Robbing Peter

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All our lives we think of being warm, fed and content in retirement, following a lifetime of work. With just thirteen days to go, my own official retirement looms on my sixty-fifth birthday on the eight of March. While serving notice via snail-mail of when and how much my pension will be; already it has been readjusted down before it has even begun.

You would think that after working from the age of sixteen, until I was pushed out of the job market due to ill health aged fifty-five, that I would be entitled to a full state pension – apparently not. It would appear that the fact I worked for thirty-six years in New Zealand now counts against me. When my father retired, the New Zealand pensions department contacted the UK for contributions as he spent most of his working life here. So why hasn’t it happened in reverse for me?

The original notification from the Department of Work and Pensions informed me that I was entitled to £140.00 per week. Now it stands at £65.00. How in God’s name they came up with that figure boggles the mind. Thank goodness for the small but regular monthly royalty injections into my bank account from my publisher. It’s not much, but at least the DWP can’t readjust that in the same way. Although having said that, if anyone working for the DWP reads this…

Like millions of others here in the UK, I have to be extremely careful when it comes to spending money. The readjusted pension is less than the Incapacity Benefit for those considered to be still within the working age bracket, but unable to work for medical reasons as I was. Not that it’s much – £85.00 per week. But at least it was possible to live on it – just.

The winter fuel allowance for us oldies to help pay the exorbitant heating bills has been slashed by the government. Their latest obscenity is due to hit all people classed as poor, not just OAP’s like myself, when it becomes law in April – bedroom tax. In short, according to the government you only need one to sleep in. Any others are considered underutilized and therefore taxable. If you live in rented accommodation as I do, you stand the very real chance of being relocated to an even smaller one bedroom residence.

Even the conscientious retirement savers are not out of reach. Many private pension schemes have crashed and burned – far too many to mention. I was in one briefly during the eighties, run by Southern Cross, until it went belly up thanks to bad financial investments by greedy investment bankers, years before the banks crashed in 2008.

I now have to wait until Tuesday, twelfth of March. That’s when the first state pension payment goes into my bank account. Of course the bank will want their cut, so it will be even less than the paltry £65.00 per week.

Am I looking forward to spending my remaining years as an old age pensioner? What the hell do you think!

The Law is an Ass

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If whoever first coined the phrase could only see how the laws of the land are currently being freely interpreted by judges today in the UK, they would simply say – “told you so!”

To all criminals within the European Union, I bid you welcome to the land of sheer stupidity! Feel free to commit any crime you care to name. If caught, you may have an enforced holiday for a couple of years in a well-appointed centrally heated bijou room, containing a television and games console among other things as well as three meals a day, all paid for by the taxpayer.

Time and again whenever someone, be they British or from foreign parts, is found guilty of a violent crime worthy of a lengthy term in prison, despite the judge publically pronouncing the maximum allowable sentence, most of the time the convicted felon will only serve barely half of it. If the judges knew full well that under the law the convicted felon will never serve the full sentence, why say it in the first place? Come to that, why does life only mean ten years these days (which in reality is often less, thanks to the nonsense of time off for good behaviour), instead of the natural lifespan of the convicted prisoner?

We now have a worrying number of instances where judges are totally ignoring the government’s directive regarding the instant deportation of violent foreign criminals. Currently if they match the particular human rights criteria they can remain in the country, not only during their prison sentence but also on their release. Why? Because all they have to do is say that they have family living here! So what I hear you cry? Deport their family along with them. Sorry, it can’t happen under the present laws, simply because it will infringe their basic human rights as enshrined within EU laws.

What about the human rights of the victims and their families? No one seems to give a damn about them!

These days we also have an increase in the numbers of armed gangs of feral youths freely shooting people on the suburban streets of major cities like London, knowing they will get away with it thanks to the government’s cost cutting measures which have dramatically reduced the numbers of frontline police – not that you will normally see a policeman or woman walking the beat in the suburbs anymore. Plus, we have to worry about whether or not that new person recently moved in next door is a convicted felon or not, being re-housed by the State!

While it’s fair enough that the victims of despicable sex crimes and their families remain anonymous, we are also being told that the practice of naming and shaming a suspect prior to them being brought to trial, no matter what the outcome may be, must now end as it goes against their human rights. Usually in my experience there is no smoke without fire…

Turning Point

Turning Point free weekend

For thousands of years, man in his arrogance, has believed that he is unique in the cosmos.

During the last decade of the twentieth century, the day finally arrived when a warlike alien species called the Drana returned to our solar system, intent on re-establishing their rule over the Earth once more. The last time they were here they left a subordinate race – the Khaz in charge of our early ancestors. When the Drana moved on to conquer more planets in the name of their emperor, the Khaz began to create a stronghold here on Earth, hopefully large enough to one day challenge the Drana. Over countless centuries all memories of the Khaz and their masters the Drana vanished from the minds of man. However, the Khaz are still calling the shots through a secret government they set up consisting of the world’s political and military leaders, as well as the heads of all the major business cartels.

