Friday, 31 August 2007

The Moose and Mao

What do Norwegian moose and Chinamen* have in common? By the logic of the Chinese Communists, who regard their subjects as more pawns than people, they are both the cause of global warming and must be eradicated at all costs.

As for Chinese moose, I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
*Yes, I know this is politically incorrect, but since I am un-PC and vehemently opposed to Newspeak in all its forms, I prefer to side with proper grammar and unambiguity.

Swedish Cartoon Wars

I haven't commented on the Swedish cartoon war that's brewing over a local paper's publication of cartoons of Mohammad to protest self-censorship by art galleries in the name of abject brown-trouser cowardice cultural sensitivity-- largely because the Muslim permanent outrage brigade was, predictably, outraged and Iran made demands that merely confirmed that they shouldn't be left in charge of a firecracker, much less nuclear weapons. In other word, same old story.

Far more important is how the civilised world reacts to such blather. Whether the Jihadists are greeted with the contempt they deserve or if we cave in to their calls for dhimmitude is the real point of contention. It's refreshing, therefore, to report that the Swedes have at last developed a spine, as shown from this statement from the Swedish Prime Minister in regard for Iran's demand that Sweden impose Sharia-style censorship on the press (translation via Little Green Footballs):
I think it is important to say two things. The first is that we have been very keen on a Sweden that will be a country where muslims and Christians, those that believe in God and those who don’t, can live side by side in mutual respect. We think that we have come very far. I have a responsibility for this to continue and to take initiative to deepen this reciprocity and respect.

At the same time we are very focused on standing up for freedom of expression which is a basic right in the law and which comes natural to us and which ensures that we do not make political decisions about what is published in newspapers. I want to keep it this way.
In diplomatese, this is a polite way of saying "naff off."

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Consensus is a Passing Fad

Looks like it's global warming day at Ephemeral Isle. But at least the debate is over and there's scientific consensus on the topic.

Or is there?

Problem, Meet Solution

Meanwhile, the global warming cult is on a roll, blaming all those farting mooses for increases in attacks by cougars, leopards and black bears, who have had enough and decided to take direct action-- though not against the moose, apparently.

No matter, because from Australia comes a humble solution to the kitty/black bear problem that simply requires a bigger pot.

Reeducation on the Green

And now on BBC Three we present a new series from the Ministry of Love (emphasis added):
Joanna, Dan and Andy descend on a household of wasters to assess just how bad they are based on what they see in the house, by 'interrogating' them and from the evidence of a waste diary that the family has compiled.

The family then spends up to five days living at 'the house of correction' - a purpose built eco-camp of large traditional Mongolian yurts (tents) - where they live without creature comforts and have Joanna and Dan teaching how them to waste as little as possible and how to live off the land.

Meanwhile, Andy oversees an eco-makeover at the family's home - designed to challenge their behaviour and inspire them to change their ways - with measures such as solar panels, wind turbines, turf roofing, livestock, compost toilets, recycling systems as well as locking up or removing cars.
Not so much a reality programme as a Greenpeace wet dream.

Climate Paradox

Okay, but how are we going to get rid of those farting mooses, then?

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Dr Spacely-Trellis, Call Your Service

Father Anthony Sutch conducts one of his more "innovative" services.

Do you prefer your environmentalism to be more cult than politics? Did you put yard clippings in the dust bin this week? Are you wracked with guilt about this mortal blow to Earth's fragile ecosystem? Then help Save the PlanetTM and run down to the Greenpeace Festival in Waveney, Suffolk, where you will find a "green" confessional made out of recycled materials presided over by a recycled priest in recycled vestments.

Dom Anthony Sutch, the Benedictine monk who resigned as head of Downside School to become a parish priest in Suffolk, will be at the county’s Waveney Greenpeace festival this weekend to hear eco-confessions in what is thought to be the first dedicated confessional booth of its kind.

Vested in a green chasuble-style garment made from recycled curtains, and in a booth constructed of recycled doors, he will hear the sins of of those who have not recycled the things they ought to have done and who have consumed the things they ought not to have done.

Quoting Father Anthony,
It is not, I hope, blasphemous to do this.
Blasphemous, perhaps. Dotty, absolutely. It's so refreshing to see a priest, and a Roman Catholic at that, being unconstrained by little details such as dogma, scripture or even personal dignity while prostituting his office in pursuit of go-ahead causes that Our Lord, being the product of unenlightened times, seems to have overlooked, such as making failure to recycle, purchasing non-macrobiotic lentils or voting Conservative a sin.

Not that this is a one off. If you feel uncomfortable about having a Christian (pardon my language) priest intervening with Blessed Mother Gaia on your behalf, there is a secular alternative.
The Waveney Greenpeace confessional concept is based on the Earthly Sins booth which has appeared at the Glastonbury festival and in the lobby of theatre performancs (sic) by the comic Rob Newman. A secular construct, Earthly Sins asks penitents to sign a pledge that they will switch to renewable energy or ethical banking.
When donations for next year's wicker man will be solicited has yet to be determined.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Warning Sign

The British government is now running a pilot scheme for slapping warning labels on cafe menus advertising foods that fail to toe the Party line are unhealthy. Hopefully, the labels will look something like this:
Rumour is that if the "voluntary" pilot scheme is a success it will be followed by special squads of black-clad nutrition enforcers being sent 'round to restaurants to scream at patrons to sit up straight and eat all their greens or there won't be any pudding.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women

We're babysitting both our neighbour's pooches this week-- One of whom is a silky terrier mix who wrestles with Carl the Cattle Dog 24/7 and the other is a golden lab who is bottomless pit of need for attention, so you can imagine what life is like at Chez Szondy at the moment. Having one dog is relaxing. Having two dogs is stimulating. Having three dogs is pandemonium. Besides this, I'm also getting my daughter ready to start Kindergarten next week and I have an important meeting with a potential client this afternoon.

In a nutshell, this means that posting may be a tad light today, so I'm filling the gap with that Roger Corman epic, Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.

The cheesy goodness just oozes out.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

The Final Solution

From the New York Times comes this helpful bit of advice on how to combat global warming that would make the most dedicated misanthrope blanch (emphasis added):
At a panel on climate change at the University of Cambridge this summer, Mr. (James E.) Lovelock was asked what would be the most effective action people could take. Because humans and their pets and livestock produce about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, he said, “just stop breathing.”
Okay, everyone; get out those sleeping pills and plastic bags. We've got to Save the PlanetTM!

Outrage Football

The US military handed out footballs festooned with flags of all nations to Afghan children as goodwill gift and received heartfelt thanks in return. No, actually the kids' elders were (all together now) outraged because one of the flags in question was the Saudi Arabian flag, which has the ward "Allah" written on it.

Did the elders take the footballs away from the kids and put them in a place of veneration and leave it at that? Was the "outrage" aimed at the Saudis for the presumption and poor foresight of putting a supposedly inviolable holy word on a flag, given that flags tend to end up on footballs and other things that get kicked, thumped, bashed, sloshed and shot depending on circumstances? Of course not. It was focused like a gun sight at those wicked Americans for distributing something that they almost certainly did not manufacture themselves and was intended to be used in a way that no one who has a sense of proportion and was not constantly looking for a new grievance would regard as unreasonable. After all, the Union Jack, to give one example, has not one but four Christian crosses on it and no one howls sacrilege when a pair of Reeboks gets scuffed.

This is one of those situations where a strong "get a life" statement is the only one appropriate. For propaganda reasons the Pentagon can't do it, so let's leave it to the more general observations of Pat Condell via Theo Spark.

The Intruder

I don't think NASA realises half the trouble they cause mucking about with space probes in other people's backyards.

Reading the Obvious

BBC headline:
Great 'cosmic nothingness' found
They must have seen this year's Booker Prize list.

A Hard Day's Night

And now your moment of high culture: Peter Sellers doing Lord Olivier doing Richard III doing A Hard Day's Night.

Introduced by a couple of blokes who did tunes.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The Lazy Road to Oceania

This should come as a surprise to no one (emphasis added):
Despite a ban on handguns introduced in 1997 after 16 children and their teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane massacre the previous year, their use in crimes has almost doubled to reach 4,671 in 2005-06. Official figures show that although Britain has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the world, firearm use in crime has risen steadily. This year eight young people have been killed in gun attacks: six in London and one each in Manchester and Liverpool.

“Illegal firearms have become increasingly accessible to younger offenders who appear more likely to use these firearms recklessly,” a report on gun crime commissioned by the Home Office cautioned last year.
One of the reasons that I am so vehemently opposed to the sort of police state measures that have crept into Britain over the years isn't just that they are oppressive, but that they don't even accomplish what they set out to do in the first place. In fact, they have exactly to opposite effect. Draconian gun bans result in more gun crimes, treating terrorism as a civil offence rather than a tactic of a military enemy results in Jihadists and IRA killers walking Scot free, the more CCTV cameras are put up the worse our town centres become, and every attempt to control illegal immigrants by implementing ID cards and similar database schemes makes the borders look like a more than usually battered about sieve.

This isn't surprising. Authoritarian measures are self-defeating because they spring from a mind-set born of pure sloth. They are not meant to actually solve a problem, but to go after the softest target available-- and that is almost invariably the respectable, the law-abiding and the peaceful (who are always the ones really to blame in the minds of the authoritarian, anyway). Their purpose is not to protect but to control. To the nascent Thoughpoliceman, having a failed gun ban resulting in a tiny criminal element preying on the majority is an acceptable price to pay if it means that the majority are now disarmed and easier to control. To such minds, the problem is not gunmen or Jihadists or hoodies; it's liberty.

Don't believe me? Consider the counter example from Mark Steyn:
I live in northern New England, which has a very low crime rate, in part because it has a high rate of gun ownership. We do have the occasional murder, however. A few years back, a couple of alienated loser teens from a small Vermont town decided they were going to kill somebody, steal his ATM cards, and go to Australia. So they went to a remote house in the woods a couple of towns away, knocked on the door, and said their car had broken down. The guy thought their story smelled funny so he picked up his Glock and told 'em to get lost. So they concocted a better story, and pretended to be students doing an environmental survey. Unfortunately, the next old coot in the woods was sick of environmentalists and chased 'em away. Eventually they figured they could spend months knocking on doors in rural Vermont and New Hampshire and seeing nothing for their pains but cranky guys in plaid leveling both barrels through the screen door. So even these idiots worked it out: Where's the nearest place around here where you're most likely to encounter gullible defenseless types who have foresworn all means of resistance? Answer: Dartmouth College. So they drove over the Connecticut River, rang the doorbell, and brutally murdered a couple of well-meaning liberal professors. Two depraved misfits of crushing stupidity (to judge from their diaries) had nevertheless identified precisely the easiest murder victims in the twin-state area. To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world.
If you went to the Home Secretary and suggested that perhaps the proper way to handle the violent crime problem would be to come back to reality, lift the various bans and allow ordinary subjects of the Crown to keep a loaded shotgun over the mantelpiece again, what do you think his answer would be?

I rest my case.

Cartoon Dhimmitude

America's media outlets have demonstrated that they have spines of pure linguine by censoring Berke Breathed's Opus strip for this week because it might might spark a homicidal Jihadist attack it's "insensitive." Not that it's any big deal. I mean, it's not like it's a hard news story about the FBI looking for two men caught casing Seattle ferries, right?

The outcome of the Danish Cartoon Wars is now clear.

We lost.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Scooby Doo, Call Your Service

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque says that Fidel Castro is in "permanent" contact with leaders of the Communist party and the government.

Translation: Run for your lives, the Havana Capitol Building is haunted.

Update: Maximum Leader's condition may be "stable", but the rumours about his death are alive and kicking.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Lufthana's new Airbus 380 sleeper plane service. The good news is that you can now lie down to sleep on long-haul flights. The bad news is that you've swapped "cattle car" for "cord wood."

Headline: "'Thought police' to target drinkers"

British police now have the power to ban people from the town centre for two days and take their fingerprints and DNA samples.

A stern measure against those who go on drunken rampages? No, a stern measure against those who are stone-cold sober, but look like they might get drunk.

Tea & Infinite Regression

Suck UK is marketing a colour-matching tea mug so your cuppa will have just the right amount of milk in it.

Great, first thing in the morning and I have to look at swatches before I can have my tea. Or at least, I'll need a cup of tea before I can have my tea.

I sense a disturbance in the Force.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Yes, I Want a Doggie Bag, Dammit!

And while we're on the subject of the mind-bogglingly pointless and expensive, here are eleven more things you don't need and can't afford anyway-- like a $1000 pizza.

Diamond Bikini

Made out of flawless diamonds and costing $30 million, we present the world's most expensive bikini. This example of the collision of the sexual objectification of the female body and the excesses of our the capitalist consumer culture demonstrates that....

Oy! Pay attention and stop getting drool all over the keyboard. It's unhealthy.

Bullwinkle Must Die!

The Norwegians have discovered the true cause of global warming: Moose farts.

Get out the rifle, Olaf. We've got to Save the PlanetTM.

The Changes

Post-apocalyptic children's fantasy from 1975

The curious thing is, that in '75 they had to invoke a mysterious "noise" to cause people to fly into an insane rage and smash up all the technology. Today we call that "Windows."

Part One.

Part Two

Part Three

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Well, That Makes... WHAT?!?

From Newsweek:
In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."
And I thought needing a building permit for a garden shed was going too far.

When Oysters Go Bad

From the Guardian:
Up to a million people on income support will be eligible for half fares on London's buses under Ken Livingstone's oil deal with Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's president.

Single parents, carers, the long-term sick and disabled people will benefit from the plan, first mooted during Mr Chávez's visit to the UK last year, paying 50p for a single journey if they use an Oystercard.

It doesn't surprise me at all that Red Ken has done a deal with the likes of Chavez. but I sincerely hope that freeborn Englishmen will prefer to walk from Whitechapel to Richmond rather than accept largess from a tin-pot Latin American dictator.

Pointing Out the Bleeding Obvious

In a massive waste of funding, scientists have discovered that girls prefer pink.

For the price of a packet of Skittles they could have spent an hour with my five-year old daughter and figured that out in no time.

