Friday, August 26, 2005


Off again for a jolly Northwards.

Light Posting!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things to do at lunchtime

An occasional column....

1. A empty quarter litre Coke bottle (or any other PET/plastic fizzy drink bottle)
2. Quarter litre of liquid nitrogen
3. A metal dustbin full of hot water

1. Fill the bottle with the liquid nitrogen
2. Screw the top on. Hard.
3. Drop it in the metal dustbin full of hot water
4. Run away. Fast.

Alternatively, you should go and watch this lunatic do it for you.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Why Nosemonkey is still wrong

Having done this topic to death more or less everywhere, and managed even to get Jarndyce, of all people, to agree that Nosemonkey needs a good kicking, we finally get a convincing rebuttal of his main thesis.

The format - "what would the Grauniad say" - is slightly tired, but it works. I recommend that you read it in full.

Topic closed.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Quote of the Day

We have a godparent of the youngest master Pedant-General staying for the weekend.

On seeing the entrance to the numptorium, he declared:
"It looks a bit like a boarded up airport in the Caribbean...

[Pause for effect]

... after it has been hit by a hurricane."


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Weekend Competition

Your ever-thrifty Pedant-General seems to be running up credit wherever he goes at the moment.

In the midst of some lively discussion on the undeniably gripping topic of the auxiliary initial clause with complex subject, our frequent and most heartily welcome commenter dearieme - who clearly has too much time on his hands - wondered exactly how one might explain, linguistically, the jazz construction "is you is or is you ain't my baby"?

I suggested, meekly, that perhaps the correctness conditions for Jazz musicians might allow for an alternative declension of the verb "to be" (or "not to be" as the case may be - or not).

This, I thought to myself, is a little conundrum that merits further examination, which is where you lot come in.

A weekend competition: Hamlet a la Jazz

Given these two examples of the patois, please - by way of comments - translate the Hamlet Soliloquy into Dizzy Gillespeze.

How is that for multiculturalism?

Quote of the Day

This is fantastic. The killer quote is almost at the last line:
Technology for the green priests is as contraceptives are to the Catholic Church. Only some methods are acceptable but, like Rome’s preferred birth-control techniques, these are often unreliable.

But I can the question that is really on your lips: what, to extend this analogy, would the emissions reduction equivalent of the snip?

Whose side are you on, Nosemonkey?

I think it is time Nosemonkey came clean. There is a pattern emerging of hand-wringing and apologism which is not what we need right now.

When I took him to task in this piece, I assumed he was just a bit cross. However, after some to-ing and fro-ing, it is clear from his final comment that he genuinely believes that there is some equivalence to be had between Bush and OBL.
... but I believe you misunderstood me (largely due to me not making myself clear). I wasn't comparing Bush/Blair to the bombers - the bombers are just the footsoldiers, not the commanders in chief, after all. I said "those they are supposed to be fighting", meaning the A-Q leadership.

Don't know if that clears it up at all. Probably not. This is why I generally try and avoid writing about terrorism - frightfully high emotions around the thing.

No Nosemonkey, it does not clear it up. You were offered the chance to retract and to measure your statements (4 or 5 times) and you have failed. High emotions cannot excuse this continued failure to see the difference.

Ask yourself the pertinent question one more time: in a presidential election between Bush and the AQ leadership and/or the loons who masterminded/planned/supplied the materials/brainwashed the footsoldiers, for whom would you vote?

This is not a tricky decision.

To make myself absolutely clear: the people who masterminded the attack deliberately set out to corrupt the minds of the footsoldiers. They specifically targetted innocent civilians. The murder of non-combatants in the tube was not "collateral damage" or even "unfortunate" - not only was it the only conceivable outcome, it was its entire purpose.

The same goes in spades for the AQ leadership: OBL et al provide "spiritual" leadership for these lunatics. They rejoiced in the 9/11 slaughter. They endorse the policy of the murder of innocent civilians.

On the other side of the coin, when a president or PM or whoever issues orders for an military operation, they do so in the knowledge and expectation that every single officer and NCO right down the chain of command will inspect it as to its legality or otherwise [an officer is NOT required to obey an illegal order. If the superior officer persists, one has a duty to tender one's resignation. To do so would take enormous amounts of moral courage, but then that is practically the only yardstick by which the worth of an officer is measured.], square it with their own conscience and then carry it out to the best of their ability whilst striving to minimise any collateral damage.


Now we get this. Browne's substantive point - that apologists and "root-causers" serve as "useful idiots" to the fundamentalist nutcases - is entirely ignored by the articles Nosemonkey quotes. That is as maybe.

But Nosemonkey's casual assertion in the comments thread that, although he has been increbibly slack throughout his article, Browne carefully and specifically used the term "Islamist" so that the uninitiated might think he meant "Islamic" is just so vile that it beggars belief.

I, like "Devil's Kitchen" in the comments to my first piece, was holding off commenting on this until I had simmered down, but I am spurred into action by the this piece by Scott Burgess of the Daily ablution, who seems to agree with Browne's substantive point. Scott Burgess is hardly a raving neo-con and it is good to see some sense coming through from the "left".

So let's ask the question again Nosemonkey: if you had to choose between Anthony Browne's world view and that of Dilpazier Aslam, which would it be?

To be honest, I really don't know which he would prefer. And that is really scary.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Something to Warm the Cockles of my Heart

This is just so wonderfully delightful that I am just left with a tingling lightness in the soul.

I have barely the remaining force of will required to implore to you to read it in full.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Economic Nonsense: An update

The good news is that someone else has spotted the economic nonsense about which I posted earlier.

The bad news is that he has missed the point.
"... who choose the risk of flying with cut-price operators liable to sudden collapse ..."


So if it is only low-cost operators who are liable to sudden collapse, what happened to SwissAir? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
What about United Airlines?
Or Alitalia?
Or Air Lib, France's second biggest airline?

Having worked for Ferranti at exactly the time that the Guerin fraud surfaced, I can testify that "sudden collapse" is not limited to an identifiable subset of any given industry sector.

That said, some industry sectors are dodgier than others and none more so than dodgy tour operators. I suggest that they are a greater threat to the travelling public (and an easier threat to manage - who, for instance, would rescue me when I have bought a ticket from Hong Kong to Manila on a Thai registered airline and paid using a VISA card issued by a bank in the UK?) than the scheduled commercial airline sector. Indeed, having been at the wrong end of Tour Operator bankrupcy, three weeks before Lady P-G and I set off on our honeymoon, one can see why the bond system already exists for tour operators...