Personal Blog.

vogon77@gmx.com

Vogon

Vogon 0IQ

Blog: October 28th. 2014 - October 1st. 2015.

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Tuesday October 28th, 2014

Nostradamus, is the power of foresight genetic?


Nostradamus

It is said that one of Nostradamusís sons tried to follow in his fatherís footsteps but was a terrible failure. Finally, in desperation he announced that the town of Pouzin (Vivarais), which was being besieged by the Kingís troops at the time, would be destroyed by fire. To ensure that this time his prediction would be fulfilled, he set fire to the town himself but was caught and killed.

                                                                                                                                               (They Saw Tomorrow by Charles Neilson Gattey, page 55)

(However, I would mention that I couldnít google any trace of this as a fact, but think that true or not, it's still an entertaining story.)

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Wednesday October 29th, 2014

Why is television dumbing down?


Dumbing Down of Television

If you think about it, people now watch an awful lot of television and not only that, they watch it in high definition colour on extra large screens. They donít want to be mentally challenged, they want to be entertained and so the simpler and less complicated the hours spent viewing, the happier they are. So why wouldnít a TV station dumb down, or more accurately, dumb up its offerings?

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Thursday October 30th, 2014

A vogon's view on newspapers,

40 lines of Vogon Verse.

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Friday October 31st, 2014

tony blair & Adolf Hitler.


Tony Blair and Adolf Hitler

While he was Prime Minister a number of people, including Lord Bellof, likened tony blair to Adolf Hitler and going through my notes, Iíve found another reason as to why the similarities might not be that far fetched.
           For example, in November 1937, when Lord Halifax arrived at Hitlerís mountain lair to discuss the problems of the Sudetenland , he accidentally mistook Hitler for a footman and almost created an international incident. He was on the verge of handing Hitler his coat when one of the Nazi lackeys hissed angrily in his ear. ĎZat is ze fuhrer!í. (Or something similar.)
           Now if we fast forward to the time when tony blair was a member of Neil Kinnockís shadow cabinet, there came a time when tony blair was in a nice little French restaurant near the House of Commons when he was mistaken for a waiter by some customers who then asked him to fetch their coats. (Spin Doctorís Diary, intro, xi)
           In fact, the similarities between Hitler and tony blair were quite extensive. If you cast your mind back to 2003, tony blair insisted that he really believed in the invasion of Iraq and, because he really believed, that made him one of Godís anointed. But Hitler really believed in the extermination of the Jews. It wasnít just a case of him not liking Jews, he really believed that his final solution was the right thing to do. It was good for the future of the human race. In those days eugenics, a British idea, was very popular around the world. It was, in fact, a mantra for many and so large numbers of people really believed that the human selection of superior types and elimination of inferiors was the way to the future. Hitler, with his Teutonic thoroughness, simply took the idea to extremes. In consequence, if as some newspapers have been insisting, tony blair is entitled to forgiveness for the invasion of Iraq and all that went wrong because he Ďreallyí believed he was doing the right thing, isnít Hitler also entitled to forgiveness because he also Ďreallyí believed that he was doing the right thing?

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Saturday November 1st, 2014

The calories in your lager.

The media is presently making a meal out of the fact that there are 200 calories in your pint of lager and warning everybody that drinking lager is causing people to put on weight.
           But which would you rather have. 1 Big Mac or THREE pints of lager? Itís the same number of calories.
           How about the choice between two slices of bread, without butter, or a pint of lager? Same number of calories. (One slice of bread with butter has almost as many calories as a single pint.)
           The difficulty probably revolves around the fact that people like both their lager and their Big Macs or other high calorie foods. But Iím concerned about the fact the media didnít mention this. Also, if you are an energetic person you can generally consume more calories without ill effect than if you are sedentary. Therefore, itís not unreasonable to say that itís the television which is to blame for our nation's obesity. Maybe fat and obese people should sue the television stations for putting on programmes they simply cannot resist watching and are therefore forcing them to live sedentary lives.

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Monday November 3rd, 2014

Lottery lies

Lottery Lies.

How the lottery defrauds the people.

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Tuesday November 4th, 2014

Global Warming.

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

The scientific evidence is in. The world is heating up and the future of humanity is threatened. Back in the late nineties and early two thousands, there was the global warming band wagon. It was a license for businesses to print money and like many, I started to go against it and enjoyed books which exposed the exaggerations and also questioned whether global warming was really a threat. This fortunately forced the scientific community to start thinking seriously about what they were saying and made them present their findings in a more reasonable and down to earth format. The weather makers by Tim Flannery is one of those better and more thoughtful books on the subject and although it was first published in 2005, it is still excellent reading for anyone interested in the subject.

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Wednesday November 5th, 2014

London's Beggars.

Sadly, beggars are becoming a serious problem in our wonderful city and one of the reasons is that we are all soft-hearted, perhaps too soft-hearted. But who can walk past a person in apparent distress without trying to do something to help?
           But Ďapparent distressí is the key word here. People who beg know that they have to make themselves look as destitute as possible if they are going to tug the heartstrings of those walking by. For me, this was, for years, a big problem. I was always putting my hand in my pocket to help, but often felt that the people I gave money to werenít nearly as needy as they appeared to be.
           But then I found the answer. By donating regularly to the Salvation Army I discovered I was able to walk past beggars without giving them anything and also without feeling any pangs of guilt. I knew that if they were really destitute they could go to the Salvation Army where the money I had donated would help ensure that they got something to eat. I never looked on this as charity, it was a deal and I am forever grateful to the Salvos for giving me this opportunity. My monthly bankers order means that I can do my bit to help feed the destitute of London and also be sure that the money Iím giving is not being misspent on drugs or other illegal substances. Great!

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Thursday November 6th, 2014

Muhammad by Karen Armstrong.

Muhammad by Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is a champion of Islam. In this book everything about Muhammad and Islam is absolutely wonderful and borders on perfection while everything thought, said or done by Westerners is schizophrenic, misinformed or just plain wrong. Should imagine that one day the Muslims will raise a monument to Armstrong in Mecca.
           Armstrong clearly got all her information from leading Muslims and this book could likened to a book about Jesus written by a self-hating Muslim who got all their information from the Pope.
           (I should however note that this book was written in 1991 and that attitudes were somewhat different at the time.)

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Friday November 7th, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort.

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

An enjoyable, rip-roaring read. But as I approached the end, I got to thinking. What would we have thought of this book in the seventies, a time before Thatcher, a modern day Eve? I must admit that this degree of greed, dishonesty and self-indulgent hedonism would have left us all absolutely cold. We would have been shocked and I doubt if anyone would have thought there was anything clever or funny about this personís story.
           Times have certainly changed.

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Saturday November 8th, 2014

Could the Ebola virus be weaponized?

Ebola virus weaponised

The ebola virus is easy to acquire and to make it deadlier and more contagious, all a jihadist needs is a little knowledge. Looking at how Americans have reacted to even the idea of the ebola virus in their country, it would certainly be a cheap and effective weapon of terror.

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Monday November 10th, 2014

Who killed Osama Binladen?

Osama Binladen

Who cares?

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Tuesday November 11th, 2014

Magnum PI, Series 1.

Ebola virus weaponised

                                                       Lots of beautiful women, but not a boob job in sight.
                                                       I miss the eighties.
                                                       Have you ever tried to hug a woman with a boob job?

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Wednesday November 12th, 2014


All day TV has hours to fill,
So if theyíre going to fill the till,
Executives need the swill,
Which could minds make ill,
And perhaps some even kill.

But having to climb profitís hill,
Unable to stand still,
They instead must chill,
And every day with skill,
The till refill,
So they Capitalists can thrill.

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Thursday November 13th, 2014

Alzheimerís.

The other day I completely forgot my keys when I went out and although I was fortunate enough not to have to break anything to get back in, I was quite concerned about the possibilities of developing Alzheimerís. It's my age.
           But when I mentioned my fears to a neighbour he told me not to worry because there was a good side to having Alzheimerís. When I, in horror, enquired as to what could possibly be good about getting Alzheimerís, he told me that Iíd be meeting new people every day.
           Couldn't argue with that!

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Friday November 14th, 2014

Russia moves troops into Eastern Ukraine.

I do not care.

In fact, I support Putin. In 1945, what is now Eastern Ukraine was actually a part of Russia and it was Khrushchev who made it a part of the Ukraine. At the time it wasnít a problem because Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia didnít mind allowing that part of Russia to remain a part of Ukraine because Ukraine was independent and neutral. But once Ukraine began siding with the Americans and the European Union, it was quite reasonable for Russia to want its territory back. But sadly, America and the European Union donít want to give it back, particularly because NATO sees it as a great place on which to station troop that could threaten Russia. Can you believe it?
           If Russia decides to invade Eastern Ukraine and make it once more a part of Russia, it has my full support. I would only become an enemy of Russia if Russia tried to grab an extra half inch of land and make a part of Ukraine proper a part of Russia. That would be a problem.
           Long live Putin, provided he only wants to make Eastern Ukraine a part of Russia again. Any more and I will not tolerate it. (However, on a blog like this, which nobody reads, itís almost a complete waste of effort to make my opinion known, but what can you do? In this instance itís America, Britain and the EU which are in the wrong.)

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Saturday November 15th, 2014

ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria
are devout Muslims.

ISIS fighters live by the Koran. You and I may disagree with what they are doing, but the Koran, in their view, is telling them to do what they are doing.
           Some Islamic scholars may insist that ISIS fighters are misinterpreting the Koran, but that is surely reminiscent of a time when the Pope told Martin Luther that he was a heretic because he did not interpret the Bible in the way the Pope said he should.
           Life!
           But where do we go from here?

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Monday November 17th, 2014

G-20 promises more jobs
and more women in the workforce.

Thatís a promise of more slaves for the Capitalist system and more women who will not be allowed to be stay-at-home mothers. Government pressure will force them to go out and work so that the already rich can get richer. But why should the desires of the rich force mums to entrust the care of their little ones to complete strangers? Worse is the fact that after the cost of child care is deducted from a working womanís wage packet, itís hardly worth her while to slave away at a job. Surely being chained to her kitchen sink with her little ones playing at her feet is better than being chained to an office computer or to a till in a McDonalds.

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Tuesday November 18th, 2014

Modern day politics and why they are beyond me.

David Cameron

On Sunday I woke to hear that the G-20 had issued a positive statement which claimed the worldís financial situation was looking up and growth could be expected.
           But on Monday I woke to hear that David Cameron is warning us all about the flashing red lights and the dangers we all face. The world's economic situation, he says, is grave and it could collapse at any time. The future, in consequence, is black, black, black.
           But didnít David Cameron attend the G-20 meeting in Australia and didn't he also put his signature to the upbeat statement they issued?
           Makes you wonder.

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Wednesday November 19th, 2014

Lost Girls, An Unsolved American Mystery
by Robert Kolker

Lost Girls by Robert Kolker

With seven billion people on the planet I really donít have the emotional capacity to feel for everyone who gets themselves murdered. This is especially true for drug addicted prostitutes who want to earn over $1,000 tax free dollars for a nightís work but donít want to spend $200 of that on a minder. They want it all for themselves and so they take their chances. Consequently, I canít see why this is such a highly regarded book. In fact, Iím reminded of the security people who went to work in Iraq for several thousand dollars a week. A number of them were killed but nobody is particularly upset because it is accepted that they knew the risks and took their chances.
           The book itself is about the prostitutes, their dysfunctional lives, their drug taking, their disastrous relationships and their work. It then moves on to the complaints of the families about the police and the failure to find the murder or murderers. There is, however, nothing about the investigation, the attempts the police made to find the killer/s and the problems they faced. Consequently, I donít view this as a constructive work. (Mind you, there are a lot of dead bodies and one wonders what happened to CSI New York. Have they all gone on an extended holiday? What about the serious crime squad?)

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Thursday November 20th, 2014

Royal Mail
and the mischief of crooks
in Westminster.

Since yesterday the news has been full of reports about the price of Royal Mail shares subsiding to just over £4 and the arguments put forward by some insist that the government did the right thing last year. This fall in price, they claim, is simply due to a changing business environment.
           But itís not unreasonable to assume that last year, at the launch, because only the super rich were allowed to buy these shares in any significant quantities, there was a serious shortage of them for sale and so the price skyrocketed to over £6. Terrific news for the super rich who were allowed to buy them at £3 but obviously, they couldnít just dump the shares and so over the last year they have gradually sold off as many of their holdings as they could and now, because there are so many shares available on the market, the price has naturally subsided. But the vast profits made by those few who were allowed to buy these shares in quantity and who have since sold off as many as they could without collapsing the price, is something nobody in the media seems to want to discuss. But who in the media, with a career to worry about, wants to begin casting aspersions on the rich and powerful of this country? Those who want to get on have to know how the game is played and so you canít trust a journalist who wants a pay rise or promotion.

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Tuesday November 25th, 2014

I like my Motorola iPhone.

Motorola iPhone

Some friends of mine like their Apple iPhone and others their Samsung iPhone. But my Motorola i-phone (or intelli-phone) seems to me to be just as good as its Apple or Samsung equivalents. It also didnít cost nearly as much.
           Itís now reasonable to think that a term like iPhone has become generic and is not specific to any brand. Thereís the ordinary mobile, the blackberry (which is any mobile phone with a full keyboard) and the iPhone which is simply a touch screen mobile with internet capability. Canít see why Apple would complain. It may have invented the full screen touch mobile but the dangers of a company inventing something new is that they run the risk of following the route taken by companies such as Hoover and Biro.

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Wednesday November 26th, 2014

Lottery lies

Lotteries and the Church.

Religion and the National Lottery.

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Thursday November 27th, 2014


True Charity.

30 Lines of Vogon Verse.

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Friday November 28th, 2014

Thatcher's Capitalists.

Capitalism, the religion of the spiv,
Who does just for money live,
A one from whom a money sight,
Will evoke a shout of "R-I-G-H-T".

For with a brain so like a pea,
A capitalist cannot much see,
So mindless things will him delight,
And he as well for mindless things will fight.

Money in the bank,
He does highly rank,
The thought does him enthral,
As it is in life his all.

But a worm gets from life more worth,
And so has in life a higher berth,
Worms are capitalists before,
Because to life they offer more.

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Saturday November 29th, 2014

International Buy Nothing Day

is today - November 29th.

More information from "The Moneyless Man." by Mark Boyle, page 15

(Yesterday was Black Friday or International Couch Potato Day. A day on which the less intelligent in our society are encouraged to rush out and buy at a discount. Whether or not they need the items they buy is not the point - big discounts are offered and that in itself is a reason to spend, spend, spend. Today, on the other hand, is High IQ Day. A day for those who like to spend their money wisely to stop, look around and consider their options before they put their hand in their pocket or pull out their credit card.)

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Monday December 1st, 2014

Waltz With Bashir.

Waltz With Bashir

Films of substance are few and far between. But this one is so good, I watched it twice.

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Tuesday December 2nd, 2014


Bonjour! C'est Moi.

26 Lines of Vogon Verse.

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Wednesday December 3rd, 2014


There was a politician from Kent,
Whose mind was horribly bent,
His expenses he doubled,
And so he wouldnít be troubled,
He practiced the word accident.

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Thursday December 4th, 2014

What is Growth?

In the sixties and early seventies, unless you were buying an expensive car like a Jaguar, cars came without radios. In fact, for most people, a radio in their car was an expensive luxury and so the majority of vehicles on the road didnít have a radio. But then the Japanese started making the radio a standard fitting in their cars and to compete, all other manufacturers had to follow suit.
           The result of this was a tremendous increase in the radio listening public and this, in turn, resulted in tremendous growth in the broadcasting business. The increasing number of listeners was a boon for anyone associated with broadcasting and not only that, political activists were able to get their message across to a continually increasing number of people and this caused real change in our society.
           Consequently, growth here, thanks to the Japanese, was the result of an increasing number of people listening to the radio. But in todayís world, where could we possibly find an increasing number of consumers to generate similar growth? Every car now has a radio and almost every home has a computer, an ipad, an iphone, a television, a dishwahser, a fridge and a freezer, so where can future growth come from?
           For politicians in search of growth, the future looks dim indeed. I for example have a relatively ancient mobile phone, an ancient computer, an ancient ipad and iphone, an ancient television and an ancient car. But I can see no reason as to why I should upgrade any of this equipment. In the old days, due to absence or dramatic technological developments, I really did have to keep upgrading my equipment, but not any more - and at least in the Western world, Iím sure the same holds true for many others.

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Friday December 5th, 2014

Money and the coming world calamity.

We, as members of a world society, are all Moneyists. As a collective we believe wholeheartedly in money. In fact, such is the depth of our belief that we now depend on it to control almost all aspects of our world. Without money, nothing happens. It is our God.
           But money is only a meme or an ideal which manifests itself in coloured bits of paper or as electronic dots on a computer screen. So the question to ask is, what will happen when our fragile God lets us down? Who or what will fill the power vacuum?

           (Will it be a complete and sudden collapse of money leading to chaos and the rise of local war lords around the world? Or will it be a gradual decline in people's belief in money leading to a rise in other values? Look, for example, at ISIS in Iraq. To them their religious beliefs clearly come first. It's the same in Jerusalem and the dispute over the al-Aqsa mosque. This is another developing 'religious' matter which has nothing to do with money or the good of the national economy. There also appears to be a noticeable growth in other deeply religious groups and all this, taken in its totality, suggests that many around the world are gradually moving away from Moneyism and identifying with other values in life.)

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Monday December 8th, 2014

Britainís International Aid Budget.

The governmentís decision to commit 0.7% of national earnings to international aid smells fishy to me. Obviously, anyone objecting to this will look extremely bad in the eyes of the general public and this, in my opinion, is one of the reasons the vote in favour of this commitment was so overwhelming. For example, ask yourself, what kind of reception can those who argued against this expect the next time they appear on television? What kinds of questions will they be asked by their interviewers? Rather them than me!
           But, when it comes to what smells fishy about this I will ask you, what exactly does the government mean by Ďinternational aidí? I think I know what the words means and Iím sure you do too, but if we were to compare notes Iím sure we would find that our concepts of exactly what Ďinternational aidí means are different. So, exactly what does the government mean by ĎInternational Aidí? Or have they deliberately kept us in the dark so that in times to come, it can mean whatever they want it to mean?
           I believe in helping the very poor. But Turkey, for example, is a very rich country. Its problem is its tax collection. Many rich people in Turkey donít pay their fair share of taxes and so British International Aid is expected to make up the difference. But why should British tax payers subsidise Turkish tax evaders?

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Tuesday December 9th, 2014

Television costume dramas and historical re-enactments.

Have you noticed how excellent the teeth of all appearing in these programmes are? No matter how poor or destitute and no matter how dirty and ragged their clothing, all characters have excellent teeth. Even the very old have nice, even, white teeth.
           Amazing!
           Hollywoodís the same. Even in the wild, wild West all characters, no matter how rough and tough they might be, have teeth which are even, regular and as white as white can be.
           So why are we constantly being told about how realistic these celluloid offerings are?

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Wednesday December 10th, 2014

When a billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts.

When a Billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts

Itís true that on an individual basis, people who live in the West are more polluting than those who live in the East. But as a collective, their much higher populations mean that the East pollutes more than the West. This is a well written and most interesting book and if you fear global warming, or climate change, it is essential reading.

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Thursday December 11th, 2014

Lucan, Not Guilty by Sally Moore.

Lucan, Not Guilty by Sally Moore

A Vogon View.

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Friday December 12th, 2014

Closing down the dark web.

Strangely enough, tracking down internet sites in the dark web is not as difficult as it might seem, despite what the media would have us believe. For example all websites have to be registered so that when you type in the address, even if itís an address hidden in the darkest realms of the dark web, the computer will know where to go. Consequently, all the police have to do is compare the registered addresses with the search engines because there is a good chance that any address which doesnít show up on any of the search engines is a part of the dark web.
           All you have to do to make your site invisible to search engines and therefore a part of the dark web is use the Ďno searchí tag because then search engines will ignore your pages. But the police almost certainly have bots or spiders which scan all registered addresses specifically for these tags, so it might be an idea not to use one.
           The authorities, Iím sure you will agree, have many ways of searching out sites behaving in an illegal manner. But it is very time consuming and so itís really a question of how much the authorities can afford to spend on seeking out these sites and prosecuting the people involved. (What normally happens is that the police carry out a purge and devote a considerable amount of time and energy to the problem for a while. Then, after catching and prosecuting as many as they can, they make sure the media publishes their successes so as to discourage others. After that they put the problem on the back burner and turn their attention to other, more pressing crimes.)

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Monday December 14th, 2014

           A man asked a lawyer if he charged by the minute.
           "No," said the lawyer. "I charge by the question. Five hundred dollars for three questions."
           "Really?" asked the man.
           "Yes," replied the lawyer, "and whatís your third question?"

           (Outrageous Fortune, The hilarious New Zealand crime family drama.)

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Wednesday December 17th, 2014

A Vogon's Christmas Poem.

If youíre with society au fait,
And the people would survey,
Youíd know on Christmas Day,
Children play,
If lucky on a sleigh,
While parents pray,
That prosperity will stay,
As time through life does them convey,
Till a time theyíre grey,
Where after a life gourmet,
When age on them does weigh,
And they no longer want in life to stay,
Death without delay,
Will them whisk away.

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Thursday December 18th, 2014

The Diversity Illusion by Ed West.

The Diversity Illusion by Ed West

For some reason society has evolved to the point where large numbers of people have a vested interest in seeing racism wherever they look and so Britain is becoming like the Soviet Union of old. If the people donít get their minds right, the police are going to be knocking on their door and theyíre going to be in trouble. But laws are for controlling behaviour, not thoughts - except when it comes to immigrants. When it comes to immigrants, many indigenous Britons are deemed guilty of institutionalised racism because they donít feel the feelings they are told to feel or think the thoughts they have been taught to think, This book, for those who are tired of being guilt-tripped into thoughts and feelings they donít have is a Godsend. Clear, concise and full of wisdom, those who have read it will no longer feel the need to cower in fear whenever left wing extremists, or those who are anxious to maintain their government grants, point the finger and use words like R-A-C-I-S-T. (If people who receive government grants to stamp out racism donít find racists they can stamp out, theyíre going to lose their grants and so, theyíve now moved on to the point where they have decided to accuse the entire white population of being subconsciously racist!!! But then - what would they do if the money stopped?) A terrific book. Loved it. A relief to read.

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Friday December 19th, 2014

Fidel Castro Finally Defeats
the United States of America.

America throws in the towel.

America lost in Vietnam, ran away from Beirut and Somalia and in Granada, a British Commonwealth country, a collection of geriatrics with clapped out weaponry gave Americaís finest a serious run for their money. The invasion of Iraq certainly didnít turn out as planned and the adventure in Afghanistan was something of a failure too.
           And now America concedes that for all their might, Cuba held out and did not crumble.
           In the sixties, in Britain, we all truly believed that America was invincible and only a fool would dare to challenge its might. But then, we also believed that Capitalism was good and Communism should be crushed.
           Sadly, it seems that life is all about changing your mind, changing your mind and then changing your mind again. Itís actually quite a painful experience.

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Saturday December 20th, 2014

Children in prison to spend Christmas Day locked in their cells.

The BBC has reported that due to staff shortages, even young prisoners in juvenile detention centres will spend Christmas Day locked in their cells. Government cuts mean that there is no money to pay the staff. But the government must make cuts because they have to give £11 billion to international charity and spend £15 billion on new road developments. Then thereís HS-2, a new runway for Heathrow and on top of that weíve got to buy Trident missiles and probably some new nuclear submarines as well. Politicians will also be needing their pay rises and so naturally, there just isnít any money to pay prison staff overtime to work on Christmas Day.

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Monday December 22nd, 2014


Why I believe Allah is the Antichrist.

or

The crucial difference between Islam and Christianity.


A Vogon's View. (1,400 words.)

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Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

BBC Radio 4 Christmas Poem.

Rubbish!

All put to music but it was extremely hard to make out the words. In the end I just stopped bothering. A poem is supposed to be made up of words which can be backed by music, but this was music backed by words which were extremely hard to decipher.

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Wednesday December 24th, 2014

Royal Mail IPO.

All this has been in the news again. But what many donít seem to understand is that the crime was not in the pricing of the shares. The price deliberately on the low side but the fact that it was so low was probably an innocent governmental misjudgement. The crime was in the fact that knowing the shares were going to be cheap, only the already very rich were allowed to buy them in any significant quantities. Now that many of the shares bought at £3.30 have been sold back into the market, the price has naturally subsided to £4.05 and the very rich are even richer. It was, without doubt, blatant, Westminster condoned theft.
           But would it have been any different under the pharaohs? What about under Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth I?

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Friday December 26th, 2014

Outrageous Fortune.

Outrageous Fortune and the Wests of West Auckland

A New Zealand crime family drama.

Hilarious. The funniest series Iíve seen in a long time. New Zealandís laws about obscene language and sex scenes on TV seem to be much laxer than British ones and so it may not be possible to screen this series in the UK. However, the DVDs are available on ebay and if you like humour, I suggest you treat yourself. Series one to four are excellent but series five is a disappointment while six rounds the story off nicely and puts it to bed. Loved it.

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Saturday December 27th, 2014

What is money?

Money, at its core, is nothing but little bits of coloured paper. Enthusiasts are trying to transform it into electronic dots on a computer screen but if they succeed, terrorists will know that any attack on a power station stands a chance of causing mayhem. The government will also know about their citizens' every electronic dot and exactly what they do with it because nobody can put a computer dot in their pocket or hide it under their mattress.

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Monday December 29th, 2014

The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen.

The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen

An Interesting book, but one which has far too broad a sweep to be of any real worth. Some of the predictions will certainly come true while others wonít, but which are the accurate predictions? Many prestigious people have said great things about this book, but although politicians may want an idea of the possibilities offered by Google, it wasnít really a book for me. In fact, it reminds of Bill Gates and ĎThe Road Aheadí, a book in which he didnít even mention the Internet.

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Tuesday December 30th, 2014

Modern news.

If it bleeds, it leads.

However, as the world becomes more violent, isnít it possible people will begin to shy away from stories of tragedy, heartbreak, suffering, blood and gore?

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Wednesday December 31st, 2014

Driverless Cars.

Great for pedestrians.

The BBC news is talking about the take over of driverless cars. They say that in fifteen to twenty years most of the cars on the road will be driverless. But that will be great for pedestrians. At the moment pedestrians have to wait till the road is clear before crossing because they might get run over. Itís impossible to tell whether the driver will stop in time so the pedestrian must wait for all the traffic to pass. But with driverless cars, a pedestrian can step out into the road any time they choose because they Ďknowí the car will stop and not run them over. They can even take their time and dawdle because they will also know there is no chance of an irate driver jumping out of the car and either verbally abusing them or even threatening to punch them out. Kids will also have loads of fun because they will be able to leave plastic traffic cones in the middle of the road and laugh as they watch the cars come to a halt and then wait for the cones to move out of the way. (What kind of fun could they have with a fashionably dressed mannequin? The computer wouldn't be able to tell the difference!)
           The big threat, of course, is that driverless lorries will put many truck drivers out of work. They might not take kindly to this and, as you canít cover every inch of every road with CCTV cameras, sabotage is likely.

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Thursday January 1st, 2015


There was a politician from wells,
Who liked to ring his own bells,
Till the day that he stumbled.
And his waffles were rumbled,
And now it's said that he smells.

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Friday January 2nd, 2015

The Siege of Vienna by John Stoye.

The siege of Vienna by John Stoye

The terrifying dangers of the Islamic meme.

(The siege of Vienna in 1683 was one of the turning points in European history. It was the last serious threat to Western Christendom and, so great was its impact, that countries normally jealous and hostile to each other sank their differences so as to throw back the armies of Islam and their savage Tartar allies. The consequences of defeat were momentous: the Ottomans lost half their European territories and began the long decline which led to the final collapse of their Empire. That hot September day which witnessed the last great trial of strength between Cross and Crescent opened an epoch in European history which lasted until the cataclysm of the First World War in 1914.)

An interesting but very detailed work of history which does take some getting through. At first I just thought it was a case of one powerful ruler trying to conquer another land but by page 150 I could see that although this may have been the case for the Sultan and Grand Vizer, for the rank and file it was very much a religious war. A crusade in which they attempted to conquer Europe for their Allah. A war, which, in my opinion at least, continues to this day.

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Monday January 5th, 2015

Bette Davis, the ox-eyed queen of Hollywood.

Bette Davis Anniversary Collection

100th Anniversary Collection.

This is a collection of Bette Davisí lesser known films but they are very powerful. A great deal of her acting power lay in the use she made of her eyes. In many films, for example, doing the noble thing and refusing to give into temptation meant that she was severely disadvantaged and suffered greatly. But she knew how to make her audience feel her pain and, when watching one of her films, even I frequently found myself wiping a tear from the corner of my eye Thereís never been an actress like Bette Davis and probably never will be again.
           But, in the film ĎWatch On The Rhineí, was Paul Lucas morally in the right when he cold bloodedly murdered George Coulouris?

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Tuesday January 6th, 2015

The Pylonisation of Britain.

It is being said by some in the media that people who live in the country should cease their complaints. The government, they claim, has an economy to manage so nobody really cares about the wishes of a few country folk. Also, why should country people enjoy the advantages of living in an idyllic countryside setting while many people, most of whom pay the same level of tax, live in decrepit areas of London and other major cities?
           The National Economy, in the view of the government and others, is a priority and minorities like the country folk should bear this in mind. The rich, however, gain from this march of electrification and suffer no disadvantages because they can afford to reside in those few remaining areas of the country which retain an idyllic environment. When you think about it, itís all rather like the overcrowding experiments carried out with rats in the fifties. The high status rats retained a large area solely for their own use while all the other rats were forced to crowd together and had to clamber over each other when they wanted to move. Any low status rat daring to encroach on the empty, wide open spaces occupied by the high status rats was viscously attacked and quickly driven off.
           And so it goesÖ.

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Wednesday January 7th, 2015

Skyfall.

SkyFall

I don't think I have ever seen anything worse. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Canít guess at how many face lifts Daniel Craig has had, but it must have been quite a few. The acting is the worst Iíve seen. Itís like little robots simply looking at the camera and saying the required words. Iíve always liked Dame Judy Dench but I wasnít impressed with her performance as the M-ess. I suppose that really, instead of being a Bond film, this is actually a spy-fi film. Britainís answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Under these circumstances I could accept it as just another unintelligent movie, but associating it with the films of Sean Connery , to me is a crime. (Roger Moore was really only Simon Templar, the Saint, masquerading as James Bond, but at least he had style and was entertaining.)

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Thursday January 8th, 2015

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith.

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith

After Agent 6 and Child 44, this third novel was quite a disappointment. Although good in sections I found it to be quite unrealistic and very melodramatic. Hopefully Tom Rob Smithís fourth novel will be as good as his first two.

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Friday January 9th, 2015

Why the rich should pay more tax.

A personís right to property depends on the governmentís ability to pay a police force and, if necessary, an army to ensure that a legal owner of any property is protected from others who might wish to take that property away from them. Obviously, as the rich own more property than the poor in the country, they should pay more taxes so that the government can properly fund our police force and military.

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Monday January 12th, 2015

Sex crimes in Iraq.

The world should criminalise the ISIS fighters.

Having listened to BBC news, I am horrified. Buying woman for sexual purposes in a market is rape and even if an Islamic Iman gives religious permission, sex with a pre-pubescent girl bought for sexual purposes in a market is absolutely the worst kind of child abuse.
           On top of this, with Bradford and Nigeria in mind, I think that any forced marriage should make the woman a victim of rape and the husband a rapist.

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Tuesday January 13th, 2015

Will drones become a suicide bomberís delight?

You might think that the ability to make a political statement by killing a large number of non believing civilians from a safe distance would appeal to any Islamic suicide bomber. But, the whole point of a suicide mission is so that the bomber can get to paradise and then get their grubby paws on the promised seventy nubile virgins who will cater to their every craving. But using drones means the bomber will not be dying in the cause of their Allah and so thereíll be no paradise and no virgins. So whatís the point?

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Wednesday January 14th, 2015

Who can deny that the European Union is sexist?

European Union Flag

Pretending to pay homage to the idea of sexual equality, the sexist Eurocrats in Brussels have decreed that when it comes to motor insurance, insurance companies cannot take the sex of an applicant into consideration. The premiums must be calculated without regard to the applicantís sex.
           But, the driving habits of men and women differ greatly. Men like showing off their driving skills and also enjoy putting the pedal to the metal so they can test the performance of their cars. Itís true that they donít do it all the time, but when the mood takes them, they like to go for it. A car to a women, on the other hand, is just a means to an end - a way of getting from place to place. In consequence, men have many more accidents than women and the figures substantiate this. But, by not allowing insurance companies to take the sex of the driver into consideration when calculating premiums, the Eurocrats have ensured that men pay less than their fair share while women pay more.
           How unfair or sexist is that?

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Thursday January 15th, 2015

Was the prophet Muhammad a pedophile?

There seems to be some dispute as to when Muhammad first had sex with his child bride, Aisha. But thereís a sacred Islamic Hadith in which Aisha herself states that she was nine years when the then fifty three year old Muhammad first had sex with her.
           In this modern age, many living in the West are horrified by this behaviour of a self-proclaimed prophet and call him a pedophile.
           But bearing in mind that in the West, it is only those without sin who can cast the first stone, it must be remembered that in 1275 there was a Westminster ruling in which sex with any girl under the age of twelve was made a crime and, during the reign of Elizabeth, this age was even reduced to ten. In America, in some states such as Georgia, the age of consent was ten well into the twentieth century.
           So how can someone in the West call the prophet Muhammad a pedophile - even if he did claim to have had a personal chat with God and be the worldís most enlightened man?

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Friday January 16th, 2015

European Union.

European Union Flag

The German domination of Europe by other means.

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Monday January 19th, 2015

The Freedom of Expression.

The freedom of expression has to be associated with the duties which accompany that freedom. But the media, who are always demanding their right to their freedoms, donít seem to care too much about the associated duties. When did you last hear a newspaper person speak about the responsibilities of journalism?
           Anyone reading this blog will know that I am seriously Islamophobic, but cricket is cricket and I do think the media has been making a meal out of anything which insults Muslims because itís profitable. None of the cartoons which I have seen have struck me as being sharp, subtle or in the least bit clever. As far as I could see, none of them had a point.

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Tuesday January 20th, 2015

West Beirut.

West Beirut

A first class film. Highly recommended.

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Wednesday January 21st, 2015

Memoir of Hungary by Sandor Narai.

Memoir of Hungary by Sandor Narai.

In terms of literature we have moved from an age of dearth to an age of plenty and on to an age of glut. These days there are so many good books to read, how do you decide? But if you have any kind of connection with Hungary, you will find this to be an excellent read. It deals mostly with the author's life in Budapest from the time the Russians arrived in 1944 until 1948 when Narai finally decided to leave and seek asylum in America. Finely written.

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Thursday January 22nd, 2015

A Legal Joke.

Out of courtesy an accident victim and his lawyer attended a revival meeting being conducted by a travelling evangelist preacher, who had acquired a large following and an excellent reputation.
           Much to their surprise, they discovered that the evangelist truly had the power to heal. He laid his hand on a blind man and the man then jumped up and shouted, ďI can see! I can see! Bless you, Father, bless you!Ē
           Then the preacher touched a deaf man and said, ďTell me your name.Ē The man jumped up and shouted, ďI can hear! I can hear!Ē
           Then seeing the accident victim in a wheelchair with multiple casts and bandages, the minister approached with a gentle smile on his face.
           Suddenly, the lawyer jumped up. ďDonít you dare touch him!" He almost screamed. "The trial isnít until next week!"

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Friday January 23rd, 2015

The King of the Monkeys is Dead.

Princess by Jean P. Sasson

If you read this book, Princess by Jean P. Sasoon, you wonít bat an eyelid when you hear people, on hearing the news about the death of the king of Saudi Arabia, sing "The king of the monkeys is dead, yooo-hooo-hoo. They donít want to be like us, yooo-hooo-hooo-hooo. We donít allow the men of our community to have their daughters drowned, stoned to death or locked in a padded cell, without any human contact, for the remainder of their lives. Yooo-hooo-hooo."
           At first I thought this book was a fake and nothing but the product of a seriouisly twisted imagination. But after thinking about it for a considerable while, I finally came to the conclusion that it is an accurate account of what happens to women in Saudi Arabia and on those grounds, I have no trouble looking on Saudi Arabians, princes especially, as nothing but a bunch of oil rich, prehistoric monkeys.

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Monday January 26th, 2015

Another Legal Joke.

A truck driver used to amuse himself on long trips by running over lawyers walking along the side of the road. Heíd see a lawyer, swerve to the side to hit him and, when he heard a loud Ďthump, heíd know heíd been successful. One day, as the truck driver was driving along, he saw a priest hitchhiking and, thinking heíd do a good turn by offering the priest a lift, he pulled over to the side of the road and called out, "Where are you going, Father?"
           "Iím going to a church five miles down the road," replied the priest.
           "No problem, Father! Iíll give you a lift. Hop on in."
           With that, the happy priest climbed into the passenger seat, and the truck driver continued on.
           But as he rounded a corner the truck driver saw a lawyer walking along the road and instinctively swerved to hit him. But then remembering the priest sitting beside him, at the last minute he swerved back on the road and just narrowly missed the lawyer. But although he was certain he had missed the lawyer, he did hear a loud Ďthumpí. Not being able to determine where the noise had come from he turned to the priest and said, "Iím sorry, Father. I almost hit that lawyer."
           "Not to worry," said the priest. "I got him with the door."

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Tuesday January 27th, 2015

Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski.

Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski

Super book, Obviously, you have to be interested in the space race, but if you are, this is a book you shouldnít miss.

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Wednesday January 28th, 2015

Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan A. C. Brown.

Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan A. C. Brown

Muslims - whether you love them or hate them, itís important to understand what the Islamic faith is all about. A biography of Muhammad is simply not enough any more than reading the four Gospels would enable you to understand the Catholic faith or, for that matter, Christianity. This has to be one of the most enlightening books I have ever read on Islam and, best of all, I was able to borrow it from the library.

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Thursday January 29th, 2015

Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul by William C. Chittick.

Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul by William C. Chittick.

The Pertinence of islamic Cosmology in the Modern World.

The first fifty pages or so of this book struck me as being wise and perceptive but then it seemed as if the author began to get lost within his own arguments. However, I do think anyone who tries to understand God, the universe and the nature of the self within the context of a single religious text is just asking for trouble.

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Friday January 30th, 2015

Winston Churchill was buried fifty years ago today.

The prime minister nobody wanted.

It wasnít only the United Kingdom which stood alone in 1940, Churchill stood alone as well. Nobody wanted him. Even the Americans didnít want him. The general opinion was that he was just an unreliable boozer and President Kennedyís father, the American ambassador in London, was convinced that Germany was going to win the war and any show of Churchillian defiance was nothing but foolish bravado.
           But Churchill was a man obsessed with enemies. In 1916 the Irish were the enemy and in 1926 the strikers were the enemy. But in 1939, when Hitler stuck his head above the parapet, Churchill was in heaven. At last, a genuine enemy for him to really get his teeth into.

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Monday Febraury 2nd, 2015

Solo

by Willaim Boyd.

Solo by william Boyd (a 007 adventure)

This was written in 2013 and so I expected a totally moronic story in keeping with the moronic nature of modern James Bond films. But I was pleasantly surprised because it is, most of all, a coherent and somewhat believable story. Itís also an enjoyable read so if youíre looking for a bit of entertaining blood and thunder to pass the time, this is a book I would recommend.

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Tuesday Febraury 3rd, 2015

Cosmos.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

First broadcast in 1980 and in my view this still rates as the best ever series on science. Not to be missed.

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Wednesday February 4th, 2015

The Grammies, the Oscars and the BBC sports personality of the year.

What about a British politician of the year?

What we need in this day and age is a politician of the year. All Westminsterians should be required to cast a vote for the politician of the year. If there were also a series of other political awards, there could be a televised dinner during which the awards would be handed out to the deserving politicians to the rapturous applause of all the other politicians present.

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Thursday February 5th, 2015

Will we enjoy another carefree Christmas?

Anyone who keeps abreast of the news can see chaotic state of our world and the way this chaos is increasing. But the big problem is Eastern Ukraine because we are quickly reaching a point where neither the Americans nor the Russians will be able to back down without a serious loss of face. That could be a big, big problem. (I favour the idea that the Ukranian/Russian border should be restored to its 1945 position.)

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Friday Febraury 6th, 2015

Quantum Of solace.

Quantum of Solace

A Cambridge scholar, George Watson, said: ĎWe know almost everything about Coleridgeís Kubla Khan except what the poem is aboutí. Coleridge himself dismissed the work as nonesense, a triumph of sound over sense. (When a Billion Chinese Jump, by Jonathan Watts. page 460)
           Modern James Bond movies are so moronic, they are clearly a triumph of cinematography over sense and sadly, so many people think these movies are terrific, the realisation that we live in a democracy is a cause for terror.

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Monday Febraury 9th, 2015

The First Muslim

by Lesley Hazleton.

The First Muslim by Lesley Hazleton

A very good book on the life of Muhammad or, as some would call him, the Butcher of Medina. Recommended reading for anyone who is interested in Islam and would like to know more.

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Tuesday February 10th, 2015

Ebola.

Survivors

It could have been a calamity.

Ebola becomes contagious roughly three weeks after infection, but only when the person is clearly sick and is close to death. But supposing ebola had become contagious a day or so after the initial infection, while the victim was still healthy and able to function normally, it might easily have wiped out 90% of the worldís population.
           We've been very lucky because you and I would almost certainly have been included in the 90%.

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Wednesday Febraury 11th, 2015

Salvation Army

Self-praise is no praise.

The Salvation Army is dying.

Back in the seventies, when I was a mere twenty something, the Salvation Army was full of young people, especially in the eighteen to thirty age group. But now when I go the Salvation Army there are only older people. People who are middle aged to old now seem to make up the core of this once great organisation. But what happens when all these older people die off? Who will fill the church pews and do the good works? Being extremely rich the Church may degenerate into a not for profit corporation, but as a religious movement, it is clearly dying a slow and inevitable death.
           The same could be said for the Church of England and other Christian organisations. Young people are just not interested in the religion of their forebears. But Britainís mosques, on the other hand, are full of young people saying their prayers and doing whatever good works their religious leaders ask of them and, in consequence, the religious future of this country has been established. (Why do you think Muslims from all around the world are doing everything they can to get here? Are not many of them even willing to risk their lives to get here? Are they really coming for the money, a car and the dream of a semi detached in some leafy suburb like Richmond?)

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Thursday February 12th, 2015

Can you trust a Muslim?

On his death bed the self-proclaimed prophet Muhammad called for a scribe so he could make his last will and testament known. But although the believers were agog to learn what this was, nobody wanted to be disadvantaged by it. So, in the end, nobody dared to fetch a scribe and Muhammad died with his very last request denied by those who revered him. Rather than submitting themselves to a future their prophet desired, they preferred to fight it out among themselves and kill or be killed in their attempts to take control of all the riches Muhammad left behind.
           So if Muslims were happy to deny their own prophet his last request, because they felt it would be to their advantage, how do you think theyíll treat you, an unbeliever, when they think it will be to their advantage?

(The First Muslim by Lesley Hazleton, page 290)

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Friday February 13th, 2015

The First Holocaust.

The Butcher of Medina,
Think perhaps - ozeana,
The prophet Muhammad,
Was like Hitler bad,
As he did choose,
To slaughter all the Jews,
So Medina and Auschwitz,
Historically the same,
Leaders both defame.

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Monday February 16th, 2015

Survivors.
Television from the seventies.

Survivors

This is perhaps one of the most realistic television series ever made. It was said at the time that it was so realistic, it scared the actors.
           But as I said in an earlier post, if the Ebola virus had had some different characteristics, all that you see in this series could well have become a reality.
           (There was a remake of this series in the nineties, but I found that series to be rather pathetic. It was very politically correct and completely lacking in any sense of realism. This seventies series, however, was so good that it is in a class of its own.) (Of the three, Series 1 was definitely the best.)

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Tuesday February 17th, 2015

Could Jihadi John
destroy the American economy?

American economic power stems, for the most part, from its brands. But this is also its weakness. If Jihadi John were to link his murderous behaviour to any famous American brand, that brand would almost certainly be destroyed. For example, at his next murder he might call for his Apple iPad so he could check something on the internet and then, pointing out that it was for his own personal use, he might, on film, ask one of his associates to film the murder on his iPhone 6. Once something like this was broadcast on the internet, many hundreds of thousands of people would want to distance themselves from Apple products and Apple as a company would almost certainly cease to exist. There are many other big names Jihadi John could damage or destroy simply by associating them with his terrible activities, so the American economy is in real danger. Supposing he were to attach a McDonalds logo the suit of the person he intended to murder, what would be the global response to McDonalds' products?

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Wednesday February 18th, 2015

Do human beings need to live in a jungle?

Todayís news has exposed the fact that we now live in a money jungle. When it comes to money, everybody has got to be alert and ready to duck and dive at a momentís notice. People who settle back comfortably and stick with an energy supplier, bank or any other company with which they have become accustomed to doing business with are likely to find themselves paying far more for their services than those who constantly look for the best deal and continually leap, like an agile monkey, from company to company.

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Thursday February 19th, 2015

Apple iPhone 6 versus Microsoft Lumia 535.

I paid £70 for an unlocked Lumia 535 at Carphone Warehouse. It has a five inch screen and seems pretty good. In fact, I donít think I lack for anything because it is, after all, just a phone with internet capability. But as an iPhone 6 costs over £650 Iím wondering what someone who buys an iPhone 6 gets for their extra £580. It seems to be an enormous price difference for what is really only a very small difference in quality and capability. A fool and their money, as the saying goes, are soon parted.

           Note JUNE 2015: My Microsoft phone has turned out to be mostly a load of rubbish. It's slow, slow, slow-slow-slow! So maybe I should have spent the extra on an upmarket phone like an Apple.

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Friday February 20th, 2015

Preparing for December 25th. 2015.
Spendmas Day.

The truth is that Britain is no longer a Christian country and although some believe that before long, due to threats of brutal violence, we will become, if not actually a Muslim country, at least a country ruled by Muslims, at the moment we are a Capitalist country and because of this our economy is our most precious possession. To keep it going, we always have to work and spend, work and spend, work and spend. In consequence, instead of referring to December 25th as Christmas Day, we should, until the Muslims take over, call it Spendmas Day. (How about: Spendlots Day?)
           What do you think?

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Monday March 2nd, 2015

The Thing About Islam

by Magsie Hamilton Little.

The Thing About Islam by Magsie Hamilton Little

This is the story of Muhammad and the Islamic faith - the Walt Disney version. However, the author does take a broad perspective and even if I didnít always agree with her conclusions, she wasnít afraid to look at the darker side of Islam and deal honestly with the problems presented. A worthwhile read for anyone who would like to know more.

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Wednesday March 11th, 2015

The Great Degeneration

by Niall Ferguson.

The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson

How Institutions Decay and Economies Die.

If I say society is on the verge of collapse, Iím generally considered to be something of a crank. But what happens when respected lecturers like Niall Ferguson say it? This might a short book but itís still a worthwhile read. (The known unknowns. We know that society is on the verge of collapse but we donít know how or when. Which straw will be the one to finally breaks the camelís back? In my view, thanks to a media desperate for profit, the government is being blamed for absolutely everything that goes wrong in our society and I donít think any government could continue to bear up under such pressure. But it is still a question of the final straw. Whatís it going to be? But when it does happen, there's going to be a power vacuum, and the question I ask is: what cohesive group of people are going to be strong enough to fill that vacuum?)

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Friday June 24th, 2015

Lenovo T440p

Lenovo T440p

A Great Disappointment.

For many years IBM laptops have been my laptops of choice and when IBM sold out to Lenovo, I wasn't too worried because Lenovo laptops were simply IBM laptops with a new name.
           In consequence, when I wanted a new top of the range i-7 computer I automatically gravitated towards Lenovo and didn't look too closely at what I was buying. I was used to buying good quality computers from this company and didn't feel there was any need for an investigative look.
           What a mistake! Having got my new computer home it wasn't long before I began to regret my decision. IBM designed computers were quite different to what Lenovo is now designing. Inside, with windows 7 professional, an I-7 precessor and special graphics board, this T440p is fairly bog standard. But on the outside, things have changed. Some reviewers have suggested that the build quality isn't what it used to be, but this is not what is bothering me.
           Where do I begin?
           I think I'll start with the LED lights. On most laptops, with the lid closed, there is usually a light to say that the power is plugged in and that the battery is either charging or is charged. But no light on the new Lenovo which can lead to serious inconvenience. For example, you get home, the kids are being unusually boisterous and your spouse is quite frustrated with the problems of trying to keep them in control. So, because you have an important meeting tomorrow, you plug in your computer and then turn your attention to the problems in hand. Once you have managed to quieten the children and pacify your spouse you remember the fact that tomorrow's meeting is very important and so you glance over at your Lenovo to make sure that in the drama of the moment, you didn't accidentally forget to plug it in. But there's no green LED to let you know whether or not you remembered. The only way to make sure you did not forget is to walk over to the computer, check the connection of the power source and also make sure the power source is properly connected to the electricity. In the old days, a quick glance at the computer would have been enough, but now you have to physically check the computer and the connections every time you want to ensure that you haven't accidentally forgotten to put the battery on charge. This, at the very least, is thoughtless design on the part of Lenovo.
           All the little lights which once kept a user informed on the current condition of their computer have been removed from this later model. The light which once told you that the caps lock key is on has also been dispensed with in favour of a rather large black blotch on the screen which informs you that the caps lock key is on. But I have found this extremely annoying because this black blotch often blocks out important text I have on the screen and the only way to read that text is to move the window. It's very frustrating.
           Another information light that has been dispensed with his the hard drive activity light. Whether the hard drive is in action or not is something you have to guess at on this machine and sometimes, when the screen appears to do absolutely nothing, you don't know whether the hold up is due to hard drive activity or something else. You just have to wait and hope that things sort themselves out. On my machine, Windows 7 occasionally jams up and requires a forced restart but without a disc activity light to warn me of a jam up, I have to wait a fair while before finally forcing a restart. Wasted time here.
           There's no blue tooth light and no light informing (or warning) that your radio link for wi-fi is active and ready to use (or open to attack). Anyone who has read 'Future Crimes' by Marc Goodman will know that protecting your computer from attack over the wi-fi connection is becoming a priority for computer users and although this radio link information is displayed in the task bar, this is of little use when inactivity has caused the screen to black out while you busy yourself with something else.
           There is also no activity light on the DVD drive, no numeric key pad and no switch which allows you to physically switch off the computer's ability to connect to the internet. If your computer is infected with a virus it is not too hard for attackers to gain entry to your computer, disable the software which is supposed to protect you from attack and do what they wish. In the old days, being able to physically shut off the radio link kept computer users protected when they weren't actually using the internet. But now all a Lenovo laptop user can do is hope for the best. Something of a problem when you realise that most malicious software isn't discovered and protected against until weeks and sometimes even months after it has begun infecting computers. (Some forms of malicious software are unlikely ever to be found because they are only used sparingly against carefully selected targets and computer security companies never get an opportunity to know they even exist.)
           So all in all, I'm very disappointed with my purchase and suggest that if you are planning to buy a new top of the range laptop, you look at all the laptops available rather than just relying on the reputation of IBM/Lenovo because the new Lenovo designs are very definitely not IBM designs. They lack both the thoughtfulness and the quality.

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(There are other problems such as the computer occasionally getting stuck when I switch it on and I have to force a restart. When switching off there is also an occasional tendency to hang and I need a forced switch off. If I put it to sleep and leave it for a while I can press all the keys I like, but nothing happens and I have to force a restart. But these problems I put down to Windows 7 professional rather than to Lenovo build.)

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What really disturbs me about this machine is that governments around the world have been complaining about the fact that cyber spying is something of a national pastime in China. This is a Chinese designed and manufactured computer and every effort appears to have been made to keep the user in the dark about what the machine is doing. Worse is the fact that this is an upmarket machine which is being used by leading politicians, government servants, corporate presidents and top executives around the world. Personally, I cannot help but feel that no person in a position of authority should touch this machine until it has been thoroughly vetted by the security services. (Interestingly, since posting this blog I've learned that the American CIA, NSA, FBI and England's MI-6 all refuse to use Lenovo products for security reasons. Britain's GCHQ simply refuses to comment on the matter and so there's no prizes for guessing what they think.)

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November 2015. Have just discovered that the DVD drive isn't swappable, something that would have been unheard of for an IBM machine. I got the impression when buying the machine that it came with a blue-ray DVD and so was quite surprised wouldn't it wouldn't play blue-ray discs. But 'No problem.' I thought. I'd just get a blue-ray drive and slot it in. But Chinese design is poor design and the quality of this build certainly doesn't live up to the standards we learned to expect from IBM. Then, to make matters worse, the hard drive isn't easily swapable either! With an IBM machine, a easy to swap hard drive was a blessing. Any number of different people could use the same computer by just sliding in their own hard drive. Also, if you wanted to browse dangerous areas of the internet without worrying, there was no problem because it was easy to use a hard drive which didn't have any of your own personal data on it. So, the end result is that, on a day to day basis, my Lenovo experience simply goes from bad to worse!

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February 2016. There seem to be some serious security problems with this machine. When I switch off, although normally it just switches off, it sometimes goes into 'restart' mode so I switch off, go to bed and then sometimes wake up in the early morning to find the computer is still on. This is extremely annoying and it does happen quite frequently. The other problem is that if, for security reasons, I disconnect from the wi-fi before leaving the machine untended, if someone unplugs the router and then plugs it back in again, this Lenovo machine will automatically reconnect to the internet even if I am not in the room. Not good! Not good at all!

July 2016. Eventually I just switched the machine off and stuck it under the couch. I see it as nothing but a total waste of money. A load of sea aarr eh! pea or a hock of ess, aitch, eye, tea.

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Saturday June 25th, 2015

Canon MG-7550 Printer/Scanner

Canon 7550 printer/scanner

How the giants have fallen!

Ever since the mid nineties I have being buying Canon products. They have always been of excellent quality and so I loved them. In consequence, when my old Canon printer finally gave up the ghost, a Canon replacement was my natural choice.
           But what a mistake!
           To begin Iíll tell you about the scanner. Iíve had a Canon scanner, an FB 630P for over fifteen years and Iíve been very, very pleased with it. It still does the job just fine and so there wasnít really any need to buy an all-in-one printer. But at the time I was feeling extravagant and thought to myself ĎWhy not?í
           But whereas my CanonScan FB 630P came with excellent scanning software (CanoCraft CS-P 3.7) the scanning software supplied with the MG-7550 is, by comparison, total rubbish. Itís very basic, rather crude and seems as if it has just been cobbled together and uncaringly tossed into the box alongside the printer. Unlike CanoCraft CS-P 3.7, which was pleasing to the eye, did almost everything I could want and was a pleasure to work with, this new software feels like something thatís been dragged out of the gutter. But what happened? Why would Canon ditch some excellent scanning software in favour of this shabby, low quality alternative?
           The other software which came with the printer, My Image Garden, is also not noted for its ease of use and is certainly not software I enjoy using. Itís true that it does the job, kind of. But over the years Iíve come to expect a lot from Canon and now find myself terribly disappointed. For example. When it comes to printing on DVDs the software does work, if somewhat crudely. But when I moved my printer to another computer and then found I had to print some images on a DVD, images which Iíd already created on the other computer, I was completely unable to find the relevant files and simply copy them over. I spent a long time trying to track them down but without success and so in the end I had to go through the tedious chore of reconnecting the printer to the first computer, doing the job and then reconnecting once more to the computer I currently needed it connected to. Not what I would have expected from an upmarket company like Canon.
           Times, it seems, have changed. The years have passed and the old top dogs at Canon have retired leaving a new breed to take their place. But Iím strongly of the opinion that these new people donít really to care about the quality of the products they produce.
           As far as the printer is concerned it prints okay but canít see that the print quality is any better than my previous printer. Maybe if I looked at it under a microscope Iíd notice some improvements but apart from that it seems to be the same. Like all inkjets, this printer just seems to love using up large amounts of seriously expensive ink when cleaning the print heads. But on the good side is the fact that refillable cartridges for this printer are available on ebay for about £30 and can give you years of low cost printing. It is true that the quality of refill ink is only about 90% of genuine Canon cartridges and for this reason I keep the Canon originals for special work and use the refill ink for everything else.
           In closing I will say that if you are thinking of buying a printer I suggest you take a good look around and donít allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking that because Canon used to produce first class printers and scanners, they still do.

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Monday June 27th, 2015

A History of the Wold in 100 Objects

by Neil MacGregor

History of the World in 100 Objects

Every item in this book is in the British Museum and I and must say I found it very interesting. However, although I read it cover to cover, I do think this is more of a coffee table book. The photographs of each item are excellent and there is no doubt that this book could be a great conversation stimulator. Highly recommended.

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Wednesday June 29th, 2015

Where are the Dinasours in the Bible?

The Science of God

In his book, the Science of God, Gerald L. Schroder has attempted to combine creationism with evolution and I think he did a rather good job. But this book was first published in 1997 and Iím surprised Iíve never heard anything about it.
           But, where are the dinosaurs in the The Bible? If youíd like to know more Iíll refer you to page 193 of the book. I have, however, added below the main thrust of the author's arguments, but as to why he found himself exploring this idea is not really an issue for this blog.
           But to begin:

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In Genesis 1:21 we are told that on the fifth day God created the basis for all animal life. Among the categories of animals listed is one named Ďtaninim gedolim.í Gedolim means big and so we read Ďthe big taninim.í Pick up five different English translations of the Hebrew Bible and youíre likely to find five different meanings for the word taninim; whales, alligators, sea monsters, even dragons. Yet taneen, the singular of taninim, is a word which appears elsewhere in the Bible and its meaning is known.
           In Exodus 3, the Eternal spoke to Moses from the burning bush and told him to return to Egypt and lead the enslaved Hebrews to freedom. Moses felt incapable of the task and so the Eternal gave him several signs, one related to his shepherdís staff. When Moses was told to throw his staff on the ground Ďit became a nahashí (Ex 4:3). Nahash is the Hebrew word for snake. After Mosesí return to Egypt, when the Pharaoh asked for a sign, Mosesís staff was again thrown to the ground and Ďbecame a taneení (Ex-7:10). Why didnít it become a nahash, a snake? And just five verses later, the Eternal tells Moses: "Get to Pharaoh in the morning, behold he goes to the water, and stand by the riverís edge and the staff which turned into a nahash take in your hand" (Ex. 7:15).
           Itís the same staff. The change is first referred to as a nahash, then as a taneen, then as a nahash. We know that nahash means snake from its use elsewhere. Taneen must be a general category of animals since it appears in the creation chapter of Genesis where, other than Adam, only general categories of life are listed. So taneen must be the general category within which nahash - snake - falls. The general category for snakes is reptile. Thus Genesis 1:21 translates as: "And God created the big reptilesÖ"
           The biggest reptiles were dinosaurs. But the author of Genesis did not specify dinosaurs directly because that would have been inconsistent with the pattern of the chapter. The entire account of Genesis is stated in terms of objects known or knowable to the myriad of witnesses present in Sinai 3,300 years ago. Dinosaurs were not part of their world. But the hint, along with so many other hints, was there in the text for later generations to discover.
           Fascinating stuff, what?

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Wednesday September 23rd, 2015

Don't You Know Who I Am?

By Piers Morgan.

Don't You KNow Who I Am? by Piers Morgan

What a load of tosh!

Like many I enjoyed The Insider because it was mostly about Tony Blair, Princess Diana and other well known celebrities. People I knew about. But this is about Piers Morgan and a large number of people Iíve never heard of. Even worse, it's mostly about the charming, wonderful, gorgeous, clever and witty Piers Morgan who takes life in his stride - or so he would have his readers believe.
           Interestingly, when he was in the newspaper business Morgan was careful not to offend anyone who could hurt him. I refer you to page 31 of The Insider in which he tells of the time he pulled an article in the News of the World which attacked The Sunday Times because both papers were in the same stable. But it is far more likely that he was afraid of upsetting Rupert Murdoch, a man who really could hurt him if he so chose. Itís the same in this book. Itís all about these wonderfully nice, super friends of his who are also celebrities. Everybody who is anybody (that means anybody who can either help or hinder his career) is just so, so nice. He only goes after people who canít hit back. Kate Moss was one of his victims as was a successful teenage pop singer who probably just couldnít handle all the mindless attention success as a singer brought in its trail. Morgan is over forty and here he is bad mouthing a teenager who isn't as poised and as able to handle the attention as he is. But it seems he likes hurting the young and the weak. He clearly thought it was great fun making children cry on his American TV show and claimed he did it because it was good television. But was that the real reason? To be even a mediocre success as an editor of a British Red Top, there has to be a sadistic streak and something nasty about the individual. Nice people donít make it in the gutter press and when you read between the lines of this book youíll see that thereís a lot about Piers Morgan which really just isnít nice.

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Thursday September 24th, 2015

No Country For Old Men.

No country For Old Men

Riveting but very stupid.

I wonít deny that this movie had me riveted to my seat for the entire time but the ending was very poor. It was careless, slip shod and, as far as I could tell, just crudely cobbled together. So I began to think about the movie as a whole.
           I donít deny that I liked the action (read violence) but after thinking about it for a while I could see that the story line was nothing but an excuse for an orgy of mindless Hollywood death and destruction. So a very poor story line, with many flaws, and a very poor ending. But, I got the DVD at a boot sale for 50p so donít suppose I can complain.

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Friday September 25th, 2015

Shantaram.

By Gregory David Roberts.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

A veritable feast of a book.

Reading this book is like going to the Savoy, the Dorchester or one of Londonís top restaurants and having the Hors d'oeuvres, the filet mignon with all the trimmings and a bottle of the finest wine and then following this with a gateau before finally polishing it all off with a glass of the very best brandy.
           It has been described by the Daily Telegraph as a literary masterpiece but to tell you what itís about is a little more difficult. Imagine, for example, an Australian bank robber escaping from a Melbourne prison and using a stolen passport to flee the country and go to Bombay. But then he gets mugged and has all his money stolen. It really is hard to think of a better place from where to begin such an excellent tale.

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Monday September 28th, 2015

Dishonest Britain.

Dishonest Britain

Westminster has lost a great deal its credibility.

Simply going back to the great Royal Mail fiasco, the dishonesty of our Westminster government is hard to miss. They have even admitted that they knew full well that Royal Mail shares were under priced when they were launched and have since tried desperately to avoid being fingered as crooks when it is pointed out that by law, only the super rich were allowed to buy these under priced shares in any meaningful quantities. The excuses of the Conservative government have the unmistakable aroma of deceit and dishonesty, but they still bravely stand up in front of the television cameras and try to perpetuate the lies. They are, of course, depending on the fact that nobody can actually prove they were dishonest and that there were behind the scenes shenanigans, Masonic handshakes, nudges and winks. But the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming and then of course, there is that aroma.
           But in a democracy the couch potatoes are the ones who can make or break a government and so those who control the minds of the couch potatoes are the ones who control Westminster. There are no reality TV shows on this blog such as ĎIím a celebrity, get me out of hereí, so I have absolutely no say in who is gong to win the next election. But Rupert Murdoch does and those who advertise heavily in the Murdoch media have quite a strong influence on Rupert.
           Like attracts like and so the very rich like to socialise with the very rich and vast numbers of people anxious to climb the ladder of successlike to brown nose the very rich and so you might say that despite the gradual but continual disintergration of our society, the super rich still rule. Not unlike in the days of the pharaohs, the Roman emperors and even the English kings such as Edward I.
           Some things never change.

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Tuesday September 29th, 2015

Dishonest Britain - 2.

Dishonest Britain

Westminster's Shame.

For years now many have believed that our MPs in Westminster are basically dishonest but it has never been possible to prove their dishonesty. (Tony Blair doesnít count.) But now things have changed and it is possible to prove that our politicians are nothing but dishonest shysters.
           Itís bad enough to think of the government making themselves the sleeping partner of every gambling joint in Britain with their surreptitious win tax of 30%, but this new road tax legislation shows exactly how shoddy our politicians are. In the old days a car had to be taxed for a year and the tax paid related to the car itself. But new legislation means that the car tax relates to the owner and not the car. This means that when a car is sold, the seller gets back the unused tax from the government and the buyer pays the tax from then on. But because car tax is calculated monthly, this means that the previous owner can only be refunded for (whole) unused months while the new owner must pay for all of the months in which he possesses the car - including the month in which he bought it. This means that every time a car is sold or traded, the government gets an extra months car tax because for the same car, the seller has to pay the car tax to the end of the month while the buyer has to pay from the beginning of that same month. This holds true even the car is sold on either the first or thirty first of any month.
           Itís a cheap, dishonest and shoddy trick politicians have used to increase government revenues - the kind of ruse only the nastiest of shysters would employ.

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Wednesday September 30th, 2015

Future Crimes

By Marc Goodman

Future Crimes by Marc Goodman

Unmissable.

I was in the library not too long ago and happened to read a literary review in the Financial Times in which the journalist said that this book had instilled such a fear into them that they began to have difficulty sleeping and so naturally, I had to read it. Am forced to agree. The possibilities exposed in this book are really rather scary. In this age of the ubiquitous pocket computer (your mobile) where everything is connected to everything else there are dangers wherever you look. As Goodman explains, criminals go to where the money is and these days itís a lot easier for a cyber criminal to steal £10 from a million unsuspecting innocents than to steal £10 million from a well protected bank.
           In fact, one of the problems with our modern computer age is that hardly anybody reads the terms and conditions they sign or click up to. But even if unread, if youíve ticked and clicked, the T & C's are legally binding and so on page 57 of this book youíll find what I consider to be one of the best ever April Fools. ĎBy placing an order via this GameStation Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant us a non transferable option to claim, for now and forever more, you immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you have on it within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamestation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions. Ď
           An excellent and worthwhile read which is full of useful information. Terrific.

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Thursday October 1st, 2015

Incompetence

By Rob Grant.

Incompetence by Rob Grant

Some good laughs.

In places the story line is clearly over the top and quite unbelievable and Iím also not sure if the plot is as cohesive as it could be. But on the other side there are a lot of laughs in this book and for this reason alone Iíd put it down as a good, enjoyable read.

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