The Revenge of Winston Smith
Observations on the absurdity of everyday life interspersed with rambling rants against religion · big brother government policies · conservatism · right-wingers and obsessive capitalists · xenophobes, racists, sexists and bigots in general · tabloid journalism · the Daily Mail · self-professed moral guardians..... and much much more!
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Patriotism, jingoism, xenophobia ..... and BLOODY FOOTBALL!
Posted by Tim on Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Permalink
I was never in to any particular sport as a kid. I was active - I used to run around, climb trees in the woods and stuff - but sports always seemed to me to be too "formal". You have a "position". You have to obey a set of rules to have fun.
I've got no particular feelings towards the actual game of football.
What I don't like is the fact that football has taken over the T.V. schedules for 3 weeks (although not so bad if you've got cable/satellite).
What I hate is the fact that, as an English male, I'm "supposed" to love the game.
What I really hate though is the blatant xenophobia disguised as patriotism that the whole event causes.
There is a very, very fine line between patriotism, jingoism and xenophobia, and I can't help feeling a little disturbed by the amount of St. Georges flags around at the moment - stuck to people's cars, hanging in windows, on T Shirts - suddenly they're everywhere! Patriotism is also a self centered belief. If a patriotic English person had have been adopted at birth by a family in France that person would hardly grow up to love England - so people love their country because they themselves live there!
Even normal fans seem to take it all rather to seriously, and as for the football hooligans - I just don't get it. What goes through the minds of these people?
For fuck's sake, IT IS JUST A GAME!!!
UPDATE 14 June : Trouble erupts after England game [ BBC News story ]
What a surprise. Still, England has only to loose the match on thursday to be out of the competition.
Should organ donation consent be presumed?
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Permalink
The comments to the BBC's Have your say on this article were predictable, with comments about butchering bodies, grave robbing etc.
Now I don't believe any government "owns" the people in a country, and I am always against any moves towards a totalitarian state.
But the people who's organs are to be used ..... are ... already ... dead!!!
Why would a family want to stop their dead relatives bodies being used to save the lives of other people (and it's not always to do with religion)? I bet they'd soon change their opinions on the subject if one of their own relatives was dying and in need of a transplant.
Still, that's the "general public" - bigoted, hypocritical and selfish.
UPDATE: Missed this comment, which says it all:
Perhaps those selfish individuals who register not to donate their organs, should be added to a list preventing them from ever receiving an organ should they need one. Fairs fair.
Kelly, Bristol, UK
Bigoted views strung together with clichés
Posted by Tim on Friday, July 02, 2004 | Permalink
I went to my local newsagents and - in great embarrassment (having to explain it was for research purposes only) - purchased a copy of The Sun.
My mum used to buy this "newspaper" in the mid 80s when I was still at school and I would often read it. I used to find myself getting aggravated by it even then (an article that stuck in my mind was one comparing Ben Elton unfavourably to Jim Davidson, which says it all really).
The style has changed little. It is still written using language that the average eight year old would have no trouble with, and is still littered with clichés and "standard phrases". An exclusive story is always something that "the Sun can reveal today", popular songs that are selling well are always "riding high in the charts" and everyone has their ages given as if it is in some way relevant (although they seem to have stopped printing women's vital statistics). Headlines and captions aren't quite as cheesy as they used to be (there don't seem to be any of the same-letter-phrases like Lusty Linda, Busty Barbara, Saucy Sandra's sinful secrets etc.) - although the page 3 girl (topless in a rather pointless cheeky, non sexual way) had her opinion on the day's events next to her picture under the caption "News in Briefs".
The views of the writers are not so much bigoted as simple minded - I was almost amused by Richard Littlejohn's attempts to justify the homophobia of a Scottish landlord - although there is an underlying current of xenophobia, particularly in the sports pages (I'm sure this would have been significantly more pronounced if I had have bought a copy of the paper a week or so ago, when England were still in Euro 2004). England's own sportspeople seem to get a rough ride if they don't win though; Tim Henmen was rather childishly offered free tennis lessons.
The thing that worries me is that this is England's best selling daily paper. One of the reasons I don't believe in democracy as such (more on this in another post) is that the average person - probably a Sun reader - is stupid, bigoted and ignorant, having strong opinions on things he/she knows nothing about. These people make up the core of the voting population.
The paper can be commended for one thing though: taken from The Sun says regarding a new "intelligent speed adaption system" -
The real worry would be: what next? Once every car, van, lorry and motorbike in the land is linked by satellite to a Big Brother computer, they've got us. They can track us, control us, fine us and snoop on us.
Almost wish I was gay
Posted by Tim on Monday, July 05, 2004 | Permalink
I myself am not gay, simply because I don't fancy blokes. I like women, with all their soft and curvy bits. However I cannot understand why some people are so "anti-gay". Why does it bother these people what other people get up to? Why do so many people want to stop other people doing what they want to do?
There is no justification for homophobia, just as there is no justification for racism. Yet it is still an issue for many people. The age of consent (in England) is sixteen for heterosexuals, eighteen for homosexuals - why? And then there's the whole "section 28" thing, where schools aren't allowed to "promote" homosexual lifestyles. Why not? People are what they are and straight people aren't suddenly going to decide to try homosexuality because someone has talked to them about different lifestyles (although what if they did? Whatever happened to personal choice?)
The tabloids always make a point of mentioning if someone is gay, when it's usually irrelevant (you never see headlines along the lines of "heterosexual Tim Sellers, 31, recently stated that .....").
If anyone can offer me a reason why it's "wrong to be gay" I'd be interested to hear it.
I wont accept:
It's disgusting (a matter of opinion)
It's un-natural (so what - most things ordinary people do in their ordinary lives are "un-natural")
It's not normal (again, so what? Aren't we all individuals?)
It's immoral (its amoral - i.e. morals have nothing to do with it)
It's sinful (only relevant if you're a bible quoting fanatic who believes in a mythical deity).
Posted by Tim on Sunday, July 18, 2004 | Permalink
For a long time, the voice of Jerry Adams (Sinn Fein president who supported the I.R.A.) was banned from UK media. You could watch a video clip of the guy talking, but his voice was dubbed by someone else. Now, I would have thought that it was what he was saying that was the problem - not the sound of his voice (irritating though it is). So ... what exactly was the point? He was still getting his point across wasn't he?
It's rather like when swear words were "bleeped out". You didn't need to be a lip-reading expert to work out what the actual word spoken was - so why did someone think it necessary to bleep the word out? It's not the sound of the word that "some viewers may find offensive", it's the meaning of that word.
Similarly in some publications writers cannot use the word "fuck" (for example) but are allowed to write "f**k". Are the letters themselves in some way offensive ..... or am I missing something here?
Eight-month-old girl guns down men in dark glasses with KF7 Soviet
Posted by Tim on Friday, July 30, 2004 | Permalink
The Mail's front page story today, under the headline Ban these evil games:
A high street electronics chain has withdrawn a bloodthirsty video game after it was blamed for the horrific and brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy by a teenage friend.
Warren Leblanc faces life behind bars for repeatedly battering Stefan Pakeerah with a claw hammer and stabbing him to death after luring him to a local park. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to murder at Leicester Crown Court yesterday.
Outside the court, Stefan's parents said Leblanc, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester, had mimicked a game called Manhunt in which the players score points for violent killings.
His mother Giselle claimed her son's "inherently evil" murderer was "obsessed" with the game and called for it to be banned.
So ..... Warren Leblanc was a perfectly well adjusted kid who became a bloodthirsty murderer (killing his best friend in all the world) after playing a video game? Are the writers of the Mail really that stupid? I strongly suspect that they are not - they are just backing up the conservative politicians who make up problems then promise to tackle these problems in the hope of getting votes from gullible people.
I was reminded by James of a previous Mail story about a one-year-old being addicted to playing Goldeneye. Now, I'm a Nintendo freak. I have played through Goldeneye many times - it's one of the best games ever made. And there is no way a one-year-old could play it. They would not have the slightest idea what was going on, let alone be able to control the action.
The ironic thing is, I have a photo of my daughter, taken in 1998 when she was eight months old, playing Goldeneye! Ok, the photo was set up for a laugh, but it looks like she is really getting into it (N64 controllers seem to fascinate babies) and you can clearly see the game on the TV screen (it's the first level in the Bunker).
I was seriously tempted to post the picture here, but eventually decided it wasn't such a good idea. The wrong person could stumble across it and before long it would be all over the net and the afore-mentioned conservatives would be saying "Look! We told you so!".
By the way, my daughter, now nearly seven, has not become a deranged killer. She does play Banjo-Kazooie a fair bit though, which features a bird living in a backpack worn by a bear, a witch, and a shaman called Mumbo-Jumbo.
Games featuring witchcraft and black magic ... being played by children ... quick, ban it before more kids become crazed psychopathic killers!
Homeschooling and being a misfit
Posted by Tim on Monday, September 06, 2004 | Permalink
Although most people don't realise that educating your kids at home is actually legal, it's becoming more and more common, with over 100 people a month choosing to do this (see this Guardian report).
Despite having done this for nearly three years, the opinions of family and friends remain negative, varying from ignorant concern to downright hostility. The fact that our daughter is happily learning in freedom (without having to sit behind a desk wearing a uniform and having to ask permission to go and perform basic bodily functions) doesn't seem to matter. My mother-in-law even went as far as phoning the social services! Quite what she was hoping to achieve I'm not sure - perhaps she thought that someone would come along and drag our daughter off to school "where she belongs". As this didn't happen (we were visited by a man from the educational authority who was suprisingly supportive) she phoned the social services again - anonymously - this time saying that our daughter had been seen covered in bruises. Needless to say, we no longer have anything to do with the EVIL FUCKED UP BITCH. Luckily the person who visited us from the social services realised that it was a hoax call.
My point is that all the arguments people use against homeschooling turn out to be a disguised version of "it's not normal", as if that in itself is a reason for not doing something.
Even my mother - the most "genuine" person I know - has called me a "misfit". What she has difficulty in understanding is that I am not a jigsaw piece. I mean, why the hell would I want to do things for no other reason than it's what other people do?
Pomp and circumstance
Posted by Tim on Sunday, September 12, 2004 | Permalink
I've enjoyed all the televised concerts in this year's BBC Proms season (which finished today). The Last Night of the Proms however always leaves me feeling a little, well, nauseous. All that jingoistic singing and flag waving ..... and I wouldn't exactly describe England as a "Land of hope and glory, mother to the free" anyway - any more than I'd say that America was a place where there was "liberty and justice for all". It's all just meaningless rhetorical bullshit.
The most irritating thing though is when the prommers start bobbing up and down in time to the music. They all look like a bunch of upper-class twats having an "absolutely splendid and jolly super time" and I have this overwhelming urge to go and slap 'em all.
Perhaps I'm being over sensitive or something?
Hang 'em and flog 'em!
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 | Permalink
No one has anything new to say on the subject; it's just the same old clichés about bringing back capital punishment and stuff - which I am amazed so many people are in favour of. Personally I am 100% against capital punishment, mainly because there can never be 100% proof of guilt (but also because I feel that pretty much everyone deserves a second chance).
My response to the usual clichés then:
Bring back hanging!
Why specifically hanging? Does that mean public hanging? Why not burn people at the stake - that would be some spectacle.
Don't we want to punish criminals anymore? (taken from the Daily Mail!)
No. We want to reform them. And dangerous criminals need to be kept away from the rest of society, which is what prison is for.
Holiday camps for convicts!
Convicts may not get hard labour anymore, but I don't think anyone who has been in prison would liken it to a holiday camp. And you can walk out of a holiday camp at anytime - the lack of freedom is what makes being in prison a punishment.
When you take a life, you loose your right to life yourself.
So ... the government own the "right" to my life, and can take it away from me if I've done something bad?
Life should mean life (or "Lock 'em up and throw away the key!")
Unless someone is a danger to society, I don't think they should be locked up until they die. If you're going to do that, you might as well kill 'em and be done with it. Again, don't even the worst offenders deserve the chance to reform themselves?
Murder is murder, no matter which way you look at it!
No it isn't! Someone who assists the suicide of a terminally ill relative is hardly in the same league as someone who goes to a school and guns down loads of kids, is he?
If someone in your family was murdered, you'd want justice done.
If such a thing happened I'd hardly be able to think rationally about the subject, but I think I would at least admit that I wanted revenge rather than use the term justice. Frankly, people who have lost family members in this manner should not have any say in how the murderer is treated.
The law is the law!
Yeah ... and ...? I mean, eggs are eggs, a porcelain teapot is a porcelain teapot.
I'm never quite sure what point people are making when they say this - perhaps they are trying to say that the law must be obeyed no matter what. The problem is that the laws of the land were not written on stone tablets which were handed down by some god - they were created by people and are capable of - and often are - "wrong". There needs to be flexibility within the law to take into account individual circumstances.
Nudge nudge, wink wink
Posted by Tim on Friday, October 22, 2004 | Permalink
Perhaps I should be blunt and tell the next person who asks me (my wife is expecting child #2 in a few weeks) exactly how I (we) managed it (although I would have thought that it would have been obvious). I suppose they are thinking "I know you've had sex!" - but isn't having sex is one of those things that pretty much everyone does anyway?
So, just in case any such person is reading, I would like to publicly confirm that I have, indeed, a number of times actually, had sex.
IT! WAS! A! JOKE!
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 | Permalink
I am referring to Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn column in The Guide from last Saturday's Guardian. The final paragraph is what has caused so many right-wing American bloggers (see here for an example) to start foaming at the mouth:
On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?
Ok, it was in poor taste and not actually very funny (us Brits do have a very dry sense of humour) but surely it must be obvious to anyone with any degree of intelligence that it was only a joke? After reading some of the reactions to the article you'd think that the Guardian had actually put a price on Bush's head!
Someone guy asked me how the British public would feel if an American had asked where John Bellingham was when we needed him (I had to look this up - apparently Mr Bellingham is the only person to have assassinated a British Prime Minister). Frankly, I don't think many Brits would really care. As I pointed out to the afore-mentioned person, we'd probably just shrug it off and think "Tosser!". And then go down the pub.
On the eve of the U.S. elections
Posted by Tim on Monday, November 01, 2004 | Permalink
Not living in the states, I know very little about Kerry. Certain people have been making a big thing about his flip-flops, but I've yet to work out why his choice of footwear matters. Certain (other) people have been saying "anyone is better than Bush" - understandable, although it doesn't actually say much about Kerry himself.
I suppose you could say "at least Bush isn't Reagan" - if Reagan had have been president in September 2001 we'd now be in the middle of a nuclear war - but another four years in which the most powerful nation in the world is being run by a simple-minded republican is a worrying prospect.
Still, at least it will all be over soon. Just a few weeks while they sort out who actually did win.
Apologies for the rambley-crapness of that post.
(If a full scale nuclear war had have broken out in 2001 I probably wouldn't be blogging about these matters now).
Personally I think Bush will win. Americans seem to be living in fear (of terrorism) right now, and they think that Bush is a "man of action" - a fact that he plays on in an attempt to secure votes.
Our good friends, the Americans
Posted by Tim on Monday, November 08, 2004 | Permalink
Looking at the comments to these posts however reveals something rather more unpleasant.
People who oppose Bush are "un-American" - presumably you have to be right-wing to be truly American. It's the American way. I myself, being a Brit, shouldn't even have an opinion on such matters. I obviously hate America, and It's entirely down to jealousy. That's right, I spend all my time looking at the U.S. with envy, mourning the loss of the British Empire while I dunk hot buttered crumpets into my warm beer. I also should be eternally grateful to these commenters - if it wasn't for them I'd be speaking German now (although I'm surprised that so many of these commenters were actually involved in WWII).
This sort of thing does nothing to alter my opinion that America is largely populated by dumb, fat, greedy, money obsessed, right-wing, bigoted, obsessively patriotic (i.e. xeonophobic) gun-toting religious fanatics - and presumably these are the people who voted for Bush.
