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September 28 2005

It's all right ma, I'm only sighing

Last night completed the second part of Martin Scorsese's 'No direction home', an interesting film about a man, the same age as me, who has been with me along my life stream. It's made me decide to burn all the vinyl records I collected over that time to CD, and so must connect up the deck, amp and equaliser to the PC again, and do some ripping. He can still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as he did way back, whenever a new Dylan record was unpacked and placed on the deck for the very first time. To be inspired and entertained, awakened and comforted; that there was somebody out there who felt the same way. That he was doing that to millions of others of our generation wasn't of immediate concern at the time. Unlike some at Newport and, later, Birmingham, he never left me behind, I was never disappointed, always inspired. It was a personal thing between us, even though he never knew me and all I knew of him was his art, his voice. I am eternally grateful.

The newLabour, national non-socialist party is at it again. Not content to control every aspect of the current party conference, thus stifling all dissonent voices, they even had thugs to pounce on any heckler that dared raise their voice while one of the top echelons was speaking, in this case an 82 year old man, Walter Wolfgang, a member of the Labour Party since before Blair was born, and a lifelong peace campaigner I knew when active in the anti nuclear movement in the sixties. They looked like the same pieces of meat Glasonbury employs as it's bouncers, thick backs, thick necks, thick skulled hominids who can only be distantly be related to me.

This country is going down the tubes fast. Time for a youth resistance to take them on and another paradigm shift as the sixties didn't seem to quite make it. With the arctic ice cap being smaller this year than any time in the last million, and melting fast, there's not much time to turn things around. First Americans have to stop squealing about high gas prices. They pay half what we pay in Europe, and that's nothing like high enough to cut down the increase in use, let alone actually reduce it. So maybe the hurricanes were fortuitous in waking Americans up to global climate change. Some have even got out of their cars, albeit in many cases to push them, but all good exercise.


September 27 2005

No choice

At least in the US there are still two opposing ideologies, clearly defined, and the other side stand a chance of getting power again, and undoing some of the more damaging things the ultra right have got up to since seizing power. In Britain, we have no such chance as the once progressive, leftish, party with the desire to mitigate the inequalities in society has been captured and transformed into another Tory party, albeit better organized. Even the Tories admit Blair is a Tory, which is a major problem to them as they've had to try to position themselves at a remove, and that meant to either become more right wing and merge with the British National Party, or more 'progressive' and risk becoming liberal democrats and mistaken for the Lib Dems.

With the newLabour conference going on at the moment, and with 1500 armed police guarding the area, all there because of Blair, the loyal members of this discredited party are there to be told what will happen in the future when Blair departs as he must, doubtless to take up some equally lucrative position elsewhere, perhaps with Halliburton. Electing a leader has been quietly dropped in favour of the president choosing an heir, quite monarchical really. Of course it's not as easy as that or it would be his eldest son. He clearly entered into an agreement with Brown, as, apparently, an icon of old Labour and trusted by those who wouldn't trust Blair, to support him unquestioningly no matter what he did, and he would make sure Brown got the top job on his departure. No alternative has been discussed or even mentioned, and the media have as usual shown unquestioning obedience to the set agenda. So it's Brown, a man who can't even talk properly and who intersperses sentences with chewing the inside of his mouth in a weird rictus. His supposed renowned skill balancing the economy is a mirage. He's continued selling off our assets, a task Thatcher initiated, and has fed consumerism with easy credit, otherwise known as debt. So it's sell tomorrow for jam today. It keeps the punters happy getting their regular shopping fix, the shopkeepers are happy selling loads of stuff, even if it is all imported from China and doesn't maintain any UK jobs, the banks and other money lenders are happy as they're getting loads of interest from the punters, and the financial markets are happy because buoyant shares make the shareholders lots of money. The shareholders, being shoppers also, are keeping an army of middle class parasites who cater to the rich with expensive - so exclusive - clothes, jewelery, houses, boats and other things to spend their money on, happy and employed, which they otherwise wouldn't be. So everyone's happy? Well there's the small issue of the poor who are poorer now than ten years ago, the gap between rich and poor having widened considerably under newLabour, the environment isn't happy as nothing has changed so it's being hammered like never before by the burden of happy, consuming humanity.

