Monday, January 15, 2007

What Toby Harnden actually said....

ed: Wed 11th April 2007: if you have arrived here from Bryony Gordon's blog ( more correctly, Toby Harnden's comment), then there's a better link. Here's the blog - or rather the incendiary comments it attracted- that the Telegraph later decided to remove. Link to blog

(ed: go to end of post for last update: added Monday Jan 22) .

If you are a return visitor, and simply wish to add a comment, don't waste time scrolling down. Simply click on this green LINK.

Yes, following an email from a clearly beleaguered Toby Harnden this morning, I am pleased to reproduce here a verbatim report of what he filed initially.

(afterthought added Tue Jan 16 am : to avoid giving any wrong impression, I should perhaps add that Toby and I have previously exchanged emails , long before this present business arose. One was briefly mentioned at the end of a previous blog post. In fact, I'm presently toying with the idea of writing a blog post called "We're all journalists now", inasmuch as private citizen bloggers have the ability now to generate secondary news by what they say about journalists and their reporting !)

I may tack something on later as to why this document, so crucial to his reputation, has been slow to surface, and which, up till now, has been difficult to locate (though it has to be said that Toby has not done himself any favours in this respect). But first things first. Here's what the guy said:

ed: Warning: with all the copying and pasting there have been formatting conflicts. Thus the empty box symbols where there should be quotation marks etc. I shall complete the spring-cleaning later...

"SADDAM Hussein will spend his last moments hooded as he is led up the steps to a steel scaffold and a waiting hangman who will order him to stand over a hatch above a 15-foot drop.

The former dictator's final hours will begin with him being transferred from American custody at Camp Cropper outside Baghdad to the aegis of a panel of three of four judges who will tell him of his right to make a will and pen letters to bid farewell to his loved ones.
American officials indicate the hanging could take place at Camp Cropper itself rather than the Iraqi prison complex where about 90 condemned prisoners have met their end since Saddam's regime was toppled. Flying him there by helicopter could prompt an insurgent attack.

According to Iraqi officials, after being given the opportunity to beg forgiveness or confess to his crimes he will be led to a special cell, bare except for floor cushions, where he can pray, read the Koran and drink water as he prepares himself for the end.

He is expected to be dressed in green prison overalls rather than the traditional Arab dishdasha robe he was allowed to wear in prison.

He has already issued a letter to what he still considers to be ' his' people of Iraq.

"I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking," he wrote. But he added: "Long live jihad and the mujahedeen."

At the appointed time, a black cone-shaped hood will be placed on his head and will be taken to the gallows chamber by several Iraqi guards. Iraqi and American officials were due to be witnesses and the hanging was to be videotaped. It was unclear when, if ever, the footage would be broadcast.

Once on the scaffold, the hangman will place a noose made of one-and-a-quarter-inch-thick hemp rope around Saddam's neck before pulling two heavy levers that will pull the trap door open.

The clang of the metal door will be accompanied by a clunk as the weight of the tyrant's body pulls the rope tight, breaking his neck and killing him instantaneously.

A doctor will then listen for a heartbeat to establish that the former president is dead before his corpse is lowered, covered with a white cloth and taken away.

A degree of American supervision is likely because not all Iraqi hangings have gone smoothly. In September, when the 13th or 27 condemned men were hung the rope snapped and the prisoner landed on the concrete floor and shouted: "God saved me!"

He lay on the ground praying and shouting while prison guards and the hangman discussed whether there had been divine intervention and the execution should be halted.
Eventually, they agreed that a new rope should be rigged and the man was dragged wailing up the steps once again. The second time, the rope held.

It is not known where Saddam's body will be buried. One possibility is beside his sons Uday and Qusay, who were laid to rest in the family's tribal cemetery near Tikrit after they were killed in an American military raid in July 2003.

Iraqi officials contemplated holding a public hanging at the Shaab sports arena in Baghdad, allowing tens of thousands of Iraqis to attend and satisfying the public demand for revenge as well as certainty that the mass murderer's demise was final.

But such an event would be extremely vulnerable to attack by Sunni insurgents who still swear fealty to Saddam as the rightful president of Iraq. American officials also believed it would inflame the Muslim world and prompt unfavourable comparisons with the Taliban regime of Afghanistan.

When the hood is placed over his head, it will be the fist time Saddam has experienced darkness for many months. His whitewashed cell at Camp Cropper has been kept lighted 24 hours a day so that he can be monitored via the video cameras placed in each corner. Each wall of the cell measures 15 feet � the length of the rope from which he will hang.

