Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A plea

A plea to both of my readers (hi, Mum). I have been quiet for a while, which is partly due to connection problems but mostly because early in the New Year I moved over to Wordpress. I tried to post to both simultaneously for a bit but I forgot a couple of times and then I ended up being unable to post to either for more than two weeks. This place will remain as it is here but barring anything that Wordpress do to annoy me there will be no further posts. Anyone who has me on a blogroll or RSS feed please update to the new addresses where the usual bile and venom against authoritarians and pricks will continue to be delivered. and


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Yet more work

So I thought I’d imported all my tags from this old place but I see that WP has decided that they’re categories, though having accidentally put a category cloud in the sidebar instead of a tag cloud this isn’t too big a problem right now. It is something else on the list of jobs to do though, and I wonder whether re-importing the old posts might fix it. This is going to have to be done anyway since I’ve just noticed that some of the older posts appear just as titles and the actual post content didn’t make it, which kind of defeats the object of importing them. Bugger it – this is stuff I thought I’d got sorted before I opened the place up. Oh well, pass me that hammer, will you?

Iranian Defence Ministry - same as everyone else's apparently

Well done, geniuses. And how many battleships are currently serving with the navies of the world? With the Yanks having retired their last ones years ago I think the answer is very roughly approximately none. Yes, America has aircraft carriers to sink, but you don't need to sink one to put it out of business - you just need to do enough damage to bugger its ability to launch aircraft. I'm no expert but I guess that might be the reason the Yanks don't let them sail around on their own but supply each carrier with a bunch of other ships to support and protect it. All of which makes me think this 'sink a battleship' stuff is more about willy waving than anything else. No doubt it will go bang nicely if it hits a ship that gets within the 125 mile range but realistically that's not going to be the US Navy all that often, and it's not going to be anyone with a battleship except time travellers from the past. Tankers and freighters on the way in and out of the Persian Gulf, yes, but why make a battleship sinking missile for that?

No, I think this is more about giving the rest of the world the shits, and the only sensible response is the mature and dignified one. We all run up to the nearest Iranian embassy and yell "H4, H5, H6" at the top of our lungs and then run away again.

More work

Max Farquar's just brought up my need for an RSS feed button on the new place somewhere. This is one of those things I now see I should have had on here ages ago. Every time I've wanted to add a feed I've just clicked the little RSS button that appears on the right hand side of the URL field in my browser and assumed everyone else was doing the same thing.


 Except I've now realised that they'd only be doing that if they used Safari. Firefucks, Opera and Internet Exploder doesn't have it. Sorry, folks. Assuming just made an ass of me alone on this. I know a few people do follow me by RSS and I've no idea how you managed it because I know you don't all use Safari, but I'm putting up a button to make it easier. The only trouble is the goddamn thing hasn't bloody appeared and I don't know why yet. In the meantime the feed address is as follows:


 Hopefully that'll do until I get it to work.

Welcome to the new gaff

Cross posted from

Well, this has been a while coming, and there’s alway an outside possibility that WordPress will lock us all out, but I’ve finally made the move. There’s a few things still to do, the blogging version of pictures not hanging straight and being unable to find the box with the teaspoons in, but I’m in. Admittedly this is pretty slack of me since I was in ages ago and just haven’t made the time to sort it all out properly, so for a while it will be a work in progress with the occasional appeal to those more experienced with WordPress for advice on how to do things. In fact I’ll start with one of those right now – over at the old place one of the things that was starting to annoy me was the increasing length of the blogroll despite my having broken it up into sections and kept feeds only from the regular reads. I’d planned to follow that through even further here and almost have several blogrolls, which you can see over on the right there [well, not the right here, which is looking like it has for ages, but obviously the right at the new place - AE], but ideally I wanted them in drop downs or something similar showing only the first ten or twelve, and to keep those regular reads and residents of the Orphanage as feeds and displayed in recent post order. Anyone know, and does anyone know if I can make this white background that the posts appear on semi-transparent?

