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Showing posts from December, 2005

IE: officially a piece of shit

I picked this up at Chris's place ages ago, but forgot to post anything. I'm afraid that I just can't let this go.
The researchers tracked three browsers (MSIE, Firefox, Opera) in 2004 and counted which days they were "known unsafe." Their definition of "known unsafe": a remotely exploitable security vulnerability had been publicly announced and no patch was yet available.

MSIE was 98% unsafe. There were only 7 days in 2004 without an unpatched publicly disclosed security hole.

This underestimates the risk, because it doesn't count vulnerabilities known to the bad guys but not publicly disclosed (and it's foolish to think that such things don't exist). So the "98% unsafe" figure for MSIE is generous, and the situation might be even worse.
And one of the commenters flags up my particular beef with IE...
IE also sucks because it has its own particular, frustrating, and often incomprehensible ways of rendering code. Anyone who has tried…

Tube strike: no shock at all

So, the RMT workers are going to strike on New Year's Eve. How unshocked am I?
Of the strike, RMT regional organiser Bobby Law told the BBC: "We had no choice really.

"It's LU that won't suspend the introduction of the rosters which we believe is unsafe - not just for our members - should they be introduced. We believe they will be unsafe for the travelling public as well."
Really? Perhaps you woud like to elaborate on this theme? How, exactly, will it affect safety? Or are you just using this as another excuse to squeeze more money out of the London Underground?
An LU spokesman said: "The RMT's refusal to even talk with us is totally unreasonable.

"Withdrawing rosters agreed with nine out of 10 staff would cause chaos, disrupt staff holidays and undermine the 35-hour week agreement."
Remember, chaps, that LU drivers earn £30,000 per year for that 35 hour week, doing a job that any moderately intelligent 12 year old could do. Push lever to go, s…

Jonathan Ive CBE

At last, someone who really deserves an honour has actually been awarded a CBE, although as far as I am concerned it should have been a Knighthood.
Jonathan Ive, the man behind Apple's iconic iPod and iMac, has become a CBE in the New Year Honours list.

Since the launch of the iMac in 1998, Mr Ive has driven the design of almost every piece of Apple hardware. Landmarks include the original iMac, iBook, Power Mac, PowerBook, Mac Mini and iPod.

Although many drool over the sleek look of Apple products, Mr Ive has always emphasised the need for a close union of form and function.

Famously private and rarely giving interviews, Mr Ive always seeks to stress the teamwork that goes into creating Apple's products.

The portable iPod music player has done the most to boost Apple's fortunes and in September 2005 it reported its best financial quarter for nine years. Sales of iPods were up 500% on the year before.
As a designer and an Apple aficionado—how often the two go together—I thin…
This post at Wizbang! pretty much sums up my position on the Israel/Palestine conflict.
I've lived through and noted numerous cycles of the "Mideast Peace Process." They all seem to go the same way -- the world pressures both sides to talk. Israel makes concessions as "signs of good faith." They talk. A wonderfully intricate process is discussed. At the conclusion, people announce that "peace is at hand" and Israel makes more concessions. Then the Palestinians start backing away from their commitments. They cite numerous reasons why they can't abide by what they just agreed to. Meanwhile, they and the rest of the world press Israel to keep its commitments, and to continue on schedule. Then the terrorist attacks resume. Everyone urges Israel to "show restraint" (a demonstration that is usually measured in dead Israelis). Finally, Israel has enough and hits back, at which point they are blamed for "destroying the peace process" --…

Some notes on style...

Just a quick post clarifying what I hope to achieve with this blog. Which is precisely stuff all.

A number of people recently have expressed an opinion on what they thought they be getting at The Devil's Kitchen, including Alex who thought that I would "defend free markets in a sensible and rational way". How wrong he is! My motto was "the personal rantspace of an Edinburgh designer" and that is pretty much what The Devil's Kitchen is. I have learned a lot about free-market ideas, and developed my politics, from other bloggers, whom I acknowledge often. But they do it better and more rationally than me.

I am happy to enter into debate, either on this site or in person, as I'm pretty sure that I can justify my position on most things. If I can't, then I am rarely intractible, and am happy to consider other ideas.

