Saturday, 13 August 2005

Blog design

I am going to do something that I have said I do not like to see.
I'm going to just say "Go read this"

Economy with the truth

August 11th: A BBC poll headlines the 'news' that people in the UK are in favour of multiculturalism. Halfway down the article it emerges (in much smaller print) that the findings were, in truth, inconclusive. More BBC lies.
August 9th: UN official Alexander Yakerlev has been arrested for taking bribes as part of Kofi Annan's oil-for-food scandal. Not that you'd know this from the BBC, working flat out to ignore this latest piece of corruption.
August 6th: The director of BBC3 says licence-payers may be slightly annoyed over his channel's latest offering - a programme on lesbian lion-tamers called Tittybangbang. A pity he didn't think before commissioning this crap - but then again, why take care of someone else's money?

These come from a listing of news items that are intended to show bias and inefficiency on the part of the BBC. The dates are this year. I suppose after the inquiry into the death of the whistle-blowing Doctor, it should not be too surprising. Well, to me, it is disturbing if not surprising. The top brass at the time of the WMD sexing-up allegation were all chucked out one way or another. Surely, it behoves the new masters to be squeaky clean or quasi-Caesars wife. Whilst not an official document of record, it is the archives laid down now that will be used as the basis for historical broadcasts in the future. Would we have had anything like the Great War programmes if they had been politicized at the time of recording?
I found a sort of Schadenfreude in the chaos at Heathrow. Hordes from the World Wandering Tribes cut off in their prime. Surely, they have sufficient experience or must have heard the horror stories of air travel and didn’t really expect some sort of magic carpet that would waft them hither and yon? I cannot think of specifics but my memory of really faultless flights is quite limited. That includes many in First and Club Class. Given that all classes fly in the same cigar tube, the upper classes only insulate one a little with private lounges and chauffeured travel to and from the airport. Stress is the killer; any tiny incident is magnified to a small disaster. Better than the TV Easy-Jet saga – perhaps there is scope for a TV reality show covering a group of the great unwashed travelling from somewhere in Outer Mongolia to Luton airport on a round the world ticket with someone like Cathay Disaster Airlines.

Friday, 12 August 2005

Our inferiority complex

Seems that USA will move very quickly into electronic passports.
Why is it that we made such a point about how essential they were and now - in the face of practical demonstrations of the threat - have backed off. The Yanks are far more litigatious than we are and they see no privacy issues in The Land of The Free. I suspect it may have a lot to do with their degree of computer literacy amongst the law-makers than we have where anything new encounters latter-day versions of union Luddites.
It seems that it will work like this

The U.S. Electronic Passport
The proposed U.S. Electronic Passport is the same as a regular passport with the addition of a small contactless integrated circuit (computer chip) embedded in the back cover. The chip will securely store the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and will additionally include a digital photograph. The inclusion of the digital photograph will enable biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology at international borders. The U.S. “e-passport” will also have a new look, incorporating additional anti-fraud and security features.

Gets round the stolen and forged and straight false passports. Still, it will only be a matter of time before the baddies learn how to make and embed chips.
"What man invents - man circumvents"
Woods first law of crime prevention.

Brown things on my chest

Today’s illustration is in honour of a debate going on at my Guru’s blog on the subject of nipples. Not the sort used for lubricating mechanical joints but those interesting protrusions which appear on the chests of ladies who have neglected to retain their Liberty bodice when the artist or photographer is about. The problem arises on the illustration of the template and as to whether or not she is displaying her teats. My picture is intended to demonstrate what showing a nipple really looks like. It also demonstrates the phrase 'sticking out like chapel hat pegs'.
I am surprised that the debate has arisen. All girls have them. As indeed, do all guys. Exactly why nipples cause such a frisson in these days amazes me. They are no longer a sexual characteristic (thanks to/damn) page 3 of The Sun. Common place such that I cannot imagine even little boys sniggering when they see them. Any beach will have examples – some of these offend me on grounds of taste. “All that meat and no bread – no wonder the baby’s sick” was my father’s comment on the DDE sizes in my youth. That might be one reason for nipples retaining their fascination – the seaside postcard aspect and smutty joke connection. I’m going to stop – I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the nubbly bits and will not allow myself to be diverted to my Blue Book of Tit Jokes.
We seem to have advanced slightly in divesting our country of idiot imams. Mind you, it is one thing to have caught rats in a trap. We now need someone with the fortitude to take the trap to the bucket of water. Going on the past performance of our judiciary, it may be premature to think these false prophets will pass. As a somewhat cynical observer, I do find these Agreements with foreign countries that they will not persecute or torture those we evict, to be a little unlikely. When I think of the clown who may end up in Jordan I can see King Hussein again. He always appeared so jovial but it was clear that there was a lot of steel in him – his expression often looked like the cat who had got the cream.
And that brings us back nicely to the opening comment about cat ladies. Night Night children.

Thursday, 11 August 2005

A social code for humans?

I heard a most interesting Radio 4 programme today. Something about Countryside Safari. The presenter met with a beekeeper and they discussed the social customs and organisation of honey bees. Seems the hive contains three main groups - one Queen, some large number of drones and a very large number of workers. Main job of workers is to collect the base materials for honey. The Queen is there to lay eggs - some 2,000 per day at the peak time of the year. This is necessary to keep worker levels up as they die in high numbers. The drones are there as - it seems to me - insurance. If a virgin Queen comes into the hive, the drones will mate with her and start her off on the path to the 2,000 per diem. They are not needed after the original defloration of the new Queen.
Now, wake up at the back there! This is the bit I like. After copulation, the drones, who are also male virgins, lose their sexual organs and then die. No explanation was given as to why the drones only blossomed once and then died. This topic confused me - why? Everything else we heard seemed to have a good basis in the running of a well organised community that could have benefits for us humans. I then came up with the idea that exposure to sexual congress was confusing to the drone and might encourage it to seek to mate with others apart from virgin queens so as to satisfy it's new-found sexual urge. Only likely other target would be other drones. This is where this all might get a bit non-p.c. or prejudicial so I give the standard Islamic response - if you don't like it, go away.
The life style of the drone is obviously to ensure that there are no gay drones. They have straight sex and then - end.
I saw a parallel for humankind. Not quite so severe as we are of a higher order. However, what came to mind was idea that human homosexuals should lose their sexual organs so as to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Please note - tongue in cheek really. However, might be of interest to someone. I am sufficiently inspired from this short programme to learn more of the social structure of the honey bee.

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

If talent was dynamite she couldn't blow her nose.

Never saw anything like this in any honky tonk I visited. Mind you, I'm not one of the Dukes of Hazard either.

Sweeties anyone?

As a bit of a treat after all my whinging, here is something interesting to read. Not only interesting, but indicative of why so many 'civilians' (those not of the police) get annoyed when they are informed of a negative result on some complaint they have made. This tying of police hands was surely never discussed in any proper open forum. So long as we can trust those who draft and review legislation, this lack of discussion would be acceptable. It is just this sort of procedure that alienates 'civilians' and police and must surely be some sort of 'Human Rights' that has gone too far. Just imagine the tamasha if this sort of thing gets into the events of 21 July. Blogged by this guy who is always worth your time and attention.

When investigating any crime, it is important to establish that the person you have under arrest is the person who committed the crime. Establishing what is known as “continuity” of identification evidence is vital before any case goes to court. For example: someone might report being punched in the face by a man wearing white trousers and a black T-shirt. Five minutes later you might see a male wearing white trousers and a black T-shirt who looks shifty and is slightly out of breath. Is the man you are looking at the same man who committed the earlier offence of assault?If you suspect he is, you could arrest him and interview him when he sobers up in the morning. Let’s say the description of the offender given by the injured party is excellent and there is CCTV of the offence taking place and let’s also say there is an independent witness who saw the offence and then followed the offender until he was picked up by the police and arrested. Now that’s good continuity: the person who committed the offence is clearly the same person who was arrested, so, even in the absence of further evidence (like DNA or an admission by the offender on interview) you might think you have a good case.You’d be wrong.In these cases (where the offender is denying the offence on interview) you have to seek CPS advice. If you interview the offender outside officer hours then you have to release him on bail (without charge or O.R. as you say in the US) so that you can get written CPS advice. The CPS will say you have to run an identity parade.Identity parades are run on DVD, and these days are called
VIPER, which stands for Video Identification…something…something. Anyway, you have to “invite” the offender to attend (it’s entirely optional) at a suitable time both for him and for you, then you have to arrange a time for the injured party to attend, then you wait for the results to come back. If the only evidence you have is going to be from a VIPER and the offender decides he doesn’t want to turn up, there’s nothing you can do about it. VIPER is run for the most insignificant offences and most of the time it’s used as one more obstacle to prosecution.I suspect that defence solicitors know how unlikely it is that offenders get picked out of a VIPER and that’s why they are all in favour of them. The CPS will not run a case unless it’s watertight, and why should they care if patrol officers spend whole mornings on the telephone trying to organise a VIPER for a case which is pretty much open and shut? Naturally, we have a whole department dedicated to running VIPER, but the responsibility of ensuring they are arranged and the people turn up falls to…the officer who made the arrest.

Another take on doctors...

Hope I’m not getting a fixation. This popped up today whilst I was doing my ‘Next Blog’ click game. It is from here.

a conversation I had with my mom recently - We were talking about a world in which people, mutually respectful of one another, seek help from others whose expertise outstrips their own in some way- I go to the plumber, knowing he can fix the pipes. He is respectful of my knowledge in other areas, and is appreciative of the fact that I have sought him out, supporting his way of life.I feel like it should be similar with doctors.. I am a person, going to another person, seeking help through their knowledge/expertise. It should be a respectful transaction, with each party recognizing the other's intellect and individual knowledge.Too often, in today's world, one party or the other screws this up. Patients are at times wheedling, disrespectful, cheap, dishonest, unprepared, blameful, etc. Doctors can be paternalistic, arrogant, and all the same things as the aforementioned patient. Or simply forgetful of the fact that their patient should be on equal footing with them- person to person.Not just in medicine... As humans, I think we all too often forget that we're in this together. (this being life, politics, economics, everything!) The doctor helps Joe today, next week Joe the engineer revolutionizes medical technology.Hell, the cleaning lady may have a lot more to offer than meets the eye.

Just in case I’m turning into a boring bstard. I will steer clear of inspirational little sayings for a while………………….

That old black magic

"In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant . . . My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love."
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher

Though I’ve read a bit of Kierkegaard – generally when in the grip of The Black Dog – I had not come across this thought until today when it popped up in something I was reading. Yesterday was one with a fairly high level of depression for me. Maybe this was due to the feisty doctor and what I saw as her dismissive attitude. She agreed that the erratic ticker increased the risk of stroke but, poor thing, could have no knowledge of how much I fear that very disease which can lead to one being a wilted cabbage relying on machines. I seek to be more positive than merely saying that we will wait and see what happens. How will I consult with her in a month’s time if I am brain dead and physically immobile?

I have had Black Dog moments since I was in my mid-twenties. I think I know what started them. They come and they go like some sine pattern. They seem to come when I start to brood about the very fact of depression and go when I start something that diverts my mind. In that way they are exactly as the Dane describes them. They do attract. As a sort of challenge. If I dive in that deep and weed-filled pool, will I surface? Perhaps they are allied in some way to my addiction to adrenaline that causes me to go down the fight road far more often than choosing flight and beating a diplomatic retreat. My faithful devotion is not abated by exhortations to ‘snap out of it’. It needs me to change a mind-set to put the dog back in the kennel. I know that. I know how to do it. Inasmuch as I keep my despondent state to myself, I have no benefit of sympathy or understanding.

Well, that’s enough of that I think. I have to go and listen to some of my Leonard Cohen records and keep my chin up.

Title of this has reminded me of time when Norma and I were in London to see some stage play or other. She decided to get some chocolates whilst I was parking the car. Newspaper shop she went into was run by very very big and shiny black African man - filed incisor teeth and everything. She asked, 'Do you have Black Magic?' We paid for them and ran away.

Tuesday, 9 August 2005

Got my eye on you

With thanks to Baldermort (#1 son) for technical help.

Random (very) thoughts

Well, the Americans have got the shuttle back safely; what good news. It does seem that this was the last time we will see that massive piece of engineering in flight.
I have always been fascinated by space travel. Not so much for what they were deemed able to add to our information but for the sheer technical excellence. The totally calm way in which the crew speak with ground control. That echoey sound of the voices. Something one never got when reading an Isaac Asimov novel. Truth is not only stranger than fiction – here it is vastly superior.
This interest and admiration exists even though I can see absolutely no benefit from the whole exercise. There is always that thing about finding signs of life out there and how our earth was created. I’m quite sure we would end up killing anything extra-terrestrial and the God-botherers would never change their minds anyway. Certainly, there have been tremendous benefits as an off-shoot of the programme but targeted science would have brought those forward at far less cost. My doubts as to the value of conquering space were strengthened after the loss of a crew. I regarded it all as an ego trip for FFK though why he should need such a thing after the background to Happy Birthday Mr President from Marilyn Monroe I cannot think.
These anti-terrorist initiatives seem to be getting beyond a joke. The government law-drafters seem to be trying to implement the 'game is over' measures B Lair wants only to get them chucked back in their briefs by the senior Judges. I am all for seperation of law and the state but something has got to give. We already have the farcical situation where people against whom extradition process has been initiated remain in custody for many years whilst the dry-as-dusters say they cannot be thrown out because of some legal point. Come the day when I'm am made President For Life, I would form some form of Review Committee from these do-nothing-unless-its-legal todgers and give them a directive to come up with laws they will enforce that meet the needs now facing us. If they cannot - their legal ability must be suspect and we de-robe them and get others. If they will not - same story. If it is a question of my being blown up in bed or having a bit of tough love law, I'll have the law please.
Although, take 'up' out of that sentence and I might have a changed desire.
Thouught it was nice of the NASA HQ to let the 'plane go round one more time while the pilot checked on her make-up.

Monday, 8 August 2005

Hello friend

My design guru and blog mate poses an interesting question in her contribution for today. My remarks and thoughts are too big for a comment on her spot and relevant to more than just her wide circle of friends - hence this. Go read what she has to say. I have extracted some of the bits she wrote and they are in italics below:
From experience I would have to say that it is perhaps possible to get to know someone via the internet more closely and with greater speed than face to face. Human beings have a strange ability to not be quite so upfront when face to face, give us the first line anonymity of a keyboard and suddenly we become braver about what we will tell one another in the first instance. I defy any one of you to deny that you have spoken of things to someone online that you would find harder to say if you where physically sat front of one another.
My comment on this is that I certainly find it very much easier to communicate with strangers by way of the net. One can review the written word in a way not possible with spontaneous speech. I have issues with getting involved with large groups of people - "I get on with individuals; it's people I hate" but the web allows me to focus on just one person. A minor benefit for me is that if I choose to treat someone as 'people' person, I have only to click in the top right hand corner and they are gone. In direct contact, it is likely that I would have expressed my opinion in a forceful and offensive manner.
I have met friends and a far wider diversity of individuals online than I suspect I would have had the opportunity too face to face.
This certainly true. I have been lucky to have travelled widely around the world but I have been in friendly contact with dozens of people I could never have met in my wanderings.So what prompted this post? An email from a friend yesterday. A guy who I hope considers me a friend and who strangely is probably the most likely person I am to meet 'for real' because coincidentally he isn't thousands of miles away. The guy in question has lent me some very helpful advice and support over the last few weeks one way and another and despite living close by I doubt we would have met other than on the internet.....even if we had it is unlikely we would have done more than pass the time of day, let alone become friends.
Hi! friend. Even at my advanced age and state of decline, it's unlikely that I would have stopped at 'passing the time of day' where a good looking woman is involved.

Be still my aching heart

Doctor duly seen. Looked at recent ECG and said, "That's not unusual. Lot of people have fibrilliation problems"
Ho. Ho. Ho. Hello bull - I am Red Rag. "It is me that has it - not someone else. It is unusual for me. So what can be done?"
Step off on wrong foot. Certain amount of verbal sparring. She is basically saying 'no sweat' but not very well. Seems nothing to worry about right now (but what about it sometimes causing stroke?). I advised her that I was not going to ignore something that could require me to be plugged into 13amp socket like some condom vending machine.
AGREED. Increase dosage of beta-blockers and go back in one month.

Non p.c - weightism

Suppose it could also happen to a cat?


Just received a email with DILLIGAFF in it. Have established that it means Do I Look Like I Give A Flying Fcuk. I suppose this is 2005 - progress and all that.
I'm tempted to just reply WTFDYNWP - maybe not yet in Google but goes something like Why The Fcuk Do You Not Write Properly
WWIAE - where will it all end.
Any others my aged brain should be aware of other than the standard ROFLMA etc.?

Sunday, 7 August 2005

My B Liar turn-around

Letter in today's Sunday Telegraph.

Blair has spun me.Although I have never been a fan of Tony Blair, I must admit that he has managed, since 1997, to spin my life-time held views through 180 degrees - today thanks to Blair I am now pro-Shami Chakrabarti, the Director of Liberty, pro-Ian Paisley, pro-John Humphrys, pro-Jeremy Paxman and pro- (well almost) George Galloway. I am now anti-American, anti-EU, anti-police, anti-regional government and instinctively anti of any statement and regulation cobbled together by his Government.
Brian Christley, Abergele, Conwy

What more can one say?

This is from a site where people add remarks they have overheard on the street. As one might imagine - there are some real hoots.

Man #1: I love my iPod. If it were a woman, I'd marry it.
Man #2: You've got some serious issues, man.

--Jane Street Coffee Shop

Not quite the real thing......

This guy is a hard nosed reporter in New York who spends much of his time with police patrols working in the bad areas. His site is always worth visiting but a recent piece on Community Policing (latest item in 'Fred's Columns') is especially relevant now that it is being proposed by President B Liar as the latest panacea (also known as snake-oil which cures everything. I quote extracts from the article but I recommend you read the whole thing (and drop in on some of his others as well).

An advantage, or disadvantage, of having been in the news racket too long is that you see the same nostrums proposed again and again. One of these, “community-based policing,” was briefly popular during my long and fascinating years on the police beat for the Washington Times. I hear noises on the web to suggest that it may be returning. A few thoughts:
Community-based-policing is a well-intentioned cure-all for crime. The idea is that the police should mingle with the people, and come to be loved, so that the people help them to fight crime. Instead of those intimidating, remote, paramilitary, and ninja-clad Robocops in cruisers, you have Officer Krupky the kindly Irish cop (all right, O’Krupky) who knows the people, understands their culture, is part of the neighborhood, and so on. CBP has the advantage of appealing to the desire of nice people for niceness. It charms people with terry-cloth minds, and conservatives who want to be thought insightful. Unfortunately it works best in neighborhoods that don’t need it.
The police are terrible at hearts-and-minds just as soldiers are, and for the same reasons: They are incorrigibly authoritarian, clean-cut blue-collar believers in personal responsibility and self-discipline who find themselves shepherding anarchistic, often ethnically disparate people who don’t care about anything the cops believe. Drill instructors and hippies. The two come to hate each other.
To understand this you have to know, as many white Americans do not, just how segregated the United States really is. In large parts of big cities, in LA, DC, Chicago, Boston, on and on—you can ride for eight hours with a cop and never see a white face. In the highly segregated satellite towns around Chicago, the police cite figures of eighty-five percent unemployment. The baby carriages hold the fourth consecutive generation on welfare. Selling drugs is the only industry, often regarded as no more criminal than copyright piracy.
These places amount to Kenya and Tijuana distributed in pockets across a European nation. They see the cops as an occupying force. The police are always carrying the young men off to jail, usually on drug charges. I can’t count the times I’ve watched young black males leaning against cars and being searched. The locals know that whites in the suburbs use drugs and don’t get into trouble. The locals know that if they drink a beer in the front yard or roll dice on the hood of a car, here comes a cop. They feel…occupied

His comment on the alienation that is caused is very easily transposed into the recent claims of justification for dissent and violent action from young Islamists. We too have our ghettos where races gather together. Oh, by the way, he speaks of police officers in a Community role - our idea is to have rentacop quasi-pensioners and disaffected ex. school-crossing ladies with hardly any powers beyond dealing with people who do not clean up after their dogs.