03 October 2009

Daily Chat 03/10/09

Vercingetorix surrendered to the Romans in 52 BC.  Dafydd ap Gruffydd was the first person to be executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered in 1283.  Edgar Allen Poe was found in a gutter, muttering incoherently, in Baltimore in 1849.  Pravda was founded by Leon Trotsky, Adolph Joffe, et al., in Vienna in 1908.  The Maze Prison hunger strike came to an end in 1981 after seven months and ten deaths.  And the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist on this day in 1990.

Born today:  James Herriott (1916-1995), Gore Vidal (1925), Stevie Ray Vaughn (1954-1990) and Clive Owen (1964).

As luck would have it, today is German Unity Day.  Happy German Unity Day, elementary watson!


  1. Random comments:

    1. I wonder how long I have to wait for my "Made in German Democratic Republik" coffee set is worth something?

    2. I wonder if I should be disturbed by the fact that yesterday's photo of John Logie Baird and this one of Trotsky both kind of made me go, "oo, er"?

    3. The more I think about this, the angrier I get.

    4. Spelling test in English today. This is the actual example sentence uttered by the teacher for the word 'rebellion':

    Some of you may think you're a rebellion, but you're not.

    The next word on the test was 'precipice'. She told the students that she'd never heard of the word before and had to look it up.

    5. Yesterday, the history teacher took the first 15 minutes of class to tell the kids (these are 13-14 year olds) about a high school friend of hers who was sexually abused by her father and older brothers for several years who is now (according to the story) one of the happiest, most upbeat people you could ever hope to meet. The moral of the story -- all you have to do to be happy is to decide you're going to be happy. I was offended and outraged on multiple levels. I had to leave the room. But she's a pretty blonde (the teacher), so the principal thinks everything she does is wonderful.

  2. before my coffee set is worth something.

  3. Montana, you must stop thinking of John Logie Bared!

    Arthur Ransome married Trotsky's secretary - she was also rather good looking.

  4. Hi Montana

    Point 2: Yeah, I’d definitely give that Trotsky one, or at least, I would have on Bisexual Awareness Day or whatever it was last week.

    Point 3: I can see why you would be indignant at the fairly glib and superficial piece Ms Scott has written. She seems either to be unaware of the struggles many single mothers face or to have deliberately glossed over them. But hey, that’s pretty much standard for The Guardian, isn’t it?

    Great response from you. The most important gift a parent can give is love, and we’ve already seen how much of that you have for your son.

    If I can be presumptuous for a moment and attempt to answer the questions you asked:

    *Did I do the right thing in keeping him?*

    Yes; definitely yes; absolutely definitely yes. Got that?

    *Would he have been better off with adoptive parents?*

    His life would have been different with adoptive parents, but I doubt it would have been better in the sense of him being more loved.

    *How does he really feel about never having met his father?*

    That’s a tricky one. My dad grew up never knowing his father - his parents separated when he was very young - and his mum didn’t ever talk about him. It’s something you’ll have to deal with, but if he’d been adopted, he’d never have met his mum either.

    *Does he just put on a brave face for my sake or is he as comfortable with it as he seems?*

    Maybe he is comfortable with it - growing up in a single parent household is no longer the rarity, with the social stigma, it once was. But maybe he does put on a brave face at times. If so, it’s because he cares about his mum, which is surely good - the parent child relationship doesn’t have to be entirely one way, even when the child is still a child.

    Unless I’m very much mistaken, your son is learning a valuable lesson every day. The most important thing is having people around you who love you, and most problems can be dealt with if you talk about them and face them together. Actually, that’s two valuable lessons, isn’t it? (hope I’m not being too glib myself now).

    Points 4 & 5: Idiots. Here’s my example sentence.

    When we have our much-needed rebellion, people like that will be thrown over the nearest precipice...

    I don’t know any songs about precipices, but here’s one about rebellion:

    The Arcade Fire

    Have a great weekend with your son :-)

  5. Hi Edwin - another early riser.

  6. I’ve just found a tune called The Precipice, by Mogwai.

    These boys are from your neck of the woods, Edwin - do you know them?

  7. and this one of Trotsky both kind of made me go, "oo, er"?

