Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Xmas is coming, Bagsta's getting fat. A brief history!


Hello interweb, Well Ive just been reminded by a good friend of mine (cheers Richard aka BEV) that Christmas is coming and Bagsta’s getting fat.
So I thought that whilst I'm incapable of doing much at the minute due to a debilitating chronic bout of Influenza I would share with you a brief history of what we know as Christmas.
So as the dulcet vibes of “spirit of radio” blast their way across the office our story begins.

The history of Christmas does not begin with Christ. The winter solstice – the shortest day of the year – has been celebrated in one form or another for millennia.
Northern Europeans called it “Jul” (a term remembered in the English word Yule, which now means Christmas); in ancient Rome it was the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or "the birthday of the unconquered Sun”. Through sacrifices and feasting, pagans celebrated the beginning of the Sun's revival.

The birth of the Messiah had been foretold in one form or another for a very long time but there is a great deal of debate about whether or not there was a “virgin birth”, you see the phrase “virgin birth” was actually a mistranslation: the Hebrew word that is translated to “virgin” more usually means “young woman, and let’s face it when you look at some of the slappers around today that call themselves “young women” you would be hard pressed to think that just because it was a long time ago the “young women” back then were any more chaste.
So it is a lot less probable that the birth of Christ was a “virgin birth”.

A child is born! Or is he? The existence of Christ the historical figure is still a controversial topic among scholars of the period.
The most problematic point is the date. Or is it a case of don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, You see Medieval Christians put it at (what we now call) 0AD, but the Gospels say it is in the reign of King Herod, who died in 4BC.
Further, the Gospel of Luke says that Joseph and Mary travelled before his birth to Bethlehem for a great census. The closest such census took place in 6AD. But as Humphrey Carpenter says in his book Jesus, we can regard it as “virtually certain” that a Jewish religious teacher was born around this time, and was executed by crucifixion between 28AD and 30AD. It is just far from clear that he was born in December: some early reports put it in May.
After the birth of Christ it was rumoured that 3 blokes in pointy hats booked a trip to go and see the child. Wise men or magi they were not that wise as it took them 12 days to arrive, they didn't have a Garmin so followed a bright light in the sky and this is known in the Christian faith as the Epiphany.
The 12 days of Christmas as they have become known were not actually celebrated until some time in the 12'th century and in some Christian cultures, gifts are given on the 12th day; in others, on all 12.
“They are banning Christmas” is usually the reference to some local council going insane about political correctness and making people replace merry Christmas signs with happy holidays so as not to offend people from different religions,
sorry but if they don’t like it they can fuck off and the taxi drivers can not charge me double as it would be a normal day in his faith etc etc etc I could go on but will refrain,
however my diversion avoided, back in the 17th century, this was actually true.
The English parliament under Oliver Cromwell, and Massachusetts Puritans, both tried to ban the celebration of Christmas; in England because it was “popish” and pagan, in America, because 25 December was viewed as an arbitrarily selected date, rather than the true anniversary of Christ's birth, and because drinking, eating, dancing and having fun were not things that went down well with 17th-century American Puritans generally.

Santa Claus and Father Christmas are, or were, two different people. St Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of sailors, ships, archers, children, students and pawnbrokers, became in Dutch folklore a bringer of gifts at Christmas, known as “Sinterklaas”. He originally was shown as a large, bearded man in a green cloak, like the Ghost of Christmas Present in Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Father Christmas, or Pere Noel, was a depiction of the Christmas spirit of cheer, but was not associated with gift-bringing. The two myths were merged, until they became synonymous. Until the 1930s Santa wore a variety of colours, but a Coca-Cola advert by Haddon Sundblom showed him in red and white, and the image has stuck.

Back in 1957 there was controversy in the United States when the Church League of America claimed that the term Xmas was an attempt by “world Jewry” to subvert Christmas, using the symbol X as an “unknown quantity” and a “blasphemous omission of Christ”. In fact, X stood for the Greek letter chi, the first letter of the word Christ in Greek. But the idea of a war on Christmas continues in the popular mind and the press, even as the holiday is more widely celebrated than ever before.
And so it comes to pass that I will now leave you interweb and as is customary I will leave you with a brief thought,
“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”
Peace out y'all THE BAGSTAXXX

Monday, 28 November 2011

Landmines, UXO's and incompetent people!!!


Hello interweb, Well it’s nearly December and another year will soon have past at an alarming rate. My short term memory is really giving me a hard time at the moment, honestly I am struggling to remember what I walked into a room for at the minute sometimes.
I am still waiting on information relating to travel to Iraq and as things begin to unravel over there it is looking increasingly difficult to get the authorisation required.
The amount of landmines and unexploded ordnance in the Kurdistan region alone makes for some scary reading to be honest.
Contaminated sites cover an estimated 1,730 square kilometres and  affect around 1.6 million people in over 1,600 communities. Landmine contamination is particularly concentrated in Iraqi Kurdistan, major oil infrastructure and areas bordering with Iran, while UXOs plague other areas in the southern and central governorates. There may be many more mined areas that data gathering efforts have not yet covered.
Depleted uranium also presents a radioactive hazard which can cause severe health complications. The extent and effect of depleted uranium has not been comprehensively assessed.

