13/04/2024

Rishi Sunak in Shoe Upset

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Rishi Sunak has issued a 'fulsome apology' to Adidas Samba fans after after being ridiculed for 'ruining' their credibility with his latest footwear fashion faux pas.

In an interview on LBC he apologised to the Adidas Samba wearing community. 2024, man.

He was mocked for wearing them but in his defence he says he was a 'longtime devotee' of the brand. The trouble is there is no evidence, in all of the many pictures of him taken over the years, that he has ever worn them. We’re getting strong, “My girlfriend is hot but she goes to a different school,” vibes.

He also gets mocked for wearing trousers that are too short. I think this is a defence mechanism. He looks likes the kind of guy who was bullied and that’s why he dresses like he’s already been wedgied. The bullies won’t wedgie you if you’ve already been done. They’re busy people.

Meanwhile footwear historian Elizabeth Semmelhack told The Times it could prove to be 'the death knell' for the retro trainer which has previously been described as 'the defining sneaker of our age'.

Footwear historian is a job? We have reached over-employment. I don’t wish offend the footwear historian community when I say that.

The newspapers have often mocked Rishi for the attire. He’s held to a standard normally reserved for any woman in the public eye. Over the years they have mocked him for wearing hoodies, Timberland boots, and sliders.

It makes me feel sorry for the PM because he gets this scrutiny but Boris Johnson dresses like he slept in that suit before coming into work clinging to the side of a train and no one minded.

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12/04/2024

China Attacks The UK’s… Stamps?

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The latest front of an international war could be coming through your front door tomorrow morning. China has been accused of flooding Britain with fake stamps in act of, what some MPs have called, ‘economic warfare’.

The basic story is this: There’s a factory in China copying stamps, selling them for 4p each, but if Royal Mail finds it it costs the recipient £5.

That’s bad. But is it economic warfare? If that’s what brings the UK down China had a point. Centuries of ruling the world. We gave the world the industrial revolution, the internet, technology and medicine. But if was those stamps that did us in.

And who is still using stamps that much? Using stamps to attack the UK is like attacking us with fake Blockbuster video membership cards.

While it might be state sanction economic warfare it could also be the Government not caring. Try this as a thought experiment. “There’s a company in Reading making fake Argentinian stamps.” See how you didn’t really care? That.

The real scandal is that if someone sends you a letter with a dodgy stamp they charge you £5 now. It’s gone up. No, Post Office, we already don’t like you because of what you did to Toby Jones.

They’re also overestimating the importance of what they deliver to you these days. They’re saying, “Someone sent you something but if you want to know what it is it’ll cost you.”

They may have motivated us a few decades ago but now, if you give me the chance to not have something delivered, I’ll go for that. It’s saving me the effort of walking from the front door straight to the recycling bin.

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11/04/2024

William Wragg The Honeytrap MP – A Quick Explainer

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Poor old William Wragg, the member for having a quick look at. Not only did his parents, Mr and Mrs Wragg, name their son something that’s frequently shortened to Willy, but now he has resigned from some committees after being caught in a honeytrap.

Honeytrap makes it sound more romantic than it really is. He chatted with someone on Grindr and they exchanged pictures of their tallywhackers. The other guy sent his first but William wasn’t dragged up, he knows that etiquette dictates that one reciprocates with a DP. Manners cost nothing, apart from your position as the vice-chair of the 1922 committee.

They were then meant to meet up, which you could probably spell meet with an a for that. But they never did and the guy started to extort him, to really ring out Willy Wragg and wanted the phone numbers of other MPs. William gave them. He was a regular 118 118 guy, just without the shorts.

Some of those MPs replied to the todger pics they were sent with their own. See, manners. The scammer apparently messaged the MPs saying, "Hi, I met you in the parliamentary bar, have a look at this." And they didn't think this was suspicious.

Unless it’s one-upmanship. Like the peen version of that scene from Crocodile Dundee. “That’s not a knife. (*unzip*) This is a knife.”

William had already said he wasn’t standing at the next election but resigned his current positions and apologised. The worry was that someone managed to get compromising pictures of these politicians that easily. The only solution is for us to not to be shocked by it. The scammer would have no power if we all just presumed that these MPs are spending their time having a look at each other's ding-a-lings. Most of them went to public schools anyway.

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09/04/2024

Gen Z: Manners C̶o̶s̶t̶ / Are Worth Nothing

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The newspapers have a new obsession. They used to be fixated on Katie Price, Princess Diana and the judges in the UK, but now there’s a now show in town.

Gen Z, currently aged between 11 and 26, come under much scrutiny. The best thing about Gen Z is that they have made the papers stop hating Millennials. It’s a good thing too, because newspapers used the term Millennials to mean “young people” but they’re now 27 to 43. At 43 you don’t want to be picked on for being an annoying young person just as you’re heading into your mid-life crisis.

The latest trouble with Gen Z is that apparently they’re ditching traditional table manners because they're ''irrelevant'. I wonder how much of this is because Gen Z know they’re growing up into a world where they probably won’t be able to afford to buy a table. Research has found that there are still some rules they want to stick to. Chewing with your mouth closed is still seen as a good rule.

This is unsurprising as, from my limited time on TikTok, it seems like all young people claim to have misophonia, the medical condition where they can’t stand hearing other people chewing. To those people I say, “Hey, it’s not all about you! Some of us have to eat. I’m not going to starve to death because you’re being all fussy.”

