The Washington Post tries to be snarky about Bush’s language:

Bush has declared turning points and milestones in the war before. He called it “an important milestone” when a temporary governing council was formed in July 2003 and “a turning point” when sovereignty was turned over to the interim government in June 2004. Elections in January 2005, he said, were both “a turning point in the history of Iraq” and “a milestone in the advance of freedom.”

He called it a “milestone” in October when Iraqi voters approved a constitution and “a major milestone” two months later when they elected a parliament — a moment he also termed “a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East and the history of freedom.” The selection of a prime minister last month was “an important milestone toward our victory in Iraq” and, a week later, “a turning point for the Iraqi citizens.”

The thing is, these really


milestones; they’re some of the biggest dots you’d put on a timeline of Iraq. So

Bush 1 — 0 WaPo

In more important news, I’ve just discovered Spurl, and started using it to keep track of articles on Iraq. I’m feeling pretty upbeat about my chances of using it to make a lot more sense out of what’s going on in the country these days. But, as always, time will tell…

Panic is contagious

Cambridge exam-terror has somehow escaped the university, and it’s prowling around the town.

I’ve been having panicky dreams about exams I haven’t prepared for. Sillier still, some have been half-awake dreams, so I spend time worrying over whether I’ll have to not go to the Calling tonight, so I have time to cram the essentials for tomorrow’s exam.


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Pontificating on the Russian Soul (almost)

This post


nails something about Russia:

> “The fetishization of actual freedom [pop culture]…has allowed for the restriction of formal [political] freedom”

Almost, but not quite. There has never been


actual/economic/pop-culture freedom


political freedom in Russia, during or after the USSR. The difference is what gets fetishized or dreamt about most.

In the Bad Old Days ™ there was relative prosperity (everything is relative), no political freedom, but an idolization political freedom. Now there is relative political freedom, economic collapse, and dreams of consumer culture.

[all this brought to you by the talking-out-of-my-ass department: obviously I don’t have any real knowledge here]


Just back from London, dripping wet (Cambridge station is very, very in the wrong place!) but happy. Will probably write about it in dribs and drabs [1], but for now I’m going to have a binge of friending people who I befriended at the_alchemist and verlaine‘s housewarming.

And while my head’s in Saturday, I might as well say it was fantastic, in a way that events usually are when they’re full of fascinating people I don’t know. Since the thing was organised on lj, I’d spotted a couple of people I’d been aware of for some time without ever talking to: smhwpf, libellum, and verlaine himself. So, of course, they were the people I didn’t talk to at all, and instead chatted excitedly to squirmelia, pseudomonas, publicansdecoy, angelofthenorth, and robert-jones. Also a couple of others who will now be written out of history because they don’t use livejournal, or because they use it but have non-memorable names [2]. So it goes.

I’m now 5 days behind on lj, and won’t be doing more than skimming back through it. If there’s anything you’d particularly like me to see, point!

[1] Yes, I can use silly phrases if I want to

[2] I know, I know, oedipamaas49 is about as bad as it gets on those criteria. I’ve been regretting it for 18 months now, and I’ll be changing it just as soon as I can come up with something better. Suggestions welcome

Creative Hive: so senseless things happen

Hungering for a picnic_meme outside Cambridge, or a mass pillow fight outside San Francisco? Trying to recreate a zombie flash mob, but can’t find enough fellow undead? Or do you plan to take zombies global?

Inspired by a 40-foot puppet elephant walking through London? Wanting to walk the length of the London Underground? Accompany adventurous plastic ducks?

Didn’t hear about some of those? Heard about the rest too late, and wished you could have joined in?

Maybe you should join creativehive, a community to bring together people who


interesting things would happen in the hope this this will


interesting things to happen.

verlaine, who created it, explains why here. And the name? Because, as onyxblue1 points out, using a hive-mind to break out into individual creativity is a fairly odd concept in itself. Please propagate, and then come do silly things with me! The first suggestion is a game of hide-and-seek across London.


Loud road-digging outside the window when I’m trying to sleep does not a happy Dan make. Expect extreme grogginess this evening and most likely me collapsing in a heap on the_alchemist‘s floor tomorrow.

Ironically, what they’re doing is adding traffic-calming bumps to the road, partly to reduce noise


: It took me a while to notice that this is

yet another

post about my sleeping patterns. Must stop doing that!