Saturday, 31 January 2009

Making Money From Blogging

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times said Charles Dickens and although he was describing the early 19th Century it could be applied to now with the bankers whooping it up with our money and the rest of us nervously eyeing the cheap toilet paper on the supermarket shelves.
I know some people who claim they make a few extra pounds through their blogs so how do they do it?

The most obvious way is by putting ads on your blog and there are countless sites just waiting for you to sign up. Not sure if it is the best or most profitable but Google AdSense seems the most popular. The blurb explains that AdSense matches the ads to your site's content and you earn every time an ad is clicked although it cleverly answers the question 'How much do I get paid?' with the best way to find out how much you'll earn is to sign up and start showing ads on your web pages.
Another popular ad placing revenue stream is Text Link Ads which inserts links to other sites on your blog and you receive 50% of the price each link was sold for. Depending on how many links and the price paid for these links is how much you earn.
Another popular program is Linkshare which requires you to place links and banners on your blog or in Emails which directs traffic to advertisers’ Web sites. Advertisers will pay a commission for each purchase.
Another alternative is to email a business direct asking them if they would like to pay to add a banner or ad to your blog but this is probably only attractive to blogs with high volume of traffic.
Another method that i have seen is blogs selling T-Shirts, Mugs, Stickers and other merchandise with the blog’s name, logo or catchphrase on it.
Syndication is an option which has the bonus of seeing your posts turn up on some high profile media sites and after the initial selection process and RSS set up, you just blog as usual and wait for the monthly statements to drop into your inbox.
Newstex have a great reputation in this field and have a growing portfolio of big name clients although notoriously picky about the quality of blogs that they choose. Another such company is Blogburst who also have a large client base but they use a leader board of the top 100 blogs and only pay out to these bloggers although if you can break into this tiny percentage the rewards can be as much as $50 to $1500. I wouldn't hold your breath though as the top 100 seems to consist of corporate bloggers.
Blogger Jobs is a site that does exactly as its name implies and advertises jobs for bloggers. It also has a bloggers for hire page where bloggers can place their CV for potential clients to see and contact them.
Probably the most cheekiest way is a direct plea for donations to keep going but not sure how well that that works although full marks and good luck to anyone who tries it.

I am sure that there are many other ways to make money from your blog and i would be very interested in hearing about them if anyone would like to share. If we can just keep one person in quilted toilet paper and out of the grip of the thin and nasty two-ply, this post would have been worth the effort.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

24 American And The British 6

I have a penchant for buying television programme box sets. Among my collection is every episode of MASH, Due South, Buffy, Angel, Father Ted, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and i am presently halfway through the second of the four seasons of Quantum Leap.
The greatest difference between the American shows and the British shows is that a season on the British shows is 6 episodes long, while on the American shows a season is as many as 24 episodes long. The 11 seasons of MASH was a mighty 264 shows while the 2 seasons of Fawlty Towers a paltry 12 shows.
I have long harboured an ambition to write a comedy series but just never seem to be able to get started on it but if i did i would definitely pitch it at a British production company and have to write a quarter of the shows per season that i would have to for an American company.
I am not sure what accounts for the disparity in the number of shows for each season, whether it is budget or the size of the writing teams, but you have to give credit to the writers of shows like MASH which hardly flagged at all despite having to continually come up with ideas for such a large number of episodes over such a long period of time. Not a problem for the likes of John Cleese who made 12 brilliant episodes with Basil Fawlty and then called it a day and went off to do other things.
Recently, we have had some of our home-grown shows taken across the pond to America and remade with varying success. The Vicar of Dibley, massive here but with Kirsty Alley in the Dawn French role for American TV, flopped and likewise Seinfeld was a smash there but was quickly shunted off to a late night slot on BBC2 here.
I don't know why some shows travel better than others and I'm not sure why Americans remake our shows at all and don't just put them out as they are, our accents are not that hard to understand are they? OK, apart from Jimmy Tarbuck but we have kept him away from any TV Cameras for decades now. Imagine 264 episodes of anything with him in it. There wouldn't be a cupboard deep enough or dark enough to hide that boxset

