07 January 2010


Boris Godunov became tsar of Russia in 1598.  Galileo Galilei first observed the four largest moons of Jupiter in 1610.  Jean Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries flew from Dover to Calais in a gas balloon in 1785. The interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed due to safety concerns in 1990.

Born today:  Charles Addams (1912-1988), Jean Pierre Rampal (1922-2000), Gerald Durrell (1925-1995), Nicholas Cage (1964), Mark Lamarr (1967) and Nick Clegg (1967).

It is the Festival of the Seven Herbs in Japan.


  1. Mathematical formula for the day:

    a= internet access at work.

    b= amount of people who made it to work today through the snow

    y= amount of comments on the untrusted.

    therefore if

    a x b = y

    then b must = 0 ???

    I'm not a mathematician so please refute where necessary.

  2. Your Grace,

    You forgot c = inclination to post:

    a x b x c = y

    By raising my c above 0 you caused this post.......

  3. And assigning as 'd' (internet access at home) and variable 'e' (cups of coffee consumed) you get to the more refined logical equation:

    e>2 => c + d = y+1

  4. Philippa,

    Surely that's y3 (the third value of y) rather than y+1 ?

    This of course is y4 (unless some bugg*r has posted while I'm writing this and messed up my calculations..........)

  5. I was going to post but now you have all geeked me out!

  6. (Was working earlier so shouldn't there be a value for people who want to post but have to do other stuff instead?)

  7. can we move on to pie charts I'm peckish!

  8. That sounds like a sensible proposition, Edwin.

  9. BB,

    It's incorporated into c, where:

    ca = desire to post

    cb = desire/motivation to do other things

    c = ca - cb

    Sorry Edwin, my MANOVA ate my pie chart..........

  10. Speaking of hunger, I had to look up to see just what the 7 herbs are in the Festival of Seven Herbs Montana points up for today.
    Looks like there's not absolutely definitive list, but we have:
    * Japanese parsley (seri)
    * Shepherd's purse (nazuna)
    * Jersey Cudweed (gogyō)
    * Common chickweed (hakobera)
    * Nipplewort (hotokenoza)
    * Turnip (suzuna)
    * Daikon (suzushiro)

  11. Dot - no idea, was just happy to remember that => is 'if / then', as it's been years since my logic lessons.

    my cat is a dog, and all that

  12. and BB, if I was better at accounts, I'd take apart the BNP ones you were talking about - the audit opinion is about as damning as you can get, I think, as posted on WDYWTTA.

    the most interesting bit is where the firm makes it clear that they do not take a view on the political views of the party, but states that as 'these could impact on the financial statements' they can't take a view on that impact either...

    i can't really understand how that would have an impact - security costs?

  13. Morning all, i have two bits of trivia for you all -

    Hank/MF - Kenan Malik *has* made a sort of appearance on CiF. In the materials given for my current uni essay, one bit is a graun article from 2006 by Baggini, it has Richard Ryder debating Malik on animal testing. And i must say i find Maliks views on animals pretty abhorrent for an otherwise impressive man.

    Second bit of CiF trivia - another part of the resources given for the essay is a small collection of actual CiF comments from another article, including one from Platonic, us ciffers are clearly in high demand from the nations universities...

  14. The only problem with the pie proposition, though, is that terrible mathematical formula:

    pie = my arse squared.

    Pip - there is an interesting further analysis of the BNP accounts on Lancaster Unity website here.

  15. cheers BB - have done a minor dissection on the reports at the front on Waddya, but don't have the nous to do much on the figures (and given the auditors reservations about the provenance of the numbers, probably pointless to try)

    hello Jay - where you bin?

  16. PS - it's not clear if the CA to whom they outsourced the accounts function is the same as the CA doing the audit. From the audit opinion, one would imagine not (as CAs tend not to agree to do that kind of thing if the numbers aren't there).

    It's not completely infra dig to do both accounts prep and and audit, but it is a bit iffy to do the entire accounts job and then the audit.

  17. some pol on W@1 claiming that Brown is the best intellect to have arisen in the Labour party in the last few generations. the best chancellor since gladstone.

    my god, some people have a shaky grasp on reality, don't they?

  18. "If Jesus Christ came back and was Prime Minister [people] would be hostile to him..."

