22 February 2010


Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, for which he was eventually found guilty of heresy, was published in 1632.  The Battle of Fishguard began in 1797.  Frank Woolworth opened his first 5 and 10 cent store in Utica, New York in 1879.

Born today:  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941), Edna St. Vincent-Millay (1892-1950), Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), John Mills (1908-2005), Giulietta Masina (1921-1994), Edward Gorey (1925-2000), Bruce Forsyth (1928), Julie Walters (1950), Nigel Planer (1953).

It is Independence Day in St. Lucia.


  1. leni

    Re: your fat enquiry, fat balls specifically for birds are OK AFAIK, good guide to the dos and don'ts of bird feeding here:


  2. Donald, good name for a wyrm, drake, salamander thingy..

  3. Morning... and what a morning - dentist (ugh!...how I hate them) and then a drive through the snow and other biblical weather conditions to bloody Essex.

  4. My sympathies Sheff, I went last week (to the dentist, not Essex).

    My first three dentists were bearded sadists, I now request a female dentist, since it tends to rule out the beards ;-)

  5. Morning Dotterel, turminderxuss,

    sorry just a bit of anti-moderation insurance ..



    Pointless arguing this with MAM. He's already lost this argument once on these pages. MAM claims that there is nothing in the UN charter prohibiting -- what was established at Nurnberg as the ultimate war crime -- a war of aggression.

    Also pointless arguing with a troll totally bereft of any compassion, even though that troll may be CiFer of the year after a bout of super astrosurfing.

    which is/was on this thread.

  6. Mornin' Sheff, Dot, Medve, Freezing fog in the Borders this a.m. Broke the ice for the birdies. You take thermos, blankets, flares and a satelite phone Sheff! Bon Voyage..

  7. Sheff: add a shovel and a full tank of fuel to the helpful list provided by turminderxuss.

  8. Morning untrusties

    Yes, I have seen MAM is back in his full one-eyed glory this morning. Bah.

    Montana - just checked back and sorry to hear about your asthma attack. Hope you are better soon.

    Sheff - take care on the road. x

  9. Montana - hope you're feeling better.

    possibly we should set up "UT health insurance", there seems to be the need, boo...

  10. Hi guys (Hi Dot)

    I won't be coming back to the UT, it is too boring and cliquey and up itself. I have followed it since its inception but whatever.

    I read Cif etc so have read reams of turgid prose (and the odd gem) that many of you produce (I quite 'like' some of you so sue me and happily read all sorts of crap).

    I prevaricated from posting here for months (and still haven't on Cif its called solidarity) but read you dutifully.)

    P'ChipChops referred to "vile games theory" on Cif, stupid, you might as well say stupid calculus as GT is a maths of social and strategic interaction. I play Tit for tat.

    I could grade you all with feedback. Most would be 'Fs', got to keep standards up.

    Hank is predictable. I put 'sweet dreams to some' and then added 'and nightmares' to others' (and there are many whose actions should but don't cause them to sleep uneasily) knowing Hank would choose to read it so. . Insofar as I 'picked' on Hank it is because he set himself up as a member of a category, live by the sword die by it. He self selected.

    Psychology is a science of human nature, I am / was a psychologist (altho' this will be misread).

    The tragedy of the commons (R Hardin, G Hardin) and the logic of collective action (M OLson) combine with small selves to damn us all. The individual is social (GH Mead Mind, self and society), the product of 14 billion years of interaction, environment enfolded into being genetically, experience compressed computational (Baum What is thought).

    The world faces general (social and environmental) collapse and you bicker like people in horror/disaster films, falling apart in the face of a common threat into factions.

    The human species as a whole needs to grow up, learn something, behave better. Cool kids? No just big kids.

    Just to be 'fair' Dot. (Taking you only as a case of a class Dot, of course I like you and scientists are generally great in my books duh) and I am trying to bang a point home. Ind bio organism is the main identity and it is self and interest that is locally maximised.

