Tuesday, 31 July 2007

More Money Than Sense

Does your dog hate being left out of the trendy, and incredibly expense, oxygen therapy fad? Do you have a fat bank account and all the common sense of a retarded Belgian hamster? Then get out the plastic, ring up the AirPress company and order the O2 Dog oxygen therapy system.

And don't be put off by thoughts of canine claustrophobia or the fact that O2 Dog looks suspiciously like AirPress's Dog-in-a-Can, Pickle-a-Poodle, and Terrier Time Capsule.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Insult to Injury

BBC headline:
JK Rowling, the new Roger Bannister
Great. Not only does Rowling crank out crappy prose to make far more money than I do , but she can run the four-minute mile as well.

Cuisine Confusion

In his Commons Confidential diary for the BBC, Nick Assinder reports that at the Bush/Brown summit the Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown was served at dinner roast tenderloin of beef, mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans and peas with smoked bacon and mint followed by a dessert of brownies with caramel and vanilla sauce.

A photo accompanied the entry with the caption,
Gordon Brown has been served traditional US food
And this is the image:
Apparently, the BBC imagines that "roast tenderloin of beef, mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans and peas with smoked bacon and mint followed by a dessert of brownies with caramel and vanilla sauce" is indistinguishable from a sloppily made and what looks like ice-cold double cheeseburger.

You'd think they'd at least have rung Gordon Ramsey for a fact check.

H. G. Wells, Call Your Service

President Bush off on another mission in time & space

The Guardian breaks new ground as it publishes a story on President Bush's "torture" policy that must involve the fourth dimension or something (emphasis added):
The report criticises the Bush administration's approval of practices which would be illegal if carried out by British agents. It shows that in 1998, the year Bin Laden was indicted in the US, Britain insisted that the policy of treating prisoners humanely should include him. But the CIA never gave the assurances.
That's what I call impressive; Bush is so powerful that he's able to implement policies three years before he took office.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Monday Maintenance

I may not be posting on Monday as Chez Szondy is entering the 21st century and the satellite broadband is being installed. That means I'm going to be busy dealing with workmen, pointing out where holes can be drilled, and reconfiguring network connections.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, as they say.

Big Five Update

Thanks to everyone who wished my daughter a happy birthday from all of us at Chez Szondy and especially from Emma.

Everything went off without a hitch yesterday with the kids not only enjoying a treasure hunt and a fairy tale tea party, but a couple of surprises came our way when Emma's godmama showed up from LA for the party and our neighbour brought over her pony to give the birthday girl and her guests rides. Said birthday girl was so over the Moon that she was in overload mode by the time her uncle presented her with her first two wheeler. A well-stocked adults-only ice bucket meant that the parents were taken care of and even Carl the Cattle Dog had a good time, though he is now regretting stealing so many cucumber sandwiches and pieces cake.

Now Daddy gets the fun of spending the next couple of days doing dishes.

Share & Enjoy

The New York Times looks at "Mertz"; a robot capable of developing a personality and is "designed to make a human feel kindly toward the robot and enjoy talking to it."

Why bother, you ask? Because,
(I)f Bill Gates is right and the robots are coming, they should be designed in a way that makes them fit most naturally into the lives of ordinary people.
I'm sorry, but we've been down this road already and I think we have a pretty good idea of where it's really headed.

And if you don't like it, please contact the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Big Five

It's my daughter's fifth birthday here at Chez Szondy, so I'm off for the rest of the day to ride herd on a load of insane kindergarteners.

There will be cake, however.

Friday, 27 July 2007

First They Came For The Smokers...

BBC headline:
Obesity 'contagious', experts say
Now that the spectre of secondhand fat has been raised, can the same draconian measures leveled against tobacco be far behind?

Evening the Odds

Leave it to the French to bend logic until it breaks as President Sarkosy explains why his country is helping Libya to build nuclear power plants.
"Nuclear power is the energy of the future," he said. "If we don't give the energy of the future to the countries of the southern Mediterranean, how will they develop themselves? And if they don't develop, how will we fight terrorism and fanaticism?"

The president added that if the West considered that Arab countries were "not sensible enough to use civilian nuclear power", this would risk a "war of civilizations".

Aside from the fact that Libya already has plenty of oil to produce power, that Colonel Gaddafi is as flaky as a box of corn flakes, and that he has a track record of trying to get his hands on WMDs, if there is even the remotest chance of a "war or civilisations" wouldn't be prudent to forget appeasing our enemies in favour of making certain that they be kept as far from getting nuclear weapons as possible?

But then France wouldn't have anyone to surrender to.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Maybe When They Finally Bury Him...

BBC headline:
Fidel absent as Cuba celebrates
Would it were so!

