keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
Yeah, still alive, just not very much to tell you. Operation back garden continues apace but is nowhere near reaching its climax for a number of reasons. For one I didn't realise just how much of a forest the place had become, meaning that the clear-up operation is proving a massive task for a lone chap without any mechanical tools. Suffice it to when you start discovering unexplained tree roots you know you have a bloody big job on your hands. There's also the issue that seemingly as much as one third of the garden is composed of unwanted bricks, paving slabs and stones, all of which have to be cleared without a skip as well as my generally low energy levels (a combination of haemochromatosis giving me its usual kicking and all that extra weight I insist on sporting) and a sudden turn for the worse in the weather to be taken into consideration. That and recent jaunts to Bangor, Ballymena and Dublin eating away at my time, as well as a general weariness of gardening as a whole. I'll get there in the end of course but for the minute I do believe I've had enough for a little and will, at least temporarily, put the bent spade, the 89p hand trowel and the child's rake into cold storage.

Meanwhile outside my door we have the G8 turning back the clock to the days of the Troubles by placing Northern Ireland under virtual martial law. It's in Fermanagh, which is nowhere near me, but on Saturday there was all manner of sundry protests against their presence, notably in Belfast city centre where a big rally was held at City Hall alongside the standard fleg mobs (yup, they're still going on). There was a time I might have gone along but I gave it a miss this time. It's not that I don't detest the G8 simply that the days of demos making any difference are long gone, if they even existed in the first place. Governments are corrupt and always will be and people power won't change that as Egypt has so starkly shown. People power may have gotten rid of Mubarak but his replacements are just as sleazy and repressive and if they go too whoever replaces them will be as well. It's true communism or nothing for me, folks - ethical capitalism is an oxymoron and social democratic governments still involve a small elite group having their fingers in the till. That and the fact that the protests were organised under the aegis of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, an organisation that is frankly about as radical as the Women's Institute and was until very recently in the pockets of successive conservative governments down south. And it was pishing rain, but we'll not mention that reason.

Still, I suppose we should enjoy it whilst we can. With an EU withdrawal probably looming large, China already well in front of them and India and Brazil not far behind the nonsense of calling Britain one of the eight richest countries in the world will be over and done with soon enough and all this sort of old rubbish will be a distant memory. The sooner the better.
keresaspa: (Robb Wilton)
Things have been running rather slowly round here recently and it seems to have been the result of yet another of those DDoS thingies. Well, sort of. The kids seem to call them attacks but this one hardly seems worthy of the name as it was a mildly annoying slight slowdown and one that I just assumed was being caused by my increasingly stuttering laptop, given that most websites take an age to load for me these days. Where in the past these attacks came in like a scud missile this was really an attack only in the same sense that somebody lobbing a paper cup in your general direction is an attack. Must try harder Dmitry as this was your lamest effort yet.

Still more important attacks were due to take place, given that the arbitrary assignation of dates in a calendar and time on a clock had decreed that obviously momentous upheaval was going to occur at eleven minutes past eleven on the the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh (give or take 2,000) year. Clearly therefore the Illuminati had to make their way to that most mystical of all places, the Great Pyramid of Giza and, invoking the arcane lore known only to the chosen few versed in the mysterious and grim ways of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, the Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, were compelled to invoke the spirits of Tutankhamun, Pelagius, Avicenna, Buttadeus, Gotthelf von Hund, Mary Toft, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro and David Nixon and compel them to bring about a new era on both earth and the astral plane. Well, isn't it heartening to see that the advocates of mumbo-jumbo are as lily-livered as everybody else? They must be as apparently the great mystical rituals were halted by what sounds like little more than a velvet rope and a man in a peaked hat saying "sorry sir this area is out of bounds to coach parties". Organising popular uprisings to overthrow the might of thirty years of Hosni Mubarak's rule is something Egyptians can manage without a second thought but disobeying the rules in what is effectively a big museum? Not going to happen. So yet another day of massive cosmological significance arrives and ends up being just like all the others i.e. pretty mundane. You know, some day one of these prophecies will turn out to be right and won't my face be red for making fun of them all? Come to think of it there is another 11:11 to come in under three hours so do let me know if you happen to be passing Glozel and you bump into Joanna Southcott, Paracelsus and La Comte de St-Germain splitting a bottle of Thunderbird and 18 Ronson as I will have some humble pie to eat. I don't think it will happen though.
keresaspa: (Geoffrey of Monmouth)
We all get them. The begging letter from a deposed general you have never heard of promising you untold riches in return for full access to your bank details and maybe a bit of scrouse to get the ball rolling. After all what self-respecting Nigerian billionaire doesn't want to hand over half of his hard swindled fortune to a total stranger on the other side of the world? Well kudos to the scammers for a recent example that I received which at least demonstrates that (a) they know how to be topical and (b) they are finally sending their fake offers from people you might actually have heard of if you don't have a PhD in Nigerian military history. Observe:

Dear Friend,

This mail may not be surprising to you if you have been following current events in the international media with reference to the recent protest in Egypt.I am Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who is seriously ill and has slipped into coma.

Ever since the turn out of events and even prior to the protest,I have been thrown into a state of antagonism, confusion,humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present military leadership of the Egyptian Liberation Organization.I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture.As a woman that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence with everybody in the country at the moment.

You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and companies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the corrupt Egyptian Government. In fact the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about $6.5 Billion Dollars.And they are not relenting on their effort to make me and my sons (Gamal & Alaa Mubarak) poor for life. As you know, the Muslem community has no regards for women, more importantly when the woman is from a Christian background, hence my desire for a foreign assistance.

I have the sum of 62.5USD(Sixty-Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) with a financial firm in Europe whose name I can not disclose for now for security reasons until we open up communication. I shall be grateful if you could receive this fund into your bank account for safe keeping and any Investment opportunity. This arrangement will be known to you and I alone and all our correspondence should be strictly on email alone because our government has tapped all our lines and are monitoring all my moves.In view of the above, if you are willing to assist for our mutual benefits, we will have to negotiate on your Percentage share of the 62.5 USD that will be kept in your position for a while and invested in your name for my trust .

Please note that this is a golden opportunity that comes once in life time and more so, if you are honest, I am going to entrust more funds in your care as this is one of the legacy we keep for our children.In case you don't accept please do not let me out to the security and international media as I am giving you this information in total trust and confidence I will greatly appreciate if you accept my proposal in good faith.I am aware of the consequences of this proposal. So I ask that if you find no interest in this project that you should discard this mail.

I ask that you do not be vindictive and destructive. If my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you. Do not destroy my family reputation because you do not approve of my proposal.

Please expedite action

Yours sincerely,
Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak

Yup that's right, Mrs. Hosni Mubarak wants to make me rich and is playing the poor traumatised damsel in distress harassed by those evil "Muslems" despite being totally innocent card. Now there's no denying that 62 million United States Dollars would come in handy but on reflection I have decided to pass on your generous offer "Suzanne" and will instead be vindictive and destructive by publishing your little e-mail for the amusement of my millions and millions of fans. Well, even if it actually is her (which it isn't), the days when Mubaraks could deal out pain of Alessandro Moreschi proportions are well and truly over. And if that's not the case then eep. Sorry Suzanne, as the Hollies would say, let's you and me have dinner some time.

And meanwhile, in lieu of actually thinking of anything to write about myself, I shall fall back on my former position and follow a meme that is doing the rounds.

Books )
keresaspa: (Uncle Ho)
Good luck to the Libyans if and when Qaddafi does go as they're sure to need it if they think things are going to suddenly be rosy under a new government. Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr's old saw about plus ca change tends to apply where governments are concerned and I have little doubt that it will be the case liberal/monetarist/Islamic fundamentalist/civil war (delete as applicable) Libya is established.

