Saturday, 28 January 2006

Me as a car?

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!



You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.


Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Wave that flag!!

British is best!

More light relief

From Grouchy Old Cripple

He said . . . I don't know why you wear a bra; you've got nothing to put in it.
She said . . . You wear pants don't you?

He said . . ..... Shall we try swapping positions tonight?
She said . That's a good idea - you stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa and fart!

He said . ... What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?
She said . ....Turn sideways and look in the mirror!

He said . . How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?
She said . We don't know; it has never happened.

He said . . Why is it difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring and Good- looking?
She said ...... . . They already have boyfriends.

She said...What do you call a women who knows where her husband is every night?
He said . . . A widow.

He said .. . Why are married women heavier than single women?
She said . . . Single women come home, see what's in the fridge and go to bed. Married women come home, see what's in bed and go to the fridge.

Gotta be better

After all that Real World stuff, we need something like this.
Altogether now ... aaah

Clarification

Since yesterday, I’ve had a few responses to my capital punishment posting. I cannot say why but these have come as email rather than as comment here on an open forum.

Let me just recap on my definition of ‘evil’. I do not include those I think of as just killers pure and simple. To me, an evil murderer is one to whom killing is just a transitional act. They execute their victim just so as to retain their company. For acts such as cannibalism, necrophilia or some other perversion. Don’t just think of or research Bundy – have a look at some of the others such as Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy in America, Peter K├╝rten in Duesseldorf or Miyazaki in Japan. They killed so that they might further degrade their victims’ bodies or use them as trophies and playthings. I’ll save you some horror – just look at Dahmer. Go on to the others if you doubt that such inhumanity could exist. Kurten demonstrates that we are not looking at some modern phenomena. Pretty well every country in the world has suffered evil killers. I also have little time for the deprived background or disturbed childhood theories. At the level of depravity that I consider qualifies as evil, I consider that any aberration in growing up is just another step on the pathway from evil potential to evil reality.

My use of the word ‘evil’ does not relate to any religious belief on my part. Any other word that equates to amoral will do if it suits the reader.

Execution in the case of such individuals is, to me, the most suitable way of dealing with those who have demonstrated their wicked ways. The requirement to retain them in extra security could only lead to inhuman conditions and there we risk being contaminated by those we have to safely hold. Incarceration of those who have such desires where these cannot be satisfied is also unnatural.

I am not advocating universal capital punishment.

Friday, 27 January 2006

Defend 'till death

My adrenaline has been flowing today. Just like the good old times when as a junky I had my overdose on most days. A poster whose work generally intrigues or otherwise attracts me had just had her eyes opened to serial killers. Most particularly, Ted Bundy who practically caused the term to be invented. I knew of Bundy from some way back having spoken to a FBI guy who had had dealings with him. He described the guy as pure evil and that interested me enough to read about Bundy and other serial killers. There could well be a lack of knowledge in England of what constitutes a serial killer. One needs to realise that they are not some form of Dr Shipman offing little old ladies with a comfy helping of pain-killer. There is as much resemblance as next door’s Tom bears to a hungry lion. My friend Gemmak went on to abhor the idea of the death sentence. In the manner typical for her, she presented a cogent opposition to this form of legal stricture. I bit it then, I still bite it now and I suspect I’ll bite it until my dying day.
My support for execution is not based upon long out of date biblical exhortations of eye for an eye. To me, the clinical end of a life by injection, electrocution, gas or whatever in accordance with a legal finding is in no way retribution for a death that was associated with terror, humiliation and pain. I consider that some people exhibit conduct that puts them beyond the pale. They are outlaws. They have rejected our morality. They lack that speck of whatever it is that distinguishes us from mere animals.
Yes – OK I hear you say. They are not very nice people but why kill them? Cannot they be confined in some way? Is there no form of treatment? Does our executing them not constitute some sort of two wrongs do not make one right? Does not their death demean us? Lot of questions there eh? My short answer is really that I do not have any appreciation for these reservations and objections. Debating these is, to me, as productive as questioning why I do not walk about indoors with dog mess on the sole of my shoes.
I do feel that the way these matters are handled in America is less than perfect. But then, they do have a large problem on their hands. Their legal system means that executions may take place some score or so years after the crimes were committed. As medical practitioners refuse to have anything to do with judicial executions, some are bungled. Electrocutions go wrong. The fact that these errors take place in front of a panel of witnesses gives them widespread publicity and doubtless some witnesses embroider their accounts anyway. However, these lawful terminations are part of the law in most states. Public opinion is freely expressed and widely available
We here in UK seem to have a strange attitude to capital punishment. Time and again, the media report public support for it’s reintroduction in the wake of a particular crime. It does figure in governmental debate but is always overwhelmingly defeated when it comes to a vote. I accept that that is right and proper. I’ve looked at what happened at Rillington Place and on the roof with Craig and Bentley Ruth Ellis did the case for capital punishment little benefit It would appear that we had our history of wrong and bungled executions just as have the Americans but we took a different path.
Anyway, that has been my day. Enlivened by a few words in a blog. Good. Oh, and if there is anyone who wants more of this pro and con stuff, have a look at what must be the definitive page of links.

Thursday, 26 January 2006

Ignorance cannot be bliss.

Gay agenda are more and more entering our daily life. There is such a depth of homophobia that it is difficult to find exactly what is in the minds of the pink community and distinguish this from what critics think is in their minds. I personally find it difficult to determine what should worry me and what can be ignored. If I am going to be a bigot, I want to be sure that my case has some foundation. How can one be anti- if one does not know exactly what is confronting one?
So, I'm glad to have found this gay resource. From what I have read so far, it does not scream GAY out too loud for me. I'll see how it goes. Doubtless, there will be some who cry Know Thy Enemy. Fine by me but please let me decide who is my enemy.

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Zen zense

A Zen story told to me some years ago, which I can still remember and which still has relevancy at least once a day: Two monks were walking down the street after a heavy rain that left the streets quite muddy. They came upon a a lady of very easy virtue vainly attempting to find a dry path across the road without soiling her kimono.

One monk, more compassionate than the other, picked up the woman and carried her across the street, setting her down on the other side of the road. He returned to his companion and they continued down the road for some minutes until the second monk chided the first with the remark, "You really shouldn't have done that."

"Done what?"

"Why, you contaminated yourself by touching that impure woman."

"Oh, are you still carrying her? I put her down on the other side of the street."

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Just be aware

This popped out at me today as I was cruising the ether. It is a sign we saw a number of times when we did our final American Tour. I wanted to photograph it at the time but we were on I roads and with no safe stopping places.

Instant Sunshine - Get it here?

Washington Times says
Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal Underestimated, Reports Say
By Ben Barber, The Washington Times
Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is far larger than previously suspected and may be five times as large as that of India, according to U.S. military and intelligence reports.
Instead of the previous estimates of 10 to 15 nuclear weapons, the new estimate is that Pakistan has built from 25 to 100 bombs and has the missiles and jet planes to deliver them.
Reuters reports

With Saddam’s Iraq out of the way, Iran now stands as the only Gulf power that can effectively veto regional efforts at peace through either its explicit support of transnational terrorist groups or the employment of its military power — especially as it achieves status as a nuclear power.
There is no other state in the region that combines the same assets and ambition in terms of politics, economics and security.
Saudi Arabia has no effective security profile (nor does Egypt for that matter), and the House of Saud’s political ambitions are more limited in scope, concentrated as they are primarily on keeping the monarchy in power at all costs.
Pakistan possesses a far larger population, but its largely uncontrollable domestic situation consumes whatever ambition the political leadership there has for a larger regional role.
Bush is getting tetchy over the Iranian nuclear ambitions which he fears either cloak bomb-making activity or by their nature create fissionable materials. Little trial balloons keep floating up over the political horizon.
The NY Times says
Diplomats  around the world keep repeating the mantra: There is no military option when it comes to slowing, much less stopping, Iran's presumed ambitions to get the Bomb. The Europeans say so. The Chinese, who need Iran's oil, and the Russians, who make billions supplying Iran's civilian nuclear business, say so emphatically.
Even the hawks in the Bush administration make no threats. When Vice President Dick Cheney was asked Thursday, in a television interview, if the United States might ever resort to force to stop Iran, he handled the question as if it, too, were radioactive.
"No president should ever take the military option off the table," he said, carefully avoiding the kind of language he once used to warn Saddam Hussein. "Let's leave it there."
Mr. Cheney, it seemed, was trying to sow just enough ambiguity to make Iran think twice. Which raises two questions. If diplomacy fails, does America have a military option? And what if it doesn't?
"It's a kind of nonsense statement to say there is no military solution to this," said W. Patrick Lang, the former head of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency. "It may not be a desirable solution, but there is a military solution."
Mr. Lang was piercing to the heart of a conundrum the Bush administration recognizes: Iran could become a case study for pre-emptive military action against a gathering threat, under a policy Mr. Bush promulgated in 2002. But even if taking out Iran's facilities delay the day the country goes nuclear, it would alienate allies and probably make firm enemies out of many Iranians who have come to dislike their theocratic government. And Iran simply has too many ways of striking back, in the oil markets, in the Persian Gulf, through Hezbollah.
"Could we do it?" one administration official who was deeply involved in planning the Iraq invasion said recently. "Sure. Could we manage the aftermath? I doubt it."
All seems a heady mix? Let us hope we can get something sorted before this all goes Guy Fawkes-wards. Iran presents it’s actions with a nudge and a wink “Negotiate with us”. I always thought there had to be some two-way trust in any negotiation? We are ignoring Pakistan’s potential on the grounds that they have sufficient other fish to fry.  Pakistan a stable democracy anyone? Pakistan a keeper of nuclear weapons secrecy?
Oh – one more thing. I’ve not factored-in the Israeli attitude. They do not wait for what they see as inevitable aggression. If the hot stuff started to fall in Iran, how long before it went technical and nuclear?
Don’t think I’ll risk my money buying next Christmas’ gifts at the January Sales.

Monday, 23 January 2006

Really personal service

This officer has the right idea. No one can complain where they have the opportunity to tailor a ‘service’ to their desired ends.
Police Subscription serviceFrom the previous post about 'personal police officers' I've daydreamed a police 'subscription' service, whereby paying different levels of 'premiums' (to compare it to the world of insurance) affords you different levels of police cover. I'm not seriously suggesting this ever would or should happen (and it wouldn't work either, for reasons at the end).
The Citizen Protection PackagePayments: Ordinary taxation, no extra contributionsCover afforded----------------1. Public 999 number for life-threatening and emergency calls2. Public non-emergency number for non-urgent calls and incident reporting3. Police response according to availability of patrols and priority of incident compared to other incidents already in and requiring allocation.4. Standard investigative procedures adminstered for victims of crime5. Standard victim support and witness liaison services6. Access on demand to crime prevention advice
Ideal for: The vast majority of people who have little cause or reason to involve or interact with the police on a regular basis

The “I can’t control any aspect of my life, please do it for me” packagePayments: £5000 monthly, plus cost of any extra modulesCover afforded---------------1. Public 999 number for life-threatening and emergency calls2. Public non-emergency number for non-urgent calls and incident reporting3. Private 24/7 ‘general enquiries’ line, for advice from trained/bored (delete as appropriate) professionals on how to keep the baby quiet in the middle of the night; how to control the kids and techniques for getting back in the house when you’ve locked yourself out. Alleviates pressure on the 999 service.4. Police response according to availability of resources5. Guidebook on increasing response times to your job – helpful tips such as including the phrases “he’s got a knife/gun”; “they’re threatening to kill me and I think they mean it!” or “there’s 100 people fighting and they’ve got weapons!” with no penalty charge incurred when the units arrive and realise you’re a lying fraud.6. Private 24/7 transport request service – dial this number if you need a lift to the shops down the road and can’t be bothered walking, if there is a free patrol nearby they’ll swing past and pick you up. This service is not guaranteed7. Standard investigative procedures administered for victims of crime – target demographic are rarely victims, just clueless, and thus need no extra cover8. Standard victim support and witness liaison services – same reason as above9. Free crime prevention advice dispensed with general advice on how to live life
Extra modules available-----------------------------
1. Child rearing services, for those times when you just can’t control the little blighters! £100 a month or £2,000,000 for us to take them off your hands permanently, whilst you get back to Trisha repeats on ITV 452. Resolution service – in an argument with the spouse or neighbour? Our trained negotiators will come round and help sort it out without the bloodshed involved of doing it yourself. Why learn basic social communication skills when someone else can do it for you? £500a month for a neutral negotiator, £1000 if you want them to always side with you. No matter too trivial or pathetic.
Ideal for: Those who simply lack any life skills; problem solving ability or communication prowess, always finding themselves unable to cope with any situation or confrontation, and who will dial the three 9s if they spill a pint of milk.

The “Get me the copper I dealt with last time, right here, right now” packagePayments: £74999.99 a month plus cost of any extra modules (previously known as the 'Arrogant Tosser' package)Cover afforded--------------------1. Private police officer, who is contactable 24/7 by phone, fax, pager, e-mail, personal alarm and carrier pigeon, and will drop whatever they’re doing to attend to your every whim and desire2. Consistency of service as the officer knows your entire life history and criminal interactions3. Immediate investigations carried out by a dedicated staff of CID Officers especially trained in investigating minor allegations of assault way below their remit.4. Immediate response from aforementioned private officer, who will arrived in a marked vehicle with blues and twos, risking life and limb, even if you’re just reporting a jarred pinky finger or one of your kids is making you cross - it's all about making our customers feel loved5. The right to make a spurious allegation against someone in order to have them immediately arrested by your personal officer. Even if nothing comes of it the allegation and you know it, you'll feel better with the power and control!6. Sympathy for your plight from all concerned, at least whilst you’re in earshot7. Get out of jail free card – single use only8. The right to say “I pay your wages” to certain officers9. The right to say “I know officer xxxx” and actually mean it
Extra modules available---------------------------------
IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION – one off payment of £50 million. Confers on one the absolute unqualified right to say “I ain’t dun nuffin’” if arrested, and to expect officers to take notice of the normally glib claim
1. C&D tipoff line – Now the phrase “I’ll have your job” takes on a whole new meaning – for just £3499 a month you can get immediate access to a C&D officer, who, upon hearing your grievance, will automatically attend the scene/station you’re at and will fire the offending officer on the spot! No evidence or other side of the story required. Our new and improved service means that intoxication is no longer a bar to being taken seriously!
Ideal for: Those who believe the police to be at their beck and call, and who demand the same officer to deal with them, irrespective of their workload. The self-righteously indignant who believe the world and all services owe them a living, and woe betide if something doesn’t happen exactly according to their preferences and there’s blame to be apportioned.
NB: Unless one has the C&D cover, one automatically impliedly accepts that officers will sneer about you behind your back after they've dealt with your 35th callout that day.
=================================================================
The system will, of course, be deliberately structured so as those most likely to abuse the service can’t afford the level that suits them best. Ironically, it’s the same people who are most likely to use them! After all, those additional costs that the increased services people demand/expect has to come from somewhere!
So, in the end, everyone ends up using the standard service anyway, but those most likely to use the other options expect the same level of cover from the standard package. Meanwhile, those who genuinely need the service, and can afford to pay for the different levels of cover, don’t see the need as they rarely need to speak to the police. Thus when they are actually innocent victims of crime, they have to fight for attention amongst the myriad of jobs involving trivial neighbour disputes. Such is the world we live in!

Duty of Opposition is to oppose

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first
refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming
that the matter is already settled.
Having established that, we can go on to something that
appeared in The Times on 3 January this year.Let's agree we want division


JUST ONE little word from the lips of David Cameron has filled me with hope. The word was “awful”, and he used it to describe Gordon Brown. Thank God, I thought: the Tory leader and his frontbench have now finished their brief flirtation with consensus politics and can get on with the job we pay them to do: arguing with Her Majesty’s Government.

Why David Cameron should ever have thought consensus politics was a vote-winner I can’t imagine. The last time the main political parties engaged in a consensual approach was in the 1970s, when they agreed to agree that workers should be forced to join trade unions, prices and incomes should be fixed by the Government and that most heavy industry should belong to the State. A fat lot of good that did the country. It was only thanks to a battle of ideas in the 1980s that such socialist dogma could be exposed as a folly.

Consensus politics would do the country just as much harm now as they did in the era of Heath and Wilson. If the Tories send Tony Blair’s education “reforms” through on the nod, as Mr Cameron has indicated they will, the failed ideology of comprehensive education will be holding back pupils for another generation. Whatever the reason for the Tories’ third election defeat, it wasn’t because voters were put off by the party’s imaginative manifesto promise to give parents vouchers with which to buy their children’s education at independently run schools; in fact, given the reluctance of the Tories to sell their big idea, I doubt whether it registered with voters at all.

I presume that Mr Cameron’s pledge to end “Punch and Judy” politics was an overture to that great swath of the population who are assumed to be “turned off” by politics. If the Tories think they can win over this group by politely agreeing with Mr Blair and doing little deals with him over lunch they can think again: it would merely give the chronically apathetic even more reason to denounce politicians for all being the same.

As for those of us who do take an interest in the governance of the country, we expect something in return for the £60,000 a year that we pay our MPs: verbal bare-knuckle fights. After all, most of us bicker with each other over schools, hospitals, roads and Iraq all the time; unless our MPs do the same they are not properly representing us.

I escaped any really heavy political education or indoctrination. I was for a brief spell a member of the Young Communists back in the days of Harry Pollitt. That was mainly because the female Young Communists were allegedly proponents of Free Love. One could also get very cheap flights to Russia - about £15 in todays money. My plot was to get £30 and a Free Lover. Don't quite remember what happened about the trip bit and I think one experience of unshaven armpits and un-deoderanted Free Love was sufficient. Harry gave me a bit of status at post-match celebrations in the Rugby Club when it came to the student song about him.

Sunday, 22 January 2006

Old Big Head

Yet another personality test result. All I can say is that if I’m so good, why don’t I feel that way?

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

Randy Members

So, another 'personality' falls onto his sword over sexual misdemeanours. The Liberal Party is fast becoming all things to all men with rent boys added to alcohol addiction.

Yes, it is unfair to trash a whole party from the peccadilloes of a few individuals. But, just wait a while. The problem of the demon booze was surely visible to more than just a few inner-core members. It was common gossip and the appearance of the guy way back should have suggested to those not in that inner circle that he was 'shumens bestest friynd' . Early days right now but doubtless it will transpire also that rent boys were a topic not mentioned in certain circles lest it offend. Bad enough that those directly involved did not have the character to remove themselves from the public arena; worse that they were not outed when they themselves confirmed that they saw no reason to take up the Regimental pistol and the one round.

I doubt that the Liberal Party are the only one with skeletons in the closet and in the bar. Does it matter? In terms of the drink and the sex - no. Drinking is not a crime and homosexuals get a very long leash nowadays. It is the duplicity of it all.

Of course news of scandals had been printed before. The attempt in 1820 by George IV to divorce his wife Caroline created such public uproar that there was fear of revolution. In 1890 the Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell was driven out of British politics after he and the woman he lived with, Kitty O’Shea, were found guilty on charges levelled against them by her husband.



But the Caroline and Parnell cases were brought into the public domain by those directly involved and were played out in an open court of law. By contrast, what politicians (and royals) did behind closed doors was then rarely reported. Prime ministers such as Gladstone (who “rescued” prostitutes from the streets), Lloyd George (“the old goat” from whom, reputedly, no woman was safe) and Macmillan (whose wife had a long affair with the Tory MP Bob Boothby) escaped public humiliation.

To list the sex stories concerning politicians that have been printed since 1963 would choke a camel. At least since Cecil Parkinson (then trade secretary) admitted an extramarital affair with Sarah Keays in 1983, the public has been asking whether the amorous pursuits of MPs should be reported. Do they have anything to do with us or with their ability to legislate and govern?

Those who indulge know too well what the attitude of the public is towards those they elect and can have no doubts that their conduct is unacceptable. I'd like just a bit more honesty and integrity in my politicians before I trust them with my fully-committed mandate.