Thursday, 23 November 2017

Giving Thanks To Sarah Josepha Hale

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America, the day the Pilgrim Fathers turned up in the New World on the Mayflower after bolting from England believing that it wasn't holy enough so setting off to make their own country.
They called it the New World but it wasn't new to the natives who already lived there and in a huge showing of tolerance showed the new guys how to grow wheat because they had turned up empty handed except for William Mullins that is who had packed 126 pairs of shoes but no seeds or equipment.  
The natives held a great feast for the new arrivals and to this day the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day but only because an author named Sarah Josepha Hale pushed for it to become a National Event as it had only previously been celebrated in New England.
Sarah Josepha Hale is best known for her nursery Rhyme 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' so what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to rewrite her famous lyrics to commemorate both her and the events surrounding Thanksgiving.

Sarah had a little verse
She was Mary's little lamb's author
But she's also best remembered for
Celebrating a reign of death and slaughter

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth rock
Where the natives were already living        
They showed them how to stay alive
And that's why they celebrate thanksgiving

The Pilgrims thanked them for their feast
In a most ungrateful way
They stole their land and killed them all 
Then called it Thanksgiving Day   

Thank you Sarah.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Capitalism And Conservatives Not Working

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has called Britain's economic situation 'pretty grim' and suggests that it will stay this way for the next two decades and calculated that the national debt will not return to pre-financial crisis levels until the 2060s or even later.
IFS director Paul Johnson described the facts that average UK earnings in 2022 could still be less than in 2008 as 'astonishing' and blamed the capitalist system 'not delivering its promise that it raises all the boats'.
Tucked away in yesterdays budge was the UK is expecting to borrow £29.1 billion more by the end of the 2021-22 tax year than it expected and that there are still nearly £12bn of welfare cuts to work through the system'.
It's official then, the hapless Tories have broken Britain with their right wing agenda for not only this decade but the next one too.
They have grown homelessness, inflation, austerity, poverty, suicides, food banks and crisis in all the public services and that's before we consider the craziness that is Brexit.
The two fundamental questions are then how can we remove the Tories who are economically inept that after a decade of austerity cuts, have left us worse off and why are we even still considering going ahead with Brexit?
Even the most fundamental Brexiter can see that is happening and how it makes absolutely no economic sense at all, the vote margin was only 2% and only a minority of the British people really want it, so we need to ask why on earth is the Government not saying it is just not economically viable and ending the biggest mistake in the history of the UK.
As the problems seem to be the failed system we use, Capitalism, a system which falls over with shocking regularity and ruins lives when it does, why do we believe the lies from the capitalists that capitalism was somehow recovering and is the solution to all our problems when it so blatantly isn't and was the cause of them.
Something needs to change because things are not getting any better but the solution seems to be to carry on doing what we are doing and the next three generations suffering for it.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

America Not Meddling Looks Same As Them Meddling

The Hungarian government have accused the U.S. State Department of interfering in the country’s election campaign and has summoned the top American diplomat in Budapest, David Kostelancik to ask him what his country thinks they are playing at.
'No meddling' replied the U.S. 'just providing projects that increase citizens’ access to objective information about domestic and global issues in Hungary'.
In that case if Russia just say they had not been meddling in the US election and had just been making sure American voters had access to objective information about domestic and global issues in America nobody would have a problem with it?
You can't bitch and moan that another country is trying to influence your election when you are actively trying to influence another countries election, that's just hypocritical and makes a mockery of the Democracy which everyone, particularly America, seems so keen to go to war to protect.

Choosing A Religion For The Orang Rimba's

The Sumatran rainforests of Indonesia are home to the Orang Rimba, a community of 3000 people who are having their homes and habitat destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations and as they are forcibly being bought into the general population, in order to integrate into Indonesian society, they are being forced to choose a religion.
'We wanted to send our children to school, but the teacher wanted to see their birth certificates, and for that you have to have a state religion that the government recognises' explained one Tribal Elder as the previously faithless community held a meeting to discuss what Religion they would choose.
Now i'm not religious in the slightest, but if i was forced to choose a religion, there are a few i would discount immediately.
Any of the ones where you have to donate money from your wage packet are out straight away as are the silly ones like Scientology and Mormonism.
Judaism is no good, all that removing foreskins and defending Israel while Islam is a no-no because i don't want to be told what and when i can eat something during Ramadan.
My choice of religion would be one where i don't have to do anything, it doesn't cost me anything and i can live the sort of life i choose and sin left, right and centre but as long as i repent before i take my last breath, i'm in heaven.
Actually, that's the Church of England which as luck would have it is exactly what i am.
As a Church of England member i'm stuffing my face all day long with whatever i find in the fridge, carving images of other Gods on a Sunday while blaspheming like a trooper and covering my neighbours donkey, but as long as i have the split second to repent before i die, i'm going to end up in the same place as all Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and all the rest of them.
Doesn't seem fair really when you see what the others have to do but i'm not complaining because the Church of England is the perfect religion because it's a complete blag so i say to the Orang Rimba come join us and you never have to set foot in a Church ever again.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Broadcast Journalists Most Trusted

Due to the more stringent rules of accuracy and due impartiality they have to work under, broadcast journalists have always considered themselves above press journalists who are self-regulating.
UK broadcasters face large fines if they stray from the The Ofcom Broadcasting Code which is why in most polls where the public are asked which news outlet they trust the most, TV news always tops the press.
The latest Ipsi Mori poll asked the public: 'Of all the news sources which ONE source are you most likely to turn to for news you trust the most?' and it was an overwhelming thumbs up once again for broadcast journalism and especially the BBC who were trusted by 57% of the public with ITV trusted by 11%, Sky News and Channel 5 News both 5% and Channel 4 News 3%.
The Press did not come out of it very well at all with the Guardian Newspaper the most trusted with 4% and the Sun the least with a miserly 0.3% of the public believing what they read in the Murdoch red top.
In the brave new World of online news, Google News is the choice for trusted news (5%), then Yahoo News (4.5%), MSN News (4.4%), Twitter (3.8%) and bringing up the rear Facebook who is trusted by 3.7% of the public for trustworthy news coverage.
So if you want to know what's going on, turn on the BBC News Channel.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

First Flat Earther's Get Together

The sound of rattling brain-cells must be deafening in North Carolina as Flat Earther's from across the globe assembled for the first Flat Earth International Conference.
The Flat Earth Website explains that they aim to: 'uncover and debunk pseudo-scientific facts while presenting the true evidence which shockingly points to our existence on a flat, stationary plane'.
Not sure how that worked out for them but it is all based on: 'extensive experimentation, analysis, and research' and a spokesman for the Flat Earther's said we are all being hoaxed by the space agencies who are putting out misleading material about us being on a tiny ball, flying through space.
'Science is gonna have to address this, they cannot dodge us forever' said one Flat Earther blissfully unaware that science can and will indeed not only dodge it forever but laugh at you as it does it.

2018 World Cup Line Up Missing Big Names

The line-up is complete and we can now sit back and wait until June when the World Cup kicks off and the English have the same quadrennial problem of who to support after England is sent packing after the group stage.
We may not be very good but at least we got there which is more than can be said for the other Home Nations and some of the big names who usually grace the Finals but will be kicking their heels at home.
Holland and Italy are the biggest names to miss out along with the reigning South American Champions Chile and Ghana and Ivory Coast are almost always in the pot representing Africa.
The failure of the two Ireland's and Scotland are no shock but Greece are normally making up the numbers as are the USA and after their showing in the Semi-Finals at the European Championship, better was expected from Wales.
Most disappointing is the non-appearance of Turkey because we will not be treated to the commentators telling us about the delights of Anil Koc, the promising Turkish midfielder.
Anyway, onwards and upwards and it's Come on England at least until the second round and then it's the usual game of looking at the family tree for a tenuous family link to another country.

Del Amitri, Hospital Wings And Da Vinci

There is a very poignant line in Del Amitri's 'Nothing Ever Happens' where he laments that 'American businessmen snap up Van Gogh's for the price of a hospital wing' but as the buyer who shelled out £342m for the Leonardo da Vinci painting, 'Salvator Mundi' has opted for privacy, we don't know if he is American or a businessman and it wasn't a Van Gogh but the sentiment remains the same.
As the new hospital wing at Bradford Infirmary cost £28m that's 12 hospital wings and i'm starting to regret the Del Amitri song comparison already but i'm in too far now so let's keep going.
Unless the £342m came from a bank heist or by cheating on their taxes the person with the big cheque book can spend their money how they like and if they think £342m for a 500 year old painting is worth it then it is up to them but the scene at Christie's when the piece sold encompasses everything that is wrong today.
'$450 million, the piece is sold' said the auctioneer and the saleroom erupted into cheers and applause and you have to think there are so many better things you could spend £350m, 12 hospital wings for starters, and why are people applauding that obscene amount of money being spent on a painting as if such extravagance it is something that should be celebrated.
The stupidity and selfishness of the super-rich and the sad state of the World today in a nutshell where over 3 billion people live in poverty and struggle under austerity but spending £350 million is cheered.
Del Amitri may have got the artist and the cost wrong but the sentiment that 'nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all, the needle returns to the start of the song, and we'll all go along like before' is so very true and so very sad.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Chocolate Bar A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

If a hairdresser says eating chocolate for breakfast is good for you then it would be wise to take it with caution but when a scientist says it, wahey, keep the Frosties, where's that chocolate orange!! 
A study from the brilliant minds at Syracuse University, New York have said that eating dark chocolate benefits reasoning, memory and focus and found that eating chocolate prepares you more for your work day and we should incorporate dark chocolate into our breakfast.
Before i had even finished grating a large bar of Aero into my bowl another scientific study landed in my inbox from Tel Aviv University suggesting that eating dessert for breakfast supports weight loss.
Conclusive, cast iron proof then that combining chocolate with dessert for breakfast is beneficial so if anyone asks why you are stuffing your face with chocolate cake and trifle at 7am, it's part of a scientifically backed diet and memory improving program.
That said if a scientist tries to give you advice on a layered crop with a softly arched fringe i'd check with the hairdresser.

Bloodless Correction, Not A Coup

Robert Mugabe once said that only God could remove him from office but it seems nobody told that to the Zimbabwe military as they have not only removed him but locked him in his house for good measure.
The army chiefs who seized the President, his Palace and the state broadcaster claims they had not carried out a coup, preferring to call it a 'bloodless correction' which suits Britain as they couldn't be seen to back a coup, but a correction is something they can get behind.
Foreign Secretary and general clown Boris Johnson called for 'proper, free and fair elections to prevent Zimbabwe transitioning from one unelected tyrant to another' so Mugabe won't be getting any support from his old colonial masters who are quite glad to see the back of him.
It does seem that Mr Mugabe's sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa last week and steps to replace him with his wife was a step too far, especially as Mr Mnangagwa had some powerful allies in the army who decided they preferred him to Mugabe and leapt into action.
As Mugabe didn't have many friends globally and the other African nations seem quite happy about him being removed from power and locked up in his living room while his wife has run off without a trace, the transition should be quite smooth although following the capture of the TV and Radio the army played hours of military music hopefully the programming may be the roughest thing the Zimbabweans have to endure.