20 November 2009

Daily Chat 20/11/09

In 1820, an 80 ton sperm whale attacked the Nantucket-based whaling ship, Essex, an event that inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick.  The Nuremberg Trials began in 1945.  Brenda and Phil got married in 1947. Francisco Franco died in 1975.  He's still dead.  And a fire in Windsor Castle caused £50 million in damage.

Born today:  Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940), Alistair Cooke (1908-2004), Nadine Gordimer (1923) and Joe Biden (1942).

It is Teacher Day in Viet Nam.


  1. Obviously I'm not Viet Nam but good morning anyway, BW.

    Pictures of the monarchy should come with a trigger warning, imo. Ugh.

    But on the other hand, el Duke is doing a Michael Jackson, wearing just the one glove.

  2. Morning all. BB - you have rats? Brilliant! Had two (Regan and Ripley) some years ago. They were the same colour as Hobbie-J as well (although clearly weren't up for any awards for brain power - cable-chewing, curtain climbing, burrowing, potential medallists there, but not about to finish the crossword...)

    IT question - my problems accessing CIF yesterday seem to have been 'cookie' related. Having updated Java, things are working better. But my anti-virus often tells me of threats from 'tracking cookies' which need dealing with. So are cookies sometimes good and sometimes bad?

  3. Phillipa

    Until the IT experts turn up, I'll give it a go.

    Cookies are good, but can be used by nasties to get to your PC. The first section here in Wiki explains in relatively simple language:

  4. This is for Kizbot and Jay the cricket fans (and anyone else interested).

    A hilarious history and account of the Australian cricket teams drinking competitions on the flight from Sydney to London over the years. It's laugh out loud funny.

    David Boon's 52 not out cans of beer still stands supreme.

  5. Thank you MsChin - would explain why I was having problems yesterday, as I think my cookies were disabled in advance of the java upgrade.

    I have no idea what that sentence actually means...

  6. Philippa

    Me neither, I just use the 'delete browsing history and cookies' function in control panel / network & internet, which seems to work.

  7. Good one your Grace!

    Scottish cricket is on the up and up, Kinross have just had a great award -


  8. Good link, Duke, those chirpy convicts do like a beer or two....

  9. Morning all,

    How does one join last night's cult then? Or am I excluded for being allergic to rats?

  10. Hidesouly diverse Britain?

    Looks like the CiF eds have left the premises ..

  11. Sorry, it's the Grauniad eds, not CiF.

  12. I do enjoy a spot of cricket myself.

    And of course the world's first football international took place at West of Scotland cricket ground in Partick in 1872.

    Having a quick shifty at the details of that match, some of the names of the English team are rather spiffing:

    Reginald de Courtney Welch
    Cuthbert Ottaway
    Ernest Greenhalgh
    Arnold Kirke-Smith

    So much better than Wayne, Frank and Steven don't you think?

    By the way it ended 0-0

  13. Your Grace,

    "By the way it ended 0-0"

    Is that because the English team couldn't get further than getting the bras off the débutantes?

  14. I quite enjoyed this.

    And a quote for those with dads in the clergy:

    A Bible making firm is laying off staff:
    'The "failed implementation of a new computer system" was cited as the main reason for the company's problems, demonstrating that in the moving in mysterious ways department, God comes a distant second to IT'.

  15. Dotterel,

    Ha Ha. I don't think the upper class English caddish charm would have gotten far with the female denizens of the dear green place.

    A 'slap in the pus' would have probably been the result.

  16. The illustrations of the first England-Scotland gemme are wonderful -


    There's a good description of the game in Fritz Spiegl's (sadly out of print) A Game of Two Halves.

    A friend plays for West of Scotland Cricket Club your Grace - my best example of multiculturalism working, Sikhs, Pakistanis, Hindus, English and Fifers!

    Zombie cricket is terribly distracting -


  17. MsChin - genius, am passing that on...

    Your grace - my favourite cricket site (novel research purposes) is the historical cricket project - some of the characters on the scorecards are wonderful...
    The Reverend the Lord Frederick Beauclerk, etc...

  18. Edwin,

    the illustrations are great.

    The 'Scotch'(sic) players appear to be wearing a cross between a French Revolutionary cockade and wee willie winkies hat, whereas the English are wearing the classic 'cap' given to Internationalists originally.

    And there's mighty beards and twirly taches all round.

    Do you know if there is a FIFA plaque or anything at the ground to signify it's historical football importance?

    Philippa, the names on there are very good. I like F Peppercorn, Greathead and Pontifex.

  19. Edwin/Your Grace,

    It was also interesting to note who half the England team normally played for, does this mean that in 130+ years time CIF will be run by Man U players?

  20. MsChin - that made me laugh out loud!

    Have forwarded it to the rest of the team involved in the current implementation of a new computer system....

  21. Philippa & thauma

    T'was a gem, wasn't it?

    I liked the whole Northerner article, tbh, not least because it reminded me of discussion on one or two topics on here over the last week. Dog & rat story, being one example.

  22. Vaguely recall that the one time that cricket was an olympic sport (first decade 20th C?) it was 'England' v 'France' but the French team was actually made up of the Brits working in our embassy in Paris...

  23. There's all sorts of gems hidden away in the site, aren't there? Took me ages to find the separate CIF-Belief bit (as I had assumed thatt he separate tabs just had the stuff that features on the front page) and that the book / music pages also allowed comments...too lazy to look around properly, I suppose. Do now try to search beyond the CIF mainpage menu, as that is probably not the most balanced of meals.

    This, for example, scared the life out of me:

    PS - techies - what's the 'tag' for linking properly?

  24. Those crocs got to me too, Philippa. We have to be grateful sometimes for evolution!

  25. Philippa

    [a href="url"]text you want to be linked here[/a]

    Swapping the [ and ] for < and >, obviously. The quotation marks are necessary.

  26. Never noticed a plaque will ask.

    Cricket grounds in the US hosted the first baseball teams which eventually supplanted the mother game.

    Of course only we Janeites know that a Jane Austen heroine - Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey - played baseball as a wee girl!

  27. OK, not really, as it says "not found on Untrusted site" or something, or a blank page.


  28. Philippa,

    It worked for me! (As long as it's supposed to take you back to this page?!)

  29. No, it's supposed to take you to a picture of an alien, on my page on blogspot. humph.

    comme ca.

  30. and incidentally I would like to know what said little beasty is!

    (found at foot of small mountain, stoney environment, v hot, some scrub / trees, it was about four inches long and wiggled)

  31. Ahh, I see, when and where did you see this alien? I share an office with a lepidopterist, if he's in later I'll ask him what it is.

  32. Wrote my last post before seeing your last post, but when (time of year) and where (country) would probably also be useful.

  33. Oh and just in case: it's a caterpillar, you probably knew that bit though, for the exact species you'll have to wait for my colleague........

  34. ooh!
    south of france, and summer.

    searched a lot of pictures looking for it - mainly because if the caterpillar is that manic, I really want to see what it turns into!

    although maybe it'll be really boring.

    anyway - any info gratefully received, thank you!

  35. I reckon my colleague's taken the day off, so I nicked a book from his shelf, it could be one of these:


    Although the book's only for UK caterpillars so maybe it's a close relative instead, I'll double check with my colleague if he's in on Monday.

  36. How does one join last night's cult then? Or am I excluded for being allergic to rats?

    Of course, final word will be up to the Pathfinder of the Fourth Way, but I would think that, as our resident tea-making expert, you will be a vital member of the church hierarchy. At the very least, you'll be head of the Altar Guild. :-)

  37. Excellent, I'll go and brew up........

  38. OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!!!!!!

    As if there isn't enough to feel insecure about! Now I've got to start worrying about my labia???

  39. As an antidote to Montana's link:


    The study only worked for men but I quote:

    The results were women followed a similar trend but were not significant because of relatively few women in the study developing heart disease so the data could not be relied upon to be accurate.

    In other words they need more female volunteers.....

  40. Ooh, anyone else read this? Levi Johnston dishing the dirt on Sarah Palin....

  41. Dotterel: Rather it's them needing more female volunteers who develop heart disease.

    Man, does this sound ghoulish ...

  42. elementary,

    Which means they needed more volunteers generally. More overall means more that develop heart disease: because fewer women in general develop heart disease the sample size for women needs to be bigger to detect an effect in women. More statistical power is needed.

    E.g. (numbers kept small for illustration)

    Imagine you've already demonstrated that 50% of teetotal men but only 10% of teetotal women develop heart disease.

    Take 20 of each and feed them a bottle of wine a day for 20 years.

    4 of the men and 1 of the women develop heart disease.

    After statistical tests, 4 is statistically different from 10 (the expected number) but 1 is not statistically different from 2, you've proved it works for men, but the data for women is inconclusive.........

  43. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/20/sikh-man-bnp-member

  44. “No, I don’t want the retarded baby—I want the other one,” and pick up Tripp. That was just her—even her kids were used to it.

    Not that I didn't hate the bitch before -- but that quote makes me feel that I could quite easily torture the ignorant cunt and not feel the slightest bit bad about it. Fucking waste of flesh.

  45. Yeah, she's a lovely person, really.

  46. ***Gratuitous swearing alert*** ***Gratuitous swearing alert*** ***Gratuitous swearing alert***


    ***alert ends*** ***alert ends*** ***alert ends***

  47. Montana,

    I like the way you use cunt. Purely because I can't ever remember hearing an American ever using it.

    Same goes for wank or wanker.

  48. Really! Must you all swear so?

  49. Yeah...take it easy Montana..I know it's Friday but you're meant to wait til after you've had a drink. Looks like Hank's gonna get a run for his money tonight. Even the fourth way pathfinder off on one of his wild flights of divine profanity will be hard pushed to keep up.

    Not that I'm complaining...

    It's you're inalienable right to let the fuckin cunts know just what a fuckin bunch of fuckin cunt-faced cunts they are...the fuckin useless cunts.

    Who are we talking about btw?

  50. I say, Duke, that was a bit unnecessary. Not to put too fine a point on it, it was fucking uncouth. I don't know what the aristocracy is coming to. Shame!

    friday on my mind

  51. Fuck you all, I'm still at work and working tomorrow too!

    Although actually I have just got the 'leave' signal so will be in pub before too long!

  52. Scherfig,

    sorry about that, as Aristocracy I should have said:

    It's the FACKING weekend, what what.

  53. Dotterel - (re alien) - that's him!!!

    Oh, thank you. even down o the funny bat-wing sweater thing going on on his feet, and the pokey bit at the back.

    Bless you. feel mildly more secure. now just have to be worried about being attacked by a giant moth.

    thank you...

  54. @MF -- Sarah fucking Palin. Talking about her own son. Referring to him as "the retarded baby".

    Frankly, the word 'cunt' isn't nearly vulgar enough to describe her.

  55. Oh...right. That is a bit of a subhuman thing to say about a kid; any kid. When it's your own, it kind of makes you think that she's a fuckin alien borg reptile type thing...and one of the nasty ones at that.

    After deciding David Icke must have been right all along and the space lizards are running things, I figured: well that's her chance gone..isn't it? Surely?

    I know that American voters are warm, humane and sentimental creatures...Anna Shapiro said so..there was a link on here yesterday..Oh fuck!
    ...Anna Shapiro said so...

  56. Oh, and, Duke -- I use 'cunt' quite a bit, I'm afraid. Bit of a foul-mouthed bitch, is me. 'Wank" and 'wanker', not so much, simply because they're almost unheard of over here and there are certain words in British usage that just don't feel right to me. I'm not sure why I'll happily use 'bollocks', for example, but referring to a man as a 'bloke' just feels so risibly pretentious from an American.

    Friend of mine used to use the phrase 'soapy titwank' a lot. I always quite admired it, but never felt comfortable using it.

  57. Monkeyfish, American voters are generally ignorant, selfish and lazy. They vote for whoever looks prettiest or seems the most normal. I have no evidence to back this up, but I'm strongly suspicious that Barack Obama won because he's more handsome than John McCain. The fact that he's 100 times more intelligent and can actually form coherent, grammatically correct sentences at will probably really didn't enter into it with most people.

  58. Philippa,

    You're welcome, and the "pokey bit at the back" is known as the horn, I now yield the floor to the vulgar types on here.............

  59. Oh -- and by 'normal' I meant 'average' or not outstanding in any way. We don't like leaders who seem smarter or better than us. It makes us feel bad.

  60. Dot - heh heh - so would it have been able to fight off the golden retriever itself? Because unless it's packing some serious venom, I would have had to bet on the dog...

    Montana - I'm sensing it has been a long week... I confess I am a bit nervous that Oprah is only retiring to line up a bid for the Vice-Presidency in 2012...

  61. Philippa,

    From the wiki page about the Family: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphingidae)

    Larvae are quick to regurgitate their sticky, often toxic, foregut contents on attackers such as ants and parasitoids (Pittaway, 1993)

    But no, my money would also still be on the dog!

  62. And, Duke, I hope you're happy. Your post @ 15:50 has given me this little earworm.

  63. And now I propose to link my and Philippa's conversation with the one about Sarah Palin with this link:


  64. Montana,

    get fresh at the weekend indeed!

    My favourite weekend themed track is The first big weekend by Arab Strap.

    A Scottish stream of consciousness over a kicking guitar and beat recalling a weekend which starts on Thursday evening and finishes on Monday night.

    Booze, pharmaceuticals, pubbing, clubbing, failing to pull, the Simpsons, Scotland V England in Euro 96, passing out, cheese and strongbow 2 litres for 1.99 mmmmmmmmm.

    The perfect weekend (except for the failing to pull bit).

