12 September 2010


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
-Albert Einstein


  1. Montana - thanks for the kind comments yesterday. Even before I had to stop drinking, I had only been really drunk three times in my life. The third time made me feel so ill I vowed never to do it again - and didn't.

    But lets not rake over cold coals eh?

    Staying with some friends at the mo - still no sign of a moving date.

  2. Blimey, seems everybody here is a bit of a kaaaahhnt! It somewhat devalues the currency of that particular insult.

    Bitterweed, you unspeakable rotter! LOL! :0) Great muppets link yesterday - check out this arrogant little guy in the big red hat. Who he?

    guitar weeps

  3. On the subject of burning:

    1) Money

    Serge Gainsbourg once burned a 500-franc note on telly to complain about taxes. Brilliant songwriter, but an idiot and reactionary wanker.

    Since a banknote is just an IOU from the bank that issues it, when you burn one, you're simply giving that sum of money to the central bank/government.

    So to protest against taxes by giving more money to the authorities is pretty damn stupid.

    2) Bible

    As far as I now, the bible is seen as a holy book by Muslims, whose religion is an "Abrahamic" one. They also consider Jesus to be a prophet, although not the son of god.

    So it's highly unlikely they'd burn bibles.

    * * *

    Day 3 of the Fête and unfortunately, the weather isn't so good - showers compared to the beautiful sunshine so far.

    The "fortunately" is because I'll be on security this evening and a little rain means less trouble from drunken blokes, and less trouble winding up the Fête.

    If we ever get a weather machine, the ideal would be a downpour every night at closing time. Now perhaps if I washed my car at the right time...

  4. Osborne is going to cut disability allowance even further it seems.See here.

    Be interesting to hear the debate on the impact of cuts on the poor at TUC conference. Barber is already reassuring our "masters" that 'we are not calling for a general strike'!

    We should be building for one! We are not to blame for this mess and must not be made to pay for it!

  5. @Heyhabib (from yesterday)

    Then, ItotheVizzo, don't say things like this:

    "The Koran does in fact provide plenty of scriptural support for someone that wants to wage a Jihad on unbelievers."

    when you don't know that it does.

    Sorry habib, this is nonsense. I know it does, you know it does, the jihadists that paste the relevant passages all over their videos and literature know it. No need to learn Arabic to know that. Note that I'm not saying Islam automatically equates to terrorism - but the Koran can be read in lots of different ways, and If you're of a mind to wage Jihad, then you'll find plenty in the Koran to support that.

    Shall I google up some quotes? Is there really any need?

  6. a feisty and independent sister writes..

    "Some of the male posters who deign to give us the benefit of their superiority complex on here (you know who you are) say that they are in favour of feminism, yet when faced with a genuinely free-spirited woman do their level best to belittle them, egged on the their coterie of Stepford Wives, who if they are feminists, my name is Mrs Pankhurst.

    GillesBoy I am not referring to you, nor to Ally or Martyn. I would miss the Sooty puppet if it disappeared.

    Right off for the rest of the day to bond with my new car - bought as is everything I own - with the fruits of an independent career rather than taking handouts from men."

    ..and I'd just like to point out that I have never personally profited from any of the small tokens or trinkets from any of the string of financially autonomous, sophisticated and alluring women with whom I may had occasion to form the odd liaison or dalliance..

    ..and yes there was an Italian princess...one or two Russian billionairess-femme-fatales in ski-suits...and of course there was the stunning and brilliant Californian Phd quantum physicist/CIA agent who could crush coconuts between her thighs while playing the sousaphone...but I never made a penny...and I'd also like to point out that the role I played involved political analysis and financial acumen every bit as much as it was about simply being an exotic and exquisite piece of meat...

    Each and every gift and consideration was whisked straight away to Christies were it was immediately auctioned in aid of the "Tosca for brown babies" fund..

