Friday, 28 February 2014

Cool Heads Required In Ukraine

Ominous signs coming from Crimea in Ukraine as Russians are handing out Russian passports to Crimean's and it's ominous because that is exactly what happened in 2008 in the Georgian province of South Ossetia.
In the summer of 2008, Georgian villages in the territory of South Ossetia declared their independence from Georgia and Georgian troops were sent to the territory to restore order and bring the province back under its control.
Moscow, keen to bring Osettia under its own control, handed out thousands of passports to the people of South Ossetia and the day after Georgian troops arrived in the region, the Russian Armed Forces invaded Georgia, destroying its military, transportation, and economic infrastructure within and outside of the South Ossetian territory citing the necessity of defending Russian citizens living in South Ossetia from the Georgian military.
There are reports today of Russian envoys distributing Russian passports in the Crimean peninsula and fears are that Russia will once again use the 'protecting our citizens' as a pretext for an invasion and there are already reports that armed men have seized control of Simferopol airport in the Crimean capital.
As we saw in Georgia, this is the Russian play-book and it seems to be following the preliminaries to the Russian assault on Georgia.
Cool heads are required as the obvious splits in the east and west of the Ukraine means a civil war could easily become the outcome with an angry Russia in the mix.

First To Squeeze Into Peru As Sea Rises

As we now know, when the sea levels rises due to climate change, we will all end up balancing on a hillside in Peru which will make for a very boring Olympics and World Cup as Peru will win everything.
Over the next century, countries will be swallowed up by the raging tides so we will all have to budge up a bit to fit us all in but whose inhabitants should be packing a suitcase sooner rather than later and heading for Lima to bag the best spots?
According to the World Bank, the people of Bangladesh should be the first to get to the airport before it disappears beneath the waves and then the Vietmanese should follow them as their country is the next in line to become the ocean floor.
Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia amd Mauritania are to follow and then Peru really begins to get busy as the Chinese arrive, all 1344 million of them.
Mexico, Myanmar and Senegal make up the rest of the ten countries to become the first victims of the rising sea and who should be eyeing the best places to pitch a tent in Peru.

What The Privatised Royal Mail Did Next

The Royal Mail made a profit of £403 million last year, money that went into the public coffers but then in their wisdom, the Conservatives decided to sell off the Royal Mail and privatised it so instead of the public getting the money to pay for services, the money to go directly into someones bank account instead.
As we have found out time and time again, privatisation is only good for the new owners and shareholders as a small number of people make more money from the privatisation and the customers get a more expensive service.
Five months after the privatisation, the Royal Mail has announced price rises in the cost of stamps because a profit of £403 million isn't enough.
And there you go, that's privatisation for you. Crap 'innit.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Back To Aled In The Morning

For the past few weeks i have woken up to find someone careering down a snowy hill on my television but the party is over, the snowboards have been packed away and the Winter Olympics are over for another four years.
So it's back to Aled Jones, Lorraine Kelly and Laura the weather girl first thing in the morning but what a treat the last couple of weeks have been in Sochi.
Because of the time difference, i did miss most of the live action and watched most of it on catch-up but i did see Great Britain bring home our equal best medal haul, 4.
Russia topped the league followed by Norway and then Canada, all places that have plenty of snow to practise on.
The Australians once again spent another Olympics looking below the GBR name in the medals table as it limped in 24th while the Great British Team came home 19th, one place behind Finland and three ahead of Italy who have an Alps to practise on so they have no excuse.
Key highlights were Shaun White giving an interview and arrogantly muttering about not losing and winning anything other than gold not being an option before duly coming in 4th. Then there were the three skiers who fell at the end of the Ski Cross with the silver medal awarded to the skier who fell facing forward as his hands went across first as the other two slithered backwards.
The Brazilian bobsleigh team who crashed on almost the first corner and careered down the rest of the course on its side, the four Olympic rings in the opening ceremony as the fifth failed to open, Vanessa Mae participating for Thailand and the US bobsledder who got stuck in the toilet by a dodgy lock on the door but still went through it anyway by smashing a massive hole in it. 
Elise Christie getting disqualified in her first race, missing the finishing line in her second race and then taken out by a South Korean skater in the third race and Jenny Jones taking bronze in the snowboard was a great moment.
My highlight though has to be the curling. It is a strange looking sport, can't think of many others when your sport kit contains a broom but it was all very exciting.
It may take a while to regain my morning regime without watching men in tight fitting lycra bodysuits filling my screen while i eat my cornflakes. Unless of course Aled and the other guy who does the entertainment news on Daybreak want to ditch the suits and give it a go.
Not you though Laura, you just concentrate on the isobars.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Piers Sacked But Staying There

Piers Morgan's talk show has been cancelled by CNN and he blames the controversy over his stance on gun control.
A spokesperson announced: 'CNN confirms that Piers Morgan Live is ending. The date of the final program is still to be determined'.
'Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarising' he explained referring to his call for tighter gun control measures in the wake of the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
I have always found Piers to be a massive moron but the American gun laws even more moronic so as far as i was concerned it was an idiot trying to tell cretins that their boneheaded guns fetish was wrong which was never going to play well in a place where the solution to 20 kids and 6 staff getting shot in school was to try and introduce more guns to the equation.  
My biggest worry though was that the smug faced gimp would come back here but before i could email CNN begging them to give him another go, they said they were discussing a new role for him at the channel.
Phew, that was close.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Solution To Coffee Shortage

Thanks to the likes of Starbucks and Costa, there are a lot more coffee drinkers around today than there used to be. 
I have been drinking coffee for as long as i can remember, very rare that i take tea over a latte or a mocha and i initially welcome all the Johnny and Jenny come latelies to the coffee drinking fraternity even if it meant that i had to queue up longer in the coffee shops. 
It is a little known fact that the vast majority of the coffee we drink comes from Brazil in the shape of the Arabica bean but i heard an alarming story that due to the long lasting drought in Brazil which has devastated the coffee bean belt, the Arabica bean crop has been decimated.
As with most things when there is a shortage, the price rises and bean prices have gone up by over 50% so far this year.
All this means that once the current supply is used up, our lattes and cappuccinoes are heading for a big price spike which leaves us with a problem.
As more people are now drinking coffee, demand is being stretched so the only solution i can see is for all the Johnny and Jenny come latelies that were originally welcomed, should now go back to drinking tea or hot chocolate or whatever it was that you sipped before coming over to our coffee side of the fence and ruining it.
Thanks, much appreciated.

A Weekend Of Protests

I don't know what was so special about this weekend but it seems this was the time protesters around the World decided they were not going to take it anymore.
In Brazil the police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrations that turned violent as thousands took to the streets to protest against the billions of dollars being spent to host this year's World Cup while the nation's public services remain in a woeful state.
Meanwhile in Nantes, France, 25,000 protesters clashed with police in defiance of a project to build a new airport in the city. Police responded with water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades.
There were riots in Turkey after the government passed a new law that increases their control over the internet leading to the police wielding tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to subdue the protesters.
Thousands of anti-government protesters clashed with tear gas firing riot police in Venezuela and in Spain thousands of protesters demonstrated against changes to the country's abortion laws which would ban abortion in all cases except in the case of rape or if the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother.
Protests in Thailand turned violent and police fired stun grenades which killed at least two children at anti-Government demonstrations.
Add the on-going turmoil in Ukraine to the list and that is a lot of people unhappy with what their Governments are doing and who felt moved enough to take to the streets this weekend.
Sadly it was a cracking weekend for the stun grenades and tear gas manufacturers though.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

What Are The Ukrainians Protesting About?

Truly sickening scenes coming out of the Ukraine but the whole thing has a feel of a proxy war between the EU, Russia and the USA with Ukrainians stuck in the middle of the conflict.
Reports are of 77 killed so far and the EU have imposed sanctions while the USA are said to be 'actively considering a range of options on how to respond to violence in Ukraine'.
Although it is being painted as a case of the pro-Europeans Ukrainian people fighting to overthrow an anti-EU Government, you would be forgiven for not realising that it is not quite as black and white as is being portrayed.
Like most countries, the Ukraine is in debt and has a £16.5 billion loan from the IMF to pay off and the European Union made an offer of £1bn and closer ties to the European Union although this came with the strings attached of enforcing austerity measures and cutting public spending although the carrot of possible future EU membership was dangled tantalisingly before them.    
Russia then made a counter offer of £15bn and closer ties to the Russian market, joint enterprises in heavy industries with lower gas prices thrown in. The Ukrainian Government left the EU offer on the table and agreed to the Russian deal.
Protests began and here is where the Worlds media looked that way, as the situation deteriorated as the Ukrainian police launch a raid on protesters, arresting 35 who had occupied the City Hall.
Anti-protest laws are passed, the unrest turns deadly as Government offices are overrun by protesters and international pressure is applied. 
All this brings us to today as the Ukraine's parliament votes to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko is expected to pick up the reins which is looking likely to lead to the West besting the East and the Ukraine dusting off the original EU offer and leaving a very irked Vladimir Putin on its Eastern flank. 
I hope i am wrong and it all turns out wonderful but i do fear that the protests on the streets of Ukraine will resurface as this may yet turn out to be a case of being careful what you wish for because what the protesters may have got is the hard slog of IMF austerity foisted upon them and you only need to look at the Greeks to see how that can turn out.
With the Standard and Poors' reducing the Ukraine’s rating to CCC- on the strength that the Russian money will not now be forthcoming, it is already looking like the Ukraine's problems may not be over.

You Want More Religion In Power?

It seems almost every week someone from the Church is ranting about the UK Government and this week 27 Anglican bishops and 16 other clergy accused the Government of creating hardship and hunger and saying that the Prime Minister has a moral duty to act on the growing number going cold and hungry.
The temptation could be to conclude, as someone did today, that the Conservative Government are so awful and as the Church are continually on the side of the downtrodden masses, that the Church should play a larger role in Government or even replace the politicians altogether.
Bad idea i say but as an atheist of course i would say that but a look at history shows what happens when the religious get their sweaty paws on Government.
We end up with the Middle East today where religion is the dominant force in matters, or religious zealots like George W Bush, Saddam Hussein and the Iranian Ayatollah making decisions, or Saudi Arabia or Hitler's holocausts or Al Queada or the Inquisition or the 30 year war or burning women for owning cats or the Crusades or suicide bombers or instructing people to risk aids rather than wear a condom.  
By all means speak up but more religion in the seats of power? We have been there, done that and seen what an absolute bloody disaster it was.

Why Scotland's Not Going Anywhere

The rhetoric for the case for and against Scottish independence is increasing as we draw closer to the vote on 18 September but it all seems academic to me as anything other than a vote  to stay in the Union will come as a surprise.
The overriding reason why i think we will be waking up on 19 September and finding the blue stripes still in the Union Flag is economic, leaving the UK will cost the Scots.
The Treasury has already stated that each Scot will face a £1000 tax rise if they vote for independence because at present, Scotland gets more out of the UK treasury then it puts in.
The basic facts are that Scotland adds 8.3% (£42bn) to the UK bank account but receives 9.2% (£59bn) of UK public spending.
To put a pound sign on it, Scottish Executive figures show that spending per capita in Scotland was £11,370 per head of population versus £10,320 for the rest of the UK, hence the £1000 shortfall that will have to be made up by the newly independent Scottish population to maintain the current level of spending.
On a personal level, i don't much care which way Scotland jumps but if they do go there own separate way, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be £17bn a year better off but i strongly expect the thought of a huge rise in tax and a sharp cut in public services will be a strong incentive to the Scottish population to stay with the UK for the foreseeable future.

Friday, 21 February 2014


The CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the oil giants behind fracking, has joined a lawsuit that challenges the construction of a water tower connected to hydraulic fracturing operations near his Texas home, given that it will cause unwanted noise and traffic associated with trucking water from the 160-foot tower to the drilling site and may reduce the value of his $5 million property.
Don't you really hope he gets told where to stick his lawsuit.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Happy Kurt Cobain Day!

Kurt Cobain would have been 47 years old today and the home town of the Grunge star is honouring it's most famous son with the first annual Kurt Cobain day.
The residents of Aberdeen, Washington are celebrating the life of the 90's singer with concerts and a huge statue of the troubled star who ended his life aged just 27.
'Aberdeen residents may justifiably take pride in the role our community played in the life of Kurt Cobain' reads a proclamation from the cities Mayor who thanked the Grunge superstar for putting the city on the map.
So indebted are they to him that they have tagged 'Come As You Are' from one the bands biggest hits to their Welcome sign.
I'm not sure what Kurt Cobain would make of the place he once called 'Twin Peaks without the excitement' claiming him for their own, i expect he wouldn't have been very happy about it. Oh well, nevermind.
In memory i'm going to throw 'Smell's Like Teen Spirit' in the CD Player and fondly remember the man who spoke for a generation with the immortal lyrics: 'A mulatto, An albino, A mosquito, My libido,Yeah'.
Indeed Kurt, indeed.

Move To Peru To Avoid Floods

With still another week to go before the official end of the season, the MET Office have declared this Winter as the wettest since records began.
The UK's rainfall record for the season has already been broken with 48.6cm of rain falling on the nation and yet more forecast before Spring arrives on 1 March.
As climate change is not going away anytime soon which means we will now be spending parts of the year pulling on our wellington boots to enter the living room, thoughts will be turning to where can we go to avoid waking up to find our bed floating on the part of the River Thames that has entered the bedroom.
The highest place above sea-level in the World and therefore where the rising oceans will reach last, is the region of Puno in Peru. As the countries largest producer of potatoes, Puno sounds like somewhere you would get dirt beneath your fingernails but next highest is Qinghai Province in the Northwest of China.  
If you don't fancy either digging potatoes in Peru all day or learning how to ask for a fork in mandarin, it's back to South America for the next above sea level places in Argentina and Bolivia or Asia for the village of Hikkim in India which holds the record for the World's highest post office.
If you are looking to stay in Europe you should be heading to Van Province in Turkey or if you are looking for a place to keep your feet dry and spell words without a letter u, head to the Town of Alma in Colorado.
Brits should be making a beeline for Staffordshire and the village of Flash which sits 1,519 ft above sea-level. Alternatively, stay at home and revel in the opportunity to go fishing from the comfort of your own sofa.

Bowie's Stay With Us Puzzler

For a man who rhymed funk to funky with junkie in one of his most famous songs, Bowie has had a successful career by most peoples standards. 
Now he has received a Brit Award for Best British Male Solo Artist, he has stepped into the sphere of politics and urged Scotland to 'Stay with us' although the singer does not elaborate on exactly who 'us'  is. Possibly America which is where he lives now as a tax exile or maybe France where he once lived as a tax exile or even Switzerland where he also lived as a tax exile.
Wherever 'us' is in David Bowie's mind, it won't be his tax money that continues to be sent north of the border to keep Scotland going if they vote to stay as part of the UK as expected.
Still, nice of the rich English bloke living in America to ask the Scots to stay with the country that he so blatantly abandoned to avoid contributing to the nation that gave him his break.

£571 Million Is Not Enough Profit

Electric and gas supplier Centrica has announced a 6% drop in profits for the last year, only making £571m. As predicted, they have now come out moaning about being unable to rip off their customers hence:

Threat to economy - TICK. 'I think the reputation of Britain as a place in which to invest is under threat'.  

Threaten that the lights will go out - TICK. 'The possibility of the lights going out in Britain will be looming much larger'.

Blame someone else for losing over a third of a million customers in a year- TICK. 'Difficult market conditions and intense political over its dominant position'.

Promise to not rip customers off anymore - TICK. 'We are trying to improve understanding and rebuild trust with customers' 

£571 million profit and they are complaining and threatening the country with blackouts because they have not made enough profits. Privatisation is great isn't it.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Israeli Goods Left On The Shelf

I haven't knowingly purchased anything Israel has offered for many years now. I do go out of my way to check the country of origin sticker and if it says Israel, i put it back.
In 2009, the Israeli Manufacturing Association claimed that people like me, who boycott Israel goods has cost it a 5% drop in the Israeli export economy.
With Israeli exports being left on the shelves all across Europe, Binyamin Netanyahu has launched an attack on supporters of a boycott of Israel the way only Israel knows how, by shouting anti-semitism.
Binyamin Netanyahu has urged the country's friends to 'expose and outflank them by emphasising its high-tech achievements and global economic appeal'.
Might be a long wait considering America is Israel’s only friend and even they seem to be edging slowly away from it leaving it even further isolated.
Never one to miss an opportunity to remind everyone about the holocaust to make his point, the Israeli Prime Minister said the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement was intended to lead to 'the end of the Jewish state' and said that it was disgraceful that Europeans talked about boycotting Jews saying 'In the past, anti-semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state'.
'The founders of the BDS movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They're quite explicit about it. And I think it's important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They're classical anti-semites' he continued.
Thankfully shouting anti-semitic at anyone who disagrees with Israel’s actions nowadays no longer silences the opposition and instantly shuts down any criticism no matter how many times or how loud they say it.
All that happens is that the Israeli goods get left on the shelf.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Floods Silver Lining Is Less Denier Idiots

There are not many silver linings to be found after the floods the UK have faced but i can hopefully see one, albeit little comfort to the people who have lost everything.
Hopefully, ten weeks of torrential rain and storms sweeping in from the Atlantic has shifted the mindset of the thankfully dwindling few who remained sceptical about climate change.
Floods, draughts, hurricanes, typhoons and heatwaves happening elsewhere in the World had little impact but now it is on their doorstep and happening in their own back yard, it must focus a few more minds that were otherwise closed to the idea that Mother Nature was reacting angrily to the decades of pollutants we had pumped into the atmosphere.
This should be the turning point where millions more of us start thinking about the environment and green policies, listening to the climate scientists and finally apprehending that Climate Change is here now and although it is too late to stop it coming and this amount of damage is being caused by only a fraction of the temperature rise we can expect, we can start to stop it becoming as bad as it could be.
Of course there will still be the ignorant, useful idiots of those with the most to lose from green policies who will continue to do their utmost to muddy the waters but they were already a rapidly shrinking and irrelevant band.
Hopefully this will raise awareness that something is seriously wrong with the climate patterns not just in Britain but all around the world and the selfish anti-social climate deniers will be pushed even further to the lunatic fringes and the rest of us can dismiss their dangerous rhetoric and start thinking more deeply about what we have done to our planet and how to limit the damage that is coming our way without hearing the wrongheaded twitterings of the moronic climate change deniers.


1. Snake-handling pastor Jamie Coots bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake during a church service
2. Rev Coots refuses medical treatment as believes God will cure him
3. Dies an hour later from venomous snakebite
4. Reality - 1 Faith - 0

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Queen Greatest Hits

Queen's 1981 'Greatest Hits' album have now sold six million copies and is among the record collection of one in three British homes.
I am one of the 6 million and it is a great album and Queen were a great band and Freddie had a great voice, their reputation only spoiled by the sin of those nine concerts in South Africa during the height of apartheid.
With May and Mercury, Queen had two amazing talents and Freddie would be a contender for the greatest front man in most peoples lists. They also had some barnstorming songs, Bohemian Rhapsody, Don't Stop Me Now, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, I Want to Break Free, Killer Queen, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, all songs that would have me turning up the radio when they come on. 
These days, you don't hear much about this episode in the life of Queen although it was mentioned when the remaining members of Queen travelled to South Africa in 2005 to play a Nelson Mandela tribute concert named '46664' which was the number of Mandela's prisoner ID at Robben Island jail.
I waited to hear a sorry, never heard it and forever afterwards struggled to separate the Queen that gave us some amazing songs with the Queen who snubbed the boycott of South Africa and gave tacit approval to the apartheid regime.

He's Creepy And He's Kooky

John Kerry was on the television this morning saying something about North Korea and how upbeat he was about something or other but then he is always upbeat about something.
He always seems to turn up in another country and babbles something and then goes away again leaving everyone to wonder why the guy from the Adams Family was there in the first place because nobody really listens to him, they just get the tune to the Adams family running through their head instead.
I did it this morning, here he was talking about China and North Korea and all we did was have a discussion about whether he looked more like Herman Munster or Lurch.
By the time we had decided it was Lurch he was gone and what he had said had disappeared into the ether but as all he has achieved during his time as Secretary of State was making a gaffe that prevented America killing thousands of Syrians, it probably wasn't worth listening to anyway.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Heart

Everywhere you look the last week there have been heart shaped offerings on display, on cards, in shop windows, moulded in chocolate but although i have never actually seen a real human heart, the ones i have seen in pictures are nothing like heart shaped.
There are a few theories how the heart shape got it's shape ranging from the shape of the female genitals to the shape of a mans testicles. It could have come from the shape of the tips of cupids arrows as painted by renaissance painters or just as easily have been based on the shape of a backside but i once heard the best explanation that i have always gone with, the shape made by two people kissing.
The chests pressed together, noses touching and the two people forming a perfect Valentine heart of space between them. Far better than the idea of an arse.

Giraffe Massacre In Denmark

If reincarnation is true, something you don't want to come back as is a giraffe in Denmark. The last one is still being digested in the stomach of a lion and another Danish zoo is already plotting the demise of the next one.
The Danish Jyllands Park Zoo has said it may have to put down one of its giraffes, Marius, to comply with breeding programme rules.
The Zoo said its unlucky giraffe is a seven-year-old hybrid, also called Marius, which means he is a mix of different sub-species and he is housed with a younger, pure-bred giraffe called Elmer and is expecting to receive a female giraffe to mate with Elmer at some point.
'At the moment, there is no problem' said zoologist Jasper Moehring,' they are good company for each other but the problem will be when we get a female'.
'The genes of the hybrid are too similar to those of other animals in the European breeding programme and risk introducing rare and harmful genes to the giraffe population if he is allowed to breed' explained Copenhagen's scientific director, Bengt Holst, 'The zookeepers at Copenhagen knew it was the best solution for the giraffes there'.
The two Marius's may not agree.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Worlds First GM Contamination Case

It's not that i am against GM food, what i worry about is once that particular genie is out the bottle, and if science discovers GM food is not as healthy as we are told it is, it will be impossible to put it back in again.
For that reason i am hoping that Australian farmer local farmer Steve Marsh wins his case against Michael Baxter for negligence over the alleged contamination of the land that Marsh used for growing organic crops.
The case is expected to determine GM farmers’ liability if their crops affect neighbouring territories in the world’s first trial over GM contamination.
Non-GM farmers fear losing their organic certification because of contamination as GM crops production increases. 
Marsh claims that 2010, Baxter’s GM seeds were blown by the wind onto his farm, causing him to lose his guaranteed organic certification on 70 percent of his land, costing him an estimated $85,000.
Baxter's case is being backed by GM seed firm Monsanto while Marsh is relying on donations from the public to cover his legal costs.
I hope Marsh, and common sense, win the case as GM food has yet to be proven as safe for human consumption and tests on rats have shown those given GM feed have developed tumours and suffered severe liver and kidney damage leading to a suspension of GM crops in the EU.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Face Of A Cherub

Us Westerners, even the atheist amongst us, seem to think we have a pretty sound knowledge of the main characters of the Bible. If e were asked to draw a cherub, we would go with the small chubby kids with wings. The Devil would be a horned man with a goatee dressed in red and holding a pitchfork and Hell would be a place of fire and tortured souls writing about in pain.  
Seems that we have been fooled by artists, authors and REM videos because all these iconic figures were either never mentioned anyone in Gods gang or the church.
Ezekiel 10:14 describes cherubs as a creature with four-heads that included the faces of a cherub, a human, an eagle and a lion.
As for Old Scratch, the Prince of Darkness is never physically described apart from as a disembodied voice and the only part you'll find in the Bible to describe hell is in Matthew 13:42 where it says sinners are banished to: 'a furnace of fire', no description of what goes on there.
All makes a mockery of the people who were on the TV today saying how they had seen Angels, Cherubs or the devil because what they saw, if anything, was what they think Cherubs, Angels and Old Nick look like courtesy of the imagination of generations of artists and authors.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

What To Do About Flooding

It seems that since Christmas, the UK has been visited weekly by one storm or another sweeping in off the Atlantic on a rapidly swirling Jet Stream.
The result has been catastrophic floods along the South Coast with the Western edge of the country hit again and again.
As this weekend saw even more torrential rain and 80mph winds adding to the woes of the inhabitants of Devon and Somerset, we seem to be facing a crunch question of how we are going to deal with this. Two hundred years of recklessly filling our skies with pollutants has bought us to where we are today and climate change, with its resulting rising sea levels and extreme weather events mean that the invasion by sea on our island nation is inevitable.
After months of battering, the flood defences are being overwhelmed and coastal erosion as we have seen in Somerset is happening now.
As floods are expected to increase as warmer temperatures lead to more moisture in the air and more frequent severe downpours, erosion is inescapable and we have a choice of either 'forcing the sea back to keep it out' as one Government minister has said or adapt to our new situation which could mean a painful choice for people living on the coasts currently being hammered by the angry elements.
The government's current approach is to spend £130 million patching up the defences, or keeping the sea out, a course of action that the  National Trust's coast and marine adviser, Phil Dyke, described as 'applying a sticking plasters on things that will pull off again and again'. 
That's the dilemma, do we continually spends hundreds of millions each year on a problem that is not only going to happen again and again but get worse as time goes on, or take a more radical approach and let the sea in and move the people.
With the UK already facing a shortage of places to build new cities, it isn't an easy option but with annual flooding and uninsurable housing in the West, it may happen naturally anyway as people flee the flood stricken areas.

Royal Idiots

Our Royal family are not the sharpest knives in the drawer at the best of times but even they must have realised that stopping off to go hunting on the way to launching a campaign aimed at saving wildlife is not the best move.
William and Harry will hunt wild boar, partridges and stags on a private estate in Spain before joining up with the Zoological Society to condemn hunters who hunt endangered species in a campaign called 'Let's Unite for Wildlife!'
Animals don't need enemies with idiots like the Royal Chuckle Brothers protecting them, keen to prove their caring sharing side for wildlife by bravely blasting huge holes in them from a safe distance.
A campaign called 'Let's Unite to kick out the Royals' is long overdue.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Let The Games Begin

Apparently while the rest of us watched the Olympic opening Ceremony from Sochi, American were treated to a episode of Sesame Street or something because NBC, the media outlet covering the Olympics for America, didn't show it or rather, decided nobody wanted to watch it live and will show it several hours later. For the benefit of America, you missed a treat.
My personal highlights was when the five giant snowflakes appeared and slowly transformed into the Olympic rings. Actually only four did leaving four Olympic rings, a big snowflake and a snowflake engineer hurriedly shoving clothes into a suitcase and looking up the schedule for the next flight to Mexico.
Where we had the Queen parachuting out of a helicopter, Russia had President Putin stepping out of a door to declare the Games open and herald the lighting of the torch by Russian gymnast, Alina Kabayeva, who may or may not be Putin's mistress.
The normally boring 'Meet The Athletes' bit was brightened by a member of the Austrian team falling flat on his face and the Bermuda squad turning up in shorts.  
That's basically it, lots of dancing and music and fireworks but nobody was expecting the grand finale when the mascot removed his head to reveal Edward Snowden.
As the BBC man said: 'Maybe its a good thing NBS isn't showing it live, they will probably cut that bit' so if it isn't included on NBC tonight when they show it, that what happened.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Same Song, Different Lyrics

