Tuesday, 31 March 2009

A Quick Guide To The G20

The G20 is supposedly the 20 'most important industrialised economies' countries on the Planet and as such they plan to put there heads together and get us out of this mess we that find ourselves. Leaders from all corners of the globe are turning up in London to thrash out a deal to rejuvenate the world economy. To be frankly honest, just America and China need to get together and the other 18 leaders can stay at home but that wouldn't be so much fun.
Already the cracks are showing are they haven't even sat down to their first course of over-priced Jamie Oliver shark fin soup yet.
Germany is sniping at Britain and America and France's Nicolas Sarkozy is stamping his little feet, folding his arms and sticking out his bottom lip after his call for greater regulation of the banking system had been poo poo'd by everyone else.
Protocol insists that when they do get to sit down to their banquet, the host sits in the centre and the guests sit in decreasing influence as they move further down the table. Gordon Brown found himself on the end of the table at the last G8 summit but seeing as it's his party, he will find himself front and centre this time with America's Obama to his left and China's Hu Jintao to his right. The likes of France, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Russia will be filling the middle seats but there is a real danger that Italy, the Netherlands, Argentina and Canada will find themselves balancing their plates on theirs laps in a corridor somewhere. How that quartet got into the G20 is a mystery, especially Italy who has recessions like other countries have seasons.
Once they finish rebuilding the World economy they will want to let their hair down and it is a strong possibility that the only reason Australia is represented is because of their Premier, Kevin Rudd who is most likely to get bladdered and waltz off to a strip club as he did previously after a UN meeting.
The best entertainment should be when the leaders meet the Queen and Prince Philip. If there isn't a Royal lackey standing by with a large handkerchief smothered with chloroform for when the Prince is introduced to the leaders, we could find ourselves at war with half of them by the end of the first day.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Put It On My Tab

There seems to be three types of political scandals. There is the run of the mill type where a politician has been abusing his position in the style of Peter Mandelson. Then there are those immorally receiving payment or fiddling the expenses sheet to feather there own nest such as in the case of Neil Hamilton and then there are scandals involving sex.
Sometimes the perfect storm comes along and all three collide with a such force that it is hard to work out what to get outraged about first which is where we find Jacqui Smith today.
The Home Secretary lurched from being investigated by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for her decision to designate her sister's house as her main home and therefore claiming the £23,000 expenses for her family house to the much more embarrassing subject of her husband claiming Parliament expenses for buying pornographic movies.
Even David Cameron has admitted that the whole thing is "deeply embarrassing' and he is the leader of the Conservative Party so he knows a thing or two about being embarrassed.
Gordon Brown, as expected, has defended her and the red faced husband hilariously came out to face the media and admit that it was all a misunderstanding and they shouldn't have tried to claim for the couple of adult movies which he watched alone while Mrs Smith was staying at her sisters.
This scandal follows the not quite so funny case of Employment Minister Tony McNulty who claimed the £24,000 allowance towards his parents home which was actually further away from Parliament than his actual home.
With the annual list of MP expenses claim being published today we can expect even more scandals over the next few days or until the G20 riots knock it from the front pages.
Reports, as yet unconfirmed, are that the films were actually Jean Claude Van Damme movies but it was decided that admitting to watching porn was less embarrassing.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Henry VIII & Those Pesky Catholics

Probably the most famous English King is Henry VIII. When you consider that he was a bad tempered, ginger haired bloater with gout it is credit to him that he managed to get one wife, let alone six of them and when he wasn't attending the execution of a number of the aforementioned wives, he was picking a fight with the Pope.
Luckily, with the exception of Sarah Ferguson perhaps, the modern day Royals are less ginger haired and sweaty but the decision to keep the Catholics away from the Throne continues to this day or rather yesterday because Gordon Brown has decided that they are again worthy of marrying into our Royal Family.
In a sop to the Queen who is reportedly not much of a fan of Brown and has been questioning his recent financial decisions, Mr Brown has revisited the decision which stems from the Tudor Kings decision to poke two fingers to the Vatican and set up his own in the 16th Century.
The other countries in the Commonwealth would have to agree to the decision and if Gordon hasn't been sent to a small island in exile before then, he is due to put the decision to the vote in a Commonwealth Summit meeting in November.
As the ruling monarch also takes on the role as leader of the Church of England, the King or Queen must be Protestant so no Catho's will be able to claim the top job which involves waving at the plebs and appearing on the back of coins.
Also up for discussion is the order of succession which presently means that older sisters are overlooked in favour of male siblings as Brown look to overhaul the laws governing the Royals which he called 'highly antiquated'.
What isn't up for discussion is the law that says the Royals must come from a shallow gene pool of others with a hereditary line to the throne and not any of us commoners. Hopefully that will be added to the agenda before the November meeting because as evidence that that particular law can lead to all sorts of negative consequences, Ladies and Gentlemen, Prince Edward.

