31 December 2012

And a happy New Year

With any luck 2013 will not be as shit as 2012

Malala Yousafzai

I won't go over her story it is too well known.Here'shoping that she too ha a right future.Will her shooting make a lasting change? I would like to think so but my inner pessimist thinks otherwise

Joanne O'Riordan

Enough joking about the best of 2012 here is one of a couple of young women who are true inspirations to the world and worth  a billion Samantha ricks or all of those other worthless people who blight the media.

Perhaps I am a bit biased what with her coming from my mum's home village of Millstreet but teenager Joanne O'Riordan is an inspiration.  Joanne was born with an extremely rare condition called Total Amelia Syndrome a congenital disorder which resulted in her being born with no limbs.

In 2010 she met the then future Taoiseach Enda Kenny while he was on campaign and secured a promise from him that there would be no cuts to disability benefits. Last year she was instrumental in forcing him into a U-turn when his government tried to renege on that promise.

This year she has spoken at an IT conference at the United Nations. She won the Irish Young Person of the Year award this Septemer.

I could wax lyrical aout this young woman but perhaps it's better to hear what she has to say about life herself on Irish tv

And here she is talking at the UN event on IT

Here's to a bright future for Joanne

30 December 2012

Havana Affair and Commando

When Guinness Considered cutting its Irish links

The thirty year rule on British and Irish state papers means that we are now getting a chance to look at (some) government papers from 1982. British papers revealed soe interesting items about the Falklands including Alexander Haig's (the US Secretary o State) intentions to tell Argentina about the UK's plans to retake Sout Georgia.The man was clearly an utter idiot.

Also from the Irish release comes this item which was reported by Irish Examiner. Brewer Guinness was apparently prepared to drop associations with Ireland and promote itself as an English company during the Falklands crisis.

The rebranding plan was prepared on the back of deepening resentment of Ireland and Irish brands in Britain, he said.  “Mr Guinness remarked that an association with Ireland was part of the Guinness image,” Paul D Dempsey of the Irish embassy wrote.

“He was no longer sure this association with Ireland was helpful. They were encountering a lot of resistance to the Irish angle and this could force them to emphasise facts such as that Guinness was an English company which had its base at Park Royal. Indeed they had publicity material of this kind ready during the Falklands crisis but had not used it. They might also have to cease their association with organisations and functions.”

In the meeting on August 18 1982, Mr Guinness, a descendant of the banking line of the family, refused to accept the views of diplomats that British attitudes to Ireland went through cycles and that opinions would improve.

“In his view the impact of these things was cumulative. The Mountbatten killing had a serious effect. The Falklands crisis and the IRA bombings had added to the damage,” he said. “A fund of goodwill towards Ireland existed, built up in the fifties and sixties. This fund was now being depleted.”

Mr Guinness, public relations executive for Park Royal brewery in London, told the embassy staff that the Hyde Park bombing caused “particular offence” because it was an attack on the Queen’s guard and horses were seen lying dead. “Furthermore, many people had been affronted by the fact that the IRA were able, within a matter of hours, to put out a gloating press release from Dublin,” he said.

Mr Guinness urged diplomats to press the Government to speak out against the IRA.

“He cautioned against a policy of silence – thinking that because the IRA were not active it was not necessary to say anything about them,” the embassy staff said.

“The Falklands crisis and the IRA bombings were associated in people’s minds and it was desirable to keep reminding people that the Irish people were totally opposed to violence and those who used it.”

Mr Guinness also relayed how the chairman of Tyne Tees television, a publican and brewer in Sutherland who bottled and distributed Guinness through his pubs, objected to being supplied from Dublin.  “If the dispute with him went public, it would not do Guinness any good,” he said.

Mr Guinness, honoured by the Queen with a CVO, joined the Guinness Company in Park Royal in 1945 and was a director of Guinness PLC from 1971 to 1989.

He is a distant relative of the brewing line of the family and descended from the Rundell “banking” line headed by Samuel Guinness, the younger brother of Arthur Guinness.

This relates presumably to Guinness UK I suppose but how things changed for the better over time. It probably didn't help that the gun running piece of shit Haughey was Taoiseach for a large part of 1982.  An absolutely hateful waste of oxygen.

Guinness is now owned by Diageo, a British based company

What the New Year will bring

I have no idea what it will bring ut I am certain that my father will turn 87 on Wednesday my mother 85 in July and I will turn 50 in March. Shirl will turn 49.

I hope that I will e able to report that both parents will still be with us this time next year.I am not sure. Both of them are getting frailer and frailer.

I doubt that Robyn will be with us this time next year.It would be nice if he makes it to 19 in April.

As for other matters I resolve to avoid most commentators in the press. Most of them are utter tossers.If I do read a comment piece I will avoid the reader comments.If most commentators are jerks then most of the people who comment need psychiatric help.

I will avoid a number of sites which just angry up the blood and so on and so on

29 December 2012

My favourite photo of 2012 - Fire Dragon

© Shaun P Downey 2012

I've reworked a lot of photos this year but I have not taken many new ones at all...but then depression has been a key feature of the year. This was taken when Shirley was burning ivy and this was a lucky shot.There'snot manipulation whatsoever,  just a stopped down 135mm lens and spot focusing on the flame rather than anything around it

Olympic Honours - My predictions were almost correct

On 10 September I mused about which Olympians and Paralympians would receive knighthoods or damehoods. It was hardly a great work of divination but it was pretty obvious that Bradley Wiggins  and Ben Ainslie would be knighted.

 Wiggins is the second most successful Olympic cyclist of all time behind Sir Chris Hoy (4 golds 1 silver and 2 bronzes over four games), victories this year in the Paris-Nice the Criterium de Dauphine and the Tour de Romandie....oh and winning the annual bike ride across France.

Ben Ainslie with his fourth consecutive gold medal and a silver won in Atlanta back in 1996.He overtook Paul Elvstrom as the most successful Olympic yachtsman of all time.

Sarah Storey won four cycling golds all of them by a country mile.With a total of 11 golds 8 silvers and 3 bronzes in swimming and cycling over six games she is Britain's most successful Paralympian.

David Brailsford is performance director of British Cycling  and David Tanner is performance director of British Rowing.Both men were instrumental in Team GB's enormous medal hauls in these sports in London and Beijing.

I thought that David Weir might be knighted after his four golds in London to go with the two goldstwo silvers and two bronzes he won at Beijing and Athens. He received a CBE but will surely be knighted if he can come close to repeating his success in Rio

Oh and Lord Coe received a Companion of Honour.

No real surprise in any of these

Person of the year part I

Time Magazine may be dull and unadventurous in its choice of person of the year for 2012 (Barrack Obama pah !) but the people making this choice criminally overlooked a truly great woman.  I have  no hesitation in making Samantha Brick as one of the true greats of 2012

Smantha who? I hear you say.Clearly you are not a regular reader of the Daily Mail or a follower of Twitter or, or, or.....

On 3 April the wonderful Samantha produced this ground breaking article for the Mail:

On a recent flight to New York, I was delighted when a stewardess came over and gave me a bottle of champagne.  ‘This is from the captain — he wants to welcome you on board and hopes you have a great flight today,’ she explained.You’re probably thinking ‘what a lovely surprise’. But while it was lovely, it wasn’t a surprise. At least, not for me.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve regularly had bottles of bubbly or wine sent to my restaurant table by men I don’t know. Once, a well-dressed chap bought my train ticket when I was standing behind him in the queue, while there was another occasion when a charming gentleman paid my fare as I stepped out of a cab in Paris. Another time, as I was walking through London’s Portobello Road market, I was tapped on the shoulder and presented with a beautiful bunch of flowers. Even bar tenders frequently shoo my credit card away when I try to settle my bill....
... While I’m no Elle Macpherson, I’m tall, slim, blonde and, so I’m often told, a good-looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks....  I’m not smug and I’m no flirt, yet over the years I’ve been dropped by countless friends who felt threatened if I was merely in the presence of their other halves. If their partners dared to actually talk to me, a sudden chill would descend on the room.

And it is not just jealous wives who have frozen me out of their lives. Insecure female bosses have also barred me from promotions at work. And most poignantly of all, not one girlfriend has ever asked me to be her bridesmaid.

