22 January 2011


The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
-Stephen King


  1. Dave is looking for a new communications person.

    Given the UTs recent success in cobbling together an impressive collective CV with regard to Ms Penny's vacancy for a slave, sorry, intern, may I begin?

    Blogging experience - check
    Blagging experience - check
    Good sense of humour maintained in times of austerity & adversity - check
    GSO maintained when inebriated - check
    Photogenic/telegenic - check (we all look fine hiding behind our copies of The Guardian over in the Photo Gallery, plus some of us have some rather fetching pets)
    Oxbridge education ... erm, some of us have been there for various reasons, so yeah - check

  2. Morning MsChin

    Enjoyed your posts yesterday. Compassion is Fucked indeed.

  3. Hi medve

    Thanks. And indeed it seems to be so, but I continue to travel in hope.

  4. A Hungarian proverb has it that hope dies last of all.

  5. Re: poverty relative poverty etc.

    Granted the number of destitute people is a minority - although one third is one heck of a large minority but that leaves very large numbers of people who for example (remember I am talking globally here) cannot afford to educate their children or get medical care when they are sick. With increasing desertification in Africa the numbers of people who are in dire poverty is increasing.

    In the UK the top 10% of population are worth more than £853,000. The bottom 1% have negative wealth (liabilities exceed assets) of £3,840 plus.

    See this report http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/27_01_10_inequality.pdf

    If you study the graphs on pages 5&6 you will see that people at the bottom of the the top 10% have incomes 4 times that of the bottom 10%. The top 1% have incomes five times the median.

    This large gap is a recipe for instability.

    These figures are for 2008, Goodness knows what the situation will be like when the current cuts start biting.

    At a time when fewer and fewer people can pay for help with care for elderly and disabled the funding is going to drop!

    The poorest in society are paying for this crisis and the condems keep repeating the mantra 'we have to because Labour spent too much.

    They spent to much all right - on bailing out the bankers. They miss that bit out don't they!

    Funny that!

  6. I suppose i will have to support capitalism and nip out to the market too buy some honey. (I am a few bees short of self-sufficiency).


  7. Hi medve + MsChin. We have to live in hope. And fetching pets help too. Not to mention inebriation which I also do well. Did you check last nights musical offerings? Bitters is always good for the money but Bitey's choices were surprisingly uplifting. Well done to him.

  8. Good morning annetan42 as well. Yes, they will quite often leave out the unpleasant subject of the poor.

  9. Boudican

    Yes, I did check out and enjoyed last night's musical interlude.

    Shame that folk waited until I'd buggered off, but there you go!


    Sweet ..

  10. Morning Anne

    I found this piece on the devadasi really interesting. It highlights some really important global issues in a very local and particluar context.

  11. medve, MsChin--Must be off, have been requested in the boudoir. Laters.

  12. Your presence is required in the boudoir?

    *raises eyebrow at Boudican*

  13. Off to play very second rate cello amongst far better musicians. Nice as a not very good musician to have lots of other musicians who are far better to hide behind! I hit about one note in every bar on the faster pieces.

    We have our first concert tonight, which is quite exciting. There's never been an orchestra in our town before. We even got an article in the Leicester press - though they did manage to make me sound completely and utterly inarticulate. Oh well. :-)

    Trying to type up programme notes now, as nobody thought to do that for me. We should probably have a programme, I suspect.

  14. Talking about relative poverty (which you weren't).

    I have enough to survive on, I have food and clean water and a roof over my head.

    I finally got my new HC2 form through today which means I can get my rotten infected tooth out and get some new glasses, (my eyesight is failing at the speed of light).

    In terms of most of the world I am a lucky, lucky person.

    In terms of the UK I am a pauper.

    Should I feel lucky for what I have or should I feel sick because I don't have the things that people around me have.

    I am so sick of people (no one on here) telling me that I don't know what real poverty is.

    Have my life then tell me that.

    Sorry for the OT rant and the sloping back after a while away but I have had a hard morning.

  15. Hi Jen!

    Great to see you here again .. people have been wondering if all was well with you.

