Monday, 29 September 2008

Dealing With The Credit Crisis - Scientifically

As usual, when times get tough we look towards that long haired man tied to a cross for inspiration.
"Some things in life are bad" sang Eric Idle, "They can really make you mad, Other things just make you swear and curse, When you're chewing on life's gristle, Don't grumble, Give a whistle, And this'll help things turn out for the best."
Yes, we are being measured up for a large enough handcart to fit us all in for that trip to Beelzebub's place but there are some things you can do to cheer yourself up. And all scientifically proven although admittedly they could result in premature death if indulged to excess.

If you feel down about your shares dropping like a banker from the 7th floor of the Lloyd's building, have a cigarette. Scientists have found that smoking helps prevent the onset of various forms of dementia. It also suppresses appetite so you will keep your marbles longer and stay slimmer. Probably not the best way to avoid obesity, but it's certainly easier than doing laps at the local pool.

Want to take your mind off the rising cost of a loaf? Clamp your mobile to your ear and have a bash at that hard Sudoku in the Times. Studies at the Bristol Oncology Center have found that people exposed to mobile-phone radiation were 4% faster at certain mental tasks than others.

Fed up watching the gloomy faced anchorman explaining short selling yet again? Don't do anything drastic like go to bed early, channel surf. Researchers at Vandebilt University in Nashville found that you'll use up 20% more energy watching television than lying in bed. Find a channel showing an old Seinfeld episode and you will use up even more energy trying to throw the remote through the TV.

Hacked off because you can't sell anymore bodily organs to fill your car with Petrol? Slam your favourite CD into the CD player and turn the volume up to 10 because researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that loud music activates a primitive acoustic sense in the ear which stimulates the same areas of our brains that makes us think we might be about to get some bedroom gymnastics. Of course it will make you go deaf and annoy the neighbours but you will get that twinkle in your eye. I would avoid James Blunt Cd's though, the only thing twinkling will be your CD player as it bounces off the pavement below.

Trust the findings from the Institute for Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen to help when you watch your car being towed away by the repo department. Danish researchers have found that drinking alcohol reduces the tendency of blockages to form in blood vessels, helps protect against dementia, increase bone mineral density in women and even lowers blood pressure.

Finding it tougher to make the housekeeping stretch with each trip to the Supermarket? Empty your trolley of all those low fat yoghurt's and take a detour down the chocolate aisle because researchers from Holland's National Institute of Public Health and Environment, have found that chocolate contains a chemical that could prevent cancer and heart disease. Boiled potatoes or a heart disease preventing Mars bar, hmmm, tough one.

Tired of trying to understand what the red squiggles on the charts of the Dow Jones or FTSE index means? Reach for the Java because Dr Jonathan Geiger of the University of North Dakota has found that the Caffeine in Coffee lowers the risk of Alzheimer's and strokes.

So if anyone asks, you are not laying on the sofa with a cigarette in the ashtray, coffee in one hand, Bacardi breezer in the other whilst listening to System Of A Down at full volume and stuffing Snickers into your mouth. You are following a Scientifically proven method to deal with the credit crisis.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Ever Get The Feeling You're Being Cheated?

Because i haven't yet figured out a foolproof way to fiddle my tax returns, like many of you, i have the heartwarming honour of paying a percentage of my salary to the Government each year to do with as they wish. This could be education, health, feathering their own nests or fiddling their John Lewis expenses account with my hard earned but we don't have a say and have to leave it up to them to decide where to direct it.
If i woke up to hear that my Government was shelling out $700 billion fund to bail out private companies, an amount that would push the total pledged to combat the crisis to $1.8 trillion, i would break my new years resolution to stop swearing before breakfast.
It is figures that would make anybodies mind boggle and this latest $700b amounts to $2300 per US citizen so unless you have a knowledge of how the financial system works, the incomprehensible financial jargon just bounces off our ears but every US citizen should be bristling with indignation that their Government has seen fit to use their tax dollars for this.
The language of the money men may blind us to what is actually going on, which is that the working American is being asked to pay for irresponsible management of huge privately owned companies. In other words a massive handout.
Saving the neck of companies that were mismanaged by already absurdly wealthy guys would come well towards the bottom of my list if i was looking to hand out $1.8 trillion. Even after the payout, the problem will still be there for the average American facing rising prices, job insecurity and the threat of losing their homes.
If the Government had used the $1.8 trillion to hand every US citizen $15,000 to spend, it would have stimulated the economy and everyone would have got something out of it.
If they had chosen to spend $1.8 trillion to part-pay the mortgages of the worst hit, the financial institutions would have still got their money, the crisis would be solved, the housing market invigorated and millions of citizens would of got something out of the deal.
As it stands, they get nothing except a debt they will be saddled with for decades and higher inflation or taxes to pay for it. The winners are a bunch of incompetent bankers who will get much richer and will in turn turf you out of your home if you manage your finances anything like the way that they have been running there's. Ever get the feeling you're being cheated?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Little Britain USA

