Monday, September 29, 2003

George Dubya Bushisms
"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." - LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000
"If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency-room care, we're going to have gag orders."
"Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it."
"It's one thing about insurance, that's a Washington term."
"I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun."
"If affirmative action means what I just described, what I'm for, then I'm for it." - St. Louis, Mo., October 18, 2000
"Our priorities is our faith." - Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000
"I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children." - Second presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2000
"It's going to require numerous IRA agents."?On Gore's tax plan, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

GOV. BUSH: Because the picture on the newspaper. It just seems so un-American to me, the picture of the guy storming the house with a scared little boy there. I talked to my little brother, Jeb? - I haven't told this to many people. But he's the governor of - I shouldn't call him my little brother--my brother, Jeb, the great governor of Texas.

JIM LEHRER: Florida.

GOV. BUSH: Florida. The state of the Florida. - The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, April 27, 2000

rotflmfao. :oD (from Slate)

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Sigur Rós
( ) Album Covers Having downloaded Njósnavélin by Sigur Rós after hearing it on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack, I went online and downloaded a couple more. The band is made up of four Icelandic guys, and their music is wonderful. Lyrics are in Hopelandic, a cross between Icelandic and something else, and people have tried to translate them. The lead guitarist often uses a cello bow to play his instrument. It is windswept, arctic circle music.

The latest album to be released here, ( ), has eight tracks, all unnamed. (They did once have names: more info on that if you dig around here.) The album itself is unnamed. The booklet tells you nothing. The music, on the other hand...

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Hi-Res Magazine
Oh, my god.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

More miscellaneous stuff
Surfing around today, the most notable blog has been London Journal by an American called Colin who's just started uni in London. It's notable because he started it comparatively recently, and I lived in London for damn near two years, knew it well enough before that, and what he's going through is more or less what I went through. Apart from his (encouraging) pronouncement: I hate being a tourist. I feel like I'm wearing a shirt that says "I'm here to look at YOU." I never hated being a tourist. When living in London properly, however, christ did I hate them.

Then, Matooblog, which I'm sure would be lovely if I could read the damn thing fluently. From what I can see, it's cultural and offbeat enough. Google doesn't translate all of it though, so beware.

Circadian Shift (which I nearly typed without the f - hmmm, baad) has a wonderful entry about sort-of nonsense words. Like 'Inoculatte': To take coffee intravenously when you are running late. Pure genius.

The above introduced me to the next one: Gaping Void. Cartoons drawn on the back of business cards. The front of the cards aren't shown. It's not about taking the piss, you know.

Cigars and Alcohol Ramblings: not quite as restricted as the title implies, but my god, with a title like that, why would you not go clickety-clickety-click?

There's a typically American lit crit bit linked from the excellent assorted grotesqueries.

And finally, I just have to go back to Colin for a moment, because this London Underground blog entry is excellent.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Simon Waldman has courted controversy by hosting scans of a 1930s Homes and Gardens article on Hitler's 'Berghof' (mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria). Although the scans aren't there any longer, due to a takedown request from H&G which caused all the trouble, David Irving (as Waldman says, ugh) has hosted them on his site. They're also here and here (at least, they were on the date this was posted).

Whether this catfight is really about neo-Nazism, copyright, shame, architecture, design or anything else, it has to be said right here and now that while some Nazi architecture was grotesque, some of it was just plain good in itself. For example, HBO's epic miniseries Band of Brothers featured Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest' with some wonderment. Today the building is, jarringly, used as a cafe. That's worse than putting an article up on the internet, IMO.

And now we turn to some wonderful naval fiction, and very quickly slip on the drool which reading it has brought on, to encounter a site with a list of challenged and banned books of the decade. I'm surprised to see Dahl's The Witches sharing the list with Madonna's Sex, and not at all surprised to see Little Black Sambo (children's book from when nigger was still an acceptable word) on the list - I read it a few times as a kid and it was boring shite. :oD

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Midland Grand Hotel, St Pancras
London's former Midland Grand Hotel (known by everyone as St Pancras station) is an amazing building. (Thanks to urban75.)
Capital Punishment - right or wrong?
I'm asking here about the use of language in that question. Capital Punishment as a phrase is a paradox, because it is a method of killing. Punishment means making people realise their wrongs through privation of some kind, so that in their future lives they will feel genuinely disinclined to do whatever it was they were punished for. Therefore death can't be punishment.

