Wednesday, April 19, 2006

An important announcement

Oy! Calling all UK citizens: RENEW YOUR PASSPORT NOW! I'm hardly a political activist, but this is so obviously and justifiably scary that I just have to do something about it, even if it's not much. According the UK Passport Authority itself, from October everyone who applies for a new passport will have to be interviewed, and it implies that biometric characteristics will also be collected. Oh, and it'll reportedly cost about £90 for the privilege, instead of the current £51 for a more convenient and less intrusive service, which is still too much. The stupidity and pointlessness of it is the most scary part. Alas that government should be run so clumsily in what is supposed to be a most "developed" nation. Alas.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Interesting stuff, honest

What with all the Sino-bashing going on around the world (except, strangely, in China... maybe it's not a masochistic sort of place, on aggregate, though it has more of a claim to being machoistic, so don't confuse the two terms, kids!), with a prominent example [if only due to the power of the people involved rather than any inherent truth-value or insight, but that's the nature of the human life it seems, and you really should try to get used to it if you haven't already] being the obsession of American politicians with the dollar-yuan exchange rate, the following fact might be particular interesting, short-attention-span readers of mine. This fact is the answer to a question, so in keeping with convention and tradition, I'll write the question first. You'll find out the fact eventually. Question: What is "(American) dollar" in Chinese? Answer: In Chinese characters: 美元; romanized: mei yuan. Highly interesting, right? What?! How can you disagree? Oh right, you don't know any Chinese. [If you do know enough Chinese to understand, you have no excuse, obviously]. It's interesting, I would argue, because "yuan" is the name of the Chinese currency of the moment, and "mei" means... beautiful. Isn't that sweet? So the US dollar is called the "beautiful currency", sort of. I'm sure this choice stems from a desire to suck up, but I dare not consider any further. Or maybe it's heavy irony. Hmm. Either way, interesting, as I said earlier, you skeptic. This is all proven here (to your low standards of proof, anyhow, which on this occasion is good enough for me). What's "concise" in Chinese, you ask? I have no clue. In every sense of the phrase (in English). Ha.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Terror fear over Clash fan's song" -- excellent headline, Beeb!

From BBC NEWS Online: Terror fear over Clash fan's song

"Harraj Mann, 23, asked a taxi driver to play The Clash's London Calling through the vehicle's stereo. But the cabbie rang police after he heard the song which includes the line: 'War is declared and battle come down'. Police said Mr Mann, from Hartlepool, was released without charge after his arrest on board a Bmi plane at Durham Tees Valley Airport."

Durham Police said a security check revealed he did not pose a threat.

A spokeswoman also said that it was not just the music Mr Mann requested, but the "overall impression" he gave that aroused the taxi driver's suspicion.

I must leave the country while there is still a chance. But where? People have forgotten how important liberty is, including as a creator of wealth, and they will come to regret it one day. Me? I'm getting a passport as soon as possible so I don't have to pay £90 or so for one due to all the ID card nonsense. Fair enough, it's also because my current one is about to expire, but that's not the real reason. Honest guvnor. People don't arrest me. Argh!

Man flogs wife's box on eBay | The Register

Ho ho ho: Man flogs wife's box on eBay | The Register Please come back soon for more intellectual titbits [unlikely to be meant literally, for the pseudo-intellectuals out there]. I agonise for weeks over important matters (or rather matters that make me feel worthy when I consider them, which is a superb definition of "important", in my humble yet utterly, infallibly correct opinion), and then post this trivial fluff-stuff. Bah. It is funny though, you gotta admit that.