None of it can last. There will come a point when the entirely unsustainable world economy flips into chaos. The balancing act can only work for so long and futures are looking like something you would not want to invest in. With the vast increase in imports from China, and the export of jobs to India and other cheaper job markets, it can only be a matter of time before there are too few jobs in the UK to sustain it all with taxes. When manufacturing jobs started disappearing, the myth was that we could switch to new IT jobs requiring different skills, but now the IT jobs are disappearing it's difficult to see what might replace them. It's all a pack of cards, imminently teetering on collapse, Brown adds another card, and another, and admires his work.


September 25 2005

A close shave

Must have been all those prayers which moved Rita to the east and spared Galveston and Houston ... this time. New Orleans, city of sin as it was, got a second dose, and all the water they pumped out has been replaced. At least it's fresh.

Discovered a new extreme sport, Extreme Ironing. Looks insane but fun.

A friend has a beautiful old wood burning stove he wants to sell and I've put it on ebay for him. But if anyone wants to get in touch with me by email and make an offer in excess of £250, they might be lucky as he's undecided at the moment.. Or they could visit ebay and take part in the auction if it finally gets started. It's listed under category: Antiques & Art > Architectural Antiques > Fireplaces. And this is it below. Stunning huh? It akes extra long logs due to its depth, and would look splendid in an old cottage, in a living vehicle or on a boat. It's made by L Lange, of Svendborg, Denmark, and I'm currently googling to find out about it. I've so far the Svendborg museum with a section dedicated to L Lange, but it's all in Danish, and Babelfish doesn't do Danish, which might be fortunate as it usually garbles the language effectively. It could be an antique, and worth a lot to the right person.


September 24 2005

Avian flu

Looks like bird flu is cooking along as expected, and could break out of Asia any time. The World Health Organisation at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/ are giving advice to countries on how they should respond when a pandemic occurs [when, not if] and seems the UK has a stockpile of anti-viral drugs for 25% of the population with health professionals first in line [followed I'm sure by the police and armed forces, though they won't publicise that]. This drug won't be specific to a newly evolved strain of avian flu, but, if given within 24 hours of symptoms, reduced those symptoms and enables recovery. Without it death is almost certain.

At the first sign the pandemic has kicked off, I shall be staying in the house and not answering the door. With enough food in store for a few weeks, we can wait it out. Working from home sometimes has its advantages. The BBC has some information on it here.

Religious penguins

Sticking with birds, 'March of the Penguins', a French wildlife film, has been the surprise blockbuster of the American movie summer. The feature-length film by Luc Jacquet recounts the heroic life of the Emperor penguin, battling against extraordinary conditions in Antarctica. Blizzards, gales and a chill reaching to -40 degrees C are only a few of the obstacles thrown in the penguins' way. This has inspired the religious rightwing nutjobs to see parallels with themselves and their devotion to looking after the nestegg and bringing it up a good christian. I too see parallels; the Emperor penguin is single minded, doesn't ever think for itself, and never questions anything it 'knows'. The christians have got it wrong on the small matter of fidelity though, they think the Emperor is monogamous and mates for life, but in fact they're monogamous for a year and the next year have a different mate, possibly because they're too stupid to recognise last year's. All in all the happy clappies have more in common with a penguin than they think. The penguins have been seized upon by these so called christians as a parable of family virtues, a role model for men, an argument against abortion and convincing proof that Darwin was wrong. Secularists point out that emperor penguins have a freewheeling sexual life and that homosexuality among penguin species is quite common. Also, the habit they have of gathering together in a large group to keep warm is taken by the delusionistas as cooperation, but actually the penguins are as selfish as most of these right wingers, the ones on the inside fighting to stay there in the warm, and the outsiders fighting to get into the embrace of the group. But when you're desperate, you'll seize on anything to bolster an untenable faith in simple minded stories.


September 23 2005

A piss up in a brewery it ain't

While not wishing anybody to be hurt or killed, I love to see the power of nature put man in his place, and I shall have the BBC live feed running on my screen for the next few hours to watch Rita meet Galveston and Houston. In contrast to the New Orleans debacle, Galveston has been evacuated a day before Rita was due to come ashore. Might have been better if everyone hadn't left at the same time. Looks like a million people can't fit on the freeways out of town and instead they're spending the next twelve hours stuck in a traffic jam. As many will have had too little fuel, or with ill prepared engines for an extended stay on the highway [engine running to keep the air con going] there's gonna be a sizeable number stuck, probably without food or enough water, waiting for rescue which can't get through because the road's jammed. That's the trouble with rugged individualism, no planning. Next time they might think to stagger departures, so long as people are prepared to wait their turn.

This is looking more and more like another kind of cock-up. Now a bus has burst into flames on a highway escape from the hurricane [which hasn't even landed yet] and 40 plus old people have been burned to death along with their exploding oxygen cylinders. Others have turned back and run out of fuel at home, and now everywhere is shut, even all the twenty four hour places, so they can't even buy food. There will be other deaths, so ill prepared for real emergencies, Americans are too rich and spoilt to have the edge and all thinking seems to go out the window when panic sets in. The authorities, who told them all to 'get out now' doubtless forgot that millions on the roads useually leads to gridlock, or about where the fuel would come from. So many have now run out and the roads are still blocked. They'll be having their very own emergency, far from the hurricane but mired in their own stupidity. Guns will probably figure as they usually do in a country awash with them.

Wildlife up close

As well as the bats which come every evening to feed off the flying insects gathering around our windows, we now have a squirrel in our garden, a regular daily visitor who comes skipping right up to the french windows, and is partial to the peanuts, beech seeds and bread we put out in welcome. [S]he looks young so probably this year's litter, and is incredibly vibrant, twitching constantly, alert eyes checking everything out, yet isn't phazed by my camera going off not many feet away, even with flash. He also runs along the top of the fence and has already eyeballed the bird feeder hanging enticingly close by, I expect some gymnastics as he figures out how to get to it, although if we make it too easy by always having a bowl of nuts on the ground, there's hardly much incentive for exploration.

It's difficult shooting through glass.


September 21 2005

Jumpy Americans and a bullying feeding frenzy

Rita seems to be getting rather fierce, almost as if a divine hand is guiding her to Galveston. Bush has already visited Mississippi five times to try to undo the damage he did in the week after Katrina, and is now looking deeply confused as he grapples with the prospect of another one aiming at his home state., fearful of screwing up even worse for fellow Texans. Optimists who were persaded to return to New Orleans to 'rebuild' are now heading back out, because even the edge of a category 5 can do some serious damage, and once bitten ... evem the stupid have to be shy.

The tabloids have developed a feeding frenzy against poor Kate Moss, for alledged cocaine taking. The rest join in and are joined by TV news 'reporting' a story totally of the media's creation, and even the odious Ian Blair, head of the Met, has jumped on the 'kick a successful woman' gang-bully by saying he wants her questioned and the names of her suppliers, or she gets something heavier than a caution like all the naughty celebrities usually get, about what's to be expected from someone trying to divert media attention from his own failings which resulted in the murder of an innocent man by armed state thugs.Kate will doubtless go into the Priory for a spell away from the cameras, and lay off Charlie while she does some thinking, very few do themselves real harm by dissolving their septum, and as only the really rich can afford a heavy habit, it isn't something anyone should be overly concerned about, being a personal thing. Cocaine is only dangerous when taken by politicians who get grandiose ideas of their own superiority and invade other countries [Russia, why not?]. Perhaps George and Tony shared more than prayers in their many meetings on the ranch.


September 20 2005

A quick reverse as Rita approaches

Normally, the American attitude of 'can do' is admirable, optimistic and one of their strength. But when it edges into arrogance and refusal to accept their limitations it begins to look silly and petulent. Such is the haste to get people back into New Orleans to show the world they are not defeated, that thousands have been encouraged to go back, long before any clean up has been accomplished and certainly long before the threat of disease has subsided. Now, with Rita, the next storm lining up to batter the south and east coasts this year, they've lost face by having to evacuate everyone again. The mayor, a loud mouth only too quick to blame the federal government in case anyone noticed his own culpability in the chaos, is more interested in his own re-election than in people's safety. I wonder how long it will be, and how many dollars will be wasted, before they wake up to the fact that New Orleans just isn't viable any more. Or will some bright spark suggest a fifty metre high dam round it to keep reality out?

In Iraq, the UK has been insisting for a long time that they have things under control and it's all mellow man, but with the arrest of two undercover army spies who shot dead one policeman trying to arrest them, they really seem to have pissed off a lot of people. Now they've compounded the situation by smashing into the police station with tanks and armoured cars to rescue their own, and in the process were attacked by fire bombs by a large crowd. So although Iraqis are supposed to respect law and order, the British army doesn't. Hearts and minds huh.

