31 July 2010

A groaner of a linguistics joke

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class. "In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, 'Yeah, right.

This week's avatar

Is the terrible sea bishop, scourge of the briny deep

30 July 2010

photo hunt - Public

The theme for the week's Photo Hunt is public. This photograph of a public place was taken at Liverpool Street station in London

Bebe in the bath

Bebe in our old bath which is now in our garden and used as a good sized planter

28 July 2010

Toadflax Brocade Moth!

Hi, I'm Calophasia lunula, or the Toadflax Brocade Moth. Jams O'Donnell's not wife found me in the front garden flitting among the flowers - not far from where the caterpillars of my species were found last month.

I am rarely seen in England except at Dungeness and a few places on the South Coast. Romford is not where I am usually found. If there had not been yellow toadflax and valerian in the front garden i oould not be seen now

The end is nigher than we thought

Don’t worry about 2012, we won’t last that long if Maria Exley of Colorado Springs is to be believed.

According the Colorado Springs Gazette she is convinced that the end of the world will come next year. So strong is her conviction that she’s paid $1,200 to buy advertising space on 10 Springs bus benches through October to get the word out. The ad says, “Save the Date! Return of Christ: May 21, 2011, WeCanKnow.com.”

Exley got the idea for the ads from listening to Family Radio, a Christian broadcast hosted by controversial Christian leader Harold Camping. Camping predicts Christ will return on the date in Exley’s advertisement. Listeners in other states have also purchased outdoor ad space to proclaim the date.

The ads are written and designed by the creators of WeCanKnow.com, an Ohio-based web site devoted to reminding people of Christ’s return. “We hope it raises awareness and sends people to their Bible,” said Robert Dunham, spokesman for WeCanKnow.com.

“Time is running out, but there is still time for salvation.”

Well that’s me convinced. Henceforth I will abjure my sinful ways. No more frottage, felching or other foul fornication for me. No more strong liquor, swearing or sinful thoughts. From now on it’s prayer and penance all the way.... Ah fuck it I’ll stay damned!

A honey bee and echinops this time

27 July 2010

Similar Cases

There was once a little animal,
No bigger than a fox,
And on five toes he scampered
Over Tertiary rocks.
They called him Eohippus,
And they called him very small,
And they thought him of no value --
When they thought of him at all;
For the lumpish old Dinoceras
And Coryphodon so slow
Were the heavy aristocracy
In days of long ago.

Said the little Eohippus,
“I am going to be a horse!
And on my middle finger-nails
To run my earthly course!
I’m going to have a flowing tail!
I’m going to have a mane!
I’m going to stand fourteen hands high
On the psychozoic plain!”

The Coryphodon was horrified,
The Dinoceras was shocked;
And they chased young Eohippus,
But he skipped away and mocked.
Then they laughed enormous laughter,
And they groaned enormous groans.
And they bade young Eohippus
Go view his father’s bones.
Said they, “You always were as small
And mean as now we see,
And that’s conclusive evidence
That you’re always going to be.
What! Be a great, tall, handsome beast,
With hoofs to gallop on?
Why! You’d have to change your nature!
Said the Loxolophodon.
They considered him disposed of,
And retired with gait serene;
That was the way they argued
In “the early Eocene”.
There was once an Anthropoidal Ape,
Far smarter than the rest,
And everything that they could do
He always did the best;
So they naturally disliked him
And they gave him shoulders cool,
And when they had to mention him
They said he was a fool.

Cried this pretentious Ape one day,
“I’m going to be a man!
And stand upright, and hunt, and fight,
And conquer all I can!
I’m going to cut down forest trees,
To make my houses higher!
I’m going to kill the Mastodon!
I’m going to make a fire!”

Loud screamed the Anthropoidal Apes
With laughter wild and gay;
They tried to catch that boastful one,
But he always got away.
So they yelled at him in chorus,
Which he minded not a whit;
And they pelted him with cocoanuts,
Which didn’t seem to hit.
And then they gave him reasons
Which they thought of much avail,
To prove how his preposterous
Attempt was sure to fail.
Said the sages, “In the first place,
The thing cannot be done!
And, second, if it could be,
It would not be any fun!
And, third, and most conclusive,
And admitting no reply,
You would have to change your nature!
We should like to see you try!”
They chuckled then triumphantly,
These lean and hairy shapes,
For these things passed as arguments
With the Anthropoidal Apes.

There was once a Neolithic Man,
An enterprising wight,
Who made his chopping implements
Unusually bright.
Unusually clever he,
Unusually brave,
And he drew delightful Mammoths
On the borders of his cave.
To his Neolithic neighbours,
Who were startled and surprised,
Said he, “My friends, in course of time,
We shall be civilized!
We are going to live in cities!
We are going to fight in wars!
We are going to eat three times a day
Without the natural cause!
We are going to turn life upside down
About a thing called gold!
We are going to want the earth, and take
As much as we can hold!
We are going to wear great piles of stuff
Outside our proper skins!
We are going to have Diseases!
And Accomplishments!! And Sins!!!”

Then they all rose up in fury
Against their boastful friend,
For prehistoric patience
Cometh quickly to an end.
Said one, “This is chimerical!
Utopian! Absurd!”
Said another, “What a stupid life!
Too dull, upon my word!”
Cried all, Before such things can come,
You idiotic child,
You must alter Human Nature!
And they all sat back and smiled.
Thought they, “An answer to that last
It will be hard to find!”
It was a clinching argument
to the Neolithic mind!

by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman

Mega Rat!

The Gambian pouched rats used to detect mines and sniff out TB samples are big fellows, a lot bigger than Rattus rattus or norvegicus. But they are small compared to ancestral rats discovered by archaeologists in East Timor

Science Daily reports that the bones are from what was the biggest rat that has ever lived. When alive it would have weighed 6 kilos. The excavations also yielded 11 species of rodents new to science. Eight of them weighed a kilogram or more.

Carbon dating shows that the biggest rat that ever lived survived until around 1000 to 2000 years ago, along with most of the other Timorese rodents found during the excavation. Only one of the smaller species found is known to survive on Timor today.

Each of the islands of eastern Indonesia evolved it own unique collection of rats.
Dr Aplin of CSIRO who headed the search has also found six new rat species in a cave on the island of Flores. Some of these might still be living on Flores having evaded detection by modern collectors.

Currently the biggest rats weigh around 2 kg and live in rainforests in the Philippines and New Guinea.
At six kilos the rat would weigh not a lot less than Boris or Robyn. I couldn’t even imagine Bebe having a go at one of them!

CSIRO Australia (2010, July 26). Archaeologists discover biggest rat that ever lived: Weight of about 6 kilograms (over 13 lb). ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2010/07/100726094909.htm

Hot news from DPRK

Yes I know that making fun of Korean Central News Agency stories (the organ ofthe DPRK) is like shooting fish in a barrel... but what the hell, here goes

Art Performances Given by Art Squads of Mills

Pyongyang, July 26 (KCNA) -- The art squad of the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang Silk Mill and the itinerant art squad of the Pyongyang Textile Mill gave their art performances at the People's Palace of Culture from July 21 to 25.

The performances were enjoyed by officials of party and power organs, working people's organizations, ministries and national institutions, servicepersons and working people from all walks of life in the city of Pyongyang.

In such numbers as chorus "The General Is Our Father", dialogic poem "We Sing of the Loving Care Shown by the Three Commanders of Mt. Paektu", female chorus and pangchang "Recollecting the Birthplace" the performers highly sang of the immortal feats of the great persons of Mt. Paektu who put forward the working class as the driving forces of the revolution and led them to become performers of heroic feats.