I don't hate America. It could be a fantastic place - if about half* of the population disappeared.
*51% to be precise.
Annoying, conclusion-jumping, judgemental little turds
Posted by Tim on Friday, November 12, 2004 | Permalink
My wife answered the door - still in her dressing gown - to find the smartly dressed couple smiling and waving a copy of the Watchtower at her (no kids today - they usually drag their poor children around with them, which I feel is a form of child abuse - although that's a topic for another rant). The first thing the woman said to my wife was "Oooh, you're having a baby!" - and then both of them made a very obvious point of looking down to see if she was wearing a wedding ring. Seeing that she wasn't (she had to take it off as her fingers have swollen up) their tone changed dramatically. The man actually shook his head and started walking back up the drive! How nice of them to drop by a strangers house to jump to conclusions and be judgemental. And it's not as if unmarried couples having children is uncommon anyway (we weren't married when we had our first).
Oh, and I don't want to worry anyone, but the world is going to come to an end again soon. Unfortunately they didn't give an exact date this time - presumably to avoid any embarrassment when such a date passes and the world stubbornly continues to exist.
Nannies to stop people being arseholes
Posted by Tim on Friday, November 19, 2004 | Permalink
A big brother state would ban smoking completely. People would be continually monitored to check that they weren't having a crafty one out the back or something. They'd probably have some kind of brain implant to see if there was even a desire to light up, and if such a desire was detected then the person would be dragged off to the bowels of the ministry-of-something-or-other and made to face their worst fears until they truly loved the government for eradicating their evil desire to smoke and making them pure again.
A nanny state would stop people infecting others with their smoke, but allow them to do what they wanted in their own homes. It would point out the dangers of smoking and help people to stop. It would even provide the healthcare they needed for any illnesses caused by smoking.
The two are obviously very different. I'd never want to stop people doing whatever the hell they want to do - as long as what they're doing doesn't affect other people. What annoys me is the hypocritical right-wingers banging on about "so-called liberals" restricting their rights, without realising that what they themselves are doing is trampling over the rights of others.
I'm going off on a tangent here, but it's along the same lines - I used to live in a flat where the guy next door would frequently decide to start playing deeply unpleasant bass heavy dance music at about two-o-clock in the morning. When I complained his response was that I was obviously some kind of fascist and that he could do what he wanted in his own flat. I pointed out that, if anything, he was the fascist for forcing me to listen to his music - he could indeed do what he wanted in his own flat, but the music didn't stay in his flat, it came into mine as well. (He didn't seem to get the point, although he eventually did stop - probably because he was fed up with me complaining all the time).
The point is that people should not have a "right" to act like selfish arseholes and restrict other people's rights and well being. The fact that they have always done this in the past doesn't automatically make whatever it is they're doing ok.
Eat, drink and be merry
Posted by Tim on Friday, December 24, 2004 | Permalink
Seriously though, I do wonder if telling kids about Santa is a good idea. Ok, it's not like telling them that they have to obey contradictory and often absurd rules taken from a book of ancient legends otherwise when they die they'll magically come back to life again and be tortured for eternity, but it's still a lie. I'd be interested in anyone else's views on this (this makes interesting reading if you're bored).
This will probably be my last post this year, so merry Christmas and a happy new year to anyone who's popped by. Don't forget to stock up on Alka-Seltzer!
A kind of late Bah Humbug
Posted by Tim on Friday, December 31, 2004 | Permalink
Why? Well, it's all so ... fake. Enforced fun. People trying to have a good time not necessarily because they're in the mood for a good time, but because it's new year's eve and they're "supposed" to have a good time. I've only once gone out on new year's eve and actually enjoyed myself, so these days I don't bother.
Also, Christmas is over, the next couple of months are bleak and cold, and I wont have kept last years resolutions (if I had have made any).
Right, going to get pissed in front of the T.V. now - best wishes for the new year to all!
Posted by Tim on Friday, January 07, 2005 | Permalink
"Christian protesters have set fire to their television licences outside the BBC's London offices as outrage spread over the public broadcaster's plans to air a profanity-laden musical. In the award-winning London show "Jerry Springer -- The Opera", viewers can watch a diaper fetishist confess all to his true love, catch a tap dance routine by the Ku Klux Klan and see Jesus and the Devil locked in a swearing match." [Yahoo! news story]
If I think I'm going to find something on the T.V. offensive, I won't watch it. I wouldn't want to stop other people watching it! Who the hell do these people think they are? So it's offensive to Christians. Well, guess what guys - I'm not a Christian - and I'm looking forward to watching it. It looks quite entertaining!
I bet that most of the people complaining haven't actually seen the musical - and if people do wait to see it and then complain - well, that's even worse. Why would someone make a deliberate effort to watch a programme they know they are not going to like, just so that they can complain about it afterwards?
I do think they have a point however when they state that "... the BBC would not risk upsetting minority faiths like Islam or Buddhism". I personally would like to see much more in the media that upsets minority faiths like Islam or Buddhism.
Death penalty for burglars?
Posted by Tim on Friday, January 14, 2005 | Permalink
The law on the amount of force householders can use against intruders will not be changed, according to the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke [BBC News story].
Many of the comments in the BBC's have your say on the subject make me wonder what type of society we live in. I even recall one of the tabloids recently stating that we should have the right to kill burglars!
The courts aren't allowed to sentence a burglar to death - and anyway, does someone trying to nick your T.V. deserve to die? Ok, if they attack you you need to be able to defend yourself, but I think all these people going on about tackling burglars are talking bullshit anyway. I'm sure that most people, if they woke up and thought an intruder was downstairs, would crap themselves and hide under the duvet.
(Incidentally, what is it that makes people believe that a duvet is adequate protection against being attacked ...)
What is it with these religious nutters ...
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Permalink
This - from the ever-entertaining Screen Burn column in The Guide (which I missed last Saturday as I forgot to pick up my copy of the Guardian) - says it all:
So, the BBC went ahead and broadcast Jerry Springer: The Opera in its entirety last week, enraging a hardcore band of extremist humourless oafs who decided before they'd even seen it that it was blasphemous and despicable and hideous and ghastly and wrong, and therefore Must Not Be Shown because They Didn't Like It.
Let he who is without brains cast the first stone. And cast they did. Prior to broadcast, they jostled, they shouted, they published contact details and made threatening phone calls - all in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who, unless I'm grossly mistaken, was actually rather keen on tolerance and forgiveness and turning the other cheek.
Before Jerry Springer was shown, the BBC received 47,000 complaints. Afterwards, it received just 900 - plus around 500 calls of support.
And later, refering to Christian Voice:
You'd have thought human beings had evolved beyond this kind of idiocy - but since Christian Voice probably don't believe in evolution, I guess they're exempt. And as for the many thousands who objected to the broadcast on the grounds that it represented a "misuse of their licence fee", I suspect that if you counted all the people who've ever turned on their TV of a Sunday evening and said, "Oh shit, Songs Of Praise is on," you'd be looking a majority of millions. [full article]
I always wonder if Christians, when reading this sort of this sort of thing, secretly think "well, the guy's got a point ..."
It always annoys me that the religious always seem to think that the gods they worship are somehow real. Ok, it's what they might believe, but when talking to atheists (and people of other faiths) they still use phrases like "but what about what God said in the bible about ..." without realising that such statements are automatically invalid as atheists don't believe that the god they are referring to actually exists. The problem with this is that they seem to think that people like me should also follow the rules their mythical deities - and most of these rules I am strongly opposed to.
BTW, the site I am working on is not a new one, just a re-working of my Religion is Bullshit! site. This will include a blog section, so my future militant atheist rants will go there and I can save this site for, well, other stuff.
Pots, kettles, filthy rags and Red Ken
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Permalink
The Daily Mail demanding an apology - isn't that just a tiny bit hypocritical? Livingstone sums it up himself:
To the Daily Mail group, no-one in Britain is less qualified to complain about anti-Semitism ... In truth, those papers were the leading advocate of anti-Semitism in the country for half a century. Whilst it is true the Mail group no longer smears Jews as bringing crime and disease to the UK it is only because they have moved on.
After a decade of pandering to racism against our citizens of Black and Irish origin they have moved on and now describe asylum seekers and Muslims in similar terms.
For the Mail group the victims may change but the intolerance, hatred and fear pervade every issue of the papers [full statement].
Sex sells, apparently
Posted by Tim on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Permalink
Some time ago I was in my local chippy (fish-and-chip take away to non-Brits) and on the wall was a advert for Pukka Pies. It consisted of a sexy guy with sexy girl sprawled out in a sexy car, with the guy feeding the girl a chip in a supposedly sexy manner. With the chips was one of the afore-mentioned pies, and at the bottom the caption read "socialise with Pukka Pies". I remember having to fight back laughter at the idea that a steak and kidney pie could increase your ability to attract women.
Anyway, yesterday I was looking at a completely unrelated article on Wikipedia and, after following various links bizarrely found myself at the Pukka Pies website. It seems that the makers of these pies have now gone further with their claims of the pulling power of their product. Foreplay? Forget it - just take a Pukka Pie to bed with you!
Licking ice-cream off your partner's naked body may be fun. But a red hot lump of dead cow ...?
Happy birthday to me
Posted by Tim on Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Permalink
I've written 46 posts (most crap, some actually quite interesting / amusing) and received 151 comments. At the time of writing I've had 7752 visits - not a huge amount, but still several a day. I've written less (and had fewer visits) since I moved my rants against religion elsewhere (here) but I am going to keep this blog going - after all there are plenty of other things that piss me off:
Big brother government policies.
Conservatism and obsessive traditionalists.
Right-wingers, obsessive capitalists and people who love money more than anything else.
Xenophobes (and obsessively patriotic people).
Racists, sexists and bigots in general.
Daily Mail readers.
Self-professed moral guardians.
Dense people (perhaps this is my only real prejudice?)
I'm going to try to be (a little) more personal and less abstract in my writings. So, a bit about me (according to some quizzes at Quizfarm.com) -
|What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
|Am I being picky, or would having the total adding up to 100% have made more sense?
(8% fascism ?!?)
BTW, It's been a long time since I put a table in a website. Seems odd.
|What is Your World View?
|You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.
|What philosophy do you follow?
|You scored as Hedonism. Your life is guided by the principles of Hedonism: You believe that pleasure is a great, or the greatest, good; and you try to enjoy life’s pleasures as much as you can.
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!"
Some other results without the details -
My mental illness is obsessive compulsive disorder (I knew that anyway).
My sexual style is "Kinky. You are very open to new experiences and opportunities."
(I knew that too).
Kids, sex, kid's kids, you pay
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Permalink
While the comments to the BBC's have your say on the subject are, surprisingly, fairly free of Christians banging on about celibacy (see here) most of the commenters seem to be randomly pointing fingers at people, hoping to find someone to "blame".
So, two simple facts:
1. Kids are going to have sex. Like adults, they are aware that it's kinda nice.
2. Kids don't always do what their parents or teachers tell them to do. They rebel - especially if their parents or teachers are too strict with them.
When it comes to sex, the parents/teachers are fighting a loosing battle against hormones. So, surely schools should be teaching sex education from an early age, giving relationship and contraception advice - and, when necessary, handing out free contraceptives?
Of course, many parents, religious groups, moral guardians etc. would be up in arms if this sort of thing did go on. I recall the shock reactions to a recent news story about ten-year-old girls being given the pill. Ok, I'm not going to say that ten-year-olds should be having sex (or twelve year olds come to that) but surely ten-year-olds taking the pill is better than ten-year-olds getting pregnant?
The thing that annoys me the most however are the people who moan about young mothers being given benefits. On the front page of The Sun for example was the Daily-Mailesqe statement "and guess what ... YOU'RE paying their £31k a year benefit".
So what are we supposed to do - let them starve? It's not as if anybody's tax bill is going to increase to cover these benefits - £31k is a pretty negligible amount. Consider the millions (billions?) that must have been spent on the unpopular Iraq war. Guess what ... YOU PAID!
Posted by Tim on Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Permalink
When I was unemployed some years ago a friend of mine complained that, as the amount of benefit I received was about the same amount as the tax he was paying, he was in effect paying my benefit (he didn't seem to realise that if he was paying my benefit someone else must have been paying his share of all the other stuff tax goes on. He was also being rather a hypocrite as he had lived in my flat for free for several months previously when he himself was out of work).
I was unemployed again recently. I'd guess that the benefits I received - jobseeker's allowance, child tax credits and housing benefit - would have added up to around £12000 over a year (a reasonable amount to live on, provided you don't have any major debts). Using the figures above regarding the royal family, I worked out that this £12000 I would have received would have cost each taxpayer £0.00019783. This means that I would have had to be receiving these benefits for over fifty years for my friend to have given my a penny!
Kind of puts things into perspective, don't you think?
Posted by Tim on Sunday, July 03, 2005 | Permalink
Trying to persuade governments - people with the power to make a difference - to do something is better than making ordinary people feel bad and give money. Charity on a large scale doesn't work - apparently the original Live Aid raised £150 million, which is nothing really. It'll be interesting to see what happens following the G8 summit.
If you haven't signed your name yet, do so here.
Posted by Tim on Friday, July 08, 2005 | Permalink
On top of the casualties, it was a shame that the G8 summit has been overshadowed, and of course the celebrations on London getting the 2012 Olympics. At least it wasn't on the scale of 9/11.
Jack straw stating that "These outrages bear the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda" and Blair's speech about terrorists doing things in the name of Islam (but most Islamic people not being terrorists and all that) - are these based on nothing more that a supposed claim of responsibility on some website, or is there something else they're not telling us?
Incidentally, I think that Blair's speech will have been in vain, judging by the comments about killing all Muslims on an unrelated post on my other site (the later comments on this post).
"Take that, pigs!"
Posted by Tim on Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Permalink
This story really made my day, for two reasons. Firstly because I like the fact that a 15-year-old had the guts to stand up and point out that not all people under a certain age are yobs. Secondly because it's a kick in the teeth to the members of the police who think that everyone is a potential criminal and should be treated as such. I had a few "dealings" with the police when I was younger and the vast majority of them seemed to like their jobs just a little too much (I always wonder what sort of a person would want to become a police officer in the first place).
Many of the comments from the BBC's have your say on the subject show the usual type of ignorance: "Kids are not citizens with rights", "Movies and video games are to blame" and "Two words - National Service" (I can think of two words I'd like to say to that person).
The one that made me laugh was "In my day, a good smack on the back of the legs had the desired effect". Ok, as a parent I know that occasionally a smack is the only way to deal with a young child having a tantrum, but somehow I can't see this working on teenagers . . . corporal punishment had been abolished by the time I was 15 (1987) but I still couldn't imagine at that age just standing there and let some teacher whack me with a big stick.
Posted by Tim on Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Permalink
It's complete bullshit though. The BBC - at least more so than any other organistation - report the news. No opinions, just fact - which is how the news should be reported.
"The right" (apologies for generalisations here) seem to have the opinion that if you're not with them you're against them. If the news doesn't come with a heavy dollop of right wing, patriotic opinion then it automatically has a left wing bias.
The Beeb is often accused of dumbing down, and this is exactly what they would be doing if they reported the news in the style of the tabloids where every story is full of trite statements and bigoted opinions (I don't need to be told by someone less intelligent than myself that terrorists are evil. I especially don't need the word evil to be in bold type, just in case I miss it. If the people who write this sort of crap spoke how they wrote they would have to shout virtually every other word. "Sforzando speech" I call it).
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Permalink
Firstly, I don't have such a short attention span that I need a programme I've taken the trouble to watch to be broken up by people trying to sell me stuff I almost definitely don't want (in a supposedly amusing way).
Secondly, I hate anything that deals with stereotypes and clichés. You know the sort of thing - where men always drink lager, watch football, have to be shown by women how to use cleaning products - and where women always do the shopping and cooking and are never annoyed when the dumb man/child/dog makes a mess on her newly washed kitchen floor (This article on the modern rules of advertising gives some good examples).
Thirdly, they are always full of such complete bullshit. Example: the current ad for Kelloggs Corn Flakes. Apparently "studies show that when they eat a breakfast like ours, kids are on average 9% more alert". What studies? And 9% more alert compared with what? Eating another brand of cereal? Eating a cereal not like theirs? Or - more likely (presuming that the figure hasn't just been made up) - 9% more alert that if they hadn't eaten anything?
Posted by Tim on Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Permalink
In the mid 1990s I played in a rock band called Vagabond Kiss. We played 80s style rock, which is probably why we only had local success (that and the fact that we had the potential to be quite good but weren't). Anyway, one of the favourite pastimes of the band was to gather together in a specific place - usually my flat - and drink a large number of alcoholic beverages until the early hours of the morning. At about two in the morning one would feel the need to consume something a little more solid. Usually this would be cheese-on-toast, but if we were lucky there would be a packet of Vesta Chicken Curry somewhere in the kitchen cupboard.
For those who don't know, here is a brief explanation of what to do if you find yourself in the possession of a box of the afore-mentioned culinary delight.
Open the box. Inside you will find two paper packets. One contains a portion of rice which you cook in the usual way. Pour the contents of the other packet - bright yellow powder with different coloured lumps in - into a pan. Add the required amount of water (plus a little extra chili powder) and bring to the boil. The lumps reveal themselves to be dried peas and carrots along with some chunks of something that is supposed to be chicken but has a truly bizarre knitted texture. When the rice is ready, drain and rinse, put on a plate and pour the curry on top. Don't be put off by the fact that the viscosity and colour of this concoction is that of diarrhoea (although this will go un-noticed if you have consumed a suitable number of alcoholic beverages).
Despite the fact that it should have been thoroughly disgusting, these Vesta meals were actually really nice. And I mean always nice, unlike, say, a Pot Noodle, which is always repulsive (but occasionally you fancy one anyway).
I haven't had one of these things for years - I can't find them anywhere. I occasionally see Vesta Beef Risotto (edible but dull) and Chow Mein (bears no resemblance to the Chinese dish of the same name) but no chicken curries. This is actually makes me rather sad. I felt the same when all the McDonald's down here stopped serving root beer.
Posted by Tim on Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Permalink
Today however, the award for the scummiest paper goes to The Sun. Their front page story - under the headline of "TRAITORS" - concerns Blair's defeat by "TREACHEROUS MPs" who "betrayed the British people last night by rejecting new laws to combat terror."
The article continues: "They IGNORED the wishes of the vast majority of Britons and HUMILIATED Tony Blair by inflicting his first Commons defeat. Gutless Tory MPs were joined by up to 47 Labour rebels as they wrecked the PM's bid to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge."
The Sun have supported Blair all the way with this, pointing out how evil terrorism is and how it must be defeated. Fair enough, but I myself think that the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing is kind of important. The way these journalists are frothing at the mouth seems to imply that they think that all suspects are automatically guilty.
They have even "named and shamed" the MPs who voted against the bill. This strikes me as a little odd - such information is hardly a secret, and these people were the ones in the majority!
Incidentally, it shows how far the Labour party have moved to the right if the Sun - a Thatcher-endorsing paper in the 80s - supports them.
One final point, just in case someone from The Sun reading this: dramatic sforzandi WORK in Beethoven symphonies but are really - fucking - ANNOYING in CRAPPY newspapers.
UPDATE 12/11/2005 - This is well worth a read, especially if you support the whole 90 day thing.
Civil partnerships for gay couples
Posted by Tim on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Permalink
It's not relevant to me on a personal level (not being gay and all that) but I like the fact that progress is being made. Ten years ago too many people would have been up in arms over the idea. Twenty years ago, anyone suggesting it would have been ridiculed then ignored as a crank. Before that, I doubt if anyone would have dared to seriously suggest such a thing in the first place.
It's also good to see that many of the of the contributors to the BBC's have your say on the subject seem to be in favour.
The people who are against it fall into three categories:
1. The ones that talk about sin and mythical deities being pissed off and stuff.
Well, not everyone is religious, and even many who are support this. They are civil partnerships anyway, so religion should have nothing to do with it (although even marriage is a legal partnership before anything else).
2. The ones who have a fondness for talking about the "eroding of traditional family values".
I really hate this sort of conservatism. And anyway, it's not as if allowing gay partnerships is going to stop people having heterosexual ones!
"Once you legitimise one type of un-natural partnership soon everyone will want the same rights and people will be marrying their dogs and the human race will die out ... "
3. The people who presumably aren't aware of the expression the bullshit before the but - i.e.
"I'm not homophobic, but ..."
Basically, if you are against these partnerships, you are a bigot. Simple as that.
This BBC News story from Northern Ireland, where it became legal a couple of days ago, is interesting - particularly the bit about the religious protests:
The Reverend Doctor Ian Brown, from the Free Presbyterian Church, was among the more vocal: "The fact of the matter is that God does not endorse this, shall never endorse this and we are standing for the word of God and for the protection of our children."
The protesters' message was reinforced by an advertising trailer with a giant hoarding which read: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted."
Although one wag tried his best to antagonise the crowd with a placard reading: "The earth is flat." [heh heh!]
As the taxi carrying the couple edged its way through the crowd, the jeers from protesters competed with the cheers from supporters.
Jeers? What a bunch of arseholes!
Posted by Tim on Friday, January 06, 2006 | Permalink
Anyway, I'll now attempt to get to the point of this post.
I don't know how many people in the UK watch David Letterman, but his show is on at around midnight on ITV4 the day after it's shown in the states. I often watch as I find it fascinating from a cultural point of view. Yesterday's show was particularly interesting as one of his guests was Bill O'Reilly - who, in case you don't know, is a typically right wing commentator on the "fair and balanced" Fox network (there are actually considerably worse commentators, though I think that Dave summed him up nicely with the phrase "60% of everything you say is crap!").
O'Reilly's "theme" - starting with the apparent "war on Christmas" - seemed to be about defending traditions (I'm actually getting to the point now) which is something that always bothers me.
Of course some traditions are worth keeping, but people like O'Reilly seem to think that tradition itself is a good thing. I often hear people try to explain how great tradition is by merely defining the term ("because these are things that our fathers did, and their fathers before them ..."). The problem with this kind of conservatism is that it stands in the way of progress (a word that such people tend to say with a tone of disgust).
The obvious example from everyday life is the metric system. Simple. Straightforward. Better that the imperial measurements in every way. Yet it's not only stubborn old people who complain that they don't understand it ("then learn it! It's easy! That's why it's a better system!") - many people my age, who would have learnt the metric system in school, revert back to using feet and inches and things. Why is this?
On a more serious note though - sexism, racism, homophobia - doesn't an obsession with the past keep these and other forms of bigotry alive?
Bad blogger, strange phobia
Posted by Tim on Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Permalink
So instead of writing about current events I'm going to ask a question concerning a bizarre phobia I have. It's not something that affects my quality of life or anything, I just happened to be thinking about it whilst sat here at my computer with nothing else to do.
It's to do with water, but I have no problem with water itself. I like swimming, being in boats and stuff - what bothers me is the way that things are magnified or distorted through water.
I wont look too closely at a round fish bowl, particularly if it's in front of something. Even bottles of clear liquids bother me.
I'll happily jump into a swimming pool full of people, but not if it's empty and I can see the bottom of the pool "rippling". I'll also steer well clear of the plug (I've read about "drainphobia" but that's only part of it).
What affects me the most though is the water tank in the loft or a toilet cistern with the lid off. The rippley, magnified stuff inside ... well, it's not just a case of not liking it, I find myself backing away, pulse racing, sweating and all that.
I can't think of a rational explanation for any of this. Anyone got any ideas, or know how common this is or if it has a name?
Posted by Tim on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Permalink
It wouldn't be so bad if people from the same company actually communicated with each other. But no, you phone up to speak to someone about a problem, wait for ages to get through (whilst listening to the first few bars of Eine kleine Nachtmusik on constant repeat, interrupted every few seconds by a recorded voice apologising for the delay and insisting that your call is important to them) and when you do speak to someone they have to transfer you to another department where - after more Mozart - you have to explain the problem again, only to find out that the person dealing with the matter is on holiday.
The person you are speaking to will then ask if they can help. The answer to this should always be "No!". Saying yes will mean having to explain the problem from the beginning, which will be like traveling back in time several weeks to when the problem first occurred. This could cause a rift in the space-time continuum, which would destroy the entire universe (granted, that's a worst-case scenario - the destruction might, in fact, be very localized - limited merely to our own galaxy).
And to piss me off further, upon checking on Amazon, I find that the release date for Twilight Princess has been put back to NOVEMBER!
The End (?)
Posted by Tim on Monday, April 03, 2006 | Permalink
I think I've just become bored with the "blogsphere" in general. It was once interesting and exciting but it's been diluted over the past couple of years by vast numbers of crap bloggers with an over inflated sense of their own importance.
I still have strong opinions on certain things, but there's not much one guy writing some website can actually do. And anyway, while part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place, a bigger part of me just wants to sit on the sofa, drink tea and play through old Nintendo games.
I might be back sometime in the future. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the archives (which should give you a good idea of my opinions on most subjects).
--- o 0 o ---
The post that gets the most views - mainly from people typing dodgy things like "sex with kids" into search engines - is this one, where I point out the stupidity of people who think that not giving kids sex education and contraceptive advice will stop them actually doing it. I also give me opinions on the sort of people who complain about teenage single mothers getting benefits (more on that subject here).
The next most viewed post - about ridiculous advertising - is here, which most visitors get to from searching for "Pukka Pies" (more on advertising here).
The post with the most comments is this one, about homeschooling, being different, and my mother in law - who, for various reasons including those detailed in the post - is an evil fucked up bitch. That's Gloria Jean Hardy, the evil fucked up bitch. Incase you missed that: Gloria Jean Hardy. The bitch.
Well, that's it for now. If you're really bored, try going through the monthly archives [now removed!]. Or the blogroll [now removed!], which lists a pretty-much random selection from the many sites I visit on a fairly regular basis (various subjects covered, and not all stuff I agree with).
Totals (not including this) - 66 posts since Friday, May 21, 2004 - 219 comments.
UPDATE 27/10/08 : As part of a general tidy-up (of all my sites) I have removed the less interesting posts as well as the links and other such stuff.