Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pornography for Snobs

Do you fancy yourself a well-read, reasonably intelligent person? Do you like to snigger in a condescending fashion at those with less education than yourself?

If so, these Amazon reviews are truly a sight to behold.

What does Caitlyn from Atlanta, GA, think of George Orwell's 1984?

"1984 is the worst book I have ever read. I would advise anyone who is thinking about reading this book to reconcider...

"...Why would he wirte so much about nothing? I havent ever meet someone who could wirte such a boring book about the goverment. I have meet many people who have loved this book, but i dispised it. I am not at all intrested in the goverment. This may be part of the reason that I didnt like it. I would advise you not to read this book."

R. Vanderhoof, on the other hand, reminds me of my primary motivation for disliking Gabriel Garcia Marquez - 100 Years of Solitude exposed his basic incomprehension of neoliberal economics...

"I spent several weeks slogging through this book and found it to be very repetitive and tedious in the extreme...

...At best, Marquez reveals an egalitarian attitude that seems to pervade the Americas south of the Rio Grande (no wonder those countries are in constant economic trouble). Marquez should study supply side economics as described by Milton Friedman, another Nobel Prize winner, in order to give his book better balance."

Further revelations include the news that Anna Karenina is "B-O-R-I-N-G!"* and that The Grapes of Wrath is "600 pages written purly about a bunch of hicks from Oklahoma starving."

The final insult is delivered via the reviews of Lolita...

"The language is INVENTIVE, but in the same way that it's INVENTIVE if I took ten bananas and duct tape and I tape all the bananas together in one big, random bundle. Actually, it is not in that same way. Because my banana-thing is kind of funny. Nobakov's inventiveness is NOT FUNNY. It is extremely academic and DULL."

All of which is kind of funny, in a horrifying way. And sadly, there's plenty more where that came from.

They always say that those who can't write criticise.

* I have no idea whether Anna Karenina is B-O-R-I-N-G or not, since I've never read it. I tried, but the type was too small and there weren't any pictures.

Hallowe'en - It's a Mug's Game

I'm not what you would call a spiritual man.

I've always had trouble coming to terms with the inherent logical fallacies of the great religions - how can the devil exist, if nothing could conceivably oppose the will of God?

Is morality moral because the Lord says so, and what if he suddenly changed his mind? What would it mean if I continued to act in a moral fashion?

The whole issue of religious belief is riddled with contradictions.

So naturally I've decided to refrain from guising this year. Or from trick or treating, as young 'uns are apt to call it these days.

I feel like a fraud, trying to blend in with the other worshippers. Not only are my costumes cheap and unconvincing, I just can't muster the same enthusiasm the other pagans so readily display as they scamper from door to door terrorising their neighbours.

I'm also at least a foot taller than the rest of the flock, which makes me stick out like a sore thumb.

Still, I seem to have a higher success rate at extorting sweets from my neighbours than they do, so I must be doing something right.

Wicca? It's for midgets and losers, apparently.

It seems, then, that Hallowe'en isn't everybody's cup of tea - Binty hates it, for one, and Larry uses it as a cheap excuse to link to amusing seasonal puppets made from feminine hygiene products.

All of which is, as usual, trumped by the Hallowe'en celebrations at the idiots' carnival that is Little Green Footballs.

Go on, guess what they're doing.

Yes, you guessed right - they're gathered round the warm, comforting, patriotic glow of a tastefully hand-carved Hallowe'en 9/11 commemorative pumpkin.

And people wonder why I struggle to come up with satirical commentary these days?

What's next, Santa slamming his sleigh into the Pentagon while the smashed bodies of elves and reindeer spell out "We Will Always Remember?"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Global Warming - What Are YOU Going To Do About It?

As Tony Blair commences his latest crusade to save humanity from itself, I'm left cowering behind the couch, unmanning myself in abject terror.

Not content with scaring the bejeezus out of me with his continual litany of imminent terrorist threats and Orwellian legislation, the PM is now balefully warning us of the disastrous consequences of global warming.

It's a wonder I can get out of bed in the morning when every newspaper screams "NUCLEAR HAPPY-SLAPPING GREENHOUSE HOLOCAUST HORROR!" from its front page. Watching the news feels like voluntarily submitting to the Ludovico technique from "A Clockwork Orange".

More eyedrops please, nurse, I can't see the polar icecaps melting like an Ethiopian's ice-cream.

I'm in no doubt that the scientists warning of this threat are credible - I know exactly hee-haw about science, beyond the fact that a physicist once had a cat that was sort of dead, but also sort of alive.

Bloody scientists, always threatening us with plagues of zombie cats.

It's also noticeable that the arguments of the web's leading global warming sceptics essentially boil down to "Hands off my Jag, Trotskyite scumbags!".

Put it this way, if your only qualifications are a reluctance to part with your half a mile to the gallon, two-ton planet smasher and a fierce hatred of sanctimonious hippies, I'm suspicious of your scientific bona fides.

Still, I can't help but feel like I'm being unfairly treated. The government are now looking at the possibility of heavy taxation on cars and plane travel, which leaves me fairly well screwed. I've never owned a car, have used Scotland's creaking public transport system all my life and only ever left the country three times.

So it seems only fair that I should be exempted from any efforts to crack down on travel, while globetrotters and anyone presently owning a car should be taxed, harrassed and fined into penury. The market would glut with jaw-droppingly enormous SUVs, in which I could then blast up and down country lanes, terrorising assorted yokels and wildlife.

I think it's a great idea, since the roads would be clear and it'd make air travel far less drudgerous. I'm sure you'll all agree that it's reasonable that I should have my crack at bumming around South America - after all, while you were all swanning off to China and Australia I was cleaning your mates ashtrays and washing their empty pints.

I'm going to email my idea to my MP. Perhaps if I offer to vote for him next time instead of the guy in the enormous yellow hat he'll see the wisdom of my plan.

How Much For Your Blog?

This one is valued at £11,550.

Pretty amazing, since I get pitiful traffic and hate advertising, but it's always nice to see the fruits of one's labours converted into cold, hard cash.

Still, since I'm feeling generous, I'm offering it for the low, low price of £5000 - a snip at the price.