Friday, 27 March 2009

I Predict A Riot

The British bobby has a fine reputation for needlessly cracking heads and turning a bad situation into an even worse one and next week will give ample opportunity for our marvelous bobbies to batter a few more protesters about the head and legs as the G20 leaders visit our shores.
It is as certain as a newspaper publishing photo of Prince Harry falling out of a club drunk sometime before Easter that we will be seeing scenes of rioting on the streets of the capital next week.
Banks and Building Societies are closing for the duration of the G20 visit and workers at the City's financial firms are being told to dress down if they must turn up at all because of fears for their safety.
Of course it is all wrong and violence is never right, and i say that as someone as opposed as the next person to the massive payouts of my tax to firms that then go and hand it over to their workers in bonuses, the very same people who messed up so badly that got us into the problem in the first place. If i wasn't such a pillar of the community i would be hoarding the most throw able rocks i could lay my hands on to brain a few bankers myself.
I might not agree with their methods for showing their anger at the very people whose fault it is but who continue to pocket large sums of cash as everyone else loses their jobs, homes and savings, but i do understand why they feel they need to vent their spleen.
The usual rioting suspects will be there, the people who would have protested anyway and got a baton around the head by some policeman unaware that a camera was filming him, but the hordes will be swelled by people that frankly have little else to do next week because it isn't as if they have a job to go to anymore.
Although i can't condone the violence, i doubt if too many people will tut to loudly or shake their heads too fiercely if Barclays or Lloyds end the day with a few smashed windows or a few bankers are forced off the streets for a few days. Things could be very much worse for them if it wasn't for the thin blue line armed with tear gas, riot shields, batons and an unhealthy disposition to hit people stood in front of them.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

T,U,V,W,X,Y & Z

Phew, thats me done then. Lucy will be back to repair the damage i did to her standing in early April. Thank you to everyone who read my half-arsed attempt at blog posts and if anyone says blogging is easy, believe me, it isn't. It is hard work and i doff my cap to those who manage to maintain their blogs with regular and interesting posts.

Monday, 16 March 2009

S is for...Strange Attraction

I went to a Fancy Dress party just before Christmas. The theme was the second World War and off i went to the fancy dress shop and hired a Hitler uniform complete with fake moustache and all the Nazi bits and pieces. When i got to the party, the majority of men were either Hitlers, SS officers or run of the mill Nazis.
It seems that on some sub-conscious level we are fascinated by the bad and evil ones throughout history.
Given a history book we will read about Genghis Khan, the Vikings, Napoleon or Vlad the Impaler before we turn to the pages about Gandhi, Mother Theresa or the Suffragettes. We just seem drawn to read and find out about just how evil mankind can be before we discover the kind and caring side of our history.
Don't know why, maybe a psychologist could explain it and probably it wouldn't be very nice to read why i and most of my male friends would choose to dress up as our one time enemy rather than our very own Tommy's.
Must be more to it than they had a better and more distinguishable uniform although if you did glance back through the history book, the ones doing the invading and slaughtering did have distinctive uniforms from the horned helmets of the Vikings to the jack boot and swastika of the Nazis.
If there were two television shows on at the same time, one about Josef Mengele and one about Walt Disney, i would bet a pound to a penny that the Mengele documentary would get the most viewers.
Maybe it is something deep down inside of us that just draws us to the evil side, not admiration but a fascination of us humans at our most ruthless.

Friday, 13 March 2009

R is for...Red Nose Day

Every two years the countries funny people get together and put on an evening of entertainment with the purpose of raising millions for the needy in Africa. A very worthy cause and it has been great to see so many dressed in red to support the cause. Have to admit that a day of having buckets rattled under my nose and gang pressed into parting with another quid got kinda tiresome, i support the cause and am willing to give whenever the opportunity arises but i got it on the way to work, at work and then on the way home again and got a whithering glance off the woman outside the train station when i gave her the national 'i haven't got any change' gesture of shrugging and patting my pockets. I could have patiently explained to her that i must have handed over 20 pound coins during the day to the same cause she was collecting for and would certainly be pledging something over the phone tonight but I never.
What Comic relief does do well is break up the comedy with short, heart breaking pieces from Africa.
I can't remember when it was but one piece always sticks in my mind. A celebrity was talking about children dying in Africa and told us that a child dies every 3 seconds. He clicked his fingers, then a second later another celebrity did the same, and then another one and the words that's 3 seconds. That really stuck with me and i sometimes find myself working out how many African children died in that time when anybody mentions something in seconds. This post has taken me 27 mins to write, that's 1620 seconds. 540 children. Frightening.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Dangerous Creation Blog

