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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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August 4th, 2015
11:13 am

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From the personal...to the political.
In my fiftieth year I became a father for the first time.

Before that I really had no idea...about anything human, outside of friendship and sex, anyway. I thought that I had, of course; I thought that I had plumbed the depths of despair with a Tristan-like passion over lost loves, missed opportunities, and failed ideals.

Becoming a parent has put that into perspective. (I ramble as preamble.)

My elder child, Henry, is four. He is allowed approximately 45mins of TV a day as a maximum. On many days he watches no television. At weekends he will sometimes, if it is raining, be allowed to watch a film. Because his viewing time is so limited, he has become used to being selective in what he watches, which is a good thing. His favourite shows and films over the past year or two have been enlightening for me as a parent. I have had to sit through many episodes of: Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, Peppa Pig, and Octonauts. His most recent favourites are Tree-Fu Tom and, amazingly enough, the original series of Thunderbirds.

In all of these programmes young children are exposed to the sorts of problems where the solutions can be found with a bit of thought and sometimes a bit of super technology, or maybe magic, or maybe good old fashioned common-sense. In almost all of these programmes rescue, repair, and respect are the main themes which underlie the plots, such as they can be said to have. Within these shows the problems the characters face are ones within the compass of small folk to understand; and given an adult's perspective, can be said to have narratives with positive agenda.

However, somehow or other (Nursery School?) Henry has become aware of Power Rangers. A TV Series which has never met a problem it couldn't punch, shoot, or stab its way out of. Of this fact I was unaware until I sat down with Henry to watch the second episode I had recorded; him having sat through the first one on his own while I busied myself in the kitchen. As of now I wish he'd stuck to Postman Pat as he has spent three days trying to punch or kick me, SWMBO, Kay (the Nanny) and his sister Æ. I am less than impressed.

Ye gods, when your children's narratives only contain ridiculously reductive and simplistic battles between good and evil, and necessitate extreme violence as the only solution to any of the problems faced by the good guys, it is no wonder that American children grow up into American adults.

No more Power Rangers for Henry, though he does appear to have energy to burn. But maybe the self-discipline brought on by sport, or the Dojo, or a musical instrument will be his punishment. I shall not put it quite like that, though. At his prep they start on violin in Reception. I shall have to enrol him for football and cricket. Karate too.

At the risk of repeating myself, I do wish he'd stuck to Postman Pat, or maybe even Thunderbirds.

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July 29th, 2015
02:12 pm

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Sitting in the shed...
...(or the music room) guitar in hand, listening to Test Match Special on BBC Radio5live. Australia are 3 wickets down for 72 runs at lunch on the first day. A good morning with the ball from Finn and Anderson. Nowt for Broad as yet.

For the past week or so I've managed to play every day. Some scales, arpeggios, chord changes. Practice really changes things. The problem with lots of scales and alternative picking is that such an approach doesn't always give notes time to "breathe" and ring. We lose touch with the beauty of phrasing, which is the real signifier of greatness in playing. Which is why Jeff Beck is the musicians' lead guitarist, I suppose: and why, for all of his technical limitations, Gilmour is a genius; and Jimi is the electric guitarist sine qua non.

Every now and then we have to slow down and milk the notes for meaning outside of harmonic invention; or the rattling of machine-gun notes; or the noise, feedback, or guitar as car-crash (think strat abuse à la Adrian Belew) which sometimes seem the totality of practice. Or maybe just my practice. But great phrasing comes less from practice, and more from playing. And even more from playing and responding to other people's playing.

I need a regular working band.

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July 26th, 2015
09:42 pm

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Oh well...time to eat some crow...
I have to take back everything I've ever said about Jools Holland. He has grown into a musician, showman, and bandleader of some taste and learning. And may even be a damn good bloke to boot...well, he always had that, I suppose.

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June 12th, 2015
08:50 pm

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Oh well..
So Sir Christopher Lee has died.

Lord Summerisle was better than Dracula. Saruman was better than pretty much anything, including all the other performers in any of the movies, despite the botching of the script and storyline in translating from the book.

Few of us will ever manage a career's twilight as he did: the coda was better than all the movements before, including the scherzo.

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May 23rd, 2015
09:13 pm

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Good old Ireland.
Well done to the people of the Republic. Good for you guys. Actually voting to express tolerance is a wonderful thing. I tip my hat to you all.

Sláinte.