    Scientists and academics betrayed me too and their own vales (climategate?). Each year I marked more essays than any other lecturer in the department, gave away my ideas freely to all. But got little back. Oh the stories I could tell (and can because I turned down the uni's offer to buy my silence) but won't. Intellectual dishonesty, bullying, the pernicious RAE, sexual harassment, etc. I took up arms against the institution and the bullies, for the weak, pregnant women and foreign students in particular. Does one stand idly by (bystander apathy, another social dilemma, behaviour in emergencies) just because one is not directly threatened?

    No solidarity was shown me by my colleagues (only by some students). I was shunned, suddenly none would sit with me. Whatever.

    Several staff got promoted straight after my case was completed, just coincidence I am sure.

    Deano is a what? (What are you Deano? A person? What is that?) No one responded to his query re infinity (maybe MsR, Deano seemed to think so but I couldn't find it) so I did. He asked, I helped.

    You are all just the same to me in most ways, phenomena, data, people. I am more interested in furthering a discussion than all the dominance games you play. Its the ideas not the chit chat. I don't judge by source, tramp or toff, friend or stranger, expert or lay person. And I am ready to revise my (provisional) judgment.

    What is more basic computing (do any of you have any idea what that is? No.) or matter (ditto). Its all physics or psychology.

    I loved you all (referent is everything kind of) like salt. (Do any of you remember anything? Pullman's article was ok. Anyone who likes fairy stories is alright by me)

    The unfamiliar is always new, that's it's nature. Try exploring a bit beyond your intellectual comfort zones.

    See you guys around maybe.

  11. Hello All

    Thanks Dot - that's a relief.

    I had 2 axolotls who had been damaged by heron. They had lost their legs - these quickly regrew but one had upside down knees. The larger male would gulp huge amounts of air, float for a time and then slowly sink down, They were called - inevitably - Nee 'n' Derthal.

  12. Pen

    I have read many of your posts - here and on Cif. You are misjudging people - we catch only a glimpse of each other here, know very little of lives beyond the keyboard.

    I hope you find a place where you feel at home and appreciated - we are all individuals and will remain so even when we share certain perspectives and espouse common causes.


  13. FWIW pen, don't go, but I have to agree with Leni's first point, I think you're misjudging people.

  14. Hi Sheff

    Sorry about the dentist. long time since I saw Essex - I remember it as flat with sky. Lots of sky always delights me - have to climb a mountain here to see the expanse of it. Once at the top though there is sky and sky and the wide earth beneath - wonderful.

    Never understood the 'Essex girl' thing.

  15. Shef - hope dentist went Ok and your journey is going well.

    Pen sorryyou feel that way, hope you come back some day, don't always understand you but am always willing to try. One thing though I have found that its important to remember that disagreement does not necessarily mean rejection of the person.

    Good wishes to you.

  16. Hi

    re; Essex girl thing

    the joke is supposed to be at the expense of how 'common' women from essex are.

  17. leni - agree about the sky! Lived in Essex for a while and I do hope for Shef's sake that its not as cold and windy as it is in Cardiff today! In Essex wind is lazy - goes through you not round you brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Don't understand the Essex girl thing either, my daughter finds it annoying (she was born in the county!).

  18. Pen: I don't always agree with everyone I admire either here or on CIF. Some of the women whose views I respect are far more hard core feminist than I am and to them my views may even come across anti-feminist when in reality much of it is that I have the same aims but my way of making things happen is different (perhaps because I'm in my late 40s). But I love reading them and I enjoy this because I learn things..a word, a song, a thought..it's all good.

  19. Have been considering this Westminster bullying thing and find the timing just a bit too precise. Plus what is bullying in that environment. I find it hard to believe the people in that environment would be bullied that easily. God they are lucky they didn't work for Paul Keating they would have been in tears. If you listen to Australian Parliament you might say the whole thing is bullying.

    I do find this story a story too far.

  20. Pen. Thanks for calling me stupid! But seriously why do you need 'tit for tat'? I didn't call games theory 'vile' as an insult to you. And yes calling something as varied and large a discipline as vile probably was a bit daft. But there are a lot of elements of it I do not like. The whole idea of some of it that we are selfish, rational beings when we are often hardly anything but rational or selfish.