The latest jumped up fashion ponce to latch on to fur and refuse to listen to anyone is Julien Macdonald, who is all the rage among the brain dead fasionistas who get excited at the latest silliness for ego-driven retards that is London fashion week. He's brazenly flaunting fur on the catwalk [why cat, surely tartwalk would be a more apt word] this year. Fur involves immense suffering, animals are skinned alive and their skinned bodies thrown on a pile to die painfully and fully conscious. This is all done so that rich bitches can parade around thinking they look great, they don't, they look like the whores they are, and that will never change. This parasitic class cares nothing for the suffering of others, and therefore no one should care when they too suffer. The level of awareness in this icon is illustrated by his comments after Peta disrupted his show. "All publicity is good publicity. I love animals - I have three dogs and a cat, but I also wear leather shoes. "There are far more important things to worry about, like the tsunami and New Orleans, than a fur coat and a dead animal." That he thinks shoes made from the waste products of the meat trade are comparable with animals being bred just for their fur, illustrates that you don't need a functioning brain to design frocks. He clearly needs a wake-up call, something the Animal Rights Militia could be delivering any day now. I look forward to Julien Macdonald and everyone associated with this Welsh shit suffering at the hands of 'extremists'. Whatever they do, it won't equal the pain he and his company are responsible for, but it will be something. Ultimately, they will all die terrified when the eco-disaster takes hold, as they are the least able to survive anything more challenging than a rise in the price of body lotion; the trivia scum rising to the top of the human tide. There's always a silver lining in even the grimmest of news.


September 16 2005

The US has its own madrasas

The US has it's very own fundamentalist madrasas, they're called evangelical universities, although university isn't the word I'd use for these brainwashing institutions. I've discovered a few while researching on the web recently, all blazoned with stars and stripes and declarations of undying love for jesus. And always the army figures somewhere, with pictures on the site which makes it look like America is a country on a permanent war footing, of yes, it is! Well I suppose they're being more honest than the liberal arts universities which don't tend to make a lot of joining the army, and don't have courses on warfare.

The kids, who now get their 'education' from their parents who don't want them exposed to the outside world and its sins and temptations, then go on to these so called 'universities' where they get more of the same, plus boys and girls are forbidden from mixing to closely in case the devil seizes the opportunity and gives them sexual urges they can't deny. No wonder these people are so uptight and hate filled, they spend their lives in denial and frustration, a sex aversion which anyone outside can see is deranged and psychologically unhealthy. They all have the same vacant look to the eyes.

The worst thing is they have lots of children, in fact some of the women call themselves 'prairie bunnies' because they deliberately set out to have as many children as they can. Luckily, they're all thick as a wedge and none of them will survive the die off when it comes.

I find this image quite chilling, considering America's track record of late. Nazi Germany would have done something similar if they'd had the net back in the 1940s.

Meanwhile back in the swamp

Just heard the director of tourism for New Orleans talking on the radio about how they're gonna rebuild it better than it was before the hurricane. Until the next time huh? And then will they rebuild it better still? Of course she, along with others of her kind, doubtless did a course in hotel management, but there are others who ought to know better, and probably do, but no one seems willing to speak the unspeakable, New Orleans was a bad idea and should be abandoned to the sea, which will come and claim it one day anyway with sea level rising each year. Now scientists ahve announced they expect the hurricanes and tornadoes that plague god's own country [are they sure about that?] to continue getting worse each year. I think the people planning to waste billions of tax payers money on rebuilding should take note of that.

Panic at the pumps

Oh the panic from the British petrol junkies over the thought they might run out. A bunch of farmers only have to threaten to demonstrate against fuel prices, and the sheep are out there looking for a queue to join. Fire chiefs are worried because thousands will have not only filled their tanks, but also every container they could get hold of, so millions of gallons are now stored in garages, garden sheds and in the boots of cars, making the likelihood of explosions resulting from road accidents that much greater. In fact it's unfair to sheep to compare them to these idiots. Headless chicken would be more apt. The farmers at the centre of it are apparently against the tax on fuel, which is rich coming from the only group in the country who get their fuel entirely tax free. But when you've been profiting handsomely from the taxpayers for so long, they have to have something to whine about. It's not all farmers of course, just a small band of flesh peddlers, who probably run their cattle to slaughter in their own trucks to make a bit extra profit from the poor animals. The police, however, unwilling to put up again with the chaos that happened in 2000 when they blocked the exits to refineries, told then they'd be arrested if they did anything except peacefully demonstrate without obstruction, so most of them didn't bother to turn up, and the demonstrations were, as a result, miniscule. They claimed they had intended it that way! But we know they lost their bottle.