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May 19th, 2015
11:44 am

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Because I'm unwell....
And I have to rehearse tonight with the wedding band I'm listening to this:



I do love to listen to great genius. This is what humans can do when they really try...well, maybe superhumans. 

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May 14th, 2015
01:03 pm

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General update...
So...it's not diverticulitis...According to the quack (a good sort, knowledgable and with the appearance of great competence) it looks like gall bladder problems. The Bro' had his gall bladder removed at the end of last year after stones gave him a few episodes worse than mine. I'm at present on an almost no-fat diet. Now this ain't perfect for a chap who is 6'2" and under 140lbs...and one moreover who rather loves his cheese, oily fish, and chips. (Not together, I must add...or not necessarily anyway.) So now I'm wandering around wondering what to eat...Aargh!

As an aside, Steve K. came to visit yesterday. After he lost TPA Studios it's been a bit of a bumpy ride for him, nevertheless, things may change. Fingers crossed. We chatted of this and that as we recalled the past, like the two old codgers we are, and through the recollections a song came to mind, sung by soldiers, in another of life's little ironies.

I DON’T WANT TO BE A SOLDIER

I don’t want to be a soldier,
I don’t want to go to war.
I’d sooner hang around
Piccadilly underground
Living on the earnings of a Wh-High-born lady.
Don’t want a bullet up my arsehole,
Don’t want my bollocks shot away,
I’d rather live in England,
In merry, merry England
And fornicate my fucking life away.

So I looked for a version on YouTube. I found a substantially cleaner version, with a slightly different melody than the version I recall:



I think this old guy gives the song some of the spirit of the thing, even if his timing and phrasing aren't exactly perfect: but when was folk music ever perfect? Well... good "real" folk music, anyway.

One of the things we talked about was how, when we were brought up, hitting children was perfectly acceptable. Now we realise it is barbaric. I went to schools where the teachers, in loco parentis, would cane children. In many schools, prefects could cane other children. Er... Now from time to time, in an excess of spleen and rhetoric, I sometimes suggest that beating education into children may be in their own best interests. This is mainly because I would prefer there to be a better way of educating the little blighters. Whatever. But educated they really need to be.

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May 11th, 2015
03:43 pm

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Henry's Fourth Birthday.
So..Today is Henry's Fourth Birthday (Capitalised).
Over the weekend we had two parties, and the in-laws staying. I had a stomach upset, but thankfully that didn't dent young H's celebrations. On Saturday H had a party for his schoolfriends on the theme of Spiderman. There was a Spiderman children's entertainer, and all the kids ran around and made lots of noise. A good time was had by the parents too. Wine and beer was laid on for them, and they were plied as far as their driving commitments allowed: which meant quick discussions among the couples, no doubt. The family had a second party on Sunday where I was again rather laid-up (my diverticultis returned with a vengence) and today we are all going out to a resturant for supper (including Kay, H & Æ's nanny) and then H will be given his new scooter.

This is the nature of privilege. Some young folk have stuff, things...and ideas thrown at them from birth. (Even then they can go wrong...I mean, look at our new Conservative government. If only that Osborne chap had had basic economics bounced into his cranium he might have done better for his country...but no ranting Ninefingers, now is not the time.) And we are privileged. It was once the case that everyone had access to books from the public library, access to elite education provided for by the state, and access to proper medical treatment. Also there was a welfare state that meant those out of work would have the basics of their living requirements met. But because there were books available, and proper medical care, and good schooling, a young person could manage to get from a council estate dwelling, with both parent's on the dole, to a Grammar School, and from there go on to Oxbridge. It didn't happen often, but it did happen. Now we have a huge number of graduates, many saddled with debt, most of whom could be considered one of the varieties of "Middle Class". Of course my kids are less likely to have debts when they come out of university, but that's because they won't have to borrow money to pay their tuition or lodging fees. The generations preceding me have assured that. No doubt they will have gambling debts or owe money to drug-dealers, but that's pretty much par for the course: 'twas ever thus.

But I doubt that everyone's kids will have the same opportunities as mine will, and, although I can feel that is credit to the generations before me, and my tremendously industrious wife, I still rather feel it is unjust that such life opportunities are given to few. If we are going to return to an Edwardian notion of England, where the Gentry and Commoners are distinct and separate, and where poverty and opulence co-exist easily, then I think we are going to have to be very careful and very lucky indeed if we want to avoid bloody revolution.

