Thursday, 31 August 2006

The Villain Chair

Never in human history has a piece of furniture been more aptly named.

Mine is being delivered on Friday.

How Many Fingers Do You See?

The counter-revolutionaries firemen who were hauled before a disciplinary hearing for refusing to hand out leaflets at a gay pride parade in Glasgow because, in some cases, of religious or moral grounds, have been found guilty of thoughtcrime and sentenced to political re-education "diversity training."

The boys at Room 101 were unavailable for comment.



BBC NEWS: Many pregnant women 'unprepared'

Hence their condition.

Airfix Comes Unglued

Not a big story, but I didn't want the joke to go to waste.

Scream and Scream Again

The insurers on being told that the $51 million painting had gone missing.

Norwegian police have recovered Edvard Munch's The Scream.

The Munch Museum can now take down the painting of happy kittens that's been taking its place for two years.

Parking Department

From the Scotsman:

Woman sawn in half over parking row
Good to see no one was over-reacting here.

At My Signal, Unleash Heck

The deadline has been passed for Iran to comply with the UN demands that it relinquish its nuclear weapons uranium enrichment programme or face... Well, not much of anything really.

Stand by as the Security Council shows its wrath by forwarding a motion to discuss considering a task force to study the feasibility of proposing that a committee be formed to draught a resolution to debate the merits of outlining the foundations of a consensus to agree in principle to a non-binding resolution of intent to provisionally censor Iran.

The mullahs will be trembling in their boots.

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Ha Harr!

Pirate clergy, by the powers!

Lying in Luxury

Dying for a bit of designer elegance tinged with eco-friendly smugness? Then for $3500 you can enjoy (if that's the word for it) the Cocoon; a chic new coffin by Andreas Spiegel that not only sports elegant lines and handles so inconveniently placed that your pall bearers will curse your name forever, but it is also made out of soy-based resins so that it will decompose in about fifteen years.

What a wonder of modern mortuary science! A century of progress and they've re-invented the pine box.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Dear Santa

If anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas, the Armet Gurkha will do me just fine, thank you. It's a snip at only $200,000 and you can forget the stocking stuffers.

Buck Rogers, Call Your Service

DIY jet pack.

Smoke Screen

The chief of the Edinburgh Fringe is petitioning the Scottish executive for an exemption to the asinine smoking ban by allowing actors to light up herbal cigarettes on stage and in film studios, otherwise many plays and films will be impossible to produce in Scotland.

Though the idea has garnered some positive feedback, Celia Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Scottish Screen, is having nothing to do with it,

We would be very happy to talk to Mr Gudgin about his views but smoking on screen can encourage people to smoke and we do not want to do that.
Judging from the state of current cinema, this observation does not apply to portrayals of promiscuity, violence, political radicalism, coarse manners, sexual deviancy or bad acting.

Well, That's Nice... WHAT!?!?

TripAdvisor has declared that London has the best public transport in the world.

In other news, TripAdvisor owes me a new keyboard and monitor, as my current ones are now drenched in tea.

E-Ink Takes Another Step

File this under "cool." Philips has come out with a working prototype of a text reader with a roll-up flatscreen.

As Night Follows Day

In the wake of Scotland's draconian anti-smoking laws, some pubs are turning into after hours "smoke-easies."

Also, apparently Edinburgh has "smoking enforcement officers." Good to know that all those burglaries, violent crimes, drug dealing, illegal immigration and terrorism have finally been brought under control so that the local government can free up manpower for hunting down the real enemies of society.

Update: Snack-easies.

Monday, 28 August 2006

Two Generations of Indigestion

Ronald McDonald has been around for 43 years.

The horror... The horror...

A Fallout Shelter World

I've always said that the war against the Jihadists was a choice between hard decisions now and impossible decisions later. Over at NRO, Stanley Kurtz sums up one of those choices regarding Iran: preemptive war today or permanent war tommorow.

A Ray of Light

Ron Liddle inthe Sunday Times:

Quick, somebody buy a wreath. Last week marked the passing of multiculturalism as official government doctrine. No longer will opponents of this corrosive and divisive creed be silenced simply by the massed Pavlovian ovine accusation: “Racist!” Better still, the very people who foisted multiculturalism upon the country are the ones who have decided that it has now outlived its usefulness — that is, the political left.


Multiculturalism insisted that communities always changed, were in a permanent state of flux and that if you were white and lived in Oldham or Burnley or Tower Hamlets then you had better get used to the idea quickly.

This was a doublethink because the same latitude was not extended to the host population; while it was accepted that immigrants would naturally wish to band together and preserve their cultural identity, when the white working-class communities made similar protestations, this was regarded, once again, as evidence of an antediluvian racism. Your fish and chip shop is now a halal butcher? Your daughter’s school now has a majority of Urdu-speaking children? Good! Celebrate the change! Get over it.

One assumes that (Ruth) Kelly would still be telling the white working class to get over it were it not for the BNP’s inroads into the Labour vote (where they have candidates who can read without moving their lips over every word) and, of course, the presence within our midst of people who are possessed of such a loathing of our culture, of our very existence, that they wish to kill us all.

Orthodoxy Must Be Maintained

From the BBC:

Four firefighters have appeared before a disciplinary hearing over their refusal to hand out leaflets at a gay pride march in Glasgow.

These chaps are lucky they're only facing a disciplinary hearing for refusing to attend a political march and not a visit from the police as other perpetrators of thoughtcrime have.

All Outer Pary members are reminded that the Revolution will always be in danger so long as free men are allowed to follow their conscience rather than the Party line.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Vorsprung Durch Technik

Car safety takes on a whole new meaning.


From the Scotsman:
Playwright Harold Pinter revealed yesterday that he has given up writing altogether.
Rejoice! A great weight has been lifted from the world. A new era dawns upon us. To quote Groucho Marx:
Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons and necking in the parlor.

Daleks at Home

Spike Milligan reveals the truth about Dalek home life.

Bin Brother is Watching You

From the Guardian:
Half a million household wheelie bins have been secretly tagged with hidden electronic 'bugs', it has been reported.

The tiny devices identify each bin so that records can be kept on the waste disposal habits of its owners, and up to 500,000 bins in council districts across England are thought to have already been fitted.
In other news, all citizens, starting with Outer Party members, can expect to receive their telescreens shortly and the anti-sex leaqgue is accepting new memberships. Remember our boys on the Malabar front.

Friday, 25 August 2006

Believe It or Not, People Once Enjoyed Flying

Mr. Sellers in the days when a man could wander around the tarmac with a champagne bottle and no one notices.


International troops could be sent to the Gaza Strip if the force being deployed in Lebanon proves successful, Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema said in remarks published on Friday.
So in other words, amazingly unlikely.

Las Vegas to close all-night marriage counter

Rumour has it that this is was prompted by hotel staff who were getting tired of guests waking up and going NYAAH!

Space Mutiny

Stock up on the bottled water and barricade the doors. Things are getting ugly over the question of whether or not Pluto is a planet as some astronomers claim the 9th planet was ousted from the roll of honour by a revolt of outraged dynamicists. According to Harvard emeritus professor Owen Gingerich,

In our initial proposal we took the definition of a planet that the planetary geologists would like. The dynamicists felt terribly insulted that we had not consulted with them to get their views. Somehow, there were enough of them to raise a big hue and cry.
Security forces are on high alert as Sir Patrick Moore pleads for calm and a bacon sandwich.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Definitely Not a "Pocket" Knife

And now for something completely different: A two pound, 85-instrument Swiss Army knife.

You could seriously hurt yourself using the corkscrew.

Chips with Everything

Feeling that the traditional dog tags are "too 20th century," VeriChip is lobbying the Pentagon to allow them to insert microchips in all American servicemen.

File this one under incredibly scary.

Another Nail

From the Scotsman:
Britain has lost the battle to continue making national favourite HP sauce - after food giant Heinz announced that plans to transfer production to the Netherlands will go ahead, despite a vociferous campaign against the move.

BBC NEWS: Pluto loses status as a planet

Property values plummet.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Get a Life

A breath of fresh air from Bill Callaghan, chairman of Scotland's Health and Saftey Commission regarding the sort of PC insanity that results in the banning of conkers and oranges in schools and hides an ugly truth (emphasis added):

Some of the 'health and safety' stories are just myths. There are also some instances where health and safety is used as an excuse to justify unpopular decisions. But behind many of the stories there is at least a grain of truth - someone really has made a stupid decision.

We're determined to tackle all three. My message is that if you're using health and safety to stop everyday activities - get a life and let others get on with theirs.
More and faster, please.

A New Low

The BBC has now plumbed the depths of dhimmitude with its decision to pull a comedy show that had a segment where "Rolf Harris" drew a picture of Mohammed.

What's special about this bit of cowardice? It was a radio show.

BBC NEWS: Nasa Names New Spacecraft 'Orion'

This was actually their second choice, but Robin Day already has a hedgehog named "Frank."

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Forget Killer Bees: Watch Out for the Wasps!

Yellowjackets are building nests the size of a Volkswagen-- or, at least, the interior of a 1955 Chevrolet.

I suppose it's better than yellowjackets the size of Volkswagens, but not by much.

First They Came for the Smokers and I Said Nothing

Scotland has banned smoking, swords and now they're trying to outlaw buying a round in the pub.

All that damn liberty; always getting in the way.

Headline of the Day

Psycho killer raccoons terrorize Olympia

Ultraviolet Bread

So fresh; so fluorescent.

Jaw-Dropper of the Day

From Reuters (emphasis added):

Italy, which is expected to lead a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, said on Tuesday it would provide 2,000 to 3,000 troops for the force provided Israel did not violate the U.N.-brokered truce.

Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said in an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica, that Italy would be unable to send any troops to Lebanon if Israel "keeps shooting."

"From Israel, we expect a renewed effort, this time truly binding, to respect the ceasefire," D'Alema said. "It's fair to expect that Hizbollah put down their weapons, but we cannot send our troops to Lebanon if the (Israeli) army keeps shooting."
Makes sense. After all, if you can't trust a genocidal Jihadi terrorist who uses his own people for human shields, who can you trust?

Good, Bad and Qualified Great

The good news is that Iran has not taken the opportunity of responding to the West about its nuclear weapons power programme by lobbing a missile at Jerusalem. The bad news is that Tehran has said that it is not giving up its quest of nuclear weapons peaceful civilian power plants. The qualified great news is that this is pretty good evidence that Iran does not have the bomb-- yet.

Mind you, it's still early evening in Iran as I write this, so I'm not going to breathe easy for a few hours yet.

Monday, 21 August 2006

When Marketing Research Goes Horribly Wrong.

They aren't kidding. A new Hitler theme restaurant has opened in Bombay. According to owner Punit Shablok,
We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people's minds,
It's a name that will stay all right-- look how well the Cafe Ptomaine did.

Word on the Eve of Armageddon?

Iranian President Ahmadinejad addressing the United States and Britain in a recent television address:
If you want to have good relations with the Iranian people in the future, you should acknowledge the right and the might of the Iranian people, and you should bow and surrender to the might of the Iranian people. If you do not accept this, the Iranian people will force you to bow and surrender.
Iran has said that it will give its answer to the world about halting its nuclear programme on the 22nd of August-- a day in Shiite mythology associated with the coming apocalypse. When a nut job like Ahmadinejad gases on about forcing us to "bow and surrender," I begin to worry that his answer might be more than some ill-chosen words.

Metropolitan Police Translator

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair:
People can leave doors unlocked
Might as well; there's nothing left to steal anyway

Self-Playing Violin

Always wanted to play the violin, but can't stand the idea of all those years of caterwauling and cat-scratching as you practice day and night before you produce anything that even remotely resembles a tune? Got $17,500? Then you can finally cut out the middleman and buy this fiddle that plays itself. News - Madonna: 'Use Kaballah on nuclear waste'

It's time to call the mothership for a pick-up.

Scientists: Television is Pain Killer for Babies

I Guess "mind-numbing programming" is meant to be taken literally.

Spin Out

The Doctor Who spin-off starring Billie Piper titled Rose Tyler: Earth Defence has been cancelled before it even went into production on the grounds that it was a "spin too far."

There, you see; there is a God!

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Flying Mutiny Airlines

The passengers on a British flight from Malaga refused to board the aircraft because of two men of "Asian appearance" who wore heavy clothing, kept looking at their watches and seemed to be speaking Arabic. Eventually, the Captain said he would not leave with the men onboard and authorities escorted them off to take a later flight. There was no overt demonstration on the part of the passengers, indeed the news reports referred to the scene as very calm and polite, though this didn't keep boingboing from describing the episode this way:
Shocking -- who'd have thought that putting signs everywhere telling you that you were in danger of terrorists and that terrorists were everywhere and that you should look out for suspicious terrorism behavior would turn normal people into witch-hunting racist mobs?
Meanwhile, the ever-perceptive Glenn Reynolds had his own take:
The two guys were likely entirely innocent, and didn't deserve this, but this is the kind of thing that happens when people don't trust the authorities to protect them. Over time, I fear that excessive political correctness on the part of governments will breed the reverse elsewhere.
In this war, many governments in the West are forgetting that their first duty is to protect the well-being of their citizens. If the people lose confidence in the willingness of their elected representatives to do this, the government shouldn't be surprised if the people refuse to offer their necks to the knives. Meanwhile, the left should remember that a healthy suspicion of a possible threat is streets away form a "witch-hunting racist mob."

Saturday, 19 August 2006

BBC Translation Service II

BBC headline:
Israeli commando raid alarms UN
UN ignores Hezbollah arms shipments

The Mask Slips

This little nugget from China's UN ambassador Sha Zukang:
The population of China is six times as much as that of the United States. So, it’s time for Americans to shut up and keep quiet. They will be better off like this.
Okay. Now watch the Pentagon's budget double.

