mercredi, novembre 30, 2005

Goran Bregovic

Image hosted by

Tonight at 2000 hours we will be at the Luxembourg Philarmonic to watch Goran Bregovic in concert. I was introduced to the music of Bregovic and Kusturica (No Smoking Orchetsra) by none other than mad dog DJ Job (of Misfits fame). They both rock. I was lucky enough to watch Kusturica and his No Smoking Orchestra perform live last year at the Kulturfabrik in Esch-Sur-Alzette. So tonight I will be watching the other end - the musician as against the director turned musician. Looking forward.

Any ideas for my spoof blog? The Difer post is becoming stale...


Nema vise sunca
Nema vise meseca
Nema tebe, nema mene
Niceg vise, nema joj.
Pokriva nas ratna tama
Pokriva nas tama joj.
A ja se pitam moja draga
Sta ce biti sa nama?
Mesecina, mesecina,
joj, joj, joj, joj
Sunce sija ponoc bije,
joj, joj, joj, joj
Sa nebesa, zaproklija
Niko ne zna, niko ne zna
Niko ne zna, niko ne zna
Niko ne zna sta to sija

Tunnel Vision (and now the news)

Luxembourg is incredible. The Domestic News section in any news providing medium is always boring to say the least. As we all know, no news is good news, but what is incredible is the constancy with which "No News" is available in Letzebuerg. Today's headliner is Traffic Accident (in tunnel - with picture)... Here is rest of today's domestic (as in national) news from

Domestic News

Prisoner Rearrested [30-NOV-05]
"A man was returned to Schrassig prizon after being captured in the early hours of yesterday morning...." >>> more >>>
Child Stuck in Lift [30-NOV-05]
"A child got stuck in a lift in Esch-sur-Alzette on Monday afternoon, but was later freed. A young..." >>> more >>>
Tunnel Accident [30-NOV-05]
"A traffic accident occurred on Monday afternoon on the A13 motorway at the Mondorf tunnel, direction..." >>> more >>>
Dog Stops Train [30-NOV-05]
"A dog stopped a train in its tracks yesterday afternoon. The incident happened shortly before 3pm..." >>> more >>>
Police Bombing Email Address Compromised [29-NOV-05]
"The e-mail address announced by the police last week concerning a request for information to aid the..." >>> more >>>

I am still undecided what the man could be in prison for. Blocking children in lifts? Causing a traffic accident? Putting a dog on railtracks? or Reading the news?

Complain, complain, complain... I should be content with all this shouldn't I? Somehow we are never content. OR maybe I just miss the Luxembourgish Lorna equivalent that would make some days of the week more interesting.


mardi, novembre 29, 2005

J'Accuse (the song)

Paroles: Michel Sardou, Pierre Delanoë. Musique: Jacques Revaux

J'accuse les hommes un par un et en groupe
J'accuse les hommes de cracher dans leur soupe
D'assassiner la poule aux oeufs d'argent
De ne prévoir que le bout de leur temps
J'accuse les hommes de salir les torrents
D'empoisonner le sable des enfants
De névroser l'âme des pauvres gens
De nécroser le fond des océans

J'accuse les hommes de violer les étoiles
Pour faire bander le Cap Canaveral
De se repaître de sexe et de sang
Pour oublier qu'ils sont des impuissants
De rassembler les génies du néant
De pétroler l'aile des goélands
D'atomiser le peu d'air qu'ils respirent
De s'enfumer pour moins se voir mourir


J'accuse les hommes de crimes sans pardon
Au nom d'un homme ou d'une religion
J'accuse les hommes de croire des hypocrites
Moitié pédés moitié hermaphrodites
Qui jouent les durs pour enfoncer du beurre
Et s'agenouillent aussitôt qu'ils ont peur
J'accuse les hommes de se croire des surhommes
Alors qu'ils sont bêtes à croquer la pomme

J'accuse les hommes je veux qu'on les condamne
Au maximum qu'on arrache leur âme
Et qu'on la jette aux rats et aux cochons
Pour voir comment eux ils s'en serviront
J'accuse les hommes en un mot comme en cent
J'accuse les hommes d'être bête et méchants
Bêtes à marcher au pas des régiments
De n'être pas des hommes tout simplement

Tend to be Gay? (Sod 'em)

From the BBC: The Vatican has published long-awaited guidelines which reaffirm that active homosexuals and "supporters of gay culture" may not become priests. But it treats homosexuality as a "tendency", not an orientation, and says those who have overcome it can begin training to take holy orders.

More Vatican news therefore. After the eradication of "limbo" we are now seeing a rewording of the Vatican policy on homosexuality. The Vatican refers to homosexuality as a "tendency" - you tend to be gay - which can be overcome. Under the new guidelines in fact, a person may be ordained a deacon after three years have passed since he "overcomes a transitory problem". Although sexual apostates would be allowed to proceed towards priesthood the document still reserves harsh words for the homosexual "sinner".

"If a candidate practises homosexuality, or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination(...) Such persons in fact find themselves in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women." But the paper also stresses the Church's deep respect for homosexuals, who, it says, should by no means be discriminated against.

Canon law experts note that the new guidelines were not issued in forma specifica, meaning the Pope has not officially invested it with his personal authority, according to the National Catholic Reporter. That might mean there is room for further interpretation or revision in the future.

The times, they are a-changing. Slowly. very slowly. The last word, surely, must go to Chubby Checker....

Every limbo boy and girl
All around the limbo world
Gonna do the limbo rock
All around the limbo clock
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick
Jack go unda limbo stick
All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do the limbo rock
Limbo lower now
Limbo lower now
How low can you go

First you spread your limbo feet
Then you move to limbo beat
Limbo ankolimboneee,
Bend back like a limbo tree
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick
Jack go unda limbo stick
All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do the limbo rock

la la la etc (instead of instrumental break)

Get yourself a limbo girl
Give that chic a limbo whirl
There's a limbo moon above
You will fall in limbo love
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick
Jack go unda limbo stick
All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do the limbo rock
Don't move that limbo bar
You'll be a limbo star

How low can you go?

Illustration: Sodom

Non Sequitur #38

Church set to banish "Limbo"

The theologians of the Vatican no longer believe in the existence of the final resting place for kids who die before being baptised. La Repubblica reports a Vatican plan to revise this thought:

Il «limbo», spazio astratto ai margini del Paradiso in cui hanno trovato posto anche i santi patriarchi e i profeti di Israele vissuti prima di Cristo, tuttavia non esiste. E' quello che si appresta a ribadire la Commissione teologica internazionale, un organismo costituito dal Vaticano in seno alla Congregazione per la dottrina della fede - la stessa presieduta da Joseph Ratzinger prima della sua nomina al soglio pontificio -, i cui teologi hanno individuato una diversa sorte per i bimbi non battezzati. Li si troverebbe cioè non nell'inesistente «limbo», parola che peraltro non esiste nella Bibbia, bensì «nel contesto del disegno salvifico universale di Dio, dell'unicità della mediazione di Cristo e della sacramentalità della Chiesa in ordine alla salvezza».
A document presenting this revision is expected to be presented to Pope Benedict from the Santo Uffizio.

P.S. When contacted for comment Minister Austin Gatt declared that this is "just another U-turn".

Illustration: Andrea Mantegna's Descent into Limbo

lundi, novembre 28, 2005

CHOGM: Coverage vs. Exposure

David kept on insisting that there was not sufficient coverage of CHOGM and all the thrills and goings on in Malta. I missed most of the reporting this weekend because of my various commitments in the hexagon (not a building but a country). I gladly reproduce the picture of a certain Fiona McKeown (a colonial surname, how fitting!) going through the steps of a dance in the opening ceremony of CHOGM.

Looks like there was a certain amount of exposure after all...

PS: After having heard that La Famiglia Cristiana has allowed the first nude pics to appear in its adverts, and in an effort not to be outdone, J'Accuse pounced on the first opportunity to keep "abreast" of the latest developments.

dimanche, novembre 27, 2005

De Retour

My weekend started in Metz. A good Friday night out at a Tapas bar... A late morning at M.'s mum with the usual sumptuous breakfast. Shopping in Metz is always a pleasure. There is the SAFI (Italian products) where I stock up on the charcuterie d'italie. But above all there is FNAC. Here is a list of the usual eclectic purchases:

Las Vegas Crooners (Compilation)
Paul Anka - Rock Swings (it rocks, or should I say it swings?)
Les Ogres de Barback - La Fanafare du Belgistan (never heard of them but i already love them)
Le Cirque des Mirages - Fumee d'Opium (a sort of modern Brel)
Michel Sardou - Best of (MS) (further freducation)
Kusturica's Underground DVD ( preparing for Goran Bregovic concert at the Philarmonie on Thursday)

That's it. It's freezing. I still have not found a nice parka. Metz, Longwy and Saulnes are beautiful under snow. Xitan is teething. She brought me a canine (or is it a feline?) as soon as we arrived. Christmas deco has started. We have a huge sapin... transported first half today.

It's a tree but not a true tree otherwise it would die die die ....

a demain!

vendredi, novembre 25, 2005

Best in Peace

A legend has passed away. The man described by Pele' as "the best player in the world", George Best (of Northern Ireland and Manchester United) has breathed his last breath. A great player from the past leaves us.

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."
George Best
1946 -2005

The Snow Hath Fallen


Snow has fallen on the Duchy. This is the photo of the first snow from my bedroom window. A cold awakening it has been. Meanwhile anybody wishing to check out (for any fetishist reasons) a selection of photos from my 30th birthday drinks at Urban can click on the title of this post. Ingenious... (and getting ready for my new cam!)

jeudi, novembre 24, 2005

English for the Queen

Di-ve (Gaffe Incorporated) have pounced upon the opportunity of reporting the Queen's visit to display their wonderful repertoire of English as it is written. It appears that the Queen was given an "Exceedingly Warm Welcome". Exceeding what exactly? Warmer than a ftira (Maltese bread) but cooler than a hot iron? It's English Your Majesty... much as we speak it....

From's special CHOGM page:
Exceedingly warm welcome to the Queen
November 24 2005 1330 CET

The Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh received an exceedingly warm welcome at the Cottonera Sports complex this morning, when they met some 2,500 children who convened for the official celebrations to mark Children’s Day 2005.

Kick Off (CHOGM has landed)

Hon Sato Kilman is in Malta. I am sure most (Maltese) people will only guess that he is the man on the right in the picture because they make a mental (cultural) equation that equiparates strange names with persons of a different hue of skin. This educated guess will not however be shadowed by an even greater one that tells us all "Who is Mr Kilman?" For your information Mr Kilman who is pictured getting off an Alitalia flight with other bemused passengers is the Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu. Vanuatu is the stuff of dreams for soccer statisticians, geography enthusiasts and vulcanologists. Alas, it is not exactly what one would call a prime actor on the world stage.

The reason for Mr Kilman's visit is of course the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting - or something, because I am sure there should be State somewhere in there). It has kicked off in the George Cross Island. For of course the Queen E is here (not the old heavyweight vessel that has served the British people much in attracting tourism but the real deal Lizzie). And when the Q is in the house the proud Republic becomes the George Cross vassal once again in proud remembrance of how the Maltese stood tall (relatively) in the face of the Kraut and Wop. Because 50 odd years have passed and she still has the same things to tell us. Don't blame you Beth for what else is there to praise? Oh yes, hope you meet our Nobel Laureate columnist who might even be graceful enough to right an "Off with her head" piece in the Times while you are there.

David over at Lanzarote lamented late last night that no one is talking about CHOGM in the world and provided a questionable link to a rag of little honour to prove his point. 27 minutes later (which is when I caught on to his story) a Google News search of the term "CHOGM" had produced 40 results. Admittedly it was from such lighthouses of press such as the Fiji Times, Tobago News, Pakistan Papers and the Sydney Herald. By this morning the same search produced 461 direct hits. And it will probably continue to grow as the Queen cuts more ribbons, the Duke insults the Gozitans and Mr Kilman inaugurates the Malta-Vanuatu Friends Circle.

CHOGM is not exactly the EU. Nor is it Mercosur or COMNEBOL. It is CHOGM. The Commonwealth might light up flames of memory among the Henry Frendo's of this world but it can never be a world moving body as much as the Francophonic equivalent (still trying to steal Quebec from the Commonwealth) will. It is useful though. It is another forum where Malta is a key player (and can organise its events - thankfully for its roads).

It has become a subject of derision. Maltese speak with disdain of Fiji, Vanuatu (I wonder if Turks & Caucos are included, I always loved that one). Why? Because they are small and insignificant. Ah the irony. Ah the Mintoffian oxymoron. The Creator must always be thanked for having placed our rock bang in the middle of all cradles of civilisation in a Europacentric world. Consider how far Mr Kilman has to go to be heard. Some islands are lucky. Look at Hawaii.... it gets to be American and have surf. Others have to try to excel at rugby to get on the world map. Oops sorry, sounds like Malta again.

We are not the same. We are in the Union. Little do we know of the reactions of bewilderment in certain corners of Germany, Austria or France when the reality of voting power of Maltese in Council comes home. Malta? Vote? Parliamentarians? Luxembourg I understand. They have money and speak a twisted German. But Malta?????

So what should we get out of Chogm? Once we pull down all the posters, once the Illustrious quits the harbour and once the last leader or deputy of a cricketing state has quit the GC island what should we reflect upon?

1. We should remember that we should respect other small states. Think that they might see us as a strong link of collaboration with the EU. They see us as "one of ours on the inside" ... and we owe it to them. This common heritage that we have thanks to being lumped with the same colonisers (who were not so bad) can be reaped.

2. We should use this to remember how good we have it. No matter how much we moan and whine about the project called EU which is limping along uncomfortably we have to bear in mind that there are states who have Deputy Leaders who get off a passenger plane and get photographed only because they are attending a huge event and who would otherwise never make page 25 of the Times. The EU places us on the world map as participants in a project (that needs much redefining) and makes us actors rather than simple observers.

Now if that is not alot for a country of barely 400,000 souls and 2,000 odd immigrants what is?

We've come a long way since the GC baby!

Have a nice CHOGM and say hi to Sato for me!

mercredi, novembre 23, 2005

Odds & Ends

A few odds and ends to blog about. Consider it an administrative and information notice.

Image hosted by

  1. Firstly, the image above is of a Fuji Finepix S9500. Which is the camera that I have set my eyes on. It would be nice if anyone with a minimum knowledge of photography could help me along with my choice. Any comments on its quality or possible alternatives (quasi-SLRs) would be nice. Thanks to the former blogger, hazevi for his tips. His photos can be seen here and they are fantastic (he even manages to make Guze look passably good when out of focus! :) )
  2. Secondly in this post I referred to Mongolia having 130 "troops" in Iraq. Following certain questions received in private let me reassure you by saying that "troops" is a military abbreviation used for troopers. It does not imply, as many think, a group of persons but one person or trooper. Hence the sum total of the third largest contingent in Bush's Grand Coalition is .... 130 men.
  3. Finally, Sean Madden has opened a discussion at iNoodle with an interesting question. All those wishing to participate in the search for the right democracy are urged to log onto his blog and write on! This is the kind of exercise for which I created the blog called Postform. Sean and maybe the Unknown Candidate should take a look and consider joining the list of contributors there (to join just send me your blogger email and I will add you on!).
  4. For lovers of archaic Maltese ... a new post on the Bollettino has been added.... and the Spoof Site has struck again.

Non Sequitur #37

No Comment
According to a report which appeared in the newspaper Malta Today of 20 November 2005, the European Commission has awarded a EUR 565,000 contract to the media agency of the governing Christian Democratic Party in Malta (Media Link Communications) to provide a daily press review to the European Commission Representation in Malta

Commissioner Wallström’s spokesperson Mikolaj Dowgielewicz was reported to have replied to the Malta Today queries by saying: “The fact that a tenderer was owned by a political party was not considered to be a situation of conflict of interests as defined in the tender specifications.”

Report in Malta Today
Postform Post by Antoine Cassar
Alternattiva Press Release
The European Commission
The Nationalist Party

mardi, novembre 22, 2005

Show Me More American Democracy

President W. Bush is in Mongolia. Mongolia is the third largest contributor to the forces in the Coalition after the US and UK. The number of Mongolian soldiers? 130 troops. The last Mongolian forces to go to Iraq, led by a grandson of Genghis Khan in 1258, sacked Baghdad and killed an estimated 800,000 people. Hegel here I come.

Meanwhile from today's Times :

FIVE members of the same Iraqi family, three of them children under the age of 4, were shot dead yesterday when US troops opened fire on their minivan outside a military base, fearing a suicide car bomb attack. The family were returning from a funeral in Balad to nearby Baquba, north of Baghdad, when they came across a patrol of US military vehicles forming a roadblock near the base. “The soldiers started shooting at us from all over,” Ahmed Kamel al-Sawamara, 22, the driver, said at the hospital where the dead and three wounded were taken. “I slowed down and pulled off the road, but they continued firing. I saw my family killed, one after the other, and then the car caught fire. I dragged their bodies out.”


American troops are often accused by Iraqis of shooting at civilian vehicles at roadblocks and from convoys travelling among ordinary traffic; but checkpoints and convoys are frequently attacked by car bombers driving civilian vehicles. No such bombing has yet been carried out by a vehicle with multiple occupants.

The Americans have never published figures for how many civilians they have killed by mistake in such incidents.

Waiting Room - Part I

Image hosted by

We live in a fast world. Speed is of essence. Fast food. Fast service and rapid action. Wars are judged on their rapidity of achieving the desired conclusion. Records are measured in relative speed and it is the fastest that is exalted. Have you ever heard of the man who can finish 100 metres in the slowest time? Of course not. Speed. If a trip takes longer than expected then the time is "wasted". Flushed down the drain. Somewhere there must be the depository of all those lost seconds. Like in Pratchett's Thief of Time there must be the monks of time stealing time from one part and placing it elsewhere where it is needed.

The much reviled Maltese Public Servant was a sans-pareil time juggler. Working on borrowed time meant having that second job that you could preferably keep up with during office hours. This was very well parodied by Paolo Villaggio in the great film "Il Secondo Tragico Fantozzi". Time must not, at all costs, be wasted. You are most probably paid in accordance to the amount of time you work (yes, I can already see the comments by those ignorant punters who never tire of the same stuff and cannot resist the jibe at bloggers at work ... go ahead skip the rest and click on comment - no anonimity is allowed).

Time. Hours. Seconds. Minutes. Yet in our world there are still elaborately constructed and irritatingly designed capsules where, given the right motive, you can sit and read or observe while time seems to wind down to a near halt. They have not been the subject of much scientific study but these veritable time machines are extremely intriguing. They are spaces built intentionally for their occupants to wait for time to pass. They are an important link in the time-space continuum. They are Waiting Rooms.

I find them absolutely fascinating. Doctor, dentist, lawyer or insurance agency. You will inevitably have passed through a waiting room sometime in your life. It is one of the absolute democratic places. Once you qualify for being present therein then you are equal to all inside. The only difference is that you know who will be leaving first. I was lucky enough to be in a waiting room at 7.55 am this morning. A weird one at that. It was the waiting room for a company specialising in changing tyres. This is where the whole population of Luxembourg converges at the beginning of winter to switch from summer to winter tyres and have their wheels aligned for the oncoming glacial period.

So there we were. The secretary, the arab looking guy, the Italian looking guy, the old woman acting like a duchess, the black woman, the technogeek armed with laptop and fourty other odd souls. All exhibiting one or more traits of "a person in a waiting room". Old men reading "Femme Actuelle" and holding it up as though it was their perfectly natural choice every time they walked into a press shop. The idiot who chose to wear turqoise socks under his black suit and in his black shoes and who was now perfectly aware that his ankles had become a perfect form of entertainment for many in the room who needed a distraction. The two luxembourgers conversing in their sing-song language about whoknowswhat at this unearthly hour.

The magazines are always chosen by some sadistic freak who picks out the least readable and most irritating of them all. Of course they must be minimum two years old in accordance to Directive 44/99 EC Concerning Distribution of Journals and other Media in Spaces reserved for Waiting for a Service (hereunder referred to as "The Directive"). The same directive provides that there must be a minimum of one complicated machine to provide food or beverage and - in deference ot the rule of unavoidable monopolies and services in a dominant position - such aforesaid food and beverage must be of the inedible and undrinkable kind.

"The machine" provides the classic "person in the waiting room decides to use the machine" sketch. Such person spends ten times the average time to find the right amount of change. Inserts such change only to find that aforesaid machine accepts coins from the Reign of Charles V and preferably pieces of eight. At this point all other persons in the room develop a sudden interest in wall-gazing. No one will proffer the right coin to the person who thus has to fish into his socks to find his last piece of eight for the day. The machine will then proceed to request for personal identification and passport prior to providing a menu in hindi or sanskrit for the choice of product which will in any case turn out to be sold out.

At the end the red in the face customer will cling to his moth eaten paper glass of cup-a-soup (Extra Sugar) and offer a smile of resignation that says "I put money in the drinks machine for a coffee but all I got is this lousy Chicken Noodle Soup". The lifespan of such glass has been calculated to be around fourty seconds, or in other words, the time it takes for its beleagured owner to reach the uncomfortable seat (in accordance with the Directive) and balance it on the only table in the room (the one laden with Femme Actuelle, Die Auto von Trier and An Abbreviated Version of the Upanishad in Tamil). It is here that chicken soup man discovers that the table has one leg shorter than the other three and will now perform the slow motion tilt that will terminate in a chicken soup on floor (with noodles under sofa) display.

The whole action takes four long seconds and could have been avoided. I say could since Chicken Soup Person is perfectly placed to avoid the tragedy by a quick reflex action to stop the fall and catch the broth. But we all know that Chicken Soup man is aware of the fact that "The Adventure of Chicken Soup Man" has just leapfrogged over "Man in Turqoise Socks" in the Waiting Room box office hits of latest attractions. It is this added attention that at the moment of truth forces chicken soup man to perfectly imitate a headless duck with acute pruritis. The supposedly saving action only succeds to splash the contents of the soup in all directions around him in much the same way as the metaphoric faeces that strikes the instrument of cool ventilation.

In the moments of silence that follow the murderous intent emanting from victims of the Chicken Soup Spread could be sniffed by an alsatian with one nostril. Red faced chicken soup man could never, in one lifetime, pick up any remnants of honour and pride and proceeds to mop up the disaster using the centerfold pages of Femme Actulle, 1969 (recipe of choucroute alsacienne)....

I'd love to go on... but it will take another post to do so. Time will not wait, so The Waiting Room will need a deuxiême partie. See you later then.

lundi, novembre 21, 2005


Image hosted by

Monday Mornings. The big Double M. As Luxembourg continues its process of gradual congealing waking up begins to be that tad bit harder. The dilemma is between putting the radiator on full and thus relegating your brain to an eternal slumber or to leave it on mild and wake up daily to the equivalent of a cold splash of water. All these difficulties are confounded by the onslaught of colds, rheums and other variants which tend to block all breathing apparata and, of late, seal the eyelids with a form of superglue as yet undiscovered by the pundits of commercial exploitation.

Radios in Luxembourg are of no help. Without a Carlo Borg Bonaci to deal with, the mind has to operate with more than one brain cell in order to process the output of Letzebeursch gabble. Unless of course your random hits at the autotune button draws RadioSaarland out of the jackpot of stations that are beyond mastering. Guten Morgen! Und gesundheit. In that case you may as well resign yourself to the inevitable mixture of P Diddy and Falco. The trick is to avoid Radio Ara. They play Morrissey in the morning. That's instant choking material.

Outside the obstacles have multiplied. Having ironed your shirt, chosen your suit and fed the cat (and cleaned it's litter) you venture into the biting cold beyond the double-glazing. The street has taken on a peculiar tinge - iceish white. It seems hesitant to freeze over just yet so it's performing the general rehearsal. After a few cautious steps to ensure the "slipperisity level" on the pavement you cross the road to your car. Miraculously it has not started doing its impressions of an icebox yet. So defreeze and pickaxe remain unused until now. Sit in the car and the luxurious leather seats proceed to freeze your buttocks con gusto. The comfortable allegro andante provided by the Alfa Romeo is further compounded by the fact that, this being Luxembourg, the heating starts to work after half the drive to Kirchberg is over.

Or it would be half way to work were it not for the inexplicable crawl of traffic. A sort of Matrix-style slowdown version of the approach to the Tal-Qroqq roundabout is reenacted daily. The Luxembourg manners (no irony here) on the road do not add any fluidity to the snake as red light after red light illuminate the lesss than 4 kilometre drive to the Kirchberg plateau. The irritating thing is that no accidents are a the root cause of this trawl. It's just a morning version of the Sunday Drive on the Maghtab Boulevard. Until the glacis that is. Where by some divine intervention all Luxembourg drivers rev up their engines and let loose the cheap diesel powering their SUV's. Which baffles me.

Because (I love starting sentences with because) if there is any place that those hideous Luxembourger excuses for policing can be found with camera in hand it is after the glacis. So the maltese driver is practically the only one chugging away at 50 km per ora while all around him zip by like some intergalactic space leapers. Take me to your leader! I had discovered the lack of joy of sitting on the roadside justifying your 95km/h in a 50 limit zone to an unamused police office. So I'll be damned if I ever press the pedal again in the Niedergrunenwald.

Leaving the last two traffic lights behind me I approach the Curia with caution. The last bit into the car park is downhill. Dangerous if some hidden patch of ice is lying in wait. Swipe card at the ready I enter the building with a warm freudian feeling of relief as if entering a welcoming womb. The cold is behind me. The ice is history and the slow nerve-wracking traffic an illusion. Most times parking is a headache since all my co-workers contrive (nastily) to be there ahead of me. Today was a nice one. I was kinda early.

Which is why I have time to tell you about my experience. Let us hope that this week (which for blogging purposes is the week of the 30,000th hit) will be a good one in blogging and real senses. I hope that this week by some magic all the guns do not work, all the bombs can't explode, all politicians lose their voices and all the people develop a strong and sudden urge to smile and be happy.

You may be wondering how I've got this feeling. Easy. All this morning I have been listening to reggae in a traffic jam. It's cool man. Da real thing. And makes you feel so uppity it's crazy.


Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side
Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side
It a gonna burn, give me music make me jump and prance
It a go done, give me the music make me rock in the dance
You play it on the radio, a so me say,
we a go hear it on the stereo
A so me know you a go play it on the disco
A so me say we a go hear it on the stereo

dimanche, novembre 20, 2005

A Day of Rest

Not much to blog about today. Just a few loose ends in fact. I type as I await the final whistle of Fiorentina - Milan. The Viola are winning two goals to one. I do not remember being happy for a Florentine victory but there always has to be aa first. The road is long anyway... and in the meantime I will go on relishing the 4-1 victory over Roma.

Fausto missed a post of mine which probably got lost for many of you seeing the dearth of comments. Contrary to what Mr Majjistral stated in today's post, I DID blog about Lorna's piece this week. It's right here - it got lost among the Fallujah posts.

Oh. I have not mentioned it yet but it is very cold in Luxembourg. The temperature alternates between -1 and 1. Winter is here after the pleasant false start. Xitan has entered a de-fleaing and re-toilet training phase. I am still not 100% sure about disciplining cats.... dogs ok... but cats... well if I manage this one I could try becoming a Jesuit.

Zat's all for now. Thanks for continuing to read as we approach 30,000... wherever you are.

* Photo is a view of the Kirchberg Plateau in Luxembourg
(Site of EU institution buildings) - Source Internet

samedi, novembre 19, 2005

Grazie Rometta!

allo Stadio Olimipico (Roma):
Roma 1
Juventus 4

Nedved 45', Ibrahimovic 56', Trezeguet 58', 61'
Totti 65' rig. (fallo fischiato per la caduta di Montella dopo che s'inciampa da solo)

Tre' gol in meno di sei minuti... I can't believe it's not Istanbul!

.... perche' la Juve e' la Juve.... e voi nun siete un ca'.....

Sibtijiet Flimkien (id-disa' ep.)

Ghadni diehel lura minn mawra sa' Franza. Ghax l-Unjoni Ewropea stramba. Go Lussemburgu issib Spizeriji mifuthin biss sa' nofsinhar. Imbaghad jekk trid shampoo kontra l-qamel ghal qtates trid tittanta xortik go Pet Shop. Ghax f'dawn il-pajjizi is-shampoo ghall-qtates li huwa kwazi medikament jinxtara minn spizerija. Mhux minn hanut tal-annimali. Imma il-Pet Shop fil-Lussemburgu jitkellem biss bil-pagan - ossija - Tedesk. U jien sa Katz nasal imma l-Katz hu li ma nafx x'inhi qamla bil-letzebeursch. Id-direttivi Ewropej dwar tikketti fuq prodotti baqghu ma jghoddux u l-kommessi gewwa l-hanut ghandhom frankofoja inkredibbli.

Allura morna Franza. Mhux ghax ghandhom Pet Shops ahjar imma ghax hemm l-ispizeriji jibqghu miftuhin sas-sitta. Qed tifhem? Allura morna malajr sa' Thionville via Hesperange zewg postijiet fuq il-fruntiera li qisom banlieu minghajr il-belt. Hemmhekk sibna spizerija miftuha (bis-sinjal jibbrilla "Veterinaire" fuq barra). Xtrajna shampoo jew kif jghidu Franza u l-Francizi "shampooing" li huwa pronuncjat "shampwa". Illejla tbati ftit Xitan.

Bhal ma ha nbati jien. Ghax ahna u gejjin lura fost cpar inkredibbli ftakart li illejla Roma - Juve. Se nergghu niltaqghu mal-iskwadretta ta tlett kampjonati f'seklu li hija centru ta' kull conspiracy theory fl-italja. Dejjem dardritni dil-loghba. Il-Juve qatt ma jiddominaw. Dejjem ibaxxu rashom ghall-istorbju hamallu Ruman. U meta jirbhu hemm malajr tintesa' ghax "i cafoni hanno la memoria corta". Telfa go Ruma m'ghadhiex taffettawni daqs telfa go Milan. Incidenti di percorso. Il-gost hu li l-percorso taghna s'issa wassal ghal 28 kampjonat. U meta nirbhu... xi hadd bhali idum ftit ma jinsa.

Persunaggi tal-gurnata. Platini u Boniek of course.
U Turone.
Minghajr Turone xi pjacir hemm!


REKLAMI - Makkjetti mill-Passat:

It-terminus tas-62 (San Giljan)
Dak f'tarf in-nizla quddiem it-tugullio.Li kien ifisser li jekk ma tilhaqx is-67 rara daqs poliiku onest ikollok terdgha it-telgha bil-mixi. Sajf jew xitwa.

L-Imgarr u l-Ghawdex
Zewg battelli tal-Gozo Channel. Bil-munqar li jitla. Zmien iehor meta l-IMgarr seta' jghabbi minn gemb u Awissi tistenna siegha sabeix jiftah il-madonna vapur ha mmexxu.

Ic-Cirasa Restorant (Qbajjar)
Mort dan l-ahhar. Ghamlu refurbish stile "plastic rustic" Ghawdxi. Addio il-bar hlejju f'nofs il-bahh. Minflok iservuk hut twajjeb pero bla karattru.

Id-Duke of Edinburgh Hotel (Victoria Gozo)
Storiku. Post iz-zghazagh fi zmien id-dance. Issa post tax-xjuh.

Minghajr it-torri, minghajr ir-refurbishment, minghajr il-falsita'.

vendredi, novembre 18, 2005

Silly-gisms, Journ-a-lists and Breakfast

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little" - Tom Stoppard also via The Professor of Interesting Stuff.

I was forced to break fast this morning. When I opened the fridge I noticed a packet of lardons fumées and my mozzarella di bufala marinated in a mixture of tomatoes, basilic, rucola and baby onions. I could not walk away from the fridge without that guilty feeling of "I'll have to throw them away if they are still there tonight". So I made myself one of the most wonderful omelette the world can think. Both M. and F. enjoyed part of the resultant gourmet dish and pronounced fantastic verdicts. I would have blushed had I not been busy licking the platter clean.

Well, leaving home on a full stomach is always wonderful. I do not do it very often because I am usually hard pressed for time seeing that I wake up late (inevitable) and it takes me at leats an hour to get my bearings. So today was a pleasant change to drive in the 9:40 traffic. The cold 3 degree air outside was calmly enveloped in a bright sun. I love this kind of sun... as bright as any summer day but with no heat effect at all. The cage of still air is perfect and the road alternates trees that have long shed their last foliage and those that still proudly hang on to a few hundred that will never give up.

So it would have been easy to forget about the mental note I made to reply to Sharon's last post. I have been getting some personalised attention which seems to be attributable to the fact that I "misrepresented" Sharon's original post. Not only that. Now it is a professional issue. "For a lawyer, his grasp of syllogism is scarily shaky" - was the latest criticism. Interesting. Again, quoting Sharon... "Jahasra". You see, I find this is common among many people... it is the infamous argument that translates into "If you were a good lawyer you would agree with me". Would it make sense if I said "If Sharon were a good journalist she would be in Fallujah"? Of course not. Ridiculous. Balderdash.

But. I have now been told that my syllogisms are shaky. Here is the the equation/syllogism I am accused of formulating: "the US admitted use of MK77" plus "We have burnt dead bodies" therefore means "(unsaid - as in I did not say it but Sharon reads the syllogism) "the burnt bodies are a result of MK77".

It's true, I admit - lawyers must carry the additional burden of having to be consistent. Always. Their syllogisms - even those created in the mind of others (see unsaid) - must not be shaky. On the pain of negating 7 years of study and by now 4 years of practical work. On the other hand who ever said that journalists have to be consistent? Nobody. They do not have to be responsibly consistent. Their job is to report. At most they can be true or false. But consistency is not a journalists duty.

So, reading Sharon's two posts should I also be implying syllogisms?:

From "Man versus Man":
"I picked up the thread here, a post which Jacques chose to misrepresent by claiming that I was sceptical about the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah. I was not, and I think my original post is clear and its content stands." - SHARON is NOT SCEPTICAL ABOUT MK77

From "Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form"
"Statement A: We have an admission by US Forces that MK77 was used.Statement B: We have burnt dead bodies.Therefore: (unsaid) The burnt bodies are a result of MK77 (quite honestly, I can't think of a better explanation than burnt bodies = WF but I would not stake my reputation on the fact that it necessarily follows from statements A and B).Therefore: (stated) ... we (must not) question whether the clothing remains could help us tell something." - SHARON is suddenly telling us that Jacques is Wrong in Assuming the US used MK77 on civilians. Is it the same Sharon who is not sceptical about MK77?