....when I first started in television as a researcher, one female boss in her late 30s would regularly invite me over for dinner after a long day in the office. I always accepted her invitation, as during office hours we got along famously. But one evening her partner was at home. We were all a couple of glasses of wine into the evening. Then he and I said we both liked the song we were listening to. She laid into her bewildered partner for ‘fancying’ me, then turned on me, calling me unrepeatable names before ridiculing me for dying my hair and wearing lipstick. I declined any further invitations.

... I find that older women are the most hostile to beautiful women — perhaps because they feel their own bloom fading.... .So now I’m 41 and probably one of very few women entering her fifth decade welcoming the decline of my looks. I can’t wait for the wrinkles and the grey hair that will help me blend into the background.Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am.

What a terrible life Samantha is forced to lea.. damn her looks and way with words. Within 24 hours poor Samantha faced a storm of derision clearly because women were spurred into rage over her radiant beauty.

The following month dear Samantha came rushing to A A Gill's defence when he savaged presenter of the excelent series Meet The Romans, Mary Beard over her appearance...

And she wrote plenty of other articles too just go here. Each and every one is witty, incisive and confirms over and over again that she is if not the most beautiful woman in the world then surely in the top five.

That Samantha could churn out inane narcissistic drivel and then get shocked when gainsayed. True some of the criticism was rather nasty but for her services to narcissistic drivel she deserves to be lauded.

28 December 2012

Parted This Life 2012, Part III

3 September saw the passing of charlatan and all round arsehole  the "Reverend"Sun Myung Moon founder of the Unification Church although they are better known as the Moonies. This is less to do with being founded by someone with the name Moon, rather it is  because they are a bunch of arses. Sun Myung Moon was 92.

Historian Eric Hosbawm died on 1 October at the age of 95. Whether Marxist or not his works were well worth reading.

Paddy Roy Bates died on 9 October. An army officer who saw service in WWII he is best known as the Prince of Sealand the Maunsell Fort off the Essex coast where he created the micronation of Sealand in 1967.

Antoni Dobrowski was 108 when he died on 21 October.At present he is the oldest known survivor of Auschwitz

South African born Australian author Bryce Courtenay died on 22 November. He may be best remembered for novels like the Power of One but apparently he was the creative force behind the first Milky Bar adverts.Here is a montage:

That he persuaded people to actually buy that shit means that he is either a god among men or history's greatest monster.....

Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer was 105 when he died on 5 December.  Most people leave a small footprint on the earth at the time of their passing Niemeyer has Brasilia....


9 December saw the passing of Sir Patrick Moore.Perhaps no other person did more to enthuse several generations of Britons about the wonders of astronomy.Shame he was a tosser on other issues.

Boxing Day saw the passing of Gerry Anderson the man who created many of the tv shows I loved as a child.

Including Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. I also loved UFO although at the time I did not appreciate the beauty of Ayshea Brough although I do remember Lift Of with Ayshea

But UFO did feature Nic Drake's sister in a silly wig!

There are a few days to go so still scope for an update

One of the last pics I posted of Ted before he became ill and died.  We still miss his swearing and grumbling and also his very firm head butting when he was happy too... which surprisingly was most of the time

WWII Awards better late than never

I missed this before Christmas but the Government is proposing two new awards in respect of WWII service.  The Number 10 website reported on 19 December  that veterans of Bomber Command and the Arctic Convoys will receive specific decorations.

In Parliament today, the Prime Minister welcomed the conclusion of the second part of Sir John Holmes’ review into the rules and principles governing the award of military campaign medals.
As part of his review, which was requested by David Cameron, Sir John Holmes has recommended a new medal for veterans of the Arctic Convoys and a “clasp” for veterans of Bomber Command.
The Prime Minister has agreed that there is a case for the awards.

Veterans of the Arctic Convoy campaigns will get recognition with an Arctic Convoy Star medal. Meanwhile, the aircrew of Bomber Command who played such a vital role in the war will be awarded a Bomber Command clasp.

The Coalition Agreement included a commitment to review the rules surrounding the award of military campaign medals, as part of work to strengthen the military covenant.

