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Random photo mashup…

Did you hear the bizarre story this week, about Sky TV’s (unsurprisingly cancelled) drama about Michael Jackson, starring Joseph Fiennes?

Well I was chatting to a friend about that doomed project on Facebook today, which led to a discussion about which inappropriate actors could be cast as recently departed musical icons.

While she suggested that Samuel L Jackson and Denzel Washington should star in Wham: The Final Stand, I quite fancied the idea of David Bowie: Heroes to Ashes starring Ray Winstone and Lemmy: Last Wild Man of Rock with Peewee Herman in the lead role.

But my friend wasn’t convinced:

“Both good choices.  Though I fear they are a little too Caucasian to portray these roles effectively”

She was right, of course, so I reevaluated my decision to have everyone’s favourite short, stocky, East End hard man play the Thin White Duke and instead went for everyone’s favourite smoldering, six-packed, tortured hard man, Idris Elba.

This met with a great deal more enthusiasm, (to be honest, I think she’s got a bit of a weakness for him) so I thought I’d provide her with a visual interpretation of my casting idea and I was so pleased with the result that I’m sharing it with you, too.

You’re welcome.

{You’ll have to imagine Peewee as Lemmy, it was too disturbing to post} 

 

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Reblog: George Michael was killed in US airstrike claims Russia Today

Some satire, to lighten the sad news of another talented performer’s passing. Goodbye, George, we’ll miss your honesty and integrity…

SOZ SATIRE

George Michael Last Christmas? Yep, pretty much, and it’s all thanks to the Yanks says Russia Today

Following the death of pop superstar, George Michael last night, Russian media outlet, Russia Today, have sensationally claimed that Michael was killed by a guided missile fired from an American F16 fighter jet whose pilot was under direct orders from President Barack Obama to neutralise the Last Christmas star.

In a bulletin hours after the star’s death had been announced by his publicist, a Russia Today newsreader made the astonishing claim: “George Michael was targeted by the United States Airforce, no question. He was killed by a heat-seeking missile, specially programmed to target his oven when he opened the door to get the turkey out.

“Our heroic President, Vladimir Putin, tried to intervene when he learned of the plan, but Obama wouldn’t listen, just as he won’t listen when Mr Putin begs him to stop…

View original post 174 more words

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 26, 2016 in aardvark, Blogging, Humour, Music

 

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So I married a superhero…

By now most of you know that my wife, Rhonda, is American, but what you may not know is that she’s also a superhero.

She is Spoon Woman.

When I got to know Rhonda, over five years ago now, she was just another American I could playfully wind up on Facebook. She was introduced to me by a mutual acquaintance and we soon became good friends, finding common ground in politics, music and literature, amongst other things. 
Even more amazingly, she shared my sense of humour and found my first forays into the writing entertaining, saying nice things about blog posts I sent her and generally coming across as one of the more sane and well-balanced Americans that I’d met, during my initial exploration of the internet in general and Facebook in particular.

She also told me she had fibromyalgia.

Ok, I’m guessing that if you know as much about fibromyalgia now as I did then, you’re probably reaching for a dictionary, or more likely opening a new window so you can Google it. So let me save you the trouble.

Have you ever pulled a muscle, or had cramp? 

Of course you have, everyone has had those “Uh-oh!” moments, the ones that result in you suddenly hopping round the bedroom at two in the morning, swearing your head off and trying to straighten your toes. Or that horrible sensation in your back when you try lifting something just that fraction too heavy and realise too late that you’re going to be wincing every time you bend over or get up from a chair for the next week.

Well, imagine that feeling, but all over your body.

All the time.

You can’t, can you? You literally cannot imagine it, because your brain quite rightly won’t allow you to synthesize that experience, any more than you can really remember just how bad toothache is. There is a failsafe in your brain which stops you experiencing pain, except when it is received as the kind of emergency warning signal that it’s designed to be.

If you put your hand in a fire, your brain tells your hand that it’s in pain, because that’s the quickest and most effective way to get the idiot who put it there to take it out.

Except that isn’t quite right. What’s actually happening is the nerves in your skin are telling your brain that your hand is burning and your brain, in reply, is telling your hand that it’s in pain.

But what happens if your nerves tell your brain that your hand is burning, even when there is no fire? What happens when your nerves tell your brain that your whole body is burning?

Put simply, Fibromyalgia (or “fibro” for short) does basically that; it causes neural transmitters to constantly send false positive pain signals to your brain, resulting in permanent, chronic and sometimes seriously debilitating pain, everywhere at once, all the time. The very idea of it is terrifying to me.

When Rhonda first casually mentioned her condition to me, during a chat on Facebook,  I didn’t quite know how to take it. I mean, here was a woman who looked after her daughter on her own and ran a special needs residential care home and seemed to work eighteen hour days, almost every day; that didn’t seem like someone who was in constant pain to me.

Maybe, I thought, you can just have “mild” fibro, perhaps it wasn’t all that serious after all. But that only went to show how little I knew of Spoon Woman’s abilities.

Rhonda once told me; “There are three ways fibro can affect you; you can let it take over your life, just lay in bed and give up; you can moderate your lifestyle to alleviate the impact it has on you; or you can just get on with it. I decided that I was going to just get on with it and I wasn’t going to let it affect my life.”

I was awed by her attitude at the time, having never met her in person and only having known her a short while, but I just accepted it and thought no more about it.

Fast forward a few years, she and Audrey are here in the UK, we’re married and Rhonda is working full time at the local chip shop. A dream come true.

Except that isn’t quite right. Dreams-come-true don’t usually feature constant pain, at least mine never have.

You’d never know to look at her, that Rhonda was anything other than the perfect loving wife and doting mother. She cooks, she cleans, she does laundry like there’s no tomorrow, anyone would think she was addicted to housework. You’d never know she’s in discomfort, that her myofascial tissue is screaming blue murder and her skin itches so badly she wants to scratch it off. You’d never know the muscles in her back are locked into solid knots, so bad she has to lie on a deep tissue massage roller in the evening to release the pain, or that she has hypersensitive pressure points on her skin that can deliver bolts of agony if touched.

You’d never know, because she is Spoon Woman and she knows how to best use her spoon supply 

When I was going through one of my regular fibro Q+A sessions with her the other day, Rhonda asked me if I’d ever heard the spoon analogy. Funnily enough, I hadn’t.

Imagine you have a finite supply of spoons and you need to “spend” a spoon in order to have the energy to do everyday activities: 

Get out of bed – one spoon. 

Take a shower – one spoon. 

Get dressed – one spoon.

Get the kids off to school – one spoon.

Drive to work – two spoons. 

Find somewhere to park – one spoon, etc etc…

The secret is, to portion out your supply throughout the day, so that you don’t find yourself out of spoons when you still have stuff you need to do. And, like the energy boost tokens you pick up in video games, extra spoons may be obtained through napping.

Naps are sacrosanct in our house, I’ve learned to respect the power of The Nap. And I collect spoons, too, in my way. 

If I see laundry that needs doing, or if I can take Audrey out and leave Rhonda to nap in peace, if I have time to do the housework before she gets home from work and insists on getting the vacuum cleaner out, then that’s one more spoon I’ve saved for her, so we can enjoy the times we have when we’re all here together.

I’m still awed by her, my superhero wife, now more than ever, as I learn more about what she has to deal with, every hour of every day. Because, like all of the other, secret and silent superheroes with “invisible” illnesses, to look at her, you’d never know.

{To read about the origin of Christine Miserandino’s  Spoon Theory in full, GO TO THIS LINK}

 
27 Comments

Posted by on December 2, 2016 in aardvark, Blogging, Personal anecdote

 

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It’s not you, it’s Them…

On the 23rd of June (just in case you’ve been living under a rock) the UK, or 52% of it anyway, decided to up sticks and leave the EU.

The Brexit, if you must.

The event itself is no longer news of course, nor, after weeks of social media meltdown and the meme-ification of politics, is it very interesting to me any more. In fact, I got so tired of arguing about it on Facebook (yes, this is ME we’re talking about, here) that I couldn’t even be bothered to write a blog post about it. 

As for analysing the tedious process of lying, spinning, vilifying, bribing, begging, blackmailing and bullshitting that passed for campaign rhetoric is concerned, I’ll leave that to the panel show comedians, the journalists and the more erudite writers, such as the lovely Mr Adam Pain, who wrote this excellent post on the subject at the weekend.