BBC Translation Service

BBC Headline:
Beirut fury at 'ceasefire breach'
Israeli commandos intercept illicit Hezbollah arms shipments

Friday, 18 August 2006

Poll Results

Occupational Hazard

Five archaeologists sheltering in a temporary canteen were picked up and thrown through the air by a freak tornado.
For some reason, this always seems to be happening. If isn't tornadoes, it's being fed to crocodiles. If it isn't having your face melt, it's being strangled by mummies.

Sudden Fried Chicken

The Fire and Rescue Service has tackled a blaze at the Moy Park chicken factory in Moira, County Down.
Now all we need is a fire at a mashed potato factory and we're good.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Suddenly, I'm in the Second Reel of a Hammer Film

This is just plain creepy. Some sort of a unknown creature with glowing eyes and an unearthly howl has been terrorising the citizens of Turner, Maine for fifteen year. On Saturday, the animal was struck by a car and killed, but here's the queer bit: Nobody has the faintest idea of what the thing is, though Michelle O'Donnell, who saw the creature when it was more lively has definite opinions.
It was evil, evil looking. And it had a horrible stench I will never forget. We locked eyes for a few seconds and then it took off. I've lived in Maine my whole life and I've never seen anything like it.
My thought is that if this beast suddenly changes into Lon Chaney Jr, then I'm getting as many silver bullets as I can lay my hands on.

That's as Maybe, but It's Still a Shed

The Home of the FUTURE-- Provided you are very small and don't move around much. From the designer's web site:
The micro compact home [m-ch] is a lightweight compact dwelling for one or two people. Its compact dimensions of 2.6m cube adapt it to a variety of sites and circumstances, and its functioning spaces of sleeping, working / dining, cooking and hygiene make it suitable for everyday use.

Informed by aviation and automotive design and manufactured at the micro compact home production centre in Austria, the m-ch can be delivered throughout Europe with project individual graphics and interior finishes.
No matter how you dress it up, it's still a cube that's less than nine feet on a side. I've seen cupboards smaller than that.

Update: Smaller. Well, there goes the joke.


This is either a redress of past grievances or the fulfillment of the local saying that the only difference between Mugabe and Mbeki is five years.

Let us hope it is the former or sub-Saharan Africa is doomed

As Night Follows Day

Anyone who didn't see this one coming, please take off the blinkers.

We Are in It

A West Virginia airport is under alert after a liquid explosive was found on a passenger.


Reality Intrudes

I'm off to meetings with a new client today, so entries will be a tad thin. More later (hopefully)

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Dirty Work at the Font

According to the AP, some Palestinians are naming their kids "Hezbollah."

That won't cause them any trouble later in life. Just ask my friend Bada Meinhof Red Brigade Shining Path IRA ETA Symbionese Liberation Army O' Reilly.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Masters

The Tornadoes: Examples of incredibly advanced engineering or a load of idiots with bits of tin on their heads? You decide.

And watch out for the shock surprise ending!

Dropping the Pilot

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been called the last manned fighter, though even that has been called into question by the maker Lockheed, who have announced that it is possible to operate the F-35 as an unmanned drone.

This may herald a remarkable new era in aerial warfare, but somehow Biggles in his jammies conducting a dogfight a thousand miles from the scene seems less than inspiring.

Git Big Youngen is Watching Yee .

True to the principles of Ingsoc, Newcastle City Council have declared the Geordie dialect to be Politically Incorrect and henceforth phrases such as "alreet pet", "howay hinny" and "take care, love" will be banned as doubleplus Ungood.

And Now We Are Twelve

Astronomers are considering a new definition of the word "planet" that will boost the number in the Solar System to twelve as Ceres, Pluto's moon Charon and an obscure little body called 2003 UB313 join the club.

In related news, property values on Ceres have just doubled.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Batman and Superman have been brought up on a drink driving charge in Scotland. According to the Scotsman,

Batman, a provisional driving licence-holder, was found to be over the drink-drive limit. Superman, who held a full driving licence, was also breath-tested and found to be the same. Both men have now been charged.
I don't know if I'm more surprised by the arrest or for discovering that the man behind the wheel of the batmobile only has a provisional licence.

Going to the Expert

Headline in the Groaniad:

Circumcision may be the answer to Aids, says Clinton
That rustling sound you hear is millions of trouser legs suddenly crossing.

Curtis... Richard Curtis

In a surreal twist of events, the rumour currently making the rounds is that Richard Curtis is being considered to direct the 22nd Bond film.

Curtis? Four Weddings and a Funeral Curtis? That's the one. It seems like a weird choice, but maybe the Curtis touch will revive the series. Lots of flowers, relentless yet snobbish egalitarianism, MI6 headquarters in Notting Hill, Hugh Grant as Bond, Simon Callow as M, Colin Firth as Q and a plot that revolves around Jim Broadbent throwing a spanner into Moneypenny's love life.

