Sunday, 31 October 2004

Some ideas for Halloween

Or you could always dress up as an idiot.

Saturday, 30 October 2004

At least 100,000 dead in Iraq

The Lancet has carried out research which estimates that between 100,000 and 200,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the start of the war. The military does not maintain statistics on civilian casualties and this is the first solid research which has been carried out on this issue. It appears that previous estimates were seriously inaccurate. More here [audio].


May 22 Blog

Last week I went to a public meeting held by the Labour Party in Kirkcaldy. It was about third world debt, The speakers were Gordon Brown and Hilary Benn. It was an excellent night. Both speakers were brilliant. Brown especially. Quite unbelievably I was enthused by both speakers as they talked with apparent passion about the issue. Brown talked for about ten minutes without seemingly looking at a note while talking fluently and rolling off statistics. Benn talked for about 45 minutes. They then answered questions from the floor. It felt like 27 years ago. I'm just posting this to give some balance to my previous comments on the political process.

Friday, 29 October 2004


My first attempt tonight at going to the bbc news site resulted in this. What is going on?

Thursday, 28 October 2004

The George Bush website has been closed to all non-Americans. Not that we're missing much.

Monday, 25 October 2004

UK Music Hall of Fame

Did you see last night's programme? It was the 1970s edition. The nominees included The Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and David Bowie.

Some great clips. The best bits were the Pistols and Bowie. My vote goes to Bowie. He couldn't sing and his lyrics were bollocks but his music was great. Totally original. Led Zep got close. But Bowie for me.

Sunday, 24 October 2004

Too close to call

The US Presidential election is exceptionally close. A poll this morning put Bush 2% ahead of Kerry. But that ignores the electoral college system. Florida (27 votes) will most likely decide it.

Nader has 2% of the vote in Florida and 1.6% overall. He will, therefore, decide the election (as he did in 2000). Well done to the Republican strategist who thought him up.

After three consecutive defeats on TV, Bush should be dead and buried. Instead he's on course to win. Never underestimate the power of the media.

Saturday, 23 October 2004


I've just finished reading Checkpoint by Nicholson Baker. It's about a guy who wants to assassinate George Bush. The title comes from this story. It's a short read (115 pages) in the form of a dialogue between two men. Although I read a lot, I not a big fan of fiction but I really enjoyed this book.

Friday, 22 October 2004

William Gibson blog

Science-fiction writer William Gibson stopped blogging last year but restarted this week.


Because the United States currently has, as Jack Womack so succintly puts it, a president who makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln.

And because, as the Spanish philospher Unamuno said, 'At times, to be silent is to lie.' "

Monday, 18 October 2004

Barbie Porn

Strangely amusing and erotic ;-) [NSFW - Not suitable for work]

Sunday, 17 October 2004

Americans against the war

I came across a nice photo collection of Americans who want to apologise to Iraqis for the war.

The Best of Pink Floyd

I picked up this album last week. Some truly wonderful songs. Shine on you crazy diamonds, Time, Us and them - even Wish you were here. But some of their stuff is truly awful. Especially their early material. How could the same people who wrote Great gig on the sky also write Bike?

Saturday, 16 October 2004

Halifax move for McStay

I don't know if this blog will work. But on the assumption that it has isn't it a bit disturbing that young Scottish players want to play for Ireland rather than Scotland? Or am I missing something? Did McStay have a terrible time playing for Scotland and advise his son against it. Or is it just a football thing?

Kerry v Bush

This program was shown on American TV last week. It compares the backgrounds of George Bush and John Kerry. The contrast between the men is stark.

Imagine if the candidates were swapped and Kerry was the Republican candidate and this guy was the Democratic candidate. The election would be over in an instant.

Tuesday, 12 October 2004

The Architecture of Fascism

"The conservative movement's transformation into pseudo-fascism isn't immediately discernible because there's nothing recognizably exceptional about any single aspect of it. Indeed, most of it seems all too familiar.

In a historical sense, fascism is maybe best understood as an extreme reaction against socialism and communism; in its early years it was essentially defined as "extremist anti-communism. It was explicitly anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist, and it endorsed violence as a chief means to its ends. It was also, obviously, authoritarian, but claiming that it was oriented toward "socialism" is just crudely ahistorical, if not outrageously revisionist. Socialists, let's not forget, were among the first people imprisoned and "liquidated" by the Nazi regime." [More...]

Saturday, 9 October 2004

New music player

I bought myself a new music player last week. It's a Creative Zen Touch purchased from Amazon.

I considered the iPod before choosing this one. The iPod looks nicer but the battery on this one lasts 24 hours (although I'm getting nothing like that out of it).

It stores 10,000 songs - which is more than my entire music collection. So I've copied just about every song I own and rediscovered several long forgotten bands in the process such as Led Zeppelin and Lou Reed. I even listed to Peter Frampton yesterday. The player has a random button which chooses a track at random from the music library - it's like having your personal radio station.

Meg (my daughter) keeps me up-to-date with contemporary artists (such as Jeff Buckley and Sigur Ros) so I have a pretty varied collection of music. What do you guys listen to?

Thursday, 7 October 2004

This story is now beginning to hit the media.

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

Tony Blair and Weapons of Mass Destruction

'The threat that Saddam Hussein poses is an issue in its own right, because the reason why the UN Security Council passed these resolutions was precisely because we know the threat that there is from the weapons of mass destruction that he has.' (24/09/02)

"We are asked now seriously to accept that in the last few years -- contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence -- Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd." (18/03/03)

"I have always said to people throughout that our aim has not been regime change, our aim has been the elimination of weapons of mass destruction." (25/03/04)

"I have no doubt that we will [find WMDs]. We have got absolutely no doubt that these weapons exist. But there has been a campaign of concealment by Saddam ever since he knew that UN inspectors were coming back into the country, and I have got absolutely no doubt that those weapons are there." (04/04/04)

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Dr Strangelove

I watched Dr Strangelove this evening. Hadn't seen it for a long time. A real classic. I'm not a fan of Peter Sellers but might give The Life and Death of Peter Sellers a look at the weekend.

Monday, 4 October 2004

How do you run a convention on a record of failure?

Video [QT] on Republican tactics.

The Trogs meet Spinal Tap

A sound engineer secretly recorded [MP3] The Trogs recording a new single. The chaos is reminiscent of Spinal Tap.

Friday, 1 October 2004

AC Milan v Celtic

Woeful first half followed by good second half. But we seem to panic whenever there's a chance of getting an away point. From the second we equalised, we just tried to hold out. A better team would have held onto the ball.

I was disappointed with Thompson (apart from the goal against Rangers, what has this guy done in the last six months?) and Petrov (doing his invisible act again). But I thought Harton and Camara looked good and Lennon was Lennon (class). Marshall looked suspect at times and Bobo gives me panic attacks when he has the ball at his feet.

Basically, we still lack quality. But MON knows that.

But there might be a silver lining to the result.