Saturday, 31 October 2009

Frazzled Fry to give up twatting?


I hear that Stephen Fry is considering giving up Twitter, courtesy of the BBC:
Actor and presenter Stephen Fry has said he is considering giving up on the micro-blogging website Twitter.
"Think I may have to give up on Twitter. Too much aggression and unkindness around," said Fry, who has more than 900,000 followers.

Fry, not to be confused with the considerably more interesting time traveling protagonist in the awesome Futurama, is famous for his episodic manic depression, something him and I have in common. He was in the middle of a twitversation (is that right?) when he twitted "I retire"

Fry sent a tweet - to the user he fell out with and subsequently blocked, after he had observed that Fry's tweets were a bit boring - saying: "You've convinced me. I'm obviously not good enough. I retire from Twitter henceforward. Bye everyone."

However, he later posted another tweet which indicated that he may change his mind about leaving the site, or as I suspect he just didn't know his mind - "Well maybe I'll see how I feel in a few days."

Can you make a well known phrase or sentence from the following words?
Oversensitive and depressed biploar luvvie throws toys out of pram, will be back on next high.
Honestly I cannot be arsed with the herd mentality that defines recent Twitterati campaigns, that and the pathetic "association with the rich and famous" that followers seem to be so motivated by.

So Stephen, in the name of free speech and all that is good and right, moreover to free us from your mindless right-on lefty bandwagon jumping hatchet job mentality followers - you know those whose short attention span only allows them to blog/absorb 140 characters at a time, but are quick to attack those who dare use more words in one communication - Please stop Twitting

Twitting is for those so retarded they can only deal in bite sized slogans.

I like your books, I buy them, but until you can produce something comparable in 140 characters, nay words, give it up, you are only feeding the idiots - and alienating everybody else.

Halloween

Needs little explanation, hope you have fun tonight - dookin', tumshie lamps, guisin and all..

And please just ignore these killjoys -  for the sake of the cheeldren...

Friday, 30 October 2009

Take Heart Gordon

A CD containing a song sung by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama 22 years ago went on sale today. The song called Take Heart-Tobitate Heiwa-no tori-yo (take wings, the bird of peace) was originally recorded in 1987.  When interviewed the Prime Minister commented:
"I very much like both the lyrics and melody. But I think I’m a better singer now."
I hope so...
The song was first recorded shortly after Mr Hatoyama was elected to the House of Representatives, about 100 records were produced but never sold, and were later presented to his supporters in 1989.  If you want to hear a short clip of the song, although I can't recommend it, there is a short excerpt on YouTube right here.

So it got me thinking, what song could our own Prime Minister record to help endear himself to the baying executioner's public gallery that is the British electorate?
Off the top of my head -
  • Leonard Cohen's "Last Year's Man" perhaps?
Go on, give it a try...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dalek Salmond


"Oil, Arc of Prosperity, Private banking, Ireland, Iceland - Oil, Arc of Recovery, State banks, Ireland, Iceland - Oil, Arc of Influence, Labour, Tory, Budget, 20 MPs, Glenrothes, NATO, no NATO, EU, no EU, Hung Parliament, Referendum, National Conversation - Oil, Arc of Innovation, Green power, Windmills, Arc of Rotation, Oil, Oil - Exterminate?"

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Kickin' it...

I'm just kickin' it, you know 80's urban street talk for relaxing - in Alloa and Dunfermline the equivalent is 'getting down with my neebs' I believe - I am just so 'street'.

Unlikely as it may seem for one so hip, I'm listening to Johnny Cash, courtesy of we7 and it's perfect. Johnny Cash is so counter-intuitively cathartic when your life is falling around your ears; skint, ill, frustrated by idiocy and depressed by the dark evenings.  Try him some time, you'll be pleasantly surprised - it's a bit like your first cigarette...

If you haven't tried we7, I can also recommend them - it's another one of those free ad-funded music services, with a great selection of artists and dare I say it, not being a natural idolator of the-latest-internet-fad, a service that is easily as good as Spotify (better actually).

Go underdog go...

The we7 venture is based in the UK, Milton Keynes to be precise, and they get my thumbs up after their CEO Steve Purdham was one of the few industry executives who had the balls to hit out at Mandelson-dark-lord-of-the-night and his governments new policy on illegal filesharing (it is HIS government - don't be fooled) - branding their plans for a “three strikes and your out” as “missing the heart of the issue.”
Purdham went on to say “Piracy is a reaction to an unsustainable situation, where reasonable, legitimate access to music has struggled to match demand. File-sharing sites have risen in the gulf between what consumers wanted and what has been available. Internet users don’t want to use p2p networks.”
He also said that punters shouldn’t be expected to change their habits in order to find ways for artists to make money. “People want to support the music they care about,” he said. “But it is not for them to find a way to do that; the onus is on the government and the industry to monetise music instead of demonising and punishing the general public.”

Hurrah for some uncommon sense, I have worked in and around technology all of my life and have witnessed the same hand wringing over the end of one 'industry' or another, wheeled out at every advance of technology.  From Gutenberg's printing press, through to still photography, cine photography, wax cylinders, wire recorders, reel to reel tape recorders, compact cassette tape, video tape recorders, video cameras, recordable CD media, recordable DVD media - and on, and on - all considered a threat that heralded the demise of a 'traditional' information monopoly. That's what good technology does, replacing what went before with something better - and along the way liberates and empowers, enabling in this case access to previously inaccessible or expensive information - whilst engaging new consumers.

The problem is not the new technology, but the incumbent industry and it's outdated technology; technology moves quickly and poses new challenges to lumbering unimaginative corporations whose raison d'être is the mass exploitation of the consumer, through control of supply.  It is they who have to adapt, not the consumers or innovators, and in time they will - change is painful for all of us, but invariably worth it.

Since Ug managed to fashion some iron ore into a rudimentary blade and attach it to a piece of wood with his best friend's upper intestine to make the first chib the Captain caveman who owned the blunt stone sharpening business has been complaining about advances in technology - "What will become of my stone sharpeners, who will trade with me now?"

Without change what is there? Without advancement what is there?

Stagnation and more of the same?

What's the point in a world like that?

Time for another song, one of my all time favourites - Change (in the house of flies), courtesy of those nice people at we7 and the sublime Deftones.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Schrödinger's political thought experiment

The beleagured Scottish Labour Party, in an innovative thought experiment have today reshuffled their shadow cabinet.  Their new cabinet, along with a flask containing a poison, have been placed in the front benches at Holyrood shielded against environmental influences. When the poison was released the entire cabinet was both simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we see them on TV or from the public gallery, we see them either alive or dead, not a mixture of alive and dead. 



I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the new shadow cabinet members, who may or may not make a difference, depending on how you see them*:
(Click on the pic to enlarge)
  1. Des McNulty - Education
  2. Andy Kerr - Finance and the Economy
  3. Jackie Baillie - Health and Wellbeing
  4. Cathy Jamieson - Housing and Regeneration
  5. Michael McMahon - Local Government
  6. John Park - No Portfolio (Elections and Campaigns)???

* Personally I see them as dead...

A charismatic Tony Blair?

David Millipede, the fresh faced Foreign Secretary and rejected progeny of a bizarre failed top-secret chimera experiment involving Tony Blair and an insect, was literally gushing from every leaky orifice yesterday over the prospect of Tony Blair as president of the EU super state.  Sycophantile as only a genuine arse-licker can be, he espoused his desire for Tony Blair's motorcade to stop traffic, finishing his exercise in gut wrenching effusiveness with the flourish "why would anybody reject a candidate such as 'charismatic Tony Blair'."

Charismatic, really David, really?  Tell me; where would one get a 'charismatic Tony Blair'? Is that the same fantasy world in which we would find;
  • A down to earth Brian Sewell
  • Another New Labour election victory
  • The Conservative party actually going to war with New Labour, guns 'n all
  • A modest Alex Salmond
  • A sober journalist
  • An honest politician
  • A subtle Australian
  • A fair legal system
  • A smaller state
  • A Labour party that represents the ordinary person
  • Free market banking
  • Dinosaurs in zoos
  • The right to go about your legal business without interference from the state
  • A large UK manufacturing base
  • Free pogo sticks for everyone

Actually that's my kinda place, er well, apart from the Labour re-election and the Tony thing...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Round and round in circles

I've been blogging for a short time and a few of my posts have made it into the mainstream media - they sometimes contact me, other times don't - the timing and IP addresses the only indication of the imminent demise of original thinking in the old media world.


But the most frustrating thing? Blogging changes nothing; I struggle to see what kind of difference the whole blogging thing makes, other than as a source for lazy old media journos stuck on a slow news day.  Meanwhile in bloggyland the gang members remain gang members assured by their political dogma - be it red, yellow, blue or green.  The non line toeing frustrated outsiders get more and more inflamed, I read 100s of blogs on a range of subjects every week, almost all eloquently exuding a back pressure that would blow the doors off a nuclear bunker.

Cue internal monologue:

What's one inept girl to do in the face of overwhelming injustice? Blog? Is that it? How can I possibly cover all that is wrong in a way that can change anything?  Do I have the time, not to mention language skills to make one iota of a shift? Is this just a pointless ego trip?

Time for some vino and bit of navel gazing methinks, answers on a New Labour apparatchik or Conservative's still beating heart please...

Is blogging just vanity publishing?

EDIT: Rab C is a victim of the lazy MSM

Friday, 23 October 2009

Squirm Darling Squirm


I've caught a bit of the rolling exercise in repetition known as BBC News 24 today, and the sight of a shell shocked badger faced chancellor confront the reality of the worst economic downturn since records began in 1955 is an edifying spectacle.  I bet Alistair is glad the records don't go back any further...

The man at the joystick, so to speak, tried to play down the bleak figures published today by the ONS and insisted that he remained confident that the economy would eventually “begin to see a difference”, but that it would take time.

To use a topical metaphor - I can hear the drone of a blazing Spitfire as it spirals towards the ground Alistair, I'm just wondering when you will bail out?  Go on, do us a favour...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

AmBush House


I have little time for Nick Griffin and the BNP, but the mega-over-hyped BBC Question Time appearance this evening had all the hallmarks of a set-up; an audience stacked against him, under fire from all sides with little or no chance given him to answer questions, rebut or criticise - not to mention a biased chair and an unfair share of air time.  Hardly a fair hearing for the leader of a party that secured 1 million votes methinks.

Good point about Jack's dad though, watching Mr Straw squirm made it all worth it...

Free speech - that's a two way street innit?

The Oirish - Pure genius from Dunnes Stores in Cork

Read the cake first



Okay, so this is how I imagine this conversation went :

Dunnes Stores Employee:
"Hello, disis Dunnes Stores, how can I help you?"

Customer:
"Yes, I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week"

Dunnes Stores Employee:
"Whatchu want ondacake?"

Customer:
"Best Wishes Suzanne, and underneath that, We will miss you"

Truth and Lies


But this truth is more obvious than the sun - here it is; look at it; its brightness blinds you:
  • Google Chrome is a browser, that is an application
  • Windows 7 is an operating system, within which applications run
Google Chrome is only available for the Windows operating system. Versions for MAC OS X and two of the many flavours of Linux are under development in a spin off project called Chromium.

Applications and Operating Systems are not the same thing, Google are not competing with the Windows operating system. Their cloud applications do compete with the Microsoft Office application suite but that's an entirely different kettle of worms. To access Google cloud applications you require a browser application, not necessarily Chrome, an operating system (say Windows 7) and a high speed Internet connection.

Technical journalists and the MSM at large have failed to grasp this simple truth, and may have given you the impression that Microsoft are under threat from the Chrome "operating system" in the msm-tech-onanism-fest that has surrounded the launch of Windows 7 today. Much as I would like this to be the case, in fact for anybody to compete with Microsoft, alas it's just not the case. And Google? A high tech advertising agency with software applications rather than billboards.

By the way, if you are running Vista, I can recommend an upgrade to Windows 7. It is significantly quicker; it makes a much better job of getting performance from all of your hardware than Vista ever managed - particularly older systems, has a pretty good inbuilt security package and finally gets close to the Apple MAC on a laptop (first time for everything). But I would suggest waiting for the first Service Pack, which should be along shortly, a fresh install already requires about 200MB of updates - when it gets to CD size it usually becomes a Service Pack.

If you do manage to get Google Chrome running on your PC without an operating system, please let me know - you should probably write me a letter, with a stamp and everything like - any other form of PC based communication will merely be a trick of your failing grasp on sanity.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Silly Solipsism

Daffy Duck, on a dirty weekend, calls reception and asks for some condoms.

The receptionist asks "shall I put them on your bill?"

"Don't be thuckin thupid i'd thuffocate!"




My apologies, I'm told I have a crap sense of humour - normal service will resume as soon as I feel better...

In the beginning - Eve's story


After three weeks in the Garden of Eden, God came to visit Eve.
"So, how is everything going?" inquired God.

"It is all so beautiful, God," she replied. "The sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking, the smells, the sights, everything is wonderful, but I have just one problem.

It's these breasts you've given me. The middle one pushes the other two out and I am constantly knocking them with my arms, catching them on branches and snagging them on bushes. They're a real pain."

And Eve went on to tell God that since many other parts of her body came in pairs, such as her limbs, eyes, ears, etc. She felt that having only two breasts might leave her body more "symmetrically balanced".

"That's a fair point," replied God, "But it was My first shot at this, you know. I gave the animals six breasts, so I figured that you needed only half of those, but I see that you are right. I will fix it up right away."

And God reached down, removed the middle breast and tossed it into the bushes.

Three weeks passed and God once again visited Eve in the Garden of Eden.

" Well, Eve, how is My favourite creation?"

"Just fantastic" she replied, "But for one oversight. You see, all the animals are paired off. The ewe has a ram and the cow has her bull. All the animals have a mate except me. I feel so alone."

God thought for a moment and said, "You know Eve, you are right. How could I have overlooked this? You do need a mate and I will immediately create a man from a part of you. Let's see -

...now where did I put that useless Tit?"

Now doesn't THAT make more sense than all that crap about the rib?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

'Britain needs an Islamic revolution' - Really?

Extremism breeds exterminism?



Anjem Choudary and Islam4UK really scare me - I find their obsession with the removal and suppression of all that defines freedom; positive and negative alike - genuinely terrifying.

Can I report them for inciting terrorism?

I would willingly take up arms against atavistic religious fundamentalism and see my sons do likewise to defend freedom of expression - but I accept that is a gut response, born of fear and perhaps a lack of understanding.

Of course I should be tolerant - I have been told so by the righteous; the Quilliam Foundation tell me that Anjem Choudary does not speak for all Muslims, when discussing my concerns the response is often "Clara you sound like a racist and a bigot" - a criticism that genuinely distresses me.

That said I do know that there were Jewish leaders, ignored by the international community, in 1930s Germany, warning of the rise of the National Socialists - Churchill himself identified the Nazis as a threat and was roundly set upon by those around him, accused of being a scaremonger and corrosive naysayer.

Naysayers are painted as intolerant of free speech and unnecessarily pessimistic - and for good reason. The right to freedom of expression is sacrosanct, and we should not criticise others - that's right innit? Therein lies a conundrum, one that the vacillation over Geert Wilder's UK admission is a good example of.

There is a walk in Westminster being planned for the 5th of November, and if my recent illness and lack of self-employed income had not taken it's toll I had planned to be there, this walk in the sunshine a symbolic gesture "in the den of thieves", as OH would have it - a poignant symbol of our displeasure with those who sit in the Palace nearby and an all too rare act of public solidarity in these troubled times.

My knee jerk reaction to Anjem Choudary's proclamation in the video? Fuck freedom of expression, forget a symbolic walk in the sun to celebrate a failed 17th century plot against our own parliament, Islam4UK are plotting against our freedom - now. The 5th of November's vague relevance to our current situation will be lost on the mass of the British sheeple - and we know how unlikely a walk on that day is to change anything. There is a clear and present danger we cannot ignore, I quote

"Islam4UK would like to declare the launch of a spectacular procession that will take place on 31st October 2009"

"We hereby request all Muslims in the United Kingdom, in Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow and all other places to join us and collectively declare that as submitters to Almighty Allah (SWT), we have had enough of democracy and man-made law and the depravity of the British culture. On this day we will call for a complete upheaval of the British ruling system its members and legislature, and demand the full implementation of Shari'ah in Britain."

This constitutes a declaration of war - the walk in the sunshine on the 5th of November? Merely rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

What about the 31st of October, toe to toe with Islam4UK in a silent protest? I'll crawl to London from Edinburgh for that...

Sorry OH

A cry for help...


I was so depressed tonight thinking about the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, society, unemployment, political corruption the all encompassing horrible futility of it all...

I called the Samaritans

I got a call centre in Pakistan

I told them I was suicidal

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The best laid plans...

Well I didn't manage an ASBO, and my hangover cleared just in time to go to bed...

The good news is that my neighbours seem to like my music, either that or they're deaf!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Solipsism

It's Saturday evening and I'm hacked off, nobody is coming out to play - but I have a plan:

Ingredients:
2 x bottles of Lake Tehua Sauvignon Blanc
1 x v. expensive meal from the best Chinese in Edinburgh
6000ish x MP3s on random and played at about 11 on the volume control
1 x hair dye

Method:
Mix all ingredients together, dance around sitting room for about 45 minutes, rinse hair.  Eat Chinese meal. Dance some more. After 4 hours ignore neighbours knocking on door, point speakers out of windows and sing.  When police arrive inquire why they have no real criminals to chase, tell them that you have stockings that are older than them and inquire if the police service now have a positive discrimination policy on the recruitment of dwarfs. Accept ASBO and go to bed, with music still playing, just slightly quieter. Frame ASBO on wall following day.

Wish me luck.

Edit: spotted this picture advert at the wonderful TractorStats place, it made me laugh, I guess there is always someone worse off than yourself - have a good Saturday evening...


Barking porcine innumerate arrogant SOB to be spit roast


£65,000 per annum is the basic salary for an MP. There are 365 days in a year (I know, don't say it or I will hunt you down and murder you in a calculator related attack) and 24 hours in each day - so that's 8760 hours in a year, we can agree on that, can we not?


So how can this be credible:
David Wilshire, the Conservative MP who paid more than £100,000 of expenses to his own company, has complained that he works “dangerously close” to working the minimum wage.

It has emerged that Mr Wilshire complained about his MP’s salary and long hours to trainee journalists at a meeting in Westminster this week.

“I work 60 to 70 hours a week some weeks,” he said, according to various reports.

“When you look at what I earn, it comes dangerously close to working out as the minimum wage.”
Now assuming David Wonky Wilshire actually spent all of that time, all 8760 hours without interruption on the professional indolence he mistakes for real a job, his basic hourly rate would be £7.42 not the national minimum wage of £5.80.  That is of course a ridiculous proposition, he freely admits he also runs another business to which he diverted some £105,500 from his allowances.

Just how stupid does this patronising wanker think the general public are?  Honestly I cannot be bothered to wheel out any more insults - he should not be allowed to step down. Instead he should be forced to take a Job Centre Plus advertised minimum wage job; 12 months at £5.80 per hour, 40 hours a week might teach this repugnant individual a degree of humility.

"Dangerously on the minimum wage" is the reality for a significant percentage of the working population David; your self comparison is a breathtaking insult for which you deserve to roast...

Friday, 16 October 2009

Rare species spotted in Springburn


Political spotters, or twatchers, are flocking to catch a glimpse of a blue bird seldom seen in north east Glasgow. The (Callme) Callmedavius is a species of the Corvidae family, and a close relation to the Magpie - prone to collecting shiny valuable items, extremely rare in deprived urban areas, with a distinctive droning call.

Annabel, of Bishopton, the Sheriff of Renfrewshire, who was lost, said she knew the bird by its colour and how its beak made it appear that it was looking down on everybody..

Ruth Davidson, who lives nowhere near north east Glasgow said: "People didn't think I was right, because you don't see them in Springburn. Then people started to listen, they looked as well and saw it too, despite it flying through at an incredible speed, right through a bakery. I think it was looking for Panini, but it's Glasgow, there was only pies".

Callmedavius became extinct in Scotland in the middle of the 20th Century, and until recently was only found in the Home Counties and Middle England where it has bred successfully with stupid females impressed by their shiny collections.
A BBC Scotland political editor Mr Blobby said "I had never seen a Callmedavius because they are normally down south and tend to avoid fat pink spotty Scottish journalists like the plague"
"We were in the pub, The Tun, when I heard one had been spotted, its a day I'll never forget"
...commented a journalist from the Herald
"but I said, 'I don't think so'. A man said 'you calling me a liar beardy?' and I said 'well why would one be in Glesca' and then he paneled me with a drip tray".
...he continued
"As I was picking my teeth out ma beard a man who was sitting nearby, called Eon Mcsomething, said he was sure it was due to a magnetic flux error, and went on to explain, in depth - for a very long time actually - that burds can navigate using magnetic maps in their beaks, he'd read it in a lengthy article in the National Geographic, I left two hours later, he was still droning on - but nobody was listening. A'm no sayin' he was boring but he made wummin mud-wrestling look like competitive tartan paint dryin'"
The only other record of a sighting this century was two years ago, when it was believed the same individual got lost after eating some cannabis leaves, without inhaling.  He was repatriated to Witney (where he doesn't live) when he straightened out and realised there were no shiny valuable things anywhere north of the Watford Gap.

A Salmon, interviewed in Inverness was quoted as saying "who gives a fuck"...

'Remind me' - A regular feature #3

Remind me dear, is the brake on when it's up or down?



Amazingly the baby survived with just a bump on it's head. Filmed on CCTV in Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis.

 

I've been following this hilarious, and at the same time outrageous, female body manipulation story since it first surfaced a  couple of weeks ago. When the above picture of a vaguely humanoid alien first appeared it inspired hilarious comment and ridicule on sites like BoingBoing, PhotoshopDisasters and The Register.

In response, and in true Carter Ruck-esque Streisand Effect inducing style, Ralph Lauren served DMCA removal notices on BoingBoing and PhotoshopDisasters. BoingBoing and one Canadian ISP refused, pointing out this was copyright "fair use" and legitimately used.  Images copied for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research are fair game under DMCA.

Finally giving in to their paroxysms of embarrassment Ralph Lauren admitted that the model's pelvis had been shrunk, no shit?
"For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity," read the company's statement. "After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.
"We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately."
The penultimate twist came to light yesterday when the model Fillipa Hamilton admitted that she had been ditched by Ralph Lauren shortly after this shoot in April because she was "too large". She said: "They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore."

And they all lived happily ever after; the model fired - but with more publicity than she could ever pay for, Ralph Lauren admits their deception and apologises and the DMCA takedown notices are rescinded.

Dream on:

they keep on doing it and still no apology to PhotoshopDisasters

'Remind me' - A regular feature #2


Remind me dear, is the Arctic ice cap melting or freezing?

'Remind me' - A regular feature #1


Remind me dear, are we for the Pakistani militants or against?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Go4th


GoAth is the Aramaic word for the 'Hill of Death' or 'mount of execution', also known as Golgotha and later promulgated as Calvary by the rewriters of that best selling piece of fiction, much beloved of shysters and dictators - The New Testament.

The hill on the outskirts of the old city was the preferred site of public execution for the Roman rulers of Jerusalem; fraudsters, thieves and murderers drew their last breath atop this lonely rock.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed the subliminal but apposite similarities between this website and the original derivation of the word...

What?

... I've not long finished that new Dan Brown book.

And I'm still ill, okay!

EDIT: If you wish to check the veracity of my research have a look here - now that's a definitive translation project, or extreme boredom!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Whatever happened to the heroes?


I'm not a student of politics, nor a political philosopher however I am an observer, and in common with all of the subjects of this 'Sceptic Isle', a victim of the risible lack of a coherent political philosophy behind successive Conservative and Labour governments.  In frustration I've now resorted to destroying my ballot papers by writing choice abuse on them, but at least I turn up to vote - the vast majority of the population have given up on that, and who can blame them?

International perpetual revolution, United Front, Fourth Internationalist, Clause Four, the emancipation of the proletariat - if any of these terms mean anything to you, positive or negative, then you are probably a student, or follower, of socialist politics - and definitely not a member of the New Labour party.  In contrast to now, the cusp of the 19th and 20th century was a time of impassioned political discussion.  All around there was debate that engaged everybody - from the aristocracy to the proletariat; and love or loathe it, the new socialism forced all to engage in politics, because it mattered - and through universal suffrage everybody felt they now had a say.

Kier Hardie helped create and led a British 'United Front', built upon a burgeoning need for the representation of a recently franchised urban proletariat.  The general election of 1895 saw the first candidates for this newly formed front under the banner of the Labour party; a party that brought together trade unions, the socialist bourgeoise, Social Democrats, the Scottish Labour Party and disparate socialist groups.  By 1923/24 Labour had consolidated its place in British politics, by winning their first general election and remarkably exiling a longstanding Whig/Liberal tradition to the basement of 20th century politics.

All well and good you might say; Labour was popular and fighting the corner of the working man and woman.  The first policy of the first Labour government, one that defined them, was to build 500,000 rental homes for inner city workers who were living in nothing much more than hovels being exploited by landlords such as Peter Rachman and his ilk.

New Labour will lose the next election to a party devoid of any coherent political philosophy other than a tacit inclination to support big business and Rachmanite exploitation of the proletariat.  Bankers and financiers are the modern Rachmans, the inheritors of this tradition. We are in hock up to our eyeballs to these modern landlords, now lenders, not through inflated rents and shoddy houses but through over inflated mortgages, insurances and laughably over-valued land and buildings - not that different to Rachman when there is no rental sector to speak of is it?  In fact merely another version of the same scam.

It is a fact that this depression is a direct result of internationally traded bundles of worthless debt, secured on over-valued land and buildings, owed by ordinary people throughout western capitalist democracies.  Families who simply wanted to put a roof over their head and were convinced to stretch their borrowing to the limits, reassured by the plethora of worthy financial institutions willing to assist them in doing so.

The New Labour response? Bail out the Rachmans - now that is hardly in keeping with their founding traditions, is it?

David Cameron tells us that we will have to tighten our belts, that we are to blame for this recession, that we borrowed too much.  That particular piece of disingenuous etiology speaks volumes of their intent - I see no real prospect of change under the Conservatives, just more of the same. As they grandstand over New Labour's failure they should bear in mind which policies differentiate New Labour from old and where they came from.

New Labour is a failed experiment, one that bears no resemblance to the United Front of the original Labour party.  A warmongering, ineffective, bankrupt and corrupt centrist party who adopted failed Conservative policies.  A party guilty of defrauding their supporters by claiming a socialist tradition that is no longer theirs - now that truly deserves them being consigned to the Eighth Circle of the Inferno, doesn't it?

So do we cover them in excrement or consign them to a lake of boiling pitch?  I'll need to brush up on my Dante to answer that one.

In the meantime I guess I've no option but to set about working up another choice line of abuse with which to spoil my next ballot paper, and wait patiently for the new heroes...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Politics

I am a bit of a poetry geek; apologies to those of you who are left cold by poetry. In the year or so since I started my admittedly sproradic blogging by far the most popular post on my blog is this poem by the sublime Adrian Mitchell.

Glasgow born Carol Ann Duffy has shone in the five months since she was appointed Poet Laureate, and has proved herself to be the most productive and relevant laureate in generations.  She recently published her sixth laureate poem "Atlas".  Two of these six poems, "Politics" and "Last Post" stand out as proof, in my most humble opinion, of the relevance of modern poetry.

Her first official poem was a passionate commentary on the MPs expenses scandal, worth a re-read given the letters winging their way to the unrepentant.


Politics by Carol Ann Duffy

How it makes of your face a stone
that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,
clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue
an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand
a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh
a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs
hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice
that can throw no six. How it takes the breath
away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,
makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,
of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –
politics – to your education education education; shouts this –
Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your
conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

Carol Ann Duffy - 2009

Thanks


Thanks to ya'll - you know who you are, when my antibiotics are finished we'll really piss off the health nasties, good and proper...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

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The Downfall of Edinburgh

I know it has become a bit of a tradition to create a Downfall video for virtually anything and it's getting a bit tired.  This one still managed to make me laugh out loud albeit a laugh tinged with the bitterness only an Edinburgh resident can feel about the bombsite our city has become; dedicated to the project that is the Edinburgh trams debacle, the completely shot suspension on my car and the vanity of our toon cooncillors...



While the fuckwits up at council towers are looking at the past through rose tinted specs what about bringing back rickets, body-snatching, cholera, open sewers and gardyloo?  Now that is our authentic past...

Thanks to EdinburghsGhost

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Technology is not the answer...

Military technology procurement - that's straightforward isn't it?

From initial deployment and throughout its life the technology used by our armed forces is expected to deliver 100% availability, the price of technology failing at the wrong moment is unacceptable according to the buyers.  In an ideal world, this fantasy could be met, but in an ideal world we wouldn't build and design technology whose sole aim is to aid in the destruction of other human beings and their property.  We pay a pretty price for this ambition, military hardware costs the US and UK $600Bn and $60Bn respectively - but it makes a difference, doesn't it?

Stories of technology failures abound in military circles: If two early homing torpedoes were dropped from the air at the same time they would chase each other around and around until they exhausted their fuel, or if launched from a vessel with a louder screw than the target the torpedo would immediately home in on the firing vessel.  Early shipborne radar systems were often rendered useless by over zealous Bo'suns insisting that the radar antennas were painted the same shade of gray as the superstructure.  The first Harriers put on ships corroded so much they couldn't even raise their landing gear.  The German army found that Panzers were virtually unusable in desert terrain.  The impregnable Maginot line could be walked around.  Technology is fallible, a very imperfect solution, ironically the more one attempts to engineer reliability into a system the more prone to failure it is.

One axiom holds true when it comes to technology - the simpler it is the more reliable it is.   It was always thus, the AK47 is literally bits of metal, string and wood; it can be manufactured and repaired by any half capable blacksmith and is an icon of 20th century military hardware and a byword for reliability and efficiency.

For all the technology we equip our armed forces with, there is one immutable fact; a war whose objective is possession and control of territory demands one thing - highly motivated soldiers with guns.  If we accept the fact that there are opponents who control or influence a territory through force of arms, whom we wish to stop, we have to commit soldiers and take lives achieving our aim.  No land war, no theater of operations in the 20th century has been won through technology, sea or air power alone.

The one possible exception to this is often viewed as the dropping of tactical atomic weapons by the USA in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although Japan surrendered shortly thereafter, the formal surrender was only signed as the US led allied army occupied mainland Japan and imposed military rule.  War was only really won when allied forces marched into Japan, imposed military control and detained 5,400,000 Japanese soldiers and 1,800,000 sailors. Atomic weapons, our ultimate technology, does not take or dominate territory - it just makes the mass slaughter required to enable occupation slightly easier.

War against highly motivated (or fanatical) soldiers and civilians fighting for their lives and equipped with the basics - a gun and a knife, is rarely straightforward.  Look at Indochina, Vietnam, Somalia, the Soviet War in Afghanistan, WWII in Europe, Korea, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Iran Iraq - a few of the long list of 20th century conflicts that did not favour the more technically advanced participants, in fact technical superiority may have led to unjustified self-belief and ultimately defeat.  The US forces in Vietnam had virtually unlimited helicopters, high altitude bombers, air support, chemical weapons and napalm, it mattered not a jot.

When Russian forces faced serious opposition in Afghanistan, their single biggest weakness was the vulnerability of their technology to rocket and IED attack and guerrilla tactics; soldiers lived in bases, traveled by armored truck and patrolled in the air. One helicopter shot down or one truck destroyed equaled multiple casualties with a single grenade, rather than hundreds or thousands of rounds wasted in attacking a well dug in position. To dominate you need lots of armed combatants on the ground, dispersed throughout. A total of 115,000 Russian soldiers were on active service Afghanistan in 1985 and yet there were calls for more men and more kit, sound familiar?

Our press, independent of any political agenda of course, is awash with calls for more technology, better technology - and are constantly berating this beleaguered government with calls for more and better; helicopters, body-armour, vehicles and men, take your pick...

The inevitable fact is that if you wage war costs will spiral, people will die and there is no guarantee of success; the infantile emotional hand wringing we see in society over each and every individual "heroes death" and the fixation on technology as some kind of military panacea that will somehow magic away tough and committed opposition speaks volumes of our emotional immaturity and a disregard for the soldiers that fall; only for them to become pawns in political backbiting and infighting - now that is fucking insulting.

The Taliban, Mujahideen whatever you want to call them, armed with AK47s, mortars, RPGs and IEDs -  the modern equivalent of knives and clubs, and the cheapest weapons in the world arms market, are more than capable of defeating the US led coalition in Afghanistan, and will fight for as long as it takes to ensure that. Their descendants will remain there, armed, long after we have lost our taste for war.

But unfortunately military commanders and soldiers don't see it that way - they do not give up, it is not in their nature, they train to fight and live to fight - and we want them that way.  Military commanders will always push for more men and more technology, that's the nature of the beast. Ask them what they want, no matter how overwhelming the odds against them, and the same answer will be given, "more men, more machines".  That's why we have civil-servants, diplomats and politicians, that's why our politicians are given control of our armed forces - soldiers would just keep on fighting, it's what they do.

I have heard nothing from Obama, Brown or Cameron committing to an immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, nor plans to enter a dialogue to sue for a peaceful settlement, yet it is obvious here and in the US that the public have no stomach for more deaths. The Tories intention to appoint the former CIC of British forces seems to demonstrate that our next government will be no more committed to seeking a peaceful end to this lost cause either, looked at any way another warmonger in their ranks does not bode well.

But until we either leave or sue for peace, an anathema to our military commanders - and an act for which our politicians would be hung out to dry, we should get used to the funerals and calls for more men and more technology.

Military technology, war, death? - these are things we can ill afford and it's time for our politicians to step up, end this foolish war and stop using slaughter as political capital...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Liberty - woo hoo

At last - my Doctor informs me that I am officially "on the mend", though it looks like I will need a "little operation" (is there such a thing?), nevertheless being able to move is a reason for celebration after the last fortnight, and just in time for my birthday!

A song for me, courtesy of the genius that is Partridge and Moulding



Liberty - woo hoo

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Laters

As I mentioned a few days ago I'm pretty ill, and unfortunately things are no better after a week on industrial strength broad spectrum antibiotics - my misery neatly rounded off by the fact that I've spent 5 days without a complete nights sleep, I  don't remember seeing so many 3AMs since I worked night shift.  If my blogging is a tad intermittent, I apologise; in the meantime I'll leave it to Scott Adams to make a point in his own inimitable style - see you soon, I hope...


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Two turds

...voted yes



Celtic Tiger? Oh how the mighty fall.

- best of three, yeah?

Man bites dog...

I came across this video on Facebook originally, the comments there make interesting reading - have a look for a little context.

For once a remarkably patient householder gets one up on a chav, and restores my faith just a little - if I ever find myself in Birkenhead St. Helens I'll buy him a pint...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Why won't it stop?

One of the best analogies I have ever heard for those illogical behavioural patterns we humans repeat, despite the fact we only harm ourselves, is the one of the man who whacks an unwanted wasp's nest; rather than achieving the desired evacuation of the nest he is stung by an inflamed occupant and decides his only course of action is to whack it again, which results in another sting...
and so on...
He is later found dead on the ground, with a puzzled look on his face

You may not know that there was a council by-election in Ayrshire yesterday - the result?
Scottish Labour Party candidate Moira Pirie has been elected to serve as a Councillor on East Ayrshire Council representing Ward 9, Doon Valley, in the south of the area. Councillor Pirie was elected on Thursday 1 October, having exceeded the number of votes needed to be elected at the first stage of the Single Transferable Vote system.
Aside the astonishing fact that a Labour wasp councillor was elected - this was by no stretch of the imagination a victory, for any party; the key thing here was the turnout - a democrarsey crushing 26.78%.

Improbable


I am sure we have all found ourselves complaining about some serious research project that has no practical application at all.  What about research that makes people laugh and then think?  The brilliant people, who don't take themselves or life too seriously, at Improbable Research held their annual Ig Nobel prize award ceremony last night.  If you missed this important announcement I thought you might be interested in the 2009 winners:

VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Peter Rowlinson. Catherine Douglas was unable to travel because she recently gave birth; she sent a photo of herself, her new daughter dressed in a cow suit, and a cow.

PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks — Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland — for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa — and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M. Castaño of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand — every day for more than sixty (60) years.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don't tip over.

LITERATURE PRIZE: Ireland's police service (An Garda Siochana), for writing and presenting more than fifty traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country — Prawo Jazdy — whose name in Polish means "Driving License".
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: [Karolina Lewestam, a Polish citizen and holder of a Polish driver's license, speaking on behalf of all her fellow Polish licensed drivers, expressed her good wishes to the Irish police service.]

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.

MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers — from very small to very big — by having his bank print bank notes with denominations ranging from one cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion dollars ($100,000,000,000,000).

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Sheeple vs Individuals

I heard the term "sheeple" for the first time the other day, well I think it was - but perhaps it was just the first time that I'd caught it's meaning.
Sheeple n. pl. : red top reading, celebrity obsessed, shopping addicts with an unhealthy fixation for any TV derived phone-in opportunity that will cost them a third of their weekly income in the mistaken belief that they are participating in democrarsey, whilst wondering to themselves if they are clever enough to take part in Deal or no Deal or some other idiot wankfest that rewards sub-jellyfish intelligence with money, or maybe Golden Fucking Balls, and even if they're "Broken Golden Balls" they're still worth money, bet that surprised you - anyway what the fuck is "broken gold" when it's at home; did you loose some electrons down the back of the couch in an alchemical accident or did your obese moron child nick some protons to pawn for Greggs pies?

You probably get the idea, I could have doubled the length of the preceding sentencegraph and still be standing in a pool of bile wondering when it will end...

Simples conclusion coming up now -


What the hell is wrong with this picture? The sheeple are afraid of this picture; it's creating a fuss - they are 'under fire' - not the idle curiosity that generally follows the first public pictures of a prime minister's progeny, oh no - it's because the two lovely daughters of the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero chose to wear their own clothes (what's the alternative?) - a bit too much colour for my liking but they seem pretty relaxed about their "goth getups" (as the NY Daily News kindly put it).  Like ANY father could dictate the clothing choices of his teenage daughters...

After all there is fuck all else important happening on our planet, you can see the sheeple's journalists pondering their final layout now...
"Let's capture THE zeitgeist in a poll"

"We'll poll our readers on pulling out of Afghanistan"

"No, no, i've got it - on second thoughts, lets go for - Do you think criticism of the girls' goth attire is justified?"

Please please can us non-homogenised Homo sapiens have a fucking planet of our own? NOW

We might not have to go so far though, I hear the Moon may be a possibility; water, cheese and clowns...  Perfick


PS: posted at an impressive 03:18 (am), 'cos i'm sore and can't sleep - wonder if it's affecting my sanity?