Sunday, 30 March 2014

Are you a writer? Do you struggle to find character names that aptly reflect the characters in your story? Check out this brilliant, completely free, random name generator for authors: http://random-name-generator.info/random/

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Ministry of Justice guilty of making unsolicited telephone calls

BBC News today has announced that prisoners at Oakwood Prison in Wolverhampton are being paid to make unsolicited telephone calls, on behalf of insurance companies, to members of the public.

"They do not have access to private information such as addresses," the Ministry says, "and public security is not being compromised."

What about my right not to receive nuisance calls? That's being compromised but clearly the Ministry doesn't care about that!

I'm registered with the TPS yet I've had calls like this. Surely this means the Government is acting illegally?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Starbucks and the Iraq War

I've just received an email asking me to shun Starbucks because they've refused to supply free coffee to soldiers in Iraq. Starbucks says it doesn't support the war. Actually I don't go to Starbucks anyway, I much prefer Costa, but I reckon their decision will rocket them up the popularity stakes - goodness knows they're seriously out of favour at the moment with their tax avoidance schemes and all. The sender of the email seems to think that everyone should know about this dastardly Starbuck decision. Well I'm sorry but I don't support the war either, nor any war that was initiated by a capitalist manoeuvre to protect investments. Atrocities go on in other countries where the west has no financial interest - we don't try and bomb them out of existence. How can anyone condone going half way across the world to slaughter other human beings? Tell me, I need to know. I'm not against the soldiers, they only act under orders,  but we must remember that they signed up for the army lured by the possibility of combat and the acclaimed macho, heroic image. I know this isn't a politically correct view but come on, let's be truthful! Sgt Howard Wright probably initiated this circulating email because he's just pissed off that he can't get an endless supply of free coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bless You My SUN

Is this for real? I’ve just had a glimpse into another world; a world I never knew existed. It’s a place where young girls are having conical implants because they think pointed breasts look more natural. A place where a twenty two year old man tells the world that he’s in love with the thirteen year old sister of his best friend, and a famous celebrity declares that her pot bellied pig is her soulmate. It’s a place where women proudly reveal their half naked bodies, pumped up and sucked out in all the right places. It probably makes them feel sexy to think a million British men are panting over their tits under the duvet. Well I guess it would! This is the world of The Sun.  Don’t go thinking I usually read this sort of stuff. Oh goodness me, no!  The Sun editorial team bought my patronage. I’m not proud of it but hey ho, a tenners worth of free groceries is . . . well, a tenners worth of free groceries! My total shop came to £67.67 and I was just about to pay when the cashier cancelled my card payment.

“Hang on a mo, she said as she fished under her till and with a flurry produced a copy of the infamous newspaper,

“If you buy this,” she says, “You’ll get £10 off your grocery bill.” Her smile is triumphant. I like the word ‘grocery’, she uses it as a euphemism for alcohol but I decline her offer. Nothing’s for free, there’s always a catch. She assures me there’s no catch and insists that I really want to buy this paper. She proceeds to open it at page 16 and rips out a voucher which she then waves under my nose.

“See,” she proclaims, “Your total is now £68.07 but I can take £10 off with this.”

OK, so I buy the paper and get my ‘groceries’ for £58.07. She offers to bin the newspaper but, as I’ve just paid 40p for it, I decide I should at least have a look. I can’t fault the reporters on their content; it’s all engrossing stuff. Why, I started reading it at 8am and didn’t finish until teatime. Will I be buying The Sun newspaper again? That’s a resounding ‘No’ but at least I’m now informed about what’s really going on in the world and I can return to my peaceful little bubble a whole lot wiser!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Good Old Days - you can keep 'em

Another one of those irritating “Remember the Good Old Days” emails arrived in my inbox this morning. Why do older people send these round? If you’re one of them, please let me know.  Is it that they remind you of your idyllic, carefree childhood? Is there a lovely rosy glow round all your memories? Aren’t you the lucky one? All they do for me is poke sticks into old wounds. This latest one was particularly obtrusive, hence this post. One of the “good old things” about the “good old days” was (and I quote):

They threatened to keep children back a year if they failed the school year. . .  And they did!
I was one of those failures. I started school a year earlier than I should have done – was that because I was “bright” or was it because I was the youngest of five children and my parents needed some peace? When I was six I developed a stammer, this made it difficult to communicate effectively with the teachers. The older I got, the more they punished me by verbal abuse, smacking and hitting with rulers and board dusters. My stammer must have irritated the hell out of them. In what should have been my final year at junior school I was plagued with stomach problems and undiagnosed depression so “they” in their wisdom, kept me back a year. All my friends went off to pastures new and I was left with thirty kids who I didn’t know, who teased me unceasingly about my stammer. By the way, being a failure, I went on to a secondary modern school where I flourished but didn’t have the opportunity to excel academically – we didn’t even have chemistry or physics teachers.

So let me say this to all those “oldies” who send these emails round. The Present is called the Present for good reason.

IT’S A GIFT. TREASURE IT; APPRECIATE IT; EMBRACE IT.

