24 February 2010


Pope Gregory XIII announced the Gregorian calendar in 1582.  Handel's Rinaldo was performed for the first time at the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket in 1711.  The New Orleans Mardi Gras parade of 1868 was the first parade to feature floats.  Chuck & Di's engagement was announced in 1981 and Athens was shaken by a 6.7 earthquake on the same day.  Ayatollah Khomeini announced a $3 million bounty on Salman Rushdie in 1989.

Born today:  Charles le Brun (1619-1690), Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Honus Wagner (1874-1955), Michel Legrand (1932), Renata Scotto (1934), Nicky Hopkins (1944-1994), Barry Bostwick (1945), Dennis Waterman (1948), George Thorogood (1950), Alain Prost (1955), Bill Bailey (1964) and me (like I'm going to tell you what year).

It is Dragobete in Romania.


  1. Happy Birthday Montana! Can't get over what a small world it is after your yesterday revelation.
    yikees I have no idea who the other folks listed on the born date are, and too tired to wiki them. Anyways happy birthday again.

  2. Happy Birthday Montana! I wish you many more.

    Nice pic of Honus Wagner. I may be the only other Utter familiar with his feats. I could be wrong, (it has happened) but I don't think there are many here that follow baseball.

  3. May I join the chorus of wishing you a very happy birthday, Montana?

    Oh, fuck it, I don't want to wait for the answer, I'll just do it!

    Happy Birthday, Montana, and stay awesome! (Or don't whatever you like ...)

  4. Hey, have a great day Montana. And thanks for keeping this thing running and putting up with us all.

  5. All the best for your birthday Montana! x :-D

  6. As a Gentleman I would never ask a 21 year old lady what her age is.

    Happy Birthday!

  7. Here's another wish for a very happy birthday, Montana!

  8. And another good wish (from my mobile phone whilst I'm waiting for next months dongle allowance...) -

    Happy Birthday, have a fun and enjoyable day Montana.

    Good luck with your forthcoming adventure(s) in Holland Duke.

  9. Happy birthday Montana, hope you have a good day. x

  10. Duke

    Going Dutch, eh? All the best for when you get there.

    BB (when you tune in later)

    Something on fast track asylum claims on Womans Hour, about 10 minutes into the prog - the insensitive treatment of women who have suffered sexual violence.

  11. News of the World - A case of collective amnesia?? FFS - why don't they tell it as it is, they are a fucking cabal of liars.

  12. All best wishes to you, Montana. Have many more great days.

  13. Bonne anniversaire,
    Bonne anniversaire,
    Bonn'iversaire, chere Montanaaaaaaa
    Bonne anniversaire!

    Pfffff. 6000 words this morning. Eyes swirling. Good to get back into it, though. Off to CIF to see if I can be annoyed out of my current state. May be posting in Regency English for most of the day...

  14. Says a lot about the quality / content of CiF these days when one of the 'most commented' section has all of 88 posts.

  15. Very Happy Birthday Montana xx.

    An interesting one to eceryone else.

  16. That's everyone - need new specs - or fingers.

  17. Happy Birthday Montana.

    @Ms Chin I saw Zoe Margolis and realised I had to leave CIF today. I parodied her two years ago after she went on and on blogging about ALL men wanted her and screwing around was a major feminist statement. Yawn. So I did this.

    I got lots of emails in support and Zoe got upset. It was funny.

  18. Oh, MsR, that piece is absolute golddust - Thank you!

    Am going to start sprinkling posts with semi-colons; that's genius...

  19. Philippa: You might enjoy this one then. I have a big thing about the narcissism of modern journalism.


    I think this sums up how I feel about CIF these days.

    I suspect the heyday of my blog was a while back but I may get the vitriol back when I am better.

  20. Philippa, I know you've been rightly exercised/exasperated on benefits/ESA/ATOS.
    I got this message today:
    Benefits and Work has been asked to post the following media request from BBC TV. We’ve had a long talk with the reporter, Liam McDougal, and we do think that they are genuinely setting out to make a programme about the problems with ESA assessments. Liam is also working with a reporter we’ve had positive dealings with in the past.

    BBC television to investigate problems with ESA
    The BBC's current affairs department is investigating the difficulties people face when trying to claim ESA, for a television documentary. The programme aims to highlight claimants' experiences with the new system and to investigate why people with genuine illnesses and disabilities are being declared fit to work. Do you, for example, believe the results of your Atos assessment are wrong? Or perhaps you do not think they reflect the answers you gave to the doctor at the time.

    “If you've had a problem claiming ESA and would like to discuss your experience, then please contact Liam McDougall as soon as possible on 0141 422 7559 or liam.mcdougall@bbc.co.uk

    They do seem keen to do proper investigative journalism on the scandal and I've got a couple of clients/punters/service users/survivors (the terminology is a minefield, so I tend just to say people, though that's vague)keen to tell of their appalling mistreatment.

  21. Happy Birthday, montana.

    MsRobinson, re narcissistic journalism, you may be familiar with Caroline Phillips. For the amusement, outrage, and sheer what the fuck??? factor this article will inspire in those unfamiliar with Ms Phillips' work, allow me to present Caroline's take on the the London tornado of 2006. The name-check of all the neighbours' professions is a lovely factual journalistic touch.(WARNING! Do not read this if you feel strongly about the wanton destruction of designer fabrics!)
    my tornado hell

    It's tragic stuff (in more ways than one) but, as Caroline writes two years later, every cloud has a silver lining. These include free geraniums, meeting lesbians (and their daughter), learning Arabic, and getting a fabulous new bed.
    curious benefits

    Now that's what I call journalism!

  22. Alisdair - have to confess that my knowledge of it comes mainly from other posters (and then pootled off to look into it) and occasional spots on radio 4 - some form of honest independent assessment with a wider coverage would be a good thing - hope your clients/punters/service users/survivors get a fair hearing...

  23. Fuck me, scherf, that's just brilliant - to paraphrase a Mr T Cruise, you had me at "The glass roof of the side-return exploded"...

  24. MontanaWildhack

    Happy Birthday and many thanks for all your efforts in keeping this place going.

    Have a good celebration.


    Are you able to put that on WADDYA, even in edited form?

    After the requested thread, people said they wanted follow-up. This might prompt the wrigglers at CiF Towers.

    If you don't want to have your name associated with it, you could use one of my many spares.

    Maybe that was why the Atos shitdribble felt the need to do a bit of PR disaster management - obviously with the result of making things worse.

  25. afternoon all

    small piece in the paper today about vulture funds - apparently they buy up the debt of heavily indebted third world countries often at huge discounts and when those countries get some aid, pursue them through the courts for the dosh.

    HMG are now looking at ways to prevent them doing this through the British courts. is there nothing our courts won't stoop to?

    Can you think of a more despicable way to earn a buck?


    I had heard of these bastards but don't know much about them - do you?

    Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral is divine - going again tonight.

  26. With all this fulminating about vulture funds forget to wish you many happies Montana. Have a great day and many more to come.

  27. Just posted a little video someone sent me on UT2. Nature bites back....lovely!!

  28. Sheff
    Re. vid - wonderful.

    Vulture funds - heard of them before. Totally unregulated etc. Wondering about GS cover up for Greek debt.

  29. god help them Leni if vulture funds are on the case!!

  30. Seen the Zoe Margolis thread?!

    Napoleon Karamazov said:
    "There is only one kind of sex-- Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Those who have anal or oral sex are not having sex, they are engaging in a sexual act. During sex education there should only be taught the one way of sex- sexual reproduction."

    It occurs to me that from that point of view i have only ever had sex once! The childless amongst you have not had it at all - you poor things!

    He goes on to say - "Those who have anal or oral sex are not having sex, they are engaging in a sexual act."

    ROTFLMA! Am I wrong or is 'having sex' and 'engaging in a sexual act' the same thing?

    Plenty more like this over there its unbelievable how many twisted knickers there are on this thread!