  16. I am sure they don't actually give a toss MsChin.

    But I needed to vent and thanks to Montana I had somewhere to do it. ;)

  17. Jennifera30

    No need to apologise.

    Good to see you back.

    The argument for not complaining because "there are other people much worse off than you" is basically a convenient race to the bottom for those who have an interest in disguising the fact that globalisation means we all have to learn to live on less than the slave labourer just above us in the food chain, the pecking order.

    Once we all bottom out, we will still have to manage to do with less, even when we are living on thin air.

    It is said that the big fish canning businesses move their operations constantly around the world. Each time they give the new local fisherman the privilege and pleasure of working for them, they reduce the payments by 25 percent.


  18. Meerkatjie you play the cello? In an orchestra? Damn, you really are impressive.

    Jenni, "Should I feel lucky for what I have or should I feel sick because I don't have the things that people around me have."
    It's up to you. I quite like having nothing, takes away the fear of losing anything.

  19. Except a game of football.

    I'm scared... (not really)

  20. Nice attitude Habib, I should cultivate an attitude like that.

    Sadly once I am bounced onto JSA or ESA or whatever it is now I won't be able to afford it. :)

  21. Jenni, attitude is free, but it can cost you a hell of a lot if you employ it in the wrong place.

    Don't you just love the way capitalism influences even our words?

    Best wishes for you, pal.

  22. Attitude, it is like luck, you can not just get it.

    No offense Habib but beeing told to have the right attitude is like being told be born lucky to me.

    It does not just happen.

    I have never had the right attitude, can I sue god?

  23. Blast it Boudican, just missed you again as i went out supporting capitalism. Glad to hear from you again Jenni.

  24. Jenni, no offence taken, because I never would tell anyone which attitude to take or how to feel.

    Song for things not being quite right.

  25. I came back, I embarrased myself, I spelt things wrong.

    Not exactly veni,vedi, etc

    I am off again, don't hate me. ;)

  26. Jenni Hi!

    Glad to see you = people have been asking after you (in case you were lurking :)

    Re: poverty, the issue is that if we shared the world's resources properly everyone would have enough to be happy and secure.

    In other words the mega rich would have a hell of a lot less and the destitute would have a hell of a lot more.

    With appropriate adjustments inbetween.

    If you have to fret about every penny you spend (and I'm guessing you do) then you don't have enough. people who call what you have 'luxury' are selfish rich gits who have never had to do it.

    They are beneath contempt.

    Take care (((Jenni)))

    You sound like you need a cyberhug right now

  27. Hiya Jen! Nothing at all to feel embarrassed about - we all have a good vent once in a while.

    Hope your afternoon is better than your morning. x

  28. I did not want cyberlove (though being who I am give it to me. ;).

  29. I really have let myself down enough.

    See you all later.

  30. Jen

    Unless I am missing something, I cannot see how you have let yourself down - or anyone else.

    Even if you had, with what you have had to deal with lately, it would be OK anyway.

    Don't go. You're good to have around.

    I always thought the internet was specifically invented to makes fools of us all anyway.

    Or does it just do that to me?

  31. I don't know what it is you think you've done, Jenni, but I can't see anything wrong. Regards and much love to you.

  32. Jen - you've been missed, good to see you again! Welcome back to the madhouse.

  33. Ulster are through to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals!

    *thaumaturge does happy dance*

  34. deano

    Welcome back to the madhouse.

    Although the rough bits of UT can be a bit maddening at times, on the whole this community feels like a haven of sanity and compassion to me.

  35. Jen stick around we miss you.

    Take care

  36. .


    Re: poverty relative poverty etc.

    Granted the number of destitute people is a minority - although one third is one heck of a large minority but that leaves very large numbers of people who for example (remember I am talking globally here)......

    Well I'm not talking globally, but people I know in China who were what we would call middle class - and who are in their mid-thirties can remember not having enough food - not even rice and noodles the price of which is state regulated, - and regularly being hungry. And while the last famine in 1959-61 claimed 15 million lives according to state figures, it's only been in the last 25 years or so - coinciding more or less with the 1 child family policy, that food has become plentiful.

