Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Did you think I had given up this form of activity? Shame on you.

Did you think I had given up this form of activity? Shame on you.

Well, actually, shame on me, for I did decide a little time ago to just
stop. Doing this.

But then I thought... well, hell, what's the big deal? It's just a blog.
I'll write it if I wanna. You can read it if you wanna. And if you don't,
and I don't, well, as I say, what's the big deal?

So, in 2014, I shall write here when I wanna, and you dear, beloved reader
can read when you wanna. I don't promise to write regularly, and I don't
promise to write anything other than what I feel like writing that day. I
have no agenda, and I don't expect you to come here with one. If you wish
a dialogue with me, you can have it in the Comments area. But if you are
rude, or mean, or boring, no dialogue will ensue. Deal?
it's a cake Can you believe it?

See, the thing is, what is a blog? What's it for? What does it do?

I'll tell you what it does for me. It lets me write. Not speak. Speaking is
just so over, you know? In my daily dealings, you see, I try to model
myself on a certain masculine archetype. A few examples:

Clint Eastwood (in A Fistful of Dollars)
Gregory Peck (in just about everything)
Takeshi Kitano (in Hana-Bi)
William Holden (in The Wild Bunch)
John Wayne (in The Searchers)

Get the picture? (Uh-huh - Yes, we see)

I actually can't stand men who blather. I often seem to find myself
surrounded by them - wittering girly men who seem to think that their
opinions are sought by those around them. I know that they are just trying
to 'make conversation', but dear God - you call that a conversation? Women,
who often get a bad press re blathering, are usually a great deal less
annoying in this regard in that if they blather, it is usually about some
ONE whom they know, or some THING which has affected them. Men, on the
other chromosome, tend to blather about...

(sigh) politics, or
(oh Jesus) their work, or
(oh sweet mother of god) what it says in the papers.

Please guys, just give it a rest. At least in mixed company. Why not just
stand there, looking as handsome as you can manage? Why not just walk
around moodily, striking masculine poses next to the photocopier and
drinking coffee in a brooding, Heathcliffian sort of way, rather than
inflicting your excruciatingly dull analysis of the world situation on us?

Why not just shut the F up?

Ahhhhhhh, what a relief... which brings me to:

What is a blog for? Well, I'll tell you what I use it for. I use it to say
all the things I want to say when I'm striking masculine poses next to the
photocopier and drinking coffee in a brooding, Heathcliffian sort of way.
It's a kind of safety valve. If I let it off here, I can at least hope that
my irritation won't leak out in an inappropriate manner. In other words, I
won't headbutt the next person who tells me that the Twin Towers were
brought down in a controlled explosion. (You wanna see a controlled
explosion - my head, your nose, buddy).

There's one other thing about blogging which makes it a really great thing
to do. Lots of really stupid people hate it. They hate the fact that blogs
exist, they hate the people who write them, and above all, they hate the
discussions that take place beneath the posts. These people are called
journalists, and frankly, anything I can do to annoy those fuckers (sorry,
but 'fucker' is my absolute favourite word) is time well-spent.

Hey hey hey - welcome to WOB07!


Don't get irony
Having mentioned that dumb Alanis Morisette song in my previous post, this comes along at just the right moment. Is that ironic? Er...

Check it out. It's quite, quite brilliant.

A load of cojones
I'm sure I won't be the only one to comment on the interesting synchronicity of this and this, but I can't let it pass without struggling to articulate some opinions about it. I really ought to know better, but still, here goes.

BNP leader Nick Griffin is cleared of incitement to racial hatred after calling Islam 'a wicked, vicious faith'.

Meanwhile, 'web-designer' Mizanur Rahman is found guilty of the very same offence after the Danish cartoons protest. For those who can't be bothered to chase the links, he was one of the guys holding up placards bearing the eminently-reasonable demand to 'behead those who insult Islam'.

As Alanis Morisette might say, it's a little bit ironic - don't you think?

But only a little bit.

Of course, there will be those who claim that this is a travesty - that it is the most straightforward evidence of British institutional racism. The Cambridge-educated leader of a party which is, despite its protestations to the contrary, quite unequivocally racist walks free, while an angry young Muslim sits staring at a cell wall. Doesn't look good, does it?

