11 March 2010


El Bosque de los Ausentes
In memory of the 191 victims of the Madrid train bombings.


  1. Sheff Pixie: This thread needs youhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/11/debora-orr-immigration?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments

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  3. May they rest in peace.

    Interesting article on Detroit (where I used to live) that ties in nicely with Zounds' piece.

  4. @Medve: MAM is so out of line on this one I can't believe it. Are we sure he's not Paul Dacre "4 billion of them (asylum seekers) want to come here."

  5. Morning - MsR, head better?

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  7. @philippaB yes there is still a lump under left eyebrow but I am not slurring and did not fall into a coma (I think) so OK.

    All..I am now really seeing what many of you have said for a while...the right wing trolls have truly taken over.

    It's like when I lived in Brixton and suddenly the Clapham trustafarians turned up. They didn't know how to buy their own drugs..how can you respect people like that?

  8. Morning friends - my battle goes well, it is not won but, two steps forward and only one back is a great improvement on one forward and three sidewards.

    The rats are now out of the foundations. Fortunately I didn't need to trap them, they had taken the poisoned bait from local barns and had sadly met their uncomfortable ends in the nest and I only had to dispose of them. It's as well they were removed there would have been a dreadful smell come the warmer weather.

    It would be a civilised step forward if we could find a more humane way of dealing with the problem - warfarin type poison is not a pretty end.

    Dott- do you know of any research that supports the idea that those acoustic torments for rodents work??, or is it only on chav kids that they work on

    The solution to one problem brought another. I realised that If I were to solve the rat problem long term I would need to lift the floor height so that I could keep an eye on what was happening below the boards. Simple answer a mezzanine floor I thought.

    Great - but then I got sidetracked. I started to think of a sprung floor suitable for dance. I was away on the internet looking for mirrors to line one wall. It took two days and two reasons to get back on task:

    i) I reluctantly recognised (after much soul searching) that I can't dance very well. my gay Gordons is more gay abandon than anything recognisable, albeit that when I jig I clear the floor....

    Even more reluctantly I came to admit that, at soon to be 63, I've left a little late to start ballet lessons. In any event all the practice in the world wont make me as good as those wonderful Cubans . That Costa guy can not only suspend belief he can suspend gravity..........oh how I wish that I could leap like that.

    I was 43 years old before I came to admit that I was to old to train as a brain surgeon if I really wanted be to be one (which I never did).

    One must grow old with a little grace so I abandoned the idea of the mirrors...

    ii) The clincher finally struck me - that it would simply be pretentious for a tramp to have his own dance floor in his brewhouse. Thus reluctantly I returned to task..............

    Sheff - don't let the bastards drive you out. You should leave when you are ready. There will be a lot less public sector jobs in the North after the election..

    If you are ready to enjoy retirement or semi retirement remember loads of the best things are free.

    The Peak and radio and public library cost next to nowt and it don't cost a fortune to keep a dog...(Have you got a bus pass?) Retirement can be great fun. I like it, but then I'm easily pleased and I never once in my life owned more than three pairs of shoes at any one time.

    Best wishes, I sympathise there is nothing worse than work which gets up your tits.

    Ok coffee break over - back to task I must say crawling under the van to slowly lift it 18 inches in the air has been a challenge to my fitness and suppleness.

    I'm looking forward to more UT2 articles from youse all.

  9. I have decided to insulate beneath the new floor - that way, as I get older, it won't be so cold when I fall down sleepily drunk on it.

  10. Hi Deano,

    Only anecdotal evidence, and not for the acoustic ones, for the magnetic ones: I used to live in a rodent infested house (mice and briefly rats, which we snappy trapped I'm afraid). We reduced the mouse problem using a device that claimed to set up a magnetic field in the wiring, which irritated them into leaving. It seemed to work, to an extent, including (as promised) increasing the activity to begin with as they moved out, then decreasing it, but it was also spring, and they could've been moving out because the weather was better outside anyway.

    Jay (from yesterday) what did you want about rivers?

  11. Dotterel:

    Is it true that there are only three species of mammal who cannot make their own vitamin C -- Humans, Rats, & ???
    (if i may lazily pick your brains)

  12. medve,

    Off the top of my head I thought it was just Humans and Guinea pigs (rats being able to), but I'll look into it.