Buy today and I'll throw in two incontinent cats and teach you how to kill a man before he can scream.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mortal Threats to the Nation

Praise be, Scotland Yard has drawn up recommendations for the criminalisation of flag-burning during public demonstrations.

As the Republicans have proved in America, nothing could be more important to the well-being of the nation than an impassioned debate on this critical issue.

Speaking as one who regards freedom of speech as a fundamental right, I'm dead against these proposals, which would also ban individuals from covering their faces. It's alarming how police and politicians in the UK, faced with practically any problem, reach instinctively for prohibitions.

Free speech is an absolute right and attempts to ban even unappealing behaviours such as this should be ferociously resisted. As Voltaire didn't say, I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

And if you disagree, I'll come round and burn your fucking house down.

Er, can I say that?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chomsky - Unhinged Loony

Feminist thinker and general contrarian good-egg Camille Paglia is having a go at Noam Chomsky today, citing his "half lunatic" books and "toxic" views.

I entirely agree. Chomsky's work has always been a half-assed, slapdash attempt, designed to play on the ignorance and prejudice of his audience.

Granted, his political theories have been proven surprisingly accurate by recent events, but what kind of deranged, moonbat lunatic could possibly give credence to his "universal grammar" theory?

Children having an innate knowledge of the basic grammatical structure common to all human languages, indeed.

Next you'll be telling me that spiders squirt silk out of their backsides and build webs to catch insects.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Off Oot

'Fraid I'm off out tonight, I'm off to the Rachmaninov Concerto at the Usher Hall the pub, so no sober posts tonight.

Blogger's at it's usual tricks and refusing images, so if you're stuck for quality entertainment I can recommend this magazine, this guy and this pair of torn-faced Irish moaners.

Cheerio for now, if I think of anything funny tonight I'll be sure to let you know.

Trust me, no-one will be more surprised than I.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Brief Observation

So, Home Secretary John Reid has warned that the Government risks losing the "battle of ideas" to Al-Qaeda.

As I've already noted over at Larry's place, this poses a very pertinent question.

Just how shit are our ideas if we're losing the battle to a gang of murderous knobheads whose best idea so far is "Everybody gets killed, including Al-Qaeda?".

So who's in charge of British ideas? David bloody Icke?

Presumably our "suck up to the worst American government in history, even when they're bombing entire cities to dust" idea has finally run aground on the rocks of reality. It might be too much to hope that the Prime Minister can be persuaded to derail his current train of thought, but perhaps some suggestions could be made for how to win some hearts and minds.

So here's some ideas from me:

"Sorry about all the bombing, old bean, here, have this enormous cheque. Don't spend it all on rocket propelled grenades, now!"

"Ooops, we thought you were someone else. Here, have our defence budget for the next five years."

"Gosh, is that your mother under that rubble? Our mistake, can you give change of ten billion pounds?"

That's me out of ideas, although I imagine those messages would probably go over rather better in the Middle East than "Stop hating us or die, terrorist bastards!" or "How would you like to die for Allah?".

But I always was a crazy dreamer...

Immigration - The Gift That Keeps On Giving... To Idiots

The debate rages across the great nation of Britain after the Home Secretary announced plans to restrict immigration from the soon-to-be EU members Romania and Bulgaria.

"They'll take jobs from our work-shy, lazy British dossers!" cry the public, weaned on the milk of human hostility. "Britain is full! Our welfare services are stretched to the limit!".

"And don't get us started on those bloody veils!"

And as the media and internet pundits suck in air to mouth the empty words "I'm not racist, but...", I thought I'd throw my hat into the political arena once more.

I've already considered this issue and comprehensively laid out my reasons for being fervently in favour of immigration, but this seems like a good opportunity to restate my intellectual reasoning.

Ioana Valentina, Miss Romania

Gergana Guncheva, Miss Bulgaria

I'm aware that some people might find my reduction of the complex issue of immigration to a cheap excuse to post pictures of attractive Eastern Europeans both perverse and shallow.

I prefer to think of it as idiosyncratic and pragmatic, but that's just because I'm a pretentious tosser with a big dictionary.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Top Five

Plenty of bloggers publish lists of miscellany, usually tedious rundowns of favoured music or films.

Well, here at Between The Hammer And The Anvil, I try to serve up the unexpected. Since my last post seems to have gone over rather well, here's my Top Five Amusing Riots.

5 - The G8 Riot, Edinburgh, 2005

Baton Cavalry Prepare To Take on the Flower-Defacing Hippies

Surely the most pathetic riot in history, and the only one on this list I've personally witnessed.

150 schoolkids and dreadlocked hippies armed with clods of earth and bad language clashed with 2,000 coppers armed with batons, horses, riot shields, helicopters and tear gas, backed up by thousands more police from all over Britain.

At one point, the hippies vandalised some flower beds and threw a park bench at a policeman. The nation was outraged by this flagrant disregard for law and order.

This horrendous incident shut down central Edinburgh for an entire day.

The overtime costs alone for this enormous police presence - possibly the largest assembly of state power in the UK since 1944 - must have paid for at least five thousand conservatories in the home counties.

Truly, this is the stupidest overreaction to a non-existent threat since, well, since the government sent tanks to Heathrow Airport.

4 - Sydney Riot of 1879, Australia

Sparked by a dodgy umpiring decision in an New South Wales v England cricket match, the crowd invaded the pitch after Aussie batsman Billy Murdoch was given out (You're outta there!, in American) and attacked the England team.

The incident scandalised the Empire, the Sydney Morning Herald describing the incident as "A national humiliation". They further implied that an English player should share the blame, as he had "made use of a grossly insulting remark to the crowd about their being nothing but "sons of convicts".

Why this remark was considered offensive remains unclear.

3 - Stonewall Riots, New York City, 1969

The most aesthetically pleasing riot in history

In which an attempt by the New York Police Department to bust the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, went horribly wrong for the forces of law enforcement. Coming after years of police and official harrassment of the city's growing gay and transgendered community, the cops got more than they bargained for and sent in the Tactical Patrol Force, formed to break the heads of anti-war protesters.

Not that it did them any good - they were driven back by a barrage of rocks and bottles, and disturbances continued for much of the week. The riots marked a watershed in the acceptance of the gay community in New York.