 Children are often not educated about the dangers associated with approaching or disturbing landmines  and  UXOs. 24% of victims in the Kurdistan Region were under 14 years old.  Many children lose their limbs, sight, or hearing resulting in lifelong disability. Child victims are often perceived as a burden to their families and are discriminated against by society, facing limited or no future prospects for education.

Not a million miles away are the people of Libya who are returning to their homes after months of fighting. The story of Nurden  a 12 year old who returned home to find a whole new world of toys to play with. Outside his uncles house he found a pick up truck with a machine gun bolted to the back of it. In the back he found a pile of un used 14mm anti aircraft bullets. Nurden along with his friend decided to get the gunpowder out of the shell but was unable to open the casing. The loud explosion that rang around the neighbourhood as he struck it against a rock brought adults running from nearby homes. A section of his stomach and intestines had been blown away as the bullet exploded. A month later Nurden can walk slowly and is scarred for life but is slowly recovering. The stream of casualties like this is unending and a constant flow of similar injuries continues to flow. 

One of the problems in Libya is that the farms etc and outlying areas is where most of the fighting took place. These areas are quite open and as such it is to these areas that the children go to play. These areas are littered with shells, rockets and mines. A family returning to their home in Takut village found it riddled with bullets but still standing and so moved back in. Naema went for a lie down and after a short while was woken by the sound of an enormous explosion. She ran outside to see the body of her motionless 11 year old son, his arm blown off, his eye and groin also hit. They had not seen any ordnance so that simply leaves the fact that a land mine had been planted in their garden by retreating Gaddafi troops. Sadly the young boy died the following day after massive bleeding from his femoral artery.

Well interweb, whilst none of that makes very happy reading it does make one a lot more thankful for ones own situation and I would like to leave you with this thought for today,
“There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you.
 When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails.”
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Positive suggestion, ugly women and vodka!


Good afternoon interweb, bloody hell it’s cold today. I think winter has finally arrived and there are forecasts for snow later in the week for certain areas of the UK.
Anyway that aside I would like today to chat about the principles of positive suggestion. I was talking to a doctor at the weekend and he found it quite interesting and had not even thought about the principles himself before. It really isn’t rocket science just simple common sense really.
The information that we gather each day from our senses as we move through our reality is the raw material that form our mental maps to enable us to move through that reality. Freud called this primary experience and at this level negation does not exist. As an example if I told you not to think of a blue cat making a meowing sound, you first have to think of exactly that in order to negate it and thus you do exactly as you have been instructed not to. You can’t help it don’t beat yourself up about it. Positive suggestion is used by sport people and politicians all the time and it can be a very powerful form of influencing the unconscious mind. If you wanted to help somebody to lose weight you would be taking a really big gamble if you used the phrase “you will NOT be hungry”, this is because it is using a negation as opposed to a positive suggestion such as “You feel full after every meal”. You are hoping that the individuals unconscious mind will process the whole of the information provided and as there is a negative in there and most people’s unconscious will not process that and will act on “you will be hungry”. So positive suggestion combined with yes sets is a very powerful way of acting upon the unconscious mind. I will discuss yes sets at a later date.
And so interweb I will leave you with this thought.
There is no such thing as an ugly women,
However, there is such a thing as not enough vodka.

Peace out yall THE BAGSTAXXX

Monday, 21 November 2011

Insanity, power and swans!!!!!


Good afternoon interweb, Oh my, the font size on my pc has suddenly gone all small, you know difficult to read small. Either that or the prescription on my glasses has run out again. Hang on a minute, Is that better? Much thank you.
It is you know a perfectly appropriate response to reality to go completely insane.
I think that we all have a certain level of madness within us but the main difference is the degrees of madness and whether or not one can keep it in check.

Many people throughout our checkered history on this planet have been called insane or mad but at the same time these mad people have also shown signs of remarkable insight and genius. There is also the mad dog type of character such as Colonel Gaddafi,
I warned about there being much darkness in the minds of men in a previous blog post http://bagsta69.blogspot.com/2011/10/interweb-dictators-and-darkness-in.html Now that Gaddafi’s son has been captured what will the new regime do?
New York, US - The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to uphold its international legal obligations and promptly surrender Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In a statement posted on its website, HRW also said the forces reportedly holding Saif Al-Islam in the town of Zintan and the NTC must ensure that he is treated humanely in custody.
Saif Al-Islam, who was reportedly apprehended on 19 November in southern Libya, is subject to an ICC arrest warrant for crimes against humanity in an investigation authorised by the UN Security Council Resolution 1970.
The resolution requires the cooperation of Libyan authorities with any ICC investigation into serious crimes committed in Libya, including the surrender of ICC suspects.
“The authorities will send an important message that there’s a new era in Libya, marked by the rule of law, by treating Saif Al-Islam humanely and surrendering him to the ICC,” the statement quoted  Richard Dicker, international justice director at HRW, as saying. “His fair prosecution at the ICC will afford Libyans a chance to see justice served in a trial that the international community stands behind.”
HRW has documented recent cases of mistreatment in detention in Tripoli and Misrata, as well as apparent summary executions of suspected Gaddafi supporters by anti-Gaddafi fighters.
It is my belief that in this world at the moment life is incredibly cheap and I can see no end to this, the middle east is in the process of destroying itself and taking millions of innocent people with it. They say (there “they” bloody well are again) power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, I think that yes power does corrupt but absolute power is kinda neat if you use it for the right reasons. 

