Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Leave in type

You spend a great deal of ink about the character of the present prime minister. Grant you all that you write--I say, I fear he will ruin Ireland, and pursue a line of policy destructive to the true interest of his country: and then you tell me, he is faithful to Mrs. Perceval, and kind to the Master Percevals! These are, undoubtedly, the first qualifications to be looked to in a time of the most serious public danger; but somehow or another (if public and private virtues must always be incompatible), I should prefer that he destroyed the domestic happiness of Wood or Cockell, owed for the veal of the preceding year, whipped his boys, and saved his country.

Sydney Smith


Dates and times

Howard (and Henderson) say that before the war, everybody thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The trouble with this formulation is that it covers many years and many different periods. There was a time when everyone thought Saddam Hussein had WMD, and he did: that period ended when he was disarmed after the First Gulf War. There was a time when it was reasonable to think that Saddam Hussein might have WMD, even though he didn’t: that period ended when the UN inspectors were readmitted in November 2002. And then there’s the date that really counts; March 18, 2003, when the government's decision to commit the Australian Defence Force to Coalition operations in Iraq was announced; and at that time the UN inspectors had shown that Saddam didn’t have WMD and that any person who still said he did was lying. “Before the war” is a red herring. Let’s focus on March 18.


Monday, August 16, 2004

Commonplace book

Faint heart never fucked the pig

Philip Larkin
(from The Letters of )

Eleven years ago

Out With The Old, and Let’s Not Be In Any Hurry To Admit the New (just for the record)

Christmas, birthday, new year; anniversaries whose only value to the bitter and twisted
Is to enable the year’s disappointments to be listed
As an aid to prospective parents deciding this is no world to bring a child in to
However ineffective this propaganda has in the past been (and yes, Toz, Kath, Janet, and Prudence, we’re looking at you).

Rose has finished her book on facilitated communication training to be published in January by Columbia University (Teacher’s College Press)
Which she sees as inadequate compensation for DEAL being defunded by Kennett and having its approaches to Howe for alternatives meeting with no success;
Anne has been hounded into conformity with the pretentious and enervated shibboleths of academic self-congratulation
To the point of finishing her degree and facing graduation;
Chris kept on with occasional research and report work for VicHealth
Leading him to VicWisdom but unfortunately not VicWealth;
The cat was rushed trembling in a carrybag to the vet to be treated for a damaged paw,
And the house itself suffered severely from prolapse of the bathroom floor.

Still, I couldn’t say it was all bad (with my memory, there may have been wonderful things happen that I can’t remember)
And I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead year, and it is already December,
And so we hope you all finish 1993 in a manner appropriate alike to the optimistic and the bitter and twisted
By getting thoroughly pissted.

Chris BorthwickDecember 8, 1993

Friday, August 13, 2004

Commonplace Book


Ballymackleduff, Derryfubble, Benburb – Address of subscriber in Northern Ireland Telephone Directory

Oh, the world was full of grievin’, an’ when I’d had enough
I packed me bag and set me face towards Ballymackleduff;
White houses nestle there, all far from toil an’ trouble
(0 the lough an’ the sea birds, an’ sweet Derryfubble!).
I thought me heart would melt for joy, an’ nothin’ might disturb
The peace that I’d be findin’ in beautiful Benburb.

O, the friends of me youth was there to make me comin’ merry,
First I drank with Mick the Tanner just a mile from Fubblederry
An’ Roaring Pat was waitin’ in the bar at Mackleben.
‘Begod,’ says he, ‘have one with me’; three jolly Irish men
With all the pints o’ porter, the gossip an’ the cackle.
’Twas dancin’ in the road we was that goes to Berrymackle.

Then up spake Mick the Tanner that was born in Fubblemack:
‘The boys at Ballyfubble will be glad to see ye back –
Let’s be goin’ to O’Reilly’s, where the Fiddler of Benbally
An’ the Fubblederry Fluter is in his Dancin’ Palais
An' the girls from Ferrymackle an’ from Bubblefurbyduff
Is doin’ all the jiggin’ an’ the rock-an’-rollin’ stuff.’

Ah, hadn’t we the time at all at Glubbymacklederry
With all the folk from Grabble an’ from Ballygubble ferry
An’ Mackledubblegurgle, an’ Blubberderryglen
An’ the lasses from Dubmackle, an’ the rantin’ Burble men,

The Squintin’ Men from Brackle, an’ Mrs Tom Macnally

An’ the seven black-haired sisters that live over in Duffbally.

An’ wilder came the music from the Fubblederry Flute
An’ Mick was drinking Guinness from the Widow Leary’s boot

An’ Roarin’ Pat was fightin’ with a man from Derryburble

That laid him out and wrote a sign that said DO NOT DISTURBLE.

Oh, shut was all the factories, and open all the bars,
There was laughter in the lamplight and kissin’ by the stars,

Delight in Derryfubble; and Benburb was full of song;
Ah, Ballymackleduff! Why did I stay away so long?

Paul Jennings


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