Of course my sympathies are, to an extent, with all these poor saps throwing themselves in front of bullets (although with their headlong rush to hitch their wagons to Saint Barack's star they might as well stick a ribbon on their oil fileds and a tag saying "From Libya to Shell") but I'm not altogether sure what they expect to achieve beyond getting rid of Qaddafi (or whoever else in the other Arab countries). If they had definite plans for a new system with a greatly improved government it might be better but that doesn't seem to be the case. If we take Egypt as a model what has happened that is so great there? The admittedly bloody awful Hosni Mubarak is gone but in his place has come a military dictatorship giving vague guarantees about transitions to democracy which, even if eventually proven true, will simply give people the choice of two failing elite groups rather than one. A slight improvement perhaps but hardly a great leap forward. Libyans need only to look across the sea to their hated leader's former friend Silvio Berlusconi to see just the sort of rubbish voting and democracy can saddle you with. So remember these as halcyon days for when Big Afro has been replaced by Big Oil or Big Turban you might start to wonder if the whole thing was worth the fuss in the first place.

And let's be honest Libya will never find another leader who can get away with the white suit and loafers look quite like the Colonel was able to. Like Mobutu Sese Seko before him he may have been a rotter but you could never argue with the threads. And I may be alone in this but does anyone else get the feeling that our own Dave is obsessing over Qadaffi and ignoring the likes of Assad simply because he wants revenge for Libya arming the Provies way back when and is thus doing little more than channelling the spirits of Airey Neave (albeit killed by the INLA, but a fierce opponent of republicanism nonetheless) and Ross McWhirter in this particular bout of warmongering? Just me then.
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
So after the news yesterday that Chris Hughton was a done deal Albion today go ahead and confirm the appointment of ... Roy Hodgson. Eh?! How does that work then?

But no matter how it works the deed is done and Woy is in charge starting after the match against West Ham, a game which we need to win to avoid being dragged totally into the relegation mire but which will instead be left in the hands of watery-eyed self-deluder Michael Appleton. I know that refusing to manage the game after you take over is de rigueur these days for some reason but you would have thought an exception would have been made in this case. Still I am trying to be as positive about this as I can and, who knows, Appleton just might mastermind a valedictory win. As for Hodgson I am doing my best to write off the Liverpool debacle as an aberration and instead look at what he accomplished at Fulham where he took over a demoralised club heading down, saved them at the eleventh hour and then promptly turned them into UEFA Europa Inter-Cities League Fairs Cup finalists. So Woy, anything less than a final against somebody like Schalke or Tom Tomsk at the Stadionul Naţional, Bucharest come May 2012 will be judged a failure. I jest of course but if he can do for Albion what he did for Fulham then I'll be a happy noodle boy.

Oh and of course good riddance to bad rubbish but I still reckon this will end up a missed opportunity with one pro-Western puppet replaced by another, albeit one wearing the mask of democracy. Oh well.
keresaspa: (Georgi Dimitrov)
I have kept my counsel about the latest mess surrounding my old friend Silvio Berlusconi until now but in an attempt to once again breathe life into the near moribund body of this august journal I feel the need to break my vow of silence. Were the stories of orgies involving underage girls and cocaine at plush villas about anybody else one would feel confident in suggesting that the individual involved would be facing not only ruin but a long overdue spell in the hoosegow. This being Il Cavaliere, of course, I doubt it will mean anything as the boy Berlusconi seems to have been coated in Teflon and Silpat and then laminated long ago, given that he has already overcome being outed as both a Mafiosi and a member of Propaganda Due, two facts that by right should land anybody with a ten stretch at least. Still where sex scandals are concerned a shrug of the shoulders from the wee man will no doubt lead to the standard roll of the eyes from the Italians and he can continue to hand over millions of state lolly to unknown Bulgarian actresses with impunity. Good God, if he appeared as a character in a Gabriel García Márquez novel you would reckon it far-fetched even by Gabo's standards. Let's just hope the Spanish press refrain from any front page nudie pics this time - I know they like to have a pop at the Italians but the world can do without any more of SIlvio's meat and two veg!