On the subject of the blogroll, you may notice that it’s a little longer than at the old place. Several people have been on my RSS for a while but because this move has been in a state of ‘just around the corner’ for months I’ve not added them. One seems to have given up blogging in the meantime but I’ve still added many more starting with the personal blogs of each one of the Orphans of Liberty (with the exception of one who I think only blogs at the Orphanage – Chuckles, if you read this and I’ve got that wrong please let me know and I’ll add yours), and in addition I’ve added links to some fine female bloggers: jredheadgirl, who I discovered only recently via a comment at either Dick Puddlecote’s or Velvet Glove, Iron Fist; Misanthrope Girl, who’s been in my RSS for a while; and Subrosa and Woman on a Raft, both of whom I should have added ages ago and can’t think why I didn’t. There are also additions in the Smokers and Drinkers section (itself an addition, and which includes a few of blogs from the regular reads/Orphanage sections because of some of the content), such as the aforementioned jredheadgirl, Smoking Out The Truth and Stand Fast, and also in the Climate Bloggers and Sites, the Thinkers, Pollies, Parties Etc, and the Other Sites sections. This means that my carefully albeit intermittently maintained pages of A-Z links that I’ve copied over almost verbatim from the old gaff have been buggered and need to be added to the list of tidying up jobs. If the world could arrange for there to be nothing to blog about for a week or two that’d be great, and if there was anyone on the blogroll at the old place who got missed here just wave at the screen and shout ‘Cooeee’ until I pay attention. Or leave a comment or contact me.

Anyway, welcome and do come in. Most of the old furniture is in the virtual garden and there are a couple of virtual ashtrays out there along with a virtual esky full of virtually freezing virtual beer out there. Mi casa es su casa… ooooh, houseplants, lovely. Do go on through, put your feet up and make yourself comfy, but excuse the changes as I try to get things more the way I want them.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Offence seeking déjà vu

Do you remember the end of 2010? I do. My very last blog post of the year was titled "Last effort for the Offence Seeking Twat of the Year Award" and was about the Top Gear Christmas special outraging literally some people, most of whom were white, middle class Graun readers. Oh, and Andy Choudary.
Needless to say I haven't actually seen Top Gear's "Three Wise Men", and being a Christmas special I expect it'll air here between Easter and late June, but it has already made some news here. And it's all thanks to James May, a rock, a few square yards of black cloth, and bloody Anjem "Is-It-'Coz-I-Is-Slamic" Choudary. It seems that James May brained himself with a rock somehow and that when he came out of hospital, for reasons I don't pretend to understand, this was what he was faced with.
Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond disguised themselves as women by wearing Islamic face veils which only revealed their eyes in a Christmas show filmed in Syria.
Don't fancy yours much.
Andy, with almost gravitic inevitability, was upset because he saw this as an attack on a symbol of his religion, which as far as I could tell the burqa isn't, having been predictably silent over the years about Muslim attacks on the symbols and traditions of other religions.

Still, all to be expected, and so is the nature and level of outrage directed Top Gear's way over this year's Christmas special.
Jeremy Clarkson has been accused of offensive behaviour once again after mocking Indian culture in a Top Gear Christmas special.
Okay, can I interrupt to make a brief point. There's no 'accused of offensive behaviour' about it - if someone was offended then ipso facto his behaviour was offensive. The question is whether that's a reason for doing anything, and since nobody's ever done so much as two fifths of fuck all about most of the things that offend me, and since that doesn't keep me awake at night, I'd say the answer is no, no reason to do anything at all. Being offended is painless and causes no loss unless someone chooses to allow it, which says more about them than what they're complaining about. By all means take offence and say so if you like, but don't tell me it harmed you and the other person must be silenced.
Viewers have complained to the BBC after the outspoken presenter made a series of controversial remarks about the country's clothing, trains, food and history. At one point, Clarkson appeared to make light of the lack of sanitation for poor residents by driving around slums in a Jaguar fitted with a toilet.
And? It's not the wittiest way of making the point but unless it's actually wrong and Indian slums typically have indoor plumbing, piped water supplies and sewers now I don't see the problem. These people are dreadfully poor and literally don't have a pot to piss in. I'm not saying that Clarkson was subtly highlighting the issue of Indian poverty but it's not as if he was saying something that isn't true. Even if he was the appropriate response is rebuttal, not howls of righteous outrage and the usual demand to have him sacked and flogged with broken glass.

And then we have the actual volume of complaints.
A spokesman for the BBC said they had received 23 complaints about the programme, which was broadcast on Wednesday evening.
And how many watched? According to the Graun, who I imagine would like nothing better than the anger of the terminally thin skinned over Clarkson's shoot public sector strikers remark to kill TG's viewing figures, five million people watched and it was the most popular show in its time slot. Assuming every one of those 23 who complained actually watched the show that's 0.00046% of viewers who were offended, and given that about a million people in the UK are of Indian ethnicity it says even more that only 23 complained. Not that all those 23 were necessarily Indian - some are probably white, middle class Graun readers getting offended on behalf of Indians, who presumably don't know when they're being offended. Certainly some of the people taking to message boards and Twatter seem to be.
Owen Hathway tweeted: “Whats wrong with the BBC that they think casual racist stereotyping is acceptable on top gear?”
No idea, Owen, but why don't we leave it up to the million British Indians and the billion Indian Indians to decide whether to be upset. Many of them might think it's some middle aged white guy making a tit of himself and find it amusing. But no, they're clearly mistaken and should be as outraged as the Owens are on their behalf, because it's raaaaaaaacist, see? Raaaaaaaacist!

