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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I think this guy has just accused the God of the Christians of being a self-hating deity: a God In Name Only, perhaps?

In case anyone thought I was picking especially on English Nazis for ridicule in my recent post, here is an amazing video of American Christian extremists (I suppose we ought to call them "Christianists") disrupting the Dearborn Arab-American festival. The sight of supposed Christians howling that everyone but them is going to burn in hell is hardly a surprise, nor are the Islamophobic slogans: and one gets used to hearing these people accuse every passing woman of being a "hoe" (they all loathe women). But even I was taken aback by the guy who described the crucifixion as the wrath of God being visited upon Jesus.

For Bonni the Nazi now, racism has altogether ceased to exist.

Not content with repeating "What race is Islam?" like a stuck record even when Islam has nothing to do with the racism on display (as here), Bonni the Nazi at BareNakedIslam has now gone one better. When Socialist Worker commented on Oscar-winning film Argo (which I must confess I enjoyed and didn't feel stereotyped the Iranians overmuch) that it "panders to the worst racist stereotypes about the Iranian Revolution", Bonni's response was "What race are Iranians?"

I can add nothing to such a perfect display of drooling imbecility.

For he is an Englishman

In view of the constant support for the English Defence League by people like Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders and Bonni Benstock Intall (New York's noisiest Holocaust denier); and in view of the fact that what all these people have in common is that they don't live in Britain (and for the most part have never even visited, even if they're not banned for their neo-Nazi views): here is a piece of film which shows perfectly what thoughtful, well-disciplined, non-racist crusaders for the right to riot in shops and piss in people's front gardens they are.

Oh, and freedom of expression. Don't forget their crusade against intimidation of journalists by thugs (you know, the kind of people who threaten to slander journalists on Facebook). Important, that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

With parents like these, who needs terrorists?

Good old Fox News (though to be fair there have been similar reports all over the right-wing American media). Here is their report on a lesson given at Lumberton High School, TX.

I'll resrict myself to three points, as if I start weighing in to the level of parental bigotry on display here I'll find myself on a no-fly list before you can say "First Amendment".

Point One

Nobody appears to have asked the girls who (voluntarily) dressed up in various degrees of Islamic head covering how they felt about the experience. I doubt the one in just a hijab had too many negative thoughts, and maybe neither did the one on a hijab and a black robe, but I would live to hear what girls 1, 2 and 5 in the picture thought of their niqab or full-on burqa experience. Suppose they hated every moment (and let's face it, the average Western teenager donning a burqa for the first time is likely to find it a very restrictive garment indeed)? Would the parents, senator and other busybodies feel that the lesson had taught their children nothing of value about the experience of womanhood in Islamic countries? So why is this all being, er, covered up?

Point Two

It's clear from the whiteboard in the photograph that both Christianity and Judaism had been discussed in class along with Islam. "The parents said Christianity was not discussed in the classroom." Well then, the parents are fucking liars whose literacy skills are not up to realising that their lies have been laid out for all to see. (Oh, damn, the no-fly list. Sorry.)

“Islam is not a country. Islam is not a continent”, said another genius parent. But Egypt is, numbnuts: "...students were exposed to a story that blamed Egypt’s turmoil on democracy – rather than the Muslim Brotherhood."

Perhaps inbreeding and cousin marriage are to blame for this outbreak of Texan stupidity.....oops, there I go again.

Point Three

"They were also assigned to write an essay based on a Washington Post story that blamed Egypt’s troubles on democracy – instead of the Muslim Brotherhood."

Strange to relate, not one of the reports of this story gives a reference, a hyperlink or even a date and author for this mythical Washington Post article. If you Google "Washington Post" + "Egypt" + "democracy" you will find several articles saying that Egypt needs more democracy, but none suggesting that it has caused any problems.

And the suggestion that the pupils were told to call Muslim terrorists "freedom fighters" isn't backed up by a single piece of evidence either. Which didn't deter Bonni the Hitler fan when she came to post on the story: she simply inserted a picture of a whiteboard from somewhere else altogether on terrorists and freedom fighters in Latin America. (Maybe if she'd paid more attention in her own geography lessons she would know that Shining Path were Peruvian terrorists, and that Che Guevara was from Argentina and best known for his work in Cuba. And that none of those countries has a significant Muslim population.)

Of course, the story is only "news" in the extreme right-wing press and blogosphere. Presumably no reputable organ has run with the story because it's a tissue of lies being pushed by the Islamophobia industry with the ignorant acquiescence of Harper Valley PTA busybodies.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dan Paris: It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done

This is a speech by Dan Paris from the Glasgow University Independence Referendum debate.

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Those are the words of the great Nelson Mandela.

We stand at the brink of a new beginning. I’m excited to be part of a generation of Scots – those who were born here, and those who pay us the privilege of adopting it as their home – who will define the future of our nation.

There is no doubt that Scotland could survive as an independent country – not even the leaders of the No campaign would argue that case anymore. They have moved on from the argument that Scotland is ‘too wee, too poor and too stupid’ as, frankly, nobody bought it. Instead we now hear that ‘of course Scotland could be independent… but you’re no very big, you’re no very rich, and you’re no very smart…’

I do not doubt that those who disagree with me sincerely want the best for Scotland. But the portrait of modern Britain painted by those who claim we are ‘Better Together’ seems to bare very little relationship with reality. You may have spotted a few t-shirts on campus bearing the No campaign’s slogan, ‘UK OK’. Presumably, we are expected to accept ‘OK’ as good enough.

But really: is the 4th highest level of inequality in the developed world ‘OK’? Are illegal wars ‘OK’? Is it ‘OK’ to force families out of their homes with the bedroom tax, or is it ‘OK’ to force the unemployed to stack shelves in Poundland without pay? Is it ‘OK’ that thousands die because, in energy rich Scotland, they are too poor to heat their homes? Is it ‘OK’ that more and more families are forced to rely on foodbanks to feed their children? Is it ‘OK’ that welfare reforms will push one third of Scottish homes into poverty? Is it ‘OK’ that our generation no longer expect to have a better standard of living than their parents enjoyed? David Cameron was elected by telling us that ‘Britain is broken’. Now he tells us Scotland must stay because ‘Britain works’. This is a story of managed decline: ‘Great Britain’ has been replaced by an ‘OK UK’.

Instead of vision, the dependence campaign give us fear. We’ve been told that if Scotland becomes independent, England may be forced to bomb our airports. It is insisted, without explanation, that profitable businesses will simply cease trading across these islands. We are told that we would become international pariahs, left outside of global institutions, isolated and alone in a scary old world. We are told that MI5 might have betrayed Libyan dissidents to Gaddafi, but those same people would naturally refuse to share intelligence with Scotland, because after all, how could they trust us? This attitude is best summed up on a leaflet produced by Ian Davidson MP, which stated that independence offers ‘doom and gloom’.

Becoming independent is a perfectly normal process. To imply that Scotland is uniquely incapable of doing so is beyond ridiculous.

If we want to have a serious discussion about our future, it is up to both sides of this debate to acknowledge that for far too many, life is far too hard, and to offer a vision for a better tomorrow. Yet the No campaign are only able to offer a nostalgic glance to the past, the Britain celebrated by Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony, the Britain which has been steadily eroded by successive Westminster governments.