Known as prisoner HVD-1 � High Value Detainee One � Saddam has slept on a narrow metal bed and been allowed to choose from a traditional Arab breakfast of yoghurt, toast and tea or American cereals.

According to soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard who guarded him in 2003 and 2004, Raisin Bran Crunch was his favourite cereal but he objected to the sickly sweet Froot Loops."

Toby Harnden at 10 Jan 2007 18:55

Posted to the Guardian's Organ Grinder (see Links at right : "Quick Escape Routes") by "Handyblogman "on January 12, 2007 05:28 PM.

Update Monday 08:00 London time : Read what Stephen Glover of the Independent had to say on the subject (whose sub has clearly decided not to compete for Best Headline 2007 award ) :

Not so much a case of Harnden as hard done by

Extraordinary - and very damaging - items appeared last week in diary columns about Toby Harnden, The Daily Telegraph's US editor, who is based in Washington. They claimed that Mr Harnden had written a blog confessing that he wrote a story about Saddam Hussein's hanging (published in the issue of 30 December) before he was hanged.

In something of a panic, The Telegraph has reacted to the Media Guardian story by removing Mr Harnden's "confessional" blog, as well as comments from readers, some of them vituperative, from its website.

Case proven? I don't believe so. The original piece is very clearly written before Saddam's death. It begins: "Saddam Hussein will spend the last moments of his life hooded as he is led to a steel scaffold where a hangman waits with a noose." The word "will" appears very often in the piece. He "will be led to a cell". He "will be led along a corridor".

Why, then, did Mr Harnden (whom I have met once, but do not know) half-apologise in his blog for this story, which was plainly written before the event? Perhaps he is a man of honour, and regretted saying that Saddam would be hooded, which he was not. But for the most part it was an accurate forecast of what happened at 3am our time on the morning of 30 December. Final editions of The Daily Telegraph carried the news that Saddam was dead, with Mr Harnden's name as one of two above the story.

Mr Harnden's error was to write in his blog that the first story was not his "finest hour". This suggested that he had done something of which he might have cause to feel ashamed. He hadn't. Unfortunately, by removing the blog The Telegraph has added credence to the idea that he had. "

Update Monday 10:05 (London)

Haven't we been here before with those Telegraph bloggers, and the near-invisibility of their so-called 'back-up' editors when things go wrong ? I refer to the occasion back at the end of August when Melissa Whitworth, the New York-based Society blogger, found herself in a predicament that now seems uncannily similar to that of Toby Harnden's.

It's what she described at the time as "A Terrible Misunderstanding", and probably won't thank me for reminding her of it. But if I tell her that the "James " in the comments who sprung quickly to her defence was a pseudonym for this blogger, then she'll understand perhaps that defending journalists is not something that I normally do for a living: it's a response to seeing a fellow human being instantly pre-judged and found guilty on the basis of unproven charges - which in in Melissa's case were indeed shown quickly to be spurious, but not before a lot of damage had been done, for some weeks at least, to her credentials.

(In passing, some of you reading this may wonder why a blogger feels the need occasionally to adopt a pseudonym. If you read that Whitworth thread carefully, especially towards the end, then you will get a clue. Switching, if only temporarily, to a pseudonym is a defence against a certain type of PITB that stalks the blogosphere, about which nothing has yet been done - at least not on the Telegraph, where there's no simple facility for reporting abuse. Nuff said on that score for now. )

Anyway, here, from recollection, is what happened: (details to follow)

Update Monday 14: 30

It began we are told with Melissa being sent a spoof "blog". It had been written by Claire Zulkey, she of the mischievous sense of humour, and was a send-up of an all-too familiar example of the blogging genre - rambling, aimless, unstructured- we've all met it (indeed, some of us have even contributed to it on off-days).

Anyway, she thought her colleagues in London would be amused, and forwarded it. I don't suppose we'll ever know how it happened - since London has maintained a grim silence - but it was assumed to be her blog post for that week, and given the house-style treatment , eg the usual eye-catching graphic etc. But Zulkey's original title "Five Signs Your Blog Post is Going Horribly Wrong" was dispensed with. In its place went "On blogging and cucumbers". Which is a rather like replacing a Stop sign with one that reads "Expect Some Light Traffic".

