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Oh damn, still in this dream. Below are the 50 most recent journal entries recorded in the "johnny9fingers" journal:

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April 21st, 2014
01:45 pm

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Is this why my generation was so damn criminal?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27067615

I'd like to think not...but the evidence is mounting.

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April 9th, 2014
05:25 pm

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Well I'm back for a short while….
And I saw this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26959628

More than 20 people have been stabbed at a Pennsylvania high school. It just goes to show that the gun lobbyists are right about the fact that if guns weren't available, mad folk would use knives.

However, there is one crucial difference: of the twenty-odd who were stabbed ALL are expected to survive. If that had been a mad young person with a gun, I doubt the survival rate would have been quite so high.

Never mind, we have to cull the herd somehow.

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April 1st, 2014
05:11 pm

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Gods, it's been almost seven months...
Since I last updated.

This is what my chum Aaron called "the baby tunnel". Despite having a nanny, kids can still be exhausting. I think I shall write some more tomorrow.
September 18th, 2013
03:21 pm

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The Boy...


…and his Mum and Grandma on holiday in early September.

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September 5th, 2013
04:38 pm

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I read this reprint from "Howler" in the Grauniad
http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/sep/05/harry-redknapp-played-fan-west-ham

And loved it so much I thought I should share it.

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September 2nd, 2013
11:20 am

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An old man...
…and his very young daughter.

IMG_0168

I have been called a David Baddiel lookalike. Wish I had his money, though not his taste in football teams.

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August 20th, 2013
04:12 pm

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Back from our Yorkshire retreat...
And, unusually, the world (or at least North London or an Icelandic volcano) hasn't erupted into flames.

So I caught up with a few YouTube vids of Sylvain Luc, who is a bit of a master.






I think he should be better known…but he really needs a better haircut.

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August 15th, 2013
12:46 pm

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So here we are...
...on our hols, in North Yorkshire.

SWMBO, Kay, our nanny, and Henry and Milly went by train. I drove, with the luggage. This is the first time we have travelled with Kay, as it is somehow undemocratic to be travelling with expert assistance in this modern age; and Madame has rather balked at being thought of as that sort of person: one that travels with staff. Thankfully both Fra and Cressy regard their daughter's nanny as family too: so when not sharing duties, Kay is part of the fun. As an aside, agonising over whether one is treating ones' employees properly and not exploiting them is the core of any decent domestic employer's thought processes. Anyway, it's not as if I have a valet, or Fra keeps a butler. Also, I'm too bourgeois to be aristocratically disdainful of other folk's opinions about my lifestyle or actions. SWMBO employs a nanny to care for Henry (and now Æmilia too) because she knows how useless I can sometimes be in practical matters: I'm better when under the jurisdiction of a technical advisor. Which is, I suppose, why sergeants run most of the army, and the posh version of which, the adjutants, run everything else their wives allow them to.

As that deep political thinker, Jeremy Clarkson has opined: there you go, then.

Hackness is beautiful at this time of year. Summer clads the Forge Valley in thousands of shades of green: each distinct, and transformed by sunlight.

Fifteen or so years ago I was in a band with Cressy. Twenty years ago I was in a band with her brother. When Fra wasn't flying thither and yon upon business, he'd help us load  and unload the band's kit.

Fra's house is a deeply happy place. Fortune favour him and his house.

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July 25th, 2013
10:21 am

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This is what you get...
…When you actually do the practise.





Of course, I'm not a smackhead like ol' Joe was (and Charlie Parker, and Miles, and 'Trane, et al) but I will never be as good as Joe without putting in the hours. But it is also about the lucidity of Joe's playing and thinking that really comes through here, and that needs more than work and application.

He was a great genius of the guitar.

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July 14th, 2013
09:39 pm

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Because folk should read him.
http://onlythesangfroid.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/but-inside-love-you-will-be-all-right-legal-obligation-and-political-legitimacy-in-game-of-thrones/#comments

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July 10th, 2013
09:17 am

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Required reading from John Lanchester
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n14/john-lanchester/lets-consider-kate

He's rapidly becoming my first read on the LRB.

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July 4th, 2013
01:26 pm

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Born on the 4th of July.
Æmilia Margaret Rose.

at 10.04am. She weighs 7lb14oz, and appears a healthy and bonny lass.

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June 28th, 2013
11:14 am

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John Lanchester at the LRB
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n13/john-lanchester/are-we-having-fun-yet

He's pretty damn good.

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May 14th, 2013
01:03 pm

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Update…
On Saturday, Henry celebrated his second birthday. The family gathered, and Henry bossed us all about.

H greeted my mother with the rather peremptory "take coat off, put it here" which made us all smile. H is shaping up to be quite a little dictator, which may or may not be indicative of small battles to come.

He did get a lot of presents. More things to break and for daddy to fix, I suppose: "daddy…glue" is a refrain with which I am all too familiar.

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May 7th, 2013
06:41 pm

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Normally I'm in favour of due process and suchlike...
But how does a parent maintain a veneer of civilisation when faced with information like this?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22437771

I must confess, that when faced with that story, I want to commit an atrocity on Geoffrey Portway. I think the euphemism is "inhumed with extreme prejudice" without anything like due process. And this cognitive dissonance doesn't sit easy on my conscience.

And then I think of the three lasses who recently escaped from their decade-long captivity, and I want the perpetrators of that crime to suffer a death of a thousand cuts.

How vile some humans are. And how, by their vileness, they taint the rest of us.

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May 2nd, 2013
08:45 pm

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And this is why the banks should be more responsible members of our society
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n09/donald-mackenzie/the-magic-lever

Required reading, I think.

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April 26th, 2013
10:38 pm

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Someone writing some sense.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/26/rogoff-reinhart-remorse-reconsider-austerity


Rogoff and Reinhart get told. I don't know who Heidi Moore is, but I like the cut of her jib.

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April 19th, 2013
01:57 pm

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And because I saw this I just had to share.
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-defense-of-reinhart-and-rogoffs-flawed-debt-study-2013-4

From the Business Insider, a short piece by joe-weisenthal.
Where he quotes Paul Krugman

"As Paul Krugman states in one of his (several) posts on the Reinhart/Rogoff issue: "the larger story is the evident urge of Very Serious People to find excuses for inflicting pain."

This impulse, to show your seriousness by promoting pain, is the real overriding drive behind austerity, not an academic study.

For example after Obama publicly embraced a "chained CPI" (a form of Social Security cut). Economist Dean Baker told Business Insider: "You piss on the people who care about Social Security, then you're serious."



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-defense-of-reinhart-and-rogoffs-flawed-debt-study-2013-4#ixzz2QuhME9cL

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April 18th, 2013
05:37 pm

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Sometimes, buses just come in threes...
Especially when this comes through:

http://news.yahoo.com/student-took-eminent-economists-debt-issue-won-095347790--business.html

Read it, and wonder.

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April 16th, 2013
04:08 pm

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At the risk of saying I told you so...
We have the ex-Keynesian but now neo-Monetarist IMF World Economic Outlook report Chapters 1 and 2 here:

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/c1.pdf

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/c2.pdf

And even it is advising George Osborne to relax his austerity programme.

I wonder, could some of the IMF bods actually be beginning to remember what the IMF was formed to do? That would be a turn-up, now wouldn't it?

Nevertheless, I can't see it happening: our present government has too much riding on it never being wrong. The loss of face would be so tremendous as to call into question its competence.

Not that any of us could ever be accused of calling George incompetent. Much. 

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April 14th, 2013
04:33 pm

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Two articles caught my eye this past week...
Both articles are ostensibly book reviews. The first:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/feb/11/saving-world-william-keegan-review?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Wherein Gordon Brown's reputation is analysed in relation to his actions during and after the financial crisis. And which rather rubbishes Cameron and Osborne's "it's all Gordon's fault" mantra.

Secondly this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/14/robert-peston-fix-mess-review?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2Fbooks%2Frss+%28Books%29

In which the Observer reviews Robert Peston's book for the second time: the first time being some seven months ago.

Both reviews, and the books being reviewed, should be required reading: especially for folk in the banking and financial industries. Nevertheless, I don't suppose that sort of person will read them. They tend to have too much riding on the present view promulgated by the propaganda dept of Osborne and Cameron's party of kitchen sink economics.

I mean, as a thought experiment, just imagine that some unnamed country was going through severe austerity measures because of a financial crisis brought about by its financial institutions. And even with the stringent austerity measures, and severe cuts in public spending, somehow or other the budget projections for borrowing for the last quarter made by the Finance Minister - let's call him John Butler - had been exceeded by some 13.8 Billion Groats. (Mr Butler said this had been unavoidable, and all the fault of the previous administration, of course.) What Mr Butler neglects to mention is that if he had cut his budget by 13.8 Billion Groats less, his borrowing would have remained the same, the economy would have been larger by 13.8B Groats, and he would also have had a significant tax take on the part of that 13.8B Groats that went on wages, salaries, goods and services, and the like. So for that quarter the economy would have been effectively 13.8B Groats + the taxes thereon larger than it is under his present (mis)management. And furthermore, that this austerity package masquerading as economic management had increased Mundania's (dammit, I said this country was going to be unnamed) national debt from 770B Groats, when Mr Butler took over from the previous administration, to the current amount of over 1 trillion Groats: and all the while claiming economic competence in comparison to the previous administration, which was obviously the cause of all our problems. And the population believed him, because…they know how household budgets work. And a country is only a household writ larger, after all, isn't it?

It's a good job it's only a thought experiment, hey children? I mean, it could never happen in real life. 

Current Mood: blah
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April 12th, 2013
04:18 pm

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I saw this and was impressed so I rather felt I had to share...


Dr. Mills seems to be a pretty bright spark.

Thanks to rowsdowerisms for the pointer.

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April 8th, 2013
04:24 pm

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Well the poor old woman has died...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22067155#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

http://feeds.guardian.co.uk/~r/theguardian/uk/rss/~3/ufa0I0etW4A/margaret-thatcher-dies-aged-87

There was a time when I was perfectly sure I'd be dancing about, singing "ding dong the wicked witch is dead": but to be candid, whatever grievances I had with the woman over the decades, the last few years of her wretched madness made me feel sorrier for her than I would have ever thought possible.

I once threatened to dance on the woman's grave. I rather think that in my aged condition my knees and hips might give way if I tried to carry out my younger self's threat. Nevertheless, the overwhelming reason (amongst many zillion others) for my antipathy towards the woman was to do with her government's implementation of a tremendously underfunded "Care in the Community" policy, which contributed to a schizophrenic drug user who had been denied basic mental care, monitoring, and assistance, stabbing me in the face with a used syringe on a public street down which I had been walking accompanied by my then live-in-girlfriend of six odd years, in broad daylight. This is in a country with universal health care, by the way.

For some reason, I don't recall the couple of months following this incident (HIV testing, nervous breakdown, police identity parades, relationship breakdown etc) with any great fondness. But then again, this Care in the Community policy was a lot worse for folk like Jayne Zito, whose husband Jonathan was murdered by a schizophrenic some few months later in 1992.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/may/17/jayne-zito-trust-charity-schizophrenia-clunis

Mind you, I suppose if I had been a miner, or a print worker, or a worker in part of the UK's manufacturing industries, I might still be in the queue with my tap shoes nicely polished, awaiting my turn: which is why, I suppose, she will have to be cremated…or maybe buried at sea. As long as they put the sharpened stake between the correct ribs I reckon we'll have little chance of her rising from the grave: watery or fiery as the case may be.

Then again, she had some good points as well. She was a great war-leader. Some of her reforms were desperately needed by UK PLC. But the mistakes she made were greater than the good she managed: principal amongst them being the fracturing and fragmenting of British society, which was sacrificed on the twin altars of monetarism disguised as economic realism, and individualism: because, as she said most famously "there is no such thing as society", which is the attitude that led to the underfunding of the Care in the Community in the first place, and an attitude with which I profoundly disagree.

