who’s in control …

Ken Bigley is dead – murdered on the same day that the interim Iraqi PM said that there had been some movement in his plight. Funny, he must have source his intelligence from the same cowboys who were sure that there were WMD in Iraq. But maybe it was all choreographed, right down to the ‘escape’ and timing of the announcement – and that means organisation, which means funding, and in this part of the world, that means oil. So should we really be looking to point the finger at an oil-rich state that is funding terrorism in this region to ensure continued supplies of its own oil, or should we continue the hunt for a bunch of fanatics whose religious zeal has overcome their ability to exercise better judgement, and who have not woken up to the fact that they are mere puppets in this game of high stakes, being manipulated by said state for political and ultimately economical gain.

i just don’t get it …

It’s official – there are no WMD in Iraq. So concludes the Iraq Survey Group. And then it was open season … John Kerry, Robin Cook, Greg Dyke, human rights lawyers, pacifists, protagonists, terrorists, bigots – all waded in … in fact, just about anyone and everyone who had lost or could potentially gain something (and it is usually something personal) from this report – a report incidentally which somehow has come to be regarded as gospel proof that the war in Iraq was unjustified. In a pathetic attempt to appease those who are proponents of the invasion, the report tries to demonstrate impartiality by stating that Saddam did indeed have intent to restart the WMD programme – and this apparently was enough to prompt the Bush administration to come up with a wonderful concept, which the Pentagon’s Advisory panel is calling pre-emptive doctrine – almost casually throwing it in as a possible stance to adopt if ever there came a need to ‘deal’ with the emerging problem of Iran and North Korea. I just don’t get it – I mean I don’t get why, in this post-Cold War era, that we as a race have failed to learn anything from another doctrine – the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction that in a conflict, the use of nuclear weapons results in destruction of both the attacker and defender. Then again, I don’t get many things … like I don’t get how it is possible that I can share the same genetic makeup with the c**ts who think it is OK to lob off a fellow human’s head in the name of religion. Let me just say this – we have been looking for irrefutable evidence of God/Allah/Almighty for centuries, and have so far turned up zip – does that mean he doesn’t exist? If people believe he exists, then it follows that we don’t need the proof, since we’ve failed to find the evidence. And if he doesn’t exist, then what the hell are we fighting about anyhow? Answers on a post card please …

nice eats …

We caught up on some decent eating around Bristol at the week-end. The Al Madina is a friendly, cosy café serving Moroccan fayre and is tucked behind the Corn Exchange in the Glass Arcade aka St Nicholas Market. Décor is reminiscent of a bazaar, and when the sun shone, it was just possible to imagine being in the middle of a hot, sweaty market in Marrakesh as we struggled to keep cool by sipping at our mint teas. Actually in the mild dying rays of an October sun, it was more of a struggle to keep warm ;o) Don’t bother looking for it on the web – I couldnt find anything but in return for a yummy lunch, I thought the staff might appreciate some free publicity. J2 and I had the lamb tagine which fell off the bone, and the other mains were way above average … for the price, which only totalled £27 for four including drinks! A tip – try and get there for a late-ish lunch to allow plenty of time for the tagine to work the flavours into the food.

Dim sum on Sunday at the Dynasty on St Thomas Street was also above average and very reasonable. I thought the Fong Chow – chicken feet in black bean sauce – was exceptional (personal opinion of course since none of the others would touch it!) and the kids throughly enjoyed their beef Hor Fun, fried Szechuan style. J2 impressed us by stuffing himself but was clearly agile enough to earn his 10th Kyu karate grading later that afternoon. Good lad!

a bit of fun …

The BBC are running a competition for the story of the century using 101 ‘modern’ words. I doubt mine will be published but I managed 60 of the words in 149 words.

Here it is … Bling bling! Mickey Mouse’s whizzo mobile phone buzz-ed a text message from the wizard in the Big Apple, aka Big Brother, summoning him to another virtual reality of sexed-up, power dressing It-girls in Wonderbras, hot-desking in a dot-commer, as they double-clicked URLs from Google listing Sex with Toyboys. He’s missed her. OK she’s no hip, cool or sexy celeb earning megabucks (naff all actually); can’t chant F-words at cruise missiles or boogie like those 70’s love-in hippy peacenik chicks; or pop acid like some 80’s psychedelic punk; or karaoke like a Botox ridden 90’s granny, ad-libbing hip-hop, gangsta rap with her miniskirt in some ghetto fabulous kitsch bar. So not-U! But Minnie with teddy bear, sporting a dumb-ed down hem-line, dunking her cheeseburger or bagel in latte – that’s tailspin material! Mickey loses his mobile at some fast food drive-in, clicks his kitten heels three times … “Cheerio lumpenproletariat existence!”

too much religion …

Someone once quipped ‘Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use’. As the terror in Iraq continues tonight with the murder of 34 children at the water treatment plant in Baghdad, it is fast becoming a cliché to expect people in the free world always to unite on a common resolve of never giving in to terrorism – no matter the cost. I read the full text of Tony Blair’s speech yesterday. It wasn’t his proposed 10 point plan that warmed me to his party, nor his comical dismissal of the Lib Dems, nor his reminder that we as a nation have undoubtedly enjoyed material changes under the Labour government. No, it was his candour and his insightful summation that the world faces a new, deeply rooted phenomenon – global terrorism, executed based on the perversion of the peaceful and honourable faith of Islam.

Yet last night, in the salubrious surroundings of a dining hall in Holborn, our very own Archbishop of Canterbury addressed a congregation of Alpha graduates, and praised them for taking risks, in the way they have re-branded and marketed Christianity to bring lost or confused souls back to God. I don’t pretend to fully understand the Alpha programme, but I am certain of this: all too often we blame religion (the lack or abundance of it) for the attrocities committed by those who have long swapped faith for guns, idealism for explosives, and forgotten when and why they had done so. And now, instead of WMD, we appear to be peddling WMC – weapons of mass communication. We need a logo/marketing plan like we need a bullet in the head!

Religion should always be personal, and never thrusted on anyone.

labouring the moon festival …

I’m known for my ambivalence about politics and right now, I’m fired up about the state of the nation and will be tuning in when Tony Blair makes his election pledges at Labour Conference 2004. You’ve got to listen to the hype, if only to make up your own mind – especially after the amuse bouche from Gordon Brown yesterday. Prosperity? Call me capitalist, by all means – but social injustice?! Nah, I’ll just take the loot … and keep it all for myself! This morning, BBC Radio 4’s Long View featured China, projected to become the 2nd largest economy in the next decade, but after the Tories’ initiative back in the 80’s, the UK seems quite nonchalant, bordering on apathetic, about strengthening trade links with this emerging superpower.

Today is the 15th moon day of the 8th month a.k.a. the Moon Festival – an auspicious date in the lunar calendar for the Chinese, the mid-autumn equivalent of thanksgiving I suppose. Read all about the legend here. With lots of moon cakes being consumed, I wonder if there will be a rebellious note from Kenneth Clarke tucked inside mine ;o)