Kanji Gold

A shot of Kanji Gold in action


This downloadable 2MB freeware flash card program written by Dr. Denton Hewgill features a comprehensive and flexible testing system. There are a large amount of Kanji and testing options to stretch the user with different grades.

After a title page, it launches into a multiple-choice test with a list of possible answers (in grey) and a list of compounds (in blue) of the Kanji in use, are at the bottom to provide clues. Button between the answers and the examples can turn on or off hiragana, compounds and switch the examples from English to Japanese.

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The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call: New Orleans

A film directed by Werner Herzog in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina with Nicolas Cage as a corrupt detective. I was expecting an outbreak of madness on the level of Aguirre or Fitzcarraldo. The most notable thing was Nicolas Cage’s performance. Indeed, this is possibly Herzog’s most conventional film ever. No bad thing because Nicolas Cage shines. However, I would have liked more singing Iguanas.

An image from Bad Lieutenant

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Four Lions: The Funniest Film about Terrorism Ever

“Is the honey monster a bear?” 

By the time you’ve heard this line of dialogue your sides will be splitting. Terrorism is something that the media and government spook us with. Perhaps comedy is what we need to rationalise terrorism and fear.  

Whatever, let’s leave the cod-philosophising to the side and focus on the important questions. Is it intelligent? Yes. Is it funny: Hell Yes! The trailers do not do this film justice. Make it through the first 20 minutes and the laughs come rolling in. 

A Scene from Four Lions
Going to the Top Floor


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Witnessing the Filming of Doctor Who Spin-Off: The Sarah Jane Adventures

Okay, awkward title, I know but I managed to see the Doctor Who spin-off: The Sarah Jane Adventures filming. What was more awesome was that I got pictures and an autograph from Daniel Anthony (Clyde) :

Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer
Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer


and Anjli Mohindra (Rani):

Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra)
Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra


 The two were hard at work and, despite looking like they were freezing to death, they were both really cool to the fans who showed up and stuck around. Thanks go out to the two of them.

A Very British Political Crisis Resolved: David Cameron is Prime Minister

How do you know this is a British political crisis? Because there are well-practiced procedures and precedents whilst discussions take place. Any other country and there would be angry protestors, violence and running gun-battles with troops on the street. Now, it is at an end and Gordon Brown has resigned.

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The British Voters Have Spoken! The Answer: Uh…hmm. 2010 General Election

I believe in the power of the vote and I believe in my duty to vote. Better people than I have fought and died for the right. I voted Labour and they secured the seats in my city. Unfortunately they crashed out in England. Not the heavy defeat that the media predicted (despite the oceans of hate and dire predictions they spewed out at Labour and Gordon) but they still lost to the Conservatives. My reaction was something like this:

Voter turn-out was higher than the last general election but no one party had overall majority and thus no political mandate. We have to wait for the horse-trading and alliance making that the parties will conduct to see who comes out on top.

Obvious prediction? We are going to get a minority Government run by the Tories backed by Lib Dems which means political paralysis and ineffectual politicking that will see the UK marginalised within important world institutions like the EU and UN. We will also suffer terrible economic reforms that are going to be created purely to satisfy the money markets and the rich.

I’ve got to say that over the past 13-14 years, Labour HAVE achieved a lot and they were a better lot than the Tories that preceded them – Labour did have something of an ethical foreign policy and despite the illegality of the war in Iraq, I’m willing to believe that something good can come out of it.

The OECD gave a positive report about Britain that was uniformly ignored by the media. This allowed the other parties to attack the government on issues in which efforts were showing results. For example, one of the major issues the Tories and Lib Dems attacked Labour over was child poverty – during the recession it had increased. However the Britain performed well in reducing it over the preceding years.

 Child poverty: Child poverty in the UK is declining. The fall in child poverty rates in the United Kingdom between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s was the second largest in the OECD after Mexico. The United Kingdom was bucking a trend: on average, child poverty in the OECD rose slightly over the same period.


More results:


We’re entering a new period in British political life – first Hung Parliament since 1974 and what will probably be a short-term minority Conservative government with a new general election in a couple of years. We only have ourselves to blame if things go bad.

As far as the polling process the foreign media have been reporting: People were turned away from polls because they were late, or there were too few people/facilities to handle the number (even though polling stations were open from 7 AM to 10 PM – anybody who left it late, you had your chance). When I voted, the polling station was empty. We’re not third world, we just need to be better organised.

An interesting side note is the question as to whether we are seeing the UK fracturing. Scotland and Wales were leaning heavily to the left – out of step with England.

Check the BBC News Coverage