It seems that even many of our American cousins are coming to this conclusion about mental health too: that some folk actually need monitoring, care, and in some cases supervision: and this is something that our taxes ought to be paying for.

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11:39 am

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Me and the boy...
An online chum asked for a piccie of Henry and me. As I was recovering from this unimaginable second bout of chicken pox in my life, we went for a walk in the park yesterday. SWMBO took the picture on my iPhone.

It is, of course, behind the cut.

Read more...Collapse )

I am old and grey. Henry is young and happy. This is as it should be, I suppose.

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April 4th, 2013
06:22 pm

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Well, it appears I have caught chicken pox for the second time in my life. And no, it isn't shingles, or at least it isn't presenting itself as shingles according to the attractive lady quack who examined me. I have to thank young Henry for my re-acquaintance with childhood diseases.

My cup runneth over. (And I itch like blazes, dammit.)

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April 3rd, 2013
04:23 pm

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No, not yet...
Damn, it seems that Iain Banks has terminal cancer and only months to live.

I suppose I can hope for a miracle. If ever a there were a case for an intervention by a GSV class via some medical nanobots, it would be now.

Too many good folk dying at present. But I guess that's always the case.

Current Mood: down

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March 23rd, 2013
07:46 pm

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Henry
The lad is recovering from chicken pox. He has been somewhat more demanding than usual. H's nanny was in NY for Paddy's Day, and returned on Wednesday. So I had two whole days of an under the weather toddler by myself, and amazingly, I coped. Had to slather H in calamine lotion from chin to toe on a daily basis on top of his normal routine. Also, he couldn't go out to run about at his usual play groups, so was deprived of company and even more cranky.

Over the previous weekend, SWMBO's parents and I cleared the back garden to ready it for the new garden shed. We moved a rockery, a gazebo, and a ton and a half of mud, and put it all in a skip. Temporarily trashed my hands in the process, and was weary of limb and back after such exertion.

Feeling slightly merit-worthy, but not so much as to incite hubris, I hope.

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March 14th, 2013
06:47 am

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Thanks to peristaltor

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March 12th, 2013
12:40 pm

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Update…
Madame has just had her 20+ week scan.

All seems well. The fœtus is developing normally, and all the indications are that it will be healthy and without major problems. Fingers crossed. Because we're old-fashioned, we don't know the baby's gender. As long as it's healthy, I'll be happy.

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February 12th, 2013
01:55 pm

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Update…
So...

…I haven't smoked anything since the 2nd of January. Nor have I chewed much furniture, which is another win of sorts.

I dream of smoking, and not just jazz cigarettes. Every time someone on the telly takes a drag of a fag, some light goes on in the old noggin, and I reach for my roll-ups, which are no longer to hand.

Still, if I want to reach eighty, I have to make some sacrifices. And given that the second Ninefingers offspring is due this July, and I'm fifty-one now, I suppose that I really have to make an effort.

As a consequence of the impending appearance of aforesaid offspring, I have been given notice on my office: which will become the new nursery. I am to be exiled to a shed in the garden. It will be a posh shed…but still. The one we're looking at is made by a company in Ripon, Yorkshire, called OECO.

http://www.oecogardenrooms.co.uk/garden-offices.html

We're considering a 4m x 5m "Cube" garden office, with extra soundproofing and a few extra windows. I shall move most of my library into it, as well as my musical kit, and all of our office stuff. This will free up a lot of space in the house, which will make SWMBO happy.

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February 9th, 2013
11:19 am

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Happy Birthday
abomvubuso

May the coming year be full of good cheer, happiness, and success.

[Tips hat and raises glass.]

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

February 8th, 2013
12:32 pm

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Now surely the time has come…
…To deregulate our food industry completely.

The market will eventually stop dodgy folk putting horse meat into our beef burgers and frozen lasagne. These present scandals just prove how the market works in favour of the ordinary consumer.

