02 February 2010


The city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was founded in 1536.  The first Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1887.  Queen Victoria's funeral occurred on this date in 1901.  And James Joyce's Ulysses was published in 1922.

Born today:  Nell Gwynne (1650-1687), James Joyce (1882-1941). Jascha Haifetz (1901-1987), Ayn Rand (1905-1982), Valéry Giscard-d'Estaing (1926), Les Dawson (1931-1993), David Jason (1940), Graham Nash (1942) and Eva Cassidy (1963-1996).

It's Groundhog Day here in the US.


  1. Question: 13 Feb or 20 Feb for the birthday do? I need a Saturday, but Thauma's going to be occupied on the 13th. And what would be a good start time?

  2. Anytime's good for a party! Snowing here in the Borders, again... 2 inches overnight..

  3. Snowing in Newcastle too. Where in the Borders are you, turminder (just roughly). Only ask because my late Dad was very fond of Melrose and ended up buying a flat there

  4. "And so I told him, eh! Don't put so much cream on your tacos!"

    I want to hear more of these, literal translations of foreign sayings.

    You see the A game, Turge? Our A team play better rugby than our first team.

    The trans thing is absurd. Bea bloody campbell stomping about "daring" people to debate her, then Natasha tries and gets deleted for no reason, so Bea comes back goading people again.

    Having read the original Bindel article i find it beyond belief that any sane adult would believe she is motivated by concern that they are reinforcing gender roles. They are statistically minute, for one thing, but more importantly her whole article is absolutely full of bile and loathing.

    I would imagine trans people get more harassment and abuse on the street than just about anyone else, as if they need vermin like Bindel putting the boot in too.

  5. I stay just near Kelso.. I think the trans debate has shown the true spots of these people. Just as much bigoted fear and hate as any misogynist..

  6. There's a famous Dutch mistake when speaking English due to sentence structure:

    ''How do you do and how do you do your wife?''

    My favourite Glasgow saying which means bugger all:

    ''I don't care if you're a viking, get that fucking axe out the dartboard.''

  7. The whole Bindel/Campbel schtick can be boiled down to one simple observation:

    Born with a cock- evil.
    Born without a cock- good.

    Moral absolutism and categorising into black and white is a complete failure of logic and understanding be it from starting wars (Iraq) to 'gender' issues.

    I'm glad the Graun gives them a voice just for the deserved demolition their arguments get.

  8. My favourite Norn Iron saying: "I'm not as green as I'm cabbage-looking."

    Jay, did not see the A team play. There's an interview with Ugo Monye in today's paper, though.

  9. Btw, Pratchett's piece is lovely. One of the best-written and most moving articles ever to appear on Cif.

  10. Montana any time is good for me!

    Jay/Duke the Bea article was more than usually dreadful! I seriously believe that this identity politics thing taken to its logical conclusion will create 6 billion interest groups each containing one person.

    Whatever happened to unity is strength?

    Duke ROFLMAO @ dutch mistake and the viking thingy - a good antidote to the bea article!

  11. Thauma
    Agree about the Pratchet piece. Saw it on TV last night, lovely funny humane piece. Left me quite tearful.

    I have seen three people die of Alzheimers, its such a cruel disease and there is still insufficient care for its victims. Too often its left to family members.

  12. Thauma/annetan

    The Pratchett piece was quite moving. Seeing my Gran waste away as a result of Alzheimers was unutterably awful and Pratchett's piece does make so much sense regarding the issue.

    On a cheerier note on sayings. I remember watching the news as a teenaager at my Grandad's and it was a report on the 'horrors of acid house and taking ecstasy'. As we were watching it, my Grandad says:

    ''Some of the drugs you can take these days, ye wouldnae if you were in Wemyss Bay or Bombay''

    (Wemyss Bay being a seaside resort on the Clyde where you get the ferry to Rothesay).

  13. More literal translations - hope Turminder can
    back me up on these - otherwise it was just my Punjabi family that was insane:

    "Kan Caul ke sumuj ja gal!"
    Meaning: Listen up (you thick git)!
    Lit trans: "Open your ears!"

    "Mari moti svai kar"
    Meaning: Tidy the place up a bit.
    Lit trans: "Thin, fat tidy up."

    "Tu minoo kha chuk gaya!"
    Meaning: You've really pissed me off.
    Lit Trans: You've eaten me up.

  14. your grace - my great nan was much the same on the media war on drugs - my favourite quote of hers: "I don't see what all the fuss is about - I took cocaine daily during the twenties, it didn't do me any harm"

    Died aged 102. Marbles marvellously intact right up to the end. Sadly she was 'step', so I can't count on having inherited any of her genes!

