caz963: (Spring white rhodos)
BBC News - Only Fools and Horses writer John Sullivan OBE dies

Another National Treasure leaves us... :(

Après moi le déluge.

:(

Apr. 19th, 2011 09:21 pm
caz963: (Spring white rhodos)
I've been away for a couple of days and haven't had a chance to catch up with anything yet, but I've just opened up my LJ to read the incredibly sad news about the death of Lis Sladen.

I'm completely stunned.

Sarah-Jane Smith was MY companion - we all have "our" Doctors and our favourite companions, and she was, without a doubt my favourite when I was a kid and I think I probably squealed like a banshee when she returned to our screens in 2006, first of all in Doctor Who and then later with her own spin-off show.

I don't know what else to say right now - other than to express my sorrow and my sympathy for her friends and family.



Goodbye, Lis. We won't forget you.
caz963: (VG hayfields)
I haven't said anything about what's happening on the other side of the world because... well, what is there to say, really?

But one thought keeps coming back to me. No matter how far we go or how much we advance or achieve; space stations, micro-technology - just last week there was someting on the news about using three parents for IVF - there are some things that we're never going to be able to control. Not in my lifetime, anyway.

My heart goes out to all those who have lost their homes and their livelihoods, and to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for them - just looking at the pictures on the news, the scale of the clean-up operation alone must be completely mind-boggling.

*sniff*

Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:54 pm
caz963: (white poinsettia)
RIP Pete Postlethwaite. Odd looking fella but what a fabulous actor. I'll have to dig out the DVD of Brassed Off later on.
caz963: (ten & Donna happy)
It's a bit late for Christmas lists, but if this is true, I think that Santa is delivering late. Or early.
caz963: (bovvered)
You can tell it's the holidays, because I've got time to read and moan about stuff!

I saw something about Michael Gove's u-turn on sports funding for schools on the news earlier and was already thinking "WTF makes sport so special?"

And of course, that's sort of a rhetorical question because, as everybody who works in eduation in a subject other than PE knows, sport takes priority over everything else. Bitter, much? You bet.


I've just read this in the Grauniad and am sitting here nodding my head.

... they have prevailed where lobbyists for the arts, universities, pensioners, local authorities and hospitals have failed. But how many of the latter are famous, or gold medallists, or world No.1s? It strikes me that we're all being bullied by the sportsmen, just as I was bullied by them at school. In sum, it is sport that keeps Rupert Murdoch in power, and it is Murdoch who keeps the government in power. So sport is talked up, just as though it were in itself a moral good. But what is its virtue? Don't give me that Corinthian stuff. It was always a public school con to keep the oiks down. Or is it that business of healthy mind in a healthy body? Given that my children are going to have to pay a premium to study the arts at university, and given that my excellent local library is about to close, I can't help thinking that we're neglecting the first part of the equation.
caz963: (Joshkisses)
... that there really IS a Sorkin quote for every occasion. And I really can't believe, in light of today's events, that none of my like-minded flist has done this yet.

"We think if we hit the ground hard enough, we can make it to the center of the planet and find water?"

"Yeah."

"That's not a theory of physics pretty much disproved by Wile E. Coyote?"
caz963: (Default)
Two brothers, aged 10 and 11 commited robbery and assault on two other boys of 9 and 11, leaving one of them for dead.

Thoughts on the week's horrible news | Learning is delightful and delicious ...

Posted using ShareThis

:-(

Jun. 26th, 2009 09:22 pm
caz963: (pink crocus)
I know teh interwebz is full of it, but I couldn't let today pass without saying how sad I was to hear of the death of Michael Jackson.

I know that his life - especially in the last couple of decades - was more renouned for its weirdness than for his music-making. I was working for Sony when the child abuse scandal was at its height and I remember the time he turned up at our offices - I've never seen so many blacked-out limos, SUVs and HUGE men dressed in black wearing cool shades!

He was obviously a very troubled individual. A worldwide superstar from a very young age, he lived almost the whole of his life in the public eye - not easy for anyone.

That said - I want to remember his incredible talent. As a performer, I think he was second to none. Reports are saying that he was the most important musical talent since Elvis, and I'm inclined to agree.

His music speaks for itself.

RIP.

:-(

Jun. 26th, 2009 09:16 pm
caz963: (Default)
I know teh interwebz is full of it, but I couldn't let today pass without saying how sad I was to hear of the death of Michael Jackson.

I know that his life - especially in the last couple of decades - was more renouned for its weirdness than for his music-making. I was working for Sony when the child abuse scandal was at its height and I remember the time he turned up at our offices - I've never seen so many blacked-out limos, SUVs and HUGE men dressed in black wearing cool shades!

He was obviously a very troubled individual. A worldwide superstar from a very young age, he lived almost the whole of his life in the public eye - not easy for anyone.

That said - I want to remember his incredible talent. As a performer, I think he was second to none. Reports are saying that he was the most important musical talent since Elvis, and I'm inclined to agree.

His music speaks for itself.

RIP.
caz963: (Default)
Swine flu has reached my neck of the woods.

We're at stage 5 (of 6) on the WHO's pandemic scale, but so far, cases are relatively few and are mild - the guy mentioned in that article is at home. I also have to say that I think the media is - for once - actively helping the situation by not spreading doom, gloom and panic.

In our favour right now is the fact that we're moving out of our main flu season, although some are saying that that's a false optimism, because all it means is that we'll be hit by it later in the year.

Note to self - get a flu jab this year!
caz963: (stupid hurts)
Dear [livejournal.com profile] ti_news - why do I get stories that go back years showing up on my f-list? I rather like getting the days' news stories via my LJ, but not having two pages taken up with stories from 2008.

Fix it, please. It's annoying.
caz963: (josh eyerub)
I count myself as a fairly well educated person. I watch and listen to the news, I read a lot of news and articles in the papers via RSS, and I try to keep up with all the "stuff" that's going on.

But although I've tried and tried - I just can't for the life of me see why the UK government has now decided to print a load of money and "pump" it into our ailing economy. How is that going to help anyone? If it's going to the banks, well, they're not lending anyone any money anyway, so they'll just have even more of it to not lend. If it goes to the businesses who are in danger of going under, it'll just be a stopgap, because if consumers can't afford to buy things, or don't want to chance it given the uncertainty over employment, then the money will pay a few bills but if nobody's buying, then it's just staving off the inevitable.

What they really need to do is give those of us who aren't rich, but who don't live on benefits, twenty grand apiece so that we can go out and buy things - I'd buy a new car if I could afford it, which is the best way to help the motor industry, surely!

I vaguely understand why governments the world over have been coming up with these multi-billion pound/dollar "rescue packages" - although I can't say as I'm thrilled at the idea that my taxes are going to be used as insurance against bad decisions made by people who earn in a week what I make in a year. But the reasons for the printing of the money are passing me by.
caz963: (doc & donna laughing)
I've posted before about some of the more outlandish names sported by some of the kids I teach - although I reckon that [livejournal.com profile] megwriting's roster of names beats mine hands down.

Today saw the publication of the list of the most unfortunate names in Britain.

They're all fairly snigger-worthy - I cite Stan Still, Barb Dwyer, Anna Sassin, Anna Prentice and Rose Bush.

Seriously, you have to wonder what on earth their parents were thinking! Or drinking.

It's worth a scroll through the comments too - I direct you in particular to one Jenny Taylor. (Think about it!)
caz963: (space)
That bastion of British moral outrage, the Daily Mail today reports that The Church of England has voted to bar its vicars from belonging to the BNP.

Now, I don't like the BNP or what they stand for, and I imagine their beliefs are, as the article states, incompatible with Christianity - so I'd like to think that there aren't any members of the clergy who are members of the BNP.

BUT.

Actually banning them from membership of what is, after all, a recognised political party in the UK (no matter how much I wish it wasn't)..?

Fascism by another name?

Aren't I the ranty one today?
caz963: (gromit rolling pin)
A few years back, when Elinor was quite young, there was a big ruckus about the MMR triple vaccine. For anyone who's not familar, it's used to immunise children against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, given in two doses, one when they're around three and the other before they start school.

In 1998, Doctor Andrew Wakefield published research which suggested that there might be a link between the vaccine and autism, thus creating widespread panic among parents, with the practical upshot that thousands upon thousands decided not to have their children vaccinated which is now leading to an upsurge in measles cases - which had been all but eradicated - in the UK.

From the Times, 9th Feb 2009 -

Last week official figures showed that 1,348 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales were reported last year, compared with 56 in 1998. Two children have died of the disease.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5683671.ece

When the debate was at its height, I remember that it was almost impossible to hear a dissenting voice in the media - whenever anyone tried to challenge Wakefield's research, they were shouted down, and yet his research was, as far as I remember, not backed up by any other studies. I'm not an expert, but I do believe that, in any form of scientific research, it's normal practice for experiments and theories to be substantiated by further research and corroborated by other studies, as is pointed out by David Aaranovich, also in the Times, today- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/david_aaronovitch/article5696902.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=2270657

Wakefield's conclusions have since been more or less discredited, and I think that there has been an increase in the take up of the vaccinations, but we're still not at the 95% level we need to be at in order to guarantee "herd immunity".

But even given this, and the fact that children are now dying of measles, there are still people in the media who are persisting in disseminating this mis-information about the jab, one of whom is a well-known broadcaster on LBC radio - Jeni Burnett.

Doctor Ben Goldacre, on his Bad Science blog has challenged Burnett's views and has landed himself in rather hot water as a result. Read the post I've linked to, and you'll see what I mean.

Thing is, this isn't the only time something like this - a concern which has been blown out of all proportion by the media - has happened. I'm sure we can all think of examples, and I guess that the reason I'm posting this is because I'm sick of being presented with "news" which is based on hypothesis, speculation and some talking-head-so-called-expert nattering on in the absence of real information.

And I guess being a mum - and incidentally, both my girls had the MMR with no ill effects - scaremongering on this sort of scale, which is now affecting the lives of our children, it makes me even more angry.

Bwahahaha!

Feb. 8th, 2009 11:00 pm
caz963: (crikey!)
I just spotted this article in The Independent (now available at LJ as [livejournal.com profile] ti_news for anyone who's interested) - a voxpop on how people of different nationalities view the British.

In reverse order, my favourites are;

3. 'I love the fact you have such extremes, from the aristocrat to the football hooligan'


2. 'You drink a lot, and the women wear very little. It's five degrees and they have so much flesh on show. Don't they feel the cold?' Clearly, these people were observing chavdom at its height.


and the winner is -

1. 'Why are they so obsessed with celebrities? You open a paper, and there is Lily Allen. Where is all the proper news?'

Heh. That'll be even funnier to fans of The Now Show!
caz963: (winter sunset)
I haven't had time to read anyone else's reactions yet, but I got home just in time to watch the Inauguration ceremony live this afternoon. So, quick thoughts.

2 million people??? Blimey!

I got really pissed off with the BBC commentators who decided to talk over the first few minutes of the Perlman/Ma performance. I mean, seriously WTF? They made some comment about the wonderful music and then proceeded to talk over it. Wankers.

But they stopped eventually thank God, so I got to listen to some of my favourite musicians play something arranged by one of my favourite composers - and I still swear that Yo Yo must have an ageing portrait in his attic, because he doesn't look any different to the last time I saw him, which must have been almost ten years ago, now.

I thought Biden did well - confident, measured.

Shame Obama tripped up at the beginning of the oath. Was he thrown by the copy of Swimsuit Illustrated? *g*

But what a speech. How wonderful that the leader of the free world is an articulate, intelligent man. As ever, his delivery was excellent, and the speech itself was fully cognisant of the difficulties we all face - and if he can really stick two fingers up at vested interest and get some of the things done that he was talking about, well, that'll be one helluva legacy.
caz963: (crackpot day)
The farmhouse that Paul McGann and Richard E Grant ended up staying in in Withnail & I
is up for sale. A snip at a mere £145,000.

Just typing that is making me feel unusual :) I haven't seen the movie in ages, and I think I need a fix. I'll never forget the first time I saw Richard E Grant trying to shoot trout out of the river...
caz963: (josh over paper)
First of all, let me say that I'm not a fan of school league tables.

BUT - I had to post this link to the list of the top twenty schools in England according to the tables which have just been published.

My point?

Four of the top schools in England are in Essex! Two in Chelmsford and two in Colchester to be precise. I'm not saying that this compensates for Wayne and Waynetta from Romford but it's nice to be reminded that not everone in Essex is an ill-educated chav!

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