I spy forlorn hope

by ammophila

Editorial note: I intend to see my duties as light.  If I get wind of any of them trying to post something barking mad then I may have a kindly word, but I really do not intend to spend a lot of time mollycoddling them.  However, I did interfere a little with the first item below.  The ‘poster’ is an engaging lass, but should, I think, concentrate on improving her squash, at which she’s rather good, instead of wasting her time trying to write English.  I did correct the spelling but as for the phraseology she is plainly, to quote Tovey, beyond the reach of advice.

A friend of mine who is a scientist has told me there is a new scare out about spying which is when you have your appendix taken out.  You probably think they just throw the old appendix away.  (I used to think they took it home and got the wife to cook it for dinner – no, only joking!)  But my friend says there is a new report which is how they can use this new technology to find out things about you.  First off they analyse all the DNA in it and they can tell all sorts about you not just are you male or female, and in fact nine times out of ten if they know which hospital it comes from, which of course they do, then they can know exactly who that appendix came from.  Then they use this modern techno clever stuff which can find nano traces of just about everything that’s been in your body.  Even one molecule is enough.  So they can tell if you’ve been smoking crack, or boozing, and my friend says if you’re a woman they can even tell how many men you’ve been with the week before you went in.  And even that’s not all, because they reckon they can guess about your politics, on account of Tories are more likely to have been eating lots of red meat, and Labour voters eat more chips, and the Lib Dems will have tiny traces of muesli in their appendix.  (Not just tiny traces great big bits, too, nuts and all sorts if they eat the sort of muesli my boyfriend used to have.)  But he says they’re not so sure about that, and up to now the police have only been round asking about the crack, and the cannabis.  What a world!

‘Backhand’ Sarah


Today the International Court of Justice is due to hand down its verdict on a border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.  A cynical view might hold that this quarrel was put together, out of pièces à conviction which had been lying for decades in untroubled mutual contradiction, in order to get the imminently threatened establishment of an Asean Economic Community off to a start appropriate to the way it is likely to continue (the next exciting episode very likely to be war between the Philippines and Vietnam over the Paracels).  As so often, the exiguity of the terrain at issue bears no common relation to the bitterness of the feeling that can be roused by those on each side who for whatever reason feel that violent emotion is called for.  Soldiers have been killed, and the lives of villagers in the surrounding areas have been made miserable.  The Court is only too likely to provide an abundance of emollient verbiage, delivering, in the modern fashion, a finding which has little to do with rights and wrongs (whether or not anyone would be able to find those out) and which may well dissatisfy both sides leaving the sore to fester.  There is another course open, even though it is unlikely to be the one taken.  The Court should announce that despite the lateness of the hour, judgment will be reserved until one further decisive piece of evidence is available.  That will come about as soon as further military action takes place, since this will result in judgment being delivered in favour of the side which on the basis of reliable reports can be determined to be the one which did not initiate that action.

    Let that be the verdict, and the Court may have earned the next Nobel Peace Prize.

Charles M-W