Which reminds me, where do I write in to complain about this sketch by Goodness Gracious Me from a few years back? I thought it was pretty funny at the time, but now thanks to 23 anonymous complainants and an assortment of condescending pricks I now realise that it was mocking English culture and... what was it again? Oh, yes, I remember: casual racist stereotyping.

I mean, what is wrong with the BBC that they thought it was acceptable?


What's good for the goose is for the gander, offence seekers, and you can't have it both ways. Either both are bad and offensive and shouldn't be allowed, or both are fair play regardless of whether someone somewhere is (or just decides they ought to be) offended by it. I'd say the latter because, as I've said before, there is no right to go through life and never be offended, and since one person can be offended by something that is said while another can be offended by it not being said there never can be a right to not be offended.

As someone who's offended by opening the paper and has moved somewhere that has its own special name for the English my advice would be to get offended all you like as often as you like by absolutely whatever you, er, dislike. Just don't sit there fuming and expecting it means you have a right to insist that anyone else has to accommodate your feelings, because a free society can never work that way and all an unfree society can do is to pick sides.

Marvellous end to the year - UPDATED

I was - and the reason for was rather than am will soon become clear - just getting ready to finally give Blogger the flick over this:

I've ranted about this more than once. I see no need for Google to have my bloody mobile phone number. None. And since I've been nagged about letting them have it for some time and have refused on each and every occasion you'd be forgiven for thinking they might have given up by now.

Oh, no. Nononononono. Now they've added this patronising fucking 'Are you sure about this?' message that appears when you try to skip adding the phone number for the umpteenth time. So, let me see how I can put this politely.....

..... Nope. Can't be done.

Yes, I'm fucking sure. Now stop fucking asking about it.

So that was it for me. I just felt like I couldn't be arsed to carry on saying no to a mob that were persistently deaf to my answer and seem prepared, EU or toddler style, to carry on asking the bloody question until the heat death of the universe or until I cave in. More likely, I feel, it will become a demand and then my choice will be to submit or move, and since I've had a dormant home at Wordpress since I began blogging I've been moving some of the virtual furniture over there in the past few months in anticipation of a permanent move at some point. In fact, I thought to myself, why not make it a New Year, new blogging location?

The only real issue is that there appears to be no easy way to move IntenseDebate comments to a free Wordpress hosted, but just now I thought I'd finally hit on a solution. Somewhat convoluted but it looked worth a shot, and if it didn't work then I'd just begin at the new place with an apology to those whose comments over the past year and a half or so I've been using ID won't show up there until I nut it out. Not the end of the world, I felt. I've never intended to delete this place so they'd all still be here.

So, off to Wordpress I go to test it out, first importing the most recent posts from here, and all of a sudden:

Damn right I had questions and concerns. 'Violation of terms of service' seems to be blogs that are created as search engine whores for marketing reasons or to spruik bullshit get rich quick schemes, and although I link to all sorts of places - because I began this blogging lark admiring the blogs that made an effort to back up what they were saying with sources and to credit quotes by linking to where they were written, and so I've always done the same - it should be pretty clear that this blog isn't about that. The other thing mentioned, and which I suspect I may have fallen foul of, is that WP don't like blogs that consist of duplicated content, and is currently 100% duplicated content. However, this seems rather hard to avoid when importing an existing blog in toto into WP, and since it's MY duplicated content I'd have thought the thing to do is fire off an email and bloody asking me about it. Instead WP have gone straight for the nuclear option and shut down a blog that currently isn't open to public viewing anyway.

So, all this has been put into a web form and pinged WPwards in the hope that someone will look at it sharpish and let me back in. Unfortunately it's only 5.45am on Friday in California where (I believe) are based, and it's a bleary 12.45am the next day for me. I'm not getting anything done before I crash out for the night, and with New Year-y things going on tomorrow that's going to cut into my time even if they get onto it and sort things out soon after they get in. I suppose that's one upside for it being yesterday there because at least it's still a workday. If it was here I could be stuffed until Tuesday.