    I thought Adam Curtis was excellent on games theory and its results in parts of society and economics. But I am no expert - I have never pretended to be. I am not a 'phd in games theory' as I think you said you were.

    Perhaps you could teach us something about it? I for one would be genuinely interested. But I don't understand half your posts.

    That is not intended as an insult - I genuinely find them hard to decipher. For one thing I have ME and it does make me mentally tired as well as physically (it has been especially bad the last three days and so my spelling and posts have been atrocious). It is a most horrid thing that is described by people who have it as being 'foggy headed' and is one of the main reasons I had to give up work rather than the physical effects of the illness.

    So maybe it is because I am not clever enough and partly because I am tired a lot of the time but I find your posts difficult. As Deano says - if you could put things in a way I could understand more easily then I would be happy to engage.

  21. Phew...made it to deepest Essex and have to say the journey was ok. didn't need any of the items I packed - snow shovels etc.

    Am in Coggleshall in an ancient inn called the White Hart - all sloping floors, timber and old brick, that used to be a little shoe making shop. Very quaint and I notice they have Macallans so am off for a large one of those.

    PS: My new dentist turned out to be charming - shes Greek, Ms Christopherou (or something similar), she will save my miserable teeth for me, if anyone can.

    I'm sorry you think we're cliquey and feel the need to leave. I don't actually think we are that cliquey. There are conversations on here I don't engage in - particularly the football ones but that doesn't mean I feel left out.

    Like Princess and Deano I find your posts hard to follow and I am even more ignorant than Princess on games theory - so perhaps thats why your posts are often such a mystery to me.

    Anyway - you know where we are if you feel like coming back.

  22. Pen,

    What, exactly, is it that you wanted or expected from us that we are failing so miserably to deliver to you? If you've been following the place all the time you've been silent here, you should have known that this is pretty much who and what we are. Your disappointment in us seems a bit out of place.

    You've been insolent and patronising over the past few days, so is it any surprise that people are reacting with hostility? You didn't really expect to be able to tell us that we're all a bunch of intellectual pygmies compared to you and receive thanks for it, did you?

    And do you honestly think that you are the only person here who has ever stuck their own neck out on behalf of others? I know for a fact that quite a few of the regulars here do that on an almost daily basis. They just don't shout about it because they feel that they're only doing what they should as part of a community.

    And that is what we are here, Pen. A little on-line community. We're not a clique. We don't tell people to leave. The people who don't stay around choose not to stay around. That is their decision, not ours.

    Your little farewell reads to me almost as if you've considered us some sort of study or experiment. Well, I didn't sign up to be your lab rat, so excuse me if I don't get too worked up about not giving you the results you wanted.

    Pen, up until these last few days, I've always had a great affection for you. But I have great affection for several of the people that you've chosen to insult over the past few days, too, and that makes it difficult for me to feel terribly sad about the prospect of you vanishing again.

    Should you chose to come back and engage with us without being insulting, I'm sure that everyone would be happy to have you back. But you can't expect to tell people they're stupid and get a warm reception.

  23. I don't think we're cliquey, I think we're more of a cult. At least I think that's what pen's calling me.

    The thing is, pen, the whole point of a forum like this is to engage with people. Now, you might think that I engage with people a little robustly at times but I do so in a language they understand. It's difficult to engage with you when your meaning is often opaque.

    some of us flounce off from time to time, only to return. If you decide to do the same, I'm sure you'll be welcome.

  24. Sheff, glad to hear you made it without incident! The inn sounds gorgeous.

  25. Hank: a new What do you want to talk about has gone up. should i post the saved text?

    Sheff: always good when you don't need items packed for an emergency.

  26. medve - thanks for the offer but no. As a rule of thumb, it's best to ignore anything I post anywhere on the web after 1am (-;

  27. Montana - still feeling poorly or has the Iowa School System shut down for the winter?

  28. Hank -- I stayed home. Breathing is better, but still nowhere near what it should be, considering the amount of albuterol and methylprednisone that I have in me right now. Cleaning the snow and ice off my car to try to get to work may well have put me back in the ER or even hospital for a day or two.

