Politics

politicsIt may have been mentioned that politics is one of three subjects that shouldn’t be discussed in polite company, along with religion and sex.  I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve decided that I am going to write an article on politics and religion but not on sex.  I’ve no idea what sex is and wouldn’t recognise it if it came up to me and hit me with a soggy sex toy!

Besides that, I’ve never kept polite company anyway.

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Prolific Prose

It is a constant surprise to me how some people manage to post an article every day.  I struggle to construct a coherent paragraph during the day and yet these people just write on as if it was as natural as breathing.  How on earth do they do it?

I have been busy reading through the articles of people I have subscribed to and I am barely able to keep up!  Some are humorous, some are serious and some have religious undertones.  All of them are interesting in their own way and sometimes I even have time to write a comment (although I struggle with throwing some words together just for a comment!!).  Each and every article has been crafted by its author and I am beginning to think that they must be cheating!  There is a secret, mystical book which they all share that is full of interesting and humorous articles which they can copy onto their own respective blogs!  There must be!!  I’m convinced of it (although, with my drugs, you could easily convince me that dragons exist and that Elvis isn’t dead and is doing a concert with Michael Jackson!).

What is worse is that they have crafted their unique articles and all I have to offer is an article complaining about how they can manage to maintain their prolific writing!  Ok, I may throw in a joke here and there, but basically all I am doing is complaining about the fact that I can’t keep up with my peers.  It’s so depressing I think I’ll go curl up in a corner and cry for a bit.

At least I posted something today!

To Blog or Not To Blog?

Let’s face it, most of us crave attention.  Be it from our loved ones, our pets or even the whole world, we are a social animal and that’s one of the reasons things like Facebook and the like are so popular.  If we don’t get attention and people ignore us, we go and sulk.  Well, I do!

Which leads me nicely onto my subject.  Why do we blog?  Why blog if people aren’t reading your witty yet insightful articles that both stimulate the brain and the laughter muscle?

You have to agree that blogging has to be one of the more difficult of the social networking options.  Although you could get away with writing a single line of text every now and then, you would probably be better off sticking to Facebook or Twitter.  Blogging requires a certain amount of skill.  Being able to write whole sentences is useful, too.  Blogging requires thought and time and is usually a thankless task.

I started blogging as a means to keep my brain at least partially occupied.  I have always wanted to be able to write and I thought that if I wrote some witty articles as well as some more serious, I would garner a loyal following and get pleasure in entertaining my readers.  As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I don’t actually find writing easy and often just stare at the screen, my mind blank and my fingers unmoving, hovering above the keyboard waiting for any hint of activity in my brain.  This can last seconds of even hours.  Sometimes I don’t write an article for weeks and then a flurry of them appear, all at once as my brain disgorges whatever thoughts have been running through my drug addled brain.  I have started another site where I decided that I would give my thoughts on current affairs (there is a link somewhere on this page) just to see if that is what people out there prefer to read.  So far it isn’t working.

So why continue if all I am doing is writing articles that people don’t read?

I suppose that I am in the same situation as many other bloggers out there in cyberworld.  There are a few extremely talented people who have the ability to draw in readers, either because they write what is interesting or their skill in writing is just worth reading.  There are others that use the blog as a photo album; their pictures are stunning to look at and we keep going back for more eye candy.  But for the majority of us, a few friends reading your earnestly written missive is the best we can hope for.

There is another thing that I have noticed since I started taking this blogging malarkey more seriously.  When I am not well enough to open my Macbook (a quick advertisement there!) I worry that I should be writing something on my site.  Why am I worrying?  It’s not like I have a deadline or a million people will miss out on anything.  It’s purely psychological.  I imagine that those few readers I have will give up on me if I don’t post regularly.  How’s that for preposterous?  However preposterous it may sound, I’m afraid it’s a fact!

No matter who does or does not read my scratchings, I still enjoy sitting here and typing on the keyboard, throwing random letters together and sometimes creating sentences that make sense.  It’s a purely selfish thing.  I enjoy the fact that somebody, someday will enter a word into a search engine and a link to my humble yet awesome blog appears.  Out of curiosity, that person clicks the link and is rewarded by pages of obscure scribblings from some bloke in England.  Most rewarding of all, however, is that this person actually enjoys reading my musings and clicks on yet another article.  Later that same day, the unknown person sends a link to my blog to a friend or two, suggesting that they may enjoy a moment or four reading this blog.  Ahhh, isn’t fantasy world a wonderful place!

Back in the real world, my unknown person doesn’t even register the link to my site from their search results and moves onto a flash game that will occupy him or her, for a few moments because they are bored at work.  May I suggest Peggle?  It’s a lot of fun!

So endeth another musing session, with a little fantasy added for extra appeal.  I shall continue to dream and my space allowance on this site will gradually diminish as I post more and more literary masterpieces (I did say fantasy was added).  I feel sorry for those that are unfortunate enough not to have found my blog and revel in my abstract insights and dark humour.  I write for the simple pleasure of writing.  I sometimes read my own ramblings and laugh at my naïve and sometimes conceited opinions.  It keeps me occupied and entertained.

So, I blog just for the sake of blogging and the enjoyment I get from writing.  It’s just a pity that the ability to write is in decline, but that is another subject for another day.  For those of you that do read this, thank you and I hope it brought at least a smirk for your trouble.

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Advertisements.

These are the annoying interruptions that interfere with our enjoyment of whatever programme we happen to be watching.  Most are the inane concoctions of people of questionable mental stability, hoping that we are malleable enough for them to convince us to rush out and buy whatever product they are trying to sell.  They belong in the sixth level of hell with Lawyers and Carphone Warehouse sales representatives!  Not that I have anything against Carphone Warehouse, per se, but they always managed to talk me into buying a really crap phone.  That means that they are exceptional sales-people or I am a gullible fool.  Ok, don’t even think about commenting on that!!

Back to these advertisements, then.

I will admit that there are a few that are subtle, intelligent and thought provoking, however, they are the few.  The rest appear to be aimed at gerbils or people with the same IQ as gerbils!  In fact, the gerbils are probably annoyed with them too!  And the hamsters!  And any other small, furry creatures that have the misfortune to be caged in front of the television!  I digress.  The fact is, if the advert treats us like idiots then those that produced it must think we are idiots.  I, personally, don’t like the inference.  I like to think that I am fairly well educated (I also like to think I am an astronaut, too, boldly going where no man has….) and as such, like to be treated like an educated man.

The adverts I am about to refer to are from the UK, so I apologise to any international readers.

One of the adverts that highlights this is the new one from Dettol.  In this masterpiece of idiocy, they show you that the top of a soap dispenser could be full of harmful germs.  Aren’t all germs harmful?  Anyway, if you buy their new dispenser that detects your hands it automatically dispenses some soap without you having to touch the filthy top.  Fantastic idea – NOT.  Dettol protects – fact.  Dettol ad is stupid – another fact!  The main reason being, you tend to use soap when your hands are already dirty, so adding a few more germs just before you wash them all off isn’t really going to bother you.  Or is it?  Are there people out there that use rubber gloves to use the soap dispenser and then removed them to wash their hands?  Hmm, that wouldn’t work, either.  One hand would have to be gloveless.  Maybe there are a load of single rubber gloves lying around somewhere?

Another perfect example of these simpletons assuming that we have the same limited intelligence as they obviously haven’t is the Credit Expert advert.  This is one advert that makes my blood boil, not only because it assumes you’re a cretin, it makes matters worse by including half-baked information in it’s rhetoric!  Now I have no problem with a little exaggeration, my hundreds of years of experience and my PhD in English will attest to that, but complete falsehoods are just ridiculous!

There they are, two obviously effeminate men, in an obvious sadomasochistic relationship; all they were missing were the gimp masks and the whips!  One is touting complete tosh about a service no one needs (and, by the way, is totally untrue) and the other one is spouting complete bollocks about ice being brought from the moon!  So, not only are they treating us as morons but they are also trying to make us dumber!  Or maybe the script-writer actually thinks there is ice on the moon?  The space shuttle must obviously be making detours via the lunar ice caps, the ones that don’t exist in this universe, so they must be warping off to a different dimension!

I did state at the start that not all advertisements treat us as if we just crawled out from the primordial ooze.  Lloyds Bank, for instance, has a fetish for deformed children, albeit cute in their actions.  I just find these adverts distressing, massively transmogrified humans and their freaky children walking around without a care in the world, although that makes a change, they are usually stuck on that train that seems to go everywhere!  The new one with the little girl being a ballerina just makes me cringe.  How on earth does she walk let alone pirouette is beyond me!