  31. Afua Hirsch. Idiot. Knows she's an idiot on this one hence her sarcasm below the line.

  32. V good post from Ally F and others though!

    I do have to say that although she got a lot of support the 'usual suspects' have excelled themselves in their appallingness.

  33. @annetan42 "ROTFLMA! Am I wrong or is 'having sex' and 'engaging in a sexual act' the same thing?"

    I think this is known as the 'Clinton Position'..

  34. I have an American friend who reckons blow jobs are not having sex and therefore you can't be unfaithful (her words) if that's all you do.

  35. Thanks for that, MsR - really good!


    Nice quote from Gibran.

    JohnYardDog is pretty good on the editorial thread on sex education. He's been confusing poor blindinglight with Bibilcal quotes, which is rather entertaining.

  36. I'm not sure about this, as I have not read the article, but perhaps the confusion is to do with the word "act".

    After all, I could get a part in the local amateur dramatic society's production of, say, King Lear.

    I could "act" the part of Lear but would not actually be anyone other than mere me.

    It would be just pretend and make-believe.

    I say this - and those of a nervous disposition should look away now - as someone who once pretended to Atomgirl that I had achieved the, ahem, petit mort when this was not, in fact, the case.

    I thought I could get away with it. I had been told that sometimes women did such things and thought that what was good for the gander must be good for the goose.

    Let's just say that my goose was cooked after that one.

  37. MsR

    Must remember that little 'get out' clause if ever I want to be unfaithful.

  38. Evening all

    Up to me eyeballs in work again and haven't had a chance to browse yet. But this has really caught my attention:


    Three years?! Three years for making bombs in his house? Still, he is a skinhead, not a beardie, so I guess that explains the discrepancy between him and muslims who download stuff onto their computers and get 10 years for conspiracy, eh?


  39. @MsChin When I pointed out this out to said American girl she said no, nothing mattered except full penetration. Otherwise apparently you hadn't crossed any lines. It's the American Way.

    Can you imagine: "Hon,I was with a man last night. We were naked and he went down on me and I gave him a blow job however we didn't actually fuck."

    "Sure sweetie. That's fine with me."

    Yep I can see that working for most people.

  40. Favourite post on the Margolis thread so far:

    "Christians and other religious people PAY THEIR TAXES - by ratio, moreso than non-Christians who far more frequently practice tax-avoidance"

    Oh. My. Word.

  41. Ha ha Philippa..you mix sex and religion and this is what you get. A dog's breakfast of commentary.

  42. New favourite comment:

    "I hate to break it to you but thats bollocks."

  43. MsR - meanwhile, there have been some great inclusive threads about the CP / religious premises amendment on CIFBelief... but they don't get the loonies out, so there they stay, hidden away at in the back of the shop...

  44. Just back from evensong - which was beautiful, with a very appropriate 1st lesson given I was banging on about vulture funds earlier. From Jeremiah Chapter 5. (Nothing about sex though - I think they've all given it up for lent.)

    For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.

    27 As a cage [3] is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.

    28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

    29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

    30 A wonderful [4] and horrible thing is committed in the land;

    31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

    I could really get into some biblical punishment for those vultures pillaging poverty stricken countries. But as i don't believe I suppose i'm not allowed. Pity.

  45. @PhilippaB I know. I'm currently reading the Greece Euro debate sent to be by Intelligence Squared. I quite enjoy the diversion. I have been to some of their debates in central London.and they are rather good. I have watched an audience of young men enraptured as Germaine Greer spoke (she was great and I hadn't seen her before.)

  46. Have just finished reading the thread. It's a bit like knitting fog, arguing with some of those archies. good job a couple of reasonable-theists turned up in a (possibly vain) attempt to prove that it is possible to have faith and be sane simultaneously...

  47. HappyBirthdayMontana

    Hi, sheff, not heard of any special plans for vulture capitalists. Did read an article suggesting that they were just venture capitalists with bad PR, and that seems about right.

    MsR - got your friend's number handy?

    Really good discussion under Julian Glover's blog today on Cif - liberty and equality are mutually exclusive, according to the pimply liberal tosspot who writes the Guardian's leader columns. Some great posts by Ally amongst others.