America, this is your lucky day, the day the British invade again however this British invasion plans to be much funnier than any musicians or revolutions that there has been in the past.
So starts the spin off of Little Britain which is due to hit America right between the eyes later this month.
Some of the Matt Lucas And David Walliams characters were always pretty close to being offensive and from the scenes on view of their American version, they plan to insult, outrage and entertain in the same style stateside. I will be very interested to see how the completely non politically correct show goes down over there with characters such as the teenager perving after his friends grandmother or the adult who demands 'bitty'.
The pair have introduced American characters especially and include a Sheriff sexually obsessed with guns, a pair of hunters who avoid shooting anything dangerous and Bing Gordy, the bitter eighth astronaut on the moon.
What Little Britain did spectacularly here was to take the eccentric aspects of Britishness and ridicule it outrageously. How Americans will react to a couple of Englishmen creating caricatures of Americans behaviour, culture and beliefs and making fun of it relentlessly will be intriguing.
As a taster of the sort of humour to be expected, here is weight guidance counsellor Marjorie Dawes conducting a meeting which includes Rosie O'Donnell in the Fat Fighters group.
"Rosie, Are you fat because you're a lesbian or are you a lesbian because you're fat and couldn't get a man?"

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Another Gun Massacre

Finland is an unremarkable country in northern Europe. Apart from being the most sparsely populated country on the continent it has little that makes it stand out from the rest of the Europeans apart from it's burgeoning reputation as the school massacre centre of Europe.
For the third time in less than two decades, a gunman has shot up his college and classmates as today another student went on a gun rampage and shot dead ten people at his school in Finland.
The Finnish Police will now come under scrutiny after it emerged that police had questioned the killer, Matti Juhani Saari, about a YouTube video of himself firing directly at the camera and saying: "You will die next." Police were alerted to the clips but because Saari had a permit they had no reason to hold him.
The gun ownership argument goes on but it can't be a coincidence that the places where these gun massacres happen most frequently are the places with the highest rate of gun ownership. Finland is the third highest behind the US and Yemen.
"We have experienced a tragic day," said Matti Vanhanen, the Finnish prime minister although despite promises of tougher gun laws following Finland's last high school shooting, in November last year, the Finnish Government have done precious little to push through any new laws tightening the countries gun laws.
I strongly suspect that there will be more tragic days to come until either Finland makes the link between gun ownership and gun deaths and slap a ban on guns or the EU members apply enough pressure to force through a new ruling to bring it in line with the rest of Europe.
Today's killings should be the cause of some national soul-searching for Finland, not least about the country's rampant gun culture.

Good Riddance To Mbeki

If there was one thing South Africa needed after the past few turbulent decades, it was a time of stability under a reliable President. Unfortunately what it got was Thabo Mbeki who has just been removed from power by his own ANC Party.
Faith in the ability of Mbeki to Govern wisely quickly evaporated in what will remain his over-riding legacy even above his corrupt dealings with arms dealers, the treacherous and deadly stance over the AIDS issue.
Stating that he didn't believe HIV caused Aids and it was a conspiracy of the pharmaceutical companies and the CIA against him, Mbeki set about blocking the distribution of anti-Aids antiretroviral drugs claiming that they were poisonous.
Hundreds of thousands of adults and children were condemned to die while Mbeki refused to advocate the use of condoms to resist the spread of the deadly disease and distributed documents that claimed the drugs were actually an attempt to commit genocide against black people.
He compared Aids scientists to latter-day Nazi concentration camp doctors and portrayed black people who accepted AIDs science as self-repressed victims of a slave mentality.
Now the leadership passes to Mbeki's former deputy, Jacob Zuma who during a court trial where he was accused of raping a HIV sufferer, admitted to having unprotected sex with his accuser but claimed that he took a shower afterwards to "cut the risk of contracting HIV". Zuma at the time headed the National AIDS Council.
Out of the frying pan and back into the frying pan it seems.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Marxism In A Nutshell

