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Saturday, December 31, 2005

IE: officially a piece of shit

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 09:55:00 am

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 to design a site for several browsers will know what I mean.

While that may not seem like a security issue straight off, I would submit that having to add a lot of complexity and workarounds reduces security. Also, lack of compatibility can constrain people's ability to use more secure browsers.

Quite so. Add in the fact that IE for the Mac rendered code completely differently to IE for PC and you've got even more of a nightmare.

So, would the 54%, or so, of people who view this site using Internet Explorer, please not do so? You'll find Firefox links at the top of my right sidebar. If everyone dumped IE, they would be doing me (and all web developers) a favour, they would bring down the cost of website development and they will save themselves a whole host of security problems.

Without IE, the cutting-edge web techiques detailed in places like CSS Edge could actually be deployed properly, and not used as proof-of-concepts and webbie toys that they currently are. Just imagine; drop-down, nested menus that don't need Javascript or Flash (to see and example, click the Start button (although, not if you are using IE))! Many other very cool things, like fixed image (which is often usefully used to make divs appear translucent) would be used a lot more. Websites could, much more easily, be really beautiful...

So, please, for your sake as well as ours: get rid of IE.

Thanks.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 09:55:00 am


Tube strike: no shock at all

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 09:29:00 am

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, see a red light, pull lever back to stop. It's not exactly rocket science. As a matter of fact, I think that people have a harder job doing photocopying. Just fucking sack the bastards: you could probably hire and train new recruits to do the job in the space of the 24 hour strike.

Thank fuck I don't live in the hell-hole that is the Big Smoke. Every time that I go to the god-awful, shit-pit that is London, it reminds me why I live in Edinburgh...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 09:29:00 am


Jonathan Ive CBE

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 09:16:00 am

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 think that Ive is a fucking god. He comes across as a thoroughly nice guy too...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 09:16:00 am


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 07:30:00 am

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" -- no one ever seems to note that every single step was taken by the Israelis, while the Palestinians did absolutely nothing. And those concessions the Israelis made? They're presumed permanent, and merely move the starting point for the next useless cycle.

Oh, yeah, and the fact that the Arabs are a bunch of cheating bastards whose weasel words are not worth the camel-shit paper that they are written on also tends to make me gravitate towards Israel.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 07:30:00 am


Some notes on style...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 07:10:00 am

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:
Erudite. Blogs like Devil's Kitchen should realise that less is more, and mere noise doesn't equate to quality.

Oh dear, whichever anonymous gentleman, or woman, who wrote this just doesn't get it.

I am not interested in being a news aggregator. This site exists to express my views on particular stories or events. Some posts I am pleased with, some degenerate into swearing (usually because I am so angry that I can barely articulate anything). I enjoy writing and, if I write at length, it is because I want to. Also, most of my thinking is done as I write, and there are many posts where, were you looking for such things, you can see the connection of thought processes. Some people have written to tell me that they enjoy my style whereas some—quite obviously—do not.

If you want short pithy blog posts, such as those, indeed, to be found at Freedom and Whisky, then that's great; on ye go. Me, I prefer the longer pieces, the ones that are a bit like MSM opinion pieces, but that are funny, accurate and occasionally outrageous. So that's what I write. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

But, whatever I write, please remember, if you don't like it, you have the right not to read it.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 07:10:00 am


Cameron continues to lose my vote

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 06:29:00 am

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 to see through such smokescreens, to tease the truth from the noise that surrounds him. I mean, it’s not as if someone hasn’t explained it now, is it? Like myself at the Adam Smith Institute blog.

You can only reach the 40% figure by comparing full-time male wages with part-time female wages. That is not, in any way, "the same job". When we compare part-time male and part-time female wages in the private sector the difference is a shade over 10%.
...

So there you have it, proof positive. David Cameron says the gender gap in pay is 40%. And he’s based a speech and will base policies on that. And it’s not true. Q.E.D.

David Cameron. Dickhead.

But to my mind, the real turnoff is the fact that he is comtemplating addressing this at all. Is he thinks that this (mainly fictional) pay gap is wrong, then the only way that he can address it is through regulation. And, as we all we free marketeers know, government intervention in private business is a bad thing.

That the Conservatives are contemplating yet more regulation, rather than announcing sensible methods for rolling back the massive amount of red tape introduced by the present bunch of bastards, is contributing to the horrible foreboding that I have: that the next election will see us trying to choose between three identical parties, whose only difference will be in the names on the roster of hatred.

Cameron: dickhead.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/31/2005 06:29:00 am


Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Tories have lost my vote

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/29/2005 06:35:00 am

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 world.
...

Clearly, his passion for recycling goes further than paper. He is recycling old socialist ideas on taxation, public services, education and international development. And, of course, he is recycling old rock singers.

Quite so. And I will not vote for socialists, hard-core or soft-core, and anyone courting Bob Geldof should, in any case, burn in the fires of hell along with his buddies, the Dergue government.
As the NGOs that stayed in Ethiopia began to face criticism in the press, Geldof leapt to their defence. "The organisations participating in the resettlement programme should not be criticised," he told the Irish Times on November 4 1985. "In my opinion, we've got to give aid without worrying about population transfers." Asked about the estimates that 100,000 had died in the transfers, he replied that "in the context [of such a famine], these numbers don't shock me."
...

With the exception of MSF, what neither the relief world, nor the UN, nor Geldof have ever come to terms with is that the Mengistu regime - ousted in 1991 - also committed mass murder in the resettlement programme in which Live Aid monies were used and in which NGOs using Live Aid funds were active.

Being simplistic costs lives. Geldof is both self-absorbed and simplistic. He shouldn't be advising the Tories on how to play a guitar, let alone how to help Africa.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/29/2005 06:35:00 am


Shit or lunatic?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/29/2005 06:16:00 am

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 younger children too. Why?
Speaking to AP in the back of police pickup truck late Tuesday as he was shifted to a prison in the city of Multan, Ahmed showed no contrition. Appearing disheveled but composed, he said he killed Muqadas because she had committed adultery, and his daughters because he didn't want them to do the same when they grew up.
...

"I thought the younger girls would do what their eldest sister had done, so they should be eliminated," he said, his hands cuffed, his face unshaven. "We are poor people and we have nothing else to protect but our honor."

You see? It was a pre-emptive strike! He's been tough on the causes of crime; in this case, the cause was life, and his actions have ensured that his daughters will never commit a crime. No courts, no bother about any evidence; just tough love all the way! Ahmed's Knighthood is in the bag.

No, seriously, this was a pretty horrible crime but I'm going to put my Lefty, multi-culti, benefit-of-the-doubt head on and say that he is, surely, just a lone nut, right?
Hundreds of girls and women are murdered by male relatives each year in this conservative Islamic nation, and rights groups said Wednesday such "honor killings" will only stop when authorities get serious about punishing perpetrators.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that in more than half of such cases that make it to court, most end with cash settlements paid by relatives to the victims' families, although under a law passed last year, the minimum penalty is 10 years, the maximum death by hanging.
...

It is the latest of more than 260 such honor killings documented by the rights commission, mostly from media reports, during the first 11 months of 2005.

Oh, right. Erm...

Right, remember chaps, their culture is just as valid as our insipid liberalism, OK, so we should make sure that we don't discourage them from being able to practice their own culture when they come to our country, OK?

Still, at least Ahmed has, indeed, restored honour; after all, his daughter was a filthy cheating whore, eh?
Despite Ahmed's contention that Muqadas had committed adultery—a claim made by her husband—the rights commission reported that according to local people, Muqadas had fled her husband because he had abused her and forced her to work in a brick-making factory.

Police have said they do not know the identity or whereabouts of Muqadas' alleged lover.

<Cartman Voice>
Oh. Fuck.
</Cartman Voice>
Muqadas was Bibi's daughter by her first marriage to Ahmed's brother, who died 14 years ago. Ahmed married his brother's widow, as is customary under Islamic tradition.

Keep it in the family, eh?*
"Women are treated as property and those committing crimes against them do not get punished," said the rights commission's director, Kamla Hyat. "The steps taken by our government have made no real difference."

Now, you spot the cultural relativists in the room; they are the ones with their eyes closed, covering their ears and chanting "Just a valid as ours, the culture is just as valid as ours, Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace" over and over again. Some people are deliberately blind.

Of course, it's a bit of a Lefty head-fuck really. Which of your special causes do you support in this case? The cultural precedent, or the equality of women? Decisions, decisons...
Activists accuse President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a self-styled moderate Muslim, of reluctance to reform outdated Islamized laws that make it difficult to secure convictions in rape, acid attacks and other cases of violence against women. They say police are often reluctant to prosecute, regarding such crimes as family disputes.

Even when murder is involved. I would imagine that, in cases like this, that may be because the policemen tacitly agree with the perpetrators. The concept of honour killings is deeply ingrained in Muslim ideology, as illustrated by the fact that a poll at a Turkish university found 40% of those polled in favour of such murders.***
Statistics on honor killings are confused and imprecise, but figures from the rights commission's Web site and its officials show a marked reduction in cases this year: 267 in the first 11 months of 2005, compared with 579 during all of 2004. The Ministry of Women's Development said it had no reliable figures.

Well, that's progress of a kind, I suppose. Still, that's 267 too many. And, please, also note that these are not ordinary homicides; these are directly related to the culture of that country, which in turn is determined by current thinking in Islam. Pakistan is the ultimate Muslim country. It split from the rest of India in order to become an Islamic nation.
Ijaz Elahi, the ministry's joint secretary, said the violence was decreasing and that increasing numbers of victims were reporting incidents to police or the media. Laws, including one passed last year to beef up penalties for honor killings, had been toughened, she said.

Police in Multan said they would complete their investigation into Ahmed's case in the next two weeks and that he faces the death sentence if he is convicted for the killings and terrorizing his neighborhood.

This is, indeed, very good news. However, it is still going to be difficult to stop the practice of honour killing when it is so woven into the culture of the country.
Ahmed, who did not resist arrest, was unrepentant.

"I told the police that I am an honorable father and I slaughtered my dishonored daughter and the three other girls," he said. "I wish that I get a chance to eliminate the boy she ran away with and set his home on fire."

Nice. Note that no one seems to know who this "boy" is or if he even existed. Still, I'm sure that Daddy will find someone to blame one day. Or rather, not, since—if there is any justice in the world, or even just in Pakistan—he will be dangling from the end of a rope by the end of next week.


* By the way, in Africa, there is a similar tradition, although the widow only needs to have sex with a relative of her husband (otherwise her husband's evil spirit will drive her insane, apparently). This is just one of the many social causes for the massive spread of AIDS** in that continent, to which the preference for "dry sex" also contributes. But that topic is for another post.

** Please note that it is an acronym and should be capitalised, not spelt Aids. The Speccie has started doing this a lot recently, even though they still capitalise HIV, and I find it unreasonably annoying.

*** And we are considering them for EU membership! Just think how much more exciting our lives will be when unlimited numbers of Turkish Muslims will be able to flood into our country on EU passports: I can hardly wait!****

**** To emigrate.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/29/2005 06:16:00 am


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Free Jack Idema Blogburst

Posted by Rottweiler Puppy at 12/28/2005 05:31:00 pm

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 tortured Jack, Brent and Ed. Since the trail, there have been numerous assassination attempts mounted against Idema and his men by the Taliban and al-Qaeda scumbags they are being held with.

Most disturbing of all, however, is the fact that all three men were declared innocent after a retrial almost exactly a year ago. Now, granted, there are bound to be some differences between our legal systems and the one in Afghanistan, but we're pretty sure one thing they do have in common is the notion that locking up completely innocent people isn't acceptable ...

... So why are Jack and his men still incarcerated? For answers, we need to look at the way the War On Terror is actually playing out in Afghanistan, and to understand the extent to which many of the players in the FBI and U.S. State Department have edged away from killing and capturing Islamofascists, and back toward policies of appeasement and (false) stability. This has meant, at least for the State Department and the Karzai government, that men like Jack Idema became something of an inconvenience, hunting, arresting and killing the very terrorists they were foolishly attempting to broker deals with. In an effort to push their flawed agendas, then, sections of the U.S. government have seen to it that Idema and his men stay behind bars.

In essence, this means that Jack Idema is a political prisoner, who, bizarrely, is being held by America in order to prevent him hunting down and killing the very people who masterminded 9/11.

And, yes, you really do need to read that, last sentence over several times in order for its full implications to sink in. Four years after that terrible, September day, instead of bringing the sword of justice to the bearded crazies responsible for 3000 murders, we're bringing injustice to the men whose mission it is to hunt down the bin Ladens of this world and make them pay for what they did.

And, make no mistake, this is exactly what Jack Idema intends to do. Here he is, in an interview he gave a couple of months ago, laying down the principles upon which the WOT should be fought:

Americans now are saying let's have this peace and appeasement and all of this -- listen. Remember about this? People forget about the fact that people were diving out windows on 9/11 to avoid being burned to death. This is a war. War is a war of attrition -- that means you kill the enemy. You don't make peace with them, you don't make nice with them, you don't take 'em in for a steak dinner- you kill 'em. And believe me–these people deserve to die. They are the worst terrorists on the face of the earth. Look what they did on 9/11 and that is only one small part of what they want to do to us.


[You can hear the whole thing here.]

In the meantime, and while the head-hackers tuck into those steak dinners courtesy of the State Department, Jack Idema and his men are subjected to the petty malice of U.S. Consul Adrienne Harchick. Adrienne (or 'Addie' to the friends she doesn't deserve to have) has denied Jack and his men access to clean drinking water, refused to allow them to send hand-made gifts to their families back home, and even went so far as to seize 21 Christmas packages sent to Jack, Brent and Ed via regular Afghan post. Adrienne's lame excuse for this, last, piece of spite was that Christmas gifts 'violate the Muslim religion'. (This, even though Jack's many Muslim friends in the Northern Alliance have offered to deliver the presents to him themselves.)

But. This intolerable situation might, finally, be coming to an end. Last week, the Northern Alliance-backed Yunis Qanooni took the reigns of power in the Afghan Parliament, and, unlike the appeasing weasel Karzai, intends to prosecute the war against terrorists hard. We must also hope that Qanooni resolves to release Jack and his men so they can help in this endeavour.

Because here's the thing: someone like Jack Idema is doing no good looking at the Afghan mountains through the bars of a prison cell. He needs to be in those mountains, finishing the fight al-Qaeda started with us back in September, 2001.



Anyone wishing to join the Free Jack Idema Blogburst should email either Cao or Rottweiler Puppy for details.

Finally, PLEASE NOTE: The SuperPatriots and Jack images on this site are used with WRITTEN COPYRIGHT PERMISSION and any use by any third party is subject to legal action by SuperPatriots.US






Technorati Search for Jack Idema

Posted by Rottweiler Puppy at 12/28/2005 05:31:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/28/2005 12:12:00 am

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.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/28/2005 12:12:00 am


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/28/2005 12:04:00 am

Well, we all suspected it, but it might be about to be proved. That should shut the smug bastards up for a while.

Excellent!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/28/2005 12:04:00 am


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Another of those today...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 11:44:00 pm

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."

Jesus.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 11:44:00 pm


Bureaucrat says "no".

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 08:17:00 pm

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 is added partly for taste, partly to drive out moisture and also to slow the development of bacteria.

Without salt, the curd "races away" and the resulting cheese is unpalatable and does not last well.
...

"Of all the blue cheeses, Stilton has consistently the lowest salt levels," said Mr White.

"The reason it is higher than cheddar is that if you don't get an even distribution of salt above a minimum level, you won't get the cheese to blue. And since blueing is the single most important characteristic of blue cheese, you risk shooting yourself in the foot."

He also argues that British cheeses are being discriminated against. French makers are under no pressure to lower salt and a Roquefort has around four per cent.
...

The FSA said it was eager to reach a voluntary agreement with the Stilton makers but warned that mandatory limits were possible.

"We are responsible for finding a way of reducing the nation's salt and we have a target of six grams a day by 2010," a spokesman said.

"We have to find a way to do so while taking into account manufacturers' concerns about traditional recipes. Nobody is suggesting making products unpalatable but at some time we will have to weigh that against the health implications."

I'm sorry, but at what stage, exactly, did I elect these ghastly shits to control what I eat? Was this in Labour's manifesto? At what point did I elect these cunts to tell cheesemakers how much salt these can use?

How did this country, admired for so long for it's people's hard won freedoms, come to the sorry state wherein we are today? Do we know the answer: I do.

Such measures could only come from a socialist regime. Socialism requires, by its very nature, the state to control its citizens; such micromanagement in our name, in the name of our health, could come only from an intrinsically socialist government. Socialism: it's the root of all evil.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 08:17:00 pm


Fuck you, Princess!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 06:06:00 pm

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 Brother NuLabour are proposing yet more draconian powers.
Ten months after the ban on the sport Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, is being urged to give officers a right of access on private land to check hunting activity and to make arrests, The Times has learnt.

Police also want hunting crimes to be “recordable” offences, leaving those caught with a criminal record, thus allowing forces to keep track of persistent offenders.

Yeah, I'll bet they do. The police, very much on the side of our lords and masters and not on the side of right, as per fucking usual.
Far from consigning hunting to the history books the ban has given the 1,000-year-old sport a renaissance, with thousands more in the saddle or on foot in pursuit of a fox scent and sometimes accidentally hunting real foxes.

The hunting correspondent for Country Life describes the change as “a triumph” for the sport and believes that it has marshalled wider public opinion against government meddling in countryside ways. Senior hunting figures believe that there could be a Boxing Day record today — one of the most important dates in the hunting calender — as the ban has spurred a boom in the legal forms of the sport. These range from trail hunting to hound exercise clubs and hunting with a bird of prey.

Hahahahaha! I'm doubled over with laughter!
The call for more controls is revealed in The Times in an interview with Nigel Yeo, Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex and the public order spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), who advises forces on how to police the hunting ban.

Fuck him, and the horse that he rodfe in on, but definitely did not hunt on.
“The league would argue there is more activity of hunting on private land and not in the public view. I think that is right,” Mr Yeo said.

“There is no power of entry for police in the Act though there is a power of entry to seize items connected with hunting. There is not a power of entry to see what is going on or even to effect an arrest. Unless we have permission from the landowner we can’t go on private land as of right to effect an arrest. We (ACPO) have made the observation to Government that that right is not there and it could be an impediment on occasions.”

Yes, that's because it is private property, so you can take your fascist designs and stick them up your ludicrously well-paid arse.
He added: “I don’t know if this was an oversight or if a view was taken in Government that they did not wish to give us an unfettered right of access. It is a serious step and this country takes privacy very seriously.”

That's right. That's because we don't want to be like... oh.. Zimbabwe. Or Nazi Germany. Or Communist Russia.

Naturally, any law to allow the bastards to force their way onto private property or into private homes will not be abused, will only be used as a last resort. Remember, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Right?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 06:06:00 pm


Get that goat!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 05:49:00 pm

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 time they reached Christmas pass outside mutare, the President was in horrible pain and had to be rushed to a secret location in Mutare for medical treatment.

Wouldn't it be nice if the hospital had been able to refuse to treat him. After all, can the pain have been horrible enough to pay back Mugabe for the suffering that he has inflicted on his own people? Anyway, I hope that they didn't use any anaesthetic: Mugabe has done a wonderful job, in just a few years, of driving his country back to the Dark Ages. It would be only fitting if the medical facilities and methods were similarly mediaeval.

Goat (Justice): 2

Mugabe (fucking loony-tune dictator): 0

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 05:49:00 pm


Tolerance, the Muslim way

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 05:38:00 pm

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 said that Essa's brother-in-law, Adan Ayro, who owned the house in which Essa was captured, could have had links to al-Qa'eda. A plan to blow up an Ethiopian airliner and bomb-making manuals were uncovered during the investigations.

"The defendants did not recognise their actions as crimes," Miss Bailey said. "They felt justified in murdering infidels who they believed were offending Muslim fundamentalism."

If one more person tries to tell me that Islam is a religion of peace or a tolerant religion, I won't turn the other cheek, frankly.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/27/2005 05:38:00 pm


Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/26/2005 12:01:00 am

THIS POST HAS BEEN STUCK TO THE TOP UNTIL MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE.


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", Christmas Day will pass rapidly in an orgy of fear, buggery, major cover-ups, and "understanding" of their problems. A bit like your humble Devil's schooldays actually (apart from the understanding)...

On Boxing Day, these "orphans" will then be released into the tender care of the god-awful families that abandoned them in rubbish bins and scrappy copses throughout the country, and then the whole kit and caboodle will be deported to an immigrant slum in Belgium, where their passports will be confiscated.

The Care Officers, State Psychologists and Outreach Workers will then be escorted to their own private hell. Yes, that's right: they will be installed in private sector jobs where they face an eternity of actually having to do some useful work, knowing that, even were they able to retire, there would be no index-linked pension waiting for them. For every day off sick, they will be locked in a room with the Hudsons for a week.

Margaret Hodge, meanwhile, will be delivered into the hands of some nice Albanian gentlemen. I don't know what'll happen then, although I have a fairly good idea that the irony of the ensuing events will amuse me...

Anyway, time for some port, methinks, and a large cigar; I shall put my feet up and revel in the screams and moans for mercy. So a very Merry Christmas here at Hell Towers—well, for me, at least: I don't expect to stop laughing for a good ten days yet! I only hope that yours is as satisfying as mine...

Very best regards,

DK

Labels: ,


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/26/2005 12:01:00 am


Sunday, December 25, 2005

A new initiative for Scotland

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 10:12:00 pm

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 utter retards.

The scheme has been criticised as a waste of money: a spokesman from The Devil's Kitchen said that it would be a pointless and expensive exercise. "It will be difficult to enact", said Mr D. Kay. "The trouble is that not only are 99.99% of the visited completely fucking stupid, but so are the majority of public-sector workers. I mean, it's mad. What's next? A "greedy, complacent, lazy cunts map"?"

Mr Kay pointed out that this latter map would, broadly speaking, single out exactly the same people as the "thick bastards map". However, having been advised that the "greedy, complacent, lazy cunts map" would definitely include every member of the Scottish Executive, Mr Kay admitted that it might have some value, "if only as due warning to the voting public". However, he was adamant that it should never be allowed to function as any kind of disclaimer.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 10:12:00 pm


Amusing Christmas Present of the Year

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 09:50:00 pm

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 09:50:00 pm


The Boy Who Kicked Pigs

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 08:56:00 pm

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.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 08:56:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 02:32:00 pm

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.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 02:32:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 02:11:00 pm

NEWSFLASH!

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/25/2005 02:11:00 pm


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 08:55:00 pm

You have been warned...


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 08:55:00 pm


Nuts to Christmas

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 03:52:00 pm

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 them with an axe is pretty much what you need to do to get to the damn nut. But it pains me to think that my own little Devils, should they ever manifest, will not have the thrill, shared by myself and my Satanic siblings, of the competitions of strength that were made possible by the Brazil's extraordinarily thick shell.

However, despite all of this, may I wish my readers a Merry Christmas*...

