Archive for December, 2004


The Earthquake in Sumatra was initially a very personal problem, my Uncle and his family live on Sumatra and I thought for over 24 hours that I might have lost almost 1/2 my family with one stroke. Fortunately they were on the other side of the island and were not harmed, obviously my personal feelings of relief are tempered by seeing the devastation and the deaths of many others who are all members of families even if not mine. It is heart-wrenching to see the pictures, so far away and yet still part of us. I am also saddened that whilst the Western coalition can drop megaton bombs on countries around the world the urgency to get aid to people after disasters seems not to be so prevalent. i am angry that Britain a wealthy country had only pledged £15 million (later increased to £50 million after it was announced that the British public had raised £25 million in a matter of days), I am also disgusted that the United States the wealthiest country in the world is sending an derisory £18 million and seems more intent on ‘organising a coalition’ to sort things rather than just getting on with it. Perhaps the South East Asians may have reason to fear US-led coalitions based on recent operations, a case of “timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” substituting Danaos with a Latin equivalent of Americans whatever that may be.

If you are searching for or have lost family in the earthquake or subsequent tsunami you have my deepest sympathies.

So that was 2004 eh, hmmm, rather turbulent emotions on that one too. It wasn’t as bad as 2003 and personally I think many of the foundations have been laid for the future but not without a lot of work and a fair amount of soul-searching. I hope everyone who stops by here will have a happy 2005.

Song Of The Day – Sneaker Pimps – Post Modern Sleaze

Original Comments:


Pimme made this comment,
I’m glad to hear that your relatives are safe. There’s nothing scarier than fearing that someone is dead!
It’s also worth mentioning that wild animals seemed to have escaped mass destruction due to their instinctual behavior. I was very worried about the Sumatran tiger population, which is highly endangered anyway.

Bush should donate his inauguration money to the cause, and have a quiet party like my last birthday was. (yeah, right–sweet dreams)!

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

comment added :: 31st December 2004, 04:35 GMT+01
Lynne made this comment,
I’m lost for words on the tsunami thing. 😦
Let’s hope ’05’s a better year all round. I dunno about anyone else, but I could have done without the last four months of this year.

Ta for being a mate, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our… (cough) interactions RB! Here’s to more of ’em, I say!

All the best to you and yours.

RG, Tribe & Menagerie

Visit me @ http://raingoddess.blog-city.com

comment added :: 31st December 2004, 13:21 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
£18,000,000 from the US government. If only they would put just 10% of what they spend on ‘saving’ the people of Iraq into helping the victims of this disaster. No oil ! No chance !
John

comment added :: 31st December 2004, 17:06 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Good news on your family. A rough December for you, my dear. I like the idea of spending inauguration money on aid from Pimme. He’d be a mensch to do it. Which is why he won’t.
Happy New Year, Baron.

Kristie

comment added :: 31st December 2004, 17:56 GMT+01
moog made this comment,
im so glad that you had tht good news about your family!! phew! my friends still have not heard about their loved ones.
i hope you have a better 2005 my friend! U2 could be on the cards! 🙂
Visit me @ http://jealoustwin.blog-city.com/

comment added :: 31st December 2004, 19:02 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
so glad your relatives are okay. it’s been horrible watching the news channel and seeing the state the tsunami has left some of the asian countries in. but like another cynical blogger said, these people will need help for much longer than the next couple of months. but the moment the next breaking story comes on, everyone would have forgotten about the tsumani, and we’ll be least bothered (as will our governments).
i hate the way its being covered in the news, by the way – a lot of the news sites say things like 110,000 people killed and then the box story is “british family feared to be wiped out”. the value placed on an american life, or a british life seems to be much more than that on the asians.

anyway, on a lighter note – i hope this new year brings you a lot of happiness, my twin.

sending you lots of love and hugs.

sarah

comment added :: 1st January 2005, 21:59 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
I’m glad your family remained unharmed! I can’t imagine believing that someone could be dead and not knowing for a while.
At the farm, we’re told that if there was ever a storm bad enough where the barn could be destroyed, by simply opening the paddocks, we could save them rather then trying to get them somewhere else, because of their instincts. They’d probably make out better then us in a natural disaster.

Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 2nd January 2005, 02:33 GMT+01
Jen Tate made this comment,
I know how you feel. We’re still waiting to hear from some of our relatives.
[Redbaron Responds – I sincerely hope the news is both good and quick in coming.]

comment added :: 3rd January 2005, 13:55 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
I guess another side to this disaster is the way that poverty (especially lack of infrastructure) is going to make things worse in the coming weeks. There’s a push to get the Australian govt to set up camps for people here until the area gets back on its feet, but I can’t see that happening. But criticisms aside, our thoughts should be with the families of those dead and missing.
Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

comment added :: 4th January 2005, 08:07 GMT+01

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I wrote this before recent events tarnished the Christmas sheen a little, I wanted to post it because it does remind me of what Christmas should have been.

I will not countenance Xmas until at least December. Not because I’m an old Scrooge actually I really like Xmas, and that is why I don’t want the commercialised version rammed down my throat for 2 months it just means by the time you get to Xmas it’s somewhat lost its lustre.

Fortunately with young children they reinvigorate Xmas, they remind me of the way I used to look forward to it. Xmas for me is a small family thing (only because I have never had the most close-knit of families – I am like my Dad in wanting to be the Victorian style patriarch warming the coat tails at the hearth in a big stovepipe hat with a plethora of children and gradchildren all of the place) and it tends to follow a more continental teutonic style which is very much based around the adults organising for the enjoyment of the children.

Of course there is also the food, now I suppose I’m going to have to start watching myself but I do really love my family’s Xmas food. For many people Xmas means turkey but we never really tended to do that. First my Ma does a ham for Xmas Eve she roasts and glazes it herself and it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted, s’a family receipe passed down by the matriarchs. (Irish Mammmy’s come into their own at Xmas they rule everything and they are entirely responsible for the success of Xmas.) and then is one of my favourite parts of Xmas which is breakfast, a tradition I instigated after I came back from Holland 15 years ago. It’s modelled on the Uitsmijter and comprises 2 healthy slabs of fresh white bread (a good bloomer is best) on top of them you put some large chunks of the Xmas ham and they are smeared with a strong smooth mustard and then topped with a poached egg yolk just soft and freshly cracked black pepper. I love that breakfast and tho’ I do try to have it a few times a year no ham is as good so it tastes best accompanied with all the Xmas smells and stuff.

Xmas to me is about warm dark colours crimsons, holly greens and golds as well as warm dark smells like cinnamon and nutmeg and clove. It is the very ambience of this and the people around that make up that Xmas. Gifts are there but never the be all and end all, we’ve always been broke so we’ve always gone for significant things rather than any flamboyance in presents. I always buy most stuff late and I just go round until things jump out and it becomes clear what is for whom.

Likewise I do not like too many decorations, a good selection and in every room including the loo is nice, lights on the outside of the house is ludicrous and for showing off to others, I don’t hold with that side of Xmas in the same way that I dislike the over-commercialisation.

Do I have any right to celebrate Xmas as an atheist, well it would be a little less defensible if it were in Sept/Oct when Jesus is actually likely to have been born but having picked a pagan festival for it’s useful timing in breaking up the year I feel that by the end of December I am in as much need of a break as anyone else and I would encourage people of different or no faiths to take the same line. If the Christians begrudge you Christmas then tell them to give up the tree because it has no religious significance. I’m all for Christmas being acknowledged as a secular holiday and if the Christians want to celebrate the state birthday of Christ then well that’s fine as it is for the Jews to celebrate Hannukah (I nearly called it Honnecker there for a moment, sorry about that, wrong tangant entirely!) and the Muslims Eid and I don’t know if the Hindus have something in December after Divali.

Anyway I wish everyone a very happy festive period whatever they wish to celebrate, let’s put differences aside for a moment, ditch the political correct bullshit and just be human for a while. Let’s remember the Christmas of 1914 on the Western Front a brief flicker of humanity in the most inhumane of environments. I particularly love the fact that all the men in the trenches did something that the toffs back at the HQs would have despised, they’d call them all communists these days!!

I wish you all out there some peace especially for those of you who rarely see it. Take care all of you and as Dave Allen says “May your God go with you.”

Song Of The Day – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York

Original Comments:

So the car was found, I had kind of expected it to be, they get a lot of abandonned cars around there. Generally they are just left as is, sadly this was not the case for the Ex’s. Her car was well and truly trashed, it had been driven into the ground front axle knackered, driven into a goalpost mullering the front, the windows had been smashed in and it had been jumped on. So my ex had to go and identify the car and see it in that state, a car which had been in the family for like over 15 years.

Now she has to buy a new car, the cost of the insurance which has just been paid is more than the value of the car so it’s going to be costly. All for a couple of dickheads to have a 30 mph joyride, I mean the car was so old it’s like only going to do 40 downhill.

So which is the greater write-off the car or Christmas? No, I shall attempt to ho ho ho and put on a jolly face because that’s what I do but the stuffing has been somewhat removed if you’ll pardon the pun.

Song Of The Day – It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home

Original Comments:


A visitor made this comment,
What a bummer, Baron. I’ll try to send some Christmas cheer to you and yours. Feliz navidad, amigo.
Kristie

comment added :: 24th December 2004, 07:03 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
Put a happy face on with your kids. They’ll remember it. For you, All I can say is, I hope this gets better for ya. What a way to start the new year! I hope the fuckin’ bastards who stole the car are enjoying theirs! *mumbles*
Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 24th December 2004, 19:07 GMT+01

While we were all in the house tonight round at my ex’s someone tested the front door and removed the keys from behind and made off with the ex’s car. An approximately 20 year old 2 door Nissan Micra. This comes exactly 12 months (within 4 days) since the house was burgled. So now Xmas is going to be one like last year of angst, fear, frustration and spending days on the phone to insurance idiots. We had to get the locks changed obviously which was fun.

I am inclined to say it kind of proves that there either isn’t a God or if there is he/she/it is a tosser because I’m an atheist and the ex isn’t. My car keys were in my jacket just by the door and my car had a fair few Xmas presents in, it is also a car worth a fair bit more than the ex’s.

I drove around for hours trying to see if the car was around the Ind. Estates and shit but no sign. The filth think it might be found dumped tomorrow. Bastards haven’t even dusted the door for prints tonight, ‘”they’ll be round in the morning” fucking marvellous and how pray do we get the lock changed and open the bloody door in the meantime. Space cadets I’m going to withold my council tax in protest. Bastards.

So Santa be warned, I’m afraid if you are coming, ring the bell because I have armed the ex with my baseball bat and at my house I have cricket bat, hockey stick and gun so be warned.

Song Of The Day – The Damned – Smash It Up

Original Comments:


Rina made this comment,
I’m torn between laughing (because you told it all in quite an amusing way) and feel sorry. I can do both, can’t I? By the way, remember when I said Heyward’s car was stolen? Turns out it wasn’t, but he’s a plonker and a moron and had forgotten how far up the street he had parked it. I kid you not. Made for some good laughs on my end and after that I made sure to let him know he was a complete imbecile.
Hope the car gets found. Glad the gifts are still around, that’s what counts anyway! Ahaha.

Visit me @ http://sugarbowl.blog-city.com

comment added :: 23rd December 2004, 04:27 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
You certainly can’t be too careful around this time of the year. People really like to take advantage around the holidays.
Burglars will never steal my keys. Half the time, I can’t find them myself! ;^)

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

comment added :: 23rd December 2004, 05:44 GMT+01
Bob Red made this comment,
Sorry to hear that mate… I sympathise, insurance idiots sounds just about right. I keep thinking of that direct line advert where someone rings up and you see the camera zoom into the operators ear, and the three charlies angels clones start talking about how they are going to fix the situation. In reality, the camera should zoom into her ear, and end up going straight through and out the other side illustrating that they havent got a brain!
I hope it dosent spoil things for you all too much and for what its worth, I hope you have a good one mate. May the burglars end up with their heads wedged in the gears of a combine harvester, whilst sparrows peck away at their genitalia in order to prevent them from spawning more burberry cap wearing vile offspring!
Hope things work out ok…
RED

Visit me @ http://bobred.blog-city.com

comment added :: 23rd December 2004, 13:28 GMT+01
haywood made this comment,
That sucks baron, sorry to here. Probably one of those nasty chavs huh?
Visit me @ http://cjh9999.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – I’ll fucking bet they were chavs too the feckin’ c….]

comment added :: 24th December 2004, 01:52 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
What a bunch of jack offs. What the hell are you supposed to do until they come? Mind you, chances are the car will be found completely stripped and it’ll just be some low class ass hole with nothin’ better to do. You did already tell me this, so instead of just feeling pity, I’m kind of pissed. If this happened to me, I’d be more then pissed.
Rina’s right though, you did tell it in a humourous way. 🙂

Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 24th December 2004, 19:04 GMT+01

I heard a debate today based around the ruling by the House of Lords (the UK’s version of a Supreme Court) that the UK government had racially discriminated against Czeck Romanies by their policy of having a vetting procedure at Prague airport.

The twat from Migrationwatch, who I have heard before and I apologise for my singular lack of balanced reporting but the guy makes me fecking livid, said that the government policy was perfectly justified and they had a similar one in France which had resulted in a drop in the number of asylum claims to the UK that had come from France and a rise in the number of claims that the French were now dealing with. I couldn’t believe that he said this with sure assuredness and failure to even see that the principle point was that there were still the same number of asylum claims he was simply applauding a government initiative to keep it somebody else’s problem. He banged on about how the population was going to rise by 2 million within 10 years as a result of immigration etc. etc. I have to say at this point I’d dispute some of the facts, we’ve had immigration here for a long time and yet population is if anything on the decline in the EU and certainly the younger sections are proportionally down which is exacerbating the pensions crisis. This is the same guy who was talking about the flodgates opening when the expansion of the EU allowed free movement of Eastern Europeans, this mass immigration did not happen.

The Migration Watch representative did not give any info regarding emigration from the UK, he did not put forward any plan to stop immigration by rebuilding infrastructures in the countries these people are coming from. He did not propose any solution about putting international pressure on countries that persecute and hound out minorities. No, quite the contrary this guy wants more British Immigration officials installed in African countries to stem the asylum seekers from there. Presumably these officials will take on the mantra of the French or German tourist board and suggest that asylum seekers would much rather go somewhere else. At the moment Britain allows proportionally less immigrants than either France or even Luxembourg amongst others. When asylum seekers are processed here they are not allowed to work, they are dispersed around the country and if their application is rejected they must return to their home country to launch an appeal from there.

This is a national and should be an international disgrace. I am embarrassed to be living here, I am ashamed that people in this country care so little about the rest of the worl that they would rather palm the disenfranchised off on someone else than even seek to help.

These reactionary idiots are NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) they are something which I see as being the real product of Thatcherism in this country. Now I know most countries have them and I am sure since the individualism of the 80s and beyond that they are on the rise but nowhere does the Nimby seem more entrenched at at home than Middle England. It runs to so many facets of life but there are some I want to address with particular vitriol as well as the immigration which I have just covered.

Firstly energy: Now is there anyone out there who still isn’t sure about whether or not we have an impending problem regarding how we are going to power everything? Anyone with a brain that is, or is it just the US establishment that chooses the revisionist guide to the environment? Let’s presume then that we have accepted the need to change thigs to avoid the environmental consequences of running out of a major fuel source be it oil or coal it doesn’t actually matter.

There are basically 2 ways to provide this energy. We can go down the route of extraction or harnessing. By that I mean we can use something that has to be extracted and then used, or we can use something where we are in fact only harnessing an existing form of energy. The former is anything like coal, gas, oil and I would contend nuclear as well as it too requires raw materials. The latter is renewable energy, here we are not actually using anything up as there is a relative infinite capacity. After all if the sun stops giving off energy then we aren’t going to be in much of a position to worry about how we power our digital watches. From a purely economic situation it seems clear to me that if you are generating a product from an inexhaustible supply of raw materials like solar rays, water or wind then you are in a better position than if a large part of your setup has to include the extrapalation of the raw materials such as oil rigs, gas platforms and coal mines.

