Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There should be a law against it

Florida lawmakers consider bill banning ornamental testicles thanks to pseudopiskie

Ever so me..

is today's Clare in the Community
Which leads me neatly on to Sarkozy and the other anniversary - May 1968 - there's apparently been a picture of Sarkozy on the May 1968 barricades(!), wearing a suit(!!) at 13(!!!).
I got this gem from a podcast from the Guardian travel site a Paris 1968 walking tour, you're meant to listen to it while walking though Paris, you stop at the entrance of the Ecole des Arts, and on your left is... I listened to it on my mp3 player on the way to and from Manchester this morning, slightly surreal but recommended on the background and the fall out from those events.
Whilst trying to find the image from Paris Match I found this:
The society of May 1968 “was completely blocked,” Mr. Geismar said — a conservative recreation of pre-World War II society, shaken by the Algerian war and the baby boom, its schools badly overcrowded.

“As a divorced man, Sarkozy couldn’t have been invited to dinner at the Élysée Palace, let alone be elected president of France,” Mr. Geismar said. Both the vivid personal life and political success of Mr. Sarkozy, with foreign and Jewish roots, “are unimaginable without 1968,” he said. “The neo-conservatives are unimaginable without ’68.”

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bird houses

..with attitude. Hat tip to Andrew Brown - who also has an exorcism scene that's worth a read!


(well covers that other piece of news) and at the radical evangelical there's this
Lis Goddard has just written an article about evangelical women in leadership here. in it she says that experience is showing that a good proportion of women are not given curacies in evangelical churches because of the risk of adultery and/or the belief that a female curate is surplus to requirements because the vicar's wife has got the 'women's stuff' covered.

Grrrrr! Go and read it (and indeed the original)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tap, tap...

I think things appear to be restored - at least of the ones I've tried. I had to add execute permissions to some files in /etc/init.d and reinstall some zapped files from the appropriate rpm, at least most of them appeared to be the same as in the original install (and not the subject of a security related upgrade). I used
rpm --upgrade --force
a fair bit, probably a blunt instrument but I appear to be unscathed. Web server is now back and running!

Normal service etc.

Had a couple of power trips at home - looks like a faulty monitor generated them - and this morning once I'd worked out the alarm clock wasn't going off and it wasn't that my eyes were getting bad and there were really no numbers on the clock and then identified the issue, this machine insisted on a fsck (file system check) on the system partition and then gave lots of errors on important looking files.
At the moment the email server (the imap end of things) isn't working, the webserver appears broken (so you won't be able to get there!), various applications won't start - most worryingly I can't even get the Mandriva admin tool 'drakconf' to start. I fear a reinstall is going to be necessary working out which files are broken, how to repair each one will I think be a mammoth task - at least, before this, I was thinking an upgrade was due.
Normal service will be resumed whenever.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Crag

A busy morning - preaching and leading an extended communion service, so I attended the initial service too. Then off to Wildboarclough for lunch with friends at the Crag - the Crag is about to undergo a change of ownership, so there was some uncertainty as to whether it was going to be open - but it was and the carvery was enjoyed. Then we were guided around a local walk which I'm intending to lead when the Thursday evening walks start next month.

Quite a bit to see - apart from the views - with a heron, willow warbler and quite a few other birds.
I believe the Crag is likely still to be open next weekend...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

To see it done at all..

To the Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra to see Shostakovich's Festival Overture (great fun), the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 (soloist Christopher Ellis) - pretty well done, not my favourite PC! Ending with the Stravinsky Rite of Spring - this is an amateur orchestra(!!) and an amateur photographer(!)

I nearly dissolved in giggles when the person next to me said `and the best of British' when the conductor got to the podium. They got through it intact with some wonderful playing. With an amateur ensemble you see and hear a lot more of the internal mechanism - especially with this work rather than an over smooth professional orchestra - and it was fascinating. They even continued through a fire alarm that went off during part I. Great ensemble, I really don't want to mention any particular section, very well done!

Prick up your ears

Via Niles comes this link for testing the age of your ears and their high frequency response. With headphones I could hear all of them!? I hope this isn't cheating?

Better be careful

From today's Guardian:
Poland's 28,000 Roman Catholic priests have been told by church authorities that they may be fined if they are discovered to have plagiarised their sermons from the internet, and could even face up to three years in prison.

The church has published a self-help book on writing sermons to lure parish priests away from the growing habit of stealing the words of their fellow clergy.

Father Wieslaw Przyczyna, the co-author of To Plagiarise or not to Plagiarise, told Polish media that the guide had been written to address what had become an increasingly common problem, as more churches put their sermons online and an increasing numbers of priests used the internet.

must try not to inspired by anything I read as I prepare for tomorrow's talk - I do normally cite though..
Am I allowed to quote 'To Plagiarise or not to Plagiarise'?

More on A Child of Our Time

When I wrote
and at short notice Alexander Grove
I knew that he'd only been asked to sing the morning of the concert, I didn't realise that, at that point, he didn't know the work!
A pretty good performance then!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spanish walk

We may have thought that some of last autumn's Inntravel arranged Almeria walks were rather exposed - this is an exposed Spanish walk! I'd want to know a little more about the stability of some of those walkways before using them! (Nicked link from uk.rec.humour but this is serious!

Indigènes links

From Isabelle's handouts (more for my benefit?)
Site web de CNDP sur Indigènes
film history you need to search for Indigènes and get here - at least I did!

Forty years ago

Having mentioned the Powell speech here, I wasn't going to mention it again, but I was struck by the conjunction of that anniversary and the two events I attended yesterday (blogged in the previous two entries). I don't think either of them was planned in light of the anniversary, but maybe it's a measure of where we've moved and the possibility of further change.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Deep River

After a busy morning at Indigènes and an afternoon at ManLUG and OpenVPN, I took the easy option and plumped for The King Edward Musical Society (KEMS) and A Child of Our Time.
I originally saw this work in 1966 (or 1965?) in Macclesfield when I guess it was also performed by KEMS. Written in the days before Tippett's words became over self-indulgent
Pogroms in the east,
lynching in the west;
Europe brooding
on a war of starvation,

I would know
my shadow and my light,
so shall I at last be whole.
Then courage, brother,
dare the grave passage.

Deep river,
my home is over Jordan.
Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into camp-ground.
Oh chill! Oh don't you want to go,
To that gospel feast,
That promised land,
That land where all is peace?

Words and a work of great power calling for inner and outer reconciliation between the light and the dark.
Soloists included Margaret Ferguson - you understood why Tippett loved black sopranos - and at short notice Alexander Grove

Mort pour la France

Just back from (most of ) an Open University French Film day at the Cornerhouse with a showing of Rachid Bouchareb's Indigènes. The film was introduced by Isabelle Vanderschelden in French(!) which I understood pretty well and was helpful as a prologue to the film.
Unfortunately the film then had English subtitles - some were necessary but French would have been better. The film tells the story of four Algerians who join up with the French army in 1942 to fight 'pour la patrie' (France) - in scenes of great patriotism - and follows their tale as they help to liberate their country from the Nazis. In the process they discover that their African bodies are somewhat less valuable than French bodies, they are less likely to be promoted and their sergeant - a pied noir (a French national living in Algeria) who often fights their corner is in the end their master race. Powerful scenes of prejudice extending to the most trivial rubbing it in events.
Along the campaign in Italy, France and Alsace, they realize that French soldiers are promoted, has better food and have leaves to visit their families, while the Arab soldiers are shamefully discriminated and treated like 2nd ranking soldiers (from IMDB)

The film was written out of the injustice of Algerian ex-service pensions being frozen when Algeria became independent and in spite of a vote in 2002 for their reinstatement it kept getting postponed until the film was released and Mme Chirac told her husband that 'something must be done'
Echoes of soldiers from the British Empire who also fought in WWII and and also found themselves kept at arms length when the war was over?
The film was released in English as 'Days of Glory'

Thursday, April 17, 2008


as to what to go to on Saturday night, when I have the choice of

any of those I'd look forward to, with enthusiasm, but to choose one -arrrgh!

An explanation would be useful

from BSI about their approval of the fast-tracking of OOXML, but in the meantime:
Last week BSI (British Standards Institution) decided to approve the fast tracking of the Microsoft sponsored OOXML format (DIS29500).

UKUUG is concerned that this decision is not in the public's interest for several reasons:

* The current draft attracted over 1000 unique comments (i.e. corrections), of which the largest list (635) was from BSI itself. How does BSI then approve fast tracking, in the absence of a revised draft?

* By accepting an unfinished draft into the fast track standards route can only serve to harm the sector to which the standard will apply, as well as undermining wider faith in the standards bodies who are allowing this to happen.

* Given the absence of a single implementation of the standard, not even Microsoft are willing to state when they'll implement it, it seems hard to justify the fast tracking on the basis of urgent market need.

* Rejection of the fast track is not rejection of the standard. If this standard were put on the slow track, there would then be time for all involved to examine the 6000 plus pages in the detail that such an important standard needs if we are to rely on it into the future.

* To be fast tracked a proposed standard needs a high level of consensus, whereas OOXML has been marked by high levels of disagreement and controversy.