  13. Dotterel:

    Thanks for putting me straight. Enjoyed your tales of the big cats.

  14. medve,

    Plus one entire primate suborder (the one with humans, monkeys and the great apes in it, not the lemur one), and some bats apparently.

  15. Ok, how do I add a pic of my fast spotty friend to the UT photo gallery?

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  17. Hi folks, long time no see, I'm afraid.

    Having a break from looking over exams, I found the "Women only Question Time" thread, and a poster named GirlyMan (who seems a little bit like a doormat version of BTH). Any previous history?

  18. For fuck sake,

    my post on the Women's question time thread was removed. This was it, can anyone tell me what is offensive about this?

    Womens Question time.

    Will it be questions like:

    ''What time do you call this?''

    ''It's always your mates never your girlfriend isn't it?''

    ''Do you think your pants wash themselves?''

    ''How many times do I have to tell you to put your shoes in the cupboard when you take them off?''

    What in God's name is offensive about that?

    The mods, joyless fucking harridans the lot of them. Hate is allowed on the threads (Deborah Orr piece) but not a bit of light hearted pisstaking. Just about had enough of the place.

    On a brighter note, I've just about got something ready for UT2, hopefully in the next couple of days between packing.

    medve, I haven't had time to decipher the link you sent but I will get round to it.

  19. Your Grace: It was too brilliant for them. I loved it.
    The hate on the Orr piece is amazing.

    So too is the amount of people who believe that Brits without the right pieces of paper are ok, but refugees aren't.

    One rule for us then.

  20. MsR,

    it's the absolute sense of humour bypass they have on 'Wimmin's threads' that always amazes me.

    They're completely po-faced and do nothing for the image of women's libbers as being joyless fundamentalists.

  21. Your Grace. As a girl who fought in the trenches of ad agency sexism in the 80s and did much of it with humour an (the only way)I wish I could tell the po-faced lot that you don't get into the men's room by shouting: you sneak in cleverly.

    All woman QT..what a joke. I'd like to see an all toddler one. More fun.

  22. Girlyman is just messin'

    I am not going to read CIF for a while. The entire Daily Mail readership is on there as well as people who just want to be personal.

  23. hi All

    I'm beginning to wonder just how representative of the emotional and moral health of Britain Cif is.

    If Cif reflects 'standard British thought' then we are certainly fooked.

  24. Leni,

    well, CiF won't be getting any more of my inconsequential ramblings. My post asking why my first post on the QT thread has been vapourised a la GIYUS.

    I won't be back.

  25. GirlyMan came into existence this morning, just for the QT thread.

    The funny part is that his first comment got 19 recommends!

  26. GirlyMan is probably Bitey.

    Dot - wouuld just be interestedto hear about you pottering about in rivers, and what you do in a bit more depth. A momentary bit of escapism for a London office worker ;)

    Duke - you should know by now humour is not funny on a womyns thread. The humorous IS politcal, brute!! I couldnt even be bothered with the thread myself, womens only QT, how bloody infantilising can you get...

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  28. Duke
    i thought your post was funny.

    My standard nag to avid collector of rubbish son is "When are you going to the tip?" When this fails I go all feek and weeble and ask him to vacuum our so called dining room.

    Cif is an interesting read for those who like Dystopia stories.

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  30. Jay
    unfortunately phrased?

    Potter in the shallows swim in more depth.

    But yes - I agree, something from Dot please. I am a purely amateur pond and river dipper. We have very fast flowing river here - small stones and embankment holes are small micro systems of life.

  31. Medve

    i think the nasty stuff is a pandemic.

  32. Jay - doubt he's Bitey, more likely a parody of Bitey.

  33. Oh, and btw, I've suggested a topic for you on the 4th anniversary thread....

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  35. Thauma

    Erm... Well, its sort of, but not quite, probably best described as the emasculating emotional abuse heaped on Men by the "Feminazi!!" platoons over the last 30 years - you know the sort of thing, wearing dungarees and that, boots, sporting bull-dykes on their arm as their grizzly chattel, attacking competitive sport, attacking the dreaded masculinity and testosterone - thats why we're shit at rugby these days. Dungarees killed our team.

