Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Street warfare in Warrington.
We read reports of violence on our streets which suggest that the late evening onwards is really a reconstruction of some Viking raid. I came across a court report from Warrington where a soldier had been sentenced to imprisonment for a serious assault. Viewing the cctv footage I was struck by the normality of it all. Indeed, until the final kick to the head one might think it was the usual handbags-type dispute that does no significant harm. What happened will cause the soldier to be dismissed and he will start his job search in the civilian world with a criminal record. He had a channel for his temper; he chose the wrong solution in Warrington.
God and free travellers
Just one of the 'Probably no God' on London buses debates has sparked off much discussion of that text between believers and the non-believers. It is interesting to note that the attitude of those who profess the existence of a Being follows common lines regardless of whatever blog or forum one may read. Almost the same as Communism in the days of Harry Politt when one was so very aware that the responses to criticism were uniform and smacked of having been learned parrot fashion. Just Google the probably no etc phrase.
Woof meat
I came across a debate as to the likelihood of a Chinese take-away secretly serving up dog meat without making this clear in the menu. Seems quite likely if one is to believe some of the comments but what got me was this response from an Englishman. So much for us being straight-laced and non-adventurous. I blame it on Ray Mears and the Bush Tucker generation. Despite my far-flung travels, I have not knowingly eaten dog. Dog meat (Chappie) – yes but Labrador? No. Nearest I came was in Korea when I was appointed bodyguard to my bosses puppy when he went on leave and feared his house-girl would scoff it. She clearly has ideas that way as she suggested she cook me a ‘special’ meal. Anyway – here is a small treatise on dog as diet:
Dog meat, I'm afraid to say, tastes like whatever the proprietor wants it to taste like.

Let me explain...
I lived in China for 3 years and took great pride in eating every reptile, invertebrate, mammal and insect not available in the West.

Dog was a special interest of mine. I even blogged about it entitled "The Dog Blog", but took it down after the company I was working for found out about it and thought the negative publicity brought about by dog owners inadvertently clicking on it would bring about negative publicity, plus I thought I'd write a book about it called "For the love of good dog, a man's stomach's best friend", funnily enough it never took off.

Anyway, to cut a long story, different regions have different tastes and the dog is prepared accordingly, eg Sichuan province has very spicy food and it is almost impossible to differentiate between dog, beef and pork (I know I've tried), Shanghai has very sickly sweet food and the meat is sweet and sour thin strips, again indistinguishable from almost anything else. Then throw in the MSG factor...

I even wanted to go to a dog farm to have it 'fresh from the knackers yard', but was told I was being "Culturally insensitive" by my sp*nk guzzling line manager and was given a formal warning for my canine, culinary behaviour.

All in all, if you’re looking for the definitive 'taste' of dog, eat your own.

Fight Fight Fight
I find it funny that the holy-men punch up was started by a quite mundane dispute. When I saw the TV footage without the sound, I thought it was Dawkins supporters versus Archy Canterbury.
There is a first class left hook about 47 seconds in, where the dark-haired Orthodox monk needs four or five policemen to restrain him; and an amazing expression of theological superiority from the Armenian acolyte who has just clouted an Orthodox monk at 1:04 and then dances back on the balls of his feet (In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, do you think you're hard enough?). But when another Armenian comes flying down onto the heads and shoulders of the crowd ten seconds further into the clip, you have to wonder whether they have quite understood the Queensbury Rules.

Aged crumpet
I see that Joan Bakewell (long described as The Thinking Man’s Crumpet) has been appointed as a champion for the aged. Will we now see her described as The Old Man’s Crumpet? Her intelligence shone out when she was a Beeb person so perhaps she can get some sense into the wooden heads and stone hearts of the government.
She will highlight age-related problems and the discrimination, and about time too. Someone over 70 with brains, beauty and sophistication might demonstrate, at last, that we aren't all wizened potatoes in cardigans. We function. We want and need to work, and Bakewell thinks we should be able to. She also wants to make everyday life easier, with more public lavatories, lifts, post offices, libraries, keepers in parks, benches and packaging that weedy fingers can open.

