Thursday, March 23, 2006


D-D-Day approaches.

Departure from Dege, that is.

Through tear-misted eyes, I cast one last glance at the World Wide World around me, before plunging headlong once again into yakland.

What do I find?

In London, Simon Hoggart says unkind things about nice Mr Cameron. ("Mr Cameron sat down with a tight little circular smile that, I regret to say, reminded me of our cat's backside.")

"Buyers of big cars have to pay more tax!" screams the headline in today's... China Daily! How about that? Is nice Mr Brown moonlighting for the other side?

Also in China, a new report links the habit of chopsticking food from communal plates - the normal way to share a meal in these parts - with the spread of disease.

Curiously, Hu Yaobang, a high-ranking politician who raised this issue in the 1980s, and called for the introduction of more hygienic western-style, capitalist-individualist personal plates, knives and forks, was subsequently elbowed out of power.

Also in the Shiny Happy People's Republic, a man has been sentenced to death for forcibly tattooing hundreds of Chinese characters on the bodies of three women.
Now one thing I like about the United States is their sometimes-creative approach to sentencing. And surely here there was great scope for something more imaginative than the Death Penalty?
Add you suggestions for what you would have tattooed on the man's forehead here.

In Afghanistan, they want the Rule of Law to apply, while in London, Washington and Berlin, we would prefer they did things the old-fashioned way, on a nod and a wink.

The story, if I read it right, is that an Afghan man will, if convicted of apostasy - converting from Islam to Christianity -, face the death penalty. This is apparently in line with the Laws and Constitution of the Land, as drafted by that loya jurga thing We in the West were so proud of a few years back.

Security considerations prevent me from carrying out a comprehensive opinion poll on the subject, but maybe the majority of Afghans feel that the this would be a punishment that fits the crime, however peculiar an attitude We in the West might feel this to be.

Nice Mr Karzai, the President, has admirably said that he will Respect the Independence of the Courts, as he was probably taught to do at CIA Democracy School.

He might be puzzled to find his (school-)masters in Washington and elsewhere now yelling that he'd better intervene, or else. Talk about confusing a puppy about where he's allowed to poop.

And in Norway, Asmund proposes Firecrackers. I have some thoughts on that .


  1. The car thing has got me abit confused. If they spent abit more time cleaning and refining the London taxi engine which throws out plenty of black smoke and other "yuk" stuff. Also spent abit of time fixing the steering controls as for some reason taxi's can't do more than 50 yards in a straight line. Then perhaps they could leave the Chelsea tractor set alone? If you live in Chelsea and you own one of these 4x4 jobs which starts at 30K (for a very small jacked up estate car) and in leaps and bounds goes as high as 90K and over (for a tonka toy on steriods which won't fit into most carparks).

    The increase in road tax is pocket change and won't really affect your driving pleasure. It was interesting one lady owner when asked yesterday. "Well it's a very safe way of taking the kids to school!"

    To be honest 4x4 are really not safe at all unless they are in the garage under lock and key. The bonnet profile is just right to kill people on foot, bike riders get pile driven onto the bonnet so get lots of neck injuries, other cars just get mangled up. The people that own them never use the vehicle for what it was meant to do and probably have no idea what the extra gear sticks do. (It's just more Americanisms and people living the capitalists dream see other posts)

    For the car nuts out there these vehicles are so tall you can induce a barrel roll. I've seen this, it happens if the driver has to make a dramatic steering correction. One way then the other, like an S shaped skid it loads all the shock absorbers up one side then as you think you've caught the skid and pull back round it fires the car into the air. The one I saw was 2.5 turns in the air at 50+mph and looked like something from a hollywood film. It was fatal for the passengers and not that good for the bloke who smacked into it either and caused 30 mile tail back.

    4x4's should carry a health warning, extra extra taxes, higher insurance, premium parking costs, higher fuel costs from standard cars. They should also be sign written saying "I'm a wally for buying this!"

  2. Quite a rant there, grassy knowl, although I have to say that I agree entirely with it. £210 is nothing to these people.

    There's a guy up the road from me who now drives a Ford F150 - You know, one of those monstrous truck numbers so favoured in rural america.

    He's about 5'4" and clearly watches Pimp My Ride way too much. (his previous car was an electric pink corsa.)

    The guy is a pillock and he has no idea how to drive a machine of that size (in fact it is actually wider than the lanes on most of the roads here in ol' blighty.)