Sunday, 30 August 2009

God Cleared On Technicality

The Nebraska state senator who sought to sue God for 'widespread death, destruction and terrorisation of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants' has had his case thrown out of court because the defendant has no address so legal papers cannot be served.
The Judge said in his ruling that a plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a case to proceed.
"Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed,' he said although the Senator argued that God was supposedly everywhere and knew everything so he'd be aware anyway.
I'd say it was just as well because there was a very real possibility that God would lose the case.
Hurricanes, tsunamis and any other natural disaster that you care to name are actually called acts of God, how much more guilty could he be?
If God has gone into hiding and isn't going to step forward to defend his name, how about suing the Pope who is meant to be God's representative here on Earth. We know where he lives. Just look for the old German guy in the funny hat tearing out the condom adverts in the magazines.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Selective Memory In Death

It's always a difficult call to know what tone to take when a well known figure dies as has been shown with the UK medias reaction to Ted Kennedy.
To us he was just the brother of the more famous John and the guy who caused a stink earlier on in the year when he was awarded an honorary knighthood despite his well known sympathies with the IRA.
Lord Tebbit, whose wife was confined to a wheelchair after suffering injuries from an IRA bomb, said the honorary knighthood was 'wholly inappropriate' and said that Ted Kennedy 'was certainly no friend of the UK'.
The media have seemed to refrain from handing out any plaudits to the US Senator but it is impossible to hear or read anything about him without Chappaquiddick being mentioned and the details of how he abandoned a young woman in his car when it plunged into the river and inexplicably, did not raise the alarm until the next day after first contacting his lawyers.
It's as if they are nodding towards him being a wrong'un but they won't come right out and say it, just play a straight bat and hint towards it.
The same thing happened with Princess Diana who was widely portrayed as a manipulative and scheming floozy right up to her death when she transformed into the queen of our hearts amid much hand wringing.
Jade Goody's death saw her make the leap from bullying, racist loudmouth to the 'princess of Bermondsey' while the paedophile allegations that dogged Michael Jackson have been conveniently brushed under the carpet as we celebrate his greatness.
It does seem the height of hypocrisy to change your view on someone just because they have had the misfortune to have died.
An often repeated mantra is if you have nothing nice to say about a person, then don't say anything at all and don't speak ill of the dead but to my mind it's if they were scheming floozy's, bullying racists, terrorist sympathisers or had an unhealthy interest in children in life, just because they died doesn't mean they were never any of these things when it's time to write up the obituary.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Can Bloggers Benefit From Press Collapse?

It's ironic that this year the print media has been full of the imminent death of newspapers.
Media companies have been hammered by a combination of continuing falls in newspaper sales and sharply lower advertising revenues, largely blamed on the recession.
The truth is that for the past five years newspaper sales have been in decline and the recession has only expedited the downfall.
Enders Analysis, the Media research service, has announced that they expect as many as half of the UK's local and regional newspapers to shut within the next five years and they see casualties in the national titles as many are running at a loss and are only being sustained by the good graces of their owners.
The Guardian Group are mulling over pulling the Observer and the Independent has been on life support for some time and is widely expected to be the first to pull down the shutters.
Press journalism is facing an array of tough decisions as to how to respond and at the moment it is not answering the questions with any conviction.
Some newspapers have raised the cover price to make up the shortfall from their regular readers while others have slashed the price to attract more to their title. It will be interesting which of these two business models succeed.
Other titles have moved away from the traditional idea of reporting news in favour of sex, scandal and celebrity. The Daily Star has taken this route, along with a price cut, and has seen sales increase by 20%.
The Murdoch press is still formulating plans to charge for accessing the information on their websites, a plan that it is hard to see as achievable as the abundance of free information sources online mean that readers cannot be expected to pay for access to news. The situation is even worse in Britain due to the BBC's mandate to remain free. With an online operation that is publicly funded it skews the UK's media landscape away from paid-for online news entirely.
Advertising revenue collapse, falling sales, 24 hour news stations, the availability of free online news sources and the fight over those willing to pay to fill the white space between the articles means newspapers will inevitably close or at the very least instigate a major overhaul of how they operate.
To some this is not seen as a negative thing, merely inevitable and part of the process of technological and social evolution.
The biggest winners are going to be those with the deepest pockets and altruistic owners but online media, and bloggers in particular, could become a vital part of the new shape of information sharing.
If groups from the tens of millions of bloggers can get their act together and offer up a single website with bloggers contributions and an equal share of the profits to contributors, then they could step in to fill the inevitable gap that is swiftly due to open up.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Back To The Future

I don't know if it's the bus fumes but i do find myself thinking some strange things while sitting in traffic.
What would happen if the world began spinning around the other way?
How many syllables are there in the word horse?
If a surgeon was stranded on a desert island with his surgical tools, how much of himself could he eat?
What did the first person who milked a cow think he was doing?
If i took out my eyes and pointed them at each other, what would i see?
I'm usually sent spinning back to reality by abuse by angry drivers queuing behind me but today i saw an advert for the Time Travellers Wife and i've spent the day pondering what i would do if i could go back in time?
There has been so many films and books about time travel that it is obviously something that has been pondered by many others.
The general theme seems to be to go back and change history in your favour with a person you regret not copping off with at the time or to quote Quantum Leap, to put right what once went wrong.
Yes, that's all very worthy but in reality, i guess the first thing anyone would do is to scrape together as much money as possible and rush down to the bookies.
Maybe after we have made enough money to afford a man to squeeze out our toothpaste for us every morning, our minds may turn to other things.
I'd like to turn up at a record company in 1988 with my guitar and sing them every song that has made number one since 1990 or go to a publisher with a book idea about an island full of dinosaurs that have been resurrected from some pre-historic DNA in tree sap. I'd probably nick the Da Vinci Code and claim it for myself also.
Righting what once went wrong would have to wait, i'd have the back catalogue of REM and Guns 'N' Roses to play to some pony tailed record executive first. Two songs i would make sure i put my name to are 'Time of your life' by Green Day and 'Losing my Religion' by REM.
I'd also pop a letter in the post to Princess Diana and tell her that that she might want to give that Paris trip a miss in 1997.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Happy Birthday Billy Ray Cyrus

Before he become known for playing the father to his real life daughter in Hannah Montana, the name Billy Ray Cyrus here would lead to a quick burst of 'Achy Breaky Heart' and then a derogative remark about mullets.
Little did us Brits know that far from pollute our charts with that one song and then disappear off to spawn the offspring to stink up our charts over a decade later, he was a pretty big noise stateside.
Now i'm no fan of country music. It seems to be all about someones dog dying or their lover running off and taking the car but apparently over 20 million albums were sold to Stetson wearers across the globe.
How many songs he actually sang about cars, dogs and his lover leaving him i don't know and don't much wish to find out but he is famous now for acting with his daughter, Miley Cyrus.
To be fair to him, he ain't no Dustin Hoffman but he does okay which is more than can be said for his god awful offspring.
Obnoxious, shouty and annoying, i decided i didn't like her when she appeared on Johnathon Ross's chat show to promote her film earlier this year and dissed the Queen. Actually, it was Helen Mirren but she's probably more popular than the Queen. Not only did she refuse to say her name when they were on the show together, referring to her only as 'Her', she said that she didn't need any acting advice from her. I've seen you act Miley, i'd take the advice when offered sweety.
Horrible kid and i bet she ends up running off with your car and running over your dog in the process Billy.
Hey, you could write a song about it when she does.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Scotland Boycott

The Scottish justice's decision to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the terrorist behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, has prompted a "boycott Scotland" campaign, echoing the gloriously over the top French boycott when they refused to play along with the Iraq War fiasco.
Americans are being urged to cancel any pending travel plans to Scotland, stop buying Scottish products and stop doing any form of business with companies from Scotland.
A website has been set up featuring a list of e-mail addresses for prominent Scottish politicians, as well as contact details for Scottish newspapers and a list of Scottish products and companies. One call i have heard is for Scotch whisky to be renamed as Freedom Liquor. Have to admire the amount of imagination that went into that one.
The site says a boycott is the 'only way to send a clear and direct message' of American anger over the decision.
It's particularly ironic as Scotland is about to embark on a massive US advertising campaign for the Year of Homecoming in an attempt to attract American with Scottish roots to visit Scotland.
I'd love to see Americans boycott all things that come from Scotland. You will have more rooms in your front rooms without that television and you would have to unplug that phone and your hospitals would save a fortune not having to pay for penicillin or anaesthetic.
Luckily for you, MacDonald's just sounds Scottish so you can still go there.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Dude Looks Like A Lady

What a mess the athletic governing body is making over the South African 800m runner Caster Semenya. They have asked the athlete to undertake a gender test to establish whether to title the letters Mr or Miss and have hired a barrage of doctors including a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist to find out.
A result is not expected for months but they could have taken 6 easy tests in a single afternoon and it all would have been wrapped up before tea.

1 - The picture test. Show them a picture of a beautiful, scantily clad woman. If Caster starts drooling and a pervy grin appears across their face and they mutter incoherently when you talk to them, its a dude. If Caster comments on how her roots need doing and those red shoes don't go with those stockings, then it's a female.

2 - The grudge Test. Simply ask Caster if there is anybody they dislike. If there are less than 3 then it's a he. If there are over 50 going back to that ginger girl who stole that red crayon from me at nursery school or the woman who handed me my change in a way i didn't much care for in Asda in 2001, then it's a she.

3 - The Barbecue Test. Fire up a barbecue and leave the grill unattended for 30 seconds. If on your return Caster is seated in the same place and showing no interest in the cooking burgers, then she's a lady. If on your return Caster is flipping over the burgers and warning people to stand clear as they squirt more fuel onto the glowing bricks, then he's a man.

4 - The Car Test. Stand the South African in front of a car and open the bonnet and ask Caster to check the oil. If Caster looks blankly back at you and asks for the phone number of the AA, it's a lady.

5 - The IKEA Test. Hand over a flat pack bedside cabinet and observe. If Caster carefully reads through the instructions and calmly constructs the cabinet, it's Miss. If Caster rips open the packaging, hits it about with a hammer, swears and complains that the holes don't line up for 20 minutes before realising that they have the wrong bit, it's Mr Semenya.

6 - The clock Test. Ask Caster to meet you at a designated place at a certain time. If they arrive fifteen minutes late, they are a woman.

See how easy it could have been.

Gamers

Gamers have a hard time of it most of the time. Nobody seems impressed when they reach the 37th level on Killzone 2 and nobody has ever got a date on the strength of being able to complete Grand Theft Auto Vice City.
As if gamers don't have a bad enough image already, now the researchers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have compiled a profile of gamers and its not pleasant reading for anyone who has '5 times Champion on Tiger Woods PGA Tour' on their CV under accomplishments.
The researchers found that they had an average age of 35, are often overweight, introverted, are more likely to suffer depression, are less outgoing with less developed social skills than non-gamers.
Nice, calling them fat social lepers will work at lifting their depression and get them out of the house but science may have found a solution and confusingly its computer games.
Researchers at the East Carolina University have discovered that some games actually reduce tension and stress with just enough mental challenge to keep people occupied while putting them into a state of relative mindlessness. That state appears to have health benefits and has a salutary effects on any mental problems such as depression.
Video games, causing the mental health problems and then solving them.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

I Just Don't Get It

I have enough problems juggling my own finances without trying to work out how nations run there's but the figures just don't add up.
How can Britain be the sixth richest country in the World when we have a debt of 2.2 trillion?
The USA tops the richest nation league but has a debt of 11 trillion while the second placed Japan owes 7.5 trillion.
Someone, somewhere must be lending out all this money because where else are we getting it from unless we are getting things on credit on some sort of global buy now, pay later scheme.
The eight richest countries are USA (11tn debt), Japan (8tn debt), China (400bn debt), Germany (2tn debt), France (1.5tn debt), UK (2.2tn debt), Italy (2tn debt) and Russia (200bn debt). That's 7 of the G8 countries so we can throw in Canada and their 1tn debt and that's all of the countries that steer the world finances seriously in debt.

My questions are:
1. Where are we all borrowing this money from?
2. How can the richest countries be such when they owe out so much money?
3. How did we get our finances into such a mess in the first place?
4. How are we going to pay it all back?
5. Who are we to tell anyone how to run their country when we can't even run our own finances?
6. Why are we not demanding the resignation of such incompetent money men?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Our Shame Over Lockerbie Bombers Release

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the Libyan convicted of killing 270 people in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 27 years and is presently serving his time in Greenock prison in Scotland.
I say presently because all the signs are pointing towards him being released tomorrow on compassionate grounds as he has terminal cancer.
I have yet to meet anyone who agrees with even thinking of releasing him back to Libya, the overwhelming thought being that he didn't show any compassion to the people he killed twenty years ago so let him rot in his cell, a sentiment i agree fully with. The other thought is why are we even dealing with Colonel Gadaffi who is suspected of calling for the attack in the first place and was arming the IRA for decades.
What is interesting is that far from being whispered by the media, the idea that British Government is leaning on the Scottish justice minister because this is ALL ABOUT OIL CONTRACTS IN LIBYA is being trumpeted loud and clear.
Libya is reported to hold the largest amounts of oil and gas in Africa and Britain's largest oil company, BP, has contracts potentially worth billions to drill for it.
The attack killed 35 students from Syracuse University in New York and Scottish authorities are facing opposition to his release from the US Government and the relatives of the American victims not to release the bomber from jail.
The Scottish government confirmed that an announcement would be made in Edinburgh at 1pm tomorrow saying: "We've a strong justice system in Scotland, and people can be assured that the justice secretary's decisions have been reached on the basis of clear evidence and on no other factors."
As reports from Scotland have told of Strathclyde police rehearsing a small convoy of police outriders and a vehicle with blacked-out windows driving from Greenock prison to Prestwick airport, we can be assured that once again, oil is behind another massive miscarriage of justice.
As we have showed before with dealings with the Saudi Arabians, Britain will whore itself out for a slice of the oil pie.
What our Government, and the Scottish Government, is about to do is downright shameful.

What To Do With Zombies

I expect that at some time or another, we have all been accosted by a demon or a creature of the night and wondered just what we should do. Luckily, the Canadians have been on it.
Usually if the words 'Scientific research shows' appears at the start of a news item, i turn the page quicker than it takes to read the words 'scientific research shows' but finally the boffins have came up with something that is useful.
The University of Ottawa and Carleton have discovered that a zombies attack would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.
In their study, the researchers set out to answer the question 'If there was to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would win?'
The conclusion was that we would if we "hit them hard and hit them often" adding "It's imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly or else we are all in a great deal of trouble."
Now if we put to one side the obvious question of just how much of a soft touch must the people who hand out research grants in Canada be, we should give the question of fighting the undead some thought.
Zombies always seemed a bit rubbish to me. Slow, clumsy and easy to keep outside of biting distance.
Much more of a challenge would be vampires but they can be kept at bay by making the sign of a cross and if for some bizarre reason you can't do that, just make sure you are standing in sunlight and they are kept kicking their heels in the shade while you flick matches at them. Night may be a different story though and you probably should raid the local church for holy water to keep by your bed.
Probably the worst kind of undead we could be over-run by would be werewolves. I hardly think the thing would stop and twiddle its claws while we fashioned a silver bullet out of our jewellery so the University of Ottawa should concentrate on how to defeat them instead of Zombies. Maybe it will get a bit of time after it's latest groundbreaking research on 'The Pope: Is he Catholic?'