Amusing only for the mental image of macho NYPD cops, used to roughing up homosexuals and men in drag with impunity, retreating in terror in the face of their combined fury.

2 - The Astor Place Riot, New York City, 1849

Technically caused by the furious anti-British sentiment that was common in the US at the time, the excuse for this spectacular brawl was, believe it or not, competing productions of MacBeth.

One production starred an American actor, the other a Brit, a sure sign of the malign intentions of the British Empire to reimpose its will upon its former colony and collect almost eighty years in backdated taxes.

Twenty two people were killed as the inhabitants of the Five Points rampaged in support of the torchbearer of American thespianism. The national guard was called in and fired upon the crowd, but to this day it's common knowledge that Britain produces the best actors.

Surely the nastiest outbreak of civil disorder ever provoked by a couple of luvvies throwing a hissy-fit.

1 - The Nika Riots, Constantinople, Eastern Roman Empire, 532

Constantinople Riots - Like this, But 1500 years ago, and on fire

30,000 killed, half of the Eastern Empire's capital destroyed, these riots almost brought down Emperor Justinian I. And the cause?

Chariot races.

Ironically for Glaswegians, the riots were kicked off as tempers simmered in the long running feud between fans of the Greens and the Blues, rival chariot teams.

As the races continued, however, both sets of fans discovered a common interest and took up the chant "Nika", or "Victory", and laid seige to the Imperial Palace for five days. Supported by rival senators, the rioters looted and burned in a orgy of violence that would make eighties football fans look like big jessies.

Now that is what I call a pointless riot - from nothing to a city in flames in the space of an hour.

Go Greens!

(Of course, in researching this post, it turns out that there's nothing new under the sun.

If you disagree with my choices, click here for a full list of recorded riots posted by a man with immaculate taste.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

How To Protest

As I've mentioned before, I was on the Glasgow march against the war in Iraq on February 15th 2003, a day I remember with cynicism and infinite weariness.

I'm not sure what was worse - the fact that the entire affair was absolutely pointless, given that war was a grim inevitability, or the brutal, skull-splitting hangover I was suffering from.

Listening to political visionaries such as Tommy Sheridan and John Swinney rail against invasion while just a few hundred yards away a Labour Party conference resolutely stuck their collective fingers in their ears and began humming loudly - now, that was a wonderful lesson in Parliamentary democracy.

"Ah la la la, a-bombing we shall go!" they sang, gaily conga-dancing their way over the precipice and into the abyss, egged on by dimwits, toadies and fat Tory arseholes.

And here we are. Still, if it taught me nothing else, it taught me how not to protest -

Rule 1: Silly costumes impress no-one bar your friends, and even they privately think you're an idiot.

Rule 2: "Give Peace a Chance" may have been a noble anthem in 1973.

In 2006, let alone 2003, playing "Bullet in The Head" through a PA will attract justifiable jeers of "fuck off, Granddad!".

It's no exaggeration to say that, just one more Lennon chorus and I would've been begging the police snipers to shoot me.

Rule 3: By all means show up in numbers, but if your banner doesn't double as a pike and you don't have onagers and mangonels in the boot of your car, you're part of the problem.

No, for a protest to really fire the imagination and stir dread in the heart of the powerful, I suggest showing up in a tank, like today's rioters in Budapest, Hungary.

I'm not sure whether it's the 100mm tank gun, 120mm armour or the machine guns that make it so intimidating, but there's something about a tank that really makes the police sit up and take notice.

Do we think that driving that through the front door of the Labour Party conference while police sniper rounds pinged harmlessly off the turret might have proved more effective than waving effigies?

It might not have stopped the war, but nobody could have faulted us for effort.

Po-faced Commemoration of History Alert!

I see that the muscular liberals are gravely saluting the crushed dream, not to mention the crushed people, of the 1956 Hungarian revolt against the Soviet Union. Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of that terrible event.

If nobody minds, I'd like to apologise on behalf of The Left for this singularly unpleasant episode.

It may have occurred more than twenty years before I was born, but I can't help feeling that my opposition our recent wars of liberation somehow makes me complicit in, if not directly responsible for, the crimes of totalitarian Communism.

So, my decent left friends, I salute your boundless honesty in commemorating this date in an entirely non-political manner. Your commitment to free and rational debate has not gone unnoticed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Psychic Powers of Flying Rodent

So it transpires that a US State Department official has described American policy in Iraq as "arrogant and stupid".

The question is, will right-wing bloggers have the self-awareness to consider this question rationally? I'm going to suggest that the following responses would demonstrate both arrogance and stupidity...

1) Alberto Fernandez is a traitor who hates America.

2) The BBC once more shows its determination to aid terrorists.

3) Al-Jazeera has misrepresented the comments of Alberto Fernandez.

4) The Left will seize upon these statements to further the interests of terrorists.

Feel free to let me know when you spot them.

Update! Here's your starter for one point.
Rice Says Fate of Russian Journalists "Major Concern",
Keeps straight face, senior aides said "giggling"

BBC News, 22nd October 2006

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has met relatives and colleagues of a murdered journalist during a visit to the Russian capital Moscow.

Anna Politkovskaya, a harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin and Russian policy in Chechnya, was gunned down in her apartment building two weeks ago.

Dr. Rice said the fate of journalists in Russia was "a major concern", with an expression of the utmost gravity.

"Journalists should be able to operate in an environment of safety and security," Ms. Rice said Saturday, to a stunned audience in Moscow. "A free press requires that news agencies should be able to operate without intimidation, harassment or the threat of violence."

"Russia must act to protect reporters from those who would harm or even kill them. It is unacceptable that the agents of a free press should face the risk of death while doing their jobs," she added, without indicating even the slightest hint of self-awareness.

Since the fall of the Berlin wall, many Russian journalists have been sacked for reporting on stories in a manner that displeased the government. Many have been driven out of the media altogether and there many journalists have been attacked or murdered, and most news sources are now viewed as little more than propaganda machines.

"A free media is the cornerstone of a democratic society," Dr. Rice added, before bursting into laughter and slapping the lectern. "Yeah, and we also condemn official corruption and secrecy in the Russian government, their militarism and lack of respect for human rights!"