    The pol is a Labour Council leader from somewhere beginning with 'N'...

  19. I just been off work Philippa, got no holiday at xmas so asked for first week of Jan off.

  20. Good article on the mercenaries in Iraq/Afghan.

  21. "Ah, the heart. The most human of organs. After the penis."

    writes Paul MacInnes here , and strangely, I have the urge to demand feminism from the guardian, and demand it now.

  22. "The pol is a Labour Council leader from somewhere beginning with 'N'..."


  23. Hmm. Labour hasn't got many council leaders left in any towns anywhere in the alphabet...

    Still, hasn't the N-word man got a point?

  24. PeterJ

    Maybe he does have a point. But then people were hostile to Jesus when he was here just as a hippy telling people to be nice to each other...

  25. Thank you Gerry,,Gerald Durrell had a huge huge
    influence on my life,,gave me a passion for knowledge about flora and fauna,,wonderful writer
    and a man who really"did stuff",,thanks again Gerry,,

  26. Thanks for the mathematical clarifications everyone.

    Alisdair, if you're reading.

    I went on to have a look at the Neal Lawson thread from yesterday. It merely confirmed my long term view that Thatcher's ultimate victory- 'There is no alternative' still remains order of the day.

    This stems from the reaction by styxdweller to your excellent post vis a vis the complete lack of choice and corporatist nature of our political parties.

    He/she automatically assumed that you must be Derek Hatton and Dave Spart rolled into one.

    Isn't it funny that those who believe the Social Democratic model rather than the rapacious capitalist model (abetted by our ludicrous unwritten constitution)is the best way for a society to operate, are automatically denounced as Stalin?

  27. Oh, I know, Duke. How fucking dispiriting it all is...the blinkers are on all over CiF and the Guardian.

  28. alisdair
    7 Jan 2010, 2:05AM
    Anyone seen "Alisdair Cameron" tonight? Just want to confirm that the "Cumberland Arms" gig is still on for friday in spite of the the snow. The North East contingent of CIF should show their mettle and get there come hell or high water! I'm sure they will. I'm snowed in but I'm lucky; it's merely a half hour stroll. Good luck to anyone whose journey requires more effort!

    from the waddya just in case you missed it

  29. Greetings all,

    for all doctor who fans this has just gone up.

  30. Many thanks, 3p4:I had missed it, since I've not looked at the current Waddya thread.

  31. Yay! Home early - thanks to the sky pixie for flexi & a lack of hard-line senior managers today.

    Bit scary out on the roads, had a couple of good slip/slide/can't stop moments over the last couple of days.

  32. Not another Doctor Who thread.

    I bear more than a passing resemblance to the last Doctor Who (apparently) and all I have ever had in the last few years at parties, in the pub etc is ''It's Doctor Who!'', ''Show us yer sonic screwdriver!'' etc, etc.

    Going from his leaving hoo haa over christmas I must be the only one delighted that Tennant has regenerated.....

  33. its a ginger thread Duke not a Doctor thread,,

    which is why i only posted about the doc and not about ginger ? hmm,,this potato seems a bit baked,,

  34. 3p4

    no worries, I was just thinking out loud to myself.

  35. MsC - agree about the usefulness of flexitime working - I sloped off early too - it was such a beautiful afternoon I couldn't resist it.

  36. sheff

    Downside is, I now owe them several days' work and I'm getting fondly attached to this part-time working :-(

  37. Gah!

    Orange are, frankly, fecking lemons.

    Go to shop to pick up new TV decoder box.
    Return home to fetch 'piece d'identite'.
    Back to shop.
    Return home to fetch handset.
    Back to shop.
    Return home with box!.
    Open box - no handset.
    Back to shop.
    Ring orange who say the old handset will work (making a grand total of €25 of mobile calls to them because the phone isn't fecking working either).
    Shop-chap won't give me the old handset back because if he doesn't return it, he won't get paid.

    So, I am still stuck without TV and waiting for the promised (ha!) call from Orange tomorrow to make sure que le boite fonctionne...

    This does not bode well for the washing machine delivery scheduled for tomorrow as well.

    On the upside, have done four miles of brisk walking with all the to-ing and fro-ing, so have worked off some of the festive flab. Just in time for my birthday party on Saturday, heh heh...

