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There may be a delay in unsmiting…

As a key element in the samizdata-world interface has left London for a while, it is possible that there may be delays in unsmiting people whose comments get moderated by the samizdata SmiteBot.

Why? I am out of London in a strange place where taxi drivers have five phones powered by a cigarette lighter…


…the art is interesting and often very irreverent towards cultural icons and authority figures…


…oh, and William Gibson, please call your office…


20 comments to There may be a delay in unsmiting…

  • RRS

    But, is England weaker without you?

  • mike

    “The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

  • D. Neilson

    So it was bright blue. Always gotta love the unintended change there.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I am sulking. I wanted to go too.

    Ah well, I hope the SmiteBot’s Master enjoys being freed from his slave for a bit.

  • Paul Marks

    Have fun.

  • Alisa

    Why, did Michael Jennings take a vacation from traveling to strange places?

  • Mr Ed

    That’s not a strange place, the car is RHD.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    So this is the fabled Internet Cloud! Anyone for cloud-surfing?

  • PapayaSF

    What is the story with the five phones…?

  • CaptDMO

    Wow, five phones.
    In “New” England USA, the driver would be on the way to an “anti-social” spanking! (and huge fine)
    SO, in those cars where the steering wheel is on the wrong side, is 1st gear closest, or furthest away from, the driver?
    Do newer cars in England have ashtrays and cigarette lighters, or just the “power outlets” that will NOT light up anything BUT “accessories” (aka driver distractions).
    Cup holders? Ever notice (ie) Saabs didn’t have cup holders? Ever wonder WHY?
    What IS the penalty for driving while stoned in England?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Surellin

    Yo, CaptDMO, you just touched on a sore subject with me. I have always driven “classic” cars (read: old and cheap) so this newest car of mine is the first I have had with no lighter and no ashtray. I am incensed. A replacement lighter is a five-buck item, but no ashtray means cluttering up the car with an old pop can or some such. All so the manufacturer can do what is best for me against my will? Damned nannies – I wonder whether the Feds leaned on them a bit.

    In a similar vein, we had a sandwich machine in the staff lounge here at work. Then the machine started to be stocked half with foods that people wanted and half with “healthy” food, which didn’t sell. After a few months the machine was removed for being unprofitable. I am morally certain that the company running the machine was not so stupid as to stock the machine with unsaleable items – it undoubtedly was the bright idea of some nitwits-in-power at the university where I work. Thanks a lot, fools.

  • England prevails!

    You should however remember that England Prevails only in as far as it is served by those who adhere to the founding principles of Norsefire and abide by their Articles of Allegiance.

    Do we really want to be discussing (even in jest), adherence to principals which can at best be described as fascist and at worst parallels the activities of Auschwitz?

    For what else is the parable of St. Mary’s if not a modern day reenactment of the worst excesses of the Third Reich?

  • Mr Ed


    SO, in those cars where the steering wheel is on the wrong side, is 1st gear closest, or furthest away from, the driver?

    1st gear is furthest from the driver in RHD cars, top left of the gate almost universally. I did once drive a dodgy Nissan ‘Jeep’ on a holiday in the Canaries with the gearbox gate reversed with 1st where 2nd usually is and v.v. through the gates. It was hellish, having to over-rule the natural move at every gear change.

    AFAIK, from driving in Europe, the gearboxes in ‘stick-shift’ cars are the same wherever the steering wheel sits.

  • Laird

    Thanks, Mr Ed, that’s good to know. The only time I drove in the UK I very carefully got an automatic transmission; driving on the “wrong” side of the road was tricky enough without also worrying about shifting!

  • Bruce


    The first time I went to the US I hired a car at the airport.

    Got looks of confusion when I asked for a “manual”, our term for a “stick-shift”.

    In the end I settled on a Ford Taurus with a “slush-box” (as my mechanic father called them).

    It took less time to get used to driving in “the wrong lane” than to stop reaching for the stick and prodding the floor where the clutch pedal should have been. All of this “on the job training” was taking place at dusk, leaving the airport at Vegas and trying to find the road to Salt Lake City, with my lovely wife trying to read the free “map” from the hire company with the aid of a mini MagLite. And this after more than 24 hours of flying and airport “lounges”.

    Later visits have ALWAYS involved a GPS in the car-hire package. Then again, at highway speeds, you sometimes get the “voice” telling you to take the next exit, just as you have passed it. In such circumstances, as in rally driving, having a good HUMAN navigator is essential.

  • Mr Ed

    I found when driving in Spain that I could usually set off fine, but if I stopped to take in the scenery, and set off again on a quiet road (when on my moped) the lack of a reference point like a left-hand drive steering wheel often led to me going on the wrong side of the road, and on one occasion I was silently swearing at the loony Spanish driver heading straight for me on a country stretch before realising my error.

    The other tricky bit was roundabouts, I was once completely non-plussed after a few years away from Spain when back in a hire car, and decided to wait to see what came along to the other entrances and see which way round it went before proceeding.

  • Laird

    Bruce, I sympathize about finding your way out of that airport. But once you get onto a long straight road (and there a lot of them out west, very long and straight!) all should be good. When I was driving in Scotland I was impressed with how well the roads were marked, and the highways were no problem. But the roundabouts and winding country roads were another story altogether!