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Going to the Dogs

Two Spoons and a Rusty Farming Implement…

Is this Britain’s most feckless father? Meet unemployed Peter Rolfe who has had 26 children by 15 women and says ‘it’s just unfortunate so many of them have fallen pregnant’

Apparently he has cost the UK GBP500,000 over the last 20 years in bennies. Well, I guess he has to buy a birthday present at least once a fortnight.

Now, as a married man with an A-level A-grade in biology women do not “fall pregnant”. It takes two to tango so to speak. Or 1+15 (15!) in his case. Let us have a look at this veritable Adonis of the Isle of Wight…

He’s not exactly George Clooney is he? They must be gagging for it in the Solent!

The Mail story quotes heavily from an up-coming (no pun intended) C5 doc about “Benefits Britain”. Now obviously they take the outliers (and outright liars) but is this really about bennies? There is something sicker underlying this. Now I am socially liberal but you can take something so far and this is taking the piss and vinegar. The total lack of any form of sexual morality or taking any responsibility for personal actions is shocking. Having sex with someone is an active choice. It is about agency and without agency we are mere flesh robots chained to our baser urges. Now I’m not saying this geezer who looks like the sort of department store Santa you wouldn’t let your kid near shouldn’t have an active sex-life but… in an age of cheap, widely available and reliable contraception… Anyway, he’s objecting to having a four bedroom house off the council and claiming he needs six bedrooms to house his… er… tribe. My wife and I live in a two bed house. She uses the second bedroom as an office. We also have a cat who sleeps where he pleases because he is a cat. Hell’s Teeth he’s neutered. Can we claim? I don’t want kids (never have), my wife is ditto and Timmy lacks the mandatory equipment. Nah! course not. But if the Isle of White Council wants to bung me expenses for a trip South then I’m up (never been around there). I can furnish my own two spoons and indeed the rusty farming implement. Plenty of them around here. We even have mole traps and they are technically on dodgy ground legally I think. Vicious things. Well capable of preventing #27. Or moles, obviously.

Putting the Hype into Hyperbole

From  north of the border

A teenage girl and 39-year old man who desecrated an Edinburgh mosque by attacking it with strips of bacon have both been jailed.

That’s right.  The evil pair weaponised several rashers of Danepak and attacked a large building, hurting the feelings of the security guard and his friends.  Scary stuff.

Usman Mahmood said: “I was surprised if a person did it for a joke. It is against our culture and religion.

“We do not eat pork or even touch it. I felt very bad seeing this meat in my sacred place.

“It hurt my feelings when I saw this meat hanging inside the mosque in the worshipping area. It was very disturbing.”

Yes, discovering dead meat inside a place of worship is very worrying so let’s put the bacon stunt that injured nothing but outsized sense of victimhood sensibilities into perspective shall we.

Clearly bacon is more of a threat and sheriff Noble was quite right to jail the miscreants for hurting feelings.  Society is a more safer place now that two underclass, brainless cretins who didn’t physically harm or threaten harm to anyone are locked away.  We can all sleep safer in our beds.  I’d hate to wake up one morning to discover someone had wedged a bacon butty in my letterbox.

Then we have this as quoted from the Morning Star; the bastions bastion of unbiased reporting.

Fascist mosque attacks worry British Muslims

And the form of these attacks?

Mosques in London, Bradford and Glasgow have been invaded by Members of far-right Britain First party where they were handing out Christian leaflets and bibles.

Christian leafleting and the handing out of bibles = fascist.  See what they did there?  And to ensure the message is hammered home the article is headed by an image of a bunch of skinheads indulging in a bout of frenzied, synchronised crusader flag waving.

“People are fed up,” Luton Central Mosque president Mohammed Shafait told the Morning Star on Wednesday, June 18.

“He is going around all over the country abusing people.”

I know exactly how he feels.

Crassology – Dixon style.

Last night I watched the final of “Britain’s got Talent” on ITV. It was primarily a collection of profound tosspottery. But this act stood out (even above the pro-mawk that was teenage rappers “Bars and Melody”. It was “Paddy and Nico”. An elderly British woman being chucked around the stage by her much younger Spanish dancing instructor – “Oh, young man!”. The act itself reminded of a Quote by TS Eliot along the lines of it being fascinating “If you concentrate on the essential horror”.

But that was not the point. Paddy, the geriatric hoofer, had almost missed the final due to some (clearly) minor injury and Alesha Dixon (one of the judges) praised her “courage” and explicitly compared it to the courage of the troops on D-Day. Epic fail.

