Monday, 31 December 2007

Auld Lang Syne

For most of us - who only sing the first verse and the chorus.

Here is the whole thing…

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And old lang syne?

For old lang syne, my dear,
For old lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For old lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For old lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For old lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For old lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' old lang syne.

For old lang syne, my dear,
For old lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For old lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' old lang syne.

For old lang syne, my dear,
For old lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For old lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For old lang syne.

For old lang syne, my dear,
For old lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For old lang syne.

Robert Burns (1759 –1796)

Quote of the day

" I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you?

Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system.

Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover.

I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”

Bridget Jones (Helen fieldingl

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Sperm donor fights CSA demands for cash

Two Lesbians Terri and Sharon Arnold got ‘married’. They decided they wanted children and being unable to come up with it themselves canvassed for sperm donations amongst their male acquaintances to avoid costs of £3 to £4 K.

They conned London Fireman Andy Bathie into donating sperm on the understanding that he would never have any responsibility financial or otherwise. After having one child they asked Andy to donate again, so a second child would be full genetic siblings.

Now Terri and Sharon have gone their separate ways and Sharon has left Terrie ‘holding the baby’. It seems that Sharon can walk away from the relationship Scott free and the Child support Agency (CSA) is rather unjustly holding poor old Andy responsible instead of Sharon. They are confiscating £450 each month from his pay.

The CSA’s view is that, unless a child was legally adopted, both biological parents are financially responsible.

They state "The Child Support Agency legislation is not gender or partnership based. Only anonymous sperm donors at licensed centres are exempt from being treated as the legal father. This does not apply to men who donate sperm as part of a personal arrangement."

Now Andy is to fight the CSA in court over the matter.
So there you are folks. Never ever donate sperm without taking into account you may be held financially responsible.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Quote of the day

” A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”

Aristotle 384 BC - 322 BC

RIP Benazir Bhutto.

It seems that Benazir Bhutto is nfortunately the latest member of her unlucky dynasty to pay the ultimate price for being a part of it.

Reports are that she was fatally injured in a suicide attack today along with followers and members of her police security detail.

It is a blow to democracy, as it was no doubt intended to be.

Monday, 24 December 2007

A Visit from St. Nicholas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863)

Yet more personal details lost by the UK State, this time the NHS

You really can’t trust these cretins with your data.

The Department of Health has now admitted they have lost data pertaining to 168,000 people!

Unable to look after the data they have they are planning a single giant database of 50 million patients.

The scope for loss on that will be so much more spectacular, but then they don’t really care if they loose it or if someone else can use it – as long as they have access to every detail of every citizen.

Then let's not forget the National ID Database these authoritarian incompetents are so desperate to force on the citizen.

And what a perfect time to bury bad news, when everyone is busy rushing around trying to think if they have everything they need for Christmas guests and the family. Chasing last minute presents… too busy to pay attention to the news?

Friday, 21 December 2007

Quote of the day

” On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.”

George Orwell

Harriet Harman plans to make it illegal to pay for sex in the UK

Why is it with our current government that if there is bad way of doing something, amongst a host of other choices, they will inevitably make a beeline for it - and then compound the problem with incompetence.

Harriet Harman is at it again. Last heard of in connection with concealed donations. This time she wants to make it illegal to pay for sex. Her motives would appear to be reasonably honest, but her reasoning is certainly open to question.

Firstly you can pass as many laws as you like (and New-Labour frequently abuse this privilege) - but that won’t stop it happening if it is something people refuse to give up, or want regardless of the consequences. All you do is bring the idea of the law into disrepute and leave whatever it is you are legislating in the hands of criminals.

Take prohibition in the US – It is arguable that absolutely made organised crime in the US and effectively criminalised vast swathes of the otherwise law-abiding population. It failed and left a detrimental legacy felt to this day.

The ‘War on Drugs’ that is obviously highly effective. It has clrearly absolutely eradicated cannabis use in the UK – Not!.

Illegal drugs are even more lucrative than legal ones and almost certainly maintain an increased level of real crime to support habits. More to the point the illegality of it sucks people who are tying to deal with a habit into a world of crime that they might otherwise never have become involved with.

So paying for sex. How will you define it? What exactly is payment? Cash? Payment in kind?

When all is said and done under the ‘moral questions’ it is a ‘service industry’. The government should be more interested in protecting those who provide sex for money, ensuring that they aren’t forced to, that they will be reasonably safe and able to complain to the police if they are abused. That it can’t be concealed in the shadows.

The English Collective of Prostitutes are certainly not in favour of Harriet’s crusade/jihad. Their spokes woman pointed out that forcing prostitution further underground would only make women more vulnerable to violence.