The argument often made is that the coalition government might be bad, but why should we leave England to deal with it? Instead, we are told, we should simply wait until the next election and vote for the candidate in the red rosette. I believe there is a better way than choosing between red and blue in a two-party system where the only constituency that matters are the swing-voters in the wealthy South-East. The case for independence is not simply about disliking this particular government. It is about the ineffectiveness of a distant Parliament which has not been fulfilling Scotland’s potential. It is the idea that we can build a better country but only if we have the powers to do so, and that the structures of Westminster will never deliver the change we need, regardless of which Party is in government. And what price? What price to ensure that Scotland always gets the government that it votes for, and that Scotland’s government has the powers of any normal independent country? When the UK treasury give their worst-case scenario, they claim that independence might cost each Scot a huge £1 per year. Well I, for one, would gladly pay my £1 to have the opportunity to build a better nation.

I long to live in a country in which everyone has the opportunity to meet their potential; where the right to free education and a public health service are raised as progressive beacons; where the divide between the haves and the have-nots is actively challenged; where struggling families are not punished by the government for the mistakes of others; where we uphold the ideals of peace and justice abroad, and of opportunity and community at home.

The skeptics amongst you may ask, and perfectly reasonably, why changing the centre of government would cause Scotland to improve so greatly. The truth is, there is nothing inevitable about this. Nobody is claiming that an independent Scotland would be without its flaws. All countries will have their issues, and all governments will make mistakes. But remember, this is not the first time the people of Scotland have debated their constitutional future. Scotland voted for an Assembly in 1979, when their democratic wishes were ignored, and then for a Parliament in 1997.

These same questions were asked then, the same fears peddled, the same warnings given. Yet devolution has given a glimpse of what we can do differently. First, Scotland voted on the principle that we should have our own parliament; then, we voted for those who we trusted to govern. And Holyrood has protected free education; it has delivered world-leading climate change legislation; worked to abolish homelessness; seen crime at a 30-year low; delivered free personal care for the elderly; and scrapped prescription charges for all. All decisions which have benefitted ordinary Scots; all decisions made here in Scotland; and all entirely unpredictable before devolution happened.

The point is that while we don’t know precisely what independence will bring, we trust the people of Scotland to make those decisions and to work towards a better nation. We don’t know the specific policies of an independent government any more than we know the precise agenda of the next Westminster government. But in 1997, Scotland took the brave step towards Home Rule because Scots had experienced the alternative. They had experienced the brutal reality of a Conservative government which they had consistently rejected in the polls. They had witnessed their industrial heart torn out, they suffered first under the hated poll tax, and community after community were abandoned by the very state in which they had invested their faith.

The people knew then, instinctively, that a Scottish Parliament would be better. Not perfect, but more suited to the needs of our country. And they were right. Polls show that Scots trust Holyrood much more than they trust Westminster. Overwhelmingly, the public want more power here, not less. And why should they be satisfied with the status quo? In a country where already too many live with too little, Westminster welfare reforms are set to push even more Scots into poverty – welfare reforms rejected overwhelmingly by the elected representatives of the Scottish people. Why should this be when we live in one of the richest countries on the planet, wealthy beyond belief in resources and human potential? And how can we expect any different from a distant government, with a cabinet of millionaires, and a parliament of privileged Oxbridge graduates?

The exciting thing about independence is not the event itself, but the opportunity that it brings. The opportunity to imagine a better world; to ask ourselves what sort of society do we wish to live in, and how do we get there?

The evidence is clear: if you want a high standard of living and an equal and prosperous society, live in a small nation. A glance across the North Sea to our Nordic neighbours shows that small can truly be beautiful. Norway and Sweden are consistently ranked as the best places to live on the planet. The more unimaginative of Unionists might point to Ireland or Iceland as examples of the fate that could befall an independent Scotland. Never mind that Iceland’s economic recovery has outshone our own. All this shows is that small countries, like big countries, can make bad decisions. But Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Austria or Finland all have higher standards of living than the UK – what advantage do they hold over Scotland that makes this inevitable? They have no such advantage, other than the ability to set their priorities not on the needs of a large, disparate population, but based on the needs of a small country.

The Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz agrees, arguing that Britain is now so unequal that it is actually harmful to growth and prosperity; and that the only way for Scotland to tackle this is to have the economic powers that independence brings.

The No campaign try to paint this question as a choice between uncertainty and stability. But the future is always unwritten. Our choice is not simply between continuity and change, but between two diverging paths – a fork in the road

To have an economy skewed towards the interests of big finance in the City of London, or to work to build a sustainable economy based on our own natural strengths.

To have Europe’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons kept a short drive from our biggest city, or to take a leading role in working towards a world with no weapons of mass destruction.

To see Scotland’s sons and daughters continue to be sent to fight in illegal wars at America’s whim, or to join the family of nations as a partner for peace and stability.

To see our Prime Minister on glitzy tours of the Middle East, ensuring that those brutal dictatorships which are our ‘allies’ this week are armed to the teeth with British weapons, or to contribute to the world with an ethical foreign policy.

To have an unelected House of Lords and a government without support or mandate in Scotland, or a modern, proportional Parliament where coalition and minority government is the norm and consensus politics can be a realistic goal.

To accept that widespread poverty is inevitable and that we live in a ‘something for nothing’ country, or to reject this and demand that the most vulnerable will not be made to pay for a crisis they did not create.

You may ask: why does constitutional change matter when there are much greater problems facing us? But when we talk about the constitution what we’re discussing is the power to make decisions: WHO makes decisions and HOW. And that matters because the decisions that are made by our government affect each and every one of us.

If you believe, like I do, that we as a nation can aspire to be better, then surely you can also accept that those best placed to deliver that better nation are those who live amongst us, and not a distant elite? Surely you can accept that basic principle that democracy works better when it is closer to home?

The late Jimmy Reid famously spoke at this very University about alienation, defining it as ‘the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making.’ You may ask what an independent Scotland offers to the pensioner in Partick, the refugee in Govanhill, or the single-mother in Pollokshields. The answer is that independence, in of itself, does not necessarily improve the lives of any of these people. But by bringing the power to make decisions closer to our people, it is reasonable to expect those decisions to better reflect our needs and aspirations.

And what if it doesn’t, you might ask? What if an independent Scotland sees politics as usual, with our social problems left unchallenged and complacency by our leaders? To that point I would issue you a challenge. Imagine the Scotland that you wish to live in. The society you desire. The change you wish to see in the world. And then ask: would it be easier to achieve this change in a country of 5 million or in a country of 60 million? Is it easier to envisage that change happening in the imperfect, but modern and proportional parliament in Holyrood or in the archaic, undemocratic structures of Westminster?

I am reminded of the environmentalist slogan, ‘Think global, act local’. The world is led by good example – improve your street, or your town, or your country, and hope that the good that we do inspires change elsewhere. The philosopher Voltaire said that “We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation”. Small countries can have a big impact. Small can be beautiful.

The writer Alasdair Gray famously instructed us to ‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation’. But when he recently painted the mural at Hillhead underground, he tweaked this: it reads ‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better world’. These two ideas go hand in hand. There is nothing narrow or parochial about believing in our ability to do better; no shame in a faith in a better world to come.

It always seems impossible until it is done.

There is a better future, and great things start with ‘Yes’.

Dan Paris
National Collective

Spot the democracy: harder than you'd think

Appearing on Britain's Got Talent or American Idol can earn you ridicule in Britain or the US, but in some places the consequences can be far worse.

A few things to note from that article. First and most obvious is that - as it makes plain - Islam has nothing to do with the persecution of the singers from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia or Kashmir: there is nothing in Islam which prohibits music (which is why there are thousands of famous Muslim musicians all around the world). Nor of course is there any such prohibition in the Torah (hence all those famous Jewish violinists), but that doesn't stop Jewish fanatics (at least in Israel, where the state allows them to get away with it) from trying to stamp it out. The problem isn't the religions themselves, it's a system that puts sexist, moronic bullies into positions of authority. When the key to political advancement is religious extremism, this is what you get.

And note also the carefully-phrased "Lethal violence against a woman for singing in public would not be tolerated in Israel". Less-than lethal violence, of course, is dished out all the time to girls for such dreadful crimes as "having short hair", "going to school", "using the Internet", "walking with boys" and "not being covered from head to foot in black".

But somehow death threats are only "lethal violence" for the American media when Muslims issue them. This article is right: there is a sickening double standard when it comes to Israel.


I don't normally bother reposting cute animal videos from Facebook, but this one does seem particularly jolly.

New traffic hazards in Edinburgh

Well, my son passed his driving test today (at the third attempt). He hadn't shown any special desire to learn but a year or so back we insisted, as ferrying around a drummer with all his gear is a bit more of a chore than giving lifts to a guitarist or saxophonist. And eventually...he can drive. He drove me home from work and it wasn't at all nerve-wracking.

The building I work in is visible just behind Ruairidh's head in the picture. Also in the neighbourhood is a new branch (the first in Scotland) of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which is currently their second-busiest branch in the world. Certainly the queues for the drive-through have made the traffic news most nights (tailing back around a mile at worst!) So it was hardly surprising that R decided to take his girlfriend for a celebratory doughnut immediately after passing.

Anyway, there we are: a family of drivers (at least, when the DVLA gets around to my relicensing which is "in a queue"). Congratulations, son.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 30

Day 30 - a song you never get tired of, no matter how many times you hear it

I admit Håkan Hemlin's voice is a bit of an acquired taste, but you must admit the accompaniment kicks serious ass.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

That old blood libel got me in its spell, that old blood libel that we know so well

Walid Shoebat, fake ex-terrorist, and his son (who doesn't even pretend to have done anything with his life except be a hate preacher) have identified a sad omission in the Islamophobic rubbish being pumped out by the hate industry. Nobody has tried to suggest that Muslims are cannibals. Well, hardly anyone: Uncle Jimmy aka Blair Supporter gave it a go, and a racist in the Lancashire police tried faking "evidence" for it, but nobody with the kind of bottomless funding today's professional Islamophobes can command.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and Moonbat & Shoebomber abhor a missed money-making scam. Here is their blood libel.

Now I don't suppose one Islamophobe in ten thousand will read any further than the headline: they'll see that one of the darlings of the Islamophobia industry says it, someone who gets interviewed on Fox News, so it must be true. Well, the first part of their "evidence" is a video clip of an un-named "Egyptian scholar" reading out quotations from an un-named book which we are told is part of Egypt's high school curriculum. The video comes from the Youtube channel (Eretz Zen channel) which purportedly originates with a Syrian supporter of the Assad regime and hater of Islam (so a good well-balanced source then). The only references to al-Azhar university and cannibalism anywhere on the web are links to this video.

Then the Bombbats quote an "Islamic authority". First they cite a lengthy passage which proves that the eating of human flesh, like any other foodstuff forbidden to Muslims, is permitted if there is no other way to avoid starving to death. You can eat a dead man if the alternative is joining him. Nowhere in the text they cite does it suggest any other context for cannibalism, and nowhere does it condone killing of any kind. But then they cite a dissenting opinion, one "al-Shafie" whom they say is considered to be the founder of Islamic jurisprudence. In the text they cite he is referred to as "el-Shefie", but it matters not which spelling you use, there are no references to this supposed huge authority anywhere on the web except in the article they are quoting from. In other words, he's a fake, introduced with the intention of proving black to be white and a Qu'ranic prohibition on the eating of human flesh unless you're dying of hunger to be an exhortation to kill and eat infidels.

So here's the technique, kiddies. You get a government-funded TV channel to film a fake "interview" with a fake "Islamic scholar" in which he denounces a fake "textbook" as advocating the killing and eating of non-Muslims. You make sure none of the partipants' names appears anywhere, and neither does the title of the "textbook". Then you fake a learned article on the passage in the Qu'ran which qualifies the ban on the eating of human flesh (or anything else which simply died, such as roadkill) by allowing it if it's the only way to stay alive. You then add a fake commentary, from another fake scholar, on this genuine Qu'ranic passage to the effect that what it really means is that enemy fighters or adulterers may be killed and eaten. Finally, you find some random blogger who comments that of course all Muslims view all non-Muslims as enemy fighters and adulterers. This blogger, called "Nahed", doesn't even bother with fake "Islamic scholar" credentials. Instead he says "I challenge any person who denies what I said, as by the grace of God, I have all the references which I got this information from." No such references are provided, of course. We just have to accept that they exist and are genuine. Just like all the other fakes dragged in as "evidence" by the Moontwats.

After that, all you have to do is keep on pumping out videos about Muslim cannibalism for your paid shills to distribute. You don't need to provide any evidence, because you've already "proved" it.

In exactly the same way, nobody bothered to fact-check the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, because trustworthy people vouched for them. After that, all you had to do to "prove" that Jews murdered Christian babies and drank their blood was to cite the Protocols. Job done.

Of course, nobody would be stupid enough to fall for that kind of vile lie nowadays, would they?

What "race" is genocide-supporting antisemitic New York creep?

Had to laugh at this. Senator John McCain recently called the President of Iran a monkey. Bonni the racist loon loves this, of course. But what is her headline?

So, what’s ‘racist’ about calling Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a ‘monkey?’ What ‘race’ is Islam?

And what has calling him a monkey got to do with Islam? Honestly, Bonni has grown so used to parroting what-race-is-Islam whenever she's called on her comments that she now seriously believes that hating Muslims is a guaranteed defence against any kind of racist remark whatsoever. Coming soon: the "What race is Islam?" defence when she calls Jews rats.

Bonni is happy to support any passing racists. Not just this guy, but even worse. Under a post on "Minnesotastan" we find these comments (and let me remind you that Bonni is happy to hurl abuse at any commenter she disagrees with, or even ban them outright, such is her commitment to freedom of expression):

We don’t want you here. Go back to where you came from. Stop leeching off our tax dollars. Go make your own country a better place to live.

Somalis have a generally low national IQ of only 70! This is a result of inbreeding after 50 generations of marrying their FIRST COUSIN!

Why do all these rat bastard somalis look alike wtf is going on ugly horse mouthed pigs.

They are not “Black”. They are aliens. Their color should make no difference. AS for the Africans, they should spent more time being Americans and less time being intentionally Black. They will lose against the ragheads as long as they insist that THEY are the poor, downtrodden minority demanding special favors and treatment. Be American!

And in this post (on an attack which does seem to have been pretty shocking) Bonni clearly doesn't consder it racist to call someone a "fucking dirty Arab". (Though the potty-mouthed antisemite who loves nothing better than to post pictures of mutilated corpses can't bring herself to write the word "fuck". You know, as in "fuck you, you Hitler-loving windbag".)

As an aside, a commenter ("masteradrian") under that post claims (erroneously) that Pope Benedict (or "ex-Benedict" as we should now call him) claimed to have been a "proud member" of the Hitler Youth. So far, so dumb: but BNI regular "ADHD" just can't resist wading in with 'Absolutely EVERY LAST SINGLE German child HAD TO BE a member of the “Hitlerjugend” during 1933-45!!!' Never mind the fact that membership only became mandatory in 1936: "absolutely every last single German child"? What, including the Jews? Hitler only wanted Aryans: but to ADHD, Aryan and German are ABSOLUTELY the same thing. Revealing, much?

Of course, not being a proud member of the Hitler Youth doesn't stop Benedict from having Nazi sympathies. How else to explain his reversal of the excommunication of this guy, kicked out by his predecessor?

Oh the songs pour down like silver

And having just posted (as a drive-by in day 29 my 30-Day Song Challenge) Richard Thompson doing a cover version of Shoukichi Kina, here is surely the best ever cover version of a Richard Thompson song. From a Richard Thompson tribute album The World Is A Wonderful Place, it's Night Comes In from Full Moon Fair featuring Ngoc Lam on danh tranh and Henry Kaiser on guitar.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 29

Day 29 - a song you like by a band or artist that isn't from North America, Europe or Australia

Eschewing the usual suspects from India or the various bits of Africa, we take you now to Okinawa, whose biggest pop star is a chap called Shoukichi Kina (and his band Champloose). Richard Thompson has covered his biggest hit (Hai Sai Oji-San), but here is his other best-known number. Well, in Okinawa anyway.

And because I love cover versions, here is a group from Madagascar (one of those usual suspects, in fact) doing their version (this is the version I heard first, in fact).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Life through a (distorting) lens

Here - right here - is the best example you will ever see of Fox News's hypocrisy. They mouth off about a Saudi guy who tried to give Rudy Giuliani $10 million after 9/11 (he gave it back of course: what the hell could he do with $10 million? spend it on the families of rescuers killed in the Twin Towers? on poor people? on buying his firefighters radios which worked? come ON... he probably never even considered using it for anything but re-election, and accepting funds for that from a Muslim would be bad for the image), who funded the "Ground Zero Mosque" and who funds "radical madrassas". They are, however, perfectly happy for this same "radical" Saudi prince to fund Fox News, in which he is the second biggest shareholder. Trying to build mosques, or to fund the rebuilding of Manhattan: that shows how wicked he is. Funding the racist bigots at Fox - yum, yum, give me more of your filthy Muslim cheques.

Oh, incidentally, the "Ground Zero Mosque" that Pamela Geller, Bonni the BareNakedHolocaustDenier and all the other loons are still crowing about having defeated? It was never going to be a mosque of course, or at Ground Zero, but an Islamic Cultural Centre two blocks away: and THAT opened over a year ago, with no fuss whatsoever (presumably becase the loons didn't want to trumpet their pointlessness). Indeed, it opened about a week before the interview with Pamela Geller I linked there, and just a couple of weeks after Bonni's rant: that's how much attention these people pay to what's actually going on in New York rather than in their Nuremburg rally of the mind. Maybe that's why they haven't been running bus advertisements abut the wickedness of allowing women in New York to be treated as second-class citizens for religious reasons: too busy making up imaginary evils to be bothered with real ones.

Well, if they can call Obama a Marxist they clearly have their left-right calibration a bit off

This has been the way American politics has looked to people in Britain (and the rest of Europe) for as long as I can remember. Good to know that some Americans see it the same way.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 28

Day 28 - a song you like by a band or artist you first discovered in the past year

I'd never heard of the Chaplins until I saw them supporting Runrig just before Christmas. Which, coincidentally, is where and when this clip was filmed.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 27

Day 27 - a song you think would be an effective instrument of torture

Oh, I don't just think, I know: I saw her do it live (Manchester, 1974) and it was the longest hundred (OK then, ten) minutes of my life. Which is funny, because I like Nico and I like the Doors. Mind you, I like armadillos and I like Beethoven piano sonatas, if you see what I mean.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 26

Day 26 - a song by a band or artist you'd like to have dinner with

I've just finished reading Lulu's autobiography, and I suspect she'd be really interesting to talk to for an evening, as well as really good company. The fact that I've fancied her rotten ever since I had hormones doesn't hurt either.

Oh, and she can still sing.

Nei Diamond & Lulu - The Boat That I Row... by Saklas

The H is silent

It's not always easy to find American TV sketches viewable in the UK (we miss out on most of Jon Stewart, for example). But here (until someone takes it down) is Christoph Waltz on Saturday Night Live recently. It was worth waiting for.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Get thee behind me

Imagine if the followers of a particular religion believed that women were second-class human beings who should be kept in their place and not permitted to mix with males.

Imagine if this religion's adherents demanded segregated seating for women at a major American sporting venue for a concert given by their co-religionists.

Imagine if the venue agreed to provide such gender-segregated seating.

Imagine if the concert organisers described this provision as helpful in marketing the concert to the religious community who otherwise tend to keep to themselves and not mix with other folk.

Imagine if the venue, whose food stands already cater for the dietary restrictions (involving ritual slaughter) of this religion, announced that they would be increasing such prvision for the concert.

Imagine if all the major media and ticket sellers promoted the concert but made no mention of the seating arrangements.

The reality is everything you imagined.

Will we now be seeing calls for a boycott of Barclays Bank (they'll be used to that)? Or of the Brooklyn Nets? Will there be crowds outside the concert protesting that the venue has caved in to demands for the subjugation of women from a religion that makes its women wear bags on their heads? That it should not be increasing the provision of meat slaughtered by bleeding to death? Will there be a campaign launched against "creeping halacha law"?

Maybe this should be their campaign song:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 25

Day 25 - a great song to work out to

Not only a great song for the treadmill or stepper, but it contains the inspiring quote from the Revd Jim Jones - which I want on a T-shirt - to the effect that "This place would be a paradise tomorrow if every classroom had a supervisor with a sub-machine-gun". Magnificent.

Monday, February 18, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 24

Day 24 - a song by the sexiest artist you know

No commentary necessary!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hey Joe

... not sure if you noticed, but I sent you an email back on 12 Feb (to the joetheprogrammer address in your profile) listing when we'll be in Vegas (hotel now booked) and giving you my normal email address, phone numbers etc.  If you reply we can keep in touch without the whole world watching (like Smith's and Jones's pardons - do you remember that series? - it will be our little secret).

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 23

Day 23 - a song that makes you think of family

I spent my teenage years (and a few before them) being taken to concerts by my big brother Martin (who I'm sure viewed me as a kind of Eliza Doolitle to his Henry Higgins when it came to jazz, blues, folk and the weirder fringes of rock). As a result, I saw all kinds of artists most kids of my age had scarcely heard of. So I could post something here by Dave Brubeck, or Stan Getz; or by the Incredible String Band, or Doc Watson; or by Ravi Shankar, or Simon and Garfunkel; or the Beach Boys, or the Mothers of Invention. I could post this which was the 86-year-old Artur Rubinstein's ninth (!) encore after a long recital of Schubert, Chopin and Schumann. I could certainly post anything from Dylan's concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall on 17 May 1966, which became one of the most famous concerts of the century because of the famous "Judas" heckler (not me, honest, I was only ten!) (Though the pieces that made the biggest impression were "Visions of Johanna" and "Just Like A Woman" which I was hearing for the first time.)

But I'm going to choose the time he hauled me away early from a local Christmas fair so we could get the train through to Liverpool and see Delaney and Bonnie: line-up as per the video, including both Eric Clapton (on a Les Paul) and George Harrison trying to blend into the scenery.

Martin died three years ago next Wednesday.

An author who cares about books, and one who cares only about money

I recently read this unpleasant article by Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories series. I found my breath quite taken away. Between 2000 and 2009 Terry Deary sold books to a total value of £21.6 million. Authors typically make around 10% of net sales, so be charitable and say he made 5% of that: £1.08 million over ten years, so £108,000 a year minimum from book sales. so Deary is hardly a struggling author. "Booksellers, authors and publishers need to eat", he reminds us. Indeed they do, and while 108 grand a year doesn't put him in isn't in the same league as JK Rowling (or probably our other local literary celebs Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin) he's unlikely to be reduced to living off tins of dogfood, or even non-vintage champagne.

Yet this greedy little nonentity (one of the most-borrowed authors too, hence making the most of library lending rights as well) believes libraries have been rendered irrelevant by compulsory education. In fact, to judge from this letter it's Deary's slapdash attitude to facts which compulsory edication has rendered irrelevant.

Compare and contrast a real struggling author, Clare Sudbery (whose secret identity - but which is Bruce Wayne and which Batman? - also gave us this). Clare (along with her son) has been taking part in protests and an occupation to protest council plans to close her local library. And this is despite the fact that none of the Manchester libraries contains either of her books. (They have 245 copies of Terry Deary's though.)

Go Clare!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 22

Day 22: A song by the most over-rated band or artist you can think of

Well it's obvious which band I should pick, but which song? This one is described on a fan page thus:

"Every aspect of this song is head and shoulders above all expectations. The intro is one of the best intros in all of music. The theme is so intense that it can make you become spiritual. The beautiful blend of keyboards, guitars, cymbals, and everything else flow together as if they were placed together by God himself. "

When I listen to it, I hear a cod-Floyd keyboard-noodling intro, but instead of bursting forth into something like "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" it gives way to the band's trademark rinky-tink computer-assisted guitar sound, like an iPhone ringtone sampled by Steve Reich. After a few lines of inchoate shouting the vocals begin to be (I was about to write comprehensible, but they're pretentious tosh) discernible, if you can be bothered. I've never quite made it to the end of the track before giving up and doing something more worthwhile.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Where The Millionaires Have No Talent

Friday, February 15, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 21

Day 21 - a song by a band or artist that has never achieved the level of fame they deserve.

How different history might have been if the BBC hadn't taken one look at the title of this song, assumed the song was about drugs, and banned it. read all about it here.

When I was at school, and later as a student, I played in the Middlewood Swamp Band, a sort of jug band featuring me, my brother, Joe Beard (of Bowyer/Beard in the Purple Gang credits) and a floating roster of other people from our local folk club. The first piece I ever learned with them was this one, from that same Purple Gang album:

By the end of which I knew what a Dorian mode was.....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

People who really stand up for the American Way of Life - God Bless 'Em!

Here is a heart-warming story from Texas, proving once and for all for the rest of the world that not everybody in red states is bigoted. (And that they're more likely to take a stand against hatred than their supposedly more liberal contrymen from New York.)

Happy Valentine's Day to all my gay and lesbian friends.

Roses are red / Violets are blue / And Nazis as usual / Are lying to you

Bonni the Hitler supporter is concerned (bless her cotton socks) over the reluctance of Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to celebrate Valentine's Day.

For some strange reason she omits to mention the equally threatening line taken by Hindu extremists against anyone celebrating this decadent Western festival.

Nor does she mention that quite apart from the thousands of folk of all religions and none who simply view the whole affair as a commercial fraud promoted by the greetings card industry, there are many Christians who object deeply (though generally peacefully) to the celebration of a co-opted pagan festival (Lupercalia).

And of course she doesn't mention that although Valentine's day is officially discouraged in Iran, nobody gives a toss. (See also here.)

In our household we exchanged cards and we had a nice meal with a bottle of Cava. Why not? We're not Puritans.

Bonni finds something nice to say about Britain

According to Bonni the Holocaust denier at at BareNakedIslam, London will look like Islamabad in 50 years.

Bring it on!

Now if London would be like Tel Aviv (still, as ever, Israel's capital) - a cesspool run by the military - in 50 years' time, I'd be worrying.

Actually I've never had the slightest desire to visit either NZ or Australia so this fool doesn't worry me much

Remind me again why any sane person would want to visit New Zealand?

(Prosser) denied he was being racist. “It is a religion, not a race.” Uh-huh. So. Mr Prosser, when you say “If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines”, what religion is "looks-like-a-Muslim"? What religion is "comes-from-a-Muslim-country"? What religion, indeed, is "misogynist-troglodyte-from-Wogistan"?

I think all Western airlines should immediately ban Prosser from travelling. That way we really would all be a little bit safer. (Certainly safer than on any El Al flight: no airline which admits it has people with guns in the cabin of every international flight is ever getting any of my business. And certainly not one that pays more attention to keeping brown people off its aircraft than it does to keeping the engines on them.)

A reason for every prohibition......

A joke I heard on the BBC's Old Jews Telling Jokes and rather liked:

A gentile falls in love with an orthodox Jewish girl and asks her to marry him. Before the wedding he visits the rabbi to get tuition on Jewish customs and how he must behave at the wedding.

The rabbi explains that during the ceremony the men and women pray separately. Then the man asks 'Will I be able to sit with my wife at the meal afterwards?' The rabbi say that no, the men and the women eat separately.

'So will I be able to dance with my wife at the celebration?' No, says the rabbi, men and women are forbidden to dance with each other: the men dance with men, and the women dance woth women.

Then the rabbi asks if he has any more intimate questions about marriage.

'Well, sexual positions, rabbi. Is the missionary position allowed?'

'Well we don't call it that, but it's fine.'

'How about with the woman on top?'

'A little bit modern, but it's OK.'

'Doggy style?'

'Kinky, but fine.'

'So what about standing up?'

'Absolutely not: that could lead to dancing!'

Happy Valentine's Day

And now, some ingenious classical music humour

A friend of mine linked to these wonderful clips on Facebook.

Don't try this at home:

And I'd heard a recording of this piece before and not really seen the point of it: you definitely need to see it as well as hear it. I'm surprised it doesn't get done more often - it's a hoot. Maybe folk see the name "Cathy Berberian" (who used to be renowned for singing difficult modern stuff), or take one look at the graphic notation, and run for the hills. Whereas in fact it shows rather nicely that something which on paper looks as weird as hell is actually both very ingenious and very funny.

The US Army: winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan

When you read this, it takes an effort to remember why there are US forces in Afghanistan at all. Remember? That business where a bunch of Arab guys killed a lot of innocent civilians? I guess Osama bin Laden felt that he'd "opened his aperture" when he watched the WTC collapse.
Some US military officials are unhappy about the criticism they receive when Afghan children are killed or injured because of US military operations, claiming that insurgents recruit children to plant bombs, so killing children is actually fair game.

"It kind of opens our aperture," said Army Lt Col Marion Carrington. "In addition to looking for military-age males, it's looking for children with potentially hostile intent."
You can certainly see why the Taliban have so much local support when it comes to opening apertures in American soldiers.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 20

Day 20 - a song that could easily have been written about your life

Perhaps not in every detail, but the general sentiment fits.

Je Commence Demain

Faudrai que j'me cloture
Faudrai que j'coupe du bois
Que j'me mette un costume
Et que je marche plus droit
Faudrai que j'devienne plus sage
Que j'sois plus raisonnable à mon âge
j'sais bien, j'sais bien, j'sais bien
Je commence demain

Faudrai que j'quitte la route
Et que j'pose ma guitare
Faudrai que j'les écoute
Avant qu'il soit trop tard
Faudrai que j'devienne plus sage
Que j'sois plus raisonnable à mon âge
J'sais bien, j'sais bien, j'sais bien
Je commence demain

Faudrai que j'trouve une femme
Une gentille, une "maman"
Faudrai que j'quitte ces dames
Qui m'font rougir le sang
Faudrai que j'devienne plus sage
Que j'sois plus raisonnable à mon âge
J'sais bien, j'sais bien, j'sais bien
Je commence demain

Faudrai que je t'oublie.....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 19

Day 19 - a song you used to love, but that you've now outgrown

Now this IS a challenge, because Rob, he don't DO outgrowing, at least not when it comes to music. So I shall pos insteadt a song that perhaps I should have outgrown but haven't. This one, for example. Far from outgrowing it, after about 45 years I hunted it down (it's the B side of "Court of King Caractacus") and bought it (45 rpm vinyl original). And why wouldn't I? Hell, maybe it's what inspired my lifelong interest in Health & Safety.

PS: I haven't outgrown "Caractacus" either.

Flares - better in trousers than ceilings

And did anyone else notice that "Funky Claude", immortalised in the lyrics of Smoke On The Water, if not in real life, died a couple of weeks ago?

If you fall off a chairlift and lose consciousness do you become Pomatose?

We're in Ballater at the moment, and Hilary had vaguely wondered about nipping over to the Lecht (the nearest ski area) today for an afternoon skiing. (I don't much care for skiing in Scotland myself: bad combinations of weather, visibility and snow conditions all too often. But Hilary has the bug seriously.) In the end we went for a walk instead: good call as you will see from this report.

Our god-daughter is a ski instructor at Glenshee (the other local ski area) and they sent various folk over to help out with the rescue. From the pictures it looks as though the chairlift wasn't too far off the ground where it derailed: hence the injuries were few and fairly minor. Not good publicity though, for the resort or the lift manufacturers.

I think I'll leave the nail-biting uplift drama to Richard Burton, thank you.

Papa don't preach...no more

I liked this cartoon from the Times today:

Also these going round on Facebook:

(Yawn)....more lies and libel from Bonni Benstock-Intall, Holocaust Denier-General

Back on 11 February, Bonni the Hitler supporter (who thinks the Jews were to blame for the Holocaust and that Anders Breivik's victims deserved to die because they were being brought up as "leftists") posted a report on the launch of bacon-flavoured beer in Canada. Personally, I like my beer to taste of beer, but I suppose in Canada, as in the USA, you take what you can get. But of course, being Bonni, and imagining that every Muslim in the world is as obsessed by bacon and pork (and indeed beheading and gemnital mutilation) as she is herself, she adds
CAIR-Canada’s Litigation Jihadists are frantically searching for a way to have this charged as an ‘Islamophobic’ hate crime and will probably demand that the company stop selling it immediately.
It hardly needs to be said that CAIR has expressed no opinion whatsoever on the matter, in Canadsa or elsewhere, but Bonni's brainless commenters lap it up. When one eventually expresses incredulity, she admits she was lying through her teeth:
I don’t know if they will or not. I was just projecting based on CAIR’s typical behavior
Uh-huh. Can you say "taqiyya", Bonni?

On the same day, she ran a post, mostly lifted from fellow genocide-inciter Daniel Greenfield, about a hate crime at Montclair State University. In the article she includes what purports to be a picture of a Time magazine cover, which in fact is a fake by Greenfield. real cover here, fake cover here. Different, much? Breaching copyright, much? Taqiyya, anyone?

Oh, and since Bonni and Greenfield seem to have trouble grasping the basic concept of a hate crime, yes, scrawling pictures of the 9/11 attacks on the door of the Muslim Students Association is a hate crime. You know, the same way drawing a picture of a lampshade with a Star of David and peyos (Jewish sideburns) on the door of the Jewish Student Association would be. There is nothing antisemitic about reminding people of the things the Jews suffered during the Holocaust. Drawing such a thing on the door of a Jewish student body would be viewed as threatening: as is the 9/11 drawing. It's not Islamphobic because of what it depicts, but because of where it depicts it. Got it now, dummies?

P.S. And how about this post for naked woman-hatred? This from someone who is forever whining about how Muslims have no respect for women.

Honestly, if Bonni did not exist, some satirist would have made her up.

This is pretty funny as well: she lays into snopes.com as being unreliable because it's financed by a Jew (no idea whether thatls true or not, but who apart from Bonni and her Nazi cohorts gives a shit?). The article she reprints is all about how Snopes "denied the existence" of dockets showing that Elena Kagan had represented Barack Obama in nine Supreme Court cases regarding his eligibility to be President. But the anonymous author Googled the Supreme Court and found all the dockets! Amazing. Even more amazing, as the Snopes folks patiently point out at their site (unreferenced by Bonni of course - she wouldn't pollute her Aryan cybernation with Jewish filth) is that the complaining buffoon didn't read a single one of the dockets, or she would have discovered that none of them had anything to do with Obama's eligibility. Thatls why snopes dismisses conspiracy theories about Kagan supporting Obama;s claims: because she didn't. But Bonni, who has had over a year to correct her errors, has done no such thing, because they weren't errors but deliberate falsehoods.

(UPDATE: Bonni is lying - of course - about snopes.com being funded by George Soros.)

In this post, Bonni lies about UK Muslims' attitude to Malala Yousafzai. According to Bonni, "Muslims in the UK have a hard time believing such a genteel group like the Taliban would shoot a girl in the head just for wanting an education. Must have been the CIA or George W. Bush or the Zionists." But anyone who bothers to watch the video she posts (cribbed as usual from some other racist creep) will see that it says only that some people on Pakistan reckon the CIA may have been behind her shooting. All the British Muslims interviewed say only that they don't know why she has been singled out as a special example when all over Pakistan girls are being shot or raped every day. They're all too well aware of what the Taliban are like, but are also aware that the UK media have their own agendas. Interesting, though, that when a Muslim being interviewed says that girls are appallingly treated in Pakistan, with girls as young as three being raped, the maker of the video decides to caption it "Yeah so funny". Because nothing raises a laugh as much as brown-skinned people raping toddlers (so long as the toddlers are brown too of course).

Bonni can't read and can't even watch one and a half minutes of video without drifting off into inattention. And we're supposed to believe she has a degree in Japanese. Aye, right.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 18

Day 18 - a song that makes you think of a place you've never been

....though not for long: accommodation now booked for our visit at the end of our road trip this summer! Yay!

Sadly, I no longer have enough hair for flowers. "Be sure to glue some flowers to your scalp" hasn't quite the same vibe.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Randy63ism, a lifetime with the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company awaits you

I'm feeling in a pretty pro-American mood right now, having spent several hours this evening beginning to plan out itinerary for the Route 66 road trip this summer. One place we will be stopping is Oklahoma City, whose most famous sight is the memorial to those murdered by right-wing anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh.

So when I read the comment below from "Randy63ism" on Bonni's Nazi blog, it saddened me. It saddened me to think that there are still people out there, scrounging off the US taxpayer (because of course they won't pay taxes themselves, oh no, not to the wicked gubmint), armed to the teeth and beyond and plotting to overthrow the United States Government because the foolish people of the USA elected a President they didn't vote for. People who want to carry on McVeigh's work of trying to effect political change, not by persuading voters, but by slaughtering them.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and emphatically state that we need to effect a regime change right here in the USA immediately. Congress will not help. It would most likely need to be done through force of arms as the Founding Fathers themselves reckoned. That is the main reason they gave us the 2nd Amendment, and that is precisely why the POS’s regime is trying to circumvent it. Mass shooting events are only a pretext, and quite possibly, orchestrated by this evil, repugnant regime in a criminal attempt to sway public opinion on gun control.