Monday, 26 January 2009

BBC & Sky Gaza Appeal

I'm all for appeals to raise funds to support those in need and it is hard to think of any more needy than the people in Gaza at the moment. The BBC and Sky TV are declining to show an appeal for aid on behalf of victims of the recent war in Gaza. The reason being given is that it could compromise there impartiality and although i may not agree with them, i can understand their reasoning because a quick scan of the number of victims during the three week conflict shows a horribly disproportionate amount of deaths and injuries on the Palestinian side.
Fourteen dead Israelis, six of them by friendly fire and a minimal amount of damage to buildings just doesn't stack up against 1,300 deaths, over 4000 injured and 21,000 buildings damaged.
While the DEC and its gathering of charities set about raising millions to help the pitiful plight of the Palestinians, the bigger question is who is going to pay to rebuild Gaza which has an estimated $1.8 bn worth of damage done to it. Palestine can't do it, there economy has been decimated by three years of blockades.
The obvious answer is Israel whose indiscriminate use of force targeted not only Hamas buildings but schools, warehouses, power stations, private residences and farms. They did more damage and killed more civilians in the first day of attacks than Hamas managed in eight years of lobbing home made missiles into Israel and while Israel is rearmed and funded by its wealthy backers, Palestinians are left to rebuild their shattered existence.
Maybe those arming Israel should be made to dig deep into their pockets, the US, the UK who sell arms to Israel despite Israel being on our list of countries that we shouldn't be selling arms to in the first place.
Possibly the Arab countries who kept quiet out of a hatred of Hamas while Israel went about its killing and maiming should be chipping in to rebuild Gaza.
Someone has to rebuild Gaza to ease the suffering, redirect some of the aid destined for Israel towards it but more importantly, Israel has to be punished for its actions otherwise whatever gets rebuilt will only be wrecked the next time Israel wants to teach its substantially much smaller, weaker and practically unarmed neighbour a lesson in murderous revenge.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Theme Tunes

It is one of those strange facts that when John Logie Baird gave his first public demonstration of his newly invented television, he gave a speech promising that his invention will revolutionise the world of entertainment. As the world of entertainment up until then had consisted of Charlie Chaplin waving his cane in an amusing manner and walking like he had hemorrhoids, it wasn't much of a boast but over 70 years later along came Buffy The Vampire Slayer and we were finally glad that the Scotsman had invented the box of delights that sits in the corner of the room and keeps men quiet for hours when golf comes on.
Not to say that everything on the television pre-Buffy was rubbish, but just let me throw out the name Lee Majors and let it rest there.
What television has given us is some amazingly good theme tunes such as Red Dwarf, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Rawhide, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, A Team, Dr Who and Blackadder.
I had always assumed that Buffy with Nerf Herders rip off of the 80's hit 'Codo' by German band DÖF would be the best theme tune ever (any similarity is coincidental Nerf straight faced at the time) but a recently acquired CD of music from TV shows has made me reconsider and wonder if possibly the theme tune to 60's show The Munsters is the best title music out there.
The secret to a good theme tune is that as the programme starts you still have it whirring around in your head which was a bonus for shows such as The Fall Guy and Airwolf which generally slumped seconds after the music finished or in the case of the former, as soon as the announcer had finished the sentence "And now the Fall Guy".
Bloody awful and Majors sang the theme tune with the line 'I die for a livin’ in the movies and TV'. Yep, you sure did.

Friday, 23 January 2009

That Tune Sounds Familiar

When it was revealed that Aretha Franklin was going to be singing at Obama's Inauguration, some wag piped up that Obama really was going to be doing things differently because usually the fat lady sings at the end.
I will leave every other blogger to argue how good the day was or wasn't and concentrate on the one part of the day that amused me as a Brit.
America has its fair share of decent song writers, i dare say they have a few people who could knock out a halfway decent tune if needed so why, at such a prestigious event as the swearing in of the American President, did they nick the tune to God Save The Queen?
A quick google search shows that Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics to "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" in 1831 and presumably didn't think anyone would notice if he set it to the tune of the British Monarchy. Obviously the ruling King, William IV, wouldn't of noticed because as the father of 10 Illegitimate children he was probably otherwise engaged in a barn somewhere.
If America is going to steal our tunes there are some much better ones they could put some lyrics to and sing at newly elected Presidents because to be honest, God Save the Queen is a rubbish tune.
With a bit of work i'm sure we could make 'The Star Spangled Banner' fit the tune of the Kaiser Chiefs 'Everyday I Love You Less And Less' and 'Anarchy In The UK' could be the perfect tune to the lyrics of 'Yankee Doodle Dandy'.
Nice to know that us Brits had a role to play in Obama's big day by providing the music.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Was That My £137bn Mr Banker?

I look forward to the day when my tax return has a special section on it for specific areas where i went my tax to be spent.
NHS, education, training, policing all ticked. Defence, Royal Family, Trident, handing over to banks, all scribbled out.
I wonder if the British public had this choice how much of the 500bn turnover generated by taxpayers annually would be gift wrapped for the financial institutions that so recklessly got us into this mess in the first place.
I expect that the amount wouldn't even get close to the 37bn that the Government handed out to them last year to get them out of a hole and certainly wouldn't get the okay for the 100bn rescue package that they are pigeon-holing for them this time.
"Today's plan is essential for all of us" said Brown in October when the Banks woke up to find the Chancellor stuffing £35bn worth of tenners into their accounts and which seems to have done nothing at all, so back they come for an even larger slice of our money.
"If we do not do anything, the cost will be far, far greater" warned Chancellor Alistair Darling today as bankers whooped and turned cartwheels behind him. Rather than not do anything there are three options that immediately spring to my financially inept mind.

1. They could let the weaker banks fall as they seemed content to do for other businesses at a rate of 6 a day.
They could give the taxpayer the billions instead and let us decide where too spend it which would save business's from going bust, save jobs, and the money would still end up in the banks greasy claws at the end anyway.
3. If banks won't lend and stimulate the economy, just nationalise the lot, write off the bad debts and start again under strict Government control.

The banks are very fond of charging large sums for sending out threatening letters to customers who dip into their overdraft so as we now shareholders in all of the major banks, we can send them a letter along the lines of:

Dear Sir/Madam, it has come to our notice that your account with me is seriously overdrawn. You owe me £137 billion. Please note that unless you pay this back within seven days we will take further action which may affect your credit rating and may result in criminal proceedings to recoup this amount. You have seven days to answer this letter . You have been charged £750,000 for this letter and further correspondence will not be entered into.

Yours faithfully

The British Public

Sunday, 18 January 2009

150 Years Of Darwin

"Are you seriously expecting me to believe that we came from fish?" bellowed the large, Irish Bishop.
"You seriously expect me to believe that we were created from dust?" I replied at yet another discussion of the perplexing question, how did we get here?
Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species' is 150 years old this year and is arguably the most important book ever published. It halted the relentless march of the Church which had managed for centuries to push unopposed its ideals of God, heaven and hell to subjugate the masses and justify its wars. What Darwin did was cut away the legs of the Church from beneath it and deliver the body blow that sent it into decline.
Despite the best efforts of the Church to ridicule and then reinterpret the religious texts to try and accommodate evolution into its doctrine, Darwin's theory has become the accepted theory of how we became what we are today.
There are still sceptics, such as the Irish Bishop in the opening sentence and i dare say this view is shared by many still ensnared in a Church system that clings to its inexplicably outdated view and ignores the already overwhelming body of evolutionary evidence to preach Creationism to its rapidly dwindling congregation.
Darwin's realisation that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors is cited by Atheists as proof that God doesn't exist and the idea that man was created by a God who guides all 7bn of us, deciding who lives and dies and answering our prayers is laughable and childish. Man created God in his own image is a common mantra although Darwin described himself an agnostic but there is a secondary argument from Darwin's discovery that is overlooked in the main debate concerning the rush to dismiss God although i believe that it should share equal importance.
What Darwinism proves is that essentially all human beings descended from a shared ancestor and are all equal regardless of race, colour, religion or culture and a lesson that would make the World a happier place to live for all of us if we took it on-board.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A History Lesson

- A ghetto established by an occupying power.
- Hundreds of thousands funnelled into an unbearably cramped area.
- Closed to the outside world by a 3.5m high wall with checkpoints guarded by armed soldiers.
- Disease, unemployment and starvation kept the inhabitants in a state of malnutrition and poverty.
- Raw goods smuggled in through tunnels often the only source of subsistence who would otherwise have died of starvation.
- Hospitals, orphanages and refugee centers formed.
- Thousands die from frequent incursions into the ghetto by the occupiers.
- Inhabitants used smuggled in weapons to organise armed resistance against the occupiers.
- A resistance organisation take control, build shelters and kill collaborators.
- In one massive attack, the occupiers systematically burn and blow up the ghetto buildings, killing thousands.

Palestine? Nope, the Warsaw Ghetto occupied Poland 1940s.
The Israeli's should be careful when using Nazi references to describe Hamas. It is an incredibly cheap shot but it does let us look back to how your ancestors reacted to being herded into a ghetto, starved, subjected to military incursions, killings and kept behind a large wall by heavily armed soldiers.
Weapons smuggling and armed resistance sounds eerily familiar doesn't it. Not so different after all then.

Monday, 12 January 2009

George W Bush: Gone But Not Forgotten

Over the next few days there are going to be countless bloggers posting about the end of George W Bush's term as President of the USA and it would be quite a safe assumption that the majority of them will not be favourable.
In an attempt to beat the crush i thought i would get mine in first and make the stunning statement that he will be missed by the majority of us that spent the last eight years loathing him.
Before hordes of protesters armed with flaming torches descend upon my home and run me out of town, let me explain.
Whether he was warmongering, mangling the English language, showing complete disregard for his countrymen during natural disasters or doing his best to destroy the environment, George Bush has been a constant for the past eight years.
In Britain he gained the honour of being the recipient of not only the largest demonstration ever in the country with over 2 million people marching against his Iraq War, but the largest weekday demonstration also. Who else could have whipped up such hatred for the public to turn out in such large numbers and not just in Britain. His reckless decision making led to countless demonstrations around the globe and he was responsible for helping in the early removal of many of the leaders who sided with him. Blair, Howard, Jose Maria Aznar, all Bush allies and all removed prematurely by the electorate.
His gaffes will continue to be shown for decades and who didn't give a wry smile when he tried to leave via a locked door in Beijing, confusing Slovenia and Slovakia, Austria and Australia or the famous 'Yo Blair' incident at the United Nations.
All of which would be funnier if it wasn't for the darker side of Bush that led to the death of over a million Iraqi's and thousands of Afghans as part of the War on Terror which did so much to act as a recruiting Sergeant for terror groups and will do for years to come. Torture, carte blanche to Israel, European missile defence system, Guantanamo Bay, financial meltdown, environmental vandalism and special rendition were all lowlights of Bush's eight years.
It will be hard to find such a divisive figure as George Bush to bring together so many people and to garner such collective loathing on such a worldwide scale so when Bush rides off to his ranch in Texas next week, while we will all be glad to see him go, we will miss having that bogeyman in the White House to direct all our ill feeling at.
His lasting legacy is despite it being the era of the likes of Bin Laden, Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein, none of them had the amount of hatred aimed at them from the four corners of the globe as George W Bush and admit it, you will miss having such an easy target to aim at. I know i will.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Prince Harry's Still A Prat

Like many of the Privileged, the Royal Family has its flaws. It's bloated, slow and largely clueless and that's just Prince Andrew but whether its Edward photographed beating his dog or Charles telling his squeeze that he would like to be her Tampon, the Royals are a constant in our lives, their every action broadcast across the World.
The younger generation of Royals seem to be coping better than their elder relatives which brings us to Prince Harry. I wonder what the cheeky scamp has been up to since he last dressed up as a Nazi.
Joined the Army, went to Afghanistan, videoed himself calling other people ragheads and Pakis. Ooops.
It does seem that the ginger haired Royal does make a habit of, let's be honest, being a prat.
It is bad enough that a member of Britain's top family find this type of language acceptable but to say it on video for everyone to see and hear just shows that years of privilege and finest education doesn't necessarily make a person less of an idiot.
Prince Harry has since apologised for his use of racist language and apologised for any offence caused, or rather he got a flunky to do it through a snotty statement, just as he did when he tastefully got out the swastika and Joesph Goebbels uniform a few years ago.
His father should really sit him down and have a word with him about his indecent behaviour and if he is too busy, perhaps Prince Charles could do it.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Selected Baby Reopens Debate

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or embryo screening is the business of doctors and parents selecting the embryos to be implanted in the womb which on first glance is a horrific proposition and the idea is strongly criticised for parents creating designer babies.
Where the argument against loses some impetus is when a story like that of the baby girl born today who was genetically selected to be free of a certain breast cancer gene that had been inherent in her family.
The Medical Director of the University College where the embryo screening process was performed said "The lasting legacy is the eradication of the transmission of this form of cancer that has blighted this family for generations" and it is hard to disagree with him, what parent would want to force their child to gamble growing up with a 85% chance of developing breast cancer because of this family gene when there is a route available to eliminate it.
On the face of it, this development sounds like a no-brainer. Here we have the capability to eliminate all kinds of inherited diseases and it would be immoral to not utilise it but the large pink elephant in the room is the opening of the door to a world of nightmarish possibilities of parents 'designing' their children.
If embryos can be selected to be free of harmful genes such as in this case, they could just as easily screen for particular genetic traits that parents desire and turn up at the procedure with a wish list of physical and mental traits. There is also the possibility of parents with handicaps wanting their children to have the same impairment such as deafness and even the nightmare scenario of a society divided between an elite super race of genetically selected people and an underclass who are at the mercy of their family genes.
The implications of that scenario are horrendous and is the reason why i tentatively remain opposed to embryo screening but it would not be easy for me to justify it to the parent of a child with a genetic disorder which could have been prevented.

