Saturday, 21 January 2006
I want to get back nearer the fire so I'll settle for something profound
I don't want to be a genius - I have enough problems just trying to be a man.
Friday, 20 January 2006
We’d socialise in groups of a dozen or so. Mainly drinking really although we went to the cinema and live variety shows. We all mixed together as male and female although this was no big thing. Couples did pair up but then tended to drift out of the circle and do things on their own.
I was reminded of this life style when listening to some of my George Melly music. He figured large in our concert going. Louche in a black track suit singing old jazz tracks or stuff along the lines of ‘My canary’s got circles under it’s eyes’. My memory was drawn back to recent photographs of George and what a sad and declining figure he now presents.
I tried to visualise friends from the 50s as they might be today. I really tried. And totally failed. Not one single image presented itself. I could remember them as they were in their prime but taking hair away, adding a bit of weight, stooping them over was just a waste of time. I suppose it must be some kind of protection – age shall not weary them as……. sort of thing.
Thursday, 19 January 2006
Bin Laden 'dead' evidence mounts
January 16, 2006 - 9:30AM
A terrorism expert says he has seen evidence showing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is either seriously ill or dead.
Dr Clive Williams, director of terrorism studies at the Australian National University, says documents provided by an Indian colleague suggested bin Laden died of massive organ failure in April last year.
"It does seem reasonably convincing based on the evidence that I've been provided with that he's certainly either severely incapacitated or dead at this stage," Dr Williams told ABC radio.
Dr Williams said Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputy who was the target of a US air strike in Pakistan last week, has been making all statements on behalf of the terror network for the past year.
Dr Williams said proving whether the terrorist leader was still alive might be impossible.
"It's hard to prove or disprove these things because there hasn't really been anything that allows you to make a judgment one way or the other," Dr Williams said.
"But it does seem strange that Dr Zawahiri has been making all of the statements since then, and nothing's been heard from bin Laden since, I think, the December of the year before."
Dr Williams said even if bin Laden was dead, those who upheld the same philosophies would continue to fight for their cause.
And then, as if magic, 4 days later, we get this:
By Yara Bayoumy
DUBAI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden warned that al Qaeda was preparing new attacks inside the United States, but said the group was open to a conditional truce with Americans, according to an audio tape attributed to him on Thursday.
Al Jazeera television, which aired the tape, said it was recorded in the Muslim month that corresponded to December.
"The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your houses as soon as they are complete, God willing," said the speaker on the audio tape, who sounded like bin Laden.
In the tape, bin Laden said al Qaeda was willing to respond to U.S. public opinion supporting an American troop pullout from Iraq. He did not specify conditions for the truce, but indicated it was linked to U.S. troops quitting Iraq.
"We have no objection to responding to this with a long term truce based on fair conditions."
"homosexual behavior between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence". All but one of the committee were in favour of this and, contrary to medical and psychiatric witnesses' evidence, found that "homosexuality cannot legitimately be regarded as a disease, because in many cases it is the only symptom and is compatible with full mental health in other respects". The report added, "The law's function is to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation and corruption of others ... It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour."The interference in private life attitude has certainly blown right out of the closet.
quite satisfying until one thinks of that utter bag of seminal deposit we
have doing the job now. And those who might take over or replace him
are little better options.
any years ago there was a period of time that is often casually called "Medieval." It was a time, so the story tellers tell us, of tiny kingdoms, brave knights and ferocious dragons. ransportation and travel were both crude and difficult, usually necessitating that each kingdom be as self sufficient and self reliant as possible. So it was very important that within each kingdom all the major crafts and professions of the day were ably represented to insure the survival of the kingdom. In the English language we still see remnants of some occupations in the familiar surnames such as Carpenter, Miller and Baker. nterestingly enough, beyond the specific title the vocation also took on its own greater personality. This personality preference can also give a broader understanding of the basic complementary style and types necessary to the kingdom's survival, or perhaps any organization's success. Although the specific vocation influenced the name, it was no accident that certain personality types and styles gravitated to certain occupations. The personality of these jobs suited the inclinations of the job holders, and the predecessor to modern day job descriptions was born. The successful matching of a job-holder's personality to the personality and unique requirements of the job was necessary to the kingdom's survival, or perhaps any organization's success. The successful kingdoms more than likely were able to blend the differences into a powerful and formidable entity. With today's diverse workforce, the corporate kingdom that acknowledges and nurtures these personality preferences could become an organization as successful as the Camelot of old. ven though we now appear to have the freedom to explore many different career alternatives, we still have a medieval vocational personality within each of us. This personality, properly identified and understood, can motivate our success but, if ignored, may set the stage for our ultimate failure. Since times appeared to be simpler then, let us return to the kingdoms of medieval Europe and see what we would have done then, regardless of what our names are now.
our distinct personality, The Prime Minister might
be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time.
You are a strategist who pursues the most efficient and
logical path toward the realization of the goal that you
perceive or visualize. You will often only associate with
those people who can assist you in the implementation
of your plan. Inept assistants may be immediately
discarded as excess baggage. To do otherwise could be
seen as inefficient and illogical. On the positive side,
you can be rationally idealistic and analytically
ideological. You can be a bold decision maker and risk
taker who can move society ahead by years instead of
minutes. On the negative side, you may be unmerciful,
impatient, impetuous and impulsive. Interestingly,
your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate
any years ago there was a period of time that is often casually
called "Medieval." It was a time, so the story tellers tell us, of tiny
kingdoms, brave knights and ferocious dragons.
ransportation and travel were both crude and difficult, usually
necessitating that each kingdom be as self sufficient and self reliant
as possible. So it was very important that within each kingdom all
the major crafts and professions of the day were ably represented
to insure the survival of the kingdom. In the English language we still
see remnants of some occupations in the familiar surnames such as
Carpenter, Miller and Baker.
nterestingly enough, beyond the specific title the vocation also
took on its own greater personality. This personality preference
can also give a broader understanding of the basic complementary
style and types necessary to the kingdom's survival, or perhaps any
organization's success. Although the specific vocation influenced
the name, it was no accident that certain personality types and styles
gravitated to certain occupations. The personality of these jobs suited
the inclinations of the job holders, and the predecessor to modern day
job descriptions was born. The successful matching of a job-holder's
personality to the personality and unique requirements of the job was
necessary to the kingdom's survival, or perhaps any organization's
success. The successful kingdoms more than likely were able to blend
the differences into a powerful and formidable entity. With today's
diverse workforce, the corporate kingdom that acknowledges and
nurtures these personality preferences could become an organization
as successful as the Camelot of old.
ven though we now appear to have the freedom to explore
many different career alternatives, we still have a medieval vocational
personality within each of us. This personality, properly identified and
understood, can motivate our success but, if ignored, may set the stage
for our ultimate failure. Since times appeared to be simpler then, let
us return to the kingdoms of medieval Europe and see what we
would have done then, regardless of what our names are now.
I could go on with this much longer. When looked at in cold type, one might think that I have been run off my feet. Back in the days, I would have been proud of a "To Do" list of this length with every little box neatly ticked. Nothing deemed too difficult and pushed to tomorrow either. And yet - I just know that I have really done san fairy anne.
I know what is missing. Meetings; all that fun getting agenda sorted and fitting our appointments together. Well, if it was all so good why did I give the work to my secretary and tell her it was enpowerment for her? Business lunches. They had gone under the new morality that swept through the corporate hostility world in the early 80s. Instead of the three and four hour sessions with fine digestif wines and cigars we were having meetings with crudities on the side. What else did the world of commerce give me? Travel. Yes that was nice so I can add that to the Lost World of John Wood. Scheming and politicking? Ah yes. That is a cert for something no longer present in my life. I now decide quite unilaterally what 'company' car I will have.
So - this is retirement. Old stagers told me that I would be so busy that I would not be able to fit in everything I chose to do. That is patently rubbish. I could work a one day week and do more in real terms. The phrase God's Waiting Room is often associated with this semester of our life - no, strike life and insert existence. I should have made an appointment, organised a meeting, invited the Guy for lunch so as to escape the Waiting Room.
I'm seeing that sign "No reps seen except by Appointment"
I just add this to my 'what are we coming to' binder. I have to say though, that had my beloved tried to din me for £300 +, I would have captured her baby belly for posterity in the manner illustrated.
Is this the way we may end up? Infinite brain power for instant decisions on shoot or no shoot, programmable to deal with inherent racism, no sick days or limitations on shift lengths. Doubtless, could also have attachments to deal with instant banking reference fines, ID card production on the spot and summary execution. Plus - a major advantage - they can be any colour or gender one may wish!!
Wednesday, 18 January 2006
The encyclical, a papal letter to bishops that sets out Roman Catholic policy, discusses the relationship between "eros", or erotic love, and "agape", a Greek word referring to unconditional, spiritual and selfless love.
"It is not totally negative on eros," a Vatican source said. "It argues that eros under the right circumstances is OK."What's that line from My Fair Lady - By God, I think she's got it?
What it does do is make me even more determined to get everything prophylactic in place. Going well so far with the warfarin and getting the blood values up to the desired level.
Either intent to have sexual intercourse or an intent to impregnate a woman will result in child support liability. Can a man escape this liability if he has neither the intent to have sexual intercourse nor the intent to make a baby? The answer is no. So long as a man engages in an intimate sexual act resulting in his depositing of his sperm with a woman who then becomes pregnant, he is liable for child support.
In State of Louisiana v. Frisard, 694 So. 2d 1032 (La. Ct. App. 1997), the mother and father of the child for whom support was sought met in a hospital while the father was visiting an ill relative. The mother was a nurse's aid who has access to a variety of medical equipment. The mother offered to perform oral sex on the father, and, in the words of the father, "as ... any male would, I did not refuse[.]" The mother had the father wear a condom. The mother then removed the condom from the father, and unknown to the father, she inseminated herself with the father's sperm using a syringe.
The Louisiana court, noting that the probability of paternity was 99.9994%, held the father's testimony that he "had some sort of sexual contact with the plaintiff around the time frame of alleged conception, although he denied that they had sexual intercourse" was sufficient to prove paternity. 694 So. 2d at 1036. This fact of paternity obliges a father to support his child. 694 So. 2d at 1034. In essence, because the father intentionally engaged in a sexual act resulting in his deposit of sperm with the mother, he is liable for child support.
Another case reaching the same result on facts that are, quite frankly, bizarre is S.F. v. Alabama ex rel. T.M. In that case, the father testified that he went to a party at the mother's house. He had been drinking for several hours before he arrived, and had in fact gotten sick on the way to her house. At the mother's house, the father continued to drink, and the last think he remembered was getting sick again and his brother putting him in bed at the mother's house. The next morning, the father awoke in that same bed with only his shirt on. The father did not remember having sex with the mother, and he did not knowingly and purposely have sex with her.
The father's brother testified as to the same facts. A friend of both the mother testified as to the same facts, plus the fact that about two months after the party, the mother said she had sex with the father while he was "passed out" and that it saved her a trip to the sperm bank. Another friend testified that the mother had said she had sex with the father, "and he wasn't even aware of it."
A physician testified that it is possible for a man who is intoxicated to the point of losing consciousness may nevertheless have an erection and ejaculate; they are not conscious, voluntary activities.
The father argued that because he did not have sex voluntarily with the mother, he was not liable for child support. The court disposed of the argument, comparing it to the arguments made in L. Pamela P. v. Frank S.: the wrongful conduct of the mother in causing conception did not obviate the father's support obligation. The court also compared the father's argument to the arguments put forth in the statutory rape cases, concluding that the "rape" of the father could not preclude a finding of liability for support.
The dissent would have held the father liable for child support, but would have deviated from the presumptive child support guidelines because "the mother's sexual conduct was reprehensible and is a misdemeanor. Because of the mother's inappropriate conduct, the trial court should have deviated from the guidelines."
The overseas contributers do not seem to have the same concerns. What one sees there are positive attempts to do what, surely, we expect of our crime control organisations.
It's all going to end in tears before bedtime if our police, in a language they invented, throw Teddy into the corner.
I am amazed all over again that Alf was allowed to put his head over the parapet. I knew quite a lot of Alfs as I was growing up and when I was earning my pocket money working for my father. To me, what he said was nothing terrible - like some of the Little Britain characters are - but was the everyday attitude of a lot of people expressed in a humourous way.
However, just to see what his status is now, have a look at the Wiki entry:
Alf Garnett was a fictional character on the BBC television sitcom Til Death Us Do Part and later In Sickness and in Health.
The character, played by actor Warren Mitchell, was reactionary, mean-spirited, selfish, bigoted, racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic, despite allegedly being Jewish himself. Generally he blamed his problems on everybody else. His family was the usual target of his anger and frustration. On the show, Garnett was regularly ridiculed for his illogical views and hypocrisy by his family, but he stubbornly refused to admit he was wrong.
To add entertainment to the show, Alf was outraged when his daughter, Rita (played by Una Stubbs), decided to marry Michael, her long-haired, unemployed boyfriend (played by Anthony Booth) from Liverpool, a Catholic of Irish descent; precisely the type of person Alf most hated.
The British public loved Alf Garnett, although the television show was heavily criticised for the character's prejudices. Writer Johnny Speight often commented that the character was supposed to be a figure of ridicule, but admits that not all viewers saw the satiric elements of the character.
It is perhaps not a complete coincidence that Warren Mitchell as Alf Garnett looks very similar to Sir Rudyard Kipling, who has also been perceived as paternalistic racist; however, Mitchell was not the first choice of producer Dennis Main Wilson for the part. It was initially offered to Peter Sellers, Leo McKern and Lionel Jeffries, but they all turned it down or were unavailable.
Tuesday, 17 January 2006
If today's lone reader can remember, Straw Dogs was about the treatment rendered to incomers. I have to admit I fell asleep but woke just in time to see really wicked things being done to Susan George. It all seemed a bit far fetched. But, now after, what, 30+ years I read what is happening to what appears to be a nice village and start to wonder. Still, at least the dreamy Susan George will be safe.
Monday, 16 January 2006
Sunday, 15 January 2006
"The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government."
- Variant: "The more corrupt the state, the more laws."
- Original Quote: "And now bills were passed, not only for national objects but for individual cases, and laws were most numerous when the commonwealth was most corrupt." -- Annals 3.27”
Not only a Quote For The Day but also a Quote Of The Day
Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands— probably—just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the west.
One obstacle to doing that is the fact that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the west are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society—government health care, government day care (which Canada’s thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain’s just introduced). We’ve prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith, and, most basic of all, reproductive activity—“Go forth and multiply,” because if you don’t you won’t be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare. Americans sometimes don’t understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I don’t think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health & Human Services.
Further along in his argument he gets nearer to what he sees as the threat
….. if we are at war—and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada, and Europe don’t accept that proposition—than what exactly is the war about?
We know it’s not really a “war on terror.” Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even “radical Islam.” The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it’s easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in “Palestine,” Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.
Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it’s not what this thing’s about. Radical Islam is an opportunist infection, like AIDS: it’s not the HIV that kills you, it’s the pneumonia you get when your body’s too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose—as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.
Not a cheering future is it? However, my chosen path of assimilating this harsh prediction is that these type of struggles have been around for a long time. This world will last me out my lifetime.