Bond's Diary: 1 January: 13 stone, alcohol units 12, cigarettes 15, bullets 8, dead supervillains 1 V. G.

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Today's No #%*) Headline

Grass says reputation hurt by SS admission

The Wilhem Scream

The Wilhelm Scream is a clip so beloved by movie sound engineers that it's become a film genre in its own right. Come with us now as we look at this strangled, little cry's stellar career.

The Man Who Saved Britain

Over at Samizdata, Johnathan Pearce has a nice little balanced review of Simon Winder's rather unbalanced book about James Bond and the history of post-war Britain.

Sword Ban Update

The ban on swords in Scotland got a bit weirder as police released CCTV footage of a gang fight that included at least one "samurai" sword as justification for the new law.

And it isn't just swords that get the draconian treatment. According to the Daily Record,

Shops will have to take the names and addresses of customers buying hunting knives, meat cleavers and other non-domestic blades. Unlicensed retailers caught selling knives will face jail.
At this rate, it won't be long before Scotsmen will be required to take their dinner plates to officially sanctioned centres to have their food cut for them. Did it ever occur to the government in their "think pods" that the wiser alternative might not be to arrest the criminals instead?

When Bilingualism Goes Horribly Wrong

This was seen on a Welsh/English road sign outside of Cardiff:

English: Cyclists Dismount

Welsh: Llid y Bledren Dymchwelyd
So what? It's just that llid y bledren dymchwelyd translates into English as "bladder disease has returned."

The Welsh Road Works Department has said that it is welcoming applications from anyone interested in the position of translator.


From Singapore we have this, uh, device that is being marketed as a "horse-riding exercise machine."

Anyone who believes that, please send me £50,000 in used bank notes.

Heart Attack Department

Today's NYAAAHH!! image.

Hobby Corner

It may be only August, but it's never too early to plan for those long winter nights. So, how to fill those boring evenings when there's nothing on the box? Why not build your very own X-ray machine! Amaze your friends! Astound your family! Never wonder again what a radiation burn feels like!

Tip o' the hat to Make.

Behind the Curve

A Dutch zoo is planning to set up an online dating service for orangutans.

Given some of the blind dates I went on in my younger days, I can categorically state that there is nothing new here.

Fat of the Land

According to the Telegraph, the number of obese people in the world now exceeds the number who are undernourished-- and we're told that this bare fact (without the obvious qualifications) is terrible news.

It's a remarkable comment on a civilisation that sees hard-won abundance as a problem, whereas if this had occurred a hundred years ago when famine was still a prospect in even the wealthiest of nations, there would have been dancing in the streets.

Jihadism: The Cuckoo of Islam

Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, looks atthe way Jihadism has pushed moderate Islam to the sidelines and how multicultralism helped.

Bloody Favouritism!

The Groaniad is looking at the 15 most important web sites in history. Meanwhile, Time magazine has posted its 50 coolest web sites list.

You will notice the neither Ephemeral Isle nor our sister sites got a look in. It's who you know, I tell you.

Update: Still, this one is pretty neat.

Monday, 14 August 2006

ABC News Translation Service

ABC News Headline:

Cubans Welcome New Photos of Castro

Cubans See Prison Door Slam Shut

Health News

Headline from Sci Fi Tech:

Smoking vaccine currently under development
Smooth flavour, but it's Hell to keep lit.

Penny Millionaire

Ever wonder what one million pennies looks like? Here's the answer.

That's 2.3 tons of pennies, by the way.

Digging the Hole Deeper

The Labour MP who showed all the foresight of Julius Caesar at the Ides of March by calling his consituents "inbred" has simultaneously apologised and shot himself in the other foot by saying that he meant it literally and not figuratively.

Some people just don't know when to keep their mouths shut.

Weather Forecast

The ceasefire in Lebanon seems to be holding up (for the moment), and Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has declared victory for the Jihadists:

We are today before a strategic, historic victory, without exaggeration.
Much as it pains me to admit it, he's probably right.

"There's an east wind coming, Watson."

"I think not, Holmes. It is very warm."

"Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, His Last Bow.

Urban Compost

As near as I can gather, this is basically a plastic drum that you fill with composting fodder that is then turned by solar-powered rotors to make sure everything stays properly mixed.

I'll grant that this thing looks a lot more pleasant than pitchforking a great stack of steaming compost, though the motor seems a bit pointless, since you can always just roll the drum by hand. The real drawback, however, is that the drum only holds five gallons, so unless you're gardening runs basically to window boxes, you're going to have something lacking in capacity.

