02 October 2009

Daily Chat 02/10/09

Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187.  John Logie Baird performed the first test of a working greyscale television in 1925.  Josemaría Escrivá founded Opus Dei in 1928.  Thurgood Marshall became the first black man to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States in 1967.  And in 2006, five Amish girls were killed in their school house in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.  They were; Naomi Ebersol, age 7, Marian Fisher, 13, Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12, Lena Miller 7, and Mary Miller, 8.  The Amish community reacted by immediately forgiving the gunman and offering support to his family.

Born today:  Richard III (1452-1485), Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), Graham Greene (1904-1991), Richard Hell (1949), Sting (1951) and Phil Oakey (1955).

It is Independence Day in Guinea.


  1. Barack's in town today. Might mosey on down to the ministry later and have a quick chat with him. Michelle has been here for a few days now but she hasn't returned any of my calls.

  2. Ach Gore Vidal has given up on him scherfig - says he wishes he'd backed Hilary Clinton now.

    Michelle hasn't returned any of my calls either, but I got a nice DVD box set of 'V' from a large man in black wearing sunglasses.

  3. There's an interesting twist here on the old 'come up and see my etchings' gambit. The queen has invited Obama to come up and see her tapestries. (Presumably this is to compensate for yesterdays lunch with Michelle and Oprah.) Always a cut above the other classes, the royals.

    ooh er, missus

  4. Ha ha. Watching the live TV coverage here, and as the Beast was driving slowly from the IOC meeting, there was a huge bilboard at the side of the road with one of those Obama/Hitler posters. Those Republicans, eh? They're everywhere.


  5. An Obama/Hitler poster in Copenhagen?!!!

    The mind boggles.

  6. Great piece by Mark Thomas on the BAe scandal. Nice to see the man's on form. Off to see him tonight.

    Amazed at the number of posters who are prepared to excuse bribery and corruption as "normal business practices". Actually, I'm not really amazed at all.

  7. 'Amazed at the number of posters who are prepared to excuse bribery and corruption as "normal business practices". '

    Send me £20 and I'll tell you why Hank!

  8. The arrogance of the IMF (neocon terrorists) is breathtaking - cut the NHS else.

    Glad to see Andy back

    Sorry about the $100 fine Montana. Bastard! Send me his number I'll make a straw doll of him/her and throw it off the Humber Bridge.

    Reading here every day even when I can't catch a cloud to post.

    Looking forward to the tax evasion/avoidance piece Hank. I thought you couldn't post during the day? ( Day off?)

    Thaum - Mungo just looked smug when I read him the tale of your dog's misadventure with a bag.

    Hope rats well BB.

    Found my trousers, disowned the yellow kecks, but the biggest problem of late here was waking up with one lens missing from my specs.

    There seems to be something about excessive concentrations of alcohol in the breath that cause the screws in spectacle frames to unscrew themselves.

    Fucked if I know why my specs have this wild propensity to dismantle themselves but it has created difficulties for me before. I've been blind in one eye since a childhood accident. You've guessed it's always the lens on the side of the eye that I see through that gets lost.

    Happily after a three days cursing I came across it by pure chance laying in the field a few hundred yards from the van. It being a photochromic lens it had turned black and shiny in the sun else I would never have seen it.

    I was much pleased - I bought my stylish specs in Sydney on the way to my Son's wedding - my previous pair have thrown themselves from my face and overboard whilst laughing (and drinking) on a Hong Kong ferry boat.

    Spectacle wearing and extreme drinking don't go together at all. It makes an expensive pastime sometimes very expensive indeed.

    Every cloud has a silver - looking for the lens means I have had a an enjoyable dry week with lots of walking in the wonderful autumn sunshine.

    Cloudy and damp today for the first time in ages.

    Regards to all.


  9. Hank - Mark Thomas is brilliant live. Saw him about 10 years ago or so. Very very funny but also spot on.

    Edwin - £20? That's good value for money considering the billions being thrown at Saudi princes (who have so much money they don't know what to fucking do with it anyway, so why would they be influenced by even more money is beyond me...)

    Deano!! So glad to see you back among us!

    The yanks have been trying to make us do away with the NHS for decades now. They are really really disappointed that it prevents them selling their health care services into the UK and since the early 80s have been muttering to the WTO about it being a trade restriction.


  10. Good to see you back deano.

    BB - the IMF attack on the NHS is astonishing, tho I'd like to think the public would react pretty strongly, to say the least, if the IMF thinks it can cut the NHS down to make way for the souless parasites that are scuppering the reforms in the US.

