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Bubbsley The Cat
While I've been not very well, Bubs has been following me round. I think she's worried that I'm going to die and I might stop feeding her. I worried if I stop moving she might try to eat me.
One by product of this is that I've been singing to her. Here are some of my favourites.
To the the tune of Fingermouse
They always wanting grubbsly cat
The eat-straight-from-the-tubbsly cat
To the the tune of Carlos Had a Dream
Bubbsly the Cat
You're Bubbsly the Cat
You're stuffed full of Dreamies
You're Bubbsly the Cat
To the Tune of Slutgarten
When I said me
You know I meant we
And when I said cute I meant Bubbsly
To Howard Hughes a Modest Proposal
So Mama T is off to see Donnie J. She's anxious to settle a Trade Deal with the legendarily unreliable Trump.
I have a suggestion. Offer him a knighthood.
Tell him he can be Lord Trump of Camberwick Green, invite him to the palace so her Madge can slap him round the chops with a big sword. Then give him a ride in the open top gold carriage and slap him in an ermine cagoule to protect him against the British weather. Actually, knowing his fondness for showers, he won't want it, germophile or no.
Do all that and she'll have him eating out of her hand. Well out of her something, anyway.
And while we're on that topic, I'm sorry Mrs M, if he grabs for the pussy, you're just going to have to lie back and think of England. Or a post Brexit United Kingdom at least.
Actually, I don't know why she's bothering. You can't fit a Trade Deal into 140 characters.
So the Supremes have ruled.
Ooooooh oooooh ooooh Baby Love (I know, I've heard that joke at least a dozen times, but I've got "Baby Love" playing on the little radio station inside my head, Dave FM).
The Labour Party says it will support the vote for Brexit. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. 52% of people voted for it and if Labour stand in the way they will have 52% voting against them . Also my leftie friends have always been anti Europe. Any form of federalism is by idefinition obviously against the principles of the political left.
Bu what it comes down to for me, we didn't vote on how we were going to come out and let's face, until last week, we had no idea what Brexit was going to be like. I still believe TM had no clue until until Trump offered her a lifeline
The people have voted for Brexit, but they did it on a argument of lies and a tide of xenophobia, so OK, let's leave, but not to become a third world country.
A council in Surrey has decided to put to the vote an increase in council tax of 15% to cover she social care for the elderly. Would I vote for this? Yes I would.
But would anyone else. Toby Foster asked the question this morning and the phone in degenerated into a whingefest about scroungers. And if you think anyone who’s got a bit a money is going to contribute then you’re just plain wrong.
But the story made me think of this.
When we had recession under Thatcher I weathered it by being a student. When I was looking for work things were on the up. When we hit the crash, I was financially stable and I guess I believed that when I needed the world to be on the up again, when I would be wanting to retire early on a decent pension, everything would be fine.
But in this Trump-Brexit-Post Truth-Isolationist-Right Wing-Fragmented-Selfish world, I know things won't be.
My mother hates the twerking man on the Money Supermarket ads. She says it’s degrading,. But it wsan’t a man in high heels who topped the list of most complained about ads.
1. MoneySuperMarket.com - 1,063 complaints:
Gary the bodyguard and his too sexy dancing.
2. MoneySuperMarket.com - 898 complaints:
Buildrs v Twerkers
3. Match.com - 896 complaints:
Woman gets home and get jggy with it
4. MoneySuperMarket.com - 530 complaints:
5. Paddy Power - 450 complaints:
Blind footballers kicking a cat to death.
6. Smart Energy GB - 253 complaints:
Itchy and Scratchy on crack.
7. Paddy Power - 220 complaints:
Scottish 2016 football anthem
8. Home Office - 216 complaints:
Short film about rape. Meant to be shocking and it was.
9. Gourmet Burger Kitchen - 195 complaints:
"Anyone fancy a nice, juicy, 6oz lettuce?" Offensive to vegetarians and vegans. Apparently.
10. Mars/Maltesers - 151 complaints:
A woman in a wheelchair discussing her new boyfriend mentions how her disability caused her to spasm during a romantic encounter, which her boyfriend 'misinterpreted'.
None of the complaints we upheld, but Gourmet kitchen withdrew their ads voluntarily.
I watched the match in the pub.
We’ve taken to going in the Graduate and eating chicken wings. I’ve been constipated fro the last couple of days so I was drinking Guinness which can have a loosening effect.
We played well.
The match took a familiar form. Two teams sizing each other up for the first half and them Wednesday coming out far better and more up for it in the second. I’d have preferred Fletcher on in the first half and Winnall in the second, but hey-ho, it wasn’t to be.
Nando’s penalty was a bit weak but his follow up was first class and took an exceptional save to keep it out of the net. If we’d have scored then, it would have been all over.
So, it looks like the playoffs again
Oh., and I’m still bunged up.
Old age and Poverty
I missed the inauguration.
I haven’t been feeling great his last couple of days and although I managed to get off work a little early I went home and went to bed. When I woke up I watched an episode of Father Brown (which I absolutely love). It finished just as the six o’clock news started.
I don’t know what I expected to hear.
Following the bizarre campaign, I thought he might have just said it was all a joke, the he just wanted to see if he could do it, that the whole thing was an elaborate prank. Then he would tear of his clothes, get the Attorney General to piss on him and run around the Lincoln Memorial tweeting gibbons had eaten his brain.
I feared that I’d hear of mass rioting with a large number of protesters being murdered the Washington police.
When the news didn’t start with this I hoped I’d hear that Trump had offered an olive branch to the majority of America that had not voted for him. I was hoping to hear he’d used his inaugural speech to attempt a start of the process of reconciliation and healing of the horribly divided nation of which he is now Commander in Chief.
I didn't hear any of these things.
It was on the news today that there is a chemical in burnt toast that causes cancer.
I can't be the only one that knows this. It's one of those things that I assumed everybody knew about the burnt crusts of bread. they contain a carcinogen. I also thought everybody knew that the amount they contain is so small that you would have to eat your own body weight in burnt toast crusts on a daily basis to tip the probability in favour of it actually causing cancer in something the size of a human being.
I assume that we all know that eating burnt toast does not make your hair curl. The myth came about because the wealthy ancient Greeks and Romans ate a lot of toast and had artificially curly hair (look at them ol' statues).
I also assume everybody knows that tin cans contain BPA, a genuinely nasty substance if imbibed, but maybe I'm wrong about that too.
Oh. And this...
Apparently we tried to fire a trident missile last year. I say tried, but we did actually fire it. At America. Florida to be precise.
Theresa May apparently knew this before she went in front of Parliament to recommend we spend £41,000,000,000 pounds on it. (I wish the newspapers would use nine noughts instead of the word billion, it's easier to get a handle on).
When asked if he knew, she refused to answer the question four times on Andrew Marr's show. Unfortunately, her last answer was along the lines of "Jeremy Corbin is a traitor and he wants all your babies to die" and so every time it's played on TV you end up thinking Corbin is heartless bastard. Repeat these things often enough and people will believe it.
I don't really care who has nukes and although it seems to have kept the peace for nearly 80 years, I'm not sure MAD is a sane policy. And it's not just that, or about a thousand pounds for every adult in the country. It would solve the problems with the health service or pay for a realistic mental health service. Or buy everybody 300 pinys of Guinness. And if there's anyone who doesn't want theirs, I'll have it.
But at the end of the day the question is this. Should Theresa May have recommend a weapons system that she knew could misfire and aim itself at Donal Trump?
Oh, hold on. That might be worth £41,000,000,000.
A Good Hard One
So it looks like Theresa is going for a hard one.
For some reason nobody is referring to this as a Hard Brexit, despite the fact that coming out of the the European Free Trade Zone is pretty much the definition of a hard Brexit. Having said that, no-one is calling a blue and white Brexit either. And remember, Brexit means Brexit.
I can’t believe that she thinks a European Community that’s annoyed with us for leaving is going to make things easy for us. And just to make sure they stay on side, Boris has called them Nazis. The whole speech sounded like Trump. She’s not sure what the deal is but it’s going to be the best deal ever.
Perhaps she’s hoping Donnie is going to pull her arse out of the fire. If I were her, I wouldn’t bank on it. While he professes to be an Anglophile, you know any trade deal going to be on his own terms.
Looks Like We've Do You Believe There Was a Man on The Moon?
We all remember (OK, many of us remember) the first words spoken on the moon, but what were the last?
They were: "We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return with peace and hope for all mankind." They were spoken by US astronaut Gene Cernan - the last man to walk on the Moon - who died yesterday aged 82.
Only 12 people have ever walked on the moon and now only six of them are left. All twelve were male, all twelve were white, all twelve were American, and despite what Cernam said we never returned with or without peace and hope for all mankind.
It's hard to say what the moon landings meant to me. I followed them with a level a detail I have only ever shown to Star Trek and Wile Coyote. I have never, ever followed anything like it. It s responsible for my interest in science, science fiction and current affairs. Reading newspapers started with spaceflight.
Will we ever go back to the moon?
Not in my lifetime, sadly. Only major governments have the resources to send men (or women) into space. I can't see Trump considering it (unless someone can convince him that it will Make America Great Again) and without the competition, Putin won't spend a single rouble getting there.
And I wonder why I get worked up about the state of the world.
This TV listing was to be found in the Sunday Herald:
President Trump: The Inauguration
4pm, BBC One/ STV
After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories - among the most common is the "What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War" setting - but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present.
The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today's feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It's a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we're not careful.
It's nice to have the Twilight Zone back, but I have a horrible feeling this might be fake news.
Talk about a game of two halves.
The first half was tedious at best, both teams sizing each other up, both sides happy to tap the ball around. Huddersfield in particular seemed happy to knock it around in their own half. They seemed to be playing with a back three none of who were capable of knocking the ball forwards. They would knock it about between the three of them until some came back to move the ball forward and we seemed happy to let them do it.
Last season, if we had a poor first half, a good second half would more than make up for it. The games where we needed to worry were the ones where we had a brilliant first half and weren't 2-0 up.
And this match was the same.
In the second half we took the game to them and they had no reply. Wallace's goal was a belter, the sending off looked petulant and Foriestieri deserved the winner.
Winnall looked just the player we need. He hung around the penalty box and took two defenders out of the game. Perhaps that's the problem we've had. All our forwards run at defences. They're too similar and we need something a bit different. Perhaps Winnall's it.
If this had been last year, today would have been a Trek review, but they're done. I knew this would happen and I made the decision to start publishing some of my stories on line. I'm starting with this one for two reasons
It is one of the first stories I wrote for a writer's group. We were given the task to write about a Ring
I've been thinking about wrestling a lot recently
In another time and place, we would visit The Ring.
- A pilgrimage to an off-license on Dixon Lane provided the tickets.
- A red Austin A40 provided the transport.
- Kia-ora provided the refreshments
- Red and blue shirts and knitted white ties provided our formal attire
- George Relwiskow provided the bills for the signatures of the gladiators.
And gladiators they were.
Mighty warriors like Kendo Nagasaki, Brian “Goldbelt” Maxine, Johnny St. Claire, Giant Haystacks, Kung Fu, Catweazle, The Royal Brothers and Big Daddy.
- The Royals and a red card and a ring filled with rioters leaving Kent Walton incensed by a liquorice torpedo.
- A little old lady with a ten pound lump hammer turned into a stage-bound starfish by an anonymous bouncer after taking Goldbelt’s arm.
- Ringmaster Ken Lazenby, being quizzed on his piles. “Shocking,” he said. “I’m paying to have them done. I’m going private, me.” he declared publicly.
- Picketing West Bar for Kendo’s release. He had refused to remove his mask and was in found in possession of two razor sharp offensive samurai weapons.
- John Cleese slapping the mat and Mrs. Bucket brandishing a brolley, running and screaming at the grapplers.
And scream we did, screeching imagined venom at the Angels and Antichrists in their Wagnerian struggle. All of life was there, a battle between good and evil with two falls, two submissions or one KO to decide. Emotions were given free rein and through their freedom, we gained release.
Sometimes, the bouts finished early and we would have to wait for our transport elsewhere. We would stay in the Grand Circle and stare at the empty ring, the radiant lights on the scuffed white canvas made vivid by the absence of its champions.
There was a feeling of finality, a knowledge that the ceremony had passed. The ring was empty. It was over. And with this knowledge came a quiet sadness and a feeling of emptiness.
But then our lift turned up and we moved on.
I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday so after I'd taken mother shopping, I laid on the sofa and felt sorry for myself. I finished re-watching watching the Christmas Practhet's and then started on Endeavour. I was a little bit groggy, but three things stood out.
The series is set in 1967 and when the computer crashed on of the scientists said "It's a computer, you can't just turn it off and turn it on again".
The computer in the episode was programmed in FORBIN 66. There is no FORBIN 66 (it's FORTRAN), but there is a film called "Colossus: the Forbin Project". It's about a super computer that takes over the world. The film in turn took its name from Colossus, the computer that cracked the Enigma Code.
But the other thing was a weird bit of dialogue.
There was a murder at the swimming pool and one of the attendants said:
In 1964 no one died
In 1965 no one died
In 1966 no one died
In 1967 *some ONE* died.
I think I've heard that somewhere before:
All the Morse products have a tendency to be a bit po-face, but this one made me smile.
I went to bed quite late last night so found myself watching the midnight news. This is what I saw:
This man will be President of the United States in 10 days time.
Also in the speech, Trump said the stories about him must be untrue because he was a Germophobe. This made me wonder what the stories were. The news said the dossier was easy enough to find on the Internet so I decided to download it and read it. The news said the story had first been released by Buzzfeed. I typed the letter B into Google and straight away it offered me "Buzzfeed Trump".
I opened the document thinking it can't be any worse than any of the other stories I've heard about him.
Then I read it.
Trees are a problem in Sheffield.
Some people want them dug up because they've fallen over the roots, other people want them to stay because they're outside their house. The council chopped some down in the middle of the night causing the kind of outrage only previously seen when a band of angry mums burned down a paediatrician's because it began with the word paedo.
But now there's a new player on the scene.
In the earlier hours of the morning forces under the control of this new entity took up a number of trees. He
did not seek permission to take up these trees and no notices were posted. No consideration was taken to the effect it would have on the local community. In fact the action caused major disruption on two major arterial roads. You'd have thought they would have had a better level of planning and at least minimal consultation.
There again 50 knot winds aren't noted for their rigorous consultation processes. Perhaps the council should consider terminating their contract with god.
There's been much said about Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globes. I've seen the entire thing and it's reasoned and delivered with over powering sadness. It's a pity that Trump's response wasn't delivered with the same grace. Surely anyone with the emotional intelligence of an autistic gibbon could see that his na-na-na-na-you-smell tweet was inappropriate for the leader of the free world.
And it's not as if the others weren't having a go. Much of Jimmy Fallon's opening speech had a large number of digs at the President Elect, including at statement to the effect of the Globes was the last place left where America still honoured the popular vote. When talking about Game of Thrones he said "What would it be like if King Joffrey had lived? Well, in 12 days we're going to find out."
But most cutting was Hugh Laurie who said this could be the last Golden Globes ceremony because it has the words 'Hollywood', 'foreign' and 'press' in the title," adding that some Republicans did not even like the word "association". He the accepted his award "on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere".
And I don't think he was referring to his character in the Night Manager.
Well, just one of those things. Now we can concentrate on the league.
Last season CC had his cup team and they played out of their skins. Maybe it was the magic of the cup or maybe it was players playing for a place in the first team. Whatever it was, the cup matches were fantastic occasions, especially when we beat Arsenal 4-1.
When I first heard that CC had made six changes, I thought, Yeah. That's about right. Create that cup team feeling and still keep the backbone of a team that's sixth in the league.
But it didn't work.
Perhaps there wasn't enough change, perhaps the players not rested didn't do the business, but it seemed like another match of missed opportunities, for both Wednesday and Middlesborough. Until the 58th minute when Middlesborough remembered that the point of a football match is to score goals.
Like I said, now we can concentrate on the league.
I wasn’t expecting much of this movie and that’s perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it.
I think the main reason I enjoyed it was because of a lack of pretention. It was a simple story, well told and well played. Jennifer Ryan and Chris Pratt make an endearing couple and Martin Sheen is a very affable droid. It rolls along at a great pace and I genuinely felt for Jim when it came to the moral dilemma that underpins the more human side of the film.
One slight problem was that my brain was looking for a twist in the tail (and I was fairy sure one of the characters would die). Also I expected one of the leads to be around at the end of the film for the bartender to be there when the other passengers came out of isolation, but it didn’t leave me disappointed.
I always say I enjoy a film if I live in their world for a couple of hours and today I did.
Eeyore-Eeyore-Eeyoreless Says That
Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's ambassador to the EU, has resigned. More than that he has left the civil service.
His departure has taught me a new word. Eeyorist. Apparently an Eeyorist is someone who sits in the corner of his own little 100 acre wood and talks down anything that anyone says. According to the Pro-Brexit press Ivan Rogers was Eeyorist in chief.
But was he? Look at what he's said. Basically, he's said that the French and the Germans are pissed at us and that fact in itself is going to make any negotiations hard. Only the wildest optimist Brexiteer (not a common combination) can think they're just going to give us what we want. He's also a deal might take ten years. That sounds optimistic. I'd go for double that.
The press keeps saying Brexit hasn't been the disaster people thought, but we haven't come out yet!! And we've spent £70,000,000,000 in quantative easing. The press haven't pointed out £385 hasn't found it's way to the health service and immigration is the highest it has been for years.
But at least we've got a few interesting neologisms, and I'd like to vote for Eeyorism as word of the Year 2017.
And whatever you think about him, you can't deny he's got the experience. And he speaks French.
I’ve been thinking about Saturday Afternoon.
When I was a lot younger Saturday afternoons had a fixed format, especially during the football season.
We would go to my Grandma’s or even my Great-Grandma’s while the menfolk went to the footie. Saturday afternoons were a bit of a TV wasteland, the BBC had Grandstand and ITV had World of Sport. There was sometimes a film on BBC 2, but let’s face it, we had other things to do.
Until 4 o’clock that is.
Because the wrestling came on and the night’s TV began. Once we’d seen Catweazle and Gold Belt Maxine and Mick McManus and The Royale Brothers we were locked in.
Next up would be the football results. Both channels had real life teleprinters and we’d wait for the Wednesday and United results to come in. Grandad would then watch the classified and check his pools to make sure he would be working on Monday. He always was.
Then we’d have the news. During that time Grom would open a tin of sockeye and a tin of chunks and we’d have pickled cucumber, pickled onions and pickled beetroot which we got out of their containers with a special pickle fork,
By now they’d be back from the match and then it was Doctor Who followed by time to go home.
When I started this post, I was just going to tell you about the wrestling, but that can wait for later.
We just haven't got a ... aargh!
There have been many times in my life where I've gotten myself into situations where I've dropped myself in it up to my knees. Head down.
What I often do during these periods is I bullshit. I tell people I'm doing something to resolve the situation when really what I'm hoping for is some sort of divine inspiration or the problem to go away or someone else to sort it it out. I keep everything rolling over in the hope that I don't get caught out. Sometimes, this doesn't work and things go badly wrong. Fortunately, for most of the times the only person I'm lying to is myself and the only person it effects is me. Oh, tell a lie, I once didn't get tickets for a gig.
And all it seems we're getting from Government on Brexit is the same sort of obfuscation, "Brexit is Brexit" or "Red White and Blue Brexit" sound like the kind of things I would say when I haven't got a Scooby. There's not much time left for them to find some inspiration or something to happen to sort it out. This is going to be one of those that goes badly wrong.
And this time it's not just two blokes not getting to see Rammstein, it's 60 million Britons who are going to miss the gig.
Thrown to the Wolves
I had intended to go to this match, but it was a sell out. I had intended to follow the match on Radio and TV but remembered I had Aunie Carol's birthday presents to drop off. Fortunately, Uncle Barrie had got Wednesday player so we listened on that.
And it wasn't easy listening.
It wasn't hard listening either, it just wasn't much of a match. It sounded like another match with some lovely football but it was all too nicey-nicey and it was a bit rubbish in front of goal on both sides.
This seems to be the story of our season. Too nice and a bit flat. I blame it on Bannon mis-firing and a lack of goals from anywhere other than the strikers. Nando hasn't really recovered from his industrial dispute, Big Dave was never fantastic and Fletcher's not proved his worth. And what's happened to Hooper? And Abdi?
Still, in the top six and hoping for better. When did that last happen?
I watched a lot of TV over the Christmas break and taped a lot more. I’m still watching it. It’s interesting that I still use the anachronism “taped”.
I said yesterday that I watched the wrestling a lot. I didn’t just watch it on TV, on Saturday on World of Sport, I went to the City Hall to watch it live. I’ve since bought DVDs of the greats, Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Kung Fu, Kendo Nagasaki and so on. I collected posters and autographs.
So when I saw that ITV were bringing back the Wrestling under the World of Sport banner I greeted it with a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation.
In the end, trepidation was the correct response.
They’d tried to Americanise it. It had an American commentator and the action carried on out of the ring like it does in WWE. Most of the wrestlers looked inexperienced. The old guys would fight four or five times a week in front of substantial audiences. The current batch were trying to be Hulk Hogan and weren’t getting over that particularly low bar.
But just once or twice, it triggered something in me. I felt the excitement I used to feel sat in front of my Grom’s telly with Uncle Gerald or from the Grand Circle with Shortie. For the smallest of moments I was fourteen again.
I still fast forwarded through the new TV wrestling tho’. I couldn’t do that when I was fourteen.
My experience of this match was a little odd.
I’d been round to my friend Debjani’s for lunch and found myself hurrying round before going out for a New Year’s Eve party. I was following thee match on Sky Sports which had it as one of their featured matches. I was just leaving as I heard the commentator say Hutch had broken the deadlock.
I switched off the TV and thought to myself I’ll put the Radio Sheffield commentary on in the car. It was odd, I knew we were ahead but the commentary seemed to suggest we were behind. Then I realised what had happened.
I arrived at my destination with injury time up and us not looking like scoring. I switched the radio off.
It wasn’t until 2 days later (when I came to write this blog entry) that I realised Adam Reach had equalised.
So, into the new year in the top six and still not firing on all cylinders. It would be nice to have a match where we go 2-0 up early on.
So here it is, New Year, new website.
My new year’s resolutions involve contacting people I haven’t seen for a long time and trying to get some of my work published.
It’s to this second end that I’ve re-done my website. I’ve improved the section on my writing. There’s a section on each of books I’ve written with the idea of just e-mailing potential agents and publishers with a link. I’m going to start firing te scattergun next week.
I was going to hard code it in CSS but I very quickly found out that this was hard work, so I found an old copy of Frontpage that still had a license key and off I went. I’ve not had a chance to the website properly and a quick look at the uploaded version shows it’s missing some pictures, but I wanted to get it posted on the first day of 2017.
January 2017, or 1701, should have some significance.
Batman, Bowie, Zika, Olympics, Passengers, Inglorious Euros, Westworld, Dad’s Army, Pearl Who? Doctor’s Strike, Suicide Squad, Brexit, Trump, Beyond, All the Trek done, Working full time, Mohammed Ali, Whemberlee, Bats v Supes, Lemmy, Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, Hanzel und Gretel,Lies, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen, Atrocious Alice, Secret Life of Pets, X-Men Again, Not so Fantastic Beats, Boaty McBoatface, Deadpool, Hats, Bloody Trees, Leicester, Prince Rogers Nelson, Our Kind of Traitor, Keanu, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Post-Truth, Queenie @ 90, Civil War, Gym, Legends of Tomorrow, Ayria, E-mails, The Jungle, Clowns, Arrival, Ukippered, HS2, Palestine, Night Manager, Fidel, Rogue One, then Alladice then Sothgate, Bake Off, Gove, 50 years of Trek, New(ish) Sitcoms, The Daily Show, FF on Strike, Bourne Again, George Michael, Blackpool Alone, 135, Girlie Ghostbusters, Aleppo, Jeremy Corbin, Lock Her Up, ID Again, Bloody Boris, Anton Yelchin, Quizzes.
Hasn't 2016 been rubbish?
I've just been looking through my blogs for the last year and there's precious little that I would like to remember.
It's hard to underestimate how bad I feel about Post Truth. I thought the world was moving in the right direction, we were becoming a more caring species in a moe unified wrld. Even if the world as a whole wasn't getting better, we seemed to know what better was. Now I'm not so sure. Isolationism and Intolerance are suddenly once again the accepted norm.
And the last little flurry of deaths in the last few days, well, that's just the full stop at the end of what seems to be a very severe sentence.
Having said all that, I think 2017 will be fine. Even if we sign Article 50 in April it will still be at least a year until we make progress towards hard or soft or red, white and blue Brexit and it's going to be 18months before Trump does something that ends the world, so we'd better take care of things while we can.
So goodbye 2016.
And good riddance.
Not So Fantastic Beasts
This was awful.
One of my more perceptive students said he was looking forward to this film because he'd grown up with Harry Potter and expected this to be the adult incarnation that could carry him into his adult life. He said he'd found it childish.
I thought there was a lt more wrong with it.
For starters, it always felt like a film, but the main problem was a lack of quality in the writing.
The complete lack of imagination was mind boggling. He had a box that was bigger on the inside, for instance. I'm sure I've heard that somewhere before. There was little characterisation and the story was trivial and poorly paced. It felt like the writers had started to write with no idea where the story was going, which might be workable for a series of novels with a cult following but isn't a way to work for a multi-million dollar movie franchise.
And it clearly is a francise. The late appearance of Johnny Depp as Grinewald and the bit parts for some other big name actors suggest there's more to come. I've just looked it up on the Information Super Carriageway, there's four sequels already in the works.
In fact, the whole thing felt like the pilot for a new TV series that I might have actually watched. Having said that, I never really watched Sanctuary and that was better thought out than this. And remember, this was a big budget movie and the start of a new series within the universe of an existing franchise and with that in mind, two words.
Another day, another death, but probably not the one you're thinking of. Jean Jacques Perrey died in November. I saw his name on a montage of dead people earlier on TV.
Not many people will have any idea who Jean-Jacques Perrey was. Many years ago I bought records from Record Collector at Broomhill. At the side of the till they had box of records for 10p and if my change was an integer multiple of 10p then I bought some odd records.
One such was "In Sounds From Way Out" by Gershon Kingsley and Jean Jacques Perrey. I was actually on my way to my Grom's and so I played it on my Uncle Gerald's record player. This is what I heard:
The entire album is like that. A mixture of musique concrete, percussion and audio oscillators. But the whole thing is just joyous.
Legend has it that two days after the release of this masterpiece of tape loops and editing, Moog held a press conference to demonstrate his first synthesiser.
Gershon Kingsley is still alive and performing. He's 96. And no, I'm not going to mention Carrie Fisher.
So that's it.
Three days and three obituaries, this time for a TV show.
If you were to ask me, I would have said I don't watch cookery shows, but if you look at my viewing habits, I do watch the competitive ones. I watched Bake Off from the start, but stopped watching it for a while when it moved to BBC 1, before returning to it at the peak of its popularity.
Today was the last of two Christmas specials. When it was over, the continuity announcer said stay tuned for for a farewell to Bake Off. It checked the EPG and saw that Eastenders followed straight after Bake Off, but it turned out there was 60 second montage which was the BBC's farewell. It finished with Mary Berry saying she had enjoyed every minute with a tear in her eye and a catch in her throat. I nearly had a tear and a catch of my own.
In other Bake Off news, it was in Saturday's Telegraph that the new presenter will be Miranda Hart and the new Judge will be her mother, Diana Hart-Dyke. I have no idea who this woman is, even Wikipedia only has her as David Hart Dyke's wife. Who he?
It'll not be the same.
Bleedin' 'Ell. I was thinking of ignoring this and doing something a bit jollier, but. Hey Ho, here goes.
Watching TOTP on Christmas Day made me realise how much I miss it. It was a fixed point in the week, Thursday then Friday nights. I prided myself on knowing what the kids were listening to on the streets. I also liked all kinds of music and this was my fix of what was popular with others.
To be fair, the late 1980s were a bit of low point for pop. The fifties had seen its birth, the sixties its heyday and the seventies were my time. By the late eighties I wasn't actually buying any modern music. I was a heavy metal axe god and still had a massive back catalogue to catch up on. I also liked the quirky and the novelty in pop music and the pop in the late 80s was hideously po-faced.
But then I can remember sitting in the Pomona talking to a group of people who were younger than me and that I didn't really know. We were talking about music and I confided that I hadn't bought an album in the year it was released since Whitesnake's 1984. One girl couldn't believe it and sent me a copy of Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 which had been released earlier that year. I loved it.
I started taking recommendations from other people about other things and my CD collection grew and grew. But it was Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 that started that that collection and convinced me that I really did like all kinds of music.
And look where that took me.
Memories of Matchstick Men and Quo
Good Grief, this blog is turning into a Grim Fest, but you can only work with what you've got.
I've been watching the obituaries on TV. Goodness, there's a lot. Today, we add Rick Parfitt.
Status Quo were something of an oddity. They existed between the Glam Rock of Slade and Sweet, the Stadium Rock of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the Heavy Metal of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. I quite liked them and I would dance in the wobbley shoulder way that was de rigeur for any Quo track.
I have a couple of memories of Quo. When I first went into hospital, it all happened very quickly. I bought a five pound Walkman from a newsagents and grabbed two cassettes, Rumours by Feetwood Mac and Twelve Gold Bars by Quo. The mindless repetition got me through some long and scary nights, but left Quo forever linked with hospital life.
I remember seeing him with Francis Rossi on a TV interview when I was very young. Cocaine abuse had resulted in Rossi destroying his nasal septum and live on TV, he pushed a cotton bud through his nose. When they go their OBEs in 2010 they said it was an anti drugs warning. It wasn't they, were just showing off, as my mum might say.
Three proselytising posts in a row? Bugger it, it's Christmas.
Michael Howard once said "Prison Works", and as much as I hate to agree, it does. When I worked in schools, I became convinced that the British public doesn't believe something is wrong unless you're punished for it, so if you're going to convince people that there's such things as property and right and wrong, then you're going to have to have some form a punishment. No-one seemed to understand that some things were just wrong.
And it's the responsibility of government to make sure that punishment is fair and leaves the victims feeling justice is done. The punishment must also be equitable and not disproportionate for the punished. It should at least be safe for the guards and guarded. How we run our prisons is a mark of civilised we are.
But this costs money, money we're not willing to pay.
It does work, I just wish we didn't need it and that somehow it was better.
I was driving home from the cinema when I heard that a madman had driven a driven 19 tonne cargo truck was into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Prom at Nice, killing 86 people injuring 434 more.
I was on the same bit of road coming back from Rogue One when I heard a madman had driven a Scania 950 into crowds celebrating Christmas in a Berlin Market.
I'm surprised by three things:
The bizarre lack of security at the market considering its location
Following Nice, I thought there were bollards everywhere
That there haven't been more attacks of this type
By this I mean Lone Wolf attacks and mass vehicular homicide. Maybe it's a to the effects of increased security.
The low number of deaths
Alright, 12 is a lot, but crowded Christmas market? Apparently the wood huts took momentum out of the vehicle.
As usual, the police had taken him in and let him go. They have to say this so that ISIS knows they're being watched and they'd be in bigger trouble if he'd slipped through the net completely.
Is it just me, or are elements of this story starting to sound like a frame up? The murderer leaves an ID document in the cab with fingerprints only on the wheel. If this was murder she wrote, Jessica Fletcher would get him off.
I genuinely believe Partition is great idea.
You've got two groups of people killing each other land so a third party grabs them by the scruff of the neck and says "You have that bit, you have that bit, that's fair." But of course both sides want the bits the other side have and then you have another war.
And human beings have wars.
It's a side path on the evolutionary trail that led to us becoming top of the tree. People die. Lots of people die, but the human race goes on.
It's one of the dichotomies of the United Nations. The ultimate end for social Darwinism has to be One-Planet Humanism, but the UN still has to deal with Nation States. Effectively, borders are supposedly negotiated through the UN, but really they were set when the UN was founded in 1945. Unless of course there's a war, civil or otherwise.
So the occupied territories aren't occupied territories, they're part of Isreal.
But in a world where President Trump is advocating isolationism and an increase in nuclear weapons, who cares?
It was my quiz again. Here are the pictures:
Alternative Christmas Message
There alternatives to Christmas.
...is a Wookiee holiday celebrated by the inhabitants of Kashyyyk every three years and according to the Star Wars holiday special, Life Day was a sacred holiday, and many Wookiees considered it their duty to return to Kashyyyk in order to celebrate it. Certain people celebrate this holiday on Earth. The same ones who put Jedi under religeon on their census return.
Buy Nothing Christmas
...is a non celebratory reaction to the commercialisation of the holiday season. They have a website.
...comes from Seinfeld. Instead of Christmas Tree, there is a Festivus Pole, a plain aluminium pole. There are no presents, but instead have "Airing of Grievances" and the labelling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles". Sounds fun.
They was robbed.
I've watched footage of their disallowed goal several times and I can't see where the foul was. The referee even blows after the ball is in the back of the net. I can see why the fans were angry.
The penalty decision was harsh but fair, but it was a fussy referee. Woody (for it was he) panics and knees Jaoa at the back of the calf. The referee originally bandied a yellow card and then followed it with a red. That has to be for dissent. As TBBM said, brave decision. While we're on the The Bloke Behind Me, he was timing the time between free kicks. The longest he got was three minutes.
As to the rest of the match, I think Wednesday are just that little bit too fancy at the minute. We play too well but lack that bite. We're always going to struggle against battling teams who defend with eleven men and whose main attacking aim is dead balls obtained by throwing themselves around.
Oh well, three points.
Nicky Morgan wasn't on Have I Got News For You yesterday. She was replaced by a leather handbag. It was vaguely reminiscent pf the time that local MP Roy Hattersley was replaced with a tub of lard. The tub of lard reformed better than the handbag and the handbag was a great improvement on anything Nicky Morgan could have done. It would have made a better Education Secretary too.
She bailed because of "Trousergate". She had complained about a picture of the PM wearing a £1k pair of chocolate brown trousers, not because of the obvious fashion faux pas but because of the cost. She said she'd never owned anything that ostentatiously expensive, not even her wedding dress then it turned out she had a £1K handbag, hence its appearance on the show.
Morgan was a Gove crony who lost her post when May took power but Mrs May seems to be falling out with a few of her party. She's already had a go at Boris and Amber fo being a bit a rubbish. Doesn't bode well for her ability to negotiate a Red, White and Blue Brexit (whatever that means).
I enjoyed this film - after a fashion.
The problem is, it feels like a film. The acting is great (particularly
Also, it's dark. Not just darker in tone (I'm not going to tell you the ending) but very sparsely lit. Star Wars is very bright future (past?) in many ways. The rebels should not be doing bad things and if they are, we should be able to see them.
The film does give an valid reason for why the Death Star has a fatal flaw. Like that.
The CGI Peter Cushing is great, but it is definitely a CGI and at times it looks a bit Polar Express. The Carrie Fisher is better, but whoever is in the Darth Vader costume (Daniel Naprous apparently) is at best lacking in physical presence, at worst a bit camp.
This is not a Christmas Turkey by any means (a barnstorming end just about rescues it) and it's better than any of the Episodes 1, 2 and 3 (and possibly 6), but I never really got into it.
Now is the Winter...
This the season to be striking. We have:
Why so many strikes? At University I studied catastrophe theory. It says that things go on until they catastrophically break. It is the science of the last straw breaking the camel's back. Eight years of austerity have exposed a lot of last straws.
And Downing Street's response? Demonise the workers and propose stiff new anti-strike legislation. Welcome to Brexit Britain.
I'm missing reviewing Star Trek so I thought I'd review my Star Trek Christmas Album. Here are some high lights.
Picard the Bald Head Captain
...had a very shiny head.
Oh Enterprise, oh Enterprise
...how lovely are your nacelles
We wish you a Klingon Christmas
...and a Q'a'pla new year
(The bets verse of this goes "We won't go 'til we get Vengence")
It's very hard to find online, probably because of copyright infringements but I think it's here. http://www.christrocks.com/merrytrekmas/
I was play in this while putting up the tree. From the song "Have yourself a merry little Trekmas" there is the line "with decorations from Hallmark and not the ones from Wallmart". Thanks again Alex.
I'd forgotten about this match completely when I went to the cinema yesterday.
I currently work late on a Tuesday so it's hard to get to mid-week matches but when I got into work today and saw the result, I remembered that I'd intended to have an easy night catching up on my blog amd listening t the match on Radio Sheffield.
It sounds like one of those matches where we were better in the second half, certainly Westwood was man of the match for his first half performance. It does however show how resilient we've become.
I've seen the controversial sending off on TV. The ref definitely shows the red card to Hutch and the scoreboard shows a red card against his name. Chaos ensues with Carlos and Heckinbottom getting into bother. Then he makes it clear that the red card was for Hamill and Hamill walks. The red card vanishes from the scoreboard. Looking at the incident itself, it looks as if Hutch goes in one footed and gets the ball and Hamill petulantly stamps on him. If that's the case, the ref was right.
Top six and still not up to full speed.
I hadn't been to the cinema for a long time and I was sitting in the house finding it very difficult to do anything at all so I went to the cinema. This was just starting.
I had expected a big budget alien invasion story (especially with a cast including Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams and Forest Whittaker), but what I got was a thoughtful first contact story.
There's been a few scientific SF films recently and I find my self comparing it to other movies. It's not 2001, the aliens are too comprehensible and the science is generally trivial or missing. Having said that, it's better than Gravity's coat of misunderstood science. Although it deals with non-sequential time it's far better than Interstellar, it's secrets better hidden and character that seems to comfortably exists between the sequential and the non-sequential. It's more satisfying than the Martian.
And at a time when we have Brexiteers and an American President riding a wave of xenophobia, this was a very refreshing change,
The tree is up again.
I now have four of the Hallmark Trek Decorations (thanks Alex). This includes McCoy, Kirk in the command chair, Spock with Horta and Kirk with Salt Vampire. I've also got a couple of Star Wars, some Guinness and some SWFC.
I had a real light horror this year. I had some cherry bulbs in blue and white and because several of the bombs (sorry, bulbs, I'm watching DS9 and the feds are trying to recapture the station) had gone in each, I decided to make one functioning mixed string. Unfortunately the bulb fittings weren't the same so after faffing about for over an hour I decided to bin the lot. I bought some pink and purple LED ones which flash and do all kinds of clever things.
One odd thing though, I think this is the first time I've ever put the tree up on my own. I usually have at least one person to help.
Yesterday I was ill.
I've been feeling under the weather for sometime and after the birthday pub crawl and yesterday a bit of a hangover had pushed me over the edge. I had decided to lay on the bed and listen to the match. I ended up sleeping through it all.
Consequently, I don't know much about this match.
Most of the reports seem to say we did OK. After a poor first half, we played much better in the second and had plenty of chances that we couldn't convert into goals. Perhap we were missing FF, but that seems to the problem at the moment. No bite in front of goal. Maybe we should give big Dave a chance.
Still, we're in a better position than we were last year at this time.
It's been a strange week for Boris.
First, No. 10 asked he press to stop portraying him as a an amiable buffoon. Maybe he should stop playing up to the role. Having said that, I'm not sure about amiable, but he's definitely a baboon. Not so Freudian slip there.
Then, just prove how un-amiable he is, they issued a condemnatory statement regarding his comments
It really does make you wonder what they were thinking when they made him foreign secretary. I thought it was either to punish him for Brexit or as some sort of stupid joke. But, listen to me Theresa, a joke's a joke so lets have someone in there who can command the respect of the rest of the world.
You don't have anyone who can do that.
Or go the whole hog and give Farage the job. That'll give the world a laugh.
Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
Oil billionaire, friend Vladimir Putin, climate change denier. Faces questions over benefits obtained after sanctions imposed on Russia. No government experience and King Swanp of the Swamp People.
Defense: James N Mattis
Nicknamed “Mad Dog”. Says it all.Really
CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Claimed wrongly that US Muslim organisations and religious leaders had not condemned terrorism. Called CIA torturers “heroes”. Opponent of closing Guantánamo Bay. Right wing nutter.
Treasury: Steven Mnuchin
Goldman Sachs alumini, hedge funder nicknamed the “foreclosure king. Made millions from the crash while the average American suffered. Wasn't allowed in the swamp for being too swampy.
Attorney general: Jeff Sessions
Joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan were “OK until I found out they smoked pot”. Immigration hardliner in trouble for using the N-word and called a black US attorney “boy”.
Labor: Andrew F Puzder
Aggressively against the minimum wage. Massively against the workers right to organise.
Housing and urban development: Ben Carson
Conspiracy theory nut. Compared abortion and same-sex marriage to slavery and paedophilia. By and isn’t ready for office. his own admission, knows nothing about housing
Environmental protection agency: Scott Pruitt
Another denier of climate change.
Steve Bannon. Chief Strategist.
Alt-right misogynist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, isolationist Nazi. Genuinely the ma who gave us Trump.
I could go on and on and on, but what’s the point? Democratic senator Sherrod Brown said: “This isn’t draining the swamp – it’s stocking it with alligators.” Or filling it with shit.
This is the end, my friend.
Trek didn’t go out with a bang or a whimper. It ended with a run-of-the-mill episode. Not a bad one, there’s a morality there, plenty of action and a courtroom scene.
We never see a female captain in TOS and although they probably existed, it was definitely a boy’s club. This was dealt with in all later allotropes of Trek including the TOS movies. The commander of the new series is meant to be female, rumoured to be Number One. I guess that brings things full circle.
It was also the last episode shown by the BBC as part of Trek’s original run. It went out on 14th December 1971, my 9th Birthday.
For Scotty fans, he plays a big part in this episode. He’s also the last character we see in Trek, it’s his hands that grab the control handle in the turbo-elevator before the doors close.
I am the Law
Writing about the Judges the other day and it reminded me of two Judge Dredd stories.
Racing driver, Ron Slattery, has fallen on hard times and become a getaway driver. Unfortunately he's as bad a gataway driver as he was a racing driver and Dredd catches up with him. When he won't pull over, Dredd shoots him through the neck. While he's pulling the perp' from the crashed vehicle the following dialogue takes place.
"There's a lesson to be learned from this," says Dredd.
"Gee, what's that?" says the perp.
"Slattery will get you nowhere."
The other Judges stare at Dredd and he apologises.
Milton Splick is getting married again. He is serial bigamist, killing his many wives fro their money.
Dredd drive down the aisle of the church on his 4000cc motorbike and shoots Milton through the neck. The bride is obviously distraught and
the following dialogue takes place.
"He's a serial bigamist. Married eight, killed six. Take it from me Citizen, there's no use crying over Milt Splick."
The other Judges stare at Dredd and he apologises.
Microfiction at its best.
I have one of the best Christmas Jumpers ever. It has a picture of a log cabin and slot that you put your mobile phone in There's an app that plays a video and makes it look like Santa is waving from your belly button.
But today I've bought two new ones.
The first makes me look like a reindeer. It's got a fluffy brown belly and a hood with antlers on, but the best thing about it is the little bells attached to it. They actually jingle as you walk along.
The second isn't a jumper, it's a shirt. It's one of those things that is so naff it has transcended naffness and travelled into wonderfulness. I've only worn it once and two people I've never met have complimented me on it and a further two have me where I got it.
Also, these may be the first selfies I've ever taken
There used to be a TV series called Crown Court. It was in the early days of daytime TV and it featured a drama set in a court with real jurors hearing the case. One six weeks holiday, I became addicted to it. I remember one story where the perp was a young paranoid schizophrenic who thought humans had been replaced by robots.
So when some one told me the goings on in the supremem court were good telly, I thought I'd give it a go.
Boy were they wrong.
A group of older, white, posh blokes (and they were all blokes when I saw it) mumbling on about something they had appeared to make up. If these were intellectual giants then I need to redefine giant.
But I suppose this is the point. If you're posh and in power, you get to define what is important, you get to construct your own imaginary arguments about an imaginary issue. And people listen to you, because for hundreds f years, they've been told to. ANd in the past, perhaps that was OK. The upper classes had the experience and education to deal with these matters for the good of the people. Now we have Boris and Farage.
But that's why we voted to come out of Europe. People weren't voting, they were tugging an electoral forelock.
Well, this was a weird little number.
It got off to a great start, both teams going for it, but Nando's goal seemed to kill the match off after 10 minutes. Everything just felt flat. Carlos was on his feet trying to get the crowd going, but it was oddly quiet. The teams were still playing well and Wednesday were playing some lovely football, but no-one seemed bothered.
I didn't really see the first sending off. It looked to me like the lino had flagged for a fowl on Nando and certainly, their players went over to argue with the linesman, but when they realised he was booking FF, walked off.
We'd made all our substitutions by the time Buckley was hurt so Carlos had to fore him back on. He was clearly in pain and was running like Quasimodo.
Also, I've never seen two players fro the same side get sent off for fighting each other. I thought this was impossible (it's not possible to foul one of your own players), but apparently violent conduct is violent conduct. I was looking right at them when the first punch was thrown and it was a belter.
Three goals, three sending offs and three players out of the game injured.
This year I have three.
I always give people at work adet calendars instead of cards. I get them from Heron Foods where tis year they were a pound ech or two for ninety nine pence.
My mum bought me a Dairy Milk chocolate one, the same one they have in the adverts. I'm diabetic but one small chocolate a day isn't going to make too much difference.
A couple of years ago I bout a wooden advent calendar and put little Star Trek figures in it. This year I bought some paints so that I could paint it but they've got lost amongst the piles of festive nonsense so I bought a felt one with little pockets to put the trek characters in. I've taken that one to work.
I got the third one from B and M on Black Friday. Behind each door is a scented tea light. They have one of three christmassy scents, fruit spice, mulled wine or cinnamon spice. I'm lighting them at night when I go to bed. The scent isn't very strong but it does make me feel that little bit festive.
All Our Yesterdays
If I'm going to finish the Trek book before Christmas, I need to get a move on.
This episode feels more second season than third.
Time Travel again but more closely linked to the many worlds hypothesis and the supernova ties up any loose ends. The fact that Spock reverts to barbarism is new though. He didn’t do it in City.
Weirdly, there is no footage shot on any of the Enterprise sets which makes me wonder if this was actually shot before That Which Survives or if they’d intended to shoot the ship stuff afterwards and the set didn’t exist.
Mr Atoz is of course Mr A to Z, a fitting name for a librarian.
Another episode where the writer wanted Mr Spock to have relationship. The lengths some of these people go to get Mr Spock into bed, in this case, actually blowing up a star. The writer, Jean Lisette Aroeste, was actually a librarian at the time she wrote this script.
This was also a photonovel.
Today I'm launching my new website.
I was going to hand code it using PHP as a mechanism for learning PHP, but as I'm unlikely to teach PHP, I couldn't be bothered. I do teach CSS so I started hand coding in that, but that proved to be hard work so in the end I couldn't be bothered to that either. In the end, I found a good old copy of Microsoft FrontPage and used the templates I'd made for the old site.
Why am I updating my site?
For starters, it's hideously out of date. Many of the links no longer exist and my interests have changed. I can't believe I ever had any real interest in on-line golf games.
But the main reason is I'm finally trying to do something with my writing and I want to use the site as an advert for that and possibly use it to disseminate sample of my stuff to agents or publishers.
So if if you're in ether of those categories, please click here.
Alpha Lyrae is in the Contellation of the Lyre. It s the 25th brightest star in the sky. It is also called Vega. I've been thinking about it because fivers are not vegan.
I used to go out with a seventh level vegan. She didn't eat anything with a shadow. We used to have to find restaurants that served Tofu in the dark. I'm assuming she'll not be using fivers.
But on a more serious note, how does this effect religions like the sheikhs who have a strict vegan policy, especially in their temples? I don't know if they have collecting plates but they're either going to see an increase in donations as people put tenners in or a reversion to the using foreign currency, buttons and the change they've found down the back of the sofa, .
I remember an episode of Taggart. The bad guys were trying to get to a man who was in prison by poisoning his food, but as the man was vegan they had to get to the trustee who prepared the Vegan menus. One of the bad guys said "Bloody Vegans, eh? Come to this country and they won't eat the bloody food!"
And now we've voted for Brexit, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Brexiteers are saying on Facebook that we should send all the Vegans back. To Vega.
It was my quiz again and I went for a Christmas theme. Here is a section of the questions and answers. Can you guest the theme?
What links Sheffield’s own Olympic Heptathlete and Postman Pat’s Cat
What does this symbol mean?
What is missing from these three musical acts. Dave Blank Dosy Beak Mick and Titch, Kiki Blank and Blank Blank Ramone
Carlos, Mata, Pablo, Sanchez and King (American footballer) are all what?
Optic means pertaining to which part of the body?
Who is this
What is this jellied alcohol product used for buffet or fondue heating or camp stoves and as an emergency heat. Much beloved by American hobos as a source of booze
With these pictures
The highlight though was when I said that Carlos, Mata, Pablo, Sanchez and King were all Juans, I heard someone saying "Whose Juan King? I've never heard of Juan King. Have you heard of Juan King?" It would have been fantastic if one of her friends had picked a random punter and said "That's him". They would have been treated to her going up to a random person saying "Are you Juan King?"
Juan King is an American Football Player.
Child abuse is news worthy again.
Five police forces are now investigating claims of historical abuse by coaches of football youth teams. Former Crewe player Andy Woodward was the first to speak out. He suffered abuse at the hands of of the Crewe Youth team coach, Barry Bennell.
This is going to major. It might even rival the Catholic Church or Jimmy Saville, especially as the victims will have a high public profile. The Catholic Church, remember them. According to their own figures, no more than 16% of priests abused their position of trust to abuse young boys and God has forgiven them. That's alright then.
In other news , Michael Mansfield QC has told the BBC that the child sexual abuse inquiry has "crumbled" and may be "impossible to fix". Basically he's saying that it's too complicated, too wide ranging to be manageable, but my guess is it's too many interested parties all convinced they're right. It's the way of the world. Two many people think they're right and stuff anyone else.
And when that happens, Truth and Justice are inconveniences and of no concern to any party.
Thrown to The Wolves
Another week and another game against a team that has just replaced it's manager. Fortuatley, Wolves didn't have the new manager bounce or "kick" as it seems to be called nowadays.
Or perhaps it was just the fact that we were bloody good on the day. By all accounts FF is back to his full form. It's interesting that he got a penalty, and I don't think there's any doubt it was a penalty. Last year he would have got booked for diving. With a bit of luck, Barry O'Bannon wil get the message and show some of his earlier form.
It was nice to Jaoa back, with a solid if not inspiring performance. It means that we're pretty much playing the team we had last year which suggests the summer signings have not been the success we thought they would be.
We're a point outside the top six which is pretty much where we were last year at this time, but remember how long it took us to take that last step. I think we're in a better position this year so a good December and we could be off to Wembley again.
Black Friday is another one of those American imports that we just don't have the background for.
Because Halloween is a late addition to our annual festivals, we just don't have the history of doing. Our parents didn't do it, their parents didn't do it and so we just don't get it when our kids do.
Black Friday wasn't an organised thing. It was just the Friday after Thanksgiving, a day off work that made people realise that they weren't ready for Christmas. The Black in the name referred to the fact that the village store wasn't in the Black until the Yuletide boost in sales.
I usually avoid it, but B&M had a straight forward 10% off everything. I bought an advent calendar that contained scented candles and six tins of cooked ham.
So long, Everard
Everard Davy has been my morning voice of news for the last 10 years at least.
I used to listen to Radio 4 but after the classic Brian Redhead years it became a shadow of its former self and the political celebrity interviews left me shouting at the radio. It was not the best state of mind to arrive at work. I started listening to new albums and just tuning into Radio Sheffield for the sport. When I started work at the college, there wasn't enough time to listen to music, I started listening more to Radio Sheffield and as annoying as I find him sometimes Toby Foster sometimes makes me laugh.
And all through this time there is the news read by Everard Davy. I always imagined him to be a big broad man, but he was quite skinny. Perhaps it was having seven children kept him thin.
But his news bulletins had a certain style all of own, but in someways very similar to my own. The occasional sarcastic "So that's alright then" and the incongruous use of language was as much a part of morning as writing my blog is a part of my night.
But he retires today.
I'll miss him.
Iceland sued by...well..Iceland.
One of my friends told me he was gong to Iceland for a break. I assumed he was refering to the new Iceland superstore at the Meadowhall retail park and that he was going to camp amongst the freezers. I said it didn't sound like much of a holiday but could he bring me back some frozen chips and a big box of fish finger. Turned out I wasn't the first person to try a variation on that joke.
But it turns out it's not a joke to the people of Iceland.
The island of Iceland is challenging Iceland Foods’ exclusive ownership of the European-wide trademark registration for the word Iceland which it said was preventing the country’s companies from promoting goods and services abroad.
Remember the Cod Wars? Yes, we really went to war against Iceland over fish. We could have gunboats in the Manchester Ship canal trying to blow up an Iceland store in Salford. Fortunately Iceland has no nuclear weapons so I'm not likely to be interfered with by an ICBM while I'm buying a bag of Sweet Potato Fries.
First the cod war, then a volcano stopping all flights, then British councils losing millions by investing in Icelandic banks, now this.
Bog off Brussels.
Oh, wait. Iceland isn't in Europe. They're a Danish protectorate so have access to the free market.
Another pointless news story from this time of year is how political correctness is invading pantomimes. You know the sort of thing, Snow White and the Seven People of Restricted Growth.
The latest seems to be a version of Cinderella where she reports her abusers to the authorities rather than a Fairy Godmother (Fairy Social Worker)?
It doesn't say any thing that the abusers are described as physically ugly and must be the bad guys . And of course, the beautiful Cinderella must be good. That's how the world work. I'm not the world's most attractive person, and I learned that lesson early.
I used to use Goldilocks and the Three Bears as an exercise in copy and paste (there's a lot of repetition). I always felt sorry for the bears. Goldilocks was clearly a spoiled brat, she'd broken into the bear's house, caused criminal damage and stole their food and while I never advocate violence in any situation I wouldn't have been unsympathetic if they had ripped her to bits.
Not a Snowball's
I've been thinking about On The Hour.
I can remember hearing the first episode. I was laid on my bed at my parent's house and it began with "It's o'clock at five o'clock" echoing PM's "It's PM at 5.00PM" and from that moment on, I loved it.
There's an interview with a government minister that goes something like this:
Interviewer : Minister, what have you to say on the cabinet scandal
Minister : Arse
Interviewer : And is that all an elected member of her Majesty's
Minister : No. Two big arses on a bench.
Interviewer : And that's the final word of a minister of the realm?
Minister : No, two big arses on a bench in drainpipe hipsters...
Interviewer : Minister, thank you.
Minister : ...with hairs sticking out.
The reason I mention this is a saw a government minister try to give his opinion of Trumps suggestion that Farage should become an Ambassador.
You could see he just wanted to say "Not a f**king snowballs".
It's that time of year again when two news stories featuring political correctness hit the news.
The first is some council somewhere banning Christmas for fear of upsetting Islam. This usually accompanied by picture of some illuminations in Birmingham from 1996 which included the word "Winterval" and was circulated by Max Clifford as proof that we were all under Sharia Law.
The second is the abject failure of some "Winter Wonderland" somewhere. This time it's in Bakewell.
The sun had the wonderful headline "Bakewell Winter Wonderland slammed by families as 'pile of s***'" and continued with
“Even Santa f***d it off and didn’t turn up.” Classy. My favourite tweet was from Roger Martin who said: “Good to see Bakewell Winter Wonderland is doing its bit to celebrate the anniversary of the Somme.”
I sort of went to Rotherham by accident this afternoon. I needed some kitchen roll and decided to go to Home Bargains. On the way there I thought "oooh, there's a big Home Bargains in Rotherham and I could get some keys cut in the Market". Turns out they don't cut keys in the Market anymore. Still, I had a great time going round the cheap shops and charity shops that make up Rotherham Town centre.
When I got in the car, I put the match on. Wednesday were winning and by the sound of the commentary were the team most likely to score next. But as I went round the ring road, I suddenly switched the CD on and the football off.
For some reason I couldn't force myself to listen. I just knew we were going to throw it away. It's how I feel about Wednesday at the moment. Last year I had confidence in us. I felt that even if we were behind, we would turn it round and if we were winning, well, I felt we would hold on to it.
Of course it might have been part of my Leonard Cohen week of tribute, but the fact is, I couldn't make myself listen to Fulham score.
And I knew it was going to happen.
Last night I went to a do. It was a posh do at the university and I went as Debjani's guest. I've been with her before and the dress code was formal. I've really enjoyed dressing up. The Tux doesn't get too much use these days and I have to practice tying a dickie bow before I go out. I like tying a dickie bow because I like untying it at the end of the night. It makes me feel very James Bond, albeit the George Lazenby one.
A also like my dress shirt. When I went to this kind of thing in the past, I had a "Rebel" shirt. Because you weren't aloud to remove your jacket, the shirt had something rude printed on the back. Mine had the Coyote doing something unspeakable to the Road Runner.
I'm telling you all this because it turned out the dress code wasn't formal, it was lounge suits.
I looked like a wine waiter.
I wasn't going to talk about Trump but I have to make a couple of comments .
Firstly, the new first family was all there. Actually, I could have chosen a better phrase. They don't look all there to me.
First, after the 60 Minutes interview, Ivanka tweeted that the bracelet she had been wearing could be purchased from her website for the insignificant sum of $10,000 and that the first ladies apparel can be mimicked for a lot less. Apparently you can get a similar dress for $150 from another Trump endorsed site. I'm not making this up.
Apparently there's been an increase in homophobic, racist, misogynist attacks, done in Trumps name. Trump's answer? To look in the camera and tell them not to. Ironic really, because they voted for Trump because he told them it was alright to be homophobic, racist and misogynist and if the only response is goig to be an insincere "don't do it" then maybe they were right.
And let's not forget, the FBI gave this to Trump.
I'm sorry to have to tell you, Britain is a police state.
Yes it's true. I heard a posh sounding woman say it on the radio. Apparently the pigs turned up at her £300,000 house in the middle of the night and told her to move her car so they could could down the tree outside her house. She put it to the man by standing under the tree branches on her ow property because she knows the law better than the council, it's solicitors and the police.
I can see them there, stamping their little open toed sandals and saying they don't like it. Diddums.
When I started writing this piece I was going to say there are more important things to protest about. It comes on But this is modern politics, what you care about is more important than what others care about
And that was all that people were doing when they voted for Brexit or for Trump. Alright, they might have been stamping their trainers, their cowboy boots, their nu-rocks or their jackboots, but the principle is the same. They were doing what they want. And this exposes the fundamental failings in democracy.
I weep for the world.
I've not been able to chant at many football matches the song "Two-nil and you f**ked it up.. Usually the opposing fans are chanting it at us. According to Google translate, the Spanish equivalent is Dos cero y lo jodiste. I'm not sure I heard that. Maybe Google isn't telling me the truth. I think it's could be 2-0 y tu Realizar el acto sexual. Maybe I should learn Spanish, it doesn't seem too hard.
Ok, so it was only a friendly, but really? The Spanish manager is being heaped in praise, and the English manager. Well...
And that's the point. Surely the bare minimum we can ask from an England manager is to keep his prancing ponies playing for 90 minutes.
So should Southgate be manager? Personally I think not. He lacks the experience and respect of the team. He's too much of a mate to some of them and remnant of the years of supposed failure to the others. To a third a group he's a crony of the FA and EUFA and FIFA and every other discreditted football organisation.
But the problem is this. Who else is there?
And that, I really don't know.
For some reason, 20 mile an hour speed limits have come up in my life.
The first was man who rang Radio Sheffield and said he'd been over to talk to a policeman who was parked on a 20mph stretch of road and was doing nothing to stop people who were clearly going faster. The policeman had said there was nothing he could do about it. I think that policeman might be in trouble.
Then it came up at work, how inconvenient and ineffective the 20mph speed limit was. My memory was that it was brought into effect in accident black spots after similar schemes had proved successful elsewhere.
It's also been in the news that the government is thinking of increasing the number of miles limitted to 20mph further.
I live on a 20mph road by a busy primary school. People rarely go less than 30mph on it, but before it was rarely less than 40. It cost nothig more than a few signs and actually trusts the motorists to make the roads safer.
Yesterday Faye, who I work with, said she thought she'd got caught by a speed cam. Coming home tonight I thought the same had happened to me. It turned out the sudden flash`was someone using the last of their rockets.
Praise or Grumble
Praise or Grumble is supposed to be the world's first sport based phone-in. It started 30 years ago.
Sport coverage was very different in the 80s. There were no live commentaries although the show had regular updates from the grounds. The rest of the show was music and interviews. It was hosted by Robert Jackson who amongst other things used to play the brass band when he wanted local team to score. It hardly ever worked.
Originally it was called The Grumble Hour and intended to fill the spot between Saturday Afternoon sport and Saturday radio designed for people getting ready to go out. Then Sheffield Wednesday won 5-0 and people were saying they didn't want to Grumble so it became Praise or Grumble. This lead many of the calls went like this
Bob : Hello caller. Is it a Praise or Grumble?
Caller : It's praise for Sheffield Wednesday.
Bob : Why is it a praise?
Caller : Cus they're brilliant
Bob : Why are they brilliant?
Caller : Er......(click buzz)
Another staple was
Bob : Hello caller. Is it a Praise or Grumble?
Caller ; I f**king hate you Bob, you're always cutting people......(click buzz)
Over the years it's got chattier and more confrontational, with the presenters being more and more controversial or confrontational, but it's a fixed point in my life.
Singing Somewhere Still
I listen to a lot of music. I have a couple of thousand CDs. I listen to Rock, Pop, Free Jazz, Spoken Word as well as both types of music (country and western). At the moment I'm listening to NDH.
But whatever I listen to, I always come back to Leonard Cohen.
I first encountered Len through hearing the track "Death of a Ladies Man". It's chorus goes "Don't go home with a hard on". I thought he was a novelty act so I bought "I'm Your Man" and loved it.
What it comes down to is his love of words, his songs are constructed like poems and without ever seeming forced or contrived and different songs have spoken to me at different times. "Tower of Song" begins like this:
Well, my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on
I'm just paying my rent every day in the Tower of Song
The album Dear Heather always felt to me like his own requiem. "Because of..." has the line "Look at me Leonard, look at me Leonard. One. Last. Time. The song "Nightingale" finishes with this rhyming couplet.
Fare thee well my nightingale
I lived but to be near you
Tho' you are singing somewhere still
I can no longer hear you
I sat in the pub and watched the England match. We had good seats near a speaker so we could hear the commentary. I had my drinking head on and we kept ordering chicken wings. The match itself was exciting because both teams were going for it. Scotland could have won of they'd taken their chances, but they didn't. England took their chances and they did.
Elsewhere in football, Wednesday seem to be having a hard time of it. We're in no worse position than we were last year at this time, but something is missing. There's not that feeling that we have something special.
That's probably why it's taken me over a week to report on the the home match against struggling Ipswich. We weren't bad, we just weren't great. It's not surprising that Carlos is talking about overturning a slump.
Why Didn't I Know?
It being Remembrance week there have been a number of news features about the war. Two have stood out for me.
The Guinea Pig Club,
This was a weird sort of drinking cub and mutual support network for British and allied aircrew injured during World War II. It was started by Archibald McIndoe. He gave much thought to the reintegration of patients into normal life after treatment. Patients were encouraged to lead as normal a life as possible, including being permitted to wear their own clothes. He built up a social club atmosphere where alcohol and camaraderie were prevalent. Many of his patients (there were 629) went on to lead happy and productive lives
The Auxiliers were the trained resistance who would have carried out guerrilla warfare if the Germans had invaded England during World War II. They had secret bases that you got into by pressing a secret switch which lifted a toilet to reveal a secret passage to hidden base. They were all volunteers and knew they had a life expectancy of two weeks (their handlers told them that dogs would find them).
But what gets me is why didn't I know these things existed.
Sport and Politics
The Poppy row has reminded me of this.
On 14th May 1938 in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in the build up to an international friendly the Foreign Office instructed that the English team make the Nazi Salute. This was an action that haunted Captain Eddie Hapgood throughout the war and for the rest of his life. I wrote these two poems about it. The first is a found poem based on Hopgood's own words.
You Just Had To
So America has gone with Trump.
I didn't stay up for the result but woke up about 4.00am and made the mistake of looking at the TV. I saw Trump was going to win and couldn't get back to sleep. Only Channel Four had got anything else on.
Misogenist, rapist, racist, Islamaphobe, elitist, anti-abortion, tax dodging, draft dodging, daughter shagging, lying, bragging, they still voted for him.
And that's how it happened. Every small minded American who has been pissed of because they've been told off for being racist, sexist, or homophobic (and all the rest) comment has had their revenge. They've put it to the man (or in this case the woman). But can it be wrong disrespecting women when the commander in chief does it. Their President is telling them they were right all along, why shouldn't they have voted for him.
And make no doubt about it, it was the FBI wot dun it. If they hadn't gone for Clinton when she was on the rise we wouldn't be where we are today.
There's so much I could write about this, but, well, it is what it is.
And after I told you not to.
Letter to America
Before we go any further let me just comment on the Press' response to the Judges ruling is a disgrace. "Naming and shaming" And the governement, and I'm Naming and Shaming Amber Rudd, have been slow to respond and have still to this and have still failed to condemn it. Social media was alive with threats of violent revolution not to say attacks on the judges themselves. Get a grip.
There is of course the obvious irony that Brexiteers campaigned on the fact that European Courts should have no say on English law and as soon as the British courts make their own ruling, they don't like it. Cake and eat it, there lads.
Do you know what Jeremy Corbin thinks of the judges decision on Thursday? No, neither do I . And I've tried to find out. Either the press aren't reporting it or he's said nothing.
Whatever the case, it is this and other factors that have meant that a May (the month not the PM) election is back on the cards. The Tories think that an election will give them such a whopping majority that they'll win any vote on Brexit. Labour are effectively out of the race either as a result of their own incompetence or the bias of the press. The biggest threat would be UKIP, but let's face it, they're a leaderless mess. We seem to be seeing a lot of Farage at the moment tho'.
Maybe the Lib Dems will be a resurgent force. Cleggy seems to be everywhere at the moment.
So the judges have said Mrs May, may not.
People are up in arms (literally) about the judges decision. Facebook is full of people saying they will storm parliament or kill a judge if we don't come out of Europe tomorrow.
The problem is that none of these people know what they mean by coming out of Europe. They have some sort of esoteric concept that says that coming out means exactly what they think it means, but are still not sure what that is. I asked on of the Brexiteers I know what he meant by coming out of Europe and if he had any idea what "soft" and "hard" exits were. He said he had voted for Brexit and that was what he was going to get. And for good measure he added "Are you stupid of what?"
What, I guess.
In the build up to Brexit, both sides seemed to be saying that the referendum was only advisory to protect themselves if they lost. Now there seems to be some doubt about it.
But the point for me is that it just show that the Government doesn't really know what it is doing.
Apparently we're not going to be allowed Poppies on armbands next week.
I think we're starting to forget what the World Wars were. When I was young, everybody had a family member who had died in the war. Above all else a poppy showed that we remembered the sacrifice of our parents generations and if it generated a few quid for those who were left behind than then that made us all feel better too.
I sort of understand why their not allowing poppies. It's using black armbands as advertising space if if it is for a good cause, but honestly, FIFA saying it's a political statement and shouldn't be allowed is well...hypocritical at best.
A friend of mine makes blue poppies because he's a Wednesdayite and red is Unitedite colour. This is how strongly he feels about football. But he still wears a Poppy because he feels strongly about the war too.
And maybe that's the point. When I was a kid, it was The War, the only one worthy of the name. Now we've had plenty of other minor tiffs, we've forgotten what The War meant.
Surely they can't stop the teams wearing plain black armbands. They should do that and we'll all know what it means.
The Savage Curtain
Three episodes left and I want this to be a book by Christmas.
I quite like this episode. I like the way they treat Lincoln at the beginning and good triumphs over evil in a typically Trek way.
This episode stands high in Trekdom because it introduces Sarek and Kahless. Kahless doesn’t have a nobbly head so the gene plague thing from Enterprise doesn’t apply. It suggests that the characters are taken from the crew’s imaginations. Colonel Green comes up in Enterprise and I always thought he would be a good villain for STID. If we’re going to have white-British Kahn…
Bizarrely, Green’s first name is Philip, but his title is Colonel not Sir. Perhaps the evil thing he did was steal the BHS pension fund.
This is the second time TOS encounters a silicon-based lifeform. (Quiz question, what is the first?). Janos Prohaska played both.
I wrote this poem about Halloween
There are things you should know
About All Hallow's Eve
And the one that you're needing the most is
If your get chased
By the ghosts and the ghouls
Make sure you get caught by the ghosties
I know it's an old joke, but the presentation, especially the hidden rhyme, is mine.
And the picture to the left isn't me wearing a Halloween mask, I really look like this.
I'm old enough to remember Orgreave.
I was at University at the time so missed it, but many of my leftie friends were there as were miners and their sons. I have many stories about the strike and the blog would be a good place to post them for posterity. I'll start with this one.
One of my friends father's became an International Pornographer. He owned a small newsagents on the outskirts of Worksop and during the strike vans of southern police officers would turn up and buy pornography from his shop. The newsagent owned a small boat and made regular trips to Holland. Because his porn supply was exhausted he bought a load of magazines while in Holland. A couple of years earlier he'd got into trouble for bringing in Tomatoes during a salad shortage (honestly) so this time he made sure he did all the paperwork and everything was above board.
But when word got round that he'd got the "Dutch Hard Stuff", police vans were queuing round the block. He made enough money to retire to Spain as soon as his kids were through Uni.
As to the enquiry, there was never going to be one. No-one died, it might bring into question the legacy of the immortal Saint Thatcher and the the Tories aren't going to gain any votes from it.
Try again when Jeremy Corbin is in power.
So they e-mail thing has come back. The FBI have probably just handed Trump the election. Actually, not the FBI, just its Republican head.
But what's pissing me off is the Republicans claiming the moral high ground. If I see another Republican commentator saying "He was damned if he did, damned if he didn't", I'll puke. He's damned because he has.
There's no point me saying anything about what's in the e-mails, are they relevant, s there a case to answer, the legality of the letter to congress, Trumps own crimes and so on becuse no-one is going to listen.
I've got so much to say on false equivalency and people who say "you can't trust either", but this says it better.
Why do we keep having to play teams who have just changed their manager?
I remember a few years ago when Wednesday were under David Pleat we had an injury list longer than a Michael Antonio throw in (he's doing alright for himself these days). Our main striker, Andy Booth, was out for the season. But when Big Ron came back (ironically against Villa if memory serves), Booth hobbled onto the pitch and scored a hat trick. If you've got a halfway decent side, there's always a bounce with a new manager.
As to the handball, yes it's a handball and yes, sending offs change matches. But we didn't get it and that's that.
I've always hated people moaning about referees, especially managers so I'm not happy with Carlos doing it. I'm glad he's not happy that we lost, but time to move on.
At the Crystal Peaks OTS thing I found myself reading some of my Advice poetry. I wrote this a couple of years ago, 64 (4x4x4) rhyming couplets each with a little bit of advice. Here's a sample.
Advice For Halloween
There are things you should know about all Hallow’s Eve
And the one that you’re needing the most is
If you’re getting chased by the ghosts and the ghouls
Make sure you get caught by the ghosties
Advice on Buying Plants
If you’re looking for a plant
May I sugget a tree
It gives us fruit and oxygen
And dogs somewhere to wee
Advice to Kevin
Don’t tell me you don’t want to spoil it
Don’t tell me you don’t know how
Don’t tell me you don’t want to lose her
Tell her and tell her now
Advice to My Mum
You praise me when I’m very good
And chide me when I’m naughty
But please don’t tuck me up in bed
Because I’m well past forty
Advice on Licking Wasps
If you want to lick a wasp
There’s one important thing
Always lick the end with head
And not the end with sting
Land of the Giants
I've been re-visiting things.
I'm re-reading Pratchett in the bath in the morning and enjoying it immensely. I have found I have little memory of the early stuff (I have just read Last Continent and couldn't remember anything apart from the fact it featured Rincewind twice). The early stuff is a bit wandering in terms of narrative but the use of language is sublime.
I'm re-reading comics in bed. Sometimes individual issues sometimes graphic novels. Again, I'm loving it.
Following my successful reading of Asimov's SF I've now got the Black Widow stories on my phone and I'm loving those too. Say what you will about Big Ike, but he could definitely tell a story.
I've also been watching Land of the Giants and it's rubbish. Every episode is the same. Get caught, get away. I'm sure I remember that there were more complicated storylines than this. When I was very young I remember asking my mum whether it was special effects or whether they used a shrink-o-ray on the actors. She told me it was the latter. Watching it these days, I know it's special effects and not really that special.
I took part in the the annual Off The Self novel slam. I got easily through the first two rounds easily but chose the wrong piece to read in the final. I still won a prize though.
This is the elevator pitch for the novel.
This is the Truth about Cancer
It’s about Chemistry and Biology and a Really Interesting New Gene. But don’t be frightened, it’s so simple that my cat understands (or at least I think she does).
But also there is a story to tell.
Within these pages you will find a man with breasts, another man with a chain saw and a classic story of girl meets geek.
There’s also advice on taking a leap of faith, the danger of thinking too much and the embarrassing truth of sperm banking.
There’s tales of good and bad luck, letters to friends and above all, the truth about cancer.
And within these pages, I promise you the meaning of life (honestly. It’s on page 197).
And maybe, just maybe, you might find the occasional laugh along the way.
So, that’s all I’ve got to say.
The choice is yours.
Do you put the book back on the shelf?
Or do you turn the page?
But let me offer a little friendly advice.
Join me and let me take you for a ride.
There are some people I’d like you to meet…
It's A Jungle
So they're closing the Jungle.
I don't see why they could have done this earlier. France has a population of 66 million. Mixing five thousand amongst those shouldn't be a problem and surprise, surprise, it's not.
I can't believe how little trouble their has been. But there again, if you offer someone decent accommodation, access to health service and education, who wouldn't want to go. There are still people who want o come to Britain, but Brexit has made many of them believe that England is not the tolerant land portrayed by the media. Remember, it was never about benefits and jobs, it was about the English way of life.
When I was younger , I believed Britain was the greatest nation on Earth and I want everyone to come and see. I wanted to welcome everyone and I still do, but the greatest nation on Earth? I need to think about it.
Maybe it's the phrase Jungle. When did Jungle become a negative phrase? I'm sure when I was kid the jungle was fantastic place, full of monkeys and George and Balou the Bear (don't pick a prickly pear by the paw...)
I blame Guns and Roses (I refuse to put in a 'n').
Out of this World
Yesterday was my mum's birthday so we went to Bridlington. My sister took my mum shopping while I went to look round. They were suposed to meet me about 300pm but they were very late and I sat on the quay inn the cold drinking teak watching lve text on my phone.
What was great about this match was we won. It wasn't our greatest perfomance Older, more mature
And it feels like the best is yet to come from Forestieri an Bannon
Trump Hates Catholics
Catholics should be voting for Trump. His stance on Islam and Abortion should enamour him of the catholic right.
But his performance yesterday at the Al Smith dinner was incomprehensibly crass. Though not a formal debate, the Al Smith dinner is part of the Presidential campaign. Who wins is based on who gets the biggest laughs, look at
Hilary got the idea but Donnie didn't seem to understand this. So while Hilary was suitably self depreciating, Trump said she hated Catholics. Yes he did. Really. I'm not making America. And still, there's no more than a 6% gap.
And I get it, I really do. I continued to support the Labour Party when they had Kinnock, then Blair then Milliband (although I ended up liking Blair) and if you're a Republican, then Donnie's your man. But how can you be undecided? He's nasty, he lies he has no polices he's a rapist, a racist and wants to shag his daughter. How can you be undecided?
And while we're on yhe topic, didnt the Pope say Trump was a religeous bigot? After the Wall first came up didn't the Pope say Trump is an arsehole? Well, he actually said
Oh, and while I remember, he has promised to sue the victims of his sexual abuse. Twat. Has he never heard the phrase "Libel bully."?
So I say again America. Don't.
So Colin's back in action.
Why did we have to play them this week. If we'd played them last week or even closer to Christmas wed' have had three points. Instead we've had to settle for one. That's the curse of Colin. He's always had a plan to stymie Wednesday, even if it hasn't always worked matches against ay Warnock team have always been hard. Perhaps a point is a good thing. I'd have taken four against Hudders and Cardiff.
Carlos says we made enough chances to win this and he's right. OK, this was only a workmanike performance, but we were in charge. We're playing some loverly footabll at the moment ever if it doesn't end in goals.
The worst thing, though, is knowing that Colin will have loved this It will have made his night. A point against his bete noire will be better than the three points he got in his first match against
Still, we're up to sixth and we're still not at our best. Could this be our season? If we make the palyoffs, we have to be the most seasoned team.
Neil Warnock is an anagram of Colin Wanker.
It was my quiz again on Wednesday. The theme was Dicks. Here are the pictures.
Amongst the bad puns were
Four letter word given to a minor form of excommunication made famous by the Amish communities of North America
How are these two grinning imbeciles better known (picture 4)
Which of course was Dick Shun Hairy and
What is the name of this gallery in London?
What is the French for gold?
The last question was what do Whittington, Barton, Dastardly and Donald Trump have in common? They're all Dicks.
How close are we to World War Three?
The situation in Syria is scary. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary (yes, I'm not making that up). is for a no fly zone over No fly zone. Who is actually flying over there at the moment? Nobody but the Russians. And if they say they're not going to stop, whose going to enforce your no fly zone, eh, Boris? Whhose going to shoot down a Russian plane? For God's sake, let's hope it's nobody.
In other news, this from the Daily Mail.
“Earlier this month, the deployment of Iskander missiles to the westernmost Kaliningrad region has worried Russia's neighbors (sic)”
Worried? They should be bricking it. I know I am, and I live over 1000km away. That's more than sabre rattling.
In other news, in the next few days, Russia will take a fleet though the channel and want to refuel in Europe. Lets see how that goes.
This one of those episodes I rarely watch.
The morality is clumsy. We don't need a poison gas in the mine to make slavery wrong.
I think part of it is the poor special effects. The caves look more papier mache than usual and Cloud City is sub Flash Gordon. For me, it was an opportunity missed for CGI enhancement. I watch these episodes on BluRay with the picture-in-picture of the original footage and actually found the original effect to be better. Having said that, the original effect of the glaciated package couldn't be bettered, but apparently its an aerial photo of the Hadramawt Plateau dry river basin in southern Yemen, taken by astronauts on the Gemini IV orbital mission in 1965. Thank you internet. For the remastered version they used a different photo taken by astronauts on the ISS. Thank you internet for that fact.
There's another classic Bill Thiess costume. Droxine is wearing next to nothing and I'm sure I can see her belly-button.
Oh, and I always thought it was called the Cloud Miners. It's not.
Seventh v Third
This was real test of where we are.
Huddersfield seem to be where we were last season. New foreign manager, recruits from a market he knows well and intelligent strategy an tactics. It's no surprise they were top for a long time and were currently second. A win here would show how far we've come.
This was not us at our best, but it was strong and professional. I didn't feel like a derby. The two teams were too cautious. The crowd responded poorly, perhaps the quietest home and way crowds I have witnessed in a long time. Despite all this, we won and we deserved to win.
As to the penalty, I've seen them given and I've seen them not.
As I said earlier, this was real test of where we are. And we came through with flying colours.
The theme of this years poetry day was "messages", so at our Off The Shelf meeting we were asked to bring poems on that theme. I took something I wrote some years ago when still went to the SF writers. It's the start of a short novella which is available here.
For the first time since the start of the crisis, he is alone.
He is normally a meticulous man, but for once, papers are scattered all over his desk. Part of his mind identifies the desk as an 1880 gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is made from the timbers of the British Frigate Resolute and for this reason it is known as the Resolute Desk. He smiles for he knows he must be resolute.
But he does not know how.
The papers on his desk are a series of reports. He has read each of them more than once.
They tell him that seventy-two hours ago, NASA’s Near Earth Object Detection Program, Project Sentinel, located a gravitic anomaly approximately one AU beyond the orbit of Neptune.
They tell him what a wormhole is in far more detail than a man of even his considerable intellect is capable of grasping.
They tell him that six hours after the appearance of the wormhole, Project Sentinel detected a massive object in the same area of space.
They tell him that closer examination using a hastily repositioned Hubble Telescope showed it not to be a single massive object, but a series of massive objects. These objects look and move like snakes. A bulbous head is trailed by a long thin body which squirms in a sinuous, serpentine fashion as the object moves through space and towards the Earth. To his mind look like intergalactic space sperm on their way to fertilise the world.
They tell him that within two or three hours any Earth based amateur astronomer with a reasonable sized telescope will be able to detect their presence, but will be unlikely to identify what he objects are. For that he is grateful.
They tell him that signal is coming from the centre of the objects. It is a simple carrier wave radio broadcast, easily converted into sound. Very soon, anyone with a short wave radio set will be able to hear the signal. This saddens him.
They tell him the message contains six words in six different languages. In Russian kapitulyatsiya, in Chinese tóu xiáng, in Japanese, gōbuku in Spanish entrega and curiously in Bulgarian, predavane. He recognises the Spanish and the Russian words but his much vaunted skill as a linguist is not called upon here, for the word is repeated in English.
He thinks it odd that the word is not transmitted in French, but then again, they’ve probably already surrendered. On reflex, he chides himself for the casual Francophobia, then permits himself a smile.
He places the documents on his desk in chronological order and tidies the loose pages into one pile.
He pushes his chair away from the Resolute Desk.
In the background, the stereo is playing the Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major. The Air is familiar and relaxes him but the piece suddenly bursts into the Gavotte and he realises he must take action.
He smiles sadly for he knows he must be resolute.
But he does not know how.
When decimalisation came in the seventies I lost out. You used to get 4 fruit salad or 4 mojos for 1d but some places charged 1p for mojos after the change. 1p = 2.4d. That a hell of a price increase.
Did anyone really think that companies weren't going to pull a similar trick when we came out of Europe.
People say you either love or loathe Marmite, but I honestly don't care. It's alright. But it appears at the moment that Tescos hate Marmite. They claim that Unilever are increasing the price of Marmite and claiming it's because of Brexit.
Whether it is real or not is irrelevant. Unilever are charging more for their products and whether it is justified or not, it is a result of Brexit. But I don't care about Marmite so it doesn't matter me.
Hold on a minute. It looks like the embargo covers Pot Noodles as well. I like a Pot Noodle. We'll have to do something about that. (Actually, by the time I'm typing this the dispute has been resolved. Phew.)
And in other savoury news, I've discovered Bacon Jam. It's Jam made from Bacon. Oddly there is no health warning on the jar.
Where has this bloody clown thing come from.
I went with a friend and her daughter and grandson to see the execrable Inside Out. There's a a scene in it with a clown and her daughter almost ran screaming from the cinema. Her grandson became equally agitated.
Clowns were never really funny. I remember seeing going to the circus when I was young and not finding the clowns funny. In fact I found them slightly annoying. But I was never frightened by them.
The reaction by the media is odd. There was a lovely interview with a boy who had needed six stitches. He said he and his friends had been surprised by seeing a clown and it "felt like we'd achieved something". The boys had then taken a few photos and the clown, annoyed by the fact they were unimpressed had attacked them with a stick. The boys father said that if he got hold of a clown, he'd do time.
I hope the police never come to my house, I own a clown suit.
I've been looking for a quote from my youth. I think it was on Question Time, the last time there was a run on the pound. They were lamenting the fact that only a few years ago the pound was worth four dollars. The quote was something along the lines of "If we ever reach the point where one pound is worth one dollar, that's the point that Great Britain will be come a third world country".
We've had £60 billion of quantitive easing, £60 billion of money we've just magicked up out of thin air, and the pound is is worth less than a dollar.
And idiots are still telling us Brexit has done us no harm.
Things will bounce back they say. No they won't. They'll drop again when we trigger article 50. It's not making any difference, they say. Oh no? We're still living off the raw materials we bought before the vote and already you get three lest clementines for a pound.
I've spent much of my life defending this great nation against supposed patriots who have told me this country is going to the dogs. Forty odd years of telling them no it isn't, it's the greatest nation on Earth. And finally, I'm starting to wonder.
It's ironic that we've come out of the union and the pound and the euro are finally the same thing.
Well that was rubbish.
2-0 against Malta, 176 in the FIFA world rankings. Throughout the match, every time a Maltese player touched the ball the commentator said something like "in his day job he works in customs at the airport" or "in he's day job he's a newsagent". Every time an Englishman touched the ball he should have been saying "in his day job he's a multi-millionaire footballer". There was no way you could tell from their antics on the pitch.
Well, I thought, it can't can get any worse. Gareth will get it sorted out. He's not as useless as he looks. Yeah right. 0-0 against Slovenia. It's saying something the much maligned Joe Hart keeps us in the game. If this is Southgate's job interview, he'd better keep his CV up-to-date.
Perhaps we haven't got the players any more, but I'd like to see the ones we've got perform.
And to me, they're not doing.
At least Scotland are worse.
The Way To Eden
Oh dear. Attack of the space hippies.
It's a Chekov heavy episode, we find he's called Pavel Andreiovich and we see him more as the young officer than the wacky sub-Beatle. He's far more conformist than we've seen before.
Herbert is a reference to Herb Solow who was in charge of production at Desilu and seen as the enemy by many of the production crew, including Roddenberry. They had already had a go at him by putting Commander Balok's puppet alter-ego behind his name n the closing credits.
Spock plays the lyrette again and that's really the only musical high spot. Some of the songs are diabolical.
According to T'Internet one of the space hippies was supposed to be Dr McCoy's daughter and she was going to be Kirk's love interest. Fortunately they couldn't find a way to make this work within the existing McCoy/Kirk/Spock relationship and thankfully, nothing remains of the scene where Spock explains parenting and romance to a distraught McCoy (although it might have worked with Kelvin Spock and McCoy).
It's not all bad. Sevrin's makeup is striking and Spock comes across as dignified. It's also nice to see the Galileo back, and the name Galileo II after it's destruction in Galileo even is a nice touch.
Finding the mythical planet Eden is a bit like Shatner finding God in the Final Frontier.
I suppose it was he nineteen sixties.
In the early days of the Con-Dem alliance I went to lobby parliament on cuts to public services after talking to Dennis Skinner and Patrick McLoughlin - then chief whip, with an actual whip on his table - found myself going round with a couple of policeman from Derby.
We collared a female Conservative MP from that city actually in the lobby. I harangued her on the cuts to support for children with special needs. She told me I was mistaken. The special schools for these poor children were well provided for. The police complained about cuts to their budget that meant a cut to their service. She assured them that a Tory government would never cut police funding. They knew who their friends were.
There are no special schools in Derbyshire and the Tories did cut police budgets
The we got onto the topic of libraries.
She said poor people didn't read books and the middle classes could afford to buy them. I asked about the rich. Apparently they have libraries of their own.
And now, while people like her are still in charge, the libraries are under attack again. A number of councils are saying that under the next round of cuts they can no longer fund libraries.
Libraries are important to me. They're a mark of our civilisation. They're a mark of the fact that as well as feeding, clothing, housing, educating and healing our population we can look after their cultural soul.
Oh. Hold on. I've just spotted the flaw in that argument.
Trump as Saville
My mum asked me who was the closest we had to Donald Trump over here. I said the closest might be Farage or Johnson, but neither came close. I then thought about Stalin or Hitler, but both of them had some feelings for something other than themselves and however they were reasoned heartfelt beliefs.
But now we know.
He's Jimmy Saville.
Imagine what would have happened if Tony Blair had been caught on tape saying these things, no matter how long ago. Trump is on tour promoting his reality TV show and he's using his status to get what he wants and he openly admits to groping women who he says are asking for it. It's unbelieveable.
Perhaps this is the one that finally gets him. His own spokesmen (and they are men) are unsuccessfully trying to deflect the conversation back to Hilary's husband's indiscretions but the interviewers for once aren't letting them. His own party are condemning it and he has apologised. Say that slowly. He. Has. Apologised.
Having said that, I'm sure there's some idiot in Denver slapping his wife on the backside and shouting "Good on yer!"
Feyt, Feyt, Feyt
I'm not making this up.
At a meeting of UKIP MEPs, a man called "Hookem" accused a man called "Woolfe" of thinking of moving to the Tories. Woolfe took his jacket and said "Alright, then, outside, now." Hookem took off his coat and followed him. An "altercation" ensued. Some time later Woolfe passed out and has spent the last couple of days in hospital. No-one denies this is what happened. Woolfe says it wasn't a fight, merely "handbags" but he says it in a way that suggests that Hookam must be something of a wuss if a bit of a slap has put him hospital.
And remember, this wasn't in the playground or a council estate. And this is how Europe sees us. Handbags. It's more embarrassing than Trump.
It's always been ironic to me that the party who's representatives have benefited most. Why are they still riding the gravy train? They've voted us out of it and if they had any honour, they'd have walked out by now and wound uo their entire joke of a party.
So here's Dave's message to UKIP. You've got what you want, now go.
Years ago when I used to drink in the Noah's Ark, I regularly used to bump into one of the regular's wife on the bus into town. For some reason, she often talked to me about how she was coping with the permissive society. I remember talking to her after she'd been to see some male strippers and her saying with great enthusiasm "I've never seen anything like it, it was like a babies arm with a Jaffa on end".
She once told me she hadn't enjoyed Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef because he'd kept his clothes on. She told me he was clearly a posh bloke pretending to be common and that was wrong, why couldn't they have proper common folk on the the Telly. Her nephew Keith made a lovely spag bol and he'd have took his trollies off if it got him on the box. Also she'd seen Oliver playing the violin and he was crap. And he wasn't a proper Villa fan either.
I worked in one school where we had real problems with kids leaving the school at lunch time. As result, the kids went back to the local chippy and shops, terrorising the locals. It got to the point where the police just brought a coach and nicked the first 50, keeping hold of them until someone came to pick them up.
And now Oliver seems upset that someone is criticising his paella recipe.
Your relationship with Blair's government might have given you the impression that you can tell us what we can and cannot eat but you can't tell the Spanish what makes a paella .
I usually get my students to watch some John Cooper Clarke on national poetry day, being careful which one I pick.
He was 8 out of 10 cats last week and he read this Haiku.
To convey ones mood
In seventeen syllables
Is very diffic
I saw Clarke in the early eighties when this poem was called "A Love Song in Reverse", it's now called by the last word. I love the rhyme structure (-A-A-BCBC) and some of the use of language is exquisite ("Like the shadow of the guillotine on a dead consumptive's face"), but it will always be remembered for that last word.
I don't recommend this one for my students, they have to find it themselves.
During the long holidays I like to have a cooked breakfast. Just over a month ago I bought some kippers. They've been sitting in the fridge ever since. They're sealed and possibly still edible, still completely functional as kippers, but I've started to throw them away.
But having said all that my kippers have lasted longer than Diane James, who resigned after 18 days in charge of UKIP. He statement basically says that the upper echelons of the party could not get behind her. Who'd have thought it, eh? A party that thinks a woman's place is in the kitchen doesn't respect a woman they've put in charge. Oh well, I guess that knobhead who didn't get his application form submitted on time will have a chance to run. Or maybe that's what's behind it all.
But I have to ask, what are UKIP for?
UKIP were never a political party, they were a protest group. They've got what they wanted so now maybe they just shut up and go away.
I've thrown my kippers away and like my kippers, UKIP are long past their sell by date.
Death and Taxes
For anyone else in politics, not paying tax would be political death.
But not Donnie J.
Apparently, not paying tax is a mark of how good a businessman he is (eh?). And his poll ratings go up.
The problem is it doesn't matter what terrible thing he does, his supporters take it as another validation of his anti establishment credentials.
And Hil has no answer to this. Everyone who has ever been criticised for homophobic, sexist, racist or islamaphobic behaviour thinks that they'll be able to behave this way without impugnity. And if that's the case, what can break him? What can he do that won't have some section of the population sayin "Yay. it's OK for me to do that." Put his cock in a pigs mouth perhaps.
Some people are stupid enough to think that if he doesn't pay tax they won't have to pay either. And that's the point, if the President is not paying taxes, how can he expect others to do so? And that is why there's a bounce. . They somehow haven't noticed that he's the worst type of hypocrite, the one that says "Do as I say, not as I do".
Ben Franklyn, an true American once said that "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". Not for Donnie J they're not.
The former Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police, David Compton, doesn't have a job. That's all we can say. He hasn't been sacked or dismissed, nor has he resigned.
So that's sorted then.
My theory is that he was told to apologise after the inquest and he's be looked after both publicly and financially. He would have done the honourable thing and ho harm would come to him. And he was stupid enough to believe them.
Let's be clear, I'm not defending David Compton, but whatever, for the victims families nothing is ever going to be enough. Until his knackers are hanging from the Liver Building and and the testicles of anyone ever involved with the South Yorkshire police are given to the people of Liverpool as Christmas Decorations this will never end. Actually, that's not going to be enough either. They'll want something from the women and children too.
I remember the wonderful feeling of optimism at the end of the £70 millon enquiry. Finally we could draw a line under it and the victims could have some peace.
That was going to happen.
Okay, so we owed them.
They finished something like two hundred points and eighteen places above us in the league but still didn't make it to Wembley, but why did we make five changes to the team that performed so professionally on Tuesday? I can understand FF starting, but the others? Why change a winning team? I'm sure CC knows best. In Carlos we trust.
It sounds like we had the better of the second half, but that's only good if we're scoring goals and stopping them doing it.
A win today would have put us in the top six. It was the same last season. It took us ages to get into that top six, but when we did, we held on. Let's hope it's the same this year, I fancy another trip to Wembley.
As I write this, I realise I don't actually know what the final score was. We were losing 2-0 when a friend came round with her grandkids so it was five hours of Paw Patrol rather than the Praise or Grumble.
Oh, it was 2-1. Hooper. 96th Minute. Let's not leave it so late next time.
HS2 is in the news again. The new plan is to take it into Sheffield centre and the old Victoria Station. AS an aging Sheffielder and Trainspotter, I like this idea. It's not so popular with the people of Barnsley and Doncaster who see this as another example of Sheffield's imperialism and the people of Mexborough who face losing their houses.
What do they think is going to happen? Don't they realise that if their houses are saved then it's just going to be somebody else's house? Of course they do, they just don't care.
Ed Milliband has gotten involved. I always felt sorry for him, feeling he got an unfair deal from the press, but this illustrates his underlying weakness. In a statement that basically says "Please like me" he shows again that he is incapable of making hard decisions and doesn't see the consequences of his flip-flop indecision.
As Sheffield taking over Donnie and Barnsley? Sheffield is the major population and business centre and whether they like it or not the Sheffield City Reason exists. They's profit more from hanging on Sheffield's coat-tails than trying to go it alone.
Anyway, I really don't see what the people of Mexborough are worrying about. Do they really think HS2 is going to get built?
When I was younger and heard that Ronal Reagan was to become president I feared for the safety of the world. I needn't have worried. Ronnie was a figurehead for a group of far brighter people who had a vision for the AMerica and the world. They were smart enough to realise they themsleves would ever be Presidents so they found someone who could and got on with their agenda.
But Trump, there's no smart guys behind him. He does it all himself. He went down to the spin room after Monday's debate to tell everyone that he's won. Surely that's someone else's job. He spent a night on Twitter defaming an ex-Miss Universe - himself. And then it was him ringing breakfast TV programs to tell them he'd won, that Hilary was crooked and smear Alicia Machado.
And this is the problem. Trump sees himself as the sole arbiter of everything. And if any one dissents then he fires them.
He truly believes that whatever he says is true, by definition. He's thought it so it must be true. This is pretty much the definition of delusional. He should be institutionalised, not running for president.
And they're still neck and neck the polls.
I remember where I was when Kevin Keegan resigned. I was in that petrol station on Olive Grove Road. He said he's realised he couldn't do the job. I thought it was a noble decision.
This is my theory.
Sam Allardyce took on the greatest job in the world with a dream, a dream he could make a difference. He believed that he would be the man who would lead his country to the next world cup. He believed he had the players, the man management skills, the resources and the backing to make this dream a reality.
Then he woke up.
He found his players were Prima Donnas, that they hadn't the heart to play for his country, that he couldn't mamage a team of pretty boy millionaires. That his backers hadn't got a clue and that the FA new nothing about football or business and were worse than any Chairman he had worked for. He found his triumphal first match would be a lacklustre affair rescued from ridicule by a scrappy last minute goal.
Then Sam Allardyce woke up one morning and found himself on the front page of the Telegraph and on every breakfast show in the country.
And he thought "Stuff it."
For God's sake don't let it be Southgate.
The word that seems to come up most times in the reports of this match is "professional".
And maybe that's what we need. Last year we scored for fun and played with fluency and flair. The fluency and flair s still there but not the goals. What we need is end product and that's what we're missing.
Thank goodness for Stephen Fletcher. He seems to our one centre forward who knows what a goal is. He looks like our best buy and worth what ever we're paying him. FF is still a bit of last year's form but is improving and the midfield still hasn't really found its feet. But four wins from five and it looks like we're getting there.
At least Carlos won't think the team is trying to kill him.
We're seventh. I we'd beat Birmingham, we'd be second.
At this moment my view of American politics comes from the Daily Show and Last Week Tonight, both of which I find immensely amusing. They present Trump as a dangerous, misogynistic racist who doesn't have a clue about anything, has no idea what the truth is and whose only weapon is nastiness. Anyone who watches any of the overage knows this man must never become president, for the good of America, for the good of the world. Okay, Hilary is not perfect, but for every dubious statement she has made Trump has a dozen out and out lies.
So why is it neck and neck in the polls?
The debate is a great example. He sniffed and interrupted and blustered. 75% of the things he said were lies, the rest as nonsense. Hilary tried to explain her plans and her reasoning but got nowhere.
The press are still focussing on the e-mails and Trump seems to think this is an excuse for him not handing in his tax returns. No, Donald, it isn't. I watched chunks of the debate (it was on but I was working) and his answer to just about anything Hilary said was "No, no it isn't". That's not an argument, reasoned or otherwise.
It's that problem of dual standards. Dopey Don can say whatever he likes and poor all Hill can say nothing at all.
I wasn't feeling to well on Saturday so I spent the day in bed.
I had got a collection of animated Batman films including adaptations of some of my favourite comics. I enjoyed them all but enjoyed the ones that were based on comics I liked more.
It's hard to say whether my enjoyment was based on the fact that I already liked the comics or whether it was simply that a better comic made a better film.
One big difference is that you can't hear what Batman is thinking, in the comics you can. In some of the films I found myself supplying missing dialogue. On example is where Batman pulls one of the up Gotham Towers with his face covered and slowly removes his hands. In the comics Batman thinks "
One thing tho'. The voices were good. Batman, Alfred, the Joker and all the others just sounded right.
Carlos said 'If the plan is to try to kill me, they are near' . That's twice in close succession that we've won in the last minutes of the match. Like he says, it would be great if we could get ahead and stay ahead.
And again, like other matches, we shouldn't have been waiting for a last minute winner. We dominated much of this match, made so many chances but there was always that threat of us doing a Birmingham and throwing it away in the last ten minutes.
It's hard to say why this is. FF is little less sharp in front of goal and has missed some sitters in the last few months. Hooper is ok in support but doesn't look like scoring. Fletcher's playing up a storm and Dave, well Dave is just Dave. He looks less threatening with a haircut and a shave.
Thank goodness for Lee. He celebrated his 150th match for the club with a much need brace.
In other Wednesday news Jeremy Helan has left the club so that he can follow and his religious calling and today would have been my Dad's birthday.
To me it's so simple.
Get behind him.
The youth of the country are behind him, the politically active of the left are behind him, the people who are members of the party willing to pay to support him are behind him, the people who can't afford to be a member of the party are behind him. The only people who aren't are the PLP.
Get behind him.
The people of this country want a change. They no longer trust the political classes. so surely they should get the idea that Corbin isn't of the political classes. I said before he was elected that the press would hammer him but if the party could get behind him they could offer a real alternative. The youth of the country will vote for him. I've been talking to them and they will.
And if they can't get on board, reselect. The party has voted for him. And all this crap about selection of the cabinet is exactlt that. Crap.
Seriously. Get behind him.
And he can win.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a picture of a bowl of Skittles with the text: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
Despite the fact that shares in Wrigley's have dropped, despite the fact that describing migrants fleeing a war as nothing more than sugary sweets, despite the fact that Trumps grasp on statistics (and reality) seems to be thin, he's ignoring this fact:
NO SYRIAN REFUGEES HAVE COMMITTED ATTACKS ON AMERICAN SOIL!
Skittles are every colour living together in one bowl and not one of them has blown up the bowl. I can't think of a better example of racial integration.
I'm surprised that shares in Skittles have dropped. Seeing the free advert made me want go and buy some, but I can't #bloodydiabetes. My friend John claims not to know what Skittles are, thinking it's some sort of pub game and now even he's bought a bag.
But for every Twitter reader who is incensed by the nonsense promoted by Twitter and Facebook, another 10 think there might be something in it.
Trump's going to win, isn't he? Bugger.
A Cure for All Diseases
Mark Zucherberg is going to cure all diseases.
And it's only going to cost $3billion dollars. Makes you wonder why they've never done it before.
Perhaps he believes they have. Enough posters on Facebook think big pharma are holding back the cure for diabetes because they're selling billions in diabetes drugs. If this is true, what makes him think his three bill will be enough to stop big pharma? And think what a cure to everything will be worth.
In the last five years the world research effort into a cure for AIDS has been around $100 billion and they haven't cracked it. By 2020 the target for research is over $250 a year. That's $100 billion in four years. And that's just one disease. A least ten times that amount has been spent on research into cancer.
£3 billion is pissing in the Atlantic and "curing all diseases" is the pipe dream of some spoiled brat who has lost the plot.
And where does he get those T-shirts? My guess is Primark, cus three bill is the Primark T-shirt of medical research.
Requiem For Methuselah
This for me was one of Shatner's better episodes.
The story line that a Starship Captain would give up everything for a girl he has met a few hours before isn't reasonable nor is it consistent with Kirk having a girl in every port, but somehow Shatner sells this as real. This has to be to his credit. Mr Spock's "Forget" at the end is almost poignant and reminiscent of his "Remember" in "Wrath of Kahn".
The "new" Brahms was written especially for the episode by Brahms aficionado Ivan Ditmars .
There are two repeat appearances of computers, on in name and one as a reused prop. M5, the replacement for M4 is the same name as the Ultimate Computer and bits of Nomad seem to be making up both M4 and M5.
I've just looked up Jerome Bixby, who wrote this and three other episodes (quiz question: which?) on the web. I found out he wrote a "cult classic" film called "The Man From Earth" about an Immortal so I've orderd a copy from Amazon.
The Internet is Made of Cats
I found these two cat based oddities on the web.
Unfortunately, I can't embed this so you'll have to follow the link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p048pqn0.
I used to quite like Noel Edmunds. I religiously watched the House Party ad some of the pranks have stuck with me. Ian Wright opening a brief case that should have contained a hiden camera but only contained a sandwich and an apple was a classic andthe man on NTV who after blushing bright red said "For God's sake tell me you didn't see what I was doing during Baywatch" made me laugh like drain.
But somewhere along the way he turned into David Icke. Weird prophetic offerings with a sprinkling of right-wing crap. It started with his reaction to Brass Eye, continued into Cosic Ordering and finished with gameshow with no game.
Elsewhere Clapham Common Tube Station has had all its advertising replaced with pictures of cats, Really.
The cat on the gate looks like Bubsy.
Ukip are having a party conference God only knows why. They've got what they wanted. Also, they have a new leader. Who cares. They have a total membership of around 30,00 and only 4,000 of them voted for Diane James.
I love this picture.
Look at the pair of them. Farage looks like some sort of monster rapist and although Diane James is already proficient at that bulldog-sucking-the-piss-off-a-nettle face, she manages to excel at it here.
But here ins modern politics in one simple image. If this had have been Gordon Brown or Ed Milliband or heaven help us Jeremy Corbin it would have been career ending, but here...well.
"It's only Farage," I can hear you saying, just like it's only Boris or it's only Donald Trump.
If you can spout populist racist shite then you can get away with anything.
And remember, UKIP have more MEPs than the other UK parties put together.
Watching this match was a bit of a shambles.
I had agreed to meet Budge in town but parents bringing their kids back to Uni were jamming the roads so although I'd set of an hour early I only just got there on time. Then I realised I'd got the wrong pub so I wasted another 10 minutes. We were supposedly going to watch the match in the New Barrack but as there were only two of us we decided it would be better if we went back to Intake. The 120, timetabled as "every 5 mins" took thiry five minutes to arrive by which time the lane had thrown out so the bus was packed to capacity and stopped everywhere. In the Ball they insisted on playing the Juke Box over the match and the Foxwood was riddled with kids and Unitedites.
Then we lost.
We missed so many chances in the first half that we knew it was bound to happen but when Hooper scored I started believe we could do it. Then a pen followed by Big Dave missing out and them running u the pitch and us conceding a soft goal.
I have to give some of the blame for both goals to to the usually faultless Westwood. There was no need to concede the penalty, Donaldson wasn' t getting to the ball. And for the second he was looking for offside instead of making the save.
If we'd won, we'd be sixth.
Hilary Clinton has been poorly, apparently that makes her unfit to be President.
Trump on the other hand is the fittest man in the world. His doctor says so. In a badly spelled and hurriedly typed letter Harold N Bornstein says Trump will be the fittest president ever. Trump's also waved a single piece of paper that he says is his medical record. That's not long enough for his vaccination record. Perhaps he's not been vaccinated. That's a pity, I sort of thought his mental health problems might be related to the MMR vaccine. The letter says he's a bit fat and takes statins which not bad for a 70 year old man, but by no means extraordinary. Trump's doctor on the other hand isn't looking that well.
But this how the Trump campaign works. Talk bollocks as much as you like and if it convinces one person, it's worth it. And heaven help your opponent if she's caught in a lie. Did you know that it was Hilary who started the rumour that Obama was Kenyan and that Trump has never inferred anything of the sort?
In other news Trump has said that if Hilary s so against guns maybe her security force shouldn't be able to carry them also. It's this kind of vacuous argument that characterises Trumps campaign and middle America is just stupid enough to buy into it. They see it as just another example of Crooked Hilary's hypocrisy.
Hilary (and Trump) are high profile targets and while every nutter has a gun they are going to need protecting. And maybe if there weren't so many guns in the hands of ordinary citizens, Hilary's security (and Trump's) wouldn't need to carry them either.
It was my turn for the quiz again.
The theme was all the words contained RAT. When I was reading the question whose answer was castRTo, (What name is given to a male singer a male singer who has his testicles removed in boyhood so as to retain a soprano or alto voice) two people walked into the pub with very strange looks on their faces. These were the pictures.
Para hit lardy dong is and anagram of PaRAThyroid Gland.
For Trek's fiftieth birthday I wanted to do a Star Trek themed quiz but i thought it might be too obscure so I snook in a few Trek questions in. Because all the answers contained the word RAT we had wRATh of Kahn, the United FedeRATion of Planets and Next GeneRATion. I also sang Next Generation song.
Bake Off is Off
So the Bake Off is going to Channel 4
I wasn't originally a fan of TGBO but a couple of years ago I thought I'd give it second chance and now I'm hooked.
Mel and Sue aren't following the money and although they're my least favourite part of the programme they are part of what it is. Mary and Paul I would guess are in the middle of contract re-negotiations so are staying schtum but so far it sounds as if production company Love aren't showing any love and have told them they can go, they're keeping the cash.
The thing is there's something wonderfully twee about TGBO and tweeness is the purview of good old Auntie Beeb. There's something a little bit seedy about Channel 4, its idea of reality TV is Big Brother and Tattoo Fixers. The adverts don't help either. Will Mary Berry be wearing an apron advertising suet? I hope not.
I'm not sure what Channel 4 are thinking. They're paying over the odds for a program with no guarantee that its stars are coming with it. And remember, their purchase of F1 from the Beeb has hardly been a rabid success. All they seem to have done is give the Beeb some great publicity. Viewing figures went up by half a million.
How the Other Half Live
The Foreign Office spends more than £14m per year on private school fees for children of its staff, including £6m for staff based in the UK.
I can see why they pay the school fees of staff forced to work out of the country but that's about £33,000 per already over privileged kid. Most parents I know would rather have their kids with them and I know several people who were brought up overseas because their parents were there.
And then there the six mill on families that are still here. How does that work? What's the justification?
It's because they're posh bastards who think they deserve it.
Well they're wrong.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: "That is a perk of the job that needs to be looked at seriously." NSS.
In other news it's good to see Micheal Gove is taking his forced retirement well. Thing is, it makes him look like me. Oh the irony.
Way to go Mikey.
Here Comes the Rain
When I turned on the radio they were discussing whether the match would go on. I had to take a phone call and the line kept dropping because of the thunder and lightening. When I'd done the match hadn't started so I assumed it was off.
A little later I had a quick look on the internet for reaction to the cancellation and found the match was still on and that we were 2-0 behind. I had friend round so isn't check the scores again until I she left. I checked teletext at the end of the match and found out we'd drawn 2-2. I decided to put the radio on while I made a cup of tea and found out we were still playing. I was just in time to hear Lee scoe the winner and experience that wonderful "get in" feeling you only get when your team scoe a last minute winner. The sensation was made all the more intense by the fact that we'd come back from 2-0 down.
I can't remember the last time we came back from 2-0 down to actually win but it sounds like the same old story. A bit rubbish in the first half, go behind and then absolutely superb in the second. No-one would bet against us not winning a match from a single goal behind, in fact we seem to be more likely to lose if we go ahead.
How many times did I say last year that we should win matches without going behind? This year I don't care so long as we win.
It was the Lad's Weekend in this weekend and we went to Skegness.
All the pubs in Skegness are of the big chain type, Yates' Wetherspoons' and the like. Because it rained solidly all day were stuck in pubs but we were the only ones, others had chosen not to come to the coast. The big are all a little bit soulless when they're empty. Maybe it was because of this but on Saturday, most of us were in bed by 10.00pm (I managed midnight, but I was on my own).
The town deserved the sobriquet "Skegvegas". It's snided with slot machine arcades and they're in a better condition than the ones I've seen recently in Blackpool, Scarborough and Filey. THey'e bright, clean and modern looking with a good variety of machines. What's missing is the old games. Although I did find a couple of Pinball Machines, I've not managed to get of Galaxians or Space Firebird all summer.
And perhaps that's the problem (if there is one) with the Lads Weekends. I want them to what they used to be, the old fashioned pubs , the old fashioned games and yes, the old fashioned us.
The Houses of Parliament need some work doing on them. About £4b worth. Yes, that's 4 BILLION pounds. That's not just a lick of paint and a new wireless router. Having said that, I'm sure that's a drop in the ocean compared to the money we'll save leaving te EU. Oh...wait...
The process is going to take around six years. Either Lords or the Commons will be kept open while the other is being repaired. Where the other will be is a bit of a conundrum. My suggestion is to use the existing House of Commons set in the Granada Studios in Manchester? It's already built and much of the UKs media is already there. And it would be a serious commitment to the Northern Power House.
Here's another idea. Why not use this opportunity to reform the House of Lords? There's 800 of them FFS, they wouldn't fit in the existing house if they all turned up. This would be a fine opportunity to experiment with different forms of the second house. Or perhaps give them a six year recess.
My third idea is to use virtual reality. Give everybody a head set and shove them in a warehouse in Sheffield Technology Park. For the TV coverage you could add a GCI of the House of Lords. Having said that, watching 800 aging posh blokes wander about an empty warehouse with masks on might be a better image.
Fourthly, can I suggest they work from home? The technology exists and we'd be without all the expenses and the second homes.
Incidentally, the Houses of Parliament currently make extensive use of wireless technology to avoid having to damage the fabric of the building. Must be a bugger to secure.
This happened to me so many times last year.
I would have gone out from the day and have to "watch" the match on Live Text on the BBC website. I would have waited for about quarter of an hour before checking the score and we would be one-nil behind. Reports from the match would say we were rubbish so I wouldn't go back to the site. Towards the end of the match I would go back and we would be 2-0 up, a Foristieri goal claiming the lead. I would then be checking every few seconds and getting annoyed that there were no updates. The scores would now be on TV and I'd be flicking between the phone and TV to see if we'd held on to the lead.
Finally, the score on TV turned red and we'd won.
On our way back, we're on our way back. We're Sheffield Wednesday, we're on our way back.
I've just watched the Roast of Rob on Comedy Central and it turned into a roast of Ann Coulter.
I'd never heard of the woman but they had some pretty awful things to say about her. For instance:
“Ann Coulter, if you’re here, who is scaring the crows away from our crops?”
“Ann Coulter has written 11 books — 12 if you count ‘Mein Kampf'”
“I just realized I’m not the only athlete up here. As you all know, earlier this year Ann Coulter won the Kentucky Derby.”
“As a feminist, I can’t support everything that’s being said up here tonight. But as someone who hates Ann Coulter, I’m delighted.”
“The only person you will ever make happy is the Mexican who digs your grave.”
“Ann Coulter is one of the most repugnant, hateful bitches alive — but it’s not too late to change, Ann. You could kill yourself.”
“Why is Ann Coulter here tonight? Because the right-to-lifers wanted everyone to see what an abortion looks like up close.”
And that's just the ones without the C word.
So I Googled her. Here's some quotes from her.
"On the bright side, and in conclusion, at least college campuses serve as sort of internment camp for useless leftists in wartime. We know where they are, this way. And, as General Patton said, 'I love it when they come out and shoot at me because then I know where they are and I can shoot the bastards.'"
"Better people than camel-riding nomads have shown they respect force."
If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president.
"For decades, Mexicans have been about 30 percent of all legal immigrants to the United States, while only a smidgen more than 1 percent come from Great Britain. Is that fair? Granted, their food is better, but why is it the norm is to have nearly 30 times as many Mexican as British immigrants?"
(On Princess Diana) "Her children knew she's sleeping with all these men. That just seems to me, it's the definition of 'not a good mother.' Is everyone just saying here that it's okay to ostentatiously have premarital sex in front of your children? [Diana is] an ordinary and pathetic and confessional - I've never had bulimia! I've never had an affair! I've never had a divorce! So I don't think she's better than I am."
"The backbone of the Democratic Party is a typical fat, implacable welfare recipient."
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
"My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism."
(talking to a disabled Vietnam vet) "People like you caused us to lose that war."
“Americans Should Fear Mexicans More Than ISIS."
"I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote."
"Clinton masturbates in the sinks."
In an incident that is becoming increasingly common, the Education Secretary Justine Greening (who?) has been photographed with a document saying they're going bring back Grammer Schools.
For those of you who don't know or can't remember the Grammer School system it's basically this. In 1944 we decided that there would be two types of school. All kids were tested at age 11 and the top 15% of kids would go to a grammer school and the rest would go to a secondary modern and go fish.
You didn't have to be a genius to see the failings of this, e.g. categorising a kid aged 11, 85% of people not being educated, posh kids only going to these schools, some kids only excel at one thing and so on. Whatever happened, the Grammer School system led to the highest adult illiteracy levels since the Elementary Education Act 0f 1870. Things were so bad, we had to have Bob Hoskins on prime time TV teaching us how to read.
The point is that the Grammer School system is good for fifteen percent of the nation's children and they're the fifteen percent who were likely to well out of the education system. The rest of your kids can go fish.
Star Trek is 50
I didn't know what I was going to write for Star Trek's fiftieth birthday but yesterday's blog gave me an idea.
When I was a school we had a strict school uniform. Badges were not allowed but I had a Captain Kirk badge that I insisted on wearing. While badges were not allowed, religious symbols were so when I was sent to see the headmaster for repeatedly putting the badge back on, I argued that it wasn't a badge, it was a religious symbol .
Star Trek consisted of a series of parables gathered together in books. Not only did I possess, these texts, I studied them. I collected paraphernalia and iconography. It was where I found solace and the belief that we were all heading towards a better place. It was a place I could go when I was lost or lonely, where I could go for solace.
I have been writing a book called "The Truth About God" and in it there is a thing called The Book of Dave. It has three precepts. They are:
Believe in something
Believe it with all your heart and soul.
Don't fall out over it
It has a pledge
"My name is Dave and I am a Trekkie"
It's that time of year again and some poor head teacher is being pilloried for making their students wear school uniform.
I was always anti-uniform when I started teaching. I didn't like the idea of reducing kids to clones and I seen first hand bullying on grounds that one kid had a fifty quid jumper and another had one that cost a fiver. And don't tell me kids can't tell the difference, that's almost stupidly naive.
On my first teaching practice the Head would stand by the school bus and those not in uniform were not allowed off. On my second teaching practice I remember a kid turning up in a T-shirt he'd made himself from rags and fabric paints and everybody wanted to be like him.
Then things changed. They brought in a school uniform and behaviour improved throughout the school. This wasn't directly the result of uniform, but what it meant was that every teacher had one rule that they all enforced in the same way.
I've said many times before that I've seen many superb teachers but they were all radically different, especially in how we deal with discipline. I also think that every teachers should work to their strengths, but here's where uniform made a difference. If you tried to get into my classroom or any other classroom in the school, you were told to go to the head. And it was that one single act that imposed some sort of cohesive behaviour on the school.
So while I still have my doubts, I will defend any school's right to insist on a uniform.
Remember, a court ruled in favour of a company who said its reception staff should wear high heels.
The Lights of Zetar
I always think this episode is closer to the end of the series than it is. It has that sloppy end of the line feeling.
Don't get me wrong, it's good enough. Character interplay is fine as are the production standards but it all seems a bit simplistic. The idea that the energy beings could be sucked out by pressure devalues the idea that Palomas' love for Scotty is what saves them all.
One of the nice things about this episode is that it's pretty Scotty intensive but it's another episode where Scotty is unlucky in love. He always seems to pick the wrong women (Carolyn Palomas, that woman from Wolf in the Fold). No wonder he'd rather spend his shore leave reading technical manuals and loves his engines more than people.
The Star Trek Wiki is called Memory Alpha after the facility in this episode. The site is exhaustive and authoritative, it tells me, for instance, that
during the tag in sickbay as Kirk, Spock and McCoy discuss Lt. Romaine, a discarded newspaper can be seen through the doorway to next room lying on the floor ( to the right of Nimoy's elbow ). I love the Memory Alpha website but of late the adverts and scripts are ruining it. Always a problem when people try to make profit out of the contributory internet. Runs better on my tablet.
This episode was written by Shari Lewis who had a successful career as a ventriloquist with sock puppets such as Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, Wing Ding and of course, Lamb Chop.
This one of the few episodes that makes use of Andorians and Tellarites, even if they are all dead.
So Nigel Keith Anthony Standish Vaz (Standish?) uses rent boys and legal highs. They were over the age of consent, he refused cocaine because it was illegal, he's often spoken out on Gay Rights and the rights of sex workers so...Who cares?
Actually, for once, I do.
Usually I don't give a toss if some celebrity is shagging another or politician is doing coke off a prostitutes arse, although I was interested when I found the Prime Minister had put his penis in a dead pigs mouth. And that's the point. He's the Prime Minister and if he hasn't got a squeaky clean past then he shouldn't have ever got to be PM.
And it's the same for Vaz. He's the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee. The Home Affairs Select Committee is the countries moral arbiter.It's job is to investigate any instance of amoral malfeasance. It's chairman should not be consorting with prostitutes or using narcotics, however legal. At the very keast that chair should not be doing anything that could bring his own morals into question. It's pretty much the definition of hypocrisy.
I'm waiting for the return of Have I Git News For You. Ian Hislop is going to give Vaz a really hard time.
New Look Ingerland...Not Quite.
There's some online training that I had to complete so I've done it while I was watching the England match. I was so hooked by both, I fell asleep.
On the 20th of June in France England played Slovakia. It was 0-0 draw and never looked like being anything else. We huffed and we puffed but there was no sign that we were ever going blow anyone's house down. It was the same today. All the possession but nothing to show for it. My friend Mick used to moan when I said the last ball was a problem. He said of course it was the last ball, that's what the last ball meant. It meant that possession was lost. If that's the case then we had a an awful lot of last balls.
What difference has a new manager made? None as far as I can see. In the last set of qualifiers we seemed to have professionalism if not passion but that wasn't the case in France. The blame for this has to fall on the players, the manager can only do so much. Perhaps we need a clean sweep, some fresh blood. Kane offers nothing and Rooney needs to be the elder statesman and lead his team.
Will Alladyce succeed? I don't now. I want him to, but can't help thinking he's too much like Woy and when push comes to shove, the players are not going to do it for him.
But perhaps all we need is a bit of luck. Like a goal with the last kick of the game.
The BBC sitcom season has shown some new versions of classic sitcoms. They've been panned by viewers and critics alike, but I've enjoyed them all.
Are You Being Served?
The script by Derren Litten hit the right note and I actually cheered when Mrs Slocum first mentioned her Pussy and Mr Humphries first uttered "I'm free!" The casting was exquisite with a special call out for Niky Wardley and Roy Baraclough. Loved it.
An updating. La Frenais and Clement showed they haven't lost it in the story telling department with a few good lines along the way as well as a few sentimental moments. Kevin Bishop was well cast as the new lag and the true moral of the story was that its the old lags who have trouble coping with the prison system. Could have done with being filmed in a real prison though.
I was never a fan of this or Marks and Grans writing so I find it hard to judge. Amiable enough though, which is surprising as their reprise of Birds of a Feather was tosh.
This was written by Roy Clarke who I was sure was dead so this may have been an old script, a pilot for a series that was some relative of First of the Summer Wine. It was unmistakably Clarke and as I've enjoyed his other characters, I enjoyed this. It was fun to see younger versions of Daddy, Daisy and Rose. It had charm.
As I say, they've all been panned by the viewing public.
I've thrown away a T-shirt. It's a Star Trek T-shirt with a frayed collar and a holes in the armpits. You don't know what that means.
I've recently been through my T-shirts. I own 67 Star Trek T-shirts and 49 Wile T-shirts and Polos. I own another 30 or so Guinness T-shirts and polos and about the same number of plain or non-branded T-shirts.
I've also got T-shirts that are memories. Some are from gigs, Dan Reed, Dr Feelgood and Alabama 3 have all been worn recently There's Ts from IVFDF (intervarsity folk dance festival), beer festivals as well as other beer related shirts. There's ones from the Met. Office, Schools and colleges I've been to or worked in and other blasts from the past with stories attached. There's one from Rebels an a HUmphrey Bogart one. I bought one the same from the Space Centre and an American Tourist bought it from me on the Tube and bought me a London T-shirt from a stall on the platform. Gave me £30 which was a lot of money in those days. Oh God, listen to me I sound like somebody's Granddad.
There's all kinds of SF related Ts including one from Dark Skies. When I was having chemo, a vein in my arm burst and the toxins burst through my skin and burned a hole in the sleeve. It wasn't like Alien where it fizzed but it went a light brown and eventually burned through. It shows you the strength of what they were putting in me. I had to have a series of what felt like hundreds of injections and I'm needlephobic. Not my happiest memory.
The point is I have a couple of hundred shirts and I go through periods of wearing each one once. This means they never wear out. I've decided never to buy another but how am I ever going to reduce their number. That is why it's so significant I've thrown one away.
My mate Ian has just brought me a gift. It's of a remarkable quality and gratefully received. It's another Star Trek T-shirt.
Kids are Unhappy
Apparently kids today are the unhappiest they've ever been especially girls in their early teens.
The main reason appears to be that they are presented with unattainable body images but when they do manage to acheive some degree of conformity, the happy internet turns on them and exploits any little weakness. It's what Trolling is all about.
The general perceived wisdom is that kids need to play hockey, kick a ball, join the Girl Guides, meet people. But this isn't going to work. Firstly parents are terrified of the outside world (they're constantly told how scary it is), but the smartphone genie is completely out of the bottle. Kids are going to communicate this way from now on.
The problem is that there is no clear healthy way of using a phone. The current etiquette has been defined by fourteen year olds with the moral sense of...well fourteen year olds. And that's not healthy. We're building up a cache of mental health problems that we are ill equipped and insufficiently resourced to deal with.
Until we get a grip a new technologies and establish an etiquette that allows their safe and above all healthy use, kids are going to stay unhappy.