27 May 2009

Daily Chat 27/05/09

Not too much of note happened on this day in history.  1153, Malcolm IV became King of Scotland.  1849, the Great Hall of Euston station opened in London and in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic.  Lots of birthdays:  Christopher Lee, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cilla Black, Siouxsie Sioux, Pat Cash, Paul Gascoigne, Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Oliver and a very special "Gratulera på födelsedagen" goes out to one of the most 'watchable' strikers in the Premiership - Johan Elmander.  It's Children's Day in Nigeria.


  1. The Golden Gate Bridge was built in 1937 by Joseph Strauss, and the reason the bridge is so easy to jump from is because Strauss was just five feet tall and he wanted to be able to look out on the bay, too. So he changed the rail height from the originally intended five and a half feet to four feet. 10 weeks after completion, a WW1 veteran strolled onto the bridge, climbed over the rail, and took the first plunge

  2. Anon: Question From a Worker Who Reads

    Strauss may have DESIGNED the bridge, but did he really BUILD it too? All by himself?

    That’s good work for such a little fellow.

    Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
    In the books you will find the names of kings.
    Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
    And Babylon, many times demolished
    Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
    of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
    Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
    Did the masons go? Great Rome
    Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
    Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
    Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
    The night the ocean engulfed it
    The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

    The young Alexander conquered India.
    Was he alone?
    Caesar beat the Gauls.
    Did he not have even a cook with him?

    Philip of Spain wept when his armada
    Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
    Frederick the Second won the Seven Years War. Who
    Else won it?

    Every page a victory.
    Who cooked the feast for the victors?
    Every ten years a great man?
    Who paid the bill?

    So many reports.
    So many questions.

    Bertolt Brecht

    It’s like poetry bleedin’ corner ‘ere, innit?

  3. Listen, Andy, if you and Thauma don't stop all this cultural garbage, people are going to start thinking we're highbrow around here. We can't have that, now, can we?

  4. Sorry Montana, didn’t expect you’d still be here.

    I can do either high or lowbrow, or even both. Just don’t ask me to do middlebrow. Yeuch!

    Isn’t it bedtime yet?

    I’m just off to work, saving the world, one tree at a time.

    See ya

  5. If we need a more low brow feel i may do one of my famous Sun reports from the sandwich shop, "Today, in the Sun, when getting my sandwich..."

    So here's a question -

    Is glamour modelling becoming more socially acceptable? Is this part of the "pornification" of society?

    Reason i ask is i had a job about 7 years ago where there was always a Sun in the staff room. The page 3 girls were often fairly plain. These days, on the sandwich run, it seems the page 3s are often stunning. How else can this be explained other than a) i have a poor memory or b) more girls are applying giving a higher quality of lady.

    Thoughts welcome.

  6. Yes jay thoughts would be welcome.


  7. @ andysays

    Truth is that Strauss took a lot of the credit for the design of the bridge which really belonged to others - small person pyschology at work!

    Thus the runt neither designed nor built the bridge but I supose we could give him somne of the credit for the myth that most jumpers choose to jump facing the bright lights of San Fran town rather than the cold waters of the Pacific.

    I spent years pondering the deeper meaning of why most of the jumpers jump from east side facing the town rather than the cold ocean and far off foreign lands. I was pissed off when somebody explained!

    The Golden Gate park has a fantastic Japanese garden with some fantastic Acers that room101 would have died for.

  8. Annetan you wicked woman...

  9. man with no name27 May, 2009 09:37

    Beautiful as the Golden Gate Bridge is - and it looks a wow in bright sunshine with the afternoon fog rolling in from the sea to envelop it - its arguable that the Bixby further down route 1 is the more appealing to art deco fans.

    But then again some would argue that the Ironbridge in Salop takes first prize in all classes.

  10. man with no names dog27 May, 2009 09:40

    The new bridge in the clouds in France ought to have a look in if there is to be a contest.

  11. Jay
    Maybe because it's becoming more socially acceptable innit ? Half these girls haven't heard of suffragettes you know...

  12. Looks like it could go tits up in Korea soon BTW... (unless it's just NK sabre rattling to see what Obama's boys will do ... ?)

  13. Jay - maybe your eyesight has deterioriated.

    Andysays - nice one, whatever Montana thinks.

  14. I stood on the Humber bridge to watch the first sunrise of the new millennium and was afterwards offered a quick shag by a lass from Barnsley who was standing nearby.

    Some strange folk gather on bridges at times of history - but your never strangers for long!

  15. "Maybe because it's becoming more socially acceptable innit ? "

    This is my suspicion.

