Monday, 28 July 2014

Political prat of the month

Pretty much every time Nick Clegg opens his mouth I find myself embarrassed that this bloody fool is Deputy Prime Minister of the UK. Roll on 2015 when we can consign this idiot to the dustbin of political history where he belongs.

This is even more embarrassing because before the last election I have to confess to actually being impressed by the guy (see posts passim). How wrong can you be?

Yesterday, the idiot was calling for Russia to be stripped of its 2014 Grand Prix and the 2018 World Cup. Thankfully Bernie Ecclestone told him to sod off. Ditto Sepp Blatter. When Ecclestone and Blatter are perceived to have more common sense than your Deputy PM, then you know you're definitely in the shit!

So why is he making this ridiculous request? Here's what he had to say...

"Vladimir Putin himself has to understand that he can't have his cake and eat it. 

He can't constantly... push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilise a neighbouring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honour of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup.

You can't have this - the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border."

Let's put this perspective. The West accuses Russia of arming the separatists. Moscow denies this. But then it's OK for the West to arm the Ukranian government.

Clegg links Russia's attitude to the separatists as being directly responsible for the shooting down of MH17 - an act that was not carried out by Russia, was not sanctioned by Russia, and didn't take place in Russia.

That's a bit like blaming Australia for something that happens in New Zealand, or Germany for what happens in France. Or the USA for what happens in Gaza. OK, that last one might be a bad example but you get my drift.

If we're going to start imposing sanctions and stripping nations of sporting events because of what Mr Clegg calls 'belligerent behaviour' than we should start with the USA, the most belligerent nation on the planet.

And where does Mr Clegg think we should hold the 2018 World Cup if not in Russia? Well, according to him, the UK shouldn't be ruled out because we have "the required stadiums, infrastructure and enthusiasm."

The only enthusiasm I have is to see the back of this fool.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

God and the Atheist

An atheist was walking through the woods.

'What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!' he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look and saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again and the bear was even closer.

He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him...

At that instant the Atheist cried out 'Oh my God!'

Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.

'You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident. Why do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?'

The atheist looked directly into the light, 'It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian'?

'Very well,' said the voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed and the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke:

'For what I am about to receive, may the Lord make me truly thankful, Amen.'

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Statins - a follow up post

A couple of days ago I published a post about my experience of statins and promised to follow it up with the results of my latest blood tests when I went to the doctor on Friday morning, so here they are...

I tried to keep an open mind and went armed with a piece of paper with the results of my last blood test to compare against the latest figures. I needed to be seriously convinced that they were achieving something and intended, if convinced to continue with them, to insist on a different statin to get rid of the side effects.

In my case, I confess that the main side effect is mild pain / serious discomfort in my thigh and calf muscles. It's unpleasant when I'm sitting in a chair and worse when I lie flat on my bed at night. It seems that the muscles object to even mild pressure and ache accordingly.

Anyway, here are the facts and figures :

ClassSept 2013NowComment
Total cholesterol8.25.1s/be under 5.2 - over 6.2 is high
LDL (bad)5.972.72.6 to 3.3 is near ideal
HDL (good)1.641.99above 1.6 is desirable
Triglycerides1.30.9under 1.7 is desirable
Total:HDL ratio2.65.0

Now, I understand why the doc wanted to put me on this stuff. My cholesterol wasn't at a dangerous level, but it was on an upward slope and that slope wasn't a straight line. In April 2009, the total was at 7.4 rising to 7.9 in May 2013. Clearly I hit the 'trigger level' that the NHS loves so much when I went over 8.

He told me last September there was a 22% chance of my having a stroke or heart attack within 10 years. Apparently, the trigger level (another one!) is 20%. He was rather taken aback when I suggested that this actually meant there was 78% chance of not having one, which seemed pretty good odds to me. Anyway, this week's results have reduce the risk to 12%. Apparently. Personally, I regard averages and statistics with a high degree of scepticism.

I didn't start taking the things until the end of October 2013 (a cruise got in the way!) so in the 9 months or so that I've been taking them, my levels have improved quite dramatically. Much as I would like to, I have to admit that in my case they seem to work quite well.