Tony Blair's Medals

Following Detective Constable Stephen Oakes death during a counter terrorism operation in January 2003, Tony Blair and his Government rejected an application to award the officer the Queen's Gallantry Medal for bravery.
A six year long battle later and with wonderful timing, Detective Oakes has this week finally been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery.
With this in mind, the same Tony Blair that blocked that particular policeman's award is to be handed the US medal of Freedom for his work to 'improve the lives of their citizens and for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad' from his good pal George W Bush.
That's nice of Bush to recognise Blair's work in improving the life of us Brits, not sure how he improved it mind you but he's getting a medal pinned on his lapel for it so it would be churlish to point out how glad we all were to see the back of him.
Of course the medal is not so much about how Blair reduced waste in the Civil Service and more about how he helped to shock and awe Iraq into a country where Al Queada is still free to blow up people at will five years later. Congratulations Tony.
Blair is still yet to pick up his other medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, which he was awarded more than five years ago for his support during the Iraq War. Can't think why he would be reluctant to stand shoulder to shoulder with easily the most hated American of our generation and receive an award for a war that did much to ignite terrorism around the World but if he is struggling to think of a place to stick his two medals, i can suggest somewhere.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Appalling Ignorance Saddens Me

I suppose it was sadly inevitable that in light of what is happening in Gaza, the less intelligent among us would take it upon themselves to act their shoe size and attack Jews and synagogues in retaliation for Israels actions.
Unable to distinguish between a country and a countries religion, there has been a surge of attacks on Jews in Britain and Europe from the terminally thick and stupid with arson attacks on synagogues and other Jewish buildings, anti-Semitic slogans daubed on shops in areas with a high Jewish contingent and physical assaults including a Jew pulled from his car and beaten.
"There has been a significant rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents but it is a pattern with which we and the police are now sadly familiar, whereby hysteria is whipped up against Israel, and British Jews then suffer a wave of anti-Semitism" said a spokesman for the Jewish group Community Security Trust.
Police are stepping up patrols in the Jewish communities in England but the violence against Jews is increasing in other parts of Europe with a burning car rammed into the gates of a synagogue in France and "murderers" and "don't subject Palestine to ethnic cleansing" daubed on Israel's embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
In Denmark, two Jews were injured when someone shot at them with a pistol and there has been a rash of attacks on buildings in Belgium.
Israel is very quick to take any slight against them as anti-Semitic and it saddens me that a violent minority here are also unable to separate Israel and Judaism and attack innocent civilians whose only connection with Israel is their religion.

The Independent Jewish Voice, Britain's highest profile Jewish group, released a statement that reads:
'IJV stands for the application of the principles of human rights and international law to the resolution of the Middle East conflict. Israeli citizens have the right to live free from the threat of rocket attacks, but these cannot justify Israel's actions. The massive attack on Gaza has destroyed the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, and is creating an immense humanitarian crisis for a people under siege, a form of collective punishment illegal under international law. Such violent and inhumane conduct will do nothing to reduce the risk to Israelis. There can be no military solution. In furtherance of our declaration, we support the international calls for an immediate ceasefire.'

Being Jewish does not make you an Israeli as being Roman Catholic does not make you Italian so engage the few braincells that you possess and stop the mindless violence against an innocent population. If you feel that strongly, boycott Israeli goods or join one of the many demonstrations against Israel but don't take out your anger on innocent people who are probably as disgusted at Israel as you are if you only bothered to ask.

