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.

Welcome To Hel

The Airport code for Helsinki is HEL and Finnair has a flight 666 so obviously today of all days Flight 666 has to go to HEL, if only to draw a bit of attention to the small, Scandinavian country.
Despite all the bad omens, the flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki departed at 1.28pm and arrived safely in the Finnish capital at 3.47pm.
'Finland’s national airline has flown passengers to HEL on Flight 666 for 11 years, with 21 of these flights on the unluckiest day of the year' a spokesman for the airline said.
However, today will be the last time Flight 666 flies to Hel, as the airline has decided to retire the flight number.
One option to avoid any potential Friday the 13th bad luck is to stay in bed all day like Bob Renphrey who does just that after some seriously bad luck which saw him involved in four car crashes, fall into a river and been made redundant on previous Friday the 13ths.
One person who staying at home didn't pan out so well for was New York resident, Daz Baxter, who was apparently so afraid of Friday the 13th he decided the safest place to stay was his bed but was killed when the floor of his apartment block collapsed that day.
Probably the worst luck is to be part of a spelling contest and get asked to spell the word for a fear of Friday the 13th – paraskavedekatriaphobia.

Why There Should Be UN Israel Bias

The US have announced Thursday it is withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) due to alleged 'anti-Israel bias' which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed as a brave and moral decision.
My reply is if their isn't a United Nation bias against Israel then something is very, very wrong because Israel  has quite rightly been on the end of an amazing number of UN resolutions, mostly calling for the nation to stop attacking its neighbours. 
Israel had been condemned in 45 resolutions by United Nations Human Rights Council, almost more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined and the UN General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the Israelis are performing war crimes and crimes against humanity and that the strategic relationship with the United States bankrolling the Israeli military encourages it to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices.
Poor old Israel, what has it done to be on the end of the UN's ire in its 65 years lifetime?
Take your pick from scuppering peace talks at every turn, mopping up occupied Palestinian land with illegal settlements, killing innocent Palestinians, holding over 9000 Palestinians in its prisons, destroying farms, bulldozing homes and businesses, using Palestinian children as human shields and building a monstrous wall deemed illegal by the international court of justice, oppression of its neighbours and turning Gaza into an outdoor prison.
America is finding itself on the wrong side of so many arguments recently under the man his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called 'a moron' and backing the most warmongering nation on the planet is yet another one.
If their isn't a UN bias, there certainly should be as Israel defies countless UN resolutions and carries on it's occupation and genocide against the citizens of Palestine while other countries are invaded and leaders removed for defying just one.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Sexual Predator Weinstein

I had never heard of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein until the news broke about his sexual assaults but thankfully he has been exposed as a sexual predator.    
Weinstein has apologised for causing 'a lot of pain with the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past' but the pain he was causing never seemed to occurred to him until the scandal broke and allegations surfaced of rape and groping women.
Now he has lost his job, his family and his reputation and his friends although it seems hard to believe that they didn't know he was a sex pest.
Meryl Streep called Weinstein's behaviour 'inexcusable' and even Donald Trump, a renown sex pest himself, has condemned him but there has been a couple of voices defending him, female voices most shockingly.
Fashion Designer Donna Karan and Lindsey Lohan have both shamefully come out in defence of Weinstein with Lohan saying the accusations should stop and Karan seeming to blame women for they way they present themselves by what they wear.
Absolute nonsense from both as was the statement from Weinstein that blamed his actions on the workplace culture in the '60s and '70s, as if back then it was fine to sexually assault any females they liked the look of.
An apology and a promise to seek treatment is no consolation for decades of sexually assaulting women and even a prison sentence won't erase the pain of those of his victims but will show that such behaviour against women will not be tolerated and anyone who does indulge in such actions, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent no matter who they are.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Science Says Drink Coffee And Live Longer

