Friday, 30 December 2011

What a fine looking bunch

Haven't put up anything in a while, so I thought I'd do some digging.

I've a fair few friends who say that the modern Doctors are a lot easier on the eye than Classic. Personally, I think it's just the relative youth, just about every actor who has played the Doctor on screen looked pretty damn fine in their early days - I'd argue most of them looked good as they acted the Doctor too, but assuming they didn't for a moment...

William Hartnell 


Patrick Troughton

Jon Pertwee

Tom Baker

Peter Davison (youngest to play the Doctor, at twenty-nine, prior to Matt Smith stealing the crown)

(on the right)
Colin Baker (I'll give you, he's not the most typically good looking, but are any of them, really? Don't say Tennant, he's skinny, Scottish and has mad staring eyes. Face it.)

(scary 70s porno tache)

Sylvester McCoy (not easiest guy to find photos of, but I actually think he's alright looking these days too... I mean, look at Eccleston)

Compare to:

I personally don't think, other than who had the best hairdos* as the Doc, there's much to choose between...

(* Pertwee, Smith, Tennant.)


Also, film/extra Doctors (in some cases young, in Lumley and Broadbent's case, too awesome to bother with younger pics):

Jim Broadbent (played the Doctor for 2 spoofs, one with Victoria Wood the other as REG's regenerated self)

Joanna Lumley (wins, hands down, title of best looking Doctor, old or young)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

It's official, Tories lack humour

This chap here is the Chairman of Torbay's Conservative Future and member of Torbay UK Youth Parliament. Apparently, he is a little deficient in identifying humour. I made - what I admit is not the greatest joke since time began, but it was - a joke.

This is how it went. The BBC had retweeted this:

I found the idea of 'Tory sceptics mildly amusing so I made an average (typical of me) quip saying:

I know, it wasn't the wittiest remark of the century but it was pretty bloody clear I knew they meant eurosceptics. That being why I put #EU on the end... I was GOING to put in that tweet I posted above but there's only so much you could do in 140 characters, and I assumed anyone who followed me and cared about politics would get what I was on about.

I made this assumption because the people who follow me because they want to, not because they are spamming me, are generally people with a sense of humour. Clearly my hashtags picked up someone without a sense of humour. Or even an awareness of what might well be a poor joke (shall I stop pointing out it wasn't the finest of the millennia now?).

No, sir, no I did not. I meant exactly what I said. I meant that the BBC were using the term 'Tory sceptic' to describe Eurosceptics... and this amused me, because I am someone who is sceptical of much of the Conservative Party's policy. I am not ignorant of British, European or International politics. I am not stupid. And I certainly do understand what is meant by 'Tory sceptic'.

I despair for the future of the Conservative Party. Not only do they have a problem with racism, and misogyny but they're also incapable of recognising humour, not to mention a little patronising...

From now on, I'll remember to tag all my jokes with "#joke".

Thursday, 1 December 2011

For or Against?

We're all aware of The National Organization 'for' Marriage (NOM) in the United States, right? They were founded back in 2007 to campaign - successfully, unfortunately - for the passage of California's Proposition 8 which removed the right of same sex couples in the state to marry, taking away the right they already had.

More even than their bigorty and lies, what annoys me about NOM is that 'for'. National Organization for Marriage. No, my dears, no no no. You're not for marriage, you're against it. Get your facts right.

I like, as much as the next Brit, to mock America (it's loving, we swear), and this was just another opportunity for me to laugh at those silly bigoted right wingers over the pond who could use 'for' to mean 'against' and get away with it. Actually, that didn't occur to me at the time, I just needed a way to link into how fucking ashamed I am to announce...

(drum roll please?)

Yes... this is what you think it is. This is another anti-marriage organisation campaigning under the pretence of protecting families and preventing us all turning into anarchistic, animal-molesting cannibals, which I believe is what they think will happen. And yes, in my country. Scotland is currently undergoing a consultation on allowing same-sex couples to marry and the Kirk, the Catholic Church and representatives from the Muslim community are the most prominent to come out (no pun intended) against the introduction of equal marriage in Scotland, but the new campaign is just ace. It's nice to see good old classic lies and scaremongering:  

Then we have the delightful Mr Gordon Wilson, former leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, who is trying to freak his old party out by claiming that if equal marriage is introduced by the Nats it will affect the independence referendum (my scaremongering detectors are going mad).

(brief aside for anyone from overseas or even down South: 

        • Scottish National Party ""tend towards the initial view" that marriage should be expanded, but await the results of the consultation
        • The Scottish Labour Party supports equal marriage
        • The Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party leader, Ruth Davidson, supports equal marriage
        • The Scottish Liberal Democrats... guess? Yeah, they support it too.
        • The Scottish Green P- oh, you get the idea, basically, our main parties are all YAY!
okay, back to the post)
So, we've established there are a significant number of people in my country who are stuck in the dark ages and are against the majority (polling has put Scotland pretty consistently at 60% in support of equal marriage), so what are they saying?

The Kirk's statement said: 
"To redefine marriage to include same-sex marriage may have significant and, as yet, inadequately considered repercussions for our country, for the well-being of families, communities and individuals." 
... the well-being of families... because gay people don't have families?