Passport to Dhimmitude

A five-year old girl's passport photograph has been rejected by the British Passport Office because she had bare shoulders and this could cause offence to Muslims.

We humbly suggest that the proper response to those Muslims who are offended is, "learn to accept disappointment" and that the Passport Office be sternly reminded which country they serve.

Swords to be Banned in Scotland

Motto of the Scottish Assembly:
If it moves, control it; if it doesn't, ban it.
Come back, William Wallace. All is forgiven.

Jihad in the Land of Swallows & Amazons

Ah, the Lake District; famous for it's spectacular scenery, beautiful walking trails, the serenity of the waters, the poems of Wordsworth, the children's tales of Arthur Ransome, and terrorist training camps.

Welcome to modern Britain.

Survival in a Tin

Having spent so much time outdoors and being a complete paranoid, putting together survival kits is something of a hobby of mine, so when this article from Field and Stream hit my RSS feed I figured it was worth a look. It's not a bad selection of gear, though I wouldn't advise trying to conquer the Canadian wilderness with it, but since it can all be packed into an altoid tin that you can slip into your pocket, there's no excuse for leaving it behind on those "short" hikes that end up lasting a couple of days because you wandered off the trail.

The Leapfrog of Progress

The Seattle Times has an excellent article about small, rural communities that have gone in one go from areas where people don't even have phones to fully-integrated broadband networks. Live in Nowhere, Washington, but get a job in New York City? No problem; just telecommute-- which illustrates that in the 21st century distance doesn't mean half as much as bandwidth.

For me, this isn't so much a happy tale of progress as a demonstration about how the road to the future is paved with maddening cracks. I'm reading about little timber towns in the Wenatchee National Forest who have blindingly-fast connections, yet I live just outside of Redmond, Washington, the centre of the Microsoft octopus, and I'm stuck with a 56k dial-up service that is only slightly faster than sending data packets by carrier pigeon.

No wonder I burn with a hard, gem-like flame.

Breathing Easier

British scientists have discovered that the reason why cold viruses can cause severe asthma attacks is because the lungs of asthmatics produce insufficient levels of interferon to combat the infection. This raises the possibility that such attacks could be avoided by using inhalers that replace the deficient interferon.

Okay, this may not seem like something of interest to a wide audience, but my four-year old daughter has asthma and every time she has a runny nose it's a coin flip as to whether or not we're going to end up in the casualty ward, so I figured I'd share this ray of sunshine with any other parents whose children have a stay in hospital at least twice a year.

Problem, Meet Solution

The Guardian reports that the British "obsession," as they call it with flat-screen televisions could spark an "eco-crisis" because the increased electricity demand would require the building of two new nuclear power plants.

Okay, so build two new nuclear power plants. We're not talking the Gordian knot here, guys.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Real or Memorex?

Is Castro alive? Possibly, but given the fact that the old monster has absolute control of the press and that this front page and photograph could have been produced at any time, this is not exaclty Mao Tse Tung going for a dip in the Yangtse.

Baby Bomb Onboard

Two of the terrorist suspects swept up in the recent arrests allegedly planned to smuggle their bomb onboard using their six-month old baby's formula bottle. Naturally, the baby itself would have accompanied them.

If the child welfare services have not taken that child into care, then the entire agency should be disbanded as useless beyond belief.

Last of the Summer Whine?

The Muslim "community's" open letter to Tony Blair has elicited a reaction that can be summed up as a steely glare and a forefinger slowly tapped on a desk. The general reaction of the government is illustrated by the Home Secretary:
I'm not going to question the motives of anyone who has signed this letter. But I think it is a dreadful misjudgement if we believe the foreign policy of this country should be shaped in part, or in whole, under the threat of terrorist activity if we do not have a foreign policy with which the terrorists happen to agree.
Maybe daylight is finally beginning to break through.

Doctor Who: The Next Generation?

There's a rumour going about that the BBC is planning on dealing with the problem of what happens to Doctor Who when the eponymous character runs out of regenerations by introducing the Time Lord's "son," who will take over the Tardis key.

The new series hasn't jumped the shark, but if this is true, then it has certainly taken a couple of warm-up laps.

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Some People Deserve to Be Offended

Oliver Kamm on the false connecting of dots and taking pride in giving offence.

Peace Plan or Hezbollah Victory?

Israel's acceptance of the current UN ceasefire resolution is not going down well with some.

Just One More Thing...

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient murder at a Romano-British site in Sedgeford, where the vicitm was killed and stuffed into an oven.

Sedgeford police would like to interview anyone in the area who is over 1500 years old.

Peace in Our Time

Three British Muslim MPs, three peers, and 38 Muslim "groups" have sent the Munich Agreement an open letter to Tony Blair (emphasis added):

Prime Minister, As British Muslims we urge you to do more to fight against all those who target civilians with violence, whenever and wherever that happens.

