mercredi, février 28, 2007

I want tha' one...*

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

First of all let me apologise for the petulant outburst at all things blogger yesterday. The constant efforts at trying to improve the j'accuse (and other blog) layout led me to a particularly nasty nervous breakdown last night. I promise to be calmer in my approach in the future.

Now to the government. It's great days ahead for Gonzi's group as the Local Council elections (which nobody cares about but everybody talks about) approach. The announcement of Malta's formal application to join Eurozone came with the usual pomp and circumstance. The EU will be examining Malta's application and whether the country's performance falls within the convergence criteria. All's well and good.

And while PM Gonzi was busy hobnobbing with Joaquin Almunia (Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner) his man for Environmental Affairs was busy telling everybody that the EU's system of enforcement is a bit like the Jesuits discipline at SAC. You can try to get away with ignoring it because sometimes it takes oh such a long time to get going. The problem is that like the jesuit, it will catch up with you one day or another and inflict the most heavy of punishments you ever thought possible!

Today we read that the Commission is not very happy with Malta's decision to ignore the Directive concerned for the fourth year running. It has reminded all of us that there is a procedure that has been running against Malta since June 2006 and that this latest move with regard to Spring Hunting does not improve Malta's situation much.

All will depend on the ECJ's interpretation of the derogation given to Malta. In the end it is all about deciding whether there is an alternative to spring hunting - like autumn hunting. Once that is over and done with it will be time for George to go back to the hunters and birdwatchers and explain that this latest interpretation (whatever it is) is the law. More importantly it will be time for Maltese politicians to explain to the general populace that the EU is not exactly a pick'n'mix establishment. You cannot have the euro, the subsidies and flout EU law at the same time. Nope sir. Ich don't think so... as Baron Cohen's latest character would say.

This thinking does not only apply to the hunters and watchers but also to the traders who are infuriated by parallel importation from Sicily, to former monopolies and subsidised operations and most importantly to governments who should wake up, open their eyes and remember that even their legislative activity must conform with EU law.

More than worrying about joining the euro, cabinet, government and all social players should be waking up to the fact that we joined the EU some time ago now... and thankfully there's no turning back.

Now that's a refreshing thought.

* Nota Bene: Title and Picture refer to Little Britain characters Lou and Andy

mardi, février 27, 2007

End of Project

Recent changes on Blogger have prompted me to take a drastic decision with regards to the management of my accounts. I have tried to migrate to the new blogger with all the blogs concerned: J'accuse and Kinnie & Twistees remain stuck in the old blogger. The Laughing Fit has moved but required the creation of a separate gmail account. Same goes for the almost defunct Lamp-Post-Form. I cannot unsubscribe myself from Il-Loghba Sabiha because I cannot access the settings part. As for Gakbu Sfigho's Bollettino... it has moved to the new blogger but not without teething problems.

Therefore all readers are being forewarned that once J'accuse reaches 100.000 hits and the 10th March 2007 (site birthday) is behind us we intend to shut these projects from blogger and shift to pastures new. Research has already begun for better blogging fields. Suggestions and solutions are welcome. Meanwhile we have to find a way how to archive all this *hit!

BTW. Guys like Lanzarote and Ajjut seem to have shifted to new blogger with the added consequence that their blogs are now available only for invited readers. That is the kind of trouble we are trying to avoid.

Thank You.

Carry on... Hunting

It's the latest hot news from the island of contradictions. The Wise Government of the Republic has approved spring hunting. The Cabinet voted in favour of opening another free-for-all on the flying pests that pass over islands for the forthcoming spring season. Unfortunately what should have been a minor point on the agenda of a very busy set of ministers has been splashed all over the papers (electronic or otherwise) providing us with a veritable Bird's Eye View (pardon the capitalised pun) of the rainbow like panorama of Maltese politics. If anything this event proves that half the picture really does not tell much.... or does it? Well.... j'accuse is about to rectify the situation with this in-depth report "Carry on Hunting"...

1. Analysing The Headlines

MALTARIGHTNOW: L-istagun tal-kacca fir-Rebbiegha: Il-Gvern se jikkontrolla
Strong imagery from the PN online rag. Note the reassuring message to hunters and violent protesters... there IS a hunting season and it IS in Spring. Note the appendix to the the BR: the government will control. We are obviously not told what is left to control. We are not told many things but those are pleasures yet to come.

MALTASTAR: Government gives "green" light to spring hunting
Ha!Ha! for that. Don't you just love the pun? Isn't it funny? The opposition e-paper doesn't know which news is best for its readers ears. Like a kid in a sweet shop it just stands ogle-eyed in the middle and stares and drools without much substance. They'd love to criticise the government... but that would mean that they disagree with the hunting season... and that would mean falling into the bad books of the GHKNK... definitely a no go.

THE TIMES: Malta defies EU on spring hunting
An interesting title. No contradictions here. The Times puts its neck on the line and calls a spade a spade. The title is interesting when we compare it to the Maltarightnow reporting of Minister George Pullicino's press conference and his analysis of how Malta stands viz the EU.

THE INDEPENDENT: Cabinet approves spring hunting, final dates to be established
As non-committal as possible. Hey... the cabinet approved it... the dates are still not there. We do not know how to make head or tail of all this. Is the government right? Are the hunters happy? For all the Independent cares.... boq

DI-VE: Government violating national and European Laws - Birdlife Malta
You could be forgiven if for a second you thought that di-ve had reached a conclusion on all this. They preferred quoting the Birdlife press release - and birdlife are rabid indeed.

2. the Content
So let's start with Maltarightnow (MRN). Everything is fine and dandy. First of all this was all done in consultation. The Minister consulted a committee of people who have varying interests in flying things (from snapping their photos to snapping their wings). The decision was taken at a meeting of the Ornis Committee (doesn't that sound ever so environmental?). Turtle Doves and quail can be shot at between 1st April and 20th May.

If the environmental bandwagon was not enough, Vote George Get Birdhunters explained to anyone who was listening that the people had voted in the last referendum and general election to preserve sustainable hunting in spring. We what? Somehow I do not remember the "Let's Preserve Bird Hunting" t-shirts adorning the carcades for the referendum campaign. I do remember voting to get in the EU and finally kick out hunting!!! but it seems that Vote George Get Ugly Surprises seems to think otherwise.

And then there was the funny bit about announcing stricter measures and heavier fines to ensure that the rules are observed. So that's a good one. First we misinterpret the people's will. Then we redraft the hunting rules to get an escape clause regarding when the hunting season begins (under previous byelaws hunting season could only start six weeks after an Ornis Committee decision... now it has been magicked into four). Then we also claim that (a) the Eu rules will not really apply and (b) if they do really apply it will still take the big EU machine very very long to take a decision against Malta in this regard.

Hmm. I promise he said that. Don't believe me?

"The minister downplayed the significance of the EU's infringement proceedings, saying the process leading to a possible fine from the European Court was a lengthy one". (The Times)

"Mr Pullicino explained how the process of remedial action available to the European Commission, which has promised to come down hard on Malta should it allow spring hunting once again this year in what it would consider a breach of the EU’s birds directive for the fourth year running, would take some time to be incurred, if at all applicable. Punitive fines would only result should Malta fail to comply with a decision by the European Courts of Justice*, the last of three steps in infringement proceedings, while so far, the EC has only taken the first step and issued a letter of formal notice." (The Indy)

Ok. I'd love to go on and on. I'd love to be able to see some logic in this new manoeuvre and not a calculated pandering to the GHKNK timed perfectly not to ruffle any feathers (at least not human feathers) before the Local Council elections (just long enough to vote but not long enough not to be condemned by the EU). I can't though.

It's pathetic. People keep on reminding me that a PN government is the lesser of all evils. That a vote for the PN is an inevitable and foregone conclusion if we want to retain a modicum of logic and save our face on the international arena. Will someone carefully explain what difference there is between a defiant George Pullicino vis-a-vis black and white EU regulation and a defiant Iranian Prime Minister vis-a-vis the world community and nuclear proliferation?

George Pullicino may claim to be personally against hunting (and the many threats on the GHKNK site may be more than positive proof to that) but surely his handling of this matter could have been much much much (did I say much?) better.

Last I heard, a flock of turtle doves and quail were flying in the direction of the Ministry of Environment... and just before they were shot down by a trigger happy hunter they had managed to form the following words in the sky....


The Times
The Malta Independent

* The red highlighting in the Indy quote begs the question. Is the government waiting for a condemnation by the ECJ and then acting as though its hand was forced and therefore cannot do but abide with the EU rules? Possible...but we can never be sure.

lundi, février 26, 2007

It's my Penalty...

... and I cry if I want to!

Supercoccolato d'Italia has struck again. Having taken (and missed) his 6th penalty in succession Rigetta wundermensch Totti decided to throw a tantrum. Apparently his failure to score this time was up to some witty subterfuge by the Reggina goalkeeper - a former team mate. It appears that just before Totti struck his latest missing shot, the keeper approached Italy's favourite whinger and told him that shooting the penalty was useless - he would save it anyway by diving to the right. Totti therefore assumed that the keeper would dive anywhere but the right and shot to the right. Unsurprisingly Campagnolo (the sly keeper) saved the shot... thus incurring Totti's wrath. Well... we all know how Totti celebrates his goals... with a thumb in mouth action (stile pacifier)... surely that gives him the licence to burst into a kiddy tantrum should he fail to score a penalty?

In his words (Gazzetta dello Sport):

PARLA TOTTI E' lo stesso capitano giallorosso a raccontare la sua versione dei fatti, dopo la fine della gara, ai microfoni di Roma Channel: "Siccome con Campagnolo ci conosciamo da tanto tempo, è successo che è venuto verso di me prima che tirassi il rigore e mi ha detto 'Tanto te lo paro, lo so dove me lo tiri, alla mia destra'. Visto che mi aveva detto queste parole, io non pensavo che si buttasse proprio lì, pensavo di fregarlo e invece mi ha fregato lui". Sul battibecco avuto subito dopo col portiere della Reggina: "L'ho mandato a quel paese ma è stato un gesto istintivo che mi è venuto. Ero dispiaciuto perchè ci tenevo a segnare. Era importante per me, il gol lo sto cercando da tanto tempo, soprattutto su rigore (è da oltre due mesi che non ne segna uno, ndr). Ma l'importante è che la Roma abbia vinto".

Meanwhile back on the island where real football is played - Valletta trounced B'kara three nil to keep up their surprising pace....

vendredi, février 23, 2007

I'm Afraid of Americans

Aussies taking the mickey out of the Yanks.

Guide 2K+7 for Everyone

Writing in yesterday's Indy, Daphne CG reported that Malta's zeitgeist in 2007 is not what it was twenty or thirty years back. Apparently Malta has burst out of its bubble of not so splendid isolation and is now exposed to cultures immeasurable. Such cultures are both a boon and a threat to the current ways of thinking. The threat side of things is being confronted in all sorts of ways - from court cases involving tangas and transsexuals, to the divorce debate (really, so passe') to adaptation to a common set of regulations intended to better the general state of things in the European continent.

Unfortunately, as Daphne also points out, the country is run mostly by the lesser evils elected from among the unelectables that are proposed every now and then to an electorate that is too stunned by the bursting of the bubble and the discovery of 2K gadgets to react in any other way. The unelectable elected - the survivors of this oxymoronic paradox - run the country (or its oppositin) much to the chagrin of the few who have really shifted into 2007 mode. Their reactions to all sorts of mundane cultural changes would only be seen in a Hamish community that has had cable tv force fed into every household/.

Well. I will comment more on Daphne's article later in the day. For now I have discovered a lexicon of "politically correct" terms thatreaders might find handy. It is taken from an article that I stumbled across while reading ALdaily. Here goes the lexicon... it's long but worth it....


Politically Correct Lexicon

African American: In 1988 Jesse Jackson encouraged people to adopt this term over the then-used “black.” As he saw it, the words acknowledged black America’s ties to Africa. “African American,” says Hill, is now “used more by non-African-American people, who cling to it because they are unsure what word to use.” Sen says, “African American” is favored by “highly educated people who are not black. Whether one uses ‘black’ or ‘African American’ indicates how strong your social relations are with those communities.” And Chris Raab, founder of Afro-Netizen, says, “People who are politically correct chose to use African American, but I don’t recall any mass of black folks demanding the use of African American.”

Asian: The correct term to use for anyone of Asian ancestry. When accuracy is desired, nationality of origin is appended to “American,” as in “Korean American.” Sen, who describes herself as South Asian or Indian American, says that there is “some push around not conflating everybody into Asian. This is mostly an issue among new immigrants. If there hasn’t been time for a generation, it seems to be hard to move those folks to the Asian category.”

Bitch: A word, says Baim, which is “absolutely being reclaimed by a younger generation of women who are asserting their sexuality and control of their sexuality.” Successfully repurposed by Bitch magazine over the past decade, ‘Bitch’ is now becoming passé as less edgy writers like Cathi Hanauer, author of The Bitch in the House, adopt it. Similarly, though more slowly, “slut,” “whore” and “cunt” are being reappropriated. “The young people use those terms all the time teasingly and sometimes to even refer to themselves,” says Hill. “It is more common to hear someone say ‘I am a slut’ than ‘I am a whore.’ ” “Cunt” is gaining currency among some young lesbians, though Baim says it is a word that gets stuck in her throat. “While it is a reclaimed word, it is one I can hardly say, the same way some older blacks have trouble saying the n-word.”

Black: At Colorlines “black” is used with a capital B, while The Associate Press Stylebook advises use of the lower case.

Boi: A word, says Hill, that is “used by young queer people to refer to either young gay males or young females who are presenting as males.”

Brown: A general term for people who are not white. Colorlines uses “brown” in a casual or playful way. “We might have a headline ‘Brown People to the Back’ in a story about restaurant hierarchy,” Sen says. Sometimes used to refer to Latinos, as in the “black-brown” coalition that helped elect Harold Washington mayor of Chicago in 1983.

Chicano: Correct term for people of Mexican ancestry, popularized during the civil rights movement. “We use it to refer to U.S.-born people of Mexican descent,” says Sen. “Mexican American is the more distant, politer thing to say.”

Dyke: A word lesbians have reclaimed. Hill, however, says that among the young it is “on its way out.”

Fag (faggot): The new “queer.” “Like the n-word, it’s a word that can be said by gay people,” says Hill. “I hear ‘fag’ a great deal, especially among queer-identified young people, like ‘don’t be such a fag’ or ‘you are such a fag.’ “

Feminist: “A word that the younger generation doesn’t always embrace,” is how Baim, 44, describes it. A lot of young women, she says, are “feminists but they don’t want to be pigeonholed.” “Feminist somehow became a tainted word along the way,” says Hill. “I have heard a lot of people say, ‘this sounds feminist’ or ‘I used to be a feminist.’ “

Gay: The word used to refer to males and, inclusively, to the whole gender-bent community. “College-age people are more likely to refer to themselves as queer,” say Hill. “People out of college are more likely to refer to themselves as gay.”

Girl: “‘Girl’ is used by older women,” says Baim. “It is kind of nice because it used to be used derogatorily and now it is used in a fun way.”

GLBT: Shorthand for GLBTQ2IA.

GLBTQ2IA: The acronym for Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Allies. “This is coming from the youth movement, the college campuses, it has not seeped into the whole community at this point,” says Baim, who at the Windy City Times uses GLBT, an acronym the New York Times has not yet seen fit to print.

Guys: Very controversial. Used, especially in the Midwest, when referring to a group of people. “In Chicago that word gets used a lot,” says Hill. And Baim says, “I use it all of the time.” Some feminists, like Andi Zeisler, the editor of Bitch, find “guys” problematic. “We assume the descriptor ‘guys’ denotes a quality of universality,” she says. “It would be hard to imagine a group of men being addressed by their server as ‘hey you gals’ and not taking offense, but the reverse happens all the time.”

Hir (hirs): Gender neutral for him and her. At Wesleyan University, incoming freshmen are instructed to use gender-neutral pronouns in campus correspondence. As one person wrote on the university’s online Anonymous Confession Board, “I am usually attracted only to people of hir original gender, rather than hir intended gender. As such, I’m afraid that I’m, like, viewing hir wrong, or not respecting hir wishes or something.”

Hispanic: “We never use Hispanic,” says Sen. “It privileges the European roots of the identity of Mexicans born in the United States.” Hispanic, however, is the preferred term of people in the Southwest whose families are descendents of Spanish colonists.

Indian: The preferred term for Native Americans. “Indians either use their specific tribal name or use Indian,” says Sen. “You use the qualifier American when you need to distinguish from Indian Indians.”

Latino: (Capital “L,” with “a” or “o” at the end used to connote gender.) Politically correct term for those from Spanish or Portuguese speaking cultures. “We use it instead of Hispanic when we want to refer to many different national groups where there has been an indigenous-European mix,” says Sen.

Lesbian: “The younger generations are less connected with the terms ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’,” says Baim. “Lesbian is out of favor as a self-identifying label, it means something political, something more rigid than the younger generation is comfortable with.”

Macaca: The latinization of the Bantu “ma-kako,” meaning monkey. According to the Global Language Monitor, former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) helped make this the most politically incorrect word of 2006 by using it to refer to an Indian American.

Native American: Some Indians object to the term, seeing it as a way to linguistically eradicate “Indian” and thus the history of their oppression by whites. “I almost always hear Native American, and in the more enlightened conversations there is usually ‘indigenous’ thrown in there somewhere,” says Lott. Sen says, “Native American seems to be a more distant construction, developed by academics.”

Nigger: “It is a word that white students struggle with and black students use pretty freely,” says Hill. “Young people are much more open to using it, especially young people who are black or who have been exposed to more diverse groups of people.” While Sen says, “I can’t imagine a political or a social multiracial situation where it would be appropriate, but I know that is because I am too old. The word is so prevalent in the popular youth culture, grounded in hip-hop, that I wouldn’t like to predict where that debate is going to end up. But if the popular culture ends up agreeing that it is okay to use, then I think there are a lot of pretty scary implications.”

Queer: Anyone who falls outside the lines of straight. “It has been reclaimed far ahead of faggot or dyke,” says Baim. “It is our buzz word,” says Columbia College’s Hill. “It is how we avoid saying all of those letters [GLBTQ2IA].” REM lead singer Michael Stipe, for example, is queer, not gay. “For me, queer describes something that’s more inclusive of the gray areas,” he told Butt, a pocket-sized Dutch “fagazine.” “It’s really about identity I think. The identity I’m comfortable with is queer because I just think it’s more inclusive.”

Transgendered: (trans) A person who is not presenting as their biological gender. “It is fascinating how transgendered is becoming like an octopus with all the tentacles of identity and personal design. The transgendered movement is burgeoning and fluid, they are creating all of these new ways to define who they are,” says Baim.

Ze: Gender neutral for he or she. As Mary Boenke writes on the PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Web site: “When talking with Leslie Feinberg, noted transgender author, I asked Leslie which pronouns to use. Ze shrugged hir shoulders and said ze didn’t care.”


Unfortunately we do not foresee the revival of the word "pooftah" in the near future. For those who would really love to see it used by an Englishman (repeated several times on stage)... I definitely suggest Russel Brand's stand-up video... now there's a politically incorrect, queer looking, intelligent bloke if ever there was one!

mercredi, février 21, 2007

Construction Beer

So now the man known to Malta as ic-Caqnu will be making beer. What's next? Caqnu Cheese? We're looking forward for the first reports from our readers telling us whether Caqnu's Beer tastes good!

See Maltastar.

Switching Reader


Still home. Still bloody sick.

Today I am switching my news aggregator for the third time. First it was Bloglines, then I switched to a cool gadget called Vienna, now I have decided that it will be Google Reader. Great news isn't it? Anyway, I played around with the aggregators until I found out that they do what they should logically do i.e. you can export your list of links from one aggregator to another using an .opml file.


The worst thing about this cold is the danger of whiplash injury. I do not remember ever having to sneeze so violently and risk grievous injury to the neck and spine. Day nurse supplies are finishing... will have to pop over to Little Britain later on. Unfortunately (or maybe not) the failure to recover from the rheum means that I will miss the Maltese Boys in Luxembourg night out to watch Rocky Balboa. Sad really.