  48. Hank,

    I'd been following that thread. It was quite interesting.

    Glover's failure to discuss Berlin et al's definition of positive and negative liberty was either intentional or he doesn't actually have a clue.

    A poster I am impressed with for sheer bloody persistence is petrifiedprozac. He/she is like a dog with a bone and normally takes on the loons long after anyone else would have given up.

  49. Hank - heavens, thought Mr Glover looked familiar so tried finding his CV to check his age - he's married to Matthew Parris! (Well, CP'd or whatever - sue me). Interesting...

    Ahem. Will actualy read thread now. At least until kick-off. Given that it's stoke v city, probably after kick-off as well, it'll be more interesting.

  50. "Glover's failure to discuss Berlin et al's definition of positive and negative liberty was either intentional or he doesn't actually have a clue"

    starred first from Oxford, you know. so possibly 'intentional' is edging it there...

  51. hank, Duke

    I've been following the thread, too.

    btw, anyone seen the 'how to make your own butter' article in Life & Style? Can't wait to give it a whirl when I've nothing better to do. Maybe in my dotage.

  52. Yes, I read the Glover thread earlier and was completely stunned by how many people seem to think that liberty = money.

  53. MsChin - saw the link on the main page and vaguely thought 'ewww' (thought the photo a bit repulsive). I expect bought butter is far cheaper and easier!

  54. Now, for my current problem - am setting a crossword and have two left to do:

    _ U _

    _ E _

    Looks easy but they have to be vaguely related to chemicals / medicines. Acronyms will do. Anyone got any ideas? Am all clue-d out at the mo...

  55. Blimey, wish you hadn't told me that, Philippa. I've got a "One Night in Parris" idea and an itchy posting finger.

    Duke, to be fair, he does refer to the socialists' distorted notion of positive liberty in his piece. Used to have discussions with Pikey - PBUH - about how I'd be happy to sacrifice a little freedom for a bit more fairness, so I understand the basic premise of Glover's piece, but he's taken it to extremes, as right-wing liberals always do, by claiming that there can be no freedom in an egalitarian society.

  56. @ Montana, I'm going to continue my absence from CiF for a couple more days, but that post upthread was cut'n'pasted from a general public mail-out so anyone can repost it, apart from my add-on bit (which to be honest you could reproduce, but that might confuse folk...). Funny how the number of post on CiF has gone down markedly since I've stopped. Coincidence..? Er yes, although there is the possibility of simultaneous mass disenchantment at the puerility of the ATL NuLab cheerleading and the utter predictability and inanity of most of the BTL comments.

    Leni and atomboy: very good on the third sector bollocks and the deliberate obfuscation of terms to mask privatisation.
    I've worked for genuine charities and been mighty pissed off with both corporate pseudo-charities and worse the whole social enterprise bollocks, giving a superficial wash of piety to corportae sharks: I've encountered two types of social enterprise: those which subsist on 'pity' contracts (ah, we'll buy our sandwiches from them, because their staff are all disabled, or such), and those which just money-grab. The former are actually better off being a charity, and that way there would be curbs on the head taking too much remuneration. The latter are frauds, in my view.

    @ philippa: cryptic crossword or plain? (p.s. have set crosswords before, both types, and it's tricky)
    _U_ could be GUM (medical acronym for genito-Urinary medicine). Cryptically, "Resorting to this for your health might mean a sticky end"

  57. Damn, I was just going to suggest GUM. For the other, how about EEG (measuring brain waves - seems apt)?

  58. erm, EEG = elecroencephalography

  59. Shit, I just realised that I missed the fact it was Montana's birthday

    Happy Happy Birthday, hon. Hope it's a good one! :o)

  60. Surely making your own butter is rather like making water.

  61. Philippa - awww, can't we make it political?

    Suggest MUG (Labour OR Tory voter) and MEH (voting choices).

    MsChin - isn't/wasn't GUM the Soviet general store?