* I'm not going anywhere, but I thought that I would pop that in whilst some people are still looking...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 03:52:00 pm


Why not eat a sheep you know?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 03:19:00 pm

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.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 03:19:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 03:06:00 pm

FESTIVE FASCISM

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for the Council Tax Evaluation Officer
...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 03:06:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 02:59:00 pm

PICTURE CHARADES

What famous piece of music does this picture represent?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 02:59:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 02:38:00 pm

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/24/2005 02:38:00 pm


Friday, December 23, 2005

Blowing smoke in your face...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 07:05:00 pm

... 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, should any of these public sector busybodies be due around my flat, I shall, you may be surprised to hear, comply with the letter. This is because my income is rather small, and I will need to save my cigarettes in order to smoke the lot whilst the public-sector busybody is actually in the flat.

There has been speculation that the ban on smoking in public places will subsequently lead to more people smoking at home, and thus putting their kiddies' lives at risk: how long before the Executive bans smoking in the home if you have children, eh?

Welcome to the surveillance state, it was only a matter of time before the government started to tell people what legal things they could do in their own home; how soon before we are all taking delivery of our very own unswitch-offable Telescreen?

Dear Scottish Executive,

Come near me and I shall forcibly insert your smokers' map up your arsehole. Now, please, fuck off.

Regards,

DK


And you English people want your own parliament, even after you've seen what we got? You are insane...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 07:05:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 04:17:00 pm

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.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 04:17:00 pm


Too late, as usual

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 03:55:00 pm

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 Darfur.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 03:55:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:47:00 pm

THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND


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

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:47:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:43:00 pm

CHARLES CLARKE DEMONSTRATES HANDGUN TECHNIQUE


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

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:43:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:40:00 pm

GORDON "MAD-EYE" BROWN EXPLAINS HIS ECONOMIC POLICY


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

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:40:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:26:00 pm

THAT EU BUDGET DEAL EXPLAINED!


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

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:26:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:13:00 pm

Well, that's all the tension gone: I'll have to find something else to watch tonight...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:13:00 pm


British car firms: bad investment

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:05:00 pm

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 be bidding to buy Jaguar any time soon...?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 01:05:00 pm


No matter who you vote for...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 11:34:00 am

... 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 Almighty, why this paucity of original thinking? I've got a good 20,000 words on economic reform in my favourite posts blogroll (they are easily numbered so you won't get too confused, you innumerate twat) but, for a good kick-off, why not visit Timmy's place?

It makes me want to weep sometimes, really it does...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 11:34:00 am


Pet Hates #3,688

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 12:56:00 am

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: "Shall I call back for a payment tomorrow, sir?"

Me: "You can if you like, but it will be pointless because I don't have any money."

Call-centre monkey: "You do realise that if you don't pay tomorrow, a £35 late payment fee will be charged to your account?"

Me: [Doubled over with hunger cramps having eaten nothing but one Gregg's steak bake in five days] "Yes, I do, but there is nothing that I can do about it because I don't have any money."

Call-centre monkey: "Do you know when you will be able to make a payment, sir?"

Me: "Well, not until one of my clients pays me, which should hopefully be in the next week or so."

Call-centre monkey: "Will you be able to pay next Tuesday, sir?"

Me: "Well, it's unlikely since no one's due to pay me until next Wednesday, and it can take up to 6 days* for the cheque to clear, or three days for BACS. And that's if they pay on time. Look, can I call you when I can make a payment?"

Call-centre monkey: "Do you know when that'll be, sir?"

Me: "Not exactly, but hopefully before the end of the month."

Call-centre monkey: "I'll make a note on the account, sir."

Me: "Thank you. Have a good day."

[Replaces 'phone]

Freelancer: "So, will we get paid tomorrow?"

Me: "No. You heard me, I don't have any money."

Freelancer: "Well, do you know when we'll get paid?"

Me: "You heard me; when someone pays us."

Freelancer: "Well, I'm running out of money."

Me: "Well, you've been paid precisely four times more than me in the last two months so, really, I can sympathise."

Freelancer: "Right. So do you know when are we going to get paid?"

[Reaches for gun, unsure whether to shoot freelancer or self...]

Why is this concept of no money so difficult for people to understand?

The irony is, of course, is that if I had some credit, then I would be able to pay my bills on time. However, unfortunately, I can't get any credit because I can't pay my bills on time...

* Up to six working days for a cheque to clear? What the fuck? To add insult to injury, I happen to know that my bank routinely take 90 days to pay their suppliers. Who often bank with that same bank! And yet the bank's payment still takes 3 days to clear into an account in that bank. Or six days if it is a cheque...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2005 12:56:00 am


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pet Hates #3,687

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 09:08:00 pm

Take your rucksack off in the pub, you blinkered, inconsiderate sack of shit.

Bastards.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 09:08:00 pm


Should we leave the EU?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 07:39:00 pm

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 one of these things, then you have no choice but to support our withdrawal from the EU.

UPDATE: Chris also has a good post about the power-balancing argument.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 07:39:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 07:16:00 pm

As Tonbridge straddles the Medway, am I a Kentishman or a Man of Kent? The answer is neither: I'm an Edinburgher. And chips. Ho ho.

Via Longrider.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 07:16:00 pm


The faces of evil

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 06:49:00 pm

FUCKING SHIT BASTARD SCUM FUCKERS.

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. Fucking kill them. And painfully.

Are these people the pinnacle of evolution? Is this what the human race is? No. I consider them less than animals: I eat animals and enjoy the experience. I wouldn't eat these filthy examples of blood and bone. I would happily pull the lever.

Via Allan, who is also mildly annoyed.

UPDATE: Seriously, look at those bastards. Just look at their faces; none of them have a portrait in their attic. They might have a young woman being tortured to death there though. Really, how can I express my anger? There simply is no excuse for them. They should be hanged, drawn and quartered in the public square, but only after every member of the watching public has been allowed to put cigarettes out on these evil fuckers' genitals.

I'm going to go and take some valium now, in order not to get worked up over the actions of these absolute cunts.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 06:49:00 pm


Worstall Watch #2

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 05:52:00 pm

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 totally agree 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, say the socialists, this gives me a headstart in life over other people. Yes. And. So. What? If my father decides to save his money so that I can have a headstart in life, why should some feckless bastard, who has just frittered away his own money, get some of my father's cash instead? But remember, to some fucking socialists, everyone should be equal: equally fucking poor, in other words. It's policy based on the usual socialist envy; it's a childlike "he's got a toy and I want it too" mentality. It makes me fucking sick. There is no moral argument for death duties, at all. Why not just tax everyone at 100%, divide the total by the number of workers in the country and then give everyone exactly the same amount, eh? Fuckwits.

Furthermore, you may have noticed that we have got a bit of a pension crisis looming. Well, is anyone surprised? I'm not; if you penalise people for saving, through a £5 billion tax on pension funds or a tax on saved wealth, then what the fuck do you expect? And, if El Gordo introduces the proposed tax on pension funds over £1.5 million, then the problem will get even worse. Once again, redistributive socialism promises to put us all in the gutter.

So what happens? Well, we have trust funds, which then lock capital away from the economy. Sure, it often goes into shares and other investments and contributes to the economy in that way. But it does not contribute immediately and directly by, for instance, allowing people to put capital down on a house, or having the capital to start a business. How many times does communism have to fail for you socialist bastards to get the idea that redistribution makes us all poorer? I mean, seriously? Death duties are economically unsound, locking wealth out of the economy.

Socialists are still the root of all evil and the sooner that these fuckers either grow up or, preferably, die, the better. It's the hypocrisy that I can't stand, you know. It's all of these people arguing about the betterment of others, and what they are really talking about is the betterment of themselves.

"I want what he's got, I want his toy, mummy Mister Chancellor. Saw it in half and then we've both got a bit."

"But then it won't be a complete toy. It won't work."

"Don't care. WANT IT NOW!
*stamps foot*

I despise you, I really do.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 05:52:00 pm


Bunch of useless, lazy, fucking cunts

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 05:25:00 pm

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 30K .
So I'm standing here in the pouring rain,
Where the fuck's my fucking train?

London Underground
London Underground
They're all lazy fucking useless cunts
London Underground
London Underground
They're all greedy cunts I want to shoot them all with a rifle.


All they say is "Please mind the doors",
and they learned that on the two day course,
This job could be done by a four year old.
They just leave us freezing in the cold.

What you smell is what you get
Burger King and piss and sweat
You roast to death in the boiling heat,
With tourists treading on your feet
and chewing gum on every seat,
so don't tell me to "Mind the gap"
I want my fucking money back.

London Underground
London Underground
They're all lazy fucking useless cunts
London Underground
London Underground
They're all greedy cunts I want to shoot them all with a rifle
Laa La-La La
Laa La-La La


The floors are sticky and the seats are damp,
Every platform has a fucking tramp,
But the drivers get the day off when
we're all late for work again,

London Underground
London Underground
WaWa Wankers , They're all Wankers ,
London Underground
London Underground


Take your Oystercard, and shove it up your a-arsehole.


My sympathies to all of you Londoners who have to endure this load of fucking bullshit every year. Another New Year's piss-up ruined by the lazy sods of the London Underground. Still, I shouldn't worry: New Year's Eve is always crap anyway...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 05:25:00 pm


Apologies

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 05:13:00 pm

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 05:13:00 pm


No one arrested for singing carols

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 02:42:00 am

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 02:42:00 am


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 02:35:00 am

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!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/22/2005 02:35:00 am


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Strip and let's see 'em...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 07:41:00 pm

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 07:41:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 12:44:00 pm

Those NHS waiting lists don't just shrink themselves, you know! This is how Labour has cut waiting lists: by introducing a Waiting-To-Get-On-The-Waiting-List list.

Nice work...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 12:44:00 pm


Creativity

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 11:10:00 am

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 stays throughout.

One of these was when I was auditioning for a newly written play, and the writer/director was describing it. It was a simple idea, the play leaping out of the boundaries of the stage; the storyteller becoming involved in the tale that he was telling, taking control as the characters start to defy his memory. And for some reason, the image of a burning book came into my head. I played about for only a couple of hours, and came up with what remains one of my favourite bits of artwork.



The play was, obviously enough, The Last Chapter of Dreaming (yes, I did get a part) and it was written, interestingly, by this man. I enjoyed it.

Sometimes, though, a piece never quite comes right. I usually find that it is because of interference! I did a piece recently in which the director wanted to use a particular photograph. Because of the constraint of that photograph, the poster just didn't come out right and didn't satisfy me: I couldn't get a flash of inspiration for the composition because the photograph always... in the way. The end result was serviceable, but I just got embarrassed when people told me that they really liked it, because it just didn't feel right to me.

Ah, well...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 11:10:00 am


Stay at home!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 10:06:00 am

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 we demonstrate proficiency and knowledge of the rules of the road. Cycling organisations would say that the last thing the cause of cycling needs is another barrier in the path of potential riders. Cyclists themselves will ask why they should have to pass a test when, unlike cars, bicycles almost never cause serious injury to others.

True, although my father was knocked down some years ago and it did ruin a rather good suit. Oh, and opened up his knee. Bastard cyclists.
So what is to be done? More enforcement would be one solution. In the City of London, bicycle-mounted officers have been handing out penalties to miscreant cyclists.

Does anyone else get a kind of Heath Robinsonesque picture in their head at that?
But most forces have few officers equipped to do so and unofficially admit that they can't enforce the Highway Code where cyclists are concerned because, in practice, they can't catch those who flout the law.

I can see the sign:

"This police force is an equal opportunities employer. We will not discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, race, creed, culture, possession of legs or ability to ride a bicycle."

Seriously, though, Matt's idea is to introduce a license. To cycle. This is a typical Guardian response, i.e. we have a problem; let's get the bureaucracy to solve it. I think that the problem can be solved quite easily, by making fewer laws; we simply say that anyone who doles out a non-lethal kicking to a cyclist who runs a red light won't be prosecuted. You see? It's very liberal; it introduces the idea of the public policing themselves...

Via Peter, who comments in a better, shorter, funnier way.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 10:06:00 am


The G-Gnome, The Kitchen and The Telegraph

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 09:56:00 am

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 (www.irishnews.com). 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." (www.devilskitchen.blogspot.com)

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, bad. Interesting, that. I think that there's a certain delightful irony that it was Martin's piece that the Telegraph chose, given his enthusiastic kicking of that paper recently.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 09:56:00 am


The Guardian takes revenge

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 12:50:00 am

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...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/21/2005 12:50:00 am


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Yet more EU budget wankery

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 08:27:00 pm

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 repeated polls, the British have been largely anti-EU, so it is probably fair to say that Mr Farage actually represents the people of our country rather more than Blair does. And, as it happens, I do think that it is in our interest to withdraw from Europe and I have my reasons: approximately 42 billion of them over the next 8 years.
European Commission chief Jose Manual Barroso has suggested setting an EU tax for citizens of member states.

What a marvellous idea! Instead of paying our direct taxes to support British layabouts, we could pay to support Polish layabouts instead. Hooray!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 08:27:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 08:21:00 pm

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...?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 08:21:00 pm


The Beeb score again

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 07:41:00 pm

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 the tribal chiefs in Africa been quite happy to hand over slaves in return for armaments and shiny beads.
Slavery was common and widespread in Africa long before the 19th century, perpetrated on Africans by Arabs or other Africans, usually but not always of a competing tribe. "Slavery was endemic in Africa, part of the structure of everyday life," Fernand Braudel has noted. "Slavery came in different guises in different societies: there were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, domestic and household slaves, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and intermediaries, even as traders" (Braudel 1984 p 435). Two aggressive slave-trading civiliified it out of all recognition, and during the 16th century Europe began to outpace Islam in the export traffic. The Dutch imported slaves from Asia into their colony in South Africa. The United Kingdom, which held vast colonial territories on the continent (including South Africa), made the practice of slavery illegal in these regions. Ironically, the end of the slave trade and the decline of slavery was imposed upon Africa by its European conquerors. This action is what today may be called an instance of cultural imperialism.

Wow! Cutural imperialism=good! Who would have thunk it?

Still, no doubt, Al-Beeb would also gloss over the fact that it was the British who were key in bringing an end to slavery.
In 1772, a legal case concerning James Somerset made it illegal to remove a slave from England against his will. A similar case, that of Joseph Knight, took place in Scotland five years later and ruled slavery to be contrary to the law of Scotland.
Following the work of campaigners in the United Kingdom, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed by Parliament on March 25, 1807. The act imposed a fine of £100 for every slave found aboard a British ship. The intention was to entirely outlaw the slave trade within the whole British Empire.
The Slavery Abolition Act, passed on August 23, 1833, outlawed slavery itself in the British colonies. On August 1, 1834 all slaves in the British Empire were emancipated, but still indentured to their former owners in an apprenticeship system which was finally abolished in 1838.

And given the howls for compensation from displaced Africans around the world, especially in the US, I do find this paragraph quite wonderfully ironic.
Slavery persists in Africa more than in all other continents. Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished by laws passed in 1905, 1961, and 1981, but several human rights organizations are reporting that the practice continues there. The trading of children has been reported in modern Nigeria and Benin. In parts of Ghana, a family may be punished for an offense by having to turn over a virgin female to serve as a sex slave within the offended family. In this instance, the woman does not gain the title of "wife". In the Sudan slavery continues as part of an ongoing civil war. Evidence emerged in the late 1990s of systematic slavery in cacao plantations in west Africa, see the chocolate and slavery article.

I am sometimes moved to ask myself whether there been any progress in Africa, at all, since the European Empires left; or, even, since the European Empires arrived...?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 07:41:00 pm


Moonbat reaction

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 06:45:00 pm

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 transport.

Firstly, Witchibus, Tiny Judas and Robert make points about pollution. Witchibus up first:
However, speed cameras (as far as I know) have bugger all impact on the pollution that cars produce. I still suspect that motorised transport pollution has a far greater impact on health than speeding does.

As a matter of fact, speed cameras do have an impact on emissions, mainly in that accelerating and deccelerating produces more emissions than a steady cruise (I was always told that about 50mph was about the most efficient cruising speed, but this would differ, of course, with car profile, gear and engine tuning). So those who slow down at cameras and then speed up actually do produce more pollution; cameras themselves do not produce more pollution, but speed limits do, by slowing vehicles down. This applies equally to traffic-calming measures; as I explained here, these measures actually cause congestion (and thus more pollution).

So, what is going to use more fuel?
  1. A ten minute cruise to work, maintaining an almost constant speed, or

  2. A 20 minute stop-start, slow-over-ramps-speed-up, slow-up-for-camera-speed-up, stop-for-traffic-light marathon?

More fuel used quite obviously equals more pollution produced which is, naturally, what Robert points out:
Monbiot's essential gripe is that cars are causing pollution, and it is cars with large engines driving at high speeds (Clarkson's raison d'etre) that are the prime offenders here. Your argument for why people need cars is not an argument for why people should drive them so fast, or indeed drive cars that sacrifice fuel economy and the environment, for performance.

A fair enough point, I suppose, although one could say that these cars—expensive as they usually are—might well have finer tuned engines and cause less pollution than a 20 year Nova. However, I am no car expert, so I'm not going to assert this for sure. I also don't terribly care: the only way that you are going to stop people from making or buying these powerful cars is to ban them, and I don't think that that is a terribly practical, or desirable, idea.

What I do think is practical and desirable is an alternative to the hydrocarbon combustion engine. Timmy, for instance, believes that the era of the hydrogen fuel cell is not far off (and he does, to be fair, have some inside knowledge on this, through his rare metals business).

Tiny Judas points out that I have railed against car fumes on numerous occasions.
You yourself in the past have pointed out that the fumes from cars are far more potent than the effects of smoking.

Well, up to a point; I certainly think that they have more of an effect than passive smoking, and they are no less dangerous in and of themselves.
Car fumes pervade out everyday lives to such an extent that most of us no longer smell them. Once upon a time, to keep engines running smoothly, a chemical called tetraethyl-lead was added to petrol (essentially as an "anti-bumping" chemical). When numerous studies on the deleterious effects on the nervous system of lead were published, unleaded petrol became increasingly popular. All well and good.

However, what was put in, instead of lead, was a complex organic chemical based on the benzene ring (one of the most stable molecular configurations around). Incidentally, benzene is also a Class 1 carcinogen (by skin contact), requiring full bodysuits and breathing apparatus when worked with in an industrial setting. Benzene and derivatives are what is pumping out of car exhausts, my friends. Yummy, breathe that saucily cancerous air!

It is the sheer volume of effluent that makes it so dangerous, and we barely notice anymore. I occasionally stay with a friend in the country and, after a few days there, you notice the taste of exhaust in the air of even a small town. The point is that, no matter how we rail against pollution, cars (and buses) are here to stay. What we must hope for is that the hydrocarbon engine is not.
If cars are lumps of metal that can't turn us into idiots, then a speed camera is equally a lump of metal that cannot cause accidents.

Fair enough, let me rephrase that: the distraction posed by the camera, combined with the fear of being caught by it, induces a paranoia in even quite sensible drivers, which means that they check their speedo more often than they would.
The fault lies in people's driving - if you are maintaining a steady speed that remains below or around the speed limit then regardless of the presence of speed cameras you will not need to be frequently checking your speedometer (or at least, no more often than if they weren't there).

This is untrue. I always drive at or below the speed limit, for two reasons: firstly, for the last nine years, I have always been in a company van or a hired vehicle and would get into severe trouble were I caught speeding. Secondly, were I—a relatively young male with no no-claims bonus—to be caught speeding, the massive bill for insurance cover would probably preclude me from ever getting a car of my own should I want, or need, one in the future. However, I still find myself checking, checking and checking again when in a speed camera area: I know that it's not just me, because other drivers I know have said the same thing.

There is more on the subject of cars, liberty and efficacy at Strange Stuff.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/20/2005 06:45:00 pm


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  • "Frankly, this is ranting of the very highest calibre."—The Nameless Libertarian
  • "I don't mean it literally, or even metaphorically. I just find that his atheism aside, I agree with everything the Devil (of Kitchen fame...) says. I particularly enjoy his well crafted and sharp swearing, especially when addressed at self righteous lefties..."—The Tin Drummer
  • "Spot on accurate and delightful in its simplicity, Devil's Kitchen is one of the reasons that we're not ready to write off EUroweenie-land just yet. At least not until we get done evacuating the ones with brains."—Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
  • "This hugely entertaining, articulate, witty Scottish commentator is also one of the most foul-mouthed bloggers around. Gird up your loins and have a look. Essential reading."—Doctor Crippen
  • "The Devil's Kitchen is one of the foremost blogs in the UK. The DK is bawdy, foul-mouthed, tasteless, vulgar, offensive and frequently goes beyond all boundaries of taste and decency. So why on earth does Dr Crippen read the DK? Because he reduces me to a state of quivering, helpless laughter."—Doctor Crippen's Grand Rounds
  • "DK is a take-no-prisoners sort of libertarian. His blog is renowned for its propensity for foul-mouthed invective, which can be both amusing and tiresome by turns. Nevertheless, he is usually lucid, often scintillating and sometimes illuminating."—Dr Syn
  • "If you enjoy a superior anti-Left rant, albeit one with a heavy dash of cursing, you could do worse than visit the Devil's Kitchen. The Devil is an astute observer of the evils of NuLabour, that's for sure. I for one stand converted to the Devil and all his works."—Istanbul Tory
  • "... a sick individual."—Peter Briffa
  • "This fellow is sharp as a tack, funny as hell, and—when something pisses him off—meaner than a badger with a case of the bullhead clap."—Green Hell
  • "Foul-mouthed eloquence of the highest standard. In bad taste, offensive, immoderate and slanderous. F***ing brilliant!—Guest, No2ID Forum
  • "a powerfully written right-of-center blog..."—Mangan's Miscellany
  • "I tend to enjoy Devil's Kitchen not only because I disagree with him quite a lot of the time but because I actually have to use my brain to articulate why."—Rhetorically Speaking
  • "This blog is currently slamming. Politics certainly ain't all my own. But style and prose is tight, fierce, provocative. And funny. OK, I am a child—swear words still crack a laugh."—Qwan
  • "hedonistic, abrasive but usually good-natured..."—The G-Gnome
  • "10,000 words per hour blogging output... prolific or obsessive compulsive I have yet to decide..."—Europhobia
  • "a more favoured blog from the sensible Right..."—Great Britain...
  • "Devils Kitchen, a right thinking man indeed..."—EU Serf
  • "an excellent blog..."—Rottweiler Puppy
  • "Anyone can cuss. But to curse in an imaginative fashion takes work."—Liftport Staff Blog
  • "The Devil's Kitchen: really very funny political blog."—Ink & Incapability
  • "I've been laffing fit to burst at the unashamed sweariness of the Devil's Kitchen ~ certainly my favourite place recently."—SoupDragon
  • "You can't beat the writing and general I-may-not-know-about-being-polite-but-I-know-what-I-like attitude."—SoupDragon
  • "Best. Fisking. Ever. I'm still laughing."—LC Wes, Imperial Mohel
  • "Art."—Bob
  • "It made me laugh out loud, and laugh so hard—and I don't even get all the references... I hope his politics don't offend you, but he is very funny."—Furious, WoT Forum
  • "DK himself is unashamedly right-wing, vitriolic and foul mouthed, liberally scattering his posts with four-letter-words... Not to be read if you're easily offended, but highly entertaining and very much tongue in cheek..."—Everything Is Electric
  • "This blog is absolutely wasted here and should be on the front page of one of the broadsheets..."—Commenter at The Kitchen
  • "[This Labour government] is the most mendacious, dishonest, endemically corrupt, power-hungry, incompetent, illiberal fucking shower of shits that has ruled this country..."—DK

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