OK America, you have finally created a limited edition taste that I am not willing to experience.
War makes monsters of us all and there were, no doubt, many instances where the Allies committed what would today be defined as war crimes. However, it seems to me that, given the horror that the Nazis perpetrated, we tend, in the West to overlook any evidence of our own terrible butchery.
Having just completed a reading of World War II by Martin Gilbert, a generally well written and factual account of the conflict, I have only managed to find one instance of allied action that could be counted as a war crime. Here is the very short passage in a very large book:
On the day of the Deptford rocket bomb, a British submarine, HMS Sturdy, on its way from Australia to Indonesian waters, stopped a Japanese cargo ship by surface shellfire. The Japanese crew having abandoned their ship, the only people left on board were fifty women and children, all of them Indonesians. In order to deny the Japanese any use of the ship’s cargo, the submarine commander ordered the ship to be sunk, despite a protest from the officer who had to lay the explosive charges. ‘Get on with it’, was the commander’s response. The cargo ship and its passengers were then blown up, together with the ship’s war supplies.
The Second World War – A Complete History, Martin Gilbert. p. 614
So a ship full of unarmed women and children were blown up. It is interesting to note how the author furnishes the commander with suitable justification for, what seems to be a heinous act. It was entirely okay for him to murder women and children because there were war supplies on the ship.
The date of this war crime, for war crime it surely appears, was November 25 1944.
There are few other examples in the book but given the size and scope of the war it seems unlikely that this is the only war crime on the allies side that went unpunished. In a fair and just world those who commit crimes would be prosecuted regardless on what side of the battle line there found themselves.
If the world was a just one then the author of this book might assign the same revulsion to this awful murder as he does, rightfully so, to the awful things that the Nazis did in the name of their Reich.
I think that these civilians were dismissed, by the commander and by the author, because they were Indonesian. I find it almost impossible to believe that had these civilians been upstanding members of the British Empire who understood the rules of cricket, had their tea at 4pm every day and had pale anglo-saxon skin that they would have suffered the same fate.
Maybe I am being terribly cynical though and I am unaware of many important facts concerning the fifth column nature of these Indonesian woman and children.
One day we will live in a world where we can acknowledge our own war crimes. That day does not seem to be today.
addendum: in my stupidity I overlooked the firebombing of Dresden, firebombing of Tokyo, the two nuclear bombs and any number of other “revenge” killings of German soldiers. However my aim with the small quote above was to highlight what seems like the slaughter of innocent women and children without the “luxury” of dropping bombs from a great height. The soldiers who committed this atrocity were actually on the boat laying the explosives. Whether they looked into the eyes of their victims or forced them, at gunpoint to stay on the boat, is not mentioned in the book.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
UPDATE: I found this link here – which says that apparently we won’t know for sure what happened until 2019 when the UK documents are unsealed. I can only assume that Mr. Gilbert had special access when he wrote his book.
That’s right. They’ve both appeared in Bollywood movies. Go Bollywood.
Alas not the same movie but as cultural connections go it’s a pretty wonderful one.
Lord Russell is wearing amazing red slippers.
Also a stark reflection on how men are portrayed and how women are portrayed in film. Not just in Bollywood movies of course but clearly
Men = subject
Women = object.
Not even sure why I’m writing that as it’s so obvious and would that things were better today but alas, as we all know, they’re not really are they?
No, no they’re not.
Every time you like something on Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg has a tiny orgasm.
This will not be happening in London today although, from the way the media are covering it, you would think that it is…
Just a little bit of Dambisa Moyo talking about the uselessness of Celebrity Aid for Africa:
I just want to meet the person who got to my blog through a search for scabby underwear.
They can only have been disappointed with what they found here.
People are strange.
There is nothing more rewarding that gamifying starvation.
I can’t help think that there is a massive warehouse full of rice somewhere that will go unused if people don’t play this stupid game. Perhaps the hungry could be allowed to access this rice without the need for everyone to play this game? Clearly I’m misunderstanding something fundamental about the market economy, charitable giving, the complexities of running a non-governmental organisation or something equally opaque.
I don’t understand it. I just know that it seems a touch messed up.
It’s sponsored by the World Food Program:
Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.
I love that the makers of this thing imagine that there is an equivalence between the CEO and the street child.
“I mean” some marketing guru must have foamed, “they’re both human. They both have ipads. They both have the same hopes and dreams. Let’s make a CONNECTION.”
This comparison is for the CEO so that they can feel good about themselves.
Why would a street child play this game? What time do they have to click on this inbetween begging, hiding from authorities and looking for safe places to sleep?
No time is the answer, in case you were wondering.
But they can LEARN! I hear you think. Yes, that is true, they can learn and get food at the same time!
I don’t know. I probably have more to say about this but I give up. I’m tired. Click on the link. Click on it or the Warehouse full of rice is going to be dumped in the ocean.
*shakes head. weeps. dries eyes. plays game until dead*
I just have a soft spot for this glorious psychopath so I thought I would share a little observation about him with you all:
’We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they (the Maya) regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction.’
History, being full of ironies as it is, continues with this fine fellow:
Bishop Diego de Landa Calderón, whilst responsible for a great deal of destruction of Mayan art and literature, due to the assiduous nature of his recording of that destruction, is also our major source for the very thing he was spending much of his time destroying. Oh irony, hold me close, keep me warm in the dark watches of the night.
Just so that you, like me, can feel a little bit paranoid on a Friday morning:
It seems that we are handing over our very selves without even realizing how much of our selves we are giving away.
This should be troubling.
Oh, hang on, just have to send a text…
A quirky fact about the Washington Monument – the tip is made of aluminum. Why, you might ask. It seems that at the time of the building of the Monument the most precious element in all the world was aluminium. Little were the designers to know that in but a century or so cans full of fizzy soda would be made of that very same material. I hope that the fact I used both spellings of that particular element has annoyed everyone in equal measure.
So now this wounded phallus wears a worthless hat.
I don’t know if there is some kind of deeper conclusion one can draw from this about the State of the Nation whilst one enjoys the beautiful sunset, but if you can think of one please let me know.
As I was wondering around Washington DC last night I saw this:
How wonderful it would have been, I thought as I took this picture, if the students who ended up graduating from the School of the Americas had instead been funneled through this wonderful institution.
Perhaps instead of conducting Dirty Wars and violating Human Rights in their homelands in the name of freedom and democracy they could have been a more subtle and productive influence on their people.
Traveling on foot – spreading art, knowledge and love throughout the land.
A man can dream.
In the meantime see what The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (That sounds so much more boring than US Army School of the Americas doesn’t it?) have been up to recently courtesy of the fine people at
School of the Americas Watch:
Having said all that The Art Museum of the Americas is a wonderful place too. So visit that as well.
This marks the end of my uncalled for Public Service Announcement.
I was quite taken with the idea, as I was strolling through Washington DC today, enjoying the full bloom of The Cherry Blossom Festival, of taking some photographs in which the great monuments of this fine country are but specks in the frame. So I did that and I show some of them to you now.
You will note that The Washington Monument does not fit the definition but I included it anyway.
Please forgive me.
Sometimes, when I’m at work, it feels just like this:
Champing at the bit for explosions on the Korean peninsular today.
There are so many things to say about Baroness Thatcher.
I could say lots of things about her.
The four women in my life growing up where my Mother, My Grandmother, The Queen and Margaret Thatcher.
Only Queen Elizabeth is still alive.
Here is a picture that I posted on another blog some time ago. I am afraid that I cannot remember where I got it from but if anyone can give me a source I will credit it.
This is all I will post about Baronness Thatcher today.
Whatever opinion you have about her I hope you enjoy this picture.
I think you can bear to watch over an hour and a half of Noam Chomsky talking.
If for nothing other than this quote:
“It’s normal for public opinion to be disregarded. That’s what we call democracy.”
This is the prologue to an exhibition that is taking place at The British Library called
17 May – 17 September 2013
Go and see it if you get a chance.
If you have seen Skyfall then you will be familiar with the approach to the island in this short documentary.
In reality the island is not the base of a Bond villain but was, for many years a coal mining facility run and maintained by Mitsubishi.
For a time it was the most densely populated place on the planet.
I’m not going to add any more facts.
Just watch this poetic short documentary.
Maybe our ancestors will walk through our own cities, in a similar manner to this gentleman, wondering at the devices that we left behind.
I ❤ Aisher Tyler:
That is all.
Wendy’s is a fine family restaurant chain with their rectangular burgers, their tasty free milkshakes offers and their bear fighting. It is probably a little known fact that bear fighting is a part of the Wendy’s brand. I was unaware of this until I saw the gift that appeared in the meal of the child that I was with. It came with two unassuming plastic bears, both of whom you will meet in a minute, and these delightful instructions:
Now the game itself is a variant on the classic throwing things up in the air and then getting points from how they land. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with throwing things up in the air and then getting points from how they land on the flat surface that they end up resting on. Yet my mind is conflicted. Bear Wrestling? This is what we are teaching our children? No wonder they all become drug addicts and criminals always disappointing us and ruining society with their noises and their smells. If we tell them that bear wrestling is okay what else are we supposed to expect?