  29. Come on Montana, you have a son, don't you? We all know (courtesy of Bitey) that you are a Bad Mother, so couldn't you have pulled him out of the chimney or up from the mine for a few minutes to clear off the car?

    Now I admit that the general rigours of work may have caused you subsequent problems, but perhaps you could have harnessed him up to a chaise-longue or something, so that you could avoid any further exertions.

    A little creativity is all that's needed.

    Arbeit macht frei.

    (Sorry, was possessed by right-wing demons for a mo. Better now.)

  30. Hi all.

    Montana - though clearly not as bad as yours, my asthma is bad at the mo & same for a colleague at work. It's exhausting, not to mention frightening, so you have my sympathy.

    sheff - sounds lovely there. Hope the wine's good, too!

  31. Hope you're feeling better soon, Montana

    Btw, I couldn't recover my old email address when I got the new pc so if anyone's emailed me in the last few weeks, I'm not being ignorant. Not intentionally anyway.

    The new one, if you're interested, is bludger2@hotmail.co.uk.

  32. Very gentle hugs to all the asthma sufferers - fortunately not something I am afflicted with.

    Pen - not quite sure why you have taken umbrage really, but anyway.

    Sheff - have fun in Essex! Is it snowy over there? I might have to go to Chelmsford on Wednesday. Brrrr...

    Only just discovered this afternoon that as private fosterers for the friend of my son's who is still living with us, that makes us responsible in law for his school attendance (or lack of it - ongoing problem prior to his moving in with us that hasn't improved much since he has been here) and thus liable to prosecution.

    Something very Orwellian about the term Educational Welfare Officer when all they are is enforcers. Grrrrrr.... As my hubby said, no good deed goes unpunished. The women we met today were positively evil, frankly.

  33. Educational Welfare Officer - yeh a friend of mine calls them EWOKS, Educational Welfare Officer Klowns.

    They can be very dangerous people because they have a lot of power and influence over people, and sadists - I am absolutely convinced - gravitate to such jobs.

    Some of the nastiest specimens of humanity I've encountered have been engaged in social work. Good social workers are aware of this of course and try to limit the malign influence.

  34. Well it is a week for meetings this week - I have another meeting about the foster lad tomorrow jam-packed full of social workers - although fortunately the EWOK can't attend, which is why we saw her today - and she brought a colleague along, I am pretty convinced because she knows I am a legal type and won't put up with the kind of snowing that the usual single-mother-on-benefits they are are dealing with is made to swallow without question.

    Still left me feeling quite queasy though. There is no interest in welfare at all.

  35. Good luck with dismantling the bureaucratic obstructions, BB - I'm sure you're up to it!

  36. Hey Montana. Sorry you still feeling under the weather - and MsChin too.

    BB - I expect you can wipe the floor with the EWOKS but as you said it is not a ringing endorsement of them that such evil types work in it. And a lot of people who might not have legal knowledge could be quite easily bullied.

    Sheff - I watched two Adam Curtis documentary series that talked about Game Theory - one was the power of nightmares. It was pretty good in my humble. But I don't know lots about it so perhaps should refrain from commenting on it really. I think a fair bit of it informs behavioural economics (which I also have an irrational dislike for ha ha) but not dead sure.

    I am off to make tea and I think an early night will be in order after that so I will say night all now.

  37. I had thought of stirring the shit by walking in with my Family Law handbook, but I decided that might be a bit confrontational. I have printed off something called the Welfare Checklist though - under the Children Act - it is a list of things that courts ought to be taking into consideration when deciding what to do with children, and something that the SS should always have in the forefront of their minds, in principle.

    I shall whip that out if the need arises.

    Stupid thing is, cos I have done a good amount of family law in my time, social workers don't bug me all that much. It is teachers and anything associated with education that scares me shitless, for some bizarre reason. I guess I never really grew up...

  38. BB - I have no doubt you'll demolish them.

    *yawn* ... can't seem to get enough sleep these days. Think the weather is really starting to get me down. Keep fantasising about e-mailing work, telling them I'm not coming back, and going off somewhere warm for a few weeks. Which would obviously be a seriously stupid thing to do.

