Chew on this: new research on Qat "The Home Office's drugs and alcohol research unit ...will report in the autumn. If they conclude that qat is dangerous, they may well recommend that it should be classified along with other illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines, bringing UK law into line with the majority of western countries."
The balanced view on Moveable Type bloggers "You are all pretentious twats. Every last one of you. You're all latte-sipping, iMac-using, suburban-living tertiary-industry-working WASPs who offer absolutely no new insights on anything whatsoever apart from maybe one specialist field if we're lucky."
Anti-Semitism, real and exaggerated The foreign editor of Die Welt syndicated to Ha'aretz. Well worth a read. He concludes: "The European reality [of anti-semitism]... is less threatening than the Israelis believe but more worrisome than the Europeans want to think."
Blumenthal on Dean and Gore "Gore's endorsement of Dean is the most important since grainy film was shown at the 1992 Democratic convention depicting President Kennedy shaking hands with a teenage Bill Clinton."
Julie Burchill: The hate that shames us The follow up to last week's starter on anti-semitism. Quite an unspectacular romp through some of the usual suspects (Tom Paulin, Tam Dayell and the supression of the EU report).
This is a Magazine. Well - only in the loosest meaning of the word. But well worth your clicks.
Iraq Phase three: civil war Simon Tisdall in today's paper: "An orderly transition and the assertion of legitimate, democratic governance is by no means assured. Continuing, escalating civil strife, scattering the seeds of a possible civil war, could yet turn out to be the Bush-Blair legacy in Iraq. "
The man behind the book stores, Louis Borders interviewed about his new venture, an online paid-for archive of (currently) 140 magazines (including Concrete Products...but also lots more mainstream titles), called Keepmedia. Works quite well...certainly more worth while than individual magazine archives, although at around $4.95 a month, my hunch is that it's mainly going to be of interest primarily to a relatively small number of freelance journalists and researchers. Asked whether he thinks the internet is ready for people to start charging for content:
I think it's at the turn of the hockey stick, because it's at about 15 percent of the Web population that's paying for content right now--that's still a low number. Very soon, you'll see that the content that's left to be free is content that will not be trusted; content that has a bias. Just like when you pick up a magazine that's free, and you don't trust it.
Readers - and publishers - of Metro, Highlife and thousands of controlled circulation trade mags et al. , might disagree. Oh, and Concrete Product's archive is here (with lots of references to 'slag growth').
McDonalds 'beefs up' wi-fi coverage....it's interesting, but they might want to start offering decent food first. (The ads they're running go: Bites and Bytes...now we offer them both'). Inspirational.
A major piss theme has recently developed in my life. You tell me whether or not this is a co-incidence.
- When we went to Yorkshire a couple of weeks ago, we stayed in Peak, where we read they had alum works. In this locally quarried aluminium sulphate was turned to alum flour, a fixative for the textile industry. To do this, they needed an alkali, and the most widely available at the time was stale human urine. This meant that there were ships going up and down the coast of England full of urine. Obviously, the men working on them were slightly embarrassed about this, so when they docked, and people asked what was in the ship they would say they were carrying wine, or some such. To which people replied: 'No you're not...you're taking the piss' ..hence the expression.
- This amused us no end, while away, so one night we hatched a plan to convert the whole area - a National Trust park, but let's ignore that little detail - into the first urine related theme park: Pissworld. (Many thanks to my mate Simon for the marketing line: Pissworld: it's number one!. OK, maybe we'd had a few by then.
- Anyway, I arrive in San Francisco, and what's on at the theatre next door: nothing other than a musical called Urinetown. ("one of those rare shows that lives up to its own hype" according to NYtheatre.com)
- So I think, I should probably blog all this down. So I try to check the expression taking the piss. And what do you know? The Guardian wrote about the whole Urine shipping industry only last Friday.
Anyway, this bloke disagrees with the source of the phrase. But his alternative is too boring by half....so I'm sticking with mine.
I'm in San Francisco...on work. Well, to be honest, I'm curently hovering between meetings in theDana Street Roasting Company in Mountain View...enjoying the free WiFi access, a Naked Berry Blast smoothy and an Original Veggie sandwich on Rye.
I can imagine that during the boom, this place was probabl full of young bucks scribbling the ideas that were due to propel them to billionaire-ship on napkins. Today, it's rather quiet. Lots of solitary guys with laptops (myself included)...can't work out whether they're power workers...busting loose from the office to unleash their genius on the world while supping latte...or they're just unemployed.
It's now about mid-day, although thanks to the wonders of jetlag, I've been up since 4.30am (when I found the very wonderfulKissing Jessica Stein on the TV)...so I don't quite know when my body actually thinks it is. I'm just entering that part of the day (commonly known as the afternoon), where I feel barely alive.
- My great discovery on this trip has been a - rather pricey - power invertor/ adaptor so I could use my laptop on the plane....very handy for a 10 hour journey. Obviously, I did a lotof work, but best of all I was able to watch some DVD's I bought along. So I got to see Insomnia, at last. And Y Tu Mama Tambien. Both were great...and much better than what was on offer...except for the fact that Y Tu Mama contained quite a few full on sex scenes....so I had to keep reducing the picture to postage stamp size in case anyone near by thought I was some sort of pervert ('It's art...honestly..')
- The last time I was in the US on work, Frank Sinatra died (It was 1998 and we were working on the designs for Guardian Unlimited in New York). This time, Bob Hope. Elderly celebrities now live in fear of me walking through customs.
- Every time I get in a car here, I get lost. I just can't seem to work out how 'sprawl' works. Yesterday, I missed my turn off by a whole 'city'. (although, I know find out that the term 'city' is used very liberally here, no nonsense about the need for a cathedrals etc). I don't know what it is. I can normally work my way round any UK or European town....this all just seems to be completely random.
- I love the whole laptop/ Wi-Fi friendliness of big US cities (and some little ones like Mountain View). And the fact that nice people like Cheesebikini, provide such good guides to free wi-fi cafes.
- It's an obvious, and unoriginal thing to say, but: the world really is getting smaller...or at least much more similar. When I made my first steps into the US as an adult, about 10 years ago, there was so much here that was completely alien to the UK. You knew the way everything looked from movies...but the detail, was completely novel. These days, our bars are more similar, we follow the local media and the latest news through the web, we've bought the books and CDs from Amazon and the trainers from our own NikeTown.
Checking my site stats (as I'm wont to do early on a Saturday evening) I notice rather a lot of people on the site today (well, a lot by my standards). At first I thought this might be it: the word is out...and I'm making it into the bloggerati. But no, a quick check on the referrer, reveals all. I'm currently number three when you search Yahoo UK for 'Sex Stories' and that accounts for pretty much everyone who's been visiting the site.
It actually refers to a post about the news editor of the Sunday Express demanding more sex stories from his staff. It's interesting, but I doubt it's what they (you?) were looking for.
Apologies to those who are here in search of tales of scantily clad nymphettes. Would you like to see some pics of Yorkshire instead?
They published G2 from Brighton Beach yesterday. And it worked. Thanks to PiertoPier's (boom, boom!) Wi-fi network. Brilliant exercise. Makes that whole sitting in Starbucks bleeding cash for a couple of minutes of collecting your mail seem most pedestrian. I think I might make it my office for the summer.
My two main: 'why aren't their wi-fi zones here?' areas. The Tate Modern (even just the member's room), and Smiths of Smithfield (just downstairs). If you're reading this, and you have any influence in either of these places....please sort it out.