    ..right..I'm away for a fag, a cup of tea and a lightly grilled slice of Mothers' Pride...all the fruits of my physical labour and mental processes...not the gift of some possessive and manipulative floozy

    Chew on that Bitterweed..you sluttish little rogue...I'd gladly sleep in a skip before I lowered myself to your status.."kept man"..kept in a cupboard under the stairs last I heard..

  7. Jen, you there? They're talking about Middlesboro on the Politics show...

  8. Missed it Shaz, hopefully it will be on the iPlayer.

    Did they say anything interesting?

  9. "Did they say anything interesting?"

    ..not much...but as you know Teessiders are plucky little devils, and...though starved of public funding, RoboCop and Alastair Brownlee have pooled their joint entrepreneurial expertise and are off to Paris on a mission to try and raise investment for a scheme to market a 'gourmet parmo'...Waitrose have expressed an interest-although they haven't actually tasted one yet.

    so...hope springs eternal...little green shoots etc..

    basically..Middlesbrough's fucked

  10. Jesus if the Parmo is our only hope then we are well and truly fucked.

  11. I see the Cif Cameron piece has not been well received - 'cept by the few usual supporters.

    I wonder who actually wrote it for him?

    If that is the kind of idiocy we are to expect from them I think this gvt. is already on the way out.

    It has the intellectual content of an unstuffed chicken.

  12. i to the vizzo,

    "Shall I google up some quotes? Is there really any need?"

    Google whatever you like, sunshine, if it makes you happy, you're still talking factually about something you've never read.

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  14. Sorry for deletion. Buggered up the link.

    Rebekah Brooks and News International are planning to sponsor an academy school in East London. Shoot me now.

  15. Alisdair:

    Just read your post re EP. You say it's hamstrung as a discipline because it's not verifiable.

    I'm at a loss as to what you mean by this.

    Take history. How is history verifiable in the sense that EP is not? If I say that 'Hitler caused the Second World War' can I verify that statement? Not at all; I can merely present evidence that supports the assertion. That evidence is ultimately falsifiable, though.

    Similarly, EP argues that our evolutionary past predisposes us to behaviours that are (generally speaking) predictable. For example, gender proscribes behaviours that only EP can account for with any authority; the notion that gender is a social construct is only true insofar as culture goes hand in glove with nature. If it is taken to mean that boys and girls would be the same but for the process of socialisation - which is the agenda of some feminists - then the claim is nonsense. And EP shows why.

    In relation to gender, and many other facets of behaviour, EP is a classic illustration of the power of Occam's razor. Sociologists and others will talk of parents pushing pink and blue, and barbies and guns, and princess dresses and cowboy get ups, as if they mattered. Well, they only matter in one sense: it's what their kids want.

    And the old cliche still applies. Celebrate the differences, tackle the disadvantages. And that, I suggest, is precisely what modern societies are doing.

  16. Celebrate the differences, tackle the disadvantages. And that, I suggest, is precisely what modern societies are doing.

    Do you really think this is what modern societies are doing Peter?

    - The French are scapegoating and expelling the Roma as fast as they can process them
    - Ditto the Italians
    - The US is in the midst of a frothing hatred of everything Muslim with the TeaParty lunatics attempting to take over the asylum
    - The UK is demonising the most vulnerable members of society ie the 'scrounging dole lifestylers' sick and disabled
    - Right wing divide and conquer politics is resurgent all over Europe

    Thats just for starters and I don't call that "celebrating differences and tackling disadvantage.

  17. Shaz - A Murdoch school? Jesus wept.....

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  19. Sheff @ 16.23pm - excellent post.

    Re Murdoch - this kind of outcome was always on the cards when they started wittering on about private funding for education, and people started jumping up and down shouting 'Oh no, eek, McSchools...'
    Murdoch makes McDonalds look almost benevolent...

  20. If BW is the Cunt-in-residence, who is the Cunt-in-waiting?

    MF - that was very entertaining, thank you. I expect I am classified as "Stepford Wife". The mister and various exes would probably think this is very funny. Or perhaps just burst into tears.