Shortly after "Cucumbers" appeared, some aghast individuals ( including myself) who had taken it at face value began bemoaning the terminal state of popular culture in the USA. I posted a comment to the effect that Melissa had been too long in New York, and had "gone native" in the worst sense of the term.

But things suddenly took a differerent and sinister turn. The word plagiarism began to appear on American blogs and websites, and amazingly ( in retrospect) the charges began to appear on Melissa's own blog.

Was this the Brave New World of MSM blogging, one wondered, where one's alleged sins not only find one out, but result in a welter of recrimination appearing under one's own byline? In the meantime, all that individual could do was watch helplessly from the sidelines, wondering whose side their London colleagues were on, and how long their savings would cover rent or mortgage repayments. Thinks: I'm starting to get into my stride: maybe I should start a Society for the Protection of Ethically-Impugned Journalists. I think I've got at least one subscription so far.

Anyway, to end this story, Melissa's "Cucumber" blog post suddenly disappeared from our screens (yes, we've been there before) and in its place came her brief apology, under the title
" A Terrible Misunderstanding " explaining how something she had intended as an office joke had terribly misfired.

Some of us accepted that immediately. There was no other rational explanation. Surely no-one, least of all an on-line journalist, would imagine that 3000 miles of ocean would allow them to get away with plagiarism on the internet. But other less -charitable souls refused to accept M's apology, leaving me to wonder about the mental state of that fringe of Internet users which always looks for, and finds the Dark Side.

Why am I relating the story of Melissa's Grey August, when it's Toby's Black January that is the topic of the day? Because I think there are some close parallels between the two that need to be explored, in particular the fact that in both cases the journalist has been left to fend for themselves. Curiously, the only visible gesture on the part of the editorial bosses has been to withdraw the post, without explanation, serving only to increase the fever of speculation.
Why this reticence to spring to the defence of their staff, especially given their high-profile, and consequent vulnerability ?

Well, time to break off and raid what's left of the Christmas goodies (that's my prerogative, since no one pays me to write). But expect another free-wheeling instalment later, possibly about 20.00 hours London time.

Update: 20.15 London time.

Yes, isn't it odd how the tailored shirts at the Telly's Victoria/Canary Wharf suddenly go to ground whenever their protegés find themselves in the firing line ? Isn't it a given of good management that while you expect high standards from your staff, you rally to their side when things go wrong ( as they tend to, from time to time, even in the best run organizations).

And you really didn't need a Nobel prize in rocket science to forsee that signing up your liveliest journalists to the blogging A-team was a risky step into the unknown, full of challenge, adventure, excitement, all those things, but equally fraught with peril.

Any reasonably sentient organization would have put in place a contingency plan for dealing with pear-shaped scenarios.

By the same token, any seasoned observer/reporter of this wicked old world of ours would have appreciated the need for safeguards before signing up to so risky an enterprise, putting their reputations and careers on the line .

So where are the safeguards, they should have asked ? Where are the lifeboats if our magnificent Titanic-full of nouveau blogging celebrities should suddenly up-end ?
Strange, isn't it, how that most hard-nosed of professions should have allowed itself to be sweet-talked into taking so exposed position in the blogosphere, where there are no rules, no respect.
Especially when all you have behind you, at least where the Telly is concerned, is a passive referee, at peace with the world, prepared to avert his or her rose-tinted gaze away from one foul after another, operating on the precept that the key imperative is for the punter to go home feeling they have seen a good fight, with real blood, and had value for money. Welcome to the 21st century.

Update Tue 16 Jan 08:15 The splendid Technorati trawl that runs day and night in the background has just thrown up a blog called The Goss, with a real pro look about it. Here's what it has to say that strikes a chord or two with this private citizen blogger:

Telegraph US editor Toby Harnden better still have that badass flak jacket. He's enjoying a flurry of abuse after an article he filed about Saddam Hussein's execution appeared to describe details of the scene that never happened -- particularly, Saddam wearing a hood on the gallows. After the obvious inaccuracies in the December 29 article were called out by readers, Harnden obtusely admitted on his Telegraph-sanctioned blog that the article had not been his "finest hour." This pseudo-admission of kinda-guilt inspired a bloggy uproar among the gotcha crowd, which in turn caused the Telegraph to panic and yank Harnden's blog entirely. But it appears the real culprit in this teapot-tempest might be Harnden's editors.
The Dreams and Daemons blog claims that Harnden sent them a
copy of the story as originally filed. It's written in journalistic future tense, i.e. "Saddam Hussein will spend his last moments hooded" etc. The barely unstated accusation turns round on Telegraph editorial, making it seem as though they rehabbed Harnden's article into authoritative past tense, complete with inaccurate headline ("Humiliated and hooded, the tyrant faces his fate on the steel scaffold"). Rather than answer resulting questions, the Telegraph instead issued a memo instructing staff not to blog about the paper or their jobs. Unfortunate memo phraseology alert: "Think carefully before blogging about journalistic 'tricks of the trade'." It's a little gauche to file a forward-looking "this will happen thus" story just to beat a deadline, but it's naive to think yanking an "incriminating" in-house blog post looks any less contemptible than yanking the actual news story that spawned it."

ed: Anyone know what the etiquette is re reproducing someone else's blog post on one's site ? Should one merely provide a link, or restrict oneself to quoting selectively ?

More to follow

Comments are always welcome, but I realise that is not easy when the system is set up to accept Registered users only. So, for an experimental period, the block will be lifted, as of now, but if the Tedious Time-Waster comes back, then regretfully it will have to be reinstated.

Latest update ( Jan 16th 13:30): amazing, isn't it, how these howling dust storms erupt in the blogosphere, and a day or two later, it's as if nothing had happened.
Toby Harnden is now blogging away again on the Telly about whether Condi Rice is being written out of the script as a possible contender for the Presidency on what seems to be sexist grounds, although given Laura Bush's comments, patrician grounds would seem a more apt description.
I myself have posted a contribution to that thread entitled "Bushocracy". Ugly word for an even uglier scenario: one Bush after another pops up on the time-line creating a kind of stroboscopic Royal family.

Ardent followers of this blog (my wife mainly) will know that I announced before Christmas an intention to ration future posts here. It was with a view to escaping a self-imposed treadmill, and getting some other projects underway.

Just a quick word, then, about the immediate future, to spare you unnecessary returns to this site. There will be a potboiler tomorrow about today's recent artistic additions to the promenade at Antibes, which I spotted this morning, and photographed.

But the real effort will go into Friday's post, probaby to be entitled : "The so-called obesity epidemic". The idea came to me as I strolled along that promenade this morning, enjoying what must be one of the planet's most stunning panoramas.
Whenever I'm short of ideas, I walk the walk, and it has never once let me down. And I mean never. Ideas (whether good or bad) just start tumbling out when I look across that Baie des Anges towards Nice, against that stupendous winter alpine backdrop. So remember that, all you budding writers: Antibes works better than any mood-enhancing substances - and no after-effects either.

It's not just the view that put "obesity" into my head. It's the comments at the end of this post from an individual who initially, at any rate, put me on the defensive (apologies for the coarseness) but who finally helped my thoughts to crystallise on the question of obesity. Some of those, to appear here in "print" , are likely to be controversial. Please return Friday.

Update: Friday Jan 19. See Jemima Kiss on Organgrinder on the strange, some might say, wooden response by Canary Wharf/ Victoria (wherever) to Toby Harnden's difficulties.
Here's what I added to the Comments thread:
"What's curious about the whole Harnden business is the behaviour of the Telegraph's moderators, which mirrors precisely what happened last August when Melissa Whitworth found herself in a similar situation.
What makes the parallels even closer is that in both cases, it would appear that it was the editorial team in London who failed to spot the little giveaway lights that warned of an approaching express train. But that's by the way. It's what followed that matters.
In both cases, the moderators then allowed the most defamatory comments to appear on the journalists' own blog, effectively hanging them out to dry. They then set alarm bells ringing across the blogosphere by the sudden withdrawal of the blog. But neither Shane Richmond nor Ceri Radford stepped in with any word of explanation:it was left to the journalist to do their own explaining on their next blog post as best they could. Melissa went for the direct approach (sorry folks, there's been a bit of a cockup, or words to that effect). Toby seems to be adopting a more subtle approach by choosing topics, whether by design or accident, I wouldn't care to say, that have a whiff of allegory.
Somewhere recently I read an industry-insider comment to the effect that it's high time that Shane Richmond took a leaf from the BBC and created an Editors's blog to do the firefighting. His own IT blogs are cutting edge and informative, but he could easily delegate that and start to look less like a techie, more like a manager, to us outsiders. Personally if I were a Telly blogger I'd be demanding it right now. Or is it the Telegraph's policy to let its bloggers carry the can whenever something goes wrong ?