A death sentence, with a wait of years before death, isn't even punishment because those condemned to death are imprisoned and don't have freedom in its widest sense. The experience might make them feel afraid, knowing they're going to die unnaturally, but that's infliction of suffering with no aim. It's an eye for an eye rather than rehabilitative punishment.

And to those people who say "If you imprisoned people for the rest of their natural lives, they'd rightly have no freedom anyway, and they'd have to be paid for, so why not just kill them?" I say: state-sponsored killing is still killing, and we all think no human being has the right to violently kill another. Ergo, capital punishment is a big mistake.

Turning to more pleasant things, Matchstick Men (trailers here) is something I'm looking forward to. Also looking forward to seeing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (trailer here).

Friday, September 19, 2003

David Blaine v Sausages
A website I'm part of (link at the bottom of the page) decided that it'd be fun to buy sausages. Loads of sausages. And why?, I hear you ask. Well, world-famous, abegnatory, American magician David Blaine, who's spending a lot of time in a plastic box hanging above the River Thames in London, might be hungry.

But he can't eat anything. So the many lovely gay people who were bringing loads of sausages were going to throw them around in the air, and hopefully make David fancy a bit of... well, sausage. For the comedy / torment factor.

But now they've cancelled this great idea. No sausages will now be thrown at David Blaine. Shame.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

I had to laugh... the bit in bold here. I don't know why. I just giggled. From an AP report on the approach of Hurricane Isabel to the US's eastern seaboard:

Navy ships manned by 13,000 sailors headed out to sea from Norfolk, Va., and Earle, N.J., to ride out the storm and keep from being battered against their piers. Military aircraft were flown to airfields inland.

In Simpson, N.C., a man preparing for Isabel accidentally burned his home down Monday when a generator he was testing caught fire.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson prayed on his Christian Broadcasting Network, based in Virginia Beach, that Isabel would turn from the coast. He asked God to put a "wall of protection" around Virginia Beach and the East Coast.

"In the name of Jesus, we reach out our hand in faith and we command that storm to cease its forward motion to the north and to turn and to go out into the sea," Robertson prayed on "The 700 Club."

Monday, September 15, 2003

Dear, dear
This morning at prayers the pretty housemaid Elizabeth with the beautiful large soft eyes was reading aloud in Luke i how Zacharias saw a vision in the Temple, but for the word 'vision' she substituted 'venison'. -- Rev. Francis Kilvert, 10th Jan. 1872
Just the usual
My breath smells tonight of cognac, cigarettes and coffee. You'd think I'd had a party or something, but in fact I enjoyed all three alone.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

The Amazing Truth
About girls who masturbate.
I've lived here all my life...
(with some breaks, of course) ...and yet until just now I never knew a damn thing about my favourite place in my neighbourhood: Belvoir Forest. As well as the huge forest area through which snakes the River Lagan, it's home to a mysterious little graveyard, an old stable block, and a carpark which was once the site of the country house which acted as the nucleus of the estate. In fact, that vanished house and its grounds gave birth to the village in which I now live - and it all started in the 1700s.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Gay people - the good, the bad, the ugly
I wrote all this today in my crappy little carpark job, when nobody was coming in and nobody was going out, and I had free time. Sometimes I write stuff in the carpark, but most of the time I just read things that other people have written, and draw puzzled glances from the drivers, who all think I'm uneducated just because I work there. :oD Anyway:

I've been forced to think a lot lately about how disappointing and inadequate and insulting many gay people are. Well - I say I've bene forced to think a lot about it, but I have been thinking about it quite willingly, and not just recently, but for years.

This isn't meant to be some sort of personal soapbox either. I think most people agree that certain ways of treating people are good; certain other ways bad. Meeting up with someome and being chatty and pleasant, and then not meeting them again is bad. Lying about things to avoid meeting is bad. Postponing for no better reason than that you just can't be arsed is understandable, but still bad.

