Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Friday, April 28, 2006

Is the hangman's noose a legal loophole?

A fun post on the topic of loopholes. (Via.) Some rather cool ones. I knew about eruvs already (there's one in Golders Green in London).

Of course The Merchant Of Venice has a few of the best. ("This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood." "DOH!") Apart from Macbeth's witches, who really raise the bar. ("Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ript!". "DOH!")

Bring Your Daughter (or Son) To The Slaughter

Thursday, on the other hand, was Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day, so I took my son Ruairidh. (My daughter Vanessa was already at work at Starbucks, having now left school and launched into her gap year-and-a-bit.) The bank I work for had laid on various activities for the fifteen or so kids who showed up, as well as getting to sit with their mums and dads while we did fascinating things ("You see, Ruairidh, I can't tell yet whether the file doesn't have a trailer because we didn't get all of it, or if something happened to the trailer so the program didn't process it properly, so I have to go back to that row of weird figures you commented on and add them all up"). OK, I admit it, I'm jealous. I've worked for the bank for nearly twenty years now, and have they ever let me drive a fork-lift truck in the mail room? Nope. Not once. By the time Ruairidh had been in the building three hours they'd given him a shot. Grumpgrumpgrump.

He seemed to enjoy the day though, and at least he has a vague idea of what I do beyond "works in a bank's computer centre". Even if a lot of it consists of waiting for files to come back online, and filling out timesheets ("You see, Ruairidh, I need to find what budget this work gets charged to so we know who has to pay for breaking what I just fixed").

And I was just surprised that nearly every web reference I found is either several years old or relates to the USA. Something tells me that this in an initiative not being widely adopted in Britain. Which is a shame, as it is a good idea. Score one for my employers.

WMD in Edinburgh...

....and everywhere, actually, because today is (International) Workers' Memorial Day, and it's being commemorated all over Scotland and elsewhere.

Funny to read the link there about the Mick McGahey memorial. I'd quite forgotten the guy, which is odd really, as he was one of those characters you wouldn't expect to forget.

Socialism.... ah yes, I remember it well.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Out of the mouths of quickdraws...

Another Latigo Flint post, another gem of wisdom:

The Ancients believed that every tree in the forest had two stories to tell: The one you heard with your ears, if you took the time to listen. And the one you felt with your skull if the tree toppled over and fell on you when you weren't looking. The Ancients were pretty insightful.

You have to love the guy.

Caloric Irrigation

Every now and then Dooce comes up with a post that is just beyond praise or even description.

So, for all those of you in need of comfort (including those whose plumbing is terminally gubbed) I give you....

...the Oh God Our Plumbing's Fucked Cookie.

Colleagues suffering from Novel Planning Deficiency or whatever might care to try it.

The Hornicator and the Cadillac Beatspinner Wheel

Somehow I managed to forget to mention that last weekend, as my Ballater trip was delayed by my father-in-law's hospitalisation, I was in Edinburgh on Saturday evening and thus was able to see Thomas Truax. Yay! He really is all that Clare has made him out to be. Maybe I should have introduced myself afterwards, but (a) he was running over time so was packing up in a hurry and (b) what does one say? ("Hi, I once met the person you stay with in Manchester at a blogmeet.....") So I admired from a distance. But he was really good. (He asked for requests and somebody asked for "Escape From The Orphanage", which was cool.)

Supports were Charlie Winston and Simon Breed, both of whom were very good, the latter especially (songs nearly as weird as Truax but without the home-made instruments).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good news from Israel (not about somebody being nailed to a tree)

When I said the Israeli and Palestinian governments needed their heads knocking together, I'd forgotten these guys. More than usually brave, they attempt to turn Israelis and Palestinians away from murder, a fact rendered easier by their all being ex-terrorists (and before everyone piles onto my comments box, the Israeli members themselves accept that at least some of the IDF's role in Palestine is effectively terrorism.

Fish are friends not food.

Thanks to Gert for this topic.

ANd here is an article from the Star.

I still shop at Tesco on occasions when it's on my route somewhere. Plus one of our Tesco's is a 24-hour place. But in general I'm a Sainsburys man.

Springtime for Mel Brooks in Tel Aviv

Is it not wonderful that The Producers is playing in Tel Aviv?

Hamas, from the Greek hamatanein, to miss the point.

Some terrific recent posts on Normblog.

Like this.

And this.

