Thursday, 13 December 2012

All In a Name

From the Malaysian press:

Suspected serial rapist and killer Rabidin Satir, 42, charged in court

If the details of his crimes doesn't sound like that of a rabid satyr then I don't know what does. OTOH, it's highly unlikely that he speaks English, much less know what a satyr is.

Malaysia has the death penalty for crimes of this sort. Good for us.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Women's Logic

The Australian feminist Sheila... sorry Irina Dunn coined the phrase "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle", a phrase that has been taken up a whole generation of feminists, empowered grrrrls and wishful (wistful?) manginas. 

Dunn herself was not immune to bad-boy induced gina tingles and was married to a convicted bank robber, whom I fervently hope ditched her for some hotter, tighter (just a fond desire for real life to occasionally exhibit some sort of artistic/aesthetic/moral symmetry).

Anyway, what about Mz. Dunn's one claim to immortality? Do women really need a man like a fish needs a bicycle? Not according to the Google search prompt which, I would like to emphasize, is based on the most popular search requests (among other things). Typing in "When will he" elicits the following options:

Google never lies but embittered feminists? Game, set, go make me a sammich.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

In Passing V

Was on a departmental excursion a couple of weeks back to a nature reserve in France. This is a heavily Catholic area and there were crucifixes at most prominent junctions, road islands and village squares and sure enough, there was one at the car park as well.

Rather garish and kitschy, like most contemporary Catholic devotional knickknacks. This one though was eye-catching due to the rather unfortunate positioning of the support strut.

And to think that all this while, despite 13 years in a Catholic school, I'd thought that the Gospel account from John 19:34 "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water" meant the SIDE of the body.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sunday, 16 September 2012

O tempora o mores II

As with every thing else in this vale of tears, even the quality of spam appears to be going downhill. I received the following from a "Steve Finberg" the other day:

They could at least try a little bit harder. It almost makes one long for the Nigerian Central Bank scammers.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Two Fucks and a Bitch

Spotted this publication while doing a literature search on ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately I could only read the abstract (and not the full paper) as our library doesn't subscribe to the journal. I'm tempted to write the authors for a reprint.

"Dear Dr Fuck

I read with great interest the abstract to your 2006 publication on ovarian teratomas in a female canine (Vet Rec. 2006 158:565-67). Unfortunately our local library does not subscribe to the journal and I would be glad if you could kindly send me a reprint of the publication.

With best regards and collegially yours,


PS I would be delighted if you and your co-authors were to do me the honour of inscribing the reprint. My thanks in advance."

On second thought I guess that would be jejune and I should just console myself with the expectation that the blogpost heading should send the number of daily hits into the stratosphere.

In Passing IV

On sale at the local Apotheke

Someone quickly get on the phone to Sandra Fluke (pronounced 'Fluck'... snort)
"Anti-baby pills" looks really harsh in 6-inch high letters but then German is a solid, matter-of-fact sort of language. Tram or bus passengers without a valid ticket are called Schwarzfahrers (Black Riders) although ironically, hardly any blacks are nabbed for it as most blacks in Basel are asylum-seekers that get to ride for free on public transport courtesy of us tax-paying drones. PC is making some inroads though, a local confection called the Mohrenkopf (Moor's Head) was renamed a Schokokuss (Chocolate Kiss... quick, someone get on the phone to Hershey's this time). According to a colleague, in the 70s it was referred to even more provocatively as a Negerkuss.

It seems rather spineless to rename a simple sweet out of some perceived slight to Moorish sensitivities. The Moors raided Southern European coastlines for centuries, sacking towns and capturing white slaves for the North African slave trade. The number of slaves torn from their families and forced to convert to Islam is estimated to be between 1-2 million. Young white slave girls would fetch a premium in the souks, and as for slave boys..... well, lets just say Allah is bountiful. Of course, the West gets castigated for slavery despite the fact that it was the abolitionists, prominent among whom were churchmen, that finally outlawed the once universal practice of slavery. The last five countries to legally abolish slavery were Saudi Arabia (1962), Yemen (1962), the UAE (1963), Oman (1970) and Mauritania (1981). There's something linking all these countries that I can't quite put my finger on. The Barbary slave trade was only stopped after punitive raids by the US in the early 19th century ("The shores of Tripoli...") and French colonialisation of the region. If anyone is entitled to play the victim card in this scenario, it would be present-day Europeans as descendants, albeit indirectly, of the white slaves and yet it is the exact opposite, deferring to the feelings of the party associated with slaving, that has occurred. As I said, spineless.

On the other hand, even I can see that Negerkuss is definitely beyond the pale these days and the confectioner responsible for the creation below should be forced to undergo immediate sensitivity training at the nearest re-education camp.

Insult, meet injury...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Old Things II

While helping a friend clear out his cellar (as mentioned in a previous post) we also came across this:

It's a Swiss army issued rifle of (I'm guessing) WWII or immediate post-war vintage. Military service was compulsory for all able-bodied Swiss males who were then required to keep their weapons at home in the event of an emergency mobilisation (I'm not sure if the laws have changed with respect to taking home armaments!). The bayonet was in a leather scabbard which I unsheathed, then fixed to the muzzle.

Impressively, the bayonet was sharp and glistening even after at least 40 years in the cellar (the former tenant passed away in his 90s, I'm assuming the gun was his and that he wouldn't have had to report his weapon or maintain it after the end of his service days in his 40s). Military steel, there's nothing else quite like it!

Monday, 25 June 2012

In Passing III

Went out for a walk a couple of days ago with J. and spotted this in the undergrowth. It was exactly the right size and I had to run my fingers through the "eye-socket" just to be sure it wasn't what it seemed to be. Pity, would've been exciting. 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Under the Bridge

I had lunch downtown today. Wanting to escape the heat, I headed down to the river and found a cool spot under the span of the Mittlere Brücke, the oldest bridge in Basel to span the Rhine. I was on the north bank facing the Old City (Altstadt), and took a few snaps.

Mittlere Brücke, Basel
I was sitting on the narrow footpath running under the span
View upstream of Basel Cathedral, medieval houses and imposing municipal buildings (converted into museums). The Rhine is a working river and is navigable all the way from Rotterdam, past Basel up until the Rheinfalls just downstream of Lake Constance, and its not an uncommon sight to see heavily laden barges struggling against the current.

You can just make out the rear end of a river barge headed upriver
The view downstream is less distinguished.

There's a chimneystack that's just about visible and is a reminder that Basel is home to giant chemical and pharmaceutical concerns like Roche, Clariant, Syngenta and Novartis (a fusion of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz). The tan building on the left is the Three Kings Hotel, the swankiest hotel in Basel whose former guests include Napoleon, Dickens, Wagner... ad nauseam. The hotel is also historically important as the site where Theodor Herzl proclaimed the aim of establishing a Jewish homeland at the 1st Zionist Congress in 1897.

The arch behind the jetty (with a group of day-trippers waiting to embark the pleasure cruiser) is the mouth of the Birsig river as it debouches into the Rhine. The Birsig flows under downtown Basel and has been progressively covered over from medieval times onward, beginning from its mouth until its entire passage through the metropolitan area was fully covered in the 1950s.

The purpose was to improve connection between the quarters of the city, to reclaim new land area (the wide market square and thoroughfares connecting it are all possible thanks to it), and for hygienic reasons. The open river flowing outside the windows of houses stacked higgledy-piggledy up against the river was too tempting an option for DIY sanitation and the river, dubbed the cloaca of the city, was a perennial source of cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Interesting to know that the Swiss weren't always über-hygienic!

Taken in the early 1900s
The entrance to the Birsig "tunnel," which is what it is today, is gated for obvious reasons.

I went on a special guided tour last year. Unfortunately the camera on the iPhone is pretty crap in low-light so all my pics turned out blurry. I grabbed this picture off the net and it basically looks like this throughout its course.

It was pretty interesting to walk beneath thousands of people, trams and buildings before emerging into bright sunshine at the Rhine. The tunnel itself was almost spotless with barely any graffiti and absolutely no litter, condoms or used needles. Only in Switzerland!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Old things

I was helping a friend clear out his cellar in advance of some necessary renovations. He'd bought a house lock, stock and barrel from the heirs of the previous owner (who had expired in the master bedroom. I didn't ask how long before he was discovered). The cellar was chock full of junk overlaid with decades of dust and cobwebs but we cleared it eventually. Not my idea of an ideal Saturday afternoon, but the weather was foul and I was rewarded for my pains. One of the items he was about to discard turned out to be an antique cheese cutting board. I asked if he was sure about this, I mean like, really sure? and when he answered in the affirmative I didn't need any prodding to take it off his hands. After all one doesn't come across 180 year old culinary equipment every day.

Hallmark of Basel Canton (it split into Basel-City and Basel-Land the following year, 1833,  which gives this some historical significance)
I celebrated the find with a vintage of a different sort.

