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December 13th, 2005


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02:33 pm - News below subject line: here
1) Today is Chrismahanukwanzakah. Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah to you all!

One of the last things I saw on CNN before I flew from ATL last time was Richard Branson promoting it. He cheerfully admitted that he couldn't pronounce it, not least because he's dyslexic. Rather a flawed concept for a promotion, I'd've thought.

2) The most recent British Social Attitudes report (PDF file) came out today; very interesting reading if, like me, you like that sort of thing. It's politics at the policy level rather than the party level.

Sometimes I wonder whether the concept of "a national character" has any merit. It's lazy prejudice to ascribe particular characteristics to people purely on the basis of their nationality, because every nation has people of every sort. However, if there were significant differences between the attitudes of inhabitants of one nation and those of another nation to the same question in the same context, that could be useful to know.

3) Which leads naturally into discussion of political correctness. People like to say "It's political correctness gone mad!" when artificial or laboured inclusiveness prevails over common sense. However, the government offers some practical and sensible, if nontraditional, advice, people scream "it's political correctness gone mad!" and the advice is rescinded.

Except it's not - it's actually really good advice, it's just not what people want to hear. In my view, it's "it's political correctness gone mad!" gone mad. Google suggests I might be the first person to say that.

4) Also pertaining to BBC News, I finally managed to get a comment printed in the Magazine section. Evidently it pays to comment in the style of Alan Hansen even on matters unrelated to sport. Subtlety does not pay.

I would be hugely amused if someone could get something I myself had written into next year's Golden Bulls after my criticism of this year's.

5) And finally, a screenshot from the website of the local newspaper about 48 hours ago. Seems that when Middlesbrough elected a former police chief informally known as "Robocop" as town mayor, they really were after 21st century justice.



I note that the current poll which has replaced it is "Are you in favour of the death penalty?", where "Yes" is running at 55%-60%. It does not logically follow, but it is amusing to assume, that there must be people out there who are in favour of the death penalty but only for people convicted of animal cruelty.
Current Mood: geekyboth radical and militant
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[User Picture]
From:oinomel71
Date:December 13th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC)
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I understand that the Evening Gazette is very popular amongst Middlesbrough's hamster community, which might explain the skewed results. Slightly surprised to learn that they use the website as well - possibly they're being helped by their friend, Mr. Mouse.

I would be hugely amused if someone could get something I myself had written into next year's Golden Bulls after my criticism of this year's.

I rate my own chances considerably more highly. Some of my Nick's Tips columns are a study in impenetrability. :-)
[User Picture]
From:ewx
Date:December 13th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC)
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If Virgin Mobile has its way, December 13th will be all about inflatable palm trees, reindeers with menorahs for antlers, sitar-playing Santas, and a completely madcap mix of holiday traditions. That's because the wireless provider has dubbed that very special Monday as the first official commemoration of "Chrismahanukwanzakah"-the all-inclusive holiday celebration.

December the 13th being a Tuesday, of course. Which I suppose makes it pretty special for a Monday.

[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:December 13th, 2005 03:13 pm (UTC)
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I linked you to last year's press release. *sheepish grin*

This is a Monday-free Chrismahanukwanzakah 2005 press release. Copy-and-paste-tastic!
[User Picture]
From:sir_quirky_k
Date:December 13th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
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And it's now 60% 'No' for the death penalty.

This makes about as much sense as the banker's offers on Noel's Big-Money Game Theory.
[User Picture]
From:ewx
Date:December 13th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
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Apropos of political correctness gone mad. When I am El Presidente Dictator-for-Life, I will actually ban Christmas for one year, and enforce the ban: forced closure of shops, armed police in churches, on-the-spot fines for carol singers, that sort of thing. Just so people know what banning Christmas is really like.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:December 13th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
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"because every nation has people of every sort"

How dare you! We are only one type: White, Christian, Redneck, Inbred, Illiterate Americans! And don't you foe get it!!!

PC is in the eye of the beholder. See that it has reached there as well, but the latest hub bub is over a book that an anchor (John Gibson) on the FOX cable news network that he's trying to sell about his so-called 'War on Christmas'. The main argument is that secularists are trying to remove the word 'Christmas' from the American vernacular. Wikipedia has several definitions for "Happy Holidays". The one I have always associated the term with is a combination of "Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year", not, as they are suggesting, that it is truly inclusive as 'Chrismahanukwanzakah'. Either way, it seems like a huge waste of time and energy for them to be so PC. ;)

Yes, a great many people would rush into the street where a boy and his dog are about to be hit and save the dog first. Or, they would donate their time and money to protect animals over a local food bank for people. There was a public service ad here several years ago. It was a succession of photographs of a boy that progressively grew up. Each photo was accompanied by a tag line that said something he did (i.e. caught torturing some animal and that it got worse as he got older). The last photo was of the adult man and it was a pic of Jeffrey Dahmer who was sent to jail for murder (not too mention that he stored his victims in his freezer and ate them with a nice Chianti...*shivers*). Punishment is fine, but revenge and blood lust might be better off left in the 16th Century where it belonged. '''Henry the 8th I am, I am....''' :-)
[User Picture]
From:acinonyxjubatus
Date:December 14th, 2005 09:03 am (UTC)
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Actually, that reminded me of a conversation the other day on wine. When asked what might go with human meat, I said I wasn't sure, but would imagine a nice elegant red like a new world pinot noir or chianti might be suitable....