With this government the first reaction always seems to be towards thoughtless reflexive additional ill-conceived legislation, with little or no consideration of the likely consequences - and a sound bite to go with it, to attempt to justify their existence.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Quote of the day

” There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.”

Bertrand Russell

Brown expects his current rolling string of Crises to be forgotten

It shows the truly cynical direction that Gordon Brown’s thoughts are tending, after his bottling out of legitimising his regime with an election.

He evidently thinks he can get away with truly screwing the sheeple now, because he is gambling that if he can get his many chickens (suspicion, incompetence and broken promises) home to roost now the sheeple will be too myopically stupid to remember being fleeced by the time he decides to allow them to vote again.

Speaking at his regular monthly Downing St press conference he primly suggested: "Many of the things that have been written about for the last few weeks would be forgotten quickly,"

What is dispiriting is that on past performance he may not be as far wrong as he ought to be.

Then again, if Government incompetence and betrayal continue to come to light on a regular basis, as is quite possible based on past performance, then he may still have plenty of prominent roosting chickens on display when he is finally forced, by time, to go to the people with a reputation as solid as a northern rock.

Then who knows, even sheep can get nasty sometimes…

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Quote of the day

” If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music - and of aviation.”

Tom Stoppard

Lib-Dems choose Nick Clegg as leader

Well the Lib-Dems have chosen a replacement for Ming.

It is Nick Clegg. He looks young and personable. It will be interesting to see what he does and if it will result in an actual change in the party.

It is bound to lead to some improvement in their standing.

When I heard him last night he appeared to be trying to pull the tired old Lib-Dem trick (that has earned them the title Fib-Dems) to be all things to all people. Suggesting that both disaffected Labour and Tory voters should vote Lib-Dem.

This might be understandable in the case of some Labour voters, as the Lib-Dems are arguably more left wing, in many respects, these days than New-Lab.

It is difficult to see how any Tories could square voting Lib-Dem with their political beliefs - unless they happen to be an ancient dyed in the wool Heathite Paternalist/Socialists. Also as the Conservatives now finally seem to be a credible alternative to New-Lab it is difficult to imagine they would support a more left wing alternative to New-Lab with less actual prospect of ousting Gordon Brown.

At the moment the smart tactical voting against Gordon Brown will probably have to be for the Conservatives if it is not to be wasted. It will be interesting to see if this changes in the new year…

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Saudi King pardons Gang rape victim

This Blog previously criticised Saudi Arabia's sentencing of an young woman who was ‘hate crime’ gang raped - and then sentenced to 200 lashes for her troubles, along with an ex boyfriend.

It seems King Abdullah has pardoned her - Not because he doubted the psychotic judges, but in the "interests of the people". Presumably code for trying to undo some of the damage the sentence had done his country’s reputation internationally.

The Royal pardon goes some way, but should never have been necessary in the first place. Still, for whatever reason, it is good that a wicked injustice has been averted and no doubt the King is hemmed in by many considerations. So credit where credit is due.

One wonders if the ex is also to be pardoned.

Quote of the day

” The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbour.”

Hubert H. Humphrey

Brown Caves in on pension rescue package

It seems that Gordon Brown has agreed, under pressure, a rescue package for pensions that were lost when the companies that ran them went bust.

One wonders if he will ever compensate those who’s pensions he has personally damaged by effectively stealing from them in order to finance his devious incompetence and profligate spending as Chancellor.

Never, one suspects…

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Government is not your friend

Re Polly’s: “The state is not public enemy number one”.

Maybe not Polly - But remember, the State is not your friend either!

Quote of the day

“ It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”

Leonardo Da Vinci

Question – Are the English FA in bed with Gordon Brown, or was it just coincidence?

The FA’s unnecessarily early announcement of their selection for the England manager/head coach must have come as a great boon to Gordon Brown, coming as and when it did.

It dominated the UK MSM to the exclusion of almost everything else.

Very helpful for him as it helps to bury the bad news that on the 13th of December 2007, (unlucky for the citizens of the UK) he signed away parliamentary privileges to the EU under the EU Constitutional Treaty that his party and he had falsely promised before they were elected would be subject to a referendum.

He was clearly so very reluctant to be seen doing self congratulatory smug back slapping with the other European heads of state (at finally anti democratically finessing 99% of the rejected constitution through), that he left that to Milliband and managed to find an excuse to avoid the signing until everyone had cleard off - "They thought is was all over - It is now!".