    My Grandpa suffered from memory loss at the end - part of it due to dehydration, part 'organic'. But the staff at the home where he was were just brilliant. Remember finding him once in the lounge, talking avidly with one young assistant about the different gearbox issues you have with different models of WWII tank (he was an instructor / mechanic), the assistant showing every sign of being genuinely interested, bless 'im. They didn't try to drag him into the present when it wasn't necessary - they let him enjoy being young again, I suppose.

  15. No particular reason I've heard those expressions a lot - honest...

  16. the literal translation of 'I'm fed up' in French is, rather dully, "I've had enough (of it)", but the way it sounds can confuse an anglo:

    J'en ai mar

    Try saying it out loud.

    Another famous Brit dropped into conversation by the French:
    Connerie = stupidity

    And, amusingly, after the 'badger incident', 'blairer' means to stick/stand, eg
    Je ne peux pas le blairer = I can't stand the man

  17. Nice link Montana, that's a three hanky job. I can't watch it unless I'm in a certain mood, or it just fucks me up for about an hour.

    This is also superb:

    She made complex seem so simple, and had no ego in her music - she didn't ask for your indulgance. Big loss.

  18. Philippa: John Aylmer?

    Edited to report: I found Johnny Marr, who sounds closer to it. Now I'm gonna find out who *he* is.

  19. Heard a few similar Heyhabib! My Ma's favourite was, "Terra sir'ch" (lit. In your head..?) Which would be her answer to; Where's my.. Where are we going.. Where's the... etc..

    Scottish phrases I like; it's a sair fecht (fer a half loaf). That was a waste of time for little reward..

    Get it right round ye! = pwned ya bas!

  20. Philippa,

    102 not out. Good innings. The story of your grandad does make me wonder if indeed one should be left to 'reminisce' rather than intervention being taken to keep a person in the present. If you know what I mean.

    As for literal translations, you can't beat Engrish for all your Japanese/Chinese/Korean English translations.

  21. heh heh, elementary

    took a while for me to work out what on earth french prof was saying...

    also, for ages I thought her cat was called 'degolas' as some sort of LOTR homage, but it turns out it means 'disgusting' (in a rude enough sense not to figure in my dictionary...

  22. Oh and RapidEddie, if you're reading.

    Very salient point on WADDYYA.

  23. yr grace - indeed, there's something to be said for recognising 'when and where' someone is, if being in the 'here and now' isn't strictly necessary. he'd be great guns chatting about the forties and the fifties, but could get very confused and upset if you tried to get him anywhere more recent...

  24. I recall my French lessons when I was 12 or so, when time and again I would hear my teacher tell us we should silently write something into our booklets (right word? In French, it would be "cahiers"). I didn't quite understand what we were supposed to write silently into our booklets. The reason: She talked about "la SNCF", which my youngster ear interpreted as "leise ins Heft", or "silently into the booklet" in English.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Good stuff from Cordelia / Christina.

    Have to admit, the more stories I hear, the scareder I get about possibly having to find work back in the UK in the autumn.

    Must crack on with the french lessons and see what I can cobble together out here...

  27. Corking post from a Mr StudRockman on the John Lennon thread.....

  28. Correction. Two corking posts from a Mr Stud Rockman on the John Lennon thread.

    That said I have a soft spot for Lennon for the generous donation and support he gave the UCS shipbuilders strikes in the early 70s.

  29. deano

    Hope you've seen these photos - life in the North in the 60s & 70s

  30. Cheers Chin - brought back memories of my early childhood (4- 11) on some of the rough streets (long since demolished) in Leeds.

    No photo's of the outside toilets and the middens though...

  31. deano

    Fond memories of our youth, eh? But in the winter, I hated the outside lav up' yard at various relatives (we were posh & had a new council house with indoor facilities) 'cos of moving from the warmth of a proper coal fire to run up the yard. Remember they used to have a Tilley lamp on the wall in the loo in winter, though, so it was warmish when you got there & presumably the water pipes didn't freeze up.

    However, I did like the way you could step outside my grandma's front door and get sweeties from the co-op across the road and beer in a jug for grandad from either of 2 pubs a few doors away down the street! Happy days. The 2 up 2 down little terrace house is still there, although the co-op & pubs have long gone and the area is something of a property hot spot these days.

  32. MsChin - me Granny's house, the one I consider to be my childhood home, has been knocked down by arsehole developers. *sniff*

  33. Evening all.

    Kelso, Turminder! Nae bad. My family are from The Muckle Toon.

    My nana always used to say "It's a sair fecht if ye dinna weaken" - It's a hard fight if you don't weaken. I wish I could remember some of the others she used to come out with, cos she had some good yins.

    Haven't wandered into CiF yet.