Now maybe Sharon, like Fausto would like to break down the argument into minuter forms. Which is where we seem to be getting lost! Already we have the following:

1. Did the Americans attack Fallujah? (at least this one is accepted)
2. Did they use MK77?
3. Did they use it on civilians?
4. Is MK77 a chemical weapon?
5. Does it burn clothes? Does it attack water molecules?

The point is that all my posts have been of inequivocal condemnation. Yes I am prepared to stand by the RAI reporter. I do not believe that images like those would be doctored unless there is some sick fuck behind it all. What I do believe is that anyone doubting the veracity of the documentary has been backtracking for the past week along with the Duh!Mericans. Mine is an opinion. One which anyone is entitled to have and defend whether they are lawyers, journalists or haberdashers.

My earlier comment on hiding behind the journalist's veil stands too. It is a comfortable excuse to stand back. Are you honestly waiting for the American Military to make an international press release condemning themselves for excessive use of force in Iraq? These are the people who after invading and ravaging a country in the name of freedom now believe that there are no more civilians - everyone is a target. How many more times will you hear their lame excuse that ten year olds carry guns against them before asking them the most pertinent question... Who put the gun in their hands?

You speak about rage seeing images on tv and people watching wiht the "greatest equanimity". I boil and rage when I notice that people can calmly fall for the trap of lame Duh!Merican excuses and type away that we need more proof. From whom? Who the fuck is in Iraq to tell us now? The Americans? The American instated government and its investigation? (Ah of course. Let me see. I am a conspiracy theorist and I am not saying that the recent finding by the Americans of a torture nest run by the Iraqi militia will not be used as a tit-for-tat in an "I shut up and you shut up game" about some white powder business.) Give me a break.

So you can go on telling me that my syllogisms are shaky. It just makes me burn inside.

Meanwhile another type of "Shake'N'Burn" has been going on.

And the "burn" part is not coming out of any "shaky" syllogism of mine.

It's those US troops in Iraq who coined the term.

Yep. Whenever they use MK77 (for lighting purposes of course).


Hmm... now I wonder why their clothes are intact. It must really really be important.

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything.
Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this,
and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.
--Oscar Wilde

“A rain of fire fell on the city,
the people struck by this multi-coloured substance
started to burn,
we found people dead with strange wounds,
the bodies burned but the clothes intact.”
- An eye-witness account (not Sodom and Gomorrah).

PS. In case any future misunderstandings arise let me also declare here that I am against WP or MK77 being used on anyone - civilian or militant or soldier.

jeudi, novembre 17, 2005

Loads More American Democracy (Updated)

In her latest post Sharon claimed that I misrepresented her "Man versus Man" post about the Fallujah reportage when I claimed that she seemed to be sceptical about the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah. I quote from Sharon's original post:

"But this documentary relies on the word of two US army men who do not inspire much confidence. It may be my own prejudice clouding my judgment but I would need much more proof of wrongdoing to accept the documentary as having any journalistic merit. My heart may want to believe that the US Army are more than capable of using chemical weapons but my head tells me that this documentary does not constitute proof. The least the report could have done was to try and obtain a scientific explanation for burnt bodies covered in intact clothing."

Now Sharon might find it convenient to couch her political observations in some kind of analysis of journalistic capabilities. Unfortunately, one you join the fray and claim others are "misrepresenting you" the cloak of judge and juror has to be shed and replaced by that of interlocutor. In other words Sharon, whether you are speaking of the way a documentary should be made and what proof it should contain or not, you are still at the end of the day implying that you do not believe them. I did not misrepresent what you said clearly in black and white.

Another issue both Sharon and Fausto seem to really really want to clear out is that of the effect of weaponry on clothing. We have an admission by US Forces that MK77 was used. We have burnt dead bodies. And we still question whether the clothing remains could help us tell something. Sharon mulled about how people could watch war videos with indifference. "I become irrational and angry at the people around me who seemed to be able to handle the visual information so much better than I ever could." says Sharon. Which makes me all the more surprised when she is seeing the pictures and still questioning their veracity. Does she know that her question implies Iraqis burning the bodies of fellow Iraqis in order to doctor an alibi of American atrocities? Could they go that far?

And now for today's news... that UK Independent... the media has continued to report. Here is the header and sub-header, the rest is in the article, the devil is in the detail and the dead are in Fallujah.

Incendiary weapons: The big white lie
US finally admits using white phosphorus in Fallujah - and beyond.
Iraqis investigate if civilians were targeted with deadly chemical

**** UPDATE*****
from The Times - article "Propaganda nightmare of chemical hypocrisy":
"No matter the technical explanations of how useful the chemical is in flushing out insurgents from cellars. In using a weapon notorious in Vietnam, with effects on the human body straight from a science fiction film, it has given a gift to its enemies. It is now loudly accused of hypocrisy: justifying the war partly by Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons, but then using particularly nasty ones itself. "


Allegations of unusual weapons have been around since the assault. The US denied them, until internet bloggers unearthed personal accounts by the US military. On Tuesday Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable said that the substance had been used as an “incendiary weapon against enemy combatants”, contradicting earlier statements by the London and Rome ambassadors, and the State Department website.


If there was anything that could make perceptions worse, it was the military slang of “shake and bake” attacks, phosphorus being the “bake” part - Bronwen Maddox (Times Quote of the Day)..

I cannot link you to today's Times cartoon since I cannot find the net version. It's an aerial view of the pentagon. In the top left corner is the caption "Choir Practice". A speech bubble coming out of the pentagon has the following text within (and includes musical notes).."I'm dreaming of a White Phosphorous Christmas, Just Like the One's I used to Know".


Maybe it is not only that merits the moniker of gaffe Incorporated. Today's ANSA news report about Trinidad & Tobago's historical qualification to the world cup contains a glaring mistake. The subtitle to the news of the Caribbean team's qualification reads "Gli africani per la prima volta a fase finale Mondiali". Most Atlases as well as the CIA Factbook describe T&T's geographical location as: "Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela ".

For the stat enthusiasts, the T&T's are coached by Leo Beenhakker (ex Netherlands), captained by evergreen Dwight Yorke and feature Russel Latapy in their attack. Another great coach will be back to the World Cup. this year... Henri Michel with the Côte d'Ivoire (an African team). Meanwhile... can anybody tell me if the Dutch East Indies ever qualified for a World Cup?

TGIL - the lorna caricature

Post-budget Lorna is here. "Thank God It's Lorna" has resumed her crusade against all things Nationalist. Including her unwitting hairdresser. The shine has not been lost and the colour of the article remains sublime. A variety of hues are utilised by the wordsmith to transform the red/blue contrasts into a Caravaggian Chiaro/Scuro of mental imagery. Her firm command of the language allows the crossing of metaphors to fall quietly into the background and not interfere with the main plot where twenty-first century Malta is the new Dickensian London. Further comments would be, like any serious analysis of the content, extremely superfluous. I will provide a link to the article here and give you the usual snippets of delight below... the agreed convention remains: red is my highlight, round are my brackets, much is my amusement.

Stop blaming it on Fred! by Lorna Vassallo
the Luxembourg Annotated Version

"May all dear readers allow me to crouch (is her caricature self a dwarf of some kind?) back to my "caricature" self (what we have begun to call Thank God It's Lorna). Slippery ground, I agree, to dare trod upon (Indeed). Many people have been condemned for using such tone (Ah! Acknowledgement) and I do risk sharing their same destiny (Ahem. Risk?). Well, but, of course, (four words, three commas that must be a record) at least it has inspired some critical minds (She means minds of critics and not minds on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Or maybe not) to waste some time on me (Sublime innit!)."

"But funny is the present state of affairs, which breeds but irony and deserves a good laugh! ( Funny is the English in the Times today, which questions but the prizegivers and their sense of humour!). We are living in the post-2005 budget era. It seems we are truly experiencing the dark ages after the last budget! It is said that citizens have become so keen and so collaborative when it comes to environment issues and energy consumption. And this overnight!" (This paragraph's style will be henceforth referred to as Fakespearean - a feebl attempt at adopting a semblance of the bard's prose. This overnight as against that day or this Tuesday!)"

"This week my business took me to some retail outlets (We leak in your chimney. Henry IV. Part I). My errands started off at the petrol station. I discovered that my petrol tank has grown even bigger! Strange happening indeed! Some years ago it had a capacity of Lm10 - now it's nearing the Lm20! (Of course. Without condoning the current government's taxing practices, no one expects the price of oil to change over the years) By Jove!"

"Then, to my surprise, most of the places I needed to go to had lights hardly visible at a distance to show they're still open (She drives around the flatlands of Marsa presumably and the distant shops require lighting). When I decided to indulge in the most feminine of habits, hair-doing, I found a hair-dresser ready waiting for me (as against being elsewhere at the time of the appointment), dusting his shelves (this is a subtle preparation for the Dickensian image of lack of thrift and business. Picture aforesaid hairdresser with brush polishing dust accumulated since budget day due to general abandonment of customers)."

"Sometimes words become worthier when said by the wrong people (Bad bad Nationalists) or, at least, by those not expected to say them! And when they are addressed to the wrong people (or those not expecting to hear them (not so bad Labourites)) they perhaps become even worthier (note how the mistake of adding "more" before "worthier is abvoided" but she cannot resist the "even" - not to mention that "worthier" replaces the Maltenglish word "worth-it")! (Paragraph of Lo(rna)gic - the chiaro scuro begins. All nationalists think blue or labourites think red and Lorna thinks in bad english)."

"Out on the streets pro-Nationalist supporters solemnly declare their total disinterest in politics reiterating ad nauseam that "both parties are the same" in a semi-national chorus (I love the semi-national chorus bit). The idea has spread like wildfire and replaced the vacuum in big-mouth-only "minds" (Eh?).

"Back at my flat, just before the news - at peak hour - I was surprised by new energy-saving bulbs publicity!" (this thought comes befora a pause in writing. We can only assume that between this paragraph and the next the authour consumes a coffee too many... it would explain what comes next...)

"Arlecchino, on the other hand, keeps on laughing. He parades the streets in socially-accepted attire and leads an exemplary family life. Little else does he do. Does he write in papers? Hardly! (we do not all have the same luck) Does he make decisions? (Should he take them too?) Well - quite conveniently, hurriedly and, at times, negligently! Contrastingly, he is a very good actor and expresses concern as to the fate of the taxpayers to the extent of almost becoming credible. He is but a capitalist preacher (The only one who could ever reach me... ) with smudged, impure Green values and doubtful red concerns. All this on a royal blue palette. His paintings are but unfaithful representations of reality and as distant as the age of Impressionism." (Ok. I am sure this is Gonzi. But why Arlecchino? What is socially-accepted attire? And why the sudden Art lecture?)

"Apart from some flowers artificially maintained alive (Go outside Castille and count the Drips on the Begonias) and the washing of the balustrades in front of Auberge de Castile (one L because it is a poetic license) (because Her Majesty the Queen is coming), employment has become virtual. (Like employing the rules of English Grammar) "

The article reaches a turning point here and becomes a eulogy to Alfred Sant. The reasoning is simple. Gonzi batters Sant but he does not realise what a superhero Sant could turn into. I will leave you with the two paragraphs of literary bliss... it beats Mary Shelley's Frankenstein anytime... Here, for your eyes only is TGIL's presentation of a hardened man..: Alfred "Told You You're Wrong" Sant:

If there were something the PN was good at, it was the hardening of the Leader of the Opposition. He is the man who definitely stands to win. The good shepherd is going around gathering masses as a very bad actor of Romeo. Through his half-romantic smiles (Alfred Sant: Malta's Answer to Mona Lisa), the psychologically-murdered creature (Prelude to the Poetic and political Catharsis) gathers his last wits to outwardly manifest his good intentions for helping the people (We are still waiting for this Outward Manifestation). The people, in their turn, look up to him as their last card. He's got the power and the position. Some wonder whether he suffers from a very cold heart, which pities none, not even himself, (A Marquis de Sade) or whether his actions are totally out of synch with his feelings. Does he laugh when he's desperate and cry when he's happy (Dunno 'bout you but sounds like Arlecchino... Ridi Pagliaccio e ognun applaudirà)? Well, pleasures still to be discovered through the test of time.

However, I do admit that the Leader of the Opposition is but a genuine man turned unemotional through rubbing in the wrong direction (I hope she does not plan to rub him the other way for too long). He will take his seat one day because circumstances so dictate but not because he's loved. Love is foreign to him and his merits will forever remain within the boundaries of his heart. (Hmm Has she been denied access? Is this all a public coded confession of Love denied?. We will never know).


That's it for today. Lorna has once again forced me to break the rule of short posts. More will come this afternoon once the TGIL spate has abated. I have other things to blog about but no time. Pop over to Mark's and check out the discussion on images on our future Maltese Euro. Check out Saved from the Skip for Raphael's wonderful concocted news. (I thank Raphael for the latest of descriptions of J'Accuse ... il-Blog bil-bajt" ... should be a "d" there but I love yet another dairy comparison all the same!"). Check out Zemploid and Maltagirl getting angry at CHOGM, Sharon mulling away about media and Fausto still trying to convince us that Arabs will always Arab be (food for thought). We await Pierre's first post as E-Journalist of the Year.

All blogs mentioned in the above paragraph can be accessed from the pull-down blogroll in the sidebar.

I am off to my virtual employment and later will try to artificially liven up my office plants.

Vesti la giubba,e la faccia infarina.
La gente paga e rider vuole qua.
E se Arlecchint'invola Colombina,
ridi, Pagliacco, e ognun applaudirà!

mercredi, novembre 16, 2005

Lots More American Democracy

Shake'n'Bake From the Guardian Unlimited.

"Asked if it was used as an offensive weapon during the siege of Falluja, he [Colonel Venable, US Forces] replied: "Yes, it was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants. When you have enemy forces that are in covered positions that your high explosive artillery rounds are not having an impact on, and you wish to get them out of those positions, one technique is to fire a white phosphorus round into the position: the combined effects of the fire and smoke - and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground - will drive them out of the holes so you can kill them with high explosives."


A reporter with California's North County Times, embedded with the marines during the offensive, also reported soldiers firing into buildings a mixture of white phosphorous and high explosives known as "shake'n'bake". White phosphorous burns spontaneously on contact with air, producing phosphorus pentoxide smoke. According to the standard US industrial safety sheet, the smoke "releases heat on contact with moisture, and will burn mucous surfaces. Contact ... can cause severe eye burns and permanent damage.""

The Stupid Economy

Alfred Sant has definitely run out of PR. His latest article bemoaning the economic ills of this country is entitled "Propeller Malfunction". Electors and observers of the Maltese political climate will have caught on to the fact by now that the do-or-die point of electability come next elections will be the economy. Not that this is much different from other elections. It's just that barring some noisy ANR or Lowellian faction, tackling immigration, boosting education and health, improving transport and planning, and curtailing environmental damage will all take the back seat to one general, vague argument that will be called the Stupid Economy.

In one corner we will have Harvard Graduate Alfred Sant who is becoming ultra efficient (or should I say proficient) at pointing out how sick this state's economy has become. On the other we have the Gonzesse. The smooth operator who will surgically break down all measures into digestible amounts while still missing the big picture. One will tell us that the economy has been run stupid while the other will tell us that the detractors are too stupid to notice it is recovering.

It will be then that as an electorate we will reach a point of stupefaction of no return. We will ignore the fact that a proper environmental plan is crucial to our future economy. We will sit back silently as stipend and tertiary education budgets are slashed and our country's future competititivity lies in ruins. We will drive happily on Sunday's up roads tarmacked once every CHOGM and read about the 53 million persons represented and thousands of pounds paid to an advertising agency with as much creativity as the designer of the Ta' Qali stadium. We will watch the Grand Opening of Mater Dei and privately joke about the Mater Dejn for the hundreth time. We will ride yellow buses along impossible routes all the while smiling about this pajjiz tal-mickey mouse.

The worst part is that we will continue the farce of PRomoting PRetentious PRats into government in alternation. For while Alfred Sant keeps asking us his acid test "Are you better off now?" he fails to give us any reason to believe that "We will be better off then" when Castille Square flies the pinkish red flag again.

So let them discuss "the economy". Because they feel comfortable discussing the claptrap they come up with. Let them talk about "oil prices", "privatisations", "investments" and "reducing budget deficit". Let them distract and stupefy you with their supposed high brow practices. And on election day go out there and if anyone asks you why you still bother to vote... adopt that wankellectual look of a Minister in a discussion panel, and in as serious a tone as possible say:

"it's the economy, stupid".


Meanwhile allow me to congratulate MEP Joseph Muscat for mentioning the closing of Denim Thingy Ltd in the European Parliament and trying to shake up the EU for allowing such job losses to occur in Malta. Naughty EU. Of course the management of a company that blames people for not buying jeans but switching to shorts in August does not deserve being shut down and lose contracts from Levi's Inc. I am sorry for the workers. But heaven's forgive me if I ever feel sorry for such incompetent nincompoops.

I read and re-read the story and no matter how many labourites will try to blame this loss of jobs on government I still read one thing into it: INEFFICIENCY. Once again... I am in full solidarity with the 850 workers who lost their job (presumably to a cheap labour factory in Tunisia whence the original products come from).

Non Sequitur # 36

no comment

Even More American Democracy

Q. What does the world get if it has ONE superpower that can basically tell the United Nations (and the rest of the world) to f*off whenever it likes?

A. Big men & Condolcezza playing war games with toy soldiers.

No further comment. Just go here.

P.S If you have some time to spare click on the EFF button in the blogworx section.

mardi, novembre 15, 2005

Wake Up!

Our monitoring of duh!merican activity in its war on terror is itself under scrutiny by the skeptics who will wait for the blood to drop on their doorstep before condemning or even shouting a warning to the world. The evidence is torn apart by the ponctilliousness of the doubtful using a logic that defies logic itself.

We now know for sure that MK77 was used in Fallujah. It was stated in the House of Commons. What the skeptics question is the pictures, the photos. They must have been doctored. Of course. I thank Raphael (and that seems to be the correct spelling) for the Independent (UK) link which seems to corroborate the RAI documentary. It will, of course, not be enough. The skeptics demand hard-and-fast evidence. Like the chemical business. Fausto will teach us that phosphorous is not chemical. Or it is but is legit. Or I am lost. We will nit-pick on the clothing remains while we ignore the scarred skin.

If that were not enough we also have to keep track of the CIA prisoner exportation business. Latest news in Le Monde shows that Majorca was used as a stepping stone for the prisoner flight service. Until now Spain, Germany and Italy (yes, lapdog Berluska's Italy) have opened enquiries on transportation of CIA prisoners to countries where loopholes on rules of treatment of prisoners are found in abundance.

Wake Up (Rage Against The Machine)
Come on, although ya try to discredit
Ya still never edit
The needle, I'll thread it
Radically poetic
Standin' with the fury that they had in '66
And like E-Double I'm mad
Still knee-deep in the system's shit

Hoover, he was a body remover
I'll give ya a dose But it'll never come close
To the rage built up inside of me
Fist in the air, in the land of hypocrisy
Movements come and movements go
Leaders speak, movements cease
When their heads are flown
'Cause all these punks
Got bullets in their heads
Departments of police, the judges, the feds
Networks at work, keepin' people calm
You know they went after King
When he spoke out on Vietnam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot

Yeah! Yeah, back in this...
Wit' poetry, my mind I flex
Flip like Wilson, vocals never lackin' dat finesse
Whadda I got to, whadda I got to do to wake ya up
To shake ya up, to break the structure up
'Cause blood still flows in the gutter
I'm like takin' photos
Mad boy kicks open the shutter
Set the groove Then stick and move like I was Cassius
Rep the stutter step Then bomb a left upon the fascists
Yea, the several federal men
Who pulled schemes on the dream
And put it to an end Ya better beware
Of retribution with mind war
20/20 visions and murals with metaphors
Networks at work, keepin' people calm
Ya know they murdered X
And tried to blame it on Islam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot

Uggh! What was the price on his head?
What was the price on his head!
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard a shot
I think I heard, I think I heard a shot

Background: 'Black nationalism'
'He may be a real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed obediance to white liberal doctrine of non-violence...and embrace black nationalism'
'Through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble-makers...'
'And neutralise them'

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up! Wake up!

Spoken: "How long? Not long, 'cause what you reap is what you sow."

and the winner is .... Pierre J. Mejlak

It's official. The Malta Journalism e-Journalist Award goes to none other than blogger Pierre J. Mejlak. Heartfelt congratulations from J'Accuse and I am sure from all the blogging community. Well done Pierre! Have a lager on me in Gozo and keep up the good work!

The Times gloats that it has left the competition far behind by winning six awards. Somehow it feels like Celtic or Rangers gloating that they are the best in Scotland. There is something missing isn't there? I mean. Competition. For heaven's sake.

Meanwhile we point out to readers that the absence of Dame Gramatically Incorrect from the Palmares is solely attributable to the fact that these are journalism awards. Opinion columns and prosaic pieces are not eligible for the coveted prizes. We hope that this is the right week for the return of TGIL to the prize grabbing pages of the Times of Malta.

But we digress. Prosit Pierre... you made the blogging community proud!

La Perla della Settimana

Gaffe Incorporated have struck again. The story is sad, but so is the writer's English. I'll leave you to enjoy the article in its entirety. "Found in eight metres of water" presumably means found at the depth of eight metres. Finding seems to be the main problem here. I find myself in conflict with myself when trying to be informed with this information. Ouch.

by Roberta Scerri, di-ve news (

GOZO, Malta (di-ve news) -- November 14, 2005 -- 2000CEST - A 57-year old English man has drowned in Gozo after he found himself in difficulty whilst diving.

The accident happened at around 1600CEST on Monday when the man was scubadiving with friends at Xwejni bay limits of Marsalforn.

One of his friends noticed that the man was in difficulty and tried to call for help. They later found the corpse of the 57-year old in eight metres of water.

Duty Magistrate Dr Paul Coppini was informed with the accident and ordered an inquiry. Police are investigating.

lundi, novembre 14, 2005

More American Democracy

Jacobin can rest for now. Fausto can wait for a while. What I am reporting is a suspicion of a fact and not the fact itself. The big EU machine is moving with regards to allegations that the CIA has operated prisons in Poland and Romania in order to provide that very special treatment to certain prisoners. The Commission will be making a statement before the European Parliament later today. POssible proof of their existence has been described as a potential bombshell. See more here at the BBC newsroom.

I have two more comments to make with regard to this and the recent Fallujah postings. Firstly this is not an anti-American crusade. I admit, I raise the stakes for a possible onus probandi that the American Government is a group of God-fearing, human right loving bunch of individuals. But I do not continue these observations solely out of some dislike for America. I sincerely believe that we cannot stand by and watch.

Secondly Sharon posted about the Rai documentary and general Fallujah information. She seems to share the Jacobin's scepticism about the veracity of the use of the weapons even though she has also seen the admission in the Commons of the use of MK77. What I find worrying is that we are reduced to Faustian (as in Majjistral not Goethe) questions such as how chemical is chemical? or How harsh is suffering? Personally I even find the definition prohibiting the use of certain weapons as being particularly weak.

Fausto's chemical concoctions are beyond belief. The "anything is chemical" line is absurd. If I took Fausto's minimising approach I would also reach the conclusion that spitting at an enemy involves the use of chemical weapons since saliva can be broken down into chemical components nay? Give me a break. White phosphorouse and excessive suffering should surely be placed in a different basket.

Otherwise we could all end up in the only basket that seems to fit humanity in these moments of madness.

What a basket case.

Blogs mentioned in this post:
Fausto's : Malta9Thermidor in particular comments to previous post on J'Accuse
Jacobin's : Le Pont Mirabeau in particular this long long post
Sharon's : Lost in Thought in particular this post

Blogs added to Blogroll:
Andre's: Confessions of an Atheist
Rafael's : Saved from the Skip

Check out the Spoof Blog' Version today: Haemhorroid'Sordid

REMINDER: J'Accuse is still being tinkered with and therefore not all services (such as trackback or permalink) might be fully functional (viz. sharon). The management is in no particular rush to declare a fully functioning blog open. Comments on the current state of affairs are welcome.

dimanche, novembre 13, 2005

Sibtijiet Flimkien (it-tmien ep.)

Ghaddejna weekend helu. Tmiem il-gimgha li beda' b'Jum it-Tifkira. Tifkira ghax ftakart li issa ghadda zmien iz-zoghzija. Ghallinqas f'sens kronologiku ghax go fija ghada tixhel il-fjamma ta' bluha dejjiema. Dik il-bluha li hija mistennija mit-trabi, gustifikata fiz-zghazagh u mistmerra mill-adulti. Dik il-bluha li thallini inhares lejn id-dinja b'dak l-ottimizmu ciniku tal-buffu. Tal-kummiedjant.

Tifkira ghax ftakarna fl-inutilta' tal-gwerra. Ftakarna f'kemm mietu nies sabiex nghixu hielsa u kemm tinxtara bil-qares id-demokrazija. U ghal xi uhud, ghal dawk li minghalihom issa ghandhom il-monopolju tad-demokrazija, kemm ghad baqa' x'jitghallmu.

Imma nergghu lura ghall-kummiedja. Ghax taffaxxinani wisq il-fatt li f'Malta ma nafux tassew nidhku bina infusna. Jonqosna il-kummiedjant veru bi stil ta' Benigni. IL-gullar li hu l-ikbar politiku fost il-politikanti. Forsi ghax jaf ihares lejn id-dinja bl-ghajnejn l-innocenza u bhal Chaplin jemmen li gurnata minghajr tbissim hija gurnata mohlija. Min idahhaq ghandna hafna.. Dawk li idahhquna ghax ahjar tidhaq milli tibki u min idahhakna bil-bluha fiergha. Dak l-islapstick Malti tal-pajjiz tal-Mickey Mouse. Hector Bruno u l-Istitut Kattolku. Mort xi zewg recti f'dar l-Union tal-Haddiema Lejberisti (GWU) - kont bqajt imbellah b'kemm nidhqu b'cucati u bassezzi. U il-komicita semplici ma kenitx biss parti mir-renju tal-haddiema. Ghax il-pentowmime tal-pepe (li anki jien kelli l-unur nippartecipa fih) ma hux wisq sublim u sottili.

Cheap humour. Bhall-price club. Bassa u tidhaq. Tghid hara u tidhaq. Nidhku bl-ovvju. Forsi ghax hajjitna saret farsa kontinwa u ghalhekk difficli tara fares ohrajn.

Fil-programm tal-llum ergajt stedint lill-Frank O'Neill. Ghalija kien ezempju tajjeb ta' komicita' kif suppost. L-ewwel lezzjonijijet politici hadthom mill-cassettes tieghu fis-86. One Man Zelig Malti. Ftakart fih ghax illum ommi (li issa saret Headmistress tal-Junior Skool ta' Stella Maris College irrakontatli dan l-anedottu....xempju car tac-cajt spirtu pront ta' Frank:

Ommi kienet qed taghmel l-Assembly. It-tfal kienu migbura filghodu u kienet qed tispjegalhom kif m'ghandhomx ifexxu f'xulxin waqt il-break. F'dak il-faux anglais ta' skejjel tal-knisja li tant thobb ommi qaltilhom:" Boys (dejjem boys, anki jien u hija). I do not want to see any more fighting during break. No more karate or Ju-Jitsu. Do you think Jesus ever did Karate or Ju-Jisu?"

Il-folla tfal wiegbet ghalenija "No" (dak kien jaghmel xi miraklu u jisparixxi xi drgha tat-tfal li jdejquh... mela jujitsu miss!).

Hekk kif it-tfal bdew jiffurmaw is-sriep li jwasslu sal-klassi Frank O'Neill (art teacher SMC) imur hdejn ommi li kienet ghada mank tfiert il-mikrofnu u jpespsila f'widnejha "Nahseb jaghmel ju-jitsu Kristu ta'".

Ommi iddur lejh u tistaqsih x'il-mnieghel qed ihawwad.... u jwiegeb xott xott...

"Fil-ju-jitsu universali."

Helwa wisq.

Jien ha mmur ghax kilt wisq illum. Ergajt iccelebrajt eghluq snieni fost il-hbieb. Wisq pjacir. Qlajt FIFA 2006 fost affarijiet ohra. allura sejjer nilghab Bayern Munich - Juve. Forsi did-darba nirbhulhom away ukoll.



R E K L A M I:

RED DEVIL: t-shirts ta' l-isports li kellna fil-Kullegg Stella Maris fejn jien kont Blue u konna nirbhu il-lig kull sena.

SANGA, SOLDINI u 3A Antonini: Provvedituri ta zraben tal-futbol.

Sir Edward: Kju ghall-blazer tal-uniformi. xi pjacir. U missieri jghidli kemm ghandi xorti nilbes blazer hekk sabih. Imbaghad mort San Alwigi u tawwna blazer sky blu. Dak sabih pa!

Librerija Merlin: Ghall-bzonnijiet kollha skolastici. Sakemm tasal San Alwaigi. Imbaghad anki l-pitazzi jinxtraw in house. Ad Majorem Bursam Jesuiti

BLOG GDID: irricorru issa ghand sehbi Rafel Vassallu (chif cal hua l-ebda relattioni mas-siniura grammatica storta). l-andirizz hua Saved From the Skip . Mhux chull ma hua zibel hua hazin.

vendredi, novembre 11, 2005

Spoofing Mr Majjistral

Ok. Ok. My little Birthday Joke. I hope Fausto forgives me for this but I could not resist a little spoof site as I tinkered with blogger to come up with the new look J'Accuse. So here it is ladies and gentlemen....

Handle with care. And remember "Ludendo Castigat Mores".
Suggestions still welcome (here or there).

Tangible Proof

As if further proof was need. Please note there was an admission by the US Government, a confirmation in the UK Parliament - so the mutilated bodies were not 'doctored'. I'm sorry but any further reference to doctoring sounds too much like holocaust denial. I did read your email Jacobin. There are many many answers but not much time right now. In the meantime read this info... it's illuminating.

From Iraq Analysis Group Site.

Update on firebombs

On 17th April 2005, the Iraq Analysis Group produced a report detailing evidence for the use of a new generation napalm weapon known as the ‘MK77 firebomb’ by US forces in Iraq. There was growing concern about this weapon, as the UK is a signatory to a convention banning it on humanitarian grounds. The UK authorities had repeatedly denied that US forces were equipped with it, claiming their US allies had told them so. This was in the face of evidence including statements from the US State Department admitting MK77 use.

On 20th April 2005, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram was ‘made aware’ of this evidence and contacted his US counterparts for clarification.

On 28th June 2005, with the General Election safely past, Adam Ingram admitted that his three outright denials in Parliament had been incorrect, and US forces in Iraq had indeed used the MK77 Firebomb. Despite the UK commitment to banning these controversial weapons, he showed no concern about our allies using them: ‘Where, and against which targets the weapons were used is a matter for the US authorities.’

The Iraq Analysis Group has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to find out if and when the US Government told the UK it was not using the MK77 firebomb in Iraq. We have not yet had a satisfactory response.

Comment by Dr Robert M. Gould,
Chair of the Security Committee of Physicians for Social Responsibility:

“While Defence Secretary Reid said on British TV that the United States has used MK77 firebombs in Iraq, but that these are not napalm bombs and that their contents do not stick to the skin like napalm, he is being disingenuous at best and misleading at worst. Napalm is a mixture of benzene (21%), gasoline (33%), and polystyrene (46%). A typical bomb will contain about 75 gallons of this combustible material in an aluminium shell. The MK47 bomb, now withdrawn from service, was a napalm bomb.

While the US Department of Defense has denied using napalm claiming instead to be using ‘firebombs’ as Defence Secretary Reid stated, this denial by the US DOD was issued on the technical basis that the incendiaries used consisted primarily of kerosene-based jet fuel (which has a smaller concentration of benzene), rather than the traditional mixture of gasoline and benzene used for napalm, and that these therefore did not qualify as napalm.

The material in the MK77 is not classic napalm, it is a modern version of the substance with an identical purpose. To claim that material from a bomb set to explode in a fireball containing a mix of fuel and polystyrene is not intended to stick to the skin defies all reason. Defence Secretary Reid is attempting to hide the awful reality of warfare in Iraq from the British public, something he cannot be allowed to succeed in.”

Devasting weaponry

Dr Douglas Holdstock of the UK medical charity Medact, said: “Dr Reid is hair-splitting. Both napalm and the MK77 are gel-based firebombs. They both seem likely to breach the basic principle of the international humanitarian law of war that weapons should not inflict “superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering”

More firebombs in production

Meanwhile, new documents discovered by the Iraq Analysis Group, an independent UK research group critical of UK humanitarian policy in Iraq, reveal that the US army has recently been stockpiling large quantities of new MK77 firebombs. Adam Ingram sought to reassure Labour MPs in a letter to Labour MP Harry Cohen last week that US forces had dropped MK77 firebombs only up to 21 April 2003. Nonetheless a Federal Procurement Solicitation issued on January 14 2004, and updated on June 7 2004, solicits manufacturers for a further 993 firebombs.


[1] Quoted in Adam Sparrow, ‘Parliament Misled over Firebomb Use’, Daily Telegraph 20 June 2005

[2] Commons Hansard, 11 January 2005: “Adam Ingram: The United States have confirmed to us that they have not used Mark 77 firebombs, which are essentially napalm canisters, in Iraq at any time”

[3] ‘Officials confirm dropping firebombs on Iraqi troops’, San Diego Union Tribune, 5 August 2003. Compare also the statement by a Pentagon spokesperson in August 2003: ‘MK 77 is called Napalm due to the fact that their impact on targets resembles remarkably the use of Napalm’

[4] Federal Procurement Solicitation for MK77 Mod 5 Firebomb No. W52P1J04-R-0077, 13 January 2004,

Following the UK government admission that US Forces in Iraq have been using the MK77 firebomb, Mike Lewis of the Iraq Analysis Group submitted the following Freedom of Information Request to the UK Ministry of Defence:

"A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State Dictatorship it's going to get."
- Ian Williams Goddard