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

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha... - UPDATED

... ahahahahahahahaha!
Johann Hari, a multiple award winning political journalist who writes for newspapers around the world, was exposed after a reader noticed that a quote in one of his stories had been cut and pasted from a book.
Such was the controversy that he was forced to respond in a personal blog, but his defence only further fuelled the intensity of the attacks against him.
On Twitter, the micro-blogging website, users posted a series of jokes in which famous sayings in history were re-created as if Mr Hari had been told them in intimate interviews, while blogs from rival journalists accusing him of so-called "churnalism".
At one point his alleged plagiarism was the second most discussed topic on Twitter and even became the subject of a doctored clip from Downfall, a film about Adolf Hitler's final hours.
Ahahaha? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Hooooo.
The backlash began when a left wing website analysed an interview Mr Hari conducted with Antonio Negri, an Italian Marxist, in 2004. The blog found that Mr Hari used a quote in the interview which appeared to have been taken from Negri on Negri, a book published a year earlier.
The blog goes on reveal that a passage from pages 100 and 101 of the book is almost identical.
Brian Whelan, another blogger, subsequently found a further example in a 2010 interview by Mr Hari with the Israeli journalist Gideon Levy. He found a passage that appeared to be composed of sentences that had appeared in a column written by Levy the previous March.
[Hari] claimed that he had only used the quotes to make his interviewee appear more articulate, and said he had not received a complaint in a 10 years.
He wrote: "So occasionally, at the point in the interview where the subject has expressed an idea, I’ve quoted the idea as they expressed it in writing, rather than how they expressed it in speech." However the response failed to dampen the backlash against him.
Ahahahahahaha. Ahaha. Aha. Okay, I'll be okay. Heheheh.
Last night the Media Standards Trust, which funds the Orwell prize, demanded an investigation to see whether he should be stripped of the award.
It said that the issue had "the potential to damage its reputation".
The organisers of the award said they were following a "process" normally carried out in "situation such as this".
And so the lesson is quote by all means - and I do it extensively myself - but be honest and open and fucking source it.* This seems to be pretty much par for the course in the blogosphere and I thought it was for the MSM too. Perhaps not so much anymore.

UPDATE - can open, worms everywhere.
He also falsely claimed that none of his subjects had ever complained following the publication of one of his interviews. In fact, Noam Chomsky complained bitterly.
It now appears that Mr Hari has made quite a habit of pinching quotes given to other interviewers, and claiming that they were given to him.
Admittedly I've not read a lot of his stuff and this may be miles off, but I've got the impression that if Hari caught a journo from the Wail or the Teletubbygraph or somewhere else in the non-lefty bit of the media he'd call them on it in a heartbeat.

UPDATE 2 - And he's now been Mashed.
The criticism came after Hari used a revolutionary new interview technique that involved pretending people had said things to him and then imagining what his reaction would have been if they had have said those things to him, which they did not and in fact said to somebody else years ago.

* Though I realise I may not be the first person to say that.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Blue arsed fly...

... hanging paper with one arm drinking like a flat out lizard.

Yes, too busy even to get my metaphors straight, but midweek hopefully may have time to blog. In the meantime here are a couple of bits of music that are completely unrelated apart from having been rattling around in my head for no discernible reason over the last few days.

What The Prodigy are doing sharing my brain with Pink Floyd I have no idea.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Mac vs PC ... translated for gamers


The Blairs' trip Down Under

Thanks to Tom in the comments on yesterday morning's blog about the grinning mutation coming to Melbourne and charging a thousand bucks a head to listen to him, I see that the Blairs are, as Tom describes it, taking tentative steps into the theme parks business.

Click for linky

The couple initially delighted parents at their 11-year-old son Leo’s school by agreeing to host the get-together at their seven-bedroom mansion near Chequers.
However, the mood of some parents darkened when they discovered that the Blairs were charging each person £10 for a seat on a coach from the school in Central London to the mansion in Buckinghamshire.
The Blairs have banned parents from driving directly to the estate for security reasons, asking parents to board the bus instead.
One mother of a child who is in Leo's year said: 'I'm livid. The Blairs are rich and can afford it, but lots of families in the area are poor.'
It has to be said that while there's nothing wrong with it as such it's not very sensible to combine being generous enough to host the event and then refuse to allow people to make their own travel arrangements, leaving them no alternative but to be charged for the transport the Blair's are laying on. As a old Theme Park player I'd suggest they reduce the prices of the food a little but add lots of salt and then rip the arse out of the drinks prices, if that hasn't already occurred to them.

However, if the speaking tour is cover for getting theme park ideas I have to say they're starting in the wrong place. I think the theme parks are mostly up around the Gold Coast, 50 miles or so from Brisbane where they're going the day after Melbourne. True, Melbourne does have a fair bit worth seeing and is a decent place to come for a visit, but it's a bit light on theme parks except for old Luna Park in St Kilda. Oh, wait a moment...

Nah. Can't be.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Black is white, up is down, Labour is Tory

As if to prove that this political metamorphery (apparently not a word, but I'm sticking with it anyway) of Tories into Labour that I've been ranting about the last couple of days is not unique we have the precedent of the grinning mutation mentioned earlier today, who, according to a lifelong member of the Tory party I knew, was among the best Conservative Prime Ministers he could remember. To be honest I wasn't sure how much he was complimenting Blair and how much he was slagging off Major and whichever tool they had as leader whenever it was we were discussing it, but it seems as if Blair was not a one off. Either that or Frank Field is starting to channel Norman Tebbit.
When Tony Blair won the 1997 election, the total number of benefit claimants of working age stood at 5.7 million. When Gordon Brown went to the country in 2010, the level was the same – even though more than three million jobs had been created under Labour.
The problem was that, of those new jobs, 80 per cent went to immigrant workers. And now, the same disturbing pattern is repeating itself. In fact, it is even more marked: over the first year of the Coalition, 87 per cent of the 400,000 new jobs created were taken by immigrants.
Overwhelmingly, voters reject the idea that the right to welfare should be decided on grounds of need. A vast majority insists that welfare should instead be earned. Voters are deeply uneasy with the direction of policy, begun in the early Sixties, that has seen Britain move away from its insurance-based system, where benefits were awarded only to those who had paid in, to a means-tested system that gives a universal right to benefits to anyone whose income is below a certain level. Especially since, under the guise of tax credits, a third of the country has been sucked into the welfare net.
Voters are equally hostile to the way social housing is allocated. The rules determine that those deemed to be in greatest need shoot to the top of the housing queues. The public fundamentally disagrees. It believes that those who have waited the longest, who have been good, reliable, decent tenants, who have paid their rent on time, whose children haven’t caused trouble, shouldn’t be pipped at the post for the best housing.
Yet even so, the Coalition looks set to continue the post-war policies to which voters are hostile. Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Benefit is little more than Gordon Brown’s approach on speed.
The Work Programme, if anything, has had an even easier ride. The Government believes, for two reasons, that its approach is superior to the horrendous number of such schemes Labour introduced and endlessly refined. First, private providers will be free from most bureaucratic restraint; second, they will predominantly be paid by their results, getting their reward from the taxpayers only when they place people in work (and the longer they remain in work, the bigger the reward).
It sounds simple, but again, I doubt whether it will have a huge impact on the numbers of workless claimants, and particularly on the number of those who have never worked.
But what of those lads, barely able to read or write, who tell me they wouldn’t dream of taking a job that doesn’t pay three times the rate they gain on benefits, and who refuse those jobs available on the grounds that such work is fit only for immigrants? This group of recidivist, workless claimants know from past experience that governments leave them alone.
Again, voters have other views. Three quarters of the public – including benefit claimants themselves – believe that those who willingly refuse to seek work should lose all or a very large proportion of their benefits. Yet no government has shown any willingness to reflect voters’ views in the sanctions it imposes.
Frank Field, in case anyone needs reminding, has been a Labour MP for more than thirty years and has served both in cabinets and shadow cabinets. He may have a track record of taking a different line from his own party and of course he was the guy who set out to think the unthinkable on welfare reform, at least until Blair told him that the unthinkable was, er, unthinkable. Still, the point is we have Tories in the Cobbleition being more Labour than Labour and one of the longer serving Labour MPs is being more of a Tory than almost any of them. And for what it's worth he's making more sense too.

What the fuck is going on?

There goes the neighbourhood

Oh, Christ, who let him in?

Click for link... if you honestly believe I'd make this shit up 

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister (1997-2007), makes his first speaking appearance in Australasia since leaving office, sharing his unique insights and experiences in leadership, negotiation and innovation.
Tony Blair, the politician who defines our times is one of the most engaging, respected and in demand speakers of his generation. In addition to his experience in office and his influence on world politics, Mr Blair continues to play a leadership role on issues such as faith and globalization, the Middle East peace process, Africa governance and climate change.
Hmmm. Maybe they're talking about a different Tony Blair. I was thinking of the one who handed not only the country's purse strings to a certifiably window-licking, phone-wrecking, spendthrift madman but also the job of PM when he eventually stepped down. The one who threw open Britain's borders to everyone and anyone who wanted in and taxed his own citizens in order give money to the newcomers, the trigger happy prick who simultaneously committed military personnel to various gunfights around the world - not all of which were easily justified without the assertion that someone had weapons they didn't really have that couldn't have reached Britain even if they did exist - while depriving them of the equipment they needed to do what was asked of them effectively. I was thinking of the motherfucker whose ego and hubris led him to describe this last as being the hand of history upon his shoulder. I was thinking of the hypocrite who said that his government would be "purer than pure" and would have "no truck with anything improper" before both allowing parliamentarians to use the expenses system to feed off the taxpayers' backs and indulging in a little nest feathering himself - exactly how much is a matter of speculation since the expense records for the Tony Blair I'm thinking of were inadvertently shredded.

But clearly the grinning mutation I'm thinking of is not the same as the one coming to speak in Melbourne because he... oh, wait. No, it must be the same one after all because tickets start at one thousand fucking dollars! And what do you get for your thousand bucks?
The evening will comprise of a sit down meal featuring an address by Tony Blair followed by a moderated question and answer session with the audience.
Moderated questions and answers, eh? There's a shock. I take that to mean that $1,000 doesn't get you the opportunity to wait politely for your turn to give the bastard a well deserved mouthful of abuse and that the only people speaking to his arseholiness will be those who've been carefully selected and screened beforehand. That just leaves the food, which for a grand a plate would have to be phenomenally good or served by Scarlett Johansson in the nude or both.*

Thanks all the same but I think I'll give it a miss. However, it'd be nice to know if the man's ghastly wife is in town that day too and what she'll be wearing. I wouldn't want to post something in her by accident.

* I suggest Scarlett Johansson partly because I know The Grim Reaper would like the idea and partly because the thought that a handful of people searching for "naked Scarlett Johanson" might come here and find me calling Tony Blair names instead gives me a little chuckle on an otherwise dreary winter morning.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Cobbleition out-Labouring Labour for the second time this week

It was less than 48 hours ago that I was sitting here abusing the Cobbleition for being as bad a bunch of bastards as Labour was because, like Labour, they're sticking the details of innocent people into a police database. Now I'm going to have to do it again.

This is Chancer of the Exchequer George Osborne speaking in 2006 on the then Chancer Snot Muncher McDoom's decision to impose a stealth tax on private pensions shortly after Labour came to power nine years earlier.
George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said: "Gordon Brown's pension raid was one of his first and worst acts as Chancellor. Pensioners will be paying a heavy price for many, many years to come."
So I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say to justify this news:
George Osborne, the Chancellor, is considering a £7 billion "raid" on middle-class pensions perks.
Discussions have begun at the Treasury over the move which would see the axing of tax relief currently paid out on pension contributions by people who pay income tax at the higher rates of 40 per cent and 50 per cent.
[...] The Sunday Telegraph understands that the plans for ending so-called “higher-rate” relief have restarted as Mr Osborne targets immediate cash flow savings as easy “wins”.
Some Conservative MPs expect the axing of higher-rate relief to be merely the first stage in a more extensive and radical plan which would end up with all tax relief – including on contributions made by people paying the basic 20p rate of income tax – being abolished, saving £22 billion a year in total.
So, Gordon took £5 billion a year and it was, according to The Boy George, one of his worst acts as Chancer and one for which pensioners would pay for years to come, and now the hypocritical shit is thinking about taking £7 billion - which is more or less exactly the same fucking amount after adjusting for inflation (38% since 97). Like I said, I'm looking forward to hearing how Georgie justifies this. I mean, what the fuck is he thinking of by even considering it? I know the country has money problems, thanks in no small part for the profligate spunking away of other people's money by the aforementioned connoisseur of nasal effluence, but you know what, George? You could try maybe spending less fucking money instead. The Telegraph even tells you how.
Saving £7 billion a year would be the equivalent of axing three government departments – Energy and Climate Change, whose budget is £2.9 billion a year, Environment Food and Rural Affairs, also £2.9 billion, and Culture, Media and Sport, (£1.5 billion).
Depending on your point of view one of those departments has a track record of incompetence that would have seen it chopped long ago had it been in the private sector, another appears to be so busy plotting Britain's economic destruction that it can only save a fortune in the long run by abolishing it now, and the third appears not to be a fucking government function anyway. Alternatively you could make the supposed bonfire of the QUANGOs into an actual fucking bonfire by getting rid of the fucking lot, rather than the entry level Foreman Grill of the QUANGOs that still left billions being spent on rent seekers and time waster. And the EU, oh George, do we even need to go over yet again how much money Britain's membership of this Debt of the Month Club is costing everyone in the country? It's not even just the regular annual cost these days but the additional costs of the bailouts and loans to other member nations whose creditworthiness is considered too risky for them to be able to borrow money from the usual sources.

Lots of options, George, but the one that seems to find most favour at the moment involves screwing yet more money out of Britain's dwindling stock of economically productive citizens. That you're going for the well off, people who've on salaries far larger than I've ever been lucky enough to earn, is neither here nor there. The message is coming through loud and clear, George: if you're a high earner you're better off not earning it in Britain, because the government is eyeing your fucking wallets again. Once again I'm singing the same depressing chorus - it's like Labour never really went away, isn't it?

Fucking exactly like it.

And the devious, hypocritical, tax-happy, thieving shower of cunts call themselves Conservatives? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Is the MSM becoming more like the blogosphere?

This is a direct quote from a article:
Some meddling US boffins have found that it may be possible to implant frickin' lasers in sharks' heads.
This despite the story being about stimulating living cells - "unspecified mammal cells" at that, rather than cells from a large cartilaginous fish - to produce laser light, and no actual implantation of anything going on. The thing is though, I'd have probably said much the same thing and used a title similar to "Sharks with frickin' laser beams? Oh yes." Although I probably would not have misspelled 'fucking'.

Hmmm, unspecified mammal cells, eh? I wonder.....

And who's to say they're not further along with this than anyone imagines?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Cobbleition out-Labouring Labour yet again

Click for linky
Oh, here we fucking go again. Another fucking government, another fucking initiative involving another fucking database. I'm getting so fucking dog sick and fucking tired of repeating this, but it really is like Labour never went away, isn't it?
The Police National Database, which will be launched by ministers next week, will hold the records up to six million apparently innocent people, including every victim of sexual assault and domestic violence.
According to official figures a total of 9.2 million people in the UK have criminal records, which means the new database will hold information about up to six million people who have not committed an offence.
Up to six million innocents? Orly? Because as bad as that sounds, and I think it sounds pretty fucking awful, I suspect it's actually much worse. Because we're told that the majority of crime - sometimes 80 or 90 percent - is committed by a hard core of persistent offenders numbering somewhere in the region of 100,000 or so. With me so far? Good.

Now count the fucking zeros.

No, I haven't missed one, that is one hundred thousand. And 100,000 subtracted from 15 million leaves rather more than six million innocent people on the database. The only way to pad out 100,000 career criminals to 9.2 million plus six million innocents is to add more than 9 million other people who are technically not quite pure as the driven slush. You just know who's going on there, don't you. I'll take a punt on everyone who's ever been given a police caution for absolutely fucking anything from a pub brawl a dozen years ago to allowing smoking in a pub last week, everyone who's done a week or two inside for protesting about council tax or TV licensing by refusing to pay up, everyone who's been convicted of any victimless crime or a purely technical offence and especially everyone who's ever fallen foul of any of the three thousand plus laws the Cobbelition's predecessors and partners in weapons grade cunticity, New Labia, brought in during its thirteen years of savagely fucking the country into a ditch.
Advocates of the database claim that it is the nature of police intelligence that the records of people without convictions would be held.
Why? Give me one good fucking reason why. Oh, I can think of convincing reasons - too much effort to remove the non-crims plus the assumption that lying with dogs gets people fleas so there's the prospect of a few easy collars in the future - but they're not what I'd call a good reason.
More than 12,000 approved police officers and staff will be able to access the database when it is launched next week.
And with the track record of epic cuntishness and bastardry in modern governments we can expect that to be 24,000 a year from now, not all of whom will be police. In five years I bet there will be more cops and various level state drones able to access the database than there will be career criminals on the fucking thing.

Let me take you back to early last year. Let's have a little reminder of things some of the key players said in the run up to the election (my bold).
"If you care about our liberties, if you want people to be free from the clutches of an overbearing state, and if you want a government with liberal values, vote Conservative."
Said the dishonourable member for Beaconsfield and Attorney General for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve.
''Whether you've been a Lib Dem voter or a Labour voter or a Green voter - if you care about the environment, if you want action to improve your quality of life, if you care about civil liberties, if you care about people power, if you want a clean break from the past - vote Conservative.
"If you have a view that we need to do more on our environment, more on civil liberties, more on quality of life there is now a modern Conservative Party that can get things done.''
And that would be the dishonourable and discharging member for Witney, the Right Wanker David Wliiam Donald Cameron.


Well, you've really fucking delivered, haven't you, you disgraceful pair of hypocritical, deceitful, authoritarian suppurating cunts. Fuck your Cobbleition, fuck its twisted ideas of liberty, and fuck you all. Fuck you deep and hard and right in the lungs.

Squirrel wisdom

He's got a point.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fighting back

It's looking increasingly likely that the ridiculous plain tobacco packaging plan is going to happen in Australia - coming to a country near YOU soon - but it's also having a positive effect in that people and businesses are at last starting to push back and tell the government to leave reasoning, responsible adults alone to make their own decisions. The latest effort, part of a campaign called simply Stop This Nanny State is rather good and I thought both my readers (hello Mum) might like to see it.

As with it's a simple website with the ads (which is where I half-inched them having seen them a few times on TV the last few days), some info, and a form to fill in which fires off a letter to your federal MP:
Dear [Local MP Name]

I'm an adult and I say NO to Plain Packaging Legislation

While many rules are necessary in a modern functioning society, there's a limit. The proposed Plain Packaging Legislation is quite simply regulation gone too far.

As an adult, I can make my own decisions.

I strongly urge you not to make Australia a Nanny State and ask that you represent my views to parliament.

Thank you

[First Name] [Last Name}
Needless to say I've already filled it in and I encourage my Australian reader to do likewise. And if you don't smoke watch that first one again, paying particular attention from 0:11 onwards. Don't go thinking that this is good for the majority, those of us who don't smoke, because the things that we do like to do are on the hit list too. They're already talking about health warnings on alcohol so it's no exaggeration to bring that up in the ad, and even my fellow non-smokers and/or non-drinkers should by now realise that the food we eat is next - we were reminded of that only the other day.

It's a simple choice, folks. We can choose to be free or we can submit to those who are so concerned for our physical welfare that they feel we must be prevented from doing anything they disapprove of. As C.S. Lewis said, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. And the nannies are so very, very concerned for the good of their victims.

iCloud? Never heard of them.

Yep, them, being iCloud Communications, a Phoenix AZ based company offering VOIP services, rather than iCloud, the latest wheeze that the revered St Jobs has brought down from the holy Apple mountain. Obviously I've heard of that iCloud - I have a Mac and I'm not in a coma. But the other iCloud? Nope, and I still wouldn't have known about them but for one thing: they say Apple nicked their name.
The lawsuit, filed last week in an Arizona US District Court, argues that Apple's use of iCloud is trademark infringement on the name of iCloud, a VoIP (Internet phone service) and cloud services company founded in the US state of Phoenix in 2005.
The company also says in its suit that Apple knew that iCloud Communications held the trademark on the iCloud name, but used it anyway and in doing so, has hurt its use of the name.
Well, it's no doubt buggered up their SEO as googling iCloud at the moment gets you mostly Apple stuff, iCloud Communications having been pushed off the valuable first page of results, although for the zillions of people who leave Google's Instant 'save yourself literally microseconds of your time' predictive search feature that might not be such a big deal.

See? iCloud Communications still appears above iCloud Apple, so no big deal unless you think your potential customers are so dribblingly moronic that they can't tell which is which and might accidentally buy Apple's online file and music cloud service when what they were looking for was a VOIP provider. And if you do think your customers are thick enough to confuse those two things I'd say you have bigger problems than someone else using a very similar name.

"Due to the worldwide media coverage given to and generated by Apple's announcement of its 'iCloud' services and the ensuing saturation advertising campaign pursued by Apple, the media and the general public have quickly come to associate the mark 'iCloud' with Apple, rather than iCloud Communications," the internet calling firm said in its complaint. "At the time Apple elected to adopt 'iCloud' for its cloud computing telecommunications and data services, Apple was aware of or was willfully blind to iCloud Communications' use of and rights in the iCloud Marks."
And at the time iCloud Communications chose their name Apple had been i-prefixing things for seven years. I suppose the choice to use an i-prefix to name a VOIP provider had nothing to Apple having already popularised it?

Not that I would want anyone to think I'm taking Apple's side. Both my readers should know by now that I tend to think of them as a shower of cunts who make some pretty good desktop computers, some portable devices and peripherals that fall in every category from mediocre to brilliant, and some absolutely shithouse mice.* And they're not above a little self-indulgent lawsuit wankery themselves, as I have blogged previously.
... Apple have mounted a legal challenge to Woolworths over the use of the logo, and according to The Age they say it's too close to theirs. So let's look at them again in detail.