Yes there is more stress in the workplace. Yes people have the opportunity to indulge their greed, and yes there are many things that we could improve, but at least we now have the choice and the freedom to improve our lives and the lives of others. In the “good old days” power hungry people (assigned the role of petty tyrants) were free to exercise their power however they chose, often without discretion and often too without compassion; certainly without the common sense to understand the negative consequences of their “good old” rules.

So please, please, please, strike me off your “living in the past” distribution list. I prefer the here and now.  Even with all its warts and its carbuncles, it’s a whole lot better than yesterday.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012 - and the world is changing

Were all familiar by now with the Mayan Prophesy that the world will end on the 21st December 2012 coincidentally, the Winter Solstice and  my birthday. I so hope that no one is fearing an asteroid impact, a global war or global earthquakes covering our beautiful planet in fire and brimstone. Then again, any of those may be easier to weather than the birthing pains that may be in store for us. Though the prophecies are not fully understood, people with more understanding than most interpret this as the start of a new way of being in the world. A change of attitude. A change of politics. A change of perspective. Of course these things are rarely won by peaceful means. Currently we live with the threat of economic implosion. Governments make war on their own people. Increasing intervention by the media and the State infringe our lives and assault our psyches. Profit is more important than people or the environment. Were constantly bombarded by companies promising to make us happy if we hand over our hard earned cash. Our children live for hours in virtual worlds of internet gaming and social networking. The people at the top seem only to be concerned about themselves and this ethos trickles through society like a weeping sore, infecting the populace with the idea that its OK to riot and loot. The raping and pillaging of our Mother Earth, and all her inhabitants, has got to stop. If it doesnt, well continue to fall into the abyss of selfishness and greed until there is nothing left worth saving.
But there is hope and that hope lies in a growing body of people throughout the world who believe there is a better way. Who believe that peaceful protection of the earth and all her inhabitants is the medicine that will turn this around. This eclectic mix of people may have different beliefs, different gods, different ways of living, but fundamentally they all travel the same path. The difference between these paths and the paths being currently trodden by the masses, is that these new paths are paths that follow the heart. Theyre paths that lead through rich spiritual landscapes, paths that demand an open mind and an open heart. These people have let go of the belief that only Science can solve our problems, that Science is the rock on which we can rely; the foundation on which our future will stand or fall. They embrace a new philosophy, and they embrace each other despite their differences.
Heres a very relevant and interesting quote from the latest edition of The Arlington Institute e-magazine, The Future Vol 14 Number 24
If this really is a punctuation in the evolutionary process, then, by definition, the new territory that we're entering is not described by the current maps and operates in quite different ways. In this case the proposals for dealing with all of these hard problems are intrinsically soft - all about stuff like love and gratitude - which requires embracing a radically different concept of reality. It says that there is another way to operate in this human space that accesses physics and forces that are not yet described by the conventional, authoritative sources - but nevertheless work. It also means that if you don't embrace these new concepts, the world that you experience will become increasingly dysfunctional and fearful.
So, if you want to enter into the new age with optimism, courage and hope; can I suggest that you answer the call of spirit. Believe me, its knocking whether you hear it or not.
Heres a quote from Walt Whitman. Give it some thought:
Re-examine all you have been told
Dismiss what insults your soul.

Post Script: Follow this link http://www.seri-worldwide.org/id435.html for an article written by someone who has the authority to inform us What the Mayan Elders are Saying About 2012 by Carlos Barrios

Police State?

I flew into Atlanta Georgia airport in the summer of 2009, looking forward to a conference in Asheville NC followed by a leisurely tour of the Smokey Mountains. I hadnt been in the USA since 2006 but my memories of Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles airports during that visit were all good; polite officials welcoming me and hoping that my stay in the USA was a good one. Not so in 2009. My experiences at Atlanta airport were traumatic. Bullied for fifteen minutes by a Passport Control official, accused of breaking federal law and threatened with arrest, and then being separated from my luggage with no explanation. My cabin bag was examined out of my sight it contained all my valuables, including money and credit cards. I tell you this because Ive just learned that the Department of Homeland Security has asked Congress to give the green light on funding for a massive expansion of TSA (Transport Security Administration) checkpoints. The federal agency are already responsible for over 9,000 such checkpoints.  Americans now fear that their homeland is turning into a police state following the passage of an ‘indefinite detention’ bill. The increase in funding is to create 12 more VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams to add the federal agency’s 25 units that are already scattered across the country and responsible for manning checkpoints on highways, in bus and train terminals, at sports events and even high school prom nights.
Im back in the States next June. This time Ill go with trepidation. Whilst I've no objection at all to carefully monitored security checks, there is no reason to conduct those checks in a bullying, authoritarian manner. If people are treated with disrespect and made to feel like criminals, the people will rebel eventually. Being polite and respectful costs nothing and achieves much more. We may be told the current strategy is part of the War on Terror but from where Im standing its a War against Peace and this doesnt feel like a good road to be travelling down.