*Sneeze - and wipe wet hand on bottom thigh part of jeans*

Anyways. So I am off to try and pick up some files from work. If I do not crash on the way that is... seeing as how I spin off uncontrollably everytime I need to sneeze.


mardi, février 20, 2007

Porci Volant

Dedicated to Fausto Majistral

Shostakovich Minus One

London: February 2007. The first day of the Chinese New Year and a not so casual encounter with three-fourths of the famed band "Shostakovich's Nightmare". Present at the Lemon Tree Pub - a stone's throw away from all the hubbub of Chinatown (and drinking long enough to miss the fireworks)... Job, Ton, Jack and Gringo (sounds cooler that way: actually from L to R Ton, Gringo, Jack and Job). Missing from the picture is guitarist Matthew Cuschieri who had no valid excuse to be in London that day.

The Non-Partisan

Fausto seems to think that J'accuse has fallen into a trap. He has picked on our disclaimer that we appended to the post relating to the launching of Espresso. Fausto lectures us that any blog or opinion columnist worth his salt distinctively tows a particular political line. Which is true. Which is also what J'accuse does. I will never deny that j'accuse tows a very particular political agenda... It's own.

And that is where Thermidor got it all wrong. The mere fact that j'accuse's agenda coincides with that of a new journal that aims at creating a wider platform of expression beyond the folds of MLPN stained propaganda does not mean that j'accuse is suddenly an AD flag-waver.

We do not profess the "independence" of Orizzont or Torca style. No. We have an agenda that is ours and we will step into any area or medium that is convenient enough to plug that agenda. From divorce, to cheap travel, to greener policies, to getting rail to malta, to promiting the by now infamous third alternative.... we have our own mini manifesto that is not subject to any political party diktat.

The same applies to me personally (before J'Accuse existed). My endorsement of Arnold Cassola as EP candidate had very little to do with backing AD per se and very much to do with backing a like-minded candidate with the added bonus of pushing the third alternative agenda - which is not only mine but that of many others.

The difference between non-partisan, individual agenda and the yearning for that faux independence is that in our case we do not have to be apologists for no party. We do not feel compelled to justify ridiculous expenditures on Dar Malta (the price is expensive fullstop - I dn't care what Poland paid 10 years ago). We can criticise all and sundry... greens included (even on their own journal)...

... hell... we do not even hesitate to criticise the only blogger who deemed our blog worth nominating for the Malta Annual Blog Awards... How's that for non-partisan, real independence aye?


I'm back from a wonderful London trip full of food, theatre, Chinese New Year and Spamalot. Many short posts will be put up later today - all related to the trip - and we also have to catch up with a few posts that have appeared here and there featuring this great blog of ours. We have all the time in the world since we have been struck with 'la grippe' (hopefully not aviaire).

In the meantime I came across this editorial on the Times (monday edition). A pleasant editorial dealing with "Truth and Politics" and that seems to have been triggered off by Brian Hansford's declaration that he had to choose between politics and truth.

Funny, but I seem to have read all about this a good number of days earlier... now where could that have been? In any case... it's good to see this kind of argument being picked up by the Times... jolly good indeed.

* And in answer to Kenneth... I disagree - the Google "L" cannot be substituted by a short stub on the end of a strawberry covered in chocolate. It was too displaced to be a substitution. But really... do we really care?

jeudi, février 15, 2007

Brother Norbert fsc

Dear Brother Norbert has left us. I did not spend much time at Stella Maris College, only three years in fact, but in that short time Brother Norbert and his welcoming smile at the door left a great impression. I met him frequently on my visits to the College where my mum still works and recently his eyes used to light up whenever I mentioned the fact that I live so close to his beloved France (and only four hours drive from Lyon).

He has gone to join Brother Peter and Brother Philip - those brothers whose names stick out from my time at the College. The freres are not as conspicuous as the jesuits in the execution of their mission. I have no doubt that they too leave a long lasting mark on whoever is lucky enough to be blessed with their hardworking presence.

God Bless You Brother Norbert!

To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that is is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. - Plato, The Apology, Socrates.

Osing It

I am one of the many people who uses Google at least once a day. If you are a like-minded internet user you would also know that Google regularly changes the look of its simple search page title in accordance to the particular event or celebration on a particular day. Yesterday, February 14th being St Valentine's many will have noticed the cute stylisation of the second G in google (see above) that was transformed into a chocolate wrapped strawberry. Very cutish as Hsejjes would say.

Many, including, myself would not have noticed that this particular version of the google title lacked the "L". Apparently this mistake lasted a whole day and was noticed by hundreds of bloggers who immediately asked "What is a Googe?"

Funny how sometimes the brain takes in a shape and assumes that it is always going to be the same and will ignore a missing particular. I know there are scientific studies about this... I just hope that you will notice that J'accuse will be missing from tomorrow through to Monday (inclusive) because I am off for a four-day visit to Londinium.

Don't be too naughty while I am gone and will someone please feed the godfish?

