Current Affairs

Mommies Boys (modern day footballers)

Jack Grealish Impressions

"Overpriced, overpaid with egos as fragile as an eggshell!" Are the typical comments you hear more and more about today's footballers. Why is it when a football team does badly repeatedly, the manager is the one who loses his job?

Back in the real world.........when most people perform consistently badly in their job, they are the ones who get fired.

For my own sins, I've been a lifelong Aston Villa fan supporting my team through thick and thin since the early 1970's.   Early on in this love affair the team dropped into the old Third Division (now called Division 1), and eventually climbed two divisions back to the top.  But in the last 25 years, as the player's wages have soared they seemed to have totally lost touch with the sacrifices ordinary people make to support their team.

Supporters are no longer willing to keep paying ever higher prices to watch their team play without passion or effort.  For some reason, players simply don't see the correlation between their rising wages and the raised expectations of fans, nor the shrinking patience when players seemingly don't give maximum effort.

Aston Villa Football club are a prime example of what is wrong, desperately wrong, with the modern game.  For all the millions that have been spent by the past owner and now the current one, it is still down to the efforts, skills, fitness and commitment of the eleven players on the pitch.  Back in the seventies when Villa was down in Division 1 (for two seasons) the team often played in front of 30,000 plus crowds because they were exciting to watch and never gave up.  The old wooden stands made a thunderous sound with stamping feet and equally, the cheering, chanting and applause matched the heroic effort of the team.  Walking back to the bus stop with a hoarse throat as we reminisced the highlights of the game.

For all the money sloshing around in the game, why are so many top prospects not instructed how to behave on the pitch, in public and to appreciate the special position in society they are given?   Instead, like a bad joke stuck in a repeating loop the acts of stupidity, greed, lack of self-control, poor choice of friends are constantly played out in public.  Where are the Academies in all of this? Where are the football authorities clamping down on disrepute brought to a game we gave the world?

Is it beyond the wit of man to teach these kids that the price of fame and success is to learn self-control, not just for the benefit of the clubs but to help prolong their short careers. In recent years my own team has suffered from more than its share of players never reaching their potential, often running out of chances and career before they grow up.

Tenerife Grief

Touted by many in the game to have tremendous talent, Jack Grealish has shown flashes of that talent for both Aston Villa and recently for the England under 21's. But even more memorable is his loutish, out of control, laddish behaviour.  This lack of self-control has already gotten young Mr Grealish into trouble both on and off  the field; but so far no amount of telling off's, fines, or being made to train with the reserves has managed to change this young man's ways.  For the moment, his repetitive bad behaviour is forgiven as long as he still shows such exciting potential. So will he reach that potential, or continue to be an accident waiting to happen? Jack joined Aston Villa at the age of six, so why hasn't anyone at the club taught him that part of being a professional footballer is good behaviour?

  Super sized Gabby

MacDonald's Man-Flabby Agbonlahor

But Jack Grealish is not on his own when it comes to badly behaved current Villa players. It was local gossip that Gabby Agbonlahor's car could always be seen in the car park at MacDonald's, no wonder he has constantly battled with weight problems. And when he is not scoffing burgers down, he is getting another woman pregnant!

Another product of Aston Villa's Acadamy, Gabby was touted as a future legend but instead of working hard, improving and flourishing after getting the call up from England, he has frittered his talent away. Now when he should be in his prime at the age of 29 he is in danger of being released. And just like many other footballers in the modern era, he is in denial about who is responsible.

This current plague is not just a problem for Villa's homegrown talent, sometimes buying a "star player" can bring the same results

Stan the Man

Stan the Man

Ex-Villa Player Stanley Collymore who now hosts a popular football call-in program has several times torn into the current Villa team (this year's and last) for their lack of effort and lack of loyalty to the club.  All of the accusations Stan makes are valid ones, but Stan has a short memory because his own career at Aston Villa was filled with his: lack of effort, egotistical behaviour, and only 7 goals in 47 games as a striker!

He too showed stunning potential earlier in his career by scoring 41 goals in 65 games for Nottingham Forest , which got him a transfer to the big time with Liverpool.  But after several mediocre, seasons they sold him to Villa.  This should have been his dream move after all Villa were the team he supported as a boy, but he has never worked hard enough to get past his demons to become the legend he had the potential to be.

 

The Enablers 

The success of the Premier League and all the money pumped into the game by Sky has glossed over these problems but they are not going away.   TV Pundits, Sky executives and the media all seem to forget where most of the money for the mega TV contracts comes from....us.   Not just Sky Sports subscribers, but all Sky subscribers (because they spread their cost), and now, of course, BT subscribers too.  Millions of ordinary people, with ordinary wages paying to keep this narcissistic bunch of wastrels in the style they have become accustomed to. The problem of bad boy footballers was around long before the formation of the Premier League and Sky TV, but the huge injection of cash into the game has definitely exacerbated and fuelled it.  It used to be that established, successful footballers would from time to time behave badly, but now the situation has moved on to where the starlets of the game are misbehaving before their career gets going.

This problem is not just with Aston Villa, other teams have their share of bad boys who constantly bite the hand that feeds them.  Yes, there are many decent, hard working footballers who do respect the privileged position they are in. And since they rub elbows with the bad boys at the training ground I wish they would tell these silly Mommies Boys to grow up.


Blogarama-Kings of Plagiarism

 

Blogarama logo

It seems as the internet gets bigger so does the theft.  People think they can post your articles, recipes and photographs (as if they are the author) without getting caught.  In recent weeks I have spent far, far too long defending my stuff from thieves. Every time, I have done so I have been successful but it is stressful and time-consuming when I would rather spend my time being creative.

The biggest plum of them all without a shadow of a doubt is a site called Blogarama.com

I recently discovered that had imported a feed from my food blog without my permission, they had even created a page Chef Kevin Ashton  (which you can see below) giving the impression I have done this myself. 

Blogarama page

Worse still if you look closely Blogarama invite me to claim my own blog???

They claim that taking my RSS feed is driving traffic to my food blog, but that is simply not the case.

Although Blogarama did link the stolen content back to my blog, because they posted the whole of each post there was no need

for readers to leave Blogarama and go to my blog. And my content along with the content of 1000's of other blogs create a site that can sell Advertisements.

I belong to a similar site called BlogCatalog, but BlogCatalog does not take your RSS feed without permission.

Blogarama did not use to be the rogue site it is today, but falling traffic and then a change of ownership they now seem to be prepared to whatever it takes to raise their traffic level and thus earning potential. 

After I sent them several emails, threatening legal action, they put a block on the content, however, this does not stop the links showing up in google results with blogarama.com still labelled ON MY PICTURES
So far I have 26 different screen shots showing their theft and I have posted just a small selection to show you what I mean.

Copyright theft by Blogarama 11

Copyright theft by Blogarama 6

Copyright theft by Blogarama 21

In this process, I have also come across numerous similar complaints by other bloggers saying they too had the copyright breached. If you are a blogger, I strongly and I mean strongly, suggest you google your name together with Blogarama to see if you are also a victim of this mass fraud, here are just two examples. The first is to an article complaining about Blogarama breaching their copyright. http://www.geneabloggers.com/splog-alert-blogarama-violating-copyright/

The second example is from a blogger seeking advice on Reddit and complaining how Blogarama had not only reproduced their blog content (without permission) they wanted to charge them $9 a month for the theft!!!! please take a close look for yourself.

Reddit Blogarama

 

 Google, Facebook and Microsoft 
The heavyweights on the internet like google should and could do more to help protect the creative work of others. Whilst this breach of my copyright is not google's fault, it does indirectly make a lot of money from the content posted on the internet; it would show good leadership if google, Microsoft and facebook found a way to make this kind of theft harder to do and harder to get away with. As the internet continues to grow so will crime until the principle players defend the content the Web is built on. Even reporting a breach of copyright is a daunting task filled with gobbledygook that dissuades many casual bloggers from fighting back.

All over the internet, there are people willing to take your creative work, change a few words and call it their own, it is time to stop them. 

Update: Taking a person's RSS feed without permission and then charging them $9 a month to direct traffic back to them is Extortion and I strongly recommend all Blogarama members to file a complaint with the FBI (regardless of your nationality) at this address https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx 

Not only do Blogarama hide who owns them using a company called WHOISGUARD, INC. who are based in Panama, they also hide where the site is hosted. They use a network service called CloudFlare. But you can fill in an abuse form and they will reveal who hosts Blogarama. https://www.cloudflare.com/abuse/form

©Kevin Ashton 2016

 


Taking A Dive

Sepp-Blatter story 

Taking  A Dive

I had this article almost complete just needed a little more back story and then..................... 

 Out of blue (or so it seems at the moment) Blatter ups and resigns.

The Houdini of FIFA

I cannot think of anyone , be it a politician, despot leader, religious zealot, president or  megalomaniac  who in my lifetime has faced down his foes and beaten them all soundly time and again.

 Joseph S. Blatter, commonly known as Sepp Blatter has once again shown the world he is the greatest escape artist since Harry Houdini.  

Time and time again football rivals, political leaders, ex-professional  footballers have all tried to get rid of him and yet he still survives.  I would venture to suggest that most of his time now must be spent shredding old files to prevent the trail leading back to him.

Over the 16-17 years of his leadership of Fifa, no other sporting authority has had more scandals.

But someone, maybe one of his three former wives should have told him to quit while he is ahead and at least admired in parts of Africa and Asia.  I predict this will all end in tears for the beautiful game and for Mr Blatter.

Thankfully now, EUFA doesn't need to choose the nuclear option for the sake of the game and withdraw from the 2018 World Cup.  But what comes next?  A clearout, prosecution  of the FIFA officials involved of course but should we call for the bidding process  to be re-run?

Krazy Ivansmall
Vladimir Putin, Time Magazine, 2008

Putin the boot in

Of course, if we did, Qatar would probably find a way to hike back up the oil prices, and hold the remaining foreign builder's hostage and threaten not to pay them (oh hang on a minute...they already do that).

And then there is everyone's loveable macho man President Putin or Krazy Ivan as I prefer to call him.  If the 2018 bidding process was re-run then don't be surprised if Putin marches tanks and troops into FIFA headquarters and declare that FIFA is now a part of the Russian motherland and start kicking out foreigners. I know this sounds like wild speculation on the part of the press, but who would have thought just 24 hours ago that Blatter would take a dive?  

 

Can the FBI save us?

I guess even more hope is now piled onto FBI to save us and find evidence that leads to the very top and clearly shows the 2018 and 2022 bids were bought.  In the meantime, if I was Blatter I wouldn't accept any invitations to take Afternoon Tea  with anyone from the Russian FA.

 

And now for something completely different

Just like the Monty Python name, don't expect an organisation so corrupt as FIFA to become squeaky clean after Blatter, too many people will think it is" business as usual"

Just like the cronies and despots of the UK banking world, they will continue to feed at the trough of corruption until the world collectively says no, and enough people go to jail.

Just like Jimmy Saville, Blatter for the longest time must have been convinced that he was untouchable.  If only someone had set the FBI on Saville 15 years ago whilst the so-called UK great and the good turned a blind eye. 

 


Mark Garnier, another Arrogant Tory Unmasked!

Mark-Garnier-MP

All my life I have wondered how the Tories ever get elected, in my mother's youth employers would demand their employees vote Conservative or lose their jobs.  Even the recent Cambridge educated Labour politicians seem to be embarrassed about their roots.  Must we always forget the lessons of the past?

My local MP Mark Garnier was caught in a recording, saying a stronger offering should be given to Conservative supporters. “We need to be giving a much clearer message to them that they don’t have to worry about politicians mucking around with tax rates in order to try and attract a few dog-end voters in the outlying regions of the country.”

 Here is a link to the full story

Garnier was born in London in 1963. He was educated at Charterhouse School. In 1981 he joined the London Stock Exchange as a junior clerk on the Gilts Markets. In 1986 he left to join a succession of investment banks, working in the Far East Equity markets. His occupation prior to becoming an MP was a Fund Manager. He set up his own investment company from 1999. But for all of his top-flight education and making lots of money as an Investment Banker, it seems that humility and valuing all the voters is something he has failed to learn.

Once again, the arrogance of this current unpleasant batch of Conservative MP's seems to know no limits.

Garnier's gaffe follows hot on the heels of Former Cabinet Minister, David Mellor, who was questioned by police after claims he launched into a racist rant at a security guard.

David-mellor_3122981k

The former Conservative MP, who is now a broadcaster, was accused of swearing at a Polish worker outside his house in east London, before getting into a row with the man’s Nepalese boss over the phone.

It was claimed the barrister launched a torrent of abuse at the pair after accusing a security guard of failing to do his job properly.

Mr Mellor was accused of criticising the men’s English, an allegation that he is understood to have strongly denied.

Mr Mellor, 65, who last week was forced to apologise after a recording emerged of him abusing a cab driver in London, was questioned by police earlier this year on suspicion of a racially aggravated offence, but no further action was taken.

Of course then there is the story of Plebgate which resurfaced in the last few days when former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell lost his high court libel case when the judge came to the conclusion it was highly likely that Mr Mitchel called the police officer "a fucking pleb" when the officer told him he could not cycle through the main gate at Downing Street.

More Tory Gaffs

In 2011, Liam Fox resigned after details of his friendship with lobbyist Adam Werrity became public. Fox allowed Werrity to live rent-free in his taxpayer-funded London flat, while questions were raised about Werrity’s defence-based business interests, telling people he was an advisor to Fox and making introductions to the minister.

Similarly, Conservative party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas was forced to quit in 2012 after offering access to the PM in exchange for a £250,000 donation to the party.

In 2010, it was discovered his former parliamentary assistant had been given a civil service job. The assistant was the daughter of a Conservative life peer who had also been the director of Hunt’s company.

·         In 2010, he apologised after suggesting hooliganism was to blame for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

·         In 2012, it was revealed he was a tax avoider (something Cameron said he would not tolerate) after dodging more than £100,000 in tax in a property deal.

·         Again in 2012, close links were discovered between his office and Rupert Murdoch’s company News Corporation. Hunt, at the time, was handling the company’s bid to take over BSkyB. It was found Hunt and his advisors had communicated sensitive information to Murdoch.

The Tories aren't the only political party with bad and egotistical memebers but this current bunch leave many appalled at their unbridled arrogance and attitude that it is their birthright to rule the unwashed masses.  This has come about in part by the shrinking number of UK citizens who turn out to vote which was 65.1% at the last General Election in 2010.

On A Personal Note

Several years ago by default, I ended co-ordinating the handing in of a petition to Mark Garnier that was organised by 38degrees. On the day about 12 people from all walks of life and all political persuasions turned up to help hand in the petition.  On seeing such a large group in Mr Gardier's suite of offices he refused to meet with all of us (obviously blue rinse tory supporters amongst our throng were menacing).

After his refusal, he negotiated through me and I went back and forth and then he accused me of being a rabble-rouser because I felt we all had a right to speak with our local member of parliament.

It's okay to be pro-business but that doesn't have to be at the expensive of ordinary law-abiding people.

Labour, has so many times been wrongly accused of causing our huge deficit but the real cause of this financial mess are the reckless bankers who brought down the banks and caused the then Labour government to bale out the banks.  The only two things Labour should hold their heads in shame about is the fact they didn't tighten up the banking regulations (to pre Maggie Thatcher levels) and that they didn't bring the police in to investigate and prosecute the cowboy bankers, as did the US government where some bankers went to jail for years!

And it is because of this "letting them off the hook" that the banking world continued with their business as usual so we ended up with PPI, Libor and currency rigging which has cost the banks and ultimately us Billions.

 


Airbrushing British History-The Thatcher Legacy

THATCHER-art

I don’t normally criticise the dead and this post is much toned down than it started out,never the less too many people in powerful places are trying to AIR BRUSH Margaret Thatcher’s leadership into something it will never be…..Great.

Margaret Thatcher’s Judgement

She was not a great leader because she showed no compassion towards her enemies.   She was not a great parent because look how badly her kids turned out (even for all of their advantages).

She was not a great and astute thinker because her track record is littered with examples such as calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist or supporting General Pinochet the Chilean Fascist Dictator.

Or supporting the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot even though this despotic regime went on to murder  1 million of its own people.  Or perhaps her supporters would call her astute for removing the Naval vessel that guarded the Falklands prior to the invasion to save money?

Ding Dong 

Even in death she has split a nation and reminded us how wide the gulf has become between the Haves and the Have not’s.    And before someone accuses me of jealousy…. I mean Those that  “Have” a moral conscience and those that “Have” not!!

 

The Funeral Costs

How come the Queen of Privatisation couldn’t arrange free enterprise to pay for her funeral? 

After all, surely a private company could do it more efficiently? Not to mention more cost effective.    

Worse than the wasting of £10 million pounds of public money and the unnecessary recalling of parliament is the continuing Airbrushing of history.  Making Mrs Thatcher out to be some kind of moral hero of Great Britain when she was anything but…..

 

Privatisation

The Tories often tout how wonderful companies become after being privatised, but under closer scrutiny are they?

School Dinners - She helped give birth to the Turkey Twizzler by her education act 1980 which made it possible to sell off school dinner contracts and remove a law protecting the nutritional value of school dinners that dated back to 1905. This brought about the sell-off of catering contracts, the firing of many dinner ladies to lower costs, the use of more, junk ingredients, the introduction of vending machines and the junk food sold from them and was one of the tenets along with the advent fast food restaurants and the invention of the "kiddie menu" which help fuel the obesity crisis in the UK we are still fighting today.

 

British Coal – Destroyed an industry in areas of the UK without offering any alternative for thousands of workers.

Railways- Many of these national assets were sold off cheaply particularly the railways.  And now the UK rail network is back to its dislocated state it suffered during the Second World War.  So if you want to make a journey from say Kidderminster to Bodmin Parkway in Cornwall it involves a lot of changes and waiting. But are rail fares any cheaper? Are the trains cleaner and do they now run mostly on time, absolutely not but they are still subsidised by the British taxpayer and the cost of rail travel is the highest in Europe. 

North Sea Oil- When she sold off the North Sea oil fields the British public were told it would benefit us all, but I only see the benefit to the shareholders.

Utilities-When she sold off the gas companies, water and electric companies who has benefitted the most shareholders or taxpayers?  In relative terms would your bills have risen this steeply? If there were no Millionaire bosses or mis-selling (and subsequent fines) to pay for?

 Loosening of regulations

Banks-Perhaps Mrs Thatcher’s crowning glory was to deregulate the financial industry and set them on the path to their excesses, thievery and mis-selling which put us all in Hock for years!!! The financial crash of 2008 could not have happened without Margaret Thatcher.

 

Insurance Industry

Let’s not forget before the bank fiasco her loosening of regulations helped all kinds of mis-selling sprout up in the Insurance industry. Again we the gullible were told lighter regulation would mean cheaper insurance. Even today in 2013 and beyond the mis-selling scandals continue to pay out millions, which of course raises the cost of insurance.

Maggie and the Press

She invited Rupert Murdock to buy up some of the failing British Newspapers and look how that turned out.

During her premiership, Thatcher had the second-lowest average approval rating, at 40 percent, of any post-war Prime Minister. At yet the government is honouring her akin to Winston Churchhill.

Let us not forget

Husband Denis bought the waste disposal company Industrial Waste Service who did business with the American Mafia according to the documentary aired on British Television Channel 4 in July 1989.   http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19890704&id=PQ01AAAAIBAJ&sjid=oKULAAAAIBAJ&pg=4471,640808

At the time the story got more coverage in the USA and it is rumoured it took the intervention of President Reagan to save Denis from further embarrassing revelations. Funny how it seems almost impossible to google the details (because they’ve been airbrushed).

 

Like Father Like Son?

In 1998 South African authorities investigated a company owned by Mark Thatcher for allegedly running loan shark operations. According to the Star of Johannesburg', the company had offered unofficial small loans to hundreds of police officers, military personnel and civil servants and then pursued them with debt collectors.   He claimed that officers had defrauded him and charges were dropped.  It was also suggested that he had profited from contracts to supply aviation fuel in various African countries. In 2004 he was arrested in South Africa in connection with the 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt), and pleaded guilty in January 2005 to breaking anti-mercenary legislation.   At the time the Sunday Times suggested that he had personal assets of £60 million, most of which was in offshore accounts.

For his role in an attempted coup, he was fined R3,000,000 rand (approximately £313,000 or $500,000) and received a four-year suspended jail sentence.

Following his guilty plea he left South Africa and lived in Monaco for one year on a temporary residency permit; this was not renewed as Sir Mark was said to be on a list of 'undesirables' who would not be allowed further residency and he was required to leave by mid-2006.   His wife and children moved back to the USA, but he was refused an entry visa due to his conviction in South Africa. Do children learn this from loving, normal, decent and moral parents?

 The Delusions of later life

Margaret Thatcher awarded herself the hereditary title of Baroness which was extremely unusual. By now deluded by her own power and spoke just like Queen Elizabeth does using the royal “WE”   “we are now a grandmother” as if she was royalty.   But unlike the royal family she had spent a lot of her leadership serving her toff friends rather than the country as a whole.

 

Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead

So should we mourn her passing?..............Absolutely not.

Should we denounce the greedy sinners her policies encouraged absolutely YES!!!!

But unfortunately, there is still greed and arrogance aplenty in the leadership of our country.  

As for Tony Blair, he should be kicked out of the Labour party for speaking recently kindly about a woman who should have been his nemesis if he wasn’t so much of a Maggie Thatcher Wannabe,

I can't wait until someone suggests Tony should be made up to hereditary Baron Blair on the New Years honours list.

Another article worth reading

http://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2013/04/14/thatchers-last-wish-another-clunker-from-the-iron-lady/

 


The Weight of a Nation

Wales from England
Although dating is not the most pressing issue in my life, I would like to have a meaningful long-term relationship.   But therein lies the rub, or should I say the sub?

It seems that in the last ten or fifteen years a large proportion of British females have become overweight, many actually morbidly obese.  The chances are that if I date someone from my own age group..... she will be overweight, have a few (now) wrinkly tattoos and hate men due to past experiences. (shudder)

 

Pregnant Pause?

Almost one in five pregnant women in the UK is clinically obese. Some health authorities have given up on the birthing pool and hired the swimming baths.  Many new mums never lose that excess weight and afterwards their bad examples of living off junk food is passed onto their kids.

 

Empty Calories

Soda…….a tin of coke has 17 teaspoons of sugar plus all the alcopops drunk by our teenage women.

It was reported in 2011 that UK women are more likely than men to weigh over 30st (which is 420lb for my American readers) a study says.  The shock statistic emerged as our women were revealed to be the fattest in any major nation across western Europe.  The average British female has ballooned since 1980. Experts have blamed ready meals, takeaways and driving instead of walking.  Average body mass index, a fat measurement based on height and weight, is 26.9.This is classed as seriously overweight and well above women in Italy, France and Greece.

 

De Nile is A Big Fat River

Rather than face the health threat reality of their situation overweight mommas have begun using terms like… Big and Beautiful, Curvacious, Curvy, Thick, Ample to describe themselves on dating sites.   Often on their profile, they will complain that their last boyfriend lost interest in them (sob)…..I can’t imagine why, can you?   Some of these self-indulgent gluttons have gone so far as to call some of my slim female friends “anorexic bitches”.

 

UK men should shoulder a large portion of the Blame

Mostly, men want a quiet life and therefore don’t turn around to their wives or girlfriends and threaten to withhold sex unless their loved ones lose weight.    Let’s face it from a blokes point of view free sex is still free sex even if you have to think of say “Goal of the Month”  at the critical moment.


The War for hearts and minds
The obesity rate in England has doubled since 1980, but some people like Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver continue the fight knowing eating habits are formed in childhood.  His 2004 initiative to bring smart eating and cooking instruction to schools has helped improve childhood obesity rates, James said, though adult stats remain stubbornly high. There are some success stories in some schools.  A recent survey showed that 19 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls ate at least five daily portions of fruit and vegetables in 2008, compared to 10 and 13 percent just four years earlier.

Gold digga
 

The evil Triumvirate of the 80's

From a historical point of view, the UK problems with obesity took off in the 80's because of 3 factors.  First Margaret Thatcher changed a law which stated that school meals needed to meet a minimum nutritional standard.  She did this in the 1980 education act to make the sell-off of school dinners possible and the result was school kitchen staffs were slashed (fired) as more convenience foods such as Turkey Twizzlers were brought in.  Some schools in their wisdom (not) completely threw away their in-house kitchens and got their school meals brought in (yum!). 

Secondly, about the same time fast food chains like McDonalds and others came flooding into the UK.  In response, many UK restaurants and hotels (even nice ones) felt compelled to fight fast food with.......fast food ! So the kiddie menu was born and I then witnessed parents eating wonderful fresh foods but demanding chicken nuggets (chemicals and all) for their blessed offspring?    

The third part of this evil plan was well meant...I think?   Someone in the current Tory government decided to end the teaching of Domestic science in schools, instead it was replaced with Food technology (an evil concoction of Technical drawing, food manufacturing and ??)   The intention was I think to show working class people that UK schools had moved into the age of technology, but ask anyone who took the subject what did they learn and they will tell you they learned how to make a pizza box but not the pizza. Now for those who don't know Domestic science was the teaching of basic cooking skills which had many benefits, particularly if you came from a family who didn't cook ....this was a chance to break that cycle.  To teach children the value and cost saving of cooking for yourself, not to mention the health benefits.     So here we are 30 years on with health consequences of these stupid ill-thought-out policies, to save a little money only to cost taxpayers billions today.

On a more humorous note

Are fat people adding to the problem of Global Warming?

Further compounding the problem, say the scientists, is that overweight people are more likely to drive than walk causing an increase in CO2 gases in our atmosphere.

The study by Dr Edwards and colleague Ian Roberts is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.    Dr Edwards went on: “We are not just pointing the finger at fat people. All populations are getting fatter and it has an impact on the environment.

Supersized Sodas in the USA

Recently, soda companies fought and defeated attempts by local lawmakers to limit the size their drinks can be sold in.  The decision of a New York State court to throw out a proposed ban on super-sized soft drinks has laid bare an unlikely web of alliances between major beverage manufacturers and civil rights campaigners, health advocates and community service organisations.

Groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Hispanic Federation (a coalition of Hispanic service agencies in the New York area) supported major soft drink companies including Pepsi and Coca-Cola when they successfully fought off an effort by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to limit the size of soft drink serves to 16 ounces (450 millilitres) at restaurants, theatres and food carts.  So you can still buy a 64 oz (which is over 3 UK pints in size) in many places, but it’s their God given right to ignore common sense!

Beached whale

Personally, I blame the whole obesity issue on my late mother, well at least the UK portion of it.

You see if she hadn’t stopped me and my twin brother from yelling “There she blows” whenever we saw fat women in the cake or chocolate aisle (when we were kids) none of this would have happened.


I could have sworn it was the glorious 12th!

Cameron hunter G7QV5EBEBSG5

I was watching the news last night about Prince Phillip having to go back into hospital because of a reoccurrence of a bladder infection.   Having had more than my fair share of similar problems, I wish him a speedy recovery.   Just like the Queen he sets a great example for others to follow.  Of course when a member of the royal family get taken to hospital it's headline news and various people are hurriedly invited to add to the story, especially on 24 hour news channels. 

One such uppercrust “royal watcher” was asked about the Prince’s health and how only a couple of days ago on August 12th the Prince had been grouse shooting (the 12th August being the beginning of the hunting season for Red grouse in the UK).  The man then went on to add in a very plumy voice “It was every Englishman’s dream to shoot and then eat a grouse on the Glorious 12th!”....which told you everything about this person’s disconnection to the real UK that most of us live in.

 

Olympic Legacy

Being a Brit and feeling so proud of the efforts of Great Britain's Olympic Athletes in the last couple of weeks, it came a quite a shock to find out from 38 degrees that the Minister for Education Michael Gove, is trying to quietly relax rules on UK school playgrounds so some of them can be sold off!         Talk about Olympic Legacy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Selling off school playing fields to developers originally goes back to the Thatcher Government, and that together with the scrapping of the legal obligation (1980 Education Act) of schools to provide a nutritious meal brought about the Turkey Twizzlers all all the other junk food served up for school dinners. These two decisions were the building blocks for Obese Britain in 2012.   Of course the Labour government that followed did'nt repeal this folly because Tony Blair was too busy trying to show how "Tory like" his party could be so the sale of playing fields continued.  Fast forward to 2012 when 1 in 4 adults in the UK are obese and school playing fields are still being sold off.  True to form the Conservatives try to push through legislation to do more sell off whilst at the same time telling the public the importance of an Olympic legacy.   According to the Gurdian Newspaper Mr Gove ignored advice from an independant panel no fewer than 5 times.Michael Gove ignores independant panel's advice    All UK people please click this link and sign the petition now.
Help stop Michael Gove's sneaky sell off of UK school playgrounds

On a different subject of Julian Assange the man behind Wiki leaks, again the Tory government have made another error of judgment. If you’re familiar with the case Mr Assange is hold up in the Embassy of Ecuador, and today he was granted asylum.

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the case the Foreign Office made an almighty blunder in threatening to "storm the Ecuador Embassy" ..in writing no less. They have created a situation which neither country can stepdown from, and if British Police are made to go into the Embassy and arrest Julian Assange, surely this will give other countries a green light to storm into British Embassies all over the world.

I don't know who advises this bunch of morons ...but talk about shooting yourself in both feet in one day to show the world how truly mentally challenged our current Government is, when trying to make a sensible choice and keep the global goodwill generated by the Olympic Games.  I turned to Chris an he said in a plumy voice "I could have sworn it was the Glorious 12th!"


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New Coke All Over again?

Hotmail SnailFor those of you old enough to remember when some bright spark within the Coca Cola Company in the 1980’s decided to revamp the Coke recipe and hence “New Coke” was born.

For several years millions and millions of dollars where thrown at advertising campaigns to try and convince the public that “New Coke” was better.  But after a short while reluctantly, original Coke was reintroduced along side New Coke.  They renamed the original Coke “Coke Classic”.

 Now with a choice, the people chose classic Coke in overwhelming numbers and inside 2 more years Classic Coke went back to being Coke and New Coke was consigned to the dustbin of bad ideas.

 

Hotmail

Just like Coke here was a product that was classic, well liked and functioned smoothly and fast. I worked out the other day I've been a hotmail user for 16 years, back then hotmail was one of the few fast and stable email services.  Whilst many others crashed and were hacked Hotmail remained the gold standard.   Then with the advent of Google and then Gmail suddenly Hotmail felt it needed to bolt on a few extras to keep its supremacy. At first by integrating MSN, then Messenger, Skydrive and Windows Live.

Of course the problems are made 10 xs worse because just like Google and facebook it is almost impossible to speak to anyone high enough in the company to actually remedy these problems.

Indeed such are the problems that several third party companies have sprung up charging a fee to

advise people with hotmail problems, which is an outrageous indictment of how far the service has fallen!  These problems have continued to reoccur for seven long years but unlike the Coca Cola Company ….hotmail and Microsoft are still in denial.

 http://www.theinternetpatrol.com/hotmail-outage-as-server-goes-down-users-unable-to-access-email/

Hotmail have gone down this egotistical path to make it all singing all dancing provider but the real result of bolting on and integrating all these other services is Hotmail has become a Frankenstein’s monster….unwieldy, a more attractive target for hackers to try and crash,

clumsy and worse of all unable to perform it’s core function in a speedy and satisfactory way.

 

The Solution

Hotmail execs must swallow their corporate pride and the financial cost of stripping hotmail back to its core before it is too late. Separate the various pieces so that if one part crashes the rest still works.   After that I suggest pinning up in the boardroom an old but very true saying….

"If it aint broke, don't fix it!".  

 

For Your Viewing Pleasure?

16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are two TV programs that glamorise young girls getting pregnant and thus are encouraging young girls down this slippery and difficult slope.

I'm sure the producers will try to defend these retched programs and make out they are performing an information service for girls who fall pregnant.   But the trouble is its also promoting teen pregnancy as a way to get on TV. 

 

My 9 year old daughter told me a few weeks ago that she has 3 (9 year old) classmates who where discussing getting pregnant and getting on the show when they are 16.  Now for some girls from poor backgrounds with dubious parents the idea of escaping their mundane future by appearing on a TV shows is an appealing and enticing one.

Of course I was appalled and shocked on so many levels, as reality shows continue to vulgarise our lives some more.  Of course these stupid kids don’t realise that for every girl that appears on the show there are thousands who don’t make it…even though they got pregnant just to appear on your show.

 

Thankfully, my daughter has other ambitions to go to University and become a Vet, but someone needs to shout about this from the rooftops to protect the foolish from this incredibly bad exploitation TV.  

This very poorly judged TV on what used to be just a music channel and unfortunately MTV may have grown-up as a channel….but its choice of programming is still very juvenile.

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Pingates

UK Forest sell off....How did your MP Vote?

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Last Wednesday MP's got there first chance to vote for the proposed sell of UK Forests.

How did your local MP vote on the proposed sell off of up to 15% of the UK National Forests?

If you are unsure go here       How did you MP vote?

My own MP, Conservative Mark Garnier voted for the sell off even though his constituancy is the Wyre Forest. The number of people who have signed the "Save our Forest" campaign has past  500,000 but still most Conservatives MP's voted for the sell off.

There are many people who have signed the petition and even written to their MP's but equally there a are many more who have not.   The people behind this land grab are counting on the British Public being apathetic....have you turned your outrage into action?

For the good people who have signed the petition have you asked your friends and family to sign yet? 

This isn't just about a bunch of trees as important as that is......this is about defending the rights of all of the citizens of the UK.  How can anyone party who leads the government at the moment and who only got 32.4 percent of the votes in the General Election sell off something as irreplaceable as ancient forests that belongs to the whole nation?  

This not like selling off the oil fields, water electricity or gas because those are commodities.  Our precious woodlands are not a commodity that the Tories can sell off to their buddies on the cheap.

They try to placate us with phrases like "we will make sure the public still have access etc...etc"  but how can the Conservatives sell something it does not own?  Can I come and sell your house and placate you with "we will guarantee you can still live in it?"

  • A government economic study released earlier this year calculated that our forests provide £2,100 in value per hectare per year if benefits such as erosion protection, pollution absorption, carbon sequestration, health provision are included. - The Guardian
  • Forests provide 167,000 jobs in Britain and have over 50 million visitors a year - more than the seaside! - UK Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology

UPDATE-Wednesday 9thFebruary, 2011

My local newspaper The Kidderminster Shuttle is conducting a vote to find out how it's readers feel about the proposed sell off.

They were asked this question:

Should the Forestry Commission retain control of our forests in order to safeguard their future.

Results

96% of people are against this.

4% are for.

http://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/

 

 


Do You Think I'm Sexy?

Ugly-fat-girl-bikini-old-woman-pictures copy

I don’t know about you………but there have definitely been a few times in my life when I felt I didn’t belong. In other words, the people around me have behaved so strangely….I end up wondering whether an Alien invasion had taken place whilst I was asleep. I know, I know……it sounds far-fetched….but what other explanation is there? When so many seemingly normal people do so many boneheaded things.

The phenomenon I wanted to talk about started roughly 2 years ago. Young women began wearing short t-shirts that exposed their tummies. My first few “viewings” were very pleasant because the women in question were both attractive and slim. One morning, however…it happened….the scary thing…suddenly overweight young women started to wear the same short t-shirts and I want to know who is to blame?
Who forces me to watch beached whales and wannabe beached whales shake their undulating rolls of sweaty fat as they waddle down the high streets of the UK?

The Suspects

The fashion designer: Oh course they have to bear some of the responsibility for coming up with the design in the first place; however since they always use skinny super models perhaps they couldn’t foresee how their fashionable efforts would be misused.

Mainstream clothing stores: Surely the shops on our high street must take a large share of the blame, after all, if certain fashions were only manufactured in smaller sizes then I wouldn’t be writing this article.

Tattoo artists and naval jewellery makers: Obviously these two groups would also gain if their art and jewellery got maximum exposure.

Parents: I’m constantly amazed at how little they seem to know about their teenage children, where they go, who they are with. They give a bunch of clichéd answers when referring to their teenagers…”going through a phase”…..”It’s my daughter’s friends who are the bad influence”… “If I buy her clothes she just won't wear them”.
What a cop out!!! Until the teenager starts work and earns their own money the parents have all the control they need…they should regain control by removing privileges when necessary. Nobody said parenting was easy…sometimes love also involves saying no to stubborn kids and following through.

You: It may be your first opportunity at being socially responsible, for goodness sake don’t let us all down. If your about to step out of your house with women who should definitely not be showing off their body please…please find a way to break the news to them…. perhaps by screaming in their ear… “You're gonna scare old men with that!”

In summary
If I want to see fat bellies…I can go to a football match….thankyou.