And so it has come to pass, yet another towering political figure of the not-so-distant past is gone, her questionable legacy shielded from scrutiny by the buffer of a couple decades spent decaying into pitiful senility.

I hear it is bad form to speak ill of the dead (some disagree), so I will just let her give us some highlights in her own words:

  • On Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement: a “typical terrorist organization” (in 1987).
  • On Augusto Pinochet, her indefectible friend: “it is you who brought democracy to Chile” (in 1999, yes ninety-fucking-nine).
  • On the gays: “[a local authority] shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” (Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988).
  • On the immigrants: not keen on them at all (“If you want good race relations, you have got to allay peoples’ fears on numbers”), but “less objection to refugees such as Rhodesians, Poles and Hungarians, since they could more easily be assimilated into British society”: you know, the white ones (in 1979).
  • On feminism and women rights: “I hate feminism. It is poison.” (to her advisor), “The battle for women’s rights has largely been won. The days when they were demanded and discussed in strident tones should be gone forever. I hate those strident tones we hear from some Women’s Libbers.” (from a 1982 lecture).

All that without even getting into the disastrous economic legacy1, the annihilation of the British working class and the crushing of anything resembling solidarity or compassion (you can see the wince on her face at the mention of such horrible marxist concepts) in most aspects of British social policies.

I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.

Clarence Darrow
  1. As a bonus: the emergence of financial institutions with no checks or responsibilities, let free to run the world’s economy into the ground 20 years later. []

It was recently discovered that DPRK’s last semi-hilarious attempt at getting a front slot on Western news (a cheesy video depicting the fiery destruction of NYC by a proud North Korean-made nuclear missile) had been mainly lifted from a US videogame… Some poor official propaganda video editor is probably getting a free trip to Bukchang gulag for that one.

But this is not what I find most noteworthy in that video.

The soundtrack to that heartwarming tale of the victorious rise of the Juche over the pulverised radioactive ashes of imperialist Western children is, I jest not, a cheap instrumental synth version of We are the World.

If there ever was a less subtle way to say “Give us our annual dose of ‘humanitarian aidnow or we will throw a tantrum until you do”, I don’t know what it is.

The lyrics to the original USSR national anthem were written by Russian author Sergey Mikhalkov in 1943.

In the fifties, Comrad Nikita deemed the original lyrics a little too fixated on Staline’s awesomeness and ordered them changed. “No problem, never liked the guy in the first place”, Sergey Mikhalkov presumably chirped, while writing a new Staline-free version in 1977.

By the year 2000, Mother Russia, now a lot less communist but still short on funds to compose a new anthem from scratch, went looking for new lyrics again, preferably without mention of the great Lenin illuminating the path to freedom for the Union. A job that Sergey Mikhalkov gladly took, because really, he never cared for that communism stuff and was just in it for the music.

In 2020, when president-for-life Putin finally commissions a new version of the national anthem praising his skills at bear-fighting and bare-chested salmon-fishing, I have a good idea of who will be writing it.

Work discussion with my boss this morning:

– So, for this project, I think we should use the Cox regression model.
– Yes, let’s go with Cox.
– But the dimension of the data means we will need to adjust the model.
– Right, bigger Cox.
– That could work. Or perhaps smaller input.
– How about multiple Cox with wider input?

Don’t let the title on the door fool you: in my head, I am still in Junior High School.

Moving company guy came to my place this morning to give me a quote. Conversation went something like this:

Moving Company Guy: [taps random numbers on pocket calculator] Hmnn, let’s see… 20 boxes… Fridge… Guitar… Tokyo’s 23 wards… June… Migratory speed of African swallow… How about ¥80,000?

Dave the Negotiator: OK… huh… OtherMovingCompany Inc. gave me a very dodgy, phone-only quote of ¥60,000 that I really do not trust one bit.

Moving Company Guy: I see… err…

Dave the Negotiator: [prays very hard for any quote south of ¥70,000. Would probably still sign for ¥75,000]

Moving Company Guy: [emphatically taps on calculator some more] Let’s see… with super special extra rebate… because I somehow unexplainably really like the cut of your jib… How about ¥55,000?

Dave the Negotiator: [struggles to remain composed] Yes, I think that will do.

I am a negotiation genius…

Today is the day we remember.

Japanese, Japan residents and pretty much anybody who has been exposed to images and testimonies of the astounding amount of death and destruction that befell the north of Japan a year ago to the day…

Today is also the day I must remember more than ever not to read a single foreign news site (particularly these enduring bastions of journalistic incompetence that have become French and German newspapers). Because I know that, even on this most symbolic day, they will not fail to make their front page on the largely unrelated and comparatively irrelevant aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

After all: why bother with the death of 15,000 people in some remote part of the world, when you can instead focus on a political issue that resonates with your local readership…

Dear Microsoft Word for Mac™ Project Manager,

You don’t know me. and I don’t know you. I am sure that you are a fine human being. A real person, with emotions, someone who experiences joy, sadness, laughter. You might even be a nice person, kind to animals and the elderly… Which makes it all the more difficult to tell you that I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN WHEREVER YOU MAY HIDE, FIND YOU, PEEL YOUR SKIN OFF WITH A RUSTED POTATO PEELER, WEAR YOUR SKIN, SAW YOUR HEAD OFF WITH A BUTTER KNIFE, DRINK YOUR BLOOD AND REPEATEDLY VIOLATE YOUR CORPSE THROUGH YOUR HOLLOWED OUT CERVICAL SPINE WHILE YOUR FAMILY WATCHES ON.

So, huh, yea… It appears that I have to file all my thesis documents through the mandatory MS Word templates that were sent to me. Weird formatting incompatibility bugs and all.

On the 17th of October 1961, 50 years ago to the day, France-residing Algerians gathered in Paris for a non-violent demonstration in support of Algeria’s independence.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men, women and children, dressed in their best Sunday clothes, many coming from the outer suburban slums where France crammed its growth-fueling immigrant workforce in the 60s, were marching peacefully toward the centre of the city, when municipal police forces charged into crowds, raiding isolated groups, firing on people and making good use of their wooden clubs, murdering dozens of unarmed Algerians: shot, beaten to death or thrown into the Seine river… Weeks later, swollen corpses of Algerian protesters were still being fished out of the river or found hung to trees in nearby forests.