31 January 2009
Weekending: Glock Special
|Just in case there are any webmongs reading this - of course it's a fucking joke!|
30 January 2009
Cuba Today: The Havana Photographers
Blokes like this has been earning a living in Havana, Cuba, for well over a century. Their cameras all date from between 1890 and 1910 and are still going strong today - well, sort of.
The cameras were built especially for the tourist trade and at one time just about every tourist destination all over the world would have its army of photographers, all offering nearly instant photos with them.
To the rear of the camera, and just underneath it, is a tray that holds the developing chemicals. The shot is taken and then the photo is developed in about five minutes.
In Havana what happens is a bit more sophisticated. The subject is sat down on the marble steps of the old Congress building to be photographed. A positive print is made and is then placed in front of the camera in the upright wooden frame that you can see in the photograph.
The frame also holds a photo of the building's dome, and a photo is then taken of the subject and the dome. What the tourist gets for his 50p is not a boring shot of himself sat on some steps, but a photo that seems to show the dome looming above him. OK, the result is not exactly digital quality, but for half-a-quid who cares?
These photographers and their antique cameras are to be found in front of the old Congress building, which today is a museum.
29 January 2009
Anonymous Upskirts 2
Two fit young things crossing the street on a warm summer's day. We have no idea who they are nor which city they are in, but we do know that a cameraman was around just at the right moment for a fine windy day upskirt.
Cuba Today: Eating well without breaking the bank
When it comes to eating in Cuba you will have heard a lot about the private restaurants, known as paladares. The name comes from an old Brazilian soap opera that Cuban TV bought cheap and which featured a heroine who opened her own eating house and called it the Palate - Paladar in both Portuguese and Spanish. Frankly, I don't rate these eateries all that highly; partly because they are not all that cheap, but also because of their restricted menu.
Most paladares offer a set menu which is great if you want a full meal, but a bit of a pain if all you want is a quick nibble. Usually they will not allow you to just have a simple dish - say a bowl of the delicious Cuban rice and beans known as moros y cristianos - and they insist on the customer eating the set meal for the set price.
The bill for that meal is going to be in the region of £10 - £20 per person, which is the sort of price that a customer could expect to pay at a near top of the range restaurant in Mexico City. However, the paladares are far from top of the range, so why anyone would want to pay over the odds for such mediocre food and service is beyond this writer's understanding.
Probably the best restaurants in Havana are to be found in the hotels. Most have a snack bar where reasonably priced eats can be found, and the main restaurant will not disappoint in the evening. The bill will be the same, give or take, as what you would pay in any other five star Latin-American hotel, but the prices will be lower than their London equivalent. Just not all that much lower. . .
Given the cost of eating out in Cuba, why not do as the Mexicans do when they visit the place? Well, maybe not, because the Mexicans tend to lug a microwave or an electric griddle with them, but the principle is the same: cook in your hotel room.
The simplest thing to do is to invest in an international kettle that will work on any voltage. In an emergency you can get them at Heathrow Airport, but obviously they are cheaper at a travel or camping shop. They hold about two pints of water so are not all that big, but if you want to try and save money then the ability to do some simple cooking will certainly enable you to do that. Just make sure that you buy a travel adaptor along with the kettle. Most Cuban buildings use the old American two flat pin plugs, but the more modern hotels have the round European type.
Then just fill all available spaces in your suitcases with powdered milk, tea, coffee, packets of soup and so on and so forth. Trust me, just by lugging a few packs of food across the Atlantic you will save quite a lot of money.
What Cuba lacks is what most other third world countries have: those platoons of street sellers who cater to a local market, but who will feed you as well. They are making a come back, but at the time of writing the country still has a long way to go before the kettle can be left at home.
28 January 2009
Cuba Today: The Petrol Station Attendent
Cuban petrol stations are the same as petrol stations pretty much anywhere else in the world. The forecourt is where the petrol and diesel are pumped and the small shop is where the customer pays his bill. Usually, as elsewhere in the world, one can buy cigarettes, drinks of various kinds and snacks. The 24 hour stations come in handy when children decide that they are hungry at three o’clock in the morning and father has to wander the streets looking for something that will fill their growing stomachs and thus allow him to get back to sleep.
Knowing better than to argue with plaintive cries I got dressed and walked the short distance from the hotel to a petrol station. I had shopped there before, so was on nodding terms with the security guard who helped man the place. As I went to open the door he held up his hand to stop me: the place was closed because the cashier was eating her meal. It would open in about an hour’s time. O-Kay – so a 24-hour petrol station was closed – I looked around and saw that two lorry drivers had settled themselves into their cabs to await madam’s pleasure. I figured that I would have to join them.
As luck would have it the security guard had got to know me and he went inside to ask if this foreigner could buy some drinks and nibbles, please? The cashier looked through her window and saw the bloke that she had been talking to the day before, so I was allowed to pass through.
I had a chat with her again. Was it normal, I wanted to know, for petrol stations to close so that the staff could have their breaks? Oh, yes, replied the girl, how else could they eat – I didn’t expect them to work and eat at the same time, did I?
The funny thing about this attitude is that the day before that same attractive young woman had been complaining about shortages, power outages, and how everything was the government’s fault. Would she like to swap her meal breaks and security of employment for some consumerist toys I wondered?
She did not understand the question. Most Cubans have never lived under capitalism. They equate it with the ability to buy things from shops that are always bulging. They do not realise that goods are rationed under both systems. At least under socialism they are rationed to everyone equally. Under capitalism they are rationed by price. And for most of the people on this planet, most of the goodies that capitalism offers will always be out of reach.
I contented myself with the remark that I had been a projectionist for years. Twice a week I used to work all day, showing films from early afternoon to late at night with no breaks. at all. I had also been made redundant three times in ten years. No job, of course, means no money to buy things.
The conversation ended there as I returned to my family with my purchases. The girl was very quiet as I left, but I don’t know if she really believed me – or even if she understood my words fully. How do you explain unemployment to a person who has never experienced it? Come to think of it, how to explain a letter that I had just received from a nephew in Manchester? He had been working at some McJob or other and had refused to go in on his day off. Thus he had lost what admittedly was a pretty shit job: but all the jobs are shit jobs – there are few unions with any real powers in Nu-Labour Britain.
If capitalism ever returned to Cuba that young petrol station attendant will find herself in the same boat as my nephew. She will have to jump when the boss tells her to jump and if she refuses then she will be slung out of work. That is the way that the system works.
The problem is that Cubans just don't get it. They seem to think that they can keep the economic security that socialism has given them and add on all the goodies that capitalism offers to the select few.
If Cuba falls for the blandishments of capitalism, then they will be in for a very rude awakening.
27 January 2009
The Dancing Slut Video
This video was as famous in its day as the Libby Hoeller videos that we looked at last week. It's called the Dancing Slut video, which is an unfortunate title, but one that we are now stuck with. The reason why the video is still talked about comes near the end when the girl threatens her boyfriend with all sorts of dire consequences if he leaked the video.
Guess what? He ignored her. . .
Cuba Today: Getting Around Havana Part Two
In the last posting we looked at a couple of cheap ways in which you can travel around Havana. Today let's look at the ways in which the government want you to get around - whilst paying an arm and a leg for doing it.
These coco-taxis are ubiquitous in Havana and were created just for you, the tourist. They use a two-stroke Italian engine with a Cuban made glass fibre body.
The government owns the taxis, but the drivers are all self-employed. They pay upfront to rent their cabs - in 2005 the fee was about £25.00 a day.
Now you know why these characters hate the bike-taxis, and complain constantly about them picking up tourists. I tried to explain to a coco-driver that given that I live in Mexico my wages are as third world as his, but he wasn't wearing any of that. He had his piece of paper, all stamped and sealed, that said that he could pick up tourists. The bike-taxis didn't. . .
Another officially approved way to get around is via one of the classic cars that still run around Havana. Many people think that these old jalopies are all that exists in Cuba, but that is not the case. Most Cubans who own a car have something far more modern than this.
The country used to import Soviet Ladas back in the day, but now it tends to be small Japanese makes that you see chugging around. People are given them by their factories for meeting their production quotas, or whatever, and most cars that you will see on the roads are modern and Asian.
The jalopies still exist, and most are owned by the government. As with the coco-taxis, they are rented to their drivers who then make their livings driving the tourists around. Most have had their original engines stripped out and replaced by a Russian built diesel.
Some of the drivers actually own their cars, but you will have to hunt for them. One way to spot an owner-driver is to look at the license plate. Blue is for licensed taxis and white is for a private vehicle. The unofficial cabs tend to run on weekends when the inspectors are off duty, so look for them then.
Finally, you can rent a horse drawn carriage to get around the city. The system works just like the other officially sanctioned taxis, and the drivers paid £10.00 a day to rent their nags and wobbly carriages back in 2005.
My advice when it comes to travelling around Havana is just to walk - it really is that small a city. If you really have to get somewhere quickly, then a coco-taxi is your best bet. The drivers know most of the streets and they drive like lunatics. Just close your eyes and hope you make it in one piece.
26 January 2009
Cuba Today: Getting Around Havana Part One
Probably the cheapest way to get around Havana is to hop on a camel. That's what these weird and wonderful contraptions are known as, on account of their two humps. They are pulled by the cab unit from an articulated lorry and today most of the city's bus routes are covered by them.
You will hear stories that they are always full to overflowing, but as you can see from this photo, that is not the case. They get full when people are travelling to and from their work, but at other times they travel half empty.
The only slight problem that you have is that they are not supposed to carry tourists, but if your Spanish is up to it, then you can get a camel ride.
Most of your journeys within Havana will probably be on foot, given that the city isn't very big. That said, if it is late at night and you are a bit sloshed from all that Cuban rum that you have been poring down your neck, a cheap way to get around is on one of the bike-taxis.
These contraptions shouldn't take you either, since the government wants all tourists to travel in more expensive vehicles, but most of the riders will take you after dark. Obviously you will have to pay in convertible pesos, unlike the locals who pay in the regular kind, but you're a tourist so stop complaining.
The charge is by negotiation and the rider will try and get as much out of you as he can. Expect to pay about £1.00 per mile travelled - and it is up to you to have a rough idea of how far things are and to negotiate the cost before you climb aboard.
Coming up next: the ways in which the Cuban government wants you to travel around Havana.