Tale and singing "My Beloved Workplace", female chorus "Oriole Chirps in Compound of Our Mill", female solo and Janggu ensemble "Let's Go to Pick Mulberry Leaves" and witty talk "Hot Wind of Emulation" struck a deep impression on the audience as they truthfully represented the devoted efforts of the working people and their worthwhile life.

Put on the stage were also numbers reflecting the faith and will of the workers to uphold the party and the leader with victory in the drive for great surge.

AH what would I give to hear songs with such snappy titles!

26 July 2010

Prepare for take off

Comrade Duch gets 35 years

According to the Guardian Comrade Duch has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia. The sentence was the first verdict involving a leader of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, listened impassively as the chief judge read out the verdict, convicting him of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He will serve only 19 years of the sentence, because Judge Nil Nonn said the court would shave off the 11 years he has already spent in detention and five more for being illegally detained in a military court.

Duch, 67, had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison, and many victims and their relatives watching the verdict were angry that his sentence was not more severe. Some of them broke down in tears.

Duch admitted to heading Toul Sleng, a top secret detention centre in Phnom Penh for the worst "enemies" of the state. More than 16,000 people passed through its gates before they were killed. Torture used to extract confessions included pulling out prisoners' toenails, administering electric shocks and waterboarding.

"I can't accept this," said Saodi Ouch, 46, echoing what many Cambodians would see as a light sentence. She was weeping so hard she could hardly talk. "My family died … my older sister, my older brother. I'm the only one left."

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died from starvation, medical neglect, slave-like working conditions and execution under the Khmer Rouge’s insane regime. Although the leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998 four other top members of the Khmer Rouge are awaiting trial.

A former maths teacher, Duch joined the Khmer Rouge in 1967. Ten years later, he was the trusted head of its ultimate killing machine, S-21, which became the code name for Tuol Sleng. Only 14 prisoners are thought to have survived ordeals at the prison that included medieval-like tortures, followed by executions and burials outside Phnom Penh.

Although an effective 19 year sentence does not sound much for such appalling crimes, it should mean that Duch will die in prison in a way that his victims did not. That Duch has expressed remorse for his crimes should make the sentence meaningful. Now off to prison and die in misery you evil bastard!

More bumble bee and echinops action

25 July 2010

Congratulations to John Gray and Alex Hilton

Sorry if this is a bit late off the mark (and thanks to Modernity for posting on this already). John Gray and Alex Hilton must surely be very glad to be able to get on with their lives without a frivolous lawsuit hanging over them.

If you are unfamiliar with the case Jack of Kent has an excellent background post. Better to read that than read my mangled words!

the litigant was Johanna Kaschke who is not happy with the result. According to her Mr Gray is a fat ponze. I have no idea what a fat ponze is - there is no such word as ponze in the two vol version of the OED. I would suggest, using real words, that her attitude is ponerine if not downright musaceous!

Gilia tricolor

Growing in Romford but native to California

Guest avatars

It being the summer hols and the silly season and all that I thought I would give Robert Newton Calvert a little break and have a few guest avatars between now and the start of September

the first guest 1 is Josef Svejk, Jaroslav Hasek's glorious creation. Sadly I am closer in build to Josef S than I am to Robert C!

24 July 2010

Quark, Strangeness and Charm - Featuring my avatar in action

I put this up from time to time when it appears on You Tube. Sadly the video usually gets taken down after a while. Here's Hawkwind (minus Dave Brock) appearing on the Marc Bolan show. Robert Calvert was on fine form.

Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat

Imagery of the Iran-Iraq War

Touched and deranged,

downcast and sad;

with veilless face,

and no chador;

heedless of arrest,

careless of the Guards.

For eyes she has

two red grapes

fallen off the bunch.

She's mad,

stark staring mad;

she's lost,

lost to herself,

lost to the world.

A straw in the wind,

she's drifting around.

A graveless body,

she's deadened to the world.

Round her neck she has

a pair of teardrops, a curse:

of a dead soldier boots

with laces tied together.

"What's that?", I said.

"My son", she said,

"sitting on my shoulders

I have posted the painting and the poem before but never together. THe painting is by Minoo Emami. It is inspired by her husband's experience in the war. He was seriously injured fighting the Iraqis. One of his legs was amputated.

The poem is The Necklace by Simin Behbahani, the Lioness of Iran. The last time I posted the poem in 2008 one of the comments made was "Jesus, that was DARK!!". I agree, In my mind it is as powerful as any of the works of Wilfred Owen.

I wanted to see how these two powerful indictments of war went together. I think they work together, others may not of course!

22 July 2010

No charges in Ian Tomlinson case

This was filmed on 1 Aproil 2009 during the G20 protestss in London. Not long afterwards Ian Tomlinson died. The police officer in the above footage will not face charges over his death.

Today the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said there was no prospect of conviction because experts could not agree on how Mr Tomlinson died....

Words fail

A wood henge at Stonehenge

Breakfast news today carried a report about an archaeological discovery at Stonehenge: a second henge which has been described as the most exciting find at the site in 50 years.

The BBC reports that the newly discovered henge is situated about over half a mile from the giant stones. It consists of a circular ditch surrounding a smaller circle of deep pits about a metre (3ft) wide has been unearthed at the world-famous site in Wiltshire

It has two entrances on the north-east and south-west sides and inside the circle is a burial mound on top which appeared much later.

Project leader Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University of Birmingham, said the discovery was "exceptional You seem to have a large-ditched feature, but it seems to be made of individual scoops rather than just a straight trench," he said. "When we looked a bit more closely, we then realised there was a ring of pits about a metre wide going all the way around the edge.

Data from the site is being collected as part of a virtual excavation to see what the area looked like when Stonehenge was built. This project is being funded by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, in Vienna, and the University of Birmingham, and is assisted by the National Trust and English Heritage.

Professor Gaffney said he was "certain" they would make further discoveries as 90% of the landscape around the giant stones was "terra incognita" - an unexplored region. "The presumption was this was just an empty field - now you've got a major ceremonial monument looking at Stonehenge," he said.

Fascinating stuff. There is the site of another "Woodhenge" a few miles from Stonehenge but this is a great discovery

From spikes to flowers


21 July 2010

I know I am not a modern metal afficionado (Give me bands with long hair, bikers jackets and spandex) but it gives me a small sense of there being something a little less wrong with the world to know that the genre spans every contiment (Okay I haven't heard of Antarctican metal band but give it time....) Last time I posted on trash metal I featured bands from Pakistan, Peru and Botswana This time......

Purgatory a black metal band from China

Disgusted from Vietnam (not disgusted of Vietnam...)

And back to Botswana for Wrust (Last time it was Crackdust)

Perhaps why it was a good idea for Eire to be neutral in 1939

I've always felt that Ireland's neutrality during WWII was right but then wrong. In 1939 it was almost certainly the right call. Leaving aside any other considerations the country had a pitiful military capability at the time.

This represents the hardware that Ireland had to defend itself on outbreak of war

Defending the Seas

The Muirchu with one 12 Pounder naval gun

The Fort Rannoch, again with a 12 pounder naval gun

Two Vosper MTBs
Land strikeforce

Two Swedish Landsverk L60 tanks

One Vickers Mark II Medium tank

The army also had just four anti aircraft guns and four anti tank rifles (useless against even light tanks)

In the skies

The Irish Army Air Corp's strike capability consisted of three Gloster Gladiators. The Corps did also have Lysanders, Ansons and a number of Walrus seaplanes but these would have been ineffectual in an offensive role

The purpose of this post is not to sneer at the Irish military but to give a small indication of what military hardware it had at the start of WWIIand a small contributing factor to staying neutral

20 July 2010

Bumble bee and echinops or Look at the pollen sacs on that one!

From war in the ice to the Israeli Navy via a lot of vile crap

After meeting Bob from Brockley I resolved to finish off at long last the tale of the larger than life character Red Cushing by dealing with his time as a prospective German spy. It didn't last and he ended up in Sachsenhausen where he was a witness to the last days of the life of Yakov Stalin. Alas and Alack, I cannot put my hands on the books I need, Hiho....

That said it's interesting what you can come across on the internet. Starting off with Archibald Maule Ramsay, a ferocious anti semite who held the dubious distinction of being the only MP to be interned during WWII, proceeding through a number of Holocaust revisionist scumbags I end up at the piece of human shit that goes by the name of Ernst Zundel. I was not aware that he started his odious "literary"career peddling crap about Nazi saucers and Antarctic bases.

It's amazing how the German Neuschwabenland expedition just before the war, an American exercise (Operation High Jump) just after the war, a tiny British military expedition to Antarctica during in 1943 and the tardy surrender of a few U boats can form the bedrock of such nonsense as the existence of Nazi bases on that (almost but not completely) icy continent.

However, let me digress onto something truly fascinating and move from the South Pole and Holocaust denying vermin to the North and there was a real little war fought on the ice and on the icy seas. I didn't know until today that the vessel you see below was the first American warship (of sorts) to capture a (soon to be) enemy vessel in WWII

The Northland was a coastguard cutter, launched in 1927 designed specifically for arctic operation. In 1941 the US took over Greenland. The same month the Northland set out on a two month cruise to assist in the South Greenland Survey Expedition. It was then transferred to the newly formed Northeast Greenland Patrol.

On 12 September the Northland sighted the Norwegian sealer Buskoe 12 September and sent a boarding party to investigate. Buskoe, which was suspected of sending weather reports and information on Allied shipping to the Germans, was taken to MacKenzie Bay in Greenland, becoming the first American naval capture of WWII(although of course before it formally entered the war).

The Buskoe's capture led to the discovery of a German radio station further up Greenland coast from Mackenzie Bay. The Northland sent a raiding party captured three Germans, with equipment and code, as well as plans for other radio stations in the far north. The Germans were treated as illegal immigrants....

Although built for colder conditions, the Northland ended its life in much further waters. After being sold for scrap in 1947 the Northland was renamed Medinat-HaYehudim and was used to transport Jewish refugees to Palestine (but that is a different subject and one that does not reflect on Britain with any credit at all). In 1948 she was renamed Eilat and along with two former Royal Canadian Navy corvettes and a passenger ship formed the nucleus of the infant Israeli Navy under its first commander, Paul Shulman.

I know I dwelt a little on some utter scumbags at the start but it is tuly amazing what you can come across starting in one place on the internet and seeing where takes you... In this case the destination was fascinating evn if the journey featured some real pieces of slime at the start...

Another Cephalaria that has lost almost all of its bloom

19 July 2010

Negareh Ayatollahi – Iranian artist

Regular readers know that I am very fond of the work of Elahe Heidari a supremely talented Iranian artist. In 2008 I had the pleasure of meeting her in Paris while she was on a scholarship at the Cite International Des Arts in Paris. Also at the Cite International were other extremely talented and utterly charming young Iranian artists in residence, including Negareh

A week or so ago I was delighted to receive an email from Negareh announcing that that she had finally set up a website to display her work

Negareh is from Tehran. She has studied art in Tehran and in Paris. She has exhibited frequently in both France and Iran as well as in Greece, Russia and Italy.

As I have said before I am no art critic but I do like Negareh’s work very much. Art for me is a visceral rather than a cerebral experience.Her site is well worth visiting.

Boris on the fifth iteration

This is not a cat

Enough already with your damned pixels

18 July 2010

Beer, bloggers and beer

Me if I lost a ton of wight, got a hair transplant and a dye job and I increased several orders of multitude in the looks department (sigh)

It's taken me all day but I am finally back in the land of the living...

