal had a mini-stroke in the writing of this article or my source has lost some text.

It held the booking receipt for the country house she'd gone out on her own and hired for the wedding.

Though I hadn't been informed of this, I wasn't upset. I had, after all, proposed to her.

Women generally drive the direction of relationships, partly because most men are happy just to be laissez-faire, but also because women are natural control freaks, simply because they have an inbuilt paranoia that their lives are going to go horribly awry.

For example, no intelligent man spontaneously asks a woman to marry him.

She will let him know well in advance via hints, leading questions and outright nagging that she wants to get hitched.

She might squeal with mock surprise when he offers that ring, but she'll have been nudging him to do it for months if not years.

One man I know proposed on one knee to his long-term girlfriend in their room at a country house hotel.

Even as he began his spiel, she began shaking her head violently.

In the end, she had to tell him this was not the kind of place she'd always imagined would be the setting for her proposal. Only a windswept hillside would do. She, you see, had been planning for this moment in her mind for years.

Now I come to think of it, I think my Mum did something similar, turning my Dad down a couple of times because he didn't ask properly. Though it wasn't an issue of there not being any 'windswept hillsides' in South London.

Similarly, men become fathers having never really thought about it. In my experience, they are often swayed by the desires of their partners. Very few women get pregnant by accident; they generally know exactly what they're doing. The fathers I know have admitted to being crestfallen when a girlfriend first told them she was pregnant. It was a shock end to their independence they'd never properly contemplated. But they feigned jubilation and made the usual offers of support.

It generally takes the arrival of an unplanned child for a man to start scrupulously practising safe sex.

One of the ironies of this gulf between the mindset and aspirations of the sexes is that a woman's cloying need for certainty often drives men to be unfaithful.

Here we go again, it's Liz's fault that Nirpal couldn't keep his dick in his pants, and it's her issues that need sorting out, not that he should be required to be monogamous.

The oppressive intimacy they force onto a relationship - always wanting reassurance, and always wanting to know what he is thinking and feeling - has the effect of making him seek a cheap ego boost elsewhere.

Men cheat to re-establish their sense of independence, to carve themselves a brief space with someone else that doesn't involve their partner.

You have to wonder why, if he was that concerned about his precious independence, he didn't divorce her?

My own adulteries - which occurred a couple of years ago on a long trip abroad

And, depending on whether you believe her, more recently, as detailed in your soon-to-be-ex-wife's column IN THE VERY NEWSPAPER YOU'RE WRITING THIS FOR!

- were driven by the need to escape the overbearing intimacy of married life.

Why the fuck did you get married in the first place? Why didn't you divorce your wife yourself to get this freedom that you claim you were denied?

Women will hate me for doing this and not being coy when admitting it. But I know very few men who've been faithful to their partner. The only men I've discussed sex honestly with who've never strayed are both gay.

I'm not the greatest husband material going,

And the winner of the award for greatest understatement of the year is...

but it hasn't cured my wife's compulsion to seek permanence with me. AFTER she uncovered my misbehaviour we separated briefly, but got back together

...and after I sexed her with my amazing penis...

and decided to make a fresh start in a new house. I had nothing to contribute to the deposit and my wife arranged the mortgage, yet she insisted that I sign the deeds.

I didn't feel remotely entitled to it and explicitly told her many times.

But signing was her precondition for continuing our relationship. I guess she felt it would be a clear sign of commitment from me, and also put me in debt to her morally.

I, naturally, did not analyse this event in terms of a long-term emotional power struggle the way a woman would. I simply noted that my infidelities had resulted in making me the co-owner of a fourstorey Georgian town house.

Figure that out.

The only reason I can give for why my wife hangs onto me is sex.

If you read her columns Nirpal you'd realise it's not that at all. It was her neurotic fear that if she got rid of you she'd never find another man to be with and would die old and alone.

She fancies me. That's it. Within the emotional turmoil of the female mind is the primal force of sex.

Though they waffle about their need for empathy and sensitivity, women are actually far more libidinous than men.

So, does this contradict the example of the man and the woman you were talking about at the start, or does that mean that women can sublimate their desires even more than men?

God created sex for them. He gave them a body that is one big erogenous zone, and a taste for myriad erotic nuances. Male sexuality is blunt and lumpen: no man is aroused by the thought of warm breath against his neck.

But a woman's body is made for sex. The female orgasm makes the male climax seem a pathetic nonevent by comparison, and is proof that women enjoy sex far more than men do.

'So I did rape that woman yr honour, but I would only say that due to biology she got a hell of a lot more out of it than I did, so I think it should be considered an act of charity on my part, perhaps worthy of a medal and a statue in one of the National Parks.'

In my early and mid-20s, I had a series of liaisons with older women (one of which developed into the marriage I'm in now). I was then penniless, and had no status and nothing noteworthy to say.

No comment.

Yet accomplished and intelligent women in their 30s and 40s happily took me to bed. I knew then that women, like men, are driven by narrow, selfish agendas, be it the desire for security, money, or a healthy young body.

It's amazing how Nirpal manages to make 'looking attractive' appear to be some sort of crime.

Having sex with those women, I'd watch them lose themselves in the animal intensity of it, becoming oblivious to my presence.

Again, no comment, though I dare say it wasn't just restricted to their moment of climax.

I was nothing. They said they liked me because I was 'sweet' and 'funny', but those qualities would have been meaningless if I wasn't up to scratch in the sack.

I recently had a frank chat with a female friend, and she admitted that women address a man's qualities as though they are scanning his CV with a view to employing him.

Above all, they want a man who turns them on. Failing that they settle (in descending order) for a man's money, his ability to entertain them, and his willingness to do the dishes.

Damn evil conniving women and their desire for someone with which they would have some compatibility!

Her words confirmed my belief that men and women are incapable of a genuine spiritual union.

Hang on, a few paragraphs ago you wanted your freedom, now you want a 'genuine spiritual union'?

We're too dissimilar even to understand each other, let alone combine in harmony, so we just grasp what we can from our relationships.

That's why, when a woman does meet a man who flips her lid sexually, she isn't going to let him go. Men and women are held together by biology, not by love.

Love isn't powerful enough to overcome the tremendous contradictions between us. Genetics isn't a recipe for happiness - but then our genes don't exist to make us happy. They exist to keep us alive.

So yes, I believe men and women do exist in different times zones in emotional terms. We find mutual satisfaction in sex, but that aside we must remain strangers.

Wow, well all that has quite exhausted me and robbed me of much of the will to live. I'll try and get round to watch Liz has been up to in the last few months some time in the next few days...

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Ultra Male

Wearing: Jeans and a t-shirt.
Last Shave: Three days ago.
Listening to: Johnny Cash.

God, I feel so male right now.

Now this is an interesting idea, Cars used as alternative power source, if it works it'll be interesting to see if the scheme can be taken up over here, though it would presumably only work away from urban centres, there wouldn't be much point bunging them up by the North Circular considering the almost daily gridlock I see there going to and from work...

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We are all of walking abortion.

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There are many reasons to dislike Blair and Bush, but the fact they've got us into a war that leads lazy hacks to constantly use 'Between Iraq and a Hard Place' in newspaper articles must surely be one of the most serious.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My first computer was a ZX Spectrum. One of the first games I played on on it was Manic Miner. It took a while to load. [via LinkMachineGo]

Meanwhile, this is haunting and beautiful.
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