Saturday, 30 November 2013

Another Government Rip-Off

The energy cost increase fiasco is a story that refuses to go away and the Conservatives have ignited it again with the plans to cut green taxes paid by the utility companies and refund of £12 for every account. 
I don't think the government really get what the anger is about, the massive profits made by these companies while raising the bills for everyone.
The Green taxes pay for insulation and energy improvements in the poorest homes cuts so it brings down their energy bills so by cutting green taxes it not only hurts the poorest but increases the profits of the utility companies even further.
The £12 rebate per account, £300 million in total, is coming from the Government, therefore out of our taxes so both of these measures will not touch a penny of the indecent amounts these companies are making.
The nasty party are trying to spin it as a win for the customers but in reality this isn't costing the utility companies a penny, they don't have to pay so much to to insulate homes anymore, but it is costing the country £300m and the recent above inflation price hikes stand.
If the Government think that giving us back £12 of our money is going to stem the outcry when the average utility bill is £1250 and companies are raking in 20% more profit than last year, then they have an almighty shock coming.

Friday, 29 November 2013


China declares a no fly zone and threatens to shoot down any planes inside it without permission and within a week Japan, South Korea and America fly their planes through it. 
Are we really ruled over by such idiots?
Idiot China for expanding their air-space in such a provocative way just to lay claim to a few rocks.
Idiot America, Japan and South Korea for then flying their planes through it.
Now we are in a situation where China will have to back up its threats to shoot down planes or lose face and America, Japan and South Korea are in a situation where they can't be seen to bow to Chinese pressure and keep their planes away.
Someone is going to have to blink first or we are going to end up with a downed plane and the horrific repercussions.
Why is it that the human race always seem to be heading towards a war with someone? We truly are ruled over by idiots.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Sun Wins Comet Battle

It was always a danger but after 4.6 billion years, it seems that Comet Ison has met a fiery end courtesy of our star.
Scientists believe the Comet has failed to make it around the Sun, pulled aprt by its immense gravity, to deny us a spectacular show next month.
NASA scientists are reporting a trail of dense particles which suggests that it was destroyed as it reached its closest point to the Sun.
'We don't think it survived because we don't see any new dust' said the NASA boffin, a view confirmed by the European Space Agency who have now declared the death of the comet at about 21:30 GMT.
'Our Soho scientists have confirmed, Comet Ison is gone' Esa's twitter feed announced.
Such a shame.

Menacing Clowns In Norfolk

Finally, after all these years of writing blog posts, i get to use my joke. The joke i made about 1987 and have never had an opportunity to use again, until now. But first the story.

Something weird is going on in Norfolk and if you have ever been to Norfolk you would know just how weird something has to be to come under the heading of weird in Norfolk.
Norfolk police have been receiving reports of numerous clown sighting in King's Lynn, men wearing a 'full clown outfit with a red suit and red hair'.
They are now receiving further reports from alarmed members of the public reporting two clowns near a skate park in the town.
It follows recent reports in Northampton of people being freaked by clowns holding balloons watching them.
Superintendent Carl Edwards of the Norfolk Constabulary said although nobody had been injured or assaulted and it isn't against the law to dress up as a clown, officers would patrol areas where the reports had been made and, if they found any clowns, they would 'offer them strong words of advice. His guidance to the public is 'to give no reaction because that's what they are after'.
No mention of not accepting balloons from a clown behind a drain or sniffing flowers pinned on buttonholes but joking aside, this is just the start of the much anticipated evil Circus takeover.

And now the joke:
First it is clowns and then before you know it we will be menaced by trapeze artists, plate-spinners, tumblers, fire-breathers and strongmen ripping telephone directories with impunity.  The only way to be sure is to kill the whole circus. We must go for the juggler!!
Yes, it was worth the wait.

Post Office Message: Santa Letters

Christmas letters to Santa

Santa is extremely busy at the North Pole, making sure all the presents, including yours, are ready and wrapped for Christmas Eve.
It’s a very exciting time for all; Rudolph and Santa can’t wait to land at your home with all your gifts. Rudolph is especially looking forward to eating the carrots you kindly leave and maybe a mince pie for Santa…

To ensure Santa receives your letter on time please can you send to the following address:

Santa/Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,

Santa will respond to as many letters as possible, in between getting the sleigh ready for the long journey on
Christmas Eve.

To receive your card back from Santa, please make sure you write to him using the correct address on a stamped envelope. Don't forget Santa needs to know your full name and address to reply.

Santa is happy to receive your cards and letters now but because of a very busy Xmas ahead could you please write to him by no later than Friday 6th December.

Be good and enjoy your holidays,

Where Are The Sexy Space Missions?

The European Space Agency have announced their programme for the next twenty years and the plan is to launch a satellite to observe Jupiter in 2022 followed by an X-ray telescope in 2028 and then a mission to detect gravitational waves in 2034.
All important i agree but you could never describe them as sexy. No manned missions anywhere, not a sniff of a robotic lander or rover scuttling across distant Worlds, not inspiring or anything there to grip the imagination.
As i was born in 1969 i was too young to see the Space race which ended with the historic moon landings so i do a bit like we are living in the lull between the start of mans space exploration and the next exciting bit where we send manned missions to other Planets.
I understand that it is expensive and what we learn now will build towards more exciting times for future astronauts but while we are getting there, we do need something to inspire us and keep the funding coming.
If we are going to Jupiter anyway, couldn't we stick a lander on the satellite and have it explore Europa and see if we can find anything under the ice sheets that cover it? 
We haven't stepped on the moon since 1972, must be time we went back there again or how about making that moon base we have been waiting for ever since?
Get a shift on guys because in 20 years time i will be 64 and won't have enough time left to wait another 20 years after that before you decide to do something more exciting than detect gravitational waves.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Earth Moving In Texas

When the earth doesn't stop moving for three weeks you are either in a relationship with Russell Brand or you live in North Texas which has been experiencing a string of earthquakes for over 3 weeks with fingers being pointed at the whole loot of fracking going on .
Residents in the region have suffered 16 earthquakes in November and six in the last four days and when they are not holding onto ornaments on shelves, the people living in the vicinity are speculating that forcing high pressure water and chemicals into rock in order to extract natural gas reserves is the culprit.
Since 1970 and 2007, the area around the Texas town of Azle experienced two earthquakes but since the start of 2008, 74 minor quakes were reported in the region.
Cliff Frolich, earthquake researcher at the University of Texas, said: 'I'd say it certainly looks very possible that the earthquakes are related to injection wells' a view backed by a Government study that found the use of underground storage wells to get rid of waste water produced by fracking is 'almost certainly to blame for the jump in earthquakes in Midwestern states in recent years' citing the 29 magnitude 3 or greater quakes in 2008 to the 134 in 2012.
As Texas has 6,000 oil and gas fracking wells in operation, Santa won't be getting many requests for an etch-a-sketch from Texans this Christmas.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Gary Glitter Dilemma

As we inch towards December i face the usual moral dilemma regarding Christmas tunes and the Gary Glitter song 'Another Rock n Roll Christmas' and whether it is okay to listen to it and actually admit to liking it.
Ever since his arrest in 1997 and subsequent conviction for possession of thousands of items of child pornography on his computer and his later conviction of obscene acts with minors in Vietnam and Cambodia, Glitter has been an outcast and his records banished from the media.
The problem i have is i hate the person but love the song and pre-1997 'Another Rock n Roll Christmas' was as much played as Slade's and Wizard's festive efforts but to admit to liking anything associated with Gary Glitter now is taboo.
In an ideal World we wouldn't choose the music on the basis of how pleasant the artist is because it would seriously reduce the amount of music we would listen to.
Michael Jackson is still revered by many and Pete Townshend has only recently come off the sex offenders list for accessing child pornography but Jackson and The Who songs have not been taken off the radio playlist and Bill Wyman's sexual relationship with a 13 year old Mandy Smith never saw the Rolling Stones records binned.
It does seem though that with Gary Glitter it is harder to detach him from his music which is strange because  musical history is full of artists who have been awful people and 'Another Rock n Roll Christmas' is a great Christmas song but was sung by a truly awful person which puts it in a grey area.

Scottish Independence

It seems that the pretence that Scotland may vote for independence is carrying on with Alex Salmond setting out what he would do if Scotland committed suicide and voted to leave the union.
Not perturbed by the treasury pointing out yesterday that independence would mean a raise in income tax of £1000 per Scot, Salmond has done his own maths and come up with the sum that each person in Scotland would be £600 better off.
He has also promised the freshly independent Scottish nation would join the EU and NATO, cut corporation tax, extend free childcare and increase the minimum wage, keep the pound and the Queen, drop Trident nuclear weapons, the Union Flag and the BBC.
I don't think for a second that the Scottish will be shortsighted enough to vote to go it alone next year, it would be be broke within a week and begging for the BBC and the likes of Dr Who and Qi when they are forced to watch endless repeats of Rab C Nesbit and Take The High Road.
That said, if Scotland does vote for independence and waves goodbye to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish, we will really miss...erm...give me a sec...damn.

Has The Pope Been Reading FOAB?

It isn't very often i find myself agreeing with the Pope but the Argentinian has got my vote for top Catholic banana with his tirade against capitalism.
Pope Francis has called capitalism 'a new tyranny' and is urging world leaders to step up their efforts against poverty and inequality, saying rich people should share their wealth and the existing financial system that fuels the unequal distribution of wealth must be altered.
'How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?' Pope Francis asked an audience at the Vatican, 'a system that devours everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which has become the only rule we live by'.     
You been reading my blog Franny? Anything else?
'I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor' Francis explained and i think we can excuse him bringing God into it just this once because what he is saying is pretty much the drum that i bang, capitalism is not good.
Now all we need is the Vatican with an estimated wealth of £15 billion to put its money where its Pope is and start dishing out the cash and start the equal distribution bandwagon rolling.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Capitalism Sucks Examples 6,589,568 & 6,589,569

In a on-going attempt at bringing Socialism to everyone by pointing out just how poorly treated the 99% are under Capitalism, here is another couple of examples from today's newspapers at how profit drives everything under this system and the little guy can go hang.
Firstly, the Royal Bank of Scotland. The bank has been deliberately driving small businesses to collapse by scrapping loan deals, imposing inflated interest rates and charge hefty penalties so it could buy back their assets at rock-bottom prices.
Chancellor George Osborne has described the banks actions as 'shocking' when it was revealed that firms not necessarily in immediate financial distress are 'engineered' into collapse by technical breaches of loan terms, and are then hit with exorbitant rates and fees, forcing them out of business allowing RBS to buy their property and assets on the cheap.
Second example is the utility companies who put their prices up by as much as 11% and blamed wholesale prices and green taxes while the industry regulator has discovered that they were actually making 20% more profit from each UK household last year than the previous year.
The National Pensioners’ Convention puts the total number of people who died last year from the cold due to the increase in fuel costs at 24,000 with a further 6 million in fuel poverty.
What this does is make you understand the morals of the profit making companies who put making money above everything else, including destroying peoples livelihoods through forcing them out of business or in the case of the utility companies, taking their lives as they can't afford to heat their homes.
To think that there are people who defend this system.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Heeeere's another conspiracy theory

Like the stories of a tee-total Australian and generous Scotsman, some tales are just so unbelievable that they are dismissed immediately but all the best conspiracy theories work because they contain just enough 'proof' that you pause before dismissing them.  
My favourite is the 'Steven King Killed John Lennon' theory based on the fact that the guy in the picture of John Lennon signing his autograph book just before the shooting has dimples and Chapman was dimple-free, unlike author Steven King who is suspiciously dimpled.
Strangely, i found out this weekend that Steven King is also involved in the new challenger for the 'Lucy's favourites conspiracy theory'.
Steven King published The Shining in 1977 and in 1980 Stanley Kubrik made the novel into a film but more than just doing a bad job of a good novel, he stuffed it full of references to his role in filming the fake moon landings.
The story goes that the American government saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 and asked Kubrick to help them fake the Apollo 11 moon landings in order to gazump the Soviet Union who were handing America it's arse in the Space Race at the time.
Kubrik agreed but after the shoot was 'in the can' he realised just what a big deal it was and worried that he might be silenced by his Government so to protect himself, he filled The Shining with clues about the conspiracy.
Need proof?
Danny wears an Apollo 11 jumper, Room 237 is a reference to the distance between Earth and the moon: 237,000 miles, when Jack types “All work and no play…”, the first word looks like “A11” or Apollo 11. The twins represent NASA’s Gemini space programme, the guy in a bear suit represents the Soviet Bear and then there is Jack’s rant at Wendy when she wants to leave represents Kubrick arguing with his own wife about his deception: 'Does it matter to you at all that the owners have placed their complete confidence and trust in me, and that I have signed a contract in which I have accepted that responsibility?'
If that isn't enough to convince you then how about the final piece of the jigsaw, Jack agreed to look after the Overlook Hotel during the winter just like Kubrick agreed to help America during the Cold War.
I don't know how much more proof anyone would need but it would explain why Kubrik made such a pigs ear of filming the King novel, because he was too busy stuffing it full of fake moon mission hints that he completely forgot how the book finished and just made up his own ending.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Hunger Games Is Battle Royale Rip-Off

Author Suzanne Collins said that she came up with the idea for the Hunger Games while channel surfing. Apparently she was flipping between footage of the Iraq War and a reality TV show and came up with the idea of a book set on an island where teenagers are forced to fight each other to the death in a televised death match to deter the youngsters rising up in revolution.
Sounds as good as it did the first time i heard that storyline in the 1999 Battle Royale novel by Japanese writer Koushun Takami which is set on an island where teenagers are forced to fight each other to death in a televised death match to punish citizens for a past rebellion and to prevent them from rising up again.
Both films contain a command centre that keeps track of the combatants and reads out lists of the dead over loudspeaker and have previous winners acting as mentors.
The author of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, maintains that she has never heard of Battle Royale and she just had a similar idea so far be it for me to shout 'blatant rip-off' but, well, it is a blatant rip-off of the Battle Royale book.
It is a nice idea about the storyline coming to her while flipping channels and i think she probably did get the idea by flipping through the television but happened to stumble across a foreign film that she probably thought wasn't very widely known outside of Asia and thought she would nick the storyline.
I guess it isn't inconceivable to believe that she just happened to come up with an almost identical storyline to an already written book and Asian movie but then it also isn't inconceivable that she blatantly ripped off Koushan Takami's novel and hoped nobody would notice.

Vertical Air Space

We often hear countries talking of International air-space and if another country wants to fly through it they need to gain permission.
China has extended their air space to cover the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands that are also claimed by Japan and have threatened 'emergency defensive measures' if any aircraft fly over it.
The threat is aimed at Japan and Taiwan who also claim the uninhabited islands that potentially sit amid huge deposits of oil and gas but it does lead to the obvious question, just how high does a countries air-space go?  
The Aeronautical Information Manual which sets out all things aeronautical for the American flight-controllers state that anyone who flies above 50 miles (82km) vertical is an astronaut as that is where space begins.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale which rules over all things European flyer's has a designated mark called the Kármán line which at an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) air-space turns into space.
Not much help to the Japanese i know but probably safer to just fly around the islands for now.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Waiting For Comet Ison

Since it was discovered in 2012 there has been quiet confidence in the astronomical fraternity that Comet Ison will be one those those rare spectaculars in the heavens but there has always been a note of caution that it could be a damp squib.   
In just a few days time we will find out for ourselves as the Comet will announce itself to Earth on December 3rd, appearing on our eastern horizon and parading it's tail, all several millions of kilometres of it, during the whole of December for the billions of us in the Northern hemisphere to see.  
Or so we hope because there is just as much chance that Comet Ison will break up completely as the forces of our star get to work on the comet that has been on a 4.6 billion year journey through space.
The sticking point is that scientists know that previous Comets below 2 km were ripped apart by the immense gravitational pull of the Sun while Comets above 2km survived intact and Comet Ison is frustratingly estimated to be a fraction below the 2km borderline hence the scientists reluctance to confirm what we can expect to see, if anything.  
Comet Ison is currently hurtling towards the Sun and is set for its closest approach on 28 November after which date we will have a better idea if it has survived its encounter.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The £60,000 Question

A woman found £60,000 on a canal bank while out walking her dog and handed it in to Police which was met with much muttering along the lines of how she should have kept it.
According to the Association of Chief Police Offers there are no laws governing what you should do with a find unless it includes information which would make police able to trace the owner.
I would say the overwhelming immediate reaction of most people is that they would have kept quiet about it and kept it but conscience is a powerful thing.
Obviously £60,000 in a bin-liner smells of something dodgy and is unlikely to have been lost by law-abiding citizen so I think I'd keep it but then i'd be thinking what if i had somehow stumbled upon a trap and the first time i try to spend it armed officers are pointing guns at me and shouting at me to lay face down on the floor of Tesco. Worse, what if some criminal gang watched me tootle away with their drug money and decided to act out Goodfellas while i was deciding what colour speedboat i wanted.
Then i would try to convince myself that it had been left there deliberately by an eccentric billionaire but what if word got around that i had £60,000 in a bin liner in my bedroom and the police asked me where i got it, found it is hardly going to sound the best excuse and i'm sure the bank clerk in Natwest would be ringing her manager the second i left the building after depositing £60,000 worth of £20 notes.
Then there is the thought that as it was found alongside a canal, it was some canal dwellers savings which had somehow fallen over the side from under their mattress and they are presently frantically searching the canal for it.
I think in all honesty i would hand it in to the police and hope that the law that states if nobody claims in within 3 months i get it back is true.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Santa's Back And He's Armed

Here at the ScottsDale Gun Club we believe Christmas is a time for family, childrens laughter and grinning inanely as you stand behind Santa holding a huge weapon.
Yes, Santa is making a special trip 15 December to the Scottsdale Gun Club this year so you and your family can be photographed surrounded by enough weaponry to start a small war.
Nothing says peace and goodwill to all men quite like an AK47, the gun baby  Jesus himself would ask for.
So come on down to Scottsdale Gun Club on Northsight Boulevard to visit old Santa and put the fun back into fundamentalist Christian and receive a free fingerprinting kit for your kids.

Scottsdale Gun Club, making it easier for Americans to blow big holes in each other since 2004.    

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Solar Flip Coming

Run for hills, man the lifeboats and stockpile tins of food because the Sun is about to flip it's magnetic poles!!
Blimey, sounds bad but NASA have to go and ruin a perfectly good 'WE'RE ALL DOOMED' story with the less than alarming facts that the pole reversal is a slow, gradual process that has already begun.
The Director of NASA said: 'This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system leading to  some turbulent space weather' .
So death and destruction of all life on the planet then? Nope, a cool northern lights show.
Apparently the Sun’s flips its magnetic poles on average every 11 years and is a regular part of the solar cycle meaning most of us have already lived through at least one of them previously.
The last time a magnetic flip of this sort occurred was in February of 2001. During that time, nothing really happened that can be directly contributed to the solar pole shift. Scientists are expecting much of the same from this shift.
It seems that it is highly probable that the solar magnetic flip will come and go with us hardly noticing but there is a chance that it may have an adverse effect on TV satellites but 'WE MAY MISS X-FACTOR FINAL' doesn't really have the same ring to it.

Keep Twerking Miley Because You Can't Sing

I have found myself wondering recently if the reason why Miley Cyrus is so 'controversial' is because she is actually not a very good singer so twerk's and dresses like a slapper so that is what get's the attention rather than her dire voice.
After seeing her singing live tonight on X-Factor i think that she had better double her twerking next time she gets on stage because as suspected, her voice is dreadful.
I think that wrecking ball must have damaged her vocal chords so twerk Miley, twerk and make your parents proud.      

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Climate Response Shameful

I was always hopeful that it wasn't going to take death and destruction on a massive scale for the World leaders to do something about climate change but it seems that even the strongest storm ever recorded killing thousands in the Philippines isn't enough.
Recent decisions by the governments of Australia, Japan and Canada to downgrade their efforts over climate change is more than disappointing, especially as it may lead to others following.
Rather than acting as a wake up call, Japan has announced it will backtrack on its pledge to reduce its emission cuts from 25% to 3.8% by 2020, Australia signalled it may weaken its targets and is repealing domestic carbon laws and Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto accord to reduce their annual CO2 emissions.
The Disaster Emergencies Committee, presently coordinating British aid efforts in the Philippines warned that the disaster offers a glimpse of the future if urgent action is not taken and other Aid Agencies said ministers must act urgently because climate change is likely to make such extreme weather events more common in the future, putting millions more lives at risk.
Shamefully, the people who could have the biggest impact are not paying attention or putting more effort into attempting to blacken the name of the scientific community who study these things as more and more extreme weather events occur and kill thousands and thousands before our very eyes.
Nobody is doing anything about it apart from the ill-informed useful idiots repeating parrot fashion the lies from those with the most to lose or more dangerously the moronic leaders like those in Canada, Japan and Australia who selfishly just don't care how many more victims of climate change there are.
It does make you wonder just what it will take, how much death and destruction caused by climate change, before the people who can make a change put the planet and it's population first.    

Elizabeth Warren For President?

Although Barack Obama has a few years more yet to serve as President, the focus is switching to who is going to replace him and Hillary Clinton has been mentioned quite a bit lately as the Democrat candidate but she isn't the only female being touted for the post, step forward Elizabeth Warren.
Apart from her name being mentioned in a few left wing newspapers as a potential candidate, she is a relative unknown but from first glance she has some tough things to say about Wall Street which is chiming quite well with disenchanted voters who have watched the bankers get richer while they fight to keep afloat.
A repeated theme from the Warren pulpit is that politicians have to get back to running the country for the benefit of Americans and not for its financial institutions and throwing a jab at recent Presidents for doing little in that direction.
Although she hasn't come out and admitted it, she is apparently mulling over challenging for the Democrat nomination in the 2016 election, a move which has been described as both Hillary Clinton's and Wall Streets nightmare. 
There may be some skeletons in her closet yet to be dragged out when her star begins to rise and it isn't to easy to find much about her views on other policies but she may be one to come back to at some point in the future if a scandal or a meltdown doesn't derail her progress between now and then.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Christmas Horror

Negotiations are over and it wasn't easy but a deal has been reached and i have a Buffy box-set shaped hole in the cabinet beneath the DVD player but it has been temporarily filled by 25 Horror films and not just any Horror films, Christmas ones.
As much as i love the Scrooge's and What a Wonderful Life, the thrill of seeing a rampaging Santa or a killer Snowman is too much of a pull.
With titles such as Black Christmas, Christmas Evil, Don't Open Till Christmas,  Santa's Slay, Silent Night, Deadly Night, You'd better Watch Out and Santa Claus v The Zombies, i don't think they are going to be about peace on Earth and goodwill to all men, more Freddie Kruger with tinsel. 
I have been told to leave Saint and Rare Exports to last as they are the best ones and involve the same sort of story with a Santa less inclined to leave a toy under the tree and more likely to decorate your bedroom with your innards.   
Not the spirit of Christmas i know but Bedford Falls can wait this year.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Answering The Atheist At Christmas Question

Do you love Christmas but find that whole kid born in a stable story a little unconvincing?
Do you enjoy Christmas Pudding, turkey and sprouts, but find that having to give thanks to God before you tuck in leaves a bad taste in your mouth?
Do you like singing Christmas songs but can't take seriously the ones about angels and baby Jesus?
If you answer yes to at least two of the above then you are most probably an atheist. As an atheist, at some point you will hear the question 'So why celebrate the birth of Jesus if you don't believe in him for the rest of the year?
There is a good chance that this poser will come from one of the few Churchy types that clutter up the place at this time of year and the usual solution is to:
a> pity them for not being as clever as us
b> launch into a tirade that Christmas was a pagan festival that the Christians stole
c> find a witty put down that will have them blustering into their Bibles.  

