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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Monday, 17 August 2009
A great gay Palestinian blog.
Topic: Politics

It's time for some light relief! I'm often accused of having a bias towards Israel, so it's time I posted a link to a brilliant Palestinian blogger:

http://nizos.blogspot.com/

Nizo is unashamedly homosexual and lives in Quebec. Some of his output is NSFW, though you'll probably get away with it. Homophobes should avoid though.

Hilarious stuff, must read.


Saturday, 11 July 2009
Can we lose the war on drugs and win the war in Afghanistan, please?
Topic: Politics

Could we have got where we have in Iraq if we'd gone around burning Iraq's oil fields? Hardly. So why do we expect to win in Afghanistan while wrecking the country's poppy fields? I'm getting increasingly annoyed at the senseless prolongation of this conflict.

Just who is this pointless war on drugs protecting? Don't ask me. I've seen people dealing drugs (I suspect it's heroin) right under the block where I live. Thanks to prohibition, I've got criminals plying their trade right under my nose. I don't feel safer knowing that what they are doing is illegal. I'd rather the addicts could get their fix legally at low cost somewhere else.

I do know who the war on drugs is hurting: British soldiers in Afghanistan, whose popularity with the local populace is wrecked because they are forced to stop the Afghans making the one thing that would get them out of poverty faster than anything else. What a gift for the Taliban!

Check out this map:


Notice anything?

The province where British soldiers are fighting and dying is also the major opium production area. The areas of the country where security risks are low are those that don't cultivate the crop in meaningful quantities. If we could only see sense and end this insance prohibition. Crushing the Taliban (who murder girls who go to school and plan attacks on the west and India) is a worthy cause. Stopping some moron in the UK from wasting his life isn't. Innocent people are dying so that others can pose as 'tough on drugs'.

Let's focus on the war that's worth winning.


Sunday, 31 May 2009
Gun control in 1929.
Topic: Misc.

I read one of Agatha Christie's earlier novels last week. The following extracts are quite revealing. From "The Seven Dials Mystery" (1929):

Chapter 18:

He slipped his hand into the pocket of the dark blue suit into which he had just changed and held out something for Bill's inspection.

'A real, genuine blue-nosed automatic', he said with modest pride.

'No, I say,' said Bill. 'Is it really?' He was undoubtedly impressed.

'Stevens, my man, got him for me. Warranted clean and methodical in his habits. You press the button and Leopold* does the rest'.

* for some unexplained reason, he calls the gun Leopold.

Chapter 20:

Loraine rose and dressed herself in a tweed coat and skirt. Into one pocket of the coat she dropped an electric torch. Then she opened the drawer of her dressing table and took out a small ivory-handled pistol - almost a toy in appearance. She had bought it the day before at Harrods and she was very pleased with it.

So in 1929, you could buy a gun in a department store. You didn't even have to show up in person - just send your butler to buy it for you. Of course you had to be careful whom you shot.

Chapter 27:

'I'm glad you didn't shoot', said Jimmy. 'I'm a bit tired of being shot at'.

'I might easily have done so' said Mr Bateman.

'It would be dead against the law if you did', said Jimmy. 'You've got to make quite sure the beggar's house-breaking, you know, before you pot at him. You mustn't jump to conclusions. Otherwise you'd have to explain why you shot a guest on a perfectly innocent errand like mine.'

Luckily we live in more enlightened times when guns are not available to the general public and of course we enjoy far lower levels of crime than they did in 1929. /<sarcasm>


_ DY at 4:21 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 31 May 2009 4:24 PM BST
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Wednesday, 29 April 2009
The Pork delusion.
Topic: Religion

More proof, if any were needed, that religion fries your brain:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090427/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_odd_israel_kosher_flu

"JERUSALEM – The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products."

Is he mad? Shouldn't he be grateful that this is surely the one catastrophy that can't be blamed on jews (or muslims) by anti-Semite conspiracy-theorist nutjobs!


