Archive for January, 2007

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Ahmmm…

January 28, 2007

(clears throat noisily)

Since returning to Canberra I’ve had very little time or inclination to either blog or comment at other blogs. Hopefully this is only a temporary thing and will pass.

I’ve been fixing up the house with cat motifs, re-configuring the hi-fi and re-building my home theatre system. Van den Hul cables rock. Naim Audio amplifiers rock. My venerable CEC TL2 CD transport also rocks. Good cathode ray tube televisions (I love you, Loewe) beat the crap out of LCD and plasma. Furthermore, I am considering a significant investment in ye old turntable technology. The Rega Planar 3 threatens to seriously rock.

In other news, I have re-visited the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Centre to see if the giant 70-metre dish has yet succeeded in locating any signs of intelligence in mine enemy’s head (no luck, I’m afraid), and the National Museum of Australia, which is making good progress in rehabilitating itself as a genuine national institution instead of a circle-jerk for 70’s lefties.

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Blogroll updated

January 14, 2007

As part of the site re-vamp I’ve updated the blogroll. In my experience these sites represent some of the most interesting of the Australian and international blogospheres and are always worth reading, whatever your politics. Some I agree with; some I don’t. I’ve included my favourite blogs from the Middle East and Africa. More to follow.

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Back in Canberra — back blogging

January 14, 2007

Me and Francesca the cat survived the return trip to Canberra — Ceska rather better than I, if anything. She knew where she was directly she stepped out of the cat cage: took a look around, had a couple of sniffs, and said to herself, ‘I’m home. Thanks for nothing. And where’s my food? Get to it!’

She’s probably forgotten the time she brought in a Western Brown snake for me to admire. It’s only the 9th deadliest reptile in the world, but just a toy to her. The snake man I got in to catch the thing said it had enough venom in it to kill seven adult humans, but cats are almost immune to snake bites. She knew that, of course, but I didn’t.

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A nasty piece of work which was returned to the Central Australian desert where it belongs

I was going to stop blogging, at least for a while, but this thing has affixed itself to me like an arm, so after I shut the site, I had to resurrect it almost straightaway with a new WordPress theme.

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Last post from Alice

January 9, 2007

Goodbye to Alice Springs as of today. It’s been interesting. When I came here a couple of years ago, the air cracked with heat when you touched it. It’s not the same now, for some reason, although it’s still hot enough. The mountains are green from the winter rains, which somehow seems ridiculous. I’ll be back in a year or two, when it’s the Red Centre again.

Thanks to those who’ve visited and commented over the past year or so. This site will self-destruct at midnight on Friday 12th January 2007, or any time time prior.

Update: Reconstituted two days later.

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The Euston Manifesto lives (still)

January 3, 2007

After battling various monsters over at leading leftie site Larvatus Prodeo, it was refreshing to learn that The Euston Manifesto, which I thought had dropped off everyone’s radar screens, is still attracting support on the sensible side of the Left.

International Herald Tribune
December 30, 2006
A manifesto from the left too sensible to ignore
By Roger Cohen

NEW YORK. This has been a bleak year for nuanced thinking. President George W. Bush likes to speak in certainties; contrition and compromise are not his thing. Among hyper- ventilating left-liberals, hatred of Bush is so intense that rational argument usually goes out the window. The result is a mindless cacophony.

Bush, even after the thumping of the Republicans in November, equates criticism of the war in Iraq with defeatist weakness. Much of the left, in both Europe and the United States, is so convinced that the Iraq invasion was no more than an American grab for oil and military bases, it seems to have forgotten the myriad crimes of Saddam Hussein.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Finders, thinkers, linkers

January 3, 2007

Which are you, fellow bloggers?

Wretchard at The Belmont Club has a great post up discussing the way the blogosphere works. It’s largely drawn from the experiences of blogging during the summer war between Israel and Hizbollah, but extrapolates to the suggestion that blogging can be characterised by three sets of practitioners: finders, thinkers or linkers.

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Interesting stuff. Lots of good ideas in the post and in comments.

Read the whole thing.

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Soldiering in Iraq

January 3, 2007

One of the hardest things about forming a view of what’s “really” going on in Iraq is the nature of the information available to us. It’s not that there’s too little; if anything, there’s too much. Every journalist, commentator, pundit, politician and spin doctor wants to get his or her take in front of the public. Doesn’t really help by much. You know it’s just opinion, not fact or observation.

Now TIME has just published a fascinating email from an officer in the US Marine Corps — originally intended for family and friends only — which shows what it’s really, “really” like. It’s a tough, cynical, unvarnished, un-spun account that’s well worth a read.

This was good:

Most Surreal Moment — Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

More of this, please, and less of the B/S.