"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone! I'm up on the Isle of Lewis at the moment, spending Christmas with my sister & family. The main advantage to this is that my nephew is eleven, so I get to play with all the cool presents he gets....the lightsabre is very cool, and I got him a remote control hovercraft. Brilliant stuff! Hope you're all having fun and eating and drinking to excess...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

UK Most Wanted ...

Was just looking at the new most wanted list of criminal suspects. All the crimes seem to have been in Yorkshire or Greater London, so I guess you're safe John, especially if you stay away from Weegieland. Some of the entries full of typos, e.g.:

"However it si believed that he was mundered at Stone Road address."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Arnie has terminated Crips founder Stanley 'Tookie' Williams, despite there being some some doubts as to the extent of his culpability for the crimes for which he was convicted, and his apparent reformation in prison.

All the same, you wouldn't have wanted to mess with him in his heyday - if this guy was in a film you'd think it was over the top:

Stanley Tookie Williams

Friday, December 09, 2005

Best of the Fitz 2005

Well, the end of the year is approaching and the reviews are starting. I thought I'd present my Top 5 Fitzroy Tuesday trails of 2005:

Cosgrove Puts the Boot In (Feb 14)

The Portable Virtual Privacy Machine (March 2)

Contemporary Scottish Bar in London (May 19)

Philosophical muti-storey car park ticket machine (November 26)

Well, the weather in Edinburgh has been ridiculously cold this week (November 19)

Thriller in Manila

Anyone catch the program about the Muhammad Ali / Smokin' Joe Frazier fight series last night? Think it was called The Fight. Completely gobsmacked by the final showdown - armageddon, basically. (Also not a very flattering portrait of Ali, I thought).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Prescription Meds

Herbal viagra... Become a property millionaire... Cheap home insurance... Russian brides... Forward this to 100 people and earn $$$$$... Stock tips...

Sorry, just trying to attract some higher value Google ads for the Fitzrovian christmas drinks kitty.

Poetry Corner

I haven't seen this mentioned before, so I thought you might enjoy some of the poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld ...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

TV Arials & Freeview

I got myself a Freeview box the other day. Now I'm looking for a good arial, because my reception isn't that great. I figured Amazon would be a good place to search for them as they have customer reviews, but Amazon obviously think there's only one reason anyone would want to watch TV...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Philosophical muti-storey car park ticket machine

The machine displaying this is near the foot of Techno Bridge, incidentally. (Greenside Place has a handy car park for Saturday shopping in the New Town).

Friday, November 25, 2005

The long goodbye

Good article.


Am thinking of trying to raise the profile of FitzTues, maybe by getting it listed on some UK blog directories. Thoughts?

Monday, November 21, 2005

From the ashes

Review in the New Yorker of interesting-looking new history tome:

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The St James Centre Techno Bridge has won an award!

From the Institute of Structural Engineers. Apparently it's just called the Greenside Place Bridge. Still most excellent however.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Well, the weather in Edinburgh has been ridiculously cold this week

and I have been using the coolest promotional windscreen ice-scraper I have ever encountered...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Well at least the telly's not #### this time of year

(forgive the ## prudery but am typing this in an extremely corporate environment). Rome pretty good, Bleak House impressively techno-fied and The Thick of It just superb (tho last night's final episode the weakest of the 2nd series I think).

Monday, October 31, 2005

Is it just me...

Like the title of this book, although I fear it could be one of those wacky stocking fillers they always bring out at this time of year.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Wherever I lay my hat....

I'm moving flat. Place I'm in is closing down, so I'm off to see other bits of London. There's a reasonably nice place I saw in Finchley that I'll probably go for. Anyone know what that area is like (I only visited it once)? Is £360 + bills a reasonable rent? They do have wireless broadband...

(Unfortunately, I couldn't find any gratuitous link to throw in here...oh yeah, Age of Empires III demo is out)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bumper stickers

We don't really have this political bumper sticker culture here.

By the way, did you know that Jews invented the weekend?

Patriotic Posters

Some satirical, Bush-baiting WWII style propaganda posters etc. Weird thing is, I bet right wingers would be happy with some of this stuff at a less ironic level.

T-shirt for Tom:

I'm not at work today, can you tell?

Best hairstyle ever

If only I could grow my hair like this:

(full story)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


They're knocking down that burnt out hotel you can see from the East Coast mainline at Dunbar. Hurrah I say, about time too.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Russian MP3s

Tom tells me that allofmp3.com, a Russian pay-per-download site, is great, safe and dirt cheap. Apparently it's not exactly legal per se, but gets away with it because of Russia's lax copyright laws.

(Tom, is this the one you were talking about?)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Monday, September 19, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The extinction of UK frogs?

Has anyone been following this story over the last few years? The lethal amphibian funghi has now spread to the UK: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4249136.stm

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oxford Bar

Continuing the tradition of visiting literary watering holes I'm going here for a pint this evening.

Norway's formula for a happy life

Oil money + welfare state + equality = good place to live

(see here)

Don't dumb me down

Good Bad Science piece in today's paper.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

After the Flood

A few good post-hurricane pieces in the current New Yorker, including this one laying into Bush, which is always good.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Serious Games

Does anyone know anything about 'serious games' - computer games with real-world, practical applications, such as training etc. Especially keen to hear about anything that doesn't involve training the US millitary to kill people...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

HBO: Rome

This looks the business. Should be on BBC at before too long as they co-produced it with HBO. In line with HBO's anti-establishment ethos they've released a Firefox only browser theme...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Songs and stuff

monkeehub, which is apparently just one guy, did that brilliant "Creep" flash video that I'm sure I linked to many moons ago. Anyway, after you've depressed yourself watching that, you can cheer yourself up again by watching the even more brilliant JCB song which is doing the interweb rounds at the moment. Summer type nostalgically excellent stuff. (Sound obviously required and probably don't even bother if you're on dial-up)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Festival Fun

Although Shavers Weekly always used to herald this time of the year with their 'Oh No, Here Come the Festival Wanks' issue - anything good on at the festival, John?

Monday, July 18, 2005

A few observations from Edinburgh

The light is very different - a clear blue-grey as opposed to the flat, exhaust-tinged glare of London.

It's not half as busy - drove round the bypass to Sighthill during rush hour this morning and it took me about 30 minutes tops. With the exception of Princes Street there are no crowds at all.

Chip and PIN seems to have only recently made inroads up here. Shop staff ask solicitously if you know your PIN before proffering the keypad...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Monday, July 04, 2005

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8

A special evening, even on telly. The Who!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cbeebies does Shakespeare

This is Jenny's current internet favourite. It's quite good - the flash animation is nicely done and Oberon has a top Glaswegian accent.

Huge table

On Hampstead Heath. The artist used to play football for the New York Apollos in the 70s!

Third (Last?) Tuesday Redux

Can you actually redux a last?.... But, anyway...

Software patents in the EU
This particular site is a bit heavy going for a morning after, but there're plenty other sites about why this is such a bad idea.

EU Constitution
Just for fun, I link an even more boring site....

Rotary Mobile Telephone
This is more like it! Excellent coolness personified (or would be, if it was a person)

Warhammer 40, 000
Paint models. I'm sure there's probably more to it than that, but who knows what exactly? By Grabthar's hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged! Or something.

Global recession and stuff like that...well, I dunno....US national debt is 7.8 trillion at the moment, which might be bad if they ever get called on it, but I can't see that as long as their GDP holds up. In fact, I'm going to stick to my guns on this one and say that they will probably manage OK (though I suppose this kind of depends on the moves of their next president). I'll leave it to the pessimists to post some damning statistics ;-)

House prices defy doomsayers!
Ok, yeah, I have to go to New Zealand to find good news....I'm still going to buy in Estonia...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Third Tuesday

What time are people thinking about getting to the pub? I can be there for 6'ish...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Iraq as Vietnam

I know, I know - more Iraq stuff, but this is a great piece and I have been struck (once again) about what an utter disaster it all is. Tom Engelhardt is one of the web's greatest journalists.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

second tuesday

flipping heck. this tuesday is tuesday 14th and as such the second tuesday of the month. anyone fancy going to that scottish place on trafalgar sq for some porridge and whisky cocktails or whatever they serve? (alternatively there's this pub on charlotte st which is ok...)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fitzrovian Facts!

