Saturday, 22 April 2017

I Read It, Honestly

My friend has a weird way of reading books whereas she reads the first chapter, then the last chapter and if it seems exciting, she will go back and read it from the start. If not she puts it down and starts again with the next novel.
In some ways her method makes sense as i have spent far too long plowing through books thinking it must get better soon only to get most of the way through to realise it won't.   
Of course there is no right or wrong way to read a book but some people don't even do that, they watch the film of the book instead and then say they have read it.
Always a dangerous exercise especially as most films stray from the book they are based on but a whopping 64% of us admit to saying we have read the book but really only watched the DVD.
A survey by The Reading Agency found that the top most 'watched' books we lie about are:

James Bond books, Ian Fleming
Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
The Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Worst Type Of Role Models

The 20th Century could be described as the Century of War but only 17 years in and the 21st Century is shaping up to be even more deadly as conflicts seem to be either rumbling on or being sparked off all around the globe.   
Of course with so missiles being launched, bullets being fired and bombs being dropped somebody has to be profiting from selling all this death and destruction and that's where Britain steps in.
The British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has called missiles producer MBDA, a role model while unveiling multi-million deals between the firm and the UK military.
That would be the role model who is actively selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and once supplied Libya’s Gaddafi government and then during his overthrow, sold weapons to the Libyan rebels, effectively arming both sides of the conflict.
The weapons being sold to Saudi Arabia are currently being used in war-ravaged Yemen in airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition, which has been named by the United Nations as responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in the country.
As the Government continues to defend the sale of weapons to a regime which is responsible for over 10,000 deaths in Yemen according to UN figures, Michael Fallon offered the weak justification that: 'Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself' which is even more bizarre as they are attacking 'rebels' in another country altogether. 
If the idea of a role model is to help being about humanitarian catastrophe and death in the pursuit of a profit then yep, Fallon certainly got that right.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Police Still Investigating Last Election

Seems strange that another election has been called while the outcome of the last one is still being investigated.
In March, the Electoral Commission handed the Conservative Party a £70,000 fine for election infringements and the Crown Prosecution Service are also investigating 20 seats won by the Government.
Dennis Skinner, MP for Bolsover, today asked the Prime Minister if MPs under investigation by the law would be allowed to run in this election for which she replied: 'I stand by all the Conservative MPs who are in this House and who will be out there standing again'.
Yes then, they will be able to fight for the seats which could yet be voided if if it found they infringed election laws.
Not quite sure how that would work if they stay within the law this time and are re-elected as the previous 'win' would be voided but they have since 'won' another one which makes the investigation and potential removal from the previous election pointless.
A cynic would say with no decision due to be made about the legality of the 20 Conservative MP's election before June 8th, the Prime Minister is well aware that the exercise is futile so can cheerfully back the dirty 20 in the knowledge that they won't be removed.
Doesn't make it any less grimy though.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

WW3 Pencilled In For May 13th

Whatever you have planned for May 13th, better move it to May 12th because that day is reserved for coughing up internal body parts and generally dropping dead because World War 3 has been pencilled in to start that date.
Self-proclaimed 'Messenger From God', Clairvoyant Horacio Villegas, has warned that he has been given the heads up that Donald Trump will 'bring the world into WW3' and it all got set in motion a few weeks ago when the American tax dodging sex fiend attacked Syria.
He warned: 'Nuclear missiles that will fall on cities and people throughout the world on the 100th anniversary of the visitation of the Virgin Mary', which is Saturday May 13 although he does helpfully explain that it will end on October 13th 2017 although there will be massive death and destruction by the time it all finishes.
The next in the chain of events is America attacking North Korea and Syria once again which will bring Russia and China into conflict with America and then it's time to break out the four minute warning sirens gathering dust since the late 80s.
The Messenger has said that he has been trying to get the word out about WW3 for years, even writing to Catholic bishops and cardinals in an attempt to warn them so that they could get the message out to the people.
All the pieces may have fallen into place and as way of proof of his God messaging abilities, he predicted that Donald Trump would win the Presidency a decade ago but: 'No one believed me then, until it happened'.
I have a feeling that despite all the evidence of God whispering the name of the next US President in his ear, the lack of belief will continue and although i expect us all to still be here on May 14th, it wouldn't hurt to watch When the Wind Blows just in case.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

June 8: Election Day

Since becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May has categorically denied there would be an early election, just last month her spokesman said 'it was not going to happen' but today it did happen as she stood in Downing Street, kept a straight face and called a General Election for seven weeks time on June 8th.
The decision has caught many people by surprise especially as there doesn't appear to be a reason for one except the chance to crush a very weak Labour Party and increase the Conservative majority to make it easier to push through unpopular decisions, such as the increase in National Insurance which they were forced to backtrack on earlier in the year in fear that they wouldn't get it past their own Conservative MP's.
With one eye on Brexit and the laws returning to the UK, he PM said that she wants support 'for the decisions I must take' and if the polls are anywhere near correct, she will win comfortably which provides the silver lining that The Labour Party will be forced into a leadership contest and we can get a Labour leader who can beat them in 2022.
Jeremey Corben had some good ideas and is a good man but unfortunately he his not the person for the job so Theresa May will win and be forced to deal with Brexit, Europe, Scotland, World events and Donald Trump and judging by what she has done since she become the unelected leader of Great Britain, she hasn't done a very good job thus far.
As the only Party calling for a review of the awful Brexit decision, i expect the Liberal Democrats to pick up many votes from the 48% of the country who voted to remain and is something that i will seriously consider doing as this could be the last chance to stop this vicious Tory government in its tracks before the full consequences of Brexit are known because by 2022, it will be too late.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Nixon And The North Koreans

Unless you have been on the Moon for the past week or so, you may have noticed that things are a bit tense between America and North Korea but the Communists almost never saw the 1970's as the then President got hammered and ordered a nuclear strike on the Asian nation.
As North Korea is still there to throw moonies at the current President, it obviously never happened but the story is a classic.
Richard Nixon was the sozzled President in 1969 and the Cold War was at its height when North Korea shot down a U.S. spy plane, killing all 31 men on board.
Maybe things were a bit slow President-wise on that day but when he got told the news he was as sober as the next man if the next man happened to be Boris Yeltsin.
Such an outrageous act by the rulers of the Northern half of Korea called for a severe reaction he rambled while drunkenly stumbling around the Oval Office and between telling Kissinger that he loved him and that he was his best friend, he ordered a tactical nuclear strike on North Korea.
Future Secretary Of State Henry Kissinger prised the President off his leg and telephoned everyone involved in the military chain of command to ignore the order for nuclear annihilation as the President was as pissed as a newt and he was going to bed to sleep it off.  
His advice obviously got through as North Korea survived to live another day which it used to develop nuclear missiles of it's own and America survived to vote in a tee-total President who is as hapless as a drunk Nixon.
Hopefully, Rex Tillerson the current Secretary of State, has a telephone and the numbers of all the military top brass handy at all times.

The Next Dr Who?

It's been a long time coming but finally the new series of Dr Who is back on our televisions but sadly it is the last run in the TARDIS for Peter Capaldi who rates very highly in my best Dr Who's ever list.
At the end of the new show last night we had a tantalising glimpse of the Dr regenerating but who he will regenerate into is a closely guarded secret but the bookies always have a good nose for these things and have stopped taking bets on one person, Kris Marshall.
If it is true and The 'My Family' and 'Death in Paradise' star becomes the 13th actor to take on the Doctor role, it would be an inspired choice as he would be perfect.
Many fans have expressed an interest in an actress taking the role, Tilda Swinton being the hot favourite for some time, but the bookies get these things right more often than not and after a flurry of bets on Marshall, have exterminated the book on who will be the next Doctor.
Although this news doesn't confirm Marshall has the role, the actor ticks all the boxes of being well known, but not too famous, a bit quirky and most importantly, a history of appearing in other BBC programmes.
On the whole the BBC get it right with their picks for Dr Who's, Matt Smith perhaps unfortunate to be sandwiched between probably the best two in David Tennant and Peter Capaldi but Kris Marshall would be the perfect fit.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Provoking North Korea A Dangerous Game

You have to wonder what does Donald Trump and America get out of antagonising North Korea?
Some argue that he has got a taste for military action after throwing the 59 cruise missiles at Syria and and dropping the MOAB in Afghanistan but both those were targets that wouldn't fight back, nuclear power North Korea would certainly return any missiles fired at them with a salvo aimed at South Korea and Japan and if they have the capability which they say they have, the Western
side of the United States itself.
If Trump thinks that sending an aircraft carrier and other assorted pieces of the US Military to hang around off the coast of Korea will cool the actions of North Korea, then he is even more stupid then we give him credit for.
China, Pyongyang's major ally, has warned that the tensions must be stopped from reaching an irreversible and unmanageable stage but with two unstable leaders with a massive arsenal at their disposal, things could easily spin out of control very quickly.
Someone needs to explain to Donald Trump, using very simple words, that the game of brinkmanship that he seems to be intent in playing is extremely dangerous and potentially could end in the deaths of millions.
A strike on North Korea could set off a chain reaction and US military planners under Obama came to the conclusion that Pyongyang’s most likely counter-move would be to demolish Seoul and Tokyo so ensued a position of mutual deterrence.
The Trump strategy seems to be putting pressure on Kim Jong Un's Government but if that fails, Trump is left with a decision to back down and show all American weakness in overwhelming return fire or American madness for provoking a devastating war that need not have been pursued in the first place.
With his country having been late for the first two World Wars, Donald Trump's America desperately lacking the intelligent leadership needed in commander-in-chief, is looking good and early for starting the third one.

