DAY 31

March 11th, 2013 § 4 comments

In memory of Hugo Chavez


For his support of the Palestinian cause, for the Bolivar youth orchestra, for the social healthcare,… Let’s hope that what Chavez set in place doesn’t get swiftly wiped out in a US inspired coup.

Having been stricken down by sudden and simultaneous attacks of flu, existential doubt, and melancholia  (thanks for sympathetic messages), I’ve let International Women’s Day pass by without a special mark. This must be compensated, and here’s the image;



And let’s not forget that the Russian Revolution started with a Women’s Day march – March 8th modern style being February in the antique Russian calendar, it was called the ‘February revolution’. Some of us hoped indeed for an October to follow Tahrir square’s January, and are still waiting…


Egyptian March 8th poster

Statistics, confusing, department. Due to the blog’s habit of only reading the headlines, it yesterday leapt to the conclusion that 1 in 3 over-65s in the UK have dementia. This may be owing to the way headline-writers work; but a feverish search for sources revealed an article in the Lancet which didn’t really say that anyway (the statistics came from the Alzheimer’s Society), and is too expensive to access. (In any case, as any statistician will tell you, the frequency of the intellectually challenged is no use unless you have the standard deviation.) I only reached this point after a day checking out my many over-65 friends to identify the one-third who are demented. Worries about our judges, too (mostly over 65), the G20 leaders (Merkel and Obama are under, so if they’re demented it’s for other reasons) and the Papal Conclave.

goyaThe sleep of reason produces monsters

How can these assemblies of largely demented people arrive at sane judgments? I know the G20 and the cardinals aren’t from the UK, indeed one of the few who are seems likely to be excluded, having confessed to the ‘English malady’. Still, once you find a disturbing statistic, it gets hold of you. I’ve taught statistics long enough to know its pitfalls – you don’t expect every fifth child born around these parts to be Chinese. But by the law of large numbers, a sample of 200 old UK people is almost certain to include at least 50 demented ones. That is, if my original information was right, but I can’t remember rightly where I saw it and I’m confused about what it said.I must be going mad.

I meant to leave the topic with quotes from Roger Waters (69), Slavoj Zizek (63), David Attenborough (86), David Hockney (75), and Justin Bieber (19) in a spirit of spot-who’s-demented. But the quotes weren’t that illuminating, and you can probably make up your mind without.

Back to drones, and some or fewer of you may have been keeping up with the news of  anarcho-rightist senator Rand Paul’s 13 hour filibuster on the subject. Sen. Paul, reasonably, wanted to know if the crypto-socialist president might use a drone to kill (say) a patriotic member of the NRA using his constitutional rights to shoot up his neighbourhood. The Attorney General replied as follows:

The Honorable Rand Paul United States Senate Washington, DC 20510: ‘Dear Senator Paul: It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.’

Eric H. Holder, Jr.

The battle lines on this question are now drawn up, and are pretty confused; I suggest keeping your heads down, and not believing too much that comes out of the White House (always a good policy).

When bemused by how to deal with the world’s problems I’ve found a particularly helpful book called ‘Try This: Useful Household Hints from Personal Experience.’ (By Mary Trebeck; publisher and date both obscure.) You can either look up the particular problem which is bothering you, e.g. ‘Influenza, To Ward Off’ (‘Have small plants of eucalyptus growing in your rooms’) or ‘Rat or Mouse, Dead, To Find’ (‘Get some bluebottle flies in a bottle from he butcher (?) and put them in the room with the objectionable smell…’ etc). Or you can use it like the Bible and open it at random in the hope of getting guidance of an unspecific kind. It will calm you down in the same way as ‘Downton Abbey’ does, by transporting you to a bygone age of muslin petticoats and lost dead rats.

Today’s poem had to be included – long a personal favourite since it combines the names Hodgkin and Alzheimer. The problem is that my usual cut-and-paste technique didn’t work – nothing came out; and when I went to the source code for the page I found this was because the poem was enclosed in smart html tags called ‘copyright poem’ which – I suppose – make it uncopiable. There are various ways of defeating this e.g. taking a screenshot, but hey, Chris Wallace-Crabbe deserves his fee (2 australian dollars), so I paid and here it is:

Medico’s Song

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 16.37.04

Here, as a sort of combinations of various themes touched on so far, is the one and only Grace Slick with the Jefferson Airplane: ‘We can be Together‘. We are all outlaws in the eyes of America. Up against the wall, motherfuckers,… and so on





§ 4 Responses to DAY 31"

  • KateH says:

    He may merit 2 australian dollars in theory – but your dollars don’t seem to have actually bought access to the link – nothing happens when I click!

    • admin says:

      This, in the first place, was sheer incompetence (not inserting what I meant to insert).However, doing the insertion has resulted in something unreadably small. I’m working on this.
      Update: For all those who are interested (and why aren’t you offering me helpful advice?). I inserted a screenshot, which came out, as I said, much too small. Painfully editing the html source, I expanded the screenshot. As the people who advise you on such things warned me, there was a trade off; the more you expand text, the blurrier it is. I hope you can still read it. There must be a better way of getting round the copyright law.

  • KateH says:

    excellent. But what’s the tune? Doesn’t quite fit to Uncle Tom Cobley …
    (as you see I’m catching up on a few days here)

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