Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Moyes Sacked

As a fan of one of Manchester United rivals, i'm gutted that David Moyes has been sacked.
I was hoping that as he was doing such an awful job there that they would keep him until the summer and then sack him which by then they would have been out of the European places and the club would wither away and we would never have to be bothered by them again.
As it is i'm glad they waited until they werer out of contention for everything before realising how bad he was.
As they have sacked him with four games remaining, they will now have the new manager bounce and   probably end up in a UEFA Cup place which is pleasing as Arsenal qualify for the Big European Cup and play Bracelona and AC Milan while Robin Van Persie will be sitting on the bench injured at places like FC Shakhter Karagandy and HNK Rijeka.
Still Ryan Giggs may be just as bad as managing as he was at keeping secrets when he was bedding his brothers wife so Manchester United may well flop again next year. Here's hoping.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Demonising Public Sector Workers

Since they have got into power the Conservatives has been effective in blaming two groups for spending all our tax pounds, anyone on benefits and those in the public sector. 
The National Audit Office published a report into the costs of the bail-out and concluded: 'The amount of cash currently borrowed by the government to support banks has risen by £7bn to a total of £124bn since December 2009'.
Before the crash in 2008 the public sector was not the enemy but suddenly times are tight and rather than blame the bankers (private companies back then) for taking the cash, the Conservatives are targeting the people who receive money from the Government instead.
The Conservatives transformed a crisis of the banks into a crisis of public spending so as the bankers who paid themselves £14bn in bonuses last year are forgotten and the blame is on the public sector workers leeching off the taxpayer.
So which of the cushy jobs in the public service can be slashed with no effect? Shall we do with a few less nurses, teachers, firefighters, librarians, police officers, bin-collectors? Can we do without so many military personnel or less collectors bringing in tax or how about we lop a few off the number stopping the asylum seekers sneaking through our sea-ports? 
It's classic divide and rule politics that some are stupidly falling for, make low-paid supermarket workers and those sitting in call centres resent teachers and nurses and so when the inevitable strikes come as announced by the Teachers Union this weekend, support from anyone outside the public sector goes missing.
The Conservatives have been successful in demonising anyone on benefit, even pensioners, and is working on demonising the people who work in hospitals and schools or put out fires and empty our bins.
The groups who should be demonised are the bankers taking our money and continuing to whoop it up, the private sector companies that pays their employees such low wages that the Government has to top up their income with Tax Credits, the tax evaders depriving the coffers of billions and the Conservative party and their supporters who portray the public service as dispensable because it isn't.
Remember that next time you telephone HMRC and are on hold for 30 minutes or you are in pain in a hospital waiting room for an hour or that pothole at your end of your road shreds your tires because nobody has been around to fill it, the Conservatives has shrunk the Civil Service so there are just less of them to do all these important things and if the Conservatives get their way, there will even less of them in the future.

Great Firewall Of China

Because the Internet is full of drunk Australians and Americans discussing guns, China sensibly blocks most of the web from the sensitive eyes of it's Chinese citizens.
Sensible because who wants to see a bunch of English people discussing the Queen and tea non-stop but that also means that the Chinese people can't read this blog which is a real shame as i think they would enjoy it.
It is unlikely that China will relax its internet access laws anytime soon so they have created their own sites to replace Facebook, Twitter and Youtube which we can access.
In China they get on Renren, send Weibo's through Sina Weibo and access clips of cats doing cute things in Youku and as every fifth person is Chinese, that's a lot of people Weiboing and Renrening each other. 
Alas Australians will always be drunk, Americans will always be obsessed with guns and the British will drink tea by the bucket so China will not experience this bloggers views on things but just in case there is an internet cafe somewhere in Beijing offering access to Western sites for a few renminbi, 你好中国 不要担心 您不丢失.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Cameron Stung

A Jellyfish is a spineless creature that causes pain and misery and people go out of their way to avoid while David Cameron is a spineless creature that causes pain and misery and people go out of their way to avoid.
It is reported that David Cameron has been stung by a jellyfish while holidaying in Lanzarote after wading into the sea and emerging shouting in pain seconds later.
'I tried to warn him that the poisonous creature was close by but he ignored me' said another Jellyfish. 
Cameron's condition is being described as bloody hilarious.

