Hey ho, Thursday again, time for the weekly BogPost and I can’t think of a single thing to say I haven’t written about ten times before.
Cameron has made a big speech advocating more bombing foreigners. Why? So, he agrees with the military experts that it’s unnecessary and won’t make a blind bit of difference on the ground, but we have to show ‘solidarity’ with everyone else and ‘keep Britain’s streets safe’, while also protecting ‘our brave forces’ from going into action on the ground, letting some unidentified other foreigners do it for us instead. That’s brave, Dave.
I’m quite glad I didn’t go to Eton, I never met an Old Etonian who wasn’t either a brooding alcoholic; a bumbling aristocratic halfwit, or a sneering bully-boy (or a combination, etc.) (You don’t get many round where I live.)
Gideon ‘George’ Osborne performed an insouciant volte sneering face on Wednesday by reversing his fiscal policy on taxing the poor into the mud. I have a theory about him, that he always leaks bad news until we hate him, then performs a daring pliée at the last minute to win the love and forgiveness of the multitude. Attar of roses fills his pants this weekend.
Let’s not forget, however, the appearance earlier in the month of his mate, Cameron, on the Andrew Marr Show, in which he issued a sneeringly robust defence of the policy of removing tax credits from three million hardworking single-parent families, despite the mounting evidence that suggested the mitigating rise in the minimum wage wouldn’t prevent teaching assistants on £7,000 a year donating £1,300 of it to shore up Britain’s rotting public finances and Gideon’s other mates in the City’s bonuses.
Another grand example there of Dave’s notoriously poor judgement.
(Postscriptum 2 December, and a sneer so vile it beggars description. Calling on his troops to vote for his pointless bombing campaign (I have christened it ‘chimpanzee warfare’ (as opposed to ‘guerrilla’) – you get together in a small party, jump up and down gibbering and waving your arms, and throw sticks at the enemy from as far away as you can), Cameron urged them not to go along with Mr Corbyn and the ‘terrorist sympathisers’. This veneered, jumped-up bag-carrier from a TV PR department is the most unspeakable apology for a Prime Minister or indeed, a human being of any kind, this country has ever had.)
So I won’t write about that, obviously, or the visibly disorientated Mr Corbyn, the Spike Milligan lookalike Labour ‘leader’ who has indeed written to all his MPs to say he doesn’t personally approve of bombing Syria but they can go ahead and vote against the party Whip if they like, as it’s the sort of thing he used to do. That’s the kind of flakey example I always set, which is why I never became a leader of anything.
Just some personal observations, then. (More might follow, but I’m doing Panto for the next few days and it’s enough just to eat, drink and sleep. I’ve learned though that the reason actors fluff their lines is because they’re so worried they’re going to forget the next line, they can’t remember the one they’re speaking. Plays hell with the concentration.)
I’d been trying to upload a file to a publisher in Ireland, against a deadline, but they would only let me do it via their website – or by surface mail. Judgement Day was due, and I didn’t think it’d make it in time.
Anyway, I hadn’t finished writing it yet. You know me and deadlines.
And the website wouldn’t let me in without a password. The usual result, it knew my name and IP address, obviously, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to email me to remind me to send the file in the first place. Nothing much confidential in it, either, but you know web designers too, they just loves paswurdz.
Anyway, of course I couldn’t remember the bloody thing, I last contacted these guys more than a year ago. So I had to ask for a reminder, twice, and nothing was appearing in my inbox. Frantic emails to ‘info@’ yesterday produced no reply either. By eleven last night, with the deadline approaching like the 9.45 from Billericay, I emailed the editorial department in distress.
And amazingly, at 11.47 pm, that’s at night, the Editorial Manager, Mary-Jane, emails me back to say she’s sorted me out a temporary password and is sorry I’d had a problem.
Now, even allowing for the time difference in Cork, where it’s always last year, who works in an office until practically midnight, and why? Anyway, I’m jolly glad they do.
Great country, Ireland. Good people, great craic.
Better get writing….
So the temporary password didn’t work and the Support hotline refused to let me Submit a request for Support with logging-in, because I wasn’t logged-in, so in despair I decided to try and re-register, knowing it probably wouldn’t let me do that because someone with the same name was mysteriously already registered, you know how it goes.
So I pushed the Button marked Register, and before I could log-in again the IT leprechauns welcomed me back and opened the page for me to upload the file, without a password….
Things can sometimes go like that in Ireland, I think.
A burning issue
I’d briefly thought about retiring to Greece, land of my forebears.
Spectacular scenery, laid-back lifestyle, sun and sea… Only don’t go there to die.
An article on the BBC Magazine website reports that Greece has, like, totally run out of burial plots. You now get three years maximum parked in the stony ground, before the burial-plot warden has your remains towed away.
People are having to dig-up their grannies and parents and sadly dead children with their heartbreaking little tributes and pay to have the bones stored in a small cardboard box on a shelf somewhere.
Thanks to austerity imposed by hard-faced Teutonic bankers, no-one can afford the rents.
So the alternative is the authorities just chuck your loved-one’s bones at random into a public pit, all jumbled-up together. And – I hope you’ve already breakfasted – not everyone is fully decomposed after three years.
What is the attitude of the Greek Orthodox church to all this desecration?
Well, the obvious solution is to cremate the dead bodies, keep Mum in a handy Grecian urn on the mantelshelf. But there isn’t a single functioning crematorium in the entire country. It’s not allowed, according to Church law.
While live Syrian refugees arrive in swarms and depart for points North, there is another flourishing trade in black-market migration of Greek corpses to neighbouring Bulgaria, where the crematorium business is on fire, as it were.
According to Metropolitan Anthony, a title that makes him sound like a rough-sleeper on the London Underground, the head of the church, cremation is definitely not on the cards.
Being cremated, see, makes it too difficult for Jesus to resurrect your body on the Day of Judgement.
What body, for God’s sake? It’s in a fucking rubbish dump, in bits.
How did we ever let these medieval lunatics in their daringly retro outfits rule our lives in the first place?
Lost in the jungle
I’ve been invited by online social petitionists Change.org to sign a pledge not to buy anything from Amazon during the month of December, to punish them for their many crimes.
Oh, God. Sigh.
Future historians will conclude that while the 20th Century was the century of evil dwarf dictators with dehumanising scumbag ideologies running countries, the 21st was the century of evil dwarf dictators with dehumanising scumbag ideologies running large US tech corporations. Why bother with messy old countries, when you can create your own evil empire and enjoy total control?
Employing 50,000 robotised former humans, Amazon’s Seattle HQ is by all accounts a hell on earth. And its founder, Mr Bezos, is the evil genius whose bullying scumbag management philosophy permeates every aspect of the organisation and its people’s lives. Work for Big Jeff, and it doesn’t matter that you get only minimum wage, because you won’t have your own life to spend it in.
Executives are expected to be still at their desks after midnight – they get emails to check. Internal systems are set up for employees to spy on one another and report their colleagues’ disloyal or negative behavior. A lengthy report in the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1HNMWQq) quotes one executive as saying he usually finds his colleagues weeping silently at their desks. Other managers: higher-functioning sociopaths teenage neo-Nazis and Old Etonian types, say they just loves working there.
Not only does Mr Bezos want to rule the corporate world – he’s already the world’s 5th richest person. He wants to take over every aspect of your life and mine, when it comes to our daily relationship with products and services. He wants to put every other retailer on the planet, along with the publishing industry, out of business. He plans to target and bomb us with goodies from lethal delivery drones.
And, just to make sure he’s got it all covered, in case there are competitors on Mars, he’s just successfully test-fired his own re-usable delivery spacecraft.
And I spend about £2 grand a year with this maniac’s business, mostly buying jazz records. It’s so bloody easy, so convenient. Check out some tracks on YouTube, flip to the Amazon website, find the album, click on my speed-ordering button, it’s here next working day, and I’m wondering how I got overdrawn again? How cool is that?
I live in a perfectly nice little town, but it’s quite remote and can’t support every kind of retail outlet selling every product I crave. Also, buying by mail-order means stuff comes through the mailbox, like at old-fashioned Christmas.
I does loves gettin’ prezzies, doesn’t you?
I’ve argued before, that criticism of Amazon’s low-or-no-tax business model ignores that their £5.3 billion UK turnover, on which they pay about £4 7s 6d tax annually, is not what it seems.
Amazon incorporates tens of thousands of third-party sellers and acts as a portal to thousands more retail businesses all over the world. I might order a jazz record in the UK that comes via a distributor in New York, whose warehousing operation is in Taiwan. Part of the price goes to paying royalties to the artists and the recording company. Each node in the matrix is a cost-centre. Turnover is not the same as profit.
Also, until it is able to knock our hats off with its postal-drones, frantically looking for ‘Ty Bach’ in a street of identical Welsh house-names all sharing the same postcode, Amazon keeps the postman service and the brown-cardboard-envelope manufacturing industry going.
So no, I’m not going to sign the pledge, because I can’t guarantee I won’t use Amazon at some point to get a card or a gift off to some relative or another in the diaspora, it may not be possible to do it any other way.
But I promise to try. Just to teach them a lesson.
Ah. Okay, minor epic fail (1 Dec., Betty Carter album). Sorry, won’t happen again.
Dressing after my shower, I am half-listening to a science programme on the radio. Listeners have been invited to send in questions to an expert panel.
One listener asks: We are told there is a vast volume of empty space between the atoms of even a solid object, relative to the size of the atom. Atoms themselves are made up of fundamental particles: a nucleus; protons, electrons. In turn those seem to be made up of smaller particles, muons and gluons and quarks and bosons; science stuff, with further vast volumes of empty space between them, relative to their size.
The question being, if you squeezed out all that empty space, given that the smallest building blocks of the atoms we yet know about have no mass, squeezed it right down, can we say there would be a residue of anything left?
And the answer was, obviously, no, not really. The smallest particles that make up the atom don’t behave like solid objects. We don’t even know where they actually are in space and time.
In which case, my friends, nothing exists. Everything is made from nothing. The Universe is a hologram. Or just a crazy dream.
I’ve been trying to tell you.
It’s just jazz.