Thursday, 31 December 2015

Keeping Your New Year Resolutions

New Year Resolutions are a bit hit and miss, set the bar too high (stopping smoking or biting your nails) and it's failure on the morning of 1st January and setting it too low (not eating chocolate between 11pm and midnight at the weekend) feels like you are not really entering into the spirit of things. 
Luckily i have a great way of making you stick to your resolutions by using a punishment worse than whatever evil you are considering giving up.
Everybody has a thing they hate, a football team, a political party or even a cause and this is my suggestion for keeping, or at the very least making it harder, to break that resolution.
You write down your resolution, stopping smoking for example, and you put it in an envelope with a cheque for £50 (amount depending on how confident you are) made out to the absolute last cause you would give money to be it the Countryside Alliance if you are an anti-hunt supporter, the Labour Party if you are a dyed in the wool Tory or even the Tottenham Supporters Club if you are an Arsenal fan.
The envelope goes to a friend with the express demand that if you break the resolution, they post the cheque to whoever you made it out to.
If by a certain date, July 2nd for example which is the middle day of the year, you have stuck to your resolution then you get the envelope back and get to rip up the cheque and defy the hated organisation or football team the payment.   
It is amazing how much the threat of helping out someone or something you hate with your hard earned cash keeps your focus.  
Personally i have resolved to not play any Phil Collins songs on the CD Player. It was only later it was pointed out that i don't own a single Phil Collins song but by then the envelope with the cheque made out to the Catholic Church had been handed over, oh well, sorry Pope.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Guns N Roses To Reform

Take my hand and let's take a trip back to 1991 and look, who is that young lady standing outside HMV at midnight on a chilly September night wearing a pair of jeans with rips in the knees and a green flight jacket.
That would be me then, along with 20 others waiting for the doors to open at midnight and to swap a ten pound note and a few pound coins for the Guns 'N' Roses epic double album, Use Your Illusions 1 & 2.
The vinyl may have been upgraded to CD over the years but you would be hard pushed to come up with a set of albums that top arguably these last great epics in music history. Every song on the first album a real belter, the second not quite so much but two albums that legitimately lifted Guns N’ Roses from being a great rock band into probably the greatest ever.
Unfortunately they imploded in acrimony not long after and although Axel Rose continued to plow his own furrow and finally put out 'Chinese Democracy' a few years ago, it wasn't the same.
Slash also did his own thing with other lead singers but it was like having a bottle of Mo√ęt & Chandon and drinking it from a mug.
Now it seems that someone has banged Axel's and Slash's heads together and they have come to their senses because the news is that Guns N’ Roses are set to reform with all the original members.
Initially i was as excited as a puppy with shares in a tail factory but then i thought about it and wondered should they come back?
At the moment they are remembered for being the pinnacle of rock music, they are the band everyone in the genre aspires to be so what if they come back and they are not very good? What if the time that has passed has dulled them into becoming just another Nickleback or heaven forbid, Bon Jovi.
What if they just go down the road of many from that era and just do the hits and don't bring out any new material and just become an older, fatter, slower version of their former selves?
Music is littered with acts that should have known when to stop and maybe Guns 'N' Roses should have stayed split and let us fans remember them as they were in their pomp when they were always drunk, mostly high but always brilliant and i could get away with wearing jeans with holes in them.

Government To Blame For UK Floods

When asked where, in the times of austerity, the money for the war in Syria would come from the Prime Minister announced they had a contingency chest for such events which will be needed as the cost of one six hour flying mission is a cool £508,000.
When asked why the money set aside for flood defence was being cut last year the Prime Minister mumbled about having to make cuts in all departments times of austerity.
The cuts seem to have come back and bit him on the backside as large swathes of North England and Scotland are under several feet of water.
As official documents show, the government’s own advisory board pointed out that a lack of funds would leave northern communities at risk of floods after a £180m flood defence project was scrapped in Leeds which is now flooded and the long-term cost of the disaster to everyone estimated to be somewhere around £5bn.   
Much moaning from Sun readers about the £1.5bn foreign aid this country hands over to relief work around the globe while people in this country suffer floods but it was never a case of give it to them or spend the money on flood barriers, it was due to the Government cutting the budget for flood defence.
If we held on to the £1.5bn it wouldn't have necessarily been spent on building Northern flood barriers, more likely it would have been swallowed up in the day to day running of the country and we would still be flooded.
This Government has been trying desperately to shrink Government and all departments and their budgets have been slashed which is why you can't get through to HMRC on the telephone, or it takes months to get your passport application processed or a four month waiting list for a driving test and why the Environmental Agency are unable to build proper flood defences due to their budget being viciously reduced.
Some right wingers may be calling for a smaller state and less Government involvement but this is exactly what you get when that happens and because the Government ducked spending £180 million of our taxes last year due to austerity, it is going to have to spend £5bn to put things right this year.
Funny how it always seems to have enough money for a spot of war at half a million pound a mission, or three flood defence projects, but they set aside money for a bit war but have nothing left for keeping the rising sea out of our living rooms.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015


When i woke up this morning the radio was playing 'Born to Raise Hell' which was surprising as it is usually something far more gentle at 6am and when it finished the presenter explained it was in honour of Lemmy who died yesterday.
As usual when a massive character dies there has been much use of the word legend bandied about but to me Lemmy only had a couple of great songs to show for a long career, the aforementioned 'Born To Raise Hell' and Ace of Spades'.
The legend around Lemmy was his lifestyle, the bottle of Jack Daniels he downed and the two to three packets of cigarettes he smoked everyday. 
He once halk jokingly said that as a musician he wasn't all that great but that 'the volume’s loud so nobody really notices that much' and for someone who had 23 albums, unless you were headbanging along to Hawkwind and Motorhead in the late 70's and early 80's he is largely remembered just for the Ace of Spades song and the scene in the Young Ones where they were legging it to University Challenge with Lemmy banging out the the song in the background.
What Lemmy bought to the table was that he was a proper rock star living the rock star life which we all would like to think we would be if given the opportunity.
"If you're going to be a fucking rock star go be one. People don't want to see the guy next door on stage, they want to see a being from another planet. You want to see somebody you'd never meet in ordinary life' he said and that is exactly what he did, hard drinking and touring until the end.
There are not many, if any, of the like of Lemmy making music today where the whole scene is dominated by plastic identikit performers so in that way he will be missed and he did leave behind two amazing songs which are impossible to listen to unless your eardrums are stretched to the point of disintegration.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Teaching Religion In Schools

Schools must teach that Britain is a Christian country the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has said.
Under the new Department for Education guidelines, non-faith schools have to reflect the fact that British religious traditions 'are in the main Christian' while taking into account teaching about other religions.
She has a point, why teach our children useful things like like the Big Bang and all that science stuff when we can teach them that the earth, the universe and everything in it was made by a big invisible man in the sky, and we are descended from a man made of dirt and a woman who was created out of that man's rib and was duped by a talking snake and we have to go to church and beg forgiveness from the cloud man. 
A quick glance around the World and what is being done in the name of religion by the likes of ISIS and we should be pushing for less religion and not more of the nonsense whatever the flavour.