It is our view that current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad.

To combat terror the government has focused extensively on domestic legislation. While some of this will have an impact, the government must not ignore the role of its foreign policy.

The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all.

Attacking civilians is never justified. This message is a global one. We urge the Prime Minister to redouble his efforts to tackle terror and extremism and change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion.

Such a move would make us all safer.
Safer as in paying off the protection racket keeps your shop from being done over. Stripped of all the blandishments and vagaries this boils down to "Surrender and do as your new masters command and the crocodile will eat you last."

Moderate Muslims must learn that if they are to be trusted their first and only duty in this war is to prove their loyalty by literally fighting the Jihadists and not by making demands, whinging and calliing for appeasement.

It's the Glorious Twelfth!

And the grouse are getting the Hell out of Dodge.

Friday, 11 August 2006

Welcome Dallas Morning News & Readers

Kick off your shoes and stay awhile. I'll put the kettle on.

The Wisdom of Star Trek

Star Trek reduced to motivational posters.


Quote of the Day

There is no room left for the blind politically correct procedures that ignore this reality — our enemy is nearly always a young to middle-aged man from a Muslim nation or culture, and it is madness not to focus mainly on those who most readily match the known profile.

Birds of a Feather

From the Sun,

Terror suspect Waheed Zaman met controversial MP George Galloway many times, his sister said last night.

Safeena, 24, said of her 23-year-old brother: “He saw it as his duty to stand up for his community and that’s what led him to know George Galloway. He has a lot of respect for him and has met him many times.”
Why am I not surprised.

The Only Sane Way to Handle It

A Russian air traveller manages to take his bottle of champagne onboard-- without the bottle.

Home Grown Blinkers

The suspects arrested in Britain and Pakistan over the attempted airliner attacks were well-educated and middle class. Most were second and third generation British subjects and two were white converts. The plot they tried to hatch has all the ear-marks of an Al Qaeda operation, and police and intelligence services suspect that as many as fifty people were involved-- many of them still at large.

We have an attempt to down ten planes and murder thousands of people, a massive international conspiracy, probable Al Qaeda involvement, home-grown terrorists in prison, more running loose eager to have another go and a Muslim community that still doesn't get it. Now can we stop pretending that this is a police matter, put Britain on a war footing, demand the demonstrated loyalty of the Muslim "community," treat the foreign terrorists as enemy combatants and prosecute the home-grown curs as traitors?

Or is continuing to treat every law-abiding Briton as a potential terrorist still acceptable?

Why Don't I Have This Sort of Luck?

A woman in Charleston, West Virginia came home only to discover that someone had broken in and cleaned her house.

Note to burglars: Read the job description first.

Just Cocaine? That's All Right Then.

Smoking is evil, but Class A drugs are okay. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has finally found a way around the smoking ban that forced Mel Smith to abandon Chruchill's cigar or face prosecution and put a spanner into a production of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.: Change the smoking to snorting cocaine.

You can't parody this sort of insanity.

Ringing the Changes

According to the Scotsman, one in five pub-goers shows up for a cappucinno or some other exotic coffee rather than a civilised pint.

God, times have changed. I remember when if you ordered a cup of coffee in a pub you'd either get a blank stare or, at best, some fizzy Nescafe horror that just layed their and curdled. Now things are going so far in the other direction that if they allowed smoking in pubs again the place would suddenly be filled with disaffected French would-be intellectuals going on about Sartre before you could say "knife."

Child's Garden of Spin

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, we see how Israeli air-strikes have a predictable tendency to scatter remarkably clean children's toys so that they land in poignant positions just right for AP and Reuters consumption.

We Fear a Backlash Against Muslims After the Next Bombing

With remarkable predictability, Muslim "community leaders" have shown their loyalty to Britain and their willingness to stand up and be counted in the fight against the Jihadists in the wake of yesterday's air terror arrests by coming forth... and whinging about the effect this is all going to have on Muslims. A perfect example is Muhammad Abul Kalam from the Muslim Safety Forum who chuntered on about vague claims of increased "Islamophobic attacks" and ended up by saying (All together now!),

We simply don't want to see any kind of backlash unleashed against ordinary Muslims because of what has happened.
I swear they must have a macro for generating boilerplate like that. Not that it matters, because according to the Archbishop of York the problem isn't Islam, but alienation.

Most of them are doing it because they are alienated, because they have been given a vision which is so imaginatively wicked that they believe we can build a better world than actually exists.
But don't for one moment imagine that this in anyway involves Jihad against the kufar, extirpating heretic Muslims, a yearning to expand the umma, impose sharia or establish the New Caliphate. That's just window dressing.