Sebastian Haff, Call Your Service

From the BBC:
A US cat that is reportedly able to sense when a nursing home's residents are about to die is baffling doctors.

Oscar has a habit of curling up next to patients at the home in Providence, Rhode Island, in their final hours.

According to the author of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-year-old cat has been observed to be correct in 25 cases so far.
Of course, the fact that Oscar took out large insurance policies on each of the patients had nothing to do with it.

Darlington Cowed

Durham police are warning residents of Darlington to stay on the look out for a crazed, psychopathic, killer... Heifer.

In other news, rampaging ant-eater still at large.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

So Near, Yet So Far

From The Register:
US wants trucks mounted with frikkin' laser beams
I was so disappointed to learn this wasn't about commercial haulers.

And The Green House Gas-Emitting Horse You Rode In On!

From the BBC:
People are being told (by the Energy Saving Trust) to wear jumpers instead of relying on patio heaters, in an attempt to cut carbon emissions.
What people are telling the load of miserable busybodies Energy Savings Trust cannot be posted on a family-friendly site.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


And now from NEC and Futaba Industrial Company comes the Hello Kitty Robo. It has face recognition, voice recognition, chats, plays games, and hunts for Sarah Connor.

It also costs $6300 dollars and as my daughter's fifth birthday is coming up, I'd appreciate it if nobody told her about the thing.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Firing the Potter

Anti-Spoiler Alert: Though I'm talking about the latest and (Please, God!) last Harry Potter book, I am not going to make any startling revelations about it. Okay, one: I managed to stay awake. Barely.

I don't care for young Potter, but my beef isn't with the innocent fan. Rather it is with those who put J. K. Rowling on the same shelf with far better writers and call the Potter books "classics" or who think writing for children excuses bad writing. That does not, however, mean that the books cannot be enjoyed for what they are on their own merit. If you enjoyed and love the Harry Potter books and if they speak to some part of your soul that no other book has, then more power to you. I would not dream of criticising your pleasure.
I am not a Harry Potter fan. That function at Chez Szondy is taken up by my wife, who regards J. K. Rowling's series about the schooldays of a young wizard as a charming and magical coming of age tale that is worth reading over and over. I see the books as an overheated and transient cultural phenomenon that in half a century will be looked back upon as the turn of the millennium version of the literary hula hoop.

But if I dislike it so much, why did I slog through seven books and five (and counting) films? Three reasons. First, I take an interest in my wife's hobbies. Second, it is a major phenomenon and is worthy of study as such. And third, it is such a jaw-dropping example of bad writing that it is actually fun to read a Harry Potter book while growling and waving an imaginary blue pencil over the page. It helps even more if you have the cardboard cutout of Mike and the 'bots that comes with the MST3K DVDs to prop up in front of you while reading.

Since there aren't any decent Internet connections to the bottom of sealed coal mines, I'm assuming that you already know who Harry Potter is, the basic rules of Quidditch, the essentials of the House Elf Question, Voldemort's hat size, Hermione's Swojollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.

Sorry. Fell asleep at the keyboard.

I'm no going to give away the plot of the last book, if you haven't ploughed through it yet. I'll leave it at saying that if you've read the last six, you've read this one. Like all except the first book, which, as a work by a then-unknown, was the only one properly edited, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (wretched title) is a 200 page story crammed into 750 pages. Chronicling Harry's final journey to his confrontation with Voldemort, he must look for things. And then he has to look for other things. And then he has to look for still other things until it becomes less like a quest and more of a scavenger hunt. Along the way there are the usual deductive leaps that wouldn't have been tolerated in an old Batman TV script, the maddening tendency of characters to withhold vital information for no good reason other than that the book would be over in one chapter if they didn't, and Rowling's inability to resist the temptation to over egg the pudding at every opportunity. To this is added a climax that is less a battle royal than old home week. If you encounter any surprises here, it's because you've seen dramatic possibilities that went over J. K. Rowling's head and can't believe that she missed them.

It is stunning that after seventeen years, seven books and so many pots of money that you'd think she could afford to take a class or two, J. K. Rowling is still such a staggeringly bad writer that she couldn't scribble her way out of a paper bag, though it would be fun to see her try. She has no love or command of the language, handles adverbs as adeptly as a vampire cooking with garlic, spends most of the later books frantically back filling the gigantic plot holes and inconsistencies left by previous books, has the pacing of a wheel-clamped glacier encountering a sea of treacle, must have bought her cliches at a wholesale warehouse, rips off bits from Star Wars (And the bad bits at that! Read the last book and try not to shout "Obi Wan" at particular moments), makes her characters act in particular ways because It's In The Script, has no concept of dramatic necessity, and, unlike proper writers, such as P.G. Wodehouse, Rowling does not have the logic or discipline needed to keep a complex plot together. And on top of this is her infuriating habit of having her characters constantly talk about what they're going to do, talk about what they're doing, talk about what they did, and then tell someone else what they did-- all the while punctuating it with Harry's impenetrable, indecisive whinging that makes Hamlet look like Howard Rork.