I usually plump for a and pat them on the head and sigh that it's such a shame but that was only because i could never think of anything witty to snap back at them.
Thankfully a friend (a Spurs fan so another group to take pity on) came up with a zinger when the God squad begin being uppity about atheists at Christmas time.  
He reminds them that he also doesn't believe in ghosts or Cupid but still celebrate Halloween and Valentines Day. Ouch, take that Holy Roller.
Another tack he takes is that he is celebrating the birth of one of the most influential people in the history of mankind who was born on December 25th, Sir Isaac Newton.
Once the God botherer has been suitably subdued with these lines, THEN you can pity them and pose them the question of how did the three wise men in 1AD Bethlehem manage to get hold of a taxi, a car and a scooter with a hooter?

Bush and Obama Neck And Neck

US President Barack Obama's popularity has hit an all-time low, with a majority of Americans now saying he is dishonest, untrustworthy and not competent to govern, according to a new national poll.
The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll fouind that only 39 percent of Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing, his lowest approval rating ever.
Only 44 percent of Americans view Obama as trustworthy and honest, while 53 percent say his administration is not competently running the government.
'President Obama's job approval rating has fallen to the level of former President George W. Bush at the same period of his Presidency' a spokesman from the QIPI explained although he did go on to add that Bush's level off approval did carry on downwards to end on 28% when he left office.
When you are as liked and respected as GWB, you know you have made an almighty hash of things.

Tories Spruce Up Website

The Conservatives have attempted to hide 10 years of speeches from their website it has emerged.
All speeches, news stories, press releases and blogs dating back to 2000 until the party came to power in May 2010 have been hidden from public view on the Conservative Party website.
It means those using the search engine to try to find the speeches on the Conservative Party website would simply get no results.
The cynics will say it is a Tory party attempt to hide pledges made ahead of the 2010 election with the 2015 vote looming so to prove it to myself i went to the Tories bit of the web and entered 'Which page will show me that the Tories are not just a bunch of rich-boys looking after their own and selling off the profitable bits of the country to their friends?'   
I got an error message saying 'Page Not Found' which pretty much sums them up really.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Magnetic Proof Gay Marriage Is Wrong

Chibuihem Amalaha, an award winning student at the University of Lagos, is claiming that he's proved gay marriage is wrong through science — using magnets.
Amalaha says his experiments show that the north and south poles of magnets are attracted to each other — but same poles repel each other. Astoundingly, this means 'that man cannot attract another man because they are the same, and a woman should not attract a woman because they are the same. That is how I used physics to prove gay marriage wrong'.
Before you can say 'what a fruitcake', the head of Physics at the University chimes in saying: 'He is convincing. He conceptualised the idea of using sciences and mathematics to prove gay marriage wrong and we have worked it here. He used my laboratory here (UNILAG) to carry out his researches. He is the originator of the idea, he deserves commendation and we support the idea. You can quote me anywhere, the guy’s concept is germane and it has been scientifically proven to be true'.
So there you have it i'm afraid, gay marriage is all sorts of wrong because a Nigerian held his magnets the wrong way around.
Next up in the lab, conclusive proof that a even the stupidest person can become the head of physics in the University of Lagos.

Rolling Jubillee a Success

Banks and money lenders, when unable to collect a debt, sell that debt onto a debt collecting company for a fraction of the value and the third party then attempt to recoup the debt from the debtor and make a profit.
Using this information, an ingenious group calling themselves Rolling Jubilee set out to raise £50,000 which would buy $1m worth of debt.
The amount they actually raised was $400,000 which allowed them to but $15m of Americans' personal debt over the last year, relieving 2,693 of medical debts.
Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy's Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before abolishing it and freeing individuals from their bills.
'Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there's certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market' said a spokesman for the group, 'No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick'.
Great news on many counts, not least it has helped 2,693 people so far but maybe when the debt collectors come knocking, because of this knowledge, a few more people may be able to negotiate a better deal to pay off what the debt collector paid and not the full amount of the original debt.

Gum Arabic And Bin Laden

A story that broke days after Bin Laden was named as instigator of the the September 11th attacks but was quickly buried again was the discovery that Bin Laden's fortune was in part due to his holdings in the Sudan Gum Arabic industry.
As Gum Arabic is an important ingredient in soft drink syrups, sweets and chewing gum there was a short lived hysteria that every time a soft drink is sold or a stick of gum chewed, Osama bin Laden's wealth increased and with it the power of his terrorist network to wage war on the West.
As 80% of the ingredient is supplied by the Sudanese Gum Arabic Company, and as Bin Laden had owned a large slice of it, it was a reasonable assumption to make that we were all unwittingly adding to Bin Laden's £200 million fortune.
Disturbed by the thought that consumers would leave their wares on the shelves, the National Soft Drinks Association put out a press release stating that 'American industries that utilise gum arabic from Sudan obtain the final form of the product from domestic importers under the licensed approval of the US State Department who are very specific that it has no evidence that Bin Laden has any interest in the Sudanese gum arabic industry'. 
A US State Department report from 1998 on the links between Bin Laden and the Sudanese Gum Arabic industry explained that while Bin Laden had been a major shareholder in the Sudanese Gum Arabic company, he had 'divested himself of all holdings in 1996'.
Not so much a story after all as it would be a stretch to say that each can of coke you drank profited Bin Laden's banks balance and helped fund his war on the West, well, not those you drank after 1996 anyway.

Cone Head

Glasgow City Council are considering spending £65,000 elevating a statue of the Duke of Wellington to stop students continually putting a traffic cone on the Dukes head because it is costing them £100 each time to remove it.
Just an idea but why not get a street cleaner who is in the area to knock it off with his broom?
Another idea, why not tell the private company you hire and who charge you £100 a time to remove the cone to shove their bill up their backside because they are ripping you and the Scottish people off.
Scotland has high unemployment, you could pay an unemployed person with a ladder £20,000 per year and make it his sole job to remove the cone and still make a massive saving. 
Alternatively, just leave the cone there and it won't cost you anything.
Blimey, and you people want independence?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Whistling In The Wind With Gun Study

In a country with such crazy gun laws as America, it is probably not a good thing that that gun violence in PG-13 films has tripled since 1985.
I am a firm believer that what people see on their TV and movie screens influences how they act in real life and if 13 year olds are seeing guns being used so casually in their films, it encourages them to act it out in real life and in a country where you can buy a gun with your cornflakes, that's a recipe for disaster.
Ohio State University and researchers from the Annenberg Public Policy Centre studied the top 30 films since 1950 and then since 1985 and found that gun violence in PG-13–rated films has more than tripled since 1985, when the rating was introduced to advise that material may be unsuitable for children younger than 13.
Study author, Bush Bradman explained 'There has been a long line of research showing that continued exposure to screen violence among children, mainly on TV, predicts the emergence of later aggressive behaviour. 'We don't know if seeing gun violence on the screen has a unique effect, but it is concerning considering that we have seen a rise in the use of guns in schools and other settings in recent years'.
In an earlier study, Brad Bushman, professor of psychology at Ohio State University discovered that college students who played violent video games for 20 minutes at a time for three days showed more aggressive behaviour each day they played.
'The argument I hear most often is that video games can't be dangerous because millions of people play these games without becoming violent'. That's because they come from good homes, aren't victims of bullying, don't have mental health issues and don't have many of the other risk factors for violence. But what about players who are already predisposed to violence?'
Indeed Mr Bradman but in a country where the right to own a gun outweighs everything else, i think this will be filed under 'left wing nonsense'.
When the bodies of 22 children last year can't generate a change in gun laws and the reaction to yet another mass shooting is to suggest that more people own guns, you are whistling in the wind my friend. The madness of the Second Amendment will always trump sense it seems.

Libya Redux

The Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, has warned of foreign intervention after a region of the country took over several commercial sea ports, declared an independent oil company and shut off gas pipelines to Italy.
Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said: 'The international community cannot tolerate a state in the middle of the Mediterranean that is a source of violence, terrorism and murder'.
He then warned Libyans of a possible 'intervention of foreign occupation forces' in order to protect civilians under Chapter VII of the UN Charter as attacks in Tripoli and the Eastern part of the country intensified.
Zeidan has given the rebels 10 days to clear the oil facilities otherwise 'we will take measures' he warned.
So the rebels we backed are now turning their weapons on each other and we may have to go back in to fight the same people who we were arming and training a few years ago. Who would have thought that?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Sunday

I've been a soldier. I've seen my comrades fall in battle. I've held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words, only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning "Why?" I don't think they were wondering why they were dying, but why they had ever lived - Man from La Mancha

Remembrance Sunday, when we fall silent and think of the poor wretches who have died in conflict while the politicians who sent them lay wreaths and look suitably sombre at large monuments dedicated to their memory. 
As sad and mournful as the day is, the above speech by Don Quixote came into mind as the line of the War Widows Association slowly walked tearfully past the monument, shockingly young faces, some barely out of their teens, drives home the annual lament of what a waste. 
Remembering those who die in war will never go out of fashion because old men sending young men and women to war never goes out of fashion as we have seen over the past decade and you have to ask yourself, the wars we have become entangled in, were they worth it?  
In Iraq Saddam was removed but has what replaced him been any better? A decade on and Iraq has seen over 7000 civilian deaths in 2013, the second deadliest year since the invasion. 
Libya is entangled in rampant infighting and lawlessness, foreign embassies are attacked, rival militias are murdering each other as they vye for power and another civil war between the factions the West helped to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi is a real possibility. Arms recklessly handed to the militias have been passed south to terrorist groups in Mali and Nigeria where the murderous havoc has spread.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, as in Iraq and Libya, the mission of regime change was completed quickly but after 12 years and almost 20,000 civilian deaths, Afghanistan is far from the haven we were promised and the war has crossed over into Pakistan where 2227 civilians have died.

Nobody could say our legacy in these three countries is something to be proud of and all three wars were declared for the flimsiest of reasons and to the women of the War Widows Association, and to the soldiers  dying thousands of miles away, some before they have even seen their twentieth year, most before their thirtieth, must be wondering why they have ever lived, their pitifully short lives selfishly snatched away by old men in wars that they had no reason to be in and have arguably made worse the lives of the people in the country they were sent to for obscure reasons. 
The 600 plus British soldiers who paid the ultimate price really did see life as it is, and not how a politician sat thousands of miles away in safety wanted to see it. Shamefully, it was the last thing they saw.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lessons Being Learned In Geneva

The fact that there has been a stampede of foreign ministers to Geneva is a sign that the nuclear talks with Iran are going well, they wouldn't be there for the photo opportunity if nothing was going to come from it.
Israel is unsurprisingly annoyed that the Iranians are being talked to and not bombed but as Israeli dealings with Palestine have shown, the Israel Government are not interested in negotiating.  
There were not supposed to be any foreign ministers there at all but things have reportedly gone so well that talks have continued for a further unscheduled day and John Kerry has put off a planned trip to Morocco and Algeria while Iranian journalists were told to delay flights back to Tehran.
The news from Geneva is that the talks have got to an advanced stage that the sticking point is just agreement on the wording of a joint statement laying out a roadmap which sees Iran not enriching any uranium above 20% which will roll back some of the sanctions against it with a review in 6 months where the removal of further sanctions will be actioned.   
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said last night: 'We are very conscious that some real momentum has built up in these negotiations. There is now a real concentration on these negotiations. So we have to seize the moment to reach a deal that has eluded the world for a very long time'.
Hopefully, this is a historic moment where the likes of the US and UK finding that more jaw-jaw and less of the  war-war which has been their foreign policy for the past 60 years and almost buried their economies in the process is the right way to go from now on.
It may also show Israel that stamping it's foot and threatening others is not only the action of a spoilt child but will bring attention on its own oppressive and illegal actions and drive a wedge between them and the few friends they have left.

