Mmmm… gravy

The science of gravy. I like gravy, it’s one of my favourite things about eating. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it.

Blundstones & a Brown Dog

Anyone and everyone, please go to your local bookshop and ask them to order a copy of Blundstones & a Brown Dog, a book of poetry by Christopher Nailer. From the publisher:

Blundstones and a Brown Dog is about living in the real world with your heart and your eyes wide open. This collection, written over a twenty-five-year period, speaks about the perplexity of simple things: love, death, longing, friendship, hope. Its voice is human, fallible, incomplete. It’s about the journey and the dreaming; it’s about lives as precious and fragile as fine china.

Chris is a great poet, and I’m not even into poetry. And he would fondly love to surprise his publisher with orders from all corners of the globe (I quote):

I have this fantasy of people all round the world going into bookshops in the strangest places (like the old ads for Western Union) and ordering my book. Scene: Kabul; tall thin man in kaftan and turban walks into fly-blown bookshop with a shell-hole in one wall: “Salam Aleikum! I want to order this book by an Australian poet.” (Bookshop owner makes a rude gesture and spits loudly); “Ptuh! I spit on your Australian poet! Think I want his corrupt western words in my country?! A thousand curses on you, heathen-loving wretch, go and wash your mouth with camel dung!”

Create your own, and let me know. The book is 18.00 AUD from the publisher, ISBN number 978 1 74027 392 3.

2.0

The new Firefox is very nice.

Druuugggsss…

A good move: Give addicts heroin, says officer. Those who turn to crime to support their habit — and only to support their habit — should definitely be given help. The drug will be cleaner and prescribed in a proper dose, and can be regulated. Fewer dirty needles and sharing, and a smaller chance of them spreading blood-borne infections.

It’s simple, really.

Birth of a legend

Well, like I said, it was cheap night at Showcase last night — I got to see Casino Royale on the big screen. We had to rush a bit, but cinema advertising and trailers gave us about ten minutes to spare.

Neil had said that Daniel Craig is not right for Bond, because he’s blonde, because he’s not smooth, because he looks like a thug.

After watching the film, both of us agree that he was a great choice for this film (well, I think so much more since I quite like Daniel Craig, ever since I saw Hotel Splendide years ago*).

Spoilers ahead.

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How to solve Britain’s problems

Bring in Singapore-style punishments.

For instance, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, or ASBOs. It turns out that the yoof of today see ASBOs as a badge of honour (this is not stop the presses news). To curb this very disturbing but wholly predictable turn of events, all one has to do is change a few letters — from ASBO to CWO (Corrective Work Order, where offenders are required to wear a very unstylish vest and clean up the streets in full public view). And it helps another problem area, too.

Many neighbourhoods have a serious problem with public cleanliness. There’s loads of graffiti and broken glass, and these don’t get cleaned up. And the streets just get filthier and less safe. I’m not sure why that is — no one wants to do the work? And since everyone and their grandmother has read The Tipping Point, we all know that there is something about these small changes that could tip things over. So, for those who haven’t yet worked out what I’m trying to say — YOB commits minor, non-jailable offence -> YOB is served with CWO, requiring him or her to either remove graffiti or clean up the streets. Result? Streets and walls are cleaner, yob is in no way shown as tough and cool (no one can look particularly tough nor cool in a fluorescent yellow vest with a big CWO printed across the back), and it’s clear that local councils aren’t going to stand for even the smallest anti-social infraction. Problem on its way to being solved.

And I spent some time in a Social Security office today. That’s another thing, I’ve heard loads of stories of people who do not deserve to get welfare benefits but are gaming the system. People pretend to be disabled to get mobility cars. People pretend to be sick to take long-term, full-pay sick leave, go back to work when benefits are about to be cut, work the minimum length of time in order to qualify for long-term sick leave again, and then TRAGICALLY suffer a relapse. People who are supposedly incapacitated for medical reasons can visit the benefits office repeatedly to find out why they’re not getting their full payment. I say take away the current system of welfare benefits. If someone says they can’t find a job, the state can pay for re-training and job hunting, assuming it can be proved (i.e. registered re-training institutions and checking references). Applicants should be means tested to see if they are really in need of additional help. Mean testing already exist, so it can’t be too much of a stretch.

Clearly, I am not speaking from a position of authority. I’m just observing what’s going on around me, and what I see is a lot of people feel they are ENTITLED to have the state support them even though they could support themselves if they just tried. Maybe if welfare benefits weren’t so easy to get, those who do pay tax and work for a living would be able to see their money going to causes that are more worthwhile, i.e. helping those who really need it, either through social security or the NHS.

I reckon people are people. Wherever we’re from, it’s all human nature to try to get away with stuff.

Times, Crap Times

We tried to go see Casino Royale last night (my uncle and I are pretty much the only ones in the family who HAVE to see James Bond flicks on the big screen), but the screenings were at stupid times. Sigh. We’ll try again on Tuesday (cheap night at Showcase).

Real snow! In November!!

Yay!!! Neil says the novelty will wear out soon, and his mum says I’m daft, but you can’t beat simple pleasures:

Me in the back garden in the snow

I’m very excited, it’s the first time I’ve seen snow fall this much! The forecast said it would snow above 100 metres, and then it started snowing almost immediately.

Snow settling on the plants

Snow settling on the plants

Just for tonight, though, I don’t think it’s meant to snow tomorrow. Woohoo! I’m thinking of snow angels and sledding and snowmen à la Calvin and Hobbes. I need some wellies or something.