December 01, 2001

The dot-commies hiding in our midst: how you can spot them.

Ever since Ken Layne psychically linked me to the fair city of San Francisco I have taken to visiting the SF Examiner, and have become a bit of a fan of regular writer Debbie Morse. Here she is being unsympathetic.

My obsession with relating Harry Potter to muggle politics appears to be general. Did you notice that both Ken Layne (no I won't do another link, there's one above) and Debbie Morse (oh, if you insist) have HP references?

Posted by Natalie Solent at 08:40 AM | TrackBack

Curse you, Red Baron!

The tips button DOESN'T WORK. So a nice kind person who tried to use it informs me. Never mind that I have lost the chance of riches, do you realise that this has totally screwed up my comic timing? What are you all going to think? The post announcing what the surprise was was meant to rest there at the top of the blog, provoking rueful mirth. I had it all worked out. I could practically hear the groans, reminiscent of those heard when one realises that a short story turns on some appalling pun in the last line. Now this wretched and inferior post, evidence of my computer incompetence, has taken its place.

"Who steals my purse, steals trash. . . . But he that filches from me my good name, robs me of what not enriches him and makes me poor indeed." Note to Paypal lawyers: the "steal" was put there by Shakespeare, not me, so don't get excited. I know it's all my fault really.

Heigh-ho, I'll work on it. Anyone who wants to try it out in an experimental fashion and let me know the results is most welcome.

Posted by Natalie Solent at 08:09 AM | TrackBack

November 30, 2001

It's here!

The surprise, I mean. Look, there it is on the left! Isn't it lovely? It's a donation button. D'you know, not one of you guessed.Or perhaps you all did but were too shy to claim your prize. Never mind, I'll let you have a go anyway.

Oh dear. is not going to like this.

Well, best go to bed. Night night.

Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:13 PM | TrackBack

That beautiful surprise I promised you yesterday.

I'm working on it. If you can guess what it is, you can have first go.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 03:13 PM | TrackBack

Recovery of bodies in World Trade Center

. Reader Benjamin Morris makes some excellent points in response to my post on Anne Karpf's Independent article.
We went through something similar when JFK Jr.'s plane crashed into the ocean. David Cross once said, "If I die in a plane crash, don't bother looking for me. If it makes you feel better, smoke a pack of Camels, put it in an urn, and call it me."

However, this is different. The rubble is going to have to be cleaned out regardless. They aren't just going to leave a smoking pile of concrete and steel sitting in the middle of Manhattan. And the rubble has a bunch of corpses or pieces of corpses scattered throughout it. If there are 3800 dead bodies in there, I would think that just not worrying about it would constitute a public health hazard. Additionally, stories have been coming out of people trying to defraud the authorities with false claims of relatives dying. Doesn't recovery at least lessen the chances that this would happen?
Points taken. By the way Instapundit picked up on the same article. (Great minds think alike, but I got there first!) Glenn Reynolds thought it was "a clunker."

Posted by Natalie Solent at 02:55 PM | TrackBack

Zimbabwe: it's not all bad news

. And the good news is... that it is now obvious to the meanest intelligence that, as this BBC News 24 story makes clear, Mugabe is a tyrant. There is no other good news. This is Zimbabwe, after all.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 02:46 PM | TrackBack

A sanctimonious Anna Quindlen article

denouncing liberated Afghans for being so crass as to buy videos is in its turn denounced by Libertyblog and by More Than Zero. The Libertyblog post ends with a particularly acute point:
After engaging in some pop psychology and brandishing the names Galbraith and Veblen, two grossly irrelevant commentators even in modern liberal economic circles, she stretches for one last Deep Thought:

You know that if those people whose family members died on September 11 could have them back for Christmas, the last thing on their minds would be a sweater or a tie.

Sure -- most people would gladly trade what is possible for what is impossible. That passes for an argument against a commercial Christmas? It isn't an argument against anything, except maybe against giving Anna Quindlen a platform for her elitist hyper-snobbery.