Tuesday, 24 March 2009
'I'm a crook. Let's do business!'
Topic: Poker

If there's one thing that's always amazed me, it's how some people will admit to being dishonest and then be surprised when you don't want to go into business with them. About ten years ago I showed a room in my flat to a French guy who'd seen the advert in Loot. Within minutes of being in my presence, he explained that he was doing work for a French company overseas instead of national service. The company would pay his rent, provided that he submit an invoice from me showing the rent that I was charging him.

You can perhaps guess the rest. In return for inflating the actual figure we would split the saving 50/50. He seemed genuinely surprised that I didn't want to share a house with someone who'd just told me that he was dishonest. I didn't bother explaining.

Wind forward to 2009 and my e-mail address appears in a group e-mail, sent to people who subscribed to blackbeltpoker. Apologies swiftly followed from them for failing to blind copy the address. Sure enough, someone was soon to take advantage of this mailing list:

-------------------------------- 

To - subscription list

From - "Tea Towlel"

Hi, 

I have bought Cole South's $1850 E book and although it has extremely improved my game I cannot play at the stakes it is suited to, I am a micro stakes player and I withdraw my roll to pay bills etc.  I would like to recoup some of the money spent on it so am offering to send you a copy if you are interested.  I printed it and scanned it back onto my computer as well as a few other things to get round the security and anti copying measures.  I am letting it go for $100 as it is only a copy, still a massive bargain though as i bought it for $1850!

Email me back if you are interested, I will accept payments on Cake/Ipoker/FullTilt

Cheers

-------------------------------- 

From DY

To - "Tea Towlel"

So let me just get this straight. You've scanned copyright material and are now writing to people who've never heard of you to invite them to send a hundred bucks to someone who is, by his own admission, dishonest!
Good luck with that.
--------------------------------
To - DY

From - "Tea Towlel"

LOL, you've never watched a knock off DVD or listened to knock off music, LMAO welcome to the real world, i've sold 10 already.

--------------------------------

From DY

To - "Tea Towlel"

So I have your word that after cheating Cole South, you turned straight and fulfilled your part of the deal with people who sent a stranger money?
No idea whether you're telling the truth and I don't care. It just amuses me when people admit to being crooked and then expect me to trust them. If you've found a few trusting souls, good luck to you.
--------------------------------
To - DY

From - "Tea Towlel"

You trying to tell me you have never watched a dodgy DVD?  Get real.

--------------------------------

From DY

To - "Tea Towlel" 

If you want to know the answer to that question, wire me $100 through paypal. I promise to tell you the answer
:)
--------------------------------
To - DY

From - "Tea Towlel"

STOP WASTIN MY TIME PLEASE

--------------------------------

From DY

To - "Tea Towlel"

You started it!

_ DY at 3:00 PM BST
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Sunday, 8 March 2009
News and Views
Topic: Misc.

Saw an interesting interview with Ben Goldacre of Badscience on his site. In it he relates how journalists get sources for their stories. They use a service called Response Source. It connects the worlds of journalism and PR. Tell it that you're a journalist and fill in the form to get a press release to crib from! That's the hard work done, so off to the pub, trebles all round. If you're wondering why you should pay money to read a re-written press release, you can just log onto Response Source and see the latest releases as they come out.

So that's the 'news' covered. What about readers' opinions? Well there's no need to bother trawling through the idiocy on message boards like Have Your Say or AOL comment any more. Just go to the Twat-O-Tron at Speak You're bRanes and read some frighteningly lifelike computer-generated drivel. It's the closest thing you'll see to a successful Turing Test. Click 'new' to get a sample and you'll never need to talk to a cab driver again. Here are a few:

"Oh here we go again. the bbc pretends its not true but EnviroMENTALists are promoting homosexualism becaus Gordon is too busy lining his pockets. when will this government smash the system. What a mess.

Voice of Reason Londonistan"

"I read about this in the Daily Mail here come the pc brigaed and the annny state! the British sheeple are interfering in our lives againb ecause they are trying to cover up their mistakes, Come on get tough, If you disagree SHUT UP!!!!!

Shameful_UK Wirral"

 "This tired old question again. Open your eyes people! drug scum are selling us short. The silent majority must abolish tax. What would Churchill say?.