Monday, 17 August 2009

British Medals For British Athletes

I always think that us Brits cheat when it comes to events like the World Athletics Championships.
Rather than compete as England or Wales, we lump 4 countries together and call it team GB or something which seems unfair on everyone else. That said, we still suck so nobody kicks up too much of a fuss.
Maybe if we could ditch Ireland, Wales and Scotland and choose 3 other countries to pal up with we would do much better.
Before the events even began we knew that the Caribbean countries would clean up in the short distance sprinting while the Africans would leave us panting in their wake in the long distance.
The East Europeans would snatch up the medals in the throwing events which just leaves us scrambling over the events where you have to run and jump.
As we proved at the Olympics, us Brits only excel at the events where you can sit down at the same time so we got the golds at cycling and rowing events.
All this doesn't bode well for us at our own London Olympics in 2012 but i had a brainwave while watching the BNP thugs in action over the weekend.
For three weeks only, we should take a leaf out of the BNP book but instead of British jobs for British workers, British medals for British athletes.
Every British athlete gets first choice of medal that he or she wants and whatever is left, the rest can share out among themselves.
If we can start a campaign now, highlighting the frightening prospect of foreign athletes, coming over here and taking all our medals, in stadiums that the hard working British worker have paid for with their tax contributions, we could clean up.
I'm sure we could bring David Cameron into the fold, he isn't one to miss jumping with abandon onto any bandwagon that happens to be trundling past him and as a right winger, well, you expect him to come up with ludicrous ideas anyway and this is as ludicrous as it gets.
British medals for British Athletes...it's the only way.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Still worth fighting over?

Having a bit of a problem selling the Afghanistan war, Blair and Bush wheeled out the wives to make the case for Afghan women.
Cherie Blair said: "The women in Afghanistan are as entitled as the women in any country are to have the same hopes and aspirations for ourselves and for our daughters - a right for their voices to be heard."
Laura Bush piped up with "The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control".
Okay, we get it, the invasion would mean a positive step in rights for the downtrodden and brutalised women of Afghanistan.

Skip on 8 years and Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands sexual demands, grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, requires women to get permission from their husbands to work and allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying 'blood money' to the girl if she was injured when he raped her.

Considering that we made the country what it is today, the question begs to be asked.
Afghanistan. Still worth fighting over?

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Debate, American Right Wing Style

I have to admit to being highly amused by the latest attack on the NHS from American right wingers trying to kill Obama's health care plan.
The general feeling among his detractors there is that if Obama gets his way, the American health system will be as bad as the British one and nobody wants that.
While they are saying that, we are saying if the Tories get their way the British health system will be as bad as the American one and nobody wants that.
It seems that we are both pointing at each others as examples of terrible health systems.
As i have never stayed in an American hospital, i couldn't possibly comment on how good or bad the treatment is just as i guess the vast majority of those shouting loudest in America have never been treated in a NHS hospital here. All we both have to go on is what he hear and what i hear about present American Health care is it is fine but you have to pay through the nose for it. What that boils down to, in my mind, is you get the treatment if you can afford it. If you can't then that's tough.
There is a famous scene in Micheal Moore's 'Sicko' film where a patient has to decide which one of his fingers to be reattached to his hand as he can't afford to pay for both.
The UK Government have said that they don't want to get caught up in a domestic fight but they are 'quietly correcting the misinformation about the NHS being put out'. They should be screaming from the rooftops that those slandering the NHS are lying, not quietly correcting it and point to the World Health Organisation league table of Health Systems where the American Health System is ranked 37th, fully 19 places below our own.
What amuses me the most though is the way it is the conservative right screaming Christian values and doctrine one week (abortion and gay marriage) and the following week attacking universal health care, therefore condemning 46 million of their fellow Americans to prolonged suffering because they can't afford health care.
I do find the 'i'm alright and to hell with you if your poor and ill' attitude perplexing but when i hear about death threats to Obama and swastikas being daubed on walls with pictures in the press of of gun toting protesters holding placards with slogans used by white supremest groups, it does make me think that things have taken a crazy, and very scary, turn over there.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Solutions To The Imminent Food Shortage

Experts are warning that the era of cheap food could be over as by 2050 there simply won't been enough land to feed the world's population and carrying on as we are isn't an option.
The Government has invited producers, supermarkets and consumers to suggest how the food system should look in the next few decades.I see four reasons why we are facing a food shortage.