I'm going to persevere at the same low dose level (20mg) as it seems to work for me but I'm switching to a different type. I understand why they start you on Simvastatin because it's the cheapest, but I'm now switching to Atorvastatin, a 2nd generation statin. Apparently if I don't get on with those I can move to a third generation drug. I'm told that patients 'tolerate' these later generation drugs better.

One wonders why we don't just start on third generation statins? Well the answer is the cost, but if we only used these then the costs would reduce dramatically with economies of scale.

Anyhow, I'm a lot less hostile to these things than I was a week ago. Everyone is different, but in my case they seem to actually produce demonstrable benefits. Shame about the side effects, but I'll let you know how I get on with the new ones...

As a postscript to this post, here's a link to an interesting article in the Telegraph.  As you might know, Mrs D just has a cataract operation on her left eye with the right eye to follow in a few weeks time. Seems that a study has come to the conclusion that if you take statins, then there's a 27% increase in the risk of developing cataracts - so at least if I do have a stroke or heart attack, al least I won't see it coming!

Friday, 25 July 2014

A peace plan for Gaza...

I am becoming increasingly irritated by the reporting from the Gaza strip - especially from our very own unbiased BBC.

Increasingly, we seem to be entering the domains of Jew bashing. The wicked evil Israelis are killing loads of innocent civilians in Gaza with their bombs and shells and tanks. Oh how we all feel for the poor Palestinians caught up in this wilful and unprovoked aggression by the wicked sons of Zion.

Excepts it's not actually like that, is it? The people who started this flareup are Hamas, pure and simple. They sit there in the Gaza strip and fire rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities not caring a fiddler's fuck who they kill and then when Israel says "Enough is enough!" and retaliates, they plead genocide. Well, it's bullshit.

I watched TV the other morning. The reporter was interviewing a doctor who was treating injured civilians. Needless to say, they were wheeling out the poor leetle cheeldren. Suddenly there was aloud noise in the background and the doctor visibly winced.

Turns out it was Hamas launching rockets from inside the hospital grounds - and they wonder why when the bombs and shells fall, civilians get injured!

Hamas doesn't give a flying fuck about it's people. They are quite happy to use them as human shields banking on the Israelis exercising constraint to minimise collateral damage.

One should remember that there are two Palestinian 'states' - one in Gaza and one on the West Bank. Ask yourself why the Israelis are not attacking on the West Bank. Yes, it's a bit of a hornets nest and there are incidents and conflicts from time to time, but the more civilised Palestinians know that the way forward is through political means, not through firing rockets into Israeli cities.

Hamas are mad. Plain and simple. They are political and religious extremists. Even the people on the West Bank disown them. The answer to stopping the current war in Gaza is extremely simple : stop firing rockets and the Israelis will have no reason to attack you.

Now that's a peace plan that might actually work...

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Taking a pop at Putin...

Let me say straight away that I'm no particular lover of Vladimir Putin and that I extend my sympathies to the families of the victims of flight MH17.

However, I have a certain degree of sympathy for Russia. The people in Crimea broke away from Ukraine and asked to be annexed to Russia. The Russians agreed. Fait accompli. Job done - so now a load of separatists in eastern Ukraine think they'd like to play the same game and a civil war results.

Then the Americans and their EU puppets start playing silly buggers. They think that they can pressure Putin into admitting that he started the whole thing in the first place. Personally I don't know whether he did or not, but I do know that whilst he might be many things, Putin is not an idiot. He knows that if he bows to US pressure and puts pressure on the separatists, then he is by implication admitting that he has control over them. He isn't going to do that.

Then an airliner gets shot down. The separatists blame the Ukrainians, the Ukranians blame the separatists  The Americans blame Putin and urge sanctions against Russia. The Americans say that the Russians are culpable because they supplied the missiles, ignoring the fact that the separatists admit to having captured some of this kit during the war.

On that basis the Americans are responsible for the deaths in Gaza because they supplied the hardware to Israel. The Russians supplied both sides in Ukraine directly or indirectly. Britain is reported to have sold arms to Ukraine, so we're culpable as well.

Still the Americans persist is trying to goad Putin into interfering in Ukraine because they know that if he does, he is admitting he can and the US Dickhead of State, John Kerry, will immediately jump up and say "Ha! Told you it was his fault all along!!"

What I find most distasteful is that O'Bummer and his henchmen have a new football to kick around and the man who has the ball controls the game. That football is called MH17.

All credit to Putin for refusing to play.