Apologies for not responding to your interesting posts this week - has been a lot going on. To make up for it, here's some more Fitzrovian Facts:

Augustus John used to hang out at the Fitzroy. He would pat the head of every child he passed on Charlotte St, in case it was his.

Bob Dylan played upstairs in a Fitzrovian pub in the 60s.

George Orwell's wife used to live in Percy St (the same st Hitler's brother lived in). He used it as the model for the room Winston and Julia use for their affair in 1984.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Once You Start Dancing...

A Kosovan guy I know has just arrived in London on an internship and is writing a blog about it. His youthful positivity is enough to warm the heart of even the most jaded of Fitzrovians...


Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Picture of Britain

New exhibition in the Tate (plus tv series and book) is being trailed in this weekend's papers. I'm determined to make it to this (for once).

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bewl Water

Just been here for the day - it's one of the seven wonders of the "Weald" apparently. Actually very good with an excellent adventure playground (Tom).

Friday, May 27, 2005

Sin City

Sometimes even I win things....such as an xfm competition to see "Sin City" at The Rex, which is an "exclusive members club with cinema" in Soho. Well, I'd planned to see the film anyway, and oh, might as well admit it, I was also enticed by the phrase "The film is to be introduced by Brittany Murphy and Jessica Alba so you won't want to be late." Hah! Yeah, a video introduction...how cheated do I feel....

Sin City is an adaptation of the comic book (or graphic novel, if you prefer ;) . It's all guns and girls and one-liners in the midst of mayhem. There isn't really a great deal to say about the film, since it's pretty much what you'd expect a (good) comic book adaptation to be: nothing too deep and meaningful, but plenty of action. It also has a weird and wonderful look, which at times leaves you wondering whether it's live action, CGI or animation. Most of the film is monochrome with colour used sparingly (a girl's eyes; blood on a face) which makes for some stunning visuals.

One problem I did have with the film is that I kept expecting the stories to merge at some point and they don't. It's more like "Tales from Sin City" where the viewer is given glimpses of the life of these weird characters.

Not one for the kiddies, it's unashamedly violent and old fashionedly sexist, in a film noir sense. Excellent fun.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fitzrovian Facts!

The Fitzroy Tavern was built in 1897. Former regular Aleister Crowley invented a cocktail for the pub, the kubla khan no 2, from gin, vermouth and laudanum.

After all the writers moved onto the Wheatsheaf, the place became a gay hangout in the 50s, when such behaviour was illegal, but it got raided by the police.

Twenty Questions!

Anyone come across this neural network 20 questions game? It's slightly eerie how it successfully guesses what you're thinking about: http://www.20q.net

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005

London Compendium:

I bought a copy of The London Compendium at the weekend, and now intend to bore you at regular intervals with top facts about Fitzrovia.

Tonight: Adolf Hitler's half brother lived at 4 Percy St (the one between the Fitzroy and Tottenham Ct Rd), and Adolf visited him there in 1912.

Also: In 1640, the entire area was an estate, which was acquired by Henry Fitzroy, an illegitimate son of Charles II, who later became Earl of Euston.

The Sun

Slightly ashamed about finding this funny, but enjoyed the Sun's headline on Friday: Bush Probes Sadam's Pants. Sub-head was something along the lines of 'He's determined to get to the bottom of it'. It has become Viz. (This in response to their picture of Hussein in underwear on the previous day.)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Undiscovered Scotland

I know it's been linked to before, but it's worth mentioning again that the Undiscovered Scotland website is totally fantastic browsing fodder. I particularly like this bit.

Ahh, I am half in love with easeful middle age...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

More on What the Bleep

Dickie Dawkings having a pop in today's Grauniad. Bet the bloke from Edinburgh feels a bit foolish, his criticisms far milder than the rest of them.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The trailer's up

and it looks pretty good.

I really don't like George Galloway

I've no idea whether the current allegations are true or not, but he just referred to himself in the third person in his BBC interview. Never a good sign.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Another classic

Sorry to get there late, but we still managed to cover the following:

- arguments for Scottish independence vs devolution
- the open source brewery
- the new political landscape
- the work-life balance
- whether God is a fascist or not and if e=mc2 describes or governs the universe
- existentialist teleology

Anything else...?

Open Office

Has anyone (ie John or Seumas) tried the Open Office open source office suite?