    I believe the instrumental track was used on a Guinnes advert

  65. Oh, and the result of the Euro 96 match doesn;t bear repeating either thanks.....

  66. Dot - I love polite scientific eupehmism. Not sure that 'to regurgitate one's foregut contents' will replace 'to puke'...

  67. nice link, Dot - particularly the term "necrotroph", which seems to do the lady justice...

  68. 13thDukeofWybourne
    Nice link !

    Right, I'm off down the pub with EvilBong for some Fourth Sector Threat/Opportunities Analysis...

  69. PS, anyone see Peter Capaldi on Scottish Art the pother night ? That was a weird experience... good though ;-)

  70. Dot

    Great link
    a form of parasitism, the term necrotroph is sometimes (though rarely) used.

    Good description of the political class and others I can think of.

    BW - genuflections to the great Weed of Bitterness

  71. Anyone loked at the Jennifer Abel thread? Well done to Peter G for being so patient and so tenacious!

    Just reading the article just sapped me of energy!

    Don't have much Energy at the mo! Had TWO surveyors and a structural engineer crawling over my house today! Doom and gloom damp (footings need reproofing) Doom and gloom crack in the wall (expansion crack needs an expansion joint in the wall - its 18m long!). The house is over 100 years old ffs!

    Then people in these trusting times need so much money up front I have had to arrange a £2000 overdraft facility to run until after I've moved! Ho hum!

    Moan over!

    Have a good Friday night! Look forward to reading it tomorrow ((:

  72. annetan, oh my... the joys of hips, eh? on the upside, your 100-yr-old house is probably in better nick that the mid-eighties shoebox that was my last experience of selling...

    they've moved into poetry and musicals on the andrew brown thread, if you need some light reliefe (!)

  73. they've moved into poetry and musicals on the andrew brown thread, if you need some light relief (!)

    And I've just moved on to Albert Camus' refutation of moral nihilism vis a vis Henry's handball on the Poirier thread like a right pretentious wanker.

    It's all happening tonight.....

  74. Wybourne,
    "Oh, and the result of the Euro 96 match doesn;t bear repeating either thanks....."

    I'll never forget that sunny day. Very happy for twenty minutes, then someone told me that my cat, Claude, had been hit by a bus and died.

    Cats are supposed to be clever, aren't they? Claude used to run into doors, thinking that there were cat flaps in every one. He always followed the same path across the back of my sofa when I had some food, jump off and miss the plate that I'd just moved, by some distance.

    And he managed to get run over by the one bus a week that went down our road - the old folk's Sainsbury's express.

    He was thick, but I loved him more for it... still bloody miss that cat.

    Here's to Claude, I'll bet angel mice are laughing at him, somehwhere.

  75. Evening all

    Long day. Dog tired. Luton and back on the laughably poorly named First Capital Connect train - more like Last Crappy Charabanc.

    Got vino. Head too tired to think so I shall just type the odd inanity now and again rather than engaging in anything thoughtful

    First person to say "no change there then" gets my foot up their arris.

    Oh, and the bench of muppets found a belt buckle in the shape and form and of the same weight as a knuckle duster to be an offensive weapon per se today - in other words, it is an offensive weapon even if you don't use it as a weapon - even though it was attached to said leather belt and couldn't be removed. Go figure. I was persecuting so I shouldn't be complaining, but I hope the defence appeal it.

  76. Vanish Powergel adverts have to be the most unrealistic on the telly.

    I am not challenging the ability of their product to remove stains - in fact I use Vanish myself.

    But the ads show kids doing really stupid stuff - a young son spinning a pizza that has just been delivered and spilling it all down him (and ruining the pizza of course); two little girls playing dress-up and one taking her mum's lipstick, breaking it and it falling all down a blouse.

    And in both instances, the mums come along and smile and say "awww - how am I going to get that stain out. Tsk."

    Whereas I would be saying "Get up to your bedroom RIGHT NOW and don't come back down until I tell you to"

  77. Hi Habib,

    I remember that day well. It was absolutely scorching like you say. I also remember jumping around like a loony when Scotland got the penalty so much that by the time I looked again at the TV, McCallister had missed it and Gascoigne had scored.


    out of interest. How near have you come to saying

    ''aaaahhhbjection your honour''

    like in all the American movies?

  78. Wybourne, yeah scorching, but with just a slight gust of wind.
    - sorry, old bean :-)

  79. Montana - LOL at your Palin link. Have been to Grand Rapids a few times on business - it's main industry AFAIK is the failing flatpack/made-to-order furniture business. A sad and, yes, very insular place, like most of Michigan.

    Loved the interviewer's style Of "I'll pretend to be a moronic airhead in the Palin mould so I don't put your backs up immediately".