The feasibility of conducting such a venture is fraught with many uncertainties when considering the enormous resources available to the federal government in terms of personnel, arms, equipment, etc. I have pretty much lost confidence in our nation’s military leadership, whom I believe will side with the regime. Who knows how all this will play out, but something must be done to restore rule of law and the primacy of our Constitution.

My hatred of the political left, Obama, and his minions, grows daily.

So the Second Amendment was nothing to do with "well-ordered militias" and all about armed mobs overturning election results. All mass shootings (but not 9/11, of course) are carried out by the government, and the wicked armed forces will probably obey their Commander-In-Chief. So the rule of law must be established by lawlessness, and the primacy of the constitution ensured by overthrowing the government. War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.

Time was, traitorous puddles of vomit like this one would indeed be found "out on a limb", or possibly swinging from a lamp-post. Still, we can be positive that as BareNakedIslam is a recognised hate site the FBI and the Secret Service will be watching Mr Randy. And he may be certain that he won't be getting off with three years' probation and a donation to Amnesty International.

But what I want to know is: why does he imagine that Barack Obama - good ol' business-friendly, never-known-to-upset-a-millionaire Obama - has anything to do with the political left? And why does Randy, who lives his life according to the dictates of Mao Zedong ("Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun") claim to hate the left anyway?

UPDATE: it seems the FBI may be pretty busy right now with similarly traitorous types. If, of course, they can find time away from their busy schedule harassing Muslims.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 17

Day 17 - your favourite holiday song

This one, on the other hand, is easy. What else for a holiday but a suitcase? And what goes into the suitcase?

Dorothée (real name Frédérique Hoschedé) is a French singer best known for her songs and TV shows for children. There are many, many Valise songs (a different one on every one of her records, all in different styles). The contents of the suitcase rotate somewhat between songs, but the chaussettes rouges et jaunes à p'tits pois are an idée very much fixe. Here's my favourite :

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 16

Day 16 - your favourite song from a TV or movie soundtrack.

Oh heck. If I restrict myself to taking the specification literally, it would have to be "A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow" from A Mighty Wind.

That's the version as shown in the film, but if you want effectively the same performance without the intercut reactions, here they are doing it in a TV appearance.

However, if I'm allowed an instrumental overture rather than a soundtrack, I might perhaps choose this by Bjork, from Dancer In The Dark:

And if I were allowed stage musicals that have never made it to film or TV, there are a number of possibilities. This, perhaps; or this? Or even this. But I think it would come to a toss-up between this and this.

And now I realise that there's another really good contender for the literal interpretation of the rules - this:

I'll stick with Mitch & Micky, I think - but; it's a toughie.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 15

Day 15 - a song that reminds you of your best friend.

This reminds me of Bill, probably my closest friend in college and best man at my wedding, who emigrated to Japan and simply vanished (possibly with the ominous words "It's a boo-" : Bill always liked Lewis Carroll). Anyway, he always enjoyed karaoke-ing to this one.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Don't have a cow, Bonni

Further to my post on Bonni the Nazi and her ludicrous take on the scandal of horsemeat being sold as beef, perhaps this is why so many racists hate horsemeat:

Friday, February 08, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 14

Day 14 - a song you associate with breaking up

I don't associate this one directly with breaking up, but I associate it very directly with someone I broke up from, so the effect is much the same: a surge of nostalgia and wistful flashbacks. (Where ARE the snows of yesteryear?) Probably just as well it doesn't get much airtime nowadays: though I'd be more likely to burst into frenzied bopping than into tears.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 13

Day 13 - your favourite make-out song

Ah, those were the days: "making out" to records.... I remember some happy snogging in my first term at university being accompanied by a neighbour's recording of "Echoes" by Pink Floyd, and I undoubtedly made use of substantial quantities of music myself for the purpose. But the only one that sticks in my mind, perhaps because it was during my first date with my future wife, was this one, which I'd just bought. Hilary described it as "a splendid noise", and I wouldn't argue with that, especially if you play it loudly enough.

(The misprint in the Youtube title originated with the vinyl LP sleeve, though the record label itself was correct IIRC. My CD sleeve perpetuates the error, but you might think the Youtube uploader would have corrected it. Does nobody read the Bible any more?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 12

Day 12 - a song you love from the 00s

I can't remember now how the Decemberists first came to my attention, but I'm very glad they did because they're a fine band with a lot of excellent CDs to their name. They're one of those bands where I tend to think whatever CD or track I'm listening to is my favourite, but overall I think this is the one that I like best.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 11

Day 11 - a song you love from the 90s

I'd never heard of Madder Rose until I acquired the Sharks Patrol These Waters compilation box at a charity shop, which contained this track. After that, I bought three more of their albums and a further four of the singer Mary Lorson in other bands. They're good.

Monday, February 04, 2013

I'm so hungry I could eat a ........

There has been a big food scandal over the past few days in the UK because one of Burger King's suppliers has been selling as beef meat which in reality contained horsemeat (and also traces of pig DNA). As you can imagine, Britain being a country where horsemeat isn't often on the menu, and where having undeclared pork products is liable to upset Jews and Muslims, this hasn't gone down well. I like to know what's in my burger, so I can decide whether or not to eat it. (FWIW I've never eaten at BK: more of a Macdonald's kinda guy.)

Anyway, Bonni the Hitler fan picked up the story and found a clip of some Muslim saying (correctly) that horsemeat is halal (though presumably only if it's correctly slaughtered). "Muslims are happy", writes Bonni: not when they find pork traces in the burgers, they're not (even though eating pork in ignorance doesn't count as a sin). You see, for Bonni, the big deal here isn't that a food supplier has been adulterating our food, but that Muslims are allowed to eat horsemeat. And just read this comment from "Ben":

Now, we can ad horse eating to sheep plugging, wife beating, child killing, to these 14th century character’s resume. The horse is a noble animal so naturally the barbarians would want to eat it.

Leaving aside the blood libel and racist stereotyping: so Europeans are all barbarians, are we? I had a splendid horsemeat casserole in Verona last summer, but I suppose to a yokel like Ben the level of culture in Italy is but a shadow of that in, say, Toad Suck, Arkansas. "14 century characters"? Well, at least our countries existed in the 14th century, young 'un. Funny, though that Bonni, who pretends to have visited Japan and even to have a degree in Japanese, is unaware that the Japanese eat quite a lot of horse - raw. What a bunch of imbeciles.

In order to broaden the culinary horizons (any other attempt at mind-broadening would be an utter waste of effort) of Bonni and her fellow fascists, here are a few tasty horsemeat recipes (French, not Japanese).

Above and Beyoncé

I'm not an American football fan, so I didn't watch the Superbowl last night. (Actually, the fact that I don't get any channels that were showing it was another factor in my decision.) But after reading this article I thought I really should watch Beyoncé’s half-time show at least.

I wasn't disappointed. Certainly her routine was about sex as well as power, but it was very definitely about power: and not Girl Power but Woman Power. OK, the review was a bit over the top, but not much: I thought it was the best half-time show since the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. That one launched Michael Flatley and Riverdance onto an unsuspecting world.

Here's a link to Beyoncé’s show.

And here's a link to the birth of Riverdance.