As it is I'm not optimistic of a 1st Jan move, and it seems it's all because of a what seems a disproportionate response by WordPress. It's not as if some kind person noticed the similarity and thought there was someone with a WP blog masquerading as me and ripping off my posts - the place is private and I'm the only one with access apart from whoever or whatever system at WP has decided it's in violation of the Ts and Cs. Disappointing, especially as one of the big appeals of WordPress is this:
“ supports free speech and doesn’t shut people down for 'uncomfortable thoughts and ideas', in fact we’re blocked in several countries because of that."
An admirable sentiment which I'd just love to blog about at my place there. Except I can't, can I?


UPDATE - looks like a fairly trivial thing: in a post about anti-tobacco hysteria and state bullying of smokers there's a quote from an online e-cig seller that WP don't like for some reason. They haven't said and I'm not that interested, though since the notice of suspension mentioned marketing and SEO trickery I wonder if maybe they've had people post/comment spam on behalf of that company. I've had similar things happen here - the most recent being someone apparently in the Philippines comment spamming on behalf of a British clothing company (who never responded when I emailed them to ask why a comment on a post about Australian tee shirts had a link to their page about ladies scarves)  - which have caused me to add some interesting keywords to the comment moderation filter.

The trouble here is that I linked only to provide a source for the quote and that's the only place in more than two thousand posts and two long sidebars where I've linked to this company, so I'm worried that if WP have a policy of instant suspension in these situations this could happen again without warning just because I happen to link to somewhere without knowing it's on some kind of blacklist that automatically shuts the blog down. This is causing a rethink of the WP move. As Longrider points out in the comments here I can always self-host, but if I was going to self-host I'd be using the Blogger platform for preference anyway. Well, at least for as long as they don't force their piss-awful new UI on me. And this is the reason why I'm not up for self-hosting at all right now. I don't much like the WP UI and I don't like the UI that Blogger have said they will force on users at some as yet unspecified point. I want blogging to be like driving my car, but WP have so many options it feels more like flying a plane. Conversely the new Blogger UI is like driving a car where the location of half the controls has been decided by someone who is drunk, and the location of the other half by someone who is mad.

Ho frigging hum.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Today's solution to a non-existent problem

Click for linky
Occupy Wall Street activists are developing a social network called The Global Square for the generation of protesters.

"We don't want to trust Facebook with private messages among activists," developer Ed Knutson told Wired.
Of course, because nobody was able to send any messages before Facefuck came along, much less keep the contents secure, were they? Build it by all means, but it doesn't sound like anything that couldn't have been done before. What it does sound like is something that some Occupod-person will take out a patent on in an attempt to cash in. And who knows? Facefuck is looking a little tired these days and I can't help thinking it'll eventually go the way of MySpace and the rest, so if The Global Square became the next big interthing it could move whoever has that patent from the 99% they say they represent to the 1% they oppose.

Image of Jesus seen in picture of Jesus

Well, it's about the last place the faithful no, gullible and/or desperate for their 15 minutes have actually looked for an image of their lord and saviour, various of them having claimed to have seen him in clouds, random bits of wood, chocolate bars and even ruined cookware.*
Toby Elles, 22, made the discovery after burning the food when he fell asleep while cooking.
After lifting off the scorched bacon Mr Elles, from Salford, Lancs, could not believe his eyes when the Christlike image stared back at him.
The face is complete with eyes, nose, a beard and is framed by long flowing hair.
Well, let's have a look then.

Okay, I'll grant you that it looks kind of like a bearded man, but does that mean it's Jesus and not some randomised scraps of carbonised bacon fat? Not only does it seem unlikely that Jesus, who was Jewish if I recall, would choose to re-appear in bacon fat [and personally] I think it looks like John Lennon without his glasses.
However, let's for a moment assume that this is a benchmark for what the Son of Man looks like, and of course ignore the fact that what Yeshua of Nazareth actually looked like probably wasn't the medieval bearded guy from church windows or the BeeGee lookalike from more contemporary Christian art but a regular 1st century Palestinian male. So, if that's an image of Jesus who's this guy in the sock?
Sarah Crane, 38, said she was stunned when she saw a bearded man staring back at her from the laundry line.
Her boyfriend agreed the crumpled grey "holy sock" bore an uncanny likeness to the traditional image of Christ, and the couple took photographs to show their friends.
Oh, for fuck's sake. I'm going to regret this, but let's have a look anyway.

Really? Look, firstly that doesn't even look like a bearded man. I can see a face-like pattern, though that's perfectly natural and happens to people all the time, but to begin with I thought it look more like a robot than a human face before finally deciding that actually it reminded me a bit of Eddie from Iron Maiden album cover art.

Of course we're talking about the classic 1980s Eddie

And secondly, even if it did look like a bearded man it doesn't look like the bearded man in the frying pan who, it's suggested, is not John Lennon but our Redeemer, though unfortunately neither of them look a lot like I'd expect an ancient Palestinian to look and nor do they look like Jesus of Marmite Jar or Jesus of Cheap Interior Door.** And of course there's a reason for that: not everyone with a bloody beard is Jesus. I mean look up there at Eddie... see it? Beard. And Eddie the Head isn't even slightly saintly, much less Christ like. I shouldn't need to spell this out but beard ≠ Jesus.

Plus, and I realise this is obvious to both my readers, these things are not Jesus but are the leftovers of a couple of ruined slices of cured pig meat, a cheap sock, a few cents of plastic with some random blobs of yeast extract, and a fucking door. In fact the only three things that links these and any other example of the Jesus-appears-in-random-everyday-object phenomenon is their different looking Jesuses, their essential non-Jesusness that follows from the inability to agree on what Jesus looked like, and their being obsessed over by nutters. And by nutters I don't mean religious believers, though no doubt some are, but dedicated non thinkers who'd rather believe that they've been blessed by an entity whose existence is unproved, and if you ask me pretty doubtful, than that human beings are so naturally predisposed to recognising patterns that they see them in things that are random and patternless.

I mean, what's the alternative? Yes, the bloke who burned his bacon might like to think how miraculous it was he didn't die in the fire, but other people do die in fires all the time. Are we to believe that the Good Lord saves those who nod off while making bacon sarnies but not from dodgy wiring that they don't even know about? And the others, what do we make of those? Are B group vitamins particularly holy? Blessed are the squeaky doors, for they shall inherit the earth? Is the Bible wrong and Jesus actually say unto Peter "You are my sock, and on this sock I shall build my church" or does he just want to cure corns and verrucas?

Not if the experience of the sock Jesus woman is any indication.
They even talked about creating a shrine to the sock but then the face was lost when they moved it.
I was half expecting the Ascension to be mentioned at this point but fortunately for both my head and my desk it never came up. Instead, and almost as laughable, this:
"We think it's a bit of a sign - but for what we don't know."
Well, I can think of a couple of things that it could be a sign of. One is that you might just be a fucking idiot, and the other is that with electronic media making the space for online news practically infinite every day is a sufficiently slow news day for this stuff to be included, even if it's so ridiculous and embarrassing that nobody wants to put their byline on it.

I hope that 2012 will be the year this guff goes out of fashion in the MSM, but I'm not holding my breath. In fact I'm afraid that if that happens at all it'll only be because the 2012 Mayan apocalypse non-prediction and associated cockwaftery will be taking centre stage instead.

And there's no point saying "God help us" because if he's there at all he's probably too busy laughing.

* For those with the patience of Job or who find the whole thing funny (the only way I cope with this kind of lunacy) The Tele has a whole gallery of this stuff.
** Linking that really went against the grain.

Christmas Down Under

Many thanks to those who mailed or left comments on Sunday's Happy Christmas post, but in response to the Ambush Predator who said,
Happy hot, beach-bound, BBQ Christmas!
I'd say that while I was happy many others weren't, and it was neither hot, beach-y or BBQ-y round here, as this collection of photos from The Age shows.

And if you're thinking that last one looks less 'Snow Angel' and more 'Hail Mary' then your eyes are clearly over whatever alcoholic pounding they enjoyed with you over Christmas and working well. Which is also the reason why not everyone here had a happy Christmas Day at all.

Yep, on the twelfth day of Christmas Melbourne's true love gave us thunder, lightning, pissing rain, localised flooding and golf ball sized hailstones.
More than 15,000 claims have been lodged with insurance companies after savage storms tore through Melbourne on Christmas Day, as the Insurance Council of Australia today declared the weather event a catastrophe.

About a third of those claims relate to damage caused to houses and businesses in the storms, while the remainder are for damaged vehicles.
Still, on the bright side it may have killed some of the snakes and spiders.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Did someone overdo it on the turkey curry?

From here, with an alternative version and making of here
I say we take off and nuke
the dunny from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas...

... to both my readers (hi, Mum) and anyone else who shows up. And if it isn't yet Christmas Day where you are come back in a few hours.
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