mrslant: (black tie)
Got the final result for my Open University physics degree. I got a first!
mrslant: (black tie)
...and now I are one!

I've just submitted my final piece of work for my Open University degree in physics. I started in September 2007. A lot of stuff has happened since then, but this has been a constant (and occasionally irritating) presence through it all.

End of an era! I'll have to find something to do with all this spare time I'm suddenly going to have...
mrslant: (black tie)
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

~~~~~~~~~~

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.


Gas! Gas! Quick, boys - An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.


~~~~~~~~~~

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

~~~~~~~~~~

He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
— In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease.

There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why...
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.

That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.

Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?

~~~~~~~~~~

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.




'The Soldier', Rupert Brooke; 'Anthem For Doomed Youth', Wilfred Owen; 'Dulce Et Decorum Est', Wilfred Owen; 'Suicide In The Trenches', Siegfried Sassoon; 'Disabled', Wilfred Owen.
mrslant: (black tie)
We had some special Christmas visitors at 6 o'clock this morning.

No, it wasn't Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen.

It was Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb.

Woke up with the flat full of smoke. We established there was nothing on fire and it was coming from the flat downstairs. Fire brigade were called, but turns out they'd just left the oven on. No one hurt but they've ruined their cooking pot...

Made for an interesting start to the day, and at least we got to meet the neighbours.

Merry Christmas!
mrslant: (Default)
Andy Coulson displays a nice line in sarcasm at the Leveson inquiry:

Read more... )
mrslant: (Default)
“In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

Edward Gibbon
mrslant: (Default)
mrslant: (Default)
Charles Moore writes on Abu Qatada:

"Most people would agree, however unenthusiastically, that our fellow citizens should be protected by whatever rights our laws provide, even when they are persistently criminal. They must have fair trials, legal representation, sentences that do not exceed the stated dose, and so on. But, outside those London postal codes where human rights lawyers cluster more thickly than pigeons in Trafalgar Square, I have scarcely met anyone who thinks we owe comparable legal duties to every foreigner who washes up on these shores."

I have commented:

Extraordinary. Is Mr Moore actually saying that the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, the right to legal representation, and so on, should not apply to people of foreign birth?

I am ashamed of what my country has become.
mrslant: (Default)
Ancient computers still in use (including for nuclear weapons systems!).
mrslant: (Default)
I've just been reading about the extraordinary career of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Provo Wallis.


Pic from Wikipedia.

I particularly enjoyed this bit:

"...as long as he was alive, he would be the Admiral of the Fleet, holding up the promotion of everyone below him on the admirals' list. As Provo climbed into his late 90s with no signs of slowing down, the Admiralty became somewhat concerned and sent him a polite letter pointing out the problem and asking him to retire voluntarily, despite the fact that as an officer who commanded a warship between 1793 and 1815, he had the right to remain on the active list. Provo sent a polite reply that he was content with the current arrangement. The Admiralty then sent Provo another (perhaps less polite) letter pointing out that, as he was technically on full pay as an active officer, he was liable for sea duty. Provo responded by stating that he was, of course, obedient to whatever Her Majesty Queen Victoria would wish, and expressed his great pleasure at going to sea once more but noted that, as Admiral of the Fleet, he would immediately command any ship or group of ships in which he sailed and unfortunately all his experience had been with sailing vessels and he knew nothing about modern steam warships — although he was quite willing to learn."
mrslant: (Default)
Michael O'Leary of Ryanair tells the European Commission a few home truths:



(Hat-tip: Daniel Hannan)
mrslant: (Default)
Pharaoh goes to the 7-11:

mrslant: (Default)
It's the year 1403, and the Prince of Wales has been shot in the face with an arrow. How are you going to get it out? Here's how.

By Gove!

Aug. 10th, 2011 01:36 am
mrslant: (Default)
I utterly despise Harriet bloody Harman, so this is a particular pleasure:

Gove v Harman from The Barnet Bugle Ltd on Vimeo.

mrslant: (Default)
I have succumbed to temptation and ordered this.

Oh well, it's only money...
mrslant: (Default)
Smiley Culture "stabs himself to death" during police raid.

Hmm.

Smiley on Top of the Pops in 1985 with his aptly-named big hit:

mrslant: (Default)
Senator Mary Jo Fisher in the Australian Parliament with a speech which will appeal to Rocky Horror fans:

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