    I confess to being fascinated by the Palin phenomenon. I mean, she's clearly an idiot, but having lived in the US, I can see how she'd appeal and am absolutely terrified by the possibility that she might actually be electable.

  80. Hi Habib

    Sorry about your kitty. Sounds like he was great fun.

    13th Duke - nah, we don't do all the "objection" bit. We are far too polite to each other. I tend to stand up quite slowly and say "Loth as I am to rise to my feet, Your Honour, but my learned friend is [insert euphemism for talking complete bollocks/making it up/introducing shite he shouldn't/hasn't got a clue what the law says]

    Usually if you do that once, then if you look like you are going to stand up again, your opponent will spot it and stop what they are doing because they don't want to look like a twat, or ask for the jury to go out so you can have a good old barney with the judge if you can't agree.

  81. Geller claimed he moved the ball with his mind as GM went to hit it. Imagine - world hunger, murder and rape and famine, and yet Uri Geller uses his immense cosmic powers to move a ball in a fucking football match.

    Gary got a lot of stick from the Tartan Army Ringpull Tits for missing the penalty, but he shrugged it off with grace (not Your Grace, the other sort of grace).

  82. So if you ever see a barrister saying "A matter of law has arisen, Your Honour" it means "Get the jury out... let's get ready to RUMBLE!!!!!!"

  83. and Habib sorry about your cat - our cat has had loads of things go wrong but struggles on - sleeps most of the time now

    Our previous cat we found in a dustbin with a single kitten. the kitten had deformed paws and we found a nice home for him. The mum lasted years and died of pneumonia we were all devastated.

    Thomas Hardy, Last Words to a Dumb Friend

    Strange it is this speechless thing,
    Subject to our mastering,
    Subject for his life and food
    To our gift, and time, and mood;
    Timid pensioner of us Powers,
    His existence ruled by ours,
    Should--by crossing at a breath
    Into safe and shielded death,
    By the merely taking hence
    Of his insignificance -
    Loom as largened to the sense,
    Shape as part, above man's will,
    Of the Imperturbable.

    As a prisoner, flight debarred,
    Exercising in a yard,
    Still retain I, troubled, shaken,
    Mean estate, by him forsaken;
    And this home, which scarcely took
    Impress from his little look,
    By his faring to the Dim
    Grows all eloquent of him.

    Housemate, I can think you still
    Bounding to the window-sill,
    Over which I vaguely see
    Your small mound beneath the tree,
    Showing in the autumn shade
    That you moulder where you played.

    October 2, 1904.

  84. Am too knackered to say anything remotely sensible (don['t say it!).

    Habib - sorry to hear about your cat. I know if it had been my dog how gutted I'd have been.

    Princess - how are the dogs?

    Duke - you need to read Christopher Brookmyre's bit on playground fitba. Too tired to find and link, but it's on his website and verra funna.

  85. BB,

    nah, we don't do all the "objection" bit. We are far too polite to each other. I tend to stand up quite slowly and say "Loth as I am to rise to my feet, Your Honour, but my learned friend is

    Ha Ha, you actually say that? Brilliant!

    Having never frequented a court (thankfully) I've always wondered what the hotshots say.


    Oh yes. Geller. What a tube. As were the tubes who got on McCallisters back for the rest of his Scotland career. A cultured midfielder of the type we cry out for now. And not once called off sick from sticking on the dark blue.

  86. Edwin - lovely! Have a huge soft spot for Hardy, who was a great animal-lover as well as social progressive.

  87. Right, off to bed so I can get up in the morning.

    The horror....

  88. Hey Habib

    Sorry to hear about your mog - its truly horrible when that happens. I remember having a cat I spent over a week nursing through feline enteritis, who promptly got flattened by a passing car on his first day out of the house.

  89. Your Grace

    You should go for a day if you have any time to spare. Sometimes it is really boring, but usually it is quite interesting.

    What is really funny is when there is a real barney going on between counsel about a point, because only one of us is allowed to be on our feet at a time, so you are up and down like fekken jack-in-the-boxes. It looks really really silly! :o)

  90. am absolutely terrified by the possibility that she might actually be electable.

    Think about how I feel...

  91. MOntana

    We have got to find a way to get you over here. With the points based system there are all sorts of hoops that you have to jump through, but there must be some way of doing it.

    If Palin is elected, I would seek asylum if I were you.. :o)

  92. BB

    "What is really funny is when there is a real barney going on between counsel about a point, because only one of us is allowed to be on our feet at a time, so you are up and down like fekken jack-in-the-boxes. It looks really really silly!"

    I once heard about a four hundred and eighteen year old judge's withering attack on counsel, (told to me by an old patent law drinking buddy), where the judge pompously derided counsel's comments as highly long-winded if technically correct, but at the end of which he felt to be "none the wiser"

    "No", replied counsel, "but you are considerably better informed."

    I liked that story. Is it a suburban myth ?

  93. Hehehehe - I've no idea BW. There are plenty of good ones around though, some more true than others.

    One I love, but I have no idea if it is true or not, is the story of a defendent who when sentenced called the judge a cunt. The judge had him sent down but told the guards to keep him in the cells til the end of the day's business, then he was brought back up again, and the judge is supposed to have said:

    "This evening I will be going home to my wife and family, having a nice dinner and watching the television in front of the fire. Tomorrow I shall be playing golf during the day, then we are going out to dine with friends, where I will no doubt order a steak and a fine bottle of beaujolais.

    You, on the other hand, will be going to a place where you will be sharing a small, windowless room with a hardened criminal, probably stinking of BO. You will have to urinate in a bucket, and put up with the stench of your cell-mate's urine too. You will be eating the kind of food children would complain about if it was offered to them for their lunch at school. You will have warders shouting at you every day. You will be allowed into the yard for an hour a day to see a small patch of sky above the 20 foot walls. You will not be leaving that place for another 3 years.

    So tell me... which one is the cunt now?"

  94. Edwin Moore
    I thought I knew Thomas Hardy's work fairly well. That was beautiful and new to me, many thanks.

    BB, sheff and thauma, it was a while ago and I think many of us have lost pets we loved, but we still appreciate them, after all that time. My pal Zorro is getting old. Maybe another four years in him. It's horrible to think of a time when I walk into the flat and he's not going to be there.

    But let's be grown up about it, things you love often die.

    Well that's a cheery thought for a party night!
    I'm off to play "chase the shoelace" with Zorro for a little while.

  95. BB,

    there's an old Billy Connolly joke that reminds me of that about the Glaswegian Cardinal who goes back to visit his old primary school in a poverty stricken part of the East End.

    As he's going round the kids asking them what their name is one of them tells him to fuck off. He says ''I beg your pardon?'' to which the kid says ''fuck off, are deaf as well as daft?''

    Chaos ensues. Teachers faint, sporadic outbreaks of fighting between kids all over the place.

    So the Cardinal launches into a tirade shouting how he had the same background as the kid but he studied and had manners, becoming parish priest, then bishop and archbishop but still he kept studying, studying at the foot of the Holy Father himself and became Cardinal.

    ''Now'', he says, ''I will be part of the council to elect the next Pope or may BE the next Pope. And you're telling me to fuck off? YOU FUCK OFF!""

  96. Hardy's poems are fab Habib - he loved animals and strived to protect them.

    Re court stories this is one web version of an old Glasgow favourite -

    'The Fiscal at Glasgow Sheriff Court announced that he was unable to hear the case against a German sailor currently on trial as the accused spoke no English. When a German translator was called for a local man stood up and asked by the Sheriff to ascertain the sailor’s name, poked his finger in the chest of the accused and demanded: ‘Vot is your name?’'

    Off to bed night all.

  97. Can any of our Scottish colleagues here tell me if the Weekly News still does that column called 'Little Stories from the Police Courts' or something similar? I used to love that!

  98. Edwin Moore.

    Uncle Albert once used that line in a similar situation in Fools and Horses.

    My favourite Glasgow joke is:

    A policeman collars a thief at the corner of Sauchiehall and Dalhousie, then drags him by the hair for a hundred yards to Rose Street to book him.
    "Oi, why'd ye do tha?" asks the culprit, rubbing his sore head.
    "Because I can fuckin' spell Rose Street, ya thieving cunt" says the copper.

  99. ok, I'm off me dears. Nighty night xx

  100. Ah, heyhabib, sounds like claude was to feline intelligence what the late lamented minty was to canine...again, I thought mongrels were supposed to be smart.

    he had an eye op once, and they put one of those protective bucket things on his head. This caused no end of bother - the edge of the bucket would push his dogbowl away from him, he couldn't work out why he couldn't get through narrow gaps, and, best of all, I once found him standing in his bed, with the bucket flush against the wall, snoring. It must have been dark inside so he jest went to sleep...

    bless 'em. if it wasn't for daft pets, we'd all feel a lot dumber...

  101. Belfast version - a horse drops dead in Chichester St and a policeman asks the gathered crowd for volunteers to help drag the horse round the corner to May St. Boom boom!

  102. @BB - your anecdote at 22.06 above...sorry, it's not funny.