Then there are the really creepy ads.  The new Birdseye ads are as disturbing as they come.  I’m not sure about you, but if I opened my freezer and saw a talking, stuffed toy telling me that he’s ‘watching me’, I would probably have a cardiac!  That aside, how the hell did they get in there?  I mean, they are short little buggers and the freezer is on the top shelf!  Ok, here I am assuming that stuffed toys have the ability to move and then fathom out how to enclose themselves in an airtight freezer, waiting for you to open it before they pounce!  Scary!  But animated cuddly toys?  Maybe God has decided that the human race needs protectors and brought all those toys to life?  To top off the scary category; what about those tough sounding toys that apparently make sure you get a good nights sleep?  They way they sound, it would probably involve concrete boots and sleeping with the fishes!  I don’t have children, but I would love to prop them up in front of the TV and watch their reactions when they see the ads!  Ok, I’m sick and probably a good job I don’t have kids, but if anyone wants me to babysit for them……

Certain advertisements have been ongoing since the birth of TV ads.  PG tips has always used chimpanzees.  In recent years, probably because of some left wing, tree hugging animal rights activists (I would love for them to ‘animal rights’ in the large plains of India with some Bengal Tigers!) they have stopped using the Chimps that used to make us laugh.  Those of us old enough to shave should remember them, always enjoying a nice brew of PG.  Now, they no longer use the live chimps, but keep the brand alive by still using a monkey and a stuffed toy!  (Sorry, Johnny, I think you’re great, honestly! (as if he is gonna read this!!)).

With all this ridiculing (like you would be reading it if I wasn’t!), I have to say, for the record, that there are a few advertisements that are thought provoking, intelligently thought out and filmed with perspective.  These are rare and unfortunately, becoming rarer as the children, made dumb from the existing ads, grow up and work in the advertising industry thereby making the ads dumber.  It’s a vicious circle and we are caught inside this maelstrom of ignorance heading to the oblivious depths of idiocy.

Mind you, the only other option is the BBC!

Dawn

I know that this may be hard to believe, but there are two four o’clocks in a day!  The first time I discovered this was while I was in the army.  Trust me, it was a terrible introduction!  I still remember it clearly; stood in a trench with a fellow recruit, dead tired as we had been run ragged throughout the night by our sadistic instructors, we watched the dawn creep slowly over the hills and trees.  It wasn’t a spectacular dawn as described in books and paintings, but a dreary one, promising rain.  It was, to be perfectly honest with you, a totally miserable experience.  The shock of being awake at such a ridiculous time mixed in with the fact that we were going to be wet and miserable for the rest of the very long day was enough to make a grown man cry.  We didn’t, of course.  Mainly because we could barely classify ourselves as grown men and the fact that our tear ducts were too tired anyway!

But that was a long time ago now.  I have been up countless times since, and the experiences have been mixed.  I do remember one outstanding dawn, in Saudi Arabia, just before we were going to teach a bloke called Saddam that he really shouldn’t have occupied a nearby country.  I was stood on the roof of a building we had ‘borrowed’ and was having a well deserved cup of tea and a smoke, when I noticed the sun rising over the desert.  Now that was the sunrise as described in books; the darkness turning from a deep, dark blue to an orange, then red and finally yellow and blue as the sun crested the dunes.  It happened so quickly that you could barely believe it.  I would like to have classed it as the perfect sunrise, but our situation seriously dampened any poetic or romantic notions!  It was very pretty and I have yet to experience another like it.

And here I am, again, at dawn, experiencing another four o’clock.  This time, however, I am at home, listening to the noise of birds chirping (does anyone else find that annoying?) and wondering why the hell I am awake!  Even the dog is snoring quietly in his bed, having looked up earlier and watched me make a cup of tea.  I wonder if he thought I was a complete idiot being up this early?

For me, though, being up at this time is due to circumstances beyond my control.  Some poor souls have to do it every day through necessity.  I really feel for the men and women that have to be up at this time of the day because of their jobs.  Having never been a ‘morning’ person, I imagine their misery at having to do whatever they are doing at this time of the day and, all the time, wishing that they were back in their warm beds, sleeping and dreaming dreams of Easter bunnies or whatever their subconsciousness conjure up!

There are, however, weird bunches of people who actually like being up early.  To me, that’s about as natural as me eating grass and producing orange juice!  I can understand wild animals being awake – they have to be for a variety of reasons; from getting something to eat to just ensuring that they aren’t the something to eat for another animal!  But people?  For me, the call of a lovely warm, comfortable bed and being in a deep, blissful sleep is by far the best way to not experience a dawn.  But not these people, they are up, making tea or coffee and doing stuff.  How wrong is that!

