The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Comment Fail

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Oh I’m an idiot. When I migrated my website from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog I was fiddling around with a lot of widgets. One of that was a comment verification tool. I wondered why I hadn’t had a single comment on my blog since the move and the reason is painfully clear – I screwed up the plugin. Well I have deactivated the widget and all is right with the world (well the blog) for now.

I suspect very few noticed or cared but if you want to lambast me for being an idiot now you have your chance.

Apologies.

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May 18th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

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The problems of upgrading to a posh new phone – what ring tone to have?

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Since 2003 I have had a Nokia8310. It served me well. I liked the little phone but for about the past two years it had shall we say stopped working. Basically if anyone rang me it was likely to both cause the battery to die and for the phone to lose connection. I kept with it as the new world of mobile phones was both scary and expensive (and deep down I’m a right tight arse) but recently I have loosened the purse strings somewhat. Having a phone that a) works and b) gives me access to the interweb on the move was actually a pretty good idea.

So last week I purchased a second-hand iPhone 3GS and so far so good. I can check e-mails even if not at my computer. Can tweet on the move and all those added little extras like train times and information are worth it. I’m not fully a convert yet but I’m getting there.

Now the problem occurs of what to have as my ring tone as I can pretty much have anything. For years I’ve just had the standard Nokia tone but no more. So here are the candidates..

First up following on from its appearance in my last blog – The Big Fight: Live (ITV)

Next up ESPN’s College Gameday: Live

Maybe the BBC’s Golf theme?

Or it’s Cricket theme?

Possibly even Ski Sunday?

Maybe the BBC Snooker theme?

The Chain anyone?

Maybe The Apprentice USA?

I did/do love The Contender…

I’m certainly looking to go down the theme tune route. Any suggestions?

As it stands I’m leaning heaving to The Big Fight: Live.

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May 17th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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Chris Whitehead wore a skirt to school to stick it to the man – good on him

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At lunchtime I was pointed to this article in the Daily Telegraph about a 12 year-old boy who wore a skirt to school because his school has a ban on shorts. The kid says that it is discrimination that girls can wear skirts but boys cannot wear shorts in the summer and lets be frank – he has a point.

According to the story the school outlawed shorts in 2009 after a consultation with parents. Apparently most schools in Cambridgeshire have the same rules. I must admit I can’t remember if at either of the secondary schools I went to had a ban on shorts for boys in the summer. I imagine Oaklands probably did but Carisbrooke High may not have done. Still I didn’t care about these type of things when I was 12 but the kid makes a good point and well done to the school for not castigating him.

Whether or not you believe this is something worth fighting over you have to admire his spirit. I’m not exactly sure that wearing trousers in the hot summer is that much different to wearing shorts but heck exploit that loophole over skirts. It is certainly unfair that girls can wear either skirts or trousers and boys can only wear trousers (or skirts using this loophole). I just don’t get why this is.

So anyway another pointless ramble. Well done to the kid. Shows up the schools stupid law. Hopefully they’ll sort it out and he maintains his interest in politics.

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May 10th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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American Justice – Sheriff strangles handcuffed and shackled teen

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Sadly I see far too many of these types of videos. This one is one of the worst I’ve seen though although that one where Canadian police stripped a 15 year-old and hogtied her in a jail cell in the nip is still the most disturbing I’ve ever seen but I digress.

Sheriff Larry Amerson of Calhoun County, Alabama can clearly be seen in this video with his hands around the neck of a handcuffed and shackled inmate. Think about that for a minute and the ethics and the civil liberties behind this. We all want the police to be trustworthy people whom will treat anyone fairly even under strenuous conditions. I think everybody going for a career in criminal justice should take a look at this case, or at least the subject of police brutality. I’m beginning to wonder just what they are teaching police recruits in America. It seems though that maybe the problem goes beyond just the sheriff and partly lies with the culture

Reading the letters in The Anniston Star it seems as though the general public are fully behind the Sheriff. They think a bit of tough life and hands around a throat of a teenager toughens him up and will scare him straight. This may be the case but doing it in full view of a CCTV camera is dumb. The kid apparently was on a programme that it is hoped would ‘scare him straight’ but still I’m not sure that hands around the throat is the best way forward.

The officer is under an FBI investigation and the CCTV evidence is pretty damning. If he doesn’t lose his job he’ll be a very lucky man and I wouldn’t be shocked to see criminal charges laid at his feet.

I just wonder when people will learn that CCTV is everywhere and in this day and age you have to watch everything you say and do. Had this happened 25 years ago no-one would’ve heard about it let alone complaints made. A seemingly good career thrown away in a moment of madness. However as they say ‘if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime’ and I’m pretty sure that is assault at worst.