Lookout v1.2

Lookout for Outlook. Incredibly useful if you use Outlook as your mail client...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New Yorker - Global Warming

Final part of a new yorker 3-parter on global warming. Also, did you see the Tony Blair profile, reprinted in the Observer on Sunday? Like most New Yorker features, about twice as long as it could have been, but quite interesting on the Iraq stuff...

Friday, April 29, 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

flipping heck

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Hampshire | Car lands in home's upper floor


We haven't been for a pint for a while. Was just chatting to John and figured that next Tuesday (the 3rd) would be an appropriate date. What you guys reckon?

UPDATE: John isn't feeling too good. Can we try for next week instead? Maybe Tuesday 10th?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Immigration Facts Quiz

Praxis. Apparently, people born outside the UK contribute £2.5bn more in taxes than they take in benefits.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

ya beauty

Google maps for UK. No satellite link yet however...

Laptop advice

I want to buy a new laptop, small to medium sized, preferably no more than £800.

I want one that's small and light enough to cart around with me, but not one of those pricey, really tiny ones that break easily and don't have any disc drives or anything.

Any tips re: brands and retailers? I'm not too fussy. Toshibas always seem to be pretty cheap for what you get - are they alright?

Friday, April 15, 2005


am investigating flickr - my photostream is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmain01/
anybody else got one?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Google satellite mapping

Google have recently bought keyhole.com - a firm specializing in satellite imaging - and have integrated the images with their own mapping functionality. It's pretty amazing - you can click on the "satellite" link at pretty much any zoom level to see the view from space. Unfortunately only US & Canada are covered in detail so far - it'll be brilliant when you can zoom in on Charlotte St...

Bush's ipod

What should be on it, and what's actually on it.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Shooting Pains

Just read this on Popbitch:

"Matthew J Hogan has just been appointed by the
Bush Government as director of the Fish and
Wildlife Service. Interestingly, Hogan was the
lobbyist for Safari Club International - an elite
club of exotic animal trophy hunters, as well
as a keen exotic hunter himself.

SCI has 40,000 members, and promotes global
competitive trophy hunting, with Grand Slam
and Inner Circle competitions. These include
Africa Big Five (leopard, elephant, lion, rhino,
buffalo), North American Twenty Nine (one of
each species of bear, bison, sheep, moose,
caribou, and deer), Big Cats of the World and
Antlered Game of the Americas. To complete all
29 awards, a hunter must kill 322 separate
species. Enough to populate a large zoo.

(FYI: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the
agency charged with granting or denying such
trophy import permits.)"

Are we actually living in some deranged, satirical novel? What the hell is going on over there? Is Bush the devil?

Battle for the black hole

Interesting tale of an Indian astrophysics student getting unfairly stuffed by the pre-war Cambridge establishment.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Colin's right, I can't get a template that renders properly in both Firefox and IE

Back to basics until I can devote some time to sorting this out?

Product Placement


I know the world has got more important things to worry about, but product placement is one of those corrosive things that convinces me that we are gradually slipping into ruin. Fifteen years ago the idea of novelists and songwriters being paid to mention brands in their work have been satirical. Now it's seen as the inevitable future of advertising..

Friday, March 25, 2005

Just sold my mountain bike as I never use it these days

And immediately started thinking about the one to buy when I get back up to Scotland. This one. A beauty.

Blair joins the wristband craze

Conviction politician or opportunist? I think Blair manages to be both, somehow. (I'm probably voting Labour again this year).

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Actually this one is even better!


Cillit Bang Remix


Granta: The Factory

Excellent new Granta this quarter (89: The Factory). (Annoyingly www.granta.com is still showing the previous edition) . A good mix of fiction, social history and feature journalism around manufacturing, particularly its decline in UK.

Could be early signs of something analogous to 18th century pastoralism in literature: a celebration and nostalgia for industrialism, in the same way that writers once addressed the agrarian economy (of course, as discussed in Fitzroy, both were shit).

Sunday, March 20, 2005

City Churches

Went to a function at St Mary at Hill yesterday, a Wren church just off East Cheap. Astonishing, beautiful place. Even at weekends there is a sense of some ineffable energy in the City - the 1000 year old streets connecting the most ancient structures with the most modern...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

slow blogger

blogger *has* been pretty slow the last couple of days. i reckon we should monitor the situation with a view to moving to a different platform at some stage. am going to try and set something up when I get some free time...

