As usual, David Mitchell is spot on

September 13, 2009 3 comments

The expenses scandal demonstrated three things: first, that British politicians can be dishonest, albeit in a petty way that genuinely corrupt political cultures would find quaint; second, that they can be idiotic, either in their stubborn refusal to concede that there were any irregularities or their spineless acceptance of every criticism hurled; third, that they weren’t paid enough either to stop them ferreting for perks or to preclude the aforementioned morons infiltrating their number. I can’t see which of these three problems reducing ministerial salaries and increasing the price of salads in the Palace of Westminster will solve. Surely it will exacerbate the last two.

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-09-06

September 6, 2009 Leave a comment
  • RT @DrSamuelJohnson The Tory sees the BBC as a Nest of Whigs, the Whig sees it as a Nest of Tories, when 'tis a Nest of FOPS #
  • Conjecture: if someone's been dead over 5 years, then IT'S ANCIENT HISTORY JUST FUCKING LET IT GO. See: Lockerbie, Chappaquiddick, etc. #
  • Half a day more work. Then Ryanair *shiver*. Then port, sun & wedding. Yay Oporto. #
  • Not mine, obviously. LADIES OF TWITTER, I'M STILL AVAILABLE. #
  • BUT NOT DESPERATE. #
  • Genius ad. Absolute quality, and makes a good point: http://bit.ly/2cfM3l – unsurprisingly, idiots are offended #
  • Much as I dislike Chelsea, the FIFA ruling is utterly bloody ridiculous #
  • Litigious billionaire terror-supporter dead. Hurrah! http://tinyurl.com/mrc85h #

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What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-08-30

August 30, 2009 Leave a comment
  • Chris Grayling is halfwit http://bit.ly/RQQwb #Britainisntbrokenyouridiculousjokers #
  • Blimey, the right-whingers are going mental at Kennedy's death. I reckon "40 years political service" outweighs "once crashed a car" #
  • The phrase "I'm not being funny" is almost invariably correct. #
  • Early night w00t #
  • Complete this sentence: "Fraser Nelson is the new …." #
  • Anton Vowl & The Femmes are one of my favourite bands too – RT @Jennymac22 #ff – Just follow everyone I follow. Esp @antonvowl and the fems #
  • #ff @johnb78 #rampantegotism #
  • RT @DrSamuelJohnson #Carnival comes to Notting-Hill. I shall parade dress'd as Emperors Frederick of PRUSSIA & Haile SELLASIE. #
  • Looking to increase the "might be"'s to "might have been"'s ratio in my life. "Might be"'s, make yourselves known. Many req'd. #
  • Crook. Dirty old man. Both proveable. What else can you say to *actually damage* the man's reputation? http://tinyurl.com/ndya5n #
  • This could work: RT @antonvowl My plan to save the newspaper industry http://bit.ly/VU0MB #
  • Just received Mattressman *monthly* newsletter. Mattressman make good mattresses – currently reclining on one – but surely 3 yrs more apt? #
  • National Express ads 4 horrid bus trips on Spotify. Just cos ur not allowed to run trains nemore doesn't mean you have 2 spoil it 4 everyone #
  • Is it too early to point out that HAHA, YOU DAFT THICK DADROCK-LIKING-TWASSOCKS, BLUR FUCKING WON? Just wondering… #
  • Excellent LC piece: http://tinyurl.com/nvb6co – conservatives hate the BBC because it reflects the fact they lost the argument long ago #
  • "I'm robbing your country blind, send me home" – OK Amanda, would love to http://tinyurl.com/knog2m #
  • Breakfast of black pudding, mushrooms, half a dozen oysters and a pint of Guinness #livingthedream #

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Very simples indeed

August 24, 2009 15 comments

To Commentisfree, which is running one of the more embarassing pieces of po-faced Spartery I’ve seen outside a student union:

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were watching TV at home when the advert for comparethemarket.com appeared on our screen. I had seen the ad before and not thought anything of it. However on this occasion, my girlfriend, who is Ukrainian, turned to me and said: “I don’t like this advert, it is very offensive to me.” I mentioned it to a friend who said his Latvian lodger also found it offensive.

