Sunday, 31 July 2005
1. If you were a celebrity, what kind would it be (movies, tv, literature, crime, etc)?
"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and fame" - I'm sure those with some learning in the classics will recognise that :-)
2. Which other celebrities would you make a concerted effort to try and be around?
Kim Catrell, Annette Benning, Nicole Kidman and George Best
3. Which other celebrities would you avoid like the plague?
Any I owe money, Wayne Rooney, celebrity chefs
4. Which celebrities would you date?
Kim Catrell, Annette Benning and Nicole Kidman
5. What would be your "Celebrity Cause"?
Live8, the Salvation Army and the RNLIB
6. Since celebs always get off, what crime(s) would you commit?
Being too damn cool for my own good
7. What would be the name of your tell-all book?
"A pint of Guinness would be lovely thanks"
8. Tag 3 people to do this poll.
Posted by Nogbad at 01:25:00
Friday, 29 July 2005
Posted by Nogbad at 19:59:00
Anyway. Blair and Co have little else to do right now so they decided to implement a new law which means that anyone wishing to demonstrate or protest within shouting distance of our elected representatives must get a chit from the Met first. This legislation goes by the posh title of the "Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005)" and many think it was aimed directly at getting Mr Haw to sod off home and leave the MPs alone but the legislators messed up when they wrote the law and Brian can stay. The BBC coverage is here. Congratulations Brian!
Posted by Nogbad at 15:13:00
Okay - for those without the musical background to recognise the opening of Alice Cooper's seminal work "Schools Out"............ Anyway (just imagine the frosty glance and the pout).
Anyway. The Houses of Parliment (Birthplace of Democracy whatever our small friend in Washington might think) are in recess for summer so Guido is left to sip Chardonney and make up stories. Bearing that in mind check out this clearly photoshopped sign. And before anyone gets on my case about how distasteful this is - I know but it's nearly three AM and I'm tired and it's funny and before you get "Holier than thou" - I promise that I can offer you a decent run for your money in most mainstream belief systems :-)
Posted by Nogbad at 02:50:00
Thursday, 28 July 2005
Posted by Nogbad at 18:16:00
It's a tough life at times! :-)
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Monday, 25 July 2005
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Saturday, 23 July 2005
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Friday, 22 July 2005
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Thursday, 21 July 2005
Wednesday, 20 July 2005
It's actually legal in 17 States of America to have sex with animals. That's okay then - I'm just glad it isn't mandatory!
Posted by Nogbad at 19:44:00
If we can put a man on the moon we can do anything! A generation grew up believing that and many of us still do - despite what our political leaders get up to! Check out the moon landing links available from Google - they've changed their logo for the celebration and they've got a great moon map showing all the landing sites.
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Tuesday, 19 July 2005
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Sunday, 17 July 2005
Saturday, 16 July 2005
Nice Sancerre now, dry enough to peel the enamel off your teeth and cold enough to freeze your gums so that you don't feel the pain.
Posted by Nogbad at 16:16:00
Friday, 15 July 2005
So I've just popped out and done a bit of research on beer miles. Being an environmentally aware sort of chappy I walked rather then drove and I drank the local brew. This is an old photo though as I didn't take the camera and I sat outside and I haven't smoked a cigarette for over a week now.
Posted by Nogbad at 20:08:00
"Internet buying and home delivery can reduce road congestion and vehicle kilometres. Organic and seasonally available food can reduce environmental impacts, but these can be offset by the way they are transported to the consumer's home."
Posted by Nogbad at 13:18:00
Thursday, 14 July 2005
The government has no chance of reaching its target of 50% of young people entering higher education by 2010, a respected thinktank reveals today. From the Education Guardian.
Remember a while back before events conspired to deflect us from the discussion about Higher Education in the 21st century? Well I'm sure the latest report from the Higher Education Policy Institute will be given very little attention in the short term and in the longer term used by politicians of varying colour to support or beat each other.
The report itself points to a number of factors which impact on participation and these include the significant drop in demographic growth around 2010, i.e. there will simply not be as many uni aged students around between 2010 and 2015 - while this makes "50%" easier to achieve the drop in real numbers will have an impact on provision. The finger is also pointed at the Celtic fringes, the populations in both Scotland and Wales are declining and in order to maintain their own HE base they might start recruiting aggressively in England with the obvious effect on demand for English HE providers. There is also evidence that the growth in student numbers staying on to take "A" levels has stalled and shows no real signs of restarting. Without this primary feeder participation in HE will be reduced.
The report also suggests that the only way the government targets might be reached is if take-up of HE by older students , i.e. those over 21 years of age, increased but it would have to rise nearly three times as fast as the shortfall in younger students to compensate for this falling away of participation by younger students. It simply ain't gonna happen is it boys and girls?
I think, therefore, that it's a good job that I'm here and prepared to offer the benefit of my wide ranging experience to our lords and masters in order that we can avert this failure of a main plank of successive Labour Party manifesto pledges. Once I lay out my master plan I'm sure you will agree that it draws together a number of strands to create a coherent solution to a few societal problems.
We need to rebuild Hadrian's Wall and Offa's Dyke. Simple really. It offers work for all those people attracted to taking vocational qualifications in the building trade and it also has some "big" engineering for the newly graduated civil (and uncivil) engineers. Both projects are away from the super-heated south east and will offer work in areas of unemployment to offset the work that is flooding into London to build the Olympic infrastructure. Blair and Clark's soon to be formed Border Guards will have somewhere to keep warm and they can watch for youngsters trying to make a break for Stirling or the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. Of course the introduction of biometric ID cards will also help as students will be unable to lie about their age and claim that it's a junior school trip or a family holiday when they are actually trying to attend an interview at Cardiff or St Andrew's.
Remember - you heard it here first!
Posted by Nogbad at 14:25:00
Wednesday, 13 July 2005
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Tuesday, 12 July 2005
Lobster Blogster reports that Watford has been declared an "American Free Zone" while the Cyber-pope is organising a support service for American military personnel travelling in the capital.
Posted by Nogbad at 12:34:00
Monday, 11 July 2005
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Saturday, 9 July 2005
No Red Arrows, no sail past by HMS Hermes, no parachute displays but a good time was had by all. There were hot dogs and burgers, bric-a-brac and cakes, pony rides and a coconut shy, tombolas and a bouncy castle, refreshments and a shooting gallery, plants and books for sale. The purpose is to raise money to install central heating in the village hall so that winter events need not be attended wearing woolly jumpers and thick coats.
Posted by Nogbad at 20:51:00
Friday, 8 July 2005
What I do offer though is a link to The London News Review where an open letter to the terrorists has been published. It uses intemperate language so don't follow that link if you are easily shocked but I'm sure it somes up how many feel right now. I particularly like the paragraph
Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.My only change would be to use the word Britain instead of London.
Posted by Nogbad at 17:11:00
Posted by Nogbad at 15:11:00
No real surprise that these atrocities have attracted a great deal of discussion across the blogosphere. I like this quote
So thanks then, terrorists. You've just succeeded in bringing the families of millions of Londoners that bit closer together, giving them an increased love of their city and an enhanced appreciation of their way of life.from Clagnut and he refers to Adactio where this comes from
The terrorists responsible for these attacks are clearly not only a bunch of murdering bastards, they are a bunch of murdering bastards who don't know their history. London made it through the blitz and through years of IRA bombings. Londoners react to explosions not with fear and terror but with resolution and bravery.For an interesting perspective and a comprehensive review of a range of new sources try Crossing the rubicon. In common with a few US based posts this one appears to forget the recent history of terrorism in this country
I hope this country will wake up to a taste of Middle East terror in its own back yard. Time will tell. (Quoted on that blog from an email)For those with a poor memory, and in support of the quote above - this year is the 60th anniversary of the ending of WW2, a period when London and much of Britain was subjected to sustained bombing. From the late 1970s until very recently there was a sustained terrorist threat from the IRA and many cities and towns still bear the scars of outrages committed there - Warrington, Manchester, Guildford, Birmingham and Omagh to name a few. In London there was the Harrods bomb in 1983. None of this means that the British are happy about being subject to terrorist attack or that as "old hands" anyone feels comfortable about it but it's sadly not a new experience and a bomb is a bomb whatever the motivation of the murderer who planted it.
