70s 80s 90s 00s art music books movies beer mates cars bars clubs travel scuba fishkeeping dogs photography filmmaking writing natural synthetic chemical animal vegetable mineral houseplants sculpture LEGO star wars fear and loathing in birmingham united kingdom

18 February 2008

And My Thanks Go To...

My Mum for buying me an illuminated keyboard and mouse. No more fumbling in the dark.

To my sister Ellie for yet more investment in my being well-read.

To Faye, for her chest-hair-clipping solution: even I can look like a Chippendale. Especially in my 'espresso' FCUK jumper.

To Graham and Gill for their fantastic CK pyjama set.

To Isabelle and Richard for their John Lewis vouchers.

And, of course, to Maxi Moo for his "I Love My Daddy" mug, coaster and mouse-mat ensemble (am I spending too much time in front of the PC, son?)

For their cards; all of the above, plus Vanessa Shaw and Lorrie & Sam.

For their electronically-conveyed wishes, and in no particular order (well, OK, the order they appear in my various inboxes); (by email) Andy Germaine; (via Facebook) Carmen Lau, Amanda Atherton, Manish Pradhan, Antonia Esser, Nasreen Ahmed, Rachel McAlley, Vanessa Shaw (again! this girl gets everywhere), Mark Turner, Liz 'Emson' Harvie, Simon Ritchie, Dan McEvoy, Reena Combo (always my favourite meal-deal), Ameet Chana (yeah, I get EastEnders actors wishing me happy birthday...), Rumana Hoque (blam! blam! blam!), Nadeem Cheshti (may the force be with you), Lucy Evans, Djinn and his 'Vibe', Helen Rosier (nice one, cuzza!), Ruth Baretto, Naveen Pabbi, Wayne Colbourne, Mandeep Juttla, Jo Parkerson, Indy Sahota and Karen Stenning.

Which just goes to show that Facebook OWNS us.

My hugest thanks and love to each and every one of you: proof, if proof were needed, that life does not stop at thirty.

Now, where's me cocoa and slippers?

13 February 2008

Stop Press...Stop Press...Stop Press...

Obama just went into the lead in numbers of delegates pledged to his cause. 1170 plays 1168 for Clinton. What a lovely thing to happen just before I go to bed. I can sleep the safe sleep of babes, knowing that there is a brighter tomorrow. America: keep doing what you are doing.

Primary Screaming

I cannot for the life of me remember the last time there was as compelling an American primary and caucus season as the one we are in right now. It is hot viewing, listening, reading and reacting. I am pleased to see that many of my earlier assertions - based purely on website quality for each of the candidates on both sides of the House - have come to be realised.

For the Republicans, John McCain's Reaganite mantras are some comfort - admittedly, of the cold variety - for the panicking GOP supporters. They already understand that They will not be in power come January next year. It might just take a few years before the Reps win back some trust among the American public. Sure, they still have their supporters: the over-60s, the angry and the insane. But this motley crew is not going to return an Elephant to the Oval Office this time. Sorry, guys, your current leader really blew it for y'all. But I don't need to go into that here. It's been done to death, and is now boring. Bush has been a cripple for a long time - at least since the House went Democrat two years ago. There is nothing as foul, depraved and compulsive to watch as a lame duck President trying to keep his head above water while the sharks start circling. It's been a pleasure to watch.

Now, I am speculating here, but there is a very interesting observation to be made among the Republican racers. All the cars were lined up all nice and shiny on the grid, but - as with results among the Democrats - they never crossed the line in the expected order. It's fair to say that, from the start, the pollsters got it so, so wrong. All this Romney talk...even Guiliani jabber...before the race proper began, has been replaced with a Baptist Minister and a Dog of War. Somewhere between God and Guns seems to be where the alignments are taking place.

But here's the interesting bit: at the end of Super (Dooper) Tuesday, February 5th, the race looked like this: McCain - 12 states; Romney - 11 states; and Huckabee - 6 states. And yet...and yet...at the close of play that day, it wasn't Huckabee who admitted defeat: it was Mitt. Mitt, the man just one state behind his nearest, leading rival. So what's behind that, then? Well, and again I speculate (wildly), I suggested before that there was something that I instinctively didn't trust about Romney. I called him a car salesman; a charlatan; a mountebanke. Now, these descriptions may or may not be true, but something happened - something bad - to Mitt's fervour in attempting becoming El Prez. I think someone had a word about that waitress back in Utah, yeah, you know the one Mitt...or should I call you Pop? I jest, of course, let me make that quite clear. But something scared Mitt off the scent. No one chucks in the towel when he's on his opponent's heels like that, not for nothing. But an explanation has been slow in coming forward. Which just leaves a vacuum for me to fill...