    I do wonder tho how long the NHS will remain legal. The WTO rules are increasingly stripping democratic choice by claiming everything is an economic decision, not political.

    They will probably be successful at some point that the NHS is illegal, we'll have the choice of losing it or compensation US health firms to the tune of billions of dollars a year, just like the EU had to do for US foods it deemed unsafe - we had to compensate them for their cancer causing milk.

  11. Barbara Follett stands down. Nothing to do with expenses - 'said she wanted to spend more time with her family'.

    I wish these gormless fools could be more original, or at least honest.

  12. Edwin - you're not suggesting that some posters are in fact corporate lobbyists?! I'm convinced MAM is given the hours he puts in.

    BB - yeh, seen MT a couple of times, and really looking forward to tonight. Always feel worn out afterwards though, trying to keep up with him.

    Deano - good to see you mate. Hoping to do the tax piece on Sunday. And well spotted, I'm "working from home" today.

    Right, off to Capitol City now. Have a good weekend all.

  13. And in case anyone has forgotten:

    Mrs Follett, the Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, is married to Ken Follett, a best-selling thriller author whose income has been put at £13 million a year ($20m) by Forbes magazine. They own a holiday home in Antigua, a house in Cape Town, a former rectory in Mrs Follett’s constituency of Hertfordshire - their main residence - and a buy-to-let flat in south London.
    But Mrs Follett nominates as her second home a four-storey property in a Soho side street.
    She does not claim back mortgage interest payments but instead charges taxpayers for weekly “mobile security” patrols at the property, upkeep of their CCTV monitors and a burglar alarm system operated by BT.
    The total cost of the security patrols between 2004 and 2008 was £25,411.64.
    A year ago she was asked to justify the expense by Parliament’s fees office but replied that the patrols were necessary because she fears for her personal safety.
    She also claimed £528.75 to repair and clean a Chinese needlepoint rug, but was only paid back £300 after the cost was deemed excessive.

  14. Sheff - even with no specs I can sense the difference between four and five fat panda's!

    Don't tell me - it's the millstone grit over which the waters of Sheffield run. It somehow or other gets in the eye.

    And by way of supporting evidence you call upon the near identical behaviour, from time to time, of MsChin/PCC.

    My lottery ticket didn't come up. Still that's given me time to start thinking about, start thinking about- the very first draft of the outline of the script of:

    Furnivall the Film.....

    That will allow time for another big accumulation on the Euro Lootery. It would be tragic were I to win and spend it all before I had at least prepared a draft script for the greatest educational film ever made.

    The drafting will in any event allow for some wonderful autumn walking as I contemplate the wonders of his saintly life.

    Glad to see that your still posting here annetan. MOT results were good I very much hope

    Stoaty you've been quite for a few days hope you are well and the painting is going well?

  15. scherfig - erm. That's quite a tapestry. Don't think I'd want it on my wall...

  16. But I can't always see a misplaced apostrophe in panda's - until I put my specs on!

  17. Montana, the artist, Bjørn Nørgaard, is an interesting guy. As a protest against the Vietnam war and the famine in Biafra in 1970, he slaughtered a clapped-out old work-horse in a field (renamed the horse Red Flag for the occasion), cut it up and put it into hundreds of jam-jars.


    This link might be a bit much for horse-lovers:


  18. Yesterday's UT picture prompts me to note that I was interested to read (forget where) that a significant documentary series for TV is being planned about the USA's National Parks.

    A very strong motivation for the film maker was to find a topic/vehicle to demonstrate to Americans that not every conceivable thing associated with public ownership/control was prima facie bad/evil.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the series which I imagine the BBC will eventually purchase.

    On my only very short visit to the USA I bought two 'coffee table' books. One about the Big Sur coastline and the other on the USA's National Parks. The photo's are breathtaking.

    Perhaps the IMF will start to suggest the USA should privatise the Parks to deal with its budget problems!

    Perhaps Montana could do us a piece on what she thinks her compatriots really think of their National Parks for Untrusted too - as a preliminary for it being suggested for her ATL piece??

  19. I should just add that 'The Horse Sacrifice' caused outrage all over Denmark at the time, but as Nørgaard had anticipated, the outrage was not over the atrocities of the Vietnam war or the millions dying of starvation in Africa, but rather the killing of an animal that been abused by its owner all its life.

  20. Scherfig - I had just started to wonder what the public reaction to the nag's death might have been.

    Lynching of artist passed through my mind as one possibility!

  21. @deano:

    Reminds me - we're planning on heading States-ward next year, to Tennessee. Must see if I can get out to Shiloh National Park, it's only half a day's drive from where we'll be (near Nashville).

