Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D.Salinger has died aged 91. I was fond, am still fond, of "The Catcher in the Rye". I'm sure that many people my age feel the same. But nothing he wrote subsequently was of any importance to me. I always had a soft spot for Holden Caulfield; but Seymour Glass, what a strange fellow.

Addenda, 29th January.

"Salinger gave an interview to a schoolgirl from the local paper, in which he explained that Holden's boyhood was based on his own."

" ... his daughter lifted the lid on her childhood with a father who, she claimed, drank his own urine, kept his wife a prisoner and spoke in tongues."

So the young J.D., Holden Caulfield; the older J.D., more Seymour Glass (or perhaps weirder).
Crozier, the champion of slash and burn management, is to take over as chief executive of ITV, having vandalised our postal service to his personal satisfaction. Golden handshake, golden hello. So it's job losses for ITV staff, even cheaper and nastier programming, and a massive pay rise for the chief executive - the chicken's entrails inform me. Then it's look around for a new victim, golden handshake, and stroll away from the débris.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

(Cloned from Mick Hall's blog)

A new website -

Most of us Britons believed the war on Iraq to be immoral, many knew it to be illegal. Now the people who advise the government on international law are telling the gullible minority that the majority was right all along and that Blair is a war criminal. It turns out that there were 27 legal advisers at the Foreign Office and every one of them believed that the war was illegal. The chief legal adviser told Foreign Secretary Straw so. Straw - the coward who sprung the mass murderer Pinochet - informed his adviser that he always ignored lawyers who informed him he was breaking the law, and he'd always got away with it.
Not long ago Straw started rumours which the media picked up, that he'd had reservations about the war. Now we know that that was just another lie that the media willingly promoted.
On Friday the UK's no.1 war criminal will perform his "straight sort of guy" routine before the enquiry, and, with a little luck, a lynch mob will be waiting for him. One thing is for sure, Blair will take the opportunity to smear Brown, and depict him as an enthusiastic hawk. That's why Brown has asked to be interviewed before an election. He knows that some repair work will be needed on his reputation after his old friend has done the dirty on it.
Whenever I watch Blair answering awkward questions I turn the sound down and observe the ill-suppressed aggression in his facial expressions and his gestures. They're not so noticeable when one is distacted by the bullshit, and constantly rolling one's eyes heavenwards.
"Not linking fines with turnover is a gross undermining of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA).
"One of the main reasons behind the legislation was public disquiet at large companies who had killed workers receiving minimal or no sentences. New proposals fail to address that concern according to Thompsons Solicitors, the UK’s leading trade union law firm."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I've got a new toy, a website that lets you catalogue your library and, if you wish, find others with the same books - interesting. There are other bibliophilic things that can be done, but being a slow learner, I won't be getting too ambitious.
In fact I'm already weakening at the task I've set myself. I tried to be methodical, working my way through the shelves subject by subject. I started with history, but now I'm getting bored and want to go on to something else. If I had the bloody books in some sort of order to begin with it would have been a help, but no. Big books on the lower shelves, little ones higher up. I try with some success to keep reference works together, but it doesn't always work.
The speed I type at, twenty words per minute if I'm lucky, it's going to take a long, long time. No doubt the novelty* will wear off and the catalogue will join all my other unfinished projects (work in progress is a handy euphemism).
All this sweated labour takes me away from these pages. There may be a darwinian struggle for survival between blog and 'logue, unobserved by the indifferent masses.

*Asterisk marks the nineteenth word typed in a timed minute.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The aid appeal the Zionist BBC and Murdoch TV won't show.
A letter to the Guardian from Selma James, widow of CLR James, author of the seminal historical work, "The Black Jacobins" -
It took a catastrophe to put Haiti back on the political map. Yet its contribution to world civilisation is considerable. Having extended the 1789 French revolution to Haiti, Black Jacobins ended slavery, leading the way for abolition in the Americas. Western governments never forgave this impertinence, imposing crippling debt, occupations and dictatorships.
But Haitians never lost awareness that they could overcome and, if necessary, overthrow. In 1986, a mass movement kicked out the murderous Duvaliers whom the west had backed for decades, and in 1990 elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a liberation theologist determined to move the population "from destitution to poverty with dignity". He prioritised food security, health and education, encouraged agricultural co-operatives, and raised the minimum wage. Within months a US-backed coup overthrew him. Elected again in 2000 with over 90% of the vote, he was again removed in 2004, not by "a bloody rebellion" (Haiti's exiled former president vows to return, 15 January) but by bloody US marines.
Haitians continue to call for Aristide's return. Will the only person with a mandate to govern be kept from leading their recovery and reconstruction?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In April, when the first alarm came from Mexico, I was very surprised by the figures the World Health Organization (WHO) was advancing to justify the proclamation of a pandemic. I had suspicions immediately: the figures were quite weak and the level of alarm very elevated. There weren’t even a thousand sick people before there was already talk of the pandemic of the century. And the extreme alert decreed was based on the fact that the virus was new. But the characteristic of flu-type illnesses is to develop very fast with viruses that take on new forms each time by moving in on new hosts - animals, people etc. There’s nothing new in that. A new "flu" virus of that kind appears every year.
And it was alleged that the virus was dangerous because populations had not been able to develop immune defenses against it. Which was false for this virus, since we had been able to observe that people over 60 already had antibodies, which is to say that they had already been in contact with analogous viruses. That’s why there were practically no people over 60 who developed the illness. Yet, they were the people it was recommended to have be rapidly vaccinated.
Among the things that aroused my suspicions then, there was on the one hand, that desire to sound the alarm - and on the other, very curious facts. Such as, for example, the WHO’s recommendation to perform two injections for the vaccinations. That had never been the case before. There was no scientific justification for it. There was also this recommendation to use only specific patented vaccines. Yet, no reason existed for not adding - as is done every year - specific anti-viral particles of this new H1N1 virus, thus "completing" seasonal flu vaccines.

