Seeing Red This Christmas

The content here has delved into some deep matters so here is something so stupid to blog about it that you’ll either laugh at the fact it is deemed blog worthy or cringe and moan at the depths humanity has sunk to in its ignorant rage. There is genuine talk in the news and on social media of Christians urging people to boycott Starbucks for their new Christmas cups. Why you ask? Do the cups have Pagan images on or Satanic verses? Nope, the cups are plain, the cups are just plain red paper cups. Starbucks have done away with images of snowmen and wintry trees and opted for a minimalist design so as to appeal to as many people as possible by not bombarding their customers with Christmas themed imagery and thus excluding those who do not celebrate the occasion. Seems reasonable right? Well, apparently not.

Internet Evangelist Joshua Feuerstein is perhaps the most well-known opponent of this decision, accusing Starbucks of hating Christians and Jesus, urging people to keep the Christ in Christmas and encouraging people to tell their barista their name is Merry Christmas so the barista is forced to write that on the cup. Oh, very clever, well-played – the cups have never had those words upon them, even when they had snowflakes on. A lot of people are calling this a “war on Christmas”, I’d call it the exaggeration of the year but today the Sun published a two page spread on why Jeremy Corbyn is a dick for not bowing down and weeping for the fallen at a remembrance parade (Even though he attended two separate parades in two different areas and passed up on a VIP party to meet some of the veterans face-to-face). Starbucks has never claimed to be a Christian company and if you want to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, pushy Evangelists and whatever, there are more Christian things to be doing than protesting about cups. This same Feuerstein fellow protested the anti-second amendment rule (In the USA, Starbucks do not permit open-carrying of firearms in their stores) by waltzing in with a weapon on show and calling it his patriotic freedom. To recap then, we have ourselves a zealous gun nut defending his faith and freedom by waving a gun at a hapless barista and ‘pranking’ the unassuming customer service worker into writing Christmassy messages on a cup because the cup doesn’t have a picture of a snowflake on it… do you realise how stupid that sounds? This is what God allowed Jesus to die for is it? Paper cups with pictures on?Sure, I remember that passage – the Lord gave His only son that we might have decorative receptacles for our warm beverages.

If you ask me, the red cup is the perfect happy medium, it’s Santa’s sleigh red so it’s Christmassy enough but without being over the top and pushing the images of angels and baubles down our throats. Starbucks has never been all about the Christian market, they’re neutral on political and religious stances so as not to offend people – they only join in on Christmas because everyone does, it’s Christmas, it’s fun and you make a shit ton of money when you put out those festive deals. Christmas has its fair share of issues, a Christian hijacking of a time dangerously close to the Winter Solstice celebrated by Pagans, the imagery of Santa’s sleigh is taken from the Vikings and as a Christian celebration goes, this time of year is becoming more and more about throwing bigger parties and spending more money to get more ridiculously expensive gifts than it is about actual goodwill and charity. Therein is my biggest problem with this war on Christmas idea about the cups, the cups are not what is ruining Christmas, we are.

Put simply, if you’re outraged by these paper cups but not by some people spending Christmas face down in a gutter or soldiers fighting in a foreign land rather than gift wrapping a PS4 for their kids, I have serious beef with you. If you need a coffee shop chain to represent Christmas spirit FOR you, take a good long look at yourself and your relationship with God – rather than getting some barista to scrawl Merry Christmas on a cup, why not do something to keep the Christ in Christmas that has meaning? Soup kitchens always need volunteers, maybe give that red cup of hot choc to someone freezing in the cold and rain, maybe you could get less caught up in some trivial bullshit about a coffee shop packaging design and do something selfless that Jesus himself would smile if he witnessed. Life is much too precious to waste it on boycotting a shop for not selling the right design for you, is the biggest and brightest thing you can think to do this year for Christmas to be the guy who encouraged people not to buy coffee from some place? That’s your impact is it? That is what God wants people to remember in their hearts this time of year? I may not be of faith but if there is a God, he expects us to be good people at Christmas and all throughout the year, whatever our cups look like.