So, doing a three minute dance routine is equivalent to charging Sword beach with a rifle at a German machine-gun nest? Alesha, get your dictionary out.

I dunno who won. Frankly I was past caring so put the footie on only to see England secure a goal-less draw against those titans of the game – Honduras. Yes, Honduras. When it comes to the real thing Italy are going to murder us and stack the bones in the shower before breakfast.

I did quite a lot of swearing at the telly last night. And yes, there is a literary ref there which I’d be interested if anyone knows. And I mean knows, not Googles.

I was going to say something serious…

… but the Cat’s server was playing Les Buggeurs Risible. Anyway this is a shorty. I used to live in Leeds (dreadful by and large – if it ain’t the Devil’s arsehole it is well within the CEP farting zone of it). Anyhoo, one day, to relieve the sheer horror*, I take a trip to Harrogate. Most genteel it was too. Didn’t like that much either. Rather too much up itself if you ask me. I apologise for the arse jokes though we shall shortly enter another orifice.

Harrogate has many bijou shops selling crap to the sort of people who have more money than sense. One of the noted (by me anyway) galleries of over-priced crap was called and I swear I’m not making this up called Godfrey and Twatt.

I almost expired from laughter after leaving it (well I had to go in). It was so full of pretentious shite it needed a colonic. Fortunately there was a place for that round the corner. That’s Yorkshire for you. Urban hell-holes and rural places that think they are Chelsea with scenery. Oh, and Compo going down a hill in a tin-bath. I hated that show. From the dreary theme tune to the geriatric pace and all ports between.

Here endeth the ramble.

*I once lived on Meanwood Rd. If that sounds Dickensian that’s because it was. My landlord was Rory Aikins. I saw him on telly not that long since. I once torched a chair of his in the back yard. I swear to God, Allah and Shiva that there were “things” living in it. So I took it outside and with the aid of a newspaper had a bonny. I’d asked him first, mind. He may have had some sentimental attachment to this dreadful thing but he said OK. He took it off my fucking deposit mind. Cunt. Utter cunt.

Single Acts of Lèse-majesté

The Thai Prince and Foo Foo

And totally off topic, we currently have martial law and a curfew here in Thailand, it’s very exciting. There are soldiers lolling about at road junctions, the schools are closed (yay!) and the TV is off. I just hope they don’t switch off the net as has been rumoured.

Roue le Jour

(more…)

Nimrod Down.

Well, I guess you’ve heard of the four missing British yachtsmen. Now the big searchers for them (or their remains) is the US Coastguard. Fine. No issues with the fifth service of the US military. They know what they are doing and they appear to have deployed significant resources to the task for it is a hell of a lot of ocean to search.

So, what have us Brits done… We have sent an RAF C-130 to Canada. Now the BBC News was giving mixed messages on this. They showed USCG C-130s and said the RAF plane was the same which is not exactly true. You see the USCG C-130s aren’t transports – they are specialized recon platforms. The RAF plane is the standard transport and they had an RAF Air Marshall saying basically that it was going to have folks looking out the windows and using the MkI eyeball. Magic.

The 2010 UK defence review resulted in the scrapping of our Nimrod maritime recon planes. Now these were designed to hunt Soviet subs. They had been re-jigged at enormous expense and were scrapped when almost ready. Now, I don’t think they should have been re-jiggled because my absolute fave company BAE systems had no idea how to do it so it cost a fortune hence they were scrapped. A better idea would have been to take the recon kit and stick it on an A320 or 737 – i.e. not an airframe from the dawn of the jet age. But… regardless we need a maritime recon platform. Do you want me to draw a map to explain why?

Obviously Nimrods never sank a Sov sub – it never came to that thank Gods! But they were very useful for SAR missions. Quite simply they can’t do it all with choppers.

This video makes me ashamed to be British…

What an utter fuck-up beyond belief. That C-130 we dispatched is literally (litorally?) the best we can do to protect our shores and hunt for the missing. It is beyond pathetic.

The end of the footie…

Well, I had my Dad on the phone… He’s a Liverpool fan and was gutted they were pipped by Man City. Well, they finished second and in the final game they had they beat my team (NUFC) 2-1 at home. Now, if Stevie G hadn’t fallen over a bit back in a “schoolboy error” (I quote St Alan of Hansen) then… Anyway, more to the point we wouldn’t be in this position (10th) if (a) Alan Pardew (the manager) didn’t feel the need to chin people on the field and (b) our long-playing striker Shola Ameobi didn’t, in the final game of the season, with nothing of substance to play for, (against Liverpool at Anfield) feel the need (why Shola? why?) to call the ref a, “Fat Dwarf Mong!” and get sent off for his trouble. Possibly his last game for the club. He is out of contract now. Way to go! I mean he could have lapped it up as a fine player and servant of the club in the centre circle and then been lamped by Pardew as the confetti fell.