    So instead I'm going to head upstairs with my book. A demain.

  39. Night night PCC and Thaum

    Slaap lekker!

  40. Evenin' all.
    Good health to all those not feeling too good. I'm starting to think that bitey has access to a voodoo doll cupboard.

    Gordon the bully? Personally, I like having a PM prepared to get tough and push people around. Just a shame he didn't do it when it mattered. Imagine it, Tony says "we're going to war in Iraq" and Bad Bad Gordon Brown says "no we're fucking not". Well you can dream...

  41. BB - Educational 'Welfare' officers - not my favourite people tbh.

    When my daughter had just returned to school after over a year as a day patient in a young adolescent unit, she had to have a few days off with 'flu. I was very careful to phone the school explaining her absence but the office forgot to put a note to this effect in the register.

    I got a visit from the EWO, what a foul woman, I told her to go back and check with the office she refused I was guilty - 'we know she has been ill but that's over now so she has to be in school'

    All over now!!! Yeah right! she was still depressed enough not to be able to go into a shop by herself and needed to stay in the special needs room during breaks. (thank God for that special needs teacher she shone like a good deed in a naughty world all right)

    The EWO refused to enter my home too what did she think I was going to do to her?

    For having a sick child who was made sick largely by the school system's tolerence of bullying the school system, because of incompetance by office staff, made me feel like a criminal (I really needed that!) and my daughter feel that the authorities did not believe that she was ill. I had done my statutory duty I had phoned the school I had to go through that because of a clerical error!

    It was brutal and nasty and I never really got anyone to take our pain seriously. It still hurts now.

    Her year head had told me that kids like my daughter never made anything of themselves. I'd like figuratively to rub that year head's nose in her 2:1 degree in Nursing studies!

    This is the kind of 'support' given to kids like my daughter who suffered serious exogenous depression. No wonder they say British kids are the unhappiest anywhere.

    Good luck BB, seems things are no better now :( Why do we treat troubled kids like this?

  42. Disclaimer me never been cliquee, only interact avec Habib (cuz he does a grave yard shift) and Montana (who I presume is on my time zone). Also been laying off the virtual life due to real life and a knot in my neck, which my masseuse told me is due to my lap top! Back into my camel pose.

  43. Anne, so glad your daughter bounced back like that, I'm not sure I could have taken the words of her year head too quietly.

    Mchica, I think we could be a clique, if we worked really hard at it, became self-centred and better than everyone else. Come on, now, just a bit of effort!

  44. Oh Pen!!! Spread a little happiness as you go by. (Sting is Satan in this film.)

  45. Anne - that is an appalling story, but it doesn't surprise me. They are not Welfare Officers they are Enforcement Officers, and they trot out the threats like bloody bullies.

    I can stand up to them, but I am really concerned about the parents who aren't as savvy who end up getting caught up in the quagmire - particularly as you can actually be sent to prison now if your child doesn't attend school. It's a bloody disgrace.

    Habib - LOL about the voodoo doll. You could be on to something there! :o)

    Mchica, I have it on good authority that we are eitgher a cabal or a coven. I prefer thinking we are a coven, actually. :o)

  46. Are we not a collective? EWOKs sound shit BB, the problem with education is it's all about box ticking and f all to do with learning any more..

    Right I'm off to bed, UC 22 Habib! = personal best...

    Sweet dreams..

  47. I'll never get close, Turminder, but I'll give it a go.

  48. Hey Mchica! Good to see you. I'm in the Central time zone -- you know us. We're the ones who get our late local news at 10 pm instead of 11, like the rest of the country. Apparently, we're early risers?

    I guess maybe I should embrace the clique accusations that keep getting thrown our way as a sign that I've become one of the cool kids, albeit 30 years too late.

    Damn! I wonder if I have a shot at being Cif Homecoming Queen?

  49. Habib and Turminder - had forgotten the UC thing!

    Off to have a go now...

  50. Montana Wildhack gets my vote !

    I am a clique of one, but more than happy to help out others on weekends.

