Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmassy, me?

PETER CANISIUS [1521 -1597], teacher, doctor, catechist and spy, is the Saint of the day.

'CONTRARY to an oft repeated tale, however, the Summa Theologiae was not placed on the altar alongside the Bible during meetings of the Council' . [Haldane, J. Faithful Reason: Essays Catholic and Philosophical, p. 5]

BEST INTENTIONS - The story of Tanzania's people's national park... "One fisherman said in slow and emphatic tones: “The marine park is no good. It is going to kill us through hunger.”

THE BLUNKETT FILES - Prof. John Gardner's celebration of the wit and wisdom of our recently-departed Home Secretary. "It's only a shame (but not a surprise) that Blunkett was brought down by a trivial personal intervention in a visa application ('no favours but slightly quicker'), and not by his abhorrent policies on crime, immigration, and 'security'."
In this connection, here's the full text of the recent House of Lords ruling regarding the detention without trial of nine noncitizens.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Wangari Maathai

POSSIBLY the most important social security measure in all Kenya's history...

WANGARI Maathai's Nobel Prize lecture.

SO now you know:
"We can cease speculating about what Sherlock Holmes was up to between 1891 and 1894 ("A four-pipe poseur", December 4). In 1989 I was a guest of the Copenhagen Sherlockian Club. One of the members presented me with a pamphlet which incontrovertibly demonstrated that Holmes was, of course, working with Engels on Volume IV of Capital (Theories of Surplus Value). Unfortunately Engels died in 1894 and Holmes returned to Baker Street and his former occupation, leaving the work unfinished. Naturally, considering the class from which most of his clientele was drawn, Holmes himself kept quiet about this."

-Julian Rathbone,Thorney Hill, Dorset-

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

deep in essay-crisis land without a map



JERRY FODOR on Christopher Hughes on Kripke.

LEFT2RIGHT: Quite possibly the most impressive collection of (leftish) clever people on the web. [Appiah, Cohen, Velleman, Railton, MacMahan, Darwall, Lichtenberg]


NIMU's new website is here.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

"Who you gonna' call?"

Oh you look so beautiful tonight/In the city of blinding lights
the new U2 album is here. And it's [heresy!] not quite as good as it should be. They just sound a little unfresh and a bit reaching for nostalgia, but hey, sub-tremendous U2 is others' brilliant. Reviews (and how) : Rolling Stone, Observer, Guardian (alexis petridis actually likes it), Christianity Today, the Onion, Metacritic, MTV and Atu2.

randomly, Bono's other job at DATA.

or when philosophers strike back. Professor McMahan's lucid and convincing demolition of the moral case for the war in Iraq is here. [Via the Leiter report]. He also a much longer draft of a paper on Just War theory here.
Incidentally, John Haldane's new book, is out. It's a collection of essays, reviewed here and elsewhere. Should be well worth the effort.

to his horror, discovered that the house he had recently contracted to purchase was widely reputed to be possessed by poltergeists... [Via alexander]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


I seem to be one of very few people who think that pretending (in the imitative sense - to put it very loosely) poses a serious problem for the success of the private language argument. Cue much inexplicit argument with people who think I'm talking even more rubbish than usual. This one could run and run.

Here's a lucid piece by Paul Boghossian in the New Republic in 2001, on why pragmatism 'doesn't work in practice', to slightly misquote Sidney Morgenbesser.

UPDATE. a distressed liberal writes, Falluja pictures.

Monday, November 08, 2004

kilio cha haki

SAINT OF THE DAY is the Blessed John Duns Scotus [c.1265-1308], the 'subtle doctor' and the last of the three preeminent medieval philosopher/theologians.

TAX AMNESTY ends 31st December 2004. Calling all plutocrats, wannabe-plutocrats, Moi-era survivors, and all other holders of ill-gotten wealth, the Kenya Revenue Authority tax amnesty is still on.

KILIO CHA HAKI or, the Guardian discovers Kenyan hiphop:

.At night, when the rubbish is burnt, the smoke fills Dandora's streets like fog. "People in Dandora don't live," says rapper Githinji "G-Ronji" Gicharu. "They survive."

..Earlier this year, a 26-year-old Dutch woman called Nynke Nauta brought over some producers from Amsterdam and installed a makeshift studio in a two-bedroom apartment in the relatively salubrious slum of Umoja, using mattresses to sleep on at night and to soundproof the walls during the day. Thirty-eight rappers from across the Eastlands came by to record tracks, and the result is the album Kilio Cha Haki:
A Cry for Justice...

Thursday, November 04, 2004


will be necessary to get through these next four years. All the same, this election has cured me of my pro-Americanism. How this nation that seemed to stand as a constant reminder of the power of hope has allowed itself to act in this fearful way is difficult to understand. Anyway, as churchill said, Americans always do the right thing in the end, so here's hoping.

ST MARTIN DE PORRES. Yesterday, but that hasn't stopped me from being thankful and remembering him today.

Continium42 and the experientialist are now on board with the whole blogging thing. Pay them a visit while you're here ...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Je pas ne parle pas français

ALL SAINT'S DAY, well not quite here in Montreal, but it certainly is over there.

MONTREAL is awesome - autumn, or fall as I'm learning to call it, is far more colourful here than in the grey(!) havens. Also, policemen speaking French is just disorienting - it sounds far too pleasant for them.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Necessary Existence for anything you like

TERESA of Avila is the saint of the day.

This Noreena Hertz article in the Observer a little while ago whose point [that there are some debts that are so clearly illegitimate or unpayable, that countries should never be asked to honour them.] is made pithily.

A new taxonomy of philosophical positions.

An argument for the necessary existence of absolutely anything at all that exists. [at Prof. Timothy Williamson's website.]

