Archive for November, 2010

Today’s Freddie Mercury tribute…

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

…comes from the University of Western Australia, where a very enterprising group of students have performed a “lip-dub” to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. It’s really fun, believe me! And kudos to the students; choreographing this must have taken a lot of effort, and it paid off!

Thanks to Towleroad for this.

Last Sunday’s sermon

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I decided that I was ambulatory enough to return to preaching at St. John’s Larcom Street, the neighbouring parish to mine. The Vicar was happy to oblige, so I preached a sermon for the First Sunday of Advent. The readings were: First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5; Ps. 121; Epistle: Romans 13:11-14; Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44.

Instead of printing the sermon here, however, I would be proud to direct you to The Rev’d Jonathan Hagger’s site, St. Laika’s, where he has graciously printed the sermon and praised it.

Interestingly enough, when I wrote it I was not impressed with it, and nearly scrapped it to write something else. But, I decided that I didn’t have time to do that, so I felt I would have to offer it to the congregation and hope that I didn’t lose their interest in the first few minutes.

However, I think that praying for guidance, as I do before writing any sermon, helped a lot. The congregation was interested and listened through to the end. A preacher can tell when s/he’s gone on too long or too boringly, as the congregation begins to fidget, look around, close its collective eyes, and wait for the end. This congregation looked me straight in the eye and did not waver for the entire 7 or 8 minutes I was speaking. Afterwards, I got compliments from the other members of the sanctuary party and from the congregation, who even remembered what I said.

Now this is not to blow my own horn. It’s to say that whatever gifts we have, however, meagre, should be shared out in our communities. And that I, especially, need to always think that my sermons can be improved as complacency would make me a crap preacher.

You can’t hide from Democracy Bear

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

There’s a general election looming in Singapore, where the ruling party has not lost an election since independence in the 1960’s. Democracy is thought by many to be expendable there, but just watch out…

Happy birthday, mousez72

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

…and many happy returns of the day!

From Twitter 11-29-2010

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
  • 12:34:02: @lynneguist In the US anncrs. don’t pretend to be experts in pronouncing foreign place names. BBC anncrs. do pretend, but fall down on US 1s
  • 12:36:03: RT @seismic007: Pabst Blue Ribbon? << more likely Duff, I thnink…
  • 12:37:20: Good morning, all. Colder than … well, you know what it’s colder than. Seeing Yes, Prime Minister this evening courtesy of houseguest.
  • 15:02:14: Cutie should have gotten his license… RT DentonPolice: 11/29/2010 07:07 | 23 yo | TURNED L FROM WRONG LANE |
  • 16:14:32: RT @urbanbohemian @jaegerwolf: No no no. Teva stiletto?? A fashion faux pas if I’ve ever seen one:

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Happy birthday, boyshapedbox

Monday, November 29th, 2010

…and many happy returns of the day!

From Twitter 11-28-2010

Monday, November 29th, 2010
  • 00:47:54: Bill’s head has a point… RT DentonPolice: 11/27/2010 11:29 | 22 yo| LAKE DALLAS PD/FMFR
  • 00:50:11: Bubba got caught… RT DentonPolice: 11/26/2010 20:51 | 26 yo| BURGLARY OF VEHICLE | ALLEN PD/FMFR | ALLEN PD/FTA
  • 00:51:45: RT @MikeonTV: The darn Santa Claus parade blocked all entrances to the liquor store! Won’t be a holly jolly night tonight 🙁 < You sleigh me
  • 00:52:51: We;;. tweeps & peeps, sermon written, Denton Police logs retweeted, time for bed. Be good, and if you can’t be good, be careful out there!
  • 18:01:48: @momfood How did the beans come out?
  • 18:11:53: RT @MrPandaBehr: Very happy that I saved a good chunk of money on Michael’s birthday gift with Black Friday sales. <This is where frugal was
  • 19:52:18: @momfood I’m so relieved. I was worried you wouldn’t like my recipe…
  • 22:41:37: @lynneguist BBC announcers should learn to pronounce “Maryland” correctly. They use “Mumbai” not “Bombay”, so why “MAY-REE-land”?
  • 22:44:26: @latinoboy628 Good afternoon to you! I hope the rest of your day is fine.
  • 22:46:31: @BrooklynGrey I hope you find one…

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From Twitter 11-27-2010

Sunday, November 28th, 2010
  • 10:19:28: RT @KCOOKE28_1: @chrishansenhome hey don’t say that you’ll set the wrong tone. Lol << Or the right one!
  • 10:21:30: Late #FF @mariocruzxxx as he’s very photogenic and a thoughtful guy. << I mistyped FF yesterday; how dumb is that?
  • 10:21:50: Morning, tweeps & peeps. Off to a meeting, then must must must write my sermon for tomorrow!

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From Twitter 11-26-2010

Saturday, November 27th, 2010
  • 00:00:44: Well, tweeps & peeps, time for hay-hitting. Hope all my USan friends have eaten well and are sleeping it off. Cheers to the rest of you!
  • 10:07:53: Morning, all. Hoping for a quiet day today, then dinner with friends tonight.
  • 11:56:50: Well, time to get ready to face the day. Cheers to all! If you’re in the midst of Black Friday, good luck to you!
  • 14:17:06: RT @bengoldacre: am i the only person who “hilariously” pronounces “aubergine” to rhyme with “vagina”? << Yes, you are.
  • 14:32:08: Lots to love… RT DentonPolice: 11/26/2010 06:13:14 | 20 years old | Bond: $500 | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 19:44:01: RT @GaySkyHooker: I now have 1888 followers. 1888. That year is significant in Aussie history, hugely. << Look there.
  • 20:03:05: @thatsam Visit us soon! We love visitors!
  • 20:04:05: #FFR @mariocruzxxx as he’s very photogenic and a thoughtful guy.
  • 20:04:17: #FF @thatsam as he wants to visit London soon.
  • 20:04:36: #ff @soveren because he needs some encouragement to come to London and introduce himself.
  • 20:05:31: #FF @jonk because he loves to spill hot Nutella on his tops…
  • 20:06:26: #FF @nickbains because the Bishop of Croydon blogs well and needs two more followers to hit 1000
  • 20:06:53: #FF @ltdanchoi because he’s a patriotic American (and handsome to boot!)
  • 20:07:06: RT @hungskateboy: Man I got some of those white powdered donuts and now it looks like whitney was using my phone. #crackiswack
  • 20:07:23: #FF @hungskateboy because he is really funny as well as photogenic.
  • 20:07:58: #ff @kalandaka because squirrels are cute
  • 20:08:53: #ff @urbanbohemian as he is easy on the eyes and gives great comment on #washingtondc
  • 20:09:18: RT @pierregoh: Why step out of the cinema feeling sorry for Mark Zuckerberg when I can go home and feel sorry for myself?
  • 20:10:29: #FF @MrPandaBehr because he is frugal, easy on the eyes, and has a great partnership as well as a good column in A Bear’s Life.
  • 20:11:56: #FF @TheBlackoutBlog because he’s spoiled at Thanksgiving but also gives great picture.
  • 20:12:48: RT @KCOOKE28_1: @chrishansenhome sorry I forgot to add you to my #FF list today << No probs, bro. I’m easy.
  • 20:13:27: RT @sonicchubb @chrishansenhome have Happy Friday #FF And to you!

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Happy birthday, enigmacub and roidsrage

Friday, November 26th, 2010

…and many happy returns of the day!

From Twitter 11-25-2010

Friday, November 26th, 2010
  • 12:41:52: @RichieInLondon Well, if you like. Best to recycle it, actually. U can get brownie points and someone else can have trouble with the phone.

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From Twitter 11-24-2010

Thursday, November 25th, 2010
  • 01:00:58: @KCOOKE28_1 U too. Be good, and if you can’t be good be careful.
  • 01:08:21: RT @jonk: @jtbritto hahaha trust me, it’s just nutella that was made runny by my hot toast LOL << hot toast, huh? Another euphemism…
  • 10:54:04: Good morning, tweeps & peeps. Restless night last night. Woke up much later than usual and had to wait until 9 for breakfast… Cheers!
  • 16:48:39: The students are revolting!
  • 16:50:30: Very cute eyes… RT DentonPolice: 11/24/2010 08:22 | 19 yo | CRIMINAL MISCHIEF >=$50 < $500
  • 16:52:16: @brandonsuxx Please get yourself to a place of safety! Then turn your “bf” in to the cops. Please. I’ll say a prayer for you.

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From Twitter 11-23-2010

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
  • 00:51:38: Well, tweeps & peeps, time to hit the hay. HWMBO is away so I’ll only have the plush animals for company…play nice, now!
  • 16:46:08: RT @seismic007: Feel like an old horse ready for the glue factory << Where would you get one this time of day?
  • 17:01:09: Kevin’s so hot when he’s angry… RT DentonPolice: 11/23/2010 01:09 | 27 yo | BURGLARY OF VEHICLE
  • 17:04:24: Michael’s hairstylist should have been arrested instead… RT DentonPolice: 11/22/2010 08:41 | 23 yo |
  • 17:06:34: Spencer’s in trouble…bad hair! RT DentonPolice: 11/21/2010 23:27 | 19 yo | | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOX
  • 23:58:19: RT @j980: The Duke basketball team has the nastiest feet I’ve ever seen lol << How’s the rest of them, though? Enquiring minds want to know!
  • 23:59:23: RT @jonk: Drippy nutella fail = unplanned load of laundry << Oh dear, looks quite suspicious… 😉

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From Twitter 11-22-2010

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
  • 00:48:19: RT @iamkio: i think im gonna put a trade pic up << sounds great to me…
  • 00:49:16: RT @MattJenki: Right all I’m taking my tiny cock to bed with me now… Its happy about that. << Something for the cock to crow about? 😉
  • 01:13:01: All right, tweeps & peeps, I’m too pooped to peep. See you tomorrow…
  • 10:09:25: Good morning, all. HWMBO is off to another SAS course in Buckinghamshire. Houseguest arrives tomorrow. Oh, well…
  • 10:09:54: @momfood Do tell us whether my recipe was successful when you’ve finished making the beans…
  • 10:10:50: @maleaddict No time off when Xmas is on a weekend? Is your boss named Ebenezer Scrooge, by any chance?
  • 11:15:20: Just got one of those scam calls from someone from the “Computer Maintenance Dept.” I told him to get an honest job and hung up.
  • 19:47:59: Off to a meeting soon. Ho hum.

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From Twitter 11-21-2010

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
  • 01:31:01: I haven’t tweeted all day…goodness! The interview went well, and now it’s time for bed again. Sleep well and keep smiling.
  • 22:24:19: Well, haven’t tweeted today. I’m a non-twit, I guess. Listening to @FrenchRadioLnd — interesting music and I get to practice French.
  • 22:24:52: Forgot to ask, how’s everyone?
  • 22:28:43: RT @jayehmsee: Can you imagine how awesome it would be if every traveler told every TSA person to ‘Touch my balls!’ < Especially the ladies!
  • 22:32:18: RT @JeremyJacobs: Am I the only person in this country who doesn’t watch #xfactor ? << No, what’s #xfactor ? 😉
  • 22:47:59: RT @KiNGLATiNO: In 12yrs tigers may be extinct… which makes me sad… cuz frosted flakes are awesome.

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From Twitter 11-20-2010

Sunday, November 21st, 2010
  • 00:07:22: Well, tweeps & peeps, doing an alumni interview for Columbia tomorrow. Have discovered French Radio London. Good night!

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The lesson is taken from Grandmère Mimi

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp—
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alkies and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on Cloud Nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber—give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said, ‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’

From Twitter 11-19-2010

Saturday, November 20th, 2010
  • 01:10:51: Well, tweeps & peeps, time for pills, shot, and bed. Play nice, now!
  • 09:54:35: RT @Squibby_: Loving the guy on the train with full on urban / street clothing and trainers and… Winnie The Pooh gloves.
  • 09:57:18: @kathyclugston I like the fact that the report including Mars’ penis was reported by David Willey
  • 10:14:54: A bit green about the gills… RT DentonPolice 11/19/2010 00:34 | 29 yo | Bond: $500 | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 11:16:19: Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider! — George Carlin
  • 12:07:56: Morning, all. I want to go buy something today but don’t know what. Will keep you informed.
  • 15:47:02: RT @infernoxv: RT @jon_avila: Facebook is like jail, you sit around and waste time, write on walls, and get poked by people you don’t know
  • 17:08:58: RT @Fox_Mullder: Right now I really need a fashion guru cause I hate the way I fucking look < So long as u don’t hate the way u look f*cking
  • 17:16:14: RT @angelxxxcruz If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn’t follow. I’d be at the bottom to catch them when they fall.
  • 20:54:17: RT @OahuAJ: I think we all have a little kermit in us << That’s what Miss Piggy said…

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From Twitter 11-18-2010

Friday, November 19th, 2010
  • 08:30:21: @jonk Like the hat You look a bit like a Northerner who keeps ferrets…
  • 08:30:57: Morning, all. Foot clinic today; otherwise, recuperating from yesterday. Foot feels better this morning but we’ll see what the quacks say.
  • 10:29:57: Well, off to the quacks. Hope I return with both feet intact.

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From Twitter 11-17-2010

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
  • 23:45:42: Good night all. Successful Lodge meeting but my foot hurts like a mother. So, off to bed. Cheers, my dears!

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From Twitter 11-16-2010

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
  • 01:26:03: RT @sincerelyJewel: I took Latin for four & a half years thinking it would get me pussy. I should have taken Spanish so I can work anywhere,
  • 01:29:30: OK, all, goodnight…am very tired but still stay up past midnight. Faugh! Play nice, y’all.
  • 11:25:24: Morning, all. Busy day today…visitor this afternoon to pick up some tickets, then LOI tonight, plus picking up my suit at the cleaners…
  • 15:26:10: RT @ianvisits: Postage stamp humour:
  • 16:56:32: Understated cutie… RT DentonPolice 11/16/2010 08:55:17 | 25 years old | OTHER AGENCY MISDEMEANOR WARRANTS
  • 18:40:36: @DanielJUK They do it because the only way to overturn the law as discriminatory is to attempt to get married and be refused.
  • 22:57:54: @DanielJUK I’m in one, so I guess it’s an issue for me. It’ll be settled, perhaps sooner than we think.

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Fruitful news day

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

The news has just come through that Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry next year. This will dash the hopes of millions of women (and perhaps millions of gay men).

Royal weddings are an occasion in the United Kingdom for an outpouring of nationalistic rejoicing. The last occasion on which this happened was Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. So we’ve been 20 years without—a long time between them.

What will happen? First, the poor lady will be inundated by paparazzi, newspapers, other media types, and will be hectored to within an inch of her life. This will be combatted by her husband, very fiercely. Second, I believe that the pressure will be off as far as William’s parents and grandparents are concerned. While the Royal Family in general are not terribly intelligent in an intellectual way, they do seem to learn from their mistakes in a corporate way. I suspect that William will continue his military career and his wife will act as a loyal serviceman’s wife. They will be living in North Wales (the island of Anglesey), which is where he is based. After seeing what the family did to his mother, I don’t believe that William will allow a rerun of that; he’ll protect her to the extent he can. Remember, she is university-educated (which Diana was not) and has been in “the world” in a way that Diana never was. She is not aristocratic; her parents are millionaires, true, but it is a self-made million and her background is distinctly middle-class. This will horrify some royal-watchers, but the vast mass of the British people will be happy to welcome Kate into the Royal Family.

I think the wedding will be low-key, no carriages through the streets, no out-of-control wedding garments, that kind of thing. The economic circumstances of the time mean that the Royal Family would be particularly tin-eared to insist on such stuff.

There will be some pressure to produce an heir and a spare, and I think that this will happen relatively quickly. That will relieve pressure on Prince Harry, of course, and allow him to marry at his leisure (or not, as the case may be).

The hounding has already started, with a BBC helicopter following the couple’s car as it speeds toward Clarence House near Buckingham Palace.

The other piece of news that has impressed itself on me today is the sentencing of Alan Shadrake to 6 weeks in prison and a fine of more than £9,000 for contempt of court in Singapore. Shadrake wrote a book called Once a Jolly Hangman, which concerned the manner in which the death penalty is imposed and administered in Singapore.

I’m personally not happy with this result; I don’t believe that a book of this sort is any more harmful to Singapore’s judiciary than the history of Singaporean justice has been. However, I can only believe that Shadrake is either colossally stupid, or is on a drive to increase sales of his book. Singapore is an easy place to avoid if you need to do that. Shadrake is based in Malaysia, and from there he could go anywhere he liked without touching down at Changi. However, he chose to go to Singapore, get arrested, be tried, and sentenced. Why be a martyr unnecessarily?

His lawyer says that Shadrake has been disappointed by the lack of support from the British public. There are two reasons for that. First, there has been a minimal amount of coverage in the news media here of the case. Second, Brits in general do not particularly want to support people who are stupid enough to deliberately put themselves in danger of this sort.

From Twitter 11-15-2010

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
  • 00:30:47: @Fox_Mullder Depends on what’s wrong with it and what kind of laptop it is. Any hints?
  • 00:32:37: OK, all, I’ve been to a concert at QE Hall with HWMBO tonight, so I’ve kinda neglected you, Twitter. Off to bed now. Cya tomorrow, I hope!
  • 00:34:08: Gilligan’s ALIVE! RT @DentonPolice: 11/14/2010 17:27 | 27 yo | PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 10:24:10: Good morning, all. Nothing on the schedule today, thank goodness. Meetings tomorrow and Wednesday evenings.
  • 10:34:53: @soveren Morning. What’s new and exciting?

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Today’s Law Enforcement URL

Monday, November 15th, 2010

I should think that if you’re going to skip out on a check at a restaurant, you would probably not want to remain in the area. If you do, you’d not be likely to try to stave off arrest in the same way that this woman tried.

From Twitter 11-14-2010

Monday, November 15th, 2010

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Today’s Religious humour, from MadPriest

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

One afternoon the head pastor of an evangelical mega-church was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the roadside eating grass. Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and he got out to investigate.

He asked one man, “Why are you eating grass?”

“We don’t have any money for food. We have to eat grass,” the poor man replied.

“Well, then, you can come with me to my house and I’ll feed you,” the pastor said.

“But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree.”

“Bring them along,” the pastor replied.

Turning to the other poor man he stated, “You come with us, also.”

The second man, in a pitiful voice, then said, “But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!”

“Bring them all, as well,” the pastor answered.

They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine was.

Once under way, one of the poor fellows turned to the pastor and said, “Sir, you are too kind… Thank you for taking all of us with you.”

The pastor replied, “Glad to do it. You’ll really love my place. The grass is almost a foot high.”

From Twitter 11-13-2010

Sunday, November 14th, 2010
  • 00:19:39: Good night, y’all. Play nice. See you tomorrow.
  • 14:41:29: I’m at St John The Evangelist in London
  • 20:27:58: I have been at Diocesan Synod all day. So tired I took a nap when I got home. Did anyone miss me? … Thought not… 😉
  • 21:11:04: Oh, Christ. It seems like everyone is watching #XFactor except me. I am the lucky one.

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Daniel Radcliffe Sings

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

I’m sure you’re mostly familiar with Tom Lehrer’s song “The Elements”. Well, Daniel Radcliffe has been learning stuff other than magic spells at Hogwarts. Here he is, on Graham Norton’s show, singing (sans accompaniment, unfortunately) “The Elements”.