So, my Dad was complaining about finishing second and not having won for donks. Well, fair enough up to a point. It was the 1920s when the Toon Army last won the Championship. It was 1969 when we last grabbed silver-wear (Fairs Cup) and I was born in 1973. Anyway, we have that “Hazard Blunt” Mike Ashley conning the ship and Pardew running the team.

Being a Newcastle fan is an act of self-harm. We got beaten by the fucking Mackems 3-0 at St James’ Park this season. Have you ever been to Sunderland? Jesus Christ on a bicycle! They haven’t invented the fucking wheel in Mackemshire! If Hull is the land where dreams go to die Sunderland is where nightmares kick the bucket. Just don’t go. And we got beaten by them, 3-0, at home. And then there is Peterlee (a town where there is something gynaecological wrong if you’re not pumping out numero 3 by your 15th birthday. And Blythe, or Consett… Or even Tynemouth. On the headland there is a beautiful ruined abbey. The Vikings did a number on it but that had nothing too North Tyneside Council who built a coast guard station next to it. Built in the ’70s. It looks grand.

The quantity of destruction of architecture done deliberately by councils is stunning. They have got better but some things aren’t re-jiggable.

Boko Haram.

Well Nigeria is a right mess is it not? Now I’m not going to retread all the usual arguments as to the whys and the wherefores and such. I will just point out one thing. When I temped I had a Nigerian colleague. He was a decent enough lad which is why he lived in the NE of England and not Nigeria. He had just become pig-sick of the epic incompetence and corruption. He told me quite a lot about it. It sounded ghastly. Now what has this to do with the kidnap of over 200 kids to be enslaved? Actually quite a lot. I would like to think this wouldn’t happen in Britain and that is because we are not hopelessly corrupt.

The Chinese have a saying (don’t they always) that a fish rots from the head down. Now bad things, sometimes very bad things happen everywhere but to kidnap an entire school is something else and as far as I can tell it indicates something deeply rotten in the body-politic of Nigeria. OK, it is perhaps a leap from a bit of brown envelopes full of notes changing hands under the table to outright slave-raiding but is it really? Now I’m not generally convinced of “slippery slope” arguments but… If a polity has no essential moral core or the rule of law then… maybe such depravity can get going.

Note my colleague and his brother felt the need to move continents to get away from the drip, drip, drip of continual petty criminality, bribery and epic corruption. It sort of erodes your moral. I suspect this is why the Nigerian government has done nothing and why that Boko Haram bloke can look so chipper. He knows the Nigerian government is powerless to prevent his depravities and in a sense that is part of the same spectrum which means you can’t get a phone installed without a back-hander.

The Pope may also have a tendency towards Catholicism…

…and we all know about ursine silvan defecatary habits…

This staggering gem from the NYT/Daily Mail. I recall when the fun and games started in the ‘stan. There was a twinkly old bar steward “massing” with a fucking hatchet on the Af/Pak border and ranting to the BBC about killing Americans. Above him were the contrails of a B-52. He was (self) impo(r)tently waving his little mashie at the bomber. And he was ponying up from Pakistan’s “restive” tribal areas. Or Hell on Fucking Earth as is better known.

Anyone who sincerely believes the Pakistani government has been our best buds through this farrago which has cost something like 3,000 NATO lives, God knows how many Afghans and you may have noticed how well we’re doing in the Paralympics of late… Well they are demented.

It comes down to this. The USA has had an alliance with Pakistan for many years. In their early wars against India, Pakistan flew largely F-86s, and the Indians got chummy with the Soviets and flew MiGs (they also had some Hawker Hunters and the Pakistanis got some Supermarine Attackers which were truly dreadful but that would detract from the narrative). The Indians still are chummy with the Russians on aerospace which is why the Su-34 has a microwave oven and a proper toilet. It was specced-up and partially designed by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) primarily for India. A great strike fighter (with a microwave!) but they should have fitted (along with the toilet) variable geometry inlets for the engines to get the speed past Mach 2. Because under successive US Admins there has been a bizarre “Game of Thrones” in the spheres of interference and Pakistan landed in the US one and India in the Soviet one for whatever reason. But genuine friends? Seriously?

