iBlog: March 2009


Tomorrow's blog today

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quotationamajig from Dwight Schrute

For those of you which don't exactly know, Dwight Schrute is a charactor in the American The Office (their equivolent of our Gareth Keenan). Anyway, Dwight has a blog and here is a quote from it:

... the elderly continue to live longer and longer, surviving despite their deteriorating bodies and minds, and burdening society with their “needs” (Note: insulin is a privilege not a right). A person should only exist as long as he proves beneficial to his community. Schrute children adhere to this rule by the age of 6 or else they’re permanently reassigned to a weaker, more tolerant family. So why can’t old people abide?

Unfortunately, humanity seems to lack the backbone to demand that the elderly continue to contribute until they terminate. Instead we both indulge their laziness and demean them, locking them away in retirement homes while they slowly rot in a medicated stupor. The thought seems to be, the elderly, like most minority groups, enjoy being grouped together in a designated living area. But what if we stripped them of their pills and deprived them of their Rascal scooters, perhaps the elderly would stand up and face death like a man: head on, in a battle royal. Win or lose, they’d be more alive than they are now, even if the exertion caused them to cease living.

Linky Link

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I miss...

Literally everything about the 90s.

But this is absolutely, unequivocally, 100% Captain Ben certified GUARENTEED to make you smile:

Linky Link
(told ya! Now keep that playing while you read on to keep you in right frame of mind...)

The problem is, I don't think I ever trully mourned the 90's and now it and me are nigh upon being seperated by a full linear decade. This upsets me and makes me feel old and detatched. After all, here in 2009 I still use the term `opal fruits`; I'd still prefer a Vauxhall Nova Mk A to any modern hatchback; I still sing ``Football's coming home`` on the way back from work (and ``Vindaloo`` while forklifting the other day)...

Today I was literally this || close to commenting on a customer's nokia 3210i; I still think saying ``I'm morag the cow!!`` is acceptible to quote when drunk; I'm still planning on learning the Macerana; I still think of the top 40 as `the Pepsi Network Chartshow with Dr Fox Live from the London Trocedero`; I still think of fields in the context of their potential rave holding logistics; which reminds me I still think big-box-little-box is a dance that makes ANYONE look cool...

I still think wearing all plain blue denim is okay; or wearing a full sleeved wolly jumper with turtle neck in summer can be understood; or wearing a cap backwards is the ultimate compromise of sticking it to the man (like Slobodan Milošević for example?) and looking fly; I think baggy t-shirts and parachute pants can be flattering with the right attitude...

I still think the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, N-Sync, All Saints, Big Mountain is some of the best produced music the 20th century heard. The Silence of the Lambs was blatently better than Hannibal, and Die hard 3 is better than Die hard 2.

I miss the days before society made me feel guilty with things like Yakult and machines asking me `do you want to respond to this message now?` and `green alternatives` and the guilt associated with cheap meat. I miss not having to count 5 fruit and veg & 2500 calories & 50% carbohydrates & 6 litres of water every day of every week...

I miss the 10 minutes of waiting for the school's one multimedia machine to load an encarta page on soil; I miss 1-5-7-1 and 1-4-7-1 on BT landlines being a novelty; I miss the days before TV's told me to `press the red button`; I miss the days before microwaves were in the supermarkets for £19.99...

I miss chart music that wasn't based on fellatio innuendo and girls wanting me to wish my girlfriend was hot in the same ilk as themselves... I miss B*witched (Edele was my first redhead crush) and when even hip-hop had something to be happy about that wasn't in the same vain as pimps, hos and videos.I miss tamagotchis, yoyos, Pogs, tazzos, the original Mario Kart, Banjo Kazooi, snake (on nokia phones), mambo worms, lemmings and F zero X...

So, to 201x.... you've got 8 months, 4 days and 23.5 hours to prepeare yourself to be awesome as I'm not willing to accept anything less than '90s amazingness! To be honest, I've felt a bit let down by the naughties. We gave them a new dome, a new Labour, a new brand of pepsi and they've thrown all of them back in my face, well bugger the 200xs, they've had their chance.