From Twitter 11-12-2010

Saturday, November 13th, 2010
  • 00:29:18: @brianepeters Not bad, can’t complain. Could be worse! Thanks for asking!
  • 00:30:32: Goodness, which animal? 3-toed sloth? RT DentonPolice: 11/09/2010 05:11 | 19 yo | Bond: $375 | ANIMAL AT LARGE
  • 00:31:59: Tyrone’s out of it, but a cute nonetheless… RT DentonPolice: 11/09/2010 02:19 | 34 yo | POSS MARIJ < 2OZ
  • 00:33:42: Ronald gets the book thrown at him… RT DentonPolice 11/08/2010 11:53 | 31 yo | Bond: $10,719 | FAIL TO IDENTIFY
  • 00:35:07: Joseph’s so blue… RT DentonPolice 11/08/2010 00:32 | 27 yo | Bond: $871 | DPD WARRANT/ EXP INS
  • 00:35:49: RT @sshawnn: @chrishansenhome and it bounces of his neck! He doesn’t notice. << You rock!
  • 01:29:38: Well, tweeps & peeps, I didn’t feel like going to bed & now it’s 0030. Crumbs. See y’all tomorrow. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…
  • 12:12:38: Good morning, all. A hunky Mexican workman is replacing our extractor fan in the downstairs loo. Too bad it’s winter & he’s overdressed…
  • 12:27:31: #FF @maleaddict because he is such a good writer and gives a good show.
  • 17:14:10: @maleaddict It’s “follow Friday”. Every Friday, Twitter-addicts recommend people who should be followed. I recommended you.
  • 17:14:52: RT @camaaron: @chrishansenhome what would your bf say! 🙂 << Nothing happened. He’d say I have an overactive imagination, I guess.
  • 23:19:46: RT @kristainchicago: Why does chicago o’hare have a terminal 1, 2, 3, and 5…but no 4? << Wikipedia is your friend:
  • 23:25:19: RT @angelxxxcruz: All I want for Christmas… << Nice one…
  • 23:26:41: RT @soveren: oooh i’ve had my first block! hahahahaa so this is how it feels like. << OIC. Twitter block, c*ck block, what??
  • 23:29:08: RT @soveren: @chrishansenhome twitter block << Oh, well then…how did you find that out? I block peeps all the time, anonymously, I hope!
  • 23:33:36: RT @soveren: @chrishansenhome i was following someone who followed me (email notifier) but then said he blocked me. lol << He’s a wanker.
  • 23:34:48: RT @sexydeadstar: There were far too many hotties in the store they were making me feel lonely =[ << Hotties? You fit right in!
  • 23:42:23: RT @MrMartiii: Why do you tweet? << Because it’s there.
  • 23:46:14: RT @Minervity: 10 Reasons Not To Block Someone On Twitter – << for @soveren

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Today’s Tonsorial Digestive URL

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I have heard of people with pica who eat their own hair. However, this gentleman got into a dispute with two others over a tractor sale, and he got a meal that he didn’t expect.

From Twitter 11-11-2010

Friday, November 12th, 2010
  • 10:04:01: @Huntermoore I’m up. How are you?
  • 10:10:41: Blond twink drinks… RT DentonPolice: 11/11/2010 00:31 | 21 years old | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 10:15:12: RT @infernoxv @daphnemaia: The difference between having a dog and a cat. <<- i’d nvr wonder how the cat would taste.
  • 10:20:27: Hey! Chris with the ginger chinstrap! RT DentonPolice: 11/11/2010 01:01 | 18 yo |
  • 10:24:29: Young blond otter stoner? RT @DentonPolice: 11/10/2010 23:49:42 | 17 years old | POSS MARIJ < 2OZ
  • 10:27:45: RT @jordansammy: I’ve never been kissed….. What does that say about me!? << You’ve never met me…
  • 10:31:41: RT @mariocruzxxx: Better to praise someone than to say something potentially hurtful. << Very wise words. Thanks.
  • 10:32:18: RT @corfmeister: After listening to end of Today think will spend the day practising the art of the non-sequitor.<Perhaps even non-sequitur?
  • 10:33:06: RT @Huntermoore: @chrishansenhome great 🙂 you << Oh, I’ll live, I guess.
  • 10:35:42: @corfmeister Thanks for giving me another reason to enjoy the Latin and Greek degree I earned so many years ago.
  • 12:00:03: Start of 2-minutes’ silence for Remembrance Day.
  • 12:13:07: Forgot to wish you all “Good Morning!” when I got up. Well, better late than never. LOI this evening.
  • 20:06:45: I’m at Northwick Park Station in London
  • 22:32:39: @brianepeters Sodom-on-Sahara
  • 22:38:34: “Play it again, Samantha.” #SlightlyWrongMovieQuotes

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A response to fj’s comment on my previous post

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

fj said, in part:

Furthermore, this raising fees goes hand in hand with killing the block grant to universities, basically making them dependent only on tuition fees, strongly commercializing education as a product. It will kill less popular and artistic studies that do not have that return in the marketplace on money invested by the student, thus destroying that knowledge.

I don’t believe that the number of arts and humanities students in the United States has been lessened by the “commercialisation” of university education.

British universities need to take their heads out of the Middle Ages and start raising their own funds and endowments. For too many years they have been dependent on the state for all funding. This has made them into tools of whichever government is in power, and has made students totally dependent upon the government to fund their educations. This removes incentive, and prepares students for a life of indolence (if that’s what they want). It also means that alumni/ae are disinclined to contribute to their almae matres studiorum. The government has faced up to this, and assuming that they can fend off the students who believe that the world owes them a living and an education, this action will be a success.

What does need to be done is this:

First, establish a set of state universities which are subsidised to a greater or lesser extent by the government. Tuition fees would still be charged, but at a somewhat lower rate than at the redbrick establishments.

Second, set the well-established older foundations free to charge what the market will bear, subject to large scholarships for those who cannot afford to pay full tuition but who would benefit from the educational experience that these institutions can provide. These universities must step up their fundraising apparatuses to a professional level (note that the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge was the Provost of Yale—this is already happening in certain places) and set aside funds for scholarships. The government support for tuition (as opposed to support for research and development) should be tapered off and consist of loan guarantees by the end of the process.

Third, the government should make contributions to tertiary educational institutions tax-exempt, on the American model. What fat cat wouldn’t like a building at their university named after them? It works in America, and if the government would get its head out of its arse and recognise that the structure of charitable giving needs to be overhauled, it would work here too.

By the way, it is a general problem with charity giving here in the United Kingdom that people give money to animals and diseases, but not to anything else. The Church of England would be self-sufficient if the people in the pews actually believed what is the honest truth: the government does NOT contribute a farthing to the Church by law Established. It the universities could more easily tap into the fat cat funding stream, and divert some of the moggy-money to education, there would be no problem funding tertiary institutions.

The largest number of universities in all the ranking lists of world universities are in the United States. There’s a reason for this. Oxford and Cambridge are there mainly because of their antiquity, and because they have tapped the government for lots of research funding.

I have to disagree with you, fj, as much as it pains me to do so. The European model of state-funded tertiary education can no longer compete, even on its own territory. Changing it gradually to a student and alumnni/ae funded model, with government grants a distant third, is the only way to ensure that all those who want an education can get it.

