vendredi, septembre 30, 2005

Non Sequitur #26

The average adult penis is 6.2"(157mm) (source).
Matthew Vella is around 6 ft. something.

I came to Casablanca for the Waters...

The Gaffe machine has struck again. Di-ve reports an assault on a security officer by a Moroccan who was being deported to Casablanca. The description of the violent act leaves much to be desired... in particular the owlish question that is left hanging is the following: To wit, who hit who with the handcuff?

"As the plane distanced itself from Malta, one of the Moroccans, who were all handcuffed, started causing trouble to the security officers and at one point assaulted one of them, injuring him in his face after being hit by the handcuff."

1. The phrase "to distance oneself" does not fit. It is normally used "to declare onself unconnected or unsympathetic to something." Like I would distance myself from both political parties.

2. "Who were all handcuffed" would be better phrased as "all of whom were handcuffed"or even more simply "one of the handcuffed Moroccans.

3. "causing trouble to the police officers". Ermmmm.

4. "at one point assulted one of them injuring him in his face after being hit by the handcuff". So a Moroccan assaulted him and a Moroccan injured him (presumably an officer) in the face. The sentence continues and the subject (the by now notorious Moroccan) has not changed so we must presume it was this Moroccan who was hit by the handcuff. A nasty handcuff indeed.

Self-defence? If I were di-ve I would plead ignorance of the grammar.

...The Waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
I was misinformed.

Bushism (a fake but good one)

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing.
He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."
"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

jeudi, septembre 29, 2005

XXV Non Sequiturs (Karnival ta' X'Ghandu X'Jaqsam?)

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Non Sequitur, latin for "it does not follow". A Non Sequitur is a statement that normally jars with the flow of thought in a particular discussion. It can also be present in a monologue or presentation when a particular part of the argument again does not fit in the general theme. In Maltese a Non Sequitur is normally followed by "X'ghandu x'jaqsam?" which can be closely translated as "What does this have to do with what we have just been saying?". Non Sequitur is also a brilliant comic strip by Wiley Miller which features the hero Obviousman.

In J'Accuse the regular Non Sequitur feature is used to place irrelevant titbits of factual information or as a comic pause between posts. As its title implies it is generally a bit of information which does not require any further comment. It is not, as Mark used to insist, Blogging for the sake of Blogging. I love a good Non Sequitur as much as any other post which is appreciated by others. So here is a mini-carnival... a complilation of the first 25 Non Sequiturs to appear in J'Accuse:

25. 29th September 2005
The Opportuniste Non Sequitur
Eyes, Ears, Mouth are sealed.

24. 29th September 2005
The Spam Non Sequitur
It's the Spam that fills our lives. The background noise, the chaos we escape from.

23. 11th September 2005
The Valletta Non Sequitur
Sporting factoids, the thrills of weekend afternoons.

22. 7th September 2005
The Microsoft Purchase Non Sequitur
VOIP. Microsoft buying our future.

21. 5th September 2005
The Faulty Sources Scoop Non Sequitur
Attard Previ on TV? Tell me something I don't know.

20. 30th August 2005
The Lux Can Do It Non Sequitur
Anonymous tennis from Luxembourg.

19. 29th August 2005
The Guernica Non Sequitur
Advertising the plight of the human race. Save us from ourselves.

18. 27th August 2005
The Malta Hanina Non Sequitur

17. 12th August 2005
The Derby Draw Non Sequitur
See you next round.

16. 8th August 2005
The Passport Non Sequitur
In a world full of risks your passport is just a stamp and photo album.

15. 3rd August 2005
The State of the Blogosphere Non Sequitur
The other big bang.

14. 2nd August 2005
The Death of the G-String Non-Sequitur
On a not so fashionable note?

13. 28th July 2005
The Parking Non Sequitur
Luxembourg-Malta proportions.

12. 25th July 2005
The Google Matthew Vella Non Sequitur
That joke will always be funny.

11. 24th July 2005
The Malta Censor Non Sequitur
Bathing costumes on the Maltese silver screen.

10. 17th July 2005
The In Paceville Non Sequitur
What is there in Paceville?

9. 11th July 2005
The Elitism Non Sequitur
Lupus in Fabula.

8. 11th July 2005
The Panama Hat Non Sequitur
Ah! Bocca's is white not shitty brown.

7. 9th July 2005
The Xifer Non Sequitur
It's Mark, Jim, but not as we know him.

6. 8th July 2005
The No Roms in Malta Non Sequitur
Minorities conspicuous in their absence.

5. 4th July 2005
The 4th of July Non Sequitur
Oh Say can you see�

4. 1st july 2005
The Arabidopsis Thaliana Non Sequitur
The Human Genome Project� you are not an insect.

3. 29th June 2005
The Luxembourg Weather Non Sequitur
Weather non sequitur� get it?

2. 28th June 2005
The Polish Plumber Non Sequitur
� and Sicilian carpenters.

1. 26th June 2005
The Real Estate Non Sequitur
It's cheaper to buy in France.

Non Sequitur #25

Jacques Dutronc

Je suis pour le communisme
Je suis pour le socialisme
Et pour le capitalisme
Parce que je suis opportuniste

Il y en a qui contestent
Qui revendiquent et qui protestent
Moi je ne fais qu'un seul geste
Je retourne ma veste, je retourne ma veste
Toujours du bon c�t�

Je n'ai pas peur des profiteurs
Ni m�me des agitateurs
J'fais confiance aux �lecteurs
Et j'en profite pour faire mon beurre

Il y en a qui contestent
Qui revendiquent et qui protestent
Moi je ne fais qu'un seul geste
Je retourne ma veste, je retourne ma veste
Toujours du bon c�t�

Je suis de tous les partis
Je suis de toutes les partys
Je suis de toutes les cauteries
Je suis le roi des convertis

Il y en a qui contestent
Qui revendiquent et qui protestent
Moi je ne fais qu'un seul geste
Je retourne ma veste, je retourne ma veste
Toujours du bon c�t�

Je crie vive la r�volution
Je crie vive les institutions
Je crie vive les manifestations
Je crie vive la collaboration

Non jamais je ne conteste
Ni revendique ni ne proteste
Je ne sais faire qu'un seul geste
Celui de retourner ma veste, de retourner ma veste
Toujours du bon c�t�

Je l'ai tellement retourn�e
Qu'ell' craqu' de tous c�t�s
A la prochain' r�volution
Je retourn' mon pantalon

Lessons in Change: Augustinian Politics

Dr. Austin Gatt has an interesting article in todays' Independent where he tries to initiate a discussion for change. Gatt's voice can often be heard (not so difficult that one) from within the crowd of politicians' non-sensical babble trying to knock some hard sense into Maltese politics. His down-to-earth, brusque methods are not much appreciated and a bit of the arrogance that runs through the veins of us half-Gozitans, half-Maltese is very evident in his attitude. The man who goes by the real name of Agostino Pio is the closest there is on the nationalist side to real politics. His finesse leaves much to be desired but I prefer him any day to some people licking dude warming his Ministerial chair in a long-forgotten auberge surrounded by monochrome minions and yes men.

Gatt taught me one important lesson. You cannot change the Nationalist Party from within. His ideas which are more than reasonable are all too often drowned by the crowd of nazzjonalisti who he has chosen to be part of. There lies his greatest weakness. Another thought that frequently occurs to me is that the best partner for Gatt would have been Sant. On any other day in any other country a Gatt-Sant partnership would work wonders for Malta's economy. All we would have to do is to work out how to make people like us!

I thought this would be a good provocative point to reflect upon. Forget about the Fantasy Politics, it is all just wild ruminations on a cloudy day, but do look at the content of the article to see what I mean. Hardliners. Reformers. That is definitely a point for our plans ahead.

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Non Sequitur #24

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Spam - Monty Python
Lovely spam, wonderful spa-a-m,
Lovely spam, wonderful S Spam,

mercredi, septembre 28, 2005

We come from Kinnie, You come from Mars

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I apologise for the tardivity of this reply to Vlad�s comment. I have had this post in mind for quite some time but a work overdrive at the Cour de Justice has prevented me from writing it earlier. I needed to write a post about Vlad�s comment because of the nature as well as the content of the comment itself. I feel that Vlad is nit-picking for the sake of nit-picking... the kind of criticism that is said because �you have to say something� and not because �you have something to say�.

I think it was very evident that the distinction between Old and New Politics in my earlier post was meant to draw a line between the faulted politics that is leading to a democratic deficit (as wolverine puts it) and real politics as it should be. It is New as opposed to the Old way of doing things. Of itself, the New Politics is not New as in novel. What most of us intend (and what Vlad in fact concludes) is that we need real politics the way it is meant to be. Yes. Politics full stop. This is why I do not see Vlad�s comment adding anything to the argument. It is just a preference on phrasing the issue that ignores the need to distinguish between politics past and politics to be.

And the Kinnie Generation. This is where I really felt the �you have to say something� really showed. No, it is not a curiously vague and inaccurate term.No we are not the generation of the Mars bar. We are the generation of closed schools when Mars bars were just a dream, we are the generation of one TV when Mars adverts were unheard of, we are the generation whose childhood was spent in the age of no choice. We are the generation for whom Kinnie, the only good Maltese product, represented a dazzling star in a cloud-covered night of national monopolies. The Mars generation comes later, it comes armed with cable tv, loss of multi-lingual capability and the spoiled brats that are the product of indiscriminate choice and suddenly enroll in ANR. We are not the Mars generation... they are alien to us (forgive the pun).

We are the ones who can see the need of the break in mentality (who says paradigm shift nowadays?... Joe Pirotta in International Relations maybe... but not the man in the street!). We see it because we know what it means to harbour a dream of a better Malta... as we did throughout our childhood.

As for paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 in Vlad�s comment.... to me it is one great non sequitur after the other. As the great philosopher once said: �What is your problem? What is your point?�

The liberal elite (and others like me) have got to the point of analysing the roots of the need for change. We will shortly move on to analysing the kind of change we need. Kinnie or Mars... whatever your generation, you are still welcome to join. What we need is not pedants... but persons ready to discuss. Full Stop.

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Ipse Dixit

This man is being quoted in his capacity as Shadow Minister for Home Affairs as having said that Labour will join the common front combating the problem of illegal immigrants but "only if it is kept on board".

The initiative is commendable, and the complaint of not being kept in the know as to the grand projects of the Nationalist government is understandable. What is curious is the choice of phrase by the Honourable Shadow in order to explain his party's extraneousness from the issue.

In fact Honourable Gavin was so eager to describe that his party is not being kept privy to the goings-on with regard to the plight of the boat people that he insisted that the MLP should be kept "on board" from now on. On board what Gavin? The boat? Freudian games here, but funny ones to boot.

Am i the only one to get this sinking feeling?

mardi, septembre 27, 2005

Budgetary Woes (and aaahs)

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A break from Santian disquistions to see what the international press is saying about Maltese dues abroad. More importantly two particular bits of news of note:

First of all it would seem that the MFA has been fined 13,000 Swiss Francs for not providing adequate security measures at ta' Qali on the night when the Europids ravaged the place. I know... it is not out of our national coffers, but all the same it is pay pay pay. The Croats have been slapped a 55,00 Swiss Franc fine. Read this here.

Secondly the Times reports that Parliamentary Tonio Fenech has signed an agreement with Iraki Finance Minister Ali Allawi writing off $8 million (Lm 2.8m) of debts in a show of solidarity with the Iraqi people. The aim is to allow the Iraqis to rebuild their country and economy. Yes rebuild. From the wave of destruction left by the US and allied troops in their forceful importation of democracy to the war-torn (by themselves) state. Helloooooo? I do not remember Dubya telling us that we will foot the bill for even one missile launched against the infidel. And could the government ask me before deciding to get very solidal with my money? Will Ali Allawi be appearing on the next episode of Tista' Tkun Int? Times report here.

Ok. Now all the saints will be ticking me off and pulling my ear for my lack of christian spirit. Yes I do believe that it is not the fault of the Iraqi people that they are in this situation. But the irony did strike me senseless for a moment... Dubya presses invade... Malta presses delete dues. Let's just say it is one more reason to hate the bastard. Dubya not Allawi of course.

And by the way... the Times says the dues "date back to commercial transactions that took place in the 1980s"... now let's see... 500 boxes of Desserta chocolate... 3 container loads of Kinnie... 1000 crates of potatoes... 10 collector replica Mintoff spectacles... boqq.

What Hogan Said (sic)

From the editorial of the last edition of MaltaToday:

"It is the likes of Alfred Sant that will keep the Labour party in opposition for another five years".

- Saviour "Hogan" Balzan
Nationalist spin? Eppur' si muove!

.... and I almost missed out on this part of the editorial....

"Which takes me back to the Labour party, the only political alternative that can be elected and expected to govern, so help me God. And if that is their intention, someone in the administration of this party should be so kind as to export Alfred Sant away from the island until the day after the elections. The less he talks the better the chances for the Labour party to replace the Nationalists in this grand task of governing this grand small island we have chosen for our home."
- still Hogan... my Hero

What Vlad Said (sic)

What follows is the full text of a comment to my post entitled "Begin the Politics". Since I intend to discuss a few points that were brought up by this anonymous commentator who has no blog of his/her own I thought it would be useful to post his/her comment as a Guest Post before adding my reply. It would be also helpful for readers of my later post who, like me, hate switching from blog to comment window to see what is being referred to. So read this. Reply will be up later today. (You can still comment here and I hope that Vlad will answer any questions directed to Vlad here too). I also know that Xifer has continued the discussion here and will also be commenting on that separately later on.

It is a sure sign that someone is confused when they can state, in the space of a few paragraphs, that they prefer to opt of out being political only to then to say that they want NEW POLITICS, in capital letters no less. New politics for a new generation we are to understand. The Kinnie Generation of thirty-year olds to be exact, the curiously vague and inaccurate term coined by the holder of these opinions. Indeed, the last time that Malta was truly and genuinely excited about political choice was when everybody was allowed to gorge themselves on Mars bars, without having to wait for their cousin to go on a daytrip to Catania, which is why I think that Mars generation would be a more fitting epithet.

The day that priorities began to lose their definition in the Maltese political was the day that people chose EU citizenship. Embracing the European Union, whether Eddie knew or not, signified the withering away of the immediacy of domestic issues. Shortcomings can now be indirectly ascribed to European inflexibility. Eastern European countries are in a similar predicament, evolving as they are from a post-Soviet culture, while Malta is eased out of an anachronistically statist dimension.

While I am on the subject, is it legitimate to inquire whether The moral quagmire that the country is in is not an issue because the people have spoken on abortion, divorce and all the other heathen menaces that threaten to ravish the purity of the Maltese lifestyle. Remembering that the 500 that judged Socrates were a representative cross-section of Athenian polity, so the self-elected free-thinkers must concede to the majority. It matters not that the resulting outcome is injustice, hypocrisy and misery, but that the people have spoken. Alienation from the prevailing moral code is not the exception, it is not a Maltese syndrome, but a regular fixture of contemporary European life.

Nonetheless, the cited �break in mentality�, or �paradigm shift� as we say nowadays, is a political choice we have to make; not as Maltese citizens, or as Europeans, but as human beings. Having said that, what are the concerns that pose the greatest challenges for the a country that has taken the post-modern route, where local dialogue is no more than a sideshow and where democratic choice is a ceremony instead of a process.Polemics about the redundancy of the monotony of the false bipolarity of the MLPN (an odd collision of Anglo-Maltese there, by the way) are not healthy if the only thing one can volunteer is aloof observations about the ill state of the medium, whatever that might be. Neither is it fair to suggest that the dialogue has been only a two-sided contest of allegiances. There was a time when Maltese politics was about fighting for rights, even at times when the ugliness of vitriolic partisanship made it seem otherwise. If for no other reason, Malta should pride itself on leaders like Mintoff, Mifsud Bonnici and Fenech Adami, because for all their misguided decisions they belonged to an age when policies when informed by moral convictions.

If the only thing the self-appointed �liberal elite� (sic!) can agree on is that they don�t like the here and now then what?Actually, as far as the debate at hand is concerned, it is obviously hard to make accurate generalizations, but it is also misguided to maintain that the process lies exclusively in the realms of social change and imponderable future factors. The recent German upset is evidently a result of shrewd politics and campaigning, though I would argue that the Italian predicament is more indicative of how electoral influence is mostly wielded from the top down. Indeed, the recent scandal over mooted amendments to Italian electoral legislation raised many questions about the issue of which system best served the country's needs.