Penny Dropped Yet Donald?

My point last week was that the problem with bombing the Syrian Government forces as America did last week, is that in doing so you are helping the people they are fighting against which is the terrorist group Islamic State.
Seemed quite strange then that Britain, typically, was the first to applaud the strange decision taken by Donald Trump to hinder the Syrian forces by blowing up part of their airbase.
Russia was vilified for supporting the Syrian Government but it is the Syrian Government and the Russians who are fighting Islamic State so it seemed quite strange because that would put Britain and America on the side of Islamic State and the rebels.
As we found out today as at least 100 people lost their lives on transfer buses courtesy of a van bomb, these are the people who your actions helped, the people whose side of the argument that America finds itself on in Syria.
How many dead children will Donald Trump have to see this time, killed by traditional weapons rather than chemical ones, before the penny drops that both sides in Syria are as murderous as each other and throwing his missiles into the mix, especially in support of the terrorists, only prolongs an already over-long and disastrous conflict. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Easter v Christmas

According to my more religious friends, Easter is the highlight of the Christian calendar which surprises me as i always thought it would be Christmas and the birth of Jesus rather than the time when he died.
Also Christmas is much more celebrated than Easter which is a bunch of confusing religious days all lumped together in a week so it's Palm Sunday, Good Friday and then culminating in Easter Sunday whereas Christmas is just Christmas Day and everyone knows what happened on Christmas Day but there are lots of confused looks when asked what happened on Palm Sunday. So with one eye on religious holiday harmony, let's put the two religious holidays to the test.  

Weather
Easter has the advantage that the days are longer and the weather warmer as it rolls around in Spring while Christmas is in the deep mid-winter so chalk one up for Easter. Easter 1 Christmas 0

Food
As a vegetarian i am not best placed to judge whether the Christmas turkey beats the Easter lamb but according to people who enjoy eating bits of dead animals, a slaughtered baby sheep tastes better than the slaughtered poultry that adorns the Christmas dinner plates so another one for the Easter holidays. Easter 2 Christmas 0

Cake
As Simnel cakes are just a light version of the more frutier, darker and tastier Christmas cake you have to ask yourself why settle for Hugh Grant when you can have Johnny Depp so Christmas wins this one without breaking sweat. Easter 2 Christmas 1

Buns and Pies
It's not just member of the KKK who loves a hot cross, especially when it is on top of a bun but if you like your sweet fruity buns without a cross, you can buy tea cakes anytime of the year. Mince pies on the other hand are as Christmassy as asking the fattest guy in the office to put on a red suit and hand out the Christmas Presents to the staff. Mince Pies yes, tea cakes with a cross on top, not so much. Easter 2 Christmas 2 

Cards
Easter cards are a relatively new thing whereas Christmas Cards have been handed around since Queen Victoria's ample backside sat on the throne. As someone being killed isn't a particularly pleasant thing to have on the front of a greetings card, Easter Cards tend towards bunny's and eggs whereas Christmas cards have snow, robins, Santa, snowmen and for some reason a family sat around an animals drinking trough in a stable. Easter 2 Christmas 3

Holidays
Christmas is a set date, December 25th so it moves around the week but while Easter moves around March and April, it is always on a Sunday which means Easter weekend is always a long weekend whereas Christmas is just Christmas Day and Boxing Day off work so Easter's guaranteed 4 days off work beats Christmas's guaranteed 2 days off which is especially annoying if its mid week as you have work either side of it. Easter 3 Christmas 3

Songs
For some reason, nobody has managed to come up with a good Easter song in the same way that Christmas has caught the imagination of songwriters. I can't think of one tune that tells us that the Easter Bunny is coming to town or how we wish it could be Easter everyday. Christmas has songs about Santa, snowmen and reindeer with red noses leading sleighs so until songwriters manage to find a way to make a catchy ditty about crucifixion and resurrection or even chocolate bearing rabbits, Christmas wins this category easily. Easter 3 Christmas 4

Drinks
Christmas is time for Mulled Wine and Eggnog, Easter doesn't have a traditional drink but it does have a ready made, much used joke by uncreative people about Easter being the time of the year to get as hammered as Jesus. Unfortunate a tasteless joke about nailing a hippy to a giant wooden plus sign doesn't make up for a lack of Easter drinks so Christmas again for this one. Easter 3 Christmas 5.

Presents
The whole raison d'être of Christmas is about the giving and receiving of presents and the fun of Christmas is gazing at the brightly wrapped box with your name on it under the tree throughout December and the anticipation of ripping open the shiny paper on Christmas morning to reveal a Boots Talc and Bodywash giftset. With Easter, you know what you will get, a chocolate egg with the only anticipation being if it will be a delicious Cadbury's or the cheapy Kinnerton type which will stay in the fridge until August and then find it's way into the bin. Easter 3 Christmas 5

The votes are in then and the final result is Christmas is the champions of religious holidays and Easter will have to try harder.
With that in mind enjoy the four day weekend and if you plan to spend Good Friday getting as hammered as Jesus but in a different way, you have 3 days to get over it. Happy Chocolate Egg Day everyone.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Reinventing Easter

Easter has always been the poor relation to Christmas but whether you are an atheist or religious, Easter is the time to revel in the love of family and friends and finding some peace and time for reflection on what Easter really represents, chocolate.
I don't know where it says in the Bible that we should celebrate the Crucifixion of God's only son by eating our own weight in chocolate but that's the way Christians have decided to do it and who are we to argue.
Atheists at Easter face the same question they do at Easter, namely why celebrate the death and rise of Jesus at all when you spend the rest of the year dismissing the whole religion thing and they have a point, but we should be thankful for them because if it wasn't for them sacrificing Sunday mornings sat in a cold, dusty old building and singing tuneless hymns then we wouldn't have this long weekend off, so thanks religious people.     
What the Easter holidays need is to look at what is going on a Christmas and 'borrow' some of the ideas because apart from Chocolate Eggs, Easter doesn't really grip the imagination like Christmas does, the Easter Bunny gets knocked into a Crooked Hat when set against Father Christmas and the only Easter pop song i can think of is U2's 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and that's not even about Easter,
just something that happened on Easter Day.   
The problem is, Easter is still far too connected to religion while Christmas has moved away from the whole Jesus's birth thing and has spun off on it's own with snowmen and reindeer with red noses.
The controversial solution then is for the Church to disassociate itself with Easter altogether so this time of year becomes more about chocolate although they need to keep the long Easter weekend because if it wasn't for that Easter would just be another day when you stuff your face full of chocolate.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Keeping Boris At Home

Britain was once a global superpower but those times have gone and now we are a small island off the coast of mainland Europe who like to think they are still a major player but in reality, we are just a small island off the coast of mainland Europe.
Case in point the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. who left for the G7 summit making big claims on how we will lead the way gaining sanctions against Russia only for the other six to turn around and say: 'Nah, we won't do that' and leave him embarrassingly kicking his heels.
Days after he was kindly asked by the Americans not to go to Moscow for fear that he would make things worse, and remember they have Donald Trump at the helm, it has not been a good week for the man whose job it is to foster international relations.
'Sometimes some of our partners are less forward-leaning that we are' was the weak excuse put out by the Johnson camp for why nobody else was on board with the plan.
On the cancellation of the Boris trip to Moscow, the Russians said that it wasn't worth talking to Britain anyway as they have very little sway on the World stage which must have stung the British Government because it's true and will become even truer once the Brexit negotiations are dealt with.
Even worse is the pathetic poodling after the current American President, the most inept and unqualified man to ever threaten smaller and weaker nations with the US arsenal.
Scary thing is that if the walking disaster known as Donald Trump considers Boris Johnson to be too much of a liability to talk to people, then we are up a creek yelling if anyone has seen our paddle big time.

Why Spicer Won't Be Sacked

Sensible move by the Trump administration to appoint someone as spokesman who is even more of an embarrassment than then orange faced man child they have as President.
Sean Spicer today admitted that he has learnt to think before he speaks as he apologised for claiming Assad went a step further than Hitler in using gas but him just thinking is a welcome step in the right direction. 
Maybe it was easy for him to forget the six millions dead Jews in concentration camp gas chambers but he is certainly grovelling now as the calls for his resignation pile up.
I can't see the Donald team replacing him though, all the time he is there saying ridiculous things and looking like an idiot it deflects away from when Trump says ridiculous things and looks like an idiot which is often, so he won't be going anywhere soon.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Unicorn Day!!

Today is National Unicorn Day, when we celebrate the mythical creatures by sticking a horn on our pets, taking pictures of them on our mobiles and uploading them to facebook.
Of course Unicorns are the stuff of fairy tales and made up stories which brings us neatly to the Bible, where tales of Unicorns are abundant.
Now us atheists use this as a another stick to beat the religious with, scoffing that the Bible is a book of nice fairy stories but we shouldn't be so quick to judge, maybe there really was horned horses frolicking about the Middle East 2000 years ago.
The explanation comes from the Rev Hanz who explains that when they say 'Unicorn', they actually mean 'Rhinoceros' and i agree that it is easy to mix up the two animals, the amount of times i have sat watching a David Attenbrough programme and wondered if that 1.5 tonne animal stomping across the screen was a horned horse or a rhino.
I guess if you are willing to believe that a talking snake told a woman to eat an apple or that a man and his family managed to fit two of every kind of animal on a boat then you would swallow the 'we said Unicorns but we meant Rhino's' explanation.
Carry on.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Syrian War In A Nutshell

Syria wasn't supposed to be like this, it was meant to be a case of hijacking a popular protest, hand the protesters a few tonnes of arms and when it all turns violent, use the violence as a pretext for another 'humanitarian intervention' which includes bombing the Government into submission, install a western friendly puppet government and sit back and mop up the rebuilding and oil contracts.
Obviously Libya went wrong, as did Iraq and Afghanistan but Syria would be different but the West didn't anticipate Russia being in the mix.
Hot on the heels of the Arab Spring in 2011, a small revolt broke out in Syria, a protest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad brutally put down but actually had the opposite effect of increasing the anger against the Syrian Government. 
Now al-Assad has some friends that the West are not particularly fond of so they saw a chance to oust him and bring in their own more friendly Government so they began shovelling funds and arms to the protesters hoping they would do the regime change bit for them.
The Syrian Government retaliated with the military so the West sent even more arms and funds to the 'rebels', only the 'rebels' included remnants of Al Queada, now calling themselves Islamic State, who had popped across the border from Iraq.    
Now armed with heavy weapons, the 'rebels' said thank you very much and not only fought against the Syrian Government forces but popped back across the border back into Iraq where they over-run the north of the country.
America, disturbed that the same people they have given the arms to had used them to attack cities in the country that America had spent a decade fighting for, they found themselves in the ludicrous situation of arming and fighting against the same group of people depending on which side of the Syrian/Iraq border they were stood on.   
Al-Assad said he was fighting terrorists, Russia agreed and joined the frey by bombing the 'rebels' while the West watched on until a chemical attack in 2013 which the West blamed on the Syrian Government and made all sort of threats about removing al-Assad but the British Government voted against military action, mainly because the intelligence was that action against the Syrian Government would only benefit Islamic State and without Britain taking it's usual position by it's side in a war, America decided they couldn't justify it either so it went back to the Western backed, heavily armed 'rebels' fighting the Russian backed, heavily armed Government.
Then, a chemical attack in the past fortnight and America decided that the Government forces killing thousands with conventional weapons is one thing but using chemical weapons is beyond the pale and fired 59 missiles at the Syrian airport where the Americans believe the attack originated from.
That then brings us up to date in the Syrian civil war where Russia and Syria face off against the West and their rag tag band of rebels fighting for democracy and freedom/terrorists bringing death and mayhem depending on if they are doing their thing with the weapons the West handed them in Iraq or Syria.
I'm sure it will all work out fine in the end though like it hasn't in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya...fifth times the charm.

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Wrong Action By Trump In Syria

Well we all said something had to be done but was lobbing 59 cruise missiles at yet another Middle Eastern country really the sensible thing to do?
Trump made much of the dead Syrian babies angle so if he cares that much about dead infants, will he now be stepping up to stop the bombing of Gaza, Mosul, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan?
How much was he beating himself up about the 200 dead civilians at the hands of the Americans bombers in Mosul just a week ago? I'm sure there were some babies in that gruesome roll call.
He has such care for Muslim children all of a sudden, but only if the deaths are by Chemicals dropped from on high, killing children by conventional weapons he doesn't seem to have so much of a care about, just don't use gas is the message.
The most suspect aspect is that by attacking the Syrian Government, the largest benefactor is Islamic State and their motley crew of terror groups. Libya showed what happens when we act as their air-force.
After the debacle of Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq and a $20 trillion debt, i wonder how the American people feel about 59 cruise missiles costing $1.6 million each being thrown into Syria, especially the $100 million bill to help the groups they are currently fighting against in Iraq.
We are yet to hear of the effects and any civilian deaths especially as we have been told that not all of the 59 missiles accurately reached their target but Britain was predictably the first to stand by Trump and back his actions but we have long learnt that this Government has little or no morals.
Trump is calling for nations to join him in his Syrian crusade but as he has shown, he is the last person anyone should be trusting to bring peace to anywhere.
All i can see from the actions are Islamic State strengthened, a very annoyed Russia and America being made to continue to look like the warmongering nation it is suspected of being run by a simple man who has little or no idea of the effects of his actions in an already volatile region.   

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Stalemate In Syria

It is heartbreaking to see what is going on in Syria and the scenes of the victims of the gas attack rightly caused outrage around the World and quite rightly something has to be done, the question is what can anyone do?
Donald Trump made a speech about crossing a red line and Russia defended the Syrian President Bashar al Assad while 80 people lay dead in a morgue, but Syia is such a basket case with so many countries fighting on either side that it is hard to see how anyone can do anything without sparking off a war amongst nations.
America have been trying to oust the President from the first day but Russia have been backing him so America can't attack the Syrian Army as they are under the protection of Russia.
The Syrian Army are fighting the rebels and Islamic State so any attack on the Army would benefit IS as well which nobody wants.
The Kurds are fighting on the side of the rebels but Turkey are attacking the Kurds as they deem them terrorists and Israel are becoming more involved against the Syrian Army but they are allied to America so Russia won't be attacking them.
Stalemate all around but why the big boys argue over who is to blame and spit out pointless rhetoric, the poor Syrians stuck in the middle continue to bury their dead.
Something has to be done but it is such a mess that it is hard to see exactly what anyone can do but for certain more military intervention will not make things any better.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Kurt Cobain 23rd Anniversary

Unbelievably, today is the 23rd anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana singer who took his own life after a battle with drugs, depression and his fame.
Widely revered as the father of Grunge in the early 90s, the legend continues and t-shirts bearing the Nirvana legend continue to adorn teenagers today who were not even born when the band picked up pop music by the scruff of the neck.
With one amazing album, 'Nevermind' and a couple of average ones, 'Bleach', 'In Utero' and 'Incesticide', Cobain and his band do seem to have endured the years on the strength of a handful of great songs although those few songs did inspire a whole generation of musicians.  
Cobain on the other hand, was the epitome of cool, the long blonde hair, the piercing blue eyes, the languid 'don't care' approach and the downplaying of his and his bands own place in music history.
The album 'Nevermind' was the bands highwater mark and 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is as great a song as has graced the charts and although they never hit those heights again, and the Unplugged album released just before he committed suicide split Nirvana fans who either loved or hated it, such was the influence of that album and the four songs from it, that Nirvana and Kurt Cobain will be remembered long into the future.

Should Have Gone Straight To DVD

How bad does a film have to be to sell just one ticket in its opening weekend, as bad as Man Down it appears.
The film starring Shia LaBeouf is about a US soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Syndrome and grossed a grand total of £7 and the mystery viewer watched in Burnley.
The film now ties with the 2004, Polish effort, My Nikifor, which also sold 1 ticket and grossed the same £7 during its entire run.
Man Down opened at the Venice Film Festival last year to boos and walkouts from the audience and took a savaging at film sites with words such as 'confusing' and 'irredeemable' not likely to appear on the advertising blurb anytime soon.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Whoring Out Britain For Trade Deals

From the self confessed sex fiend in the White House to the head chopping regime in Saudi Arabia, Theresa May is on a one woman mission to whore Britain out for trade deals and mixing it with some very gruesome regimes as she does it.
When questioned about bringing up the subject of human rights to the Saudi Arabians, she gave a patronising claims that she was going as a female role model and quickly moved on to avoid tough questions on pounding Yemen with British bombs in one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises.
Then there was a visit to Turkey which is fast degenerating into dictatorship with journalism being curtailed and opposition figures jailed. We did sign a lovely £100m fighter jet deal with them though.
Not forgetting the World's worst neighbour, Israel, who has been expanding the illegal settlements at an prodigious rate but our Prime Minister May forgets to mention to the human rights-abusing Israeli government So there is Brexit, whoring ourselves out to the racist Donald Trump, dictatorial Saudi Arabians, Thuggish Turks and Israeli human right abusers all for the promise of a trade deal.
What isn't apparent is just what the nasty regimes we are mixing it with are demanding in return for their money or just what Theresa May is promising to compromise in desperation to offset the EU losses but it will all become apparent soon.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Not Quite Death From Asteroid This April

With the exception of the dinosaurs, who doesn't love a headline that screams we are on a collision course with a massive space rock and this year we are being spoilt because there isn't just one barrelling our way but three in short succession.
First up is 0.6 miles wide asteroid '2014 JO25' which has been slapped with the label 'potentially hazardous' and is due to come our way April 19 and is predicted to be the closest an asteroid has come to Earth in 400 years.
Sounds scary but you may want to postpone booking that trip to the International Space Station just yet though because NASA are predicting it will pass by Earth at a safe distance of about 1.1 million miles or about 5 times further than the moon.
Two other big asteroids, '2003 BD44' expected 18 April and '1999 CU3' on April 19, which are both almost 1.2 miles wide, will also pass by our planet shortly, however they won’t come as close as 2014.
The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was an estimated 6-8 miles wide and NASA predict that it would take an asteroid just 1.5 miles wide to cause widespread devastation on the planet and throw up enough dust to block out the sun and send humans the same
way as the dinosaurs.
Luckily, the Space Agencies keep an eye on all large space rocks and they have not seen anything yet that size with us in it's path so we can relax and just concern ourselves with people with rocks in their heads running things here on Earth instead.

Westminster Attack Aftermath

Within minutes of the attack in Westminster a fortnight ago we had the foghorn voices of the right wing on the media linking it to refugees, illegal immigrants, the EU, multiculturalism and even the repellent Nigel Farage arguing it proved Donald Trump’s racist anti-Muslim policies were correct.
They were revelling in their opportunity to say 'We told you so' as their imaginary fears seemed to have come true as Khalid Masood was dying from a gunshot wound in the back of a London Ambulance, leaving five victims of his madness.
Police swooped and quickly arrested 12 other people in Birmingham and Nottingham under the terrorism act who they suspected had connections to the killer.
The volume went down when it was revealed that the bad guy turned out to be a home grown Brit Adrian Elms from Kent and they are now nowhere to be seen that the Police have released all 12 of the detainees with no charge, say he acted alone and had no connection with radical Islamist groups such as Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.
That the attacker has now been put down to a British man who killed five people because he was a violent psychopath and not due to wanting to kill people who had a different religion to him or because he was an immigrant who hated Britain doesn't play well with the large part of the right wing who are the racist xenophobes so i expect this one will quietly slip away and the wait goes on for the next one where they will be hoping for a better fit for their poisonous rhetoric.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Brexit Week 1: War With Spain

The EU discussion hasn't got off to the greatest start, first up on the agenda is Gibraltar, with Spain having a long-standing territorial claim on and which has been held by the UK since 1713 and has the status of a British overseas territory. 
A quick glance at a map shows that Gibraltar is located in Southern Spain and another quick look at a history book shows how a Dutch-British alliance invaded Gibraltar, booted out the residents and set up a barracks which they have maintained ever since.
A throw back to the days of Empire when the British sailed around the World taking over wherever they docked their boats, it is hard to make a case why a country 1,600 miles away has more of a claim than the country it historically belongs to and is at the southern tip of.
Theresa May and other Government officials have today assured the people of Gibraltar over their status and one overly-excited minister who had obviously eaten too many sweets this morning made a tub-thumping speech about the Falklands and how the British sent a task force half way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country.
A spokesman said that Gibraltar would remain British due to the democratically expressed wishes of Gibraltrans which is very reminiscent of the recent vote in the Falklands where the 99% of British folk there were asked if they wanted to remain British or become Argentinian.
The Gibraltans can expect a similar exercise in their democratically elected wishes of whether they wish to remain British or become Spanish with similar laughably predictable  results.
Less than a week after Brexit was triggered and already the Government is discussing potential wars with our European neighbours.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Other Bad British Decisions

Brexit is being called the biggest mistake Britain has ever made but a quick glance through the history books show that when it comes to cock-ups, Britain has made more than it's fair share.
The most famous is the Charge of the Light Brigade where commanders sent the British Light Brigade down the wrong valley where Russian troops massed on the hills at the sides couldn't believe their luck and decimating half of the Brigade.
Then we had the Titanic which set sail on her maiden voyage across the North Atlantic with the decision that things such as safety regulations and adequate safety equipment such as life boats wasn't important due to it being unsinkable.
Thomas Farriner will be forever remembered for his decision to go to bed early and finish raking out his bakeries ovens in the morning therefore sparking the Great Fire of London and destroying 13,200 houses, 84 churches and left 100,000 people homeless.
The ultimate awful decision made by the Brits must be the decision made in 440 when Britain, then a defenceless island, paid the Anglo-Saxons to protect them from invasion from marauding tribes only for the Anglo-Saxons to arrive and realise just how defenceless the island was and invade it themselves.
All brilliant examples of how stupid the Brits can be at times and the decision to give the stamp of approval to the window shakingly bad decision by the majority of Brits to leave the EU just adds another chapter to a history of bad British decision making.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Triggering The Worst Decision In British History

The papers tomorrow all carry a picture of Theresa May signing easily the most important document in UK history for the last 40 years, a letter which will be hand-delivered to European council president at 12.30 tomorrow and signal the most bizarre and awful decision ever made by a British Prime Minister.
After thumbing her nose at 48% of the British population who voted to stay in the EU, Theresa May will make a call for all Brits to unite as she triggers article 50, beginning a two-year process that will see the UK leave the European Union.
Quite how Theresa May expects us all to unite behind her while her and her Government leads our country to ruin is a challenge, she can urge me to back this fiasco as much as she likes but i'm never going to and me, along with the rest of the 48%, will continue to point out the idiocy of this at any, and every, opportunity.
Two years is a long time and the hope is that Brexit could still be averted if May fails to hammer out a deal and then is defeated in a general election.
Legal experts have said the process is reversible, and Tony Blair seems to be on the case to do just that as Theresa May sets the sails of Great Britain into disarray because of the decision of a slim majority of the British Public, a decision based on ignorance, made for the wrong reasons and based on deceitful propaganda.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Government Looking At Henry VIII For Inspiration

Brexit will bring back lots of laws currently under the EU back to within British jurisdiction but when the Government are trying to pull regulations from the 16th Century to cover it you know they are not on the level.
The Henry VIII powers that would change EU laws as they are repatriated to Britain is named after the famous monarch who passed Royal Proclamations for whatever he fancied therefore bypassing Parliament and the Government are claiming the same applies to EU laws allowing them to altered or remove them without the need for full debates and votes by MPs.
The Government's argument is that it needs the power as a significant proportion of existing EU law will not work properly without changes being made and ministers must be given the ability to make these changes quickly so they do end up being tied up in the House of Commons as they will be coming back to us thick and fast.
When the Government is looking to use a 500 year old law from Tudor Times presented by someone as dictatorial as Henry VIII in order to rewrite today's laws that are introduced without proper discussion or scrutiny then you must wonder just what sort of a country will we be after March 2019.

Spending Our Tax Pounds

Anyone who pays tax directly through their wages will know the date April 6 is the start of the new tax year when we all get a shiny new tax code and an Annual Tax Summary which tells us how much tax we paid and what exactly it was spent on.
Due to recent publicity we know that for every £100 of tax we pay 0.70p (0.7%) of the tax we paid will go to Foreign Aid while £2.00 (2%) will go on defence.
Even if it was the other way around i would begrudge paying 70p for the military but we don't get a choice, the Government spends it on what it seems fit and it sees fit to spend tens of billions on equipment to kill people and destroy cities. 
As i am contributing towards the cost of maintaining the death and destruction, does that make me complicit in it as MP Ruth Cadbury states as she suggested a 'taxes for peace' bill which would allow taxpayers to refuse the tax they pay be used for others to kill on their behalf.
As the marches against the Iraq, Libyan, Syria and Afghanistan wars have shown, there are millions of British citizens who have made clear their opposition to war which is exactly why we won't ever be given that choice and why the Government will continue to be the ones who decide that £2 per £100 to kill against £0.70p per £100 to save life's is a fair cut of our tax pounds.

Minting Money

The new pound coin comes out tomorrow, all edgy and as anyone who was alive to hear the sound of a doddlebug will tell you, it looks exactly like the old threepenny piece.
According to the British Mint, there are approximatly 1,553 million £1 coins in circulation so i naively assumed that they will make 1,553 million of the new ones and phase them in as they phase the old round ones out but for some reason i am unable to fathom, they are unleashing 1.5 billion of the new ones.
Now i never said i was a mathematical genius or know anything about economics but if i am reading it right, they are taking out £1.5 million and putting back in £1.5 billion which seems a bit wrong to my mind.
If the government can just conjure up money out of nowhere and throw it into the financial system, why the decade long austerity cuts?
There can only be a certain amount of money available as that is how some people get rich by accumulating it and the only way of changing that would be to create more money out of thin air to spread amongst society.
There are more people in the UK now than there were 100 years ago and there seems to be more money too, so did the Government at some time just decide to physically make more of it and if they did, how did they decide it and why can't they just create even more money to make us all even wealthier?
When the Capitalist system goes all recessionary again, as it obviously will, and we need to bail out the banks with hundreds of billions of pounds again, why not just mint a couple of hundred billion of pound coins and use that instead?
There must be a reason why no one seems to have thought of it sooner but if we are just about to unleash over an extra billion pound into the system, someone must be benefiting from getting the extra money that wasn't there before tomorrow so why not us so we can end this awful Conservative Party led austerity drive?

Surveys For Cash

Students are traditionally without a pot to do their business in and over the years i have heard of some interesting ways that they raise the cash to fund their refuelling habits and a popular one that i have heard of recently is using their computers to fill out online surveys.
The same names of survey sites do seem to crop up, both the good and the bad, but before i pass on the info to other students who were after ways to fund the weekend binge drinking trip, i decided to sign up to as many as possible and try them out for myself so i was giving out the info from a position of experience.
Almost all the sites you had to earn a certain amount before they pay you, others pay out much quicker and some pay straight into your bank, via a PayPal account or with vouchers so i dismissed the voucher paying ones and concentrated on the Paypal and bank account ones because as far as i am aware, barmen won't accept a £10 Love2Shop vouchers for a round of drinks.
Another consideration was the sites that send the most surveys to complete and how much they paid per survey, how many times you were 'screened out' after you started as you didn't fulfil the criteria so after a couple of months these are the survey sites that i can honestly suggest the students sign up to.

1. Prolific. This is an academic survey site and the surveys are generally 5-10 minutes long and generally pay around £1 per survey and the surveys are on all different subjects and i received about 3-4 a week. You can cash out at £5 and it takes about 5 days to receive the funds into PayPal.

2. My Survey. Probably the site that send the most surveys and you get points for each survey and can cash out when you reach 1000 points. They sent a wide variety of survey subjects and most are worth 50-70 points and take about 15 mins each but 20 surveys is easily achievable each couple of weeks although i was screened out of about 25% after the initial 5 or 10 questions had been answered.  

3. Global Test Market. Run buy the same people who run MySurvey, a very similar site that run along the same points system and cash out comes at 1000 points. Many surveys each day, most 10-15 mins long with a wide variety of subjects and 50-70 points for each so again each fortnight you could be receiving at least £10 for your efforts. The screen outs are a little higher for this site, at least a third you will not get past the first few questions which can be annoying when you get a run of them.

Those are the main three and with minimum time and effort expended, you could expect to receive £30 each month for about 30 mins surveying if you signed up to all three.
There are others which i would recommend if you have the inclination or a bit more time to sit in front of your computer.

4. Opinion Outpost. Not so many surveys and you receive £2.50 for every 50 points with each survey ranging from 5-25 points and taking between 5-20 minutes each. A wide range of surveys and i was getting at least 2 per day to complete with a screen out rate of about 50% so not as reliable of an income as the three above which is why it is in the 'so-so' column. 

5. Survey Bods. You get the cash equivalent for the points at this site with a cashout at £15 but the surveys are very few and far between but each is worth about 75p when you do get them. Screen Outs are quite rare, about 10% i found, but with only 1 survey a week, the £15 cashout will take a few months to reach.  

6. One Poll. If you like your surveys quick and easy this is one you should sign to, each survey takes between 2 and 5 minutes but while each is worth between 10p-20p and the cashout is £40, you do get a lot of them, at least 5 per day. Like SurveyBods, this is one that you would do with an eye on harvesting the cash a few months down the line.     

7. PanelBase. This is near the bottom of the so-so column for a reason, many screen outs. Survey are mostly 10-20 minutes and you will get between 50p and 1.25 for each and can cash out at £10 but the screen out rate is high, as much as 60% so you will spend much time getting 5 or 10 questions in before being told you don't qualify so while you could get £10 a month, about two thirds of your time will be spent getting nowhere fast.

8. Mintvine. Love and hate this site, Love it because you get surveys galore and they can take between 2 and 20 minutes for between 5 and 100 points each but the screen out rate is ridiculously high, 80% is not an exaggeration and where the Hate enters the fold.
They do sometimes throw you a couple of points for screenouts but you could easily spend an hour either racking up points towards the 1000 you need to cash out or continually being told that you didn't qualify. If you can stand the frustration and you have the time to wade through the array of surveys they dish up, you could easily reach the £10 target each month but be prepared to waste
a lot of time being told you didn't qualify and to have a go at another one.  

My recommendation would be to definitely sign up for the top three and maybe a few of the second five and you can expect to see about £50 go into PayPal every month for about an hours work each evening which won't make you rich but should sustain you through a college year and those weekend mornings where you wake up in a neighbours front garden, cuddling a traffic bollard and wondering whose sick is on your shoes.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Space Pollution

On of the major drawbacks of anywhere hosting humans is that we do tend to pollute the place, whether it is the land, sea or space, we leave our rubbish there.
We have land that is uninhabitable for the next 10,000 years, a 270,000 square mile wide rubbish patch swilling around in the Atlantic Ocean and above our heads thousands of bits of Space debris whizzing around like bullets. 
The International Space Station is constantly manoeuvring to avoid a potentially catastrophic collision with space junk ranging in size from millimetres to two buses but the world of business are growing increasingly concerned that one of their satellites will take a direct hit.
Of greater concern to us is if a communication satellite got taken out and the Sat Nav, mobile phone or TV pictures go missing.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs have been working with NASA and the European Space Agency and have developed a set of guidelines on space debris mitigation where when an orbital mission is planned, it must include a strategy to remove the spacecraft from the orbit within 25 years by either propelling it out into space or dragging it down to be burnt up in the atmosphere.
Humans eh? We have land, oceans and rivers that we continue to pollute until they become almost unusable and now we are doing exactly the same with space.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Disappointing The Right Wing As Terrorist Was A Brit

The terrorist responsible for the attack in Westminster yesterday has been named as 52 year old Khalid Masood, born and raised in Britain but that hasn't stopped the right wing trying to shoehorn the attack into their own agenda.
Marine Le Pen said the attack underlined the importance of countries being able to protect their borders, Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydło, said it vindicated Warsaw’s refusal to take in refugees, UKIP donor Arron Banks blamed Theresa May for allowing over a million illegals into Britain, Nigel Farage appeared on US television arguing that the London attacks proved Donald Trump’s hardline immigration and anti-Muslim policies were correct.
In the world of Trump and Brexit, Muslim stirring hate was spewed within minutes of the attack and the usual suspects were spewing their predictable bile.
The right wing haters have been waiting for something like this, revelling that the opportunity had arrived for their imaginary fears to become solid.
Disappointingly for them, the bad guy turned out to be a home grown Brit with a history of violence and not an immigrant turned by religious fervour but they won't let that stop them, this is their chance to drive home the falsehood that immigration and multiculturalism is to blame and the facts can go hang. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Bill Clinton To Attend McGuinness Funeral

Not the best timing as Former US President Bill Clinton announces that he will be arriving for funeral of former IRA commander Martin McGuinness just as the capital suffers fatalities from a terror attack.
Clinton was roundly condemned in Britain at the time for shaking hands with IRA politician Gerry Adams in 1995 while he was on a fund raising trip for the IRA, especially after the then Prime Minister John Major requested Mr. Adams was not given a warm welcome by the American President.
Mr Clinton was in office at the time of the and the then US president was involved in the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which brought to an end the 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.
A battle is going on at the moment to declare McGuiness as a violent terrorist who oversaw the death of countless victims or an architect of peace who saved the life of many by ending the Troubles.
I would argue that while his second career in politics should be acknowledged, it is the first choice of career that he should be remembered for as ending a war is a poor second when you have been so active in stocking and driving up the death toll in the first place.
As he was so active in the peace process it is probably right that Bill Clinton is at his funeral but please spare us the gushing nonsense that he was anything other than a murderous thug who brought untold misery to many, many families and who directly caused such scenes in the 70s, 80s and 90s that we see today in Westminster. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

McGuinness: Murderer Or Saviour?

If Bin Laden had decided to give up his terrorist ways and instead put his efforts towards peace in Afghanistan then i doubt many would change their minds that he was suddenly anything less of a murderer so i fail to see why the case with Martin McGuinness is any different.
Some are pointing towards his efforts in the Northern Ireland peace process but they seem to be overlooking the death and destruction that he was directly involved in which made Northern Ireland such an unstable place in the first place.
As a member of the IRA's ruling 'army council', he was part of the decision making process for its overall strategy and tactics, and approved operational policy and been a key figure within the IRA for almost all of the Troubles.
McGuinness spent a decade in the power sharing role with the Democratic Unionists which helped to end 30 years of conflict in the country, helping to negotiate the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement and securing IRA arms decommissioning in 2005.
While history will show that McGuinness changed his course to create change through politics, he died peacefully at 66, a luxury so many of his victims were never afforded in his original role as terrorist and commander in the IRA.

Russia's Cold War Debt Cleared

America may have won the Cold War but while the Russians have paid off the last of their debt, Americans are going to pass legislation to increase their debt ceiling above £20 trillion so something doesn't seem right.
Russia took on the The Soviet Union's foreign debt of £66bn in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and a £123m payment to Bosnia and Herzegovina will finally clear the bill.
In recent years, Moscow has cancelled billions of dollars in debt owed to the Soviet Union by countries in Africa, Asia, and Central America. In 2013, Russia wrote off almost the entire $32 billion debt owed by Cuba.
According to the Russian Finance Ministry, other countries still owe the Soviet Union about £34 billion, but how that works is unsure as i'm sure the argument will be how can they pay money to a country that doesn't exist.
The fact that the home of Capitalism is 20 trillion in the hole while Russia has cleared their debts has not gone unnoticed by the Ruskies. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Has Anyone Gave Tchaikovsky The News Yet?

We seem to be having an epidemic of musicians dying the past 18 months or so but the death of Chuck Berry yesterday is one that seems to sting me that little bit more.
By all accounts he was a massive sleaze in life but putting that to one side for the moment, what a back catalogue of great music he had under his belt.
He was also a real pioneer for the guitar based music which i lean heavily towards and he was one of the few musicians that i lifted above the others when i was learning the guitar as a youngster.
His songs were very formulaic as many musicians tunes are and you could tell almost immediately a Chuck Berry song but so strong was the stencil that he hit upon early on in his career, that he was such a huge success.
The opening lick of Johnny B Goode is musical gold and quite right that it was this song that was the choice to represent humans and be placed upon the Voyager Spacecraft and sent out of the Solar System for any other alien civilisations to discover.
Away from the amazing guitarist and entertainer he undoubtedly was, the other side of him was less pleasant with jail time for armed robbery, carjacking, prostitution and videotaping in ladies toilets.
Berry is placed at number 6 in the Rolling Stone magazine's 'Greatest Guitarist of All Time' list which is deserving as he was at the forefront of that style of music and much copied by those who came after him so such a high placing is warranted even if there was very little variation in what he played.
Johnny B Goode will always be his signature tune but there was so many greats including 'Memphis Tennessee' which was a change from the driving riffs of his usual fare.
He will always be included in the book of music as he should be as he was an amazing guitarist, great lyricist and had an incredible list of songs to his name but as it is hard to separate the man from the music, a morally bankrupt personality.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Tinkering With The Calendar

Ever since we began counting days we seem to have failed to get a full grasp on the calendar, using the path of the moon and adding the odd days here and there before losing ten of them in the 16th Century in an attempt to rewrite the whole calendar and then plonking an extra day on the end of February every four years to try and bring everything back together again.
What we have now is a year of 52 weeks split into months of 4 weeks 3 days, or 4 weeks 2 days one or 4 weeks exactly or 4 weeks and 1 day every four years which seems overly complicated.
Step forward the The International Fixed Calendar which has been gathering dust since it was first proposed in 1902.
I have been thinking about this and it does have some merit but needs a little tweaking.
This other calendar makes a month exactly 4 weeks or 28 days long and then tags on another month and have 13 months in a year.
What about the leap year i hear you ask but here is where it needs tweaking. Under my system the year would be 364 days long so to stop us falling out of sync with a planet taking 365.25 to complete a full lap of the Sun, we keep the leap year every four years to take care of the 4 x .25's and each year we have a non-day day, like an extra bank holiday so a day which just doesn't count.
It makes sense to me to make it New Years Day and start the year with the 1st January the following day, it already has a name and it is already a Bank Holiday so no messing about with when to slide the extra free day in.
The downside is that with a 4 week, 30 day month, some well known dates will get shifted around so for example my birthday is 1 April which under the proper calendar is Day 91 but under the new system Day 91 would become April 7th or Christmas Day which is Day 359 would become 23rd of the newly named month and New Years Eve the 28th of the new month. 
Every first would always be a Monday, every 28th would be a Sunday and every payday would always be a Friday and the 8/9, 14/15 and 21/22 of each month would be a weekend.
I'm sure there is something i have overlooked but to save any more tinkering with the calendar, perhaps one big tinkle to make each week 7 days long, each month 4 weeks, slide in an extra month to make a year 13 months long with 364 'real' days in the year and a 'free day' thrown in where we get a breather before doing it all over again.
I'm sure calendar makers may kick up a bit but they would be drowned out by all those people born on 29th February who will now have a day of their own to celebrate on each year, March 4th.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Casting The Trump Binding Spell

After 50 days in power and with mass protests failing to unseat Donald Trump, there has been a change of tactics and now the witchcraft community are stepping in to have a go at shifting that massively rotund figure out of the White House.
Witches all around the World are joining forces to cast a spell on the Trumpster and the five step process began on the stroke of midnight on 24th February and will continue at midnight on March 26th, April 24th, May 23rd and culminating on June 21st, the summer solstice.
The spell is a Binding spell which won't turn him into a frog or anything but is used to restrain someone from causing damage and is harmless to the recipient but is hoped will stop him doing anything stupid and is easily cast with a few household items.
As you might expect, this has not gone down well with God-fearing Trump supporters who are combating the spell with one of their own, a sort of keep the Trump doing stupid things spell, and warning of it being a recruitment drive by Satanic groups.
Should you be an experienced proponent of the dark arts, a coven owner or merely interested in stopping Donald Trump before he sends us all to hell in  handcart, the instructions for the spell are as follows:

1. Cut out a picture of Donald Trump

2. Write 'Donald J Trump' on an orange candle

3. Light the candle and recite the following ritual on the stroke of midnight   
    Hear me, oh spirits of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air
    Heavenly hosts Demons of the infernal realms and spirits of the ancestors
    I call upon you To bind Donald J. Trump
    So that his malignant works may fail utterly
    That he may do no harm to any human soul
    Nor any tree, animal, rock, stream, or sea
    Bind him so that he shall not break our polity
    Usurp our liberty or fill our minds with hate, confusion, fear, or despair
    And bind, too, all those who enable his wickedness
    And those whose mouths speak his poisonous lies


4. Light the photo of Trump from the flame of the orange candle and say:
    So mote it be!
    So mote it be!
    So mote it be!


5. Blow out orange candle

All done and repeat on April 24th, May 23rd and June 21st and with a bit of luck the spirits of Water, Fire, Earth and Air will hear all those witchy voices and thwart him but just in case i will find out about that changing into a frog thing.

Dutch Say Nee To Wilders

While one right wing racist screwball with funny hair in a seat of power is one too many, we have avoided him being joined by another by the Dutch taking a look at Geert Wilders and saying 'Nee Bedankt' to him and his extreme right wing policies.
Although only based on exit polls, the ruling VVD Party is reported to have taken 21% of the in the Netherlands with Geert Wilders' PVV party is believed to have won 19 seats (13%) although after recent elections, polls increasingly come with a fairly hefty health warning.
Labelled an 'undesirable perosn' and once banned from coming to the UK, Wilders has campaigned to stop what he calls the 'Islamisation of the Netherlands', compared the Koran to Mein Kampf and has campaigned to have the book banned in the Netherlands while advocating ending immigration from Muslim countries and supports banning mosques.
It’s the first of three key European votes this year in which extreme right wing parties are hoping to match the success of Donald Trump in the United States with France next to trek to the polling booths next month and a general election in Germany is due in September.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Brexit Explained

If, as expected, Theresa May triggers Article 50 this week and fires the gun for the two year countdown for Britain leaving the EU (Brexit is shorthand for British Exit), there are some terms that you will hear plenty of in the next week.

First up is Article 50 itself which is the formal notification of the UK's intention to leave the EU.

Next is The Single Market which is an association of countries trading with each other without restrictions or tariffs. The EU is the largest Single Market in the World and Britain's biggest trading partner with 45% of the UK's exports going to the EU.

Another common term will be Hard and Soft Brexit with a Hard Brexit being the UK refusing to compromise on issues like the free movement of people and trading with the EU as if it were any other country outside Europe and the EU treating Britain the same and apply tariffs making the import and export of goods and services more expensive.
A Soft Brexit is some form of membership of the European Union single market in return for a degree of free movement of people but no tariffs.

You are sure to hear about The Customs Union which is a group of countries that have agreed to charge the same import duties as each other and allow free trade between themselves with little or no customs checks and charges.

The European Economic Area (EEA) is the area that provides the free movement of people, services and capital within the European Single Market.

European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the judicial institution of the EU and settles disputes between parties and ensures that European law is interpreted and applied in the same way in every member state.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the global organisation that deals with rules of trade between nations and if Britain takes the Hard Brexit option as above, will negotiate between Britain and the EU members.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 20 Years On

The first working television system was exhibited in January 1926 but it wasn't until March 1997 that it discovered it's true purpose when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was first shown on it.
Hard to believe that it's 20 years since the first episode of Buffy was aired, a show that tops my list of all time favourite programmes and whose box set takes pride of place in my TV Cabinet, all seven seasons and 144 episodes of it.
It doesn't feel that long but to watch it now and see how young the actors and actresses who lived above the Hell Mouth in Sunnydale look, does give a tinge of 'where did those 20 years go?'
The last scene in the brilliant Buffy series was the scooby gang stood watching the entire town of Sunnydale collapsing into the Hellmouth cavern, leaving a large crater and Dawn saying 'What are we going to do now?'
Good question, so what have the cast of Buffy the Vapire Slayer been doing since the last show aired in 2003?

Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Geller)
Gellar moved from TV into movies, most well know being 'I Know What You Did Last Summer', 'Scream 2' 'Scooby-Doo' and 'The Grudge' and married fellow Scooby actor Freddie Prinze Jnr. She is still making movies today and has started up a business selling baking kits for children.

Willow (Alyson Hannigan)
Alyson shifted her Willow character across to Angel and then starred in the American Pie movies and has been a permanent fixture in the TV sitcom 'How I Met Your Mother'. She married Alexis Denisorf who played Wesley in Buffy.

Xander (Nicholas Brendon)
Brendon stayed in TV and appeared in another long running TV series, Criminal Minds, and now writes Buffy comic books.

Angel (David Boreanaz)
The easy on the eye Boreanaz starred in his own vampire based TV series spin-off Angel until 2004 and after making an appearance in the 2004 Dido 'White Flag' music video, stars as FBI Special Agent, Seeley Booth, on the television crime drama series Bones.

Cordelia Chase
(Charisma Carpenter)
Carpenter moved from Buffy to Angel and then onto another supernatural TV show Charmed. After appearing in several TV shows, she played the role of Lacy in The Expendables movie.

Spike (James Marsters)
Despite his immaculate English accent, Marsters is American and also made the move across to Angel and appeared in Smallville, the Dr Who spin-off Torchwood and the short lived revival of Hawaii Five O but has carved out a career narrating audiobooks.

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alesix Denisof)
Denisof was another who joined the cast of Angel and then moved into theatre after that series ended in 2004, his name was mooted when the James Bond character was up for discussion. He has made fleeting appearance in 'How I met Your Mother' alongside his wife Alyson Hannigan and appeared in movies 'The Avengers' and 'Much Ado About Nothing' and currently appears in the MTV television series Finding Carter.

Dawn Summer (Michelle Trachtenberg)
Trachtenberg starred in Six Feet Under and in the movies 'Harriet the Spy', 'Inspector Gadget', 'Black Christmas' and appeared in several TV series.

Oz (Seth Green)
Green went on to create 'Robot Chicken', appear in movies 'The Italian Job', 'Party Monster' and 'Austin Powers' series but is most well known for his voice role as Chris Griffin on Family Guy.

Anya (Emma Caulfield)
Emma was already known from previous appearances in Beverly Hills, 90210 but since dying at the end of Buffy, she has appeared in movies 'Darkness Falls' and TiMER.

Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland)
On leaving the Buffy series, Sutherland attended a photography course and subsequently set up a studio specialising in portraits. She has also appeared in several American television shows.

Faith (Eliza Dushku)
Dushku was another who joined the cast of Angel and then into her own supernatural series, Tru Calling. Her movies include 'True Lies', 'Wrong Turn' and 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back' and has voiced several characters in video games.

Drusilla (Juliet Landau)
Landau also joined Angel and has since appeared in several Tim Burton projects

Riley (Marc Blucas)
Blucas has appeared in several TV shows, most recently 'Underground'.

Nice to see that they have continued in TV and cinema and every now and then someone suggests a reunion and possibly a new Buffy film but as much as a Buffy fan as i was, and still am, i want to remember the wise-cracking teenagers of the late nineties and early noughties as they were, to try and recapture the magic again would spoil the one TV show that was as near to perfect as it gets.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Chinese Respond In Kind

The Chinese have repsonded to the annual US State Department report on human rights practices in China by publishing their own one pointing out how America's human rights record isn't exactly glowing.
The American report highlighted China’s domestic policies, criticised Beijing for neglecting civil and political rights and stated that the government curtails freedoms in Hong Kong and Macau.
In reply, the Chinese report pointed out how the US presidential election was full of 'lies and farces' and was driven by 'power-for-money deals', had 'no guarantees of political rights' and was conducted amongst large-scale protests.
It then moved onto an easy target, Americas insane gun laws as proof of 'continued deterioration in some key aspects of its existent human rights' as well as worsening racial discrimination, illegal detentions at unofficial holding facilities, torture and coerced confessions of prisoners and the money dominated political parties.
It ended with a stinging rebuke for 'continuing to trample on human rights in other countries, causing tremendous civilian casualties in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia'.
Glass houses and all that America, glass houses.

Trump Visit Pushed Back Again

The latest update on Donald Trump's visit to the UK so we can all throw things at the racist sex pest has been moved again which is certainly making things difficult for people who have already made up witty placards about him for the protest.
Now the visit has been shifted towards 'the end of the year' which is vague enough as is the places he will be allowed to go which currently stand as just Scotland.
The way things are going he will turn up at midnight at some time in November, have a whistle stop tour of Glasgow airport and be back on the plane to America before breakfast.
Although the Government can't come out and say it, the rumours are that they are hoping that he will be forced out by then so they won't have to deal with Putin's best buddy and avoid the whole debacle which would be a good bet the way he is going.
One leader who will be visiting though is King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain will stay at Buckingham Palace as part of a state visit in June and unless it turns out that he is also a vagina grabbing racist who mocks the disabled and is a pathological liar, the placards will have to stay at home for this one.

Brexit Consequences Becoming All Too Real

Former Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has said that Ireland would never be 'mad enough' to leave EU and with Theresa May's end of March deadline to trigger the Brexit fast approaching, the implications are our ridiculous decision starting to hit home.
In the news has been the EU exit bill, as much as £60 billion, which the EU negotiators are saying would have to be settled as one of the first things in the Article 50 negotiations and before any talks about trade can take place.
Brexiteers are arguing that Britain should not pay which will make for interesting negotiations with a desperate Britain and the EU as the largest single market in the World and its 500 million potential customers.
As Britain's largest export market, we can't afford to upset the other 26 countries in the EU, especially as the trade contracts that the Brexit gang were confident would come flooding in from elsewhere don't seem to be landing on Britain's doormat quite liked they promised.
If Theresa May turned around and said leaving the EU would be far too detrimental to our economy and the whole Brexit thing should be binned she would face a backlash from the 52% who voted 'Out' but she won't be remembered by future generations as the Prime Minister who oversaw the self-inflicted economic death of Britain courtesy of the half of the population who were mad enough to vote to leave.

Right Wing Hopes Fading In French Elections

One thing the World could do without is a major World player delivering yet another right winger to the top seat and in France Marine Le Pen has slipped behind the former socialist Emmanuel Macron who is expected to win the first round in the election after picking up the voters fleeing Francois Fillon after his scandal with his wife and her fake Government job.
Fillon's campaign has been battered for weeks by allegations that he paid his wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of euros of public money to be his parliamentary assistant, but she actually did very little work if any.
The way the French election works is that after the first round of voting, the top two go forward in a straight head to head and Fillon and the Socialists Benoit Hamon are far behind Le Pen and Macron who are a shoe in to be the last two standing when the 7th May election takes place.
Another factor is the farce playing out in America where the right wing Donald Trump is making a monumental mess of everything and the France are too savvy to vote for an equally divisive and racist character themselves, or so the reasoning goes.

Aliens Could Have Beat Us To Travel Plans

Professional brainiac Prof. Stephen Hawking came up with a good idea a while back, using light from lasers to propel tiny spacecrafts at the speed of light across the cosmos and other scientists have now come to think that aliens may be doing exactly that which would explain the strange flashes they keep seeing.
Scientists have been pondering just what the weird flashes detected in distant galaxies could be and after dismissing it being a natural phenomenon, are now considering they could be powerful transmitters sending ships on interstellar voyages.
Professor Avi Loeb, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said: 'Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence. An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking'.
They estimate that the energy levels responsible for the bursts would be enough to push a payload weighing a million tons and large enough to carry living passengers across intergalactic distances.
Exciting, or possibly dangerous, possibilities that other civilisations could be roaming the Universe and civilisations that are technologically so advanced that they have built and operate the thing that we, or Stephen Hawking anyway, has only just thought of.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Another Conservative Party Lie

May 7 2015:  "We will not raise VAT, National Insurance contributions or income tax". Conservative Government in election campaign.

March 8 2017: 'The main rate of Class 4 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed to increase from 9% to 10% in April 2018 and 11% in April 2019'. Conservative Party Budget

The surprising thing is not the broken a manifesto pledge, we all remember the 'NHS is safe in our hands' pledge while the Tories were cutting funding and running it down, but the fact that anyone could be surprised by it.
The 'Nasty Party' tag is richly deserved. 

The Irish Women's Fight For Choice

Abortion shouldn't be a 'womans problem' but it very much is and Ireland has an almost total ban on abortions including in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities which pushes thousands of women every year to travel abroad for terminations and others to risk taking abortion pills purchased over the internet.
On International Women's Day on Wednesday, women across Ireland have protested for a change in the law which is currently a 14-year prison sentence.
Women across Ireland today stopped work and wore black while demonstrating for the law to be repealed, a law which was lobbied for and gained in the early 1980s by the country's Catholic hierarchy.
More than 3,500 Irish women are estimated to travel abroad every year to terminate pregnancies, mostly coming to England while many more, estimated at three a day, take illegal abortion pills ordered online.
The law hasn't stopped abortions but just pushed them into British clinics and to bathrooms to take pills which are lawful elsewhere.
Abortion is a life changing decision and far too important for other people to decide, whether they be politicians, religious leaders or well meaning pro-life campaigners.
It should only be the decision of the people directly involved with the help of professional advice and then be left to make their own decisions and deal with the consequences if necessary but mostly it is far too important a decision to have someone else remotely make the choice for them and what they can and can't do with their bodies and lives because of their own beliefs.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The North Korea Problem

When Barack Obama left office, he reportedly told the incoming President that the gravest security risk that the newcomer would face would be North Korea and in light of recent developments, he was probably correct.
North Korean President, Kim Jong-un, has become increasingly provocative recently with ballistic missile tests landing in Japanese waters, the expected assassination of his brother in a Malaysian airport and the 'hostage taking' of Malaysian officials.
The West has used a mix of mix of diplomacy, sanctions and incentives to try and bring North Korea into line but under Kim Jong-un, the country has seemed hell bent on flexing its muscles backed by its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The Wests appears impotent in face of the provocation and seems to be in danger of sucking in the US, Russia and China to dangerous levels.
The US Pacific Command have announced they will be sending military equipment to South Korea but both China and Russia have object, arguing that it upsets the regional strategic balance and leading to China closing South Korean-owned retail outlets in protest and curtailing Chinese tourism to South Korea.
Beijing have said that: 'The consequences of this are on the shoulders of the United States and South Korea. They should not keep going down the wrong path and will definitely be taking necessary measures to safeguard our own security interest'.
China and Japan have both announced increases in military spending after the Americans announced an increase in their own defence budget so it could be that the Obama warning about North Korea could turn out to not only be a problem for the inexperienced and capricious President but a problem for all of the rest of us.

Consequences Of Russian Revolution 100 Years Ago Today

As revolutions go, the French one is second only to the Russian one for world wide consequences and it all began 100 years ago today when the Russians marched in protest in Saint Petersburg (then known as Petrograd) demanding the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II over the Russian involvement in WW1, the monarchy's crackdown on demonstrations and bread shortages.
The protests would lead to the rise of the Communists and the eventual overthrow of the Government by the Bolshevik Party comprising of leaders Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky who would form the Soviet Union and spread Communism throughout Eastern Europe and Asia.
Trotsky wanted to spread Communism around the World but on the death of the brains behind the revolution, Vlaidimir Lenin, the erratic Stalin took over the reigns, had Trotsky assasinated and began his reign of authoritarian rule which ended with the death toll attributed to Stalin at 50 million excluding wartime casualties.
Communism and the fight by the West against its growth became the defining feature of the middle and late 20th Century and continues today with the rise of China to Superpower status and it all began by protests a century ago.  

Why Less Young People Are Smoking

With the Government budget tomorrow expected to pile as much as 50p onto a packet of cigarettes, figures released today from the Office for National Statistics show that less young people are lighting up with 20% of 18-24 year olds smoking compared to 25% five years ago.
Even among the age group most likely to smoke, 24- to 35-year-olds, about 40% smoke compared to 65% previously.
Of course its a good thing but i don't buy the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Charity who say the results are due to a combination of effective legislation, policy and support for quitting.
In my dealings with teenagers, the most effective combination in the decline in smoking has been the exorbitant price of cigarettes and the rise of electronic cigarettes.
Where before the clouds of smoke above the smoking areas would cigarette smoke, now it is plumes of sweet smelling vapour and i have not seen a decline in the numbers huddled under the smoking area in recent years, just a change in what they are puffing on.
In 2015, three out of every 100 16- to 24-year-olds used electronic cigarettes, up from one in every 100 in 2014and in total 2.3 million people in the UK are using them.
The concern quite rightly is that Vaping could prove a gateway to smoking for teenagers and the fruit flavours of some e-cigarette liquid could make them more appealing to children.
The NHS recently agreed that while Vaping is certainly the more healthy option when compared to smoking, it still comes with it's own dangers so the best option is not to start but i say if you are going to start, go with the e-cigarettes because not only are they not as bad as cigarettes, they taste better and £10 a day for a packet of cigarettes compared to the £10 a month you spend on the nicotine liquid for the e-cigarettes will mean less strain on your finances.

Who Wants A St Patty's Day Hat?

The Irish symbol of a Shamrock is World Famous so you would have thought nobody would be dim enough to get it wrong...and then along comes Donald Trump who is plenty dim enough and gets it all hilariously wrong by using a four leaf clover instead.
With St Patrick's Day fast approaching, the small handed one stopped signing racist executive orders long enough to try and reach out to the large contingent of Irish folk in America by flogging them a green baseball cap with an 'embroidered four-leaf clover" on the back.
In a move that pretty much sums up everything about the hapless Trump, his party then put out a tweet advertising the hat with the words 'Need a hat for St Patty's Day?
Many Irish voices were quick to point out that what is on the hat isn't an Irish shamrock and it's called St Paddy's or St Patrick's but certainly, never, ever, St Patty's.
It could be that Trump and his gang of numbnuts are celebrating someone called St. Patty who has the four leaf clover as his symbol or he has once again shown his staggering ignorance and got it disastrously wrong again and made himself look an even bigger idiot and to be fair, that is far more likely.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Meaning Of Life & Other Unanswerable Questions Answered

Maths has always been my strong point, 75% of the time i can deal with most things mathematical but the other third i have to throw my hands up and just admit that i don't know the answer.
There is no disgrace in saying that you don't know the answer to a question but even the Internet sometimes comes up empty handed which is why Ask Jeeves has a list of questions that it deems 'unanswerable'.
The list includes the most unanswerable questions amongst the 16 million a month it gets asked with the top enquiry being 'What is the meaning of life?' followed by 'is there a God?'
I think i can say to Jeeves, 'Leave this to me, i'll take this one' and have a go at answering them so first up is the elusive 'What is the meaning of life?'.

Hmmm..lets see now, the meaning of life is to go from the cradle to the grave being the best possible person that you can be, to do the best you can for yourself and others and when your life ends, knowing that during your allotted time on the Earth you made at least one persons life better for you being here.   

Next up is 'Is there a God?. Simple answer is no, the 'God' as we know him today was created from a mix of other religious stories around at the time and they were all based on a mix of other stories at their creation so if there is a real God, then he would be the one of the earliest civilisation, the Sumerians, and their God was called An who would sit in judgement on humans and from who all the other religions branched out from, taking bits of pieces of each previous 'God' story that went before them as they began their own. 

What is the best way to lose weight? is the next unanswerable question but simply put if you take in more calories then you expend, then the excess is stored as fat and fat makes you heavier. The best way to lose weight then is to use up more calories each day then you take in so the body uses it's fat stores and you lose weight.

Is there anybody out there? Consider how our own Solar system has eight planets and our solar system is just one of tens of billions in our own Milky Way galaxy and there are tens of billions of other galaxies each containing billions of stars each.
That's an extraordinary amount of planets orbiting those billions and billions of stars and potential homes of other forms of life so the odds of there not being other life out there on any of those other planets must be minuscule and it happened here so why not on any of those billions multiplied by billions of other solar systems?

Working through, the next unanswerable question is 'Who is the most famous person in the world?' This is tricky but using the dictionary definition of the word 'famous' which is: 'know by many people', it would be hard to find someone who doesn't know the name Adolf Hitler. Jesus would be another choice but that potentially opens the doors for fictional characters so i'm going to plump for Adolf. 

What is the secret to happiness? Another tough one but being with others who make you smile and make you feel good, accept that the bad things are there to make the good things feel even better, do things that make you and other people happy and never give yourself an opportunity to say 'I wish i had done that', just do it.

Finally, how long will I live? is the last unanswerable question and this one really is unanswerable, you could be the healthiest person on the planet but that won't matter a jot if a bolt of lightning strikes you on the way to the shops this afternoon so the best answer is potentially tomorrow so don't waste today.

There you go Jeeves, all the unanswerable questions now answered.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

All The Small (Green) Things

The demise of guitar bands from today's music is a sad state of affairs with the late 90's the last time we had a decent run of pop punk groups like Blink 182 but even they faded away as the Pop Idol and X Factor acts began their deathly dull grip on music.
Tom DeLonge was the guitarist and co-vocalist of the 182 trio but by 2011 he had thrown his guitar back into it's case and set off to look for new things to discover, one of which is aliens.
DeLonge has been busy scribbling a book about UFO's and has been named UFO researcher of the year by top UFO Hunting Organisation, Open Minds.
DeLonge says his contacts includes sources within the aerospace industry, NASA and the Department of Defence and in his acceptance speech stated that he has 'an announcement within the next 60-ish days' which is expected to be an anti-gravity craft that he claims he has seen in action.
If there wasn't something out there would be shocking but if Mr DeLonge does ever set up a meeting with them i hope we finally get an answer to why they come all this way just to mutilate our livestock and anally probe drunk American rednecks?

Thursday, 2 March 2017

I WIll Stick With My Lumia Phone Thanks

Along with the new Millennium came the Nokia 3310 and i was a proud owner of the small, grey block that allowed me to text and make phone calls but more importantly play Snake.
As time went on and phones moved on it went into the back of peoples drawers, replaced by more up to date phones with internet access and more bells and whistles but now it's back with a facelift to include a larger screen.
There does seem to be some interest in the phone from almost two decades ago and at £41 a pop, it is affordable to own as a back up to your main phone but what do you get for your four tenners and a pound coin?
The internet is 2G so it will be as slow as an asthmatic elephant going uphill on a bicycle and there are no apps but you do get an MP3 player and a battery that will last a week without a charge so it is just a phone being a normal phone but with that famous Snake game.
It is hard to see where smartphones can go now, they are all pretty much the same and apart from adjusting the screen size, they can all do whatever the others do now so without a forward direction to go, maybe the direction of travel is now backwards with
a nostalgic nod toward retro phones. 
Nostalgia sells well, you only have to listen to people who wax lyrical about vinyl records to see that those particular rose tinted glasses need a good wipe.
At £41 i'm sure they will sell by the lorry-load and they will be good back up phones but i can't see many giving up 4G internet access, a mega pixel screen and camera and apps for a phone that harks back to the days of T9 texting with a physical keyboard but can see how it would be popular with campers and festival goers as you don't need to charge it every 2 hours.
What it did do though was make me look up a Snakes game for Lumia phone and spend an hour reliving the joys of chasing dots around a screen with a meandering line of pixels.  

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

What Americans Hate About Britain

Americans living in Britain have ganged up to make a list of things that they dislike most about living in the UK and i think in the scheme of things we don't come out of too bad.
The top gripe was the weather which even we Brits moan about but rather than embrace our '4 seasons in one day', they hate the feeling that it was always either going to or had just rained and and have an entire summer when the sun never really comes out.
Second was our food, especially bacon (too lean), baked beans (bland), Marmite (tastes vile)
Public transport came next with signal failures on the trains and rude people rushing through the doors before exiters had time to get off which to be fair drives me mad also.
The it was the Royals but also on the list was our taps and the way the hot and cold taps are separate which leads to the question have they not mastered the art of filling the basin and not just shoving their hands under the taps yet?
The last on the list is the wonderful British custom of hating anyone who shows off or 'gets above their station' and bitching about them to 'bring them down a peg or two'.  
As Americans are renown for telling everyone their accomplishments and achievements within 15 seconds of meeting them, that one must grate a bit as the usual retort to anyone boasting about their income or their qualifications is inevitably greeted with a sarcastic 'Oooh, get her' quip and a shoulder as cold as the blue tap which they have just washed under.