Sunday, March 27, 2011

TUC March For The Alternative London Demo 2001 ...

Sunday Mirror Front Page
Epic day in London yesterday, as 500,000 marched as one big society (perhaps not the one David Cameron was looking for).

I was one of the Senior Stewards and had a very positive and uplifting experience, with a wonderful atmosphere and excellent and very friendly interaction with the marchers. It was as much fun as the Notting Hill Carnival, just a lot louder and with better music. Couldn't hear the damn radios much.

Liberty were around all day
The main flash point we encountered was outside Fortnum & Masons when we were trapped between UKUnCut, masked Anarchist yobs, and Libyans. Er... time to hide the Pink Hi-Vis and GTFU !!

Media coverage was generally positive, apart from the focus on anarchists, UKUnCut, Resist26, and others, and then the Media has the cheek to ask the TUC GS Brendan Barber if he thought the focus on violence (that they created) would detract from the message! Of course it does.

A Sky News journalist called it the 'perfect peaceful demonstration'. Wow. Never thought I'd ever compliment one of Murdoch's companies. I was, however, dissappointed in some of the BBC News story headlines, particularly these two:
As for the trouble-makers: If you state quite clearly on your forums and websites that it is your firm intention to commit criminal acts, can you be surprised by 'robust' - but legal - police methods?

And I understand that Police are being 'criticised for failing to protect shops and businesses'. Sounds like Sir Philip Green, Boots and Vodafone complaining, then. Well, how much protection do you seek from a Police Force that you don't fund?

On a personal note, It probably wasn't a great idea that after an exhausting day, I got up this morning early again to do a long reconnaisance ride for the Tweed Run on April 9th. See you there if you're going.

Finally, the placard of the day goes to this lady:

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Genius Of George Carlin ...

If you didn't know, George Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums.[22]Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects.

#March26March - Projected Onto Side Of Battersea Power Station ...

I Hate Rap Music , But I Love This - 'The NHS Is Not For Sale' ..

The AndrewLansley Rap aka "NHS IS Not For Sale" by MC NxtGen on YouTube.

Absolute genius.

I don't know who the artist MC NxtGen is, but having watched his superb take-down of Andrew Lansley and his plans for the NHS, I suspect he's set for great things.

Like a No 1 slot in the charts perhaps...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Current Favourite Demotivator ...

[Ok, it's only my favourite because I made it under my alter ego, 'chandos'.]

Famous People With Depression - Michael Yardy ...

Michael Yardy
England all-rounder and Sussex captain Michael Yardy has flown home from the World Cup because he is suffering from depression.

He is England's leading seam bowler at the World Cup, having taken nine wickets including a career-best 5-48 in the dramatic tied group game with India. His England team-mates had noticed a change in his manner in recent times. 

Marcus Trescothick
Another casualty of pressure? Not too long ago, another England cricketer, Marcus Trescothick, flew back from an overseas tour for the same reason.

As a fellow sufferer AND a cricket fan, I must pay full respect to Yardy for his open statement and honesty about his condition.

Depression is very misunderstood, becoming more prevalent but thankfully slightly less stimatized in recent years.

I think it really does help when celebrities admit to depression (and other mental illnesses) in an open manner (without using it to gain sympathy or further their career)

Robert Enke
Otherwise you might end up like Robert Enke, the German international goalkeeper who fought to hide his symptoms and sadly ended up committing suicide at the age of 32.

Remember that depression is far from the end of your life. Whether you fight to control it, recover from it, or you learn to live with it, bear in mind that you're in very good company, as this list shows.

