Way down deep in the middle of the Congo.

Well, Shakespeare won’t be quaking in his boots but he may be spinning in his grave as silly poem day makes a comeback!
Today we’re concerned with jungle deforestation.

There’s not a man has name to call,
that piece of skin ‘twixt butt and ball.
But now, they say, with sacks and backs
we men should wax our hairy cracks.
what purpose, or gain, I’ve yet to learn
hot wax down there? Cause for concern.

I am man, not little boy
and is there some perverted joy
to being bald and being buff
When it grows back won’t it be rough?

I’ve seen the price, a hundred quid!
They’ll see more than the butler did,
and if on sight they’re scarred for life,
seeing bits meant just for the wife?
After much thought I think I’ll pass
And live my life with hairy arse.

I prefer a battered sausage anyway.

My favourite animal is the “killer whale”, now more commonly referred to as the Orca.
I saw one in captivity when I was a child and, although I now realise how abhorrent it is to keep such magnificent creatures in such conditions, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see them, thus beginning a lifelong fascination with these graceful, yet deadly, beasts.

As I have learnt more about them so my interest has grown and each new insight raises great questions about not only the life, emotional depth and intelligence of these creatures, but, also the nature of evolution, animal family structures and the state of our seas.
I am therefore inclined to watch or read anything about Orca… Except any movie in the “Free Willy” franchise.
Anyway, being a man I can also be guaranteed to watch almost anything that involves a Great White shark. I don’t think this needs explaining to anyone going by the popularity of shark week.
Sharks rock and big sharks rock more.
The Great white is basically the Elvis of the ocean and a guaranteed draw.
So, when I saw the title “Orca vs Great white, which will win?” attached to a National Geographic video the question if I would be putting aside the hour to watch it was a foregone conclusion.
The long and the short of it is that in the old playground argument “who would win when the two top predators of the ocean met fin to fin, would it be the big dolphin or the big fish?” there never really was much argument.  Turns out the ocean doesn’t have two top predators at all and any 7 year old who bet on the fish, lost. And they lost big.
Orca know how to kill great whites, great whites larger than they and they are teaching the method to the others in their pod.
This is a recent adaptation in their behaviour and I want my Yoda back, Anthony Stapleford.

Once I’d watched this enlightening and stimulating documentary I clocked another National geographic offering about shark attacks in Australia.
I do love the watch later function on Youtube.

Next day and I was busy digesting a very well made piece about the worrying increase in shark attacks on humans taking place off the south west coast of the big red Island.
The documentary not only made it clear that attacks on humans were increasing alarmingly, but, also that attacks on humans weren’t being categorised as exploratory bites. For those who don’t know, an exploratory bite is one where the shark would have a nibble to find out what it was attacking then spit us out and bugger off. In previous years this type of “attack” was the usual and indeed is still the norm for most shark attacks that occur all round the world… But, not in this corner of Oz.
In a worrying development sharks in this area are now becoming protective of their kill. Attempts to rescue hapless victims were now being met by defensive behaviour from the shark, attacking boats, jet-skis anything ferrying in a rescuer.
The sharks have begun to exhibit patterns of behaviour more consistent with behaviours observed when protecting food from competition and they eat the people if they can.
These sharks, in this area, now see people as food.

This is a recent adaptation in their behaviour.

In the seas off the coast of California and Mexico Killer whales are adapting to kill Great white sharks and they eat only the liver.
Off the coast of Australia sharks are changing their diets to include new sources of nourishment.
When the top predators in any environment start going after new sources of food one has to wonder why and the only answer is necessity.
These predators need new sources because their primary prey is becoming harder to find.
Orca’s aren’t adapting because killing great whites is fun and at the other end of the planet Great whites aren’t killing people because we’re yummy, we’re not, we’re all bone and not enough fat and probably taste like chicken feet.
I cannot help but come to the conclusion that all the doom-mongering naysayers forever bleating on about fish stocks and crises in our oceans didn’t bleat loud enough or long enough in the right peoples’ ears.
What other explanation can there be for such shocking changes in behaviour other than them being the first unavoidable sign of an imminent collapse in fish stocks?

What should we do about it and what can we do about it?
Well, I guess we can do what people always do: ignore it or try and figure out how as individuals we can profit from this opportunity. Alternatively, we could join in with the Greens and the eco-warriors and demand immediate action from our governments to halt the loss of our oceanic ecosystems.

I’m going to invest in sausages.
Cod and chips will be a thing of the past and I’m predicting a Lazarusian comeback for the Saveloy.

I do wish someone had interviewed Ole Gee Dubya.

From the first moment I heard a plot synopsis for the movie “The Interview” I was concerned. I was a little unsure that I had heard correctly and that this was to be a film in which a sitting world leader was to be assassinated for the greater good of comedy.
Now, I want to make it clear form the start that I’m no fan of Kim Jong Un in the same way I wasn’t exactly a fan of Kim Jong Il.
In my mental filing and categorisation system the Kim Jong dynasty is filed away into the draw marked “Best eradicated” along with Ebola, Aids, the Bush family, Republicans and sprouts!
(you really don’t want to get me started on my hatred for those evil, mutant cabbages or about sprouts)

So, as I said, not a fan. I think the whole family needs toppling and hope that one day Korea will be reunited and the South can shine some light on the darkest corners of the North. Or, just supply the poor North Koreans with some food so they’re not starving.

I’m also, on the whole, not a fan of either Seth Rogen or James Franco, but, they’re not in quite the same category… They’re in with things like herpes. Something that won’t go away but you can live with it and whilst it causes some irritation it’s probably not going to kill you.

With the pair’s latest offering, however, I feel they have truly crossed a line of taste and basic human decency. I cannot quite explain why the cinematic portrayal of the fantasy assassination of a sitting leader of a foreign power, even one whom I despise and would not object to being actually assassinated, drums up such outrage, yet, it does.

There was recently a film in which the Americans had a bit of a war with some Chinese. It was called red war or dawn or line or something equally generic. They, the makers, producers, etc. then thought about the consequences of potentially offending the government and people of the worlds largest growing economy, an economy that holds 1 in 5 of the worlds population and they sensibly swapped everything over to portray the villains as North Korean.
Now, from the depths of imagination, comes this piece in which Kim Jong Un must be killed.
I have tried very hard to find another figure to substitute for the unfortunate Un which Sony pictures would find also acceptable as pariah and deserved victim of a death on the big screen without success.
Try it for yourself, is there another living figure who it would be acceptable to assassinate on celluloid? Even Osama was shot before they shot his shooting.

Americans are lining up outside cinemas to see this film and I’m certain this pattern will be followed across Europe, though to a lesser extent, but, what if it were Obama or Cameron? Well, they inherited wars so, what if it were Tony Blair or George Bush as the victim? Despite the many deaths their actions have caused we’d still be lining up outside the cinema that’s for certain, but, forming lines of protest against such a grotesque plot not lines for tickets.

If a film came from Iran in which the next Republican leader of the United States became the target of an Arabian peninsula plot that forced two journalists of historical Persian descent to assassinate the US President, the self-termed “leader of the free world”, to prevent any more unsanctioned invasions of Muslim lands there’d be riots in the streets and perhaps congress would even authorise a light spot of retaliatory bombing.

What if Palestinian film-makers produced a movie in which Netanyahu must be murdered?
Do you think that’s going to go on general release, be reviewed in the Guardian and on BBC world or would Palestinians again find themselves cowering under tables and doorways as the heavens opened and explosives rained down?

There is always an accepted line drawn between fact and fiction and rules on their mixing.
Using real people, in fake scenarios without their express permission has always been a no-no. This is no cameo or walk on; this is a central role for a living figure in a work of fantasy in which they are “justifiably” murdered.
Really, can it be anything other than unethical, immoral, misguided and antagonistic?
Is the release of this film an indication of where American standards have slipped to and indicative of the complete lack of conscience now being shown in the business practices of giant corporations.
Or am I just living in the wrong century?

Maybe I should make a film in which a crazy foreign dictator decides to sue one of the worlds largest entertainment corporations in US court for the hurtful and malicious portrayal of him in a film. He will give statement as to how much emotional pain he has suffered and how the worldwide attention has scarred him on a deep emotional level.
A movie where, thanks to the oddities of US law, the dictator wins with such a huge award that he finds himself in control of said entertainment powerhouse and sets about making a series of cheerful musicals deifying himself and his family.

He goes on to appoint himself ‘Great and Eternal President for life’ of the company, that being a position for the life of the company, one he’ll hold even after his own death and he sires many strong handsome male children.
The film ends when he fulfils a lifetimes ambition by becoming the third judge on X-factor renowned for his benevolent childish face and his humourous method of feeding the worst contestant each week to a pack of dogs.

Brad, Damon, Chun-Yow, you guys call me, ok? Let’s make it happen.

The last days of Rome

Work has occupied my life for the last several weeks and so there has been very little time to do anything other than trying to make money, taking care of the kids and, of course, maintaining a healthy relationship with my beloved Xbox… I mean, wife.

Today, however, an offer came across my desk and I knew it signalled that we are truly reaching a peak of societal indulgence and of a staggering level of disparity between the have’s and the have not’s.
It isn’t ISIS, the Euro crisis, Karachi tensions, Israeli genocide or Ebola that tells me we’re at the end. Nor is it the corruption of teen morals, the collapse of families, the rise of fundamentalist religious belief or the failure of another grand Jury to be colourblind that told me we are truly reaching a time when the poor will overthrow the rich and we shall soon be thrown into deserved turmoil as downtrodden folk stand up and start stamping their feet.
No, It wasn’t any or all of these; it was a product from a beauty care manufacturer in France that made it clear the end is nigh.
A product from a company called La Roche Posay.

La Roche Posay beauty products are marketed, distributed and traded round the world. They are much in vogue amongst those who believe beauty comes, not from within, but from a bottle.
It’s sold in physicians clinics in the USA alongside syringes of toxins and fluids to stab into your face in the futile chase for the appearance of eternal youth.
Or the appearance of a surprised waxwork dummy, “Dummy” being the operative word.

Anyway, I was offered thousands of units of one of their products and when I read the name I thought:
“Hmmm… I wonder what that is?
I know what the words translate to, but, it cant be that!”
So, neither forearmed nor forewarned, off I toddled to the Website to do a bit of research.
I really wish I hadn’t.
“Agua Termal”
This, I know, translates to Aqua Thermal in the original French, which in English is, thanks to a bit of touristy understanding, Thermal spring water.
“There’s no way,” I was convinced as I began working my way down the La Posh Rosé catalogue, “there’s just no way that is just a bottle of water from a thermal spring!”.

It was and it is.
It’s a £7, 150ml bottle of cold water from a thermal spring.
Cold water from a thermal spring… How stupid are people.
You can get the 300ml for the bargain price of only 10 euro if you hunt around.
Think about that, 9% smaller than a can of coke for 10 Euro.

So, all around the world there’s people who simply haven’t the water to survive, there’s drought and the subsequent starvation happening on almost every continent and we’re paying 7 quid for 150ml of some poncey French water to drink?!
More than a third of the worlds populace lives on less than £1.60 a day and people are spending some £8 more per bottle than the already overpriced French or Scottish mineral water we seem to have decided we must drink these days!

Can it really slate your dehydration and stimulate your palette with such a sublime taste and an unprecedented level of thirst quenching satisfaction?
Could it really be better than a good single malt scotch?

Well, “No”, is actually the answer to those questions.
No-one’s actually paying seven pounds to drink some poncey French water.
They’re paying seven pounds for a tiny bit of poncey French water to wash their fecking faces in!

I say again, Seven quid for a bottle of cold thermal spring water from France to wash your face with.
I said it again because I still can’t quite believe it’s true.

My first question wasn’t about the environmental impact of transporting this water out of France and around the world. It wasn’t about the resources used to bottle such small amounts of fluid, nor, about the kind of profit margin this must have.
No.
My first question was do you need to stick it in the microwave or do you warm it up in a pan to activate the magic?
Is it still magic if it’s cold?

Then, I thought, does the magically revitalising quality disappear if you bombard it with microwaves?
Finally, I pondered, does the real magic reside not in what it does to your skin but in getting rich women to pay nearly fifty pounds a litre for water bottled from an over-mineralised hot tap in a Paris industrial suburb for them to wash their faces?
Marketing triumphs over common sense once more.

The last days of Rome are upon us and we bloody well deserve it.

NB: I’m sure “Aqua Thermal” in no way translates as “From an over-mineralised Hot tap in a French industrial suburb”. I was making a joke, it was facetious and obviously meant as satire.
So, to make it clear to any La Posh Rosé lawyers, 
I’m as sure as I can be that this product comes from a real thermal spring. I mean, for that price it could be mined from a passing comet and still turn a profit so a thermal spring’s easy.

Ebeneezer Goode wants you read this poem.

This poem in no way condones or endorses the recreational use of MDMA.
Honest.

I dreamt of my life as a teen yet again
Hurtling down roads, pitch black, heavy rain
To field or warehouse, to club and to cave
The thrill, the buzz, the dance, the rave.
Old Comfy shoes; not bothered by mud,
A chemists brew pumps through the blood.

The spinners box built high, up above
Temporary gods bathed in adoration and love
Beats that pound and feet that clomp
Some dance with grace, most simply stomp.
Whistles pierce through heavy beat
Sweat drips to cool body’s heat.

No menace, no threat, no violence here,
No wicked combination of machismo and beer
Freed from inhibition we leap, near insanity
Expressing our joy, our love, our humanity
We erect no barriers on religion or race
United as one by attending this place
Lost in the music, stripped of our fear
We radiate love to those who are near
Our brothers and sisters, together we dance
Minds permanently altered. Ecstatic trance.

But, now I’m quite old and the body is broken
Tales of wild nights, locked away, go unspoken.
Memories fade, the past gets more distant
The urge to relive, to go back, less insistent.
What would i say to my girls of the days,
When we danced through the night in a chemical haze?
Weekends we proudly spent getting wrecked
If they knew how we lived would they still have respect?
When I try to inform, maybe caution, advise
Shall respect or contempt flood, now enlightened, eyes?
Best keep it quiet. lock this history away,
The past’s in the past and that’s where it should stay.

A Happy weekend to you all.

Apparently, it’s the Coco de Mer.

There has been a lot of chatter amongst certain sections of the internet community regarding the age old playground argument of who’s better: Batman or Superman?
A movie, creatively entitled Batman vs Superman is due for release in a couple of years and already the “fanboys” (I’m sure there aren’t many girls involved, so, “boys” is just fine a term) are blogging, trolling, arguing and youtubing their opinions on why Superman will so kick Batman’s ass and is way way cooler dude IMHO. Blah, blah, blah!

Ukraine threatens to explode, Gaza lies once more in tatters and all these teens can talk of (apparently teens of any and all ages) is nonsense about Superman being better than Batman in the parallel universe of comic-dom!

Nonsense!
Just… Nonsense!!!

First of all, Superman is near invulnerable!
He has just the one weakness, if one discounts his brain, fragmented pieces of his home planet and yet he is constantly outwitted by ordinary humans and his life imperiled by any number of comparatively weak human beings wielding a bit of this special moon rock!
So, he’s not exactly a Professor Hawking is he.
As for being a hero, well, he does save people, but, honestly, if you were invulnerable, gifted with special powers that meant you could shoot lasers from your eyes, turn coal into diamond with a squeeze of your hand and could fly at superspeed what else would you do with your time other than fly about saving people and showing everyone how hard you are?
He’s not a hero because being a hero requires heroism, an act of courage and if you’re invulnerable you don’t need to display much courage do you?
If you have no human frailty to overcome then there can be no heroism.

Measuring the greatness of a superhero is simple, you simply assess the level of testicular fortitude required to do their bit and assign them a place on an appropriate scale.

I prefer to use the Oxbridge Superhero/nut ratio calculator (The OS/N as it is more commonly known) a scale drawn up jointly by the incredible brains at the Kings college Wonderwoman club, based in Kings college, Cambridge and  the All souls college Iron man fanatics of Oxford that works thus:
Draw up a graph  and plot the four key variables of superherodom: Bravery, intellect, strength of powers, and weakness .
By assessing the level of power a character has, the level of intellect displayed, the risk they take when doing their heroing and offsetting this against their vulnerability one can give them an appropriate ranking on the OS/N and whoever sits atop this scale is the Coolest, Awesomest, Superest superhero of them all.

Looked at in this, the correct, manner Superman takes zero points for courage, another nil points for having every power ever, gains sod all for risk-taking by virtue of being indefatigable and, of course, doesn’t exactly make up ground in the intellect stakes by being continually and easily duped.
When measured properly and placed on the OS/N Superman earns the rank of Macadamia.
Thor, a Demi-god even more invulnerable than Superman, is the lowest ranked superhero weighing in at a thoroughly embarrassing score of Cashew.
This is why he’s now becoming a girl.
Spiderman has some powers and increased strength, but, by virtue of being far from invulnerable and with bonus points for being a teenager  earns himself a proudly deserved ranking of Brazil.
Finally, at the top end of the scale and weighing in with the full coconut is Iron man.
The metal suit makes him pretty much invulnerable as long as it remains impermeable, but, inside he is just a man and one who faces death with each and every venture… Yep, that’s definitely a big hairy coconut, maybe even a pair of big hairy coconuts, and there’s no chance of him suffering the same fate as Thor by losing his whoopsies and becoming Antonia Stark anytime in the near future.

So where does this leave Batman?
He’s not superstrong.
He wasn’t bitten by a radioactive turtle and imbued with gifts.
He has no super-hearing, laser-eyes or a special metal suit.
Batman uses the exactly the same basic tools to fight crime as Donald Trump uses to get laid, ergo: a certain amount of deception, a larger amount of self-delusion,  big dollops of Machiavellian intellect, some training from a professional,  and, of course, pots and pots of cash.
Batman is unique in the comic book universe in that he is nothing more than a man in a mask; a man who studied, trained, disciplined himself and showed iron will to persevere with a long and painful career as the public’s most ardent servant.
The only ‘special gift’ The Batman has is Post traumatic stress disorder!

To conclude this ramble and nail my point home as to why Batman is clearly better than Superman I tried to establish Batman’s position on the OS/N scale, but, when I checked in my Guinness book of World records to see what should sit atop the scale by being both bigger and heavier than the coconut I discovered I had a strange Comic-book world edition of the famous tome and under the title “Largest nuts in the world?”  it simply said:

Bruce Wayne’s.