Look Out Below

Keep looking up Sunday night and Monday morning because a one ton research satellite will be plummeting down to Earth but scientists can't say where it will land.
The European Space Agency (ESA) say the satellite is spiralling steadily downwards and will break apart
50 miles above the Earth and the smaller parts will burn up in the atmosphere however they expect several dozen fragments weighing about the same as a car engine will make it down to hit the surface.
Professor Heiner Klinkrad from the ESA said: 'At present we can not say where the re-entry is going to happen except that it is not going to happen north of the 85 northern latitude or south of 85 southern latitude. We are in contact with national civil protection agencies throughout Europe, of ESA member states, so they get all the information we have on the re-entry prediction and that also includes information on emergencies in case parts of the satellite fall on inhabited areas'.
I'm sure the ESA will be able to narrow down where residents have to don hard hats but maybe if we all keep our fingers crossed and wish with all our might, it will crash thorough the roof of 10 Downing Street.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Brilliantly Loopy Castro Plan

I heard something today that was so fantastically loopy that i thought it had to be made up but it turns out it's completely true and as brilliantly mad as it first sounded.
Major General Edward Geary Lansdale worked at the Office of the Secretary of Defence just as the Americans were trying to dislodge Fidel Castro from his seat as Cuban El Presidente.
Lansdale came up with this ingenious wheeze, make Castro believe God was going to get him.
The plan consisted of spreading the word that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent and that Castro was the anti-Christ.
An American submarine off the Cuban coast would send up flares and project images of Jesus Christ onto low-lying clouds while a crew of a U.S. military plane, camouflaged by the clouds and with its engine significantly muffled, using powerful loudspeakers would 'speak' to the people of Cuba, ordering them to overthrow their government and renounce Communism.
The Cubans would believe that Jesus Christ himself was calling and in religious fervour and terror, would boot out Castro and welcome the Americans and Capitalism with open arms.
Disappointingly the US military decided against following up the Major's plan and decided to carry on with the exploding cigars ploy instead but don't you wish they had given it a go.

Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song

Between making a record as a surprise for his mum in 1953 and eating himself to death in 1977, Elvis recorded a staggering 711 songs so the ITV show, The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song, has a rich seam to mine but somehow they seem to have narrowed it down to 20.
All the big ones are there including the one which i would choose as my favourite Elvis song, (Marie's The Name of) His Latest Flame.
ITV seem to have been a bit slow on following up 'The Nation's Favourite Abba Song' a few years back, won by 'The Winner Takes It All', usually the TV companies get an idea and flog it to death but Elvis was the obvious choice because it seems mandatory that if you are over 50, you are an Elvis fan.
He did have a great voice and he was an extremely handsome man and he also had some great songs and more than a few stinkers, Teddy Bear and Old Shep are particularly cringy.
The smart money seems to be on either Heartbreak Hotel or Love Me Tender topping the TV poll but i hope it goes to a toe tapper from his early days and not a ballad from his jump suit wearing Las Vegas days, he deserves to be remembered as the good looking, hip swaying rocker instead of the bloated chocolate bar frying mess he became.

update: Always On My Mind is the nation's favourite Elvis song

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hoping Isaac Newton Was Right

32 months after the disaster in Fukushima, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), will begin removing more than 1,500 fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool and we have been left with no delusions of just how dangerous a job this is.
Some of the risks involved are if the assemblies collide or are exposed or if the water levels drop in the pool, the fuel would rapidly heat up releasing tonnes radiation into the air.
Then there is the risk of some of the uranium pellets inside the fuel rods being damaged with the same results of leaking radiation and throw in that pool is still littered with hazardous pieces of debris caused by the blast. 
A newly built crane will manoeuvre the fuel and must be operated manually because, and here is where the problem may lay, the assemblies are not exactly where they should be.
Radiation levels in those reactors are still too high for humans to enter and attempts to use robots to determine the exact location of the melted fuel failed.
Instead, officials are placing their faith in the law of gravity, assuming that the most hazardous material has sank to the bottom of the pool.
Amazing just how close the name of the plant resembles what has been happening over there. Over to you Sir Isaac Newton and whichever of the 800 Gods that Japan has is in charge of stopping nuclear catastrophes.

Philippines Prepare For Haiyan

I recently got pulled up for calling a mid-latitude storm a hurricane because hurricanes develop in a different part of the Atlantic but it is pretty safe to call what is about to hit the Philippines a Typhoon because all the headlines are screaming: 'Catastrophic damage to be caused by Typhoon Haiyan'.
Meteorologists are predicting winds of up to 195 mph which would make it the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded at landfall.
As Typhoon Haiyan approached land, the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii said maximum sustained winds were 195 mph, with gusts up of to 235 mph and offered the ominous news that 'There aren't too many buildings constructed that can withstand 195-mile-an-hour winds'.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from villages in the typhoon's path but the consolation is that Haiyan is a fast-moving storm, so flooding from heavy rain may not be as it could be but after the Philippines, both Vietnam and Laos are expected to be hit.
President Benigno Aquino III has warned people to leave high-risk areas, including 100 coastal communities where forecasters said the storm surge could reach up to 23ft and assured the public that he has placed military cargo planes, helicopters and 20 navy ships on standby.
To think we were worried about 80mph winds last month, this is going to horrific.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Asking The Wrong Questions

When the leader of Toronto was asked by reporters why he had vehemently denied the allegations that he had smoked crack cocaine despite a video clearly showing him doing exactly that, Rod Ford said: 'I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions'. 
Not one to stop while he still had enough room for another foot, he added: 'There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor. I want to see the video tape. I want to see the state that I was in'.
Ford has since apologised to the people of Toronto for embarrassing them and said that there was only one person to blame for this and that is myself but not sorry enough to resign his post as he explained  that he know that he had to regain the trust and confidence of the people of Toronto and that: 'I was elected to do a job, and that's exactly what I'm going to continue doing'.
Seems Mr Ford is taking the 'i only smoked crack when i was very drunk' defence which proves he has a lot of front and pictures of him show a lot of back, side and bottom also but the quibble over words does not top the grand daddy of them all for trying to get out of a tight spot.
Bill Clinton, during a grand jury testimony following following his cigar sharing habits quibbled: 'That depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is'.
Clinton's addiction was a different kind of crack though.