    Whereas the Irish, who still harbour some deeply "anti-fem" attitudes vis-a-vis abortion - well, they've come on leaps and bounds, smashed us.

    On the day when the horde finally achieves their dream of creating an exclusionary "safe place" to "dare to speak out" even on BBCs QT, it becomes clear that for equality to become a reality we've still got so far to go.

    Yay or nay?

  36. Jay - that's all well and good, but what about Johnno listening to pan pipe CDs to get in touch with his feminine side? I understand that the front row have group talks with the team psychologist about their feelings, and the entire pack get weekly handy household tip sessions. (The backs don't need them, obviously.)

  37. Jay

    How does this fit in with women playing rugby? Was this a natural progression from dungaree wearing ?

  38. I dont know thaum but it sounds more than plausible, i give you that. I think the backs have been sticking to playing with youth teams, you know, perfecting the "pass, contact, ruck, pass, contact, ruck" routine.

    Next year they are hiring a foreign coach to explain the mythical "miss pass", "dummy runner" and "angle" theories to them. Johnson has expressed concern, "We dont want to rush things, we dont want to overload these guys with concepts and theory, so we're taking it one step at a time, but thats the plan".

  39. "How does this fit in with women playing rugby? Was this a natural progression from dungaree wearing ?"

    Its all part of their subversion, Leni, attacking the most masculine of sports, blurring gender lines, taking BBC Sport resources away from the mens game. Devious stuff.

  40. I now have a mental picture of Johnson getting a facial, manicure and pedicure.

    Dunno about your theory, Jay, Monye seems to have missed the "pass" sessions.

  41. "Monye seems to have missed the "pass" sessions."

    Of course he did, the pass drill is only for the half backs, not the actual backs - that would be madness.

  42. Jay

    I spend time filling in grant apps for local kids - and local sports clubs.

    I managed to get funding to start boxing club. to train people, send volunteer on 'Abuse training scheme' (had to have child protection person) and equipment. Paid for all boys to have medicals before training. Took a long time - finally fulfilled all obligations - I thought. We had to, before this process started, to produce constitution which included girls.

    Finally - after much work by volunteers to convert old chapel, we could call in WABA guys for approval and registration.

    We failed because we had only one loo - could not be shared between girls and boys. OK apparently for Christians to share facilities but not kids. It was back to grant apps and more work.

    It is now mandatory for all local sports clubs to make provision for women and girl players if grant funding is to be obtained. So much for grass roots sports support - same applies to traditional 'girlie' activities, boys have to be admitted, on paper at least even if it's unlikely that they will come.

  43. thauma/Jay

    radfems see rugby as a natural extension of the tireless campaign to subvert patriarchal institutions inherent in the world of sport.

    Is the rugby ball in itself not the shape of a testicle gland? Therefore the symbolic punt involved in kicking the rugby ball intepolates itself as a brutal kick in the testical gland as deserved by all males.

    The All Black Haka has also been adopted as the acceptance and embodiment of the woman's urge to scream, shout and intimidate one week in every four with no fear of masculine ridicule.

    Indeed the first verse of the haka comes from an ancient female Maori cry to her male:

    Kikiki kakaka kauana!
    Kei waniwania taku tara
    Kei tarawahia, kei te rua i te kerokero!
    He pounga rahui te uira ka rarapa;
    Ketekete kau ana to peru kairiri
    Mau au e koro e – Hi! Ha!

    roughly translates as:

    ''get out my way you useless bastard,
    there's no way you're watching the football tonight,
    I need carbs!!!''

  44. Thauma

    The only way to solve this is to genetically engineer sports people - either lacking gender or incorporating both.

    We will have to decide if we include beards and other essentials into this new design.

    Perhaps we can get grant funding for reseach and for sounding out public opinion.

  45. Christ, sounds horrific Leni, i dont know how anyone could tolerate the mind-numbing bureaucracy of it, and the pettiness. Did you manage to get it through in the end?

    I heard a vaguely similar story from the US, in universities. Under equality laws i think it became mandatory to have an equal number of sports teams for men and women, so 3 "football" teams for men, must have 3 football teams for women.

    If they could not get enough women for 3 teams, only 1, for instance, they could only have 1 mens football team so a load of people (presumably men and women in various sports) couldnt play sport at uni because there wasnt gender parity in take up. I dont remember details, but pretty sure that was the gist of it.