False Dawn

Spring is in the air! It's sunny and warm! Yay! Winter's over! (As with every year at this time, this does of course mean that it's bound to snow at the weekend.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Gah! Fitzrovian passed over again in the weblog awards.

Grime Scene

Bloody hell, grime in The New Yorker. Nekkle!

On the Roof

My flatmate interviewed the writer Geoff Dyer the other day. This is quite a nice piece by him in an old Granta, about being a dole-bludging, aspirant writer idler in Brixton in the eighties - ending with some reassurance for those of us in the rat race who yearn for a life of chat and books instead.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Seeing spots

What's going on? What happened to comforting, familiar orange and white Fitzrovian? I'm in early middle age - I'm resistant to change! By the way John, do you know they're making a film of this?

Friday, March 11, 2005

comic relief

http://bbc.co.uk/rednoseday tel. 0857 910 910

google adwords

Guys, why don't we start running adwords on our site? I'm sure advertisers would love to get access to our high quality content and affluent audience. It could pay for drinks at the Fitzroy.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Shared online diaries

Anyone know any cheap/free shared online diary/collaboration services that we could use at work? We don't use MS Exchange Server / Outlook, so can't go down that route.


Experts weigh super-volcano risks

Ah well, important to get all this stuff into some kind of perspective... ;-)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Independent Labour Party

Anyone know anything about the ILP? Mentioned in this Times obituary about recently dead, interesting Scottish writer Robin Jenkins.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Real snow in London and one of the fastest ever bus journeys into work this morning - not very much traffic on the roads at all. I assume this means vast swathes of London's drivers decided to take the day off today or were stuck in huge tailbacks somewhere beyond the M25...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I love America...

Or at least the bottom half of it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4312181.stm

The Portable Virtual Privacy Machine

(A review by Phaemon)

A few months back I linked to this Virtual Machine you could run from a USB drive. At the time, I'd intended to try it out as I was expecting to get a 1GB USB drive from work. It mysteriously got lost on its way to me , so I'm still waiting for one. However, I realised that I could just run the thing from my harddisk, so here's a review to let you know what it is, what it's like and what it's used for.

First, from the above link, I just clicked the Download button and then downloaded the .zip file. It's about 87 MB, so not one for those on dial-up! I then unzipped it to a folder on my Desktop, double-clicked the qemu-win.bat file, as the readme.txt had instructed, and pressed Enter to start the boot. If I was on a linux machine, I would run the boot-linux.bat file instead. (screenshot)

It then opened a window that looked like a computer booting Linux. It detected the hardware, and found my network connection. This is the point where I realised that this is *slow*. I guess it's a full machine emulator, but even running on a 3 GHz Hyperthreaded P4, 512 MB RAM, it's pretty sluggish. I did notice that it only saw one of the processors (hyperthreading means the operating system should see two). I guess at least that had the advantage of letting me write this at the same time without slowing my machine completely to a crawl. (screenshot)

When booting was done I was left at the default desktop (screenshot) Notice at the top it says "QEMU - Press Ctrl-Shift to exit grab" This just means you press Ctrl-Shift to return the mouse cursor control to Windows. It's also obvious from the screenshot that they've based this on Damn Small Linux (DSL).

Next, to try out some web browsing (yes, I know the Dillo web browser is already running; I mean on Firefox). I double clicked on Firefox and....well, it just worked...the same as running it in Windows really. These guys have a bit of an intimidating home page, but since they're trying to sell their security stuff I guess that's understandable! (screenshot) I've blotted out the network details, since they're mine, but it's pretty much what any website sees when you visit it. It's worth nothing that Firefox took 30 seconds to start, though it might have been a bit quicker as I'd made an earlier configuration error while messing around which could have slowed it down. More on this later...

OK, it can run off any drive, including USB stick, so it's Portable. It's runs in an emulator, so it's Virtual. What about the Privacy bit? Well, that's the Metropipe Tunneler icon you saw on the Desktop. I double click that, click Start Tunnel and when it says Tunneler Connected I can start (or restart) Firefox. See the difference? (screenshot) I'm now connected with an encrypted connection through Metropipe's servers. No website knows where I'm coming from, and the connection is encrypted right to my Desktop. Very easy.

