Saturday, November 28

local political fixers

I was reading a post at the hotblog about a Bellshill political fixer. My uncle who founded the Piddledorf Pension Plan (now in liquidation) was the man people went to for solutions, probably amassing a bit of good fortune for himself in the process.

I miss the way he used to treat me like an equal (when he wasn't badmouthing me behind my back). I remember when I was about twenty odd, him saying "what do you think of Pol Pot?" and "that Lon Nol's a basturn, eh?" Later, it was "what do you think of this new guy Clinton?" Politicians spend a lot of time assessing other politicians. It's only as I approach the age he was then, that I'm developing some ability to see straight to the core of a man (and judge him). The concept of deifheidism has been a great help in that respect.

Speaking of politicians, I just heard on the radio that the coalition of Aussie pollies who have been meeting all day to stitch together a vote to impose an emissions trading scheme, is perhaps falling apart as we speak. Albert will be so relieved. Australians are the world's worst polluters, but also the most heavily taxed, by the most incompetent politicians. Three world firsts in one.

I found a photo of Catherine de Léan, that French-Canadian actress. I'm French-Caledonian myself, which is almost the same thing, but I don't normally look like that.

For me this photo is powerful eye candy (but not willy candy). If blissism ever develops to the point where it uses mandalas like that, count me in.

Just in case she Googles herself and lands here, and wants to make contact, here's my address:

Île Plate,

Tuesday, November 24

reasons to be cheerful

How fortunate one is, to have several things going well. My life has turned out nothing like what I imagined, but it's pretty fine.

I swam this morning, for the first time in months. Managed the customary mile no bother. Thanks partly to drinking the green tea and the extra lung in a can.

Weekend weather was 40 degrees, too hot to do anything more adventurous than scrabble (scored two 7-letter words in the one game).

Booked the mercy visit to the old dear in Old Caledonia next April. Hope she lasts till then, but even if not, I've been calling her several times a week, and we both get much more out of it than the always-fraught face to face meets. The best part of these trips is usually the weissbier on the Bavarian leg.

Yesterday the temperature dropped by 20 degrees, so I made the best apple crumble yet, with magic ingredients like blueberries, nutmeg, and a weird Chinese pear thing. Oats and butter for the topping.

Emailing the niece, I suddenly realized I'm actually almost looking forward to having her to stay in the new year.

I'm being sent on a week-long training course in a new language. I insist on going for one day a week, spread over 5 weeks. When you do all 5 days in one stretch, by day 3 the brain's full to overflowing and you end up hating the whole topic.

Watched a French-Canadian film, with surely the most gorgeous woman alive (Denny being dead). I'm on the iPod now, or else I would google the actress and insert a photo here, and you'd see what I mean. Update:

I hope your life is going nicely too. I'm not one of these subscribers to the zero-sum view, as if your happiness is at the expense of mine.

- Posted from iPod

Saturday, November 21

taking the heat

Over in Australia, officially it's still only spring, but already the bush fire warning level has been raised to catastrophic. The only thing that can save them now is if the arsonists stay home. Home is where the air conditioning is.

The hot winds are making things worse, but it's an ill wind etc, and their government is now even more likely to pass their list of climate change measures, before Copenhagen. Australia wants to lead the world for a change, even if only in yet another sporting event - shooting yourself in the foot.

Here in NSC, we're not usually prone to conspiracy theorising, but we did read that Mr Gore, whose consortium allegedly stands to make a killing in the area of emissions permit trading, has allegedly just bought a big house on the waterfront.

Balanced people like me don't care one way or the other, but I do feel sorry for the Aussie punters who will be paying an extra tax scheme for ever more. Even when the scheme proves futile, there's never yet been an instance of a tax being repealed.

I remember when I lived there, there was a government brainwave called the 3 x 3 tax - a temporary three percent surcharge, just for three years, allegedly to fix the roads. Of course after 3 years, the scheme was quietly renamed, and is running still.

That's one of the reasons I left - Aussies pay world-champion levels of taxes and other inposts. Where else does a phone company charge you an extra fee for issuing your phone bill?

And don't get me started on their banks - they charge a fee when you want to deposit your own money with them.

I seem to have wandered off topic. Anyway, we're on the same latitude as Australia, and I can confirm that the heat is stifling. Even with the air conditioning fired up for the first time, the doggy's still panting and my pants are soggy.

It's enough to make you wonder if there's something in this climate change thing after all. If so, our loss will be Old Caledonia's gain. Oh to be in Edinburgh in January, walking down the bridges in my tee shirt.

- Posted from iPod

Tuesday, November 17

ladder balance

Cutting a hedge up a ladder on Sunday, I felt my back go out. It's the first time in years, so I'm not complaining. And at least I didn't fall off the ladder.

Fortunately I had already bottled the home brew before the injury. And there's a plentiful supply of bliss pills and illegal painkillers, so it's not getting me down. I'm recovering steadily, and can already wipe my own arse again. What a fortunate creature I am.

Fortunate too, that I've been here before, so I know the ropes. This is just what works for me, but it might not work for you. I ignore the old-fashioned advice to lie flat until everything's okay again. But I don't go to the other extreme of premature yoga. Better to move just enough to stop muscles losing tone. Tease the knots to release their grip, but if you move too much you encourage more muscle spasm. Achieving that fine balance is what I'm good at. I'm off work, and I'm alternating walking about the place doing chores, and lying down to read a great book. And occasionally sitting at the PC for a different posture.

The book I'm enjoying is Iain Banks' Dead Air, and I've just opened the second-last bottle of my all-time favourite Bliss Piss, the 2005 vintage brewed soon after the death of Nobis RIP. That all seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened and yet so little, perfect balance.

Friday, November 13

great white things

I'll be bottling my 20th home brew at the weekend. In the last 4 or 5 years, I've made almost every kind of beer, but the one prize that has always eluded me is the Moby Dick of brewing, the great white beer, weissbier.

Meantime, I made tapioca last night, with coconut cream, vanilla, and pulped mango. Quite a sensory experience. Sadly, it's probably too late in life to have the ultimate experience - licking tapioca off a naked nubile. Or doing anything with a naked nubile.

Sunday, November 8

toilet developments

This is a picture of a public toilet in Houston, Texas.

The lady is getting ready to enter.

Now that you've seen the outside view, take a look at the inside view.

It's made entirely of one-way glass. No one can see you from the outside, but when you are inside it's like sitting in a clear glass box. Would You use it?

Saturday, November 7

friday night

Walked out of the McDonald Institute on Friday night into an eerie winter light. Sunsets here don't last long. I got these snaps within about 5 minutes.

I don't recall why I was Googling "assaults in Kilmarnock", but anyway in amongst all the court transcripts and reports, I stumbled on the official Kilmarnock Academy website where, amongst all the usual self-congratulation and window-dressing for parents, it said

Once again we fielded a strong team of prosecutors, defenders, accused and witnesses. We were relieved to have our Head Boy acquitted on a serious assault charge, despite his very obvious guilt. The positive impact of a smart suit was noted.

Sounds like they stacked the courtroom with old school stooges and the guy wore his Sunday best. What is Britain coming to? In my day, I never got any advantage, even with allegedly the best school tie in Glasgow.