Of course, it would be disingenuous to suggest that the legislative debate is the most noteworthy aspect of the affair, but it does suggest that the way polls are organized remains a crucial and sensitive matter.If we have to be honest, the question of coalition's stability or otherwise is not as relevant as any given country's prevailing political culture. If, when the British Labour party had come to power, it had held true to its tacit pledge to the Liberal Democrats to introduce some elements of PR, the House of Commons would not have fallen apart. This is because British political life is rife with factional infighting, but pragmatism compels parties to avoid open schisms. Rare examples, such as the anti-war Respect, nominally built on George Galloway's shoulders, and one-issue anti-EU parties like UKIP, are notable in being marginal.

Meanwhile, Italy demonstrates that even a largely first-past-the-post setup will crack under the pressures of personal enmities and ambitions. Notwithstanding the resulting stasis, it is heartening to see that Italian voters continue to demonstrate political commitment.Shortly, Malta�s best hope is some kind of implausible telescoping back into individual relevancy in the era after the death of politics; �Ci vogliono uomini di cultura!!�, as Norman Lowell would say in a semi-sexual faux Hitlerian fashion. And ironically, as a country that has almost always had politicized leaders and cataclysmic historic development, this may be the moment when people discover that their voice can be about more then just self-interest.

Hesitancy is pardonable when it seems like everything is at stake, but perhaps now that the gamble isn�t so decisive the voter might feel unshackled from the conventional categories. What we need is not new politics, but politics full stop.

Oh yeah, and why not a quick Churchill quote:

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average (Maltese) voter."

lundi, septembre 26, 2005

Begin the Politics

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"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished
by being governed by those who are dumber" (A Paraphrasing of Plato)

It irks me that in this day and age we still have to discuss the obvious when it comes to talking about the Maltese political scene. I originally had the pleasant feeling that the blogosphere was in agreement on one important issue... the need of change and a move away from the dualisms and MLPN entrenchment. I was more than glad when Immanuel (a blogger who I have had many an opportunity to disagree with) blogged his mini-manifesto for change here. If anything this showed that we have a number of things in common:

a) We chose to disengage from the current system of politics. We see through the miasma of rubbish that is churned out by the MLPN (and more recently AD has joined them in its methodology) and opt to be non-political or rather non-partisan.

b) We believe in the need for change: We agree that the real bidla (change) is still to come. It is not found in a pseudo-christian democrat knee jerk reaction document that ignores the truths of a society at a loss morally and economically but elsewhere.

c) We believe that it takes a break in mentality: An independence of the mind. An intelligent empowered mind that thinks outside the box but for the box. We agree that thinking outside the duality is not against the duality but a necessary tool so as to reach a new order.

d) We recognise the chaos of the present system: A chaos that is manifested by misplaced priorities and the birth of extreme movements that take advantage of uncertainty.

People like us see the need of a NEW POLITICS. The new beginningbeginning is in the medium as well as in the result. Unless that is understood it is useless to continue to preach. It is very difficult to think outside the normal mindset. The recent reply here to a comment of mine here is a clear example of the difficult struggle for a change in mindset.

Arcibald's original statement was to the effect that Gonzi's government would lose an election even if it contested it alone but as long as Sant and MLP are there it is not so sure. The import is that the PN do not win elections but it is Sant that loses them. I added in the comments that this is the typical comment of a Nationalist who says that he would vote Labour were it not for Sant.

Mark took exception to this statement and blogged that such Nationalists who make this statement are either (a) naive or (b) gullible voters who believe the mantras by PN about Sant's fallibility. (He also added the usual alternative argument mentioning Varist Bartolo and Anglu Farrugia as credible alternatives which would still push off PN voters!).

Now, to begin with I feel that the lack of respect for the hesitant voter is another aspect of old style politics. The label of "irresponsible voter" was slapped on to me the times I voted for AD. Most of the flak on my wasted vote came from the PN camp. I was not admitting hesitation there... I was clearly stating that I voted for another party. Now in our island, even hesitating about voting is a no-go area. Old style politics requires allegiance. Old style politics requires that at most you can consider reshuffling your party (good luck) but never switching to another party.

And it is in this age of old style politics that we begin to see the hesitant people. We had the labourites switching to vote for Europe in a referendum, we had the discontent nationalists voting AD for Europe. True no such switch has happened during election days and this is no thanks to Eddie's dire warnings or Freddie's incompetence. I resent however the attack on naivete. Even if I was not the one being referred to (especially since I know that I WOULD vote for a better choice) I still find the attack of naivete insulting.

To begin with, they are hesitant. They are the seeds of doubt that are sown in the cracks of the system. Not many can change. Not many will make the big step. Yes maybe the big propaganda machine of MLPN will turn them back on the eve of the election (as has been done before). There minor doubt must not be laughed at but cultivated and encouraged. They must be allowed to think freely. They cannot be labeled traitors before they even start to walk!

A bigger concern of mine is that this ludicrous allegation against these hesitant voters normally comes from the Labour camp. It could be a psychological reaction tantamount to the reaction to the kid who switches to the winning side on the last minute. It is almost a "We do not want you aboard. We have suffered the ignominy (only in Malta is Opposition a shameful position and not something from which constructive elements can be had) of opposition and we do not want you with us now that the moment of "victory" is almost here. We want to be able to point at you and laugh from the heights of Castille in the same way as we will point at all those nasty nasty nationalists who have terrorised us labourites and Dr. Saint for so long". This is a hunch of mine. it is a hunch that the labourite in opposition wants to gain power for revenge (unlike the nationalist who wants to gain power for economic and social gain) and he has no place for last-minute turncoats.

Having said all that, we must admit that this is all Oldspeak. The rules of engagement in this kind of reasoning are still entrenched in the tribalistic dualist mentality of always. What I call Old Politics. It was Politics for Beginners. But an old fashioned politics for those who are still interested in initiation into the system.

Yes, you are entitled to believe that maybe a hesitant nationalist is a naive victim of some propaganda machine and he will never vote for Sant (incredible) Bartolo (vengeful) or Farrugia (incompetent) as much as you might believe that he might even vote for a Lino Spiteri (intelligent). You are entitled to go on living in the world of categorisation based on collective conscience, victimisation, revenge and whatsnot. You are entitled to believe that the only way out is that one day everyone will wake up and miraculously decide to vote for Harry and the Golf Course Greens. You are entitled to keep on living in the past.

Politics for beginners must no longer remain the same litany. It must no longer remain the Idiots Guide to Politics or Maltese Prejudices Made Simple. It is time to begin the change. The real change. It is time that we get the few heads that are outside the box together and like Immanuel (and myself in earlier posts) begin to chart a possible way out. It is time that we accept the label of idealists and show the realists that we mean business.

It is time that we Begin the Politics.

samedi, septembre 24, 2005

Sibtijiet Flimkien (ir-raba' ep.)

Daniel Xuereb

Bongu Malta Awtunnali. Naqra tardiva din il-missiva ghax ghazilt li nghaddi gurnata nitghazzen jew ahjar kif jghidu il-francizi filwaqt li jisselfu frazi mit-taljan ghaddejt gurnata �dolcefarniente�. Komplejt nipprova neduka ruhi fil-kultura komika franciza u nifhem daqxejn x�jgharraxhom f�dak li ahna insejhulu kummiedja. Rajt fost l-ohrajn dvd ta� Caunes u Garcia, zewg komici tajbin u deffist ukoll nofs siegha �Friends� iddubbjat bil-Frankiz. Insomma l-gurnata ghaddiet minghajr eventi kbar u issa kif mhux ha nisma il-qniepen idoqqu s-sitta (ghax naqa� imbieghed) ftakart fl-appuntament settimanali taghna.

Illum fuq il-programm ghandna mistieden barrani... Daniel Xuereb. Tghiduli forsi illi huwa xi Malti. Pero le. Dawk illi jiftakru t-tazza tad-Dinja tal-1986 li nzammet gewwa l-Messiku forsi jiftakru ukoll il bleus ta� Platini illi kienu reduci minn rebha fit-tazza Ewropea u kienu mistennija jirrepetu rwiehhom god-dinja l-gdida. Fost dan l�Equipe kien hemm ukoll il-mistieden taghna Daniel illi kien frott ta� hafna kurzita meta deher fuq l-iskrin tat-TV b�dak l-isem Malti tieghu. Takkumpanja lil Xuereb gewwa l-istudjo ghandna lill Eileen Montesin, ikona ohra taz-zmien tax-Xandir lejberista maghrufa ukoll bhala il-kamaleonte minhabba il-kapacita impekkabbli taghha li tibdel kulur ghal kull bzonn.