The World of movies have hit upon a formula of once they have a successful film, they go on to make a second or third or in the case of the Halloween films, ten.
Now i have no problem with that, i look forward to a decent sequel of films i enjoyed although it does leave studios open to a lack of imagination which is hard to disagree with although if you hit upon a money spinning idea, why not milk it.
That's why we have 8 Batman and Star Wars films in the series, 12 Friday the 13th films and 4 Shreks but for some reason the music industry has not clicked onto this formula.
If a band has a smash hit on their hands, why not rewrite the lyrics and put it out again a few years later?
Other bands have no problem remaking other peoples classic songs (and making a pigs ear of it most of the time) so why not the Eagles do a 'Hotel California II' or Madness 'Another Step Beyond' or even 'Teenage  Kicks part 2' by the Undertones.   
Some people may say that putting out the same tune with different lyrics is exactly what what reggae bands have been doing for decades, UB40 and Bob Marley made a career of only knowing one tune, so why not other bands? 
Just not you Sir Cliff, you stay retired, the World does not need another version of 'Wired For Sound' thank you very much.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Psychology Of Colour

After minutes of painstaking and thorough research of why the red tops of Denver would beat the white tops of Seattle in the Superbowl, (the effect of the electro-magnetic radiation of light on human mood and behaviour) Denver decided to wear orange tops and surprise surprise, got comprehensively thrashed.
Orange, as any psychologist will tell you, is the colour of frustration so no wonder the Cowboys played like lemons against the White clad Seahawks, white being the colour of efficiency.
If the Cowboys had stuck to their red tops with red representing courage and energy they would be the ones parading around the trophy, they may even have has a chance if they had worn the Blue kit which represents logic and calm.
In proper Football, Brazil are the masters and that is due to their yellow tops with yellow representing confidence and creativity while in Rugby the black outfitted New Zealanders rule the roost due to their black tops which show efficiency and menace.
The colours for teams to avoid if you want to be successful in sport are Green (peacefulness and stagnation), Pink (tranquillity and physical weakness) Grey (neutrality and lack of energy) and the aforementioned frustrating Orange.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Winter Olympic Names

The Sochi countdown clock tells me it is only 2 days and 22 hours until the opening ceremony of the XXII Winter Games.
The Sochi website has a full list of all the athletes so let's have a look to see who will be lighting up our television screens for the next few weeks.  
In the ice hockey we have Jenni Asserholt of Sweden while the Swiss have Luca Cunti and Romy Eggimann.
The Americans are usually a good bet for some funny names but apart from Summer Britcher in the luge and Sugar Todd in the skating, slim pickings there in the funny name stakes.  
Beat Hefti in the Swiss Toboggan might raise a smile first time so it is all down to the Germans and their Ski Jumping team and the one man who can rescue us from a very poor funny name tournament. 
Down there, at the bottom of the alphabetical list, Andreas Wank.
Normal childlike sniggering when the commentator says: 'Next up, A.Wank from Germany' is resumed. Split sides all round if the commentator mentions how he is holding his own.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Scarlett Who?

Scarlett Johansson, ambassador for Oxfam.
Sodastream, fizzy drinks manufacturer from 1970s.
Sodastream offer Scarlett mutli-million pound deal to act as global brand ambassador.
Oxfam call Scarlett.
Oxford point out Sodastream manufacturing plant in illegal Israeli settlement in West Bank.
Oxfam give Scarlett choice between them or Sodastream.
Sodastream get Scarlett as global ambassador.
Scarlett continues to pocket multi-million pound deal. 
Oxfam look for new ambassador.
World boos Scarlett.
Nobody buys Sodastream.
Scarlett buys sports car.
Palestinians continue inhumane suffering.
Scarletts career nosedives as she is always remembered as the actress who put money above human suffering and principles.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Science Says It Denver

It's the Superbowl tonight and the Seattle Seahawks are taking on the Denver Broncos.
I know nothing about American Football and even less about the two teams playing this game but a quick Google search shows that Denver will win because they play in red.
A 2005 study showed that red outfits give athletes an advantage, an evolutionary throwback as red correlates to male dominance and testosterone levels in animals and humans associate anger and danger with red which has a subconscious reaction that puts the opposition at a disadvantage.
In the Durham University study, scientists examined football tournaments and Olympic sports in which competitors were randomly assigned red or blue outfits or protective gear and found that wearing red is consistently associated with higher probability of winning' and warned that 'The colour of sportswear needs to be taken into account to ensure a level playing field in sport'.
So science is telling us it's going to be 'Go Denver' to the red wearing Broncos and 'You Suck' to the white wearing Seahawks.

