Sunday, 19 November 2017

America Not Meddling Looks Same As Them Meddling

The Hungarian government have accused the U.S. State Department of interfering in the country’s election campaign and has summoned the top American diplomat in Budapest, David Kostelancik to ask him what his country thinks they are playing at.
'No meddling' replied the U.S. 'just providing projects that increase citizens’ access to objective information about domestic and global issues in Hungary'.
In that case if Russia just say they had not been meddling in the US election and had just been making sure American voters had access to objective information about domestic and global issues in America nobody would have a problem with it?
You can't bitch and moan that another country is trying to influence your election when you are actively trying to influence another countries election, that's just hypocritical and makes a mockery of the Democracy which everyone, particularly America, seems so keen to go to war to protect.

Choosing A Religion For The Orang Rimba's

The Sumatran rainforests of Indonesia are home to the Orang Rimba, a community of 3000 people who are having their homes and habitat destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations and as they are forcibly being bought into the general population, in order to integrate into Indonesian society, they are being forced to choose a religion.
'We wanted to send our children to school, but the teacher wanted to see their birth certificates, and for that you have to have a state religion that the government recognises' explained one Tribal Elder as the previously faithless community held a meeting to discuss what Religion they would choose.
Now i'm not religious in the slightest, but if i was forced to choose a religion, there are a few i would discount immediately.
Any of the ones where you have to donate money from your wage packet are out straight away as are the silly ones like Scientology and Mormonism.
Judaism is no good, all that removing foreskins and defending Israel while Islam is a no-no because i don't want to be told what and when i can eat something during Ramadan.
My choice of religion would be one where i don't have to do anything, it doesn't cost me anything and i can live the sort of life i choose and sin left, right and centre but as long as i repent before i take my last breath, i'm in heaven.
Actually, that's the Church of England which as luck would have it is exactly what i am.
As a Church of England member i'm stuffing my face all day long with whatever i find in the fridge, carving images of other Gods on a Sunday while blaspheming like a trooper and covering my neighbours donkey, but as long as i have the split second to repent before i die, i'm going to end up in the same place as all Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and all the rest of them.
Doesn't seem fair really when you see what the others have to do but i'm not complaining because the Church of England is the perfect religion because it's a complete blag so i say to the Orang Rimba come join us and you never have to set foot in a Church ever again.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Broadcast Journalists Most Trusted

Due to the more stringent rules of accuracy and due impartiality they have to work under, broadcast journalists have always considered themselves above press journalists who are self-regulating.
UK broadcasters face large fines if they stray from the The Ofcom Broadcasting Code which is why in most polls where the public are asked which news outlet they trust the most, TV news always tops the press.
The latest Ipsi Mori poll asked the public: 'Of all the news sources which ONE source are you most likely to turn to for news you trust the most?' and it was an overwhelming thumbs up once again for broadcast journalism and especially the BBC who were trusted by 57% of the public with ITV trusted by 11%, Sky News and Channel 5 News both 5% and Channel 4 News 3%.
The Press did not come out of it very well at all with the Guardian Newspaper the most trusted with 4% and the Sun the least with a miserly 0.3% of the public believing what they read in the Murdoch red top.
In the brave new World of online news, Google News is the choice for trusted news (5%), then Yahoo News (4.5%), MSN News (4.4%), Twitter (3.8%) and bringing up the rear Facebook who is trusted by 3.7% of the public for trustworthy news coverage.
So if you want to know what's going on, turn on the BBC News Channel.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

First Flat Earther's Get Together

The sound of rattling brain-cells must be deafening in North Carolina as Flat Earther's from across the globe assembled for the first Flat Earth International Conference.
The Flat Earth Website explains that they aim to: 'uncover and debunk pseudo-scientific facts while presenting the true evidence which shockingly points to our existence on a flat, stationary plane'.
Not sure how that worked out for them but it is all based on: 'extensive experimentation, analysis, and research' and a spokesman for the Flat Earther's said we are all being hoaxed by the space agencies who are putting out misleading material about us being on a tiny ball, flying through space.
'Science is gonna have to address this, they cannot dodge us forever' said one Flat Earther blissfully unaware that science can and will indeed not only dodge it forever but laugh at you as it does it.

2018 World Cup Line Up Missing Big Names

The line-up is complete and we can now sit back and wait until June when the World Cup kicks off and the English have the same quadrennial problem of who to support after England is sent packing after the group stage.
We may not be very good but at least we got there which is more than can be said for the other Home Nations and some of the big names who usually grace the Finals but will be kicking their heels at home.
Holland and Italy are the biggest names to miss out along with the reigning South American Champions Chile and Ghana and Ivory Coast are almost always in the pot representing Africa.
The failure of the two Ireland's and Scotland are no shock but Greece are normally making up the numbers as are the USA and after their showing in the Semi-Finals at the European Championship, better was expected from Wales.
Most disappointing is the non-appearance of Turkey because we will not be treated to the commentators telling us about the delights of Anil Koc, the promising Turkish midfielder.
Anyway, onwards and upwards and it's Come on England at least until the second round and then it's the usual game of looking at the family tree for a tenuous family link to another country.

Del Amitri, Hospital Wings And Da Vinci

There is a very poignant line in Del Amitri's 'Nothing Ever Happens' where he laments that 'American businessmen snap up Van Gogh's for the price of a hospital wing' but as the buyer who shelled out £342m for the Leonardo da Vinci painting, 'Salvator Mundi' has opted for privacy, we don't know if he is American or a businessman and it wasn't a Van Gogh but the sentiment remains the same.
As the new hospital wing at Bradford Infirmary cost £28m that's 12 hospital wings and i'm starting to regret the Del Amitri song comparison already but i'm in too far now so let's keep going.
Unless the £342m came from a bank heist or by cheating on their taxes the person with the big cheque book can spend their money how they like and if they think £342m for a 500 year old painting is worth it then it is up to them but the scene at Christie's when the piece sold encompasses everything that is wrong today.
'$450 million, the piece is sold' said the auctioneer and the saleroom erupted into cheers and applause and you have to think there are so many better things you could spend £350m, 12 hospital wings for starters, and why are people applauding that obscene amount of money being spent on a painting as if such extravagance it is something that should be celebrated.
The stupidity and selfishness of the super-rich and the sad state of the World today in a nutshell where over 3 billion people live in poverty and struggle under austerity but spending £350 million is cheered.
Del Amitri may have got the artist and the cost wrong but the sentiment that 'nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all, the needle returns to the start of the song, and we'll all go along like before' is so very true and so very sad.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Chocolate Bar A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

If a hairdresser says eating chocolate for breakfast is good for you then it would be wise to take it with caution but when a scientist says it, wahey, keep the Frosties, where's that chocolate orange!! 
A study from the brilliant minds at Syracuse University, New York have said that eating dark chocolate benefits reasoning, memory and focus and found that eating chocolate prepares you more for your work day and we should incorporate dark chocolate into our breakfast.
Before i had even finished grating a large bar of Aero into my bowl another scientific study landed in my inbox from Tel Aviv University suggesting that eating dessert for breakfast supports weight loss.
Conclusive, cast iron proof then that combining chocolate with dessert for breakfast is beneficial so if anyone asks why you are stuffing your face with chocolate cake and trifle at 7am, it's part of a scientifically backed diet and memory improving program.
That said if a scientist tries to give you advice on a layered crop with a softly arched fringe i'd check with the hairdresser.

Bloodless Correction, Not A Coup

Robert Mugabe once said that only God could remove him from office but it seems nobody told that to the Zimbabwe military as they have not only removed him but locked him in his house for good measure.
The army chiefs who seized the President, his Palace and the state broadcaster claims they had not carried out a coup, preferring to call it a 'bloodless correction' which suits Britain as they couldn't be seen to back a coup, but a correction is something they can get behind.
Foreign Secretary and general clown Boris Johnson called for 'proper, free and fair elections to prevent Zimbabwe transitioning from one unelected tyrant to another' so Mugabe won't be getting any support from his old colonial masters who are quite glad to see the back of him.
It does seem that Mr Mugabe's sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa last week and steps to replace him with his wife was a step too far, especially as Mr Mnangagwa had some powerful allies in the army who decided they preferred him to Mugabe and leapt into action.
As Mugabe didn't have many friends globally and the other African nations seem quite happy about him being removed from power and locked up in his living room while his wife has run off without a trace, the transition should be quite smooth although following the capture of the TV and Radio the army played hours of military music hopefully the programming may be the roughest thing the Zimbabweans have to endure.

Name Of The Father, Son and Sausage Roll

It's been called sick and insulting that Greggs the Baker's Christmas advert for their advent calendars has the three wise men visiting not a baby Jesus in a manger but a sausage roll.
Predictably it is the few remaining Churchy types who have their rosary beads in a knot and a sense of humour failure and are now calling for a
boycott to: 'protest against its sick anti-Christian Advent Calendar'.
As a vegetarian i should be siding with the Bible bashing community against the sausage roll eating community but i do like a Greggs Latte with a cheese and onion roll and anyway, i am smug enough knowing that what they are eating in the sausage only passes a close resemblance to what we know as 'meat'.     
A Greggs spokesperson said: 'We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention' and the UK Evangelical Alliance have taken a calmer approach by saying that there were not so much outraged at the advert but by the using of Bible stories to sell products as Jesus is what should be the focus of Christmas celebrations.
Don't know if the God Botherers would be quite so upset if McDonald's put a Jesus figure in their Happy Meals or you got a Virgin Mary doll in the KFC Bargain Bucket but it's about he only time Jesus will get a mention this Christmas so Greegs have done them a favour.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Black Knight Conspiracy Theory

In space no one can hear you scream but here on Earth they can and back in 1928 scientists heard signals coming from above the clouds and were screaming 'THERE'S A FREAKING SATELLITE UP THERE!!'
They screamed again in 1954 that they had detected something orbiting the Earth pole to pole and that was three years before the freaking thing was something we had put up there. 
How, everyone asked, can something be in orbit around the planet years before we had the technology to put things in orbit around the planet and the only explanation they could come up with was Aliens did it. 
So was born the conspiracy theory known as the Black Knight, a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that is of extraterrestrial origin, and that NASA is engaged in a cover-up which NASA deny but then of course the conspiracy theorists use as evidence because NASA are engaged in covering it up after-all.
Towards the end of the 1990's a NASA photo is believed by some to show the Black Knight satellite, but NASA has stated that this is just space debris and put out a video of the crew of the Endeavor space shuttle dropping a satellite thermal blanket and it tumbling away into space as they worked on the International Space Station (ISS).
As with any good conspiracy theorists they have refused to believe the official line and the video has been dismissed as faked and an attempt to throw them off the scent because they know that something alien is up there and it's been watching us, patiently waiting and reporting back to some far flung planet just what us silly humans have been doing.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Fat, Old & A Dotard But Don't Mention The Hair

The children are at it again with Kim Jong Un calling Trump a lunatic, old and a dotard and Trump responded by calling Kim short and fat.
I'm sure Kim is readying his reply and he is spoilt for choice with insults to call the orange skinned, tax dodging sex pest with a tiny penis who mocks disabled people, insults the wives of dead soldiers and is in the pay of the Russians but it is hard to work out where Trump comes in the mental retardation scale.
For a man who often boasts about his IQ, he appears particular stupid but then he also boasts about his business acumen but has been declared bankrupt at least four times so not so much a pinch of salt as a shovelful.    
So if Kim goes with 'women groping idiot' he wouldn't be technically correct as an Idiot is someone with an IQ below 20.
The term 'Russian Patsy Imbecile' is warmer as an imbecile is someone with an IQ between 20 and 49 so it may be safer to go with 'Small Dicked Moron' as a Moron is someone with an IQ between 50 and 69.
Being charitable, Trumps IQ could rock up somewhere between 70-80 which would make him Deficient on the scale so 'Tax dodging, warmongering Deficient' would technically be correct but Dotard means senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and that just about covers it but as his mental poise continues to decay he will slip down through the mental retardation scale anyway.
As Trump is rather obese himself it is a bit rich him calling someone else fat but it was probably not wise to mention Kim's silly hairstyle, that would blow up every irony detector on the planet.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Facebook Answer To Revenge Porn

Social media has made a fundamental change to the way we live our lives, in some ways it has been beneficial but in others not so much with the major and most devastating impact being cyber-bullying and online harassment.
Not just young girls but also young boys are haunted by what they have posted on the Net sometimes it is what other people have posted, mostly pictures and videos of a sexual nature, revenge porn as it is called.
Facebook have come up with an idea to try and stem the flow of revenge porn by encouraging users to upload intimate material of themselves that they do not want to be shared and use these to stop any attempts to share the same material.
Sending private material to a stranger, albeit a Facebook staff member, in order to prevent that material being seen on Facebook seems a bit confusing and the security implications if a hacker gets into the server doesn't bear thinking about.
The easiest way to avoid the whole scenario is not to video or photograph yourself in any potentially compromising situations but it is good to see that Social Networks are trying something, i'm just not sure that pre-emptively forwarding the pictures or videos to a social media site is a particularly good answer.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Universal Basic Income Coming To The UK

I still have deep reservations about the Universal Basic Income (UBI) but the radical social experiment which has been running in Finland for the past year is now coming to the UK with Fife in Scotland planning to use the Finnish model and paying their citizens up to £7000 a year regardless of their age or employment status by 2019.
The idea behind UBI is to scrap the welfare state and instead, pay every man, woman and child a monthly stipend whether they have a job or not, regardless of their personal wealth.
In Finland, 2000 people randomly chosen across all demographics have been receiving £495 per month and the trend, albeit from a very small sample, has been that people have reduced their working hours and are doing things more beneficial for society such as volunteering or starting up a business in the knowledge that they are still guaranteed an income.
My query is how could a country afford it but the answer appears to be by folding in all the current elements of the welfare state and the tax relief system.
The UK's Welfare bill is £253 billion, the population is around 60 million which breaks down to approximately £4216.66 per person or £351 per month.
The UK's Tax relief bill is £117 billion, again divided by 60 million Brits breaks down to approximately £1950 per person, or £162 per month.
By abandoning all tax reliefs and state benefits, each person in the UK could receive £513 per month and the UK economy would not be adversely affected.
Using these back of an envelope calculations it is plausible on paper but society is more complex and some will still require additional sums on top of the £513 a month stipend and that is where things get sticky and the bill potentially spirals upwards.
I like and support the idea that it will free people from their jobs and will contribute to society because you don't have to worry about making ends meet but the cost worries me if someone gets their figures wrong because the current austerity measures show the results when that happens and this will be so much bigger.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Is It A Bird, Plane Or A Chinese Space Station?

It may be worth having a long, hard look at a photo of the Chinese Space Station just so if it comes crashing through your roof in a few months time you will recognise it.
The Chinese ‘Tiangong-1’ space station is due to come crashing down to earth early in 2018 and The European Space Agency (ESA) has narrowed down the possible crash sites to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria or Greece.
The ESA have said that the majority of the spacecraft is expected to burn up on re-entry to Earth's atmosphere but the remaining larger pieces will make it down to the surface although the exact time and location won't be known until shortly before re-entry.
The ESA along with NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA of Japan, ISRO of India, KARI of South Korea and the China National Space Administration are currently tracking Tiangong-1 which is currently orbiting at 190 miles above our heads and traveling at approximately 4.5 miles per second.
The ESA are keen to point out that nobody in history has even been harmed by a returning spacecraft breaking up in the atmosphere and the odds are it will splash down in the sea but if you wake up to a lump of Chinese Space Station smouldering away in your kitchen between January and March 2018, you will know where to send the bill for your roof repairs.

The Cost Of War

The United States has a debt of $20 trillion and almost $6 trillion of that is the cost of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks 2001, according to a new study.
Research from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University found that as of late September, the US wars have cost an approximate $23,386 per US taxpayer and the cost considerations include expenses such as providing long-term medical care for veterans.
The human cost to America is 6,855 dead and 52,251 wounded from US military operations over the past 14 years, according to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service.
The cost to the UK for the same wars was £29 billion and you have to ask looking at these countries where we spent so much money but only resulted in increasing international terrorism, the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS and the millions of innocent deaths, was it worth it because where i am sitting that $6 trillion in America and £29 billion in the UK could have been spent in a far more worthwhile way and we may not be facing the decade of austerity cuts that have devastated society.
Funny how despite the bill in financial and human costs, we always seem willing to start yet more wars.

The Annual Poppy Argument

Every year about this time the Poppy argument breaks out, namely between those who refuse to wear one and those who feel it is disrespectful to not.
According to a survey by researchers Consumer Intelligence, the top reasons given by those who object to pinning the red flower on their person said it was because they felt bullied into supporting the Poppy Appeal, it glorified war and seems to show support for the military.
One in five adults plan to snub the symbolic flower and i am amongst them because i never have worn one and have had more than few 'discussions' with people who try and bully me into it.
I can relate to the 20% of adults snubbing the Poppy because being continually told i should wear one is guaranteed to mean i won't and secondly because i believe that rather than send young men and women off to fight wars and then stand around looking solemn wearing a red flower once a year, just don't send them to fight wars in the first place.
Wearing a poppy used to be about WW1 & WW2 but now it seems to commemorate every war including the wrong-headed ones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and who can say that any war or conflict that Britain has fought since 1945 has been justifiable?
The idea of wearing a poppy seems to have become co-opted by politicians to justify their folly and it has become 'patriotic' but i will not wear something that is used to support wars, either conflicts past or the ones we are currently embroiled in.
The argument is that people gave their lives for our freedom and it is obscene that some of us refuse to honour that debt by not wearing a poppy but i say that the freedoms they fought for includes being free to not be ordered how to honour the war dead by a poppy fundamentalists and if more people thought like me and the 20% who refuse to approve of what our military does, then there wouldn't be the widespread death and destruction that is currently going on around the World.

Priti Patel's Israeli Plan More Than Inappropriate

She may have the name Priti but the MP for Witham is anything but, a renown ultra-right winger, Priti Patel is at the time of writing still holding onto her job but is widely expected to be sacked following her summons to Downing Street.
Priti's crime was to hold 12 secret meetings with Israeli officials and not tell the Government what she was up to, then to make matters worse she said she DID inform the Foreign Office what she was up to and then two days later admitted actually, she never informed anyone and it was 14 meetings.
So far so bad but it is what she was meeting the Israeli's about which really topped it all off, she wanted to give aid to the Israeli military to treat wounded Syrian refugees in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights region, a request that was turned down as 'inappropriate' by the Government.
To get it straight, she wanted to give tax-payers money to a country who are occupying a part of Syria to treat Syrians who are largely wounded by the Israeli military while protesting against their occupation.    
Inappropriate doesn't even begin to cover it, Israel should be sanctioned to the hilt for what they get up to, it's the funding that America gives them that allows them to keep acting like the unpleasant and repulsive occupiers that they are, that we would have any part in maintaining such an objectionable and poisonous regime in Israel is more than inappropriate, it's just plain wrong. 
Theresa May is having a hard time lately and her cabinet making her look weaker and undermining her at every turn can only usher in another election and new Government, one that will hopefully not keep up the devastating austerity measures while wanting to send our money to one of the most murderous regimes on the planet.
Update: Handed her P45 so gone and hopefully forgotten, next up Boris Johnson!! 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Uk Government Wobbling

It was always a case of not if the British Government collapses but when and even the strongest and stablest Government would be tottering under pressure of the past week. 
The sex scandal with the spreadsheet of 40 Tory MP's accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour is refusing to go away, the list of MP's either sacked, walking or desperately keeping their heads down untl it blows over grows everyday.
Accusations from victims that they reported the assaults to May herself when she was Home Secretary but were swept under the carpet continue.
Boris Johnson's thoughtless mutterings may have landed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe five extra years in jail in Iran after claiming she was carrying out journalism training when she was arrested, blowing a hole in her 'i was there on holiday' alibi while Theresa May and her number two, Derek Hammond, have fallen out in a big way and wasn't helped by May handing one of the
top jobs in Government, Defence Secretary, to her most bullish supporter but someone with no experience over more appropriate candidates leading to a concerted backlash from her Party.  
In a blow to her leadership, Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, has been found to have held meetings with influencers in the Middle East without telling the PM or the Foreign Office and the whole Brexit thing and the ineptitude of the Government in negotiations with the EU reverberate around continuously.
All in all a bad week for Theresa May and her wobbling Government and that isn't be a bad thing because as Governments go, this one has been awful.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Gun Massacre Template

I'm as surprised as anyone but it turns out that guns do kill people, and the best way to kill lots of people in the shortest space of time is to use a rapid fire assault rifle.
Shocking i know but luckily the country that sells guns in supermarkets won't be put off by a little thing like yet another massacre, it is their right to be able to buy weapons with their weekly shop because you never know when us British will  turn up with a box of matches and try to burn down the White House again.
The sticking point is that the right to bear arms is in the constitution and nobody has yet come up with a way to amend the constitution, an amendment or some such thing.
Anyway, there are so many gun massacres in the USA these days that it is hard to keep finding ways to express the shock and horror that in a country awash with guns and whack-a-doodle gun laws, the occasional loony tune goes on a rampage and shoots lots of people in churches, schools, shopping centres and cinemas.
To save time i have a designed a template to copy and paste each time.

America, we are shocked and stunned that there has been yet another mass shooting, this time in [insert US city] where a mad man/men [delete as applicable] with access to high powered weapons brutally gunned down [insert number] and wounded [insert number].
Your current President [insert President surname] has said that this isn't the time to talk about gun control so close to [insert number] being killed in [insert city] just as it wasn't after [insert number] where killed in [insert city].
As this is the latest mass shooting since [enter last mass shooting], we are pretty sure that this time your Government will finally pay attention and look into gun control and your utterly bat shit crazy gun laws.  
Failing this, i am sure that the gun-nuts will be out in force putting forward the argument that what is needed is more of the weapons that were used to massacre people as they went about their business in [insert place of massacre] but that is the argument of [insert name for butt] whom put their right to bear arms above the right to not be violently blown away in a [insert scene of latest mass shooting], the [insert name for male genitals].

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The Paradise Papers

Kind of ironic that as i was gathering together the evidence to take to my agent for my Tax Return, news broke of a leak of 13.4m files that expose the world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport sheltering their wealth and avoiding paying tax in secretive tax havens.
Called The Paradise Papers, the leak is from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens and is currently in the hands of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.
The first revelations focus on the Queen's private estate investing millions in an offshore tax haven, Donald Trump's commerce secretary continued business links with a company owned by Vladimir Putin's daughter and son in law, two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funding substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business partner of Donald
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
Also in the spotlight are the chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who is involved in the movement of millions of dollars to offshore tax havens, the business manager of INXS star Michael Hutchence’s setting up a company in the tax haven of Mauritius and the close financial relationship between Premier League Clubs Arsenal and Everton.
Expected to be dripped out over weeks and even months, the owners of the Paradise Papers promise to release further revelations of aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers and donors and how some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an
array of offshore schemes.
The documents stretch back 70 years and it must be mentioned that in most cases there is no evidence of wrongdoing and it is perfectly legal to reduce your tax bills, that said the moral implications and potential embarrassment that multi-millionaires are jumping through a multitude of hoops to reduce the amount of tax they pay could be a problem for them.
The big problems could be for those who now have the spotlight shone on some of their links with less than favourable people.

Remember, Remember The 5th of November

Back in days of yore, one of the finest British traditions was tying people to poles and setting fire to them but in the early 17th Century, as well as women with warts and Frenchies, we added Catholics to the potential burnee's list after Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and along with it King James.
We have always remembered the anniversary to this day although due to Health and Safety rules we can no longer burn real Catholics and have to make do with burning effigies instead.   
The gunpowder plot was a comedy of errors as the original date of Parliament opening was delayed until November due to the plague so the first batch of 36 gunpowder barrels had decayed so they had to wheel in more and the plot was overheard by a soldier on the other side of the wall of the cellar they were using and then one of the conspirators wrote to his MP friend telling him to stay away from Parliament on the 5th as they were going to blow it up. 
The letter went to King James himself and Guy Fawkes was caught red handed entering the cellar below Parliament with a match and he was charged with high treason and the judge ordered that he be  drawn by horse to the gallows where he would be hung until he was halfway between living and dead, then his genitals would be cut off and burnt before his eyes and his bowels and heart removed. Then he would be decapitated and his quartered and the dismembered parts of the body displayed so that they might become prey for the fowls of the air.
The execution didn't go to plan as after the initial drawn part of the sentence, the hanging broke Fawkes neck killing him instantly but undeterred, the Government still had his genitals removed and burnt before quartering him between four horses and gutted anyway.
Ever since, 5 November has always been called Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night and it became the custom to burn an effigy of whichever public figures have become targets for the public's ire, Margaret Thatcher was always popular in the 80s but George W Bush and Tony Blair were regular recipients in recent years and Donald Trump was by far the most popular effigy last year and the countries largest bonfire in Lewes have gone with Trump again this year and partnered him with a giant Harvey Weinstein, two very deserving targets.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Christmas Coming Soon

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas especially as the posters are now up advertising the big turn on the City Christmas lights next week, something that used to be performed by the Lord Mayor but now has morphed into a contest between rival cities into who can get the biggest stars to count backwards from 10 and push a button.
If i had my way i would push the whole of the my Councils 2018 education budget towards Johnny Depp and get him to do ours which may explain why i was asked to leave the Council meeting, that and stealing the stationary.
So instead of having to explain to the kids why they had to share pencils and school dinners would consist of a small bowl of lentils next year, the Council decided in their wisdom to get a former page 3 model and the striker from the local football team.
Along with the lights every city seems to now have a German Market which is a few huts selling mulled wine and hot dogs with German sounding sausages which are about as German as a didgeridoo.
Santa will usually put in an appearance and the local radio station will turn up and play Christmas songs and a general Festive atmosphere will settle over the city.
Strangely, i have yet to hear a Christmas song yet, usually by the first week on November i am on my fifth or sixth hearing of  Slade's 'Mery Christmas Everyone' in shops but this year they have been a bit slow to throw out the Halloween stuff and bring out the Christmas fayre.
I'm sure once the former Page 3 Girl has done her bit the shoppers paradise which is Christmas will land with a thump and as our Council has this year decided to use the money they have saved hiring Johnny Depp to install a ice rink in the middle of the Town Centre, i'm sure Slade's Christmas favourite will put in an appearance, probably as the medic is lifting me off the rink into the back of the ambulance with my leg pointing the wrong way.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Move Or Buy A Boat

When UN climate negotiators meet for summit talks this month the over-riding message is going to be if you thought a rise in global temperature of 2C was going to be bad, how about that 3C we are currently barrelling towards. 
'We find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future' said the UN Environment Chief, Erik Solheim, ahead of the Bonn conference.
Many will be wondering as 3C seems to be were we are heading, where exactly will the miserable hundreds of millions come from and the UN has provided a handy guide to the cities we will be waving goodbye to by 2100.
The people of Japan have more than their fair share of disasters and it is Osaka and its 5.2 million population who will be watching their city disappear beneath the sea in a 3C world.
The Osakians may be looking for a new place to live but they shouldn't look towards Shangahai in China because they have their own problems with 18 million people displaced by rising sea levels.
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam already have homes on stilts due to flooding but even that won't be enough for the 17.5 million people who live there and Bangladesh will have to find a new Capital City as Dhaka is swallowed up by the Ganges, shifting the 14.5 million who live there to pastures new. 
Egypt as a new start is out because flooding along the Nile will make 8 million people homeless, displaced by flooding in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.  
On the other side of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue may be the only thing left visible in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro region as 1.8 million people have to make way for the Atlantic Ocean that has rolled over their homes and in Miami, Florida strengthening hurricanes will no longer be a problem for it's 7 million inhabitants, as there will no longer be a Miami, Florida unless you plan to live in a submarine. 
In Venice, Italy, they have a double problem because not only are water levels in the Adriatic Sea rising, but Venice is also sinking and although the Netherlands has been battling against the North Sea for hundreds of years, the rising sea will overwhelm even the hardiest of dikes with Rotterdam and its 1 million inhabitants the first to have the problem of a hill to run to in an entirely flat country.
The highest place above sea-level in the World and therefore where the rising oceans will reach last, is the region of Puno in Peru so buying a bed and breakfast in Puno and cramming as many cheeseburgers as you fit into your freezer in Puno may be an astute financial move as there could well have 7 million Floridians turning up there soon.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Ghostbusting Tonight

Back in 1984, Ray Parker Jnr posed the question that 'If there's somethin' strange in your neighbourhood, Who ya gonna call?
As we are now at the one day of the year when the veil that separates the living and the dead is at its thinnest, Ray's question is even more relevant but as the emergency services are bound to be busy dealing with the multitude of calls that 'there's somethin'  weird an' it don't look good', we should be prepared to deal with the visit from one of the living dead ourselves. Luckily, we have decades of horror films and Buffy The Vampire Slayer to fall back on so here's a handy guide on the best way to stay safe this Halloween night.

Witches
By far the most popular Halloween character you may encounter is a Witch. Although they may possess the power to turn you into a toad, witches were killed by the thousand back in medieval times and are basically just warty women with pointy hats and a broom so if a woman with a big nose and dressed all in black climbs through your window on Halloween, a blunt object to the head should
cool her heels permanently.

Vampires
Vampires are the living dead, forced to feed on the livings blood. They fear sunlight, the cross, fire and a stake through their hearts. Their weakness is they always only go for the neck jugular so either sleep with a crucifix and a stake within handy grasp or wear a neck brace.

Skeletons
A skeleton reanimated by the dark arts offers the challenge of how to stop something with no brain or organs. Throwing anything at it is pointless as it will sail through between the rib-cage but the skeleton major weakness is that it is basically made of dog treats so entice the family pooch to sleep on your bed and within seconds of putting in an appearance, vital parts of it will be buried in the garden by an excited Rover.

Werewolves
Come the full moon anyone can change into a ferocious werewolf which can only be killed by a silver bullet. Unless there is a full moon this Halloween evening you are safe from having your intestines being used to decorate your bedroom walls. If it is a full moon then a silver bullet is your only salvation so you better start melting down that cheap jewellery.

Demons
Demons come in many shapes and forms but they all have something in common, they can be killed in many ways from fire to decapitation. They may come from hell and be super strong but they tend to be easily distracted. The old "Look out, behind you" ploy will give you more than enough time to grab a handily concealed battle axe and remove it's ugly head.

Killer Dolls
Sometimes the best things don't come in small packages such as dolls possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer.
As cute as they are scary, the achilles heels for any type of doll intent on driving your mums best carving knife repeatedly into you is that no matter how evil it is, its still doll sized and can be launched across the room with a swift kick. As it is only held together with a few stitches, it will only take a few of these until its limbs fall off, it's stuffing comes out and all that remains is a pile of material and dead serial killer wishing he had possessed something a bit more substantial.  

Ghosts
Ghosts are just rubbish. They can’t hurt you and the only thing they can do is make scary noises. This can ruin a good night’s sleep, but it can’t hurt you.

Killer Clowns
A relative newcomer to the hall of horrors but though they may look funny with their squirty flowers and big red noses make no mistake, while some will do no more than honk their horn at you, others will rip off your head and spin it on a wobbly pole for the rest of eternity. Luckily, clowns have a liking for oversized shoes which can be easily nailed to the ground and a good shove will render them useless although beware cream-pies, over-sized hammers or buckets of confetti in their hands as you make your escape

Monster Created From Parts Of Corpses
Not as popular as they previously once were but we shouldn't neglect mad scientists stitching together body parts from dead people and hooking them up to a bolt of lightening. The first problem is that it is hard to get the body parts from many different sources to fit correctly, one leg may be longer than the other, the head may be too big for the body so they have problems with co-ordination
but their main weakness are their own insecurities, Frankenstein just wanted to be loved. A few put downs and ridiculing their appearance should send them running blubbing out of the room.  

Zombies
Zombies are the walking dead but their biggest drawback is they are as dumb as a post and unless you are wearing boots, trousers and a coat made from lead, you could easily outpace the slowcoaches before they get the chance to eat your brain. Fire or a bullet in the brain will stop them in their tracks.

Mummies
Mummies are just zombies wrapped up in bandages, which makes it slower and more flammable than a regular zombie. Hopeless.

Robots
Probably the least welcome thing you could find looming over you in the dead of night is a robot. Whether they are cyborgs from the future, aliens or escapees from a local tourist attraction out to kill all of mankind, robots are notoriously hard to kill.
Not only are they metallic, but they are always immensely strong and impervious to fire, bullets, hitting with blunt objects or swords and have clear, logical thought which anticipates your every move.
You cannot outrun it so the only chance you have is to confuse it's circuits with some bizarre and confusing logic that will fry it's computerised brain trying to figure out. Reading out the lyrics to any REM song will work fine.

If the abomination that has made the journey into our world is anything else, then i suggest taking up Ray Jnr's advice of picking up the phone and calling Ghostbusters although to be honest, you will probably be in 27 bits spread around the living room before the first ring.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Climate As Bad As It Has Been For 3 Million Years

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year to hit a level not seen since the Pliocene era, more than three million years, the UN has warned.
'The numbers don’t lie. We are still emitting far too much and this needs to be reversed' so said the the head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, urging what is required is a new sense of urgency.
The report comes amid growing concerns that nature’s ability to deal with CO2 is weakening. Recent studies show forest regions are being cleared and degraded so rapidly that they are now emitting more carbon than they absorb.
The rate at which we are raising temperatures leads us to a 3C increase in global temperatures, far above the 2C of the Paris climate agreement, so what will be the impact of a 3C rise?
We are currently fighting to keep the rise of temperature at 2C although that will herald annual heatwaves with extreme temperatures in the low 40s in Northern Europe, desertification of forests, oceans turning increasingly acidic and several metres of sea level rise as the Greenland ice sheet disappears.
If that is what is pencilled in, a 3C rise would see all of the above and glacier and snow-melt in the world's mountain chains depleting freshwater flows to downstream cities and agricultural land, droughts effecting global food production, slowing Gulf Stream altering weather patterns and higher sea level rise, much human habitation in southern Europe, north Africa, the Middle East and other sub-tropical areas rendered unviable due to excessive heat and drought forcing mass immigration.
The battle may have been lost, we are seeing climate change happening today but how awful it will get is down to us and if we have the appetite to make the required changes to limit just how worse it will get and today it is as bad as it has been for 3 million years.

Very Short Ghost Stories

It's beginning to rain again. The drops are falling obliquely against the lamplight. It's probably falling all over the country. On the cities, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the graveyards, upon the crosses and headstones, upon all the living and the dead...and tonight the dead will be around to see it also because it's almost Halloween, when the dead visit the land of the living.
You can lock the door, stay inside and shut the horrors outside or you can come with me and step into the world where those who have left this world reign.
Take my hand, but beware because where we are going, everything can hurt you.

A girl heard her dad call her name to come downstairs. When she got onto the landing her dad grabbed her shoulder and said 'I heard that, too'.

'I feel so sleepy' my boyfriend whispered in my ear as he crawled into bed beside me last night. I woke up this morning clutching the suit that he had been buried in.

I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, 'Mummy, check for the bogeyman in the cupboard'. I smile and look in his cupboard and see him staring back at me curled up, shivering in the corner and whispering, 'Mummy, there's somebody in my bed'.

My daughter's screaming and crying in the middle of the night is keeping me awake. I visited her grave and asked her to stop but it hasn't help.

My sister told me that Mummy drowned her. Mummy says that I don’t have a sister.

The girl in my dream screamed, 'Don't answer the door'. I awoke suddenly and when it chimed again, i realised that it was the doorbell that had woken me.

I don’t know what’s more unsettling. The fact that my TV wakes me up at night or the fact that i unplug it before i go to bed. 

The longer I wore it the more it grew on me. The neighbour's daughter really did have such pretty skin.

I have been asked to put the mirrors back up around the house. Apparently they miss watching me.

I've always been okay with my brother crawling into bed with me because he was cold. What i don't like is the graveyard dirt he leaves on the sheets.

As i explained to the Officer, i was delighted that my wife has returned to her first love of cooking after her breakdown. It wasn't until after dinner that i noticed the empty pushchair by the oven and asked her where the baby was.

Daniel sat admiring his wife's face. He then decided to set it aside for dessert.

Mummy always tells me that i shouldn't talk to strangers. My other mummy in the cupboard tells me I should kill her.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Can Atheists Believe in Ghosts?

Dashing through emails i received one regarding my Halloween posts that i have been posting on the blog this week which simply stated as an Atheist i shouldn't believe in ghosts and spirits.
I replied that my Atheist credentials are still intact as i still don't believe in ghosts and the Halloween posts were just a fun thing.
I did wonder though if you could be an Atheist and believe in ghosts because if you refuse to believe in God, then you must also deny the existence of an afterlife and therefore lingering souls, spirits and certainly not the Devil or his demons.
Done and dusted i then paused while replying to the next email that i was not in need of Viagra and thought, actually, you don't need a belief in God to believe in things that would be categorised as paranormal or supernatural such as Witchcraft.
Satisfied that you could be an atheist and believe in the supernatural, if not Ghosts, i finished my email and was part-way through the next giving my bank details to the ex-Nigerian Treasury Minister so he could transfer £15 million to my account when i stopped to think, actually, Witchcraft has gods and goddesses and things so as an Atheist, spell casting falls under the same grey area as praying to a Deity and as we don't believe in that sort of thing, we can't hold any store in anything Witchy.
It was just as i was finishing my last email to the Halifax Bank who was requesting my account password as there were transactions on my account which had been placed on hold due to security reasons, that i reached the conclusion that you can't be atheist and believe in anything supernatural because all things supernatural depend upon either an afterlife or a Deity.
Happy that i finally got it all straight in my own mind, i set about creating my daily text message to ITV to stop them polluting my front room with Piers Morgan on Breakfast TV when i thought, actually, it seems a bit harsh to tell people what they must or mustn't believe in order to be an atheist just as it is wrong for a Religio to say to a Christian you must believe in this to be a Christian.
Funny thing is, i never believed in any of it anyway so it was all academic and with that i went off to call back the nice man from HMRC who offered to tell the police not to arrest me for tax evasion if i pay the £1500 tax i owe over the phone in the next hour, now where did i put that debit card!!

Water, Water Everwhere

I was reading an article about a scientist who has invented something to extract Oxygen and Hydrogen from rock which NASA and the ESA are especially excited about as it would be very useful on the Moon or Mars which has nothing but rocks.
All very useful but i do wonder if i had two atoms of Hydrogen in my left hand and one of Oxygen in my left hand, how would i make drinkable water from them?
Obviously just mashing them together like a snowball wouldn't work as wouldn't putting them in a container and stirring them together like a drink so how do you get from a three-part gas mixture to a fluid you can drink while stranded on the lunar surface?     
Apparently mashing or stirring them together is half the job, the other half is adding a spark or sufficient heat to start a reaction, and hey presto, instant water.
One common chemistry demonstration that i obviously missed is to fill a balloon with two-thirds hydrogen and one third oxygen and touch the balloon with a flame.
Granted that the chances that i will find myself on another part of the Solar System with a raging thirst and surrounded by nothing but rocks is slim but it is another small step to humans inhabiting and terraforming other parts of the Universe and possibly solving the water shortage here on Earth.
My next question is if we can break things like rocks down to their constituent parts, can we extract them and then put them back together again in a different ratio to make the resources which we are running out of?

If You DON'T Find Yourself In A Horror Film

I planned on writing a blog post advising you what to do if you find yourself in a horror movie and the pitfalls to avoid but where's the fun in that i thought so here is exactly what you should do if you DON'T find yourself in a  horror film this year.
A bit of prep work before the big day helps so always buy your child the creepiest doll you can find, preferably a clown or ventriloquist doll and bury any recently dead pets/kids/spouses in an ancient Indian burial ground.
Buying one of those cymbal holding clapping monkeys and a bathroom cabinet that has sliding mirrors so something will appear behind you once you close it are also a nice touch.
With everything ready, the next step is to make sure that if doors close on their own, pictures fall off the walls or if you hear disembodied sounds of children laughing, you don't bolt out the door but start to wander around shouting 'Is Anybody There?'
Under no circumstances should you pick up anything that could be used as a weapon.
If there is a group of you then make sure that you split up while exploring and if it's dark then you can light a candle or turn on a torch especially when you go down into the creepy basement or climb up to the cobweb festooned attic.
If you come across an old, leather bound book read aloud from it or if you stumble across a strange ritualistic device, have a go at trying to solve it.
By now you should have attracted something that wants to rip out your innards so if you are approached by something evil looking, slowly walk backwards until your back is up against a wall, then instead of running away, stay there and scream for a while before making a break for it.
Unless you have a scary looking woods by your house to run into, never head straight for the front door, run upstairs if possible not forgetting to trip at least once.
Finally, once you are trapped you can have a go at killing the monster but if you take this option then don't be too keen to make your escape, hover over the fallen demon to give it a chance to either make a grab for your leg or sit bolt upright and you can then kill them a second time.
Now people, let's remember what we just learned and put it to good use.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Horror Films Based On A True Story

Whenever the tagline 'based on a true story' appears at the start of a horror film, the excitement levels are raised because the spooky stuff you are about to see actually happened but allowing for artistic licence, some of the films based on real events is quite eye-opening.
The film Psycho about a psychologically disturbed hotel owner who has delusions about his dead mother and keeps her body in the cellar was inspired by Ed Gein, a handyman and farmhand who was arrested in 1957 on charges of committing two murders and digging up the corpses of countless other women who reminded him of his deceased mother. He skinned the bodies to make lamp shades, socks and a suit in hopes of becoming a woman. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs are also based on the same man.
The Exorcist is taken from a real-life exorcism of a 13 year old boy in America and Jaws is based on events in 1916 when over a 12-day period in July of that year, five people were attacked by a great white shark in New Jersey.
In 'The Hills Have Eyes' a family driving through the Southwestern desert in a Motorhome takes a shortcut that leads them to run headlong into a family of violent cannibals who live in caves in the hills. The Real Story is of Alexander Sawney' Bean, a Scotsman of the 15th or 16th century who reportedly headed a 40-person clan that killed and ate more than 1,000 people and lived in caves for 25 years before being caught and put to death.
Probably the most famous 'Based on a True Story' film is 'The Amityville Horror' where a family move into a house and are forced out after only 28 days by paranormal activity including disembodied voices, cold spots, demonic imagery, inverted crucifixes and bleeding walls.
'Child's Play' is based on a nurse who allegedly put a voodoo curse on author Robert Eugene Otto which transformed one of his childhood dolls into a killer doll and another killer doll in Annabelle and The Conjuring exists and is currently locked up in a display in the Occult Museum in Connecticut with a warning sign to not open. 
The Possession is based on the real haunted dybukk box story where a box is home to a malevolent spirit. Whoever bought that box faced its consequences. Numerous owners of the box reported strange things happening to them.
The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is based on the life of Anneliese Michel who was possessed by demons so strong that her exorcism took nearly an year to accomplish.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Catalonia Isolated After Independence

A mixture of hope and fear is the overwhelming feeling amongst Catalonians tonight as the Spanish government is preparing to seize control of the region after the Catalonian parliament voted to establish an independent republic.
The Spanish Government are set to sack the Catalan government and assume control of Catalonia’s civil service, police, finances and public media.
The European Union, the UK, Germany and the United States have all announced they are siding with the Spanish Authorities and denounced the Catalonian move by refusing to recognise the independence move and expressed support for Madrid to preserve Spanish unity.
How this will now play out depends on how the Spanish government goes about removing Catalan officials from office and how pro-independence activists and the regional police force react with the independence leaders calling for a peaceful response to the coming crackdown.

Halloween Spells

The veil between the worlds is thinnest at Halloween which is the perfect time for taking advantage to cast extra-powerful Love spells and the UK Wiccan Society have offered the following Halloween spells, written to be performed specifically on the one night of the year when the powers that be are just that little bit easier to contact for the lovelorn.
Cancel that dating agency application and delete Tinder from your phone because Wiccan Magic is all you need.   

Future Husband
A girl might divine who her future husband was going to be by taking a lamp and going out on the night of Halloween to a spring of water and peering in she should see the reflection of her future husband.

Future Husband 2
On Halloween Night, sit comfortably in a darkened room. In the light from a single candle, gaze at your own reflection in a mirror. While concentrating on your reflection, comb your hair. An image of your future husband should appear in the glass.

Apple Love Spell
To find out who your future partner in life is going to be, take an apple and peel its skin off in one long piece, saying:

    I pare this apple round and again
    My sweetheart's name to flourish plain
    I fling the pairing o'er my head
    My sweetheart's letter on the ground be read

The peel should then have landed in the shape of your true-love's initial.

Reflection in the mirror
Go into a room at midnight on Halloween and cut an apple into nine slices. You should eat the apple slices in front of a mirror, holding each slice on the point of knife before eating it. As you do this you will see the image of your true love over your left shoulder asking for the final apple slice.

The other end of the yarn
Throw a ball of yarn into a pot of water and hold onto to the other end. As you wind the yarn back up repeat, 'I wind, who holds?' again and again. Before you reach the end of the yarn the name of your love will be whispered in your ear.

Use Perfume To Attract Your LoveSpray your favourite perfume onto a mirror or window. In the mist, write your name, the name of your lover. Wipe the perfume off with a tissue or handkerchief and wear it next to your skin until your wish comes true.

Love Spell
On the day before Halloween, write your love wishes on a piece of paper and sleep with them under your pillow that night. At midnight on Halloween Night, toss the piece of paper into a fire.

Dreaming Of Your Love
On Halloween night, take a Love Letter from your partner, fold it 9 times, pin it together and sleep with it under your pillow. If you dream of silver, glass, castles, gems or water, your love is real. If you dream of flowers, wood, linen or uniforms it means your lover is being deceitful or false.

Disclaimer:
When dealing with emotions, there can be no guarantee that love spells will be successful. Love spells are powerful and even more so the Halloween ones above and should not be used to force someone to act against their will.
The author of this blog cannot be held responsible for any results of using these spells or any resulting husbands or wives who you thought would be your one true love but turn out to be huge douches.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Evil Pictures And The Suicide Song

Some of the most disturbing urban legends in the world often originate in Asia, with some turned into even creepier horror movies. In one such legend, a teenage Japanese girl drew a beautiful colour picture of a young girl who seemingly stares directly at you. The teen posted the picture online and, for some unknown reason, committed suicide shortly afterward.
Soon, people started commenting that they could see extreme sadness in the face of the drawn girl and reported that if you looked at it for too long her her lips would start curling into an eerie smile and you would start to have suicidal thoughts.
In the UK a painting of a crying boy was said to be responsible for over 50 fires which would burn everything but leave the painting unscathed.
Rotherham fire station officer, Alan Wilkinson, personally logged fifty 'crying boy' fires dating back to 1973, said that he could not explain how they had survived the inferno which generated heat sufficient to strip plaster from walls.
A retired schoolmaster from Devon named George Mallory’ in 1995 traced the artist who had painted the original crying boy picture, Franchot Seville. According to Mallory, the subject of Seville's paintings was a little street urchin the painter had found wandering around Madrid in 1969. Seville painted the boy and a Catholic priest identified him as Don Bonillo, a child who had run away after seeing his parents die in a blaze.
The priest told the artist to have nothing to do with the runaway, because wherever he settled, fires of unknown origin would mysteriously break out.
The painter ignored the priest’s advice and painted several pictures of the boy until one day his studio was destroyed by fire and the artist fell into destitution although he is said to have sold over 250,000 copies of his crying boy paintings.
There have been several urban legends regarding sad song over the years, but one song inparticular has the infamy of being known as the Suicide Song.
Press reports in the 1930s associated at least one hundred suicides, both in Hungary and the United States, with "Gloomy Sunday" a song by Hungarian composer Rezso Seress.
In Vienna, a teenage girl drowned herself while clutching a piece of sheet music. In Budapest, a shopkeeper killed himself and left a note that quoted from the lyrics of the same song. In London, a woman overdosed while listening to a record of the song over and over. Seress himself would later commit suicide. 
After the spate of suicides blamed on the song, the BBC banned Billie Holiday's version of the song from being broadcast, only allowing performances of instrumental versions.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Living Prime Minsters

Seeing the photo of the living American Presidents gathered together for a fundraising event got me thinking what such a thing would look like if we got all the living former Prime Ministers together.
David Cameron stood next to Gordon Brown, Brown shoulder to shoulder with Tony Blair, Blair alongside John Major but it wouldn't work because the difference between the American Presidents and our Prime Ministers is all our leaders end their time as failures, removed from Office.
The British don't hold their former leaders with any respect, John Major suffered the worst electoral defeat by a ruling party since 1832, Blair rivals Thatcher as the most hated Premier and jumped before he was pushed, Brown resigned after losing the 2010 Election and Dave Cameron walked in a hissy fit over Brexit. 
The hapless Theresa May is deeply unpopular and just in place until her Party get it together enough to nudge her aside so we wouldn't be treated to photo's like the the happy, smiling faces of Obama, the Bush's and Jimmy Carter, it would be a grim line up of losers.
The difference is the Americans have a sensible two term rule while our Prime Ministers can keep going until they fall out of favour and are then removed by the electorate, their party or fall on their own sword.
The greatest advantage of a two term limit is they have a finishing line to focus the mind, knowledge that they have at most eight years to get things done and build their legacy and then someone else steps in.
Nothing would be left blowing in the wind for someone else to pick up the pieces like Thatcher did for Mayor when she was pushed out by her own party, Cameron did when he flounced out after Brexit or Blair who washed his hands over the Iraq debacle and left it for Brown to sort out.
Having a date to get things down by would make sure they were focused on getting things done sharpish but it wouldn't stop Prime Minsters doing a runner like Blair and Cameron when they make awful decisions and things go pear shaped for them, i'm not sure how you would stop that and in Blair's case, i'm not sure we would want to stop them going.

Bush Snr The Latest Pervy President

If you begin a sentence with a famous American President who abused his power to sexually assault women you would immediately think Lucy is ragging on Donald Trump again, older readers may thing Bill Clinton and that blue dress while even older readers may consider John F Kennedy but the man in the spotlight now is George H Bush who today was named as making a grab for an actress at
an award ceremony.
As he issued an apology the odds are that he did 'grab her from behind' and make lewd comments to her as she claims but Bush Snr joins a long list of perverted American Presidents.
Grover Cleveland was rumoured to have raped a woman and everybody knows about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski and their game of hide the cigar and how difficult it can be to remove certain stains from blue fabric.
John F Kennedy supposedly spent most of his short Presidency trying to get into any female within 100 feet of him and LBJ, according to Robert Caro's biography, enjoyed nothing more than whipping out his penis and proudly asking 'Have you ever seen anything as big as this?'
Thomas Jefferson fathered a brood of children with his mistress Sally Hemmings, a slave who was also his wifes half-sister so therefore making her his sister-in-law and according to White House staff, Gerald Ford and JFK shared sexual relations with the same woman, Ellen Rometsch.
Andrew Jackson invited a group of prostitutes to his Christmas Ball and James Garfied would punish himself everytime he caved in to his depraved 'lust and sexual temptation' although no explanation is forthcoming of what these entailed.
Bush Jnr was accused of rape and was said to have been 'close' to a stripper and Warren G. Harding
had a 15 year affair with the wife of a friend, Dwight D. Eisenhower was having it away with his female driver, Franklin D. Roosevelt was at it with his secretary.
Now self-confessed sex offender Donald Trump is in the Oval Office it would appear he is just continuing the line of perverted Presidents who couldn't keep their hands, or in Bills case their cigars, to themselves.

Je Suis Saudi Arabia

Those were the days when Britannia ruled the waves and Britain had an empire that the sun never set on and everything was great,well, for us it was anyway, the rest of the World weren't so keen when we turned up and slaughtered many of them and stole their treasures.
Such is the decline of the British today that although we no longer turn up in other countries and shoot big holes into the natives, we just sell the weapons to other nations to do it which is why the Defence Secretary was today moaning that criticising the countries we sell weapons to is unhelpful.
Sir Michael Fallon said: 'criticising Saudi Arabia is not helpful to the government’s efforts to secure a new deal to sell Typhoon jets to the Gulf State'.
Seemingly not an issue that Saudi Arabia has been pounding Yemen for the past two years resulting in a death toll of more than 10,000 and several UN reports that indicated Human Right violations including failing to distinguish civilians from military objectives although good old Blightly blocked such an enquiry from taking place.
Speaking at the defence select committee, Fallon suggested that criticising Saudi Arabia may jeopardise the sell of British-made Eurofighter Typhoons, aka Batch 2, and that: 'we need to do everything possible to encourage Saudi Arabia towards batch two, I believe they will commit to batch two and and we need to work on the timing' and that the department had been working 'extremely hard to secure a deal'.
If criticising Saudi Arabia will stop them buying more aircraft to drop death on the people of Yemen then i say we should up the criticism because i'm struggling to see any negatives in this but then this is Britain under the Conservatives and if they don't give a fig about the British people how can we expect them to care about anyone else as long as they make a fortune out of it.

Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble

For many young people Halloween means running around in a pointy hat and a broom plastered in green makeup and fake blood, cackling as they fill their plastic cauldrons with trick-or-treat sweets but the history of Witches has a much darker side.
The Witchcraft Act was in force in Scotland between 1563 and 1736; in that period 3,837 people were accused of witchcraft – 84% of them women. Torture was used to exact confessions, and those convicted were almost always strangled at the stake and their corpse burned.
The last witch to be burned was Janet Horne in Dornoch, Sutherland, in 1727. She was stripped, smeared with tar, paraded through the town on a barrel and burned alive.
This period of history was when Christianity implemented Exodus 22:18, 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' on an industrial scale.
Finding proof of devilry was no ordinary task, would-be witch-hunters often resorted to some particularly outlandish experiments in their quest to convict accused necromancers.
Such trials included the 'swimming test' where accused witches were dragged to the nearest body of water and then tossed in to to see if they would sink or float. An innocent person would sink like a stone, but a witch would simply bob on the surface.
The accused were also made to recite the Lord’s Prayer without making mistakes or omissions or made to strip in public and examined for signs of an unsightly blemish such as a mole, scar, birthmark or sores that witches were said to receive upon making their pact with Satan.
It has been estimated that there was between 90,000 and 100,000 witch trials carried out in Europe, Scandinavia and America between 1400 and 1800 resulting in around 40–50,000 executions.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

World's Most Haunted

We don't live too far from a cemetery but as yet i haven't seen a single ghost floating between the headstones but that's probably because rather hang around where their bodies now lie, ghosts tend to haunt where they died so if you want to see something really scary you should probably be heading off to places with tragic events.
Luckily the people at Haunted Rooms have a list of the most haunted places on the Planet so if you were intending to make you own version of Most Haunted this weekend, these are the places you should be setting up your cameras.

Waverly Hills Sanitorium - Kentucky, United States
Waverly Hills served as a tuberculosis hospital throughout the early to mid 20th Century and as many as 63,000 patients died there through the disease and mistreatment and questionable experimental procedures on patients. Report include full bodied apparitions, fleeting shadows, screams from empty rooms, footsteps, sudden cold spots, and disembodied voices among many others.

Castle of Good Hope - Cape Town, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa was built in the 17th century and hosts a wide range of spirits including a man regularly seen leaping off the side of the castle walls and walking between the bastions.
Another famous haunting is the Lady in Grey. She has been witnessed running through the castle holding her face and crying hysterically. A soldier hung himself in the bell tower and ever since the bell has been known to strike off its own accord. There’s also the ghost of a black dog who has been known to pounce on unsuspecting visitors, then simply vanish into thin air.

The Tower of London - London, England
With a history of torture and execution going back over 900 years, the Tower of London is regarded by many as one of the most haunted places in the UK. The most famous ghost is the headless body of Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII, who has been seen walking the Tower’s corridors.
Other full bodied apparitions have also been seen including Lady Jane Grey and the White Lady who can be seen standing at a window.
Perhaps the most spine chilling of all reports includes the mysterious appearance of two children. They have been witnessed throughout the rooms of the castle. They’re often seen in their nightgowns, holding hands.

Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, England
Built in 1145, the Ancient Ram Inn is infamous for child sacrifices, devil worship, and evil spirits are believed to be behind the terrifying happenings in this building. The Inn was built on the intersection of 2 ley lines, what many people believe is a conductor for spiritual activity. In addition, an ancient Pagan burial ground is said to have resided in the property over 5,000 years ago.
During its time as a bed and breakfast, people would often flee in the middle of the night, often seeing full bodied apparitions in their rooms, the feeling of being touched/pulled, disembodied voices, and a general feeling of evil.

Fort George, The Citadel, Nova Scotia, Canada
Canada’s most haunted historic site, the Halifax Citadel has received hundreds of reports of ghost sightings over the years.
Staff and visitors have seen apparitions walking the grounds including soldiers, an old man, a woman, a man in a red cloak, and an older lady who appears in mirrors.
A little girl is said to follow the groups taking part in the ghost tours, with group members often experiencing her holding their hands. Other reports include disembodied voices, unexplained bangs, and knocks, mists captured on film and with the naked eye. The feeling of being watched is a common complaint, as is the sudden feeling of nausea, sudden gusts of wind in closed off rooms, 
furniture moving, doors banging, and on occasion, people have been pushed by an unseen force.

Château de Brissac, Maine-et-Loire, France
A double murder that occurred sometime in the 15th century within the walls of the castle, has resulted in one of the more popular ghosts of the Château de Brissac, that of the Green Lady who roams around the rooms of the castle. If she looks at you, you’ll see that her face has gaping holes were her eyes and nose should be. As well as her sighting, her moans are also often heard throughout the castle in the early hours.

Babenhausen Barracks - Hesse, Germany
Now a museum, the ghost of World War II German soldiers have been seen in uniform. Lights are known to turn on and off by themselves and voices are heard in the basement. German commands are often heard being shouted out in the middle of the night, and disembodied footsteps are a common experience.

Lawang Sewu - Semarang, Indonesia
Lawang Sewu saw many soldiers executed during World War II and headless spirits are known to wonder its corridors and grounds, and the basement in B building is believed to be haunted by a female ghost who targets men.

Poveglia Island - Venice, Italy
In the Venice Lagoon between Venice and Lido, sits the small island of Poveglia which was used as a quarantine colony for the Great Plague and where many victims were sent die, their dead infected bodies being burned on giant pyres.
The site was used to as a mental asylum during the 1800’s but today the whole island is abandoned.
The ghosts of the patients and victims of disease are said to haunt the island and its buildings. Voices and screams are often heard. Dark shadows are often witnessed, and possessions have been reported.

Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh, ScotlandEdinburgh Castle has been the site of torture and many bloody battles during its time.
Visitors and staff report being touched and pulled, as well as the sighting of apparitions. Spirits that have been witnessed include an old man wearing an apron, a headless drummer boy, and a piper.
Other experiences include shadowy figures, strange lights, sudden drops in temperature, unexplained mists, strange sounds, the feeling of being watched, and sudden intense feelings of dread, sadness, and despair.

Akershus Fortress - Oslo, Norway
Akershus Fortress is a medieval castle that served as a defensive stronghold for the city of Oslo. It has served as a prison during the late 18th-19th centuries, with many prisoners dying during their imprisonment.
Nazi’s also occupied the castle during World War II, carrying out many executions on the site.
The most popular of all ghosts which haunt this building is a demon dog named Malcanisen that guards the gates to the castle and anyone that is approached by Malcanisen is sentenced to a horrible death sometime in the following three months.
The ghost of a woman named Mantelgeisten is often seen within the castle, walking back towards her chamber. She appears from the darkness wearing a long robe and has no facial features.

The Queen Mary Hotel - California, USA
The Queen Mary Hotel is a former ocean liner that sailed during the 1930’s to 1960’s. Since the 1970’s the liner has been run as a hotel in Long Beach, California.
Two women who drowned in the swimming pool have been seen on numerous occasions as well as the figure of a woman in white has been seen in the Queen’s Salon. There have been sightings of a gentleman in a formal 1930’s suit in the First Class suites.
The ghosts of two children have been seen and heard near the storage room, and the ghost of a young woman has been seen walking through the Tourist Class Swimming Pool.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Another Pagan Festival Bites The Dust

If there is one thing that the Church hates it's a Pagan Festival which is why they tried so hard to replace them with their own Festivals but not only did they copy and paste their own people into Christmas and Easter but they also did their best to replace the original Halloween with their own.
Around 2000 years ago the ancient Celtics held the festival of Samhain to celebrate their new year on November 1 and believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth.
Along came the invading Romans circa 43 A.D. who attempted to combine Samhain with their own festival of Feralia when the Romans commemorated the passing of their dead.
Many of the traditions of Halloween came from this period with concern that they would encounter returning ghosts if they left their homes so would wear masks to avoid being recognised by the dead and so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.
To keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.
To finally usurp the Celts the Catholic Church renamed 1 November as All Soul's Day around 1000 AD to honour all the dead including Christian Saints and Martyr's and the original Halloween was replaced with a related church-sanctioned holiday and another Pagan Festival was consigned into the dustbin of History by a Church desperate to erase all traces of anything that didn't celebrate it and it's beliefs.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The JFK Files

One of the down sides of Hillary Clinton not winning the US Presidency was that her promise to release the government records related to U.F.O.s and Area 51 would not be fulfilled.
Sadly it also let the tax dodging, orange coloured, sex pest in but the man his own colleagues called a moron is promising to release some top secret documents himself, these ones on the assassination of JFK.
The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the classified files and Trump has said he does not plan to block release of the 3,000 JFK assassination documents.
Conspiracy theories have swirled ever since Kennedy’s death in 1963 when Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from a Texas Book Depository before Oswald himself was assassinated by Jack Ruby.
Kennedy researchers have said they do not expect the newly released files to include shocking information about the assassination, but do expect the release to provide succour for conspiracy theorists.
The commonest conspiracy is that Oswald was not the only shooter and a second CIA hired assassin, mobster or Soviet spy shot him from the infamous Grassy Knoll.
I doubt if anything concrete will come out to settle the debate of JFK's assassination but hopefully Trump will get around to releasing the UFO files before he is dragged from Office.

Catalonia Looking Isolated

I don't really understand the fashion for countries to break away from the larger group but Catalonia has been threatening to break away from Spain for some time now and things are balanced rather precariously as the Madrid Government plan to invoke Article 155 which removes the regions autonomy and enforce direct rule including taking control of the Catalonian police force and media.
The speaker of the Catalan Parliament has called it 'an authoritarian coup' and after Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau called for demonstrations, tens of thousands turned out in a protest.
Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but Prime Minister Mr Rajoy said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.
Three weeks ago, of the 43% of Catalans who took part, 90% voted in favour of independence although many anti-independence supporters boycotted the ballot, arguing it was not valid.
The Catalonian leaders then signed a declaration of independence, but immediately suspended it in order to allow for talks.
The concern is that after the violence and heavy handed approach from Spanish police during the recent vote, if the Spanish Government does enforce direct rule, the smouldering tinderbox will explode spectacularly and as many other nations are trying to thwart break up's in their own nations, Catalonian wishes will be violently and brutally suppressed as the EU and EU nations look the other way.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Rethinking Mugabe's Ambassador Role

Making Tony Blair a peace envoy for the Middle East when he was one of the people who did so much to bring war to it was a previous highpoint for rank stupidity but now the World Health Organisation has rivaled that decision by appointing Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador in light of his commitment to public health.
Obviously nobody in WHO bothered to look up the long record of human rights abuses and it was only after the UK pointed out that in light of the current US and EU sanctions against him his appointment may not be the wiset move that the WHO said they would 'rethink the appointment'.
UN agencies often pick celebrities as ambassadors to draw attention to issues but it's hard to believe that nobody pointed out that Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for more than 30 years, was maybe not the man for this particular job.
Recently the UN dropped the superhero Wonder Woman as an ambassador for 'empowering girls and women' after the decision drew widespread criticism and you hope that the person who thought Mugabe was a decent role model isn't involved in the new appointment for women because we could end up with someone like Donald Trump and his grabby hands as Women's ambassador.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Lab Grown Meat Coming Soon

Climate change is humankind’s greatest challenge and is having an impact on every continent, affecting agriculture, human health, ecosystems and water supplies.
More and more people are trying to help combat climate change by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs, but although they are helping, more needs to be done and the biggest step we can take is to stop eating meat.
As a vegetarian of course i would say that so if you don't want to take it from me, the U.N. believes that a global shift toward plant-based food is vital and a report by the Worldwatch Institute shows that 51%  greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.
An Oxford University study shows that meat-eaters are responsible for almost twice as many dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day as vegetarians so stop being evil and killing us with your meat eating ways but i can't live on plants i hear you whine but you don't have to i reply while patting you on the head condescendingly, because now we can grow our meat!!
First attempted in 2002, companies are now racing to be the first to take meat grown outside of animals, in-vitro meat, to market and the process has moved on in massive leaps since the likes of Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Elon Musk joined the party.
As their population expands, the Chinese have also invested £300 million in meat-free meat research so as well as saving us all from frying to death, in-vitro food is considered part of a strategy to feed a growing world population.
The first products are pencilled in to start appearing on the market in 2020 but the problem is getting meat eaters to give up the meat, especially when BSE, the horse meat scandal and various other livestock scandals have not made them switch.
Ultimately it's going to come down to cost and if these companies can get the cost of their in-vitro products below the cost of farming the real, Earth destroying, thing.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Once Again With Feeling

Back in the 1980's there was a decent Scottish band called Simple Minds and although they packed away their instruments a long time ago, the name continues today although today's version of Simple Minds don't so much make music as sit in front of their computers and embarrass themselves on the Internet.
The Simple Minds of today seems to congregate around the Climate Change debate and get all shouty on their blogs and ignoring almost every climate change scientist, quote people in the pay of the Koch Brothers, the brothers who Greenpeace estimate have sent at least $100,343,292 directly to groups denying climate change science including the CATO Institute.    
An organisation is only as strong as its weakest link and the weakest link in the climate change deniers chain is the climate change deniers themselves which is why Environmentalists are subjected to weak arguments which confuse weather and climate which not only shows a fundamental flaw in their understanding of the subject but also a shocking lack of shame. 
Although the sort of people who ask if you still believe in Climate Change when it snows shouldn't be trusted to face the right way on the toilet, it would be cruel to leave them wallowing in their ignorance so i try my best to educate them in the difference between what is Climate and what is Weather.  
If possible, just after they have explained to you that that they have a full understanding of the subject, smile politely and tell them that Weather describes the condition when you look out of your window. It might be sunny, hot, windy, cloudy, raining or even snowing.
Climate on the other hand is the average weather conditions expected for a certain place and is based on the average weather experienced over decades and refers to what is expected to happen rather than the actual conditions.
So Climate is looking at what has happened already, Climate Change is the expected trend of conditions based on what has happened over the previous decades and Weather is the current conditions on the other side of the window.
See, if isn't hard to understand, it's called Climate Change and there is a huge clue to what it refers to in the name.
A last tip is if you can't see the door while on the toilet, you are probably facing the wrong way.
You're welcome.

Fishy Breath

In the news the other day was a hunter who after shooting at a moose, went over to inspect his 'prize' and got a hoof in the head as the stunned creature clambered back to its feet and ran off.
As when you read of a matador getting a horn up the backside during a bull-fight, occasionally animals some of us barbaraically kill for fun or sport gain their revenge which is what happened to the fisherman Sam Quilliam, 28.
An angler accidentally got a whole live dover sole stuck in his throat as the fish clearly took exception to his attempted kiss, wriggled free and jumped down his windpipe causing a complete blockage.
After paramedics removed the fish, Quilliam explained that he went to give it a kiss but it jumped out of his hand and into his mouth and swam straight down his throat.
Not put off by a fish trying to kill him, Sam says he will be back fishing again soon but i would say if he is going around kissing fish then a girlfriend and some industrial strength mouthwash is what he needs more than anything.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Moronic Trump And Iran

President Trump has proven himself to be exactly the moron that Rex Tillerson warned us he was by picking a fight with Iran by threatening to rip up the agreement unless he can fix the serious flaws in it. 
'Iran has been spreading death, destruction and chaos all around the world" he said before channeling his inner George W Bush by throwing out the accusation that Iran-backed attacks had killed many Americans over the years and that the country had 'harboured terrorists' after the 9/11 attacks.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, predictably congratulated the President for 'boldly confronting Iran's terrorist game' and urged other countries to follow his lead although he will be disappointed because he may be a gullible idiot in the White House but not so much in the other main players in the deal.
It appears that the only person in the Trump administration who doesn't believes ripping up the agreement is dangerously foolish is Trump himself but apart from salving the frothing right wing, Trump's entire domestic and foreign policy decisions appear to be based entirely on if Obama had anything to do with it, then it has to go. 
I'm sure that others will point out that by far the most dangerous, the most destructive, the most deadly player in the Middle East has been the United States and it's allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, the very countries now doing their damnedest to bring about even more death and destruction but the real fear is that the deal falls apart, Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions and the world is suddenly a much more dangerous place.
At present there is a deal with Iran, there is no deal at all with North Korea and they are racing ahead with their nuclear bomb and the means to deliver it stoked by the Trump threats and rhetoric and Trump is pushing Iran the same way.
Our best hope is that the wheels of American justice which are slowly turning will crush him before the moron makes too much of a mess of the car crash that is his presidency.

Sweariest Parts Of Britain

There are some people who manage to cram in more swearwords than regular words into their sentences but as i'm from the South Eastern part of the UK, you won't find me doing it, Fu*k no.
A survey by Soap Supplies has revealed how often Brits swear in different areas and the South East is second best place for not hearing the occasional cuss word.
The place to head to if you like your air blue and your words sweary is Wales who manage to squeeze 12 Swearwords an hour into their conversation and then Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
If you are after a more refined vocabulary then the South West, East Midland and West Midlands and the South East is where to head with as few as 7 or 8 swearwords uttered per hour.  
As well as the area, the survey also discovered that people who work in the energy sector, Estate Agents and IT are the biggest swearers at work while pharmaceutical workers, retail and tourism swear the least at work.
Conclusive proof then that shop workers in the south west are wonderful while Estate Agents in Wales are wa***ers.