According to my friends at the Socialist end of the spectrum, since the finances of the World went down the gurgler, there has been a distinct upturn in the amount of interest in Marxist ideology. I myself have been asked recently about nationalisation and Socialism but there does seem to be an unclear view of what the German was advocating so here it is, in a nutshell, Marxism. Let's see how much of what Marx predicted has come to fruition.

Marx said that humans had progressed through a series of stages, from slaves society through to capitalism and in each stage a dominant class had exploited the labour of the larger class of workers.
In each of these stages, these ruling classes had become corrupt and had been overthrown and a new system implemented. Marx acknowledged that capitalism was a necessary stage of development but it would be corrupted by unfair distribution of the wealth and the political power that went with it.
These captains of industry would reap the profits while paying the workers a pittance. Under capitalism, Marx claimed, workers are not paid fully or fairly for their labour because the top guys siphon off the profit, earning the owners enormous wealth, while the workers struggle by on poor salaries.
Here is the important bit, this wealth also enables the owners to control the government, which would in turn do the bidding of the wealthy and the powerful to the detriment of the poor and the powerless.
He said that the workers, who would make up the majority, would rise up and overthrow their corrupt leaders and install a fairer system which would benefit the workers who would distribute fairly the share of the profits. This he called Communism from the Latin word for 'shared'.

This is only a quick walk through a small part of Marx's philosophy but wealthy owners, poorly paid staff, money buying influence in seats of power, unfair distribution of profits, angry and disillusioned workers. Even the most right wing hackneyed capitalist can't argue that Mr Marx wasn't a million miles off so far with his theory of how things will pan out.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Happy Birthday Stephen King

I have a bookcase stood against the wall and a quick glance shows it holds approximately 200 books. Beside it is another bookcase, slightly smaller, which holds approximately 150. Both are chocked full of well thumbed paperbacks and in the case of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, held together by sellotape.
Not driven by any overwhelming desire to alphabetise or order them whatsoever, literary giants such as Dickens and Steinbeck approvingly rub shoulders with Dahl and Orwell until the list of the finest scribes hits King, Stephen and in many peoples minds, the idea of me mixing King with the great and good of the literary world is worthy of my head being removed and placed upon a stake at Traitors Gate as an example to others who keep The Shining beside To Kill A Mockingbird.
I will concede that Mr King's books have become bloated but strip away the fluff that he seems intent on cramming into every book since The Green Mile, and you are generally left with a more than decent story.
More known for his horror stories, King has been responsible for some outstanding works such as Misery, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me and the aforementioned Green Mile. He has written some stinkers (Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Dreamcatcher were particularly noteworthy in this regard) but they are few and far between but if a good old fashioned well written story is your want and you are willing to dismiss the sneers of literary snobs, then Stephen King should be on your bookcase.
Throw out the Edgar Allan Poe stuff to make room, he can't hold a candle to King.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Kicking Capitalism Into A Fairer System