    Thauma - my eyes arent too bad (mildly shortsighted) but im 100% certain the quality of the sun's page 3 has risen quite steeply, less girl next door more FHM cover girl look.

    "The new bridge in the clouds in France ought to have a look in if there is to be a contest."

    Definitely, beautiful bridge. Damn French, all their stuffs better than ours...

  16. "Damn French, all their stuffs better than ours..."

    I though it wuz a Brit design tho ? Still, it is best bridge in Europe... breathtaking really.

  17. Jay it was compliment really - you were trying to sound like the Sun weren't you?

  18. Bitterweed

    "Brit design tho?" - leading firm of Brit Architects ( Norman...?) . But as Andysays those who get the credit and those who actually do the work.....

  19. Interestingly, the cabinet of the governor of California (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who envisaged the construction of a bridge in San Francisco Bay, asked the council of the town hall of Millau about the popularity of the construction of the viaduct.

    Perhaps it had escaped the Hollywood-based Governor that San Francisco already had one...

  20. Jay may not be your eyes - they have improved photo shop type software and cosmetic surgery a lot in recent years.

    The modern answer to the question:

    "Will you risk it for a biscuit?"

    is increasingly these days

    "No, but I will for a packet"

  21. @ Far Tin

    You mean it's a case of inflation! boom boom

  22. "I though it wuz a Brit design tho ?"

    I think it might be, but they got the bridge.

    Annetan - i wasnt trying to sound like the Sun, that is a grievous insult indeed!

    Far tin - im not sure its photoshop and surgery, the faces are just different, they are often extremely attractive now, they used to be largely quite plain.

  23. Never mind the French or the Americans, check out the cutting edge of Irish technology.


  24. Salopian Lad27 May, 2009 10:59

    The Ironbridge, in what is now Telford new town, is a world first in more ways than one. It's a cast iron constructed bridge designed according to traditional word working principles.

    The cast bits are joined together not with welding but with wedges and dovetail joints. Canny were the Quakers who were responsible for it.

  25. scherfig
    How the hell does he get the tractor over it ?!!

  26. Salopian Lad27 May, 2009 11:05

    "word working principles"?

    wood working principles - but there was some cussing when the Darby family weren't around

  27. How the hell does he get the tractor over it ?!!

    He uses the 6-lane motorway a few hundred yards away (EU-funded). :0)

  28. Ah, 'tis a truly hallowed thing that Objective One Status...

  29. The Irish are catching salmon with tractors? See where EU subsidies lead us.

  30. Scherfig - been to Carrick-a-Rede many times. It gets more frightening as I get older.

    But of course, back in my Yoof it wasn't nearly as safe as it is today.

    Amazingly no-one has ever died falling off the thing, but apparently a few have made it across and refused to return, necessitating an air-lift....

  31. Jay - sorry - you eferred to the Sun in that post - aploogies!

    and btw you aren't supposed to be looking at their faces are you?

  32. I know Anne - he'll be sugegsting that it's their 'personalities' he's interested in next.....

  33. "and btw you aren't supposed to be looking at their faces are you?"

    A momentary glance is acceptable, though a prolonged stare is somewhat unmanly...

  34. A couple of good points raised there !

    (... snigger, etc)

  35. JacketHangs has posted a lovely one on Ally's thread:


    Is the mention of Marie Antoinette a coincdence, or have you been on the Hazel Blears Wiki page recently?

    Early Life and Education
    It was during this period that Blears began to identify herself with Marie Antoinette. Challenged over her expenses claims in 2009, Blears defended herself by claiming 'Like the Nazis, I was only following orders. It's really not my fault at all; what you hassling me for? I claimed £12,099 because I was allowed to. And really, if the public don't like it, I suggest they should go and eat cake. They are completely out of touch. If Gordon (Brown) doesn't like it, I simply don't care, I'm so over him.'

    Mr Briggs, a constituent of Ms Blears, said 'She's quite right. She should certainly have fleeced the tax payer for every penny she could get; she had every right to do so. Expecting politicians to have any 'moral compass' is a joke, when we all know they are a lying, back stabbing, morally redundant bunch of (swearing)'.


    It's really there, I've just checked!

  36. "It's really there, I've just checked!"

    It actually is as well, c'est magnifique!

  37. I see Ally's been criticised BTL for referring an MP as being a turd.

    Somehow I think I can understand this criticism. That's such a terrible insult to turds.

    Seriously, it makes a pleasant change to see the Cif editors allowing a response to all the self-serving drivel they've published in the last day or so; i.e. Smith & MacShane, to even see the light of day.

    I guess it won't be long before it disappears off the front page.

  38. I really love the quintessential Britishness of turning a blind eye to elected public officials fleecing the taxpayer in a massive exercise in pure moral corruption, and then objecting to the word 'turd' being used to describe them.

    A retired general methinks.

  39. sartrecastic27 May, 2009 14:13

    "It Says Here" by Billy Bragg says all that needed to be said about Page 3.

    Now why was I here? Oh yes, to swoon over Joseph Fiennes, which isn't at all appropriate.

  40. I was somewhat amused by Nadine Dorries' whinging about freedom of speech and her blog being removed by the Telegraph, so now that it's back up again I took the opportunity to post the following. I'm waiting to see if it gets through the automatic moderation. It may not fit in terribly well with the Kipling quotes and biblical references of the other commenters, but I'm hoping that it has a certain charm of its own. And I know Nadine stands firm against voices being silenced.

    'Glad you're back, Nadine. I hope that you will soon be able to address the sensitive issue of the £20,000 expenses you have apparently claimed for services from Nick Wood's consultancy firm. The left-wing media may well get the wrong idea about that.'

  41. "...The left-wing media"

    Made I larf.

  42. good work scherf. Dorries is particularly vile even for a Tory.

    I had never really noticed the alleged rightwingification of CIF until today, i must admit. The place is just swarming with the most appalling idiots imaginable, the sort of folk who will fight to the death to keep FPP, a system irrefutably undemocratic, just because it will give their tribe more power at the next election. Considering the sane proposal is for a switchover AFTER the next election its absurd as well as extremely obtuse and selfish.

  43. Steady on Jay, I really don't think that you mean you consider our representatives to be absurd, obtuse and selfish.

    You'll be comparing them to turds next.

  44. I have been a little harsh perhaps, some turds do have a degree of artistic merit at least...

  45. Just a little update on my post to Dorries' blog. More than two hours later, and a re-posting after an hour, my comment has still not been published. Several other posts have made it through however, including this short, pithy and wholly relevant comment from 'anonymous':

    'I think you are well fit.'

    Nice to see what Dorries' priorities are. A bit of digging on Dorries' other expenses also revealed that in 2006/2007 Dorries claimed £6,431 for travel by car, and £5,574 for travel by rail. This is in addition to the £21,756 claimed for the cost of staying away from the main home. Her Labour opponent in Beds has written to the Fees Office requesting an investigation of these undocumented claims.

  46. Hmm... Dorries... have you seen her voting record ? She's either a bit mental or a bit thick. I'll go for a bit thick after seeing her defend Trident as not being a weapon of mass destruction on Newsnight. Blimey.

  47. Just heard Julie Kirkbride on Radio 4 on my way home from work, utter drivel. Like that Joan Smith's ATL contribution.

    BTW - there's a new CiF thread on the proposal for a UN women's agency. And the govt consultation on a violence against women strategy closes on the 29th May, so interested parties still have time to craft a response & email it in: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/cons-2009-vaw/.

  48. Julie Kirkbride again - 'I love my job'. It's not a bloody job, it's a public office!

  49. Ah, if I'd stayed up just a bit later last night, I might've been able to get the first comment on Ally's thread! Up 'til nearly 3 am trying to get my damn computer freed from a mistake I made -- downloading the Google desktop thingummy.

    Embarrassing how much more you people know about the Golden Gate Bridge than I -- all I know is that it's red-orange and in California.

  50. Montana
    You should know by now all I do is google...

    Back on line again. Huraah. Stupid wi fi nonsense.

    Back soon

  51. BW - congrats in bending technology to your will.

    You are the Emmylou fan, n'est-ce pas? Have been craving her sound since our chat a week or two ago, so am listening again to Wrecking Ball (all I have).

    Goodbye, title track: bliss.

  52. Thanks
    and Yeh, she's great. Lucinda Willams' original version of Sweet Old World (Track 8 of that album) is splendid also...

  53. Here's a present from a friend in the states:


  54. BW - have e-mailed to half my acquaintance and am still laughing!

    I think you post LW's version in an earlier thread & it was great.

  55. ;-), thanks thauma, I did. It's been one of my faves since last summer x

  56. While, luckily, I don't have anyone very close to me who's committed suicide, I have had some who have been close. (Well, self included, in younger years.)

    I'm not sure the lyrics are going to dissuade anyone who has made his or her mind up to do it, but they certainly describe the emotions of those left behind.

    It's a bugger of an old world.

    Anyway, on that note, off to bed....