The comments on my entry at Scotland's Top Sites show a similar naivety. It is a comment on David Farrer's reviews that gets me though…

Cameron continues to lose my vote

Via Timmy, another reason for laying into Cameron. It's because he's a dickhead.
Right, I’m calling this. It’s official. David Cameron is a dickhead. Not content with getting St Bobbo to misinform him on aid and poverty, little Zachariah to fill his pretty little head with absurdities about the environment now he’s done this:
David Cameron committed the Conservatives yesterday to a campaign to end the "scandal" of women being paid less for doing the same job as men.

He said that after 30 years of the Equal Pay Act, women's pay was still nearly a fifth lower than men's, and for women working part-time, the gap was around 40 per cent.
That’s the bit. He’s swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker. That figure is based on "research" released by the Equal Opportunities Commission and is, at the very least, mendacious and if we are honest is a lie. We would rather like to have as the Leader of the Opposition, as the PM in Exile, someone who is able t…

The Tories have lost my vote

This is a very good summary of why I am, even now, casting around—for the first time in my life—for someone other than the Conservatives to vote for at the next election.
We shall see a lot of protectionist, interventionist green policies and suggestions of doubling, tripling, what the heck, quadrupling aid to African dictators.

We have heard pronouncements from Master Oliver Leftwing on redistribution of people’s hard-earned money and have been assured that no real reform of the public services is contemplated.

We have seen the Conservatives fumble over the European budget, an open goal, if ever there was one. In the European Parliament they could do nothing, being part of the EPP, and left the field to Nigel Farage and Roger Helmer. In Westminster they managed to lose the ball. The Boy-King showed himself to be ignorant of the most basic aspects of the European project, which can be blamed partly on his researchers and advisers but largely on his own lack of curiosity about the outside…

Shit or lunatic?

Once more, via His Imperial Majesty, we come across some more honour killing fun from that centre of tolerance and civilisation, Pakistan.
MULTAN, Pakistan - Nazir Ahmed appears calm and unrepentant as he recounts how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor"—a crime that shocked Pakistan.

The 40-year old laborer, speaking to The Associated Press in police detention as he was being shifted to prison, confessed to just one regret—that he didn't murder the stepsister's alleged lover too.
Alleged lover? You know what, I'm sure that Tony Blair—advocating as he has been, the concept of summary justice—thoroughly approves of this gentleman's actions. Killing the little bitch will ensure that she's not getting a good fucking, even if she wasn't in the first place. Summary justice, kids: it works.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that Tony will also praise the gentleman for killing his young…

Free Jack Idema Blogburst

Although we're getting a little now, Christmas in Britain passed without so much as a dusting of snow. Not so in Afghanistan, as we can see from this photograph, taken from inside the Pulacharke prison compound. The mountains, in particular, give a nice, Christmassy feel to the scene, as do the three or four inches of white stuff covering the ground.

In fact, the only things that really spoil this vista are the watchtowers, the prison bars and the knowledge that, behind them, are three American patriots -- Special Forces soldier Jack Idema, his right-hand man, Brent Bennet, and journalist Ed Caraballo.

Jack, Brent and Ed were originally sentenced to a decade in prison after a chaotic show trail in September 2004. Their judges were members of the Taliban regime who'd crept back into the new Afghan government.

More worrying, perhaps, the bearded crazies were assisted by groups within the FBI and U.S. State Department, who disappeared evidence and collaborated with the men who tortu…
Although I often find his pessimism slightly irritating, I fear that that is because I'm pretty damn sure that Curious Hamster is right, and wish that it were not so.

I certainly think that this assessment of Iraq's current situation is worth a read, and is, unfortunately, pretty accurate.

Another of those today...

Do these people not go on holiday? And why call at 10 in the morning when I am on holiday?

Call-centre monkey: "Do you have a card or another bank account that you can make a token payment from?"

Me: "No, I have no money on any card. And you are my other bank account."

Call-centre monkey: "Will you be able to make a payment by the end of this month?"

Me: "No. I have told you, I don't have any money. And, unlike you, all of my clients are on holiday until at least the fourth of January."