September 11 2005

The flesh trade

My apologies to all those using IE, there's a bug preventing the page from displaying properly and the left hand column is too wide. I've been trying for days to correct it, and if there's anyone who knows a bit about php and css, please please email because it's doing my head in. If you're using IE but can't help, you could try using Opera or Firefox, both free to download and use, which display it perfectly. A thought, perhaps it's because I slagged off Microsoft, and they have prevented my pages from displaying properly in IE with some of their covert code. If you don't like the idea of all your surfing being recorded for the future when a secret policeman might take an interest, I'd advise changing to one of the two alternatives mentioned above.

Oddly, the chimp above is animated, but doesn't move in Firefox, but does in Opera and IE [but way down the page].

I wouldn't let it lie. Solved the IE problem and it now displays properly in all three browsers. One small step for man, one giant leap for the Fool.

McDonalds have chosen a strange slogan for their latest advertising venture which is a gift to the anti McDonalds campaigners who are likely to have a ball with it. 'McDonalds, get more than you bargained for' - like obesity, salmonella, flatulance ... of course they were thinking of a phrase which highlighted their amazing bargain burgers, minced up cattle, grazing where rainforests once stood, until recently when huge areas were cleared to satisfy the global demand for cow flesh. Many have grown rich on the trade, others have just grown fat and unhealthy. The UK based Vestey family's chose the wrong country with Venezuela, where they've just had one of their twelve multi-thousand acre cattle ranches seized by the army accompanied by peasant farmers who have taken their land back and hopefully will grow real food on it now. More foreign 'owned' land is likely to go the same way, and Lord Vestey is doubtless pretty pissed off at losing one of his many income streams.


September 8 2005

The horror intensifies

Still ineptitude seems to persist with the US bureaucracy, and the words 'piss-up' and 'brewery' come to mind. Having persuaded a lot of people to finally leave their flooded homes in New Orleans, and being told a week ago that those remaining were mostly those with animals who would not leave them to die. They are still trying to 'persuade' these people to leave without their animals, and seem incapable of understanding they won't. Rather than providing an extra wooden boat behind to put the dogs in [they're mostly dogs] they still talk of people being forcibly removed, but don't want to do that as it would be a PR disaster to add to all the rest of the PR disasters.

The 'flood water' is now being pumped out into the sea. It is heavily polluted, not just with excrement - untreated sewage, but with rotting corpses, and a cocktail of chemicals. None of this is normally allowed to be pumped into the sea for good reason. A short time hence, there will be an environmental catastrophe, what the storm didn't destroy the human effluent now will, and any fish caught in that ocean will be contaminated. The ecosystem of the ocean will be compromised, to what extent we shall have to wait and see.

Reaction to the human side of the crisis has been mixed across America, with examples of real humanity; people taking refugees into their own homes, looking after children, enrolling them in schools, a whole lot of American warmth not matched by the cold inefficiency of government at all levels. Sean Penn is down there with his boat rescuing people, and I bet he's taking their dogs too. Julia Roberts and John Travolta are each individually devoting themselves to sending trucks of provisions to Mississippi, money no object, and all of them ignoring the cameras. I heard of a man who'd driven from Florida with a truck full and gone back and loaded up to do it again. Meanwhile the US Army grunts, untrained and unused to this situation, stand around with their guns, useless tools for such a catastrophe, and look bored. People reported soldiers going past in boats and ignoring the cries of people wanting to be rescued. In some places where refugees have been bused, there's an element of racism creeping in, the refugees being seen not as fellow Americans in dire need, but as aliens to be automatically distrusted and feared. They stir up the local racial divide, and the guilt of white people at the existence of that divide makes them fear the anger of the local black people. It'll stir things up. Lets go back to our comfortable ways where we ignored each other and the fact that the vast majority of white folks had little contact with the black folks. In fact it was gratifying to see the only mixed race couple interviewed about their experience in the flood, just because it looked as if that never happened.

