Thursday, August 31, 2006

Because Weasel needs 'aseeinto'

Because Weasel never spares an opportunity to bait me and all that I stand for.
Because Weasel cannot recognise the verdant, wooded plains of my home turf.
Because Weasel cannot distinguish the beauty of South Norfolk and the Cockney infested dustbowl that is affectionately known as 'Breckland'.
For these reasons I have included a map which highlights the political boundaries of the County of Norfolk, in England.

South Norfolk is #6 whilst Breckland is #3 . Clearly quite not the same.
For those of you who could even begin to care the term 'aseeinto' means a thump to the person, a punch not needing to cause tremendous pain but to provoke a pause for thought. Perhaps a clip around the ear.

Who is this boyish young fop?

Steady ladies, this is the elected representative for South Norfolk, Mr Richard Bacon,MP, a Conservative alas, but what can you do?
I added his picture to lend weight to my argument.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ridin' the bus.

I love my bus.

It gets me to work every day with a simple route, you can always get a seat and there's often 'Dave Bus' to hang out with or just grunt at.

This morning I sat alone enjoying my morning commute when the bus pulled up to Smith St (by the subway stop).
People often dash from subway to bus so it's fairly common for somebody already on the bus to yell at the driver when they see a potential commuter legging it across Smith in an olympian attempt to get aboard.

This morning I saw a man doing the 'Smith St shuffle' and duly pointed this out to the driver.

The trouble was that my version of "Driver my good man, theres a swift little fellow attempting to join our route! Stop I say, Stop at once!" Turned into a muffled sort of "ughrtdgfhmmmmmmm" .

Everyone else looked at me with polite pity.
And I mean everyone.
'Oh, bless him, that mentally retarded guy just tried to call the bus drivers attention to that sweaty bloke trying to catch the bus'.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Book learning #22

The Fall of Rome by Martha Southgate.

I had to read this for a shool bookclub.
I don't mind bookclubs just as long as there's plenty of booze and you don't actually have to have read the book. I prefer movie nights, you can watch the movie and then discuss.
I really don't like being told by the 'man' what to read.

Having said that I picked this up, read it in a weekend involving two lengthy train rides and quite enjoyed it. It wasn't great but I got through it. I felt good about committing to something that would prepare me for the start of school. I was almost hoping that the Director would try and trip me up with questions but he didn't.

When our group met for discussion noone really mentioned the book at all. I had to reference it so that the rest of the room would know that I had even bothered to read it.

Book Learning #21

'The Fall of Berlin 1945' by Anthony Beevor.

Phew, Maybe it was the intensive ammount of reading I undertook this summer or perhaps the deeply disturbing content but this one took a while.
I found parts hardgoing, "Company X moved 12 km to the west, outflanking the remnants of Waffen SS division 'Unabrow' and thus dividing the leftovers of Wehrmacht companies J, Q, Z, 1, 2, and 3 to surrender to the massed ranks of Red Army divisions 34, 56, 765 and the elite 'Stalinfire' brigade.


That and the immensly harrowing tales of rape and revenge killings.
Still, it was very well researched and written and I pretty well enjoyed it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Michigan snaps

Following some regurgitated book reviews it's time for some vacation snaps!!!

Frau Random Doubt takes the place of Secretary of Agriculture in the mock up of the Ford cabinet table.

Frau Random Doubt poses under the sign of the best Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI.

Frau Random Doubt was getting mighty snippy about the lack of 'Betty Ford/alcoholic' related exhibits. Instead she became obsessive about the 'Gerald Ford/assasination attempts' exhibits.

Your man Mondale wondering how it could have all been so different had all those states not voted for Reagan in '84

Still, the beach was bloomin gorgeous!

Book Learning # 20

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.

I’ve always liked Bill Bryson; I’ve read most of his books over the last 15 years and have found them fascinating troves of information and amusing anecdote.
I would have enjoyed this so very much more had I not been hit in the middle with a ferocious bout of mid vacation vomiting, diarrhea and fever (Michigan’s revenge). Now the book is synonymous with trying to catch both ends of similtaneous bodily discharge.

I also think I prefer it when Bryson writes about people and places rather than plants or animals. The fact that half this book is about flora and fauna took some of the shine off.
That and the liquid poo.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Book Learning #19.

10 days that shook the world by John Reed.

Almost literally, a blow by blow account of the Soviet revolution of November 1917, This was recommended to me by the father of a college roommate, way back in the day. We were at a Bristol City game and began to numb the agony by plotting revolution. Ringers’ father told me to read this, one of the greatest acts of journalism of the twentieth century. Him being a journalist and the man who had gotten me into the game for free I vowed to take him up on his advice.

The problem was finding a copy. In the 10 years that followed, I would, from time to time make attempts to seek out the book, still feeling it to be part of an unfinished literary quest, a hangover from a freezing night at Ashton Gate. Many times it slipped from my consciousness only to pop up whilst flipping through channels and seeing red guards ‘storming’ the winter palace or catching a snippet of ‘Dr Zchivago’. I tried Amazon and a variety of other online sources but it was always reported back as out of print or for sale by some weird dealer in South Dakota. As you can only imagine, delight was unbounded when browsing through the Barnes & Noble on 7th ave in Park Slope I found a copy right there. Sitting on the shelf.

Reed was an American journalist, sympathetic to the cause of the Bolsheviks and the Soviets. He recorded events in Petrograd (mostly) and partly in Moscow. Such events as he encounters are recorded in extraordinary detail and a fine tuned journalistic ear. He admits in his preface that the first two or three chapters are rather hard going, a chronology and list of terms used and organizations, and golly, what a lot of organizations. Much of the book reads like a scene from Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” “We, the Judean People’s liberation front reject the proposal etc etc”.
The book covers multiple debates, arguments and even a few gunfights between any of the myriad of different groups aiming for ultimate power in the broken Russia of November 1917.

It’s an amazing read; not least because of some of the insane detail he regales us with,
Trotsky attempting to enter the Smolny Institute without the correct pass “I had it a moment ago” claims the visionary behind international socialist revolution. “That’s what they all say” replies the Red Guard who’s having none of it.
The difficulty getting a taxi driver to take you to the scene of the action “I’m not going there, people are shooting” and where to get a good vegetarian meal in revolutionary Petrograd (a restaurant called ‘I eat nobody’).

I began reading this whilst sunbathing on a yacht, hardly the place to be thinking about the struggles of the proletariat, I ended it on the shores of Lake Michigan which, whilst no winter in Petrograd had a slightly more egalitarian feel to it.
I really wanted to revive the struggle, to establish the People’s Socialist Republic of East Anglia, to throw off the capitalist , Imperialist English yoke, to smash their guns and create a society of equals, based upon a few simple truths and a deadly sinister secret police force with cool leather uniforms.
This book also takes you to another place, another time; an amazing sense of optimism permeates the text. A fine read.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ridiculously quick update.

It's been a nice, hot summer.
Camp ended and Mondale was a free man. Spent a few days outta the city at Montauk (gotta love them rich friends!)
Then off to Union Pier, MI for a week of beaching, reading and hanging out with Frau Random Doubt. Did I mention the Gerald Ford Museum?
Union Pier was a tiny beach 'town' with a diner and a deli. That was all we needed.
We spent every afternoon at the beach and spent the rest of everyday sleeping, eating and reading. No cell phones, no modern world, just beautiful weather and sandy feet. We did drive to Grand Rapids to visit the Gerald Ford Museum, that was cool.
I'll try and upload some pics but the 'puter is fritzing (forgive the pun Mondale lovers).
A full write up on the Gerald Ford Museum is in the works.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"What condition my condition is in"

I'm still here, It's August and my apt is in a mess and the internet is wobbly.
Still, Having a great summer.
See ya.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Book learning #18

The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency by James Naughtie.

Naughtie is the aggressive host of Radio 4's 'Today' show where he harrasses politicians at a time too early in the morning for anyone to make a lot of sense.

I'd read his earlier book on Blair 'The Rivals' which outlined his relationships and dealing during his rise to power. This book looks at his relationships and dealings as Prime Minister, with his own parliamentary party, his cabinet and most of all with President Bush.

Naughtie is a heavyweight journalist dealing with a heavyweight topic (the case for war in Iraq and the dealings between London and Washington) so it's not always a light read, in fact if it wasnt all such open currency the stuff in this book would scare the crap out of most poeple reading it, except perhaps Paul Wolfovitz and Donald Rumsfeld.

A number of excellent chapters highlighted the following themes, making it well worth the read.

Religion in the UK and US and the comparitive roles in policy making at the highest levels.

The role of secret intelligence services, and why they should really remain secret.

The nature of the 'Special relationship' since WW2.

Weasel will love it, it's in the mail!