October 15, 2016


Long read:

Commentary – Why College Kids Are Avoiding the Study of Literature
Students wisely reject the humanities when they’re taught badly. There’s a better way. By Gary Saul Morson

Now. Do we think that the (proper) study of literature teaches empathy? Or that the naturally empathetic appreciate literature.

June 24, 2016


We return to this space (hallo! I yet live! my login still works!) to post two links, which, taken together, can, I believe, explain everything that’s gone wrong with the world (and more!).

Vox – The smug style in American liberalism (April 21, 2016) by Emmett Rensin

The Atlantic – Brexit Right (today, June 24), by Yoni Appelbaum

These are both really good and I’m not going to quote either one because RTWTs.

January 17, 2015

Tinsel Town Tops Ten!

Dear god. Ten years.

Anyhoo: I’ve decided to make it easier on myself and just list the ones I have seen. It saves on formatting.

Best picture: The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was good!

Best Director: Wes Anderson. He did a good job!

Best Actor: Nope

Best Actress: Nope

Best Supporting Actor: Nada

Best Supporting Actress: Niente

Best Adapted Screenplay: Nyet

Best Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel. I enjoyed this film immensely.

Best Animated Feature: Big Hero 6. It was good. Not as good as The LEGO Movie.

Best Animated Short: Nicht, bitte

Best Cinematography: The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was gorgeous to look at.

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Sumptuous.

Best Documentary Short: いえ

Best Film Editing: The Grand Budapest Hotel. It moved along at a great clip.

Best Foreign Language Film: ぜんぜん

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel AND Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m sick of hot chicks in body paint (“Look! Now she’s an ALIEN!”) so I’ll go for Budapest here, hands down.

Best Music: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Ol’ Wes Baby is good with scores.

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel. As I say: Sumptuous.

Best Song: Everything is Awesome. So would have been nominating this film for more awards.

Best Sound: *crickets*

Best Visual Affects: Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America was AWFUL. Guardians was pretty spectacular. So there you go.

Oh and thanks to RC2 for the prompt.

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January 16, 2015


Mark Steyn:

Thus, posterity’s jest. Pre-war Europeans would never have entertained for a moment the construction of mosques from Malmö to Marseilles. But post-war Holocaust guilt, and the revulsion against nationalism and the embrace of multiculturalism and mass immigration, enabled the Islamization of Europe. The principal beneficiaries of the Continent’s penance for the great moral stain of the 20th century turned out to be the Muslims — with the Jews on the receiving end, yet again.



Wheat & Weeds – Hoist By Their Own Petard

It’s only January but we may have the feel-good headline of the year:

Vagina Monologues cancelled because it Excludes Women Without Vaginas.

It seems trans-gender persons feel excluded, so no more of this talk will be tolerated.

So, in this instance, Pre-post-feminism would never have entertained for a moment the construction of an episodic feminist play about men, but guilt and the revulsion against unsafe spaces and the embrace of checked privileges enabled the masculinization of feminism. The principal beneficiaries of new feminism turn out to be men — with women on the receiving end, yet again (as their shows get cancelled).

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October 27, 2014

No Godzilla Jokes Were Made in the Making of This Flood Defense Video

This is so cool (and omg I wouldn’t spend too much time standing in those tunnels):


Fifty metres beneath the teeming megacity of Tokyo is an underworld river system – 6.4km of tunnels, colossal water tanks, massive pillars, giant pumps that remove 200 tonnes of floodwater every second. It’s an engineering marvel built to protect Tokyo against the increasing threat of flooding.

You can download the video here, in case that link breaks later (although then I suppose this link would, too).

(Isn’t it nice how the Australians let the Japanese speak, rather than dub over them?)

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August 11, 2014

That One Plus the Fourth One


I woke up this morning thinking, given current events, it would be nice if not too many people died today.

Poor Robin Williams.

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August 6, 2014

Sniffle XLXIV: Morning Commute Edition

perth train stuck leg

A man in Perth gets his leg wedged between the train and the platform, and ERRBODY rushes to help with their own brute strength (rather than shutting the rail system down all day until men in hi-viz jackets, hardhats and walkie-talkies arrive to dismantle the thing at enormous public cost, as one would imagine happening here, or anywhere else).

“He seemed to be a bit sheepish, because right where he fell was the ‘mind the gap’ writing.”


August 5, 2014


This is such a beautiful idea:

Making the poppies – The Tower of London Remembers

Installing the Poppies – The Tower of London Remembers Project

I suppose if we did it here it would be some sort of ridiculous “crescent of embrace”, or in this case, the “imperial eagle of remembrance,” or something.

Speaking of memorials, I found out about this, for the first time, watching a history documentary the other day, and it made me hideously depressed about our ability to find or create solemn beauty in anything anymore:


It’s hard to read and I can’t find a bigger picture, but it’s the Bayeux Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, and says, in latin, “Nos a Gulielmo victi victoris patriam liberavimus,” or “We, once conquered by William, have no set free the Conqueror’s land”.

How’s that for a beautiful, solemn and thoughtful grasp of history? (It also strikes me as a very complicated tense structure for the Latin scholars at the time. I wonder if there were fights about the wording?)

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June 26, 2014

Peter Recommends CXLVIII

This is about the bestest thing in the world right now (the story, not the beer, per se):

Stella Artois: Perfectionists: Rufus – The Real Hawk-Eye

More here: Wimbledon Hired A Hawk To Scare The Pigeons Away

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Oh Mo

Preemptive Update!

I wrote this post over a month ago, but then got lazy and didn’t finish the last couple of links (still haven’t, but honestly I think I’ve got the basics covered), but then this morning I saw this Tell Mama link posted below, which made me think a) Oh that’s hilarious, who COULD they mean? and b) I guess the story isn’t totally over so I should just post the damned thing, and not let all that archiving for the ol’ External Memory Drive go to waste.

Tell Mama – A Clarification On Our Work on Anti-Muslim Prejudice

It goes without saying that we at TELL MAMA think anti-Muslim prejudice is a very serious issue. We have seen the impacts on victims of anti-Muslim prejudice first hand and particularly on women and young people. We therefore take all reports of anti-Muslim prejudice very seriously. We also do our very best on the limited resources that we have, to offer the right kind of support for those who have suffered from discrimination on the basis of their faith. However, our work is currently not being helped by those who seek to abuse this social issue for their own political or egotistical ends. …

Nothing fuels the far-right more than the notion that Muslims are seeking a special privileged status for themselves and their religion. It is, therefore, vitally important that Muslims don’t inadvertently give fodder to the far-right by using our organisation to pursue personal vendettas against individuals whom they have had disagreements with.

Anyway, back to the 16th of May…

I don’t usually post about stuff that has little to nothing to do with the US/wider world (I don’t usually post much at all, lately) but I think this story, which I’ve been enjoying immensely on Twitter, is so interesting because the man at the heart of it seems to have invented himself (literally) entirely on Twitter. (And, incidentally, plucky, wonderful Tweetbot has been getting a lot of shoutouts for saving deleted Tweets for later cataloging.) And yet here is a list of media appearances he’s made since his self-invention, taken from his website:

(TV) BBC’s The One Show, Newsnight, ITV Daybreak, Daily Politics, The Big Questions, Sunday Morning Live and Sunday Politics. He has been interviewed on Sky News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News, BBC World News and a wide variety of international outlets including CNN, ITN, RT, Reuters, Al Jazeera, RTL, France 24 and Australia’s TEN News. (Radio) BBC Radio 4 Any Questions, Claire Balding Sunday Show, the World At One, PM, The Sunday Programme, Beyond Belief, Daily Thoughts, Faith Dialogues, The Asian Network and extensive local/regional programming. 

Some recap for people who haven’t been following, and also, for the external memory drive:

Harry’s Place (June 5, 2013) – Exposing the Pseudo Moderation of Mo Ansar

The Rationalizer (February 19) – Is Mo Ansar an Islamophobicophiliac?

Adrian Hilton (April 15) – Education? Qualification? Publication? No answer from Mo Ansar

(Iain Dale (May 4) – The Truth About Mo Ansar](http://www.iaindale.com/posts/2014/05/04/the-truth-about-mo-ansar)

Storify (May 8) – .@JeremyDuns and a series of charges against Mo Ansar

Jeremy Duns (May 14) – The Dangerous Mr Ansar (cached version is here)

Milo Yiannopoulis (May 15) – Mo Ansar, the bogus Muslim ‘theologian’ who defends slavery and says Muslims discovered America in AD1000… while claiming benefits and appearing on the BBC

The Rationalizer (May 15) – Who and what exactly is Mo Ansar? <– amazing research.