That being the case, the UKUUG is seeking legal advice on how best to proceed in order to convince BSI to reconsider its decision and instead raise an objection to the fast tracking of the standard within the 2 month window allowed by the ISO.

read the rest at UKUUG press release

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And eventually...

Madeleine Milhaud died 4 months ago tomorrow, as I reported back here, the obituary appeared in the Independent later that month. Today(!) her obituary appeared in the Guardian, it is though a splendid one from Roger Nichols, well worth waiting for and worth reading -
One of the joys of going to see Madeleine was that you never knew who you might meet. Claudel's daughter, perhaps, or Dave Brubeck's son, Darius. Where else could you learn that, at Satie's funeral, his family duly arrived, "and they all had umbrellas" (pronounced "umberellas")? Or that Stravinsky, in America during Prohibition had thought his eminence entitled him to import several dozen bottles of Bordeaux, only to be summoned to the dockside where the customs man ritually smashed each one with a hammer?

and lots of details on her own artistic persona!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


From today's Guardian Radio 3 listing:
2.00pm British Symphony Series

  • Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

  • Strauss: Duett-concertino

  • Dallapiccola: Frammenti sinfonici (Marsia)

  • Martinu: Symphony No 4

not a lot of British symphonies there I thought - and illustrated by a picture of Bartók (hardly a Brit!) who only wrote one early atypical tone poem/symphony Kossuth. When you see a full entry for the afternoon the Vaughan Williams Symphony No 6 is missing (as well as Schoenberg's Survivor from Warsaw) - I might catch the whole thing on 'listen again' one afternoon this week..

Must be getting tired!

Can't find a picture on the Sun's web site for today's front page (must be a first time this phrase has appeared on this blog!) - but the front page headline was Harry Army Hero gets MRSA - I spent some time trying to work out who Mrs A was, what the scandal was likely to be and why the Sun was indulging in such circumlocution.

Eh Luiiiiigiiiii!

Today's Steve Bell If on the hairpieced one and Porca Italia.
(sorry that's stereotyping)
This blog is currently getting around a hit a day for this search string, though I expect this to soon fall off!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

mr l'ordinateur

I'm sure this must somehow be IT related

Nicely labelled 'Pop Kitch'
Hat tip to eine kleine nicht musik

Rome album

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
To make things easier for folk from the Rome trip wanting to see my pictures, they're now all accessible from one page rather than messing around with several blog entries! This picture of a Palatine is currently adorning my work desktop!

Listen carefully

follwing a mention on rmcr I've found this

don't watch the dogs (well you can!) listen to the soundtrack. I must be too young to have heard of Jonathan and Darlene Edwards - Florence Foster Jenkins yes - but not these two, there is though a subtle difference, you have to be pretty good to play like this deliberately! I'm on the trail of their 'I love Paris'...

Seen this morning

On the way to

(outside Christ Church) and on the way home

from church. I love the contrast between the extreme rundownness of the long closed pub and the still intact but battered oval pseudo pre-Raphaelite decoration.

Open wide

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics
(Immediately after posting this I had to rescue my electric toothbrush head after someone else had mistakenly used it!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lavatory love story

Lovely - the punch line is in Russian - but I think its meaning is obvious.
Hattip to Vrovkin's blog - no I don't speak Russian!

Bring on the woad

According to the wikipedia article on the England First Party (a spinoff of the BNP)
Public displays by religions not of European origin would be banned, and the number of non-Christian places of worship would be significantly reduced in order to protect English culture
I can't find this statement on their website but looking at the revision history it looks as if that party has a lot to do with the Wikipedia article. It has a fairly unpleasant set of policies - I do like the way the manifesto moves straight from executing politicians they don't like, to pensioners bus passes - but I do wonder whether they realise where Christianity originated?
How many religions are there of European origin?
I won't link to their web site, you'll just have to find it yourself.

Friday, April 11, 2008

ex-SPCK may damage your computer!

Thanks to Neil for this, hacked or just broken?

Today's Sylvia

Is here. Yes that'll do nicely.
And then there's today's xkcd...

I hope there's some real evidence

From today's Guardian
Three British Muslims took part in a "hostile" reconnaissance mission of potential targets in London with two men who went on to bomb the city's transport system on July 7, a court was told yesterday. The trip, in December 2004, was "part of a sinister plot to cause explosions", according to the prosecution. It was an "essential preparatory step ... to bring death and destruction to the heart of the United Kingdom".
During the mission - seven months before the bombs that killed 52 people - the men visited a number of locations, including the London Eye, the Natural History Museum and the London Aquarium.

Neil Flewitt, QC, told a jury at Kingston crown court in south-west London that it was not his case that the defendants were directly involved in the London bombings...

It is the prosecution case that the defendants associated with and shared the beliefs of the London bombers and so were willing to assist them in one particular and important aspect of their preparation for the London bombings."