The remainder of the second part of Sir John Holmes’ review will report back in the New Year, when the Ministry of Defence will also set out eligibility criteria for the medals and clasps.

I am pleased that those who served on the Arctic Convoys are getting specific recognition. It was one of the worst most dangerous and least regarded activities of WWII. To add insult to injury they were  treated like sit when the arrived in the Soviet Union even though these sailors helped provie the USSR with vital supplies. There are about 200 surviving veterans.

There is a lie that Bomber Command was the only arm of service not to receive its own campaign. WWII camaign medals were for areas of service althouhh the prime recipients of the Atlantic Star was the Royal Navy. Similarly the prime recipients of the Aircrew Europe Star (the medal covered service fro 1940 to D-Day RAF personnel were then became eligible for the France and Germany Star) were Bomber Command personnel.  It is true that eligibility rules meant that far too any crews did not live long enough to earn the decoration having first to earn the 1939-45 Star. The clasp, presumably to be worn on the 1939-45 Star, is the ideal recognition for those who served in Bomber Command and it would put them on the same footing as those who served in teh Battle of Britian - who whee awarded a clasp to the 39-45 Star.

Better late than never I suppose

27 December 2012

Parted This Life 2012 Part II

8 May saw the passing of Maurice Sendak at 83 -  the man who gave the world Where the Wild Things Are

Andrew Huxley, one of the greats of neurophysiology and Nobel laureate, died on 30 May at the age of 94.  A half bother of Aldous, his work with Julian Huxley on the squid axon was truly ground breaking

Alphonse Le Gastelois died on 4 June at the age of 97.Best known as the King of the Ecrehous Le Gaselois an agriculturalworker was wrongly suspected to be the serial rapist the Beast of Jersey. Fearing for his safety he left jersey for the Ecrehous Reef in 1961 staying there as a hermit until 1975 espite the capture of the real beast Edward Paisnel in 1971. He remained a recluse after his return to Jersey until a few years before is death dying in a nursing home.

His surviving sister is calling for a memorial to be placed on the Ecrehous. A small recompense for a screwed up life.

Rodney King came to the attention of the world in March 1991 when video footage of his beating at the hands of LA police. The acquittal of the police at their first trial precipitated the LA riots of 1992.  King did not live happily ever after dying by drowning in is swimming pool on 17 June.

Sally Ride the first American woman in space died of pancreatic cancer on 23 July. She was 61.

August Kowalczykwas later known as an actor but on 10 June 1942 he was one of a small group of prisoners to successfully break out of Auschwitz. He served in the Polish Home Army making his stage debut in November 1945. The last survivor of the breakout he was 90 years old when he died on 29 July.

Military Historian John Keegan died on 2 August at the age of 78.His ooks Soldiers and the Face of Battle are still must-reads if you have an interest in the subject.

6 August saw the passing of radio astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell first director of the Jodrell Bank observatory a post he held from 1945 to 1980.

Scott McKenzie died on 18 August at the age of 73. Who could not love him for this.

Andrew Wakefieeld Gets the Ideal Christmas Prezzie

Charlatan fraud and all round liar Andrew Wakefield received the perfect present for christmas in the form of the inaugural Golden Duck award for lifetime achievement in quackery

According to the Guardian  he received the award for his deservedly discredited research that claimed to find a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The award was set up by  set up by the science writer Simon Singh. Runners-up for the award were Prince Charles and David Tredinnick, the Tory MP for Bosworth and member of the Commons health select committee (He is also known as the Right Honourale memer for Holland and Barrett for his championing of useless treatments such as homeopathy).

The Good Thinking Society, a campaign group led by Singh, set up the annual Golden Duck award to recognise those "who have supported or practised pseudoscience in the most ludicrous, dangerous, irrational or irresponsible manner".

 In 1998, Wakefield was the lead author of a paper in the Lancet medical journal that suggested a link between the measles virus and inflammatory bowel disease. The paper also suggested the virus played a role in the development of autism. Wakefield later said that his research led him to believe that, instead of the MMR triple vaccine, children should be given a series of single vaccines. His statements led to alarm around the world, a drop in the rate of MMR vaccination and, in the UK, a rise in cases of measles cases. In 2010, the Lancet formally retracted Wakefield's paper and he was struck off the medical register after being found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Tredinnick made the shortlist for his parliamentary motions supporting homeopathy and other unproven medical ideas. Prince Charles was on the list for his long-term support for groups that lobby for alternative, unproven therapies.

Sadly Wakefield should share the award with the legion of lazy and manipulatie hacks who continued to perpetuate his bullshit for years despite all of the evidence to the contrary. 

26 December 2012

Parted This Life 2012 Part 1

It is perhaps unsurprising that a proportion of the world' population died during  2012.I have noted some of these during the year  but here is a small selection of  some of the other people who died this year.

Honai Vyarawalla died on 15 January at the age of 98. She was India's first female photojournalist. Her work is well worth exporing. I wish I had a fraction of her talent with a camera.

Polish poet Wisława Szymborska-Włodek died on 1 February at the age of 88.She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.I must admit I am not particularly familiar with her work.What little I have read I have liked. Here is her poem Utopia

 Island where all becomes clear.

Solid ground beneath your feet.

The only roads are those that offer access.

Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.

The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.

The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.

The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.

If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.

Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.

On the right a cave where Meaning lies.

On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.

Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.

For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.

As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.

Into unfathomable life.

 12 Feruary saw the death of Irish actor David Kelly. He may have played a rather demeaning role in the utterly unfunny 70s sitcom Robin's Nest but he was a fine actor with an impressive numer of appearances on stage and screen.  David is on the left in the above image playing the role of Rashers Tierney in Strumpet City one of RTE's finest moments. I also loved him in his small role of Sergo in the wonderful Red Monarch.

Musician Billy Strange died on 22 February at the age of 81. More recently he is proaly best known for the song A Little Les Conversation not a song I care for but he gave the world this pearl of art

Callan Pinckney the creator of Callanetics died on 1 March at the age of 72. That she managed to squeeze yet another aerobics workout system into what was a burgeoning market in the 80s is to be applauded... although my daily exercise at the time would have been a balanced diet of beer, wine and fags

Actor Philip Madoc died on 5 March at the age of 77. Again he has n impressive cv but one role is burned onto the consciousness of anyone Briton who lived through the year  1973 - the U Boat captain taen prisoner in Dad's Army

Iranian author Simin Daneshvar died on 8 March aged 90.While women had pulished poetry before these dates she holds the distinction of being the first woman to have a collection of short stories published (1948)In 1969 with the pulication of Savushun she became the first Iranian woman to have a novel published. Her work is easily availale in English translation and is well worth reading.

17 March saw the death of probable war criminal John Demjanjuk. While the Ian the Terrible trial in Israel in 1988 was a balls up he was convicted pending appeal in Germany not long before he died for his role as a guard at a number of concentration camps.Someone who can rot as far as I am concerned.

Labour MP and peer and disability rights campaigner Jack Ashley died on 20 Aprilat the age of 89

23 December 2012

And a Cthulhu Christmas One and All

Well that's me done until after Christmas.... unless I change my mind of course. Heres wishing both my readers a very happy Xmas

An Austerity Christmas Brought To You By the Caring, Sharing Tory Party

As the UK may even go into triple dip recession next year the Tory message that we're all in it together means that we're all in the shit together... apart fro those at the top as usual

22 December 2012

Passaran- SCW passes into history in the British Isles

The Volunteera site dedicated to Abraham Lincoln brigade volunteers reports that the last Spanish Civil War veteran in the British Isles has died.

David Lomon (above - photo from the Volunteer) died on 21 December 2012, aged 94.

David arrived in Spain in December 1937 and was captured by Italian troops in the following spring. He was repatriated in a prisoner-of-war exchange in October 1938.

His death leaves one British volunteer known to be alive: Stan Hilton, who is in a nursing home in Yarrawonga, Australia.

Ans so the Spanish Civil War passes into history in these isles

I missed this item but Denis McGuinness, Ireland's last SCW veteran,  died last month.He did not serve in the International Brigade but in the Nationalist Bandera XV comanded by the Irish fascist Eoin O'Duffy.

Whether one likes it or not it is a matter of historical record that  for every Irish citizen fighting for the Republicans three fought for Franco.

McGuinness, who was born in Blackrock, Co Dublin, in 1914, went to Spain in December, 1936, with hundreds of volunteers on a cargo ship from Galway.

The young Irish volunteers became known as the XV Bandera Irlandesa del Terico of the Spanish Foreign Legion.

The Bandera's first casualties happened when they reached Ciempozuelos on the way to Madrid in March, 1937.They were involved in a firefight with fellow Nationalist soldiers from the Canary Islands. After a 20-minute firefight, two Irish soldiers, a sergeant and a captain, were killed.

The Irish volunteers were later involved in the  battle of the Jarama River, their last major battle before they came home to Ireland via Portugal. The Bandera was stood down shortly after and the volunteers returned to Ireland in December 1937 having contributed little to Franco's war effort.

Denis McGuinness told his granddaughter Niamh McGuinness 70 years later in an interview for her university dissertation that they went to Spain to fight communists and were not fascists.

"He never liked the stigma of fighting for Franco's side," Niamh said. "He didn't really understand the politics behind it. "His father died young, he was the eldest and he went to Spain to earn money for his siblings," she said.

Wars are dirty, ugly and brutal, civil wars even more so. I am sure that is something that Lomon and McGuinness qould have agreed on.

A little Xmas present from Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn is putting a series of rare footage on hs you tube channel in the run up to his 60th birthday next March

A Robyn Hitchcock Christmas

Cthulhu Christmas

Eating your soul by the Christmas tree
at Cthulhu's evil hop

21 December 2012

One bit of Xmas Cheer

I've gotten to within a few days of Xmas and I have not heard that bloody awful song Stop the Cavalry once this year. Since I have no reason to go shopping etc before Tuesday I might just miss it totally!

1112 came and went in Mexico nearly half an hour ago and......... Nada, nothing not a bloody sausage.Oh well better luck next panic

the insane 21/12 websites are going to be fun to look at tomorrow!

Ah well nothing happened at 11.12 Perhaps the world ended and was instantly replaced by an exact copy... or is that Capgras Syndrome?
Ah well.smoke 'em if you've got 'em.....

Seriously I'm going to enjoy looking at the apocalyptic websites tomorrow.

What do you mean I'm meant to eat it

Steve Bates writes at Yellow Doggerel Democrat which is now one of my oldest links (adly virtualy all of the bogs I linked to in 2006 are out of business)

A couple of days ago Steve reported that he is in hospital undergoing an operation to treat a serious condition. THe treatment will entail an amputation.

My very best wishes go out to Steve at this time with the hope that he will make a speedy recovery

20 December 2012

The Decoy Spider

Photo by Phil Torres

A few days go Wired carried a report on the discovery of a  spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web.

The spider, believed to be a new species in the genus, Cyclosa was discovered in the Peruvian Amazon. It creates the decoy  from leaves, debris and dead insects. It is the first spider that has been one observed to build a replica with multiple, spidery legs.

Scientists suspect the fake spiders serve as decoys, part of a defense mechanism meant to confuse or distract predators. “It seems like a really well evolved and very specialized behavior,” said Phil Torres, who described the find in a blog entry written for Rainforest Expeditions. Torres, a biologist and science educator, divides his time between Southern California and Peru, where he’s involved in research and education projects. “Considering that spiders can already make really impressive geometric designs with their webs, it’s no surprise that they can take that leap to make an impressive design with debris and other things,” he said.

 In September, Torres was leading visitors into a floodplain surrounding Peru’s Tambopata Research Center, located near the western edge of the Amazon. From a distance, they saw what resembled a smallish, dead spider in a web. It looked kind of flaky, like the fungus-covered corpse of an arthropod. But then the flaky spider started moving. A closer looked revealed the illusion. Above the 1-inch-long decoy sat a much smaller spider. Striped, and less than a quarter-inch long, the spider was shaking the web. It was unlike anything Torres had ever seen. “It blew my mind,” he said.

Once again proof that nature creates wonders. Utterly fascinating stuff.

Apocalypse Too Much Excitement? Celebrate This Instead

The ever wonderful Dull Men's Club have an excellent alternative to tomorrow'sApocalypse in the form of a  celebration of underdogs: unsung heroes such Robinson Crusoe’s Man Friday and Sherlock Holmes' Dr. Watson.

It also celebrates those who “came from behind” to make names for themselves. The Tortise and the Hare 

Other examples of underdogs are:

•  David in the Bible who conquered Goliath
•  Robert the Bruce, whose victorious army was outnumbered three to one at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 (not to be confused with William Wallace of “Braveheart” fame)
•  U.S. President Harry Truman
•  Boxer James "Buster" Johnson, who defeated Mike Tyson in 1990
•  Rocky Balboa of the “Rocky” film franchise
•  The hapless cat in the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons.

Heroes one and all!

 If you are curious the expression underdog does not come from dogfighting as you might expect but from shipbuilding

Planks of wood called "dogs" were placed over the top of a pit. Two men would supervise the placing of these planks. One man would stand on top of the planks The second man would stand underneath the planks in the dark pit, where he would be covered in sawdust. He became known as the underdog.

 So thee you have it!

If the world ends tomorrow blame Gangam Style

Ach only 12 hours until the Aocalyse. Clearly I blame Psy and that stupid Gangam Style song (I only actually saw the damned video yesterday eiee it or not).

It is clear that his stupid little pdance roves that Psy is the fifth horseman of the apocalypse who will be out raining down their own brand of yuletide cheer on the world tomorrow. Along with the traditional death, war, famine and plague we will be facing a hideous demise by K-pop too...

Gah I'm crap at this apocalyptic shite!

19 December 2012

A New Christmas Carol - Arthur Machen

Scrooge was undoubtedly getting on in life, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.
Ten years had gone by since the spirit of old Jacob Marley had visited him, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come had shown him the error of his mean, niggardly, churlish ways, and had made him the merriest old boy that ever walked on 'Change with a chuckle, and was called "Old Medlar" by the young dogs who never reverenced anybody or anything.
And, not a doubt of it, the young dogs were in the right. Ebenezer Scrooge was a meddler. He was always ferreting about into other peoples' business; so that he might find out what good he could do them. Many a hard man of affairs softened as he thought of Scrooge and of the old man creeping round to the countinghouse where the hard man sat in despair, and thought of the certain ruin before him.
"My dear Mr. Hardman," old Scrooge had said, "not another word. Take this draft for thirty thousand pounds, and use it as none knows better. Why, you'll double it for me before six months are out."
He would go out chuckling on that, and Charles the waiter, at the old City tavern where Scrooge dined, always said that Scrooge was a fortune for him and to the house. To say nothing of what Charles got by him; everybody ordered a fresh supply of hot brandy and water when his cheery, rosy old face entered the room.
It was Christmastide. Scrooge was sitting before his roaring fire, sipping at something warm and comfortable, and plotting happiness for all sorts of people.
"I won't bear Bob's obstinacy," he was saying to himself—the firm was Scrooge and Cratchit now—"he does all the work, and it's not fair for a useless old fellow like me to take more than a quarter share of the profits."
A dreadful sound echoed through the grave old house. The air grew chill and sour. The something warm and comfortable grew cold and tasteless as Scrooge sipped it nervously. The door flew open, and a vague but fearful form stood in the doorway.
"Follow me," it said.
Scrooge is not at all sure what happened then. He was in the streets. He recollected that he wanted to buy some sweetmeats for his little nephews and nieces, and he went into a shop.
"Past eight o'clock, sir," said the civil man. "I can't serve you."
He wandered on through the streets that seemed strangely altered. He was going westward, and he began to feel faint. He thought he would be the better for a little brandy and water, and he was just turning into a tavern when all the people came out and the iron gates were shut with a clang in his face.
"What's the matter?" he asked feebly of the man who was closing the doors.
"Gone ten," the fellow said shortly, and turned out all the lights.
Scrooge felt sure that the second mince-pie had given him indigestion, and that he was in a dreadful dream. He seemed to fall into a deep gulf of darkness, in which all was blotted out.
When he came to himself again it was Christmas Day, and the people were walking about the streets.
Scrooge, somehow or other, found himself among them. They smiled and greeted one another cheerfully, but it was evident that they were not happy. Marks of care were on their faces, marks that told of past troubles and future anxieties. Scrooge heard a man sigh heavily just after he had wished a neighbor a Merry Christmas. There were tears on a woman s face as she came down the church steps, all in black.
"Poor John!" she was murmuring. "I am sure it was the wearing cark of money troubles that killed him. Still, he is in heaven now. But the clergyman said in his sermon that heaven was only a pretty fairy tale." She wept anew.
All this disturbed Scrooge dreadfully. Something seemed to be pressing on his heart.
"But," said he, "I shall forget all this when I sit down to dinner with Nephew Fred and my niece and their young rascals."
It was late in the afternoon; four o'clock and dark, but in capital time for dinner. Scrooge found his nephew's house. It was as dark as the sky; not a window was lighted up. Scrooge's heart grew cold.
He knocked and knocked again, and rang a bell that sounded as faint and far as if it had rung in a grave.
At last a miserable old woman opened the door for a few inches and looked out suspiciously.
"Mr. Fred?" said she. "Why, he and his missus have gone off to the Hotel Splendid, as they call it, and they won't be home till midnight. They got their table six weeks ago! The children are away at Eastbourne."
"Dining in a tavern on Christmas day!" Scrooge murmured. "What terrible fate is this? Who is so miserable, so desolate, that he dines at a tavern on Christmas day? And the children at Eastbourne!"
The air grew misty about him. He seemed to hear as though from a great distance the voice of Tiny Tim, saying "God help us, every one!"
Again the Spirit stood before him. Scrooge fell upon his knees.
"Terrible Phantom!" he exclaimed. "Who and what are thou? Speak, I entreat thee."
"Ebenezer Scrooge," replied the Spirit in awful tones. "I am the Ghost of the Christmas of 1920. With me I bring the demand note of the Commissioners of Income Tax!"
Scrooge's hair bristled as he saw the figures. But it fell out when he saw that the Apparition had feet like those of a gigantic cat.
"My name is Pussyfoot. I am also called Ruin and Despair," said the Phantom, and vanished.
With that Scrooge awoke and drew back the curtains of his bed.
"Thank God!" he uttered from his heart. "It was but a dream!"