Talking to people casually for 30 seconds in a bar once every couple of weeks and pretending that's a friendship is stupid. Scoping someone out in advance and not meeting them as arranged because you're not sexually attracted to them is dysfunctional, stupid and insulting - and just doesn't make any kind of sense if you're not meeting for sex.

I'm not posturing here, or exaggerating when I say that everything I've just described is what I've seen of gay people's behaviour - particularly gay people who socialise almost exclusively within the gay scene. (And particularly in Belfast.) Needless to say, it's not normal behaviour at all. Outside the scene, it's looked on as immature, dysfunctional behaviour.

And yet gay people in provincial scenes believe their small injustices are perfectly normal, not actually bad at all. What I would consider awful might only pass for mildly bad to a guy on a local scene who's never had the wakeup call of living in larger cities with internationally diverse people, or even the wakeup call of mixing regularly with straight friends.

Sceney gay people are, for the most part, predictable to know, shit to interactwith, and worse to depend on. Which is, for me, what makes knowing my well-adjusted, sane, friendly and dependable gay friends such a great thing. And I shouldn't take that for granted. Of course, thanks to the majority of gay people, I never can.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

These are in no particular order, but they've been floating around my head for weeks and weeks, so I thought I'd shove them down here, for future reference! :o)

--Friendship isn't a seriously, frowningly serious thing, but it's one of the most important things you can ever have, as well as the most enduring.
--So it deserves to be taken seriously. Ditto friends.
--You can't make new friends unless you get to know people.
--And you can't get to know people unless you spend time with them.
--New friendships deserve time and attention, so that there is no difficulty with relaxing with each other.
--People who cancel social arrangements often don't realise that this gives a bad impression of their regard for the other person.
--Even if they do realise it, they rarely say anything which puts the other person's mind at rest.
--An important part of friendship is to care, and to show that you care, not just to say it.
--In a way which is strange but true, your actions are more important than your words when you're making new friends.
--And sometimes, a lack of words can be the same as a slap in the face.
--To pay a little compliment which you mean is always better than saying nothing because you don't want to pay a bigger compliment.
--Most gay people in Belfast, but not all of them!!, usually make very little effort to show they care about new friendships.
--Mostly, it's not their fault.

But it still upsets me and pisses me off. :'o(
Crazy, sexy, cool, fucked-up movie
And here, for theose who've seen it and wondered "What the fuck?!" is an explanation of Donnie Darko. And another explanation of Donnie Darko. And a Donnie Darko explanation, yet again.
It must be autumn now. The sunlight is as bright as ever when it shines, but seems thinned-out somehow, less heavy. The birds hop faster and tweet louder around the feeder in the back garden, getting ready for their journey south. This morning, when I got out of bed and opened the bathroom window, I felt a breeze on the colder side of cool snake into the room. The combination of hot water and autumn air on my skin instantly released autumn memories.

Getting up earlyish on Sundays in London to join Jonathan on a trip to the V&A, with a chilly, happy walk to Patesserie Valerie afterwards. Sitting near the door of Dome on Old Compton Street, savouring the contrast between warm colours inside and the occasional blast of cold when the door opened. Streets in Highgate Village blazing red with leaves, and an old brick wall in St Albans, silvered and prickly with frost.

I'll miss being in London in the autumn, but not just for being in London. Trains from London take you quickly and directly to towns like St Albans in Hertfordshire. A charming little countryside town, old, rich, well-heeled, with some of the bustle of London. Mist muffles the streets in the morning, and the air is clean and still enough to let each season through. Winter is bitter and crisp there, but with none of the lashing winds of Kent. Autumn is scattered with leaves and bright with warm shop-fronts in the old square.

And Belfast? Autumn here is occasionally bright and cold, which is why this morning has brought on this reminiscence. Usually, though, it's greyer and wetter than it should be, than I imagine autumn in Connecticut or Vermont or Boston to be. Which is why I'm going out now, to enjoy the day... and here's something which caught my eye earlier.

This was meant to be posted yesterday, but blogger wasn't having any of it.