Wednesday, 30 April 2008
When I heard that Rory Morrison had been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and that his fellow announcers had set up a fund for The Lymphoma Association I thought that was a practical way to repay the pleasure I had derived over the years from, for example, Charlotte Green's giggles and her attempts to regain her composure.
And for more fun and laughs go to the Ramblings website where you can hear a special programme entitled Pilgrimage to the Pips, ie Herstmonceaux from where the BBC obtained its famous time signal pips. Many of the announcers shared the walk with Clare Balding and Rory Morrison whilst a few had to stay behind in the studio to keep Radio 4 and thereby the nation up and running.
Best wishes and good health to Rory Morrison and his family. Thank you to all of the Radio 4 news and continuity announcers.
Monday, 28 April 2008
Population is the elephant in the greengrocers despite the best efforts of many people to pander to ignorance and superstition by ignoring what a massive factor it is. So food production has increased in line with population growth, but only with massive use of oil for tractors and fertilizers.
Apparently, the big factor is the increasing wealth of China and India with many of their citizens now wanting more meat in their diets. I don't blame them turning away from vegetarianism. Hopefully, as people get richer, family sizes will shrink and world population will stabilise or decrease. But how much easier matters would be if contraception was more freely available and women were better educated and baby girls equally valued. All these things are anathema to buttoned up religious bigots who sadly don't mind how long a child lives so long as they can chalk another soul up for the afterlife.
Now, the Chinese one child policy worked but at the expense of a large population imbalance in favour of boys for cultural reasons. I am worried that the Chinese government might use this "surplus" of cannon fodder for warlike purposes if food, water and oil get even more scarce.
All we can hope for is for more and more people to think and act for themselves as equally valuable individuals. Otherwise, the world is stuffed, hot or cold.
Thomas Jefferson and the other geniuses who drafted the United States' constitution had nutters like the mad Major in mind when they separated Church and State. If only England could do the same thing by distablishing the Church of England* and bring herself into the eighteenth century.
*Actually, the CofE is pretty high up on the sensible, reasonable, say no to bigotry and ignorant literal understanding of an anthology of stories gathered together by committees upwards of fifteen hundred odd years ago.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Anyway, best wishes for a speedy recovery to all the people who were bitten and hard luck because the treatment is particularly painful apparently.
Thursday, 24 April 2008
And how ordinary British citizens are treated in this keystone police state. Thank goodness our police aren't armed .
So stay out of mobile phone flinging range of Our Dear Leader on May 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 ......
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Monday, 21 April 2008
"I swapped our cow for a handful of magic beans and now my mother is scolding me for acquiring something of dubious value? Can I exchange the magic beans for Gilts to prevent a collapse in the agricultural industry?"
Unfortunately, the offer is only open to greedy shortsighted bankers who have paid themselves massive bonuses the past few years for being so clever. Who lent The Old Woman with no income the money to buy a shoe? You are not a banker and so are not clever and don't deserve this £50 billion or the £50 billion made available to shore up Northern Rock. You are probably one of those 5.3 million people for whom the 10p tax band was an important part of their household budget so you don't matter. If you think you do you must be living in Fairytaleland.
Having carefully researched weather over England since Gordon Brown mugabed power on 27 June 2007, I can now reveal with the certainty of the IPCC (motto: "we're right, you're evil and wrong") that the climate in England has changed to "variously awful" from "well that's the weather for you". After experimenting with floods, drizzle, snow, cold, damp to find the ideal conditions for misery and damp tweed, the next stage will be the release of millions of midges* to turn England into a paradise for salt and porridge loving colonists.
* allegedly the only creatures in Scotland with teeth as they feast on blud instead of Irn Bru and Teacakes
I remember very little of the video except one awkward scene near the end. A PCS rep and Labour activist was evidently still full of May day champagne bubbles and he obviously believed the times they were a changin'. So he began his question: "John," - "It's Secretary of State to you" shot back the Deputy Prime Minister. Such people skills, such a nice man.
Anyway, it soon became clear that Prescott couldn't integrate transport or do anything so his jobs were gradually but secretly downsized to match his abilities until he was made Croquet Tsar after an embarrassing affair with his secretary during working hours on government property apparently.
And the "Ate My Country" reference. Well, Nulab wanted English Regional Assemblies to cut England down to Celtic size. In Prescott's hands the referendum (oh we do have them when the Government wants them) in the North East - the most Labour dependent area in England - flopped on a Prescottian scale.
Sunday, 20 April 2008
The great Jim Reeves, Texan and American to his velvet core, summed it up pretty well I think.
Of course, one man's patriot is another man's rebel but 1775 is a long time ago now and at least you almost speak the same language :-) ... and because you are you, America.
Anyway, ecoutez et repetez as we used to say. First, La maison ou j'ai grandi:
Next, Tous les Garcons et les Filles:
So,hopefully, you'll now go and buy lots of Francoise Hardy CDs, DVDs and MP3 downloads.
I got a B grade by the way.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
Mind you, Scottish bagpipes sound nice in Edinburgh. It's just they don't travel well. Northumbrian pipes are much more my cup of tea.
Next myth to be disproved: Scottish bankers and financial types are wise with your money.
Is it true his security service codename is allegedly Purple Helmet (to reflect his senior command responsibility).
Hasn't Gordon ever read about Wound Stripes that were certainly awarded during WWI and WWII?
How about introducing several meaningful ways of showing how much the nation values its service people?
1. MRAP vehicles to replace all snatch Landrovers, WMIKs and Vectors to reduce the number of killed and badly injured;
2. More helicopters to provide enhanced casevac capability and replace land-based patrols where necessary;
3. Longer times between deployments to enable units to recover and retrain and, most importantly, spend time with their families. This and 4. below will encourage experienced service personnel to stay on;
4. Improve the quality of housing stock;
5. Introduce positive discrimination for injured service personnel in all civil service and local-government recruitment;
6. The MoD should negotiate affiliation discounts with shops, cinemas, restaurants, sports facilities etc;
7. What other things will Quentin Davis think of?
Friday, 18 April 2008
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
The paint scheme is very popular with Ulster Unionists apparently.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
The Snatch Landrover should become the Hoon.
The Pinzgauer Vector should become the Dr Reid
"We would be perfectly happy to leave in three years and without firing one shot because our job is to protect the reconstruction."
The Landover WMIK should be renamed the DesBrowne or DesPerate.
Perhaps the Supa M WMIK could be an Ingram.
Meanwhile, the new Mastiff, Ridgeback and Bulldog should be named after holders of gallantry awards.
And let's rename these vehicles Blairs:
photo with thanks to the Daily Mail and deepest respect to the heroes therein and their families.
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Starting with this, this is how an ordinary fast jet or helicopter student would earn their wings.
Now, I'm not criticising Prince William. His flying training has put him well ahead of recently qualified PPL holders and I hope he maintains his proficiencies and gains a multi-engine licence for example. And he has accumulated vastly more hours than most WWI pilots and even some in the desperate Summer of 1940. But, like John Fricker wrote in the most recent editions of Aeroplane Monthly (probably available in the RAF Officers' Mess at Cranwell), I consider he ought to have been awarded the Preliminary Flying Badge (Pilot) instead. No-one in the know would think any the less of him. Indeed, he would have had as much of an insight into the RAF if he had qualified for a Rear Aircrew or Fighter Controller brevet for example.
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Fine. I am in favour of protecting British lives. One Hundred and Seventy-Six British Service Personnel have lost their lives in Iraq since the 2003 invasion and many more wounded. 176 lives cut short because apparently God told Tony Blair it would be A Good Idea to go along with his fellow God-Botherer George W. and don't worry about the truth if it gets in the way - have faith instead. I am not surprised that the New Iraqi Army is having problems with a mob of assault rifle and RPG equipped religious nutters. The basic unit of Arab military power is the armed rabble. Excellent for asymmetric hit and run guerrilla warfare as T E Lawrence discovered. Hopeless against a modern well-equipped army in conventional warfare as the IDF is eternally grateful. The problem is is that Arab guerrillas are not bound by any Western Rules of War so siting rocket launchers in a residential neighbouhood or sniping from a mosque is perfectly ok because they are Muslims and we are Infidels. Playing by their rules is not an option because we have our own values and there are always more than enough lefties ready to point out our faults than highlight those of our enemy.
Rudyard Kipling put it so well:
Arithmetic on the Frontier
A GREAT and glorious thing it is
To learn, for seven years or so,
he Lord knows what of that and this,
Ere reckoned fit to face the foe—
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: “All flesh is grass.”
Three hundred pounds per annum spent
On making brain and body meeter
For all the murderous intent
Comprised in “villanous saltpetre!”
And after—ask the Yusufzaies
What comes of all our ’ologies.
A scrimmage in a Border Station—
A canter down some dark defile—
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail—
The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!
No proposition Euclid wrote,
No formulae the text-books know,
Will turn the bullet from your coat,
Or ward the tulwar’s downward blow
Strike hard who cares—shoot straight who can—
The odds are on the cheaper man.
One sword-knot stolen from the camp
Will pay for all the school expenses
Of any Kurrum Valley scamp
Who knows no word of moods and tenses,
But, being blessed with perfect sight,
Picks off our messmates left and right.
With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troop-ships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
To slay Afridis where they run.
The “captives of our bow and spear”
Are cheap—alas! as we are dear.
There is a simple military saying "Never reinforce failure." The Iraq Invasion was a textbook example of how to win a war with minimal casualties and damage. By no stretch of objective imagination can the Iraq Occupation be described a success or even a noble failure. The Iraqi football team won the Asian Cup in 2007. Let us take that as the one positive thing to result from Tony Blair's misadventure and call the Dardanelles Evacuation files up from archives. A good plan is needed.
Monday, 7 April 2008
I looked into pay rates for similar jobs and it would appear that Ms Burdett will be taking a sizeable salary cut. Still, it's a good job for people who want to make a difference. I applaud her public-spiritedness.
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Anyway, I'll be reducing the strawberry bed to a more convenient size - ie fruit able to be picked from the edges and the bed covered with netting to discourage birds. (I don't mind birds taking a few but they tend to peck a few holes in several instead of finishing one). My adjacent old bath frog pond protects the plants and fruit from slugs.
Friday, 4 April 2008
Gordon is hosting a summit on Saturday 5 April. Does the logo remind you of anything?
Oh silly me, it must be the New Nazi Party. Will there be whipping afterwards?
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Perhaps the Canadian Forces (with the services keeping their traditions, uniforms and ranks) could be studied as well.
It used to be called Combined Operations. But that was then and history has to be forgotten before someone can invent the future.
The £2 isn't being remodelled - why not?
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Poster with thanks to Fox Searchlight. A great film by the way.
*Three days a week, £100k salary plus chauffeur-driven car, fully furnished official residence.
No, it looks like Gordon's bottled it again. But best wishes to all Zimbabweans for a peaceful transfer of power. It's up to Africa to ensure it happens.
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
The eminent antiquarian Professor Geoffrey Wainwright told an interviewer that no damage would be done to the site. Once we are finished in two weeks no one could tell we had been here. Well, forgive my cynicism. These archeologists hope to find 4,500 year evidence but they won't leave any trace of their dig. Blimey, Timeteam starts digging and within ten minutes says posthole or ditch because the soil is a slightly different shade.
Anyway, I digress from the main purpose of this post which is to say that shopping malls are for shopping and airport terminals are for passengers' comings and goings. I appreciate the bean-counters want the self-loading cargo to buy toblerone, smoked salmon and the stuff that's just been confiscated for security reasons for as long as possible, ideally long enough for them to feel thirsty or hungry or simply bored enough to eat or drink to fill the time, but why not design an airport terminal as a machine for putting people on planes? Cut out the space allocated to the extra-revenue generating concessions and increase the efficiency of the terminal's function.
To argue that the luggage handling system was soooo complicated must have gone down well at Amazon or the Post Office's new sorting centre. It's a series of conveyor belts combined with the tracking and sorting of every piece of luggage. Of course the tests of procedures worked but don't airline pilots rigorously train in simulators those chance in a million events when an engine fails etc? Surely, extra trained staff to enable all or part of Plan B (to give the paying public the impression of things working like the swan swimming gracefully on the surface but with feet splashing madly underwater) to be used until the inevitable gremlins are netted or Plan A is adapted ought to have been temporarily taken on.