President Vladimir Putin was unavailable for comment, which is probably just as well.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Jailhouse Blues

Begbie Prison and Calton Hill, from Regent Road, Edinburgh, circa 1850

The BBC reports today that British prisons can no longer cope with the hordes of criminals we're jailing, and the Home Office has come up with a flawless solution - prison ships.

It should be clear that there is a larger problem here than a lack of capacity in British jails - we're now imprisoning our citizens at an unprecedented rate, far higher than any other nation in Europe. Using my incredible powers of prediction, I can confidently state that in five years we'll see headlines about the need to build hundreds more prison ships.

I'd recommend a programme to address the root causes of crime i.e. deprivation and a staggering lack of education, but what would I know? I only spent five years working on the criminal justice system conveyor belt, punching rivets into the daily procession of the city's unemployable underclass to HMP Saughton. If I hadn't moved on, ten years from now I'd be helping jail their children.

From the balcony of my ivory tower, it all seems so simple.

Still, that's not going to go down well with Britain's sulphurous, idiot-fodder media, so what solutions are on offer? We've already heard the government's view - build more prisons, and, er, ...that's it.

The British public give their diverse and well-reasoned views, ranging from "Hang 'Em" to "Flog 'Em".

Random samples:

"Either the farcically short jail terms are not deterring potential criminals, or we've imported criminals in their thousands from abroad... ...We need life to mean life, and have longer sentences."

"We need prisons that scare the living daylights out of those incarcerated within them, and make jail a place to fear, not a place to boast about!"

"Hang murderers and terrorists..."

"In consideration I beleave there is over 10,000 non UK nationals in our prisons lets start deporting all of them instead of allowing the British taxpayer to support them."

"Bring out the orange jump suits and have them litter picking under armed guard. It's free labour which owe's us, so should be utilised."

This might seem a bit shocking to non-Brits, but the country's unthinking horde have never met a social problem that couldn't be solved with a heavy dose of brutality, execution and slave labour.

Top marks go to Tory fantasist Anne Widdecombe, who suggests re-opening closed prisons, pressing army barracks into service and using disused holiday camps (insert your own tedious, uninformed regurgitation of "Prisons=Holiday Camps" here).

Fuck it, if we're going to do that, why not just use the sewer system? The sewers already channel society's waste out of sight and mind, why not make the metaphor complete?

The choice is yours - kids of certain parents in this country are effectively handed a mandatory prison sentence the day they're born, it's just a question of the severity of the crimes they'll commit.

If you agree with the BBC commenters, there's only one logical solution here - if your postcode is in an inner city slum, your children should be arrested the minute the umbilical cord is cut and raised in enormous prisons.

We might as well stop pretending and just criminalise reproduction for anyone on benefits.

Update! For an idea of just how insane the debate on crime and punishment has become in the UK, this comments thread on the question "Is Britain too fearful of its young?" should help.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

So How Did Your Team Do?

66 Percent of U.S. Citizens Object To Torture In Nonetheless Frightening Poll

CAMBRIDGE, MA - The results of a USA Today-CNN-Gallup poll released Monday show that 66 percent of Americans object to the use of torture during times of war.

"We can be proud that the majority of citizens stand against our military personnel's use of torture," Harvard statistician William Stover said. "And it's somewhat comforting that, of the 34 percent of Americans who advocate torture, 72 percent said it should be used only when other methods of discipline have failed".

Reassuringly, 97 percent of Americans were against the torture of U.S. soldiers or citizens by non-Americans.

It seemed funny when the Onion said this in 2004, but somewhat less so in light of today's BBC Poll finding that a third of humanity supports the use of torture.

So, how did your nation do? With a quick drumroll, let's look which countries lead the world in agreeing that "some degree of torture should be permissable".

Torture Bowl 2006 - Final Standings

1st - Israel, 43%
2nd - Iraq, 42%
Joint 3rd - Indonesia and the Philippines, 40%
5th - Nigeria, 39%
6th - Kenya, 38%
Joint 7th - Russia and China, 37%
9th - USA, 36%
Joint 10th - India and Brazil, 32%
12th - Ukraine, 29%
13th - Poland, 27%
14th - Egypt, 25%
Joint 15th - Turkey, Mexico and the United Kingdom, 24%

A shabby result all round for Britain, bringing up the rear alongside nations with only averagely horrible human rights records.

And, while you might think that big dogs heading up the table like the three "I's" have the advantage of being regularly terrorised into accepting inhumanity, it should be remembered that each of these nations have substantial minority ethnic groups in their populations, i.e. the very ones whose testicles will be feeling the sweet electric kiss of the nutsack shocker.

So come on, Britain! America has shown that you don't need to be a poverty stricken African nation or a former Eastern Bloc country to lead the fight for security!

Get fearmongering, and we can show the world that our populace can be just as ruthlessly dispassionate about our basic duty as human beings as everyone else!

Perhaps one day in the near future, as we gaze out across the fair green land of our country, we'll raise our nutsack shockers to the sky and cry with one voice, "We're number one! We're number one!".

The Sage Wisdom of Mrs. Rodent

Mrs. Rodent has volunteered us to look after her friend's cats, and showed up last night with a mewling box of fur under each arm.

"Awww, aren't they cute!" I said, "Are they boys or girls?".

"One's a boy, one's a girl" Mrs. Rodent responded, to my surprise.

"What, have they been neutered?".

And, in tones of ultimate weariness as if addressing a slow child, Mrs. Rodent said "They're brother and sister."

Well, that's okay then. I'm listening for the pitter-patter of tiny paws.

It doesn't quite beat the worst incident of girlfriend daffiness I've ever heard - the guy who was puzzled to learn that his girlfriend believed that Tony the Tiger from the Frosties adverts was female.

It took a moment for the explanation to come out - "Lions are boys, tigers are girls!".

But it's surely up there.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Wrongs, # 1-3

I'm not proud of everything I've ever done in my life.

For instance, my brother's colour blind, and I spent years writing "I drink mansplash, mmmmmm" in red ink on his green shirts and jackets.

That wasn't nice.

And I really should've ignored the aphorism about not shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre - the theatre actually was on fire, and it burned to the ground with everyone in it.

And I totally should have done my friend Emily when she gave me the chance. She was practically begging me to, and it's not as if her dad dies every day.

Sins to confess? Tell it to the comments, or for an unsettling experience, tell it to the professionals.

An odd site, and here's a random selection from a very odd man -

I'm a guy and when I was like 6 I let another boy of the same age pee on me.

Chacun a son gout, as the French would say before urinating copiously over each other.

Scotland vs. the World - Compare and Contrast

Public information notices I've seen in the past few weeks -

Amsterdam, Holland: "Use It And Lose It", poster warning tourists about mobile phone theives operating in the area.

Manchester, England: "Use It And Lose It", poster warning citizens about mp3 player theives operating in the area.

My house, Edinburgh, Scotland, on ITV: Scottish Executive advert urging citizens not to scream filthy abuse at call centre staff, spit on bus drivers or throw bricks at firemen.

I love this country.

(Since this seems like as good a place as any, I thought I might post an example of Scotland's legendary hospitality, as Celtic fans greet fierce rivals Rangers to their stadium ahead of the infamous Old Firm match.

Be warned, once again it's not safe for work, and liable to scare small children and household pets.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why I Disdain Scottish Nationalism

Great news for Catholic Nationalists as it's reported that Cardinal Keith O'Brien has backed Scottish independence. I suppose we should steel ourselves for the inevitable, mind-numbing reiteration of Scotland's many virtues.

If there's one subject I'm heartily sick of hearing and reading about, it's Scottish independence. The invocations of Scotland's vast mineral wealth, it's industry, it's unique character - it's like being locked in a room with a coked-up real-ale bore, his mind exploding with sudden insights on the brewing process.

"Only Independence would give us the same rights and the same responsibilities as other nations. It would give us a voice on the world stage and a say in international bodies like the UN and EU. And Independence would bring greater freedom for individuals, families and communities, within a society built on common interests..." drones the SNP website.

It seems to me that the Nats are setting their sights too low - nationalism is so last century. There's no grand vision here.

Aggressive imperialistic nationalism is another matter. I'll support the Nats when they campaign on a platform for the immediate invasion and annexation of Northern England and Ireland.

Come on, it's the last thing they'll expect, and Britain is full of Scots who can act as sleeper agents. At a prearranged time, we'll rise up and sieze control of the state apparatus.

Southern England would likely resist occupation, due to a large number of Tory partisans, so it would be best to topple the government then hastily withdraw, leaving a puppet administration to maintain order.

Independence? It's for wimps. Show me your plans for the Glorious Empire of Greater Caledonia, Mr. Salmond, then we'll chat.

The Little Fucking Lebowski

Not safe for work, don't say you weren't warned.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Face Of Evil, No. 283,012

One of the most frightening developments of recent years has been the willingness of westerners, particularly Brits, to embrace Al Qaeda's insane doctrines.

One such person is Dhiran Barot, 34, who pled guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to plotting acts of terrorism. He was caught after details of his dastardly schemes were found on his computer by police.

Rather forgetful of him to send it to PC World for maintenance, but thank God he did, for his list of targets is truly horrifying...

"Edmund Lawson QC, for the crown, said the buildings included the International Monetary Fund and World Bank buildings in Washington, the New York stock exchange and Citigroup headquarters in New York, and the Prudential premises in Newark, New Jersey."

But it wasn't only these buildings that Mr. Barot intended to bomb - oh no.

"Another of his plans involved blowing up three limousines, packed with flammable gas cylinders and explosives, in underground car parks somewhere in Britain. The locations were not specified."

Mr. Barot codenamed this terrifying operation "The Gas Limos Project", presumably in the interests of secrecy. But still more details emerge...

"(Mr. Barot)...also admitted planning to use a radioactive dirty bomb in the UK that would have caused "injury, fear, terror and chaos", a court heard."

The name of this horrifying scheme? "The Dirty Bomb Project", for which he had sketched "rough plans".

We can only thank God that this evil terrorist mastermind (copyright The Times, 2006) didn't have the opportunity to form plans for a "Thermonuclear Annihilation of the Continental United States Project", or an "Everybody Dies Project".

Anyone who lives near the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal or the leaning tower of Piza can probably heave a sigh of relief, too.

In my heart of hearts, I truly hope he was busted during a police sweep known as "Operation Arrest The Stupid Jihadis".

I mean, where are Al-Qaeda recruiting from these days? Burger King?

Update!: Now that I come to think of it, why blow up three limousines? Why not ice cream vans, or hummers, or Robin Reliants?

Ladies and Gents, the world's first bling-bling bomber!

I think I've identified the spur for the embrace of terrorism by Brits, and it's not multiculturism - it's raw, unrefined stupidity.

We could be in more danger than I had previously suspected.

The Debauchery of Disneyland

I have long been suspicious of Disney, corporate behemoth of the multiplexes. The grinning logo, the rapacious acquisitions of smaller companies, the shitty Elton John song and dance routines... It's all too wholesome too be true.

Sadly for the children of the world, the sinister deviancy that lurks in the dark heart of Disney has at last been exposed...

"The video shows Minnie Mouse struggling to free herself as she is grabbed from behind by Goofy and then a giant snowman.

"Later, Mickey Mouse simulates sex with the snowman and Goofy does the same with either Chip or Dale, the chipmunks, as laughter is heard on the tape."

Come on, I can't be the only person who's always suspected that Minnie goes like the hammers of fuck. The revelations of three way anthropomorphic mouse-dog-snowthing sex were sure to emerge at some point, and Chip 'n' Dale were obviously closeted.

You know you want to see it, so here it is. You'll have to log into Youtube, I'm afraid.

Update: Youtube's humourless horde have removed the video - I'll try to track down another version when I get a minute. You can look for it yourself by Googling "mouse orgy", but I wouldn't advise it if you're at work.

Update 2: This nice young lady has considerately posted the video on her myspace page. Thanks to Amanda in comments for pointing out Youtube's prudishness.

And if that's ruined your idyllic, childish memories, here's vintage Disney in more innocent times.

Don't say I'm not considerate.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why I Like The European Union

I've already explained why I like the Euro, and now I've been given the perfect opportunity to wax lyrical upon my love for the European Union.

If your vote in the next election will go to the candidate who is most abusive towards the assorted frogs, wops, krauts and dagoes in Brussels, prepare for some pure pornography - a blogger has finally tracked down the EU directive on the curvature of bananas.

Of course, all it requires is that any fruit meets the minimum standard of being "free from malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers", which is somewhat less stringent than the requirements of the average supermarket, but from tiny seeds do great oaks of tabloid nonsense grow.

This doesn't stop Tim Worstall and Mr. Eugenides waving the flag for Blighty in the face of foreign Euro-silliness.

"You know that people like me go on about bendy bananas and EU regulations all the time and we're then derided for making stuff up..." Tim laments.

Well, if the standard required for Europhobic vindication is the existence of related legislation, I'll be interested to see which blogger is going to plough through the last twenty years of Eurolaw to back up the following entirely fictitious stories...

"Brussels to ban barmaids showing too much cleavage" - The Sun, August 2005

"EU forbids bent cucumbers" - The Sun, March 1998

"Eggs cannot be called eggs, says Brussels" - Daily Mail, August 2000

"Firemen's poles to be banned -must 'walk down stairs'" - Daily Mail, June 2002

"Gadus and chips, please - fish must be called by Latin names, rules EU" - Daily Mail, September 2001

"Circus performers to be forced to wear hard hats" - The Times, July 2003

"Kilts to be rebranded as women's wear" - Daily Record, November 2003

"Life sentences to be banned" - Daily Express, October 2004

"Pets to be pressure cooked - dead pets can only be buried after pressure cooking them at 130 degrees for half an hour" - Sunday Telegraph, March 2000

"UK to be replaced by Euro regions" - Daily Mail, April 1999

"EU to ban rocking horses" - The Sun, November 2003

"Yoghurt to be banned" - The Daily Telegraph, 2003

All of which may explain why Euro-sceptics get a bad name, deserved or not.

So why do I like the European Union? One simple reason.

Every one of these stories will have caused vein-popping nationalistic apoplexy countrywide - I couldn't annoy that many flag-wavers if I went door-to-door showing them pictures of Jacques Chirac humping a cardboard cut-out of the Queen while wiping his arse on a photo of Winston Churchill.

So come on, Eurocrats, no more of this fictitious legislation - let's ban Land of Hope and Glory, Beatrix Potter and soggy toast.

Criminalise the Union Jack, black pudding and the highland fling. Let the European Parliament institute compulsory programmes of French, outlaw the pound, then ban cars and force us all to ride about on mopeds.

Let's rewrite the history books to say that the French single-handedly repulsed the Nazi blitzkreig, the Germans won the 1966 world cup and the Spanish invented banking.

There's a serious risk that I would laugh myself to death.

P.S. And congratulations to Orhan Pamuk on winning the Nobel Prize for literature - Snow and My Name is Red are both dense, difficult books, but are well worth persevering with.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Generosity of the Scots

Wondrous news this morning, as a study conducted by Dundee University shows that the smoking ban has improved the health of bar workers.

I'm glad to see that the nation takes such an interest in the wellbeing of pub staff, as this represents something of a seismic shift in the relationship between bar-monkey and punter.

I worked seven years on and off, full and part-time, in various pubs and most of that time was spent cleaning up sick, dodging pint glasses and lit cigarettes, taking verbal abuse when the bar was too busy for instantaneous service and mopping up urine.

That the people and politicians could come together in the spirit of mutual concern for the lung capacity of publicans is evidence of a more caring attitude to the hard-working men and women of our service industry.

Now if only the hooting crowds of arseholes who used to swarm by at lunchtime to be waited on hand and foot could put their heads together to work out the meaning of the phrase "service not included", a truly enlightened people we would be.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Love Every Single Chimp I See, From Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z

I don't watch a lot of TV, since every night it seems to be the same parade of homeimprovementvetsinanimalhospital, babiesbornwithtoastersforeyes, but I've been trying to watch tonight's Horizon - Chimps Are People Too*.

Animal psychology is fascinating, and I've followed the progress of these bonobo chimpanzees - Kanzi and Panbanisha - for years, a task made thankfully easier by the internet.

Bonobo chimps are smaller, less aggressive and more intelligent than the more commonly known pan troglodytes chimpanzee. Their sexual habits would raise the eyebrow of the average moralist, to put it mildly.

The programme itself centres on the question of whether to grant personhood to apes - should we recognise that the intelligence, social structure and individuality of great apes merit legal recognition?

After all, the bonobo chimps featured can communicate using lexigrams with vocabularies of hundreds of words and learn to use human tools and technology very quickly.

It's a complex question, with many moral implications. After much consideration I've decided that great apes should not be admitted to the human club, for one very good reason.

Any animal that can learn to cook and communicate simple phrases could surely be trained in domestic service, which would be a Godsend on those evenings where you can't be bothered to phone out for takeaway. I've just watched a bonobo cook its own noodles, and if it can do that for itself, what would it do for a banana?

Orangutans also make excellent bodyguards, as clearly demonstrated in the Clint Eastwood documentary Every Which Way But Loose, although they have been known to eat half their bodyweight in Oreo cookies in a single sitting, which could prove expensive.

Given that I've ironed holes through the arse cheeks of two pairs of trousers in a week, I don't doubt that a gorilla in a pinny could do a better job.

If children can't be harnessed into baby bouncers and hamster wheels to provide for our energy needs, why deprive ourselves of this labour saving opportunity?

It's madness, I tell you.

*Of course, when I say "I've been trying to watch Horizon" I mean I've been catching two minute snatches of it during the ad breaks in "Britain's Youngest Mums and Dads", which has entranced Mrs. Rodent with its poetry and pathos.

The Danish Cartoon Controversy - A Short Precis Of The Story So Far

Right Wing Arseholes: Mohammed poo bum willy. Wanky-bollocks Mohammed!

Right Wing Arsehole Bloggers: Pouty grumble, Muslamo-nazi piss moan. Poo bum willy, jobbyface Mohammed! (Nuke the Middle East).

Cranky Muslim Arseholes: Shrieky protest Mohammed choppy-chop! Poo bum willy, Denmark!

There, that'll save you having to sit through all those tedious news reports.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell

As if there weren't already enough reasons to love the geriatric, Skeletor-impersonating rock colossus Iggy Pop, his rider is surely all the evidence we require.

