Monday, 20 January 2020

Blue Monday, How I Hate Blue Monday

Today is the third Monday in January so grab a glass of something bland and let's celebrate the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday.
According to whoever came up with it, the third Monday is chosen due to it being cold, dark and probably raining, we are skint after Christmas and January is a five week month so payday is even further away, we have failed on our New Year resolutions and we are very, very tired and for anyone Self-Employed, the tax bill is due at the end of the month.
Of course it is all pseudoscience and i'd like to think that nobody takes it that serious although i have heard medical experts make the case that describing it as 'depressing' is inappropriate to people suffering real depression so point taken and i am happy to go with bleak, dismal, dreary, gloomy, joyless, melancholy or even somber Monday to avoid any undue distress.
The good news is that the days are beginning to lengthen, the bountifulness of spring is just around the corner when the weather will improve and for some people, today will be the best days of their lives for a multitude of reasons and if you are one of them, you're supposed to be miserable today - get with the program, yeesh!
Still, it's only 340 days to Christmas.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Well Done Harry & Meghan

Well the Duke and Duchess have shut us up, all the things us anti-Royalists moaned about their decision to step away from Royal Life they agreed to.
So we said they can't use their Royal titles if they won't be doing Royal duties and they won't so we then said ok then, but if you want to be financially independent you can't get taxpayers money and they said fine, we won't get any money from the royal purse.
Getting desperate we then said yeah, well, what about the £2.4 million of taxpayers money spent on your home at Frogmore Cottage and bugger me they said they will repay it back to us.
In a fit of pique at them being so bloody amiable we said what about the Charities you head and are now leaving in limbo you selfish sods to which they said they would continue to maintain their private patronages without payment so any visits made as patrons will be as private
individuals and not on behalf of the Queen.
Brilliant play by Harry and Meghan, i seriously wish you all the best, well done.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

I'm No Clown Says Trump

US President Donald Trump has warned the supreme leader of Iran to watch his language, following a sermon in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the American leader 'a clown'.
The Ayatollah had better watch it, Trump has a squirty flower and he is prepared to use it.
There are unconfirmed reports that he was so angry that he hitched up his too large, spotty trousers, stamped his large feet and jumped into his car but after the doors fell off, instead ran to grab his unicycle but slipped on a banana peel, stood up and slipped on it again.
Melania came to pick him up and after presenting her with a bunch of flowers whipped out from his sleeve, she led him indoors where he made her a beautiful balloon animal to calm down.
'I'm no clown' he uttered honking his horn and adjusting his bright, red nose as he mimed being stuck behind a glass wall and retired to bed saying that when he retires he will leave some big shoes to fill, tiny little gloves but massive shoes.

Save Humans, Go Veggie

Something which is obvious, but nobody dare approach, is that there are just too many of us on the Earth with the current population touching 7 billion but how many more of us can our planet sustain?
Based on calculations of the Earth's available resources, the magic figure is 10 billion according to the United Nations Population Division, but that comes with the proviso that our planet can handle 10 billion vegetarians, not that many meat eaters.
The Earth currently has 3.5 billion acres of arable land available which produces approximately 2 billion tons of grains annually and if all that grain was dedicated to feeding humans and none to feed livestock, then 10 billion of us can happily live side by side.  
As it is extremely unlikely that everyone will agree to stop eating meat, the maximum carrying capacity of the Earth based on food resources will fall significantly short of 10 billion, somewhere around the 6-7 billion figure which is where we find ourselves now and that is without the complication of arable land becoming infertile due to the consequences of climate change and ensuing desertification and water shortages.
Current projections put the global population at 9 billion by 2050, and 10 billion by 2100 and then we would have reached our absolute limit as far as Earth's capacity to keep us all fed is concerned.
Throw in the issue that an increased population means greater production of the gases that cause global warming and global warming will mean less arable land, then the 10 billion figure is beyond reachable as less and less arable land leads to the current 2 billion tons of grain being reduced and therefore less of us fed.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, meat is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions which is more than all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world combined so with every mouthful of cows anus or pigs eyeballs in your burger, you meat eaters are condemning all of us to a slow, painful, hungry demise.
It's time we grabbed the bull by the horn, or rather grab the fork off meat eaters because the population won't stop growing but we can all eat less meat to compensate for it.