Thanks, by the way, for the credit in your intro. "


Colin Randall has also alluded briefly to the Toby Harnden furore in his latest (Jan 18) post, but my own difficulties with one of the two resident rottweilers have now rather taken centre stage. So much so, that as a change of plan ( see above) my next post will catalogue my own Melissa Whitworth/Toby Harnden experience at the hands of journalist/citizen blogger Bill Taylor (Toronto Star).

The difference is that MW's and TH's torment lasted just a few days . In my case, I've been used as an Aunt Sally on and off for for several months now, and this goes on whether I'm contributing to the blog or not. So advice from well-wishers to simply walk away does not wash. I've tried it (since before Christmas) and still the snide remarks continue.

I didn't plan or intend for this blog to be used for getting back at people. But Bill Taylor has now been asked several times to retract his latest insinuations that I am a liar, and a serial liar to boot. Even in the no-holds barred blogosphere, that kind of slight on one's character cannot be shrugged off, not when one operates under one's real name . The whole question of Internet free speech/character defamation will be the subject of my next post.

Update Saturday Jan 20 09:31 London time ; 03:31 Ontario (Eastern Standard)time

This post has been up for some time now. Some of you may be thinking it's time to tackle a new topic. Indeed, yes, I could not agree more. But the recent intervention by one "Anne Gilbert", a regular on Colin Randall's blogs, and occasional one here, has created a bit of a side-show. But it's one that impinges on the serious matter alluded to in yesterday's update, namely character attacks. For latest developments, go the end of my comments section here, and then to the comments on Salut, presently standing at 4, the last two of which I have just added.

So what's this guy burbling on about, you might well ask ? Well, there's a lot more to "Anne Gilbert" than meets the eye. But then we have suspected as much for some months now .......

Update Jan 22nd Toby has put up a new post in the Telegraph entitled "Hillary Dreams".
I sent the following at 13:51 today, London time:

It begins with a verbatim quote of Toby's introduction (bolded):

"Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton announced she was pregnant. After the press conference, I rushed over and quizzed her about her progeny's sex........ "

Oh my, you do like to live life on the edge, don't you Mr.Harnden ?

Assuming, that is, you're aware that Technorati and the other feeds give just the opening words of a blog as a taster.

As I'm sure you are !


What's the bet that it won't appear ?

One can't but help wonder if Toby's not trying to pack his midlife crisis into a couple of weeks, just to get it out of the way ..........

Update 15:15 London time: my comment has just appeared !


Sarah said...

Colin, I cut my message board teeth on the rarified atmostphere of where there are some vicious woman-haters and total nutcases who are stupid to boot. I decided some time ago that those people were nothing to me in my real life and that deflating inflammatory remarks or just talking about something completely different worked to help me keep a sense of perspective.

There's no point getting worked up. Really. This is the internet. It's a diversion, a hobby. Your real life is outside the pc.

ColinB said...

What name did you go under in your era ?

Sarah said...

Now, that would be tellling...

ColinB said...

As I thought. You operated under a risqué pseudonym. Saucy Sarah ?

But the chatroom environment is entirely different from my position. I use my real name, and have given out my blog address to family, friends etc, some of whom may follow the links to other blogs. Do I really want them reading the kind of stuff that Bill Taylor (Toronto Star)says about me, even when my back's turned, so to speak ?

I would say the worm has turned, except Bill Taylor would immediately seize on the word "worm" and use it to fashion a new insult, score a few points, go home feeling smug and satisfied, looking forward to repeating the performance over and over again. Why ? Because he just likes winding people up. I'm at the top of his list, but there have been others. It's all in the Colin Randall archives in my links.

BTW, Anne Gilbert, my lynx are in alphabetical order. But was it really necessary to go "anonymous" to suggest Colin R do likewise ? Why didn't you say it was you, once you could see the capital that Bill Taylor was making of it ? But thank you nevertheless for the moral support you gave me on Colin Randall's blog. It's at times like this one discovers who one's real friends are.

Sarah said...

No, Colin, it wasn't a risque pseudonym and I posted on the message boards, not the chat rooms.

As for family and friends, I'm sure they do not spend their time trawling through every item on the internet where you have posted. You must also credit them with the intelligence to separate out what they know about you from what someone who doesn't know you writes about you.

