Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Rediscovering They Might Be Giants

Jonathan King may not be the best person to take advice from but it was he back in the late 80s who predicted an American band called 'They Might Be Giants' could be on the cusp of great things but they could also fall into obscurity as their songs were very quirky.
After 'Birdhouse In Your Soul' hit the UK chart in 1990, they seemed to disappear to be unheard of again until a decade later when they sang the Theme Tune to 'Malcolm in the Middle' but between and since there has been a big gap.
I did kind of keep tabs on them, i bought their first few albums, They Might Be Giants, Lincoln and Flood and Jonathan King was right about the quirky tunes but i quite liked them but TMBG did not find a home in the UK and are as good as unknown here.
The last i noticed they were writing children songs but i did stumble across an old 90s song on Youtube, New York City by The Cubs, and was pleasantly surprised to see it was sung by They Might Be Giants and they are still going.
I spent the afternoon clicking links and listening to TMBG songs and was delighted to see that they kept going long after i forgot about them and were still churning out their selection of quirky/brilliant/weird songs.
Some miss completely but some hit the spot just right (Starry Eyed, No Cops, Famous Polka, Answer, Black Ops, Why Does The Sun Shine, Damn Good Times) but it is heartening to see that the two Johns are still putting out songs even if they are not commercially successful.
I think they are a bit too unorthodox for UK success and a lack of fanbase in the UK means they won't be coming here on tour but i wish them luck and now i have found them again i will keep the tabs back on them and you never know, Starry Eyed or New York City may one day get some air-play because although both covers, they are decent (not quirky) songs.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Tory EU Implosion A Welcome Bonus

There are still 24 days to go until the EU Referendum and i am quietly confident that we are not going anywhere which means that i can enjoy what has been an unexpected bonus, the Conservative Party is ripping itself apart over it.  
Cabinet ministers on either side of the EU fence are savaging each other and there is talk of a leadership challenge to David Cameron whether he triumphs or not and even an election before Christmas so the best possible outcome would be for David Cameron to win and then another election and the Tories being removed from office, an early Christmas Present for the UK.
It really has become spiteful with friends turning on friends and straying outside of the confines of the EU debate and just rubbishing each other generally to push their point about why the EU is evil/brilliant (delete as applicable).
After weeks of to-ing and fro-ing most people have already decided which way they will vote, if they vote at all, and the two campaigns have settled into what they see as their strongest selling points. 
The Remain camp bang the economic drum while the Brexit gang have decided to keep the focus on immigration but they are finding it hard to not sound like xenophobic nutjobs with their 'they come over here, live on benefits and take our homes and jobs' spiel.   
Not that i have any sympathy for them but when you have xenophobic nutters such as UKIP, BNP and League on your side things will spin out a certain way and you will get tarnished with the Nigel Farage and Nick Griffin brush.
No serious political figure in the world has come out in favour of Brexit, no serious economic forecaster has come out saying that Brexit will be good for the UK economy and even on immigration, to continue dealing with the EU we will have to accept the free movement of EU members so all the control our borders talk has been misdirection so i am relaxed we will stay in the EU but the Conservative Party implosion is a nice and welcome bonus.

Is There Life On Mars?

A funny Seinfeld episode or a nice Conservative Politician are two things that i have not seen and to the list i can add the Mars Opposition because a quick look outside shows its raining so the telescope stays in the case and it's a night in with Eastenders.
Mars reaches its closest approach to Earth for 11 years this evening at 21:35GMT when the red planet will be just 75 million kilometres away.
A close approach between Earth and Mars, known as opposition, occurs every 2 years and two months and takes place because our planet catches up with Mars and undertakes it.
Nevertheless, the ESA are not put off by a spot of rain and have taken advantage of the shorter distance between us and Mars by launching a probe to look for evidence of Martian life.
As Seinfeld has since hung up his microphone and Conservative politicians are genetically abhorrent we will never see these anomalies corrected but Mars will be back even closer in 2018, only 58 million km, so put your feet up, stay inside in the dry and eat chocolate instead.

Turkish President - Women: Know Your Place

If Donald Trump does go on to win the election then he will have a friend in Turkey as it seems the President there views women in much the same way as he does, and that's not very highly.
The religious fanatic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, began his address by saying that birth control should be ignored before launching into his view on women who he believes: 'is above all else a mother' and 'not equal to men'.
'Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women: motherhood but you cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood' Erdogan blubbed.
'Women and men are not equal because it goes against the laws of nature and differences in their characters, habits and physiques' carried on the Turkish leader who doesn't believe in sticking one foot in his mouth when he can get both in his misogynistic gob.
He finished off by declaring that gender equality in developed countries leads to higher suicide rates.
If only his parents were in favour of birth control the World would not be lumbered a man with such a view that was last popular at the time of Queen Victoria who had the physique to roll shrimps like Erdogan into a little ball and flick them out the window.

Zookeepers No Choice

It does seem a bit harsh to be criticising the zookeepers at Cincinnati Zoo who shot and killed a gorilla after a four-year-old boy slipped into it's enclosure.
Footage shot by a witness shows Harambe, the 17-year-old male gorilla, standing near the boy, after dragging the child through the water and tossed the boy into a corner of the moat before standing over him and then the keepers shooting the animal rather than tranquilizing him. 
'Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes, and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse' Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo explained in a statement.
The zookeeper's decision to shoot and kill Harambe has been called into question over whether death was the only option or if the decision to kill the gorilla was made too quickly.
It is tragic that Harambe was killed but i can't see that the zookeepers had any other option, by the time the tranquilizers took effect you would dread to think what the agitated, unpredictable animal may have done to the boy who was in the gorillas domain and then we would be having a very different conversation.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

No Seaman At Euros 2016

As the curtain comes down on another football season, we just about have time to take a breath before the European Championship starts up and England fans have the dilemma of who to support once we get knocked out at the group stage.     
A long running tradition of the English football fan is to is to find foreign footballers and snigger like schoolchildren if their name is a bit rude with not very good 90's German midfielder Stefan Kuntz being the high water mark of infantile chuckling and leading to the marvellous joke about how, at the Euro 96 competition, we needed to play like Matthäus or Klinnsman but instead played like Kuntz.
England had a goalkeeper called David Seaman which led to such commentator quotes as 'The defender could feel Seaman all over his back' and 'Seaman's all over the slippery ball' but although not in the same league, we do have a goalkeeper in the squad called Butland which sounds a bit like a theme park Elton John would come up with.
Funny names are a bit in short supply this tournament but Slovakia have a midfielder called Filip Kiss while Italy are hoping striker Ciro Immobile doesn't live up to his name.
German midfield Lars Bender is worth a smirk and if you pronounce it right, Ilkay Gundogan sounds a bit like gone doggin' but the award for best name goes to Albania defender, Berat Xhimshiti, especially if the commentators go with the X at the start of the surname being silent.
We can only hope that FC Eindhoven's Turkish midfielder Anil Koc one day graces a tournament but for now we may have to do with Austria's Christian Fuchs getting a red card so we can hear the immortal words, 'Fuchs Off for an early bath' which is always worth a giggle.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Pull The Other One Tony

Considering he is soon due to be 'brutally savaged' in the Chilcot report into the Iraq war, Tony Blair is doing the complete opposite of keeping his head down and here he is again on the television chirping that the real reason that people don't like him is because he won three elections.
'There are people who disagree with me for reasons that they say are to do with, say, Iraq but actually are to do with the fact I won three elections for the Labour Party and they didn't like it' he explained.
If we split his quote into two then we can all agree that their are plenty of people who disagree with him, but to not like him because he won three elections is fanciful enough to stray into delusion.
A Yougov poll puts the top reasons he is disliked is due to taking part in the US-led invasion of Iraq (56%), allowing Britain's foreign policy to be dictated by the United States (34%) and bringing politics into disrepute (26%).
The same Yougov poll has him top of the list of retired politicians whose support would most be a liability to active politicians today (47%) so pull the other one Tony, nobody dislikes you for winning elections, it is all about Iraq and we can only hope that your shortly to be launched savaging is as brutal as we are being led to believe because you deserve it.

Zika Threat At Rio Olympics

The London Olympics in 2012 generated around £1.1 billion for the IOC from sponsorship deals, TV Broadcasting deals, image rights licensing, ticketing and hospitality and as Rio 2016 is expected to surpass even this amount and there we have a billion pounds worth of reason why Rio will be going ahead this year as planned.  
With 500,000 extra foreign visitors expected to land Rio during the Olympics in August, 152 health experts have signed a letter calling for the event to be cancelled or moved elsewhere due to concerns over public health and the spread of the Zika virus which is linked to serious birth defects.
The letter says Zika has more serious medical consequences than first thought and claims the health emergency contains many uncertainties amidst fears that the virus could spread more rapidly around the world but the WHO and IOC have rejected the call, saying suspending or moving it would 'not significantly alter the spread of the virus' and postponing the games would: 'compromise the huge investment that athletes and others have made in preparing for what should be a fantastic occasion'.
The World Health Organisation issued a global health emergency about Zika in February but their current advice for Rio stands as pregnant women and women seeking to get pregnant should not travel to the Zika zone or be exposed to returning partners who may have been infected.
Some athletes are also uneasy with the Great Britain team delaying arrival in Brazil because of the Zika risk and some countries having already relocated their pre-Olympic training camps to outside of the risk area. 
Professor Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa argued that: 'What is proposed is to bring half-a-million Olympic visitors into the heart of the epidemic. But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half-a-million visitors into Brazil right now?'
The answer appears to be they will when there is is over a billion pound banking on it Prof.

Students And Taxes

Using music as our guide, two songs which seem appropriate at this time of year are 'School's out' by Alice Cooper and 'Get a Job' by the Offspring because that is exactly what many students will be doing until the doors creak open again on a shiny new term in September.
What that means is that as students are earning they will rub up against the scary Taxman, a prospect that many are wholly unprepared for.
The biggest myth is that as a student, you are exempt from paying tax but as you may soon find out, anybody who earns over £11,000 (approx £917 a month or £211 a week) will pay tax regardless if that person is a student.
When you start your summer job you will be given a tax code and although tax codes differ from person to person depending on their circumstances, the usual one for this year is 1100L so if your payslip shows something like BR or 0T you are paying 'emergency tax' but a phone call or email to HMRC will get you on the correct code and paying the correct amount of tax (or none at all if you are below the threshold amounts as above).
If you are on the wrong code and paying emergency tax then you can get that back through your next pay as HMRC will change your code and do it so that the tax overpaid will be repaid when the new code is next operated, you don't have to wait until the end of the tax year.
Finally, as well as Income Tax you will pay National Insurance if you earn above £155 per week (£671 per month) which is 12% which goes towards your state pension or any welfare benefits that you may have to claim later. 
Enjoy the summer, don't work too hard and don't worry about saving just yet, go spend your hard earned money on bacardi breezers, concerts and enjoying life before you have to do it for real.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Austerity Still Not Working George

The UK chancellor, George Osborne, announced austerity plans when he took over at the Treasury in May 2010 and vowed to bring the UK into surplus by the end of the first Government, a plan that has slipped to him promising to do it now by the end of the second Government.
His view that what was needed was deep austerity cuts to pay off the debt accumulated during the deep slump of 2008-09 was vital for the economy’s long-term growth prospects which set up almost a decade of horrific cuts to everything he got his grubby little hands on.
The International Monetary Fund have now stepped forward to say that austerity policies do more harm than good as it creates inequality which is bad for growth and causes instability.
When your policies are too right wing for the IMF then perhaps you need to have another think but if the ideological reasoning behind austerity was just an excuse for the rich to get richer and make the poor poorer, mission accomplished because it is exactly the effect austerity has had.

Gissa Job Mr Robot

As science makes more powerful and more intelligent robots, the biggest concern was that they would be made so clever that we would wake up one day to discover the Robots have taken over and are either wiping us out or are keeping us as their slaves.
Maybe they still will but for now they seem to be content in just taking our jobs as has happened in China with 60,000 workers sacked and replaced with robots.
A factory in China's Kunshan region which makes Samsung and Apple products has reduced the number of employees from 110,000 to 50,000 and explained that they are 'applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks'.
Economists have long warned that automation will seriously affect the labour market and it is estimated that 35% of all jobs could disappear over the next two decades according to a study conducted by Oxford University.  
When i was growing up in the 70's we were told in the future we would not have to work and would send the robots to work instead of us so welcome to the future only it is our former employers sending robots instead of us to work.
Sometimes we are too clever for our own good.

Islamic Law Wife Beating Ruling

According to Islamic law, a husband may strike his wife for not attempting to make herself beautiful for him, refusing his sexual demands, leaving the house without his permission or neglecting her religious duties.
As you can expect the rest of the non-wife beating World think this is all a bit harsh so in an effort to
deflect criticism, the religious body who run such things in Pakistan have had a think about it and come back with new guidance for husbands with wives who leave the house without his nod to do so, they can still beat their wives but 'lightly' in order to make her comply.  
'If she refuses, stop talking to her. Still, if she does not show compliance, stop sharing a bed with her, and if things do not change, get a bit strict' ie 'lightly' hit her.
The advice is part of a 163-point legislation proposed by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) which also states that new mothers must breastfeed for two years and only use contraception with the husband’s permission.
Islamic Law, a wife beaters dream religion.

Chelsea Reject At Manchester United

Jose Mourinho going to Manchester United kills two birds with one stone for me as i dislike him and i dislike his new team so i no longer have to hope two teams get spanked, just the one which will save time.
It seems to be conveniently whitewashed over that when he was sacked by Chelsea they were almost in the relegation positions and most of the team were actively refusing to play for him but still the word is out that he is a managerial genius.
It is also overlooked how boring his teams are, parking the bus was his speciality so we can expect that particular tactic to be top of the Mourinho playbook as Eric Cantona thinks, saying: 'I don't think it's the type of football that the fans of Manchester United will love'.
He is still facing a trial launched by Chelsea's former club doctor Eva Carneiro, who is claiming unfair dismissal and pursuing a claim against Mourinho himself, an act that seemed to spark his downward spiral at Chelsea.
Far too arrogant, far too brash and we can now once again revel in that that dour expression and monotonous droning while blaming everyone else for each of his imminent defeats this coming season.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Obama - Not Great

President Obama is continuing what appears to be a 'farewell tour' as Clinton and Trump battle it out to replace him in November and so begins the reminiscing over just what sort of President Obama has been. 
His record shows that far from being the hero many expected when he took office, he carried on with the overturning of governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts that America has been famous for over the last few decades. 
His predecessor may have been quite rightly discredited but Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president, built more nuclear warheads than any other including new 'mini-nuke's, increased drone attacks in Pakistan and Iraq, invaded Libya, created a second cold war with the Russian president as the pantomime villain and overseen the greatest military build up the Russian border since WW2 and has threatened the Chinese by sending ships, planes and special forces to the area.
Not a great record for a man who was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize at the start of his administration and who was largely expected to be a calming influence after the crazy Bush years but he leaves his time in office with the World even more engulfed in conflict and largely due to his and his countries actions.
The scary part is whether it is Trump or Clinton who picks up the Obama baton, neither will do anything to row back on the path Obama has set us on. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Iran & The Devil In Georgia

I wasn't aware that Iran was planning to invade the USA soon but they must be because the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) have wheeled out a US country music singer to issue a video threatening Iran on behalf of the 'gun-wielding, alligator-wrestling folks of America'.
Charlie Daniels who once sang a song about the Devil involved in a fiddle contest made the warning to 'the Ayatollahs of Iran and every terrorist you enable who have yet to meet the frightening farmers, cowboys, truck-drivers and swamp folks in Cajun country who can wrestle a full-grown gator out of the water'.
Obviously still feeling the effects of sniffing his gun barrel, the Santa look-a-like continued his mad rant by adding: 'You might have met our fresh-faced flower child president and his weak-kneed Ivy League friend. You haven't met the heartland, or the people who will defend this nation with their bloody, calloused, bare hands, if that's what it takes'.
Clad in Native American markings which act as a reminder that the same bloody, calloused hands are not averse to a bit of genocide themselves, he ends by slurring 'you've never met America. And you oughta pray you never do'.
Iran is yet to reply regarding meeting American swamp folk or releasing it's plans to forcibly overtake America but i don't know about the Devil coming down to Georgia but it seems either Mr Embarrassing Lunatic or Mr Hard Drugs has paid a visit to Charlie Daniels recently. 
My advice would be to stick to the Country and Western singing Chuck or even better, don't.

Weakening The Armed Forces

General Rose has stuck his head above the parapet to say that the EU has weakened Britain's Armed Forces.
He said: 'European law, in my view, has already seriously undermined UK's combat effectiveness and today our service men and women are in danger of becoming no more than civilians in uniform'.
What better excuse could there be for wanting to stay in the EU then the British army being unable to go to war, the more British soldiers we have sitting in their barracks being civilian rather than out shooting up other countries the better.  
Throw in that the USA Airforce is struggling under budget restraints and can't afford to take delivery of the 48 new F-35's it ordered and that is two of the three most warmongering nations military being held back from it's usual shenanigans. 
If only Israel can now go belly up, and it might yet considering America funds it, we may finally get less war and conflict in the World as they are forced to reach for carrots as the sticks are too expensive.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Trump Leads Clinton In Polls

The latest presidential polling average shows the Republican candidate Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton by 0.2 percentage points.
While pundits never gave Trump a chance of becoming the Republican nomination, when he did they then said that he has no chance of becoming President but his chances of winning the White House seem to be rising November but with the election still six months away it could be too early to panic just yet.
The same pundits are now saying that when it comes down to it the racist, fear mongering, divisive, misogynistic Trump with his schoolyard bullying tactics and childish temper tantrums will still be trounced by Hillary and i agree because Sanders will soon have to concede the nomination and his supporters will have to decide whether to support Trump, abstain, vote 3rd party, or vote Clinton and my guess would be that most will find Trump so utterly disgusting a prospect that they will feel that they have no choice but to vote Clinton.
Meanwhile the International 'We don't want Trump to win' campaign was joined by North Korea of all places, with a spokesman for the Supreme Leader dismissing a meeting between them and Trump as 'nonsense' and 'useless'.
When even the harshest regime in the world are not keen to shake Trumps little hands then you know you are unpopular but while we may still laugh at the prospect of Trump becoming American leader, i think back to 2004 when it was inconceivable that Americans would vote George W Bush back into Office but they did so there is also the wonder of erratic American voting to throw into the mix.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Thank You Celebrities

I was starting to regret offering to stand in for the physics teacher last week especially as it was the week when i could only contact celebrities for advice, typically while explaining bosonic open string theory in 26-dimensional flat spacetime, i stupidly forgot the general element of the Fock-space, so i calmly excused myself and stood in the corridor wondering who i could phone to rescue me.
I decided to call Brian May as he has a PhD in astrophysics and he explained how i needed to  quantify the upper range and interpret them as classical fields representing the tachyon T , gauge field A and a ghost field. Doh, of course, thank Brian.
One student got so excited he fell off his chair and banged his head on the floor, an accident that he said was due to faulty seating equipment and he would sue the college for personal injury.
I excused myself again to check the law in this area with a celebrity with a law degree. Gerard Butler was busy, as was John Cleese and Fidel Castro but Julio Iglesias picked up and after a brief review he said that as the student was leaning back on the chair when he fell, it did not satisfy Clause 57(1) (b) of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 Act which requires a court to dismiss the whole of a personal injury claim if it is satisfied that the claimant was partly responsible for the accident.
Thanking Julio, i then went and told the student to shut up and find another chair. 
At the end of the day i went to drive home but found that my Greek imported NAMCO Pony-Citroën wouldn't start and when i found the picture of the the red flashing light on the dashboard in the users manual, discovered that this was all in Greek but i never panicked, simply made a call to Chris Martin who has a degree in Greek and read out the bits of the manual which he translated from the Greek 'apó venzíni' into the English 'out of petrol'. Doh again. 
At home i was asked to write a quick blog post about apostrophes but i know nothing about where the ' goes so mulled over the celebrities with English degrees who could help me. Hugh Laurie was out of town, David Duchovny was on set with Renee Zellwegar so they were both out, Chevy Chase wasn't taking calls and Stephen King scares me so i dialled the charming actor James Franco who was more than willing to help out and fifteen minutes later i was finished. Cheers James, and keep up the fine acting. 
My last job for the day was to finish my Tax Return but its so complicated and Mick Jagger may have a degree in finance but i can never understand a word he says but Lionel Richie made good use of his Economics degree and talked me through the finer points of claiming personal pension relief. I in turn advised him that he should answer his phone by saying 'Hello, is it me you're looking for?'
I then turned in for the night but couldn't resist one more call but David Boreanaz seems to have my number barred since he found out i was not ringing him to question him on his communications degree. Apparently the injunction lasts for 12 months. 
Finally, after an hour of tossing and turning and being unable to sleep, i made a call to Mathematics degree holder Mr T and asked him to explain calculus to me and within 30 seconds i was sleeping like a baby.

Back To The Hyperloop Drawing Board

The way we travel has come a long way from the days when a horse was the quickest way to get from A to B. We invented air balloons, bicycles, cars, trains, ships and aeroplanes but nothing new has come along for decades which is why there is much excitement over Hyperloop.
This is a transport system in which passengers are loaded into pods and fired through vacuum tubes at 700mph and initial practise runs have been encouraging.
The selling point is that journey times over long distances are drastically reduced but there is one small problem that the Hyperloop faces which could prove problematic, it can't go around corners.
As things stand, the Hyperloop tube would need go in an almost complete straight line from city to city which would of course mean either finding a route completely free of obstacles or slicing through something valued which would quickly lose it public support, especially if it is peoples homes or workplaces in the way.
They could slow the pods down so they can handle corners but that would be defeating the purpose so there may be some drawing boards being returned to before we are able to buy a Hyperloop ticket. 

1066 And All That

Strange how we are voting on whether to stay 'Europeans' or not as we observe the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings which saw the last Anglo-Saxon King and the coronation of the first proper King of England who was French.
The Battle of Hastings wasn't actually fought at Hastings, it all kicked off at a place called 'Battle' but the Battle of Battle just sounded silly so they went with the place were the Normans landed which was Hastings although they only ended up there because there ships were blown off course so we could have ended up with the Battle of Scratchy Bottom if the wind had been blowing in a different direction.
The English had days earlier fought off the Norwegians and while they were sent home to celebrate, the French pulled up with their invasion fleet and one arrow in the King's eye later, the rest is history.  
Historians say the conquest was a critical turning point in history and it certainly changed England who went from a Viking influenced living to a French one, the reason why so many of our words are French was because William made it the official language although only the nobility actually learned it, the general population stayed with whatever language they knew, non of that 'parlez vous Francaise' for them.   
William was known originally as William the Bastard so he must have been happy to change it to William the Conqueror which has a much better ring to it while poor old King Harold Godwinson is just known for jokes about getting an arrow in his eye (Watch out for those sharp arrows, they could have someones eye out).
What William did start was not actually having English people on the British throne, William's children followed on when he died (exploding on death he was so fat so the story goes) and it was French all the way until the Germans muscled in and then changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg to Windsor (after the castle) during the first World War to sound less German.
The point is that before William it was Scandinavians, then came the French and then the Germans which all means that the British monarchy is a hotch-potch of everywhere else except Britain which may be worth considering if you are thinking about voting to leave the EU because you don't want to be ruled by foreigners, we have been ruled over by foreigners since before Billy the Bastard showed up 950 years ago.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Boomerang Brits

A little over 200 years ago, the Brits that landed in Australia were forced to stay there amidst animals and insects that would kill you as soon as look at you and through sweat, toil and tears, built a country that produced Paul Hogan and Kylie Minogue.
Today's Brits that step onto Australia's shark infested shores have the option to come back and they are doing so in there droves apparently with 50% of those who decided to emigrate making the return trip within five years.
The reasons most cited for UK migrants deciding the wide open spaces of Australia are not for them are surprising ranging from horrendous traffic jams, bad roads, cost of living, lack of jobs, weather (Sydney has double the annual rainfall of London), lack of public transport, poor quality housing, Australian TV, unfriendly locals and long working hours.
Not quite what you see in Neighbours and the returning Brits have earned the name 'Boomerang Poms', named after Australia's most famous invention, a bent stick.
I am sure that Australian migrants who make the move in the opposite directions also complain, they complain about everything else so it would be a shock if they never, but most surprising is Brits not abandoning Australia because almost everything over there has the potential to eat, sting, bite or inject poison into you and a visit to the dunny could very well be the last thing you ever do.

No Referendum Vote For Ex-Pats

Big vote coming up on June 23rd, a vote that could define the nation for this century so it is important that as many people as possible vote, the only exception is those that have flounced off abroad and they are the ones who are now whining that they won't get a say in which way Britain falls.
British expats even had the temerity to challenge the legal ruling that anyone who had lived outside of the country for 15 years lose the right to vote in a British election, a challenge that they lost.
The appeal had been brought by Harry Shindler who has lived in Italy for 35 years and and Jacquelyn MacLennan who upped sticks to Belgium in 1987.
'I am still waiting for the Government to tell us why British citizens in Europe can't vote in this referendum' said Mr Shindler so to clear it up for him and to save the Government the bother, i will  tell him.
You see Mr Shindler, you chose to leave this country, one that you now claim to have a say in deciding its future.
No you don't because i'm sorry if this country wasn't good enough for you 35 years ago but as you don't live here and don't have to deal with the consequences of the vote, you don't get a say in choosing its future.
I hope that clears up any misunderstandings.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

No Birdies At Muirfield

Women aren't allowed on Mount Athos in Greece for religious reasons. In fact, even female animals are banned and it is all due to a legend that the Virgin Mary herself was shipwrecked there and for 1,000 years other women have been excluded so the monks there can focus entirely on her.
Of course there are many examples of sexism in the Church but you also find a hotbed of bigoted males packing a putter and a 5-iron as the world of Golf also has a problem with 50% of the World's population.
Facing a choice of admitting women members to their club or being removed from hosting The Open, the members of Muirfield decided it was more important to keep women out and voted accordingly to which the Scottish club has now been removed from the roster of clubs which host the tournament.
The justification from the 'no' campaigners among the Muirfield members had cited concerns about slow play and making women 'feel uncomfortable' among the 'risks' of admitting female members.
I assume the cheque for Donald Trump's membership is already in the post.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Why Is NATO Still Poking Russia?

I don't understand the NATO strategy when it comes to dealing with Russia or what they hope to gain from today's military exercises in Estonia which take them all the way up to Russia’s border.
While tensions between Russia and the West are already tense, to act so provocatively on Russia's doorstep is not only dangerous but could so easily spin out of control.
The West are always in need of a bogeyman to justify spending hundreds of billions on weapons, listen to the UK's need to spend £130 billion to replace Trident as evidence, and the West have decided that Putin and Russia is it which flings us back to the Cold War years.
Moscow cannot be expected to just accept NATO expanding and holding military exercises all the way up to its borders and will retaliate as it feels boxed in so someone at NATO needs to show some common sense and stop poking a massive military power with a big stick because at some point it will bite back and the frightening consequences that holds.

Summer's Coming And So Is Zika

The World Health Organisation have said that the Zika virus could spread to Europe this summer with a moderate risk in Mediterranean countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece while the risk in the UK is low.
Zika has been linked to a rise in brain defects in babies and the virus has been seen in more than 50 countries during this outbreak.
WHO experts say the risk of spread increases in late spring and summer as mosquitoes carrying the virus become more active.  
Mosquitoes already have a bad reputation and could possibly be the most dangerous animals on the planet as an estimated 725,000 people are killed every year by mosquito-born diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis.
In the deadliest animals league, an estimated 50,000 people are killed every year by snakes, 55,000 killed by dogs (mostly rabies from bites), tsetse fly kills 10,000, crocodiles are estimated to kill about 1,000 humans per year, 500 people per year die by Rhino, 130 people killed by deer (rather a driver hitting them on roads), 53 people die each year because of an allergic reaction from bee stings, 35 are killed each year by ants, 30 by jellyfish, 22 by cows (either falling on people or being kicked), 20 by horses, 7 by spider bites and sharks kill on average 5 people per year.
You officially have less chance of making it out alive from a cow field then from swimming in shark infested waters.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

UK Abortions Increase

The number of abortions carried out in England and Wales last year was the highest in five years according to annual statistics released by the Department of Health, driven by an increase in women in their 30s and 40s who are terminating a pregnancy.
There was a 0.7% increase to 185,824 operations performed in 2015, and the largest number since the 189,931 carried out in 2011.
The figures show that abortions are becoming less common among women under 30 but more so among women aged 30 and over.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: 'The last decade has seen a considerable rise in the proportion of women having terminations who are either in a relationship or married. Last year 70% of women ending a pregnancy were either married or had a partner'.
The BPAS are concerned that older women were finding it harder to access contraception because cuts to the sexual health services is restricting women’s access especially to the morning after pill, and because of the cost of the pill when bought over the counter from a chemist.    
The figures also show that 833 women travelled from Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where abortion is still illegal, to England or Wales to have a termination in 2015.
As is so common with this Government who promise so much but deliver so little, ministers promised to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies three years ago but as the numbers of abortions are rising, and sexual health services are cut under the banner of austerity, something has gone very wrong as Conservative ideology leads to another part of the NHS left to whither away.

America Drowning In Cheese

I never knew there was such a difference in cheese between us and the Americans, i wrongly assumed their cheese was the same as our cheese but by all accounts even Americans don't like their cheese and are not even allowed to call it cheese, it is legally known as a 'cheese product'.
It all began when Sky News reported the United States has an overwhelming surplus of cheese, enough to equal three extra pounds of the stuff for every person in the country.
The answer the dairy farmers came up with as the price of their product tanked due to overproduction was to increase the amount of cheese they made or as one yokel put it: 'you milk more cows'.
I, again wrongly, thought why don't they send some this way, Europeans love Cheese but then someone pointed out that they do export it here, those little square Kraft blocks that taste like you have forgotten to remove the plastic wrapper is American Cheese, or rather 'Cheese product' because they legally can't call it cheese.
Reading the comments at some American sites, it appears that the problem is that Americans think American Cheese Product tastes like sh...isn't very nice which is why there is too much of it knocking around so America is drowning in plastic stuff that pretends to be cheese.
My initial solution was to make a massive pizza and send it to the World's starving but apparently the cheese doesn't melt, just sort of gets warm and bubbles a bit so my second idea was to pack it into a convoy of rockets and fire it at the Sun which seems a win-win all around.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Facebook Graveyard

Sobering thought that by 2012, just eight years after the platform was launched, 30 million users with Facebook accounts had died and that number has only gone up since.
Some estimates claim more than 8,000 users die each day so at some point in time, as Facebook accounts remain live even if the account owner isn't, and because Facebook is shedding users, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones.

Lack Of Drinkable Water Our Next Catastrophe

It is estimated that 98% of the Earth’s water is too salty for drinking or agriculture and one in 10 of the world’s population don’t have access to safe drinking water and almost two million people die from drinking unsafe water every year.
Of the 2% of water that is fresh water, two thirds is locked away in ice caps and glaciers while most of the rest is trapped in soil or underground aquifers which leaves a fraction available for us to use.
In just 15 years time, half the world's population could be living in areas where there isn't enough water to go round and already poor quality water supplies means more people are drinking from dirty sources, and water borne diseases such as typhoid are spreading.
The answer so far has been desalination which is turning sea water into fresh water but the process is high energy intensive and very expensive.
We need a way to make the process more efficient but technology formerly regarded as promising have been in lab development for decades and the by-product, brine, is a source of pollution to nearby water supplies.
Someone, somewhere had better get on it because with a warming globe and the devastation that is already causing, a lack of drinkable water will be the next major catastrophe us humans face.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Bath Da Bomb

I have never understood how a 500lb bomb could have been dropped and not noticed in a city but we keep finding German bombs dropped 70 years ago and another has turned up under a school playground in Bath.
At some point someone must have noticed a bloody great crater with a bomb in it and said 'can't see a problem with just concreting over that' and built a playground on it.
Anyway, an unexploded World War Two bomb which was discovered in a school playground in Bath has been destroyed after being driven out of the city on the back of a lorry and a brilliant photo of men in hard hats and reflective yellow jackets dragging around an unexploded bomb safe in the knowledge that a hard hat would keep them safe if the 500lb monster went off.
Some wags are saying that it was a missed opportunity to have got rid of Bath once and for all but i have been to Bath several times and i know that if that bomb had gone off there it would have destroyed most of the city which experts estimate would have caused approximately £40 worth of damage.

Quick And Dirty Guide To Apostrophes

The laws of electrodynamics state possible values of the angular momentum vector, in the non-inertial body frame, for a free, asymmetric top is a surface of constant energy, and the closed curves are given by the intersection of that ellipsoid with spheres of various radii, corresponding to different values of the total magnitude of the angular momentum.
As it is a law, and as i have no idea what any of any of the above means, it is possible that i have at some point broken that law and could possibly be breaking it now so will hand myself over to the correct authorities as soon as i have finished this post.
Something else that has rules which MUST BE OBEYED is the English language but according to linguists, the English language is one of the hardest to learn and there are no shortage of grammar Nazi's who will try to pick you up if you use the word 'less' instead of 'fewer' or you misspell manouvre manouvere manoeuvre.
It is due to the British Empire and the spreading of it's tentacles back in the day that English is the most practised second language and then along came the World Wide Web with the majority of pages written in English although this percentage has dropped in recent years.
Probably the most common area students go wrong is the use of apostrophes which can either go in words, after words or go missing altogether but another problem area is to/too and a/an.
A quick, dirty guide to apostrophes is if you are shortening two words into one word (there is, was not) then you use an apostrophe to show what you have done so 'there is' becomes there's and 'was not' become wasn't.
It is also used to show possession of something so as this blog belongs to Lucy, it would be Lucy's Blog or a cake that belonged to Paul would be Paul's cake.
The hardest apostrophe to understand is the one that goes after a word which ends in the letter 's' when there are more than one of something. For example you can go to a boys' school (more than one boy), go on holidays in three days' time (more than one day) or go to a festival to watch bands' play (more than one band).
If something is not plural ending in s or doesn't belong to anyone, you can discard the apostrophe altogether so it's a sports car or sport photos as the sports doesn't possess the car or photos. 
The To/Too rule of thumb is if you can replace the to/too with the word 'also', then it should be 'too', if the word after the to/too is a place then it's 'to'. For example you go TO the shops' to buy clothes and go TO the airport to catch a plane but once at the shops' you can buy a latte TOO or at the airport you can buy a newspaper TOO.
A/An is easy to remember, if the following word starts with a vowel it's AN, if not it's A so you have a spark plug but an engine or an eagle but a parrot.      
There are variations on these themes and a grammar Nazi will point out when these rules are not applicable but as a rule of thumb, these will get you through but remember that the most important thing is not how you say something but what you are saying.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Flat Earth Society

Just when you thought that people who deny climate change, those that pray to a man who lives in the clouds and people who reply to emails from Nigerians was the height of window shaking stupidity, along comes the Flat Earth Society to show that just when we think we have reached the bottom, there is always further below it to explore.   
There are people out there who believe the notion of a globe-shaped world orbiting the sun is a myth and it's all a conspiracy aimed at covering up the concept of space travel which is an even larger hoax.
So if our brains were to fall out of our ears and we were to not just dismiss the cranks as people who should not be left in charge of small children or animals, what can we expect from the movement trying to to save us all from the delusion that our world is a globe?
Handily, the Flat Earthers have a wiki page which explains it all as follows:

'How do you know the Earth is a globe? Only because you were told so by your teacher, who was told by someone else, who was told by someone else, who was told by someone else, who was told by some “authority” or “expert”. Somewhere along the way as a child, you were probably shown some books with photographs, but as has been well exposed, space photos and videos are easily faked, as NASA knows very well.
The flat earth model contends that the Earth exists on a giant, flat plane, with the Arctic (or North Pole) at the center, and a giant wall of ice (the Antarctic) surrounding the entire disc and forming the circumference. The implication of this is that we live in a giant dome, that “space” as we know it does not exist, and that all the planets and stars we see at night are like projections on the ceiling of a planetarium.

The science bit is that photographs of the earth show it as not curving the way it should if the planet was really round and that gravity doesn't exist but i could feel my brain cells committing suicide in protest as i read so i decided to cut my loses and leave but although it won't be easy overturning all the evidence that points that a round earth but i wish them luck in unravelling the true mysteries of the universe and demonstrating that the earth is flat and that Round Earth doctrine is little more than an elaborate hoax.


The 28 Pages

It has become known as 'the 28 pages' and relates to the 28 missing pages from the 2002 congressional report on the 9/11 attacks on America which are reported to show that Saudi Arabian officials were involved in supporting Al-Queda and the hijackers.
The George W Bush administration ordered the potentially incriminating 28 pages be kept secret and President Barack Obama is deciding whether to declassify the material next month but John Lehman, a former member of the 9/11 Commission that investigated the attacks, has spoken out that the pages contain 'clear evidence that at least five Saudi government employees helped some of the 9/11 hijackers'.
Saudi leaders have threatened to sell off up to $750bn in US assets if the report is unclassified and they are implicated in the terrorist attack which killed 3000 in 2001.
State Department cables released by WikiLeaks revealed the Saudis have been behind the flow of millions of dollars a year to terrorist groups, Hillary Clinton stating in 2009 that: 'donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide'.
American leaders already know the contents of those 28 pages and have done nothing by way of retribution against the Saudi regime so we may soon find out that the USA (and George W Bush) knowingly invaded a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks but continued to pal up with the country that funded and actively supported it.

Eurovision In Moscow Next Year?

Ireland may be the league leaders when it comes to Eurovision song titles but they won't be adding to their seven wins this year because the European public blew them a big fat raspberry and kicked their bland offering out at the semi-final stage.
Hosts and last years winners Sweden are second in the league with six wins and then comes the UK, France and Luxembourg with five wins each although Luxembourg seem to have given up and have refused the invite to come to the party since 1994.
The Netherlands have won four times and then Israel, Norway and Denmark have three wins each but if the bookies are correct then it will be Russia notching up their first win this year and having heard all the songs they will be up there amongst the leaders.
After coming a respectable fifth place in last year’s contest, pretend Europeans Australia are back again and  represented by Australian X-Factor winner Dami Im and they are second favourites with Ukraine, France and then Sweden expected to take up the top five positions on the scoreboard.
The UK's entry is a long 80/1 shot and as our recent record includes only finishing in the top 10 twice since 1999 we are more likely to be sat on the sidelines with the other fat, wheezy countries when the results come in which is a disgraceful way for our Euro cousins to treat the country that gave the World the Spice Girls, S Club 7, Steps, Susan Boyle, ok..point taken.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Welcoming USA To Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest is called the 'Biggest Party in the World' but not being ones to hog all the fun to ourselves, we often send out special invites to other nations not under the European Flag.
Australia was invited to the Party last year and although there was initial worries that it would down too many tinnies and either make a drunken grope at Malta or leave our front room filled with vomit, they were so well behaved that we have asked them if they want to come back this year, an invite they have readily accepted.
Israel is another country that we have invited to come on over to join our party and i am happy to say that although there was an episode when they tried to take over the neighbours garden and another when it tried to build a wall out of lego around Luxembourg, it has generally been on its best behaviour even if it does tend to avoid the ham sandwiches and crabsticks. 
This year we have asked America to the Party although not to participate, just to watch, don't want any of that 'My-pick-up-truck-ran-over-my-dog' style Country & Western here thank you very much.
We have ordered more hot dogs and burgers, have set up rooms at the borders to check your guns and have put you at the other end of the table from Russia so welcome to our party USA but be warned, you start up that 'USA-USA'  chant thing and you are out.
PS..you may want to use the toilet at home before you get here, European toilets are open to boys, girls and anyone in between.

Surviving The Global Warming Devastation

'We’re going into very new territory' explained the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration as they report that the world is hurtling towards global concentrations of carbon dioxide tipping over the 400 parts per million milestone.
The Southern Hemisphere atmospheric measuring station in Australia is poised at 399.9ppm while the station in the Northern Hemisphere went above 400ppm in 2013.
'We wouldn’t have expected to reach the 400ppm mark so early' said David Etheridge, an atmospheric scientist from the CSIRO, which runs the Australian measuring station, 'CO2 Concentrations are growing fast as warmer land areas release carbon. So we would have otherwise expected it to happen later in the year. No matter what the world’s emissions are now, we can decrease growth but we can’t decrease the concentration'.
This year has seen record hot global ocean temperatures, air surface temperatures has been breaking annual and monthly temperature records and in a great bit of understatement, the NOAA signed of with a sigh of 'It’s pretty ugly when you look at it'.
Decades of warnings have gone unheeded so it may be that we have carelessly crossed a tipping point so it's a case of it may be too late and our own foolishness has bought natures cataclysm upon us so time to limit the effects of devastating runaway global warming with lessons on how to survive it.
If that includes constructing huge biospheres or shifting our cities underground then we should make the move towards investigating the options we have so that the population of the Earth can survive our own absurdity.

Damn You EU!!

The European commission has blocked Three’s £10.25bn takeover of O2 on competition grounds, saying the takeover would probably increase prices and reduce choice for consumers.
It would have given Three over 40% of UK mobile phone users with in excess of 30 million customers and reduced the number of network owners from four to three.
The EU Commission explained: 'Our investigation revealed significant competition concerns with this deal. It would very likely have led to higher prices and less choice for UK consumers' which has seen the Brexit crowd stepping in to condemn EU meddling.
They of course have a point, the bloody EU. Protecting our consumer rights, looking after our best interests and encouraging competition to keep prices down. Who the hell do they think they are??
Boo hiss@EU etc etc!

How Can Nigeria Be Corrupt?

The Prime Minister has been overheard claiming Nigeria and Afghanistan are 'two of the most corrupt countries in the world', but is he right?
Not according to Transparency International (TI) who have Nigeria 30th in their corruption league table although Afghanistan is proudly sat in second place.
The TI top ten most corrupt countries countdown is North Korea as most corrupt followed by Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Angola, South Sudan, Iraq, Libya, Haiti and Guinea-Bissau.
Some may be surprised that Britain is 158 out of the 168 countries listed which makes us almost so clean we practically squeak especially in light of all the recent dodgy expenses claims and Tax evasion revelations.
What some more sharp eyed readers may notice is that the top ten contains three countries where we have overthrown the ruling regime recently and installed our own guys to run things. How's that working out then?
Besides, Nigeria cant be that corrupt, only recently i received an email telling me that i was the recipient of a couple of million pounds left to me by a relative i didn't even realise i had and all i had to do was to send them my bank details and they would transfer it into my account.
Okay, so it may be taking longer than expected but how can a country be corrupt when they are going out of their way to contact people and hand over millions when they could have kept quiet and kept it to themselves.
Expecting it in my account any day now, thanks Nigeria!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Over To You Scully

The X-Files told us the truth is out there but if it is then the latest place is India. 
In January Indian Air Force (IAF) radar controllers identified a strange shaped object near the border of India and Pakistan and scrambled a fighter jet to intercept it.
The pilot shot down the object and wreckage of the unidentified object fell nearby where IAF officials quickly moved to recover the parts.
The IAF only revealed that they have found five triangular pieces of metal that are undergoing further
examination and put out the 'official explanation' that the object was that old faithful, a weather balloon.
However, villagers in the area offer more details to this story, saying that during the chase by the fighter pilot they heard a serious of loud explosions which reverberated through the area and damaged buildings.
Eerie parallels with the famous 1947 Roswell incident in the United States with the same explanation of a 'weather balloon'.
Another one to put in the files marked 'Nothing to see here', especially as it is currently being held out of sight under high security in an Indian laboratory.

Invictus Games Doesn't Sit Right

Not that i ever give George W Bush any credit for anything but at least i thought he had the decency to keep his head down after what he did in Iraq and Afghanistan but that has been blown out of the water as he turned up at the Invictus Games, the games which he did so much to create the participants for in the first place.
Bush clearly he has no shame or conscience and what were the veterans thinking applauding him when he dragged his carcass onto the stage, clapping for the man who was directly responsible for sending them to get their limbs forcibly removed by IED's and rocket propelled rockets. 
The Invictus Games does leave me with an uneasy feeling of whitewashing over the recent wars of Great Britain and the USA, accepting the wars that wounded these men and women in the first place so we sympathise with our boys rather than the million plus dead, wounded and permanently disabled we left behind in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Seeing George Bush up on the stage being treated like he was some kind of hero by the very same people he sent to war under false pretences really doesn't sit right with me, especially as he would be better suited to a stage in the Hague rather than 'celebrating' with the military who got injured causing so much pain and misery to other people.
I will go out of my way to avoid it, feels too much like a celebration and acceptance of what we did.
Yes it is terrible to see injured veterans but they were there in the terms of their employment, they got paid to do what they did while a million dead Iraqis and Afghans had no choice, they were trapped between the tanks  and fighter jets dropping bombs on them from on high.

Transit Of Mercury

In the great scheme of things the Earth is but a minute speck in the infinite massiveness of space, the
equivalent of a grain of sand on a far flung beach off the beaten track.
You can talk and read about the planets all you like but it isn't until you actually see them that they become real and today we had the opportunity to see the smallest planet in our Solar System, the one that sits closest to the Sun as it made its way in it's orbit across the face of the Sun. 
You could fit approximately 21 million Planet Mercuries inside the Sun but that is again just something you can only imagine, the sheer size of things is just an idea in your head until you actually visualise events such as today when the Planet a little larger than our moon was dwarfed by the star at the center of our solar system.
That said, the solar filter stayed in the bag today as 100% cloud cover here put paid to any notion of seeing the transit but i know many schools and colleges were successful at gazing at the wonder and hopefully seeing the actual Universe in motion will fire the imagination of many students to look up and question just what is above their heads in the wondrous night sky.

What UK Steel Crisis?

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have said that they were: 'determined to see as many MOD projects designed, built and manufactured here in the UK' with the British steel industry appearing to be in a state of collapse and a number of firms and tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
The UK Government therefore has ordered 100 tanks be built, problem is they are to be built in Spain using steel from Sweden.
Next week's Government aim to boost the alcohol trade by organising a piss up in a brewery has also been postponed.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Could Clinton Be Worse Than Trump?

Unless either gets run over by their tour bus in the next few weeks we can safely assume that the next American President will be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
Of course what either, if elected, does in America is no concern of us Europeans' but what will affect us is the course their foreign policy will take.
Donald Trump has come across as a xenophobic racist who should be kept well away from the corridors of power but we can only guess what he would do if in charge, Hillary Clinton on the other hand has a record of Secretary of State we can look back at and try and judge what way the wind blows with her.
She famously voted for the Iraq War, making a speech that included the now notorious intelligence failure that Saddam Hussein: 'has given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists'.
A lot of people were unwittingly sucked into the Blair and Bush lies used to justify the Iraq invasion but her record shows that she has backed every conflict America has been involved in since Afghanistan.
She was a key player in pushing an unenthusiastic President Obama into establishing a humanitarian no-fly zone in Libya. The bombing of Libya and the removal of Colonel Gaddafi was trumpeted as a success even after Libya descended into chaos, a situation she denied with the defence that Gaddafi's removal was followed up by two successful elections and any current problems are due to insufficient U.S. involvement since.
Drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan surged under her command and the messes in Ukraine and Syria are due to her departments meddling.
In 2011, as Arab regimes were toppled in the Arab Spring, Hillary’s state department decided to withdraw diplomatic recognition from Syria. As Secretary of State, she stated that Syrian President Bashar Assad had lost his legitimacy and had to go and decided to actively arm the 'moderate opposition'.
Despite plenty of warnings, it soon became clear that the 'moderate opposition' forces the U.S. were assisting were Islamist's aligned with a branch of al-Qaeda who took the American weapons being offered, renamed themselves Islamic State and used them to wreak carnage in the region.
Now she is advocating a no-fly zone in Syria along the lines of the one that worked so awfully in Libya.
In the Ukraine, more meddling as the uprising saw Clinton's office pour $5 billion dollars into opposition factions to affect regime change which led to a coup against the elected government in 2014 and that infamous telephone call where it was decided who the post-coup leader should be.  
Hillary Clinton is also an eager advocate of further expansion of NATO, Finland and Sweden are currently being discussed along with Georgia and Ukraine, who sit worryingly on an already irate Russia's borders.
An unashamed apologist for Israeli aggression against Palestine, Hillary's past record seems to show a choice between a man who exudes racism and Islamophobia who caters to the anti-immigrant right or a hawkish woman who has supported armed conflict at every single opportunity and done so much in such a short time to make multiple bad situations a whole lot worse.
If one is concerned about world peace it is a tough choice between the two but one thing we do know about Hillary is that as she is currently promoting upping the ante in Syria and the continuation of prodding Russia with a stick, she has not learned any lessons from the Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan conflicts she was involved in.
 That could make her a far worse prospect then Donald Trump with regards to who is more likely to pour petrol on an already out of control fire.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Best Band In Heaven Reshuffle

For anyone that has been paying attention over the past few years, God came to me a while back and asked me to put together a band for Jesus's birthday party made up of the dead musicians he had lounging around on clouds in heaven.
After some thought (and the bribe of some hard drugs) the band we ended up with was Ron Wilson of the Safari's on drums, Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy on bass, rhythm guitar was handed to Joe Strummer and lead to Jimi Hendrix with a warning to not do any of that weird feedback crap.
Freddie Mercury was picked as the man front and center wearing spandex and doing that trademark punch thing.
Since the band was formed, we have had many tours of other heavens such as Nirvana, Mitclan, Gan Eden, Valhalla, Tir Na Nog and Vaikuntha but i had God on the phone to me the other day saying that his place had been inundated with new musical arrivals recently and do we need to freshen up the band for the Heaven's festival season.
He listed the names of newly deceased musicians as David Bowie, Lemmy, Prince, Billy Paul, Maurice White, Jimmy Bain, and Glen Frey.      
I agreed to take Lemmy and broke the bad news to Phil Lynott that he was dumped and we debated whether to take Prince or stick with Mercury and we ended up agreeing Prince was too weird and stuck with Mercury. 
As we were having a shuffle i decided to replace Wilson for John Bonham of Led Zepplin so the new 'Best band In Heaven' is now Bonham, Lemmy, Strummer, Hendrix and Mercury belting out the tunes.
He did say that he also wanted a word about the playlist and he wasn't happy about the inclusion of 'Sympathy for the Devil', 'Highway to Hell', 'Heaven can Wait' and 'Friend of the Devil' but the line suddenly went very crackly and we were cut off, oh well.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Thunder All Through The Night

After a few days of temperatures nudging the low 20s, it is all about to come crashing down, literally, as violent thunderstorms are about to light up the skies tonight and tomorrow.
I'm with Eddie Rabbitt who sang that he loved a rainy night, hearing the thunder and watching the lightning because it's on a par with snow as my favourite weather and the more violent the better as far as i'm concerned.
As a child we were told that it was God moving around the furniture and flicking the lights on and off but as i got older and wiser i realised that it is actually the clouds bumping into each other and Jesus checking the cloud damage with his torch.
Electrical storms are very few and far between here in the UK but there is a place in Venezuela that has storms lighting up the skies on average 300 nights each year.
Maybe Eddie Rabbitt's song is not so popular there, they may get a bit fed up with hearing the thunder and watching the lightning most nights but i plan to grab my mug of tea, sit by a window and watch Jesus inspect the clouds as they career into each other.

Eurovision 2016

There will be flag waving, bad singing and Australians becoming honorary Europeans next weekend as the Eurovision Song Contest rolls onto our television screens. 
It isn't just Europeans and Aussies who can shout 'nul points' at the Azerbaijan entry this year because Americans can join in revelling at the sight of beautiful men and women belting out power ballads blocked out on the TV screen by thousands of fans manically waving flags in front of the cameras.  
The United Kingdom entry is a bit more upbeat with a catchy chorus but as we are as popular in Europe as a doughnut at a weight watchers meeting it will be a shock if we are troubling the left hand side of the leaders board with the eventual winners.
Our song is called 'You're Not Alone' which we won't be because we are sure to have company on the few points Ireland and Malta (thanks guys) always throw us.
One country that also won't win it are Romania who have been kicked out due to their TV station that covers the Eurovision not coughing up to pay off their debts so that is us robbed of the Ovidiu Anton performance of his song appropriately titled 'Moment of Silence'.
The favourites are Russia although politics may play a part when it comes to voting for them so i would plump for Spain or France to end up with the microphone shaped trophy.
As we tried to get tickets for the Final but were told they sold out almost as soon as they were released, we will be watching it on the TV along with the expected Worldwide audience of 200 million armed with a pencil and a scorecard and shouting 'Nul Points' at Azerbaijan.

Another Tory U-Turn

With the council election results dripping in throughout the day, today was a good day to bury bad or embarrassing news which is exactly the what the Government have done, slipping it out quietly that the flagship policy of forcing all schools to become academies has been dropped.    
After months of staunchly defending the policy which would see schools removed from local council control, the Conservative spokesman wheeled out to whisper the announcement explained that the Government had 'listened to concerns' and were taking their plans back to the drawing board only days after the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, insisted they were still going ahead.
It could be they listened, it could be the looming risk of strike action from teachers or it could be that the Conservatives woke up to the fact that it was a vote loser but whatever reason, the Conservatives had made another U-turn on a policy and so we can now see if they are willing to listen to concerns about the NHS.

New Day, Sad Ending

The 'New Day' newspaper printed its last copy today, nine weeks after it printed it's first.
Needing sales of 200,000 to break even, it managed to find only 40,000 readers and so the publisher
have decided the tabloid was no longer financially viable and cut it's losses and closed today.
Considering that it was aimed at 'people who do not usually read newspapers', i did find a fatal flaw in their business plan but still sad to see yet another newspaper fold.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A Return For Flag Burning

It doesn't seem that long ago that any budding entrepreneur armed with a decent supply of red, white & blue material and a sewing machine had an amazing business opportunity providing UK and US flags for people in the Middle East and Indian sub continent to set fire to.
Now, i can't remember the last time i saw a group of men dancing around a flaming Union Flag or even more amusingly, keeping hold of it until it gets too hot and then dropping it on their shoes.
The mid 2000's when the Bush/Blair administrations were in full throttle was the high water mark for flag burning but chanting about God while getting hot feet is so passé now or they have just run out of flags to burn.
It was always something that seemed to annoy Americans more than us Brits, we never really seemed bothered by the sight of flames licking around our flag but then Britain has never been much of a flag loving country anyway, far too American all that hand on the heart 'Oh say can you see' type of thing. 
With Donald Trump still in the race for US President and considering that America will be at war within 15 minutes of him donning the Commander-in-Chief badge, i wouldn't be throwing away that old sewing machine yet Mr Jihadi.
We may yet see the re-emergence of Muslims jigging around a piece of flaming material and blistering their feet so at least put on some decent shoes first, sandals are not the best footwear for stamping on a burning flag and even in the middle of jihad Health and Safety should be a concern.
Anyway, if an entrepreneurial jihadist is reading this, i can lay my hands on miles of Union Jack bunting left over from the Queens Birthday celebrations and i'm sure we can come to some arrangement the next time the masses congregate to denounce us.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Leicester Only Go And Win The League!!

A year ago this week, Leicester had just escaped relegation to the Championship and sacked the manager and appointed an Italian, Claudio Ranieri, who had just been sacked by Greece after a four-game winless stint which included a defeat to the part-timers of the Faroe Islands and Leicester were tipped by many as one of the three favourites for relegation this season and Ranieri the favourite to be the first manager sacked.
With odds of 5000-1, the chances of Leicester winning the Premier League were longer than Piers Morgan being named as Arsenal manager (250-1) or Simon Cowell to be next Prime Minister (500-1) and as likely as Elvis being found alive or the Loch Ness monster found to exist which would return £5000 if you were mad enough to bet a quid on either of them.
As far as i am aware Elvis is still dead and Simon Cowell continues churning out pap pop stars and isn't moving his sofa into number 10 but Leicester have only gone and won the Premier League!
It's ludicrous, amazing, brilliant, astonishing and completely bonkers but we should say a few words about Tottenham Hotspur who pushed Leicester all the way but fell short at the end.
It would be cruel to laugh at them, call them bottlers or even hope that there are so crestfallen that they blow the last two games and Arsenal finish second so congratulations Leicester and haha Spurs, bottlers, hope you lose the next two as well.

Learning English

It has been said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn as a second language and considering that it is a mongrel mix made up of a sprinkling of French, Latin, German, Scandinavian and a fair few other languages it isn't surprising.
One test on German spies in ww2 who had otherwise perfect English was to get them to pronounce places such as Worcester or the surname Mainwaring which is where the Captain in Dad's Army gets his name. Fail and it's off to the clink and apparently many did but as we have no German spies today to catch, we settle for confusing tourists and laughing at the way Americans say 'Aluminium' and 'Route' instead.
There are some words that represent more of a challenge to non-native English speakers than others and they have handily created a top ten of 'How the hell do you say that??' words. 
The top ten words are:

1. Queue
2. Appreciate
3. Chaos
4. Comfortable
5. Lieutenant
6. Paradigm
7. Quay
8. Squirrel
9. Worcester
10. Penguin

Grasp these east Europeans and before you know it you will be telling that joke about the penguin and the squirrel queuing in Worcester.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Disgraceful Israel

One of the claims made by Israeli supporters when they steal Palestinian land is that it is to provide a buffer between the Hamas rockets and Israeli cities.
That argument falls apart when you consider no rockets have been fired from the West Bank but still the land grab goes on and as the United Nations have reported, has actually increased.  
The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) show that there have been an average of 165 demolitions a month since January.
In February alone, 235 buildings were taken down, and the UN agency has claimed people are being driven from the land as a result.
The Israeli military, which has occupied the West Bank for half a century, claims it carries out the demolitions because the structures are illegal and do not have the necessary planning permits, permits that the UN say are 'virtually impossible' for Palestinians to get the approval they need, only 1.5% of applications from 2010 to 2014 being granted.
All this on Palestinians own land remember...and the World pathetically stays quiet as the disgraceful genocide continues and the Palestinians suffering goes on.

Not Such A Great Idea

Oh look a gun. I know what i will do, i'll take a selfie while pointing it at my own head and putting my finger on the trigger while not knowing if the gun is loaded or not. After all, what could possibly go wrong... 
A teenager in India has accidentally shot himself in the head while trying to take a selfie photograph.
Police said Ramandeep Singh is being treated in hospital at Pathankot in Punjab state and is expected to survive.
I swear the world is getting stupider.