If the ordinary consumer has been eating horse meat for the past few years unknowingly, well, that situation will be remedied in a short time. Who needs big government, food standards agencies, or testing funded from taxpayers hard earned and begrudgingly given up contributions, when we could give rich folk tax-breaks, and folk could make their own choices about the risks of eating cheap food? I mean to say, it's obvious that poor folk choose to be poor by not working hard enough, or being disabled, or whatever.

I heard a joke the other day: they dug up Richard III's body a while ago, now Atos have pronounced him fit for work.

Then there are some lovely stories about the Housing Benefit cap on folk in Westminster.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21362391

I quote from the article:

The Osman family have been at the Jury's Inn since the start of November, after changes to their housing benefit left them unable to afford the four-bedroom home they rented. They now share three rooms at the hotel.

"It's very hard," says father, Ali Sharif Osman.""We don't have a cooker, we don't have a fridge so we have to go out and buy takeaways every day."
"The hotel is also further from the children's schools".
He says the family used to receive £700-a-week in housing benefit until that was capped. BBC London was told the taxpayer is paying £350-a-night to house his family at the Jury's Inn Hotel.

Another invoice seen by BBC London shows the bill for a family of four, being housed at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington came to more than £12,500 for a month.The taxpayer had previously paid just over £3,000 in Housing Benefit for the family's previous home. Westminster Labour MP Karen Buck called the situation a "scandalous waste of public money" and said it was a bad deal for both the taxpayer and the families involved.

I seem to recall that the coalition pushed this policy through on the basis of saving money. Another brilliantly thought-out policy from our leaders. Now, apparently the coalition chappies are getting on Westminster's case about all of this wastage. Of course, what they really need to do is make Westminster Council throw these folk out on the streets by removing the statutory need for the homeless to be rehoused. That way we can get back to proper Victorian values of child abuse child labour; infant chimney sweeps; Dotheboys Hall; Fagin; poor folk living on the streets, and dying in bad weather from consumption; and all the other benefits of the pre-welfare state. And then we might push the poor benighted underclasses just far enough to incite the sort of bloody revolution that will lead to Cameron, Osborne, and Clegg's heads on spikes along London Bridge. You know it makes sense.

Oh England, that it should have come to this.

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February 1st, 2013
03:48 pm

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The Nation Review - An American Journal
Published this, which I quote in full:

President Obama Commemorates the ‘Senseless’ Holocaust
By Eliana Johnson
January 28, 2013 1:18 P.M. Comments150

President Obama issued a statement yesterday to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He noted that survivors who bore witness to “the horrors of the cattle cars, ghettos, and concentration camps have witnessed humanity at its very worst and know too well the pain of losing loved ones to senseless violence.” (We noted below how some in Europe chose to mark the day, which takes place each year on January 27, the day Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz.)

The idea that all violence is “senseless” violence is one that has taken deep root on the left; it’s also, unfortunately, one that poses a major impediment to understanding the world.

Nazism may have been an ideology to which the United States was — and to which the president is — implacably opposed, but it is hardly “senseless.” By the early 1930s, the Nazi party had hundreds of thousands of devoted members and repeatedly attracted a third of the votes in German elections; its political leaders campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including the “unification of all Germans,” a demand for “land and territory for the sustenance of our people,” and an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Germans were persuaded.

On September 12, 2012, President Obama also lamented the “the kind of senseless violence that took the lives” of four Americans in Benghazi. That, you may recall, is the day the president supposedly said the murders occurred as a result of a non-senseless terrorist attack carried out by jihadists.

This sanitized version of events, both past and present, is surely more comforting. It’s also truly senseless.


http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/339003/president-obama-commemorates-senseless-holocaust-eliana-johnson

The reason I quoted this in full is that I suspect that The National Review will take this piece down when they've had a chance to think about it clearly.

It is amazing that some right-wing folk in the US hate Obama so much that when he attacks the Nazis, they will find some way of defending them. They'd rather find common ground with Hitler than Obama. Ye Gods above.

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January 30th, 2013
03:33 pm

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Still Flu-ey
If that's the word I'm stretching for.