Call-centre monkey: "Can you give a breakdown of your monthly incomings and outgoings?"

Me: "Not right now, no: it's not really any of your business. And frankly, you wouldn't believe me anyway. But, essentially my income this month was about £200."

Call-centre monkey:[with heavy scepticism] "Can I ask, sir, how are you managing to survive?"

Me: "A very good question. With difficulty is the answer."


Bureaucrat says "no".

Via Timmy, this lovely story of how the anti-salt bureaucrats are trying to wreck Stilton cheese.
The centuries-old recipe that gives Stilton, the "king of English cheeses", its distinctive flavour is under threat from the Government's anti-salt campaigners.

Cheese makers say they are under pressure to slash levels of salt to meet the Department of Health's targets.

Although Whitehall is encouraging voluntary reductions, it could force companies to reduce salt by law if they are slow to act.

Stilton makers accept the need to cut salt in the national diet - particularly from processed foods. But they argue that it plays a key role in the creation of all blue cheeses and that tampering with the recipe could be disastrous.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has proposed cutting the salt in blue cheese to under 1.9 per cent but makers say Stilton typically needs around 2.5 per cent.

Talks with the FSA ended a few weeks ago and the watchdog is drawing up draft guidelines.

Salt i…

Fuck you, Princess!

Thank the Lords that stout bulldogs like Mr FM and his ilk continue to stick two fingers up at Princess Toni and his kill-joy socialist cronies.
The fact that no one seems to give a stuff about my little Toni’s pernicious hunting ban made this morning all the morn all the more enjoyable – high & low were there, a complete cross section of society, all enjoying the this Boxing Day tradition & the spectacle. Long will it continue. Up yours Mr Blah, if you had any balls you would come down here & tell us what we can & cannot do … & even then we wouldn’t listen – we have better things to do with our time, like fox hunting ... !
I wish Bliar were there; maybe he would be tragically trampled to death in a shocking but totally delightful accident. Then the gentleman with the bird of prey who os probably at the hunt could let his pet peck our Princess's eyes out...

Via Chris, I find that—incensed by the mockery being made of their incompetent drafting of the law—Big Broth…

Get that goat!

Via His Imperial Highness, this terrifically amusing story!
A billy goat did some rough, instant justice to the President when his motorcade stopped to refuel en-route to the eastern resorts of Nyanga. The president, popularly known as Bob got out to stretch his legs, and speak to a couple locals. He was holding a bottle of water, when a Billy goat developed a profound interest and chose to pursue it. Whilst Bob swung the bottle at the goat, it quickly and sharply pierced Bob's scrotum, and large bowel.
Sorry, I'm going to have to stop there; I'm laughing too much! Although, of course, it's actually very sad. Sad that the gost didn't disembowel the murdering, shit-faced son of Satan's foreskin, instantly killing the deeply unpleasant, meglomaniac, lunatic son of a pig-fucking whore-hag.
Mugabe's notorious bodyguards seemed unable to prevent the attack as the goat lunged towards the president, perhaps the goat should be handling his security in future. By the t…

Tolerance, the Muslim way

Via Dennis, another bit of festival cheer from the Religion of Peace (3,899 fatal attacks carried out since 9/11 according to my wee button).
A husband and wife who dedicated their lives to helping African children were murdered in cold blood by Islamic terrorists, an inquest heard yesterday.

Dick and Enid Eyeington were watching television at their home in Somaliland when a terrorist linked to al-Qaeda shot them.

The couple were considered "infidels" by their attackers, who wrongly believed that they were trying to convert Africans to Christianity.

Det Chief Insp Jill Bailey told the hearing that last month four men, including Mohammed Ali Essa, who fired the AK47, had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death by firing squad. The terrorists shouted "Allah Akbar" (God is Great) after being sentenced and are still awaiting execution.

Miss Bailey said the men were part of a terrorist cell called El Itihad which had killed an Italian nun a week earlier. She also …

Merry Christmas


A Yuletide Missive From Hell Towers

Oh, very well; everybody else seems to be dedicating a post to this Christmas rubbish, so I suppose that I had better greet you from Hell Towers. Here I am in the west wing, standing in front of the main Christmas tree. Rather grand, don't you think? Naturally, the tree has been stuffed to the gills with all the very best presents and sweeties that money can buy.

Out of sight, over there, situated a little too close to the roaring fire, is a large cage of chewing-gum champing orphans. They imagine that, at 7 this morning, they shall be released from the cage and allowed to tear the paper from the presents and claim all of those consumer goodies for themselves.

How wrong they are! In fact they will be released into a larger cage full of Care Officers, State Psychologists, Outreach Workers and Margaret Hodge. Having played numerous games of "guess the Marc Dutroux&q…

A new initiative for Scotland

Having been rather pleased with themselves over the Smokers Map idea, the Scottish Executive—having used up their store of thinking capability for 2005 and 2006—have, instead, come up with a further implementation of the same idea.
THE public are to be told not to be fucking thick in their own homes as part of plans to protect public sector workers from the effect of passive stupidity.

Ministers have told councils, health boards and social work departments that they should compile a "thick bastards map" of Scotland, focusing on those who regularly receive visits from officials and carers. This would identify individual households where a fucking retard is resident.

The numpties would then be sent letters asking them not to be completely fucking stupid for one hour before a council worker or health worker called round. Public bodies have also been advised to use the thick bastards map to ensure that any workers who suffer from idiocy problems are kept away from the homes of u…

Amusing Christmas Present of the Year

The Most Amusing Christmas Present of the Year 2005 Award goes to my step-sister, for the book of matches with a cigarette-packet style warning on each side. The front reads "Have a fag", whilst the back quips "You're boring the hell out of me". Made me laugh out loud!

Although, the accompanying note was inscribed "Saw this and thought of you", the meaning of which could be taken somewhat askance, although I am certain that it was not meant to be so. Well, almost certain...

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs

The book of the day, espied whilst in HMV yesterday for a mere £2.99, is Tom Baker's* The Boy Who Kicked Pigs; it is reminiscent of Tim Burton's The Melancholy Death Of Oyster-Boy, both in writing and illustrative styles. It's a weird, macabre story about an evil boy who loves causing chaos, a boy who deeply hates the whole of the human race. Need I say that the fable has a very nasty ending, and the whole vile fairytale is sick, twisted and wrong.

I love it!

* Yes, he of Doctor Who fame.
Spammed by God!

No, by some scumbag mortgage advisers actually, but I've afraid that Word Verification has been switched on, for the moment at least.

I was not aware of them before, but having just seen them on Top Of The Pops (I'm waiting for The Snowman*, OK?), DK's nomination for talentless, morally dubious, ropey, mutton-dressed-as-lamb, bird group of the year is The Pussycat Dolls.

Tell you what, m'dears, my girlfriend is considerably hotter than yeeeow...

* Does anyone remember when it was introduced by David Bowie, playing the wee boy, all grown up, and finding the scarf in his attic? Added poignancy, I thought...
You have been warned...

Nuts to Christmas

I hadn't realised, but have now been advised by Wyndham, that last year the EU effectively banned Brazil nuts.
The European Commission has branded the nuts a health risk after traces of a toxin that can cause liver cancer were found in Brazil nut shells.

Each batch must now be tested for aflatoxins, and the cost of destroying those affected has made Brazils too costly for supermarkets to import.

It is still possible to buy just the kernels, as used in chocolate Brazils.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said: "Like other retailers, we don't stock shelled Brazil nuts due to EU regulations. However, we have plenty of unshelled Brazil nuts in stock."
Yes, but I fear that the crap that gets near those unshelled Brazils during transportation is probably much more horrible than the aflatoxins that just may, possibly, be on those shells.

Please be aware that I highlight this as an example of EU stupidity: personally, I have no axe to grind re: Brazils. Mainly because grinding the…

Why not eat a sheep you know?

The Englishman implores us to link to his sibling's site, where you can buy the ultimate in meat traceability: Adopt A Sheep For Meat.

It sounds a thoroughly good idea, and when I am rich and famous and have a large-ish freezer, something that I may well indulge in. It has that wholesome feeling of the macabre that is slightly similar to people giving their Christmas trees names (it seems to be a popular thing to do these days)*. So, yes, Adopt A Sheep For Meat....