And a King Diamond Christmas

King Diamond's charming little Christmas song

Heavy Metal Carols with Christopher Lee

Sir Christoher Lee has teamed u with the band Charlemagne (who I now absolutely nothing about except that he has appeared on their albums before)  to release versions of The Little Drummer Boy and Silent Night.

Absolutely terrile stuff but still rather better than Mistletoe and Wine Driving Home for Christmas and Stop the Fucking Cavalry (not heard that song this year which is a mercy)

18 December 2012

Make Your Christmas A Tampon Christmas

Christmas is looming fast but it is not too late to make a highly tasteful nativity scene from tampons

Tampon Crafts.com has full instructions on how to celebrate the birth of Jesus using tampons and applicators. I' sure you wil agre that it is a most tasteful ornament

And if you want to go further you can make wonderful snowflakes too.I can'tthink of a better decoration or your tree

Kim Young'un Time readers person of the year

They'll be dancing in the streets of Pyongyang today following the news that Time readers have voted Lil Kim as their person o the year. While it does not mean that Time will crown him with that honour but it's been quie a year for the little shitstain

Not long ago he was Sexiest Man Alive. albeit by The Onion but an award is an award!

Kim ranked first in TIME’s completely unscientific Person of the Year reader poll, with 5.6 million votes. The poll allows readers to weigh in on the people — and things (hello, Curiosity rover!) — who they think influenced the news, for better or worse, in 2012. 

He beat the runner upthe woefully unfunny Jon Stewart not by a country mile but by a couple of continents

“While we don’t make our selection based on the poll results,” says TIME executive editor Radhika Jones, “it’s always interesting to see where some of our preferred candidates end up.”  My ownpersona choce for the ccolade. Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for her outspoken activism, placed 15th in the poll.At least she beat that atrocious mock horse  riding bollocks from Psy

Looking further it seems that a site I've never visited called 4Chan played a hand in distorting the reader poll. Ah well perhps the spotty teens on 4Chan identified with Kim's appearance.