None Of The Above

No stranger to controversy, Russell Brand is once again getting it in the neck but this time it is over his comments that he doesn't vote, blaming the the lies, treachery and deceit of politicians. 
I like Russell Brand, he is clever, enthusiastic, witty and articulate and on this subject i agree with him, voting is not compulsory and if you don't like any of the participants, why should you vote for one of them?  
The argument being used against him is that those who don't vote have no right to opine about the political process but if you are not voting because the choice being offered is undesirable, then you have every right to speak out. 
In the UK the main parties were Labour on the Left, Tories on the right and the Lib Dems filling a small space just left of centre but after New Labour and Tony Blair and Nick Clegg and his alliance with the Conservatives, what we have is three interchangeable parties and any votes gained is because they are the least worst option.
After the University Fees debacle and the covering of many Conservative policies, the protest vote for the Lib Dems is a thing of the past, both the Labour and Conservative politicians have been exposed as caring more about claiming expenses than their constituency and both benches are filled with rich kids from Oxford and Cambridge who cannot relate to the overwhelming majority of the electorate.   
Rather than listen to Brand and the 35%-40% of the electorate who regularly refuse to register a vote for any of the parties, far easier to ignore them and carry on as before.
A 'none of the above' vote is just as much an option as voting for a political party and they pay their taxes and National Insurance and have just as much room to criticise how that money is spent as the person who holds their nose and puts a cross on the election form.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Anyone Out There?

Data from the Kepler space observatory suggests planets capable of supporting life are far more common than previously thought and our galaxy probably contains at least two billion planets that, like Earth, have liquid water on their surfaces and orbit around their parent stars in the habitable zone for life.
Quite a fascinating thought and hopefully we will be sending probes to these places to look for life out there somewhere although i do worry of the consequences of what we would do, or what they would do to us if we ever made contact.
Human history is full of stories of one group of humans discovering another lot and then killing them and stealing their land and resources so don't expect things to be any different if they have six legs and live in another Solar System.
Then there is the problem of what if they have the same tendencies as us but are more developed and have bigger and better weapons, we could be vapourised before we even get to lie that we come in peace.
I do sometimes wonder that if we did find a hospitable planet with no occupants that we could colonise, we would then expand out across the solar systems and the Universe creating a network of new human civilisations.
Then i think, what if something from another planet discovered Earth and started colonising it a couple of million years ago. We could just be one in a chain of some other planets inhabitants civilisations so instead of humans populating the Universe, we are one of a number of someone else's civilisations. 
Would explain all the UFO's that keep buzzing us, it's the things from the Parent Planet seeing how the colony of funny creatures with the two eyes and two arms they left here millions of years ago are getting on.

Starbucks Tea Experiment

Being British we know that the best tea is made using very tip of the tea leafs plucked by virgins in a small holding at the foot of the Himalayas in March using 24ct golden leaf-tongs and brewed at exactly 99.7 C in morning dew collected in a Ming Dynasty bone-china bowl and stirred with the thigh bone of a sparrow.
Luckily, Tesco sell them in their 'Value' tea bag collection but to the rest of the World drinking tea is quite a rarity.     
Try to get a cup of tea elsewhere outside the UK and you get a cup of hot water and a tea-bag, no milk or sugar so heaven knows what Starbucks will do to the great British cuppa now that they are opening Tea Bars in America to go with the Coffee establishments they are famous for.
Making the perfect cup of coffee is an art and unfortunately, like paying tax, Starbucks just don't do it and as America is a coffee drinking nation so i can't really see it taking off apart from with the trendy types and those who don't associate tea with Boston, King George and the dastardly 18th Century English shooting at them. 
Just remember that it's milk first, then sugar (if taken), then the hot water (tea-bag or strained tea leaves) and to stir it 15 times clockwise and then 16 anti-clockwise otherwise it will just taste wrong. 

Guy Fawkes Night

When it comes to Catholics, the British have a great tradition of finding horrible ways to get rid of them but we have grown and matured since the days of setting fire to Joan of Arc or quartering Guy Fawkes, now we just set fire to images of them.
November 5th is Bonfire Night in the UK, when we pile up all those old wooden gate posts that have been in the shed since they blew down in February and set fire to them along with an effigy of Guy Fawkes or whoever we don't like this year.
Celebrities and politicians are fair game for the flames, as are sportsmen and anyone in the news but as usual the Catholic Church find the whole thing distasteful and anti-Catholic.
I attended a bonfire and fireworks party this evening and i can't recall any anti-catholic sentiments being muttered as the flames licked around the paws of the poor teddy bear chosen to wear a Manchester United shirt and Rolf Harris mask and adorn the top seat of the bonfire, heard a few anti-Wayne Rooney ones though.
Father Eric Flood, the parish priest in Lewes, says the ritual of burning effigies of Guy Fawkes every year is 'moral racism' and he was most miffed when Lewes decided to burn the top Catholic and set fire to the Pope.
I'm certain that most people who attend Guy Fawkes' Nights celebrations don't do it out of some hatred of Catholics, simply a chance to go 'ooh', 'aah' and 'whee' at a few overpriced fireworks and watch a teddy bear make the ultimate sacrifice.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Lose Weight, Eat Chocolate

The idea of losing weight is to take in less calories then you expend during activities so if you eat or drink 3000 calories a day but only use 2000, that's a dress size up after a few weeks.      
That's how diets works and a week of eating celery and chicken soup and leaving the Mars Bars and doughnuts on the Supermarket shelf but thankfully science has stepped up to say that is wrong, and it should be those big bars of Aero going through the checkout.
Spanish researchers have discovered that chocolate appears to make the metabolism work harder, offsetting the fat that otherwise might hang. They also found chocolate had a positive effect on circulation, blood pressure and heart health.
Apparently, flavonoids in cocoa beans act as antioxidants so the higher the cocoa content, as in dark chocolate, the more flavonoids and the greater the health benefits.
So if anyone asks, you are not stuffing your face with chocolate, you are undertaking a scientifically endorsed diet program.