The same research has found that Gen Z think it’s OK to put your elbows on the table. Before we all pile into chants of, “Tut, young people these days,” I want to be honest. I never understood that rule.

Closing your mouth when you eat is practical. It’s messy and, from the point of view of the eater, you don’t want to drop any.

What was the problem with elbows? If you don’t have a sturdy table and a little pressure on one side would make it tip, then I’m onboard. We either don’t do elbows or we all do elbows.

Thankfully society has moved on from making a table out of a disused dartboard rested on a stack of books, so most tables can handle it.

That makes the elbow rule one that isn’t needed but is adhered to out of convention. It’s like the act of shaking hands. Originally it was to show that you weren’t carrying a sword in that hand. These days we still do it despite no one carrying swords, making it unnecessary and knife crime still going up, making it unsuccessful.

In the research, 77% said they 'do not care about cutlery politics'. 60% say they don’t care which way round people hold their knife and fork.

But if we don’t have rules about how you use your cutlery, which knife does what, which way you should leave your knife and fork on your plate if you haven’t finished your meal and how you get soup into your mouth using a spoon how will we know which people are working class so we can judge them accordingly?

» Read the source story


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05/04/2024

World’s Oldest Man: The Secret to Living to 111

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The king is dead. Long live the king!

That phrase always struck me as heartless. Jeez, take a second before you move on. At least pretend you’ll miss the old one.

With a new king comes a new regime, a new set of rules. The same is true for a different kind of king; the title of world’s oldest man. If we are taught to respect our elders this guy is the Mac Daddy.

Britain is the proud home of the new holder of that title. John Tinniswood is officially the world’s oldest man at 111. It’s gender specific as the world’s oldest person is mainly a woman. It’s the one area where there would be push-back at biological women identify as men competing. It’s not often the controversy is that way round.

John says he isn’t too bothered by the title. I understand why. It’s one you only get when someone of your approximate age has just died, which is hardly something to celebrate. It’s also a title that you only lose one way. Put it this way, it’s a title for life. What’s left of it.

Normally news stories tell us about the world’s oldest man or woman and they ask the OAP for their secret to living so long. They don’t have a secret. It wasn’t something that set out to do. No 18-year-old has their eye on the title.

Nevertheless the old person will say they have a drink every day or they enjoy a good fry up and the newspapers make it seem like that is scientific evidence. “See, this old person smokes cigars and lived to 111, ergo smoking cigars is good for you.”

These stories totally ignore the other evidence that’s out there of all of the millions of people who also smoked cigars and died in their 50s or 60s. They’re outliers.

Newspapers prefer the narrative that these old people prove medicine wrong. They want to say, “Don’t listen to so-called experts. This guy had red meat seasoned with methamphetamine every teatime and he lived to 100.”

Cut to 2024. The newest oldest man is crowned and Mr Tinniswood puts his longevity down to the fact he does not smoke and rarely drinks alcohol.

I’m amazed the newspapers even mentioned him. No one likes people who rarely drink. He was officially named the world’s oldest man by the Guinness Book of Records. I bet they’re furious. They’ve got stout to flog.

John is a great-grandfather from Merseyside. If the people from Guinness have just left could you send them back. I think most people in Merseyside are great-grandparents by 36, so he might be getting his second record of the day.

The final word should go to John who said his secret to longevity is "pure luck", adding: "You either live long or you live short, and you can't do much about it." He’s 111 and he’s talking more sense than most stories about people living to an old age.

» Read the source story


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04/04/2024

You Won’t Believe What Lulu Doesn’t Do (You Really Will)

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When you interview a celeb you hope to have a moment in the interview that goes viral. All you need is one answer to a question that is shocking and the whole interview will have been worth it.

The celebs must want the same thing too. No one does an interview in the hope that no one notices. Even with both parties working in concert sometimes you really have to reach to make an answer seem shocking. Here is a case study.

The Mirror newspaper had the headline: “Lulu reveals one thing she refuses to do before 12pm and it's almost unimaginable.”

Obviously our minds try to guess what it could be and we all think of something that’s rude. Is it the old, freelancers lie down? A hand shandy? Some Lulu special time?

Of course it’s not that, sadly. Why would someone in a celebrity interview with the BBC boast that they can hold off from self-abuse till midday? It rather implies that as soon as the clock has done striking 12 she’d be on herself like a drunk and of office party.

In the article in the Mirror it takes five paragraphs of building up the suspense before they finally reveal…

"I don't speak before 12 noon."

Oh. Yeah, sure. That makes sense. When I used to live on my own I did that because I didn’t walk round the flat talking to myself. Heck, when I was a student I didn’t talk till 12pm mainly because I didn’t wake till 1pm.

Lulu said: "I can understand why you think I'm lying but no, I'm very disciplined."

Why would anyone lie about that? It’s not the same as boasting that you recycle, only buy organic food and regularly buy Te Big Issue. You don’t talk till midday and you’re a famous singer. People in your profession have done much weirder things. You technically have the same job as Ozzy Osbourne. In comparison you are not non-weird one.

Lulu added: "I try not to come out of my room until 12. It makes it easier. I take care of my instrument.”

I knew it was masturbation!

