Friday, 29 July 2016

The Turkish Coup Plotters Had A Point

Since the attempted military coup to overthrow Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, three weeks ago, the reinstated leader has shut down 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, three news agencies and 60 newspapers and magazines which he claims did not give him their full backing and therefore were sympathetic to the coup leader, Fethullah G├╝len.
42 Journalists have been arrested along with 6000 military personnel while also newly unemployed are 21,000 teachers, 15,000 education ministry employees, 1577 university deans, 9000 police officers, 2745 judges, 1500 finance ministry workers, 100 from the National Intelligence Agency, 492 from the religious affairs ministry and 399 from the social affairs ministry.
'We will dig them up by their roots so that no clandestine terrorist organisation will have the nerve to betray our blessed people again' explained Erdogan Officials signalling that the country was to undergo even further major changes in the coming days.
The coup organizers said that they were taking action because Edrogan had become to authoritarian and undemocratic and judging by his actions since regaining power, they may well have had a point.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Things To Do By 11 3/4

To quote Alice Cooper, School's out for Summer and from what i have seen most children have been running around holding their mobile phones and looking for Pokemon.
The National Trust has issued a list of 50 things you should do before you are 11 3/4 and there is no mention of capturing a Bulbasaur or training a Golbat but it does take me back to my carefree younger days when the only Drowzee we knew was Grandad and a Jigglypuff was the fat wheezy kid from down the road.
I' m 47 1/2 and i am proud to say that i can tick off 49 of the 50, the 'Catch a fish with a net' continues to elude me but although i may not have done them by 11 3/4, I have done the following:          
   
Climb a tree
Roll down a really big hill
Camp outside
Build a den
Skim a stone
Run around in the rain
Fly a kite
Eat an apple straight from a tree
Play conkers
Go on a really long bike ride
Dam a stream
Make a daisy chain
Play pooh sticks
Jump over waves
Pick blackberries growing in the wild
Make a grass trumpet
Go star gazing
Climb a huge hill
Catch a falling leaf
Go swimming in the sea
Build a raft
Go bird watching
Cook on a campfire

The full list is at the National Trust page.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Left Need To Wise Up

I don't know why the left are so bad at elections but it seems Bernie Sanders supporters in the USA have been affected by the same syndrome as Jeremy Corbyn supporters here and that involves letting into power the very people or party that you want to keep out.
Sanders supporters are booing and refusing to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton which means less votes against the Republican Nominee Donald Trump and in turn could see him sneak into power.
Over here, Jeremy Corbyn cannot win the next election but the Labour Party members are refusing to overthrow him for someone who can and the anti-Corbynites are refusing to vote and so the Conservative Party slip in for another five years.   
Supporters of Sanders and Corbyn seem unwilling to face the reality that their guys cannot win power and so seem willing to let the 'enemy' win rather than contemplate voting for someone else of the same side.
Cutting off your nose to spite your face is never a good tactic, and especially not with as something as important as who runs your country, but they need to make the shift from who they want to win to making sure they stop who they don't want to win.
You may need to hold your nose as you vote for Hillary or whoever finally replaces Jeremy but it is always better to have someone from your side of the fence in power who shares some of your beliefs and values rather than someone from the other side who is your polar opposite.
Hopefully Sanders and Corbyn supporters will wise up to this fact because five years is a long time to spend moaning about the 'enemy' getting in and a long time to wait until you get the chance to kick them out again.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Physical Books Resurgent

The death of the physical book have been greatly exaggerated as book sales have rocketed by four million this year, the first rise in sales since 2007, while digital book sales dropped for the first time since 2011.
I own a kindle and use it often but have always preferred to have the physical version which i can hold in my hand and place on the bookshelf and it seems that enjoyment is returning for many others also.
It helps that bookshops have moved with the times and most now incorporate a coffee shop and seated area so you can peruse the books on offer and sip at a latte but i would take a stab that the main reason is due to the Government closing so many libraries in it's fit of austerity that readers are finding it harder to loan books now so are buying them instead. 
So far this year 85 million printed books have been purchased and if i ever get around to writing up some of the novel outlines i have in the 'Books' folder on my desktop, i hope to join in the surge for book lovers.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Tennis Balls And Semi-Automatics

