mercredi, janvier 31, 2007

Gozo Ladies' Circle

In the bygone days of social philantropy where hobnobbing and charity went hand in hand and when the development of one's very own coterie depended on the discovery of a just cause for which to raise funds, in those halcyon days, Ladies' Circles were foremost in this noble activity of dosh-dishing. The Lions' Club never really developed the Lions' Maids (would have been quite a story) but I did find that these organisations had a slightly male chauvinist approach to society. The men were busy Presiding, Secretary Generalling and all that while the Ladies would be a-bakin' the cakes so that later they could be manning the sales stands and raise those few pennies for the paupers.

This unequal distribution of tasks between the males and females of this species persisted right through the eighties and early nineties and has a surviving element with the President's wife's role in the national charity. While President whoever goes about Presiding (which from a distance seems to imply sitting on a funny chair in St. John's Co-C. whenever some big mass is being said) the wife of said President is dragged into the social scene in the Community Chest Fund.

Anyways. After this interesting observation I feel confident enough to inform you that I do not remember what kicked off this rant in the first place. Consider it a morning tick that just came to me when I read di-ve's news item stating that Mme Giovanna Debono has declared 2007 an outstanding year for Gozo. Long gone (by a century or so) are the days when someone could confidently state that Mme Debono's would better serve the country a-bakin' than a-minsterin' (and thank G for that). Less distant are the days when the hypocrytical division of labour hid behind the face of charitable enterprises conjured up for the bakers to bake and sell.

So what? So what I am saying in a most convoluted way is that in the politically correct, emancipated 2000s we can only disagree with mme GD. - without implying anything further. Mme GD is happy that Gozo will have an outstanding year. Why?

1. The hospital will get a better dining room and thus health services on the island will be improved.

2. More courses for Gozitan citizens at the Gozo ministry (expect a Daphne remark about the Bachelor's Degree in Dog Mutilation for Farmers)

3. Then there's the funny one. "Referring to developments of the physical environment of the island" GD tells us that many of the main roads will be given attention (including Ramla Road). Some Nationalist ministers still believe that by throwing in the word "environment (ambjent)" they can get away with anything. While road resurfacing is a welcome activity it is not exactly environmental in the green sense of the word.

Having concluded the whirlwind view of the projects for an outstanding year for Malta Giovanna adds that these are only highlights of the projects that are inline for Gozo. Scary isn't it? I mean the island's economy is not exactly flourishing, the transporation to and within the island is a disgrace and the only thing the Minister can come up with is flower pots in roundabouts and a dining room for the sick. Much as I admire the verve with which GD had taken on the political fortunes of the island that deserves a party of its own I am afraid that ideas have long run dry in the island of strange occurrences.

An intelligent green business plan linking all sectors of the economy and an even greener would have been more of a boon for Gozo. It's not that opportunities are not lacking.

Daphne seems to have that permanent chip about Gozo. Giovanna does not seem to have any concrete ideas for improvement. So much for the Gozo Ladies' Circle!

P.S. And for that wonderful leap into 21st century womanhood read this letter from Veronica Berlusconi to her husband - published today in La Repubbica.

mardi, janvier 30, 2007

Adopt-a-Gay (Take One Get Two)

A Maltastar blunder kicks off this chilly Tuesday. The title "Gay couples to be considered for adoption" struck me as a tad bit inaccurate. Apart from the childish attempt at making its Maltese readers believe for one second that this referred to Malta and not to the UK, the title seems to imply that we could soon be able to adopt a gay couple of our choice... hmmmm.

lundi, janvier 29, 2007

Dilemma Solved

Back home after heavy workday. To cook or to blog? Easy.

Caramelised Eel with sushi rice on the way.

Sorry. Back tomorrow.

dimanche, janvier 28, 2007

Jack and the Beangrowers

I know it's a bit like cheating... but here's a message that I received from Alison of Beangrowers fame:

Hi we're Beangrowers

yep, that band from Malta.

after releasing our first 2 albums in Germany ,
we finally managed, on our 3rd album to get that
very important record deal in the UK.

since January 2007 (in the UK) charts are compiled weekly according to internet downloads.

This is were u come in!

Help us be the 1st maltese band ever to get in the UK charts!!
(even a top 40 would be an absolute dream!)

This is how it works:
Tell all your friends (Il-Maltin kollha!! :) ) about it, and then :
All of u have to buy (sorry, but it's the only way, only 79p!!)
our single I LIKE YOU from between 30.1.07 and 3.2.07
(but even in the weeks after it will count also)

and Maltese Music will be in the UK charts..!!!

it doesnt take too many people as long as they all buy it in the same week.
(only buys from within the UK are counted)

Thanks so much for your support and spread the word !

Ian , Mark & Alison (Beangrowers) (search beangrowers I LIKE YOU)


Seedily Yours

Sunday Logic

1. Not all Maltese are practising Catholics.

2. Introducing divorce in Malta will not oblige anyone to divorce, it will just make it possible.

3. The Church position on divorce is not what needs to be changed. The Church has every right to campaign against the introduction of divorce.

4. People who are in favour of the introduction of divorce are free not to be members of the Catholic Church. They can still call themselves christians if they like.

5. Hoping that Archbishop Paul comes up with a Santian u-turn and suddenly declares that the Church would like to have divorce introduced in Malta is ridiculous.

6. Whetever happened to give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's?

7. Why do we live in a society where these things still need spelling out?

Meanwhile more of Daphne on Gozo (about Archbishop Mercieca):

Raised in a Gozitan village at a time when Gozitan villages might as well have been in the remote mountainous interior of contemporaneous Sicily or Greece, he failed to adapt to the style of urban Malta in the dying years of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st. He is a very nice man and a kind-hearted one, but that is not enough for the job. He was like a man plucked out of one period and thrown into another, reacting with shock and bewilderment at what he saw. He seemed to have the rather touching naïve belief that, if people tried hard enough, things could go back to what they were in the Gozo of his 1930s childhood, with the churches packed solid and the parish priest interfering in daily life to keep us all on what the Catholic Church says is the straight and narrow path to heaven, while the spirit of Christianity gets trampled on in the rush to the confessional box.

vendredi, janvier 26, 2007

I.M. Jack

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Pharaoh Hound as best seen - i.e. alive and well, breathing and running playfully. Unfortunately centuries of breeding managed to create a breed that is resistant to sandfly but not to beating with an iron bar followed by hanging. J'Accuse condemns any acts of violence on animals and all reference to dog bashing in this post are intended to be sarcastic (just in case you do not get the point).

Yep. It's Friday not Saturday. But seeing that I promised myself to try to limit blogging on weekends the I.M. Jack section had to find its place somewhere else... and why not Friday ... a good day as any for a pillorying round up of the weekly news.

I. Short, Frank and Salt
Lanzarote's recent analysis of the analysts concluded on the short supply of quality columnists in the Maltese MSM. Mr Frank Salt was mentioned as being one of the frequently pilloried victims of J'accuse's cabbage throwing enterprises. And there is a reason for that (yes, I do like to start sentences with And *wink to Kenneth*). I know of no other columnist who manages to conjure up a contribution to the Times that smacks like an "essay" written for your religious doctrine homework. Here's an extract for your consumption (materialistic of course), the rest speaks for itself:
Our Catholic religion is not very strict; it just asks us to be good, behave properly, practise the teachings of Christ, and be present at Mass on a Sunday and on holy days of obligation if we possibly can. Our religion teaches us nothing else but good things, and ways to lead a peaceful life and, at the same time, give help to others.

Another Friday perpetrator of opinionist crimes is the Wise Old Man Alfred Mifsud. I particularly loved this weeks conclusion - as Dickensian as it gets... following a protracted reasoning that the implies that the church should somehow change its stand on divorce (!!!) he ends with a blessing for the incumbent Archbishop: "May God bless you and be with you Archbishop Cremona." Touching.

II. Gozo has gone to the Dogs
I have this gut feeling that DCG does not like Gozitans. Her latest descriptions of goings-on in the Island include the title "island of strange occurrences". True, the Munxar local council's activities and the dog killers' actions are not something to be proud of. But why is it that when something atrocious, appalling or illegal happens in Gozo it is the fault of the weird nature of the Gozitans, of the Gozitan omertà and of their unwillingness to submit to the law. If the same things happen in Malta (and they do) it is not because they are Maltese but some other trumped up reason (such as rural) comes up. I would not expect such generalisations from DCG but it would really seem that when it comes to Gozo it's not just a chip that she has on her shoulder... but a whole friture shack of the Belgian kind.

And (again) it would seem that it is not only DCG who thinks that Gozo is up for special treatment. Look at Harry today:

Is that why the Gozitan kerb tradition is completely on its own unique trajectory? Is it because bureaucreats in Malta have always dismissed Gozo? Are chaotic pavements a public assertion of clan and family claims or a monument to
administrative neglect spanning the centuries?

Ah that Gozitan clan. I can't wait to get back to Gozo and don my tartan "Ta' Zerrek" kilt, wear my sheep's wool body warmer and go hang a few dogs off the edge of too high a pavement. I never really liked the bastards anyway... skinny looking scavengers who used to scarew the bejeezus out of me when I used to ride my bike around Marsalforn (stopping to piss against every other corner to assert my territorial supremacy of course). Time for a gbejna break.... then I'm off to Munxar for a baseball match on the new concrete diamond pitch we will be constructing on the hills this afternoon (MEPA permission pending). The Munxar Crew will be facing the Sannat Posse and I'm sure there will be a huge turnout.

III. Archbishop's First in Valletta
For the factoid freaks among you make sure you take note that this is the first time in our country's history that the new Archbishop will be ordained in Città Umilissima instead of in the Città Nobile. Pawlu from the Duminku side has opted to break with a centuries old tradition and shifted all the celebrations and pomp to the City of Notte Bianca and Notte Magica. It's time for the Pomeriggio Religioso.... be there or be a divorce loving, embryo threatening, materialistic, wishy washy liberal.

IV. The Contributing Factor
Yesterday's Times editorial was pleasantly surprising. It's unqualified call to better control funding of political parties can only be applauded from these quarters. We are not alone in seeing this as a reasonable step away from the MLPN dominance that is only a myth in some quarters.

V. Edge
Xifer is on its slow but sure way back to the blogosphere. We spotted the quiet return thanks to our Bloglines list which detected some new uploading happening in that corner. Mark is not yet fully out of hibernation but he will surely be a welcome re-addition to this end of the blogosphere. We are still waiting for Maqluba to wake up though!

VI. You can be 1/100.000
The Official J'accuse Competition to commemorate the 100,000th click has started slowly, very slowly. No one has written in yet... which is just not cricket. I did promise a J'Accuse mug to boot (carrying a slogan "It was either cushion the entire planet or just your brain"). So here are the rules again. Contribution must have a maximum of 100 words in any of the following languages: Maltese, English, Italian, French and Spanish. They must sum up what the writer thinks about J'Accuse whether positive or negative. They can either be posted in any comment on the blog or sent to jacques dot zammit at gmail dot com. Competition closes with the 100,000th hit on J'Accuse.

God Bless Us All (and Archbishop Cremona)

jeudi, janvier 25, 2007

Officially False

Today's Times reports that the planned visit to Malta by Britain's deputy Prime Minister John Prescott had to be postponed because of a last minute engine hitch in the private jet that was supposed to bring Prescott to Malta. J'accuse's gossip reporters have unearthed a hidden reason behind Prescott's last minute forfait. It would appear that the Deputy Dawg discovered the following information on the website of upstart Labour politician Aaron Farrugia:

ahh before I forget, John Prescott is visiting Malta this week. Who cares to meet this guy? If Blair, Gordon Brown or rising star David Miliband was coming instead, I would have tried to fix a short meeting. But please, not Prescott.

It would seem that Deputy JP was extremely disappointed that he would not be able to meet this rising Labour star and preferred not to visit than suffer the humiliation of being turned down at the last moment - stile Bush in Iraq.

J'accuse's stealth spies also report that both Gordon Brown's and David Miliband's entourages seem to be scrambling to be the first to meet our Maltese hero - hopefully at the Hamrun Band Club where there would be maximum press exposure.

We did not try to contact Prescott, Brown, Miliband or Farrugia so no confirmation could be had of the above information.

mercredi, janvier 24, 2007

Why Blog?

I. Barefoot Blogging
Darren Barefoot is a Canadian blogger (amongst other occupations) who will soon be heading to the Med for a six-month stint in my Gozo (that most beautiful of islands). Darren's profession leads him to ask questions about Bloggers and blogging and he has just set up a survey asking that most existential of questions: Why do you Blog? Take some time to fill out the survey and also to visit Darren's homepage... he'll need some tips when he starts settling into the Island where time stood still.

II. The "I'm 1 in 100,000" J'Accuse competition
As I mentioned fleetingly in an earlier post, J'Accuse is fast approaching its Second Birthday as well as its 100,000th hit. To celebrate this not-so-monumental event we have decided to have a mini-competition. Readers (lovers and haters alike) are being asked to send in a 100 word comment stating what you like/dislike about J'Accuse. The jury panel of one (Me) will award the prize to the most entertaining of these comments - such prize being a custom made J'Accuse Mug from the now not so operative J'accuse souvenir section. All you have to do is post a comment anywhere on the blog with "I',m 1/100,000" in the title and bob's your uncle.
Michael Mifsud

First goal for Coventry FC

mardi, janvier 23, 2007


I may be sticking my neck out. I may be wrong and I may be doing something I would not normally do.... but I predict he will be back soon.

Podofelinus (Pussyfoot)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

That venerable Sunday paper called Maltatoday only reaches us expats on a Tuesday afternoon - this is probably due to the delay of uploading the rag in the hope that a few more copies are sold before everybody rushes to read the (free) electronic version. It is probably also the reason why the Malta Times is not online before 10 a.m. And it makes sense.

Anyways. All this to help you understand why our fresh pillorying of the great Hogan is happening today id est Tuesday ... a good two days after his works have been published. Hogan has an article called "How to pussyfoot" in this edition and we are, as always, thankful for this mass of discombobulated pontification from the faux liberal pulpit.

In this particular edition Hogan is intent on pillorying (yep he's at it too) my former Criminal Law lecturer - poor Silvio Camilleri - who is busy Attorney Generalling and representing the Maltese State in issues and instances before the Commission of the European Communities. The usual waiver resulting from my current occupation applies and therefore I will minimise my intervention to correcting a factual error committed by Hogan... to be exact ....this one:

For those who have no spare time for our feathered creatures, it would be helpful to point out that Malta was presented with an infringement procedure last November. The infringement procedure is what Malta as an EU member state was awarded for having allowed hunting to continue in Spring. After an infringement procedure runs its course through comings and goings from Brussels, an EU member state gets to face hefty fines, daily.

So. According to Hogan once an infringement procedure runs its course a state is subject to hefty daily fines. Erm. Not exactly. You see the infringement procedure is just the beginning. As has been explained in this blog before, it is just the first step. Once the Commission vs Malta battle is exhausted on the political and diplomatic front - an exhaustion that involves much exchange of letters, documents and toing and froing of poor Silvio to Brussels there can be two outcomes.

Either the Commission concludes that Malta has satisfied whatever the Commission wanted Malta to satisfy. And no fines. Or the Commission still believes that Malta is in infringement of Community law and will therefore drag Malta (and Silvio) by the hair to explain itself before the Court Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg. That is another procedure Hogan. It is in fact the procedure that MIGHT end up with Malta facing hefty fines. Yes even daily fines. See?

And once we are on the subject of law and pleading let us take a look at the attempted character assassination of the abovementioned AG Camilleri. Hogan first admits that he has no clue as to who Dr Camilleri is and then proceeds to sow seeds of doubt about this persons abilities. He claims that Dr Camilleri is not well versed in all things avian and therefore is not the right person to represent our venerable state in the matter. I personally have no idea whether Camilleri can tell a budgie from a parakeet, and quite honestly I don't think it makes a difference...

Why? Because, Mr Balzan, lawyers are trained to read and understand the application of the law. Nowadays laws range from the classification of products for the purposes of customs to the regulation of complex networking systems for the internet to the care of milking cows, the transportation of animals and the killing of birds. Is Mr Balzan implying that every lawyer should know everything under the sun before embarking on a case in a specialised area of law?

By analogy to Mr Balzan's argument a journalist should not report about anything he does not fully comprehend. He should limit himself to reporting whatever it is he studied in Journalism School. Journalists should not report anything wihtout having first completed a course of studies in the subject being reported upon. Hux Hekk Salv?

But then what on earth would there be left for to Hogan write about?
Pussyfooting indeed. Obviously not! (as I am sure Silvio would say)


Not much time to blog right now - my work desk resembles a paperwork mass meeting and I am aeons behind in my reviewing duties. So I will point you to two separate bits of reading which should entertain you until I find a free minute to blog more extensively.

1. Victor Galea on the Times. Ad General Secretary's reposte to Victor Scerri's article that all but excluded any possibility of considering coalition governments in Malta's future.

2. Lanzarote (Pillory). David almost puts J'accuse at the top of his favourite list. Alas Lanzarote cannot resist sideward jabs (or maybe slips) like "masters of ridicule" or placing Mathieu Cilia in the same cuff as great whippersnappers like ourselves. You know what they say about the cow and sale thereof... what we did like is the implication that our agenda is the exposition of the unfortunate reality of Maltese politics and opinion column writing. Yes, it is part of the agenda on what is "Probably Malta's Most Popular Blog"!

* P.S. We are fast approaching 100,000 hits. I promise a J'accuse t-shirt to the best 100 words which sum up what you like or dislike about J'Accuse - the competition will remain open until the 100,000th hit is reached. The prize will go to the best written - and it could easily go to someone who dislikes the blog... although I do not know what he/she would do with the t-shirt then! Submissions can be placed in comments in any of my posts... just place "I'M 1/100,000" in the Title.

lundi, janvier 22, 2007


The KKK's costume (call it a uniform if you like) has something intrinsically comic about it. From my point of view a grown up with a sack on his body and head could never be menacing. It is the ideas behind the Cuckoo Clan that are worrying and criticisable. Let's face it. Had this been a Boy Scout uniform in lieu of being that of a supremacist, racist group of bigot fanatics it would be much funnier than it actually is. Put the uniform in a different context though. Put the white supremacists donning their silly uniforms on a ferris wheel posing for a group photo on and around the entertainment contraption. It's not just odd. It's almost hilarious. Almost. For behind those masks there still lie minds full of obnoxious hate and willingness to spread terror on their "inferiors".

This photo from this blog inspired this blogpost. Put something out of context and suddenly all that it means or represents is placed head over heels. Do that constantly and suddenly any threat, menace or meaning it might originally have will actually be nullified and replaced by the new ridiculous caricature. Repetitive instances of caricaturisation can have long term damaging effects.

Now why do I suddenly find myself thinking about Malta's stance in the EU about divorce? Why do I find myself wondering whether we will ever slip out of this caricature perpetrated by the holier-than-themselves Nationalists and the once-bitten-twice-shy Labourites?

"Gadzooks and Gee Whizz 'arry... that darn wheel sure gave me head a fine ol'spinnin... Ah'm left 'ere feelin' giddy an' all that. Another o' dem spins 'n my codger'll staht thinkin' like some doggone gawliwawg... "

samedi, janvier 20, 2007

J'Accuse Switches off Weekends

In an effort to minimise blog dependency and maximise weekend enjoyment, J'Accuse will not for the time being include posts on Saturday or Sunday. Weekend posts will obviously be the exception to the rule. Apologies for the tautology.

J'accuse... punditry worth reading

vendredi, janvier 19, 2007


After Harry.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What are they all waiting for? When will they feel free to speak their minds and act upon their opinions? What on earth is there to fear? Sometimes I feel we are living a belated falling-of-the-wall era. We have nothing to fear but fear itself and it becomes more obvious everyday. We are trapped in a soap bubble and we are afraid to breathe. If just 2,000 of us decide to say boo in just one electoral district, everything changes.

Surviving Kyrill

Storm wind warnings were the norm yesterday. In Luxembourg fonctionnaires were let off work early in order that they avoid communting during the peak hours of the storm. In neighbouring France and Germany schools and public parks were closed, many flights were cancelled and high-speed trains switched to low speed as a safety precaution. Surely many of you must have read about Hurricane Kyrill that has swept through Western Europe with a vengeance.

HK's path has been a reminder of the West-East divisions pre-Cold War since once again it was first the founding members of the EU that found themselves in the news (maybe we heard a little less from the Duchy.... but that's no change). By late night and early this morning Poland was the first of the new entrants to feel the brunt of the wind (with some casualties already being reported). It thus became ironic that the BBC news report ended with the statement:

The winds are only expected to weaken once they reach Russia and the Ukraine.

A bit like Euro-enthusiasm, the strength of this cold front is lost by the time it reaches the borders of the Union. Of course this is just a fantastical metaphor and we all know that a bit like Global Warming, questions about the EU are constantly being made across the Old Continent... wind or no wind.

Here in the Duchy the howling winds seem to have lessened though they do not seem to be anywhere near the vanishing point. From my vantage point over the Parc de Merl I can still see the trees wiggle and shake in their very woody rock and roll fashion. Rain is still a constant and the temperature is not that low. Luxembourg news is slow in the coming though I can reproduce the snippet from those lads at

The storm which is currently passing across Europe swept down from the British Isles and crossed Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, the Czech Republic and othe countries yesterday. In Luxembourg, the emergency services received around 450 calls of which 250 concerned trees being damaged, blown over or uprooted. Winds were strong, with the highest recorded speed being 115 km/h at Troisvierges. Many roads were closed, cellars and roads became flooded, rooves were damaged and an increase in traffic accidents was reported. The swimming pool in Mondercange was damaged, and an Marnach the storm ripped a whole roof off a house. The Esso petrol station in Gaichel had to fight against flooding. The Attert river in Reichlingen und Bissen was at dangerously high levels. The "Inspection du Travail et des Mines" warned against working and operating machinery outdoors, and forbid the use of cranes during the day. Many flights coming in and out of Luxembourg airport were cancelled or experienced delays, due to the high winds. The storm is expected to abate during today (Friday).
I leave you with this image... of high winds at the Three Virgins (Troisvierges), rooves (sic) being damaged, 250 phone calls concerning trees, a warning against working and a petrol station battling its way against the oppressive flooding.

Ah Luxembourg... never a dull moment.

*image "borrowed" from BBC News

jeudi, janvier 18, 2007

Thursday Cheek

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The title of Alfred Mifsud's Friday column on the Indy (Friday Wisdom) always struck me as being a bit on the presumptious side. His age precludes me from labelling him as yet another whippersnapper on the Maltese opinion column scene. Hence Thursday Cheek... the prelude to all that Wisdom on Friday.

Thursdays used to be Lorna days - at least fortnightly. I have a nagging doubt that Lorna's days on the Times are counted and that the editor has found a replacement from the Labour fold: Exit the Dame (stage left), Enter Stormin' Norman, our hero from those halcyon days of Sibtijiet Flimkien...

Yep. Norman has a spanking new fortnightly column entitled "My Agenda" following a suggestion by the Times Editor.

I must admit that I myself was indeed very surprised when the editor emailed me a few weeks ago, inviting me to contribute a fortnightly article. "Since people know you as the presenter of your talk show Bla Agenda," he said, "I think it would be appropriate for yur column to be titled My Agenda".
Lovely. Any doubts that Norman would not be a good enough replacement for the Dame of the Gramatically Incorrect are immediately assuaged by his use of the trademark "I myself" in the second sentence of his debut. Lovely indeed. The headhunting Times editor has definitely hit on another gold vein in the shape of the former Saturday morning TV regular. Bla Agenda will not be the last plug in what will probably be a series of self-congratulating articles by Mr. Hamilton Tours (himself).

We only get enough time to recieve Happy, Peaceful, Healthy and Belated New Year wishes before Hamilton dives into the crunch of what we shall unquestioningly expect to be his style. J'accuse will have much to crunch on for Thursday's to come. Norman will forgive us if we remember him as the Alfred Zammit of the eighties... a man whose eyes could only glitter at the mention of the man at the helm of the Maltese boat. Mintoff has long faded into the past but Norman's love for autocratic leaders has led him to pastures new and we are left in no doubt as to the identity of his newfound replacements.

Pride of place is reserved for Shaikh Mohammeed Rashid Al Maktoum. El Sheikh is the charismatic man of the people (Qawwu Qalbkom). He is a visionary leader who has his own website and even takes into consideration the suggestions of his people. Grrrreat. This royal CEO seems to have struck a nostalgic nerve within Hamilton's emotional makeup and deserved three paragraphs of adulation all of which were prompted by Hamilton's visit to Dubai over the New Year. Good for him.

From Shaikh to Rais. Norman moves on to describe the atrocious hanging of a former leader. Saddam's execution has not gone down well with Norman. Hamilton does not go so far as to criticise the condemnation itself but rather limits his anger to the circumstances of the hanging. One cannot but suspect a hint of regret that the Rais was actually hanged. This has to be coupled with Hamilton's use of "brave and dignified" description of the swinging tyrant. Hamilton's hint at the "several atrocities" committed by Saddam becomes a little afterthought inserted in what would otherwise be a posthumous apology for another potential charismatic leader who knew what was good for the people... Kurds and all!

What can I say? Farewell Lorna. You might still surprise us with an appearance. We had joy, we had fun and we will miss you. Somehow we knew that you double checked every J'Accuse crit whenever your articles appeared... and for that we are grateful. We wish you yourself a great future in the world of Maltese politics and hope to see your columns somewhere else soon. In the meantime we welcome Stormin' Norman with open arms. We look forward to learning about more great charismatic leaders and lovers of the people as well as learning about great travel destinations. Do not take us too seriously... we are after all just a little blog in the great ocean of blogging...

P.S. Why do I never get an email in my inbox from the Times Editor asking me to contribute a fortnightly article? Something like. "Since people have no idea who you are but it seems that you might be a whippersnapping blogger who posts on what is probably the most popular blog in Malta it would be appropriate for your column to be called J'Accuse in the Times. We have also started a libel fund in Saviour Balzan style since it will probably come in handy once you start your contributions!" In case the Editor does read this blog, my inbox may be found at jacques dot zammit at gmail dot com.


* Picture: Dominic Mintoff - A Charismatic Leader of the People

mercredi, janvier 17, 2007

Watch This Space (and that one too)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The proletariatisation of the media is becoming a hilarious joke. The more I read the more I imagine myself to have gone crazy - a bit like Russel Crowe's character in "A Beautiful Mind" (John Nash). Not that I ever was a nobel prize potential - I don't think they have a category of Popular Blogs and Whippersnapper Rants yet - but the crazy feeling of being submerged by uncategorized information is constantly there.

One minute it is Big Brother who is forming your agenda - what news to read, what channels to watch, what is news, what is hearsay, what is good music, what is bad music, what is real football, what is to be relegated to the obscurity of the unknown mass. The next minute you are being awarded the Time Magazine Personality of the Year for being able to type a few lines of nonsense per day and for hoping to change the world. Because you are the news.

The world's economists have discovered that we have moved beyond neoconsumerism. We are now no longer governed by emotions when we consume. We are robots that are credit card happy. Our debt is huge, long live the debt! The world's tv channels and the film directors now orchestrate exercises in moral education that are either very well hidden in the subteleties (not) of Oprah style talk shows or in the plotlines of teleseries that stink of post-9/11 values.

More and more kids grow up having their ideas of the world honed through two different boxes - the tv and the computer screen. Superman, Batman and Spiderman all had to return in different guises. Religion is no longer what it used to be. Travelling abroad means touching the reality of terrorism and alerts with your own hands and leaving your shoes on the security scan device. The greatest philosopher of the modern age is Homer Simpson and we can now shop from our homes without ever having to meet anyone and engage in useless mall-talk.

There's enough stuff in there to write a novel worthy of Foucault's Pendulum. Or maybe its just a load of gibberish spurting out of the mouth of a XXIst century homo sapiens who might suddenly be exposed to far more information than he could ever handle. Would he swap his place with the feudal peasant working on his lord's demesne for some wicked Baron with the ius primae noctis over his sister? Of course not....

We all would rather be here - threatned by Usama and his followers, frustrated by George and his merry band of losers, governed by ever-more unreasonable politicrats, bled dry to watch our favourite sport, slaves of the credit card chips and travel taxes, still trying to understand what exactly is brewing in this modern day melting pot and still obstinately following the same old football team wherever the conspiracy theorists will condemn it to play.

Thank God for Blogging. Otherwise I know of no other time when I could have said all that and still have the undivided attention of the listener.

"When the Light of the Endless was drawn in the form of a straight line in the Void... it was not drawn and extended immediately downwards, indeed it extended slowly — that is to say, at first the Line of Light began to extend and at the very start of its extension in the secret of the Line it was drawn and shaped into a wheel, perfectly circular all around."

mardi, janvier 16, 2007

Global Warning

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I am told that "ful" and "qaqocc" are readily available at Maltese greengrocers. That should come as no surprise - you would not expect them to sell beans and artichokes at the bookstore would you? Yeah sure. The only problem is that "ful" and "qaqocc" are normally to be seen around Easter. They are both eagerly awaited products which flourish in the Maltese and Gozitan countryside around April. Only thing is that we are in January. This should be the month of freeze and cold... no?

Apparently Malta has shifted from Autumn to Spring without so much as a Winter Sneeze. The jackets and pullovers will stay put together with the "bocci tal-kamla" awaiting another winter that may never come. The sun is out, the sea is relatively calm and there are no cold cold days of bone rattling humid cold.

Which could be cool. Only there are some other signs that are slightly worrying. I had packed enough to survive an expedition to the North Pole when I left for New York. I had been told that Christmas and New Year in the Big Apple are generally on the freezing and snowy side. My ski tops stayed in the suitcase and I got no chance to show off their skin tight qualities. Naaah. Instead we got the hottest December in New York since 1887. Still not worried? How about the snow and ice that froze wine fields around Los Angeles, California two days ago? Another freak event?

Seriously. I am normally the last one to listen to all the treehuggers warnings about dying wood, expanding holes and the general warming of the planet. I must confess that until this winter my attention span when it came to talking to Gaia's ills was not exactly up to scratch. Somehow it is difficult to listen to a round bespectacled hippy with an eco-sack strapped around his shoulder and the tell tale signs of cannabis consumption. It does not exactly convince me.

But no snow in Luxembourg and summer in December in Malta?

Somehow the phrase "Global Warning" does not seem to be so much of a funny pun anymore.

P.S. Notwithstanding the accompanying image I have NOT yet viewed Gore's documentary. This post was inspired by real, tangible events and not by any green propaganda machine.

lundi, janvier 15, 2007


It's officially winter. As it happens it's rather late but we did have a white sheet of ice on the grass at the Parc de Merl this morning. It was also the first time this winter that I had to defrost the windscreen and that the Charlotte Bridge vanished completely under heavy mist. The title is a bit of a cheat though... it's not that cold yet and although the car thermometer did register a minus two this morning we will not be panicking and switching to any unused snowproof clothing as yet. Whatsmore the weather promises to be more clement towards the end of the week...

Still no interesting blogging inspirations from the news or from the world of the world wide weirdness... so I'll get back to work for now.


vendredi, janvier 12, 2007

Hebdo My Dear

This week ticked by slowly in the hazed stupor that generally accompanies the recovery from any major holidaying. Work productivity was at a record low - so much that I would sack myself if I could. No worries on that front since Monday will bring back a new will to live and produce. This blog was among the victims of the general faineantisme that affected my esprit and drained me of all élan. We did of course enjoy the saga of the weird names. I will surely blog again about this phenomenon - especially since I own this book that deals with the very subject of weird names in France (Laissez Parler Les Noms! J.L. Beaucarnot, Editions Lattès 2004). I forgot to mention two of the crankiest names I heard some time ago - both are real and exist in Malta...

Pride of place goes to family Pace who, in a collective bout of psychedelic infusing opted to name their offspring "Jurassic". Master Jurassic Pace will definitely qualify for the annals of history. A close second goes to family Haber who, with a demonic inspiration and a bit of lingustic stretching Mrs Bucket style baptised their little daughter "Pearl". Undoubtedly the christening of the young Pearl Haber must have come as an explosive surprise to all and sundry.

I will try to keep away from onomastic musings for a while now. There were some things that were slipped into this weeks news that would have merited a J'accuse post other days when blogging was quicker and the mind more willing. I liked most of all the news that said that PM Gonzi would be meeting Virgin CEO in the UK to discuss ideas about a train system. Gybexi's dream might be a closer reality. Why such talks always end up speaking of a Sliema - Valletta link is beyond me... what is wrong a backbone link between Cirkewwa and the Airport via Rabat, Birkirkara etc? Why does environment friendly travel start and stop with Ferries, Trains, Monorails (insert other transport of choice) between Valletta and Sliema?

Always on the transport issues it is nice to note that those nice guys at Airmalta are opposing Ryanair flights to and from Bremen because it is too close to their Hamburg destination. Great.

That's all for now. I'm off to France for the start of the weekend so blogging might be slowish though not completely absent. Look out for an I.M. Jack edition some time on Sunday.

The Whippersnapping Pundit has left the building....

jeudi, janvier 11, 2007

What's in a name? (II)

I could not resist getting the card from our cabinet and putting down the full list of names. It's long but worth typing in full. Enjoy:


The list has been double checked and there are no typos. Marsio is not a typo of Mario. Bradon is not Brandon without an N. There IS a nuance between Nadesh and Nadesch. And yes... there is a boy out there called Jean Alesi.

What can I say. You guys seem to have got carried away with the suggestions. But could your imagination really have stretched as far as Gildave (X2) or Lorexleen?

God Bless Us All.

mercredi, janvier 10, 2007

What's in a name?

Today I chanced upon a Christmas card sent by some government ministry. The pictures on the card were drawn by some kids from a Bormla primary. The interesting part of the story was the list of all the names of the kids at the primary on the back of the card. It reads like a mixture of medicinal products, science fiction characters and creative inanity. From Rexilene to Franciljane to Xenia as well as Dyson and Edelson. The fact that one boy was called Redeemer did nothing to redeem this list from its craziness. What's getting into people's heads these days? I counted at least four Nirvanas in a list that was filled with the odd and the insane. Why? Can people really hate their kids so much?

I got this twisted idea while reading the list. Soon there will be no holds barred and the search for the unusual name will spill into naming kids after objects. How soon before we have boys named Asbestos, Proton, Diode, Xenon or Magnet? What will stop these crazy parents from calling their daughters Adenosine, Acitelene or Rexine? Will the fad move onto household items? I mean if we have a Dyson why not a Rowenta, a Prestige or a Zoppas? And once the Apple craze of naming all things cool beginning with the i-prefix really clicks with "the common people" how long before school registers have an iSon or an iDaughter on their list?

My biggest worry is about how this will affect my Scrabble scores. The day someone challenges my use of "asbestos" because it is a proper noun things will really have gone to the dogs.

mardi, janvier 09, 2007


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Cervantes' Don Quixote is often used as a metaphor of the idealistic campaigner on a quest against the impossible. Quixotic is defined as being romantic, visionary and impractical all in one go. Individual quests against whatever is taken to be as the ordinary, accepted norm could also be described as quixotic. Take the idea in some Maltese minds that the country cannot go on relying on a two party system. Take the attempts at breaking out of the MLPN mould. Quixotic. Quixotism can be taken to extremes and certan aims can be seen as being more impractical than others - take Harry's five seats in Parliament for example. Sure, the romance, the vision is admirable and probably shared by many. The difficulty of the task he hopes to accomplish might be the very thing that stops people from putting themselves four-square behind him.