  34. Heck, I've sent everyone all nostalgic for t'olden days.

  35. Is this something we should take seriously or just the fantasies of a fevered mind

    US intelligence finds 5,000 Hizballah training to seize Galilee towns

  36. Hopefully the latter, sheff. I'd just read the slums piece, which will be depressing enough, judging by the first few comments, and then followed your link - jeez.

  37. Good god, I am thinking of turning in already. I had meant, tonight, to listen the the new Gil Scott Heron album that the Graun is hosting. But I don't know if I'll be able to stay up that long!

  38. thauma

    Me an' all, I'm cream crackered.

  39. Sheff - that sounds a bit worrying. What sort of website is that?

  40. Am knackered, MsC. But I've just started playing GSH, and it sounds quite good so far! May just leave it playing and head oopstairs.

  41. BB

    It was emailed to me by a Palestinian who works at the UN in Geneva. His sources are usually good but I don't know anything about that website

    If, and it's a big if, there's any truth in it, it would be very bad news.

  42. Loved they photos,can remember streets like the first ones of the black country. I thought that was 'cos we were all asian like.. Gonna take a look at this GSH link, son of the Black Arrow... One of the best gigs I've ever attended, GSH at Queens Hall, Embra, 97(ish?). My broadbandis dropping below TV standards, <1.5mbps. Is this complainable about?

  43. Always check sources before believing anything. Especially possible neo-con propaganda - large pinch of salt required.

    From Debka's homepage: The earliest ranks of subscribers are constantly swelled by fresh patrons, heads of corporations, investment bankers, government officials, diplomats, intelligence gurus, military chiefs, traders, researchers and others keen to avail themselves of this exceptional tool.
    Most of DEBKA-Net-Weekly's early subscribers keep on renewing year after year.
    DEBKA-Net-Weekly also offers a private service especially tailored to specialized and corporate requirements.

    Also wiki

  44. Agree scherf - it does look iffy - so what are they up to, do you think. why up the ante like this?

  45. sheff, I hold absolutely no brief for Iran, but why assume that this report is true? (Maybe Tony read it just before his Chilcot testimony.) The problem with the constant neo-con scaremongering about Iran is that many people don't believe any of the stories to be true (which is logicalyy absurd). And why do well-meaning Western liberals defend a theocratic fascist state which executes homosexuals and stones women to death for adultery? btw, I mean Iran here, not Saudi Arabia. As you know, it's quite acceptable for liberals to criticize Saudi :o).

  46. Cheers Thauma! GSH tour de force!

    Iran; we will execute 9 democracy protestors. Well. that'll teach them...

  47. hang on scherf - I'm not believing anything here, which you'll see if you look at my original and subsequent posts. Just wondering what's going on that's all. It seems like dangerous stuff to chuck into the mix.

  48. scherf

    It is not about defending Iran as a state. It is about not wanting its people to be killed and maimed when we impose our freedom on them.

  49. Sheff and Scherf - I'd heard something similar from other sources, suggesting that Hezbollah had a plan to seize territory inside Israel proper, fortify it, and then challenge Israel to destroy in order to retake. With hostages and imported Palestinians as the victims.

    I, too, have no idea how realistic this scenario is. Would be a literally unholy mess if it happened though.

  50. God, I tried being civil to that PeterBracken the other day on a thread, but it seems my earlier misgivings were well-founded.He's being a wanker on the Lance Price thread (though Price is a turd, and one of the topics is Clare Short who is shifty,herself) A supercilious git who adopts an air of knowing it all (and far more than the rest of us) but who upon closer examination knows very little (some of his pronouncements on other threads about political philosophy betray ignorance and lack of understanding of the authors he tries to corral to his neo-liberal shtick). It's been bugging me who he reminds me of, and then the penny dropped: it's Oliver Smug Kamm.

  51. Militarily, this Hizbollah plan sounds like complete bollocks. Unless this is some sort of mass Beslan-style operation (which, frankly, doesn't seem like Hizbollah's cup of tea), it just doesn't stand a chance, even if it were delivered after a strike on Iran. The IDF would probably be begging for a scenario where 5,000 Hizbollah fighters put themselves within their reach: it's a far different matter launching an offensive than fighting on ground which you've fortified and riddled with tunnels for years. It also ignores what Hizbollah's Lebanese enemies would be doing at the time, however cowed they might be at the moment.

  52. Alisdair

    He's a former army officer and is now a financier of some description based in France. If you cut him in half, "supercilious" would run through him like a stick of Brighton rock.

  53. Meanwhile, the fash are on the march again. No these people really are not organised by the BNP at all, despite the fact that their "info" page is word-for-word BNP policy...


    Blackshirt bastards.