  21. Bought today's Observer but so far have only done the crosswords and Sudoku. Have not had the heart to actually read it, with the benefits-slashing article on the front page.

    Dammit, this is my only day off this week.

    Went for a crime novel instead. Psychotic serial killers seem positively benevolent compared to this lot.

  22. I do believe it sheff.

    Social attitudes have changed progressively for every year I've been alive. That's a cast iron sociological fact, among the few it can claim.

    Religious bigotry is of a separate order, which is why no one sane takes sides on it, besides judging it inane; he or she just hopes the deluded fuckwits will cancel each other out.

  23. thauma et al

    did you read the G article earlier in the week describing the US soldiers in Afghanistan who delibereately murdered civilians - collecting fingers from the bodies as 'trophies' ?

    I tried to attract B's attention to it but was literally struck dumb for a couple of seconds. the world becomes increasingly barbarous.

  24. Yes, Leni, I saw that. Shockingly, it didn't particularly surprise me. Americans are generally raised (and again I raise the holy Montana exception) to believe that everyone who is not American is inferior.

    There is a widespread belief, despite "all men being created equal", that non-Americans don't have the same human rights as Americans.

    Obviously Americans are not the only ones to commit atrocities during wartime (or peacetime either), but it is the hypocrisy of "bringing peace and democracy to the world" that disgusts.

  25. I admire your optimism Peter but I don't see it myself. I only have to look around south Yorkshire to see what life has been like for a lot of people in our old mining and steel communities over the last 30 years for example.

    Some have prospered I agree but the price paid by others, many others, has been horrendous. If we can't bring those people with us I don't call it progress.

  26. thauma

    You can find out more in my thinly disguised 'fictional memoir'...only surnames have been changed and Runcorn has been switched in favour of Rio for the scene when I diced with death hanging out of the cable car in the middle of the ravine with two 18 year old twin Bulgarian lovelies hanging onto a leg each and the Doomsday device's detonator transmodulator clenched between my teeth...

    ...it should be available in all good bookshops and would be if it weren't for this country's latent literary philistinism, a D notice or two..and my gallant stance in refusing to compromise the confidence placed in me by a succession of helpless glamorous females drawn hypnotically to my flame..

    ..but I always got the round in when it was my turn..and paid for my own pork scratchings

    I want to make that very clear

  27. The potty pastor might like to know that two people have now died in Afghanistan (shot by police) thanks to his threats to burn the Qur'an. But then I don't suppose he and his ilk give two hoots about a couple of Afghan Muslims...

  28. Actually, sheff, in terms of living standards the case is just as strong. I was talking about attitudes, of course, but I can also say with as much authority as sociology can muster, that material lifestyles have changed for the better, too.

    Western democracies, across the board, have imbibed social change and the demands for social justice such that there is no negative comparison, none whatsoever, with the attitudes and social conditions that prevailed, say, just 30 years ago.

    Demonstrate the contrary and I'll cede my position.

  29. @Sheff

    That's a fairly extraordinary assertion of responsibility you've got there. Do you really mean to say that the 'root cause' of two deaths among hundreds of rioters trying to storm a local government HQ in Afghanistan is a potty pastor not actually doing anything in Florida?

  30. @ PeterB. Er, that's my point about EP. It's more like historical conjecture, except without even the tangible documentary and artefact base of history. It seeks to use the terminology and scientific veneer of psychology (whose own status is tenuous sometimes), but lacks the scientific method for much of its content. Where it comes closest to academic respectability is where it diverges most from being EP, and instead more resembles straight history, sociology or neurobiology.Its timelines and chains of causation are all over the shop,it ducks and dives between claiming epistemic and non-epistemic standing, and at times comes close to metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology.
    It also serves a political purpose very neatly indeed, as EP can always be used to support the ideological status quo, presenting it as some kind of evolutionary inevitably and not the direct product of human agency, a Panglossian paradigm that sidelines the necessary scrutiny and criticism of what is going on in the here and now..
    By the way, I know you loathe Chomsky both for his politics and his language theory. EP upholds his language theory...

  31. Peter J

    That is why I was a bit aghast at Hermiones post at the beginning of Cifs first article about the Koran burning.

    She said something along the lines of him having blood on his hands if he went ahead with it.

    And of course I knew exactly what she meant but it felt wrong to me.

    The blood is on the hands of the person who sheds it but we all know with religion all bets are off and all sense seems to flee.

    Because I don't actually believe in any gods I find it incredibly hard to empathise with those that do (the violence is never excusable though) so I often wonder if these acts of violence are more born from social pressure than true belief.

    That might be a daft thing to say but I just can't get my head around the kind of state of mind that would think god would condone murder.

  32. And now... just in case anyone is comfortable and snuggled on the sofa with their Sunday glass of red... Sarah Palin's career plans...

  33. PeterJ

    They were demonstrating against the pp's assertion that he was going to burn Qu'rans - they weren't aware he had decided not to.

    i think you can argue if he hadn't decided to grab a bit of notoriety by proclaiming his intentions to the world they wouldn't have been demonstrating and the police would not have shot them.

    Of course, you can also argue that they shouldn't be so sensitive and it's their own fault - but given the state of US/Afghan relations and the current state of things in Afghanistan at the moment, it's not difficult to understand why they chose to demonstrate.

  34. Can I qualify that last statement, I know that the bible condones murder in some parts but that modern christians tend to either ignore or play down those parts, I assume the koran is the same kind of thing.

  35. PeterB
    Western democracies, across the board, have imbibed social change and the demands for social justice such that there is no negative comparison, none whatsoever, with the attitudes and social conditions that prevailed, say, just 30 years ago.

    There's a pub down the road from me and I'd like to hear you tell that to the customers there. I doubt you'd get out without a couple of (metaphorical) black eyes.


    And now... just in case anyone is comfortable and snuggled on the sofa with their Sunday glass of red... Sarah Palin's career plans...

    That is cruel of you!! And yes, I was enjoying my sunday.

  36. from the Palin in Iowa article:

    She has been totally vetted by the liberal media and they did not come up with anything other than she is a 'hick'."

    Well, as long as you don't count using public funds for improvements to your own house, having your sister's ex-husband fired because he had the audacity to divorce your sister, trying to keep about $250,000 worth of clothing bought with Republican Party money, awarding state contracts to personal friends outside of proper procedures, blah, blah, blah, blah...

    Nope. Caribou Barbie's a model of Christian integrity.

  37. @Sheff

    Well, that's fine then. We'd all better take care what we say and do at all times, in case some group of people somewhere round the world decides to set fire to a police station and lynch some political candidates as a result. I shall certainly be watching my words down the local.

  38. Alisdair


    Ha! Cosmolonigology sounds like a painful medical procedure.


    And now... just in case anyone is comfortable and snuggled on the sofa with their Sunday glass of red... Sarah Palin's career plans...

    Oh thanks, Shaz, I was just in the state you describe...

    David, 52, who runs her own home tutoring business, will not be attending Friday's dinner. "I am a broke Republican. But if she runs, I will give her my time. I would love to campaign for her."

    So many levels of stupid there. Great, it's a choice between Sarah the Impaler, someone named Mitt (a very wealthy and politically-connected Mormon) and someone named Newt (another evil bastard).

  39. Monkeyfish

    I myself am busy sloughing off Italian princes like yesterday's dandruff. The pernicious devils are constantly throwing Ferraris, jewels and the odd white cat in my direction, but as a genuinely free-spirited woman I spurn them and turn to Hello! and my hairdresser.

  40. Oh come on PeterJ - don't be so disingenuous, you know what i mean. What the pp did was deliberately provocative. Every sane voice in the US immediately leapt to condemn him and even some of the less sane. Don't tell me he wasn't perfectly aware of what a furore it would cause and how some Muslims would respond to being told he planned to burn a pile of Qu'rans.