These ‘morning’ people are probably aliens, sent to spy on us while we are all asleep.  Ok, probably not, but they may as well be.  What on earth can you do this early in the morning?  Nothing is open, TV is rubbish and even the postman is only just waking up!  But there they are, walking the dog (who is probably very annoyed about being dragged out at this ridiculous hour – my dog would probably look at me as if I was completely insane, bite me, then go back to his bed.  And who could blame him!) and probably making their way down to the news agent to get a paper (the news agent is probably not a morning person but is one of those poor souls that have to get up early).  And then what do they do?  They go back home, sit down with their paper and a cup of tea, waiting for the rest of the world to wake up!

I am not one that would judge a person on how and why they do things; ok, maybe I am.  I am sure that I have some foibles that people would consider strange (like writing about people being up early in the morning) and, no doubt, people may think that I am slightly weird (but in a good way, naturally!).  But as dawn turns into day, I sit here wishing I was asleep without a worry in the world, while the real weirdo’s walk their cats and greet each other with happy smiles and waves.  And to top if all off, it isn’t even a nice dawn.  It’s cold, it’s damp and I’m awake!

Books

Ever since man has discovered the art of writing, he hasn’t stopped.  Ok, the first writings may have been scribbles describing how Ugg the Mighty raped and pillaged his way through downtown Essex, but they did become more creative.

The Sumerians were the first creative lot, with their pictograms and let me tell you, they didn’t mess around.  The pictograms literally meant what was displayed, and they didn’t pull any punches either.  Look up their pictogram for a woman and you’ll see what I mean!  Anyway, the Egyptians then took part with their hieroglyphs, which were a lot more colourful and way prettier than anything else around at the time.

Well, I don’t want to go on about the history of writing as we could be here all day and, I’m not an expert so I’d probably make a mistake and then be blasted with emails for those scholarly types telling me that I have the IQ of a dead newt (and I’d wonder how on earth did they know me so well?)!

Then came books!

Now we all know the bible was the best selling book when they all kicked off, but the Catholic Church got over-zealous and banned scientific study and all written research.  However, instead of destroying the books (even they weren’t that stupid), they whitewashed over the written material and wrote more bibles (rumour has it that if the leaders Catholic Church weren’t complete morons, we could be around 500 years more advanced in our technology!)

One of the main drawbacks with early books was that they were only for the privileged.  They were pretty expensive as they each had to be hand written, line-by-line and book-by-book because the inventor of the printing press was taking his own sweet time in being born and then inventing it.  But, eventually, when he got around to it, the book boom began.  Once literacy started taking hold, there was no turning back and people began to read, which is quite good otherwise I’d be writing this for nothing and you would be wondering what all these funny symbols were!

Joking aside, books became a means to record history, daily occurrences, fiction, biographies, anything that could be written down, was, and given in great detail.  People began to thirst for information, scholars would write papers (mainly to try and impress their peers) so they could share their findings with the world and authors began to make stuff up.  Most people liked that bit the best.

The book has been around for centuries.  I was an avid reader and my collection of fiction is fairly extensive as I have never thrown a book away.  That has lead to a small problem of where to keep them all; the solution being airtight containers in the spare room.  I have five of them and they are full of books.  The downside to this is that I don’t have easy access to them and, at the end of the day, I don’t bother looking in them anymore as it is too much trouble to pull a container out, open it and look for a specific book.

That doesn’t stop me buying new ones though.  And to make matters worth, my wife can read too, so she buys her books, just to add to the numbers.  We have mountains of books hiding around the house, lurking in wardrobes or drawers and sometimes even accosting the dog, much to his surprise!

Time passes and things change.  The time usually, but nothing stops progression, apart from a good dose of suppression, but I digress.  A new craze has taken hold of people and more are in a frenzy to try this new technology.  The iPad has emerged, sweeping all before it away under its brash Applenessness.  The Apple brand name is now more popular than ever as a result of their various i-devices, but the iPad has created a hell of a stir!

Apple appears to be a rising star as their fortunes turn upward yet again.  With the iPod, iPhone, iMac and now the iPad, Apple is on the lips of everyone.  Also on their lips is what is it with that tiny ‘i’ in front of everything?  Does anyone else find it annoying (he asks while writing this on an iMac)?  There are several theories what the ‘i’ stands for, but yet again I digress (I blame the drugs!)

The mighty (well, not quite so mighty) iPad may change the way we read forever more.  It will happen slowly, but the demise of the aged book is drawing closer and as I grasp for more metaphors, the electronic book will slowly replace it.  Or will it?

The iPad isn’t unique in this market.  There are numerous other eBook readers (as they are called) such as Kindle, BeBook and Bookeen to name a few, and big companies such as Sony have their finger in the pie too.  The weird thing is, many of these eBook readers are better at being good readers than the iPad is, but that’s another story….

But can the eBook reader really replace the book?  We have had computers and printers in our office environments for years, the catchword was ‘a paperless office’, saving the trees, the world and Private Ryan.  But it has never worked.  People are always printing reports out because once its on paper, it’s real.  For some obscure reason, writing on a computer screen is ethereal; you can’t grasp it and feel it.  So the same applies with books.  We like to hold a book and read it’s dog-eared pages.  There is nothing like buying a new book and opening it for the first time.

I am obviously talking about my generation.  Although I have said that the paperless office is a fallacy, in fact a lot of files have been transferred to the electronic medium and replaced a lot of paper.  This makes keeping track of things a lot easier than wading through a sea of files and reports.  But, they don’t really count, do they.  A book is something different and I cannot see anyone from my generation preferring an e-reader to a good chunk of paper in our hands.

Time passes and people change.  There is the likelihood that in the future books will be consigned to the historic graveyard where Betamax and VHS reside.  I may not be around to see that, but one thing is for sure, books will never have a system error, crash or run out of power!

 

 

Designer Clothing

During the course of our evolution and civilization, we have gone through numerous types of dress.  From togas and gowns, to the mid sixteenth century ruff, worn by both men and women, clothing has always changed with the times.  No matter the age and no matter what the era, there has always been a class difference; those that have and those that have not.  Unsurprisingly, this has also applied to clothes and probably handbags, the rich had the silks and velvets, the poor had the hemp and hessian.

Over time, this has not changed, but there is a grey area now, between the classes.  The emergence of the ‘designer label’ has allowed the plebeians to dress like the well to do.  Everyone is familiar with such names like Armani, Ralf Lauren, Versace, Hugo Boss to name but a few.  Millions of pounds are spent on items of clothing, fragrances and eyewear designed by these companies.  Now, the common people can feel like they are just as good as those with the real money.

The good thing is that anyone who has a design can break into this lucrative market.  We’ve all heard of the main designer products, Armani and the like, but the demand has taken off so much there are brands like Diesel and Bench!  Ok, Diesel I can appreciate, but when my mate’s daughter asked for a Bench for her birthday, he popped straight down to B&Q and got a great deal on a nice garden bench.  Needless to say, his daughter was not overly impressed.  It did however prove a point I had been trying to make for years – my mate is a complete moron!

As a result of this outbreak of designer mania, designer outlets are popping up everywhere.  These are basically shopping centres for the discerning customer where they can pick up great deals on designer clothing.  Or so the plebeians think.  Reality is, the companies behind these brands have realised that they have tapped into a gold mine that no recession can dampen, so they are selling their tat at ‘discount’ prices.  The masses love them and you can then see them preening on a Saturday night, trying to impress the opposite sex with their slick designer wardrobe.

Those poor, misguided idiots.

Do you really think that the well-to-do are going to rush down to the Bicester outlet village to buy the latest additions to their wardrobes?  Has anyone seen a celebrity in Milton Keynes stocking up for the forthcoming Royal function?  No, I didn’t think so.  And the reason why?  Well, its fairly obvious, the well-to-do don’t wear the crap they sell for extortionate prices at these outlet centres.

These guys spend thousands on a single pair of jeans or a jacket.  It may have the same label, such as Versace, but its in a totally different league.  This is the proper stuff.  These are the items that the designers have sweated over and racked their brains over and then are so exclusive that they make one item and sell it for a fortune.  They don’t, for some strange reason, produce them in the nearest sweat shop and then ship them out to Bicester!

And while we are talking about the quality of these ‘designer labels’, it’s a sad fact that they are put together by the cheapest sweat-shop they could find, so don’t expect them to last long.  The chances are that the jeans sold in Asda under the George label are more exclusive and better built than the Armani jeans you bought in Bicester!  And around £100 cheaper!

My fellow Britons (I always wanted to say that!), I have the great privilege in informing you that you have all been conned and you are wasting your money.  If you want to buy jeans, buy a decent pair of Levis.  Ok, they do cost a few quid more than those from Asda, but they will last a lifetime.  There are so many people wearing ‘designer’ clothes out there that if you bought a complete outfit from Tesco you would probably be more exclusive than your friends!

Don’t bother trying to compete with those that ‘have’, unless you ‘have’ too.  You will only be wasting your money and become one of the many instead of one of the exclusive few.  On our salaries, it’s never going to happen.  I know that I am wasting my wisdom, people are going to be lured by the latest mini shirt by Ralf Versace for £300.99, but at least, when you spend your money, you know that you are still a ‘have not’ – just a ‘have not’ with a lot less!