Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 959)

Agustina Ruiz

The other day I discovered the story of Agustina Ruiz, who told the Mexican Inquisition in 1621 that every time she saw religious iconography she began to imagine herself having sex with the Virgin Mary. As a penance, she was sent to a convent for three years. And what better place to send her than a building full of religious iconography and women?

Syndicated 2012-10-24 14:14:48 from Monument

Medical calendars

I wish there was a common online calendar service that various NHS trusts used. Then a) I could set my email/SMS reminders globally; b) it could export live calendars so I could integrate it into Google Calendar or my phone and have new appointments just appear; c) it could check for clashes where two different medical services want me at the same time. I know how it would work at a technical level, but how it would be managed and paid for is beyond my comprehension, so I suppose I can't make it happen.

Syndicated 2012-10-23 16:04:18 from Monument

Collapsing viaducts

What is it about collapsing viaducts which produces terrible poetry? I'm sure you've heard William McGonagall's poem about the train wreck in the Tay. Here's Julia Moore's poem about another collapsing railway bridge. If it wasn't bad enough that all those people died in the Ashtabula disaster, it's even worse that the most famous thing that survives to commemorate them is this truly awful piece of work.

(P P Bliss was a hymnwriter. author of "Hallelujah, what a saviour", which is still sung today.)

Have you heard of the dreadful fate
Of Mr. P. P. Bliss and wife?
Of their death I will relate,
And also others lost their life;
(in the) Ashtabula Bridge disaster,
Where so many people died
Without a thought that destruction
Would plunge them 'neath the wheel of tide.


Swiftly passed the engine's call,
Hastening souls on to death,
Warning not one of them all;
It brought despair right and left.

Among the ruins are many friends,
Crushed to death amidst the roar;
On one thread all may depend,
And hope they've reached the other shore.
P. P. Bliss showed great devotion
To his faithful wife, his pride,
When he saw that she must perish,
He died a martyr by her side.

P. P. Bliss went home above --
Left all friends, earth and fame,
To rest in God's holy love;
Left on earth his work and name.
The people love his work by numbers,
It is read by great and small,
He by it will be remembered,
He has left it for us all.

His good name from time to time
Will rise on land and sea;
It is known in distant climes,
Let it echo wide and free.
One good man among the number,
Found sweet rest in a short time,
His weary soul may sweetly slumber
Within the vale, heaven sublime.

Destruction lay on every side,
Confusion, fire and despair;
No help, no hope, so they died,
Two hundred people over there.
Many ties was there broken,
Many a heart was filled with pain,
Each one left a little token,
For above they live again.

Syndicated 2012-10-18 00:56:06 from Monument

Least weasel

Please read this aloud:

"In some districts of Macedon, women who suffered from headaches after having washed their heads in water drawn overnight would assume that a weasel had previously used the water as a mirror, but they would refrain from mentioning the animal's name for fear that it would destroy their clothes."
Thank you.

(This is not because I think it might cause a weasel to destroy your clothes, but merely because I can't myself read it without corpsing.)

Syndicated 2012-10-09 02:10:00 from Monument

Sad and yet happy

I randomly got into a conversation about poetry with an elderly woman in a bookshop in Bakewell a few months ago, and promised to send her a copy of my anthology. Well, I just got an email from her daughter and son-in-law: she collapsed and died from a brain haemorrhage shortly afterwards, and they found the book on the doormat on returning from the hospital. They wanted to thank me for writing poems that have helped them through their grief. I'm not sure of the word for my feelings about this: sad and yet happy.

