Daily archives: July 9, 2008

And life is grand

And life is grand

And I will say this at the risk of falling from favor

With those of you who have appointed yourselves

To expect us to say something darker

And love is real

And though I realize this is not a deep observation

To those of you who find it necessary

To conceal love or obscure it, as is the fashion

Life is Grand – Camper Van Beethoven

When I make a film with enough of a budget to licence a few songs, I want this one over the end credits.

A rambling post about…… stuff

I’ve been doing some thinking about a change of direction for Spinneyhead. Some connections fired whilst I pondered this last week and I headed off to the new home of Monitor Duty, a comics blog I posted on for a while a few years ago.

It came as little surprise that I’d been retconned(*) out of MD history, given that I called out the site’s owner on his prejudices and left when it became obvious he was using circular logic to support them. (All Muslims are evil terrorists. Any Muslim shown to not be an evil terrorist doesn’t count because they’re obviously not a True Muslim. Because all Muslims are evil terrorists.) It’s not as big a deal as Violet Blue being unpersonned by BoingBoing and I have no problems not being associated with the site except on the Wayback Machine. [For transparency I ought to admit that I have removed posts about a particular person from Spinneyhead’s archives. If you’ve known me long enough you’ll know who and why. If you haven’t, sorry, I’m not going to elaborate.]

Anyway, scanning the front page I came across a post about the assumed politics of writers. This isn’t so much a response as thoughts arising, but I’d always assume that a good writer is more likely to be “liberal” than conservative. Good fiction is about change, and conservatives aren’t about change- it’s right there in their name. Partly because of this, and a need to make political points, conservative writers lack depth in characterisation- most often trying to compensate with a detailed biography- and an inability to flesh out the antagonists. I’m thinking, chiefly, of Tom Clancy and his technothriller brethren. In particular I remember one of Clancy’s books where a character whos only action was to cut down a tree got a page and a half of biography, almost as much as the chief villain.

Authors of all political shades are capable of coming out with polemics, of course. I just think that those of us to the left of centre, and the occasional libertarian, do it so much better.

This is a response to the last bit of the post-

“We” are not winning in Iraq. There is no winning in Iraq, there is merely sacrificing fewer people to a criminally stupid decision and trying to leave the country less fucked than it is at present. We are sacrificing fewer people, thankfully, but hundreds of thousands have died because of an illegal invasion and an incompetent occupation. You can’t win with that many corpses.

I’d love to see an attempt to justify the “Obama’s more ignorant than George W. Bush ever was”, which will probably be based upon some ignorant, unchecked opinion piece from a professional liar like Ann Coulter.

The Antarctic Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve holds about enough oil for a month of use by the US. Why spoil something for so little. Get a smaller car, turn down the air conditioning, fit solar panels and learn to walk!

Yes, McCain is a lousy candidate. All the Republicans were. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t vote for him.

Budapest Transport Museum

Transport Museum, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

The transport museum charged you to get in then wouldn’t let you take photos unles you paid them. Sadly I didn’t figure this out until I was in the aerospace annex, so there are no pictures of cars, trains and bridges.

Transport Museum set.

Advice for Gordon- save the world by bribing the voters

I don’t have any particular interest in Gordon Brown staying on as Prime Minister, he’s possibly worse than Blair because he’s too much of a coward to actually do anything radical. If he were, however, to suddenly develop a spine and display some of the savvy he claims to have there are ways he could get re-elected, boost the economy and start taking big steps towards hitting carbon dioxide reduction targets.

All he has to do is bribe the electorate.

A small number of people choose to ignore the evidence on global warming and will shout about any environmental initiatives no matter that they often have benefits beyond the green. Let’s just ignore them. Others are determined to cut their footprint no matter what. These converts deserve rewarding, and will be as a bonus of what I’m suggesting. The largest number of people, across a range of scepticism to understanding, aren’t going green because of the initial expense. Also for many of them when Gordon says “Green” they hear the word “Tax”.

Give these people the money to go green.

The recent announcement of a £100billion green initiative by Brown did mention solar power and other grants. What’s needed is for these to be big enough to cover most of the cost of installing panels, insulation or whatever is needed, because at present the payback in reduced bills isn’t enough. Most people would be better off leaving their money in the bank and earning interest. It would also help the uptake if the rates to sell electricity back to the suppliers were better. Let’s say that power companies should write off one unit of power consumed for every unit generated- in summer or on a windy day the house could pay for the electricity it used when it was cloudy or still. After the bill balances then the microgenerator can still sell to the power company at, say, half the price per unit they were being charged.

As important as increasing the grants and improving buy back is selling them properly. Emphasis should be put on giving money back to the consumer and making them independent of big suppliers. Gordon’s too dull to do this well, so he’d have to hope he could find a minister who could do it for him. The Tories have already figured out that this is a good sell, with proposals for feeding landfill savings back to households that recycle more. Their ideas about modifying the tax on petrol are based on a similar idea but seem half baked at best.

Of course, per kilowatt generated and ton of CO2 saved an increase in the scope and size of grants for microgeneration will be far more expensive than offshore wind or any other scheme. But no-one ever seems to think about where this money will go. The workers who install photovoltaics, groundsource pipes etc. will all be based in Britain. With a bit of encouragement the companies creating the equipment could all be British as well. They’ll all pay tax on their increased income, and boost the economy with their spending, as will the households now with extra cash from the electricity they’re saving and generating.

Of course the main reason a scheme like this won’t go ahead is because it will do the one thing all politicians are terrified of- it will allow the electorate to become less dependent on the state and the big businesses that pay for all the lobbying.

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Memento Park

Memento Park, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Memento Park, or Szorbopark as it was labelled on the road signs, is a rest home for Soviet statuary few miles outside Budapest. I was hoping for more, and larger, pieces but it still provided a good home for a GI and several opportunities to photograph Ike interacting with statues.

More pictures in the Memento Park set.