24 January 2009
Weekending: flashing a pair
23 January 2009
Cuba Today: How To Avoid The Scams
The guide books advise their readers to see that all their luggage is securely locked prior to flying to Cuba. The baggage handlers at Havana airport are notoriously light-fingered and a few pounds spent on padlocks can make all the difference between getting a complete bag off the carousel or receiving one that has been thoroughly and expertly pillaged. Someone had still taken a shot at one of my suitcases – the one that had a combination lock on it instead of the others that had the more traditional keys. The face of the lock had been neatly wrenched off, but it was still sort of intact. The thief may have been disturbed, or he had run out of time, anyway the bag arrived with all its contents intact. Score one for taking a guide book’s advice. Such a pity they don’t talk about the scams that are run by the hotels as such information might have saved a lot of people a lot of grief…
The queue for the Cubana flight to Mexico City was long at Havana’s airport. It was the middle of the night so hardly anyone looked their best, anyway, but one 30-something woman looked paler and more ill at ease than the rest of us. My wife began to chat to the woman’s husband, who also looked a bit green about the gills, and found out what had happened to the couple.
They had staying at the beach resort of Varadero and their hotel had been stricken with food poisoning. The husband had escaped with a nasty bout of diarrhoea, but his wife had been taken to hospital. Around three hundred people, including a group of Mexican secondary school children, had also come down with this ailment in varying degrees of severity.
The cynic in me was amused to hear that guests at this hotel had been advised not to eat at the privately owned restaurants because, claimed their hotel, the food was often unsuitable for human consumption. Needless to say, and in the best tradition of Latin-America, the person who had thus advised the holidaymakers had made himself scarce once the dash to the toilets was on and had not been seen since.
To make matter worse the hotel had then denied that anything was out of the ordinary as far as their kitchen facilities were concerned and had blamed the outbreak on their guests’ determination to eat at the private restaurants that dot Cuban cities. The fact that nobody in this group had eaten outside the hotel was dismissed with an indifferent shrug.
Adding insult to injury, while all this was going on several guests found that their rooms had been entered and roughly half their money had been stolen. Note that the thief or thieves did not steal all the cash, so when the police were called in they just refused to believe that anything was amiss: they claimed that the complaint was an attempted scam by the tourists.
Exactly what happened at that hotel will probably never be known, but some informed guesses can be made. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba, the lobby of which is pictured here, is an absolute gem and it's where my family and I stayed during our time in Havana. The problem was that the breakfasts were delicious one day and terrible the next. Stale bread and dry fruit were the order of every other day, and all complaints were answered with the weary response that Cuba is a country under blockade and everyone has to make sacrifices.
Yes, well, a hotel security guard who had been suitably lubricated with gifts of clothing, soap and Mexican cigarettes confirmed what was already suspected; namely that the hotel’s employees were making one day’s food last for two and were then selling the surplus on the black market.
The hotel’s chambermaids have a little scam all of their own – at least ours did. She would stock the rooms that are occupied with toilet paper from the recently vacated rooms. The day’s supply of soap, shampoo and other toiletries was only ever half met. This wheeze came to light when our chambermaid took her day off and her replacement clumsily left the room fully stocked. The following day, when our regular maid returned, I ensured that we would not continue to be ripped-off by threatening to go and have a chat with the nice Interior Ministry policeman who was stationed outside the hotel. After that we had no problems, but it left a nasty taste in the mouth.
Screwing the guests seems to be an official policy at the Hotel Nacional: how many five star hotels in the world even charge guests for the bottled water that they leave in the rooms, much less the U.S.$2.50 that the Nacional charges for one litre of the stuff? The safe that most of these hotels have in every room is usually provided as a service to guests: not so at the Nacional; there the charge is U.S.$3.00 a day. Given these official scams, is it any wonder that the hotel’s staff decided to run some unofficial ones of their own?
So what happened at that hotel in Varadero? The best guess is that the staff were making the food last more than one day and something went rotten. This is understandable when you remember that even five star hotels suffer from blackouts that can last for several hours. As for the money stolen from the rooms that also suggests a clever, inside operation to only steal half the cash so that nobody would believe that a robbery had occurred. Or maybe it happens regularly and the police are either in on the deal or are under orders to rubbish all the complaints? We will never know.
To be fair to the Cuban government this writer did come across reports of the police running undercover operations to catch hotel criminals in the act, so they must be aware of the problem. However, and here is the big caveat, even assuming that the government has the will to fully tackle this problem there must be some doubt as to how effective their measures can be. Short of arresting every hotel employee in Cuba the scams are going to continue. That is how entrenched it seems to be.
The best advice that I can give to a visitor is, unfortunately, to treat Cuba as any other Latin-American republic and assume that basic criminality is the order of the day – a least as far as the hotels are concerned. Outside things are different as the streets are fairly safe to walk in and violent crime is almost unheard of. However, and sadly for the country’s image, the chances are that if a tourist is going to fall ill or suffer a robbery it will be because of something that happened in his luxurious, government owned hotel.
22 January 2009
Anonymous Upskirts 1
I had an e-mail the other day from a regular visitor who explained that what really turned him on was not just upskirts, or even windy day upskirts - what gave him a thumping great blue veiner were the anonymous upskirts.
Now, most upskirt pictures are of anonymous girls, but I can understand his point. What my correspondent is sick of are the photos - usually staged - of some celebrity or other. Come on fellows, aren't we all sick of yet another shot of Paris Hilton's minge? An ordinary girl caught out on the street, now that is another matter. Nobody knows who she is so the viewer can project whatever fantasy he likes onto her. Yeah, I can see the attraction.
I hunted around and came up with three such anonymous uspkirts that haven't been done to death on the web. While I am away I hope that you enjoy this little series.
The bird pictured above would normally be a bit long in the tooth for this, but her knickerless state does give her a certain charm and erotic appeal.
Cuba Today: What To Take With You
For some reason when people visit Cuba they tend to take silly things with them to give away. Pens seem to be the popular choice because popular myth has it that Cuba has a serious shortage of biros. Actually, Cuba has plenty of pens, what Cubans are desperate for is clothing.
The country used to have a good textile industry that produced enough clothing for everyone. Alas they used cotton from the USSR and when that country went pear-shaped, the Cuban cotton mills went the same way. Today Cuba imports second hand clothing from Europe, but there is never enough to go around and most of it is aimed at older people who just want to dress themselves regardless of how they look.
As you can see from this photo, individuals also get their hands on second-hand clothes and then sell them on the street and that type of clothing tends to be a bit more fashionable that the offerings in the state shops. This is probably due to the fact that the state system relies on donations made by Cuba's European sympathisers, and socialists don't seem to be on the ball when it comes to fashion. . .
As with most people on this planet, Cubans like T-shirts: so why not take all the T-shirts that you don't want to wear again, use them once in Cuba and then give them away? It saves you the job of doing your own laundry. Of course you can also offload all your unwanted clothing in this way, but the advantage that a T-shirt has is that it can be worn by both sexes.
If you really want to impress a younger Cuban, then remember that as with all of Latin America, the basic rule is bright colours and lots of English writing on the T-shirt. What the writing says is not important; it's that little bit of exoticism that counts.
Cuban girls love dresses and miniskirts made from Lycra. The nice thing about these types of skirts and dresses is that one size stretches to fit just about every female who climbs into them. If you are a fellow and are travelling to Cuba on your own, trust me when I say that a few items like this are well worth taking.
Toiletries are also in short supply, so hand soap and toothpaste make decent gifts. So does laundry soap come to that as most clothes are washed by hand in Cuba. Finally, a stock of those small perfumes that are given away free in magazines and stores in the UK, is a sure fire way to win the heart of that lovely miniskirt who has attached herself to you.
Looking over these words, the writer realises that there is not much of a difference between Cuba and Mexico. The Mexicans have enough cheap toiletries to go round, but clothing is something that people often ask for.
Other than that it really is a case of get on the aircraft and prepare to enjoy yourself. Cuba is a damn sight better than most countries in the region - you won't see folk sleeping on the streets - so helping out a couple of her citizens with some of the things that they need is a good way to express your admiration for that brave little country.
21 January 2009
I went into hospital on Monday of this week for an operation that was scheduled for yesterday, Tuesday. The blog has been on auto-pilot since Monday and can run on that basis for two full weeks after this one. I have created a series on Cuba that starts today which I hope that you will find interesting - just scroll down for the introductory posting.
Hopefully I will be able to pop in some time next week and give you a progress report, but it is also possible that I will still be in hospital. The surgery is so major, and the recuperation time so long, that you know as much as I do about when the blog will get back to normal.
Wish me luck, folks!
Introducing Cuba Today
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban revolutionaries who marched into Havana in January 1959. A lot has been written about those days and I don't particularly want to add to that output. That said, I quite fancied the idea of running a Cuba series in this major anniversary year, but if I wasn't going to analyse the revolution, what could the series be about?
I came up with the idea of putting something together for the general reader who might fancy a holiday in Cuba. Some of these postings have seen the light of day before and have been rewritten for this series, but most are new. The photographs are almost all mine and were shot in 2005 when I visited the country.
The aim was to cover the bits that the guide books often miss. So for instance I have dedicated a posting to the Havana fishermen who go out into the bay on their rafts, and another one deals with the photographers and their antique cameras. How to get around Havana is the subject of two postings, and avoiding going hungry is the topic of another.
What's that? You want to know about the tasty talent? Of course you do, that's what your middle leg's for when all's said and done, but you will have to wait for those posts as they are the last ones in the series. Yeah, I know, I really am an evil sod, making you wait like that.
Anyway, I hope that the postings are of interest, and at least they should keep the blog going until I am out of hospital and back on my feet.
20 January 2009
Libby Hoeller and her new generation of fans
Revenge videos are good fun, unless you happen to be on the receiving end of one, that is. Probably the most famous example of the genre is the Libby Hoeller series, and thinking about that luscious little darling, I guessed that there couldn't be many people who hadn't heard of Libby Hoeller or Hoeler. Then I remembered that the story was big in about 2002 so there is now a whole new generation of guys out there who have never heard of the girl - nor seen her seriously sexy videos.
OK, here's the deal - back in 2000 Libby made some videos for her then boyfriend. Alas for her, but hooray for us, she then decided to do a bit of extra-curricular shagging so the ex-boyfriend got his revenge by leaking the videos all over the web.
If you want the full story then this fellow pretty much has it all, but I suspect that most of you will just be after the videos. You can watch them on-line at this link, or click through from there to find links that allow you to download the .WMV files to your hard disk.
As Obama enters office the left must bide its time
We have had it easy for the past eight years as possibly the stupidest president in living memory made anti-Americanism easy. However we must not forget how lucky we were, especially in the wake of the 11th September 2001 attacks when just about any other president would have taken the sympathy that the world extended to the USA and used it to further America's interests. Having George the Chimp truly was a gift from the gods, but now that he has gone expectations of the Obama Presidency are so high that the only way they can go is down.
Quite how Obama will be brought to earth is anyone's guess. Vera Baker, pictured left, was alleged to have been one of Obama's knob shiners, but the story never really took off. However, persistent rumours have it that Obama is a swordsman of JFK proportions, and if that is the case then a sex scandal is just waiting to happen. Certainly a lot of Americans will be sniffing around for any hint of extra-curricular shagging, and readers can rest assured that the friendly old Exile will publish whatever turns up, especially if it involves a bit of talent that is as tasty as Vera Baker.
However, the odd leg-over is not going to do all that much damage to Obama's reputation. What is almost certain to damage it would be a failure to live up to the expectations of his supporters. The fact that nobody really knows what Obama stands for is actually a bonus because so many people have projected so many dreams onto the man that if he does turn out to be an empty suit then their disenchantment will be all the greater.
For the left this is a time of retrenchment. There is nothing that we can hope to achieve until the reaction against Obama kicks in. When it does then we can start to argue the case for getting Britain out of NATO and the Americans out of Britain, but until that happens we are simply wasting our breath.
19 January 2009
Gimlet Kamm is a gem!
I really can't believe how fucking tiny Gimlet is! I was watching him perform on Newsnight Review, and the effect is hilarious. Basically you have three ordinary sized people plus Gimlet sat on a long sofa. The three are all sat normally because they are of average size and not short-arsed little fuckers. Gimlet sits slightly forward and bolt upright, obviously so that his feet can touch the floor, but it does give the impression that he has a poker up his bum. He's also wearing a suit whereas everyone else is casually dressed. Given his size you can understand this pathetic attempt at gravitas, but it just makes him look even more risible.
Gimlet, you're a gem - if you bring some identification with you to prove that you are not all of 14 years old I will buy you a pint when I am next in London.
New benefit changes will screw the middle class
As the middle class recession bites deeper the people who are currently losing their jobs are about to find that the system that was sold to them as being tough on the work-shy is now going to give them a right hard shagging.
The point is that unemployment pay, the dole as it is still popularly called or Job Seekers' Allowance as NuLab rebranded it, used to be paid for a year, but was reduced to six months by NuLab as part of a smoke and mirrors exercise. Basically the government wanted to show to its middle class supporters just how hard it was screwing down on benefit claimants, which is why it gloated about cutting the period during which a claim to be made to just six months.
What it didn't tell all those aspirational types with their Ford Mondeos and large mortgages was that when the dole ends another benefit kicks in. That one is confusingly called job seekers allowance, non-contributory, but is often referred to by its old name of income support or the social - are you paying attention at the back? I might give you an exam on all this later in the week.
Now then, the difference between the dole and the social is neither here nor there to most traditional claimants, but middle class scrotes need to be aware that the latter is means tested. If you have a spouse who is working or savings over a certain amount then you can forget the social. Don't think that you can spend your whacking great redundancy payment to get the mortgage down, either, because the Tories stopped that wheeze years ago. That's right, the system will treat you as if you still had the money, and only when the money has gone will the social kick in.
Now do you see why this is smoke and mirrors? This basically NuLab system was set up on the assumption that the middle class would never need the social so it was all right to pander to their prejudices by screwing down the type of claimants who didn't actually exist at that time. However, what those changes meant was that if your middle class dogshit ever did lose their jobs then the system would do them over good and proper. On the other hand that was never going to happen because Gordon Brown had cured the economic cycle and made sure that only the working class were unemployed.
You have to admit that there is something rather entertaining about all this. Here is a system that was sold to middle class types as being the one that would screw the workers is now doing exactly that to the the scum who voted for it.
17 January 2009
Weekending: Chinglish Lesson
There is something about John Chinaman and his use of Chinglish that just cracks me up.
Chicken flied lice and a can o' pop. That's what you need to start the weekend off with.
16 January 2009
Easy Night. . .
Yeah, I'm having an easy night. . .
15 January 2009
Final thoughts on the Weblog Awards 2008
Now that the dust is settling on the Blog Awards 2008 both the winners and losers are being generous to one another, which is the way that it should be. Things were very different last year when Neil Clark took the award for Best UK Blog - the atmosphere then was repulsive to say the least. If a blogger congratulated Neil on his victory then you could pretty much guarantee that some webmongs would arrive to carp and complain. When they weren't doing that, the wankblogs were moaning about the mechanics of how the victory was won. Neil had the temerity to push for votes, so that allowed the wankbloggers to say that he was taking a bit of fun far too seriously.
The fact that all the victors both last year and now won their contests because they pushed and canvassed and did deals with other blogs was neither here nor there to the wankbloggers. This highly prestigious contest had to be denigrated because it had been won by someone who stood outside their cushy little world where they all cosy up inside each others bumholes .
Neil Clark stands outside that revolting world, and that is why they hate him.
14 January 2009
Weblog Awards 2008
The Weblog Awards 2008 ended a few hours ago and sadly Neil Clark was unable to win a second straight victory in the Best UK Blog section. Neil finished a credible third behind Created in Birmingham and Melanie Phillips, so let's begin by congratulating the brummies on their victory and la Phillips for her strong second place showing.
Why did Neil lose? Well, a too strong belief in the willingness of his own readers to vote for him was certainly a factor. Neil reckoned that out of his 400 or so daily readers, 150 would probably vote every day for his blog, but sadly he only managed to get between 50 and 75.
To make matters worse most of the voting took place last week and last week just happened to be the week of the Orthodox Christmas festivities, so all those Serbs and Russians that we were relying on to vote were too stonked out of their brains on incense and vodka to care. The final kicker, of course, was that Mexican students were still on their Christmas vacations. Your friendly old Exile was planning on turning out the son and his cousins' army of mates, but most of them only dribbled back to Mexico City at the weekend so that was a non-starter.
Created in Birmingham, the eventual winner, is a corporate type blog with links to the city that it boosts. Obviously every computer in the town hall was voting for their blog every day and that gave the blog around 200 votes a day in the early stages of the contest. Melanie Phillips was not scoring very highly in the UK, but was pulling in votes from the eastern United States. Neil and I had a midweek discussion and decided that Created in Birmingham would probably not pick up many votes over the weekend because most of their voters would not be at work. If the Phillips' crowd were Jewish, then they might not vote on Saturday, so Neil had a chance to overtake CiB on that day and then go head to head with Melanie P. during the final three days of the race.
Alas, the view took hold on the web that the way to stop Melanie was to vote for CiB, so their vote increased over the weekend. Melanie's vote did fall on Saturday, but Neil could not overtake either her or CiB so his vote began to be squeezed from Sunday onwards.
It is true that there was a stop Clark campaign, but I only found out about it thanks to Neil himself. I doubt very much if old wank put out on fora that most people do not read had all that much effect on the outcome. The problem was simple: we did not get the Clark vote out. Thanks to that we fell victim to a classic third party squeeze that any Liberal-Democrat reading these words will know only too well.
Let's hope that we have better luck next year.
How to buy a wife
Marcelino de Jesus Martinez needed the money and Margarito de Jesus Galindo was wife hunting so Marcelino sold his 14 year old daughter to Margarito. The agreed price was $16,000 in American dollars, 150 cases of beer, 150 of soft drinks, six of meat and two of wine. Everything went well until Margarito reneged on his payments but kept the girl, whereupon Marcelino went to the cops in California where everyone seems to have been a-wetbacking. When they had stopped laughing at his bovine stupidity, the plods arrested Marcelino for all sorts of things and issued a statement saying: "Some things are legal in Mexico and not legal here."
O-Kay, so what can we say about Marcelino and Margarito? Well, we can tell that they are inbred primitives from their names, which are the Spanish versions of Billy Ray and like names from up in the USA. Margarito is almost certainly an American Indian because only they can name a son with a girl's name and just change the final "A" into an "O".
The American cops don't seem to think that any laws would have been broken had all this happened in the participants' home state of Oaxaca, and they are probably correct in that assumption. The girl is 14 which means that she is over the age of consent. The age varies from state to state, as it does in the USA come to think of it, but in Mexico it is usually placed at either puberty or 12, with some states having a whichever comes first law. There is a higher age that is usually 18, but to claim under it a girl or her family have to argue that she was a decent girl from a respectable family and was seduced in some way, usually with a promise of marriage that never took place.
What lesson can we learn from this idiocy? Obviously, if you buy yourself an awfully wedded wife then make sure that you keep up the payments to her father.
13 January 2009
Could price controls make a comeback in Britain?
Roy Hattersley recently "expressed amused bewilderment. . . that as a minister in the 1970s he was responsible for the price of bread." The fact that he felt that way probably says more about the NuLabour Party and its long march from its collectivist roots than it does about the actual policy itself. Especially now that the economy has tanked, government are going to find that the old policies are often the best ones.
Policies don't get much older than price controls over bread. Originally each district had its Bread Assize that set the weight and cost of a loaf - in the London of Samuel Pepys the price was 1d for a nine and a half ounce loaf. The reason for this was fairly simple: if the poor could not afford the staple then hunger would drive them to riot.
Today that truism applies in many countries throughout the world where the staple food is still subject to strict price and weight controls. In Arabia it is bread, in Mexico and Central America the tortilla, but in both regions the governments make damn sure that the pricees are kept low enough to remain within reach of the whole population.
In Mexico the tortilla price is probably the one regulation that is enforced efficiently. If a bakery raises its prices then literally within the hour the local inspectors will arrive to close it down for a week or so as punishment. For that reason they don't try it on.
Occasionally a group of them will get together and chance their arms with a price hike, but the result is always the same: they are closed down and the local government then distributes tortillas itself. Each district has its local government run tortilla bakeries and they go into overdrive to meet the some of the demand. The rest is met by shipping in tortillas from other bakeries in other parts of Mexico City.
Will the bread assizes ever return to Britain? It doesn't seem likely at the moment, but as the country sinks into a third world mire anything is possible. Just remember that price controls are what governments use when the alternative is a city on fire.
12 January 2009
Looking to the end of Israel
Israel will not be destroyed by the combined Arab armies and neither will it vanish as a result of attacks by the Palestinian militias in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet vanish is will, and probably before it reaches its hundredth anniversary in 2047.
There are three factors that will combine to end the western presence in Palestine. In order of importance they are demographics, sanctions and urban conflict with the native population.
Demographics are the most important by far. The iron law of demographics has it that if one tribe out breeds another, then it wins. The issue is not just the fact that the Palestinians can take far higher casualties than the westerners, it is that in spite of those horrendous casualties the locals are on target to outnumber the colonists within another generation. It is that knowledge that will fester in the minds of the westerners, and as the two populations reach parity, will ensure that more and more of them take the easy option of leaving the country.
Sanctions will help this process along. The ramifications of the current Gaza Conflict isn't going to end when the fighting stops. Those hundreds of thousands of people who marched in the west for an end to Israel's attacks on the the Gaza civilians can be expected to form the nucleus of a demand for sanctions against Israel. In the meantime boycott campaigns will take root and grow until such time as eating Jaffa oranges, say, becomes as socially unacceptable in middle class circles as drinking South African wine was a generation ago.
Finally, if you think that the Arab insurections are bad now, just wait and see what happens in the future, when sanctions are biting and the Arab population has overtaken the European. The issue here is not a major Arab insurrection, rather it is the drip, drip, drip of urban guerrilla actions that will slowly undermine the desire of the Europeans to continue living in Arabia. Waving one's son off as he takes his girlfriend for a pizza and then finding out that both of them have become toppings is guaranteed to cheese anyone off. However, couple it with the knowledge that the rest of the west doesn't give a shit and you have a recipe for major depression, followed by that packing of the bags time that we have seen in other failed European settlements.
How the final kick will be administered is impossible to say. The most logical outcome would be a major urban insurrection in Jerusalem which led to an exodus of Europeans from Palestine. However, what can be seen is that the Arabs are breeding the next generation of fighters, demands for sanctions are growing and urban guerrilla warfare has reached levels undreamed of just a few weeks ago.
10 January 2009
Weekending: Clinton Diplomacy
The old one's are the best - just like your friendly old Exile!
Have a great weekend, folks, and we'll see each other next week.
Remember that voting is still open in the Blog Awards and that Neil Clark needs your votes. Just click on this link and vote for Neil Clark's Blog. Note that you can vote once every 24 hours until the polls close on Tuesday evening.
09 January 2009
Why are the apologists for Israel so worked up?
I never knew that "it was strictly forbidden to have a notebook in Belsen," or that Daniel Finkelstein, a Murdoch scab and mate of Gimlet Kamm, has an Auntie Ruth who broke that rule when she was there. I certainly didn't know that Auntie Ruth knew Anne Frank and that the two met up in that hellhole. Funnily enough I had an Uncle Frank who was part of the army that liberated Belsen, so there you go - it's a small world, isn't it?
Finkelstein wrote about the atrocities that befell Europe's Jews because he wanted to use them as a justification for the existence of the creole state that is Israel. The problem with this argument is that it involves accepting that the Arabs of Palestine have to pay for Germany's crimes.
The simple truth is that Israel is the bastard creation of the west. It's establishment involved the killing and ethnic cleansing of countless thousands of Palestinian Arabs, a people whose only crime was to be living on the land of their fathers when a gang of European gangsters arrived.
However, the continued existence of this nasty little shithole depends upon western goodwill in the form of aid and soft loans. Therefore, says your cynical old Exile, it is highly likely that the reason why we are being treated to such Finkelsteinian quantities of old wank is that the squat faced little fuckers who write this shit realise that the political tide has turned and that demands will continue to grow for the financial plug to be pulled on this particular shithole once and for all.
Anybody want to bet that I am wrong?
08 January 2009
Jews & Nazis invented holocaust says sociologist
It is evident that the holocaust was a conspiracy hatched by the Zionists and Nazis, and many innocent people gave their lives as a result of this inhuman plot.When I thought about Dubai - which wasn't all that often - I tended to think of futuristic buildings in a city that scarcely existed a generation ago and people getting arrested for shagging on the beach. Now it has another claim to fame as the home of Professor Dr Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa who is a head-the-ball of the first order. OK, he is only a professor in sociology, but even so the fast wrist actions that led to the above spurt must have been truly amazing.
At least we know why the USSR treated sociology as a dangerous bit of lunacy.
Is Hezbollah about to widen the Gaza Conflict?
Reports are coming in that three to five rockets have been fired from Southern Lebanon into Israel. The Independent wants us to believe that it is "not immediately clear who fired" them, but your friendly old Exile is willing to bet that it was Hezbollah.
Quite what the strategy behind the attack was is the bit that is unclear. If Hezbollah wanted to hurt Israel then five rockets isn't going to do any more than irritate. However, it might be enough to provoke the Israelis into a tit for tat series of engagements that could end up with Israel attacking Lebanon and thus opening up a second front in the Gaza War.
06 January 2009
Arab Girl - Israeli Goons
Yes, folks, it's the Weblog Awards again and Neil Clark is running to try and hold onto the Best UK Blogger Award that he picked up last year. All you have to do is click on this link and vote for Neil Clark's Blog in the red bordered voting box. Each computer can vote once every 24 hours until the polls close at 10.00pm GMT on Tuesday the 13th January.
OK, the leader at the moment is Melanie "Mad Mel" Philips. Her votes are coming in from the USA as I write these words in the middle of the British night. Is she wins then she will claim that her vote amounts to support for Israel and its campaign of murderous aggression in Gaza. Trust me, she is that batshit fucking crazy and she will claim that. Neil for his part has been supporting the Palestinians all along - you could not have two clearer positions.
Please vote for Neil Clark's Blog.
Gordon Brown really is a murderous two faced cunt
In public Gordon Brown is calling for a ceasefire to put a halt to Israel's murderous assault on Gaza. In private he may have told the diplomats in New York that they should help the Americans to block all ceasefire attempts.
There is really nothing more to be said about the sad remnants of what was once the working man's party. At the next election it needs to be put out of its misery.
Best Online Casinos Directory
OK, are you looking for the best online casinos? What amounts to the best is obviously different just as each player is different, so let's take a look at what I reckon is probably the finest online casinos directory on the web. That way you can get all the information that you need to allow you to pick the casino that is perfect for you.
Everything is neatly laid out so that you can search by game, currency or country where the server is located. As you gamers will know, Uncle Sam doesn't like you playing outside his territory so this site also gives you a full list of casinos where American players are welcome - or not, as the case may be. Each casino comes with a review so you have an idea of what the place is like before you go and have a look at it. Some casinos insist that you install their software whilst others don't, and this is clearly indicated in the directory.
All in all if you are looking for a new online casino that is going to be perfect for you this New Year, then look no further because FreeCasinos.ws has suddenly appeared to make your search a whole lot easier.
05 January 2009
You may have noticed that the posts have not been coming as thick and fast as usual. Furthermore, I have virtually ignored the war against Gaza, which is the big story of 2009 up to now.
The reason for the relative lack of postings has to do with my health, and the need to go back into hospital yet again for yet more serious surgery. I don't have an exact date yet, but I expect that it will be sometime this month. For obvious reasons the hospital comes first, so postings are going to be lighter than normal for a while.
As far as Gaza is concerned, why should I even try to compete with the likes of Neil Clark, Lenin's Tomb and Juan Cole? All of them are writing the thoughtful, sympathetic coverage of the war against Gaza that I would have tried to write had I not had other things on my mind.
OK, folks - the blog is not going to be suspended and I will try to keep it going even when I am in hospital - I even have the posts already prepared for that event. However, things are going to be a bit lighter for the next few weeks.
Has Israel already lost her Gaza war?
Henry Kissinger is once reported to have said that the guerrillas win by not losing and the conventional force loses by not winning. In that sense the Palestinians have already won this round of their liberation war as in spite of everything that was thrown at them from the air they are still on their feet and fighting back.
Not only that, but they are now forcing the Israelis to fight the type of war that no westerner wants to fight. The Israelis wanted to batter the natives into submission from the air, but after a week it became clear that the more the Israelis bombed, the more rockets that the Palestinians let fly, and then the ground troops had to be sent in. Remember that this is about the white men teaching the natives, the kaffirs, the wogs to know their place. Israel could not call off the operation when the Palestinians were still fighting back because then it would have been obvious that the natives had not learned their lesson.
By forcing the westerners to go in on the ground the Palestinians have seized the initiative in this conflict. Now the defenders can choose how and when to attack the lumbering armoured columns that are snaking their way through the narrow Gaza streets. Not only that, but those same defenders don't have to cull all that many westerners - but they do have to make sure that the ones that they do cull, to say nothing of their own casualties, are videoed. That video then has to be seen on the world's TV screens as quickly as possible.
Finally, support for Palestine is growing throughout the world. The longer this conflict continues the louder will become the clamour for sanctions against the western created shithole that squats between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israelis know this and are caught in a bind by it. The only way to subjugate the locals is to use the methods of extermination and ethnic expulsion that earlier westerners used to seize the USA. They don't have time for that because the longer they remain in Gaza to greater will come the clamour for sanctions against their shithole in the rest of the world.
Thus they will leave, and as the last of their tanks pulls out, a Palestinian rocket will fly through the air to smash into some Israeli target. That is what Kissinger meant when he said that the guerrilla wins by not losing.
03 January 2009
Weekending: Badger's Arse Bog Rolls
I used to enjoy the bit of nonsense that I called Weekending, but I thought that I was the only one who did. That was until I got to talk to some of my readers during the recent London trip and I found out that it was actually rather a popular feature.
So here it is back again!
02 January 2009
Topless Wii - again
I don't know about you lot but I am in no mood to get back to anything like serious blogging. We ran a Topless Wii video a while back and it was a popular posting, so here is another one to keep you amused.
Just be careful that your eyes don't pop out!
01 January 2009
Happy New Year
A Happy New Year to one and all, especially to the 41,598 visitors that the blog had in 2008 - and 70,798 page views to boot! OK, those are the sort of figures that a large blog can expect in a day, but The Exile is a one-man-band so let's just sit back and give ourselves a pat on the back.
Here's to 2009!