26 December 2009


Two recent tragedies to mark today.

In 2003, the worst earthquake in Iranian history, measuring 6.6 on the moment scale, devastated the city of Bam.  There were 26,271 people killed and about 30,000 injured.  The 2,000 year-old Bam Citadel was obliterated.

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake measured 9.3 on the moment scale, killed between 228 and 230 thousand people and injured 125,000.  There are 45,000 people still listed as missing and nearly 2,000,000 people were displaced.


  1. I have come to the conclusion that I need to just start these threads off with the date. It seems wildly inappropriate to me to title something 'Daily Chat' and then remind you all that more than a quarter million people were killed in two unfathomable natural disasters.

  2. A grim day for so many families. Seems a little odd to UK eyes to see it described as the 'moment scale' - those must have been god awful moments for those caught up in them.

  3. Fair enough, MW. We had an earthquake here in 2008 (5.2 on the Richter scale), it lasted only a few seconds but it was pretty scary. I cannot imagine how terrifying a big quake can be.

    Hope your son made it home safely in the snow yesterday.

    It's a beautiful clear sunny day today, but the snow is melting fast. No plans to do owt much, so far, just chilling.

    Glad to hear you have running water again, deano. Enjoy you Boxing Day pub trawl. BTW, one of my offspring turned up 3 hours late for Xmas dinner, having gone to the pub at lunchtime, nipped home for something & then fell asleep. Classic!

  4. Sorry for my fuzzy brain - I meant to say 'described as on the moment scale'.

  5. Let's all hope that Dave Boy Cameron's Conservative family values will really take hold in 2010. Then the future of rock and roll will sound like THIS! Enjoy!

  6. Happy "That Bit In Between Christmas And New Year" to everyone.

    Hope everything went roughly according to plan for all.

    Hank - Atomgirl bought me Strumpet for Winterval, so I will (in due course) be able to see the "Chickentown" clip in context.

  7. Good day yesterday over at a friends. Had a late brunch followed by watching 'The Kyte Runner' on DVD. The we watched Dr Who.

    Then dinner (non traditional Game pie) then watched Citizen Kane.

    At this point the stress of the last few days caught up with me and I had to go to bed!

    Woke up at about 11:30 with a humungous asthma attack and hardly slept all night!

    Home now and have slept all day! Still tired but starving - cold Turkey fry up and pickles beckon!

  8. Ouch. What time is it, what day is it?
    It must have been the smell of cold Turkey fry up and pickles beckon that woke me up.

    Is that lean or streaky beckon?

    For some reason I've got this song in my head.

  9. anne

    Hope you're feeling better soon, a good trad Boxing Day dinner will help.


    Does your company give you a medal for standing in at no notice on Christmas night? Thought not.

  10. Oh Montana, good article and credit to you for not telling us it was going to be published.

    Me and my ex did the same thing with our kids and we're both still happy for having done so.

  11. MsChin, my "company" is my boss. It's her business and I want it to work, because I like her and I like her ethics. If the bastard who didn't turn up for work last night had given a few hours notice, I wouldn't have got drunk and just smiled about it.

    So no, no medals, I just want my friend's business to work and to keep a few other people in employment.

    As a communist, I know I'm selling out, but reality is as it is.

  12. It's not selling out, habib, it's 'doing the right thing' and it can work to everyone's advantage.


    Great piece!

  13. Ah, I'd just come over to let you all know that it was up. I didn't know it was going up today, so it took me by surprise. The thread is mostly populated by right-wingers right now. Amazing how desperately they seem to have missed the point. (Not really, given that they're intellectual pygmies, but...)

  14. Hi All

    annetan42-- that clip of the animals had my grandchildren in fits of laughter yesterday. Had to play it over and over.Good fun. Hope you feel better soon.

    Montana--Good piece, piss on the right wingers.

    Habib--You're here early today.

  15. Montana

    Wow those guys just lurve feminism, don't they> Do you think they all live in the same time warp bubble?

    I'm going to be disappointed if Bitethebullet doesn't turn up now to comment on your article and / or our parenting skills. Having been deprived from birth of toys resembling weaponry, my male offspring constructed their first gun out of 2 wooden clothes pegs, closely followed by a Lego version. They also had a My Little Pony tea set and an awesome plastic Gibson-looking guitar.

  16. Evening all...!! hope everyone had a good xmas and a good boxing day!!

    ..annetan hope you're feeling better...

    ..Montana, hi, great article I've just read it amazing how lots off people don't get it, or maybe they just don't want to get it!!

  17. Yes some of the commenters on your article spectacularly miss the point don't they?

    I suppose not having a son I missed all the 'to buy guns or not stuff'. But surely the important thing is to bring them up believing that actual violence(against anyone) is wrong.

    I have noticed that little boys often cuddle teddies and other animal toys and will also be given puppies to care for. Surely this can prepare them for fatherhood? (especially caring for animmals learning to be responsible for another life etc)

  18. BTW thanks for all the good wishes, I am still tired but have loads of cooked food in the house and so can take it easy.

    Have Tony Benn's'Letters to my Grandchildren' and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall to read so that will keep me sitting down and resting!

  19. anne

    Agree, the important thing is that kids grow up to understand that violence is wrong. But you also have to teach them to stand up for themselves. The real world isn't always kind.

  20. Oh yes of course Mschin but thats about the difference between self defence and aggression isn't it? The nature of the self defence does need to be appropriate though and should not be vengefull.

    One of the big problems of school life though is that its the kid who hits back who is more likely to get into trouble. (because they are the ones actually seen hitting out).

    This actually discourages self defence. It also encourages bullying because the bully gets away with it and the victim is punished. This happened to my daughter and I've seen it happen lots of times in school myself.

  21. Again, agree with you anne, it's about kids learning there is a difference, and about dealing with situations in acceptable ways. Sorry I wasn't clear about that.

    BTW, Frank Finlay, who's been making ridiculous assertions over on MWs thread, has been pwned by Clunie:

    "Stalinism, meanwhile, was a totalitarian ideology responsible for the deaths of millions - hard to tell the difference between that and giving a child gender-neutral toys, I realise, but it's worth making the effort".

  22. Thanks guys -- now could you say all this stuff over on the thread? :-)

    Anne, I absolutely agree about the bullying/self defence problem at school. It has happened to my son on more than one occasion -- mostly with verbal spats. Someone else initiates the conflict, but all the adult in charge sees is the reaction. I think we adults intervene in playground situations way too much.

  23. Ooops, sorry Montana! Over to Cif I go ...

  24. Hi Montana - intervening in playground situations can be really tricky - often when I'd be inclined to let two kids sort out a playground problem themselves (albeit keeping an eye on them) I can't, because so many parents are so quick to play the bullying card for what can be very trivial incidents, and would be in school complaining within 24hrs.

    Great thread btw. My kids both played with Brio but son did the track building, then daughter played with finished product. Same with the Lego. Son did the construction, daughter then chipped in with imaginative play...

  25. Hi Shaz! Oh, I know it's tricky -- I've had quite a bit of playground duty. Weird thing is, in my experience, the kids whose parents are the ones who complain that their precious lamb is being bullied are actually the ones doing the bullying.

  26. Oh bugger - tried to post greetings to all and managed (after several hours) to put it on yesterday's thread by mistake and now I've skimmed the first few posts here and find that Montana's got a new piece up but I'm off to bed....

    Lurve to you all and will have to check Montana's piece out tomorrow ... second xmas din has done for me and the matchsticks are failing.

  27. True story, make of it what you will.

    My g/f's sister works in a hotel on one of the beachfronts in Phuket. The morning of tsunami, she was getting ready to go to work, when her daughter started freaking out. The child's mother couldn't get much sense out of her daughter other than she had a really bad feeling about her mum going to work that day. Her mum tried to ignore it, but her daughter became increasingly frantic. Eventually, she had to call in to work to say she couldn't come into work as her daughter was 'sick'. She didn't even attempt to explain the conversations she'd been having with her.

    As you know, at 10:25, the tsunami hit the Phuket beaches. My g/f's sister was at home then, still trying to calm down her daughter.

  28. RapidEddie

    Spooky story, that.

  29. Funny thing MsC is that you can probably find a semi-logical interpretation of it. Perhaps one of the strangest pieces of advice I ever got from a doctor of psychology I know is to "trust your instincts", or what's sometimes various called intuition, hunches or a sixth sense. It didn't make much sense to me on the face of it, as surely a psychologist would be more concerned with facts, reality and uncovered knowledge.

