Saturday, 31 March 2012

Loaded Bases And Loaded Dice

God, sometimes I hate the world so much.  Here's an excellent but very depressing piece from Jon Cohn explaining that the entire argument for striking down Obamacare and denying 30 million people health insurance is that it punishes non-compliance with a fine of X instead of taxing everyone X and refunding those who comply.  That's the only reason this vicious sideshow can even happen.

Of course, then someone pops up in comments arguing that had the Democrats tried this, it would have made a near-impossible battle even harder, and likely cost Obama any chance of re-election. 

This, of course, is true, though again not a cheery thought.  Just to pile on the horror, though, said commentator seems to think this is proof Obama's ego was the problem.

The more time I spend observing American politics, the more it becomes obvious that vast swathes of the Left, the "centrists", and conservative apologists for the Republicans, are all engaged in an endless, brutal battle over which Democrats and liberals might have shaved a few decimal places of the percentages of progressive successes, when the real problem is that the Republicans have so thoroughly rigged the deck, and/or burned the prize at the end of the game.  The elephant is in every room.  Criticising Obama's ego at this point is like bitching over someone settling for a pair instead of going for a flush, when they're playing five-card draw against Shaw Gondorff.

It seems to me self-evident that a country in which no government initiative requiring a tax increase can be deemed acceptable, and in which no monetary penalty can be deemed constitutional, there's literally nothing left to fight over any more.  Paralysis is total.  It's governance by Catch-22.  And the only way out is to gain a sizable majority in the House, a supermajority in the Senate, and do so repeatedly until the Supreme Court has a majority of non-conservative judges.  Good luck with all of that.

Thirty million people, tens of thousands of whom will die each year from the moment Scalia starts posturing about how he's helped make America safe for broccoli haters from Juneau to Tallahassee.  I am reminded again how much the right screamed when Obama dared suggest that the Supreme Court was a institution one might hope to not be entirely devoid of empahty.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Radio Friday: Too Close To Home

Over the last few days our department is in the process of re-ordering its security protocols, and scuttlebutt is it's because animal rights activists visited the campus this week and tried to break in, apparently convinced that we're hiding shaved mice in our desks.

In honour of their noble quest to make it harder for me to run statistical analyses designed to keep people alive and free of pain, we now turn to our old friends, Rob and Dave.

Friday Space Hulk: The Other Side

I've finally gotten around to settling on a colour scheme for my Space Hulk genestealers, by which I mean I finally settled on a method of replicating the "classic" look.  I'm really loving the Citadel washes, though it took me so long to get round to trying them that it looks like they're about to be phased out anyway.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Basic Logic: Foreign Policy Edition

It's pretty difficult to accurately describe Mitt Romney saying something stupid as "news", these days.  This is the guy, after all, who's said "I like to fire people"[1], "I'm not worried about the very poor", and just this week told Jay Leno that, should Obamacare be gutted by the Supreme Court, he doesn't have any interest in helping out the millions of people with pre-existing conditions from getting access to health insurance.

(That last one, by the way, is particularly indicative of moral bankruptcy and general dickishness.   Just to take one example, my sister was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was ten years old, and will be on expensive medication for her entire life.  Mitt Romney's argument boils down to saying that she should have had her own personal health insurance policy by then.  Obviously, my sister isn't an American citizen, but right now she's working in Ontario instead of Alaska because only the former will let her contribute to the country, rather than insisting she just lets her brain keep shutting down.)

I wanted to flag this up, though, because whilst pretty much everything Romney says is equally vacuous and deceitful, some comments are more widely believed than others.  The context here is that recently Romney described Russia as America's "number one geopolitical foe".  Calculating the exact degree of rank insanity contained in that remark is left as an exercise for the reader, but rather unsurprisingly, it's led to some rather cutting comments from Medvedev.

