Monthly Archives: February 2015

Scrummy Women

wrIt is nice to see that England are currently top of the Six Nations Rugby table. But playing Ireland on Sunday – could be tough.

Meanwhile the Welsh girls are leading the women’s rugby equivalent. The English girls beat Italy the other day 39 – 7, but somehow I find it hard to warm to the concept of Women’s Rugby.

It’s not that I think women should stay in the kitchen. More that blue stockings are more attractive Continue reading

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Dharma Queen

pachauriIt has become a commonplace among sceptics that the global warming industry is now not so much a science, but rather a sort of neo-religion. Bizarrely, Rajendra K. Pachauri, until recently head of the IPCC (now out on bail in India, by the way, following sex crime allegations) went from denial to confirmation of this in his resignation letter:

For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.

Religion, we understand. But dharma? What is that? Not obvious. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate, Culture, Politics, scandal

International Gladiator

dead oliverHaving found myself watching Gladiator yesterday (I like all Ridley Scott’s films) I looked it up to see how much money they spent post-production to cope with the fact that Oliver Reed died during the filming stage.

$3.2 million, apparently. I could not spot the very brief scenes where a body double was then altered by a digitally mapped digital face.

Also remarkable is the international character of the film. Lead actors from Benin (Djimon Hounsou), Denmark (Connie Nielson) , England (Oliver Reed and Derek Jacobi), Ireland (Richard Harris) New Zealand (Russell Crowe) and United States (Joaquin Phoenix). The music was by a German (Hans Zimmer) and an Australian (Lisa Gerard). The locations were Continue reading

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John Dowland’s Welcome Home

John DowlandIt would not be entirely accurate for me to say, “I could listen to the music of John Dowland for hour after hour”, because that would suggest a mere theoretical possibility.

The fact is that I do listen to the music of John Dowland for hour after hour, and never seem to tire of it.

The lute music is far more satisfactory than the songs. All too often, the songs are performed in a classical style, by musicians trained in the classical technique, which to my ear is entirely alien to the Renaissance. They sound to me like total prats. The singer who gets closest Continue reading

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Modern Embroidery

HOMEA century or so ago, people used to hang up little homilies, often embroidered, on the walls of their houses. I guess, although I am not sure, that this was usually done by women.

The modern equivalent is posting similar little sayings on Facebook, often attributed to the Dalai Lama or someone like that. But this time, there’s no guesswork – it is almost invariably women who post this stuff.

Why is that? Any suggestions?

This might be Continue reading

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Chasing the Dragon

A rather underestimated pleasure, I reckon, is lying on a lilo (Note to Americans: airbed) on one’s swimming pool on a nice sunny day.  There is something calming about the way it slowly drifts around, so that the only way you can tell where you are on the pool, and which way you are are facing, is by the feel of the sum on your body and the direction of the various background sounds.

Not my dragonfly, but a dragonfly

Not my dragonfly, but a dragonfly

This is exactly what I was doing on Saturday, when I felt something surprisingly heavy land on my nose. Not expecting this, I looked up. Probably somewhat sharply. In time to see a large dragonfly resentfully Continue reading

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The Forgotten Neutrality

pressconferenceThere has been a lot of heat generated recently by the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, releasing a report critical of the treatment of the children of the “boat people” and others who have paid people smugglers to get them into Australia in defiance of Australia’s immigration laws. The report has been much criticised because of its timing – the present government has virtually stopped this people trafficking, and there are now only few children in the detention system compared with those under the previous Labour government. And yet Gillian Triggs waited until the Liberals were in power before releasing this report, critical of the government.

There is a fine line between human rights and left wing politics. Here are the key Continue reading

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Bad timing, Tanya

You might think that this would be rather an easy week the Labor Party in Australia. The Liberal Party has left Tony Abbott in charge, as prime minister, but he obviously is not particularly popular with the public, and although he survived a spill motion, as they call it, it was hardly a resounding victory.

So all the Labor party really needed to do was to sit tight.

TanyaBut Tony has a friend on Labor’s front bench, and her name is Tanya Plibersek. This has been a week when the news has been full of Greece’s economic woes. It is a really, really bad week for the Labor Party to be drawing attention to its apparent inability Continue reading

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Dingo Lingo

Professor of Linguistics (giving lecture): In some languages, such as English, a double negative connotes a positive.  In other languages, such as Russian, a double negative connotes an emphasised negative. But there is no language in the world in which a double positive connotes a negative.

Australian voice (at the back): Yeah. Right. Continue reading

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