  46. I have very little knowledge of the rugby / feminism dichotomy, but just thought I'd throw in the fact that France are playing Italy in the Women's 6 Nations on Saturday, in Montpellier - women get in free.

    This is presumably a microcosm of something.

    Anyway. Two-and-a-half-hour french lesson after only four hours sleep - i rate my chances of making sense today as slim to nil. but his grace's questions made I laugh...

  47. Leni - mwah ha ha - I think we could have fun with that! Can I do Man U and Chelsea players?

  48. Your scholarly work never ceases to amaze me, Duke.

    Whens your piece going up?

  49. Jay - I believe you're thinking of Title IX. It's not that draconian - there have to be "equal opportunities", which doesn't mean "equal numbers playing the *same* sport". I believe it's greatly increased women's opportunities to play sport, which is a good thing, imho. Before, there wouldn't be any funding at all for it because it all went to the blokey sports.

  50. I suspect though, Thaum, it would make sports like netball and "football" incrdibly oversubscribed - lots of people wanting to play who couldnt because they are not typically gender equal in take up. Sounds a typically crude corrective measure to me.

  51. Jay

    Yes - finally. It is now thriving - boys and young men only !

    The secret of securing grant funding lies in knowing the current buzz words and in incorporating them into PC phrases and sentences, I think it's called BS.

    The monitoring forms are another matter altogether. You have to show you have ticked all boxes -reaching wonderful objectives such as 'increased social capital' is an absolute must. It's a world all on its own. Failure to tick the boxes can result in loss of funding and angry kids back on the street.

  52. Really does sound horrific and surreal, Leni, glad to hear you got it up and running though. I think Ally has spoken before on the fine art of grant applications, buzz words and wanky phrases, he sounded equally infuriated.

  53. Thauma

    Feel free - all designs welcome.

    I remember I very frightening gym mistress fom school who could act as a model.

    I do agree the womens sport needs funding - I just don't understand why we all have to become monochrome robots.

    What's with this radfem demand that women have to be allowed to serve as front line troops. I don't think men should be there in the first place.

  54. Jay,

    should be this weekend. Trying to get a minute between work and packing isn't easy, but I should have some rubbish on UT2 by the weekend.

  55. Good stuff, Duke, what date you leaving blighty?

  56. Just ploughing through the Question time thread! Depressing!

    One ray of light though Jay 73
    "Changes of more substance are required in the long term. And never ever forget that one day, the idea will be to not even discuss how much of a role women have or whether they're equal. Because it will be automatically assumed that women are equal. To get to that point men and women need to be united with each other. That's the point." (my emphasis)

    Threads threads demonstrate so clearly how guardian type feminism does not unite men and women but divides them.

    Which is why we get all those irritating hard done by men (who probably have never hazarded their lives for their country or done a job more dangerous than switching on a PC) who bang on about men dying in wars and women giving out white feathers! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

  57. are people now answering questions before they're asked?

    ah. i see. previous question. that makes more sense.

    ignore me, i'm frazzled...

  58. my loopy mind has just remembered alternative creation story.

    Adam was created as man & woman - back to back. Didn't work work too well in the go forth and multiply routine. So second attempt was made - man only. Sadly Adam became frustrated again and starting eying up the beasts of the field (more than eying - some sampling was involved). Si Lilith was created - from earth and dung. She was a bit of a madam - demanding she lay atop Adam which insulted his masculinity. Lilith exiled to the place of demons - where she birthed numerous smaller demonic folk.

    finally problem solved - Eve made from Adam's rib - tranquility restored, animals free to wander without fear of rapacious male.

  59. Leni - ay, hence Lilith Fair, the travelling feminist rock festival...

    meaning that it's the festival that travels. rather than it being for 'travelling feminists'. which is the subject of this week's guardian travel special.

  60. Leni "What's with this radfem demand that women have to be allowed to serve as front line troops. I don't think men should be there in the first place."

    Agree Leni - once said the same thing to my dad re: coalmining. Whilst its true that mining gave livlihoods to many communities its a dreadful way to have to earn a living.

    So is fighting in wars.

  61. Philippa

    I haven't seen that.


    Agree about mining. I knew an elderly VN refugee - Fee - she was notable for her upright stance despite being in her late 70s. It transpired that she had worked in N Viet mine as a hauler. She had pulled the drams with a strap around her forehead- all her working life, from late childhood. Her body was locked into the straining, hauling position. Closer examination showed she had a distorted skull.

  62. PhilippaB..I love Montpelier. I first found it in 1985 backpacking and was in love then.

  63. Wybourne

    Good luck with the move and your new life in Leiden.

    Please keep us updated once you have settled in.

    Well, CiF won't be getting any more of my inconsequential ramblings. My post asking why my first post on the QT thread has been vapourised a la GIYUS.

    I won't be back.

    Despite the fact that I had just started to take a new avatar out for a spin over there, I think I am going to join you in not going there any more.

    Apart from thinking, as I have said here recently, that blogging and commenting are not really the ways to achieve anything, I find that I simply have no real interest in anything which happens there any more.

    I wish there was a sense of loss or outrage or even boredom, but the truth is I simply don't care any more. It is like seeing snooker on the television. The most I can do is acknowledge that it is there and beyond that, there is nothing.

    I am not sure what I will be doing with free moments or bits of free time to plug the gap but I am fairly sure that CiF will no longer feature in any of it.

    I had thought that if I left, it would be for a reason. Instead - nothing.

  64. Atomboy

    I'm not so much leaving as fizzling out.

  65. Atomboy - and so it ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

    About that new avatar....

  66. Leni

    We should all choose our own methods and comings and goings. Whatever is good for you.


    Oh, yes, if anyone wants new clothes to dress up in, I can try to jot down my back catalogue and make them available for adoption.

    Some of the more recent ones are on the naughty step and I would have to spend some time thinking about the ones I just peremptorily abandoned, but there must be quite a collection.

  67. Just wondering if it had already been spotted...

  68. there's a lot of truth in this

    #This is responsibility-shifting of epic proportions. In effect the liberal intelligentsia is blaming Fergus and her so-called lynch mob for things that it is largely responsible for. It was not Fergus, a relatively powerless woman in Liverpool, who demonised youth and gave birth to a new era of emotionalism in politics. Those are key trends of New Labour’s New Britain, which from the outset has been built on suspicion of working-class communities (in particular their seemingly un-socialisable youth) and on the promotion of the politics of emotion and the politics of victimhood to fill the vacuum left by the death of the politics of conviction. Ashamed, and possibly even a little appalled, at the backward nation they helped to create, New Labourites and the intelligentsia now try to pin the blame for the whole thing on a handful of weeping Scousers.#

    As for CIF...I'm only ever going back to take the piss or object to something I find beyond the fuckin pale. Was nearly tempted by the zounds piece yesterday, even though I liked the general tenor of the piece and the guy seems pretty sincere and well intentioned. My objections would have centred around:

    a) the guy doesn't seem to know what communism is; unless he genuinely believes that it is related somehow to small cooperatives and communes.

    #Communism no longer means red flags and symbolic marches. It certainly doesn't mean a party or a centralised state enslaving its people. Today, it is what it was first intended as – working people organising democratically outside the specialised area allotted for politics by the state. It means organising in our workplace, our community, even in our homes, in order to gain control over the decisions that influence our everyday lives.#

    ...he is unequivocally describing a form of democratic socialism here...this bears little relation to anything that was ever denoted 'communist'...I'm not criticising his agenda..just his terminology and particularly his failure to read Marx...if he had, he couldn't possibly think of himself as a communist.

    b) I'd have made a certain ironic reference to his being a middle-class artist...just the sort of 'communist' that CIF would swoon over...even the Guardian staff were bowled over by the eloquence and sincerity of this 'proletarian'...I wonder how many Northern steel-workers or machinists who'd managed to set up a workers' cooperative would have been given a blog.

    Still...on the whole I liked it..so..er...long live the metropolitan 'creatives'...and their proletarian revolution.

  69. thaum

    Just wondering if it had already been spotted...

    I think one of the little twinklers thought s/he knew, but was actually under a long-standing misapprehension of who they think is whom anyway.

    I trust I make myself obscure.


    ..so..er...long live the metropolitan 'creatives'...and their proletarian revolution.

    Yes, if they ever actually met a real, large-as-life working class person, they would think they had discovered another species.

  70. Atomboy - indeed you do. Although I think I know who labours under the misapprehension.

    MF - that article you linked to reminded me of one of the letters in the print version the other day - a letter of completely astounding hypocrisy from the head of the Management Institute or somesuchlike, saying that the failure of the latest NHS trust to have serious problems was down to not having enough properly trained managers.

    I ask you!

    She even *mentioned* that box-ticking was part of the problem!

  71. Evening all.
    @ leni, an acquaintance shall we say of mine (one close to home :)) has an 'interesting' approach to applying for grants. You master the bullshit, constructing the phrases they love. It resembles English superficially in that you know what all of the words mean individually (even if they are just woolly,imprecise ones), but when strung together artfully, or even hyphenated to each other, they become magic. There's no meaning in there, but hey,presto, the coffers open and out comes the loot.
    As for the monitoring, you can pretty much wing that, using finger-in-the-air numbers (don't take the piss too much). Stick in some accompanying bullshit bingo written account of progress (our dynamic diversity-enhancing outreach methodology has established a solid baseline, from which our scoping exercise indicates an upwards direction of travel is both feasible and relatively resource-neutral) [or, once we're up and running, more folk'll come and it'll all tick over.
    If there are any awkward questions, ask them to visit. I'm sure you're doing good stuff, and the desk-jockeys are always dumbfounded when they encounter real people doing worthwhile things on a relative pittance. They can't play silly buggers after that.

  72. Here it is. First lettter. Beyond fucking belief.

    Does she really think that it's hospital staff who are making up the targets? NO, it's fucking management consultants hired at our expense by the idiocracy than runs the country.

  73. ^^ *that* runs ...

    Alisdair - nice one! It's sad that one has to buy into the bullshit though.

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  76. "Now Cheney's daughter, Liz, has taken up the cudgel by heading what some are describing as a McCarthyite campaign to purge the government of lawyers who dared to defend men, and even a child, accused of terrorism. The lawyers drew particular ire by sometimes defeating in court the Bush administration's attempts to declare itself beyond the law.

    Liz Cheney and her organisation, Keep America Safe, have dubbed lawyers who acted on behalf of accused terrorists, and who now work for the department of justice, the "al-Qaida seven". The group has rebranded the justice department the "department of jihad".


  77. Evening all

    I am just gonna look at Deborah Orr's piece now. I will no doubt want to punch people afterwards.

    Had a suitably hellish day, as predicted. Files missing, witnesses missing, highly strung defendants crying. Meh.

    Time for beer and telly and browsing.

  78. What's the difference between the 13thDuke and a PFI scheme?

    I've finished my scheme (UT2 piece) ahead of schedule, under cost and I won't tie Montana in to a financially ruinous 30 year contract.

    So I have a couple of questions for those in the know. How do I put my article on UT2?

    Secondly, my article has lots of the italic tags, do these work when you paste your article on to UT2? Cheers in advance for the answers.


    we're off for a permanent ''shmoke and a pancake'' a week tomorrow.

  79. Jay: I'm going to have to stick up for Title IX, here. It really has been one of those instances of a positive step in providing opportunities for girls/women. Title IX went into effect in 1978. In its very earliest days, there may well have been a few instances of creating a women's lacrosse team and no one showing up to be on it, but nowadays, it simply does what it was designed to do -- make sure that girls and women have equal opportunities to participate in sports. As Thauma said, it isn't that there have to be women's versions of every sport -- there are few, if any, women's (American) football teams at America's universities, but there are soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, etc. teams.

    At the time that Title IX went into effect, there were only 3 sports for girls in my high school: basketball, softball and track and field. More or less the same girls went out for all of them. There was a bit of a stigma attached to going out for sports in those days -- only the "tomboys" went out for sports. That has changed completely. There are probably 5 times as many girls going out for sports as trying out for cheerleading and the cheerleaders aren't the queen bees that they were in my day.

    Once in awhile, governments (even the US government) get it right. Title IX was one of those times.