We know, or ought to know, who our real friends are. The first British DFC awarded to a female pilot came from her (and her crew) flying through an unbelievable shit-storm of fire into a fort (yes a fort!) to rescue a critically wounded Dane, twice – shot down first time around. Now my people stood (with fuck-off axes) against them Scandy sorts but the Battle of Stamford Bridge* was like nigh on a thousand years ago. Since then we’ve made-up and bought Lego and are genuine mates – real allies. This is not blood – though I am Nordic/Celtic ancestry. I have long blonde-ish hair right now and look like I’m about to lead the Éored down the right flank. Good. I like it as does my wife. I am not being racist. Indeed I’m suggesting I am of immigrant blood and blood matters nothing. What matters is culture and if not it’s exact convergence but the mutual understandability. That makes for genuine friendship and not the sub “Game of Thrones” we have with Pakistan and the Afghans. I mean Dear God we liberated Afghanistan so they could impose a law legalising marital rape! When we stormed the beaches of Normandy did we expect to set-up such societies? I have been to France and Germany and they ain’t like that. I haven’t been to Japan or The Republic of Korea (though I have put enough moollah their way) but I have been to the Korean War memorial in DC. That is a memorial to 50-odd thousand soldiers who died to ensure half the peninsula didn’t get over-run by the vilest regime on the planet.

And it isn’t blood, or culture or even religion (I found Turkey very friendly). Well, maybe it is culture. The culture of not being an arsehole. I am sure many Afghans manage it but not the Khazi of Kabul. Though a man not without sin there can be a need for an Atatürk (as we had a need for a Cromwell). Sometimes you need a hard bastard to pull you out of the soup.

Or maybe not. It’s not very libertarian is it? But Turkey would be a complete shit-hole without Mustafa Kemal (insert obvious joke). Mind, the current Turkish PM seems hell-bent on a return to the fucking dark ages.

Or maybe not. The great social changes I have seen in my lifetime have been of the slowly, slowly monkey catching variety. Sometimes you need society to simply change and the biggest change I have seen is probably gay rights. There has been a phenomenal change in that since I was at secondary school.

But fundamentally you don’t choose your friends – your genuine allies – they choose you or you just get on. There is a reason every year the Norwegians ship us a ginormous Christmas Tree for Trafalgar Square. There is a reason Hamid Khazai ships us fuck all (apart from heroin on the sly) – an Eid prezzie would be nice. It isn’t blood or treasure or religion. We simply get on with Norway and we don’t with ‘stan (because they are cunts, largely). That in a sense is what this war is about. Or isn’t. It is an attempt at “nation building”, in shit-holes. I saw on the telly a couple of years back a US Army Cpt taking tea with tribal elders. He was an engineer and wanted to build a bridge employing local labour so they could go to town and get jobs but all the lads had gone off Talibaning. The US officer was very obviously pissed-off. I don’t blame him. He couldn’t say anything, alas. But there was a definite look about him that said, “Well, if that’s their attitude then fuck ‘em”. Of course he offered to build a bridge and not offer the chance to “marry” pre-pubescent girls so he was buggered from the start.

These are not allies in the sense of friends. The French might be founder members of the “Awkward Squad” but I reckon we can vaguely trust ‘em. We can certainly trust some other Europeans and the USA and some of the Commonwealth. We have friends, genuine friends and that is very different from having “alliances”.

I know people I would stand with (if it came to it) to the last gasp and I know they would stand with me but realpolitricks never works in the long term.

I know this post has rambled and I hope it is taken in the right sense. This is not a rant contra Islam and it is not a paean to Nordicology. I am just saying that if you want a genuine friendship which is the utter prerequisite for a real alliance you have to get on rather than manufacture it. And a country that harbours public enemy #1 within a brisk walk of its premier military academy for years is not a friend and should not therefore be regarded as an ally. It is both a strategic and some level a moral failure.

*Some enormous Viking held the bridge with a giant axe until a sneaky Saxon went underneath and skewered the IKEA merchant with a spear up the fundament.

North of the DMZ and beyond the pale.

There has been some crazy news out of everyone’s favourite totalitarian heckhole recently.

First I heard this nugget…

Doctor Who, Top Gear and Teletubbies have apparently passed the suitability test to be shown on North Korea’s tightly-controlled state TV.

After months of negotiation with the BBC, the three shows have been deemed worthy of consideration for broadcasting in the totalitarian state.

The country’s state broadcaster, Korean Central Television, is only on air for six-and-a-half hours every day.

Odd choices. Skipping over the tubbies the sight of that Bellendius Maximus Clarkson whizzing around in a Bugatti is almost torture to the poor buggers up there who feel lucky to get a puncture repair kit for their bike. And the Doctor is a rather anti-authority figure which probably wouldn’t fit with the rest of KCT’s output… Although I guesss the Cybermen might go down well with the Kimocracy.

At least a third of the output is spent praising the government of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, while another third extols workers to toil harder for the good of the country.

And I thought endless repeats of “Last of the Summer Wine” was soul-crushing.

But wait…

The weekly television highlight is ‘It’s So Funny’, a long-running comedy show in which two uniformed soldiers perform slapstick sketches in between propaganda lectures about the greatness of North Korea.

Now that’s what I call entertainment! That’s better than Cannon & Ball that is and they were fucking terrible beyond my comprehension. Here’s a modest proposal. We parachute Piers Morgan into the Pyongyang. He’s without a berth and it is a win-win if you ask me. I feel so sorry for the North Koreans.

This speaks volumes…

Likewise, there is no fundamental difference between the way in which North and South Koreans look [The entire peninsula is very ethnically homogeneous in the World and this is an ancient civilization - Nick]. Having said that, however, 60-plus years is not a short amount of time, and the two Koreas did live through two very different worlds. South Koreans now live in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, North Koreans one of the poorest. In particular, the crushing famine that North Korea suffered in the mid-1990s has left a visible impact on North Korean people’s physique. While the average height of adult South Korean men is 171.5 cm (~5′ 7.5″), the average height of adult North Korean men is 165.4 cm (~5′ 5″). Because North Korean youths have become so malnourished, North Korea had to lower the minimum height requirement for its soldiers from 140 cm (~4′ 7″) to 137 cm (~4′ 6″) in 2010. (In contrast, South Korea recently had to extend the maximum height requirement from 196 cm (~6′ 5″) to 204 cm (~6′ 8″) for its conscripts.)

And that is not unrelated to the TV on my wall (Samsung) and the fact I have never bought a single item from North of the DMZ. I mean if they can’t get enough food they ain’t going to break the mould in tech are they? (More on that later). But this isn’t even the end-point of socialism as we understand it and as the socialist Eric Blair understood it. This is not Sweden with toothsome murder mysteries and beer you need a mortgage for. This is Hell run by an insane Satan. This is the prison state as envisaged by Vasily Grossman as the end of Stalinism.

But they have drones you know. Things that sound like they were built in a shed. I have spoken to hobbyists who can do better. At least it ain’t the grotesquely over-budget, under-performing and over-time F-35. I mean that camera… I have a better camera and I’m not on a defence budget here.

But before we simply regard the Kimocracy as risible buffoons it would be be wise to consider this. And also to consider that it is entirely possible to laugh and be revolted at the same time. They are profoundly risible but also profoundly evil. The two are not mutually exclusive.

And God Created ….

The Creation Story As Told by the Dog

On the first day of creation, God created
the dog.

On the second day, God created man to
serve the dog.

On the third day, God created all the
animals of the earth (especially the horse)
to serve as potential food for the dog.

On the fourth day, God created honest toil
so that man could labor for the good of the
dog.

On the fifth day, God created the tennis ball
so that the dog might or might not retrieve it.

On the sixth day, God created veterinary
science to keep the dog healthy, and the
man broke.

On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but He
had to walk the dog.

–Author Unknown

Aidgentina

I did not know we gave foreign aid to Argentina. Or Brazil. Seeing as they are not exactly potless God knows why especially we give money as if this is some cockamamie attempt to curry favour we haven’t exactly got very far. Let’s look at the evidence shall we? Brazil has a space program, Brazil is hosting not just this year’s football World Cup but the next Olympics. It’s like crying poverty because you can’t afford to fill the Bentley. As to Argentina. Well, they fucking hate us. They shouldn’t of course because oddly enough we historically have strong links of blood and culture with Argentina but they have a perennial knicker-twist over the Falklands. Oh, and the Argentinian government has just gone on a spree of arms buying. Although God alone knows (and the Pope is an Argentine recall) what the be-buggery they will manage to do with a squadron of knackered Spanish Mirages.

Look, don’t get me wrong… I am not 100% contra international aid (there is a reason I was conceived in Zambia). Zambia had a space program as well. My parents were paid by the FCO to teach out there and I guess fair enough. Up to a point and all that but most of my adult life has seen me living in English inner-city areas: Nottingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and they all have loads of places you can wire money back to the old country from. This genuine charity is larger than the official stuff in scale and is vastly better targeted. That is the future of aid – the little things like getting your uncle a cellphone so he knows where to land the fish he caught etc. Of course that means making life easier for non-EEA citizens to work here and we can imagine the howls over that – UKip et. al. are already doing their ends over Poles and such. I don’t have a problem myself but people seem obsessed with the idea of employment as a zero-sum game. It seems connected to the idea that “creating jobs” is a “good thing” in and of itself. No it isn’t. Imagine trying to explain what you do to a pig-poker from 1725? They’d probs burn you at the stake – “He be consorting with the demons of the HTML”. Destroying jobs is the “good thing”. It of course creates jobs our ancestors would never believe. And who wouldn’t rather design computer games than wallow in shit with the piggies? A woman I spoke to on a train once doing a BSc in games design thought otherwise. Blimey, I envied her! That is like so cool.

She was also very good looking but then life is a series of events.

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the Chancellor should find savings by stopping aid that goes to countries who “don’t need it”.

Mr Nuttall was speaking during a debate on the BBC show [Question Time] about Mr Osborne’s recently announced plans to cut the welfare bill by £12 billion in the two years after the 2015 election.

Mr Nuttall said: “The welfare budget under Labour spiralled out of control, it could not go on and something had to be done.

“However there is another budget which is ringfenced which comes to around £12bn, it is called the foreign aid budget.

“I am not against giving money to countries who are in dire need, people who need to be fed. But what I am against is giving money to countries like Argentina and Brazil.

“I believe the way you should pay for these cuts is by going to the foreign aid budget and taking money off countries who don’t need it because quite frankly that’s your tax and it should be spent on our own people.”

Whilst I appreciate the principle of Nuttall there is a problem. How can I explain this? Here is a start…

It was reported over the weekend that Argentina have [sic] received £2m in aid from Britain since 2012.

Now two million quid sounds a lot to you and me but in the grand scheme it is fuck all. That is money Osborne can lose down the back of the sofa. Yes, the principle of not giving Argentina money (it annoys me) is sound but if anyone believes that is going to impact the deficit then they really need to think a bit deeper. Ukip are either being thick or dishonest.

I dunno. I do know we should not give government aid to Argentina but I also know the quantities involved are not a scratch upon the buttock of the body politrick’s pissing money up a rope. I do though believe in being much more open door (which UKip isn’t) rather than saying ‘eff off but we’ll give you monies.

In 1993 I bought a PC (my first but not my last). It was a second-user Elonex 386-SX16 and was truly abysmal (cheap, mind). I am fine with Bill and Melinda Gates giving a stunning sum to the potless and starving. I did and do through them. Fine.

I believe in charity and though I am not a rich man I do not starve I believe in charity in the sense of money, goods, whatever freely given. Not, absolutely not, cash taken from me by force. Jesus Christ! In the 1980s there was a famine in Ethiopia and I (despite being a primary school kid) organised a “Santa’s Grotto” which meant wearing me ma’s tights because I wound-up dressed-up as “head elf”. We raised a few hundred notes. I did that off my own bat and my mates came in. That is charity.

That is what it should be about.

Android – I have no Desire for thee

A signal a signal my kingdom for a signalFurther to NickM’s post on his Android woes (of the current technology telecommunications variety rather than the future technology anthropomorphic electronic servant one), I was just going to post a comment, but it turned into a bit of a middle-aged-bloke-techno-rant.

Android vs Androids

However, since that is a perfectly valid perspective with a reasonable market share in the blogosphere, I thought I would upgrade it to a full-on blog post. I mean what the hell, it’s only electrons being shoved about isn’t it? – it’s not like they’ve got anything better to do – like holding together the structure of the universe…

So first-things-first, Sorry Nick, but I can’t help you with your problem, but it’s not because I don’t understand either the technology or your perspective (not that my knowledge of either necessarily helps your current predicament), because I have played a very, very minor role in developing the technology that you are currently afflicted with.

In between building hoppers for surface-to-air missile systems that couldn’t hit a barn door if they were holding the handle, I also worked on some of the 2G and 3G mobile phone technology at Marconi Electronic Systems as part of their military communications portfolio. I also sold part of a company based upon WAP and SMS-based message notification, so I’m not exactly clueless or even old-fashioned as far as both analogue and digital phone technology goes.