* A few people have become upset when I've pointed out that giving your—inevitably doomed—tree a name and personality is, essentially, a bit like watching a terminally-ill cancer patient die in your own home. But with more needle droppage**.

** Unless your cancer patient is keen on crochet.

What famous piece of music does this picture represent?
Wandering around HMV today, I stepped in a piece of chewing-gum that someone had dropped on the floor. What kind of tosser does that—drop chewing-gum on a shop floor? It's bad enough on the damn pavement.

Come the revolution, my friends, those who insist on chewing gum will be up against the wall with Brown, Blair and the others that I really hate...

Blowing smoke in your face...

... is what I'm going to do.
THE public are to be told not to smoke in their own homes as part of plans to protect public sector workers from the effect of passive smoking.

Ministers have told councils, health boards and social work departments that they should compile a "smokers' map" of Scotland, focusing on those who regularly receive visits from officials and carers. This would identify individual households where a smoker is resident.

The smokers would then be sent letters asking them not to smoke for one hour before a council worker or health worker called round. Public bodies have also been advised to use the smokers' map to ensure that any workers who suffer from breathing problems are kept away from the homes of smokers.
I'm sorry, but I've yet to see a conclusive study proving what the effects of passive smoking are exactly, what kind of concentration there needs to be to have an effect, or any other conclusive science for that matter.

However, sh…
As you may have guessed, your humble Devil will be around and blogging his fancy over the Christmas period, bringing peace and goodwill to all men!*

* WARNING: may not contain peace or goodwill.

Too late, as usual

A court in The Hague is too bloody late again...
A court in The Hague has ruled that the killing of thousands of Kurds in Iraq in the 1980s was an act of genocide.

The ruling came in the case of Dutch trader Frans van Anraat, who was given a 15-year sentence for selling chemicals to Saddam Hussein's regime.

He was found guilty of complicity in war crimes over a 1988 chemical attack that killed more than 5,000 people, but acquitted of genocide charges.
If the UN had come to the same conclusion at the time, it would have been obliged to intervene to stop the genocide*. Had that happened, tens thousands of lives might have been saved as it is unlikely that Saddam would have been able to invade Kuwait, and thus the first and second invasions of Iraq would never have happened.

So, well done to the Dutch court: nearly 18 years too fucking late...

* Of course, there is no guarantee that, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, the UN would have come to that conclusion, as has happened in Dar…

"Well, Dave, it all started when I read a story about how, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king..."

"And I said, "No damn Brazilian's going to overcharge me for spot of rewiring and get away with it...""

"I'm relying on partially blind faith..."

"So, I clasped each of Senor Barroso's buttocks, like this; and then I opened my mouth, like this..."

British car firms: bad investment

I know that car firms are all having a tough time, but does anyone else think that British car firms seem to be particularly jinxed?
US carmaker Ford has pumped a further £1.2bn into its UK subsidiary Jaguar to keep the luxury car maker afloat.
The money will come from the sale of preferred shares to its US owner, Jaguar said.

This week Jaguar posted a pre-tax loss of £429.3m for 2004, blaming tough market conditions and a £173m write-down of investments.
When I say jinxed, what I actually mean is badly-run, over-taxed and over-burdened with regulation. How soon before Jaguar is shut down as well, eh?

Apparently, this year has been better than the previous two!
However, the accounts were an improvement on 2003 when it revealed it was £601.1m in the red, mainly as a result of one-off charges £534m.
These are pretty staggering amounts of money; how much can the shares that they are selling to Ford actually be worth? And how soon before they are totally worthless?

And will John Towers et alios b…

No matter who you vote for...

... a bunch of evil, fucking socialists get in.
The Tories should support the redistribution of wealth and try to narrow the gap between rich and poor, Oliver Letwin, the party's new policy chief, says today.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he says: "Of course, inequality matters. Of course, it should be an aim to narrow the gap between rich and poor. It is more than a matter of safety nets."

Although he refuses to be drawn on specific proposals, he signals a dramatic break with the past by saying that his party should support the redistribution principle.

