Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sleeping Tips For Hot Summer Nights

It was hot Monday, even more sweltering today and tomorrow is forecast to be stonkingly hot at 32C but while that is unusual for Britain other countries around the World seem to cope with even higher temperatures so how do they keep cool?  
With nightime temperatures remaining in the low 20s, it's not going to be easy getting a decent nights sleep but luckily there is the internet and a plethora of people in hot countries willing to pass on advice on how they cope with hot summer nights.
A fan can be used if you can handle the constant drone of the fan motor or you could throw open the windows but expect to wake up with an insect party going on around your head in the morning.
Something i was told a long time ago was to put your pillow in the fridge an hour before you go to bed (or just the pillowcase if the fridge isn't big enough) and other helpful tips is to not strip off but wear loose-fitting cotton or silk nightclothes as natural fibres wick away moisture from your skin.
Leaving blinds down or curtains closed during the day will keep the sun out and not heat up the bedroom and running your wrists and hands or feet under the cold tap for a few minutes will bring down the bodies temperature as will hugging a hot water bottle filled with cold water.
In Japan they put the mattress on the floor as that is where the coolest air is as the warm air is lighter and will rise leaving all the cold stuff lower down.
Another tip is to wring out a flannel with cold water and sleep with it on exposed skin and going to bed with damp socks on while sleeping on your side exposes more body surface and gives off more heat.
Thanks Internet.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

First Robot Wedding

It’s been quite a week for the institution of marriage with first the U.S. Supreme Court bringing American marriage laws into the 21st Century and legalizing same-sex marriage while Japan continue to inhabit an altogether
other century with the first robot wedding.
Well wishers gathered in Tokyo this weekend to witness robots named Frois and Yukirin tie the knot in a ceremony administered by a robot named Pepper.
Congratulations to the happy couple but i only hope that any children look like their mother.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Stuck For Present Ideas?

Stuck for a present for that someone who has everything?
How about a Missile Site Military Base available on Ebay at a reduced price of $503,500 (approx £319,354).
I bet they haven't got one of those!
The price tag is what the current owner wants for the Nike DY-10 Control Site in Abilene, Texas, after no takers at the original $595,000 asking price.
The base has two barracks buildings, officer quarters, tennis and basketball courts, several unidentified concrete buildings and 12 acres of land.
I decided not to put in a bid as the delivery notes said 'May not ship to United Kingdom' but i am sure that there are several people elsewhere interested with a bidding war going on between a Mr K. Un who has bid 500 North Korean Won and Mr V. Putin in Moscow who has made a bid of 250 Ruble's but is eyeing the 'buy now' button.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Welcoming Religionists To The Green Side

Religion for once is attempting to inspire a worthy mission with the Pope speaking out to the billions of his followers that Climate Change is real and happening and we face a choice of whether or not us humans wish to keep inhabiting this planet.
The Pope has warned of: 'an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems' and 'serious consequences for all of us if humanity fails to act on climate change' in his encyclical on the environment, published by the Vatican.
Barely out of the dark ages and in some respects still firmly entrenched in it, at least the Church has realised that everything else pales into insignificance if the planet is ravaged by devastating severe weather and catastrophic warming climates and the central message seems to be seeping in with several senior Catholic figures who in turn will bring the Popes message to the billion of Catholics around the globe who continue to cling to the belief that the Pope has the ear of the man who made the Universe. 
Fair enough, especially if it means more people will now heed the warning and stop wrecking the planet although the problem has always been the big corporations filling the sky, land and sea with their pollutants.
It's all more pressure so i say there is still much the Church can do, it's views on homosexuals, abortions and contraception are absurd but if it wants to say to the believers that if you still want to get to heaven on the Day of Judgement they need to recycle, then any means to an end and welcome to the green side of the argument.
Light a candle, grab your rosary beads and let's discuss why talking snakes don't exist over a cup of lemon tea.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