Christopher Pellerito has a great blog. One leeetle criticism, though: I feel the lack of headlines or bold key phrases when searching for a particular post. Look at the post just below the original one on Anna Quindlen for example. Wouldn't that have been all the jollier with a nice attention grabbing header like "Screw America"?
Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:36 AM | TrackBack

"Some people emit outrage like elephant's piss"

says this Independent piece by David Aaronovitch. It's too bad of Mr Aaronovitch to make me laugh out loud (I was in danger of imitating the elephants for a moment there) in an article about mayhem and massacre - but I'll remember this column long after more serious ones are forgotten.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 09:43 AM | TrackBack

November 29, 2001

If Glen Reynolds

of Instapundit can tell a hushed and waiting world that he's going off to boil an egg then I can let the anxious crowds know that I'm going away now to bake a cake for my art group. Later today I'll try to put some new links in, change that deceptive "SF" in the blog description to "Science Fiction" (Note to new readers: fear not, I am not really from San Francisco), and present you all with a beautiful surprise that you will love very much and want to play with immediately.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 11:10 AM | TrackBack

Reality falters once again

. A few short hours ago I peeked in at have you noticed that has the cute URL "dawsonspeek" and saw this enormous picture of a Desert Eagle pistol, together with an indelicate suggestion about the head of a sovereign state. The Grand Head Thug of Yemen can look after himself, but, ever solipsistic as I am, the pistol worried me strangely. Was it a message to me? Defiance, perhaps - "I ain't scared of yo' Gun Nut husband"? Or perhaps, almost the converse, a gesture of camaraderie, rather as Cyrano De Bergerac might sit down with the other chap and have a good ol' chin-wag about sight-pictures and whether adding the Pachmyr grips was really the way to go... I shall assume the latter. The Gun Nut says hi, but opines that the Desert Eagle is too heavy for combat use.

Anyway, I just pop over to the blog again to verify the reference and... it's disappeared. There's a completely different looking blog in its place, with stuff about Ashcroft and Mazar-i-Sharif and Windows XP and Turkey and clones and you name it. Panicpanicpanicrealityfadepanic. Eventually I found the Desert Eagle bit far, far, down the column. Phew. Does this man ever leave his computer?

BTW I forgot to say in my earlier post that Random Jottings, too, has had the decorators in. We San Franciscans (is that right?) are always at the forefront of style.

Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:35 AM | TrackBack

Now that I know I'm really from San Francisco

, I have vowed to take more of an interest in my home town. The San Francisco Examiner says that the lawyers prowl even here. Not even chocolate is safe from their slavering jaws.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:14 AM | TrackBack

Hear Margaret Thatcher weep.

Another echo of the Falklands War. This Telegraph story says that the Falklands play banned as too favourable to Maggie will finally be heard on the radio.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 09:58 AM | TrackBack

No, the slaughter at Mazar-i-Sharif does not make me happy.

I would much rather that the CIA agent interrogating the Taliban prisoners had lived to carry on with his useful work, that the Northern Alliance soldiers killed retaking the place had lived to return to their families, and that even the Taliban themselves had had the chance to see the error of the ways. Having established that, don't think me too callous when I say that for the Independent to waffle on about the Geneva convention is ridiculous. The prisoners had violated their surrender. In all wars, in all times, and in all places that gets you killed. Here's a few sentences from the Sunday Times Insight Team book on the Falklands War:
Lieutenant Jim Barry and two fellow soldiers were killed as they moved forward after an Argentinian trench had raised a white flag.... Not one of the Argentinians still defending School House when the incident occurred survived.... "...we had the white flag incident and they were not going to mess about trying to take surrenders any more."

