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"The Secret in their Eyes": Some of you old-time regulars will recognise that film title because, crashing old bore that I am, it comes up for discussion as regularly as clockwork. Last night, the 'Memsahib' went to bed early and in an idle moment I flicked through the recordings I have made over time on my TV 'do-flicker-recording-thingie'. And there... Continue reading
Posted 30 minutes ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Truly grim reading in this week's 'Speccie' but happily it is (so far!) confined to China which is hell on earth anyway! Even so, the exceedingly creepy and smiley, Chairman Xi Jinping, and his horde of operatives are intent on making it even more hellish. According to Mr. James O'Malley, the mega-zillions of Chinese citizens are now under close, 24-hour... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at DUFF & NONSENSE!
So, the CIA has pronounced that 'it woz the wogs wot dunnit', or at least, that is probably how "The Sun - we love it" might have put it back in the day when 'The Sun' was fun! I refer, of course, to the slaughter of the late, but not very missed, Mr. Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who was... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at DUFF & NONSENSE!
I'm not saying that I'm pleased for a chance to use the word 'ennui', although I am, but given an opportunity to do so, I cannot resist it. And I am aided by the fact that, at the moment, I am suffering with galloping 'ennui'! Mind you, it is one of those words of which I think I know the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Last night I went to bed in Grump Mode Factor 10 and then this morning my Grump Mode measuring device blew up! So I watched events in the Commons today and thought that perhaps paying a visit to one of those Swiss murderers, ooops, sorry, I mean those very discreet Swiss doctors who will 'off you' in the time it... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Crikey! Where did that come from? I mean, it was all quiet on the Israeli front, well, not exactly 'quiet', but just the usual steady drone of over-flying missiles going in opposite directions, when suddenly the Israeli Defence Minister resigns accusing 'Bibi' Netanyahu of being soft - eh? - what? - 'Bibi' soft? Apparently, this Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, thinks... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
So that well known pair of warriors, 'Mini' Macron and 'Mutti' Merkel, are urging Europe to form a unified army. 'Golly-gosh', we'll all sleep easier in our beds knowing that is protecting us, will we not? Er, they will protect us, surely, I mean there's no chance they might set about each other to settle a few - well, quite... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Your blog, your rules but if what you deleted was some rudery aimed at me let me assure you I am not bothered. "Sticks and stones ..." and all that sort of thing!
I do realise, DA, that today you are in deep mourning for the loss of your 'father figure', the man who invented all those extra-terrestrial monsters whom you idolise but even so, when there is a genuinely 'Good News' story you must try and buck up and respond in kind. Oh, and by the way, poetry is very definitely not your thing!
As regular readers will know I have long leaned on the expertise, and common-sense, of Anthony Watts, 'the onlie begetter' of the superb climate site Watts Up With That, and today he posts a riveting article on the current Californian fires which are ravaging the State - and the immediate area where he lives and works. Somehow, this makes a... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Come on, People, time to get your Bio-Chem suits on and pop over to the National Review for some truly 'Good News'. I refer to a recent incident on a TV programme called Saturday Night Live in which a young comedian 'took the piss' out of an ex-vet and now GOP politician who had lost an eye in combat. Happily, Mr. Dan Crenshaw, who may best be described as a 'not-a-Trump', appeared on a later edition of the programme with the comedian, Pete Davidson, and after some mutual banter and apologies, during which Mr. Crenshaw pointed out that Davidson's father had lost his life as a fireman during the 9/11 attack, good manners and good nature took over. You can see a video of the programme at the following link and it's worth watching if only to remind ourselves that amongst the ghastly mire in which current political 'discourse' is shouted, and tweeted, there are the occasional gleams of gold! Well done to both men!
So let me get this right. As far as Florida's election adjudication is concerned, all good, nothing to see here, move along! Er, despite Ms. Snipes, the Broward County election adjudicator: "On Friday, a court in Broward County found that Snipes was guilty of violating both Florida’s public-records laws and the state’s constitution by failing to provide mandatory updates to the public, and it ordered the immediate release of the missing information. As that ruling was coming down, Snipes’s office was laying out more lawsuit bait. According to the Miami Herald, an election worker found bags of “uncounted early ballots” in the Broward County office — ballots whose provenance could not be established. Snipes, meanwhile, was busy mixing together rejected provisional ballots and accepted provisional ballots, processing them all together. She justified her decision to add these provisional ballots to the official tally on the grounds that it would be better to include some illegal votes than to nix the legal ones with which, by her own incompetence, they had been blended." "This year alone, Snipes has been reprimanded by the courts twice: once, in May, for illegally destroying ballots during the 2016 Democratic primary, in violation of both state and federal law; and again, in August, for illegally opening mail-in ballots in secret." I am beginning to suspect that you 'Yankee-doodles' couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery, let alone run a clean election. Not so much Broward as Botswana!