Of course there are also messages suggesting that it's all our own fault for committing troops to Iraq but I find it difficult to believe that the people on the Circle Line train really had much to do with sending troops to war.
Some interesting reflections on John Naughton's blog particularly Random thoughts and Quote of the day which is the rousing speech given by Ken Livingstone.
Above all else my thoughts are with those grieving tonight and those injured in this horrendous assault on each of us.
Tag: London Bombings
Posted by Nogbad at 00:12:00
Thursday, 7 July 2005
Africa is a continent made up of 53 countries. It was carved up by the old European empires - France, Britain, Holland, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Belgium. They ignored existing borders and created a patchwork of "nations" that bore little relationship to the practical realities. Over time the developed world has raped the continent, it had an abundance of natural resources but has been subjugated in the desire for this wealth. Gold, diamonds, oil, etc have flowed from the African continent with little regard to how we came by these riches. Every country in the developed world has benefitted from this.
Twenty years ago we put our hands in our pockets for Live Aid and stumped up a few quid to feed starving children and we saved some lives but it wasn't enough. Today, now, as you read this, a child dies every three seconds. Now the cynics get tense about that too but it's approachable - a sound bite for the digital age. Every three seconds, click your fingers, every three seconds, that's a life. It's obscene but it's approachable. We can encapsulate the idea that a life is lost every three seconds even if we can't really deal with the reality of losing a child, a father, a son, a wife, a daughter, a brother, a sister to something that might have been avoided. A swift reality check - in the UK in 2004 there are roughly ten (yes 10) lives lost each day in road accidents. In England and Wales there are approximately 240,000 deaths each year - do the sums, about a week's worth of avoidable deaths in Africa.
The purpose of Live8 was to grab attention - it was the biggest advertising hoarding the world has ever seen. From here it's up to us. We can sink back into the comfort of apathy or we can go out and try to understand some more about what Africa is all about. We can stand on the sidelines and scoff at the efforts so far or we can engage and make a difference. What we cannot do is ignore it - that's what Live8 means. I don't intend to let my children grow up in a world where accepting that children die because they contract diarrhoea is permissable. I don't want to envisage a world where I have to explain to my children that we tried twice, with Live Aid and Live8 and we still screwed up.
I suppose the message is - by all means be critical but be engaged, the people who stand back and don't get involved, those only able to say what was wrong, should think again. We are where we are - do something to move the situation forward - that's the task at hand and standing back and wringing your hands serves no purpose.
Live8 engaged people - make them listen.
Posted by Nogbad at 00:16:00
Wednesday, 6 July 2005
Posted by Nogbad at 23:28:00
Tuesday, 5 July 2005
Live8 moves to Scotland as the G8 leaders arrive in Edinburgh tomorrow. Whether a million people march on Edingburgh or only a hundred it's to be hoped that the men who can change the world don't forget that in this wired world far more people than ever before are aware of their actions.
I think it's interesting that this time out, 20 years after Live Aid, that the Internet - the web wasn't even a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye when Freddie and Queen rocked Wembley - really has the potential to impose on our democratically elected leaders some pressure. That they may chose not to deal with the problems of chronic poverty in parts of Africa or global warming but it's probably the first time their deliberations have been subject to such scrutiny. Would that have been possible without the combined weight of political activism and the web? Sure there have been anti-globalization protests at each of the G8 meetings for as long as I can remember but this is different - this time people from around the world are watching for afar.
Let's just hope that the political will to make positive changes can match the aparent public will for change to happen.
Posted by Nogbad at 19:45:00
Monday, 4 July 2005
If events like these never happened, how could we wake up a large number of people?
Posted by Nogbad at 13:16:00
Sunday, 3 July 2005
I've been roaming the wired world for a few more voices talking about live8.
From Bangalore - "Thinking without a box" talks about the Green Day performance in Berlin. While Zuffar offers some thoughts on the TV coverage before having a private bonfire with said TV. Keith Scott is a missionary in Burkina Faso and his beautifully presented "Under the acacias" blog looks at the events in Edinburgh rather than rock music and "Time being" offers "what they want in fourteen words", a Canadian perspective. Check out Victoria's blog which includes some great personal reflection:
As I was watching the Live 8 concert yesterday, it hit me so hard. I was thinking. I have everything in the world. And I'm still complaining all the time. Food, water, everything I need. But look at those children and people in Africa, they die every 3 seconds due to extreme poverty.
Posted by Nogbad at 18:49:00
And on the way there is some fine stuff to see on the web! Sharon Cobb is a journo in Nashville and has suggested that this is "Worldstock" while Samual Bilibit reflects on watching Live8 from the Philippines, itself a country heavily in debt. In Victoria, Australia Lauren talks about the failure of free to air TV companies in her neck of the woods to gain rights to show Live8 - two hours (including adverts) is all that was available outside pay-per-view. And Portension highlight a fantastic development which might promise great changes in the way shelter is delivered to refugees.
The photo is of Sir Bob and Birhan Woldu, a woman alive because of Live Aid. Let's not lose sight of what it's all about.
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- Dido and Youssou N'Dour - brilliant! 7 Seconds was awesome.
- Velvet Revolver - did they get invited in error? Did someone think the Velvet Underground were going to regroup for Live8?
- Coldplay - I might finally be catching up with everyone saying they might be a band to watch
- Okay - I admit that I cried at the start. I know exactly where I was and with whom on 13/07/1985 when Quo sang "Rocking all over the world" and Geldof and Ure added a new term to the English language - "Live Aid". Lots of things have happened to me in those 20 years and not all have been good.
- Mariah Carey - why?? All the "Dahling" stuff about needing a stand despite saying she wouldn't was a tad annoying but then trying to big up her act by using a group of children selected because they were orphans?? That's sick I'm afraid. And then using Live8 as a platform for her new song - I couldn't really tell if it was new or not as I'm not an avid collector of her back catalogue but I can only fervently hope that she gets the sales she deserves rather than what she wants.
- Geldof - milked the pause in "I don't like Mondays" but that's what the day was about wasn't it? Probably shouldn't be singing but it wouldn't have happened without him
- The Who - "Bus pass rockers blow away the teenies" - if The Sun steal that I want royalties!
- Floyd are still able to send me to sleep after all these years
- McCartney - Okay then, he's got the sole franchise on some of the finest pop songs ever written - he even wrote some of them - but it's still hard to forgive "Mull of Kyntyre" and "The Frog Song"
- I cried again when Saint Bob introduced the video from 20 years ago with "Drive" by The Cars - everyone in the west should be made to watch that regularly but not so much that they become immune to its power.
- I cried even more when he then introduced a survivor from that film. I thought "even if Live Aid only saved one of them was it a waste of time?"
- Gates - I've already seen some of the cynical shite being written about his appearance but as far as I'm concerned anyone who divvys up the kind of brass he has to support development in some of the crappiest parts of the planet deserves respect. To hear some people talk you would think he sold heroin or crack rather than built a successful company - and before anyone starts hitting the "add comment" link to start berating me about Microsoft's business practices or how the world would be a lovely place if we all pissed about with Linux please save your time and mine - today really isn't the day for myopic rantings about the number of angels that can dance on the beak of a penguin.
- Keane were cool
- Will Smith did his best to engage the US audience but he's fighting a losing battle, TV coverage is very limited so the majority of the electorate in the most powerful country on the planet will probably hear very little about the real disaster that is happening outside their borders - that of itself is another tragedy.
- Green Day rocked
Posted by Nogbad at 00:19:00
Saturday, 2 July 2005
While Live8 at Hyde Park sinks slowly into the mellow tones of the Floyd (I never got Pink Floyd and I'm afraid I still don't) I thought I'd try and get my arms round some of the underlying issues. Why Africa - What works has a bewildering array of facts about debt in Africa,
In 1980 Africa had a 6% share of world trade. By 2002 this had dropped to just 2% despite the fact that Africa has 12% of the world's population. If Africa could regain just an additional 1% share of the global trade, it would earn $70 billion more in exports each year - more than three times what the region currently receives in international assistance.
In 1970, wealthy nations agreed to a goal of spending 0.7% of GNP on development assitance. In 2003, these countries spent on average just 0.25%; the U.S. gives the smallest percentage of its wealth, 0.15%, to poor countries. (OECD)
Ghana can export raw cocoa duty free to Europe, but a 25% tariff is imposed if they process that cocoa before exporting it to Europe. It is this processing (tinning, roasting, labeling) which helps a country earn more money and develop its manufacturing base - and which allows its economy to grow. While fair trade could be Africa's ticket out of the vicious cycles of poverty, unfair trade rules like these trap Africa at the gates.
The Jubilee Debt Campaign also paints a sorry picture of the action currently taken to support developing countries
'HIPC' - too little, too slow, and with strings attached
- The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative is the current international debt relief scheme
- The 'Paris Club' is a group of creditor countries which meet behind closed doors
- Countries which have received debt cancellation through HIPC -18
- Total debt cancellation through HIPC [between 1996 - 2005] -$30 billion
- Debt cancellation granted in one day to Iraq by the 'Paris Club' -$31 billion (Nov. 04)
- Number of qualified teachers which Zambia was unable to employ because of a public sector wage freeze imposed by the IMF in 2004 as a condition of receiving HIPC debt relief -9,000
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And for all those who say it won't do any good - if this doesn't work what will? How can we change the world?
Posted by Nogbad at 15:25:00
In Tokyo, the 10,000-seat venue was full by the end, although many in the crowd said they came mainly to see headline act Bjork give her first live performance in two years.and they use the Mandela quote, when he came out in support of Live8 and the "Make poverty history" campaign, to counter the criticism of the event.
The diminutive star expressed the sense of helplessness she felt in the face of extreme poverty in poor countries.
"I look at the news, I see people starving, I am crying. I'm a total mess," she told reporters after the gig.
"You try to think how you're going to break through this cobweb of problems and bureaucracy and how on Earth anybody is going to make any change."
"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation," Nelson MandelaFinally and best for broadband users I'd guess, AOL Music are carrying live video feeds from all the concerts around the world.
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George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago described the G8 decision to cancel some of the debt as "Spin, lies and corruption" - questioning the motivation of the world leaders involved and particularly the conditions being placed on the debtor countries.
David Stubbs, Reviews Editor of Wired, writing on the BBC site raises a number of reasons that he won't be watching Live8 but they seem to boil down to his dislike of the music on offer.
For a truly diverse selection of views try Global Voices. It includes a quote from a Kenyan blogger, Thinker's Room:
If a concert in Africa would have me sceptical, words cannot describe just how I fail to see how the remotest benefit a 1 million strong concert in Edinburgh will be derived by a poor fisherman in Lamu. I don't see how one million partygoers will contribute to the filling of stomachs in Darfur, or a reduction of the gunfire. This concert, oddly enough, does not seem to have any African musicians performing aside from the good old token Yossou N'dour, something that will no doubt soon be hastily corrected and laughed off as a "technical oversight".But not all voices are dissenting - I think it's a fantastic resource tying together the thoughts and views of people far more directly involved than those of us in the affluent West but I think it also points to another issue. One must imagine that the real people in need, the people in Dafur, are still not able to make their voices heard on the web - and I'm not for one moment suggesting that this should be a priority for anyone - but we still receive all the images and words mediated by others. We should remember that while we have the luxury of sharing our ideas and thoughts from the comfort of our homes and offices there are millions of people for whom the Internet means nothing - they are just too busy trying to stay alive!
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The BBC have launched a G8 page with all the background and details about the issues that you would expect from one of the major news gathering organizations in the world. And Paul Mason, a journo on Newsnight, is running the Newsnig8t Blog, 'On the road to Gleneagles'. Behind the Live8 stuff it's important to look at the issues and the political players who can really make the difference.
Posted by Nogbad at 01:57:00
Friday, 1 July 2005
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Tesco decided to use a rather cool technique to create some extra land in Gerrards Cross on which to build a supermarket. Let's cover over the railway cutting, effectively making a new tunnel, and build on top! Whoops! Rail chaos between London and Birmingham - thankfully nobody was hurt.
Posted by Nogbad at 09:58:00