Monday, 31 December 2012

Bush, Clinton, Thatcher, Mandela & Chavez...

Any sentence that starts with George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chavez are all in hospital is usually a joke but it seems that all of them are undertaking various degrees of hospital care at the moment.
Still, it would make a great joke.

George Bush, Hilary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chavez are sitting in the hospital canteen when a news crew turns up asking if they have some words to reassure their fellow countrymen via a live feed to their respective countries.
As they are setting up the camera the five of them make a bet who can get the biggest cheers.
George Bush steps in front of the camera and gives little wave and says that he is recovering and will be back in Texas soon and all the Republicans in America cheer.
Hillary Clinton is up next and and tells America that her operation was successful and all the Democrats cheer.
'Not bad' says Thatcher who steps up next and says that she is feeling much better and will be out of hospital and back in London soon and all the Conservatives in Britain cheer.
'That's quite good but listen to this' says Nelson Mandela as he takes his turn and tells his countrymen that he is now fully recovered and will be returning to his homeland tomorrow and all the blacks in South Africa cheer.
Hugo Chavez, not wanting to be out done by the others considers what he could do and turns to the others. 'You were all impressive, but did you know that, with just one little wave of my hand, I can make every person in all our countries go crazy with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display, like that of your subjects, but will go deep into their hearts and they will forever speak of this day and rejoice.'
The others seriously doubted this and says so. "One little wave of your hand and all people will rejoice forever? Show us."
So Hugo punched Margaret Thatcher.

Thank you very much, i'm here all week.

2013 Psychic Predictions

As i sit here, 2012 is fading and 2013 is closing in fast and it is only natural to ponder what will the new year bring. Well, we can stop pondering because Psychic Nikki is here and her clients include movie stars, politicians, sportsmen and women and business folk and if she is good enough for them, she is good enough for us.
Her website lists over 200 predictions for 2013 so let's pick out the juiciest few and delve in and see what we can expect to read about in our newspapers in 2013:

A fire and explosion at a subway in New York City kills many.
Nuclear attack on New York.
Terrorist attack at the Empire State Building.
Stock markets world-wide will close for one week.
Man-eating plants.
Seattle, Washington in ruins after a large earthquake.
Cuba and Puerto Rico becoming part of the USA.
A weather satellite will come crashing into a building.
CN Tower collapsing - fire and explosion.
Civil War will break out in the USA.
A 9.1 earthquake hits Moscow, Russia.
North and South Korea attacking each other.
The map of the world will change due to catastrophic events happening around the globe.
Earthquake in Egypt, destroying part of the pyramids.
A famous person will get eaten by a grizzly.
India and Pakistan at war.
Trains blown up in the USA.
A bomb blast at Buckingham Palace.
A car accident – Royal Family of Monaco.

Pretty bold and unambiguous predictions from Nikki, none of them particularly cheery but we will come back in 12 months time and see how she got on.

2012 Psychic Predictions Results

The problem with being in the business of making predictions is that at some point someone is going to look and say 'that never happened' and that time has come for LaMont Hamilton, the man who other Psychics go to for help.   
LaMont charges $65 for email consultations and $55 for a half hour phone reading, so if you are paying that kind of money you would expect him to have a high rate of accuracy. So on to the predictions:

#1: Accident seen around US President Obama as he trips or falls in the early months of 2012.  MISS
#2: Iranian revolution seen in 2012 where Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad removed from power.  MISS
#4: Threats or a rumor of an assassination attempt against Nicolas Sarkozy in a foreign land will be reported.  MISS
#5: Russia will encounter two setbacks in its space program in 2012 due to accidents or explosions with their launch vehicles.  MISS
#6: South Africa will prosper after the discovery of a major new gold/diamond mine.  MISS
#8: Iran will see a nuclear related explosion to one of its 2 reactors this year due to an accident or sabotage. MISS
#9: A conflict or battle in outer space will occur this year between 2 countries, most likely involving Russia or Iran. MISS
#10: French President Nicolas Sarkozy & wife Carla will have a new son. MISS

Lamont did get 2 predictions right though

#3: Japan embroiled in dispute with China where military action will be threatened against Japan or a partial Naval blockade will occur.
#7: President Barack Obama will face conservative Republican, Mitt Romney as the US Presidential choice after the 2012 primary elections.

A 20% success rate for LaMont Hamilton which is still not very good if you paid $65 for it but as LaMont will surely tell you, the future is a fickle thing and anything can happen to alter the future after the $65 is removed from your bank account.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 DA14

It's quite ironic that one of the highlights of the 2013 Astronomy calendar falls on the birthday of Galileo Galilei and it is also surprising that the 'end is nigh' gang have not picked up on the 2012 DA14 asteroid that is heading our way February 15th next year.
The 130,000 tonne, 45m wide asteroid is due to fly past Earth at a distance of just 22,500 km which is closer than any other of its size in recorded history.
'Having a 45m space rock pass under 30,000km from the Earth is an incredibly near miss in astronomical terms' said a spokesman from NASA although he emphasised that there is no danger for us, NASA have an impact risk of 0 for 2012 DA14, although our satellites could face a direct hit as the asteroid is set to travel between the Earth and our communication satellites.
Although the asteroid will be too faint to see with the naked eye, it will be visible through binoculars or a telescope but i fully expect the more excitable amongst us to have it bringing about the death of us all before then.

Top Posts 2012

It has always grated slightly that on this blog there are almost 1500 posts, the vast majority written by me but the most popular post out of those 1500 was written by my husband in the summer of 2011 when i stepped aside for a while, his Anders Behring Breivik post has almost treble the amount of views as my highest ever viewed post.

The top 5 viewed posts this year do have a bit of a strange theme to them, the Nicotine Fuelled Nightmares post from October was concerning some very unpleasant dreams i had after taking up vaping in place of smoking and as the fifth most viewed post, obviously something that other vapers had suffered.

Fourth was 2012 Psychic Predictions from last January from LaMont Hamilton which i will be reviewing shortly to see how well he did.

Third was the Tony Nicholson: The Right Decision post in which i got the man's name embarrassingly wrong. As it was about a courts decision that judged doctors could not end the life of Mr Nicklinson who was left paralysed after a stroke. He died a week later after refusing his medication and some agreed with me that the courts decision was the right one as it would set a precedent, most disagreed but blogging is all about saying 'this is my opinion' and being disagreed with. 
Second was the Zombie Conspiracy post which set out proof that we are at the dawn of the Zombie apocalypse but by far the most viewed post was Why Is It Raining So Much In The UK This Summer post. If nobody in the UK knew about the wandering North Atlantic Jet Stream before this summer, they do now because that's why we spent most of it carrying umbrellas. 