About now I can hear the standard rejoinder that "it's only a children's book," to which I reply that so were the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien-- except that the latter knew that writing for children is no excuse for writing badly. Indeed, Lewis believed that writing for children is harder than writing for adults because you have to write as well as you would for an older audience while taking into account a child's lack of experience and vocabulary.

But mentioning Tolkien and Lewis in connection with Rowling is like bringing the Portland Vase to a flea market. Rowling pales to insignificance when compared to Tolkien, Lewis, Grahame or Carroll (not to mention Terry Pratchett)-- all of whom can not only craft a sentence and understand pacing, but actually sat down and thought their mythical worlds through so they are consistent and plausible rather than a hodgepodge of cute but contradictory ideas (i.e. wizards use steam trains, but don't understand brakes) that mesh together like iron filings in a Rolex.

Even Robert Heinlein's juvenile novels are better than Rowling. Heinlein had his own faults (don't get me started), but he understood the word "duty", the importance of self-discipline in maturity and always saw the man inside the boy. He also knew how to craft a tight, economical plot and if he erred it was in being too logical in his thinking. Rowling could have done with a strong dose of Heinlein to counter her perpetual vacillating. I would have loved to have seen a Heinlein "old man" character giving Harry a kick in the backside or pointing out to Mrs. Weasley (and Rowling) that sixteen-year old "boys" die in battle more often than she thinks. There is even a little argument over a sword in the last book that Rowling takes what seems like a hundred pages to (unsuccessfully) conclude, but which Heinlein would have resolved in three paragraphs by having Harry coolly pointing out that neither he nor the other person has legal title to the article in question, so the point is moot.

Rowling's shortcomings is brought home most tellingly in the Harry Potter Films. I saw the latest one, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, last week and was impressed by how superior it was to the book. Inside that bloated tome was a simple little story that had been buried under a mass of distraction and trivia. The script writers took an 870 page doorstep and trimmed it down to a lean two-hour film. Characters, subplots, quidditch matches, and all those annoying enchanting details were chopped out like dry rot from a hull and to the betterment of the finished product. What struck me was not how much better the plot flowed with so much taken out, but that the script writers could have taken out even more and trimmed the film down to ninety minutes that would have raced by. The basic plot was a compelling little tale of the power of friendship that needed no embellishment. The only real gripe I had was that in the final battle I kept expecting Voldemort to tell Dombledore, "Now the circle is complete." If Rowling understood what a blue pencil is for and had been ruthless in killing her literary babies, she might be almost readable.

Still, the Harry Potter books are more than books, they are a cultural phenomenon that has a life of its own. Harry Potter the fictional character may have come to an end, but Harry Potter the franchise has at least two films and a theme park left to go. In thirty years he may be swallowed up by Disney and enter the modern pantheon with Mickey Mouse and Finding Nemo, but will the books survive? Physically, of course. There is such a glut of Harry Potter novels that you could build a replica of the Great Wall of China with them. As nostalgia for aging fans, yes. There will be Potterheads to join the Trekkies and their ill-begotten kith and kin. But as beloved classics of children's literature that will endure? I sincerely doubt it. There are too many good books on the shelves for them to compete with and when the flashbulb of Pottermania dies down, the strong, steady glow of the Hobbit, The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Swallows and Amazons, and the Chronicles of Narnia will long outshine the cheap bulb in the Authorised Collectibles-Edition Harry PotterTM plastic wand with Snitch-Seeking Action (Made in China, batteries not included).

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Potter Update

Despite the demands of my four-year old daughter and babysitting the neighbour's furry ball of energy that they call a dog, yours truly has won the Chez Szondy Harry Potter book-reading race.

Opinionated rant about the Harry Potter series to follow shortly.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Potter Break

The latest Harry Potter books have arrived, so entries will be a bit light today. I'm not a fan of the books (quite the opposite, in fact), but the wife and I like to make a race out of reading them with spoiler rights going to the winner.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Canada on Mars

From Canada.com:
B.C. robotics firm lands Martian contract
Now that is what I call an aggressive foreign trade policy.

Where There's Smoke

Eight British cabinet ministers have confessed to smoking pot.

That explains a lot of things.

Update: And here's a seagull who is obviously Cabinet material.