The problem is that the Motorola RAZRi you are holding in your hands is not really a mobile phone in the accepted sense. You might think it is, it might even be advertised as a mobile phone, but it fundamentally isn’t. What you are coveting in your palm is a piece of “Convergent Digital Technology

It is certainly the way of the future, along with James Tiberius Kirk , his toupée and the Tribbles, but it ain’t a part of the here-and-now.

Now don’t get be wrong, in actual fact it is a wonderful example of technological development, but it has been developed without any fundamental understanding of where it, or indeed the whole field of mobile communications is actually going.

Put simply, Nick’s Motorola RAZRi is about as close to a mobile phone as a Leopard 2A7+ tank is to the Trojan Horse.

One of these is not a Trojan horse

Now I may well be a cynical old sod, harking back to a technological antediluvian era which never really existed, but I tried out some of the 2nd generation Android technology with my last corporate mobile phone (an HTC Desire), back in 2011 and although it was very flashy in everything else, e-mail, contacts, storing data, mobile internet, games consoles, emulators, blah, blah, blah – it was fundamentally a shit mobile phone.

Half the time the call would either never pick up when I pressed “Accept” or if it did pick-up I couldn’t hear what the other party was saying anyway, or I got disconnected or it ran out of power or it just plain froze up on me or etc, etc, etc. You get the picture (unless its by MMS)

Now, I’m sure the technology and the reliability have moved on since 2011, but I was so fucked off with my initial experience of Android (and I expect iPhone’s are no better), that I decided there-and-then that my next phone would be a phone, not one of these fancy multimedia MTC gadgets, but just a phone – i.e. a 10-number keypad and two buttons, one to dial and one to hangup.

Since then I’ve been happy as Larry with a cheap, SIM-only, no contract, dual-SIM (Malaysian and European), battery-life-of-a-week Nokia 108 that I picked up in Penang for a groat (well 140 RM to be honest, but never-the-less cheap enough for me). It has a camera I’ve never used  and about the only accessory I have used on it is the Alarm Clock.

It works perfectly in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Europe and I’ve never (to my knowledge) lost a call or misheard an address.

Maybe the technology has moved on since my failed experience in 2011, but I as a customer, certainly have. When Motorola invent a working teleportation device, let me know – but someone else can be the guinea pig – after all, I’ve read Stephen King’s “The Jaunt”.

Where does it all go? (or come from?)

Penis pumps cost U.S. government millions, watchdog cries waste

(Reuters) – Penis pumps cost the U.S. government’s Medicare program $172 million between 2006 and 2011, about twice as much as the consumer would have paid at the retail level, according to a government watchdog’s report released on Monday.

Just a minor point but how much does the “government watchdog” that surveys the price of penis pumps cost? Just a thought.

A minor thought. Two major ones spring to mind. The first is of course to do with economies of scale (oh, err missus!). Surely Medicare could get more bang for buck (so to speak) than an individual due to greater economies of scale? That is the real scandal here but more on that later.

Now, I did a 5s Google and lovehoney.co.uk is knocking them out at from about GBP14.99 (that’s, what, 20 bucks a throw. Does anyone seriously believe the average yank on the sans a wank can’t afford 20 bucks for sex?) So this is the second point – why? Well, I guess it could be argued that sex is a right and Medicare ought to pay. But why pay twice the odds? That’s back to the first point. This is deeply inefficient.

So where does it all go? How much isn’t stealth planes or Obamacare but sheer waste? And buying an item for twice the retail rate is waste in spades. It is reckoned that the 21 B-2 Bombers built by Northrop-Grumman cost over USD2 billion a throw (and the operating costs are astronomic) but nobody really expected an intercontinental range bomber to be bought from the penny-jar (even with the Slovak 50 Eurocent that always finds a way in there). Penis pumps though are something I can find on Google in seconds. Is the US Department of Cock (and indeed Bull) lacking a computer? If they are they can speak to me and I’ll quote them an interesting price.

I mean it is sometimes worth looking at the small ticket items too because there are so many and a million here and a million there and soon it is billions and then it’s a billion here or there and then rapidly you are talking serious money.

So, apart from offering a service no one needs because anyone can get it off their own bat and doing this in a deeply inefficient way we come to the real er… meat. I can best sum this with a quote from the article…

“Considering the strain retiring baby boomers will soon be placing on Medicare’s budget, shouldn’t we be focusing this entitlement program on real, life-saving treatment and equipment to serve the health needs of seniors – instead of subsidizing penis pump purchases?

