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Friday, 20 December 2013

All Fine And Dandy

I am off work for a long holiday break this year!!

I had a lot of holidays left which I was not allowed to carry over .... a practise that while common enough,  always seems a little counter productive to me. Anyway's, as per last year, no more posts until the New Year as I have other fish to fry (again) .... well Turkey's to baste.

So having enjoyed celebrating by reviewing 'The Beano' cover from December 1966 last year .... childishly transporting myself for a few moments into reliving a happier time for both me and the UK. So this year its a picture of the sadly defunct 'Dandy' Annual book from 1968, another that I will have read and enjoyed as a child, accompanied by a sugar mouse from the Xmas stocking, while waiting for my parents to say we could go downstairs to look at our main present.

The Dandy Annual 1968


Happy Christmas and New Year !!

Deep Fried Christmas Dinner

As we all prepare to pig out on the festive foods that we all like to eat ..... I was much taken by the idea that in some parts of the country, we could possibly see the advent of the all fried Christmas dinner.

Now I freely admit that I was well aware of that culinary delight known as the 'Deep Fried Mars Bars', and that they are served in Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland ....

Deep Fried Mars Bar

..... but I wasn't aware of the fact that in Ribbleton, near Preston, in deepest Lancashire in England, a chippy called 'Mister Eaters Eating Emporium', was selling deep fried mince pies, deep fried Ferrero Rochers and deep fried Christmas puddings for the Christmas period. For the rest of the year, the chippy includes battered 'Tunnock’s Teacakes' and 'deep fried cheesecake' as part of its standard fare. However what was more surprising was that the deep fried mince pies are now also served by the celebrity TV chef Heston Blumenthal, after he apparently visited the Lancashire shop last year.

It then transpired after further investigation that another chippy, Utley Fisheries in Keighley, Yorkshire, also sells these fried mince pies at Xmas time, and had also commissioned a song about them.

Deep Fried Minces Pies - A New National Delicacy?

Now this story was revealed to the world, firstly by a local newspaper in Yorkshire, and then a national newspaper picked up the Lancashire story. So yet another national decided to try out the concept of the 'whole fried Christmas dinner' and rate it with marks out of 10 ......with mixed results as shown below.

The Whole Deep Fried Christmas Meal

I was once offered a deep fried whole salami in an Edinburgh chip shop while I was drunk, but refused then, and see no reason why these deep fried delicacies are likely to be any better when I am sober. So another good reason to enjoy your roasted Christmas lunch ..... Eat, Drink and Be Merry, and enjoy the fact that you are not in the lands where deep frying lard rules!

Britains Criminal Masterminds

There seems to be no lower limit for the stupidity of most of the common criminals. Master Criminal minds like 'Moriarty' in Sherlock Holmes, they are not ..... unemployable idiots or thugs, they are.

Take the jobless man from Birmingham in the Midlands in the UK ... who for reasons that probably only he will ever know, dialled the police with a false report of seeing a gunman walking down Law Street in West Bromwich, placing a hand gun in and out of his pocket. Presumably he wanted the pleasure of seeing armed police turn up and waste their time, but only another idiot would really know what he got out of it.

However his 'cunning plan' for a bit of fun at the polices expense, all started unravelling when he gave the description of the gunman - he very carefully gave the police operator the description and put the phone down. he then walked away to no doubt enjoy the fun and games. However he had hardly got 5 minutes down the road, when he was surrounded and arrested by armed police. They had recognised him from the description given to them by the call operators ...... yes the dumb-ass had given the operator his own description for the gunman, including his clothing.

The 20 yr old, even had used his own phone to make the call, and when arrested police found that the phone in his pocket was dead, but later found the phones simcard inside the shoes he was wearing. He then tried to claim that a cousin had somehow made the call from West Bromwich, and then 'hidden' the simcard in his shoes without his knowing.

This 'story' was tested at a Wolverhampton Magistrates court and was found wanting ..... he then pleaded guilty. He was sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court to a two years supervision order, after he admitted wasting police time, and was also ordered to pay £160 costs. It's rather a light sentence all things considered (the court case will have cost thousands), and the fact that 'Brains' (as we shall be forced to call him), had also breached a suspended sentence for armed robbery given to him by Warwick Crown Court. Yes, a suspended sentence for armed robbery.

Armed Robbery - Warrants Only A Suspended Sentence In The UK

When an armed robbery only warrants a suspended sentence, you have to wonder what line in the sand someone has to cross, to go to prison in Britain these days ...... no surprise then that the head of Group 4 Securicor recently said that: " ....Britain is the worst country in the world for [armed] robbery."

BBC's Last Word On Mandela

The BBC never miss a chance to promote their own racial agenda .... Take Nelson Mandela's death. Following a large number of complaints about the 'excessive coverage' (and it did seem to go on, and on, and on, for 9 days of 'national mourning'. Which seems a tad excessive as he's not British, but hey, apparently the BBC feels it had to broadcast the whole event for some reason), the head of BBC news James Harding, refused to apologise .... In fact he said that in Mandela "we are probably talking about the most significant statesman of the last 100 years".

BBC Says: 'the most significant statesman of the last 100 years'

Really? The head of BBC News, genuinely believes that since 1913, the most significant world statesman, has been a one term black (and that may be the key word), former president, of a middle ranked third world nation.

So for example, the defeat of Fascism led by Churchill, was a less significant statesman like act, than a black man peacefully becoming President of South Africa and not taking revenge? Wasn't Nazism more of a threat to the whole world, than the apartheid system in southern Africa was? .... maybe Mr Harding should talk to his father or grandfather, about how nears to a Nazi conquest of Europe we came in 1939-41 ....

Winston Churchill: Stood Alone Against The Nazi's

Maybe we should also dismiss the achievements of Lech Wałęsa, or Václav Havel, who both peacefully set in motion the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe? ... they undoubtedly freed millions more from dreadful tyranny, than Mandela ever did.

Václav Havel and Lech Wałęsa Risked a KGB Firing Squad To Peacefully Lead Their Countries Out Of Communism. 

In fact, according to this man who studied history at Trinity College Cambridge, Mandela peacefully becoming President of South Africa, was a more significant world event than the election of the first Black President of the United States of America, or more statesman like than President Roosevelt leading the US and the free world out of the 'Great Depression'.

But perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised by Mr Harding's opinions, despite his degree in history, as he has made it a mission at the BBC that the "BBC must tackle diversity 'problem'", which tells you all you need to know about his attitudes to race .... by 'problem' he means putting more ethnic diversity on the screens (so more of the Black Ancient Brits, like the Merlin 're-write'of white British legends to Multi-culturalise them).

What dangerous garbage the BBC spouts whenever it represents its own PC views, and not ours. When it voices its own opinions, instead of simply reporting ours, and we can do nothing to get rid of them ..... a state within a state.

The unelected ruling elite of Britain have held our white British culture' in complete contempt since the 1950's, but now they are apparently in a position to actively pursue their agenda's, unhindered by the need to reflect majority public opinion.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Hidden Clawses

We sign our lives away in agreements and terms and conditions, which few, if any of us, ever read ….. however most of us would expect that its only when the 'Devil goes down to Georgia', that agreements may have an ‘Immortal Soul’ kind of risk.

In Georgia The Devil Strikes A Tough Deal

But you would be wrong ….. for in what they said was just a bid to prove that very few people actually read their Terms and Conditions (and who are we to disbelieve their claim?), in 2010 GameStation.com - a UK-based games retailer - added an "Immortal Soul Clause" to their T&Cs (The clause was added to their standard T&Cs on April 1st …. 'April Fools Day' ..... funny).

The website claimed 88% of customers hadn't read the clause, which gave the company legal ownership of thousands of their customers souls for all eternity.

Now apart from the obvious gags about their lawyers always being on hand in hell for consultations, it also makes you wonder if only Jehovah or Satan can actually legally ‘own a soul’? Or would in fact GameStation.com have had full eternal rights and be able to enforce this in some Infernal Court?

Perhaps we will never know, because although thousands signed away their souls (more than 7,500 customers), about 12 percent of their customers did notice the clause, and on clicking the relevant opt-out box, netted themselves a £5.00 gift voucher in the process.

Perhaps fearful of the outcome of a challenge (and this gag will have netted some US fishes, who might not get the joke), the GameStation executives assured all customers via an email that contained a notice of nullification of that part of the deal, and confirmed that they were not enforcing the Immortal Soul Clause.

We have touched before on the subject of selling ones Soul, and at what price (even if you’re an unbeliever), so I won’t try and claim that I would have seen the funny side of this if it had been me, even though I veer toward atheism.

Educating Audiences

I am not old enough to remember "Educating Archie", which was an old BBC radio show, which believe it or not featured a ventriloquists dummy called Archie Andrews, which was manipulated by ventriloquist Peter Brough. Now try as I might, I can't imagine how a ventriloquist and his dummy became a radio star in the 1950's .... I guess it really was a simpler more innocent time.
 
Archie Andrews - Dummy

Anyway, it was a big hit, and ran for 8 years, and acted as the radio breakthrough show for many UK comedians in the guise of 'Archie's Tutors', and the list is fairly impressive:  Tony Hancock; Benny Hill; Harry Secombe; Dick Emery; Bernard Bresslaw; Hattie Jacques; Bruce Forsyth, and Max Bygraves (TV),with a young Julie Andrews and later Beryl Reid playing Archie's girlfriend.

It then transferred to ITV TV, where you would assume it would be even more successful now that people could see the dummy and its operator .... but in fact it lasted just one season. This leads one to assume that he was very likely a crap ventriloquist, who had pulled one of the best ever con tricks in show business, by getting a radio show. Apparently once the audiences saw them in the flesh, they were 'educated' by Archie alright, and turned over the channel to BBC (there was only two channels in those days).

So what prompted this post? Well I came across a picture which triggered the thought 'That's Educating Archie' when I saw it, and although I never actually heard the radio show, or saw the TV show, I must have seen his picture somewhere, and it stuck for some reason .... here's the picture that prompted this post.

Archie Andrews- Postal Delivery On The Western Front 1917.

Maybe it is just me, but doesn't he look a ringer?

So now we know what Archie (or his Geppetto like granddad), did in the first world war  ..... so he really was just a chip off the old block.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Mythconceptions

We all think that we know about the world and its problems, particularly the apparently exponential growth of the human race and the accompanying explosion of the backward and poverty ridden masses of the third world.

So with the news that the UK population is to reach a staggering 70 million (driven by immigration and birth rate rises accompanying this fact). This was first reported in Oct 2011 BBC, but apparently was repeated again recently, causing much shock in the Daily Telegraph newspaper and others ... (Interestingly none of the reports have picked up on the fact that this "70m plus" population figure isn't some upper quartile figure, and in fact the next 10 million of population growth after that in the UK will be arrived at even faster, because we haven't stopped immigration to the UK) .... a Swedish professor, Hans Rosling, says it's time for a reality check.

That in fact all our conceptions on many of these issues are plain wrong when it comes to population growth, literacy, life expectancy, etc (although the same also applies to climate degradation - but in an opposite way, with many thinking that the worlds in far better shape than it actually is).

So here, are the 'facts' according to Professor Hans Rosling .....






As you can see some of these 'facts' are very different from what you may have thought of as the 'truths' .....

I admit that I only got 5 of the answers 'correct' when I took the test ...... so although I consider myself well informed on the subject, I only got the average sort of result. Still, what this information doesn't really address is that in absolute terms all the figures rise, even while the trends flatten out.
  • So there will be more people on the planet, not less.
  • More people in poverty, not less.     
  • More people illiterate, not less (and concentrated in certain cultures).

So the road to hell is apparently paved with 'flattening trends' ....      

Truer Words Never Spoken

In an unusual act of honesty (well partially) the North Korean government described one of its top leaders as "worse than a dog", and “Human scum” … they promptly executed him with a machine gun after a secret trial.

Now let's be fair, this man, Chang Song-thaek, the uncle of ruler Kim Jong-un, and apparently an 'economic reformer', was in fact really a bit of “Human scum”, having been a top official in North Korea for decades. His hands are also washed in the blood of hundreds of thousands (if not millions), of men, women and children, who have died in torture rooms, work camps, or simply in the periodic starvation bouts the sweep across North Korea every decade or so.

"Human Scum", Denounced, Show Trial and Executed - Soviet Style

Liberals turn away now …He deserved the bullets in the body that he got (there, said it), but where this bit of honesty fails is that, so do all the rest of this mad dog regime, who have tortured and destroyed an entire country. They are all “Human scum” who deserve only to share a bullet in the head.

His crimes, for you have to have one, even in a show trial, was that as the state report put it

"Chang dreamed such a foolish dream that once he seizes power by a base method, his despicable true colours as 'reformist' known to the outside world would help his 'new government' get 'recognised' by foreign countries in a short span of time".

Apparently, in true communist redemption style (how 1950’s USSR), he admitted all at the end (well faced with the bare electric cables and the metal bed frame): So after he admitted his "crimes" in court,  a death sentence was "immediately executed" ..... what no appeal?

His full list of crimes included:
  • Attempting to "overthrow the state".
  • Transforming his department into "a 'little kingdom'" and attempting to "trigger off discontent" within the army to mobilise a coup.
  • That he took control of the "major economic fields of the country" and "schemed to drive the economy of the country and people's living into an uncontrollable catastrophe".
  • Committed acts of corruption, by transferring construction units to his contacts and cronies (expect more than Chang Song-thaek and two aides killed last month to go in this purge).
  • Committed irregularities related to a joint economic zone with China i.e. Bribes.
  • Was responsible for the unpopular currency reforms (revaluation) in 2009. In December 2009 Pyongyang's reported re-denomination of the won, knocked two zeros off the nominal value of each banknote and led to unrest.
  • Pornography.
  • And worst crime of all 'he only clapped half heartedly at the great Kim Jong-clone's ascension and speeches.  

Also in true Stalinist style Chang Song-thaek has already been written out of history and official documentaries by the country's propaganda machine. Obviously the message here is that such a public and total fall from grace for a member of the inner elite, proves that positively no one is untouchable …. Well apart from the ruler Kim Jong-un of course.

Now if only Bush and Blair had turned their attention to this terrible regime, instead of following Bushes 'Oil Interests', we could have rid the world of this nightmare state, removed a threat of nuclear war, and been thanked by a very grateful and hard working population. 

Instead we have failed in all our interventions and merely created a bunch of violent Arabs and Afghans who hate us, and want us dead and …. Strange world.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Wild Boys

The phenomena of 'Wild Boys' or 'Jungle Children' has fascinated people for centuries .... reports from Greeks, such as that by Athenian historian Apollodorus (168-88 BC), stated that the Greek heroine 'Atalanta' was abandoned by her father Iasus at birth because he desired a son. But went on to say that she was suckled by a She-Bear, until hunters later found her, and brought her up in their community (and that was before her adventures even started).

Modern Wild Boys Are Often Self Created ...

The Romans also listed accounts of 'feral children' in great numbers. The founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus for example, are the most famous of the feral children of ancient times. But the Roman historian Procopius recorded the first ‘true’ account of a feral child. He reported that a baby boy, abandoned by his mother around 250 AD, during the invasions of the Empire known as the 'Gothic wars', was found and suckled by a 'She-Goat'. When the local survivors returned to their homes, they found the boy living with his adopted 'mother' and named him Aegisthus. Procopius stated that he saw the child himself ..... and this interest in all things 'Feral' hasn't diminished since.

War Horse

There was an interesting article on the BBC web site about the uses of animals in the wars, especially the two world wars, and this time frame excluded earlier usages such as War Horses, War Camels, War dogs, War Elephants and even War Pigs prior to the modern wars. Of course we still use dogs as mine detectors and guards, and even dolphins and seals in modern navies.

However the article concentrated particularly the first world war, and animals on the home front and featured the recruitment of zoo animals such as 'Lizzie' the elephant and some camels from a circus, to pull carts around the streets of Sheffield. There were other examples given of elephants pulling ploughs and as the article pointed out, by 1914, cars and trucks were little more than new inventions, and horse power really still did mean that for most small scale haulage (including trams), as well as on the battlefronts.

Animals On The Home Front

The British army alone employed 1.5 million horses for cavalry (outside of the Western front), and the hauling of field gun batteries around on all fronts. There were 485,000 killed in the British Army - the animals were often 'put down' when injured as the cost and effectiveness of treatment was uneconomic, unless the riders did it themselves, so the category of 'wounded' was a small statistic. When you add in all the horses used by the other combatants, the numbers used and killed must have been astronomical.

Take the pigeons for example, of the17,000 parachuted into enemy territory, fewer than one in eight survived crossing the front lines, the vast majority were killed ... no wonder they gave the Dicken Medal aka  'animal VC's', for those who made it in the Second World War. There was even an animal version of the 'Red Cross', known as the 'Blue Cross', set up in the First World War to raise funds to treat the vast number of injured animals on the battlefields.

Even by the second world war, most of the armies until the US troops arrived, still used large numbers of horses. The German army for example is remembered for its mechanised 'Blitzkrieg' tactics, but in Europe at least, it still used horses to pull supplies on the Eastern front, and in fact there is an argument that it was the over-stretching of the supply fronts because of this reliance on draught animals, that led to the USSR being saved when the Germans invaded.

No Blitzkrieg More Like Verlangsamenkrieg In Most Cases.

The strangest use of animals in modern warfare was perhaps the glow worms - used in WW1 as an aid for map reading, and maybe the saddest part of this tale was the mules used in the jungles of Burma, which had their vocal chords cut to stop them giving soldiers away to the Japanese by braying .... imagine trying to do that now, there would be 'animal rights activists' attacking soldiers on the home front.

I suspect that we couldn't fight a world war ever again, too many of our fellow citizens would actually attack us at home these days, and that's just the Animal Liberation Front, never mind the other terrorist groups in the UK ... and that's about the saddest condemnation of what our politicians have done to us as a united country, that you probably could make.

Being Your Own Worst Enemy

Can't help thinking that the saying that 'you get the governments you deserve' is true ..... So the Iranians for example depose a Shah, but replace him with a Militant Mullah and his corrupt religious acolytes, who have become millionaires while the people suffer as a result of their policies. Similarly the Philippines  … the Marcos's, their families, and crony like cohorts, systematically stripped their nations wealth for decades, and collected the best the world had to offer in jewellery, property and art.

The Marcos's were finally ousted in 1986. They were followed by a succession of Aquino's and Estrada's who were usually equally as venal, and who were in their turn deposed, and usually ended in courts for corruption .... with the usual results of being untouchable.

Top Row Imelda - Imee - Ferdinand 'Bong Bong' Jr - Marcos
Bottom Row Joseph - Jinggoy Ejercito - JV Ejercito - Estrada

The Marcos's estimated wealth was around $10bn (£6.2bn), this included paintings by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Rafael and Michelangelo; a number of palatial homes in the US and the Philippines; plus silver tableware, gold necklaces, diamond tiaras …. The list goes right on to Imelda’s famous shoe collection.

Now despite 25 years of litigation, just $4bn has been recovered by the Government from the loot, leaving $6bn unaccounted for, and presumably available to someone. There are more than 150 missing paintings - many by the grand masters - and are still unaccounted for. So you would think that even though the courts failed to ‘convict’ Imelda or her family, that at least the people of the Philippines would not be stupid enough to ‘not get fooled again’ ……. You’d think.

Well think again, because despite their 'legal family' wealth being classed as either ‘Millions’ because "Ferdinand Marcos was a gold trader before he became president, and he made his money then." (Even thought the evidence for his making any money before becoming President, is slim to non-existent – rumours that he found Japanese stolen gold, still abound), or just about $320,000, after a Supreme Court decision in 2003, which found that all but $320,000 of the Marcos assets, was  the result of theft, the Marcos's are all in political power again.

Imelda is a Philippine Congresswoman; her daughter 'Imee' is a Provincial Governor; her son 'BongBong' is a 'respected' Philippine Senator, who apparently has a realistic chance of becoming the Philippine President in 2016. What a family, and what a country for letting them back into power again ….. If they could wean themselves of voting for 'Dynasties' their countries could finally start to move forward. .... Oh and the missing paintings?

Well Imelda has happily recently posed with a BBC reporter, next to one of her latest ‘acquisitions’ a 'Picasso', and a ‘former aide’ (a former secretary of Imelda's in New York), has been convicted of conspiring to sell a Claude Monet painting, "Le Bassin aux Nymphease" to a London gallery for $32m (£20m). She was also found to have three more paintings - including another Monet - acquired by the Marcos family, still in her possession.

Mourning Madiba

Have to lead this week with a quick post about the death of Nelson Mandela .... a story that will be lead on every news report this week, and many blogs will tackle, so as usual I won't waste readers time or patience discussing his life or achievements.

Nelson Mandela 18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013

What I will therefore mention is a slant that some may not discuss, which is because of his legendary ability to forgive those who had sinned against him, his brief one term as President was possibly the only time in black African history that there was genuine hope of a Black African Government, that was free of corruption. Sadly that was not to stay that way and the A.N.C is now a corrupt organisation.

So what if the Boers and other whites had shown some foresight, and handed over power in the 1970's or 1980's, and allowed him two or three terms in power as President, steering both the country and perhaps more importantly the political A.N.C and keeping the government clean ..... the rainbow dream might have become reality ..... its only speculation, but a real 'What If' indeed.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Sexy Sirens Sell Songs

Whatever happened to talent being enough to get to the top? I am talking here about female singers, who appear to be little more than strippers these days. Now I know that sounds like some old reactionary, raging against a world from which he increasingly feels estranged, and on some subjects that accusation may have an element of truth, but I feel that I can safely refute such a charge in this argument.

Let us go back to the 1950's when the top female singers included Doris Day, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.

Doris Day  -  Rosemary Clooney

or the 1960's when the top female singers included Lulu, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Jackie Trent and others.

Petula Clark - Dusty Springfield

Similarly in the 1970's Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, and Kate Bush were the chanteuse's of the decade ....

Kate Bush - Donna Summer

Now the one thing they had in common was that their voices sold the songs, not their bodies .... oh sure, they would occasionally appear in 'risqué' publicity photos, such as these below, but they were hardly anything you couldn't show your mother, or their mothers.

Doris Day - Rosemary Clooney - Risqué But Not Rude

But suddenly things started to change through the late 1980's and into the 1990's .... sex had always sold records but never more than the lyrics or tunes, partly because records always sold more by radio than TV ..... but the charge towards nudity as the seller was really led by the rise of MTV video's. The high princess of this change was Kylie Minogue, a pop pixie from Australia who had been around for a while, but when she released the video for the single "Spinning Around" in September 2000, it became her first number one in the United Kingdom in ten years, and largely because the accompanying video featured her in very revealing gold hot pants.

Kylie Minougue - Hot Pants

This success was apparently duly noted by record producers around the globe and more of this kind of flesh flashing video was marketed by female singers .... but more importantly a legion of young wannabe girl singers, growing up in the first decade of the century learnt that what sold records was skin. Kylie herself incorporated what she described as 'Burlesque' into her videos and stage act, and broke into the US club charts with the single "Can't Get You Out of My Head", which was her biggest ever hit, reaching number one in more than forty countries, and which featured as near nudity as could be achieved ..... without quite crossing the line.

Kylie Minougue - Risqué

This mega success seemed to cross some sort of Rubicon for both the video producers and the female singers of the last decade, because we now have seen a procession of singers such as Lil Kim, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and now Miley Cyrus (a right little twerker), who seem to be in a competition to be the first to cross the final red line, and promote a record single with a nude video of themselves ..... so much so, that there have been increasingly vocal calls to get music videos age rated before their release, with an 18+ rating for many of the girl singers. Needless to say, the music business is trying desperately to prevent this, because it would probably remove half their female acts from the young teen market.

Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus - Risque or Porn?

In the last twenty years or so, we have descended a long way on the path that has led to to women selling their bodies for money on TV videos, using the excuse of a record single as the raison d'être, and so far the bottom of the barrel doesn't seem to have been scraped.

I Drink Therefore I Am

The meaning of life is an issue that many have pondered over the centuries .... few have found a solution that applies to us all, although many have claimed to. Before Monotheism, it was the philosophers of every culture who would consider this question - amongst the Greeks it was questions such as:

  • "Why are we here?",
  • "What is life all about?", and
  • "What is the purpose of existence?"

All these have been asked asked by philosophers such as Plato, and Aristotle, through to Epicurus. In the more modern era, giants such as Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Arthur Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill have all asked the questions ....

So when did this all questioning start exactly? Well certainly since men discovered brewing, fermenting, and 'krasí' ('wine'), and then started sitting around camp fires, or in huts. Conversations like 'drop of good stuff lads, makes life worth living', and then followed the next morning, by the clutching of their heads and asking the real questions; 'Where am I', and 'Why am I here', and finally 'Is life really worth living?" ... well at least until the hangovers wore off and the cycle of philosophical drinking started again.

Monty Pythons Philosophers Song May Have The Meaning Of Life

So while its easy to see why such questions were first asked, its much harder to determine if anyone ever came up with an answer (apart from maybe to say stop drinking) ..... perhaps 'Monty Python' got it right after all.

♪♪ Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table
David Hume could out-consume
Schopenhauer and Hegel
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as sloshed as Schlegel

Oh there's nothing Nietzche couldn't teach ya 'bout the raising of the wrist;
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed!

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill
Plato, they say, could stick it away
Half a crate of whiskey every day
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle
Hobbes was fond of his dram
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart
"I drink, therefore I am".

Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed ....

A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed! ♪♪

....... in other words "I drink therefore I am" 

Nuclear Clock Tick Tocks

With the news that not only did Saudi Arabia (the cockpit of Wahabism and the home of the 9/11 planners and bombers), pay for the Pakistani Nuclear weapon making program, but also has first call on such weapons should it feel the need to 'instantly acquire them', the world has stepped just a bit closer to 'Armageddon'.

Nuclear Clock Ticking Closer To Armageddon
 
The Saudis already have the delivery system in the form of the dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles bought from China in a deal in the 1980's, and for which rail track launchers have been deployed.

Once again, the US, which has close ties with the Saudi regime, is unable to put down a firm marker to stop any such transfer of nuclear weaponry (even when the Saudi's have signed the non proliferation treaty), and without doubt, Saudi Arabia will acquire the weapons (probably when Iran, the other financier of world terror, acquires them next year or the year after), and then Israel will be placed on the horns of a dilemma.

Do they stick or twist, because without any doubt, the these weapons will point not only at Iran, but at Israel, who will also face the same threat from the Iranian weapons pointed at both them and Saudi Arabia.

Whose finger will be on the buttons will be anyone's guesses - The 89 yr old Saudi King (or his likely equally elderly successor), the Supremely elderly Ayatollah in Iran, or the democratically accountable leader of a fragile coalition in Israel - all seem shaky choices for the fate of humanity to hang its hopes on should there be 'Cuba Crisis' moment.
     
Lets not beat about the bush here, two of these states are extreme theological regimes, who think nothing of killing opposition both internally or externally, and who export terror worldwide, and both of whom would also like to see Israel wiped from the map .... not a happy set of circumstances in which for nuclear proliferation to be taking place.            

Penny For Your Thoughts

When people lose trust in the money they are given by their banks, its usually the beginning of the end in some regard ..... for example the hyper inflation of the German Deutschmark in the 1920's was one of the aids to the election of the Nazi Party.

So one has to wonder what the news that Kenyan bank ATM's are accused iof dispensing fake notes could mean. The reports state that the money being dispensed by the ATM's is then being declared as 'fake' by shops, and the very same banks that dispensed the notes outside.

Fake Money Not Easy To Spot

Of course the banks have denied the accusations, and the 'Kenyan Bankers Association' tweeted: "We are not aware that it is an industry-wide issue; it appears as five isolated cases." But this denial has been ridiculed by all and sundry, including 'The Consumer Federation of Kenya', and more rumours are swirling around following a financial crime survey in Kenya by Deloitte's, which suggested that most of the money the banks lose to theft, is in fact the result of collusions between bank staff and outsiders.

'The Nation' newspaper, has suggested that genuine notes are being replaced with counterfeits when the security agents hired by banks refill the ATM machines, and a senior official of the consumer federation, reacting to the spread of these stories, demanded that banks do more to safeguard customers.

We at PC Towers, will be watching this story with interest, because it has the potential to destabilise East Africa, if the notion that the money is not real, spreads .....

Friday, 22 November 2013

Do Robot's Dream Of Suicide?

An interesting, if small story caught my eye. There are some wags who believe that we have had the first ever recorded robotic suicide ....

The prompt for this story is that a robotic cleaner (one of those round ones that circle the floor) was found burned out .... nothing unusual in that one might think, maybe a burnt fuse. But the story has some unusual aspects that raised it to a story that was reported around the world.

Apparently the cleaning device was left alone in a house in Austria and was 'cleaning' when somehow it managed to climb on to a kitchen hotplate, where it 'burnt to death'. The owners are insistent that the hotplate was turned off, and have no idea how

(a) The robot got on top of the hotplate, and
(b) how a 'cold' hotplate managed to burn a cleaning robot.

Crime Scene or Grave Plot?

The comics are insisting that the robot, bored to death by the prospect of a life of cleaning for evermore, had used its limited A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), to get on to the cooker and turn on the hotplate. The Austrian owners are planning to sue the makers of the robot after the smoke damage to the house left them temporarily homeless.

Asimov's Three Laws Of Robotics

Isaac Asimov will be laughing in his grave right now ...... it even sticks within the first two of Asimov's "Three Laws Of Robotics", but the naughty cleaner broke the third. However there is a serious note to this because one day we may well use A.I. robots to make inter-stellar explorations on our behalf .... and whose to say that these journeys, taking decades or even centuries, won't drive these intelligent robots insane?

Would we then be morally right to send them on these trips?

Sweet Revenge

A while ago, and I am sorry but I can't recall the exact date or year of the report (although it was probably 2012 -13), I saw a newspaper or magazine story that a strange disaster had hit a town in Brazil ....

CARAMEL surge hit town in Brazil. 30,000 tonnes of scalding sugar flowed over walls and threatened houses in Santa Adelia in Sao Paulo state. The flow killed fish and poisoned the local river ...

I can't remember the exact wording, or the rest of the report, but I noted this event because the story reminded me of a disaster I had read about from years ago, where a sugar vat spilt and engulfed a town ..... So I finally looked it up this week. It was remembered as the 'Great Boston Molasses Tragedy' and was when .....

150 people where injured in what became known as 'The Boston Molasses Disaster', aka the 'Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy', which occurred on January 15th, 1919, in the North End neighbourhood of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. When a large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated speed of 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and for many decades residents claimed that on hot summer days, the area still smelled of molasses.

Boston Molasses Disaster 1919

Now you wouldn't have thought that this could happen even once, let alone repeat again approximately a century later .... its almost like nature taking a sweet revenge on its ravagers. 

The Sins Of the Father

'Uber Bad taste' doesn't just extend to golf courses in the USA. Oh not by a long way, because by a strange twist of fate, by using the German term 'Uber' in my last bad taste posting, I almost prefigured the next such story to come along .... from a German Hotel.

Now I have to admit that I am a bit perplexed as to why I don't get more stories out of Germany anyway? They are after all our 'BIG brother' in Europe, and are generally freely putting their weight about with both the French and the US, having it seems finally thrown off their diffidence about WWII.

Strangely, as I recall Mrs Thatcher predicted that German reunification would lead to this Super Germany, and for that reason was not keen on it happening ....

Anyway's, the bad taste story from Germany surrounds the 'Kristall Sauna-Wellness Park hotel' which has been forced to apologise for promoting a "romantic Kristall Nacht evening" for spa-lovers

Romantic Kristall Nacht

.... on the 75th anniversary of 'Kristallnacht' ..... 'Kristallnacht' was of course the name given to the Nazi's attack on Jewish homes and businesses - On the 9/10 November 1938, at least 91 Jews were killed and tens of thousands were arrested and so much broken glass was on the streets that is was described as a 'Crystal Night'

Kristall Nacht 1938

.... The hotel has been forced to apologise and describe it as "insensitive and extremely inappropriate" as an advert but pointed out that they had used the name 'Kristall' in their promotions in the past, without complaints.

Now interestingly, I would see this event in rather a different light .... surely this shows that Germany has moved on so much, that these events are too distant for the current Germans to constantly remember, or recognise, as being their collective historic fault, it being probably their grand-parents who were alive then.

This idea that Germany should be 'punished' forever is nonsense, just as we shouldn't be asked to keep paying for 'colonialism', and its about time that we consigned some events to the history books .... the sins of the father should not be continually visited upon their children.

Slavery, UK Style

Commenting on yet another 'slavery case', Labour MP and ex Labour Culture Secretary, Dame Tessa Jowell said on BBC radio London 94.9. that

'She woke up three times during the night thinking about the women who were held as slaves for 30 years. "How is it possible? We've had so little information from the police about the conditions the poor women were living in." .... she also questioned if parts of the city were so disconnected that nobody noticed anything.'

Domestic Slavery - Not A New Crime

This is a laughable comment from one of the architects of 'New Labour' and its 'let it rip immigration policy' .... a policy that did so much to destroy social unity in the UK, and especially in London, where 38% of the population are not from the UK originally at all. Tessa Jowell is an ex-social worker and administrator for a mental illness charity (which tells you everything you need to know about her ideas), and once she had got the 'magic ticket' of a safe seat in Parliament, she was reckoned to be very supportive of the 'New Labour project', and was considered to be fully loyal to its agenda, earning herself a strong reputation as a 'Blairite' .... although her position is said to be on the right of the current Labour Party.     

She has apparently announced that she is stepping down as an MP at the next election .... well all I can say is that although that's a bit like closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted, its still better than having the threat of her returning in another Labour government in the future .... I mean honestly, what sort of person would claim that they 'woke up three times thinking about the women ...'

These are complete strangers, and although if the story is true, the women are to be pitied, I doubt few of us would really claim to have 'woke up three times thinking about the women ...'. Also the fact that the alleged 'slavers' have already been bailed by the police, suggests that there are at least a few elements of doubt in the story …  well, at least enough for it to be considered no risk to let the accused couple go back home without them fleeing. Police Officers said the arrested couple were not British nationals, and that it was "very unlikely" that the alleged victims were related to them because of their nationalities ... so the full background of this case may yet throw up some interesting details, in which immigration to the UK, legal or otherwise, are likely to feature quite a lot.

So let the politicians can the hyperbolic rhetoric, and let the police do their jobs ... who knows we may just end up with another politician saying that they 'woke up three times thinking about the poor falsely accused pensioner couple' ... stranger things have happened.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Botch Jobs

The news out of China isn't all about unprecedented economic growth, and environmental collapse - no, it includes other news, such as a tale of a botched art restoration job, in which local communist officials in the city of Chaoyang, instructed to restore some Buddhist frescoes, handed the work to a local firm, who apparently had no experience in art restoration work. So when they looked at the inside of the 270-year-old temple in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, and saw the frescoes (dated to the early period Qing Dynasty), they apparently decided that the best thing to do was put up new frescoes.

However, they also decided that rather than stick to that Buddhist nonsense, it would be better to put new murals up. Maybe with cartoon-like Taoist figures for the kiddies?

Buddhist frescos - Replaced by Taoist Cartoons - Conservation Gone Wrong

So that’s what they went with .... Gone are the ancient murals and now we have cartoon land. Cue outrage .... Not just from Buddhists.

Buddhist Frescos Partially Restored As Requested

This kinda reminds one of the Spanish pensioner, Cecilia Gimenez, who 'restored' a prized Jesus Christ fresco 'Ecce Homo' (Behold The Man), by Elias Garcia Martinez in the 'Sanctuary of Mercy Church' near Zaragoza.  She did such a poor job that it became an Internet and tourist sensation and led her to demand royalties for her work ...

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) Before Full Deterioration

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) Fully Deteriorated

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) If Properly Conserved

Ecce Simia (Behold the Ape) by Cecilia Gimenez

I doubt that these Chinese boys will get such Internet accolades ...... but maybe its not exactly their fault either. Many local councils in 'old' countries such as China, Spain, Greece and Italy, those with long histories, are expected to maintain hundreds or thousands of works of art and cultural items, whilst receiving virtually no help to do so.

Many of us want to see the ruins in foreign parts, but come back and live in modernity - but this not always an easy mix to achieve for the locals where the antiques exist, but not without a great deal of money ..... restoration work can be something of a nightmare for those councils overloaded with history.

The Things Men Do

There is probably one thing that most women can agree with, and that's that 'men are the same the world over'. And in those three quarters of the world where women are free, and alcohol is allowed, there is no greater reason for men to lie, than to make excuses for 'having a drink with the lads'.

But in the annals of male excuses for this event, I suspect that even in the ports of Europe, no man has ever used the excuse of mermaids as a reason for a piss up, but certainly not in a land locked country. However, in what I can only continue to consider a world first, the builders of two irrigation pump reservoirs near Gokwe and Mutare  in Zimbabwe, downed tools, claiming that they were being 'menaced by mermaids'. Apparently this belief in mermaids, aka Njuzu, is very strong in Zimbabwe, where they are supposed to have supernatural powers and are bad Juju

Pictures of Zimbabwe Mermaids aka Njuzu are circulating the Internet

The water resources minister Samuel Nkomo reported that "All the officers I have sent vowed not to go back there, we even hired whites thinking that our boys did not want to work but they also returned".

The solution? Ah, well, this is where many women would share a knowing glance, the minister suggested that they would solve the problem the African way by "brewing a traditional beer to carry out rites to appease the spirits" .... well we all know what those special rites are, don't we lads, 'wink'.

A Breath Of Fresh Air

In case you weren't aware of it, the world is going to hell in a hand cart, and just in case you aren't convinced, here's a little news snippet that you may have missed.

On the 18th October 2013, the World Health Organisation issued a communique, which bluntly said that the very air we breath is officially classified as 'carcinogenic' (alongside cigarette smoke) ..... now I have to qualify that startling statement, essentially they are reporting that 223,000 people per year die from lung cancer attributed solely to breathing polluted air.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed that outdoor air pollution would from now on be classified in its group 1 of carcinogens, which ranks it alongside more than 100 other known cancer causing substances such as Asbestos and Plutonium. A spokesman for the I.A.R.C said that "The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer causing substance". 

Many people in China can attest to this as being a fact ..... the city of Harbin is regularly wreathed in pollution smog for days on end.

Harbin In China - Blanketed In Smog

... and in Beijing, air pollution regularly soars to hazard levels ..... the cost of fast progress has been very heavy in that country, a cost for which they haven't received the final butchers bill.  And as if that news wasn't bad enough, there is also apparently compelling evidence that the air pollution is now increasing the number of incidences of bladder cancer.

So goodbye to the great outdoors as a breath of fresh air, and hello to face masks ..

Face Masks - Not Fresh Air In The Future

... we are already in the first stages of the world of 'Soylent Green', but many don't know it yet.

Hyperbole, Spin, And Outright Lies

What is it with the Middle East, and Arabs in particular, that makes them describe every event that affects them with hyperbole? Earlier in the year, the Turkish Prime Minister was using crazy terms such as 'hooligans', 'foreign (read Israeli) plots' and 'terrorists' to describe opponents to his high handed regime. Now we have the late terrorist leader Yasser Arafat's widow reacting to the faint possibility that he had been poisoned by radioactive Polonium-210 by describing it as "the crime of the century".

The actual report that she uses to support this outlandish claim states that 'the results moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium 210.'

He actually died following brain haemorrhage. But that's not good enough for his followers who must conjure a conspiracy out of every vulture flying over their heads. Of course, the Polonium, if it was being used as a poison had to be administered by someone close to him ...... ah well, best skip past that 'fact' as inconvenient, so perhaps not unexpectedly Palestinian officials have already said that there is only one suspect, Israel, and called for a new international inquiry into Arafat's death.

Yasser Arafat - The Usual Conspiracies Abound.

Why? What's so important about Arafat? Nothing, and as for Polonium, well while Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance, it is also found naturally in low doses in food, and in the human body, but like everything else is dangerous in very high dosages - it was used to murder Alexander Litvinenko, but in much higher quantities than was found in Arafat's remains ....and Arafat died of a stroke following a brain haemorrhage.

And they wonder why many of us consider them to deserve little support or sympathy. As the Israelis said 'more soap opera than science'.

Triva: Talking of science and facts, the last mechanical rover on the Moon, the 840kg (1,900lb) Soviet vehicle known as 'Lunokhod-2', was kept warm by polonium-210 .... and not a lot of people know that!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Yeti Nother One Bites The Dust

It was with a tinge of sadness that I read the story about the death of the 'Yeti' – or rather the death of the dream of there being a Yeti.

Apparently, it’s just an unusual and probably large brown bear, closely related to the polar bear. Its habitat in the forests on the slope of the Himalayas etc probably account for its occasionally unusual behaviour (for a bear) of walking upright, and that has caused it to be attributed as a Yeti / Abominable Snowman, rather then being recognised as a bear …. Or at least that’s the hypothesis of the scientist who has performed the latest DNA tests on ‘Yeti’ hairs brought down from the high forests.

Big Foot or Bear or a_Bush

Still this is better than the last lot of DNA tests, which said it was a 'Himalayas Goat' …. So we are heading in the right direction with a bear.

Still I can’t help being disappointed that the only major cryptological animal (Sea Monsters, Thunderbirds, Giant snakes etc) that I actually thought might be real, has apparently finally been found to be something rather more mundane.  On the other hand ... 'Jurassic Park' could be back on the drawing board. It seems that they've finally found a fossilized mosquito full of prehistoric blood!

I am not holding my breath, but hey after the death of the Yeti, at least this is a bit of good news.

I.T Dinosaur

'Flossie' the Dinosaur is to be brought back to life …. That got your attention didn’t it? Visions of a T Rex or Brontosaurus flooded your imagination, as your minds eye version of ‘Jurassic Park’ kicked in … and yes I know there is no such dinosaur as a ‘Brontosaurus’ … but there was when I was kid!

No, this particular ‘Dinosaur’ is the Information Technology version of a dinosaur – the 'ICT 1301', which was one of the first commercial large mainframe computers produced for businesses, and originally used to produce exam results for students at the University of London in the 1960’s.

It should be noted for historical purposes that the original valve computers were so large and hot that T.J. Watson of IBM allegedly said that "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers", which although never proven as a quote, makes the point about what a breakthrough the ICT 1301 and other similar machines were. Indeed you wouldn’t be looking at this on your, desktop PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smart phone if not for this breakthrough. 

Now ‘The National Museum of Computing’ has taken delivery of what’s believed to be, the last ‘working model’ left in the world of this particular computing dinosaur  … or rather it will be when they get it rebooted and running again in about 3 yrs time. It was originally saved from destruction, when a bunch of Nerds and Geek students bought it at scrap prices, and one of them stored it on a farm. 

ICT 1301 aka "Flossie" Had An Interesting Life

Strangely this model type has a bit of movie glamour, as its ‘computer looks’ meant that models featured in shows such as Doctor Who, the Pink Panther and the James Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun', which all featured ICT 1301's as props …..  Now if only it was programmed to sign autographs the museum could be on a winner. 

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