06 February 2010


In 1820, eighty-six freed slaves from the United States founded a settlement in what is now Liberia.  The Treaty of Waitangi, establishing New Zealand as a British colony, was signed in 1840.  Brenda became queen in 1952.  And in 1958, the Munich Air Disaster claimed the lives of 23 people, including eight Man Utd players, three Man Utd staff, eight journalists, two airline crew members and two other passengers.

Born today:  Patrick Macnee (1922), François Truffaut (1932), Leslie Crowther (1933-1996), Bob Marley (1945-1981), Kate McGarrigle (1946-2010), Axl Rose (1962) and Rick Astley (1966).

It is Waitangi Day in New Zealand and Sami National Day in Finland and Scandinavia.


  1. Morning all!

    First up, I see!

    Friends for lunch to day so I ought to be tidying the house instead of browsing the intarwebz. Nothing much doing on CiF anyway.

  2. Happy Birthday Francois Truffaut. The Duchess is an enormous French film fan so I think we'll stick on the 400 Blows and Jules et Jim this evening.

    It wasn't until a couple of years back when I watched it again that I realised Truffaut was the French scientist in 'Close encounters of the third kind'.

  3. Morning BB - coffee is kicking in but can't be bothered to get up properly quite yet...

    Am amusing self imagining what a supergroup of Marley, McGarrigle, Rose and Astley would sound like...

  4. Morning Philippa and BB,

    I just had a look at that Terror and academic freedom thread. Unsurprisingly beacuse the words 'Islam' and 'terrorism' appear in the same article, 97% of the posters spectacularly and willingly miss the authors point.

    I don't include you in that Philippa ;)

  5. Put this up on Waddya. Just how piss-poor are 'our' Parliamentarians?

    The three chiselling Labour MPs (coyly referred to by Polly as MPs, while she mentions Tory party allegiance of the one Lord charged so far).
    "We totally refute any charges that we have committed an offence and we will defend our position robustly"

    Besides their mendacity and evasiveness, trying to even make out that they are above the law and should only be tried by Parliament, they have shown their ignorance with that opener to their statement. This was a pre-prepared public statement (no off-the-cuff slip), presumably agreed by all three (plus their advisers,hangers-on etc) and not one of them seems to know the meaning of the words they use.
    Refute is to prove something is wrong or erroneous. They haven't done so and couldn't, until a trail of some sort. They are denying that the charges are true, repudiating the charges, not refuting them.You simply can't claim to have proved something until it's been put to the test/gone to trial: assertion or belief are not proof.
    For goodness' sake, their plain incompetence (besides their appalling sense of self-entitlement) alone should be enough to debar them from office: these are men who in theory would be considering the passage of legislation, the implications and import of the phrasing of proposed laws, and they don't know what words mean, even when there's been a chance to look them up or check.

  6. Morning all!

    Haven't looked at the academic terrorist thread yet. Can't be arsed to ruin my morning! :o)

    I am in need of my second cup of tea, Pip. I have told His Highness he can have the first bath, which has won me a little more lounging time!

    Alisdair - what annoys me the most is their line of defence seems to be "this is a parliamentary matter and the criminal courts have no jurisdiction" - weasels are weaseling.

  7. your grace - yes, one example of bad phrasing ("teaching terrorism" rather than "teaching about terrorism") and it all went a bit tits up.

    freemanmoxy's point said it all for me:
    As part of my Politics degree, many years ago, I studied a course on "fascism."
    Amazingly, this course taught the historical roots of fascism, it's philosophIcan antecedents, its ideology (both official and applied) and its affects as a governmental system when applied to the inter-war societies of Italy and Germany.
    Funnily enough, it did not offer any classes on "How to Be A Fascist."
    Some people on here really need to put their brains in gear before writing furious screeds denouncing universities "teaching terrorism." Seriously.

    the numpties who think you learn about terrorism in order to do it should really ask themselves who they want doing intelligence gathering and analysis. presumably jeremy clarkson and the editorial team of the daily mail. cos then we'd be so fucking safe...

    I spent 2002/3 doing a masters in US politics - assigned reading included many questionable materials, such as 'the dodgy dossier'. does this mean I am a member of the UK armed forces and responsible for a war? muppets.

  8. Morning everybody

    Can't face cif yet - in fact am rapidly coming to the conclusion that if I never went there again my life would improve vastly.

    I heard on the news that BAE have managed to avoid washing their filthy linen in public by appearing in court to answer serious charges and thereby embarrassing HMG etc. Goldsmith telling us that its the first plea bargain under the new rules.

    So now we have the prospect of corporations just being able to fork out dosh when they're found to be corrupt but we'll never know what actually went on. They'll be queuing up!

