October 22, 2007

African encounter

An American writes:
[W]hat would I not have given for a bit of friendly wilderness, where unseen, I might vent my joy in some mad freak, such as idiotically biting my hand, turning a somersault or slashing at trees in order to allay those exciting feelings that were well-nigh uncontrollable. My heart beats fast, but I must not let my face betray my emotions, lest it shall detract from the dignity of a white man appearing under such extraordinary circumstances.

So I did that which I thought was most dignified. I pushed back the crowds, and, passing from the rear, walked down a living avenue of people, until I came in front of the semicircle of Arabs, in front of which stood the white man with his grey beard. As I advanced slowly towards him I noticed he was pale, looked wearied, had a grey beard, wore a bluish cap with a faded gold band round it, had on a red-sleeved waistcoat and a pair of grey tweed trousers. I would have run to him, only I was a coward in the presence of such a mob - would have embraced him, only that he being an Englishman, I did not know how he would receive me; so I did what cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing - walked deliberately up to him, took off my hat, and said: "Dr Livingstone, I presume."
From Stanley's account of the meeting, quoted in Niall Ferguson's "Empire".

Shattering images

Via Pootergeek's other blog: This website, featuring the work of photographer Martin Klimas, has some arresting images.

Klimas takes porcelain figurines, drops them and then photographs them as they smash to pieces. Creative destruction: I like it.

Falsehoods and popular prejudice

That's what they're teaching my 12 year old at an English state school. Thankfully, he's having none of it.

Here's my top five from his list of "Guess what they tried to teach us in school, today."

1. England conquered America.

2. The moon landings were a hoax.

3. Schizophrenia is the same thing as split personality disorder.

4. Children inherit only about five characteristics from their parents.

5. There are 52 states in the USA.

The thing is, in most cases the Big Fella has tried to point out how and why they were wrong, but the teachers just won't listen: their ignorance is unassailable.

October 19, 2007

Random quote

I don’t want to live in a society where I get stoned for committing adultery. I want to live in a society where I get stoned. And then commit adultery.
Ibn Warraq

Random picture

October 06, 2007

The laughing candidate

Hillary Clinton is just scary.

October 03, 2007

Poker for bloggers

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