"We do redistribute money and we should redistribute money," he says. "But we have to find ways that empower people rather than reducing them to dependency."
No, Letwin, you buffoon: you are the damn Tories, you are not meant to be damn, fucking socialists.

There are alternatives to redistribution, you fool; and these alternatives might actually mean that you won't lose my vote. Christ Almig…

Pet Hates #3,688

People who are unable to understand the concept of my having no money—not on credit cards, not in a secret Swiss bank account or any other account, not on an overdraft, not in a drawer of my desk and not stuck up my arsehole—nor any hope of getting any in the immediate future.

A typical conversation might go like this:

Call-centre monkey: "Do you know that you haven't paid such and such a bill, sir?"

Me: "Yes. This is because I am effectively self-employed and I haven't been able to pay myself. I am afraid that I don't have any money right now, but I will pay it as soon as I do have."

Call-centre monkey: "Can you make a payment by Debit Card today?"

Me: "No. I have told you, I don't have any money."

Call-centre monkey: "Do you have a Credit Card, or can you transfer money from another account, sir?"

Me:[Gritting teeth because I know it's not their fault] "No. I don't have any money."

Call-centre monkey: "…

Should we leave the EU?

In reference to the Serf's post, this shouldn't even cause any kind of argument, especially after the latest budget debacle.

There are those of us who dislike this current brand of half-baked socialism that we are having to endure; it is destructive to us, both socially and economically, and, as embodied by the EU, helps to keep millions worldwide in poverty. We are, if you like, deliberately participating in—at the very least endorsing—wholesale murder on a vast scale.

The trouble is that the EU ethos and strictures control so much of our law-making. If we truly wish to return to a conservative government, as so many of us do, then we must leave the EU. The Conservative Party is edging ever closer to this "compassionate conservatism" that NuLabour espouses, and the truth is that they simply have no choice.

If you value any kind of democracy, if you want to stop thousands starving in the Third World, if you want to make us competitive economically, if you wish for only …

The faces of evil


A couple who, along with their two sons and a teenager, imprisoned and tortured their daughter-in-law for months before murdering her were jailed for life yesterday.

In a case reminiscent of the Fred and Rosemary West murders, Rachel Hudson, 20, a mother of two, was kept locked up and abused.

Her broken body, weighing just six stone and covered in burns and bruises, was found dumped in a rolled-up carpet in the grounds of Newstead Abbey, Notts.

Eleven of her ribs were fractured and her mouth was so badly injured that her bottom lip had become detached.
Can anyone think of a better argument for capital punishment than these five fuckers? Can anyone think of one, single, solitary reason why these bastards should be allowed to live, especially at our expense, for the next 20 years? There is nothing to redeem them; this was cold, calculating torture, sustained over the course of months; this was no spur-of-the-moment, no-time-to-consult-your-conscience thing.…

Worstall Watch #2

His Royal Scandium Dictatorship has a post up at TCS Daily (TechCentral Station) on the relative merits of Wikipedia and "authorised" encyclopaedias.

He also thinks that we should abolish death duties, which is something that, as regular readers will know, I totallyagree with.

Some filthy socialists say that inherited wealth is based on luck. Well, so is being born without some hideous and debilitating mutation, but we don't tax healthy people for being lucky. But it is not based on luck, it is based on my parents' wisdom and foresight, and sheer bloody hard work. You could say that I shouldn't benefit from my father's wealth (even if I help him to achieve it?), but then why should anyone else—especially our bastard Chancellor—be any more deserving of reaping the rewards of my father's work? Why should some lazy, heroin addict in a council estate who pisses his life away be a more deserving recipient of my father's hard graft than me, his son?

Because, s…

Bunch of useless, lazy, fucking cunts

Ladies and gentlemen, via NM, I give you the hard-done-by "workers" of the London Underground (who are obviously all Monbiot car drivers)...
A union has called a 24-hour strike on the Tube network for New Year's Eve.

The 4,000 Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) voted five to one for the industrial action over staffing levels and will walk out at midday.
Now, George, do you see why everybody is jumping into their cars? You stupid cunt.

And now, that song in tribute (go to Listen, then London Underground. And a tip when setting up your DNSes; don't use masked forwarding). All together now, to the tune of The Jam's Going Underground...

Some people might like to get a train to work
Or drive in in a Beamer or a Merc,
Some guys like to travel in by bus,
But I can't be bothered with the fuss today
I'm going to take my bike,
'Coz once again the Tube's on strike.

The greedy bastards want extra pay
for sitting on their arse all day
even though they earn…


Sorry, a lack of blogging today; I woke up, well, all through the night, actually, and eventually woke this morning with those absolutely hellish joints-in-pain, head-full-of-expanding-foam, nose-running-like-the-Niagra-Falls flu symptoms. It's kind of laid me out all day, and apart from having to deal with bastard clients constantly 'phoning me (one in particular, even though I told them that I was ill), I haven't really stirred from my pit. The joys of working from home, eh?

Normal service should be resumed once I've drunk a pot of coffee and the beer that I've got in the fridge...

No one arrested for singing carols

As Curious Hamster—from whom I have appropriated this little snippet of news—points out, this is an extraordinary thing to be able to say, in all too many ways. None of them are good.

On January 13, I will have been blogging for a year. To date, I have written 595 posts, and I imagine that not one says anything good, in anything but the most mocking and sarcastic way, about NuLabour. I think that Blair and His Merrie Men have excelled themselves this year, especially in the "cracking down on our freedoms" stakes.

On my blog anniversary, I intend to present a roundup of all the joy that Labour has brought us over the last year. Feel free to nominate your... ahem... favourite acts of egregious fantasticalism that has been this Labour government. I shall then lay into them with all of the seasoned anger of 28 years, and all of the vitriol of a renewed year...
Anyone who is, as I am, a big fan of those Scottish miserabilists Mogwai, will be happy to learn that you can hear their new single here; it's sounding really good!

Strip and let's see 'em...

Apparently Saddam has been mistreated in prison.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein launched into an extended outburst at his trial Wednesday, alleging he had been "beaten and tortured by Americans" while in detention after a witness testified that his agents had tortured people by ripping off their skin.

"Yes, I have been beaten, everywhere on my body. The marks are still there," Saddam told the court after sitting quietly listening to testimony.
I'm sorry, but I am really struggling to give a shit, frankly.
The trial's chief prosecutor said that if American-led multinational forces were abusing the former Iraqi leader, he would be transferred to the custody of Iraqi troops.
That should shut him up; if I were Saddam, I would not want to be transferred into the unsupervised care of the some of my late subjects. I would imagine that anything that the Americans have done would be child's-play compared to what Iraqis might do...


Looking at my referrer logs, I stumbled across this excellent post on creativity.
I often find during my creative process for design projects, munching a burger or a coke, or even driving in rush hour that I have gentle or even sometimes magnificent leaps of creative thought. As Stephen King once noted, a good writer can't tell you where an idea came from. Nor, can a most other creative people explain the creative process any better than a writer.

Some creative people call it intuition. It just feels right.
There are times when this is true; I have to say that it happens rarely in my business life (which is far too concerned with low-level nuts-and-bolts design at present), but it does in my theatre design.

What usually happens is that, as the director explains the play, I get a picture in my head of what I want to create for the publicity. I will then play around with this idea for hours, and will often come out with something completely different. Occasionally, an idea sticks and s…

Stay at home!

The Guardian says: stay at home! Travel is evil!

Bloody hell, if it's not Moonbat railing at aeroplanes or cars, it's Matt Seaton warning us about the subversive evil of cyclists.
'You know what drives me mad? Cyclists who go through red lights ..." If you are a cyclist, it's not a matter of if, or even when, you will have this conversation. It's how many times a day. Even cyclists are obsessed with the red light debate, filling letters pages in cycling magazines and web chatrooms with ferocious arguments and counterarguments.
Counterarguments? What kind of counterarguments can there possibly be? Personally, I don't mind if cyclists zip through the red lights at traffic intersections (with any luck the law-breaking fuckers will get run-over) but I've seen cyclists refusing to stop for a pedestrian crossing. With kiddies crossing. Matt suggests a test.
That leaves only one plausible option: cyclists should be licensed. We should have to pass a test in which…

