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 13, 2012

Just One Damned Thing After Another

This is great fun, and I look forward to much pausing and rewinding to sort out exactly what is going on in some places:

But let's not forget to pay homage to the Daddy of all these kinetic sculpture films,
The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss from waaaay back in 1987. My kids loved this when they were little.

Or for those of you with shorter attention spans:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My favourite is the one with the inflatable pillow

OK, we've all spent time hunting for a vacant loo on a long-haul flight. But in future I will be wondering whether something like this is what's keeping me out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bare Naked Jew-Hatred

Bonni at BarenakedIslam has a go at those villainous Jews again. This time it's "Congressbitch Debbie Wassermann Schultz", "the ugliest Jewish Obama asskisser in Congress", who is later described in a picture caption as "good little dhimmi Jewess Debbie".

Does this woman's antisemitism know no bounds?

Here we go gathering nuts from May

It looks as though the UK is beginning to go the way of the USA, where right-wing "supporters of Israel" make the government march to their tune while frequently being far more vicious in their hatred of Muslims, Palestinians, the UN, international law and human rights than even the present Israeli regime.

However, as Home Secretary Theresa May has just discovered, jumping every time someone screams "antisemitism" without bothering to ask why Israel would be happy to have the alleged "antisemite" as a citizen just makes you look like a jerk.

I don't, however, share David Hearst's uncritical adulation of the CST's "invaluable role" in monitoring antisemitism. Its role seems to be more that of inventing spurious "antisemitism" to silence criticism of its attacks on any opposition to Zionist policies, even where that comes from Jews (famous of course for their antisemitism).

As the Guardian reported:

The immigration tribunal had been told that the home secretary acted on information provided to the government by the CST and the Jewish Board of Deputies.

In its ruling, it said that "it is of concern" that May apparently did not consult any Muslim or Palestinian organisations. It noted the evidence of Robert Lambert, a retired head of the Metropolitan police's Muslim Contact Unit, and David Miller, a sociology professor from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland who set up the Spinwatch site, "that whereas the CST has done invaluable work in identifying threats to the Jewish community in the UK from the far right such as the British National party (BNP), it failed to distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the Israeli state and therefore gives an unbalanced perspective, but they did not say that it was improper for the secretary of state to seek the views of the CST in this matter."

Not improper: merely foolish in the extreme.

Death Takes A (Taxpayer-funded) Holiday

David Cameron, along with a collection of senior figures from the UK arms industry, have been jetting off on a taxpayer-funded junket to try to drum up trade for our poor beleagured merchants of death and disability. Right now they're in Japan, where while nothing these ghouls do can possibly lead to good, at least they won't do too much harm, as Japan can afford the weaponry and on the whole tends not to use it on its own people or its neighbours. (Well, not recently....)

Later on, though, the DeadBodiesAreUs.co.uk bandwagon will visit Indonesia. From that link you can see that the NuLabour government paid little more attention to its own arms embargo than it did to other inconvenient interruptions to the business of exporting death. Things are not much better in Indonesia now. There are certainly other priorities we should be encouraging the Indonesian government to spend money on instead of buying our useless built-to-fight-the-Cold-War-just-as-it-ended Typhoons (junk-jets). Still, you'd never catch our Prime Minister worrying about foreign victims of human rights abuses when he could be shovelling public money into the gaping gobs of some of our richest (thanks to decades of living off our taxes) and most recession-proof industrialists. Some of them will be the same ones whose prosecution for fraud and corruption was suppressed by Tony Blair's personal intervention (because nobody was such a friend to liars and the financially corrupt as corrupt liar Blair).

And later on they're all going to try to sell their vile wares to Myanmar, that bastion of freedom and democracy. Marvellous.

(I wonder whether Qinetiq will be in the party? You know, as a shining example of British handout-swallowing industry, with their shining twenty-first- nineteenth-century approach to doing business?)

Finally, they're doing all this in an aircraft leased from the Angolan state oil company. Sounds as though the people of Angola will benefit more from this trip than the people of Britain, let alone the poor bloody people of Indonesia or Myanmar.

Ah, screw it. Here's Bob Dylan, with a video prefixed by a quotation from President Eisenhower in the days when the Republican party was to the left of modern-day Democrats, and one from Mussolini from the days when the Italian fascists were still to the right of modern-day Republicans.

