In order to save the world we had to destroy it

As you may have guessed from the comic events of the last few years, President Bush’s mad schemes really are going to get us all killed. Well, they’ll get the Iranians all killed, while the rest of us will merely stand a significantly increased chance.

If Mr Blair brings British support to this impending attack, I’ll seriously consider renouncing my UK citizenship. Even if that means I end up having to live in a French airport.

Oh, and a special message to all liberals/moderates who backed Mr Bush on national security grounds despite his obvious corruption, rightwing fanaticism and messianic lunacy: you are to blame for whatever badness happens going forward. There is nothing that John Kerry could conceivably have done in national security policy with worse consequences than attacking Iran.

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"We Germans are notoriously dreadful at speeches. In 1962, our foreign minister addressed an African audience as ‘Ladies, gentlemen and niggers’."

If you think such a comment shows disgraceful racism and warrants sacking, then you’re an idiot. It’s a self-deprecating line about how awful and tactless people of the speaker’s own nationality can be, and doesn’t in any way reflect negatively on black people.

It is, however, an important reminder that everyone non-American who’s involved in any kind of business dealings with people in the US needs to remember the mantra: Corporate America Has No Sense Of Humour About Anything, Especially But Not Exclusively Race Or Gender.

While on the subject, it’s worth mentioning that the other Metro exec in the scandal (the one who didn’t get fired, oddly) made comments that were genuinely pointless, offensive, bizarre and unfunny. Indeed, if anyone can explain what his joke was even supposed to mean, I’d be both grateful and surprised.

Update: the other Metro exec’s comments were taken from a Richard Pryor joke (cheers Nick) – so the guy was quoting a famously anti-racist, black, comedian. In other words, both comments were made in an entirely not-derogatory-to-black-people way. This is evidence that the PC puritans kicking up this fuss about nothing should seriously consider fucking off and dying of leprosy.

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Number crunching

Taxes paid by the UK alcohol industry: £22 billion

Total cost of all UK policing: £8 billion

Extent to which policemen should stop whining about having to spend time and money supporting the industry that pays their wages nearly three times over: high

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You love automated directions systems…

Great directions from Microsoft (to be fair to MS, the UK rail mapping system is just as dodgy):

1) Click here

2) In the Start section, select "Norway" from the listbox and enter "Haugesund" into the "City" field.

3) In the End section, select "Norway" from the listbox and enter "Trondheim" into the "City" field.

4) Click on "Get Directions".

It’s scenic. Especially the big road round the major city. Should any Norwegians attempt this, I recommend you pop in and say hi…

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The heavy heavy monster sound

Should you live in the UK or in Europe with access to UK satellite TV, you absolutely need to tune into BBC4 on a Thursday evening, and watch "Don’t watch that, watch this".

It’s the funniest programme on TV since Chris Morris’s apparent retirement [*]; on its own, it justifies the value of a Freeview box [**] and/or a TV license. Respect to the BBC and its fine tradition of public service broadcasting. May its enemies meet horrible fates.

[*] With the possible exception of Peep Show. Certainly the best political show.

[**] A Sky, Telewest or NTL subscription also works, and you have the enormous advantage of unlimited 24 and Simpsons. However, Freeview is the most cost-effective route to BBC4.

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Dressing up as Hitler is not cool

However, it’s not particularly serious either, and people whose reaction to the Prince Harry case is any stronger than "Hmmm, tosser. At least he’s apologised" are absolute jokers.

Anyway, the Royal Family has a fine historical tradition of fascism; it’s good to see Harry following in his grandfather and great-great-uncle’s footsteps.

Update: prankster and bad comedian Aaron Barschak, rather surprisingly, has the best take I’ve read on this story.

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Nice one

If I were flying from one closely-allied country to another, and it became clear that the security mavens of the second country had decided to force our plane to turn back to the first country on the ground that one of the passengers might be a bit dodgy, I’d be very annoyed.

Either (and probably, given the historic record), the relevant guy isn’t a terrorist and I’m losing a day of my business trip or holiday for no reason – or he is, and rather than actually helping the people on the plane, the authorities would be making us more likely to end up dead. And even assuming that the terrorists have decided to repeat 9/11, but using a fuel-empty plane flying from the second-securest major airport in the world [*], all that this latest American (for it is they) decision would ensure is that London would be hit instead of New York.

Remind me why we send our troops to die in their fuckwit wars again? Oh, that’s right – it’s so that when they imprison innocent Brits on made-up terror charges they get released after three years of torture, instead of being held forever. Cheers, mates.

[*] Tel Aviv is the securest. Somehow this isn’t massively reassuring.

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The tsunami’s effect on the Andaman & Nicobar islands was particularly shocking. Partly because a good friend spent three months last year on an Andaman island viewing it as the most amazing, least commercialised paradise ever (yes, I know this is Western-gap-year-bollocks; the relevant point here is that she won at the Western-gap-year-bollocks game), so it’s weird for that paradise to be destroyed.

The other reason is that in Indian culture, Nicobar is seen as the last refuge of the cannibals that they a) drove out of the rest of India b) forcibly converted to Hinduism c) killed, and therefore I’ve always had an image of it as pre-Aussie-imposition-of-arguably-sensible-Western-law Papua New Guinea.

While I’m not massively up for hanging out with too many cannibals any time soon, it feels like the world would be somehow a less interesting place were cannibal tribal culture fully extinguished. Reassuringly, it seems that at least some Nicobar tribespeople were doing well enough after the disaster to continue trying to shoot the Indian Air Force with arrows.


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Scally comedy

I feel a bit sorry for Mark Doogue (pronounced ‘dodgy’, presumably), who told his family he was off to Thailand for three months while actually off to jail, then got found out for tsunamical reasons.

Presumably he especially resents the efforts of emergency services to put them in touch: imagine how much of a hero he’d’ve been if he’d been let out then returned saying "oh yeah, I’m alive; hi guys. I haven’t got much of a tan cos I was in hospital for ages, sorry I haven’t been in touch…"

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