If some people had their way latte, mars bars, 20 John Player Specials and alcohol would be banned but science has shown that caffeine prevents the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's, chocolate helps control blood pressure, cigarettes shortens reaction time and improves short term memory and drinking beer reduces the risk of kidney stones but you don't see posters for those at the doctors surgery.
Now science has come good again in the fight against things that are said to be bad for you with coffee now being nudged to the 'good' side.
While it could legitimately be said that a single cup of coffee caused the death of tens of millions of people, a ten year study has found that people who drink coffee live longer.
The study looked at 20,000 people living in the Mediterranean who drank at least four cups of coffee every day over a ten year period and during the ten years, 337 died.
They found that, compared to people who never or rarely touched the brown stuff, dedicated coffee drinkers had a 64% lower risk of dying early.
They worked out that drinking two additional cups of coffee a day was associated with a 22% lower risk of death.
And the longevity benefits of coffee were found to be the strongest for people over the age of 45, suggesting coffee might be even more beneficial for us as we age.
The findings coincide with another study from 2015, which found that those who drank up to four coffees a day had a lower risk of death, including decaf coffee.
Other studies have also linked coffee with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and healthy livers.
So get the kettle on, grab the Mellow Birds and live longer.

Trump Desperate For War In His Calm Before The Storm

For those of us who remember the build up to the Iraq War in 2003, the American shifting of Iran into it's gun-sight has a very similar and alarming ring to it.
In 2003, George W Bush and Tony Blair agreed to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and set about fitting the evidence so that they could sell the war to their sceptical public.   
After many false starts (Nuclear ambitions, links to Al Queada), they settled upon his stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction as the reason they had to remove him.
Saddam said he never had any and the UN Weapons Inspectors spent six months fruitlessly looking until Bush and Blair told them to get out and launched a devastating attack which killed over a million Iraqis, allowed the place to become full of terrorists and plunged it into a tailspin which continues today.
Saddam was removed and executed but the WMD's were never found as the UN continued to shout before, during and after the American attack.
It appeared that Bush and Blair would have their war no matter what and Donald Trump seems to be desperate to have one now and it looks like the recipient of America's own WMD's will be either North Korea or Iran.
Donald Trump is expected to withdraw his endorsement of the nuclear deal with Iran next week citing that the Iranian regime 'supports terrorism' and 'exports violence and chaos across the Middle East'.
The deal which Trump looks set to wash his hands of, is supported by the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany and as recent as a fortnight ago the UN and senior American security officials announced that Iran was abiding by the 2015 nuclear agreement.
The defence secretary, James Mattis, said last week that staying with the deal awas in US national security interests and the European signatories are determined to sideline America and stick with the deal if Trump, as expected, pulls out of it.
Business leaders who gathered for an Iran-Europe forum in Switzerland last week said they were prepared to do everything possible to salvage the deal in the event of a US withdrawal including pushing for retaliatory legislation and protective legalisation's.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has certified that Iran has restricted its nuclear activities and the British Government tweeted how Iran had been abiding on it's side of the deal by closing down two thirds of their centrifuges, shipping 95% of all weapons grade material abroad, destroying heavy water plants and signing up to 25 years of UN 'extraordinary and robust monitoring,
verification, and inspection' with Inspectors from the IAEA, already continuously monitoring Iran's nuclear facilities and verifying that there was 'no credible indications of weapons development'.
Like Bush back in 2003, Trump is unable to point to a smoking gun upon which to hoist Iran and has come up with the weaselly 'violated the spirit of that deal' and although he has not said he will pull out of the deal on the 15th October, it is expected that is exactly what he will do.
So the UN’s nuclear watchdog has reported that Iran is sticking to its obligations but unlike with Bush and Blair, the Europeans as well as China and Russia are not on board and have roundly rejected the Trump assessment and come down on the side of Iran in the argument so we can expect Trump and his supporters to take a leaf from the Bush and Blair playbook and throw out accusations until it can find one that sounds just shady enough to give Trump the war that he seems so determined to have.
Hopefully, the UN and the rest of the World won't be quite so ready to play along this time and the American warmongering is strangled at birth before it builds up a head of steam and Trump is removed, whatever way is quickest, before he unleashes devastation.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

What Did Mexico Do?

Some nations just don't seem to have much luck and it is usually the Japanese who are on the end of human misadventure and mother nature throwing a hissy fit but now it seems she has given Japan a break and is having a pop at Mexico instead.
It isn't enough that it shares a border with an America under the control of the mentally disturbed Donald Trump but in the last few months it has suffered several major earthquakes and hurricanes and now a volcano is sputtering back into life. 
It never rains but it pours as the saying goes but what is raining down is volcanic material as Popocatepetl spews out ash and lava which the experts put down to the recent seismic activity.
CENAPRED, the official disaster monitoring agency in Mexico, reports that a total of four major explosions were registered at the volcano, throwing volcanic material 1.2 miles into the air and forcing the Government to declare an eight mile exclusion zone around the volcano citing 'ballistic volcanic debris'.
A Phase 2 Yellow warning has been declared indicating mild to intermediate strength explosive activity at the volcano for the foreseeable future so Mexico must be wondering what it has done to attract the wrath of Mother Nature who seems determined to continue to smack it around for some reason.

Immersive Screening Not So Original

Back in the late 80's a local cinema would screen midnight horror films and the staff would dress up in costume and in the scariest bits of films would jump out from behind pillars dressed as Jason from Halloween, appear suddenly with a torch in front of their masked face or throw cotton wool balls at you and generally try to give you the willies while the film was going on.
Seems our local cinema was ahead of it's time because now it's a thing and they call it 'immersive screenings'.
During some cinema screenings of the disappointingly poor remake of 'IT', a real-life Pennywise the Clown would creep around the auditorium during the film, jumping out at them and basically scaring the living daylights out of everyone there.
'There's huge growth in this area' says Simon Oakes, CEO of British horror brand Hammer, who went on to explain that the younger generation want to be involved in a story rather than told it and they have come up with something completely original.
I am guessing Mr Oakes wasn't in the Portsmouth ABC Cinema in 1987 during the Midnight showing of Nightmare on Elm Street 3 so he probably didn't hear me and my friends scream when Freddie Kruger leapt up from the seat directly in front and lunged as us with knife gloves clicking so i can guarantee that immersive screening works but as for being original, thirty years ago it was but we
just called it scaring the holy sh*t out of the audience.

Skipping The Draconid Meteor Shower

The Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner may have been zipping around the Solar System for four or five billion years but it wasn't discovered until 1900 and it is this 1.2 mile wide comet whose debris we will be travelling through tonight to give us the annual Draconid meteor shower which is promising to 'light up the sky' to quote the media but when it comes to meteor showers, tonight's is definitely 3rd class.
A meteor shower is the result of the interaction between the Earth and a stream of debris from a comet and as the comet gets closer to the Sun, some of its icy surface boils off, releasing the trapped streams of particles of dust and rock.
This comet debris gets strewn out along the comet's path and as the Earth makes its journey around the Sun, its orbit crosses the cloud of comet debris.
The debris burn up in our atmosphere which is the bright flare that we see in the night sky and we have ourselves a meteor shower but the Draconid's are very much a poor relation to some of the other showers we get at other times of the year.
Of the major meteor showers, some have a very low-rate of meteors showers and the Draconids produces 5-10 meteors an hour meaning 1 every 10 minutes on average at its peak which is a long wait on a cold October night and you know you will miss some of them as you are pouring yourself a coffee or adjusting your chair.
My advice is if you are going to be sat outside gaining hypothermia, do it during a high rate shower as these promise a meteor every 30 seconds and these are the Quadrantids (January 4th), the Perseids (August 13th) and the Geminids (December 13th).
The next level of meteor shower come in at a meteor approximately every 3 minutes and are the Lyrids 9 (April 16-25), the Eta Aquarids (May 6th), the Delta Aquarids (July 27-30) and the Orionids (October 22).
The lowest rate meteor showers, the group tonight's Draconids is in, gives a meteor approximately every 10 minutes and includes the South Taurids (November 4), the North Taurids (November 12) and the Leonids (November 17) and are really only for the most dedicated.
Unfortunately, despite the hyperbole, the only way the sky will be lit up tonight is if the local chippie catches fire.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

End Of The Line For Tom Petty

For me Tom Petty's death rates up there with Michael Jackson, George Michael, David Bowie and Prince but apart from a mention way down the news items, i have found myself having to explain who he was to anyone born after 1990. 
Like the rest of the big names, he was a constant from my teenage years although obviously not as widely known, one of those musicians who everybody knows the name but they struggle to name more than a handful of his songs.
His back catalogue has some classics songs, 'American Girl', 'I Won't Back Down', 'Runnin' Down A Dream', 'Learning To Fly', 'Mary Jane's Last Dance' and my favourite Petty song, 'Into The Great Wide Open' but surprisingly he only had four songs in the UK Top 40 and the highest chart position was 'I Won't Back Down' at 28 in 1989 although he seemed much more appreciated in his American homeland.   
Even as a member of supergroup, The Travelling Wilbury's, commercial success eluded him in the UK with only one song, 'Handle With Care' breaking the top 40.
I'm not sure why his star failed to shine quite so bright this side of the Atlantic but he was certainly treasured in the Lucy household and in homage to a very much under appreciated guitarist and musician i badly sang along to 'End Of The Line' and 'Into The Great Wide Open' on the way home tonight.
I'm sure he would have appreciated it but of The Wilbury's, the ultimate Supergroup of the late 80s and early 90s featuring Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and George Harrison, only two remain and that's quite sad.