    So why can China achieve this and not other 'developing' countries?

  37. Bitey

    China is a long way from providing for all its people.

    Everywhere across the world there is an invisible underclass - hidden beneath stats which quote averages for growth and income.

  38. Boudican...

    ...but Bitey's choices were surprisingly uplifting. Well done to him.

    Well thank you Boudican, but why the "surprisingly"?

    So here's an early start for tonight:

    Annie Whitehead - To Dudu a jazz trombonist based in Leeds.

  39. This should explain today's image. I was trying to put it up this morning, but my connection decided that it wanted to remind me what life was like back in the days of dial-up.

  40. Leni

    China is a long way from providing for all its people. ......

    Well I've lived in China for almost four in the past eight years and have travelled extensively in the poorest provinces - Sichuan and Yunnan, largely on public buses and trains, to tiny towns and villages beyond the back of beyond:

    Like this one


    and here - Ninglang

    I've seen plenty of well fed, well dressed children and adults many of whom would be considered among the world's poor, but never any who are starving.

    Even in the smallest villages I've seen medical centres with people on drips, lying on beds or sitting out in the sun. And having an ethic that values hard work for long hours, people work their land to manicured perfection and sell their surplus in town markets.

  41. Bitey - but is hard work for long hours really what we all want to aspire to?

    God knows I've done it (although the "hard" bit not physical but mental) but I don't enjoy it and I don't think it's something to revere.

    I don't mind the 'hard work' bit; it's when it's combined with long hours. For me, it tends to be 40 hours of faffing around doing nothing too arduous and then evenings and weekends working flat out, because the work can't be done during normal working hours.

    Exhaustion leads to mistakes, although luckily I haven't made any yet.

  42. Just posted this on wtfyta, but will post again here in case anyone else has the same experience:

    À propos of nothing: does anyone else find themselves counting things that don't need to be counted?

    For example: earlier I was slicing veg and counted each slice. When I caught myself on, I thought, "why?"

  43. thauma

    Yes, I do the same and it is nearly always connected with something unimportant - shovelfuls into a wheelbarrow; paces to the top of a hill; bangs on a nail; lamp-posts to the end of the road.

    I've even seen people in little glass cages in banks assiduously counting pieces of coloured paper as if they are the most important things in the world.

  44. Thaum, I agree with you about work and I wasn't making a value judgement about hard work, merely reporting observations. But when having a job, any job is of such importance, I guess you do whatever it takes and of course for peasant farmers - who still make up just under half the population work is governed by daylight hours and the weather.

    Having said that, the Naxi.
    minority nationality have almost a matriarchal society and the men do tend to sit around all day smoking, playing games etc while the women make decisions but also do all the work.

  45. Atomboy - thank fuck for that, I thought I was all alone!

    I also do imaginary horseback slaloms between lampposts and other obstacles as I move down a road. This obviously involves switching lead at the right moment.

    As for counting the pretty pieces of coloured paper, I am rubbish at that. It doesn't seem important.

  46. thauma

    I also used to do something slightly more odd as a child - 10-14 years old, I guess - when being driven. For some reason, the mention of lamp-posts reminded me.

    I would catch sight of random stray objects as we passed them - a wooden telegraph-pole; a galvanised metal gate; a dripping bush; a dry rock in the sun; a broken pane of glass with an incipient, smeared growth of moss - and actually feel the textures and tastes on my tongue as we sped past in the clattery old jalopy, rushing to get home before it broke down.

    I can still "picture" the sensations on my tongue.

  47. Blogger has eaten two of my posts in a row, then refused for a while to put up a comment box. This has mostly been happening since I switched to Chrome, but is also a problem on IE 7. Anyone else having these problems?

    Anyway. Will try to remember to save this one.

    Digested reply to Bitey: farming is very hard work, and I think especially animal farming. Would like to be a Naxi man, except making the decisions.

    Atomboy - very vivid description I can relate to. I would (/can) feel myself moving physically to negotiate the obstacles. The same thing happens when I'm watching certain sports. I try not to let it show!

  48. What is this? OCD night?
    (We all have them)

  49. Evening all!

    Am back from Christmas #2, glad to be back too...

    Jen - hope you are OK - good to see you back too, hope you stick around.

    Thauma - me too. mainly to ensure that there is an even number of slices. and i tend only to buy even numbers of fruit and vegetables when shopping. because they're neater.

  50. To help me catch up - james isn't still up on a roof, is he?

  51. @Habib:

    Speak for yourself, weirdo. There's nothing unusual in not wanting any of the different foods on your plate to touch each other.

  52. thauma

    The same thing happens when I'm watching certain sports. I try not to let it show!

    Sounds like we'd end up knocking each other out if we sat together to watch, say, a gangster film.

    I tend to react to what is happening and dodge or block the blows which are happening twenty feet away in two dimensions on the television screen or flail and grab if the hero is being thrown down a well.


    Yes, I'm not sure whether it sounds more weird to write it down or to actually do it.

    I like to pretend the same thing is happening in living-rooms up and down the country but pehaps that is just wishful thinking.

  53. Hiya Phil, hope you're not glad to be back because it wasn't good?

    Also glad to hear more confirmation that I'm not insane.

    Sandwiches. I must cut everything so that there is a completely equal distribution of each flavour throughout the sandwich.

    I am Nigel.

  54. Montana

    It depends what colour they are, doesn't it?

  55. thauma - had a lovely time, but it is very nice to be home...

    on the upside, one of my presents was the University Challenge quiz book.

    on the downside, easyjet weight luggage limitations means that's still in clerkenwwell, along with a jacket and some cheese.

    but i will get it back soon...then we can play live!

  56. Philippa - oh no! Not the cheese!

    Bastard so-called budget airlines.

  57. to be fair, my wait at checkin / bagdrop / whatever was only five minutes and this time they'd swept the floor so i didn't get my foot cut open when my shoes went through the scanner. and we were only an hour late.

    so it was pretty good this time.

    (my dad has hit a new standard of present-giving - he bought me one of these - the oisette got the zebra-print one)

  58. The ever-cunning Julian Assange is keeping one step ahead in case Uncle Sam wants to shove him on an electric chair barbie - by becoming a character in a computer game.

    Alice McLafferty from Fallout

    Julian Assange

  59. Philippa - if your heating gives out, it will be a comfort to have two.

    AB - remind me to check those links out tomorra. Off to bed the noo.

  60. Yeah, me, too.

    Up too early this morning.

  61. Evening all

    NN thauma & AB

  62. "You're all too weird for me
    with your OCD."

    My only obsession, from childhood, is to compulsively say "get to your destination safely" in Punjabi, whenever I see an aeroplane.

    Welcome back, Philibee! Looking forward to you hosting University Challenge.

    Oh, song: I wonder if anyone's ever heard of it, or the group...

  63. Hey Jen!
    If you're lurking ... please come back.

  64. My only obsession, from childhood, is to compulsively say "get to your destination safely" in Punjabi, whenever I see an aeroplane.

    I think that's brilliant.

    Just spent 4 hours removing a particularly virulent virus (is that tautology?) from the laptop - (would recommend installing Malwarebytes, just in case - it's free) - hope it's ok now, but will have to wait & see - story of my life atm...

    Hey, Jen. Good to see you.

  65. Hi again Ms Chin and Shaz, I am always lurking, it is what I do. ;)

  66. Phew - was worried that I'd pissed you off in some way, Jen? Apologies if so.

  67. Oh hell sorry MsChin, I was just rambling, like I do, you could never piss me off.

    You are one of the posters I always look out for, a rare voice of reason in a sea of internet madness.

    Gutted if I caused you a moment of worry.

  68. Jen

    Cheers! I was having a bad morning - as we all do from time to time - so don't feel gutted.


    Choon please ....

  69. Can we have some Country, Thauma has gone to bed so it should be ok.

  70. not quite sure if this is country, but i do like it...