I think Beyoncé can hold her head (and other parts) high even in that distinguished company.

Less uncomfortable than walking in someone else's shoes

I didn't find out about World Hijab Day until after it was finished: but it seems a splendid idea. I'm not in favour of forcing women to wear the hijab, but I'm not in favour of forcing them not to do so either.

Personally I always smile at women in hijab, figuring they're going to get so many glares and so much unpleasantness that a smile won't go amiss. And for the same reason, if it won't mean a huge wait I use any supermarket checkout staffed by a woman in a hijab.

When I read people saying how frightened they are of women in headscarves, it does make me wonder where they were in the 1950s and 1960s when all our mothers wore headscarves to go out. Or why they don't mind when the Queen wears them now. (You don't suppose that maybe their terror is less about the headgear and more about the skin colour of the wearer?)


Nooooo! Headbags on British prime time television in the 1960s!

You'd think someone who bangs on so much about 9-bloody-11 would be able to get the date right

While I have a long list of outrageous lies on which to comment from Bonni the Holocaust denier at BareNakedIslam (especially ones about the UK), the posts at her hate site which I enjoy the most are the ones that simply show her up as a drooling moron. I mean, take this one. It starts out as just same-old-same-old Muslim hatred, but halfway down brought me screeching to a halt with this:

Muslims tried organizing a Million Muslim March (see flyer below) in Washington DC for July 4, 2011 on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, but the huge protest against this outrageous attempt to hijack this somber day, forced the DC police to deny the march a permit.

I know Bonni's "degree in Japanese" is as fake as the stories she posts, but I think most primary schoolchildren would be able to work out that the tenth anniversary of September 11th was on, er, September 11th, not July 4th. But of course Bonni would think July 4th was a "somber day": after all, there can be few people who loathe the United States of America and all that it stands for as much as the Hitler-loving, black-despising Bonni who doesn't think women should be allowed to be police officers.

Honourable mention in the moron awards to Bonni's commenter "cat" who under a post about an acid attack writes:

Acid in the face was unheard of before we got to know more about the evil cult of islam

Er, sure it was, "cat". Never read Brighton Rock, by Graham Greene? Or the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Illustrious Client? (To mention only the two most famous literary references to what was a far from uncommon type of revenge attack from Victorian times up to the 1950s.)

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 10

Day 10 - a song you love from the 80s

Jean-Jacques Goldman duetting with Sirima, whose career was cut short when her lover murdered her a few years later. I like the fact that when listening to the song one can identify with both points of view: that and the song's well-nigh perfect construction and performance. An utter classic.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Hence, perhaps, the expression "hot dog"

I have just been reading Plus ça Change - The Story of French from Charlemagne to The Cirque du Soleil, by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow. It's full of interesting facts about French, its history and the way in which it has spread around the globe. Among the better pieces of trivia is the explanation of why a North American burrowing rodent is known as a "gopher" (on p.102):

Gofer (gopher) is a deformation of gauffre (waffle), which described the waffle-like holes that prairie dogs dug.

Is that not delightful?

Change we can believe in

Jackboot Benny is at it again, doing his best for peace in the Middle East. To destroy it, I mean, in the traditional Israeli way, by launching an unprovoked attack on a neighbouring country.

I had to laugh, though at the Associated Press report I linked back there. Its first nine words say all that needs to be said: Israel conducted a rare airstrike on a military target.

Two bards and a Britney

At my quartet rehearsal the other night, there was me and three respectable married ladies. The conversation turned to Burns Night, a couple of days earlier, and one of the aforementioned ladies told us that at the one she attended (at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, I think) someone had recited a very rude Burns poem about farting. i didnlt now that one, so just went a Googling and found it here.

Twa wives

There was twa wives, and twa witty wives,
As e'er play'd houghmagandie,
And they coost oot, upon a time,
Out o'er a drink o brandy;
Up Maggie rose, and forth she goes,
An she leaves auld Mary flytin,
And she farted by the byre-en'
For she was gaun a shiten.

She farted by the byre-en',
She farted by the stable;
And thick and nimble were her steps
As fast as she was able:
Till at yon dyke-back the hurly brak,
But raxin for some dockins,
The beans and pease cam down her thighs,
And she cackit a' her stockins.

That one's in Scots (for explanation see the link above), while this next one is in English and needs no glossing:

My girl she’s airy

My girl she's airy, she's buxom and gay,
Her breath is as sweet as the blossoms in May;
A touch of her lips it ravishes quite.
She's always good natur'd, good humor'd, and free;
She dances, she glances, she smiles with a glee;
Her eyes are the lightenings of joy and delight,
Her slender neck, her handsome waist,
Her hair well buckl’d, her stays well lac’d,
Her taper white leg with an et, and a,c,
For her a, b, e, d, and her c, u, n, t,
And Oh! For the joys of a long winter night!!!

Shakespeare is a little more subtle when he does the spelling-out gag in Twelfth Night:

By my life, this is my lady's hand: these be her very C's, her U's and her T's, and thus makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.

A comment on another site directed me to this song (to my surprise, I didn't know it) containing a broadly similar joke.

For a' that, an' a' that, It's comin yet for a' that That man to man, the world o'er, Shall brithers be for a' that.

Back on 25th January, as I hauled my weary ass out of bed for the last day of my first week teaching (I'm not by nature a morning person, and I get a lift to work with my wife who likes to be in her office by 0800) I heard a report on the radio about a Burns Supper being organised by some women's group in Sighthill in Glasgow. Burns suppers normally feature haggis with neeps and tatties (mashed swede and mashed potatoes), but this one was celebrating the many varieties of haggis (or equivalent) from the various cultures represnted by the women: North Africa, Eastern Europe and so on. I can;t find a report online on it, but it sounded fun.

I found this, though, which told me something I didn't know. After which, this seems the appropriate fare.

The Scots: multicultural as fuck, and loving it.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 09

Day 09 - a song you love from the 70s

I guess all my friends (and plenty of innocent bystanders in the summer when I opened my window) would have heard me playing this when I was a student back in the 70s. I still love the album, and this track in particular.

"...and it was useless any more" is a very interesting construction ("useless" is synonymous with "no use" but here the "no" was doing duty for the "not" in "not....any more"). Is there a fancy name for that? It's not a million miles from the bizarre chains in Flanders & Swann's "Madeira M'Dear" ("..she made no reply, up her mind, and a dash for the door"). Those are called zeugma: but is there a name for the encapsulation Zappa does? Seems like the sort of thing P G Wodehouse mught have employed for comic effect somewhere.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 08

Day 08 - a song you love from the 60s

An astonishing track from a great album which came out not long after I saw Ochs in Manchester. (He made a joke, introducing "There But For Fortune" as a Joan Baez song: she'd had a hit in mid 1965 with it, so I probably saw him in 1966. He did "Flower Lady" which would appear on Pleasures of the Harbor in 1967, so that would fit too.) The arrangement is by Joseph Byrd, formerly leader of electronic rock pioneers The United States Of America. (He also arranged Ry Cooder's Jazz album, and was a sound consultant on the film Silent Running.) Over 45 years on, it still sounds amazing.

30 Day Song Challenge - The Sequel: Day 07

Day 07 - a song you love from the 50s

I don't think my reaction to this song has ever quite recovered from the alternative ending provided by a girl I went out with as a student: "Now they'll always be together, 'cos they've been and gone and drowned". (Well, she was from Cleckheaton in West Yorkshire, a part of the world famed for a non-nonsense approach to things.)