Monday, 2 October 2017

End Of The Line For May

In any other employment you would feel sorry for Theresa May but sympathy runs short for a party that has heaped so much harm and deprivation onto its citizens so the sympathy doesn't last that long. 
Without doubt, watching Theresa May at the Conservative Party conference, she looks haggard, tired and older than her 61 years as she fights fires on so many fronts.
It is reported after her election debacle which saw her majority sliced, she had a mini-breakdown and the Grenfell fire followed by battles with the junior doctors and the surge in support for the Labour Party along with her war with her own public servants has seen her grimacing and fidgeting through uncomfortable interviews.
Now her own Conservative colleagues are manoeuvring to stab her in the back and replace her so her current position is anything but safe so you do wonder just why she continues to do it when she obviously is not able to do so.
As much as i enjoy watching the Tories squirm and implode in their desperation to cling onto power, you have to look at those forming the queue, knife in hand, ready to push her aside. 
Boris Johnson is a laughing stock, Rees Mogg the devout Roman Catholic and Doctor Fox who is this generations Norman Tebbit which could be the reason why she clings on and why nobody has yet moved against her because if she is replaced they will be under massive pressure to hold another election and with a resurgent Jeremy Corbyn and Labour OParty, they really don't want one.
Despite her dead eyed look and body language of a manic depressive, it seems it suits the Conservatives to leave her with the zero credibility, zero personality and zero vision or policies in power for now.
As she looks so close to the end of her rope, the smart money is on her resignation and a new general election within the next six months.

Same Old Story In Las Vegas

It is almost a cold stone certainty that if you get into a debate with a gun loving American they will at some point mumble that much loved refrain that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
That strange defence of guns fell apart today following event's in Las Vegas when the attacker used an automatic weapon to fire from a high hotel room down into a confined crowd of thousands but then that won't stop the second amenders because nothing does.
In a country with a long history of gun violence, if the country couldn't force through changes after the Sandy Hook massacre which ended with 22 dead children, 59 dead country and Western fans won't do it.
If anything a madman running amok with legally owned guns is good for the ghastly business of gun sales as gun manufacturers stock prices tend to rise after similar mass shootings in the past.
After the Orlando and San Bernardino shootings there was a two to three-month surge in firearms sales so explained one TV commenter today pointing out the lunacy that on average 80 people die from gunshot wounds every day in the USA, so far this year, there have been 11,565 gun deaths in the US.
Maybe someone should be asking why this happens with such alarming regularity only in America and how the gun-nuts are able to control the debate where their second amendment rights trumps everything else including their right not to be killed while at a music concert because a sicko was able to legally own and use weapons which are built and designed only to kill as many people as possible.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Day Of Violence In Catalonia

'No referendum has been held in Catalonia today" said Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, which is strange because i could have sworn i have just seen on the news over 850 voters hospitalised by police as they tried to vote in it.
I must have imagined those baton charges and rubber bullets being fired or maybe the Spanish PM was just being satirical as he later said that 'democracy had prevailed' and praised the police for behaving 'in a professional manner'.
The British foreign ministry was among many European nations who backed the Spanish Government as they wanted to see: 'the Spanish constitution respected and the rule of law upheld' while the French said the Spanish were a friendly nation which must make you wonder how beating people over the head and shooting at them is considered a chummy thing to do.
The irony is the polls had the number of Catalonians who wanted to break away from Spain was 41% so if they had done nothing then they would have easily won the referendum but in a spectacular own goal after the brutal scenes of police violence today that number would have jumped to an overwhelming majority.
Armed police beating the hell out of unarmed civilians trying to vote is not the way to win friends and the EU or whoever has the power must now call for the head of Mr Rajoy before the Catalonians retaliate with weapons of their own and things really get out of control.