Nothing substantial today, but a few things that are worthy.

Whimsical puzzle games are most worthy, so here’s the rather excellent, if frustrating Hapland. Similarly sillily, an old-ish Wired article on gross sweets, made relevant by Kraft’s insane axing of its roadkill-shaped candy (Wired story via BoingBoing).

Like the rest of the world, I salute Brian Sedgemore MP for his excellent retirement speech, including "it is a foul calumny that we do today. Not since the Act of Settlement 1701 has Parliament usurped the powers of the judiciary and allowed the Executive to lock up people without trial in times of peace. May the Government be damned for it". Full thing here.

James Wolcott is also a master of smackdownery. If you don’t read him already, you should. Start with this piece – it’s vaguely reminiscent of the recent UK cases of racist fuckjobs trying to smear non-racists as antisemitic.

Finally, if you’re desperate for a meme, here’s one via Jim: grab the nearest book; open the book to page 123; find the fifth sentence; and post the text of the next three sentences on your blog along with these instructions. The original text insists that one must not "dig for that ‘cool’ or ‘intellectual’ book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest" – so consider yourself warned.

Mine is the riveting "To this he added the shaving-scene – which, if it comes from Stow’s Annales (1592) gives a clue to the date of the play. The early title-pages state that the play was performed by Pembroke’s Men (in the City of London, according to the first edition), but in the course of printing his edition Bell altered the title-page to read instead the late Queen’s Majesty’s Servants at the Red Bull. The latter performances wold have been in King James’s reign."

I’m sure you’re dying to know that that was a note by E D Pendry from the Everyman edition of Christopher Marlowe’s Complete Plays and Poems. The second-nearest book on the shelf was The Proud Highway, which would have skated dangerously close to breaching the ‘cool’ instruction above.

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Work your proper hours day

Today is Work Your Proper Hours Day in the UK. A laudable initiative, you might think.

However, someone who I know from somewhere has quite a good counterpoint: "Im always late and i always take about an hour and a half for lunch, plus i spend at least 2 hours a day reading stuff on the net. there’s no fucking way you’ll get me to work my proper hours."

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Probably unfair

Atrios’s tips on blogging are moderately interesting (shorter version: write stuff that’s interesting, don’t spend all your time begging him or Glenn Reynolds for links, don’t expect to make any money).

They’re not interesting enough for me to link under normal circumstances; indeed, I didn’t link to them yesterday. However, I’ve just noticed something weird, and highly relevant to the debate on the alleged right-wing domination of UK blogs.

The odd thing? Marxist blogger Norm Geras just linked to the Atrios piece. No, that’s not the odd thing: one of the UK’s leading left-wing bloggers linking to the US’s leading left-wing blogger is hardly mad crazyness. The odd thing is that Norm discovered it through Bushite loon Instapundit – in other words, he reads Insty but not Atrios.

That’s just weird.

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But I *like* random strangers knowing my marital status

There are lots of angry reactions to Lucy Mangan’s Guardian article about how she prefers to be called Miss rather than Ms.

Certain conservatives took this the wrong way – they should read this article and then sod off. The real point, and one of which I highly approve, is one of some women choosing to use ‘Miss’ in the way men use ‘Mr’, unaffected by marital status. Since ‘Ms’ is quite an ugly term, this is no bad thing – although I’m going to continue referring to all women as ‘Ms’ on the (thankfully few) occasions when I have to use titles until this reclamation becomes more widespread.

Ms Mangan has another good article this week based around the Oxbridge elitism fuss – making the very obvious point that Oxbridge doesn’t discriminate against students from poor backgrounds, but that more or less the entire pre-university education system does.

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Worth knowing

According to the Canadian skilled worker immigration test, I’m more than qualified to gain a Canadian work visa as a skilled migrant (and I don’t even need to pretend my MA is a proper master’s degree…). I knew that all that time spent learning fluent French vaudrait la peine.

This is a relief, should things continue to go horribly wrong in the UK. Why can’t all civilised countries have Canadian-style immigration procedures?

(link via Greenlander)

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There were claims in the wake of Hunter S Thompson’s death that he hadn’t done anything worthwhile in 25 years. Since he, more than anyone, had the measure of the current political climate, this would seem unfair.

Top quote: "we are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to fear — fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist Sympathizer".

(incidentally, I’m holding a very small-scale tribute to HST in London tonight – gmail me for details if you want to come along).

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