Waqt id-dolcefarniente tal-llum ftakart fiz-zmien tal-primarja meta waqt il-break l-oghla awtorita� dwar ir-regoli tal-ballun u l-ghazla tat-timijiet ma kenux oggettivi. Le, dawn kienu il-gurisdizzjoni ta� min kellu l-ballun. Il-provveditur tal-balla gild kien jiddeciedi min seta jilghab u meta kien hemm penalty. Ghalhekk niftakar b�mod wisq car lil Adrian Caruana Anastasi liebes it-top isfar tar-Red Devil fil-court tal-basketball tal-Kullegg Stella Maris jaghmel l-ghazla kuljum u jigbor il-ballun u jserrep �l hemm meta taqbizlu jew meta it-tim tieghu ikun qed jitlef bi score kbir wisq. Zmien iehor. Xhin niftakar f�dawn il-breaks hsiebi dejjem imur ghal Cain Pavia, habib tieghi ta� dak iz-zmien illi halliena kmieni wisq kawza ta� vizzji oxxeni li qatt ma kellhom jinbdew.

Kien ukoll bejn DVD u iehor illum illi tajt daqqa t�ghajn lis-CNN dwar dak li qed jigri fit-Texas u dak li gara fil-Louisiana. L-gharghar huma forza inkredibbli pero nahseb tahfruli jekk nghid li ma tantx staghgibt. Niftkar darba wara Parent�s Day San Alwigi konn sejrin l-ura d-dar u inqbadna f�maltempata tal-beati pawli. Kif qrobna it-tunnels ta� Regional Road ta�qabel Swieqi indunajna li t-tela� kienet mizghuda karozzi wieqfa u li l-ilma niezel minnha kinn qed jaghmel impressjoni tajba tan-Niagra Falls. Kien ghalhekk li missieri immanuvra il-karozza lejn il-Wied u lejn il-Knisja ta� San Giljan fejn kellna nabbandunaw il-vettura u nimxu t-telgha minn Spinola sa� Paceville. Ma ketnix xena, kienet oxxena. id-diskoteka abuziva Tigullio kienet faret u splodiet u l-istatwa ta� San Giljan kienet imdawra karozzi jizfnu fuq wicc ghadira ilma. Domna xi tlett kwarti biex imxejna mixja li s-soltu iddum hames minuti. Niftakarna innixxfu l-kalzetti u saqajna quddiem heater tal-pitrolju bil-borma bl-ilma bil-lumi fuqu. Evviva l-progress.

Ninterrompu il-programm biex inhabbru lill-qarrejja illi l-ajruplan Eyptair gie assedjat minn truppi elit u inhelsu xi passiggieri. Se jkolli inhallikom ghar-rokna tas-souvenirs ghax kif forsi indunajtu il-hedla tal-gurnata ma tantx ispirat. Ghal darb�ohra.


Personalita tal-Gimgha: Daniel Xuereb jew Ksereb kif jghiduha huma. Laghab fit-tim olimpiku franciz gewwa dawk l-Olimpijadi tar-reklami f�Los Angeles. Intaghzel ghall-Les Bleus illi kienu kawza ta� hafna biki tieghi f�dak il-lejl fl-1986 meta permezz ta� penalty shoot out qalghu lill-Brazil ta� Socrates u Falcao izda ukoll ta� Jozimar u Bismarck.Dik il-loghba rajtha fil-Calypso Hotel go Marsalforn u niftakarni nohrog l-ahhar minn sala mizghuda nies biex nipprova nahbi d-dizappunt.

Programm tal-Gimgha: Fantastico It-tivu mill-istivale kien lahaq status ta� mit ga mill-bidu. Il-programm varieta� tal-Hadd filghaxija kien hag�ohra. Mis-sorelle Kesler sa Luis Moreno il-ventrilokwist, sal-Baudo l-ubikwituz, sa� Ciccio u Franco... kollha ghenuna insiru iktar konversant fil-banalita� mondana u ippreparawna ghac-cucati ta� dan iz-zmenijiet.

Prodott tal-Gimgha: Calciatori Panini: U liema tifel tat-tmeninijiet m�ghandux kollezzjoni wahda? Ghandi, ghandi, ghandi, m�ghandix. Kemm ittini ghal-Maradona? Imnalla ma kontx naf nitkellem hazin meta kont zghir ghax malajr kont nghidlu x�intih. Mhux sticker bhall-ohrajn jew? Jew jiswa iktar ghax jibla� d-droga...

Muzika tal-Gimgha: Shuddupayaface: Tiftakruha? Whats a matter you? Whadda ya think you say? Troppo ottanta.

Accessorji tal-Gimgha: Lampi tal-petrol, xema�, u lilo fil-karozza. Ghax id-dawl imur kull tant, u meta taghmel ix-xita� dejjem kun ippreparat.

Tim tal-Gimgha: Hsibtuni ha nghid Franza ta� Platini? Ma tarax. Ha nkun sadistiku u nfakkarkhom fl-Amburgu tat-�83. Dawk illi b�cikka kienu rebhu lill-beneamata sinjora fil-final tac-Champions. Qabel ma xi hadd jibda jidhaq infakkar li dan kien ftit qabel ma Liverpool rebhu c-Champions gewwa l-Olimpico u u kien iz-zmien meta l-Milan kienu jithabtu fis-serje B bil-goals ta� Joe Jordan jew Luther Blisset.

Hallejtkom ha mmur nara il-beneamata. Adi.

vendredi, septembre 23, 2005

Autumn Leaves (and Concerts)

Incroyable. The forgotten hole in the middle of Europe known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is coming to life with cultural events of the hottest quality. Muzzik. Muzzik for the barbarians, muzzik for the cultured and muzzik for the wankellectuals. A bit for everyone. The season has begun with the opening of a new concert hall for the snobellectual crowd... the Luxembourg Philarmonic (as featured on the Wallpaper September issue) and for the hippellectual we now have the Rockhal that will accompany Kulturfabrik in the attempt for a better variety of musical entertainment in the Duchy. All we need is good stand up comics to visit every now and then!

As if that weren't enough the surrounding towns also provide added entertainment. Nancy will have an October full of jazz (for more info go to although the site seems to be down at the moment. Strasbourg too provides a good source of occasions for entertainment (moby should be playing there soon) - Metz is investing in a huge cultural Pompidou Centre and will provide yet another base for good concerts.

All in all not much is left for complaining. I have got tickets for Patrice in Nancy on the 14th October and Pink Martini at Den Atelier in Luxembourg on the 16th. There is also an Italian Film Festival coming up in a French townlet across the border. Not so bleak an Autumn after all.

All this before you get the chance to say St. James' Cavalier....

Tales from Lilliput

The Malta Independent's version of Frank Salt has compared the visions of the two goliaths of Maltese politics here. Don't you just love this Lilliputian view of Maltese politics? I am sure this is the kind of argument that flames the fires of my friend l-Imzebbel and triggers off his inevitable response that independence is a non-event for him.

Instead of thinking in terms of the collective good we are reduced to the sorry state of band club politics where the "my Saint is more Saintly than yours reigns supreme". Instead of recognising that Independence and Republic days were two steps intended to lead to the development of a nation we squibble about which is best ... my side of the egg or yours?

Arrigo goes one further. His take on the policies of the Opposition is that they are aimless and lack the "road map indicated by the present Nationalist government" (hmm possibly funded by the Italian Protocol too). Road map might not be the best metaphor for any Maltese Government's plans... it is enough to cause chills to rush down spines and Lornas to put pen to paper to save the stranded denizens of Mgarr. Arrigo fails to notice that the emptiness he finds in the Opposition plans is just as present (or absent?) in the Nationalist party's plans.

There are no plans anywhere... only knee-jerk reactions. Maybe we should have a tinted glasses day... where we march up and down Republic street (to Independence Square) wearing red or blue tinted glasses, praising or complaining about the current state of affairs.

How do you want your eggs? Scrambled? Poached? Sunny-side up? Fried?
Fug it... let's have an omelette... that's a froga for the linguists out there.

mercredi, septembre 21, 2005

Werzieq - Grillo MeetUp Group

I've finally got down to doing it. I have set up a Beppe Grillo MeetUp Group for the people living in Luxembourg and Brussles (although I am marketing as Benelux for convenience sake). I will shoulder the heavy burden of 19$ a month plus administration to try and get going this group of people who can meet and discuss anything while keeping a link with the general Beppe Grillo world.

I added the link to quite some time ago and have long been tempted to set up the proper meetup group as I am sure there are many Italian comedy enthusiasts in the vicinity. It is also an opportunity for some positive action politics to put our money where our mouth is. So in a way it is a double benefit. I do hope that as much of you will join. I could also suggest a setting up of Werzieq II in Brussels... a twin site which could also be joined by Luxembourgers (wink to David, Gybexi, Pierre et al).

Well here is the link to the MeetUp for anyone who would like to join.

Werzieq - Grillo Club dei Maltesi nel BeNeLux

Beppe Grillo Meetups

RyanBlair (Cheap'N'Cheerful Flights III)

Bang! We last spoke about the saga when the MIA unpublished report was reported in the Times. Ryanair have 'replied' with a press conference also reported in the Times. I love the part where in reply to allegations that Ryanair only carries cheap tourists Mr. Cawley states that Tony Blair has chosen Ryanair three times out of five for his holiday destinations. Now that's a Q.E.D. if ever there was one eh!

Here is more of the music:

"Mr Cawley urged Malta to follow the success of Ryanair's new route to Riga, Latvia. In seven months, the airline carried 650,000 passengers to the Baltic country and hotels practically cannot keep up with the influx. "And with all due respect, Riga is not even remotely as attractive as Malta."

But Ryanair estimates it would cost it �25 per passenger to operate to Malta - a figure made up of airport and handling charges, plus government-related security costs. MIA's discounted offer of �19 to all airlines to certain destinations was still not attractive for Ryanair, Mr Cawley said, given that most other airports it was operating to were charging just �7.50.

MIA once again came under attack, with Mr Cawley saying that a private monopoly did not have the social interests of the people at heart
. He urged the airport to slash its rates to all airlines, provided they guaranteed big numbers in return."

There you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth. Valletta like Riga? Where oh where could the problem lie? Any answers? Fausto? Bocca?

Errata Corrige (Fight Club)

Second Place

A little post about errors as this blog approaches the 20,000th hit on Independence Day (the 20,000th will probably be sometime on the 22nd. Arrogant and rude remains the description and seems to be the perception too. Some might add humorous and sometimes witty. It is definitely not an authority and will never be because it is typed out by a human - a gozitan, lawyer in luxembourg who enjoys sharing provocative thoughts on the net. I decided to write this post as a caveat too.... in short if you are touchy stay out. This may sound agressive but in my mind it is a simple equation... the rules of the game on this post are clear... a reasonable discussion peppered with humour. For a quip I expect a double quip back. Stung and pained I will just retreat to lick my poroverbial wound until I find a proper retort to answer back. All this is done with the assumption that it is all a discussion on inevitably subjective opinions throughout. It counts for politics, music, art, football or whether Brussels is the best city in the world.

Now that is the rule of the game. If you do not like it... no problems, you can either sit back and watch or just choose to obliterate it from your list of readings... no hard feelings. Better safe than sorry. Above all as I see it there are no winners or losers in any argument. At most there can be a general consensus and you can form part of it. However the truth is that even in the evaluation of the general consensus there might be disagreement. You can keep on asking but you will find no answers here... just provocations. I never said I would be right... I could claim it but that does not mean that I am. Get it?

As for corrections. Barring pedantry I really do appreciate all of them and even if I do not show such appreciation outright you must really assume it. So whether it is Erezija or Fausto correcting me on my historical facts or my Raymond Chandler quotes... it is all taken in and registered approvingly. Thank you. There you go I said it. So when you find the next comment taking a swing back at you just after a correction it is just in jest and in the spirit of this blog which I hope will never change.

And errors. Yes errors... these can be made on facts. As in what Raymond Chandler really wrote or what number Miss Munaf� had in the Miss Italia competition (Grazie Flavio per la correzione). BUT no matter how much your imagination can push you to believe so, an error cannot be made on taste or allegiance. I cannot be WRONG if I say "The Smiths are a mediocre band" or "Independence day is Malta's most important holiday". I cannot be wrong just as much as I cannot be right. It is important to understand this and that throughout the discussion this is finally kept in mind. There are no winners and no losers.

"You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

PS. Thanks antoine for link to Munaf� and wolverine for correction on ice rink.

mardi, septembre 20, 2005

The Eye of the Beholder

Yesterday night, after a hotly contested quiz at the Pygmalion (in which we placed a deserved fourth [/14] 2 points away from the joint leaders) I returned home just in time to see the ending of the Miss Italia contest. Now I am not the kind who would sit through the whole contest for four days analysing every pound of flesh in order to evaluate the best of the lot in a manner that would make Shylock proud. I still keep an FHM calendar hanging in the Luxembourgish excuse for a toilet (as in separate from bathroom) as a constant reminder of my being one of the last bastions of bachelorhood in my generation. On balance I think that it could be well said that I am an appreciator of refined beauty whenever it is (freely - I am Gozitan after all) available for the eye to see.

I also relish the idea of a contest and the thrill of competition - anything from Eurovision to the World Final of Curling can become interesting if the competitive, almost cut-troath, element can in anyway be perceived. So, back to Miss Italia. There I was, lucky enough to have avoided all stages but two of the competition. The final five. Having scrutinised them as carefully and as subjectively as television pictures would permit I quickly narrowed down my selection to the obvious winner.... number 60. She was a Penelope Cruz lookalike from Sicily called Anna Munafo. Surely she would win hands down.

One agonising hour later, which had been spent with absurd fillers which could only have caused the most acute of ulcers in the stomach of the competitors, the choice had narrowed down to two. Penelope from Sicily was one of them, the other was a Miss Normality called Edelfa. She reminded me of the eighties girls we are used to on programmes like Drive In! or presenting one of the early Mediaset programmes like Bim Bum Bam. She was Piemontese, a northern girl with lovely eyes but lacking all the charm the South has to offer. There we go I said... Penelope should be handed the crown and enough with all this charade.

Instead... ten minutes later Bruce "Die Hard" Willis was placing the crown on Edelfa Masciotta's head much to my consternation. I was flabbergasted. The main reason was that televoting had a big part in this event and I would have thought that the Latinos have much the same tastes as me. Another case of the polls gone wrong?

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And the crown goes to.... Piemonte

The conspiracy theorist in me (the little Labourite midget I keep hidden for these occasions) immediatey plotted a racist slant to the event. The constant repetition of the phrase "Un altra Piemontese ha vinto" could only mean that this was a sublime message of Italy's powerful "C'e l'ho duro" north to its southern counterparts. But the anger of the moment subsided and was quickly and easily controlled. It was after all only a game, and like outlooks to life it tends to be very subjective at the end of the day.

The beholder indeed. Maybe eighties girls are back in fashion and the latina is being elbowed out of the scene. I wonder if we could speak of a majority when it comes to taste rather than opinion. Edelfa is queen while Anna lines up the lines of has beens. Till another year that is... when the absurd rules of a beauty contest are once again put into play for another trend to be set.

Meanwhile, as far as beauy goes how's this for a good description of beauty: Speaking of the iconic ST Dupont lighters, Raymond Chandler once said that they "could make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window." It may be his opinion but I sure love the way he described it.

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The Dupont Lighter... an Adult's Zippo

* Small final note. When asked their footballing allegiance, the two finalists Anna and Edelfa, both professed their faith in La Grande Signora. Sometimes there's only one objective truth... beauty can only beauty appreciate!

lundi, septembre 19, 2005

Mots Crois�es #2

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Noughties Democracy

When Chirac faced the referendum for the approval of the constitution of Europe he was quite sure that it would be a clear Oui by the French population. Until voting day was just round the corner, the positive result in the referendum was the smallest of Monsieur Chirac soucis. The French would show Europe the way.
But they didn't.

When Mr. Bush was up for his second scrutiny and a confirmation of a second term at the White House many pundits expected a resounding return of the Democrats. Again, until voting day was just round the corner, the shooing of Dubya from the White House was meant to be as easy as cooking a French Fry. The Americans would go out there and kick the warmonger out of office. But they didn't

Yesterday, the corridors of power in Berlin were meant to get a great big shake up. Angie Merkel was meant to become the first female Chancellor of the Bundesrepublik. Opinion polls, those makers or breakers of governments of the nineties, had given her a twenty point lead over Shrouded Schroeder. The Germans were meant to kick the social-democrats into kingdom come and reinstate the Christian-Democrat crowd in the steering position. But they didn't.

Three colossal electoral machines. Three wrong calls. Time for a strike out? Are we, as Schroeder put it last night, rejecting the manipulative media? Had the media which had been presenting us with a supposed victor throughout the late seventies, the eighties and the nineties finally been spurned by the voter? Gerhard seems to believe that he had never lost this election. That he had not Houdinied himself out of a disaster. He believes that the media had begun to ring his death bell long before he had even caught a cold.

Not too far a call. Noughties man can no longer identify with a political party. To speak of allegiance is definitely pass�. Noughties man is more down to earth and, though not always on the mark, knows exactly what he or she wants. Noughties man has shed the media as the ultimate guiding light for who to vote for. Has he really set aside the curtains of false propaganda? Has noughties man begun to dig the grave of the media that for so long has assumed him to be Na�ve Man ready to be manipulated by the marketing pundits of this world?

I am not sure and we will need to see this in more detail. In the meantime many questions arise:

1) Media and its use. If trust and faith in the media really withers out then all the battles for control (vide Berlusconi in Italy, vide Super 1 and Net in Malta, vide the giant corps in USA) will count for nought. A new, more pragmatic and realistic media must emerge that will survive this current mistrust.

2) The Emergence of New Media. Technological innovations, in particular the World Wide Web will continue their uncontrolled adaptation to this phenomenon. The blog, the interactive newspaper, the wiki and other such tools will adapt to the functional, practical and no-nonsense needs of the Noughties man (in political terms & this does not mean that other uses of the WWW will stop).

3) Political Parties & their Messages. The new political party will have to take note of this change. In a way the manipulation of Noughties man will not seem possible. The easy availability of information does not allow political parties to channel their own one-sided truths down the throat of the gullible voter. Noughties politics implies diversification, adaptability and interactivity. The distance between party and voter must be bridged and fast.

There is much more where this came from. It may be just a gut reaction. Comments are welcome.
Came across this article called Erroneous Forecasts (Reuters) after finishing this post.

samedi, septembre 17, 2005

Sibtijiet Flimkien (it-tielet ep.)

Lura minn mawra sac-centru kummercjali gewwa Foetz fil-limiti tal-belt Lussemburgiza flimkien ma siehbi Owen, insellmilkom ghal din l-edizzjoni ta' Sibtijiet flimkien. Waqt li konna niddawru bejn tinda fejn kollox kien jinbiegh ghal Ewro u c-centru Cora fejn issib kollox biex tittanta iz-zaqq u tbikki l-karus, innutajna kemm Lussemburgu ghadu pajjiz mitfugh fit-tmeninijiet. Din il-kostatazzjoni ma hix facilment spjegabbli... huwa kaz car ta'"You've got to be there" pero indikazzjoni cara taghha huma il-kapiljaturi stile A-Ha ta bosta zaghzagh f'dawn l-akkwati kif ukoll il-Bowling Alley li ghadddejna minnu u li ma seax ma jfakkarniex fil-Bowling Alley meta fetah (bl-iskating rink fuqu).

Insomma programm divertenti iehor u illum it-tema bdiet bix-xiri u allura inkomplu hemm. Hafna qabel il-Price Club u l-iSmart verzjoni Superstore konna nitpaxxew bil-grocer. Grocer malti of course bis-sinjifikati kollha tieghu. Forsi tiftakru iz-zmien meta, filwaqt li kontu iggrampati mad-dublett tal-mummy tinsistu ghal xi cikkulata, l-istess mummy kienet tispara lista ta' prodotti essenzjali lejn persuna li ma stajniex naraw in-naha l-ohra tal-counter u bil-mod il-mod il-qoffa tax-xiri (li ma kenitx kwistjoni ta' moda jew ta' funky environmentalism izda ta' nuqqas ta plastic bags) kienet tintela. Fil-kaz tieghi din il-persuna kienet Helen tal-Bonello store li kien jinsab Paceville ftit l-isfel mis-Sundown Pub faccata ta' fejn issa hemm Bloomers.

L-ura lejn id-dar konna nispakkjaw il-fliexken tal-halib tal-MMU (fejn jekk konna xortina tajba wiehed minnhom kellu tapp bl-ismontra roza u jkun fih milkshake tal-frawli lest). Probabbli kien ikun hemm hobza tal-malti vera, xi pakket krustini ghal mal Kafe' u pakketti tal-pasta le Rose. L-Anchor butter, il-bovril, il-jelly tal-Foster Clarks u imbaghad il-gabra ta' bottijiet jikkumplementaw l-ikla. Ma rridx naghti x'nifhem li konna ghaddejjin xi zmien fejn konna bil-guh izda l-ghazla kienet dik li kienet. Il-prodotti li sopravvivew il-bagitts tac-cinturin biex niftiehmu.

Iktar tard kbirna ftit u l-mummy kienet tibaghtni ghand il-London Store - xi erba bibien l-boghod mill-Misfits - fejn minhabba xoghol xi gharef fil-gvern non-vjolenti Laburista il-mahbub Mario Briffa - ghalliem eccellenti tal-Ingliz Alla jahfirlu - kien imexxi l-istore u jippuncja l-kont minn wara l-counter filwaqt li jitlob li xi rih benevoli jehlisna minn dan iz-zmien ikrah u jkun jista jerga jiddedika ruhu ghat-taghlim. Pero dejjem kellu tbissima Mario li anki f'dan iz-zmien kien jixbah lil Bettino Craxi. Dejjem xi kelma ta' inkoraggament. M'hemmx ghalfejn tmur Franza biex issib lil Monsieur Ibrahim!

Insomma semmejna prodotti u semmejna persunaggi. U sports? Il-Hamrun habib, il-Hamrun. L-iSpartans li illum jissieltu ma timijiet ohra medjokri bhall-Furjana u l-Belt sabiex ma jaqghux ghall-injominita' tat-tieni divizjoni. Dak iz-zmien kienu huma. L-ahwa Vella and Co li kienu saru qishom il-Juve tal-post.

Se jkolli inhallikom hesrem. Ergajt ghal Franza illejla. Ghandi festin ghan habiba tat-tfajla go Metz. Din ghada kif ghamlet operazzjoni biex tkabbar sidirha (il-habiba mhux it-tfajla). Ghadni qed nhewden ghandix nghidilha prosit jew le. Immagina "Bon Anniversaire... et complements pour tes seins... ils sont formidables!!" Naqa' funny hux... ara jahasra kieku ghadu maghna il-Kraxi zgur kien isibli kif nohrog minnha.

Ghal darb'ohra.

Souvenirs (in black and white bhat-televixin)

Prodott tal-Gimgha: Halib tal-MMU - onestament - kemm il-wiehed intrema' wara gurnata sajfija? Imma xi pjacir tilghab flying saucer bl-ismontra. Kien is-sehta ghal kull tifel li jkolli jimxi hafna bi tlett ifliexken meta imur jixtri. U ghada bla halib... ghax strakjaw... nahseb.

Persunagg tal-Gimgha: Mario Briffa. Ghalliem u Grocer u Filosfu. ghalijja jissimbolizza il-hela ta zmien vjolenti. Ghalxejn nichdu li ma kenux u nghidu li l-marmalja ta Lowell huma aghar. Ghax bhal dak li qallek il-hela ta bniedem bhal dak jaghti il-bqija tal-hobz u bacon tad-Dewfresh mhix vjolenza inimmaginabbli. U jekk jersaq lejn xi skola isir blu di pelle minbarra blu di colore.

Hanut tal-Gimgha: London Store & Bonello Store: It-tnejn go Paceville. Bonello sar hanut tal-Urban Jungle dan l-ahhar. London ghadu speci ta' store izda m'ghandux x'jaqsam mal-ispirtu tat-tmeninijiet. Illum minn dawn il-hwienet Anni Ottanta go pacevilel baqa l-Queens go Ball Street hdejn il-Briganta u l-Ghall-Kafe. Gewwa it-triq li tul it-tmeninijiet kien xieraq tissejjah Little Tripoli.

Team tal-Gimgha: Hamrun Spartans. Ma tantx kont nifhem fil-futbol lokali. Ma kelli xmin jehodni il-ground u missieri kien jehodna biss naraw lit-Tarxien Rainbows ghax Frankie l-Ghawdxi kien jilghab maghhom. Il-ftit li niftakr kien il-Hamrun ikaxkru.


vendredi, septembre 16, 2005

Mots Crois�es #1

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Cheap'N'Cheerful Flights (the Saga Continues)

I last spoke of the MIA v. Ryanair issues in my answer to I.M.Beck (that's bocca when he is catching up with Lorna's writing) at the end of August. This article by the journalist among the Galea Debono sisters has opened another chapter in the insignificant sage of cheap and cheerful travel. It would seem that MIA has circulated a report among stakeholders and that a copy of this report has been seen by the times. It would seem that MIA is challenging the allegations that its airport fees are not among the obstacles faced by low-cost carriers. Here is a snippet from the Times' article:

"In the report, which has so far not been published, the company says that its aircraft landing charges are among the least costly in Europe and cheaper than many other airports, used by leading low-cost carriers, in Spain, Amsterdam and Slovenia, for example. The report was drawn up in view of the controversy regarding the relationship between low-cost carriers that may consider Malta a potential destination and MIA. It seems the aim behind the report is for MIA to dispel misconceptions on its competitiveness and any erroneous understanding that it is, in any way, impeding low-cost carriers from including Malta on their list of destinations. ."

Now I do not know about you, but I am eagerly awaiting the publication of the report. I would love to know what exactly is meant by vague phrases such as "among the least costly" and "cheaper than many other airports". Even more , I would like to know how MIA will justify its recent action pinpointing those wonderful destinations of Girona, Barcelona and Geneva as destinations from where we would all like to receive more tourists (we have enough tourists from the North African coast I guess). I already asked the question and will ask it again... Why is MIA taking on MTA's responsibilities? Can it? Should it?

"The report was drawn up in view of the controversy regarding the relationship between low-cost carriers that may consider Malta a potential destination and MIA. It seems the aim behind the report is for MIA to dispel misconceptions on its competitiveness and any erroneous understanding that it is, in any way, impeding low-cost carriers from including Malta on their list of destinations."

... and the best way to dispel misconceptions is to show it to stakeholders and to the Times. I've said this in the August post and will say it again too (yes it is repeat my phrases day).... they do not care about the taxpayer... they care about the stakeholders.

"The problem is that the consumer still confuses issues, such as the origins of other taxes, including the Lm20 government tax on each ticket, the report argues. Furthermore, the adherence to EU regulations now compels the abolishment of any monopoly in favour of healthy competition, meaning, for example, that Air Malta and Servisair Globeground operate alongside each other as ground handlers on a level playing field."

This report argues very much like Beck argued on that hot August Saturdayduring the Great August Blog Snooze. For an answer to this issue of confusion go back to my August post. The point is not the confusion....

The simple, uncomplicated, unhidden issue is this - and I will not couch it in any metaphors or allusions or stats:

a) the base ticket price is doubled by charges and tax combined
b) the basic message is STAY HOME

I'm off to book an Airmalta ticket for a visit home in November. The other option for flying to Malta is Luxair and they are even worse than our very own so stop whinging! Hehe!

jeudi, septembre 15, 2005

Lorna vs ANR (round II)

"Stop me... I'm Exultant" was the Nth in a number of posts dedicated to the language and works of Dame Vassallo. Quite coincidentally, while I was researching one of the subjects of Lorna's article today I discovered (with, I must confess, a measured amount of elation) that the valiant defenders of the Republic are not to be ignored when it comes down to the matter of flawed language usage. Indeed, unlike columnists who shy away from showing the web link to the pages of this crowd of self-proclaimed purists I will gladly point you to the locus delicti where at least a dozen crimes against the English language are being committed daily. This might be's hour of glory as the attention of error-sighting enthusiasts is diverted to yet another site.

Anyways� do pop over to where you will freely get a cocktail of ridiculous propaganda peppered with the most atrocious of errors since the Times editor issued the Nulla Osta for Lorna Vassallo's weekly space. Here are a few indicting samples:

"Alleanza Nazzjonali Repubblikana announces its first public manifestation: A public demonstration against illegal immigration through a press release which you can find ****. "

Who will point out to these valiant crusaders that the above sentence implies that their demonstration will be made by press release? I will. Yes sirs. "a demonstration against illegal immigration through a press release means just that". Of course we all know that these brave white men really meant that they are announcing their first public demonstration by way of a press release � but we cannot keep trying to second guess what the hell they are trying to say can we?

"A.N.R. is not a single issue movement and would in normal circumstances have liked to avoid a subject matter which is bound to raise controversy as its first manifestation. The present situation however is far from normal and unless serious immediate remedial action is not forthcoming illegal immigration is bound to get out of control and overwhelm us. A.N.R. is against illegal action wherever it originates from as it has made abundantly clear on every occasion and expects to see affirmative action taken against economic illegal migrants irrelevant of race or religion."

They are now economic illegal migrants. What exactly is that? How economic do you have to be in order to be unwanted?

"A.N.R shall be releasing more information in a forthcoming press conference. The Police have been informed of its intentions and as is law we will apply for a permit in the stipulated time frame. Furthermore A.N.R. will insist that the police will take immediate action to any individuals who intends to use this manifestation to promote his racist views."

Suddenly the schizophrenic nature of ANR comes out. It speaks of itself as though it were another entity - "have been informed of its intentions". "As is law" is a classic and must be somewhere up there among "utterly badly" and "delineating our boundaries". Besides� what kind of immediate action will be taken "to individuals who intends..:"? A pregnant phrase if any. Pregnant with daggers taking a stab at the English language once and for all. To me it reads like the police will be taking a couple of action movies to some individuals who are one (since they intends). I'm not too sure but reading between the lines it might be a swipe at Norma Lowell. Duh.

"Members of the public who would like to give a helping hand are encouraged to write to us at "

You are guaranteed to receive an email in perfect gibberish.

"A Difficult Speech : Mr. Ranier Fsadni endulges in flawed historical revisionism to dilute the significance of our 8th Of September National Feast. He accuses the A.N.R of being pompous in its statements and of engaging in "bad myth making"."

Ranier. Did you have to go so far? Stop endulging (it's indulging actually)! Pompous? The ANR? They cannot get their language right how the hell can they be pompous?

"The Lionhearts of Malta : Just a few days after going public, Mrs. Daphne Caruana Galizia has concluded that we at A.N.R. should all go get a life."

When was that then 1992? 1993? I do not really remember when DCG first went public. Oh all right� I know you all get it� you know what they meant� problem is�. Do these gits get it too?

Stop me... I'm Exultant

Dame Lorna's meanderings have led her to a lamabasting of the RRR. She has joined the ranks of the many columnists busy condemning the monster that is rearing its ugly head. Well done Lorna. She could not resist linking this phenomenon to her recurrent theme: "The Decline and Fall of the Nationalist Party". The party is in tatters and has many splinter groups according to the Queen of new age literature. LV begins by telling us that:
"prior to EU accession I myself had repeatedly, albeit hypothetically, raised such a possibility".
She herself has no bounds. You either raise a point or you don't. Anyway that hypothetically does not fit in anyway. She is talking about the possibility of Europe being invaded by Africa. Of course you were speaking hypothetically your Fluency. Hypothetically as in mentioning the possibility that once we joined the EU we would be invaded by Africans. On the other hand you cannot have the hypothetically in that sentence. You either "raise the possibility" or you do not. You cannot do so hypothetically. Because that means that you do not do that. Really. No. Really really. Jeez It's mind bending.
"They are African citizens."
Now now. Not the best of phrases in an article that is meant to be an attack on the nationalist elements of Maltese society. Her phrase implies a brown passport with jungle trees and a photo of natives on the front. The African passport I guess.
There are worrying bits in the middle of the article. Of logic I mean. Not the language. The sorry state of Maltese politics as far as ANR, Lowell, Figolla and others are concerned cannot afford to be compounded further by the addition of another carnival float in the shape of Dame Lorna the mind-boggling. This paragraph is enough to confuse the most avid of followers of Maltese politics:
"It was the Opposition Leader's turn now to voice his opinion. Feeling comfortable enough that others are fighting the opposition's battle, the former anti-EU socialist economist declared: "We are here, first and foremost, to defend the interests of our country". At no time has a Labour leader been so confident he will be applauded by supporters of the other party."
It is definitely a criticism to Alfred Sant. That much I gather. So Lorna who declared allegiance to the leader while apologising to KMB for her failing him in any way is now telling AS that he has abandoned the Opposition's cause and is gathering votes among the far right loonies with his ridiculous statements. Bravo Lorna. If I read this right I agree with you.
"is doing utterly badly financially"
Utterly badly indeed. Indeed. Tut tut!
"Definitely nobody is exulted about the ever-increasing influx of immigrants".
Exultant maybe. Exultant. Endings dear, endings. Which leads us to the historical coup de grace...
"The Maltese government should put the best available brains together [a sort of forget-me-not note] to solve the issue. It is time Malta flourished in its diplomatic relations [Dar Malta II maybe?]. And this is but a necessity. The Maltese contribution to European politics was very often underestimated. We tend to take upon our shoulders European "battles", notwithstanding our size, and solve them to everybody's amazement . It's time to start thinking again. Grand Master La Valette fought the Great Siege for Europe [for the Kings and Queens of Europe who were busy oppressing the lower social classes who inspire MLP's agenda] 10 generations back and World War II was fought for Nelson [ok. tell me there is a typo here! What war was fought for Nelson anyway? or is this Nelson a personification of Brittania??] one generation back; it seems it's time we fight another battle for (or with?[with??? are you nuts woman???]) Europe. Thus [could've been hence, therefore or even ergo], we badly need another Arvid Pardo or another Dom Mintoff [oh ever so badly needed]in order to delineate our boundaries[as dogs against a tree I guess]."
So there you have it. The ingratitude of Ewripp after we fought off the bloody Turks (Eurasian Citizens) and the Krauts (with Nelson) will be repaid by our marking of our boundaries (drink two litres of water before the performance). In the meantime hidden laboratories will create a superior lower social class ubermensch with cells taken from Arvid Pardo and Dom Mintoff. Alfred Sant will be listed separately on the electoral ballot as the Politician Formerly Known as the Anti Eu Socialist Economist (PFKATAESE for short). But then all this could be hypothetical!

I'm off to mark my boundaries. I have an utterly bad craving to do so....

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Horatio surveys the skies for any Messerschmits on the loose!

Do not forget to pop over to the Akkuza Shop and examine our wonderful merchandising - including the J'Accuse Cheesy Mousepad

mercredi, septembre 14, 2005

The Truth according to Balzan

A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.(Terry Pratchett, The Truth)

Matthew Vella is here on holiday. (Yeah). Between bouts of wankellectualism and attempts at snide coolness (and a labourite je ne sais quoi) the man with Sant's eyes and his banana brother provide a good source of company that is easily pushed into passing judgemental statements of the kind "You are such a nationalist". Notwithstanding the constant effort to outcool all around him by his apparent nonchalant approach to life and I-really-do-not care attitude Matthew "Santino" Vella is fun.

Matthew is a journalist and he works with that Guru of conspiracy theories in a team that we can call Balzan's Heroes for the sake of argument. Armed with a pen and a queer taste for the non-controversial controversies and attempting to uncover the uncoverable, Balzan's Heroes propagate the myth that feeds one half of the Maltese population � conspiracy theories and the allegation of ulterior motives for any person's public actions.

At the head of this brave unit of discoverers of the truth is Saviour "barkwithnobite" Balzan. Now, before you go clicking on REPLIQUE and covering me in filth, let me say that I like MaltaToday and what it is trying to do. Just like I like Alternattiva and what it is trying to do. I also like the 60's VW Campers. But I would never own one. Both Maltatoday and Alternattiva are attempts of the BR in Maltese politics to point one big Up Yours at the social and political status quo. They are a reaction to the Faustos of this world who think that a little evil is better than a worse evil and there is nothing you can do about it so curl up in your sofa read your Spectator and at some point remind people that you are Christian after all (and oh, I almost forgot� vote PN).

The good intentions of both Maltatoday and Alternattiva are evident to people like myself. However as the old adage goes� the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The tortuous road to street cred in Malta is piled with devilish obstacles. The insinuations and rumours spread by the big two and their media is only the tip of the iceberg. In order to break through the public mindset of dualism the young paper and party (who cohabit so funnily incidentally) must invest in stocks and shares of TRUST. The big T world. The Maltese public's political sway is so heavily dependent on Trust with that big T. Once you gain the people's trust you can say any amount of bullshit and they will believe you. You can promise that you will not raise taxes and then raise them, you can promise not to remove stipends and remove them, you can promise to remove a VAT and then remove it and then introduce the same tax with a different name� does it end?

In the case of the young paper and party, the gaining of trust costs at least triple. They start at a great disadvantage since they are non-conventional. Maltatoday has a bit of a headstart since it sells a product that is loved by many in today's voyeurist world. It also makes people feel happy and justified because it rants many socialist rants against those who earn too much (vide MEPs) � and in a discontent society those who seem to be better off are the first to go. Revolutionary is it not?

Now Balzan. The editorial of the internet version of this week's Maltatoday talks about criticism and when it is personal. Before I go on I must declare my personal link to part of the subject. Nathaniel Attard of Net TV fame (or notoriety) is my cousin. A very good cousin at that. I love his company and find him very congenial and I admire his achievements. We obviously do not see eye to eye in politics. I never liked the fact that Nathaniel was a newsreader on NET. Just as as I would ask Veronique Dalli how the hell she could stomach such biased news on Super 1 I would put the same question to Nathaniel. But that is his choice and I respect it (while still disagreeing).

Back to Balzan. His editorial first spoke about referring to people in opinions or leaders. He claims custom changed and now he joins the rest who drop names without restraint. Balzan then begins a little serenade about the new state TV head. He mentions both Vanessa McDonald and Nathaniel Attard as possible names. Now what irritates me is that Mr. The Truth is Golden and Mr. Personal Criticism is basing his Editorial on two rumours. Regarding Mrs McDonald he explicitly states that unconfirmed rumours are the source of his info. Regarding Nathaniel it is the Labour press that provide his source.

Why am I irked? Well. To begin with being a good old fashioned lover of proper journalism I believe that an Editorial is a sacred cow in the newspaper world. It is at once a summary of the main stories to be found within the paper as well as an expression of the Opinion of the institution that is the newspaper behind the editorial. That is why after reading the piece I was interested in finding out whether there is any truth in the possibility that Nathaniel could be head of news. I did not expect an editorial simply to repeat a rumour and leave it at that � especially in a paper that seems to take pride in its manner of investigative journalism.

Personal interest or not I would have like to know more. Instead the paper is completely devoid of any articles on the matter. Balzan's editorial turns out to be an agony aunt kind of rant that has nothing to do with what an editorial is all about. Rumour spinning and rumour-mongering is the domain of tabloids and the petty magazines purchased for the beach.

Is that what Malta Today is all about? Ironically I think that that is the only truth that we will be unearthing this time round!

* So�before anyone says it. Read the article again. Imagine Nathaniel was not my cousin but a hypothetical Franklin Mamo (who happens to be someone I know). Would it change anything about the worry of an editorial based on rumours? No. My guess is I would still get a comment stating that I have a personal interest in the matter� baffles me�. But hey� that's Malta!

lundi, septembre 12, 2005

Cheesy Mousepad

Alors. Seeing that other people are into business, J'Accuse has decided to start off too. I will definitely not be bursting into the giddy heights of the Bill Gates of this world but this should be a sweet experiment. Here is what it is all about. You can now buy ... yes I said buy.... a souvenir J'Accuse mousepad. It is the first in a long line of products designed to please.

Where from? Here actually. The shop is still being designed but I plan to add a number of humorous products for your amusement and hopefully for the disbursement of minor sums from your wallet. Obviously I do not intend to make any money out of this venture and products have only been marked up by $2 in the hope that any revenue covers akkuza expenses in the future. (yeah right).

First product: The Mouse Pad... complete with Lorna Quote.

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The Million Dollar Homepage

I first heard about this from Arcibald. I've been to Alex's page and I must admit that it's a case of hats off for the great but simple idea. Only a few weeks ago while staring at a paperclip I was mulling over the possibility of coming up with that simple idea that could earn loads of money fast in order to lead a more comfortable life. Alex has come up with a great idea and from what I read in his blog it seems to be paying off... literally.

One small thing. The name of the page has a little TM at the top. A little visit to the site of the UK Patent Office shows that it is not registered yet. A little slip that might cost money if not amended fast!

"Making a million dollars is the simplest thing in the world. Just find a product that sells for $2000 and that you can buy at a cost of $1000, and sell a thousand of them." - Jerry Gillies


bassa - scorreggio - fart - prout (ou pet)

dimanche, septembre 11, 2005

Non Sequitur #23

The Lion Roared Tonight
Valletta FC defeated Marsaxlokk FC 3-2 tonight. Branko Nisevic scored once and Ian ZAMMIT scored twice. Rivals Floriana had succumbed to the might of Msida St. Joseph in yesterday's six-goal yawn. In other matches Pieta Hotspur's keeper Andrew Hogg scored a last minute equaliser for the team that also produced Bulgarian wonder Valerij Bojinov who was on the scoresheet for Fiorentina in their two-two draw with Messina. Juventus won 4-0 away from home against Empoli with goals from Trezeguet (2), Vieira and Camoranesi.

This is what is called a good sporting Sunday.