So what does Romney do?  He takes this as evidence that America's enemies prefer Obama, therefore Obama is a bad president.  We explore this nonsense in the form of a one-act play:
OBAMA: Hello, Russia.  I don't like you, and you don't like me, but let's see if we can at least manage some civil business transactions, hmm?
MEDVEDEV: Very well, America.  There is much we can gain from such talks, even if your constant preening and hypocritical rhetoric makes me want to vomit into an ushanka.
OBAMA: So we agree.  Let us start with the issue of nuclear weapons, and see if we can-
ROMNEY: Oy oy oy!  Russia!  Russia, you dirty c***!  Fuck off back to the Urals, comrade!
MEDVEDEV: I do not know who you are, but your President and I are busy negotiating a new treaty which will reduce the number of horrifically violent weapons both our countries have ready to-
ROMNEY: No reducing, you vodka swilling cocksuckers!  More missiles mean more dead Russkies!  Woo-hoo!
MEDVEDEV: You are an ignorant and unpleasant man, and I'd like you to leave so I can conclude my business here.
ROMNEY: Oh, reeeeeeeeeeeeally!  So you prefer that guy over there, huh?  Point proven, my friends!  Point motherfucking proven!
The idea that anything your enemies desire must automatically be bad for you never fails to rear its head during election cycles, as though one could actually bypass the cost and organisational headaches of a presidential election by simply polling the heads of antagonistic states and choosing the candidate who shows up the least often (one problem with that: millions of people would all become president at the same time, including Steve Earle, Kent Brockman, Sooty, Skeletor, and most seriously, Sarah Palin).

Even by the standards of such stupidity, though, claiming something significant in a country preferring opposing heads of state that don't reflexively despise them is completely ridiculous.  And that's before you factor in Romney just full on inventing bitter enmity between contemporary Russia and the US. 

It's like running a sandwich bar, and telling every Muslim who walks in that you hate them so much you'll be sticking pork rinds in their paninis, and then suggesting there's something suspicious about how many Muslims prefer to get lunch from the cafe over the road.

Not that a Republican politician concludeing that only his side gets to be turds constitutes news either, of course, but there you go...

[1] He later complained people had taken this remark out of context, a few weeks after his campaign was caught out pretending a soundbite of Obama quoting a Republican was actually Obama quoting himself, and said "out of context remarks are fair game."

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

... And The Sky Full Of Swastikas

I've spent the last few months desperately pretending that Nazis-from-space film Iron Sky was the product of a particularly livid cheese dream. Alas, Tomsk has disabused me of this comforting notion, and laid bare the encroaching horror.

I genuinely don't know what's scarier, an obvious Sarah Palin clone in the Oval Office, the fact that she's absolutely right that no US President ever lost re-election during a war they started, or that all those damn space Nazi-ettes are so damned sexy...

Gearing Up For Outrage

This is the week the US Supreme Court has chosen to decide whether or not the mandate within the Affordable Care Act (now better known as "Obamacare") is constitutional.  Essentially, the ACA forces people to buy insurance - or more specifically, it raises the taxes of those who don't.  The reason for this is obvious - if you're going to build your healthcare system on insurance companies (which I don't like as an idea, but that's another story), you can't let people refuse to buy insurance until the very moment you get sick.  Everyone has to buy in, otherwise the costs for those who have insurance all the time become astronomical.

Of course, just because something is a logical step (from an admittedly wrong-headed starting point) doesn't mean that it's legal.  Simply put (which it has to be, since I'm clearly neither a lawyer nor a constitutional scholar), can Congress force an American citizen to pay for something they don't necessarily want, within a commercial context?  (That last part is pretty important of course, because it would be awful if people tried to argue they shouldn't have to pay for bombs used to blow up Pakistani wedding parties, or what have you).

Supporters of the ACA argue that they can - it's unquestionably constitutional to tell the public that if they want to buy something, they have to buy it in a certain way (assuming that method is determined to be both reasonable and in an area the government has any stake in), and since anyone without insurance can still go the emergency room, it's argued that every American citizen ends up purchasing health care at some point, even if on some occasions it's the taxpayer that pays the bills.

Opponents of the bill argue, well, I'm not really sure, to be honest.  Some of them are staking everything on the idea that this method is actually unreasonable, though I can't figure out why.  Others are arguing that there's a bright line in the constitution between "you must buy this" and "if you buy this, you must do it like this", which there isn't, or that the founders meant to put that line in, which is possible, and that trumps anything so irrelevant as the fact that everyone buys health care, and getting some other poor slob to pay for it doesn't change a damn thing.

Still others have just gone stark raving mad:
It ought to scare liberals to come run and join conservatives, because what it means is when this president's out of the White House and you get a conservative in there, if this president has the authority under ObamaCare … to trample on religious rights, then some redneck president's got the right to say, 'you know what, there's some practices that go on in your house that cause people too much money and healthcare, so we're going to have the right to rule over those as well
Leaving aside the fact that Gohmert, displaying his typically tight grip on the issues of the day, is confusing the Supreme Courts deliberations with the fight earlier this month about religious exemptions for insurance providers, this is exactly the same crap that the perennially mendacious and ignorant Megan McArdle was pedalling when the ACA was first passed. 

Actually, it's even worse.  McArdle's "argument" was that if a majority of elected officials pass a law despite it being fractionally less popular than unpopular at the precise moment the vote is called, there's nothing to stop a later majority passing a law that almost everybody would absolutely despise.  In short, officials are not elected based on what they claim are their policies, which they then try to enact and are re-elected or not based on what they attempt and what they accomplish.  They are simply there to note the current opinion polls and vote accordingly every time.  I'm not saying (holy God, am I not saying) that this is never how politicians behave, just that it's the first time I've seen the argument that this should be the standard template for the Republic.

Still, worthless as McArdle is, at least she's aware of the concept of checks and balances (she just presumably believes they're irrelevant in the Athenian democracy she's always thought she lived in).  What's going to stop a psychotic red-necked President from imposing all the crackerjack laws he damn well pleases?  Motherfucking Congress.  Also, the voters.

Also, the constitution, which, contrary to Gohmert's apparent belief, does not cease to apply to all mandates just because it allows things he doesn't like.

(Not that it really matters, I'm betting.  I reckon the mandate is headed for the scrap-heap.  There's some optimism on display around the internet, but I say no court that handed down Bush vs Gore gets the benefit of any doubt on anything, ever again.)

(h/t) Attaturk.

Update: Shorter Dahlia Lithwick: Conservative Supremes won't vote down ACA, in case it makes it harder for them to be remoreless turds in future.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Technical Difficulties

My apologies to anyone suffering from eye-strain over the latest Guilds strip.  Apparently the latest round of "improvements" to Blogspot now means that pictures are forced into sizes that can be seen entirely on-screen without zooming, whether you want to zoom or not.

I've broken the strip into three legible pieces, which pisses me off more than I can say.  At some point, I shall have to think hard about how to present the comic in future.


1.9: Weight of Experience

Every kid who causes trouble is convinced we've never come across anything so difficult to handle before.  As if the universe is suddenly running dangerously low on little bastards.

Whether this remains true by the time they get to university, I am unsure.  It's certainly the case regarding their sense of entitlement, of course.

1.10                                                               1.8

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Tale Of Cocktails #25

Elderflower Royale


5 oz champagne
1 oz elderflower liqueur

Taste: 6
Look: 4
Cost: 8
Name: 4
Prep: 10
Alcohol: 3
Overall: 5.9

Preparation:  Pour the liqueur into a champagne glass, and top up with champagne.

General Comments:  Eeeeerrrgh, this is boring.  The elderflower goes well with the champagne, but only in the sense that they both have similarly dry tastes that means the eldrglower is almost totally lost.  You can tell you're not drinking champagne, but only just, and without anything interesting going on visually - and an even more boring name than you usually get with this type of cocktail - there just doesn't seem to be any point to the endeavour.

Friday, 23 March 2012

"We Would've Been Glad For That!..."

I played this a few nights ago at our fortnightly games night, and it’s inspired.  The basic idea is to inflict misery on your family and then let them die in penury, but most of the fun comes in stitching ever-more hyperbolic stories explaining the chain of disasters to have befallen your relatives.  It’s a lot like listening to my mother gossiping with her friends.  And obviously, there’s something uniquely Yorkshire about competing for the most indescribably fucked-up domestic situation.
Also, the deck is made up of transparent plastic instead of cards.  I don’t know which of my personality traits is more delighted: the OCD section that gets to perfectly stack cards atop each other, or the drunkard who can play this in the pub, secure in the knowledge that everything is wipe-clean.
And if that isn’t enough, there’s a Cthulhu version as well.  I predict shoggoths.  People can never get enough of those fucking shoggoths.

Radio Friday: The Way You Tell 'Em

The Other Half and I are off to see Sarah Millican tomorrow, and I see no reason why you people should completely miss out:

Would she still be funny without her accent?  Who cares?  Every time I hear her speak I feel like I've come home.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ultimately Unsettling

Thanks to the Official Marvel Novel Collection series that kicked off again a few months ago after stuttering out last year, I'm finally getting the chance to read some important books from Marvel history that I'd missed the first time around.  Both "Coming Home" (Amazing Spiderman) and "Extremis" (Iron Man) were interesting (though the latter wasn't really up to Ellis' usual standards, I thought), but it's Mark Millar's "Superhuman" (The Ultimates) that left the largest mark. 

A large mark, and a sour taste in the mouth.

"Superhuman" is strangely-paced, taking too long to get going.  I understand that the book is setting up a new version of one of the most important superhero teams in comic book history, but five issues before anyone really starts throwing punches is taking things too far.  It's also heavy with Millar's usual obvious contempt for everyone and everything, particularly anyone who doesn't just want to fuck girls in between blowing shit up.

That said, neither structure or style is the real problem here, not in comparison to the enraged elephant in the room: Mark Millar simply cannot write women characters.

This is hardly an original insight, of course, but it's only now that I have first-hand experience of the phenomenon (Kick-Ass' treatment of women was mainly to leave them out altogether).   Given so much has been said on the matter (indeed, Chris B and I -mainly I - slapped Millar around on similar grounds during one of our Panel Talk podcasts (still available on iTunes!)), and the fact the comic itself is now a decade old, maybe this post is redundant.  On the other hand, it's just been re-released, and who knows how many other people are, like me, coming to this for the first time.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

"Laws And Sausages"

By the holy meatballs of the FSM, how is Arizona still allowed to function under its own power?  If I flagged up every anti-woman or anti-immigrant bill they've passed, voted on or just knocked around in the last two years, I'd never do anything else - other than hate-vomit myself down a couple of belt notches - but for whatever reason this one caught my eye as being particularly shitty:
Personally I’d like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a “surgical procedure”. If it’s not a life it shouldn’t matter, if it doesn’t harm a woman then she shouldn’t care, and don’t we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway? We demand it everywhere else.
Airtight logic there, Rep. Proud.  Nothing could possibly be traumatic about watching surgery being performed, so long as you don't feel sympathy for what's being cut out.  That's why Arizona already forcibly shows films of appendectomies to those on the verge of ruptures, and why you can't have a brain tumour removed without watching that episode of House where Foreman gets to drill through some guy's skull (actually, that might have happened more than once.  Dude loved his drilling).

Also: everywhere else? Lady, you live in Arizona.  Try suggesting the state force steakhouses to loop footage of cattle being slaughtered on every screen in the place and see where that gets you.

You'd hope even Arizona wouldn't be so arse-clenchingly lunatic as to pass this even if Proud (least appropriate surname for a Republican since Terry English England, by the way - I'd offer to apologise to America for our country being responsible for his name, if only they'd shut up about the damn Revolutionary War).  But I've thought that before, and Arizona rarely fails to sink that little bit lower.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Tale Of Cocktails #24

Ume Royale


5 oz champagne
3/4 oz plum wine
1/4 oz vanilla syrup

Taste: 7
Look: 7
Cost: 8
Name: 5
Prep: 9
Alcohol: 3
Overall: 6.8

Preparation:  Pour the plum wine and syrup into a champagne glass.  Fill glass with champagne, poured down the glass' side.

General Comments: Another one of those simple layered cocktails, that starts off as close to champagne and gets increasingly interesting as you go.  The plum wine shows up fairly soon, providing sweetness and tang,  The vanilla doesn't really kick in until the end, which in some sense is a shame, but it does give the drink a powerful "happy ending", assuming of course the idea of a mouthful of almost pure syrup mixed with plums, booze and bubbles appeals to you.

It's not really a particularly interesting cocktail, in terms of taste, look, or (especially) name, but it's solid enough.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Why Put Out A Fire, When You Can Set More Shit Ablaze?

I'm still very new to this "economics" stuff - maybe we'll get some more intelligent comments if Tomsk happens by - but it's not clear to me how this makes sense.  Obviously, I have dog in this fight (or rather, there are a lot of my friends who do), but one would think that if the Tories are working on the principle that tax cuts for the rich are stimulative (and to think just two days ago I was saying Cameron had more in common with Obama than Mitt Romney), then surely the same would apply to keeping wages comparatively high in economically depressed areas?

I mean, to an inexpert mind like mine, it's almost as though Tory fiscal policy is thinly-veiled ideological bullshit untethered entirely from reality.

Like I said, though, I could be wrong on the impact, economically.  I mean, culturally, it's an obvious clusterfuck. It's strange how often the Conservative response to life being shit for some people is to try and make life shitter for others.  "Some people in the North are actually as well off as those in the South East, and we're going to do something about that" doesn't particularly sound very "Big Society" to me, unless of course one uses the actual definition of that term, which is "sort out your own problems, I have to make sure my mates can by more bigger yachts".

In short, Cameron and his pet vampire (the only one known to transmute blood into oil) continue to be pure, pudgy evil.   I just can't be sure yet that the numbers don't add up.

Friday, 16 March 2012

What We Have Been

Since we're about to start gearing up for the finale, this is probably a good moment for me to put down some thoughts on the latest season of Being Human

Actually, the sheer fact that I haven't felt any need to say anything following the season premiere is probably a fairly major clue on my opinions, but to remove all ambiguity: m'eh.

(Spoilers follow)

Friday Educational Film

Shamelessly stolen from K (or perhaps his soulless masters over at SFX): a long-overdue list of rules for spoilers.

Though their expiry dates are total bullshit, obviously.  Not everyone can watch everything the moment it's technically available.  We're the 99%, you callous fuckers!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Calmly Wrong

Let's stick with the home front for a bit, shall we, and shake our heads over a rather different subject.  I suppose this article is one of the better ones on the subject of opposing gay marriage, insofar as it at least makes a valid point: just because a massive amount of those against the idea are colossal pricks, it doesn't mean they're automatically wrong.

Of course, whilst "valid" applies as an adjective, "vacuous" works rather better.  I'd be dubious about the idea of it requiring the Guardian to pay someone to make that point, even if the article put together to do so wasn't so rambling and unformed.  Also, I'd suggest that anyone who writes lines like
[J]ust glimpse those mindlessly violent video games, sheer porn ...
has perhaps little to teach us on what constitutes rational fears regarding cultural change, and nothing at all on the issue of the preservation of accurate terminology.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Separated By A Common Language

Holy vampire-crotch, this is ridiculous.  When I first read some excerpts from it (courtesy of Daniel Larison, who has his own take-down here), I assumed it was another all-too-common case of a reporter writing about a country they know nothing about in order to make a domestic point.  But no, Gardiner is writing about Cameron's upcoming US visit for a British audience.  So there's really no excuse.
David Cameron’s visit to the United States this week is a lost opportunity. In addition to meeting with the President, Cameron should be reaching out to Republican leaders and the American conservative movement.
Larison's counters are characteristically good, but he tackles Gardiner's lunatic ideas in terms of how they would affect US/UK relations.  Nothing wrong with that, obviously.  I'm particularly amused by the idea that it's a good idea to snub the actual President in order to get in with the guy who might get the chance to maybe be President next (one wonders how low Cameron will need to sink in the polls before Gardiner suggests Obama get chummy with Ed Milliband).

There's another important issue to consider, though, which Larison doesn't touch - the UK response to Cameron's trip.  Gardiner's most laughable idea - remember, this guy is a Washington-based political commentator who writes for a British conservative paper - is that because a plurality of Americans are self-identified conservatives, the Tories must be closest ideologically to the Republicans.

That's it.  That's the sum total of his argument. Whomever conservatives vote for in one country is automatically the ally of whomever conservatives vote for in another country.  Political positions, party platforms, cultural ideals, none of that shit matters.  The most right wing major parties must always be bestest buds forever, and so British conservatives must think the Republicans are aces.

The actual truth is that if Cameron was very, very lucky, meeting with Mitt Romney or Eric Cantor would cause no appreciable drop in domestic polling. Whilst I don't think the UK public is particularly familiar with the specific ins and outs of US politics, the belief that George W Bush was a lunatic simpleton is deeply ingrained, as is the feeling that Sarah Palin is a vapid rabble-rouser.  McCain was seen as an inveterate bumbler.  The best thing I've heard anyone say about Mitt Romney is that he hasn't said or done anything ludicrous, but that's because he hasn't said or done anything.

This is the legacy of international exposure that Cameron should be desperate to tie himself to?   That would have struck me as profoundly unconvincing even before the recent wave of anti-abortion laws and anti-contraception diatribes, which for whatever reason have not gone unnoticed over here.  There might not be enough US-savvy Brits to make too much of a difference, but to the extent opinion over such meetings would exist at all, it would be almost unanimously negative.

Whatever the actual political similarities between the GOP and the Tories (which are far less than the similarities between the Democrats and the Tories, no matter what Gardiner wants to tell his readers), there is a non-trivial section of the UK public who now sees the Republican leadership as somewhere between insane and actively evil.   Cameron is doubtless also fully aware of the damage Blair took by playing lap-dog to the last Republican president.  There may come a time when Dave feels he's going to have to swallow his fears (and, one assumes, no small amount of bile) and work closely with the Republicans, if and when they take the Oval.  I can't imagine any reason why he'd want to start ahead of time.