The speaker, then second in command of 2 Parachute Battalion, came to believe later that the killing of Barry and the others was a mistake in the confusion of battle rather than deliberate treachery by the Argentines. The incident still demonstrates that to kill those you believe have violated their surrender is not a heathen custom unique to robed foreigners but common practice dictated by the logic of the situation.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 09:26 AM | TrackBack

November 28, 2001

Random Jottings mission statement.

As the British Telecom adverts say, "it's good to talk." Cue pleasant domestic scenes of good citizens using the wonders of the internet to send out their family newsletter all about their kids, their pets, their jobs and their hobbies. Oh, and a few inspiring words to sign off with: "We are both filled with savage indignation at the way socialist slime rabble are gnawing away at Western Civilization. Once my blog has attracted thousands of readers, I will explain these matters in words clear to the meanest understanding, and then the whole left-liberal worldview will simply collapse."

Posted by Natalie Solent at 07:19 PM | TrackBack

Those pesky Pakistani nuclear scientists are back in the jug again

, says this story in the Teheran Times. Does the close conjunction of the words "nuclear" and "Osama Bin Laden" make you feel a bit, you know, worried? Cheer yourself up, follow the link from the Teheran Times to Afronet to a self-arrest form produced by the a wag in Oklahoma. No, I won't do it for you. Only if you do it yourself will you make the right profound reflections on the interconnectedness of the world, the strange juxtapositions of history and culture, that lead from the Islamic Republic of Iran to a cop joke in the Great Satan.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 01:05 PM | TrackBack

Oh yeah, the news

. Take a rest from all this self-referential ego-caffeine and read this curate's egg of an article by Anne Karpf in the Guardian. Granted, she has a point when she says, "while burying a body is an important therapeutic rite, it's psycho-babble to suggest that it necessarily ushers in closure" and "the idea that the recovery of a small body-fragment can do more than mildly assist grieving would be considered shamanistic if expressed by an Afghan tribe." Our forefathers knew better. They would not have thought this labour to identify teeth and bones seemly. Now that no hope remains that anyone will be found alive, let them lie.

But why does Anne Karpf have to make a whole new third world grudge out of this, like they had some shortage? The header says, "No living third world body ever had the sums lavished on it that are being spent on DNA tests at Ground Zero." She had to put in the "living" bit so as to stop wags like me mentioning Tutenkhamen's solid gold death mask or the Great Pyramid. All peoples spend what they can on honouring the dead. The discrepancy between funeral bills is no greater than that between any other sort of bill. If that's an issue, write about free trade or debt reduction or whatever, don't tack it on to this. And I never heard that the World Trade Center DNA investigators treat the remains of the many Yemeni or Pakistani victims with any less respect than the others.

Posted by Natalie Solent at 12:09 PM | TrackBack

Strange news from San Francisco

I live there, unknown to myself. The loveably reptilian (read it and you'll see what I mean) Ken Layne has made favourable mention of me and, but strangely, sirrah, strangely:

Two crazy new American blogs: and Natalie Solent. Welch keeps writing to me about all the smart and funny Americans he's found since Sept. 11. I have to agree. We're supposed to be -- according to certain pundits -- one-eyed, cousin-humping morons, endlessly out of touch, too dumb to live. Or, at best, freaks on one coast or the other, ceaselessly impressed with an academic lack of common sense.
And yet ... this Dawson site comes from North Carolina (my buddy and neighbor Morgan J. Freeman directed some of those Dawson's Creek shows, you know?) and Solent writes from San Francisco, which is supposed to be filled with delusional nuts.

Seriously delusional. One may hope that now I have been confronted with the truth, a cure is at hand. Soon, now, I will stretch out my hand to the lightswitch and it will go down when it should go up. I will leave out the "u" in "favourable". I will develop an interest in that inferior version of rounders you colonials amuse yourselves with. Essex will melt away, revealing the seven hills of my own fair city, had I but known it. Or was that Rome?

Posted by Natalie Solent at 11:37 AM | TrackBack

We are but clicks in the Great Web Counter of Time.

