Thursday, 16 August 2018

Aretha Frankilin

Sad news about Aretha Franklin although i only really knew her name rather than being a fan of her Soul music.
Undoubtedly she had a great and distinctive voice but i only really know her from the RESPECT song and the hits she had in the mid-1980s, 'Who's Zoomin' Who', 'Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves' and 'I Knew You Were Waiting For Me'.
As Rolling Stone magazine put her at number one for the best vocalist ever and reading the websites where there seems to be genuine sadness that she has died, i will admit her songs sort of passed me by all these years but then Soul music and Motown never really did it for me.
The obvious question is will Aretha dislodge the recently appointed Prince as singer in the Best Band in Heaven and i'm afraid not.

A Level Results Day

It's 16 August so it must be A-level results day today and by now you have probably opened your results and are either staring into a cup of coffee feeling like your World has ended or you are in a group excitedly jumping up in the air and waving your exam slip which is the photograph that newspaper editors seem to like.
Other things which will happen today is that a celebrity will mention how you shouldn't worry if you didn't get the grades you wanted as they got a D in Maths and English and are currently sitting on a yacht in Monaco.
Also an older person will definitely comment how exams are much easier today than when they sat them but you can smile nicely and then ignore them because they are just trying to justify their lower grades, exams are certainly not any easier today. 
You will also be asked about your plans for the future today but today isn't the time to be fretting over that, you just finished two years of hard work, you got 50 years of work stretching out infront of you so take today to go to the pub or just do anything that isn't educational or work related and enjoy it because you earned it.
If you have been staring into a coffee all morning missing out on the results you wanted, doesn't mean you’re going to be living under a bridge for the rest of your life.
So you might not be on the path you expected, but there are many different routes to the same destination so don't give up, this just means you have to find another way to get there so cheer up and go and eat your own weight in ice cream and don't worry, the list of people who failed their A Levels include Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell and JK Rowling and they turned out okay.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

I'm Not A Racist But...

Those of us on the left are facing a growing challenge from the racist and fascist right in the UK, encouraged by people like Donald Trump, Tommy Robinson and Boris Johnson whose recent remarks regarding Islamic women appeal to that same audience.
Seems a good time then for the Anti-Nazi League to announce they are remobilising to oppose the racists and fascists wherever they meet and hold large-scale events to reassert the values of a decent society fit for all and resist the rise of far-right politics in our society.
So if you are a racist and you are worried about being exposed by the anti-racists then you had better get your thinking cap on regarding how you are going to weasel out of being labelled as a hater.
Most racists tend to start their sentences with the words 'I'm not a racist but...' and then go on to say something awfully racist but that isn't going to cut it anymore so here are some tips from some famous racists.
I can't be a racist, i have a black/muslim/indian friend is a favourite although of course your black/muslim/indian friend could well think you are a dick and avoid you so it isn't really enough but we do have some other examples of racists trying desperately to show they are not actually racists afterall.
The Roseanne Barr excuse is a new one, her racism was caused by her medication of sleeping tablets, Ambien, although the makers of Ambien put out a press release that racism is not a side effect of their medication but if you have a cold and a non-white colleague confronts you with some of your facebook posts or Tweets then try blaming that Lemsip you drank.
Alcohol is another good one if you need to explain away that blog post about why Jews are evil and you would be following in the footsteps of racism pioneer Mel Gibson, who once proclaimed to police that Jews started all the wars in the world when he was pulled over for drink driving.
He also blamed too many lager and limes for tapes of him dropping the N-word and racial slurs against Latinos although Eric Clapton explained away his epic racist outburst where he explained that his comments that England was a white country and needed to send black people back to Africa as issues with his drug addiction.
If you have a background of racism then you can throw yourself on our mercy by blaming drink, medication or drug addiction because all of these sound a little bit better than just admitting that you are an ignorant, small minded, prejudiced bigot with shit for brains.