Syndicated 2012-10-08 18:46:43 from Monument

Seven-year-old Marnanel went through a range of emotions in any given day

Syndicated 2012-09-23 17:46:29 from Monument

In which I am confused about exim

I'm trying to configure an exim4 server under Ubuntu, but this is happening:

$ /usr/sbin/exim -bh

**** SMTP testing session as if from host
**** but without any ident (RFC 1413) callback.
**** This is not for real!

>>> host in hosts_connection_nolog? no (option unset)
>>> host in host_lookup? yes (matched "*")
>>> looking up host name for
>>> IP address lookup yielded localhost
>>> gethostbyname2 looked up these IP addresses:
>>>   name=localhost address=::1
>>>   name=localhost address=
>>> checking addresses for localhost
>>>   ::1
>>> OK
>>> host in host_reject_connection? no (option unset)
>>> host in sender_unqualified_hosts? no (option unset)
>>> host in recipient_unqualified_hosts? no (option unset)
>>> host in helo_verify_hosts? no (option unset)
>>> host in helo_try_verify_hosts? no (option unset)
>>> host in helo_accept_junk_hosts? no (option unset)
220 wombat.example.com ESMTP Exim 4.72 Wed, 19 Sep 2012 13:09:23 +0000
EHLO localhost
>>> host in pipelining_advertise_hosts? yes (matched "*")
>>> host in auth_advertise_hosts? yes (matched "*")
>>> host in tls_advertise_hosts? yes (matched "*")
250-wombat.example.com Hello localhost []
250-SIZE 52428800
250 HELP
AUTH is broken
503 AUTH command used when not advertised

Why on earth does it say the host is in auth_advertise_hosts but not return AUTH in the EHLO response? Someone, please throw me a clue here.

Syndicated 2012-09-19 13:13:33 from Monument


Mr. Gibson: Is the Minister aware that these proportions show quite clearly a drunkenness ratio three times worse in the City than in Middlesbrough? If that is so, would it not be a good idea for the Minister to encourage the Temperance Alliance to run a campaign in the City?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe [Home Secretary]: Great as are the charms of Middlesbrough—Macaulay said, "And pined by Arno for my lovelier Tees"—" nevertheless, the number of people who visit it is distinctly smaller than the number who go into the City of London.

Mr. Marquand [the member for Middlesborough]: Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that Middlesbrough is an orderly and well-administered town and is not seeking his assistance in this matter?

Syndicated 2012-09-14 21:13:36 from Monument

The Light Brigade

‎"Forward the Light Brigade!" -- Was there a man dismayed?
Lives there a bear which in woodland has scumbered?
Under St Peter's dome, dwells there a priest of Rome?
Hasty last letters home wrote the six hundred.

Syndicated 2012-09-02 23:14:06 from Monument

"St Helena Lullaby" by Rudyard Kipling

[I can never read this aloud without tearing up.]

"How far is St. Helena from a little child at play?"
What makes you want to wander there with all the world between?
Oh, mother, call your son again or else he'll run away.
(No one thinks of winter when the grass is green!)

"How far is St. Helena from a fight in Paris street?"
I haven't time to answer now–the men are falling fast.
The guns begin to thunder, and the drums begin to beat.
(If you take the first step, you will take the last!)

"How far is St. Helena from the field of Austerlitz?"
You couldn't hear me if I told–so loud the cannons roar.
But not so far for people who are living by their wits.
("Gay go up" means "Gay go down" the wide world o'er!)

"How far is St. Helena from the Emperor of France?"
I cannot see– I cannot tell–the crowns they dazzle so.
The kings sit down to dinner, and the queens stand up to dance.
(After open weather you may look for snow!)

"How far is St. Helena from the Capes of Trafalgar?"
A longish way – a longish way–with ten year more to run.
It's South across the water underneath a falling star.
(What you cannot finish you must leave undone!)

"How fair is St. Helena from the Beresina ice?"
An ill way–a chill way–the ice begins to crack.
But not so far for gentlemen who never took advice.
(When you can't go forward you must e'en come back!)

"How far is St. Helena from the field of Waterloo?"
A near way–a clear way–the ship will take you soon.
A pleasant place for gentlemen with little left to do.
(Morning never tries you till the afternoon!)

"How far from St. Helena to the Gate of Heaven's Grace?"
That no one knows–that no one knows–and no one ever will.
But fold your hands across your heart and cover up your face,
And after all your trapesings, child, lie still!

Syndicated 2012-09-02 21:18:18 (Updated 2012-09-02 21:23:44) from Monument

950 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!