  51. PS - Surely it's not a clique anyway. It's got to be an entourage to get in the papers these days.

  52. In the tiniest event that anyone else is still up, here's Jerry Douglas kicking some bluegrass dobro ass.



  53. Thanks, BW! I've always wanted a tiara.

  54. I vote for Montana as Homecoming Queen. I only know what it is from the Monkees song and American movies, and you are definitely the best suited, imo :o)

  55. Ha ha ! You can be my trophy bride if you want !

  56. Beddybyes for me - night night all xx

  57. Habib " if we worked really hard at it, became self-centred and better than everyone else. " LOL well maybe I've been a clique of one all along.

    Montana"I guess maybe I should embrace the clique accusations that keep getting thrown our way as a sign that I've become one of the cool kids, albeit 30 years too late." I'll rent Mean Girls to get few cues. ps I'm Central too : )
    BB "coven" my calling.

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Here's Allen Toussaint with the best song about Southern skies ever...


    Not bad eh ?

    Night cliques.

  60. Damn can't sleep

    Here's some more country



  61. Apropos of nowt:

    I would like to know why NBC think that Americans want to see this much effing curling. It's like bowling on ice, but without all the excitement.

  62. MW
    You would not beleive how much excitement it generates over here.

    Almost four watts.

    Speak soon.


  63. Oooh! Trophy bride! I like the sound of that.

    Central, Mchica? Methinks maybe I'm getting you narrowed down to a state. Email me here, if you like.

  64. BW -- that's at least 3 watts more excitement than I can generate for it. One broadcast and three cable channels that they can be using to show us stuff and all we get on the cable channels is curling and hockey. All we get on the broadcast channel is figure skating and highlights of crap that Americans stand a good chance of winning.

  65. Oh Montana my where abouts is no secret, south Texas/Houston area, well I guess you don't hang out that much on the Tomasky blogs so wouldn't.
    In fact digging out my coat again, have a freak winter storm coming in tonite/tomorrow...we had 70's over the weekend!

  66. Oh no. I avoid the American political stuff as much as possible. Too many right-wing fuckwits and I get enough of them in real life -- I don't want to deal with them on Cif.

  67. BTW -- my sister is either on the Woodlands' side of Magnolia or the Magnolia side of the Woodlands. Not quite sure how that works. I think physically, their place is in the Woodlands, but their postal address is Magnolia.

  68. Hi Mchica, Montana, and of course our nocturnal Habib the musicifant.

    The curling is big here: good chance at a gold, don't see why it's getting long coverage in the states though.

    Are we a clique? --Do not see it that way. I see it as commonality through conversation about our shared beefs, pleasures, and the meaning of life. As well as football, music and jokes, with religion and philosophy thrown haphazardly into the cauldron.

    And Pen, I like to read your contributions, though I am with the princess in saying I don't always get your ideas. I like to think outside my own intellectual boundaries when challenged, but retreating is not my way. See you when I see you sir.

  69. Hey, Boudican! Sorry about the hockey.

  70. Hi Boudican, know how you feel my Canadian cousin lamented quite a bit on his FB.
    OMG Montana I know Woodlands/Magnolia really well, used take my bike out there on the trails. Though I understand the area has gone through quite a bit development of late as I am further in town now.
    I understand about the MT blog, I'm going to lay off them too. His defence of the Centrist Dems is begining to do my head in. In fact agree with Ms Robinson on the staleness of certain subjects on CiF. I find myself repeatedly putting forth the same points against the same posters ad nuaseam.

  71. It's depressing, really. I look at Cif and just don't see anything I want to comment on most of the time. First good rant I've had in ages got deleted the other day. :-(

  72. Montana, no worries here. Not one of the rabid hockey fans myself, but it is a nationalistic birthright to many in Canada.

    Mchica, been a while, where you been lady?

  73. Montana, Cif ain't the same. Much has been lost with moderation, censorship, arrogance, and flat out lies ATL. Imam Brown being the main perp, but certainly not alone. The Graud has a surplus of ineptitude. I shall still read to learn and laugh when I can.

  74. Hi Boudican
    I had found (short term) work up north in Dallas, but is looking like I will be able to work for them full time from Houston in couple of weeks...so fingers crossed.