And I'm coming to the conclusion that wight1984 may be the best of any of us on LJ. Even when I disagree with him, he's a damn fine debater: better than I am anyway, maybe even better than you are, whomsoever you may be.

And he seems to be a person with his heart in the right place, as well as a good mind.

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January 29th, 2013
03:03 pm

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Been down...
...with the flu, dammit.

Sometimes it appears to me that SWMBO, being a robust sort, seems of the opinion that succumbing to illness is akin to a moral failing. (Though she has a sore throat at present. Hope she doesn't get the chills and shakes, given that she's gestating.) I think the fact that I don't make a wonderful patient didn't help much: which probably had something to do with the overproduction of mucus - alas the sort that sets like concrete, and could probably be used in major building works. Yuck is the only word available that actually fits the circumstances.

As for me, I'll be fine tomorrow. Sunday and Monday were spent pretty much in bed, much to Madame's irritation. Today I am up and a-wandering: there is shopping to do and a bank to go to. 

Go well, do good things, and try not to spread too many germs.

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January 24th, 2013
04:48 pm

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Saw on my chum peristaltor's journal
And I LMFAO.
So I just had to repost.



I reckon that's six "Hail Marys", four "Our Fathers", and a barefoot pilgrimage to Rome just for repeating it. Perhaps, in the spirit of ecumenicalism, the Vatican needs to start a new internet Index Prohibitorum which includes folk taking the piss out of hypocritical cherry-picking American Proddy fundamentalism.

Oh, "the sins against nature" (peccatum contra naturam) as one Church Father put it.

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January 21st, 2013
10:21 am

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Sport.
I think I'm going to have to revise my (previously negative) opinion of André Villas-Boas. I'm happy to eat my words when events or facts prove me wrong.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

January 16th, 2013
01:58 pm

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A book review of sorts.
So…I finished Lavie Tidhar's "Osama".

A post-modernist noir rewrite of "The Third Policeman", with touches of "The Man in the High Castle", but without the surreal humour and wit of the former, or the believability of the latter. The telly show "Lost" springs to mind. Oh well, it just goes to show what folk think of as being good in this day and age. I'm too out of touch with things, and my notions of literature, narrative, and style I fear are very different from those the modern world: and my response to "Osama" is merely corroborative evidence of such. Never mind.

I'm sure the fault is mine, or in my responses.

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January 14th, 2013
02:20 pm

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Update…
For various reasons, neither SWMBO or I have had much time to watch telly or read books. However, we have bought books and recorded the programmes we thought we might want to watch: so this is an entry about catching up.

David Brin's "Existence" is a book I bought for myself for my birthday, and have only now had a chance to finish reading it.



Some obvious faults, but interesting nevertheless. Not that great on characterisation, but Brin has a good hold on the novel of ideas actually conveying those ideas. Still, it took me rather a long time to read the thing, whereas with a true page-turner, no matter how badly written or translated (see "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" as an example) one rushes through in as few extended sittings as possible.

SWMBO and I finally caught up with series 2 of "The Hour". I thought it was fab, actually, and it brought back memories of people from my parents generations talking in code about Profumo, and generally reading about the late fifties and early sixties in the seventies, as geeky young men were wont to do in the years before the internet. Anyway, I found "The Hour" to be enthralling television, portraying a period before I had proper memory, but for which I feel a nostalgic affinity. However this is not a good series to watch if you've just given up smoking, as the characters light up all the flipping time.

Now I have to read Lavie Tidhar's "Osama"



Hoping it is as good as the buzz about it.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

January 8th, 2013
12:18 pm

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Here we go again…fingers crossed and all that jazz.
Official and confirmed: Madame is pregnant again. Due date is 15th July 2013. Crikey.

Went to King's for the 12 week scan. Almost all the staff appear to be European of some description, and with English as a second language. Made me wonder why we have so few native English speakers working in our hospitals with names like Smith, Jones, Patel, or Murphy. I mean, it's not as if doctors are that badly paid.

Had a great time over Christmas and the New Year: St Neot's for Christmas, and Hackness for New Year. Henry charmed one and all, and was dreadfully indulged, bless him, and got more presents than is good for him.

Hope the semi-murderous impulses associated with new siblings escapes Henry's sunny nature. But though we shall be richer in other respects as a family, we're sure as hell going to be financially poorer. Such is.

No cigarettes of any kind for a week. Haven't eaten any furniture as a consequence, but this may yet happen.

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December 19th, 2012
02:09 pm

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Someone with bigger balls than Rupert or Roger...
http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2012/12/court_rules_for_wendy_mcc.php

That Wendy McCaw could sure show Rupert Murdoch a thing or two about how to run a newspaper. [Slaps thigh.]

Isn't it amazing when one finds out that the US Constitution's first amendment doesn't really mean what you thought it did?

Now, in this conflicting tangle of First Amendment rights (the journalists, the editor, and the owner) which will win if the case goes to SCOTUS (as it might) is up in the air. Good times, hey?

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December 5th, 2012
09:30 pm

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RIP Dave Brubeck


One of the greats. This is more his than Take Five, which is Desmond's, though Desmond's solo in this is so fuckin' cool. But then again, so is some of Dave's playing through this. Such a sense of space...and even the almost 'stride' patterns work: though it must be admitted that Brubeck is better at the more formal aspects of the piece.

I couldn't find an embeddable (if that's the word I'm grasping for) version of It's a Raggy Waltz, so here's a link. Listen to it. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szVMpXagMT4&feature=share&list=AL94UKMTqg-9C4bD9zavh9hpa0UOVGodbn

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12:58 pm

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The other Vienna
1      The marketplace is all that is the case.
1.1   The marketplace is the totality of goods and services and the medium of exchange.
1.1.1...

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December 4th, 2012
11:15 am

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Musing on Kids TV and politics. UK-centric, so avoid if bored by parochial things from abroad.
For the past week The Boy has been riffing on Postman Pat. From breakfast to bedtime, the magical word is "Paat". Pat appears to be the be-all and end-all of this creation, and little else is of any true concern. Henry does a very good impression of St Paul to Postman Pat's Jesus, complete with little shouty episodes and footstamping bottom-lip-trembling micro-wobblies, wherein we poor benighted adults come very close to being excommunicated and cast out from the circle of the saved.

But because Henry is very loved, we try to impose limits on his obsession. Nevertheless, I have had to sit through many episodes of Pat, from the earliest onwards, and I have had an amazing realisation: the character known as "Major Forbes" and our esteemed London Mayor Boris Johnson have never been seen in the same room together. In fact, I'll quote from Major Forbes' wiki entry:

Major Forbes is an old army major, and says things such as "Eh, what", "Old chap" and "Good man". the only 11 episodes he appeared in were 'Postman Pat Takes the Bus', 'Postman Pat and the Toy Soldiers', 'Postman Pat and the Tuba', Postman Pat and the Suit of Armour', 'Postman Pat in a Muddle', 'Postman Pat Misses the Show', 'Postman Pat Has Too Many Parcels', 'Postman Pat Has the Best Village', 'Postman Pat Takes Flight', 'Postman Pat and the Beast of Greendale' and 'Postman Pat and the Mystery Tour'. He was first mentioned in the 1981 episode 'The Sheep In The Clover Field' which features his prize-winning bull. (Major Forbes has not been seen on the show since 1996) [my emphasis]

Now, if you forward to 9:40 on this Pat clip, you'll meet the Major



Now, remove the Major's moustache, and what happens?





Even the voice is the same.

Oops. Did I say that aloud?

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November 20th, 2012
12:04 pm

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Something tomorrow something something blah
Tomorrow I turn fifty-one. Better than the alternative, as a chum is wont to say.

This year could turn out interestingly.

As a recap of 'where I am' as our psychologically-minded chums might say, I took time to analyse the changes to my aims and ambitions that the past few years have wrought. The big underlying thing is, of course, that my niche in the music business died some years ago (session guitarist of the second rank, though I was, ahem, climbing, as the word is; and was 'First Call' at Tin Pan Alley Studios, if that means anything to anybody).

