Sunday, 22 January 2017

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is a salesman and he will sell you a Trump. You get a Trump and he gets money. Like most salesman Trump is willing to expand reality to aid the sale.

He is all things to all men - everything is done in the names of selling you a Trump. You have a family - here is a roomy Trump, you have a lot of money - here is a sporty Trump, short of cash - here is a cost efficient Trump, coal Trump, jobs Trump, Make America Great Trump.

The sales pitch is good and people hear what they want to hear. You splash the cash, buy your Trump and get it home where it doesn't quite work right it doesn't deliver what you want, somehow it doesn't do what is advertised, the words your heard from the salesman ring hollow, it was a sales pitch and you paid in haste. You think of all the questions you should have asked the salesman before you bought it, how does it actually work, how will coal be bought back when fracking has stolen the market.

Eventually you realise your Trump is broken but unfortunately when you take your Trump back, there is no refund.

If your Trump isn't broken yet - it soon will be.

The end of a series - Spoliers

The end of a series is always an emotional time for me. Characters that have been on a journey with the viewer of a number of years have their story curtailed  and even though the characters are fictional it still has an impact. There are a number of scenes that will have me in pieces, such as the end of Gladiator, and last night I discovered another last night.

The premise of How I Met Your Mother is deceptively simple. Ted tells tales to his children that led up to meeting their mother. On his journey are serial womaniser Barney, couple Lily and Marshall and on-off flame Robin. Towards the end, the character of the Mother, Tracey, is introduced.

The show uses flash forward and flash back to embellish the story line as well as using a number of catch phrases and recurring themes to enhance the tales that are told.

After 9 series and over 200 episodes it came to a close and it had me in pieces. I tried to work out why -

Was it that Barney is destined to be a kind of Donald Trump-esque figure flitting from relationship to relationship, unable to settle down.

Was it the death of a figure that had such an effect on Ted and the impact of the children (the wedding remark from earlier in the season)

Was it the Ted appeared to love and lose so quickly?

Was it all of these things


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Word play gags

Here are a couple of fine examples



and

The end of a disappointing year.

So that was the disappointment that was 2016, a year where nothing really went well. 

The politics of the year were not in alignment with my view of the world and I can't help be concerned for the future.  Both Brexit and Trump were elected without putting forward a coherent and rational view of the world - both relied on half truths, verbose and grandiose statements that lacked intellectual rigour and an unquestioning electorate. Both will have a lot of issues producing the expected results - Brexit due to the fact the campaign had no defined goals other than to leave the EU and Trump due to the vast number of contradictory statements that he made. At least the Johnson/ Gove/ Farage axis is not in charge (although May may not be any better). 

Education- the new GCSE and A Levels are a mess - the level of the depth that is needed is not clear, the text books are in some cases contradictory, the number of practice questions is very low and of a questionable nature and the statistics underlying the whole target setting is so dubious it should be prosecuted for fraud. 

Rugby - the new rules change is in theory good as it protects the head and neck of the players by punishing reckless and dangerous tackles - it fails to take into account the concept of an accident such as a slip by the player with the ball and it fails to take into account the lack of a sense of self preservation from the player with the ball. Therefore jumping high into the air, with your hips roughly 6 foot above the ground, over the top of a stationary player puts you at a great risk and the player on the ground can be sent off without moving a muscle. Denny Solomona scores a great try diving head first into the corner and twisting in mid air but if someone tries to tackle him who is at fault. 

Pets - Poppy broke her leg and had to have it amputated.  

Other sports - Luton should be better and more consistent. Northampton Saints have not adapted to the laws so they look a little bit one paced in the back row and centres. The depowering of the maul and the reduced ability to contest a ruck means that the a rethink is needed. England cricket should have done a lot better (pressure does weird things but really)

We won the korfball league for the third time in a row but I feel my contribution to the team is reducing.

Killing - the quality of cop related detective work has been poor. Criminal Minds and SUV have been disappointing, newcomers have been cancelled after one season, ridiculous spin offs have been created. 

Deaths - lots of famous people. 

Good things
Babies born 
Marriages announced
Programs such as The Missing, Game of Thrones, 
The Olympics
The Cubs won the World Series (108 year wait)
Technology does amazing things
Groundhog Day - the musical
Holidays 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The 8th Amazing thing

I have found a brilliant quiz website and it is testing my knowledge of the world. So far I can name all the US states and the state capitals and match 196/197 of the world's capital cities. I keep forgetting Benin. I also enjoy the quizzes such as naming all the countries with a C in the name or the smallest country with four letters in its name.  Find it here but just remember it is good for wasting time.
http://www.sporcle.com/games/leicslad/world_by_capital


Amazing things - next day (a lot later)

One thing that living with someone changes is your viewing habits. Some are terrible (I leave the room during Jeremy Kyle) and somethings that you suspect to be a bit rubbish are not so bad. Holby City is a guilty pleasure and especially the interactions that centre on the character of Jac Naylor played acerbically by Rosie Marcel. The script-writer seems to take a centre pleasure in crafting particular tasty lines with which to advance the script. However, it is more than just the writing but the absolute utter deadpan disdain with which they are delivered that makes it so good. Here is a link to some of the funnier moments

Some good examples are below.

JOSEPH BYRNE 
Are you crying?

JAC NAYLOR 
[unconvincingly] No.

JOSEPH BYRNE 
Yes you are.

JAC NAYLOR 
Why d'you always want to see me cry?

JOSEPH BYRNE 
To see how far robotics has progressed.



KEVIN MATHERS 
Will it annoy you if I pray for you?

JAC NAYLOR 
Yep!

KEVIN MATHERS 
I might do it anyway, then.

JAC NAYLOR 
I'll do some extra sinning to cancel it out.


MICHAEL SPENCE 
I did not know you were into food, Miss Naylor.

JAC NAYLOR 
You assumed I ran on batteries?



JOSEPH BYRNE 
You're taking Mr Frisby up to theatre?

JAC NAYLOR 
No, we're going for a Chinese and then we're off clubbing.

 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Day 6 -Living in Siberia

Today I was lesson planning about Russia and why it might be considered amazing. 

In my opinion the most amazing thing is the way people survive in Siberia. Whilst the polar vortex is creating havoc in the US this is normal conditions for Siberia. An ex-colleague is currently living there and reports the following

1. People who live in cities tend to live in flats, not houses. The blocks of flats are generally on a centralised heating system. Therefore, most people have no control over the temperature of their own flat, or any control over when it is turned on or off. Generally speaking, if the temperature drops below 5C for more than 5 days in September, the heating is turned on. If this doesn't happen (Which is rare), the heating is turned on anyway around the middle of October. It stays on (except for absolutely essential maintenance) until May 1st. Then it is switched off. As you can imagine, this has both positive and negative factors. In the depths of winter, it is extremely comforting to met by a warm wave of heat as you step in from -35 or so. If you want your room to be cooler, open the window. A minute or two of -35 coming inside soon cools a room down. The downside is that if, like this year, it is exceptionally mild, you are left in a room heated to +27, which is quite uncomfortable. Equally, early May doesn't always bring warmth. Last year on May 1st it was snowing here, -5 and no heating is not your friend. As for being outside in extreme cold, below -15 or so your nostril hairs freeze when you breathe in. The difference between -20 and -35 C is not that noticeable if the wind is not blowing. Windchill makes a massive difference. 'Comfort' temperature and air temperature can be quite different. 
                                                     
2. Other interesting facts are that at around -28 C a cup of boiling water thrown into the air turns instantly to snow. I have seen this with my own eyes. It's quite cool. At least the first time.

3. Fur is very common here, mainly because after about -15/-20, synthetic fibres just aren't going to cut it. Fur or feathers are the only way to keep warm.
4. The colder the weather, the more expensive the taxis. After -50, which although rare, is possible, taxis don't run. If your car breaks down and you can't walk to somewhere warm, you are going to die. So stay indoors.
5. Primary school children don't go to school if the temperature (as measured by the city) is below -25 at 8.30 am. ALL students, university included, don't go in if it is below -30 at 8.30 am.