Famous Persons WIth Depressive Illnesses

John AdamsFormer President of the United States
Ansel AdamsPhotographer
Caroline AherneComedienne
Buzz AldrinAstronaut
Woody AllenFilm Director
Hans C AndersenWriter
Malcolm ArnoldComposer
Richard AshcroftMusician (The Verve)
Drew BarrymoreActress
Ingmar BergmanFilm Director
Halle BerryActress
Helena Bonham CarterActress
Zack BraffActor
Russell BrandActor, Comedian
Barbara BushFormer 'First Lady'
Truman CapoteAuthor
Drew CareyActor
Karen CarpenterSinger
Jim CarreyActor
Raymond ChandlerAuthor
Melanie CFormer 'Spice Girl'
Frederic ChopinComposer
Agatha ChristieAuthor
Winston ChurchillFormer Prime Minister of the UK
Grover ClevelandFormer President of the United States
Kurt CobainMusician (Nirvana)
Leonard CohenSinger
Joseph ConradAuthor
Catherine CooksonAuthor
Calvin CoolidgeFormer President of the United States
Sheryl CrowSinger
Rivers CuomoMusician (Weezer)
Ian CurtisMusician (Joy Division)
Bobby DarinSinger
Charles DarwinScientist, Naturalist
Edgar DegasArtist
Ellen DeGeneresComedienne
John DenverSinger
Princess Diana1st wife of Prince Charles
Charles DickensAuthor
Emily DickinsonPoet
Micky DolenzActor, Musician
Fyodor DostoyevskyAuthor
Kirsten DunstActress
T S EliotPoet
Robert EnkeFootballer
Colin FarrellActor
Harrison FordActor
Betty FordFormer 'First Lady', founder, Betty Ford Center
Nelly FurtadoSinger
Greta GarboActress
Judy GarlandActress
Janeane GarofaloActress, Comedienne
Paul GauguinArtist
Marvin GayeSinger
Jane GoodallNaturalist (Gorillas In The Mist)
Francisco de GoyaArtist
Graham GreeneAuthor
Tony HancockActor, Comedian
Anne HathawayActress
Goldie HawnActress
Margaux HemingwayActress
Ernest HemingwayAuthor
Florence HendersonActress (The Brady Bunch)
Audrey HepburnActress
James HetfieldSinger (Metallica)
Dustin HoffmanActor
Anthony HopkinsActor
Michael HutchenceSinger
Natalie ImbrugliaSinger
Jack IronsMusician (Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Janet JacksonSinger
Andrew JacksonFormer President of the United States
Thomas JeffersonFormer President of the United States
Billy JoelSinger, Pianist
Elton JohnSinger
Lyndon B JohnsonFormer President of the United States
Ashley JuddActress
John KeatsPoet
Beyoncé KnowlesSinger
Joey KramerMusician (Aerosmith)
Kris KristoffersonSinger, Actor
Akira KurosawaFilm Director
Hugh LaurieActor
Martin LawrenceActor
Denis LawsonActor
Heath LedgerActor
Amy LeeSinger (Evanescence)
John LennonMusician
Neil LennonFootballer
David LettermanComedian, TV Presenter
Meriwether LewisExplorer (Lewis and Clark Expedition)
Abraham LincolnFormer President of the United States
Gustav MahlerComposer
John MahoneyActor (Frasier)
Shirley MansonSinger (Garbage)
Henri MatisseArtist
Brian MayMusician (Queen)
Ewan McGregorActor
Herman MelvilleWriter
Paul MertonComedian
George MichaelSinger
Spike MilliganComedian
Joan MiróArtist
Claude MonetArtist
Marilyn MonroeActress
MorrisseySinger (The Smiths)
Wolfgang A MozartComposer
Aaron NevilleSinger
Isaac NewtonAstronomer, Philosopher
Alfred NobelChemist, Engineer (Founder of Nobel Prize)
Conan O'BrienComedian
Ronnie O'SullivanSnooker Player
Sinead O’ConnorSinger
Rosie O’DonnellActress, Comedienne
Tatum O’NealActress
Bill OddieComedian, Naturalist
Robert OppenheimerPhysicist (Father of the Atomic Bomb)
Ozzy OsbourneSinger, Musician (Black Sabbath)
Marie OsmondSinger
Gwyneth PaltrowActress
Dolly PartonSinger
Ryan PhillippeActor
Franklin PierceFormer President of the United States
Sylvia PlathPoet
Edgar Allan PoeAuthor
Jackson PollockArtist
Richard PryorComedian, Actor
Sergei RachmaninoffComposer
Charlotte RamplingActress
Christina RicciActress
Little RichardSinger
Joan RiversComedienne
J K RowlingAuthor
Winona RyderActress
Siegfried SassoonPoet
Charles SchulzCartoonist (Creator of 'Peanuts')
Robert SchumannComposer
Monica SelesTennis Player
Will SelfAuthor
Brian SewellArt Critic
Brooke ShieldsActress
Sarah SilvermanComedienne
Yeardley SmithActress (Voice of 'Lisa' on the 'Simpsons')
Britney SpearsSinger
Scott StappSinger (Creed)
Rod SteigerActor
Donna SummerSinger
Amy TanWriter
Catherine TateComedienne, Actress
James TaylorSinger-Songwriter
Pyotr Ilyich TchaikovskyComposer
Leo TolstoyAuthor
Mark TwainAuthor
Vincent Van GoghArtist
Kurt VonnegutAuthor
George WashingtonFormer President of the United States
Evelyn WaughAuthor
Tennessee WilliamsWriter
Robbie WilliamsSinger
Owen WilsonActor
Brian WilsonMusician (Beach Boys)
Virginia WoolfAuthor
Thom YorkeMusician (Radiohead)

Why We No Longer Actually Need The Phone ...

Excellent article in todays New York Times about reduced use of actual talk on phones. Apparently texting traffic is likely to exceed talk time in the next few years.

Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners, said by way of opening our phone conversation. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.”

Good. I'm happy to get calls from family, close friends but anything else is an interruption, unless it's urgent.

After all, I might be eating, watching a particularly good program, deep into some good music or having carnal knowledge with a particularly obliging and none-too-choosy female - so unless it's critical, send me a text or an email, so I can choose when I reply.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#March26March - #TUC, #Liberty & Police Press Conference ...

Video for the Press Conference held on 22nd March concerning this Saturday's 'March For The Alternative' in London.

London's Rather Cool 'Cycle Task Force' ...

Bumped into a few of London's Cycle Task Force in Trafalgar Square yesterday - seemed to be pretty good guys. The scheme started last June (2010) and has been well received all round.

Chatted to one of the officers for quite a while on their aims and intentions - the good thing is that they really are there for the benefit of cyclist in London (as long as we're within the law!)

Apart from theft prevention and retrieving stolen bikes, they are also running schemes training lorry drivers on cycle-awareness ...

... which would have great for the driver of the Shell tanker who yesterday morning overtook me on the CS7 in Tooting, AND THEN TURNED LEFT right in front of me.

Sharp stop, shouting and my finger-waving aside, I was... unhappy. The tanker driver KNEW how unhappy I was, and so did all the motorists for 100 feet around.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cleaning The Thames Banks At The Putney Deep Clean ...

 A few hundred people today spent Sunday morning clearing rubbish from the Thames-side at Putney with the Thames21 project. Excellent turn-out.

TUC Demo Saturday - Police Supporting The Protesters ...

Police support for protesters due in London on Saturday is growing, as government cuts start to bite. The Police Federation warns that its members are closer to joining the marchers as anger grows over planned cuts to pay and conditions.

This could be the first demo ever when the Police chant the same slogans as the protesters..

Full article here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How To Beat The French, Part 146 - Eat Bran Flakes ...

Seeing as how Sir Chris Hoy has beaten everybody - and I mean everybody - on two wheels in his career, it's nice to know his secret. Apparently, according to Kelloggs, it's Bran Flakes. The cereal company only approached CH to do the endorsement after finding out that Bran Flakes were part of his regular diet anyway.

But I have one complaint - I too, eat Bran Flakes, so why don't I have thighs like his? One of life's mysteries.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Absolutely The Funniest eBay Advert Ever ...

This is just the funniest ebay advert I've ever seen. Still 3 days to go, and already 400,000 people have seen this. Hope the seller makes a good price, because I found it hilarious.

For St Patrick's Day - A (Very) Brief History Of Ireland ...

Potatos, Whiskey, Poetry, Potatos, THE ENGLISH!, Whiskey, Music, Fistfights, Guinness, NO POTATOS!, Whiskey, Guinness, Potatos, JFK, Whiskey, U2, The Euro.

That EDL Manifesto In Full, Explained For Idiots ...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

1st Btn Royal Irish In Dawn Raid In Nad-e Ali ...

You may have missed this on the news - because it wasn't mentioned, at all - but the R IRISH have been engaged in their biggest operation since 1945, by carrying out a air-dropped dawn raid on an enemy position, taking the insurgents completely by surprise. A perfect operation if ever there was one. These guys are damn good.

In operation Black Winter, the 1st RIR (who's heritage dates back to 1684) operated along with Afghan National Army soldiers, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.

Some US Marine Corps were there, too, but mainly got in the way. 

Result? 14 significant stashes of enemy weaponry, ammunition and bomb-making material, and the arrest of three key insurgent figures. It's these kind of small successes - not large, set-piece battles - that erode the insurgents ability to fight.

So why no mention in the news? I checked national papers and national TV. Not a word.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Benefits Of A Disaster 'Bug-Out' Bag ...

Watching the news coverage from Japan's recent disaster, and images of Japanese families turning up at shelters with a very few possessions in a plastic bag, strongly reminds me of Todd, a friend of mine who was caught up in the floods that hit the UK in 2007.

A disaster of a very minor scale in comparison, of course, but having lived for a while in a hurricane zone in Kansas, US, he'd taken precautions. Nothing would have stopped the flood waters in Herefordshire, but he'd created for himself a Bug-Out Bag - also known as a GO (Get Out) Bag or even better, a GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge!) Bag. Among college students in Louisiana it's known as a GTFU (Git The F**k Out) Bag.

This is a simple cheap rucksack or other sturdy bag, containing whatever would be needed for, say, 24 hours - water, chocolate and other snacks, but most importantly, copies of important documents, phone numbers, photos, and a computer backup hard drive - anything to enable a person to rebuild their life should their entire home be flooded, washed away or even burnt to the ground.

Todd was aware of the confusion and paperwork required when hurricane victims in the American Storm Belt had to obtain replacement documentation, and the loss of family heirlooms and data from their computers, and now many US States suggest that all households have a Bug-Out Bag.

We don't get the same extremes of weather here in the UK (thankfully) but if your house was burning, would you know what to grab? Here's what is generally recommended to keep in your bag:

  • Water, chocolate or other non-perishable snacks;
  • Spare clothing, especially socks, a hat and gloves;
  • Spare glasses or contacts, and any medications;
  • Torch, spare batteries, small first-aid kit; small toys for kids;
  • Favourite family photos (copies);
  • Documents (copies): deeds, insurances, birth certificates, bank details, useful phone numbers, prescriptions;
  • Small pocket radio (your phone might do this);
  • Cash and credit cards;
  • Spare removable PC hard-drive with your files back-up;
  • Cardboard foldable cat-transporter; (well, you can't leave kitty behind, can you?)

Other useful links:

Perhaps the most important point to note is how few of your possessions are actually, really, that important. And should you be unfortunate enough to have the use the BOB for real, you might just find that you really don't miss the stuff you lost.

Perhaps you should reconsider whether you even needed it at all.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stewards Briefing For #TUC Demo #March26th ...

Briefings took place today for the Demo on the 26th March.

Quite impressed with the presentation, and it was made clear to us all that the Police have stated that they wish to 'step back' a little from this one and let stewards handle most of the leg-work. After all, we don't see this as being a confrontational event (no students, no EDL!)

Should go all well on the day - but we're still needing more stewards - numbers expected on the demo range from 100,000 to 220,000. It could be epic.

Comic Relief Ad Filmed in Kingston Aired Tonight ...

Most Influential Female Londoner of The Century - Leona Lewis ... What?

Crap freebie London news rag The Metro decided to celebrate International Women's Day by running a poll to see who readers considered as the Most Influential Female Londoner of The Century (to live, or work, in London)

So who won? A Suffragette? Women's Rights campaigner? Nope, an X-Factor winner, Leona Lewis. I mean, Jesus Christ. Surely even women would baulk at this? She beat Margaret Thatcher, while 'Mumsnet' founder Justine Roberts, Kids Company charity founder Camila Batmanghelidjh and top female firefighter Dany Cotton made up the top five.

Not only did she win but she got 70% of the vote. What?

Oh, yeah, she's a 'Hackney' girl alright. Before the ink was even dry on her £1m contract she upped stick and buggered off to LA.

And I don't imagine that women around the world looking for a role-model would be best pleased either.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

81% Of Britons Are Still Using Mobile Phones Whilst Driving ...

Yeah, I know, because I see them. All the time.

Despite the fact that using mobile phones whilst driving is illegal it has been revealed that the majority of Britons still use their phone without a hands-free device whilst driving. The use of mobile phones whilst driving has been illegal for just over seven years and it seems that even with the threat of a fine and points on the licence it still is not a deterrent.

The research was undertaken by comparison website Drivers also admitted to texting and emailing.

Sometimes, like last Thursday, I nearly get knocked off my bike by these idiots. On that occasion, I pulled level with him at the lights, smiled gently at the male driver, gently tapped on his window, and as he opened his mouth to (I presume) apologise (but still with phone in hand) I screamed at the top of my voice, so everyone around could hear me clearly - "GET OFF YOUR F*&$%NG PHONE!".

Well, the driver wasn't pleased - quite shocked, in fact, as though the mere fact that he could have easily crushed me was very minor, when compared to the importance of him chatting to his wife about picking up milk on the way home (I'm guessing, here).

Mainly I think he was worried about getting nicked, as the volume level I achieved was, frankly, quite epic, and any copper within 100 yards would have heard my shout. But there's never a rozzer around, is there? All in the station-house filling in forms, maybe.

Read more here.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Anti-Depressant Prescriptions In The UK ...

This is a map showing the volume of anti-depressant prescriptions (per 100,000 population) across the UK. London and Southern Midlands are at a low rate, less even than the quiet areas of Devon and Cornwall. And what's up with Norfolk? I thought it was a rural stress-free county?

This may of course, tell us more about the policies of individual Health Trusts / Primary Care Trusts than actual local factors.

REAL Photo Of A REAL Alien (From NASA) ...

It's dead, it's only a bacteria, and it's a fossil, but the fact that it's been found on a meteorite proves beyond doubt that there's alien life out there - perhaps not intelligent, but then there's bugger all intelligent life down here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Anti-Cuts Demo March 26th - In One Image ...

Beautiful artwork with a sharp point from Quoting from the original piece here:
Who hasn't been amazed by Dave's tenacity in hanging on so obstinately to his idea of the Big Society? Despite warnings from many respected experts in the field, that it's not possible to have a more caring society without the necessary funding to maintain it, he seems to be of the opinion that as long as he repeats himself, we will all fall into line and start volunteering. Ah well, now we're not campaigning about forests, more time to focus on people...   

[You'll need to zoom in for the full detail]