Monday, 31 August 2009

Worst Movie Accents

It has widely been assumed that Dick Van Dykes accent in Mary Poppins was the worst movie accent of all time,



Van Dyke's d├ębut at about 3:30

Now, whilst it is really, really bad I have recently discovered “The Lady from Shanghai”, a film in which Orson Welles attempts an Irish accent. Here are the first few minutes of that film. Orson does a voice over after about 1 minute in and that really is his Irish accent. Worse even then Pierce Brosnan's but he is Irish so what was his excuse?



Orson Welles' penultimate movie role anyone? Come on, you can get this one....
No? Anyone? Is this on? Fine, Transformers The Movie.



He played Unicron.

I would then like to draw you attention to Johnny Deep in From Hell, it's a terrible, terrible attempt at the English accent,



But is it the worst?
Also for you consideration there is the ever wooden Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker's Dracula,



That English as well I'm told.

Don't worry, I'm not here to just take the piss out of American actors attempting an English accent, plenty of other actors have tried, and failed, accents that are not there own.
Ewan McGregor, for instance, is rarely in a good film but in Angels and Demons he combined his “anything for cash” approach to reading scripts with an accent so bad I defy you to guess where his character is from after watching this trailer,




Northern Irish I'm told.

These are just a selection of the worst accents. Please make you own suggestions. It's fun.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Art Brut in Dorchester

Diana Watch

“I use my leg as a thermometer”

It seems that there isn't a Dignitas clinic in Canadia as my parents have returned. They seem to have had a lovely time and took a lot of pictures of mountains but they did get me a book on sour dough baking which is very cool. There are all sorts of things in the book, biscuits cakes and loaves, oh yes. That's my week sorted out.

I have received some good news this week. It seems that I have come into some money, well that is what has been indicated by this E-mail,

Good Day, (good polite start I think you will agree)

I have register your Bank Draft. but the manager of Africa Bank told me that before the check will get to you that it will expire. So i told him to cash $1.500,000.00 all the necessary arrangement of delivering the $1.500,000.00 in cash was made with United Parcel Service ''UPS''. This is the information they need to delivery your package to you. with ''UPS'', contact them now.

BELOW IS THE ''UPS'' INFORMATION'S.
NAME: United Parcel Service ''UPS'',
ATTANTION: PERSON: MR. EDWARD VAN
POSITION: FOREIGN DELIVERY DEPARTMENT.
E-MAIL: ( ups.accra_1@hotmail.com )

Please, Send them your contacts information to able them locate you immediately they arrived in your country with your BOX .This is what they need from you.

1.YOUR FULL NAME
2.YOUR HOME ADDRESS.
3.YOUR CURRENT HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER.
4.YOUR CURRENT OFFICE TELEPHONE.
5.A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE
6.COMPANY REGISTRATION NO EG58945
7.CODE NUMBER 0140479
8.I have paid for the delivering charges. The only money you have to send to them is $95 for their Security keeping of your consignment, I was try to pay for that and they was says no due to security reason.


Note that this is there E-mail contact ( ups.accra_1@hotmail.com )

Please make sure you send this needed info’s to the Director general of United Parcel Service ACCRA-GHANA, MR. EDWARD VAN with the address given to you.

Note. The UPS don't know the contents of the Box. I registered it as a Box of an family treasure. They don't know it contents money. this is to avoid anything to happen with the box or delaying. don't let them it contain money OK.

Thanks and Remain Blessed.
Secretary, Michael Robert (Esq.)

I can't believe that anyone would try and con me in any way, would they? I think I’ll E-mail my details, what could possibly go wrong?

It seems that the Tory policy for the Election has been revealed this week. Scare people. Whether the “facts” that they choose to use are correct or not, or even represent the point they are trying to make, be sure that they will present them in a way that is guaranteed to try and scare you.
This week they have released figures on unemployment under Labour. They claimed that 5million people had never worked since Labour had been in charge. I am unable to verify these figures because, as usual, figures and surveys are printed without being referenced. What I am able to say is this; the figures were taken from the 2001 census so they are out of date. 8 years out of date at that. And let’s look at quickly at those figures again, 5 years unemployed in 2001. So when did they loose their jobs? 2001 – 5 is...... that's right 1996. And when did Labour come to power? Umm... 1997. So whose fault is it that they lost their jobs?
The other direction indicator was a speech by Chris Grayling, Shadow home secretary, who used the twin weapons of the modern politician, fear and a pop culture reference. He said, after spending ONE evening with Manchester police, that "The Wire used to be just a work of fiction for British viewers. But under this Government, in many parts of British cities, The Wire has become a part of real life in this country too." That is a classic of the genre. Utter nonsense of course but a classic never the less.
Does anyone who reads the Daily Mail (sorry only mention this week I promise) or the Express or even the Telegraph watch The Wire? Do you really think that this is target Tory Demographic typical television? It's got brown people and swearing in it. It's the sort of thing that they hate the BBC showing.

James Murdoch, son of the world's most evil man, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox news, launched an attack on the BBC at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Well there's a surprise. He didn't like the website, News 24 or, come to think of it, anything about the BBC. Of course he didn't. What precisely did people expect him to say? “I think our main rivals are marvellous”. It's not going to happen.
He did complain about some very specific areas where he could easily be proved wrong, so let’s do that. He said that the strength of the BBC's website was stifling other news outlets on the interweb. Then why Sir has the website for the newspaper that I'm not going to mention again this week had an increase of 500,000 people looking at their awful, and really slow to load, website?
He also complained about Ofcom, the television regulator, because it over regulates the programs shown in this country, especially the news, and called for a system more like Germany's. Now, I know nothing of German television regulation (I know you are surprised by that comment) but I do know how to listen to Radio 4. On yesterdays (Saturday) Today program a media expert said that Sky news would have been taken off the air years ago if they were broadcast there, so what on earth is he talking about?
He wants a television news environment here like the one in the US where you have partisan news channels saying what they like, whether it is true or not. Do we want that? Do we want news that lies to us? Well television news anyway, we have newspapers that lie to us already, several owned by James Murdoch's company by the way.
He also failed to mention, whilst berating the BBC for their dominant position, Sky’s dominant position in the pay TV market. What an odd thing to miss out.
There are several reasons that people use the BBC's website. It's trusted by most people. The content is great. It’s all about content. Oh and no horrid advertising. It has no agenda, well it shouldn't.
Some seem to think that it's too liberal or left wing but I'm not sure what this means. I think that they mean that it broadcasts news that is factually correct and nothing else. Although recently, I think, it has started to be a little right leaning. In order to fill time they have people in to comment/add an extra dimension to a story and these people are rarely experts in the subject, they are merely interested parties with an agenda. They are allowed to make statements with no comeback at all. Very few proper interviews take place. The hard or tough interview seems to be the style that is in vogue at the moment, thanks to Paxman for that, but it rarely proves to be a successful technique. The presenter just shouts or disagrees with the interviewee for no reason. It doesn't inform us in anyway. Stop it.
To defend the BBC I would like to say this, on Friday evening I watched BBC4 and was treated to 2 hours of Tchaikovsky followed by a program about artist who had been on Island Records. Where else would you get that sort of variation? You can't like everything on the channel, it not there just for you.

Shall we do so awards as I have been typing this for a while and we are going to the cinema this afternoon and then to see Art Brut this evening,

The Award for Slightly Pointless Land Speed Record,

Slightly pointless, yes, but now held by a British person so it's the most important on the world. A British car now holds the record for fastest steam powered car. Oh yes, steam powered. Over a measured mile they averaged a speed of 139.84 mph. They have to do 2 runs, the first is that way and the second is the other so that they have no advantage by using wind speed. Their fastest speed was 151.085 mph, which is pretty quick for a kettle. The boiler produces enough steam to make 23 cups of tea per second. Good fact, hey?

The Award for Just Being Brilliant,

This goes to 16-year-old Natalie Carter who has won a place at the incredibly hard to get into Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She is only the 4th British girl to achieve this. The other 3 have only managed 1 year of the course so I think you can imagine how hard it is. I can only wish her good luck.

The Award for British Sport,

We won the Ashes! Now this leaves us with a bit of a quandary. When we won the Ashes in 2005 everyone in the team turned up on the New Years Honours list. A number of OBEs and MBEs were handed out. So what are they going to do this year? A president has been set.
Whilst we are talking about sport Great Britain also won Silver in the men's 4x400m at the World Championships and and Laura Dobriskey got a Silver in the 1500m.

That will do for this week. If it stops raining we will go to a free festival in Dorchester this evening and see Art Brut. Fingers crossed. Have a lovely week and enjoy the bank holiday, if you live in England that is.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Diana Watch

I was going to try and get through a blog without mentioning the Daily Mail but I've can't, sorry. But I will try and limit it to just this one mention.
There is a story on the website about Alan Scard, the chairman of a Conservative association in Hampshire who seems to maybe made a joke that he would only choose a female candidate if she was attractive. Well he claims it was a joke. “That's my sense of humour...” he said. Well that ok then. I think he's a sexist tosser but that just my sense of humour and social justice.
What really annoyed me, because that was just a story about some old Tory bloke and I'm surprised he managed to get through a Channel 4 interview without offending non-Christian religions, the disabled and non-whites as well, was, as usual I suppose, the comments on this article. Why do we still allow misogyny? The worst of the comments was from a.langley, sitts,kent who wrote, “Women in government have proved a total disaster whatever they look like, so should all be banned. We don't need window dressing in parliament.”
He seems to be forgetting Margaret Thatcher and as a Mail reader this is a surprising omission. I think she was a disaster but Mail reading man still gets a bit of a semi when they think of her breaking the unions. Although the readers and the writers of that paper, and the Tories come to think of it, do seem to have forgotten everything that happened before 1997 and everything that they used to stand for. They now complain about capitalism.
Ooh, I've just noticed this idiots comment as well, “We had a Labour PM Helen Clark here who was going to wreck the country and thankfully she got voted out. There is no way I would vote for a female MP after that. Some jobs are better done by men and some are better done by women.” Robard Sinclair (Brit Expat), Auckland, NZ.
And so types a single man, on his own, in his pants, in the middle of the night.
There was also a story about a man who didn't like house work, had a corneal transplant and now really likes it. It's a personality change we are told. Oh and that housework is womens work. One “reader” wrote “ Its a little documented fact that in some instances, apposing genes in a transplant will murge and the recipient will take on the characteristics of the donor, wether good or bad
Blood transfusions could also lead to this happening and thats why there is a push for artificial blood” That man was John, Basildon. By the way, that is his own spelling; I just copied and pasted it. There a number of issues here but it isn't “a little documented fact”, it's actually quite well documented. Over considerable time the host's DNA does seem to invade the DNA of transplanted organ.
Some other moron wrote “This simple fact is that if this tranplanted cell was from a woman then the DNA of her would be affective in this man. This is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!
Has this man ever read Frankeinsteins MONSTER? Or how about reading the Bible were God destroyed all the nations of Cannan for misusing their sperm and eggs to mix with animals and birds......... That is why the Romans worshiped half animal and humas Gods.............. Hundreds of them!!” Valerie, Hanworth Middlesex. What on earth are you going on about? Again, her spelling.
And the readers seem to know nothing of the modern world. They have been told that there is product placement on American television shows that are shown over here, they were disgusted, and they have also learnt about banking rules for Muslims. They don't seem to know that Islam frowns upon the charging of interest on loans, thus, when Lloyds TSB offer a massively reduced overdraft fee for Muslims in order to tempt then from their usual banks, well I think you can guess. A simply business story is turned into a “Political Correctness gone mad” story.
Do these people know anything about the modern world? I know that they want England to go back to 1955 when there were no brown people or other foreigns, you could leave your front door unlocked and you wouldn't get burgled, unless you were my Grandparents. When domestic violence was acceptable.
Sorry, I'll stop now but these people are holding our country back.
The Express on the other hand is telling us all to cheer up.
I want to raise a glass to Scotland and the rather brave decision it took on Thursday. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, was released from prison on compassionate grounds as he has prostate cancer and has, according to several medical experts, about 3 months left to live.
There has been a massive amount of fuss made about this, about how it makes a mockery of justice, he showed no compassion for the victims of the bombing etc. All of these arguments have some weight but most of them were tackled by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in his statement,

The most fuss has come from America as most of the victim were from there but I think that treating those who offend us with compassion shows bravery.
America calls itself a Christian country, as does Scotland and England, yet the only country follow the teachings of the Bible (at least the New Testament bit) seems to be the Scottish. Does not the Bible teach forgiveness and compassion? Did not Jesus on the cross say, “forgive them father for they know not what they do”? He asked for forgiveness for the people who had just nailed him to a plank of wood.
They seem to be stuck in the revenge filled Old Testament bit where God was jealous and bitter, where the slaughter of other religions was encouraged.
The state must be above such things if our world is ever to move forward.
Don't get me wrong, I understand people's desire for retribution and revenge but it doesn't really get us anywhere. Someone does something to you and you take you revenge. Then they avenge those deaths and you retaliate, and on and on the cycle goes. Israel and Palestine anyone?
The Scottish decision is more noteworthy simply because they have defied the U.S., which isn't something that happens that often.

Bit serious again this week, sorry about that. So let us move on to the awards,

The Award for Proud Family Moment of the Coming Week,
This goes to my Brother who will be appearing on BBC 6music on Monday afternoon. He will be on the Steve Lamacq show at about 16:45 on the Good Day/Bad Day feature. Give it a listen. The show is usually very good but will have an extra dimension of goodness tomorrow.

The Award for Over Zealous Labelling/Taking Your Job Too Seriously,
I finally got my name badge for new work this week and this was in the packet with it,
Photobucket

They seem really proud of the badges that they make, which is nice.

The Award for Well Der!
A cross party group of MP's has stated it's concern that weapons sold by and made in this country have been used to against people in breach of their human rights. Really? I can't imagine that. We genuinely seem to have a policy that we will sell arms to pretty much everyone as long as they don't use them to breach their human rights.
I'm sure that you average army goes through it's inventory to check who made this weapon or that weapon before shooting in the general direction of an oppressed minority.
The stock excuse from Arms dealers is “Well if we don't sell them [the weapons] too them then someone else will” which is weak arsed reasoning. If no one sold baddies weapons then they wouldn't have any weapons. Capitalism as a reason for slaughter, that's the way we run our economy. How do these people sleep at night.

A quick mention of sports stuff as England/Great Britain have done rather well this week.
At the World Athletics Championships we have done quite well. Phillips Idowu won Gold in the triple jump. We got a bronze in the Men’s 4x100m relay. Jenny Meadows won Bronze in the Woman's 800m.
In the cricket England are poised to win the Ashes and at the European Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton is on pole.
A good week for British sport I think you will agree.
Oh I've just noticed that there seems to be a video on the BBC website athletics section called “Rimmer forces his way though”, made me chuckle.

Hope you all have a good week, I'm going to be spending today listening to cricket and watching the Grand Prix and the rest of the week applying for jobs. I wrote to 2 independent book shops in Dorchester this week offering my services, haven't heard anything back from them, I'm assuming that that's a no then.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Diana Watch

I'm sorry it's late. We went to London yesterday on a special deal, £10 per person to anywhere on the network. The train on the way up was completely full, standing room only, and way did all these people want to go to London on a sunny Sunday? Because it was cheap.
There you go rail companies and Government. If you want people to get out of their cars and travel on public transport, make it cheaper and not more expensive as you have decided to do this week. The normal price for the cheapest ticket is usually about £70 to London. £140 for Significant Other and myself to go there so we don't do it very often and if we do we drive because it is much, much cheaper. £10 full train, £70 not very many people on it.
We did have a lovely day though. We visited a couple of wool shops and the Fashion and Textile museum. The sun shone and we wondered through Islington (which is sort of a parody of it's self), nice lunch, nice dinner and then home.
So sorry to neglect you dear reader but had other (slightly more fun) things to do.
One of things that I have discovered since starting new job and working every Saturday is that working every Saturday is rubbish. I don't like it but, hey, I've got to earn some money so I'm back to looking for more things to do again. I am applying for on job on the Press Complaints Commission for a bit of fun. They need a lay person and I am a lay person and I am interesting about what goes on in the press so I am the perfect candidate. I'll let you know how the application goes.

Ok, enough about my weekend, what happened in the news? Well nothing really. It is “silly season”, a lazy journalistic term meaning Parliament isn't sitting so we have to go out and find news for ourselves but we are really lazy (hence our use of “silly season”) and can't be bothered to go outside so we will just trawl the interweb for stories. This means that we end up with papers for of tittle-tattle and lots of opinion pieces about the tittle-tattle and stories about kittens up trees. And people wonder why newspapers are having problems making money.
Anyway you can tell that not much is happening because you get stories about who is in charge this week. It's Gordon Brown by the way, despite what the press would have you believe, others are just the most senior minister in London for that week.
First it was Harriet Harman, who discovered that Britain really is full of rather nasty misogynists who hide behind pseudonyms on newspaper comment sites and some columnists who don't. Why do woman work for the Daily Mail? It hates woman. It really does. Go and look at its website (that is not a thing that I would usually encourage but this are special circumstances) and you will find down the right hand side of the page a long series of pictures. Most of them will be of woman and attached will be some comment about the woman's body, i.e. Looks great in this bikini, why is she out without make-up etc. Then have a look at the FeMail (see what they did there?) section and wonder at the endless diet advice and scare stories about health and sex. I ask again, why do woman work for them? Do these women hate other woman?
And then, joy of joys for the papers, Peter Mandelson nearly strode into the picture. He had to finish his holiday first though.
This may be an odd view to take but I love Peter Mandelson. He is such good value for money. Don't get me wrong, I find a lot of his politics a little dubious but he is very funny and, let's be honest here, he is much cleverer than most people you might meet. Yes he does have the problem of reminding most people of Professor Snape as played by Alan Rickman (although Rickman may look better with a moustache)
Photobucket but that is a small price to pay for the joy that he brings to my life when he is interviewed on the Today programme.
It does seem that he has managed to keep his head down for most of the week, which came as a surprise. He did a couple of interviews for radio and for the papers, my favourite being the one for the Observer in which he described himself as a “pussy cat”, even his aide was heard to stifle a laugh.

The problem with “silly season” is that stories that would not normally make the news, Russian cargo ship goes missing springs to mind (according to insurers it's not that rare. Something like one every month), and too much time is spent discussing them. This then lends the story an air of significance that it doesn't deserve.
Let us take an example. A man that you have never heard of called Jim Fitzpatrick (it turns out that he is Minister for Food, Farming and the Environment) went to a wedding. It was a Muslim wedding. He had been to many such events because, and for reasons that escape me, as an MP he gets invited to lots of weddings. My MP is Oliver Letwin (Conservative), so strangely enough he didn't get an invite to mine last year.
Anyway, back to the story. When he arrived at the wedding he and his wife found out that it was to be a segregated affair, Men in one room, Ladies in another. This had only happened to Mr Fitzpatrick once before and, whilst he sat through it, he was uncomfortable with it.
This time he and Mrs Fitzpatrick had a quick and quiet discussion (because he treats her as an equal) and they decided that they both felt uncomfortable with the situation and quietly left. I assume that they left their present.
Now, I don't see a problem here. Weddings are bad enough to attend when the only person that you know is your wife but to then find that she has to sit in another room! That is too much to ask.
As I said, they quietly left. No fuss, no bother. If only the same could be said for the press coverage.
Some people chose to have a segregated wedding, which they are entitled to do (although it is wrong in my opinion and how do the logistics work? Does one room get a live video feed?), and a man and his wife didn't like that so they left, which they are also entitled to do, but is that the way it was treated? Of course it wasn't. According to most radio and newspaper reports he “stormed out”, which he didn't. And then he was accused of trying to score political points for someone else's wedding. If they had slaughtered a goat and he had found that offensive, would he have been wrong to leave? No, of course not.
This is not a story about multiculturalism or integration or a clash of civilizations, it is a story about trying to fill time on Radio phone-ins and on 24hr news.
Of course there are people on both sides who will try and use this for their own ends but these people are stupid enough to be ignored. Some people got married and someone didn't like the service, a role normally reserved for an embittered aunt who has never married, “I don't like these sugared almonds”, “these serviettes don't match the tablecloths”, “I've never found love”.

Story of the week does have to be the “We love the NHS” thing on Twitter.
For those of you who don't know, some Americans, let’s call them Republicans because I'm trying to be nice, have been massively distorting what President Obama wants to do with American health care. They have been saying that he is trying to “socialise” health care and then saying that this is a bad idea because it will lead to an awful system like Canada, higher life expectancy than the US, or the NHS here in Britain. If there is one thing we don't like, it is a formal colony (but only if you recognise US independence) being rude about our stuff. It is perfectly fine for our right-wing press to dedicate page after hate filled page to telling it's readers how bad the NHS is, how nurses don't care, how doctors are lazy and incompetent, how GP's are only in it for the money, how there are too many managers. It's fine for them to do it but when someone else does it, oh and there is a massive movement on Twitter that has caught the attention of all 3 major party leaders and all of the press and celebrities, then, and only then, will they defend it. For about 3 days.
The idea came from Graham Linehan (@Glinner), co-writer of Father Ted and writer of the IT crowd, who had had enough of the NHS getting bashed so decided to try and redress the balance a little. He used the hash tag “welovetheNHS” and many others joined in, expressing support for this countries finest creation and sharing stories about excellent service that they had received. Within hours it was the most talked about thing on Twitter. Links were being put up to surveys or newspaper articles that rebuked the bashing and downright lies that the NHS had suffered from in the preceding days. The NHS put out a statement addressing the specific allegations made against it. Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and the other one, David something I think, all got involved. It was nice to see some patriotic fervour for once.
We all understand that there are still problems with the NHS but it is so much better than it was and still improving. And it is free at the point of delivery. Everyone contributes the same percentage of their earnings towards it and everyone, regardless of what you have paid in, gets treated the same.
The ironic thing is that whilst we were all finding love for the NHS after the poorly informed attacks on it, President Obama's plans were for a system that was nothing at all like the NHS.
Way to cloud the debate there Republicans. Ooh, just for the record, who is paying for those TV adverts? You know, the ones where you lied to and misrepresent the English people who appeared in them. Would it be Health Care Insurance Companies? Just asking.
Oh and while we are at it, the USA spends 17% of it's GDP on health care, we spend half that and we live longer than them.
Oh again, and people that don't turn up for appointments at their hospital or GP's cost the NHS £574 million per year, so if you can't go, phone and tell them so someone else can have your appointment.

I've wittered on a little, sorry about that, but now there will be some awards,

The Award for Making My Point For Me Saving Me The Bother,

Economics is really rather vague as you know and peoples opinions on what needs to be done is usually based on an ideological position dressed up as “science”.
When to the Bank of England released growth figures for the UK this week, not so good by the way, there was a discussion on the World at One on Radio 4. They had 2 “experts”, both economists and they argued completely different points of views. They agreed on nothing. It made me laugh.

The Award for I'm Not Sure If They Got The Irony,

The Mail had a story about a lady and her son getting stung by some wasps. The headline was “Wasps sting mother and two-year-old son 55 times as swarms invade Britain.” As you can imagine they where not British wasps, oh no. They were foreign wasps. The worst sort. So when I commented on this story I simply put “damn foreign wasps, coming over here, stinging our woman”. Irony, see. Well I of the second most popular commentator.

Quick sports news.
Jessica Innes has won gold from the UK in the Heptathlon at the World Championships which is incredible as she was unable to compete at the Olympics last year because of a stress fracture in her foot/ankle.
Andy Murray has won the Montreal Masters and, in doing so, has become world number 2.
Usain Bolt has set yet another World record at the World Championships in Berlin. He won the 100m in a time of 9.58 seconds and thinks that he can run even quicker.

I think that that will do for this week. Have a fun week, I'll try and fill my time.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Diana Watch

“Amy is very proud; she has just played “The Final Countdown” on hand bells.”

“No don't put your fingers in the letter box, they'll get stuck!” “MUM! MY FINGERS ARE STUCK!” “I did tell you. That's the 3rd time that that has happened.”

So did I affect the front page of the Daily Mail's website? On Thursday they published a picture of a lady who is suddenly a suspect in the abduction of Madeline McCann (a couple of days after some negative press about the amount of money that has been spent on the search. PR in action Ladies and Gentlemen,) who apparently look like this,

Photobucket

but next to that on the website was a picture of Cheryl Cole's from Girls Aloud’s Mum and she looks like this,

Photobucket

I commented on the site that they look remarkably similar and the next time I looked they had taken the picture of Cheryl's Mum down. Did I do that or was it coincidence?
The belief that one thing causes another simply because they happen to occur closely together used to be an excepted thing, in times before science that is. You do a dance and then it rains; hence the dance causes the rain. My parents go on holiday on Thursday and the sun comes out on Friday; hence my parents were causing the bad weather.
Must people have now worked out that this poor way of deciding upon causality but some of us haven’t. We shall refer to it as Clarkson logic in homage to Jeremy Clarkson, a man who believes that because it rains or is a bit chilly on a summer’s day then Global Warming is made up nonsense. An opinion he has expressed many times and, of course, he uses the phrase “Global Warming” and not “Global Climate Change” because it is easier to mock. I'm also sure that he believes that 1 swallow does make a summer. I'm going to try and make this a trending topic on Twitter this week using the tag #ClarksonLogic, feel free to join in.
Another example of this is the campaign by, understandably, concerned parents against the MMR vaccine and their belief that it causes Autism. There is currently no credible evidence that it does but the logic runs like this, child has MMR and then develops Autism, thus MMR causes Autism. In our less enlightened history this would have been a reasonable view point but not now.
Children have the vaccine at about the same time that the first signs of autism begin to show themselves in the developing child. One does not cause the other.
I understand why parents want to blame something for what happens to their perfect little bundles but this isn't it.
If one of you is even thinking about the awful research that was conducted by “Dr” Andrew Wakefield I will hunt you down and force a copy of the book “Bad Science” down your throats. This man has endangered the life of many hundreds, maybe thousands, of children and at risk adults by playing to the easiest to scare group in the world, already jumpy, because they have a new child, middle class parents.
I have to admit that I don't understand why some people still think that this man is correct. His research has been shown be wrong in so many ways and there are hundreds of studies that show that MMR is safe, yet he still has support. Admittedly they aren't scientific people but never the less, they seem reasonably sensible but not on this issue.

There have been 2 stories involving the Polices DNA database this week. The first one is a bit funny but also quite disturbing. A survey of police stations has found that, in some cases, the delicate and crucial DNA samples taken from those who looked a bit funny at a police man was being stored in a fridge, so that's ok then, next to half eaten food. Really? Are you Sure? Next to a take-away? No, really? Well it seems, yes.
I'm sure no samples went to the Lab with curry sauce on them.
The other story was about the European Court of Human Rights ruling earlier this year which stated that the DNA samples of innocent people or those not charged with anything should be destroyed. I wrote about it at the time because it was the right decision but it seems that the Association of Chief Police Officers does not agree.
They have written to senior officers advising them to resist individual requests based on the Strasbourg ruling to remove DNA profiles from the database. In the letter they point out that new Government advice on this subject will be out some time in 2010 so police forces should ignore all requests until then.
I'm no legal expert, as I think I have proved on here again and again, but isn't a ruling form that court binding? Don't the police have to act upon it? It would seem that they consider themselves to be above the law.

I know that I went on about the Mail and Express quite a lot last week and I will try and stop it but they are horrid but something fun struck me this morning.
The average reader, as expressed through the comments section of the websites, has an awful lot in common with the way that those papers represent Muslim men. Both have problems with woman's rights and equality. Both groups dislike Government as a concept. Both groups are a little anti-Semitic. They both think that the BBC is against them. If they was a verse in the Qur'an on the evil that is the wheelie bin then they would be the same. Think of the increased circulation of both of those papers if they just embraced this awkward little fact.



The Award for Pointless Complaint of the Week,

The Office of Fair Trading has called for an Ombudsman to over see our Supermarkets. I think that this would be a good thing because our Supermarkets are not renowned for their fair play towards suppliers.
When interviewed on the radio a spokesman representing the 4 biggest supermarkets used the classic Simpson’s “won't someone please think of the children” defence. He said “Well it will cost £5 million per year and that cost will be passed on to the consumer”. I don't wish to be picky but didn't Tesco make £2 BILLION profit last year? Just Tesco. No one else, just them. I think you can afford to have yourselves regulated properly and fairly.

The Award for Bravest Person of the Week,

This goes to Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein. She is facing 40 lashes in Sudan as punishment for dressing “indecently”. She was wearing trousers.
12 other women were arrested with her in a restaurant but decided to take the immediate punishment of 10 lashes but she has decided not to admit guilt so will go to court.
The rules regarding dress are supposed not to apply to non-Muslim woman in Sudan and she is also works for the UN so has diplomatic immunity but has decided to wave this in order to make her point.
The Qur'an does not forbid the wearing of trousers.

The Award for Least Comfortable Looking World and Ex-World Leaders,

I give you President Clinton and Kim Jong-il,

Photobucket

The Award for Show Off World Leader of the Week,

Thank your lucky stars that our leaders don't choose to do this, Not President Honest Putin on holiday,

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

There is no need for this really, is there.


The Award for Bafflingly Famous Animal that has Died of the Week (not to contrived),

This has 2 winners.
The first is a Carp called Benson has died. It was famous for being really, really big. 64Lbs to be precise, which is quite big I suppose but national news? That's it really. Although it is possible that it died of a nut allergy which is a very middle class way for a fish to die.
Also Britain's most expensive sheep has died. He cost £128,000 six years ago and has fathered lambs worth more than £1 million.
It's a sheep people. £128,000. Oh, he had a name too, he was called Tophill Joe.

So England have lost the 4th test with some incredibly inapt battling and bowling so now the series is level. England were so bad that I think that they did it on purpose. Oh yes, we are lulling them into a false sense of security. It's 1 all with one to play. Freddie Flintoff will return for the last one at the Oval and destroy the Australian attack with the ball taking 5 or 6 wickets and then score 150 in each innings and England will win the Ashes in the most dramatic style. Freddie will retire and will be a national hero.
Please don't puncture this bubble; it's all I have left.

Have a good week.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Diana Watch

Good afternoon, how are you all? The wedding was great thanks.
I want to start with on award, I know that it isn't the usual form but, hey, I live on the edge.

The Award for The Quickest Time That Someone Has Forgotten Their Own Advice.

This really has to go to David “Probably our next Prime Minister :( “ Cameron. He was on Absolute Radio's breakfast show and was asked about Twitter, which the Government use a bit, and he responded "Politicians have to think about what we say." A good point I think. A sudden rush of blood to the head and you are then unexpectedly inviting a policeman and a professor round for a beer. He continued "The trouble with Twitter, the instant-ness of it”, excellent. Think before you speak, well done, now move on......... oh no, you are carrying on “- too many twits might make a twat."
Combining this with a later comment in the interview “The public are rightly, I think, pissed off - sorry, I can't say that in the morning - angry with politicians,” it made a very hard mornings work for his press secretary Gabby Bertin, who "leapt out of her skin" after the questionable language.
To be honest it's a good line but it was a Breakfast show and as a PR man, his only other job, he really should have known that that sort of language would be the story and not what he said.
You can see the clip if you want to on here but I don't know why you would.

Last night on BBC 2 there was a fantastic program. It was a Proms concert. Now, I am not the biggest fan of classical music but last night’s was different. It was a concert of music from the classic musicals made by MGM. The concert it's self was great. The choice of some of the singers was quite interesting, Curtis Stigers and Seth MacFarlane the creator of Family, but the most interesting thing about it was the back story.
When the MGM studios needed some more room for a car park or some such, they bulldozed the building that contained the scores for their musicals. Oh and they didn't remove them from the building before it was flattened. Oh yes, the score for The Wizard of Oz and Singing in the Rain was used as land fill and they were lost.
The conductor last night was a man called John Wilson and has spent the rest few years transcribing the scores for these movies by ear. He has been watching the films and listening to the soundtracks and trying to decide what the oboe does in that bit. Last night was a celebration of this enormous task and a good time was had by all.

I have had a fun week reading the websites of the Daily Express and Mail. Why would you do that to yourself you may ask? In the words of Rage Against the Machine, know our enemy.
I have also been trying to use the “have your say” sections of both of these papers and pointing out shortcomings in their reporting or things that are just plain wrong. So far I have only been successful once. The Express. Theirs was the website that did me the honour of publishing a comment.
The story was that the Government are going to ban all private organ transplants in order to remove any suggestion that people who can pay have the chance to jump the queue. A study showed that this didn't ever happen but a perception had started to build up in some of our more right-wing media outlets, so they decided to nip it in the bud. Reasonable plan I think.
This story was covered in the Express but the headline was “Private Organ Transplant Ban for Foreigners”. Let's be honest, this sort of reporting is, at best, Xenophobic, at worst, Racist, so I told them and they published it which was very good of them.
The Mail on the hand seems to moderate their comments an awful lot as I am yet to get a single comment published. I have not been rude or combative, I have merely pointed out mistakes in the articles, i.e. A story about a Vicar being upset that someone took slightly rude photos in his church and grave yard and has consulted lawyers who say that he may have a blasphemy case. I pointed out that we no longer have a blasphemy law so it should be a story about lawyers trying to rip of a nice vicar. Nothing.
I propose that we all play a new game. Let’s try and get as many Un-Daily Mail or Express things published on their websites. Go on, have a look at these nasty little places, find a story that grabs you and comment on it. Don't be rude and confrontational but do make your point. Maybe we can have a little competition.
You can affect these things and I shall give you an example. A couple of months ago The Mail had a nasty little vote on it's website (they are very fond of these and they can be revealing about the readers of that paper, many seem to disagree with the line that the paper takes, for instance on assisted suicide. They have a vote on it at the moment and 70% of the readers are supportive of it, whilst the Contributors seem to think that we will just execute everyone over 70 or a bit ill, al la Logan's Run.) asking whether “Gypsies Should Given Priority in the NHS”. Someone posted this on Twitter and suddenly 97% of voters thought yes, yes they should. The vote was taken down shortly afterwards.
In the Guardian this week they had a comedy special because the Edinburgh festival starts soon and they wanted to cash. In this elongated advert they had a “what's hot and what's not” section and one of the things that aren't hot any more are Daily Mail jokes. Well, as most of you will know if you've read this more than once, this is rarely funny so we are not comedy, so let's carry on having a go at the Mail. If they didn't publish stories that are Pro-eugenics then perhaps we would leave them alone but they did. It's just a very unpleasant article. This is the sort of thing that makes them such an easy target.

A quick mention for British sporting success as most people think that we are rubbish at all sports. More good news for the World Swimming Championships.
Gemma Spofforth has won gold and set a new world record in the 100m backstroke and tonight British swimmers will compete in six of Sunday's seven finals so lots of chances for medals.

And so to the Awards,

The Award for Odd Place To Get Wasp Sting Statistics From,

This goes to the Daily Mail (sorry to go on about them again) which had a story about a man who was stung to death by wasps, see I told you that this wasn't comedy, in a Place called Merlins Bridge. It's in Pembrokeshire I'm told. This is, of course, very sad but what was odd was that the Mail described this week as “Wasp Week”. They had a quote from insurers Home Serve, that there was a “98% leap in wasp and hornet related claims during the final week of July last year, with a similar trend in 2007”. I have a number of questions about this but the most pressing seems to be, who claims for a wasp sting?

The Award for Oh Fuck, That Went Really, Really Badly,

This does really need much explanation. A building being demolished in Turkey doesn't quite go to plan,



That could have been so very bad but it seems no one was hurt as that would have made it less funny.

Have a good week all, I start new job on Friday. It will be nice to have some work to do but I have enjoyed being a house husband. Will have to have a word with significant other.