Of course in a population that size there were criminals, and in the goldfish bowl of the Superdome, their behaviour got magnified by the media who ordinarily wouldn't report on it happening in the sleazy part of New Orleans. There were probably less murders than on a normal Friday night anyway. But all I saw in all the TV coverage was frightened, unhappy people getting through an appalling, life changing, event with courage and nobility for the most part, keeping their families together, or if they had become separated, anguished until they found them, pretty ordinary folk in extraordinary times. America has been built on the poor and dispossessed of the world, and has meant opportunity for many, but not the descendants of its slaves it seems. Seems the southern states have a lot of work to do achieving that American dream for all their citizens. Perhaps this will be seen as a defining moment for America, there'll be a lot of soul searching, thinking and discussing in the coming months and years, these times, when the monkey was in charge so there were no able chiefs and too many indians, will be seen as a monumental failure of the American system and everything it stands for.

And still they talk of rebuilding while the stinking effluent has yet to be rid of all the bodies, many tied to lamp posts by passing police so they wouldn't drift off, and now all bloated and beyond identification. Bush in one of his many inappropriate sound bites, said they would be accorded full dignity. Yeah right.


September 8 2005

The anti-Microsoft movement - David and Goliath

"OK, I know a lot of people are saying Microsoft's bad, and they were taken to court for something. But, like, why?" If that's you, then you need to read this story right away. After all, not everyone who visits this site knows what makes Microsoft so bad. So we dropped a line to Timothy Macinta, the author of this very informative piece from KMFMS.com, and he delivered. Even if you're a battle-hardened warrior against the Redmond army, you'll probably learn things here that you didn't know.

Educate yourself here. http://www.microsuck.com/ it makes me even more want to investigate Linux. If only it ran all the software I need to use, I'd switch, but I just don't have the time to spend on learning and getting things to work, and I fear it takes more know how than I have. But I'll continue to investigate and learn, and one day ... I know one thing, about Windows XP, it sucks, and I'm glad I've stuck with 2000. XP has gone into the land of the cloud cuckoo, it's totally insane and takes longer to do anything.

Bloat

Why is it that Microsoft's products keep mushrooming in size with each new release always requiring significantly more disk space and more processing power than the last time? They might claim it's because of all the new features they add each time, but that's only half the story. The new features and the increased processing requirements are designed to fuel the process of perpetual upgrades. This is Microsoft's way of rubbing Intel's back so that Intel will give Microsoft preferential treatment when it comes out with new chip specs. It's also Microsoft's way of convincing consumers that their newer product versions are better because they are so much bigger. Their new features are often superfluous but users must still deal with the overhead required by the features even though most will never use the features.

* CNN has a good article which explains why bloat is such a bad thing. Unneeded features make products more cumbersome to use and the addition of new features often sacrifices the performance (and sometimes the integrity) of older features. Why not stick with an older version of the product then? Two reasons: (1) you only get customer support if you stay current, and (2) if you need to work with other people using the same program older versions are often incompatible with newer versions, so if anybody is using the newest version, then everybody must upgrade.

Two separate people dissected one particular Microsoft program and found out, to their shock, that it was over 2,000% larger than it should have been. It would appear from this discussion that the cumbersome size of Microsoft programs is due not only to the continually growing clutter of useless features but it is also due to careless programming (perhaps to an even larger degree).


September 2 2005

The blue screen of death

What a week. my partner's computer failed to boot, so after a day spent problem solving and retrying, I spent the rest of the week replacing parts, trying to reinstall Windows, replacing more parts, and finally agreeing to a replacement from my local shop at very reasonable cost, which then still failed to install Windows. Many blue screens of death later, and a lesser hominid would have thrown a wobbly and taken a month off life for a stay in a rest home, but I soldiered on and 'we' eventually discovered that the CD writer which had been transferred to the 'new' build was another tainted part and was failing to read intermittently thus causing windows install to stall, usually towards the end. A new drive and off it all went, took it home and installed software and backed up docs, and then powered down to connect the ex master drive as slave. Booted up and all went well, until I accessed the slave to use it as I had intended, as back up drive for important stuff. Froze windows and had to switch off, failed to boot, but worse, gave me the blue screen of death again, with messages of foreboding talking about altering the bios which although I know far too intimately, my actual understanding of most of the realm of the bios is flaky.