Why did I make that strong (I watched too many “Carry On” movies as a kid). Well, that and who is being subsidised? Not the seniors for sure. Just think who. This happens all the time. Look at the F-35 programme. Would it be interesting to suggest that the F-35 is a farce* on a trillion+ dollar budget which oddly enough (I think) has contracts in 48 states (and abroad). God knows what the congress-types from a pair of states were doing that afternoon. Manning Ted Kennedy’s penis pump (now deployed in Somerset?).

Anyway, it’s all er… pork barrels.

*A late block F-16 knocks it into a cocked hat for half (less?) the money. Possibly less than half the money.

Iconoclastic.

Over the last week or so there has been a frankly demented outcry over some prospective Lib Dem (yeah, I know) tweeting an image from the rather tame Jesus and Mo online comic. Apparently over 20,000 signed a petition and there have been the predictable death threats. Always with the death threats..

Meanwhile…

In Saudi Arabia this has been happening.

Under Saudi rule, it has been estimated that since 1985 about 95% of Mecca’s historic buildings, most over a thousand years old, have been demolished.

Historic sites of religious importance which have been destroyed by the Saudis include five of the renowned “Seven Mosques” initially built by Muhammad’s daughter and four of his “greatest Companions”: Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Salman al-Farsi, Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Masjid Sayyida Fatima bint Rasulullah and Masjid Ali ibn Abu Talib.

It has been reported that there now are fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of Muhammad. Other buildings that have been destroyed include the house of Khadijah, the wife of Muhammad, demolished to make way for public lavatories; the house of Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s companion, now the site of the local Hilton hotel; the house of Muhammad’s grandson Ali-Oraid and the Mosque of abu-Qubais, now the location of the King’s palace in Mecca; Muhammad’s birthplace, demolished to make way for a library; and the Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress, demolished for construction of the Abraj Al Bait Towers.

[Emphasis mine]

Now, note the Braj Al Bait Towers. Here is a picture of the monstrosity which looks like something Stalin might have thought of after watching Tim Burton’s Batman. Here it is.

Lovely isn’t it? It of course houses a five star hotel and a twenty(!) storey shopping mall. A small note of interest is that the prime contractors were the Saudi binLaden Group. A more significant note of interest is that if you look right at the bottom that is the Masjid al-Haram – the Great Mosque and the site of the Kaaba and the global focus of Islam. Amazing. Apparently this vandalism of history is much the same in Medina and I suppose elsewhere. Can you even begin to imagine such whole scale destruction of Christian heritage*? Oh, we’ve had our moments (the puritans, Luftwaffe, RAF and Red Army spring to mind as do post WWII civil planners). But really this is on a different scale all together. Can you even begin to imagine the likes of an agnostic like moi deciding to build a fucking ASDA on the site of St. Cuthbert’s Tomb in Durham Cathedral? No you can’t because I wouldn’t. And dear Gods! I would not stand alone.

You know I would not let it happen. And I have a tyre iron. I found it in the shed. I find useful things in sheds.

Anyway… There is a thread to this. It is shirk. This is the Islamic concept of idolatory… So no saints, no shrines, nothing but the Kaaba overshadowed by the third tallest building on the planet. That is the Saudi excuse. They are salafists which means they are gits. What of the other Muslims? The ones who don’t feel like this? Where are they? They can go mental over a pizzeria in Gaza but this is their foundation destroyed by the House of Saud, the self-proclaimed “Guardians” of Islam. And let’s talk turkey here. Is this really shirk? Or is it not just money? You looked at the cost of the Hajj recently? In a five star hotel? I can’t believe we give them the time of day let alone sell them Eurofighter Tiffies. I wouldn’t trust them with a box of matches.

No, I’m seriously pissed off. At some level heritage comes with a cost. The cost is looking after it and not building a khazi there. Ultimately I guess this is self-defeating. How can a culture stand if it, in a cavalier manner, demolishes it’s ancient built environment? And indeed does so because of a single (though growing) strand of fundamentalism. Most of the planet’s 1+ billion Muslims would regard this as pillage. I agree. It is time to stand. It is time for all to stand. Actually it is past it really but we can but try.

Just a final point. Following the 1967 war the Israeli’s captured East Jerusalem. They considered dynamiting the Dome of the Rock – the third holiest site in Islam – where Muhammed entered Heaven. They did not do this. The Saudis have done much worse. The Saudis have wrecked more Islamic stuff than Israel ever did or could. Why then do the Jews get the stick for it? Why not Saudi?

I think we know why. The Saudis have a magic cheque book and are knee-deep in petrol.

*It goes without saying that pre-Islamic sites, both extant and archaeological have been destroyed.

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