You have the world's greatest proverbial cashcard, 2010... it had better not be rejected.

For everything else, there's acmetal card...

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Balsam Trees

Lift up your the heavens
Then look upon...the earth beneath
Over the hills...along the valleys
What do you see?
In the wilderness...can you see Eden?
On the barren land...the garden of the Lord?
All along the banks...of the beautiful river
See the good fruit grow?
Can you hear the breeze
In the tops of the balsam trees?

Hear the marching sound
Advancing all around
I'm calling you...Come On!
Break through! Break through!
This is your arise!

Godfrey `I'm a knob` Birtill
© Whitefield Music UK 2002

Shameless Plug

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quote from someone who isn't me...

Quote from someone who isn't me

The secret of our identity is hidden in the Love of God. God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of Himself. A word that is never able to comprehend the voice that utters it. But if I am true to the concept that God utters in me, if I am true to the thought of Him that I was meant to embody, I shall be full of his actuality and find him everywhere in myself, and find myself nowhere. I shall be lost in Him: that is I shall find myself. I shall be saved

is that...

Monday, March 16, 2009

On leaving for work at half five...

I plant the kind of kiss
that wouldn't wake a baby
on the self-same face
that wouldn't let me sleep;
and the street is singing with my pedals,
and the dawn gives me a shadow I know to be taller.

All down to you, dear.

(Linky Link)


The People's Republic of Blah went to Staugustines today for the first time since... well since we got married, (we prodicalised to Diss almost straight after for, no assosiated reason).

Firstly, those who know the Blah Republic well, will know that the male populous is rather picky when it comes to matter regarding church following some eye opening experiences with Proclaimers and a potentially earth shattering morsel of wisdom that propmtly turned to a bitter pill of resentment and anger. Therfore all the men in the country find all churches tediuos, irrelevent and irreverent.

Except, that is, for Staugustines. Of all the churches in Norwich to which the nation of Blah have been on factfinding missions, Staugustines has always struck a chord in the average male Blahite that no other has come close to. And that's because Staugustines approaches faith tangentally to other chuches.

Let me explain... *stretches palms outward with interlocking fingers*

My theory is that the majority of chuches approach the idea of faith (as a noun and a verb) from the idea that God is a man to reach out to and build bridges to, and to be fair, Biblicly, I can see why:

A woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came behind Jesus and touched the edge of his coat. She was thinking, "If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed." (NIV)

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (NIV)

Then the wee fella cut a hole in a chap's roof for his mate's healing (New Ben Translation)

On that day, a bloke who lived in a desert country where most (if not all) of the Bible is set petitioned God that if he found a handful of people who weren't spiritually rubbish then God might tone down His strong smiting ethic.(NBT)

``This is the word of the Lord, thanks be to God``.

So there's definately a Biblical theme of people making the first move to get to God or get God's favour, and for everyone in the Bible it pays off almost straight away - just like real life!!!

But the theme that has permiated institutionalised Christianity since inception of the catholic (small c) church is that access to God is something to be earned - whether it's in the traditional: in the confessional, in alms & tythes, lenten sacrifice. Or whether it's in the post-modern take on lassooing God's attentions like jumping, flag waving and raising one's hands and face to the ceiling.

Personally I see God as much omnipresent inside of my heart and life as He is omnipresent in the physical universe and seeking Him is a matter of regressing the churchy adages and poetic idioms to find Him in the place that He (by rights) *should* reside. That is to say, I beleive God exists more in my feral created being than in embroidered banners and electric guitars.


It's this theme that Staugustines picks up on. The service begins with a period of silence (or `silence with children` as Rev. Vicar once happily put it) which begins the tone of introspective exploration that makes up the meeting. A mutual gathering of friends all seeking the same goal through different paths, each acknowledging that their own path may be meandering, unmapped and unprecedented, but ultimately, never lonely becuause running parallel to their own are the other friends walking their own journies.

This is what Staugustines is all about: the re-assuring sideways glances between such explores and mutual spiritual discovery that's intrinsic of God's people who realise that true learning and true development comes from one another and not explicitly from the pastor (or writers/hymns/guest speakers endorsed by the pastor). Where we're made stronger by our shared individualities and idiosynchronous relationships with God rather than, perhaps, our corporate charactor emulation (as would be the case in more traditionally evangelical churches).

So this is the enduring appeal of Staugustines for the men of the Republic of Blah. Men (such as myself for example) who refuse to allow orthodoxy and conformity displace the opportunity to seek God on the terms He put inside me. To choose to allow God to reveal Himself in the silence rather than conjour Him in endless choruses and desperate Pentecostalism. It's a passion to restore God to nature, to give meditation a chance and perhaps consider we can learn as much from the Tao Te Ching as we can from the Purpose Driven Church. In a maxim: Worshipping outside the box.

Ultimately, spirituality is a practise and I choose to offer my God sweet smelling insence when other's choose to give Him the lyre and harp, and I am more grateful for the ability to dissent from the evangelical orthodox than I am hung up on the gulf between the two beliefs.

(So go in peace, to love and serve the Lord).

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bad Paintings of Barack Obama

Fantasy Fund Manager

This has to be one of the best things on the internet right now.

Exactly as it says on the tin really, I have £100k to invest in JPMorgan funds over the next few months (starting in the new financial year).

The funds I've invested in are:

JPMorgan UK Dynamic: 25%

Which has a 90% : 10% split between UK and Money market weighting respectively. I expect the Money Market will perform well with the global instibility so having a 10% stake should offset the volatile holdings (such as HSBC and BAE), though larger holdings are in more stable companies like Tesco and Vodafone which have shown consistent growth in market share and asset value.

Aberdeen Emerging Markets: 25%

Funny old name for a fund, especially when the holdings are distributed between:
Brazil, India, Mexico, Hong Kong, Korea, China, South Africa, Israel, Thailand etc. Again, I hope this will capitolise where the instability of the West is propped up by global primary industries. Let's hope the government keeps using `protectionism` as a taboo...

AEGON UK Equity A GBP 10%

... But if they don't, it's good to have some interest in UK based brands such as BAE, Vodafone, BP, Glaxo etc.

M&G Optimal Income A Inc 25%

Nice solid brands, like McDonalds, Vodafone, France Telecom, Tesco, Walmart etc.

Cash 15%
Nice lovely Cash...

So in Summary:
Here's a lovely pie chart.


Friday, March 13, 2009


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Every cloud...

she now looks like Matt Lucas

Monday, March 09, 2009

If you're not for us, then...

I personally consider myself rather conscious of climate change slash global warming (and quite firm on defining the difference)... I recycle, turn off the lights (sometimes even when I'm using them so the environment knows I'm suffering to give it a break), I cycle to work, I am a shallow breather so all in all, I think if I were to apply for a ticket to this they might be a bit sceptic of me. But then I rememberaed earlier today that when I was wee I used to put my finger over the solar panel of my texas calculator and watch the upside down `80085` on the screen slowly but surely die a painful and calculated (see what I did there?!) death. That used to amuse me no end, so maybe I'm not so different from those those who would sooner burn oil for fun than venerate solar power?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Omar al-Bashir

So the toss pot dictator of Sudan is the world's first leader to be convicted by the ICC while still in office.

Firstly, the objective morality that relates to the guy who co-ordinates genocide `35,000 violent deaths` calls the arrest warrunt the first step towards a triumphant victory against tyranny and the typically This is Africa indifference to life and suffering at the expense of hypocritial `liberators`.

Since the West have had a conscious idea of morality and justice it has been serially apathetic towards the sufferings in Africa (indeed, one can't help but question whether the only reason this was reported at all was for the ramifications of the oil markets). From British Empire colonial impositions to S. African apartheid, to Rwandan genocide to Zimbabwen tyranny at the hands of Mugabe, to Sierra Leone, to Etheopian famine, Kenyan drought, civil war in Central African Repb., the AIDS epidemic in Swaziland, the current displacement camps in Chad... There's no end to the amount of inhumanity we, as aware Westerners, have to account for. I can therefore, only hope that this arrest warrent for al-Bashir will set a new precedent in deeming what we see as acecptible to go on in the world. A message to dictators everywhere that ethenic cleansing, forced mass migration, war crimes, assasinations, torture, multilation, systematic rape and all other attrocities will not be tolerated by those who hold a belief that crimes against humans are crimes against humanity.

But for all my ideology and deliberate rhetoric, I know this attitude is naive. The West will remain ambivolent to these crimes. Like the man who watches another get kicked to death by chavs, he knows it's appalling and turns his head knowing that the challenge to intervene is too heavy to burden alone and not having the courage to ralleigh support. But it's not fear of intervention that ails the superhero West this time, but a diplomatic faux pas from the ICC.

The Sudanese Government will call this arrest warrent a conspiracy by the West for oil, regurgetating the same spin the liberalists used against Bush's invasion of Iraq. They'll claim the West will try to usurp the president and in doing so, al-Bashir will denounce and discredit the ICC's ruling and live in a country convinced of their president's relative right to rule.

I think it's a shame Iraq has tarnished the moral image of the need to intervene in international `incidents`, as our militray is towards breaking point and the reputation of the UN Security Council to keep the peace is all but ruined. Should those efforts have been focused towards Mugabe's Zimbabwe (as I argued at the time!) one can't help but feel that intervening in places like Sudan might be a more viable option.

Instead the only option left to this bastion of human rights we call the West is the flacid ICC paying lip service to justice.


Thursday, March 05, 2009


Capitolism vs Globalisation

Reading about AIG got me thinking: if a company is big enough to lose $28m a day for so long without anyone batting an eyelid and then enticing the self preservation statement``too large to fail``, what sort of a world do we live in when corporations become indispensible?

We live now, in a situation where (to the chagrin of the FSA) protectionism, tighter investment fund regulations, banker accountabilities etc all seem more like a responsible necessity. As someone who's not too badly hit by the recession - but still pissed off enough to look down on the banks from the moral high ground of irritated hindsight - I don't want to see a banking or economic system that's mollycoddled by the FSA or worse still, one that's under the thumb of the treasury as that would be contrary to the goals of capitolism.

Which raises the question, what relationship should the state have with capitolism?

That moral highground is leaning heavily to the left right now but that's because those affected by the economic downturn have been financially violated by everything from endowment mortgages to hedge fund performance. And then some more with looming redundancy and the tabloid's `WE'RE ALL GUNNA DIE!` stance on the situation! All this collaborates to ostracize the banks as brands to whom people entrust their money, and undermines the system through which the country grows its wealth.

But despite the sense that thinking offers, it's ultimately a knee-jerk response. A petulent attitude that's most often seen in the insecure opinion: the wrongly placed frustration against those whom you trusted but were let down by. The deferal of responsibility that doesn't acknowledge the need of the individual to so much as monitor, let alone police, those in whom they have quite literally, put their trust.

I'm not trying to defend the banks in saying that. Indeed if anything I think that thought vilfies them more by highlighting their indifference to their customer's collective blind eye.

But if the en masse consumer body are demonstrably incapable of protecting their own assets by scrutinising the funds their banks invest in, and the bonus system that governs the fund managers leads to unstable investments, then it stands to reason the government or FSA should patrol the corporate investments for danger spots.

But let us not forget that this financial year is the polar opposite of the 1980s where yuppies playing the market intellegently swelled the FTSE 100 growth to 13-14% over the year (or something like that) and if the endowment policy holders or savers of the time actually received anything near that amount would probably say that controlled market economies and protectionism are rediculous concepts. So it's reasonable to say that the `common sense` view on the relationship between state and capitolism is as whimsical as the markets themselves.

What the policyholders and bloggers are calling out for now is therefore a sustainable and effective banking system, where the state is simultaneously both and neither guarentor and naive to the practises of investment banking. I think it's tempting to argue that such an initiative has never been practised, and there is no precedent for such an industrious relationship to build from. I think that's an over complication of the reality of capitolism.

The very foundation of capitolism is that through pro-actove industry and the wherewithal for people to forge their own fortunes (and poses rights over the money they earn) is what the West is all about. This system works. It's always worked. It works because it calls on the basic human compulsion to work for the self, and in doing so society is mutually benefitted. Relatively small societies, such as the parochial village or market town all flourish on this concept of trade. The problem we face in this current recession is, however, nothing to do with capitolism, rather the globalisation of capitolism.

I think globalisation is the worst-case-scenario self-fulfilling prophecy of the nature of capitolism. There is of course, a moot debate over the simple pro's and cons of globalisation, but ultimately, it wipes out or engulfs competition to the point where the biggest business occupies a ~100pc market share. This then means the whole industry sub-sector relies on this one (or more) business and is at it's managemental whims and mercies.

This was the case in early broadcasting with the BBC, the Royal Mint, even the DVLA and for this instance governmental legislation is required to stop the compaies who monopolise the sector to abuse their position. So when the banks get into this position where five banks essentially run the country and the rest of the finance sector scatters market share between a handful of companies (like AIG) the mutual jostling and pro-active passion to make money through capitolist principles of sucess and entrepeneurism are overwhelmed by the closed circle investments that go on. As one bank swells in wealth, so too does the bank that has a stake in it. Put simply, when one fund area fails badly (like the American mortgage sector) the industry collapses like a pack of cards.

The globalised banks who are complicit in their own demise are certainly to blame for the economic crisis, as are the government agencies who allowed this all to go on, but the blame doesn't lie in the habit of investing in poor funds. Nor does blame lie in the bonus system that caused near sighted investment choices like that to happen. The blame doesn't even lie at the door of the FSA who's job it is to police the practise of commercially sensible banking. Instead the blame lies in the over globalisation of the banking sector.

The more banks that merge means the previously abundant pockets of fiscal capitol agglomorate more and more towards a singularity. The gamle is higher with bigger capitols, and the ante is raised too much for smaller competition to be taken seriously in terms of the wider trade markets.

So regarding the policyholder's cry for sustainable banking, the equalibrium between state intervention and autonymous banking doesn't lie in a legislative balance, but in a re-assertion of basic capitolist free-market principles but with the added flavour of wider competition and discrete investment funds.

Of course the industry needs policing in some way, but the legislation needs to be hands off: guidelines that shape the picture of the sector rather than dictate the cans and cannots of its practises. Free markets flourish, so to avoid this all happening again, we need to see the government keep the wealth scattered and the practise of mutually beneficial trade built on the backs of real world industries. We need to avoid putting financial eggs in the basket of imaginary money from American mortgages. Intead, keep investment in the working sector: in contruction, in property, in retail, in the fruits blue collar labour that won't go away.

In short: we need a typicly conservative free-market economy built on the backs of left wing values, and at the end of the day, that's all capitolism is, baby. That's all capitolism is.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My old school friend John Galea

John Galea was my friend from middle school who always wanted to be famous.

One can't help but admire the passion he had from singing into a bic in year 5 to following that into re-locating to Stratford (the music capitol of Europe?) and go all out to find the fame that illudes most pop wanabees.

I really hope John makes it as he really deserves to be famous, but, to be fair...

... In hindsight, I'm uneasy that this guy slept round my house.

<-- lol

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A blonde Sociology Student is walking along, lost, and encounters a deep and wide river. She looks up and down the river for a way across but is unsuccessful in finding one. Yet, when looking to the other side again, she happened to see another blonde Sociology Student on the opposite river bank. She tried calling to her.

"How can I get to the other side of the river?" she shouts loudly.

The other blonde Sociology Studentreplied "What for? You are already on the other side of the river!"