Blair New World Revisited

Philip Johnston in the Times has an excellent review of how the Blair government turned Britain into the land of the telescreen and the Thoughtpolice. It also has a quote from Peter Lilley, the former Cabinet minister, about the scheme to introduce ID cards that encapsulates the totalitarian mindset beautifully (emphasis added):
There is no policy that has been hawked, unsold, around Whitehall for longer than identity cards. It was always brought to us as a solution looking for problems.
Read the whole thing, as the kids say.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Theatre Spot

A review of The Reluctant Dragon is up.

Tank Engine, Thomas the Tank Engine.

Who cares if Pierce Brosnan got the sack as James Bond? He's finally landed the role he was born to play.


Television reception poor? Satellite and cable haven't been invented yet? Then why not try to solve the problem with a B-29 bomber outfitted with a television transmitter.

This is so bizarre that it's charming.

Appetite Killer

From the AP:
Convalescing Fidel Castro said in an essay Tuesday that he has been so engrossed with Cuba's performance at the Pan American Games in Brazil that he forgets to eat and take his medicine.
That and "convalescing" in a meat locker will do that.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Dhimmi Street

The Wall Street watchdog organisation SIRA has changed its name to FINRA.

Why? Because the previous acronym sounded too much like the Arabic word for biographies of Mohammed and, according to a spokeswoman,
We operate in a global, multi-racial, multi-religion environment, and we strive to be sensitive and respectful to all. To remain true to that spirit, we have decided that selecting the alternative name for our new organization is simply the right thing to do.
Translation: We'll be good dhimmis. Don't hurt us.

Only If Victor Meldrew is Chairman

From Newsday.com:
Nelson Mandela celebrates his 89th birthday tomorrow in Johannesburg, launching a humanitarian campaign along with former President Jimmy Carter, ex-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other "elders" of the global village. The initiative stems from an idea by British entrepreneur Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel to create a world council of elders to tackle issues such as conflict, AIDS and global warming.
"World Council of Elders." How very grand.

If I want a load of dotty old men with no authority sticking their unwelcome noses into my business I'll walk down for a pint at the Dog & Duck, thank you very much.

Pontius Pilate, Call Your Service

Abandoning all understanding of who works for whom, Britain's Chief Medical Officer orders patients to remind doctors to wash their hands.

Also not to ram flaming Jeeps into airport lobbies.

All Wet

The problem: Crazed Arab Jihadis are waging genocide against black African Muslims in Darfur.

The solution: Dig wells.

At last, a sane plan to... WHAT?!?!

Stating the Obvious

From the BBC:
UK 'not being macho with Russia'
Well, it's a bit hard to be "macho" when your weapon of choice is a handbag.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Space Tailoring

MIT has an press release on its programme to produce an updated version of the Space Activity Suit.

Technically, it looks like a winner, but it may meet with some resistance from traditionalists and astronauts with chubby thighs.

Great Moments in Journalism

This regarding an episode in the recent Australian flooding:
Raymond Island was surrounded by water
Stop the presses!

Rain Man

From the Telegraph:
Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away Homer Simpson, the cartoon character, who was painted next to their famous fertility symbol, the Cerne Abbas giant, yesterday.
I love the "their" that the reporter tucks into the sentence. Apparently, the rule is now that a 21st century lunatic-fringe group can now claim ownership of an ancient monument built millennia ago by a people with whom said lunatic-fringe group have no actual connection by misappropriating a name attached to said ancient people by a third party.

By that logic, I shall now call myself Pharaoh and claim the pyramids for my own.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Spam, Spam, Spam , Spam

This just in from 742 AD:
Viking ship attempts sea crossing

Worzel Gummidge, Call Your Service

From Sky News:
Third Doctor Charged Over Terror Plot
William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant were unavailable for comment.

Body of the Law

Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, is expected to recommend that the law in Britain be changed so that instead of people donating their organs for transplants, said organs would be "harvested" automatically after death unless the patient specifically makes his wishes known otherwise.

I haven't a dog in this fight, since I spent so much time in the tropics that not even Dr. Frankenstein would want my liver and lights, but I find it rather telling that Britain has a government that not only believes that our lives are not our own, but that our bodies are only ours by sufferance as well.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

BBC: A Half-Century of Arrogance

Antony Jay looks at the natural history of media liberalism at the BBC and comes away with some interesting observations.

For a time it puzzled me that after 50 years of tumultuous change the media liberal attitudes could remain almost identical to those I shared in the 1950s. Then it gradually dawned on me: my BBC media liberalism was not a political philosophy, even less a political programme. It was an ideology based not on observation and deduction but on faith and doctrine. We were rather weak on facts and figures, on causes and consequences, and shied away from arguments about practicalities. If defeated on one point we just retreated to another; we did not change our beliefs. We were, of course, believers in democracy. The trouble was that our understanding of it was structurally simplistic and politically naïve. It did not go much further than one-adult-one-vote.