And what exactly would be the upside to meeting someone like Eric Cantor? So Cameron can be told that the problem with the UK is we’re too nice to gay people, immigrants, women and any country other than the US and Israel (and maybe Argentina)?  I don’t think it’s hard to see why he’s taking a pass on that.

Monday, 12 March 2012

What, Already?

Happy birthday, this, my blog.

Four years, 1355 posts, and over two and a half thousand comments.  Plus almost 40 000 adoring fans (NOTE: some fans may be counted twice, but only because of how much they adore me).

Thanks to everyone who takes time to read this blog, whether it be to agree, disagree, like, hate, pity, or even just proof-read.

PS: I stole the picture above from here: a nice wholesome colouring site for tech-competent children.

PPS: When in Gallini's name are blogspot going to let "blog" get through the spell-check?  Maybe next year...

Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday Talisman: Some Kind Of Wizard

The forces of evil (as well as purveyors of crushed velvet) get themselves a boost this month: the Machiavellian wizard has arrived.

Also on the painting schedule: some reinforcements for my Dark Angels;

a slowly-progressing ship of the line;

and a stark reminder that giant conglomerations of long-lost spaceships are probably things best avoided.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Deep (And Bitter) Thought

Coventry bus timetables are to commuting what Russ-Feingold is to finance reform: they're so toothless as to be completely ignored by those they ostensibly regulate, but at least they give us something specific to point to through our impotent howls as we're being shafted by faceless overlords.

(I've spent a total of 95 minutes waiting for my last three buses, and over two and a half hours for my last six.  This is despite turning up on time for one, and early for the other five.  At this point, I doubt National Express could find any other way to screw up short of hiring yucca plants for drivers or setting their vehicles on flames every seventeen minutes.  And who the Hell decides the best times for a twice-hourly bus are twenty past and half past?  Not that it matters, since both show up on the hour anyway.)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Victimless Crimes

The Catholic bigwigs just can't stop themselves from piling on the crazy:
Cardinal O’Brien wrote for the Sunday Telegraph, in which he likened gay marriage to slavery.
He wrote: “Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that ‘no one will be forced to keep a slave’.
“Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?”
"I would say that countries where this is legal are indeed violating human rights."
So, in this analogy, what, homosexuals are slave-owners?  Then who are the slaves?  Not O'Brien, clearly, he's another potential slave owner.  He just wants us to know that "you won't be forced into the position of plantation owner" strikes him as no better or worse than "you won't be forced into the position of being taking up the arse by one of those nancies you've heard about".

As usual, the bigots end up proving my point for me.  Gay marriage isn't a threat to anyone or anything, which O'Brien ably demonstrates by constructing an analogy to slavery in which he can't actually identify the people analogous to slaves.  It's also no small tell that by O'Brien's own choice of analogy, it isn't the freedom of citizens that's the human right with which he is concerned, but rather the right of those in authority to issue blanket bans of activities of which they disapprove. 

In short, O'Brien's argument implicitly begins with the phrase "Imagine being married to another man was as bad as being a slave.  Therefore..."

Apparently this guy is at the very head of the Catholic Chuch in Scotland.  Which, if nothing else, makes me rather pro-independence than I had been before.  If flashing my passport at the border is the price for having this guy's influence in Westminster severed completely, then I'd consider it a fair price.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

A Tale Of Cocktails #23

Choc Berry


Mug of milk
1 tbsp cocoa
1 oz Chambord
1 oz Triple Sec

Taste: 9
Look: 8
Cost: 8
Name: 9
Prep: 8
Alcohol: 1
Overall: 7.7

Preparation:  Warm the milk.  Stir in first the cocoa, then the alcohol.  Place on a plate garnished with a marshmallow and a mint chocolate stick.

General Comments:  Ooh!  An interactive cocktail!  I didn't consider this possibility when I first conceived of this experiment.  I've added one to the taste value, instead.  After all, if dunking chocolate and marshmallows smothered in warm, sweet milk-based drinks aren't what tickles your fancy, then I don't think there's any hope for you.

Even with such confectionary momentarily placed to one side, this is delicious. It could maybe do with being a fraction sweeter, but then that's what I think about cocoa in general.  The raspberry and orange flavours certainly help in that regard, but I wonder if this would work even better with one of the sweeter hot chocolates out there. 

That's a small niggle, though.  This is a quite delightful drink, just the thing on a cold winter evening (which means that with typical luck, I've discovered it too late), and the low alcohol content means it doesn't feel too cheeky.

Also: best... name... ever.