Gordon Brown has now clearly betrayed promises his party and he as an MP were elected on, thus demonstrating his party's so called mandate is bogus. If he had a shred of honesty or honour he should resign call a general election as soon as possible.

He won’t of course. His problem would be who could trust his manifesto promises?

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ Reality is that which refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.”

Phillip K. Dick

Adventures in Second Life

Blogpower has a presence in Second Life (SL) - sensibly conducting awards ceremonies using it.

How else could people so spread out over the globe get together without expensive flights, hire of venue and using up the annual leave of Real Life (RL)?

Anyway, not normally being a ‘Face book’ type, because of the above, and the fact that you don’t have to advertise details all over the net, I decided to take the plunge - you can do it for free.

Though I can see how one might quickly be sucked into purchasing some Linden$$. For those who may not know it Linden Labs devised and administer SL. I feel the faint tug of the lure even as I type.

SL is actually a sort of Multi User Dungeon (MUD), for those of you familiar with the now reasonably venerable term, where you can create your own environment, if you wish, or use those provided by Linden, or other users. A bit like a cross between the Sims, with you as a sim - and a first person hack and slash or shooter like Heratic or Delta Force. Though it is much more than these.

So far I have been pleasantly surprised. It has provided a couple of hours interest and entertainment already and I have barely scratched the surface. I have ‘met’ some interesting and helpful people and discovered from ‘seeing’ the damage they cause that there are some despoilers out there who disrupt things for the more constructive for their own warped amusement.

Still, on balance so far I am impressed. Oh! - and you get to fly like Superman!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Western Digital blanket block on sharing some types of files

It looks as if anyone purchasing a Western Digital hard drive for networking purposes may now need to think twice.

Western Digital have instituted a heavy handed ‘blanket’ block on the sharing of certain types of files, copyrighted or not.

They have incorporated a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ block on file sharing into their Anywhere Access software, (or at least Anywhere Access - except for over 30 types of files) maybe they just assume all their customers are natural copyright violators.

So Western Digital apparently thinks it has more right to decide what you do, than you yourself do - even if what you want to do is perfectly legal.

Prospective purchasers may need to factor this in their decision making process when purchasing hard drives in future, or they may find what they end up with is not fit for the purpose it was purchased for.

If in doubt ask - In the UK, under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, goods should be of a satisfactory quality and reasonably fit for the purpose(s) that goods of that particular kind are commonly purchased including any particular purpose asked for by a buyer.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.”

Henry Kissinger

Are 80% of UK jobs really going to ‘foreigners’?

Far be it for me to defend the current UK Government in any way. The low opinion in which I hold them - and the many reasons for it should be readily apparent within the posts of CFD.

However there seems to be much interest in the MSM recently over the Statistics Commission study that indicates 1.4 million of the 1.7 million jobs created since 1997, over 80%, had gone to people born overseas.

This conjures up images of hoards of foreigners stealing jobs from the willing, but down trodden British worker. Gordon Brown’s dubious 'British jobs for British workers' sound bite.

Now let’s see if we can spot any weasel words here – ah yes! Not too far to look: ‘born overseas’.

So that will include British citizens born abroad - Not necessarily actually ‘foreigners’ at all then. It would for instance include three of my nieces and nephews, were they not students. That inflates the headline figure by 300,000.

Now those jobs. Exactly what sort of jobs are we talking about here. I don’t have the figures but I would hazard a guess that they are not all well paid highly sought after posts.

Might some include poorly paid work with unsociable hours; janitorial posts, security work, waiting at tables, maybe even fruit picking?

The numbers are high enough to cause some concern, but not legitimately as high as the study claims - and the figures do not tell the whole story.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.”

Margaret Mead

Out and about in Munich

Well we were out and about in Munich City center yesterday (Friday) evening - and a magical time we had of it too.

For those of you who don’t know it Munich Town center is largely pedestrianised. It has a beautiful medieval Town Hall (Rathaus) and Cathedral and is lined with modern shops.

What is more important right now, are the Christmas Markets. Everything is decorated like a wonderland. There is a huge Christmas tree outside the Rathaus lit with more lights than you could shake a stick at and there are stalls everywhere selling sweets, roast chestnuts, decorations, mulled wine, all manner of things - and some of the tastiest fast food it is possible to get.

There was a band playing from the town hall balcony and a choir singing and the market was literally thronging with the citizens of Munich, salted with the odd tourist, good naturedly enjoying the season. If you have never been I can heartily recommend it.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein

Off on our travels

Posting may be light for a few days, as I shall be in Germany.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”

Douglas Adams

Education in the UK continues it’s inexorable slide under New Labour

At one time the British education system was one of the leading ones in the world and arguably helped pioneer the concept of universal education.