Watch the video below to put together your own thoughts.

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May 3rd, 2011 at 3:19 pm

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Eurovision 2011: Blue – I can (and they just might)

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Like most sane people – I adore the awfulness of Eurovision. Yes I know that it has lost a bit of zest since Terry Wogan decided it had gotten too political even for him but it still is well worth an evening (or more if you watch the semi’s) of entertainment. For years the UK have put in piss poor entries that we knew deep down had no hope of winning. From Daz Simpson to Scooch we have been roundly kicked in the knackers by Europe and deservedly so but this year it might well be all different.

Now if you didn’t know our entry this year is Blue who have reformed and their song ‘I can’ is actually good and they can pull this off. They are still famous across Europe and the song has what most Eurovision winners need – a catchy melody (yes I know Lordi didn’t but they were the exception). If you haven’t heard the song yet then here is the video. Let me know what you think:

Blue – I Can

Now I’m not what you call a Blue fan but they weren’t the worst boy band ever. They had a few half decent singles and their European wide success should help us. Last years winner was fantastic and I do have Lena Mayer-Landrut’s song Satellite (Germany) on my iPod. I also enjoyed Tom Dice’s Me & My Guitar (Belgium) so not all the songs are terrible.

I do think it would be fun to win it all this year. People will moan about how its a waste of taxpayers money blah de blah and we should pull out of Eurovision but for what we spend on it – it works out as great value fr money for the BBC year in year out. Millions will tune in for the cheesiness of it and Ireland are throwing Jedward at Europe so surely we won’t be last – surely…?

PS: I bet if UKIP got to power they would want to remove us from Eurovision. This cannot be allowed to happen!

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April 20th, 2011 at 7:59 am

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Aliens to join in the Royal Wedding festivities?

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Anyone who knows me will know I’ a sucker for UFO and alien stories. Having had extraterrestrial encounters myself I’m very open-minded about the whole thing. So when I saw a story entitled ‘Aliens to drop in on royal wedding’ it was a no brainer. My mouse moved and I clicked on it.

In essence for those of you who don’t want to read the link, the story says that UFOs are often spotted near big events and have been spotted more often than usual in both Libya and Japan in recent weeks. Those aliens watching our world play out like their own personal soap opera – the little scamps. Add to that sightings over the English Channel have increased in the past few weeks. Those aliens clearly wanting to do some dummy runs to make sure traffic isn’t a problem for the big day. I only just realised that we had three Bank Holiday’s in eight days – score. The aliens must know of the traditional problems with Bank Holiday traffic in the UK.

Major George Filer is a retired pilot from the RAF who now runs the National UFO centre. I had no idea we had one of those. I’d like to go there and have a bit of a chit-chat about Rendlesham Forest. However he seems to be convinced that the alien fraternity are interested in the Royal Wedding. Considering most English people aren’t that seems far-fetched but hey.

I know when I see the snippets on the news I’ll be looking for one thing and one thing only – aliens!

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March 31st, 2011 at 4:25 pm

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Ashley Cole – Is it possible to dislike him even more than we all did previously?

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I’m pretty sure that he is the most disliked football around and tat is quite an accomplishment. Many footballers are disliked by fans of rival teams but the general public couldn’t care less. Ashley Cole has managed to transcend sport and is just disliked by everyone. I’m not even sure that Chelsea fans like him that much. Terrific footballer, yes. Best left-back in the world, quite possibly. Bit of a prat, without a doubt. Hated by most, yeah I’d say so.

We all know about his extra marital affairs that caused his divorce. We all know about him skipping out on Arsenal for mega-money. Then a few weeks ago he shot a work experience and seems to have pretty much got away with it. I’m pretty sure if I shot anyone then the police may want to get involved. Had the work experience kid shot Ashley Cole then all hell would’ve broken loose. So he gets away with that which is to be honest more than annoying and now this.

Whilst I do not generally buy newspapers I do read most of them online and therefore I do read The Sun and today a headline with, ‘Ashley Cole’s plan to woo Cheryl back’ is easily enough for me to click on. The fact is that he thinks that buying property in Dubai will woo her back, the divorce was all a stunt as she had to show that she was doing something and is extremely confident that they’ll re-marry when retires. What world does this guy live in?

So he thinks that when he retires and isn’t playing football any more she’ll run back to him and they’ll live happily ever after in Dubai? Well in a way you have to admire his optimism or maybe it’s just self-delusional. Either way the smugness and arrogance really pisses me off and he always pisses me off. He has it all, he can be a hero to many but instead chooses to act like a total jerk.

And to top it all off – the photo used in the article. Well lets just say they make him look like a right arrogant twit. Nice editing by whoever edited that.

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March 15th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

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Take Me Out Lucy bullied over being seemingly desperate on the show

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As one or two people may know…I have no life. Therefore Saturday’s are ‘Take Me Out’ time whilst the showing is going on. This series has been fantastic and there are a handful of girls we’ve got to know and love over the past 12 or so weeks. From Mint JoJo to lovely Kate, divine Carol to burlesque Samantha, disney-loving Abi-Scarlett to cougariffic Heidi. We all have our favourites but there have been two people who have been labelled by some on internet forums as desperate or worse. One is the Mint JoJo (who is all sorts of awesome so the haters are idiots) and the other is Lucy, whose only ‘crime’ is possibly trying a little bit too hard to get a date.

So when I was pointed to a story in The Sun with her saying how she’d been bullied both online and in her hometown over her appearances on the show it made me a wee bit sad. Yes she kept her light on a lot but in honesty what is wrong with that? All you really see is a guy walking on stage, a video about him and them doing their ‘unique talent’ what can you really tell from that? You never know who the right person is for you until you actually get to know them – and you don’t do that just from seeing that.

So in a way she’s been doing exactly the right thing. Turning off her light when someone obviously isn’t her cuppa tea but keeping it on when you never know. It may have been a bit cringing at times watching her try and deep down it was a bit of Car Crash TV but what was wrong with it? People have said they don’t want a date with someone because of the colour of their shoelaces or that they don’t like someone’s choice of shirt, or their hair-cut or their ear lobes are too big. Are these really good reasons to not go out on a date with someone? If they are then no wonder these people are single.

So Lucy has finally got a date. Hope it all went well and that people stop the hate. What is the point on hating on someone from a TV show because remember folks, that it all it is. Lucy is undoubtably a lovely girl who doesn’t deserve any bullying – nor do any of the girls. Just enjoy the show folks and stop making it so serious. Did people ever bully those who went on Blind Date? I somehow doubt it…

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March 10th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

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A trip to Marks & Spencer and what I have learned from that trip

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I shop in a variety of supermarkets depending on my mood. There are three that are within realistic distance of me shopping at. Asda is a 25 minute walk away. Sainsbury’s and M&S are both in the town centre, which is a five-minute train ride away and I live not 30 seconds from the train station. So I mix it up depending on what I’m wanting to buy. Yesterday I decide to shop in M&S for my food and something was rather stark.

Whilst looking at some food I noticed two people looking down their nose at me. This isn’t exactly abnormal but still I noticed it. Also looking around I did not see one ethnic person in the store and I did not see anyone younger than myself (I’m 27). I was in the store a good twenty minutes and 95% of people were white middle to upper age women with the other 5% retired gents with their wives. In twenty minutes milling about the aisles that is all I saw. Weird I thought.

Next up was the queue for the till. Only one person in front of me. She was probably in her 40s with the person on the till in her 50s. She was taking an absolute age and gossiping. I took out one of my iPod headphones and overheard their conversation and they were talking about how working class and scummy Tesco was. Both women agreed that they would never shop in there. All a bit OTT if you ask me but the woman on the till was being rather pleasant to the customer. Next it was my turn and she looked at me and her tone changed.

She didn’t say hello or ask if I needed help with my bags. She didn’t look me in the eye and nor did she even wait until I’d got my bag open. No conversion just ‘that would be £38.90 please’ and then she gave me my change without saying anything. It was most rude. As those of you who are unfortunate enough to have met me will know that unless I have to dress up and look half-decent I wear slacks, a hoody and I hadn’t shaved in a few days. It was like she didn’t want ‘my kind’ in there. She seemed stunned that I paid in cash probably thinking in her head that I’d just cashed my giro.

This comes on the heels of my last visit to M&S were two old ladies in the queue were commenting on my hoody and were hoping that I wouldn’t stab them (they didn’t realise I could still hear them even though I had my iPod in and on). My response of ‘those kinda people rarely shop in M&S’ stunned them. It just seems really snooty.

I love M&S food. It’s great but I’m really not liking some of the people who work in and shop there.

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March 9th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

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David Starkey on Question Time sounded like a paranoid art student on a pretty nasty LSD trip

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I really do like long headlines don’t I?

Last night I switched up the laptop at around 10ish as I had a giant energy gap and went to bed. I had no plans to watch BBC Question Time but turns out I was still awake for it (and subsequently still awake til gone 2) so I stuck it on and tried to fall asleep. As I wasn’t on twitter last night I have no idea what everyone els thought of him and whether or not I’m alone on this island with my PoV but as Kel would say to Kenan ‘awwww here goes…’

Every week I think someone is an idiot and this week it was David Starkey. Now I’ll put this out there right now – he is easily superior to me in education and is without a shadow of a doubt far more intelligent than I ever will be but despite Jon Heyman’s belief that you cannot say anything bad about a person you’ve never met I’m happy to say that I thought he was nuts (Starkey not Heyman…).

