25 July 2010


Chop Suey - Edward Hopper

He who is not very strong in memory should not meddle in lying.
-Michel de Montaigne


  1. Haven't seen Medve for awhile. Did he say he was going on holiday and I didn't catch that? Hope he's okay.

  2. Just reading the FGM thread comments nearly all supportive.

    Good article shows a growing support for ending the practice amongst women and men in the communities affected.

    Couldn't face the video though.

    Its a grim subject and of course male circumcision was mentioned (its not comparable with the full FGM practiced by some communities, although its still done to infants and therfore without the child's consent).

    But one poster, discussing male circumcision made what I think is the typo of the year.

    Somehow the supporters of male circumcision have managed to sell the world the big lie that the foreskin is a useless unfeeling waste of skin. I find this amazing, as many millions of males with intact foreskins can attest to the fact that it is indeed an erroneous zone...

    Felt a bit uncomfortable laughing at this on such a serious thread but its classic isn't it?

  3. Haven't seen that thread, but just came back over after reading the thread that accompanies the editorial about the lack of prosecutions for FGM and it, so far, is mostly a bunch of whataboutery.

    Now, I didn't have my son circumcised, despite the fact that most Americans still do out of alleged health benefits, because I just couldn't see any reason to put him through that pain. However, it is my understanding that, once it's done, boys/men don't actually suffer any physical pain as a result of having been circumcised, so the vehemence of the "What about teh menz?" is a bit mystifying to me.

    Is there something about circumcision that I'm not picking up on or are the whatabouters just too stupid to understand that FGM results in lifelong pain and health risks?

  4. Good morning.

    Just paid a visit to the FGM thread, and I'm shocked at the lack of understanding of just what FGM is, and what the consequences of it are. Or may be I'm not.

    Bit early in the morning for such a serious debate, but someone's gotta have a go, so I've posted a link to the WHO website, which makes it pretty clear just what a serious thing FGM is for women.

  5. Just finished reading the FGM thread that Annetan referred to. A bit less whataboutery there, but I love that some fuckwit called TarzaninMyPubes rants about feminists supposedly condoning FGM out of cultural relativism and later in the thread another fuckwit named JohnKimble1 rants about feminist double standards in acting like FGM is the worst thing ever while thinking that circumcision is okay.

  6. Montana

    I still haven't found the thread Anne's talking about!

  7. Montana - understand that male circumcision is argued to lead to loss of sensitivity later on, so can impact on sexual pleasure. Also, if it goes wrong...

    have to admit, saw the headline of the main article and clicked swiftly away. makes me want to vomit.

  8. plus - WTF were the polizei doing at Duisburg, sending people away from the official entrance but not blocking off the tunnel? Good God.

  9. FGM on a Sunday morning how nice for us all.

    The subject is bad enough but the public discussions of it seem to be worse.

    I've read Ms Chins post and it is sad that something like that has to be posted over and over again in these threads.

    I especially liked the fact that who ever wrote what she quoted felt they had to explain what the labia are.

    It drives me mad that there are so many people who think male circumcision is such an urgent issue (and I don't think any religious or cultural genital mutilation should be allowed by the way) but only remember how important it is to them when a FGM article comes up.

    I was reading a thread about breast ironing, which is a growing problem in Camaroon, and not only did I have to get my head around the fact that this actually happens but before there were 25 comments some bloke just had to bring up male circumcision, it is the very definition of what about the menz.

    I am starting to think there is a crack troop of trolls somewhere who constantly comb the internet to find threads about FGM and related areas so they can talk about dicks.

  10. Yep, posting about FGM wasn't something I was planning on doing this sunny Sunday morning.

    There is definitely some sort of early warning system operating every time, jen. The crack troop of trolls turns up without fail, as you say

  11. Its claimed on that that FGM increases pleasure for men. Onlyif the man doesn't care if the woman is in agony I imagine.

    In general I agree with the posters on that thread that its amazing what some religions and cultures will do to control sexual activity especially in women.

    Didn't realise it used to be used in the UK as a 'cure' for lesbianism masturbation hysteria epilepsy (!) and other 'female deviances'.

  12. Can't face those threads just now, FGM is barbaric... but I'd read male circ. was an attempt to "breed out" haemophilia, unsuccessful, or of limited effect because women carry the gene but don't display the symptom?

    Off out shortly to see a re-enactment of the coronation of a 'Gypsy King' that happened in the village 100 years ago, or summat, there are lots of traditional horse drawn caravans, members of the family have come from as far as New Zealand I'm told.

  13. Montana - understand that male circumcision is argued to lead to loss of sensitivity later on, so can impact on sexual pleasure. Also, if it goes wrong...

    I understand that but, like Jennifer, I just don't see why every thread about something that affects women has to be turned into a "what about teh menz" fest.

    I can't imagine that the loss of sensitivity is all that great, otherwise, the male-dominated medical profession would most likely never have promoted circumcision as having beneficial health benefits beyond cultural considerations and to compare circumcision to FGM is just ludicrous.

    By the way, most Americans still opt for circumcision, regardless of religion, because it is still largely perceived here as having long-term health benefits that outweigh any risks associated with the procedure. Meaning that, most American fathers, 80% of whom were circumcised as infants themselves, have been so little-affected by it that they don't think twice about having their own sons circumcised, despite the fact that there is no cultural or religious imperative for them to do so. This tells me that circumcision is nowhere near as damaging as FGM.

  14. beneficial health benefits


    I need coffee.

  15. montana - oh, god yes, no attempt at equivalence on my part, just recalling the arguments of a men's anti-circumcision group who were on the radio a while back. agree that raising the subject in this case seems more whataboutery than anything else...

    annetan - more amusingly, vibrators were born as a medical response to female 'hysteria', to avoid the poor doctor getting a tired arm from having to do the therapeutical massage manually...also, cornflakes.

  16. Morning everyone

    Not going near that FGM thread - as you say MsC, it's pretty gobsmacking how ignorant people are about it and really can't face the thread.

    Just to throw spanner in the works re male circumcision this report from the WHO is interesting

    Male circumcision for HIV prevention

    There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.

  17. Cornflakes were invented to stop women masturbating?

  18. Turm - but I'd read male circ. was an attempt to "breed out" haemophilia, unsuccessful, or of limited effect because women carry the gene but don't display the symptom

    Hadn't heard that - I suppose the poor little beggar was left to bleed to death :(

    Your 75% right that women tend not to get the condition. The gene is recessive so the normal gene masks it in women, its on the X chromosome so women have another gene,Males don't so if they inherit the gene they get the condition.

    Now that haemophiiacs can survive to adulthood it is possible for a woman to have the condition. Lethal on puberty if they do but it must be rare.

  19. think cornflakes were more to do with lowering sexdrive in general, at least according to that film with anthony hopkins in it.

    admit this may not be solid proof...

  20. Jennifer

    Didn't realise it used to be used in the UK as a 'cure' for lesbianism masturbation hysteria epilepsy (!) and other 'female deviances'.

    I don't know how widely it was used in the UK but I don't think it was that uncommon amongst those who could afford to have it done as an attempt to control their recalcitrant daughters.

  21. David Aaronovitch on R4 - There were Reds under the beds - "In light of recent spy revelations, DA uncovers evidence that Joseph McCarthy may have been right about Soviet infiltration into the US government"

    Seems to be a global movement to re-instate the reputations of old bastards.

  22. ''He who is not very strong in memory should not meddle in lying.''

    Very profound Montana.And you could also have put-

    ''She who is not very strong in memory should not meddle in shit stirring''

  23. ''She who is not very strong in memory should not meddle in shit stirring''

    Did you call me, Paul? :p

    Afternoon all. Just had a really nice lunch, now on my second glass of rouge. Everyone happy - pudding to come (meringues with fruit and cream... num num num num)


    I cast an eye over the FGM thread this morning. I couldn't bring myself to look at the vid either.

    I really do think that there should be an offence which has retrospective effect - let's face it, child abusers can be prosecuted years or even decades after they have perpetrated their crimes.


  24. Sheff - I don't like Aaronovitch very much so I didn't listen. But the reason McCarthy was "right" was because the Americans knew damn well that they had managed to infiltrate a large number of people and/or turn them in the USSR as well.

    It's all a big bloody game - or it was in those days. I'll PNG 3 of yours and you'll PNG 3 of mine and we will pretend everything else is hunky dory...

    People often accuse other people of things based on their own behaviour.

  25. This was good reading in todays Obs:

    "..... Nick Clegg has been confronted with this anger in his own Sheffield constituency. Visiting a school recently, the Lib Dem leader was accosted by a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with: "Nick Clegg betrayed us..."

    Hope the packing is finally complete A42 and I hope the move itself is smooth.

    Sheff - many thanks for the Humber poem. It lifted my spirits.

    Miss Diesel was born by the Humber,in the old family home which was, in the shadow of the Humber bridge. Her first long walks were along the banks of the mighty river and she adored the smells and sounds of its tidal reaches. I've seen and enjoyed many fine sunrises and sunsets down there with her and her mother.

    Continuing thanks to those who sent good wishes and hugs. UT is a fine place with many of generous spirit and it's good be around here when the black dog nibbles at your equilibrium.

    This was a nice new recording which I hadn't heard before:

    Adoro Te - Composer:Anon

    Ensemble:Benedictine Nuns of Abbaye Notre Dame de L'Annonciation.

    Them Nuns sure must take honey in their drinks they is some fine songbirds. I gather that they have recently won a competition to find the finest singers of Gregorian Chants in the world.

    Know anything about them LaRit?

    As Kiekergaard might have said.... fine music to leap in the dark to....

    Montana - some class Kierkgaard quotes here which you might like to consider for your much enjoyed daily openers:

    Some notable Soren Kierkaard quotes

    I'm away for a long cycle ride.

    I'd forgotten how fast 30 mph seems on a pushbike. There's a hill not far from my field were I once hit 52 mph on the downhill. I'm building up to a new assault on it......if my nerve will hold. Lycra offers little protection if you come off at the corner at the bottom of the hill.

    Regards to all.

  26. Soren Kierkegaard - I really ought to make the effort to spell the guys name right.

  27. Kierkaard was a miserable sod sometimes wasn't he?

    Not sure how he would feel about being put in a related authors group with Deepak Chopra though. ;)

  28. Very profound Montana.And you could also have put-

    ''She who is not very strong in memory should not meddle in shit stirring''

    It's a quote from Montaigne, Paul. Nothing more, nothing less. No hidden agenda directed at anyone.

    But then, as BB says:

    People often accuse other people of things based on their own behaviour.

  29. ''People often accuse other people of things based on their own behaviour.''

    Very true that Montana/BB,very true!

  30. Thanks for the Kierkegaard quotes, Deano. Bookmarked 'em. Look for some Danish profundity in the days to come.


    As I recall (and no, I'm not going to look it up to verify right now), Kierkegaard was mildly deformed and suffered a lot of humiliation for it, then he was jilted by his fiancée. Add all that to that fabled Scandinavian "sunny" disposition -- you've got yourself one Gloomy Gus.

  31. Montana

    Thanks for that info, in that case you can't blame the poor man.

  32. Paul, I think you saw Banquo's ghost.

  33. heyhabib

    ''Paul, I think you saw Banquo's ghost.''

    Hello my little ray of sunshine.Have no idea what you,re talking about.Enjoy the rest of the day!

  34. Thanks Deano - not finished packing yet but have packed all my books (and there are a lot of them!)

    Glad you are keeping busy, that downhill sounds very exhilarating!

    Take care x

  35. Paul/Habib

    You should both come up to Sheffield on Friday and get nose to nose over a few pints - you can choose your seconds and then we could have tooth picks at dawn.....

  36. Hehehehe

    Nice suggestion Sheff.

    Always makes me think of something that my lad once said on his way home from nursery when he was about 3.

    "Fighting and biting at school!" with a very serious tone and look on his face.

    Turns out one of the nursery teachers would start each playtime by saying "Right! I want no fighting and no biting!"


  37. I see the the Conscience has spoken.

    Can I be arsed to reply between journeys? Not one for dignified silence, I suppose so, albeit briefly.

    artfarmer’s obsessing over me is at least superficially gratifying: he’s among a rash of detractors that can’t tear themselves away. I’m equally gratified that his absence the other day is now accounted for: the hermit was composing his epic diatribe. What did Churchill say? ‘The best impromptu speech takes two weeks to write.’ Tis a pity artfarmer didn’t take longer with his.

    He? I think so, but I am not certain. Anonymity is his badge of honour. His aliases a mark of online skirmishes fought and won. It gets hairy out there, among the blood and gore of the ether. I’d be anonymous, too, had I the guts to embrace it.

    Were I to possess a sliver of his faceless courage...

  38. You see, habib, I am just not witty enough. I was thinking of something to say and couldn't.

    You got it sorted :o)

  39. Habib you forgot to mention any semblance of artfarmers writing skill. ;)

  40. "artfarmer’s obsessing over me is at least superficially gratifying....."

    should fuel your narcissistic tendancies nicely then Bracken....

  41. Hi All

    I see brothely love reigns supreme here today.


    Have you seen article in food stamps in US?

  42. Oh evening all


    hope you're ok sounds like you're re-enacting the tour de france....lycra shorts eh?!!? stunning the ladies I immagine!!!

  43. No, Leni. Haven't looked. Can't stand Jennifer Abel -- she has the uncanny ability to be offensive and utterly wrong about topics even when I agree with her general opinion.

  44. Deano

    Good to have you back. Long walks remembeed. I still remember cildhood walks with my Dad and the dog - late summers evenings and the sharp nip of winter - all weathers across an ever changing but familiar countryside.

    Good memories. xx

  45. Montana

    Tend to agree - think supercillious is the word.

    Some nasty comments - the usual hatred of the poor and unemployed.

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. this article just demonstrates the detachment from a much more painful reality fairly typical of the Observor..... I mean with all that is happening in the world what is the value of this article? apart of course from reminding the majority that there are people that can spend £15,000 to have their child in a private clinic with aromatherapy candles?

  48. Poor Bracken...so hopelessly slow that he's failed to grasp that Mishari Al-Adwani is my real name, always has been and always is, everywhere online or off, except at the Graun; for reasons I made clear...or rather, made clear to everyone but poor confused Bracken.

    I've said my piece and you're not worth the effort of repeating myself; shit, you weren't really worth the 15 minutes I spent knocking out my previous diatribe, but it was a slow day.

    You're insignificant even in the vacuous arena in which you strut and posture. Had you even a semblance of self-knowledge, you might realise that you've become a bit of a standing joke. Your boorish, fat-headed apercus are so richly (albeit unintentionally) comic that one of the riper ones serves as a motto for this blog, so that every visitor can start the day with a laugh.

    Poor Bracken: so desperate to be significant. I actually feel a bit guilty for taking pot-shots at so slow-moving a target: not very sporting of me. No matter: I'll not trouble your Sleep of Reason again. You're not an issue, you're a mere symptom, like a nasty rash. You're not an 'evil' man or even, I suspect, a very 'bad' man: just a rather stupid and ill-mannered one.

    However, I'll watch your gruesome 'progress' with an occasional flicker of interest. I expect you still have your eye on a seat in the House and there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't have one: you and Party of Blair and Milliband and Straw and Purnell were made for one another.

  49. Just been watching The Good shepherd. I know a lot of people hate it but I love it. Seems to sum up, almost as well as Le Carre does, the terrible price you pay for living in that world.


    What is the value of 90% of cif pieces? Zilch.

  50. Mishari

    Poor Bracken: so desperate to be significant. I actually feel a bit guilty for taking pot-shots at so slow-moving a target: not very sporting of me. No matter: I'll not trouble your Sleep of Reason again.

    Not very sporting no, but very entertaining....

    P Bracken

    You certainly are a glutton for punishment.

  51. Leni:

    Had a look at the piece and just put my 2¢ in. I didn't comment on the article itself, but it was typically offensive Abel. Supercilious is a very good word for her.

    So good of HapHazzard to be his usual, charming self on that thread.

  52. Quiet round here, isn't it?

  53. Hey PB, are you the same Peter Bracken who was fined £15K by the FSA for short-selling shares a few years back? The only reason I ask is because I remember your article about 'amateur trading' a few months back, and it seemed coincidental.

  54. "..sounds like you're re-enacting the tour de france....lycra shorts eh?!!?.."

    Spot on gandolfo ......although riding around in lycra with a chamois leather seat insert has its own timeless pleasures......

    I was a fan of big Mig(uel) Indurain. His circa 5 litre lung capacity and 28 bpm resting heart rate were something else. Ideal gear for cycling up mountains.

    My disgraceful youth resulted in a five litre+ beer gut - ideal for cycling down mountains but a disadvantage on the uphills.

    Still at this time of the year I always like to get me bright yellow vest out for a thrash around the local bye-ways.

    Ah the stuff of dreams.... although if I now had a 28 bpm heart rate I would fear that I was about to expire...or was already dead

  55. SK

    I think bracken has been asked that not only here but also on CiF he has declined to respond as is often his style...

  56. deano

    my sunday dog walking is always a bit of a larf here in rome, I live by heathland and sundays mean all the world and his wife are out on their mountain bikes kitted out in the latest yellow shirts and lycra....no mean feat when temperatures are above 34°C.....by the look of them they don't have 5 litre lungs but the bellies certainly exceed that capacity.....
    fortunately hound has learnt to ignore the budding Contadors and Armstrongs..........

  57. This Bracken-bashing seems a bit pathetic. You all sound like a bunch of kids in the playground picking on the kid who is 'different'. (mishi excepted, a good intelligent rant!) But why do you all take him so seriously? Bracken is a no-idea nonentity, but it seems like many of you need to jump on him to demonstrate your credentials to each other. Why bother? Do you really need a 'right-wing' bugbear to shore up your acceptable left-wing views, or can you make your political views stand on their own? Constant whining about how shit the UK is makes for depressing reading. As does constant back-slaps about 'good work'on some or other Cif thread. If you were really serious about things, I think you should boycott Cif entirely, and not give them the page-hits and not perpetuate the bullshit and the corrupt system. But that's just me - I'm sure many of you can justify reading and contributing to Cif. Good luck with that.

  58. I had intended to extend a warm welcome to our two latest UT followers (52 & 53 below). Rob who started following a day or so ago and Juliette who I noticed started following a few weeks ago.

    Welcome both I hope that you will feel able to comment here anytime you wish.

    Rob tells us little about himself but Julietta's profile encourages the belief she is a sex worker with her own adult blog:

    Julietta's blog

    Pity Julietta wasn't around when Spike stimulated a discussion about the 'reality' of the notion of the happy hooker a while back it would have been interesting to get her view.

  59. Come on scherf - nobody was giving a thought to PB until he turned up with a couple of observations at least one of which appears to be erroneous.

    Something other than a gripe from you would be most welcome - you are getting a bit predictable which for an Irishman is a very sad state of affairs.

  60. I've shot my bolt on Bracken, scherf. There's nothing of any intrinsic interest about him; he only drew my eye because he's A. become ubiquitous and B. he represents so perfectly everything I detest about New Labour and what's become of the Grauniad. I've pretty much confined myself to the book blogs since they banned me 2 and a half years ago. To hell with him and to hell with CiF...

    As you guys are always posting music links, I thought I'd post a link to my youtube channel (coughs modestly while blushing becomingly).

    For the past year, whenever I've had a spare half-hour, I'd dig out one of the thousands (literally) of mp3 files I have on my laptop, download some appropriate clips from the interwebz and use a video-editing app to create a music video.

    I've got about 250 tracks up. It's a varied selection: everything from The Replacements to Rory Gallagher, Bela Fleck to Bootsy Collins, Steve Earle to The Sonics, Art Tatum to Art Pepper, Delbert McClinton to Debussy, The Miles Davis Quintet to The Tragically Hip, Richard Thompson to Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee to JJ Cale, Jake Thackray to Blind Willie Johnson to The Louvin Brothers to Roy Buchanan to Mary Coughlan to Conlon Nancarrow to Haydn to Hank Williams...well, you get the idea.

    You might find the odd track you like. The channel is HERE.

  61. scherfig:

    "This Bracken-bashing seems a bit pathetic. You all sound like a bunch of kids in the playground picking on the kid who is 'different'. (mishi excepted, a good intelligent rant!) But why do you all take him so seriously? Bracken is a no-idea nonentity, but it seems like many of you need to jump on him to demonstrate your credentials to each other. Why bother? Do you really need a 'right-wing' bugbear to shore up your acceptable left-wing views, or can you make your political views stand on their own?"

    Ah, you believe in letting vacuous, politically-expedient bullshit stand? And here was me thinking that when people write articles on CiF that they are inviting comment on their views. Or when they turn up to lob turds about on a website full of 'prize fuckwits' that they claim to have no interest in engaging with, that they might be being just a tad inflammatory in order to provoke a reaction. Not quite the snot-nosed playground whelp your analogy would have us believe.

  62. Hey misha, I'll look forward to checking that out soon; some mighty fine names there !

  63. Good stuff Mishari: I checked out the Leo Kottke, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Conlon Nancarrow tracks. I'll have another browse soon...

    Dirty Boots

  64. Oh goody Scherfig has turned up. Troll away at your favourite 'never worked a day in his life', 'thousands in the bank' Nap.

  65. scherfig

    I,ve always defended the right of PeterB to have his voice heard.And personally i would have no problem with him continuing to post here.But in all fairness he did fire the first shot in the latest spat both here and on CIF.And both Misha and Hank responded and annihilated him in the process.In laymans terms it was a fair 'fight' which PeterB lost.I wouldn,t worry too much about him.He,s a tough cookie and i,m sure he,ll live to fight another day.

    Hope all,s good with you.Get,s a bit lonely being the only stroppy bloke here with an Irish mum.Howsabout you starting posting here again ?

  66. Hi All

    deano--Happy to see you posting more regularly again. Take care Bro.

    Haven't been involved with the Bracken business, but it seems to me he has invited criticism for some of his pronouncements. One of which was to tar this whole site when he perhaps should have selected those with whom he had issues.

    Mishari--Hi, your taste in music is certainly eclectic. Some very good tunes on your site, thanks for the link.

  67. Cheers Boudican - hope your efforts for the quake victims paid off.

  68. Yes deano, it turned out well. Raised over $9000 so happy to help in our small way. Those unfortunate people will be needing aid for a long time though.

  69. sheff, I hope I'm not quite so predictable as most of the the regulars here. Whether I'm an Irishman or not should be totally academic. To suggest otherwise is racist. :0) Think about it!

    Mishari, your bolt hit the target, and I enjoyed it immensely. But Bracken's an easy target, maybe other targets are more worth while.

    speedkermit, there's vacuous, politically-expedient bullshit all over the fucking shop. Flexing the collective political muscle of the UT against a non-entity like Bracken just seems like self-affirmation, back-slapping, and mutual masturbation. Oooh miss! He called me a fuckwit! Let's all de-bag him!

    Nap, you've never worked a day in your life! But you're a working class intellectual! How does that work? Do you not have to have a job first?

    Paul, thauma also has an Irish mum, and she's stroppy too! OK, she's not a bloke, but sexism has no place on this blog, so she's in the club and you're not alone - there's at least three of us. :0) (Re posting again, I've just done it but I'm not so interested in it any more.)

  70. btw, mishari - that's a serious YouTube channel you got there! It will take me at least two years to check it all out. I'll get back to you.

    If you like you can put this one in (one of my favourites)moore/sinnott No Time For Love

  71. "speedkermit, there's vacuous, politically-expedient bullshit all over the fucking shop. Flexing the collective political muscle of the UT against a non-entity like Bracken just seems like self-affirmation, back-slapping, and mutual masturbation. Oooh miss! He called me a fuckwit! Let's all de-bag him!"

    Said Mahatma Gandhi. Turn the other arse-cheek.

    And much as I heartily appreciated mishari's comprehensive demolishing of the self-appointed legend, what exactly is it that makes that valid invective in your opinion, while everyone else who criticises PB is little better than a petulant school-child? If you're as concerned as you claim to be about his delicate sensibilities, or so appalled that people might want to form a united front, then the distinction smells of bullshit, frankly.

  72. Boudican

    Good work on the fundraising.Let,s hope most of the money you raised actually gets to the victims rather than being swallowed up by 'admin' costs.Hope all,s well in Canada.

    @deano-good to see you 'on the mend'.

    @scherfig-i meant posting something other than what seems like a bollocking :-)

  73. SK, I'm not all concerned about PB's delicate sensibilities (if he has any). The difference between mishari's critique of PB's views and the other knee-jerk reactions here was that mishari adressed the issues and tackled them systematically and logically. I didn't agree with everything mishari saisd about Bracken, but I appreciated the considered effort that went into his polemic. You can call it bullshit if you want, speedkermit, but I prefer a well-argued, well-written argument to a hackneyed, crowd-pleasing sound-bite which any idiot can toss onto a blog in two seconds. Which is not to say that I won't agree with that lazy sound-bite. I just find it boring.

  74. scherfig:

    Ah I see, nobody else is quite erudite enough for you. Why didn't you say so in the first place? Where's me fucking thesaurus.

  75. Cheers Paul

    It's goodnight from me - an early start on the morrow. I'm joining me sons and partners and their friends who are currently camping in the Yorks dales.

    Night all.

    Leni - I liked your thoughtful comment (last night) about the writing and burning of the memory of a disquieting man in your life.

    I wish more folk could see the sense and wisdom of your action. Sadly too many endure unhappiness when they might so easily find more content by taking honest stock and walking away.

  76. Boudican

    Just re read my comment to you and not sure i made the point clearly.What i was referring to was the fact that monies raised don,t always get to the victims they were raised for in full.That some agencies who are engaged in disaster relief take a chunk for admin costs etc.And in recent years there has been some controversy in this country as to the amount of money taken for such admin costs etc.Have no idea whether it,s the same in Canada.Regards!

  77. "Nap, you've never worked a day in your life! But you're a working class intellectual! How does that work? Do you not have to have a job first?"

    I've done plenty of work Scherf, just I have never had the good fortune to be paid, although to be fair when volunteering the working conditions are usually quite pleasant.

  78. BTW Scherf, what job do you do in the utopia of Denmark, seeing as you love to lay into me becuase I cannot get a job?

  79. Hi Paul. Your point came across clearly, and there have been cases of corruption and theft in administration of funds to charity in Canada. Unfortunately, we are not immune to that digusting behaviour. That,s why we were so careful in our selection. Want to be sure to maximumise the help to Haitians.

  80. Napoleon

    If you keep plugging away you will get a job eventually.You,ve got youth on your side.And the voluntary work you,ve done plus the OU degree you,re doing should stand you in good stead especially when the demand for workers improves. Unfortunately at the moment a lot of young adults are in your position where there are no openings at all.But at least you,re not in the position of people i know in their 30,s and 40,s who,ve lost their jobs and got a family to support and are scared shitless they,ll lose everything if they don,t soon find work.Or the people in their 50,s who,ve still got bills to pay but have lost their jobs and may never work again.

    Finally it will be a good idea to stay in contact with the places where you,ve done voluntary work because a good reference from them will help with any future prospective employers :-)

  81. Thanks paul, you're dead right. Anyway, off to bed.

  82. Nap, you're missing the point. I'm not putting you down because you've never had a job. That's probably not your fault. I'm objecting to your constant putting down of 'chavs' and 'working class scum'. I'm objecting to your arrogant assertion that you're an intellectual because you've read a few books. Your arrogant assertion that you're better than most people. Your arrogant assertion that you should decide what books the 'scum' should be allowed to read in the libraries (books you don't approve of should be removed). Your arrogant assertion that you are smarter than everybody else. And I object to you using a victim mentality that allows you to accuse everybody else of picking on you because you are a young unemployed guy who has had mental health problems.

    As regards what I do in Denmark (which is not a Utopia), it' s none of your fucking business. And it's not relevant anyway. I've worked all my life in various jobs. In London I was a civil servant on a very dodgy front line, but you weren't even born then. And I worked hard for very little reward. So spare me your bullshit. I contributed a lot to society in the UK before I emigrated. You've done fuck all except whine about how tough it is for you. And no offence, but you sound to me like a fucking fascist. You should grow up.

  83. ooh ooh !!!
    waving frantically!

    Tell me what you think of me Scherf!!!

    Silence would be damning!