    Nothing wrong with that, Montana. Provided the first thing you did with him was get him to a decent hairdresser.

    Mogwai are great, Andy. Much recommended by Ian Rankin in the Rebus novels, as I recall his sidekick Siobhain was a fan.

  8. Hi Andy, Lord S - I'm out of range of Mogwai, our eldest adores them and has done for years - haven't they been about a long time?

    As you say my Lord, they do crop up in Ian Rankin also. Rankin generally refrains from being down wiv the kids so they must, on reflection, have been about a while, longer than Belle & Seb I think, but nowhere near as long as the Fall (the closest I can come to a precipice!) of course.

    The older I get the more i prefer Fred Astaire singing Cole Porter!

  9. Been thinking about andy's words to you Montana. I also fear being presumptous, but I agree wholeheartedly with him. By the time I was 16, I had seen enough useless fathers (one of them my own) to last me a life time.

    Re history: well in Scotland there are teachers who show Braveheart as history - kind of like American teachers using Birth of a Nation as a learning aid.

  10. 1995 for Mogwai, 1996 for Belle and Sebastian.

    Those were the days. What ever happened to a good old-fashioned noise that you couldn't whistle, sing or dance to? You get these singers now with their tailored clothes, all level headed through not taking drugs. Things ain't what they used to be I'm telling you ....

  11. Edwin
    "Re history: well in Scotland there are teachers who show Braveheart as history"

    Oh dear. But then again, we English have Robin Hood & Camelot ..

  12. MsChin, you can have Robin of the Greenwood but the myth of Camelot belongs to all these islands and Arthur can be found at Tintagel and Edinburgh!

    We love the BBC Merlin; best retelling since TH White.

  13. Ah Edgar Allan - I have his complete works.

    The Masque of the Red Death is my favorite. A very short story that brilliantly builds up to its horrific end. Only Saki's even shorter Sredni Vashtar brings off the same feat.

    I have a fully illustrated book on the rise and assassination of Trotsky. The pictures at the end are pretty gruesome - finished off with an ice-pick. That's what you get for trusting Stalin.

    Have a good day. I'm off now, trying to get the thought of a possible "President Blair" out of my mind. We are moving offices to the European quarter and the thought of bumping into jug ears on a regular basis is bringing me out in strange lumps.

  14. Love the Python stuff! Love Merlin, too.

    And it's always fascinated me how the same themes are threaded through myths & legends from different places. I'm quite excited about the discovery of Bluehenge & the Anglo Saxon gold, as they tell us a little more about the past but reveal little of the beliefs of the people who made & used them.

  15. Edwin - I really enjoyed the USA National Parks link you provided yesterday. A very interesting site. I spent some time reading there.

    Anyone know if there are any format differences in DVD's for the USA and UK Markets??

    I got the news of the 'new' TV series on the Nat Parks of USA all wrong - it had its premiere last week. So maybe the BBC will buy it soon.

  16. Andy my friend good to see you back.

    I think your words for Montana were well chosen and kind. Since I didn't see her post the questions you warmly attempted to answer I was/am a little confused.

    Is this one of those rare occasions when a conversation spills over into two separate rooms/places?

  17. Bru

    You have spoilt my weekend - the whole idea of President Blair turns and churns my guts. I will have to carry a sick bag as I go shopping.

    First of the autumn winds here in Yorkshire today - very windy.

  18. Andy - seen the linkage. Confusion resolved.

  19. Morning all

    Montana - you're a star. Andy has said it all, really.

    Perhaps one day your lad will want to try and find his father just because he has to, the same way my husband - who was adopted - had to try and find his birth mother. But that won't be any reflection on the amazing up-bringing he has had from you, and all the love you have given him.

    Big hugs.


  20. Deano - Montana posted on the CiF thread she linked to in her post up there - the one she said she was getting angry about. That was what andy was commenting on.

  21. ******
    Radio 4 is covering the female child sexual abuse subject in a programme on Monday evening, at 8 (?).

  22. Wow wild wind I love it.

    The wind was so strong when out with Diesel & Mungo that I could open my jacket and make pretend wings from it, like little boys and old tramps do, and lean into the wind and.......almost ......almost nearly.... fly.

    I really would like to bird if there is a next time around.

    BB - thank you. I finally made the link. I often don't follow links if I think they are to youtube 'cos my dongle link is 95% of the time too slow to download videos. I came across her posting via my usual CiF tour.

    I don't read CiF directly anymore. I have developed a system to avoid irritating crap.

    I have simply loaded the CiF user profiles of those whose comments, and take on things, that I usually find interesting into the 'favourites' on my computer.

    Then every day I read what my 'favourites' are commenting on, and what they are saying. If they are stimulated to say interesting things I will then read the article. Saves a lot of time and potential irritation.

    I hope that you and Montana (and the Sheffield trio and thaum and annetan and otherts and one or two males who post here) don't mind me using you all as sort of literary sifters. It saves time for an idle old tramp. You are all loaded in my favourites.

  23. Montana

    I read the posting to which Andy warmly responded above with interest and affection.

    My Yorkshire take on it for its worth is:

    The lad should be so lucky.

    To be really loved at all, even once in life, is something of a privilege. I have met so many parents who see their children as an extension of themselves or as a vehicle for unfulfilled ambitions/dreams. There are so many misguided fools who think they can seek themselves in/through their kids.

    From my reading, over many months now, of how and what you write I am very sure the lad is lucky. To have even one parent who is honest and insightful is a great start in life and one who is loving and watchful on ones behalf is a bonus.

    I had often wondered how you came to move from what from the outside looks to be a wonderful and exciting place Seattle, to a potentially stifling and uncomfortable part of the US. Now I know.

    You have my sympathy. That you are the lady you are in the face of a double let down is testimony to your character and strength. And of course that all adds to your lads good fortune in finding you his mam.

  24. Deano

    Don't mind at all! As you know I often ask people on here what is worth looking at if I can't be bothered to sift through it all myself. :o)

  25. 'To be really loved at all, even once in life, is something of a privilege.'

    Very well said deano.

    Bugger. I see John Denyer has died - fellow auld yins may remember him as Dennis in Please, Sir. He was exactly one day younger than me. I suddenly feel mortality nibbling at my toes, and begin to feel like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who was also loved once (or so he claimed).

  26. er I meant Peter John Denyer - my fingers must have thought of John Denver as I typed, my brain presumably didn't.

    See Montana - I do typos too!

  27. Awww... Dennis was the best character in Please Sir. He was the one who always had a mouse in his pocket or a bug in a matchbox or something.

  28. For deano and other acer admirers - a picture:

  29. Obviously a lot of the older members of the cast of Please Sir have passed on but I was quite surprised to find, when I looked into this a year or so back, that Liz Gebhardt (Maureen) died back in 1996 of breast cancer and Malcolm McFee (Craven) died in 2001.

    Time. It's a bastard.

  30. Thank you everyone for the kind words. Made the mistake of going back and looking at the thread again. A bit surprised by how many people were gushing about how wonderful and inspirational the piece was. I've come to the conclusion that she must be someone near and dear to the heart of someone at the Graun -- some of the modding seems a bit overly protective of Ella's sensibilities.

  31. Stay cool, Montana.

    The right is ideologically against single mothers, while the left is ideologically for them. Somewhere in the middle of all that are the lives real people lead.

  32. Apropos of nothing ... I've just had a glass of a mix of plum wine and green tea and if anyone is interested it's one of the most delicious fusions (hey, get him!) of flavours I've ever had.

    Ignore me, as you were ...

  33. 'The right is ideologically against single mothers, while the left is ideologically for them. Somewhere in the middle of all that are the lives real people lead.'

    Fab Lord S.

    Plum wine and green tea - well I'll try it - sounds like either something from a Japanese master or Edward lear.

    Off to bed night all

  34. No, purchased from a Japanese shop in Golders Green. I wouldn't dare to try and pass off home brewed plum wine as the real Japanese product, when it comes to plum wine they really know their stuff.

    If you've had it, then you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, then I urge you to find out what I mean ... and when you get to heaven, tell 'em Lord Summerisle sent you ;-)

  35. Edwin, it's one of those things that you wouldn't ever imagine went together, but once you try it you wonder how you could have ever thought wouldn't.

    Trust me!

  36. Time for me to skedaddle too. Night night all x