Monday June 17th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
This article in the Guardian, in which Zoe Williams gives us some of David Schweickart’s thinking, is one of the most thoughtful contributions to the economy debate I’ve seen for a while.
Repeat after me 7 times in fast succession:
The way to make work pay is to pay for the work at a rate that makes the pay worth working for.
Tuesday May 21st, 2013. Posted by Alex:
So there I was setting out with the dogs for a walk this morning, like nearly every morning, when there was a rustling and a movement in the bushes. Then out she came, maybe 10 or 15 m in front of us, what I take to be a female deer. She crossed the road and sprang away through the vines to the right, with that body language that says, “OMG somebody’s seen me,” and disappeared in the direction of the river. The dogs, of course, barked, and no doubt that didn’t serve to calm her down.
A sound then came out of the trees from which she had appeared, sounding something like a cross between the bark of a large dog and the baaa of a sheep. A buck? I don’t know – this is obviously not the rutting season.
She wasn’t small – perhaps twice the size of the greyhound, so perhaps not a roe deer. If so, it was a really large one. There were no spots, so probably (I stress probably) not a fallow deer, and was mid-brown in colour. A red deer? I don’t know, I’m no expert. But it put a spring in the dogs’ step for the rest of the walk! Wikipedia does say that, when alarmed, a roe deer will bark much like a dog, so perhaps that was it after all.
Monday April 15th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
I am a free citizen of the United Kingdom. The police have no business whatsoever telling me whether and when to stand to attention, sit, wave, smile, salute, two-finger salute, hiss or boo. And they certainly have no business at all telling me which way I should face.
This has nothing to do with “respect for the dead”. If it were about that, Mrs Thatcher would have had a funeral with family and old friends, some of whom of course would have been her political allies. In that case it would have been quite wrong to show disrespect. We, who disrespect her legacy, would have been right to simply stay away and let her survivors mourn in peace.
But that is not what’s going on here. This is a huge piece of political theatre, exploiting her final departure to trumpet the Thatcherite legacy. As such, it begs for a theatrical response. Those who decided to stage a quasi-state funeral are the ones who took this out of the realm of respect for the dead, and into the realm of demonstration. The demonstration might be one of power in the form of gun-carriages and other military pomp, or it might be one of objection, through turning the back.
And it is the right of any one of us to do so – the idea that permission is required is appalling.
Friday March 29th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
Probably a relatively low proportion of the people that I know would have voted for the Tories at the last election, although, given the train-wreck that Labour had become, I could understand the temptation. So perhaps I am preaching to the converted.
The thing is, that Polly Toynbee, always well worth reading, has summarised with frightening clarity how hard he UK government is now grinding down on the disadvantaged. Whether or not you agree, it is not a bad idea to keep your eyes open by reading what she has to say.
And that’s without getting onto the dismantling of the NHS, the wrecking-ball that Gove is taking to the education system, or the government’s attempts to ignore the legal protections of one of the country’s own citizens just because it doesn’t like the man.
Wednesday March 20th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
So Cyprus has rejected the so-called bail-out. Well done, I say. Perhaps they will default, and perhaps it will be a disaster, but at least they are being honest about the fact that their finances are already a disaster.
When someone who is not very well off has difficulty keeping up the payments on a loan, the
Read more… Looks like a rough ride ahead
Tuesday March 19th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
So if we didn’t know it before, we know it now: the financial system has become too important for the health of our society.
Without so much as a by-your-leave, without warning, in the face of repeated assurances to the contrary, and in conflict with the EU’s own market rules, money is being taken from all sorts
Read more… Bank robbery
Wednesday February 6th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
For 8 or ten days Bertie bore the nickname “Conehead Stumpybum”:
The picture shows what “Conehead” is about. Not a lot of fun – you can’t lick yourself anywhere, and you can’t wash your face or ears. Plus, even with the improved jumping, the cone sometimes catches on things, and it gets food on the edge, and
Read more… Getting better
Monday February 4th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
This is just unedited mobile phone footage, but it does give you an impression of the size of the thing. You can skip the first minute if
Read more… Lighting the San Giminiano falò (bonfire) Pontremoli 2013-01-31
Thursday January 17th, 2013. Posted by Alex:
Taking his ease while he still had a tail.
Spare a thought if you have a minute, cat lovers, for Number Three Cat Bertie, also known as “Beefy Boy”, “Destructo-Cat” and so forth. Having fallen into our lives out of a kiwi vine on the very day in the middle of last October on which Felix
Read more… For cat lovers
Saturday December 1st, 2012. Posted by Alex: