30 March 2010


The first recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet was in 240 BC.  US Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars in 1867.  The Yonge Street subway line, Canada's first subway, opened in 1954.

Born today:  Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Anna Sewell (1820-1878), Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Sean O'Casey (1880-1964), Countee Cullen (1903-1946), Tom Sharpe (1928), Rolf Harris (1930), Warren Beatty (1937), Graeme Edge (1941), Eric Clapton (1945), Robbie Coltrane (1950), MC Hammer (1962), Tracy Chapman (1964), Piers Morgan (1965), Celine Dion (1968) and Norah Jones (1979).

It is Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day in Trinidad and Tobago.


  1. Turkeys who voted for Xmas.

  2. Morning all.

    See what you mean Montana.You can almost feel
    the Republican spirit oozing out of those
    'good ole boys'.Or could it be a setting for
    a KKK meeting once night falls?All that 'Tea
    Party' bollocks could simply be a ruse!

  3. It's intriguing that so many TP numpties are from states like the Carolinas. It's one of my pet theories that the US suffered a great ethnic loss when the Highland Scots departed in large numbers for Canada after the rebel victory. Areas like Edgefield County that were settled by Ulster Scots had astonishingly high levels of violence and feuds. And they were the people who won the Revolution at Kings Mountain, afterwards killing prisoners they didn't like and urinating on the body of that gallant Scot Patrick Ferguson.

    Haven't changed much over the years - as many black faces among them now as then.

    The Goya is a fabulous painting, thanks Montana.

  4. That Goya painting is fantastic Edwin.

    Though, as Michael Kazin, the author of “The Populist Persuasion,” notes, they tended to push for more government involvement. The Tea Party vehemently wants less — though a number of its members acknowledge that they are relying on government programs for help.


  5. Goya's a pretty powerful painter.

    The third of May 1808 above represents the brutality of the French occupation of Spain during the Napoleonic wars.

    It's also one of the first portayals of the guerilla, the type of warfare that first emerged in effective form during the occupation. Due to the success of the Spanish guerillas (The Spanish Ulcer), Napoleon had to station over 200,000 troops in Spain, proving to be the catalyst for his eventual downfall.

    An even more powerful painting is Saturn devouring his own son.

    Using Greek myth it represents the chaos of Spain from the Napleonic period onwards and can also be used as an allegory of the Spanish Civil War over 100 years after it was painted in 1823.


    thanks for the Dutch literature tips yesterday, I'll look into it. At the moment my Dutch reading consists of De Volkskrant and Voetbal International.

    When I'm more confident I'll dive into the literature!

  6. Good morning.

    A very powerful and memorable painting.

    Montana Stupid, hypocritical, right-wing fuckwits

    There's no need to mince words. Tell us what you really think!

  7. Meanwhile on this side of the pond a tiny bit of HOPE?

    A friend e-mailed me this link this morning! The sun is shining its a good day. :-D

  8. Happy birthday Boudican - thou be right.

  9. Cheers annetan - a grand read.

  10. Just posted some thoughts on one of my favourite socialist essays from the 19th century - Useful Work and Useless Toil by William Morris.

  11. Re the painting - v different styles, but isn't there a very similar set-up in the National Gallery, only it's in fragments? So they've framed the bits they have but there's lots of blank space? Thought that was Goya, but it's much more 'bleached' and trad in form.

    Can't remember...

  12. Philippa - I suspect you are thinking of Manet's 'The Execution of Maximilian'.


  13. And, on a happier note, Ricky Martin is gay!

    Boy, who knew, what a surprise, didn't see that coming, etc etc etc.

    Rather sweet approach demonstrated, however:
    "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am."

  14. Lavartis - yes, that's it! I think - had remembered it slightly differently - funny how the mind changes memories...

  15. Is there anybody out there? Who's in Denmark?

  16. I don't often agree with haardvaark, but this has to be one of the best put-downs I've seen in a while:
    "I suppose if political consciences had to be licensed, yours would be cheaper as it's black and white."

  17. Ah okay - this who's on line thingy offers some sense and nonsense. I'm the current Australian hit on line (obviously) - but I'm not part of what you're talking about now - so apologies for interrupting. I'm actually reading UT conversations from about nine days ago and only just now finding out about the 'flag on line' stuff.

    The nature of opportunity to be on-line (Dott will know this) means that sometimes I'm away for ages - but still interested. Perhaps that's why Sheff (parachute-in) and Scherf(lurkers)don't understand my interaction and assume hostility.

    Anyway I'm heading back from your current chat to the archived weeks' ago worth of chat - I'm presently reading/watching a shark-jumping episode ... it's not a good look guys. I'm siding with Hank at the moment.