So if I have a relation who has been found guilty of downloading and sharing indecent images of children and I am found to have used a computer in his presence, I can be up in court with assisting his schemes by assisting in showing him how to use the mouse?! I just hope there's some real significant evidence to come in this case!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Targeted spam

Following last week's trip to Rome, I received a spam yesterday with the subject
Have you been to Rome?
to an email that isn't immediately associated with this weblog - has the spammers subject line random generator come up with this by coincidence? I wasn't responsible to booking the flight but the airport transfer firm looks like a possible culprit? - (later) looks as if I was wrong though - two other messages with this same subject line sent to totally different email addresses - coincidence then!
Then after this announcement
The Federal Communications Commission is set to announce the launch of a national alert system, using text messaging and other mobile technologies to tell Americans when to panic.
I've already received a spam - at my gmail address purporting to be one of these alerts

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Male bishop

appointment [of Stockport] has been announced - I think he looks interesting! He's Robert Atwell, vicar of St Mary’s in Primrose Hill, North London. From Stocks to Primroses! (Name and link to the website added 11th Apr)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Women bishops

I seemed to have been away for some of this, but for our Welsh readers:
now that God has willed that the Bible should be in French, women will take over the office of bishops, and bishops the office of women. Women will preach the gospel, while bishops will gossip with young girls
Etienne Le Court (1532!) quoted in McGrath's Christianity's Dangerous Idea
Though I'd like to know more of the background to that quote..

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The problem of being away for 1st April

Is that you miss posts like this in context. Nicholas and Carla the Opera..

St Theresa

St Theresa
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
And here's the scupture those men in the theatre box were ogling. A wonderful piece but probably not carrying the meaning intended - well I'm sure someone must have intended a spiritual content!

and Day 3

The Album is here - I used to know how to put a JAlbum into a preexisting location but at the moment I've forgotten. This day was the cat sanctuary, Campo di Fiori, Piazza Navona, lunch and back to the hotel via a second trip to Santa Maria della Vittoria - where's the faculty application :-). Looks as if the EXIF data on all the pictures is one day out...for 1st April read 2nd April etc!

The Tiber

The Tiber
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Flowing peacefully in the Spring sunshine on Thursday. 40 years ago yesterday was the anniversary of Martin Luther King's murder. I remember reading with horror of that event and the unrest that followed whilst on an exchange trip in France - near Compiegne -I don't think the Raoul's had a television - all I can remember is the French press coverage of the riots and then returning to their house in a Latin quarter that was soon to have its own erruption. On my return to the UK, I was struck by other - English this time - newspapers which covered the sacking of Enoch Powell for an inflammatory speech where he quoted Virgil seeing the Tiber foaming with much blood. That was 20th April - that must have been a long school Easter holiday! - I don't think you can separate those two events - which is rightly why his speech attracted the condemnation it did.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Day 2 of Rome

Album is here -including a morning around churches and mosaics, afternoon in the Forum and Palatine and an evening meal at the Antica Taverna - we had a second trip there for lunch next day - I needed to try the cheese antipasto!


My caption seems to be mentioned in the latest Church Times caption competition - but maybe being mentioned is easy?
Oh, and I see I've now managed more blog entries so far this year than in the whole of 2005 - when I had considerably more time on my hands!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

An initial album

For the first day the - almost complete pictures are on my webserver here - looks as if the relative links to the full photos need fixing (they're one level higher than the generated html claims) will get it done tomorrow! (now fixed)

View from the room

View in the early morning of the orange tree.
I had no part in the booking of the hotel for the week - and it was only after walking around on the first evening I decided that it must have been the same hotel the Hotel Piedmonte that I also stayed in on my last trip to Rome in June 1989 in a week when happened, and the death of this man, not to mention this disaster - I did wonder if there was going to be anything left on my return to the UK. I was there (in 1989) to present a paper at the European Simulation Multiconference. This time it was uninterrupted tourism! The restaurant I used a lot the last time was still there - just down the street, I Leoni d'Abruzzo, though rebranded and slightly upmarket - I recommend their vegetable antipasto!

campo di fiori

campo di fiori
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
View of the morning market - yesterday!
Unfortunately I missed out on the consumption of artichokes...


What would Jesus drive? - obviously from this interesting crib scene - a Ferarri.
the second picture is a nighttime view of the scene - with flashing lights - shudder.
If you need a guide to show it you - I'm open to offers (nice restaurant nearby!)

Church as Theatre

I was grandstanding with these dirty old men (sorry that's illustrious benefactors) twice this week, you'll just have to google or wait for the full album to appear to find out what they are ogling! But I'm back from Rome!!