Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ross: Much ado about nothing

Let's get one thing straight right off the mark: I don't like Jonathan Ross. Not only is he a scandalously overpaid talk-show host, but he revels in being a scandalously overpaid talk-show host to the point of insensitivity (Ross chose to joke over the £6 million he earns for his show while 1, 800 people lost their jobs at the BBC due to budget cuts).
He's touted as one of the best comedians that Britain's ever produced, but his comic skills are mediocre at best. All Ross ever usually does for me is make me sick. If I observed him drowning, I'd throw him a cement block.
Given the furious reaction of the public to the Manuelgate incident, I'd hoped that the BBC would see the sense in permanently cancelling his Friday night TV show from their line-up. But of course, the BBC being the pureblind corporation that it is, they elected on merely suspending the show for three months instead, which did nothing toward doling out to Ross the large dose of humility that he so desperately needs.
Naturally, it's no surprise that he's in trouble again, for comments he made on his BBC Radio 2 program. Ross is not the sort of man who learns from his mistakes.
However, I wish to defend him here. Yep, though it hurts, I've got to say that Ross really did nothing wrong in this instance.
With reference to Hannah Montana-themed prizes being given away in a competition, Ross joked: "If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption before he brings his ... erm ... partner home." Radio 2 report that they've had a number of complaints about that remark, enough to possibly land Ross in hot water yet again.
Perhaps joking about giving a gay son up for adoption is over the top. But, having a laugh over the possibility of any young male wanting a Hannah Montana MP3 player is something I too would do. In fact, I fully admit, when I first read Ross's quip, I chuckled. But to call me a homophobe would offend me and it would be a dead-wrong assertion.
Jonathan Ross should have been humbled six months ago. That was a missed opportunity. And it is right that he be reviled for joking about unemployment. But haranguing the man for being a homophobe due to one silly little joke is going a bit far.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meet fire with fire indeed

Previously published by Blogcritics

Massive kudos to Birmingham Mail columnist Maureen Messent whose recent column concerning Somali pirates is right on the money.
For those of you who can't be bothered to click on the link and read the entire piece, just one paragraph from the column should suffice:
And let’s not pretend these predators are our equals deserving of our respect. Blowing a few of their boats to smithereens, along with their crews, is the sole language they will understand.

Hallelujah, sister! Here's at least one Brit who hasn't drunk the Tabernacle of Political Correctness's Kool-aid, one Brit who isn't a slave to wimpy and culturally suicidal European notions of what constitutes "human rights," one Brit who gets it.
Let me man the guns and I'll happily blow every single one of these sub-human apes to smithereens and I'll still sleep very comfortably, thank you very much. In fact, I wouldn't even fucking hesitate.
Exactly how do we prove ourselves better than the pirates, the Taliban or any other assorted terrorist scum by respecting their so-called humanity? Why are they deserving of it?
If they have absolutely no notion of human rights, leniency or mercy, and aren't inclined to extend any of it to us, I don't see why they themselves should receive any in return. What are we Westerners proving with our "enlightened" attitude toward them? That we're stupid, naïve and, as aforementioned, culturally suicidal? Absolutely. As Michael Ignatieff points out in his book "Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry," the West, with its knee-jerk political correctness, is forsaking its political heritage of individualism, in the process eroding the foundations upon which a universal system of human rights may be built.
This brings to mind a letter-to-the-editor somebody had written to a London newspaper complaining about the treatment one of the captured pirates, a 16-year-old, who was captured by the U.S. and extradited there. The letter writer bemoaned the "African being brought to America in chains." Which just goes to show that even with that half-black hippy in the White House, anti-Americanism still runs strong (or that some people apparently believe we're still living 200 years in the past). If not even Obama is decrying the fate of this innocent little lamb-to-the-slaughter, that ought to provide a clue; but then Obama did vow to stand up to the pirates which is what any sensible person would do.
Believe me, all this talk about respecting human rights and having to show compassion, leniency and mercy to our sworn enemies is just the sort of claptrap worthy of the Left-wingers who spout it, those Westerners who hate their society, their culure and themselves. It is sentiment to be expected of those who identify with the world's rag-tag rabble, the language of solidarity with those who deserve nothing more than a body ridden with bullet holes and a dumping in the nearest garbage incinerator.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nightdragon, the amateur entymologist

During a recent trip to central Florida, I had the chance to employ my amateur knowledge of entymology. (I've been casually studying insects since the age of 9, and I took two semesters of entymology for my Associates Degree eons ago.)
While standing on the balcony of our motel, overlooking the pool, I heard a slight flutter, felt something touch my leg and then hop off. I looked down and saw an insect just like this one:

Once I got over the incredible thought that a six-legged freak show like this had actually been on my person—I performed a quick little "eww, eww" dance to commemorate it—I stooped down to examine the creature.
When I got too close, it stretched out its wings as if to fly away, so I immediately backed off. I checked the insect out from all angles, as closely as I could without it feeling threatened.
"It's not a cricket," I said to myself. "And I'm pretty sure it's not a beetle." I looked at the head, the overall body shape and the way its wings were folded, and determined it to be a bug—that is, a true bug, a member of the order Hemiptera. (All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs.)
Only problem is, I had never seen a bug this large.
Once I was home, I did a search for "Florida bugs" and I came to the Florida leaf-footed bug, Acanthocephala femorata, and immediately recognized it. All I had to go on was the overall head and body shape, but I knew a bug when I saw one. Made me feel rather proud.
I also wrestled with this creature too, although I'm pretty sure it's not an insect, bug or otherwise!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Death of a newspaper salesman: A case of anti-police sentiment gone too far

Previously published on Blogcritics

I've long since tired of hearing about poor ol' Ian Tomlinson. Who's he, you ask? If you were to believe any of the anti-police sentiment surrounding the incidence of his death, you'd think he was a completely innocent man on his way home from work, an angelic bystander who got attacked by the police for no reason.
Well, it's a bit more involved than that.
On the day of the anti-capitalist G20 protests that shut the City of London down on April 1, Tomlinson, a newspaper seller, was standing in the way of a police van in the middle of the road, smoking a cigarette, and telling the police where they could go and what they could do with themselves. After stubbornly standing in their way for several minutes, Tomlinson was forced out of the way by riot officers.

Tomlinson continued to dawdle around the City for a half-hour after the incident, when he was shoved to the ground by an officer, who probably recognized him as a troublemaker. Witnesses say that Tomlinson reeked of alcohol. Tomlinson got back up moments later, after remonstrating with the officer who pushed him, and walked 200 feet before collapsing and dying. Initial reports were that Tomlinson died of a heart attack, though post-mortems revealed internal bleeding or an "abdominal haemorrhage."
So there you have it: This "innocent bystander" was a moron, a drunken slob, a defiant British bulldog type, with his cigarettes, his sweat pants and his "don't you tell me what to do, mate" attitude.
Yet people were outraged at his death, setting up a memorial to him outside the Bank of England and holding a memorial protest march for him on the following day, April 2. Which tells you all you need to know about how downgraded society has become. Our great caring liberal society needs a poster boy on which to hang their grievances against the police and Ian Tomlinson fit their bill perfectly.
Which brings up another loser who was on the receiving end of so much undeserved sympathy. Nicola Fisher, a former heroin addict and someone who hasn't done a day's work in all of her 35 years, attended the memorial "service" near the spot where Tomlinson died. When she started arguing with a police officer, a sargeant with the Territorial Support Group, the officer in question smashed her legs with his baton.
However, this young woman, who believes so fervently that capitalism is evil, sold her story to the newspapers for £50,000, using media mogul Max Clifford as her agent. She felt a great need to tell us of her "ordeal," yet Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman remarked that "all right-thinking people will have little sympathy for her," and I entirely agree. But, all too predictably, all you heard from the media was how a large, violent policeman cowardly attacked a 115-pound woman.
We bash the police far too much, and we love it when somebody stands up to them, no matter how much that somebody resembles pond scum. What is it about society and the media, that they will stick up for the criminal elements and scroungers, simply because they walked into a well-deserved instance of police brutality? Why do we place so much trust in these rent-a-mobs and the violent gatherings of The Great Unwashed, society's leeches who criticize law-abiding, hard-working folks for the "crime" of earning (and having) money.
In the case of Nicola Fisher, who waved her finger in the policeman's face, the officer perceived a threat and he acted on it. Tomlinson, who was shuffling along directly in front of the officers moments before his death, was perceived by the officer to be taunting them—which he just might have been—and the officer shoved him out of frustration. How on earth was the officer in question supposed to know that Tomlinson would die 15 minutes later?
The police, alas, are human and what's more, they do a very hard, thankless job and witness things that most people never do nor should ever have to. Except for right-wing tabloids, we never hear of policemen who die on the job, good policemen who took a bullet for a colleague or died in a crash or in any other way to protect the public from thugs. Our reporting on matters of the police is distorted.
As I say, the police are human and they make mistakes. They aren't perfect and a few of them are bad apples. But considering society's approach to them, it's a wonder so many men and women still apply for the job of protecting an ungrateful public.