Monthly Archives: April 2008

Freedom

The good thing about FW being away is that I cam do all those things that I couldn’t do when she was here – scratch my butt; wash-up when I finish eating; watch football every night; have a good bit of duvet on my side of the bed – it’s just like being single again.

I’m trying to think of the bad things but haven’t come up with any….. yet!!!

Today in History:

1789 : George Washington DC is sworn in as the first president of these here United States. It turns out that he stubbed his toe – hence the swearing.

1945 : A Mr & Mrs A Hitler commit suicide in a bunker in Berlin as Soviet forces overun the city. The 1000 Year Reich ends after 12 years and 3 months.

1975 : The South Vietnamese government surrenders to North Vietnam. They join together to become Vietnam. The Americans are upset by this and leave in helicopters from the embassy roof in protest. Countless Vietnam war movies are a result – there would have been no Rambo with Vietnam.

Abandoned

I have been deserted by FW who has gone to spend a few days in Dorset with her family. I think that she is enjoying herself – you never know where families are involved. This has confused the cats as they can’t understand why I’m feeding them instead.

I has happy to hear this morning that Shell & BP have managed to make multi-billion profits in the first 3 months of this year. We’re all suffering from rising prices but their profits are up by over 40% on last year. Standby to hear the arguments that the government re responsible because of the duty & VAT and that the petrol station divisions always make a loss or just about break even.

Maybe they forget that their profits come more from the refining side of the business. Any “good” accountant can move costs from one division to another to hide them – business has been doing it for years. Can we expect the 2 companies to pay the full tax due – definitely not as the same accountants will hide earnings in offshore “shell” (how appropriate) companies.

I’ve just finished reading IBM & THe Holocaust. This book tells the story of IBM’s involvement with the Third Reich from its beginnings through to its demise. As you read the book you see that the capitalist desire for profit has not changed from the 1930’s until today. What surprised me was that IBM carried on instructing its subsidiaries across Europe throughout the last war.

Without IBM’s machines the holocaust would have been almost impossible to coordinate. In France the Nazi machine was crippled because the French leader of the Statistics department didn’t process the records correctly thus blocking the process of deportation.

IBM machines were used throughout the process from initial census gathering and processing through the organisation of the railways and even into the record keeping at the concentration/extermination facilities.

Yet IBM’s involvement was only brought to light when the author visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington. The first exhibit, as you enter, was one of the IBM tabulating machines – bearing the IBM symbol. This led him to discover, over the next 10 years, IBM’s role in the destruction of the Jewish population of Europe and the vital role that IBM played.

IBM’s staff were aware, in both Europe & the US, of the uses that their machines undertook. In fact, their Chief Executive actually micro-managed the entire European operation, down to the finest detail.

If you want to see an example of Capitalism gone mad then read the book.

Today in History:

1909 : Chancellor David “Rutting” Lloyd George introduces the “People’s Budget” – the first steps in the creation of the Welfare State.

1916 : The Irish nationalists surrender to the British authorities – thus ending the Easter Uprising.

1967 : Muhammed Ali is stripped of his world titles after refusing to serve in the US Army in Vietnam on religious grounds. He felt that it would be wrong to kill his fellow men. There was a rumour that he would be willing to fight Ho Chi Minh in a 3 fight series – the winner would also win the Vietnam War. Ho Chi Minh had to pull out due to a blister from his sandals.

Champy – OOO- NESS! Champy – OOO – Ness!

Not much happened of importance this weekend. It was rather dull.

Apart from:

Pontypool beat Beddau 53-9 and Caerphilly lost 26-19 to Llanharan.

Therefore Pontypool are now Asda Division One East CHAMPIONS – and therefore promoted to the Welsh Premiership from next season.

That’s right POOLER are back in the big time.

There was no real doubt that we’d be promoted – Caerphilly were 2 points ahead but we had 2 games in hand. Yet it was exciting on Saturday watching the boys destroy Beddau. We had updates from a committee member at half time – Caerphilly were winning 16-9 – and then as our game carried on the odd message came through.

We’d finished outr match and the players were standing around on the pitch when news came through that Llanharan had taken a 21-19 lead and then they scored a try and finished everything for us. The ground erupted when that score was confirmed. The WRU had a Vice President on hand to present the team with the trophy.

We had been close a few times before but the WRU kept changing the criteria for promotion a week or so before the season ended – always to the detriment of the Division One team.

Sunday was not quite so good.

A few weeks ago my sister had to have their cat Felix put down. Then we received a call yesterday to tell us that Sooty, their other cat, had also had to be put down.

Sad Sister and I had got the cats from the Cat Protection League when we lived in Maidenhead at the end of ’93. They had moved to Birmingham and then Newport with my sister. I’ll never forget them spending most of their early months hiding behind the settee in our rented house.

Then they’d occasionally emerge for food or to run out of the door. Sooty used to enjoy walking along the shelf above the armchairs. He’d spend many an hour pushing pens off onto my head. My main worry was that he’d knock my aluminium bust of Lenin off onto my head but, luckily, this never happened.

My sister will no longer have Sooty taking over her bed or getting angry with her when they’ve been on holiday. Brother in Law will no longer be woken up at 5 in the morning to let Felix out.

I’ll miss them as well, they were great cats.

Today in History:

1789 : Fletcher Christian leads the Mutiny on the Bounty against “evil” Cap’n Bligh – I wonder what he’d think of Mel Gibson, Marlon Brando and Clark Gable playing him on film?

1944 : 750 US troops are killed by an E-boat attack, while rehearsing for the Normandy Invasion, off Slapton Sands in Devon.

1945 : Benito Mussolini is executed after being captured by partisans. His body, and that of his mistress, is later hung from a lamp post in Milan. It was because of this that Hitler insisted that he and Eva Braun were to be burnt after their suicide.

Please Let Us Join!!

There has been a news story in the last few days regarding a village that wants to become Welsh.

The village of Audlem is 9 miles inside Cheshire but they have held an online poll to see if the villagers want to become part of Wales. This started as an April Fool prank but has taken on a life of its own. So far 80 people have voted in favour and 44 against.

Judy Evans, who works in a newsagents, said her Welsh-speaking husband Brian, from Llanbrynmair in Powys, was delighted.

She added: “I’m all for it too. My husband is really keen because he can wear his Grand Slam T-shirt and feel safe.

We’re so close to Wales, we get more response from Wales, we get a lot of tourists from Wales and we feel we should be part of Wales

Ralph Warburton, Audlem resident

“He’s also hoping the pubs will start showing the important matches from now on. And he’s offered to help out with Welsh lessons in the school which of course would become a legal requirement.”

Opinion was divided.

Janet Sumner, who runs the local chip shop, said: “We’re too far away from Wales to be in Wales.

“This is the first time I’ve heard about this. I think it’s just a few people who want free prescriptions – it’s probably some Welsh people who started it.”

In the local chemist – on aptly named Cheshire Street – one woman said: “Wales? Oh God, no. Why would we want to do that? I wouldn’t want to be part of Wales but I do think we should get free prescriptions.”

Another resident said: “People have been complaining about the hospital parking charges and the cost of prescriptions.

“It certainly doesn’t pay to be ill here, so Wales have got that right but I definitely wouldn’t want to be part of Wales.”

Personally I’d be happy to extend our borders back into the “Lost Lands” but we’d have to get rid of the immigrants who live there first…..

History Today:

1915 : Allied troops begin the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign. We land at the wrong beaches and our gallant generals command the campaign from ship’s off-shore. This was not one of Winston Churchill’s greatest ideas.

1920 : Britain is awarded mandates to control Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine.

1953 : Geneticists James Watson and Francis Crick publish their discovery of the structure of DNA. They now enable scientists further research to do what the Nazis couldn’t do anyother way. Just think how superior we’ll be when they manage to discover how to manipulate DNA to weed out the “undesirable” genes.

Money, Money, Money

Kerensa,

You are correct about the diagnosis for Aids but it was not until 1984 that the US government confirmed that there was an HIV virus.

Today is a good day for overdrawn people everywhere. The High Court have ruled that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have the rate to pass judgement on the overdraft fees levied by our banks and building socities. The banks now have to decide if they want to appeal the ruling, they have until 22nd May.

What this means is that the OFT can decree that the charges made are in excess of what they should be. The bank have a duty to levy a rate that is equivalent to the cost of the overdraft, including letters etc. As a letter costs the bank £5.00 then the additional amount levied is a lot higher than it should be.

Don’t expect to see a cheque falling through your door anytime soon. If the banks appeal then we’ll have to wait. In addition there are expected to be several more High Court hearings to decide things. To give you an idea of the stakes here – the banks are estimated to make £3.5 billion per year in these charges – these go directly onto their bottom line. That’s a lot of money to give up and they won’t do it willingly.

This ruling could also bring an end to free banking deals. We could all face fees for the pleasure of holding a current account with the bank.

If you think that you could claim then you need to do something now. There is a 6 year cut-off for claims made, that means that any claims made now we only go back to April/May 2002. All you need to do is get your bank to give you copy statements for the past 6 years. Tot up your fees and write to them asking for a refund. You base a reasonable fee as being £12.00 and claim the balance.

Don’t fall for the companies that offer to this for you. They’ll take 25% of what you are due as their fee. It is easy enough to do yourself.

History Today:

1915 : The genocide that did not happen, begins in Armenia. Turkish troops deport and murder Armenians for being “pro-Russian”. Turkey still denies that this ever took place.

1916 : The Easter Uprising begins in Dublin. Irish nationalists barricade themselves into the Post Office and begin stealing Easter Eggs as a protest against British “occupation”. This has nothing to do with the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection – that’s a different kind of Uprising.

1942 : The Germans begin their famous “Baedeker raids” on British cultural targets. They bomb Exeter, Bath, York, Norwich and…………. Hull!!!!! The raids are named after the guide books used by the Lutwaffe to plan the raids.

Saint’s Day

Today is St George’s Day. The patron saint of England, Russia, Georgia, Catalonia etc was about as English as David, Andrew and Patrick were Welsh, Irish and Scottish.

I don’t understand why we need to celebrate saints’ days anyway. What did George do apart from, alledgedly, killing a dragon? Should we really celebrate him for killing off a Welsh native? Patrick rid Ireland of snakes but didn’t introduce Christianity. I’m not sure what David and Andrew actually contributed – I suppose that St Andrew was martyred and diagonally crucified.

So why do we have this arcane celebration? Why do we have a patron saint of each country? As a protestant I don’t see what the fuss is about. Do we really need to have a patron saint of lost causes, haberdashers or anything else?

I’d like to know what a saint actually does. The problem that I’ve had understanding Catholicism/Orthodoxy is that I don’t see where Mary and the saints fit into my faith. I was told that they all intervene for us with God but I can’t see any biblical basis for this. As a protestant I thought that we were able to go direct to the top for our requests and pleas for forgiveness.

Maybe they are God’s Call Centre. I mean he must be very busy dealing with all 6 billion odd sinners down here. I know that he’s ominipresent but who takes over when He has a day’s test every week? (This is said tongue in cheek – just in case Christian Voice, or some other bunch of fanatics are reading!)

Today in history:

1014 : Brian Boru, High King of Ireland – he stood on a box – is killed defeating the Vikings at Clontarf, destroying Irish unity.

1838 : Brunel’s “Great Western” – not the railway – and “Sirius” become the first ships to cross the Atlantic using steam power alone.

1984 : The US government announced the discovery of the HIV virus. Sex would never be the same again.

Reconverts

Thanks to J.L.T. for the history update. I prefer The Goblin on Bedford Hill in Balham, purely for its Blackadder connertations. My sister and I would often sing the song as we walked past.

There is going to be a programme on Radio 4 tonight concerning the difficulties faced by Islamist converts to Christianity. It highlights the problems that they face from family members who not only cut all ties but, in extreme cases, also threaten murder.

Islam is not tolerant where converts are concerned. In extreme cases an apostate is looked upon as being lower than anything else on the planet. Afghanistan and Turkey have had prominent trials where apostates have been threatened with death. There are many stories of people being kidnapped by family members and forced to renounce their faith, through torture, imprisonment and rape.

Yet this is a religion that supposedly preaches tolerance to all. To many people it is unjustly mocked for its views on homosexuals etc but you never hear them complain about the treatment of converts. As Christians we are condemned for our atittudes towards others and our historical mistreatment of other peoples. Yet few speak out about our fellow believers.

History today:

1915 : The Germans (Boo! Hiss!) use poison gas against the British at the second Battle of Ypres, for the first time.

1918 : The Royal Navy carry out a daring raid on the German occupied port of Zeebrugge and manage to block the port, briefly.

1951 : The Glorious Glosters are almost wiped out in an heroic stand at the Imjin River in Korea. Their sacrifice allowed UN troops the opportunity to regroup.

Weekend

We had a good time at the fashion show on Friday. Thankfully I declined the offer to act as a model. I don’t think that Swansea is ready for that.

Saturday saw us watching a dire game of rugby between Pontypool & Caerphilly. The result was 12-12, the same score as our previous gane this year.

Yesterday we attended the baptism of my former Sunday school pupil at our old chapel. Then we went outr for lunch with my sister’s family. Thankfully my brother in law did not know the result of his belovedBirmingham City until after we left. I wouldn’t have been able to stand the tears.

Today in history:

753 BC – Romulous & Remus found Rome. They were said to have been suckled by a she-wolf. This is likely to be a mistranslation as the word for she-wolf and prostitute was the same.

1526 : The Mughal emperor Babur established an Islamic dynasty in Indai after victory at Panipat. The empire was overthrown by the Brits in the early 1800’s.

1918 : Snoopy shot down, and killed, the Red Baron, Manfred von Richtofen.

Fashion Police

During her visit to Swansea on Wednesday FW was asked if you’d grace them with her presence today for their Fairtrade Fashion Show. After much deliberation we decided that we’d both attend. After all who is more fashionable than us?

I’m often approached in the street and congratulated on my appearance. Indeed many people give me coins and notes to celebrate my fashionableness. I am often consulted with regards to where I buy my clothes – people then avoid that shop like the plague.

I always remember that, as a teenager, I was a trendsetter. I started the Mod revival by buying my fishtail parka over 12 months before anyone else. I started the craze of combat trousers years earlier than anyone else began wearing them as daywear.

I am looking forward to helping the Swansea masses to move into the 22nd century with me.

Today in history:

1775 : Today saw the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first of the American War of Independence. Britain take an early 2-0 lead.

1949 : The Republic of Ireland comes into being. Unfortunately, for some but not others, this does not include the Six Counties of Northern Ireland.

1986 : South Africa repealed the “pass laws” that had restricted the movement of non-whites since 1948.

Come & See The Violence Inherent in The System

No Farli, I haven’t seen in recently; I’ve seen it so many times that I know the script off by heart. I just have a natural love of Moose – oh, and Llamas – when they’re not spitting at me.

I was shocked to receive a call yesterday from FW informing me that she had decided to visit Swansea. I can understand her desire to do so, for some reason she likes the place, and she likes the people there. Then I had another call asking me to collect her from Bridgend station on the way home. As I work on the outskirts it wasn’t too much of a trial for me.

She was supposed to have spent the day in London, as I had to visit a customer at Stansted Airport. Unfortunately we had to cancel the trip at the last minute due to my colleague suffering a family bereavement. So she decided on Swansea instead.

I have to say many thanks to Invertebrate with Backbone and Marmite on Toast for the belated birthday present. It will be fitted to the fridge soon. However why does the packaging say “do not use rechargeable batteries”? Why are they not fit for purpose?

FW was a little phased as the choice of present shows that Marmite knows me only too well.

Today in history:

1951 : The Peak District is designated Britain’s first National Park – no Moose live there.

1961 : Cuba defeats a U.S. backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs – Comrade Pablo Moose-Llama led a squad of crack Moose paratroopers in repulsing the U.S. Imperalist Pigs.

1975 : Pnomh Penh is captured by the Khmer Rouge guerillas. All Moose had been evacuted by U.S. helicopters prior to the defeat. Moose had no involvement in the “Killing Fields” that followed but did finance the film made later.

Did you know that you can see a Moose behind one of the pillars in the chariot race scene in Ben Hur – Hur is also aramaic for Moose.