Seems that my new pal David at Dangerous Creations has run off back to his blog to whinge and cry about how a few of us pulled him up about his ridiculous comment that all 300 million Americans are 'heavily indoctrinated and ill-informed'.
Don't care if he has a pop at me for being boring or writing time wasting posts. Nobody holds a gun to his head to come here and if he is going to bitch and whine because some of us think that what he spouts is ludicrous nonsense, then he can stay at his own blog and slag off everyone who lives in America and Israel.
If he had the balls to come out and say i'm a dickhead then fair play to him as long as he allowed me the right to reply and didn't block the comments he didn't like, but to whinge about us at his blog and not have the decency to be open about who he is bitching about (let alone why) is just childish.
If you like your bloggers miserable and moaning about how terrible everything is with a fair sprinkling of bigoted and ill informed views, then i direct you to Dangerous Creations. If David hasn't got his head in the gas oven because he is depressed over something or getting himself all wound up over Americans, tell him i said hi and for christs sake cheer up.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Q is for...Quo

Not actually about the band Status Quo, more about band member Francis Rossi who chopped off his ponytail but it gives me a handy Q when i was struggling.
Between 16 and 25, men can possibly get away with a ponytail. Between 25 and 35 it looks kinda poncy and anything over 35 smacks of mid life crisis especially if they have a bald patch on top. It is the hairstyle equivalent of wearing socks with sandals, shouldn't really be done but that doesn't stop some people.
Not that balding men should not have long hair, i'm no fan of the shave it all off and nobody will know i'm balding style because it just looks as if you have shaved it all off so nobody can tell you are going bald.
It isn't easy for us men to choose a hairstyle that doesn't make us look like we are either trying to recapture our youth or have it cut sensibly and look as if we have joined the local Conservative Party. It could always been grown shoulder length and worn loose, just not tied back into a ponytail because otherwise you look like something out of Status Quo and even he has come to the realisation that at 60 and sporting a ponytail, he looked a prat.
Now if only he and the other one can learn a few more chords, they might be able to knock out a song that doesn't sound like everything else they have ever done.

Monday, 9 March 2009

P is for...Psychology

I dabbled in Psychology a few years back, nothing serious, just an A level at evening class but it really was an exciting subject and some of the experiments quite eye opening and uncomfortable reading.
The two most famous would probably be the Milgram experiment and the Stanford Prison experiments, both which showed us humans in a bad light and could explain a lot of the happenings in Iraq.
The Milgram Experiment was devised directly from the Nazi war trials when the famous defence 'I was only following orders' was scrutinised.
The experiment was to find out how much pain a person would inflict on another person, even if fatal, if they were ordered to do so by an authority figure.
The person was told by the authority figure to give increasing electric shocks to a victim every time they got a question wrong. The victim was in another room and not actually attached to anything but screamed in fake pain with every electric jolt.
Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible.
An incredible 65% (26 of 40) of participants administered the experiment's final 450-volt shock, even though the victim had stopped screaming and banging on the wall and pleading for them to stop and had fallen silent.
The other experiment that makes you pause for thought is the Stanford Prison experiment where two groups of young men were separated into guards and prisoners. The experiment grew out of hand with prisoners suffering sadistic, cruel and humiliating treatment from the guards and it was forced to a stop after only 6 days.
Human nature is a strange thing as these experiments show. Conclusions i reached are that a good number of us will do as we are told by an authority figure and that authority figures can be very keen to dish out the abuse to there perceived subordinates. Whether this is the conclusion everyone would reach i don't know, but
its not a pleasant thought.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

O is for...Old Spice

When i was a young boy, my dad would ply himself with Old Spice aftershave. It wasn't a particularly bad smell but he would splash it on so liberally that you could smell whatever room he had been in for hours afterwards.
It was the same with my mums perfume which i remember used to make me sneeze.
It is nice for men to want to smell nice, we have all sat next to men who are not so keen to used the deodorant and i know which i prefer.
Where i work now, i am on the 7th floor and rather than take the stairs i join the queue for the lift every morning and i have worked out that a lift full of men can be an assault on the nose because they stink. Not a bad stink but a very overpowering stench of aftershave, hair gel and deodorant. As the day goes on the smell gets more bearable but that first blast in the morning, especially in the confines of a lift, is quite unpleasant.
Maybe it comes from experience but women don't seem to have this problem, the pleasant smell that surrounds them in the morning is confined to their immediate vicinity and doesn't linger.
Possibly the manufacturers of men products make their products so strong on purpose so the smell lasts all day but if we must use such overpowering smells, us men should avoid confined areas until the afternoon.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