FOAB Banner Pictures 2007 - 2019

The original FOAB banner picture from 2007, plain and from one of my previous blog's before i landed at Blogger in January 2007.

2010 and i began getting the top picture made professionally, this one has a GTA feeling to it as i noticed it while watching the IT Boys at work playing it one day and said how cool it looked so they made me this between stealing cars.  

2011 and i was looking to take a swerve to write more music related posts along with the other hippy, tree hugging stuff. I never realised until much later that the guitar pictured is a bass guitar but nobody seemed to notice so i went with it.     

2012 and the picture was depicting a newspaper header style but the 'some you win and some you lose' line is from the Carter USM 'Falling On A Bruise' song which is where i got the title of the blog from, a poetic way of saying people doing the same stupid thing again and again.

2013 and no real story behind this one, i think it was a painting that i saw and liked so asked if it could be turned into my banner picture.

This one from 2014 was one i was never quite sure of. It was a Pop-Art style and i was shown a few styles and plumped for this one but never really settled with it, too jarring to my eyes and i don't think it lasted that long.

2015 and this one i really liked a lot, the space theme coupled with the Environment and showing just how fragile the Earth is. I kept this one up for the longest out of all the banner headers.

I tried to change things around for special occasions such as Christmas and i had a few Halloween ones made up but i particularly liked this one from 2016 and used it a few times, suitably creepy.

2018 and completely inspired by the music system in my old car. It was also around the time i became involved more with a radio station hence the old fashioned microphone icon from the 50's and 60s.

2019 and my current, and favourite banner header. As the blog is ending, or rather my personal day to day involvement with it anyway, i asked for a picture with a farewell motif and me watching the Sun setting on the blog name in the middle is perfect.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Festive Winners and Losers

The festive shopping period is make or break for many retailers and the results are in and we can expect another culling of our shopping centres soon but the shop workers from which retailers should be nervously waiting for an announcement.
John Lewis’s 81,000 staff face a nervous wait after a poor Christmas period with profits down fell 2% while Waitrose, also owned by John Lewis barely scrapped a profit of 0.4% so not all rosy there and their senior partner has already left to spend more time with her family.
Shares in Marks & Spencer dropped on news that sales dropped by 1.7% over the Christmas period although the staff at the M&S Food halls should feel a little more optimistic as sales there were up 1.4%.
Superdry, already under pressure, issued a profit warning after sales fell 15.8% so staff there would be safe to start worrying as probably should Argos staff who saw sales finishing down 0.7% .
Another company to issue a profit warning was Card Factory who blamed quiet high streets for weaker than expected sales and Morrisons called the Festive period an 'unusually challenging period' to explain why there sales slid by 1.7% which is worse than the 0.2% drop suffered by the UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco.
It was not all doom and gloom though because some retailers found the period great for sales and nothing says Christmas like a Vegan sausage roll which Greggs said was one of the factors that sales were up 8.7% and why they are handing 25,000 employees a special £300 bonus.
Next also bucked the gloom as it reported sales growth of 5.2% and German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl trounced the mainstream supermarket chains with Lidl sales jumping 11% over the period and Aldi’s sales up 7.9%
Budget home furnishings chain Dunelm put their 5% rise in sales down to pinching customers from John Lewis which is a big clue to where John Lewis staff should be sending their CV's.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Royals v The Daily Mail