Well, that's about it. Any changes you make are saved in the folder you run it from, so you can use any computer running either Windows or Linux with a net connection, to get on the net without altering their configuration in any way, and with your own customised one. I think this is a project with a lot of potential. Well worth a shot if you've got around 90 Meg of free disk space...

Free to download and use
Easy to setup (almost no setup really!) and run
Privacy and a virtual machine all in one little useful package
Can run from a folder on a harddisk or off USB stick
Can run on any Windows or Linux machine

No MacOS X support (yet; it's apparently coming)
Not running the latest software

[OK, the problem mentioned earlier and described below was my own stupid fault. I closed the Tunneler without stopping it. You'd think I could manage an application that has just two buttons...]

(Oh yes, I promised to mention that problem with starting Firefox. It was that I'd run the Tunneler in a previous session and it automatically set it up to use the Tunneler (as a proxy). When I went back in I'd forgotton to turn it off, and it had saved the setting. I now don't seem to be able to make it remember to NOT use a proxy. I can set it and run it, but if I restart Firefox, it's looking to go through the Tunneler again. Odd bug, but nothing major. I could probably fix it if I really looked...)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Anyone see the article about Freecycle in the Observer on Sunday? Nice idea - like ebay, but you give stuff away. There's a London group.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Last Night

Yes, an absolute classic. A wide ranging and vibrant discussion in which we managed to cover:

- the scope for technology to solve global warning
- Colonising Mars and the likelihood of achieving nuclear fusion
- John's OCD, Seamus's mania and my "bog-standard depression"
- Status anxiety and life expectancy
- merits of service vs industrial vs agrarian economy
- The tyranny of all commercial organisations
- Buddhism/depression as survival mechanisms for the modern world
- House prices in London and Edinburgh
- The conditions required for communism to exist

Also note: I owe Seamus £20
An excellent evening last night, though can't think of any links to post as a follow up...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

From today's Onion

Bush Determined To Find Warehouse Where Ark Of Covenant Is Stored
WASHINGTON, DC—In a surprise press conference Monday, President Bush said he will not rest until the warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant, the vessel holding the original Ten Commandments, is located. "Nazis stole the Ark in 1936, but it was recovered by a single patriot, who braved gunfire, rolling boulders, and venomous snakes," Bush said, addressing the White House press corps. "Sadly, due to bureaucratic rigmarole, this powerful, historic relic was misplaced in a warehouse. Mark my words: We will find that warehouse." Bush added that, after they are strengthened by the power of the Ark, U.S. forces will seek out and destroy the sinister Temple of Doom.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Work Your Proper Hours Day

This Friday.


WordPress - open source blogging software. As used by mySociety - who have, incidentally, recently launched WriteToThem.com, which looks useful - rant to your elected representatives as well as on this blog.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Fitzrovian Thursday

Anyone up for the pub on Thursday evening? I am and I think Seumas is as well...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Stop the War March

It's two years today since this. (Also the setting of new Ian McEwan novel.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Alan Moore interview

Interesting (and long) interview with a genuine genius. (Don't agree with his assertion that consciousness is predicated on language however).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Vietnam Syndrome

“United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson’s policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.”

- Peter Grose, in a page 2 New York Times article titled, ‘U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote,’ September 4, 1967.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Carbon Balancing?

Am thinking of paying to plant some trees, in order to 'carbon balance' my forthcoming air trip to Melbourne.

However, not actually sure if it's worth doing or not. Interesting science/public policy discussion on the subject here: http://www.rockfax.com/forums/t.php?t=114895 seems to suggest that it might not be worth it.

All Fitzrovian views welcome...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Friday, January 28, 2005


This guy is going to be my new landlord. What amazes me is that there's a photo of Mike Flowers in the national portrait gallery...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Browser Wars Escalate

There are more options than Internet Explorer or Firefox, but be careful which ones you choose! He was probably a terrorist anyway...

The case of the missing crisis

Some interesting stuff about Bush's plans to cut social security, what this would mean (according to Krugman), and some parallels with Britain by someone from the FT and Krugman again.

Worried? Us?

