Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Goodbye. I don't think we'll miss you."

Mrs Blair, never noted for being the shy retiring type, has today been pilloried for being a Silly Gobby Mare again on the steps of Number 10. Well, bless her it was her last chance!And a thread to that effect appeared on the 5Live Message Board which for reasons unknown dissolved into verse.

While I am unversed (ho ho ho!)in the subtleties of Haiku (I don't think we had those when I were a lad) I was delighted to be invested as Poet Lorry commuted to Poet Lolly (for my native tongue).


Farewell to Mrs C Blair
(She, of the flyaway hair
And a mouth like a slot
Which says such a lot
Unwisely, some say, to be fair).

With a mouth that begs for a letter,
Mrs Blair should really know better,
Than to open her gob
In front of a mob,
All of whom are just out to get her.

Poet Lolly is speaking in tongues
So draw a deep breath in your lungs
And shout from the rooves
The disturbing truths
Of peerages dished out for bungs!

I'm using the lingua franca
To find a word after which we all hanker.
Poet Lolly can't be licked
With rhymes that are nicked
From the dark side of the mind of a banker.

Now that Number Ten has a new occupant,
I think it's about time that we learnt
How the English feel really
About taxes costing us dearly
(And pulling this post took some front!)

(Cheeky moderators thought that jock, unelected and runt should not be coupled! Obviously a better rhyme springs to mind, but I refrained from that one as in banker above...)

For a mandate Brown just hasn't got
(Reserved matters come to not a lot)
For if the whole of Kirkcaldy
Were to vote as a body,
They could influence Brown not a jot.

He can't talk on health, education or training
Nor farming or fishing (even when it is raining )
Not housing or planning, the police or the law
Nor aspects of transport, the buses, or sport.
It's because they're devolved
That Brown can't be involved
He must interfere in our affairs never more!

I've done another verse I'm afraid I can't help myself, sorry...

"Goodbye. I don't think we'll miss you."
Forgive me while I weep in a tissue.
For she is a Blair
Who has never had a care
'Cos democracy's not been a real issue.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stalinist Brown

Well the permanent secretary to the Treasury for four years under Brown should know what he's talking about...

Image stolen shamelessly from Alfie at Waking Hereward

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The White House

You know how it is. Sometimes, you think to yourself, I don't really want to be challenged with my reading material. A rip roaring good historical yarn would just about do me right now. So long as it's well researched.

So it was this morning. I had a slow morning so I ran myself a nice hot bath, stepped in, and settled myself with a Bernard Cornwell that I hadn't read. Much as the TV series with Sean Bean is absolute crap, (largely because Sean Bean can't act), the stories aren't bad (even though they have nothing in the way of characterisation, sub plot and offer nothing to a discussion of the human condition).

However I digress.

So in I get. I ALWAYS read the foreword, preface, introduction or whatever. (Actually I have an Honours degree in English from a damn good university on the strength of reading the foreword, preface, introduction or whatever. But that's another story).

In this case it was a foreword not a whatever.

And I quote:

Later that year [1814] in the same kind of operation, though on a much larger scale, [the British were] responsible for the capture and destruction of Washington itself. Among the many buildings that were burned was the president's mansion. The lower walls were of stone, so they survived, but when the mansion was rebuilt those walls were painted white to hide the scorch marks and it has been known as the White House ever since.

"Oh that's interesting", I thought. However in an idle moment at lunchtime, (told you it was a slack day), I thought further on it. "I know", I thought, "I'll read up a bit on that British assault", only to learn that Cornwell has perpetuated a myth, of which it seems, every American school child is aware.

The house acquired its nickname early on. Congressman Abijah Bigelow wrote to a colleague on March 18, 1812 (three months before the United States entered war with England): "There is much trouble at the White House, as we call it, I mean the President's" (quoted in W. B. Bryan, "The Name White House," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 34-35 [1932]: 308). The name, though in common use, remained a nickname until September 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt made it official.

Hmmm. A tiny spot of research tells us 'it aint so Joe'.

Look, I know historical novels are ultimately fiction and so about storytelling not academic rigour. And hey, we all make mistakes while attempting to be thorough in research.

But surely something so fundamentally flawed in the foreword (not in the narrative) of a book first published 20 years ago should have been corrected by now?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Apologies for absence

To anyone who is actually still looking, thankyou.

I'll try and post something real after a bit of sleep.