Cardinal Keith O'Brien of the Catholic Church (that bastion of family values) had the following to say:
“If the Scottish Government attempt to demolish a universally recognised human right, they will have forfeited the trust which the nation, including people of all faiths and none, have passed in them and their tolerance will shame Scotland in the eyes of the world."
Yes, the man is clearly, a little off. So straight marriage is a 'universally recognised human right' which gays are attempting to exterminate? Correct? Oh wait...
Also, I'm no fan of the word 'tolerance', I don't want to be tolerated, that makes it seem like you are just putting up with it, however I'll take it, quite frankly. However, the way the good Cardinal uses it, you'd almost think the bigot thinks tolerance and respect of other people is a bad thing. What would his chum Jesus say?
What is more, if accepting LGBT people and working for that is going to shame us in the eyes of the world, let's get shaming. And is Mr O'Brien forgetting we're the country that released Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to much condemnation? Our government has some glorious moments of sticking it to the man. Equal marriage, releasing on compassionate grounds a man who [may have] been involved in the deaths of 270 people, equal marriage, releasing on... yeah, I can see what our government might be more widely criticised for. 

(Wee extra note again: seeing as I dragged it up, I do support the decision of Kenny MacAskill and co to release Al-Mehgrahi. It was the right decision under the circumstances presented - disgusting to see people complaining that he's still alive two years later. Slow death from a terminal illness? I would already have been to Dignitas by now, not much of a life.)

Ann Allen of the CoS seems to be excreting out of her mouth these days: 
“There are all sorts of consequences that are going to result if the Scottish Government proceed down this route.
“I cannot see one positive consequence for the young people of Scotland or for the parents and grandparents in Scotland.
“It’s certainly not a route that I want to see our society travelling down.”
I feel the only response is to post this.

And one last gem from Bashir Maan, a Muslim community leader:
“I’m concerned about this, and so is the Muslim community, because I think it could be the beginning of the destruction of society as we know it.”
“If there’s no family, what about society? These politicians should look forward and have some foresight – what will become of the family without the union of a man and woman?”
Again: gays have families. Actually...


Doubt that got my point across any better than it would have without shouting but it made me feel better.

I feel that old adage is appropriate here.

Guys, if you don't want to get marry someone of the same-sex, don't.*

* oops, I forgot, this whole 'letting Teh Gayz marry' business involves us indoctrinating the whole population to our perverse ways, right? (The Gay Agenda™, p246, art. 4 para. 1(c))

EDIT i): A friend of mine who is anti-any marriage decided to point this out as I posted. That's not what this is about. While there are civil partnerships and marriage, anyone, regardless of their religion, lack thereof, ethnicity, gender ought to have equal access to it. I support straight civil partnerships, however, as straights aren't fighting heterophobia in schools and workplaces across the country, I do believe that is a bit of a secondary concern... should be dealt with as soon as possible, but there aren't exactly well financed, misleading organisations campaigning against it, are there?

EDIT ii): These are small, mean, bigoted, disgusting, lying individuals. I feel nothing but contempt.

I am seething. Not only does he disparage marriage, I can live with that, but he attacks families. Families that happen to be a little less than nuclear. Fuck you. Fuck all of you shitheads. I give up on being in any way articulated. I am going to sit here swearing. Sit here, on my own, like a crazy person hollering expletives at my computer screen.
I am seriously glad Ann Allen is not a fucking teacher any more. YES YOU ARE GOING TO BE LABELLED AS BIGOTED AND NARROW MINDED. Of course you are. Because you fucking are. Want a positive result for the young people? Acceptance.  Kids in schools who can know that sometime in the future their government and most of their country is for them and accepts them and whoever they chose to be with, it doesn't matter to them. Anyone can get a civil partnership, anyone can get a marriage.  

Separate is inherently unequal.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Hysteria from Mr Gove

"They want families to be inconvenienced.
They want mothers to give up a day's work, or pay for expensive childcare, because schools will be closed.
They want teachers and other public sector workers to lose a day's pay in the run-up to Christmas.
They want scenes of industrial strife on our TV screens; they want to make economic recovery harder; they want to provide a platform for confrontation just when we all need to pull together."
Does anybody else reckon Michael Gove has gone a little hysterical?

Yes, actually, a few right-leaning bloggers and columnists on the web seem to think that the Conservative rhetoric is a little - as we say - OTT.

It's hard not to agree with the Telegraph's Daniel Knowles who in a recent column made the point that half of Twitter's been highlighting for a few weeks now:
"MPs like Dominic Raab call for strikes to be banned unless a majority of workers are in favour (apparently missing the irony that most MPs are not elected by a majority of their constituents)." 
Mhmm, indeed, the Conservative Party don't even hold a majority, and let's face it, if you read the last blog I posted, go to the Guardian's Cameron interview, you can see Cameron doesn't even think he'd be doing much different if the LibDems weren't in Coalition.  ConDem? Pah. This is a Conservative Government. A Tory Government without a majority, elected by a first-past-the-post voting system.

I'll be heading along to show solidarity with the public sector strikers at the picket lines at Glasgow, all assuming this stomach bug doesn't consume me before Wednesday.

In which I rant: David Cameron

I usually try and stick to hating the policies of people I have never met rather than crossing over to the person, but there are two and only two politicians I have ever felt myself cross the line from reasonable disagreement over a political ideology into a visceral revulsion. And unfortunately they sit next to each other every Wednesday on Prime Minister's Questions and they are two of the most senior members of our current government.

David Cameron and George Osborne.

A lot of people in my group of friends (not to mention my father) seem to feel similarly about Nick "The" Clegg, but to be entirely honest, all I can feel toward Clegg is the occasional twinge of annoyance. Much similar to my feelings towards his namesake. He's screwed his own chances in the next election, he screwed his Scottish counterparts' chance in the 2011 election as well as the Welsh Liberals and he's screwed the Liberal Democrats in general for the next goodness knows how long. Remember in 2009 when one poll put the Lib Dems ahead of Labour? Willing to bet that's not happening again for a fair wee while. They said Tony Blair was George Bush's lapdog, Nick's more like Cameron's neglected hamster.

Back to the topic of this 'quick' post though: Mr Cameron. That is, I mean to say, The Right Honourable David Cameron MP, Prime Minister Incumbent of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, First Lord of the Treasury, our lord and master standing on high (I'll stop now). What is my problem with him? Policies aside.
  1. I know Prime Minister's Questions is notorious for being full of rude, arrogant, noisy twelve year olds but Cameron is the worst,  the absolute nadir when it comes to pointless, idioticextraneous insults being slung around.
  2. The 'jokes' when he is being asked something serious. Patronising git.
  3. And I'm sorry to be petty enough to insult his looks, but seriously, he's an Auton (and not the Rory Williams type - I'm talking plastic-y, smashing up restaurants with his hammer-hand Mickey in Rose).
What prompted this reasonably short rant? The Guardian did an interview with the man himself ("David Cameron, we have a few questions for you…") and a few of his responses got my back up.

Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author
Why do you support faith schools for children who are too young to have chosen their faith, thereby implicitly labelling them with the faith of their parents, whereas you wouldn't dream of so labelling a "Keynesian child" or a "Conservative child"?
"Comparing John Maynard Keynes to Jesus Christ shows, in my view, why Richard Dawkins just doesn't really get it. I think faith schools are very often good schools. Why? Because the organisation that's backing them – the church or the mosque or the synagogue – is part of the community. And it brings a sense of community and the backing of an institution to a school. The church was providing good schools long before the state got involved, and we should respect the fact that it's not just the state that can provide education but other bodies, too."
I despise the use of "just doesn't get it" - both of the main parties in British politics seem to have become absolutely obsessed by it recently. They correct response is to yell, "OH YES HE DOES!" at the offender (oops, panto is definitely seeping into my conciousness). No, seriously though, saying someone like Professor Dawkins "just doesn't get it" is leaving yourself wide open - seriously, the man has spent a good fifty years practising his responses to being told he's a strident, silly old fool who just hates your imaginary friend. You could write an essay on where Cameron goes wrong on this response, but I have fifteen minutes before I have to get to work, so I won't start. Aside from that, others have argued against the system faith schools follow in Britain better than I could, so a little Googling would be best.
Mike Leigh, film-maker
What is your moral justification for the state not providing free further education for everybody, and for the principle of student loans? And I do want to hear your moral reasoning: not any economic, political or historic excuses.
"I think there is a strong moral case for this, which is the evidence that going to university brings a benefit to that individual person over the course of the rest of their life. Therefore, I think it is morally right that they make a contribution to the cost of that course, which is what our fees policy does. And I think it would be morally wrong to ask the taxpayer to bear all of the burden of that cost, not least because there are many taxpayers who don't go to university who don't have that benefit."
When I first read this, I was at work and honestly, I thought I was going to put my fist through the computer. Lucky for my finances I remembered that would do no-one any good. All I can say in regard to this is that I have never been so happy to be under a devolved Scottish Government in this area. I dislike that universities such as Edinburgh have raised, have been allowed to raise, tuition fees for non-Scot, UK students to match the horrendous situation down South as much as the next person, but the one thing I can be sure of - glad of - while we have the SNP in office is that they won't share the UK Tory/Liberal/Labour Parties goal of alienating the lower middle and working class from entering university in Scotland.
Miranda Hart, comedian
What's the least favourite part of your job (apart from the difficulty of ordering takeaways to Number 10)?
"The thing I dread the most is news of casualties from Afghanistan, because that's the greatest responsibility. The thing that is odd and weird is having to have people open car doors for you because they weigh two tonnes and if you tried to do it yourself you'd cut your leg off."
Liar. You freeze the pay of tens of thousands of men and women involved in the forces and order them to continue on wars that cannot be won abroad (as well as suggesting they cover the duties of striking UK Border Agency workers). If you cannot afford to pay the armed forces, you cannot afford to fight. 
Oh and, har-di-har ha! LOL!!!!!!11!11!!!!1!, at the door. 
Terry Wogan, broadcaster
What does the PM think the public think of him?
"All sorts of things. Of course, there are people who profoundly disagree with you – and sometimes people can get very angry with you. But I think people are basically very fair-minded and as long as they see you trying to do your best, and doing what you believe in, they will be reasonable with you."
I do not think you are trying to do what is (whether you are doing your best at whatever it is you're trying to do, only you can know) best. If what I'm hearing you say and seeing you do is what you believe in, I cannot respect you, I can only be glad I will probably never meet you because I am one of those 'very angry' people who might have difficulty even being civil.
Angela Eagle, Labour MP whom Cameron told to 'Calm down, dear'
Your cuts hit women harder than any other group. What's your problem with women?
"It's absolutely true that, when you face a big budget deficit and great debts and all that Angela Eagle's party left us, you have to take some difficult decisions. But I don't accept this characterisation. Labour wants to make a series of political points about cuts and women because they see it to their political advantage."
There we are again with "it's all Labour's fault". Has anyone seen a week of BBC Question Time in the past year and a half where Labour haven't been blamed? I'm not even a Labour supporter, I'm not all that keen on Miliband a lot of the time, but for fuck's sake, give it a rest with the Labour blaming. 