  38. Your Grice,


    gelukkig nieuwjaar!

    Ik weet u Belgisch bent en ik ben interessant. Bent u een Nederlandse (Vlaams) of Franse spreker? Ik denk u Vlaams bent, klopt? Sorry voor mijn vreselijk Nederlands, Ik heb het niet gebruikt voor heel lange tijd.


    May I suggest:


    gelukkig nieuwjaar!

    Ik weet dat u Belgisch bent en ik ben ge-interesseerd. Bent u een Nederlandse (Vlaamse) of Franse spreker? Ik denk u Vlaams bent, klopt dat? Sorry voor mijn vreselijk Nederlands, Ik heb het erg lang niet meer gebruikt.


  39. a good news story from the corporate world brought to you by the sensible citizens of canada

    during the recent junior hockey event pepsi ran a promotion for a crowd chant,,fan chants are not in the same creative song based style as soccer,,in fact they are pretty rare in hockey,,
    the generic "ole,,,,ole ole ole" is pretty much it,,but there is historical precedent,,during the greatest ever canadian sports event ,,the canada russia series from the seventies there were two great chants ,,"Da da can a da" and "nyet nyet soviet",,

    so pepsi tried to promote ,,"eh O canada go"

    ( "eh?" being the quintessential canadian monosyllable )

    big tv campaign offering various shiney but non existent inducements and blandishments,,
    there was a choir of paid shills at all the games
    who would try to start the chant whenever possible,,

    the good news bit is the campaign was a total flop,,and hardly any one "registered" with pepsi

    pepsi aimed for a million names and got about 100,000,, sensible place canada,,good people,,

    todays papers seemed some what joyful about this
    marketing non event,,me too,,i was so pissed off when i thought it might actually fly,,

    ps BB USA won,,so did everybody else,,

  40. Am just discovering Zubrowka vodka plus apple juice. Oo-ee. Weekend could be interesting...

  41. I've just seen the ad for recruiting new immigration judges. Over £10ok p.a., and part-time available. Hmmm. Maybe in a year or two when I have had enough of all this schlepping about the place.

  42. LOL at the pepsi "chant" that wasn't, 3p4. Serves em right.

  43. Hi All--Wow, thatweather looks fugly for those in the UK.

    3p4--Happy to see that disgusting PR stunt fail badly too.

  44. Medve,

    Bedankt voor de correcties! (or is it het correcties?)

    It's been a few years since I've used Dutch and being later in the evening I was writing the first dutch that came into my head.

    I knew the grammar was 'heel slecht'.

    Ik vind Nederlands heel moeilijk, vooral grammatica, maar Ik altijd geprobeerd waneer in Nederland geleefd.


  45. Happy birthday, Philippa! Heard a rumour that someone else is celebrating a birthday this weekend too.

  46. The world is falling to pieces - and we're all freezing our bums off, political shenanigans of all sorts going on and what do the beeb have as their headline on the news (pm) this evening. "Jonathon Ross is leaving the BBC." well big fucking deal. Honestly, who gives a shit about him?

  47. I've just got a comment box back on here after about a week. Not a clue where it went. Been trying to get myself chucked off CIF...without success...I think the modding policy's changed...or they've got in a couple of Poles on the cheap who either don't appreciate the subtleties of the pejorative subjunctive or are actually quite good at their jobs.

    Alistair C

    Dunno whether I can make it tomorrow. My lift's fallen through due to the weather. Would drive myself but I just feel a bit of a dick sitting in a pub without drinking...quite a bit.

  48. Happy Birthday Pip! Damn, I missed that! xx

  49. Dunno if I should give the other celebrant away ... private e-mail and all that! Lessee if he or she sees it and fesses up!

  50. Happy Birthday Philippa.

    Sheff, apparently at 9pm this evening a special poem will be read out on BBC1 beginning:

    ''Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the exit interview, let the Nortons come......''

  51. hi boudi,,re dog training

    #1,, whats yer dogs name,,its very important to the rest of your time together,,(deadly serious)

  52. Your Grace

    I'll make sure I'm standing to attention!

    Happy b'day Phillipa - it's my ex-old mans b'day tomorrow too - he'll be 65 and is not amused. But he is in Egypt soaking up the sun and building a new climbing wall for the wind surfing centre where he hangs out, or riding some rather lovely little arab horses that belong to a mate of his. So if he dares to complain to me, about anything at all, I'll wring his neck next time he's home.
    (I think it's about 27 degrees in the Sinai

  53. No worries, monkeyfish.I think a reschedule is in order.

  54. Your grice,

    As your grice might be aware, there used to be three kinds of definite articles in Dutch, to whit: de feminine gender singular and all plurals (in the nominative case), den masculine gender singular, and het neutral gender singular. In 1948 they got rid of the masculine gender, as well as all messing about with dative nominative and genitative cases (whatever that means) so now masculines, feminines and plurals of all flavours go with de.

    The old stuff survives, of course, in place names such as Den Haag (the Hague) or as would befit your grice: Den Bosch or 's Hertogen Bosch or Des Hertogen Bosch or The Duke's Wood.

  55. I never knew that was the translation for "Den Bosch", medve. I don't speak dutch other than a few words here and there. I go to Belgium and Holland now and again because I have friends there, and can muddle my way round a bit, but the depressing thing is that they all speak such perfect English it puts me to shame!

  56. Ooh, birthday wishes, bless you all. It's on Sunday, which is a dappy day to have a birthday. But does mean that a Saturday party carries you through.

    34's a bit of a silly age. Although I did have a 33 1/3 birthday on 10 May last year, heh heh, as I felt a third of a century (and rpm listing) deserved some recognition.

    When all the 'what shall we call this decade?' thing was being discussed, mates and I agreed that whatever this one's called, "the twenties" just sounds marvellous. All drop-waist frocks and taking cocaine. So we're holding out for that.

  57. Hi 3p4--Dog's name is Lily (pictured) 3 mos. old. Just back from a walk, she loves it outside but fights the leash. Too young for it?

  58. Boudican

    Lily looks really sweet. Is she all Scottie?

  59. BB:

    I have an English half-brother, who can speak English like a Dutch person. Has me in stitches every time. He can also speak Dutch quite adequately.

    Not a question of shame really. I put it down to TV. They don't dub (good) English TV, nor (bad) American TV shows, but provide Dutch subtitles for those not quite so fluent in English. The result is that everybody older than about twelve years can understand English quite well. Also, as a rule Cloggies are not afraid to speak, even if their vocabulary is more limited than the Sun newspaper's and their speach may not be quite correct grammatically and contain a sprinkling of malapropisms. They press ahead regardless. As a rule Cloggies are very pleased indeed, when foreigners -- I should say non-native speakers -- do take the trouble to learn to speak Dutch, which is about as hard as Hungarian I would say.

  60. Speach??? '"+!%/=(**!!!


  61. Hi Sheff--Miniature schnauzer, but looks like a scottie.

  62. I thought Dutch was difficult 3p4 - until I tried to speak Turkish....what a disaster that was! Yes, no, please and thank you was all I managed without embarrassing myself.

  63. Medve,

    your definite articles post is bringing back the horrors of my Dutch grammar lessons!

    Everything you say about the Dutch and their English is spot on and I must admit it worked both ways. I used the Dutch subtitles on English language TV and films to improve my Dutch.

    I made the conscious effort to learn Dutch despite not needing it for my job in the Netherlands because, well, it's a bit cheeky not to learn the local lingo in my opinion. And the Dutch are always tickled when you speak to them in Dutch, however they're still not shy in constantly correcting your grammar and pronunciation.

    For anyone visiting, the only three words you need are- leuk, lekker and gezellig. EVERYTHING seems to be 'leuk this', 'lekker that', 'gezellig' everything else.