And, by the way, I think that too many people end up going to university now in any case. Degree-inflation has made it impossible to get a good honest job without GCSEs or A-levels, and most employers now look favourably only on degree-holders. This is rubbish. We need to ensure that education in the United Kingdom is tailored to the wants and needs of the student, and the wants and needs of the labour market. As a Latin and Greek major, I was woefully underprepared for the labour market, and I have never actually taught the Classics. However, it did fit me for software testing and test management, and I’m glad I took it.

And as for debt? I had a lot of debt vis-à-vis my income, and I was terrified. But even on the meagre salary I got working at Columbia preparing transcripts for posting, I managed to pay it off. The conditions under which the student of England will be paying off his or her debt would have been awesome to me. I don’t believe that I would have started paying off my 1970-74 debt until the early 1990’s, which is when I started to make the equivalent of £21,000. Some students will never pay off their debts, legally, and the remainder of whatever they owe will be written off 35 years after graduation. I would have KILLED to have had debt with conditions that lenient.

I would have loved to have gotten a free education, or to have graduated with no debt. However, I was a gifted student from a relatively poor family, and the system I was educated in gave me many advantages because of that, and I received the college education that only two other members of my family had ever gotten.

I know it sounds very American, but, dammit, I am American, at core, and I can really see English tertiary education becoming much much better for everyone if changes are made in its funding patterns. No one likes to go from getting something for nothing to having to pay something for something. But the bankers and fat cats have eaten our free lunch, and we won’t get it back again until they’re all convicted of something-or-other and jailed good and hard, and that won’t happen until the coming of the Coqcigrues.

Yesterday’s Student Demonstration^WRiot in London

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

When I was a young nipper, students rioted over common public concerns like the Vietnam War or here in the UK, the Poll Tax. Yesterday, the student demonstrations over the imposition of higher student fees in universities turned into a riot. The students marched past Conservative Central Office headquarters in the Millbank Building, and some took it upon themselves to storm the building, break down windows and doors, swarm to the roof, and hurl at least one fire extinguisher off the roof, narrowly missing several people on the ground.

Now there is a long tradition here of students getting a university education for free. This ended several years ago with the imposition of tuition fees (covered by student loans) by the Labour Government. These fees are now expected to rise to £9,000 / year (around US$13,500) in the next four years, with the student loans expanded to cover them. The repayment of the loans will be gradual, over 30 years or so, and repayment will not kick in until the graduate is in work earning more than £21,000 a year (around US$30K or so). If the graduate loses his or her job, the loan repayments cease. After 30 years, any further balance will be written off. (Note for USans: most university education courses last only 3 years here, not 4. Thus, the total debt for tuition would be around US$41,000. Further, this only applies to English students. Those from other countries of the UK will not pay this much, if anything at all.)

Those of you who have been in higher education in the US recently will laugh at this. For some of you, the total debt of the English student over three years will be your debt for just one year of your four-year degree.

Now it would be lovely if we could afford to send 50% of English teenagers to university for free. We cannot. The numbers of students, combined with the national deficit, means that continuing to fund everyone’s university education is impossible under current conditions. One would think that businesses and the rich would be happy to suffer higher taxes for this purpose. One would be wrong. The rich and business would flee to lower-tax jurisdictions in an instant. Globalisation, which has involved removing many barriers to international business, has had the corollary effect of maximising the opportunities for businesses and the rich to move around to a place where their tax expenditures are minimal.

I am also of the opinion that getting something (a university degree) for nothing is not a good way to start one’s career. When I started at Columbia Univ. in 1970, tuition was $2,500 a year. It’s now more than $40,000. I had $1,600 of scholarships, and $500 in a loan from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This left my parents to fund $400 a year. I was left with a debt of $2,000 when I graduated. It was paid off by around 1980 or 1981 at $50 per month or so. If we accept that one 1970 dollar is worth 16 2010 dollars, that would have been US$32,000 in today’s money. Yes, it’s quite a lot. However, graduates tend to get better jobs and keep them longer. So repayment of the debt is easier for them.

The students should be cracking the books and not rioting. Demonstrations are natural: who wouldn’t be annoyed at the withdrawal of a state benefit that would hit him or her in the wallet? When these students end up being taxpayers, I expect that they will not demonstrate against higher taxes to pay for education, especially if those taxes hit them hardest.

Universities here (which have been slackers at hitting up their alumni/ae for cash, as the government has always provided most of their funding) need to get better at fundraising from grateful alumni/ae, and start building up cash funds out of which to fund scholarships for those who are most deprived among their students. They need to find students from poor backgrounds who can benefit from a university education, and fund them through their degree courses.

The government needs to ensure that the students do not suffer during their time at university, but needs to ensure that they have good jobs to go to, and that future students do not expect a free education, but appreciate that the goodness of education is made clearer through ensuring that they themselves help to fund it.

Joke, thanks to Grandmère Mimi

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

An elderly man is stopped by the police around 1 am. and is asked where he is going at this time of night.

The man replies, “I am going to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body”.

The officer then asks, “Really? Who is giving that lecture at this time of night?”

The man replies, “My wife.”

From Twitter 11-10-2010

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
  • 00:37:52: Good night, intarwebz. Normal service may be resumed tomorrow. Be warned!!
  • 08:30:51: David’s got a rugged face… RT DentonPolice: 11/10/2010 00:45 | 21 yo | POSS MARIJ < 2OZ
  • 08:46:41: @jonk Most peeps I know w/ bread machines dust them occasionally but even more rarely use them. YMMV, tho.
  • 08:50:50: Eli the Otter… RT DentonPolice: 11/09/2010 21:08 | 27 yo | PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 08:53:54: Morning, all. Sent HWMBO off to his 3-day course. I am a bachelor until Friday night… 🙁
  • 09:00:52: @bennyluo Cereal first, of course.
  • 14:40:11: @BubblePOPPA #FollowerFeedback I’m from London England
  • 22:24:33: RT @LucasLascivious: …I am so embarrassed for them. You can totally pick out the tops and bottoms: < I <3 this!

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From Twitter 11-09-2010

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

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A Random Act of Culture

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

What a wonderful idea! It’s a musical flashmob in the Great Court of Macy’s in Philadelphia. The largest pipe organ in the world and more than 600 singers present Handel’s “Hallelujah” Chorus to a store-ful of startled shoppers, some of whom are joining in. Bringing music out of the concert hall and into the public arena is a great thing. I wish they had something like this here in the United Kingdom. It was organised by Random Acts of Culture, and if they have an event near you, go! Here’s the video from Macy’s (once Wanamaker’s):

From Twitter 11-08-2010

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
  • 00:13:26: @thatsam Come to London and I’ll bake you some…
  • 00:13:52: @randyfmcdonald No, I’m not a milkshake fan. Banana bread is great stuff, especially homemade like Grandma used to make.
  • 00:14:34: Well, tweeps & peeps, time for bed. I’m bushed, and my ribs hurt from coughing. Play nice out there…hope to be back tomorrow!
  • 10:02:34: Good morning, all. I am 58 today, and share a birthday with Rupert Bear and the Archbishop of Westminster. Hooray.
  • 18:50:52: Thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday. It has been good so far.

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From Twitter 11-07-2010

Monday, November 8th, 2010
  • 08:46:21: Sad and cute… RT DentonPolice: 11/05/2010 00:53:16 | 18 years old | POSS CS PG 3< 28G
  • 08:48:45: Raul is rough ‘n tuff… RT DentonPolice: 11/04/2010 22:35 | 18 yo | DISORDERLY CONDUCT-F
  • 08:50:46: Good morning, all. Have not yet had my morning coughing fit. I hope I don’t break a rib doing it. Wish me luck…
  • 08:51:17: RT @50cent: look i have a special way of seeing things baby oral sex is birth control.i should run for office right who gonna vote for me.
  • 15:11:57: RT @riazat_butt: On the road with Bishop Gene Robinson, Easter 2008
  • 17:33:39: Banana bread’s in the oven; no better way to deal with overripe bananas, in my opinion.
  • 17:34:15: RT @sammymcloughlin: Just found out that Queen Elizabeth is on Facebook. She’d better not start poking me.<She has people to do that for her

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Are the workhouses still in operation?

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

You may recall from A Christmas Carol that a couple of charity collectors knocked on Ebenezer Scrooge’s door at Christmas to ask for a bit of money for the poor. Here’s part of the dialogue:

First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.
Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?
First Collector: Plenty of prisons.
Ebenezer: And the union workhouses – are they still in operation?
First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.
Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I’m very glad to hear it.

Well, the workhouses were indeed abolished at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, but it looks like the Coalition Government is going to bring them in again under the guise of getting the recipients of long-term benefit to do something useful to society to prepare them for gainful employment. As the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (a LibDem, no less) noted, it was intended to “support and encourage” and to get people back into the habit of getting up and going out to work. It also meant those who did it could demonstrate their employability to prospective employers.

There is a Puritan streak even here in England, which was famously hostile enough to the Puritans in the 17th Century to drive them to New England, where they flourished for many decades. People who receive welfare benefits, according to this school of thought, are almost all ungrateful scroungers. Thus, we need to ensure that they do something useful for society besides consume beer and fags and make babies destined to step into their shoes one day.

Now I am not saying that people who receive welfare are all down-and-outers who would gladly take any job that is offered to them. There are people who have decided that welfare is a better way to fund their lifestyles than working for a living. The Royle Family is a fictional example. I do not believe that most people on welfare are scroungers and layabouts. They are single parents whose partners have left them with children to care for. They are people with criminal records or drug problems who cannot hold down a job (when and if they can find one). They are people who have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance (=US “unemployment benefit”) for too long and move onto the long-term unemployed lists and thus onto welfare.

The Government, I believe, sees a double solution in this move. First, they get menial social jobs done by people who are currently at leisure and getting benefits. The kinds of jobs that the Work and Pensions Secretary have mentioned are such things as cleaning the streets, raking leaves, and the like. Local councils used to actually hire people at real wages to do these jobs. Now they’ll get them done for nearly nothing. Hooray for the ratepayers! Second, the Government believes (although it will not say it) that threatening welfare recipients with menial jobs will force them into taking real jobs with real pay.

Bushwah! The Wikipedia article on workhouses sums up beautifully both the Victorian attitude and this current proposal: “The workhouse system began to evolve in the 17th century as a way for parishes to reduce the cost to ratepayers of providing poor relief.” That is why they are bringing about this scheme.

Here’s what will happen. First, local councils will end up administering this program, and paying administrative costs for the privilege of getting unemployed people to sweep the pavement. This will not please the unions which currently represent the sanitation workers (along with other menial council workers). Second, if these new welfare workers injure themselves or others while on the job, who’s going to pay for it? Will council insurance premiums go up to cover this? Or will the Coalition Government step in to pay damages for any injury. Third, cutting people off from welfare for missing their “job” will also penalise those who depend on them for their livelihoods, such as children or perhaps elderly relatives.

So what is the Coalition Government supposed to do: let the scroungers continue scrounging? Of course not. Instead of pandering to the Little Englanders among us, they really should have tackled this another way—by helping to identify and cure the causes of the chronic unemployment. So for single parents, bring in better child care facilities. For ex-offenders, assistance in finding real jobs and laws against unreasonable discrimination against them in offering jobs. For the long-term unemployed, retraining for another job. And for everyone, job-creation schemes aimed at both the public and private sectors.

So instead of making Jim Royle sweep the streets, and Denise Royle answer telephones in the job-centre, perhaps the Government ought to concentrate on helping to provide job opportunities for those who are out of work, and provide training and encouragement (of the right sort) to those who have never worked, or who are at present unsuitable for work for reasons not health-related. These things are too hard for the government to do, so they are falling back on the Victorian workhouses. Even Margaret Thatcher at her worst wasn’t going to try to bring them back.

From Twitter 11-06-2010

Sunday, November 7th, 2010
  • 00:29:58: @GaySkyHooker Myrrh is what ancient embalmers used to preserve bodies for burial. I suppose they might have stuffed it up a corpse’s a*se…
  • 01:00:21: ‘Night, all. Time to go take my pills and my injection and try to sleep, if the cough will let me…sleep well, everyone!
  • 11:01:17: Morning, all. Difficult morning–my ribs hurt from coughing. Bronchitis s*cks.
  • 11:25:32: @jouerlepanda Thanks…we sufferers have to stick together. *cough, cough*
  • 11:30:55: @MrMartiii I’m with you. I want to declare war on November. If we win, December 1 is tomorrow.
  • 14:12:50: @MrMartiii Yeah, on reflection, you’re right. December isn’t great in the UK either. January 1, 2011 it is!
  • 15:11:13: @UncleDeej It depends on how you are religious. A religion founded on love and not divine vengeance is not incompatible with being gay.

