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31 January 2007 at 07:05

news

I haven't quite lost the will to blog, but have been distracted by work and mind-sapping heat. Also, visiting blogpals, supporting sick and stressed friends via email, and keeping up with mind-boggling world news.

For example, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming.

Possible techniques include putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulfate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere.



After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the UN entrusted $20 billion of "frozen" Iraqi money to the US/British Coalition, to spend on reconstruction. Where has the money gone?

According to a British TV documentary, some U.S. companies in Iraq billed for work they hadn't done and charged a 1000% mark up for their expenses. Meanwhile, according to the United States' own figures, Iraq's essential services are worse than before the war.



Now for the good news. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Dalai Lama said he was very impressed, during his visit to the White House, by George Bush's understanding of Buddhism.

"He is very straightforward," said the the Dalai Lama. "I was astonished by his grasp of Buddhism. He can empty his mind almost at will."



Some time ago, I posted a link to a falling lady toy.

Now I find there's an improved male version. If he gets stuck, you can help him along with your mouse.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! I'm not falling for that one! You move in a simple flow from anxiety to comfort then into sexual perversion. I know if I clicky on the last stuff, tomorrow and for days thereafter banana men will pursue me with .... well, giant bananas! So that's not much help! Hotboy p.s.On this end of the Unheard of Island, we stopped doing politics ages ago! Disengage from the worrisome. Leave that to the young people who have something to worry about alright!  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Oh that was just as much fun as it was the first time!
I am with you on blogging. I have been trying to keep up with it, but I am not too motivated lately.
I hope you are having a great week Rob!
~xo  

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Blogger robmcj said...

HB - if only they would wait till we're dead before breaking everything. But I'm too fortunate to die. Dearie dearie me.

LA - always good to have you visit.  

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Blogger MyUtopia said...

The government frustrates me. I understand about being overwhelmed by work and real life. January- May is my busiest time at work.  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Hello sweet Rob!
Have a great weekend!
~xo  

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Blogger keda said...

ooof thank god i didn't come round here earlier or i'd have pissed off at the state of the world even sooner!

grrrrrrr..  

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26 January 2007 at 17:55

happy unheard of day

This week I've been working on testing the new computer system for the allotment hut. Obviously I'll need to add some more storage capacity if hotboy's going to be a user.





I had a dream last night in which I woke up and found the bedroom light was on. Then I really did wake up, and realised that the light was actually off.

When I got back to sleep, I spent the rest of the night dreaming I was telling people about waking up and finding the bedroom light was on and about really waking up, and realising that the light was actually off.

It was a busy night.

Today is UnHeard Of Day, a public holiday, so this morning we took a walk in the mangrove swamps, and I saw this unusual root formation half-way up a tree. I think they may be called dendrites.


Blogger 212designs said...

you got fresh with a tree! lol

those are fingers...
they may really be roots,..
but i know they are REALLY fingers...

very neat.  

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Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say,

Happy UnHeard Of Day. Did the penguins get the day off as well?

You need to worry when you dream that you were dreaming that you were telling people about waking up and finding the bedroom light was on and about really waking up, and realising that the light was actually off, and actually waking up and realising that the candle had gone out.

MM III


MM III  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! Sober at midnight on Friday and that beer dispenser looks bloody wonderful. Even if it turns most of you into a tree, I don't care. It would still be a help right now! Hotboy  

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Blogger Eric said...

UnHeard of Day? Never heard of it...  

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Blogger keda said...

a handsome tree indeed.

happy unheard of week.  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Wow....what's in the beer?
weird dreams, weird photo.... (I actually like that photo of the tree with the roots that look like fingers)...fingers.....fingers...fingers...fingers...fingers (wonder what you will dream about tonight).

Have a great week Rob!
~xo  

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21 January 2007 at 16:38

time-saver for book lovers

Do you like the idea of reading books, but you never have the time? Thanks to Book-a-minute Classics web site, you can read entire books in just one minute.

For example, the ultra-condensed version of The Catcher In the Rye:

Angst angst angst swear curse swear crazy crazy angst swear curse, society sucks, and I'm a stupid jerk.

THE END



And Don Quixote is like this:

Don Quixote: Chivalry demands I destroy that evil thing.

Sancho Panza: No, master. It is something ordinary and harmless.

Don Quixote: (falls down)

THE END



They've got the condensed version of Alma Mater, the best known of all the John McKenzie novels:

Jimmy: This universi'y is makin me fuckin' angry, hen! (coughs).

Liz: I know. (falls down) Let's stay together to see who drinks themselves to death first.

Jimmy: Right, ah'll see yiz in the pub the night.

Andrew: I say! Nobody loves me!

Vinnie: 'At's cos yur a Bourgeois basturn and ye dinnae drink enough!

THE END

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

Catcher In the Rye, Don Quixote, and Alma Mater. That's literature taken care of, then.

MM III  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! As a joe with no axe to grind, I must say that Catcher in the Rye and Don Quixote are vastly inferior to Alma Mater which is a compelling page turner according to the fifth or sixth person I know who's read it! Hope this helps. Hotboy  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Three novels in one day...whew, that is the most I have read in a long time...thanks!  

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Blogger keda said...

oh thank you... i'd only managed to read 2 pages of alma mater so far before having to deal with various sick and falling out of bedlets and other annoyances.. and i was feeling rather guilty.

job done and dusted now. kinda how i did shakespeare at school 1st time round :) marvelous.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Keda: How odd! You win a cup if you can read that all the way through. I couldn't. Hotboy p.s. the one who looked like the young Peter O'Toole was me!  

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20 January 2007 at 16:42

sheepdogs save penguins

Flat Island Penguins, nearly driven to extinction on the UnHeard Of Islands, have tripled in number as a result of the world's first Maremma guardian dog trial.

In recent years, penguin numbers had dropped dramatically from almost 2000 to under 100 due to attacks by foxes and stray dogs wandering onto the island.

The Maremma breed of dogs is better known for blending in and looking after sheep – but wild-life teams have discovered that the big white dogs can keep foxes and wild dogs away from penguins too.

Initial results from the penguin protection trial are promising - numbers are up from 27 to 70.


Maremmas training as penguin guards,
using farm animals instead of penguins.

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! What fabulous looking dogs! Great idea too! They discovered that the best thing for keeping foxes away from sheep are llamas. Not lamas, llamas, the South American things. This helped screw up the fox hunting lobby, I'm glad to say, but tallyho for the big doggies! What a help! Hotboy  

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Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

I've just heard that Spud's Mum's dog (Hugo) was recently de-sexed!

Did you have anything to do with this - what with your knowledge of canines?

Does de-sexing help in penguin protection?

MM III  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Wow that is amazing. Those dogs are so cute, I want one. I would really love to have one.
They are so special to be guarding those penguins.
I am so glad the penguins are not gone. The other day, I saw something about Australian Penguins. They like warm weather. So the zoo in Colorado has to keep them inside during the winter and outside during the summer.
Anyway, I thought about you and your penguins when I saw that.
Have a wonderful weekend.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

HB - how can that work?

MM - I find de-sexing does help in some kinds of protection.

LA - indeed, the penguins here are Australian, which also explains the beer-thieving.  

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18 January 2007 at 09:35

HNT feat of strength with clickypic

I once won a bet by tearing a phone book in half with my bare hands.

If you click the pic, you'll see how I did it.

Click to see how I did it.



Yes, if you slowly bake the phone book for several hours in a just-warm oven, the paper dries out and goes so weak that anyone can rip it, even me.

You could try it too, but this blog accepts no responsibility if you turn your oven up full blast, set fire to the phone book and burn your house down.

But if you use this trick to win a bet, this blog is entitled to 10% off the top of your winnings.



For younger readers, an "oven" is a sort of clockwork microwave.

For younger readers, "clockwork" is a kind of ... Never mind.

If you missed previous HNTs, you can access all the old half baked (sic) thursday posts here.

HNT_1

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! But we never saw the ripped up phone book. Well, we'll just have to take that on trust. Reminds me of the cream cracker one. Can you eat 3 (5, 7?) without taking a drink of water. Or beer!!! Hmmmm. Now, that wouldn't help at all! Hotboy  

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Blogger Heather said...

Yes...but how do they ...taste??..  

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Blogger robmcj said...

HB - you know the story of Doubting Thomas?

Heather - best with a dip and a glass of Canadian Blonde (unfortunately no more).  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! More to the point, how come Lee Ann has stopped this HNT malarkey? Her bits were much better than anything going on here! Sorry, that's not much of a help. You've got great bits, Adolf! Honest! Hotboy  

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Blogger Lelly said...

I see you already have a phone book in the oven Rob, how often do you perform this trick, and arn't your friends bored with it by now?
I will (must) start blogging again yes, as my fan demands it...bless you!
Its eating 3 cream crackers in a minute HB, and I've stopped this HNT malarky too...but you don't comment on that...hurrmph!  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

I love that....Happy Belated HNT!!!!
I know, it is for all of those "hot little numbers" of yours, right?  

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15 January 2007 at 08:44

clausewitz - the simplest thing is difficult

Clausewitz said "everything is very simple in War, but the simplest thing is difficult".

He explained: activity in War is movement in a resistant medium. Just as a person immersed in water is unable to perform the simplest movement, that of walking, so in War, with ordinary powers, one cannot achieve even mediocrity. This is why armchair theorists, who have never plunged in themselves, teach only what every one knows - how to walk.

There are many ways to one's object in War - complete subjugation of the enemy is not essential in every case. Frederick the Great was never strong enough to overthrow the Austrian monarchy. But his skilful husbanding of his resources showed his enemy, through a seven-year struggle, that their expenditure of strength far exceeded what they had anticipated, so that they made peace.



Disclosure - Like King Frederick the Great and Clausewitz, I have Prussian ancestry. If the UnHeard Of Islands are ever invaded, I may be called upon to organise the defences.

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! At last! This is more like the good stuff from the old days! Who's getting invaded next? The best means of defense is attack. I'll get the rowing boat out and be in the Unheard of Islands before you know it! Get the penguins assembled on the beach. Can you teach them how to quack the Horst Wessell(?) Lieb. I'll need to paint on a few duelling scars now. Junkers, Junkers R US. Bound to help! Hotboy  

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Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

Cracking post. The UnHeard of's Home Guard, eh? Has anyone drilled for oil offshore yet, or is the mainstay of the economy penguin beer?

In Kalimbuka, Armed Response is enough. Its a long time since these parts were invaded.

MM III  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

You have Prussian ancestry? Wow, that is neat!

Hope you are doing good!
~xo  

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Blogger robmcj said...

MM - thanks for the comparison to Captain Mainwaring.  

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Blogger Polyman3 said...

Let's organize.
We need a new stratagy.  

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13 January 2007 at 08:51

hot tin roof

My beloved partner has gone to work in Singapore for a few days. I've got the place to myself and the use of her car, and the DVDs of all 3 Black Books series. What a fortunate creature I am, except that I'm actually missing her. It feels odd to go to the fruit market and just buy stuff for myself.




Spent the morning on the roof, repairing last year's Heath Robinson temporary repair. It was only intended to last a few weeeks until I could get a builder in, but so far 3 of them have promised to come but not shown up. It's either racism or a class thing, or else builders here have plenty of work just now.




In the meantime, I've borrowed some college textbooks for trainee roofers, and before the partner returns I may try doing a proper job of it myself.

But now, it's 4 p.m. and we know what that means. Time to down tools and open a bottle of home brew special number 14. As it's been a hot day, I may even dilute the taste and boost the strength with a bottle of Australian beer. Balance is everything. What a fortunate creature I am. Here comes ra beer!

Blogger Menzies Milngavie III said...

I say!

No sign of the cat.

MM III  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! So you managed to get two bricks on the roof. Well done! Or is this some kind of arts council presentation? Anyway, your part of the Unheard of Island seems to be getting a bit warmer. I may visit once you've drunk all the beer. That would help! Hotboy.  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

Sorry you miss your partner. I hope your time is relaxing.
Good luck with fixing your roof, and be careful up there. That is a class of work that some of us underwriters in Workers' Comp. Insurance will not write coverage for.
Have a great weekend sweetie!
~xo  

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Blogger robmcj said...

MM - Has Doviko been cooking any curries?

HB - You wouldn't like it just now - you have to sit in front of a fan with your gear off and a spray of water.