Murderers Come In All Colours And Religions

It was more luck than judgement that saw a terrorist ram his car into a immovable barrier before he could mow down pedestrians in Westminster yesterday.
For the third time in 18 months, the area has been targeted by terrorists and once again the weapon of choice was a vehicle which makes the whole thing even scarier.
While we can block off pedestrian areas to vehicles, unfortunately we are unable to stop a crazed lunatic with intent and a car from reaping havoc on our streets so what more that could be done?
These terrorists don't suddenly appear out of the woodwork as threats to society and as it has been revealed that the terrorist in this latest attack, Salih Khater, was a Muslim Sudanese refugee, the nasty right-wing mouthpieces are sure to find the solution in tougher immigration laws and louder anti-Islam rhetoric.
Police and the security services have previously said there are around 3,000 active 'subjects of interest' plus a wider pool of more than 20,000 individuals who have featured in enquiries and are kept under review.
The numbers are truly scary and even more when you hear that Khater, did not appear to be known to authorities and had no links to any fanatical religious group and was not a regular attendee to his local mosque .
It seems the current anti-terrorist strategy is to regard religion as the root of violent acts which is to dismiss the gratuitous violence whether they claim to be acting in the name of Allah, white supremacy or anti-Islam, the van driven into a crowd of Muslims outside a mosque by a white supremacist racist last year show that it isn't just one side who use vehicles as a way to kill those they deem unworthy.
Unfortunately horrible, murderous people come in all religions, colours and races.

Afghan War Trundles On

We don't seem to hear much about the war in Afghanistan these days so it has probably gone under the radar that the Taliban has retaken the city of Ghazni.
As Iran is being manoeuvred into America's military sights, the war that it has been fighting for the past 16 years goes on despite the overwhelming manpower, firepower and technology that the US has applied against the Taliban.
The Taliban, have demonstrated the ability to attack American and Afghan forces despite increased air attacks under President Donald Trump’s recently announced policy of intensifying US action which should be raising concerns in Congress and questions being asked of just how long American forces will remain in Afghanistan.
Iraq was abandoned which allowed Al Queada under the guise of Islamic State to flood back in and cause murder and mayhem and with the Taliban showing no signs of giving up a military solution in Afghanistan isn't the solution but as Americas caused the problems it has a obligation to not just leave Afghans to the whim of their attackers.
The Trump administration needs to fix what America has broken, in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya and leave the bringing of Democracy at the end of a missile alone and not meddle in the affairs of other countries because that never works as the trail of broken countries which began with Afghanistan since 2001 shows.

American Youth Turning To Socialism

The problem with Socialism in America was that people who were against it equated it with Communism so it was easy to dismiss but slowly the American public appear to be realising that it isn't the same thing at all and have started to read a bit more about it.
It was excellent to see Bernie Sanders speak of his enthusiasm for Socialism and a new Gallup Poll suggests that he has touched the minds of the youth of America with 51% aged 18-29 now viewing Socialism positively while only 45% thought Capitalism was the way ahead, down 12% from 2016.
Capitalism has a nasty habit of frequently collapsing in on itself and when it does it takes down everything with it and the youngsters have noticed it and realise that they don't have to just plough on with the faulty system and Socialism is a viable alternative.    
Possibly the drop in support for Capitalism is the beginning of the end with more Americans feeling left behind as the rich get richer and 40 million US citizens still live in poverty, and five million of these live in third world conditions according to a UN report released this June.
The Socialists now need to capitalise on what Sanders began and embrace the public’s demand for a more radical left with progressive ideas and not allow the right wing to portray Socialism as the Communist Soviet Union or North Korea and instead point to the places that have implemented successful Socialism such as the Scandinavian nations who top almost every top 10 list for education, healthcare and general welfare of its citizens that you care to pull up.
Capitalism is a failed experiment and the next generation of Americans are now seeing just how toxic it is but whether they do anything about it or if the Socialists can take advantage of it or even if there is a younger, more dynamic Bernie Sanders to take up the cudgel remains to be seen.

