Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Old fashioned political correctness

Miss Lydia Becker was a formidable campaigner for womens rights in 19th Century Manchester

During the 1860s there was mounting concern about extravagance & inefficiency in the way that the City Council used ratepayers money

At a public meeting to discuss these issues Miss Becker rose to object to the use of the word mismanagement to describe these failings

She thought the word would encourage people to think that this would be the style of management the city could expect were they to be governed by unmarried ladies

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Zimbabwean migrants

This summer I started to notice numbers of people who had clearly come recently from Africa - unusual for Stockport!

What was even more unusual was that they came from both sexes and all ages. I saw pairs of women off to TKMAX or the coffee shop & young families, as well as groups of young men. On one occasion I even saw a family group outside WHSmith consisting of great grandma, great grandpa, grandma, 2 young women & a very new baby. Great Grandpa looked like he must have been a teacher, grandma looked like a headmistress, & the 2 young women were extremely smart & sassy looking

They all looked happy and were shopping. Not your usual asylum seekers at all

Then it dawned on me. Since the Catch-22 ruling that effectively you turn yourself into an enemy of Mugabe merely by asking for asylum at Heathrow the way has been open for relatively affluent people who wish to flee to do so in relative comfort & safety merely by getting on a scheduled flight

Judging by the bus stops they use they are not living in one small enclave somewhere. And now they are starting to appear doing the usual sorts of jobs - cleaning, fast food. I do hope this is temporary & they will, on the whole, soon begin to find jobs more suited to their education & training

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sloping shoulders

I have often wondered why some people have shoulders which slope down /\ while others go straight across?

Google brought me anatomical diagrams, descriptions of alarming diseases of which sloping shoulders may be a symptom, information on wine bottles & collecting old ones, conformation of horses, fashion tips on how to disguise them, fashion history on eras when sloping shoulders were the bees knees, one barred site deemed to be malicious, & the revelation that I am a Uranian ectomorph. Well I must be because of my personality, bodyshape & the way I sit (back curved, feet up. I know)

But I still do not know if human shoulders slope down because of the angle of their collarbone, the formation of their muscles, or what

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The old fashioned way

I write this in the public library, encouraged to have a go by that old fashioned thing, a book (thank you Brad Hill)

I have had my bus pass for over a year now, but object to being called a silver surfer, having taken my first computer course over 40 years ago. When you-know-what began, before the Beatles first LP. I was amazed to read just recently that Fortran is still in use in some secret backrooms of the world

How much there has been to learn in between, much of it involving wet towels round head. I even woke on a couple of occasions in the middle of the night to find I was writing code in my head

And how much is of no bloody use any more

Friday, October 27, 2006

Whats in a name

The fox knows many things - the hedgehog one BIG one - Archilocus

I am a fox. But I feel more like a hedgehog, would like to live my life curled in a ball, fed milk by kindly strangers, but with prickles to ward off intruders

And how enchanting to imagine being a hedgehog in Ancient Greece

Someone has just pointed out to me that Berlin thought Tolstoy was a fox who believed in being a hedgehog