For non-geeks who haven't spent their lives having their eardrums blasted at the front of gigs while being repeatedly kicked in the head by Doc Marten-wearing crowdsurfers, riders are wish-lists of items that precious rock stars give gig promoters.

Any deviation from this list is met with histrionics that would embarrass Nigel Tufnel.

The Ig, obviously convulsed with his own comedy, hands over an eighteen page document filled with eccentric requests...

"For example, in describing how Iggy's dressing room should be made to "look less like a typical rock & roll dressing room," the rider suggests that promoters "just let someone loose with a little bit of artistic flair... Er, do you know any homosexuals?"

Explaining the need for two heavy duty fans... "So that I can wear a scarf and pretend to be in a Bon Jovi video."

Also, don't miss the backstage requirements of a Bob Hope impersonator and "a copy of USA Today that's got a story about morbidly obese people in it."

This is a rider par-excellence, and precisely the kind of thing I would try if I was a rock star. I'd demand to ride into the venue on a silver chariot pulled by four zebras, playing a drop-headed flying-V guitar that shoots phallus-shaped fireworks a hundred feet in the air.

I'd throw hysterical tantrums if my honey-glazed hams were undercooked and my chateau neuf de pape was at room temperature, and I don't want to think what would happen if my peanut-butter double cheeseburgers weren't flamegrilled exactly as I like them.

All of this is relatively tame compared with Iggy's suggestion for a reality TV show, which he helpfully includes in his list.

"It's called 'Dead Dog Island', where a group of contestants/dog lovers is asked what is their favourite breed of dog, then whatever they reply (for example 'Poodle' or 'Labrador') they are then presented with a dead dog of that particular breed, which they have to cook in a number of different ways, say about six or seven, and then eat it all up over the course of the next, oooh... two weeks or so."

Older, grizzled and looking ever more like a piece of week-old Kentucky Fried Chicken, but Iggy's still got the sense of humour.

I'm just pissed he's pre-empted my proposal for "Dead Celebrity Island".

Why I Just Love Mondays

I shudder to think how the blogosphere is going to respond to the news of North Korea's nuclear test.

The possibility exists that a constructive debate will emerge from this, as bloggers re-evaluate their previous positions on nuclear proliferation, and come to a consensus around a rational plan to engage with the Chinese on -

Wait, who am I trying to kid? We all know that this is going to send bloggers into apocalyptic convulsions, and that the furious cries for the immediate destruction of Pyongyang in a pillar of nuclear fire will be the only game in town.

Still, at least there's one bit of good news this morning - a coalition of experts has issued a call to improve cocaine services in Scotland.

About time too, as the quality of Scottish nose candy is distressingly poor.

With a little luck, they'll get this program up and running before our impending nuclear annihilation. On a morning like this, at least it's something to look forward to.

Update! Glorious news, Comrades! The wise and sane Instapundit has found a post by some guy who claims that the North Korean nuke was a dud.

Stranger things have happened, of course, but this has the whiff of fantasyland about it.

I, for one, welcome our North Korean masters, and will continue to do so until final confirmation is handed down by La Passionara Malkin.

Update 2! Aww, he was just a teasin' us.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

They May Be Racist Fucks, But They're Our Racist Fucks

The fashion choices of less than one percent of the population is such an interesting topic that I just can't get enough of the ongoing debate.

The ever reliable fearmonger Melane Philips fluffs the hatred hard-ons of her readership today with a sensual oral workout -

"...this type of veil is itself a direct threat to liberty...

What is beyond doubt is that the blackout veil is associated with most extreme interpretation of Islam, which holds that Islamic values must supersede all other values, including those of the secular state. Wearing this veil is thus a political statement of cultural and religious hostility to the British state. Objecting to it, therefore, is not an example of intolerance or religious discrimination. Religious garb should certainly be tolerated, even if it is outlandish; what people wear is their own affair. But this veil is not their own affair. It affects the rest of us because it is inherently aggressive and intimidatory. That is why it is unacceptable."

Mad Mel isn't the only frothing bigot with time enough on her hands to stroke her readership to multiple orgasms of phobic obloquy, as a quick internet search reveals, and not even the liberal propogandists of the BBC can soften the paranoid fantasies of the public.

The veil is, of course, not a symbol of Islamic totalitarianism, but of male dominance and ownership of women, which is just fine and dandy by me.

I've lost count of the number of times I've been roused to sexual apoplexy by the sight of an uncovered hand or the outline of a feminine nose, and I hold these veil-wearing strumpets entirely responsible for my many detentions at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Burkhas all round ladies, thank you very much.

This supremely dull debate is not about cultural assimilation, the welfare of women or social exclusion, it's the same tired game of "pin the swastika on the Ay-rab" that assorted racist freaks and warmongering trolls have been playing for all too long.

Whether on the streets of the West or the Middle East, the vast majority of humanity is completely uninterested in the "Clash of Civilisations", the apocalyptic Muslim vs. Christian deathmatch that the Mental Melanies, LGFers and mad mullahs of the world want us to wage.

Poor dears, they've been finding it difficult to rouse genocidal bloodlust in populations more concerned with paying their mortgages, going to the pub and, in the case of unfortunate Iraqis, Afghans and Lebanese, buying a pint of milk without being righteously detonated.

So here's how we should fight the War on Terror from now on - send out forms to the entire populace to gauge their enthusiasm for Terror Warring and immediately draft everyone who scores higher than "Fairly Enthusiastic".

Give 'em a gun then send 'em to Afghanistan - they'd be flat-out fucking useless as soldiers, wheezing, complaining and sobbing their way around the desert, but at least we wouldn't have to listen to their ferocious bullshit any longer.

It'd be worth it just to see Christopher Hitchens trying to lug an army backpack up a mountain while clad in an outfit much like the one I'm wearing in my profile. Take it from me, they're very, very uncomfortable.

Finding a gas mask that would fit over his enormous moon-face would only be the first of many near insuperable challenges.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Sound of One Knee Jerking

With the victims of the Pennsylvania school shooting barely in the ground, the intellectual colossi of the blogosphere turn their attention to stopping repeats of this depressingly familiar slaughter.

It's a difficult issue, since there are so many guns in circulation in the US and gun ownership is seen by millions of Americans as a fundamental right.