The spirit of the season is one of inclusiveness and togetherness, of spreading joy and happiness to all, friend and stranger alike and Starbucks has done so by offering a neutral stance at a time when some of us get a little too crazy for angels and babies in mangers. God sent his son to preach to us the importance of love and community, not snowmen and trees covered in tinsel. Maybe it’s easier for you to get upset over a cup than it is for you to show genuine concern about how many of us will spend Christmas in poverty or in a hospital bed or possibly won’t even see Christmas at all but that tells us only volumes about you. The Christ in Christmas is in loving one another, not in loving Christmas.

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Proud To Be British

I’m back. I know, I come and go, let’s not go into it and get on with the post at hand shall we? Long story short, either my life or my own headspace doesn’t always let me get on with this whole blogging lark on a regular basis, I fall out of a pattern, hit the ground with a thud and it’s hard to get back and up again, the longer I leave it, the harder it gets, you get the picture. Okay, that said, let’s move on.

Jeremy Corbyn. If you’re in Britain, you’ve probably heard that name a bunch already, the supposed terrorist ‘sympathiser’ who doesn’t sing anthems and doesn’t match his jacket with his trousers, a radical, in the good sense or the worst depending on your view point. Corbyn is a man who decided the political scene needed a man who looks like your Grandad, dresses like your Dad and has the idealism of that one friend who shares Upworthy posts all the time, to which I say good show, if nothing it breaks up the monotony of smarmy suit boys. Of course, being a left-wing idealist with certain viewpoints on our military and monarchy, he’s under fire constantly by critics for the slightest thing, usually anything that falls out of sync with how we perceive the average Brit. Latest news, didn’t sing the national anthem at a memorial service, apparently makes him scum worse than those who round children into vans, but let’s face it, had he sung he’d be accused of hypocrisy so he’s damned either way. My question to you reader, what does it mean to be British and what’s there to be proud of?

You hear the phrase “Proud to be British” and you think of the plucky underdog that fought for freedom in the Second World War. Long summer afternoons, cricket, pubs and a people united by adversity. Today, we’re not the underdog, individually we might face our own issues, namely financial crises, but as a nation we’re not the hideously under-equipped but quintessentially heroic warriors charging foreign shores, we’re trained hardcore soldiers fighting the same flames we pour fuel on and then complain when people run away from the fire. If the EDL, UKIP and BNP are anything to go by, the modern Brit is a bitter racist with a shifty eye for anyone not wearing St. George’s Cross on their chest. The common sentiment is that our veterans fought to keep Britain British and that’s true to an extent but they fought for freedom, they fought so that future generations might know peace, they fought to take down a man who was clearly, unambiguously, fucking evil. Hitler wasn’t gunning for England, he was out to get Poland and that’s when we said enough and stuck up for the little guy even though we weren’t too tall ourselves. The Syrian issue isn’t the same, ISIS is bad, don’t get me wrong but they’re an undisciplined mob of bullies capitalising on an opportunity presented by a civil war, a civil war between two sides that are as bad as each other, committing the same crimes they accuse the other of. So let’s be clear, the Syrian crisis is not the same heroic story as World War Two, we are not jumping in to save the day, we are pissing in the same river as every other party involved and pointing fingers at who made the water unfit to drink.

The refugee situation has shown me a lot about our nation, namely that we go over telling them to be like us but if they come here that’s a crime. We told them to stay and fight, like we’d do that. Fuck no, if this country gets bombs dropped, I’m finding everyone I care about, rounding ’em up and finding somewhere to hide. The men that fled, fled to protect families and because they were scared and somehow not professional killers, like most of us. Credit where it’s due, not everyone in this nation is a callous racist but it speaks volumes when people accused these victims of wars of being benefit-scrounging cockroaches hell-bent on destroying us with all those weapons they are clearly concealing in their rags and sacks. You know who else used cockroaches to describe undesirables? That same tyrant Britain fought to overthrow many decades ago – Hitler got people to hate the Jewish in his country by dehumanising them as ‘cockroaches’, ‘rats’ and ‘vermin’, things we typically want rid of. You do that to these refugees, it suddenly seems a lot less horrid when they’re brutally beat by policemen for being where they shouldn’t or when someone one day suggests building special camps for them… and suddenly there is a lot less of them.