Monday, 20 August 2007

War is Peace

Bruce Bawer over at City Journal has an uncompromising look at the so-called Peace Movement and sums up its more unbalanced fringe once stripped of its Marxist double talk:
In other words, if you want to ensure peace, worry less about freedom. Appease tyranny, accept it, embrace it—and there’ll be no more war.
This reminds me of something I read in one of Robert Conquest's books where he points out that this attitude is rank nonsense even on its own terms. Using the Communists as his example, Conquest notes that once a tyranny becomes secure in itself the result is not a perpetual albeit repressive peace, but that the tyrants instantly split into competing factions ala the Bolsheviks and the Menesheviks, Hitler and Stalin, or the Soviets and the Maoists and war against one another forever.

Want to find the road to Oceania? Start at your local Peace Institute.

Mission Stardust

And now a bit of cheese to brighten your Monday. This 1967 space epic based on Germany's insanely prolific Perry Rhodan pulp series has been compared favourably to 2001... shots to the groin.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Winston Smith, Report for Duty

The Guardian also has this little gem of BBC logic on display (emphasis added):

A source close to next month's new series of Casualty, the long-running BBC1 hospital drama, said that it was to start with a two-part special in which a young Muslim runs into a bus station and blows himself up. Another Muslim is wearing a suicide vest but fails to detonate it; instead he is injured and the vest has to be carefully removed. The source said that senior figures in the drama department supported the idea but were blocked by editorial guideline staff, who oversee the corporation's editorial and ethical standards. The drama staff were overruled because of concerns that the story would perpetuate stereotypes of young Muslims in Britain.

In the substitute story, a double episode to be shown over a weekend, a bomb explodes on a bus after being planted by animal rights militants, leaving the Holby City Hospital's Emergency Department to deal with the bloody aftermath.

So let's get this straight. Doing a story about a Muslim suicide bombing in Britain, which actually has happened, is axed because it "perpetuates stereotypes", but one about an animal rights "militant" planting a bomb on a bus is okay even though that is the one sort of nastiness out of a very long list that animal rights terrorists militants have yet to stoop to.

Good to see the Memory hole is getting a good workout.

Jesus, ITV & Dhimmitiude

From the Guardian:
There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him.

With the Koran as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and historians, the Muslim Jesus explores how Islam honours Christ as a prophet but not as the son of God. According to the Koran the crucifixion was a divine illusion. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus was rescued by angels and raised to heaven.

If this was 1975, I wouldn't have any quarrel with Lord Bragg et al for putting this film out. I would merely file it away as a study in comparative religion of no more or less importance than a discussion of the Arian heresy and leave it at that. However, when it comes at a time when we are in a war for our lives with a load of suicidal Jihadists who use the Koran for their marching orders and when Her Majesty's government allows a most prominent and vocal Islamofascist to walk free and active on British soil, this comes perilously close to carrying the enemy's water for him.

A rule of thumb for the media: If the Allied press wouldn't do something that would aid the Axis cause in 1943, don't do it for the Jihadists today.

Sex Kittens Go to College

Elektro, once the world's most famous robot, reduced to this at the nadir of his career.

Ah, well. Lord Olivier went through the same thing.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Family Time

Off to my wife's family reunion today in the wilds beyond the Cascades.

Back tomorrow.

Friday, 17 August 2007

History Corner

And now, courtesy of Modern Mechanix, we present the King Tut's tomb of cutlery: The Ur spork of 1935.

The excitement is palpable.

Dictatorship Plain & Simple

I am shocked, shocked that Hugo Chavez has made himself president for life.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Optional Extras

The US President's limousine may be built like a tank, but it's the SUV behind him that you have to look out for.

Without a Leg to Stand On

I've had auditions like this.

Some producers are so bloody picky.

For Allah's Sake!

And now from the Raving Mad Department comes a Dutch Roman Catholic Bishop who, with a perfectly straight face, has said that people of all faiths should refer to God as "Allah" to "foster understanding."

I don't know what is more breathtaking; the sheer theological imbecility coming from a man of the cloth that cannot recognise that God and Allah are fundamentally different ideas or the blinkered multiculturalism that is indistinguishable from craven cowardice. I never thought I'd see the day when the land of Calvin and Erasmus was in danger of falling under the sway of sharia law or that a Bishop of Rome would help fit the shackles.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Calling a Terrorist a Terrorist

The United States is about to officially declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organisation. This announcement came on the same day Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at Iran's embassy in Afghanistan (emphasis added),
There is no truth on earth but monotheism and following tenets of Islam and there is no way for salvation of mankind but rule of Islam over mankind.
"Overreaction" by the US bows to "about time" on this one.

Madrid of the North

In the wake of the Glasgow airport attack the NHS has leaped boldly and decisively into action... And banned doctors and health workers from eating at their desks during Ramadan because it might offend Muslims.

The rationale behind this comes from Meem, a Glasgow based Muslim consultancy group, whose senior consultant Na’eem Raza said,
In the current climate, people need to understand where communities are coming from and what people are feeling.

After the Glasgow attack this is very important. This is about educating people and making them more aware and more confident when dealing with issues surrounding the Muslim community.

People have stopped talking over the garden fence and we need to break down the barriers so that people can talk comfortably to each other.

It would never stir up resentment. Faith is an important issue. Why not have guidance on all of the issues that affect us, including different faiths?
Short version: Surrender, infidels.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

We're All... Oh, Never Mind


Dr. "Nick" Bostrom of Oxford University has come to the conclusion that "it is almost a mathematical certainty" that we are merely the constructs of some elaborate computer simulation-- or even a simulation inside a simulation inside a simulation and on and on like a set of Russian cyberdolls.

Perhaps, but like the materialist's idea that all reason and consciousness is merely the result of pointless chemical reactions, I can't help but wonder why, if he believes this to be true, Dr. Bostrom bothers to tell anyone.

Crocodiles of Life

An Australian rancher spent a week trapped up a tree as hungry crocodiles circled beneath.

Sounds like a perfect metaphor for my financial situation.

Monday, 13 August 2007

La Grenouille Sautante

Bon chance, mon Colonel!

A retired French colonel plans to be the first man to break the sound barrier in free fall by jumping from a helium balloon 25 miles up in the stratosphere.

A commendable ambition, but we suggest that le colonel should take along one of those parachute things just in case.

Nature News

Slashdot headline:
Baiji River Dolphin May or May Not Be Extinct
Let's not go out on a limb here, guys.

Is That a Meteorite In Your Pocket Or...

Interfax reports that thieves have stolen a three-ton meteorite from the yard of the Tunguska Space Event foundation.

In response, foundation administrators have initiated mandatory pat-down searches of all visitors.

Sinster Whinging

It's Left-Hander's Day and to celebrate we have this from Lauren Milsom of the Left-Handed Club:
People are finding a voice about it more. Until 20 years ago, people would be quite quiet about being left-handed. It wasn't something you shouted about. We wouldn't be militant about it, but now people are saying 'hold on, this doesn't work for me and I'm not happy about it'.
That sound you hear is Mrs Milsom's rattle being banged on her high-chair tray.

Uranium? What Uranium?

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors
discuss the Libyan uranium problem.

Less than a month after French President Sarkosy said that Colonel Gaddafi could be trusted with nuclear reactors, we discover that Libya has still to surrender 200 barrels of uranium as per its 2003 agreement to abandon its nuclear weapons programme in return for the West lifting sanctions.

Of absolutely no surprise to anyone, the handover of uranium was the responsibility of the IAEA, who never met an illicit nuclear weapons programme in the hands of a would-be Bond villain that it couldn't completely fail to do anything about.

Sic Sempter Theatre

The Reluctant Dragon has finished its run and it's been a good one. We've had some very good reviews from both the mainstream and weekly papers-- and even from The Stranger, who usually don't like any show unless it's sexually perverse and has an obscene title. In fact, we were selected as the pick of the week.

The public seemed to have liked it as well with over fifty people showing up in the park for one performance that took place in the pouring rain.

My wife and I would love to take the credit, though Kenneth Grahame is the one who wrote the original book and none of this would have happened without the director J. D. Lloyd who did sterling work with a tiny budget and a cast far smaller than what the script called for. And the cast has to be commended as well. Acting out of doors is never easy and everyone stepped up to the task-- especially Scott Morse as the Boy, Aaron Allshouse as St. George and last, but most emphatically not least, Josh Hartvigson as the Dragon. If anyone was born to play a fey lizard the size of four carthorses, it's Josh.

Thanks, everyone. And now, it's on to the next script.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Reality Check

The Jihadists are just a load of cranks egged on by desperation and the evils of Western foreign policy and they have no real ambitions of their own.

Right. And I'm the Queen of the May.

Update: When I came across this video I thought it was a slightly hysterical anti-Jihadist compilation video of the sort I take with a large grain of salt.

Then I discovered that it's an advert for the Khilafah Conference International 2007 in Indonesia.

These people are not joking. It's like switching on one of the first televisions and discovering a live feed from the Nuremberg rally.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

The Lost World

For your Saturday entertainment we present the 1925 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles' "The Lost World." Not only is it a pioneering example of stop motion animation, but it was the feature of the first ever in-flight movie on an Imperial Airways flight between London and Paris on 6 April 1925.

When and where the first kid kicking the back of the seat occurred is not recorded.

Friday, 10 August 2007

The Mask Slips

Neil Clark, in a piece in the Guardian titled "Keep these Quislings out" weighs in on the question of whether or not Iraqi interpreters who have been working for the Coalition should be granted Asylum because the Jihadists have marked them for death. Where he stands isn't too much of a mystery, given that in the title itself he compares the interpreters to pro-Nazi traitors and, by implication, calling the Coalition forces Nazis. However, his attitude summed up in this quote is particularly striking (emphasis added):
The interpreters did not work for "us", the British people, but for themselves - they are paid around £16 a day, an excellent wage in Iraq - and for an illegal occupying force. Let's not cast them as heroes. The true heroes in Iraq are those who have resisted the invasion of their country.

As Seumas Milne wrote in yesterday's Guardian: "More than any other single factor, it has been the war of attrition waged by Iraq's armed resistance that has successfully challenged the world's most powerful army and driven the demand for withdrawal to the top of the political agenda in Washington."
"Resisted" in this case being stretched to include blowing up markets, beheading journalists, kidnapping aid workers, baking children and feeding them to their families, wiping out whole villages, and trying to recreate the Taliban all over again. The quote in the second paragraph is also revealing in that it shows the nostalgia that the Left has injected into the war. Mr. Clark may hark back to French Resistance, but it's clear that his real models are rose-tinted and sanitsed versions Che Guevara other Communist "resistance" leaders who the Chattering Classes lauded as the true representatives of The People to be supported against the evil, Capitalist West, but whose fruit was invariably the gulag and the guillotine.

As the old saw goes, they're not anti-war, they're just on the other side.


And finally, something that is actually practical: A street-lighting system that alters its output based on the strength of that night's moonshine.

Hopefully it's interactive or cloudy nights could be a bit dire.

Odd Vibes

And now for the woman who has everything-- or is lacking something-- we present the Bluetooth-enabled vibrator.

No doubt the one on the left is the "Sodom" model and the other is the "Gomorrah."

Switzerland, Beware

Hamas has set down the following requirements for recruits for its new navy:
The requirements to join are that you have to be a good soldier, be fit, and know how to swim.
The last is particularly important, as the Hamas "navy" hasn't so much as a secondhand pedalo to its name.

Blowing It

A Japanese company has developed a teleconferencing system that allows you to blow out the candles on a birthday cake from thousands of miles away.

Now that's out of the way they can get started on that cancer cure.

Old Joke, New Twist

My dog has two noses.

How does he smell?


All Things to All Temperatures

It's swings and roundabouts for the global warming set as NASA quietly amends its findings on high temperatures of the last century.
NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II. Anthony Watts has put the new data in chart form, along with a more detailed summary of the events.
But the followers of Gaia's prophet Al of Gore can take heart in a study that offers as proof of global warming a model that predicts that nothing will happen until 2014.

What a marvelous thing is global warming. If you have a heat wave, it's proof; if you have a cold snap, it's proof; and if the temperature remains normal, it's proof. It's the Illuminati of climate change. Nothing happens that it can't explain.

Unfortunately, a theory that explains everything explains nothing.

Global warming may be a serious problem for future generations or it may be a bit of overhyped environmentalist propaganda. As a retired archaeologist who spent twenty years dealing with climate change problems on a daily basis I tend toward the latter view and it's my professional opinion that if such warming is occurring it's certainly a natural phenomenon and so gradual that any changes (in any direction) will only be obvious after a century of hindsight. Properly, this is a matter for scientists to study with all diligence and extreme scepticism and for elected officials, not bureaucrats, to address after having the basics of cost/benefits analysis pounded into their time-serving skulls. However, as far as the MSM and the Green movement is concerned, it's the perfect catastrophe because no matter which way the thermometer jumps it's evidence that the End Days Are At Hand and that sinful humanity must Change Their Ways-- preferably according to the diktats of Ingsoc.

Except for the New Aristocracy, of course, who can flit about in their Lear jets and limousines to their heart's content while the peasants make do with rickshaws.

Only fair, you know.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Robot Jox

They say it's a sport, but most people go just to see a robot crash.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

But Will It Replace The Horse-Drawn Zeppelin ?

Looking for a gift for the man on the go? Then look no further than a jet-propelled kharzi.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Vomit Torch

Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc, under a contract for the United States Department of Homeland Security, has developed a torch that causes anyone who looks at it to suffer "disorientation, nausea and even vomiting".

The technical details of how the device works are classified, but our sources claim that highly compressed video clips from The Girls Next Door may be involved.


What modern Britain has come to: You can live in a van and scrounge through dustbins for your supper, but if you come up with a daft name for your squalid activities it is immediately raised to the unassailable status of a "lifestyle."

A Pity I'm Allergic to Cats

You scored as Ernst Stavro Blofeld,

Ernst Stavro Blofeld




Fransisco Scaramanga


Emilio Largo


Max Zorin


Auric Goldfinger


Dr. Julius No


Elliot Carver


Alec Trevelyan


Victor Zokas aka Renard


Which James Bond Villain Are You?
created with
It's as I've always suspected

Monday, 6 August 2007

Bat Update

Thanks to those who commented on my earlier post regarding the bats at Chez Szondy. Regarding the possible dangers of handling wild bats (which I did only with thick, leather gloves on at all times), I did take the time to call the Bat Hotline for advice, but all I got was some annoyed bloke who growled "I'm a masked crusader against evil; how the *&$# should I know?" and hung up.

Call that customer service, 'cause I don't.

Cradle To Grave

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C. S. Lewis

First is was the smokers, then it was junk food, then it was fat, and now it's baby milk coming under the baleful CCTV eye of the Thoughtpolice.

"It's for your own good" must be the most chilling sentence ever uttered.

Yes, We Hate You All

Having discovered that the notorious "carbon footprint" can justify the most draconian measures, the environmentalist movement has finally gone clear off the deep end with this gem from The Times:

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

Translation: "Our vision for man's future on Earth? Go home, turn off the heat, sit in the dark, and starve."

Sherlock Holmes Baffled

And now for you cinephiles & Holmesians, we present the first Sherlock Holmes film ever produced: Thomas Edison's Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900).

Eat your heart out, Jeremy Brett!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Swabbed Away

Dropping the cannon ball of tyranny into the dinghy of liberty, police in Britain want to take and permanently store in a database DNA samples taken from people arrested for offences down to and including speeding and littering.

That's arrested, not charged or convicted.

Now where have we seen this sort of mindset before?

Saturday, 4 August 2007

A Brace of Bats

Chez Szondy is home to a colony of over a dozen bats who live in the chimney columns, the house eaves, and far enough inside the garage vent to leave bat poo all over the work bench. It's rather fun having them about-- a bit like having a load of nocturnal barn swallows hanging about. Assuming that barn swallows let off high-pitch squeaks, which I doubt.

But odd thing about bats; they're a bit are like buses. You wait forever and then two show up at once. I learned this the other afternoon when I was playing with my daughter and I noticed an odd furry thing hanging off a large CD album. A furry thing with leathery wings.

Marvelous. Another bat down the flue. And in the middle of the day, too. The last thing I wanted was for the little bleeder to take wing and scare the living daylights out of Emma, so I very carefully picked up the album and slowly walked out the front door. Once on the front path, I gave the album a gentle shake and...

Nothing happened. I shook it more and still nothing. This was new. I not only had a bat hanging off a rather large selection of popular music, but friend bat turned out to be a sound sleeper. More to the point, what does one do with a sound-sleeping bat that has attached itself to a rather large selection of popular music and refuses to leave go? It's not the sort of thing of thing one finds on the average nature programme.

I blame Sir David Attenborough.

After standing out in the front garden long enough to convince the neighbours that I'm completely mad, I remembered my leather gloves over on the potting bench. With these I was able to carefully remove the bat from the album; upsetting him enough that I now had a half-awake bat spreading its wings, baring its tiny teeth and making tiny hissing noises at me. The one thing it wasn't doing was leaving go. In the end, I somehow managed to coax it into a straw hat hanging from a peg by the back door. That's quick enough to write, but doing it took so long that my daughter had time to christen the newest member of our family "Boo the Bat."

I figured that was the end of the episode until my wife came home and said that she could hear a chirping sound. At first we thought it was from the computer or the new satellite dish, but we finally narrowed it down to the living room curtains where another bat (named Sheena by my daughter) was kipping.

If Boo was hard to get rid of, Sheena was bloody impossible. If you can imagine a bat crossed with sticky tape you'd have a pretty good idea of what it was like. Worse, Carl the Cattle Dog had finally figured out that whatever I was playing with was alive and he wanted to get in the act, too, so I had to find somewhere to put Sheena that was out of his reach. All the while it kept getting darker and the the other bats in the colony took into their heads to help out their comrade by dive bombing me.

Ever hear about how bats have sonar and won't hit you because of their incredible ability to sense exactly where you are in the dark? That doesn't keep the little perishers from thumping into you deliberately. That's what these were doing to me, though it was a bit like being pelted with cotton balls, so what they hoped to accomplish is beyond me. By this point, however, Boo had woken up and took off, so after placing Sheena on a window screen, watching her drop into the cucumbers, rescuing her from a curious Carl, and having her velcro herself on to my glove again, I put her on the hat that Boo had vacated. She then proceeded to hang from the rim and despite the deepening night she apparently felt entitled to a but of a lie in. That's gratitude for you.

Not that I should be surprised. Bruce Wayne has a bat invade his home and he ends up as a masked crusader against evil. Me? I have two of the flying rodents deciding to nap in my living room and I find myself killing an evening dodging their relatives while hopping about in my jammies saying "Shoo! Fly, bat! Fly away! Fly! Shoo!" to no effect whatsoever.