I've really got to get to work, but basically, he personally attacks Alistair Campbell and Jeremy Paxman (don't like these two either, but it's childish, I don't want a childish PM), Tony Benn on nuclear weapons, belittles Salman Rushdie's point on university education, weasels over the NHS... just read it. If you want to know why I dislike David Cameron, he makes it wonderfully clear in that interview.

And Gideon? Gideon's just... well... maybe another day.

PS. It's weird, maybe it's because they're so dinky (almost as dinky as my own party) and pathetic, but I am reasonably fond of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. I miss old Annabel Goldie, I may have disagreed with her on a few hundred points but she really was a politician "trying to do [her] best, and doing what [she] believes in". She was a pretty good opposition to Alex Salmond and that gent really needs someone to keep a check on him, I'm wary of Ruth Davidson's ability to do so. 

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Sorry about the clichéd title. Can't help myself, but oh yes it is.

PANTO-TIME! (pardon the pun)

I love pantomine. I can't help it. They're camp and cheesy and ridiculously gay in every sense of the word and I just adore them. What is even better, is I get to work on pantomimes right through December, always amateur (the best kind), mostly with companies I've been working with for a number of years. It does, however, mean I don't stand a chance of having evenings to myself until after Christmas, for once I'm not complaining though. Seeing as my current contract ends next week, it'll be good to have one final push on moneymaking before returning to the horror that is job-searching as a student in January. 

Anyway, best job in the world - lighting on pantomime - it's all very simplistic for the shows I do, nothing too stressful and as long as you're not an actor there's not really any pressure, mistakes are easy to spot and mostly overlooked.

Pantomine season = awesome.

Friday, 25 November 2011

What do snowmen wear on their heads?*

Quick post before I head back out to work.

Have you been watching Frozen Planet? My god... you think Attenborough's done his best documentaries, then the BBC comes out and show us why we pay for them. This show is absolutely beautiful, I would really advise watching it, despite the schism it has created in my group of friends. Around half of us have decided we're going to become extreme documentary filmmakers, thanks to the "Freeze Frame" section at the end of each episode, the other half have declared that it would be too cold/dangerous/"are you insane?"/unbearable to stand by at allow nature to take it's course (bye bye, cute fluffy penguins). Personally, I agree that it would be shocking, but how extraordinary to be able to say, "Yeah, I was involved in that. That was my shot." 

Really, there is some beautiful stuff in here. The score is perfect, the camera work is gorgeous, it is put together sublimely, and Sir David is, as always, David Attenborough. One and only. The only disappointment I do have is that the BBC have exported it as a six episode series, allowing networks the option of the seventh. The Discovery Channel in the US - amongst others - is declining to broadcast the final episode, which deals with climate change. They're denying this is censorship of a show for the massive numbers of climate change deniers in the States but, c'mon, really

Personally, I look forward to next week's penultimate episode hugely, and to the final in a fortnight. It's always nice to sit, nod and think about how perfect a broadcaster Attenborough is while agreeing with most of what he says.

And here are some penguins:

* "ice caps", if you're interested. Though I'd usually stuff a Trilby on it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


EDIT: Another kitten popped out, Brian, who is doing well. Sadly, Kelvin died. RIP Kelv (all hail.).

Well oh well, my old colleague over at Cheese Division has had a wee surprise this morning. Kelvin, born under mysterious circumstances, has obviously founded a new religion, the Kelvinites (ALL HAIL!). Obviously science - checking the cats for willies mostly, I believe - has been catching up with our religion, but those of us with True Faith in the great Kelvin stick by the original tales from the Book of Kelvin (written by the Three Apostles: myself, Donte and Ptch).

The Blessed Book of Kevin

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Are you ready to rapture?

I'm sure we all heard that Camping's once again failed to predict the end of the world. Found this via PZ Myers' Pharygula.

(really NSFW)


Well, I have been silent a fair while. Blame it on life. Too much blasted work. It's insane. And stupid. And for a week I have been in the remote Scots north, robbed of internet.

Couple of things, just to flesh out this I'M ALIVE post:

  1. LOOK, IT'S A WEASEL! My good partner-in-crime has a blog. Spiffy.
  2. And throw Morby's Tumblr in, else she'll claim I'm neglecting her.
  3. I saw Tinker Tailer a few weeks back. I thought it was excellent. I am in love with Benedict Cumberbatch.
  4. I am a cheater. This is true. I am watching Grey's Anatomy with two different people, and I feel somewhat adulterous.
  5. I did a crossword on Thursday. Yes, it was an 'quick crossword', but I did it all. I finished it and I did it with my aunt mocking me because whoever set that one in the Guardian is clearly on a dry spell as one of their clues gave you 'turn on' and another 'virgin'. I rest my case.
  6.  I also just burnt my tongue on hot chocolate. Seems I put it in for longer than I thought I did. Oops.
And here's a Doctor Who (Tenth) fanvid I stumbled upon and rather liked.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

"Make It Stop"

I was reminded of this today by an MTV poll, so I thought I'd post. Poignant release last month by Rise Against focussing on homophobic bullying and suicides. It really is worth watching the video.

You can contribute to the Trevor Project here. As the Trevor Project is mostly focussed in the United States (though the videos come in from all over the world and many are well worth watching - gay or straight), I usually put my support, living in the UK, to Stonewall which does some bloody good work over here.

And, er, yes, the Doctor Who nerd does like punk... mostly classic 80s stuff though.

Last known gay survivor of Nazi camps dies

Rudolf Brazda, the last known 'pink triangle' survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, has died aged ninety-eight according to a German gay rights group. The Washington Post gives some background (modified):
Brazda was sent to the Nazis’ Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1942 and held there until its liberation by U.S. forces in 1945. Nazi Germany declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race, and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.
[...]  Brazda was born in 1913. He grew up in the eastern German town of Meuselwitz and repeatedly ran into trouble with Nazi authorities over his homosexuality before being sent to Buchenwald. Brazda lived in the Alsace region of eastern France after World War II. Earlier this year, he was named a knight in the country’s Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Norway attacks

I was going on hiatus but I'm just posting quickly on Oslo. I have a few mates in Norway who live about 20 miles from Oslo, none were harmed but do have friends who were on Utøya island, I have no idea if anyone they know has been hurt. My condolences to the families and the friends of those murdered. 

I'm sure once it's been determined that these were the actions of Norwegian political extremists many media outlets will stop using the word 'terrorism', you can already see that happening on the United States' reporting. But if, as is looking likely, these attacks were politically motivated, they were nothing short of terrorism. 

I have another friend who works for the DSB in Norway, I imagine he's going to be in for a nightmarish time in the aftermath of these events - best of luck to all those working in emergency planning and response. 

The Guardian and BBC both have live blogs running.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Senior Ghanaian minster orders arrest of gays

I've finally found something (via Nicholas Pegg) to drag me kicking and screaming away from the phone hacking scandal here in Britain.
Reports are coming in from a few news outlets that Ghanaian National Democratic Congress politician and Minister for the Western Region of Ghana, Paul Evans Aidoo, has ordered the security forces in the country to round up all people suspected of engaging in homosexual activity. He has also asked for the assistance of Blockleiters (apologies, my fingers couldn't avoid the slip into Godwin) landlords and tenants in providing reliable information on gay people in the area. Ghana isn't exactly a haven for LGBT people and after months of campaigning by Aidoo against homosexuality in the country this doesn't come as a huge surprise. He also appears to be one of the African politicians who believes that homosexuality is a Western 'problem', stating that he does not believe the recent number given of 8,000 lesbians and gay men in the region (though it is difficult to substantiate as this post outlines - if anyone knows a better source, please link me). 

As a side note, LGBT people generally account for about 2-10% of the population, this being the case, the Western Region's population of 1,924,577 should be home to at least 36,000 gay people - you could fit the population of the Scottish town (considered of a reasonable size - we had three schools in the town itself, a supermarket, plenty of wee shops in the centre, about eight churches and a swimming pool) where I grew up into that number two and half times.
Meanwhile, Mr Aidoo has said of the gay community in the country that: “all efforts are being made to get rid of these people in the society.” Delightful man. When are you planning on pushing a 'Kill The Gays' bill through? I'm sure if you try hard enough you could be like Uganda, or even better, Saudi Arabia! Wouldn't that be nice? Just for now though I'll mark you in there with Jamaica.

EDIT: I'm just posting some more recent reports/blogs/etc that have come through during the day - a fair few say basically the same thing, others elaborate further. Below my list, I've got a bit more bloggery.


FURTHER EDIT: Ghanaian Chronicle have posted a nasty little homophobic piece to their website which I would blog further on only I'm exhausted, however their conscience is slightly greater than Mr Aidoo's at the least:
The Chronicle hopes the authorities would not take advantage of the anti-homosexual sentiments in society to pursue a witch-hunting agenda. We can pursue the cause of eliminating this society of the scourge of gay and lesbian activities, without being vindictive.
On one hand... cheers for not supporting the witch-hunt, on the other... bollocks.

Also, I've looked into our "lynch 'em" friend and found the source-iest article in which the MP for Shai Osu Doku, Hon David Tetteh Assuming (a Christian) suggesting that mob justice would be carried out by Ghana's people where he also states that homosexuality is a foreign import (yep, that old chestnut):

You cannot trace this act to any of the settings in Ghana. So this is foreign and I am I saying that Ghanaians cherish our culture a lot so for anybody to adulterate the cultural setting in Ghana as far as this act is concerned[...]

Just like good old Christianity. As Christianity was a foreign import, I thoroughly advocate your abandoning the religion immediately, sir, for the good of the cultural setting of your country. I do note, in his defence, that he doesn't explicitly advocate mob action, he just supports more frequent raids on gay people's meeting places, lack of equality, fighting equality and increasing the numbers of people (i.e. recruiting more women) to spread intolerance. He is going out of his way to create the culture where people will lynch their fellow human beings on the grounds of their sexuality, actual or perceived.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

End of an era

I just went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2  twice... seven o'clock on the fifteenth with some friends, then on the sixteenth (today) at six-fifteen in the evening with my family, who I forced to sit through about ten minutes of credits because - as I was laughed at for stating - "They are my people."

tl;dr: Film was fucking awesome. Errors were there. Who cares? I think too hard about fiction. Nostalgia.

I took issue, as could only be expected, with a few points, but overall, it was a fitting end to the era, and I feel my childhood has now officially slipped away. I grew up with those books and films, it was not simply a story, it was an experience - though unlike some friends, I gave up waiting for my letter from Hogwarts a few years ago and embraced being a Muggle.