We ignored the whole truth, namely that modern Western civilisation stands on four pillars, and elected governments is only one of them. Equally important is the rule of law. The other two are economic: the right to own private property and the right to buy and sell your property, goods, services and labour. (Freedom of speech, worship, and association derive from them; with an elected government and the rule of law a nation can choose how much it wants of each). We never got this far with our analysis. The two economic freedoms led straight to the heresy of free enterprise capitalism - and yet without them any meaningful freedom is impossible.

But analysis was irrelevant to us. Ultimately, it was not a question of whether a policy worked but whether it was right or wrong when judged by our media liberal moral standards. There was no argument about whether, say, capital punishment worked. If retentionists came up with statistics showing that abolition increased the number of murders we simply rejected them.

The same moral imperatives determined our attitude to the dissolution of the British Empire. It was right, so there was no further argument. We would not even discuss whether the prosperity and happiness of the Ugandans or the Rhodesians or the Nigerians would be better served by a partial or more gradual transfer of power; it had to be total and it had to be immediate. We were horrified by the arrogant way our grandparents' generation had used their political and economic power to impose Christianity on religiously backward peoples. Were we, as missionaries for democracy, not guilty of imposing media liberal democracy in exactly the same way?

His conclusion is a bit kinder than the evidence would lead me to be. I don't think the BBC is dedicated to an "ideology of opposition," but rather that of an undeclared and tax-funded political party with its own agenda, but still Mr. Jay's article is a ray of light in a dark cupboard that's been sealed too long.

Toilet Totalitarianism

Thing of Evil!
The Kimberly Clark company has developed a toilet paper dispenser that gives out no more than FIVE SHEETS to a customer. No doubt they will call it the Sheryl Crow model.

I'll get the torches, you get the pitchforks, and we'll pick up the tar and feathers on the way.

Tintin Triumph

The Commission for Racial Equality, still thinking that it's 1970 and that the best way to promote racial harmony is to approach children's literature like Margaret Dumont in a sex-toy shop, denounced the 1930's comic book Tintin in the Congo as "racist" and demanded that the Borders bookshop chain remove it from their shelves least five-year olds glance at the cover and go bolting off for the nearest BNP office to join up.

The result? Tintin remains on the shelves (albeit not in the children's section) and sales have skyrocketed 3800 percent.

My copy should be arriving on Tuesday.

In Vino Veritas

California's best Chardonnay has been selected and the winner is Charles Shaw's vintage, which retails for $2.99.

Not surprisingly, it is also the house wine of Chez Szondy-- for obvious reasons.

Saturday, 14 July 2007


I just hope it warms its... uh... "hands" first.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Bond Books

Are Ian Fleming's James Bond novels mere pulp or literature suffering at the hands of blinkered snobbery?

Ben Macintyre is there.

Pop Time

Grandma gets ready to get down at Glasto
The organisers of the Glastonbury Festival are worried that the attendees are too "middle-aged" and "middle-class."

Would it be too unkind to point out that 1970 was 37 years ago and that Glastonbury is mostly an exercise in nostalgia that appeals less to young people than to aging BBC executives who still yearn after their salad days? The organisers are lucky that the mud wallow they call a festival isn't strewn with abandoned Zimmer frames.

Horace Rumpole, Call Your Service

Once again treating four hundred years of tradition like an embarrassing skin disease, the government has declared that judges and lawyers need no longer wear wigs and bands in civil cases.

And so the great edifice of English jurisprudence sags that much more under the depredations of the termites of blind and pointless modernism.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Poetic Licence

Daniel Drezner's wife on academics in fact and fiction:
The reason professors sleep with their students in fiction is because any realistic portrayal of your jobs would bore readers out of their skulls within ten minutes.
As an ex-academic I can attest to that on a stack of exam booklets.

On a side note, ever notice that novels written by English professors are almost invariably about embittered, alcoholic English professors who sleep with their students?


A senior policeman demonstrates that he needs a little lie down:
Technology such as cloned part-robot humans used by organised crime gangs pose the greatest future challenge to police, along with online scamming, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty says.
Sarah Connor was unavailable for comment.

First Church of the Cyber Divine

Robot walks on water
Jesus Christ responds, "Been there, done that."

Culinary Crystal Ball

2005: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver condemns the "turkey twizzler" culture in British school lunch rooms. Demands students eat what he wants them to eat. Government yaps like happy little puppies at the thought of more social engineering opportunities.

2007: Cost of school lunches shoots up 250 percent and students stop eating the "healthy" menus because they can't stand them. School meal services face collapse. Government acts all surprised that students act like creatures with free will and responds by pouring more taxpayer money down the rat hole.

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

The Pope, Bears, & Islam

From the BBC:
The failed bomb attacks on London and Glasgow have damaged public perceptions of Islam, a survey has suggested.
No doubt that would be the "No #&%$, Sherlock" survey.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Victor Meldrew, Call Your Service

The BBC has a report on the indolence of teenagers in Devon that poses this daft question:
Do they really have nothing better to do?
I am of that age where it is really not a good idea to ask me nonsense like that, as it tends to end in a rant about gutters, lawns, stables, weeds, houses, dishes, Hoovers, dogs, trees, boats, hulls, barnacles and their rooms, mixed with verbs like clean, mow, shovel, hoe, paint, wash, push, walk, swab, scrape, and dynamite combined with pointed use of the phrases, lazy, layabout, good-for-nothing, spoiled and idle-pated and posed against the alternatives of horse whip and keel haul.

And they can stay off my lawn, too.

A Parable For Our Times

The road to Hell is paved with green intentions.

A Plague of Badgers

The Prince of Wales Badger Brigade goes into action.

Albus Dumbledore, Call Your Service

Life imitates art (or J. K. Rowlings, anyway), in the Brownian approach to Jiahd:
Specifically, (Gordon) Brown's strong desire not to call Islamic terrorism by name echoes the insistence of the head of the Wizard government, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge — to refer to their mortal enemy, Voldemort, as "he who must not be named."
Where is a pack of annoying, wand-wielding school kids when you need them?

Paul Ehrlich, Call Your Service

Britain is facing uncontrolled mass immigration. The solution? Tell Englishmen to stop breeding.

There's even a perfect example of the inevitable "but" that causes a sentence to reverse itself in mid stride (emphasis added):
No one is in favour of governments dictating family size but we need to act quickly to prevent it.
Translation: We are in favour of government dictating family size, so do what we say "voluntarily" or else.

So rarely does one see 1970s "affluence is a disease" delusions converge so neatly with the instincts of the totalitarian busybody.


Don Surber over at blog.dailymail,com compares Woodstock and Live Earth and has some cogent things to say about the geriatric nature of the latter's headliners

Jonah Goldberg captures the moment very neatly in his NRO column:

"If you want to save the planet, I want you to start jumping up and down. Come on, mother-[bleepers]!” Madonna railed from the stage at London's Live Earth concert Saturday. “If you want to save the planet, let me see you jump!”

You just can't beat that. What else could capture the canned juvenilia of a 48-year-old centimillionaire — who owns nine homes and has a “carbon footprint” nearly 100 times larger than the norm — hectoring a bunch of well-off, aging hipsters to show their Earth-love by jumping up and down like children? I suppose she could have said, “Now put your right foot in / Take your right foot out / Right foot in / Then you shake it all about…. That's what climate change is all about.”

Actually, I think the “Hokey Pokey” makes more sense.
This whole episode reminds me of one of my pet peeves, which is the relentless retreading of mid to late 20th century pop music in commercials and films. Not only do I regard this as cheap and lazy, but the tunes selected often date well back to the '60s, yet the steaming nits who insert this tripe think they're being young, hip and relevant when all they manage to get out of me is an angry snarl about all this "old people's" music every time "Born To Be Wild" creaks out of the screen.

To quote Dr. Evil, there is nothing so pathetic as an aging hipster.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Crustacean Contest

From the BBC:
Diver in lobster wrestling match
I understand you can still see lobster wrestling in Mexico.

The Nightmare

You're aboard an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying at 50,000 feet. You're over the Pacific ocean a thousand miles from anywhere. Nature calls and you casually, but quickly walk to the convenience only to be confronted by this where the toilet should be.

Sweet Mother of God! I'll wake up any moment. I've got to wake up. I've GOT TO!

A Perfect Match

Tasers, shotguns and robots; what's not to love?

With video goodness

Cause & Effect

Insane Jihadi cleric: "We'd rather die than surrender."

Pakistani Army: "Happy to oblige."

Monday, 9 July 2007

Secret Squirrel, Call Your Service

Proof that the Mullahs have finally lost it:
According to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic news agency, the national Police chief has implicitly verified the news about the confiscation of a number of squirrels, equipped with eavesdropping devices, on the Iranian borders. He has declined to give any more details, but, reportedly, when asked about the confiscation of 14 spy squirrels, he stated, “I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information”. IRNA adds, “These squirrels were equipped by foreign intelligence services, but were captured two weeks ago by the Police”.
I think the Iranians should go have a little lie down somewhere.

Uh, Right

If you want to save the planet, I want you to start jumping up and down!
Madonna: Pop singer and climatologist

Blacklash and Moonbeams

A convenience store in Glasgow owned by a "man of Pakistani descent" was vandalised by persons unknown who "set a fire" and the Al AP's Tariq Panja is there on the scene to triumphantly declare that it is a confirmed sighting of the Bigfoot of journalism: The Inevitable anti-Muslim Backlash.