Questions Over Obama's Silence

There has been much dragging of feet over diplomatic efforts to end the conflict currently raging in the Middle East with the usual suspects either keeping silent while others pile the pressure on Israel to cease.
We got what we expected from George Bush, a complete exoneration for Israel's actions, but there is growing dismay over the silence coming from the President elect, Barack Obama, which seems unfair as he is unable to do anything until he takes over although his critics say that it didn't stop him making pronouncements about the economy or other aspects of his upcoming role.
The UK has played it's usual game and pathetically toadied along with the American view, Gordon Brown keeping his head down and the odious Tony Blair, when asked by a reporter why the Middle East envoy was not making any noises about what was going on in his area of influence, was told that "He's on holiday at the moment".
There is a limit to how many pictures of death and destruction even the most pro-Israeli Government can take before it grudgingly joins the calls for a ceasefire and after 10 days of bombardment and 550 Palestinian deaths, no amount of Israeli spin will now quieten the growing call for an end to the fighting.
Using the dying embers of his time as EU President, it is France's President Sarkozy who was the first to condemn Israel's actions and is doing the legwork to bring about a conclusion and earning himself a hatful of brownie points with those who considered him a rabid right winger, myself included.
It is Barack Obama, even before he gets the keys to the White House, who is beginning to be questioned about his credentials to change the diminished perception of America around the World. His silence, perceived as approval by many for what Israel is doing, greatly reduces his chance of making a fresh start in US relations with the Muslim world, the Middle East especially, and those who want to see an American President prepared to act with a more even hand on international affairs.
To those horrified by the television pictures of what Israel is doing in Gaza, Obama's reputation of a President about to reverse the divisive effects of his predecessor is diminishing with each new wave of Israeli attacks.
An unfair assessment perhaps as he has to balance ruling over a very much pro-Israel country with the opinion of the rest of the world that doesn't view Israel through such rose tinted spectacles but have very high expectations of him to be the polar opposite of George W Bush in moments like this.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Che 50 Years On

There are a few essential things that a student must have when he leaves home and moves into Student accommodation, one of them is the obligatory poster of the left wing pinup, Che Guevara, to hang on the bedroom wall.
Despite being killed by Bolivians in 1967 aged only 39, the iconic image of Che is still as well known today as anytime over the past 50 years even if the story of how he and Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban dictator Batista is hazy to today's teenagers.
They can quote his famous and defiant last words ("Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man") and they can tell you how he risked his life to overthrow a corrupt dictator for the downtrodden Cubans while tending to wounded enemy soldiers although not telling, or possibly just not knowing, how he cold-heartedly signed orders to execute prisoners without trial.
Mostly what they don't see is the irony of the man's image who died for his Communist beliefs, can now be bought on any number of tacky merchandise which would of horrified Che but shows that his image has continued to resonate.
Che's image is kept alive by today's new Socialists such as the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who has certainly helped to burnish the image as has Bolivian president Evo Morales who also says he is continuing to spread the message carried by Che. Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom".
To today's young the image stands for rebellion and a man who stood up for the little guy against a more powerful foe, fighting and dying, for his beliefs while to the generation of older hippies and socialists he also stood for an ideology.
The 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the Steven Soderbergh film 'Che' will drive renewed interest in the one time Argentinian medical student and may even fuel some curious reading into Marxist ideologies but the left has yet to find an icon as appealing, romantic or as instantly recognisable as the high contrast black and white photograph of Che Guevara.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

What New Year Resolutions?

New Years Day and a time for that new brush to sweep away all our old habits and replace them with new resolutions. Goodbye cigarettes, filter coffee, chocolate and alcohol and hello exercise bike, 2 litres of water daily and bran for breakfast.
My annual stopping smoking resolution traditionally went the way of every other annual stopping smoking resolution and lasted as long as it took me to find my lighter this morning. The switching on of the coffee machine meant that a second resolution quickly went the same way.
Alcohol and chocolate fell soon afterwards as i stole the Snickers out of my husbands Christmas selection pack as we made our way to the local Wetherspoons for the Annual New Years afternoon get together with friends.
I can therefore shamefully claim to have broken every single one of my resolutions within 3 hours of being awake which probably isn't a good thing.
The newspapers are all claiming that 2009 is going to be a bit rubbish due to the recession but that all depends upon your circumstances. If you are in a secure job it is kerching time as prices for everything is going to drop like a stone and the low cost of fuel means we can all upgrade our cars to helicopters to get to work.
If you have lost your job already or are in a not so stable area of employment, things are not looking quite so hot as unemployment is expected to spiral and prices rise as the Chancellor claws back the money he gave to the bankers by whacking up VAT.
Maybe it would be best to just skip 2009 and go straight to 2010 where the DVLA will be taking on extra staff to deal with the influx of applications for helicopter licences.
All the best for the New Year.