1> Overpopulation. The obvious and most unpalatable answer is that there are just too many of us. How we go about solving that problem is a minefield and nobody is going to want to tackle that one.

2> Biofuels. As demand for biofuel increases, fields of crops are being rerouted from stomachs to engines. As we have seen already, the cost of basics like bread have increased as less crops are grown for consumption, therefore nudging the staple diet of many out of their reach. Arable land is being given over to fuel production instead of feeding people.
Unbelievably there is something called a set-aside subsidy where EU farmers are paid not to grow anything. There is an astonishing 9.4 million acres of land standing idle in Europe.

3> Imports. In my local supermarket there are apples from New Zealand, 11,600 miles away. Carrots from South Africa, 6070 miles and carrots from France, 612 miles away. Why are we importing food that we can grow here? Put to one side the carbon footprint of dragging fruit and vegetables from the other side of the world to our shelves, it is obviously going to be more expensive than bringing in a truckload from a local supplier. It also takes food away from countries such as the case in Ethiopia where it is exporting grains while 12,000,000 of its population barely survive on humanitarian food aid.

4> Supermarkets. Britain's largest supermarket, Tesco, have recently posted profits of more than £3bn Sainsbury's, Britain's second, made a £543m profit and Asda, the third largest, made £422m. All this despite the Worldwide recession. The secret behind such massive profits is the obscene mark-up supermarkets place on their produce. Obviously the cheaper they can buy from producers and the more they can get from consumers, the more money they make in profits. The greed of supermarkets is pushing the prices of food up and reducing the ability of customers to buy the staples what they need.

So my answer would be to stop the obscene practice of paying farmers not to grow food, invest in other forms of powering our cars and vans that doesn't sacrifice our food, tax food from outside of the UK and subsidise locally produced food and whack a huge windfall tax on supermarkets that post massive profits.

It really isn't that hard to work it out.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Unfair Dinkum Bruce

I've always thought that if you want to kill an animal, you should not use a high powered rifle from a safe distance, you should go cavemen and kill it with your bare hands. Gives the animal a fighting chance and may the best man/tiger win.
Obviously a human taking on a wild animal fairly is not going to happen, so they hide away and shoot it from a safe distance instead.
Man has taken it one step further and now the warriors are taking to shooting the wildlife from helicopters like the plan in Australia to wipe out 650,000 camels from up in the air.
So why has this animal been singled out as prime to be culled?
'They compete with sheep and cattle for food, trample vegetation and on a number of occasions they have scared residents' explained one Government official.
Scaring residents? Australia is the home of the jelly fish, crocodiles, sharks, poisonous spiders and snakes but the Aussies are most afraid of Camels?
Tony Peacock, CEO of the University of Canberra's Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center, said: "To be shot from a helicopter is actually quite humane, even though that sounds brutal. If I was a camel, I'd prefer to just get it in the head."
I would wager that if Tony Peacock was a camel he would prefer not to be shot through the head at all. I'd even say it was a fair bet that he would prefer to be left alone and not have some beered up Aussie trying to mow him down from the safety of a helicopter.
Come on Aussie hunters, get out of the whirlybird, down a few tinnies, channel the spirit of Ned Kelly and see if you can take out the scary camels with a few kicks and well placed uppercuts.
Let nature decide who gets culled, the Camels or the Australian men without the security of a rifle while being 100ft up in the air.
Steve Irwin, who was always up for a scrap with anything as long as it was deadly, would be disappointed in the lot of you.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Where Was That F**cking Place Again?