  64. schnauzer,,natural rocket scientist,,high charged
    physicallity,,lilly is good name but for training
    i suggest you use "lil" or even better "lillil"
    this is not a word this is a sound,,all dog training takes place in the owner not the dog,,

    if you should be interested be warned
    i will (appear to) contradict myself a lot,,get over it,,

    re leash etiquette,, you got a schaunz,, i hope you understood what you were getting,,faithfull also translates stubborn,,

    exercise (on a long rope if necc) must be off leash and sufficient to reduce lil to panting
    layed down flat belly on the cool grass tired,,
    this is why chase and fetch toy is very very very very useful,, its classroom #1 for dog student,, along with food,

    if you have a tennis court or similar fenced area you are laughing,,

    schaunzers are a breed that do that cute "frogsit" where they stretch out their back legs flat on the ground and get their belly on the grass

    all of the above is relevant to the leash training,,which will take place on the way home after lillil gets a sweat on and tires out with a feeling of "satisfied" not "out for a new walk excitement",,3months is no big deal for any particular skill and discipline except "who is #1 boss" this is the only lesson that counts at present so dont try to start with it in the naturally difficult areas,,ie on leash out for a walk,,

    #1 boss lesson,,lillil does not get food until boss says so,,since lillil does not yet know how to wait boss better be giving permission as soon as the dish hits the floor,,but that will soon change,,

    perhaps we need a dog stuff untrustedK9 page ?

  65. BB, I was somewhat surprised to read your comments on the FGM thread, but couldn't respond. To try to causally equate Islam/FGM with Christianity/abortion was ridiculous. For one thing, abortion is legal and voluntary, whereas FGM is illegal and extremely involuntary. To attempt to dismiss the strong religious aspect of the practise (predominantly Muslim) is either naive or disingenuous. I simply can't take your comments seriously, and if on reflection, you really believe this, then I'm very disappointed.

    I'd be interested to hear what you think.

  66. 3p4 - dog trainers always tell you to take a reward that the dog particularly likes on walks in order to get them to come back to you when called.

    The trouble I've had with my two hounds is that the thing they most like is following scents. Have toyed with the idea of locating fox shit and carrying it in a bag with me, but rejected it upon consideration. Neither have been interesting in balls or other throwing toys, nor food when they're on a scent.

    The one I have now is a lot better in the coming-back department than the first one: she had a severe case of separation anxiety when I first got her, so that helps! She gets a treat when she returns, but doesn't always eat it. She's very good most of the time - for a hound.

    The first one I took to a specialist dog trainer who ended up saying, "some dogs you just can't train". In the house and on the lead she was obedient: hand or voice signals, no problem ... but off the lead she'd just run, and usually for the nearest main road. So she only ever got to run freely in deepest countryside - luckily I had a horse on a 400-acre farm, so she did get that opportunity fairly often. (She'd still run for the boundaries, though!)

  67. Your Grice,

    Spot on. Completely agree. Grammar lessons, as lessons per se, are horrible. Luckily I never learnt any English grammar at all, apart from the fact that there were supposed to be 143 irregular verbs, naturally the most common verbs at that.

    Sorry about the correctional attitude, perhaps it stems from Cloggies wishing for native English (or whatever language) speakers to correct them, but English people are too polite and let you make a complete fool out of yourself. Also, it is so pleasing to hear a non-native Dutch speaker, that one feels encouraged to help them perfect their speech. Just look how pleased I was when I discovered you have quite a reasonable command of Dutch.

  68. Hi 3p4--Thanks for taking the time. Yes, very stubborn, may be a Teutonic thing.(-; I feed her 3 times a day, 8am, 1pm, 6pm and she eats it right away. Back yard is about the size of a tennis court, so should be fine. The UT seems to be a somewhat K9 page already, good thing that.

  69. scherfig - I took BB's comment as a bit of satire on some of the others, rather than one to be taken at face value. But no doubt she'll speak up for herself!

  70. Medve,

    I'm glad in the long run I was constantly corrected as it did help me improve quicker. However sometimes I felt like shouting:


    What part of the Netherlands do you come from?

  71. Visited a relative once who was living in a village near Maria von Campislaan (if I've remembered that correctly). It was completely humbling that everyone I ran into spoke flawless English. I think the only Dutch I managed to learn (in 3 days or so) was "ik ook" - and that because it was in a newspaper headline and struck me as funny.

    The rush hour bicycles were fucking terrifying, I remember that. No place for pedestrians.

    I was also very disappointed that, when I landed in Schipol, not a single person offered drugs or sex.

  72. Amsterdam, but i suppose i'm a west-frisian ethnically speaking. i propmise i shall not correct again without prior invitation.