A Golden Age For Child Poverty

If you look hard there was a little-noticed line in the Conservative party’s general election manifesto that said the government would 'work to eliminate child poverty' so the DWP report announced today that the number of children in poverty has gone up by 200,000 over the last year to 2.3 million could be a bit embarrassing.
With the £12 trillion of cuts still yet to come, expected to heavily hit in work benefits such as tax credits and housing benefit, the Conservatives have come up with a solution to the problem, they will change the way child poverty is measured.
David Cameron's official spokeswoman said the Prime Minister: "Remains committed to doing more work to eliminate child poverty and that is precisely why the government wants to look at having an approach that is focused more on tackling the root causes of poverty than treating the symptoms'.
The root being ignored is the low wages paid by employers which force people to receive top ups such as tax credits and help with rent but rather than increase the minimum wage and put the burden onto the employers, the Conservatives plan is to reduce the benefits that you have to be in work to receive.
Now the Government is looking to slash the tax credits available to employees and leave the taxpayers to subsidise the employers who makes billions in profits, we can expect to look back on the days when only 2.3 million children were in poverty as a golden time although with the government fudging the figures, we just won't know it.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Canada v England

During it's heyday, Great Britain sprung many offspring such as Australia, America and Canada.
Australia has always been our child that we are wary of wanting to show to polite company, lest it would belch loudly and try to set light to it's own farts at the lunch table.
America has always been the sort of country that us parents would receive phone calls from the school inviting us up for a meeting as it has been stealing the other countries lunch money and has been trying to look up the skirts of the girls.
Canada though has always been the perfect child for us Brits, well behaved, well mannered and the sort of country that would excuse themselves from the table to do a spot of vacuuming and washing up.
This gives us Brits a bit of a quandary because England have been matched against our favourite child in the Women's World Cup Quarter Final. If it was Australia or America it wouldn't be an issue, it would be smash them and then let's do that L thing with our index finger and thumb to the forehead and mock them for being rubbish but Canada is different.
I suppose it will be cheer for England and then give a British pat on the back and chin up old girl, you did well and better luck next time and all that.
Of our less liked children, the USA have China and Australia face the winner of Japan v Netherlands, Japan then, although it all seems academic because Germany will win the thing and we we all go home empty handing trying to avoid the Australians and that slightly acrid smell of singed arse hair that emanates from them for some reason.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Why Are We Celebrating Armed Forces?

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day and David Cameron is urging us all to show our support to 'those which help protect our values and keep us safe'.    
Of course after a succession of unpopular and pointless wars, the military has had to undergo a bit of a public relations initiative and the message seems to be the army, navy and air-force are doing all they do all over 'to keep us safe'.
My question would be who exactly are they keeping us safe from?
Certainly Saddam Hussein in Iraq wasn't a danger to us, neither was the Taliban in Afghanistan and we were best buddies with Colonel Gadaffi in Libya just before we decided we didn't actually like him much and helped remove him but in no way, shape or form was he a danger to our safety.
The last three wars were not fought to keep us safe then and the danger now seems to be ISIS but we are not at war with them as they violently and with murderous intent step into the vacuum we created by removing the aforementioned leaders.
Russia seem to be the latest big bad but their are not lines of Russian Tanks lining up ready to roll across Europe and stop only once they reach this side of the Channel.
So again, who are the military keeping us safe from exactly because from where i have been sitting for the past decade it seems that our military have been used less for defending us and more for attacking countries whose leaders we don't like and in the majority of cases, happen to be soaked in oil so why would we want to support that?
How about a day where we support those people who save or improve lives instead of  those who destroy and take them.
A Nurses Day i could support but celebrating our military who the politicians have used to bring mayhem to large swathes of the globe? Nah, i will take a pass thanks. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Queen Bee to Replace Queen Liz

The one reason cited most by pro-Royalists for keeping Queen Elizabeth and her brood is that they bring in a lot of tourist pounds which of course isn't much of an argument.
It is not as if people will stop coming to our green and pleasant land saying: 'We were considering England but as nice as it is, it just isn't the same without a monarchy so we're going to spend two weeks in Magaluf instead'.
It is reported that the Royals add £500m in tourism to the countries coffers but even that laughable figure must be reduced by the £300m they cost us to keep them, their royal residences and the security bill to keep them safe as they trot off around the globe waving at people.
Now Researchers at the University of Reading have estimated the overall value of bees to the economy and come up with a figure of £651m due to how heavily food crops rely on bees to grow, and how much the sale of these crops contribute to the UK economy.
The solution is therefore to kick out the Queen and her growing family of civil list money grabbers and stick a bee on the throne.
The bee wouldn't cost anything except the cost of a hive and it wouldn't need the £8m that we hand to the Queen each year for the privilege of sitting in a huge house in unimaginable luxury and being given £8m each year.
Next week, my plan to replace the Conservative Government with potatoes.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Nice One Mrs & Mrs Kerr

The choosing of a name is a personal thing, sometimes the parents decide to name their offspring after a member of the family or an inspirational figure from history or even they go for the option of using the moniker of someone in the current spotlight.
Occasionally the parents give the matter no thought at all and disregard that their offspring will hear a lifetime of snickering whenever they are introduced.
That's why we have people like the Canadian baseball player Stubby Clapp, Randy Lerner sat in the big chair at Aston Villa and to this list of humorous names we can add the Jamaican currently keeping goal at the COPA America, DuWayne Kerr.
Mr Kerr's parents either have a great sense of humour or..., let's just say they have a great sense of humour but as funny as it is, it has not made it's way in to my list of side splitting names.
A special mention here to former footballer Stefan Kuntz and downhill skier Andreas Wank but they don't even get close to the Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at Singapore University, Shit Fun Chew, or the former US ambassador to Denmark, Dick Swett.
Still holding the top spot at number one is the man at the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe who is named Tiny Kox.
Mr and Mrs Kox, we salute you .

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Bad Time For Mo

Interesting times to be Mo Farah as drug allegations creep even closer to him on news that he missed two drug tests before the London 2012 Olympics.
There has already been whispers that as his trainer and training partner have been exposed as breaking anti-doping rules, that Farah, who has not been accused of anything illegal, at best must have been aware what was happening and at worst partaken in the practise.
It doesn't help that his excuse for missing the second was that he failed to hear his doorbell has been dismissed by anti-doping officials who confirmed they would have tried repeatedly to rouse him during the hour in question by knocking on his door every 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile Nicole Sapstead, the UK Anti-Doping chief executive, said that it was not common for athletes to miss two tests in a single 12-month period and a third missed test would have counted as the equivalent of a failed drugs test and could have led to Farah receiving a possible four-year ban.  
It may take more than the team of crisis management experts that Mo is consulting with to save his reputation after this.

Obama Finally Gets It Over Guns Laws

Another mass shooting in a country where guns are easily accessible and controlled by crazy stupid guns laws.
The President said 'communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. We have to recognise that this type of violence does not happen in other countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency' and then he added the bit that has me scratching my head.
'It is in our power to do something about it'.
As the President, HE has the power to do something about it especially as he is due to hand in the White House key shortly and doesn't have to appease anyone to gain votes.
Sure the right wing gun-nuts will shout and bitch and moan and throw up half the second amendment (and conveniently not mention the part about a well regulated militia) and i am sure some even nuttier ones will say that the solution is having even more guns but if the President can't do anything about it, who can?
He could whack a massive tax on weapons or be sneaky and whack it on the ammunition, introduce a
gun licence and charge an extortionate fee or even just go all out and make the regulations for owning a gun so tight that it becomes more of a hassle to own one then not.
What i expect will happen is nothing just as happens after every mass shooting because if nothing changed after 20 children were shot dead in an elementary school, it won't change over nine dead in a church and the crazies with the guns win again.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Putting The Fun Into Funeral

Seems the scheduled posts never appeared then as if someone had accidentally put the wrong date on them or something which is a shame because there were a few crackers there and one i was especially chuffed with which had time travellers at the signing of the Magna Carta which will now never see the light of day. Oh well, onward and downwards as they say which is especially fitting as i have just returned from a 'FUN-eral'.
It was definitely not a funeral in the usual sense, it was strictly a colourful celebration of the person's life with just as much laughter, music and amusing anecdotes as there were sombre remembrance.
It wasn't to everybodies tastes, the traditional view amongst some is that funerals are meant to be sombre, austere and joyless but it seems the days of the traditional funeral may be coming to an end.   
Wearing black is now commonly discouraged and according to the The Co-operative Funeralcare, Monty Python's 'Always Look On The Bright Side of Life' is the most popular song played at UK funerals.
An ICM poll found that 54% of people wanted their funeral to be a 'celebration of their life and wanted it to incorporate their favourite hobby, colour, football team or music.
It may not please the church and it was apparently quite a job to get a vicar willing to oversee the proceedings that insisted no tears, no dwelling on loss and was a gathering to rejoice and have a good laugh at what happened when she was alive. Her words were for it to be: 'One last hurrah', 
It seems a strange thing to say but a good time was had by all and i have never laughed so much at a funeral which was a strange feeling and i can't say i am looking forward to the next one but it is hard not to raise a smile when a coffin made to look like a mobile phone disappears behind a curtain to the sounds of Celine Dion singing 'My Heart Will Go On'.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Lying Politicians

It seems to have become a thing accepted and tolerated by the public that politicians lie.
The fact that we have been told for the last few years that everything is on the up and the economy is all rainbows and fairy castles in the run up to the election only to then be told days afterwards that the Government are having to make £12 billion of austerity cuts is a case in point.
As it is the same Government, they must have had the cuts in mind before the election so they know the state of the countries finances and lied about them to get themselves back in power.
This week a parliamentary standards watchdog launched a formal enquiry into one MP who after much denial, now admits he had agreed to the leak of a document aimed at damaging the SNP during the recent campaign.
As we have no mechanism to remove the right honourable Members of Parliament if it is later discovered that they lied or if they have their hands in the expenses till, they just get away with it unless the watchdog becomes involved and that is only if a fellow MP makes a complaint which of course is very rare, lest the spotlight is turned on them.
Politician's lies come on a sliding scale from a little white lie one to maybe deceive your enemies in war or hostile foreign states, to whoppers such as Tony Blair and George W Bush said, but is it ever right for the people in power to lie to their own citizens for their own political advantage?
In a recent interview, an MP said Parliament would be empty if politicians were punished for telling lies and maybe if a few more were punished we can start believing them when they explain a policy.
As they are receiving a backdated pay increase of 10% 'as the economy is picking up' while public and civil servant continue with pay freezes and 1% increases, maybe that lie should be investigated also or at the very least suspended until we all feel the benefit and not just the 5% of earners which bracket the £75k per year politicians now move into.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Charlie, Charlie, Can We Play?

I have never seen a ghost, felt a spiritual presence or locked eyes with a demon but it isn't through want of trying as my friends and i would often sit excitedly around a ouija board in our younger days and try to communicate with someone, anyone, on the other side.
Apart from one time when the goldfish jumped out of the tank, we came away thinking what a load of old tosh and the whole thing would degenerate into an argument about whether George Michael and Andrew Ridgely were gay.
Just like the youth of the 1980's, the youth of the 2010's are still looking to the other realm for their jollies and their answer to the oiuja board is a spirit summoning game called Charlie Charlie.       
The Charlie Charlie Challenge is designed to summon a malignant spirit from beyond the grave and works by balancing a pencil horizontally on top of a vertically aligned pencil so they are in the shape of a cross and two of the quadrants are labelled 'yes' and two are labelled 'no'.
Then reciting: 'Charlie, Charlie, can we play?', a spirit is invited to come out and play and if the top pencil spins around to 'yes', the players can ask Charlie other yes or no questions and the pencil will move correspondingly.
Of course this blog takes no responsibility if you play this game and you end up inside your television or dragged out of your bed tonight by the invisible hand of a malevolent spirit but it might be wise to put the lid on the fish tank.

Israel Boycott Getting Results

The Israeli Manufacturing Association claimed that people like me, who boycott Israel goods, has cost it a 5% drop in the Israeli export economy but over the last few years more and more people and companies have grown a conscience and shunned the country over it's actions in Palestine.  
This week telecoms giant Orange announced that it was axing a deal which gave an Israeli mobile phone company rights to use its brand while the National Union of Students on Tuesday adopted a motion supporting international campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and there is also the campaign to have Israel suspended from international football.
Israel's relationship with it's greatest ally, the USA, is in probably the worst shape it ha sever been with Barack Obama saying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's diplomatic efforts in dealing with Palestine meant 'the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution' which of course, Netanyhu said prior to his election when he announced that there would be no Palestinian state if he remained premier.
All approach the boycott movements that once targeted South Africa's apartheid regime although Netanyahu is manoeuvring himself into a position to claim that all criticism of Israel as being part of some anti-semitic conspiracy but that call has grown old and tired and finally we may be seeing some movement. 
There were some people who backed South Africa at the time when it practised apartheid and there will be those who back Israel out of some misguided religious belief or ignorance of what is going on there but the wheels are finally in motion to drag Israel to a peace solution and not a moment to soon.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

God Sounds Male To Me

It is a potential slippery slope i tread but this is the second post about religion hot on the heels of the
last one so taking my atheism in my hand, what should we call God?
Obviously 'made up' and 'fairy story' but let us put to one side all of our common sense and pretend that there was a being who created the entire Universe 160 billion light years wide just for us humans and then created a planet and stuck it in the outpost of a galaxy far out in the armpit of the universe, do we call this person he or she?   
The funny little humans have always called the creator He, but some in the Church if England have said hang on there a cotton pickin' minute, maybe it's a She.
Rev Jody Stowell is spearheading a campaign to re-configure the almost exclusively male references to God, saying: 'Orthodox theology says all human beings are made in the image of God, that God does not have a gender. He encompasses gender – he is both male and female and beyond male and female. So when we only speak of God in the male form, that’s actually giving us a deficient understanding of who God is'.
In all honesty it doesn't matter if you call God He, She or Rover but considering God went around the World killing and punishing people doing things he didn't like and was a jealous, control freak which all sound very much like male traits to me so let them have him, we have Mother Nature anyway and she is much nicer.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Amen Sister

Apparently women are flocking to the sisterhood in record numbers as the Catholic Church announce that the number of new nuns has trebled in five years although nobody seems to know why.
One reason offered is that the Church have recently thrown open its doors in a recruitment drive with taster weekends for anyone who is considering the Churchy life and they now hold open days where nuns are on hand to explain just what is expected and how to join them.  
A deeper explanation offered is that women are rejecting the sexualised, materialistic and male driven world we inhabit.
The Church of England has not seen a rise in aspiring nuns though, their number of recruits have almost halved in the past decade while the Catholic Convent's are having to build new or extend their premises.
I can't find an explanation either to explain it but the route from your everyday Catholic to nun is a long process as it takes six years from the first phrase to taking the final vows.  
The criteria is you must obviously be a Catholic, be single or widowed, have no children under 16 and be free from debt.
After a four week phase to test your aptitude for the religious life and if the nuns agree that you are ready for a life of flat shoes and praying, you progress to the next stage where you given twelve months to dispose of all your worldly goods and once you are stood before them without the proverbial pot and just the shirt on your back, they then remove your shirt and give you as habit and a new name.
What follows is two years of praying and the reward of 'probationary nun' followed by three years of more praying which ends with a celebration as you become a fully fledged nun and you are free to do whatever it is that nuns do. 
As my knowledge of nuns stretches to the movies i assume what they do is move into families with many children, sing and enter music festivals but you may want to double check that before applying.