Teacher makes hot pitch

When someone sent me a link to an article titled “Teacher makes hot pitch on Youtube” I assumed it was like one of the lessons I used to have with a slightly insane chemistry teacher who enjoyed playing with dangerous chemicals in a vain attempt at turning his pupils on to science. Actually, I think the pedagogy was secondary to the sheer joy of blowing things up (“Let’s add a fuse made out of magnesium ribbon”).

It came hot on the heels of “5 dangerous things you should let your kids do” which is full of photos of children under 10 really enjoying life doing things like playing with knives, setting fire to things, and driving (all safely supervised, and – probably – safer for experimenting within a framework than over-protectively cocooned until the day they escape.)

Turns out in fact it’s a video about climate change. Not a bad one, in fact. But nothing to do with molten tar being poured down from castles onto unsuspecting siege soldiers. In wikipedia jargon, I suppose they must have meant “Pitch (film making)” rather than “Pitch (resin)

I was somewhat surprised to see just how many pitches there were, at Pitch (disambiguation).

Cervelat shortage

CervelatApparently EU BSE rules are leading to a cervelat shortage in Switzerland.

Which is a real shame, because I thought she was really good in that vampy 70s Sci Fi with the sneery guy in leather.

Note to those who’d want us out of the EU – Switzerland’s not in the EU and they still find it easier to abide by the rules. And join Schengen. Much better to be in the tent p***ing out.

Hitler and Wittgenstein – together at last!

Over on Liberal England is a photo of Hitler and Wittgenstein who were apparently together at school.

Jonathan helpfully explains who Wittgenstein was if you haven’t previously heard of him.  The main reason I had was because there was a nice quote from him in German on a piece of paper over the blackboard in one of the rooms where I was taught A-Level German.

Die Grenzen meiner Spracher bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt.  (the limits of my language are the limits of my world.)

I’m torn about whether this photo is more or less exciting than the photo they found in 2006 of Mozart’s wife.

Politicians and love

A colleague reports in a private forum that a 14th Feb by-election is bringing out the love in Preston.

Labour’s leaflets are running with, “On 14th February, say it with roses”

Our leaflets have “Give LibDems a “X” on Valentines Day”

But Respect have gone for a rather unsavoury strapline which hardly trips off the tongue – “Make Valentines Day a Massacre for the mainstream parties”

Bons mots from Lord Greaves

Whilst queueing Baroness Ros Scott’s piece on last week’s Lords debate on Labour’s plans for greater community engagement, I was moved to read the debate through.

And found this rather wonderful snippet from everyone’s noble friend, Tony Greaves:

[M]y first message for the Government is to ask them, please, to start using plain English. Having read the report we are debating today, I had a vision of someone saying to their husband or wife, “I’m just off down the neighbourhood hub for a bit of community empowerment. We have been quality assured by the national empowerment partnership, and tonight we are embedding our practitioner learning and capturing and sharing it through the national neighbourhood management network”.

Language like this is everywhere and sad to say, all too often, it is there to cloud meaning not to illuminate it. There is nothing less empowering than sitting in a public meeting and having half the content obscured by obfuscation sailing over your head.

Other issues identified in the Lib Dem-led debate were the dangers of residents no longer knowing who to contact to get a decision changed, now that many former powers of government have been removed to distant quangos, and consultation fatigue, where residents have said what it is they want to happen to too many different bodies, and have been put off by the fact that it never actually happens.

Faustus for President

Forget the woman or the black guy for US Prez, I’m voting for (newly engaged) Faustus, aka Joel Derfner.

Derfner has the sort of back-catalog that almost assures a person of great office in the States:

Gay Haiku Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever

He is, significantly, the only presidential hopeful to have commented on my blog.

Seriously – I watched, open-mouthed, some of the coverage of the Iowa caucus, and some of the reactions of candidates afterwards. Barack don’t impress me much. I just know that Clinton will get strong anti-reactions from anyone who isn’t already a Democrat, and opens an easy line of attack campaign – who ever thought that a Clinton would be back in the Whitehouse? There are enough people in the States for whom Clinton is still a bad word, balanced budget or no. Actually, the best performer on the night struck me as Edwards, so I’m plumping arbitrarily for him. (Even though he didn’t cross my radar at all as vice-presidential candidate in ’04, and I couldn’t name him last month when someone asked who was Kerry’s running mate… And it just took me two goes to remember his first name…)

Hmm, I have tried to add a banner to this post, and something keeps eating it. Specifically, a rogue line of code

style="display: none"

is stopping it displaying. Mysterious. Clearly WordPress hates John Edwards.

Haiku for Rob F

If you’re following my twitter stream, you’ll have seen the message sent this afternoon:

As loose change falls through pocket holes, down my trouser leg into my boots, I remember why I stopped wearing these jeans.

It was already a bit of a job to truncate the facts enough to fit them into a text message that sounded quirky but communicated all the facts.  These are old jeans.  A laundry mis-management event means they’re the only trousers currently available.  I’d stopped wearing them for a reason, but couldn’t really remember what it was until halfway through my day when a really odd sensation of coins trickling down my leg and ending up jangling in my shoes reminded me of the holes in my pockets.

However, the posh sounding Northumbrian thought it was a haiku, which gives the added challenge of communicating enough facts in just 17 syllables…

My first attempt…

Coins falling down trouser leg
Landing in my boot.
That’s why I stopped wearing them.

… I misremembered the syllable pattern and did 7-5-7 instead of 5-7-5.

Coins fall down my leg
From holes in my pockets.  That’s
Why I benched these jeans.

Hmmm.  It doesn’t have the boot-jangling sense and “benched” is uncomfortably and uncharacteristically close to sport for me. Perhaps Dogwood can manage better.