Ignoring the fact that the identity and motives of the vandals are completely unknown to the reader, Mr. Panja not only claims that this is part of a wave of anti-Muslim attacks and implies that the BNP is behind it, he even manages a marvelous bit of alchemy by mixing in one alleged bit of graffiti at a mosque and less than two-dozen unspecified incidents that turn a vandalised shop into "fire-bombed businesses" (note both the plural and escalation of the offence) without need to cite any specifics.

Imagine if, during the Falklands War, the AP had turned a Saturday night dust-up at the Argentine Steak House in Aberdeen into an anti-Argentinian pogrom and you get the idea.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Deer In The Headlamps

Europe is beginning to recognise that the Jihadis are a real threat, but haven't the slightest clue as to what to do about it. This is demonstrated no more obviously in the remarks of Britain's new security minister Admiral Sir Alan West, who admits that Britain is in for a fight against the Islamists that might last fifteen years, but whose only plan is less than impressive.

Is he calling the war a war? Is he advocating taking the fight to the enemy on his own ground? Going after the tyrants financing and harbouring the Jiahdis? Is he talking about securing the borders and getting control of immigration? Damning multiculturalism? Demanding that Muslims assimilate and that whether or not they're treated with suspicion is up to them and not their neighbours, who have every right to be wary until assured otherwise?

Sorry. Sir Alan's remedy is... "snitching."


There are now seven "new" wonders of the world and a bigger mishmash of tourist traps you're unlikely to find this side of the Colossus of Rhodes.

What a metaphor for our times. The "old" list of the seven wonders were chosen by one man and has endured for centuries. The new one was chosen by a popular poll of allegedly 100 million people and will be lucky if it lasts a fortnight.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Shameless Plug

If you're in the Seattle area, then you should step away from the monitor and get over to Volunteer Park where my wife and I's latest play, The Reluctant Dragon is premiering at 5 PM. Outdoor production. Fun for all the family.

If you're not in Seattle, the play is running through August and there are plenty of flights, so book now and avoid the rush.

The Incredible Shrinking Earth

First Pluto, now this. Pretty soon we won't have a solar system left.

Don't Mention... Anything, Really

Iowahawk looks at the logical outcome of the Gordon Brown approach to Jihadis:
British public safety officials today increased the national alert level to "Quite Elevated Indeed" -- the highest category possible -- and appealed to UK citizens to "keep a sharp lookout for diverse people engaged in activities."

"We ask the public to report any behaviors by various people that may or may not be of a suspicious nature," said Lt. Clive Jameson of the Metropolitan Police Service. "We further ask the public to be especially vigilant for activities of broad stratas of people who may be from countries of some sort, especially those within the eastern and/or western hemisphere."

Tip o' the hat to Charles Palmer.

On The Payroll

Up to eight people with suspected links to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, have been discovered working for British police forces.

Have they been arrested? Questioned? At least sacked? Nope (emphasis added).
Astonishingly, many of the alleged jihadists have not been sacked because - it is claimed - police do not have the "legal power" to dismiss them.
Translation: "Here, let me help you put that noose around my neck."

Friday, 6 July 2007

No Respect

The AP's Thomas Wagner puzzles over why all those doctors became involved in a terrorist plot and for all his research and pondering cannot come up with a single common denominator as to what could cause these professional men to plant car bombs in London and Glasgow. Could it be a religious motive. No, of course not. Don't be silly.

It is enough to make one show genuine sympathy for the Jihadists. I mean, here they are shouting from the rooftops that they're a load of crazed Muslim fanatics dedicated to establishing a worldwide Caliphate and have sworn war to the knife against any infidel or fellow Muslim who does not subscribe to their twisted brand of Islam and you can't even get the Western elite to give you a look in. What do you have to do to be taken seriously as a power-hungry megalomaniac around here?

Flag Waving

Proving that a stopped clock is right twice a day, Mr. Gordon Brown has seen sense and is actually allowing freeborn Englishmen to fly the flag of their country.

Mr. Brown has been advised that he shouldn't let this sort of thing go to their head, otherwise the proles and Outer Party members will start thinking that things like patriotism and liberty are their birthright rather than a sufference from the Party.

The Australian Connection

In the wake of last week's bombing attempts in London & Glasgow, Australian authorities are carrying out raids and are questioning five more doctors with (if you read the BBC) nothing in common beyond being doctors.

