January 31, 2005

matinee idol

The curious thing about Greg Kinnear is that is isn't good looking, but somehow he manages to evoke "I look like a matinee idol" perfectly.

Posted by carla at 03:15 PM

January 28, 2005


While in Ipswich I was listening to National Radio over the internet and someone mentioned that kofta are made with flour and water/milk as the binding agent, not with egg.

I've since worked out that the same principle works well for hamburger patties. Especially with piles of minced agarlic and/or paprika, or lemon pepper, or basil, or coriander (of course), or red wine, or salt and pepper, or tomatoe paste, or red onion, or spring onions, or - hmm, I haven't actually tried mustard, but I'm sure it would be fabulous.

Mind you, I think part of the success is using cast iron cooking implements. I don't know why, but heat applied to food via cast iron is somehow different from the same amount of heat applied to food via other media.

Posted by carla at 12:43 AM

January 27, 2005

60 years, 11,000,000 people

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In the context of mass killings, the Nazi regime still represents a distinctive low point. I have been interested about how a country manages to put its self view back together after such an episode. Schroeder may have a possible direction when he says:

"The overwhelming majority of Germans living today do not bear guilt for the Holocaust. But they do bear a special responsibility." He then went on to say they needed to make a special effort to challenge similar actions in the world around them, and particularly in politics at home. BBC

If you cannot learn from you mistakes and take responsibility for them, you can never overcome them.

It is probably also worth noting that 250,000 - 1,000,000 political prisoners died in Nazi Germany.

For some context:

1 million people died in Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia during the 1970s.

Hutus killed over 800,000 Tutsis by hand in 100 days in 1994.

Joseph Stalin killed 7 million in the Ukraine in 1933 by engineering a famine. Less mechanical than gas chambers, but just as effective.

50 million died in world war II.

40 million died during Mao Zedong's reign in China (1949-1975).

Posted by carla at 12:16 AM

January 25, 2005

united future: home of christian values

After Judy Turner's assertion that marriage is only about breeding, I shouldn't have been surprised to hear United Future's Justice spokesperson asserting on National Radio this morning that violent offenders should never be allowed out of prison until they had *proved* that they would never reoffend, ever.

But I was.

Posted by carla at 04:13 PM

January 24, 2005

death penalty in context

I personally find the death penalty totally unacceptable. I don't think the state (or anyone acting for the state) should ever complete an action which is otherwise regarded as one of the worst crimes possible. In thinking about it this morning, it occurred to me that you could chop a murderer's hands off instead. Ok, so I don't actually like that idea either (just call me a wussy liberal), but I found it an interesting proposition, and here are some of the things that occurred to me about it. I'd be interested in anyone else's point of view.


Mutilation doesn't involve killing anyone. This means the state can continue to assert its value of human life over everything else, and no one has to be an executioner.

While mutilation isn't reversable, it can be compensated for; so it addresses the false conviction issue.

Removing someone's hands suggests a neutralisation of their ability to do harm (though this may not actually have a significant effect as prostheses can be turned into weapons).

It would affect the offender for the rest of their life, in a physical and permanent way. While not comprable to a life for a life, it would go some way to giving effect to the victims' desire to act in a physical way. There is no chance that it could be seen as a light punishment.

It allows the offender to rehabilitate themselves and become a 'good' person. It also holds open the possibility of redemption or explanation.

It would have to be inflicted concurrently with a life sentence.

It would involve expensive medical care.

It would be a profound deterrant. A tiny percentage of the population could possibly believe that loosing one's hands didn't matter much. It might possibly result it having no hands being a badge of honour (anyone want to write some fiction which explores that idea?).

Mutilation strikes me as somehow worse than the death penalty. Which makes me wonder at how much the death penalty has been sanitised. I'm intrigued that the idea of doing violence to someone is so distateful, and I worry that our existing discussion of the death penalty is happening entirely out of context.

Posted by carla at 09:32 AM

January 21, 2005


I've never run into adjective orders before, but it is *so* simple I had to share.

Posted by carla at 08:11 AM

January 14, 2005

magical disappearing countryside

There are some good before and after satelite pictures of areas hit by the tsunami here and here.

Posted by carla at 01:34 PM

January 12, 2005


I realised during the civil union debate that English is strangely ill equiped with words about love and marriage. Normally English can't keep its little grabby grabbies* off words in other languages, but for marriage we've just translated the concept right across into marriage and kept no subtle distinctions or connotations. Love has been augmented by the latin/greek words, but that's it.

I find this odd, and wonder what qualities about Britishness kept these areas of expression comparitively limited.

Note: I can think of the following love and marriage related words:

amore (connotations of latin passion?)
aroha (nz-only)

Posted by carla at 12:49 PM

January 11, 2005

body art

The Guardian reported this woman publishing her short story word by word on people. I think the idea is creepy, but her comments on the temporary nature of the publication are interesting.

Posted by carla at 02:47 PM