  71. Jen

    Looks like you'll have to choose the choon since habib's gone AWOL, shaz is recovering from worm removal and I know bugger all about country music ; )

  72. Aha - Philippa has found us summat.

  73. I was half kidding about the country music but I loved that Philippa, just loved it.

    I am country all the way from now on.

  74. shaz has been wormed?

    i go away for a week and everything gets strange...

    jen - it's a bit of an oddity, a friend has it on some random 'alt.country' collection, just sprang to mind then! pre-dates brokeback mountain by a fair few years...

  75. Sorry Philippa!

    shaz had some computer bug which coincided with submitting a piece of work for assessment ... caused her no end of hassle.

  76. Sorry, MsChin, I was just smoking the good stuff.

    Why I love Country music...

    I'm just tired she's way past caring
    but she says she is fine
    she tells lies most of the time
    what she needs i don't have
    that's not in the hand that I'm holding
    so we drink spanish wine
    she plays country records until the morning

  77. I didn't even notice the worm removal in all the country love. :O

    A pet I am hoping?

  78. "I was just smoking the good stuff' ... me an'all, habib, me an'all.

  79. Hello everyone: appropo of nowt really, here's another choon from Roxy Music.

  80. Man, you should listen to this when every note, let alone every word matters.
    Proper country for Jenni.

  81. A pet worm? I bet Leni has got one of those.

  82. Is it wrong that I loved that habib?

  83. BTW: fascinating programme on "More 4" tonight: "Journey to the edge of the Universe"
    Sorry, I should have flagged it up earlier but I'm sure it's still available on "I player" or "Catch up" or whatever!

  84. Time for bed ... NN from me.

  85. Hello Habib

    i am just arrived.

    Glad to see the jenni is back with us. Hi Jenni x.

    Funny MsChin should mentioned pet worms ...

    A piece of earth shattering news - we possibly have a new woodlouse here in UK. Well, I think it is interesting anyway.

  86. Habib

    I am not a Ferry fan but quite enjoying your last link.

    It has a suggestion of that going under an anaesthetic feeling.

  87. Leni, I can't remember who it was, but someone recently said going under was fun, especially because he tried to count to twenty, didn't get there but laughed before sleeping.

  88. Anyway, before you turned up I was thinking about this:

    I said to Hank Williams how lonely does it get? Hank Williams hasn't answered yet, but I hear him coughing all night long, a hundred floors above me, in the tower of song.

  89. Habib

    i had friends once - before their divorce and subsequent move from area.

    He was addicted to Hank - she loathed him and destroyed record collection then buried it in the garden. He was very miffed.

  90. heyhabib, just had a Lloyd Cole nostalgia moment, then realised he was the epitome of bourgeois complacency and felt nauseous. Alas.

  91. speedy

    had to look up Lloyd Cole - had never heard of him. He sounds like someone else but cannot place who exactly.

  92. Leni,
    "she loathed him and destroyed record collection then buried it in the garden."
    If he liked Hank Williams, he would have written a song about that.

    "the epitome of bourgeois complacency"
    huh? What did he do to make you feel nauseous?

  93. Hey Jen; welcome back to the asylum! I could be wrong but it seems to me that our rulers are idiots! This shit ain't "Rocket Science"!

  94. heyhabib, the nausea is probably more to do with the lifetime of underachievement post-Mainstream more than anything. Statements left unsaid, etc. Clever bloke who never managed to stick it to anyone. The anti-Dylan.

  95. This shit ain't "Rocket Science"!

    It is. That's why they're no good at it.

  96. Habib

    Lots of possible songs in that relationship.

    She smothered him in an odd sort of adulation which disguised her constant attacks.

    She used to tell him he was so good - rather like Jesus- and so would die at the age of 33. When he was in bed after the night shift she would cut the grass with scissors and them tell him how hard it was - but she did it that way so she wouldn't disturb his sleep. A sort of very nast DV.

    I was always surprised she didn't finish up buried in the garden.

  97. speedkermit
    "the lifetime of underachievement ... more than anything. Statements left unsaid, etc."
    I knew there was a reason why his words had resonance for me.

    Leni, I hope you're kidding, but I've seen relationships like that.