Not for the first time, it seems us English speakers have upset the Austrians, or rather one city in particular.
It seems we have been snickering, amongst other things, at their town name, the gloriously named City of F**KING.
The Major of F**KING has been ranting about English-speaking tourists acting out their village's name beneath the sign at the entrance to the town.
First up to defend us as usual is the Germans, with the top knob in the Town of W**K saying that the F**KING Major has got it wrong and he should be grabbing the opportunity with both hands as they do in W**K.
'We have so many visitors coming to W**k' he explained, 'In summer visitors can take hikes up W**k Mountain, or take it easy in the four seater W**k cable car that goes all the way to the peak.'
Local tourism chiefs say they realised that their name was a goldmine when it came to attracting English-speaking visitors and sell plenty of W**K postcards, W**K sweets and ornaments to show their friends and family of the time they came to W**K.
A favourite is the photographer who for a small fee will take your picture beside the 'Welcome to W**k signs.'
The F**KING Major is not taking the advice of the W**K's though and is determined to crack down on disrespectful visitors by installing CCTV to deter tourists from lewd behaviour beside their roadsigns.
'We don't find it funny and just want to be left alone' he grumbled so remember that next time you are in central Europe, you are more than welcome to W**K but make sure you stop before F**KING.

Friday, 7 August 2009

The Breakfast Club

Small article in one of the newspapers today about the death of John Hughes. I had no idea who he was or what he did until it mentioned him being a film director and writer who created some of the most famous films of the 1980s.
There were some good films from that decade and it turned out that he was responsible for one of my favourite film of the 80's, The Breakfast Club.
The film was perfect timing for me because i was in that exam period at the end of my school life and the characters and dialogue just struck a real chord.
The geek, the popular girl, the waster, the sports star and the cooky one were all real life characters that we all had come across during our time at school and had befriended, hated, avoided or in some way had crossed paths with.
If i had never seen the film and someone told me that it was a film about these five characters thrown together in Saturday detention and just left alone most of the time to work things between them and the dawning that they actually had very much in common, i would probably give it a wife berth but it is the dialogue between the characters that makes it stand out.
Emilio Estevez is probably the only one to have gone on to bigger and better things but although i haven't seen Judd Nelson in much else since, he would have to go some to better his portrayal of John Bender who is the central character and stitches everything together with his cruel taunts and unpredictable swings of temper.
Great film, great characters and brilliant dialogue which takes me back to the 80s and my school days whenever it is on the television.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

When Did Victoria Beckham Became A Singer?

Simon Cowell, being the man behind Robson & Jerome, obviously knows all about signing up talentless singers so it is no surprise that he has handed a contract to Victoria Beckham to be a part time judge on American idol.
The danger is that young kids not old enough to remember the Spice Girls will think that Victoria was at some point, actually a singer and not just the one who stood at the back pouting and pointing.
I agree that since then she has moved on to walking around LA looking sulky behind ridiculous sunglasses but in the talent pool that she thrives, its a massive step up.
How will the contestants manage to keep a straight face while she gives them advice? It would be like Beth Ditto lecturing people at a weight watchers meeting.
The first person she criticises would be well within their rights to wet themselves laughing.
America has so many female singers to pass on advice, proper singers who actually know what they are talking about and have actually sang, so Mrs Beckham is a strange choice.
Usually contestants have to sing a selection of one artists back catalogue so America can look forward to hearing her classic 'Out of Your Mind' again, the single where her voice was put through so many synths and digitisers that she sounded like Metal Mickey.
Now if Simon Cowell ever makes a show where the idea is to find someone to make money out of no talent, not eating and marrying a rich footballer then Victoria is your woman.
Including her in a show which involves singing is laughably inappropriate.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