The more we hear about the Republican Party in the United States the more it sounds like a nuthouse and the reputation of it being the equivalent of the Monster raving Loony Party was underlined when Ann Coulter, a politcal commentator and Donald Trump supporter explained with a straight face that the reason tennis balls, light bulbs and oranges were banned from the Donald Trump Convention but guns were allowed was because: 'Tennis balls and oranges are more dangerous because expensive firearms are less likely to be thrown, just fired'.
Coulter was being interviewed by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain and with a wry smile he replied that it was 'slightly odd that firing a rapid fire, semi-automatic effective machine gun might just possibly be slightly more dangerous than hurling a light bulb at somebody.”
Coulter replied: “No but the point that it is easier to hurl a light bulb or a tennis ball or an orange, which can do damage, is that it makes it much more likely to happen'.
Not sure if that is Ann Coulter logic, right wing logic, Republican logic or window shakingly stupid gun nut logic but when you are stopped from carrying a tennis ball but are able to carry a semi-automatic weapon around, then the lunatics really have taken over the asylum, and if Piers Morgan is laughing at you for your stupidness you really do need to have a good look at yourself.

Fiscal Reset Ahoy

Most things come with a reset button now, it's for when things have gone so wrong that you need to start again which is fine on your phone or your router but i'm not sure what it means when the Chancellor says it about the economy. 
After just over a week in the job, Philip Hammond has looked at the books and announced that he is considering 'a reset of fiscal policy' although he wouldn't expand any further on exactly what that meant, saying that he would 'have to put something else in place'.
While Theresa May is trying her hardest to sound and look like the last female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, her team have been scurrying around not doing very much but you know as Tories, they will soon be doing far too much and it usually involves taking from those who can least afford it.
They also have a ready made excuse with the recent Brexit vote and news that in the wake of a massive fall of the pound and the announcement that the UK economy is tanking that they have to slash away at whatever is left after the last Chancellor hacked and smashed his way through everything in an ideological fuelled frenzy. 
He may surprise us and put the top rate of tax back up or increase corporation tax and chase those not paying it (Hello Amazon, Google, Starbucks) but more than likely reset will mean further reducing benefits, pensions and selling off  what little family silver we have left.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Not All Right Now

If he hasn't annoyed most sectors of society already, Donald Trump is now getting it in the neck from musicians as his choice of Free's 'All Right Now' at his convention has resulted in the songs writer calling in the lawyers.
Paul Rodgers co-wrote the song with another member of Free, Andy Fraser, in 1970 and on hearing that his bands most famous song was being used and abused by Trump said 'Permission to use "All Right Now" was never sought for or granted by me. My lawyer is dealing with this matter'.
Other artists have also objected to Trumpton using their music, Queen said that his use of 'We Are The Champions' was  'An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes' and the estate of Beatle George Harrison, said the use of 'Here Comes The Sun' was 'offensive & against the wishes of his estate'.
Adele's hits 'Rolling In The Deep' and 'Skyfall' were played at Trump political rallies earlier this year and she told him to stop it as 'permission had not been granted'.
Neil Young and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith have also objected with Tyler's lawyers issuing a cease and desist letter, saying that Trump 'did not have our client's permission to use any of Tyler's songs because it gives the false impression that he is connected with, or endorses, Mr Trump's presidential bid'.
The best prize for best objection though has to go to REM's Michael Stipe who responded to Trump using 'It's The End Of  The World As We Know It' by saying: 'Go f*** yourselves, the lot of you - you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign'.
It doesn't have the lyrical fluency or flow of 'Losing My Religion' i agree but what a brilliant reply.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

How Not To Get Eaten On Holiday

All around the country passports are being searched for, flip flops are being packed and the sun-cream is being checked for the use by date as the UK is due to put up the 'On Holiday' sign as we all fly off to far flung places for a few weeks.
Britain's most dangerous animal is a badger so we can get a bit blase about the dangers in the wild but the rest of the World is not so lucky so we should be boning up what we do if a dangerous animal attacks while we are abroad.
Luckily the internet tells us what to do so depending on what it is attacking you, we should be ready to make sure that we haven't flown halfway across the globe to become a bears breakfast.        

Large Cats: Yell, shout and make as loud a noise as possible, don't run but stand your ground and hold out clothing like wings to make yourself look bigger. Throw rocks at it.

Bears: Yell, shout and make as loud a noise as possible but don't run. Back away slowly or cover your head with your arms and hands and play dead if the bear still approaches. If the bear attacks claw the eyes and nose with as much violence as you can muster.

Wolves and Wild Dogs: Avoid eye contact with the wolves, as eye contact is a sign of aggression and walk away slowly while yelling and shouting and slumping your lower body and head in a submissive gesture.

Snakes: Back away while watching the snake for signs of coiling as it is a prelude to a strike. Fend off the snake with a stick if it continues to moves towards you.
 
Alligators and Crocodiles: Should you see a crocodile on land, run away in a straight line. If attacked in water, gouge the crocodile’s eyes. If you are unable to attack their eyes, go for their nostrils or ears instead. Hit the animal on the nose if it grabs a limb. Avoid being shaken or pulled into the water.

Sharks: Move slowly towards shore and keep your head above water. Excessive splashing or activity attracts sharks. Remain still if you feel the shark brush against you. Fight back if the shark bites you by punching and scratch at the eyes and gills.

Rhinocerous:  Try not to run but slowly walk away from it without making eye contact. If it is charging at you, try to get out if its way. If there is a tree near you, climb it or get behind it.
  
Moose: Back away and change the direction of your travel. Run and try to climb or get behind a tree or other obstacle.     
        
Deer: Face the animal, raise your arms and your jacket, to make yourself appear larger. Swing the jacket around to make yourself appear formidable. Run and try and climb a tree. 

Bees: Run as quickly as possible and cover your head and face. Get into a closed building or vehicle as soon as possible.
        
It's a Jungle out there so stay safe and make sure you come back in one piece and sat at your desk by September, those spreadsheets won't update themselves you know!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

It's Trump!!

The inevitable has finally been confirmed. After months of campaigning, racist rhetoric and plagiarized speeches, Donald J Trump has been officially named as the Republican candidate for president.
Although nobody expected him to get this far, the smart money is on Hillary Clinton dragging hubby Bill and her secret e-mail server into the White House in November and the Trumpster going back to spending his fathers inheritance money on Scottish golf courses.
The irony is that if the Republicans had elected almost anyone else, they would have a shot at beating Hillary who is the second least popular candidate ever, only beaten by Donald himself.
While Trump has been going on about Mexicans being rapists and banning Muslims from the States, Hillary has been outed as such a spinner of yarns that even Hans Christian Anderson would be impressed.
What it all means is that whoever America chooses, they are getting a wrong'un as they say over here and the handcart directed towards Hell that we are currently all in will be going just that bit quicker.

Doing Something Better Than Doing Nothing

When some people learn what i do to pay my bar bill they make a remark about not watching the news anymore as it's too depressing or moan about journalists only concentrating on bad news.  
Hard to disagree with the first point, the news can be depressing but i can shake my head at the second point, the news reflects what is happening in society and if bad things happen, then these bad things have to be reported.
Recently, it appears that the bad news has been coming thick and fast with Brexit, Orlando, Nice, Donald Trump, Shootings, Celebrity deaths, Climate Change, racism, Turkish coup, Austerity, Syria and Iraq so the feeling that things are spinning too fast for some is understandable.
The answer for some is to withdraw and stop reading newspapers and make use of the remote control when the introductory music for the news starts up.
As tempting that option may be, we can't stop the world and let anyone off as the World isn't stopping and we are stuck here turning with it.
The answer is to do the opposite of burying your head in the sand and engage with the things that we can do something about and just reluctantly accept that there are some events that we can't.
If America votes in the tangerine coloured lunatic then nothing we can do about it, same as if a nations military decided to have a go at overthrowing the Government or a religious zealot decides to please their God by killing as many people as possible.
There are some things we can try and influence by demonstrating, voting, petitioning or educating so while doing nothing and avoiding hearing or reading about awful things is always an option, doing something to try and not make them happen in the first place is a much better one.