  18. I have been plagued for most afternoon by this friendly message:


    Server Error
    The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.

    Please try again in 30 seconds.

    nicely rendered according to the google style.

    Your Grice,

    If you get on all right with the Volkskrant, you will certainly get on just fine with Elsschot. Never a word too much. A bit like Eric Blair, but easier somehow. And it has remained "modern" for many decades now.

  19. Montana

    I think i owe you a delayed apology for my
    now deleted rant in the early hours of sunday.
    Although it wasn,t directed at you it was a
    bit OTT on my part and you,ve got enough to
    deal with at the moment.I can be a bit hot-
    headed at times but i,m not a total psycho!

    Will try to avoid any repetition in future
    by either self-medicating or blowing into a

  20. To any male Untrusties with a grooming fetish!

    Body Shop are doing a 'street promotion'directed
    at men.So you may find yourself being approached
    by a green clad young woman who will smile
    invitingly at you as she hands you a sample.

    The sample is basically a splodge of green stuff
    which is contained in a small green container
    and is in fact hand cream.It actually looks
    like what i imagine a faecal sample would
    be from someone with a liver problem.Anyway
    the green container in which this muck is placed is attached to a voucher headed-FILL ME,TRY ME,LOVE ME- and promises £3 of your
    next purchase.And because we are men they have
    also been kind enough to also put instructions on the voucher on how a hand cream should be

  21. ok - finished now, well sort of - had to end up doing a Ctl+F to get through it all.

    I think you're right deano, the Aus hits this site gets are probably from WA - full of racist poms and saffas:)

    So ... scherf, enjoy the barren garden you've created, I won't be back

    glad to see olching has demolished the link from his website

    last laugh: 'It was Renault who got me interested in classical philosophy' - stuffs fist in mouth.

  22. parallax

    last laugh: 'It was Renault who got me interested in classical philosophy' - stuffs fist in mouth.

    Whats so hysterical about that? More snobbery than intellectual weight I would guess.

  23. Oh I get it...being an Aussie you probably thought I was talking about the car!

  24. Sheff: In France M&MdM Renault were refused permission to name their daughter Mégane.

  25. Paul - instructions? what are they thinking you'll do with hand cream? actually, don't answer that...

    Sheff - chuckling...

  26. Phillipa

    Seems the self styled intellectual giants are abandoning the UT. I wonder if we'll notice the difference.


    It actually looks like what i imagine a faecal sample would be from someone with a liver problem

    Sounds revolting - not one of their most promising promotion ideas.

  27. Hello visitor from Singapore!

  28. parallaxview,

    "The nature of opportunity to be on-line (Dott will know this) means that sometimes I'm away for ages - but still interested. "

    Yup, what I tend to do is do a search for the phrase "Dot", and respond if someone wants something from me, otherwise I tend to think that past discussions are best left alone......

  29. To Lavartis from Pen:

    And could someone please post on the UNTRUSTED (I have no access to it) to LAVARTIS that I got his letter and would just love him to visit anytime. I am in for the duration at the moment. Also tell him I was so touched at his thoughtful kindness. I will not ring at the moment as I want to make a point.

  30. @ sheff "Seems the self styled intellectual giants are abandoning the UT." Blimey, who'd they be? You should wear your learning lightly (if at all: after all life is absurd)
    @PhilippaB and Paul. I shit you not but there is/was a grooming/hand cream on the shelves by a big manufacturer in the UK, aimed at men, called "Hand Relief".

  31. Letters are getting through to pen - good news.

    Lavartis - can you let us know what it is? Montana has my email if you don't want to post it up here.

  32. Alisdair

    Tt was just a comment directed at parallax - he obviously thinks reading Mary Renault is way beneath him. Although if he did it might encourage him to lighten up a bit.

  33. Follow-up message:

    Oh and please add to Lavartis that I am on Avery ward, where the caged birds sing freedom songs. But I have heard the mermaids sing to me.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. what is pen's real name? the waddya where I last recall him posting it seems to have been hoovered...

  36. Phillipa

    pen's name is Jonathan Chase I think.

  37. Hey folks.

    Anybody know how to do a cheeky 'proxy server re-route whatsit', so I can watch the Chancellors debate on 4OD??

    (turns out that watching it live 'on twitter' isn't so informative afterall!!)

  38. scherf (I think) gave me a link to download a TVU player, but that only works for real time (and whatever channels are 'up' at any one time...)

    i'm no help other than that - anyone fancy streaming the boat race this weekend? ahem.

  39. Lavartis

    what is what?

    pen's address

  40. I have gone visible again apparently.

  41. @James

    There are various fiddles to do this, involving things like TOR and VPN clients - are you Windows or Mac or something else? I'll try to dig up some simple instructions for you.

  42. Hi All

    medve--The flag of Hungary is flying on my screen.

    deano--thanks for that, we share the day with some interesting folk.

  43. Evening all.

    What possessed the Labour Party to wheel out His Blairness today?

    Respect to the former miner I heard on R4 on the way home from work, who wanted to know why, when he paid for policing, the police hadn't kept TB out of the area.

  44. Peter


    I just found some website, but there was some sort of JavaScript error or something, which may or may not be something to do with my PC netbook. I'm a bit of a numpty when it comes to IT, and I'm fairly certain the debate wasn't worth going to any trouble over....

  45. Quote of the day from Madasafish on TB:

    "Tony Blair comes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.."

    Right, I'll shut up about TB now.

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Hello MsChin

    Just dropped in.

    Sideways wind and large lumps of hail here - what happened to Spring ?

  48. Dott

    The story of the falling starlings - any ideas ?

    Starlings are among the precision flockers of the bird world - how could this happen ?

  49. Medve

    Why are you trying to be invisible?

  50. Hi Leni

    What's this about falling starlings?

  51. Evening all - flying visit as I have a shedload of work. My clerks seem to think that people being off on hols this weeks means "take the same number of cases as usual but give them all to Jane".

    Marvellous. Not.

    They wanted me to do 3 at the immigration tribunal today, including an asylum case. I threw all my toys out of the pram in the end and said I would only do two.

    Another two tomorrow, so I really need to get them sorted.

    Hope all is well

    Happy Birthday to Boudican and Deano, if it is today. Big hugs xx

  52. MsChin
    Apparently about 70 of them fell out of te sky - killed on impact with no signs of gas cloud or whatever. Broken wings and beaks but no other signs - no disease or whatever.

    I like starlings so was upset !

  53. Leni

    How strange. Can understand your being upset, much of the bird population has had enough to contend with over the winter.

  54. And before I sign out - more hugs for ((Montana)) and thanks for the photo on yesterday's thread. Such a lovely smile, such a sad story.

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. 70 starlings fall out of the sky? possible EMP in the area? god, sound like giyus now...

    am just back from pub having had a whole pint thrown over me (inadvertently). and damp and smell of beer. hate beer. grrrrr.

  57. If peter Bracken is around after the football: Peter, I think the OBL/Hitler line is too glib and easy and misses an awful lot. Some academic friends and acquaintances of mine (oh, and my father-in-law) have quite considerable expertise on this and I've previously chewed things relating to OBL over with them. Contact me via clicking on my user name here, and I can provide you with some leads.
    In short, pursuing the analogy too far is gravely counter-productive, as in terms of modus operandi, OBL is possibly best viewed as operating outside of power politics,state structures, maintaining a mystique which allows for wide-scale projection on to him of any of the desires of the dispossessed, opening them up to his message (which when analysed amounts to very little other than destroy the kufr and his ways).Hitler was all about power structures and capture of the political process.There's loads more I could add but it's late

  58. 'am just back from pub having had a whole pint thrown over me (inadvertently). and damp and smell of beer. hate beer. grrrrr.'

    I have always hated pubs Phillipa (thanks again for the tip re Beyond Black I am annoyed at missing it).

    The starlings thing is weird leni. Did anyone else see the old Bill Oddie TV bit on starlings roosting? - the finest sight in nature says Bill and i won't quarrel with that.

    We never see them in any numbers in Glasgow any more, just the odd pair - a real shame.

    Night all - knackered!

  59. Pen said on waddya he could do with some music... isn't there a way to get some to him?

  60. kiz - he referred to various sites being blocked, but I'd imagine BBC wouldn't be? Thus could get hold of live streams / podcasts of the various BBC channels - but that would (I imagine) require him to be in the 'puter room. Only way to get music beyond that would be to get an ipod / MP3 player in to him.

  61. the 'coming out' thread has brought out the disco diva in me...

    edwin - like pubs when quiet - afternoon footy and all - but when packed, my 'crowd' reaction kicks in, and my blood pressure rises ten points...

    am soaking clothes.

  62. and in the world's weirdest youtube 'connected links' situation...

  63. Just back online after overnight outage

  64. Morning Medve, Morning folks!

    Apparently Michael Gove thinks disadvantaged children would benefit from longer hours in school.

    More of the system that is already failing them is bound to work!

    I give up!