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From Twitter 11-05-2010

Saturday, November 6th, 2010
  • 01:52:05: Goodnight, tweeps & peeps. Feel crappy but took two Night Nurse capsules and perhaps they will help me sleep…I hate bronchitis.
  • 09:34:07: Morning, all. BBC journos are on strike to preserve their pensions. No Today program. Replacements are not up to snuff. Oh well…
  • 09:35:51: I don’t want to be on the same road as Clint RT DentonPolice: 11/05/2010 03:15 | 26 yo | DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
  • 09:37:09: His lips are sealed… RT DentonPolice: 11/05/2010 00:53:16 | 18 years old | POSS CS PG 3< 28G
  • 09:38:17: The other guy wuz worse off… RT DentonPolice: 11/04/2010 23:00 | 19 yo | DISORDERLY CONDUCT-FIGHTING IN PUBLIC
  • 09:40:14: Raul is quite rough… RT DentonPolice: 11/04/2010 22:35 | 18 yo | DISORDERLY CONDUCT-F
  • 09:50:50: #FF @KCOOKE28_1 as he is the first #FF I’ve seen this morning!
  • 15:08:28: #FF @sonicchubb as he’s a really funny guy and posts a lot.
  • 15:09:15: #FF @loopzie @TylerMorgyn as they are fine people who follow you back…
  • 18:58:24: RT @jonk: Spotted Mormons on bikes (again) at Fremont & Decoto << Have the Dykes on Bikes been told??
  • 19:02:16: #FF @daveyrobson because he posts great pictures and is an all-round good guy.
  • 19:02:42: #FF @soveren because he’s Oop North and needs the lurve…
  • 19:10:48: #FF @jonk because he’s one of the funniest guys on Twitter and you shouldn’t miss him.
  • 19:12:27: #ff @urbanbohemian as he has his finger on the pulse of Our Nation’s Capital.
  • 19:13:13: #ff @BubblePOPPA as he posts good picture and has lots of interesting twitterpeople following him.
  • 19:26:32: RT @orrh: Ok, the guy in this Thai ad is cute! << Indeed.
  • 22:17:16: @SAMOANPAPI69 It’s great!

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From Twitter 11-04-2010

Friday, November 5th, 2010
  • 10:25:11: The deadly weapon is his eyes… RT DentonPolice: 11/04/2010 03:44:52 | 33 years old | AGG ASSLT W/DEADLY WEAPON
  • 10:29:20: Booze makes me jolly… RT DentonPolice: 11/04/2010 01:01 | 22 yo | Bond: $500 | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 10:32:42: Corey is not cute enough to jaywalk… RT DentonPolice: 11/03/2010 19:06 | 23 yo | PEDESTRIAN WALK ON R
  • 10:33:51: Good morning, all. I slept OK but I fear that bronchitis is coming on…
  • 17:27:21: RT @corvedacosta: shout out to all the lefties << right back atcha!
  • 17:34:43: Had to give hurried apologies for a lodge meeting tonight; I’m coughing too much…
  • 20:30:30: Hot, or not? RT DentonPolice: 11/04/2010 03:51:48 | 24 years old | DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
  • 23:55:12: RT @LukeHall1995: Night tweeple << Good night! Sleep well.
  • 23:58:43: RT @Huntermoore: I pee in sinks << Every time I go to piss in the sink, there are dirty dishes in it. Grounds for divorce!

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From Twitter 11-03-2010

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
  • 11:03:59: Well, good morning all. Had a difficult night–postnasal drip meant I had to come downstairs and sleep in the easy chair…sleep #FAIL
  • 14:30:59: @soveren Well, I feel better now but who knows what tonight will bring…
  • 17:50:55: I forgot to wish everyone Happy Hump Day, and hope that hump day comes more than once a week for all of you…
  • 18:13:07: RT @daveyrobson: I just got a job. GO DAVEY! << Congratulations!!
  • 18:52:17: @Sgboy01 10-15 mins is pretty good.
  • 19:23:37: @soveren I did…
  • 23:48:36: @takenredguy: Do you ever get turned on because someone pissed you off? << Yeah, occasionally…
  • 23:50:24: Lurch ended up in Denton… RT DentonPolice: 11/03/2010 16:28 | 29 yo | NO DRIVERS LICENSE |
  • 23:53:52: RT @daveyrobson: RT @DX_1: TOM DALEY ANYONE? << Get in the queue.

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The US Elections

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I have been astonished at the interest here in the midterm US elections. Normally there is subdued coverage of any US election not a Presidential one. However, this year the BBC suspended its Radio 4/World Service broadcasts from last midnight to cover the election results, and the news that the Republicans have now captured control of the House of Representatives is top news in the bulletins.

Thinking about the results, I believe that they are troubling to me personally, but also predictable. They may even help the President win a second term. Here are my thoughts.

From the vantage point of the United Kingdom, US politics this year seems to have been dominated by nutcases. The Tea Party seems to be running high in the water, and their rhetoric of getting the government off our backs and reducing the amount of government in total is very attractive to people who feel overtaxed, under-represented, and aggrieved at government’s activities intruding on all our lives. However, in this rhetoric has been planted the seeds of their own destruction. Once they get in, the Tea Partiers will find that being in government makes them important, influential, and powerful. Rather than reducing the size of the government, they will want to increase it, so as to increase their own status. This happens every time someone who wants to “reduce the size of government” is elected to government. So in two years all these new Representatives and Senators will have been coopted by the system they were elected to slash and burn.

The President must bear some of the blame for the rout, of course. He has neglected many of the groups who elected him, and he spent too much time and political capital early on getting the health care reforms enacted. Now he will have little chance of repealing DADT or DOMA, thus permanently alienating the lesbian and gay and transgender people who worked to get him elected. However, he can now run in 2012 on a platform of accusing the Congress of doing nothing. Passing the blame over to Congress will be his salvation. In addition, if Sarah Palin were to be nominated for the Presidency in 2012, it is unlikely that even middle-of-the-road Republicans will be enthused about voting for her. Like so many Tea Party associates, she is ignorant, intolerant, and a rabble-rouser. Were she to be elected, there would be a serious problem with the Government of the United States starting at the top, possibly even greater than the rot which set in during the Nixon Administration. At least Nixon was passably intelligent.

Every time there is an election in the United States I feel relieved that I am here in the United Kingdom, where the National Health Service is sacrosanct and revered by the vast majority of citizens. I would never want to move back to the US and can foresee no circumstances in which I would do it.

Finally, every time there is a landslide one way or another, pundits (I’m not a pundit) say that the (Republicans/Democrats) are washed up, and a permanent (Republican/Democratic) majority is now assured. Bushwah. It has not happened any time after the Nixon landslide of 1972, and it won’t happen now. People do not habitually vote for one party or another any more, generally. They vote their pocketbooks and their ideology, and the party that seems to promise that the former will be heavier and the latter will be lighter gets their vote. When that doesn’t happen, they vote for the other lot next time. The Democrats are not a spent force, and the Republicans are not cruising back to power. The Tea Party will implode and fracture before the next election (believe me, it’ll happen). Some of those elected yesterday will turn out to be as corrupt as the last lot. The electorate will move toward the center-left, as it almost always does, and Obama will be re-elected.

As a yellow-dog Democrat (perhaps the last one standing…) I am of course annoyed that my party has lost control of the House. But the next elections are only two years away.

From Twitter 11-02-2010

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
  • 01:19:32: @daveyrobson Sorry to hear it…I hope that he has a sense of humour and will pass over the card thang to date you again.
  • 01:19:48: RT @kristainchicago: My dinner tastes genetically modified.
  • 01:20:22: RT @thedaveywavey: Love, love, love this quote: “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, it empties today of its strength.”
  • 01:23:26: Well, tweeps & peeps, time to retire. I think I’m coming down with something, unfortunately. Bronchitis, perhaps? Time will tell. Nite-nite!
  • 10:41:38: Well, morning all. Kind of grey today. Woke up a bit congested but not much. Will see how it develops as the day goes on.
  • 23:28:44: OK, tweeps & peeps. Off to bed now, leaving a Fry-less Twitter to take care of itself overnight. You be careful out there…
  • 23:29:28: @sshawnn I think that’s a guy, and I think he’s left his earlobe tunnels at home…
  • 23:31:10: This dude left his ear tunnels at home and is mad about it… RT DentonPolice: 11/01/2010 23:25 | 21 yo| ASSLT

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From Twitter 11-01-2010

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
  • 00:57:40: OK, tweeps & peeps, time to hit the hay. Star Trek movie was quite good. But now, steeling myself for foot clinic tomorrow. 🙁
  • 15:49:57: Well, good afternoon, all. Foot clinic was, meh. Will have my afternoon cup of coffee and biscuit soon. Such an exciting life I lead…
  • 17:56:19: RT @Fox_Mullder: How is everyone << I’ll live…
  • 21:51:18: The Fryster quits Twitter

Happy birthday, trawnapanda

Monday, November 1st, 2010

…and many happy returns of the day. For this week only, each year, you and I are the same age.

Wotta world, wotta world!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Margaret Hamilton, as the Wicked Witch of the West, got melted near the end of The Wizard of Oz, muttering “Wotta world, wotta world…” as the water turned her into a pile of clothing and a pointed witch’s hat. I’m not being melted at the moment, but I’m really conflicted about something, and I need to vent.

Facebook recently instituted “Groups” that, I believe, they intended to mimic those found on Usenet or in Google or Yahoo! Groups. Unfortunately, their execution of the idea falls woefully short of how groups in social networking ought to work. This is not a new concept to Facebook, as they have a history of privacy lapses and stupid changes that backfire on them. It remains to be seen whether Facebook Groups will crash and burn or not. However, what I see doesn’t make me feel very good about it. (Note: I’ve particularly tried to refrain from naming the group below…it would be easy for you to find out but it’s not important to my point so skip it, please, if you could…)

First, the creator of a Facebook group can add any of their Facebook “friends” to the group, without their permission and without prior notification. This is seriously not good. If someone were, for example, to create a Facebook group dedicated to child pornography, and add a whole load of people to it, there would be no recourse. You could report the group, and such a group would certainly be closed down. However, your presence in the group might raise some constabulary eyebrows. And other than immediately removing yourself from the group, there is nothing you can do about it.

Second, this group is intended to “shadow” a Usenet group that I used to follow. Earlier this year, I got out of the habit of following it as SPAM™, spew, and drivel seemed to be driving the interesting posts out. Now I’ve been added to the Facebook group, and while the SPAM™ is not there (as the group is closed) there’s a lot of stuff there that I don’t particularly need to see. This is not to disparage friends who contribute to the group, either on Facebook or on Usenet. But I’ve moved on. I already have enough time-sucks on line without another one.

Third, there is no filtering system, as there is in most Usenet newsgroup readers. So if someone decides to add one of their friends, who writes posts that you would rather not see, you have no protection against receiving that person’s posts or comments in your Facebook reading. I prefer filtering to be done online, rather than in my head.

Fourth, you can be added as an administrator to the group, again without your permission. What this means is that unless you dig down to find the box to uncheck in your “Settings”, you end up getting an email notification every time someone asks to be added to the group, as well as any number of other activities. I had a seriously stuffed Facebook folder in Thunderbird until I figured out how to stop the torrent.

Now I’m conflicted. I do not want to seem anti-social. The fact that this group is composed mostly of “Friends” (in Facebook-ese—I prefer to call them “connections”) means that if I removed myself from the group, in some deep cavern of my being I would feel as though I’d abandoned or rejected friends. No one likes to do that. But, folks, it’s all a psychological trick by Facebook to make you feel guilty about ending any connection you get on the networking site. In actuality, while I am friendly with almost all these people, and would gladly buy them a root beer if we were in a bar together, I have not met most of them in meatspace. I probably won’t meet most of them in meatspace, ever.

But, will they think I’m antisocial if I remove myself from the group? Already one member (added willy-nilly) has been described by other members as being enraged by being added without permission. Will people say that I’m unreasonably grumpy if I leave? I shouldn’t be concerned about what other people think of me or any actions I take (that are legal or moral), but still…

I harbour an unreasonable resentment that I have unwillingly and unwittingly been put in the unhappy position of either controlling my own online presence and seeming to be antisocial, or having to smile and ignore this stuff that has started to cascade into my Facebook feed.

What to do, what to do? Wotta world…wotta world…!

The Fryster quits Twitter…again?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

This article in Towleroad summarises the situation beautifully. Stephen Fry made a remark that was taken to denigrate women, but that he contended was a misquotation of a humourous aside. When a tweetstorm greeted him, he quits Twitter—a little short of a year after he first quit, in November 2009.

Now there is no one who admires Stephen Fry more than I do. An accomplished actor, humourist, technophile, author—so many superlatives and such a shedload of great work would normally ensure him a place in the untouchable pantheon that is online life these days. And yet, and yet…he is what I refer to as a serial quitter.

I’m sure you all know at least one serial quitter. They are people who get very enthusiastic about something—a group, an activity, a club, whatever. Then, after some slight (mostly imagined) to their person, or perhaps just something that they do not completely agree with, they quit the group, activity, club, whatever.

Oftentimes they rescind their resignation within hours or days of making it. Equally, often the group begs them to return, saying that, in effect, they didn’t mean it (pssst: they actually DID mean it…). Then the serial quitter unquits, until the next time.

I think that the serial quitter is looking for love and reinforcement from the groups they join and then quit. But that is not what Twitter is for. Twitter may serve as a vehicle for love for some celebrities: that’s why they flock there, get their accounts verified, and wait for the lurve to come flowing in. But, social networks are for communication between people. When you have nearly one million followers, communication is really only one way. The lurve comes flowing in, but nothing comes flowing back except Tweets (possibly written by the celebrity’s communications flack) not addressed to particular people but to the universe in general.

The Fryster’s main mistake was to actually read some of his timeline. His second mistake was to be indiscreet about, for example, movie sets he was working on. Leave the indiscretions to Wikileaks, Stephen. And, when you return (after all, you can’t really resign from Twitter, you can only take a hiatus) take it from me: send all the Tweets addressed to you or about you straight to DEV_NULL, and get a communications flack to vet everything you Tweet before it goes out into the Intarwebz. Oh, and don’t read reviews either. Just sit back and let the lurve wash over you.