Easily fooled I may be, caught in the spell of a flawed series of books and a flawed set of films, but they captured my imagination and in the world of Harry Potter I met characters I could relate to, those I couldn't, things I recognised, sly little satires on the ordinary world, but the more into the books and the films I got the more I appreciated being a Muggle. I could go on forever, far longer than this paragraph, when I'm getting myself to sleep I explore where Joanne Rowling took us and where she didn't and where I can't quite remember: owl post and the Floo Network is all very well, but I have e-mail, chats, forums, social networks and instant messaging - I can meet people who share my interests and open me up to new ones at the click of a button. Sure, the wizarding world is generally greener than ours (though they clearly don't care enough about the environment to lend a few wands to tackling global climate change) but it's also more closed. Sticking your head in a fire is uncomfortable, Skype on the other hand is as comfy as the beanbag in your bedroom. Where in Hogwarts to they offer Human Biology and Physics? History of Magic is all very well, but what about learning some of the Muggle wars - surely the wizarding world was hit by the world wars? And even if they weren't, isn't it worth teaching to the young wizards as a lesson? We learn American and Eastern European history in Britain. I despise Maths with all my heart, but there's no denying it surprises me with it's usefulness on occasion. What if a young witch or wizard wanted to go into film or television or into government, technology or medical care in the non-wizard world? They would have to have exam results falsified or spend years at colleges gaining the necessary qualifications.

Also, no Doctor Who or David Attenborough for wizards? I'll stick to muggling it.

There you have it, and I'm not alone in thinking too hard, there are people out there who think harder and (somewhat alarmingly) more seriously than I do. It's a nostalgic type of interest and intrigue with me, some people get right in deep and philosophical, accusing Rowling of anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny and being an evilz capitalist. Not that I can be bothered with most (read: any) of them.


But the film! I enjoyed, it was utterly epic, beautifully shot and gorgeously put together. The Pensieve scene was to die for. I wanted to be involved in editing that so badly. To put it simply: they did good. Sure Lily's eyes didn't match Harry's (I'M TELLING YOU, NEMO, THEY WERE BROWN), the fight between Bellatrix and Molly wasn't long enough, the Dumbledores' story was skipped (I see a prequel film coming...) and Harry didn't fix his wand... but really, I didn't expect perfection. The escape from Gringotts showed me exactly how brilliant CGI can be, the dragon was exquisite. Matthew Lewis' Neville is both the same  round faced boy we met in the first book and the heroic man he is meant to be by the end. Bonham Carter and Watson as Hermione was well-judged and thought through. 

However, it was Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall who stole the show for me. Both suitably grave - banishing Snape from the castle and protecting her students - and yet human, with her excitement at using the spell to release the Hogwarts gargoyles and in delivering the line to Seamus, nodding towards his mishap in first year Charms. It did irritate me she had to send the Slytherins to the dungeons, but as with much of it, they did have to keep the story going. 

Did I mention how fucking beautiful the dragon was?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Never mind Dalek Caan, meet Dalek Holmes

A friend forwarded me this, I've had it open in a tab a few days now because I know I lose and forget about things if I don't. Decided to shelf it in here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Boycott The NotW (cont)

It's been hard to start writing up a post on this. Every time I have settled down to type it up more news comes through on my search feed. The main movement is a Twitter (though it's spread to other areas of the internet) campaign to have advertisers with the News of the Screws drop their investments in the paper. At 1200BST as I write this 10 11 advertisers (the Co-Op just came to their senses) will not be featured in the NotW, a further 10 are 'considering their position', 4 are “awaiting outcome of police investigation”, 1 is refusing comment and two are one is continuing advertisement. Political Scrapbook are keeping their list up-to-date.

It will be interesting to see the fallout from this. Prime Minister's Questions has just started and there are sure to be some questions relating to an inquiry into the phone hacking and to the BSkyB takeover bid.

It is amazing to see the backlash though, particularly on Twitter, coming from all sides. It's not just the left wing and progressives that are up in arms (though there are differing views over whether this should affect Murdoch's attempt to buy up BSkyB) but people from all over the political spectrum. I doubt whether many of the regular readers of NotW will boycott their paper but the advertisers pulling out will hopefully hit them hard enough in the wallet.

Kudos to the Guardian for pursuing the story. They're keeping a live blog on everything unfolding here.

Petitions against the BSkyB takeover can be found here and here.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Boycott The NOTW

I need to get to bed, so I'll direct you to this. And post that:

(click picture to enlarge)
Might post something tomorrow.

Monday, 4 July 2011

What music they make

I have a confession to make. 

I watch a lot of really crap television. People think of me as this high brow film snob, which I am a bit, but I watch a shitload of really bad television. I impose a sort of quota, where I only watch one at a time. Glee finished up for the season here in Britain a few weeks ago and I hadn't yet found myself new bollocks to watch... then i found out Fiona Shaw (a member of my Holy Watch List*) was on the new series of True Blood.

In the past three days I have watched two seasons, I'm just about to start the third.

I have one major reason for continuing to watch. The fangs make for great LOLage. Then fangs in the sex scenes, hilarious. I get immature and giggly enough at intimate contact on screen without them throwing in fangs. I didn't stand a chance. But otherwise it is actually genuinely engaging. The opening credits are well made and not as cringe-inducing as I expected them to be. The characters aren't awful, some are reasonably well rounded. I'm getting used to the surplus of Southern accents. There are some classic lines.

Yeah, it is undoubtedly crap, but it's good crap. I classify things into "Good Crap" (Glee, Torchwood, Ugly Betty, True Blood, Neighbours, so on) and "Bad Crap" (EastEnders, Dollhouse, Desperate Housewives, Casualty, &c), the latter is watched a few times then ditched, the former is as obsessive as, say, Doctor Who. 

I'm not big on the whole vampire fad - don't get me started on Twilight, as I like to state before having shoes thrown at me by ex-"Twihard" friends, I was up in arms against Twilight before it became fashionable to do so - but I have no objection to vampires on a television show (Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of the few 'cult' or classic television programmes I watched in their first run - mostly I tend to catch up on a few years later) and these are good proper vampires. Sure, the garlic and the mirrors are myths - well explained - but there are stakes and sunlight and no sparkles. 

One thing I will not watch is most reality telly - Strictly Come Dancing is it, otherwise, I don't go near them. They are beyond crap.

*the Holy Watch List dictates that I must watch/attempt a film or television show if it has a particular actor in it. The actors on this list currently consist of:-
  • Ian McKellen
  • John Barrowman
  • Fiona Shaw
  • David Tennant
  • Kristin Chenoweth
  • Ewan McGregor
  • Julie Walters
  • Helena Bonham Carter
  • John Cho
  • Stephen Fry
  • Alan Rickman
You have no idea the shite some of these guys have put me through. It's a good way of making new discoveries though. Sometimes I find myself liking something I never expected to. The list is subject to additions and reductions.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

"A Message of Hope from the US Senate"

I just wanted to say how awesome I think these thirteen senators from the United States are - I have no idea what their political backgrounds are, but frankly, I'm happy to give them all a hug for their support of LGBT youths and general equality.

The senators involved are all Democrats:

  • Ron Wyden (Oregon)
  • Chris Coons (Delaware)
  • Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
  • Richard Durbin (Illinois) 
  • Dianne Feinstein (California)
  • Charles Schumer (New York)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire)
  • Maria Cantwell (Washington)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)
  • Al Franken (Minnesota) 
  • Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
  • Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A reply to a friend

A friend of mine blogs over on Tumblr. I was going to leave her a comment over there but there but you can't leave links in the 'Ask' function. She made a short post under a comment by a fellow tumblree saying:
 "Word.  Thank god this woman [Michele Bachmann] has no chance in hell at presidency.  I’m still worried people like her even exist, though."
I wrote a wee essay before I realised I couldn't post the links so I've moved it across here.
Not so much a question, also I'm an outsider looking on and I think we Brits may exaggerate the insanity of the American public but still...  
On the Bachmann front, other than sadistic curiosity about what a MB presidency would look like, I'd rather for all of our sakes that she didn't get in - but this statement a while back caught my eye (as an irreligiously raised atheist who Does Not Understand these people): 
"Michele Bachmann says certain things that sound crazy to the general public. But to anybody raised in the environment of the evangelical right wing, what she says makes perfect sense." --- Frank Schaeffer (a former member of the Christian right) 
Then there's this poll from back in 2005.
I doubt Michele Bachmann will even get the Republican nomination, but then again, they polled Oregon and Montana and had 54% and 50% respectively viewing her favourably of those asked... and I don't trust your country after you managed to re-elect Bush Mark II.
No need for a reply, just thought the links might interest you. Also, the Daily Beast profile on Bachmann is here if you haven't seen it and are interested.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

I feel so proud

My natural competitive nature made me go, "YAY, WE WIN!" when I read this. Then I remembered this is not necessarily something I should wander about feeling proud of (despite my support of legalising drugs)... and I'm not part of that 3.9%, so I didn't even help out.

Why I should never go on YouTube

I am incredibly angry. I am more than just angry, I am fucking furious. Sometimes, I simply despise people. I spend a lot of time online and you get a load of bullshit thrown at you from all corners constantly but sometimes comments are made that cut just too close tot the bone. I laugh about the idiotic conspiracy theories around 9/11 without thinking how angry it has make the saner of those actually personally touched by that horrific tragedy. I hope they are at least. These almost entirely baseless, 'god of gaps'-like arguments that we've all heard can hurt. Some disturbed, sad little person behind a keyboard will start them off and they will spread like wildfire, often reaching the mainstream. I'm sure the public Obama 'birthers' (a more amusing, though now tedious, conspiracy) would have happily jumped on the 9/11 conspiracy bandwagon if it weren't for it occurring under a Republican presidency. 

But my ire today is directed at one stupid little YouTube comment that touched a nerve. 

I'll suppose you don't have some vague idea of what the Dunblane Massacre is, so for anyone who doesn't know; Dunblane Primary School is one of three primary schools in the Scottish town of Dunblane. In 1996, a man named Thomas Hamilton walked into the school and shot sixteen 5-6 year olds dead alongside their teacher, others were seriously injured. It remains the deadliest massacre of children in the United Kingdom, and one of the worst firearms attacks on a school in the western world. 

I know, "don't feed the trolls" hence why I came over to my blog where I can get this out of my system without turning what is a mostly un-trolled thread into a pointless argument.

