Saturday, June 28, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hats banned from Yorkshire pubs
"There have been incidents both in pubs and other establishments when it has not been possible to identify offenders captured on CCTV because hats were hiding their faces."

Local trees

Isola di Rifiuti

"Summer’s work is to ease away under the cover of frantic light and the confluence of gassy hysteria and quid pro quo ombudsmanship, and ease back in with a pout and a boater. That’s summer’s work. An anti-method. A voluntary voluptuousness without realm or target..."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

happily grabbed at random the sharp, sad, beautifully written Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald for the first time in a couple of decades...

"With Nicole’s help Rosemary bought two dresses and two
hats and four pairs of shoes with her money. Nicole bought from a great list that ran two pages, and bought the things in the windows besides. Everything she liked that she couldn’t possibly use herself, she bought as a present for a friend. She bought colored beads, folding beach cushions, artificial flowers, honey, a guest bed, bags, scarfs, love birds, miniatures for a doll’s house and three yards of some new cloth the color of prawns. She bought a dozen bathing suits, a rubber alligator, a travelling chess set of gold and ivory, big linen handkerchiefs for Abe, two chamois leather jackets of kingfisher blue and burning bush from Hermes— bought all these things not a bit like a high-class courtesan buying underwear and jewels, which were after all professional equipment and insurance—but with an entirely
different point of view. Nicole was the product of much ingenuity and toil. For her sake trains began their run at Chicago and traversed the round belly of the continent to California; chicle factories fumed and link belts grew link by link in factories; men mixed toothpaste in vats and drew mouthwash out of copper hogsheads; girls canned tomatoes quickly in August or worked rudely at the Five-and-Tens on Christmas Eve; half-breed Indians toiled on Brazilian coffee plantations and dreamers were muscled out of patent rights in new tractors—these were some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole, and as the whole system swayed and thundered onward it lent a feverish bloom to such processes of hers as wholesale buying, like the flush of a fireman’s face holding his post before a spreading blaze. She illustrated very
simple principles, containing in herself her own doom, but
illustrated them so accurately that there was grace in the
procedure, and presently Rosemary would try to imitate it..."

Nanny State Nanaimo

"Now every patron must agree to have their identification recorded and photograph taken before they can enter Club 241, Spice Lounge, the Globe or the Queens Hotel.

Their name and photo is kept on a computer hard drive and used to track them, in case they try to pass their ID on to someone else, or if they are ejected from the bar for misbehaving.

Media got a demonstration of the new system at city hall on Friday, where Queens manager Jerry Hong used Coun. Merv Unger as a mock nightclub patron. After swiping Unger's ID in a card scanner, information appeared on a screen.

Software captures a patron's name, licence number and expiry date, age and sex from their drivers licence. Data is added to track the patron's status, including when they last entered the club and if they were barred from re-entry. If the patron misbehaves and gets thrown out, they will find himself barred for anywhere from a week to a year. And since it's linked by a network, that ban will be in effect in every bar in North America connected to the Barwatch system..."

Literary note: The Globe was visited by Malcolm Lowry while he waited for his "October Ferry to Gabriola"...

No Magna Carta please, we're British...

"But Britain's small band of civil libertarians has bigger problems than a recalcitrant prime minister and careless civil servants. Despite Benjamin Franklin's famous advice, the public seems happy to trade a little liberty for a little security. Surveys before the 42-days vote consistently showed public opinion in favour. More recent polling for The Economist shows broad public support for many liberal bugbears (see chart). Women tend to be more authoritarian than men, Labour supporters more relaxed about infringing civil liberties than Tories and Liberal Democrats, and richer folk more worried than the poor (full details can be found here). Half of the respondents were consistent in their answers to most questions; this, says YouGov's boss, Peter Kellner, is rather high.

The poll suggests that people are vehement in defence of civil liberty and privacy when considered in the abstract. Confronted with specific situations, their resolve wilts, especially when specific security gains are promised (although administrative benefits can overcome libertarian instincts too). Trust in private firms is much less than in the government—odd, since more than half of all consumers are voluntarily enrolled in data-tracking supermarket loyalty schemes..."