Bob Dylan's MASTERS of WAR

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lyceum Theatre: The Marriage of Figaro, Wednesday 4 April 2012

Not the Mozart opera but the original Beaumarchais play, adapted by DC Jackson and set in the world of Scottish banking and finance. Sometimes these reinventions work well, sometimes not: this one works brilliantly, rather to my surprise. Figaro and Suzanne are the proprietors of a financial services company with (concealed) cash flow problems, about to merge with a much larger bank (but one with its own problems) run by The Chief and The Chair (aka Count & Countess). Figaro & Suzanne are also preparing to marry as soon as the deal goes through. All the rest of the characters are there: Cherubino is Pavlo, a hormonal teen besotted with The Chair, trying it on with Suzanne and threatened with deportation by The Chief. The gone-to-seed-a-bit personal assistant is Margery, to whom Figaro ill-advisedly promised himself in marriage years ago if his business became as successful as this merger will make it. And then there is the stuffy accountant Barry (yes, Don Bartolo). All the requisite hiding in wardrobes, cross-dressing, etc etc, present and correct. I knew it would be good, as my wife and daughter saw it the previous week, and Hilary came with me to see it again.

What stood out? Well, the scene changes were amazing, with office staff carting things about as the set rearranged itself (and lots of lovely little cameos sneaking in there). Pavlo (Jamie Quinn) was wonderful, and the scene where the Chief tries to seduce him (mistaking him for Suzanne) a total joy. Figaro (Mark Prendergast) was great (I liked his tendency to play bits of the Mozart and Rossini operas when nobody was about, and the role called for him to sing a couple of the Mozart arias - not all in context - at scene ends: he was a very good singer). I liked that the very opening had Figaro measuring up his and Suzanne's new office (handily placed between the Chief's and the Chair's....). The office workers providing those all-important scene-change cameos were Rebecca McCoach, Jordan Burton, and Murray Loup. And Stuart Bowman as the Chief blustered delightfully.

But pride of place must go to Barry (Greg Powrie). After all, in this production he gets to appear from a wardrobe dressed as a penguin.

Here is a professional review. Two things: I should probably have twigged that Briony McRoberts's arm was really in a sling, not for some dramatic purpose. And go me!, the "nameless" girl in trouser suit is, I am pretty certain, Rebecca McCoach.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Hebrides Ensemble, The Jam House, Edinburgh 29 March 2012

A couple of weeks ago, on 29 March, I attended a rather splendid concert by the Hebrides Ensemble at The Jam House in Edinburgh. The main work, and the reason I went, was Messaien's Quartet For The End Of Time, but in keeping with Hebrides' commitment to new music they had commissioned two companion works, specifying only the instrumentation (piano/violin/cello/clarinet) and the piece they would be programmed alongside.

First up was Between Waking and Dreams, by Mark David Boden, which I liked immediately. I think what I liked best about it was that it didn't sound like anybody else: not like somebody trying to emulate a teacher or hero, just someone getting on with writing a delightful piece. The programme notes explained that it was inspired by a Polish poem contrasting the peacefulness of the view from an aeroplane with the bustle down on the ground, and there were certainly contrasts of that kind: but the piece didn't flaunt its "programme" either. I liked it; I'd like to hear it again; I want to hear more of Mark David Boden.

Next came Suzanne Parry John's Introspections and Lullabies for an Unborn Child, which made less of an impression on me. It was perfectly pleasant, and obviously well-crafted, but made no connection to me of the kind the Boden piece had. My jotted note said "elevator music for musical intellectuals", which while harsh is a defensible description. I didn't come away wanting more.

The second half (prefixed by a talk by Richard Holloway on the end of time which quoted from Blade Runner, Philip Larkin, TS Eliot and various others) was the mighty Messaien masterpiece. With players of the calibre of these (Yann Ghiro, clarinet; David Alberman, violin; William Conway, cello; Philip Moore, piano) I expected a great performance, and I got one. The ensemble, put cruelly to the test in the Interlude and the Dance of Fury for the Seven Trumpets, was uncanny, the technical virtuosity wonderful. It had never occurred to me before how self-effacing Messaien was when it came to writing the piano part: there are whole movements for cello (with piano) and violin (with piano), and a mind-boggling one for solo clarinet, but the pianist never gets to show off. Mind you, it was composed in a POW camp, with half the piece sketched out before a piano was even available, and the piano on which it was premiered was not exactly in prime condition. Still, all the other musicians at the first performance had similar crosses to bear. Not so in Edinburgh, where everything was spot on.