Imagine having the power over how other people behave, how they see their world and react to others. Been able to have an effect on how they think and function and interpret things. That is indeed power and such power would have to come with great responsibility, something that I lack in barrel loads. Somebody likened me to a swan the other day,

I thought wow, how nice, this was till they said “yeah, you have an air of being proud, stupid and mischievous." It took me a while to process the information and I'm still not sure if it was an insult or a compliment!
Anyway interweb I have taken up enough of your precious time today so I will leave you with this,
Magnetism is one of the six fundamental forces in the universe, the other five being Gravity, Duct tape, Whining, Remote control and the force that pulls dogs towards strangers groins.
Now lets be careful out there and remember,
 “some things belong to you and no one else”
Peace out yall THE BAGSTAXXX

Sunday, 20 November 2011

NAT type, Leonardo and helicopters!!!


Good afternoon interweb, and how are you and your url’s today? Well it’s been nearly two weeks since MW3 was released and I have to say I am enjoying this iteration of the game a great deal. The new game modes are a blast  and despite the anti lag kicking in when you host it is a lot better than Black ops. To solve issues with host lag may I suggest changing settings in your router if possible till you get a moderate NAT type. This seems to give more playable games than open NAT. I had a few games with some friends State side of the pond the other night , I had 2 yellow bars which wasn’t the best connection but the game was playable and fun.
In other news I have to agree whole heartedly with Leonardo  that people of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them, they go out and happen to things.

Which reminds me, did you know that Leonardo kept masses of notebooks about his remarkable insights and wrote them all backwards from right to left so that they could really only be read in a mirror? Well he did so now you know. An incredibly strong individual Leo could bend horseshoes with one hand  and on a trip to the Vatican once made a set of wings and horns, painted them silver and stuck them on a lizard so as to scare the Pope’s courtiers. Many people believe that Leo invented scissors, the helicopter and the telescope. None of which is true, Scissors were most likely invented in Egypt around 1500 BC , whilst Leo got the theory of the helicopter down he couldn’t think up a propulsion system so we had to wait till 1784, when  French inventor, Launoy and Bienvenue created a toy with a rotary-wing that could lift and fly and proved the principle of helicopter flight. And the telescope, well that credit must go to Hans Lipperhey, a German spectacle maker.
Well I seem to have gone off on a bit of a tangent here interweb, must be because I'm hungry or something, or tired, Yes probably tired as I stayed up till around 04.00 hours playing MW3. Oh well, working till 01.00 hours again so guess I could do with a snooze.
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX

Friday, 18 November 2011

Recycle, water and radical ideas!!!


Good afternoon interweb, I would like to talk about recycling today. I know, I know not normally my idea of something pleasant to chat about with all the bloody do gooders ranting on about global warming and all that bollocks that they seem to spout so proficiently about. No I want to talk about proper recycling on a massive scale. You  see galaxies learned to "go green" early in the history of the universe, continuously recycling immense volumes of hydrogen gas and heavy elements to build successive generations of stars stretching over billions of years

This ongoing recycling keeps galaxies from emptying their "fuel tanks" and therefore stretches out their star-forming epoch to over 10 billion years. However, galaxies that ignite a rapid firestorm of star birth can blow away their remaining fuel, essentially turning off further star-birth activity.
This conclusion is based on a series of Hubble Space Telescope observations that flexed the special capabilities of its comparatively new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) to detect otherwise invisible mass in the halo of our Milky Way and a sample of more than 40 other galaxies. Data from large ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and Chile also contributed to the studies by measuring the properties of the galaxies.
This invisible mass is made up of normal matter -- hydrogen, helium, and heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and neon -- as opposed to dark matter that is an unknown exotic particle pervading space.
The results are being published in three papers in the November 18 issue of Science magazine. Not that I think for one moment anybody reading this will rush out to buy a copy but I am sharing the knowledge with you just in case.
In other news here on planet earth it is a sad fact of life that in 2011 we are still in a position where the worlds poorest countries may still have to wait around another 200 years to have proper sanitation and clean water supplies. A hundred years ago people would have laughed at you if you told them of the riches and technology that we take for granted every day and yet 900.000.000 people worldwide live without access to clean water. As a race we do have some lessons to learn and it astounds me that we have failed on an epic scale to learn them yet.
The divide between rich countries and poor countries grows ever wider and instead of trying to bridge that gap we seem to allow it to grow.
I think as a race we have failed dismally and could do well to take a leaf out of the books of other species, you don’t see them screwing one another over for a percentage, they tend to work together. Now there’s a radical idea, just think if we pooled our collective resources and minds the possibilities would truly be endless. Instead we seem to enjoy simply blowing the shit out of one another for jollies.
Anyway, I guess I can still dream,
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX