Friday, 23 June 2017

Blinding

"Trump wins standing ovation for proposing law that already exists"*


Headline from TInd today.  I'm not sure what amuses me more, the Trumpet player trying to con the public or the public for being so gullible.  Class.





*He announced plans to introduce legislation to stop immigrants receiving welfare benefits for five years- even though such a law has already existed for two decades.

Well Said

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
Henny Youngman
US (English-born) comedian (1906 - 1998)

Worth the Risk

146 people have died in the Isle of Man TT motorcycle race.

Find out more (New York Times)

Viz Bits

It Seemed Harmless Enough

When wifey suggested we go out for a beer or two.  It should have been harmless...

1 - 1 is No Good

Germany were pegged back by Chile who go top of their group on goal difference.  There is still all to play for in the final game of the Confederations Cup as Australia and Cameroon also drew, with the Germans playing the African team.  A draw will be enough for us to make the semis.

TeamPGDPts
1Chile224
2Germany214
3Australia2-11
4Cameroon2-21

TeamPGDPts
1Mexico214
2Portugal214
3Russia213
4New Zealand2-30

C & H

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Schedule Change

Eurowings have once more altered our flight details for our trip back to Germany.  Instead of taking off at 08:00 (meaning we' have to get up around 04:00) we now leave at a much more comfortable midday slot.

OK, so we land four hours later but it will still be early evening so hardly a problem.  I am far happier with the new times and hope they won't alter them again.

Translated

I am more than impressed at the level of translation, let alone the content.  See how many time you nod your head while reading this.

One article in particular, by Christian Zasche for Southern German broadsheet Süddeutsche Zeitung, has been expertly translated by freelancer Paula Kirby - and it's gone viral in the UK remarkably quickly.

This article in a Swiss newspaper today is so ruthlessly clear-sighted in its assessment of just how screwed we are that I just had to translate it for the non-German speakers. Hold on to your hats:
THE LAUGHING STOCK OF EUROPE
[Translation by Paula Kirby]
If it weren't so serious, the situation in Great Britain would almost be comical. The country is being governed by a talking robot, nicknamed the Maybot, that somehow managed to visit the burned-out tower block in the west of London without speaking to a single survivor or voluntary helper. Negotiations for the country’s exit from the EU are due to begin on Monday, but no one has even a hint of a plan. The government is dependent on a small party that provides a cozy home for climate change deniers and creationists. Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary. What in the world has happened to this country?
Two years ago David Cameron emerged from the parliamentary election as the shining victor. He had secured an absolute majority, and as a result it looked as if the career of this cheerful lightweight was headed for surprisingly dizzy heights. The economy was growing faster than in any other industrialised country in the world. Scottish independence and, with it, the break-up of the United Kingdom had been averted. For the first time since 1992, there was a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. Great Britain saw itself as a universally respected actor on the international stage. This was the starting point.
In order to get from this comfortable position to the chaos of the present in the shortest possible time, two things were necessary: first, the Conservative right wingers’ obsessive hatred of the EU, and second, Cameron’s irresponsibility in putting the whole future of the country on the line with his referendum, just to satisfy a few fanatics in his party. It is becoming ever clearer just how extraordinarily bad a decision that was. The fact that Great Britain has become the laughing stock of Europe is directly linked to its vote for Brexit.
The ones who will suffer most will be the British people, who were lied to by the Brexit campaign during the referendum and betrayed and treated like idiots by elements of their press. The shamelessness still knows no bounds: the Daily Express has asked in all seriousness whether the inferno in the tower block was due to the cladding having been designed to meet EU standards. It is a simple matter to discover that the answer to this question is No, but by failing to check it, the newspaper has planted the suspicion that the EU might be to blame for this too. As an aside: a country in which parts of the press are so demonstrably uninterested in truth and exploit a disaster like the fire in Grenfell Tower for their own tasteless ends has a very serious problem.
Already prices are rising in the shops, already inflation is on the up. Investors are holding back. Economic growth has slowed. And that’s before the Brexit negotiations have even begun. With her unnecessary general election, Prime Minister Theresa May has already squandered an eighth of the time available for them. How on earth an undertaking as complex as Brexit is supposed to be agreed in the time remaining is a mystery.
Great Britain will end up leaving its most important trading partner and will be left weaker in every respect. It would make economic sense to stay in the single market and the customs union, but that would mean being subject to regulations over which Britain no longer had any say. It would be better to have stayed in the EU in the first place. So the government now needs to develop a plan that is both politically acceptable and brings the fewest possible economic disadvantages. It’s a question of damage limitation, nothing more; yet even now there are still politicians strutting around Westminster smugly trumpeting that it will be the EU that comes off worst if it doesn’t toe the line.
The EU is going to be dealing with a government that has no idea what kind of Brexit it wants, led by an unrealistic politician whose days are numbered; and a party in which old trenches are being opened up again: moderate Tories are currently hoping to be able to bring about a softer exit after all, but the hardliners in the party – among them more than a few pigheadedly obstinate ideologues – are already threatening rebellion. An epic battle lies ahead, and it will paralyse the government.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that he now expects the Brits to finally set out their position clearly, since he cannot negotiate with himself. The irony of this statement is that it would actually be in Britain’s best interests if he did just that. At least that way they’d have one representative on their side who grasps the scale of the task and is actually capable of securing a deal that will be fair to both sides. The Brits do not have a single negotiator of this stature in their ranks. And quite apart from the Brexit terms, both the debate and the referendum have proven to be toxic in ways that are now making themselves felt.
British society is now more divided than at any time since the English civil war in the 17th century, a fact that was demonstrated anew in the general election, in which a good 80% of the votes were cast for the two largest parties. Neither of these parties was offering a centrist programme: the election was a choice between the hard right and the hard left. The political centre has been abandoned, and that is never a good sign. In a country like Great Britain, that for so long had a reputation for pragmatism and rationality, it is grounds for real concern. The situation is getting decidedly out of hand.
After the loss of its empire, the United Kingdom sought a new place in the world. It finally found it, as a strong, awkward and influential part of a larger union: the EU. Now it has given up this place quite needlessly. The consequence, as is now becoming clear, is a veritable identity crisis from which it will take the country a very long time to recover.
Vor den Brexit-Verhandlungen sieht sich die EU einer Regierung in London gegenüber, die nicht weiss, was sie will, und die von einer weltfremden Politikerin geführt wird.
DERBUND.CH

i100

The Original

Lachnummer Europas

Analyse Vor den Brexit-Verhandlungen sieht sich die EU einer Regierung in London gegenüber, die nicht weiss, was sie will, und die von einer weltfremden Politikerin geführt wird.


Theresa May brachte es fertig, nach dem Hochhausbrand weder mit Überlebenden noch mit Helfern zu reden. Foto: Getty Images

Christian Zaschke

Wenn die Lage in Grossbritannien nicht so ernst wäre, könnte das alles richtig witzig sein. Regiert wird das Land von einem Sprechroboter, Maybot genannt, dem es beim Besuch des abgebrannten Hochhauses im Westen Londons gelungen ist, nicht mit Überlebenden oder freiwilligen Helfern zu reden. Am Montag sollen die Verhandlungen über den Austritt aus der EU beginnen, aber niemand hat auch nur den Ansatz eines Plans. Die Regierung ist abhängig von einer Kleinpartei, die Klimawandel-Leugnern und Kreationisten eine wohlige Heimstatt bietet. Boris Johnson ist Aussenminister. Was in aller Welt ist mit diesem Land passiert?
Vor zwei Jahren ging David Cameron als schillernder Sieger aus der Parlamentswahl hervor. Er hatte eine absolute Mehrheit errungen, was hiess, dass die Karriere dieses heiteren Leichtgewichts einer erstaunlichen Vollendung zuzustreben schien. Die Wirtschaft wuchs schneller als in jedem anderen Industrieland der Welt. Die schottische Unabhängigkeit und damit der Zerfall des Vereinigten Königreichs war abgewendet. Erstmals seit 1992 gab es wieder eine konservative Mehrheit im Unterhaus. Grossbritannien verstand sich als allseits respektierter Akteur auf der internationalen Bühne. Das war die Ausgangslage.
Camerons fatale Entscheidung
Um in kürzester Zeit von dieser komfortablen Position ins Chaos der Gegenwart zu gelangen, bedurfte es im Wesentlichen zweierlei: zum einen des obsessiven Hasses der konservativen Rechten auf die EU und zum anderen der Verantwortungslosigkeit von Cameron, der mit dem Referendum die Zukunft des Landes aufs Spiel setzte, um ein paar Fanatiker in seiner Partei zu befrieden. Immer klarer wird, was für eine aussergewöhnlich schlechte Entscheidung das war. Dass Grossbritannien zur Lachnummer Europas geworden ist, hängt direkt mit dem Votum für den Brexit zusammen.
Leidtragende sind die britischen Bürger, die während der Referendums-Kampagne von den Brexit-Befürwor­tern belogen und von Teilen ihrer Presse verraten und für dumm verkauft wurden. Die Schamlosigkeit kennt bis heute keine Grenzen: Der «Daily Express» fragte allen Ernstes, ob das Hochhausfeuer vielleicht damit zusammenhänge, dass das Gebäude gemäss EU-Regularien verkleidet worden sei. Es ist ein Leichtes herauszufinden, dass die Antwort auf diese Frage Nein lautet, aber indem man sie ungeprüft stellt, ist der Verdacht in der Welt: Vermutlich ist die EU auch daran schuld. Nebenbei gesagt: Ein Land mit einer Presse, die in Teilen so demonstrativ desinteressiert an der Wahrheit ist und eine Katastrophe wie den Brand des Grenfell Tower für ihre abgeschmackte Propaganda nutzt, hat ein ernsthaftes Problem.
Am Ende wird Grossbritannien in jeder Hinsicht geschwächt dastehen.
Schon jetzt steigen die Preise in den Läden, schon jetzt steigt die Inflation. Investoren halten sich zurück. Die Wirtschaft wächst langsamer. Dabei haben noch nicht einmal die Verhandlungen über den Brexit begonnen. Premierministerin Theresa May hat mit ihrer unnötig anberaumten Wahl bereits ein Achtel der dafür zur Verfügung stehenden Zeit verschwendet. Wie in der verbleibenden Zeit ein komplexes Unterfangen wie der Brexit ausgehandelt werden soll, ist ein Rätsel.
Am Ende wird Grossbritannien seinen wichtigsten Handelspartner verlassen und in jeder Hinsicht geschwächt dastehen. In Binnenmarkt und Zollunion zu bleiben wäre wohl wirtschaftlich vernünftig, es hiesse jedoch, sich Regularien zu unterwerfen, auf die man keinen Einfluss mehr hätte. Da wäre es besser gewesen, gleich in der EU zu bleiben. Die Regierung müsste nun also einen Plan entwickeln, der politisch vermittelbar ist und wirtschaftlich möglichst wenig Nachteile bringt. Es geht dabei nur noch um Schadensbegrenzung, und dennoch laufen in Westminster Politiker herum, die bis zur Halskrause voll von Selbstgefälligkeit trompeten, wenn die EU nicht spure, werde sie schon sehen, was sie davon habe.
Die EU sieht sich einer Regierung gegenüber, die nicht weiss, welchen Brexit sie will, und die von einer weltfremden Politikerin geführt wird, deren Tage gezählt sind. Sie sieht sich einer Partei gegenüber, in der alte Gräben aufreissen: Die moderateren Tories schöpfen gerade die Hoffnung, den Austritt doch sanfter gestalten zu können. Doch die Hardliner unter den Konservativen, darunter nicht wenige ideologisch verbohrte Betonköpfe, haben bereits mit einem Aufstand gedroht. Es steht ein epischer Streit bevor, der die Regierung lähmen wird.
Position klarer umreissen
Der EU-Chefunterhändler Michel Barnier hat gesagt, er erwarte, dass die Briten jetzt endlich ihre Position klarer umreissen, er könne schliesslich nicht mit sich selbst verhandeln. Die Pointe an dieser Aussage ist, dass es für die Briten tatsächlich das Beste wäre, wenn Barnier genau dies tun würde. Dann wüssten sie nämlich einen Vertreter auf ihrer Seite, der das Ausmass der Aufgabe überblickt und in der Lage ist, einen Deal zu finden, der fair für beide Seiten ist. Einen Verhandler dieses Formats haben sie nicht in ihren Reihen. Ganz abgesehen von den Modalitäten des Austritts, haben sich Debatte und Abstimmung über den Brexit als Gift erwiesen, dessen Wirkung nun zu spüren ist.
Die Spaltung in der Gesellschaft ist so tief wie seit dem Englischen Bürgerkrieg im 17. Jahrhundert nicht mehr. Das hat die Parlamentswahl erneut gezeigt, in der gut 80 Prozent der Stimmen auf die grossen Parteien entfielen. Keine dieser ­Parteien bot ein Programm der Mitte an, die Wahl bestand zwischen hart rechts und hart links. Die politische Mitte ist verwaist, was nie ein gutes Zeichen ist. In einem Land wie Grossbritannien, das so lange als pragmatisch und vernunftbegabt galt, ist das ein Grund zur Beunruhigung. Es läuft gerade etwas gewaltig aus dem Ruder.
Nach dem Verlust des Empires hatte sich das Vereinigte Königreich auf die Suche nach einem neuen Platz in der Welt begeben. Es fand ihn schliesslich als starker, unbequemer und einflussreicher Teil eines grösseren Verbundes: als Teil der EU. Diesen Platz hat es ohne Not aufgegeben. Die Folge ist, wie nun offenbar wird, eine veritable Identitätskrise, von der sich das Land noch lange nicht erholen wird.

Der Bund

News Thump

Queen t-shirt during speech
The Queen has been widely criticised after delivering her speech outlining the government’s plans for this parliament wearing a t-shirt explaining that she thinks Brexit is a complete clusterfuck.
Though she is officially impartial, palace insiders claim the Queen is finding it increasingly difficult to stay quiet about the ever worsening shit-show that is Brexit.
As one source explained, “She stayed quiet when they wrote stuff on the bus, she stayed quiet when the pound tanked and businesses started hitting the pause button; she even stayed quiet when it was announced nurse recruitment from the EU had gone through the floor.
“But listening to this lot go on about how it’s all ‘going to plan’ was just too much.  So no, she couldn’t actually change the words of the speech – that would be unconstitutional, but there’s nothing written down that says she can’t wear what she wants while delivering it.
Fashion consultant Simon Williams hailed the Queen’s ‘brave choice’, telling us, “The Queen has the best interests of her people at heart – so is it any surprise she thinks Brexit is an absolute fucking disaster waiting to happen?”
NT

Well Said

Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.
Evelyn WaughDiaries of Evelyn Waugh (1976)
English novelist & satirist (1903 - 1966)

BR

Zöllner Illusion




This optical illusion was named after Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner and consists of parallel lines that appear to be diagonal. You may need a ruler for this one.
12

Contract Killer

Ryan recently put up an open invitation for a financial seminar he was hosting on the website and it attracted a lot of interest.  Too much in fact, as one of the responses was from a guy who claimed to be a swimming instructor and invited people up to his room (?) in very poor English.

This in itself received a lot of response, mainly from young people who claimed he was a sexual pest and had tried to impose himself on some vulnerable people.

R kindly invited the paedo to go forth etc, which in return spiralled and the upshot is that R now has a THB 10 000 bounty on his head as the chap is rather peeved at the "groundless accusation".

This had to be one of the funniest stories of Tuesday night because I don't think the guy has ever seen or met R before.  He is fucking enormous, does both martial arts and boxing and would happily go toe to toe with him.  Unfortunately, his company's legal team have advised him to leave the matter with them.

Shame, if it had been THB 20 000, I might have considered shopping our R as I know exactly where he lives...  😁

Rugby

We're off to the Kiwi on Saturday to watch the All Blacks kick the snot out of the British Lions, or vice-versa.  I have no idea bout the game, just big guys all running after an oval ball and seeing how many heads they can pull off while doing it.

We're simply going along as Dean and Karen are big fans of the sport and the players (respectively) and the bar is open for a spot of afternoon drinking.

It's always fun as we get Tiger beer at THB 99/pint all day long until 19:00.  😎

More Flavours Than the UN

Our group of "regulars" is quite a mixed bunch in both nationality and background.

We have, in no particular order, an Australian finance expert and a South African teacher who is now beginning a career in the same field working with him, an ex Finnish international football player, a Thai TV celebrity singer, an Irish political party member, a couple of English, ex-military guys, a Kiwi aeronautical engineer, a rather dour but knowledgeable German chap and an American guy who I swear is doing a "leaving Las Vegas".

Of course there are several more regulars but the above mentioned chaps will offer hugely entertaining conversation, aren't afraid of a few beers (nor to take an opposing view on things) and will keep you occupied all night long- or longer if the urge takes you.

At my age the urge rarely does so I content myself with an early start/early finish which works well for me and gives you all some time off the Blog the following day.

Lost Day

With wifey approaching D Day on the next level on her on-going project (you're all aware she is building a miniature house into the alcove of our bedroom and she is planning on constructing a floor a year, right?) I was kindly requested to "bugger orf out of it" to give her some peace and quiet to allow her to wield her magic.

Duly buggering off to the Corner I was looking forward to a few Chang without a care in the world, wondering who might show up.  I hadn't announced my beer quest acting simply on impulse and it turned out to be quite a fun night out as apparently I arrived home gone 01:00, bouncing off obstacles as I meandered.

C & H x 2



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Must Sees

Apparently films kids need to watch before they are 11 years old.  Glaring omissions aside (not a single 007 film?), how many have you seen?  I've highlighted the ones I have yet to catch up on and there seem to be quite a few (just under half) but I believe they are part of our film collection so we can catch up as and when we choose.

karTER aged 11 + 41 & a half years...

101 Dalmatians (1961)
A Little Princess (1995)
Annie (1982)
Babe (1995)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Coraline (2009)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
Dumbo (1941)
ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)
Free Willy (1993)
Frozen (2013)
Home (2015)
Hook (1991)
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Jumanji (1995)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Mary Poppins (1964)
Matilda (1996)
Nanny McPhee (2005)
Night at the Museum (2006)
Oliver! (1968)
Paddington (2014)
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
Shrek (2001)
Space Jam (1996)
Spirited Away (2001)
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Swallows and Amazons (2016)
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
The BFG (2016)
The Gruffalo (2009)
The Iron Giant (1999)
The Jungle Book (1967)
The LEGO Movie (2014)
The Lion King (1994)
The Lorax (2012)
The Never-Ending Story (1984)
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Secret Garden (1993)
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
The Witches (1990)
Toy Story (1995)
Trolls (2016)
Up (2009)
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
Zootropolis (2016)
TG