Unfortunately for such apologists, the reality is that British juries have once again demonstrated their talent for producing verdicts which accord with the facts presented in court. That is to say, looking carefully at the words of the accuseds in question, Mr Griffin was not, at least in the speeech recorded by the undercover BBC reporter, inciting racial hatred, whilst Mr Rahman plainly was.

It is tedious to have to repeat it, but Islam is not a race. It is a religion - a body of ideas, prescriptions and proscriptions - which may be accepted, in part or in whole, or rejected, in part or in whole, by anyone with ears to hear. As such, the prosecution of Mr Griffin was plainly a non-starter, and should never have been brought. If we lose the right to attack bodies of ideas, even in the most intemperate and inflammatory language, we have lost a most precious and vital freedom. Given this, it is disturbing, if unsurprising, to hear this from Gordon Brown:

Speaking to the BBC after the acquittal, Chancellor Gordon Brown said race laws may have to be tightened.

He said: "I think any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country and I think we've got to do whatever we can to root it out from whatever quarter it comes.

"And if that means we've got to look at the laws again I think we will have to do so". 

Root it out, Gordie? Because mainstream opinion is offended? Oh dear. You'd better start with the mosques and the churches, then. And the 'faith schools'. Better ban Bonfire Night, too, while you're at it. And maybe nuke Northern Ireland, and Glasgow - you know, just to make sure no one gets 'offended'.

But he may have a point. It is surely made harder for those who wish to argue that Islam is not a wicked and vicious thing when its professed adherents say things like this:

Friday, 15 February 2013

Cakes Preparation Methods

Blend the yeast into the warm milk and water mix until smooth (if using dried yeast, follow the packet instructions), cover and set aside for about 20 minutes, or until the suffice of the liquid is frothy. Sift the flour into a large bowl then add the salt and rub in the diced lard. 

Once the surface of the yeast mixture is bubbling stir the liquid into the flour mix. Work the liquid into the flour until the dough is firm (add more flour if the mixture is a little tacky). Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Form into a ball, return to the bowl then cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 90 minutes, or until the dough has risen enough so that it springs back when pressed. 

When ready, divide the dough into eight equal pieces and roll these out on a floured work surface to flat rolls about 12 to 15mm thick. Carefully transfer these baps onto a well-floured baking tray then dust the tops with more flour. Loosely cover with a damp tea towel then leave to rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

 In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 200°C and put a large roasting tin of water in the bottom (this will help keep the baps moist). When the baps have risen, remove the cloth then place in the centre of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving. For a wholemeal version, simply replace the white flour with wholemeal flour, or use a 50:50 mix of white and wholemeal flours.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Barm cake

A barm cake is a type of bun with flour on top. It has a characteristically strong flavour that comes from the traditional barm leaven made from a natural leaven with the addition of hops. However, the Barm Cake is more likely made from commercial yeast today.
The original barm cake is found in areas of Lancashire, North West England. In wider northern England, a similar bread roll would be known instead as a "breadbun", "breadcake", "bap", "cob" (an East Midland term), "teacake" (West Yorkshire/some parts of Cumbria; without currants or currant teacake with currants) or even (in the enlarged form of Tyneside) a "stotty".

Chips are a popular filling, sold in most fish and chip shops in the North West of England often called simply a 'chip barm'.Another popular filling in the North West, particularly Bolton, is the pasty barm.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Laysan Albatross

The Laysan Albatross averages 81 cm (32 in) in length, weighs 2.4–4.1 kg (5.3–9.0 lb), and has a wingspan of 195–203 cm (77–80 in), with males being larger than females. This albatross has blackish-grey upperwing, mantle, back, upper rump, and tail, and their head, lower rump, and underparts are white. It has a black smudge around the eye, and its underwing pattern varies between individuals, with some having narrower black margins and variable amounts of black in the underwing coverts. Finally, their bill is pink with a dark tip. Juveniles have a grey bill and a dark upper rump. They do not have a breeding plumage.
The Laysan Albatross is usually easy to identify, in the North Pacific it is simple to separate from the other relatively common albatross, the all black Black-footed Albatross. It can be distinguished from the very rare Short-tailed Albatross by its all dark back and smaller size. The Laysan Albatross' plumage has been compared to that of a gull, two tone with a dark grey mantle and wings, and white underside and head.