Being a glutton for punishment, thought I'd have another look at this story in Granta, that terrified me a year or so ago.

very sorry to see this on the bbc site today

Tumour diary: The time has come

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

blogs: a paedophile's dream?

This is the kind of idiotic rubbish that makes me despair of mainstream politics. It seems that all politicians are happy to agree on something provided it completely misses the point and can be guaranteed to terrify the populace.

As green as a neocon

BBC Springwatch

I've just seen a bumblebee, and am going to log it at BBC Springwatch. They're trying to monitor whether spring is occuring earlier. A south african friend was telling me the other day that they do a similar, annual bird count, and that this year all the birds had already migrated before the day of the count. Normally there are 1000s.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

there's nothing else for it...

Climate crisis near 'in 10 years'

I know everyone here knows about this stuff, but i'm finding the whole thing profoundly fucking depressing at the moment. Think i'm having the "most depressing day of the year" 1 day late. Maybe technology will save us (Bill Gates take on it - he's more concerned with biological terrorism).

Burns Night

It may expose me as a sniggering schoolboy, but I always find this to be one of Burns' greatest works.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Robot Wars

US plans 'robot troops' for Iraq. How long before K9 here is caught making Iraqi prisoners get naked with bags on their heads? That "there are plans to replace the computer screen, joysticks and keypad in the remote-control unit with a Gameboy-style controller and virtual-reality goggles" is particularly disconcerting. Although the batteries only last for 4 hours - which is worse than an ipod.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

War graves

Sometimes the internet is amazing. I stumbled across this site the other day, and looked up my uncle, who died fighting in WWII. This site found him in seconds, told me when he died, where he is buried, and the number of the grave. CWGC.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

'I don't like Monday 24 January'

It's me again, the bearer of glad tidings. Look out, next Monday is the most depressing day of the year, according to a part-time tutor at Cardiff Uni (quite a depressing prospect in itself): 'I don't like Monday 24 January'. At least we'll get it out of the way soon!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

On Thinning Ice

More environmental doom-mongering, this time from the London Review of Books. It's a review of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment study. High(low?)lights include: in the last 200 yrs, CO2 in atmosphere increased by 35% - a third of which in last 40yrs; an area of reflective sea ice 8 times the size of the UK has been lost in the arctic; melting permafrost releases loads of methane - 23 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2; not only melting ice but expanding water (as it warms) will raise sea levels; up to 37% of terrestrial species could be extinct by 2050; British and Canadia carbon emissions have actually gone up since 97 - most of the reductions are down to the switch to natural gas from coal and oil, that was brought about by Thatcher; worst of all (though hopefully dubious) is the (conspiracy) theory that the US doesn't care because it will emerge relatively unscathed compared to much of the world, and this will strengthen its power base even further.

As if that wasn't enough, there's another scary piece about coal, too.

What can you do? Except resolve never to take an unnecessary domestic flight ever again, as I have just done. And read comics.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Alliance Against Urban 4x4s

Alliance Against Urban 4x4s. If you're feeling adventurous, hector the owners by downloading fake London borough parking tickets from wastemonsters. Reasonable of them to include the 'Urban' in the title, too.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

another make poverty history link

middle age is definitely creeping up on me - this event was being publicised by the lady vicar on terry wogan's "pause for thought" slot earlier this week...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Waterstone's employee gets sacked for blogging.

Guardian article here. Actually (though i've not read his blog in any detail) it sounds like he didn't get on with his boss all that well in the first place...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Advent characters

Why is it always the 'advent of the internet'? Was just reading yesterday's Grauniad media section, and every third commentator talks about the advent of the web, or digital media, or the net etc. I find this irrationally and disproportionately annoying.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Mind Hacks and Tuesday

Anyone read this book yet? Looks pretty interesting.

Also next Tuesday is the 2nd Tuesday of Jan 05. I *think* I should be able to make it - anyone else interested? Was thinking we could maybe go for a curry rather than just drink beer...

Thursday, January 06, 2005


My sister got the DVD of Heimat for Christmas. I watched a couple of episodes and it is superb stuff. I vaguely remember them showing this on telly 20 years ago (20!). Imagine them showing a 16-hour, partly black and white masterpiece with subititles on British TV these days. I intend to steal it from her when I get the chance.