Monday, 25 May 2015

ScotsTotally Pwn th'EU

Well, it was admittedly just a passing news irem which was... passing.
But, now for a game of Spot tthe Difference.

The really terrible thing is that the unchained-melody British Govt will be a lot worse.

Cruelty os the only constant.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.

This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values.

Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

We must say to our citizens: this is what defines us as a society.

So, now you are going to be actively tolerant!

Sehr gut!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Got Us All On Tenterhooks⸮

July 16 1969: Apollo 11 departs the Kennedy Space Centre, Moonward bound.
July 24 1969: Apollo 11 Command Module arrives Pacific Ocean, returning from Moon.
Mission duration: 9 days.

May 8 2015: Labour Party finds itself short one leader.
September 10 2015: Labour Party finds new leader.
Mission duration: 126 days.

Our modern question mark is descended from the punctus interrogativus, a right-to-left lightning stroke perhaps introduced in the West by Alcuin of York in the C8th. The punctus percontativus, a reverse question mark denoting a rhetorical question, and by extension irony or sarcasm, was proposed by printer Henry Denham in the 1580s and fell into disuse in the C17th.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

At Last, the Mullets

Readers: The mullets! The mullets! We were promiiised!

In a world where one was alone there could be no victims, and so there could be no cruelty. The result of this phenonemon was a sense that death could be play, death could be theatre. One could become a connoisseur of death just as one was of food, or sex, or violence, or words.

In the Naturales quaestiones Seneca describes the Roman fascination with dying mullets: the fish were removed from basins set up before the banquest couches and enclosed in glass decanters. These invisible and airless containers enabled the diners to observe the marvellous changes in colour undergone by the mullets in the course of their struggle for air and life.

"'There is nothing,' you say, 'more beautiful than a dying surmullet. In the very struggle of its failing breath of life, first a red, then a pale. tint suffuses it, and its scales change hue, and between life and death there is a gradation into subtle shades.'"

Carlin A. Barton "The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: the Gladiator and the Monster" (1992) p56

There is more, much more, to mullets.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Siobhain McDonagh: Noblesse N'Oblige Pas

Near three o'clock this morning Soibhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden, Lab) gave her victory speech. Rock-solid safe Labour seat, so no doubt composed at leisure.

She didn't bother to thank the Returning Officer or the polling and counting staff, but then they're only ordinary people and many of them Council at that.

On the bright side at least some of the nomenklatura got it in the neck: no more Ed Stone; no more absolute Balls from the opposition benches.

If only the Scots would get around to fucking off properly this time...

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Why, here we are at Salvius' Bar in Pompeii. Let's stop by and enjoy the friendly banter of the locals.

I won!
That's not a three, it's a two!

I got the three, scumbag, I won!
Come off it, cocksucker, I won!
Oi, you wanna fight - ahhhtside!

Oh dear, maybe we'll just find a corner and have a quiet drink.

No, it's mine!
You want it, come and get it! Oceanus, come here, drink!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Match of the Day

Here is the fight between the secutor (chaser) Astyanax and the retiarius (net-and-trident man) Kalendio.

Things (in the lower frame) look bad for spud-faced nipper Astyanax: Kalendio has enveloped him in his weighted net and is going in for the trident thrust.

But in the upper frame the tables are turned. Kalendio is down and bleeding into the sand, holding up his dagger in token of surrender, while the summa rudis (senior umpire) on the left (his assistant is on the right) turns to the editor (the giver of the games) for a decision on life or death.

Astyanax A won and the Ø by Kalendio's name shows that the editor - and the crowd - had Astyanax kill him.

Here the dismounted equites Maternus and Habilus (lower frame) are fighting. If you don't want to see the result look away now.

The text above them and the Ø for Maternus show the outcome: "While they were fighting Symmachius (the editor) gave the sword".

In the upper frame Maternus is down. The summa rudis repeats the editor's decision to the crowd, "I kill", and the crowd roar "we see this". They approve: "good call, Symmachius C".

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Urbiscus o.g.

Of the fate of the gladiator: Like Urbiscus, the secutor of Milan made famous by his epitaph, he might be killed by the hand he recently spared... "I warn you that you had better kill the man you have defeated" "Te moneo ut quis quem vicerit occidat".

Carlin A. Barton The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans (1993) p38

Readers: Not more Romans. Can't you...
Blogomachus: Okay, I'll change the subject completely. How's about the dormouse pots of the Etruscans? See, it's got air holes and a feeding tray at the top that you can refill through the lid and those dormouse-runs around the sides for exercise.
Readers: Etruscans, eh? Well I suppose that's not actually Roman per se.
Blogiarius: Of course the Romans had them too, this lovely example from Pompeii for instance.
Readers: Noooooooooooooo.
Blogutor: Wait 'til we get to the mullets.
Readers: Whew. At least we'll be back somewhere sane like the early 1980s.

Blogachaerus: I mean the ones in decanters.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Gissa Job

From a variety of evidence "you get to more than fifty ways of making a living in Pompeii: from weaver to gem-cutter, from architect to pastry cook, from a barber to an ex-slave woman called Nigella, who is described on her tomb as a 'public pig-keeper' (porcaria publica)."

Mary Beard Pompeii (2010) p168

Also, Roman matrons told their daughters to call their tendrest part porcellana, little piggy, hence porcelaine.

These are the only Imperial Roman Pig-Related Facts that I know, or at least that I know I know. Yet there must be more; there must be, there must be: more.