Now the Nimbys are the people who object to wind farms because they deem them unsightly, whether they would feel that a nuclear power station was any more aesthetic I do not know but I’m sure there again if they firmly believed nuclear was the only option they would still complain about the dangers of radiation if the power station was built anywhere near them. Thanks to Big John we have the proof, as if it were really needed, that the Right Tosser DisHonourable Tony Bliar is amongst the Nimby numbers the story is here. To illustrate the paradoxical nature of the Nimby arguments take the airport expansions, Nimbys are almost always opposed to airport expansions etc. on environmental groungs, this is because generally the Nimbys live in nice rural areas and suddenly they become aware of the views. I would not be against this in itself but it is precisely the Nimbys who tend to have the money to use the airports as their preferred mode of transport.

It is not just in this sphere that the Nimbys feel they may excercise their powers, take prisons, waste recycling centres, mobile phone masts, sex offender rehabilitation centres, these are all things that you can raise an objection against and few of us would question that there are usually strong merits to the arguments against. Some of us may feel if we’re being honest that there may be the element of the Nimby in us on certain fronts, most of us use mobile phones and are therefore sanctioning the technology not to mention having a bit of a moan when we lose signal, but how many would want a mobile phone mast next door? Despite at the moment there being no clinically-proven medical evidence to suggest any ill-effects. In addition I freely admit that I am for the rehabilitation of offenders and I believe that paedophilia is a mental imbalance and should be treated as such and examined carefully so as to understand it but I as a parent would be dismayed if such a centre were to be anywhere near my kids no matter how secure it was even tho’ the likelyhood may be that if someone were to escape and re-offend they’d be unlikely to do so right on the doorstep of the institution they were fleeing from. Likewise with waste management few would argue that at the rate we are going we are going to drown in our own rubbish the way we are going and yet we are not necessarily ammenable to land-fill alternatives near us. The list goes on.

Now my view on this is that the phenomenon comes from a lack of social conscience. More of that later.

Song Of The Day – The Smiths – Sheila Take A Bow

Original Comments:


Rachel made this comment,
I can certainly see where you’re coming from. The arrogance of some can make others sick, but they’ll stay oblivious until it affects them personally. Don’t know how you’re staying there, since you loathe it so much, but, then again, I’m not terribly fond of where I live, and you don’t see me doing anything in particular about it. I just keep getting angry.
Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 03:35 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
Well, at least it’s not like here in Australia when a group of refugees were rescued at sea by a freighter but the govt refused to let them be brought ashore. Men, women and children were living on the deck till the govt arranged to have them imprisoned on the devastated island of Nauru.
Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 05:22 GMT+01
佛山google排名 made this comment,
佛山GOOGLE排名
你好,
Visit me @ http://www.fsgoogle.net

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 15:24 GMT+01
Kitty made this comment,
I really feel for you. Some people just don’t get it, do they?
Visit me @ http://facts.blog-city.com

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 15:47 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Hey ! Your NIMBY is bigger than my one 😉
John

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 16:41 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Beautiful post, Baron. I look forward to the sequel, as I think you’re right. Everyone wants everything always right now, unless it inconveniences them in some way. I live in a place where solar power would (one would think) be a no-brainer, but its still so expensive that no one who didn’t put the panels in in the 1970s is doing so now. There’s no help, no public impetus, to make the move to renewable energy, although it’s plentiful.
I wasn’t aware the sun shone in England…;o)

Kristie [kristiesgu@gmail.com]

comment added :: 23rd December 2004, 00:14 GMT+01

I was moved to action by our old friends the septics again. I had planned to leave the Test Card up until I was able to have my pictures back which are pending the resolution of a minor ‘financial hitch’! But I couldn’t let this one lie and it’s not a surprise the Americans don’t seem to respect their own Christmas tradition of goodwill to all men but then at least they’re not hypocritical since they don’t adhere to that policy throughout the rest of the year so why bother now?!

The case is point has so many ironic undertones it could only be the Americans who were responsible because no one else would have the barefaced cheek to tough it out. I don’t know how much coverage this item has got globally but I refer to the case of the American Interests Section within the Swiss Embassy in Havana. The BBC story is here. This institution has adorned its premises with flamboyant neon flashing christmas decorations in a peacock like display reminiscent of cold war Berlin. In addition to the usual christmas-like items they have included a neon ‘75’ which is to represent 75 people that in their opinion have been wrongly incarcerated in Cuba. The spokesman claimed this was designed to be a thought-provoking gesture rather than an inflammatory one. The building is situated on one of the main streets in Havana. The spokesman also asserted that since these were diplomatic premises they were US property and they had every right to display what they wished.

Diplomacy – di·plo·ma·cy.
1. The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.
2. Tact and skill in dealing with people. See Synonyms at tact.
[Dictionary definition taken from dictionary.com]

Perhaps ‘gunboat diplomacy’ would be a more appropriate term:

n : diplomacy in which the nations threaten to use force in order to obtain their objectives. [dictionary.com]

To use diplomats or diplomatic premises as agit-prop is to be honest hypocrisy of cynical proportions, whilst it is no shock that it is being done to do so added to the banner of what is almost a global holiday period beggars belief.

My friends, I could not have invented a better example of why we, the rest of the world, hate the United States of America and all it’s corporately corrupted government stands for.

No mention was made of the fact that whilst the American Government CIA American Interests Section disagrees with the judgement of the Cuban authorities regarding the trial of these 75 people, there are on the American-controlled part of the very same island some hundreds of people who have not even been afforded the dignity of a trial nor to know the charges on which they are being held, nor been able to consult with lawyers or communicate without censure with their family. Will these men, guilty at the moment of nothing more than geographical and ethnic misfortune, be allowed home for christmas? (I know they are muslims I suspect they’d still be grateful to be released as would their families. Call it a gesture of goodwill in a time of goodwill to ALL men – would you like a dictionary definition of all?!)