  80. Wybourne: either e-mail the piece to me and I'll put it up for you, or just e-mail me so that I have your e-mail address and can send you the invite that you need to be added to the contributor list. Then you can put it up yourself. montana DOT wildhack AT live DOT com

  81. Oh, and Jay: reprehensible as Liz Cheney is, it may cheer you a bit to know that even most Republicans are condemning her for this stunt.

  82. Hi Montana,

    you've got mail as the terrible Ryan/Hanks film was entitled.

  83. FFS, I really shouldn't read the letters, as I have a tendency to do over dinner, and have just done. Some twat today is objecting to the Graun's coverage of Brown's evidence to the Chilcot enquiry in that it presents the Iraq war as a bad thing, as opposed to the lovely liberation that it obviously was.

    Duke - good luck on the move! I don't envy you: I hate moving. Getting to the new destination is all right, but the process is horrendous! Looking forward to your piece and have no idea how you've managed it amongst the chaos. Unless of course the Duchess has been doing all the hard work.

    Jay, where'd you get that Liz Cheney bit? I read something very similar on a US website today. The whole Cheney family is obviously pure evil.

    BB - hope the beer, telly and browsing are having a suitably soporific effect.

  84. MF - that is hilarious! At least, it would be, if you didn't think about the 70,000 poor sods that the evil bastard has operated on.

  85. Hehehe. Thanks Thaum. Chilling out a bit now.

    The worrying thing about that article, MF, is the number of people who will believe it. "The Devil Made Me Do It" is usually something that gets people locked up in secure mental facilities for a very long time...

  86. I left before Bru did...But don't let any facts get in the way of your cosy narratives.

  87. Evening all

    Just back from burying my lovely cousin. A humanist funeral deep in the Forest of Dean followed by a boozy gathering in a pub down by the river in Ross - altogether a very satisfactory send off.

    Have had a few too many to risk posting on the Deborah Orr piece, which I had a quick skim through. I can imagine the horrors on the thread.

    Think I actually need to get horizontal and quietly pass out now.

  88. Sheff - deep sympathies. Sounds like a lovely good-bye; what every right-thinking person would want.

    Sleep tight.

  89. thauma,

    thanks for the best wishes. Moving is a ballache, moving abroad, erm a double ballache.

    Just stuck my piece on UT2. Hope you all like it.

    If you think it's a bag o' shite just gogartize me, I'm big and ugly enough to take it, plus I'm leaving the country ;)

  90. Your XIIIth - I will have a quick look now, but am on my way upstairs so will probably refrain from commenting until the morrow.

  91. Sheff,

    best wishes, it seems to have been a tough few days for you.

  92. BB: i have sent something to your inbox.

  93. Yr grace

    I enjoyed that and it made me realise how little I actually know about Adam Smith. I really hope it gets people posting who know more about it than I do and generates a decent conversation.

    Thanks for hugs and bests folks - really must go and lie down now...

  94. "What's the difference between the 13thDuke and a PFI scheme?"

    I shall miss these Dukeisms...

    Montana - fair enough, i only ever read one writer's view on it so probably got a distorted view. Sounds like a decent policy in practice from what you and thaum say. I stand corrected.

    And yes it does make me feel better to hear republicans have condemned it, it was a very disturbing read. (thaum - i pasted from graun)

    Sorry to hear about the funeral, sheff, hope all went ok.

  95. Also, on QT, is there any man in the country more repugnant than Kelvin McKenzie? Grotesque little man.

  96. Good vibes in Sheff's direction...sounds like a 'characteristic' send-off, which has to be the best thing.

    Auntie Phyllis had something similar, and it was very 'her' - cardboard coffin, plot in a 'new forest' near Brighton, lilac tree ordered to be planted on top, instructions left including "no black clothes, no God, no crying".

    We chose to ignore the last bit.

  97. Actually watched genuine French telly tonight for the first time in ages (instead of US imports or the film). Noticed two things.

    Earlier, they had Aubry (Socialist Party leader) and Bertrand (UMP / Tory leader) debating for half an hour on the regular TF1 news. Heated, of course, with elections coming up, but even with my restricted knowledge of the language, more 'fact-based' and comprehensive than what UK pols get up to. Bit annoying that Aubry's point about the devastatingly bad unemployment situation in France is proved by only the UK being worse...

    And just now, was watching 'tonight or never', with about eight people sitting around for an hour and a half, discussing a variety of subjects under a general theme (tonight - the precautionary principle / risk and perceptions of same). No pols, but a bunch of experts from different disciplines, nobody talking over anybody else, no butting in, people putting their hands up when they want to say something out of turn...

    No point to make really, other than I will be watching more of this, and will just give up listening to any questions...

  98. Sheff - a big cyber hug is winging its way to you. It sounds like a good send off for your lovely cousin.

    I haven't been on any of the serious threads for the last few days really due to intense anxiety over the camera (tomorrow) and the fact that it has made me even more irritable than my usual ratty self and likely to be banned for life. But even on the dog thread today got so riled. One poster told us how his/her father who lived in the country had a lovely mastiff and it was a gorgeous dog but it is when - exact words here - 'scrotes on council estates get these dogs' that things go wrong. At least five different posters recommended banning people in social housing from having dogs. YOu could not fucking make it up.

    On a personal note my mum has gone to bed two hours ago pissed (just rang to say goodnite) and she is taking me to the hosp tomorrow morning for the procedure. So now am literally having a panic attack as I do not know who is going with me because I cannot see her being in a fit state. My step dad said she been really worried about me losing all this weight and because she hasn't wanted to worry me has kept it all in and it has come out in a mad beer binge the night before the bleeding test! And she is in her sixties with angina so mad beer binges not good. I need a fuckin drink me'self.

    Sorry for the rant - I had to vent!

  99. argh, princess, not what you need! am sure it will be OK - good vibes also in your direction, good luck for tomorrow.

    (ps - have noticed, dog-wise, that the local hardmen here are much more likely to be followed around by a tiny trotting perky chihuahua-type dog than anything that could have acted in Oliver Twist. maybe they're more comfortable with their masculinity. quite a sight, though...)

  100. This comment has been removed by the author.

  101. have just been vastly cheered up to see that imasmadashell is back, and as good as ever...

    is the clippings function fucked for everyone, or just me? because i had lots of good stuff squirrelled away in there (including a couple of recipes), but when I try to access anything, it just got 'bonk' (literally) and sends me to an error page...

  102. good article, your grace - will read again tomorrow when less red wine is affecting my cognitive facutlies.

    and spleling.

  103. Good piece, Duke, have left a lengthy ramble over UT2.

  104. House of Commons has refurbished a bar for £400k, with another £400k planned?

    Still hasn't got a creche. Still has a shooting gallery.

    Apparently some of the bar furniture can be used for the eventual creche. Right. Because if I had a two-year-old I'd want them on a four foot stool playing a slot machine.

    I know it's pointless in the greater scheme of things, but I am very cross about this...

  105. Your grace I am going to read your article properly and comment on it tomorrow but it is excellent. I will re read with a hopefully clear mind later in the day tomorrow and leave a ramble myself.

  106. Oh Philippa - thanks. I am a bit calmer now - just couldn't believe it that she has gone and got wasted tonight of all nights! I am sure she is turning into a geriatric 'problem drinker'. The other night we were giving her a lift home and she was pretty 'merry' then. Anyway I told her at one point - jokingly - that she could always walk as she was moaning about wanting to pass a shop to buy some brandy. Her reply? 'Fine by me, I will probably pass an off licence on my travels.' It did make me chuckle. But I think she is becoming a binge drinker in her dotage. On any other occassion I would take my hat off to her. Gawd love her (and I do).

  107. MPs/Lord up in court for fraud will be citing "parliamentary privilege", not because they think they are above the law, but because...

    [complete in twenty words or less and win a duck-house]

  108. Philippa:

    Of course you are right to be cross. Perhaps the bar stools, ashtrays, and one-armed bandits will be for the use of the staff of the creche.

    Has done wonders for your spelling though. Worth every penny of the 40 000 000 (pennies). Or is that 80 million?

  109. MPs/Lord up in court for fraud will be citing "parliamentary privilege", not because they think they are above the law, but because...

    [complete in twenty words or less and win a duck-house]

    they can!

  110. Can i swap the duck-house for the bath plug?

  111. well, we'll have to wait until all the entries are in, but I can throw in an Austin Mitchell kettle for the best one that rhymes...

  112. Best wishes and sympathy to both pcc and sheff.