Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Mark Twain

America doesn't have that many great writers, or rather not Southern Gentleman blessed with wit, humor and a killer mustache and a crisp white suit.
Apart from Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and person of colour Jim, i was friends with Nichol Tesla and even took part in some of his madcap electrical experiments including sitting in an oscilatting machine which put out high frequency current and an x-ray gun which he tested by firing directly at my brain.
Not saying it had anything to do with it but it sure made my death interesting, allowing me to predict it to the day.
Another friend of mine was former President Ulysses S. Grant and when he went bankrupt by sinking his money into some very dodgy investments i helped him publish his memoirs which made us both millions therefore allowing me to publish Huck Finn and the rest of the stories i became best known for.
Before that i was struggling myself until i hit upon the market of writing dirty stories for men's magazines, or squibs, essentially trashy short stories published in men's magazines with the the most (in)famous called '1601'.
It was so filthy that it wasn't even legal to print it until the overturning of obscenity laws in the 1960's and was a story of a conversation about farting and pubic hair between Francis Bacon, William Shakespeare, and the Queen of England.
As for my death, i said that as i was born within hours of Halley's Comet passing the earth, i would go to the great big steamboat in the sky with it also.
It was as much as a surprise to me when it showed up and hours later i died of a heart attack.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Dr Jenny Harries

Now is not the right time to be pouring vitriol on the politicians heads, Boris Johnson's woefully slow and confusing actions will be dredged over once the crisis is over but i do have to mention the deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, who is standing in for the Senior Medical Officer who is self-isolating after contracting Coronavirus himself.
She has been part of the Governments 5pm broadcasts for the past week or so and has come across as very calm and collected as she explains the advice that she and her team are giving to the Government but you would be forgiven for thinking that this Dr Jenny Harries is a completely different one to the one we saw a few weeks ago when the crisis began.
Then Dr Harries said cancelling outdoor events wasn’t necessary as: 'the virus doesn't last very long outdoors' therefore allowing the 250,000 racing fans to attend the Cheltenham Festival and announcing that other large sporting events: 'are not seen to be something which is going to have a big effect'.
She also said that she supported the government decision to keep schools open while schools across Europe began to close and in reply to former cabinet minister Rory Stewart’s call to close schools, said 'I would beg to differ with Mr Stewart'.
In response to criticism that NHS staff were screaming that they needed more Personal Protection Equipment, Dr Harries said that: 'the country has a perfectly adequate supply of PPE' and that 'there is kit available to go around the country'.
Not enough that the top three people in the country whose job includes advising the public how to avoid Covid-19 to ease the strain on the NHS have caught it themselves, the medical replacement was only weeks ago telling us the exact opposite of what she is telling us now.
It doesn't inspire confidence that the top team have a clue what they are doing and when we make it through the other side of the pandemic, it will be despite them rather than because of them.

No Tears For Loss Of BrightHouse

Our thoughts must be with the 2000 BrightHouse staff who have found themselves out of a job but nobody will be shedding a tear for the shop itself which was a cynical practise.
The shop sold electrical goods such as Washing machines, Televisions and Fridge Freezers on Higher Purchase to people who did not have the payment or credit rating to purchase upfront but they came with eye watering mark ups.
In an echo of the likes of Wonga and Quick Quid who had the same business model of lending and selling to the people who could least afford it, Brighthouse ran into financial problems when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) bought an end to their extortionate practices and fined them  £14.8 million for misselling goods on high-cost credit deals and not making correct checks that the lender can afford to make the repayments.
With many outstanding mis-selling claims against them, an administrator will now takeover the scores of mis-selling claims lodged against the firm however, claimants may have to wait longer for their compensation.
BrightHouse is another example of a company whose profits began to dry up when made to stop exploiting the low paid and jobless which showed how their business model worked all along so we should celebrate the demise of another yet deceitful, shameless business although that is tinged with sadness for the staff who today find themselves unemployed.

Special Guest Blogger: Henry VII

The last time i counted there were eight King Henry's but of all of them i'm the one that hardly gets a mention, Shakespeare wrote Henry four, five, six, eight but obviously defeating King Richard at Bosworth field and plucking Richard's crown in a hedge wasn't exciting enough to write a dumb play about.
Ending the wars of the roses wasn't good enough although to be fair it was quite confusing, damn near everyone involved was named either Edward, Henry or Richard with three Dukes of Somerset, three Princes of Wales (all Edwards), and five Kings of England.
I did lay the ground for everything that followed and making England rich and bought stability to our nation even if i spent a lot of time fighting off pretenders to the throne.
One of these was a little snot called Perkin Warbeck who said my throne was his, claiming he had been one of the Princes in the tower but was actually a Belgian servant boy who worked for a silk merchant who let Perkin wear some of his wares.
Apparently, hanging around blueknobs rubbed off on Warbeck and he knew the etiquette and could do a passable rightful king of England impression.
These rumors eventually reached the ears of my enemies and the anti-Henry group figured they could pass Perkin off as the son of Edward IV and both the Kings of France and Scotland vouched for the kid and tried to use Perkin to rouse a few armies against the me but in the best royal tradition of the time, i had him captured and hanged.
So i may have been dreary and boring but if you were looking for excitement in Tudor era England, you didn't have long to wait because my son was Henry 8

.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Coronavirus Not So Bright And Beautiful

I live opposite a CoE Vicar and we meet up on the communal balcony sometimes (2m apart), him with his Benson and Hedges and me with my Vape and we generally discuss things which are going on with the World and he had a real crisis of faith in 2004 with the Boxing Day Tsunami which killed a quarter of a million people.
So when i asked him this morning how he circles the square of the current Coronavirus killing randomly across the World with God he again shrugged but admitted he is enjoying the Sundays off. 
There is a Megachurch in Louisiana, run by Pastor Tony Spell, who has disregarded the social distancing guidance by gathering his flock together for thousands of worshipers to come and gather together to pray.
In a state where infections have increased ten-fold in seven days, the Pastor is obviously more afraid of an empty collection plate than he is of his flock dying painfully and said that if anyone from his church was to get sick he would rely on 'God’s supernatural protection and healing power by laying his hands on them while praying for them'.
Not an approach you would see in most medical manuals but seeing as God is the one who made the Earth and everything on it such as the flowers, birds, mountains, rivers, fruit and trees, he also made all the not so nice things such as the diseases and parasites that blight us humans.
A great time then to revisit my alternative version of 'All Things Not So Bright and Beautiful' because if you are going to take the plaudits for making everything, as well as the good things, you must take the blame for the crap things you have made also.

Refrain:
All things bad and terrible,
all ailments great and small,
all things poor and awful:
the Lord God made them all.

1. The Zika Virus Infection,
Each little tic that bites
God made their glowing colours
And the scabies mite
(Refrain)

2. Hepatitis D coinfection
Cancer and TB to,
Chicken pox and measles
Ringworm And Avian Flu
(Refrain)

3. Downs Syndrome and Asthma
Melanoma from the Sun
Gonorrhea and Shingles
God made them every one
(Refrain)

4. Covid-19 infections
Whooping cough and sickle cell
Give thanks to God Almighty
When your not feeling well
(Refrain)

Amen

PS...I thank God everyday that i'm an Atheist but remember if you do answer the call and visit a packed Church relying on prayer to heal you if you get Coronavirus, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead and the same applies if you're an idiot.

WFH Week1: Video Calling Pitfalls

Week 1 of working from home and i am finding out a few things, mostly that the standard position for video calls for most people is to lean slightly above the camera on their laptops giving everyone a great view up their nostrils.
I cottoned onto this pretty damn quick and now make sure that the laptop is on the shelf slightly above my head with the camera poised downwards so i am slightly looking up and nobody is sat there counting my nose hairs.    
Apart from companies that make those nasal hair removal machines or tweezer manufacturers, there are a few businesses booming from the current stay at home ruling.
One outdoor games supplier who has sold out of table tennis tables called them the new toilet paper although you wouldn't want to get them confused, those bats have pimples, but as well as ping pong balls, exercise bikes and other home exercise equipment are also selling well.  
Garden Centers are booming with carrots, lettuce, beans and tomato seeds hot items as well as standard gardening equipment but for some the garden is more a place for sitting in reading a book and with Amazon stating that Book sales have gone up 150%, there is a lot of people who have rediscovered the joys of reading. 
Electrical goods shops have seen sales of freezers and fridges rocket, mainly because we need somewhere to store all that milk and fruit we panic bought and sales of equipment for home working such as laptops and printers have gone up 25% and if you have recently purchased a laptop to do some video calls, please re-read my first sentence, i have seen enough nostrils to last me a lifetime.

Special Guest Blogger: Joseph Stalin

I was accused of being too authoritarian and being out of touch with the plebs in my time but the Soviets loved me for it, i often went around  speaking to some of the happy smiling grateful casualties of the purges and the message coming loud and clear was that they were 100% behind my brave decision to stand up to dissenting members by starving them to death in gulags.
I would often hear calls of where is that nice Mr. Stalin, please come back and teach us another lesson as it's the only language we understand and let's hope the Americans don't win the cold war.
I was asked could I get more food on the shelves and i told them to build bigger shelves, yeesh, i had to think of everything.
I did what was best for the Soviet economy, I looked into how to make economies rich and i decided if i went down the route of Capitalism i would be making rich the United States, Japanese and the German economies. 
My one regret was that before dying of a cerebral hemorrhage, i never had time to make a will and leave my most treasured belongings to my loved ones so being of an almost sound mind i leave the following, to my son Vasil i leave my mustache, to my future successor Yeltsin i leave the letters from my name apart from the A, Andropov has earmarked that for himself, my hat I leave to whoever it was who grabbed it off my head while i laid in state, my skateboard I leave to my cousin Dimitri, my Greatest hits of Bavarian Oompah Music album i leave to Winston Churchill and to the tens of millions of Soviet men, women and children i had maimed, tortured and sent to the their early deaths, i leave the message for them to remember that i did it all out of an undying love for them.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

A Breath Of Fresh Air

It has often been said that Planet Earth would be a lovely place if it wasn't for us humans messing up the place and as most of the planet is locked at home we are seeing Mother Nature pottering around  cleaning up the mess that we made.
Pollution levels worldwide have dropped significantly with scientists saying that CO2 emissions this year could be the lowest for decades and almost half the expected levels thanks to carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emmisisons from reduced airline flights, car and truck journeys and industrial activity falling.
Air quality is picking up in countries that remain under Coronavirus quarantine, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, noted the change saying: 'This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area' and even Paris which was marked as having air which was 'heavily polluted' a month ago has been downgraded to 'moderately polluted' now and levels of air pollution were deemed 'low' at all 165 UK sites monitored by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Along with the air being healthier to breath, the lakes and rivers are cleansing themselves with improving water quality, for the first time in generations the usually murky Venice canals are clear enough to see the fish in them.
While the World leaders differed and promised to hold meetings to decide on dates to hold meetings to discuss possibly doing something about Climate Change, all it took was a pandemic and the death of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, to force them to act.

Only In America

The top three people designated with coming up with ways to keep us safe from Coronavirus have gone down with...wait for it...Coronavirus which means that you couldn't make it up has been not only made up but is wearing the sort of thick rubber gloves and masks usually associated with the people who change the sheets in Moscow Hotel rooms after a Donald Trump visit.
Speaking of the Trumps, his America is now the Ground Zero in Coronavirus and his people have reacted in the way only Americans can by buying more guns and ammunition.
To be fair only Americans can because they are the only ones with such mind-numbingly stupid gun laws but with the schools and colleges closed, there are fewer of their favoured locations for the gun nuts to use them but as one numpty twanged: 'Politicians and anti-gun people have been telling us for the longest time that we don’t need guns. But right now, a lot of people are truly scared'.
Indeed, one gunshop owner said that the type of guns being bought was reflective of the fear with almost no interest in hunting rifles and customers opting for AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifles.
While the rest of the World panic buys toilet roll and hand sanitizer, America faces a shortage of killing machines which can fire 45 rounds per minute and is the favoured gun of the mass gun shooters.
You do have to feel for the 'normal Americans' because if they have not got enough to contend with a clearly incompetent President amidst a killer Pandemic sweeping their nation, they also have a large part of the nation who have decided to keep their families safe by skipping the aisles of masks, gloves and handwash and going straight to the high-powered weapon of death section.
Billy Bob, Billy Ray, Bobby Joe, Cooter, Jim Bob, Fruitbat, put down that moonshine and fetch papa his gun, ya'll got some virus shootin' to do. 

Special Guest Blogger: King Edmund II

As i followed my father to the throne, and as his nickname was Ethelred the Unready, i was always going to be a vast improvement and proved myself made of much sterner stuff than my predecessor, earning the surname 'Ironside' for my staunch resistance to a massive invasion led by the Danish King Canute who was confusingly married to my auntie Emma.
My father sought to buy off the Danes who where occupying northern England to stop their raids into his kingdom, but this just emboldened the
horned helmeted ones, who upped their demands for more and more gold, and kept on raiding his domain anyway.
The main antagonist was Sweyn Forkbeard who took the throne from my father but died shortly afterwards so i took over but Forkbeard's son, Canute, came to take it back and in tow he had my former step-mum, i always knew there was something about her i didn't much care for.  
I playing a leading role in chasing him and his hordes out of England, repelling the rampaging mob until one night when i made a trip to the little boys room, or the little boys hole in the ground to be accurate.
Unbeknown to me, one of Canute's assassins was waiting in the cesspit for the royal posterior to show up. When i sat down to do my business, the assassin stabbed upwards with a sharp dagger, and leaving the weapon embedded in my bowels, made his escape.
Unfortunately for me, my sides may have been made of iron, but my bottom certainly was not .
I don't know what the weirgold punishment is for injuring a backside and killing a King but Denmark must owe England millions.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Trump Succeeds In Making America First

Not one to make the same mistake twice when he can make it four or five times, Donald Trump is not having a good crisis after first describing the Coronavirus as a hoax, refusing to use WHO test kits and relying on faulty ones, saying America would be back in business by Easter and then praising himself for doing a great job as his country tops the grim list of Coronavirus cases.
True to his word that he it was going to be America First, America now is and desperate for a distraction from his awful running of the crisis, he has returned to a familiar theme and started flinging muck at the Venezuelan leader, Nicolas Maduro.
Accusing him of 'narco-terrorism' with a claim that Maduro and over a dozen Venezuelan political and military leaders are plotting to flood the United States with cocaine, they have offered a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
Maduro responded by pointing out that he has achieved record results in its battle against drug trafficking in the past 15 years and the great line that: 'Are the world’s terrorists, those who bomb towns, going to accuse us of terrorism'?
Wow, he got you there. 
So yes we moan about Boris Johnson's tepid and disastrously slow reaction in which he really hasn't covered himself in glory, at least we haven't got the inept Trump and his gang running the show here.

Right Wing Ideology Fails Yet Again

Hmmm....that decision by the Conservative Party to run down the NHS resulting in closing 44 hospitals and treatment centers with a loss of 15,000 beds and 160,000 nurses is not looking quite a hot idea now, especially as they are now issuing a 'Save The NHS' plea for most of those former Nurses to now come back.
Nor i suspect the decision to cut the Police by 20,000 officers as a similar plea goes out today for former PC's to return to service to manage the demands on them over the coming weeks.
Anyone calling the COVID-19, HMRC and Universal Credits helplines are facing hours and hours of wait to speak to someone as they are being manned by a Civil Service which was drastically cut by 100,000 staff.
The cuts were always a right wing ideological decision and as we learn time after time after time, right wing ideological decisions are great for the few but disastrous for the many.
Of course once this is all over it will be thanks and goodbye to all the volunteers and the Conservative cuts will continue with even more gusto as the economy is going to be wrecked by then so if nothing else comes out of this disaster, let the right wing ideology of a smaller public service forever leave our thinking because when we have truly needed it, it is a shadow of what it was before the right wing brain-dead zealots got their hands on it.

Special Guest Blogger: Ronald Reagan

Prior to my presidency, i was a Hollywood actor and it was said that many of my speeches scripts all came from famous movie clips but frankly, i didn't give a damn.
There was also a conspiracy theory that i was shot in an attempt to boost my popularity but i was shot in the chest and if i was picking a place to be shot i would have chosen somewhere that wouldn't do much damage and i didn't use much, the head or somewhere.
I always hated the Communists, i was as mad as hell and said i'm not going to take this anymore so i provided the FBI with the names of actors within the motion picture industry whom i believed to be commies and was famously harsh on the Soviets during my Presidency but not as harsh as i was on America's poor who could go whistle, they knew how to whistle, they just put their lips together and blew.
I opposed Medicare, the Food Stamp Program and raising the minimum wage preferring to spend the money on building weapons which i gave to those good old boys the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan.
I was also strongly against abortion but not so much against it on moral grounds considering it wrong to kill an unborn child at 16 weeks, hell just wait till they're 16 years old and then i could send them to a warzone with the same result, I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
As i got older i began to forget names and confused real life and the things i saw on the television thinking they had happened to me, Nancy had to remind me at least twice a day to put my trousers on although having a failing memory did came in very handy whenever i was asked about selling arms to Iran to fund the Contra's in Nicaragua, that was another nice mess i almost gotten me into!
When i died my funeral attracted all my favourite World Leaders, of all the funerals in all the towns in all the world, who walked into mine but Margaret Thatcher, Gerhard Schröder, Silvio Berlusconi, Hamid Karzai and my special friend Mikeal Gorbachev but i don't remember seeing any of those freedom fighting Taliban boys there, nice boys, i called them the moral equivalent of the founding fathers and invited them to the White House, i do sometimes wonder what became of them, damn this flaky memory

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Well Done People Of Britain

I probably don't say it enough but people of Great Britain, i am so proud of you tonight.
The crescendo of noise at 8pm for the 'Clap For Our Carers' was amazing with car horns sounding, fireworks exploding, pots and pans banging and people all across the land applauding to say a massive thank you for everyone in the front line.
It's a small thing and only lasted 5 minutes but it let all the heroes in the fight against Coronavirus know just how grateful we are.
Well done Britain, we need to find as many silver linings in these dark and dangerous times and this was a brilliant, emotional highlight. 
It doesn't seem enough but a huge Thank You to all those keeping us safe and healthy.

Cutting Celebrities Some Slack

For every bad guy we hear of forcing their employees to come into work during a pandemic (Sports Direct's Mike Ashley and Wetherspoons Tim Martin) who i hope we will all remember when this is all over, there are plenty of good guys who are donating time and money, everyone of the 1.4 million NHS Staff and workers in essential roles keeping the country ticking over and the 500,000+
volunteers to support vulnerable people, every single one a bloody hero.  
In the world of celebrities there are some big names giving something back and each of these deserve a pay on the back also. 
Angelina Jolie has donated $1m to a charity to provide meals for children from low-income families across the US while schools are closed and Rihanna has donated $5m towards around the world.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have donated $1m to help provide food for older people and low-income families and tennis star Roger Federer has donated 1m Swiss francs for vulnerable families and Arnold Schwarzenegger has matched it with $1m towards the relief effort while Lady Gaga is donating 20% of from her profits from her HAUS line to support food banks and Gwyneth Paltrow has donated $100,000 to help health workers.
Justin Bieber has donated £23,500 to a children's charity in China, Donatella Versace has given €200,000 to the intensive care department at a Milan hospital and Kristen Bell's $150,007.96 is going to a Children's charity.
Stars including Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake have also pledged donations to a range of good  causes while Man City's Pep Guardiola has donated €1m and  Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has been preparing food parcels for the vulnerable and Elton John, Billie Eilish and Mariah Carey have organised a living room gig to raise funds.
I am sure that there are more celebrities donating time and money and we should remember the selflessness next time one of them acts a diva or does something to rile us and at least cut them some slack as they have some some well deserved credit in the bank.
As for the likes of Mike Ashley and Tim Martin, you really do hope karma is a thing.

Special Guest Blogger: Louis Pasteur

I hope Lucy has cleaned this keyboard, especially as i am known as the enemy of the germ world but it is true that i became slightly obsessed with hunting them down.
My colleagues in the scientific community didn't believe that something so tiny could kill a human being but through my experiments i was able to show that many terrible diseases such as anthrax and tuberculosis was the work of germs.
Friends stopped coming around to our dinner parties after a while as i would describe the amount of germs on the plates and cutlery and i was the first to prove that many common diseases were caused by germs.
I developed cures for diseases and saved thousands of lives but the whole thing was due to me being asked to improve French wine which was inferior to the German wine of the time.
A peek under the microscope showed that the wine was populated by yeast and the French wine contained a type of yeast which contained far more rod-shaped microorganisms, or germs, which affected the taste and made it spoil quicker.
The winemakers were happy to have a way to improve their wine by changing the yeast they used but i noticed that those germs in the wine were also the same ones that could be found in spoiled milk and most importantly, if you heated the milk, or pasteurised it as it become known, it killed many of the things and stopped poisoning people.
Dairies worldwide started heating the milk before selling it and it became my legacy and the process named after me which is flattering if a bit uncool being known as the hot milk guy especially as the original experiments were an effort to improve alcohol.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Using Self-Isolation Constructively

Two of the most famous names from History are William Shakespeare and Issac Newton and both men have something in common, they both did their best work while self-isolating during a pandemic.
All of William Shakespeare 52 years on the planet were a constant fight against the plague, his town of Stratford-upon-Avon was hit exceptionally hard in the 1560's when he was a child and appears in several of his works but it was during a particularly harsh plague year between 1605 and 1606 when Shakespeare churned out King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.
The reason Shakespeare was quite so productive during this year is put down to it being so darned dangerous to go outside and as Whatsapp and Candy Crush were still several hundreds of years in the future, he decided to grab his quill and write instead.
Isaac Newton is one of the most important figures in history, discovering gravity and ushering in the Age of Enlightenment but it was the plague once again which swept through England in the 1660's which meant Cambridge University was closed and students told to return home until for quarantine and wait out the pandemic and come back in 12 months if they survived.
It was while at home kicking his heels that Newton began conducting a series of experiments regarding the laws of motion and gravity which he was mulling over while sat under an apple tree one day...and the rest is history.
I'm not saying that while we are all self-isolating we should be writing classic literature or conducting experiments which will change science as we know it but someone somewhere might just be doing that.
Not me, i got a box set of 97 episodes of Quantum Leap to watch but everyone else can knock themselves out while they are at home.

Special Guest Blogger: King Canute

Not many people know that i gave the first royal press releases, issuing proclamations to keep my subjects in the royal loop, although i left out the fact that i was a massive bigamist.
I was King of England, Denmark, Norway and parts of Sweden but i was far from a ruthless leader, i would give my prisoners who i caught in battle the option of being released with the issue of the horrible habit of picking their noses solved, they left minus their noses and hands.
While i ruled England, it was part of my Viking empire and the people loved me, even referring to me as a God which as a deeply religious man didn't sit well with me so to disprove them i set out a throne at Southampton beach and attempted to turn back the tide, ordering it to not wet my feet to prove that i was not as powerful as God who ruled the tides, of course the royal sandals got wet but from then on i was called Canute The Great rather than Canute The God.
One of the previous King's wife's obviously thought i was Great also because she married me and even cheered me on while i defeated her nephew to take the English throne. The Royal blood was obviously not as thick as water or the handle which held my massive axe. 
My family do have one further claim to fame with modern Bluetooth technology being named after my grandfather, Harald Bluetooth, who filed his teeth and carved grooves in them, which he then coloured with blue dye.
He must be thankful that he didn't go with his first idea because sending things to each other by connecting their Greenknobs together is not the same thing at all.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Day 1 Working From Home

The Prime Minister took his sweet time about it but finally the country is almost full lockdown although judging by the amount of people i saw walking around, they either all took their single exercise period at the same time or their are some thick heads that the seriousness of the situation still hasn't sunk in yet.
As Boris is threatening fines for anyone disobeying the stay at home orders, he may have to get the stick out because the carrot of not dying or killing your relatives with your germs is not working so far.
As for me i was told to work closer to home last week and then two on my team went down with flu like symptoms and that's me at home for the next 14 days at least so i have set up a home office in the corner of the living room but working from home is not as easy as i imagined.
The problem i am finding straight away is the amount of distractions and i don't mean from other people, i mean from myself as it is so easy to just get up and make another cup of coffee, check my phone or take a vape break every 30 minutes.
I have the radio on which is fine when it is BBC Radio 5 which has no actual music but saying to the Google speaker 'Play SAM FM' is far too easy and don't get me started on time spent on Skype/Facebook/WhatsApp/Microsoft Teams/Email which all put a serious crimp in my actual work time.
I know i will have to be more disciplined and i have promised myself from tomorrow it's going to be less vaping and coffee and more typing  and concentrating and ignoring all those technological things pinging at me.

The Universal Basic Income In Action

Capitalism is great all the time you have people further down the financial food chain to snatch money up from but it all falls apart when the supply to the lowest dries up is the case at the moment with the virus lock down.
As the unemployment queues grew substantially each day as employers laid off workers, the government stepped in to pay 80% of workers wages in companies across the nation, effectively nationalising massive swathes of the private sector by paying most of the wages of workers instead
of their employers in order to prevent the economy from imploding.
It is a perfect storm of a major health crisis leading to an economic crisis many times worse than 2008 which we still haven't recovered from so let's not even think of the austerity measures which this austerity loving  Government will tell us they will have to being in to rescue ourselves this time.
So let's leave that particularly thorny issue in the tray marked 'worry about it later' but with the idea of Universal Basic Income being bounded around over the last few years, this is it in action as many will find that for the next few months at least, their pay cheque is being financed by the government who are literally paying them to stay at home.
Sure, you can't go out to spend it anywhere and you have to remember this Government will make sure they get it all back with some austerity measures which will make us all squeak but that's for when we cross that bridge much further down the road, let's just get through it first.

Not Learning From Asia

The British Government is quite rightly getting it in the ear for being slow off the mark but if, as Boris warned, we are just at the start of the Coronavirus rollercoaster, it seems China and South Korea especially are coming out the other end so what can we learn from the Asians that we can do to make our ride a bit less bumpy.
Firstly the World was warned by China in late December of a new SARS like virus that was coming our way but while China, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong were all screening at their borders within days, we in the West were very slow off the mark so that opportunity has now passed and it's here and devastating society.
The World Health Organisation said that the key was to 'test, test, test' and South Korea quickly developed a test for the virus and tested hundred of thousands of its citizens at a rate of 20,000 daily meanwhile in the UK we only tested those patients in hospital with flu like symptoms so that is another opportunity burnt through.
Social distancing is considered one of the best ways of containing an outbreak and in China the shutters came down remarkable quickly especially in Wuhan, where it all started but Europe went for a strategy of introducing it in small steps until finally reaching the national lockdown state that China reached for straight away and only after the infection and death rate got eye-wateringly uncomfortable.
We don't know how long it will last or just how bad it will get but it appears Europe just didn't pay enough attention to what was happening in Asia and react to the threat quick enough.

Special Guest Blogger: Amelia Earhart

We didn't have the word Feminism back when i was around but i was a champion of the The Equal Rights For Women so i guess i fit the description of one.  
I survived with a few sinus problems following a dose of the Spanish Flu as a child but i didn't let that stop me, and after watching a flying show i worked as a truck driver, stenographer and a photographer to be able to afford flying lessons.
I became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, flying for 14 hours straight from Newfoundland to Ireland, it was supposed to be Newfoundland to Paris but stopped short due to the weather conditions.
Not satisfied with just one feat of prowess, i then became the first person to fly across both the Atlantic and Pacific, setting records for the women's autogiro altitude record, the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California, the first to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City and set seven women's speed and distance aviation records. Oh, and i was Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.
It was attempting to circle the globe which proved my undoing, my first attempt coming to a halt due to technical difficulties but i patched up the old girl and tried again a few months later.
This time i flew in the opposite direction, heading Eastwards and after 22,000 miles and crossing Africa, India, and South Asia, my plane met the surface of the Pacific Ocean just 6,200 miles short of home.
They say my body was never found and in 1939 a court declared me legally dead leaving behind several conspiracy theories that i had been captured and taken hostage by the Japanese or that i faked my death or even that i had landed on a desert island but the truth is that i just ran out of fuel and gravity and dropping from a few thousands feet did the rest.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Saddam Hussein

According to the Americans, there were many justifications for removing me from power, the lack of Democracy but the Americans protected Kuwait where only 5% of the population are allowed to vote, then there was the torture but they defended Saudi Arabia which was heavily condemned by Rights groups for their systematic torture of minorities.
Women's rights were also mentioned but i regularly offered make up and fashion tips for Iraqi women, a black sack over their heads was my answer to both although i did have a thing for Whitney Houston and even used an Arabic cover of 'I Will Always Love You' as my campaign song during my 2002 re-election, an election that saw all 11.4 million Iraqis voted for me, no dodgy hanging chads in my elections.
Other countries had been invaded in the last two decades that didn't produce lots of cheap oil but no American troops were sent to assist them which may make you wonder just why that is, oh right...like George W Bush it's pretty simple really.
I invaded our tiny neighbor Kuwait as we were doing them a favour by fighting Iran for the best part of a decade but they refused to write off Iraq's debts as did America who handed over $40m to me as they saw Iran as a problem and i was the patsy to fight on their behalf.
After the second Iraq War, after two generations worth of President Bush had spent billions of dollars and hundreds of American lives trying to remove me, i was finally captured and subjected to interrogation.
They wanted to know where my weapons of mass destruction were and even when i said i had none they didn't believe me, George W Bush kept saying i did and i was lying but he said i had them and decided to invade to uncover them, well they never found any so which of was the liar?
I was executed by the Americans who bought Democracy to Iraq along with terrorists and more deaths in Iraq in a shorter period of time then even i managed in 30 years, and it was me they hung.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Ludwig Van Beethoven

I never heard of drive-by cannoning's after Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture so i do not sign up to the notion that music leads to violence but composing it leading to violence, now that's another story.
I was a stroppy sod in life but that was due to my dumb luck of being one of the greatest ever composers and going stone death.
People told me that i couldn't be a great musician because i was deaf but did i listen? Nope, couldn't even if i wanted to, see the previous sentence.
I was a child prodigy and the French Revolution began when i was still only 18 and i was inspired by the revolutionary atmosphere and the man who embodied the spirit, Napoleon.
The marches of Napoleon encouraged me, my Third symphony was written about Napoleons victories but it backfired a bit when he abandoned his Republican values and declared himself Emperor.
Then he invaded my hometown of Vienna and had the cheek to offer me the position of imperial court virtuoso and i angrily rejected an offer to compose for the big nosed idiot. 
I began drinking heavily and my financial problems were getting worse and by this time i was almost competely deaf and although i was still composing, i couldn't hear it but my drinking got so bad that i developed pancreatitis and cirrhosis of the liver and eventually in 1827 i died surrounded by my friends to whom i uttered my final immortal words: 'Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over'.
Whether they did or not i'm not sure, i had my eyes closed and was deaf as a post and don't bother with the old joke about me going from composing to decomposing, that is only funny the first 5,000 times i heard it, or saw it written down in my case.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

2019/20 Final Table

With the English football season suspended it may be some time until the baubles for the 2019-20 season are handed out but as the discussions continue about how the season will end (the FA sadly rejected my suggestion of doing it alphabetically and just giving the title to Arsenal) but the Euro Club Index football rankings have stepped in and may have decided things with a scientific prediction of English teams final positions based on the statistics from the season so far.
Using calculations based on 100,000 simulations of the remaining fixtures of the season, the model has Liverpool, as expected, 100% certain to be crowned champions with Manchester City runners up and then comes Leicester, Chelsea and as Manchester City are banned from European Football next season, Manchester United take the additional UEFA Champions League place by finishing 5th.
In 6th and 7th place and qualifying for the UEFA Cup are Wolves and Tottenham and Arsenal finishing 8th just miss out on European football as do Sheffield United finishing 9th.
Regarding relegation, the models are not kind to Norwich, Aston Villa and Bournemouth who will be playing in the Championship next season but replacing them, the promoted teams coming the other way will be Leeds, West Bromwich and they will be joined lining up against the big guns by Fulham who will qualify through the play off.

Key Workers

The Government designated Key Workers list contained a few surprises mostly that Journalists are on there so as a designated key worker my children are still able to go to school which surprised them as they are in their 20's and are either working or sitting at home wondering if they will have a job to go back to when the smoke clears.
Being a designated Key Worker puts me in the same frame as NHS Workers in the front line which doesn't seem right, i'm reporting on it while they are actually treating it for which we should all be eternally grateful especially considering just how easy it is to catch the disease.
On a 30 minute trip to the local Supermarket this morning, i washed my hands before i went and used hand sanitizer when i left the shop and my husband counted between cleansings i touched my face 13 times, and that was with me knowing he was counting and consciously trying not to so it is almost impossible to not touch your face and risk spreading the disease if it gets on your hands between washes and i even used my hand to swipe my fringe away from my brow as i typed that sentence.
Vets have said that there are cases of people contracting the disease from pets, i heard a story of a lady who was fastidiously self-isolating but caught the disease from cuddling her cat who she later found out how she got it when sat in the testing room alongside her neighbour whose home the cat had visited prior to returning home to that cuddle.
The excellent BBC Documentary: Contagion with Dr Hannah Fry shows just how easy it is to become infected and despite being made in 2018, plays out almost exactly the way this pandemic is so wash your hands, stay inside and look after yourself but be aware that even with taking every possible precaution, the virus can still find its way into your system but you will have a lovely proper key worker looking after you and another not quite so main one, possibly one trying desperately to not touch their face while bothering you with questions about how you caught it.

Thanking Our Lucky Stars We Have NHS

A decade of running down the NHS has come back to kick this Government in the butt and that is worth remembering when a Government Minister is on television bleating about the NHS under strain due to the lack of beds and hospital places, it was them who underfunded it by raising the NHS budget by 1% each year since 2010 rather than the historical 4% it requires and making £22 billion worth of cuts and closing 44 hospitals and treatment centers with a loss of 15,000 beds.
That the NHS has kept going at all is an achievement and that is despite this Government rather than because of it so it is right that we cherish it and the NHS workers because if the NHS was to go, what we would have in its place is an American style Health Care system and the Coronavirus outbreak is showing just how awful that system is.
Whereas in the UK with our free NHS, we can go to the doctors and if needed, be treated for free, in America it is very much not the case with the high cost of treatment leaving many reluctant to get tested or seek treatment, worried about getting large medical bills even when they have health insurance.
An assessment by S&P Global found that 54%, of Americans are not financially able to handle a contagious disease like Coronavirus and a report from CNBC and FAIR Health report the cost of doctors, hospital stays, testing and medication ranges from $1,300 to $20,292 depending on your level of insurance and how serious a case you have.
'The problem is that if people know they face hundreds or thousands of dollars in bills, they’ll hesitate, they’ll wait and see' said consumer advocacy group Families USA.
The NHS we have in the UK may be creaking after a decade of Conservative Cuts but we can thank our lucky stars that we have a free Health System paid for by our NI Contributions and not what America has which is what the Government are desperate to achieve and this pandemic is a shocking reminder why we should resist that with all we have.

Special Guest Blogger: Ethelred The Unready

In Anglo-Saxon times, a king had to be strong to fight and keep his land so its a shame that after my brother Edward was killed, the English got me.
Being a peace loving chap, rather than fight with the invading Vikings i tried to stop them from invading by giving them gold and land but it didn’t work out so well as the Vikings took the land and gold and still attacked anyway.
I would pray to God for victory over my enemies while my brother Alfred did all the fighting, must have worked because we won most of our battles.
I did try and act tough when it came to criminals though and invented a test that others would later use which included ordeals.
We could have gathered evidence, look for witnesses and then make a balanced and informed decision but instead we tied the defendants big toe to their wrists and chucked them in a river and if they floated they were guilty and we cut off their hands and feet.
Another was ordeal by burning, that's where you grip a white-hot iron bar and walk three paces then we bandaged the wounds and after three days, if the wounds aren't healed, you are deemed guilty and it's off with the hands and feet.
One other ordeal was trial by cake where you eat a cake if you choke you're guilty and off come the hands and feet but if you manage to eat the cake without choking you're innocent. Pretty popular that one.
My soldiers killed many Viking families in our battles which made King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark angry, so angry in fact that he invaded England and if i know one thing it is not to hang around when a man with an axe and a horned helmet is looking for me so i ran off to France with my wife Emma where i stayed until i died three years later.
My Emma, obviously having developed a taste for wearing a crown and Scandinavian men with beards and big choppers, then married old Forkbeard's son Canute who defeated her own nephew before ruling England as Queen alongside Canute and leaving behind a very confusing family tree for future Royal genealogists.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Social Distancing For The Long Haul

My Saturday plans for a trip to the gym followed by sinking a few lunchtimes shandies at the pub and finishing off at a restaurant before a film have been scuppered as the Government tighten the grip on Social Distancing by closing down places where people congregate.
No complaints though, it is sorely needed if it is going to save lives and could have been implemented even sooner but from tomorrow everything changes but the question is how long will the restrictions remain.
The first time frame given was 12 weeks but the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) recommended the strict measures staying in place for a year while 18 months has also been floated by the Imperial College of London using modeling.
One unknown factor is the arriving Summer and warmer weather with strong Ultra Violet Rays disrupting the virus but whatever it is, 12 weeks or 18 months, we are in this for the long haul.

Stopping The Internet Buckling

With so many people now working from home, the internet is coming under considerable strain, so much so that YouTube and Netflix have said they will reduce the streaming quality of videos due to the unprecedented usage during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Vodafone has reported a 30% rise in internet traffic across its home Wi-Fi and mobile networks this week, while TalkTalk has seen traffic jump 20% since Monday and advised that the traditional 'busy" period' between 6pm and 8pm now extends all the way back to 1pm.
Internet providers have said that they are nowhere near the maximum capacity of their networks being maxed out but some people have already noticed that their home broadband speeds are dwindling and earlier this week almost all of the UK's major mobile networks all went down at once.
Facebook have acknowledged that the effects of the pandemic are stretching it, saying that services are facing 'big surges in usage' and compared it to what they would normally see on New Years Eve
Networking company Sandvine said that video accounts for over 60% of data delivered from internet providers to consumers with Netflix accounting for just under 12% of total traffic with YouTube another 12%.

Special Guest Blogger: William Harrison

When Lucy asked me to write a brief synopsis of my life i told her that i was only in the public eye for such a short time and that it was likely that nobody would remember me but i could write about my brilliant military victories over Native American tribes, but she said nope, just write about the stupid way you died.
It's true, it was stupid, after years of working hard to get the top job in the White House, when i finally got there, i died within 31 days.
Something else i worked hard at was making my wife Anna pregnant, ten children we had, and then there was the additional six children by Dilsia, an enslaved African-American woman i owned.
Many believed i was far too frail to serve in office and i was the oldest President ever at the time at 68 so when i took the oath of office outside on a cold and wet March day, i decided it would help my case and allay any fears that i was too frail to rule so i arrived on horseback rather than a closed carriage and didn't wear an overcoat or a hat and to ram the point home, i delivered the longest inaugural address in American history and 2 hours later i was standing in the cold, damp rain i could feel a bit of a sniffle coming on.
The sniffle turned into a cold which grew progressively worse over the next two days and ended up as pneumonia and even doctors attaching leeches to me didn't improve my condition and i sadly died.
Apart from sneezing and coughing a lot, i didn't have enough time to achieve anything as President except increasing the White House tissue quota but my death did being about the formality of the Vice President succeeding the Presidency on the death of the President and having someone on hand with a brolly at the inauguration ceremony.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Ignore The Internet Whackjobs

The internet is great but one of the downsides is that their are some real whackjobs on it as we are finding out with the nonsense being spouted around the origins of the Coronavirus which range from being engineered and then escaping from a laboratory to being released delibretly by the Chinese Government to suppress the people Hong Kong.
The Scripps Research Institute in the US, UK and Australia, a far better source then some Insurance Salesman with an internet connection, have said that the COVID-19 began from a single introduction into the human population and is a mutated human version of a known viruses found in bats and pangolins.
Viruses evolving from a non-human host and then jumping to humans is not unknown and is exactly how previous virus outbreaks have emerged, with humans contracting new fatal viruses after direct exposure to civets (SARS), camels (MERS), bats (Ebola), chimps (HIV), monkeys (Dengue), Rats (Lassa fever), Pigs (Nipah) and chickens (Bird Flu).
Pathogens crossing from animals to humans is becoming more widespread, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that three-quarters of new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals, and human activity in the shape of logging, mining, road building, urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before.
With what we are doing to the planet with our pollution and developing weapons awful enough to destroy ourselves many times over, it seems us humans are determined to bring about our own demise one way or another.

Great Timing For Racist British Government

If ever there was a good time to bury bad news it is now which is why the Windrush report is not getting the necessary amount of attention that it deserves.
The scathing report sets out that the Conservative Government under Theresa May demonstrated 'institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race during the Windrush scandal that British citizens were 'wrongly deported, dismissed from their jobs and deprived of services such as NHS care' which is 'consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism'.
The scandal centers around Theresa May's policy to make the UK 'a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants' but included the children of the Caribbean immigrants who were encouraged to travel to the UK after World War 2 but were never given the requisite documents, documents they were being asked to produce in order to prove they were British Citizens.
Before it came to a screeching halt, at least 83 people had been wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office and 50,000 more faced deportation and the report states that Ministers should provide an unqualified apology to those affected and to the wider Afro-Caribbean community.
The current Home Secretary, Priti Patel, wasted no time and stood up in the House of Commons today to give an official apology, saying: 'On behalf of this and successive governments I am truly sorry'.
With Coronavirus leading the news agenda, this news will be filed in the corner of page eleven of most newspapers and towards the end of  news bulletins but it deserves so much more attention so a great bit of timing for the Government, now where's the long postponed release of the Russian election meddling report?

Special Guest Blogger: Thomas Edison

I am described as one of the world's most prolific inventors with a record-breaking 1,093 patents to my name although the phrase 'to my name' is stretching it a bit.
I am still celebrated around the World for inventing the light bulb, the motion picture, electricity and a ton of other important crap that truth told, i had very little to do with.
The light bulb for instance, plenty of people messed around with the idea of the light bulb, guys you'll never read about in a school history text book, but Heinrich Goebel actually invented it, back in 1854, and tried selling it to me but i played it cool and told him that i saw no practical use for it and sent him away.
Shortly thereafter, Goebel died and even more shortly after that, i bought Goebel's patent off of his impoverished widow at a cost much lower than what it was actually worth.
Apart from stealing other people's inventions, i hired thugs to physically intimidate the competition, Nikola Tesla for one, who had a competing electrical system called Alternating Current so i heroically electrocuted an elephant to discredit him and prove his version was dangerous.
Naturally, the next step was dabbling in the paranormal and during the early days of the 20th century, contacting the spirit world was all the rage and any jackass could make bundles of cash holding seances to separate grieving families hoping to talk to a deceased loved one from their money and if there was one thing i was, it was a money grabbing jackass.
I triumphantly exclaimed that all human beings must be made of 'immortal units' which cannot be destroyed, thus explaining the existence of ghosts which could be chatted with and set about creating a device which i called the spirit phone to record the voices and presence of the dead.
Since i died though the only people who have called where to ask me if i had an accident at work which wasn't my fault and some angry sounding German guy asking me about light bulbs but otherwise nobody.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Listen Out For The Good News Too

Being outside at the moment is quite eerie and with the crackdowns now coming thick and fast, it is only going to get stranger but if a draconian crackdown is what it takes, then that is exactly what we need to happen.
With news of 475 deaths in one day in Italy and the Worldwide total now standing at 8,891 with China (3,237), Italy (2,978), Iran (1,135) and Spain (623) accounting for almost 90% of that toll, it is right to be scared because these are scary times.
Britain today stepped up it's battle against the virus by shutting down all it's Nursery's, Schools, Colleges and Universities and so many people are working from home or self-isolating that its almost like the Christmas period on the roads with half empty motorways.
I am no fan of Boris Johnson and i thought that he should have gone harder and faster than he did, the worry was that he was going to burn through the short time we had before the virus hit proper but better late than never and now we are following in the steps of our European neighbours and shutting the country down to try and stop the spread of the disease.
A silver lining is that the air quality is already improving as airplanes are grounded and less cars moving around and pumping out their exhaust fumes and as always in tragedies, there are some good guys.
McDonald's have today said they will give free hot drinks to NHS workers and i have seen numerous random acts of kindness with people setting up groups to go shopping for other people and the supermarkets have set aside certain times of the day when elderly and vulnerable shoppers can stock up before the hordes descend and wheel off all the toilet roll.
China and South Korea are starting to close down their Coronavirus hospitals as they are not taking in enough new cases to support them and researchers have managed to isolate and grow copies of the virus which is a huge stride towards making a vaccine.
So yes this is hard and frightening and things are being turned upside down at the moment and probably will for the next few months but we will come out the other side and things will return to normal so a few more months of hardship in order to save possibly tens of  millions of lives Worldwide will be worth it, just remember when you are listening to the News bulletins to keep an ear out for the good news stories as well as the horror ones.

Special Guest Blogger: Christopher Columbus

I, the explorer Christopher Columbus, heading westwards on my ship the Santa Maria but instead of finding India i found America and nobody whatsoever had discovered it before although there was some people already there but to avoid any confusion i called them Indians anyway.
They did say that when i planned to sail due West to find a passage to India it was impossible but i proved the doubters wrong, and proved that i was the finest sailor and navigator on the planet and if I go looking for India, India is what I find, even if it isn't.
The first natives i encountered were the Arawak people and i found them to be peaceful and loving but most importantly unarmed so promptly took a large group of them prisoner and interrogated them as to where they hid all their gold.
Despite thousands of people already living there, i am considered to be the man who discovered the New World, i don't count the Vikings, they never forced the Natives into slavery and disfigured them by lopping off their limbs as punishment for noncompliance.
Something us Europeans did give to them was our diseases so measles and smallpox ravaged the native populations but the lack of resistance to native diseases went the other way also, some of the native inhabitants suffered from a new sexually transmitted disease called Syphilis that was then transmitted throughout Europe by my randy crew, months at sea will do that to a man .
Luckily the American people didn't let a little thing like the wide-scale torture, murder and enslavement of the indigenous population stop them from building many landmarks and institutions in my name and declare my landing in the Americas as a national holiday which i would like to think is celebrated by walking into someone else's house and telling them that you live there now but as i was Italian so it probably involves eating pasta and wearing a Mario Brothers style moustache.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Grover Cleveland

I grew up in the time of the Civil War but i managed to avoid all the killing and mayhem thanks to being the Assistant District Attorney at the time of the Conscription Act requiring all able-bodied men to serve in the army or else to hire a substitute which is exactly what i did, paying $150 to George Benninsky, a thirty-two-year-old Polish immigrant, to serve in my place.
While not going to war and vying for a place in the Senate, i was accused of rape by a pregnant Maria Halpin but unlike her, i wasn't going to take that laying down so accused her of lying, being an alcoholic and a right old slapper and had her institutionalised and our child taken away.
As President i vetoed a bill to reduce the fares on New York City trains and pensions for American Civil War veterans and the disabled but the fathering of an illegitimate child and having the mother put in a loony bin refused to go away.
Luckily a demonstration by workers angry at my policies proved a handy distraction as i had them all arrested for walking on the White House lawn, those don't walk on the grass signs are there for a reason.
I was not much for Women's Rights, stating that 'sensible and responsible women do not want to vote' which didn't do much to shut them up for long but i was anything but a nasty sexist boor.
Once, when my sister was hassling me about being a bachelor, i said that i was waiting for my wife to grow up which she laughed at but i wasn't kidding.
I first met my wife when she was a few days old and i was 28, i even bought her the baby carriage she cruised around in until she could walk and when she was 11 and her father died, i took on the role of father figure but i waited until she was 21 before i proposed to her.
See, a perfect gentleman.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Spartacus

The Slaves v Lions thing was never fair which is why i revolted, i mean that's hardly very sporting is it and as i was the biggest and best fighter i was made the slaves trainer so i was always onto a loser.
Before every fight i would give a pep talk and tell them avoid any injuries especially in the opening minutes, having your leg chewed off will definitely affect your pace and you really need to stay calm and you don't want to lose your head, so many heads bitten clean off and chalk up another convincing victory to the Lions.
You do have to hand it to the Lions, every day they ripped us to pieces, there was an arm here and a leg there, i was gutted after every contest but not as much as them obviously unless the rulers got hold of me if i had hung around Rome after the slave uprising so i ran off and me and 70 of my friends hid out on Mount Vesuvius and recruited other slaves, herdsmen and shepherds to make an army of 40,000 and kept at bay the hordes of legionnaires sent to kill us.
All was going well until Marcus Licinius Crassus and his army became involved, that guy was a nutter and would kill one of every ten of his own soldiers if they didn't win a battle so we were routed and i was killed and 6,000 survivors of the revolt captured by the legions of Crassus were crucified, lining the route all the way back to Rome.
While my uprising was ultimately crushed my name lives on especially with East European Football Teams naming themselves Spartak something or other and Kirk Douglas played me in a film but outside the Louvre is a huge, naked statue of me but all i can say it must have been very, very cold that day or the sculptor ran out of marble for that certain, important bit.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

11 Better Songs With A 20 Second Chorus

With all this hand scrubbing going on, the advice is that you wash your hands for 20 seconds but you need some sort of timer to know when you've reached that 20-second threshold and the NHS recommended song is Happy Birthday sang twice.
The British Government did make a half-hearted attempt to make the 'official' hand washing song 'God Save The Queen' but that didn't last very long but there are better well known songs that come in with a 20-second choruses, just don't skimp on the instrumental parts or the long held notes.

Ironic by Alanis Morrisette
It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid 
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought, it figures

Copacabana by Barry Manilow
At the copa, Copacabana
The hottest spot north of Havana
Here at the copa, Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion At the copa
Don't fall in love

Basketcase by Green Day
Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid?
Or am I just stoned

You Could Be Mine by Guns N Roses
Because you could be mine
But you're way out of line
With your bitch slap rappin'
And your cocaine tongue
You get nuthin' done
I said you could be mine

Kiss by Prince
You don't have to be rich to be my girl
You don't have to be cool to rule my world
Ain't no particular sign i'm more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your Kiss

Greased Lightning by Grease
Go grease lightning you're burning up the quarter mile
(Grease lightning go grease lightning)
Go grease lightning you're coasting through the heat lap trial
(Grease lightning go grease lightning)
You are supreme the chicks'll cream for grease lightning
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go

Whats Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner
What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

Beat It by Michael Jackson
Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it x4

Africa by Toto
It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Hotel California by The Eagles
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here  

Special Guest Blogger: Margaret Thatcher

My Prime Ministerial time began and ended with a recession but there was a brief period in the middle where the nation was prosperous for a few weeks.
The rest of the time i cut benefits for the disabled, the elderly and the poor but during times of national hardship, i wanted to set an example by tightening our national belt but i didn't want the civilians to think the Conservatives Party was out of touch.
When people told me it was a disgrace that ordinary people are starving due to our policies we agreed that we had to make some small gesture to the poor and old and we did, and we used the middle finger of both hands to do it.
My Government was ahead of the curve when it came to Green policies, we tried to close down most of our industries for years and we got our country back on its feet, mainly due to the train and bus drivers walking out, the motorways grinding to a standstill and all the taxis being booked up.
My idea of a classless society was on track, we closed most of the schools and i also pushed for more nuclear power stations and i knew they were safe as we had been testing them on all the children around Sellafield for years.
Although there is that famous picture of me being forced to leave Downing Street in the back of a taxi as our popularity slumped due to the poll tax, there was many MPs who thought that i should stay on that, admittedly it was the MPs of the Labour Party.
When i died there was street parties and so many people said they wanted to dance on my grave that it was considered burying me under a Disco but my legacy lives on decades after i left power, just look at your ridiculously high utility bills from the companies i privatised and think of me.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Boris Wrong & Dangerous Covid-19 Strategy

The British Government have not played a blinder when it comes to dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak.
Boris Johnson seems to have been behind the curve at every step and his advice has been to wash your hands more which then become wash your hands more, stay at home if you have a cough or temperature and if you are elderly, avoid going on cruises.
While everyone else around the World was closing schools and stopping sports events, he came on television to announce he wouldn't be doing that and gave a detailed explanation of why only for slip out a message that sporting events were being postponed two hours later.
The British Government's strategy appeared to staggeringly different to everyone elses, opting for 'herd immunisation' which is when a large percentage of a population have become infected and therefore become immune, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune although Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, has said that in order to be successful 60%-70% of the population must catch the disease, and with a Great British population of 67 million, that's between 40.2m and 46.9m infected and with a Covic-19 fatality rate of approximately 3%, that's 1.2m to 1.4m deaths.
Scientists and Medical people are queuing up to tell the Government to change their thinking which will 'risk many more lives than necessary' such as the Professor of emerging infectious disease, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organization who has called it 'wrong and dangerous'.
The plan to let tens of millions get infected, let a sizeable portion of those with them die rather than widespread testing, tracking down the contacts of every case and isolating them as many other countries in Asia and Europe have chosen to do is a mystery but as bad as we think we got it with Boris Johnson, we can only thank our lucky stars we don't have Donald Trump co-ordinating things, he called it a hoax and his initial advice was to be calm and it’ll go away.

Sorry Bernie But Thanks For The Bulb

Looking at the voting for the Democrat candidate to take on Donald Trump it is looking as it's Joe Biden who is going to get the nod over Bernie Sanders which is a shame because i have been somehow been with the Sanders campaign since the beginning after getting onto their email list.
I have been getting regular daily updates from the Campaign Manager, Faiz Shakir, for months and each email has a big CONTRIBUTE button at the bottom for me to send $2.70 although it got a bit confusing as each email over the course of the past few months has said that this is the most important time for contributions and they are counting on me to click the big blue button. I never.
I did sort of have Bernie to thank though for fixing the light outside my garage as one email said what can they do for me and i cheekily replied contact the Council and get them to put in a new bulb and about two weeks later it was done so in my mind, it was thanks to Bernie but i actually know it was just my light bulbs turn to be replaced by some Council Worker with a step ladder.
The thing about Bernie Sanders is that he came out as a Socialist which in the mind of older and less savvy Americans is the same as Communist and their minds go straight to the USSR and Joe Stalin or China's Chairman Mao, the more switched on younger ones seem to have a clue though which is encouraging.
As for Biden versus Trump, i don't know much about Biden or his policies but i am hearing him being described as 'a safe pair of hands' and the Politco website has a quick run down of his major policy standpoints which all seem pretty standard fare.
In every poll where it is Trump versus Biden, Biden triumphs so it seems Trump's time may well be coming to and end and America may be getting a grown up back in the White House which is good for America i guess but Socialism's time in America has not come just yet as voters sticks with the old, white men but hopes are Socialists hopes are apparently high for Ms Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the future.
Still, sorry to see you go Bernie but thanks for the light bulb, i appreciate it.

Special Guest Blogger: King George V

I had all sorts going on during my reign, most significantly the First World War which was fought between me and my cousins, Wilhelm of Germany and Nicholas II of Russia.
I changed the name of the Royal family from the very Germanic sounding Saxe-Coburg to Windsor like the castle but another big invention in my time was radio broadcasts.
I was never really comfortable being around common people but when the wireless came around it was just those common people on radio all the time, commoners at work, on holiday and generally whinging about the hardships of being poor and i said who bloody cares, we need some royals on this box thing which is why i came up with the idea of a Christmas address to the nation to bring a bit of glamour to their tawdry lives.
Commoners were completely out of touch with what royal people thought and although admittedly they they do a very good for the tourist industry like driving buses and things like that, i wouldn't say that was a proper job, i never saw one common person open a hospital or sit for a portrait but i was a traditionalist and they were part of our great heritage so why not give them a glimpse of the Royals on the wireless once a year.
My family all said we wouldn't be a commoner if they gave us all the money in the world, which they did but we still wouldn't, i was much happier collecting stamps and roaming the World shooting things, i once shot 1000 pheasants in six hours.
My death came about from a wartime wound, not a wound i received in the war but i was thrown from my horse while out riding while the war was going on and i died weeks later, my doctor giving me an injection that night to hastened my death so that my death at 11:55 p.m. could be announced in the morning edition of The Times newspaper rather than the less appropriate commoners evening journals, they knew me so well.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Alfred the Great

One way to keep your money safe from invading Vikings is to dig a great big hole and bury it but another way is to fight them off which is exactly what i did. 
In my lifetime i revolutionised government and taxation, reformed the legal system, wrote books while having spectacular military successes against the Viking hordes and building the  foundations of a new country but it seems most people remember me for burning some cakes.
The story of my life should be about all the great things i did, it is my name after all, but rather than the story of how i defeated the Danes and created a new country, i'm the cake guy.
The story is that i was hiding out from the Vikings in an old woman's cottage after she took pity on me thinking i was a random homeless guy and she told me to keep an eye on some cakes that she was cooking while she went off to do old ladies things but i forgot as i was playing with a candle clock so when she came home and saw the smoke billowing from the cooker, she started battering me with a broom and i couldn't tell her that she was beating the King because it would have blown my cover.
I eventually defeated most of the Vikings and lived to a ripe old age of 50 and introduced the concept of weirgild which is where a victim of violence was compensated by their attacker depending on which part of the body the attacker lopped off so lose an eye, tongue, hand, or foot would cost 66 shillings, the nose 60 shillings, a thumb or ear was worth 30 shillings and a toe 20 shillings but if the attacker could not or refused to pay the wergild, the injured family was given rights to kill a member of the culprits family of similar rank and status.
My story doesn't end with my death though, i was buried and dug up three times and then they lost my bones which is most upsetting, i need a lie down and a nice cup of tea, you can forget the slice of cake though.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Judy Garland

People did say that i was difficult person to work with but as i was off my face on barbiturates and amphetamines most of the time so what did they expect.
I am probably best known for my role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and that was the highlight before the nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts and bizarre behaviour on set which led to the downfall of my Hollywood movie career.
I was cast to appear in the movie of the Valley of the Dolls but on the set i refused to come out of my dressing room for two days, then lost the caps to my front teeth on the third day they pushed a note under the door to tell me that that they were firing me.
Being a druggie isn't cheap and i soon faced a massive drugs bill and nobody trusting me to not turn up on a film set and be a massive pain in the ass put a hole in my finances so i then turned to singing and performed concerts almost non-stop through 1967 but still had to sell my home when the IRS came knocking with a massive tax bill.
In the final of years of her life, i began showing up late to concerts, cancelling them at the last minute or appearing inebriated on stage, one night i turned up 35 minutes late, sang three songs and then fell asleep.
At age 47 i was found dead in the bathroom with my death caused by what the autopsy called 'an accidental self-administered overdose of barbiturates' so in many ways Elvis's career mirrored that of mine, we both acted and sang, both had drug addictions and were both found dead in the toilet while in our 40s.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Oscar Wilde

I was known for having a love of the sexual double entendre but more famous for being both gay and as horny as a Viking's helmet stand, i even spent time in prison charged with indecency and sentenced to two years, i obviously rubbed someone up the wrong way as i was always known to bend over backwards to accommodate anyone.
Two years is a long time but i was in prison surrounded by other big, sweaty men and so i thought that the bottom line was that i just have to take it lying down however hard it was to swallow.
I did my time and came out to pick up my life of fame and fortune and i did my time thanks to the big tip that my cell mate offered me.
True him telling me stuff would have helped also but there you go.
I took it easy in my later years, i kept up the double entendre's so if i saw one coming i would still slip it in but my promiscuous past of debauchery caught up with me and i died of meningitis as a direct result of syphilis.
It is said that dying of syphilis in the Victorian era wasn't that unusual, an estimated 25 percent of Victorian men had it at the time although i probably gave it to that 25 percent in the first place.
After my release from prison i left immediately for France and never to returned to Britain but i was awarded for making a significant contributions in the field of writing, mostly for the picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.
In 2017, i was pardoned for committing homosexual acts that were no longer considered offences which was a bit crap considering that i had died 117 years previously so make of that what you will, as i said to my cell mate that first night, i know it's hard but I'll leave it in your hands..ooer.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: King Athelstan

Historians say that i inherited the throne after my 22 year old brothers Elfweard's suspiciously short reign, he was ruler for a month and then drowned in an unfortunate swimming related accident.
I did pass a law to spare children under 15 from the death penalty but as i only ruled Wessex which is in the south of England, the Danes who ran the North carried on doing what Danes did but it never stopped me calling myself the Emperor of Britain and telling everyone that i owned a piece of the true cross and the actual lance that pierced Jesus.
I did finally take the North off the Vikings and even invaded Scotland but the Scots didn't like that and preferred the Vikings so invaded England and took back the land i nicked from them in the first place so all a bit of a waste of time really.
Something i was famous for was calling dignitaries to me for frivolous reasons, i especially enjoyed summoning the Welsh Lords and after days of travelling to meet me, saying 'It's okay, don't worry' which ticked them off no end.
Something which did concern me was a rise in robbery so i introduced a law prescribing harsh penalties, including the death penalty for anyone over twelve years old caught in the act of stealing goods worth more than eight pence but what happened was people would still get robbed but anything over eight pence, they would give the change back to the victim.
With my rule wedged between my grandfather Alfred the Great and Harold 'One in the eye' Godwinson, us Anglo Saxons Kings who ruled between them tend to be rather forgotten but my toughness on all forms of robbery never really had any effect, sometime around the 16th Century someone nicked my bones and the piece of true cross i was buried with.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Alexander Graham Bell

There are some ridiculous accusations that although i am most famous for inventing the telephone, i didn't invent it at all.
I want to use this space given to me by Lucy to quash the false rumours that i stole the idea from an Italian named Antonio Meucci.
Firstly my invention was called the Telephone, his was called the Teletrofono so not even close.
His patent ran out in 1874, due to failing to send in the $10 necessary to renew his teletrofono patent, because he was sick and poor and Italian and it was a full two years later that i registered my own telephone patent.
Laughably Meucci attempted to sue me but when he tried to retrieve the original sketches and plans from the Western Union lab that he sent them to as proof he came up with the idea first, the records quite amazingly were nowhere to be found which makes me think he never had them in the first place and i should know because i worked at the very Western Union lab where Meucci swore he sent his original sketches.
Also both my wife and my mother were stone deaf so why would i even need to nick his phone idea? Who the hell was i going to call?
Meucci died penniless and unknown while when i popped my clogs i was in the history books as the inventor of the Telephone which i absolutely, definitely did invent.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Karen Carpenter

I have a reputation of being a very religious person and at five o'clock every morning I would get up and take an ice cold bath to wash away the cobwebs of indolence from my mind, to grow my moral character and enhance my spiritual awareness of the Christian soul but most importantly the bathroom was free for the daily ritual of making a call on the big white telephone.
I always wanted to be a drummer but when i joined the school choir they handed me a glockenspiel and i was like What The Fu.. so they let me have a go at the drum set and that's where it all began, me and Richard set off on a whirlwind of sex and drugs and rock n roll, well no sex, laxatives and romantic ballads anyway.
All those years of not taking drugs and not having sex with Carpenter groupies, i still remember the first time I didn't lose my virginity and how it was not smoking a cigarette afterwards and thinking yeah, nobody has not made love to like that before.
I spent my whole music career forever not leaping into bed and since then I've not had sex with literally thousands of men but there's nothing like your first time of not having sex.
In the mid-1970s Richard developed an addiction to Methaqualone, or mandies, but i had my own problems of a weight of 91 pounds or 6st 7lb.
I was misusing laxatives and was admitted to Hospital and forced fed intravenously which turned out to be what killed me, not the anorexia.
The procedure was too successful and i quickly gained weight in such a short time that it put a strain on my heart, which was already weak from years of not eating a proper diet and i died aged 32.
If i had known i was going to die so young i would have been at it like a jackhammer and sniffing stuff up my nose like a demented hoover, but oh well.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Special Guest Blogger: Captain Cook

After two years of sailing i landed in Australia in a place i named Botany Bay where i stuck a flag in the soil and claimed it for Britain.
What the natives thought as they watched some strange white man babbling away in a foreign language is anyone guess but i can only imagine the excitement back home in Blighty of me claiming a land half a world and two years away and which most travellers would die of scurvy before getting to.
Of course we did find a use for it, we sent our criminals there and look what they did to the place, let the local nursery school name their towns and cities so you can visit Nobby, Bong Bong, Wagga Wagga, Cocklebiddy, Coo Wee Rup, Humpty Doo, Iron Knob, Koolyanobbing, Mount Buggery, Wooloolmooloo or Tittybong. 
It's amazing they did as well as they did considering the clientele and not to mention that every animal i saw in Australia was trying to kill us, jellyfish, octopus and sharks in the sea while on land you have to dodge deadly spiders, crocodiles, dingoes, ants and giant centipedes.
Amazingly i managed to escape there alive and was actually killed during an exploratory voyage in the Pacific while attempting to kidnap the Island of Hawaii's monarch, Kalani'opu'u, because he nicked one of our ships.
Unfortunately i got clobbered over the head with a coconut and disemboweled, boiled to remove my flesh and my bones returned to my crew for a formal burial at sea which apparently is an honour but can't say it felt much like one at the time.
So enjoy your time in Australia, the land that invented a bent stick you can never throw away and try not to get eaten by a wild animal and wear your hat with corks with pride when you visit Cocklebiddy.