28 November 2006

A fool and his money

In the UK we have lots of channels on satellite that basically show crap programs. Apparently it's cheaper to run a satellite channel than pay for advertising, hence we even have a channel that just promotes Audi cars.

Anyway, most of these channels run stupid quiz shows during the day and night. They will have a question on screen that tempts you to phone in and answer an initial question. You then have the option to go on and answer further questions with the promise of further prizes to be won. All the time your phone bill is going up at astronomical rates, as the charges for calling these premium rate lines can be up to £1.50 a minute!

I was listening to the radio on the way home, there was a guy on being interviewed. In one month he had run up a phone bill of £10,000 calling these silly programs! £10,000! Incredible.

There's no such thing as easy money and it never fails to amaze me the number of people who have yet to learn this.

25 November 2006

Money talks in BA row

BA have announced that they are going to review their dress code following the row over a worker refusing to cover up her cross. BA said jewelery should not be visible when an employee was on duty.

However, money talks, and BA have decided to review their policy. The decision to suspend the worker for wearing a cross put BA squarely at the centre of a public debate, with many members of the public taking the decision to boycott the airline until BA backed down. Face with loss of income from boycotts, BA announced their policy review.

Takes money to induce a bit of common sense, it seems.

17 November 2006

Casino Royale

I don't go to the cinema often. Although the film experience is usually good, with large screen, loud sound, comfy chair, etc, you always need to be wary of the fools who would rather play around with their mobile phones than watch the film they've paid to see. But when the new James Bond films come around, I usually take the risk. I went to see Casino Royale last night and it was worth the trip. This is easily one of the best Bond films, ever. And thankfully the audience paid attention to the film and not their phones.

A lot of die hard Bond fans were annoyed when Daniel Craig got the role. I think mainly because he has blond hair! How stupid. Whatever their reservations were, Craig carries the role of masterfully. The whole film from beginning to end kept my attention. Great stunts, good script, well crafted Bond quips, not the Roger Moore style iffy puns.

I'd recommend any Bond fan to see the film, don't be put off by the early anti Craig hype. I'd recommend any action film fan to go see, I'd recommend anyone looking for a good night at the cinema. It was so good I'll probably go again.

14 November 2006

Sometimes browsing the internet you find stuff of real quality. Not often. The debate is surrounding Global warming, here.

The quality, is here:

I evade my personal responsibility for the things I choose to do. I blame the government, the oil companies, George Bush, the economy, the wealthy and anybody else I can think of for the destruction that my lifestyle causes.

I put my comfort, my convenience and my conformity ahead of the lives and livelihoods of thousands of future generations, and I try not to think too much about my daily contribution to the destruction of the world that was left to me by thousands of past generations. I put myself far, far ahead of my ancestors and descendants and take from them for the most trivial of reasons.

I ignore the real human pain, suffering and death that my behavior causes. I turn the page, switch the channel, and change the topic of conversation. I pretend that the science isn't definitive yet, or that there's no point in changing before others do, and I convince myself that 'scientists' will come up with a technological solution that will make my lifestyle and me OK.

I avoid, I deny, I justify and rationalise, I pretend, I project, I squirm and squeeze and do whatever I can to maintain my concept of myself as a good person while still doing what I do. I evade my moral responsibility a day at a time in the hope that reality will somehow be different tomorrow morning.

I steal from those who live far away from me, and who I do not know because I see their pain as cartoon pain, and not fully real. I casually destroy what future generations will depend upon to live because they have yet to be born and it is only me, and my time and my normalcy that is important.

I am like those who, sixty years ago, did their jobs and lived their normal lives and didn't ask questions about where their jewish neighbours had gone. I am like those who participated in slavery and other atrocities, except that the effects of my crimes will outlast all those others.

And it is OK, because today I am normal, and busy, and have other things on my mind and, if what I do is really so bad so many people wouldn't be doing the same, would they?

But when, in the hours before I die, I think back upon my life and what it has meant, I must do one thing. I must hope and hope and pray and pray that there is nothing beyond life and beyond time and beyond myself, that there is no balance, no karma, no morality and no justice.

Because if there is, and I do what I do, knowing what I know....

Well, lets not think about that.

09 November 2006

Hunger & Malnutrition 'unacceptable' in our modern age

In an address given to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States stated:
“hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world that has levels of production, of resources and of know-how capable of putting an end to this scourge and its dramatic consequences."

And he's not wrong. It's a disgrace that in a world where we like to think we live in a civilised manner we allow people to die of hunger. It's a disgrace that we should be ashamed of, but no one seems to care about. Enough food is wasted in western culture that could easily feed people in the so called 'Third world'.

It's unfair, it's unjust. Hunger & poverty are not misfortune. They are injustice.

08 November 2006

Save the planet, save money

What other incentive does a capitalist world need to do their bit to save the planet? Maybe the problem is the short term outlook people have means they can't see the long term benefits of spending money now to save money in the future.

But you needn't spend thousands, not even hundreds, to be doing 'your bit'. If every household in the UK replaced just three standard lightbulbs with energy saving bulbs, the energy saved in a year would supply ALL street lighting in the UK. Energy saving bulbs are a few pounds each. Everybody should be using energy saving bulbs, and there should be a social unacceptance from the majority for those who do not. It is unacceptable that people continue to use standard light bulbs. I would support a measure that increased substantially the cost of standard light bulbs to make them a less attractive buying option. And don't forget, low energy light bulbs means lower energy costs. Even ensuring when you boil the kettle for a cup of tea that you only use the amount of water required rather than filling the kettle each time is going to show a difference, and more significantly if everyone done this it WOULD make a difference.

Other ways to reduce your energy consumption, save money on your fuel bill and at the same time help reduce climate change are:

Double Glazing
Loft Insulation
Cavity Wall Insulation
Draught Proofing
Get a new boiler
Fit thermostatic radiator valves
Use energy saving appliances - New washing machines and dishwashers are much more economical on fuel and water usage, sometimes by up to 40%
Solar panel heating - It's suggested solar panel heating can supply all heating needs in the summer and 50% of those required in the winter. A government grant can subsidise the cost of solar panel installation by up to 50%

So some of these measures require an initial outlay. But the savings are there, for your pocket and for the planet. So what's stopping you?

06 November 2006

Murder a child because they are disabled

Medical experts are claiming a debate is needed on active euthanasia for babies who are born severely disabled.

I find the whole argument sick. How can anyone who even considers themselves a civilised person even think about murdering a baby because that child happens to be disabled? Every life is sacred, and no one has the right to end the life of another just because it does not conform to what we expect.

I don't go in for all the fancy medical jargon, euthanasia, assisted suicide, call it whatever you will. The taking of another life with full knowledge of what you are doing is murder. And it is wrong. There's no grey areas on this subject.

05 November 2006

Saddam to die

So, the Iraqi court has found Saddam guilty. Hard to see how they could have come to another decision, really. The sentence, is death. By hanging. How gruesome. I really have a problem with capital punishment. I used to think differently, but not anymore.

If anyone cares to, please explain to me how murdering Saddam atones for his crimes? Since when did punishing murder by committing murder ever achieve anything? Saddam may have been an evil, cruel, sadistic dictator, but how can we justify his murder?

03 November 2006

Blog tagging

I never even knew blog tagging existed. How cool. I was tagged by Ellasdevil. Here goes:

Do you like the look and contents of your blog?
I'm happy enough not to want to make changes. The look is light on the eye, and I don't see many other blogs with this template. I like my links and history down the left. I'm using the new blogger beta service, it's so easy to add extras to the blog. As for content, I'm not sure. I didn't want to write a 'today I went to work.' 'This evening I went....' 'Here's a picture of the kids...' etc. So I just pick up on things I see in the news and give my opinion. The biggest topic at the moment is the climate change the earth is going through. Seriously we really need to wake up and do something before it's too late.

Does your family know about your blog?
Unlikely. None of my family have an interest in blogging. And I've never told them about it.

Can you tell your friends about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?
I could. I don't though. The username is the same I use all over, so if someone who knows me finds the blog then it'll be obvious it's me. But it's not a topic of conversation.

Do you read the blogs of those who comment on your blog? Or do you try and discover new blogs?
I do. I don't always make comment but I do read the blogs, regularly. Above all the blogs I have linked in my favourites. I also scan technorati for blogs about subjects that interest me.

Did your blog positively affect your mind? Give an example...
Did it? Does it? I don't think of my blog in that way. It's just a place where I can give my opinion, and share it with anyone who cares to read.

What does the number of visitors to your blog mean? Do you have a traffic counter?
Number of visitors means little. It's nice to know people read, and that it creates a reaction. I don't have a counter, but I do check to see where people come from. I love the fact that anyone, pretty much anywhere in the world, can pop along, drop by, and have a read.

Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?

Do you think blogging has any real benefits?
I'm sure it does. It's great that blogging gives people a chance to have their say. Share your opinion on a global level. Write something interesting and share it with others. Exchange opinion and idea. Learn about other people, and how they view things. That can only be a positive thing.

Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone world community separated from the real world?
It is a community in it's own right but it is not separated from the real world. It's a reflection of opinion from people who live in the real world. Mostly. Some blogs are just plain wacky.

Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?
No, not at all. Some extreme sites can be a bit sick. But I like to read opinion that challenges and opposes my own. Staying safe and reading/sharing opinion only with like-minded people is boring. I like to challenge my beliefs.

Do you think that criticising your blog is useful?
Yeah, sure, why not. Throwing around abuse for the sake of it helps no one. But if I write something that offends, or you don't like, say so. If I am out of order, criticise. Make it constructive. Lets build conversation.

Have you ever thought about what would happen to your blog if you died?
No, not at all. There are more important things I would like to make sure are dealt with when I die than this blog. Lets keep it in perspective.

Which blogger has had the greatest impression on you?
There isn't one.

Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?
I haven't yet found one who shares my opinions.

Name a song you want to listen to?
I'll name the song I listen to more than any other. Buddy Holly - It Doesn't Matter Anymore. I love that song.

Tag some people