    Her explanation was that we call intuition/instincts/sixth sense is often unprocessed information that has yet to be made sense of by the conscious mind. So a woman may have an instinct about a guy she's met in a bar, a businessperson may have a gut feeling about a new business acquaintance. What they're actually picking up is body language, voice patterns etc that raise their antennae.

    Can this apply on a wider scale? Maybe it does. Kids are notoriously sensitive to social atmospheres (parents who have slanging matches in front of their children should be summarily boiled), so perhaps they're just guileless and observant enough to subconsciously pick up on environmental changes - birds, animals etc moving inland, sounds of wildlife etc - to pick up on something being wrong.

    The hotel was hit, but not leveled, meanwhile Or (Beloved's sister) was half a mile inland trying to calm down her daughter who couldn't quite articulate what her distress was.

  30. RapidEddie
    No idea mate very strange, unless the toddler was sensitised somehow to pick up the physical signals of the eathrquake happening; I know animals do this before adult humans.

    I do know that five months before the tsunami I was working in Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal, and my hotel on the sea front was right next to a village that got totalled on December 26th. I stayed up all night on the first Friday I was there, and went for a walk along the beach at dawn. At about seven o'clock, a few hundred yards down the beach, there was already loads of activity, fishermen getting their nets ready, (some already returning having been out in the small hours), there were a few cows lazing about on the beach, and greay hooded crows were everywhere. I have a picture of this scene on my kitchen wall, the men and boys setting sail in their wooden boats, traditional boats painted in bright primary colours.

    On a morning exactly like this in December, they would set sail, only to return to a village battered beyond recognition, many wives, mothers, aunts, sisters and nieces missing, having barely noticed the terror pass beneath these old craft. When I spoke to my colleagues in Chennai, in January that year, you could sense the heartbreak and disbeliving grief; it felt as if it came from the whole of Southern India.

  31. BW, I first met my g/f about 6 months after the tsunami, so in the interests of sensitivity, I only asked occasionally about what happened that day, letting her tell the family stories when she felt comfortable to do so, over the following years.

    The first she heard of it was calls from Thai people in Dublin (she works in a restaurant here) who'd had calls from Thailand itself. Within an hour or so of it happening there were multiple calls going around the Thai community here. At this point, she was frantic. She's divorced and works abroad to support her kids, and her two daughters were at school in Phuket and living with their aunt and cousin there. At this point, she was trying to make sure everyone was okay, but had no idea how they were.

    The problem is that there isn't much of a landline network outside of Bangkok, so all she could do was call mobiles. At this stage - in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, as it started to hit the news services - there were hundreds of thousands of calls going into Thailand and within the country itself. There followed a terrifying few hours as she - and many of her friends - tried and failed to get through. Eventually it transpired that her family and friends were okay, but that there were certainly people she knew from when she lived in Phuket who weren't so fortunate.

    The first time I went there, she pointed out a stall on a beachfront and told me about the man who used to run it, who'd been swept away that morning.

    One of the first things I did when she moved in with me was to get her a subscription to a Thai TV internet service. A couple of years later, when 5 or 6 bombs went off in Bangkok - and again when there was an army/palace coup - her elder daughter was in uni in the capital. She was able on those occasions to get her daughter on her mobile, but also to get live pics and news stories of what was happening from Thai TV stations, via the net.

    What made the tsunami so terrifying for those who were very far away from home that day was having no access to info in their own language.

    When the coup happened, my apartment was full of my g/f's friends watching the tanks on the streets and listening to the news reports.

  32. Montana - your a fine lady, and I'm sure that your a class mum. I fear that I had the better of our Boxing Days and all I did was get drunk and misbehave!

    God, some of the tossers that you have to deal with as an ATL are fegging hard work. So here have some warmth from one of your UT fans.....


    deano, very drunk and happy, 30

  33. very happy too

    falling off me bed happy

    oh what folly

    what silly silly folly

  34. OMG! Some of the posters on Montana's thread are, erm, excelling themselves in rank stupidity no?

    Frank Finlay *7(! Jeesh!


    Try Pahaleeesem27 Dec 5:01 AM

    I need a rest! My brain is hurting from reading this stuff!