  73. The first one I took to a specialist dog trainer who ended up saying, "some dogs you just can't train".

    cant say anything to help Thaum about your dogs and i dont expect you wanted me to but the statement above is wrong,, should read " some dogs need a lot of untraining to get anywhere"

    in general dogs iz breeds and they iz breeds for a reason and a breed does what a breed will do,,like you said "hand signals in the house" is obviously not stupid or wilful,,

    i do know an offleash trained trick performing
    fetch and deliver whippet,,thats about as far from breed type as it gets imho,,

  74. All right, after some debate with Bitterweed and Hank, the decision has been taken to postpone the Midlands get-together until Saturday the 23rd. We are supposed to get more snow this weekend and BW has scheduling problems, so it seems best.

    The time is also probably going to change to around 4:00 (as I'm a lightweight) and probably the location too as the one I selected first, while a lovely pub, is very expensive and full of the enemy (middle-class wankers).

    New location: The Heathcote.

    Any objections?

  75. Medve,

    I hereby allow you to correct my Dutch!

    thauma, there's so many great Dutch words I don't know where to start but here's a few I remember fondly:

    slag- can mean battle or cream as in 'slagroom' and even better you see advertised in cafes 'slagroom taart'.

    winkelwagen- shopping trolley

    ongelooflijk- unbelievable

    knoflook- garlic

    lekker ding- you iz well fit...

    verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel- responsibility

    and believe it or not, that internet favourite 'lol' actually means fun/funny in Dutch.

  76. sherfig

    I was trying to point out the ridiculousness of the posters who were insisting on turning it into yet another "let's bash Islam" thread by insisting that is was an Islamic practice when it is a tribal one. I don't equate it at all to abortion. But I needed an example to try and shake them out of their single-mindedness. FGM is practiced in countries that are predominantly Christian too but that doesn't make it any more a "religious" practice. It is cultural and tribal. It isn't practiced in countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh, for example, which are arguably more fundie Islam than many of the African countries that do practice it.

    So no. I wasn't equating it with anything, just seeking a way of highlighting the daftness of some of the responses.

  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

  78. 3p4 - well, the untrainable dog is unfortunately dead now, so nothing can reconstruct her. While untrainable, she had a lovely, gorgeous, brilliant, effervescent temperament and was as soft as butter.

    The one I have now is not quite as ebullient (although you'd be hard-put to find one who was), but she is also a lovely dog with a very sweet temperament. And I'm not terrified every time she escapes or goes off the lead.

    Even people who don't like dogs like her, as she's so gentle. Even if she does howl just like the Hound of the Baskervilles.

  79. Dissident Junk has an interesting explanation here:


  80. YOur Grace and Medve

    Isn't there a beef stew - might be belgian though, called something like "slutereijs"?

    Reminded me of "slootery", a good scots word.

  81. My relative (the one I was visiting in Holland) worked with a man named 'Gaag'. She said she had a sore throat by the end of every day.

  82. "Slagroom", heh, reminds me of the most disappointing apple pie I ever had. On the other hand, the Ajax Museum had fewer displays devoted to cleaning products than I expected.

  83. Good one Hank. :o)

    I love Holland. Utrecht is one of the most beautiful towns I think I have ever visited.

  84. You're not sure you've been to Utrecht, BB? I've been to Amsterdam twice, apparently, so I know what you mean.

    Incidentally, the most important blog on Cif today was hidden away in the Sports section but it's by Mazza and is a cracking little diatribe about using the Olympics as a pretext for further encroachments on our freedoms...


    On a brighter note, any Saffers on board tonight?

  85. I'm sure I've visited Utrecht. Twice or three times... :o) I worded that badly didn't I! :o)

    I will take a look at Mazza's thread.

    And yes, didn't we do well in the cricket considering it looked like we weren't trying very hard at all! :o)

  86. Thanks BB, but dissidentjunk's explanation is irrelevant to the situation today. Is FGM cultural, geographical or religious? Or all three? It doesn't really matter. I have little time for sensitivity and relativism on this issue. And to ignore the religious aspect of the practise (whether Muslim or Christian) for fear of offending is nonsensical. When imams support the practise and justify it by quoting certain hadiths, then it is also, if not primarily, a religious issue. To pretend otherwise is foolish. btw, I think princesschipchops made some very good comments on the FGM thread.

