November 2003 Archives
November 30, 2003
November 29, 2003
November 28, 2003
November 27, 2003
I know that there's a problem getting "yoof" interested in politics, but is a Hot or Not MP contest really the answer?
I'd say that the BBC had sunk to a new low, bar the fact that this is a product of Radio Five Live, which is already pretty low.
November 26, 2003
I think that tango dancers often suffer somethings of an inferiority complex, burdened as they are with the filmic image of a couple dancing an incredibly stylised dance. They both stirde down the hall joined arms outstreched, her with a rose between her teeth. Of course, the real dance is nothing like that bastardised form of ballroom tango. A new website - The History of Tango - 150 years of Tango Dance and Music History - makes a good job of laying out the history of this interesting dance.
Admittedly, it's text-heavy and picture-light, but the words are worth reading.
November 25, 2003
This headline from the BBC warms the cockles of my genre-loving heart:
It just conjours visions of scientists gathered around a huge table, discussing the growing vampire threat....
(The real story is worth reading and noting, though.)
November 24, 2003
I've been looking for a way to make the most of my limited blog posting time. This looks like a nice little tool:
It should allow my blog entries to automatically cross-post to my Livejournal too. Cool. I'll be trying it our shortly.
November 23, 2003
I've been too busy with offline life to post for the last few days. You can see one of the reasons here.
November 20, 2003
November 13, 2003
Proof at last: au currant has proved that journalism and blogging are different things. In the parlance of my trade, bloggers are sources, not journalists...
November 12, 2003
Over on City Comforts, David Sucher is getting wound up over some rather elderly Hastings proposals:
First up, Findlay is hardly 'on the path to success' - she's been in the trade for over 20 years, and can be considered a success. The design is under revision at the moment (you can find details on her firm's website, if you can be bothered digging through the Flash). More to the point, David's comments do make me wonder what he thinks of some of the work of more extablished architects, like, say, Will Alsop's Fourth Grace in Liverpool.
Personally, I think it looks like a half-sucked sweet.
Here we go again.
The BBC, oft accused of anti-Israeli bias, appoint a watchdog on the topic - one of its own employees: Telegraph | News | BBC appoints man to monitor 'pro-Arab bias' [via Samizdata]
Are computer games reviewers amateurish fanboys or serious journalists? Two viewpoints:
Amateurs: WSJ.com - Are videogames ready to be taken seriously by media reviewers? [registration required]
Serious: GameSpotting: Rebirth (I do think this guy misunderstands the distinction between 'criticism' and 'reviewing', bless 'im.)
November 11, 2003
I. like many other bloggers who use Movable Type, have been pestered with comment spam of late. Quite why people think posting links to their viagra and porn sites in my comments will help their businesses is beyond me, but that's spammers for you. Well, now there's a solution, called MT-Blacklist.
However, it requires users to report spammers that get through, so they can be added to the master blacklist. If you're suffering with this, you'll want to bookmark the Comment Spam Clearing House. The clearing house is for all comment spam, not just the type that afflicts MT users, so is worth checking out whatever your blog alignment. I'm going to be installing MT-Blacklist, as soon as the last bug that's stopping me getting it working is ironed out.
The Post Office seems to want to make the most of its recent dispute with the postal worker's union. After nearly a week without deliveries, there's still something of a backlog of post and deliveries seems to be delayed by a day or so, and occasionally more. That is, unless you're trying to post something recorded delivery. Then, apparently, post is delayed for a whole week, unless you pay nearly four times as much for guaranteed next day delivery. So a post office worker told me yesterday, to my utter disbelief.
Now, call me cynical if you wish, but given that empirical evidence shows post returning to normal - I received letters this morning posted yesterday - doesn't this smack of upselling rather than being helpful to the customer? Scaring people into spending several pounds more than they need to isn't going to do anything to restore confidence in our ailing postal system.
November 10, 2003
There's an excellent piece over on The Edge of England's Sword, which reflects my own views on the matter so closely that it's barely worth adding anything.
I'd just like to echo the point about the wife swap couple. I know a woman who lives on a council estate in Britsol. She has worked her entire life to bring up two kids. Next door to her lives a man and woman and their kids. None of them work. All of them are on benefit. They are considerably better off than her. Fair? No, I don't think so.
November 7, 2003
For all the abuse our railways take, much of its deservedly, there are glimmers of hope. I'm writing this on the 9am Virgin Trains service from London to Manchester. Now, Virgin has picked up a terrible reputation for lateness. True, its trains are often late, but that's been as much because of the tracks as the train service itself, if not more so. The firm has been steadily investing in better rolling stock and track improvements, with the hope of eventually giving us a better service.
You know what? It's working. I'm travelling in one of Virgin's new trains, listening to one of the free radio stations available at the chair. The seats are amazingly comfortable, with plenty of legroom, even for a fairly long-limbed individual like myself. The train is fast and quiet and there are plenty of nice little touches, like digital signs indicating if the seat is reserved or not. People will find that pretty difficult to remove and hide…
I'm actually enjoying this journey, and that's the way things have got to be if we're ever going to tempt people out of their cars.
November 4, 2003
I may start to have to create a whole new category (or blog) tracking the idiocy of life in Lewisham. For example, quickly checking the council's homepage, I discover that there are free composting workshops going on for local residents.
Once you look at the details, though, you realise that the timing isn't exactly convenient:
Thursday 23 October 4 pm ? 6 pmSo, they're clearly not interested in educating working people on how they should recycle their garden and kitchen waste. Hopeless.
Thursday 30 October 4 pm ? 6 pm
Thursday 6 November 5 pm ? 7 pm
Another shining example of the sort of behaviour that makes Lewisham such a fine place to live. You're free to beat up people for telling off your kid, but woe betide you should you sell anything using imperial measures.
Is it possible our beloved mayor has a little problem with setting priorities for the area?
November 3, 2003
For some reason, that nasty little hate-monger Fred Phelps keeps getting dragged into media coverage of the election of the first openly practising gay bishop, Gene Robinson yesterday. Let's be clear. However much Phelps yelps and cries that he is a Christian, he is not, any more than a man tucking into a nice, juicy steak is a vegetarian, however much he claims this is the case. One of the simple and most powerful tenets of Christianity is that God loves everyone. We can distance ourselves from God and his love through sin, but he never stops loving us.
As Lilac Rose points out, Phelps and his (family) lackies are nothing more than a standard homophobic hate group, wearing stolen Christian robes. Gary of Country Keepers deconstructs him Biblically in a great post, found via Lee Anne's such small hands.
As ever, those interested in the debate about the theology of gay marriage in the Christian church are welcome at Kingdom Come.
Robert Duvall speaks eloquently about tango in this interview:
November 2, 2003
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to talk about reviews. You see, a good friend of mine, Mr Bruce Baugh, is busy undergoing a firestorm of mixed messages on his latest project, the D20 edition of Gamma World. This is an almost inevitable side effect of the internet age. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, true enough. What most people fail to realise is that they are not entitled to have that opinion taken seriously. The ability to bash out a few hundred barely coherent words and post them on the internet does not automatically make your opinion worthy. That respect has to be earned.
How do you get this respect? To answer that question, let's take a little step back into the past.