Be seeing you.

mercredi, février 14, 2007


Having postponed the officious Valentine's dinner by a couple of days (we'll be Shabu Shabu-ing our valentine treat in a Japanese resto in London) I plan to spend the evening in the company of two charming blondes and a couple of lobsters. A bit of joie de vivre and je ne sais quoi is obviously involved... in the meantime let me wish a Happy Valentine to all of you out there... whatever that really means.

Luxembourg Forest Stolen

From :

Forest Stolen

The police have appealed for information concerning a forest of trees that was reported missing yesterday.

The small forest "Glescht" near Mondorf lies about 1.5km from the road, and thieves drove up the laneway and helped themselves to 60 oak trunks which had been felled and stacked ready for transportation to a sawmill. The volume of wood is estimated at 90m3 which has a market value of 13,000 Euros.

The police suspect that the thieves used a car as well as a special transport lorry.

For information, contact the Mondorf police at tel: 24475-200.

Remember Dunsinane?

mardi, février 13, 2007

Malta Joins 'Axis of Evil'

BBC news reports that Italy has just foiled a plan to supply thousands of weapons to Iraqi insurgents. A routine drugs investigation unearthed a veritable weapons ring that moved weapons from Libya to Iraq (presumably through Malta).

J'accuse reports that the although White House was caught unawares by the news, preliminary investigations by Bush's Rapid Intelligence Unit (R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S) found that Malta is an island Republic in the middle of the Mediterranean. The search had taken slightly more time than usual since the relevant information had confusingly been filed under the heading "Mintoff".

When asked to comment, President Bush remarked that the US was still unsure whether to add Malta to the Axis of Evil - particularly because of its strategic importance in the production of beer. "The people of the island seem to be particularly friendly having recently practically donated a huge chunk of their territory for the construction of a new embassy." - added America's number 1 [omissis].

J'accuse can also the reveal that the Maltese government will shortly announce strict collaboration with its American friends and make sure that any criminals will be brought to justice - preferably on CIA planes - directly to America or Rumania.

Finally, J'accuse can also reveal that the BBC, CNN, NBC and others are closing in on a scoop that will reveal that most Iraqi insurgents were originally trained by US militia during the Iraq-Iran war and that most Iraqi weapons also originated from the US of A.

With friends like these....


* Picture: Maltese supremo Lawrence "Slick" Gonzi seen here posing with Austin "Powers" Gatt... the next faces of the Axis of Evil??

** Nota Bene: None of the information given above is verifiable. All sources are questionable. As we say in Maltese "Ma min rajtek xebbahtek".

[ASIDE] What's all this rubbish in the international news trying to portray Malta as an arms shifting country? Do we really need proof that we would know nothing about this kind of deal? I mean can you imagine if GHKNK (federation of hunters) got wind of this deal? Now how many of you would really bet that the AK 47s would really end up in Iraqi hands and not in those of some triggerhappy cacciatore? Give us a break will you?

Can't Be Bothered

From today's Times of Malta:

Return of Historical Items

No official requests were made in recent years for the return of items of historical importance taken away from Malta, Tourism and Culture Minister Francis Zammit Dimech said yesterday.

He was replying to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Franco Galea who asked if any contacts had been made for the return of items taken from Malta during the French and British occupations of Malta, specifically La Valette's sword which was taken to France.



dimanche, février 11, 2007

The Politics of Truth (contd.)

Some days ago I blogged about the relationship between politics, politicians and truth. Serenditipitous wanderings led me to an article in the UK Independent (no link - print edition) about Barak Obama - the latest obstacle to Hillary Clinton's quest for her husband's old seat. The article by Rupert Cornwell began with an interesting assertion that fits in nicely with the gist of what I had said in the previous post:

A gaffe, they say in politics, is when someone inadvertently blurts out the truth.

See you on Monday.

vendredi, février 09, 2007

Feasibly Possible

The two words in the title (feasibly possible) caught my attention this morning. I noticed that they seem to be a waste of words since as a matter of fact both words say the same thing. "Feasible" is doable... like "faisable" in French and "fattibile" in Italian. "Possible" means "can be done" as in "doable". See where I am going? Why do we say "feasibly possible" when "feasible" or "possible" could be enough.

I suspect that "possible" qualifies the moment of "feasibility" in a very subtle nuance. "Feasibly possible" thus becomes when the feasibility becomes possible - feasibily referring to whatever it is that should become doable and possible referring to the doability of the feasibility itself.

Right. That solved it. Maybe.

Now for an ad. This month sees the Official Launching of after some months of test publishing. Espresso has a clear green line behind it and is a sort of voice of alternattiva demokratika. No. I have not got a tessera yet... and will probably never do ... prefering to be a one-man influence on all changes possible (or feasible). Anyone questioning the independence of j'accuse should be comforted by the fact that I will write on any paper that allows added expression away from the nodes of power monopolised by they who must be elected at all costs.

So yes. The added benefit of espresso is that you will find a j'accuse column there once a week. Is there anything you could want more in life?

Ok. Ok. No need to answer that one.

Add espresso to your RSS feed or a be a conservative, status-quo-protecting, minority trouncing, wishy-washy, void-of-all-decision-making individual. Or just subscribe on the site itself. Reading new ideas never harmed anyone... until now it has not been feasibly possible to do so.

Short from the Court

Di-ve reports another case from Malta's criminal courts. We do not normally deal with this kind of story but two elements attracted our critical eye:

1. The name. JOSWIL. This should teach parents. Be careful what to call your offspring. You never know when they will get their few moments of fame... and to get caught with a name like that.

2. Then there was the guy who met Joswil outside the restaurant. The witness told the court that when he met Joswil outside he was "full of anger". Dear dear. So what does our witness decide to do? "He tried to calm him down by offering him a coffee but he then left." As usual di-ve regales us with a profligacy of "he"s to the point where we do not know if "he" is Joswil or the witness. Better than that is the genius of said witness. A coffee to calm someone down? Now that's one I had never heard before. He should have been jailed.

3. Do note how the girlfriend's surname changes from Bickle to Bickley half way through the story. A bit fickle don't you think?

jeudi, février 08, 2007

Violence is Stupid

In the early nineties (a nice way to say "around 1991") I used to write for the MZPN magazine for Gozo called "mill-Pjazza" (incidentally a name that inspired Lou to name his eponymous programme - though he would never admit it). Following my clashes with Fr. Cilia at Saint Aloysius' College because of controversial articles I penned in the magazine of the now defunct Ghaqda Liberali Riformista (Lehnek!), "mill-Pjazza" provided me with a second experience facing people who manifestly disagree with what you write.

In the case of Fr. Cilia I (and my Liberal colleagues) had been threatned with expulsion should we continue to disseminate such liberal filth in the hallowed corridors of Jesuit establishments. The treatment reserved to me in Gozo was rather more direct. Having written an article criticising the "sport" of hunting I was the target of a couple of empty beer bottles thrown in my direction while I was attempting to get to my favourite pastizzi place - it-Tapie, in St Francis Square, Victoria.

No matter how far I stretch my limits of tolerance I fail to see anything positive around hunters and hunting in general. To me they remain a step before the great leap to the age of Homo Sapiens. Forget about hunter to hunter gatherer to tesserat tal-partit. They jut got blocked at phase one. Some time last week Espresso had come out with a story uncovering messages of violence on the internet forum of the Malta Federation of Hunters. Today's Times reports that the police are following up on the matter and also interviews Lino Farrugia (Secretary. Hunter's Federation).

Here's what the hunting head honcho had to say when asked to react to messages inciting the use of arms (one message reminded hunters that they are all armed and more numerous than police and soldiers put together)....

"People are angry, they cannot be treated this way and we intend speaking about this on Thursday, (...) It's an expression of anger... no I don't see it as being problematic".

Incredible isn't it. This guy leads a lobby group of 7000 people. He is not a man enough to distance himself from the hotheads within his group. No. They are not the problem he says. It is the law that tries to reign in the animal side of our behaviour that is the problem. It is unfair. You have to understand them he will tell you... they would not be angry if they got what they wanted.

Across the channel another lazy government (the last in a series of governments) has finally woken up to the stupidity of giving in to hooligans, teppisti and violent numbskulls. The new measures should improve il Calcio (though much still needs to be done). Even there we had an idiot like Matarrese saying that deaths are part of the game and that the show must go on. Even there it was a case of a few hotheads thinking they are stronger than the law because they too can be armed.

How long before everybody realises violence is stupid? Whether it is Lehnek!, mill-Pjazza,, J'Accuse or any other medium we will keep on repeating that mantra...

Violence is stupid.

mercredi, février 07, 2007

The True Bandwagon

Interviewed in the Times today, former MLP executive member Brian Hansford states that his decision to bow out of politics and concentrate on his work in the media came at a time when he had to choose between "truth and politics". Nothing new under the sun – it is not only those who like myself endlessly complain about the value void of power-mongering politics, who are aware of this huge crater that has slowly been created. More and more politicians seem to accept the status quo of opportunistic policies, populistic (not always popular) decision making and pacts with the devil's cousin's uncle as being the best way to move. To move – not necessarily forward – but to move on in a battle to occupy the middleground that automatically promotes you as the supposed leader of the country.

"Truth in politics" has always been a euphemism for the "politics of truth", let us not kid ourselves. It was not Mintoff, Mifsud Bonnici, Fenech Adami, Sant or Gonzi who discovered it one fine summer day in Castille. The politics of truth is a game that is as old as politics itself. That is why the person running a National Statistics Office is a crucial pawn in the great battlefield of political truth. You know how it goes… Lies, Damned Lies and Political Party Propaganda… or something like that.

We just have the feeling that the changing face of society has forced the political machines to badly adapt themselves to change. They honed their propaganda machines and polished their spinning and while the new ranks were fed with the most gullible and apologetic lot ever to have mumbled the word partitarju even the old ranks began to believe their own lie. From Bush to Blair to Berlusconi to the people closer to home the new breed of politics is just a very badly recycled old system. New Labour and Surviving Nationalist is nothing more than a regurgitating of old spin channelled through monopolised media and fed to the most gullible – just the right amount to keep out the free thinking persons who want to live in the twenty-first century.

Any threat to this 'hegemony of the stupefying' is quickly countered by a block resistance that mutates in such petty exercises as toying with electoral standards. Thinking different is not an option. Those who do try will be accused of "riding on everybody's bandwagon (and) falling short of saying how (they) would implement what (they) talk about."

To the old guard talking about l-ambjent is still "riding on the bandwagon". To them raising awareness about overdevelopment and excessive building practices is "riding on the bandwagon". To them the right to choose between divorce and separation is the activity of the liberal corrupt. To them the idea of obliging parties to clearly show their sources of funding is a load of claptrap. To them these liberals are oversimplifying the complex and convoluted aspects of politics that would better be left to the experts with a pedigree… to them politics is for the chosen advocates who have a monopoly on truth, on the government and ultimately on the people themselves.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" – Terry Pratchett, The Truth

lundi, février 05, 2007


So much to blog about but so little time to do so. Or maybe I cannot get my ideas in order with this virus freeriding my body. So I have decided to piggyback onto a post I liked... and which spoke about something that I wanted to blog about myself. Ladies and gentlemen:

Neebother asks for ideas.

samedi, février 03, 2007

Satire at Last

Regular readers of this blog will surely be familiar with our strong belief in all things satirical. In the distant past of the Maltese blogosphere we had our own share of tiffs with those who did not savour the satirical pill too well. Anyways, bygones are bygones and we applaud the decision of the chairman of the National Folklore Commission to reintroduce satire in the national carnival. I used to look at pre-1936 carnival floats with envy - they wasted no opportunity to satirise the politicians of the moment... let us hope that this careful step ushers in a new moment wherein we learn a little more about laughing about ourselves.

Elsewhere a Thermidor moment pokes fun at the Green's aim of 2,000 votes in one district. The Greens become a little practical about their electoral aims and Thermidor goes ballistic. A marked contrast with the deafening silence which shrouded the MLPN agreement on Elections and all things Duopolistic. And since when does mixing national thresholds with districtual ones become a sensible statistical exercise?

Of course it exists Fausto... it's just that you choose (conveniently) to be too blind to see it.

Mediterranean Weaknesses

Went to see my doctor this morning. Seems that I have a virus. It also turns out that since I am a "mediterranean type" I am more exposed to such viruses than the Luxembourgers who have become immune to them by now. I would have thought that three years in the Duchy would have sufficed for the body to decide what new immunities it should develop. Anyways... the sun is shining outside so I am NOT staying inside... will sleep off any sickness during the night but the day is for enjoying.

"Sun is shining.... weather is sweet"

vendredi, février 02, 2007


Don't you just hate it when you get that sickness feeling on Friday afternoon? You have just managed to scrape to a heavy working week and the weekend you have been looking forward to is just a few minutes away... suddenly the alarm lights are ringing - that whistling in your ear, that feverish feeling, that nausea and those weak muscles.

Great. This must mean a weekend in. Guess I will break the no blogging on a weekend rule in that case.

BTW I've changed the pic in the banner. It's taken by Mel.... people skating on the ice rink in Central Park, NY. Changed the one in Kinnie & Twistees too... that's my dad, somewhere near Verdun.

jeudi, février 01, 2007

Liberals of the Island Unite

The promise that Norman Hamilton's column seemed to show in its first appearance in the Times seems to have considerably dissipated. Between Eurovision voting quandaries, weighty considerations about Manwel Dimech Bridge, underqualified radio presenters and a drawl about some book he is reading (summarised by giving us a list of the main characters) there is little to pick on other than the emptiness of the column itself. We could have done without this new addition to the galaxy of opinion writers writing for the esteemed paper.

Which gives me some space to point out a brilliant article by Daphne in the Indy. Incidentally the Indy rarely has more than one opinion column per edition... a stress on quality vs quantity, no doubt. I liked all Daphne's article - from start to finish - especially since there is no attack on Gozo and Gozitanness (or Gozitanity), but I do believe that the conclusion merits reproduction right here (in case you are lazy enough not to read the whole thing):

A government that wants to keep Malta a paradise for bird-shooters, for anti-divorce Catholics of the mealy-mouthed by-the-book variety, and for foetus-fetishists, is a backward-looking one. In seeking to maintain Maltese society in a state of retardation, the government is going to create a massive schism where previously there was homogeneity of sorts. The Maltese who want to live secular modern lives in a Malta that is part of contemporary Europe will wrench themselves away from those who cling to a misguided nostalgia for a mythical island and a way of life that exists only in their imagination.

There never was a blissful past in Malta, just as there never was one anywhere else in Europe. The present is by far the more wonderful, comfortable, convenient, secure, safe and amusing. If we go with it, it can only get better. But we can’t do so as long as the bird-shooters, rosary-fingerers and foetus-frenzied are clinging to our coat-tails and dragging us down. The only way to shake them off is with a pair of scissors to cut them loose, and that, of course, is where the schism starts. The division of the future is not going to be the old one between Labour and Nationalist, but the new one between the liberals who want to inhabit the contemporary world and the illiberal who want to remain denizens of a non-existent past. You mark my words. It’s happening already.

My highlighting of course. The real pity is that in all probability more people will be worried about the fact that the final round of the Song for Europe will only have televoting than about anything that Daphne has to write about.