19 August 2009

Daily Chat 19/08/09

Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland in 1561, after 13 years in France. In 1772, Gustavus III of Sweden staged a coup d'etat. He established a new government in which he shared power with the Riksdag. In 1987, Michael Ryan killed 16 people and injured 15 others in the Hungerford Massacre. And in 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest while on holiday in the Crimea. Celebrating birthdays today: Ginger Baker, Johnny Nash, Bill Clinton, Tipper Gore, John Deacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Matthew Perry. The Russian, Georgian and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches observe the Feast of the Transfiguration today.


  1. OMG I share a birthday with Bill Clinton!

    Yes I am officially 67! I wonder how long it will be before I start saying I'm 68! Always do this so did my mum :)

    Going to see The Time Traveller's Wife this afternoon then out for a meal afterwards.

  2. My birthday also annetan - Happy Birthday to you!


  3. Happy Birthdays Anne & Edwin.

    I think I’d rather celebrate mine with George Clinton.

    Part One and Part Two

    Hope you both have a great day.

  4. elementary_watson19 August, 2009 07:53

    Happy Birthday, the two of you!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Happy brithday you two!

    And Ginger Baker.

    PS Is that really Mary Queen of Scotts pictured ?? Looks kind of dour.

  7. I'll try that again. Happy birthday Anne @ Edwin. For Anne- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeYbB_xC3fk

  8. Happy Birthday Annetan and Edwin!

  9. Happy birthday Annetan and Edwin!

  10. Happy birthday both. Enjoy what is being billed as a one day heatwave.

  11. Thanx everyone and Happy birthday Edwin.

  12. Annetan/Edwin

    Many happies to you both. Beautiful morning here in Ledbury - hope the sun shines on you today too.

    Fab smoked haddock for breakfast - but sadly no ghosts last night.

  13. Bitterweed: don’t be silly, of course it’s not Queen Mary (though the Scots are famously dour).

    It’s Tipper Gore.

    Smash the PMRC

  14. Add my voice to the Happy Birthdays for Anne and Edwin....!

    Enjoyed the book of the TTW, hope the film lives up to it!

  15. andysays
    Heh heh...

    Thanks for the weather update, and really sorry for calling you a perfumed ponce the other day.

  16. Birthday wishes to Anne & Edwin, unbirthday wishes to everyone else!

  17. Any new bans/premods to report, anyone. I noticed a cerain word rearing its naughty head yesterday...

  18. bitterweed,
    You mean't me? how dare you madam!

  19. Btw,
    Lower case not a typo but designed to enrage.

  20. The film on operation 'panther's claw' in the Guardian shows the utterly futile task the UK soldiers face. Obviously the locals and the Afghan army regard the Brits as interlopers- certainly not allies. It is enough to make one weep with frustration at the senseless waste of life.
    And who on earth would volunteer to join the army after seeing footage like this? Banging away at an invisible 'enemy' for days on end and for what? One dead child...

    BTW, happy birthday Anne and Edwin...

  21. Thank you all for birthday wishes [sniffs] - is absolutely bucketing here in Glasgow.

    Re Afghanistan a Sikh historian write recently that Sikhs managed to take over and hold the Afghan lands - but it needs huge numbers of soldiers and the Soviets couldn't did it with, what was it, 150,000 fighting men? It also requires massive investment in bribes to warlords.

    So to fight the war, the 'Allies' need c. 250,000 fighting men and large sums for openly corruptly leaders. As a British soldier said recently, it's hard to die for drug lords and child rapists, which is essentially what the Afghan govt is. We can't do it - it can't be done.

    Re Mary, George MacDonald Fraser said one of the funniest scenes in all cinema is Mary's arrival in Scotland in the John Ford movie! I was involved in a discussion at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Calvin, Knox and Hume and we largely agreed that Knox has had an unfair press, but popular tradition has been too kind to Mary.

  22. @Dan:

    Not seen the video, but I'm sure I've seen plenty like it.

    The current phase of Panther's Claw has been cast as an operation aimed squarely at taking ground, holding it, and denying it to the enemy. How many of them you kill, or find dead on the battelfield, is less important than the fact that he's not there anymore. Under this theory, whatever passes for "normal life" out there can then resume without fear of interference from the Taliban.

    Where the frustration and futility of it is starkly highlighted is when the troops, having fought over and won the ground, then have to pull back to base. You might as well not have bothered taking the ground in the first place. This has happened many times in the past few years. So... if you're going to stage an operation which attempts to deny the enemy a foothold, then you have to be damn sure you have the troops to hold that ground when he comes back.

    We don't have enough soldiers to do that. The US possibly does. That's why 4,000 US Marines are now in the south (Operation Strike of the Sword). And their numbers will grow, no doubt about it.

  23. elementary_watson19 August, 2009 11:39

    Unbelievable ...

    Someone thought the Tanya-Gold-article was worth translating and publishing in a German left newspaper (or at least its online variant).

    Now, the German misogynists will tear that piece into shreds, too.

  24. I see someone called traneroundthebanned (sp?) has been subtly bigging up The Untrusted on CiF this morning.

    Funny how he never seems to post here himself...

  25. You have to admire Daisy (I mean Tanya) ... for someone who has no really discernable direction to her writing she still seems to get published all over the place.

    Right. I'm off to bogle to Aswad for a bit.

  26. elementary_watson19 August, 2009 11:59

    Yeah, Lord, Tanya definitely got "it".

    Whatever this "it" may be ...

  27. Dan..
    That's the trouble though... there's a large pool of potential squadies to recruit due to poor employment prospects and prohibitive university costs.

    My cousin's son has just joined up, his old man was in signals, left an officer expert in comms,and went to work for Orange project managing at circa £75k per year in 1996.

    Nephew = 19. I KNOW that if the economy was more bouyant he would have just gone off travelling for a couple of years then worked out what he had to do.

    As it was, his divorced mum's run out of money and there's no work around to save up any significant amount to go travelling.

    So next option = do what the old man did.

    He's training in Basingborn at the moment, and loving it, I have to say, but I really don't want him going out there, by Christ I don't...

  28. @BW:

    Is your nephew going into REME when he's done, mate?

  29. Edwin & Swifty: well said.
    Bitterweed: my sympathies, mate.
    Sorry to be such a downer...

  30. Swifty
    Yes, that's his aim, or was last time I facebooked the rascal.

    yr not a downer, it's just the way it is mate.

  31. @BW:

    He could do a lot worse than REME mate, he's already made a good choice there. There are lads who come out of the fighting Army with not much to show for it, but he'll have a trade, and skills, which civvie employers will be interested in, I've no doubt.

  32. Swifty
    Cheers - I thought so too, (that or signals would be good?)

    He's a bright lad, just not interested academically.

  33. @BW:

    I'd say stick with REME (there'll always be a place in the world for well-trained mechanics and engineers), but the Signals obviously didn't do his old man's future prospects any harm either.

    If he's got it in him, I'm sure the Army will find it.

    And at least he's not doing his phase 1 at Catterick...

  34. Cheers for the info mate. I'm sure he'll crack the army, his fitness was pretty good (played rugby) definitely one of the lads (he was up til 1am at a fortieth birthday last September, holding his own in a range of sporting debates) - like seemingly 99% of the rest of the country - just don't want it wasted in Afg.

    "And at least he's not doing his phase 1 at Catterick..."

    That bad huh !

  35. @BW:

    Ah, Catterick - I'll say it suffers somewhat from being our largest infantry base.

    And don't worry about what may or not happen when he finally gets to his unit, mate. Where he ends up, and how exposed to danger he'll be, really depends on what he wants to specialise in.

    I wouldn't have minded being an Armourer if I had my time again, interesting blokes and I've always liked guns anyway.

  36. Happy Birthday Anne and Edwin, hope TTW is good, but no spoilers please, loved the book, haven't got around to the film yet!

    Got a cousin and a friend's brother in the RAF, both off to Afgh shortly, hoping RAF not Army means they'll be well away from anything.........

    (although it's about time my cus did some proper work, he's in the RAF dirt/trail bike team and just seems to do that all the time!)

  37. Afternoon all

    Beautiful over here in Ledbury - been baking hot all day.

    BW - hope your nephew gets what he's seeking in the army - keep us posted as to how things are going for him.

    Not looking good in Iraq according to the news - series of huge bombs in Baghdad attacking various ministries. Hope the Afghan elections don't degenerate into something similar.

    First g 'n t of the day coming up.

  38. Swifty , This book of Nadeem Aslam's is full of insights into the Taleban mind - here's another one:

    "The religion of Islam at its core does not believe in the study of science, does not believe the world runs along rational and predictable laws.

    Allah destroys the world each night and creates it again at dawn, a new reality that may or may not match the old one of yesterday, the Muslim clerics demanding a ban even on weather forecasts, since only He can decide such a thing according to his will.

    How can we hope to make deals with or negotiate with this mind set?

  39. Annetan and Edwin,

    Very many happy returns of the day.Enjoy.

  40. Allah destroys the world each night and creates it again at dawn

    Sounds like somebody's making hard work for himself. Do you think Yahweh shouts at him over the garden fence? "Oi, Allah. Look. Might have taken me seven days but it's been standing for thousands of years longer than yours. That's workmanship!"

  41. Thanks to the army, I was born in Catterick. Not only have they since knoocked down the house where we lived, but the hospital, too.
    I think they're trying to tell me something.