The advertisement centres on the word “market” – a word that eastern Europeans/Russians pronounce “meerkat” – using talking CGI-animated meerkats. The sole point of this African animal’s appearance is, it seems, to highlight the idea that east Europeans cannot pronounce the word market properly when they speak English. It struck me how racist it was to parody what is now a significant part of the British population in this way. It also occurred to me that were the ad to use stereotypical Indian or Caribbean accents in the same way it would never be allowed on TV.

Luckily, another commenter saved me the trouble of coming up with a witty, incisive demolition of this nonsense:

I am inclined to believe you are making this up.

I am inclined to believe, for comedic purposes, that you are offending me for lumping Lativains and Lithuanians together into an amorphous Eastern European whole.

I am inclined to believe that the editors of CiF are foolish to publish this and like others cannot believe they have.

I am inclined to believe you are employed by Richard Littlejohn in order to supply copy for his hateful Florida-based rantings.

Quite.

Categories: Uncategorized

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-08-23

August 23, 2009 Leave a comment
  • The Awl is brilliant (www.theawl.com) – and no, I'm not getting paid to say that #
  • The staff of my local Pret have all gone on a jolly to New York, and been replaced by equally enthusiastic, but less ept, stand-ins. #
  • CO2 emissions aside, I strongly approve of big co's sending baristas and sandwichmakers on jollies, not just salesmen & directors #
  • Another one for the "and this is in the public interest because…?" column: http://tinyurl.com/mdkpxj #
  • Just contracted a rare brain disease from excess cannibalism. Can cross that off my kuru list #
  • Running Kittenify on Twitter produces cute results, although does have the side-effect of suggesting all your acquaintances are cats #
  • New hobby: Amazon idiotspotting. Go to excellent books, records & films and read the 1* reviews, eg http://bit.ly/9nZul http://bit.ly/2vV43H #
  • Best kids' toy EVAH: http://www.cool4cats.biz/page16.htm #
  • Just overheard @ pub in N1 "they don't go to work, do they? Cos they're married to a black man" #surrealracists #
  • David Mitchell is excellent, Robert Webb is an irritating tosser. Not a great revelation, but nice to see confirmation: http://bit.ly/Csq0B #
  • Quite a good summary of right-wing-ness: "Stop reminding us of the truth we don't like it" – in comments here http://bit.ly/WyzT3 #
  • Hadn't realised that Scotland releases all prisoners with <3 months to live by default. How very civilised, shame we never adopted it #

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On al-Megrahi

August 23, 2009 3 comments

Oddly enough, much of the best commentary on the thoroughly deserved release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has come from rightish-libertarians: DK, Longrider, Longrider again.

(I don’t mean that right-ish libertarians are unlikely to provide sensible comment in general, just that “releasing alleged terrorist” and “annoying America” are things that, all else being equal, are things that right-libertarians tend to oppose. Good Ideological Prism Transcending Skills.)

Less surprisingly, FlyingRodent is properly awesome on this one.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2009-08-16

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment
  • Top tip: if the only wine in the house is undrinkably foul & white, and you're out of Creme de Cassis, mix with Ribena for a Value Kir #
  • Top tip #2: pork marinaded in port, soy, vinegar and mustard is almost as good as using red wine. #hopingmailordercasearrivestomorrow #
  • Rule of thumb: anything the Taxpayers Alliance praises is nonsense; anything it criticises is either right or wrong-but-trivial #
  • Florence & The Machine's version of You Got The Love is *entirely* unnecessary. Actually, I suspect F&TM is generally rather unnecessary #
  • Does anyone who isn't mentally challenged *seriously* believe you can't put a cash value on a human life for public policy purposes? #
  • Things I learned today: Bruce Lee's old house is now a brothel: http://bit.ly/3bhVrA #
  • Darfur's murder rate is lower than London's. Or, Conor Foley talks balls: http://bit.ly/2PewbJ #
  • RT @JamieSport Daniel Hannan has gone from merely embarrassing to a national disgrace http://tinyurl.com/r57w9d #welovetheNHS #
  • was briefly gonnna suggest that my life was odd, but am assured that it isn't. my christ, the amount of weirdness tonight is troubling. #
  • Don't want to sound weird here, but does *anyone* think al-Megrahi did it? Would be genuinely intrigued to hear from sane person who did… #
  • Out of the two people I know who almost exactly resemble @daraobriain , the best one tonight was the one who doesn't host Mock The Week #
  • Pride and Predator #bestfilmever #
  • Quite impressed that the only other movie to warrant #bestfilmever is Caddyshack. Woo Twitter. Unrelatedly, NEED GIRL. BRING JB GIRL. #
  • Computer: Don't understand 'JB Girl'. JB: No, me neither, it's called being human. Girl: Are you going to blog this, oh for fuck's sake. #
  • I'm quite hungover, which is shocking given how sober all my tweets 8 hours ago clearly were. #
  • The Guardian has decided to solve its cash problems by running ads for Philips on @charltonbrooker's RSS feed. That oughta do it. #
  • You wouldn't like me when I'm Ang Lee #
  • enjoying, schadenfreude-ish-ly, @antonvowl's epic struggles with twitter… #