Back to Corbyn, I think he is proud of his nation, I think he is just sick of seeing it be steered into the ground by austerity at the helm and ignorance being the bludgeon it beats us down with. Sensationalised news stories make us stupid and angry over absolutely nothing, like him not singing a song. Jeremy showed his respect by attending, give him a break, you mean to tell me your moral conduct is without fault? You sing every hymn and anthem you hear? I want to be proud of this country but lately we’re not doing much to be proud of, we point fingers at refugees, disabled people and unemployed teens for ruining our country, we are punching down to feel validated in our bitterness when our real problem is the system failed us and we’re either dealing with that by getting angry at passersby or a revolution based on apathetically doing nothing. Conservatives won the election with less than 30% of the vote, that is messed up, that is wrong, why aren’t we more angry about that? You wouldn’t make a decision based on that percentage. Why are we not angry at the newspapers printing horseshit? Why are we angry at those who need defending rather than those who own most our wealth and undermine our society through cuts, cuts and more cuts, through plans to sell off our services and spend our tax money on fighting in places we know so little about? Does it not seem weird that the biggest threat to our economy and security is the people in charge of it?

To conclude, don’t buy into the shitstorm that’s brewing around Corbyn, it’s a smear campaign blowed out of proportion, things taken out of context (i.e he doesn’t think Osama’s death is a tragedy, he thinks the fact he was just shot and tossed in the sea a tragedy, as a human being he deserved a trial and a burial, executing him like that is no less barbaric than decapitations with a machete, only the tool is different, not the intention). Corbyn might be this, that and the other and maybe he is a nail in Labour’s coffin, maybe he isn’t, what will be the final nail in our coffin though is hatred and ignorance. Britain should be trying to lead the way, to be the rational sibling of America that we tell ourselves we are. Britain prides itself on being civilised, on being the scrappy do-gooders in a ruck so let’s be that again. Come on, Britain’s great, we gave the world Doctor Who and Tom Hiddleston, we got knee-deep in dirt and blood for righteousness, we introduced the idea that those who write laws are accountable to them – the Magna Carta, the basis for democracy as we know it now – so why should we also give the world heavy doses of racism and media nonsense even Murdoch wouldn’t try to pull over our eyes

2014 Retrospective

Trigger Warnings – Mentions of suicide/depression, related to Robin Williams

2014 was a pretty full year, granted it’s not quite done yet but I’ll be damned if I’m waiting to the very last second for every single morsel of news and trivia to include in here. I had originally thought of making a month by month Charlie Brooker-esque look back at the news of the year – media, films, business, politics, technology, war – all that jazz and more but my god was there a lot to cover, far too much to squeeze into my usual article length. I mean, when I look back at the year, it feels like it went on forever, not like 2013 which sorta came and went for me at least.

A strange year, we lost many great names and we saw twerks and jerks all over our News Feeds – Russell Brand became a ‘revolutionary’, the battle for equality escalated tremendously with victories for Gay Marriage cropping up across the US, Scotland voted on independence, photos were hacked and made global, cinemas cowered from cyber threats, Rocket Raccoon became a recognisable character to the mainstream and we learnt the dark truths behind some famous faces of yesteryear. So much to cover on one little blog, some of it I only really rediscovered in my research and was surprised at how recent things had been and just how much had happened. I’ll cover what I can, in brief summary.

So globally, the most searched names were those of Robin Williams, Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian. Robin Williams being one of the most tragic losses, at least to me and to the public community, and he served as a reminder as to the truth of depression – that outward appearances do not portray inner feelings for this man who brought nothing but joy felt such intense sadness and pain inside that it eventually overcame him, that’s a blog post in itself, something I can relate to, but I’ll leave it be for now. Jennifer Lawrence, of course, was constantly in the public eye for her various film appearances in the likes of Hunger Games films and X-Men First Class, as well as being a victim of the nude photo hack scandal. To clear up my stance on that one, she’s a victim and no she shouldn’t have just not taken the pictures of herself, that’s like saying if you don’t want to be robbed, don’t own valuables, victims are victims, criminals are criminals, stop blurring the lines. Yes, leaving a door unlocked will let a burglar into the house more easily but I can walk post a door and not open it, if someone goes ahead and walks in where they’re not invited, they need to be punished accordingly, we shouldn’t shrug and say it was inevitable. As for Kim, Kim tried to ‘break the internet’ by posing naked on a magazine cover, apparently forgetting the internet already knows what she looks like naked. I heard talk of it being brave or bold or stupid or whatever, I just shrugged, it was the least spectacular bit of ‘news’ I’d ever read, it’s why I’d never even considered doing an article on it – I refuse to make my blog into a celebrity gossip dump.

In film, we had the undying popularity of Frozen linger on well into Christmas this year, so much so various shops had to enforce maximum budgets on customer purchases for Frozen merchandise, we had Guardians of the Galaxy make Marvel a shit ton more money than they already had, there were Hobbits and Ninja Turtles all over the place, Lego became a film… somehow, Divergent joined the roster of “Dystopian teen fiction made into long running Hollywood money machine” novels, and we learnt that Benedict Cumberbatch REALLY can’t say penguins and that apes can outmatch the military. A lot of good films, a lot of not so good films, a lot of films I meant to watch and didn’t but the most part of it was “You know what we need? A team of characters standing around in epic poses whilst stuff explodes, it made Marvel rich, it must be the key to immortality or something” – so much so the freakin’ Penguins of Madagascar parodies the scene with the penguins stood in the trademark everyone-is-here-let’s-stand-back-to-back position and their leader saying to hold the position until maximum coolness is achieved. I still have a lot of these films to catch up on, Big Hero 6 looks fun, definitely need to see The Theory of Everything and wouldn’t mind giving some of the others a go just to say I have done. Of course, there was the fiasco with The Interview, which has been resolved with online releases, though there is a discussion in that for another day maybe.

World news, the big charity pushes this year were the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that every fucker and their nan took part in and the fight against Ebola, which America handled by saying “OH GOD NO AFRICANS WILL KILL US ALL, EBOLA IS EVERYWHERE!” whilst actual charities worked hard to clear up the damages and the rumours. We heard news reports on wars and conflicts across the globe, so much so it all sort of blurred into one horrid mess for people who didn’t follow these things, myself included. Conflicts in Gaza, Israel, Crimea, Ukraine, it became this endless stream of human beings just doing horrid stuff to one another and I daren’t even step on the subject because I just didn’t read up on it, it passed me by, I’m sure it did for most of you – the advantages of our lifestyles huh? We have our complaints and financial insecurity but there are considerably less guns and explosions in Shrewsbury, I’ll give you that much. In my neck of the woods, UKIP enjoyed a surge in support, much to my disgust, but at least the Greens did too. Scotland had their vote on independence and said it wasn’t for them, which to me is a wise decision, Britain as a whole barely stays afloat, breaking chunks off won’t do anyone any favours. Yes, that’s very brief and vague, so what?

Ugh, my gosh, over a thousand words, barely scratched the surface. I haven’t covered ISIS or Ferguson or the Sochi Olympics or Peaches Geldof or Conchita Wurst or… do you see my point? A lot happened this year, it’s impractical for a man of my limited resources to go into these things in one go so maybe this post will jog some memories of “Oh yeah, that happened” and start a few discussions. Truth be told, in this modern age, our attention spans are short, things don’t stay relevant very long – try it, do an ice bucket challenge now, see who gives a flip. Come 2015, we’ll have forgotten most of this year, I’ve certainly forgotten most of 2013 and 2012 before that. Anyway, perhaps slightly more interesting, tomorrow I’ll do a review of 2014 for me as a person rather than parroting Google searches. I have a lot to say there and it’ll be my way of signing off this year, letting it go

Letting it go… let it go… oh fuck

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Not Today

Trigger Warnings – Some strong language.

I’ll put this out there at the beginning, this post doesn’t really have a subject per se, it is just a record of thoughts, I’m at a loss for what to discuss today and don’t really feel like writing anything requiring a lot of research and thought at the moment. I feel sort of tired at the moment, mentally and physically, and though there are news worthy pieces up in the public eye right now, I can’t cover them without repeating myself a lot and nothing really gripped me in the headlines, the same old same old – Ebola here, job losses there, disasters somewhere else – it’s a sad state of affairs that we live in a world where you can react to the word ‘disaster’ with ‘meh’. Granted, my reaction would be different if it affected me directly, that goes without saying, but since it didn’t, I hate to say it but I can find myself looking the other way but then I’m hardly the only culprit there and considering I usually make such a song and dance of the latest news, you can forgive me for a few personal days.

I’ve decided I will reduce the frequency of my posts in the new year, in terms of articles at least. I feel bombarding my audience with a thousand words a day for them to munch on is a bit much for some readers, so much so that even good friends of mine can end up with a backed up list of articles to catch up on and some never get round to it. I ask for feedback and I get the stock responses “Very good” or “You write really well”, which, thanks for the compliments but vague as heck, however I suppose I can’t hold it against people if I’m pushing for their opinions on social issues every day, I’d eventually find myself saying “Yeah, you’re right” now and then just to appear to be saying something. I have a Facebook page, I think I’ve plugged that a lot, but it tells me how many people see a post and how many people engage with it – most posts get very little engagement unless they’re short and snappy status updates, the articles themselves get barely any commentary. I guess this could be down to my latest articles all being news, news, news, maybe I need to break up the pace a bit, I have suggested such in the past and some readers sounded pleased with that idea but perhaps there is also room to just do mini posts, little rants and raves that are no more than a few lines long to make the conversation easier to break into, such as it were.

Of course, the next step up is YouTube, people are much happier to watch stuff than read stuff, it’s the modern world. I won’t stop writing, writing is my forte, my craft, I must practice it constantly and I do want to be recognised for it so as to one day make a living by my words but the allure of the videos is the allure of performance and of being heard much more easily than being a blogger in some dark corner of the internet. I want to share my thoughts and feelings and odd moments of comedy with as wide an audience as possible really, especially if the issue is something important like feminism or politics. I’ve had people ask “Why don’t you just blog about stuff you like?” and it’s been tempting, I might use Totally Obscure Tuesday to do a few pieces on stuff I like but the point of the matter is I want to be recognised for my writing, I enjoy the process but I enjoy the feedback and discussion just as much and if this is to be my future, I need to make it something more easily marketed than “Well, he’s a bit of an unknown but he sure as hell knows a lot about samurai history”

I’ll have to get used to self-promoting, I know I give the impression that I do nothing else but self promote, constantly pushing myself forward and begging for attention and comments and the like but I actually despise doing it, it feels like I’m being the obnoxious prat in the coffee shop ┬átyping loudly and looking around to see if anyone will ask what I’m doing, I feel like that one in the group who says “I’ve composed a poem for this moment”, clears their throat and then recites it without invitation as everyone else sits in awkward silence and replies with “It was good, great, yeah…”. I’m not, I assure you, I’m not that guy, in person I am almost entirely silent, even in good company, and I don’t sit in conversations waiting for my chance to say “Well actually, in my blog I…” because immediately my lingering doubt smirks at me and calls me a pretentious little cunt muffin.

In short, I need to make myself seen and heard but there’s more to it than cramming articles down throats every day of the week so come the new year, this blog is going to need another rethinking. Less frequent articles, aim for regular timing (which so far, not too bad), more frequent statuses and small ways of getting to know my audience, maybe some more interesting ways to get people involved other than “Praise me!” or “I demand intellectual discussions!” so this is as much about me as it is about you. I thank you for your continued support readers, maybe one day Jacob Wolfe will be a name people recognise without saying “The guy from Twilight?”

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The Step Forward

Trigger Warnings – None.

Sorry this post is out a bit later than usual, I’ve missed that prime time opportunity but hey, it happens. I’m not sure what to write about tonight, I’ve felt really quite passionate about my previous articles of the week but my view stats haven’t been this low in some time – maybe I’m not reaching out, maybe I’m too proud of stuff that actually isn’t interesting, I don’t know. So, whilst I hate to be a self-piteous jerk (I do hate it, I know I post a lot of personal crap but that’s more for me really, this blog is the inside of my head), I need to get some stuff off my chest.

Understandably, my latest topics have put off would be readers because they’re heavy subjects – the Sydney siege, the Sony cyber attacks, talks of politics and whilst I thought I broke it up pretty well with the Cards Against Humanity post and the Cereal Killer post, which were distinctly more popular than the others. I’m not too surprised and whilst I did enjoy writing those articles, they’re fluffy filler posts, they’re not hot button topics and I don’t want to just write about that all the time because if I was just going to blog about insignificant topics that are amusing to the right people I’d blog about the depiction of historical events in video games and line by line did-you-knows about the ERB performances of Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter. I knew when I started on this blog I couldn’t extensively blog about what I find fascinating because when I bring it up in conversation, people just nod and have no reference points to go by as I explain my rage at a bad characterisation of a samurai or a ninja I like or something or as I try to clarify why I think something is genius. I’m not bitter about that, it’s fine, maybe if I ever hit the mainstream I can do some niche side projects for those fanbases.

I’m thinking of moving on from blogging to YouTube, it’s where the people are and truth be told the concept is more exciting to me now, though I do despise the sound of my own voice. Heads up to you yanks that are expecting me to have a smooth sexy Hiddleston voice, I do not, I sound like a complete and utter twat. I mean, I’ve always loved the written word for expressing myself as a suave, charming fellow of sophistication but in person “Erm, erhem, so yeah that’s uh… hi… what?”. I’ll probably use prompts or write the article out and go from there and then upload the written version here for those of you who still read, a dying breed but a special one. I’ll need to invest in some good tech for it though I should think, a webcam won’t cut it by itself but thankfully I have people willing to help me out in their own way. I’ve decided the format will probably be a weekly or bi-weekly upload of a sort of me telling you the news with my own opinions and then the occasional less polished side notes of things I feel like sharing with you and a friend has discussed animated videos with me, it’s held an appeal to me for ages and would be fun to do.

I shouldn’t complain, I managed to inspire a friend of mine into starting their own blog, that’s pretty ego-boosting. I don’t want people thinking I did this ‘taking them under my wing, they owe it all to me’ thing because it was more just me idly saying ‘You need to blog, you are smart, I would read it’ and they sorta rolled with it. I’ll post a link below, check them out – a fellow feminist taking a fearsome arsenal of intellect and insight to tackle pop culture’s short comings, they’ve only just started but I look forward to what is to come:

https://fatalfeminism.wordpress.com/

I’m sure it will be well worth a nosey once the posts start rolling out but just to make sure you don’t miss out, bookmark the home page hey? And on that note, I hate to be the guy pushing myself forward and saying you should read this, we all know that creative one who uses any subject to segue into their blog or book or poetry and everyone rolls their eyes but speaking from experience as that guy, it’s usually the only way to get people to actually pay attention, nobody seeks out the unknown writer do they? Some friends and family support me and that’s great but audience is small and dwindling so I’m gonna suck it up and say it…

Please, like and share my articles if you enjoy them, subscribe as well. Ugh, feel dirty. Mind you, even the most popular presenters of the Tube still ask so I should feel no shame in doing it, I always just imagined my own merit would carry it but perhaps not, perhaps I have to actually advertise. Would a Facebook page help do you reckon?

Anyway, that’s that, I’ll try to come out with something better tomorrow.

Infectious Panic

Trigger Warnings – Death, Infection, Illness

Ebola. The dreaded word surfaces here on my blog as it does across the news, with screening for this virus commencing in airports across the western world as people fear infection in both the UK and the USA. At this point, only a hermit hasn’t heard of the virus and it has become a topic for discussion in all corners of the media, even the obscure blog of a nerd from Shrewsbury but I digress, this is too big of an issue to pass up and the truth needs to be heard, as well as pulled apart from the hysteria

Shepard Smith of Fox News managed to summarise the situation with a cold calm logic and whilst I might never again suggest you watch Fox News coverage, this man detaches himself from his political and professional affiliations to state the facts in a well-presented manner so by all means search him on YouTube as “Shepard Smith Ebola” and watch what he has to say if you feel worried by what you hear in the news, especially if you are from the USA