The dog may well ski better than us

Hilary and I are in Courchevel in Haute Savoie, France, for a week of ski-ing. It's almost the end of the season here, but the snow is OK in most places. On south-facing slopes or lower down it gets a bit soggy by the afternoon, but to be honest I'm normally getting worn out by then anyway (age, altitude and not having been on skis for a couple of years). No injuries, though a few affronts to the dignity. Last night we went out to a Savoyard restaurant where we both had Croziflette, best described as macaroni cheese with a serious makeover. Magnifique!

Here is a fellow-traveller on the ski bus back to our bit of the resort today.

Not long before getting on the bus, it folded itself up laboriously to lie down in the sun, then decided it was feeling young at heart and did a full-on rolling about in the dust with legs flailing and tail wagging. Then it hauled itself to its feet and ambled off. LOL.

Friday, April 06, 2012

But seriously, folks

It's all too easy to take the piss out of Bonni and her fellow hillbilly survivalists over at BareNakedIslam, and it's always good fun laughing at idiots trying to convince the rest of the world that they are the only ones who know the sky is falling.

But of course Bonni and her pals aren't simply funny: they are sick merchants of hatred and violence. I have posted before about Bonni's calls for people with whose views she disagrees to be beheaded, tortured, genitally mutilated or simply murdered, and about her commenters' calls for terrorist attacks against Arabs. I posted here about her call for the murder of an American soldier and her cheering for the murder of a Sikh mistaken for a Muslim, for the murder of UN workers by a suicide bomber, for the murder of Somalis and for the desecration of war graves. And not long ago I drew attention to her describing the murder of a baby as a "public service", to her glee at the drownings of almost a thousand refugees, and her approval of the torture and disfigurement of a prisoner. And in this post (where admittedly I was more interested in poking fun at her thinking Rome was in Spain) I point out that she denies that Hitler imposed any controls on racial intermarriage, or that gays were persecuted under the Nazis.

So what has Bonni been up to recently? Well, she has applauded the beating-up of Jewish rabbis by a mob in Jordan. She whinges that beach volleyball teams in the Olympics will no longer be obliged to wear bikinis (and this from someone who claim that her opposition to Muslim headscarves is support for women's rights and freedoms!) On no evidence whatever she lays this eminently sensible blow for women's dignity and choice at the door of (yawn) Islam. Here she adds to her Rome-is-in-Spain delusion a new one, that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem. And one of her commenters came out with this wonder:

March 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm
Nice one!!!!
So why has Israel just won yet another nobel peace prize, developed a vaccine to cure most cancers, is a world leader in medicine… if it is so bad?

The last Israelis to win the Nobel Peace Prize were Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 (shared with Yasser Arafat)....... the vaccine "to cure most cancers" cures one not especially common one (multiple myeloma). And it seems odd that a country which is a "world leader in medicine" has never won a single Nobel Prize for it.

Bonni goes on to tell us that all British Asians are Muslims ("In this documentary, the PC-obsessed Brits refer to Muslims as 'Asians' so as to make you think they are not talking about Muslims"). Well, apart from the thousands who are Hindus or Sikhs, or indeed Christians or atheists.

Muslims are apparently responsible for Islamophobic murders and break-ins at mosques. Well, I suppose if you believe Jews were responsible for the Holocaust there's a logic to that.

A Saudi woman who suffered racist abuse in Norwich was dismised by Bonni thus: "you are not a person, you are a sub-human, inbred plague on humanity". Spoken like a true follower of the Third Reich. Meanwhile, referring to the "Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights" is apparently "anti-semitic" and justification for being fired.

She fails to see the orony on this post, that the students demanding that Joel Shrum;s murderes be caught and tried are Muslims, doing exactly what she complains Muslims never do: protesting against terrorism.

It is "beyond depraved" for an English teacher in France to refer to the "troubled childhood" of Mohammed Merah, the gunman who murdered seven people. However, when a commenter refers to "the rush to judgement on a severely head-wounded American soldier returned to combat and losing it" (meaning Robert Bales, the US soldier accused of murdering nine Afghans in their beds) she makes no comment. Strange......

An attempted march to the house of Mohammed Merah's mother by women was deliberately misdescribed as "Police prevented a group of Muslim scum from holding a demonstration in memory of the Muslim jihadist". So how is "sorry your boy brought disgrace on your fsmily and our community but we'll help you get through this" a demonstration in memory of the murderer? Oh, wait, because it's Muslims doing it, right?