Mad as hell at PC Goons Wirral"

"unbelievable bbc left-leaning bias again the media wont admit that the disrespectful youth of today is selling us down the river somebody should promote marriage

[Saint George] glos, United Kingdom"

and so on....


_ DY at 8:19 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 8 March 2009 8:31 PM BST
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Sunday, 15 February 2009
What's it all about?
Topic: Misc.

'Ist er ein Junge oder ein Vater?' - That's my main memory of being taken to a coastal resort in Germany when I was 13 - a little girl asking whether I was a boy or a father. Of course the two are not mutually exclusive, as we are reminded by the case of 13-year olf Alfie Patten shown in this video with his offspring.

Many people are expressing their shock. For me the real eye-opener comes in this exchange with the reporter:

Reporter: "What will you do financially?

Alfie: "What's 'financially'?

Marvellous. He's 13 and doesn't know the meaning of the word 'financially'. I've often speculated that the problem with telling young people to use condoms is that it assumes that they can read the instructions on the packet.


_ DY at 12:02 AM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2009 12:12 AM GMT
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Friday, 13 February 2009
At the core of the problem.
Topic: Politics

A friend asked me to comment on something to do with the current economic mess. I wrote back about what I believed to be the core problem (with minor changes):

What I keep wondering is when the crunch will be explained to people in terms of the 'principal-agent' problem. By this I mean that banks incentivised their staff in a way that made poor lending rational and caution irrational. If you give someone a bonus this year for a lending decision that could cost the bank money several years AFTER the bonus has been paid, then you should not be surprised if he makes a lot of terrible loans. It would be irrational to expect otherwise. The employee doesn't lose his own money if the loans go wrong, but he gains from the bonus he earns from making the loan. He may not expect to still be working for you when loan defaults anyway.

The bizarre bit therefore is not the behaviour of the individual bankers, which was wholly rational, but the behaviour of those who owned shares in banks and failed to spot the fault line in the business model.

Once seen in this light, nationalisation appears less attractive because the same applies. Governments are elected on five year mandates at best, politicians have limited careers and aren't betting their own money. So the same risk of bad lending applies - just with political motivations instead of personal gain involved. Replacing blind faith in the City with blind faith in Westminster doesn't fix the problem. It's being blind to risk that's the issue.

_ DY at 1:59 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 13 February 2009 2:04 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 13 January 2009
US visa warning.
Topic: Misc.

New visa rules came into force yesterday for those wishing to enter the United States. UK visitors will no longer be able to fill in the Visa Waiver form on the aircraft and must instead be pre-cleared with ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) at least three days before departure. Already there are unscrupulous operators trying to charge money for this free service, so in order to save you from wasting money, here is the correct link from the website of the US embassy in London:

 https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ 

From the embassy's site: 

Travelers don't need to have specific travel plans in order to register. Registration is valid for two years or the life of the traveler's passport, whichever is shorter. So far, 99.6% of those registering have been approved - most within four seconds.

 


_ DY at 12:58 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 January 2009 1:05 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
No more consensus politics.
Topic: Politics

I'm not a fan of consensus politics, so I'm pleased to see the Conservatives at last turning up the heat on Labour, now that Brown's economic management of the UK is exposed for the sham that it always was.

That said, even I am bowled over by David Cameron's latest speech to Muslim community leaders, forcefully warning them of what to expect if Brown wins the next election.

Vote Conservative!


Tuesday, 11 November 2008
It started as a joke.
Topic: Poker

Several years ago, when I used to read UK poker discussion forums and find them amusing, someone posted a brilliant spoof. The background was that there had been a card room manager from Estonia named Andres Burget, who'd been advertising his festivals on sites like the Hendon Mob and Gutshot. After a couple of years of this, someone decided it would be amusing to spoof it, with a joke press release about a card room manager in Moldova telling the world to come to the 'Golden Sow' casino in Chisinau.