I can only hope that the Cuban authorities will now put neon signs with the number of detainees in Guantanamo Bay [549 as of 22/09/04 according to Globalsecurity.org, or the number detained in Abu Ghraib and other jails in Iraq, or the number of times the US has defied the UN by refusing to lift the blockade on Cuba, or the number of military and covert operations the US has conducted on another country’s sovereign soil. Perhaps they should rebut the 75 with a large flashing ‘61 the year of the Bay of Pigs scandal where the US government attempted a coup d’etat on the Cuban government.

I hope now that embassies across America will fly the flags of Cuba, Palestine, Iraq, East Timor, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador etc. etc. I feel this would be very thought-provoking and I cannot see how it might constitute anything that may inflame.

Song Of The Day – Kings Of Leon – Joe’s Head

Original Comments:


Rachel made this comment,
*First comment*
It’s about time you hopped back in the game. But why haven’t the pictures shown up again? Are you late in payment or something?

Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 16th December 2004, 01:52 GMT+01
Mark Ellott made this comment,
Sometimes the sheer barefaced effrontery beggars belief.
Visit me @ http://longrider.blog-city.com

comment added :: 16th December 2004, 09:10 GMT+01
Danny the Infidel made this comment,
On Cuba and USA; Yes USA are in general some scumbags in the way they act and have acted in Latin American, and they are right out stupid in there treatment of the Cuban revolution. USA also have people incarcerated, against all civil and laws and the laws of war.
However, two wrongs don’t equals a right.
How vesselsy, intolerant, dictatorial and plain stupid USA have been against Cube, Castro is still a undemocratic, dictatorial traitor of the Socialist revolution.
I think he did the right thing way back when he booted out Batista, but why, WHY during all this years have he not talked or even hinted anything about the most important socialist reform of them all? the introduction of democracy.
I know the excuse of course, ‘Cuba are under the threat of occupation of the number-one enemy, the imperialists in USA, so maybe later my friends’, and it may even be true, or at least it was, but he could still have made democratic reforms long ago. Or does he not trust the Cuban people to make the right and obvious choice. To me it is a bit like in Orwells ‘Animal Farm’, where the liberator take on the face of the oppressors the just evicted from power.
As I see it Castro start making democratic reform, or USA will eventually come out as both moral and defacto winners of this cold war.

For the thing with the neon sign, what did you expect. People in the American foreign department seam to have grown up watching Rambo and Gilligans Island. They are subtle as elephants in a porcelain store. You are talking about a nation that ones had a president saying “My fellow Americans, I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” on National TV. I suspect that the neon sign backfired?

Visit me @ http://upnorth.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – Well dealing with the incarceration first I have far less information regarding the cases in Cuba to be able to assess the compentency of the Cuban judiciary.

On Castro he isn’t really a traitor to the revolution in so far as he never was a communist -that is merely propaganda from the US to get people to hate him. As regards democracy no Cuba is hardly the cradle for it, can you name me a country that is?

The USA will never will the moral high ground because as the large bullish aggressive country they do not have the moral high ground to take. They have shown all over the world that they are not concerned with the will of the people where this conflicts with the will of the US govt.

The neon sign only surprises me in the gall of the office responsible for being so tunnel-visioned in their single-mindedness. It made for a good blog entry as an example to our septic friends across the water as to why the rest of the world has such animosity toward the US administration.]

comment added :: 16th December 2004, 19:46 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
I don’t see how you can say Castro is not Communist, this is just US propaganda, when he has openly proclaimed he is since establishing ties with the USSR after the Revolution. (Of course you can debate the definitions of communism and democracy, but that’s not the point – it’s not an American invention.)
The US ambassador seems to be ignoring the fact that in return for diplomatic immunity he is not supposed to get involved in the country’s politics. Of course the whole thing’s a stunt and any reaction by Castro is grist to the propaganda mill.

Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – On your 2nd point I agree entirely but on the first I do not. Castro has never claimed to be a communist per se. He was the leader of a popular revolution most of which was based on a communist ideal but he himself is not. The US propaganda has been the attempt to tar him with the communist brush because throughout the Cold War this was the ‘enemy’ and to make out there was a communist state right in their own back yard gave them the pretext to attempt invasions, coups and covert CIA ops. I see Castro in some ways more as Lenin said of a move to communism which is that you need something in between to make the transition.]

comment added :: 19th December 2004, 04:24 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
Any form of leadership today is tainted by favoritism, bad judgement, and general stupidity. The “do as we say, but not as we do” thing is also rampant.
Sounds like the embassy wanted to stir things up!

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

comment added :: 20th December 2004, 02:07 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
Well, Castro’s party is called the Communist Party of Cuba (though he only adopted this after the Revolution). See http://www.pcc.cu if you don’t believe me.
Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – Yes it is but then so was Stalin and Brezhnev’s party in Russia and in East Germany it was the Socialist Unity party this doesn’t mean that the policies they carried out lived up to that billing tho’. Castro is a shrewd operator and many of us respect him for it. It maybe that to preserve Cuba in the current climate his way is right, that’s a different debate, and he is to be supported against the US without question but Communist he is not.]

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 05:16 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
OK, as I said in my first post, there are 2 separate issues. The 1st is what is Communism – this you can debate. For that matter, I don’t think America has lived up to the ideals of its revolution. The 2nd issue, which I was responding to, is your claim that it is (false) ‘US propaganda’ that Castro is a Communist. No, it is Castro propaganda! And in the context of the Cold War, yes, Cuba was allied with the USSR, so US propaganda was correct to say this. This is no way justifies their attacks on Cuba.
comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 23:13 GMT+01

In the meantime here’s some light music.