America's Best

Americans were asked who they most admired in a Gallup survey and Donald Trump, the Republican
front runner for the presidential nomination, and Pope Francis tied for second place with President Barack Obama coming in first and Hillary Clinton topping the poll as the most admired woman.
Hillary, the Pope, Trump and Obama the most admired people in America...yep, America is screwed.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Why Did We Come Here Again?

Although i'm not much of a fan, the new Star Wars film is breaking all sorts of records and it has led to many discussions around my favourite subject, Space.
While the idea of humans travelling between Solar Systems does appeal, the nearest Solar System is 4 light years away, or 24 trillion miles, and as the top speed of our rockets is 20,000 mph, that's a 137 thousand year trip and it wouldn't be you setting foot on strange new lands like Captain Kirk, it would be your future generation born in transit.
The good news is that if there was a marauding hoard of Alpha Centurions plotting to explode that third rocky planet in the neighbouring solar system, it would take them the same amount of time to get here and by the time they arrived, the later generation of ET would have forgotten why there ancestors set off and probably trade beads with us.  
That's why i'm not worried about an Alien Invasion anytime soon, on the Apollo 10 mission, NASA pushed the capsule to 24,790mph and decided that was as fast as our mostly-water bodies could handle without causing permanent damage to the astronauts so if that is as fast as we can go, that is as fast as they can go also.
Unless that is they are not carbon based life forms at all and their bodies can sustain higher G-Forces than us humans, if they can reach light speed they would be knocking on our door within 4 years.  
Being a more advanced civilisation, they may also be able to exploit loopholes in known physics or through paradigm-shattering discoveries and all they would need on the trip is a packed lunch.
Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to invent blaster cannons then, just in case.

Dont Mess With Texas

Europeans have a wide and varied taste in music so we welcome Orchestras from the United States to our continent in 2016 with the National Symphony Orchestra touring Europe in February 2016, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is touring in France, Holland, Luxembourg and England in March and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be visiting Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria in May and June.
On the list should also be the Dallas Symphony Orchestra but they have decided that: 'Due to the recent and tragic events in Europe and the United States, we believe that there is an elevated risk to the safety of our musicians and their families, guest artists, DSO personnel and travelling patrons, and therefore will not be proceeding with the tour of Europe at this time'. 
Following hot on the heels of the DSO decision comes another withdrawal as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra have called off a six-city tour of Spain in May.
Maybe it's something in Texas folk that is not in people from LA or Pittsburgh but it's brilliantly ironic that the Texans choose to stay in the USA with its nutty gun laws and mass gun killings on safety grounds where people get shot as an everyday event and not due to a rare terrorist attack.
A common phrase i have heard spoken by men in stetson hats and cowboy boots is that everything is bigger in Texas and that certainly seems true, the yellow streak down the back of their Orchestra's is huge.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve Mass

Welcome to the Christmas Eve midnight sermon with me, the Right Reverend Lucy.
As we celebrate the birth of that child 2015 years ago in Bethlehem, let's take a moment to celebrate this miracle in song. Please turn to page 157 in your Hymn books and join me in 'While Shepherds':

'While shepherds washed their socks by night
all watching ITV
the angel of the Lord came down
and switched to BBC'.

Indeed, the Angel of the Lord did come down at that time and turn the shepherds television over to BBC which they were not happy about because they had been watching 'Bethlehem's Got Talent' and it was just getting to the bit where they announced the winner.
'Look unto yonder stable where the child of your Lord is unto being born to save all mankind' said the Angel  beckoning the shepherds to follow him which they said they would just as soon as they found out who won.
Unperturbed the Angel of the Lord called down a chorus of other Angels to announce the arrival of the Saviour, please turn to page 17, 'Hark the Herald Angels'.

'Hark the herald angels sing,
Beechams Pills are just the thing,
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
Two for a man and one for a child'.

Indeed, one Beecham Pill for the Holy child and two for Joseph but none for the girl who God had chosen to receive his holy juice and who after the birth was curled up on the floor next to a disgruntled pig who was already miffed that his drinking trough had been emptied and now had a baby human in it.     
News travelled fast and soon Kings from the surrounding area were making there way to visit the child of God. Please join me in hymn number 141 in your pray books, 'We Three Kings'.

We three Kings of Orient are,
one in a taxi, one in a car
One on a scooter, honking his hooter,
smoking a long cigar

Soon cigars were being smoked and hooters were being honked everywhere for the baby Jesus and from that day, each 25th day of the twelfth month, we celebrate the events in that stable by coming together to open presents, eat Brussels Sprouts and sing songs.
Our final song this Christmas Eve, although not a Christian Carol,  has become a favourite and it's number 300 in your hymn books, 'Jingle Bells'. 

Jingle Bells, Batman smells,
Robin flew away
Father Christmas lost his knickers
On the motorway...hey!!

So Goodnight, have a very Merry Christmas and remember if you are looking for God, can you also have a scout around for Santa's pants at the same time.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

1914: Christmas Truce

The story of the 1914 Christmas truce between German and British soldiers is a well known and heart warming tale that shows that even amongst the muck and bullets, the killing stopped for Christmas.
We may like to believe that for just one day, all across the front, men from both sides emerged from the trenches and met in No Man’s Land to exchange gifts and play football but first-hand testimonies tell us what really happened.
Along the Western Front, a scattered series of small-scale ceasefires did happen between some German and British forces but the festive reprieve was far from a mass event and for the vast majority December 25th 1914 was a day of war like any other.
There was always periods of 'quiet time' when soldiers would agree not to shoot at each other while they recovered wounded soldiers, bury the dead and shore up trenches. As both sides went about the grisly business, usually within shouting distance from each other, the soldiers would to banter and swap supplies for cigarettes.
During the pause to collect the dead on Christmas Day 1914, a carol singing competition erupted between some German and British soldiers and where it happened, enemy soldiers did indeed meet and spend Christmas together and exchange gifts and take photos.
Meanwhile, on most of the Western Front, bloody battles continued over the Christmas period and those that dared to come above the top were met with gunfire.
Reports and photographs of these small-scale unofficial ceasefires reached the papers back home and the military authorities who declared: 'Informal truces with the enemy were to cease and any officer or non-commissioned officer found to having initiated one would be tried by Court Martial with harsh punishment for any man caught refusing to fight'. 
The small truces of 1914 never happened again but the story was out there and has been retold, re-shaped and romanticised many times since.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Websters Dictionary Most Searched Word 2015

American dictionary publisher have announced the most looked up word on their website in 2015 and after having been near the top of the list for several years, 'Socialism' has made it to the top.
The simple Webster Definition is: 'a way of organising a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies'.
The surge in all things Socialism in America is attributed to US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as 'democratic socialist'. 
For a long time there seemed to be confusion between Communism and Socialism in America, the two being mistakenly interchangable (sometimes not so mistakenly by right wing propaganda) but as the American youth of today did not grow up in the shadow of the Cold War, the vilification of socialist ideas by the right wing does not resonate anymore and especially in the face of the devastation bought by Capitalism all around them.
Maybe in the home of Capitalism people are hungry for political alternatives that will serve their interests for a change instead of the interests of the few at the top of the pile and Socialism are where the eyes are turning.
Bernie Sanders being one of the main contenders for the Democratic nomination shows that things could be on the change and people are curious about what Socialism is and what it means.
After decades of the constant failing of Capitalism, people are searching for alternatives to the dead-end of a system where someone always has to have the short end of the stick.
Socialism is where we are all equal members of our society run by an elected government to organise that society for the maximum benefit of all its members and only the most swivel eyed right winger or those profiting from Capitalism and wish to keep the status quo which seems them at the top and the vast majority at the bottom could have an argument against that.

UK Chrimbo v US Christmas

Watching a bellyful of Christmas films you do tend to notice that some British Christmas traditions that never made it over to America or things that we just do different.
It seems that when children leave a little something for Father Christmas to help keep up his energy levels as he whizzes around the globe delivering presents, in America it is milk and cookies where in Britain we go for wine and a mince pie because you know, Santa is an adult not 8.
Americans don't have Christmas pudding and i have never seen a pig in blanket and hardly a mince pie, Christmas Cake or even a trifle is mentioned but they do have egg nog but I'm not really sure what that is but i guess it has an egg in it somewhere. 
Americans say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas while we interchange between Happy Christmas and Merry Christmas and in all the American Christmas films i have ever seen, not once have i heard it referred to as Chrimbo as it is here. Come to that, the jolly fat man only seems to be called 'Father Christmas' over here as Americans refer to him as 'Santa Claus' or simply 'Santa'.
You won't see a cracker pulled around the Christmas Table in any American movies either and because of events which ended with boxes of tea floating off down the Boston harbour, they wont be sat around watching the Queens Message either where the pensioner tells us about her year with clips of her waving at people in different countries. 
While the day after Christmas is mainly for arguing over why the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, Americans avoid this altogether by not having a Boxing Day at all.
Finally, at a time of year when Brits are used to seeing washed-up celebrities ply their seasonal trade in the latest pantomime, the US has never followed this tradition of celebrating high camp and cross dressing for children's entertainment and the hilarity of shouting 'Behind You' and 'Oh no it's not, oh yes it is' to a man dressed in a wig and dress.

Friday, 18 December 2015

A UK Christmas Numbers

4bn - the number of sprouts bought in the week before Christmas
370 million - mince pies purchased over the Christmas period
25m - amount of Christmas puddings purchased in UK each year
10 million - turkeys eaten in Britain over Christmas
7 million - real fir Christmas trees sold
750,000 - the letters sent to Santa by children in the UK
230,000 - tons of food thrown away on average over the Christmas period
200,000 - trees felled to make all the Christmas cards sent in the UK
14,000 - babies conceived in December
£599 - average amount spent on presents
£262 - average amount parents will spend on each of their children
£170 - spent on the family Christmas dinner 
83- square km of wrapping paper will end up in UK rubbish bins 
£43 - average amount spent on Christmas cards
27 - amount of mince pies each Brit will each over Festive period
20 - amount of Holly Berries would need to eaten to kill the average person
15 - hours the average Briton takes to finish their Christmas shopping
14 - sprouts are eaten by the average Brit over Christmas
6   - the day in January that marks the official end of Christmas 

I think i may need to borrow someone's mince pie allowance.

2015 Race For Christmas Number 1

Grabbing the Christmas number one single has always been a badge of honour for any recording artist but in recent years Simon Cowell and his X-Factor puppets have knackered the once exciting rush to the top spot and this years winner, Louisa Johnson, is currently favourite to be number one on Christmas Day with her (awful) cover of Bob Dylan's (awful) Forever Young.
I wouldn't go rushing to the bookies with your months rent just yet though because if she is to bag this year's honour then she'll have to fight off some stiff competition.
He may well have turned into the Worlds biggest brat but Justin Beiber still has a lot of fans and he has a single , Love Yourself, that will be challenging the X-Factor tune.
The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir have recorded a version of Simon & Garfunkels 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' and an online campaign to get it to number 1 for Christmas has started strongly.
Everything recently is Star Wars and another campaign has been created to get John Williams and his Star Wars Theme to number 1 and as we are finding out, there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there and with the latest film's release this week, Star Wars fans could take this song to the top.
Liam, Louis, Harry and Niall of One Direction are also aiming for the coveted Christmas Number 1 and they could release 3 minutes of them breaking wind and their fans would buy it so the Directioners could carry the new single to the top of the tree.
Finally, Aurora and the 'Half The World Away' single featured on the John Lewis advertisement is currently sitting comfortably in the charts and could be in with a chance considering almost everyone hears it at least 5 times a day and have been whistling it for the past 3 weeks.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Mourinho Not Looking So Special Now

Arsene Wenger could quite rightly ask who the specialist in failure is now as Jose Mourinho has been sacked and leaves his club in 16th place and 1 point above the relegation zone.
No longer will we be subjected to his dour expression and monotonous droning and blaming everyone else ever again, that is just as soon as he has stopped blaming everyone else for his firing as he seems to have blamed everyone from the team doctor to the ball boys for each of his defeats this season.  
About as bad as an example of how not to conduct yourself as a person and a manager as you could wish to see so i am glad he has been given the hook, not sad to see this arrogant little man go.
Is a shame though, i was enjoying the weekly Mourinho and Chelsea meltdown but i guess a certain doctor and a fellow manager in North London are having a good chuckle.

Star Wars Weather Forecast

If you are trying your hardest to avoid all things Star Wars it may be best to avoid the weather forecast as phenomenon seems to have crept into the most unusual places.
Massive credit to Channel 5 weather presenter Sian Welby who delivered the entire live forecast using Star Wars references.
The weather forecast went as thus:

Well, it's another unusually mild day today with a Leia of cloud covering the UK, but if you Luke father west you will be seeing a glimmer of sunshine, if you're wookiee.
However, there will be a fairly light breeze, the force is strong though for northern Scotland and then
tonight the weather strikes back as a deep area of low pressure pushes in from the west, creating storm-like conditions for Northern Ireland and western Scotland.
Don't be a trooper, please take care on the roads, it could be difficult driving conditions.
Now, if you're forced to awaken early tomorrow morning, it will be on the dark side but as you can see, fairly mild with temperatures in double digits.
Far, far away to the south-east of England, there's a new hope for some sunshine developing in the

Very clever Sian.

Poor Tiny Tim

It just wouldn't be Christmas without Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the assorted Crachit family on the television, especially the crippled Tiny Tim wishing us all a Merry Christmas.
It is the future death of Tiny Tim that is a large part of the change in Scrooge, the ghost of Christmas yet to come showing a crutch with no owner leaning against the wall but annoyingly Charles Dickens doesn't explain just why Tim will die if the miserly Scrooge doesn't change his ways.
Now, Russell Chesney, a physician at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital at the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre has worked out that all the clues leads towards Tiny Tim suffering from tuberculosis and rickets.
'In Dickens time, 60% of children of working-class London families had rickets, brought on by poor nutrition and lack of sunlight. At the same time, half of working-class kids had signs of tuberculosis'.
So how could have Scrooge not being such a miser have kept Tiny Tim from dying?
'Tiny Tim's rickets could have been reversed and his tuberculosis improved by sunshine, a better diet and cod liver oil, a supplement rich in vitamin D' Chesney said which ties in with Scrooge giving his hard pressed clerk a raise so he could buy better food to improve his family's diet and keep Tiny Tim alive.
Now all we need is a linguist to tell us what the young boy calls Scrooge when he asks him to go and buy the Goose from the butchers at the end of the film because it sounds like he calls him a w******!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Going Underground

Fracking has been a divisive issue ever since it was stopped in 2011 after it was blamed for earth tremors in Blackpool.
Now the Government have gone big on fracking but acknowledged public concern and produced a list of protected areas where surface drilling would not be allowed, including national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The parliamentary undersecretary of state for climate change, even underlined the point by trawling the TV studios to repeat that: 'We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks and sites of special scientific interest'.
Pretty unequivocal you might think but where there is a will there is a way and the fracking companies and the Government have come up with a way to bend their own rules but staying within the agreement to not frack in certain areas.
The new rules allow fracking 1,200 metres below national parks and sites of special scientific interest, as long as drilling takes place from outside protected areas so the companies are allowed to drill down on the edge of such protected areas and then drill horizontally underneath them.
We should all make a point to visit the various National Trust beauty spots around the country while they still have the chance and before the ground beneath them are turned into Swiss Cheese and the ground poisoned.
I just hope that the people who opposed wind turbines for ruining their view will be happy with the green carcinogenic water that will pouring through their taps soon enough as they scan the landscape. 

Dealing With Atheism At Christmas

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 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?

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Avoiding The New Star Wars Film

I saw the original Star Wars about 10 years after everyone else, i think it was on TV one Christmas Day in the 80's and i was unable to avoid it but i have made sure that i have missed everyone one since.   
It's just not my thing but this Christmas one of the challenges to negotiate will be to avoid the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens which has just been released and will dominate everything for the next few weeks.
I do get the irony of writing a post about wanting to avoid all things Star Wars so on that front i have already failed but i see it as more of taking one for the team for other people like me who want to keep away from sci-fi geeks excitedly fondling their light-sabres
Google Trends show places where the most interest in the film is and if you live in the UK, Hungary, New Zealand, Australia, America or Canada then its not good reading because that were interest is at its height.  
The only option is to take an extended holiday until the Star Wars fans have retreated safely back to their bedrooms and the destinations where Star Wars interest is lowest is most of Africa, Central America and the North Korean's don't seem overly enthused either and Pyongyang is beautiful at this time of year apparently.

Tim Peake Astronaut

Christmas is a time when many people travel around to visit family and friends and many of those would clock up more than 250 miles in a round trip but hardly anyone will do it the way Tim Peake has done it today
as he went straight up and will be donning his Christmas jumper 250 miles above our heads at the International Space Station.
Along with his Russian and American colleagues, he took off in the Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this morning for a 6 month stint aboard one of mankind's greatest achievements which skims along at an average speed of 17,500 mph.
I am sure that we will be treated to many pictures of Tim and his fellow astronauts in space appearing weightless but as many people believe it isn't because there is no gravity, if that was the case then the moon and planets would have floated away a long time ago, they are actually falling around the Earth.
Imagine shooting a cannon, (A in picture left) the cannon ball will fly along until friction slows it down enough and gravity pulls it towards the Earth and it drops down and hits the ground.
Imagine now using more gunpowder and shooting the ball even faster (B) so it travels further until friction and gravity drag it down to the ground.
So the faster you shoot the cannon ball, the further it goes so what would happen if you could shoot a cannon ball out of the cannon at such a speed (17,500 mph) that as the ball fell to Earth, the earth curved away so the ball would be falling but the Earth at the same time would be curving away at the same rate that the ball was dropping (C).
With no friction to slow it down in space, the ball would continually be falling and the Earth curving away so the ball would never actually be able to fall to the ground and so it said to be in orbit around the Earth.
As the International Space Station is travelling at 17,500 mph around the planet (falling towards the Earth like our cannon ball but remember at the same time the Earth is falling away from it) the astronaut is also travelling at 17,500 mph, and is therefore also falling around the Earth.
So, when you are in orbit, you are in free fall but going so fast that you won't actually reach the ground which is continually moving away from you at the same speed that you are falling.

Happy Holidays (aka Merry Christmas)

It seems to be much more of a thing in America but i have never wished, or been wished 'Happy Holidays' which sounds a more likely thing for Summer rather than Christmas to my ear. 
I'm an atheist and a strange as it sounds, i don't associate the 'Christ' part with Christmas at all, it's just the name of the bit of season when Santa shows up and the presents are handed out so i don't really understand this 'war against Christmas' that i read about on American sites.
I remember Birmingham City Council renaming the whole of the Christmas and New Year period as Winterval a decade or so ago which sparked a bit of controversy but apart from that, i can't say i have noticed the word Christmas being removed or changed to a less sensitive word here.   
It seems that nobody in America says 'Merry Christmas' anymore, it's 'Happy Holidays' to avoid offending the non-Christians and any specific mention of the word 'Christmas' or its religious aspects are avoided and i have seen online such things as 'holiday trees' and how Wal-Mart managing to not use the word Christmas once in their Christmas advertising campaign.
The ire for this state of affairs seems to be aimed at atheists and leftists trying to force secular-ideology onto the American public and as one right wing website points out, that secular road leads to 'sky-rocketing rates of single parenthood, divorce, crime, drugs, venereal disease, depression and homosexuality.'
It finishes that 'The American people will not allow Christmas to evolve into a winter solstice, secular-progressive holiday' and i agree with them despite being a leftist atheist, but why be so weird and creepy about it?
I imagine the people who decide to drop the Christmas word are doing it for what they perceive to be the right reasons, to not cause offence to non-Christians as over-protective as that may be and not to usher in a glorious period of syphilis and gonorrhoea.
To be honest i don't give a second thought to whether a person celebrates it or not, I wish them a Merry Christmas anyway and leave it up to them to either accept it or ignore it as they wish the same way as if someone wished me a Happy Eid, i wouldn't be upset, angry or berate them for hoping that i have a happy time on a day I don't necessarily celebrate, and i would guess 99.9% of non-Christians would feel the same way if you hope they have a Merry Christmas.
Now stop being so politically correct, forget the Happy Holidays nonsense, stick this business card for the divorce lawyer in your purse and stuff a mince pie in your cake hole.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Comrade Santa

I know that there has been some speculation about Santa's ideological leanings for some time now and i can keep quiet no more, yes, he is a Communist.
Really, it wasn't that hard to work out, he is a big fat guy with a bushy white beard. Remind you of anyone, maybe one of the Marx family?     
Then there was the red suit and the giving stuff away and not selling it for a massive mark-up, it isn't brain brain surgery people, it's all about redistributing the toys. he doesn't even pay his elves, the workshop is owned by all of them including the reindeer and Mrs Claus.
The less subtle clues were the fact that 'Ho, Ho, Ho' is Latin for 'Workers of the World Unite' and if you play the chorus of 'White Christmas' backwards you can clearly hear the phrase 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs' repeated over and over.
Then there is the list of all the boys and girls and who are either in the system (nice) in which case there are richly rewarded with presents or outside of it (naughty) and they get nothing.
So yes, for all those who have suspected that he has been brazenly feeding Marxism to the innocent, capitalist offspring, you are right so, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout and i'm telling you why. In 11 days Santa Claus is coming to town and he is carrying a hammer and sickle comrade.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

New Christmas Songs Please

John Lennon wrote Merry Xmas (War is Over) and got shot. Cliff Richards wrote the Millennium prayer and lived. Make of that what you will but Cliff Richards isn't alone in giving us a real stinker of a Christmas Song because no matter how much cumulative seasonal good will, jingle bells and fake snow are thrown at some songs, they still suck the big one.
I have had Bowling For Soups 'Merry Flippin' Christmas' on in the car CD player since November and if there has been a better version of Frosty the Snowman knocking about then i haven't heard it but there are some Christmas songs that become boring but virtue of being heard far too much and some that should never have been conceived in the first place.
If you had to telephone Hell in December and all the operators were busy, the is the on-hold music you would hear would consist of anything from the Michael Buble Christmas album (nice voice but how can he make a Christmas song sound depressing?) or David Hasselhoff sort of singing 'Twas the night before Christmas if they cannot get their hot little hands on a Country & Western Christmas.
Then there are the songs that are so obviously not about Christmas at all. Back Door Santa 'I keep the little girls happy While the boys are out to play' is just plain creepy, the Jimmy Savile police may be interested in finding out who wrote that one and if Santa Baby is about the festive season then i'm in an alternative dimension where you don't get the strong urge to dig out your eardrums with a sprig of holly whenever Wonderful Christmas time comes onto the radio. Yes Macca, many years ago we did have a wonderful Christmas Time but then we heard your song over and over and over and over and over every year and now a wonderful Christmas would be not having to hear your song all the time. It's about time we got some new Christmas songs because the old ones are sounding very dated now and when you tire of Noddy screaming 'IT's CHRISTMAS' then things are getting desperate. 
Not you though Cliff, you can sit down.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Move Over jesus

Apparently St Nicholas, or Nicholas as he was known back then, was a bit of a shy, self-effacing fellow who climbed on roofs and threw coins down the chimney but all the time trying to stay anonymous so 16 centuries on, i guess he would be quite annoyed to find out that not only his acts of philantrophy are still celebrated, but he has overtaken his boss as the person most associated with Christmas. 
Far from slipping away quietly into the shadows of history, a poll reveals that of 1,200 8-16-year-olds questioned by MediaCom TMB, 67% said they associate this time of year with the modern version of St Nick, Santa Claus while only 8% link Christmas with Christ himself.
Church leaders have long tried to get the attention back on the baby in the barn and away from the chubby OAP and there was an attempt a few years ago by a well meaning vicar who would tell his congregation that Santa didn't exist and was faced with a long line of angry parents and crying children.
If the vicar had said God didn't exist then it is doubtful that he would have faced such anger and vitriol which could show that if there was to be a choice between Santa or God, God would lose.
I wonder if St Nicholas knew the train of events his actions would set in motion all those years ago, he would have kept his coins in his pocket but then the Church can't really complain too much because worshipping a Saint is about as close as most people come to religion these days, even if they don't know it.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Just A Coincidence

The mince pies are out and there is the smell of Christmas in the air.
That time of the year when we sing carols and give and receive presents in memory of the small child born on the 25th December to a virgin and wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger with only shepherds in attendance.
The young baby who grew up to perform miracles and lead 12 disciples before sacrificing his life for the benefit of mankind with Sunday being his sacred day.
Yes, good old Mithra who was one of the religions of the Roman Empire which was derived from the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom.
You thought i was talking about who? Oh, the virgin, manger, shepherds, 12 disciples and dying for the peace of mankind bit. I understand now.
No, this is Mithra who pre-dated Jesus by centuries.
Yes, all the similarities are a remarkable coincidence i suppose and Mithraism was around a long time before Christianity so that makes it all the more remarkable that the two stories are almost identical.
No, i'm sure the early Christians never and just embellished it. Just enjoy your mince pie and don't think about it.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Trump Supporting The IRA

I don't know anything about South Carolina and a Google search of famous faces from that US State shows only Jesse Jackson and James Brown that i recognise.
What it is famous for now is hosting the Donald Trump conference during his toe-curling 'Ban Muslims from America' speech which has attracted not only the brickbats from pretty much everyone but also because it appears to be a hotbed of bigots and racists.
While the spotlight appears to be on the follically challenged one, what i haven't heard mentioned is the reaction of the crowd, who whooped and cheered the idiots mad ramblings.
The petition to ban him from the UK has reached over 400,000 and is eligible to be considered for a debate on the issue in the House of Commons but Trump has hit back with the zinger that the UK should be thanking him.
Some of his supporters are saying it is only because Trump is 'serious about stopping terrorism' that he has taken the hard core line but that all seems to unravel when the photo above from 1995 shows him shaking hands with IRA mouthpiece Gerry Adams at an IRA fund raising dinner in New York.
Four months later an IRA terror attack caused carnage in London’s docklands so his stopping terrorism credentials are not quite so shiny as here he was actively supporting and helping to fund terrorism.

Arnies Back

Nobody was expecting the Humvee driving Arnold Schawaneeger to chip in on the Climate Change debate but like some sort of futuristic android sent back in time to save us, he has pitched up with a surprisingly decent analogy.

There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car.
Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.
I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.
I'm guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice - who would ever want to breathe those fumes?
This is the choice the world is making right now

Nice one Arnie, you can come back.

Season Of Peace & Goodwill

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in all things Christmas that we forget the real reason behind Christmas, the birth of Santa Claus.
Though the vast majority of us will spend the day eating, drinking and sleeping through the Queen's speech, some couples will be having a less then merry time according to the divorce industry.
A survey by and the Family Mediation Helpline found that 1.8 million couples will have contemplated divorcing their partner during the Christmas period which translates into some very long queues outside the offices of divorce lawyers in the New Year.
Unfortunately, Christmas in the midst of a recession can only add to tensions and another survey found relationship counseling had risen during the economic downturn which all must make Baby Santa very sad indeed.
Relationship counsellors, Relate, commented: 'It’s a really sad fact that we see a huge surge of calls for help during and after the festive season. This year, all we want is for families to enjoy a happier and more peaceful Christmas.'
The most common problems for festive fireworks over the plum duff were identified as personality clashes (14%) and not agreeing on what to do (10%) but Relate do offer some advice on how to get through Christmas with your partner, recommending that we do as much planning and organising before the festive day and remembering that alcohol has a way of making tongues loose and problems larger if an argument does erupt.
This Christmas let's have less Wham 'Last Christmas' and more Ramones 'Merry Christmas, I Don't Want To Fight Tonight' because as Joey tell us 'Cause Christmas ain't the time for breaking each other's heart'.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Adrian Hogarth And Cumbrian Properties

It may be Christmas but the Festive Spirit may not have reached Cumbria just yet as an Estate Agent in the flood hit area decided what the 7000 newly homeless people needed was their fees trebled as they began a search for rented accommodation while their own houses dried out.
Cumbrian Properties opened on Sunday to an expected deluge of calls for accommodation only to be told that the 'admin charge' for new tenants had gone up from £200 to £600.
After the media got wind of it the big hearted agency miraculously discovered it had made an error of judgement and put the fees back to £200 with a lame excuse that it had staff who worked 12-hour shifts on Sunday and the increase was to cover the cost of staffing to get people in properties.
'I realised on Monday I should not have done that and we apologise for the bad feeling this has caused' explained a sheepish Adrian Hogarth before agreeing to refund the new tenants who were charged the fee.
I am sure that people will remember the name 'Cumbrian Properties' and 'Adrian Hogarth' in the future for all their accommodation needs and will act accordingly by flicking them the finger and going elsewhere.
If, as expected, the bad publicity does have a detrimental effect on you Mr Hogarth and your business now sinks beneath the English Channel currently lapping around the county then I am sure there will be no shortage of offers from the locals to put you up, for an extortionate £600 administration fee of course.

Cheer Up Scrooge

It seems that every year the amount of people complaining about Christmas being an excuse to pump consumers into buying a lot of crap grows.
Miserable buggers are only one step short of the Scrooge refrain of boiling in their own pudding and burying them with a stake of holly through his heart anyone who has the words Merry Christmas' on their lips.
Bah Humbug to the lot of them because I'm with Andy Williams in declaring It's the most wonderful time of the year.
To a Christian it is about the birth of Jesus, to an atheist which to be honest is the vast majority of us, then Christmas is whatever you want it to be.
If you don't like the commercial side of it then no-one is forcing you to spend a fortune in the shops and if all you are going to do is moan throughout the whole period then you only going to be grumpy and a pain to be around anyway.
Christmas, to me anyway, is about the decorations, the carol singers, advent calendars, Christmas films, the school nativity play, holiday from work, Christmas pop records and the general feeling of goodwill that builds as the days in December get crossed off the calendar.
If you are one of those people who use Scrooge as a template for celebrating Christmas then as the nephew said to his uncle Ebeneezer, 'Christmas is as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.'
Now shove a mince pie in your miserable face and get some Christmas spirit

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Springtime For Donald

I have been reading how US Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, thinks it is a good idea to incite hatred and blame against a whole religion.
I'm sure someone did that previously back in the last century and we still have places such as Auschwitz to see how that ended up.
'Believe you me, this guy Hitler had some good ideas but he didn’t go far enough' Trump explained to a Republican meeting but the admiration for Hitler shouldn't come as a surprise as courtesy of the divorce proceedings against his ex-wife, we know that he kept a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, beside his bed.
Could explain his other bright idea if he gains the top job such as closing all mosques across America, forcing American Muslims to register on a database and issuing them with a unique ID.
No mention yet if the unique ID is a yellow star stitched onto their clothing but Trump does have previous in his admiration of all things NAZI when his campaign poster sported soldiers wearing the SS insignia on their armbands.
I do wonder if this is all a farce by the Republicans in the style of 'The Producers' where Mel Brooks sets out to make the worst ever film and comes up with Springtime For Hitler.
It could be a masterstroke to let Trump have his head knowing he will channel his inner Adolf until he goes too far and is forcibly removed from the race and thereby leaving any of his fellow Republican colleagues to look moderate in comparison.

Tyson 'Dickhead' Fury

Britain has a Heavyweight Champion of the World in Tyson Fury but to quote the BBC Presenter Clive Myrie, 'what a dickhead'.
Obviously being punched in the head for a living has had an effect as we have been privileged to hear the views of Fury on homosexuality (one of the three things that will lead to the apocalypse), women (A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back) and religion (The Bible says the World will end in a few years).
As shocking as holding these type of views are in the 21st Century, the fact that such a limited boxer such as Tyson Fury has become the holder of three World Championship belts shows just how poor the Heavyweight division has become and just as shocking will be if he is still champion after his first defence.

Little Donkey

It is a 90 mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem so how different would the trip the donkey made on that dusty road 2015 years ago be today?
The Bible is unhelpful about the exact route so let's take the direct route and the donkey has a relatively straightforward plod until it reaches the first of numerous Israeli military checkpoints, this one at Jalame where the wall separates the occupied West Bank from Israel.
Once past the heavily armed soldiers, lookout towers, razor wire and gun turrets we come to Jenin, stronghold of Islamist militant groups and regular recipient of Israeli military incursions.
On the other side of Jenin lies another four Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks, then the Palestinian city of Nablus surrounded on 3 sides by refugee camps.
Israel soldiers control the entrance and exit from the city and then it's onto route 433.
Being Jews, Mary, Joseph and the plodding donkey would have no problem using this 12 mile stretch of road through the West Bank as it was only closed to Palestinians until this summer.
We get off the tarmac at Ramallah and through another set of Israeli military checkpoints who control who comes in and who goes out of the City.
South again and Jerusalem appears in the distance, entry and exit to the city through 4 military checkpoints and finally, after negotiating the way through the refugee camps of Aida and Azza, we reach the city of Bethlehem flanked by 30ft high concrete walls and military roadblocks and checkpoints.
The donkey can have a rest and Mary and Joseph can find a nice stable and hope that the 3 wise men have all the right permits and make it through unscathed.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Proof Santa Is Real

Listen up children everywhere, i am an adult and as all children know, adults are always right. You children also know that lying is wrong and adults never lie, especially to children, so if you asked me 'Is Santa real?', i state absolutely YES.
Still don't believe me?
Well how about believing the United States and Canadian Governments who protect their national air space with a department called the North American Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD for short.
NORAD have high-tech systems such as radar, satellites, detection systems and even fighter jets and they know if anyone or anything comes into the sky above North America. They even have a system named the North Warning System which are satellites orbiting the earth at 22,300 miles especially for Santa Claus so they know it is him.
Would the United States and Canadian Governments, run by very important and serious people, use all this technology for someone that isn't real?
Then there is the Postal Services all around the World who deliver millions of letters to Santa Claus each year. Try sending a letter to James Bond or Spiderman, the postal services would either return your letter as undeliverable or throw it into the dead letter office because the law states that are not allowed to deliver letters to people that don't exist.
Finally, have you wondered how Santa manages to get around the World so fast? It is a secret but i have a special Press Release that only the newspaper, radio and television stations are suppossed to read but i want to prove Santa Claus is real so i will tell you. He uses the NGA TOY DELIVERY SYSTEM X-100 developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) which is like a super version of the sat nav your parents probably have in their car. The NGA make digital navigation systems for the American military.
The Press release says: 'This holiday season, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) again offered its expertise to a very special customer - Santa Claus'.
So the United States and Canadian Governments, all the worlds postal services, the millions who send Santa letters every year and the Intelligence Agency company that have said that they give Santa the equipment to guide him around the World all believe in Father Christmas, so why should you not think he is real as well?
Don't tell everyone about Santa's special sat nav though will you, it's a secret.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Santa Sure Got A Purty Mouth

There are some things that should just never meet. Susan Boyle and Lycra cycling shorts or anyone with the surname Trump and the keys to the White House for example. Today i had the misfortune to stumble upon another abomination that should never have been. A country music Christmas album.
Songs about Santa being a redneck and driving his pick-up and drinking moonshine?? To the sound of a steel string guitar?? No, no, no no no American south. What in the name of all that is holy do you think you are doing??
Country music is for men in dungarees called Billy Bob or Bobby Joe who say things like 'That's a pertty mouth on you, boy' to unsuspecting canoeists after engaging them in a banjo playing contest.
Christmas music is all about jingle bells, snow and reindeer's with shiny red noses and wishing it could be Christmas everyday. There is just no need for some stetson wearing escapee from the Dukes of Hazard to try and muscle in with songs about a redneck Santa.
Stick to singing your depressing songs about how your dog died and your wife left you and took your pick-up truck and let everyone else make decent Christmas songs.

Socialism In America

Socialism is all about collecting taxes from every paying citizen and providing programs that benefit all but hang on, you want the government to get the hell out of the way out and let you live your lives. Hell yeah!
In a 'It's a Wonderful Life' type scenario, let's go to an America where Socialism doesn't exist, where the services owned and controlled by the government for the benefit was abolished and let's have a peek at what's going on.

For a start, America who? Oh that place, it was laid waste years ago because there wasn't a military, the people decided having a military funded and run by the Government from their taxes was Socialist and disbanded it along with the Customs and Border Patrols and six months later it was over-run by Costa Rican's armed with tree branches.

The history books in this alternative America where evil Socialist Government run programs funded by the taxpayer doesn't exist show that the Americans escaping the marauding Costa Rican's armed with big twigs were hampered in their escape by a lack of proper roads. Turns out the roads and highways were funded by Socialist means so they stopped maintaining them and they spent so long digging themselves out of potholes that the Costa Rican's caught them.
Those that did manage to navigate the roads were caught at the rivers because when they disbanded the road maintenance services, they also stopped the Bridge maintenance teams which were also funded by their taxes.

In the build up to the Costa Rican invasion, some people did try to find out where they had gone wrong by reading history books or visiting a museum but as public libraries and Museums were funded by the Government, they had been closed down a long time ago.
Many burnt down as no taxpayer-funded evil Socialist Fire Department existed and the arsonists were never caught due to the taxpayer funded socialist program called the Police wasn't there to serve and protect.

There was no CIA and FBI to help catch the criminals and even if they did, there were not any Courts to process them or Prison System to hold them as they were all closed down in the great Socialism purge.

Some had the idea of sending letters to ask for help but as the Postal Service was a Government run system, all the post boxes had long been removed, along with the taxpayer funded street lights and bus stops.

The Costa Rican's soon found that America was a filthy place thanks to the lack of rubbish collection, public landfills, and sewer systems which being Socialist programs had all been stopped. 
The Zoo's only contained the bleached bones of the former animals after they become the victims of the Socialist programs ceasure and the Public Parks gates were locked, the public beaches polluted and Mount Rushmore and The Lincoln Memorial, all formerly maintained with tax dollars, now in disrepair.

As the IRS had been disbanded (evil Socialists and all that), America was also financially broke so soon after the evil that was Socialism was expunged for all time, they quickly found out they had no money to fund anything else and it was the lack of funds to pay the Coasta Rican's the 300 colones they owed them that led to the invasion. Europe did consider helping them but the hotline to the White House had been disconnected as the publicly paid for White House had been turned into a car park and the President was working as a travelling weatherman, a job much in demand since the National Weather Service had been closed by anti-Socialists demanding their tax dollars not be used to warn them of Force 5 hurricanes about to slam into them.

Deciding that to put America right would cost more than the 300 Colones they now had, the Costa Rican's threw down their tree branches and went back home leaving the few remaining Americans to sit and watch the tumbleweed blow across the public school playgrounds, deserted long ago on account of public schools being part of a Socialist conspiracy.

So back to this dimension where you can drive on maintained roads, be protected by the police, have your house fire put out, visit a library, museum, park, zoo, clean beach or Mount Rushmore. Where the rubbish is collected and the sewers work or you can catch a bus even at night thanks to working street lights.

Thank you very much Socialist Government programs. You are very welcome.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Where Santa Lives

It's that time of the rolling year where Santa is making his list and has began checking it twice in preparation to dishing out lumps of coal or toys.
Something that has always bothered me is where does Santa live? It is important because if some jolly fat man is going to be dropping treats under my Christmas tree, i want to know where he is from.
I have always considered him to be from Lapland but that region takes in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia so he could be a Swede, Finn, Norwegian or even a Russian.
Not wanting to be left out by their Nordic neighbours, the Danes have thrown their hat into the already cramped ring with Santa's grotto being somewhere in Greenland.
Another popular choice for the jolly mans residence is the North Pole and as no countries ownership stretches to the centre of the North Pole region, that makes Santa a stateless person with no citizenship or nationality.
The Americans are trying to stake a claim for the bearded one with noises that he lives in Alaska while traditionalists point out that in his original guise he is from Turkey.
So where do i post my pressie list to because i want to make sure Santa gets it so we don't have a repeat of last year when i asked for a Nespresso Coffee Maker and got a Trivial Pursuit board game instead.
It was a very nice board game mind but knowing who won the first ever FA Cup Final doesn't wake me up first thing in the morning.
As usual the Internet is the answer to all our problems and the UK Royal Mail hold Santa's address as 'Father Christmas, North Pole, SAN TA1'.
The Finnish postal service deliver Santa's letter to 'Santa Claus, Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle, Finland'.
The American postal service route all Santa's letter to 'North Pole, Alaska, H0 H0 H0'.
I have been reassured that a letter posted to any of these address will reach him so if you have been good and have a request or would like to make your case that hideously scratching your husbands  Peter Kay Stand Up DVD with a nail file so he can't play it incessantly was an accident and shouldn't put you on the bad list, you had better get writing. The Royal Mail can only guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve if posted by the 6th December.

PS. If you are reading this Santa, an Espresso Coffee Maker please and my husband is requesting a new 'Peter Kay Stand Up DVD' as his doesn't seem to be working for some unknown reason.

Friday, 4 December 2015

May Your Dongs Ding Merrily

Christmas is a time for goodwill to all men, presents beneath the Christmas tree and bright eyed children bouncing off the walls in anticipation of what the jolly fat man will bring them this year.
In all the excitement there are many pitfalls to navigate such as the office party. If you make it through that without being sacked or finding multiple copies of your photocopied derriere plastered on the notice board you have the secret Santa where someone will take the chance to anonymously get back at the person who has spent the year annoying them. A can of anti-perspirant for that woman with the personal hygiene problem or a comb for the balding colleague.
The next test is to go about your shopping and to withstand the pushchairs being flung into the back of the legs, sharp elbowed shoppers attempting to nudge in front in queues and my new favourite, elderly woman who wait until their purchase has been rung up and bagged before beginning the drawn out process of looking for her purse in their handbag.
Hopefully we can all have a gay old time as the Flintstones say but don't forget about those that are not so well off this festive period, people like the bankers, Estate Agents and city workers god bless'em who are suffering more than most.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

No Religion At Christmas

Apparently nobody bothered to tell the hordes of shoppers in the local city centre that there is a recession on, it has been just as busy as any other Christmas around here and i thought that i might be spared the jostling this year as everyone else stayed at home and explained to their children that Santa is feeling the pinch and their stocking may feel a bit lighter this year.
What i do notice as i walk around the town centres is the Santa's, snowmen and red nosed reindeer's and the lack of the very reason we do all this every year.
Now i have never bought into the whole religion thing, i place it in the make believe box alongside the Tooth Fairy, but it does seem strange that we celebrate the birth of Jesus without actually bringing any attention to Jesus himself.
We may spot the odd hastily thrown together nativity scene in a few shop windows but generally it is snow scenes with snowmen, Santa and elves in workshops making toys.
The truth is that Christmas is all about the presents and decorations and any ideals that we do it all to celebrate the birth of Jesus is ludicrous. Maybe that is the reason but it has been lost into the midst of time and it is just a give and receive present fest, i am sure that what supposedly happened 2015 years ago doesn't enter the mind of any of the queues snaking around the City Centre.
I am certain that the Church know that without the present giving ceremony and cute plastic snowmen, Christmas would be a dud and hardly anyone would care about it so they keep a low profile about what it is really all about and kid themselves that we all do it because we want to participate in the birth of the baby Jesus and celebrate the biggest day in the Christian calendar.
We know otherwise and they know otherwise so we both keep to our side of the line and play along nicely. We don't mention it is just an excuse to get presents and they don't ruin it all by bringing religion into it.

A Coffeehouse Conversation

Oh my God, there has been another shooting, 14 people killed.
Wow, where was this one?
California, America.
Oh...another loony gun nut then.
Yep, the usual barking mad gun laws and crackpots with easy access to guns. Another latte?
Yes please, and a slice of that coffee and walnut cake please.
Raining again i see...we would be snowed in if it was colder.
Did you hear about Debbie from accounts...Fran told me she and...(fade)  

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Fly Us To The Moon Mr Putin

Russian news agency TASS reports that Russia is planning several missions to create a permanent base on the moon by 2030.
The USSR tried and failed to create a base in the 1970s and shelved the project in 1976 until such a time that the technology was available to pick it up again.
Now the Russians have the new Angara A5 rockets they have revisited the idea and have completed testing and are setting a course on establishing a permanent base on the surface of the moon, which will include a solar power station, telecommunication station, technological station, scientific station, long-range research rover, landing and launch area, and an orbiting satellite.
Exciting stuff even though it feels that it is something we should have been planning decades ago but better late than never.

Off To War We Go Again

Government wins vote on airstrikes in Syria by majority of 174. Some 397 MPs were in favour, and 223 against.
Here we go again then and stand by for the shallow mantra that we have to support our lads over there 'getting the job done' as was much used in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to try and browbeat those of us against these wars.
To use an often muttered quote 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it' and sadly the people who make the decisions never seem to remember our other folly's over the past decade in that region so it's many more years of terror to continue in the Middle East and in the Worlds capitals.
Sad day indeed for Britain and an even worse one for those innocents caught beneath British bombs.

Christmas Phobias

Wizard wished it could be Christmas everyday and while that would be amazing to the vast majority of us, to some it would be a nightmare because not everyone loves this time of year and some people even have a phobia about all things Festive, a condition called Festivalisophobia.
There are Selaphobes who have a fear of flashing xmas lights, Meleagrisophobes who have an acute fear of turkey, Cyssanophobia which is the fear of kissing under the mistletoe and Ghabhphobia which is the fear of receiving presents.
There won't be any trips to the local Church this Christmas for Krikophobes who fear church services
or Teleophobes who just fear all religious ceremonies.
Ligyrophobes fear crackers going bang and don't expect a Syngenesophobe to open the front-door to you this Christmas as they have a fear of the relatives & relations and probably not a good time for Phagophobes either as they fear eating.
I did check and Claustrophobia is not a fear of Santa Claus.

Have A Safe Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year which is probably just as well according to the British Society for the Prevention of Accidents who calculate that over the 12 days of Christmas around 80,000 people in Britain will be hospitalised.
The season of joy is also the season of strange accidents and weird injuries from Christmas trees, paper chains, tinsel, holly, ivy and sprigs of mistletoe.
Some injuries are inevitable such as sharp knives in the hands of a tipsy cook but other accidents are linked to the more innocuous features of Christmas with 2000 injuries last year caused by Christmas trees.
So if you don't want to be receiving a hospital robe and and asked what time you will be requiring your bed bath, take care this Christmas.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Postal Dates For Santa's Letter 2015

Being the kind and considerate soul that he is, Father Christmas has once again contacted the Post Office to get the message out where and what date letters to him from boys and girls (only the good ones) must be sent to make sure that he receives them before the big day.

Dear boys and girls,

Christmas is a very exciting but busy time for me: the elves are making toys, the reindeer are practising their sleigh runs, and I'm busy preparing my list of who's been good this year.

I need to let the elves know what to make so to help me out, please let me know what you would like as early as possible.

I will be getting my sleigh ready for the long journey on Christmas Eve and to make sure I receive your letters, please could you send them to:

Father Christmas,
Santa's Grotto,

Please send your letters to me by Sunday 6 December and i look forward to delivering your presents on Christmas Eve. Make sure you remember my mince pie and Rudolph's carrot!

Merry Christmas to you all!
Father Christmas