Friday, 30 November 2007

Aberdeen Sends Trump Packing

The Scottish have a bit of a reputation for having short arms and long pockets when it comes to money. Fair enough they also have a reputation for being drunk all the time and the men wearing skirts but having a scrooge like devotion to money is what we on the more sober side of Hadrian's wall mock them about.
That stereotype may be in danger now after Donald Trump came waving his wad about in the east of the country only for the locals to tell him to take his money and his dubiously coloured hair and sod off.
The billionaire planned to build a £1bn golf course on sand dunes in Aberdeen but salmon fisherman, Michael Forbes, refused to sell his 23 acres of land that sat slap bang in the centre of the proposed golf complex.
Seeing his dream swinging in the wind, Trump offered £450,000 for the land with a salary of £50,000 a year for some unspecified job thrown in. Forbes refused. All he wanted was to be left in peace and quiet he said.
Trump's business team then set about smearing Mr Forbes and it was this that seemed to seal the fate of the doomed development.
Complaints to the council surged as the city folk stood behind Forbes and yesterday's ruling that the application for the development had been refused, ensured Trump's vision would have to be carried out elsewhere.
Defending against accusations that the Trump team had lost the support of the Aberdeenions through arrogance and patronising the locals, a spokesman arrogantly said "We were not arrogant. We set certain standards. It may be incomprehensible to smaller minds, but we have always set high standards. We presented them with a plan and hoped they could open their minds, but it was too much for them" he sniffed.
Trump had conducted a charm offensive among local business leaders and politicians, but was the "architect of his own downfall" with his outspoken views on the locals as one windswept woman told Sky News: "When you move into a neighbourhood, you should seek to get on with your neighbours. He chose to ridicule the lifestyle of someone who was quietly getting on with his life. People around here don't like that."
Good for you Mr Forbes and the good people of Aberdeen. I would buy you a drink but it seems the pockets in my trousers are just too deep for my short arms.

Palm Beach Post

Ich Bein Americans

What with all this talk of America going down the tubes i began writing a post about inviting you yanks back to the bosom of Mother Britain. Searching for inspiration, i found a letter on the Internet that has been around for years and is accredited to John Cleese inviting the same and setting out conditions for your return. Very amusing but the reply offering Britain to become a state of the USA if we can satisfy the following criteria had me laughing like a blocked drain. Here is an abridged version.

1. There is no such thing as "UK English". UK English is the relic of a defunct colonialist power which attempted to impose British English linguistic superiority on a nation which has a higher number of English speakers.

2. Your should learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents. To make life easier for mainland America, all British films and TV programs must use American vocabulary and accents; Scotch characters will wear plaid, Irish characters will have shamrocks on them, Welsh characters will not be used since we don't have Welsh Americans, and English characters will wear bowler hats and pinstripes.

3. The British film industry will no longer portray all Americans as cowboys, rednecks, trailer trash or Beverly Hills billionaires. You can have Hugh Grant back. He's a lousy actor and we don't want him either. All British films will be made in Hollywood where the weather and scenery are better.

4. You will learn your new national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner". It shall be sung every morning at kindergarten, high school, university and your places of work. Your Union Flag will be hung up any damn way we wish so stop bitching about it being upside down. If there was meant to be a right way up you should have made it simpler.

5. Hunting with packs of dogs is banned. Instead, you will go hunting with a pick-up truck, some six-packs of beer, two coonhounds and enough guns and ammo to equip a private militia.

6. Beer is to be served cold. The warm, flat drink you call beer is properly termed 'ale' and the FDA have determined it to be unfit for human consumption. You will also learn the difference between crackers, cookies and biscuits to avoid causing unnecessary confusion.

7. It is compulsory to sue somebody at least once per year.. It is compulsory to have therapy three times each week and to recover false memories of your childhood which allow you to sue your parents and/or your therapist. Therapy will take the place of speaking to family members.