The G-Gnome, The Kitchen and The Telegraph

Thank you to Tim and Peter for pointing out that The Kitchen features in The Telegraph today: well done to the G-Gnome for catching the selector's eye!
"It's a huge embarrassment for republicans," writes columnist Brian Feeney in the Irish News ( True, but no one comes out of this looking great, including the former Sinn Fein member and now, presumably, former British agent, Denis Donaldson. The blogs are bristling with accusation and conjecture. "Donaldson's revelations are a smokescreen," writes the G-Gnome in The Devil's Kitchen, "an attempt by Sinn Fein/IRA to keep itself relevant in a political structure it has done everything it can to undermine in its efforts to turn the island of Ireland into the Emerald Cuba." (
Anyone looking for the whole of Martin's original article will find it here.

UPDATE: Mr Eugenides has pointed out the intrinsic bias in my head: Telegraph, good: Guardian,…

The Guardian takes revenge

What else would you expect? My friend mentions that my blog is in The Guardian. I am torn between gratitude for my advert revenue, and disgust. Luckily, neither is needed.

Well done, NM. Piss off MSM; everyone at The Guardian is a bastard. Although, of course, running through the articles on the front page, I really can't think that Lefties would love it...

Yet more EU budget wankery

UKIP MEPs have laid into Blair over the budget agreement.
UKIP's Nigel Farage said Mr Blair was "outplayed and outclassed" by France's Jacques Chirac in budget negotiations.

But Mr Blair said the deal between the EU's 25 member states had been the best possible "in the circumstances".
Mr Blair said, helpfully speaking in easily-written chunks, as usual: "Well, you see, Nigel; the circumstances were... that Monsieur Chirac was not going... to budge an inch, and I was... utimately... prepared to sell my daughter... into sexual slavery... in rural Pakistan. The other heads of state didn't ask for that... All that they wanted was... another £7 billion of the British... taxpayer's money. So, you see, it really was... the best possbile deal... in the circumstances."
In heated exchanges, he said that although Mr Farage and colleagues "sit with our country's flag, you do not represent our country's interest".
Wait a second... In …
Sad news that Unwins has gone down the Swanney.
But supermarkets ate into its margins, and store sales failed to stem the red ink. It was also hit by the growing popularity of "booze cruises" to France, where wines and beer are cheaper.
Wines and beer aren't cheaper: they just have less tax on them. Are ye listening, O Gordo...?

The Beeb score again

The Beeb reports that the history of the British Empire should be covered in schools.
School history lessons should focus more on the British Empire to explain modern UK life, a think tank says.
MPs and historians were among those who contributed to the Fabian Society's review on "Britishness".

John Denham MP said: "We need to learn to tell our history so that it explains why so many people have roots in other parts of the world."
Naturally, the Beeb illustrate this story with this picture.

You know what? I approve. Because people will wonder why it is that a brown-skinned gentleman with a whip should be holding sway over a group of slaves. As Snafu points out:
Is the man with the whip working for the white colonial oppressors or the local tribal leaders who supplied the slaves!?!
No doubt Al-Beeb would teach us that the gentleman with the whip has been pressed into service by the evil whities, ignoring the fact that the slave trade could never have occurred had not t…

Moonbat reaction

I think that I may have chosen a bad target in Moonbat: I enjoy fisking Polly, as her bile and spite engender a similar reaction in myself, whereas Moonbat is just a fool. I was attempting to kick his emotive language as much as anything.

Let me amplify on some of the points made here (and please try to use the Blogger comments if you can; I've deliberately made it as easy as possible: the Haloscan ones will disappear after a while and these discussions will be lost). The argument has swung from Moonbat and onto cars in general.

For the record, I shall state my position: I do have a (clean, paper!) license and used to drive quite extensively (delivering tons of printed paper), but I do not own a car. This is because I live in the centre of the fair but miniscule city of Edinburgh where, quite frankly, a car is not terribly necessary. If I feel like it or, more likely, I am late, I will use a bus to get to places. However, I do realise that some people are not well-served by public …