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Saturday, 15 December 2012

One Is A Lonely Number

Talking about hope springing eternal in the hearts of men, if 'Three' is a magic number then 'One' definitely isn't.

You have to laugh at the news story of the lone Udinese football fan, a Mr Brovedani, who drove the 4 hours to Genoa on business, decided to go to watch his team play the local team Sampdoria .... as he said "I like the stadium there, it's very similar to English stadiums, I always take my flag and scarf around - they're always in the car with me." ..... only to find that he was the only away supporter.

Mr Brovedani - Lonely Udinese Fan

Not one other Udinese supporter turned out on what was a meaningless match on a cold Monday night (apparently Udinese never attracts more than 50 or 60 away fans on a good day) ..... still they missed a treat, as surprisingly Udinese won 2 - 0 away from home, and then dedicated the victory to Mr Brovedani.

However the bit that made me laugh was that when he walked on to the terraces the Sampdoria fans booed him just as if he was the whole Udinese fan base ..... he said afterwards that when the "local fans booed me, I felt a bit offended".

They apparently gave him an ovation at the end for sticking it out .... "they clapped and invited me for coffee and a meal, and the club managers gave me a shirt. They wished me a merry Christmas."

Which is exactly what I am going to wish all my visitors .... no more posts until the New Year as I have other fish to fry .... well Turkeys to baste. So with the sad news that 'The Dandy' comic has stopped printing hard copies .... here's a Christmas copy of the last surviving comic from my childhood .... 'The Beano' from December 1966.

Happy Christmas and New Year !!

The Xmas Beano Comic 1966


Buzz Off

Hope springs eternal in the hearts of men, and having been occasionally plagued by mozzies on holidays (notably in Corfu and also once in Turkey), I read the following story with some anticipation ..... News agencies reported that a radio station broadcast ultrasound along with its programmes to repel mosquitoes .... great! Radio listeners in Brazil were told that listening station 'Band FM' was all you need to do to beat mosquitoes .... just have the radio stuck close by (probably their ears).

Mosquito Beat Radio - Beat to the DEET

In fact so attractive was this tale, that apparently one of the world's top advertising awards went this year to the accompanying ad campaign .....But Oh No! scientists say its not true .... bummer! Apparently, it was all based on the idea that dragonflies have a wing beat frequency that repels mozzies which are its prey, and that mozzies avoid that beat frequency.

Oops, the radio station actually broadcast at 15kHz, and dragonflies have a wing beat frequency of between 20 and 170Hz ... but even if the radio station used this much lower frequency, they have tested, and it still doesn't work.

Ah well back to the DEET instead of the BEAT.

Whistle For Your Money

In the London Underground, licensed buskers are allowed to perform and can earn good money ..... so much so that a few years ago, a blind man who was something of a whistler, found that for just standing and whistling 'tunes', after just 90 minutes he had earned £36.80 .... and after three and a half hours he got £90. His weekly benefit giro cheque at the time was around £38.

Now he's a professional whistling busker and the BBC ran a story on him ..... "All you need to know is that I live in Wolverhampton, travel down to London four days a week, employ a helper and I make a good living." ........ all for a 4 day week.

So its safe to assume that he's doing at least 7 hours and that he gets more than £250+ per day. A minimum of £1,000pw or (allowing for holidays) it could easily be £48,000 pa .....

Admittedly, he suggests in the story that as he's really blind (as opposed to some who may not be disabled at all .... despite the glasses), he gets more than the average busker, and presumably there's time slots i.e. He can't keep the pitch all day (but that's not actually explicit in the story) ... . even so, probably about £30,000 pa is achievable.

Who says it doesn't pay not to work? ...... we have fostered a very strange culture in the UK.

In fact intrigued by the notion that you can  make a very "good living" for doing very little in the UK, I researched 'Begging' and what can be earned for doing nothing at all .... just hanging a card around your neck with the words "hungry and homeless" and sticking a container in front of you. I was genuinely shocked with the results.

In 2007, the London council of 'Westminster' council revealed that beggars in London could earn up to £300 a day at the time. In 2009, Leicestershire Police and council started an investigation and found no beggars who were arrested to be homeless. In fact most had council accommodation, welfare benefit cheques, with some beggars earning up to £200 on a Friday or Saturday night, which if done regularly would be equal to be about £21,000 a year on top of their normal incomes.

I say 'incomes' because what was most shocking was the fact that the investigations uncovered the fact that a number of the weekend beggars were actually office workers with homes, who were topping up their salaries ....  'We have intelligence-there is a woman who is begging because she wants a new kitchen for her flat,' said a police Sergeant Underwood in one of the reports. In London their are now vast numbers of Eastern European organised begging gangs ... children and adults. Whole villages of villas are going up in Romania and Albania financed out of organised crime in the UK including professional beggars.

The answer to this is simple, make street begging totally illegal, with prison sentences (and deportation where appropriate), large fines, loss of housing benefits and council tenancies all part of the punishments ..... but also make it illegal to give to beggars, with the same punishments meted out to offenders.

Begging in our society, which hands out so much in welfare largesses, is virtually unneeded .... it appears to be nothing more than a fraud of welfare benefits, or taxes, or a means of financing drug taking habits. It should be stamped out now, (along with benefit abuses), before it gets much much worse when millions of Balkan Europeans are no longer stopped from arriving on our shores next year.

'Liberal' Politicians who make these decisions (such as decriminalising begging), never seem to consider the likely long-term consequences and we always end up paying a very heavy price for their lack of foresight. I personally would make every act of legislation have a built in 'Sunset clause' after a decade .... meaning that it would expire after 10 years unless renewed by parliament (no further need after that). The idea being that if a law has worked as expected and with no unforeseen consequences, then it would be nodded through before expiry, but otherwise it could be replaced or allowed to expire.

This would stop bad laws or ill considered laws becoming permanent millstones round our societal necks .... 

NB: There has been something of a tradition of 'whistlers' in the UK .... the folk singer Roger Whittaker made something of a trademark by breaking into whistling in songs .... but who remembers 'Whistling Jack Smith' anymore?

Here's a reminder ....

Friday, 7 December 2012

Naked Protests

In antics that aren't dissimilar to those adopted by burn your bra and hippie campaigners in the 1960's, the female activists of the Ukraine are tackling what they consider to be a three pronged attack on women's rights, they are in their words ".. fighting against patriarchy, in its three manifestations: sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion", by walking round topless, while cutting things down with chainsaws .... hmm.

As you might imagine, this attracts the worlds press like honey bees to flowers, especially from those more prurient sections of the world, where men are likely to be over excited by bare boobs ..... but the locals are less impressed. A common reaction, when they are mentioned, is to raise eyebrows (presumably from chest level), or snort with derision, seeing them as self publicists.

Femen Protesters - Echo Hippies Of the Make Love Not War 1960's

However the Femen group claims to have about 40 topless activists in the Ukraine, and another 100 who have joined their protests abroad .... plus the support of the rest of the worlds press Smiley Face  .... feminists in the West are a little mixed in their reactions to using nakedness as a demonstration tool (possibly as these young Ukrainian women are generally very attractive ... I can't say that can I?), but at least some consider this to be a valid form of protest, and that their sisters in this endeavour are the women who march on 'Slutwalks', and the Russian punk protesters 'Pussy Riot'.

Personally, I suspect that the group is a mixture of bravado and exhibitionism ...they have bravely (or stupidly) tried to take the 'mickey' out of the last dictator in Europe, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus and some have been threatened with rape, burning and knives by his 'KGB'. But generally they have stuck to the (slightly) safer ground of the Ukraine .... although as most of Eastern European countries (Russia in particular) have been hijacked by organised criminals and ex secret service thugs, its only a relatively safer protest ground.

I can't imagine that this form of protest will catch on in the more socially conservative areas of the world .... South America or any of the Islamic theocracies for example (see previous post on Saudi Women's lack of rights) but it may catch on in more liberal zones, if they can actually find anything to complain about.

Dark Side Of The Earth

Anyone who visits this hidden corner of the web more than occasionally, will know that we love space stories, and that our biggest regret is that the race to space stopped with the moon landings. Even so, amazing images are beamed to us almost very day.

This one .....

Dark-Side Of The Earth - Taken By The Suomi Satellite

...... is the night side of the Earth, as taken on a series of cloudless nights ..... its fantastic.

Strangely (or perhaps not, if you live in this weather benighted country), you will notice that the only landmass where they couldn't get a cloudless night this year, is Britain and Eire, where band of cloud runs from Brittany in France, across the UK and into the North Sea ..... they had to publish a second, separate picture for this  northern rain centre.


Where Women Are

What's the most popular song in Saudi Arabia (in those areas where Western style music is allowed)?

"Stand by your man" (or at least very near him).

It has to be that song because the Saudis, those fun loving libertarians, who most definitely didn't have anything to do with '9/11' ... No Siree!, (it was just a coincidence that all the plotters funders and executioners of the attack were Saudi .... so the US and its Western invaded Afghanistan?), have just found a novel use for new technology ....trackin wimmin.

Yes Siree, in Allah's kingdom, all women's phones are potentially tagged and an SMS alert is triggered to her male 'owners' phone if she crosses the border and leaves the paradise on earth that is Saudi Arabia ... Some Saudi Tweeters have mockingly suggested that it would be easier if the Mullahs just had all women micro-chipped, or forced to wear radio ankle bracelets (like western criminals), to make tracking Saudi women's more accurate ....

Saudi Women's Movements Are Tracked
Although how far most of them could ever get given that they can't even leave the house without a male escort, makes it a moot point -- its often forgotten that despite 'reforms', Saudi women are denied the right to travel without their 'male guardian's consent' and are also banned from driving. I am posting this story as yet another warning to the western sisterhoods and 'wimmin of the left' of the threat their liberties face.

You are sleep walking into servitude when you turn your PC driven 'blind eye' to the 'Islamic cultural practises' being practised under the guise of multiculturalism ..... they are already at a mosque near you now, and when numbers suffice (see election of the 'Respect' party MP's), will becoming to a council near you as well.

Small Nations, Small Triumphs

You know what they say ....... 'the smaller the nation the bigger the flag'.

So in that spirit I had to laugh when Pakistanis turned out in their thousands ... well 24,000 actually, in order to create the worlds largest living human national flag. They got together in Lahore's hockey stadium, in what was described as an "amazing display of unity" ..... which makes a change from the activities they normally get in the news for.

Largest Human Flag - A Pakistani Triumph

Of course what makes it funny is that Pakistan is a nation with a population exceeding 180 million people (they don't actually know the numbers), while Hong Kong, who held the previous record, set five years ago by 21,726 people, is a small nation of just 7.03 million.

Source - World Bank - 2011 data.
  • GDP of 180 million Pakistanis = $211.09 Billion US dollars at current prices.
  • GDP of 7.03 million Hong Kong residents = $243.67 Billion US dollars at current prices.

Like I said 'the smaller the nation the bigger the flag' ...... point made.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Crawling Out From Under A Rock

There is a term in the English language about what 'crawls out from under a rock' when you turn it over.

The police investigation into the sex crimes alleged to have been committed by the late, and not so great Sir James Saville  OBE, KCSG, was the turning over of a very large rock, and some very big insects have been crawling from under it .....

The Police operation has three strands.
  • One is looking specifically at the actions of Jimmy Savile, and 
  • The second strand concerns allegations against "Savile and others". 
  • The separate third strand relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Jimmy Savile investigations.

So far, as a direct result of the investigation, and its related enquiries, five people have been arrested:  Max Clifford (publicist), Freddie Starr (comedian), Gary Glitter (ex pop star and convicted child sex offender), Wilfred De'Ath (a retired BBC producer), and Dave Lee Travis (ex DJ and radio broadcaster). Police have also questioned under caution a man in his 80's (who we can't name, but whom its speculated is a very well known TV presenter).

Arrested or 'Interviewed under caution' - More expected.

The publicity has also rattled old skeletons up and down the country ..... with the well known TV presenter Stuart Hall OBE arrested for unrelated sexual allegations ..... it should be pointed out that not all of the arrests (details on their web links), relate to the sexual abuse of children, some of those arrested have been charged with sexual offences related to adults. Not that this excuses them of any crime, if they are firstly ever brought to trials, and then secondly found guilty of the crimes which they are accused of.

What we can comment on is the general age of those so far arrested or interviewed under caution .... all of them are well over fifty years of age, with the youngest being the 59 year old Clifford. This suggests a 'culture' of some kind existed in the 'celebrity circuit' of a generation or so ago .... its very strange.

Justice Is Blind - For Rich and Poor


However they have not been found guilty of anything to-date and therefore are all presumed innocent until proven guilty, despite all the speculation on some sites. Its possible that the claims are entirely fictitious in some cases - sadly we live in a society where some people would try to make money out of falsely accusing an individual of the most hideous of crimes. Justice in these high profile cases must not only be carried out blindly, but it Must Be Seen to Be Done, or it isn't justice.

NB: Please don't speculate about identities of people not named by the police .... its illegal, often wrong, and brings down the wrath of lawyers ..... and I will delete the comments.    

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A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....