I don't have much love for any of the Royals and if Harry and Meghan thinks they can swan off to live somewhere else and have my tax pay for their security then they can think again but i do have sympathy for them both when it comes to the British tabloid press.
They seemed to have taken aim at Meghan as soon as she was linked to Harry and i don't believe it's racist as is being claimed, i see it more because she is not part of the British aristocracy as the usual Royal brides are.
The tabloids have for years been telling Meghan to bugger off and now that she is doing exactly that they are beating her over the head for it but it is the letter to her dad where i have the sympathy for her.  
The story is that she wrote a personal letter to her father just before the wedding to Harry which he then sold to the Daily Mail who published it.
Quite rightly she is suing them for all sorts of invasion of privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act and as the Daily Mail's pathetically weak defence is that her privacy was not infringed as the letter was written in 'elaborate handwriting which meant she anticipated it would be seen and read by a wider audience' means that she will probably take them for tens thousands, and i hope she does and her father should be given short thrift at the same time.
It is a shame that it is two institutions i care little about, The Royals v The Mail but i am cheering for the Royals on this one and if she does win enough money from them, she can pay for her own bloody security in Canada.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

The Brilliant and Scary Next Decade

My first mobile phones were a Nokia, then a Blackberry, both companies which in 2010 must have looked at their balance sheets and market share with pride and Apple's iphones were breaking through but in 2020 two are almost non-existent in the mobile phones market and one dominate so a decade can be a long time so we won't know what will be happening by 2030, most likely the the technology that will utterly dominate is barely a thing right now but there are some things which are certain.
I did ask a scientist and he got excited and said that after the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the search is now on for the hypothetical particle, the axion.
I made the mistake of saying 'What's that then?' and was told it was not a single particle, but rather a class of particles with properties that rarely interact with ordinary matter which could explain the long-standing conundrum of why the laws of physics seem to act the same on both matter particles and their antimatter partners, even when their spatial coordinates are flipped.
Nodding and feigning as if i understood a single word she said, i went away and thought of some more basic things which we can say with absolute certainty will happen in the next decade.

So far we have found 4,104 Worlds orbiting outside of our solar system and have classed 55 as possibly habitable against a small handful in 2010 so that number will only substantially increase in the next 10 years and with it our chances of finding alien life.

NASA and the ESA were the big players in space exploration but now we have private companies run by Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos sending their own rockets and planning some exciting adventures involving Mars and the Moon and eventually sending human passengers into space.

The decade that we just departed showed what happens when Mother Nature turns ugly and the human race will face larger and worse batterings from her as we try to get to grips with just what we have done to out atmosphere. It won't be pretty and the wake up call may be too late but we can't say we weren't warned.

Due to a changing climate, droughts, global warming and pollution will reduce the amount of drinking water available so as water shortages increase, the process of desalination, removing salt from water to make it drinkable, will have to become big business.

Vegetarianism and it's more harsher brother Veganism is taking a hold and vegan products increased by 25% last year, and big food businesses have come to the fore and the popularity will continue to grow as people continue to seek out environmentally friendly food options.

Although the Royals seem to go on forever, the Queen is 93 and while she make it to see in 2030, it is unlikely so its more likely it will be King Charles or even King William doing the Christmas speech that year.

Capitalism is not great, it falls down on a regular basis and drags many down with it but as it is protected by the very people who benefit the most from it, it won't be going anywhere so as we continue to wobble horribly from the last one in 2008, another recession is inevitable.

AI is now ingrained into our day to day lives and as the decade goes on it will become even more so making us even more reliant on computers to keep things running smoother until we get to a point where we cannot do without it and possibly disastrously, hand it more control over our human lives.

Any walk through any town centre with the closed down shops and the growing list of large traditional shops going under each year and the rise of online shopping will see a stark transformation of brick and mortar shops, transforming the high street in ways we would never have thought possible.

Unfortunately this will never go away but autonomous weapons with less human interaction will become the big thing in the business of killing another nations citizens due to their resources/politics/inhumanity/religion just the same as it has been happening for any decade you wish to choose since humans climbed down from the trees.   

I am sure there will be things coming down the line which we have no knowledge of yet but the years 2020 to 2030 will be as exciting, scary, fascinating and devastating as all the other decades.

