Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spam Spam Spam

No, not a post in rememrance of the Monty Python tea, good though they were. Rather, it appears my blog has picked up a spamer or two in the comments. Up until now I have not moderated comments but I think I will need to begin to. I don't know what most of the spam means as it appears to be japanese spam - I wonder what japanese spam is and if you can make sushi out of it?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Like Me Like Me Not

The world sometimes amazes me with how ironic it can be without even trying. In the same 7 day period a major rugby star admits to being gay and Uganda introduce laws to make homosexuality a crime which can even carry the death sentence.

It is a mark of how far society has moved on that Gareth Thomas seems to have been besically supported for coming out. Yes, if you go on some forums you can find the gay bashing statements, but the overwhelming line has been that this doesn't affect who he is. And rightly so to. If you respected him before, if you thought he was a good player before, then you should now no matter the label. Of course, if you thought he was a poor player before then again keep your opinions. But don't let a label change how you think.

And then we look at Uganda. Where you can be imprisoned for being gay. In fact you can be imprisoned for not dobbing on someone who is gay (for those not of native english, "dobbing" means telling on and is not a reference to a sexual act!). A country with so many problems and yet they decide to highlight homosexuality. That's putting your head in the sand if anything is.

I've never had any problems with idea of people being gay. Hell, I went to boarding school, it's something that you get used to happening around you! But the thing that proves it for me was something I discovered when I was at vet school. You see, it turns out that there are "gay" bulls, "gay" stallions, "gay" rams. It is natural. It happens. It is not odd, we are designed so that a proportion like the same sex. It's just how it is.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kate On Tour

I've just got back from seeing Kate Rusby at the Warwick Arts Centre. Absolutely wonderful. She's singing carols, but not those that you'll hear in church, these are ones she has grown up singing in yorkshire pubs. Or so the story goes, and I'd like to believe her.

It was wonderful but also slightly weird. Weird in many ways.

First, it felt weird to all be sitting listening to this fantastic music. I couldn't stop my feet tapping anyway but I wanted to be up dancing. Sittting listening to classical is one thing, but this was demanding movement, and singing along, but we couldn't (well ok maybe I did some singing along).

Second, Kate herself is a bit weird. Weird because in between songs she almost seems like a nervous teenager. She has a makes southern Yorkshire accent. She talks as though you are in her living room. She stands holding her hands together. You could almost believe it was her first time. And then, and then she sings. And this ethereal beautiful voice soars out into the auditorium. And it is just something else. This is not a voice that needs a mixing desk to get it right. This is a pure, breath taking sound from the angels.

Thirdly, concert over. I decide to use the gents before drivng home. I do so and am washing my hands when a voice says something along the lines of "well if it isn't insert-my-name-here". I look up and it is the past president of a work association. Now I must admit I am not good when caught by surprise. Even by friends. I am even worse when the thoughts running through my head are "I can't shake hands necause mine are wet - I didn't shave before coming out - I'm not in my work suit - last time I spoke to him he was trying to get us to sponsor something" etc etc.

All in all a great but slightly surreal night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ten Pygmies Farming



Unashameably stolen from Pignuts posting

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Worlds ???Favourite??? Airline

If you want to get people on your side then striking over Christmas does not seem the best way to go about it. But that is just what BA cabin crew are doing, affecting up to 1 million people, from December 22nd to January 2nd.

Apparently BA staff are paid twice as much as Virgin Airlines. Now, I don't know about the airline industry, but a general rule seems to be that Virgin pay their staff well, so I assume that BA staff are on a very good deal. It appears that the cabin service director of a long haul flight earns £56k a year. Is it any surprise then that BA feel they need to reduce the number of cabin crew. It would seem to be that or to reduce pay. BA are losing money, they need to do something.

At least one occassional reader of this blog will probably come back at me on this, but I have never understood stirke action. Take a beleagured company and make life even harder for it, yes that sounds such a good idea. In the case of BA, a company that is floundering will now have a high percentage of its customers driven away to other airlines. People who have lost their savings and not been able to go on a long anticipated holiday will not fly BA again. Business men will think twice of flying with BA if there is a risk that they might strike. So BA is plunged into further troubles. In the case of Corus, they need to close a plant because it isn't making money. Striking will cause the company more problems and then lead to increased threat to other jobs elsewhere in other plants.

They say that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well there is also no such thing as a free strike. Those striking, and their colleagues, will always end up paying in the long run.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Saltimbanco Trailer - Cirque du Soleil

We're going to see this in the summer of 2010 - and I am so excited

Or Colbie and Jason

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Or How About Some Taylor and Colbie Together

More Duffy

It's the mood I'm in -

The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

I bought this book simply becasue I had already picked up two with a "3 for 2" sticker so I needed a third. It has sat on my "To Read" shelf for probably 6 months. I took it to Brussels with me on Wednesday because I needed something and the next James Bond book I have is a hardback so not great for travelling. I finished it on the flight back on Thursday. Really wuite a rivetting read.

Hard to describe its genre. Fiction yes. But not humour, not thriller, not horror. A social comment on India, maybe. A commentary on one man dragging himself up from the poor oppressed masses, yes. Strangely it talks about escaping from the rooster coop, this is strange because the Terry Pratchett book I just read has a very similar concept, the crab bucket. Its a comment on how those around you will actively stop you clambering up to escape from the gutter.

The style is strange. The White Tiger is writing to the Premier of China to explain about how entrepreneurship works. The White Tiger sees himself as an entrepreneur. And wants to explain what is good about India. The story develops over about 7 nights of letter writing (I won't say why it is at night that the letters are written). And you are sucked into the life of Munna, later known as The White Tiger, learn more about him, from his childhood in the darkness and how he finds an escape. The style is strange, but it works.

Recommended.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

70's Coke

How the world has changed:



You just don't get such simple ads now.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Merlin and Arthur Singing "You're The Voice"

Unseen Academicals

This is really a follow-on from the previous posting but, as you may not read the comments, I have decided to give it its own little posting.

Terry Pratchett agrees with me, but puts it much better when referring to the press by getting a character to say "I seriously think they think that it's their job to calm people down by first of all explaining why they should be overexcited and very worried".

Bang

The media can be very misleading. A story running on the BBC this morning is that a man has been shot in Manchester for a laptop. This has the effect of making you think "gosh, scary world, where you can be shot for something so small with such a low market value". The story is running on the tickertape at the bottom of the screen and was mentioned four times in ten minutes. Only once did they explain the entire story, which is that the man was shot for £10k and a laptop. A very different story. In fact the laptop is probably a complete red herring. This is a fine example of just how the media presents the world in a scary, frightening manner in order that we all feel insecure. Why would they do that? Because it makes you watch more news, you want to be sure that the ravening hordes aren't coming down your street.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

West Wing Night

We are currently watching "West Wing", season 2. Now, this is the third time in as many years that we are working are way through the entire 7 series. I have to wonder whether it says something about us or something about the state of current television that I still believe that the West Wing is the best thing I can watch at the moment. It is humorous, it is philosophical, it tackles hard subjects, and it is pacy. The characters make you bond to them. Everything about it screams at you that this is a classic. Everyone should watch it - they will understand more about politics, they will understand more about how the world works, and they will laugh while doing so.