    Whatever you and I think about it - that is a reality we live with at the moment and it needs to be borne in mind until we have managed (god knows how), to calm things down.

  41. OK Sheff, I was going too far. But who knows what the next 'provocation' will be taken to be? Is the responsibility always to be taken by the non-violent provocateur rather than the people who respond with knee-jerk reflexes that always - always - involve violence from the start? You wouldn't have thought drawing cartoons would have been very provocative (and weren't, until deliberately made so), but look what that led to.

  42. Sheff I think using provocation in this way is the start of a slippery slope.

    Sorry for using that phrase and I do know what you mean but think where it could lead.

  43. Someone posted this link on the Palin thread. Kind of amusing. You've got to laugh, right?

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  45. @ thauma, it's less of a real -ology (v. 80's BT ad,that) and more of a deliberate reference.Voltaire,via Smollett.

  46. .and good riddance

    mind you..those flying Ferrari's are a fuckin nuisance...one particularly besotted young filly, with a bloodline taking in names I'd be instantly vaporised for even hinting towards, once got so agitated when I hid behind the settee and pretended I was out that she tried to lower a big fuckin red car, wrapped in a giant yellow bow...by winch from a helicopter into the back yard...in a doomed attempt at reviving my interest...

    "No, Marie-Therese ...it's darts night..respect my privacy!" I yelled

    No sooner had my cry sounded out that she cut the line and a plummeting Ferrari send my bizzie lizzie and next door's cat to meet their maker(s) in the great backyard beyond..

    did I complain?..did I sue?..nope..with a rueful shrug, I picked up my broom, fetched out yet another feline body-bag, put out my fag..and just got on with my life...beholden to nobody

  47. @PeterJ:

    There's a huge difference between drawing a cartoon and buring a book that is considered holy -- especially when it's being done in a country where most people think it ought to be a federal crime to burn the flag. The man knew and fully intended to be as provocative as he could be.

  48. Montana he did indeed mean to be provactive (tithead that he is) but does that mean that those who were provoked by his actions are not guilty?

  49. @Montana

    I'm sure he was. I still don't think that makes him personally responsible for two demonstrators being shot in Afghanistan.

  50. Peterj

    I agree the situation can seem absurd and way over the top to us. I don't think Afghans would characterise the US and the pp as non violent provocateurs though.

    I'm certainly not saying we should allow extremists of any kind prevent us from saying/doing what we believe is right. What I am saying is if there is a fire in the room you don't pour petrol on it.

  51. You''ve got me wrong there, Alisdair: Chomsky's sound on linguistics.

    Also, if you're going to discredit history and LitCrit and economics and others besides EP because they are not test tube verifiable, you'll have fuck all disciplines to recommend anyone to study.

    I'd diverge from your outlook, though, and claim that most legitimate subjects adhere to scientific methodology; all that varies is the nature of the source material and the quality of the analysis that seeks to makes sense of it.

  52. So who set the room on fire?

    Just kidding but that is a terrible example.

  53. Jen

    Just a metaphor. Personally I think many parts of the world are smouldering in a potentially very dangerous way and it is unwise and irresponsible, to say the least, to actively seek to make things worse.

    As I said the other day, just because we are free to say and do certain things doesn't necessarily mean we are obliged to say or do them - especially if it means stoking those embers into flames. Surely we can think of more intelligent ways of approaching the difficulties and gulfs of understanding between us?

  54. Montana - Someone posted this link on the Palin thread. Kind of amusing. You've got to laugh, right?

    Took me a moment to realise it's interactive!

  55. Nicely said Sheff.

    Sorry if I was a bit short.