Both have a kind of 3D effect going on, and both have a leafy thing at the top leaning to the right. But while one is silvery and solid, has a two tone effect, a drop shadow and is shaped like an apple that someone's taken a bite out of the other is green, has smooth tone changes, no drop shadow and is shaped like some apple peel that has been arranged in a shape reminiscent of the letter W. It's also not entirely unlike something I had to bag earlier today after the dog curled one out in the local park, but fortunately for him not green. If Apple want to sue the dog, which given everyone else they've gone to court with they might do, they're welcome to get in touch with me via the comments section or something. As far as I'm concerned the mutt is on his own if he's going to start shitting out trademark infringements, but I ought to mention that his net worth is a few disintegrating lamb bones buried around the garden and since the offending (in more ways than one) item has been destroyed and appeared accidental as he seemed to pay no attention to arranging it in a particular shape it seems like it's unlikely to be worth the effort. And being just a dog it's unlikely he intended using it the way Apple fears Woolworths will use their logo:
Woolworths' application includes a wide class for electrical goods and technology, putting it in direct competition with Apple should the retailer choose to brand computers, music players or other devices.
Do fucking what? First off, does Apple think that Woolworths are going to do a Tesco and start selling electronic goods bearing in mind that Woolworths is just the supermarket brand of Woolworths Ltd, that the group already has a dedicated consumer electronics chain called Dick Smith Electronics, and that Dick Smith already fucking sell Apple computers? Seems unlikely. But let's just say for the sake of argument that Woolies do start doing computers, MP3 players and snazzy phones and that all of these carry a green W that looks a lot like apple peel. That brings up the second point: do Apple think that we're all so moronic we'd be unable to tell the difference? Even if Woolworths went so far as to make something like a notebook computer with an all aluminium case and a glass screen and trackpad nobody would confuse it for a MacBook because, and I think I may have mentioned this already, the logos are fuck all alike. Not only that but also the MacBook will have OS X installed on it while what we might call the WoolBook will almost certainly come with whatever edition of Windows is around at the time.

So what's the fucking problem, Apple?
So it's hard for me to feel too much sympathy with either party in this case. In my non-expert opinion iCloud Communication are taking the piss just as much as Apple were when they went after Woolworth's, and for that matter when Apple the Beatles's music company sued Apple the computer making company for much the same reason. For Christ's sakes, lawyers, we're not all stupid. We can tell the two things apart. I can understand a company getting all litigious if someone else in the same market starts using the same or almost the same name and with very similar looking trademarks, if Hungry Jack's launched a Big Mac burger for example or if Nikon cameras rebranded themselves to Cannon I could understand and sympathise with McDonald's and Canon getting bent out of shape about it. But so often this is no more than the corporate equivalent of schoolyard willy-waving and yelling "I thought of it first!" before running off to find teacher, with the nasty additional aspect of trying to wring money out of another company which isn't necessarily even a competitor.

Grow the fuck up, the lot of you.

* The old one button jobs were ludicrous at a time when everyone else had at least two and a wheel, if not more; the Mighty Mouse had an all directions scroll wheel on the top which, being effectively an upside down trackball, clogged up and jammed with annoying regularity - it also got confused about whether you were right or left clicking from time to time; the Magic Mouse seemed to me like it would make the back of my hand ache after a while, on top of which it's useless if your computer doesn't have Bluetooth and costs as much as the superior (though also Bluetooth) Magic Touchpad - IMO Apple's first pointing device that does not appear to have been conceived by a complete iDiot. Seriously, as a long term Mac user my first piece of advice to any Mac virgin who's just about to unpack their new Mac unless they got it with a Trackpad is to stop, get back in the car, return to the store and buy another mouse.

Too much time on someone's hands

It's the only reason I can think of for this:
Academics have carried out a detailed analysis of the 700 head injuries suffered by characters in the Asterix comic books, in a paper published by a respected medical journal.
The German scientists ...
We'll take the unkind jokes about the German sense of humour as read, shall we?
The German scientists calculated that the “plucky little Gaul” and his sidekick Obelix were responsible for causing more than half of the wounds, “under the influence of a doping agent called ‘the magic potion’”, with Roman soldiers their most common victims.
Oh noes, violence and performance enhancing drugs. Oh, the humanity! These are going to be a bunch of head doctors wringing their hands about desensitisation of violence, right?

[The] paper, published in the official journal of the European Association of Neurosurgical Socities, known as Acta Neurochirurgica, sets out with no apparent irony their aim to “analyse the epidemiology and specific risk factors of traumatic brain injury in the Asterix illustrated comic books”.
I really thought it was going to be trick cyclicts but it turns out to be a different sort of head doctor. And that raises a question: for a bunch of neuro-surgeons what the fuck is the point of this?
By “screening” all 34 books, the authors found 704 cases of head or brain injury, all but six suffered by men.
In 696 cases “blunt force” was used but eight people were strangled and six suffered a fall.
What did they expect to learn?
They found that many of those who were knocked out in the 34 books, more commonly enjoyed by schoolboys than neurosurgeons, were often left with an outstretched tongue or amnesia but none appeared to die.
The researchers, led by Marcel Kamp at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, conclude: “The favourable outcome is astonishing, since outcome of traumatic brain injury in the ancient world is believed to have been worse than today and also since no diagnostic or therapeutic procedures were performed.”
Okay, you got me there. They learned that cartoon France of 2,000 years ago did not perform many CAT scans. Some might think it's a bit short on applicability to the real world in 2011, not to mention being a fucking a priori conclusion in the first place, but I'll give 'em credit for this astonishing discovery.
However the paper notes: “No case of death or a permanent neurological deficit following traumatic brain injury has been found.”
Most of those attacked were wearing helmets at the time but the “vast majority” lost this protective barrier “during the traumatic event”.
Okay, so we can also conclude that wearing a funny little tin hat with horns or wings on can protect you from being smashed on the head with a large rock by enormously fat or extremely short Frenchmen providing that you are also a fucking cartoon character. My my, these useful insights just fucking pile up, don't they?
In a comment piece, Karl Schaller, a neurosurgeon at the University of Geneva, describes the Asterix comics as “very important” in European history and adds: “Fighting against pretension of hegemony by the bad guys – be it on land or on water – has never been illustrated in a more decent, ironical [sic] and sometimes hilarious manner.
“Most interestingly, according to the analysis provided by this paper, it was not that dangerous either, given the low rate of serious injuries.”
Okay, we all get that this is not serious and nobody expects to get any useful new information about diagnosing or treating head injuries, but is it really that interesting that analysing the Asterix books finds that hardly anybody gets badly hurt by things that would be lethal in real life? How exactly is it interesting, and for that matter how is it research as opposed to the kind of amusing list-making exercises that you find on the interwebs? As far as I can see the only difference is that this got published in a medical journal. That it got published, not to mention the fact that it got started, makes me wonder if a few people there have suffered a crack on the head. What's next week, an analysis of the mechanism of magical spells in the Harry Potter books conducted by the physics department of Imperial College and published in the journals of the Royal Society?


There goes another keyboard


Click for link

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Confession time

That's me on the left
What with all the false internet claims about Syrian lesbians, people getting full sleeve tattoos of their Facebook friends' profile pictures and famous authors buying houses in Tasmania now might be the time to come clean. I am in fact a 62 year old Labour voting grandmother called Mrs Veronica Entity, I have a £20 per week cheese habit, and I've never been outside of Watford in my life except for my honeymoon in Rickmansworth with the late Mr Entity.

But of course you can't believe everything you read on the web.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I say we nuke the ship from orbit...

... it's the only way to be sure.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Dying for the toilet

Or almost dying, anyway. Meet Michelle Egglestone of Ballarat, a town in regional Victoria an hour or so west of Melbourne. Going for a quick number one could have killed her and in fact did inflict some pretty horrific injuries. Readers of a squeamish disposition may want to look away now for the next paragraph.
Documents filed in the Supreme Court show she sustained pelvis and lower abdominal injuries, along with ''penetrative injuries to the rectum, vagina and bladder necessitating surgical treatment involving laparotomy, repair of the bladder, repair of the vault of the vagina and colostomy''.
In case you're wondering about the 'documents filed in the Supreme Court' bit there the answer is yes, she is suing someone. And you may also be thinking that with those sort of injuries you'd want to sue someone too and are wondering what the hell happened to the toilet she was using. Did it explode? Was there a medieval torture device left in the bowl and the lights had gone out, or what?

Good question, and inadequate lighting does get a mention. But funnily enough toilets do not.
"The plaintiff sustained injury at the premises whilst she was urinating from the verandah which was inadequately lit,'' the writ says.
Ah, not a toilet then. That's right, this is not going to be pretty in any sense. Hum the Casualty theme tune if you like.
[Ms Egglestone] was impaled on a star picket after falling off a veranda while drunk and urinating over the side [and] is now suing the property owner.
[...]Ms Egglestone [is seeking damages, loss of earnings and] claims she also has post-operative scarring, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and nightmares because of the incident.
She believes that Mr Furness, as owner and occupier of the house, was negligent in failing to ensure the veranda had adequate balustrading and complied with the building codes.
The statement of claim says he also had a duty of care to ensure the star pickets below the verandah had protective capping.
Mr Furness also failed to exercise due skill and care in the maintenance of the premises and should have provided adequate warning about it.
Riiiight. So to recap, she gets blitzed and needs a piss, and chooses to relieve herself from a dimly lit verandah without a decent rail and above a picket fence instead of going inside to the toilet. All of which is of course not even remotely her fault, but the fault of her then boyfriend for having a verandah on which she could perch herself backwards while shooting for distance and dark enough for her not to worry about being seen. If it had a chest high railing and was lit up like the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a night game would she have just pissed on the floor instead? Or would she have, oh, I don't know, maybe used a fucking toilet? Does Mr Furness really have to shoulder the blame for not mentioning that it wasn't such a good idea for her to drop her drawers and pee from there and wouldn't she rather use his nice toilet which had a seat and a light and everything? Isn't Egglestone going to have Mother Nature going to be named as co-defendant for failing to properly equip her crotch for this kind of thing?

And now a word from our sponsors: Ladies, do YOU want to write your name in the snow? Do YOU ever need to pee
over a picket fence? Wish that you too could look where you're 'going'? Want a 10" golden dick? Then you need a SHENIS!

Surely this is McDonald's coffee all over again. Come on, the guy should not really have needed to put up lights, safety rails and warning signs to let any wasted girl who happened to be caught short in the immediate vicinity know that it's not the ideal place to have a Jimmy Riddle. Even drunk it ought to be fairly easy to work out that there are better places to go, and anyone who can't work that out when drunk should probably not get drunk in the first place. The only alternative left to believe is that she had no choice. But this is an industrialised nation in the 21st century and as such is practically a certainty that somewhere in the house was a room set aside and especially equipped to have met her need, though of course in Australia there are very occasionally valid reasons for not using it.

Click to embiggen, but wait 'til I leave first

But that's really pretty rare, and even if the dunny was already occupied by fucking Shelob was there really no alternative to drunkenly hovering your arse from a precarious place that, if things didn't go well, might end up with you falling on railings which you'd just pissed all over? Because if there wasn't, Mish, I can't help feeling that you bear pretty much all of the responsibility. At 35 you should be old enough to know when you're drinking enough to make bad decisions and be incapable of judging what's safe, and who decided to put all that alcohol down your neck? Because if it wasn't anyone else then that too was your decision and your responsibility. In other words giving yourself an accidental vagina shish-kebab came about as a consequence of your decision to urinate from a verandah instead of a toilet seat, which in turn was probably a result of your decision to get shitfaced enough not to realise what a bad idea that was.

Drink and be merry by all means, but take responsibility for your own actions and choices.

Things I still don't get about Australia - No 33

Been a while since I've done one of these, but it's going to be brief. It's the Queen's Birthday weekend, which I know because Wills and Kate got their fissogs in the papers again watching a flypast from Buck House, said flypast being for the Trooping of the Colour, Mrs Queen's official birthday. Hooray, and happy official birthday, etc etc. But what I don't get about Australia, or at least Victoria, is why we still get the Monday as a public holiday while back in the old country you're expected to wave a flag if you must but be at your fucking desk at 9 sharp as usual. Not that I'm complaining but I do wonder.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Who knew?

Turns out that Ed Balls is a scheming bastard. And in other news...

Blogroll loss

Having been too busy to pay attention to the blogosphere for much of the week I missed the keyboard hanging up of Pat Nurse at Tea and Cigarettes along with the temporary deletion of the blog itself. It's always a shame when a good blogger packs it in and as much as we might hope they can be persuaded to carry on in the end it must be their choice. Hopefully one day Pat might blog again, and with that hope I'm moving Tea and Cigarettes to the suspended animation room where, as I do with all hibernating blogs, I'll look in from time to time to see if there's signs that it's come back to life.

Spark one up with your tea for me, Pat, and enjoy your retirement from blogging.

Austerity - you're doing it wrong

Can someone please explain to me how the fuck it's possible for the Cobbleition to privatise the Royal Mail and lose ten billion quid in the deal? Ah, of course, it owes the government nearly two bill, plus...
Adding in the cost of taking over its £8.4 billion pension deficit, it means that the bill to the taxpayer of selling off Royal Mail could be more than £10 billion.
Er, when you sell a company don't the new owners take responsibility for its debts and any unfunded liabilities like that? Isn't that why we hear about companies who are in financial strife being taken over for nominal sums of a dollar or so? And if so, doesn't what this really mean is that the Royal Mail, for all its deserved pride in being usually able to deliver a letter from one end of the country to the other in 24 hours or so, is in actual fact financially buggered to the extent that it's so hideously unattractive as a going concern that the government thinks it needs to wipe the slate clean - with your money, natch - before anyone will even look at it?
[Ed Davy, postal services minister, said] “We intend to restructure the company's balance sheet in due course. In order to put Royal Mail on that sustainable commercial footing, we will need to reduce significantly that level of debt.”
Sounds like a 'yes' to me.
Mr Davey added that “we will need approval from the European Commission to provide this financial support”. The Government will submit a formal application to Brussels for the money over the next few days, he added.
Oh Christ, no. You 'have to' get approval from the unelected Politburo that is European Commission but there's no need to ask British citizens if they want their money spunked away (though perhaps it's best not to since vast numbers are unable to see that it's their money and have a vested interest in saying 'yes, keep spending'), and you're expecting to get some of 'their' money when they have no income but what they've persuaded member nations to give them from the proceeds of robbing their own citizens. £1.7 billion? When Britain forks over more than thirty times that to Europe each year, and has been paying out more than it gets year after year with little complaint from every government since I've been alive (yes, that includes the right's darling, Maggie Thatcher), that's a drop in the fucking ocean. Ask permission and beg for money? At the least they should be telling the EC that this is what's going to happen and this is how much is going to be withheld in order to pay for it. Better still it should tell the Commission to go piss up a rope, never give it a red cent ever again, and do whatever seems likely to cost least in the long run as regards the future of the Royal Mail. Sadly there's a better chance of second post deliveries being restored across the country than the Cobbleition growing a big enough set to defy its unelected European masters.

I know I keep on saying this but it really is like Labour never went away.

The Shut-the-Möhne-and-Eder-dams-down-without-hurting-anyone-ers

As ably blogged by Longrider and Max Farquar I see that the remake of The Dambusters, which I've been looking forward to, has caved under politically correct pressure over the real life name of Wing Commander Guy Gibson's dog, which, in case either of my readers (hello Mum) weren't already aware, was a black labrador called Nigger. Actually I think my mum would have seen the original before they began changing the name for PC reasons. As far as I can remember I have only ever seen the sanitised version in which no dog's name is also a derogatory term for a person of any particular ethnicity, but in which I'm sure Germans were still referred to as 'Jerries', 'Krauts' and possibly even 'filthy Huns' (with an option on 'Boche') and well over a thousand of them were eventually killed by the good guys in an operation that would now be prohibited by the Geneva Convention. Clearly bad-mouthing a whole nation before killing off large numbers of its civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure is a mild character flaw compared to the swivel-eyed racist psychosis that must be necessary to call your dog 'Nigger', but I digress.

The remake is being produced by David Frost and Peter Jackson and scripted by Stephen Fry, so it's safe to conclude that the people behind the film are bright and well aware of the historical facts, but of course they are also aware that the word offends a lot of people and they've known for some time that this was going to be a bone of contention.
[Peter Jackson] said, when announcing his plans in 2006: "It is not our intention to offend people. But really you are in a no-win, damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't scenario.
"If you change it, everyone's going to whinge and whine about political correctness. And if you don't change it, obviously you are offending a lot of people inadvertently."
To be pedantic, Pete, people are taking offence where you are offering none, but we all get what you were saying. To be honest I'm not strongly in either camp and if you're adapting an historical account for the purposes of entertainment it's not too big a deal if changes are made, right? It's not like you're rewriting history books or making a documentary and deliberately including a 'fact' that you know to be incorrect, eh?


Except that for a lot of people these days mainstream entertainment is nearly all the exposure to history they get, and while artistic licence is to be expected from the world of fiction, movies and TV - especially the latter two - when you then slap 'based on a true story' all over the posters you will inevitably get people leaving the theatres and turning off the TV assuming that what they saw on the screen was what actually happened. Hells bells, there are a small number of people out there who can't distinguish between a fictional character and the actor or actress who plays the role on TV, it's hardly surprising that, thanks to the magic of Hollywood, there are people who think that an Enigma machine was first captured by the US Navy in 1942 rather than the Royal Navy the previous year (and months before the US had even entered the war) or, to stick with just one nationality, that Apollo 13 was saved largely by the guy out of CSI: New York while the astronauts on board nearly came to blows (all of which was politely corrected by astronaut Jim Lovell on the DVD commentary). I can understand why it's done - the makers of U571 wanted bums 'asses' on seats in American cinemas and sticking to history in those bits of Apollo 13 would have meant having to increase an already large cast and losing some good dramatic tension - and clearly we can't expect a little red warning sign to flash up saying 'this bit didn't actually happen this way'. However, the problem is that people do go away having been told that the film is based on reality but crucially without knowing which bits were not. Peter Jackson worries about inadvertently offending people but arguably Hollywood has a track record of inadvertently offending people who value history by, again inadvertently, dropping certain historical facts down various memory holes.

As I said I've been looking forward to the Dambusters remake since I first heard about it, mainly because I like special effects to be convincing enough for me not to notice that there was a special effect and what was available in the 50s stood out like a dog's balls.* And while I'm not a history pedant I was also hoping that Peter Jackson, having already stood up to the legions of the professionally thin-skinned and offended by refusing to rename The Two Towers on the grounds that not many would confuse fantasy Middle Earth thousands of years ago with New York on September 11th 2001, would show the same stuff again and not change the dog's name. And that wasn't the only reason (my bold):
Stephen Fry, the actor who is writing the new script, was asked to come up with alternative names for Nigger.
But Sir David Frost, the executive producer, is reported to have rejected all the options Fry offered.
Sir David has been quoted as saying: "Guy sometimes used to call his dog Nigsy, so I think that's what we will call it.
"Stephen has been coming up with other names but this is the one I want."
But that was then and this is now and it seems that in the remake the dog, and incidentally 'dog' is Australian slang for a despicable person who's a bit of a scumbag, is now to be called 'Digger', which by the way is a nickname for Australian and New Zealand soldiers that dates back to World War One. Presumably this is no worse than a thousand or more German civilians being casually referred to as Krauts, Jerries and filthy Huns before being drowned in the dark following the destruction of the local dam.

Of course the film makers can spend their money how they please and make whatever changes they feel they need to in order to sell as many cinema tickets as possible and maximise their return. If they want to call the dog 'White Trash' knowing that a lot of people will call them on it then they're free to do so, and of course that would get just as much discussion as, well, as simply calling it anything other than 'Nigger'. And of course that's had the unintended consequence of making nearly everyone who'll see it well aware of what the dog was really called because the word is being used in articles about the new movie nearly as frequently as it was used in The Wire by black characters to refer to each other, which, presumably because it was being grittily realistic, was also not offensive though I'm not sure why the same would not apply to an equally realistic portrayal of something that happened two generations ago. It can't be just that a white guy is saying it because allowing people of one ethnicity to do something that people of another ethnicity may not would obviously be racist.

Musical interlude, apropos of nothing

Personally I feel they've missed a trick here. Stephen Fry, whose knowledge may be vast but whose intelligence I've doubted in the past due to his inability to grasp why politicians fiddling their expenses is wrong, could have written a script which sent a subtle message that this was how people thought in the 1940s and that doing so today would be frowned upon in the same way that, say for the sake of argument, bombing to destruction a dam causing mass civilian casualties would be. Sort of 'we did that then but we do not do it these days', or at least not on purpose if we can possibly avoid it.** But instead of that or even just an honest admission of historical fact we are again treading the path of political correctness.

Well, fair enough. No reason to avoid offending people if you don't have to, especially when you want them to be your paying audience. With that in mind when I go to see the movie I expect it to be completely inoffensive by being completely Kraut, Jerry and Hun free and by implying that Barns Wallace's genius was to design a bomb that would safely disable the dams' generators and drain the reservoirs without harming a soul, and perhaps even a brief apology to the Australian Defence Force at the end for using the word 'Digger' to name a dog. Perhaps many Diggers wouldn't care much and many Germans will be over it all by now, but if you're so desperate to be even handed about anything and everything that might cause someone somewhere a degree of offence then there isn't much option but to sanitise it completely. To do otherwise would be putting the interests of one group ahead of others and, er, just a wee bit prejudicial.

* Probably a dog called "Whitey" or something. Just to be on the safe side.
** Yes, I know it could be argued that sometimes we could have avoided it by not getting involved in a pointless and unnecessary war but I'm sure you get my point.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Cold-hearted murdering Tory bastard

Probably a rat employed in the public sector, too. Or maybe a student rat from the LSE. And the fucking cat looks like he was in the Bullingdon club at Oxford as well, the bastard. No wonder he killed a rat just for looking at Cameron.

What? I'm just trying to see things from a Guardian reader's point of view for a change. The doctors here thought it might do me good.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Here's one for all you smokers out there

Apologies for the light posting. Real life priorities have been, well, a priority. In the meantime and especially for those of my fellow bloggers and either of my readers who enjoy a smoke, I saw this and thought of you.

It'd be funnier-haha rather than funny-bitter laugh if it wasn't so close to the truth, the main unrealistic aspect being that they wouldn't even allow smokers to go out on a ledge these days (elfinsafetee, you know, can't let people open the windows any more anyway). Still, there is a little bit of comfort for the smokers in that, as we all should know by now, you and the drinkers are being joined in the firing line by the fatties and salad dodgers, and in the state next door this means - you guessed it - new laws about labels on so called junk food.
Jane Martin, senior policy advisor at the Obesity Policy Coalition...
Some might say senior nannying stick insect for some puffed up bunch of self righteous Kraft durch Freude wowsers, but that's perhaps a little cruel. I was quite fond of stick insects as a kid and can't recall ever being bossed around by one.
... said she wasn't shocked to read the offending burger – the Ultimate Double Whopper – packed a punch of 5085 kilojoules, 80.5 grams of fat and 2.3 grams of sodium.
New South Wales was the first Australian state to introduce legislation, effective from February next year, whereby all takeaway franchises with more than 20 outlets were required to include the kilojoule count on their menus.
But this didn't go far enough, according to Ms Martin...
Is there anybody reading who didn't see that coming? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
... who said all states and territories should want to introduce this legislation, as well as tax on unhealthy foods and a subsidy scheme for low-income earners to eat healthier.
And of course the Korpulenz Politik Koalition isn't the only one having a whinge about the Ultimate Double Whopper and the chain who sell it. For added bitter laughter have a butcher's at the name of the whingers.
Packing an artery-clogging 5085 kilojoules, 80.5 grams of fat and 2.3 grams of sodium, the Hungry Jack's Ultimate Double Whopper has been named the unhealthiest single menu option in Australian fast food.
Consumer advocate CHOICE looked at all items on offer at major Australian fast food outlets, and Hungry Jack's claimed not only the title but also the second position with its Angry Angus Double Burger, with 3276 kilojoules, 52.1 grams of fat and 1.7 grams of sodium.
CHOICE is pushing for all states to join New South Wales, which has introduced legislation for any store with more than 20 outlets to have kilojoule details displayed on their menus.
Nannies see this all the time
CHOICE there, showing little to no understanding of the meaning of the fucking word. Personally I wouldn't eat a Hungry Jack's Ultimate Double Whopper if you paid me, though not because it's unhealthy and people think I shouldn't so much as I just think that Hungry Jack's make among the most shit burgers money can buy and I'd rather have a Macca's if I was going to have a cheap takeaway at all. This, CHOICE, is what's known as, er, "choice", and it's mine, not yours.

Better budge up on your ledge, smokers. It's not just the drinkers you need to make room for. In the meantime I suggest anyone visiting Australia who might like a burger gives New South Wales a miss. Oh, and try a burger with a slice of beetroot in. It's very Aussie and bloody weird, but it's a good weird.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Why main stream media is declining

The lazy bastards are padding with content ripped off from elsewhere on the internet and apparently re-written by someone who either has absolutely no knowledge of what they're writing about or is terminally clueless or both. Among the vraious Grauniad stlye tpyos* and confused misuse of similar sounding words we've had a story involving an air rifle illustrated with a picture of a shotgun and we've had a story about a bear with a picture of a wolverine, so I suppose it's no surprise that in addition to journos who know two fifths of fuck all about guns or animals there are some who know nothing about cars and wouldn't recognise a Bugatti if it parked on their foot. But end up writing something about one in a web content based filler article all the same.

Click for linky

From the still of that video clip you can probably see that the car on he left is certainly a modified Vee-Wee Beetle, but petrolheads might be looking at the car on the right and thinking that actually it doesn't look very much like a Bugatti Veyron. In actual fact it looks nothing at all like a Veyron, and this is basically because it's an American made, Lotus based, Tesla electric sports car... as several commenters as well as the fucking YouTube video this story used makes perfectly clear.

Click for biggerisation

So how did this guff about a Veyron even come into it? Because The Teletubbygraph's unnamed churnalist appears to have got this story from The Metro.
Speaking to The Metro, [designer] Olly Young, 34, said: "You can't imagine how fast it is..."
So I went and had a quick look at the original article in The Metro, and in addition to seeing the same embedded YouTube clip (rather than one that had been reloaded as the Metro equivalent of Teletubbygraph video) this is what I read:
This electric dragster, called the Black Current, would leave even the £1million Bugatti Veyron behind – the Veyron takes 2.5seconds to hit 60 – but only for a short time, as its top speed is a rather ordinary 133mph.
"Would" leave, not "did" leave a Bugatti behind, and to explain that crucial difference to the Teletubbygraph's churno we'll pay a visit to Dictionary Corner to look at one of the definitions for the word "would."
2 (expressing the conditional mood) indicating the consequence of an imagined event or situation : he would lose his job if he were identified.
• ( I would) used to give advice : I wouldn't drink that if I were you.
I would be blogging on a gold plated keyboard if I won the lottery five times in a row. He would be a porn star if he was hung like Ron Jeremy. You would have a chance of being a decent journalist if you began writing your own stories. See? So in this instance the VW would beat a Veyron if there had been one there for it to race, but there wasn't so it didn't. Full marks to Unnamed Journo for not simply copying and pasting the whole article, but since he or she either didn't bother to read the original or failed to comprehend the important detail that the Veyron beating ability has not actually been put to a real world test they avoided outright copying only to bastardise the story instead.

* With the obvious exception of 'Grauniad' I found it was actually more effort to get those words wrong.

Fucking computers

I fucking tell you, in forty thousand years when the sea level has dropped a couple of hundred feet there'll be a bunch of archaeologists scratching their heads and wondering if some bizarre and long forgotten ritual was the reason why 21st Century Man was dropping the fucking things into the Bass Strait. If the interwebs survive to leave a record of these times then possibly one of them might discover that it was actually just one 21st Century man taking his revenge on the fucking bastards for all the fucking headaches they caused, and the only ritual involved was one which began with the words: "Look, you electronic cunt, I fucking mean it this time..." and would one day build to one or more computers being launched from the decks of the Tasmania ferry in just retribution.

That is all.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Blogroll adjustment

I've remarked before on the strange affinity between bloggers, particularly the libertarian leaning types, and cats. Now I've got cause to do so again as two once long term inhabitants of the blogroll who disappeared off to the cryogenic vaults along with Dave Lister and Walt Disney's head a while back have come sauntering back in like a pair of cats who went missing a couple of weeks ago and who you've missed, worried about and finally given up on before finding them on the kitchen floor, stinking, filthy and looking as if nothing has happened. And is there any chance of a bit of whatever that is you've just put in your sandwich, yeah, that'd be lovely. What do you mean 'where the fuck have I been'? Like I'm going to tell you.

Ai has seen fngs yu peeples wuldnt beleeve. Atack ships on fire
off Urion. Sea beems littering on Tanhowzer Gayte. Everyfng.
Wat ar sea beems anyway?

And so it is that Constantly Furious and Mummy Long Legs have turned up on the metaphorical kitchen floor after being who knows where, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who's genuinely pleased to see them. Now, I'm sure I've got half a pot of cream in the fridge somewhere. Here, bloggerbloggerbloggers, come an gets teh nice creems...

Since I've not checked RSS lately I missed the return of both, so H/T to Julia for mentioning it.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Bipolar bear

Well, not so much bipolar as suffering from epic cognitive dissonance. Via the Real World Libertarian, the latest example of ecomentalist half-formed thought - having a ten tonne ice sculpture of a polar bear melt away at Circular Key in Sydney as a symbol of blablah warble gloaming yadda yadda arctic endangered wah wah might seem a bit silly, but having the bloody thing brought halfway around the planet? Really?
The block was frozen around a bronze skeleton in Britain before being sent to Australia where it was lifted by crane into Customs House Square.
Renowned English sculptor Mark Coreth...
Never heard of him.
... who usually works with bronze, says he got the inspiration for the sculpture during his stay with the native Inuit in northern Canada.
"I'd been carving polar bears in the side of icebergs," he said.
"The Inuit guide I had said, 'Great, you've seen a polar bear, you've sculpted a polar bear, but how on earth are you going to go about sculpting the real issue we have here?' - the warming Arctic."
And assuming, rather uncritically, that the guy was right rather than mad, uninformed, wrong or just buttering up some poncy artist by telling him the sort of thing he wants to hear, it seems that Coreth believes contributing further to the problem with the associated emissions involved in shipping ten tonnes of ice to Sydney for a fucking publicity stunt is going to help in some way. I mean Christ, did you bring enough drugs for everybody, Mark? No? Then please put them away.*

Whatever next, Family First promoting sexual abstinence with a fucking for virginity campaign?

* And when you come back down please tell us who paid for this. I shall be pissed off if, as I fully expect, it was the Australian taxpayer.

Those illiberal Liberals again

Triathlon competitor he may be, man of iron he ain't. In the face of accusations that the Liberals still get donations from the tobacco industry - and since both the donations, the industry and its products are all perfectly legal the correct response should be: "Yes, and?" - leader of the federal opposition Tony Abbot hasn't just bent on plain tobacco packaging, he's rusted away to nothing.
TONY Abbott has offered Coalition support for plain packaging of cigarettes, bowing to political pressure from Labor and sections of his own party for the tough new anti-smoking measure.
Sections of his own party, eh? Tells you all you need to know. Once again a brief visit to dictionary corner is in order:


1. Showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; "a broad political stance"; "generous and broad sympathies"; "a liberal newspaper"; "tolerant of his opponent's opinions".
2. Having political or social views favoring reform and progress.
3. Tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.
4. Given or giving freely; "was a big tipper"; "the bounteous goodness of God"; "bountiful compliments"; "a freehanded host"; "a handsome allowance"; "Saturday's child is loving and giving"; "a liberal backer of the arts"; "a munificent gift"; "her fond and openhanded grandfather".
5. Not literal; "a loose interpretation of what she had been told"; "a free translation of the poem".

1. A person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.
2. A person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating market

And since the Liberal Party fail on most of that, particularly and spectacularly the first three adjectives, it's perhaps necessary to hold the dictionary open at the right page and twat them across the eyes with it until it sinks in.
The Opposition Leader today revealed the shadow cabinet had agreed to back the introduction of drab olive green cigarette packages, depriving tobacco companies of their colourful branding.

"We will seek to amend the legislation to ensure that it really does bring smoking rates down but if our amendments fail we won't be opposing the legislation, because we really are committed in opposition as we were in government to try and bring smoking rates down,” he said.
Which I'm sure is welcome news to the tobacco industry. The illegal tobacco industry that is. The one the governments apparently don't bother trying to police much and instead leave it to the legit tobacco industry to deal with, mainly by way of trademark infringement cases.
SYDNEY is flooded with blackmarket cigarettes selling for as little as half the price of a genuine pack, but peddlers are avoiding punishment because it is tobacco companies who catch them.

The Daily Telegraph was able to purchase Chinese-made counterfeit cigarettes from outlets at Kings Cross and Warwick Farm.

British American Tobacco (BAT) conducts about 1000 undercover purchases each year and has taken legal action against more than 100 retailers in the past three years, effectively suing them for copyright infringements.


Illegal retailers caught by the ATO would have to pay five times the excise they avoided, plus fines and possible jail time.

Sources said it was left to tobacco companies to regulate the industry, serving notices on businesses for copyright infringement. Lawyers for BAT demand restitution for the estimated lost income and the retailers are told not to do it again.
So the illegal baccy trade already has a market advantage in that they can break the law and the people who are most inclined to do anything are their law abiding competition. The Australian Tax Office, incidentally, are too busy chasing millionaires hiding money offshore to really give much of a shit about it.

Now, hands up everyone who thinks that the legal tobacco industry will carry on doing this when they're no longer allowed to use their own branding. Come on, anyone? Anyone at all? Thought not. Not only will they probably be pretty disinclined to bother doing the governments' dirty work for them having just been shat on I'm not sure they'll even be able to do it. I imagine the strategy of the fake cigs makers is to make their products look at a glance as if they are the real McCoy, and they're hardly going to bother carrying on imitating trademarked branding that the tobacco companies themselves have been forced to stop using. And of course that doesn't even include the loose chop-chop being sold by weight anyway.

Identify the brand. Hint: it is not
"Customs & Border Protection"
Good news for the illegal trade, surely. Not only is there now cross party agreement to hamstring their legal and regulated competition yet further but the move will make the real difference between the illegal and legal products even harder to discern with the exception of price, and of course the illegal baccy trade was already winning on price by a country mile. Australia, it seems to me, is soon going to become one of the best places in the world to buy cheap smokes - they just won't be legal ones on which tax has been paid, which means that on top of all the other stupidity the federal and state governments are going to have to find ways of making up however much of the $10 billion or so tax revenue they will lose through this lunacy. Yep, at the moment smokers are paying more than the rest of us, which really ought to win a few more friends than it does. Can we really expect them to continue if the government persist in making consumption of legal tobacco too much of a pain in the arse?

More to the point, even if by some miracle this does actually reduce the number of smokers rather than increase the numbers buying illegal tobacco the government will still lose revenue and the rest of us will be expected to make up the shortfall. Now I don't know about anyone else but smokers paying more tax than non-smokers suits me just fine. I didn't mind too much when I was a smoker and it wasn't a major reason for me giving up - I don't see it as being all that different from someone who drives twice as much as me paying a lot more fuel tax.

So with just a couple of days left to tell the government - not that they'll be remotely interested in anything other than sycophantic agreement or pathetic gratitude - what we think if either of my readers are in Australia I urge them to pop over to I Deserve To Be Heard and make a submission via their web form to the Minister for Health and your federal MP. The Minister's email account seems to be sending rather a lot of automated out of office replies at the moment, which comes as no surprise, but unless you want those smokers that we're all supposed to dislike so much to be encouraged to buy cheaper fags and put taxes up for the rest of us we should really make the effort to let her know what we think.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Health warning - do not fuck with Ghurkhas

Seriously, just don't. They will kill you.
Corporal Dipprasad Pun, 31, said he thought he was going to die and so had nothing to lose in taking on the attackers who overran his checkpoint.

He was yesterday awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC), which is given in recognition of acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.

Pun fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to repel the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.

Surrounded, the enemy opened fired from all sides and for 15 minutes Pun remained under continuous attack, including from rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 guns.

At one point, unable to shoot, he used his machine gun tripod to knock down a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.

Two insurgents were still attacking by the time he ran out of ammunition, but he set off a Claymore mine to repel them.
Had there been any more he'd probably have been able to beat them to death with his enormous balls. Even though I'm not sure about the whole getting a guy from Nepal in the British Army fighting an American war aspect there are some people who I'm really glad are on our side.
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