ESPN Arrives In UK

In the UK a Sport has two options. It can either go with terrestrial television and gain widespread publicity or sell its soul and go to Sky TV and earn buckets full of cash but have a very restricted reach to their fans.
When boxer Amir Khan began to close in on a title shot and shifted to Sky and pay-per-view last year, i thought it would be poetic justice if he got knocked out and after 54 seconds of the first round he was on his backside and out for the count. Thank you to whichever God sorted that one out.
Now that Sky's only rival, Setanta, has wrapped up, the new kid on the sporting block is American channel ESPN which began broadcasting in the UK last night.
First show up was baseball and when i switched over to it this evening, it was baseball again with some commentary by some very excitable and shouty commentators.
ESPN, a part of the Disney family, won the right to show 46 live Premier League matches for the 2009/10 season, and 23 matches a season for the following three years, following an auction after previous owner Setanta went into administration last month.
I understand that ESPN cannot fill it's days entirely with UK football but i am unsure how willing UK customers will be to pay £12 per month for one football match per week and the rest of the time filled with American sports. The reason Setanta folded was because it couldn't draw enough of an audience with it's football and boxing coverage to break even so minority sports that have no following here at the best of times is hardly a crowd pleaser. The Baseball on Five show which showed highlights of the MLB on Sunday nights was dropped from the schedules earlier in the year and that was free to air.
Sky Sports has the cricket, rugby, darts, football, golf and boxing all sewn up so it is difficult to see what ESPN has to offer for it's £144 annual subscription (free to XL Virgin customers which is the only reason why we have it) apart from the occasional football match.
Possibly it is willing to take the hit to the pocket and use its financial muscle to grab the rights off Sky for these sports when they come up for auction next time but until then i can see the annoyingly loud commentators shouting to a very small UK audience.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Stunning

Bonuses Back As Big Banks Make Billions - Sky News
Barclay's profit up to almost £3bn - BBC News
Banks defend bonus culture as profits jump - The Guardian

What is there to say?
They got us into this mess with their arrogance and sheer naked greed, and while the unemployment queue grows, business fail and house repossessions go through the roof, they are back to their same old ways.
The only politician with an ounce of sense, Vince Cabel, described it as "appalling" and said that "Without the taxpayer, many bankers would be without a job let alone a huge bonus."
As far as i can see, nothing has changed at all despite all the talk of tougher regulation on the banks to stop them tipping us over the edge once again.
The only winner seems to be the banks who know that they can do what they want and if they win the gamble then they can clean up with massive profits but if it all goes belly up again, our leaders will be there to bail them out with our money. In the case of Barclay's, prostituting themselves to Middle East businessmen.
If Gordon Brown has one iota of self respect left, he would levy a windfall tax on the lot of them to reduce how much he, or rather the next Conservative Government, will have to raise taxes to scrape back the spiralling national debt.
Maybe i'm wrong and the banks will use these profits to help ease the burden on their hard pressed customers but then again i have yet to see the silhouette of a flying pig against a blue moon.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Men And Face Fuzz

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, has blamed his moustache for the reason that he is unpopular.
Not because of excessive claims for repairs to his second home exposed during the MP expenses lynching a few months back, it's all down to his follicular sproutings.
I have always thought that unless you are in the Taliban, ZZ Top, a Birds Eye commercial or are actually Santa, men who sport excessive facial topiary are on that slippery slope towards buying cardigans with leather patches on the elbows and becoming Geography teachers.
Men who sport just the moustaches deserve, and often receive, just as much ridicule as those with the full faced fuzz look.
They may have once been associated with power and sophistication but now whatever way you want to style the 'tache, you end up looking like 'a slug balancer' as General Melchett so aptly described it in Blackadder.
You could go for the style of the guy in Village People but you end up looking like the guy from Village People, or the other extreme made famous by Oliver Hardy and Adolf Hilter who apparently once sported a fine Ned Flanders type moustache but kept getting food stuck in it so opted to trim it to the ludicrous moustache that he is as famous for as much as his crimes against humanity.
Especially cringe worthy is the bum fluff 'tache on many of the young men who see it as a sign of maturity and not an obvious sign to everyone else that they have just began shaving and isn't fooling even the most short sighted of barmaid's that they are old enough to buy that snakebite and black.
I blame Tom Selleck who made moustaches seem cool in the 80s but he was also responsible for a short lived fascination with Hawaiian shirts and nobody would be seen dead in one of those now (i hope) but still walk around thinking a hairy top lip is a good look. Go figure.