    Some figures from Sudan:

    Muslim women are more likely to support circumcision than are non-Muslim women. For example, 73% of Muslim women in Haj-Yousif favor continuing the practice, compared with 8% of Christian women. The same pattern appears in Shendi (57% vs. 18%) and Juba (31% vs. 1%).

    Female Circumcision in Sudan: Future Prospects and Strategies for Eradication

  87. Fair dos, scherf. I condemn it unreservedly too, as I said in another one of my posts on there. I was just trying to deflect the usual anti-islamist suspects on the thread.

  88. Monkeyfish: I have been enjoying the comments of what I believe is your current Cif incarnation immensely and I shall be very disappointed if he is banned.

    Hank: I saw Mazza's piece just after they'd put it up and nearly put an 'alert' to it here.

    Only Dutch words I remember: achterluik and sneetjes.

  89. Gosh, I was just reminded for some reason that I was picked up in an Eindhoven bar, in November 1978, by a lovely girl from 's Hertogenbosch... She had a VW beetle. Err... Marti Nejts, yes, that was her name.

    Had her address for years and years. As ever, very little ever came of it.

  90. I have no idea who Monkey's latest incarnation is, unless he calls people after sex toys...

  91. "...then it is also, if not primarily, a religious issue. To pretend otherwise is foolish."

    I haven't read the thread, and know nothing of the facts, but that's never stopped me expressing an opinion, so, here goes:

    BB has said that the practice of FGM is widespread in certain African countries, whether predominantly Christian or Muslim. More so than in societies which are otherwise dominated by Islamic fundies, such as Af/Pak. I don't know whether that's true but I'll accept her take on it.

    That being so, it seems to me that the practice is predominantly cultural and geographically centred, ie in Africa. Given that the practice is prevalent in both Christian and Muslim societies in Africa, it seems self-evidently true to say that it is an African issue, which I understand to be BB's view, ie as opposed to being another stick with which to beat Islam.

    I can't be arsed to read the thread itself, scherf, but if BB was trying to steer the argument away from the usual Islamaphobic bilge that passes for comment these days over there, I'm with her all the way.

    I'm not a fan of cultural relativism. I think that certain values are universal. One of which is objective reality, ie the truth.

  92. "As ever, very little ever came of it."

    You're far too self-deprecating, PeterJ.

    Hi Montana - is The Phantom Tollbooth still in print? I remember reading it in junior school. Left it on the coach when we had a school trip to London Zoo in my rush to feed egg sandwiches and Wagon Wheels to the chimps, so I never found out how it ended for Milo(?).

  93. I'm looking out the window at 8" of snow and wondering why it was I agreed to go into London tomorrow to do a case.

    I must be bloody bonkers. But as it will mean getting up at the crack of sparrow fart, if only to clear the snow off the car, I better get to bed now. Meh.

    Night night all xx

  94. Hank, as you know, there are plenty of people on Cif who are islamophobes, but the 'objective reality' is that African FGM (Egypt, Sudan, Somalia) is overwhelmingly a Muslim practise. And just because some fuckwits delight in pointing this out doesn't make it less true. And it won't stop me saying it either, no matter how much cultural relativists might whinge about it. Racists and bigots should not be dictating the agenda. 'Objective realty, ie the truth' is sometimes unpleasant.

  95. Not that any of you care, but there is so much snow piled up outside my front door right now that the sprog & I are, quite literally, trapped inside our flat. The wind is still howling and we're supposed to get more snow tonight. It's currently -15°C, but the wind chill factor makes it feel like -31°.

  96. Scherf - as I said above, I'm speaking from a position of ignorance and am happy to be enlightened. If FGM isn't widely practiced in the ME or in South Asian strongholds of the fundamentalist Islamists, why is it practiced widely in Africa and, more to the point (your point), Muslim societies in Africa?

    Maybe it's the case that Africa generally has always suffered from a macho culture, and that the local strain of Islamism has sought popularity by appealing to this dominant culture? Which would imply that Islamism is not monolithic but flexible, pragmatic and cynical. Which would explain its durability and success, no?

    Is FGM unknown/uncommon in predominantly Christian/notIslamic countries in Africa?

  97. We do care, Montana. I'm guessing most of us identify a bit more given that we are having a really unusually bad spell of weather ("waever" - that's a really bad spell of weather) here in the motherland ourselves, and are having to learn how to drive, to walk, to make hot beefy Bovril from melted snow and ice...

