Friday, 31 October 2014

Catalogue restoration

One downside of the laptop failure two months back is a number of albums I had went with it and although against the odds it rebooted albeit for one occasion only where I was able to grab some audio and picture folders, that left a few missing so I bought on used cd cheaply copies of these two albums.

In a number of ways 21, her second  from 2011 that featured the hits Rolling In The Deep, Turning Tables and Someone Like You was the stronger set of the two and after the Bond tie in  single Skyfall, she taking something of a sabbatical from performing.
I ripped them using dbPoweramp to Mp3 at 320 for the personal player where the originals were iTunes Aac and have turned out well.
One looks forward to her next series of recordings.
I also found my Band Perry albums which were the deluxe iTunes editions.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Wash and go

I wonder how many of us scratch our heads when we see the following symbols on our clothes....
It would be great if something like this was given out by the stores when you buy items.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Valuing the disabled

This wasn't the entry I was thinking about making at the time but one that seems to have arisen in the last 36 or so hours.
Background is a Minister, Lord Freud, was overheard in a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference talking around the Minimum Wage and Disabled people and he was reported a suggesting it would be in order to pay less than it, a figure of Two Pounds was suggested on the basis that their work didn't justify the actual minimum wage as a means of increasing the number of disabled people in Employment.
Presently in the UK, as I know from personal experience, employers often receive financial help to employ suitable disabled employees and some assistance with any adaptations the person may need to do the job but the person is paid the going rate for their work even if it is the case they may have a co-worker provide some assistance too. 
What was suggested was they need not and that government would be prepared to pay employers to employ them on Two Pounds per hour basis.
This lead to a very heated debate in the House of Commons where the Prime Minister and "Disability" minister disassociated themselves from it saying nobody in Government agrees with this idea.
The first comment I would make is while Lord Freud isn't a Member of Parliament, he nonetheless  is a Minister and is therefore a member of Government by virtue of holding office and having power.  To suggest otherwise is deliberately ambiguous.
The second point is, It drives a coach and horses through the whole notion of the value of work, the presumption of labour having a minimum level of reward that dignifies it and furthermore it poses the question how you would assess when a person is so disabled that they should be expect to work for less than his or her colleagues for the most menial of tasks.
Most of us hold that everyone doing the same job should be expected to receive the same pay and a number might well think employers might well substitute disabled employees for cost savings.
The real issue is the nature of what some people by virtue of disability can achieve is limited by the absolute ability to perform one or more tasks or if indeed they can  then the amount of work they can usefully provide.
To put it plainly if they can work at all, it may not be economic to either the employer, the individual and may well cost the state a lot more  to support in the attempt than the value of anything they may well produce.
People often talk about integration - the mixing of disabled and non-disabled - in society but the preoccupation with employment in policy areas as the sole means of meeting the aim is flawed.
What some disabled people need is an outlet for their abilities that provides stimulation, the chance meet new people, make friends and learn new skills that can be shown to the wider community such as a well run day centre and maybe a break for their carers.
Providing this isn't writing disabled people abilities off, ghettoizing them or just enabling a dependency culture at all. It's about meeting disabled peoples own individual needs as they are and as I'm only too aware from person experience being honest, about your very real limits.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Moving mountains

This weeks kind of a digest begins with the continuing fall out from Thursdays by-elections in England where the emergent United Kingdom Independence Party (UKip) caused a major set upsets.
Take the area of Essex centred on Clacton on Sea, where the sitting Conservative Member of Parliament changed his allegiances to UKip and decided he'd resign but stand for his new party instead.  Well he won it for UKip with over 12,500 majority, more than he had in 2010 at the general election.
Then the area of "proper" Lancashire of Middleton and Haywood near Rochdale where the death of a popular and much respected local MP, an area where it's unheard of for the centre-left Labour Party not to win convincingly, only got their candidate back with just 670 votes on a partial recount with UKip coming second.
And in months time also in Essex there's yet another by-election due.
Most political commentators are agreed there's more than just dissatisfaction with the governing Tory and Liberal Democrat opposition going on, indeed you'd think the Labour opposition would be doing well but they're sure not.
Most agree with me and what I've been saying on here for a while, people feel the candidates and leaders especially are in a different world altogether to them going from education at 4+, leaving formal education at 18 for studying Politics,Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at university and getting there first job as political researcher or working for a MP before becoming one themselves.
They've had little experience of the lives of ordinary people, the workplace discovering what works, what doesn't and the very real limitations of ideas and philosophies as applied to the "real world". They live in an abstract bubble talking to each other about what interests them that they present in their party's programs and election addresses ignoring what many electors are talking about on the streets.
Whatever peoples personal points of view on UKip may be, they're talking with people on the street, making connections and that's what many people who voted for them liked.
One worrying aspect politicians being off the ball has been with the Ebola virus, the need for a global program to help tackle it at source and what measure for screening UK airports need to take to minimize the exposure to UK residents to it from those travelling from effected areas. Where there's a vacuum, something comes to fill it and sadly in part of Stockport we saw hysteria fill the void where a child and parent, cleared on return to the UK barred from returning to education by well meaning but ignorant parents creating conditions that meant a head teacher and governing body had little option other to request they didn't return.
In such sad situations, politicians need to give real leadership and direction to events that leads to cooler heads on the streets of our towns and cities. They failed.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


I wasn't too pleased when I woke up this morning with the overnight news to be honest and it's been on my mind all morning.
I was looking for something a bit more upbeat when I came by a longish article by the noted artist Grayson Perry around identity and presentation which made some sense to me and to which I'll throw a few observations out.
The first is something in 2014 I feel one shouldn't have to say but nevertheless tends to put in appearances which is wearing a dress doesn't make you a female because what makes you a female is your sense of the feminine  which may be different to mine but to which if your a female you do actually possess.
If you maybe don't bother much with dresses or spend hours on pampering this shouldn't lead to any questioning of your gender role any more than those who may spend quite a bit and like more overly 'dressy' styles.
Gender is just that a social construct not just a mode of dressing and what from within you ring to it makes you, you.
It may well be true that some interests tend to be followed by mainly by either males or females but that doesn't rule out being a female and playing Rugby any more than being a male and say being a Ballet dancer.
I think it's time people broke out of some of these artificial restrictions that prevent them from being themselves.