Funny you brought it up today. Not exactly the most common of conversation topics, is it? :-)
[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:December 14th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC)
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Yes LOL Have no idea how I went from humans caring more about their pets than their neighbor's kids to animal abuse to an animal abuser who became a cannibal to a line from "Silence of the Lambs". Must be how my brain works. Run! ;)

I would be curious how one goes straight from discussing '93 Napa Valley Pinot Noir to whether to fry or broil a human liver and what type of wine to use in the sauce though? :)
[User Picture]
From:acinonyxjubatus
Date:December 15th, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
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Ooh, now that would depend on whether the liver was of foie gras consistency....and if it belonged to an alcoholic, whether it would already be marinated / pickled.....

If it behaves like pig liver, best to sear liver very lightly so inside remains pink (I'd use a blowtorch or a fry in high-flash oil/fat). If making a red fruit sauce, would use grenache (may need a bit of crushed walnuts or similar for extra tannin to offset liver bitter notes); if making a raisin-y sauce, would use tokaji or sauternes (but i always feel it's a sin to waste good stickies, so I use crap-quality stuff and still drink it afterwards).

My conversation went : matching of foods to wines -> less common meats (eg ostrich) -> even less common meats (beetle larvae, bats, monitor lizards, spiders) -> human flesh.

Incidentally, having eaten beetle larvae, I'd actually recommend a sauternes or rose with it. A bit like duck pate, surprisingly. :-)
[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:December 15th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Well, that was very helpful (except I would use the cuisinart on pecans just before the dust phase instead of crushed walnuts). :)

I've eaten alot of strange stuff (haggis, oysters, escargot, etc...), but never beetle larvae. And I completely refused to eat either eel pie or blood pudding. *cringes* Saw a picture that a Professor of mine had with an almond catepillar resting on his tongue that he subsequently ate. Think it was almonds. Anyway, the bug crawled around eating the nuts and it tasted just like a squirmy nut. Thinking that I'd pass on that as well. Think I'll stick to the just slightly odd food...

The rest of the world has a HUGE variety of foods that we would never think to eat here and that would be almost impossible to get. Just think about vegetables. We have what? 20 varieties max? And how many different types of veggies do people around the world eat? 1,000? We be culinarily deprived! LOL

Will make sure to add your human liver recipe to my recipe database just in case it ever comes up. :-)

Buffalo and deer are good and not common. Never had ostrich, but will probably try that eventually. And...Monitor lizards -> tastes like chicken. :-)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:December 14th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC)
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This is the next closest I've got to a discussion of human meat recently.

Ffffffffff.
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From:imc
Date:December 13th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I seem to remember being distinctly unimpressed at last year's Golden Bulls too.
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From:meggitymeg
Date:December 13th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
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that there must be people out there who are in favour of the death penalty but only for people convicted of animal cruelty

*says nothing*
From:daweaver
Date:December 13th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)

Harrumph

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To-day (as it was two years ago is the Scandinavian Festival of Lights, in which the memory of the sun is kept alive through the darkest days of winter by a candle-lit celebration. It marks the start of The Holiday Season - Saturnalia runs from the 17th for seven days, the Solstice on the 22nd, Feast of Frau Hollë on the 25th, Christmas on the 27th, Hanukah somewhere in there (25th this year), and the New Year on 2 January.

Any attempts to pilfer this date for other, lesser, ceremonies is going to cause a teensy-weensy little bitty bit of offence. In other words. Oi! Branson! No.
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From:applez
Date:December 13th, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
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Just thinking back to the numbers of drunken Santas whose laps I've sat in ...

Regarding 'national character' ... I think it's fair, in a broad sense, to identify cultural values shared by a nation, which feed into both social behaviour and into a kind of 'national character.'

Examples: I think it is fair to say that Americans place a high social value on work, with a corresponding disrespect for those who are deemed too lazy to work. This is a broad value that sets the paradigm, even for those who diverge from this view.

Or, with the Swiss, regardless of class or wealth, to be successful is to be in many ways orderly and clean. It becomes a matter of personal pride to present the very best face on what you have.

Or, with Britons, again in a broad sense, there is a fairly high sensitivity to social context...what is said in what place, how one dresses, how one speaks - this doesn't necessarily mean affirmative expressions that respond to this sensitivity - it is the very well-spring of malcontentish comedy & irony, after all.
[User Picture]
From:baliset
Date:December 14th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
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IMO the Death penalty for animal cruelty is way too extreme. *hides*
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:December 22nd, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)

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I wrote: In my view, it's "it's political correctness gone mad!" gone mad. Google suggests I might be the first person to say that.

On December 17th, Dave Gorman wrote

Surely this is the political-correctness-gone-mad-brigade gone mad.

I win. By four days.

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