Saturday Night Music

Hello kiddies. Did you miss me?

I’ve been quite the jetsetter these last few months, and I regret that I have been neglecting you all. My psychologist, Doctor Manfredsen, says that my blogger fatigue is responding to treatment.

I’m currently holed up in a Moscow airport hotel with no wifi and cockroaches the size of fucking beagles. The blankets made crackling noises when I first sat down on them. Mind you, there’s lots of vodka and a cute night-manager with generous ideas about customer service. Life could be worse.

What are you listening to? Bonus points for gratuitous shirt off action.

(Last one via YellowJournalism)


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Pope Francis has admitted that a “gay lobby” exists within the Vatican’s administration and is planning to take action about it, according to reports.

The Pontiff supposedly made the claim during an audience last Thursday at the Vatican with a group of Latin American priests and nuns.

“It is true… they speak of a ‘gay lobby’ and that is true, it is there… we will have to see what we can do.”

“Yes, it is difficult,” he reportedly said. “In the Curia there are holy people, truly holy people. But there is also a current of corruption, also there is, it is true… they speak of a ‘gay lobby’ and that is true, it is there… we will have to see what we can do.”

A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the statement, which was reported by the Chilean Catholic website, Reflexion y Liberation. “This was a private meeting held by the Pope and I will not comment on private meetings,” said Father Federico Lombardi.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are thousands, millions of decent, loving Catholics out there who live good lives and do good work.

But, frankly, the men you allow to lead your religion are dicks.


Look to Windward

Picture: Cheugn Wattie

Iain Banks is dead of cancer at age 59.

I have long been a devotee of his books written as Iain M. Banks, and in awe of his ability to create fantastic and bizarre worlds and characters while ensuring that they were always, somehow, deeply human.

It is a sad day.

[Picture: Cheugn Wattie]


But my love for you endures, and remains forever more

So, it’s been a shit of a week, and it’s not over yet. Amongst all the horror and sadness and stupidity, I offer you a moment of pure joy.

In New Zealand the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, introduced by Labour Party MP Louisa Wall (the lovely Māori woman in the rainbow coat) passed with 77 votes to 44. On receiving Royal Assent from the Governor-General, the bill will become law and same-sex marriages will be available in New Zealand from mid-August.

When the bill was passed, this happened:

Kia ora to all my Kiwi friends (particularly the lady in the fabulous hat).

Pōkarekare ana, ngā wai o Rotorua
Whiti atu koe hine, marino ana e
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

Tuhituhi taku reta, tuku atu taku rīni
Kia kite tō iwi, raruraru ana e.
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

Whatiwhati taku pene, kua pau aku pepa
Ko taku aroha, mau tonu ana e.
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

E kore te aroha, e maroke i te rā
Mākūkū tonu i aku roimata e.
E hine e, hoki mai ra, ka mate ahau i te aroha e.

The waves are breaking, against the shores of Rotorua,
My heart is aching for your return my love.
Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.

I have written you a letter, and enclosed with it my ring,
So your people could see it how much I’m troubled for you.
Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.

My poor pen is broken, my paper is spent,
But my love for you endures, and remains forever more.
Oh my beloved girl, come back to me, I could die of love for you.

The sun’s hot sheen won’t scorch my love,
Being kept evergreen by the falling of my tears.
Oh girl, Come back to me, I could die of love for you.


Gop will eat itself

mushrooms-large

I do love me some birthers – Ted Cruz birthers, that is.

What does that say about the list the authors put before you as “cleared for take off?” Both Jindal and Haley’s parents were Indian citizens and the Indian constitution makes their children citizens of India by BIRTH! See permanent residents are not required to renounce their former citizenship as naturalized citizens are, so the laws of India apply to the children of Indians born in the United States.

Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz is a great man, a true conservative but he is ineligible to be President, because the law of Canada made him a citizen of Canada by BIRTH. His citizenship comes from Title 8 of the United States Code.

Rubio has perhaps the best claim of them all to show that at the time of his birth he only had allegiance for the United States. The 1940 Cuban Constitution which was in effect at the time of his birth states, Those born in foreign territory, of Cuban father or mother, by the sole act of their becoming inhabitants of Cuba (become Cubans by Birth.) Here Rubio would need to perform a positive act to claim Cuban citizenship as he would need to migrate to Cuba and take up residence there. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that a natural born citizen is one born in the United States to citizen parents, and until that is changed by the Supreme Court of the United States Rubio will be on shaky legal ground.