LA - You're right, I know people who have fallen from their roofs. But of course it could never happen to me.  

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Blogger ion said...

Hope your beloved is soon home safe and sound. What is it about tradesmen? The window guy failed to turn up to fix my 2 yr old problem on Weds, and declines to return calls. Obviously the offer of decent money for a good job done was not enough. Next time I shall answer the door as Diana Dors.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

ion - please blog the result, with pic if possible.  

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12 January 2007 at 21:45

old school HNT

Another memory lane HNT, with two clicky pics.

The year I returned in triumph to visit my old school in Glasgow, there was a photographer present to record the event.


At the gates of
My Old School
(click to zoom out)





Celebration at
My Old School
(click to zoom out)





HNT_1

If you missed previous HNTs, you can access all the old half baked thursday posts here.

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11 January 2007 at 16:13

my brilliant video career

Checking my 2006 stats at google video, I see that my first feature Strawberry Man's Narrow Escape, has been watched 218 times.

The follow-up film, The Death of Strawberry Man has been even more successful - watched 466 times. I may have to get an agent.

As for the interview videos, 41 people watched my interview, while the hotboy interview was watched by 90 people (or by hotboy 90 times).

Ray Ray has an interesting video of spiders on drugs.

Blogger Lee Ann said...

I can be counted on those Strawberry Man videos. I like all the videos you have made.
Have a great day!  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! Get a proper job and you'll have more to worry about ... like how to sell 14 lbs of Hotboy's liposuctioned fat off the website. The boy in the video playing me deserves an Oscar. How you can look that drunk sober is amazing, isn't it? Hotboy p.s. Are there any residuals?  

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10 January 2007 at 07:41

same as the old plan

So the new master plan involves bombing yet another country. "Lay waste to your enemy so he may not harm you" - Genghis Khan.

Once again, the assumption is that you can defeat a fundamentalist enemy by military means. But you can't, as long as a single fundamentalist remains alive on the planet (including all those within your own walls, and all those who are not fundamentalist yet), because each strike will harden your enemy's resolve and re-confirm their view of you as the great satan, and of their own cave-dwelling robed leaders as true prophets.

And you can't win by negotiation, since you have nothing to offer that your enemy needs. All they want is to follow their spiritual path.

According to the book Jihad versus McWorld, terrorists swim in a sea of popular support. Since their appeal comes from their 'religious' conviction, your only hope is to support the other fundamentalists, the ones who reject violence, and hope that they will gradually win the argument. Only they carry the authority to ground their arguments in religious law.

The aim would be to take away the terrorists' false aura of moral superiority and dry up the stream of recruits.

Of course, a real change of strategy would require vision and statemanship. It will never be tried, or at least not until it's too late and all the non-violent fundamentalists have been driven to violence too.



Disclaimer - "Not fact-checked or fully thought through".

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! I'm not sure Joe Stalin would have believed this. The problem with military means is that you have to act like Joe Stalin and Churchill and folk like that. Look at Germany and Japan after the 2nd World War. Completely bombed to hell. Unconditional surrender. I would recommend meditation myself, but the USA could just kill everyone who disagrees with it. Why don't they? That's the hopeful bit. Not much help for the poor basturns living in Iraq though. Hotboy  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! As you know, I'm a bit of a fundamentalist as well. It's ten percent off the top and no discounts! They don't help. Hotboy p.s We miss the photies of the nice girls. We do.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

HB - good to see you taking the German side. Chamberlain was indeed a sweetie. I actually know nothing about all this, as you probably noticed. But since when was ignorance any barrier?

I'll see what I can do about your picture request. There's one with a Samye Ling connection that will surely help you.  

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07 January 2007 at 08:45

new year tag

I was tagged in December by Spud with this end-of-year/new-year meme. You just have to list a few 2006 things that you achieved or that happened to you. I assume they're supposed to be good things. I'm not tagging anyone, but you can tag yourself.

Some people find it embarrassing to write favourably about themselves, but to an NPD sufferer like myself, it's easy.


  1. In 2006 I celebrated my first complete year of HNT therapy. The results have been encouraging, but there's more to be done in 2007.