No, I’m more interested in a phenomenon a little closer to home, one which stems from the worrying but sadly not unexpected increase in the belief that the sort of casual, lazy racism that has been bubbling under the slimy surface of UK politics since long before Nasty Nigel quaffed his first pint for the cameras, is now perfectly legitimate because “the people have spoken, deal with it!” as I was charmingly informed on one Facebook comments thread, the day after we apparently became Great again.

Because, you see, I married an immigrant.

Wait, come back! No, it’s ok, she’s…well, she’s the good kind.

Before you write and complain, let me explain.

Rhonda is American, I’m pretty sure most of you have picked that up by now. She hails from Michigan and still has a strong accent, (the good kind) having been in the country less than two years. And ever since her visa came through, she’s had that most English of jobs, working in a fish and chip shop.

For the first few weeks that she worked there, clearly a novelty in hardly-cosmopolitan, rural Devon, Rhonda fielded a great many enquiries from punters, mostly along the lines of; “We went on holiday to America, have you been to Disneyland?” or “Now that’s not a Devon accent, not from round here, are you?” These slowly morphed into more specific questions, as regular customers got to know the nice smiley American lady behind the counter, such as; “So, what about that Donald Trump, then?”, as if she alone was capable of deciphering the rabid drivellings of a shriveled, narcissistic raffia-topped satsuma, simply due to being born on the same continent.

But apparently the shop counter small talk has taken a change for the unsavory in the last couple of weeks, since the very next day after the referendum, in fact.

Suddenly, a few casual comments about the result of the vote could turn to; “Yeah, we finally get to send all those bloody immigrants back where they came from…” followed every time by a slowly dawning look of horror on the face of the outspoken punter, and some hurried variation on; “Oh, I don’t mean YOU, of course, I’m talking about THEM, you know, the foreign ones.” 

Now, please don’t think that I’m defending any person’s right against that of another, to come to the UK legally and make it their home, by contributing to society and enriching it with their own cultural values, it is what made us “Great” in the first place, after all. 

And obviously (I hope) I’m not a closet racist with some sort of inferiority complex and secret, directionless rage issues.

But this is what I don’t understand; how is my lovely wife, who never has a bad word to say about anyone, any different from the charming Polish bloke at work, who also seems to see the best in everyone, no matter how ignorant they are? Why is she not tarred with the same “bloody foreigners coming over here stealing jobs from honest British fish and chip shop workers” brush as she undoubtedly would be by some, had she been sporting a neatly wrapped hijab, instead of a smart baseball cap?

Because she’s white, she’s from a country which has English as its first language (yeah, I know, but just go with it, ok?) and she has most of the same cultural and social points of reference as “we” do, that’s why.

I’ve had similar conversations, myself, the sort that include phrases like “fucking yanks, think they know it all…” or.“bloody immigrants, just want to come here and scrounge on our benefits” and rapidly stutter to a halt when I say something like, “Actually, my wife never claims to know it all, and she’s an immigrant, from America. And she got a job as soon as the fiendishly complicated and inhuman visa process allowed her to.”

“Ah” they say, usually with a knowing, wink wink, nudge nudge expression, “but if it had been one of them (insert toe-curling racist epithet here) they’d have got in with no problem at all, you mark my words.” Indeed I will, I will mark them “ignorant bollocks” and ignore them with the contempt they deserve.

Well, maybe not that exact conversation, but you get the idea.

It seems that these subliminal racial hints and in-built preconceptions make Rhonda somehow less foreign than them, at least to the sort of person who instantly equates other, more foreign sounding or, dare I say it, more brown-looking people with “immigrant”, which as a word, is being increasingly used as an insult and, as a demographic, is more and more being seen as a threat to “the British way of life”, whatever that is.

And yet, by the very definition of the word, Rhonda is an immigrant, just as much as my Polish mate at work and the nice lady who works at our local Chinese takeaway are immigrants. Useful, hard working, tax paying and as valuable to society as anyone else who is fortunate enough to call this peaceful country, unravaged by wars, famine or tyranny, home.

The fact that the Brexitastrophe has in some way helped to unmask the petty fears and prejudices of so many people in this, the country I have always been happy to call my home, makes me feel rather ashamed, especially when my wife comes home and tells me she was “disgusted” by some of the comments she heard in the days immediately after the referendum.