  9. Right - I'm off. Catch you all later this evening x

  10. Morning everyone.


    What I find really bloody irritating is hearing these huge sums of money being bandied about - millions for the corporate take-overs, billions for the plea bargain payoff, gazillions for the banks bail out. We don't live in the same world down here on planet reality, do we.

  11. I've just got my comment box back...right after I reinstalled Office. Why should that make a difference?


    Was gonna say the other night..

    McEwan's Champion is NOT lager...anything but.

    Try a bottle...or three..then compare and contrast with Speckled Hen...obviously the verdict is ultimately an aesthetic preference...bit like deciding between Rembrandt and Rolf Harris...and McEwan's wouldn't be seen dead playing a Stylophone.

  12. MsC

    They deal in such silly amounts of money it becomes meaningless to me.

    Blair was up to his neck in it too. He insisted the deal to sell a military air traffic control system to Tanzania inspite of the fact T had no air force.

    quote from Claire Short in today's graun:

    Every way you looked at it, it [the deal] was outrageous and disgraceful. And guess who absolutely insisted on it going through? My dear friend Tony Blair, who absolutely, adamantly, favoured all proposals for arms deals."

    "All proposals for arms deals"!! That man....there really aren't words in the language to describe him.

  13. Ey up, MF - welcome back.

    No idea why Office makes any difference, but maybe thauma or one of the more teccy minded can explain this phenomenon.


    I despair.

  14. Afternoon all, just popping in to say hello before I head for the pub and Six Nations.

    Looks like a merry time was had last night!

  15. esther rantzen on any questions?
    oh god....

  16. to be fair, v funny initially on john terry...

    but annoying on everything else. including on john terry...

  17. Afternoon all,

    Philippa, have responded to your response.

  18. thanks medve - and on the grammar front, have had several recent conversations with other Brits about 'shall / will' and similar, so I'd just shorten that to 'bloody nightmare'...

  19. monkeyfish: are you using MS internet exploder by any chance? Had a look at the source code of this page. It contains a couple of javascript work-arounds for internet exploder bugs. suspect it could have been a broken so called rich edit function in your windoze. MS office (at least used to) relies on it.

  20. PhilB

    Something else I didn't know/recall 'till I looked it up online in the 'Oxfords' courtesy of my local library....

    (From Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage in English Language Reference)

    shall and will.

    1. The customary rule is that to express a simple future tense shall is used after I and we

    (In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today—Hansard, 1992)

    and will in other cases, whereas to express intention or wish the reverse applies

    (We will give people a new right of access to open country, create new national parks and step up protection for special sites—It's time to get Britain working again (Labour Party), 1992)

    ; but it is unlikely that this rule has ever had any consistent basis of authority in actual usage, and many examples of English in print disregard it. In general, the rule applies more strongly to I than to we.

    2. Furthermore, the distinction is often difficult to establish, especially in the first person when the speaker is also the performer of the future action and intention is therefore implied at least partially. Will and (occasionally) shall are used as auxiliary verbs to refer to future action or state, but other, more natural, ways of expressing this are commonly preferred, such as am going to:

    I'm going to teach him people are more important than money—Maurice Gee, 1992.

    3. When shall and will are used in conversation, they are normally contracted to 'll, especially after pronouns, leaving the difference between the two words irrelevant:

    They'll cook and clean for a week before a party—New York Times, 1976


    I'll remember this sodding day until the day I die—Dirk Bogarde, 1980.

    4. Shall has been largely driven out by will in all parts of the English-speaking world other than England. It survives mostly in first-person questions or suggestions

    (Shall I help you to try again?—B. Jagger, 1986


    ‘Shall we take our drinks to the bedroom?’ she said softly—J. Francome, 1990)

    , in legal language (The landlord shall maintain the premises), and in the contracted negative form shan't

    (‘Have no fear…I shan't throw in the towel, I promise you.’—M. Russell, 1979)

    , but shan't is not used in American English. In the English of England (but not of Britain as a whole), shall half survives (albeit tending to sound old-fashioned and affected) in commands and assurances

    (Yes, you shall take some eggs back to your aunt—C. Harvey, 1992)

    and in questions seeking information rather than making a request),

    (And where shall you be while I'm hobbling all over the castle?—fiction website, BrE 2005 [OEC])

    but will (or sometimes can) is just as common, especially in speech, and is more natural. In Scotland, will is used in the first person even in requests (Will I help you with your bags?).

    5. There is not much doubt that will will win, and shall shall lose, in the end.

    You can tell it's a wet foggy dreary day here in Yorks.


  21. Hi deano, greetings to god's own country. Thanks for the grammar lesson.

  22. Cheers medve, hope all well with you and yours now.

    Just called by briefly and felt intrigued to see what Fowler had to say! See you at the birthday celebration on the 13th.

  23. Hi monkeyfish - I mind Waltz thought she was banned and it turned out to be something teccy. I decided to avoid ambiguity and banned myself.

  24. @ deano30
    Are those actual citations of usage as printed in Fowler?
    How times have changed.I know you do get every year a load of neologisms in the news fed in by lexicographers trying to get folk to replace their normally still-useful dictionaries,citing yoof-speak, blogs etc as sources but still...Seeing a Bee Gee, Mick's ex, and a former (shagabout) jockey cited in Fowler, wow.

  25. Alisdair - the above is a direct 'copy and paste' job directly from the on-line reference edition (italicised by me). Amazed me too!

    On the subject of refute (verb)

    here is the draft revision (as of December 2009) in the OED on the fifth usage of the word as a verb (two separate entries on usage as a noun too):

    "....5. trans. To reject (an allegation, assertion, report, etc.) as without foundation; to repudiate.

    Criticized as erroneous in usage guides in the 20th cent. In many instances it is unclear whether there is an implication of argument accompanying the assertion that something is baseless (making the use sense 2).

    1886 Money 22 Dec. 911/1 Mind, i ain't a snob; I utterly refute that idear. I don't judge bi the koat he wares, or the joolery, or nothing of that kind. 1895 Manitoba Morning Free Press 13 Jan. 11/5 Members wish to refute the assertions..that Hayes council ‘is on its last legs’. Never in the history of the council was it in better shape. 1942 C. HEADLAM Diary 8 July in S. Ball Parl. & Politics in Age Churchill & Attlee (1999) ix. 325 Dorman Smith, Governor of Burma..utterly refuted the gossip that the Burmese had welcomed the Japanese. 1980 Bookseller 19 July 257/1, I refute Mr Bodey's allegation that it is our policy not to observe publication dates. 2006 Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) (Nexis) 12 July, Bernice..refuted a magazine report in which her son said he preferred the University of Miami (Fla.) over the Wildcats."

    I can't give you the full entry of the other four forms of usage as a verb (it greatly exceeds the 4000+ characters you can post in a single comment here on blogger.

    Were you around when I posted my discovery that if you have a UK public library ticket you can access all the Oxford reference works on-line for free? A truly fab public service, up there with the NHS, but not as well appreciated or used as it might be if more folk knew about it.

    The etymology (historical examples of usage excluded) of refute (verb) is given as:

    "[< Anglo-Norman and Middle French refuter (French réfuter) to show (something) to be invalid (early 13th cent. in Anglo-Norman), to reject or refuse (a person), to contest (an assertion, etc.) (c1330), to rebut (an insult, accusation, etc.) (1546) and its etymon classical Latin reftre to put down, check, suppress, to prove (a person) to be wrong, to prove (a statement) to be false, in post-classical Latin also to deny (5th cent.), to reject, refuse (from 8th cent. (frequently from early 12th cent.) in British sources) < re- RE- prefix + -ftre (see CONFUTE v.). Compare Old Occitan refudar (a1150), refutar (2nd half of the 13th cent.), Catalan refutar (13th cent.), Spanish refutar (a1412), Portuguese refutar (a1542), Italian rifutare (1374).]

    1. trans. Sc. To refuse or reject (a thing or person). Obs.

    2. trans. To prove (something) to be false, esp. by means of argument or debate.

    a. To rebut an opinion, theory, claim, etc.

    b. To disprove an accusation, imputation, etc.

    3. trans. To prove (a person) to be wrong.

    4. intr. To demonstrate error. Now rare.

    5. trans. To reject (an allegation, assertion, report, etc.) as without foundation; to repudiate.
    Criticized as erroneous in usage guides in the 20th cent. In many instances it is unclear whether there is an implication of argument accompanying the assertion that something is baseless (making the use sense 2)."

    Good to see you still active here.


  26. Alisdair - if perchance you ain't stumbled across what you can get access to from Newcastle you may find the following link useful:

    Newcastle access portal for OED etc

  27. Hello Mrs Robinson..if you take a look. I'm nipping out for a quick drink in a minute but I just wanted to see if you thought "StudRockman" gives my posts a touch more va va voom?

  28. Well hello. I wondered where you were. Your posts always had va va Voom but these days even more so. x

  29. Evening all. Back from the rugby. Ireland had a half-decent scoreline but a shit match. England vs Wales much better, but sloppy.