But where do I start? The man who made this comment is obsessed with gun control. Oddly, though I brought up 9/11, it looks like he isn't one of those conspiracy theorists - does this mean he is so ill-inclined to his own country that he thinks it is easier for Britain's government, intelligence services, police and civil servants to cover up a multiple murder than in the United States? We're more likely to be murderers. God, to be in his head... I would rather not give his videos more viewings, but just from looking at his comments and the titles, I am seriously glad we have gun control here.

I should really have disregarded it the moment I saw the comment. Typical conspiracy loony markings. Hacked site containing "ALL THE PROOF THAT EVAH EXISTED DD=" now lost. Oh, well isn't that a damned shame. A damned convenient shame.

The book he is talking about is a mess. Honestly, only an American radio show would ever talk to the woman that wrote it because the thing is a disgrace. Dunblane Unburied is, for starters, extremely poorly written, much like our friend's comment but even after you get past the poor quality writing it is unoriginal and ridiculous. It lays the blame for the attack on just about everyone excluding the man who really committed the crime. The police are accused of having followed Hamilton and of permitting him to commit the slaughter at Dunblane before shooting him dead themselves, the Freemasons were involved in a cover-up, a paedophile ring of high-ranking civic figures were friendly with Hamilton and suppressed evidence - if you can't see the absurdity from my brief explanation I'll add that none of these claims even attempted to back themselves up with evidence. I said 'god of gaps' - there were no gaps here. The claims aren't put in where there is no - or is disputed - evidence, they were crudely pasted over good facts with a gluestick. 

It might be funny. Only remember what the woman who wrote this book and the man who shat out that comment are writing about? 

There is a book called Dunblane: Our Year of Tears which you can read if you want a moving account of this tragedy and it's effect on those involved or for the official document, The Cullen Report (The Public Inquiry into the Shootings at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996) will give you the facts of the investigation and recommendations given to the Government at the time.

Because seventeen people were murdered, sixteen of them were children and this isn't something to mock.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Same-sex marriage - the right answer

"There are some subjects that should be discussed in shades of grey, with acknowledgement of subtleties and cultural differences. Same-sex marriage is not one of those. There is a right answer."
Hadley Freeman is an American columnist and writer, she has written for a number of years in one of the few semi-honest British national newspapers, The Guardian. Her writing has always amused me (in particular, and surprisingly to anyone who knows me and my complete lack of style, her no-nonsense fashion column) but it has never quite made me want to take a flight to her current place of residence and hug her. The piece is littered with witty observations, but most importantly it is from the heart and honest.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Choice to die

Some claim that suicide and euthanasia are equivalent to state-sanctioned murder if legal. This is, clearly,  hysterical propaganda. However, while it is, for obvious reasons, impossible to punish someone who has successfully committed suicide, here in Scotland it is possible for attempted suicide to be prosecuted under breach of the peace and anyone assisting can be charged with culpable homicide or murder.

I am not ill. There is no indication in my family thus far that I may have a genetic disorder. Every member of my immediate family, from my six year old cousin to my ninety-six year old great grandmother are in reasonable good health. Yet if I were to suffer from a terminal disease, be it selfish or not, I do not believe it is my family, my friends or, particularly, the state's decision whether or not I continue to live in mental or physical distress. My body, my mind, my choice. If any other member of my family felt the same way, I would be deeply saddened and I would grieve, but I would ultimately support their decision.

I do not wish at any point in my life to be restricted by the cultural and religious beliefs of others if it means I have to live in pain or anguish. We have enough of that in bills attempting to curb romantic/sexual relationships between consenting adults and frequent attacks on women's health and choice in favour of embryos. I don't give a fuck if you're humanist, Christian, Muslim, Scientologist or spiritual masseuse/yoga instructor. Butt. Out. I repeat: my life is my own. I am not robbing anyone, I am not murdering anyone, I am not depriving others of their human rights.

The Independent summarised it well in a 2002 article:
In [...] cases where there are no dependants who might exert pressure one way or the other, the right of the individual to choose should be paramount. So long as the patient is lucid, and his or her intent is clear beyond doubt, there need be no further questions.
Yes, we 100% need to support the NHS and make sure care for the terminally ill and elderly is as good as it can be and it can be better (Mr Cameron, Mr Lansley, you're not going in the right direction for it), but that goal doesn't negate the right people should have to end their suffering without fear of reprisal.

The present law does not necessarily reflect current public opinion in the United Kingdom but traditional, outdated values. If you don't want to choose to die, I suggest you don't go to a clinic that assists in suicide to die. In the law, we always have safeguards - it might take a while to perfect them but they're there - to protect the vulnerable.

  1. There must be unbearable physical or mental suffering
  2. The suffering and the desire to die must be lasting
  3. It must be the patient's own decision
  4. The patient must have a clear understanding of his or her condition and prognosis. He or she must be capable of assessing the options and must have done so
  5. There must be no other acceptable solution
  6. The time and the way the patient dies must not cause avoidable misery to others (e.g. the next of kin should be informed and the patient's affairs be put in order)
  7. The doctor involved must consult another professional
  8. A medical doctor must be involved in prescribing the right drugs.
  9. The decision process and the actual treatment must be carried out with the utmost care
  10. The person receiving help to die does not have to be terminally ill, but must be suffering unbearably
Seems reasonable to me.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Simple, natural and beautiful

“People hate what they don’t understand and try to destroy it. Only try to keep yourself clear and don’t allow that destructive force to spoil something that to you is simple, natural, and beautiful.”  
---- Eva Le Gallienne ----

I have nothing to blog really, so I thought, a good quote'll do.