  22. deano, that was the point - people were much more concerned about one old horse than millions of Vietnamese or African children.

  23. It's a fascinating story deano -


    Love John Muir and the series quote 'America's Best Idea'

    Wonder how they will handle Roosevelt - his main conservation concern seems to have been that America would run out of animals for him to kill.

  24. scherfig,

    Yup, we (my lot at work) found out recently that there's a Donkey sanctuary in Devon that gets £20m a year in donations!

    The conservation we could do with £20m a year!

  25. Cheers Edwin - After a quick look that looks like an interesting link.

    I'll follow it up after I get back from walking the dogs.

    Swifty - ""No soldier who took part in the two day's engagement at Shiloh ever spoiled for fight again", recalled one Union veteran" My book records!

    Tennessee lists a a dozen sites/areas under the control of the National Park Service!

    Scherfig - I had sort of worked out the idea that 'confrontational shock' might be used by an artist to get the audience to (eventually) confront their prejudices.

    Perhaps we could use the same technique to hang draw and quarter an IMF banker.

    I think the jam jars would have to go though - still we could post him home in empty champagne bottles?

  26. @deano:

    Yes, it was a very nasty couple of days' fighting, no doubt about that. Had far-reaching consequences on the Civil War, as well. The Confederate cause was robbed of Albert Sidney Johnston, their most highly-regarded general up to that point in the war. And it cemented US Grant's reputation (in Lincoln's eyes, after initial Northern outrage that he'd been caught napping by Johnston) as a fighter, not a quitter. As he put it: "I can't spare this man - he fights."

  27. deano - you force-feed 90% of the bankers (tubes down their throats), slaughter them, and make their engorged livers into Pâté de foie banquier, which the remaining bankers have to eat. Then you get Jay to feed them all to the pigs. Whole show on YouTube - the 2009 equivalent of a 1960's 'happening'.

  28. Sorry Montana - re the Nat Parks of USA on TV in the USA here's a review:

    "Ken Burns' six-part series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" will make you want to swoop like an egret in the Everglades or romp like a young gray wolf over lichen-covered rocks in Yellowstone.

    This gorgeous 12-hour series -- a project that took six years to film -- will air on public television at 8 p.m. on six consecutive nights beginning today" (last Sunday Sept 27th)

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09270/1000593-67.stm#ixzz0SmxXxMMT

  29. I do like it Scherf.

    Performance art at its best!

    Must get the dogs out.

  30. The biggest story to break for ages. Two women admit sexually abusing pre-school kids in a nursery school. And not a peep out of the Graun.

    I guess it just doesn't fit the "All abusers are men" rhetoric, somehow...

  31. BTW - just confirmed posts are being removed by the mods with no trace. One of mine has vapourised although the original I was referring to is still there, so not as a result of that one being zapped.

  32. Evening all.

    BB - which are thread you on?

  33. BB
    Well, got it muddled there, but you get my drift!

  34. BB

    On yesterday's news I think I heard the serious suggestion, based on extrapolations from victims experiences, that around 1:4 25% of abusers are likely to be female!

  35. BB - there was a really interesting discussion re this on the radio today. This woman who deals with abuse victims and offenders said that it is roughly twenty five to thirty percent of abusers who are female in her experience not the three to ten percent normally quoted. she said far too many victims complained of female abusers for it to be such a low amount.

    Re threads disappearing - it is weird because ever since I upset the powers that be when I got a bit irate on the pro sicko Polanski thread loads of my comments are going. Now with at least two there was no reason at all that I could think of. The comments were not modded just vanished!

  36. deano
    So did I, also on Today this morning. US research indicates that around 25% of known paedophiles are female, but given that the clinical definition of paedophilia relates to prepubescent children, I don't know if this figure can be applied to sexual offences against young people & adults. And it still means that the majority of known offenders are male and the majority of known victims are female here in the UK.
    And the bigger problems are:
    - The unknown offenders
    - How we (authorities & communities) manage those at large in the population, both known & unknown.

  37. The thing that bugs me is that Michelle Elliot of Kidscape has been saying this for years, and nobody has been paying any attention to it at all. Meanwhile the demonisation of men as potential paedophiles has led to an atmosphere of such fear that some normal, decent men are scared to intervene if they see a child crying or lost in case they are accused of abuse!

    I used to work with a guy who was an absolute sweetheart, who had twin girls of his own, but said categorically that he wouldn't go near other people's children no matter what the circumstance.

    How can we have got to the point where a whole gender can be demonised in such a way, while simultaneously wilfully ignoring the fact that a sizeable minority of offenders are women?

    As an egalitarian, it really does annoy me.