Meanwhile, our New Zealand born hero Tom is enjoying a well-earned break, hiking through the beautiful mountains of South Westland in New Zealand’s South Island, totally unaware that he is being deliberately drawn to a specific place.

In a valley artificially hidden from the outside world, somewhere in South Westland, he meets a dying race of peaceful people from another world called the Nephile, who are hiding from the Drana, and falls in love with one of them. Through her and others like her he is made aware that everything we have ever learned or assumed to be fact is untrue. He is told that the ancestors of all the various branches of humanity were originally brought here from other worlds as slaves by the Drana millennia ago.

After being enhanced, our hero is tasked with bringing in all the other human beings, like him, chosen by the Nephile to be taken back to the valley in New Zealand to form a new species of Nephile/human. While picking up the various groups of humans dotted across the world, his actions inadvertently starts World War III, days before the Drana return to reclaim the Earth, throwing the Khaz High Command here on Earth into total panic.

How to save the Earth and humanity from this nightmare situation? What kind of earthbound weaponry could possibly defeat the Drana? The final battle between the army of resistance fighters led by our hero Tom, and the Drana in New Zealand’s South Island, ends when a worldwide cataclysmic event set in place by the Nephile living in the hidden valley occurs.

Will anyone survive?

 

 Kindle only version available at:

http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Point-ebook/dp/B007GDUVNA/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Turning-Point-ebook/dp/B007GDUVNA/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4

Rate our Product

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Is it just me or do most people really hate being asked to rate or review a product online? Who benefits from knowing whether or not the pair of socks I bought is the right colour, length, or whether they are wool, cotton or synthetic?

Usually if you weaken and do one of these surveys, you have to wade your way through endless pages of crass questions such as:

How would you rate this product for comfort?

  1. Itchy
  2. Makes my feet sweat
  3. It brings on my allergy
  4. Matches my acne
  5. If other, please specify

What’s the bloody point? After spending an hour navigating my way through a site looking for the damned socks in the first place, you would think that surely all they have to do is note the particular pair I bought and be satisfied that I had chosen them to make the purchase. But no; they also want to know my ethnicity, my age, my marital status, how much I earn, the colour of my eyes and what damned country I live in, just to name a few non purchase items of personal information!

In a moment of weakness this morning I did one of these surveys for a well known and highly respected American news magazine, which I used to subscribe too when it was only available as an actual physical magazine, after following a particular news item link.

To say that most of the questions were obviously designed by a team of mental retards would be a major understatement. After working my way down the second question’s page of twenty ridiculous choices, I decided to just click on any answer for the remaining forty questions. Yes, that’s right; there were forty-two of the damned things! It took me a good quarter of an hour before I finally finished it.

Normally whenever a social interaction site like Facebook asks me “How are you today,” or to rate why I use a specific section of it more than others, I always ignore them, unless I feel an attack of facetiousness coming on, in which case I usually give them the answer they definitely weren’t looking for like, “Mind your own damned business!”

Unfortunately the news magazine site in question caught me at a weak moment while I was waiting for the caffeine from my morning coffee to kick in…

Carnivores of the world unite

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Over the last few weeks here in the UK and in many other EU countries, the news media has been sensationalising the fact that most of the processed meat products available in our supermarkets contain horse meat.

Big deal – so what?

The French have been eating cheval since Adam was a cowboy. Personally I prefer it to beef simply because it’s much leaner, and by definition, far healthier to eat. Think of any cheap heat and eat dish containing meat products normally found in the freezers of your local supermarket, and the chances are that it contains anything but beef.

Why?

The answer is simplicity itself. For a supermarket chain to be able to offer you your favourite brand of Lasagne, Stroganov, Burgers, Sausage or anything else in the freezers containing processed meat at a price you can afford, sourcing cheaper raw products from further afield makes thorough economic sense.

Unless you are a fortunate member of the well paid one percent of the population, reality dictates that the rest of us are all reduced to buying budget food products rather than the more expensive ones, thanks to our various governments turning a blind eye when it comes to greedy investment bankers and other leeches.

When the news media latch onto something as trivial as this, all kinds of weirdoes come out of the woodwork claiming that anyone who eats meat are murderers. Sorry folks, but ever since our ancestors began roaming the wilds we have always been carnivores. If you simply cannot look that cow, pig, chicken, duck or horse in the eye before its killed, that’s your problem.

For all you others who are appalled at the thought of consuming horse, saying that you prefer to eat beef, mutton, poultry or pork products – what’s the difference? With the exception of chickens and other fowl specifically bred for the table, the rest are all living breathing quadrupeds you see grazing the fields of our countryside.

