Happy National Gorilla Suit Day from Ephemeral Isle!
Saturday, 31 January 2009
Friday, 30 January 2009
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Monday, 26 January 2009
Is the designer:
a) Under the delusion that CO2 is a pollutant and therefore removing it doesn't make the air any "cleaner".
b) Unaware that the CO2 has to go somewhere and that his watch violates several physical laws.
c) Unwilling to do the maths and therefore doesn't realise that even if the thing works as advertised it wouldn't make a tinker's damn worth of difference.
d) A con artist or a complete twit.
CO2 is the universal solvent of green politics; invoke it, and ancient liberties dissolve.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Friday, 23 January 2009
Thursday, 22 January 2009
So if you're a person at risk of violent death who is completely unashamed of your body, then this is the tub for you.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
I tend to avoid presidential inaugurations for more interesting things, like my dentist lecturing me on gum disease, but the "historic" Obama swearing in has been blaring out so many media outlets that you literally could not turn on a television or radio, go to a cinema, walk into a Starbucks, or even pick up a cell phone without the circus jumping out at you, so it was a little hard to avoid. My reaction to it was pretty much what I suspected. It was the usual American version of pomp that the Queen's opening of Parliament manages to trump without even trying, the Big Speech by Obama was his usual boilerplate that the news media instantly declare should be chisled in marble, but no one will remember a word of by the end of the week, the poem was the usual poetry-free zone, and the closing benediction could have won the Great Sermon Handicap. I came away from it all thinking that if this shindig cost $150 million, then someone has trousered a nice little nest egg.
Far more interesting, as in disturbing, was the comments on the proceedings by politicians and media types about the "historic" nature of the Obama presidency. If you aren't already aware, this historiocity is because Mr. Obama is America's first black president.
As I've said before, since I'm not American and I've met my fair share of black statesmen up to and including the rank of president, I couldn't really see the fuss, but apparently this is seen as a symbol of America putting its racist past behind itself and so on and so on. Fine. Fair enough. And if Joe Lieberman had won the election it would no doubt have been equally historic because it meant America had renounced all calls to anti-semitism, but I'm sure more than a few people would have demanded a very large reality check if Mr. Lieberman's Jewishness was harped on every five minutes and the question would be asked whether things were getting a bit out of hand. After all, the whole point of this election was to elect the leader of the free world and the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger, not to select a symbol of black aspiration and liberal white guilt assuagement.
As for this being the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream, it's ironic that the end product of his vision of men being judged by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin is an election where a large percentage of the voters apparently chose the winning candidate precisely because of his skin. At least, that is the impression of the obsession over an issue that in this day and age should be as trivial as Obama being the first American president to have three nipples.
Regardless, Mr. Obama is now the President of the United States and for all the pressures he will be under when he crawls out from under the ticker tape, at least he won't have to deal with the psychotic hatred that the Left developed for his predecessor. For my part, I am drawing the line at holding him personally responsible for BBC America preempting Top Gear the night before the inauguration. Of course, he shouldn't expect the opposite either and wake up on his first day of office to see the whole nation as one wearing Obama badges, greeting him with a smart salute and a cheery "We're all behind you, Mr. President." The only time I saw that was for FDR and that was in a WPA cartoon where an animated Roosevelt did a happy little song and dance.
Whenever I voice any suspicion of Mr. Obama's fitness for office, I'm invariably told that it's unreasonable and that I should give the man a chance first. "Give him time to show us who he is, what he stands for, and what he's capable of. At the very least, he is your president, too." No, sorry, he isn't. British subject, remember? I don't need to be as deferential as his fellow countrymen should be. I may respect him as head of state because he is the embodiment of the nation and I can no more insult him in that capacity that I can Her Majesty, but as head of government I can call him a fat head if I believe his cranium is a bit heavy in the adipose tissue department and will if the time comes.