The Outer Space Treaty

Not enough that we have weapons to destroy us all many times over here on Earth, the big nations are now moving weapons into Outer Space with America attempting to bring in a version of the Space Forces that Russia have had since the 90s. 
What nobody seems to be mentioning is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty or to give it it's full name, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
Signed by all the big military players, China, Russia, France, the UK and Russia, it bars the signatories from placing weapons in Earth orbit, the Moon or any other celestial body and is overseen by The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
The UK have said that they are preparing actions to counter 'intensifying threats' emerging from other nations in space and are looking to expand the role of RAF Air Command to take in military space operations while Donald Trumps America is creating a Space Force in order to counter Russian and Chinese operations.
The Chinese have the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force responsible for 'combat operations in space' is up and running while the French Joint Space Command's mission is to: 'contribute to the operations in coordination with military operators'.
As nations are already stuffing space full of military hardware, why is the UN not screaming and waving the Outer Space Treaty that they all signed up to at these countries?
If only we put as much time and effort into making life better for all of us living on Earth rather than thinking up ways to maximise killing each other than we would be so much better off.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

God Messed Up So Says Whistleblower

When my mobile phone rang i was expecting it to be the Garage to tell me that some bit of my car had failed the MOT and i would need to sell several internal organs and my first born to pay for it but turns out it was a whistleblower from the Universe Building Committee, the team of advisors behind God.

After i turned on the recorder, the voice began explaining how God had cut corners and used shoddy materials while creating the Universe and everything in it. 
'Straight away on Day 1 we had problems' said the informer, 'we told him to take his time and we allocated at least 12 months for such a huge job but he said he wanted to get it all done in a week and the initial idea was to have just the one Sun and one planet for the humans and although we told him that he would need to make the Suns first so he could see what he was doing, he insisted that as the Hydrogen and Helium required wasn't due to be delivered until Day 4, he would just have to crack on'. 
He got a bit of paper and wrote: 'Note To Self: Sun = Day and Moon = Night' and then mashed together some rock of different sizes and said he would decide which one would be Earth later and then said he was calling it a day literally and went off for a lay down.

The second day he chose the Earth from the pile and although we told him again and again that it hadn't set properly and the top bits would crack and not fit together and slide around causing massive quakes, he ignored us and went ahead making the sky and stuck post-it notes on it saying 'Sun Here' and 'Moon Here' then he made the sea and another post-it note saying 'Fish Here' and finally on the bits sticking out of the sea which would quake terribly, he stuck the label 'Humans Here'.

On the third day he set about making the vegetation and fruit trees and he started off making them all wonderful colours but after a boozy lunch, he came back in the afternoon and decided that he was 'fed up piddling about with all those different colours' and just done everything Green before falling asleep in his armchair.  

The elements for the stars arrived early in the morning on the fourth day but straight away he just couldn't get the mix right so we ended up with hundreds of billions of stars of different sizes dotted around the Universe which kept being extended to accommodate them all. In the late afternoon and after almost using up all the Hydrogen, he finally managed to get it right and after a few attempts to
get the Sun to go around the Earth he gave up and mumbling 'nobody will notice', mashed up some more rock so each Star had at least one planet each and scattering the rest around the Universe, went off with the remaining Helium to sit in his office and make crank calls to the other deities in a squeaky voice.

On the fifth Day God was up bright and early as he planned to make all the earth's creatures and he made the sea creatures easy enough but his first few attempts at fowl that may fly above the earth were not a success, coming up with some that had wings but couldn't fly as they were too heavy and by the time he had the dimensions correct the Sun had started to set and the Moon, which was supposed to shine but still wasn't working, had risen so he quickly shoved all the black and white birds that couldn't fly and preferred to swim down the bottom of the Earth where he hoped nobody would see them and with a 'see ya tomorrow' stamped off to bed.

The sixth day he turned up in a terrible mood and began throwing together animals and placing them randomly on the Earth. The cattle and dogs and cats and things were fine but he started to make things with big claws, poisonous fangs or sharp pointy teeth and stingers so we told him to take an early lunch and come back later in a better mood to make the humans. While he was gone we managed to shift a lot of the awful creatures to what would become known as Australia before he came back.
As he left the humans to last he was running short of material so he proposed making one, the man, and then the woman later so he spent all afternoon perfecting the man, a beautiful creature combining together all the best bits of the previous animals as well as being impervious to pain and disease (why he made diseases and viruses heaven only knows), but after going for a coffee, left the man on his chair and without looking, sat on him.
Thinking nobody had noticed, he quickly scraped together some dirt in the vague shape of himself, blew into it's nostrils and shoved him quickly into a garden with some apple trees, stood up, stretched and acclaimed 'Job done'.
When we pointed out we also needed a woman he sighed and asked me to go fetch him a headache tablet and when i came back their was a woman stood next to the man who was ferociously rubbing his side and angrily shaking his fist at God and saying something about a missing rib but God quickly ushered me away towards the door and turned off the light.

When he didn't turn up on the seventh day i called him on the phone but he was adamant that he was happy with his creation as it was and that he would iron out any problems later and had allocating his son, Jesus, to keep an eye on the humans and if their was only problems he would 'pop down to sort them out later' and anyway, he will be around to answer any questions or smite those who need to be
smited' and if the humans got uppity about it he could just wipe them all out with a flood or something.

I put these accusations that his creation was a bit of a mess to God who said he was far too busy at the moment answering prayers, blessing America, saving The Queen, making sure the right athlete won the 100 metres hurdles and don't even get him started on all those Holy Wars that he had to orchestrate so he couldn't answer any questions and i should get my people to speak to his people and go through the proper channels if i wanted to speak to him.

Monday, 13 August 2018

New Singer For Best Band In Heaven

What started out as a one off concert for Jesus's birthday a few years back, the Best Band in Heaven made up of dead musicians who were just lounging around on clouds has gone from strength to strength.
We had just finished a nine night tour of Valhalla when God came up to me saying that his place had been inundated with new musical arrivals recently and although he was happy with Bonham on drums, Lemmy on bass, Strummer on guitar and Hendrix on lead guitar, he was keen to exploit some of the newer singers that had shown up recently and he was never really happy with the Freddy Mercury man laying with man thing so he sent me a list of new, popular musical arrivals which would appeal to the younger generation of recently deceased.
Fearing a thunderbolt i decided to make use of Google to see who was the most popular dead singer so using the tried and trusted 'I Love...' method, i ended up with the following list:

Prince 714,000,000 hits 
David Bowie 47,700,000 hits
John Lennon 45,500,000 hits
Jim Morrison 27,700,000 hits
Freddie Mercury 27,400,000 hits
Tom Petty 27,000,000 hits
Jimi Hendrix 19,100,000 hits
Chris Cornell 15,400,000 hits
Janis Joplin 14,300,000 hits
Kurt Cobain 13,500,000 hits

Not one to upset a deity who once sent two bears to maul 42 kids to death for making fun of a bald guy, i told Freddy to do one and drafted in Prince to go front and centre hoping that he wasn't still doing that weird squiggle thing with his name.
I telephoned God to tell him who the internet had picked and after he said he was happy with the publics choice he said he wanted to discuss the playlist as he wasn't sure about the inclusion of 'Sympathy for the Devil' and 'Highway to Hell', but the line suddenly went dead and we were suspiciously cut off.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

A New Era For Arsenal

As the memory of Arsene Wenger fades, for Arsenal and it's fans it's the dawn of a new era, the era of Spaniard Unai Emery and it starts today against reigning Champions and title favourites again this year, Manchester City.
So far Emery has said and done all the right things and Arsenal looked particularly good playing in the pre-season International Champions Cup friendlies although to be fair it may not be fair to judge Emery in his first game against the expensively assembled Manchester City team who will sweep all before them again this year as they did last season.
I don't think many gooners are expecting us to be slugging it out for the title this season and even the top four has got fairly crowded so i'm looking at a slow improvement with Emery continuing to build over the next two transfer windows and moving towards getting back into the top four as a first step before putting together a challenge for the title in the coming seasons.
I hope to see more of the impressive teenager Mattéo Guendouzi who excelled in midfield in pre-season and i hope that Arsene, wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying your retirement and that you too enjoy Arsenal's season without the pressure.