So, if you really are that convinced that all immigrants should be sent back to where they came from, or be subject to whatever private version of the final solution has been festering in your head, until the rise of proto-fascist snake oil salesmen like Nicotine Nige and Orange Donnie came along and gave you permission to voice your odious opinions with pride, then please, either have the courage of your convictions and stand by what you say, or, and this is the important part, so pay attention; piss off and go and talk to someone else.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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#atozchallenge: Q is for Question…

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I couldn’t decide what I was going to post for today’s A-Z challenge and the day has got away from me, leaving me no time to come up with anything very exciting (and I thought that resorting to continually snapping random photos in lieu of original content would be pushing my luck) which is why you are reading this.

I considered doing a Quiz, with a prize for the winner, of course.

I also thought about doing a feature along the lines of “Kids say the funniest things”Quotations, obviously – featuring some of the more bizarre and amusing things Audrey says.

Or an “Ask me anything” post – you guessed it; Questions.

But I couldn’t make up my mind and didn’t have time anyway, so the question remains…

Do any or all of these ideas seem like something you would find entertaining and/or worthy of your attention?

If so, I will endeavour to bring them to you in future posts, after the challenge is complete, or possibly if I can crowbar them into one of the remaining days of alphabetical contrivance.

If not, you’ve just wasted two minutes, sorry.

I will try to get back to posting something interesting tomorrow, honest.

#atozchallenge

 
19 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2016 in A - Z challenge, aardvark, Blogging

 

#atozchallenge: N is for Nonsense…

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After fulminulating at some length, I’ve decided to obfrangulate today’s increment in the puddle of Frunge that the imponderables call the runkly A-Z challenge, because, well, I don’t think ancrastic spangling is allowed until the final week.

So; a cautionary tale…

Frongal paused in the act of frangling his frontal bulboid, tilting his stimbles this way and that, bumbling for signs of the quanglers he’d almost flobbered into, outside the Wazzeli parlour last night.
The quangler network was much more altricious than it had been in Frongal’s drog-baffling days, so it was easy to fall foul of a fluptet of quangling probublicants, getting stronkfaced on nomblequacker juice, even if you were an innocent fisselbert with no connection to the ongular blotwomble who was being franspatulated.

Frongal had been dronkly; pulling out a 4¥ note and prestidingulating it into the outstretched mimblies of the chief quangler, heading off any attempts to retro-imbupostulate him on charges of entagulating a Frompjockey of the Royal Architrast, but it had been close and now he was in need of a extrusion of effulgent before he became promoglified.

However, before he settled onto the squinge-spigot, Frongal neglected to secure the restraining strap over his gelatinous oncopular brongles.
When he engaged the flopnodules, they splonked oil of spodge-donkey onto his mooglies and he wasn’t able to touch his bugwumble again, not without gloves anyway, hahaha!

Which just goes to show; you can dronkle a quangler, but never get your mooglies splonked if your brongles are pembulating.

#atozchallenge

 

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#atozchallenge: H is for Home delivery…

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Today’s A-Z post takes the form of an update on the one I posted on Monday, about Tracy the balloon sculptor.

That post generated a lot of interest and lots of praise for Tracy’s artistic skills; so much so that it prompted an interactive logistical experiment between Diary of an Internet Nobody, my friend Tracy and Bee, over at Just Fooling Around With Bee.

Bee was very taken with the Minion which appeared in the balloon modelling post (I think she is mildly obsessed with the little yellow critters, truth be told) and I joked that Tracy should set up a mail order service, since her work had attracted so much interest from you, my discerning readers.

To my surprise, Tracy seemed to have already looked into what amounts to mailing someone a box of air, as a friend had previously asked if she could send them one of her creations. She had not yet had a chance to perfect a technique for doing so, but Tracy suggested that she try it out by sending Bee her very own bespoke balloon Minion, as a test to see whether the model would retain its integrity in transit, opening up possibilities for her business to go national.

Bee sent me her address, 350 miles away in Norfolk, and Tracy posted off her inflatable yellow friend on Wednesday.

So, yesterday (Friday) I received a delighted e-mail from Bee, complete with with photographic evidence that Tracy’s handiwork had indeed arrived in mint condition…

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Oooh, a parcel, exciting!

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Who’s this, staring out at me?

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Yay! My very own Minion!

How’s that for customer service?

As if that wasn’t enough, Tracy had Audrey round the other day while she and Tracy’s kids are all on school holidays and she kindly turned Audrey into a pink tiger for the day.
That’s not a sentence you get to use very often.

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#atozchallenge

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2016 in A - Z challenge, aardvark, Arts

 

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