Sunday, 30 November 2008

Diana Watch

It’s mostly Gypsy children. Oh my God, they’ve killed Batman! Well Bruce Wayne anyway. He leaps on to a helicopter in which some bloke who claims to be his father, despite his father being murdered when Bruce was only a child, the trauma setting him on the road to cloaked vengeance, is trying to get away after shooting Batman. The helicopter is brought down and in the final frame we see a fallen, crushed and splattered body of a Batman. The writer says Bruce will suffer “a fate worse than death”, ooh, enigmatic, well no not really, I’m pretty sure he means that Bruce will be left disabled. Is this the end of Batman? No, probably not but who will take over? Is it time for me to reveal my secret identity? My penchant for rubber suits? And I have a basement, not as big as the bat cave I admit, but it is a basement.

Always up to date and on the pulse of the modern world The Vatican has said that has “forgiven” John Lennon for his “more popular than Jesus” outburst sometime during the 60’s. Well, yes it has taken 40 something years to make themselves sound important and as if they matter but this is remarkable speed when you compare it to the really rather sluggish 400 years they took to say sorry to Galileo after he discovered that the earth went round the sun. He was forced by the Church to withdraw his claims and the work based on them and then spent the rest of his life under house arrest, luckily he was right and was proved so and the heliocentric view of the universe has been excepted for, well if we’re honest, 400 years, about 5 minutes after he told someone about his idea.
Speaking of over reaction, some Tory bloke called Andrew Lansley, he might be a health spokesman, wrote on his blog that recession might actually be good for us, health wise. As we tighten our belts, so his argument goes, we spend less money on smoking and drinking by doing it less and we walk more to save money on petrol. Oh the out-cry. Oh the ridiculousness of the arguments. The man was making a good point I think but he was forced to take the blog down because of the fuss that was being made be the sorts who like being offended so that they can get into a lather and bash a political opponent. Not only do I think that he was making I good point, hard as it is for me to agree with a Tory, but I would go a little further, not only is it good for our health it’s good for our souls. It makes us focus on what we have and what we need, on what makes us feel good and not on things that we would like. Not those transient things that make us feel good for a few minutes, like shopping. If you are interested, yesterday, Saturday, was “buy nothing day”, how did you do? I bought 2 tickets for a National Trust property and a nice lunch so I didn’t do that well, ah well. Oh and I bought some sherbet fruits, umm sherbet fruits.

And so we came to the Pre-Budget Report (PBR). A quick summary of the situation, the banks have no money, you have no money. You have no money because you got a mortgage that you couldn’t afford a couple of years ago and your bank sold your debt to another bank and now you can’t afford your mortgage, the bank that bought your debt will loose up to 10 times as much, why we will never know. Now, consumers, you and me, have too much debt, about 1 trillion pounds, and at the beginning of 2007 the banks were lending irrationally to people who couldn’t afford it. So how does the government want to counteract the looming recession? For you and me to spend more and for the banks to get back too lending at 2007 levels. Oh dear, not really thought though this plan is it?
The PBR was a missed opportunity. Some have claimed that it was bold. If it was bold I am made of chocolate and, having just bitten my thumb nail, I can confirm that I am not. The lack of boldness in the speech meant that the headlines on the papers the next day could focus on the tax rises in 2011 on not the things that will happen now, the reduction in VAT to 15%, oh gee thanks, or the section about small businesses getting longer to pay their tax bill etc, now that is a good idea but really, when all things are considered, not that much to talk about. Government money for insulating homes, good green thing, and more government money for building roads, bad green thing.
Quite clearly in the statement was a commitment from Alistair Darling on how the rather weak tax changes were to be paid for but the Tories seemed to have missed that bit because that’s all they went on about, well for a day or 2 anyway. All they went on about was the “tax bombshell” that we were supposed to be surprised about, no, I listened to the speech and it was quite clear, some tax cuts now and then a rise to 45% on income tax on the top 1% of earners and a small rise in National Insurance contributions. I seem to have got it, why hasn’t George “what a nice yacht” Osborne? But my favourite part of the Tory attack was the “they thought about raising VAT to 18.5%” thing. What happened was a document was accidentally published on a government website that showed that discussions had been had an how to raise some money in 2011 and one of the ways considered was a rise in VAT to 18.5% but then discounted but the Tories went on and on and on about it. Why on earth was this an angle of attack? Really, it was pathetic and unhelpful to the necessary level of debate.

Just quickly I want to mention the American Governments decision to bail out some of the major car makers in the U.S. Now, in most reports about this story they have run a quick history of the car manufactures and most of them said that the car companies were making cars that people didn’t want to buy. Why then does the government bail them out? Is this not the why of the market? The Darwinian survival of the fittest companies. Has this not been the policy of the world for the last 30 years? Your company makes things that no one wants to buy than you go under, I’m very confused Charlie Brown.

And now to the awards,

The Award For Just Not Giving Up, For Trying And Trying And Trying Again,

This goes to Anthony Knott. This is a man who lives near here, in Sturminster Newton, and is a farmer. This is irrelevant to the story really but it’s all nice detail. In 1980 rode a horse in his first race. This week he finally won a race. It has taken him 28 years but he has finally done it. He is now planning on retirement.

Only the one award this week. Hopefully we will be going to see the comedian Mark Steel this week, which will be nice. Please keep thinking about the list of good people because so far I have had nothing from you lot. Have a good week xx

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I Need Your Help

I need your help. I really do. I’m trying to construct a list of “good” people and I want your suggestions of people who might qualify. I want to list to be about today, not good people from the past so no suggesting Mother Teresa, although if not sure if see would have made my list if I was including historic people because she did a few things that were questionable. So the 2 rules are, modern good people and it’s my list so I can put who I like on it, although all suggestions will be considered. I want to do it because everyday there is a tsunami of cynicism trying to wash us all away and I think we should try and stop it, there are good people out there so let’s find them. Good people and a reason why.
Here are a few suggestions to get you going,

Tim Berners-Lee, he is the man who enabled you to read this by inventing the internet and then giving it away for free for the good of mankind. He works at CERN with the Large Hadron Collider.

Adam Neate, he is an artist who recently gave away 1000 paintings by leaving them around various places in London. He had used bit and pieces that he had found in London for his art and this was his way of giving back.

Jimmy Wales, this man founded Wikipedia. Wikipedia only employs 10 people and everyone else is a volantear.

Richard Reynolds, he runs the website GuerrillaGardening.org which does great things and that I love.

Now as you can see they are all man so help me add some ladies. Have fun and let your imaginations run wild.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Diana Watch

Note to self, get more stories that sound really cool, more stories that start “I got my cat from a crack den” or end “it turns outs he had been kidnapped by dope dealers.”
My Belle and Sebastian BBC sessions album has come and it is very good, I’m listening to it as I type this. I have to be honest that I’m filling a bit here because not that much has caught my eye this week as most of the UK news output has dwelt, rather to long if you ask me, on John Sergeant leaving Strictly Come Dancing. Now whilst I like the program I think enough time has been spent discussing a tubby man who can not dance and let that be an end to it.
You may remember that last week I complained about the shop Monsoon playing Christmas tunes despite the fact we were only half way through November, well what I forgot to mention was that this seasons range of clothing that they are selling seem to take their styling cues from James May out of off of Top Gear.

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As much as I find the man charming and entertaining I would never really call him stylish but clearly I am wrong. I know older men want to buy clothes, oh mid life crisis following the male pattern boldness noticing update, I bought skinny jeans (2 years late there) and a T-shirt in Topman, I am nearly sad, not quite there because I look alright in them, but I’m circling the drain, but that’s what Marks and Spencer is for.

Another story that kept popping up this week was the Pirates story. For those not familiar with this here is a quick update. A very large Oil Tanker, as long as 3 football pitches I’m told, was 450 miles off the coast of Somalia when it was attacked and taken over by pirates. They then sailed it too a Somali port and demanded a ransom. I have several questions about this, 1) why do news programs insist on indicating length, tee hee, with the “football pitch” simile, there is no standard length of a football pitch, 2) do you think that the pirates really expected to take over the oil tanker or where they just giving it a go? You know, a sort of learning experience but it all went rather well and they were left with a quarter of Saudi’s daily output and the question “What the hell do we do now? Does anyone how to make petrol or plastic?” 3) Why was it the news so much? Was because 2 of the crew were British or was it, and this is my guess, because it was pirates. Parrot on one shoulder, black beard wearing, plank walking pirates. In the BBC’s mind was it Jack Sparrow boarding the tanker rather than ruthless man with AK-47’s, grenade launchers and GPS tracking systems? “And now we cross over to our pirate correspondent, Jim Hawkins.” “arghhh, pieces of eight” “thank you for that Jim.” The BBC even had a piece from a business correspondent on the pirate’s business model and on their investment in technology. It was almost as if the BBC were holding this up as an example of how the small business man can beat the credit crunch, apparently you need to reinvest you profits in the latest technology, better guns and faster boats, and in the training of your staff, now you come to mention it these pirates may have a point.

You can’t have missed the world is having a little problem finding all the money that we thought we had or had promised to each other but is everything as bed as we are being told? Ok, the stock market is down and most banks have tumble weed rolling across their entrances but some companies are doing all right, not Woolworth’s obviously who are trying to negotiate a sale for the nominal fee of £1 and they are having trouble doing that, but the sales at Heinz are up. Porsche has managed to take over VW and given us one of the biggest financial laughs in recent times. For those who don’t know here is how the story appeared on the IrishTimes.com,

“Last Sunday, it (Porsche) released a statement saying that it had quietly built up its stake in Volkswagen - through stock and options - to 74 per cent, just shy of the 75 per cent controlling stake.
In a climate of economic gloom, when car stocks are slumping due to softening demand, the news electrified Frankfurt's staid stock exchange.
Volkswagen shares trebled in value in Monday trading and, when they crossed the €1,000 mark - making VW the most valuable company in the world, if only for a few minutes - traders stood up and applauded.
"I have huge respect for what Porsche has achieved, it's an incredible performance," said J├╝rgen Pieper of the private bank Metzler.
Not everyone was cheering. In anonymous offices around the world, hedge fund managers went white as €30 billion worth of short bets on VW stocks went spectacularly wrong. They were caught out by Porsche's silent shopping spree and completely unaware that, by Sunday, all but 6 per cent of free-traded stock was now in the hands of the Stuttgarters.
The problem was, hedge fund managers had promised their clients twice that amount.
So when trading began on Monday, it was they who were behind the surge in the share price as an undignified scramble began to buy back, for more than €1,000 apiece, millions of shares they had borrowed and sold for a third of the price. Rather than making a fortune with their bet that VW shares would fall, allowing them to buy back later at a discount, they lost a fortune.
"I've had hedge fund managers on the phone all morning, literally sobbing down the phone," said one Frankfurt analyst on German television. The value of the "people's car" company reached obscene levels this week before coming back down to earth when Porsche released stock options to ease the hedge fund squeeze.
The episode has provided much amusement in Germany. While other countries celebrated hedge fund managers during the boom as masters of the universe, German popular opinion never moved beyond contempt.”

Oh dear, that is sad. Hedge funds loosing lots of money, ha ha ha, really really funny. Anyway, my point is retail sales figures were realised this week and all the predictions were that they were going to bring forth the end of the world or something, or that is the impression that was given on the news. When they were realised, however, they were only 0.1% down on this time last year and the figures for last year were exceptional. There were record sales last year and a barely mentioned fact is that retail sales are actually up about 2% on last year. You lot are still spending too much money but you would never know that from the official news outlets. The CBI keeps telling us that sales are down but that is because they are using like for like sales, i.e. comparing a single shop with it’s self from year to year but this is a very inaccurate way of comparing sales because it ignores all new shops that have opened and there have been quite a few this year. They are doing it on purpose of course because they have an agenda. They want to government to lower taxes, such as VAT, and they want to Bank of England to lower interest rates to stimulate sales but there is no real need, they just want us to spend more and for their members, who they are there for, not you and me, to pay less tax and make more profit. Why to talk ourselves into a recession everyone.


Some awards now because I want a short blog this week which means I’m missing out the story about increased penalties for speeding, why do the British think that speeding is ok? Why do they think that only the laws that they agree with are the ones that they should abide by? Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked,


The Award For Really Weird Thing To Do To Yourself Of The Week,

There was a report out this week by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about the increasing and unregulated use of tanning drugs, specifically one that are injected. I’m sorry? What now? Sun tan injections? Oh yes, “you have about 10 injections. You take an injection every day and after 10 days you should have a nice tan” and track marks all over your belly you vain idiot. The drug is called Melanotan and has not yet been licensed for human use. If you could see me I would have a despairing face and would be shaking my head.

The Award For Still Not Able To Smile Convincingly Even After Several Years In Show Biz,

This goes to that ginger one in Girls Aloud, what’s she called? Oh yes, Nicola Roberts. Honestly, she looks like a bored child at a wedding being told to smile for the 200th photograph.

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Ok, that’s enough for this week. Next week I will be away for the weekend, we are going to significant other’s parents for the weekend with my parents, can you imagine my joy, but I think we should be alright for a Monday Diana Watch instead of Sunday. Have a lovely week.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

BNP List, sorry for the swearing

Dear The BNP,
Oh come on, you have to admit that it is a bit funny. So a man publishes the names and address of your members on the internet. You don’t like this, which is sort of fair enough if you ask me, I mean you are all cunts but perhaps you should be allowed to be racist bastards in privacy, not sure, but how are you going to fight against this maybe injustice? Your leader, Nick Griffin, has admitted the party was relying on the Human Rights Act, based on EU legislation, which it opposes, to try to protect the privacy of its members. Oh the irony! It really is very funny indeed. Now disappointingly I can’t republish this list because it has been taken down form the blog that published it but you can look at this map which used the postcodes from the list to create this, http://www.bnpnearme.co.uk/. I do understand why some of your members might want to keep their identities hidden because you have teachers, soldiers and, most interestingly, policeman and woman. Now correct me if I’m wrong but I think police officers are banned form being members of the organisation for idiots. Oh and one other thing, a BNP spokesman, Simon Darby, said: "If we find out the name of the person who published this list it will turn out to be one of the most foolish things they have done in their life." does this sound like a threat of violence to you? It does to me but not that nice Mr Griffin insisted this did not represent a threat of violence but the reality that the person faced prison for breaching a high court injunction. Oh it is a thin line upon which you wobble, oh I do hope you fall off,

Yours hoping you just go away,
Martyn, no kisses because I hate you with every fibre of my being

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Diana Watch

Good news! They’ve re-sited that bus stop. Bad news! Nasty Wetherspoons want to stop doing their pub quiz because they are not making a massive profit on it. Now that just isn’t nice and after all the effort we went to last Monday to dress up for it as well. Significant other looked very nice in her bestest party frock and I wore a lovely grey wool 3 piece, over dressing for fun, we drank champagne as well, they definitely made a profit on that week.

Can you guess why significant other came home from the Chinese supermarket with this packet of dried lemon grass?

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Enough smut and on to the weeks news which has been dominated by the death of a baby. The odd thing about this is the way that the story of baby “P” has dominated the media but the death of a baby and toddler stabbed to death by their mother has not. In both cases various bodies were involved and yet the babies still died. So what is the difference? I think it is the fact that social services were involved in the baby “P” case and the media loves to slate them. Many years ago there was a scandal in the papers that too many children where being taken into care. Much fuss was made and the protocols by which decisions are made were changed and now there is a fuss that too many children remain at home, who’d be a social worker?
This sort of convenient amnesia by both politicians and various media outlets has also been evident in the treatment of the world’s financial problems. Unemployment has risen to an 11 year high, which is sad for the people who have lost their jobs, and these numbers have been attacked by the Tories but who was in charge 11 years ago? No, wait, I can get this one……… oh yes, it was them! On the Andrew Marr program this morning George “I love big yachts me” Osborne said that the value of the pound is the lowest for 13 years. Again, who was in charge? I think you can guess.
It does seem that the Government is considering some sort of Roosevelt style “New Deal” i.e. massive government spending on infrastructure projects in order to stimulate the economy and give people jobs. Now, while this is a good idea in principle there have to be one or two things taken into consideration. The first, and some would say the most important, is the fact, now widely excepted, that the New Deal didn’t really work and it was the beginning of the 2nd World War that really stimulated the U.S. economy. Do we want a massive war to get us all spending again? The second point is how this spending will be directed. The problem is that during these chastened times those against the “Green” agenda will use it to claim that everything good is far too expensive. They will want quick fixes, build runways and power stations. Let the next generation worry about the planet way have to save our profits from extinction. Well how about we try and kill 2 metaphoric birds with 2 politically expedient stones. How about massive government investment in environmentally sound industries and technologies? Invest in research into making micro generation, my personnel favourite as I’m sure you will have noticed, or even carbon capture. No one has ever built a full scale power plant with carbon capture and storage technology, so why don’t we? Think of the kudos! Think of the jobs! Invest in mass insulation projects. Invest in research into wave powered generation or hydrogen fuel cells for cars or into cleaner fuel sources for shipping. Oh, quick note on shipping. Due to the current turmoil in money the amount of shipping currently ruining this nice green planet is down 90%, every cloud, silver lining etc.
Now, whilst reading yesterdays Guardian I noted that Polly Toynbee had mentioned in passing a similar idea and I said to significant other, “ha, I wrote about on the blog last week, she’s a week behind me”, it turns out that she wasn’t and I wrote it in my note book on Monday or Tuesday and had thought I’d written it last week, D’oh.

One of chemistry’s most enduring problems has been solved this week by Dr John Emsley of the The Royal Society of Chemistry who has come up with the definitive recipe for Yorkshire Puddings and here it is,

Ingredients
Tablespoon and a half of plain flour
1 egg
Skimmed Milk to make a thin batter
Half a teaspoon of salt.

Method
Put flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle, add the egg, stir until the two are combined then start gradually adding the milk and water combining as you go.
Add the liquid until the batter is a smooth and thin consistency.
Stir in half teaspoon of salt and leave to stand for 10 minutes
Put beef dripping into Yorkshire pudding tins or into one large tin but don't use too much fat.
Put into hot oven until the fat starts to smoke.
Give the batter a final stir and pour into the tin or tins.
Place in hot oven until well risen - should take 10 to 15 minutes.

Sorry it hasn’t come too you before lunch time today (and there are no quantities, blame the internet, because I can’t find it with any) but you’ll just have to wait until next week too try it. The most surprising thing about this is that finally some one has found a use for skimmed milk. I am pretty sure that this is the first time in all recorded history that this has happened.


The E.U. (European Union) has decided to scrap some of its food and vegetable standardisation laws, although not the ones that affect the really expensive ones strangely, and this has been welcomed by many newspapers which have used them, incorrectly, as a metaphor for interfering E.U. ministers. To be honest the story isn’t that interesting but it should lead to slightly cheaper food prices, apparently up to 30% of fruit and veg has had to been thrown away but it does give me the opportunity to tell you my favourite E.U. regulations gone made story. The Sun once reported that the regulations called for English sausages to no longer be called sausages unless they contained some more meat. Of course the paper overreacted to the story with ridiculous headlines and rhetoric bordered on the xenophobic. Their view seemed to be “leave us alone to eat our crap food that contains no nutrition whatsoever and may actually do us harm.” Sun readers are odd people.
This comes from a long line of “Interference” stories that our papers like to run. The other favourite is the “Winterval” type of story. The problem with all of these types of story is that they are made up. They are not true. They are, at best, misinterpretations, be that accidental or deliberate or, at worst, lies, but for a good “Winterval” story, the first of the year I believe, go to http://5cc.blogspot.com/2008/11/theyve-banned-christmas-its-pc-gorn-mad.html
Whilst we are sort of talking about Christmas, as it should always be called, not Xmas, whilst shopping in the surprisingly busy considering the credit crunch Bournemouth on Saturday we went into Monsoon and they are officially the first shop to be playing seasonal tunes. Feel sorry for the people who work there, over 6 weeks of Wham and East 17. Every year that passes without a shopping assistant running amuck with a tinselly hanger and a giant bubble, slaughtering all insight is a surprise to me.



And so to the Awards,


The Award For Disappointment Of The Week (Not Including Pub Quiz Cancellation),

Significant Other came home this week and said that there was a man in South Street (Our shopping street) standing on a small plastic stool berating the non-believers and damning us all for our belief in the “fairytale for adults” that is evolution. I pulled on my “Godless Liberal” T-shirt but wasted time trying to decided between that one and my “Atheist” T-shirt and by the time I arrived at the spot outside Waterstones he was packing up to go home, such a shame.


The Award For Surprise Of The Week,

One of the many unbelievable plots in the dreadful soap opera that is Hollyoaks is that of the young people of the village forming a band. Well guess what? They are too realising a single. Oh yes, a big proper single with a video and everything. This, in it’s self is not a great surprise, it is a road well travelled, but the surprising thing is that it isn’t bad. Yes, it is a cover, originally by a band called The Dimestars who once supported Kylie I believe (I looked it up, I didn’t know that) and the riff sounds a bit like “Too drunk too fuck” by The Dead Kennedys but that’s no bad thing. Oh and the middle 8 is a bit dodgy but I’m being picky, it’s ok really and to prove it you'll have to go to this url because i'm not allowed to embed it, http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uvQ1-10pnTo


The Award For The Most Middle Class Thing I’ve Seen All Week,

Who needs a mango stoner, really, who’s life would be completed by one of those?


Have a good week and happy birthday for my Brother for tomorrow xx

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Scared

I never used to think that I was a brave man but today I proved myself wrong. Today is the 13th day of the month, what is considered to be an unlucky day of the month, and I have had my hair cut, which is thing that I really dislike. I’m not going to describe having my hair cut because I’m pretty sure that most of you have had it done before but I really do hate the leaning backwards sink thing to have my hair washed because it feels so uncomfortable and then something so upsetting happened. The hairdresser combed my damp hair backwards over my head making me look like an 80’s Wall Street banker and then I looked at my right temple. My slightly shiny, thinly haired right temple. When I say thinly haired, what I mean is bald. Horrid male pattern baldness is spreading across my head like some very tiny combine harvester, quietly, slowly but determined to rib my head of its lovely, Timotei advert like, lustrous beautiful hair. Bugger. The comb-over is the hair cut for me.


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We’ve got a brand and we’re not afraid to flog it, possibly to death.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Bad Monday

According to this morning’s news every 3 days an under 10 year is admitted to hospital with alcohol related problems, you would have thought he would have got the hang of drinking by now. Ok so it’s not a super funny joke, made me laugh though, but it was the only point of light in a very dull morning of news. Another report out this morning has said that the English drink too much. Well thank you for that, we all know that, now tell us what we can do about it. What’s that Skippy? They only have a couple of rehashed suggestions? Oh yes, ban drinks promotions in pubs and shops and make alcohol more expensive so that only rich people can get drunk. Now that is elitist any Republicans out there. This was about the 4 millionth report of recent years that added nothing useful to the debate about drinking and the abuse of alcohol in this country. None of them ask why people find it necessary to drink to excess so much. I know I have written about this before but I find it very annoying that this issue is being ignored in this way. By not asking the right questions you can have as many reports as you like but you won’t come up with anything useful. One of the reasons people drink is the same as the reason why they shop, their lives are empty and they are bored. It’s true. You drink to excess to numb the pain, there is no other reason. You shop because you have been told that this is how you fill that yawning chasm that is the meaning of your life, it doesn’t. it makes you feel worse in some cases because you have spent money you don’t have but the good news is the economy is doing well supported only by consumer spending, oh no, wait, it’s fucked now isn’t it. I honestly believe that if people had more in their lives other than work and ready meals and BBC3 there would be much less drinking and anti-social behaviour, don’t worry I’m not going to suggest that you all find religion but find something to do. Grow stuff, volunteer, take some exercise, do something and suddenly your life will feel better and so will you. In my opinion, there is a phrase that can make a roomful of people sigh simultaneously, it is not a coincidence that mental health issues have risen at the same time that working hours have increased.
The other thing that really pissed me off this morning, sorry for the bad language today but I had to work on a Monday morning and I really don’t like that, was the front page of The Sun this morning which was outraged, as they always are, it must be so tiring, that GCSE pupils might be asked to listen to/study Gary Glitter’s hit “Do You Wanna Be In My Gang?” My genuine question here is why? Do they think that if they play it backwards they will hear messages encouraging them to abuse children? The only reason that I could see for their impotent rage is the fact that the song is by Gary Glitter. That’s it. No more than that. He’s not going to make any money out of it, not going to be more famous, despite the Sun putting him on the front page every couple of weeks for no good reason and not going to have access to children. Does this moral outrage spread to all artists that have done something wrong or just paedophiles? Can I no longer watch the muppet show because Chris Langham used to write some of it and appeared on it? Do I have to stop listening to The Who? How about the Naked Gun films? OJ Simpson is in them and he’s in prison. How about Roman Polanski films? James Brown, Chuck Berry, Babyshambles, S Club 7 for god’s sake. Anything written or produced by Phil Spector. Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Larry King, Bill Gates and Hugh Grant have all been arrested, should we avoid their products? I believe that the current President of the United States of America has at least one conviction. To completely bludgeon my point home go to www.thesmokinggun.com/mugshots/index.html for a very long list of famous people arrested.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Diana Watch

There are 2 mysteries this week, and I’m ignoring the one about a socialist, terrorist loving, Muslim Marxist got himself elected President, how much did America not want the Republicans? No, no, I am referring to 1) Our bee problem and 2) the NME issue, again.
Firstly our bee problem. For reasons we cannot even begin to fathom every so often, be this I mean in the morning when we get up and then in the evening when we go to bed, we seem to be finding a singular bee wondering about in our bedroom. Now there is the possibility that it is the same bee that is really tired and just wants a lie down but we don’t think so because the cat has killed a couple of them. It hasn’t eaten any of them this time though, which is a bit of a relief. She did once and I spent about an hour waiting for her throat to swell up and for me to have to rush her to the vet and explain why she had a biro sticking out of her neck as I’d carried out an emergency tracheostomy. Significant other seems to think we have a bees nest somewhere in the roof and now has some sort of fear about the bedroom being filled with a cloud of angry bees, well at this time of year they are less likely to be angry and much more likely to be very, very sleepy indeed. More of a carpet of sleepy bees than a cloud of angry ones.
The second mystery is why am not on the NME cool list? I believe that I mentioned last year that I didn’t make the list and it has happened again this year! What do I have to do to get on this list? I write a blog once a week that is read by up to 15 different people, sometimes. And I’m not married to any of them so they don’t have to read it and be nice about it. Well maybe I don’t want to be on your stupid list anyway.

There has been some news this week but do we want to cover it? Oh ok, maybe a little bit. That bloke Obama won that election thing in America and we are filled with hope but, as significant other pointed out, we do have the “Tony Blair” fear now. All that hope and expectation and then within a couple of months he introduced tuition fees and ruined it all. Git. Then there was that war that 1 million people marched against. Double git. The trouble that Obama is going to have was shown this week in the coverage he received over the puppy issue. He would like a rescue dog but needs the type of dog that doesn’t drop it ‘s hair and most of the breeds that do that are really posh and that would be see as elitist. It’s a dog! The bravest thing he has done this week was saying that he was going to move his mother in law into the White House with them. You can make you own jokes here because I don’t want to come over all Les Dawson but that is so very brave but it will save them a bit of money on babysitting charges because I’m pretty sure he might be a little busy for the next couple of years.
The Daily Express, of course, could not bring it’s self to share in everyone else’s joy. On Wednesday, the day after the election, the Express, in the version we get here, it must have an early edition so I’ll let them off, whilst every other paper had decided to run with the historic victory as their main headline, they had a completely different story on the front cover and only had a tiny bit about it on the cover. On the Thursday however they made up for this oversight and, again, every other newspaper went with a positive message of hope and they considered the historic importance of a Black man being elected leader of the most powerful nation in the world, a man who 45 years ago in that country wouldn’t have been able to vote was now poised to lead it, the Express went with the positive message of someone will try and kill him, look at hiding behind 3” bullet proof glass. Oh for god’s sake, couldn’t you just try and be nice of once in your nasty little lives.

2 NHS related stories this week. Oh, while we are talking about the NHS that reminds me, congratulations to my friend Fiona who received her PhD this week, she works for the NHS if you want to know how my mind works. Anyway, back to the stories. A report this week said the NHS can pay top ups on their treatment and buy better/not NICE approved drugs. Where as the system now means that if you want to buy any medicines you have to leave the NHS alone and go private, under these plans you won’t. I have given this a bit of thought and I think I am against it because which ever you look at it if we will end up with a 2 tier NHS. Those who can afford better medicines will be able to by them whilst those who cannot will get the bog standard treatment. I believe that this is wrong. Under the NHS all treatment should be the best and free, it’s as simple as that.
The other story was brilliant. The Tory health spokesman said this week that they would make it a manifesto commitment to take the politics out of NICE. So they would take the politics out by introducing it into the political arena. Fantastic! Well done you. They also want to reduce the amount of time it takes for drugs to be licensed and used within the NHS. This is fine but there is a reason why it takes a long time to licence these drugs, they are really bloody dangerous. I don’t want my drug trials hurried and licensing based on Daily Mail and Express headlines. Can I just point out how most of these “New Miracle Cure” come about? Drug companies, not the most morally sound companies, release the results of bits of studies and half complete studies to a PR company and they make up a nice package to give to the press. The package will not include any important information such as what sort of trials have been used, any bias in them and most importantly, any negative trial results. So you then get a headline on your morning paper about how some drug will cure everything and in fact it cured one thing in about 1/3 of the people who tried it and actually killed a few.

A bit more focused this week I think and so now we move on to the awards with a minimum of fuss.

The Award For Most Important Anniversary of the Week,

This week is the 150th anniversary of the Gin and Tonic. This is reason enough, I think as gin is my most favouritist thing, to celebrate by having one and then another one. The drink itself was invented as a way of drinking tonic water, which is poor in taste, as it contains high levels of quinine which is used to prevent and treat Malaria.

The Award For Unintentionally Funny Statement of the Week,

I will steal this story from the BBC website and reproduce it here exactly, lazy huh, anyway, see if you can spot the bit that I found amusing,

“Police have started searching for a woman reportedly seen naked and tied up near a Hampshire railway station.
A man in camouflage clothing was standing next to her, said a couple driving past Micheldever station.
They called police who began searching for the pair and a third man seen nearby at 1500 GMT.
Det Insp David Collings said it could have been a prank or "some misdirected leisure activity" and appealed for the woman to contact them.
He added: "It was very much an open site and we need to make sure this woman is safe and there is nothing more sinister behind it."
Mr Collings urged the woman or the men to come forward so they could scale down the search.”

Now I know the whole story might not by funny and something serious might have happened but I don’t think it has. Yes, I liked the tying of a naked lady to a railway station being described as a “some misdirected leisure activity"

The Award For Pointless Allergy Advice of the Week,

This goes to the packet containing my chicken soup yesterday lunch time. The allergy advice bit said “not suitable for vegetarians”. People are vegi for many reasons, moral reasons or just not liking meat, but not many are actually allergic to meat.

Have a nice week, it is significant others birthday tomorrow so happy birthday her. We will be celebrating via the medium of pub quiz which they better let us win.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Please xx

Dear The BBC,
I could not help but notice that you have a couple of vacancies that have opened up recently. I am, of course, referring to the post vacated by Russell Brand and the suspension of Jonathon Ross but also the barely mentioned Dr Who job. My significant other was deeply saddened to, just about, hear the confirmation statement from David Tennant that he would be leaving Dr Who through the howls of self flagellation and hand wringing that passed for the news last week. My suggestion is that you employ me as the new Dr Who and I will also cover for Jonathon Ross free of charge. I think we will both be getting something form this deal, you will be getting value for money which is important according to David Cameron, better even than creative and journalistic freedom, and I will be Dr Who which would be, to quote Peter Griffin, freakin’ sweet.
Please consider my offer because I will also be offering myself to BBC sport for their coverage of the formula 1 next season,

Yours Really Hopefully
Martyn Norris xx

Ps I also know what TARDIS means, know which planet he is from, in a certain light i.e. darkness, bare a passing similarity to Mr Tennant and I have my own ¾ length coat.

Pps, and this goes for Sky News as well, stop interviewing only Black people, other races voted for him as well and some of them where white.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Diana Watch

The shame, oh the shame, I agree with the Daily Mail. On one issue I would like to point out but never the less it’s one to many. In my defence I bought up the problem first. They, however, missed the point so spectacularly that it made me laugh. Saturdays headline was about 50% of local councils are using Anti-Terrorist legislation to spy on us. This is a good point, I made it a couple of weeks ago, but their story was not this scary point but that they are doing it in order to keep an eye on your bins and when you put them out and what you put in them. Why are the Express and Mail so obsessed with rubbish collection? I think it’s so that their readership can hide their embarrassment. Once a week their bins should be emptied without the possibility of a bin overflow revealing the evil reading matter that is held within. As I said a couple of weeks ago, unfair and unjust laws are fine until they are knocking at your door.
I don’t really want to talk about the Russell Brand/Jonathon Ross “I fucked your granddaughter” story but there are a couple of points, 1) when it was broadcast only 2 people complained, 2) it was a pre-recorded show so someone should have edited before it went out, discipline that person that person but no one should have been fired or resigned, 3) the Mail on Sunday hates the BBC and Jonathon Ross because he gets paid a lot so they have a vested interestand an axe to grind, 4) The Mail is now using this as a reason to print pictures of Georgina Baillie, Google image search her and the first 2 entries are from the Daily Mail website, they love Satanic Sluts, 5) this is the most important point I think, the BBC is staffed by wimps. For gods sake start standing up for yourselves. Stop bowing down to the tabloids. I am assuming that now we are only going to have “Songs of Praise” 24hrs a day and there will no more BBC3, not all bad then oh and 6) Jonathon Ross has become one of those embarrassing middle age man who wants to be “down with the kids” and doesn’t want to be seen as a parent but as a friend.
Enough now because it has dominated the news this week so much so that I didn’t know that an earthquake killed 160 people in Pakistan and that there was a car bomb in Spain because these things were less important than 2 blokes and an answer phone. What does scare me slightly is the power of the press on an issue that isn’t really that important but they made important, so much so that it dominated the news cycle and it even had the Prime Minister commenting on it. A press that has the power to get people fired has the power to demonise any sections of societythey wish. This was shown on Simon Schama’s program The American Future: A History were a small town newspaper turned against the Chinese population of the town during the Great Depression, after the Chinese helped to build the railroad across America, and they needed someone to blame so they chose the immigrants. The owner of the paper took against the Chinese and run a hate campaign against them and harassed local businesses so that they fired their immigrant workers until all the Chinese left the town. I’m using this example to make a wider point.
Rambling again, sorry. Important news, last Sunday the Palestine football team played its first international home game in a stadium in the West Bank. Before this stadium was built, from about $4million donated by Fifa , their home games were played in Jordan and training was in Egypt because the team was split between the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli travel restrictions made it difficult to gather in either part of their fragmented homeland. The palyers form Gaza were still only allowed out to train with the rest of the team in the West Bank 2 days before the game and they had missed the last 18 international games because of the travel restriction.

By Wednesday morning it will all be over and Barack Obama will be president elect, $1 billion will be have spent and 140 million people will have voted, out of the 202.7 million people eligible too. 69% of the electorate will have voted so however wins, unless there is a massive landslide in the popular vote which there won’t be, won’t really have a mandate to rule. And this is supposed to be an election that has “gripped” America, the “most important election for a generation” and people still can’t be bothered to vote. Although it doesn’t really matter about the popular vote. It happens here in England and any other country that doesn’t use a one man one vote system, the party that gets the most votes doesn’t always win.

I am now going to steal someone else’s format/idea, its Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column from the Guardian if you’re interested, and talk about a sort of scientific survey and how it was reported on television. A report came out this week that said, and here I quote from the BBC and ITV’s morning news programs, “Light drinking is ok in pregnancy”. What does light drinking mean? Later they mentioned 2 units but how much chardonnay is 2 units? Not mentioned. The survey, as reported, said that children of Ladies who had a bit to drink whilst pregnant did as well and, in some cases, better than the children of those who abstained in some cognitive tests. Now all of these things are true but they missed out on some quite significant caveats. They didn’t tell you that most of the women who consumed 1 or 2 units a week were, compared with abstainers, more likely to be better educated, from higher income households and were less likely to have smoked during pregnancy. The study didn’t take into account data on miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. For more information about how poorly this was reported and the poorness of the study in general go to http://www.nhs.uk/news/2008/10October/Pages/Pregnantwomenanddrinking.aspx

If you didn’t realise that you have no control over your life and that big companies are out to screw you we have had lots of examples over the last few weeks. Both Shell and BP have made incredable profits whilst failing to pass on the failing price of oil to consumers. Whilst the oil price has continued to fall OPEC has decided to produce less oil in an attampt to push the price back up again and the Royal Bank of Scotland will still by paying it’s workers up to £1.79bn.

To cheer us all up herwe some awards,

The My God You Make It Much Harder Than It Needs To Be Award,

This goes to Lewis Hamilton who has become the youngest driver ever to win the drivers championship. He wasn’t going to win it until about 3 corners from the end when he managed to pass Timo Glock, in slightly odd circumstances, and finishing 5th.

The Surprising Statement of the Week Award,

This goes to Dido who said on the BBC, “I’ve been experimenting musically.” I believe the full quote, not broadcast by the BBC after advice from the controller of radio 2 was “I’ve been experimenting musically but have decided to carry on releasing the same dull, uninspired, insipid, boring, lyrically trite radio friendly unit shifters as before.”

The Award For A Service I Didn’t Know I Was Missing But Now You Come To Mention It How Did I live Without It,

This goes to a new service as featured in today Sunday Telegraph, although it may have been the Sunday Times, which was a 24 hr on call Philosophy Help line. If you’re having a metaphysical crisis at 3am and, let’s be honest, most of us have, these are the people for you.


I’ve rambled again this week, sorry, blame cider and a lack of focus and significant other, she’s in Kent for the weekend.