At first I thought it was unkind to parody the unfortunate Estonian, but every time I read it, it got funnier and funnier. I laughed for days. It was a bit like what Borat did to Kazakhstan, but much funnier because of its brevity. Burget took it badly and never posted details of his card room again. I'd forgotten about it until yesterday, when I saw this in the latest edition of Poker Europa magazine, issue 106, page 36:

Moldova joins poker scene

Latest country in Europe to become pokerised is the former member of the USSR, Moldova. The tiny country, population 4 million, saw its first (and only) card room open in the capital Chisinau in September. The card room is in the Casino Europa near the city centre. Adventurous players in search of new action can contact poker boss Igor Letic on e-mail: pokerclubeuropa@hotmail.com or phone +373 69 818 338

There's much I should probably be writing about today - the banking crisis, Obama etc. But just now, I'd like to welcome Moldova to the poker world! Good luck Igor.


_ DY at 1:43 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 November 2008 1:49 PM GMT
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Friday, 24 October 2008
Sarah Palin's barometer.
Topic: Politics

Stopped by Cafe Nero for tea with the Beirut Correspondent today to chew the fat about the economy and the election. He's convinced that Palin pulled a masterstroke in the VP debate by subliminally connecting Obama to the economic mess, using the word 'barometer'. Check out her opening statement where she uses it twice -

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/02/debate.transcript/

You know, I think a good barometer here, as we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time in America's economy, is go to a kid's soccer game on Saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, "How are you feeling about the economy?" And I'll bet you, you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice, fear regarding the few investments that some of us have in the stock market. Did we just take a major hit with those investments?

Fear about, how are we going to afford to send our kids to college? A fear, as small-business owners, perhaps, how we're going to borrow any money to increase inventory or hire more people. The barometer there, I think, is going to be resounding that our economy is hurting and the federal government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and that we deserve, and we need reform to that end.

The theory, in case you haven't guessed, is that barometer sounds a bit like 'Barack Obama'. It sounds far fetched I know, but I can't help wondering why she used that word rather than 'litmus test', 'acid test' or one of the many other phrases that mean the same thing. The Beirut Correspondent is a big believer in the theory of phonetic ambiguity and can always be counted on to talk about the benefits of a 'new direction' on a second date with a woman he fancies.


_ DY at 6:15 PM BST
Updated: Friday, 24 October 2008 6:21 PM BST
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Monday, 20 October 2008
Vive la France!
Topic: Politics

From the Times:

A “one-night stand” and an angry husband have endangered the career of the French head of the International Monetary Fund and dismayed President Sarkozy as he seeks to put a French stamp on a new world financial order.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4972855.ece

Err ... surely this does put a French stamp on a new world financial order?

 


_ DY at 8:44 PM BST
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Friday, 26 September 2008
What's the ideal experience to be president?
Topic: Politics

I've had some laughs seeing people criticise Sarah Palin for her alleged unpreparedness for high office. It amuses me because she's got more executive experience than Obama, McCain and Biden. She's a state governor, was a town mayor for six years and chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for a year. It may not be much, but it's streets ahead of the rest of the field.

It's an unusual election, this one. For the first time since 1952, neither the incumbent President nor the incumbent Vice President is a candidate. What's more, there's isn't a state governor running for the top job. Americans tend to chose governors over senators. Most recent presidents were former governors: Clinton (Arkansas), Carter (Georgia), Reagan (California), Bush Jr. (Texas). That's a pretty mixed bag in terms of actual performance on the job.

So what's the ideal experience for being president? I don't have an answer to that and would like your opinion. Being president requires being commander-in-chief, so you'd think a military background would help. But Ulysses S. Grant won the Civil War for the Union side and yet is not considered one of America's better presidents. He couldn't or wouldn't stop financial corruption. A knowledge of the outside world seems important, but George Bush Sr was director of the CIA and got booted out after one term, partly because he reneged on a promise not to raise taxes. Governors are involved in their state's budget and thus have experience of financial matters, but can be naive or uninformed about the external threats to their nation (Palin only got a passport in 2007, so she could visit US troops in Germany and Kuwait).

What's the right career path? Ideally you should have served in the military, had an overseas posting that required learning about the world outside the US (Ambassador, CIA maybe) and then become a governor with budget responsibility. You should also know a lot about the lawmaking process, ideally through a training in law. But is this remotely possible?