You don't have to stay silent, you just side-step provocation.

anne gilbert said...

It will be interesting to discuss the Internet on your next post ColinB.There are many concerns:privacy,personal security,who we are when writing to each other,whether we think we're real or not,do we see the other person as less than genuine.

As for using Anonymous in the recent episode,using the name ag brings a different response from bloggers.Richard knows me as he has an acute sense of connection of words,but he goes along with it.
Sometimes I'm of the impression an anoymous receives more respect than a name.
But I could go on.....

BTW, I did not step in between you and BT as never could there be any influence of mine to either of you that would be of any use.
In my opinion,one of you has a nasty disposition,as I said before,not for the likes of me.

Now what about Sarah's Enigma sometime perhaps.

PS.Using a real name you're committed somehow more than an anonymous.It's mixed up;blogging addiction,committment?

ColinB said...

Ouch, Sarah. I think you must have been a hospital matron in some previous existence. Everything starchy, including advice.

ColinB said...

Some profound thoughts there Anne.
Looks like there are issues that are long-overdue for discussion.
I think you've rightly identified the question of one's choice of name as critical. There are three main options, as I see it: one's real name, with no secret made as to geographical location, an obviously fabricated pseudonym, or, thirdly, something in between, like a real-sounding name, but no clues as to location (now who could I be thinking of there ?).

I came into blogging via Times's Debate etc where a real name was expected, so found myself sticking with that for blogging purposes.
That's not a problem, until the attacks start getting personal, and folk start questioning one's personal affairs eg tax status, or trying to rubbish one's career credentials ( totally out of order in my view). And any mention of family is a no-win situation once you find yourself in somebody's cross-hairs.

But if I could wind back and replay, I think I would still opt for real name, in spite of all that has happened. I recently got interested in a thread on the Guardian's "Comment is Free", quickly registered under my own name, blogged away for several days, and then discovered to my surprise that everyone else was using a pseudonym. But isn't there something lacking there, a certain frisson, excitement, even a sense of danger perhaps.

What's needed is for grown ups who choose to use their real names(eg BT and myself) to recognize their exposure, and exercise mutual respect and self-restraint. 'Cos if we don't, what hope is there of setting a good example to others like R of O, whose pseudonym provides natural cover. If you'll pardon the cliché, it's hardly rocket science, is it?

ColinB said...

All of a sudden, you have stopped sounding your usual lady-like self, Anne Gilbert. Now why should that be, I wonder. Looks like the mask is beginning to slip. And I'm not fooled by the deliberate contrived spelling errors to which you occasionally, just occasionally resort when you feel you need a bit of extra protective colouring.

Know something. I'm beginning to enjoy this thread. Hypocrite.

ColinB said...

PS And looking back to the start of this thread, perhaps I could be forgiven for "just wondering" if ......

anne gilbert said...

Can see a spelling error alright,too late to correct it though.
You had one yesterday.Made me open the Oxford,which is always a good thing as one usually finds more words that are sobering.
Where does a lady-like dark horse go now.
I was thinking the numbers are creeping up on your thread here.
Do you want to set a record together?

ColinB and the Hypocrite.
Blogged together as they saw fit.

ColinB said...

What say we have that drink together in Antibes some time ?

Talk about battles fought, battles lost, battles won.

Then bury the hatchet (weapon associated with Red Indians, oops, I meant to say First Nation Americans)

anne gilbert said...

Not to appear impolite here,but may I ask to whom the Invitation is addressed to?

ColinB said...

You shouldn't need to ask, Anne. Bill Taylor, who else ?

anne gilbert said...

It's a good day .

Bill,do you need help with the airfare.I could chip in.

ColinB said...

There's just one small problem here, Anne, if you'll permit me to mention it. Bill Taylor does not
read my blog. Maybe your message should be posted to one that he does.

PS Airfare yes. Accomodation seen to.

anne gilbert said...

ColinB if you don't mind.
If Bill Taylor does not read your blog,then should you have posted your invitation for him,here?

For clarity,could you rewrite the PS.

ColinB said...

No, probably not, Anne, but I have great faith in the blogosphere to transmit good as well as bad vibes.
Now's the moment for the good ones. They should be seized now. What's the point of getting ourselves tied up in semantic knots ?

PS Sorry if my PS was less than transparent. I know someone who keeps a small guest flat in Antibes, for occasional use at no charge to my friends and family. There's room for one more friend (and his missus).

anne gilbert said...