Happy New Year Satanists

I don't think i know any Satan worshippers but if i did i would be wishing them a Happy New Year today because it's that time in the Satanic Calendar when they smear themselves in Goats blood and sing Auld Lang Syne while sacrificing a virgin. Probably.
I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Satanic New Year until the Vatican blamed Satanists for pinching the blood of Pope John Paul II for use in their Candlemass celebrations.
The devil worshippers should be able to summon up one of the better calibre of demons with the blood of a Pope as an offering, maybe even old Beelzebub himself if he isn't busy pitchforking Margaret Thatcher in the bum, so i will keep an ear out for that on the news.
Apparently the Satanists calendar indicates a whole rosta of events through the year including 'St Eichatadt Day' on 1st March when they drink human blood for strength and homage to demons and the 'Feast of the beast' on 24 March when a virgin becomes the bride of Satan in a marriage ceremony.
July 1 is the day of the 'Demon Revels' involving more blood rituals and sexual relations with demons but the day all Satanists clear on their calendar is 31 October, or 'High Unholy Days', when the Satanists attempt to break the bond which is keeping the doors to the underworld closed and include the obligatory blood rituals.
As you can see, they do go through a lot of blood during the Satanic Year so you can see why they would take any opportunity to pinch some of the Pope's when the chance presents itself.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Beiber Isn't A Rebel, Just Annoying

I'm of an age when i remember when rock stars were making headlines for trashing hotel rooms, throwing TV's out of windows and drinking enough alcohol that their pancreases exploded. 
In the World of Rock n Roll hellraisers, Justin Beiber throwing eggs at his neighbours house and driving without a license would hardly register but so shocked are Americans at his behaviour that they have set up a petition to get him booted back across the Canadian border for being a 'terrible influence on the nations youth'.
Over 100,000 have felt sufficiently affronted by Bieber’s antics to sign it and will now be reviewed by White House staff and an official statement given.
I’d understand if the petition was to to banish him for crimes against music but or even being the perpetrator of a swathe of stupid haircuts but for being rebellious?
Pop stars, or the better ones, are supposed to be rebellious, its a big reason why we like them and what they are here to do, live out the outrageous fantasies that we believe we would do if we were in their position.
That it is the former clean cut Bieber who has been on the front pages drinking, drag-racing and smoking pot does have its shock value but that is still tame compared to what the bands of yesteryear got up with the likes of Keith Moon parking his car in the hotel swimming pool or Slash 'dying' for eight minutes after a week long drinking and drugs binge.  
Maybe today’s teens and 20-somethings are tamer than we were back then when we lapped up these type of stories and tales of drunken debauchery and bowling over photographers were commonplace.
Rock stars SHOULD act bad but it is the second part of the equation where Beiber falls down. They acted bad but the music they put out was great, not an accusation that can be levelled at Beiber or the other 'bad girl of pop, Miley Cyrus so i despair that the lame actions of Beiber are considered a bad influence on Americas youth because that sets the bar far too low for what can passes for a pop rebel today and Beiber is not just dismissed as an annoying moron.
Get a grip America.

Blair On Egypt

Because he can't go anywhere in his own country without someone throwing something at him, Tony Blair seems to be continually moving around the Globe and has popped up in Egypt to tell us all that the military removal of Egypts first democratically elected leader and the violent crackdowns and human rights abuses that have followed is a good thing.
Blair was a fan of Hosni Mubarak, calling him a  'force for good' even as he was killing his citizens in the streets, but he is in the corner of army leader Abdel Fatah al-Sis and tells anyone stupid enough to listen to what has to say that 'The army have intervened in order to take the country to the next stage of its development and we should be supporting it'.
Glossing over the killings, thousands of arrests and the curbing of right to free assembly and free speech and how the day before Blair uttered his inane comments, 20 journalists were arrested on under terrorism charges for 'fabricating news which could tarnishing Egypt's reputation abroad', you do wonder what Planet Tony Blair is living on these days.
That said the man who deceived the British public and lied about WMD's in Iraq and picked over facts to justify the illegal invasion of a country that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and was calling for a war in Syria a few short months ago is a Middle East peace envoy so we are all living on Planet bizzarro.
At least we get the comfort of Tony Blair's mad bleatings every so often so we have the comfort of knowing that the correct action to take is always the total opposite of what he says, he has become a very good barometer of right versus wrong.