I don't know, but I do know that 'experience' is a dirty word this time round. Watch how Obama tries hard to avoid using it in this hilarious clip (around thirty seconds in):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfblJvKXiP0&feature=related

So where does that leave us? We're supposed to be impressed with Joe Biden's experience. This includes:

1) Defending the Nato bombing campaign in 1999 by declaring on television "Slobodan Milosevic is getting the living hell kicked out of him."

2) Telling a meeting of his staffers just after the 2001 terrorist attacks that to show the Arab (sic) world that the US is not aiming to destroy it: "Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran."

3) Proposing an unwanted and unrequested proposal for a partition of Iraq into three states, which was completely and utterly rejected by all parties in Iraq and which made him extremely unpopular in the country.

4) Recently informing a television interviewer that: "When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed," ignoring the fact that the crash happened in 1929 when Herbert Hoover was president and that television was still in its experimental stages.

Words fail me that it's come to this.


_ DY at 6:40 PM BST
Updated: Friday, 26 September 2008 6:44 PM BST
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Saturday, 13 September 2008
The Golden Age fallacy.
Topic: Misc.

I've been arguing with idiots again. I'd really cut down on this, since I gave up reading the Hendon Mob and Gutshot forums a couple of years ago, but I got drawn in again on the AOL comments section today. If you think that the people who write on the BBC's 'Have your say' page are morons (and I do) then wait until you've read the comments on AOL stories. On a recent piece about immigration, someone actually wrote 'Bring back Enoch Powell'. I kid you not. This sort of thing is so commonly parodied that you forget that such idiocy still exists.

I got involved on AOL today after reading a story about rural house prices and seeing some old git giving it the 'In my day blah blah blah' crap. Apparently in the past people saved for housing. Well I never. Anyway, after reading how young people are supposed to 'SACRIFICE!' I said:

"I love it when people who bought houses when they were at low multiples of average earnings start lecturing those of us born later to 'sacrifice'."

I went on to say that I wasn't wanting anything to be given to the young, just a more liberal planning regime. I won't bore regular readers of this site with any more detail; you know the score. Anyway, at the end I said: "The baby-boomer generation is perhaps the most selfish in history". There are clearly a lot of people around who don't know what the term 'baby-boomer' means because the next comment I got back from Mr "SACRIFICE!" was to tell me that I should be grateful to them for winning two world wars. LOL. Anyway, when I went on to explain what I was really addressing the generation born after that, I got taken to task by someone called 'Baby Boomer' who said, among other things:

"WE Sir, are the children of heroes. When we were at school in the 50's and 60's we were taught by heroes (in my case by a decorated ex-RAF officer with a DSO and DFC and two bars from The Battle of Britain in 1940) We looked up to these people because they had something to say...and we listened . In fact we we are the last generation that got told to "sit down shut up and listen" and (without wailing or making a complaint) and we got a stiff belt around the ear if we didn't. We actually went to school in school uniform because that was just the way it was. We also went there to LEARN and NOT to " take on" the system like some barrack room lawyer or to "know our rights" over the wearing of inappropriate clothes, religious head dresses, make up and jewellery."

I don't know when kids stopped wearing school uniforms. They still do where I live, but it's the stuff about respecting the older people that sounds false to me. I'd love to think it was true but I suspect there's a huge element of selective memory here and to present my rebuttal, I'd like to call four witnesses to the court. Their names are John, Paul, George and Ringo.

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964)

Watch how these four young men, born between 1940 and 1943 (slightly older than the textbook boomers) treat Paul's grandfather; not a lot of respect for the older generation there. Later there's this classic exchange with a war veteran at around 4 mins 50 seconds into the clip:

Johnson: 'I fought the war for your sort.'

Ringo: 'Bet you're sorry you won.'

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

UPDATE: Note that John Lennon clearly 'snorts coke' at 2 mins 26 seconds. Later we see Paul and John, then in their twenties, harassing teenage schoolgirls. Ringo is shown smoking. Fat chance you'd see any of that in an S Club 7 film today.


_ DY at 8:08 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 13 September 2008 8:32 PM BST
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