Song Of The Day – The Crew Cuts – Shh Boom

Original Comments:


Rachel made this comment,
Am I missing something?

*cough* First comment *cough*

Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – This is the Test Card, it is very famous over here. It used to appear on the TV when there was no scheduled program in the days before 24 hour TV. It was designed so that if you were having a TV installed there would be a signal on each channel to tune the frequency of the TV to. Anyway on account of my temporary demotion to plebian blog status which means no pics and shit, I thought the Test Card was apt.
BTW you have indeed the first comment Rachel dear but then you appear to have been up for about 2 weeks!]

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 14:44 GMT+01
Lynne made this comment,
A
Visit me @ http://raingoddess.blog-city.com

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 19:55 GMT+01
Lynne made this comment,
I was about to make a smart-arse remark about you being too hungover to blog, but then I went and hit the wrong button
(blush)
Now *who’s* hungover???!!!

L

Visit me @ http://raingoddess.blog-city.com

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 19:56 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
Nice test frame! ;^) Color quality looks good!
I should be out walking, but it’s pissing down here again. Ah, December!

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 21:17 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
Haha, thanks for explaining it! Been up for two weeks? Pfft! I’m just amazing. 🙂
Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 21:59 GMT+01
haywood made this comment,
just tell blog-city that the email man must have lost your check.
Visit me @ http://cjh9999.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – ‘Lost my check’, what what, are you insinuating something about my shirts, Sir? Ah I see cheque yes it all becomes clear. ‘Mericans and their crazy spelling ha ha ha!]

comment added :: 7th December 2004, 18:59 GMT+01
haywood made this comment,
Back in the day in America, we had a picture of an American Indian on our test pattern. We stole there land but hey, we put them on the tube!
Visit me @ http://cjh9999.blog-city.com

comment added :: 7th December 2004, 19:03 GMT+01
moog made this comment,
bet they loved that! 🙂
Visit me @ http://jealoustwin.blog-city.com/

comment added :: 7th December 2004, 23:21 GMT+01
Rina made this comment,
YES YES YES Loves the song. Still thrileld you deigned to share that with my in August.
[Redbaron responds – Oh God don’t, Rachel is already mad at me for talking to you ‘dehors’ before I spoke to her!!!]

comment added :: 8th December 2004, 06:37 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
I’ve got one of those http://www.bigjohn.blog-city.com/read/521160.htm
John

[Redbaron responds – And a marvellous piece or super-imposition to boot. I doff my cap in recognition of Test Card J!]

comment added :: 8th December 2004, 16:55 GMT+01
Danny the Infidel made this comment,
When I was a wee boy, more then 20 years ago, we used to have the test card on TV before the children’s programs started. Nowadays I seldom see the test card as there are TV programs almost 24h. Wonder what was best, that the children’s programs didn’t start until 6 p.m., “forcing” us kids to do other things or like it’s to day when children can sit and vegetate in front of the tube all day long.
Some used by Swedish national TV


http://svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=3943&a=78746
Visit me @ http://upnorth.blog-city.com

comment added :: 8th December 2004, 19:46 GMT+01
moog made this comment,
i used to love that test card. i thought the girl looked like jane out of my ‘peter and jane’ reading books. i also liked the light jazz that was sometimes played instead of the bleeeeeep, or was that (and still is on bbc2)teletext?
Visit me @ http://jealoustwin.blog-city.com/

comment added :: 8th December 2004, 21:17 GMT+01
Jen Tate made this comment,
*sigh*
I’m wasting away without my regular Baron reading here!
comment added :: 11th December 2004, 14:31 GMT+01
Steve made this comment,
I saw a guy on Mastermind once and his specialist subject was that testcard.
comment added :: 11th December 2004, 21:54 GMT+01
Jimmy Sunshine made this comment,
nice one. long time since i saw the test card, it reminds me of my sister, even though it doesn’t look anything like her. what would the psychodelias make of that?
Visit me @ http://jimmysunshine.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – I shudder to think!]

comment added :: 13th December 2004, 22:50 GMT+01

So it was very much a legal news day yesterday:

Firstly from the ‘Court Circular’ – George Galloway has won his libel action against the Daily Telegraph. For those not familiar with the story the newspaper which is the most right-wing of the British broadsheet papers published a series of documents which had allegedly been found in the rubble of a recently bombed Iraqi government ministry. These documents asserted that George Galloway had received money from Saddam Hussein to the tune of £375,000 a year. Furthermore it claimed he had misappropriated funds which were supposed to be for an Iraqi child suffering from Leukaemia. The Telegraph in its defence suggested that it had been in the public interest to publish these documents. They claimed that in doing so they were not making a judgement one way or the other as to whether the information was correct. They are now asserting that having lost the case the freedom of information for the press has been seriously compromised.

The media and the press in particular is something I have always been very interested in and I have tried to remain objective in this case because the facts interest me, it has been difficult obviously with George Galloway being considerably closer politically to me than the Torygraph. One thing that I cannot see within the Telegraph’s defence is how they have claimed that no-one has actually proven these documents fake without being able on the flip side to prove their authenticity. So basically what it boils down to is that the newspaper has in its possession documents about a public figure on the other side of the political spectrum which are unsubstantiated. In this instance do they have the right to publish these documents inflicting damage on the public figure? If the case was The Guardian (liberal UK broadsheet) against Jonathan Aitken (former Tory cabinet minister) how would I feel? Well I have chosen that analogy precisely because it did happen, only the difference was that the Guardian was able to prove the genuine nature of its sources and Aitken lost the trial and went to jail for purgery. Leaving aside the events of the two trials I am struck by a contrast in reactions of politicians over the cases. When Aitken said he was going to “stamp out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism” many MPs rallied round him saying that the media should be regulated etc. etc. The same was true around the time of Jeffrey Archer who also went to prison having lied in court during the libel trial against the Daily Mirror (centre left UK tabloid).

