all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

30 July, 2012

Gillard & the AWU Scandal

From CANdo Australia.

UPDATE I (03 August):  see Andrew Bolt’s “Wilson scandal: I could face criminal charges”, and, in The Australian, “Union scandal: I’ll come clean, says ‘bagman’ Ralph Blewitt” and “Scandal refuses to die”, both by Hedley Thomas.

UPDATE II (04 August):  see Andrew Bolt’s “The scandal that now demands answers” as well as the linked editorial , in The Australian, “AWU scandal questions linger”.

21 July, 2012

“Depart, I Say, and Let Us Have Done with You”

ὦ μῖσος, ὦ μέγιστον ἐχθίστη γύναι
θεοῖς τε κἀμοὶ παντί τω’ ἀνθρώπων γένει.
—Euripides, Medea, 1323-24.*

She Has Sat Too Long

Gillard is a bold
but incompetent liar,
corrupt to the core—

so one would believe
from the PM’s refusal
to explain her acts

when she helped her old
leman defraud his union—;
but Gillard cries, “Poor

me, young and naïve!”
She must forgo feigned surprise,
and give us some facts:

she must clarify
just how much she knew, and when,
and how much she took;

and she must say why
we have a PM who is
such a rotten crook.

See “Serious Questions for Gillard: Still No Answers”, by Larry Pickering, as well as his “Gillard: the Story She Tried to Kill” and his “Doth the Lady Protest Too Much”; listen to Alan Jones and Michael Smith discuss the Prime Minister and the AWU; and see also “A Story You May Not Read” and “Another Story You May Not Read” (which contains scanned pages of a Statutory Declaration of Robert Kernohan).

*  Jason: “O, hated one!  O, most detested of women—
   by the gods, by me, and by the whole race of men!”

UPDATE I:  see “The Wilson scandal: now the Cambridge affidavit”, by Andrew Bolt. 

UPDATE II:  meanwhile, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have announced that the PM whom they supported must remain in the position lest they be upset and take their pensions and go home.

The Two Queen-making Berks

Oakeshott and Windsor
are silly, arrogant, and
two peas in a pod.

They foisted on us
a bad, corrupt government
which seems rather odd

for two idiots
who are always blethering
about just how well

Oakeshott and Windsor
have improved democracy
and how they excel.

Nonetheless, despite
their constant, self-serving praise,
the standards have not

improved in the House—
it hardly could when it has
Windsor and Oakeshott.

Now they have bellowed
that any attempt to sack
the Prime Minister

and reinstall Rudd
has to be deemed by then as
highly sinister.

Oakeshott and Windsor
would very much rather bring
down the Parliament

than think adequate
administrations occur
without their consent. 

They spare little time
from all their big-noting for
any reflection.

Bring it on, morons;
can’t you tell that wise people
want an election?
UPDATE III (22 July):  seeJulia Gillard’s Former Lover and Fraudster Bruce Wilson Found by Mike Smith”, by the ever forthright Shane Dowling, at Kangaroo Court of Australia.

UPDATE IV (23 July):  at Quadrant Online, Tony Thomas provides a transcription of the Alan Jones and Michael Smith interview.

UPDATE V (19 August):  see many links and updates at Gillard and ‘False-assertions’”.

03 July, 2012

Enigmatic Invective

At Letters of Note, we can read a famous missive of invective from Algernon Swinburne, the English poet, to The New York Tribune, wherein he alludes to another notoriously rude reply:
If I am to believe that that name has been made the mark for such vile language as is now publicly attributed to men of note in the world of letters, I, who am not sufficiently an expert in the dialect of the cesspool and the dung-cart to retort in their own kind on these venerable gentlemen—I, whose ears and lips alike are unused to the amenities of a conversation embroidered with such fragments of flowery rhetoric as may be fished up by congenial fingers or lapped up by congenial tongues out of the sewerage of Sodom—can return no better or more apt reply than was addressed by the servant of Octavia to the satellites of Nero, and applied by Lord Denman, when counsel for Queen Caroline, to the sycophants of George IV.
Swinburne refers to the account of Nero’s bringing allegedly false charges of adultery (with a slave!) against Octavia, his sister* and wife, in the Annals of Tacitus:
Actae ob id de ancillis quaestiones, et vi tormentorum victis quibusdam, ut falsa adnuerent, plures perstitere sanctitatem dominae tueri; ex quibus una instanti Tigellino castiora esse muliebria Octaviae respondit quam os ejus.   (Ann. XIV. 60. 4)
[“On account of this, her slave-girls were examined under torture, and though some were forced by the intensity of agony into admitting falsehoods, most persisted in upholding the virtue of their mistress; to the menaces of Tigellinus one of them responded that Octavia’s female parts were purer than his mouth.”]
This reference to female naughty bits was quite rude for Romans—and, since Tacitus uses indirect speech, his readers would likely have assumed that the servant’s actual words were far ruder—; Romans (or, at least, surviving Roman writers) were so horrified that saying cum me—“with me”—might sound like cunne—the vocative of cunnus, “vulva”—that they not only made cum follow the personal pronoun in the first person singular but also insisted that other personal pronouns postposited cum likewise (thus, for instance, tecum and vobiscum, for “with thee” and “with you”).  We may safely assume, I submit, that Swinburne wasn’t thinking that “female parts” would be an adequate English translation for muliebria.

*  Tacitus presents Octavia, though older than Nero, as younger and (though unlikely for a Julio-Claudian woman) as adorably sweet and politically naïve.
†  originally, A Latin Dictionary by Lewis and Short (Oxford, 1879) chastely and succinctly defined cunnus—not in English but, less usefully for those who might be using a Latin dictionary because they have a less than expert knowledge of Latin, in Latin—as pudenda muliebrum, which means “the shameful things of women”; later (in my 1933 impression, for example), the definition is a slightly less prudish “the female pudenda”.

Latin and Lexicographical Prudery

Nam castum esse decet pium poetam
ipsum, versiculos nihil necesse est.   
—Catullus, Carm., XVI, 4-6.*

OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE WARNING:  very coarse terms in Latin and English. 

A problem with lexicographical prudishness in Latin dictionaries can be exemplified by translating an elegiac epigram of Martial:
Cum futuis, Polycharme, soles in fine cacare.
   Cum pedicaris, quid, Polycharme, facis?  (VIII, lxix)
In only two lines, three verbs occur which (rare in canonical literature) are absent from many small Latin dictionaries, so a student without access to a larger dictionary might be at a loss (though able to make, no doubt, some fair guesses):
When thou art futuere-ing, Polycharmus, thou art accustomed to cacare in the end.
When thou art pedicare-d, what, Polycharmus, dost thou do?
Furthermore, in fine, found in Juvenal and Martial, has a particular sexual meaning which, too often, dictionaries fail to explain; for example, Juvenal describes the demands of a schoolmaster in his seventh satire as he cares for his boys:
observare manus oculosque in fine trementis. (VII, 241)
Peter Green, in his translation for Penguin (rev., 1974), has, “To keep check over all those darting eyes—and fingers”, but a more explicit translation is, “to observe the hands and trembling eyes in climax.”  Another wittily Shakespearean translation of manus oculosque in fine trementis would be “hands and eyes in fine frenzy rolling”—but I digress.
So, since in fine means “in [sexual] finish”, and futuere, cacare and pedicare mean, respectively, “fuck”, “shit” and “bugger”, we can translate Martial’s epigram (whilst modernising the name with an apposite, topical reference to a pornerastic member of federal Parliament):
Whenever you fuck, Thommo, you shit as you come.
But what do you do, Thommo, when fucked up the bum?
*  For, though an upright poet should be pure,
    there’s no such need for his literature.

Glenn Reynolds on “The Higher Education Bubble”

Thanks to Ed Driscoll, Silicon Graffiti and PJ Media.
(The Higher Education Bubble is available from

02 July, 2012

Not Out by Much

Phil Jacob, of The Daily Telegraph, in “Global chaos as a moment in time kills the interwebs”, writes:
All it took was a single second to bring down websites all over the world.
Sites such as Reddit, Gawker, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Yelp crashed after a “leap second” was added to the universal clock in order to keep up with the Earth’s rotation.
Slight fluctuations on the Earth’s axis meant that some days ended up being longer than others meaning that in a few hundred years time we’d be eating lunch at midnight if the problem went unaddressed.  […]
The last leap seconds happened in 2008, 2005 and 1998.
Assuming that Jacob means that our clocks will be marking midnight when it’s around midday, by the sun, he’s a little wide of the mark.  Even if the world’s clocks were slipping behind at a rate of exactly one second every year, it would still take a lot more than “a few hundred years” for those seconds to add up to half a day’s worth: it would take forty thousand.*
Note also that Jacobs (or his subeditor) uses “chaos”, not to mean “complete and utter disorder and confusion” but, as so many journalists do these days, apparently, signifying “a slight amount of disorder, with a little confusion and inconvenience”; and “global”, in this instance, seems to mean “within Australian aerodromes and parts of the USA”.

* assuming that twelve hours contain 43,200 seconds.