The Tory Party's narrative about Labour spending has been pretty thoroughly debunked by many political economists worldwide. In fact, it seems that the Tories are much less competent than the last Labour administration was.*
But because it 'sounds' like common sense, our electorate has bought it. Now we wait for the first installment of payment.

*. http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/
    http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/06/13-terrible-tory-counterarguments/

(Leave a comment)

May 8th, 2015
12:25 pm

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The day after....
http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/

This should have been written and gone viral months ago. But now it doesn't matter as we still have the party of fiscal responsibility in charge, doing the right thing.

Oh well. We have the government we voted for. Ain't life grand?

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April 22nd, 2015
04:00 pm

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And here we go again....

So, today I've prevaricated like a master. There shall be cooking tonight and then telly and then bed.

What a rock 'n' roll life, hey?

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April 20th, 2015
12:41 pm

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So I begin my return to LJ Proper.
And I can bask happily in my own anonymity.

I needed to rekindle my enthusiasm for this place. External forces appear to have done the job for me. :)

May your day be full of good things...fun too.

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April 19th, 2015
07:58 pm

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That damn Facesbuch...
That damn Facesbuch has decided that I can no longer be Johnny Ninefingers, and has locked me out of the account I've had since FB's inception. Well...there's an end to that then.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

September 8th, 2014
11:20 am

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Religious nuttery, but mine this time.
On the phase space of the Godhead. And other Omega Point neoTeilhard-isms.

After writing that headline I wondered if this needed an essay to go with it, as to me it seems as if the disparate links within the title would give anyone what they need to know about where to look, anyway.

So that's as much as you're getting. I mean, it's not my contention that we sculpt our gods from the godhead with our asnine beliefs, is it: but that maybe is what the FAP (Final Anthropic Principle) implies?

Now I shall return to my normal gibbering and bleating. Talk amongst yourselves.

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September 3rd, 2014
11:15 pm

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This made me happy today...
http://www.niagarafallsreporter.com/Stories/2014/SEP02/nixon.html

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August 19th, 2014
05:19 pm

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Sometime in the late '90's...
I was backing a singer/songwriter called Cressy Johnstone (who is my son's godmother) as her guitarist, and we toured in support of Joan Armatrading. Now Joan was just returning to playing live after a short hiatus. Before the first gig I asked her about the opening chords to this song, and she said "All guitarists always ask me that" and moved on to a different subject. So I watched her from the wings...and every night of the tour she used different inversions of the chords, to make it more difficult to read her hands.

You have to love a lass like that. I still smile when I think about it. This performance is probably miming for TOTP or something...but Ms Armatrading can really play...really play...




Probably because I'm getting old, something reminded me of this today, so I posted it on here.

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August 5th, 2014
11:09 am

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I want the best justice money can buy...
This is how I know I'm not wealthy enough:

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/aug/05/f1-boss-bernie-ecclestone-offers-60m-settlement-bribery-trial

Now if only I had the odd $100M spare to prise me free of the beastly forces of law, order, and justice: for whenever I've slipped up and accidently bribed the odd overpaid administrator to my advantage.

Bernie is an old man, the wrong was financial (though other wrongs in F1 seem to be perfectly legal) and the penalty maybe fits the supposed crime. There isn't much purpose in putting octogenarians in prison unless they are too poor to pay for their own health costs, and I've no doubt we could catch him should he do it again: after all, we know where he lives. So maybe a win-win here. But it does rather show that unless you have insanely huge piles of the stuff lying about (to concentrate the minds of those pursuing the judicial process both for and against you) justice often seems a bit more random when applied to ordinary folk with ordinary Post Office savings accounts. Even if you bank with Hoare's, $100M isn't exactly small change.

Oh well. I'll have to think up some morally acceptable way of making my billions, obvs.

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July 6th, 2014
02:45 pm

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Update.
My daughter Æmilia was one year old on Friday the 4th July.
Party on the Saturday the 5th, but I had to leave at 4pm to go to a gig just outside Winchester.
Got back home at 3am. Henry woke at 7...bliss, such bliss.

Loving the sleep deprivation: it's almost like drugs.

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April 29th, 2014
12:29 pm

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I wondered about some of the guitar fills and looked up this performance...


And you know what...it still sounds good. And I know it's uncool to say so.

(2 comments)

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.
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.
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.

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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.]

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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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