As part of Doha Museum area beautification project, the authorities erected several drinking fountains, in the shape of miniature fortresses, and several drinks vending machines, similarly disguised. In their wisdom, they have since removed the drinking fountains (that's what the twisted pipework on the plinth on the left used to be), leaving only the vending machines. Compared with the continuing atrocities in Bahrain (lest we forget) this is a minor matter, but it's an irritation none the less. Where before you used to be able to take a refreshing couple of swallows every few hundred yards, now it's 500 mls in a plastic bottle or nothing. The bottles are dispensed ice-cold, the last thing you should be drinking in really hot weather. That's if they are dispensed at all. In Dubai, where you have one dirham coins, these machines more or less work. In Doha, they take one riyal notes. Sometimes. Maybe one time in four. Because these are fickle contraptions. They sulk unless the note is brand new and presented exactly in the correct orientation. It helps if you go down on one knee and bow three times first. They positively brindle and snarl at anything remotely soiled, crumpled, softened or torn, in other words, at ninety percent of the single riyals in circulation.
Not an improvement.
Greetings, all! Paraglider is currently in lockdown in England with no pressing work and a lot of time on his hands. So much time, in fact, that he has decided to launch a brand new blog to return to the ex-pat world just a little of his hard-won expertise in the vital field of Ex-Pat Plonk , its production, risks and virtues. Please visit, at your leisure.
This song by Harry Gordon is about 100 years old and is in the Scottish music hall tradition. It's short because it was the lead into a stand-up comedy routine in character. The character in this case being a fireman on the footplate of a steam engine.
We are the resurrection of the dead forgotten ways. We cultivate despair in veiled anathema of womankind. We are the ancient writings reassessed by gunlight in the aftermath of war. Ours is the only truth you need to know.
Defence intoned, 'If we convict this man today, we do a great disservice to the cause. We play into the hands of those who race like lemmings out of season to self-destruction!' Then, with softer voice, he said, 'Better that we should voice distrust of those who would convict even their mothers in a season of madness nurtured by the great and good among the race of self-styled orchestrators of the play. 'Have you not seen the games they play? They talk to you with silvery voice of purity of caste and race- seductive lies- yet they convict only themselves. The great heresy must not live another season. 'Rather, let this be the season of reconciliation. Play a nobler part. We can do great deeds, by speaking with one voice. And let us not convict the fellow who has stumbled in the race. 'Imagine you were asked to race before the tide, the changing season, manacled like a common convict. Would you show readiness to play
The triode was invented in 1906 by Lee De Forest and by around 1920 was refined enough to be commercially viable for widespread distribution. It was the World's first 'Active Device'. It could amplify and oscillate. It (and its derivatives) made possible all of the technologies of modernity – public address, radio, audio/video recording, television, radar, radio telescopy, electron microscopy, computing, the Internet, artificial intelligence. Without active devices, modernity would vanish in a flash. Those who really want to turn the clock back need only abandon science, technology and education. Nature will do the rest.