Thursday, 30 December 2010

Website

Ok, I am going to stop posting on here and use my website properly. I am going to use it as on opportunity to bring all my interweb stuff to together, blog, allotment blog and podcast will all be together. Thank you to everyone who has read me here.
 The URL for the website is www.martynnorris.co.uk.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Songs

So it's nearly Christmas (I'm sure you already now that but it you don't, it's in 3 days time so best you go and buy some presents) and I have written some songs, well 2. Just the words though, I have stolen the tunes. It's just a bit of fun.

How about this to the tune of “We Wish a Merry Christmas,” it's called “We wish you would find that Boson,”

We wish you would find that Boson,
We wish you would find that Boson,
We wish you would find that Boson with your big round machine.

We need to find out what gives us all mass
Then we can blame something other than many mince pies.

Oh bring us the conditions
oh bring us the conditions
Oh bring us the conditions for the beginning of time

We won't know until we smash them
we won't know until we smash them
we won't know until we smash them at immensely high speed

We wish you would find that Boson,
We wish you would find that Boson,
We wish you would find that Boson with your big round machine.

And this one to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”, it's called “Humble the Woo Man.”
For a little background on Jim Humble may I suggest you have a look here and here.
Anyway on with the songs,

Humble the Woo Man was a very naughty man
with his cooked up facts and his made up church
he became a massive pain.

Humble the Woo Man is a Miracle they say
he made some claims but the skeptics know
that his science was astray

There must have been some magic in the odd things that he said
cos when typed and flapped his mouth, his believers danced around.

He said “it's mostly oxygen and something that's in salt,
it'll cure most things in the world and is very sanely priced.

Humble the Woo Man wasn't believed by everyone,
when a boy named Rhys bought up concerns
they tried to shout him down.

Humble the Woo Man caimed it wasn't bleach
but the FDA and the ASA
seemed to disagree.

Ok, the last one is a bit of a work in progress but it's fun(ish).

There is a nice Christmassy DORC podcast here which is quite fun. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

Monday, 13 December 2010

BAN THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you have a small, ignored extremist organization? Do you want to have more publicity than you deserve? Then you need Theresa May!

All you have to do is make a couple of stupid statements about Islam, threaten to burn a few copies of a religious book and then say that you are going to come to Britain to talk to some barely literate racists and the Home Secretary will do the rest!

Have we really not learnt that banning idiots such as the Pastor Terry Jones (no, not the ex-python) from our delightful shores does more to increase their profile than just allowing them to land say they stupid things to a bunch of idiots and then go home again?

There are of course many intellectual arguments to be made for this being a freedom of speech issue and other will make them more coherently and succinctly than I but I will say this, if we have the freedom of speech that we are supposedly having to defend from nasty terrorists who are jealous of our way of life, than this self-promoting, tiny minded douchebag must be allowed to come here and spout his misinformed nonsense to a bunch of people so stupid that they can’t even decided on a decent haircut, “Oh, I went for the skin head too, we look like twins.” And then comprehensively ignored.

Perhaps another example is needed here. Without the hysterical reporting would you have heard of Islam4UK? They wanted publicity for their silly group and decided that the best way to do it was to go to the repatriation events for British Serviceman in Wootton Basset and shout offensive things and, maybe, have a bit of a march. Now that was a plan.
 Every news organization in country said that these people were awful and that they should not be allowed to say such terrible things about “our boys” whilst simultaneously broadcasting hours of footage and interviews with their leader Anjem Choudary say those exact things on national television. If they had just ignored him then only the poor people unfortunate enough to be within ear shot of him in Wiltshire would have had to suffer this duffus.
When Islam4UK was banned as an organization for saying stupid things did they go home and think about what they had done? No, they changed their name and carried on but now they have better press contacts.

The same goes for this idiot Jones, if he hadn’t have received wall to wall coverage for threatening to burn some books then I would never have heard of him and neither would you, unless of course you are one of the tiny number (50 people according to Wikipedia) that actually go to this dickwads church.

Do you want to know a fun fact? Neither of the 2 groups mentioned here actually did the thing that they threatened to. Terry Jones Church didn’t burn any Qua’ans and Islam4UK didn’t go ahead with their march but they got a spectacular amount of free publicity for themselves, their stupid organizations and ideas and all from people who say that they shouldn’t be allowed to say the things that they are saying.

So should Mr Jones come here? If he wants too, yes. Should he speak to the barely sentient members of the EDL? If he wants to, yes. Should we cover him and his visit in every single news outlet that we have? No, ignore him and he’ll stop.

I’ll leave you with this thought; did Radio 1 banning “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood stop it from getting to number 1 in the hit parade?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

It's Like Being Told There's No Santa

This is a snippet of the conversation that took place between LibDem MP John Hemming and Radio 4’s always brilliant Eddie Mair on Tuesday’s PM. Mr Hemming’s constituency office had been occupied by student protesters who where more than a little pissy about his party’s U-turn over their definite pledge not to increase tuition fee,

EM: How are you going to vote on Thursday?
JH: At the moment I’m very likely to vote for the increase simply because we cannot reward the bad behaviour from today. I have … [interrupted]
EM: Just a second. Part of your thinking might be to punish protesters?
JH: The problem you’ve got is this. If you reward this form of behaviour, if it has any effect which is a positive effect, you’re encouraging the behaviour in the future.
EM: Part of the reason you’re going to reach your decision is based on the protests?
JH: Part of the reason has to be based on the protests because I cannot allow that to influence me in any favourable manner whatsoever.

And that was it; if you’d have listened very carefully you could have hear my heart breaking.
I have hung on as long as I could and have tried to understand their role within the coalition but I just couldn’t do it any more. I am no longer a Liberal Democrat.
Well, in spirit I am I suppose but in a direct, financial, card carrying way I am not. I have cancelled my membership of the party.  I still share many of the goals and ideas that the grass roots members hold dear but I feel that we all have been let down/betrayed by the leadership.
 I did not vote for and give money to a party that wanted raise tuition fees, part privatise vast sections of the NHS, make massive cuts in public spending (including welfare cuts, cuts in local council budgets, rise in state pension age and, oddly for Tories, cuts in Defence spending), constantly attack, undermine and take money from the BBC, sell off forests and not punish bankers who got us into this position in the first place (I mean a 0.05% levy is nothing, 0.75% would pay off the deficit) yet that is what they are enabling the Tories to do.
  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the party is a collection of people with different ideas and points of view and that it is not there just for me and it’s not as if I signed up to all of their ideas 100% but I definitively did not vote for the Conservative party which is what we have. I struggle to find any LibDem influence on the policies of the coalition.
 I want to make it clear that this is not just a childish, knee jerk or petulant reaction to the situation but it is a consider action, the tuition fees debacle was just the cherry on top of a less than tasty looking cake and Mr Hemming was the straw that broke this mixed metaphor’s back.
 This brings a new problem, who to vote for next time? Suggestions on a postcard please.

To cheer myself up, let’s do some awards,

The Award for Worst Short Cut of the Week,

This has to go to who ever decided that it might be a good idea to take Charles and Camilla home from the Royal Verity Performance through the middle of a riot.

Photobucket

They didn’t look happy, although they had just seen Michael McIntyre and Cheryl Cole so what can you expect?

The Award for Best Use of Police Time of the Week,

We keep being told that we face multiple terror treats from absolutely everywhere but, as usual, we look without rather than within. Thank the Lord then for the police of Oxfordshire. These dedicated officers are never taking their collective eyes off of the metaphoric ball.
 What dedicated cell of terrorist fundamentalists have they broken? Was it Al-Qaida, the Real IRA or ETA? Umm, no, it is the type that advertises it’s self on Facebook and is organised by a 12 year old of course.
 Nicky Wishart, a pupil at Bartholomew School, Eynsham was interviewed by Thames Valley police and the school was contacted anti-terrorism after he was planning to picket David Cameron's constituency office.
 He was taken out of his lessons and, speaking to the Guardian, said: "In my lesson, [a school secretary] came and said my head of year wanted to talk to me. She was in her office with a police officer who wanted to talk to me about the protest. He said, 'if a riot breaks out we will arrest people and if anything happens you will get arrested because you are the organiser'."He said even if I didn't turn up I would be arrested and he also said that if David Cameron was in, his armed officers will be there 'so if anything out of line happens ...' and then he stopped."
Scaring 12 year olds, nice, you must be very proud of yourselves. Sleep soundly in your beds British citizens of the UK because your Police force is here to protect you (by abusing their power, illegally, possibly, interviewing a child and insinuating threats of violence).

In the run up to Christmas time is precious (my mince pie production line takes up a lot of time) and this is true for nearly all of us so not much blogging or podcasting for a little while. There will definitely be no blog next Sunday because we will be in that London. We are seeing Robin Ince’s 9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People on Saturday evening and are very much looking forward to it.
Have a lovely week.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

So Bribery is OK Then?

Ah, the children of Dorchester how my respect for you grows. Wednesday night saw the town’s late night Christmas shopping event. Charity stalls and the like lined the street (and one stall from some church or other that claimed to be “Radically Inclusive”, what the hell does that mean? Am I a member against my will?), good cheer abounded, live music played out and it was fun.
 Half way up the high street was a puppet show. A puppet show that was trying to link the virgin birth of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ and….. wait for it…… the X factor. A bit of a stretch, “and Jesus had the X factor” well, that’s a no from me what do you think Cheryl?
 Despite the lure of free mince pies it had basically attracted three under 5’s, some cold looking parents and a dog from the Save the Greyhounds stall just down the road. Dorset County Museum, on the other hand, which had some people dressed up as Sci-Fi characters was rammed.
 Now some may say that this is because it was very cold and the people were just in the museum because it was warm, I on the other hand would like to think it was a proof that Dorchester’s children care far more for Daleks and Darth Vader than they do for the sky fairy.

So we wanted be hosting the World Cup in 2018 but lost out to Russia, bit of a shame but hey, we would only have complained about it endless anyway.
 So what was it that lost us the bid? If you read the Daily Mail, which I really hope none of you do, then it may have been the video presentation to FIFA from the FA that was the problem.
 The video attempted to show how the Premiership is the biggest and most supported league in the world, and this lead, in the words of the Mail to a “very un-English presentation”. By this they seem to mean it has lots of people who aren’t white, well that’s the insinuation from the photographs they have chosen to illustrate the article with.
 The article opens with “Gosh, didn't we look global. So multicultural, so diverse” and then goes on to complain about the lack of clich├ęd stereotypes in the film and as we know, there is nothing that the Mail likes more than a clich├ęd stereotype.
 They also complain about the soundtrack of the piece which is Elbow’s One Day Like This. To quote the Mail “Someone remarked that the lead singer sounded as if he was yawning.” Now, they can be as racist as they like (obviously they can’t that is just a joke) but I will not except any form of criticism of the lovely Guy Garvey. You have pushed me too far this time Daily Mail! I am writing a stern letter to your Editor, now where is my favorite green crayon?
 The other theory is that it was the British press that lost us the bid. Note how few people are saying, “maybe the bid wasn’t very good or maybe FIFA wanted to go to Russia because they hadn’t been there before”.
 Anyway back to the villain of the peace, our press. We have a free press in this country and this, when all things are taken into consideration, is a good thing so if the BBC wants to run a program that claims that FIFA officials took bribes then it damn well should and if the Sunday Times wants to claim that too then hurray for them.
 Both organizations were attacked for running/broadcasting their pieces, some going as far as to call them “unpatriotic”. Is exposing corruption unpatriotic or do these people want us to turn a blind eye to illegality?
 If this week has shown us anything it is that the British Establishment (I don’t think I have ever used that phrase before) really doesn’t mind a bit of bribing if it directly effects us. Corruption when it is by Afghans, bad, corruption by FIFA, we’ll turn a blind eye to it, they might give us the World Cup.
 It is an all pervading attitude as well. One of the things to come out of the Wikileaks thing was that British Trade ambassador Prince Andrew doesn’t mind a bit of bribery and is rather resentful of it being investigated. It is reported by Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, that “he railed at British anti-corruption investigators, who had had the 'idiocy' of almost scuttling the Al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia" and he criticized Guardian journalists - "who poke their noses everywhere" - for investigating the deal. Should we investigate corruption? Apparently not because we are involved. Good to know.

 Some awards now for this chilly week,

The Award for Clearly Being Set Up By Your Daughter of the Week,

Celebrity fainter and not a Doctor Gillian Mckeith claims not to have a television yet a producer Nick Johns claims that she wanted a DVD player so that she could watch the X-Factor because she was missing it but that is just an aside. No, no, the fun part comes in an interview with her daughter. Skylar McKeith-Magaziner was interviewed on This Morning and was asked about whether or not her mother had seen the program before to which she answered "No, we don't actually have a TV, so I've just seen some clips, but she has never actually seen the show." Fair enough I suppose but it might be an idea to do a little research, although Gillian is not renowned for doing research. Do you see what I’ve done there, I’ve insulted her work!
  Anyway later in the interview Skylar says “Um, well, I kind of forgot about the bushtucker trials”, so she had seen clips of the trials but neglected to tell her mother. Oh that is funny.

The Award for Mass Straw Man Creation of the Week,

This week saw the launch of a campaign by some Christians called “Not Ashamed” which claims that Christians are being discriminated against or barred from involvement in public life. It is supported by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. That is LORD Carey. He is 1 of 26 Bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords simply because they are Christian bishops.
 Anyway, what evidence did they present? Umm, none. Obviously humanist groups thought that this was slightly silly. The British Humanist Association said “The increasingly desperate attempts to work up a victim narrative of “Christianophobia” by these activists have no basis in reality. The assumption behind it is that there is a groundswell of discrimination and persecution of Christians in Britain, but this assumption is false. Time and again the various claims of discrimination against Christians that have been tested in the courts have been assessed by impartial judges and found baseless.”
 “Discrimination against non-Christians is in fact far more widespread than discrimination against Christians, and Christianity is still overly privileged in the UK. In almost one third of our state schools, preference is given to Christian parents in admissions over non-Christians, and to Christian staff over non-Christian staff.”
 Not a surprise that they think that this is silly but what about other Christian groups? Surely they will be on side, well no and stop calling me Shirley. (RIP Leslie Nielson)
 Christian think tank Ekklesia said that there is ‘no evidence’ to back up the ‘Not Ashamed’ campaign.
 Ekklesia Co-Director Jonathan Batley commented, “Christians should not be ashamed of our faith but nor should they be afraid to listen to others and learn from them.  What they should be ashamed of however, is the reputation that they are developing for exaggeration, misleading people and discriminating against others.
‘Since 2005, when we first predicted the growth in claims of 'persecution', we have been closely examining individual cases and what lies behind them. We have found no evidence to back up the claim of the 'Not Ashamed' campaign that Christians as a group are being systematically marginalised in
Britain. We have found consistent evidence however of Christians misleading people and exaggerating what is really going on, as well as treating other Christians, those of other faith and those of no faith in discriminatory ways.”

Well that will be enough seriousness I think.
This week saw the death of Leslie Nielson who I was a bit of a fan of but what clips to show? How about many?






Have a great week. Oh and don’t forget the podcast, you might like it.