Elsewhere, of course it would be nice to see the back of Hosni Mubarak, a man who is so far removed from the Arab socialist visions of Nasser that it is untrue. How a dictator who has done absolutely nothing for the past God knows how long has managed to last thirty years is beyond me. Mind you if Mubarak is removed and is replaced by some acquiescent pro-American stooge it will all have been in vain, especially given that they are already in that role under the pro-Israeli Mubarak. At a time when unemployment and poverty are rife the last thing the Egyptians need is a dose of monetarism to make things worse. Mubarak out by all means but I just hope they are careful who they turn if and when it happens.

And finally the fuss about Gerry Adams - can somebody please explain? You and the rest of Sinn Fein have been happily participating in the Queen's own assembly for a number of years now Gerald meaning that the SS Sell-out has long since sailed so suddenly developing a bad taste in your mouth over the Chiltern Hundreds seems rather like locking the stable door after Her Majesty's horse has bolted. A shame the United Left Alliance aren't running in Louth as one of their boys beating Adams would have been perfect.
keresaspa: (The Major)
So they finally finished what daddy Bush could not and put Saddam Hussein to death. Nice work, folks. I've already made the point before that already Ceauşescu is starting to be rehabilitated in Romania, as is nearly always the case with executed political leaders, but at least there it was a fairly spontaneous uprising against him rather than a government effectively imposed by an outside invasion. So public revenge has been done, no matter what they say about that not being the case, but already people have died in response and how long before that support grows? I don't think it is too much of a stretch to imagine that he will eventually be co-opted by Sunni fundamentalists either.

If what he did was wrong (and I don't deny it was) then surely the first thing any new government should have done was do away with the death penalty. A government that is supposed to be about democratic change should surely put aside the ways of its predecessor but not here. Considering that the new regime has already descended into sectarian bullshit and is relying on the foreign invaders to keep supposed order (ha!) this execution has lessened their legitimacy even further. Add to this the fact that the trial was full of intimidation, inconsistencies and murder and the grounds for what was a political execution look even shakier.

What Saddam did was wrong. What Idi Amin, Jean-Bédel Bokassa and Pol Pot did was arguably worse but nobody did anything to stop them and they were all allowed to die natural deaths. Oh, I forgot, Uganda, the Central African Republic and Cambodia aren't big oil producers. Plus Israel has been guilty of genocide against the Palestinians for years and nobody has moved against them, whilst the likes of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt has got up to some pretty ropey stuff but is kept going because he plays ball with the US.

Long story short (too late) the execution acheived nothing other than making a martyr, plunging Iraq further into chaos and singling out one regime for punishment despite the fact that others have been and are as bad and it was none of Bush's business in the first place. The Indians have it right as all it will accomplish is to make the Shia-Sunni divide even greater and lead to further bloodshed. Nice work!
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
Israel is the big deal now. We all know it's just a justification for Bush and his puppet in 10 Downing Street to go to war on Iran. If they have the bomb, we're all screwed. That being said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad needs a good slap for playing into their hands so much. I can't help but feel that some of the reactions are a bit rich however. For Egypt to speak out when Hosni Mubarak comes frm the same political roots as Colonel Nasser (admittedly they have little in common) is a joke. I really couldn't imagine old جمال عبد الناصر having too much trouble with what was said. Saeb Erekat is even worse. Did the PLO, PFLP and the rest fight so hard because they 'recognise[d] the right of the state of Israel to exist' like he says? I think not. The Iranian statement is hardly a big shock. B. Liar's reaction shows that either he is a complete moron who knows absolutely nothing about the Middle East or that once again he is being told what to say by his master Bush (whilst the first option looks attractive, the second is admittedly more likely). So before we know it Iran will be left in the same mess as Iraq and then Syria will follow. And I'll shut up now before Special Branch comes over and ransacks my house and Trevor McDonald announces me as an Islamic fundamentalist on the News at Half-Ten or whatever it's called not.

It's been 21 days since I last supped and I intend to break that tonight. Admittedly I am really not looking forward to the hangover I'll have for the next four days, but the time has come. See you all next week.


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