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Posts Tagged ‘musings’

Well it's an even-numbered year, which means only one thing. The Post Office's Christmas stamps are on a secular theme, and a thousand and one blithering idiots with too much time on their hands and persecution complexes bigger than a very big mountain of very big things, will be whining and moaning that the Post Office, for some vague reason probably connected to Militant Secularism™, are trying to ban Christianity. Because that's what post offices do. Obviously.

This post began life as an attempt to put that straight by listing the basic theme of every set of Christmas stamps since 1966, when the tradition began. And that would have been as boring as hell. But along the way, it kind of grew into a collection of digressions loosely held together by a list of stamps. We have Joyce Grenfell in there, and a short discussion of the slang pertaining to British coinage, and many other brief but, I hope, interesting and amusing snippets of trivia, reminiscence and opinion.

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How Many Days In A Month?

Mother very thoughtfully made a jam sandwich under no protest.

That, Gentle Reader, is a now-outdated mnemonic for the order of the planets going outwards from the sun. (The T is for Terra, an alternative name for the Earth.) The suggestions for non-Plutonian versions given on The Fount Of All Knowledge™ seem lacking to me in that, unlike the above, they omit the asteroid belt; but I must admit I do quite like "Mary's 'virgin' explanation made Joseph suspect upstairs neighbour."

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Hand-Built By Robots

You employed us in thousands, but begrudged our pay;
"We must do this cheaper, there must be a way."
So you installed robotics and sacked all the workers
Then 'cause we weren't working you called us all shirkers.
We need money to live—that's the system you built—
But when we have none you say ours is the guilt.
Though your greed for more profit's what took all our jobs
You say welfare is theft, that we're just lazy slobs.

There will come a day when you pay for your crimes;
For the dollars you hoarded while we scratched for dimes.
With the steel in our arms and the fire in our blood
We'll re-introduce you to Old Ned Ludd.
Daz

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“10 Points Of Fascism:” 1933

I had a conversation the other day regarding the futility of trying to fit political stances into a neat left-right-centre scheme. Fascism provides a good example, in that although its ultimate outcome and over-all message is just about as right-wing as you can get, much of its rhetoric is couched in left-leaning, often socialist, terms. Trying to fit conservatism, which by definition wishes to preserve tradition, and fascism, which is revolutionary, into the same box by labelling them both "right wing" seems to me an exercise in label-obsessed pigeon-holing rather than accurate or useful description. (Libertarianism is another good example, though it's often a little unfairly tainted by an assumption that the version predominant in the US—fiscally conservative, anti-taxation, pro-capitalism—provides the only definition.)

That's part of the reason I wanted to post, by way of illustration, the pamphlet below, originally published by Oswald Mosley's British Union Of Fascists in 1933. Then Robert Nielsen at Whistling In The Wind put up a good article, How Fascism Takes Over, which I urge you to read, and which, by good fortune, this pamphlet provides a good illustration for.

Two birds, Gentle Reader, one illustrative stone!

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Since I'm now an over-fifty, I'm officially old enough to make posts about how youngsters these days don't know how lucky they are, compared to the days of my yoof, when we had to make our own entertainment out of clods of earth, pocket-fluff and string (the hairy Post Office kind). And since I was wittering on, a while back, about it being a good thing that vinyl makes cherry-picking of favourite tracks more difficult, let's consider what we did when we did want to have a bunch of favourites play one after the other.

These days, of course, creating a playlist is easy. Drag 'n' drop as many files as you want into your preferred music playing program, re-order to taste, and Bob's yer aunty's significant other; one playlist, created in seconds or minutes. And if you like the list enough, you can save it as a playlist file (.m3u or whatever), and have your very own compilation album, available for your listening pleasure at a couple of mouse-clicks. And there's no limit on the duration of the thing, either. (Billy music player* informs me that a playlist consisting of all of the contents of my main music folder, for instance, is three weeks, five days, twelve hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-nine seconds long.)

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We 'ad one once, but it ran out of oomph an' Father said "humph,"
An' 'e took it to pieces an' straightened the creases,
Replaced all the strings an' tightened the springs
An' it worked again for a week or four, 'til it fell on the floor
An' its get-up-an'-go just got up an' went.
So up to the attic, it were sent.

Yeah we 'ad one once, but it weren't much cop so we left it to rot,
But now they say 'tis retro an' cool, an' they think me a fool
For pointin' out 'twas a bad design an' it broke all the time,
That the 'andles fell off at the 'int of a cough.
They grasp this "classic" wi' satisfied purr.
Useless bloody thing, it were.

Daz


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Beginning with a digression, the first shot, by Mark Selby, of the two shots in this video was voted shot of the championship in the recently-finished world snooker championship. For my money, though, Marco Fu's reply is just as good, if not better. Okay, he ended up leaving a shot on the yellow, but he performed a small miracle just by hitting the damned thing.

Getting on to my topic proper, this post on northierthanthou reminded me of something which always strikes me when I see what are purported to be detailed maps of other countries. Where are the youth hostels, the churches, the pubs, the carefully differentiated single- and multiple-tracked railways, the coniferous and deciduous forests? Where are the gravel-pits (not to be confused with the sand-pits!), the bridleways and footpaths; the camping sites and historical battle sites and triangulation-points? I've seen them all on foreign maps, but never all on the same maps. How lucky are we in Britain, in other words, to have access to the Ordnance Survey map, rather than having to buy multiple specialist maps?

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