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03/04/2024

The UK is Full of S**t (well, the waterways at least)

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There is a problem in this country and it smells like you-know-what, because it is you-know-what. Our waterways are full of it.

You’d think the sixth richest nation could manage basic sanitation but in 2024 in the UK you’d be wrong.

It’s so bad that this weekend’s boat race was affected by the amount of e.coli in The Thames. I know what you’re thinking, “When will the kids who go to Oxford and Cambridge Universities get a break in life?”

But it’s an embarrassment that we can’t even hold an event on our rivers now. The rowers were given safety advice before the race that they should avoid getting any splashed water in their mouths. During a rowing race!? You might as well tell them to try not to rush.

Leonard Jenkins of the Oxford men’s team said, “It would be a lot nicer of there wasn’t as much poo in the water.”

How terrible that that needs to be said. The only time that would be worse to hear is in a Trip Advisor review of a cafe.

On Wednesday, Environment Agency figures revealed raw sewage spills doubled last year in England to 3.6 million hours of spills compared with 1.75 million hours in 2022. I was shocked that it happens so much we have to measure poos by the hour. To put this in terms you can relate to, an hour of poo is about 30 trip for a woman and about 2 for a man.

This is because our water systems get overwhelmed when there is a lot of rain. Hello, have you met the UK before? Rain is pretty much our thing. Sewage is spilled into waterways to prevent the system backing up.

In a statement issued before the race, Thames Water said: "We have experienced higher than average long-term rainfall across London.” How can you have higher than average “long-term” rainfall. If it’s long-term, it increases the average. Step up and cope with it.

Water companies have two jobs. Well, they have lots of jobs that they keep releasing into our rivers. But they have two main functions to provide. They should give us clean, drinkable water. Remember that when, in a few months time, we’re going from “higher than average, long-term rainfall” to hosepipe bans.

Water firms in England and Wales lost 1 trillion litres via leaky pipes in 2021. That’s more than three and a half Lake Windermeres wasted, yet you’ll be told you can’t water your Rhododendron.

The other role they need to provide is to take our waste away and keep it away. That’s not what happens. If you’re a wild swimmer there’s a good chance you’ll be reunited with your waste when you go for an open mouthed swim.

What can we do if the water companies continue to fail? Basically, nothing. I’d say fine them but it’ll just be added to the water bills we pay. We’ll pay more for the pleasure of swimming with our own poops. It won’t hit their profits.

In 2022-23, England's water firms made £1.7bn in pre-tax profits. This is up 82% since 2018-19. Water UK, the industry trade body, said bills would increase by 6% on average next financial year – more than the current 4% inflation rate. You know what I’d accuse them of taking, but they’re literally not. They’re letting our boat racers drink it.

It would help if we could have a nuanced debate about privatisation. You don’t have to always love it or always hate it. A public owned British Telecom was slow and needlessly bureaucratic. It used to take months to apply to get a second phone installed in your own home. But privatisation only works when you can bring in competition. If I don’t like my local water company my only option is to buy a lot of bottled water and wash my clothes in a local river and I’m not going near that, it’s full of poops.

Having a private company in charge of a local monopoly will always mean they prioritise profits over reinvestment to keep the system running.

If you have any solutions I would say you should float them by me, but we have enough of that happening already.



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29/03/2024

Why Is Music So Angry?

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No, you're not wrong. Music really is worse these days than it was when you were younger.

That's not exactly the finding of some new research but it's close enough. A study looked at lyrics of popular songs and found that they're angrier and more repetitive since the 80s.

That shouldn't really come as a surprise. You didn't see that parental advisory sticker on old gramophone records. There was no explicit remix of George Formby's When I'm Cleaning Mother***king Windows, B**ch!" Although that song is about some perv watching a newly married couple have sex, but it's not angry or repetitive so that makes it OK.

They looked at lyrics in rock, rap, country, pop and R&B songs. At the risk of getting cancelled, it feels like rap must be doing a lot of the work here. In the 1980s rap songs seemed peaceful when compared to the drill music that Daily Mail readers get angry about. Although back in the 80s we had songs like The Sugarhill Gang's (see, there were gangs back then too) “Apache” with the lyrics...

Tonto, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it
Kemosabe, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it
Custer, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it
Apache, jump on it, jump on it, woo

Cultural appropriation aside, that's quite repetitive. If a song is quicker to write using control-C, control-V you're repetitive.

Rock songs of the 1980s included things like Van Halen's Jump with the lyrics.

Ah, might as well jump (jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump (jump)
Go ahead and jump

Still repetitive but for a song that's actually called Jump it tells you to jump less than The Sugarhill Gang did.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that anger-related words may have become more common because music "reflects more general changes in society and culture". So, we're more miserable. That fits.

It's not all negative news. Eva Zangerle, an assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck's department of computer science in Austria, found that songs are simpler these days and easier to understand.

I'm grateful for that. The 80s had songs like Teddy Pendergrass "Love T.K.O." which I don't know if that's a good thing or not. The 90s had "Smells Like Teen Spirit" whatever that is.

It predates this study but in 1968 Song by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap released Young Girl, which is basically someone admitting they should be on a register.

Modern day songs are easier, like Megan Thee Stallion's, WAP, which seems to be about a cat in a bath. Ah, simpler times.

» Read the source story


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28/03/2024

Brexit Fallout: Passport Chaos

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Ah, Brexit. In the old days this was the subject you’d talk about if you wanted to get angry people online telling you they’d never listen to your radio show ever again. These days that’s more of a “vaccines work” or “Princess Kate isn’t AI” thing to do.

The latest fallout is still falling out. Millions of Brits are discovering that their trusty passports are about as useful as a chocolate teapot for getting into the EU. Less so, actually. At least you could eat that.

As the Easter exodus approaches, an estimated 2.4 million travellers are learning the hard way that their documents are now just fancy paperweights. It used to be possible to travel within the EU on a passport that was over ten years old. It was also possible to travel with ID from your driving licence or a particularly good Blockbuster Video card.

Since Brexit, British passports must have an issue date less than 10 years old on the day of departure to the EU, and must have at least three months left before their expiry date on the intended day of return. But millions of passports issued prior to September 2018 have longer validity periods.

It is annoying that your passport looks like it’s valid for the trip but won’t be. Back then, when you’re passport was issued, it didn’t know what was going to happen. That’s because your passport is a left-wing socialist media elite who doesn’t think that anyone would vote to leave.

It is slightly rum to complain about this. You can’t vote to become a third country and then be upset that you’re treated like you’re a third country. It’s like dumping your partner and getting in a mood that they don’t let you use their Netflix log in any more. (You know who you are.)

Normally, the good advice would be to check the expiry date but that’s the problem here. Ignore the expiry date. {Insert joke about prawn in the local takeaway.}

You need to check the date of issue and if that’s over ten years old it won’t work for you. {Insert joke about Prince Andrew.}

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Separation of Church and the State of It

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Newspapers have reported that Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi was given a Muslim funeral and burial despite claiming to have converted to Christianity.

It’s almost as if what we’re seeing could suggest his conversion to Christianity was… not fully successful?

There are other signs he wasn’t a good Christian. Throwing alkaline chemicals at an ex and children but this is another sign.

This is an important issue. His conversion to Christianity was why he was still in the country even though he was a proven sex offender. It’s not the first time the church has been linked to harbouring sex offenders so we should have guessed.

The 35-year-old Afghan national had twice been refused asylum by the Home Office, and was considered so dangerous by the Baptist Church that it drew up a 'safeguarding contract' for the safety of parishioners over his sex assault and exposure convictions. Still, someone from the church gave him a character reference.

It shouldn’t matter if he fake converted or even really converted. If you have broken enough laws that you should be deported, religion shouldn’t come into it.

Of course someone who works for the church will vouch for you, they’re all about forgiveness, but our courts should be about facts.

MPs have said the Rwanda bill would have stopped this happening. No. The deal includes Rwanda’s right to send my any asylum seeker with a criminal record back to the UK. So he’s be exactly the kind of person the Rwanda bill would keep in the UK.

So the church might not be helping but the state isn’t doing much either.

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23/03/2024

Why Nike Hasn’t Done Anything Wrong With The St George’s Flag

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I haven’t see a flag cause this much upset since… well, actually all of them recently.

Nike released a new football kit with a slightly altered St George’s flag and it’s all kicked off like a fight at a football game. Even the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that Nike shouldn’t mess with it. And if anyone knows about messing up England…

Sir Keir Starmer also said the brand should “change it back”. It’s a rare case of agreement across the political divide but why has it stirred up so much anger?

People feel attached to the flag that represents their part of the world. There’s nothing wrong with this but it elevates a small strip of fabric to a level of importance in people’s lives. Attacking that swatch can cause great offence. You will see people burning flags as a protest over many issues.

If burning a flag is offensive you can see why redesigning a flag might leave people at least a bit peeved.

Sunak said: “When it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them because they’re a source of pride, identity, who we are and they’re perfect as they are.”

The St George Cross has a complicating factor that for a while it’s been linked to far-right movements in the UK but refusing to the use that flag after this rather gives into the racists. Don’t let them make the flag synonymous with racists. Besides, it’s also used by a lot of passionate football supporters, which might be two circles on a Venn diagram with some overlap but it’s not a circle.

While the media has been drawn into a debate on the symbolism of the flag and the impact of a national flag being alerted we all seem to forget one key thing; Nike hasn’t altered the flag.

They have added a strange little cross to the back of a football kit but that isn’t the St George’s flag any more. On X, formerly a properly named social media platform, Nike described it as “a playful update” to the flag “to unite and inspire”.

It’s not though. If you draw a six-coloured cross you haven’t done the St George one. It also won’t unite and inspire. Adding purple to a flag is only inclusive if you’re Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies.

If you’re outraged that the England kit no longer has a St George Cross on it, take a look at the winning team from the 1966 World Cup. They were in white and red but at no point do those colours form a cross on them.

All that’s happened here is Nike added a weird multicoloured cross to the new football kit but the St George’s flag remains the same colour it’s always been.

You can buy anything that has the St George's Cross on it and it will still be the correct one. The only thing you can't buy is the new Nike kit and at £124 for adult sizes and £119 for kids that feels like a win.

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21/03/2024

Now Britain Has Wild Wolves to Worry About?

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There’s a move to reintroduce wolves back into Britain. I know some people miss the good old days but how far back are we trying to go?

Speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival, rewilding campaigner Derek Gow claimed the portrayal of wild creatures as ‘terrifying’ is false. More people are killed by pet dogs than by wolves.

This checks out. There are more people with pet dogs and also there are no wolves in the UK, so it’s not surprising data. Plus, we tend to keep pets nearer to us, so if they kick off you’ll know about it.

The key issue here is that it’s not an “either/or” situation. A study found that “some” people would be killed by wolves if we had them but far fewer than by dangerous dogs. But those deaths would just add together. Dogs wouldn't let more people live when they find out there’s another animal doing some of their work.

Derek claims we need to control deer numbers and wolves would do it. They’d also control some livestock numbers, which is bad news for the farmers and not great for the sheep.

Derek said, “People say, ‘Oh, we have to kill more, we have to eat more venison,’ but it hasn’t happened so far. We’re not very good deer hunters.”

He’s right. We Brits aren’t good deer hunters. We need to get some Americans in. Although they would probably kill more Brits than dogs.

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20/03/2024

Scotland To Ban Comedy?

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Free speech north of the border has become a hot topic. Humza Yousaf's “hate crime” bill will apparently target actors and comedians. So, no, I guess I’m not doing Edinburgh this year.

This is according to leaked training information from Police Scotland. They’re being taught how to apply this new law, which comes in on April 1st, which seems fitting.

The leak says the police will be allowed to arrest and charge performers if they are reported to police for communicating 'threatening or abusive material.'

Because we live in a time when people will definitely complain to the police if there’s something they don’t like, this law will get used. The problem always starts when you have to define what is threatening. If you leave it to the person who feels threatened to define it there will be no limit to what will be criminalised. Some people are terrified of clowns, so they’d be in jail for sure.

As someone who chose to make comedy their career, I have picked a side. It’s comedy. The clue is in the title. You should be allowed to say things you wouldn’t normally say. Push a boundary. Satirise. Lampoon. If you say something that is offensive, the market forces should mean you don’t sell tickets. But arresting comedians feels like it’s crossing a line.

The new offence is called "stirring up hatred". It sounds like it’s up there with the offence of putting the cat among the pigeons, and the lesser crime of letting it out of the bag.

I’m not the only performer who is worried about the restrictions this could bring in. Someone else who has voiced concern is the well-known right-wing fire-brand hate peddler… Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson.

Is he really a hate stirrer in Scotland? Then again, he also plays Johnny English which might be done to wind them up.

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15/03/2024

Is Cold Therapy A Hot Idea?

Let’s spin this as good news for you if you can’t afford your heating bills. Scientists have found that cold therapy actually is good for you.

It’s proof that 'The Iceman' Wim Hof's hellish method really does wonders for your health. Plunging yourself into an ice bath 'reduces inflammation'.

The idea of sitting in a bath full of freezing cold water makes me like the sound of this inflammation thing. Put me down for that one.

Wim Hof is an extreme athlete who does lots of things in the cold. It seems doing such activities could unlock a multitude of benefits including reduced stress levels, a stronger immune system, increased energy, better sleep, heightened focus and smaller willy.

A lot of this doesn’t make sense to me. Whatever your life is like you will have a certain level of stress. But if you live that same life but also have to sit in a freezing cold bath on top of it, how is that less stressful? There’s something else going on here. My guess would be trauma response.

The actual scientists found cold therapy and ice baths caused an increase in adrenaline levels, which can indirectly reduce inflammation.

OK, but there are many things that cause adrenaline levels to increase that don’t involve freezing your nips off. Extreme sports. Being a passenger in a car with a bad driver. A row with your spouse. They all cause increased adrenaline and the last two might be connected.

While the results suggest that the method may have physiological benefits, researchers stressed the need for more robust, confirmatory research before the method can be recommended.

How do you do proper trials? How do you check for the placebo effect? If you tell someone they’re having a cold bath but they’re not, they’ll notice the lack of water when they get in.

It all works for Wim Hof who holds 21 Guinness World Records for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro while wearing shorts, swimming 66 metres below ice, standing for two hours in a container filled with ice cubes, and running a half marathon over the Arctic Circle.

Has anyone checked if he’s depressed?

» Read the source story


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[Podcast] Manners, Tea & Fry-Ups

A new episode of Steve N Allen (almost) Daily is out.

🔊 In today’s episode:

• No, phones should be looked at at the dinner table
• You can cook in your dishwasher
• Fry ups or Fly ups?
• And a thing about tea
• Plus other nuggets from the news in podcast form

All of that might not make much sense, but it might when you’ve listened.

💻 Follow on X/Insta/TikTok/Threads/BlueSky it’s @mrstevenallen for all.

📧 And email to me@mrstevenallen.co.uk with any comments, questions or listeners’ emails.

☕ Care to tip your host? Wouldn’t that be nice? ko-fi.com/mrstevenallen

You can get even more episodes on iTunes


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11/03/2024

UK Isn’t The Most Miserable Place

Uzbekistan is the ONLY nation more miserable than Britain. Don’t worry, if we try hard, we can get to number one. I have faith in the British people. But not too much faith or that might make me less miserable.

They do a world well-being chart to map happiness for some reason and the UK only ranked 70th out of 71 countries in terms of mood, outlook on life and self-esteem in 2023, scoring only 49 on the mental well-being.

