Archive for the ‘Observations on life’ Category

One Day In…

January 21, 2017

And there is now conclusive proof that the American political system has elected an idiot to be our President!

It’s a beautiful planet…

September 15, 2016

Just…

July 7, 2016

Take the guns off the cops until they’ve had far more training than they apparently get now!

Spring Is Sprung…

March 12, 2016

No sooner did I mention how spring is about to burst forth, than it did…

 

Protectionism at it’s best….

February 7, 2015

Hershey, the US chocolate maker, makes Cadbury’s chocolate under license from the UK. They have recently won a court case that prevent the import of the British made version of that Chocolate into the US because they say, it hurts their sales. As a Brit I can say that the reason it hurts their sales is because their version of the chocolate tastes like crap and I wouldn’t feed it to pigs. In fact, it it is so far from tasting like ‘real’ Cadbury’s chocolate that I am surprised Cadbury’s even let them call it that.

So much for the open and free market economy in the biggest ‘open and free’ market economy in the world. As for Hershey’s chocolate, I won’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole.

I’m not one for hash tags but how about #KeepCadburysReal

HersheysIsNotCadburys

Take two aspirin and see me next week…

September 5, 2014

When it comes to ISIS (or IS or whatever they want to call themselves this week), it is my opinion that you don’t cure cancer by taking two aspirin and having a lie down.

This is the sort of ‘law’ they are imposing on those unlucky enough to be in their way:

ISIS

And if you want to see the true brutality of it all, watch the video on this site but be warned, it is graphic … http://dailysurge.com/2014/07/isis/

 

The Death of….

May 29, 2014

Well, pretty much any sort of delivery driver’s job.

Google have begun building prototype vehicles for their  driver-less car project and while the final product is probably some good way off, the writing is on the wall for delivery drivers.

GoogleDriverlessCar

Delivery drives includes the UPS/Fedex guy, taxi drivers and even truck drivers although that might take a little while longer, given the size and difficulty of driving and reversing an articulated truck. Combine the delivery guy job with an Amazon (or someone else’s) drone for the actual drop off at your home, or even an ambulatory (walking) robot for that part and essentially you are looking at the beginning of the end for that type of job.

It does beg the question though as to what all those people that are now out of work, plus the people in the infrastructure jobs that support them  like rest stops, gas stations will do for a living and that of course begs the question “what is the point of all this progress?” since without jobs to earn money, who will buy the goods that all these companies create using these highly efficient automated systems. Ultimately industry is cutting it’s own throat.

Still, that’s a discussion for another day.

 

And Ed gets a kick in teeth…!

April 14, 2014

I see that the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers are sharing the Pulitzer prize for  Public Service Journalism.

Meanwhile, our mate Edward Snowden, the source of all the information is still languishing in Russia with little chance of ever being able to return to his homeland and stay a free man.

Since there is no story without Mr Snowden’s efforts, I expect that the Washington Post and the Guardian will soon be forwarding any prize money to Ed as thanks for his contribution to exposing this abuse of power. Of course, I expect that pigs will be running their own airline soon as well.

EdwardSnowden

On Hobby Lobby…

March 31, 2014

As always, these are my thoughts on the topic and I don’t really care if you agree or not!

Normally I ignore this stuff, what I believe is my belief, what you believe is yours and that’s fine but I got to thinking about this lately and I think that what this comes down to in it’s most basic form is this – “Does the exchange of service (your work) for payment (your pay) on a contractual basis (your job) entitle anyone in that organization to dictate to you what your thoughts or beliefs should be?”. Because if it does, the concept of freedom on any sort, the thing this country was founded on just went out of the window and down the drain. People work together within a business for a common goal, that goal (outside of ones pay) being whatever it is the business provides. The religious beliefs of it’s employees should not be of any concern to that business unless an employee does or says something based on their beliefs that might hurt the business in some way.

 

HobbyLobby

A matter of priorities…

February 3, 2014

I was watching TV last night (no, NOT the Super Bowl) and saw two adverts as follows.

 

  1. ASPCA add. For only $18 a month I could help save a poor abandoned animal, accompanied by lots of pictures of sad, big eyed dogs and cats.
  2. UNICEF. For only $15 a day a I could help feed a hungry child, accompanied by lots of pictures of sad, big eyed children.

 

Now, it’s not for me to say that a lot of animals don’t need rescuing from owners that should not be left in charge of a rock, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could be so cruel to an animal that did nothing to deserve it (leaving out the whole issue of how we treat the animal we eat!) but don’t you think there’s something wrong with the fact that apparently it costs more to save abandoned pets than it does to save the human race.

This is a real Snowday…

January 28, 2014

This is a picture of an actual ‘snowday’ here in Raleigh, North Carolina…

SnowDay-1-18-2014

The schools really are closed today! Snow is due sometime later today around noon or later (it’s 8:30 am right now), so they have closed all the schools ‘to be safe’ and of course, there’s a run on groceries at the local supermarkets because we may be snowed in for a ‘day or two’ given that they are expecting three to six inches of the white stuff.

Quackers…

December 21, 2013

Unless you’ve been living under rock you’ll know that there’s been quite an uproar over remarks about Gays, Jesus and life in the south, made by Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty  show that airs on A&E over here in the good ol’ US of A!

So as always, here’s my $0.02 worth and you can take it or leave it, it’s just my opinion, yours may well be different.

I don’t agree with the guy but  I understand why he has the opinions and beliefs that he has. I did not always agree with my own father, a product of World War II in Europe, but I understood why he had the opinions that he did have and I respected him for that.

By his own admission, Robertson grew up in a time when those views were the prevailing views of society. Many people change as society changes but many don’t, can’t or simply won’t change along with it. Any way you look at it, they remain rooted in the past. If you are Joe Nobody and spouting to you mates over a couple of beers then no one really cares but when you have a public face, be it a TV show or even something as humble as a blog, yes, even this one, then sometimes you have to be a little bit more aware of your surroundings than you would otherwise be. You’d think a hunter would know that, but apparently not!

In a fair world we could all say what we like with no fear of reprisal but the reality is that everything we put out there for public consumption is subject to opinion, either by the public at large or anyone we can be associated with. It’s no different to the similar uproar a while ago over comments made by Dan Cathy, CEO of Chik-fil-A  on similar topics. I don’t agree with those or him but he’s welcome to his views, I just don’t eat at his establishments, that my choice and the cost (not much I admit) he pays for making his opinions public. I have no problem with him having his views, just don’t expect me to agree.

Off hand I think that if A&E were to disassociate themselves from everyone on their shows that has an opinion that is  contrary to current social norms, they’d very quickly find themselves with no shows at all. Overall  I think that Robertson got the sharp end of a not unexpectedly pointed stick from A&E for airing his point of view which is pretty strange really considering that it’s supposed to be a REALITY show. You don’t get more REAL than this which makes me at least want to question just what version of REALITY it is that A&E is trying to show.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Minority Report…

November 24, 2013

According to this story http://samuel-warde.com/2013/11/ohio-can-now-get-felony-modifying-car/ and based on the officer’s comment of “We apparently caught him between runs” it is now a felony in Ohio to think about committing a felony.

MinorityReport

It’s a short, slippery road from there to a police state. Just sayin’

Thanks papa…

November 3, 2013

Papa John’s delivery driver ignoring disabled parking spot at local mall.

PapaJohn

OK, so he was only there a few minutes but that’s not the point is it. He’s basically saying “I don’t give a **** about anyone less fortunate than me”. Far too often this is life in America today.

Use reverse logic…

October 31, 2013

There was an item this morning on the TV about the problem of football (the American Variety) players suffering concussions and one comment was that no amount of helmet technology could reduce the danger.

So, using reverse logic, the solution seems simple to me, remove all that bloody padding and the helmets. Trust me, if it’s going to hurt you (the attacker) as much as it’s going to hurt the guy you are tackling then you are going to back off and use less force. Less force equals less danger of concussion. OK, so you might loose a couple of teeth (like Rugby players) but I think on balance losing a couple of teath is preferable to dementia any day.

The same argument applies to boxing, another sport where the participants suffer brain injuries. In fact the whole point of boxing is to inflict a brain injury (resulting in unconsciousness aka a knockout) on your opponent. Bare knuckle fighting might appear to be more barbaric but take away the gloves and people hit each other with a lot less force because it bloody well hurts to hit something with your bare knuckles. Try it, hit a wall, it ruddy hurts!

So that’s my solution to all these sports injuries, remove all the padding and protection that really only protects the attacker in the confrontation and let them suffer as much pain as the target. Superficial injuries might go up but I bet you brain trauma goes down. Isn’t that worth a busted knuckle or two.

In Japan…

August 22, 2013

The Tokyo to Nagoya Maglev train is undergoing trials. It will travel the 218 mile distance in FORTY minutes at speeds of over 300 MPH.

Meanwhile, here in the US of A, the local government has spent 10 years trying to decide which way to route a 5 mile stretch of new freeway because going one way will require the demolition of some housing in a town while the other way will require it to go over or through or under (who knows really?) some wetlands that have a protected plant or frog or newt or something in them. There is a third route but we don’t mention that for some reason although it seems that is the one the DOT likes!

As for high speed rail! It takes 4 hours to drive to Washington DC from where I live. It takes SEVEN hours if you go by train. The new ‘high speed’ service will reduce that to SIX. Ha ha ha!! (and that’s assuming they can ever actually get the thing implemented).

I could say something about why America is in such a mess right now but I think the above pretty much sums it up (I still like living here though!)

 

 

You find…

August 14, 2013

All sorts of new friends (with trash) when you have a dumpster in your front yard!

On Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden…

August 3, 2013

It’s not for me to judge so I guess that only time will tell if Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are traitors or heroes but you have to wonder why these two young men would risk their freedom and future to do what they did.

I think Manning’s case in particular is far more complex than it first appears. He wears the country’s uniform and thus his allegiance and responsibility to the nation perhaps carries far more weight than that of an ‘ordinary’ citizen and as such he is expected to follow orders without question. After all, an army whose members all do their own thing based on their personal feeling is little more than a rabble. Just look at the various factions fighting in the middle east. However one could also argue that ‘just following orders’ is no defense either. One does not have to go back too far in time to hear that very excuse being used as a defense by guards at various concentration camps.

What’s really interesting though is that no one (other than the US government)actually seems to care too much about the actual content that he released. After all, have YOU heard of anything really ‘explosive’ or revealing coming out of the over seven hundred thousand documents he is reported to have leaked. So far as I can tell most of it is little more than day to day stuff with very little, if any at all, real ‘meat’.

Even though Edward Snowden was not employed directly by the government, I am sure that even as a contractor he would have had to sign various documents guaranteeing his silence in matters of ‘national security’. In spite of that he revealed a dirty, sneaky, underhand and quite possibly illegal (regardless of what the government says) data mining program related to  the nations phone use. Is such a program warranted and does it invade civil liberties? Who knows? Perhaps a topic for another post but so far as I can tell the governments main complaint is that they actually got caught doing this.

What really worries me though is not that these events occurred but the extent to which the government is actively pursuing two relatively minor people with the sort of effort reserved for the capture of Bin Laden, and I have to wonder, why?

The only reason that I can come up with is to instil fear into other like minded individuals that might consider taking a ‘whistle blower’ stance and exposing the hidden goings on in the government. Let’s face it, Manning is probably looking at a substantial prison term and in a military prison at that, and Snowden will probably never be able to return to the US or to see his family again on any sort of regular basis.

I also suspect that the Russian government is enjoying being able to stick it to the US government by granting Snowden even temporary asylum, but I also hope that Snowden manages to find some sort of peace somewhere in the world. After all, rightly or wrongly (and governments can ‘always’ justify their actions and find ways to ‘legalize’ them) Snowden did what he did because he believed that the government was abusing it’s power over the people. It is after all, supposed to be ‘by the people, for the people’.  In his own way he was trying to protect us from a possibly over zealous government that appears to find it very easy to justify such actions.

In the end though, I think that very little will really change in the long run. These men will fade into obscurity, the government will find other ways to collect the same data and other ways to justify and legalize that action and we the people will just carry on as always, pretty much oblivious to it all until men come knocking on doors in the night.

My advice to Mr Snowden any time he is thinking about coming back to the US is to take a long hard look at whatever happens Mr Manning because I am pretty sure that should Mr Snowden come back to the US, he will find himself in a very similar cell for a very similar length of time.

Costs the same but…

July 7, 2013

On the left, roll from the old pack. On the right, a roll from the new pack (same brand). Notice anything?

NewVsOld1

Pretty soon I expect this is what will be in the pack:

NewVsOld2

Or even this!

NewVsOld3

 

 

Whaling…

July 3, 2013

I see that Australia and Japan are going at each other in the Hague over whaling.

I was listening to an interview of the Japanese representative on NPR today and all I heard was that it was ‘scientific research’ but no actual facts or comments about anything that has been learned from the killing of ONE THOUSAND whales every year.  As soon as he started spouting number of wales killed vs population estimates of 515 thousand Minke whales as percentages I got suspicious, Politicians use percentages as a way to dehumanize numbers. As far as I could tell from his comments they are killing all these whales every year to study the how they live? Gotta wonder how killing something helps you understand how it lives?

Good for the boys down under for having the balls to stand up to the Japanese on this. Now if only the rest of the world would grow a set!

AusJapFlag