Game Of Thrones

For such a televisual phenomenon, it was hard work to find anyone who had watched Games of Thrones and when i did the reaction was underwhelming. Not perturbed by the lack of appreciation for something that seems to have gripped the World, i watched the first series this weekend and thought that was 10 hours i won't be getting back.
It is beautifully shot with gorgeous scenery and wonderful costumes but as the credits rolled on the final scene i was left wondering just what everyone had seen it it that i was missing.
Set in a medieval fantasy land, it is full of overacting actors who are either kings, queens or knights saying things like 'my liege' and 'honour for my family' and hugging each other.
It can only be the multiple scenes of bums and boobs and soft porn sex that people find so exciting and then it struck me.
If you liked Lords of the Rings or you are a horny 14 year old boy then you will probably enjoy it but i thought it was so overrated and just plodded along with the occasional shot of a woman's boob to keep the young men interested but it has all the hallmarks of classic nerd television to watch as a break from playing World of Warcraft.
Maybe it gets better in following series but i won't bother to find out, Game of Thrones isn't for me thank you.

US Screwing Over EU?

Russia and the EU each have a concern in the Ukraine as the country is on the very doorstep of both their boundaries but America is thousands of miles away so why it is holding talks and making threats is not easily obvious apart from the well worn fact that where there is a war, America is usually involved somewhere.
John Kerry is over here making threats of sanctions against the Russians if they don't keep to their side of the deal brokered over the last few days which isn't going down very well with the EU who is having a hard enough time with the faltering economy as it is without tinkering with their relationship of Russia largest export partner worth £292 billion annually to the EU.
Easy to see why the Europeans are wary of American led sanctions threatening their largest source of income, especially while America has less to lose as Russia are 15th in the list of countries the USA export to and here is where the murmurings from EU representatives are whispered, the USA is screwing the EU over.
The US is keen to see more sanctions on Moscow because the US has very little interest directly in Russia and are eager for the EU to pull back on its interests in Russia which would allow America to have a better chance to get in subsequently when relations improve and step in with replacement of what the Russian's provide to the EU and what the EU provide to Russia.
So while it seems that American involvement is just because America is always up for a bit of conflict, war and mayhem, it may also be to guide the EU away from Russia so it can replace it for its own economic benefit.
As the EU is not playing ball with America and talking down any idea of sanctions on Russia maybe the murmurings of the Americans using the conflict as an excuse to urge the EU to step back so it can step in have reached the ears of the decision makers who are now wise to it.

Vinyl v CD

There is a shop in town that sells vinyl records and only vinyl records and as it has been there for as long as i can remember, it must be doing some business but i don't think i have ever seen a customer go in or come out of it.
There are some people who will wax lyrical about vinyl records but i think of them as romantic fools because i have been there in my teenage years and vinyl records are not a patch on CDs. Allow me to explain.

Firstly, vinyl records scratch easily and once scratched you are forever consigned to your song jumping at the same part forever or more annoying, it will keep repeating the same line over and over and over until you nudge the needle.  
Secondly, because the needle staying in the groove of the vinyl depends on gravity and gravity being a bit rubbish, you have to tiptoe around your room while playing the record or else the record player arm will jump and you will go from track 1 to track 4 in an instant, risking a dirty great scratch.
Thirdly, i have heard the argument that vinyl records are of a better playback quality which i have never understood as i remember constant crackling and hissing in the quiet bits of songs.
Fourthly, cardboard sleeves would rip and tear and the sharp edge of the record as you dropped it into the sleeve would tear and the record would poke out the other end of the sleeve.
Fifthly, vinyl records warp and you are treated to a display of Mariah Carey style up and down the range singing even on non-Mariah Carey songs.
Sixthly, CD's take up less room and you don't need to set aside half a room for your collection of Ska albums from the 70s.
Seventhly, downloads and CD's are portable so you can hear your music anywhere you go, try that with a record player and see how far you get.
Eightly, CD's turn into MP3's easily and MP3 players are cheap while your choice of record player is your parents one in the attic from 1980 or a new one which would set you back over the cost of 50 MP3 downloads.
So CD's don't scratch as easily, you can move while they are playing, the playback is better quality, plastic sleeves don't rip, they don't warp, easily stored, portable and cheaper equipment are just 8 reasons why CD's are not only far superior to vinyl but a good reason why it's replacement was such a success and vinyl was ditched in the first place.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

What The Future Holds

It seems unbelievable that the first Back to the Future film was made in 1985 and showed a future of 2015 where people zipped around on hoverboards and there were parking zones for flying cars so unless science has been holding back on unleashing these inventions, they got this very wrong.
That's the problem with the future, we can only guess what its going to be like until we get there and i'm guessing it's not going to be DeLorean cars and flux capacitors.
The Pew Research Centre has been conducting a survey concerning what we want from our future science and our concerns about what the men in white coats and pens in the top pocket may bring.
65% said they'd be concerned about future robots, quite right to i say, while 53% said it would be a change for the worse if most people wore devices that constantly showed them information about the world around them.
What we do want is driverless cars (48%) brain implants to improve mental capacity (26%), lab-grown meat (20%) while 19% wanted flying cars or bikes, 9% wanted the ability to travel through time and 9% mentioned health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases.
2% wanted Hoverboards, 2% immortality, 1% inventions to make household tasks easier, 1% new energy sources and 1% wanted science to bring world peace. 
11% of respondents said that they are not interested in futuristic inventions, or that there's nothing futuristic they would like to have but then i did warn them not to ask at the Luddite Fellowship. 
Quite rightly the advance of artificial intelligence is the publics greatest concern but i'm not quite sure how having Google on your t-shirt stacks up against being enslaved by super-intelligent robots hell bent on taking over the World but that's probably why i wasn't asked.

Men And Books

On the 10th September 2001 the book 'My Pet Goat' was an unknown tale about a goat that eats everything but on 11th September it became one of the most famous books in the World as George W Bush heard about the attacks while having it read to him by a child.
After being told, Bush continued to sit there listening for a further seven minutes before deciding he had better do something, the time between being told and doing something explained by his supporters as 'The President projecting strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening' but we all know he wanted to know how that bad boy ended.
Bush is not alone in not being big on reading books himself, a Reading Agency says that 30% of men have not read a book since school with 'not really wanting to' the main justification.
Now if you are a man, or know one, i'm about to make a list of books that i recommend for them which may suit their more limited abilities.

1. Colouring books. Lots of pictures and you get to play with crayons and no difficult words to read.   
2. Pop up books. As these are aimed at children no tricky words of over two syllables to struggle over.
3. Audio Books. Have an actor read out all those difficult sentences for you.
4. My Pet Goat. Find out what enthralled GWB so much that he couldn't tear himself away. 

If all else fails, follow the George W Bush method and get a child to read a book to you. What i don't recommend is for men to run before they can walk so if you own a pair of testicles and you are tempted to read a book, start off at your intelligence level, approx aged 5, and then slowly build up from the likes of 'The Hungry Caterpillar' to something a bit more complex like 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' before you even consider tackling more grown up literature like Harry Potter.
You never know, one day you may become confident enough to REACH THE BLOODY INSTRUCTIONS ON THINGS!!

Celebrating Easter

Easter has always been the second to the more showy holiday of Christmas but Christians will argue that Easter and the death of Jesus is more important than Christmas which celebrates his birth.
How true that is i don't know and don't particularly care but i won't let a lack of religion get in the way of eating my own body weight in chocolate over the weekend.   
The story of Easter is less well known than Christmas, something to do with the Easter Bunny coming back to life is my understanding of it all, but while we always hear about the war against Christmas, why is there no war against Easter?  
We also have a wide range of Christmas songs foisted upon us every year but off the top of my head i can't  think of any songs with a Crucifixion or Easter egg theme. If Easter is more 'important' than Christmas then you would have thought Slade or The Pogues would have put out a 'Merry Easter Everybody' single about hanging up a crucifix on your wall, It's the time that every Judas has a ball.
At Christmas even the religious songs get an airing but there seems to be a large gap in the market for songs celebrating Easter which is a question i posed to the Reverend who lives opposite who mulled it over for a few seconds and replied that deaths are not usually celebrated but births are so it would make sense that the we celebrate the birth of our Lord but...i glazed over at that point but it seems the dirth of Easter songs is down to Easter not being a time of celebration.  
While the Easter Bunny died for our sins remember that too much chocolate can be bad for you as chocolate contains something called Theobromine which is a poison and while i can't find an exact figure how much chocolate you would have to scoff before calling an ambulance, a fatal dose for a 44lb (3 stone) dog is 20kg so rounding that up, you can safely eat 6.6kg of chocolate for every stone of weight so this Easter put on a hat made of thorns, slam some Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the CD player and eat that 40lb solid chocolate bunny and let's reclaim Easter.