All across the Nutweb they are springing up, like tiny phallic fungi, poking their heads up through the bullshit strewn around them. Watch now, as the slightly less insane representatives of the right, recognising (perhaps) that their party has fruited something unpleasant, poisonous and inconvenient, watch as they try to stomp the tiny little birther mushrooms into mush.

Eliana Johnson at the National Review Online. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.

Some question whether the Canada-born freshman senator is eligible for the presidency (hint: he is).

The homepage of the website Birthers.org is currently devoted to making the constitutional case against Cruz’s eligibility. He is lauded for representing his state “with a passion not seen in Texas since the Alamo” and cheered for being “one hell of a Senator,” but Birthers.org’s denizens emphatically conclude that he cannot be president “because the law of Canada made him a citizen of Canada by BIRTH.”

On ObamaReleaseYourRecords.com, alongside the latest news about the president’s fraudulent birth certificate and his close ties to Islam, anonymous authors blast the media for propagating the “myth” that the Constitution permits a Cruz presidency. “What complete madness to suggest someone born in another country is a ‘natural born Citizen’ of the United States and eligible to be POTUS,” one of them argues. “It is complete rubbish and they know it.”

Donald Trump, who in 2011 hounded President Obama to turn over his long-form birth certificate and kept the birther movement in the national news for months, has yet to look into Cruz’s eligibility. “I like him,” Trump tells National Review Online, but says he has “not studied his situation.”

“Obviously, I have everybody calling me wanting my support,” he claims. Nonetheless, he considers Cruz’s case “very different” from the president’s because Cruz “has been very candid and open about his place of birth and his background.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Happier than a dog with three balls

Hello, dears. Just popping my head up above the water to say hello and bring you a quick dump and run of delights.

First, I’m popping out the oldies with Lenny Bernstein’s slick version of Exultate Jubilate. The recording is very Lenny – a big church filled bombastically to the formerets with an orchestra consisting of every single fucking person in Bavaria who can play an instrument (cute violinist alert at 5.04) and a deathly silent audience, stunned into submission by the music and the stark staring terror that they might cough and Lenny would gut them with his baton. However, Arleen Auger’s voice is lovely, and this recording is the one I hear in my head if I happen to think of Lenny. It was playing one night at one of his parties, and he was serving drinks and bopping around like he usually did when he got to hear his own performances, like a drunk bullfrog that has been connected to the mains, and at the height of one particularly spastic conniption he managed to tip an entire jug of margaritas over Nancy Reagan, so it always makes me laugh. The recording of the Great Mass in C minor that goes with this on CD is a cracker, by the way.

Next, following on from Cole’s mustard abduction, a charming little story by Theodore Sturgeon called “Yesterday Was Monday” which was pointed out by KBS, and which explains everything.

Random food blogness: Fat Yu, who apparently IS FAT YU! (and also a tiny little bit racist on the Japanese), but who writes otherwise entertainingly of his eating exploits around Shanghai.

If you like a bit of tentacle in your tale and can “Ïa! ïa! Shub niggurath!” with the best of them, you might enjoy Innsmouth Mazazine. I have been working my way through them very happily, even if they do give me odd dreams.

Last, and then I am off to bed in my upside-down down-under bed, I suggest you go and see the website of sculptor Thomas Doyle to see the coolest things ever.

Goodnight my dears. Sleep well and dream of Ted Cruz slowly slipping down a slavering and drool-bespattered maw. Ïa! ïa! Cthulhu fhtagn!


Late night music


Just sayin’ is all…


It is an unnecessarily time-consuming demand to expect anyone to provide you with proof

97594466

I’ve been here in Australia for about six weeks, and if it hasn’t been been piss-steamingly hot, it has instead been dumping cockloads of cold rain on my head. I was shat on by a koala that looked more stoned than I did. I had to go to a cocktail party attended by both Rose Fucking Porteus [Youtube] and Gina Bitchface Rinehart. Thankfully they kept them on opposite sides of the ballroom, pointed Rose at the gin buffet and distracted Gina by waving Fairfax share certificates at her. I went to dinner at Parliament House, all done up in my best soup-and-fish, and got stuck next to Christopher Pyne – the stupid person’s idea of a clever poodle. [Also Youtube]

Now there’s going to be an election. In September. Which will be all the media here will talk about for the rest of my stay.