What they have discovered there is that we Brits love to moan and all that practice means we’re really good at it. Give us the sixth biggest economy in the world and we can still moan like former members of the Soviet Union.

The global average well-being score was 65 but remember there’ll be those really positive American types skewing that upwards.

It’s not good to see Uzbekistan and the UK with similar scores. It’s a depressing place with a weak economy and corrupt leaders, but it’s the UK and it’s where we live.

At the top of the chart impoverished African and Latin American countries scored the highest, with the Dominican Republic ranking first and Tanzania third.

The other key trend the researchers noticed is that mental well-being is worse in younger age groups in every country where people are able to access the Internet.

I’m not sure the web is to blame. If Internet access made you sad Talk Talk customers would be the happiest people in the UK.

» Read the source story


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08/03/2024

Rishi Sunak & Akshata Murty In Grazia Fail

Rishi Sunak and his wife gave an interview the Grazia magazine and video clips from it went viral from all the wrong reasons.

It’s a standard thing on the run up to a general election, the Prime Minister will give an interview in the hope of coming across as a normal human. It’s telling that our leaders need help from a media team to look like a normal human but we are were we are.

Teresa May did the same on The One Show before the 2017 election where she said the worst thing she ever did was run through a field of wheat. No, it was probably something you did when you were Home Secretary.

It was a fascinating glimpse into the marriage of the current PM as he seems to complain a lot. He mentioned the fact that he doesn’t get time to exercise but she does, that his wife gives the kids unhealthy food, she doesn’t stack the dishwasher correctly and she doesn’t make the bed right.

If I were married to a billionaire I’d probably shut up about that stuff. If my other-half had that much money I’d let her stack the dishwasher all knives up without mentioning it.

There’s a level of passive aggression to it. Previously I presumed he was the kind of man who tried to avoid conflict. His trousers always look like he walks into a room pre-wedgied. I thought that was his way to avoid being bullied at school, to look like he’d already been done.

Rishi went on to explain that after his wife has loaded the dishwasher he’d re-stack it to get it right. After she’d made the bed he’d pop in and make it again properly. It’s a good thing he isn’t busy with anything important. When journalists ask, “How’s it going stopping the small boats?” he should be honest and reply, “Well, not great, but this dishwasher is doing an excellent job.”

After his delight in such domestic tasks was revealed he was asked which he preferred, loading the dishwasher or making the bed. He said, “They both have nice, satisfying endings,” before he picked making the bed. Oi! Oi! You randy old dog, Rishi.

It’s the most human thing he said in that interview and it was by accident.



» Read the source story


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03/03/2024

Gen Z Invent Books

I read the shocking headline, “UK in the midst of a boom in book clubs as gen Z’s hobbies change”, which made my reading of headlines look weak.

It’s a big change. Once nightclubs or sports clubs brought people together. Now there’s a boom in people getting together online and in person to discuss their favourite books. And we wonder why the birth rate has dropped.

It’s Gen Z leading this because they are the most boring generation in history. Gen Z don’t drink, they don’t have sex and now they join book clubs. Gen Z also have that phrase, “OK Boomer!” You’re living on a Boomer! You’re living like you are a retiree.

The trend coincides with the launch of book clubs by young celebrities, including singer Dua Lipa. She’s good with words. I have been learning Italian on her app.

One book club owner said: “Book clubs have opened up a safe space in communities, particularly for women. Conversations about the chosen book can also segue into real life issues and discussions about being lonely in London”.

That sounds like a fun night. And then you all conference call The Samaritans?

So, that story again, young people discover books!

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28/02/2024

Let Them Eat… Cornflakes?

In a shocking display of cereal insensitivity, the chief executive of Kellogg’s has suggested that poor people should eat cereal for dinner instead of chicken or other more expensive options.

Gary Pilnick, who raked in a whopping $4m (£3.2m) last year, made the tone-deaf remarks during an interview on CNBC, where he boasted about the company’s efforts to appeal to cash-strapped shoppers.

Let’s be honest, no company is trying to help other people. He’s trying to get more people to eat more of their product to boost sales.

They already have breakfast and that emergency meal when you get home after a night of drinking. They want to own part of dinner too.

Kellogg’s, which produces such breakfast staples as Corn Flakes, Special K and Coco Pops, has been running adverts in the US with the catchy slogan: “Give chicken the night off”.

Other options were probably, “Give hot food the night off,” or, “Give nutrition a night off.”

Mr Pilnick explained: "Consumers are under pressure… so we’re advertising about cereal for dinner, if you think about the cost of cereal for a family versus what they might otherwise do, that’s going to be much more affordable…

That company has been telling us what to do for a long while now. Corn flakes were invented by John Harvey Kellogg and, according to the Internet, they were invented to stop masturbation. I’m not sure how but as someone who eats a lot of cereal I have bad preliminary results for our John.

As long as you don’t try doing both at the same time you’re golden.

People on social media pointed out that the price of a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes has increase 28% recently and now costs the same as a family-size lasagne, which at least has some protein in it.

He makes a good point though. Cereal is cheap just not the Kellogg stuff, so if you’re cash-strapped try changing your cereal to a store brand. Well done, Pilnick, that’s some great PR.

» Read the source story


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27/02/2024

Let’s Solve Discipline In Schools

'Scared' teachers are locking classrooms because of violent pupils. That’s how bad things are getting in our schools. As a point of interest they’re locking the doors to keep the pupils out. If they could work it so that they were locking the pupils in it would be better for all of us but I think I have just described a prison.