Friday, October 08, 2004

Wangari Maathai

is the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2004. Richly deserved.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


AGNES TAKEA is the saint of the day. One of many Japanese martyred at a time of great persecution [c. 1620]. A consequence of this maltreatment was the persistence of the faith in highly unusual forms, such as the Kakure Kirishtan.

THE LEITER REPORT is temporarily in the very capable hands of Bejamin Hellie and Jessica Wilson, whose other blog is always a pleasure to read, if only for its quite unblog-like meatiness. They've already put together three substantial posts, and more will follow. I'm especially pleased that they picked up on this [emphasis mine]:

In Africa, Bush did best in Nigeria where 33 percent of respondents said they preferred him versus 27 percent who opted for Kerry. But in five other African countries, Kerry emerged as the clear favourite, including Kenya (58-25 percent), Ghana (48-24 percent), Tanzania (44-30 percent), South Africa (43-29 percent), and Zimbabwe (28-6 percent)

QUASSIM CASSAM, newly hired Professor of Philosophy at University College London, author of Self and World, and Self-Knowledge [both OUP] is Kenyan!- well, OK, Kenyan-born, but who's counting?

NO WMD, none whatsoever, nyet, nada, nothing, zip, zilch. Just in case anyone still cares. The Iraq Survey Group which was authorised by both the American and British governments to assess the state of Saddam Hussein's weaponry is due to report next week, after an exhaustive scouring of various sites in Iraq. The Guardian claims that the report will conclude that Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of WMD. One can only hope that this is not being leaked now to deflate the shock of the Group's findings when finally published.

THE PHILOSOPHERS' CARNIVAL is not quite up-and-running yet [as far as I can tell, anyway], but promises to be awesome once it is. Have a look. More philosophical weblogs here [a whole bunch of them, in fact], courtesy of Prof. Chalmers.


COLIN POWELL finally uses the G-word of events in Sudan, in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following a report by investigators from the State Department . President Bush has also characterised the events as such in a statement issued yesterday.
The Independent gives over its entire front page to the story [though this is not evident from the online version], CBS News has a reasonable take, the NYT, the Times, the Guardian and even the Telegraph, all have reports.
The Sudanese government's response according to the Telegraph's report: "Sudan's foreign minister, Ahmed Hassan al-Zubeir, denounced the US move. He said the crisis was a "an internal tribal problem".

[Beer voucher to Passion of the Present, which continues to be the most useful source of news for this unfortunate business]

ARCHBISHOP OSCAR ROMERO's assassination was one of San Salvador's and the Latin American Church's direst moments in recent history. However, it seems a retired Salvadoran Air Force captain has been found liable as an "aider, abettor and co-conspirator" in the murder of the Archbishop by a Fresno [California] federal court Judge. As is customary, very large amounts of money have been awarded in damages.

[Beer voucher to ExLaodicea, always sharp, always fun.]

Monday, September 06, 2004

more darfur ...

in which I discover that there has been no official recognition in the Arab press that Darfur is a genocide.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

undoing the sloth's grip.

the longish absence? sheer sloth - oh, and the Edinburgh Festival(s) ... Reginald D. Hunter played there and didn't win the Perrier. More soon.

Friday, August 13, 2004

our betrayal is complete II

MYRON is the saint of the day. c.250 He is called the 'Wonder Worker' in Crete if this is to be believed.

JUST A LITTLE POST to register my disgust at the recent holding by the Court of Appeal that information obtained by the torture of suspects in other jurisdictions is admissible as evidence in UK courts so long as HM's governement was not actively (“neither procured ... nor connived at ...” ) involved. Human rights - enforcement now dependent on arbitrary things like where you are.

RICH BLACK PEOPLE mistreat their help. Shock. Horror. Read all about it in the Guardian. Of all places.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

our betrayal is complete

ST. LAWRENCE today. Roasted to death. Patron saint of cooks. Medieval humour.

"it was ... along the byways of philosophical investigation that grace awaited her": a day too late to remember Edith Stein properly, still, a saint I've got to know recently as I make a more-than-usually-desultory effort to get through her biography. Co-patroness of Europe and phenomenologist(!)

UN LAUNCHES FOOD AID APPEAL FOR KENYA: following His Slothfulness's recent declaration that the imminent food shortfall constituted a 'national disaster', the UN has begun collecting the $96.5 million required to enable collection and distribution of relief supplies. Not a moment too soon. The relationship between Kenyans and NARC is now positively abusive.

ANIMAL FARM REDUX: Or how the NP is so power-hungry it will do anything - even disslove itself into the ANC- to stay there or thereabouts. The most outrageous thing about this is how little outrage there is about it.

Friday, July 30, 2004

even more Sudan

SAINT of the day is Eusebius of Vercelli c. 283 - 371, bishop, anti-Arian, and the man who almost got away with slamming the Nicene Creed onto the table at a Council of the Church and demanding that all present assent to it as a condition of any further discussion.

Sudan: The Passion of The Present is a regularly updated blog with all sorts of useful links and Robert Corr at Kick and Scream has a decent amount of stuff online. [beer voucher to the mentalist]. This week's LRB has Alex de Waal's subtle and patient examination of the happenings. Just once, his underlying passion glints through:"This is the routine cruelty of a security cabal, its humanity withered by years in power: it is genocide by force of habit."
USAID has some statistics and satellite maps of the villages and refugee camps, Human Rights Watch has a comprehensive Darfur page here - you might remember they were the first to unearth decisive documentary proof of Sudanese government collusion with the Janjaweed.
The UN's
Sudan Information Gateway is authoritative, up-to-date and probably has the best collection of statistics. Finally, Darfurinfo.org has lots of information and seems reasonably reliable.

KING ARTHUR is easily the worst movie I've seen all year, but it has its redeeming feature - I haven't seen a cavalry charge that exciting since the Return of the King. I remembered, watching it, that I'd always regretted being born too late to take part in one in earnest.

Friday, July 23, 2004

the wanderer

SAINT OF THE DAY is Peregrinus, a second century priest and hermit. In honour of Plato.

new coach.  He is the youngest man ever to hold the position, is a former Football Writers' Footballer of the Year, was capped 108  times by Germany and, even more impressively, completely won over the British media in his first season in the Premier League. It's difficult though, to avoid the thought that the DFB have only given him the job to avoid having to employ a foreigner.
Lothar Matthaus is, naturally, very

THE 'SELECTIVE REDUCTION' SAGA rumbles on. There's an excellent meta post at
meta-filter, Noli Irritare has a slightly-less-meta meta-post here,  the comments at Unfogged are generally thoughtful, and Amy Welborn's blog entry - with lots of comment, blogcritics, Hugo Schwyzer's and Schwyzer II are all worth your time.
The Pro- Richards bloggers include
Alas (owner of the most glaring petitio in the history of petitios - just read her comment about sed Contra's post), Trish Wilson, and this which is (unfortunately) beyond parody. 

JOHN SUTHERLAND's pre-retirement analysis of changes in British academia in the last 40 years. ·

"The long awaited breakthrough of women into higher echelons of the academic profession. My successor as Lord Northcliffe Professor at UCL will be the first woman to hold the post . Incredibly, no woman, in nearly 170 years, has been permanent head of my department. That should now change, as a reflection of profession-wide reform. But not, alas, fast enough."
Via CrookedTimber and the Leiter report

BARACK OBAMA: it's unanimous, a star is born. A
transcript of the speech, the Honolulu Advertiser (!), USA Today, the New York Times, and various others are all admiring. Even National Review manages to harrumph only mildly. The New Yorker profile is still the most informative one available online.

mary magdalene.

MARY OF MAGDALA, Our Lord's companion, and the first to see Him Risen is  the - belated - Saint of the day.

YOUR PRAYERS please, for the
hostages - amongst whom are several Kenyans - now being held in Iraq by insurgent forces who call themselves 'The Holders of the Black Banners'. Interviews with the Kenyan families here, some background here. It's a promising sign that the last few sets of hostages taken have been released unharmed. The administration finally got something right when they had a spokeman ask all Kenyans to leave Iraq yesterday.

THE 9/11 REPORT is out. I haven't read it but there are several piecesin today's papers. Guardian
here, Times there.

THIS NEW epistemology blog is outstanding. They seem to have signed up every top-flight epistemologist, the depth of talent gathered here is just awesome. Required reading for for anyone even vaguely interested in philosophy. 

EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about Hannibal Barca and the Punic Wars in one easily -digestible capsule. Hannibal ad Portas!

I would like one. (Did anyone but Njoroge and I watch Italian football on KTN in the early 90's?)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

even more Sudan.

These  guys have set up DarfurGenocide.org, which has a wealth of information on the crisis and what can be done to help. In the UK, the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella body whose members are some of the most trusted charity organisations in the country, is putting together a relief effort.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Saint of the day is Aurelius, bishop and companion of St. Augustine, d. 429.
Amnesty International have a comprehensive overview of the Sudan crisis. They have detail about the widespread collusion between government forces and Janjaweed militia, the violence against women and ethnic cleansing  
Human Rights Watch have compiled a thorough report, what's more, they claim to have decisive evidence that the government has been involved in the recruitment, training and support of the Janjaweed militias:

“It’s absurd to distinguish between the Sudanese government forces and the militias—they are one,” said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. “These documents show that militia activity has not just been condoned, it’s been specifically supported by Sudan government officials.”  

The Sudanese governement has denied these reports. Their Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail, who seems not to be as well-advised in PR matters as he should be, has said that the documents are "90 % false".  
The Guardian has a useful archive of articles which includes, in ascending order of odiousness, this, an interview with one of the baddies, and finally this.
An African in Greenland. He left Togo and spent ten years travelling North, eventually got to Greenland, and returned to tell the story. Tete-Michel Kpomassie is an astonishingly intrepid guy. John Derbyshire has written a review, well worth reading if you can tolerate some of his wilder ramblings, and Al Alvarez's introduction to the book is online here.

Didier Drogba, a certainty for African footballer of the year if ever there was one, has signed for Chelsea from Marseille. There are various reports about the size of the fee, but the figure most often quoted in reports is £26 million, or about €40 million. It seems excessive for a player who has only had two decent goalscoring seasons in his career. On the other hand, he looked outstandingly good in the UEFA Cup, and especially at Newcastle where he destroyed them despite playing alone up front. 


a profile of Bryan Magee, from the Guardian from ages ago when he had a new book out:

".religion as a way of avoiding fundamental problems that have arisen because we don't know certain very basic things about our own lives which I think are unknowable. I'm against that kind of false self-consolation. It prevents people really confronting the harsh reality of our situation." He says that as a child an early appreciation of this harsh reality would upset him. "I sometimes used to feel it was threatening my mental health. But I feel we ought to grapple with things and not evade and I certainly feel that about philosophers. I feel there is a professional obligation not to seek consolation. This is certainly part of what philosophy is for."

Simon Blackburn on Heidegger, originally at TNR, but now at Prof. Pole's site here.

Johann Hari meets Peter Singer and can't quite shake the feeling that something is wrong:

Singer is pure, disembodied rationality - the Enlightenment made flesh. He measures pain and capacity to suffer in neat units and disregards old-fangled notions such as species or emotion. He discusses killing babies or his mother with the passion of the speaking-clock. Give me Singer over the Vatican-style superstitions he is trying to dispel any day; and yet, as I leave the interview, I can't shake off a strange - Singer would say sentimental - anxiety. 

Thursday, July 08, 2004

better out than in.

It's St. Bonaventure (1221 -1274) today.  Doctor of the Church, Minister of the Friars Minor, biographer of St. Francis and friend of St. Thomas

There is a report that there will be an investigation into the death of the two marchers at the demonstration in Kisumu last week. Apparently the police on crowd-control duty ought not to have been issued live bullets.

Sir Edward Clay, Her Majesty's High Commissioner to Kenya,
expressed his dismay at the undiminished levels of corruption in NARC's Kenya in highly undiplomatic language (at a lunch held to encourage investment in Kenya, no less!) :

"We never expected corruption to be vanquished overnight. We all recognised that some would be carried over to the new era. We hoped it would not be rammed in our faces.", and [referring to Francis Muthaura, head of the Civil Service] "He is perhaps trying to whistle up his courage, aware that we know a lot, but perhaps uneasily aware that he does not know just how much we know."
After which, all hell broke loose. The Foreign Office has backed him, Chirau Ali Mwakwere (Minister for Foreign Affairs for about twenty minutes) has had Sir Edward in for a little chat, the US and Norwegian ambassadors have added their voices to the anti-corruption chirping and our hero has announced that he regrets any offence caused, while standing by his sentiments.
The Churches, most civil society groups, and Transparency International have all come out in favour, as have any number of reasonable Kenyans. Still, it's a little worrying, this sudden outbreak of good sense in the British diplomatic corps, also I can't help but wonder whether this disagreement might better have been saved for a little later in the administration' s life.

To general surprise, African leader speaks African language at African leaders' summit.
The Butler report is just out.  I haven't looked at it myself, but the Guardian, and the Times, seem to have good coverage.  For what it's worth, my view is that even if Mr. Blair did not act in bad faith, he was culpably negligent in relying on such inconclusive evidence for his going to war.  The Normblog has, as always, something interesting to say about it.
Barack Obama will make the keynote speech at the Democratic party's National Convention.  Should he be elected, he will be only the third nonwhite person during its history to sit in the Senate.  Wallace Kantai's perceptive rant:
"More importantly, we have little claim to Obama as a Kenyan...We are psychologically and politically predisposed to rejecting outsiders. For Kenyans, whether as official government policy or as evidenced in our private interactions, refugees are a bothersome lot of people – poor, smelly folk whose sole mission in life is to compete with us for scarce resources. We keep them in refugee camps in places that are out of sight. For the few lucky ones who manage to make it into our cities, we put them into ethnic ghettoes such as Eastleigh, hoping they will keep to themselves...Kenyans are entitled to support Obama and to celebrate the proximity of a Kenyan descendant at the centre of American power, but they should do so in the full knowledge that they are hypocrites.
  • Resonance fm, London's first radio art station.
  • EveTushnet's perceptive musings on God, violence, isolation,  and American literature:
    "So many American stories have this sense of radical aloneness, the ferocious quest to find out whether there's anyone else out there...
  • A logician a day...
  • Fahrenheit 9/11, despite Michael Moore's ineptitude finding an ending, or indeed a coherent argument.  So, Ok, it's propaganda, but counter-propaganda propaganda is good propaganda.
  • Ratzinger's confidential note to the American bishops on the matter of pro-abortion politicians and the sacraments.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

hits the fan and splatters all over the room.

BBC news online, allafrica and the Nation all report that one person has been killed in the Kisumu demo.

and he's back

SAINT of the day is St. Pantænus.

John Githongo, Permanent Secretary Ethics and Governance, and quite possibly the most courageous and inventive public servant in post-independence Kenya [well, after D.G. Njoroge], has been restored to the Office of the President, following protests by our 'development partners' over his demotion in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. Once again, national economic policy at the highest level is being made for us. Worse, the donors seem to represent the short-term interests of the Kenyan public better than the administration does.

Here's a pre-rally briefing-cum-manifesto issued before last Saturday's gathering, which, sadly, proved prescient:
"...Kibaki alleged tribalism on the part of those insisting that due process be followed and the popular constitution be adopted, without amendment, by Parliament. The majority ethnic nationality in Kenya, the Kikuyu, he alleged, were under threat by the constitution as drafted and by its supporters. In fact, the issue is one of class, not ethnicity...[There is]the real possibility of political violence being directed against the proponents of the new constitution. Already rumours are swirling through Nairobi that anti-constitution forces are seeking to use hired thugs to disrupt the Uhuru Park rally. Prominent pro-constitution activists are also being attacked in the mainstream media for 'leading efforts to undermine the government'..."

- Philosopher of the Month at the Philosophers' Magazine is Albert Camus.

- Slate approves of John Kerry's choice of running-mate.

- On why Islam does NOT need a Reformation. [Yet another link shamelessly stolen from www.aldaily.com]

- Review of a new collection of Evelyn Waugh's travel writing. [From First Things].

- Opendemocracy.org debate about multiculturalism. [access may require registration]

Goat's Horns with Red - Georgia O'Keeffe [scan from Mark Harden at the artchive.com]

Monday, July 05, 2004

articulate outrage...

SAINT of the day is St. Zoe, martyred about 286 at the Emperor Diocletian's behest.

Dominic Odipo on the reshuffle, in today's Standard: "Let us call a spade a spade. What we have now is a government of special, establishmentarian, private interests whose primary objective is to hold on to the levers, trappings and fruits of power, regardless of the primary interests of the Kenyan voter on whose back it rides."

Here's something I missed earlier: John Githongo, Permanent Secretary in charge of ethics and Governance in the Office of the President has been moved to the Ministry of Justice. His appointment to the permanent secretaryship by NARC was a powerful statement of the strength of their determination to root out corruption in public life. His demotion is an equally powerful statement of how the ruling party's priorities have changed. All-Africa, mentalacrobatics and the US government have all noticed.

jonathan freedland on minimalism.

Art, minimal and conceptual only.

Victory of Samothrace [Yves Klein]

Conclusive proof that chewing veve really is good for you, from the scientists at King's College.

Stop hiphop - a gentle deflation of John McWhorter in the guardian. Link shamelessly stolen from aldaily

Sunday, July 04, 2004

the end of the affair

NARC finally broke my heart yesterday. I've enjoyed the affair while it lasted, but after seeing pictures which might as well have come from the Sauron era circa 1992, it's time to break up.

That than which there is no more random piece of information: if wikipedia is to believed, Kenyatta was Tom Morello 's uncle...

Friday, July 02, 2004

a good man comes to the end of his tether.

Oliver Plunkett, martyred in 1681, is the Saint of the day.

the Sacrificezone is a quite outstandingly well done text-only-interface blog. Go, marvel.

Do pay a visit to Berenike, her witty comment on the events of the day is sure to entertain and inform.

The recent cabinet reshuffle is heart-breaking. Kibaki has finally succumbed to the old men in the shadows, and handed them the spoils they sought. His motives cannot have been other than the usual ethnic balancing (cf. William Ole Ntimama - surely the most unappealing man ever to speak in public in Kenya), and plain old-fashioned expediency (cf. the reinstatement of Njenga Karume, and the demotion of Kalonzo Musyoka). No one can deny that decisive action to put an end to the LDP-inspired infighting was neccessary, but the President seems to have gone out of his way to appoint the most objectionable people possible just because he could.
One hates to agree with Joseph Kamotho, but he is entirely right to point out that the reshuffle is quite possibly unconstitutional, because it contradicts some of the provisions of the MOU.

And Professor Ghai has resigned from the CKRC as well...the BBC report is reasonably thorough.

'Always on Top' by Edward Said from the archives of the London Review of Books.

'In the Waiting Room Of History' by Amit Chaudhuri, also from the LRB.

model of east-facing cloister of Novy Dur. John Pawson via eyestorm.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bl. Ramon Llull.

SAINT OF THE DAY is the Blessed Ramon Llull. Catalan poet, philosopher, novelist and soldier. More here, here and here

Recently found out that I've passed all my exams, so that's nice.

Just a little note to record the retirement (simultaneously) of several men who have collectively taught me a great deal of, and about, philosophy. In particular the man who has taught me everything I know of German Idealism.

Professor Sir Stuart Hampshire, whose 'debonair English rationality enabled him to carry off extraordinary diplomatic feats' has passed on. There are obituaries here, and there, and here too.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ok, my apologies for not posting for so long, my only excuse is that I had exams and other things to take care of.

Anyway, saint of the day is St. Bron, who did much to improve the standard of monastic thought and writing and was a disciple of the great St. Patrick.

More regular posts from now onwards, seeing as I'm freer than I was earlier on.

I'm keeping an eye out on:
The Lakers V Pistons, England V france (allez le bleus!), the various works of Peter Van Inwagen (for whom my idolatry knows no bounds), and fully intend to review my Italian this summer.

Monday, April 19, 2004

brutality! Italian assessment tomorrow, Kuhn essay due soon as well... HELP!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

SONGS nothing, all is quiet, unusually for me.

During which I will attempt to call to mind Jesus's divine humility in washing his Apostles' feet.

And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write. For these words are most faithful and true.
And he said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega: the Beginning and the End. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely.
He that shall overcome shall possess these things. And I will be his God: and he shall be my son.
[Revelation 21: 5-7]

The Passion of the Christ.

Friday, March 26, 2004

SONGS in my head today: Gloria, the live version of Stay (Faraway, So Close) from the Walk On single, Zooropa, and all other kinds of U2ness.

SAINT of the day St. Margaret of Clitherow, martyred in the most harrowing circumstances on March 25 1586 for sheltering priests. Born in Middleton in 1555 and a mother of two. May the memory of her example long be treasured.

LINE OF THE DAY : Sr. Andrew AGUECHEEK:" An I thought that, I'd forswear it..." (Twelfth night Act I Scene III)

smear test pizzas n.
Budget supermarket pizza on which the toppings have been kept to a minimum for reasons of economy. [from the profanisaurus]

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


"Ricardo Izecson Dos Santos Leite is a contagious disease. 'O Craque' is his nickname in Brazil which means 'the Phenomenon'. In Italy he is better known as Kaka, but who admires him play waste their energy making comparisons involving the best ever. The lords of football can take their seats because the child from Brasilia is simply unique. Disarming in his style of play, essential, linear even among the worst tackles. He almost gives rise to suspicion that he is the perfect outcome of some biochemical experiment. Ricardo has everything of everyone. He has the crystalline class typical of the South Americans, a teutonic coldness, an Anglo-Saxon strength, a Kenyan stamina, the speed of a cheetah. But who is Kaka? There is no answer because the phenomenon involved seems intentioned to impress again at least for a decade. An extraordinary icon of the most appreciated football, Ricky is a real cataract for the eyes of the football lovers who are so absorbed in rubbing their eyes at each of his creations. Since he landed in Italy, he has also taken on the name 'Ciro', like a cunning and shrewd street urchin. You'll be much tackled in Serie A he was told before his move. To avoid this he has learnt to shoot from distance, regularly and effectively. Extraordinary Ricardo, the dream man, he has everything from everyone, even the face of a Golden Ball winner. How is it possible, he has just arrived in Italy? Yes, what's the problem? Let's just enjoy this wonderful and unique talent for what he is..." from ACMilan.com

Friday, March 12, 2004

SONGS in my head today: Fell on black days [Soundgarden], Gloria [U2], Laid [James], Master and Servant [Depeche Mode]

SAINT OF THE DAY Many happy returns my guy!...St. Basil the Great of Caesarea (329-379).
Bishop & Doctor of the Church. More here


The Devil Sketch [Rowan Atkinson]
Hello, nice to see you all again.

Now, as the more perceptive of you have probably realised by now, this is Hell, and I am the Devil. Good evening. You can call me Toby, if you like - we try and keep things informal here, as well as infernal. That's just a little joke.

Now, you're all here for eternity, which I hardly need tell you is a sod of a long time, so you get to know everyone pretty well by the end, but for now I'm going to have to split you up into groups. Are there any questions? Yes?

Um, no, I'm afraid we don't have any toilets... if you'd read your Bible you would have seen that it was damnation without relief. So, if you didn't go before you came then I'm afraid you're not going to enjoy yourself very much... but then, I believe that's the idea.

Right, let's split you up then.

Can you all hear me still?

All right, off we go...

Murderers, over here. Looters and pillagers - over there please, thieves if you could join them, and bank managers...

Fornicators, if you could step forward - my God there are a lot of you. Could I split you up into adulterers and the rest? Adulterers if you could just form a line in front of that small guillotine there.


Americans, are you here? Look, I'm sorry about this, apparently God had some fracas with your founding fathers and damned the entire race into perpetuity. He sends particular condolences to the Mormons who He realises put in a lot of work. That's the way the wafer crumbles. The Iranians, I'm afraid, can't be with us - someone's been holding them in purgatory for about nine months.

Sodomites, over there against the wall.

Atheists! Atheists? Over here please. You must be feeling a right bunch of charlies.

Okay, and Christians! Christians? Ah yes, I'm sorry, I'm afraid the Jews were right.

Okay, Moonies, maniacs, marmite eaters, male models, masochists, mass murderers and masseurs, if you could take a pew at the back - with the Methodists that is.

Now, you're the lot who used to kill whales, is that right? Ah, yes, I must remember - I've got some strips to tear off you bastards later.

Everyone who saw Monty Python's "Life of Brian" - I'm afraid He can't take a joke after all.

Alright now, one final thing. We're trying to implement some kind of exchange scheme with the Lord God Almighty, or Cliff as we know him. Some of you will travel up and have a decade in heaven and we're having some angels down here. Now, I hardly need tell you that in heaven you will be expected to behave in an exemplary manner, so I hope you will do the exact opposite - tear off their wings, use their haloes for frisbee practice, that sort of thing.

Well, I have to go now, unfortunately, but Beelzebub here will show you the ropes ... and the chains, and electrodes.

I'd just like to leave you with a favorite joke of mine, if I may. Quite apt to the circumstances, I think. It goes something like this:

Knock, knock!

Who's there?


Death wh...!

with thanks to rowanatkinson.org

more, more, more !!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

SONGS in my head today Roadrunner (Baby) [Jr. Walker]

SAINT OF THE DAY St. John Theristus. 1129 AD. Born of a slave mother, escaped, became a monk at an early age.

LINE OF THE DAY Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do... [Bertrand Russell]

RACCOMMANDAZIONI Some thoughts about Lent for Busy People is here

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

SONGS in my head today... When Love Comes to Town [U2 & BB King], Desire [U2], Exit [U2] and Pure Shores [All Saints].

SAINT OF THE DAY St. Gilbert of Sempringham (c. 1083-1189)
Born at Sempringham in England, son of Jocelin, a wealthy Norman knight. Received the benefices of Sempringham and Tirington from his father. Founded the order that came to be known as the Gilbertines that survived until the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII. Imprisoned, but later exonerated of the charge of aiding Thomas a Beckett when the latter was in exile. Canonized in 1202

''Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."- Philo of Alexandria -

http://www.ifrance.com/golem/ which has a complete catalogue online of chagall's work. can't remember who sent me this link. Thanks, anyway, whoever...

http://www.artchive.com/ Mark Harden's online gallery. Worth several lifetimes of your time...

http://www.kfki.hu/~arthp/ ''The Web Gallery of Art... a virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods...''

Saturday, February 07, 2004

SONGS in my head today: O silencio da guitarra [Mariza]

SAINT OF THE DAY St. Josephine Bakhita (c.1868-1947). Born in southern Sudan, sold into slavery and eventually to the Italian consul there. Joined the Canossians and made her final vows in 1896. Canonised 1st Oct 2000 by JPII. Patroness of Sudan.

DUAL-CITIZENSHIP Excellent news. Prof Ghai has taken notice of the Kenyans Abroad dual-citizenship petition. The proposed prohibition against dual citizenship is therefore likely to be removed from the draft constitution...More here


Alfred de Musset
Used to call his cat Pusset.
His accent was affected.
That was to be expected.
-Maurice Hare-

This and more philosophical clerihews at Dave Chalmers's Philosophy of Mind page

NIGERIA have finally dished out the beating that Cameroon were cruising for. Not before time. I tip Nigeria to win the whole thing, mostly because we are now living through Jay-Jay Okocha's annus mirabilis.

-The Crisis of Liberal Catholicism (Commonweal magazine symposium-type thingy)
-John Burns' BMW page.

Friday, February 06, 2004

SONGS in my head today: Hand in my pocket , the screamfest von Alanis Morissette

SAINT OF THE DAY St. Theophilus the Lawyer. Martyred 300 AD. Who is only the second lawyer-saint I know of.

EXAMS As far as Heidegger went, I felt a little like Pataki did during his exams in Under the Frog.

The famous deconstruction of Star Wars scene from Clerks [Kevin Smith, 1994]
There was something else going on in Jedi, I never noticed it till today. They built another Death Star, right?
DANTE: Yeah...
The first was completed and fully operational before the Rebels destroyed it.
Luke blew it up, give credit where credit's due.
But the second one was still being built when they blew it up.
Compliments of Lando Calrissian.
Something just never sat with me that second time around. I could never put my finger on it, but something just wasn't right.
And you figured it out.
The first Death Star was manned by the Imperial Army. The only people on board were stormtroopers, dignitaries...Imperials.
So when they blew it up, no problem. Evil's punished.
And the second time around?
The second one wasn't even done being built yet, it was still under construction.
Yeah, so?
A construction job of that magnitude would require a hell of a lot more manpower than the Imperial Army had to offer, I'll bet they brought in independent contractors on that thing--plumbers, aluminum siders, roofers...
Not just Imperials, is that what you're getting at?
In order to get it built quickly and quietly they'd hire anybody who could do the job. You think a stormtrooper knows how to install a toilet main? All they know how to do is killing and white uniforms.
Alright so they bring in independent contractors. Why are you so upset at its destruction?
All those independent contractors brought in to do the job are killed - casualties of a war they had nothing to do with.(notices DANTE's confusion) Alright, look. You're a roofer. Some juicy government contract comes your way. You've got a wife and kids, the two-story in suburbia. This is a government contract which means all sorts of benefits. Along come these left-wing militants who blast everything within a three mile radius with their lasers. You didn't ask for that; you had no personal politics, you were just trying to scrape out a living...
(The BLUE-COLLAR MAN joins them)

XAVIER RYNNE I must be the last person in the the world to find out who he is (was?)

THE BIBLE likes neo-liberalism??!!.."Ni undu o mundu uria wina indo, niwe ukaheo, na akiriririo: no uria utari na indo, niagatunywo una kiria arinakio.
Matt 13:12"

1. Lord Hutton, given the narrow terms of reference he had to work with, has done a reasonable job of collecting and making sense of the relevant evidence.
2. The BBC publicly made a claim that it could not show to be true, and which it knew at the time it could not show to be true. It needed to be, and has been, held accountable for this error.
3. There is not a fourth arm of government called the media.
4. Those who opposed the Iraq war [as I did] have got to actually make the argument that the war was illegal and morally unjustifiable in public. The Judiciary is simply not going to find post-facto that the war was unjustified...
5. As soon as I'm coherent on all this, I'll update, but I thought it vital to put my preliminary impressions up.

DISGUSTING is not too strong a word. HA! Koigi was stood up. Nation link tomorrow when it will be permanent.

APOLOGIES I caught the flu after a particularly debauched night out last saturday. Which is why I haven't posted all week, dear reader. I'm only now regaining my will to live.

The Leiter Reports here ,
The Campaign for Universal Inheritance here,
& Roger's Profanisaurus [now with added vulgarity!!] here.

Friday, January 23, 2004

SONGS in my head today: I Love your smile [Shanice], Can't Hurry Love [The Supremes] and more MOTOWN classics. Shanice, listened to properly for the first time since I was a second former, and yes, the song is just as good as it was in nostalgia.

SAINT OF THE DAY St. Vincent (died 304). Born in Spain, Deacon and Martyr. Killed in Valencia during the reign of Diocletian. Known to St. Augustine among others. Sometimes considered patron of vinedressers in Spain.

Batman Forever
Batman: Commissioner Gordon?
Dr. Chase Meridian: He's at home. I sent the signal.
Batman: What's wrong?
Dr. Chase Meridian: Last night, at the bank, I noticed something about Two-Face. His coin. It's his Achilles' heel. It can be exploited.
Batman: I know. You called me here for this? The Batsignal is not a beeper.
Dr. Chase Meridian: Well I wish I could say that my interest in you was... purely professional.
Batman: You trying to get under my cape, doctor?
Dr. Chase Meridian: A girl can't live by psychoses alone.
Batman: It's the car, right? Chicks love the car.
Dr. Chase Meridian: What is it about the wrong kind of man? In grade school it was guys with earrings. College, motorcycles, leather jackets. Now, oh, black rubber.
Batman: Try firemen, less to take off.
Dr. Chase Meridian: I don't mind the work. Pity I can't see behind the mask.
Batman: We all wear masks.
Dr. Chase Meridian: My life's an open book. You read?
Batman: I don't blend in at a family picnic.
Dr. Chase Meridian: Oh, we could give it a try. I'll bring the wine, you bring your scarred psyche.
Batman: Direct, aren't you?
Dr. Chase Meridian: You like strong women. I've done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?
Batman: I haven't had that much luck with women.
Dr. Chase Meridian: Maybe you just haven't met the right woman...

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones: "How did you know she was a Nazi? "
Professor Henry Jones: "She talks in her sleep."

Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
Rebel Rebel you've torn your dress
Rebel Rebel your face is a mess
Rebel Rebel how could they know
Hot tramp I love you so.

La Corriere Dello Sport (ages go)
'...But to the great teams, the imprint of grenius has always been indispensable. Look at Milan, so perfect and calibrated in all its mechanisms, but unexpectedly vulnerable without the sublime whims of Savijcevic. Baggio can't be measured just by his goals...he is the lethal weapon against desperate situations, days that go wrong, games which are bewitched.'

MOI seems to be decisively incriminated in Goldenberg. Link is from the Standard today and might not be active tomorrow. Nation link is here and this will definitely change tomorrow. I'll put up a permanent link next update. More...

On HEIDEGGER today, the miracle of revision; I know nothing about him now, but I'll know enough by three o'clock to take an exam...Exams in general have alternated between sublimity and shitness.
Slightly more considered thoughts when I've actually done with them.

UNITED loss to Wolves. Pace the boozeman, a one-off. Keane looked his age on the day, which was wholly unexpected. All will be well soon, once they return from the Dubai break, get Saha integrated and put a couple of games under their belts.
We keep paying a bloody premium for players! Saha is good but (the reported) £12 million is silly money.

NEW NUNCIO to Burundi, after recent tragic events. Link here

THE PASSION I'll have more on this next update. Seems contradictory statements are being issued by various people who should know better.

SAF! This joke is BLEEDING to DEATH! Stop!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

SONGS in my head today:Gorecki's Symphony No.3: Sorrowful Songs, Dvorak's Symphony no. 8, Mellon Collie and the Infinite sadness [Pumpkins] (and most especially Fuck You (Ode to No one) and 1979), and Intellectualise My Blackness [Skunk Anansie] over and over and over again.
Oh, and "Jamming with the Boozeman", played loudly to the tune of "Jammin'".

SAINT OF THE DAY St. Anthony of Egypt, the Abbot (251-356).
Patronage: (list not exhaustive) against pestilence, for amputees, animals, basket weavers, butchers, cemetery workers, epilepsy, epileptics, gravediggers, graveyards, hermits, Hospitallers, monks, pigs, skin diseases and rashes, swine, swineherds.
The founder of the Christian monastic tradition; at twenty he sold off all his inheritance except that which he needed to maintain he and his sister after hearing Matthew 19:21 in a church, and then went to live in the desert. He lived there, with 3 or 4 interruptions - notably in 305 to guide those who wished to follow his example, in 311 to strengthen the Alexandrian Christians against persecution and in 350 to preach against Arianism - for the rest of his life.
The story is told of him that he once wrestled the devil, after which he was weary and seemed dead, at which time God came to him and to Anthony's question "where were you when I needed you?", He answered "I was here. I was watching your struggle. Because you didn't give in, I will stay with you and protect you for ever".
His biography was written by Saint Athanasius

SAINT TRUMPS In order of priority :
-BVM trumps all,
-Apostles trump all except BVM,
-Gospel writer trumps other Apostle,
-Martyr trumps non-martyr,
-any before 800 trumps any after 800 except Doctors of the Church,
-female Doctor trumps male, in fact, in general, female trumps male,
-married trumps unmarried,
-hermit trumps worker who trumps philosopher who trumps theologian who trumps monk who trumps clergy,
-more than 5 miracles worked during lifetime trump geographical and occupational trumps,
-Africa trumps all other regions, East trumps West until 1054,reverse afterwards.
More rules, some modifications as soon as I can think of them.

ARGUMENT Yesterday between me, the might-be-an-idealist who really thinks that the outside world can be shown incontrovertibly to exist on idealist premises, and the Smudger who thinks this position a pile of shit. He claims I'm quining physical objects, no, actually, I'm pretending to Quine physical objects.
I've never really been any good at epistemology, a defect that must be remedied before I graduate...

SRECKO KATANEC , an integral part of the scudetto-winning Sampdoria side of 1990-91 led Slovenia to two major tournaments before resigning after the 2002 World Cup. He's since been hired and fired by Olympiakos Piraeus and is currrently unattached as best as I can tell.

AARON RINGERA is almost certainly the best man for the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority Director's job. He has held the job before, he's a very competent judge, he's widely known for the quality and independence of his mind, and in a sense he's owed the job after all the crap the previous administration pulled on him when he last held it.
The anti's need to buy a clue: the constitutional issue is non-existent; he can certainly resign from the judiciary before taking up the job - the separation of powers could only possibly be threatened if he continued to serve as a judge after starting his new job, and the fact that he's GEMA is neither here nor there, or rather ought NOT to be either here or there, but has been brought into play by people who at this stage in Kenyan history really ought to know better.
Yes, I'm a Ringera-ist.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

SONGS in my head today: Loser [Beck]. Spooky, just because I was humming the tune (semi-consciously) AND talking to someone German last night and inevitably "sprechen sie Deutsch auf, baby", popped out (luckily, not undeniably loudly). I have yet to live down the embarrassment. Must engage with world more.

SAINT of the day: St. Hilary of Poitiers (315?-368), convert from paganism, exile, defender of orthodoxy against the Arians and Doctor of the Church

MORE wonderful adventures. During a visit today to the local mental-health facility in the (very enjoyable) company of Bombadil and Plato, we were challenged to a game of pool by a lady who was
1.clearly not entirely sane.
2. By her own admisssion, unaware of the rules. (She was sure she could learn though).
Plato, having the size, experience in dealing with unusual social situations and general air of authority that I entirely lack, proceeded to explain the vital regulations in a deliberately vague manner. Which is how I ended up paying attention in pin-drop silence to the lady's increasingly skilful attempts to scoop the balls into the pockets using her cue.

CHEWING cinnamon sticks is a surprisingly pleasant alternative to smoking. As is indulging other vices. My excuse anyway, for recent gluttony.

UC SAMPDORIA I've loved them since watching the game they played in 1990-91 away to Juve. Ended 0-0, but it was a game of beauty, (I didn't know it was possible to enjoy nil-all draws) Attilio Lombardo was dashing down the wing, Mancini and Vialli were together up front and Pietro Vierchowod was dominating attackers in most steely fashion at the back. Also, what names! Invernizzi, Mannini, Katanec, Mikhailichenko and others, all to be memorised and repeated in awe later... Sampdoria duly won the one and only scudetto in their history that year. I followed all their games that season and the next, and have loved them from afar with gradually diminishing ardour, until very recently, when I came across their site here. The affair has been rekindled. Has anyone got old Panini stickers from 1990-91 to sell?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

NO SONGS in my head today. At all.

SAINTS of the day: St. Theodosius, one of fifty soldiers martyred in 269. Also, feast of the baptism of our Lord.

SMOKING I have given up . A bit of a cliche, yes, but it was killing me and nicotine patches smell so much nicer. Not smoking has left me feeling, simultaneously, virtuous and depressed.

SAW this earlier today and I haven't stopped laughing...'How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin' - Ronald Reagan

YES thanks very much. I've noticed that the Return of the King has been and gone. And I've had nothing to say about it. I will, at length. After I've watched it for the 4th time. So wait.

EVERYBODY, put your hands together for the boozeman, a friend of long standing whose dedication to beer and quality music is boundless. Welcome to the blogosphere, Tom!

HTML tag for emailing me is horrendously placed and looks crap. Thanks, I knew that. I'm working on it. Any more complaints ?

Thursday, January 01, 2004

SONGS in my head today:New Year's Day and October [U2]

SAINTS of the day: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Feast of Telemachus whose intervention in about 400 at a gladiatorial contest may have moved Pope Honorius to abolish them completely.

HAPPY NEW YEAR all. God grant his grace and peace all year and in those to come too. My love to you all.

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