    Ha ha ha ha

  84. Oh come on Scherf, I did it a few times, calling people chavs and scum, yes. I accept I may have been wrong, but I can mitigate it by the circumstances I grew up in, namely that I was physically, psychologically and verbally abused for daring to be clever. Far as I remember I only said 'working class scum' once, and I was doing it as an exxaguration after I posted a piece saying I was once verbally attacked for being clever, and Jen or someone said, 'you hate all the proles Nap, just admit it' or something- so I said yes, to spite her/whoever.

    You may think I am pretentious calling myself a working class intellectual, perhaps so, but I have no problem with it.

    As to what I said about libraries, I think you will find that every library in the country practices a form of censorship- they only have limited shelf space, they of they have to be selective. On that day I was merely trying to say that libraries will be selective, and someone took it the wrong way and implied that I wanted to control what people can read. As to 'books I don't approve of should be removed'- guilty as charged m'lud. Celebrity autobiography X should be consigend to the flames. So what?

    I do not think I am smarter than everybody else. I was certainly smarter than most people in my peer group and consequentially a lot of my childhood/teenage years were miserable.

    I have never claimed victim status because of my mental health problems, which were really just a period of extended teenage angst when I was 18-19, although my dysfunctional childhood including bullying as described above didn't particualrly help. I don't want a victim mentality- knock me out.

    Your favourite fascist.

  85. Scherfig telling someone to grow up.

    Scherfig who attacks people based on their personal life refusing to disclose anything about his own.

    Irony meter/explodes.

  86. Hi, habib, how are you? I won't damn you with silence, but I'm just off to bed. In answer to your question 'what I think of you', well, to be honest I don't think anything much. I like you well enough and you seem like a decent guy, but like so many other people here it's a bit like wallpaper which you don't really notice. It doesn't really offend you and it doesn't really strike you as terribly attractive. In fact it doesn't really do anything. It's sort of bland, repetetive and predictable like much of the discouse here. Not a bad thing, it's a very nice mutually affirmative comfort zone, but it's just not terribly interesting.

    Anyway, have a nice evening! Here's a song (I'm a sentimental type, really the blues

  87. Ha ha
    "Either this wallpaper goes or I do!"
    Is a damn fine ending.

  88. And don't tell anybody, but I like that song a lot, always have. Good night, scherf.

  89. I dunno. I think the wallpaper's lovely.

  90. Gandolfo - see where you are coming from but from my perspective I cannot forget that the standard of care available to the middle classes before the NHS would have seemed just as remote and unattainable to my grandmother.

    It would be instructive to know how much my treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy costs the NHS. Thousands a year I would guess.

    Its easy to mock aromatherapy candles but my own experience of childbirth taught me the importance of being able to relax during labour, anything that helps frankly! The candles don't cost much midwives, obstetricians and suitable pain relief are expensive.

    I couldn't afford £15000 either but how much does an NHS delivery cost? We don't know do we.

    If we did we could judge the situation better. Since I gave birth the standard of care available to all women has improved (certainly its more humanised - they don't routinely shave mothers any more for instance) and I believe birthing pools are available in some NHS maternity units - should be all of them of course.

    In the NHS one to one midwife care used to be available for mothers who need it, its not always necessary, wasn't in my case.

    The last paragraph of the article needs quoting.

    Yehudi Gordon's pariah practices are now almost mainstream: some NHS hospitals today offer birthing pools, and even acupuncture. But it's patchy and delivered on a first come, first served basis. Wouldn't it be great if all women got continuity of care, and real choice, as David Cameron, while in opposition, proposed? And how sad that the model of a women-centred approach to childbirth has just closed its doors

    I agree - until we can create a situation where such innovative approaches are encouraged by the NHS we need clinics like this. I don't like private medicine, but Yehudi Gordon was not allowed to innovate in the NHS if he had been the clinic would not have needed to exist.

    Same with education - until we have the political will to make all state education and state medicine as good as the best private education and healthcare then private schools and clinics will exist.

    But woman centred childbirth services are important and this man pioneered it. His work has eventually made childbirth a better experience for women in NHS hospitals. Sadly not in all of them. In the context of the present economic situation and the policies of the Condem govt, that final paragraph justifies the article.

    Could have done without the celeb stuff though more about Yehudi would have been more to the point.