Last night Bob from Brockley was kind enough to arrange a blogger meet at a fine drinking establishment near London Bridge.

It was an utter pleasure to meet so many bloggers in the flesh including Kellie from Airforce Amazons , Michael Ezra who posts at Harry's Place, Francis Sedgemore,
Jimjay (Daily Maybe), Sue, Mira from Engage Online Carl of Raincoat Optimism and, and... Damn my brane's still befuddled

Thanks Bob for arranging an excellent night. It was a delight for a drivel merchant such as myself to find myself among blogging heavyweights


I am still massively hungover however the new edition of the Fortean Times has certainly aided the detoxification process (most definitely No FT, no comment). In its Strange Days section (odd news stories from around the world) it mentioned an article which does not normally fall within the remit of a Journal of Strange Phenomena:

On 18 March the Times carried an article on a sex abuse scandal affecting the Vienna Boy's Choir,

An appalling story indeed but it was perhaps a little unfortunate that the article was written by Roger Boyes....

Hungover - gah

More later on the cause of said hangover

17 July 2010

Spirit of the age 2005

Hawkwind reworked their 1977 classic Spirit of the Age for their 2005 album Take me to your leader.

This time the vocals were provided by daytime tv host Matthew Wright (a lifelong fan). The original vocals were of course provided by the late great Robert Calvert (see my avatar for a pic of RC_

Darks Sanctuary


16 July 2010

Photo Hunt - triangle

The theme for the week's Photo Hunt is free. For a lighter image the above pic is of one of my favourite ties. For a darker image below is a pic of three war graves

Stating the blindingly obvious

Prior to his first hofficial visit to the US as Prime Minister David Cameron has said "I believe in the special relationship. I think Britain is, of course, the junior partner...."

The words "No", "shit" and "Sherlock" spring to mind (and in that order too)

Ach more bloody surgery!

Both readers will know that I succeeded in rupturing my quadriceps tendon after missing my step at St James's Park tube station. I only fell a few steps but the rupture, the repair and the ensuing rehabilitation had me laid up for nearly four months.

I've had a lot of pain since then(my right knee still looks more like a tennis ball than it looks like y left knee) so I finally decided enough was enough, saw my GP who sent me for an MRI scan which showed a torn meniscus.

So it's back in for keyhole surgery in a few weeks time. Mercifully I'll only be laid up for a couple of weeks after, four weeks max.

Perhaps unsurprisingly there is a Knee Joint Surgery channel on You Tube. So here, for your delight and delectation is a vid showing what the surgeon is likely to be doing to me. Enjoy!

The furry masters react to a Spending Challenge suggestion

One member of the public has made a proposal on the Spending Challenge website that could significantly reduce our reliance on costly imports by using an environmentally gentle means of producing energy - harnesing the untapped energy of the cat population

Great Britain has a huge cat population. For most of their day they loll around on sofas, beds, walls etc. By changing existing Animal Protection legislation to allow all cats to be forced to spend just 1 hour per day on a government issued treadmill, connected to the National Grid, at least 12.5 gigawatts of electricity could be generated.

This could be sold back to the Energy providers at the current wholesale market rate.

Cats who refuse to comply could be fined, after a statutory warning.

Needless to say the furry foursome are not happy:

Sadly it has now been deleted. Shame as itwas actually no worse than most of the ideas people are putting up on the site

15 July 2010

Another gem from the Spending Challenge website

Well the government did ask for ideas for saving money. Here's one that will literally save billions

stop civil servants using capital letters

millions of pounds could be saved by improving the efficiency of the public sector by banning capital letters from government offices. the saved time and money from not pressing the shift key not to mention extra energy consumption from pixels means that by my calculations the government could increase its efficiency by 2%. that may not sound a lot but 2% of 700 billion pounds is 14 billion pounds which is 10% of the deficit.