What a fucking country.

Anyhow, I realised that I have fallen down on my duty to you all. It has been a long time since I last fished a gleaming urinal cake of stupid out of the piss trough they call the Corner, and then held it up for your delectation. Thus, I remedy my fault.

For today’s bagetelle, I thought I might use Obamacare Punishes Smokers: Why not the Promiscuous? By Wesley J. Smith, in which Wesley J. Smith responds to an AP story which reports that health insurers will be able to charge higher premiums to smokers buying individual policies.

Living unhealthy lifestyles has become the new Scarlet Letter. That’s what happens with centralized health care. But once we go down that road, it won’t end there. Smokers today, the obese tomorrow.

This financial stick is entirely political. Notice we never hear experts wanting to “punish” the promiscuous for the cost burden they inflict on the health care system. Yet people who sleep around, like smokers and the obese, cost the rest of us plenty–what with promiscuity leading to sexually transmitted diseases, some cancers, HIV, unwanted pregnancies, mental health issues, etc. Why isn’t what is good for the goose also good for the gander?

That won’t happen because society celebrates promiscuity and the popular culture glamorizes licentious lifestyles the way it once extolled smoking. Consider: Girls. We applaud basketball players who sleep with 20,000 women. We ooh, and ah over Reality TV celebrities, with no talent other than living provocatively before the camera, who sleep around and get very publicly pregnant. We even tend to think something is wrong with virgins who are older than 18.

If we are going to outlaw underwriting, it should apply across the board. But if we are going to punish unhealthy lifestyles with higher insurance premiums, that too should apply across the board. After all, “equality” is the new buzz word, right?

Now, the title had promise and, aside from the fact that Wesley J. Smith and I agree that penalty pricing insurance is wrong, there’s a lot of stupid in there to mock. However, most of it boils down to a smug and slightly sweaty man in his basement typing “hoors” over and over again with one palsied hand. Which is disappointing.

However, let us forge ahead, for today, today it is in the comments that the real gold lies. Read the rest of this entry »


I shall endeavour to propitiate you with gifts

Well kiddies, it has been a while. I plead temporary insanity – of our country, not of me.

Endless bleating that Hagel is the suxxors because he hates all Jews everywhere, or because he did and said some stupid shit in the 90s (I remember the 90s, and we all did and said and wore some pretty stupid shit in the 90s) or because he doesn’t have a big D bedazzled onto his vagina.

Endless threads derailed by people who think that the suicide of a gifted yet misguided young man is their opportunity to call him names and gloat hell-fire-and-damnation style about how he deserved to be punished, rather than an opportunity to ask whether punishment should be the sole purpose of our criminal legal system.

We (the blog and the country) seem descended upon by an army of gun nuts and open carry weirdos, wingnuts and no-nuts and just plain-ol’ nuts, godbotherers, trolls, self-appointed rape inspectors, racists and ranters and self-talkers, all bereft of empathy, compassion or good sense. Dickheads everywhere, and the screeching! Jesus.

Never mind. Presents!

First, to get you in the mood, some music:

Next, Wodehouse, always such balm to the soul. I’m linking to a story called Ruth In Exile – a lovely little snip of a thing which will more than repay fifteen minutes of your time. If you have never read beyond Jeeves, then there is a world of joy awaiting you in Wodehouse’s short stories. If you have never read Jeeves? Well, get the fuck away from me until you have. Weirdo.

Then, my obsession for the last weekend – last year’s competition papers from the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. I do admit that lingusitics puzzles might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but they kept me thinking, or at least cheating and pretending I knew the answer all along, for a good number of hours.

Food – I am going to point you to this caraway seed cake recipe from Hugh Fffernly Whiffingstable in the Guardian. It’s ludicrously easy to make. I tend to leave out the mace, substitute candied peach or apricot for the candied orange peel, and then ice the whole thing with an icing made by stirring together 2 cups of icing sugar, some grated orange rind and a big spoonful of sour cream. It’s a lovely cake – soft but with some weight, a crunchy top and that glorious anise and citrus tang of the caraway.

Finally, if you haven’t read it already, the Kitten Setting in which Mr Scalzi tells us of his inspired manner of dealing with trolls. One can dream.

ETA: Bonus!