One of my personal favourite posts was the The Superior Athletic Gene Theory which was American runner Michael Johnson's theory as to why the best sprinters are black American and Caribbean. He set out a very plausible argument that it was all down to the slave trade.
Top post for me though was Septembers Americans Won't Get This Post, inspired by the Not One-Off Britishisms blog which has a list of British words and sayings that don't exist in the American vocabulary.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Lost in 2012

The end of the year is always a time of reflection and one of the saddest lists is always those who died over the past year.
Probably the most shocking was Whitney Houston who was found dead in her bath from a drugs overdose. Aged only 48, so much talent wasted.
Also gone are Bob Holness, Davy Jones, Eric Sykes, Max Bygraves, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, Larry Hagman, Clive Dunn, Terry Nutkins and Frank Carson who all seemed to have been around since i was a kid.
Ones that i somehow missed were Donna Summer who died in May and actor Michael Clarke Duncan who played John Coffey in The Green Mile and while it is always sad to hear of anyone dying, the deaths of Astronomer Patrick Moore and Astronaut Neil Armstrong are the ones that stick most in my memory from the past 12 months.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Late Night Radio

On the nights when sleep was just a dream, i would listen to TalkSport radio with all the weird and wonderful phone-in callers discussing whatever was going on in the World.
It does seem that phone-in shows tend to invite the more excitable members of the community to call in but that was part of the charm, the loony left and the radical right spouting off with a brief interlude where someone would phone up and play Anarchy in the UK on his Casio organ.
Such a shame that TalkSport decided to drop all its non-sports programmes and now just talks sport because despite going up and down the radio dial every night, there are just no more late night phone in shows anymore for us insomniacs to listen to.
I have tried Radio 5 recently but it isn't really a phone in show, more the DJ going on about his favourite bands and reading out texts he received about him discussing his favourite bands.     
I don't know how TalkSport's night time listening figures are looking these days after the change but i would imagine they have gone down judging by the amount of people moaning about it on the Internet but nobody seems to be suggesting an alternative.
There are a few London based stations that do late night chat but none of the local stations on the coast that i receive do anything and with the exception of the aforementioned Radio 5, none of the national ones are doing it either which is a real shame.
There seems to be a market for a late night phone-in from the insomniacs with Casio organs amongst us but unless TalkSport change their format back to include some non-sport shows again or one of the nationals pick up the thread that TalkSport have so carelessly dropped, it's Radio 5 and another thrilling night-time walk through the DJ's record collection.

Thirty Year Archive Paper Released

The release of secret Government papers under the 30 year rule are always entertaining and the papers from 1982 are now available and Margaret Thatcher might be asking the nurse for more pain killer as she does not come out of it in a particularly good light.
Already a figure of scorn for many, Maggie Thatcher the milk snatchers reputation will not be enhanced by the revelations that have been released today.
In her 1982 Conservative party conference speech in Brighton, she dismissed the Labour Parties claim that the Conservatives were planning
to dismantle the NHS by claiming that 'the NHS is safe with us' but considered a proposal that 'It is therefore worth considering aiming over a period to end the state provision of health care for the bulk of the population, so that medical facilities would be privately owned and run, and those seeking health care would be required to pay for it'. It was only a 'riot within the cabinet' that prevented it.
Other proposals were the introduction of education vouchers, ending the state funding of higher education and freezing welfare benefits.
The Falklands war was the big event of 1982 and the papers show that Margaret Thatcher was prepared to do a deal with Argentina after the invasion of the Falklands over the status of the islands, including the question of sovereignty.
Her Government were also providing arms and training to General Pinochet's troops while trying to 'prevent the press from getting wind of such training' and 'The main difficulty for us will be now to adjust our human rights policy in a way which is sufficient for the Chileans without exposing ourselves to criticism from the domestic lobby that we are subordinating human rights concerns'.
There are large swathes that have not been released, stuff that they've decided is still too incendiary to release but none of this will enhance her reputation, especially the discovery that as she was sending 258 young men and women to die in defence of the Falklands, she was prepared to negotiate handing over sovereignty of it to Argentina anyway.
The Conservatives are not called the Nasty Party for nothing and Thacher was one of the nastiest. I'm sure that we all wish her a speedy recovery so she can answer the questions i expect the Falklands veterans want to ask her.

Norovirus Cases Up

Before the Christmas break we had students and colleagues going down in droves from the Norovirus, or Winter Vomiting bug, and the Health Protection Agency has released figures that show there have been 3,538 cases from July to mid-December which is 83% higher than the same period in 2011. 
The agency added that for every reported case an estimated 288 go unreported, meaning there could be 1.01 million cases and worryingly the worst months are generally between January to March which could mean the worst is yet to come.
A spokesman for the HPA said there was no indication as to why there are more cases of Norovirus this year than last but i would have thought it was pretty obvious.
It is known to spread rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals and schools and hits its heights in winter which is when more peope are inside.
As this year we have had so much rain, people have not been out and about so much or preferring to go to places inside to avoid the raindrops.
Lots of people in closed environments earlier than usual and bingo, lots of cases of the Norovirus striking earlier than expected. 
Another unforeseen result of the crazy 2012 weather here in the United Kingdom.
One of the questions on the NHS website is what can you do when you have caught the virus and i can answer that one as i had it last year.
Grab a bucket, make sure that you are close to a lavatory and don't make any plans for the next 3 or 4 days.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Google Zeitgeist 2012

2012 was a bit of a strange year but using Google to look at the most searched for terms, we can get a good idea of what the citizens of the World have been up to.
Using Googles Zeitgeist 2012 we see what the search engine was used to find out the most 'How to' questions by country.
In the UK and Ireland the most asked question was 'How to draw' so we can deduce that up and down the UK and Ireland, the paints and easels were out.
The people of Australia and America were both asking 'How to love' the most and the Danes were asking 'How to Kiss a man' while the South Africans were less gender specific, they just wanted to know 'How to Kiss'.
The Swedes have a bit of a reputation of being the first in line when any type of bodily contact is taking place but this year they had other things on their minds, the most searched for question was 'How to pay tax'.
The Israelis have not got as far as the Swedes yet, they were looking for 'How to make money' and the folk in New Zealand need to buy keyboards with a PrtSC button on it as they were asking 'How to take a screenshot'. 
The Japanese were asking 'How to スマホ 節電' which took me to a mobile phone website about power-saving shortcuts and the Russians were asking 'How to become kinder'.
Finally the Italians asked 'How to Come fare Sesso' and the website that took me to, well, if that is what they are doing in Italy, if they are not careful, it could leave a very bad taste in one`s mouth if you get my drift.

Keep Piers Morgan in the USA

How loved must Piers Morgan feel today.
There is a White House online petition calling for the TV presenter to be kicked out of America for his views on gun control over there but UK citizens have retaliated by a petition of there own.
The petition to "Keep Piers Morgan in the USA" has over 3000 signatures and states:

We want to keep Piers Morgan in the USA. There are two very good reasons for this.
Firstly, the first amendment.
Second and the more important point. No one in the UK wants him back.
Actually there is a third. It will be hilarious to see how loads of angry Americans react.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Spectre Of Lefty Students

The man at the local Socialist Workers Party had a decent introduction to his speech a few years ago, picturing the scene in Full Metal Jacket where Private Pile was caught with a jam doughnut in his foot locker and the rest of the dormitory were punished by having to do press-ups while Pile ate the doughnut. 
This would then lead him into how the bankers and financial institutions were the real life's Private Pile's stuffing their faces with jam doughnuts while the rest of us were the innocent members of the dormitory doing press-ups or struggling with debt, unemployment, house repossessions, austerity cuts and worse.
He has now dropped that particular analogy from the 1987 film mainly because a good proportion of his audience were too young or not even born when the film was made.
Since 2008 i have noticed a large increase in Marxism, Socialism and Communism interest from the younger generation, i should have asked for commission from the estate of Robert Tressell the amount of times that i have suggested The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists to students as a gentle introduction to Socialism before they hit the more heavier stuff. Now i advise them to download it for free from here
There has certainly been a revival in interest in Marx and Marxist thought, sales of Das Kapital, have soared over the last few years, as have those of The Communist Manifesto (which can be downloaded free here)
The revival of interest especially for young people, comes as the present Capitalist system is in crisis across the globe and is being kept on life support by the people who crashed it, making the little people pay for their crisis and so why on earth should they not be looking for an alternative to a system which hands out crumbs for the workers and then no crumbs at all when those on the top table mess up, and Marxism is the direction they seem to be turning.
The Socialist Worker Party speaker hit the nail on his head when he said his audience is getting younger because the younger people weren't around when Marxism was associated with Stalin and the nasty flavour of Communism in the Soviet Union or East Germany, now it is associated with men like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela whose Socialist philosophy has dragged his country out of poverty and bettered the lot of the poorest in his country. 
The younger generation look at the rich men making up the Worlds Government's, and feel alienated, rightly asking how can they possible understand their plight and not do anything about the pitiful, sinister and corrupt economic shambles going on around them. Many of the new left movements like Occupy are organised by the younger generation who saw at first hand the violent efforts the Governments will go to when the present system is threatened. 
As tempting as it may be for the establishment to ignore or just shake their heads at this new wave of interest in Marx, large swathes of the new generation coming through, the future politicians and policy makers, are questioning the present system and are not being fooled by the Capitalist mantra that what we have is all there is because they know there is an alternative where the majority also get a bite at the jam doughnut.
A spectre may well be haunting Europe and the World — the spectre of a Socialist generation.  

Hospital At Christmas

This Christmas period, our thoughts turn to those poor people who spend the yuletide in hospital. This Christmas we heard how Nelson Mandela was being treated for a lung infection and gallstones in a South African Hospital, Margaret Thatcher opened her presents while in a Hospital bed after an operation to remove a growth from her bladder and former President George Bush was hospitalised over Christmas with a fever.
Turned out it was the elder George Bush who was eating the turkey amongst the tinsel on his hospital bed and not the one Russell Brand called the retarded cowboy who done so much towards bringing peace to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I wish Mandela a speedy recovery, am not really fussed about George Bush but hope that whatever hospital Thatcher was in, the person responsible for administering her pain relief went home for the bank holidays.       

Fox Hunting Not Coming Back Anytime Soon

There was some bad news for the people who like to chase creatures across fields until they collapse from exhaustion and then rip them to shreds as the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, said that there was no imminent prospect of repealing the hunting ban.
Mr Paterson said: 'There's only a point having a vote if you're going to win. At the moment, it would not be my proposal to bring forward a vote we were going to lose. There needs to be more work done on Members of Parliament.'
While it is good news that the lovable people who get a sick kick out of killing defenceless animals are still whining about their 'sport' being rightly outlawed along with hare coursing and cock fighting which were all equally barbaric and all thankfully consigned to history, but it is worrying that Government are going to 'work on the Members of Parliament' to try and win the vote.
The RSPCA and other animal welfare charities commissioned a research poll which showed that only 15% of people want to scrap the ban so the Government want to 'work on the MPS' so 85% of the population of the country is ignored. 
That's a strange kind of Democracy, where the vast majority of the UK support the ban but the Government are willing to coerce and threaten the law-makers to appease the underwhelming minority.
The Government won't offer a referendum on it as they know they and the 'let's kill it brigade' will be heavily defeated and rightly so, so this Boxing Day rather than the sound of horns and the chasing pack, it's the sound of the gentry and posh folk whinging about how they are not allowed to kill things which in the 21st century, should always be preferable. 

Monday, 24 December 2012

Say Sorry Piers

41,000 Americans have signed a petition calling for Piers Morgan to be deported over his criticism of the country's gun laws.
On Tuesday, he interviewed Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt, and called him 'an unbelievably stupid man' when Pratt suggested more weapons were a credible solution to gun crime in America.
The petition on the White House website states that Morgan 'is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens'.
The whole of Britain may agree with you Piers but we think you should play nice with the gun crazies and issue an apology. We don't want you back over here.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

More Flooding Expected

Amazingly, the picture to the left is not a mock up or been photo shopped, it is a screen grab of the Live Flood Warning map straight from the Environment Agency website.
For England and Wales, there is 1 Severe Flood Warning for Cornwall which means danger to life, 244 Flood Warnings which means flooding is expected and immediate action is required and 268 Flood Alerts warning that flooding is possible and to be prepared for action.
The MET Office is warning that more rain would fall in the next few days and people in the worst affected areas are being moved to emergency shelters.
The MET has issued an Amber warning for the South West of England (Be prepared to protect yourself and your property) and a Yellow Warning for the rest of the country (Localised flooding).
Scary stuff and a miserable Christmas for many. 2012 will go down as the year that the changing climate really began to make an impact.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Changing History

I am currently in a race to finish the Stephen King book, 11/22/63, before 29 December when it has to go back to the library and as i am only on page 200 of the 700 odd page time travel epic, i can't see me finishing it. Its my own fault for such scandalous procrastination when i first got it but it's not a bad story so far, usual Stephen King fare which tends to meander around pointlessly in parts before getting
back to the main story but by then you have already read it and find yourself thinking well that was 30 pages i could have missed out.
Anyway, Mr King's tale concerns a man who goes back to stop the Kennedy assassination, I'm guessing he never and will have it confirmed in 500 pages time but King makes the point that if you were to go back in time and change things, nobody would know in the future because to them it is business as usual as they didn't know there was an alternative and that you had gone back and tampered with the order of things.
So for example, if i hadn't used that time portal in the back of my wardrobe to go back to 1952 and assassinate Thomas Rand on his trip to Brighton, he would have developed that faulty flu vaccine that wiped out half of the population of Europe. Today, because Thomas Rand wasn't around to develop the vaccine, half of Europe are alive and well but nobody else knows that. 
No-one knows that before last Wednesday, the global superpower was Norway and America was a Third World country devastated by a nuclear attack in 1979 by the Ivory Coast over a dispute which started out over fishing rights.
If i hadn't been at Plymouth docks in 1620 to guide the pilgrims towards taking the Mayflower and not the poorly maintained Oranjebooom ship as planned which sank off the coast of Iceland just days into their trip across the Atlantic, than we wouldn't have the America we know today and Buffy would never had been made. Problem is, nobody else knows these things because this is the norm for everyone.
With this in mind i am writing it here so i have proof that the World is a better place today thanks to me.
In my time portal as soon as i finish typing this, i will first head to the Middle East and start spreading a few stories about an all powerful creator who made the World and sent down his only son to Earth. Maybe introducing religion to that region will calm it down a bit.
Then i plan to move on to 1666 and see if we can wipe out the plague that decimates 95% of the British population by starting a fire in London and then stop off in Serbia around 1914 and see if i can persuade someone to take out the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand before he gets the chance to write that damn annoying song. One final stop in the late 80s to see if i can get someone to put words to and perform my 'Sweet Child Of Mine' tune.   
Of course, if i succeed nobody will know because to you, it will not be any different which is why i am writing it here now before i do it so i have proof.
Wish me luck and remember me when you check your history books. 

Mayan Apocalypse Moved To Sunday

Just as the world sighs in relief at having escaped the Mayan apocalypse, the ancient prophesy may still hold true. According to some archaeologists, the end could come as early as this Sunday as the Mayan calendar has not been fully decoded and correlated to the Western calendar.
Apparently the Mayan calendar's cycle equates to 144,000 days, or 394.26 tropical years and ends on Sunday.

Oh just give it up.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Damn Mayans

How annoying is that. There i was making jokes about the apocalypse like there was no tomorrow, thinking there wouldn't be, and the Mayans turned out to be about as good at forecasting the end of the World as those economic experts who all missed the global recession.
I really wish that I hadn't bought that speedboat on my husbands credit card and eaten all my advent calendar chocolates in one go now.
I was kind of counting on the end of the world to not bother buying Christmas presents and the inevitable zombie apocalypse doesn't look like it is going to materialise before Tuesday. Stupid Mayans
Hang on, here it was 11.11am and that's Mayan time so OUR time its 3 30pm....bugger again. Grrr, damn Mayans.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Pact of Paris

There was no Nobel Peace Prize handed out in 1928 which is ironic as that was the year that the World powers decided to make war illegal.
The Pact of Paris was a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve disputes or conflicts and was initially signed by Germany, France and the United States and then most other nations of the World soon after including  Britain, Italy, Japan, Austria, China and the Soviet Union.
What an inspired and beautiful notion. Wonder how it got on?

The Ban Cars, Not Guns Argument

The POTUS has some tough decisions to make regarding gun control in the USA but whenever doing something about all the guns over there is mentioned a few facts are wheeled pout, on of them being that more people die in car accidents than by guns so they should ban cars.
Yep, an argument as weak as British beer but it gets an airing nevertheless so it is probably a bit of mischievous timing that the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention announce that while motor vehicle deaths have been declining over the years, gun fatalities have increased and by 2015 the average American citizen is more likely to die by gunshot than by car accident.
The CDCP research states shooting deaths will likely rise to 33,000 in 2015 and surpass the number of traffic fatalities, which are predicted to be around 32,000 that year.
Even though gun deaths increased, the rise is mostly attributed to homicides, suicides, and accidents. On average, 85 Americans are shot dead daily, 53 of which are suicides and more than 200 people end up in an emergency room each day to get treated for gunshot wounds.
So we will continue to hear that argument, and the one about introducing even more guns to the equation, but not for much longer.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The World Will Be Better For This

Funny how these things happen. This post began when i heard about David Cameron and Ed Milliband trading insults with each other by using songs by the band, Police.
So off i went thinking i know what, i will use Barry Manilow Songs to insult our elected Government Officials because after all, he wrote the songs.
I got to 'Can't smile without you (because you cut my Moebius syndrome funding)' and 'Could it be Tragic' but i quickly found that Manilow didn't really have that many songs i could bastardise the titles of so i aimlessly began clicking through his you tube videos.
I wouldn't go so far as to say i was much of a fan of Manilow but i do like the way his songs tend to feature just him and a piano at the start and build to a crescendo with an orchestra and him holding those long notes. I am a sucker for a big note and a belting orchestral finish to a song and i was merrily singing along to his back catalogue, sorry Barry but i murdered 'Could it be Magic',  and i thought that i might fall across him singing 'The Impossible Dream' which i have long believed to be a song just waiting to be sung properly by someone.
The most often heard version is by Andy Williams and while it is not horrible, it always seems a bit underwhelming and the you tube search always turns up opera singers who seem go at it with too much power. It's a song just waiting for someone to sing it properly
Another one is Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, two songs just waiting to be picked up and done justice.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Now We Know How The World Will End

I think it has now been accepted by us all that the World will end this Friday but the lingering question is how will it go out?
The favourite for global annihilation was always an asteroid hitting the planet but that theory is beginning to look a bit jaded because it would have appeared on our space radar by now and anyway, that's been done before.
There is still an outside chance that the World will flip and send the Pole's sliding toward the equator and Brazil will be where the Antarctic now sits or that the Earths magnetic field will fail catastrophically but no rumblings of these things yet and its only 4 days away.  
There is still an outside chance that we will all wake up Saturday morning, not only alive  but regretting that telephone call to our boss we made Friday evening telling him that he is by far the largest self-abuser we have ever met and he can place his job in a shady area, or words to that effect.
But wait, just as we dare to believe that we will make it through this thing, NASA announce that later this week they will be crashing two spacecraft into the moon at nearly 4,000mph.
So should we be worried that it will knock the moon out of orbit sending it into a deadly tailspin which will send it crashing down onto us therefore ending all life, probably on 21st December?
Obviously we should. Nice one NASA. Idiots.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Goddamn Uncomfortable In Church

'At this time of the rolling year' the ghost of Jacob Marley said, 'I suffer most' but Charles Dickens dead accountant isn't the only one as the people who make their once a year visit to the Church are about to find out as the Churches STILL make their flock sit on pews.
As someone who only steps into a church when someone dies, gets married or is christened (let's forget the times when I sit in the confessional box and pretend to be a vicar) but the last time i was there i remember thinking how can the Church be so tight fisted with their seating.  
It isn't enough that you have to sit for an hour in a cold church while some man bangs on about God being a nice chap but he will send you to a fiery pit for all of eternity if you misbehave and then pass around a plate to pay for it, all the time sat on a plank of varnished wood.
The Church is always despairing about how their congregation is shrinking and if you put to one side that hardly anybody believes in the magical man in the sky who dishes love and killer earthquakes in equal measure anymore, i would say because it's so uncomfortable.
The Church of England has £5 billion in its coffers, making £800m last year alone, but it won't spring for more comfortable seats. I know the Church is all about pain and suffering but as most of the congregation are elderly, it must be a bit hard on those arthritic joints.
I do have a solution though, tear up the pews and stick in some nice, comfortable sofas. Then install a coffee machine and sell coffee and tea etc and put in a few tables and instead of the prayers and sermons, replace them with a bit of piped music, sack all the vicars and get in some students to make the lattes, replace all the bibles with the Sunday newspapers and finally stick up a 'Costas' sign out the front.
I guarantee that you will have more people in your church then ever each Sunday morning and the only chance of being uncomfortable would be if someone you knew saw you reading the Sunday Sun.

Put Your Money On Abe

Psst...wanna know who is going to win the Japanese election today? My crystal ball which also goes by the name of Google Trends says it's going to be a fair sized win for Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) despite him being behind the present Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party for almost all of the election period.
Google Trends has got a 100% record so far this year in picking the winner so hock your television or pawn your wedding ring if you need to but get your money on Mr Abe.

Disclaimer: Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Only gamble what you can afford to lose or failing that, only gamble with other people's money. This warning is from the Federation of World bankers. Trust us, we are complete and utter merchant bankers.  

Update: Shinzo Abe won a landslide victory in the Japanese General Election. Well done again Google, your grrrrrreat.  

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Perverting the Second Amendment

If bridges were collapsing all over America and killed dozens of drivers each time, there would be predictable outrage and a push to stop the bridges falling down. If four major bridges had gone down this year alone then the public would be clamouring for the Government to do something to make things safer so people were not killed while going about their everyday lives.
Only when it comes to death by guns does it seem unacceptable to discuss how to stop more tragic deaths.
The second amendment is always mentioned, the part that protects 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed' although the first part of that sentence is never heard, the part that states the right to bear arms belongs to 'a well regulated militia' .
From where i am sitting the arms bearers are anything but well regulated because the vast majority of the mass killings that we see are perpetrated by guns that are legally owned and the militia as mentioned was at the time the US didn't have a standing army, which it does now therefore rendering the need for an irregular army composed of ordinary citizens obsolete .
The pro-gun groups also put forward the excuse that the bad guys will get firearms regardless of laws so they need to be armed but the guns used in yesterdays slaughter were legally purchased by the killer's mother, who also died at the hands of her son, so unless you can guarantee that your guns are locked away so only you can use them, the guns can, and in this case did, fall in the hands of a mentally unstable person.
That would suggest that much more stringent regulation for storing the weapons are needed at the very least.
The next argument put forward is that if more people were armed then these kind of incidents would be stopped earlier. I have never understood the argument that the way to stop gun deaths is bring even more lethal weapons into the equation as is borne out in numerous academic studies such as the Harvard Injury Control Research Centre that concluded a study into guns and homicides that 'Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.'
The School of Public Health at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Centre School analysed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across the 50 states over a ten year period found: 'After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide'.
Another soundbite from the NRA and its supporters is that 'it's not guns that kill people, people kill people' which is true but it is people holding guns that kill the most. That's why the World Governments hand their military guns when they go into battle and not a sword or a crossbow. A gun is designed and built with just one purpose, to propel a bullet with force into a target and kill it, so a gun is a tool to perform that action so if you point a gun at someone and pull the trigger then you are using that tool for the purpose that it was designed for.  Guns don't people but we kill people with guns.
My own conclusion is that all these deaths over the decades are the weak defence of an inclusion in the Constitution that has been perverted and edited to protect a right that no longer makes any sense (the hypothetical transformation of the democracy into a tyranny) except to people who make and sell weapons and people who feel the need, for whatever reason, to own a gun and jeopardise the safety of themselves, their own families and those 20 children in an elementary school because it makes you think that if the Lanza house didn't have those guns in it yesterday, would the son have been able to do what he did with such devastating results?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Do Something Meaningful Obama

President Barack Obama has said America's leaders must 'take meaningful action regardless of politics' in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

You are the President and you don't need to worry about re-election so do something meaningful, don't be shouted down by the gun owners and address your gun laws which you should have done after the last mass shooting, or the one before that, or the one before that because it will be too late after the next one and as sure as the gun owners will trot out the same tired line about guns not being responsible for all the gun deaths in America, there will be a next one.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Helium Party Balloons

Who doesn't love a version of Jingle Bells sang with the aid of a Helium filled Balloon. The medical and science people as it happens because it seems that more important than reading from the newspaper in a hilarious Mickey Mouse voice is protecting the depleted source of Helium for medical purposes.     
The first reaction to a world without floaty balloons and squeaky voices is to protest 'stop wasting helium on science experiments then' but let's hear them out.
The people who count these things say that the Worlds Helium supply is due to run out within 30 years and we should be using our limited resources for more pressing functions such as cooling magnets in MRI scanners, in space telescopes, in space rocket engines and developing fibre optics.
Professor Robert Richardson, of Cornell University, who won the Nobel physics prize for his research into Helium, argues that a helium party balloon should cost £75, to more accurately reflect the true scarcity value of the gas.
The Helium balloon folk say that balloons don't take up that much of the available supply, between 5% and 7% of the total helium usage but there is no denying that although it is the second most abundant element in the universe, once the Helium reserves are gone, they are gone for good as there will be no way of replacing it.
So in reality we shouldn't be wasting Helium on balloons when it has such other, more serious, uses but the  alternative to a lighter than air gas to replace it with is Methane and there is an abundance of that around, especially at this time of year when Brussel Sprouts are on the menu.
Might make blowing them up at a kids party interesting though and no squeaky voice, no matter how hilarious, would be worth inhaling that.   

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Barshabba Who?

When there is a popular film, actor or singer there seems to be a strange compulsion by some parents to name their children after them and it has always been popular to name children after Saints or Biblical characters especially in Catholicism where a name must be in the Bible somewhere for the child to be baptised.
Probably the most popular scene in the Bible is the nativity scene and for such a large event, there are relatively few characters but which of them is best remembered two millennia on when parents come to choose a name?
The American White Pages is the perfect tool to find out.
The mum and the step-dad are easily the most remembered with Mary having 2,919,488 namesakes in America and Joseph 1,655,948 and then Jesus who has 203,279 people named after him.
Surprisingly there are only 47 Gods in America which must annoy him considering the whole thing was his bright idea and there are more people taking the name of the 3 wise men then his, Gaspar, 6,232, Balthasar, 103 and Melchior 1,295. I'm not sure which one came on a scooter, blowing his hooter though.
Even the Angel he sent is many more times popular than him with 109,099 calling themselves after Gabriel and to wind up the big guy even more, the bad boy of the scene, Herod, has 2,415 keeping his name alive.
The final characters in the Nativity Scene are the shepherds, who i am advised, were washing their socks by night all seated on the grass when an angel of the Lord came down, but who remembers them?
Jose has 886,458 with the same handle, Asher 12,679, Zebulun 238, Justus 6,499, Nicodemus 2,208 and Shepherd Joseph can scrap it out with Jesus's step-dad over which of them is the more popular.
That just leaves one character (two if you count the innkeeper but apparently nobody bothered to ask his name) in the whole of the Nativity scene that nobody out of the 311,591,917 Americans wants to be named after, poor old Barshabba.
Even a Google search reveals nothing about him so Barshabba remains the Biblical version of the ginger one out of Girls Aloud or that one from Destiny's Child who wasn't Beyoncé or Kelly Rowland.
Poor guy,  he may as well have just carried on washing his socks because he was there at the biggest moment in Christianity and nobody remembers him. Gutted as the kids say.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Death Takes A Holiday

At Christmas the long running television shows usually do a Christmas special or an episode that includes Christmas but there is one that i first saw when i was a child that has always stuck with me, the MASH 'Death Takes A Holiday' episode.
It's Christmas, and there's a truce on and everyone in the camp is preparing for the Christmas party for the orphanage but despite the truce a wounded solider is brought in and Hawkeye, BJ, and Margaret decide to take the case, and keep it secret from everyone else so the Christmas party is not ruined.
The young soldier is mortally wounded and his life rapidly away but the doctors see a picture of the young mans family in his wallet and decides to continue working on him, determined to keep the man alive long enough so that he doesn't die on Christmas Day and his kids 'won't have to remember Christmas as the day their Daddy died'.
BJ keeps the mans alive for a few hours by pumping oxygen into him by hand but he is fighting a losing battle and he finally dies at 11.25pm Christmas Day.
Hawkeye then walks to the clock on the wall, and moves the hands to past midnight, declaring 'Look, he made it. Time of death 12.05 December 26th' and in the silence that follows, Hawkeye opens the door and the the sound of the orphans singing Silent Night in the tent next door enters the room.
Beautiful, emotional and poignant and i watch it every year and every year i end up swallowing a lump in my throat.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Remembering Sir Patrick Moore

As regular readers may know i do have a fascination with all thing astronomical. If i had the choice i would devote much more time to it and expand the tiny fraction that i know but i have spent many hours stood in a dark field trying to catch a glimpse of a meteorite or struggling to hold a star map so i can work out which one of the pinpricks of light above my head is Venus.
Not to far from me is the South Downs Planetarium whose patron was Sir Patrick Moore and i was lucky enough to bump into him on a few occasions at the Planetarium and once while he was waiting to be interviewed by the local radio station.
We talked about his 50 plus years of 'The Sky At Night' and how he's lunar maps were used to plan the Moon Landing but he had one story that has nothing to do with Astronomy that makes me smile.
It was during the early years of his TV show and during a live segment a blue bottle flew into his mouth. Not wanting to spit it out live on television, he took a large gulp, swallowed it and carried on with piece to camera.
A genuinely nice guy and he and his show will be sadly missed by anyone who has an interest in looking up at the night sky.

War On Christmas?

It seems to be much more of a thing in America but i have never wished, or been wished 'Happy Holidays' which sounds a more likely thing for Summer rather than Christmas to my ear. 
I'm an atheist and a strange as it sounds, i don't associate the 'Christ' part with Christmas at all, it's just the name of the bit of season when Santa shows up and the presents are handed out so i don't really understand this 'war against Christmas' that i keep reading about on American sites.
I remember Birmingham City Council renaming the whole of the Christmas and New Year period as Winterval a decade or so ago which sparked a bit of controversy but apart from that, i can't say i have noticed the word Christmas being removed or changed to a less sensitive word here.   
It seems that nobody in America says 'Merry Christmas' anymore, it's 'Happy Holidays' to avoid offending the non-Christians and any specific mention of the word 'Christmas' or its religious aspects are avoided and i have seen online such things as 'holiday trees' and how Wal-Mart managing to not use the word Christmas once in their Christmas advertising campaign.
The ire for this state of affairs seems to be aimed at atheists and leftists trying to force secular-ideology onto the American public and as one right wing website points out, that secular road leads to 'sky-rocketing rates of single parenthood, divorce, crime, drugs, venereal disease, depression and homosexuality.'
It finishes that 'The American people will not allow Christmas to evolve into a winter solstice, secular-progressive holiday' and i agree with them despite being a leftist atheist, but why be so weird about it?
I imagine the people who decide to drop the Christmas word are doing it for what they perceive to be the right reasons, to not cause offence to non-Christians as over-protective as that may be and not to usher in a glorious period of syphilis and gonorrhoea.
To be honest i don't give a second thought to whether a person celebrates it or not, I wish them a Merry Christmas anyway and leave it up to them to either accept it or ignore it as they wish the same way as if someone wished me a Happy Eid, i wouldn't be upset, angry or berate them for hoping that i have a happy time on a day I don't necessarily celebrate, and i would guess 99.9% of non-Christians would feel the same way if you hope they have a Merry Christmas.
Now stop being so politically correct, forget the Happy Holidays nonsense, stick this business card for the divorce lawyer in your purse and stuff a mince pie in your cake hole.
Not that one, the one over there with the extra deep filling of herpes injected mince.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Our Bucks, Not Starbucks

Starbucks have a range of Christmas Coffee including Peppermint Mocha, Toffee Nut Latte and a Dark Cherry Mocha all in red, festive looking cups with snowflakes on them.
Unfortunately for them, new cups and flavours isn't the only new thing that they have in their stores this December as protesters turned up in their droves today to protest at the coffee chain's tax arrangements.
The demonstrations came despite an announcement from Starbucks that it will pay around £10m in UK corporation tax for each of the next two years following revelations that the company has paid just £8.6m in 14 years of trading in Britain and nothing in the last three years.
Lisa Stewart of UK Uncut said: 'If the Government made tax-dodgers like Starbucks pay, that would bring in £25bn a year. Think of all the spending cuts we could cover with that'.
Obviously the thought of a public boycott of Starbucks has rattled and hopefully shamed the company who has announced they have begun 'a process of enhancing trust with customers and the communities that we have been honoured to serve for the past 14 years'.
While i understand that the likes of Starbucks, Amazon and Google have not done anything illegal, it is unfair and morally wrong that they are making money here, big money, but not contributing to the upkeep of all that they and there workers benefit from. These companies have rightly been exposed as exploiting millions of hard-pressed British customers who pay their dues to the taxman while they use complicated tactics to stash away their own tax liabilities.
Sure we can buy our coffee from any of the other coffee shops on the high streets and we have been otherwise why would Starbucks be worried enough to stump up £20m in future taxes although i note they are not offering to make up for the past 14 years worth.
I don't know how we got to be in a situation where a business can dictate to us how much tax they are willing to pay, the rest of us would be facing jail time and the sell-off of our possessions if we tried to pull that one with HMRC, but they seem afraid to go after the big companies who owe millions.
At least, finally, people are getting angry enough to stir themselves into action although we are too late to hit the greedy bankers who failed us massively while walking off with 100s of millions of our taxes, leaving the public to struggle with austerity cuts and the likes of Starbucks to mock us with accountants and lawyers to avoid paying their fair share.
Whoever said  "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes' they certainly got that right.

Please Leave The Onesie At Home

It's finally happened, we have all gone mad. The Onesie has taken over and in a worst case of the Emperors new clothes ever, nobody is shouting out 'YOU LOOK LIKE A PILLOCK', rather we are buying them in our droves.
Retail figures suggest that this is more than a passing fad. John Lewis said its sales are growing at a rate of 73 per cent a week.
Asda has sold out of its Cheeky Chimp version. Marks & Spencer has ordered 15 times more of the things than last year and New Look sold 75,000 in September alone.
Wearing them in the comfort of your own home where nobody else can see you is one thing, but I have seen people wearing them out and about in the hours of daylight. They may keep you warm but that would be the burning sense of shame travelling around your body, or it should be as you stroll around in a romper suit which should not be worn outside by anyone over the age of one.
With so many being sold in the shops, i can imagine quite a few making there way under Christmas Trees this year.
It's called a Onesie and that should put off anyone who has mastered the art of lace tying and dressing themselves not to mention the practical challenges of using the lavatory where you are only one cheap zipper away from disaster.
Yes they may keep you warm but as we are about to see a landslide of them post December 25th, i can't say this enough, 'DON'T WEAR THEM OUTSIDE, IN PUBLIC WHERE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL SEE YOU'.
If you do then welcome to the World of embarrassment, celibacy and people singing 'He/She's a baby, He/She's a baby' and passers-by shouting "What's the scores, George Dawes?' at you and you know what, you deserve it.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Meanwhile At The Gun Club...

'Where else in the World can you get a picture with Santa and have a gun in the background?' said the mother of this child answering her own question as she popped down to the Arizona Gun Club to have a festive picture of her family surrounded by AK47s, grenade launchers and assault rifles.
Obviously these parents believe that the greatest gift they can give their child this year is to indoctrinate him into the world of automatic weaponry before he is able to walk.
A potential mass shooting coming to a school near you around Summer 2028. Thanks ma and pa.      

We Need New Christmas Songs

John Lennon wrote Merry Xmas (War is Over) and got shot. Cliff Richards wrote the Millennium prayer and lived. Make of that what you will but Cliff Richards isn't alone in giving us a real stinker of a Christmas Song because no matter how much cumulative seasonal good will, jingle bells and fake snow are thrown at some songs, they still suck the big one. I have had Bowling For Soups 'Merry Flippin' Christmas' on in the car CD player since November and if there has been a better version of Frosty the Snowman knocking about then i haven't heard it but there are some Christmas songs that become boring but virtue of being heard far too much and some that should never have been conceived in the first place. If you had to telephone Hell in December and all the operators were busy, the is the on-hold music you would hear would consist of anything from the Michael Buble Christmas album (nice voice but how can he make a Christmas song sound depressing?) or David Hasselhoff sort of singing 'Twas the night before Christmas if they cannot get their hot little hands on a Country & Western Christmas. A man whining about his pick-up being towed on Christmas Eve while a Hawaiian guitar twangs away in the background does not a Christmas song make. Then there are the songs that are so obviously not about Christmas at all. Back Door Santa 'I keep the little girls happy While the boys are out to play' is just plain creepy, the Jimmy Savile police may be interested in finding out who wrote that one and if Santa Baby is about the festive season then i'm in an alternative dimension where you don't get the strong urge to dig out your eardrums with a sprig of holly whenever Wonderful Christmas time comes onto the radio. Yes Macca, many years ago we did have a wonderful Christmas Time but then we heard your song over and over and over and over and over every year and now a wonderful Christmas would be not having to hear your song all the time. That and finding out everything you have done since 1970 was just an awful dream and you stopped singing when the Beatles split. It's about time we got some new Christmas songs because the old ones are sounding very dated now and when you tire of Noddy screaming 'IT's CHRISTMAS' then things are getting desperate. Not you though Cliff, you can sit down.

Let It Snow!

The south coast of Britain doesn't get a great deal of snow as it has usually turned to snow by the time it makes it down here but if the weather forecasters are right we may well be seeing snowmen and Christmas card scenes this year as the weathermen are saying this is going to the coldest winter for 100 years.   
Temperatures are expected to fall as low as -20C in rural areas forecasters have warned with heavy snow and blizzards.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said: 'We are looking at some of the coldest and snowiest conditions in at least 100 years. This is most likely to occur in the December to January period with the potential for widespread major snowfall across the country.
Even us down here at the bottom of the British Isles map?
'The South faces a bout of unusually heavy snowfall in December'. Woohoo!!
Before we get to the good stuff though, Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services said that after a wind and rain will 'charge back with a vengeance tomorrow as a low-pressure weather system moves in from the Atlantic with parts of Britain deluged by four inches of rain and lashed by 80mph gusts of wind for the next three days.
As this year has seen weather records tumble it might be worth noting that the Lowest temperatures ever recorded was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) in Antarctica in 1983 while the lowest temperature in England was −26.1 °C (−15.0 °F) in Shropshire, West Midlands.
Maybe this year we will get a white Christmas but as most of us have to work until the 24th December, the trek to work may become a bit of an adventure especially as a a few millimetres in the midlands the other day stopped trains and closed motorways so heavens knows what an 'unusually heavy snowfall' will do to our transport system.
Maybe we should be adding ski's and a snowmobile to our Christmas lists or just stay indoors because as we have a place to go (work & school), let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Show Us The List Santa

Meanwhile the kids at the Arizona Gun Club who were on last years naughty list catch up with Santa...
Billy Bob, Billy Ray, Bobby Joe, Cooter, Jim Bob, fetch yuh guns, yuh got some shootin' to do.

Comrade Santa Is Coming To Town

I know that there has been some speculation about Santa's ideological leanings for some time now and i can keep quiet no more, yes, he is a Communist.
Really, it wasn't that hard to work out, he is a big fat guy with a bushy white beard. Remind you of anyone, maybe one of the Marx family?     
Then there was the red suit and the giving stuff away and not selling it for a massive mark-up, it isn't brain brain surgery people, it's all about redistributing the toys. he doesn't even pay his elves, the workshop is owned by all of them including the reindeer and Mrs Claus.
The less subtle clues were the fact that 'Ho, Ho, Ho' is Latin for 'Workers of the World Unite' and if you play the chorus of 'White Christmas' backwards you can clearly hear the phrase 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs' repeated over and over.
Then there is the list of all the boys and girls and who are either in the system (nice) in which case there are richly rewarded with presents or outside of it (naughty) and they get nothing.
So yes, for all those who have suspected that he has been brazenly feeding Marxism to the innocent, capitalist offspring, you are right so, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout and i'm telling you why. In 19 days Santa Claus is coming to town and he is carrying a hammer and sickle comrade.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Gun Toting Christmas

Nothing says Christmas like some women wearing Santa hats and armed to the teeth with powerful weapons.
Poor old Santa looks scared to death, especially as the one on the left looks as if she is pointing her gun directly at his groin. Maybe he never bought her that

Kalashnikov she had on her list last year.

Randy, where's mamma's gun, i got me some shootin' to do.


Move Over Jesus, Santa's Here

Apparently St Nicholas, or Nicholas as he was known back then, was a bit of a shy, self-effacing fellow who climbed on roofs and threw coins down the chimney but all the time trying to stay anonymous so 16 centuries on, i guess he would be quite annoyed to find out that not only his acts of philantrophy are still celebrated, but he has overtaken his boss as the person most associated with Christmas. 
Far from slipping away quietly into the shadows of history, a poll reveals that of 1,200 8-16-year-olds questioned by MediaCom TMB, 67% said they associate this time of year with the modern version of St Nick, Santa Claus while only 8% link Christmas with Christ himself.
Church leaders have long tried to get the attention back on the baby in the barn and away from the chubby OAP and there was an attempt a few years ago by a well meaning vicar who would tell his congregation that Santa didn't exist and was faced with a long line of angry parents and crying children.
If the vicar had said God didn't exist then it is doubtful that he would have faced such anger and vitriol which could show that if there was to be a choice between Santa or God, God would lose.
I wonder if St Nicholas knew the train of events his actions would set in motion all those years ago, he would have kept his coins in his pocket but then the Church can't really complain too much because worshipping a Saint is about as close as most people come to religion these days, even if they don't know it.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Where Are Your Christmas Crackers?

I always assumed that on Christmas Day, an American Christmas table looked exactly the same a British one with turkey, tinsel and Christmas Pud but apparently there is one thing that we have on our tables that Americans don't, Christmas Crackers.
Now that it has been pointed out to me i realise that i can't recall a cracker ever being pulled in any of those American Christmas Films.
How a cardboard tube wrapped up like a present that you pull on each end to make it explode and a toy falls out escaped the American dinner table i don't know but i would have thought that mild explosives after the Turkey would go down a treat there.
Apart from the bang, you also get a joke and a small toy which if you buy cheap crackers, will be a plastic moustache, or a tiny comb or a thin piece of plastic in the shape of a fish that curls up in your hand. 
How could you Americans have overlooked the idea of putting explosive gifts, under highly flammable trees which are covered in hot Christmas lights? 


I'm trying my hardest to make December just a Christmas post but it's like the World is daring me to go the usual route with news of Israel being evil yet again with its illegal settlement building and Palestinian tax holding and the Royal Family popping out another one that the Government will keep with our money.
Then there is Starbucks suddenly coming to the conclusion that actually they have been wrong over the past 15 years and they really should pay tax on their multi-million pound UK earnings while the Government say it is wrong to name and shame and generally harass big business over their tax evasion while the Leveson press regulation argument rumbles.
That's some serious stuff for a blogger, especially one who has spent almost 1500 posts kicking out at the Royals, big business, tabloid newspapers and Israel but i won't succumb.
It's Santa, baby Jesus, Carols and dings donging and bells jingling all the way to Christmas whatever the fates throw our way.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Fracking For Us

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the UK was stopped in 2011 when it was blamed for causing two earthquakes in Blackpool. Now the Government is planning to announce not only a lifting of the ban but announcing tax breaks for fracking companies and all in the name of  those handy coveralls 'boosting the economy' and 'creating jobs'.
So apart from causing earthquakes as witnessed in Blackpool, and in California, Ohio and Arkansas in the US, what else do we know about fracking?
We know how they 'frack', it involves drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. The fluid is a mix of water, sand and up to 600 chemicals, chemicals that are known carcinogens and toxins and containing chemicals deemed to be 'hazardous wastes'.
In America, where fracking has been big business, the toxic chemicals have been known to leach out from the system and contaminate the groundwater, used for drinking water for nearby cities and towns. There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination in the States as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
Environmental officials in Pennsylvania discovered traces of benzene and arsenic in the bodies of local residents causing kidney and liver damage and blamed the fracking industry and health officials advised residents in Wyoming not to drink the water in areas where fracking is going on after they found dangerous levels of hydrocarbons in the water supply.
Regulators ordered a cease to all fracking in Susquehanna County and advised residents to avoid drinking the water after chemicals used in fracking entered the water supply.
So earthquakes and poisoning the water supply are two big minuses against it but but fracking has yet another disadvantage to it, it poisons the air as well.
The toxic fluid that is not left in the ground to poison the water we drink is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful compounds into the atmosphere contaminating the air, causing acid rain, and releasing ozone.
George Osborne may well tell us that it would be good for our economy and will create jobs but at the cost of our health, our drinking water and our air quality but considering this Government are also pushing to land us with a load of nuclear power station and the radioactive waste that comes with them, i don't think they will be put off by a few earthquakes and poisoned water supplies.
It's all about the economy you understand so stop moaning and don't put anything fragile on high shelves. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

happy bday 2u txt spk

mon marks 20 years since 1st txt msg wz snt 2 a mob fone.
1st SMS wz snt on December 3, 1992, wen a British engineer cald Neil Papworth of teknoloG co. Sema - usd hs cmptr 2 snd msg "Merry Christmas" 2 a mob fone.
I don't do text speak, i've never sent a text to a M8 or told someone i would CU L8R because i'm one of those who would prefer to type out the whole thing in proper English than try to abbreviate it.
It is obviously an age thing because my children have got so fed up with us asking them what they are talking about and to text us in proper words rather than text speak which they use only for people who understand it.
David Cameron was outed as a text speak bafoon recently when he thought when he wrote LOL at the end of his texts he was writing 'lots of love' instead of ‘laugh out loud’.
Cramming information into as few a characters as possible is always going to result in the severest of abbreviations but to those of us who cannot or refuse to move on from our old writing style, old habits die hard.
I suppose it is the evolution of the English language, the English dictionary now contains such pearls as OMG and LOL and i see signs using words such as 2nite and while it can seem odd to anyone over 40, it's no use fighting against it.
That said i still won't use it, i didn't spend all those years in school having 'i before e' and 'y becomes i' rammed into my young head to not use them FFS!