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Friday, 24 February 2017

Never The Twain Shall Meet

This is why the migrant crisis will end in tears ....

This is a picture of a pro-refugee rally in March 2016 in London. All placards provided by the Socialist Worker party ... as usual.

Pro Refugee Rally In London

Noticeably, its a picture dominated by women's faces .... reflecting the equality and open society that has developed in Europe.

Blood On The Floor

Now recently I have had plenty of things to say about one religion in particular (its hard to avoid them and their backwardness, as the death toll ratchets up), so its easy to forget that there are other religious groups who also hold strange views. Take the Jehovah's Witnesses .... a pacifist Christian group, and harmless to the rest of us (although their beliefs can make them dangerous to themselves).

They hold some very firm beliefs about blood being the symbol of life. This can cause some awkward ruptures with what most of us believe in. For example they consider that their 'God' Jehovah, is displeased by celebrations. This is actually an odd belief, when you consider the amount of feasting and partying that goes on in both the Old and New Testaments ... even Jesus attended celebrations such as the Marriage at Cana, which was a knees up of epic proportions, and he provided the wine!

Jesus Liked A Celebration And Knees Up ...

A Right Royal Do

When India's royalty lost their official powers in 1947, it was because the Indian nation gained independence from the British, who had maintained much of the local rulers powers as a cheap way of leaving locals in charge under them. In fact the number of Indian princes - as rulers were now termed by the British administrators - grew enormously under the Raj, as the British bestowed titles on landowners and chieftains.

Raja Bhaiya (Royal Big Brother) .... Just Like Granddaddy Did it

But since independence, the fates of these modern-day Maharaja's, Raja's, Rana's, Maharana's, Nawab's, Nizam's and Princes have varied. Some have sunk into genteel poverty, which has forced them to turn their old forts and royal residences into hotels to attract tourists from Europe and the US. Some like the five tribal kings of Gujarat state's Dangs region, have not ascended the political and economic ladder, as many of India's ex-royals have done, but in fact now live in huts in the jungle, with just a political pension of 2,000 to 3,000 rupees a month (about $40-60).

Blair or Bliar?

Tony Blair, the ex prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who was also the Labour Party's most successful general election winner, is a man who just can't stop himself. Despite the fact that he is no longer popular, he has now decided that there is no one out there who can pick up the battered flag of the EU Remain Campaign.

Blair Praying For A Political Comeback? .......

It was found stricken on the field of battle by the arch political scavenger himself, and now raised to the ramparts again with the "mission" to persuade Britons to "rise up" and change their minds on Brexit.

Friday, 17 February 2017

A Small Victory For Perseverance

A small Internet milestone was passed this week .... on the 16th of February this blog reached its 10th anniversary. Who would have thunk it! I certainly didn't intend to keep going for a decade. In fact after my first couple of postings I was already considering that it was a struggle to find content. This was mainly because I was making the rookie mistake of thinking that I should post fresh updates every day .... Top Tip: You in fact need to post regular blog updates, but not everyday, unless you are doing some sort of journal or diary. About once a week is the minimum.

Happy Birthday To Us!!

So here we are, 10 years later. Sadly I didn't manage the magic double of 500,000 visitor hits in a decade, and in fact at least a few thousand of the hits the blog has managed, will have been me visiting to see if there were any comments. Again, at first I made the mistake of measuring the blogs 'success or failure' in terms of 'comments' and 'followers', rather than just 'views', and that was depressing at first as virtually no one visited my pages. However I now get between 250 and 350 hits a day, which is enough for my ego to feed off ☺ and is founded upon the number of subjects I have covered over the decade.

Once A Green And Pleasant Land

Gypsy Invasions are usually nothing to do with the English Roma and all to do with Irish council estate dwellers getting into caravans, and invading the UK each summer. They call themselves travellers and claim legal protection, after the Labour Party classified them as a racial minority. They are nothing of the sort, and are simply the worst of Irish society committing crimes in England.

Tinkers, Travellers, Rubbish and Dogs .... That's What A 'Gypsy Invasion' Is Made Of.

Changing The World

When a politician sets out on their career, they often dream of becoming a national or even international figure of influence. In their wilder flights of fancy they often hope to change the course of history for their country or even, dare to hope that they can set the agenda for a continent. An example of this is the ephemeral vision of 'Middle East Peace', which occasionally grips US Presidents. Although it has to be said not by many other world leaders, who are often more pragmatically trying simply to stop Armageddon breaking out there.

Merkel Divides People ......

So most of the would be world changers fail to even make the top ranks at home, and settle for a mediocre career, warming a seat somewhere, and making up the numbers in the party machines votes. However there are some who rise to the very top, and Mrs Merkel has to be counted as one of those. She became the undisputed leader of Germany and the must turn to European leader for US Presidents and Russian leaders alike ..... but most of all she bestrides the European Union. Her opinions on all things Fiscal or Social, are those that hold sway. So on Greek debt its Germany's views that set the rules.

Twitter Politics

Donald Trumps term as the 45th President of the United States has not started well. I am not particularly referring to the arguments over specific policies, where I take the view that he made it clear what his policy ideas were, and was duly voted in to office to carry out those policies. Its called Democracy folks, and that's how its supposed to work, for good or bad.

Combative Trump At War With Everyone .... Or So It Seems.

No, what I am referring to is the complete chaos and incompetence of his team, and the method of communication that President number 45 has adopted since entering the White House. Twitter is not, and should not be the policy communication device for the President of the United States of America. The fact that he's been unable to confirm many of the senior government posts, is just another indicator that President Trump was personally and politically ill prepared for the office he has now taken (I suspect he thought he would narrowly lose the election).

Friday, 10 February 2017

TV Weird

Like a lot of people, I have something of a love for Sci-Fi and weirdness and am always drawn to these sorts of shows on TV. Nowadays they are ten a penny and indeed right now, and without me bothering to look at the schedules the following shows are currently available, 'Grimm', 'Earth - final conflict', 'Stargate - Atlantis', 'Red Dwarf', 'Special Unit 2', 'Supernatural', and indeed several more (I am ignoring the Vampire and Zombie sub series). They are now a couple of popular genres for TV companies and so a niche market is probably not really a niche market any more.

The Time Tunnel Travellers Were Lost In Space

However that wasn't always the case. Back in the day, it was slim pickings for those of us who liked the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres. We used to hug these shows to our chests like long lost brothers whenever they turned up ..... always aware that they were likely to be just dropped from the schedules at any moment .... For instance I remember that I was in shock, when the eponymous time travellers in 'The Time Tunnel' were left there, stranded in the past, after the US TV company just dropped the show mid season (The BBC recently did much the same with 'Atlantis').

Tattooing Pigs

As discussed before on this blog, the world is full of strangeness. For instance there is a Dutch artist, Wim Delvoye, who is famous for his work of tattooing pigs. Both alive and dead ones.

Three Little Painted Piggies ....

Who would have thought that the cr*p that started with the Turner prize giving awards to artists for such work as Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' (which was short listed), and the Saatchi brothers buying that same rubbish for vastly inflated sums (£150,000 ..... it last sold for a little over £2.5 million), would end up with a tattooist/artist using pig flesh as his canvas?

A Visionary Man

Hans Rosling, a man who was something of a visionary in the normally dry world of Statistics and Data Analytics's, died of cancer this week.

It was a sad loss, as anyone who saw his TED talk on how data can be obtained, visualised, and used, will attest. I won't attempt to explain how revolutionary that talk was, but simply as a tribute, I will simply add it to this post.

Copyright and Credit to TED as the owner of this TED Talk

I would recommend that if you haven't watched it, you do so, as its a real eye opener as to how we might view the world if we saw data correctly as a living and evolving thing.

What was interesting was how he showed that there is no longer a 'third world' in the way that lazy journalists (and bloggers) commonly use the term.

Its A Scary World

The world has become a very scary and strange place of late.

This Sort of Scary Is Within Our Cultural Norms ....

For those of us lucky enough to be born into the Western world, most of the scariness in our lives comes from the external cultures being introduced into ours, often via immigration, or perhaps globalisation. And the strangeness's, well they can nearly always be explained within our own cultural contexts (even The 'Donald'). Mostly it comes from our Western freedom to do our own thing, as long as it harms no others, so eccentricities abound, and are largely tolerated.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Ankh-Lesspork

The USA was apparently aghast when in one of those 'Fake News' stories (Or is it an alternative truth), that have suddenly come to haunt us out of the blue (who had even heard of the idea of fake news before this year?), reported that there was a national shortage of bacon in the USA!

Pork Belly Futures - Always Big In The USA and China

Well to be precise (and you learn something new every day), belly pork supplies (from which bacon is cut), were at an all time low. The national pork belly reserves had hit a low of about 8.2 million kg in December 2016, according to the government figures, compared with about 22.7 million kg a year earlier. The reasons given for this were many and varied. All day breakfasts at Wendy's and McDonald's being one of them.

Room With A View

News from the North is that a convicted murderer from Scotland, Graham Coutts has decided to request a room with a view.

Cell With A View ... Scenic Of Course.

The idea is that having spent much of his prison time in Yorkshire England (where he admits the food is better), he now wants to see the 'snow topped mountain' hills of Scotland when he looks out of his cell bars. His 30 year sentence is hanging greatly on him, and besides his old mum has been travelling hundreds of miles over the last 14 years or so, in order to see him once a week for an hour and a half. So Her Majesties Prison Edinburgh with a view of the Pentland Hills would be just the ticket for them both.

Hidden History

The exact location of the tomb of Alexander the Great, and his final will and settlement of his Empire have long been mysteries. The location of the tomb for instance has been lost for centuries. Initially buried in Memphis Egypt but later in the late 4th or early 3rd century BC, Alexander's body was allegedly transferred from Memphis to Alexandria, where it was reburied.

Is This His Sarcophagus?

Historically its location was known for hundreds of years, it was visited by Caesar in 48BC and partially looted later by Caligula. In 199AD Alexander's tomb was sealed up by Emperor Septimius Severus during his visit to Alexandria, and then in 215AD, some items from Alexander's tomb were relocated by Emperor Caracalla for reasons that are not clear.

Passport Blues

For all of you who are still panicking over the EU departure (as if it was a bereavement), and for whom the loss of an EU passport is like identity theft …. Panic Not!

Panic Not .....

For apart from all the various dual national schemes available for each EU member country, there are also millionaire routes as well e.g. Invest around a million pounds into Malta, live there one year, and you qualify for citizenship on an EU passport. Alternatively if you rush over to live in an EU country right now … they may be willing to offer you residency in a few years .... or maybe not.

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