Sadly, this is no longer the case.

In the stewardship of the present government and confirming what many believe but has always been strenuously denied by New Labour it now seems our world standing has slipped out of the top ten.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development produce an international study. The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). They assess the performance of 15 year olds and are published every 3 years. The UK’s marks are not good – a definite ‘could do better’.

The UK avoided participating in the 2003 round of tests and their chickens are coming home to roost now. The latest assessments now place the UK, previously in the top ten, 24th in maths and 17th in literacy.

According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, the fact is the reading performance of 10 year olds in England has fallen to a world ranking of 19th.

Government ministers have tried to spin away the results, attempting to claim the rankings were not comparable with previous years. But a spokesperson for the OECD refuted this insisting the comparisons were "perfectly legitimate".

If the Government were actually serious, or even capable, of managing the education system they should look at scrapping all of the meddling changes and targets they have introduced over the last decade or more - Before them we were in the world top ten, now we are not. It speaks for it's self.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ When in doubt, observe and ask questions. When certain, observe at length and ask many more questions.”

George S. Patton

Are memory researchers making monkeys of themselves?

It seems Japanese memory researchers have tested young chimpanzees against University students and found that the chimps perform better in certain memory tests than the students.

Now I am not normally a betting man, but in this case I would be prepared to bet that they didn’t even think about testing the chimps against non, or pre-literate people.

I recall reading a study, or article, some years back - but I can’t remember ;-) where now - that showed non and pre-literate people performed significantly better in certain similar memory tests. It was concluded that this was because literate people, being able to and used to writing down what they wanted to ‘remember’ didn’t need to practice and develop their memory in that way. Conversely in certain other sorts of memory test literate people performed better.

I do seem to recall studies on the detrimental impact of cannabis on memory as well...

Dr Tetsuro Matsuzawa innocently said: ”No one can imagine that chimpanzees - young chimpanzees at the age of five - have a better performance in a memory task than humans.” Well, based on the above, one might well do so.

It could be the good Dr would have done better selecting his test subjects from amongst illiterate hunter gatherers.

God knows what the availability of the internet will do to us…

Monday, 3 December 2007

Quote of the day

“ Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them”

Peter Ustinov

UK Government to pull troops out of Basra, having failed to make it safe.

The UK are handing over control of Basra to the Iraqui ‘forces’

This sounds OK, on the face of it, but a report to MPs paints a different picture.

It points out that Basra is in fact run by militias and it’s police force contains "murderous" and "corrupt" elements, it also notes that the whole purpose of the UK forces' presence may be in question due to cuts.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the invasion of Iraq, having been part of it, it is surely our moral duty to leave the people of Iraq, at least no worse off as a result of our being there, and preferably in a better situation.

Have we done so? No - Why?

Well the main reason is the insurgency. There are vast amounts of money, arms and often foreign fighters pouring into the country, whose sole purpose is ensure things there never get any better. This is funded and cannon foddered by Islamicists. Some, no doubt, see their financial contribution as charitable. It is promoted and sustained by Iran, Syria and certain elements within Pakistan, not necessarily all for the same reasons.

All this has made the job of the armed forces insanely difficult, but what has made it impossible is much closer to home and lurks in the palace of Westminster. It is the Government.

They have, as they say, overstretched and over committed the limited available forces to the point where, as good as they are, as willing and brave as they might be, there are just not enough of them to get the job done in any one place and they can’t keep up indefinitely with no rest.

There are not enough forces there to do the job and the Government has reduced them on the ground in Iraq because of political expediency. They weren’t too worried about it wen they got into it, now they want to drop the ball and run off the pitch.

There is certainly not enough funding to sustain our forces out there, again because a greedy short sighted government wanted to – and still does – want to, take advantage of the so called and largely illusory ‘peace dividend’. By cutting military funding to the bone. To the extent that vital personal equipment is not available where it needs to be and heavy equipment, even if it is there, is not quite suitable for the job in the environment and not necessarily actually functional.

They should have realised that without the pressure of the cold war superpowers that the potential for medium scale conflicts that demand more, not less, troops would rise. Having the bomb is ok as a deterrent, but is not much use in situations where you can’t use it and it is not a credible threat. Then there is no substitute for plenty of well equipped, highly trained forces.

Although it is said that war is an extension of politics, you can’t play around in a field of conflict like you can in a debate and the consequences of getting it wrong can be much more ‘permanent’ for those who actually have to try to back up the hot air. Being able to talk the talk is worse than useless if you can’t walk the walk too.