... it’s an altogether normal flu. It occasions only a tenth of the deaths caused by classic seasonal flu. All that mattered and all that led to the extraordinary campaign of panic we have witnessed is that it constituted a golden opportunity for lab reps who knew they’d make a mint should a pandemic be proclaimed.
A group of people at the WHO is very tightly associated with the pharmaceutical industry.

... Klaus Stöhr, who was head of the epidemiological department at the WHO during the era of the avian flu, and who, therefore, prepared the plans designed to confront a pandemic that I mentioned earlier, became, in the meantime, a senior executive at Novartis. And similar connections exist between Glaxo, Baxter etc. and influential members of the WHO. These big firms had "their people" in the system and managed things afterwards so that the "right" political decisions were made, that is, the decisions that allowed them to pump the maximum amount of money out of the taxpayers.

(Wolfgang Wodarg, epidemiologist and President of the Council of Europe's Health Commission)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's our Middle East peace (sic) envoy up to these days? Selling handbags, according to Tanya Gold. At last he's found his true métier - or should that be whoremongering?
Some pungent comments to this article; I particularly liked the one about Thatcher and Isadora Duncan.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yesterday my missus called me to the window to see a bird in the garden - a SNIPE. I tried to get a photograph but it flew off before I could get in position. I don't think I've seen a snipe before, I'm pretty sure this isn't snipe territory. A wood-pigeon today, and a fox roaming about the nearby school field during the night. I wonder if the cold weather's making them more desperate, or if they are more visible against the snow.
All kinds of bird scran is available in the garden, and all kinds of birds drop by for a snack - but a snipe?

Saturday, January 09, 2010


(via Obsolete)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

This morning, listening to Big Joe Williams singing "Baby Please Don't Go", something struck me.
I must have heard that song about two hundred times, sung by six or so different interpreters, and I still don't understand the lyrics. I get the first verse then it all gets vague and mumbly.
"Before I'll be your dog ...", that's what it sounds like; then further along "make your way down here" (maybe). Then another verse, "Turn your light down low ...", and that's it.
After all that time, singing along to the first verse, then being struck dumb. I think I'll do a bit of browsing and see what I've been listening to all these years.

Addendum: got it. Not very impressive, but a good tune. It says by Muddy Waters, but probably refers to the best known singer. I think Big Joe W. was responsible.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"I can report to you with confidence that the British government has been lying about the negotiations that led to the release of British hostage, Peter Moore. More on that later." (Angry Arab, emphasis added)

Quelle surprise!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Millionaires 0, Leeds United 1

I'm no fan of Leeds but this is a great result.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Within months of a Conservative victory there would start the most radical decentralisation of power this country has seen for generations. (Independent, quoting David, or Dave, Cameron)
So, lots more quangos populated by Tory Party donors and retired disgraced Tory MPs "living on rations".

Then there's the phone-in democracy proposal -
"Amusingly, the Tories' crowdsourcing wheeze would appear to be a digital version of the Big Conversation, the attempt to harness the collective mind of the British public which ranks at number seven in the list of Imbecilic New Labour Ideas That Didn't Actually Kill Anyone. Crossing over to the list of Imbecilic New Labour Ideas That Killed Thousands, you might recall the Iraq war was opposed by a very large crowd – an analogue crowd, but a million-strong in London alone – who turned out to be very wise. David Cameron and his party ignored them utterly."
(Marina Hyde)
Waxing philosophical on New Year's Eve, it really doesn't suit me. And quoting Joyce's great work looks a little pretentious. But it's the circularity of the thing that appeals to me; no beginning, no end.
I think it was brought on by thoughts of mortality (some things must end, or change in substance). Witnessing an approaching year and wondering if I'll see it out. Eheu fugaces! Positioned Janus-headed at the end of one year and the beginning of another (spurious juncture) I join with my peers in expression of pious hopes for better times ahead. Meanwhile all the signs point to worse to come, in a world in which the warmongers and the grand larcenists are in the ascendant.
Old Machiavelli suggested that "... he who would foresee what has to be should reflect on what has been." In other words, more of the same, my dears. I reckon he got it right.