    Is it unusually cold for Iowa as well, or just a typical January? And have you got another day off school tomorrow? (-;

  98. 39p is the cheapest price on there, MW. Think I might go for it and relive my pre-cynical youth. Just need to find a copy of that book where the rabbits lobby successfully to block the plans for a bypass...

  99. -15° isn't all that rare. We get a cold snap like this at least once per winter. Usually we can expect to be in single-digit sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures from late November/early December through to mid-March. Getting above 0° during that time is unusual. Double-digit negative temperatures are usually limited to brief spells only between Dec-Feb.

    It's the howling winds that we've got right now that make the temperatures dangerous -- they intensify the cold and mean that you can get frostbite on exposed flesh within about a minute.

    And, of course, it makes trying to clear away the snow futile. Ten minutes later, it will all be back. Visibility on rural roads will be nearly non-existent.

    Whether or not school is cancelled tomorrow, there is no way that my son & I will be there, as I'm sure the snow won't be cleared away from in front of our door & the car wouldn't start without a jump start.

  100. Ah -- have the tv news on and our district has already cancelled for tomorrow -- it's on the crawl.

  101. Hank, the African countries where FGM is higher than 75% are Oman, Mali, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. It is rare/non-existent in eg Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania. It is 'prevalent' (rate unknown) in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Western Sahara. There are lowish rates in other mixed Muslim/Christian countries.

    So yes, it is more or less unknown/uncommon in Christian countries and present in Muslim countries. Irrespective of the origin and history of the practise, it nowadays follows a religious pattern.

  102. My Dearest Untrustees

    First of all, i must say that your aggregate knowledge of Dutch is probably sufficient to launch a Dutch language newspaper or blog for all i care, more erudite than the British newspaper (not the Nigerian one) named after "a small un-regarded
    yellow star somewhere at the unfashionable end of the
    western spiral arm of the galaxy". I am very pleased.

    Forgive me for my absence, as i went out to the "pub" to think about FGM after one of my children had set off to the land of dreams. He had had to have a tetanus booster jab today, the poor one, and so i took him out of school and to his doctor, a very kind, understanding, and knowledgeable woman. He's got tomorrow off school as well. My son didn't want to have this jab, but he was coerced into it. I think that it is probably wise to have the shot, but my son would certainly rather have taken his chances without. He submitted to it "voluntarily", but i think it was still coercion.

    Please do not think that i am in any way comparing FGM with what happened to my son today, god forbid. I am thinking about coerced interventions on children that's all.

    I went out because we have the wrong kind of snow, at least from the point of view of being snowed in. We do have spots of under-cooled rain which freezes as soon as it hits anything, but it isn't too serious. I am rooting for those coping with large amounts and brrrr low temps.

  103. Scherf - interesting, but it's still also rare or uncommon in South Asian and East Asian countries with Muslim majorities. So it is an African Muslim issue rather than a Muslim issue per se, isn't it?

    Which was the point BB was making, I think.

    Not sure why I'm pursuing this argument tbh, scherf.

    My own view is that ideologies, religions and cultures tend to be crosscutting (ie watering each other down) in "successful" societies. The alternative is to have "reinforcing" patterns, societies like Northern Ireland or the former Yugoslavia, where religion, tradition and politics unite to create "failed states".

  104. Hi everybody!
    Montana that sound like crazy cold! Be warm be safe.
    Seems like I will be clocking in when the majority are asleep, just like CiF.

  105. We'll pick this up again some other time, scherf.

    Hope you've got plenty of essential supplies in, Montana!

    Off to bed, nite all x

  106. G'night, Hank and hi Mchica! It is cold. The furnace doesn't keep up with it, either, so layers are vital, even indoors. Could crank up the thermostat, but then I'd have to pay for it. And so would my grandchildren. :-)

  107. Hi Montana

    Hope you are snug with sprog. My breakfast duty with the bigger one starts in four hours. So i should probably turn in soon.

  108. I hear ya Monatana.
    Another economical way to go would be to get those microwavable beanie bags and hot water bottles (old fashioned but most efficient); my pet peeves being cold toes and cold bed to get into.