Archive for December, 2006

Celebrating the Boston Tea Party

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

December 16th was the 233rd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. I was down in the harbor with a friend, drinking tea and reflecting upon what has happened since. Nobody else seemed too bothered – they were busily shopping in the market – and to be honest, I wouldn’t expect many people to have even known of the date, since it’s somewhat slipped into obscurity as just another part of the American Revolution.

I love US history. I’ve really gotten a thing for it. I love the little nuances – and the irony. For example, having Andrew Jackson’s face on the $20 bill. A man who hated banks and who abolished the Second Bank of the United States. Never ever let it be said that the Fed doesn’t have a sense of humor, albeit a somewhat subtle they-probably-didn’t-even-realize-the-irony kind of humor that only history types find even the tiniest bit funny :-)

Not only does Boston rock, but it all started right here.


Back in the land of the free

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

My flight got in last night around 20:00. I was home by 21:00, had a shower and went out shopping. I bought the journals of Lewis and Clark as an aid to jetlag avoidance, though I’ve not really looked at them yet. Wound up crashing out twice – once until 5am and then again this afternoon. I’m still not yet back on US time but at least I made it back in one piece – I was a little concerned after my Motorola Razr decided to power back on in order to sound an alarm, even after being turned off and had to explain to the flight attendant that the sound from the overhead bin was just super extra crappy cellphone software and nothing more sinister. Yanked the battery out.

I ended up spending much of my flight talking with the woman next to me, who is an American married to a British guy (they both write for horseracing magazines and occasional TV/books, from what I gathered). She agreed with me about many of the annoyances I’ve observed with the UK – the cost of living, crappy customer service, resistance to change, willingness to put up with crap, inability to see privacy erosion, that sort of thing. It was interesting to get an American perspective on that. Reminds me, I need to get Liberty onto BAA over the stores in Heathrow requesting your flight details when making purchases. I’d rather pay sales tax and not give out personal information but there’s no such option, and the Boots manager admitted that they sell this data to the airlines…sigh. A classic example right there.

Overall, I enjoyed my trip back to see some friends and family, but I’m glad to be back in the United States.


Turkish backlash at Chomsky translation

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Yet another reason why Turkey must not be allowed to join the EU: prosecuting writers for translating a Chomsky book. Many European countries have lax enough laws on freedom of expression as it is, but Turkey repeatedly takes the biscuit. The EU should get over itself and realize that Turkey is not ready, not now at any rate. A European constitution really would aid things going forward – member states need to be fully aware of their obligation to live in a free and democratic international society.


US church splits over sexuality

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

The BBC is reporting that the US Anglican church is to split over sexuality, specifically over the gay issue. Standard arguments against gay priests were being used, fantastic stuff. One of the things that helped me to adopt my current religious beliefs was a realization that every established church discriminates against someone else. I don’t believe in “God”, but if I did, I don’t think “he” would give a damn what two consenting adults want to do in their spare time. The “religious right” have got to get over this (so, then, they can actually go fuck themselves properly and get it over with).


Florida suspends lethal injection

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Brother of the Fuckwit-In-Chief, Jeb Bush, has temporarily suspended State executions while they figure out why it took 34 minutes and two attempts to finally murder the latest death row inmate. Apparently, it’s “cruel and unusual” when it takes 34 minutes but it’s not cruel or unusal (in Florida at any rate) to have state sanctioned murder take place at any other time. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t nice people and they probably don’t belong outside any time soon, but killing people once you’ve got them locked in a maximum security facility is just immoral, unjust and plain wrong.


Jersey legalizes same sex marriage

Friday, December 15th, 2006

The BBC provides some welcome news for all those who believe in sanity and who think the current US anti-gay marriage crusade has a lot in common with other anti-everything crusades of the past, like the opposition of equal rights for blacks in the 20th century (seriously, try it sometime for yourself, substitute “racism” for “homophobia” and you’re able to reuse a lot of the same arguments that were used at that time, too). NJ has “legalized” (as if that should be needed) the right for gay couples to have something almost a marriage without using that word. Getting better – who knows, in time it might be possible to even use the words “gay marriage” without someone dying of shock or abusing quasi-Christian semi-rightwing beliefs on The Murdoch “Inciteful Hatred News” Network of the day. Note to self: if you get a TV, figure a way to pay for a cable package where you’re not subsidising Faux.

Personally, I don’t give a flying fuck whether two guys want to marry, two girls, a woman and a man or any other combination thereof. I know this makes me some kind of left leaning hippie wannabe and I’m very comfortable with that. Anyone bothered by who someone else chooses to marry because of their gender seriously (and I mean, seriously) needs to see someone about that. I promise they won’t make you watch.


My travel itinerary over the holidays

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

I will be flying out of Logan on the 22nd, bound for London Heathrow and will be in the UK until December 27th. It is highly likely that I will try to insert a day trip to another European destination on boxing day, if possible, but I am otherwise interested in visiting family and friends as much as possible – so drop me a line and let me know when is good for hooking up, if I don’t ping you before then. On my potential hitlist: London, Oxford, Cambridge and maybe Nottingham, too (super multiday trip extravaganza!).