Friday, September 24, 2010

The Northern Irish Ones Are Just Very Musical

From AFP:

More than 480,000 people or one per cent of the UK's adult population regard themselves as gay or lesbian while a further 245,000 or 0.5 percent say they are bisexual, according a study published by the Office for National Statistics.

The highest proportion of adults who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual were in London with the lowest found in Northern Ireland.
I have a friend who is gay and comes from Portadown. He's always been overtly gay, even as a young boy, and when asked about this by a concerned (nosy), interfering) relative, his mother always responded in a fluster by saying "Oh no, no, no, no, he's just very musical!!!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Up North Woody

Woody Harrelson at the Toronto Film Festival, photographed by Sam from TopLeftPixel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Or Was It Those Missing Rivets?

Here's some interesting, if belated news...
LONDON (Reuters) – The Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 because of a basic steering error, and only sank as fast as it did because an official persuaded the captain to continue sailing, an author said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Louise Patten, a writer and granddaughter of Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, said the truth about what happened nearly 100 years ago had been hidden for fear of tarnishing the reputation of her grandfather, who later became a war hero.

Lightoller, the most senior officer to have survived the disaster, covered up the error in two inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic because he was worried it would bankrupt the ill-fated liner's owners and put his colleagues out of a job.

It seems that in the transition from sailing ships to steam-powered vessels, two diametrically opposed methods of steering a ship overlapped for a time, and so, according to Patten, "crucially, one system meant turning the wheel one way and the other in completely the opposite direction."

Well, I can see how a mistake like that could have been made. Patten also says that if the ship had stopped dead in the water after hitting the iceberg, it would have stayed afloat for many hours, long enough for everyone to be rescued ships which raced to the Titanic's SOS call. But because it continued sailing forward, the disastrous sinking was precipitated.

I personally have a greater interest in the less-well-known sinking of the Titanic's sister ship, the Lusitania, torpedoed off the coast of Ireland in 1915. Though very different in so many ways, from the cause to weather conditions, there is one similarity to the Titanic sinking, if this new information is to be believed. I shall get to this commonality in a moment. But first, let's not forget nor discount the tall tale of the suicidal shipyard riveter in Belfast, who, a few days after the 'world's biggest metaphor' struck the iceberg.

It is told that a few days after the Titanic sank, a sobbing and suicidal ship yard worker climbed out of a high window in Belfast (where of course the Titanic was built) and threatened to jump. A police officer managed to get close to the man, and asked him why he was so upset.

The man reached into his coat pocket and with tears streaming down his face, he showed the police man a handful of metal rivets.

"These are the twelve I forget to put in her!" he sobbed. "But she's sunk and it's all my fault!"

Unlike Titanic's boasted unsinkability and its chance, fateful encounter with the iceberg, the sinking of the Lusitania was an act of mass murder during war. She sank in shallow waters on a sunny afternoon in May 1915, less than ten miles off the southern coast of Ireland after being tropedoed by a German submarine. There have been many great books written about the sinking, none greater in my estimation than Diane Preston's Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy (2003).

If Louise Patten's new information about the Titanic is true, then it shared this with the Lusitania sinking: both ships continued to travel forward through the water after their fatal impacts, sending both to their watery doom faster. With the Lusitania, control of the ship's speed and steering were destroyed by the torpedo's explosion, and so the ship pushed itself under the surface of the water with horrifying speed.

Ok, enough morbid sea disaster blather for at least a month! Next up: ....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sink Toothless Gums Into Crotchless Pants

There is exciting news from the world of Republicans! Remember how last time they held power in Washington D.C., they practically destroyed the country and presided over a massive increase in the size of the government while racking up unimagineable expenditure on stupid things like the war in Iraq?

Well, guess what? They're back! By some time- and mind-bending gizmo known as the Terrified Media, it seems the November elections have already been won everywhere all the time yesterday already, by Republican candidates. And you. Won't. Believe. What's. On. Their. Legislative agenda.

Lower! taxes. Smaller! government (this small). in fact, I even heard that they plan to write lower-case legislation in tiny fonts, which makes their governing even smaller! isn't it logical? no one can read any more anyway. In every other area of governing, the Republicans just plan to be nauseating malignant tumors, spreading all over everything and making sure nothing works. This from today's Wall Street Journal:
Eyeing a potential Congressional win in November, House Republicans are planning to chip away at the White House's legislative agenda—in particular the health-care law—by as depriving the programs of cash.
You might wonder, rightly, why the above image of the well-filled crotch of a pair of jeans is posted with my little rant this morning. Well, it so happened that the quotation from the Wall Street Journal was from an article with a link right below it in which someone advocated washing your jeans as little as possible because they are often worn form-fitting, figure-hugging, and washing them washes this aspect away: something we all kind of know, but no one actually gives it gravitas until someone does.

I thought momentarily of any Republican agenda this Fall being as usual, like a big fake padded crotch — always strutting around pretending to have the biggest cock on the block, but underneath it all, nothing, not even a pubic bone. Just the same empty nonsense as eight years of George Bush: Lower them taxes, boys, and Jesus will come back soon. Jesus. I tell you, boys, he's gonna come. But we got to give some more tax relief to the exceedingly rich.

And I suppose if I never wash my jeans, sooner or later people will be forced to assume that I'm stinking rich.