Bloody typical.

Friday, 3 August 2007


William Shatner isn't the only one with an embarrassing foray into pop music. We present the video that Leonard Nimoy wishes he had every horrible copy of.

As they say on MST3K: Deep hurting.

Technological Travails

Szondy's Law of Upgrades: Never believe the contractor's estimates.

You may have noticed that entries have been a tad light this week. It's my own fault, really. After a year on 56k dial-up we decided to take the plunge and install a satellite Internet link at Chez Szondy. Unfortunately, I was silly enough to believe the contractor when he said he'd show up at 10AM Monday morning.

In Real World time this translates into 12:30 PM Wednesday following repeated phone calls and a few blistering words down the phone by yours truly. When the installer finally appeared he seemed to know his business despite sporting enough tattoos and facial ironmongery to make a Hell's Angel comment that he might be overdoing things. My initial assessment of his competence was tempered, however, by discovering that he'd forgotten to bring a vital bit of equipment and had to leave again to hunt down a colleague who was working on another job somewhere in the mountains. "Somewhere" in this region, I point out, can be anywhere in a forty mile radius. Cue more of yours truly standing about watching the sands of time dropping away into the maw of eternity.

I'd been given to believe that the installation was a matter of a couple of hours work. This did not square with the small mountain of boxes the installer hauled out of his van. We already have satellite television at Chez Sondy, so I was expecting something a little larger than the telly's sat antenna, but I wasn't prepared for what looked like a secondhand death ray bought at a SPECTRE jumble sale that was assembled in my driveway.

After bolting to the wall all the tube steel needed to support the antenna assembly, running an earthing wire into the ground, drilling holes in the wall, and turning my office upside down (one lamp broken) in the process, it was nearly five PM by the time the modem was hooked up and the software downloading from the satellite. The latter took over an hour with another half hour to go through the byzantine registration process.

His job done, the installer left; pointing out that my wireless router was useless with the satellite modem and I'd have to buy a new one.


Still, I had a high-speed connection at last and I spent the evening testing to see if it lived up to its specifications and reacquainting myself with Youtube clips and RSS feeds that I'd nearly forgotten about. Except for a the odd glitch that I put down to the stray bat being disintegrated by the death ray, I actually had an enjoyable evening.

I went to bed after midnight feeling as if I'd rejoined the 21st century.

Then I checked my e-mail on Thursday morning and felt as if I'd been kicked back to the 19th. My connection speed was reduced to the equivalent of 14k and web pages were loading at a pace I hadn't seen since 1997.

After a morning fiddling with everything I was confident to fiddle with, I called technical support and repeated to him a load of techno-arcania only to be told that I'd exceeded my bandwidth threshold, that the brochures had neglected to mention, and for the next 24 hours I'd be operating a system immersed in cyber-treacle.

Great. I had a high-speed connection that for the rest of the day would be running at a speed more suitable to 1980s bulletin boards.

But the gods weren't through with me yet. By coincidence, my wife's new computer arrived to replace her aging laptop that has been on the edge of electronic death for the past year or so. Delighted, she opened the box and unloaded components. Out came the computer, wireless keyboard and mouse, WiFi link and, unlike prevous computers we'd had, only one wire; the power flex.

However, the monitor was coming under separate cover and, being impatient to get started, my wife decided to hook up the ancient CRT monitor we had stored in the garage.

The monitor was easy enough to find, but somehow the power flex had developed a life of its own and crawled off to seek its fortune. Since it was a bright, sunny day with the temperature in the low 80s, this was a perfect time to hunt around in the unventilated crawl spaces hunting for the spare flex, which had also made off for parts unknown.

I did, however, find an old Walkman that I exacted my revenge upon.

Gorbachev Bagged.

Former leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev has landed a deal to endorse French luggage bags. What makes this footnote interesting is this anodyne assessment of Mr. Gorbachev's career by the BBC:
Mr Gorbachev's far-reaching reforms of the Soviet system accelerated the collapse of communism in the 1980s.
Far reaching reforms indeed. It's pity that the Beeb feels it unnecessary to point out that the collapse of Communism and the disintegration of the USSR are exactly the opposite of what Mr. Gorbachev intended when he launched Glasnost.

A tiny detail, but a telling one.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Food Pills: 1980

Just Imagine: The 1930 science fiction musical comedy looks at the cuisine of 1980 with the jokes of 1880.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Smoke Screen

The BBC, with all the impartiality of Carry Nation at a Real Ale festival, has been at the forefront of supporting the smoking ban as an unmitigated good and demanding that smokers be treated as pariahs to be cast into the outer darkness-- unless the smokers are in a hookah cafe, in which case they are to be treated with sympathy and deference.

In the eyes of the BBC, some smokers are more equal than others.