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Were he English, the Death Panels would’ve got him

August 15, 2009 2 comments

That ‘Americans pay for drug R&D’ point

August 15, 2009 12 comments

In the unlikely event that you’ve fallen for the absurd myth “US healthcare is really expensive because they pay for the rest of the world’s drug development”…

Total global pharma R&D spending was US$53bn for 2004 (it won’t have order-of-magnitude changed since then). US healthcare spending was US$2.4 trillion for 2007.

So even if you assume the US does literally pay every penny associated with global pharma R&D, that’s only *2%* of US healthcare spending. If you’re worried about medical innovation being stymied by some kind of NHS-like system in the US, all you need to do is commit to investing a tiny proportion of the savings in a public R&D fund.

This would have the added advantage of focusing on drugs that are useful, rather than near-identical-but-patent-dodging clones of existing drugs which can be sold to gullible patients and gullible-bordering-on-bribed doctors based on cherrypicked studies and outright lies.

See #15 for my judgement

August 11, 2009 6 comments

I gave you all an extra few days, but you still failed.

NRG got 1.5 and neither was the obvious Kinks example, so he wins a Babylon Zoo album. Email details and I’ll post it. Meanwhile, Anton gets the cash alternative to two Babylon Zoo albums, which is being hit round the head with a stick and having all his cash stolen. Email details and I’ll arrange.

And for his interesting explanation of quirks in how the translator works, Edmund wins nothing.

Those answers you’ve been waiting for:

1) “Do you love to love you?” is “Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with?” – The Buzzcocks, Ever Fallen In Love?

2) “At the foot of the toy, he is like a mixture of stuttering children” is “No need to whine boy, like a wind-up toy you stutter at my feet” – Elastica, Stutter

3) “World, died at the western end of the city” is “In a West End town a dead-end world” – Pet Shop Boys, West End Girls

4) “I turn off the hazard lamps” is “With the lights out, this is dangerous” – Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit

5) “Also, all girls, to take gold” is “Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free” – Dire Straits, Money For Nothing

6) “If the nitric acid, he knows the hearts of animals” is “Like his Dad you know that he’s had animal nitrate in mind” – Suede, Animal Nitrate

7) “Above, some other girl” is “Some girls are bigger than others” – The Smiths, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

8) “In this case, if you have difficulty walking” is “Walking back to you is the hardest thing that I could do” – Jesus And Mary Chain, Just Like Honey

9) “Honey, get a lock to lock, it will take time” – “Get your rocks off, get your rocks off honey” – Primal Scream, Rocks [*]

10) “We need to maintain the greenery of the village community” is “We are the Village Green Preservation Society” – The Kinks, Village Green Preservation Society

11) “I love his shows” is “When I say I love you, you say ‘you better” – The Who, You Better You Bet

12) “Line of credit for the toes” is “They have a way to make you pay And to make you toe the line” – Babyshambles, Fuck Forever

13) “This is a special fashion show is the result of his recent research on her head” is “He’s nothing special, she’s not too smart; he studies fashion, she studies art” – Sleeper, Inbetweener

14) “Courage, hard core, a little fun” is “It take courage to enjoy it, the hardcore and the gentle” – Bjork, Big Time Sensuality

15) “How many people, I can see the sense of shame” is “How can you show your face, when you’re a disgrace to the human race?” – Madness, Embarrassment

[*] this one will appeal to fans of jokes about Asian pronunciations of English. There are reasons why it works to do with foreign-imported words being rendered in phonetic alphabets, which Edmund could probably explain in more detail.