My Dad – the worlds best Alternative Medicine therapist? Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 


When I was young, in the 70’s, I used to get pains in my legs.  My dad would cure this with his special ointment.

He successfully treated growing pains with Old Spice aftershave…

Well, that’s good to know. Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 


According to Twitter, the Met police are not following me.  Bit of a relief that.

War of Spanish Succession – Open Thread. Monday, Aug 15 2011 


A poster going by the name of ‘Little Keithy’ expressed surprise at hitting the thread on the riots, when he came here looking for stuff about the War of Spanish Succession.  He was obviously not expecting the somewhat eclectic nature of my blog (read ‘any old rubbish that comes to mind’, refered to by my wife as spending half the night on the internet ranting at people).  Unlike many wargamers this isn’t a wargame only thing. (It originally started as I wanted to share some fiction I had written with bloggers from other sites I frequent, for their opinion).

He wrote

Anyway what I was going to ask: what’s the allure of the WSS? I like the SYW as there is a variety of troop types plus nice uniforms to paint (not that I ever get round to painting them).

The WSS appears to the uninitiated limited in troop types (in western europe), tactics and pretty uniforms (nice whigs though). Is it more a test of skill having limited opportunities for a coup de grace or clever manoeuvre?

Well, to tell the truth, I chose the period based on hats… (more after the break)

(more…)

Top 100 SF/Fantasy books Saturday, Aug 13 2011 


Hat tip to Dana for showing this.  The US National Public Radio has published the results of its poll for top 100 SF/Fantasy novels.  Below the break is the list, with those I have read in bold, with my comments. (more…)

The Cause of the rioting isn’t why they are rioting. Wednesday, Aug 10 2011 


Currently in Britain there is attempted ‘Crash’ revisionism. You’ll see and hear people state ‘Its the profligate Labour government’s fault, not the banks. The Tories are just trying to fix it.”

WRONG.

We’ve had 30 years of Thatcherite politics: Blair gave up the left to get elected, continued privatisation of public services, and tried to continue a ‘thin air’ economy – who does manufacturing anymore? (Er.. Germany)

Like the US we lost large lumps of production overseas. It turns out that 50% of the population will always be below average academically (who’d have guessed eh?) There are no longer the non-academic industry jobs for people to go into, and they can’t all stack shelves. Both Tory and Labour governments for the last 30 years have allowed foreign businesses to buy up our companies, then are surprised when production is take out of the UK.

It turns out that thin air economy was stuffed full of gamblers and people trying to make as much money as quickly as possible, and hang the risks.

The claim that Brown was profligate is twisting the truth, as Richard Murphy shows here:

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/05/14/labour-repaid-much-more-debt-than-thatcher/

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/05/27/new-labour-taxed-and-spent-much-less-than-thatcher/

Note that Major spent more in 1990-97 than Labour 1997-2007. Look where the Labour spending falls off the cliff – at the point the banks needed to be propped up. £500 bn of money and guarentees has been pumped into the banks. For comparison the amount collected by HM Revenue and Customs in 2006-07 was £426bn

So now the Tories are making deep cuts against normal economic logic. Debt is 55% of GDP (it was 46% before the bail out), less than under Major. There were no howls back then. The way recessions have been beaten in the past is to spend on infrastructure – making sure businesses want to locate, and ensuring those here can compete. Why isn’t Cameron making the UK a world leader in sustainable energy production, rather than rely on the foreign companies that Thatcher sold our infrastructure too?

The Right are quick to scream about Benefit cheats. Tax evasion, avoidance and fraud costs the treasury SEVENTEEN times what benefit fraud does. Literally tens of millions of pounds go uncollected and uninvestigated every year. Why? Between 2004 and 2010 Labour cut 25,000 jobs at HM Revenue and Customs, down to 75,000. Cameron is committed to further ‘Efficiency savings’ taking it down to 60,000.

In Tottenham there are 50 unemployed for every job vacancy. We have a generation that has no investment in society. House prices are pushed out of sight of first time buyers, inflation is at 5%, while wages are flat, the government gives money to the rich, while making cuts to services for the general population. The rioters have no social contract with the wider populance.

Now I don’t believe that the kids have turned around and said “We must show our displeasure at the failure to tackle tax havens”. But when they see people looting, they do not see a reason not to join in – its ‘a bit of a laugh’, and they might get a £100 pair of trainers out of it. They don’t see a down side- why does a 17 year old care if florist loses her business when he has no future himself: teenagers are incredibly short sighted at times.

The failure to provide a future has broken the link between individual and society.

Alam Bay chairlift – July 2011 Monday, Aug 8 2011 


Me and the youngest on the Alum Bay chairlift.  Note the lack of safety features.

Tech- then and now Saturday, Aug 6 2011 


I have a warning on my smart phone, ‘low memory’.  Upon checking it has .98gb.  Our first home pc had 420mb hard disk.