8. You will not have guns. In the eyes of Mainland Americans you are wayward children. Children are not permitted to play with firearms unless they have a legitimate reason to do so i.e. they plan to gun down the population of a small town (self-defense) or slaughter every living creature within a mile radius (hunting).

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Celebrity Endorsements

As the US election enters that nail biting final 11 months stage, nothing encapsulates the nature of politics better than than the traditional scramble to sign up duff celebrities to one's cause. And there's nothing which so neatly confirms a star's self-love as the belief that their patronage matters.
Congratulations, then, to the Obama campaign which this week followed its enviable acquisition of Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks to it's cause by getting an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey.
There does seem to be a culture of celebrities crossing into politics blissfully unaware that most voters don't really gives a toss what they think about fiscal policy just because they have been on TV at some point.
USA Today has a list of who the main contenders for the Presidency have managed to bag for their cause with Obama seeming to lead the way as the man the Hollywood celebrity should be seen with this season.
Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Tobey Maguire, Edward Norton, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Ed Norton, Gene Wilder, Michael Douglas, Steve Martin, Paul Newman, Paul Simon, George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and of course Oprah have all nailed their colours to the Obama mast.
Hilary Clinton can rely upon Hugh Hefner, Chevy Chase, Jerry Springer, 50 cent, Barbra Streisand, Christie Brinkley, Barry Manilow, Rosie O’Donnell and Rob Reiner to give her a foot massage when the going gets tough.
It seems that backing a Republican is as popular as a condom machine in the Vatican because poor old Rudy Giuliani only has the endorsement of two celebrities, Kelsey Grammer and Adam Sandler although he has been backed by Pat Robertson and his legion of crazed religious fundamentalists.
It seems that the world of celebrity is telling you to stick to the day job Rudy. Whatever that is.


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Low Expectations From Annapolis

Of course any peace conference is a good thing but as the Annapolis meeting between long term foes kicks off tomorrow, my expectations for any kind of settlement is very low.
The fact that it comes at the end of the Bush time in office stinks of a last gasp attempt at a decent legacy, much the same way that it came at the end of Clinton's presidency.
If the US, and lets be frank, it is only the US who can reign in Israel, was resolved to end the decades of conflict between the two it would be better served dedicating more time than a hurried assembly of antagonists less than a year before the chairman vacates the seat.
There has already been some uncomfortable squirming about the declaration of principles for peace before the event even starts so i hold out very little hope of any consensus when the thornier issues reach the table.
The principal victims of any failure will be the impoverished Palestinians. The onus is always entirely on them to conjure up sweeping reforms that must be achieved while in the grip of a military occupation, behind a heavily fortified wall encroaching deep into their land and while subjected to the abject loss of their freedoms.
What we must bring out of this conference, whether it is deemed a success or a failure, is the momentum to try again and to keep going until a solution is reached. We have had far too many false dawns only for it to collapse into further killing and recriminations.
With Palestine divided between Hamas and Fatah, it will be difficult to demand that Mahmoud Abbas crack down on the rockets being fired into Israel by the people he is in the midst of fighting a civil war against but if Israel can make the movement towards ending the occupation and ensuring a state of Palestine free from Israeli checkpoints and incursions it will strengthen his hand considerably when dealing with his own dissidents.
If this fails we cannot give up trying because since the Clinton meetings imploded into infatida seven years ago, over 4000 Palestinians and 1000 Israelis have lost their lives in fighting and we cannot allow a repeat of such tragedy.

Government & God

One of the starkest differences between the top job on either side of the Atlantic
has been brought into the open by the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
In the documentary, The Blair Years, Tony admits that he was afraid to speak out about his faith while he was prime minister for fear that voters would regard him as a "nutter".
While in America, anyone wanting to run for President would need to be seeped in religious belief to even get off the starting blocks, in the UK it would sound the death knell for anyone with prospects of appearing in Government.
"Christianity is common in US politics but if you talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you're a nutter", he says with his mind obviously returning to the embarrassing ridicule he received from all sides when it was mentioned that he prayed with George Bush and the more sinister line of questioning he received when Bush said that God had told him to invade Iraq.
With the danger being that the politician makes decisions based on their faith and allows themselves to be guided by their religious beliefs rather than hard facts, long may we mock anyone who comes to Downing Street clutching a bible.
Religion has done, and continues, to do so much damage around the World, we can only benefit from a lack of the God Squad deciding things for us.

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Oxford Debate

For some, the problem with freedom of speech is that anyone then has the right to freely say things we may find abhorrent, such people as the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Both have been invited to address a meeting tonight on the freedom of speech at the Oxford Union, much to the exasperation of many who are calling for the event to be cancelled.
Presumably they would prefer to pretend such extreme views do not exist and would prefer the students were not exposed to the views of the BNP, rather they spend their educational lives in a the protective bubble of academia.
To my mind there is no doubt that the debate ought to take place. Such poor ideas have to be aired in order to be repudiated by argument and debate. We need to ridicule the outlandish and dangerous outpourings of the likes of Irving and Griffin because repressing or pretending that they don't exist is not an effective answer.
A quick trip around the blogosphere will show just how many offensive and downright idiotic views there are out there spoken by the ignorant, deluded or just plain misinformed and although we can ignore them on this medium, it proves that these views do exist in our societies.
Let the likes of Griffin and Irving speak and let us debate them in order to defeat them and hold them up as ridiculous fabrications of unreasoning minds.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Sett På Du Sverige

Since England have been sent skittering buttocks-first at speed out of the European Football Championships next summer, us Anglo-Saxons now have the added conundrum of which country to switch our allegiance to.
I consulted my Welsh, Scots and Irish friends who are old hats at dealing with their country failing to qualify for international events and they are at a loss also, because they usually just cheer for whoever are playing against England at the time.
Some of us have some link to other nations through ancestry, relatives or marriage so the leap to adopting another Euro-nation is not that tough but what of those of us with just English blood running through our family trees? Which of the 16 other countries should we contemplate having a short and passionate fling with next summer?
Croatia and Russia knocked us out so they are first to feel the tip of my size 5's. My next whittling exercise are places that never make it off the starting blocks as places to holiday. Bye Greece, Poland, Romania & Turkey.
Countries with a right wing Government are removed next so Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland are all handed a Simon Cowell-esque put down before being sent from the room.
The Portuguese manager was all set to become England manager before changing his mind and leaving us to appoint the useless lump who got us into this mess so Portugal can take a hike and take the bull stabbing and goat throwing Spanish with them.
I would be asking to be ostracised and probably boiled alive if i backed Germany considering they have an unnerving knack of making our players look even more pathetic than they actually are so we are left with the orange wearing Netherlands or the yellow clad Swedes.
I love everything about Sweden and it is where Santa lives so slice me another piece of knäckebröd, put some ABBA on the CD player and pour me another stor stark because Sweden, that is my foot you can feel rubbing against your leg under the table.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Beware Blonde Conversation

A long time devotee of paying someone an extortionate amount of money to keep my naturally light brown hair full of blonde highlights, i was amused to read about the study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that found men become more stupid after talking to blonde women.
There has been a long held view that being blonde meant that a woman was not overly blessed in the brain-cell department and the report's conclusion is that the stereotype of the dumb blonde is so firmly ingrained in the male psyche that men subconsciously become more stupid than they really are when they see one.
The research was based on tests carried out at Paris Nanterre University where men were shown pictures of women with different coloured hair, then made to take a general knowledge test. Those who had been shown pictures of blonde women scored lower marks than those who had been shown pictures of brunettes and redheads.
My first thought was how could the intelligence of anyone who engages his brain according to the hair colour of the female he is talking to was ever at a recordable level in the first place but then i thought i would just shout out some names of famous blonde's that dispel this rumour about being blonde means being dumb.
So step forward Britney Spears, Courtney Love, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Hilary Duff, Baby Spice, Christina Applegate, Pamela Anderson....oh what's the point, i give up.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Headline Of The Year

When you see a headline like 'Man found guilty of having sex with a bicycle' two questions form in your mind. Why and more importantly how?
Robert Stewart was discovered in his room by two cleaners at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, south west Scotland, in October last year.
"He was naked and holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth" said the stunned cleaner who caught and reported him.
Mr Stewart never explained why and it might be best left to our own imagination how.

No Surprises Here Then

Why does this story from that seat of Woman's Human Rights known as Saudi Arabia not surprise me.
A 19 year old woman was raped 14 times by seven men. In court the men were sentenced to between 10 months and five years for the offence. The victim was sentenced to 90 lashes as punishment for riding in a car with a man who was not a relative.
The woman appealed and the judge agreed that receiving 90 lashes for being gang raped was outrageous so he ordered her to receive 200 lashes instead and jailed her for six months.
She is expected to appeal again as soon as she appoints a new lawyer because her original one had his licence revoked for backing the woman's appeal against the original decision.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Band Made In Heaven

So there was God and i sitting on his cloud and pondering what to get Jesus for Christmas. The little nipper has got everything he could ever want when he suddenly the big guy hits upon the idea of bringing together the finest dead musicians in heaven for a Happy Birthday Jesus concert.
God being a bit on the lazy side, delegated it to me to set off and track down the best dead people for a five piece band.
I don't know many drummers, apart from The Who's Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin's John Bonham who have croaked so i was about to plump for one of them until i remember the great drumming on 'Wipe Out' by the Safari's. Luckily, Ron Wilson died of a brain aneurysm in the 80s so i give him the sticks and plonk him down behind the drum kit.
The bass player was a choice of another dead The Who musician, John Entwistle, Pistols Sid Vicious or Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy. Lynott it is then.
Rhythm guitar was handed to Joe Strummer and lead to Jimi Hendrix with a warning to not do any of that weird feedback crap or he is out. And put that joint out hippy.
Frontman is a toughie. The ultimate in cool Kurt Cobain or the ultimate showman Freddie Mercury. Freddie gets the nod.
So my final line up for the best band made up of famous dead musical types is:
Ron Wilson (Drums), Phil Lynott (Bass), Joe Strummer (Rhythm Guitar), Jimi Hendirx (lead Guitar) and Freddie Mercury (Vocals).
First up on the playlist, "Sympathy for the Devil", that should go down a storm up here.

Unplugged And Unenthused

There were a lot of good things about Nirvana. The studio albums, the image, the handsome Kurt Cobain and the whole Grunge scene that they sat proudly atop of.
The one thing that was not so good, and it has not improved with age or repeated listening, was the Nirvana Unplugged set.
With the release of the DVD the debate has started up again about just how good it was but i remember being disappointed at the time and as much as i enjoy watching Kurt Cobain sat on a stage playing his semi-acoustic guitar, it still fails to enthuse me.
Nirvana's music was all about the several thousand decibels of power behind them and the Cobain formula of soft verses and raucous chorus.
Everything about this performance just seemed tepid and while we waited in vain for the big hits like Teen Spirit or Lithium, we got Jesus doesn't want me for a sunbeam, The man who sold the world and a handful of vague, unknown songs and it just left an empty feeling.
I am not knocking the Unplugged series, i thought Alanis Morissette was outstanding, as was REM, but if Cobain had not taken his life shortly afterwards, this set would be viewed as a mistaken diversion from the real thing.
Their strength and appeal was in their energy, drive and pounding guitars but this album gives a false impression and will sadly be forever placed alongside their far superior output.


Monday, 12 November 2007

Hitching Our Star To Bush Again

Their has been a distinct cooling of relations between the UK and the US since the heady days of Blair hitching his star to the American President only to see it destroy his reputation and political career.
Gordon Brown, in this evenings foreign policy speech, has failed to heed the fatal mistake of his predecessor and cosied up to the George Bush regime, stating that Britain's most important relationship is with the United States.
I do not know what led Brown to reach this conclusion but as he was an integral part of the Government when the Iraq adventure began, he could not of failed to notice that when push came to shove, Britain's opinion in 2003 counted for nothing.
Nobody could of batted their eyelids and played footsie with George Bush more than Tony Blair but he did not achieve one iota of shift in US policy before jumping headfirst into the debacle with him.
After such rejection, Brown should be aware that he has to be cautious about putting the stamp of approval on the special relationship as long as Bush is in the White House, even more so with overtures of another ethically shaky US led conflict starting up in the Middle East.
Where Blair failed, Brown seems to think he can succeed but if he assumes he can make us matter more than we actually do to the American Administration he is deluding himself.
We are a minor player with very little clout in the World and piling in with the most right wing and divisive US President in living memory will not endear us to anyone or enhance our already battered and bloodied reputation.

Clinton's Turn To Be Embarrassed

The American election is still 12 months away but the way things are heading it is going to be a case of whoever does themselves the least amount of damage who will be the one left standing next November.
Hillary Clinton is the latest to be hiding a red face after a member of her staff was caught out in Iowa planting a soft question in the audience.
The Clinton campaign was forced to admit that it had set up the question on climate change at a rally last week.
After Clinton spoke, a student in the crowd was invited to pose a question. "As a young person, I'm worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?" the student asked.
Clinton went into her well rehearsed answer and all was well and off she went to check if her husband was bothering the interns.
A few days later the college website reported that the student had been encouraged to ask the question by a Clinton employee which prompted the emergence of a second case emerged of the Clinton campaign planting questions.
"This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again" said a Clinton spokesman before not adding "not now that we have been caught out anyway".

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Another Lie Falls Over

Remember those Iranians the US army arrested a while back whom U.S. officials accused of being members of Iran's elite Quds Force, therefore proving that Iran was funding, training and arming extremists fighting American forces in Iraq?
The cheerleaders for war made quite a noise about it at the time and rebuffed Iranian statements about them being merely diplomats.
Really stoked up tensions between Iran and the West those arrests as i recall.
The news now reaches us that they have been released because as the statement said "They no longer pose a security risk and to be of no continued intelligence value."
So were they actually members of the Quds Force helping to kill our troops who have seen the error of their ways and have been released after a short spell in a US run detention centre or has someone been telling us yet more lies to rack up the call for military action against Iran?

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Another Book Top 10

The Costa Book Awards have issued a list of the top books that us bookworms like to read again and again. The Harry Potter series tops the list and i can proudly say that i have never read as much as a sentence from any of JK Rowlings seven books. Neither have i ever read the book that came second, Lord of The Rings. No particular reason why i haven't picked up either of these two from a book shop or library, i just never really fancied them. The top ten are:

1. The Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
4. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
5. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
6. 1984 - George Orwell
7. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
8. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
9. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
10. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

The only one i have re-read out of that selection is 1984. I do think that there are so many great books that i have to yet to read that i would rather plow through them rather than revisit the classics.
The fact that nothing by Shakespeare puts in an appearance while Eric Blair is sitting proudly at number six only strengthens my belief that rather than teach students outdated Shakey tales, they should be replacing him with the much more relevant to today Orwell.

Different Types Of Military Crackdowns

Gordon Brown has been strangely quiet on what is happening in Pakistan and the President/Commander in Chief of the US Military took his time to give the Pakistan Military Chief/President a hard time about being head of the military/President at the same time.
Compare that to Burma where we condemned that Government for it's lack of democracy and the crackdown on protests quicker than you can say 'how many sniper rifles can i put you down for?'
Following Musharraf's military coup in 1999, the UK restricted arms exports to Pakistan but we kissed and made up after it became such a vital cog in the war against terror.
Last year we sold him £75m worth of military equipment and exported goods worth over £500m. UK's exports of goods to Burma in 2006 amounted to £3.2m.
The British Government responded with calling for sanctions against the Burmese Government for their military crackdown while the Pakistan Presidents crackdown is to be given fashion tips and told to take off his uniform.
Obviously, beating and jailing protesting Burmese Monks is a much worse Human Rights violation than beating and jailing Pakistan judges.
About £500 million pounds worth of exports worse actually.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

You Must Be Proud Rudy

Presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, has gained an ally in his campaign for the hearts of bible thumping Americans, winning the backing of the leading gay-basher of the Christian right, Pat Robertson. So who has the favourite for the Republican nomination got backing him in his corner and do they share the same values on:

Robertson described feminism as a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

September 11th
Robertson said that the 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians and the ACLU."

Robertson stated that the acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombings and "possibly a meteor."

Foreign Policy
Robertson said of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez: “I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop."

Robertson stated that Muslims want global domination and that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoon drawings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is Satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with."

Robertson called the religion of Hinduism "demonic" and said that Hindus should be barred from entering the United States.

Robertson said left-wing professors in the United States were "racists, murderers, sexual deviants and supporters of Al-Qaeda."

He accused the National Association of Evangelicals of teaming up with "far left environmentalists" in stating that global warming was caused by humans and needed to be mitigated.

Well done Rudy, you got a real diamond there acting as cheerleader. Can't see how you can fail with Pat watching your back.

Nothing Changing

With the upcoming peace conference between Palestine and Israel, the pro and anti both lobbies are sharpening their tongues ready to blame each other if it flops and as the concurrent posts Cody and I put up recently shows, my sympathies lay more with the Palestinians than the Israelis.
Even more so when headlines like 'Israeli bid to cut Gaza electricity' fill the newspapers.
It was only the Israeli supreme court that has delayed a move by Israel to cut the electricity supply to the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip, after appeals from 10 human rights organisations.
The appeals argued that cutting the supply of electricity to Gaza would be illegal collective punishment because Israel controls most of Gaza's electricity and all its fuel after the Israeli air force destroyed the only electric power plant there last year.
Also reported yesterday was that, despite the Israeli government's commitments to the contrary, Israel is building intensively in its West Bank settlements.
The report said there is now construction in 88 settlements, despite halting settlement growth being one of the first steps Israel was supposed to take under the US-backed "road map" peace plan.
I am finding it impossible to see Israel as the victims here.

Put That Wall Back Up!

Of course there are many forms of Government and being the brainwashed Marxist loving Stalinite that i am, i would have all you capitalist pig dogs eating turnips and toiling in fields all the live long day.
Luckily for you, i have as much chance of starting a Communist revolution as i have of become Pope but as the populations of countries such as Burma, Georgia and Pakistan march for Democracy, is it such a great thing to be demanding?
Best people to ask would be those who have lived under Socialism and Democracy and ask them which they preferred.
The Forsa Institute did just that in Germany and found only 3% of people who originated from East Germany said they were very satisfied with the way that democracy worked.
The poll by the Forsa institute showed that 73% of those from the east believed that socialism was a good idea in principle, but had been poorly implemented. Over 90% argued that they enjoyed better social protection during the GDR era.
The revolution is gaining pace comrades, order more turnips in preparation.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Gloriously Crazy Laws

If you live in Ohio and have plans to paint the town red with a mackerel or a salmon tonight, you had better think again because you could end up before a judge. Similarly, if you die while in the Houses of Parliament you could be in big trouble.
I love these old laws that probably seemed a good idea at the time but now just seem bloody stupid. It being illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament was voted the most crazy in a UKTV poll but it must of been pushed hard by some of these which are still enforceable.

You can be imprisoned in Britain for placing a postage stamp upside-down.
In England eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned.
If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and asks to use your toilet, you are required to allow them.
In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants.
In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation
A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror
In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm
It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama
In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed
Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth
In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon

And finally, my personal favourite. In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Bonfire Night

Up and down the length of the country, the English did their bit for Global warming tonight by lighting huge fires and setting off million of tonnes of gunpowder.
Guy Fawkes was the original terrorist but it is quite possible he was nowhere near the House of Lords and was fitted up by the Metropolitan Police after being wrongly trailed from a block of hovels.
The fear of further terrorist outrages allowed the government of the day to curtail civil liberties, stir up religious hatred and bring in draconian measures, a knee jerk reaction that is hard for us to imagine happening with our Governments today. ID Card anyone?
King James I decreed that "The discovery of this fiendish plot shall be celebrated evermore," although i don't think he had teenagers chucking bangers at passing buses in mind when he said it.
In order to halt said younger teenagers setting up mini explosions in the doorway of Woolworths at 1am, they banned the sale of fireworks to under-18s which is very responsible of our government to want to keep us safe from exploding things that cause harm.
Of course any teenager with a particular hunger for blowing things up could alternatively visit one of the arms fairs we hold regularly and buy rockets, ground-to-air missiles or helicopter gunships. That would get the net curtains twitching.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Female Bloggers Going AWOL

Moving around the blog world there is a pretty even split between male and female bloggers.
Being a political animal i do tend to rotate towards the blogs that offer opinions on current affairs. Nothing shocking in the discovery that there are some seriously disturbing opinions being spouted on blogs out there. Whether the authors actually believe what they say or if it is just bravado afforded by the anonymity of a computer screen is something i hope i never find out it if turns out to be the former because some peoples solutions to problems are bordering on psychotic.
What i have noticed, and was confirmed when i stumbled upon the BlogCensus website, was that fewer than one in 20 of the political and current affairs blogs are written by women.
A quick straw poll taken among friends was that the no-holds barred, anything goes atmosphere that prevails in blogging proves to be intimidating enough to keep the 'fairer sex' away from putting there opinions out there to be picked over, debated and often ridiculed. The finding that the number of women writing personal weblogs outnumbered men by two to one bears this out.
In the two years or so that i have been blogging i have seen as many as eight or nine female bloggers change the flavour of their blogs away from what could be deemed political or at the very least involved voicing an opinion. About the same again have stopped blogging altogether so there is some truth in the assumption that the majority of us females do prefer to play it safe with our blogs and avoid criticism of our thoughts and ideals.
I am glad to say that there are some of us feisty, opinionated females letting our opinions hang out and absorbing the plaudits and brickbats but there seems to be such a disproportionate number of men doing the subjects that affect us all, it seems we are happy to leave them to knock lumps out of each other's opinions as long as we are left alone.
If you have an opinion then just say it loud and say it proud ladies because i know we are just as outspoken, forthright and psychotic as most of the men.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Met Guilty But Chief Staying

'Nineteen catastrophic failings that led to the death of an innocent man' summed up the judge as he found the Metropolitan Police Force guilty of putting the public at risk that day at Stockwell Tube Station.
"I intend to continue in my post" said the head of the Met minutes after the damning verdict on the force he leads.
What the trial into the the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes shows is that nobody is going to be held accountable for a catalogue of fatal mistakes and sheer incompetence inside our Metropolitan Police Force.
Police Commissioner, Ian Blair, not only oversaw the shooting of an innocent man but he attempted to cover it up afterwards.
After the shooting, he telephoned the Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and wrote a letter to the Home Office stating that "the shooting that has just occurred at Stockwell is not to be referred to the IPCC and that they will be given no access to the scene at the present time". In the UK police shootings are routinely investigated by the IPCC. He also made a false statement claiming that a warning had been issued prior to the shooting.
The trial also contained a smear campaign against the victim where he was painted as a drug user and cast doubts about his legality to be in the country.
Ian Blair's defence that it was an 'isolated tragedy' would sound more believable if a year later under his watch, another innocent man was not shot during a bungled raid on 'suspected terrorists' in Forest Gate.
The wrong man was killed by the ineptitude of our police force and someone has to be held accountable to restore public confidence and to show that lessons have been learnt and if the situation ever surfaced again, our police would be more competent in dealing with it.
The buck has to stop with someone and as the head of the police force responsible, Ian Blair should think himself lucky that he is being called upon to resign and not just sacked.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Another Media Target Crumbles

There is something compulsive about watching a person pushed so far past their limits that they implode in glorious technicolour and if they do it in front of a camera lens then all the better. It is human nature, however uncomfortable, to sit transfixed as the culmination of months or even years of spiteful smears drive a person to react irrationally and 'lose the plot' so we can all tut loudly and shake our heads in disgust at the drama queen.
It wasn't that long ago when Britney Spears walked into a hairdressers, grabbed the shaver and sent her long blonde locks tumbling to the floor. Years of media abuse, accusations and relentless pressure had taken it's toll on a young lady who had gone from bright young thing to train-wreck in a few short years.
Now we have another celebrity, hounded by the media, making a very public meltdown that you would have to have a heart made of stone not to feel just the slightest tug on the conscience for.
I cared not one jot for either Paul or his estranged wife Heather, the former i always considered overrated while the latter came across as cold and carried the air of a spoilt child. Media darlings when they were wed, Heather became a target of some of the most hateful smear campaigns when they split and the protective barrier that being Mrs McCartney afforded her came tumbling down.
The fact that she lost a leg when hit by a police motorcyclist became the main focus of the jokes over the last 2 years as the vicious press articles branded her a prostitute, gold-digger, porn queen, liar and worse.
As she sat on the sofa with her voice cracking and telling of how she and even her 4 year old daughter had received death threats, she looked a broken and defeated woman, unravelling before our eyes.
Like Britney when the pictures emerged of her breakdown reached our newspapers and television screens I felt the media had taken things too far. Seeing Heather hounded into such a state for having the temerity of falling out of love with a former Beatle is shameful.
Cold and spoilt she may be but nobody deserves the horrendous treatment she has been forced to endure these last couple of years. I may not warm to her but I wish her all the best.

Buffy Guide To Staying Safe Tonight

As the proud owner of every Buffy and Angel episode ever made, i feel properly qualified to pass on advice if a creature of the night tries to rip out your innards or turn you into one of the undead whilst you sleep in your bed tonight.
By far the most popular Halloween character you may encounter is a Witch.
Although they may possess the power to turn you into as frog, witches were killed by the thousand back in medieval times and are basically just warty women with pointy hats so if a woman with a big nose and dressed all in black climbs through your window tonight, after first checking it is not Jennifer Aniston, a blunt object to the noggin should cool her heels permanently.
Vampires are the living dead, forced to feed on the livings blood. They fear sunlight, the cross, fire and a stake through their heart. Their weakness is they always only go for the neck jugular so either sleep with a stake within handy grasp or wear a neck brace.
Come the full moon anyone can change into a ferocious werewolf which can only be killed by a silver bullet. Unless there is a full moon this evening you are safe from having your intestines being used to decorate your bedroom walls. If it is a full moon then a silver bullet is your only salvation so you better start melting down that cheap jewellery.
Demons come in many shapes and forms but they all have something in common, they can be killed in many ways from fire to decapitation. They may come from hell and be super strong but they tend to be easily distracted. The old "Look out, behind you" ploy will give you more than enough time to grab a handily concealed battle axe and remove it's ugly head.
Ghosts are just rubbish. They can’t hurt you and the only thing they can do is make scary noises. This can ruin a good night’s sleep, but it can’t hurt you.
Zombies are the walking dead but there drawback is they are as dumb as a bag of spanners and unless you are wearing lead boots, trousers and coat, you could easily outpace the slowcoaches before they get the chance to eat your brain. Fire or a bullet in the brain will stop them in their tracks.
Mummies are just zombies wrapped up in bandages, which makes it slower and more flammable than a regular zombie. Hopeless.
Probably the least welcome thing you could find looming over you in the dead of night is a robot. Whether they are cyborgs from the future, aliens or escapees from a local tourist attraction out to kill all of mankind, robots are notoriously hard to kill. Not only are they metallic, but they are always immensely strong and impervious to fire, bullets, hitting with blunt objects or swords and have clear, logical thought which anticipates your every move.
You cannot outrun it so the only chance you have is to confuse it's circuits with
some bizarre and confusing logic that will fry it's computerised brain trying to figure out. Reading out the lyrics to any REM song will work fine.

Stay safe this Halloween night.