Evil Regimes But Our Evil Regimes

The World has always had its share of bad guys, vicious, abusive regimes that nobody should be supporting but someone has and if you guessed 'the West' then congratulations, you have won a pair of goldfish and a pair of gental electrocution clamps.
The international community treats dictators as pariahs as they deserve no place in a modern world but occasionally a psychopath leader comes along who we not only turn a blind eye to but actually offer financial or military support.
Guys like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, a monster who had been responsible for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases of torture over his 30 years rule who received $1.3 billion in military aid each year and even when he ordered security forces to began the wholesale murder of protesters, we looked the other way as the bodies piled up in the streets.
Then there was Iraq's Saddam Hussein who Donald Rumsfeld was famously photographed shaking hands with in the 1980's to seal the deal of the arms, money, satellite intelligence and even chemical & bio-weapon precursors although this all went south when he endangered the oil supply, silly man.
Chile's Augusto Pinochet's 17-year reign of torture, executions and secret torture camps wasn't enough to dissuade the west from vetoing our friends extradition to Spain to face charges of murder in 1999.
The corrupt Somoza Family bled Nicaragua dry and slaughtered thousands which irked the residents of Nicaragua but the west did everything we could to keep them in power including support to the Nicaraguan National Guard, a brutal and sadistic terrorist group who bombed civilian neighbourhoods killing around 10,000 and funding their Contra terrorist campaign.
On the Korean peninsula, it hasn't always been the Northern part with the nutter, the South had Park Chung-Hee who banned short skirts, men's long hair and protests against his authoritarian rule, torturing and murdering thousands of protesters.
Suharto of Indonesian had fans in influential Western capitals even while plundering over £35 billion, killing one third of the population on the island of Timor, ethnic cleansing—raping, torturing and garroting hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chinese and murdering 2 million of his own people while receiving guns, riot-control vehicles, and fighter jets which the dictator used to bomb civilian areas
Before Castro the Cubans were ruled over by Fulgencio Batista making life hell for ordinary Cubans and who the West did it's best to keep in power despite the 20,000 Cubans he executed, bombing entire villages and rigging elections.
What’s a few human rights abuses between friends we ask while supporting the Al-Khalifa family in Bahrain, overlooking unlawful detention and torturing thousands of protesters to continue selling them arms as we do with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who executes homosexuals, deprives women of many of their rights, imprisons children and holds executions in the city centre but as they buy tens of billions of arms from the West, which have subsequently been used to massacre entire villages in Yemen, we overlook it.
Colonel 'Mad Dog' Gadaffi may have been forcibly removed by the West in the end but previously we we were besties, even detaining and extraditing enemies of the Gaddafi regime from over the world where they were beaten, electrocuted, tortured and murdered as well as funding the IRA terrorists to attack England and worldwide assassinations by his governments hit squads.
Might be worth remembering the next time our Governments are manoeuvring a regime into it's gun sights because there are some nasty, evil regimes around but if they are our nasty, evil regimes, they are okay by us.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Beginning Of The End For FOAB

As from today, i find myself in the same situation as Prince Harry in that i am currently between jobs, my new employment not starting until the end of the month so the goodbye's have been said but it is a few weeks until i get to say the hello's.
I am not sure what will happen to this blog, i am loathed to just delete the 4403 posts that have been thrown on here since 2007, but while that is being worked out i will continue with the Special Guest Blogger series as long as possible, i already have a couple of months worth of famous dead bloggers queueing up to give us their thoughts including Kings, Presidents, Emperors and other famous historical figures and that will probably be the direction the blog will go with more famous figures taking over with the occasional blog post thrown in when, and if, able.
I am sure that i will find plenty to do for the next three weeks or so, it would be nice to get to 4500 blog posts before Lucyp signs off and the great and good of history take over but 96 more posts is fanciful at best so i will settle for as many as possible by the 27th January.
If anyone was wondering about the new picture at the top of this blog, i asked for a subtle 'farewell '
motif and it is a setting sun, poignant and strangely beautiful and is probably my personal favourite out of all the graphics i have had up there over the past 12 years.