The first question was about Libya and what we as a country should do. His thoughts were essentially that we can’t do anything as people can only get freedom by doing it themselves so if Gaddafi wants to mass-genocide his own people then we should stand aside and let that happen because that is the only way they will learn. He obviously didn’t say that out right because that would’ve been all over the news but he got no applause for what he said which was basically ‘We can’t help them win freedom so we shouldn’t try and protect them with military force’. I think that is certainly a fair representation of what he said.

As one of those liberal types that thinks we are all human and if someone is killing someone else and we have a chance to stop it then we should do so then obviously I was in my arms over this (metaphorically obviously – I was still trying to go to sleep). So I was already het up as it were.

Next question was about Prince Andrew’s links to Libya and most panellists basically said they didn’t know in great detail about the story so chose not to address it directly. Fair enough. Starkey though used the question to attack Tony Blair for doing deals with Gaddafi that led to him giving up his chemical weapon research and funding terrorism in exchange for oil. Yeah Tony Blair really was evil making sure an insane leader didn’t develop weapons that if he had them at this stage would have killed tens of thousands of his own people. Yeah, so evil…

Also as an aside he made a very sarcastic and nasty comment about Prince Andrew and intellectual corruption which was totally uncalled for. Whatever you think about the Duke of York this was a guy who went to war for Queen and Country and took enemy fire during the Falklands Conflict even though as the Queen’s son he could easily have been removed from front line duty. For that both he and Prince Harry should always have our respect. Whether he’s Mensa quality or not shouldn’t be sniggered at by anyone.

The next question was on Rupert Murdoch and the deal to him to take full control at BSkyB. Starkey used this opportunity in this question to attack…Tony Blair. It is like this is a pattern. Yet again talking about the deal in the desert with Gaddafi. He stated that Murdoch had always been a supporter of Blair and New Labour until recently implying that Blair and Murdoch are as evil as each other. We all know that Murdoch supports whoever will win. That is his way and his company’s way (although he still wanted to back Brown but his son and Rebecca Wade persuaded him that would be an unwise move in the long term influentially).

The disease of Blairism, Interventionalism, and Corruption runs deep in this government as well he says. Scary stuff. He goes on to point out that he doesn’t care one jot about who owns Sky but just hates Blairism and Blair and anything and everything he did.

Finally we come to the my tricky question of the Christian couple who cannot foster any more children after saying that if a kid in their care wanted to talk about being gay they would tell the child that it is morally wrong.

I will say this. This is not an easy case at all and both sides have very compelling arguments. I can see why the Courts had a hard time with this one. Starkey is openly gay and ended his opening gambit with this, ‘Speaking as someone who is gay and had a mother who is Christian and passionately hated and opposed it, the hatred and opposition made me what I am’.

So in essence he is happy he had a hard upbringing as that allowed him to be who he is today. He is therefore implying that kids should have the same trials and tribulations because if they get love and affection from their parents then they’ll not turn out to be as good in the long run.

Let me say this. What horse shit.

Liam Hallian who is an Economist and Columnist for the Sunday Telegraph said that the decision was insane. The couple were in line to foster kids between five and eight and kids that young don’t know anything about sexuality so this hypothetical situation would never turn up. I have to say that is not accurate. Kids of a very young age do have questions about this and they are even taught it at school at that age these days. Questions are going to crop up at school and in the playground. To think that it would never cross the minds of any kid in their care is quite frankly delusional.

Iain Duncan-Smith on the panel was the only one who clearly looked at the case in detail and made the key point that a foster parent is not a parent. The job of a foster carer is to bring up the foster child in a caring environment in a way dictated to by the state as they are in state care. Therefore if the state says that homosexuality is not wrong then no foster carer should enforce their personal views on the matter on to any foster child. That seems relatively straightforward to me.

To close I have seen some performances on Question Time in my life but last night I really wondered if I had seen a more cynical hatred of the world we live in and I don’t think I have. Everyone has to suffer and everyone needs to have as much pain as possible in their lives to make them a better person.

Forgive me for saying this but I do not believe a word of it. We are all wired differently and whilst some people will come through a bad upbringing with a better chance of success, many many more will fall by the wayside and have awful lives.

I just hope I never become as downbeat on society and the world as the historian as David Starkey is because if I do, I suspect I will not enjoy life one jot.

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March 4th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

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