Stop being so two-faced and squeamish! If you are so concerned about it, use your commonsense and buy your meat products from your local butcher. Try actually cooking a meal for a change, rather than throwing a ready meal into the oven or microwave. You never know, you might actually enjoy the experience.

Personally, the only time I would be seriously worried is when human DNA is found in processed meat products in the future. We are being constantly reminded that the cost of housing, clothing and feeding our ever increasing prison populations needs to be reduced somehow.

Hannibal Lecter had a liking for Long Pig. I can just imagine him saying something like this when he invited you to dinner:

“Would anyone care for a second helping of murderer stew? It tastes just like lean pork. I find it particularly delicious garnished with Fava beans and accompanied by a glass of the finest Claret.”

The Forgotten Age

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In the world of archaeology, some things are just not meant to be. Only the brave or foolhardy will ever dare to challenge the establishment and its accepted theories. Previously, Dr Nick Palmer had proved himself beyond any reasonable doubt by saving the Earth and the entire Solar system from total destruction on December, 21st, 2012, enabling humanity’s seventh age to begin.

Now it was time to upset the academic world once and for all. He returns to Egypt to find the fabled library of the ancients to disprove the blinkered thinking over who was responsible for sculpting the Sphinx as well as establishing the true purpose of the pyramids. Along the way he is joined once again by most of his old team and a few new recruits. In their bid for proof they are subjected to all manner of obstacles put in their path.

Apart from attempted murder, kidnapping and torture, even the environment is hostile towards Nick and his team in his latest adventure. Will he succeed in his quest for the truth about the Sphinx and the pyramids? Find out when you read “The Forgotten Age”.

Available in Kindle format only via your nearest Amazon outlet:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Forgotten-Age-ebook/dp/B00A7SOQJG/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Forgotten-Age-ebook/dp/B00A7SOQJG/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3

Ever Wondered Why Writers No Longer Rely on Reviews?

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“The story dosent really pull the reader in. The writing is ment for a very young reader. The story line is rather boring.”

I offer this genuine internet review for the book shown above, obviously written by someone who cannot spell to save themselves, as a classic example of today’s trend in internet troll reviews.

Fortunately most genuine readers simply ignore them.

While their numbers are low, the major internet book distributors seriously need to look at their current rules and regulations regarding who can and cannot submit a review. Unfortunately, one major internet book distributor allows these people freedom to vent their bile.

Why?

Reviews like this can be found on most books pages on one particular major book distributor’s internet site. Is it any wonder that many writers today can no longer rely on the whole review process anymore, let alone bother to read them for the purposes of feedback?

There was a time not that long ago when writers relied on genuine professional reviewers who were connected with the publishing game to sell their product. Unfortunately these days the trend is now for a book to judged by its cover and by nonprofessional reviewers, instead of its content. There is also another ridiculous internet practice currently in vogue – the phenomenon of ‘liking’ a book.

If you think the above only applies to ‘Indies’ you need to think again. Many well established writers working through one or other of the major publishing houses are also being targeted by trolls through internet book distributing sites.

In some instances, many of the so-called reviews are anything but. In recent months I have heard from other writers of many instances where when challenged, the ‘reviewer’ freely admits that they haven’t actually read the book in question!

These people need to be made aware that because they currently have the freedom to post a review, an internet book distributor’s site is not just another social interaction site like Facebook or Twitter. Its purpose is simply to offer books for sale…

Remembering G’kar

The late Andreas Katsulas as G'kar

The late Andreas Katsulas as G’kar

 

All my life I have been a fan of all things science fiction. It started when I was twelve, and my father caught me thumbing through his collection of Arthur C Clark’s novels. Ever since reading Clark’s first sci-fi novel Against the Fall of Light, I’ve been completely hooked. Since then I have avidly read, listened to and watched everything under the science fiction banner. Do you remember the timeless cinematic collaboration between Kubrik and Clark –  2001 A Space Odyssey?

We have all experienced at one time or another through endless repeats on television the utterly terrible B grade sci-fi movies from the nineteen fifties, like the original version of The War of the Worlds  – H.G Wells would be horrified by what Hollywood did to his story, were he still alive.

A little later on television took over. The first series of the very camp but highly watchable Star Trek, immediately springs to mind. While it literally went where others feared to tread at the time, no sci-fi aficionado could ever take it seriously, any more than they could when the first series of Dr Who was screened in the UK in 1966, starring William Hartnell.

Since those early days, many sci-fi books have appeared. The same can be said for sci-fi movies and innumerable formulaic made to budget, instantly forgettable television series like Firefly (2002), or the angst ridden Stargate SG1, starring none other than Richard Dean Anderson, aka MacGyver.

Then in the United States on January 26, 1994, sanity finally reigned when the best space opera ever to grace our television screens premiered, running for five seasons. I’m talking about Babylon 5. No sci-fi series before or since comes remotely close in regards to quality, storylines and memorable characters.

Of all the many characters, the one I shall always remember to my dying day is G’kar, brilliantly portrayed by the late Andreas Katsulas.

Initially G’kar appeared as a villainous diplomat constantly engaged in insidious, if petty, schemes driven by his hostility towards his people’s historical enemies, the Centauri. But over the course of the five series, he mellowed to become a messianic figure and the foremost spiritual leader of his people, the Narn.

Because of the way he looked, some people will always equate him with their vision of the devil. There was no middle ground with him; you either loved or hated G’kar. Katsulas made the character his own. He imbued him with so many endearing as well as sinister qualities.

While most of the other characters have long since faded from my memory, Katsulas’ portrayal of the formidable Narn will always remain in my mind.

Religious Extremism Gone Mad

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Buddhas of Bamiyan

Why is it that in this modern era, so many extreme Islamists believe that ancient monuments representing many other religions, are somehow offensive in the eyes of their version of God? Take what Taliban extremists did to the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan as one glaring example of this completely nonsensical and baffling mindset.

See the following article for further reading: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/02/16788304-why-extreme-islamists-are-intent-on-destroying-cultural-artifacts?lite

Whether you are deeply religious or not, acting in such a way can never be condoned. Over the last few years an ever growing number of mindless acts of vandalism has occurred, carried out by various Islamic extremist groups (who it could be argued have a medieval Crusader mentality when it comes to other religions) across the Middle East and in countries bordering the region.

Now we hear that Al Qaeda backed religious extremist groups have desecrated former religious buildings in Mali, citing the fact that they are an insult to the Koran as the reason for their senseless acts of destruction.

In Egypt the authorities are extremely concerned since veiled threats by small groups of religious extremists within the country threaten Egypt’s world famous ancient monuments like the pyramids.

Can you imagine anyone in the west getting away with destroying a church, mosque or synagog these days? I can’t. How about a national monument like Westminster Cathedral or an ancient site like Stonehenge, or the long lines of Menhirs at Carnac in northern France, will they be targeted at some time in the future by these clearly deranged individuals?

If anyone tried to commit such an act of mindless destruction anywhere in the western world, they would simply be arrested and sent for trial before being incarcerated in prison for a considerable part of their lives.

What will it take to prevent these people from carrying out their mindless threats? Should we care? Yes of course we should. Statues like the Bamiyan Buddhas and other religious artifacts are part of a country’s rich heritage. Markers in stone if you will. They are certainly solid reminders of earlier periods in a nation’s history. Instead of wanting to destroy their past, they should be proud of it…

Can we truly afford party politics anymore?

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Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron

The older I get, the more I firmly believe that the world at large can no longer afford party politics in this day and age. To my way of thinking, it has not only reached, but passed well beyond its ‘use by date’.

No country these days can afford party driven and controlled politicians. What use are they in a modern world, except to line their own pockets and those of their rich friends at our expense, and to feed their own pathetic need for power.

Who elected them into power in the first place? We did. Why? Because once every five years they need us. To get our vote they smother us with all kinds of promises which deep down we all know they will never keep. And yet like weary sheep, we follow each other to the polling stations to put our cross beside the politician who’s lies we believed the most. More fool us! We are constantly being told that every vote counts for a party to become the next government. And yet the voter numbers were way down at the last election, so much so that to get a majority, the Conservatives had to form an alliance. Maybe we should all stay away next time. What better way is there to show how we feel about politicians and politics without resorting to protests in the streets?

Do we, or should I say, can we afford them any longer? Surely the time is now long overdue for non party elected representatives from each area to promote and look after the interests of his/her constituency without being constrained by the current party centric viewpoint, which sadly stands as a major stumbling block to commonsense and decency as well as the very real needs of the people.

When politicians put their own needs and those of their rich backers before those of the majority as our Conservative government is currently doing, by deliberately picking on the poor within our society, no sane man can still say that politicians have the well being of the nation at heart.

No matter what went before in the murky world of British party politics – be it the conservative, labour, liberal-democrat, or even at one time in the 1920’s, the communist point of view, imposing party held beliefs over and above the very real needs of the men, women, children, pensioners, youth of once great nations like ours simply in order to stay in power, must end. The time has now arrived when the greedy and selfish among us, who believe it is their God given right to rule over the rest must be banished into the dusty realms of history.

This country and others across the western world can no longer afford politicians in their present incarnation. To do so is to continue promoting the age old unacceptability of class division, and all that it sadly represents…

Before you ask, no I am not advocating the end of democracy, merely the end of party politics.