There’s been an increase in bad behaviour in schools. It’s been worse after the pandemic because they made people think that school wasn’t such a necessity. And it’s not as long as you don’t mind growing up with no hope or prospects. So it’s good to have choice.

A lot of this is to do with the parents. In the old days, it was the parents and teachers against the child. You’d fear them teaming up at a parents’ evening. When the teacher told your parents what you were like in school it was the meeting of your two world. Another way to look at it is to say it’s like Germany fighting Russia and the Allied Forces, depending on how bad you were at school, I suppose.

Now it seems to be the case that the parents take the kid’s side against the teacher and that doesn’t work. You know the old phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Yes, it does and that village has to team up against the child to stand any hope of winning.

The problem is there’s no threat of consequences. Yes, we have seen an increase in the number of pupils expelled but telling a child who hates school, “Stop that or you won’t be allowed to come to school,” is less of a stick than you think it is and has a slight smell of carrot.

So, we need a bigger threat of consequences. Let me be clear, I am not in favour of parents hitting their children. I could understand who the person you love the most and who is meant to love you the most striking you could be upsetting on an emotional level. But hear me out… maybe other people should be allowed to hit your children.

It would give the teachers that edge and for some would be better than a pay rise, so we’d have sorted out that industrial action too.

What lesson would we be teaching the children? If you are really annoying out there in the real world you run the risk that someone might hit you. Yeah, that’s kind of a true fact that you have to learn about the real world. It would be nice to teach something in school that would actually be useful later in life.

» Read the source story


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24/02/2024

Would You Marry An AI?

The search for “the one” can be tricky but like most things in the modern day world, a computer can help.

A woman called Alicia Framis married an AI. It’s AILex, a Dutch hologram, who was programmed with the data of her former flames.

If the past partners were they good why are they past partners? But maybe that’s not the biggest issue right now. She’s marrying an AI.

For months the newspapers have been telling us that AI could end humanity. It looks like it won’t be in the style of Skynet with a war, it’s this. The AI will marry us and we’ll stop breeding. Well, we’ll stop having human children. I’m sure Alicia and AILex might have a Tamagotchi together.

AI is getting realistic these days. AILex, who looks like a cross between a disco ball and a ghost, often complains about Alicia's cooking, her cleaning, and her presence.

OK, no wonder the source data was from people she’s not with now.

The AI said, "If you're not there, I miss you very much," he said in a video. "And then when you're there, you very often irritate me."

It sounds like he’d be happier with someone else. He should try dating an AI.

Alicia has form. Back in 1995, she moved in with a mannequin named Villeneuve, who she dressed up and took out on dates. She later dumped him for another dummy, Pierre, who she lived with until she met AILex.

Are these the exes that were sampled for the AI? I bet the conversation is lacking.

Alicia has said she thinks that dating a hologram could be the future of relationships. Obviously there will be no physical contact between them. So, it’s like they’ve been married for a while.

» Read the source story


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22/02/2024

Oldest Dog Was A Fake

In a shocking twist of events, Bobi the dog, who was hailed as the world’s oldest dog last year, has been exposed as a fraud and stripped of his title by Guinness World Records.

This is up there with the con your parents pulled when your goldfish died and they swapped it out for a new one that looked the same.

The elderly pooch, who passed away in October 2023, was claimed to be 31 years and 165 days old by his owner, Leonel Costa, from Conqueiros, Portugal.

I don’t know what that is in dog years but neither does Bobi, the cheat.

Costa said he had a microchip to prove Bobi’s age, but Guinness said the chip was not enough to verify the dog’s date of birth.

How could it not be? Is the implication that you could have a dog microchipped, when it dies, get the old penknife out, get the chip and cram it in another dog?

Bobi, a Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed that usually lives for 12-14 years. So two of those just about fills the 31 years. Hmm.

The owner said Bobi was a rescue dog who had lived a long and happy life with him and his family. He didn’t add, “There was that odd time about 14 years ago when he got taller and changed colour but...”

Experts have called upon Guinness World Records to be more rigorous with their testing before handing out titles for the world’s oldest dog.

At the very least they should see if the animal can learn a new trick.

» Read the source story


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NASA Is Looking For Martians

NASA is looking for Martians. That sounds like a better plan that the people at SETI have. Do spend all your time looking for aliens, just put an ad out and wait for them to come to you.

However, it’s not real Martians they’re after. They're looking for four plucky volunteers to spend a year living on Mars. Don’t do it. I’m not expert but I saw a film with Matt Damon in it and you have to poo on your potatoes or something.

Not only are they not looking for real Martians it’s not the actual Mars, it’s a 3D-printed replica of it. In reality they’re looking for four people who hate people so much they want to lock themselves away. And who wouldn’t want to spend a year locked up with people like that?

It’s for NASA's Chapea programme (that's Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog for those of you who love a good acronym). The aim? To develop and test the systems that will be used by the first astronauts to visit Mars, with missions planned for the 2030s. So, best case scenario, you DON’T go mad.

The lucky (or should that be brave?) volunteers will be living in a cosy 1,700 sq ft habitat called Mars Dune Alpha. The might seem small for some so they should recruit from people who live in London who would love that much space.

It's designed to simulate the challenges of a Mars mission, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays. It’s like being on the 3 mobile network.

The crew will undertake simulated spacewalks, robotic operations, habitat maintenance, exercise, and even crop growth in the computer-generated reconstruction of the Martian surface.

It might seem silly doing all of this pretend stuff, but remember many people spend their evenings playing computer games pretending they’re answering the Call of Duty, so it’s not too bad.

There are a few requirements. You'll need a university degree in engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science, and subsequent experience in those fields, or 1,000 hours as a pilot.

If you are a qualified pilot and you want to spend a year grounded, trapped in a space that’s too small to fly in, you probably weren’t a great pilot anyway.

It seems like a faff now but imagine how good that gig would have been to get just before the pandemic.

» Read the source story


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21/02/2024

Office Romps Get Better With Age

A new survey has brought upsetting news. Older workers are more likely to have an office fling than younger ones. That’s upsetting if you’re a younger worker as it means you’re not getting as much fun, but even worse news is that you might walk in on two office veterans getting at it.

It's the "silver surfers" who are keeping the photocopiers warm with their, ahem, extracurricular activities. That could possibly be explained by the fact that young workers like to work from home these days. It is much harder to have a romp in the stationery cupboard when you only Zoom in once a week.

You’d have to travel in specially, book the stationery cupboard out, find someone who’s up for some fun in there. It’s a big faff.

In the poll of 2,000 office workers, a whopping 9.5% of those aged 65-75 confessed to getting, ahem, "friendly" with a colleague in the office in the past year. And that’s just the ones that can remember it.

That's almost ten times the number of Gen Z-ers who admitted to the same.

While the young people get flack for their “quiet quitting” at least they spend their time at work doing some work, not doing someone from accounts.

» Read the source story


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20/02/2024

Sleepless in Britain

Are you feeling groggy, grumpy and generally rubbish? You’re not alone. A new study has revealed that we Brits are losing a whopping 30 days of sleep each year. That’s more than a February!

The study, commissioned by an app called Lingo, found that the average person gets only six hours of shut-eye a night, two hours less than the NHS recommends. Although I don’t know if you have ever tried to get sleep in an NHS ward. They need to get their own house in order.

But why are we so bad at sleeping? Is it the stress of work, the lure of Netflix, or the constant fear of missing out on something more exciting than counting sheep? It depends on if you’re into sheep, I suppose.

According to Dr Noreen Nguru, a doctor and sleep specialist, there are ten common bedtime habits that are ruining our chances of a good night’s rest. And some of them might surprise you. But I hope not because I surprise can’t help you sleep either.

Did you know that reading before bed can actually keep you awake? Dr Nguru says: “Anything that elevates your heart rate and stress hormones – even a passionate discussion – can make it tough to fall asleep.” You need a boring book? I’m still selling mine on Amazon.

Another thing you might be doing wrong is using the wrong toothpaste. Apparently, strong mint-based products can stimulate your brain and make you alert, just like a cup of coffee. Try rohypnol flavour instead.

But don’t get too cosy in bed, especially if you have a partner. Dr Nguru warns that having lots of sex before bed can actually make you too hot to sleep. But on the other hand you would have just had some sex, so stop complaining.

And finally, don’t skip the cuppa. Contrary to popular belief, drinking tea won’t stop you from sleeping, as long as you don’t drink it too close to bedtime. In fact, a 2020 study found that tea drinkers in Northern Ireland slept longer and better than those in the South West, who drank less tea. Dr Nguru says that tea contains properties that reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Hang on. Surely sex also reduces stress and promotes relaxation though. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong. Or making tea wrongly.

» Read the source story


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19/02/2024

The Tooth Fairy Inflation

Remember the good old days when losing a tooth meant finding a shiny coin under your pillow? Well, those days are long gone, as some parents are spoiling their kids with lavish gifts from the tooth fairy.

It’s a fool’s plan. What’s the incentive for your child? Lose as many teeth as possible and you’ll get nice things?

According to a recent survey by Delta Dental, the average amount of money that children receive for a lost tooth has tripled in the past two decades, from $1.88 in 2001 to $6.24 in 2023. We keep looking for the source of the painful inflation that has hit us hard. I think we’ve got it.

Some parents are also leaving behind expensive items such as video games, iPhones, and even designer jewellery. Why? Is the tooth fairy trying to fence some stolen goods?

Mark Burhenne, a former dentist who runs the website AsktheDentist.com, attributed this trend to parental competition and guilt.

As a parent I have felt guilty from time to time but never enough to buy a new iPhone. What the hell have those parents done that means they have to do that? Buy some flowers and be better.

Mark said of the parents, “They feel bad that they don’t spend enough time with their kids, so they try to make up for it with extravagant gifts.”

From the point of view of the child, I think it’s a good deal. If you go to work but buy me nice stuff, I’d be OK with that. But why do I have to lose teeth first?

Meanwhile, in the UK, known for its dentistry but not in a good way, Natasha Evans, from Cheshire, said that she gave her daughter three one-pound coins and two chocolate coins.

There’s nothing like giving sugar to your child when they are just about to get their adult teeth. Sadly, when you have a tooth pulled by a dentist when you’re a fully grown adult, YOU have to pay THEM.

» Read the source story


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