Besides, I've been down this "give the guy a chance" path before back in '97 and the guy in question was Tony Blair (who Mr. Obama bears a frightening resemblance to). I went through ten years of everyone giving that mountebank chances and all we've got to show for it is a bankrupt country, a nascent police state, a huge swatch of our ancient institutions destroyed or corrupted, gutted armed forces, out of control illegal immigration, street crime at insane levels, abject surrender to the EU, and Gordon Brown as the albatross he left as his parting shot. If Mr. Blair is any example of what's ahead, maybe, just maybe, it would have been better to find out about Mr. Obama before electing him rather than treating him like a prize in a bran tub. He could be a centrist, a Communist, or a narcissist. He could be awesomely capable or an utter incompetent (which is preferable depends on what he's trying to accomplish, If he's a socialist, I pray he's hopeless at it). We just don't know. Now that we're stuck with him, it seems to me that the only sane attitude to take is an open mind combined with one eye fixed and knees flexed for a punch.
My own suspicion is that he's Tony Blair with the messianic complex replaced by a narcissism so shallow that it makes Bill Clinton look like Woodrow Wilson and that he will try to keep the crest of his popularity riding high by voting "present" for as long as is humanly possible until political debts or unavoidable circumstances force him to act rather than give a stirring speech and then God knows what will happen. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe he'll prove a masterful centrist leader who will bring peace and prosperity and make the lion lie down with the lamb. If so, I'll be the first to applaud, which is infinitely preferable to the cold satisfaction of standing on the fantail of the Titanic telling everyone that I was right about the iceberg. I might also win the lottery even though I never buy a ticket, so I'm not very hopeful. Still, the next couple of years will be interesting times.
And remember what the Chinese said about those.
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Monday, 19 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
If you've never run across an Aga, then you've missed out on one of the classics of industrial design. Originally created by a Swedish inventor as an aid to the blind, it's a cooker withoput any controls. Instead, the burners and two ovens are always hot with the burners covered by huge insulating lids and the sides of the cooker equally padded so that only a trickle of heat is needed to keep it going. To bake something, just pop it in the oven. To fry something, just lift the lid and plop the pan down. Breathlessly simple.
It's a shame if the Aga passes into history. My aunt and uncle had one and my fondest boyhood memories are of how it kept the farmhouse's kitchen cozy even in the worst winters and was always the perfect place for drying boots. Let's just hope that they stay in business long enough to fulfill my ambition of installing one at Chez Szondy.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Mr Blair is also back in the running as a potential president of Europe, where the economic and military upheavals of recent months have underlined the need for a politician of his stature to lead the union.
The post of a permanent president of the EU’s Council of Ministers was enshrined in the Lisbon treaty, which Irish voters rejected last June. If the Irish change their minds in a new vote next autumn and the Czech Republic also endorses the treaty, the new role could be created next year.
Number Two: Do you still think you can escape, Number Six?
Number Six: Oh, I'll do even better than that.
Number Two: Oh?
Number Six: Going to escape and come back.
Number Two: Come back?
Number Six: Escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it, and you with it.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Monday, 12 January 2009
Nice of the NYT to keep it to themselves and avoid putting the lives of millions of people in danger.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Friday, 9 January 2009
Thursday, 8 January 2009
I feel bitter about this because when the news first reached me, I misheard and thought they said Sanjaya from American Idol had been tapped only to have hope dashed like a Ming vase in a snow blower.
Fate, why do you toy with us?
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Besides, an emergency genny costs about 60 times less than what a Prius goes for and you look less of a burke for owning one.
I'm sure that the simulated Mars colony in Hanksville, Utah has its heart in the right place and it does look kind of cool from the outside.
Inside, however, it is less than impressive; looking more like the sort of site huts that I kicked around in during my archaeology days. Somehow, I doubt that plywood will be a major construction material on Mars, nor do I think that hammers and nails will be in great demand.
But my favourite is the fact that the "astronauts" don "spacesuits" before doing an "EVA", or as we call it on earth, putting on silly overalls before going outside. No doubt it's all jolly fun, but wake me when they relocate the camp to the top of Mount Everest or the bottom of Lake Superior and then I'll be more impressed.
Monday, 5 January 2009
Sunday, 4 January 2009
He's not black, a woman, Graham Norton, or (God spare us!) an American, so we should be grateful for small mercies for dodging the character-lethal bullet of stunt casting that would have been on a par with giving Rosie O'Donnell the title role in a remake of Shaft, but you'd have thought they'd have at least cast an actor who shaves more often than once a week.
Update: Get a haircut!