Saturday, January 30, 2010

Regular clothes and shoes off at Tesco.

Stuff the management at the St. Mellons branch of Tesco, here in Cardiff. Customers at a Welsh branch of Tesco have been banned from shopping in their pyjamas or bare feet. Notices have been put up in the St Mellons store in Cardiff saying: "Footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted". A spokesman said Tesco did not have a strict dress code but it did not want people shopping in their nightwear in case it offended other customers. He said he was not aware of any other Tesco stores having to put up similar signs.

“I’ve got lovely pairs of pyjamas, with bears and penguins on them. I’ve worn my best ones today, just so I look tidy,” said Ms Carmody, 24, who had chosen the comfortable option to “pop in for a pack of fags”.

“If you’re allowed to wear jogging bottoms, why aren’t you allowed to wear pyjamas in there, that’s what I don’t understand. It is ridiculous and stupid. I go in other shops in my pyjamas and they don’t say anything.”

But the irony is that Tesco's television ads show Martin Clunes buying milk in his pyjamas. The Men Behaving Badly star, 48, is seen dashing into a store in striped PJs during a camping trip in the 2007 telly ads.

...So that's it folks, let's walk into your local branch of Tesco barefoot. I sleep naked so I will not be able to wear any pyjamas but I do possess some jogging bottoms although I never run for anything. My wife Gail hates these jogging bottoms and she will only let me walk our dog in them! She dislikes my habit of always wearing my shirt inside my trousers and she thinks wearing a shirt inside a pair of jogging bottoms make's me appear to be an escapee from a mental hospital. She will not allow me to wear these jogging bottoms out for a pub lunch but she said nothing about a demonstration at Tesco! I think Tesco are potty over their policy of banning pyjama and barefoot customers. Tesco are simply wrong and they should be told where to stick their clubcards.

I have nothing against passengers boarding my coach on Monday wearing pyjamas or being barefoot. How the passengers dress is purely a personal decision for them, as long as they have a valid ticket, I do not mind how they are dressed. It always makes a coach driver smile when passengers are dressed scantily, it brightens up our day. Of course your coach driver will look brighter from Monday because the new uniform issue includes a rather gay red tie that must be worn from the beginning of October to the end of May.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some words from our leader.

"If you have not already ordered your new uniform, order it now! We want to have all orders sent to the supplier de Baer by the 22nd January at the latest so that you can receive it and start wearing from the 01 February. We want you to look the best and be proud of the uniform you wear and what it represents."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just poodling along.

Most dog owners are good people who love and care for their pets. Some dog owners however leave common sense at the front door when they take their pets outside. Now watch this video of a Poodle going out with it's naive owner.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Your Stephen is buying a lot of books".

We were out with friends yesterday doing lunch when Faye said to Gail "Your Stephen is buying a lot of books". This was no surprise to my wife Gail because she knows all about my reading habits. I used to buy a daily newspaper and then I became disillusioned with the content and changed over to reading books instead. Since then I have got my news fix from the internet and have not purchased a newspaper. Yes, I have looked at newspapers if they have been left around but I have not paid for one. Each time I have looked at a newspaper my final thought was always, I am glad I did not pay for this.

Gail and I wondered this morning when this change from a daily newspaper to reading books took place. Looking on this computer, I know the exact answer. I changed over from newspapers to books in October 2007. I have now read a total of 61 books and for a daily read they beat newspapers hands down. I have a little stock of books that I have bought and not read yet, waiting for me in the second bedroom. I tend to buy books in groups, so the space on top of the dresser is a little cramped! So, yes Faye, Stephen has made a lifestyle change and is reading books daily rather than a newspaper. I was not going through a phase but I had changed my reading medium of choice.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Get out in the sun, now!

Computer-obsessed children who spend too long indoors and over-anxious parents who slap on excessive sunscreen are contributing to a sharp rise in cases of the bone disease rickets, doctors are warning. Vitamin D deficiency, which causes the condition, is synthesised in the body by absorption of sunlight. Some comes from foods such as fish oil. People with darker skins need more sunlight to top up their vitamin D levels. There are several hundred cases of the preventable condition among children in the UK every year, according to a clinical review paper in the British Medical Journal by Professor Simon Pearce and Dr Tim Cheetham. "Some people are taking the safe sun message too far," Pearce said. "It's good to have 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to the sun two to three times a week, after which you can put on a hat or sunscreen.

...So there you have it, over-protective parents who are worried about the sun shining on little Johnny. These parents think they are protecting their children by keeping them indoors out of the way from the shining sun. The benefits of getting some sun have been known for centuries now yet some parents shield their children away from it. Getting sunburn is dangerous but getting weathered is natural and it is nature's way of producing Vitamin D in all human beings. Children's lives are so sheltered now, their physical and mental health is at risk from the actions of risk-averse parents.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter .

Kisscut is Karin's second novel and has 432 pages, it was published in 2002. A teenage quarrel turns into a deadly shoot-out. Then the reader discovers what has been going on. Kisscut carries on front Karin's first novel Blindsighted with Sara Linton the medical examiner, her ex-husband Jeffrey Tolliver the police chief and Lena Adams a detective. This story is told from the viewpoint of these 3 central characters. Kisscut is a stand alone story and you do not need to have read Blindsighted to enjoy this book. Lena's history is carried over but this just adds colour to the story.

The story starts off okay but the first real shock for the reader is on page 39 when you discover that Jenny Weaver has been stitched up and has had some FGM . You know what you are getting in a book with Karin, a basic story plus special details and lots of emotion. This is a crime thriller involving a sad tale of trailer park life. Kisscut is about child abuse and paedophilia. It explores the feelings of the abused child and how they relate to their abuser. It shows how paedophiles work, remember it is not just men who abuse children, women can also abuse them too. When people are frightened their families and other groups can close ranks, with their secrets hidden. The children are in an impossible position because they are dependent on the adults for a home and they can't go elsewhere. A psychology develops between the abuser and the victim that some sheltered readers may find a challenge. But Kisscut is realistic in it's approach to the evils of child abuse. It is not sugary sweet, ah! poor little abused child, it has a realism that explains how both the abuser and the victim can drift into paedophilia. It explores how children relate to affection, love and being a part of a family.

Kisscut also deals with how people cope in their lives after things have gone drastically wrong. It also deals with the feelings police officers have when they have fatally shot a civilian and wonder if they could have acted differently. Both Lena and Jeffrey have to work through their problems in this story.

It is not until page 415 that the reader learns the truth about Jenny's FGM. The ending of this story is very realistic and true to life. I think this is a good book to read and I shall give it 4 stars on book army .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why can't people who police websites not view posts in context rather than apply a knee-jerk reaction?

When heavy snowfall threatened to scupper Paul Chambers's travel plans, he decided to vent his frustrations on Twitter by tapping out a comment to amuse his friends. "Robin Hood airport is closed," he wrote. "You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" Unfortunately for Mr Chambers, the police didn't see the funny side. A week after posting the message on the social networking site, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned for almost seven hours by detectives who interpreted his post as a security threat.

You can read the whole story by clicking here but I agree with the civil libertarian Tessa Mayes, an expert on privacy law and free speech issues, who said: "Making jokes about terrorism is considered a thought crime, mistakenly seen as a real act of harm or intention to commit harm.

"The police's actions seem laughable and suggest desperation in their efforts to combat terrorism, yet they have serious repercussions for all of us. In a democracy, our right to say what we please to each other should be non-negotiable, even on Twitter."

...So there you have it, all people who police websites, we know who they are - not just the traditional Police Forces but also some self appointed censors, should view comments in the light of the banter on that particular website. What, when taken out of context could be claimed as "inappropriate comments", can be very easily and correctly explained away as comments made within the style adopted by other users of that website. Never mind Paul wasting police time, the Police have wasted their time and taxpayers money investigating this alleged thought crime. People must retain their rights to free speech and freedom of expression, otherwise our society will sink further into becoming a police state. When a society becomes a police state, all manner of evils take place behind closed doors and nobody ever gets to hear about it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The joys of Google Chrome .

There was and still is a big advertising bash by Google here in the UK for their web browser called Chrome . Surely I thought, it is just a browser, so why bother changing from Mozilla Firefox? But then Google are spending a lot of money advertising this free web browser so maybe it would be worth trying as it costs the internet user nothing other than a little time.

I installed Google Chrome on this computer on Christmas Eve and I have been using it exclusively since the New Year. Was this a New Year, new browser resolution? No, the timing was coincidental. So, why have I changed from using Mozilla Firefox - which I have been happy with for many years now, to Google Chrome?

Google Chrome is fast but what I like is the attitude. Forget your old habits of pulling down bookmarks, reading down a list of folders, reading down a list of saved bookmarks and clicking. As your internet experience develops you can bookmark loads and loads of websites which can make bookmark navigation tedious. Enter the Google Chrome attitude to bookmarks, simply forget to make them! Just live your internet experience in the Google Chrome cloud. Google Chrome has One box for everything , it is called the Address bar . Here are some of the ways that you can use the address bar:

Search the Web
Simply type your search term in the address bar and press Enter to see results from your default search engine.

Go to web addresses
In addition to search terms, you can type in the web address of the site you're trying to reach, then press Enter

Search your bookmarks and browsing history
Whenever you type in the address bar, Google Chrome automatically searches your bookmarks and browsing history and shows you matches. The address bar can also automatically show you suggestions of related search terms and websites.

Several icons in the address bar menu help you differentiate between the various results that appear.

The suggestions the address bar generates are very good and they make navigating the internet really easy. It makes finding what you personally want really quick, easy and accurate.

If what you are looking for is something that you have looked at recently, then simply press the new tab button. When you open a new tab you are presented with a page containing thumbnails of the last 8 websites that you have used the most. Below these thumbnails is a taskbar of recently closed webpages and a link to your full browsing history.

These two features, the one box for everything and the new tab presentation, have won me over to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox is now an unused icon on my desktop. This attitude of abandoning bookmarks and searching for what you want afresh is just right for our ever expanding travel through cyberspace.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jakemans tackles the Treforest virus .

There is a nasty virus sweeping our depot at Treforest. I appear to be the last person to catch this virus and everyone's symptoms are the same. Nasty cough with lots of cattarh that gives you a coughing fit that makes you think you are going to be sick, you retch but no bile comes up. You also have a runny nose and a sore throat.

I have tried many things to help my immune system defeat this nasty little virus. I tried all the usual favourites and I have not missed a day's work. We have a friend called Faye Jones and when she goes on holiday she takes loads and loads of medicines in her suitcase, just in case! She swears by Jakemans Throat & Chest Soothing Menthol Sweets. I tried one and boy, this little sweet really hits the spot. These sweets bring instant relief to your nose, throat and chest. The sweets contain Menthol Crystals, Aniseed Oil and Eucalyptus Oil. These sweets are even suitable for vegetarians. They are available for sale in supermarkets along the sweetie aisle. Because they are a sweet and not a medicine, you do not have to watch your intake of this product. Simply suck as required!

I am on the mend now and I would like to give a big thank you to Jakemans and Faye Jones for putting me onto them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Despair in Haiti. Please, if you have a conscience, make a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti earthquake appeal.

Thousands of people injured in Haiti's massive earthquake spent a third night twisted in pain, lying on sidewalks and waiting for help as their despair turned to anger. Desperate Haitians blocked streets with corpses in one part of Port-au-Prince to demand quicker relief efforts following Tuesday's catastrophic quake, which flattened buildings and killed tens of thousands, leaving countless others homeless. Bodies lay all around the hilly city, and people covered their noses with cloth to block the stench of death. Corpses were piled on pickup trucks and delivered to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where hospital director Guy LaRoche estimated the bodies piled outside the morgue numbered 1,500. More than 48 hours after disaster struck, masses of people clamored for food and water, as well as help in digging out relatives still missing under the rubble.

The Haitian Red Cross said it believed 45,000 to 50,000 people had died and 3 million more - one third of Haiti's population - were hurt or left homeless by the major 7.0 magnitude quake that hit its impoverished capital on Tuesday. The Haitian Red Cross said it had run out of body bags.

...This disaster in Haiti is dreadful. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. We sit here in the UK, in our lovely centrally heated double glazed homes, looking in shock at the images broadcast from Haiti onto our television screens. These people have literally what they stand up in, no homes or bedrooms full of clothes. They are suffering from the cruel hand of nature and if they survive, their future is grim. We are lucky in winning the lottery of life and having a home in the UK. Some people, like the Haitians, are born into poverty and when things go bad, like Tuesday's earthquake, their lives become cheap like discarded biscuit wrappers.

There is little the ordinary person here in the UK can do, we feel so helpless. For the British we have lives of hope, joy and a future. For the people of Haiti they must wonder if they will see the sun rise tomorrow from this living nightmare that they have been thrown into. Rather than sit back and think "lucky for us", Gail and I have today made a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake Appeal. If you are as touched by this disaster as we are, then maybe you can see your way clear to making a donation to this appeal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How old do I dress?

My wife Gail was watching Celebrity Big Brother on television last night. I have no time for this programme, so I simply put my head in a book. Of course, from time to time I will glance up at the television and we will share a few words about the programme being broadcast. Gail told me that there was a special task being done in the Big Brother house. The residents were pretending to be in a nursing home and they were all dressed as "old people". I looked at the television and laughed. Had Gail not told me they were dressed as "old people", then I would never have noticed. The residents all appeared to be dressed "normal". I do not think of myself as old, I am only 51 years old. I do not think that I dress like an "old person". Old people in my opinion were things like ties and blazers. Soon, I will be able to dress in my opinion as an "old person", because Richard has decided that all drivers must have a traditional blazer and we shall not be allowed the fleece jacket as uniform allocation.

I do not think that the Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson dresses as an "old person" and he is only 2 years younger than me. If you think that I or Jeremy dresses as an "old person", then place say so in the comment box below.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Naked on the streets.

Naked rambler Stephen Gough has been warned he faces spending the rest of his life in prison if he continues to refuse to wear clothes in public. The former Royal Marine, a veteran of two “boots-only” hikes from Land’s End to John O’Groats, has spent most of the last four years in solitary confinement in Scottish jails after stripping off on a flight to Edinburgh. Since then he has declined to wear prison uniform or to appear clothed in court resulting in further custodial sentences for contempt. It is estimated that the latest round of imprisonment has cost the tax payer in excess of £200,000 – a figure which looks set to keep mounting.

Mr Gough completed his first naked ramble across Britain in 2003 during which he was arrested 15 times and spent 140 nights in jail, mainly in Scotland where the authorities hold a dimmer view of public nudity than in England and Wales. He finished his second hike with his then girlfriend Melanie Roberts three years later.

...So, big deal, a grown man walks around naked. Stephen is doing nobody any harm and he should be allowed to live his life as a naturist. Nudity should never be a crime, we are the only mammals to wear clothes and we were all born naked. Gosh, I walk my naked dog on a lead and harness, no girly coat for my butch little dog! It can never be in the public interest to imprison a man, at great cost to the taxpayer, for simply walking around naked. We should all have the freedom to walk around dressed or undressed as we please and not be restricted by outdated legislation. In this case the law is clearly an ass.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nolan's Seriously Strong Cheddar.

Now, I do not know just how they made this video but this cheese must surely be very strong!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Jack Knifed Lorries .

It was a harder than usual day at work for me yesterday. My employer was given a new diagram on the 30th November 2009 which means we now have a new duty that starts at 01.55 each day, finishing at 12.10 - yes, that is a very early start indeed. I am not a fan of early shifts but I just do my share on a rolling roster. Because of the poor snowy weather we are having, speeds were reduced along the M4 motorway and I arrived in London 33 minutes later than advertised. So it was just a minimum 45 minute rest break for me, load my coach and leave London on time at 08.00

The journey out of London was good, with lighter traffic than normal. Cruising speeds were good until 09.30 when I was between Membury Services and Junction 15 for Swindon. The traffic came to a halt and I may have driven about one kilometre in a shade under 2 hours. The cause of this delay was 2 accidents. The first accident I saw was a Skoda Fabia car with the front bashed in, further along a Ford Transit van with it's driver's door removed by the fire brigade and further along an articulated lorry that had jack knifed. The council were repairing the central reservation crash barrier. I drove on for maybe another 3 kilometres and saw the scene of another accident which involved just 1 lorry that had jack knifed and collided with the hard shoulder crash barrier.

Of course, time ticks on and it is little fun when you have been awake since 01.00 - with just a 45 minute rest break. I arrived in Cardiff a whole 2 hours later than advertised. It must have been a dreadful shock for these 2 lorry drivers when their lorries jack knifed. The reasons a lorry can jack knife are various and if you look at the Truck Net Lorry Drivers forum you will learn exactly what is involved. A lorry driver can do little when he has to take avoiding action because of the bad driving by amateur car drivers and his lorry jack knifes. However, when the lorry driver is not taking avoiding action he must be very careful and not use his exhaust brake - which will feel unnatural, he must be very careful with the loading of his trailer and if permissible axle weight allows, lift his tag axle.

I have a great deal of sympathy for articulated lorry drivers who are very often worked to the limit by their employers. Reading the thread on the Truck Drivers Forum explains exactly why there is an OFF switch for the gearbox brake retarder on coaches - and just like lorry drivers with their exhaust brakes, driving a coach without a working gearbox brake retarder feels unnatural and a little scary as you just have the brakes.

Still, back to work tomorrow and thankfully a late shift starting at 12.00 so I can get up when I feel like it. I am not bothered by the snow, it is just part of the job.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Atheist shakes hands with a Born Again Christian .

If you look at the links on the sidebar at the right of this blog, you will see a small selection of my favourite blogs. The blog that used to hold the second one on this list was called Life of a National Express driver and is written by a guy called Chris. On his blog there is a photograph of Chris with his pet dog Harvey. We both do work for the nationwide company and this morning we both got a pleasant surprise in London Victoria Coach Station. Gate number 5 had two coaches leaving at 8 o'clock, mine was at the front and a Scania Irizar PB was behind me. Along walks this driver from the coach behind mine to load his passengers and I recognised him from the photograph on his blog.

I introduced myself as Natural Yogurt, because he links to my blog and I place comments on his blog posts. We do the same job but our views are quite different. I am an Atheist and Chris is what I would describe as a Born Again Christian. If I have given him the wrong designation, then I am sure he can correct me in the comment box below. It was nice to shake hands and say hello to Chris as I have read his blog for quite some time. Unfortunately there was not time to have a good chat and put the world to rights. He apologized that the content was a little low on his blog at the moment but because of the policies of the nationwide company he has to be very careful what he writes. I understand this because I had a slapped wrist about a blog called My Other Car that I wrote over 3 years ago. I was told to delete the blog or loose my job. The blog is done for free and was a labour of love, the job is paid by the hour so the choice was simple. Thankfully My Other Car was focused on the day job so that Natural Yogurt could continue with the mix of other things that interest me.

My views on Middle East politics and religion may be a challenge to Chris but the comment box is always open to everyone and I will never delete any comments because I believe strongly in the freedom of speech and people have taken the time and trouble to comment on my posts.

I got home this afternoon and my wife Gail asked me what I thought about Anjem Choudary . I told her what I thought about Anjem, his group and his religion. Gail's temper flared as I probably had a different view to that expressed in her copy of The Sun newspaper! Then she started ranting at me and said that I should not write anything on my blog that may be challenged by Muslims. Well, too late Gail, I will stand up and be counted .