Have Wendy’s planned a whole series of these sordid games? Perhaps Michael Vick’s Dog Fighting? Jerry Seinfeld’s Cock Boxing? (I apologize to both Mr. Vick, who has served his time, and to Mr. Seinfeld for who there is no evidence that he has ever indulged in any kind of cock boxing. I am merely offering unsourced examples to make my point.)
Then my eye was drawn to the title of the game – Zookeeper…
What kind of twisted world do the creators of this game live in that they think that Zookeepers indulge in the sport of bear wrestling? Do they imagine that, when the gates close and the lights dim at the local zoo, the staff come out and then force the creatures under their care to participate in a complex series of Hunger Games style trials until the sun rises the next day? Do the elephants have to get encased in thick armour and force to wear large spikes before running round an oval track, the winner given food – the losers crushed under some kind of as to be determined elephant crushing machine? Do the lizards play Russian Roulette for sunlight? What of the butterflies? Are they harnessed and forced to dance up and down the greasy poles of zookeeper lust?
These are only questions. I am only asking the questions. It is up to the zoo community to provide the answers.
Regardless of these accusations which I haven’t made let us look closer at the hideous rules that our children must follow in order to play this Zookeeper sponsored bear wrestling. Each child gets a bear, a bear much like this dead eyed looking creature:
Then each child throws their bear. If they do not wrestle, not in this instance tear at one another with their massive paws and their jagged face ripping teeth, but if they touch, THEN THEY MUST WRESTLE AGAIN! THERE WILL BE NO RESPITE FOR THE FIGHTING BEARS! NONE!
After five rounds of this brutal dance of death a human winner is declared and so the cycle continues.
So what, may you ask, are the various scores? Here are the various scores:
Just to test out these rules I tried to roll all of them. I am nothing if not randomly thorough:
This is what happens when a bear falls. Pretty much every time you get one point.
This happened somewhat infrequently but it’s still possible to get a couple of points like this. If you are inhuman enough to play such a violent game that is destroying our children.
This is also possible. You can get points for this as you watch society crumble.
This one is, and sorry for being rude, fucking impossible. I tried for at least fifteen minutes. You will never get this one no matter how flat the surface or how patient you think you are.
This one is even more impossible than the last one. So fucking impossible that I only tried it for five minutes. It was even difficult to balance the beast like this with a flat surface and what little patience remained to me from earlier. At this point they were really just filling up space on their instruction card. YOU WILL NEVER GET THIS ONE. EVER.
So you battle for five rounds. Then the child with the highest points wins. Then they put these back in a drawer or probably just leave them on the floor for you to step on later because THEY HATE YOU and then you yell at them and then you throw them out of the window.
Then you bring them back inside and you put them in a series of new positions and ascribe points to them:
As Many Points as You Feel are Suitable:
Then if your children want the game back show them this:
Yes they may have nightmares and develop a nervous tick that wasn’t there before but you will have taught them a valuable lesson about the power of nature and that Zookeepers are the most dangerous people on the planet.
You are welcome.
Whilst wandering through CVS one evening I couldn’t help but notice the unusual placing of weight control products next to a shelf of tasty mayonnaise.
What nefarious plan is this? After gorging on buckets of mayonnaise are we supposed to return to this 24 hour neon lit apothecary and purchase items to control the weight we have been utterly wanton with?
I think that is the plan. So the cycle continues of famine and feast, asceticism and decadence, of self-control and self-indulgence. Thus do we continue the Manichaean dance that has no end but the dissolution of our constantly battling dualities.
Fuck you CVS.
Fuck you in your mouth.
That was ruder than I intended and yet I am not going to delete that last curse.
I have seen this commercial so many times that I think I may have become a little obsessed with it. I have nothing else to do but to share it with you and then you can draw your own conclusions from my commentary on the script, below:
Eager Young Surveyor: (slightly desperately) If we could supply fresh water, this really would be the perfect location for the new town.
Yes, but the likelihood of supplying freshwater to what appears to be a massive fucking desert looks, at best, a fools quest. If you’re planning to do this via iceberg rather than the more traditional means of irrigation or river redirection then we’re in a whole new Arena of Lunacy. Let’s see what else this commercial has to offer.
Sea Captain: (optimistically) If we harness the power of the ocean currents we can reduce fuel consumption.
This Sea Captain is drunk. Look at his rhuemy eyes. He has no idea what he is talking about. He may as well claim that a race of giant undersea mermaids could tow his ship into port before feeding him and his crew all the succulent sweat meats that imagination can conjure up. He is on his third bottle of whiskey of the morning.
Gentleman on dock: (with glazed dead eyes) If we make this cable twice as thick, it could tow up to 7 million tons.
This man has nothing to do with the commercial. He merely leaped in front of the camera and spoke admiringly of a fictionally larger piece of cable than the one the other man is holding. Why does he have to be critical of my thick cable, the taller out of focus man is thinking. I worked really hard on this cable. This cable that I made can tow 3.5 million tons. Is that not enough for you? Who are you anyway? Get this man off my set! Cut!
Using their 3DExperience platform, Dassault Systèmes led a team of glaciologists and engineers to prove Georges Mougin‘s dream of transporting icebergs, could become reality.
Okay, so George Mougin seems to be of questionable sanity.
It takes a special kind of compass to explore the world’s future possibilities.
It also takes a special kind of lunatic to get together a group of willing participants, harness an iceberg to a boat and then attempt to transport it TO THE DESERT – TRANSPORT AN ICEBERG TO THE DESERT. Also, what is so special about this compass? Is it a magic compass? Will it help you find Hogwarts or Neverneverland? No, it will make you delusional and set into motion an insane plan that will start with you trying to pull an iceberg into the desert by boat and end with you naked, wretched, raving in the desert with only your twisted memories of childhood and the half-eaten remains of your colleagues for company.
DASSAULT SYSTÈMES. If we ask the right questions we can change the world.
The right question in this case seems to be – an iceberg in the fucking desert? You have to be fucking kidding me? You’re not. Oh. Well sign me up then.
Here ends the Cautionary Tale of the Cursed Compass.
In the spirit of supporting gay marriage and equality as the Supreme Court looks at various legal cases, please find here, for your pleasure, the lyrics of I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry, adapted so that everyones favourite teenboy quimthrob can sing his love to the rafters.
Only when Mr. Bieber sings this version can we truly say that we have achieved an equal society:
“I Kissed A Boy”
This was never the way I planned, not my intention.
I got so brave, drink in hand, lost my discretion
It’s not what I’m used to, just wanna try you on.
I’m curious for you, caught my attention.
I kissed a boy and I liked it,
the taste of his musky chapstick.
I kissed a boy just to try it,
I hope my girlfriend don’t mind it.
It felt so wrong,
It felt so right.
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight.
I kissed a boy and I liked it (I liked it).
No, I don’t even know your name, it doesn’t matter.
You’re my experimental game, just human nature.
It’s not what good boys do, not how they should behave.
My head gets so confused, hard to obey.
Us boys we are so magical,
Rough skin, harsh lips, so kissable.
Hard to resist, so touchable.
Too good to deny it.
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent.
I look forward to this being sung at the next Grammy Awards.
Go Beibernauts! Let’s get the campaign rolling!
(That’s what they’re called isn’t it?)
You are all most welcome.
The sterling Beckettian script is mine.
The drawings are taken from SuperActionComicMaker. It’s better when it’s all one word.
One of my favourite sites to peruse is Open Culture.
This video popped up today.
It makes no sense to me but it makes no sense in a lovely distracting way.
There is always something to love about Yoko Ono and this is just one more thing. The fact that what this video really is is a commercial for a new range of clothing from Open Ceremony is, I think, probably forgiveable. It is forgiveable isn’t it?
Oh no, wait, in the course of typing I have changed my mind. What we have here is another sandwich board. Why must they always be sandwich boards? I suppose artists need to live and eat and pay mortgages too.
Yet maybe there is more to the all too common Company/Artist relationship this time. The designs are so odd perhaps they are subversive. Maybe Yoko Ono is having the last laugh. Maybe she is making unwearable anti-style clothing and taking the money and running off to do some more wonderful and infuriating performance art.
This may be a big fuck you to fashion, to men, to women, to commerce, to herself.
Or it may just be exactly what it looks like – an artist being employed by a company to express an idea through a medium that, generally, reeks of commerce and compromise.
I especially love the hand prints on the crotch region.
All art is pornography. Someone very clever once said that somewhere once…
That is all I have to say about this thing.
What a great world we live in.
I just couldn’t resist putting this song:
Next to this song:
Which one is better?
What I do know is that I am getting an immeasurable amount of joy from placing Wham! (don’t forget the exclamation mark) and Leonard Cohen in the same post.
