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Friday, November 21, 2003

I'm so behind, I'm going to have to stick to one liners to catch up. That will be the day! So, here it is, higgledy-piggledy.

Monday 17th

The second anniversary of the death of Peter S. Everything I have in my life, just about, is thanks to him. I went to temple and offered toba memorial.

Jonestown Massacre 25th Anniversary

Just in case anybody needed to be reminded, or finally to come to understand, that those who are the most vociferous in their claim of faith in God are not necessarily "Good".

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp..."

Indeedy.

Free Speech in the U.K. - "Axis of Giggles"?

Yes, but not for everybody. Children are excluded, they still should be seen and not heard.

A 12-year old boy called Glenn was excluded from school "for the duration of the war" for having allegedly referred to Tony Blair as "a leading twat". This was during a public debate, during which he had passionately denounced the bombing of Afghanistan.

Glenn's father is a writer, with a publishing deadline for the novel he is working on, and he quite naturally hopes that the war will be over before Christmas, because as he puts it, "he can't have Glenn hanging around the house all day".

Glenn has protested his innocence, saying: "I didn't say Tony Blair was a leading twat. I said he was leading TWAT (The War Against Terrorism)."

Hehehe!

The story comes to me through-what else? The UK Guardian.

The Soham Murders

Two little girls were killed in Soham, a little over a year ago.

One of my favorite journalists at the Guardian, Euan Ferguson, tells about a part of the proceedings at the trial of the indicted murderer. It is a remarkably interesting article entitled: "Terrible history haunts the Old Bailey". If you want to read it, it's at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4793307-111746,00.html.

Zen and Jerry

While I was on the Guardian site, I came across another interesting story by Euan Ferguson, on Jerry Hall.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4793209-102280,00.html.

Michael Jackson Brouhaha

Everybody is talking about the Michael Jackson case. Everybody says "innocent until proven guilty"; everybody ignores the fact that under the law Michael Jackson does not have to prove his innocence, the prosecution has to prove his guilt; everybody is happy to say "he should be punished" and his children should be taken away from him.

Wot, without trial?

Everybody points to the previous "cases", which it so happens were never prosecuted, but were settled out of court, one reportedly for as much as $25 million. Are you really that cynical that you believe there would not have been any prosecution, no matter what the facts, just because Michael Jackson has money?

Setting aside the matter of non-prosecution, and settlements out of court, if you are now basing your personal opinion on what should happen to Michael Jackson on the alleged fact that he has, for the past ten years, been a "notorious child abuser", what can possibly explain any responsible parents exposing their children to a sleepover at Neverland?

CBS have reportedly cancelled a Michael Jackson Special because of his arrest. I think that is wrong: it is the equivalent of saying they believe he is guilty, before the trial even starts.

Furthermore, they are punishing him in advance of a judgment by depriving him of a part of his livelihood.

They are also participating in behavior which will make it very hard, if not impossible, for Michael Jackson to have an unbiased jury and a fair trial just about anywhere in the United States, I could add, anywhere in the world, for that matter.

Michael Jackson has always behaved in a flamboyant, provocative manner, he is quite obvious in his strangeness, he doesn't exactly behave like a shrinking violet. I can't imagine how the parents of the "numerous victims" [sic] could possibly justify risking their children's wellbeing by allowing them to get close to him at all, at any time.

Or was it just because he is famous and he has the money?

President Bush's visit to the U.K.

I'll start out with my usual "Cui Bono?", who benefits?

I don't have the stomach to research how much Bush's security costs, both to the U.S. taxpayer and to the U.K. taxpayer.

Nobody, nobody, would want anything to happen to Bush, anywhere, if for no better reason than that the next guy would be Cheney. Let's face it, Cheney may already be the president-in-fact, but Bush looks better, so he deserves to be the front man. I heard he always wanted to be an actor.

Nobody, nobody, would want to have Cheney for president. Did you ever see him smile? He looks like a sleazy landlord who has just evicted a coupla widows and orphans.

The night before Bush's arrival in London, Buckingham Palace was fully secured, with sharpshooters on the roof, and all kinds of security personnel deployed on high alert all over the place, up to the gills. It was left up to a woman reporter, a shy person, "very discreet", to challenge the security ahead of time, to see what would happen. She climbed over the wall, and was well on her way in before they caught her. Perhaps the fact she was wearing a Da-Glo parka had something to do with it.

Anyway, Bush got what he wanted, a splendid, sumptuous visit, with virtually no witnesses.

During Bush's trip from Buckingham Palace to 10 Downing Street, in his special Cadi with 5-inch armored plate, on the other side of town, an alternative procession took place, with a mock "royal carriage, carrying the "Queen" and a very different "President Bush".

As reported in the BBC's reporters' log:

Speaking to reporters before setting off, 'The President' said: "Your little country makes a great runway and I'm delighted it is so easy to get social security out of your Prime Minister Tony Blair".

Standing Together, No Matter What

Blair and Bush stood shoulder to shoulder, again and again. Friends forever.

Everyone knows the violence is escalating in Iraq. In the shadows, a little further to the east, the same thing is happening in Afghanistan.

Further east yet, in western India, which saw the visit of that "man of peace" (dixit Bush), Ariel Sharon, a few weeks ago, bombs are now being set off outside the mosques.

The unspeakable horror of the bombs set off in Istanbul needs no padding. It practically blew away all the topics Bush and Blair had wanted to talk about during this visit, things like the prisoners at Guantanamo, the tariffs on British steel, etc., so that when reporters asked how the talks were doing, all Blair could say was: "We are still talking about that".

"Bring 'em on", Bush had said, earlier this year about attacks on coaliton forces in Iraq. It looks very much like someone is really listening.

Now, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I refer once more to Andrian Bell's cartoon in the Guardian. Blair went to see the Pope, before the war on Iraq was declared. Blair, like Bush, is a man of faith, in fact Bush was asked whether that might be the reason why they get on so well, and he answered: "Maybe".

The cartoon had the Pope blessing Blair, who was on his knees before him, and saying:

"My Son, waarring against weaypons of maass destraaaction is like shaaaagging for chaaaastity."

* * * *

Janna went to court. One of those silly traffic accidents: two cars crash into each other, and the following ten, twenty cars blip, blip, blip, into each other as they pull up sharp.

Janna was at the end of this line, she miscalculated the distance between her car and the one in front, she bumped her. No witnesses, but a policeman came on the scene, Both women exchanged cards, etc. Janna's car had scratches in the front, the woman nothing. Now the woman is suing for medical costs for major surgery on her neck.

Janna can't see how this could be true. The shock was not very bad: she had just come from an auction, her car was chockerblock full of dainty china, nothing got broken. Anyway, the night before, I had been telling her the importance of "dressing for success", an old Chinese story, and that morning she went to court very well dressed.

Of course, she got lost, took the wrong exit and ended up being late, then she didn't know where to go, when she entered the room, it was filled with people waiting just for her. With so many eyes looking her over, she became a little flustered, and said pretty much what came out of her head.

"Do you remember the policeman?" they asked her.

"Yes, very well."

"What can you say to describe him?"

"Er, he had a mustache, a red mustache, and red hair, he was tall, he was strong, he looked Irish..."

Well, that sort of did it. Afterwards, they would phrase their questions:

"And what did the--Irish-looking policeman say?"

At one point, Janna turned to her lawyer and asked him: "Can I say something else about the policeman?"

"No," very firmly, "Keep your mouth shut..."

But she wanted to say it anyway, she said it to the lawyer, and she noticed everybody was listening.

I'm glad I wasn't there: I don't think I could have kept a straight face. It's a good thing she didn't say he was handsome... Hehehe!

A policeman? Irish looking?

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