Also, if you want to think about a real failure to capitalise on candidate funding, pre-existing profile and reputation, then it's Rudy. His campaign has produced the lowliest return-on-investment I think I can remember. Money raised: $62 million ($20 million more than McCain). Money spent: $49 million ($10 million more than McCain). Money left in the bank: $13 million ($10 million more than McCain). Number of delegates pledging their support at the Republican Convention in September: None. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Or, to look at it another way, 723 delegates fewer than Johnny-boy. Rudy Guiliani, please leave the stage by the nearest exit. Very, very poor performance, sir. But then, I think you had ideas WAY above your station from the off...I live in Britain, but I know how money-management works at local government level - and you, sir, just writ that large. What a loser.

And so to my personal favourites, the Democrats. Now this hasn't been as surprising as the Republican race. There isn't the same sense of panic - more a sense of 'which one of us will it be?' I feel so sorry for John Edwards. Imagine being the third leg of a triumvirate of candidates, two of which would see either America's first black President, or its first woman President? The options are far too tempting, and well away from John. As I heard one wag quip on the wireless the other day, Dubya has ensured that no white man will be in the Oval Office for the next four years at least.

So where do we go from here? As things stand - and DC, Virginia and Maryland are still to 100% report their results - Hillary has 1164 delegates pledged to her cause, while Barack has 1159. Ooh, shit, it's close. Exit polls in Virginia give it to Obama. (McCain is beating Huckabee by a whisker). I am almost tempted to stay up all night to see what happens, but I suspect I would under-perform in teaching radio to my kids tomorrow. Yeah, in half term, can you believe it? Just my luck.

Anyway, Barack is gonna get this job. He'll face McCain in the final, and he'll twonk the warmonger all around the ballpark. You might just see a Democrat landslide come 4th November; it'll be like Nixon in '72 or Reagan in '84, only in reverse. Why am I so sure? Because America, and Americans, have seen the damage caused by Bush. They know Daddy started the war (and later, Son went in to finish it off and make Daddy proud). Then Blowjob Bill came in and sorted the mess out, a bit. Don'tcha remember? The Nineties were such a good decade. Thatcher was out and the Tories were floundering. Bush was out. Bill was in (though what he was in, and how deeply, remains a subject for further, unsubstantiated speculation). OK, there was the war in Yugoslavia, but don't forget the Roadmap? You remember the Roadmap? Dubya can't even find the fucking car.

The world was a happy place where intelligence, smiling, politeness and diplomacy won over the old forces of evil, lacksadaisical mismanagement. But this is also exactly why Hillary shouldn't, and won't, win the Democrat nomination. Not because she'll be a bad President, but because of Bill. And because of the whole Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynastic approach to politics. Were Hillary to win, it would mean at least 28 years under the oversight of one of these two families. And politics, surely, should be about change and trying different tacks. This isn't the bloody Capulets and Montagues.

I'm being nice. The fact is, I cannot stand Hillary. If ever there was a woman who would be 'guided by the unseen hand' of Billy-Boy, it's Hills. In fact, I suspect that you would find the Commander-in-Chief being led less by her team, and more by her bloke. And what if Bill decides to get his dick sucked again? How will she deal with being publicly rejected again WHILE IN POWER? That's gonna be a bad day at the office.

Politics is about change, but it's also about the vision of that change. Hillary will be a Clinton-clone. It will be more of the same. It will be what Bill would have done if he were allowed more than two four-year periods in power. Barack...oh, Barack...you are a breath of fresh air. You hold yourself well, you do not resort to the snidey, smirky, smug mentality of Hillary. When you speak, you sound like you have a very clear idea of what you plan to do. Hillary sounds like she's just going through the motions. When Hillary does her 'I care' routine, I want to vomit and shit simultaneously. What a phoney dame.

Anyway, America, I have two words for you: Margaret Thatcher. And this one doesn't have Denis tagging along behind, it has Bill pulling the fucking strings.

That is all.