Some priceless comments though. It would seem that this guy's illiteracy is exceed only by his credulousness:

An EDL Buck says:
March 25, 2012 at 9:09 am
to quote a Scottish counciler, i forget his name but it was on a local talk radio station where he was asked about the tourcher of afgan tailiban and AQ. He drew in a breath and replied,
” If wiring up to a car battery to the genitals of a hundred taliban saves just one British servicemans’ life then all I can say is this.Red is positive, black is negative and make sure his balls are wet.”.
This is the only language they respect.


We also learned from Bonni that two-thirds of British Muslims believe "honour" violence is acceptable. This was in a post about a BBC Panorama programme, which said nothing of the kind (though this is what happens when you uncritically believe everything the
Daily Mail tells you)..

Oh, as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center being anti-American for opposing racism, the Anti-Defamation League are a bunch of Jewish traitors. For, you know, opposing anti-Semitism and all that. I guess they saw the "anti-sharia" law as the thin end of a wedge which would mean they'd have to abandon their own Beth Din courts.

Finally in this round-up, Bonni celebrates the attempted rape of an American "leftist" and the ongoing sexual harassment of Jews. Because nothing demonstrates one's moral superiority to those wicked woman-hating Muslims better than having a few political opponents sexually assaulted.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

You know you're on the right track when your opponents get this desperate

Since all the British tabloids (and even the Times, duly linked by the indefatigable Bare Naked Islam) have been publishing bollocks about George Galloway's supposed bigamy, this article makes it clear that - whatever one may think of his sexual morals - Rima Husseini, who is whining that he never divorced her, fails to mention that as far as UK law is concerned he never married her either. What Allah may have to say about it is one thing: Her Majesty's Government's position is dead simple. George Galloway MP has just married his third wife, legally.

You know the Murdoch press and the rest of the tabloids are getting desperate when they are not only reduced to using sex scandals to distract their readers from the real issues, but are reduced to inventing wholly bogus sex scandals for the purpose. What's up guys? Does nobody care about your six-year-old Big Brother clips any more?

Shooting fish in a barrel I know, but let's laugh at some Teapublican imbeciles

This post is just funny (anyone seriously imagining that President Obama would - for the first time in his presidency - do anything to upset the Israelis whose stooges control his government must need stronger medication). The comments, however, are very illuminating:

April 5, 2012 at 7:42 am
What ever happens, do not, repeat do not, trust the president of the Unites States. He is not and never has been a friend of Israels. We the people of the US will fight for and with you, Israel is our friend and ally, not the president of the US>

April 5, 2012 at 9:21 am
I cannot stand this scumbag any longer! How long before he is brought up on charges? He is evil!!! He is a Muslim and he hates Israel. What the heck kind of insanity are we living in where people constantly and consistently defend this S.O.B.!? He is dangerous, treasonous and treacherous!

April 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm
Ben Netanyahu AND the people of the State of Israel, I sincerely hope you have figured out by now that our traitotorous puke pretend Pres. cannot be trusted; he has already stated openly that should things get nasty politically that he “will come down on the side of the Muslims”!! GOD BLESS ISRAEL and the USA….And get that Traitor-in-Chief the hell out of office come November!…Sooner would be even better!

April 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm
I don’t know who I can stand the least; the moslem slime squatting in the White House, or all the filthy leftists who protect him.

Lock and Load
April 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm
This is the reason Sheriff Joe is not allowing a “monitor” in his office. NO ONE in the obama admin can be trusted. NO ONE !! They are all lying traitors to our democracy and our republic.

Yes, true patriots all, loathing their President becaise he happens to be of a different colour party, still persisting with the old lie that he's a Muslim, supporting Israel over the USA, and calling for the president to be overthrown before the election (which of course he's almost certain to win if polls can be trusted). So what happens when a real patriot shows up?

Van obrien
April 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm
May God punish you all foolish commentators. Obama is the best thing to have happenned to america in this decade. Stupid ingrates.


April 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm
Van, you are automatically banned for saying anything good about the Traitor-in-Chief.

Finally, I thought this was just adorable:

April 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm
Here’s one everyone missed When BO was talking with the live mic on. He this is my last election! What did he mean? He will not need any more elections? Martial law will work just fine? As the Caliph I will not need elections?
Just what did he mean?

Well, my guess is that unlike "ICE" President Obama realises that he will only have a chance of one more term as President so will only have one more stab at re-election. Gee, do these "American" "patriots" not even know how their own government works? (Of course they don't: they believe they have the right to throw out any elected president of whose colour views they disapprove, without bothering about niceties like elections.)

UPDATE: as far as Obama's relationsip with Israel is concerned, this is nearer the truth than BNI's rubbish.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

But however hateful he is, the dog will still love him

So in this post Pamela Geller quotes from a guy with an unidentified disability which requires the use of a service dog. This man was at first asked to leave a kebab restaurant when the proprietor saw his dog, but when he explained it was a service dog he was allowed to stay and was served.

So this is a story why?

Of course the reason Geller posts it is that the disabled guy is a crazed loon: not just Islamophobic, not just anti-Christian, but a murderous berserker with whom I wouldn't want to share a postcode, let alone a restaurant.

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherants about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

Do read the whole Loonwatch article: the comments make a heartening counterbalance to all the loons who try to pretend that Muslims ban guide dogs, or that they poison dogs

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Compare and Contrast

And BlairSupporter (Uncle Jimmy) here takes a throwaway line from The Sainted One and turns it into an attack on Hugh Grant and "facile" Richard Curtis (writer and director of Love Actually):

Tony Blair:
“My staff always wanted me to be more like Hugh Grant, but I didn’t quite make it.”

Yes, well Tony love, maybe that's because Hugh Grant wasn't responsible for over a million Iraqi deaths. Also, Hugh Grant may not be a brilliant actor but he's far better at his job than our disgraced and sacked ex-premier was at his. Unless of course you judge success in purely monetary terms, as Blair does.

“I know there’s a bit of us that would like me to do a Hugh Grant in Love Actually and tell America where to get off. But the difference between a good film and real life is that in real life there’s the next day, the next year, the next lifetime to contemplate the ruinous consequences of easy applause.

Yes, Tony, and the rest of us have had over a decade to contemplate the ruinous consequences of your going after easy applause from Likud and the Republican Party.

The other big difference between Blair and Grant is that you could never imagine Blair saying this, as Hugh Grant did when interviewed by Jay Leno just after being charged with "misdemeanour lewd conduct in a public place" with an LA prostitute:

"I think you know in life what's a good thing to do and what's a bad thing, and I did a bad thing. And there you have it."

Blair, on the other hand, has never apologised for any of his disastrous mistakes, probably because in his mind anything that makes him money is a Good Thing and therefore requires no further justification.

Kenneth Turan in the LA Times once wrote of Hugh Grant "If he'd been on the Titanic, fewer lives would have been lost. If he'd accompanied Robert Scott to the South Pole, the explorer would have lived to be 100. That's how good Hugh Grant is at rescuing doomed ventures." Can anyone imagine anything remotely similar being written about Blair, now or in the future? Fewer lives lost? People living longer? Doomed ventures being rescued instead of initiated?

Sadly this is fiction.

Sadly this is fact (though of course the script was a fiction).

George (and 18,341 Bradford West voters) gets it

While the mainstream media (and of course Uncle Jimmy, who loathes Galloway for having had the temerity to oppose Holy Blair's very own War On Imaginary WMDs) are enjoying their re-runs of george Galloway;ls appearance on Big Brother (a programme I am proud to say I have never watched deliberately, and never for more than ten seconds even by accident - and I don't intend to break my duck with GG), the landslide for George and for his anti-war party Respect)in the Bradford West by-election shows that the voters (if not any of the major parties) have no appetite for yet another media-led invasion of a country posing no threat to us whatsoever. (Uncle Jimmy, of course, is still desperately trying to pretend that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction which were just so cunningly concealed that no trace of them was ever found by an invading army which combed every inch of Iraq specifically to find them. Funny how in his long and distinguished political career, the only thing George Galloway ever said to which Jimmy attaches any credence is a throwaway line on Big Brother.)

UPDATE: to be fair to Jimmy, unlike his pal and fellow-American Bonni over at BareNakedIslam, he didn't feel the need to plaster an ad for the National Front over his anti-GG post.

Craig Murray at the Berlin Freedom of Expression Forum

Whenever I read or hear anything by Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan fired by Blair for criticizing our use of intellligence gained from Uzbek torture - not just because it was immoral, but because it was useless fake information (the kind you might well come out with as you were being boiled alive, or having your children mutilated in front of you) - whenever I encounter him I feel proud to be British and to share a nationality with him.

Here he is giving a speech at the Berlin Institute of Cultural Diplomacy's Freedom of Expression Forum, and being interviewed. Strangely, both videos vanished from the forum's site together, without explanation, and were replaced later (the speech now has a discontinuity at 42:50 which a ICD spokesperson blames on technical problems. Uh-huh. Ironic, eh?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Bonni at Bare Naked Islam whinges that discrimination on grounds of colour "appearance" is still illegal in Britain

Bonni, the racist fool at Bare Naked Islam has excelled herself. In her eagerness to support any kind of discrimination against Muslims (and anyone non-white) she adds these wondrous comments to a news report about someone illegally fired from a Vodafone shop because he had a beard.

Mr Saleem said: “Throughout the whole time [the store manager] was talking to me, he spoke to me condescendingly in public in front of a Vodafone employee, which completely demoralised and upset me as well as causing me distress. (Oh, Boo Hoo! You look like a terrorist)

“He did not mention anything at all about my clothes; he only stated that he did not want me working with him if I had a beard.” ”What [the store manager] did was blatant discrimination, and discrimination is this country is illegal, especially in regards to the work place.” (It isn’t discrimination when your appearance is frightening to customers)

Hmmm. Let's see. Here's Shahid Saleem, whose beard makes him "look like a terrorist".

And here are some Jews:

Wow. So observant Jews needn't expect to be welcomed in any shops frequented by Bonni (or her commenter Shaz, who writes "I sure as hell would NOT want THAT thing waiting on me! And since when do you need a beard for religious reason; oh that’s right you’re a ISLAMIST asslifter!") Of course, no Jew would expect to be welcomed by Bonni, a Holocaust denier who believes Hitler's trouble was that he was a left-wing promoter of homosexuality, that his crimes pale into insignificance beside the 9/11 attacks, and that all those Jews who died had only themselves to blame.

As for beards "frightening customers", she's clearly never heard of Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, or even Clive Sinclair.

Of course, to someone with Bonni's openly racist views (a few posts further down is one entitled "Don't Pakis know how to use knives and forks?", and another in which she describes the murder of Trayvon Martin as a "media-promoted questionable race crime") beards have some very bad associations indeed. This guy, for example:

or this one:

If you have a beard you're probably a Jew or a nigger-lover, and there's no room for you in Bonni's brave new world, where the Southern Poverty Law Center is accused of being anti-American (because nothing says USA better than a white sheet and a hood).

When one door closes, another opens. That's why it's so bloody draughty in here.

Today is officially my first day of unemployment, my voluntary severance from Lloyds Banking Group having taken effect on Saturday night. I thought it was nice of them to turn off the floodlights on the old Bank of Scotland Head Office on The Mound for an hour as a mark of their appreciation for my quarter-century of dedicated service, but then someone told me it wasn't for me after all. Bah.

I left with a decent package and can draw my pension immediately, but I'm going to try to pick up some contract work (folk tell me there's work about even for those like me who are the IT equivalent of steam locomotive firemen; plus I can also go for consultancy work on industrial relations, health & safety and such). The hope is that I can build up enough money doing contracts to fund the odd burst of overseas volunteering: a deferred gap year, if you will (nowadays gap years are a mosaic of gap months, and plenty of organisations are happy to take fifty- or even sixty-somethings). Today I began the process of signing on for Job Seekers' Allowance (and to get my details into the government system). At least it will spur me into finishing my CV.

This seems an appropriate musical clip, especially for an ex-banker making a fresh start.

Damn it, I love that film. I love this one too, but I'm not that desperate for work. Yet.

Meanwhile, there is always housework to do, lawns to mow, piles of stuff I have left lying around to be tidied away. Also ski gear to sort out: we're off to Courchevel on Saturday for a week.

Anyway, I like to think that I won't need to heed the cautionary advice on these skips near my old office any time soon.

Let There be Drums

You know your son is making progress as a drummer when he elects to play Frank Zappa's The Black Page for his performance exam. Here is Lucy Landymore playing it on her way to winning the percussion final of the 2010 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.

And just so you know what that looks like on paper:

However, Ruairidh intends to play both the drum solo (version #1) and group (#2) versions, so let's see Terry Bozzio (for whom it was written) and Steve Vai guesting with Zappa Plays Zappa:

And let's not forget the perils of music, as set out by FZ at the start of Joe's Garage, an album which garnered Vinnie Colaiuta the accolade of "Most Technically Advanced Drummer Ever" from Modern Drummer. Here he is, with Ed Mann on additional percussion, on surely the funkiest track Zappa ever penned.