Friday, 8 June 2012


I chanced on this pic on a random trawl through the net (can't remember the site) and it really caught my eye.

The kids are holding a Goliath frog, which places it most probably in Cameroon, and something about the stiff pose and serious mien of the middle child made this picture stand out of the thousands of images I was scrolling through. All the kids are really cute though. They don't seem very well off, to put it mildly, but then that’s Africa for you. I feel sorry for them to be growing up in countries with appalling Human Development Indices, high AIDS risk, terrible health care infrastructure, food insecurity, the list goes on.

However, in the case of food insecurity, if a way could be found to commercially breed Goliath frogs this could be a valuable source of protein.

Its awful how sub-Saharan Africa remains a perennial basket case because of endemic corruption, and how a huge portion of any aid or development funding gets diverted into lining the pockets of the latest jumped-up tribal Big Man who won the most recent dubious election (or ate his predecessor). Poor, poor kids, one can't help feeling somehow protective towards them, the future is shaping up to look a lot worse everywhere and I doubt the problems plaguing Africa are going to be solved anytime soon. In general, I feel this way towards all children (even my own son), that the world is going to the dogs and I have a sickening feeling that things are going to come to a crunch in their lifetime (sorry J.). Although I guess those lucky enough to be born into prosperous countries/families will be all right though.

There is a certain feeling that this picture evokes in me though, and it perhaps explains why I was so taken by it. It's the feeling one gets seeing children in poor neighbourhoods, lounging listlessly in dingy doorways or running about without a care and something moves inside as you know that their childhood ends quickly and abruptly and that the vast majority will be never, ever rise above their station. And one wishes for a world where there is a benign Father in the sky who takes care of the small and lowly.

Anyway I'd better stop with all this empathizing before I start menstruating (as my wife always says, whenever I start acting vaguely human I spoil it all by saying something crass).

Thursday, 24 May 2012

O tempora o mores

Newspaper clipping from 1.9.1965

I leave it to the reader to ponder how far society has sunk or progressed. For those in doubt, here's a product of the same society 47 years later:

Clearly an argument for the authorities to start handing out Nutex condoms on street corners.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Doubly safe

Radioactive condoms (from the 1940s?).

I guess even if they split, the radioactivity would ensure that the semen is sterile.

Which reminds me of this joke:

Why did the Irishman wear two condoms?
To be sure, to be sure.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Shine On...

I was using PubMed and following a paper-trail on SSRIs (work related and not relevant to what follows), when I chanced on this nugget in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

There's dopeheads and then there are LEGENDARY dope-heads who merit an obituary in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Off the coast of north-east Asia, a noxious cloud forms, darkening the sky as it gathers and grows in malevolence while it balefully bides its time until the ripeness of its malignance is attained. Then, gathering its full strength, it spreads forth across the globe leaving a trail of devastation behind.

Radioactive fallout? Nah, I'm talking about J-porn. Japan, as anyone who's ever spent more than a half-hour surfing the net with the "safe search" option disabled, is the motherlode for pornography of an eye-watering depravity. I confess to being a bit of an.....okay, a HUGE aficionado in my salad days but alas, now that the lettuce is wilted, and the cress is looking distressed, my interest these days tends to the sociological and anthropological rather than its anatomical aspect. Having burnt through my addiction through sheer surfeit, I find I can now view it as dispassionately as an observer from another planet. As William Blake wrote, "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom", or to take an example from real life, St Augustine, who in the flower of youth was busy sowing his oats, spreading his seed, starching his sheets (OK, OK, I'll stop), and famously uttered the heartfelt prayer, "Grant me chastity and continence, Oh Lord, ...but not yet". But eventually one day the hormonal carousel slows, the music dies and the good ship SS Libido heaves into a calm and sheltered bay. And then one writes "The City of God".

To illustrate what I wrote earlier on an underlying moral sickness in Japanese society, here are some images gleaned off the web. These are neither pornographic nor titillating (unless you're of a particularly perverted bent) but as I said, just indicators of moral decay. For obvious reasons I'm not including those verging on child pornography although that seems to command an alarmingly large audience (also nothing on Tub-girls as I have a sensitive stomach). Imagine a country where its such a commonplace for adult men to have a predilection for pubescent girls that it warrants the coining of a general term: lolicon (or roricon), a Nipponized contraction of "Lolita complex". Sick, sick, sick.

Even as a horny 14-year old I would never have found this fappable

By Hokusai (1760-1849), so presumably deeply ingrained in the culture

And the other way around. Octopussy?