No peace for the wicked
One of my mother’s favourite condemnations came to mind when I read a critique of Archy Canterbury’s biography.
A new biography of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams reveals the guilt he continues to feel over the suicide of a woman who fell in love with him while they were students at Oxford University in the 1970s. The death of Hilary Watson is said to have been the defining moment in Williams's life, not least because the coroner at her funeral asked a number of critical questions about his relationship with her, especially why he had set himself up as a source of "spiritual counsel" without any formal training. "The coroner asked him if he had any idea whether Lori's suicide could have been anticipated. Rowan answered sharply with a counter-question: 'Do you think I'd have left her on her own if I'd suspected what might happen?'
I appreciate how he feels guilt. But, if he cannot reconcile what happened as being God’s will, what hope do the rest of us have in understand how God moves in mysterious and wonderful ways?

Dissident blogger given 20 years
A young Burmese blogger who fed the outside world news from a locked-down country on the September 2007 uprising was sentenced to 20 years and six months imprisonment today.
Blimey – that was a strong Comment eh?

Did not like the music I suppose?

Report from goings on in America. I know the feeling well when it seems that only firm action will suffice. My problem though would be getting the stream over the gallery rail!
A drunken Jersey City councilman was arrested for urinating on a crowd of concertgoers from the balcony of a Washington nightclub, police and club sources said Saturday.
Councilman Steven Lipski was caught relieving himself onto several revellers at the 9:30 Club during a concert by a Grateful Dead tribute band Friday night, club sources said.
"He was very drunk," the source said, noting that it wasn't the first time Lipski had caused a ruckus at the popular concert venue.
"We've dealt with this man before," the source added. "He's never peed on anybody, but he gets really belligerent when drunk."
Lipski, 44, was hauled out of the club about 9:50 p.m. after staffers spotted him in the act on the concert hall's second-floor balcony and called the cops.

Always something going on

In court today

Leeds Crown Court
Karen Matthews, 32, the mother of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews, who went missing for 24 days this year, and Michael Donovan, 40, are due for trial charged with the girl’s kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice
Carlisle Crown Court
Cathy McNeil, the secret mistress of Robert Wilson, 40, the farmer accused of running over his wife, Jane, in a tractor to get her life insurance, is expected to give evidence at his trial
Old Bailey
Anthony Costa, 18, of Walthamstow, London, is on trial charged with the murder of Steven Bigby, 22, of Hackney, East London, outside a McDonald’s restaurant near Oxford Circus Tube station on May 12. Mr Bigby, who was stabbed after an argument, was one of ten men charged with the rape of a 16-year-old girl in January
High Court
The hearing continues as a parents’ group challenges the decisions of Camden Council, north London, and Education Secretary Ed Balls to allow University College London to sponsor a new city academy.
The JD Wetherspoon pub chain continues its claim that it was defrauded by a firm it employed to find properties suitable for conversion into pubs.
What a wicked world we live in!

Fred has released more fine words
and witty experiences

I like this writer and he has been commended when here previously

More data loss

In the latest in a series of apparent personal data blunders, the government has been forced to admit that an Isle of Wight resident found a book containing the names and telephone numbers of hundreds of thousands of people ‘literally left on his doorstep’.
‘As soon as I found the book I knew something was wrong,’ said Michael Sexton who found the incriminating volume. ‘I started flicking through it looking for myself and my family, and it was all there. I just can’t see how something like this could have been allowed to happen. How could they know my number, my address, my postcode and everything? It’s frightening.’

We never closed

The proud boast of the Windmill Theatre where acres of naked flesh were displayed to keep servicemen happy. I think it was that attitude that meant we now speak English and not some more harsh language with words like goods trains. We just never gave up. I remember seeing streets where shops were all boarded up. Almost every one had 'Open for Business' scrawled on the boarding. It may not have been the normal service but things carried on. Indeed. one of the poster campaigns was just that - "Keep calm and carry on"

Wonder how much milk was delivered in Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin?

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