  56. Not attacking history at all (my first degree) nor sociology, nor neurobio in the least, Peter. Simply pointing out that when using historical type arguments, unlike history, EP lacks the evidence, when using psychology type arguments it lacks the experimental rigour, when taking a more sociological tack it tends to overlook human agency. In short, it approximates to each of those disciplines, but falls short of each's (different) bases for legitimacy.
    It is as I said yesterday interesting for debate, but not as a basis on its own for anything more than that.

  57. Montana - the lightswitch is amusing...

  58. There is no proof for EP, if you have evidence for it Peter do not waste your time presenting it here, put it forth for a Nobel.

    It agrees with what you want it to beleive and so it must be right.

    Bag o wank.

  59. I meant believe.

  60. That's nothing, MF. A certain count (a count! I ask you. Although he did have royal bloodlines.) had an interesting rendezvous at dawn with a nuclear physicist over my honour. Both came armed with the weapons of their choice. The count had a particularly tickly feather and the nuclear physicist - I'm sure he was one because he had a pass to Cern that said nettoyeur - arrived with a small neutron bomb. (I was watching avidly from a handy copse, having of course expressed an abhorrence at the proceedings.)

    The tickly feather cause the physicist to drop his payload prematurely and, luckily for humanity, it turned out to be something of a damp squib. I had suspected as much anyway.

    To console myself, I went for a facial and manicure and thought about all the awful mentally ill people who only need these things to sort themselves out.

  61. Peter said something along the lines of 'girls like pink and boys like blue'.

    Look at it, it is true, girls like pink and always have, etc

    Except, in Victorian times the colours were reversed, blue was for girls and boys wore pink

  62. The idea (from EP) that females like pink and males like blue is a joke.

  63. @;PeterJ and Jen:

    It's called incitement and, although it is extremely difficult in the US to charge someone with it, I believe that, morally, it makes him culpable. That doesn't exonerate the people directly responsible for the deaths, but I do believe he shares some responsibility.

  64. "I'd diverge from your outlook, though, and claim that most legitimate subjects adhere to scientific methodology; all that varies is the nature of the source material and the quality of the analysis that seeks to makes sense of it."

    ..they adhere to scientific methodology where possible because,though they might publicly argue differently, they're well aware that it's only scientific methodology that any objective disinterested party actually puts any stock into...that doesn't make them scientists though...they can't be because their 'findings' can't be used to make testable hypotheses and so can't be falsified, never mind verified

    ..how would that work in EP? You'd have to hypothesise an entirely invented population, presumably cut off from the rest of mankind for a considerable period and descended from a certain precise number and 'kind' of ancestor; make quantitatively verifiable predictions about how such a population might develop...then you've just gotta sit back and wait for your long lost tribe to be discovered..somewhere

    until you do, you're left with speculation, ridiculous backward projections that are condemned from the start by any amount of confirmation bias...and at every possible stage: a large number of equally plausible or even more likely alternatives whose non-existence is explained in terms of

    "well..erm..it didn't happen that way...and so we can assume the human mind is hard-wired like so..."

    close..but no cigar

  65. I apologised to Paul because I was a tit towards him.

    I never got an apology in return.

    BW has been horrible towards him but he manages to say sorry..

  66. I can't fucking stand pink. Makes me think of this stuff.

  67. I have apologised to Paul and never got a sorry back.

    He has apologised to BW who has called him a cunt.

  68. If archaeologists extrapolated from the pre-historic material record the way EPers apparently do with their 'evidence' they'd be laughed off the pitch. But then what do I know?


    Are you OK?

  69. Waddaya thread

    big hat tip to Paul and Leni..anyone would think you had some kinda campaign going...'I salute your indefatigably' etc seriously..keep it up..well done...presumably the idea on that thread would be recommends correlate to popular demand for a subject to be covered-how else do they judge?..by any conceivable standards they must be getting the message

  70. monkey

    It does feel like baying at the moon - Cif will get the message perhaps when the suicides, hunger and homelessness reach epidemic proportions and actually make 'news'.

    to continue Peter's EP discussion. Peter - and too many otheres - pursue the immediate return economics which the assume man practised 250,000 years ago. go hunting, grab a pig and eat. Too slow to hunt - go starve.

