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Fool on the Hill

fool on the hill


April 29 - at last, the worm turns

It's been a long time coming, but all the more enjoyed for that. Blair is on the way out and is getting a good kicking from all sides as he slides towards oblivion. The media, ever eager to join in a feeding frenzy, are really going for him, and his previous patronising brush-offs don't work any more when he's asked difficult questions. With the leaking of the attorney general's advice on the legality of war against Iraq, he's forced into having to defend his actions at every turn, and his excuses and lies are becoming palpably more transparent by the day. With a week to go to the election, it couldn't have come at a better time and some commentators are even voicing the possibility of a Lib-Dem win, the Tories being a total shower of right-wing shite and not even a credible opposition any more. Every newspaper is condemning Blair and his lies, except for the low-brow, gigantic-mammary-obsessed Sun, read exclusively by one-eyes and not taken seriously by anyone with a brain, the only paper [rag] to support him.

The TV media are gathering piranha-like for a feeding frenzy as the new-labour con unravels daily, and Brown is looking and acting more and more statesmanlike as Blair becomes less so. Today, at a press conference to launch the latest of their pathetic posters [Blair & Brown, not Howard & Letwin, what a killer slogan!] Brown stepped in as Blair faltered, and Phony was left, silly mouth open, listening to Brown answer as if he was already prime minister, and Blair looking round the crowd with a desperate look on his face for some hint of support or just a friendly face, he found none and was forced into standing there as support for Brown, a position he clearly hates. Don't you just love it when the formerly powerful bullies lose the plot and no matter what they do, drift forever into oblivion.

Here's an excellent bit of lip sync video that made me laugh.

He will go into history as the US lapdog who took us into an illegal war, and may well be facing prosecution in the courts as a number of dead soldier's families are planning to sue him. It might even end up in the international court, with him charged with war crimes along with Millosovic and other criminals. Plaid Cymru MPs are already initiating impeachment, supported by the Scottish Nationalists, and the next parliament should be quite lively, whoever wins. If it were to be the LibDems, there's every chance it could be the government initiating legal proceedings against him and his cabinet colleagues, who have all put their hands up in his support, saying they all agreed with the war, in an effort to counter charges that they were given the bums rush and kept in the dark. If any of them had any sense, they would by now be denying their implication in it, and distancing themselves as much as possible from the Bush-Blair monster, but, happily, none of them are that bright and can't see the good ship PhonyTony is sinking, so there could be a whole line up of the usual suspects in the dock one day. Well, I live in hope, but I shan't be holding my breath as these devious and odious creatures are adept at sliding out of culpability for their actions, and have been doing it all their lives.

April 27 - Spammers are the scum of the Earth.

Everyone with an email address knows about spam. After a few weeks online, you are bound to start getting i; ads for porn sites, for cut-price drugs, hire cars etc. If you run a website, where of course you will wish to display your email address so visitors can contact you, that's when it really starts. Every day I get a hundred or more, most of them the same ads duplicated dozens of times, with a different made-up name before the @ for each. It's becoming a common method of marketing, and the getout is the 'opt out' line at the bottom required by law, but often linking to a nonexistant web address. I was beginning to despair of ever being free of them, and then I discovered Spam Poison, a website which is doing something about spammers.

Robots (also called wanderers, spiders, crawlers, or bots) are programs that crawl the Web continually retrieving linked pages. When a spammer's bot visits your website, blog, forum, etc, all pages and sites linked to it will be searched looking for email addresses.

All you have to do is place a link to their page by pasting a small piece of code into your website html, so that when a robot scans your page, it will be sucked into theirs. The robots will be sent in an infinite loop and will get lots of fake e-mail addresses - dynamically generated using domains owned by spammers, adding enormous quantities of bogus data to the databases of the spammers and making them essentially useless. This sounds like an excellent tool to me, at last a way of causing these anonymous creeps some grief.

A blocking tool for people to use at home called Spamjab, claims to be the worlds first 100% guaranteed anti-spam service, designed specifically to protect families, in particular children, from inappropriate and unsolicited email. There is no software to download, just a simple registration process that takes less than 5 minutes. The service is free for now

Another site for free blocking tools, this time for Outlook Express is Spamfighter, and another site is Spam Bully where you can try a spam blocker for Outlook Express for 14 days free.

There seem to be lots of pope ads generated by the last piece, Ratzinger has certainly been busy, with half a dozen books telling people what to think. Don't know if he claims divine inspiration, but he probably will do soon.

April 22 - changing of the guard

As a recovered catholic, I suppose I should have written something about the recent changing of the guard at the papal palace, with the election of the new big boss of the largest global crime organisation, the catholic church. It would be bad enough that the victor in this power struggle is an ex nazi youth and army volunteer, but his machinations since he gained considerable power in the Vatican some years ago have been to the right of the spanish inquisition. I have seen a letter he sent to all US bishops before the recent election, which was to be read out to all their parishioners, stating that anyone who voted for a politician who condoned abortion was risking excommunication and perpetual damnation. This is clearly an attempt, which may well have been successful, at influencing another nation's electoral process and as such is illegal under international law. I somehow doubt Pope Ratzinger will end up in court. His rule over the minds of any sheep who will allow him, will be a continuation of the same old right-wing, so called pro life, anti contraception bullshit which his 'saintly' predecessor presided over, contributing to the deaths from AIDS of hundreds of thousands in Africa. Now we know who to blame for Bush, who, funnily enough, visited Ratzinger several times pre election. Fly on the wall envy time.

April 20 - the long goodbye

I could be commenting on the UK election but can't be hacked, it's all so tawdry and predictably dishonest, smarmy, manipulative and false. Most people seem to sense this, it's called apathy, but the real reason is despair that we'll ever get the choice of electing non-phoneys who believe in something other than their own self interest. I imagine Labour will lose a lot of seats, the Tories will probably lose a few and win a few, the Lib Dems will win quite a lot and there might be one Green MP for what good it will do. The best we can hope for is a hung parliament, no one party with overall majority and government by consensus. A weak state that could never agree to an illegal war would be a good start. Ideally, a lib-dem/green coalition government with tory & labour consigned to the opposition benches.

Still no one clicking on the ads so my earnings are still stuck at 70$ and needing another thirty for me to get paid and be able to pay my ISP bills. Failing that I shall lose the server space, and still owe the money. A donation would be even nicer.

April 13 - is this a fantasy

It's difficult to retain faith in what you're doing when there is no evidence it's appreciated. I'm thinking of ceasing this blog as, irrespective of the number of visits I get, no one is making a donation, however small, and no one is clicking on the google ads [and visiting advertisers' sites for a minimum of 30 seconds] to help me earn enough to cover the costs of my ISP. I don't expect to get paid for this, but can't afford to keep doing it when it's costing me money.

It works like this. I carry google ads which are matched to content I have written. Each time someone clicks on an ad and has a look at the website, spending a little time there as one would if genuinely interested [necessary as some unscrupulous people use bots to click on ads to either boost their own income or damage competitors by depleting their advertising budgets - that's paid per click] I get paid a small amount [typically 1cent US] which goes into my google account. Google only pays you when the sum in your account has reached $100, and mine has yet to reach that dizzying height, so I've recieved nothing. I know it works, as a few times I have earned 2-3 dollars in one day. But most days I earn nothing, meaning that nobody clicks any ads. Now either this means none of my readers enjoy my writing enough to want to help me continue, or they don't feel moved to pay for the enjoyment with a little time. If just one of them did, I would see the evidence in my google account which is quite specific and detailed and shows me that most days no click-throughs happen.

Considering the time I've spent over the last two years on this, I would have been better employed recycling aluminium cans at 1p a can; they seem to occur naturally in the environment these days, especially in areas frequented by teenagers, and I could probably earn myself a fiver in a day, and I'd get all that fresh air as a bonus. If there's anyone out there in the big wide world of cyberspace who wants to save me from the can bank, I think you know what you must do.

When I'm feeling positive, I tend to post more often and more entertainingly, so the paucity of posts lately is probably related to my increasing disappointment at the failure of this blog to become, at least, self financing. Good grief, there are pro bloggers out there who do it full time for a living, and some of them make a pretty good living at it as well. So what am I doing wrong? If anyone is reading this and would like to offer constructive suggestions on how I could improve it, please email me. Perhaps I should migrate to a blogger site and not do it all myself. I've tried to find out what advantage having a blog on offers, and all I can get is 'they're sticky' whatever that means.

Perhaps my blog has been too individual, most blogs seem to be part of a blogging network, refer to other blogs frequently, and can appear somewhat insular and circular for that reason, or are commercial blogs talking about specifics. Perhaps I should call it a polemic rather than a blog, but then blogging has become the latest thing the business suits and media are going gaga over, so now should be the time for blogs to come into their own. Tales of companies searching for bloggers to write for them abound, but don't seem to materialise.

So I'm still $30 short of $100 and google payday. To many sites that would be peanuts, many earn hundreds a day just from google ads. So far, despite reading endless pages of advice, I feel no nearer to making anything, not even expenses, nor understanding how I can. So I have to seriously decide if I continue, or spend my time more productively.



April 11 - occupational hazard

I see so much bad English on the net; spelling mistakes, typos galore, words missed out, incorrect punctuation. It's like this wonderful new way to communicate is matched by deteriorating literacy and I can't ignore it, it rankles. Perhaps it's the speed everything has to be done at, no time to re-read, mull over it for a while, take some time to think, lie in the sun, have a smoke, chill out. The net seems in the grip of the adman, urgency and money, pay now, get what you want or what you think you want instantly. No time to sit and stare any more.

I'm often tempted to write and point out gross errors, and have occasionally done so. I sometimes get thanked, but have so far never got any proofreading work from it. Yet for a few hours pay I could rid their site of these monstrosities. Even non-English speakers think they can construct a site in English and conduct business, sometimes with hilarious results, especially when they're offering English publishing services including copy editing and proofreading. I do edit a few sites, and write copy for others who value my skills, but convincing someone they need a professional to brush up their best efforts is, I'm convinved, seen as an insult by many.

April 10 - getting rid of Blair is top priority

An election approaches and it's the same old politics; two main parties, choice - which one to have absolute control for four years. The UK electorate aren't very sophisticated, tactical voting is barely considered, so people either vote for the poison of their choice or abstain. Without proportional representation there can be no fair, democratic way of organising things, yet neither of the two main parties are likely to consider it as it's not in their interests to share power, they'd rather have all or nothing. I expect the LibDems, if they ever got a majority, would quickly forget their dedication to PR. It seems simple to me in the case of Blair; the other candidates in his constituency of Sedgefield should decide among themselves who should stand on an anti-Blair ticket [the father of the dead soldier would be my choice as he's independent of parties] and then they should all withdraw and campaign for that candidate. For Blair to lose his seat, and therefore his job and power, would be a good lesson to the Labour Party that they should have ditched him years ago. It would say categorically that the war against Iraq was and is immoral and illegal and the British people want none of it. And it would enable the Labour Party to rethink where it got dragged and find again its ethical base.

We can't hope for honesty and ethics to return to UK politics overnight, but all the time the electorate behave like programmed sheep, there is no chance of a change from the present mire of lies and manipulation. A hung parliament, with no one party in control, would result in concensus politics with legislation having to satisfy the majority to get support. Weak government is good government.

The media are partly responsible as they constantly treat each party as if they must be judged on their electability to majority government, however ludicrous that is for a party like the Greens. Overwhelming majorities give absolute power, which is always dangerous. The sooner we can rely on the House of Commons for opposition to dangerously authoritarian legislation rather than The Lords, we will be ready to restructure The Lords.

April 7 - flocking sheep

The Pope Fest seems to be gathering pace, with 4 million sheep in Rome already and another million expected by tomorrow. Strange, this flocking instinct, see a crowd and feel an overwhelming impulse to join it. Many seem to be young people, complete with rucksacks and bedding, sort of a Glastonbury without the entertainment. One man interviewed in the street said he'd given up his job to be there and complaining that now they wouldn't let him see the dead body as the queue has been closed! A high price to pay for religious necrophilia. Fourteen hours standing in a mass of people to walk past a body, quite extraordinary hominid behaviour which must distance us from the other apes more than ever, no self-respecting gorilla would behave thus. Crowds this large create their own excitement and feeling of importance. Already it has a carnival atmosphere, and odd characters can be seen here a there; a man with an oversized papier mache hat of Mad Hatter proportions and in rainbow colours, a dreadlocked scoutmaster with bush hat atop a mass of dreads with shorts completing the picture. Nuns gallore, perhaps savouring the body contact large crowds afford and which they are normally starved of, dippy faces smiling gormlessly everywhere, forgetting that they're supposed to be mourning, but caught up in the event, and enjoying themselves. Then there will the processions of uniformed church hierarchy, each with their preferred coloured frocks and banners, crosses will be much in evidence and it would be no surprise to see a few crucifictions or at least spontaneous stigmata appearances. It could be a mediaeval scene as there are no cars [the only good thing], and little to distinguish the mind set of these 'pilgrims' from that of less developed times when at least there was an excuse for ignorance and superstition. Now I hear the Poles would like to have his heart to bury in Poland. And some think we are ready for space?

In Alaska, apart from being colder than Rome, the governor has given the go ahead to kill most of the grizzly bears in a 3,000-square-mile (777,000 hectares) area of brushy terrain and tundra near the Canadian border. For the first time since Alaska became a US state, hunters will be allowed to use bait to lure and kill grizzly bears under a program intended to boost moose populations in parts of interior Alaska, in other words, there aren't enough moose for hunters to shoot, so the age old excuse for killing natural predators is used. But critics say the program could devastate the grizzlies, animals with slow reproductive rates, with no real benefit to the moose. The target area is included in a program that has allowed aircraft-assisted hunters to kill 266 wolves since November. Time for hunters to be targeted and culled, there are clearly far too many of them to be sustainable. Politicians like governor Frank Murkowski of Alaska would make good targets for anyone who wants the destruction of the natural world to stop.

April 5 - ruining the environment by the yard

Despite the deaths of 22 Chinese [illegal immigrant] cockle pickers in Morecombe Bay last year, there has continued to be uncontrolled large scale collecting of cockles there, and now the government has declared a ban on all cockle picking to conserve stocks. In other words, the free market has demonstated once again that it is driven purely by greed with no regard of the consequences. Local traditional cockle pickers, who know the environment, know the tides, and have nurtured the resource for generations, are thus without a living due to illegal immigrants being allowed to work illegally for criminal gangmasters, doubtless selling their spoils to high-priced restaurants. I wonder how the Chinese would react if parties of English people turned up without permission and started carting off catches of one of their natural marine resources.

Astonishing the level of coverage for one man's death. It's understandable that the sheep would want to be in Rome, all together, a flock instinct, but the media seem to think it important to give wall-to-wall coverage for nearly a week, presumably because the large crowds excite them. Everyone is sending delegates if not going themselves like Blair, I wonder if Ossama will be sending a representative. Seems like a prime target considering it's a major Christian event and will have all the world's statesmen there, although I haven't heard yet if Bush is going. There will probably be a few Muslim politicians there, who would probably be considered legitimate targets due to their rubbing shoulders with Christians. Rome will be bursting with people, possibly a million, vast numbers have already arrived, there will be plenty of cover for anyone wishing to create mayhem. If nothing happens, we can safely say that Al Qaeda is a spent force and there is little to no risk of anything happening in the UK, so no justification for ID cards or detention without charge or trial. The ID cards issue has been dropped due to no time to fight it through, a good reason for a lot of people to not vote Labour if all the other reasons haven't been enough.

April 1 - life and death, they shoot horses

Strange juxtaposition of the two main news stories at present; one, a woman who is brain damaged and who is starved and dehydrated to death because the wierd US can't face the idea of a kind way out, just as is afforded to animals. She was clearly stuck in a dreadful situation which most rational people would want ended if it were them.Fifteen years is quite long enough to determine that there's going to be no miraculous recovery. But whereas all the shots previously had been of her smiling, those near the end she looked desperately unhappy, scared even. Perhaps she was fully conscious, just unable to signal that fact. If so, the idea of her having to die in this way, with the world's media looking on, is just appalling.

The other death is that of the pope, who should have been allowed to go years ago, but has instead been propped up with everything modern medicine had to offer, until now when only recently he was witness to the Easter celebrations. So many catholics praying for his recovery! They claim to believe in god and thier own personnal survival, yet behave as if they don't believe any such thing. If god loves them so much, and they him, you'd think they'd welcome death when it came and not wish to fight against it, or to pray an 82 year old man with alzheimers will survive to suffer more. Backs up my belief that religion gets its strength from those terrified of dying, but does little to reassure. In both these cases, it is the religious right who are opposed to a humane attitude and desire both patients to continue to suffer to satisfy their deranged beliefs. In the US the loony right is so powerful that the president has to rush to be seen attempting to reverse the decision of untold doctors and countless judges just to keep their support.


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