Monday, 23 January 2017

UK Song For Europe 2017

Eurovision song Contest seems even more pointless now as Brexit showed Europe we hate them, they make no secret that they can't stand us right back but in that stiff upper lip British way, we still think we have a chance in the singing competition which we never did very well in even when we were on good terms with our neighbours.
So today we unveiled the six shortlisted UK Eurovision entries and all are as limp as an erectile dysfunction meeting (i assume) which removes the usual excuse that we had a decent song but came last because the Europeans hate us because this time we will come last because whichever song wins the right to represent the UK in May is going to be a duffer. 
All songs are sung by X-Factor contestants and the winner is to be chosen by a mix of judges and the public because last time we chose it alone we went with Joe and Jake and 24th place out of 25.
The bookies favourite is Holly Brewer's dull 'Wish I Loved You More' but it is like choosing if you want vomit or diarrhoea rubbed into your hair.
I will still watch but between now and May i will be researching my family history to see which country i have a tenuous link to cheer on which luckily, being English, i can use at the next World Cup also. 

Let There Be (Artificial) Life

Science obviously doesn't think we have enough organisms on the planet so they have managed to create some synthetic artificial ones.
An excited person in glasses and a white lab coat has been explaining how organisms have been created with synthetic DNA which paves the way for entirely new life forms although the only new life-forms they have created so far are E coli microbes so we are not ready to grant them human rights so far.    
The initial work was aimed at making bugs that churn out new kinds of proteins which can be harvested and turned into drugs to treat a range of diseases but the same technology had also lead to the ability to 'create organisms with wholly unnatural attributes and traits not found elsewhere in nature' which all sounds a bit concerning.
The scientific explanation used the letters X and Y a lot and what looked like pictures of tiny ladders but ended with a stern looking professor type saying: 'This will lead to the concept of semi-synthetic living systems'.
Humans creating new forms of life? What could possibly go wrong or maybe i have just seen too many films where scary things escape from scientific labs and ravage all human life.

Stopping Israel's Unlawful Actions

Well that United Nations Resolution didn't do much as Israel waited until Obama was safely out the door before announcing it was building 560 new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem.
The United Nations security council adopted a resolution demanding a halt to all Israeli settlement in the occupied territories after Barack Obama’s administration refused to veto the resolution and reiterated that Israeli settlement was a 'flagrant violation of international law'.
Now that Obama has gone and Donald Trump is in charge, the Israeli Government have decided they can carry on snatching Palestinian land stating: 'The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump's arrival as president. We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama'.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that: 'We strongly condemn the Israeli decision to approve the construction' so what happens next now that the Israeli Government see a chance to push forward with much wider settlement programmes and force the Palestinians into an ever decreasing area.
The Palestinian leaders are already saying that they will seek International Criminal Court indictments of Israeli leaders, push for a formal probe into whether Israel is violating the Geneva Conventions, and get foreign governments to ban the import of any products made in Israeli settlements.
The EU already has a policy of clearly marking produce that comes from the disputed area and i am pleased to say that it has had an effect with a huge decrease in produce from that area much to the chagrin of the Israeli Government who predictably branded the move anti-Semitic.
So now it is over the the United Nations to see what they can do to bring Israel back into line as much as they ever have been and stop their murderous and unlawful actions with Russian style sanctions and legal action.

What Trident Missile Mishap Was That Then?

The first World leader to turn up at the White House to meet the new President Trump is our very own Theresa May although she is refusing to say if she will bring up the touchy subject of Trump being touchy around women. 
I assume she will be wearing a cricket box as extra protection but during her interview she did reveal that the subjects that she will mention are the fight against terrorism, trade and NATO and a return trip for the President to come to the UK which should be interesting considering the demonstrations held here at the weekend before he has even done anything Presidential, George W Bush had to invade a couple of countries on trumped up charges before he got that sort of treatment.
Something that certainly won't be discussed is Britain almost accidentally landing a nuclear test missile somewhere in Florida last year or if she knew and covered up the failure before spending £40 billion on the misfiring system.
Four times she answered about having faith in the Trident system when asked about her knowledge of the failed test and then tried to turn the argument around to needing a nuclear deterrent which falls down if you send £40 billion on one that doesn't work properly.
In a move that was once the behaviour of the Soviet Union or North Korea where they won’t admit to things going wrong, the Government wheeled out a spokesman who said: 'The capability and effectiveness of the Trident missile, should we ever need to employ it, is unquestionable' which flies in the face of what we found out this weekend when the face it almost flew into was some retired
pensioner sitting outside his house in Florida.
Still, at least we have a nice demonstration to look forward to when the Orange President turns up if he hasn't been impeached or second amended by then.

Friday, 20 January 2017

2017 Looks Good With Trump In Charge

Don't you just hate it when you go to bed in one year and wake up propelled 30 years into the future, well that's exactly what happened to me today.
When i went to bed last night it was the 19th January 1987 and when i woke up it was 20th January 2017 and my wind up alarm clock had been replaced by something called a DAB Radio/Alarm clock and the place on the floor where i threw my Guns N Roses T-Shirt and ripped jeans last night was a neatly folded blouse, pencil skirt and sensible shoes. 
The TV was now a slender, long rectangular screen and after searching for the remote control i discovered an older, fatter version of the shy, introverted tea boy i knew from the Streatham and Tooting News presenting a morning TV show and he was chattering about the New American President, his friend no less, being inaugurated today.
While checking out the window to see if flying cars or jet packs had become a reality yet (they hadn't), i saw the Commodore 64 had been replaced by a tall black box and where the shoebox of game cassettes previously sat was now a rack of shiny silver discs.
It took a while to find out how to turn the thing on and the screen confusingly flashed 'WINDOWS' and showed me a screen of small pictures instead of the 'PRESS PLAY ON TAPE' message i was used to seeing.
The Streatham and Tooting News tea boy continued wittering away in the background about something called an Obama and a Trump (did make me smile as i wondered if a trump was still another name for a fart in this strange future year) and i found that if you moved the thing shaped like a bar of soap then the arrow moved on the screen and i directed it towards the picture named Firefox Shortcut and (accidentally) clicked the button on the top which opened up something called a Google but the Google had a flashing cursor so i felt a bit more comfortable and typed in 'TV anchor Streatham and Tooting news tea boy'.
After seeing his name was Piers Morgan and feeling happy that the shy introverted boy had landed a job in TV i typed in 'US Presidential Inauguration'.
Seems since i had been asleep Ronald Reagan had been replaced by a George Bush, then a Bill Clinton, then George Bush again, then Barack Obama and now Donald Trump (snigger) was about to become President.
There were a lot of blue paragraphs on the Google which showed that judging by all the references to him grabbing pussies he obviously liked cats which was a good start and when i saw he enjoyed Tweeting regularly, well you can't hold anything against a person who does bird impressions.
The Streatham and Tooting News tea boy was showing a picture of Donald Trump shaking hands with the latest Soviet Union leader called Putin and they seemed very happy and smiley together so i guess the Cold War is over, especially as the tea-boy explained that the Russian had helped Trump become President and a bit of cooperation between previous enemies is always nice, he had even organised a peace party for him in a Moscow Hotel, i think he said peace party anyway.
I ended up reading that the Trump (snigger) had built many hotels and when he was President he said that he would build walls in America and Mexico so it's good to see that he will get his hands dirty and won't lose his building trade skills. 
As is usual with these leaps, i didn't have very long in the future and before i had chance to see if a promising singer named Madonna ever went on to do anything, the flashing white light came to bring me back to 1987 but i just had time to type this out and leave it here on the WINDOWS for the 2017 version of me to read and let me know that as i understand it, the World in 2017 seems in good hands with the Pussy grabbing wall builder who enjoys a good party piss up at the helm and if he is a friend of that nice, shy and retiring Piers guy, then he must be ok.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Alone Again (Naturally)

You do have to feel for Donald Trump because not only is he so fat and ugly that he has to pay for women to urinate on him, but nobody wants to come to his big party as now more than 50 Democrats are refusing to watch as the sex deviant is sworn in as the 45th US president
Not enough that his political colleagues are poo-pooing him but almost anyone who can hold a microphone has declined his invite to sing at his shindig citing excuses from washing their hair that day to just not wanting to having anything to do with the perverted racist.
The inauguration has already been cut to 90 minutes and along with a dearth of star names there will now been rows of empty seats but the Trump team say that it's OK because they need the seats for ordinary people and have been running adverts on Facebook and Twitter inviting people to come visit Washington for the inauguration and featuring a video of Mr Trump promising that the whole
thing will be 'fantastic'.
An estimated 800,000 to 900,000 people are expected to flood the nation's capital on Friday for the event although that also includes a number who are there to protest against Trump and doesn't compare favourably to Barack Obama who had a crowd of 1.8 million people when he took office eight years ago.
With just 2 days to go until Russia's choice becomes the first orange President, the President of Destination DC, the city's convention and tourism bureau has said that the level of enthusiasm and demand for hotel rooms has been: 'much, much slower than anyone would have anticipated for a first-term president'.
Never one to pass up a Post-Truth when he can just plain flat out lie, the president-elect dismissed the low numbers as 'phony' and 'rigged', insisting that: "people are pouring into Washington in record numbers" which they will be as over 200 activist groups and organisations have signed on to support a march to demonstrate for racial and gender equality, affordable health care, abortion rights and voting rights which are perceived to be under threat from a Trump presidency.
Poor Trump, if only he wasn't such an idiot.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Another One Bites The (Moon) Dust

For those of us with an interest all astronomy, it is a depressing fact that 1969 saw the first man to walk on the moon and 1972 saqw the last one because we haven't bothered going back since.
With the death of Eugene Cernan, of the 12 men who have walked on the moon, six are now dead and of the remaining half dozen the youngest is 81 so we could very soon have nobody alive who has walked on anything other the our own planet.   
Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon although that was due to his seat being closest to the door of the lunar module so he was last in and had to shut the door behind him.
During the interviews being shown during clips on the TV, he said something quite revealing, stating that to his mind man went to the moon 'too early considering what we’re doing now in space'.
He did make a good point because the next step should have been moon bases and manned landings on Mars but almost 50 years on we have abandoned our lunar partner and we are still trying, and failing, to successfully land probes on the red planet so landing a man on one of our nearest planetary neighbours is still a pipe dream.

May's Calamitous Self-Harm For Britain

If nothing else you have to admire Theresa May's bravado.
Finally she has spelt it out what Brexit will look like and it is no access to the Single Market but maybe remaining a member of the Single Market and removing ourselves from the Customs Union but having a deal to stay in it and absolutely, definitely no longer making contributions to the European Union every year although there could be some European programmes that the UK will contribute to.
All in all it came across as very much 'WE ARE BRITAIN AND WE WANT THIS...if you don't mind awfully and can we still be part of the club if that's okay with you all'.
She even sounded tough when she warned that trying to punish the UK for leaving would be an act of 'calamitous self-harm' for the remaining EU members, yep, all 27 of them.
I would offer very short odds on what Theresa May wants and what the EU offer will be very different things, as they have said countless times, access to the Single Market, the largest on the planet, means accepting free movement of people and paying for the privilege, no deals, take it or leave it.
That Theresa May is now saying we will leave regardless of any deals is beyond delusional, as were those who voted for Brexit, seemingly content to do the equivalent of taking our shop out of the middle of the high street with 500 regular million buyers and relocate it in an out of town retail centre with tens of millions of shoppers.
Why would any country choose to deal with Britain and its 65 million potential customer when it can get a better deal across the channel in Europe with its 500 million potential customers or China's 1.3 billion or India's 1.2 billion.
For all the bravado, the Prime Minister and the 52% who voted for Brexit are the ones undertaking the 'calamitous self-harm' which will become apparent in the two years after Article 50 and the demands May is making now turn out to be so much hot air as the economic implications begin to bite and Britain's influence on all things global shrinks to the lowest it has ever been.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

BuzzFeed and Journalism

Obama was the first black President but Trump is about to make history as the nation's first orange one but the colour everyone is interested in is Golden, as in the colour of the showers that the next President has a preference for.
As if he isn't mock-worthy enough already, the four times bankrupt businessman has given further ammunition to anyone who wants it despite his protestations that the prostitute piss party in the Moscow hotel room did not happen.
Although Trump seemed to take umbrage at CNN, digital media 'BuzzFeed' were the outfit who made the decision to publish an intelligence report apparently commissioned by Trump's Republicans opponents, filled with salacious and unsubstantiated claims about the next Presidents outrageous behaviour in Russia.
The news website posted the unredacted documents with a warning that the contents were 'unverified and potentially unverifiable' but put the rest of the media in the position of either ignoring a story in the public domain which they had sat on for weeks as it was not independently verified or repeating the allegations with the previous mentioned caveats which they almost all did.
Some critics have rounded on BuzzFeed, calling it irresponsible for letting loose 'gossip and rumour' who replied that: 'Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice. But publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017' and repeated the warning that reason to doubt the allegations.
My reading of the situation is that both the UK and US intelligence chiefs appeared to be giving the 'rumours and gossip' some credibility so have a weight of legitimacy about them coupled with Trump's own strong rejection of reports that Russia had hacked the US election and his subsequent back-down which shows an immediate knee-jerk reaction to dismiss and belittle anything which doesn't show him in a good light until the proof is such that he has to accept it.
Throw in the racist, sexist and 'pussy grabbing' remarks and mocking of the disabled reporter along with the arguments with the parents of the dead soldier which show his moral bar isn't set very high and you could very well believe it all.
As for Buzzfeed, to publish unverified intelligence is irresponsible and a bit troubling that they see it as the way journalism works in 2017 which it isn't and should never be, a minimum of double sourcing is lesson one in any college journalism course. 
To their credit the UK and US broadcasting media rejected reporting the allegations until they were in the public domain and then draped them so full of caveats that they watered them down (excuse the pun) as much as possible to leave nobody in any doubt that these allegations were unverified.
What this does seem to show is the difference between 'new media' and 'old media' who are aware that their credibility is at stake if they publish or broadcast something as meaty as this without proof to say nothing of possible slander proceedings, something that 'new media' seem indifferent to.
Whether it turns out to be true or not, the mud has been thrown and it will amusingly stick to Trump throughout his tenure and i'm happy with that as he is well worthy of all mockery coming his way but my concern is that Buzzfeed will be considered 'journalism' which it isn't because Editors of any respected news organisation know that to publish information it knows may not be true and has no supporting evidence is not how journalism works.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The 12" Extended Remix

One of my overriding memories of my music buying youth was queueing up outside HMV for Guns N Roses 'Use Your Illusions I and II' which was released at midnight in 1991.
I took it home, ripped off the wrapper and kept getting shouted at to 'TURN THAT BLOODY RACKET DOWN, IT'S 2AM' by my dad as i wheeled through the songs.
What Guns N Roses were famous for were their long songs and the Illusion albums had Civil War at 8 minutes, 9 minutes of November Rain and Estranged and a whopping 10 minutes of Coma.
For us children of the 80s the only way you would get a song over 5 minutes was to buy the 12" Extended Remix and i still have a few knocking around although i don't own a record player and they haven't seen a record needle held down by a taped on 2p piece since OJ Simpson was in the news for not killing the wife that he killed.  
Since them days music has gone from vinyl to cassette to CD and now you pay for a download so you don't even get to handle the medium it comes on now but most sadly you don't get the 12" extended version of songs.
I have a box somewhere stock full of 12" remixes of 80s and 90s records and occasionally i drag it out, look at the artwork and wonder whatever happened to the mustachioed dancer from Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
While many of the 12" extended versions were just an instrumental version with the original song tacked on the end there were some classics and almost completely different songs which almost makes me nostalgic enough to go out and buy a record player so just i can hear them again.
I won't though because despite what some people say, songs never sounded better on vinyl, they sounded scratchy and hissy while digital is just so much clearer but in a tremendous own goal for the record industry, easier to copy and pass around but i do miss the artwork and the 12" extended versions.
Oh, and the FGTH guy with a 'tache went off to live in New Zealand and released an album called The Cowboy Years in 2010, so that's nice for him.