It is quite unusual for a profession to be so disliked that while they are
carrying away cardboard boxes after emptying their desks for the last time, they still face as much derision as before. Sympathy is not in abundance for the city boys because it is hard to feel compassion for a Lehman Brother employee where the average wage was £160,000 pa. The biggest cheers are coming from the left who are like a dog with three tails as the Capitalist system falls apart around everyone's ears.
The average person, and i include myself in this, do not understand much about the World markets or what the FTSE index does and the only time we have come across AIG was on the front of a Manchester United shirt so it doesn't have any effect on our lives what the NASDAQ is doing but suddenly we are told that our lives are on the verge of being altered drastically. Yet again.
Seems to me that the way the system works is to have a period of growth where the gap between rich and poor widens and every decade or so, there is a massive fall which primarily kicks the poorest repeatedly until things pick up and off we go on the same path to do it all over again.
To my untrained eye, it seems that the guardians of the system are happy to play fast and loose with other peoples money and walk away financially secure with a bulging bank balance when it all goes go pear shaped while everyone else has to tighten the belt and dread a call to assemble in the Managing Directors office.
Obviously, putting all your eggs in one basket is a ludicrous idea so having a few behemoth institutions that have enough sway to drag down multiple other businesses with it when it flops over is bad business management. If we have learnt anything it is that smaller financial centres that cause smaller waves when they make bad decisions is the way to go, that is if Capitalism survives because this is the opportunity that the anti-Capitalists have been waiting for. If they can devise an alternative economic model, or radically shake up the one we have, this would be the time to push it out. It won't be any good in eighteen months time when the cycle is moving out of the slump phase, slap it down on the table now because you won't have a better opportunity. Capitalism is down, boots on lads and start kicking it into a more fairer, less corrupt and more stable model run for everyone and not just the few.

There is a campaign backed by the former Danish Prime Minister for World leaders to address the fundamental causes of this crisis here.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

US Political Phraseology Explained For Brits

Some of the British media, being either too lazy or too drunk to care, have taken to referring to Sarah Palin as a Hockey mom and her soon to be son-in-law (whether he likes it or not) as a redneck.
All very international but most of us here haven't got a clue what a Hockey Mom is or what she does or indeed what makes her a hockey mom. To make it a bit simpler for Brits to follow the news about the US Election, allow me to explain a few of the terms and pass on the closest British equivalent that you will hear dribbling from the keyboards of the press between now and when Obama is elected in November.

Hockey Mom: The British version can be seen each weekend at the side of their kids pitch screaming and bawling at the referee and other parents. 'Pushy parent' would be our equivalent and you just know that if there offspring scores, you will hear about it for the next six weeks. No, i don't know why it is seen as a good thing for Palin to be pushing either but then the only time my parents came to see me play netball i was too busy waving to them that i ran into the post and spent the evening in the casualty department.

Redneck: The nearest i can get to for a British equivalent of redneck is a Country Bumpkin. Someone with very little savvy who spends all the day outside in the sun getting burnt and ending up with the tell-tale 'red neck'. The South of the States is redneck country where as the British countryside is seen as more the preserve of the wealthy so it's not perfect but a big, clumsy farmhand who spent more time learning how to drive his father's tractor then learning his multiplication tables is about where we have an equivalent.

Gate: Seems that anything of a dubious nature has the word 'gate' stuffed on the end of it. 'Gate' tagged on to a word simply indicates a scandal and is named after the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. The most recent example is Lipstickgate where Obama said "putting lipstick on a pig" during a recent campaign trail speech. Simply -gate means scandal and the word before it tells you who, where or how.

GOP: You would be excused thinking it stood for Grumpy Old Person when you see John McCain doddering up to the stage but its actually another name for the Republican Party.

Commander-in-chief: Term for the President as commander of the nation's armed forces. Our own Prime Minister also has other titles but most of them would involve typing crude Anglo-Saxon words although he is also referred to as the First Lord of the Treasury.

I am sure that there will be other words and phrases we won't know the meaning of by November and i will do my best to ask other people and pass them off here as if i knew what they were all along.

Dare We?

In a previous post i suggested that Americans and Europeans both view each other as arrogant. I then was reminded about the Guardian newspaper's attempt to sway the 2004 American election. The idea in 'Operation Clark County' was for Guardian readers to write to undecided voters in the crucial state of Ohio. Here is some of the brilliant reaction to the project received by the Guardian:

Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin, dipshit. Oh, yeah - and brush your goddamned teeth, you filthy animals. Wading River, NY

Consider this: stay out of American electoral politics. Unless you would like a company of US Navy Seals - Republican to a man - to descend upon the offices of the Guardian, bag the lot of you, and transport you to Guantanamo Bay, where you can share quarters with some lonely Taliban shepherd boys. United States

I am a student and life-long resident of Clark County, Ohio. I just wanted you to know that this is a wonderful idea you've initiated; people here love and respect the United Kingdom, especially the prime minister. I hope this campaign will be successful for your newspaper and for us voters. Springfield, Ohio

KEEP YOUR FUCKIN' LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN'T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT'S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON'T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT! PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!
Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions. If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it. Texas, USA

Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a wonderful idea! I am a US citizen who is scared to death that Bush and Klan will get back in. We need all the help we can get to ditch this bunch of maniacs..United States

My dear, beloved Brits, I understand the Guardian is sponsoring a service where British citizens write to Americans to advise them on how to vote. Thank heavens! I was adrift in a sea of confusion and you are my beacon of hope!
Feel free to respond to this email with your advice. Please keep in mind that I am something of an anglophile, so this is not confrontational. Please remember, too, that I am merely an American. That means I am not very bright. It means I have no culture or sense of history. It also means that I am barely literate, so please don't use big, fancy words. Set me straight, folks! Dayton, Ohio

Hey England, Scotland and Wales, Mind your own business. We don't need weenie-spined Limeys meddling in our presidental election. If it wasn't for America, you'd all be speaking German. And if America would have had a president, then, of the likes of Kerry, you'd all be goose-stepping around Buckingham Palace. YOU ARE NOT WANTED!! Whether you want to support either party. BUTT OUT!!! United States

Please be advised that I have forwarded this to the CIA and FBI. United States

THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS HAVE SPENT TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS PROTECTING THE PEOPLES OF THE EU, AND WHAT DO WE GET IN RETURN. BETRAYAL, BETRAYAL, BETRAYAL. I HAVE BEEN TO YOUR COUNTRY, THE COUNTRY OF MY ANCESTORS, AND I KNOW WHY THEY LEFT. MAY YOU HAVE TO HAVE A TOOTH CAPPED. I UNDERSTAND IT TAKES AT LEAST 18 MONTHS FOR YOUR GREAT MEDICAL SERVICES TO GET AROUND TO YOU. HAVE A GREAT DAY. Harlan, Kentucky

Keep your noses out of our business. As I recall we kicked your asses out of our country back in 1776. We do not require input from losers and idiots on who we vote for in our own country. Fuck off and die asshole!!!!! Knoxville, Iowa

Gentle folks at the Guardian,
In your plea to get your non-American readers to write to voters in Clark County, Iowa, you are correct that events in the US have had, and will have, effects on world events. For example, we have pulled your chestnuts out of the fire in two world wars that were occasioned by European diplomacy.Maybe you'd like a vote in which American president will oversee the next rescue. The next time you have elections in Great Britain, I shall endeavour to send names of your citizens to people in France, Iraq, India, the United Arab Emirates, Botswana, Pakistan, China and Argentina so that they may attempt to influence your election. It's only fair that everybody in the world should have a say in the selection of the prime minister. California

Who in the hell do you think you are??? Well, I'll tell you, you're a bunch of meddling socialist pricks! Stay the hell out of our country and politics. And another thing, John Kerry is a worthless lying sack of crap so it doesn't surprise me that a socialist rag like yours would back him. I hope your cynical ploy blows up in your cowardly faces, you bunch of mealy-mouthed morons! United States

I used to visit the UK every year. I love the history and culture of your country. But after I heard about your campaign to influence our elections, I've decided that neither myself, nor my family will ever visit again. I'm offended by your campaign and because of it, I'm remembering more of the negative aspects I've seen in the UK than the positive ones. Though I still love the castles! Detroit

I suggest that if a particular reader of the Guardian would like to vote in America - would really like to influence the American election, say - that reader should move to America, become a citizen of the United States. Everyone is welcome here. Even the readers of the Guardian. But if you don't wish to be an American, to live in Ohio, for instance, and participate in the American political process, that is too bad. Perhaps there is something wrong with you. Perhaps it is your teeth. New York

Go back to sipping your tea and leave our people alone. Ohio


Great stuff but disappointingly the Guardian are not running it again this election but i wonder if...hmmmmmm, can't be that hard to find the email address of the media outlets in Ohio. Dare we?

Friday, 12 September 2008

Nothing To Lose Gordon So Just Go For It

"Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you," Kurt Cobain once sang, and God bless his rotting corpse if he wasn't right and Gordon Brown hasn't been nodding his head sagely to the Nevermind Album and mumbling something in his incoherent Scots brouge.
It is as certain as Hugh Grant playing a bumbling shy Englishman in his next film that Gordon Brown will be receiving the boot up his ample backside at the next election, if his own party doesn't remove him first, so my advice to him would be to stop trying to please everyone and just say stuff it and do what you want to do for the next 2 years. What has he got to lose? As it is he will slip away and only be remembered as that one eyed Scotsman who Tony Blair kept away from power for a decade and then piddled it all away doing nothing worthwhile when he finally got in.
You are the Labour Party, founded on Socialism and the party of the downtrodden and working person, just take a gamble and Socialise everything. If not able to re-nationalise them, Windfall Tax the life out of the grasping utilities companies and pass it on to the most affected by the abdominal rise in prices, remove the private sector creeping into the NHS and plough money into the National Health Service, whack up the minimum wage a few pound and raise the tax on the high earners to pay for it, either take us fully into, or withdraw us completely from the Europe Union, allow Scotland its independence and abolish the nasty ID scheme idea that has been following us around like a bad smell.
The worst that can happen is you are removed from power in two years, which is going to happen anyway so you have nothing to lose and it may prove popular and get you a few more votes. It may even save your bacon and make Britain safe from David Cameron and his Conservative Party. Go for it Gordy.

Arrogant Europeans

Things have been slipping in the Obama camp for a while now and we can trace it back to one moment at the end of July when the Democrat nominee triumphantly stepped out to be greeted by 200,000 mullet haired Germans.
According to some commenter's, us Europeans damaged the Obama camp because we like him and for some strange reason us Euro-folk are deemed a tad arrogant by some of the burger eating invasion monkeys who refuse to pay enough attention to us over here.
So, apparently the reasoning goes, if those elitist and arrogant European Johnnies like him, he can't be all that so i'm off to vote for the old guy and the lipstick wearing pitbull.
Ever since we packed our religio's off to Holland to stock up on space cake before sailing across the Atlantic, the Europeans and Americans have bandied the 'arrogant' word at each other.
The debates on threads and other blogs tend to break down into the Americans reminding us that they saved our asses in two World Wars and we would all be speaking German if it wasn't for them and Europeans mock their Governments foreign policies and remind them that if it wasn't for the French, they would all be speaking English now.
So we should apologise to Democrats Party members in America if we have scuppered their mans chances in the upcoming election but rest assured that if McCain does get in, we will do our best to sniff patronisingly and set about telling Americans how they elected the wrong person and tut loudly over our cappuccino's in pavement cafes. It is the least we can do.
Now, a quick word about your amazingly absurd gun laws....

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Kim Jong Il Ill

If ever there was someone who least looked like a crazed dictator bent on destroying the World it's North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Platform shoes, over sized spectacles and being unable to reach a light switch is hardly the things that go into making an evil genius but Mr Jong Il has been on our list of big nasties for quite some time although according to what newspaper you read, he is reportedly dead (South Korea), dying (Western media) or ..........(North Korea).
The rotund figure was certainly looking less rounded last time he put in an appearance in public and he today missed the military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of his country's founding which only makes the rumours fly even faster.
He is known to suffer from heart problems and diabetes but maybe someone just put his shoes on a high shelf which caused him to miss it.
Whatever happened to him, the World will never again see such a comical figure with the capability to destroy us all although i do get a good giggle out of the 'tennis balls in the armpits' Bush walk and the Japanese Prime Minister's hair. Gordon Brown does that weird sucking noise as he speaks and Berlusconi has that hairline that goes up and down like the tide but none reach Kim Jong Il's potential to look so damned ridiculous.
To honour the man, here is his finest moment when he made his acting debut in Team America.

Kim Jong Il: Now you see, the changing of the worrd is inevitabre!
Lisa: I'm sorry, it's what?
Kim Jong Il: Inevit, inevitabre.
Lisa: One more time.
Kim Jong Il: Inevitabre! Things are inevitabrey going to change! Goddamnit, open your f***ing ears!

Mr Kim, lovingly remembered. For looking a bit of a prat.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

God Is With Who Exactly?

The BBC showed a drama this week. Based on a true story in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the Jews facing death put God on trial for murder, collaboration and breaking the Covenant to Jews. They found him guilty on all three counts.
I expected the resulting conversation with those of a more religious nature to be about justifying Gods actions in the 2nd World War. Instead it has been about the accusation that the imprisoned Jews came to that God 'not only broke his Covenant with the Jews, but he had signed one with the Nazis instead'. That the Nazi's thought that they were doing God's work was what stung the religious most it seems.
On the belt buckle of the German soldiers was the legend "Gott Mit Uns" which translates as "God Is With Us". Hitler made pronunciations of doing Gods work throughout his political career, in Mein Kampf he explained that "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord".
Absurd, they say. God was and is on our side, not allied to one of histories greatest mass murderers.
William Churchill was a famous atheist and made no claims of assisting God, it was the Third Reich that claimed they had God their corner and were driven by the thought that they were 'doing Gods will'.
Bush and Blair in 2003 both claimed they were on a mission from God when they launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq while Bin Laden cites God in everything he says so which side is God on this time? Is he brutally guiding our missiles and cluster bombs that slice down families of frightened innocent civilians in their homes or is he mercifully protecting those same civilians and guiding the ammunition coming back the other way?
Possibly he doesn't side with anyone and just lets us all get on with it which goes against the idea of a Covenant and Commandments and you may as well throw away that prayer mat because the big guy isn't listening.
The Jews in the camp decided that God, believed to be all powerful, loving and just, had abandoned them as he could have stopped Hitler but never in which case he holds no power or he could but chose not to so he can't possibly be just and caring as they died agonising and painful deaths in their millions.
How can the religious decide just whose side God is on? It must be more complex than 'ours, because we are the good guys fighting the bad guys', that's just ignorantly arrogant and is said on both sides of most conflicts.
Was God with the religious Hitler and his Third Reich after all as they claimed or was he with the Atheist Soviets and Churchill?
If it's the former, we were wrong to fight against him and if it's the latter, not praying or spending your existence lauding an Almighty works just as well.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Michael Palin For VP

Rumours abound that the Republicans got the wrong Palin and Michael would have been the better choice which leads us nicely to plagiarising the famous Pet Shop Sketch and how things might go if we blur the two Palins together.

Sara Palin enters the Republican Headquarters:

Palin: Hello, I wish to register a complaint.
Republican Party Work: We're closing for lunch.
Palin: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this John McCain what I purchased not four days ago from this very boutique.
RPW: Oh yes, the Arizona Blue...What's wrong with it?
P: He's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
RPW: No, no, he's resting.
P: Look, matey, I know a dead Republican candidate when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
RPW: No he's not dead, he's resting! Remarkable politician, the Arizona Blue.
P:All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up!
(Takes the McCain and thumps head on the counter. Throws him up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)
P: Now that's what I call a dead politician.
RPW: No, no... No, he's stunned!
P:STUNNED?!?
RPW:Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was waking up! Republicans stun easily.
P: I've had enough of this. That Republican is definitely deceased, and when I joined this campaign not four days ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement in the polls was due to it being' shagged out following a prolonged campaign tour.
RPW: Well, he's probably pining for the 1970's.
P: PININ' for the 1970's? What kind of talk is that? Why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got him home?
RPW: The Republican candidate prefers kipping' on it's back!
P: Look, I took the liberty of examining that Republican when I got him home, and I discovered the only reason that he had been standing at the podium in the first place was that he had been nailed there.
RPW:Well, o'course he was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that man down, he would have nuzzled up to those Democrats and VOOM!
P: "VOOM"? This McCain wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! He's passed on! This Republican candidate is no more! He has ceased to be! Expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! This is an ex-Candidate !
RPW: Well, I'd better replace it, then.
RPW: Sorry ma'am, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of antique right wing politicians.
P : I see. I get the picture.
RPW: I got a Rudy Giuliani.
P: Has it got a prayer of being elected?
RPW: Not really.
(Fade to song about wanting to be an Alaskan Trooper)