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Monday, November 28, 2005


Fahrenheit 1861

Here's a hilarious parody.

That is, I think it's meant as a parody. It's possible that somebody just spoke to a contributor to Lew Rockwell's site, wrote down everything he said, and then made a multimedia presentation of it. (Which, come to think of it, is pretty much what Michael Moore did in the first place...)

(H/T Dean Esmay.)


Irony of the Week

Via Marginal Revolution (via JMPP, apparently) comes an unusual story of an American expat who may (or may not) find himself in trouble with what passes for the law in Cambodia.

It seems he is the proprietor of a site with the URL www.euthanasiaincambodia.com (and you may cut and paste that into your own browser window should you be so inclined, but as a confirmed thanatophobe I am not disposed to give a hyperlink to a person who defines "life" as "the way to death"), and he has been accused of... erm... erm... at any rate, he has been accused by the family of a British woman who believe that prior to her suicide she visited his site, and it encouraged her in her subsequent course of action.

One wonders how she found it in the first place: google "euthanasia" and the only Cambodian-related entry in the first five pages is a story on The Register about the suicide of the aforementioned Brit. (As a UK resident, I default to www.google.co.uk; YMMV).

At any rate, it is something of a mystery to me why the family of the aforementioned Brit should have focused their ire on this particular website and not, say, the estate of the late James Clavell ("There's a very easy solution... Die. You do not have to endure the unendurable"). FWIW I agree with Tennyson, Crowley and Richard Bandler that a permanent solution to a temporary problem is less than ideal, but the reason I found this particular story so poignantly ironic was its final sentence:

Prosecutors who questioned [the owner of the site] said they had not filed any charges against [him] and needed more time to make a decision.

Needed more time to make a decision....

Like the man said, the two saddest words in the English language are if only...

Thursday, November 24, 2005


The First World War Ended in 2005

As I've said before, the Brits do not, in general, observe the holiday of Thanksgiving because they have nothing whatsoever to be thankful for.

This year is an exception, because last night, at the stroke of the midnight hour, England's surreal and despicable "licensing" laws were finally put out of everyone's misery.

These laws prohibited bars and stores from selling alcoholic drinks after 23.00 (22.30 on a Sunday, since British legislators have never seen anything wrong with laws respecting the establishment of religion). There were a couple of loopholes, for instance strong drink could be sold in conunction with food (cruel to expect a man to digest traditional British cuisine sober), and places of entertainment could apply for "late" licenses if they played music. In practice this tended to mean that every overambitious lounge bar would put in a boombox, treble the drinks prices, charge people fifteen pounds for the privilege of going in the door and call itself a nightclub (liberal readings of the nightclub loophole allowed the flourishing of bolge such as Sevilla Mia, a cramped and frankly insanitary dive off Oxford Street whose "music" consisted of an elderly Spaniard with a classical guitar and a stutter. (Yes, I used to drink there. It was cheap. They didn't charge for going in the door and their drinks were only twice the usual ruinous London prices).

Most aspects of life in Britain are living fossils, which made sense at the time they were adopted but have persisted beyond all reason and utility out of sheer inertia (or frequently, fear that whoever reforms them will do so in his own interests; that's why Britain had a hereditary house of the legislature until 1999(!) - and when this was eventually reformed, it was reformed so as to blatantly favour the political interests of the reformer, one T Blair). Licensing laws were no exception to this rule. They were introduced as a temporary war-time measure during the Great War - the worry was that if munitions workers spent all night drinking, they risked coming into work still drunk and drop shells on the factory floor; it was felt that this might prove detrimental to the War Effort. So repressive Singaporesque laws were enacted, forbidding the sale of spirituous beverages at hours when the lower classes damn well ought to be sleeping in their beds, or someone's beds at any rate.

(The upper classes were, of course, not captured by the licensing laws, which did not apply to private members' clubs on the wonderfully Clintonesque grounds that private members' clubs were not actually selling drinks because the drinks were already the property of the members.)

The Gipper once said that nothing lives longer than a temporary government programme, and so it proved in this case. The Great War was won, the Kaiser deposed; the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich rose and fell; the Berlin Wall was built up and torn down; and still the licensing laws cramped the style of the British toper. When the licensing laws were enacted, the Soviet Union was just a murderous glint in Lenin's eye; they outlasted that other repressive horror by more than a decade. When the Blair administration ascended to power in Year Zero (1997 under the old calendar), a plank in the party manifesto was the abolition of these absurd laws and finally, a mere two elections and eight years later, they finally delivered.

It's rare indeed that I will ever have a good word for the domestic policy of our beloved Leader the Lord God's Anointed Blair, but slaying these vile licensing laws was a genuine good dead. (And may I say, it took a certain amount of moral courage, given that pretty much every one of Britain's trashy newspapers have been blasting on this policy since it was announced, on the grounds that it will apparently promote the abhorrent sin of "binge drinking" (journalists disapproving of drunkenness??? Pride by Insolence chastened? Indolence purged by Sloth?))