  38. Thaum - If you are around?

    I seem to recall that way back in the spring you indicated that you didn't know what an Acer was.

    Well perchance BBC2 at 8.30 tonight (Gardener's Question Time) is to include a look at the Acers at Tatton Park as they are at this time of the year - may be worth a look in.

    Or if your out a revisit on the iplayer.

    If it's worth a look I'll try and remember to write the relevant time frame down for your reference.

  39. Oooh! I used to live near Tatton Park when I were a kid. I blame it for having to get rid of our lovely boxer dog, because he used to get out of the house in the spring, leap over the cattle grids and worry the sheep. The stress was too much for my Mum in the end - always worried he would be shot and killed.

    He came home with some buckshot in his arse once when we were on holiday in Scotland too. And another time, he strolled into my Nana's garden with a chicken in his mouth and a farmer running up the road behind him with a gun...

    I am pretty sure he and Mungo would have been great friends, though. :o)

  40. BB
    There's a paper (copyrighted) on the subject by Michelle Elliott on the Kidscape website:

    Nice to know you're around even if not posting. Acers are beautiful.

  41. It appears that Sarah Palin's 'autobiography' has pushed Dan Brown into second spot on the Amazon America best-seller list. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Discuss.

  42. BB - Mungo would be friends with any Chicken snatcher.

    Thaum - the programme was called Gardeners World and the Tatton Park Acers are 18 - 20 minutes into the programme. You learn something everyday - I didn't know you can eat Acer leaf!

    Interesting collection on show at Tatton and a very interesting Japanese Garden that has whetted my appetite for a drive over to Cheshire next week.

    The national collection of Acers is nearer you (Warwick area?) down at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt in the Cotswolds Glocestershire.

    They have a stunning collection which will have it's best autumn show over the next few weeks. Anyone interested in a great day out can get all the details from:


    for location/ details of the collection and status reports on the progress of the autumn show

  43. scherf

    You are asking me to make a choice?

    I think, on balance, it's a bad thing. Dan Brown's books are harmless. Palin is just a nutter.

  44. Cheers MsChin - I am keeping away from posting on CiF not only by reason of the occasional technical difficulty but also to keep away from the final drop from the naughty boy's scaffold.

    Brown at the Labour Conference took my breath away.

    How odd that we get a right wing French President Sarko floating the philosophical enquiry that perhaps we ought to reconsider the central position/role of GDP in measuring the quality of western life.

    Brown plainly cannot even conceive of the notion of a happiness indice let alone its use as an alternative to GDP in measuring the progress of human well being. He couldn't even see that to have picked up on the idea and promoted a discussion on it might even have served his own interests. I despair.

  45. BB - both books are fiction. I wonder which is less harmful if you actually believe it?

  46. deano
    Agree. How to quantify happiness and well being in round numbers - does not compute. Yet those are precisely the aspirations of most of the humans I know, once our basic needs have been met.

    I'll admit we've quantified 'health' into mortality & morbidity stats & the costs of health care, but that means feck all if you can't get an NHS dentist or feel that your doctor doesn't understand how scared you are by other patients in the hospital.

    It astounds me that the NHS has just cottoned on to a walk in the fresh air as something good for your physical & mental health. Like we didn't know. And we might point out that a walk through the woods in autumn is sheer pleasure, too. And even good for the soul, or whatever you want to call it. That 'at peace with the world' feeling is beyond price.

    Quickly vaporises though, as the aroma of your wet, smelly & freshly-walked dog takes over your home ...

  47. LordS has fallen victim to the (retrospective) mystery modding tonight I see.

  48. It is really quite bizarre, isn't it? This vapourising of posts into oblivion? I wouldn't mind if I knew why.

    Although I admit I did suggest that Auric might be a tit in the one I lost....

  49. BB
    LOL. Who could possibly blame you for that!

  50. BB, if you only called auric a tit, then you have showed admirable restraint.

  51. Another Toynbee piece with no comment is free. There's a surprise.

  52. Followed by the drone of a low flying police helicopter - Friday night, business as usual. Just wish it came with a low volume option ..

  53. Re: Palin vs. Brown -- the problem with American bestseller lists is that they don't actually reflect retail sales, they measure wholesale purchases from publishers. It is well known that there are several neocon organisations that make mass purchases of right-winger's books to artificially raise the books' positions on bestseller lists. Ergo, Anne Coulter is a 'best-selling author' even though hardly anyone goes down to Barnes & Noble and buys one of her books. I'm guessing that's exactly what happened with Caribou Barbie's book. I wonder though, if the manuscript was written in crayon.