  2. There was a while in 2006 when my bloglife was one big party, with pals incuding: alistair, eric, heather, hotboy, keda, lee ann, menzies milngavie, ray ray and the HNTers. That was before I joined the bad boy church and everything went pear-shaped.

  3. 2006 was the year I was ordained into the Bloggy Church of the Bad Boys, and it was a proud day when I completed the beginner stage of their training programme in badness. The results have been startling. I have managed to piss off just about everybody I know, and probably many people I don't know. For someone who has been a nice chap all his life, that's a big achievement.

    Of course, I couldn't have done it without the chemical help of the Soaraloft™ antidepressant medication. Any drug that converts introverts to extroverts overnight is going to be a big help in annoying other people. Natural extroverts have spent a whole lifetime learning how to be loud and self-centred but in a socially-acceptable way. An overnight extrovert like myself is bound to be a social bull in a china shop. Intoxicated with the new skills I've learned - like interrupting people and talking over the top of them, or insulting women and other disabled groups (you see, there I go again) - I just don't know when to stop. Natural extroverts know how to stop before going too far.

    I even managed to offend just about every blogvisitor and all my email friends, without even trying. Imagine what I could do if I really put my mind to it!

  4. I endured 3 weeks staying at my aunt's place, without giving in to the desire to throttle her. A big achievement. Once again, I couldn't have done it without the Soaraloft.

  5. In 2006 I tasted Weissbier for the first time. I don't know if it's some kind of placebo effect, but it seems to make you miles happier than normal beer. The only problem is the cost. I've seen what the expense can do to people, it makes them double their overdraft overnight. I have looked into home-brewing it, but you need to buy special imported yeast and then spend hours in the kitchen with pressure cookers and muslin bags.

  6. One of my students at the McDonald Institute sent me a nice email at the end of the year:

    I would like to thank you for the past few months in your class, I thoroughly enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, so much so that I now intend to .. [go on to a higher qualification] .. in the not too distant future. I always found you very approachable and really helpful, encouraging me to think things out in my own head first instead of just giving me the answers. I felt that I could ask questions at any time and you were always there to help no matter how simple or how technical the question. I also liked the way you would give us extra work to do if we wanted more, also how you encouraged us to experiment a little by trying different coding, sometimes just to see what it does or to show that there is more than one way of completing a task. So thanks again.

    I couldn't have put it better even if I'd written it myself. Of course my first thought was somebody was setting me up, but it appears genuine. What a fortunate creature I am!

  7. Marty, a guy I knew in Detroit when I was a kid, found his name on my blog while he was ego-googling. He got in touch, and we did some catching up in the comments. And I caught up, by email, with another old friend I had lost touch with years ago. Sad that we had to wait until her breast cancer, but getting re-acquainted has been a delight, and I've done my best to provide some support in her time of trauma.





Finally, this is the time of year when I should really apologise to everybody I offended in 2006. I'm really just a simple nice guy trying to discover his inner bastard. On the other hand, I know someone who's a bad-tempered bastard on the surface, struggling to express his inner sweet guy. Everything balances up.

And a happy new year to my remaining reader. If you can't be bothered doing the meme at your place, feel free to post some of your own 2006 high points in a comment here.

Blogger ion said...

You're rather hard on yourself, rob, and (if I may comment) rather poor at expressing your inner bastard.

My achievements this year have been slight but significant.
1. Learned to live well on little money
2. Discovered the joys of walking
3. Enjoyed the seasons changing
4. Found complexity in simplicity
5. Stopped confusing ticklists with success
6. Accepted that nothing is forever

Let this be a wonderful NY for you and yours, inc. your four-legged friend.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! You see, if you started running the hut empire, everyone would love you like that student. Is that what you got arrested for? HOw's about setting your students the task of getting me sponsorship from a Weissbier company? That would help. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

ion - your visits/comments are always welcome. Actually, I thought you were one of the chief offendees. PS - "complexity in simplicity" is a nice one. I get that e.g. from Tai Chi. Or maybe I mean simplicity in complexity. Actually, both. Everything balances up.

hotters - if I wanted to be loved, joining the BBC (bad boy church) wouldn't helped.  

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Blogger ion said...

How nice to be appreciated :). As for offended- no way. It's all just electrons, or as HB would have it, photons. I may take up Tai-Chi in the NY.  

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