How the idea could be implemented

remove the shift key and caps lock from all government keyboards and have a fine system where anyone found using capital letters in writing or print will lose £10 of their pay.

Well err.. as I did say the Government asked for this and they got it!

are you sick of pixels yet?

14 July 2010


Spending Challenge website given the respect it deserves

I would imagine that many people imagined what sort of response that George Osborne’s would get when he heralded his great idea of asking the general public for their great ideas for making big savings on government spending. I would guess that the image was of something that provided an outlet for the beady-eyed ranter that usually populates the comment sections of the Daily Mail and for those who send contributions into the Viz top tips column (Not that I'm slagging the Viz Top Tips column given that I used one of the suggestions for a post only a week or so ago)

To be honest I had no wish to look at the spending challenge website but it seems that some of the suggestions are quite funny (and very silly too!). Thanks to Freemania for drawing my attention:

One suggestion concerns fluid intake among civil servants:

Millions of pounds are wasted each year by civil servants unnecessarily going to the toilet because they drunk too much fluid. if each civil servant is drinking 1000 ml too much then the bladder is only 250 ml so that's 4 times a day too many times going to the toilet. each toilet trip takes an average of 5 minutes including hand-washing and drying plus walking to and from the desk makes it 20 minutes per public sector employee of which there are 6 million so that's 120 million minutes or 2 million hours per day with each worker earning 15 pounds an hour average that's 30 million pounds a day or 11 billion pounds per year that could be saved.

How the idea could be implemented

ban tea cups over 150 ml and have fluid monitors to fine anyone who drinks too much £10 per 100 ml each day out of their pay.

Another suggestion will save millions by slashing translation costs

To save money on translating government documents and services into many different languages they should all be provided in just one language, Latin. It's logical.

How the idea could be implemented

1) Copy the document or thing that needs to be translated.
2) Go to google translate (hope that it has Latin)
3) Paste


1) When the Pope visits give him some translation work, make him pay for his holiday.
2) Get Ann Widdecombe to do something useful for once.

Not quite up to the standard of Swift’s A Modest Proposal but not bad either! Unfortunately most of the other comments DO seem to be the outpourings of gimlet-eyed lunatics...

Three Canadians remember past events taking place on 14 July

It being Bastille day

Here is a [ractical application of the Marseillais

As for the image quality of the clip:

Yet more pixels

13 July 2010

Golden Rain Tree in bloom

Koelreuteria paniculata is native to China and South Korea but seems to be happy in Romford. We are fortunate that previous owners of our house had the vision to plant some very unusual shrubs and trees in our gardem.

At the moment it is in bloom. The flowers have small petals which fall like a golden shower (fnur fnur) on the ground

A shock rise in extreme sport deaths in Chinese prisons

The Australian carries an article about a worrying rise in extreme sports deaths in custodial centres in China.

It is believed that the Chinese authorities had introduced such activities to facilitate the rehabilitation process. Sadly the policy has had tragic events.

It was in the detention centre of Puning County in Yunnan where LI Qiaoming suffered fatal injuries from bumping into a wall while playing blind man's buff with fellow inmates. (Note: blind man’s buff is considered a full contact sport in China)

Yu Weiping died in Gaocun , Wendeng City, Shandong province. His family found small holes in his chest, which the detention centre claimed were caused by a stray spurt during competition acne

Well maybe not, but blind man’s buff and picking at acne spots were given as causes of death in a report by the Zhejiang Daily which has compiled brief accounts of such deaths, and has asked tough questions about the Detention Centre Management Bureau of the Public Security Ministry.

Other cases included a 57 year old man who died "by showering" and a student who died because "his sleeping position was improper".

A former director-general of the Detention Centre Management Bureau told the newspaper: "I listen (to these cases) and think it's ridiculous. Most are the result of beatings."

Well I’ll go to the foot of my stairs! I suppose blind man’s buff is a bit more original than “fell down the stairs” ...

Morning Glory