N is for...Numpty Visits Washington

It does amuse me that British Prime Ministers have to go to America to get a standing ovation. Tony Blair did it and now Gordon Brown has done it with some speech or other about the Recession. What he said i don't know and don't much care because it became obvious a long time ago that he hasn't got a clue what to do about it.
The man who made such a monumental cock up with the tax bands here that ended up costing the Government millions rectifying it, trying to tell everyone else how to control their finances? Would give me a chuckle if it wasn't so serious.
Although not a foregone conclusion, it is highly likely that Brown and his Labour party will be catapulted out of office when he gets around to calling a General Election so i'm not sure what Obama gets out of palling up with Brown. If he wanted a European leader to share the stage with, why not pick the German or French leaders who will be around longer than Brown and have more clout with the rest of the EU.
Brown has much more to gain from associating himself with Obama whose star is still rising, Brown possibly hoping that he can get some of the reflected glory from the more glamorous American leader but Brown is damaged goods.
His determination to keep filling the banks coffers to the tune of billions while houses are repossessed and jobs lost is not a vote winner and doesn't seem to be making any difference to anyone else but the bankers who continue to pay themselves large bonuses.
Obama would have done well to avoid Brown for the next twelve months or at the very least researched Browns form when it comes to recent financial matters because we could have told him, it isn't very good.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

M is for...Madonna

Over the years i have accumulated quite a considerable amount of records. I still have vinyl singles and albums about the place and cassette tapes along with CD's and MP3 files. Bryan Ferry sits next to Nirvana who in turn share self space with Paul Weller so it is a fair mix of genres and tastes. I tend to have varied tastes when it comes to music but nowhere in my collection is a Madonna album or single. It is hard to believe that the woman has been singing songs for over 25 years and i have not liked any of her songs enough to actually buy one one of them.
Perhaps it is me because she must be doing something right to be have been around so long and it isn't as if she is a niche artist, she sings pop songs and has been very successful at it but for whatever reason, she just doesn't appeal despite changing her image and style every few years.
There have always been better female singers with better songs around but as they fall by the wayside, Madonna seems to just keep going and getting songs in the charts the same as the Rolling Stones who have been going even longer and i have one song of theirs on MP3, Sympathy for the Devil.
It isn't that i even dislike Madonna, her stab at an English accent when she was with Guy was humorous but otherwise i am totally neutral to her, just none of the hundred or so songs she has released over the last 25 years have moved me. Is it me?

Monday, 2 March 2009

L is for...Lucy's Blog

I expect it came as a bit of a shock to some to find Lucy temporarily replaced by some big hairy man but my constant whining to have a go finally wore her down and she gave me 6 weeks or so to do my best. Now i am well aware that my best is nowhere near Lucy's worst and as she can dash out a post in 15 minutes, it takes me easily an hour and i don't include any of the information she packs in and i went for the easy option of doing an A-Z because one of the hardest things to this blogging is finding something to write about. Then you actually have to write about it and sound as if you know what you are talking about, which for a very high percentage of the time, i don't.
Blogging looks easy, i thought it was easy to do, whatever pisses me off i would write about but after only a few weeks i can only admit that it is hard work to keep a blog going. After getting the idea you have to write the thing and then check the spelling and grammar because you don't want to look a twat in front of the whole world for misspelling something basic. The answer comments and tour the other blogs in the google reader and bookmarks and try to not sound a berk at other peoples blogs.
It is hard to make a joke because it doesn't come across very well in text, i took out and put back in several times a flippant remark a few posts back about the Stylophone making a worse noise than the hedgehogs i run over. I left it out in the end.
You also have the be aware that people will disagree with you, a glance through some of this blogs older posts shows me just how hairy it can be and i'm not certain i could take the abuse when someone started effing and jeffing at me. I would be tempted to try and out eff and jeff them.
So hats off to all you who run blogs and update them regularly with fresh and interesting posts because blogging isn't easy. Unless of course you do an A-Z and you get the day to think about what to write about for the next letter which is my approach at the moment.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

K is for...Karma

If there is one concept of religion that i would like to think is true it is the idea that good and bad deeds come back to slap you around the face at some point.
When the highly paid and arrogant Man Utd footballer Ronaldo wrapped his top of the range motor around a lamppost recently my first thought was serves him right for being such a cheating little rat. I then hoped that the lamppost wasn't too badly damaged, then that i needed to remember to pick up some shampoo and finally, was he hurt. He wasn't and he has since gone on to get booked for diving on numerous occasions but i do like the idea of people getting what they deserve.
The man who lets the door drop on me as i enter a shop or the cyclist who dives through the red light as i am crossing, i like to think that they have a small mishap during the day to even things up. Nothing bad, something annoying like they spill coffee down their white shirt or during a freak accident they get chewing gum in their hair.
I know that the idea of Karma is supposed to apply on a larger scale but I'd love to think that whoever dishes out these things is implementing it on a smaller scale also and the woman i saw today tread in dog poo had just been rude to a shop assistant.