    We have to assume the too slow to hunt folk sdeveloped a more cooperative way of doing things - possibly even sharing avaiable skills and resources. Both 'mind sets' are at play today across all societies - and still arguing about it.

    We have no evidence for how ancient societies operated - extrapolating from behaviour of modern primates doesn't help us as they too have evolved over time. Modern hunter gatherers are no model either - they have for the most part some contact with settled societies and in some cases a cash economy.

    Using Darwin as a model is dangerous - misreadings gave us the survival of the fittest and eugenics.

    Analysis of ancient bones suggests that early societies actually cared for the disabled - adult skeletons of people with congenital disorders have been found showing they were cared for within the community.

    AS to colour preferences - bronze age folk seemed keen on red - derived from red earth. No sign of any pink or blue frivolities.

  71. Sheff

    Interesting article. I have read about the Ladakh people before.

    There is enough evidence to suggest that societies are shaped by expectation and sets of values emanating from the top.

    Democracies hold forth a vague promise of equal opportunities and outcomes - never realised but there - just out of reach.

    We are persuaded by ideas of nationhood and identity that we have common cause - all in this together. We are subverted by trashy consumer items and rubbish tv - a small concession here and there. (Bread and circuses)

    We are encouraged to compete , take part in an unequal race with prizes for very few. Separated deliberately by an instrumentalising education system and governed by a privileged group which clings on to power and wealth at all costs.

    Some back the ruling classes - as servants or enforcers, accepting the rewards heedless of the majority. We are encouraged to buils smaller pyramids within the system and to compete to be the capstone - each pyramid resting its oppressive weight on the layers beneath.

    We are taught this is the way it is - this is what we are.

    I don't accept this though I recognise this is what we have become. This is what we have been shaped to become. It is not innate. It is the result of coercion in the name of the status quo.

    EP is comforting to those who feel theyhave 'made it' - it salves consciences believing thatthis is the natural order.

    Difficult to argue with them - they have too much to lose in recognising that they are relying on artificial constructs to shore up their self belief and their ultimately selfish way of life.

  72. Hello everyone, I'm in Northern Ireland now, (just south of Omagh)and we seem to be in a bit of a twilight zone as far as internet and mobile phone connections go.
    Tried to post last night but the whole thing crashed mid sentence.The same people must be responsible for the signposts in Dublin and Belfast!

    I've yet to get anyone to explain this bizarre situation to me, so perhaps one of you can help.

    I go to the local Spa store to buy a bottle of red wine and I'm told I have to give a twenty euro note but my change will be in pounds sterling.

    What's all that about?

    Anyway, I supposed to on the ferry from Belfast to Stranraer tomorrow sometime so I hope to back home in the early hours.

  73. Hello chekhov

    wondered what happened to you last night.

    Can't explain the currency thing - Sherf or Thauma might know.

    sign posts - we have same thing in Wales. You get used to it. We also have odd house number system. 23 can be next door to number 2 - very few street names on display. English towns are much more organised. Someone told me that house numbers are arranged working out from the Town Hall - so that no. 1 is nearest. This seems very orderly if true.

  74. EP is comforting to those who feel theyhave 'made it' - it salves consciences believing thatthis is the natural order.

    Yes, just like the 'Protestant work ethic' and the 'American dream'.

  75. Apart from visting most of the "HomeBase" stores in Ireland we got to drive down the infamous Falls Road and on top of that got pulled up at a road block by the RUC!

    I think the HomeBase stores were more offensive!

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  77. Leni - they have to give us our bread and circuses, even though they begrudge even that - it keeps us from noticing our chains

  78. Not nice to make comments about peoples' appearance but that Julian Glover has a real 'smack me 'face.

  79. A real gem from Miles Davis for Boudican,Philippa and any other UT jazz lovers.