I’m Your Man.
and nobody cares:
A good way to start the day as we enter the panopticon for another chance to prove ourselves.
There is a video on the internet that I have not seen called Two Women, One Cup. I hear that it is not the most pleasant thing in the world, either for the viewer or, for the two young women participating. I am not going to include a link here as I do not want to imprint my mind with it nor do I want to sully your poor psyche any more than it is already being sullied by living every day in this harsh world.
Let us imagine, instead of two women and one cup, that the infamous video in question showed a Care Bear and a My Little Pony, sharing a cup. Let us say that Harmony Bear and Rosedust had fallen on hard times, their rent was due and they had been given the opportunity by Gargamel to make some easy money. After they had committed the acts as performed in Two Women, One Cup then the end result would taste similar to raspberry and dark chocolate m&m’s.
I apologise for rendering so sweet a pair of characters in such a vile scenario but I felt it was the only suitable way to warn you off this particular flavour of m&m’s.
You are most welcome.
Your thanks are not needed but they are enjoyed.
I don’t know if it’s because I used to be involved with a beautiful woman who loved Depeche Mode then lost her because I did not treat her as she deserved that this song is getting to me.
But this song is getting to me.
More new songs from Depeche Mode please.
When I discovered that my snazzy new smart phone had a front and rear facing camera this happened in my head:
I am currently teetering on the edge of that last point.
Stupid technology filling my head full of terrible thoughts of exciting and interesting ideas for expressing myself.
Let’s forget the depressing sentiment of the title of this post for a while and embrace the idea we are free by listening to this song by The Soup Dragons:
Don’t Be Afraid of Your Freedom.
Ignore the awful yellow backdrop and the garish red font and enjoy this great song.
The Pilgrim Travellers were a Texas based gospel group who found fame in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
This is the only song of theirs that I know. I had it on a compilation of Atomic themed songs that I bought from a record store a few years ago. Yes. We used to buy records from record stores. Now we sit in our beds wearing only our shame clicking on buttons to fill our hard drives with data. Ahem.
There are definitely not enough Jesus/Atomic themed songs in the current hit parade.
Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift really need to step their game up.
They could easily rerecord some of their current hits:
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Because Jesus is Riding an Atom Bomb Straight into our Living Room.
As Long As You Love Me Because Jesus Has The Launch Codes And He’s Not Afraid To Use Them.
See how easy it is?
Samantha Fox, the British pin-up girl of the 1980’s and, therefore, of my burgeoning sexuality, had a very short lived musical career.
She is mainly famous for this:
I have tried to make this picture family suitable. I apologize to all who have to witness this photograph but I wanted to show those who were not familiar with Sam Fox where her fame stemmed from.
It was not her love of rubber ducks.
Her biggest hit was this:
Once you have enjoyed that beautiful piece of pop I recommend that you then listen to this beautiful cover version by The Lost Fingers.
I am not not sure whether I created this post to show the weird picture of Sam Fox holding two rubber ducks or to introduce everyone to a lovely cover version of her one hit pop song.
That is all.
Goodnight all of the people.
I wish that they had chosen Robbie Coltrane.
Immanuel Velikovsky was a psychiatrist and scholar with many theories about the formation of the world and The Solar System. One of his most controversial theories was that Venus was an expelled part of Jupiter.
He was vilified and castigated by the mainstream science community.
The great Carl Sagan argues here that the worst aspects about this whole affair were:
That some scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky’s ideas.
As he says:
Science is a self-correcting process.
It is easy to see how ludicrous Velikovsky’s ideas are now but
The suppression of ideas may be common in religion or in politics but it is not the path to knowledge.
Would that there were more like Carl Sagan.
I share this simply because it is a good way to approach the world. With a rigorous spirit of intellectual curiosity willing to interrogate each and every idea. To dismiss them when they are found to be unsupportable. To embrace them when they are built on the firm foundations of observation and the scientific method.
That is all.
This and That. The rain fell in haunted lines, Straight separations between this and that. Lonely neon screens glowed in empty toy strewn rooms; Witnesses to this and that. Cattled commuters wedged in tight On pilgrimage to this and that. A single figure ran round the track Yearning quietly for this and that. Stale coffee poured in styrofoam Is brief respite from this and that. From out the gloom a clot of light In recompense for this and that.
Yes, this is a thing that is really happening.
Yes, you are viewing it.
You are viewing it with your eyes.
WITH YOUR EYES.
Neither can you unview it.
Nor should you non-view it.
That you should want to makes you Suspect.
Embrace this Cultural Collision.
EVERYONE HAS A PRICE.