Time for a trip down the Time Tunnel, I'm afraid - and I am grimly aware that my own particular Time Tunnel is exceedingly long and getting longer! Anyway, I will open my remarks with a single name which may, or may not, get the memory banks ticking away - Norman Geras! I should, perhaps, put it this way -... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
*After* the event, Max, you are right but before the event there are a zillion 'ifs' - to say nothing of the 'buts' and the 'maybes'!
I meant to publish this yesterday but, disgracefully, I never quite got around to it. It is a famous painting by one of my absolute favourite artists, the American John Singer Sargent. It is entitled "Gassed". Luckily, I once saw the original at the Imperial War Museum where, at some 2o feet long, it covered the entire end-wall of the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Ed and Linda met on a singles cruise; Ed fell head over heels for her. When they discovered they lived in the same city, only a few miles apart, Ed was ecstatic. He immediately started asking her out when they got home. Within a couple of weeks, Ed had taken Linda to dance clubs, restaurants, concerts, movies, and museums. Ed... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
Well, Max, I suppose if there was one critical cause of WWII breaking out, it would be the election of Hitler. You could *almost* say with certainty that 'no Hitler would have meant no war'! And I would suggest to you that one of the main imperatives behind Hitler's rise was the virtual collapse of the German economy during the 1920s, a fate shared by several other nations, including your own. About three years ago I read "Peacemakers" by the superb historian, Margaret MacMillan, and I would urge you to give it a try. Like most history, it is depressing not least because the participants lack that essential virtue - hindsight! There is a very good review of her book here: Also, I would urge you to avoid a 'mechanistic' view of human affairs along the lines of because 'A', therefore 'B'. Alas, life is never that simple!
Oooops, sorry, here's the link:
Sorry, Max, but alas the world and its events are seldom if ever that simple and attempting to define cause and effect is much like treading through treacle! If you have the time I would urge you to read the Wiki summary of the Treaty of Versailles which, of course, given the intricacies is fairly hefty but if you are pushed for time just read the section headed "Historical Assessments". I am not attempting to convince you of one particular view, merely pointing out that there were, and still are, a multitude of views both then and now. That, of course, is why history is so fascinating!
No, Max, with respect that is 'short-hand history'. The causes of WWII are exceedingly complex and depend enormously on the host of "unknown unknowns" with which the statesmen of the period had to cope. Many of them arose from stupidities, albeit in France's case, understandable stupidities which were written into the peace treaty. Economic stupidities simply added petrol to the fire!
"And one just has to look at how terrible uniting as States turned out for the United States" Well, according to almost everyone on this blog having Donald Trump as President is beyond "terrible", it is virtually the end of the world! Also, I am surprised that you are not agitating for Canada to join the 'United States of North America'!
"After the Second World War — an extension of the First, it is now generally acknowledged" With respect, that is far too glib, although I acknowledge the difficulty on a blog of trying to summarise an intensely difficult subject in just a few words. You might say, more accurately, that WWII grew out of a multitude of problems, one of which was the *peace treaty* signed after WWI. Nor should you assume that efforts to build a 'United States of Europe' are wholly laudable. It might suit Germany and France (especially Germany!) but not too many others, as current events indicate. Efforts to denigrate those who do not share that 'United Europe' dream will, of course, only encourage the doubters to dig in!
11.11.18: Just writing that date - 11.11.18 - in my heading, gave me pause! I have been watching the television coverage of events in Whitehall as thousands of representatives of different military associations, some of them harking back to the reign of Charles II, marched past the Cenotaph to mark, this year, the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at DUFF & NONSENSE!
I would just like to express my gratitude to you, Mr. Carpenter, for 'coming clean', as they say. I have wondered for some time who would be your choice and now I know - good ol' Joe'! I have no views on the man one way or t'other but I can't help wondering in this, er, 'post-modern political world' dominated by somewhat excitable millennials whether he is the man to get the youth vote in? (Er, is "excitable" permitted in this context?) And please, pretty please, can you not find it in your heart to make a space for, and here I choose my words carefully, dear Ms. Elizabeth Ann Warren? We will need all the laughs we can get in 2020!