Another add on.
You said airfare yes.
What did you mean?

ColinB said...

We pay the fare from Nice Aeroport to Antibes. Usually the 200 bus, if there's one due shortly. If not, a taxi. The visitor pays the rest.

On the occasions when we need a car, we rent one.

anne gilbert said...

We know that Bill has recently returned from vacation and would have to decide when/if he would travel to France.
I would encourage you to believe that he does read your blog and therefore can look at these marvellous offers himself.

But if you need a conduite to be certain,I'll write him a note,then it would be his choice to engage you here on your blog.

If you are agreeable,say the word and it shall be done.

ColinB said...

Please write that note, Anne. The offer is open, and would be one of life's memorable experiences if realized.

I put up a post earlier that began "There's just one small problem here ...".

Ignore the first bit, the reference to other blogs. Pretend you never read it. It just muddied the waters.

The rest still stands (free accomodation). Maybe when we and our transatlantic guests get together for a drink, I'll try and explain my stupid reasons for writing it. Well-intentioned, but stupid.

anne gilbert said...

Off to Salut for you.

One last thing.My scroller is worn out from having to roll all the way through your thread to get to comments.

Redesign recommended.

ColinB said...

Truly a red letter day ! Restores one faith in human nature.

If your scroller's had enough, then why not use my dormant blog:

Alla salute !

ColinB said...

Well, you put your invitation up on Salut!, and Bill Taylor has responded in typical Bill Taylorish fashion.

Looks like we are back to Square 1.
That's such a shame. For one moment I thought I was really talking to the horse's mouth, so to speak, and getting somewhere.

But "Anne Gilbert" in not only obsessing again about hippos, but throwing Le Lavandou in for good measure. Now what was the point of that ? I know it's just along the coast, but let's leave Colin R out of this, for now at any rate. It just confuses the issue.

I took Bill Taylor's name out the tags last night. Just a small gesture, but one that can be easily reversed.

Time is of the essence. This is a blog, not a chatroom. Respond constructively please, Bill Taylor, or I shall have to proceed as described at the tail end of this post.

ColinB said...

I have just this minute posted the following to Salut:

Odd, isn't it, the way Anne Gilbert and Bill Taylor both seem to post at the same time of day. Keeping sociable hours as well, provided the clock is sitting on a Canadian mantlepiece.

Time to come clean, the pair of you?

C'mon now, we can all take a joke. Even a long-running one, like this.

PS I'm not expecting an answer for at least two or three hours, and then it will be a bleary-eyed one.

PPS Here's one that our "Anne Gilbert" posted to Colin Randall's Telly blog, back in the good old days:

Unfnished(sic) business

"Not a whole lot of good writing or thinking on this blog at the moment.Colin Randall is on his way to better times.Some of you may not see it that way,but that where it's at.Now moving on from all this roiling,stuff yourself style posts,let's get to the unfinished business.Y'all left The Fois Gras blog without bringing it to the number 103.Not nice to do this as it could have been and should be Mr.Randall's second place record.Finish the business please.And make it your best!"

anne gilbert at 04 Oct 2006 01:41

What struck this individual (himself a seasoned alias-creator) was the sudden uncharacteristic use by "Anne Gilbert" of "stuff yourself". But then I noted the time of sending. 1:41 am London time. But that's 20:41 Ontario(Eastern Standard) time.

And there were the neat little embellishments. Like failure to insert spaces between sentences. And occasional misspellings, or faulty punctuation. Not what one would expect of a perfectionist like Bill Taylor !

And I then wondered, how long can he keep this up? Let's play a waiting game !

Well, full marks for staying power, Anne Gilbert/Bill Taylor, even if the mask did slip from time to time.

Anyway, I think it's time the "two" of you owned up. C'mon now, we can all take a joke, especially a long-running one. But time now to call it a day, wouldn't you say, in view of recent events ?

We'll talk quietly among ourselves, while you two slumber on, blisfully unaware of what's happening right now on Colin's blog (French time, early morning shift).

ColinB said...

"One last thing.My scroller is worn out from having to roll all the way through your thread to get to comments."

Are you aware that once you arrive at Comments, one can bookmark that as a separate page. It saves having(the next time) to scroll down through the original post.

If you then need to refer to original post, you click on Show Original Post at the top.

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious. I'm avoiding the other way of saying that to prevent charges of ageism or sexism or suggestions that one eats one's eggs raw