Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Penury, Poverty and pass the Crystal, Darling!

Wow, it's been a week since the last post. How time flies when you're having fun........ten to fifteen times a day ;-o.

I doubt that you'd trade your sex life for ours' but, if what's said is true, the average 'settled down' human couple have sex two to three times a week that's, say, 156 times a year plus two for the extra one on your birthdays. That's only about ten to twelve day's worth for us. You can see why we only do it for a short time, you'd be dead from exhaustion if you tried to keep that rate up all year. It also helps that there's nothing to get 'sore' :) It's been like one of those Eastern European porn movies here, you know, 50 or a hundred couples all making out in some big house with 400 square feet of mattresses on the floor, except, while some hot shot with a $3,000 Sony Hi Def Camera is actually filming it all, in all its sordid glory, I can't see 100 or more copulating penguins quite 'cutting it' with US adolescent males somehow, even the lovers of the 'skinny kid gets f**ked in the classroom by the grossly overweight teacher' variety!

Stopped by a couple of news sites today. Had a look at the UK Chancellor's budget for the coming year. It helps because I then know what mood to try to get into for MG's next email after today. Should I be 'well that wasn't so bad and it would be quite good really if you'd cut out the booze and the fags' or do I need to go into life reinforcing mode to counter the 'it's awful, life's not worth living' tones of the missives? Well, this year I'll need to find something different. Personally he comes out about even; the booze and fags elements are still there but otherwise he's largely unaffected by what's being proposed, no benefits but conversely no major disbenefits either. While interest rates remain so low, he is, as they say there, quids in! His mortgage has gone down by about 40-50% over the past 9 months or so, so 'cash' is accumulating. What's strange, and I wonder if this isn't happening all over, is that, unlike his usual behaviour in the light of a windfall, he's not spending it. No tales of Krug and oysters, no booking flights to Mauritius, no popping off to the 'The Ivy' for a spot of lunch with anyone he can find to bear his company for a couple of hours.

However what is alarming is the projected increase in the 'National Debt' and how much of this might be attributable to the grand bail-out of the banks. That is likely to make him sick, very sick indeed! A projection that over the next 5-10 years the National Debt, ie how much the government/treasury/country owes, will rise to at least 70% of gross annual domestic product and could top 100% is surely frightening. The interest payments alone are mindnumbing! The Brits (and the Americans and the Germans etc etc etc) will be paying this off in increased taxation and increased interest rates for years, perhaps decades to come. Previously, only in war were such figures the norm. And why? Because a few fat cats gambled and were not willing to accept they lost! Went 'cap in hand', sycophantically preaching that 'it wasn't our fault, guv, spare a few coppers for a cup o' char', and worse, were actually listened to! At the moment, every man, woman and child in the UK 'owes' more than £16,000 (say $24,000). After today's budget, what will they owe in 2015. And what for?

It is something which I have never understood about human society. Wherever you look, whenever you look, the old song still rings so true: "It's the rich wot get the pleasure, it's the poor wot get the blame. It's the same the whole world over; it's such a bleedin' shame" Although perhaps we should substitute 'powerful' for 'rich' since the two words are synonomous nowadays!

If you seek the overthrow of capitalism, now surely is the time to make the attempt. Just a pity the Chinese and Russians aren't going to support you :)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Heaven knows, Mr Allison, my arse and punching peregrines

Don't sit under the apple tree
With anyone else but me!
Anyone else but me!
Anyone else but me!
Don't sit under the apple tree
With anyone else but me!
Anyone else but me!
Anyone else but me!

Fricka and I took the opportunity for a little romance at the movies last night; you know, nuzzling beaks, wing to wing, a change front of the station's TV. I sneaked an order in before I went back to sea last year and it was nice to see the DVDs had all arrived safely from Amazon and had been placed on the shelf by the cretins that pass for scientists at this place.

So last night was the extraordinarily wonderful Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr love story that isn't a love story about a marooned nun and her Girine (Marine Corps GI) saviour, 'Heaven knows, Mr Allison'. It has such a 'Casablanca scene at the airport' feel about it. MG thinks DK never looked better than the scene where Mitchum removes Kerr's 'head-dress', exposing the short, curled, dark hair and wide eyes, so like Audrey Hepburn. Deliberate? Probably. Still, it's hard not to be moved by a story of a nun probably in love with a GI who chooses her vocation over her affection for a decent man, isn't it?

It's not quite up there in the tear-jerking stakes with Casablanca. The poor Girene has no control over the situation but Bogart? All he has to be is a little bit selfish. Lazlo's not going to completely fall apart if Ilsa stays, is he?

Not sure why but I was reminded today of a short, filmed mini-report about a little village in southern France. The village is called Montcuq. Pronounced by the locals as Moncuc but by pretty much everyone else in France as Moncu. So what's so interesting about that? Well, the way everyone else in France says it, it sounds exactly like 'mon cul'. And what's interesting about that? 'Mon cul' means 'my arse/ass' in French. The film starts with the reporter explaining that this will be the first time on television for 'mon cul' as he turns away from the camera which then pans down. You can see where this is going can't you? The rest of the film is littered with other such scatological remarks from 'mon cul is very narrow' to which the mayor replies "but well lit at night" to 'ou est l'arret de mon cul?' (Where is the bus stop in Moncuq?) which sounds exactly like 'ou est la raie de mon cul?' (Where's the crack in my arse?) to which the mayor replies "it doesn't exist!" So if anyone is reading this who speaks French, go check out the link - it is absolutely hilarious! Oh and in case you're wondering - me not being able to understand spoken language and all - MG did me a written transcription ages ago with the joke timings because sometimes the visuals match. :)

Last year, or maybe a year or two before, Hasbro, the makers of Monopoly were going to introduce a special edition of Monopoly in France. Instead of street names they were going to use the names of towns and they left one square blank and held an internet poll to garner votes for the town which should fill it. If you live there vote for it! Montcuq won! By a large margin! However I think subsequently Hasbro decided that as the votes cast were about twenty times the population of the town, they could safely discount it and thus avoid the embarrassment of having people playing the game saying: "You've landed on my arse, that's €500 you owe me!" or "I'm going to put another hotel on my arse!"

Rummaging around on YouTube in the wake of the previous peregrine post I found this. Now I think the title is mistaken, the struck bird still has a degree of control in the descent after the strike and is simply 'stunned'; a peregrine strikes its prey by and large with its toes curled up, more of a punch with the feet really; eagles do that too, and it hurts, really hurts! Peregrines are truly awesome birds! I'd trade a shorter lifespan for just once being able to fix on my prey, do a couple of barrel rolls and then accelerate to 150-200mph before 'taking out' dinner!

Nonetheless it's a great way to tell your neighbours to F*** Off!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Turn your sound up and click 'play'!

As Sam Gamgee once said, "Well, I'm back!"

Made it! And Fricka! No Cozy yet, nor Sparky but it's early days. Left 'little' Fricka at the ice edge, not so little now, actually a bit of a 'fat cow' really. She is sure gonna break some poor penguin's heart one day when she finally makes it back to dry, cold, sometimes slushy land in three years time!

I actually got back a few days ago but I've been catching up on MG's proxy blog, checking out the threads, trying to pick up the pieces, and putting everything back the way I want it :) Honestly, leave these people for two minutes and they take over! I've been doing a few other things as well but they're personal so........:) God, I love hormones! Especially testosterone! ;)

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not carping, but MG didn't do a single bloody thing I asked him to do! No posts that I'd done before I left, no little stories, he couldn't even be bothered to find me some Gary Glitter; I had to do that myself yesterday! No new penguin drorin'. Oh, but he had time to change MY blog! Oh well, at least he did one thing! There isn't a huge three month gap in the posts :)

It's weird isn't it? I go away for three months and the global economy goes even further into meltdown. Connection? MG is right, in three months time, the Matabele Jumbo Bead is going to be the world's new reserve currency.

Now I'm only a penguin (without pockets or wallets) but even I can see pouring good money after bad in the hope of rescuing a few fools who don't deserve to be rescued is sheer madness. And the numbers? It's said that there's 13 TRILLION dollars of toxic debt out there and another 83 TRILLION dollars of derivatives out there whose status on the toxic scale of 'OK' to 'penury and bankrupcy' has yet to be determined. Does it not beggar belief? Oh, and what about the raging inflation that will ensue when everyone realises that there's not enough 'script' to go around and governments start printing money to maintain a thin veneer of prosperity. And the currency devaluations. And the soaring interest rates? Yes, if you're not careful you are going to lurch from one kind of destructive crisis to another.

So let's all buy into Matabele Jumbo Beads now and hedge our bets! In Britain, everyone's getting into Horse Chestnut Tree Leaves. Abundant and in strong supply. If it carries on the way it's going they could supplant the euro as well as the pound. I'm thinking more snow right now, in just as abundant supply down here and worth per fist/flipperful as much as the dollar or the pound will be in three months time! Although you can only use it down here, otherwise it melts and your assets just disappear down the drain. So what's new? Maybe the Zimbabwean dollar will stage a comeback!

Oh well, back to the grindstone. I have an egg to make. Oh alright, Fricka and I have an egg to make but I get to do all the work! So it's more exotic sex :) Exotic? Think about it. It isn't every day you get to make love in the snow! Doggy style! :)

There were two atoms strolling down the street and one turns to the other and says, "Bollocks, I have just lost an electron!" "Are you sure?" queries the other. "Yes, I'm positive!"

f(x) walks into a bar and asks for a burger and a beer. "Sorry," says the barman "we don't cater for functions."

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a beer. "How much is that?" the neutron asks. The barman's reply? "For you, sir, no charge."

See, you can even tell scientific jokes! Who says physicists don't have a sense of humour?

I'll leave you with something, parts of which do make my eyes water........... for emotional reasons, I hasten to add. A stooping peregrine falcon (in between the boring bits) and, please stay right to the end. The estimated terminal velocity, discounting air resistance, of a an object of the mass of a peregrine falcon is around 250/260mph!

PS At the end of the dive, ie just before the strike, as it decelerates to a speed where the strike isn't going to break its feet or legs, it's estimated the bird is 'pulling' 10G. YOU get 'red-eye' at 6-7G and black out at 8-9G. Amazing thing, evolution, ay? Especially when you remember that a bird's bones are composed primarily of air. They are not solid like your bones.

Another little interesting thing. The nostrils face into the airflow as the bird dives and it has no way to close them. So how comes the air doesn't rush down into its lungs and 'over-inflate' them? Well (so the theory goes) they have these little rods in the middle of each nostril, one in each, all falcons do. These create turbulence at the opening and the faster the bird goes, the more turbulence is created. At high speeds, there is so much turbulence that it prevents air from entering the nostril. Like I say, amazing thing, evolution!

PPS Catch the partial 'barrel rolls' at the beginning and the end of the film - 'barrel rolls' are 360 degree rolls about the axis of flight and are used to orientate about the 'target'. 'Top Gun' without the macho technology!

These birds are simply awesome, the best!

Except for us!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

G20, Obama arrives and how you sleep at night

No, it's ok, I'm not going to harp on ceaselessly about global economic crisis, how we're all going to hell in a handcart (except Goldman Sachs*), how the dollar will plunge to being worth one Matabele Jumbo bead or two bananas, whichever is the less, in three month's time and how no-one in Britain will have a job in six months........ except the politicians but I couldn't post around April Fool's Day without at least making a reference to G20. I mean, what damn fool thought it was a good idea to start everyone off on 1 April? I spent most of yesterday intermittently listening to Auntie Beeb's website and in all honesty, it is an April Fool! It has to be!

And why is Obama so well protected? Any 'ful no' that the Chinese have paid the terrorists to stay at home so that they can dump US securities on the market any time they like and take over the world!

An interesting factoid. There is a market that trades in the likelihood that the US will default on its promises to holders of securities and not pay out. (Yes, there's a market for everything) If you held a position in that market six months ago, you'll have seen its value increase seventeenfold now.

Nice to know everyone's so optimistic! Although how else do you acquire personal fortunes running into billions? Money makes money and let's not be sentimental about it. The poor? Who cares? The workers? Who cares? The starving millions? Who cares? What matters here is my private island. A private yacht so I can sail to it. My private Learjet so I can get there quicker. Who cares who I trample on in my quest for wealth?

Me, that's who, mate! And you'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes! **

If only. :(

And today? More of the same. More of using OUR money to prop up ailing financial institutions who were reckless and stupid enough to get us into this mess in the first place. Why don't they just say: "Tell us how much you've got in the Bank of Hell and High Water and we'll give that to you and you can go and put it in a bank which has acted quite responsibly and in our view isn't going to be disappearing down the Swanee any time soon." And then just let the irresponsible banks fold. Just like any bad business! Why do WE have to pay for this toxic debt? At least Sarkozy (not my favourite person) and Merkel got the banker run US and UK administrations to agree to go for more stringent regulation. Not that I think it will do much good in the long term. Bankers are very good at finding new ways to make money for themselves by shuffling non existent things around and using non existent money to buy and sell the non existent things. Ah well, we live in a material world!

Watching 'Memphis Belle' the other day made me think, as I usually do after watching such movies. What makes you treat people as though they have no value? I'm not talking about the officers flying the planes and nominally 'in command' of the crew. I'm not talking about Squadron Leaders in command of a base of maybe thirty planes and crews. I'm not even talking about Group Captains with maybe twenty or thirty squadrons under their command. What makes some military bureaucrat decide that 400 crews, up to 4,000 men, will go to Wilhelmshaven tomorrow, knowing that 25% will die? Of course, you don't know them nor which ones will die but how do you sleep at night knowing that's what you've done?

Of course the refinery must be destroyed. For the war effort! But how do you sleep at night? Do they? Unfortunately I think they do!

It gets worse when you're Eisenhower in 1944. What's the likely casualty rate on day one of the Normandy landings? I mean the Germans have got every beach covered, they won't give ground easily. So what do you reckon, Colonel? 10%? 20%? 50%? But you go anyway. The German occupation has to be ended. How do you sleep at night? Just believe in 'your cause' and convince yourself there was no other way? That men (and now women) always have to die in pursuit of the cause?

How about if every senior officer in the armies, navies, air forces of the world took an oath?

"I will not take aggressive action. Even if ordered to by the supreme commander of my forces, I will not attack anyone! I will only defend."

Yes, I know, it's never going to happen but wouldn't it be nice if it did? Everyone could carry on playing 'soldiers' but without real soldiers getting killed.

In many ways, the bankers are the 'Generals', they CAN sleep at night, knowing that they have 'killed', ie blighted the lives of millions. (Not me......yet! Thanks be to the non existent entity we call 'God')

* Goldman Sachs are very proud of the fact that they have received no 'dole' from the US government - they are squeeky clean. Except........AIG recently got billions from the US government to settle its 'inter bank' debts. Among the recipients of IAG's settlements? Goldman Sachs! Spin? Dontcha just luv it!

** Thanks to Douglas Adams - I told you it was the most quotable book in the universe!

I cannot sleep on my back. I wish I could! So it's foetal position for me!