    I know it's Friday night an' all, but I was at a tax conference today listening to two of the UK's leading tax barristers wittering on about all the avoidance schemes, all the loopholes etc, they're aware of.

    The conference was sponsored by HMRC, and the barristers concerned are retained by HMRC from time to time. But of course the cab rank principle applies, so sometimes these smart arse amoral tossers pitch for us, and sometimes they argue as righteously for the other guys.

    Is the law about justice, or about winning the argument?

    Is there such a thing as justice, in fact, or is it about who's the smartest arsed, the most silver-tongued, the least principled on the day?

    Serious question, BB. My knowledge of the law, scant as it is, suggests that there is no such thing as "law", it's fluid, moveable, and very susceptible to the prejudices of the judges sitting on the day.

    And as most judges either come from privileged backgrounds or gravitate into them, there's little chance of the rights of the propertied classes being overturned in court.

    Which is why tax avoidance schemes are almost impervious to attack.

    And why crimes against property are always punished more severely than crimes against the person.

    Which may be why your judge in the anecdote above deserved to be called a cunt.

  103. Evening All

    Hank - the adversarial system is very questionable - look at the high number of wrongful convictions; how many more go uninvestigated? Pitting one barrister agin another is not about investigating the truth.

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  105. "I was at a tax conference today"
    Jesus, Hank, that had me feeling sorry for you. But at least someone intelligent was there.

    I feel like I could take on most people in a straight theological fight, but tax laws? Not for me.

  106. Hi Leni - the adversarial system is flawed. But the adversarial system itself isn't the problem so much as the fact that it's underpinned by the jury system, which manages to convince us drones that democracy is not a sham, given that we all have a vote, and we all get to sit on juries.

    Except we don't get to sit on juries when the really big decisions are being made, because few of us have a seat in either the Court of Appeal or the House of Lords.

    Nor do we get a vote when it really matters, ie when we decide whether to go to war in Iraq.

    The really big problem in all this is that the jury system, together with participation in FPTP, convinces us all that we live in a democracy.

    As if judging people according to judge-made law in which the property interests of the few are upheld, or voting for any one of three drones who support those self same property rights, makes us in any way free, democratic or grown up...

  107. "I feel like I could take on most people in a straight theological fight"

    But most theologians are gay or hung up on little boys. Who you gonna debate? The vicar of Dibley?

  108. PhilippaB, minty sounds like my kind of friend.

  109. "But most theologians are gay or hung up on little boys. Who you gonna debate? The vicar of Dibley?"
    Well, monkeyfish with anyone who joins in, after all, a good mass-debating session is good for the soul, wouldn't you agree?
    We're headed for a fight, aren't we?

  110. Gary McAllister...majestic footballer btw. Not often I say that about anyone who played for the Redshite but there ya go.

    Believe he's in line for the Scotland job. Not a dig..but..that is a thankless task. I dare say the expectation's shrunk exponentially, but it'll never quite catch the decline in the class. No strength in depth..or shallow even...once you get past Duncan Fletcher, you're looking at journeymen at best.

  111. Ah no, habib, don't do it, mate. Two scousers going mano a mano in a fight to the death over theology, or, failing that, ellesse v lacoste...

  112. We're headed for a fight, aren't we?

    No..I don't get into fights. Seriously...I say my piece then move on. My recent lapse in decorum over the Belgian crisis was as a result of a particularly idiotic and ill judged piece of slander. My point was semi serious btw.
    Catholic clergy...enuff said...and I believe Imams across the Islamic world have a bit of a rep for taking a shine to pretty young lads..my source? Tariq Ali..'Clash of Fundamentalisms'...C of E...gay (it's compulsary I believe)

    As a general analogy religion is the philosophical world's Rugby...all scrums and public schools...foppish goings on etc.

    Whereas Socialism is Football...all Lager, bitterness and disappointment.

    Incidentally..epistemology is golf.

  113. Monkeyfish is a bluenose? I'll go easy. Sorry, MF, I thought you were a Manc.

    Now that ought to do it!

  114. Hank

    Democracy is impossible in a society in which the privileged few have full control and wish to maintain the status quo.

    Please state your theological position before I agree, or otherwise, to debate.

  115. "Democracy is impossible on a society in which the privilged few have full control and wish to maintain the status quo."

    Indeed, Leni.

    The question is though, is that the free market democracy in which we've all grown up, or is it a new oligarchy which has persuaded us all that nothing has changed, at the same time as everything has changed?

    Here's a hint - the summer of 2008, Gideon Osborne and Mandy Mandelson holidayed together on Oleg Deripaska's yacht. That was the point at which I knew that democracy in the UK, such as it was, had died.

    The really sad thing now, leni, is that I don't give a shit about any of them.

    Which is what they want of course.

  116. "I thought you were a Manc."

    Oh...fuckin funny habib.

  117. Hank, right now the only thing that's going to get me too riled up is if Chrome crashes again. I don't know WTF is going on, but for the past two days it's been crashing every time I've tried to have more than two tabs open and sometimes it's crashed randomly.

  118. #The question is though, is that the free market democracy in which we've all grown up, or is it a new oligarchy which has persuaded us all that nothing has changed, at the same time as everything has changed?#

    Is this a serious question? As time moves on capital accumulates in fewer and fewer hands. That's what capitalism is. Capitalism's ultimate aim is monopoly and an end to the 'free market' scenario...that's a bit too risky for the plutocrats and corporation. It's a game of no limit poker with stacked cards...the pot can only move one way in the end.

  119. Tell ya something...in 20 years, we'll all be nostalgic for the 'free market'.

    Except habib...he'll be nostalgic for St John's market, where he buys his dayglo shellsuits.

  120. The really sad thing now, leni, is that I don't give a shit about any of them.

    Which is what they want of course.

    Of course. They have effectively created a situation which has moved us from helplessness to apathy - by the time we wake up again we will be back at the starting point -having to challenge their divine right to rule and have it all. We have helped them too - so many vote against the best interests of the majority -and their own. People have bought into the myth.

  121. @MF - "Is this a serious question?"

    Yeh, if Plato or Aristotle were kicking around on the UT tonight. I was working on the assumption that they weren't, so I was posing what is known as an arhetorical question.

    Wind your fucking neck in, MF.

  122. Leni, the theological fight stance was just bravado - I didn't think anyone on this site would seriously want to have one. But I'll try if you want me to... hang on two ticks.

    Monkeyfish, I am nostalgic for St John's Market, but it's for a particularly fine omelette with onions on toasted bread that one cafe used to do.

  123. Ah yes - St. John's market- happy memories.
    Was St. John the patron of small market traders ?

  124. Leni, do you still want to do the theological discussion bit, because I've only got sanctimony and posturing, to be honest.

  125. Habib

    I don't have a theological position myself - find discussions interesting and full of strange possibilities - or not. Many things are possible, few probable, it is just sad they we are generally so stuck in the mud of mundanity that we don't see any of them. Some people get infected by ideas and get stuck in another kind of mud. we are left either waving to ,or shouting at, each other across the spaces.

    I like your cat stories - I have various animals - all cast off given to me to revive , Somebody once gave me their son - I got into trouble with the foster people 'cos I didn't tell them - they let me keep him !

  126. Now Leni,
    "Somebody once gave me their son - I got into trouble with the foster people 'cos I didn't tell them - they let me keep him !"
    That! Is worth talking about, but, of course, only if you want to.

  127. Keep meaning to ask - bit late for this one really.
    In England do you have PACT meetings - you may call them something else. Community meetings with police - I went to one - it was all about busybodies reporting their neighbours ! At the end all suggestions were voted on and the 3 most popular - or mosted hated - were to receive special police attention in the foll. month, Nasty experience - reminded me of E Germany.

  128. Habib

    To shorten a lengthy tale. I lived alone with my two sons - was drop in house for lots of youngsters. One, from upper middle class home rebelled against alcaholic mother and twittish authoritarian father. Said father arrived , son in tow, zed bed in one hand and suitcase in t'other. Said 'Have him' . turned on well shod heel and left.

    Schoo; found out - called the SS. They arrived on bad day - no electricity (couldn't pay ) , cooking on open fire. Thought I would lose all three boys. Shared stew with visitor, boys behaved impeccably, so did dog and cats (unnatural). Apparently you can't have visiting kids for longer than 6 weeks without reporting the fact.

    They thought I was OK and 'very loving' so arrangements were made. So now I have 3 sons.

  129. That is both incredibly sad and sweet at the same time, Leni. I can't imagine not wanting your own child any more. I can't imagine having a Down's baby and referring to him as "the retarded baby", either. Some people shouldn't be allowed to reproduce.

  130. Montana

    You work with children so probably have horror tales of your own.

    I worked with refugees and for a long time with 'disturbed' children. The inhumanity of some people led me to believe that, contrary to belief, there is a possibility that we do not all belong to the same species.

    Animal cruelty - another all too common thing .

    Your remark abot the baby refers to the Palin woman - how anyone can entertain her after that is beyond me.

  131. Leni, I don't know what to say.
    I love you, is all I can come up with.

  132. Love to you Habib. You are one who maintains my faith in people.

    Night and Bless- Montana too, I hope you find your escape route.