By a staggering coincidence, at least one is named "Mohammed", so I suspect that they are not Methodists

Sins of Omission

The BBC's Jeremy Bowen files a love letter to report on Hamas that fails to mention the organisations frequent and alarming acts of terrorism, those pesky gangland-style executions they carried out in their civil war with the equally-vile Fatah (or that civil war with Fatah), their raving anti-Semitism, their refusal to recognise standing international agreements, their Islamist fundamentalism, or ties to Iran.

However, it does includes a long, gushing quote from the BBC's senior correspondent in Gaza the "excellent Fayed Abu Shamala" on how the ever-so moderate Hamas is just trying to restore order and really shouldn't be treated harshly at all, but leaves out one tiny detail that, if known, might bring the impartiality of Mr. Shamala and the man who calls him "excellent" into question. According to Tom Gross (emphasis added):

Some of the foreign BBC staff are quite open about their sympathies for Hamas. The senior BBC Arabic Service correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Fayad Abu Shamala, told a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001, (attended by the then Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin) that journalists and media organizations in Gaza, including the BBC, are "waging the campaign [of resistance/terror against Israel] shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people (and Hamas in particular, it seems-- ed.) ."

The best the BBC could do in response to requests from Israel that they distance themselves from these remarks at the time, was to issue a statement saying, "Fayad's remarks were made in a private capacity. His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC."

Balance indeed. The BBC prides itself on covering the full spectrum of opinion: Centre left, left, far left, and now Islamofascist.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

A Former Jihadi Speaks Out

Hassan Butt, who was once a member of radical group Al-Muhajiroun, addresses the ostrich mentality of the West and moderate Muslims when it comes to radical Islam:

When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the 'Blair's bombs' line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Burning Question

You went on radio and called for Salman Rushdie to be burned alive? No Problem. Want to play the Live Earth concert in Hamburg?

You'd think that Al Gore would at least have objected to the increase in Cat Stevens's carbon footprint.

Half Baked

When you're the only contestant in a baking contest and still only manage to come away with second prize, it might be time to re-examine your goals

Death With Indignity

The Telegraph reports on a terrorist web site based in Britain where 45 Muslim doctors threatened to blow up naval bases and "clubs for naked women" in the vicinity of Jacksonville, Florida.

I guess that's what happens when you start treating the Hippocratic Oath as "guidelines."

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Happy Independence Day

It's Independence Day in the United States and to mark the occasion, I'm posting this clip of the amazingly popular fireworks at Chez Szondy.

We don't believe in half measures.

Blackburn Arrests

Two "Asian" men have been arrested in Blackburn on terrorist charges.

In other developments, the number of Jihadi doctors has now risen to seven. The eighth is a medical technician.

Soma, Anyone?

US and Canadian scientists have come up with a drug that suppresses bad memories.

Great. One dose of that and I'd be a drooling idiot.

What They Don't Know Will Hurt Them

Over in Euroland, its business as usual as Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg's premier and leader of the bloc of 13 single currency members, says that the new European Union Treaty (the rejected constitution being fobbed off again under another name) should be the subject of public debate. That is, unless you're British, in which case you should be left in the dark until it's too late.

I am astonished at those who are afraid of the people: one can always explain that what is in the interest of Europe is in the interests of our countries. Britain is different. Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?

The EU: Protecting the people from democracy for half a century.

We Have Met The Enemy And He is...

The Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown has finally stood up and addressed the threat of radical Islam by leaping boldly into action and... banning any use of the words "Muslim" and "War" in connection with the war being waged against us by radical Muslims.

Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word “Muslim” in ­connection with the ­terrorism crisis.

The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase “war on ­terror” is to be dropped.

The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more “consensual” tone than existed under Tony Blair.
Start as you intend to continue, I suppose.

Meanwhile, the BBC has finally found something to link together the perpetrators of the recent bombing attempts; they all worked for the NHS.

It's as I've always suspected. Now we must ask ourselves why does the National Health Service hate us?

Monday, 2 July 2007


Apparently some celebrities are hiring others to blog and network for them online.

I can only say that this is despicable, dishonest, underhanded and that I provide quality service with competitive rates.

Now We Are Eight

The bombing arrest toll has risen to eight.

It also brings the number of doctors under arrest to three.

Update: Make that five doctors. This is starting to slip into surrealism.

Update: Six doctors and arrests in Brisbane. Surrealism achieved.

And This Just In From Planet Livingstone

The capital is attacked by Jihadists and London Mayor "Red Ken" Lingstone steps up and confronts the real problem-- the inevitable, but always non-existent "backlash." Only this time he spices it up by comparing the Jihad to the far more pressing, but equally non-existent white terror campaign that London is not in the grip of.

PC Translation Service

BBC Newspeak: Europe mulls human launch system.

Translation: Europe mulls manned spacecraft.

Marmite-- Mr. Marmite

Could be worse. I nearly ended up getting a similar gig as a frog except I couldn't fit into the costume.