    And I wanted Wales to win as I have a modicum of Welsh blood in my veins. :-(

  30. Welcome Ms Robinson - a click on you blogger moniker above (and beyond) makes for interesting and amusing reading on a quiet Saturday night...

  31. Evening all

    Well here's to you, Mrs Robinson. Jesus loves you more than you can know...

    Monkeyfish - if you remember rightly I didn't say McEwans was lager! I said McEwans, fair enough, but that Tennants was shite, or something similar.

    Now unless you apologise I am gonna get all snooty on your ass and start telling everyone about that packet of ginger nuts I sent to Thaum.! ;o)

    Deano - hello love - haven't read everything yet but good to see you back

    And greetings to everyone else I haven't said hello to today.

    Thaum - what was the rugby score? Been watching movies with mates all afternoon (and I recommend Surrogates for anyone who likes sci-fi).

  32. BB - I think it was I who thought McEwan's was lager - my bad if it isn't. (Never got the ginger nuts!)

    Ireland 29 - 11 Italy (we donated a try).
    England 30 - 17 Wales (but scoreline doesn't reflect match: Wales looked like they might have it with 15 minutes or so to go).

  33. Deano - thanks for that, makes the insistence of one friend about the difference between first and second/third person slightly more understandable!

    thauma - was in the 'welsh corner' of the pub (as I am really not fussed about rugby) and it was rather sad to see them all get so excited and then end up staring glumly into their pints...

    hello Mrs R!

  34. Good results all round then except for annetan.

    Heh - I just went onto facebook to post on my status "Wales....Wales.... bloody great fishes are Wales..." etc, and my sis had already done it 5 mins earlier :o)

  35. BB - from my perspective, only good results all around if you think England are easier to beat than Wales ... which, with a little precision, might seem to be true! :-P

    Philippa - great atmosphere down pub today; loads of Welsh and obviously even more Saes. Part of what I love about rugby is that loads of banter can go on without fights breaking out.

    My bloody computer has got a fit of the slows and needs rebooting. So I think I am going to switch the bastard off, go to bed and read. It's too painful to continue.

  36. thauma - aye, it was a great atmosphere - possibly connected to there being lots of french people watching purely to check out the opposition (and have beer), but having been with some welsh mates in an Irish pub a couple of years back when Wales won the whatever-it-was, and witnessed the cheerful rivalry and utter lack of nastiness, it's very cheering.

    It doesn't get nasty for the PL here, but there are a lot of ManU fans, so they can be a bit, well, annoying. But only arsey, not violent.

    But woe betide anyone cheering for OM when La Ligue is on. Although at MontyP is 2nd and OM 8th at present, things are quite sedate at the minute...

  37. Professor deano30--Good work on the definitions. I tried the link and found that I have access from Canada. Cool.

    Ms Robinson--Hello and welcome.

  38. eeeeeewwwww - melanie phillips on the moral maze, am i going to be able to make it through this programme....?

  39. Pip

    Don't talk to me about Mad Mel. I could hardly stomach her on Question Time the other night and ended up shouting very rude things at the telly. She is just so bloody shrewish when she is challenged.

  40. nope, can't do it. bed-bound. night all...

  41. Nighty night. Dors bien ma puce! :o)

  42. I don't believe it:

    Drink of Choice in Burnley Lancashire

    More of this liqueur is drunk in Burnley than any other single place on earth!

    It's a fucking crazy world.

    Glad you can also get access Boudican - you got a Newcastle library ticket?

    Perhaps an inspired guess at a random number to follow on from the freely provided initial letters code? I know it works from the USA (....cos I sometimes log in from Cowpat Junction!)

  43. "Burnley Miners' Club in Lancashire, United Kingdom is the world's biggest single consumer of Benedictine liqueur, after Lancashire regiments acquired a taste for it during the First World War.[2]" Wiki.

    My god old habits die slowly!!

  44. Heheheh - I have never tasted Benedictine, but that bit of info is amazing!

  45. deano--No library ticket, but I have a young niece that lives in Blyth. She was happy to share her sign in info.(-;

    Bit surprising with the Benedictine. A fine liqueur, but who'd have thought?

    BB--Have found myself spewing invective at M.Phillips as well. Wonder if she hears from this distance?

  46. Thanks very much deano.
    On that word, refute. I find it something of a pity that the language evolved so that it became a very specific word, akin to rebut and disprove, usefully distinct from mere denial or refusal, and thanks to misuse/ignorance, it appears to be evolving into a word with less meaning. Sometimes the evolution of language, unstoppable as it may be, carries a cost, in this case of precision.

  47. Boudican

    I bloody hope she does... :o)

  48. @Deano the most amusing posts are probably last year and before. Especially "journalism the new narcissism"