Saturday, 30 May 2015

Angry Penguins

So I called it wrong last time (so far) which is why nobody of note, or otherwise, bothers to read this blog. Here are some angry penguins.  They may not be angry, of course.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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.

And what is that in the title to this post? 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...