A whole new meaning to snail trail

I think you get the picture so I shan't post further examples. On second thought, how about a few more.....

Alarmingly frequent depictions of sexual violence

I must have skipped this chapter of Kafka's "Metamorphosis"

I shudder to imagine what happens next

Obviously then, there is this massive disconnect between the surface appearance of Japanese society, which is hyper-refined, painfully polite and decorous, and its throbbing, seething undercurrents. Having spent 3 weeks there 20 years ago, (which naturally qualifies me as an expert), I can testify to the orderliness and refinement but ultimately, who can see into the dark heart of man? Having said all that, I greatly admire Japanese culture, particularly the strong emphasis on aesthetic composition and design even in day to day life. One sees it in the presentation of food, the myriad tiny and charming trinkets, the breathtaking marriage of skill and invention in netsuke*, and a generally obsessive attention to detail. And its not as if they're hypocritical about their predilections as Judeo-Christian-Islamic societies are. 

*I used to spend hour upon hour at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford admiring their netsuke collection.

Nevertheless, the Japs do tend to make an awful big deal over some aspects of their culture, particularly those that are held to be quintessentially Japanese (they're perfectly within their rights to do so, it just gets up my nose a bit). I'm talking about things like the tea ceremony with all its interminable shuffling about and arcane ritual that has been elevated into something-that-is-pure-and-spiritually-refined-and-if-you-don't-think-so-you're-a-goddamned-Philistine. It's only a beverage, for crying out loud, and it was invented by the Chinese, and why must everything be soooo bloody slow! Honestly I feel like farting in the middle of one just out of orneriness. Ditto for Zen archery. It drives me wild to watch documentaries where it is presented in hushed tones and a reverent air of you're-about-to-witness-something-special-so-approach-it-with-the-proper-frame-of-mind. Again, they're sooooo bloody slow and, they hardly ever hit the target! OK, some might say that in the spirit of Zen it's not hitting the bullseye that's the aim (perish that there should be something so coarse as a specific goal), but if that's the case why fucking bother?

Venting over, I wish the Japanese all the best in overcoming their current difficulties. If there is one nation on this planet that can do it, it's them. And I'll say it once more, I greatly admire their culture and intend to visit their lovely land again someday.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

In Passing II

Spotted at the Domkirche, Innsbruck while on a ski holiday last month.

Perhaps the Da Vinci Code isn't a crock of shit after all. :-)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

L'affaire Derbyshire

Anyone using the internet for reasons other than porn, (a vanishingly tiny minority then), will have been aware of the "sacking"* of John Derbyshire by the National Review for a column he wrote for Takimag. I posted very early on, before the Takimag site was inundated by near-hysterical libtards and would have kept on posting, but it proved impossible keeping up with the comments (over 4,000 to date!).

A few thoughts come to mind: whatever happened to the ideal of free speech, and "I may disagree with you but will defend to the death your right to say it"? It's as if the world has fallen through a rift in the space-time continuum into a parallel Stalinist dimension. But of course it is the Left that sets the terms for acceptable public discourse and they're just being faithful to their ideological roots.

Less acceptable are the actions of the NR in throwing a long-term writer under the bus for an article written for another magazine, while he is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia, and with two college-age kids. JD has set up a donation button on his website and I intend to do so ASAP (really, I just maxed out on tickets for a family holiday and a new laptop so I need to clear my latest bill first), as well as getting his latest book (I already have the last two and recommend them highly). Anyway, please give. John Derbyshire is an honourable man who will not apologise for the crime of pointing out the truth and God knows we need more like him.

The cravenness of the NR is also notable. Of course JD was ditched after some hefty sponsor threatened to pull the plug and these days no-one seems to have the integrity to say: thanks for all your support and we hope for your understanding and continued support, but this is a matter of principle to us.

But there is also the issue of cowardice in caving in to the demands of ones ideological opponents for the head of one of your best writers. I would have stuck by JD if only for this reason. I really, really wish that I had a subscription to the NR if only for the pleasure of canceling it, but screw them, they're not worth it.

A final point is that among the hundreds of negative comments, not a single one gave anything approaching a substantive rebuttal to the points raised in the article. In other words, the points were  simply irrefutable based as they were on social and crime statistics, and the advice proffered was simple common-sense that any responsible parent would feel duty bound to impart. The epic convulsions of the liberal, roiboos-sipping, Birkenstock-wearing set represents nothing more than a colossal temper-tantrum at someone for daring to point out the truth and calling out their behaviour (for much of their actual interactions appear to serendipitously conform to the "racist" advice).

Update 8.05.2012: I've just received my copy of "We Are Doomed" from Amazon and donated US$100 to the Derb. It's the least I could do, the man is a legend, a legend for resolutely refusing to apologise for telling the truth.

*inverted commas because as he explains, he was a free-lancer rather than a salaried staff member. This in no way excuses the shabby treatment of a longtime contributor.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Time out

Allegri's Miserere. Composed to be performed on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week.

The score was jealously guarded by the Vatican until it was famously transcribed by ear by the 14-year old Mozart.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Religion of Peace......

.......strikes again! The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has called on all churches in the Arabian Peninsula to be destroyed.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh. Would you buy a used camel from this man?
Failure to do so will invoke Allah's righteous wrath and He shall smite the ummah, and ye will dwindle into a backward and benighted rabble, a mockery that will be a laughingstock unto the nations (oh, wait.....).

Considering that the GM of SA is the equivalent to the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury in their respective domains, the utter lack of coverage of his statement or any outrage gives lie to the claim that Islam is unfairly maligned in the media, in fact they seem to be treated with kid gloves either through the (very real) threat of violence, oil-lobby retained PR firms that urge soft pedalling of any negative press that may be non-conducive to business, or simply misplaced PC diversity coddling (ironic as it may be). Seriously though, what the fuck is wrong with the Saudis? None of my many Muslim friends or relatives are the least bit like that. Here's hoping for Peak Oil to strike them sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The lowest common denominator

Top key words directing to this blog:

It was only a handful of posts that generated this traffic, the rest of the blog, as any reader can well verify, is squeaky clean (OK, not quite).

Anyway, a couple of more posts of this sort and I could be tempted to monetize the blog.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

In passing

Spotted at a local oenotheque. Looks like exactly the type of wine to ply a dumb bint with.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Allah may be merciful.......

.....but a lot of his followers are bloodthirsty savages.

That's 13th century according to the Islamic calendar but the 7th century AD (and none of this Common Era bullshit. "Common? common to what? Oh the Christian basis of the western calendar, you mean the one now in general use world-wide, well, why didn't you just say AD then?"....).

The Saudis, as members of the puritanical Wahhabi sect, hew to an extremely rigid and intolerant interpretation of Islam, itself not the warmest and fuzziest of religions. No shit indeed, these folks really belief that 7th-century Arabia was the Golden Age purely because it was the time of Muhammad, the perfect man (al-insan al-kamil) who is the model for all good Muslims to aspire to. In keeping with this, the Saudis impose rigid social strictures to prevent all that nasty modernity from leaking in. So no alcohol, no pork, no open worship of other religions ("there is no compulsion in Islam?", Pah!), no houses of worship of other religions (although the Saudis have spent billions supporting the construction of mosques in the dar-ul-harb).

However perhaps I am being a bit harsh, the Saudis can bend somewhat on their principles and allow for some modernity. So the 7th century is the acme of perfection except for:

1) 21st century medicine, which the rich, bloated ruling class avail themselves of, particularly at the best, most modern medical centres in the West. No camel's urine for these folk!

Narrated Anas: Some people from 'Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them, so Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) allowed them to go to the herd of camels (given as Zakat) and they drank their milk and urine (as medicine) but they killed the shepherd and drove away all the camels. So Allah's Apostle sent (men) in their pursuit to catch them, and they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut, and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron and they were left in the Harra (a stony place at Medina) biting the stones. (See Hadith No. 234, Vol. 1)

2) State of the art weaponry. Again none of that 7th century swords and arrows stuff. What do you think they are, primitive?

3) Modern communications such as the internet, but only for proselytising the kuffar!

4) The internal combustion engine. Source of their undeserved wealth and of course no self-respecting sheikh would be seen in anything less than a luxury German marque or sleek Italian sportscar.

Regarding the "undeserved" quip above, the only reason the Saudis are able to support such an otherwise unfeasible position is due to the petrodollars flooding in for a resource that they did not develop, do not extract, are unable to distribute or refine into its myriad uses. But for an accident of geology (Praise Allah!), the Saudis would be insignificant desert nomads and not an exporter of fundamentalist doctrines. Now if only some whizzkid would invent some cheap, safe and almost limitless energy source, where are all those Jewish geniuses when you need them?

*This post is in response to the Hamza Kashgari affair, I've tried to do my bit by signing petitions, joining support groups etc. but frankly it looks like the poor guy has as much chance as a snowflake in hell, which sounds like a perfect metaphor for the situation.