Les Enfants de Don Quichotte is an organisation that is in the news in France at the moment. They have taken up the cause of the so-called SDF (Sans Domicile Fixe) - the homeless. What this quixotic band has done is install tents in major cities in France. The aim was one tent for every sans-abri and they intended to leave them there in the open until lodgement was found for each SDF. The sight of rows upon rows of tents along the Seine in Paris and in major squares in France served as an eye-opener to the people and the government. The public had been invited to spend at least one night out in a tent and get an idea of what it is like to sleep out in the cold.

On the 8th January, the French government announced new measures concerning the SDF. This Plan of Action includes the commitment that "any person currently received in an Emergency Hosting Centre will be offered (in accordance to his means) a permanent solution, in a public social zone, in a private conventional park, in a Centre for Hosting and Social Reinsertion, in a Centre for Request for Asylum, in a house of retreat or in a Hosting Centre for Stabilisation." These measures were the first concrete steps taken by the government as a direct consequence of the concrete action of the Enfants de Don Quichotte.

Private action in order to get the authorities moving will always be seen in some quarters as Quixotic. They will always find others who dismiss their actions as "idealistic", "romantic" or otherwise. Some would say that it takes courage to take on the status quo. I tend to disagree. Once you have the ideal and the will to achieve the rest will follow. It's not just about blogging. It's about carving back a place for the person in a society that has left too much in the hands of a political elite that seems to have lost itself somewhere along the way.

* This post may also be read at

lundi, janvier 08, 2007

Tanto Pe' Canta'

Perche' delle volte basta la musica...

Tanto pe' canta'
(N. Manfredi)

E' una canzona senza titolo
tanto per canta' per fa' qualche cosa.
Nun e' niente de straordinario
e' roba der paese nostro
che se po' canta' pure senza voce.
Basta 'a salute
quanno c'e' 'a salute c'e' tutto.
Bast''a salute e un par de scarpe nove
poi gira' tutto er monno
e m''a accompagno da me...
pe' fa' la vita meno amara
me so' comprato 'sta chitara
e quanno er sole scenne e more
me sento un core cantatore
la voce e' poca ma intonata
nun serve a fa' na serenata
ma solamente a fa' 'n maniera
de famme un sogno a prima sera
uh, uh, uh, uh...
tanto pe' canta'
perche' me sento un friccico ner core
tanto pe' sogna'
perche' ner petto me ce naschi un fiore
fiore de lilla'
che ma riporti verso er primo amore
che sospirava a le canzone mie
e me rintontoniva de bucie
canzone belle e appassionate
che roma mia m'ha ricordate
cantate solo pe' dispetto
ma co' na smania drento ar petto
io non ve canto a voce piena
ma tutta l'anima e' serena
e quanno er cielo se scolora
de me nessuna s' ennamora...
tanto pe' canta'
perche' me sento un friccico ner core
tanto pe' sogna'
perche' ner petto me ce naschi un fiore
fiore de lilla'
che ma riporti verso er primo amore
che sospirava a le canzone mie
e me rintontoniva de bucie!
tanto pe' canta'
perche' me sento un friccico ner core
tanto pe' sogna'
perche' ner petto me ce naschi un fiore
fiore de lilla'
che ma riporti verso er primo amore
che sospirava a le canzone mie
e me rintontoniva de bucie!

dimanche, janvier 07, 2007

The Whippersnapper's Prediction

Some bloggers might revel in the idea of predicting what's coming up in the year 2007. I wonder if Sant has used that one yet... prediction I mean. Being of the whippersnapping kind we prefer to snap the whip as the news comes out. We do not find nostradamusian guesswork amusing, however as a nod to this pastime for the unpretentious and those lacking the necessary confidence to qualify for whippersnapper statuse we will make one prediction.

We predict that J'Accuse will once again be the blog with most posts in a year come the end 2007, each post will be full of the kind of stuff that readers are used to expect from what is Probably the Most Popular Maltese Blog.

J'Accuse... punditry made simple (and tongue in cheek too)

samedi, janvier 06, 2007


For the record. This "young whippersnapper from Luxembourg" still thinks that if a question is worded in a vague manner and thus has a multiple possible good answers then it is the question poser who is wrong.

Hence it is not just Uriah Heep but also Frank Sinatra who sings Sweet Lorraine.



Back in Lux. What do you do after an extended shopping holiday? Well the answer is obvious. The sales have begun in Lux so Mel and I shopped all day. Still not back to "pundit" mood. But I did think up a slogan using the award so gracefully granted to this blog....

See you soon.

vendredi, janvier 05, 2007


The holidays in New York. They're over. Luggage was over-weight. Travel was over-long. Border bureaucracy was over the top. I am over my mean or average weight. I cannot get over the jet lag. Over there you wake up to shop. Over here you wake up to work. Over there you had a myriad restaurants waiting to be explored. Over here it is travel plans all over again. Over here...

anyway... over here we will have time to begin again. Right now all I need is a coffee... a good european coffee without all the fake razmatazz (and don't anyone mention a latte)

mercredi, janvier 03, 2007


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting