I love Hitchens because of epic speeches as this which I reckon will one day be regarded as some of the best ever made.
One is confuzzled. Consider Seven Pillars of Wisdom a common enough book, n’est ce pas? Now regardez l’amazon and you’ll note that if you want a new copy of the Penguin Modern Classics edition so that it will fit in with your growing collection of Penguin Modern Classics and thus bring order to chaos it will set you back £23.16 for a new copy, which incidentally cannot be purchased from said site. Now head over to the Penguin website and behold new copies abound at the more reasonable price of £10.99, good, eh? Exert yourself yet further and go forth unto the Waterstones website and you can get it for £7.69 with free postage and packaging, which is oddly £3.30 cheaper than buying it off the shelf.
I hate insomnia. Three days this week I’ve had no sleep. I just want to cuddle up somewhere and go to sleep. Actually I want to cuddle up to S and go to sleep in her bed, which is a wondrous magical place.
I’d be happy with a European superstate if it was federal and if it was based on principles of very limited government. I subscribe to the idea that the first and second world wars were essentially one war with a twenty year gap and that they, essentially, constitute a European civil war and I see that as a war resulting out of The Enlightenment. The Central powers and then the axis were counter enlightenment, seeking a return to the traditional despotism and collectivism that had been in Europe since antiquity and the Allied powers were, naturally, fighting for Enlightenment values. Since 1989 the last vestiges of the counter Enlightenment have faded away from Europe, at least in an overtly political sense, we’re all now liberal democracies. I don’t class Russia or Ukraine as being European, culturally speaking; I agree with the Eurasianists when they say that Russia really doesn’t fit in to the European tradition.
So I think that now that the major ideological battles are over and the major transitions from Pre-Enlightenment to Enlightenment governance have been mostly completed it’s time to start on the the minor transitions. Hopefully 2008 has convinced enough of Europe that deficit spending, printing money and massive public spending in general aren’t viable in anything like the long term and that we actually need to adopt free market policies, or rather re-adopt the free market policies and the traditions of personal liberty that come with them that made us the most powerful grouping of nations in history.
To that end I think free movement of people, free trade, a European court are pretty good ideas. What worries me is that the EU goes beyond this and veers on the side of being really quite socialist and invasive in people’s lives.
Actually the curious thing was that before training I was in the changing room explaining how I got into an argument with some pleb who likes Zizek, and someone else pointed out that most of the time we talk almost exclusively about food. This is not entirely accurate, but nor is it very far from the truth. Various things get talked about, of all the dojo changing rooms I’ve been in and all the places I’ve trained, our dojo is by several orders of magnitude the chattiest so anything and everything is fair game, but invariably the discussion will sooner or later settle on food. There may then be other conversations but really they’re just tangents off the central conversation of food. Now when I say food, I mean meat. Steak, roasts, BBQs, are the favorite subjects of discussion which is frequently interrupted with ooohs and ahhs.
So a conversation could go with “I think I’ll have a steak when I get back” *collective oohing* “Noooo, I fancy ribs” *oooh ribs* “I had the best roast beef on sunday. I went to the butchers and asked for the biggest joint he had and slow roasted it, kept basting it. It came out and, honestly, it just melted in your mouth *collective sighing* and it was so juicy *collective mmming*” and so on for hours. I’ve been on courses where the total journey there and back has been five hours and at least four of those hours were occupied by talking about food.
General consensus is that meat should be cooked slowly, very, very slowly. “Falling off the bone” is the usual term. Once someone suggested that cooking was woman’s work and unsurprisingly was met with universal derision. He didn’t train with us for all that long. A lot of recipe swapping goes on by which I mean “I just stick a lemon up it’s arse, make sure it’s well seasoned, really well seasoned. You’ve got to microwave the lemon for thirty seconds first though to break it up, prick it and then roast it for an hour and twenty” “Depending on the weight” “Yeah, depending on the weight then after maybe forty minutes all the juices start coming out and I baste it maybe three times, occasionally four but no more than four times”. “Do you cover it in foil” “God no, it comes out anemic if you do that, you’ve got to have some colour on it” *collective agreement* “Yeah it’s got to be a nice golden brown with really crispy skin” *collective mmming*.
The conversation in the changing room was worryingly high brow today. It ranged all over the subject of literature and how bad film adaptations often are.
I’m slightly confused about the response to this flooding in Somerset. Now they’re talking about sending some Red Cross vehicle or other in to give them supplies and I’m thinking: Do the RAF not have transport helicopters? Do the army not have bridging units? Do the marines not have amphibious vehicles? This isn’t rocket science.
I was reading that some places haven’t had power or sanitation for a month. Which to me says no-one had the brains to put a generator on a helicopter, get one of those fuel bladders on another helicopter and fly them out there. Maybe you can’t give power to every house, but maybe you can get some heating going in a hall or something. Here’s another genius idea; fly a field kitchen out there so that everyone has a hot meal to enjoy in their newly heated hall. I’m sure the Royal Engineers can figure out some kind of solution to the sanitation problem and it’d be good training for all units involved.
This is why I regard myself as a genius, unlike other people I have a gift for realising the obvious. You know like, if you want to go from land, into water, and then onto land again an amphibious vehicle might be a good idea. Or if someone is laying on the floor unconscious getting an ambulance might be a good idea. Things which seem after the event to be “common sense” but which only I and a select group of other people are capable of realising at the time.