It gives me hope that as his political career draws to an end, the Maximum Tone may get around to abolishing certain other examples of governmental outreach that were enacted as temporary wartime measures - like the income tax (a temporary emergency measure introduced during the Napoleonic Wars). Hope springs eternal, and it will be all the springier now that it can treat itself to a nice Hoegaarden at 23.30 should it be so inclined.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Duncewatch III: Further Duncewatch

I've decided that Duncewatch was too good a concept to limit to the aftermath of Katrina. Natural disasters come and go, but blasting on fools never goes out of season.

The particular fool that I am now pointing my blogospheric Gat towards is that most despised creature of the cyberspace bestiary, the Troll. I'm talking about a sorry excuse for a blogger that has been posting the same extraordinarily boring piece of spam on all the blogs I look at. This same "proctology project" used to spray his scent all over Samizdata, before he was banned for being an obnoxious troll, and was shameless enough to then sneak back under another name and post more drivel (since he was stupid, or arrogant, enough to attach his URL to his post, the imposture was rapidly detected).

This unpreposessing digital spirochete generally uses the name Victorino de la Vega, and styles himself either "Doctor" or "Professor", seemingly at random; the academic chair to which arrogates a claim is at "Amaurot Heights, Oklahoma, United States Minor Outlying Islands". (Mr de la Vega's grasp of geography is evidently no more advanced than his understanding of common courtesy, although his inept allusion to More's Utopia, whilst somewhat sophomoric, has a certain touching naivete that suggests the possibility that there is a human being buried under the accumulated encrustations of reflexively paranoid ranting that are de la Vega's most prominent feature. But you couldn't prove it from his lame-ass comment spams).

No: if ever there was a blogroach, it's Victorino de la Vega. His user profile boasts of the "free advice on ethical issues" available at his blog; my advice to (Professor/ Doctor/ Monsignor/ Rear-Admiral/ Eagle Scout/ Sturmbahnfuehrer/ Whatever) de la Vega is that the next time he feels tempted to spew his ill-digested delusions over the entire blogsphere, he would do better to treat himself to a nice cup of Shut The Fuck Up.

Victorino - your comments are stupid; you stupidly post them to the comments facilities of every blog that hasn't yet banned you... Victorino: you're a Dunce.

(I see from his Blogger profile that his favorite books include something called The Mechanical Bride. It's the only way he'll ever stand a chance...)

Thursday, November 03, 2005


"Number One Fella B'long Missus Queen" Considered As A Clueless Twit

So, the big-eared hippy who's heir to what's left of the British throne is taking a little vacation in the US. As I said over on the bootylicious Sondra's blog, Prince Charles is:

The worst embarrassment to Britain’s royal family since George III tried to abdicate in favour of his pet dachsund. Charlie boy is of course named after the only British monarch to be officially put to death, and shows even less overall ability than his namesake. He is what an economist would call a “perfect negative indicator”: guaranteed to be wrong on every conceivable subject.

Recently he has said that he will be more appreciated after he is dead. I for one will not feel appreciation when Charles dies. I will feel relief.

Charles' visit to the US (in the company of his horse^H^H^H^H^H lovely 2nd wife) was discussed over on Samizdata. The following was going to be a post there, but it grew too big (on the 1000-word-post-is-refuge-of-sociopath principle):

I'd say the problem with the British political scene is not that "liberals"are giving excessive leeway to Islam; it is that all politicians are giving excessive leeway to what us Scots would refer to as "wee chancers".

Since [a commentator] mentioned Islam, let's consider two possible targets for a zealous follower of that religion. One: a large corporation that engages in the business of gambling (which activity BTW is expressly forbidden in the Koran) and which dares to use the name of the sacredest of Islamic holy cities - Mecca. Two: employees of a city council who display toy pigs on their desks.

It would seem to me that the first case is far, far more offensive to an overly-sensitive Moslem than the second; conflating the name of the Holiest City with a forbidden sin cannot be anything but offensive, whereas the display of an "unclean" animal is, at worst, icky. (And Michael Totten bears witness that even a majority-Moslem country need not be a porcophobic country. HT Pejman's new site for the Totten link.) Nevertheless, one of these two potentially-Moslem-distressing organisations has been bullied into dhimmi-esque submission, and I'll give you a clue: it's not the gambling business.

How interesting that the much, much less offensive display of Piglets should be suppressed when the much, much more offensive Mecca Bingo is free to flaunt its kuffir shamelessness. I dare say that wee chancers find a big, rich powerful corporation a more formidable target than an effete city council staffed by eunuchs. After all, the modus operandi of a wee chancer has not changed materially since the days of the most successful wee chancer of all time: "Poke out a bayonet! If it meets steel, pull back! If it meets mush, poke harder!"

I believe us decent people of all colours, creeds and other distinguishing features owe it to the several wee chancers of the world to always provide steel for their bayonets. It's the only way the wee chancers will learn.

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