I've previously noted the wondrous ability of bloggers to cut through the bullshit and arrive at simple answers to complex questions, but the simplicity of this solution stunned even me.

What's the best way to reduce school shootings? Why, hand out guns to teachers.

Taking Israeli anti-terror initiatives as the model, Dymphna at Gates of Vienna sets out the appropriate measures.

Shoot to Save

Even among districts with an anti-terrorism plan in place, there is virtually no discussion of another option for increasing school safety: arming teachers and administrators.

Israel implemented a similar program in the early 1970s, after a series of bloody Palestinian attacks on Israeli schools. Armed staff members were supplemented by parents who patrolled school grounds with automatic weapons....

...It’s also worth noting that the school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi, was halted by an assistant principal with a gun. When shots rang out, the principal retrieved the weapon from his car and confronted the gunman, who quickly surrendered.

...there are 100,000 schools in our country. Few of them are engaging in the requisite tough thinking required to protect our children, who are at the mercy of those from the psychological left, those who never met an enemy (besides conservatives) that they couldn’t love...

It's so obvious that I'm amazed nobody thought of it before. Thank God for bloggers, intellectual titans of the modern age.

Update! I'm off out to the pub to watch Scotland thrash the European minnows France.

Ignore any later posting, as it'll have been authored by a pissed-up version of myself.

Update 2! As ever, Brendan O'Neill does the intellectual heavy lifting so that I don't have to.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Live Apathetically, Die Decrepit And Leave A Slack-Jawed Corpse

As the Guardian informs me this week, the anti-smoking campaign has upped the ante by appealing to smokers' vanity.

As before, gentlemen are warned of the threat that smoking poses to their sexual potency, although as far as I'm concerned they might as well warn me of a threat to my gold-plated limousine.

Ladies, on the other hand, find themselves menaced by the prospect of "cat's bum mouth", a dread condition whereby their filthy habit will inevitably lead to unsightly wrinkles around the mouth.

Leaving aside the obvious question of whether wrinkles are more intimidating to my fellow addicts than fatal heart and lung diseases, I applaud this initiative. After thirty years of ever more baleful warnings of imminent, agonising death, it's quite comforting that the worst anti-smoking campaigns are inclined to fling at us are willy disorders and unsightly skin conditions.

Nonetheless, if wrinkles terrify people so much, I believe I have a solution. Cat's bum mouth is caused by cigarette related pouting, but who is addressing the threat of unsightly wrinkles around the eyes, in the forehead and the cheeks?

It's not often I hand out beauty tips, but I've had a brainwave that will surely stall the ageing process.

From now on, instead of smiling, frowning, laughing and pinching our faces, I recommend a strict regimen of slack-faced passivity. If every facial movement is an invitation to worry-lines and great crevices existing to show where smiles have been, then only by keeping our faces blank and devoid of expression can we hope to fend off the cruel effects of time.

Don't worry if you find drool collecting in the corner of your mouth, for the makers of "Oil of Olay" assure us that moisture is good for the skin.

My only regret is that I can't patent facial vacuity and float it on the stock exchange.

Mind you, looking at the people I passed as I walked down to my flat just this evening, it would appear that I've been beaten to the punch.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Most Depressing List In History

1 - "Goodbye My Lover" - James Blunt
2 - "Angels" - Robbie Williams
3 - "I've Had The Time Of My Life" - Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
4 - "Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler
5 - "Pie Jesu" - Requiem
6 - "Candle In The Wind" (Diana version - FR) - Elton John
7 - "With Or Without You" - U2
8 - "Tears In Heaven" - Eric Clapton
9 - "Every Breath You Take - The Police
10 -"Unchained Melody" - Righteous Brothers.

What do you think, then? "Top Gear's Drivetime Classics"? "Songs To Hug Your Pissed Mates To"? "Weepy Classics"?

Sadly, none of the above - it's the top ten songs played at British funerals.

I can fully understand this of course - when I kick the bucket, I want Songs For The Deaf played at ear-splitting volume, followed by Mars from Holst's The Planets and finishing with tearful renditions of One Armed Scissor and Clan in Da Front.

Not only will it be a final opportunity for my friends and relatives to recall what a truly annoying person I was, it will also drown out all that drivel about Jesus that's ruined every funeral I've ever been to.

It's almost impossible as it is to get some laughs going in a church without some man in a frock banging on about religion, distracting everyone and bumming them out.

Still, I'm glad to see that my countrymen have such a sense of humour. James Blunt? Elton John? "I've Had The Time Of My Life"?

The Inquisition themselves couldn't devise such exquisite tortures.

How Could Such a Thing Happen?

The blogosphere is never short of know-it-alls who can boil down mind-bogglingly complex issues to simple soundbites for easy regurgitation.

"They hate our freedom", "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" and the ever trusty chants of "Lock 'em up and throw away the key/bring back military service/reintroduce the death penalty"as a solution to all of society's ills.

I've lost count of the number of times I've read pointless, rambling internet discussions where opposing groups of people hurl brainless catchphrases at each other like shit-flinging chimps.

So if it's easy answers that people want, how about this?

What makes ordinary people with grudges against society lose the plot and spray schoolchildren with machine guns? Why would educated British men strap bombs to themselves and detonate them on crowded trains? Why do terrorists commit nihilistic murders with no ideological purpose?

If I had to reduce it to one single cause that an eight-year-old could understand*, this would be it.

*The comprehension of an article by an eight-year-old is, incidentally, the standard test for publication in a British tabloid.

Monday, October 02, 2006

No Inept Pictures Of Dutch Landmarks, I Said...

... But I didn't say anything about inept pictures of the denizens of Amsterdam zoo, did I?

Without doubt the highlight of my trip - highly recommended.

Giant Ant-Eater

Vulture, just woken up after basking in the sun.

Silverback, Lord of all he surveys.

Catfish Blues.

Normal posting resumes after a cup of tea and a nice sit down...

Update!: It's just occurred to me that ant-eater is a pretty crap name for an animal. After all, how would you like to be known as a chip-eater or a beer-drinker?

It looks more like a Nike-bear, or a hose-faced tracksuit demon. And it's clearly got Scottish ancestry - in this picture, it's eating ant-laced porridge.