  62. Just clocked that Alastair Campbell thread. Phew deletions central, and a funny post from Peter Bracken: either it's a joke that's passed me by, or he's tied in to new labour in some fashion: that would kinda explain something that's puzzled me about his spat with Henry Porter. Peter keeps citing Berlin, and appears to be a strong advocate of positive Liberty which is/was something Tony Blair was also keen on. However and this is an almighty however, Berlin himself knew and warned of the dangers with positive liberty (expanded upon very well by Rawls).The trouble is that positive liberty entails a consensus (without scope for much dissent) as to a higher/greater/collective purpose or end. It thus lends itself to totalitarianism, theocracy etc, in short all those societies where the individual is subjugated to an overarching ideological (often dogmatic and inflexible) framework. Yes, social contract theories hint at notions of this but rousseauean 'chains' are not to be celebrated, nor denigrated, but seen simply as necessary when humans rub up against each other (ooh-er). The danger with pressing for positive liberty,is that it leads to people being forced to do things for an externally decided 'nobler' end i.e. being made to do something for your own good, where the big question arises who determines your 'own good'? Down that path lies accusations of false consciousness, and re-education if taken to extremes, where the party and the plan are the sole 'good'. Far better is a mix of positive (because individuals are not always rational actors, nor informed enough to and negative liberties (thus preserving a space for the individual,an area for personal autonomy and crucially a way of challenging if need be whatever the prevalent positive liberty 'good' is deemed to be at that point in time).If positive liberty is underpinned by the desire to achieve a greater good,negative liberty is the safeguard for when that conception of a greater good is twisted or malign. Positive liberty entails the citizen trusting the state/society, but can entail the state not trusting the citizen. Negative liberty can mean the individual not trusting others, but able to avoid them if that mistrust is justified.Push too hard for one or other type of liberty and you risk very damaging consequences, societally or individually.

  63. Happy Birthday Montana.

    MsR - also have friend who thinks blowjobs don't count as sex for infidelity purposes. Odd. I'd be deeply pissed off if a partner of mine reckoned oral sex with someone else was okay... Great comment on the Afua Hirsch thread btw.

    Sheff... you're nearly in wombat country y'know... how long are you in Cants for?

  64. Yup, MsR.

    Mystifies me why the Graun does stuff like 'make your own butter' as though women have nowt better to do. I assume the article is aimed at women. I daren't ask hank if he fancies making a pat or two. If he does fancy some wanton therapeutic activity to take his mind off your friend, butter pats are on ebay for £2.

  65. Alisdair, love - your posts are always very worthwhile reading but if I could just suggest a paragraph break here and there, it would be just a wee bit easier, especially after one's had a glass or two of wine.

    Anyway, I think I agree with you, but said glass-or-two-or-three of wine and fatigue are interfering with the cognitive processes.

  66. MsChin - but are butter pats as good as sex pats, especially if they come from Brussel?

    Ah, never mind. Silly question. Answer is obvious.

  67. Sorry, thauma. I do normally use paragraphs,even in correct fashion on occasion...Fingers failed me.
    That make your own butter article...well, let's just say that's a very niche lifestyle piece, almost on a par with how to knit your own cavity wall insulation.It can be done, but I don't imagine many folk will do it.

  68. thaumaturge -

    '- but are butter pats as good as sex pats, especially if they come from Brussel?'

    Brilliant. Nearly had a row with said pat earlier, but couldn't be arsed in the end...

  69. Alisdair

    Thing is, I can't say I know anyone in that particular niche lifestyle. Or that stupid.



  70. Shaz - always remember that sex pats are *never* wrong. So no good rowing.

    I'm calling it an early night again - happy b again to Montana!

  71. I'm calling it an early night again - me too, thauma. Night all.

  72. Had 'gum' worked out after mate came round - may have to stay away from its acronymic meaning (Americans listening)

    Love this...

  73. Damn, Philibee, girl! that's some good music.

  74. heh heh - and with that, bed...

  75. heyhabib, just got up. Hope you're better.

  76. Sound as a pound, medve, me old mucker, which equates to almost the same amount of Euros. How's you?

  77. heyhabib, at my age, if you wake up and nothing hurts at all, that means you've died.