Update: American Muslim groups look to be in full cry-baby mode as well.

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Poll Results

Foot in Mouth Disease

Dr. Ian Gibson, Labour MP for Norwich, has blamed the rise of diabetes in the area on his constituents being a load of in-bred yahoos.

In related news, Dr. Gibson kissed his chances of re-election goodbye.

Turning Point in Cuba?

Fidel Castro, the supposedly "out of bed" Maximum Leader, has now been described by fellow despot Hugo Chavez as being in a "great battle for life."

Not that Mr. Chavez is telling porkies. When your body temperature can be best described as "ambient," it certainly is a great battle.

Why We Must Take the War to Them

Highlighting new airline security measures, Harry Houdini models the new passenger seating arrangement and air stewards uniforms.

Mandatory sedation for all travellers is still being considered, though any form of "profiling" has been rejected as Politically Incorrect and an affront to human liberty.

Today's No #%*) Headline

Jets May Be Vulnerable to On-Board Bombs

Martyrs & Virgins

Why Jihadists fight and why the 72 virgins get the dirty end of the stick.

Tip o' the hat to Samizdata.

The Cecil B. DeMille of Hezbollah

Green Helmet: The ubiquitous Lebanese "helper" and propaganda director.

Men On the Outs

A scientist at the Austalian National University predicts that with the decay of the Y Chromosome, men as we know them will be extinct in 15 million years.

In some parts of the West, this is rumoured to have already happened.

We Will Reserve the "Cool" Jokes.

From a recent competition to design the resorts of 2055: a hotel in Antarctica that hangs down into the sea.

What it hangs from? You really don't want to know.

The Phantom Menace

The breaking news this morning is that the British air travel network was effectively shut down as the authorities thwarted a major terrorist attack that would have involved blowing up as many as ten aircraft in midflight.

The BBC, with its usual hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners-as long-as-long-as-it-uncovers-the-truth journalism once again displays an incredible lack of curiosity as to who the terrorists are and what they're motives might be. Though "links to Pakistan" are mentioned and that before the raids police contacted unspecified "community leaders," the Beeb seems to be uninterested in what might be a teeny little fact that might be of some relevance to this case.

It's a two-syllable word beginning with "M."

Update: According to reports, the terrorists were ready to implement their plans and were intending to use a "liquid explosive." As a result, all gels and liquids (indeed, almost all carry-on items) have been banned from British flights and news agencies report that the Americans may be imposing a similar ban.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006


Most people are unaware that the Daleks are actually quite fond of cats and go to great lengths toward providing them with the latest in high-tech litter boxes.

"Seek! Locate! Exterminate! Nice Kitty!"

Number 2 Goes Multimedia

"Where am I?"

"In the Village."

"What do you want?"


"Whose side are you on?"

"That would be telling.... We want information. Information. INFORMATION."

"You won't get it."

"By hook or by crook, we will."

"Who are you?"

"The new Number 2."

"Who is Number 1?"

"You are Number 6."

"I am not a number — I am a free man!"

(Laughter from Number 2.)

All Heart

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah shows the depths of his compassion.

I have a special message to the Arabs of Haifa, to your martyrs and to your wounded. I call on you to leave this city. I hope you do this. … Please leave so we don't shed your blood, which is our blood.
As for the Jews and Christians, just sit there so we can get a bead on you. Have a nice day.

Fake Photo Follies

More photo fun from our favourite faker Adnan Hajj; this time from US News and Time magazine.

Todays question: When is a "downed Israeli jet" not a downed Israeli jet?

When it's a burning rubbish tip.

Scruffy is Back In

The metrosexual craze is now officially dead.

Thank God. I can't keep up this standard of grooming much longer.

Where the Solution is the Problem

It had to happen sooner or later. From A&A Products of Hong Kong comes a breathalyzer mounted inside a wristwatch. No more tedious waiting for the police to pull you over; just bend your arm and blow.

I think I can see what they were going for, but if you're the sort of person that needs a alcohol sensor strapped to your wrist, then it's time to cut down a little.

Liveliest Dead Man Since Lazarus

What's wrong with the "dead" Lebanese casualty in this New York Times photo? Follow the link and you'll see that aside from being remarkably clean and sweaty, he certainly jumps around a lot for a dead man!

Big in Japan

Both East and the West are facing the grim prospect of declining birth rates and an aging population. Europe has placed its bets on handling the situation with mass immigration of unskilled Muslims while Japan is pinning its hopes on building a new generation of robots to not only run the factories, but also care for the elderly.

Both these plans have their massive downsides and neither is a substitute for the good old-fashioned solution of having babies, but based on what's been happening in such bastions of multiculturalism as Scandinavia, my money is on Japan.