Spectator podcast (May 15):

And The Spectator (May 17) – How did Mo Ansar become the voice of British Muslims? By Nick Cohen

And here’s a list of qualifications he’s claimed (just to provide symmetry with his list of media appearances, above), as compiled by Milo Yiannopoulos:

• Lawyer
• Lecturer
• Banker
• Imam
• Marriage counsellor
• Visiting lecturer
• Political and social commentator
• Legal advocate
• Educator
• Educationalist
• Speaker
• Grass roots activist
• Civil rights activist
• Social justice activist
• Peace activist
• “Interfaither”
• Theologian
• School governor
• Girls’ cricket team coach
• England and Wales Cricket Board coach
• Equality specialist (“15 years”)
• Equality practitioner “in Parliament”
• Communication specialist
• Child protection expert
• Prison chaplain
• College chaplain
• Professional logician
• Professional Association of Diving Instructors-qualified scuba diver
• “The Muslim Bishop of Southampton”
• Community organiser
• Diversity consultant
• Religious Education practitioner
• School governor
• LGBT activist (“almost a decade”, “15 years”)

Oh and the other reason I’m so happy about this is because nearly the day before it all blew up in his face, he tried turning his followers against India Knight who was in a slightly tipsy rage against some idiot on Twitter and in a single tweet (limit 140 characters, less the amount given to the @names she’s replying to) used the abbreviations “Scot” and “Paki” which (the latter, obvs) he jumped all over her about in at least three separate tweets to make sure everyone heard him, because it’s appallingly racist and whatnot. This included saying he’d written to The Sunday Times and her publisher that they should drop her as a writer. He seems to have deleted those tweets, as well. Asshat.

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June 6, 2014

D-Day 70

click to enlarge

watch big and make sure it’s in HD

Curtsy: CDR Salamander for that Stock Footage video.

The best story today:

[A]n 89-year-old veteran was reported missing by his care home after being told that he couldn’t go to Normandy. …

Sussex police say that the man, who has not been named, was reported missing last night by a nursing home in Hove. He had gone out at 10.30am wearing a grey macintosh and jacket with his war medals.

Police searched the area and checked with hospitals and then the nursing home had a phone call from a “younger” veteran who said he had met the man in question on a coach to France and they were “safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham”.

Perhaps his “young” friend is a veteran of the Korean war? Anyway, what a guy. Grabbing his medals and sneaking out of his old folks home to turn up on a beach in Normandy.

Honestly, I don’t know how all the wives (not to be sexist, but since Angela Merkel seems to be busying herself elsewhere, and since presumably their husbands have learned how to suppress any residual human emotional impulses in their day jobs, it is mostly wives) go to these D-Day Remembrance ceremonies without messy crying throughout.

Speaking of wives, just to be slightly frivolous here, but I really love what SamCam’s wearing:

samcam dday

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April 24, 2014

Peter Recommends CXLVII

Formula 1 Pit Stops 1950 & Today

Very funny.

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March 27, 2014

Absolutely the Funniest Item of the Day CCCXI

Do It For Denmark!


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March 25, 2014

Absolutely the Funniest Item of the Day CCCX

Peter sent me this last week and it is amazing. Keep watching, because the first part is funny but the punchline is in the second part. Then after the second part, there’s a third part, also funny.

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Sniffle XLXIII: A Bright Light in a Bad Situation Edition

I’ve often rhapsodized on the wonder of plucky, western Australia (and New Zealand, yes) floating around in the middle of a big ocean surrounded by…well, the sorts of countries that the families of the lost flight MH370 have had to deal with for the past two and a half weeks (at the time of writing). So let’s skip repeating ourselves.

The other day some trash was spotted in the southern Indian Ocean near (in relative terms) Perth, and all the efforts were suddenly picked up by Australian servicemen and women, and if you’ve been watching the news on Sky, lordy it was nice. But let’s skip further recap.

Then this, at the very bottom of an article in The Times (“‘Ghost plane’ theory revived for MH370 as relatives’ anger erupts”)

Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, told Parliament that it was very likely relatives of those on MH370 would come to Western Australia within the next few days. The Government would waive their entry visa fees, he said.

“I want them all to know they will be in the arms of a decent country,” he said.