Okay, there is a place for watching what you write on your blog. We must protect our freedoms of expression on the internet but never loose our jobs or shoot ourselves in the foot over our postings. I think I have pitched things about right on this blog. Maybe Chris may broaden the scope of his blog so that he can add more content without getting into trouble with the big boys in Aberdeen or Birmingham?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Is he dead yet?

Sorry, no - he is not dead yet. Today Ariel Sharon , a former Israeli prime minister, will have been in a coma for four years. A steely general nicknamed "the bulldozer," the now 81 year-old left a leadership vacuum that many feel has yet to be filled. Sharon suffered a stroke on 4 January 2006, when he fell into a coma and entered a persistent vegetative state. In October 2009 his doctor confirmed that Sharon is in a "static vegetative state" with severe brain damage and in a coma, but not a very deep coma that would prevent him from opening his eyes and even following things with them.

During his career, Sharon was a controversial figure among many factions, both inside and outside Israel. The Israeli government established the Kahan Commission to investigate Sharon's involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre , and subsequently found he bore personal responsibility, specifically "for having disregarded the prospect of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps and for having failed to take this danger into account." On December 16, 1982, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the massacre and declared it to be an act of genocide. Paragraph 2, which "resolved that the massacre was an act of genocide", was adopted by ninety-eight votes to nineteen, with twenty-three abstentions.

Ariel Sharon has a lot of blood on his hands and a lot of people throughout the world would be pleased to see him dead for his crimes against humanity. If his life support machines were put to a telephone vote - X Factor style, I am sure he would not be appearing on next week's show. I wonder why Dr. Shlomo Segev has not quietly pulled the plug and let the Butcher of Beirut die, giving justice to thousands of civilians murdered in Lebanon. I would vote to switch off Ariel Sharon's life support machines and I would be happy to purchase the follow up DVD called "Ariel Sharon - Unplugged".

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tension walking the streets of Wootton Bassett.

Muslim radicals are planning a parade through Wootton Bassett, the town which holds processions in memory of fallen British soldiers. Extremist group Islam4UK are organising a march in the coming weeks, which they claim will be in honour of muslims killed in the Afghanistan conflict. Islam4UK, a platform for the global front Al-Muhajiroun , claim 500 people will attend their event and plan to parade symbolic coffins down the same street. The plans have sparked outrage in the quiet market town, which has now become synonymous with the rising death toll from the war. Friends, relatives, fellow servicemen and woman and shopkeepers line the streets to pay their respects to the coffins of returning soldiers on a near weekly basis.

...Well, what can I say, I have read the news story, looked at the websites and have been invited by Matthew (a workmate) to join a Facebook group against the proposed march in Wootton Bassett by Islam4UK. Let us never forget that Islam4UK is a group formed by the same people who ran Al-Muhajiroun, who were banned under the British Terrorism Act 2006 for the 'glorification' of terrorism. Islam4UK are not a harmless group like Morris dancers and if you read their LETTER: To the Families of British Soldiers who have died or who are currently in Afghanistan written today by their leader Anjem Choudary you will get a flavour of their beliefs...

We begin by inviting all non-Muslims to Islam, the perfect and most beautiful way of life, a favour from Allah (God) to mankind to take him out of the darkness of worshipping his own desires to the exclusive worship, submission and obedience of Allah alone, without partners and to testify the Messenger-ship of the final Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). We urge you to embrace Islam and save yourselves and your family from the hellfire and not to believe the lies and distortions which the Western media and non-Islamic regimes would have you believe about Muslims and their true intentions.

...Oh, I see, convert to Islam to save you and your family from hellfire! Strong stuff indeed and also quite like some evangelical Christian groups who promise, if you convert to their cause, to save you from hell and a good roasting! Okay, that is the pitch of these religious zealots but what will their proposed march in Wootton Bassett achieve? Our media will whip it up, some people will claim to be shocked and people of my thinking will simply have a good laugh about it. Islam4UK will not do their religion any good and will only get the backs up of many non-Muslims. I think that by having the march in Wootton Bassett, Islam4UK will only be shooting themselves in the foot. If they must have their own stand-alone march, then they should have it in a major city and not this small market town, which could cause distress to the public who have mourned the deaths of so many service personnel through their streets. By Islam4UK having their own march, it is undermining the good work that has been done by the multi-faith Stop the War Coalition in changing public opinion about our invasion of Afghanistan.

We should uphold our British tradition of tolerance and freedom. I think that Islam4UK should be allowed to march and protest anywhere in the UK. I think that Wootton Bassett would be a bad choice for them as it will get the public's back up. A better location for them would be Luton, this would also help their members by not having to travel so far! If you ban a march by one group, one you do not like, then maybe a group you do like, Morrisdancing perhaps, could also become banned if it falls out of political favour. We must protect our rights of association and protest, even for members of daft and/or intolerant religions. So sorry Matthew, I will not be joining your Facebook group to ban the proposed march in Wootton Bassett by Islam4UK.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Slaughter on the volleyball field.

At least 88 people (or at least 95 - according to Voice of America ) were killed yesterday when a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with explosives on to a village green during a volleyball match in northwestern Pakistan. Hundreds of people were watching the match in the remote village of Shah Hason Khel when the bomber struck. The bodies of the players were thrown hundreds of feet by the powerful blast, that also destroyed 20 houses. “It’s just a disaster. I can see flesh, bodies and wounded all around,” Fazl-e-Akbar, a witness, said.

...I was shocked when I read the above news story. Jihad is traditionally against armed combatants or the infidels, not some innocent civilian spectators at a village volleyball match who may also be Muslims. This outrage demonstrates just what is wrong with Islam. I feel sorry for the people who have to live in these lawless areas of northwestern Pakistan. This slaughter is dreadful and I always thought that sporting venues could attract terrorists because of the density of the attending spectators. I wonder what precautions the Metropolitan Police in London will be taking when we hold the 2012 Olympics? The packed venues in London under the global media spotlights will be a challenge to the terrorists because of the impact their violence could ignite.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter .

Okay, so after the last eight books that I have read, it was time to put those disposable latex gloves back on again for this crime thriller which cuts very sharp, quick and deep. I enjoyed reading Fractured by Karin Slaughter back in April 2009, so I bought Blindsighted which was her first novel. This book has 392 pages and was written in 2001, it does not appear dated and has stood the test of time.

The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, paediatrician and medical examiner, finds Sibyl Adams dead in the local diner. As well as being viciously raped, Sibyl has been cut: two deep knife wounds form a lethal cross over her stomach. When a second victim is found, crucified, only a few days later, it becomes clear that Sibyl's brutal murder wasn't a one-off attack. What Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver are dealing with is a seasoned sexual predator.

On page 42 the reader learns a different take on the sexual act of double penetration, one this 51 year old blogger has never thought about. This novel deals extensively with rape, it explores all aspects of this crime. The story tells of the emotions that are felt by the rapist and the victim. It explores the legacy and torment that plagues the later life of the victim. It also explains the thinking behind the people committing the crimes in this novel. Although this story is graphic, I feel it is suitable for both men and women. I think that all readers will enjoy reading this book and I do not think anyone should be offended. Karin is a good storyteller and this novel has a good pace, with a full rounded story.

There are 3 main characters in this story, Sara Linton - the medical examiner, Jeffrey Tolliver - the police chief and Sara's ex husband, Lena Adams - a detective. This novel is not written in the first person but splits itself by telling the tale from the viewpoint of these 3 main characters.

I think Blindsighted is a good book although I thought Fractured was slightly better. This is a very good first novel and it is obvious why Karin has gone on to write another 8 books. There is a terrific ending to this story that starts on page 354, giving you a 38 page climax. At the end the reader develops a strong hope for both Sara and Jeffrey to put aside their shared past and build a future working together.

The next book that I will start reading tomorrow is called Kisscut, which is the 2nd novel written by Karin Slaughter. What is nice is that Karin continues with Sara and Jeffery working together as a team in the fight against crime. New gloves please!

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