Brian Linse, he of the apostrophically challenged AintNoBadDude, blipped me an e-mail saying he was my 1000th visitor, and what reward would he get? (He knows it not, but he was also the second ever person to send me a blog-related e-mail.) As to the prize, Brian, let me tell you a very old tale. Once a great philosopher did a service for a king. "How can I reward you?" said the king, "You have but to ask and it will be granted."
Thus answered the philosopher:
"A grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard,
"Two grains of rice on the second square,
"Four grains on the third square,
"Eight grains on the fourth square...

"Yes, yes, OK," said the king, "I get the picture. You have my royal promise." Foolish words! For the philosopher continued implacably on: "16...32...64...128...512...1,024...2,048...4,092..."
And by the time he reached the 64th square all the rice in the universe would not suffice. Thus the kingdom was bankrupted, the currency collapsed, and the philosopher eked out his days in poverty, exacerbated by constipation from eating too much rice.

Aren't you glad you're escaping all that trouble, Brian? You get a mention, OK?

But it's a very nice mention. Outrageous story you have there about the smoke-out-the-window patrol in Maryland. As you so wisely say, "Hey, any day that this kind of shit doesn't start in California is a good day."

Posted by Natalie Solent at 11:03 AM | TrackBack

November 27, 2001

That Antonov story

. There's a very odd story in Libertarian Samizdata about Al-Quaeda people escaping over three nights in an Antonov they have picked up from somewhere. Even odder is the apparent silence about this story in the US press, despite the fact that half of them seem to wish for their own side to hit disaster. Kudos to Samizdata for spreading the news, however unwelcome.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 07:53 PM | TrackBack

America's Get Tough attitude

is paying off in respect throughout the Moslem world, says this Independent article by Stephen Pollard. He's right. I hope Americans draw the right moral, though; not "interfere with extreme force all over the world" but "if you have to hit, hit hard and don't apologise". There's more good stuff in the article. Read about how, now that the Arabs have tried and failed at one political "big thing" after another, it's time to try the political "big thing" which works, namely democracy.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 02:32 PM | TrackBack

God bless and preserve the British electorate

. May the Divine providence shine upon them and their beer bellies and their clapped out Vauxhall Carltons rusting in front gardens and their platitudinous opinions. Especially their platitudinous opinions. Because if it wasn't for the British electorate, the power-mad twit Hattersley who wrote the fetid Guardian article I'm about to discuss would have been one heartbeat away from Prime Minister. To read the whole thing go to 50,000 kids go without breakfast, but parts of it with my comments in italics follow.

"And, to me, the most disturbing fact of all: "50,000 children, aged eight to 10, have nothing to eat or drink before going to school in a morning".

The special horror of that final statistic is easily explained. Poverty - described in numbers and income levels - is, or ought to be, eradicable. Improve the minimum wage. Increase tax credits or the level of income guarantees.

Oh, you mean do some more of what you and your ilk of both parties have been doing for the last eighty years. Do some more of what has made the poor into your cattle, unable to take charge of their own lives even to the extent of feeding their children. Great idea, Roy.

But there is an unavoidable suspicion that many of those unhappy 50,000 children are the victims of private rather than public failure.

And private failure is not so easily redeemed. Surely every family should be able to afford a daily cup of tea and slice of toast. Some of them are the victims of society's failure.

Damn straight. Your Great Society: a cruel failure. You, the Controllers, made them like this. You made it pay not to have fathers. You made it impossible to have the humble jobs that raised men from serfs of the state. You made sure it didn't pay to raise yourself. You stole every institution whereby the poor provided for their own education, health and old age. You mocked and penalised "bourgeois respectability". You told them again and again that they were nothing but passive victims.

But bad habits are not easily changed. An extra £5 a week will not solve the problem.

That depressing conclusion leads naturally to the most controversial part of Piachaud's paper. No one will argue with his assertion that children's prospects are determined by the physical, social and cultural environment in which they live, the quality and extent of education and health provision - and their families.

But Piachaud reminds us that, in Britain, "families are a private matter" and that "privileged neo-liberals decry any inter- vention in the private sphere as the nanny state or social engineering".

That's not "neo" liberals, Roy, that's any sort of liberal whatsoever, including great names from your own party's past who you are fond of quoting but not reading.

And given half a chance, you'll make sure that any non-privileged person of any party who might want to tell you to get your tanks off his or her breakfast table is redefined as "vulnerable" and "protected" from hearing opinions you don't like. Any readers think I'm paranoid bringing up the freedom of speech angle here? Just keep reading and you'll see why I do.

The laissez faire approach not only abdicates responsibility for the relationship between parents and children.

Yes. Abdicate. Glad you get the idea. Abdicate the hell out of my relationship with my children. Abdicate the hell out of anyone's relationship with their own children. No one made you King, so abdicate. No one much even voted for you, which is why I bless the British electorate. Maybe I have harsh words above for their beer bellies and Vauxhall Carltons, and indeed for their irresponsibility in not ensuring their children eat breakfast, but by God, at least they had the sense to keep Roy Hattersley off their backs.

It prohibits interference in the workings of a corrosive triangle - parents, children and the commercial pressures upon them.

Piachaud calls it "pester power", TV-inspired agitation to own trainers and wear jeans which are embellished with the right label. All over Britain parents are now being put under Harry Potter pressure. Families who cannot afford the assorted tat are made to feel their poverty. Neo-liberals will ask who decides that buying some tawdry toy or contrived game is wrong? The answer is anyone who thinks it is important for children to be sent to school with a breakfast inside them.

The last two sentences are too incoherent to criticise rationally. He seems to be saying that anyone who thinks breakfast is imortant for children also thinks that it is wrong to buy Harry Potter's Quidditch card game. If that's what he means, then one counter-example suffices to disprove the theory: me. My kids eat about a packet of Weetabix a minute and yet I smile benignly on Harry Potter produce. When I cannot afford it, I say No. Try it sometime - of course it can be difficult to get through the socialist indoctrination that every material thing comes to you by right rather than work, but perseverance is good for the soul.

However Hattersley may be saying more: that anyone who thinks breakfast for children is important gets to decide, for others, whether those others should have the Harry Potter duvet cover. Maybe next week he'll tell us how he plans to enforce this ruling. Enforcement is not impossible. True the only societies so far to have managed that degree of control are tyrannies, but there's nothing impossible about horrible tyrannies.

In this, as in other matters, Britain is ridiculously reluctant to impose the slightest constraint on human behaviour. Quebec - a province of a capitalist country which regulates the provision of private medicine -

and threatens to destroy a talking parrot for speaking English

- prohibits all TV advertising aimed at children. So does enlightened Sweden - though protection of vulnerable families is undermined by Murdoch's satellite beamed from Britain.

See, readers I wasn't being paranoid. To Hattersley: Well how dreadful. You mean those ghastly poor people have freedom of speech, too?

Although Piachaud does not say so, TV itself is part of the debilitating problem. Not only do teenagers agitate for their own sets. Educational research confirms that toddlers, with innumerable channels to choose from, have a smaller attention span than those without. They spend their formative years zapping a remote control and, mentally, they zap for the rest of their lives. Even as I read Piachaud's conclusion, I could hear the chorus of derision that his recommendations are bound to provoke.

Give me strength to deride. I'll need it, for behind the derision lies fear. These people want the power to "protect" people from hearing any more derision of them and their notions. One government TV channel would do that job nicely.

He wants "a serious strategy" to improve the quality of children's lives. That has to mean that parents are sometimes denied the right to make the wrong choices.

"Sometimes?" Why stop there? If you're going to stop them making wrong choices about how hard they work at making the kids eat their Shreddies, why not stop them making wrong choices about the rest of their diets, kids and adults both? Now we've dispensed with the idea that even the vulgar have private lives that are not the state's concern, let's have a "serious strategy" to control all the other things they do with their yukky bodies, like who they fornicate with and when and how they propagate their wretched selves.

Neo-liberals insist that freedom must include the liberty to make mistakes. What right does anyone have to worship an idea which sends 50,000 eight to 10-year-olds to school cold and hungry?

The same right you have to worship an idea, socialism, which has slaughtered tens of millions. You're worried about hunger? Let's take a look at how most of those millions died. Famine. Deliberate famine in the old USSR. Accidental but easily predictable famine in China, in North Korea, and all over Africa. Anyone think all that is not really relevant? But it is. The famines came in societies where, to prevent individuals from making mistakes, the state took all the power. Then the state made its own mistakes, and because it was the state talking, its mistakes had power to propagate themselves over millions of lives.

Yeah, and another thing, if Roy Hattersley can stick his nose into my family's eating habits, can I stick mine in his? It sure looks like it would do him good to miss a few meals.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:20 AM | TrackBack

November 26, 2001

Give a dog a bad name

and then hang him. In this Times article, Angela Jameson describes the exodus from Railtrack. Seems engineers just don't want to work there any more, given the constant criticism and collapse of their share options. What a surprise.
RAILTRACK, the crippled railway company, is lurching towards another disaster as engineers and key staff leave the group in droves.
Industry experts say the exodus could see the biggest outflow of skills and knowledge from the rail industry since privatisation. Many engineers are giving up railway work for jobs building roads and other infrastructure projects. The departures are causing serious delays to important projects including the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line, according to construction groups and consultants who are involved in the work.

One construction company heavily involved in railway work told The Times that it had been approached by several senior engineers. “There are a number of engineers who want to come and work for us because they feel so disillusioned there,” said a source in the company, which declined to be named.

“A lot of the understanding of the railway is in the heads of the engineers. You don’t have to lose very many engineers before that knowledge is haemorrhaging,” he added.

A Railtrack spokesman confirmed that the group was short of 200 engineers and that the number of people leaving was “obviously a cause for concern”.

Insiders fear that resignations of skilled engineers will surge after Christmas as construction companies lure away staff disillusioned by constant criticism of Railtrack.

Following the Government’s decision to put the company into administration, key staff have become increasingly demoralised and have lost any incentive to stay with the group, since their share options have evaporated. Staff lost share options worth £12million when Railtrack was put into administration.

The biggest loss to the company so far has been the resignation last month of Tony Fletcher, project director on the West Coast Main Line upgrade, who is moving to the rail division of WS Atkins, the consulting group.

There are fears that Mr Fletcher’s departure will prompt other senior staff to look for new employers. Richard Clare, chairman of EC Harris, a consulting engineering group involved in the West Coast Main Line work, said: “He had a strong following and many people on that project are now wondering what will happen to them.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Byers, the Transport Secretary, said yesterday that a successor to Railtrack should be running in less than a year.

Let me make a prediction. There will be a crash soon. Sad, but these things happen. Then Stephen Byers will say that it just proves he has to renationalise the railways.

Posted by Natalie Solent at 02:56 PM | TrackBack

More legal fun.

While searching without success for an account of the massacre described above I found this report that the parents of one of the Columbine killers - yes, I did say killers, not victims - planned to sue the school district. How it all panned out I just don't want to know. Oh, and here's another thing. A very odd thing, actually. According to this 1999 story in The Guardian the two murderers anticipated Bin Laden:
Further extracts from the diary kept by Harris from April last year revealed that after attacking Columbine high school, he and Klebold planned to 'ravage' the neighbourhood, kill 500 people and then, if they survived, 'hijack an airplane and crash it into a major city', the sheriff, John Stone, said. The intended target was New York City.

[Italics mine.] Just think, if they had managed it, we could have had the pleasure of hearing how understandable it all was from Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer et al a whole two and a half years earlier.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 12:14 PM | TrackBack

The majesty of the law

Over at Libertarian Samizdata an Illuminated blogger who, true to his calling, wishes to remain anonymous, says that "Everything you have ever suspected about personal injury lawyers is not true...(it is much, much worse)." There follows an article by Thomas M Sipos. Mr Sipos may have found himself a little unpopular with his colleagues after writing
How To Make Money in Soft Tissue Injuries

Reminds me of a commercial art studio where I worked for three months. The day I joined, the girl at the next desk said, "You'll be fired in three months. It's nothing personal. Everyone is. I'll be out myself in a few days time." The idea was to get rid of staff before they were employed long enough to acquire some legal right or other - yet another illustration of how our wonderful employee protection laws really work. I duly passed on the same info to my successor.

Back to the law. Here's a joke: Question: "What do you call eight dead lawyers?" Answer: "A start." Now here's the background to the joke. Several years ago, a man went on a killing spree in a US law firm, killing eight. I think you'll agree that the witticism is not quite so funny once you know that. But the fact is, enough people thought it was funny to enable the joke to cross the Atlantic within days. It has to be said that, now that death has replaced sex as our biggest taboo, sick jokes about death will naturally fall on fertile ground. Yet even allowing for that factor the legal profession ought to be worried that hostility to their doings has become so widespread that everyone immediately sees the humour in dead lawyers. I find this sad. My late father was a lawyer. I suppose he was just too old fashioned to see the appeal in acting like the lawyers described in The Daily Outrage. (BTW if you want to see a really depressing account of the effect of the litigation culture on ordinary human feeling, search that site for the name of "Sergio Jimenez").

Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:58 AM | TrackBack

I've hit 500

since installing the web counter on Nov 21st. Gosh, it's hard work, all that logging out and logging in again.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 10:03 AM | TrackBack

November 25, 2001

A problem of etiquette not discussed at my finishing school,

was how one can gracefully recommend a blog whose author professes to be in love with one. Improper motives might so easily be suspected. Perhaps one should let slip some casual mention of one's husband, the Gun Nut? That was the course of action recommended by one's husband, the Gun Nut, anyway. If you want to see what this is all about, go see the surreal yet erudite blog produced by
Posted by Natalie Solent at 08:51 PM | TrackBack

Remember Dr Strangeolove?

How he used to force his Heil-Hitlering hand down with his reformed democratic all-American hand. It was like that. I reverted. I.. I... I... I went into a paper shop and my hand against my will stretched out and I paid money for a newspaper. To whit, the Sunday Telegraph. It was pretty good actually. Here's one story about plans to put children as young as three on a register of criminals. Of all the bizarre ideas. Skimming through the article (it's great how fast you can skim-read on this paper stuff, you must try it sometime) I found the usual Benelyn from a spokesman. "He said it had always been thought improper to share information but it was now essential because this could sometimes prevent crimes being committed against children." I glanced back to see who the speaker was, the better to mock him, her or it, and found that it was actually the Prime Minister.

Posted by Natalie Solent at 08:01 PM | TrackBack

A martial art, taught in secret among the slaves

. The Brazilian art of Capoeira is new to me, although its history clearly has parallels with the way that martial arts were developed in Okinawa when the population were disarmed by the Japanese authorities. Here is the story of a street kid who found success teaching Capoeira in London and elsewhere. Given that it has flourished underground for 400 years, it would be sad to see this symbol of resistance boxed and diluted. So, unlike everyone quoted in this BBC story, I hope the government gives Capoeira no support at all.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 08:12 AM | TrackBack

Really serious.

Here's College students write the darndest things from CNN.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 08:00 AM | TrackBack

This blog is serious

. Weighty. Morally unbending. We think the public needs to know that ex-resident Clinton is, apparently, advertising Chinese cosmetics. It must be true because I read it in the Politics section of Time Magazine.
Posted by Natalie Solent at 07:54 AM | TrackBack