Monthly Archives: August 2009

To Hell In A Handbasket

Two pieces in the current issue of Standpoint that feed my feelings of misanthropy. Nick Cohen’s Turning a Blind Eye to Misogyny and Clive James’ A Veil of Silence Over Murder. Here we are at the start of the 21st … Continue reading

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It’s Not Dead – It’s Just Resting…

A news item in the Manx press brought a smile to my face today with the news that the Manx language is not dead – it’s just critically endangered. I’m sorry, but that has just too many overtones of Monty … Continue reading

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A Life In Three Acts

Bette Bourne is a living legend. I remember going to see her and her company in outrageous plays in the 1970s. It was the time of the Gay Liberation Front, and she lived in a drag commune at the time. … Continue reading

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A Thing Of Beauty

A gorgeous little animated film by Gabe Askew set to the song Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear… Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.  

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Poet Or Planner?

I referred yesterday to what I see as the declining standards of journalism. Here’s another example. There’s a piece in The Times by one Stefanie Marsh where she interviews Richard Dawkins about his forthcoming book The Greatest Show on Earth. … Continue reading

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An Apology To Alan Turing

Alan Turing is almost one of the forgotten computer pioneers and a hero of World War II. Hardly surprising really; it was the British Government who stripped him of his security clearance at GCHQ when he was convicted in 1952 … Continue reading

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The Really Unique Gift

Mr. Deity is on top form with this episode…    

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Out For A Walk

The annual four-day walking event in this part of the Netherlands began today in Doetinchem. I happened to be passing by part of the route and noticed that some unexpected participants appear to be joining in.  

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They Want Us Exterminated

The BBC News service carries a report today about the situation for gay people in Iraq that makes for sobering reading. The detailed report, from Human Rights Watch, is even more unsettling. Man’s inhumanity to man, writ large, and in … Continue reading

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Only In The Netherlands…

I probably should have a series of posts like this. There are times when I look at things in my adopted country, and think to myself (often with a smattering of pride or alternatively, complete incomprehension): “Only in the Netherlands…” … Continue reading

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A Narrow Escape

I was mowing the lawns today, when suddenly I noticed something in front of the mower. First of all I thought it was a bundle of grass, and was about to carry on. Then I looked more closely and paused… … Continue reading

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Airborne Viruses, Airborne Rabbis

This has to be a joke, doesn’t it? They cannot be serious, surely?

Posted in Folklore | 1 Comment

Varsseveld’s Carnival

The nearest small town to us, Varsseveld, is currently holding its annual four-day carnival. I went along to see the carnival parade last night. Nice atmosphere, with some good floats on show. A tradition in The Netherlands is to decorate … Continue reading

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Families In Straitjackets

There’s a bit of a stir going on in Amsterdam and the Hague at the moment. The reason is that the fifth World Family Congress has just opened at the RAI in Amsterdam for its three-day conference. The Dutch Minister … Continue reading

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New Arrivals

Our neighbour, Herman, is a milk farmer. A week ago, one of his cows gave birth to triplets. This only happens 5 times out of 10,000 births in cattle. What made it even more special is that all three of … Continue reading

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Biking With The Buurt

Each year, a couple of volunteers in our local neighbourhood (the buurt) organises a route for a bicycle ride through the local area. This year about thirty of us had an enjoyable day out, with a few stops for food … Continue reading

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Down At The Waterhole

Thursday was really warm. We went, with a friend, to have lunch by a local lake, and (for a couple of us) to cool off. Watching the local water-ski enthusiasts was pretty interesting too. They were of all ages. Unlike … Continue reading

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Fish In A Barrel

I know it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but how could I resist pointing towards this pretentious twaddle spotlighted by David Thompson? There’s nothing better designed to evince howls of frustrated derision from me than a good dose of … Continue reading

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Women of Iron

Hilary Mantel has a terrific article in today’s Guardian that evokes to a tee the monstrous regiment of women that I remember from my childhood. They were epitomised by the granny in the cartoons by Giles, and Mantel’s marvellous words … Continue reading

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Bibliophiles ‘R Us

This last week, I’ve been making a couple of pilgrimages to bookshops and bookmarkets. First up was a day trip down to Maastricht, to the Dominicanen bookshop. This is notable for being in a converted church, and is probably the … Continue reading

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