It's like a glorious celestial collision.
(he likes it)
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEL! Have a great night out.
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I am a Gryffindor. So is Nick. So is Caz, no? (I smell conspiracy.)
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I have a new favourite news story of this year:
A Greek man from Afytos (pop: 500) in northern Greece, who rose from rags to riches, promised his home village that he would leave it a legacy when he died, to build a hospital.
They were delighted to discover after his death that it was more than five million dollars
However, there was a twist in the tale. Yiannis Katsanas said they could only have the money if they gathered in the centre of the village every five years to hear letters he had written before his death being read out.
The catch? Every one of these letters was a graphic description of the early sexual misdemeanours of the villagers -- all of whom were now respectable pllars of the community -- from his brother, whom he described as an erotomaniac, to his middle-aged nieces, who he called "sexually provocative and dangerously modern".
The villagers battled ten years before a court finally annulled the clause.
Good for them but wow. What a way to get your own back.
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The place where I work (she said cagily, well aware that she has not been discreet about this in the past) has an interview with Philip Pullman.
When he says he writes in the shed, he means it. It's a shed. The trouble with this interviewer is that she inserts herself into interviews (which annoys me beyond measure) and there are pitifully few direct quotes.
(My guess is that she learned her trade before the advent of dictaphones and failed her shorthand, because she wanders all over the place and has bugger-all direct quotes, which is bad baaad practice.)
However, she has enticed out his innate orneryness and I like that. He says some odd things.
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In other news, Chelsea Clinton, her secret service minders and her friends crashed a meeting of the Oxford anti-war coalition, unfurled a stars and stripes and began heckling the speakers. (Apparently she doesn't speak to non-Americans, because they don't understand how she feels. Actually, they probably don't. The desire to huddle close to countrymen when you're abroad and horrible things are going on back home is completely understandable)
If she wants to understand why bellicosity is going out of fashion so rapidly here she should read this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,590383,00.html (it was originally 103 lines longer than this and even more damning)
For Pete's sake. Lions led by donkeys, that's the US.
And Condoleezza Rice should be ashamed of herself for being so appallingly unsavvy. Having principles which you will not bend is one thing, stating them in a manner which offends allies is just stupid and if there's one thing she's not, it's stupid.
Wolfowitz on the other hand... grrrrrr.
While I think that we have to be aware that Arafat is an old crook whose organisation only recognised Israel's fundamental right to exist in 1988, and that the Israelis are also sinned against, something has to be done about the situation and the only country with the necessary diplomatic heft to do that is the US.
If the Saudi foreign minister is publicly saying that Bush's refusal to act is enough to "drive a sane man mad" then I think someone has to start listening.
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I'm still reading Servant of the People by Andrew Rawnsley, which is a peculiar experience because it mentions a few people I know casually. Peter Mandelson's ex-PA works here and a lot of the scoops were generated in this building. (But all of that is not as exciting as the news that Judy Finnigan's son works in research. Caz knows what I mean *g*)
One thing this book does do is remove almost all respect you have for anyone who was in the first Labour government. (except Mo Mowlam and Clare Short, for whom I have unstinting love no matter what they do because they tell the truth. Mo Mowlam told the DUP leader Ian Paisley to fuck off, which should make her a Nobel laureate *at least*)
They all have eggshell egos and a bigger bunch of conniving bastards you could never hope to meet. They're completely obsessed by presentation rather than content, and the amount of spinning and lobby briefing they do against each other almost defies belief.
As for Tony Blair, well, what a delight he is. The lawyer's lawyer. If only he would actually pay attention to this country for five minutes, we might be slightly less fucked.
However, in these times of recession, at least Britain has found a new industry: spin doctors.
Yes! Alastair Campbell, the Downing Street press spokesman, is allegedly setting up a joint US-British rapid rebuttal ("putting the butt in rebuttal") unit to counter the claims broadcast by al-Jazeera and the Islamist news organisations. It will be dedicated to the cunning massage of the news which we have so perfected in this great nation of ours.
Yes indeedy, we're now exporting liars to Pakistan! And we thought they didn't need any more liars in Pakistan given Benazhir Bhutto* and Nawaz Sharif! Huzzah! Rule Britannia etc. [/sarcasm]
Talk about 'perfidious Albion'... sheesh.
I dunno. I'm pretty sure there are some pretty proficient liars working for the Taliban too. It's probably only right that we send our brightest and best.
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[*btw, someone was talking the other day about how the US shouldn't trumpet its values so much about women's rights until it had had a women president or vice-president like so many of the Asian countries, but this is bollocks. Every one of those female rulers has had either a husband or else a father who was a leader in that country. Megawati Sukarnoputri, president of Indonesia, is the daughter of Sukarno; Benazir Bhutto was the daughter of Ali Bhutto and the world's first female prime minister, whose name I will not attempt to spell, took over from her dead husband in Sri Lanka. So these achievements are less about women's rights than an oligarchic elite maintaining its grip on the mechanisms of power even when its male scions have been removed.
Do you think the US could elect a female president at this time? Do you think she would exhibit the same utter contempt for the advancement of women's rights that Margaret Thatcher did? I don't see why it shouldn't, but if that is the case, then why hasn't it happened?]
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Also apparently: Osama bin Laden is an Arsenal fan. If you live in Britain, this makes a hideous sort of sense.
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Tonight is the work pub quiz and dear sweet GOD it's getting competitive. My only (but consuming) desire is that our team beats the boss who fucked me over into a small squishy pulp. Other than that I don't care who wins. All the people on our team are an excellent laugh and we'll probably do okay. Unfortunately evil boss's team has a ringer on it who knows EVERYTHING and I shall be thwarted.
I shall have to get drunk instead. Oh the trauma. *g*
The pub we are holding the quiz at is called The Surprise. Usually people at work hang out in the pub at the back of the office, but the landlord, who is a miserable, misanthropic old bastard, once made a remark which could be construed as racist and the union blacklisted his gaff -- it was official, proposed by the father of the chapel and passed at a chapel meeting. So the quiz had to be moved from there.
The pub where we are holding it is run by some offshoot of the dodgiest crime family in north London, the Adamses (yes, yes, the jokes are legion) who solve their little problems through efficient use of the cosh and the blade. The people who hang out there on the week are unsavoury to say the least.
But because of a remark the landlord of the Coach made about three years ago for which he has since apologised we are going to hold our pub quiz in dodgyasfuckland.
I'm not saying the landlord is anything other than a pig, but hello, strange standards being applied here.
Still. Should be both a good night and a lock-in.
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The latest sport to fascinate the [place of work] backbench is "extreme ironing".
Which is ironing, while hanging off cliffs, on top of mountains and while parachuting. (All men in the pictures. Bet you couldn't get the buggers to iron in say, the living room)
I think it's a wind-up but still, the world is a more strange and wonderful place than we could ever dream.
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