Now these 2 examples were during the days of a Conservative government that was not averse to corruption, morally questionable behaviour, lying and hypocrisy, so what of the Labour government now? It is the Labour government that took the BBC to task regarding its reporting the they “sexed up” the intelligence dossier on Iraq to make out that Saddam posed a more imminent threat. The BBC Director-General and Chairman were forced to resign and the reporter Andrew Gilligan was censured because his sources were not apparently corroborated. It now transpires that Gilligan’s assertion was quite correct and in fact the government had used uncorroborated sources to apply the ’45 minute claim’ against the advice of the intelligence community. The BBC D-G and Chairman have not been reinstated nor have the government even issued any statement of contrition. The parallel with the Galloway situation bears observation as the Labour party expelled George Galloway shortly after the Telegraph article but veiled under the guise that he was not consistent with party policy. The fact that Galloway’s politics had not been consistent with central Labour party policy for over 10 years was not mentioned. Suffice to say I suspect George is not expecting an apology or even less likely a call back to the party having been exonerated of the charges of ‘treason’ as some claimed. I would hope and expect that were George to receive such an invitation he would at least have a little more integrity than Ken Livingstone who practically bit the arm off the Chief Whip after a cynical Labour Party U-Turn.

Secondly David Bieber, the man who was on trial for the murder of one policeman and the attempted murder of two more was convicted and sentenced to life (whole life) with no prospect of release. It transpires that Bieber was in fact wanted in US for the murder of his wife’s lover but that he had been released on bail whilst the case was assembled and when the police in the US were ready to arrest him he fled. He escaped to Britain where he was at large for 10 years. I found the case interesting that the US is currently insisting on extensive screenings on anyone scheduled to come into the country and yet someone leaving appears to have a far easier time of things. I’ll grant you it was 10 years ago when the US was more lackadaisical but even so I found it ironic nonetheless.

Song Of The Day – E.L.O. – Evil Woman

Original Comments:


Mark Ellott made this comment,
I’ve commented on this over at my blog. The Telegraph’s main defence seems to be that old adage “public interest” and “freedom of the press”. However, they have a responsibility to determine a story’s provenance before going to press. If the story is untrue or defamatory, then it is libel. The treason charge was a ludicrous one and merely added to the libellous nature of the story. They deserved to lose. It is not, as they claimed on the steps of the court, a “black day for journalism.” They broke the rules and got caught. Tough. No sympathy.
Visit me @ http://longrider.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – Exactly, spot on, I failed to put it better myself!]

comment added :: 4th December 2004, 11:35 GMT+01
Danny the Infidel made this comment,
It seam to be a thin line between public interest and sensationalistic press. We have had some cases here where news papers have been pounced by the Press Ombudsman. In one case a newspaper reviled the photo and identity of a suspect in a high profile murder case, when he still was just held for questioning. The person was later able to sue the paper.
To claim that the fact that they didn’t made and judgement on whether the information was correct or not seam to be rather like how the Fox News are playing the game with there hints of ‘some people say’ and ‘it have been said’. Then you just want to avoid responsibility and spread gossip.
I belive that the press should be extremly free, but in the same time I cale for stricter ethical thinking among the journalists them self.
Visit me @ http://upnorth.blog-city.com

comment added :: 4th December 2004, 17:41 GMT+01
Mark Ellott made this comment,
My own feeling is that they know damn well what they are doing and go for the publish and be damned approach. Libel or not, they sell an awful lot of newspapers that way. And, true or not, the Baghdad documents made good copy. However, tight regulation could mean governments suppressing stories that criticise them and that isn’t a good thing either. I think, on balance what happened here was a good thing as it was a timely reminder that libel costs and they can’t expect to get away with it carte blanche.
Visit me @ http://longrider.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – I heard a guy from Cairo put it into perspective – “In the darkness within the rubble of a bombed Iraqi government building a Telegraph journalist was looking around when a document fluttered down and it happened to be a document that explained in English how George Galloway was in the pay of Saddam Hussein.” This seemed to sum up the lunacy of the whole situation.]

comment added :: 4th December 2004, 20:46 GMT+01
Mark Ellott made this comment,
As Harry Hill would say; “What’s the chances of that?”
Visit me @ http://longrider.blog-city.com

comment added :: 5th December 2004, 10:18 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
Stealing from charity is horrible.
Sure, the US takes precautions if someone wants to enter, but if a known felon wants to leave, then I suppose the government is glad to be rid of him. ;^)

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – Indeed stealing from charity is morally repugnant, which is why if you are going to accuse someone of it you have a duty to ensure that the allegation has some founding. Accusations such as this are very damaging whatever the outcome. Just like accuse a man of rape and women will always be suspicious of him whether or not he was innocent. It’s the ‘throw enough mud and some of it will stick’ principle.]

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 01:17 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
The US is simply glad to have them out of their hair…I’m sure.
What a long post. And it’s only 7:26 in the morning. I promise I’ll report back when I’m most assuredly alive.

Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 6th December 2004, 13:26 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
Is anyone going to investigate where the Galloway forgery came from? It is reminiscent of those KGB allegations against the Labour Party.
On the other issue, the Washington Sniper case showed that crossing jurisdictional borders is a good tactic for criminals.

Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

comment added :: 7th December 2004, 01:36 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Isn’t it great that Galloway won? And the Ukrainian vox pop won! Could this all indicate a turning in the tide of deceit towards an era of truth and justice?
Hey, come and vote for me! I’ve been nominated something or other.
Natalie

comment added :: 7th December 2004, 16:50 GMT+01

Click here to find out what size you really are

Look I went into this one not knowing what to expect but c’mon, having got that result what man isn’t going to post it?! I have no idea what the other alternatives are I just know my one makes me sound good and I like it……. and so does your bird!! You know for something meaningless that really did make me feel decidedly chipper! I’m easy to please!

Song Of The Day – Teenage Fanclub – I Don’t Want Control Of You

Original Comments:


Pimme made this comment,
Is everyone else ill tonight? I’m not used to leaving the first comment?
Hehe, nice CANE you got there! ;^)

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – It tends to be a bit quiet on Friday and Saturday over here, tho it was yesterday as well. First comment always appreciated, as is any compliment on the cane!]

comment added :: 4th December 2004, 01:10 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
I have always thought “easy to please” a fine quality in anyone. There is no virtue in being difficult, as I see it.
Kristie

comment added :: 4th December 2004, 19:06 GMT+01
Lynne made this comment,
😀
That’s all, nothing to add.

L

Visit me @ http://raingoddess.blog-city.com

comment added :: 4th December 2004, 19:39 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
I used to be told I was easy to please. Now that phrase has a whole new meaning…..:)
Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 5th December 2004, 01:01 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
nice one, twin!
i checked out the quiz, quite amusing, i like the way he asks in the end whether he’s hot or not. i bet you said he was:D!!!!!!

sarah

comment added :: 5th December 2004, 17:52 GMT+01

This HitMap thing is very strange because according to it I would appear to have quite the fanatical following in Belgium but not a single visitor from England, which is cack ‘cos I know Moog has shuffled in once or twice. I wonder if this is how The Hoff feels about his Austrian following! This leads me to question whether any of the Hitmap is accurate at all which is a shame because I was quite liking the idea of having somebody from South America (Northern Argentina or Southern Brazil if my geography and map reading serves me correctly) as well as someone from India and a goodly selection of Antipodeans and Septics on the Eastern Seaboard. And I think rayts is on there too.

I have now passed 250 entries of which well over 200 have been published so I’m quite chuffed about that because if each entry averages 250 words then I’d have written 50,000 words. As it is I think I have written a reasonable amount more but unlike Blogger you don’t have a total word count at BC which is a shame. Hold on I might just suggest that one to the BC aristocracy. I’ve nearly reached 900 comments as well which I’m even more pleased with because so many of those comments have led to new blog entries and online friendships and things which I would not have expected when I started this project.

I nearly passed 50% of my total hits coming in November which is a bit mad, at the peak I was getting over 1000 hits a day for a few days. It has settled down since then and I suspect my return to obscurity is around the corner. So be it, at least I can now say I was a player once! I’m not sure where all the hits came from whether the Anti-Bush webring had something to do with it, or the fact that I went right-wing blog-diving just for some fun! I have ruled the commenters list in the Baron dynasty days before the illustrious reign of Pimme who is positively Victorian in her longevity! And I have been on the Hot Blogs Top 10 as well as simultaneously in the Top 3 of all of my categories (WierdoBlog No.1) and Top 3 under England which I was kind of chuffed with. So I have at least this month done my bit to get up the nose of the right.

I’m a little concerned about the whole bandwidth situation if this becomes a problem, I was on 1.54GB at the end of Nov which based on the figures I’ve heard about from other people would appear to be quite high. However I don’t know what the qualifier is is so far as is it down to the amount of pictures and stuff that you have or does incoming/outgoing traffic or whatever come into it. Certainly I expected that since I pay my cash I will be left to get on with it and if that is not going to be the case then I’d have to decamp, after all there are services like Blogger which is free and various others that charge that may not have restrictions. Anyway the bandwidth thing may not come to the fore, at the moment mine stands at 0 whatever that means (presumably I am talking to myself then!) I was just a bit concerned at the precedent the whole ‘looking at the bandwidth with a view to charging’ idea set. Just an opinion.

I appreciate this is all very dull for you but it’s for me to look back on really. Call it an AGM shareholders report if you like, the Baron commits his blog, as of the last 11 months of his tenure, for your approval and would like to offer the above as the evidence as to why he believes he should remain at the helm! Oh and I wouldn’t mind a pay rise whilst you’re at it!

Song Of The Day – Toots And The Maytals – 54-46 Was My Number

Original Comments:


Pimme made this comment,
I was wondering why my blog never made it to the Top Ten or the categories list, then I realized that you have to be premium to get that. *Rats!*
Right when I did the blog about the bandwidth, the end of the month came and they reset us all to zero. However, now it’s Dec. 2 and so far none of use have seen our counters move from 0. Maybe they’ll scrap the whole bandwidth idea?

Visit me @ http://pimme.blog-city.com

comment added :: 2nd December 2004, 19:12 GMT+01
alsoknownas made this comment,
What a fabulous blog.
Visit me @ http://alsoknownas.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – I say, what a marvellous comment, you can come again!]

comment added :: 3rd December 2004, 08:47 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
::sighs:: I actually had something intellegent sounding to say here, but my computer broke down, I signed back on, and the moment is gone. So sorry.
Visit me @ http://palmysinfullbloom.blog-city.com

comment added :: 5th December 2004, 01:05 GMT+01