So I had to resort to the runes, which sorted it out and it's been fine ever since, touch wood. The exact sequence of keystrokes I employed while under the influence of the runes, will remain a mystery to me. Suffice to say all is not as controlled in the world of computers as the happy punters fondly believe. The average PC engineer/ parts/ service type, usually just throws things in the bin and reaches for another part to plug into the hole. They haven't a real clue as to why things happen [that way lies insanity], so they have a mundane attitude to it, they know what usually works. Three years built in obsolescence and this one was a super dooper Dell, top of the range when purchased. Good job they've got so much cheaper, the thought of shelling out 2 grand every three years would be horrendous. Suppose mine's got a couple more years at most, might eke out four. I'm beginning to pile up redundant computers, so a trip to the tip is pending. Just hope they recycle things rather than putting them in a hole in the ground.

Meanwhile, I've been keeping up with the news and as commentators everywhere have voiced, I find it extraordinary that the richest nation on Earth, with resources aplenty to chuck at anything, couldn't get it together to rescue thousands in New Orleans, and have only now, almost a week later, begun getting emergency supplies into it. Unlike most, I have an inkling of what it must be like for those stuck in the flood as I too, albeit in a living vehicle, have been similarly stuck, with a swollen river only metres from us but several metres above. We too were rescued by boat, in our case a canoe, and it wasn't so much frightening as incredibly inconvenient, messy and desolate, and we were glad to get out and onto dry land. The mud gets everywhere and spoils everything.

I find all the talk of rebuilding mere words from those who haven't fully appreciated the enormity of it, and the future of what is a low-lying coastal swamp. With so much development along the coast, including a number of chemical plants, there was nowhere for the energy to go. And who, if it were possible to reclaim New Orleans, would want to live there with the constant threat of repetition. Without this hurricane the coast would still have gone eventually to the rising sea, as will the Texas coastline to the west [Galveston look out] and much of Florida, which was similar4ly swamp before the white man came along and thought he was all powerful. More hurricanes on the way this year, no wonder they're desperate to fill the holes in the levee.


September 2 2005

Not a desert storm this time but much the same result

Well I suppose it's what you might expect from a monkey, no forward thinking, always the banana in the hand, but the monumental lack of interest as three gulf states flooded and major cities were wiped out is just so staggeringly inept and criminal that already the howling has started and this is going to rock and roll. When the Rhine flooded recently, an area larger than these three states, the German Army went straight in using rubber rafts, people sheltered in the upper floors, taking in neighbours from below, and every day the soldiers delivered water and meals to everyone stranded. They even built walkways round flooded building so people could get out of the house and stretch their legs. In New Orleans the soldiers who have at last arrived are stalking the streets fully armed as if in a wet version of Baghdad, don't they know anything other than violence? If this were the UK the army engineers would be out building bridges, and the rest would be out rescuing. In America, the streets descend into armed chaos and the poor, mostly black, people have to fend for themselves, and when they help themselves to water and food and clean clothes, the media start on about looting being widespread and the cops go armed to stop it. Better an armful of clothing that hasn't been paid for ends up in the filthy flood waters than on the backs of the poor huh?

There was general disbelief in most of America that it was going to be any great thing, including for thousands of people who thought they'd just sit it out at home. Of course, many didn't have the means to leave, and they were even being charged to get on buses out. The better-off drove, having made arrangements beforehand, and clogging the highways with cars so few buses could get out. No planning, no control, everyone for themselves, and the poor always lose out.

This was always swamp, it's how the coastline works, excessive development in recent decades has cut off most of the land which absorbed the sea's power, now it has nowhere to go, and will continue to do damage, greater each time. New Orleans is therefore doomed whatever the monkey says, it can't exist there again. Who would live there knowing that could be their fate any day, who would insure their houses and businesses after this? That's apart from the time it will take to remove all the dead bodies and add them to the mounting toll and remove all the rubbles, with disease and flies for neighbours. It may well have been a historic city, but it was a bad choice of location. Only just viable normally with constant pumping and levees all around, with sea level rise and increasingly chaotic, unpredictable and violent weather events, there's no way it could be made safe for people to return even if they wanted to after starting a new life somewhere else.

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