So, let’s put this in terms that Trump can understand:
One student or faculty member is worth $600,000
One mass shooting victim is worth $203,883.50
One person killed by a firearm (non-suicide) is worth $1346.93
One person killed by a firearm (inc suicides) is worth $558.64
The price of a life, eh? And of course, as time goes on and those numbers of dead rise, the value of a life falls.
Hope the NRA are pleased with the bargain they got.
A man with a big scythe and mounted on an impossibly white steed arrived to pick up the soul of one Sir Terry Pratchett, aged 66 today. Pratchett, for those who’ve lived in a literary black hole for the last thirty years or so, was the genius behind the Discworld novels and all the history, back story and associated paraphernalia with the fantasy land he’d created.
I was introduced to Discworld by a handful of friends at school who latched on to them a little earlier than I did – Indy and Richard were the main guilty parties if I remember correctly. From reading The Colour of Magic I was hooked.
Annoyingly Terry Pratchett was a hugely prodigious author, chucking out a couple of books a year which made collecting his works quite pricey. On the other hand, they were almost without exception work paying for. Some of my favourite reads of all time flowed from his wonderfully creative mind, including Good Omens which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman.
What made his work stand out, to me, was the way he wrote rather than what he wrote. The fantasy world he created was as good as any other which flowed from the pens and keyboards of many an author but his humorous style was second to none. With a bevy of pop culture references in his novels (annotated guides appeared on the internet many years ago which I downloaded, printed and promptly lost while at university), there was an extra layer to the stories which gave them an extra level of re-readability.
What I truly appreciated about him, though, was his eagerness to engage with his readers. Along with Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett took to the internet with aplomb in its earlier days as a publicly accessible network and regularly posted on alt.fan.pratchett, a newsgroup on the old usenet system. I remember him asking questions about the physics surrounding someone randomly teleporting from one place to another, and the input from respondents was used in (I think) The Last Continent.
He regularly did signing tours and would sign anything and everything he was given… with a different quote in each. I attended two signings in one day in Leeds many years ago, between which I think he signed about 15 books I had. Each one annotated “Best Wishes”, “More Best Wishes”, “Son of Best Wishes” and so on. He added drawings and stamps to his repertoire as the years went on.
And then he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
One of the most active and creative literary minds of our generation was being eaten away from within. A more cruel punishment for a person I cannot imagine. Yet, despite this, he ploughed on. He still had stories to tell and no damn debilitating mental condition was going to stop him.
Utilising copious notes and voice recognition software to allow him to keep track of the plots while writing as quickly as possible, and with the aid of friends and family, his output slowed but did not stop. Did he need to write more to pay the mortgage? No. He wrote because he was good at it, enjoyed it an – most importantly – other people got happiness from something he did. And also to piss off the Alzheimer’s, a condition he called an “embuggerance”.
And now that creative mind has ceased to function. News was released some months ago that his daughter Rhianna would take over the Discworld when her father passed, and on her capable (trust me, I’ve read some of her stuff) shoulders that responsibility now lies.
Thank you, PTerry (sic). Thank you for seventy-plus novels of laughs. Thank you for being one of many people who engendered in me a genuine love for the written word and how beautifully it can be crafted.
Enjoy that final ride on Binky. Such a brilliant moniker that we named our last dog after him. I just wish your hourglass had been that bit bigger.
Sorry folks, by using facebook (for free, remember) you agree to *their* terms and conditions. If you don’t agree to them, then you can’t use the service. It’s not an “agreement” in that you sit down over a pint and discuss one-to-one how you’re going to use the service (for free) and then walk off after a handshake.
Facebook provide you with a contract to which you must agree to use their service. Part of that contract is that they are permitted to *change* that contract as long as they give fair notice (they seem to think 7 days is fair). If you don’t agree to the contract (in whole or in part), you don’t use the service. That’s the agreement.
Frankly, I think it’s a storm in a teacup. The example of usage they’ve mentioned is, for instance, an advert for a venue underneath which they may place a post from one of your friends who’s been there before. A post/picture you’ll already have seen as you’re on their friends list. They aren’t taking stuff you’ve posted to a limited audience (friends, groups…) and posting them publicly.
Get over it, or get out. Good luck gaining as large an audience or following on Google+ with its echoing walls.
That’s right. I’m fully behind the English Disco Lovers, a small organisation which has set out to undermine the English Defence League (a bunch of Neanderthal racists) by stealing their initials and – instead – promoting togetherness and harmony through the power of disco!
Their first aim was to gain more “likes” on Facebook than the knuckle-draggers, something they succeeded in doing today. Pretty impressive given that they only set up the facebook page around the new year. At the time of writing, Disco is winning on the “likes” with 18,075 against the low-lifes’ paltry 15,112 or 18,050 depending on which if their two pages you look at. The latter, with the higher score, is a Wikipedia page whereas the former is the “active / official” one.
Anything that gives racists (especially those with very dodgy criminal records) one in the eye is worth supporting, especially when it’s done with no real malice, a sense of humour and D-I-S-C-O!
For more information, check out the real EDL’s page 😉 With luck, the more links and the more clicks, the higher up Google’s rankings they’ll get as well!
UPDATE (6th Feb): There is an EDL (skinhead bottomfeeder version) “community” on facebook as well, with around 38,605 likes. EDL (disco) has 19,982 as I write this. Get liking!
Douglas Denny from the Bognor Regis branch had the following to say about gay people on the party’s “Private Message Board”:
“I just wish they would keep their homosexual nature and practices to themselves and stop trying to ram it down my throat telling me they are ‘normal’ when they are not.”
He then complained to the Mirror, who published his comments, by saying: “Private forums and private posts should stay private.”
This raises several points I would like to make:
As well as being a homophobe, he has a wonderful ability to pick the right words to make it so easy to lampoon him. “…ram it down my throat”, indeed! Priceless.
I have never had a gay person try to convince me to “convert” or in any way try to change my mind about what is a private thing. This is because, on the whole, gay people don’t do this! Unlike certain organisations (usually churches) that try to convince gay people that they’re mentally screwed up and try to “fix” them, gay rights activities are pretty much limited to pride marches and the like which are a simple means of saying “We’re proud of who we are and happy to be that way, just leave us the hell alone to do what we want in privacy.” The only reason gay people try to shove anything (figuratively!) down anyone else’s throat is in reaction to being vilified by small-minded dick-weasels like Mr Denny.
Mr Denny has less concept of privacy on the internet than many 12 year olds that I teach. Claiming that a “private forum should be private” is akin to saying that “if I am chatting to my friends in the pub then I shouldn’t be held accountable for anything that a passer-by could overhear”. If you put it on the internet, don’t expect it to be in the least bit private. Ever. Keep your hate speech to lamp-lit conversations in little run-down houses with the curtains drawn where it belongs.
And I’m not even going to start on the likes of Dr Julia Gasper who reckons that gays are also more likely to want to engage in bestiality. Frankly, looking like her, the only chance she has of getting lucky is to find someone with a predilection for bulldogs with facial injuries.
Or the other member (un-named) who thinks that black people are more likely to be schizophrenic because they smoke more weed.
These people got 16% of the vote last time out? Come on, they’re so utterly hate-filled that even the Tories don’t want to partner up with them. That should speak for itself. When the leader of a party so self-centred as the Conservatives has a leader who labels you as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, you really should just give up.
Mind you, as a nation we can’t really hold out heads up high. I think we still have two elected members of the European Council who are also in the BNP. How the hell did that happen?