The facts are as follows – A man contracted Ebola overseas and was dying of the illness in a hospital in Texas, the illness being at its most contagious when someone is dying of the symptoms. A health care worker caught the virus from this man and is now in isolation but she appears to be doing well. The CDC expected more people to become infected and this was true, another health worker has caught the virus and she will transferred to isolation. However, it is true that before she showed symptoms she boarded a plane but as we know, Ebola is only contagious when the symptoms are showing and so the passengers of that plane should be fine but just in case, each passenger is being contacted and monitored through health checks. The chance of infection on the plane is slim to none. Screening operations are now in place across the USA and the UK

Now I know you’re worried, you’ve seen the headlines marking the coming of a plague but you must remember that headlines such as “EBOLA TERROR!” or “WIDESPREAD PANIC!” sell, headlines like “A FEW PEOPLE ARE ILL” or “SLIGHT OVERSIGHT ON A PLANE” or not shocking. You may also note that David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, called Ebola the single biggest threat to the health and safety of the British people but this is simply untrue – leaders need to appear strong, David Cameron is trying to look like a man protecting the nation from a horrid threat but in truth, here in the west, we are blessed with doctors, hospitals and exhaustive counter-measures against epidemics. Elections are coming, in the UK and the USA, the leaders need to seem strong, the opponents need to undermine them, so whilst the parties in power play the hero, their opponents call them out as inefficient imbeciles and so a cycle of fear is created as the people don’t know who to trust but the truth is this – Ebola is a deadly disease, it has killed thousands, but the thousands it has killed have been those without access to medical facilities, clean water or professional support. If you have a computer to read this on, you will not be at risk unless your doctor has contacted you specifically with their own concerns

Frankly, I think we’re being insulting to the thousands affected by this disease in Central and Western Africa by making a lot of fuss when there has yet to be an outbreak. Thousands are dying, numbers so difficult to track that even the UN admitted to fucking up, and here we are buying ourselves face masks and hand wipes and screaming bloody mercy when it has yet to kill even ten of us.I admit, as I write this, I am lumping in those deaths in Africa as a number, I am not exploring the depth of the damage, I don’t know the families, I don’t know the communities and I don’t know just how many have died but we westerners have a way of seeing deaths in places like Sudan and the Congo Republic as just a sad reality we like to ignore except when we feel generous. You are safe, you live in a world of hygiene and safety procedures, the dead are buried correctly and you can access clean water. The people affected in Africa can not, they are dying because they do not have the sophisticated medical systems we have available to them, they have to simply make do, unlike us

The virus is not easily caught, it is not like the cold or the flu, you are only at risk if you handle the bodily fluids or dead body of someone infected, thus why the health care workers were affected, they were treating a dying man, some part of them was inevitably going to contact some fluid. The virus is fragile, it can survive in a pool of blood or sweat but can be destroyed by cleaning products or hot soapy water. Experimental vaccines are being tested and if caught early, the symptoms can be treated and support will be put in place. You are not going to die, calm down. If you are scared, consider where you read the information – a newspaper, an online article, on the TV? The media profits from your panic, businesses will sell you protection you don’t need (Such as the snake oil scam) and the leaders of the world will tell you it is a difficult challenge they face to eradicate a fearsome curse when in truth, Ebola is only a real concern if you are living in squalor. I have no profit to be made in telling you anything, I am not paid to blog, I am simply a man with an opinion, some facts and a computer, it is entirely your trust whether or not you trust my words but a thorough search will support me, from a logical standpoint

If you are scared about your health, make sure you get your flu jab, the flu kills tens of thousands every year because people underestimate it. Heck, the plague, the flippin’ plague, kills a thousand American people a year, you’re more likely to catch that than Ebola. Scared of the plague? Of the flu? Of Malaria? No, well then Ebola is nothing to you, Ebola is far from reaching the death count of those diseases and that’s not because of time, Ebola has existed as long as Star Wars has and has yet to reach ten thousand deaths, the flu tops that in a year. Stay calm, ignore the hysteria and do what you would normally do to stay healthy – wash your hands, bin your tissues, see a doctor if you are unsure of anything. If we continue to shout like madmen over anything slightly wrong and scrabble around for safety, how will we ever band together in a real crisis? Don’t cry wolf over this because if it does become an actual worldwide epidemic, we need to be calm, we need to be united and we need to take action, not cower in fear crying

I hope that has brought you peace of mind readers and if Ebola still concerns you, donate to a charity working to fight the spread of the virus. Thank you

Fresh Hot Humble Pie – Highly Recommended (Originally Published – 30th January 2013)

Well fuck, seems that only two days ago I got so emotionally charged that my fingers went mad at the keyboard like a fury of small mallets attacking plastic gophers but just looking at my Facebook News Feed and the people around me is often all I need to get so fired up that I’d carve my rants into a baby’s face if it looked at me funny. I find myself unable to comprehend what runs through peoples’ heads these days and I mean that as more than just a psychopathic man with social issues, I mean that as a man with a brain in his head. You know what a brain is right? That pink mushy draft excluder between those flaps on your head that seem to be purely ornamental for most people, as if they’re just two flimsy scraps of pig skin taped onto a kumquat. By now, you’re probably hoping I trip over a pipebomb and land in the jaws of a pissed shark but the truth is that, myself included at times, we’re all just a bit stupid and wrapped up in our own pride and petty issues.

Ok, so run with me here, this is serious. I’ve often berrated half the people I’ve ever met in life for rambling on about twoddle I wouldn’t wipe my arse with, to which they reply with various colourful ideas involving said arse and sharp objects, but I seriously think a lot of us need a serving of humble pie and a smack across the jaw. I mentioned in a previous rant that I used to be a bit of a loose cannon. Strike that, a bit of a loose cannon would imply I just got drunk every now and then and missed coursework deadlines, I mean loose cannon as in that lifting people up into the air by their throat and cursing at them was my standard form of greeting and my pass times included fights, fights and more fights. I’m not afraid to admit that back in the day, arsehole was the nicest thing you could call me, and my reputation in the community made me sound like Jack the fucking Ripper. However, my selfish lifestyle granted me a huge loss and suddenly life was dipping it’s hairy balls in my mouth for being such a massive tosser. Humble pie, ladies and gentlemen, is the meal you never seem to order but you will always end up eating sooner or later, whether you’re the local twat or a full on bloody billionaire. Look at Romney, even his piles of money and an ego so large it in itself would need a seat in Congress were not enough to overcome his opposition so now he spends his time doing the rich guy equivalent to slitting his wrists… probably fucking mermaids and eating caviar until he collapses from the worst smelling orgasm imaginable

How does this apply to me, you ask? Simple, in more ways than you probably think. I had a serving of humble pie and it took me a while to build myself a new bubble of arrogance and even that’s just for display. I don’t mean to say that I privately sit in a corner crying and wishing I was Duke Nukem, but even the level of pretentiousness I’m at now is overplayed for a laugh and I’m easily thrown out of my groove by a sharp criticism and a backed up argument. I think that’s what gives the impression I believe myself to be superior, nobody has constructed a good enough reason for me to go kill myself and those that could do so, won’t do so for whatever reason. I guess it’s easy to cry over the little things, because ultimately the small details can add up to the bigger picture, but there are ways of handling things that put you in the wrong that just work better. I’m guilty of this, and so are you, and that’s attributing your misery to others. I’ve gone through a lot of work to stop giving a shit about the people who make me miserable and about eight of ten of those people have no power over me any longer. The world is cruel and savage and so forth, and I’m not gonna be the one who protects you from it’s horror or tell you it’s ok because you’re not here for comfort, you’re here because you know there are elements of truth in my comic ramblings and if you can’t see it, you’ve probably got bored by now and gone off to play games with the cat or something. I grew up with disappointment, and so did most of you, so why do we all feel the need to fly off the handle about everything we can’t have? People, tears buy nothing in this world but the sympathy of the few, and even that doesn’t wipe your runny nose for you.

Incidentally, a better idea for us all is to hang the sense of it and make the most of what comes your way, whilst trying to find that one thing to hold up as an umbrella in the shit storm. I imagine I’ll be unwittingly ordering more humble pie very soon, even though I still have some leftovers glaring at me in the fridge, but if anybody wants a piece, I recommend it and would suggest you serve it hot with the cream of consideration

Thank you.