BBC caption competition

11 November, 2006

The tragedy of Beit Hanoun marks a low point in the Israeli/Palestinian relationship.

The BBC News website quotes Sima Kadmon in Yediot Aharonot:

A regrettable mistake, past and present politicians and army officers said yesterday. This is not a mistake. This is a disaster. A regrettable mistake is when you step on someone’s foot, not when you kill 11 members of one family. Someone has to stop this madness.


However, it is this comment in one of Israel’s influential dailies that gives me hope; Israel is a robust and thriving democracy, the first (if not the only) Middle East country where an Arab woman is enfranchised. The right of free speech is treasured.

This week also saw Jerusalem’s gay pride rally and perhaps the most random caption I have seen – even for the BBC. The “In pictures” report of this rally ( shows a shot of two girls (picture no.8) holding the Israeli flag above the six-colour rainbow, Gay Pride flag. An innocuous, pleasing shot, with people smiling in the background. The BBC chooses to caption this shot thus:

Police were on high alert following Palestinian threats to attack Israel after this week’s shelling in Gaza in which 18 Palestinian civilians died.


a disproportionate response

5 October, 2006

My wife and child were sitting in the park with some friends and their children. Peter, friend and father, commented (apropos of nothing): “I really hate Israel.” My son piped up, “But if you hate Israel, then you hate my Mummy!” What concerns me here, is that Peter, who is an educated man and lectures composition at a university, has developed his attitude to Israel entirely on the basis of media (mis)representation. That he should do so without employing his own critical faculties perhaps lays a question at the doorstep of his academic credentials, but what concerns me is that “Israel-bashing” is now a socially legitimate activity among educated people.

Most of our circle are , in some way, connected with media – these people should know better than to build their personal foreign policies on the basis of a BBC report.

Blogs such as little green footballs have eloquently debunked many of the myths built around the war in Lebanon, viz. the doctored Reuters photographs that even the BBC withdrew, or the Lebanese ambulance supposedly attacked by the IDF. Richard North at EU Referendum reports on media coverage of “Qana” (July 30, 2006): The Corruption of the Media. I am disappointed because, while I have no desire to whitewash Israel’s actions, I do not believe that there is a clear and honest representation of those actions anywhere, outside perhaps By all means be critical, but be honest.

Meanwhile Ken Livingstone continues his anti-Israel line. Ken argues that he is not anti-semitic, while he consorts with such humanitarians as Hugo Chavez and Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi. This on top of his crudely-drawn moral equivalence between the Poll Tax riots in Trafalgar Square and the carnage of Tienanmen Square. The man’s a liability. (But — apparently Ken Livingstone is not the mayor if he is outside with a coat on…)

A Nation of Scatologists

21 February, 2006

Now I enjoy scatological humour as much as the next man. I find flatulence funny (as does my five-year-old son.) The Germans, however, take scatology to an unexpected level. What is the deal with the German toilet? What is this shit-shelf, that allows you to study your defecatory product before sending it to oblivion?

I find, by a cursory glance at Google, that I am not alone in finding this triumph of manufacturing disturbing. Wasn’t the toilet invented by a German? Is this the way toilets are meant to be? I am a well-travelled individual: I attended 18 schools in 7 countries, from the USA to India via Europe and Africa. I am accustomed to and comfortable with cultural differences, but this is disturbing. I don’t think I need to go into further detail, such as the uncomfortable proximity of one’s buttocks to their discard. This shelf is just wrong.

Fat Man on a Bicycle

4 January, 2006

Oh, what mirth, Big Boy!

Went to see Alex Ferns’ latest film, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël
two weeks ago. It’s been nominated for a Golden Globe and I strongly recommend it!

WordPress, bicycles and kittens

10 November, 2005

As you can plainly see, I have moved from Movable Type to WordPress. This blog is now also hosted on my webspace from the very excellent PlusNet.

I have started riding a bicycle, really quite seriously. I ride a Ridgeback Velocity, which I bought from Bike And Run in East Finchley. 14–mile round trip from East Finchley to Paddington, so I’m sure it will show eventually.

We have added a ginger kitten to the menagerie (1 hamster, 2 fantails, 1 pond goldfish, 1 pleco, 1 red-tailed shark fish and 2 parrot cichlids — not all in the same cage or tank, I hasten to add.) Zac has named the kitten — with a pleasing sense of irony — Jerry, as Jerry is the mouse.

Good Lord, I’m back!

8 November, 2005

After an extended period of having no web site — no great loss to the world, let’s face it — I’m back!

Still with the rather excellent PlusNet and 1&1 — but I do now have the MacMini…

I notice young Alex’s site is down, though. Explain yourself, lad!

All change, please!

11 May, 2005

Well. I am in the process of getting rid of Namesco and migrating all my domains to 1&1. and are already transferred and I have requested the transfer of It’s worth it for my peace of mind.

I have also changed isp — painlessly this time! — from Zen to PlusNet. Zen is reliable, with very good customer service, but PlusNet offers comparable customer service and reliability with the added benefit of 2Mb at £4 less than I was paying for 512Kb! Compare them at ADSLguideZen always comes out on top, but PlusNet fares well enough to be worth the money saved.

Fedora Enlightenment

2 April, 2005

So I installed enlightenment on my Fedora Core 3 box and fell in love with it. I’m missing a few things, like instant access to the terminal and the ability to run a single command – I also can’t find an enlightened file manager. I know I’m being a bit thick and people will shout at me. I will find these things. (BTW, I don’t like eeplets – fiddly little things that get in the way.) I would really, really like Fedora to include the Enlightenment Window Manager.

I also installed the CCRMA Kernel, with it’s ALSA module, and lost sound altogether. I have de-installed it (with all that was dependent thereupon) and I am currently re-installing the standard Core3 ALSA module.

Oscar said I should write my own story, rather than try and get a production of “Joe Egg” off the ground. His fault, he suggested it — he’s just going to have to write it with me!


11 March, 2005

My first WordPress post! I just got irritated with the whole mess of Movable Type. We’ll see how this goes…

More Movable Type niggles

9 March, 2005

Part of the upgrade to Movable Type 3.15 appears to have destroyed my comments configuration. If you click on the “Comments” link below, you’ll see that it takes you to a non–existent page — a 404 error, even.

And I’m trying to make sense of the Search templates — if you use the Search box in the right—hand column, it takes you to a templated Search page, generic to all the MT Blogs on this server, which does not appear to understand PHP. I’m confused.