I thought that I still might have something to say with the instrument. That at what I was especially good, I could carve myself some small space within which to work, and gather a small audience who might just 'get' what I was doing: rhythmically, harmonically, and melodically. Though until Henry came along this ambition seemed modest, post son-and-heir arriving on the scene, I find that even this is fantastically beyond my ability to achieve. There are some apt lines from Eliot (aren't there always)

Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
     To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort.
     First, the cold friction of expiring sense
Without enchantment, offering no promise
     But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
     As body and soul begin to fall asunder.


You shed things. Things you thought never to let go. I am shedding technique with every passing day spent away from the guitar. When I reach for difficult but once comfortably achievable things, I approximate rather than nail them. Things fall apart without the constant discipline of practice. Entropy devours the fine honed sense, and eventually when we have sloughed off all of our hard learned abilities we shall resemble amoeba inchoate in response and understanding. I suppose this is why Dylan Thomas urged his father in particular, and the rest of us in general, to rage against the dying of the light.

But for me, I just want to nurture The Boy (and any other potential offspring) and to assist him in attempting to go one better than his old man, in whatever field of Henry's pleasure. But this means I must recognise that I have lost my personal and artistic ambitions. And I wonder is this a function or consequence of older fatherhood?

It's all selfish genes and all that, of course, dammit: almost resembles that there Determinism. Bah.


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November 2nd, 2012
01:46 pm

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Lucky
Henry fell and banged his head against the corner of a wall yesterday morning.

I was about to take the small car (Skoda Roomster) to get its MOT. Cancelled that and took him, and our nanny, Kay, to the local A&E at King's College Hospital.

Henry was a brave lad, and returned home with some "butterfly" stitches on his forehead, and a smile. Sometimes I wonder what I would have done with my life had I not gotten married: right up until I see Henry crack a grin. I mean to say, I could have been a contender, as the phrase is. Instead, I'm a dad, and I don't feel wanting.

Funny old business, life, eh?

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October 26th, 2012
12:28 pm

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Heard this, this morning on Essential Classics on BBC Radio 3
So I decided to post two extracts from different performances.

Bach's cantata BWV106



I tried to find a version of the opening with few of the normal tuning problems of that wonderful mediæval instrument, the recorder. But when it comes to voices, listen on...



The wonderful thing about "period" instrumentalists and singers is that they are mercifully free of the C19th and C20th affectation of ostentatious vibrato. When these chaps (of both genders, note) hit a note, they don't wander around the note in some lachrymose imitation of emotional depth. And because of this, the architectural beauty of Bach's musical constructions are laid bare, even for the uninitiated. These are the blueprints of music available to anyone with ears wherein the multi-dimensional aspects of Bach's writing are made clear.

Often, I ponder on the nature of the friendship of Bach and Telemann. Had I the wit, and thought I there was an audience, I'd resurrect Flann O'Brien's Keats and Chapman joke, and recast it for Johann Sebastian and Georg Philipp.

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October 25th, 2012
05:51 pm

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Got a real thing for Squeeze this week.
The perfect pop guitar solo? Well, I like it so much I'm going to learn it, just for the hell of it. When I have time that is, of course.



and for contender No.2, the perfect end-of-innocence summer holiday song. I think this is a classic. It's very um, er...rude, in an oblique way. I also think that this non-video with lyrics works better than almost any of the more conventional pop-videos of the era. But that could be because I think the words matter in the overall appreciation of the structure, fitness, and beauty, of the pop song.



Around this period of the band even Jools sounds brill.
Squeeze were one of the bands the quality of whose work was such that they really deserved to have been significantly bigger than they were. (I am reminded of Spirit and Randy California. Twelve Dreams was quite an album.)

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October 17th, 2012
04:38 pm

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I find myself congratulating Theresa May on her judgement.

The world is a strange place.

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October 12th, 2012
05:38 pm

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Blimey, who rattled Sir Mick's cage?


Those extracts of monkey glands seem to be doing the old codger some good: he sounds at least five ten eleven years younger than his actual age.

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