And (especially) this.

Also this on Hamas. "Legitimate self-defence, eh? The UN defines as "legitimate resistance to occupation" attacks on serving soldiers of the occupying power, while in the occupied territory. So shooting IDF memnbers in Hebron: OK. Suicide bombing a checkpoint so as to kill soldiers: OK. Killing settlers: no. Killing anybody in Israel (let's agree for now that Israel has those 1967 borders, OK?) is not legitimate, but murder. Even if all the people killed were IDF members. Think: when the USSR invaded Hungary back in the 1950s, "legitimate resistance" was burning alive the crews of Russian tanks. It was shooting any Russian soldier you saw in Budapest. However, it was NOT blowing up the Moscow underground or GUM. However naive one may think rules for the conduct of conflict are, they exist, and if Hamas wants to be taken seriously it has to play by them. After all, one reason most people don't take Israeli proposals for "peaceful resolution" seriously is Israel;s long history of ignoring those same rules. Get the fuck back into your own country and we'll listen to you. Really, we will; most European criticism of Israel would evaporate overnight. Likewise, Hamas: stop murdering people in other countries, stop spouting garbage and pretend for a while to be a government. Do all you can to assist the Israelis in fucking off (hint: alienating friendly Western governments by supporting pointless murders ain't part of it.)

Honestly, one yearns to knock heads together.

Stout Nose Famine (6,9)

Parts of the UK blogosphere are full of the Euston Manifesto just now. This has generated a lot of comment, as as it formally went out over Norman Geras's name I'll link to his typically efficient processing of that.

The Manifesto contains a lot of sense, a lot of things that few people would disagree with, and quite a few things that various people would disagree with. The authors are at pains to point out that on the matter of the Iraq invasion, for example, they comprise both supporters and opponents, and one feels there may be otehr areas where the manifesto pulls together a certain amount of variation if not outright disagreement. The list of authors, never mind subsequent signatories, includes some people whose views I deeply respect, and some whose burning bodies I would not piss on. While that makes me cautious, the reason that (after a day or so of consideration) I am not signing is simply that signature is an all-or-nothing business. You sign, and for ever after you have the whole package of proposals shackled to your back, regardless of any reservation you might have had about this one or that one.

But don't let that stop my loyal readers: go ahead and sign if you feel you can. Read it anyway. It's a brave attempt to codify a position, corresponding to a large extent to that of what is termed (by its members) the Decent Left (as though any apostasy from that position was an indecency). The manifesto, unlike some of its signatories at various times, does not descend to unproductive name-calling.

In any case, I fail to see that my signature adds much to the document's credibility. Hell's teeth, one of the authors is Norm: what more do you need to get you to read it?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Putting the T in the Gay BLT

I've just been to see Transamerica and enjoyed it very much. Felicity Huffman is outstanding - it's easy to see why she got an Oscar nomination. While the film is very funny in places it's by no means a comedy, except in the classical sense of having a (kind of) happy ending. It's quite a subtle film: I'd expected that somewhere in a journey through the American South there would be some kind of redneck prejudice on display (thinking of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, though of course that's Australia). But there isn't, at all, perhaps because the transsexual character (Bree) is much more feminine than any transvestite; it is, after all, Felicity Huffman with a prosthetic penis (called Andy, according to a trivia site I found). Everything is concentrated on Bree and her relationship with her son (or more accurately Stanley's son, Stanley being her old male persona). It's about honesty, acceptance, and rejection, and I hope it will help to improve understanding of the problems transsexuals have to face every day.

Funnily enough, David Nobbs (of Reginald Perrin fame) wrote a partly-but-by-no-means-mostly funny book about a married couple both of whom decide to change gender (Sex and Other Changes). As a non-transgender person myself I found it highly informative: not perhaps one of his best story lines but very well researched and sympathetic.

All better now

Father-in-law out of hospital and continuing to recover at home.

Car all sorted out and stopping when asked to do so.

Hey Joe

I know that when I access JoeInVegas's blog from my work computer I can't see his comments, or even infer their existence. From my home machine here I can read them, and see the tantalising tag to click to post one. But it doesn't do anything any more. Waaaah!

The bubbles are pretty though, if a tad irritating after a bit.

I assume this is another Haloscan 'feature'....

Still, while I'm addressing Joe, let's talk about work. I work in a mainframe support team, where we field all manner of production failures and user queries ("Where has the money gone from this transaction?" "How was this charge calculated?" "Who keyed this change?"). Today there was a rather fine one, where a customer had asked for a credit transaction to be backdated because he had lost interest. Apparently this transaction was keyed on 13th April and owing to a "system problem" was not applied to the account until 17th April. A quick look at the calendar revealed that the "system problem" was called Good Friday (not a working day in the UK) and had been around for nearly 2000 years. (Sigh.)

Sometimes people want a lot of detail about the status of accounts several months ago. While we retain all the transactions, we don't hold day-by-day images of the accounts beyond a month or so; after that we go to just month-end snapshots. So sometimes we can't supply the requested information (sometimes we can, it's just extremely laborious).

And sometimes, of course, the users have a good point and there really is something weird going on with an account, or with one of the products. Those are the ones that make life interesting, and which are very satisfying to get to the bottom of. Prior to that, they are the Queries From Hell because you haven't a clue what's going on. I have one at present which suggests that when a bunch of products were migrated from one system to another, they took with them the data feed for a third system. Bad news for the accounts left behind, now with no way to update that third system. But that's just my 19 April opinion. Still digging.....

Oh, today's other amusement refers to my trade union work. I was asked to take up a complaint by a colleague who has been offered (on the face of it) a disappointing sum to buy him out of an obsolete travel allowance. I interviewed this guy, discussed his case with a colleague, and passed his details on to a full-time union official. When I went to confirm his membership details he hadn't taken the precaution of actually joining the union, though he was "prepared to discuss it". His membership form awaits..... (Actually there are historical reasons why he might have thought he was entitled to help even as a non-member, but, er, no.)

Strange business, life. Oh, and my car needs a new brake cyinder, new front pads and disks and a new tyre.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Just me and the pygmy pony

Norm has a fun poll:

So what I'm asking you for is your favourite names of the states of the US. That is different from your favourite states. You have five votes each, to distribute to the names of five US states. No need to rank them. And with your entry I'm asking that you submit one song lyric that includes the name of one your chosen states.

OK then. Off the top of my head without too much thought except for what sounds romantic or euphonious:


And the song lyric? Of course, it's Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention, "Montana" (from Over-Nite Sensation):

I might be movin' to Montana soon
Just to raise me up a crop of Dental Floss
Raisin' it up
Waxin' it down
In a little white box that I can sell uptown
By myself I wouldn't have no boss,
But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss

Well I just might grow me some bees
But I'd leave the sweet stuff
For somebody else...but then, on the other hand I would
Keep the wax
N' melt it down
Pluck some floss
N' swish it around
I'd have me a crop
An' it'd be on top(that's why I'm movin' to Montana)
Movin' to Montana soon
Gonna be a Dental Floss tycoon(yes I am)
Movin' to Montana soon
Gonna be a mennil-toss flykune

I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
That's growin' on the prairie
Pluckin' the floss!
I plucked all day an' all nite an' all afternoon...
I'm ridin' a small tiny hoss
(His name is MIGHTY LITTLE)
He's a good hoss
Even though he's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or blanket on anyway
He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or blanket on anyway
Any way
I'm pluckin' the ol' Dennil Floss
Even if you think it is a little silly, folks
I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
I don't care if you think it's silly, folks

I'm gonna find me a horse
Just about this big
An' ride him all along the border line
With a Pair of heavy-duty
Zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
Every other wrangler would say
I was mighty grand
By myself I wouldn't
Have no boss
But I'd be raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Raisin' my lonely Dental Floss
Well I might
Ride along the border
With my tweezers gleamin' in the moon-lighty night
And then I'd
Get a cuppa cawfee
N' give my foot a push...
Just me 'n the pygmy pony
Over by the Dennil Floss Bush
N' then I might just
Jump back on
And ride like a cowboy
Into the dawn to Montana
Movin' to Montana soon (Yippee-i-o-ti-ay)...
Movin' to Montana soon (Yippee-i-o-ti-ay)....

This is the song, incidentally, which occasioned one of FZ's better remarks. When Tipper Gore's committee of concerned busybodies were earnestly investigating the deleterious effect of rock music lyrics on the morals of America's youth, they quizzed Frank along the following lines.

Earnest American Ladies: Mr Zappa, do you not think that the content of your songs sets a bad example to America's teenagers?

FZ: No.

EALs: But Mr Zappa, you have recorded songs about, erm, oral sex, spanking and teenage girls having group sex with rock bands.

FZ: I once wrote a song about dental floss but I'm not aware that America's oral hygiene improved as a result.

Oh, and a neat piece of trivia. Zappa was recording the album in Ike & Tina Turner's studio, and when he needed backing vocalists (in particular for this song) he was delighted to be able to get the services of Tina and the Ikettes. Tina was reportedly absolutely delighted when after about forty takes they nailed the immensely complicated vocal lines (just listen to the track and you'll see what I mean). When she shared her excitement with Ike and played him the master, he made some very Ike comment like "What the fuck is this shit?" So anyway, there's Tina T as an uncredited backing vocalist singing stuff about a horse call Mighty Little.

I remember being awestruck when the BBC used a chunk of "Montana" as background for some (possibly cowboy-related?) piece on Nationwide back in the mid-seventies. It wasn't the zircon-encrusted tweezers bit though. But, hey, maximum points for effort on someone's part.

So much for hoping I'd come out as Giles

So I did this Buffy Personality Test, which had worried Lisa by showing her up as Dawn rather than Willow. Well, I seem to be.....

72% amorality, 72% passion, 63% spirituality, 45% selflessness

You probably have a complicated, multi-faceted personality. Kind of like Glory-Ben-Glorificus. Passionate and driven with a spiritual side that comes out at times, a healthy taste for the finer things in life and a willingness to do what's necessary to achieve your ends. You're assertive and have no problems standing up for yourself. And, push come to shove, you're the closest anyone's ever come to straight-up beating the Slayer and her gang.

If it's Ok with you guys I won't put that picture into my Blogger profile. Pink is SO not my colour.

Paved With Good Intentions (and possibly puddled with brake fluid)

Well, the weekend wasn't quite as we'd planned it. Hilary's father was taken into hospital on Thursday with an undetermined infection (which eventually turned out to be pneumonia). While his condition wasn't life-threatening, when you have an eighty-year-old man with pneumonia you want to keep an eye on him. So instead of taking Ruairidh up to join the girls in Balater on Thursday, they came home and we all took turns visiting the hospital. By Saturday night it was clear that he was slowly improving, so with the consent of all parties I took myself off to Ballater for a couple of nights (I was on a late shift today at work so could stay up last night). Yesterday I managed a delightful ridge walk up one side of Glen Muick for about five miles, then back down the road. Tremendous views of a very snowy Lochnagar and an almost equally snowy Mount Keen, plus views over much of Deeside. Lots of grouse and a number of mountain hares in their white winter coats.

Then coming home the brake warning light came on in the car. No problem with the actual brakes, so I booked the car in to get them checked over tomorrow. However, when I came out of my late shift tonight the brakes were mostly not there (clutch and brake would bring the car to a stop, but it was difficult to predict exactly where). So my journey to work in the morning may be interesting (the garage is right opposite my workplace). When you live at the top of a hill the downgrades can't be entirely avoided... but the engine braking works OK, and unless it gets worse overnight I have some brakes. I'm just glad it didn't decide to pull this trick when Vanessa was driving it.

OK, anyway, I take a few days off blogging and everybody seems to have posted about ten miles of stuff. So apologies if it takes me a while to get round to catching up with you all. I'll get there.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Improbability Factor 10 million:1 and falling.

A few days without posting lie ahead, as I'm off to Ballater for the Easter weekend. During which time the new Dr Who series starts, and Radio 3 broadcast Wagner's entire Ring cycle in one day. What other wonders lie ahead?

The Israeli government might express an interest in peace negotiations with Hamas, accompanied by an unprecedented desire to comply with at least one UN resolution.

The United States could declare that it disapproves of torture and will ban the use of evidence obtained through torture from trials of terrorist suspects.

The United States could decide to hold trials of terrorist suspects.

Tony Blair could be caught telling the truth to somebody about something.

Or, more probably, the Easter Bunny could appear on prime-time television.

They have a point

Here is a letter from European Jews for a Just Peace to the head of the European Commission.

President Jose Manuel Barroso
European Commission
Rue de la Loi

Amsterdam, April 10 2006

Dear President Barroso,

It is with great dismay, shock and concern that we note the proposed cutting of aid from the European Union to the Palestinian population. This amounts to a collective punishment meted out to approximately 3,500,000 Palestinians. Forcing people to go hungry is not an acceptable tool of international diplomacy. Yet that is exactly what this policy amounts to.

The Karni checkpoint has been closed for goods, leaving the people of Gaza without basic staples. At the same time Gazan fishermen are being denied access to fishing grounds prevented from catching fish, in grounds defined by international agreement as Palestinian, by the Israeli navy. The Israeli Army’s repeated shelling of the Gaza Strip has killed children as young as five years old.

In addition, one Israeli bank, the Bank Hapoalim, has now stopped the transfer of money to the Palestinian territories. If others follow suit, there will be no way of transferring funds to organizations and even family members from abroad because all funds must go through Israeli correspondent banks.

These are measures enacted against a population many of whom are already forced to live as recipients of charity from abroad because of the Israeli occupation. A people is being starved and humiliated. They are losing their property and being put in ghettos erected by the State of Israel, with its wall and settlements. Despite these being illegal, punitive measures such as those now proposed against the Palestinians have not even been considered against Israel. Indeed, any call whatsoever for divestment, boycott - or even for compliance with the EU’s own trade association agreement rules - are dismissed as unconstructive. We must ask then, how is this decision to cut aid a constructive one?

The European Union – among others - cannot demand democratic elections and then proceed to punish people because they do not like the result. Hamas has taken no anti-Israeli action since their election victory. Indeed, Hamas has taken no action against Israel for over a year.

This policy risks catastrophe, first and foremost for the Palestinians. It is bound to lead to more violence for Israelis as well. A people – not a government - frustrated and humiliated as the Palestinians are being will react with anger.

Is it possible that the European Union is not aware of this? Both as Jews and as European citizens to whom the EU is ultimately responsible, we urge in the strongest possible terms that this decision is reconsidered to prevent further violence. This policy cannot but bring more tragedy to both peoples living in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Yours sincerely,

Dror Feiler, Chairman, and
Dan Judelson, secretary

for the EJJP Executive Committee

Three points: firstly that this comes from an organisation of European Jews, so with luck the knee-jerk accusations of anti-semitism which routinely accompany any expression of support for Palestine may be muted at least. Secondly, if the idea of boycotting Israeli goods, academic contacts etc was deemed unproductive because constructive engagement was a better idea (a point of view I tend to agree with), why is it better to starve Palestine of aid rather than talking to Hamas? Finally, despite its persistent spin to the contrary, Israel is not the "only democracy" in West Asia. Palestine has just carried out its second (fair and accredited) democratic election. To punish the Palestinian people because they elected the "wrong" government is as hypocritical of the EU as it would have been to punish Israel had Likud been returned with a majority in its election. Hamas were elected because they were seen to be less corrupt than Fatah. As successive Israeli governments have (quite rightly) droned on for years about Fatah's, and Arafat's, corruption this should not have come as a surprise.

Sometimes one feels ashamed to be European.

Ear worm

My daughter Vanessa is particularly fond of the German expression Ohrwurm, or "ear-worm", for a tune that you can't get out of your head. I was reminded of it tonight when listening to one of my recent CD purchases while attempting to type a set of programme notes: the CD in question demanded my attention and then the tunes on it sort of stuck in my head for the rest of the evening. (Such that I kept sticking odd tracks back on.) At the risk, then, of turning EKN into a review site, I give you "1000 Years Of Popular Music" by Richard Thompson. Here's the man himself:

"The idea for this project came from Playboy Magazine - I was asked by submit a list, in late 1999, of the ten greatest songs of the Millenium. Hah! I thought, hypocrites - they don't mean millennium, they mean twenty years - I'll call their bluff and do a real thousand-year selection. My list was similar to the choices here on this CD, starting in about 1068, and winding slowly up to 2001. That they failed to print my list among others submitted by rock's luminaries, is but a slight wound - it gave me the idea for this show, which has been performed occasionally, and will hopefully receive a few more airings."

For me, on one hearing, the stand-out tracks are King Henry V's Conquest of France, There Is Beauty and Drinking Wine Spo-dee-o-dee. Though Oops! I did it again is rather fine. RT may reckon attempting Arthur Sullivan with only acoustic guitar and snare drum is rather iffy; I think it works very welln (and I've just listened to the original as well) , not only emphasising Gilbert's awesomely ingenious lyrics but demonstrating how perfectly Sullivan's music dovetails into them. Actually, every track is worth a listen: this is one of Thompson's best albums to date, despite containing none of his own songs.

I eventually got my programme note finished to the accompaniment of Duane Allman Anthology 2: excellent, but not quite so demanding of attention.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

What I read on holiday

This. Also this.

I knew The End Of Alice was controversial on account of its subject matter (the correspondence between a paedophile murderer in jail and a teenage girl who is engaged in the seduction of a 12-year-old boy). It isn't really the kind of book you enjoy reading, but I'm glad I read it. The most startling thing isn't so much the shocking subject-matter as that the (nameless) paedophile narrator gets to tell his own story. So some scenes which he treats as perfectly normal, or at least not worthy of particular comment, bring you up rather short. Moreover, in his version his victims are always willing participants, at least up until the murder of Alice (which you know is coming right from the start but which still shocks). The prison scenes are (as far as I can tell) grimly realistic, while the sub-plot with the teenage girl correspondent provides a clever counterpoint. You're left wondering how much he is lying, how much he is deluding himself, how much he may be simply stretching the truth about himself and his victims. The only point at which I found myself actually sympathising with him is when he and his fellow-prisoners are taken outside to see a Fourth Of July firework display, and he says that he hasn't seen the night sky for 23 years. Read it, but don't expect to enjoy it: it's strong stuff.

Running With Scissors on the other hand is laugh-out-loud funny, and would be even if it weren't a factual memoir of Augusten Burroughs' weird adolescence. Crazy parents, an even crazier psychotherapist (who eventually becomes Augusten's legal guardian) and his family. A hoot from beginning to end.

Back down to Earth

Hi guys! Yes, I'm back from my week of ski-ing in Courchevel: fantastic snow, and mostly brilliant weather. Since we were last there Courchevel has become one of the playgrounds of the Russian mafia (I'm sorry, Russian entrepreneurs) which makes for amusing people-watching. To say nothing of the signage, which now features Russian more prominently than English in many cases. Also visible in Courchevel was our very own Victoria Beckham, easily identified by her Chanel-branded skis. (You think I'm joking, don't you?)

We rounded the week off with a night in Geneva (because we couldn't get a flight back yesterday). Also a big hit with our kids. Vanessa was picking out where she wants to live when she becomes a hot-shot interpreter, and Ruairidh enjoyed walking downwind of the Jet de l'Eau and getting soaked through.

Much good food, much good wine, French and Spanish translations of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for Vanessa, a duty-free watch for me, various items of clothing for all of us: we've done our bit for international trade, that's for sure.

Anyway, I'm back now. I've adjusted my blog's clock to Bloody Summer Time and read all your comments. Still catching up with the news while I've been gone, and of course I have to read tons of other blogstuff. Good holiday though, and thank you for all the good wishes.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lets's shift our attention to the other end...

This is an amusing quiz.

What was that about "There is no art to read the mind's construction in the face"?

BTW, I got 9/10. (I identified one cannibalistic nutter as a language designer.)

Of all ideals we hold as good....

OK. I have nothing against Britney Spears, and (other things being equal) find pregnant women pretty hot. All in favour of "lactiferous breasts" and protruding navel (though poor Britney seems to have a pillar obscuring hers; perhaps it was just especially glad to see her).

But I have to agree with the guys at linkbunnies.org that this is a little weird ('It also marks a first for "naked pregnant Britney Spears doggy-style statue porn" enthuasiasts everywhere."')

I don't see the pro-life thing especially. I have two children, get turned on by pregnant women, but don't feel that women who would really rather not be pregnant should be forced into it. I can see that there is a valid role for abortion in a civilised society, while celebrating the wonders of pregnancy and childbirth for those wishing to undertake them. (And for those wishing to stand alongside wielding a cooling sponge and trying not to think about pissing watermelons.)

But how did Daniel Edwards capture the image? "COuld you hold it there, Britney love? Sean's just crowning, and it won't take me more than a couple of hours with me chisel to do justice to your dilated snatch. Just huff and puff, and don't push until I say. OK?"

Amusing to note that all the reviews mention the crowning head but all the accompanying pictures are from more, er, demure angles. Hey, there's pro-life and there's pro-life, you know what I'm saying?

Let's make a truly pro-life statement: this is a rather wonderful moment for at least two people (though not in this case Britney or Sean).

All the best to all concerned, including Britney & Sean.