GRENFELL TOWER FIRE

I hope the people whose neglect allowed this to happen go to prison for a long, long time. Sympathies to the families and friends of those affected. Best of luck to Grenfell Action Group. Thanks to the emergency services and the NHS.

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

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#takeapen

Local authorities often use their own employees to run polling stations during election days and to count votes once the polls have closed. This is because they can be sure that the staff will be available for training and are guaranteed time off from their real jobs, and because it’s easier to pay them as they’re already on the payroll.

Consequently, I have worked as a polling clerk (at the polling station) once and as a vote counter numerous times. Take it from me, the idea that you need to vote in pen to prevent people tampering with pencil votes isn’t just offensive, it’s laughable. Staff take the integrity of the process very seriously and would not condone or collude with vote tampering. Take a pen if you want, but there’s really no need.

The Jar of Nice Things

Inspired by something I saw on facebook or elsewhere online, last year I put a glass jar on the mantelpiece, and every time something nice happened, I wrote it on a bit of paper and put the paper in the jar. Now it’s time to look back over the pieces of paper and see what I thought was worth writing down. Pulling them out of the jar randomly –

  • 30/07/16 – Ghostbusters!
  • 29/09/16 – the halal butcher gave me a massive bag of chicken offcuts for the cat and didn’t charge me
  • 15/01/16 – client gave me a massive panettone
  • 07/05/16 – weekend in York for my dad’s 70th birthday party
  • 24/09/16 – bought a new piece of furniture from Ikea, assembled it myself, and then covered the top of it in plants
  • 11/04/16 – swimming coach didn’t make a single correction to my butterfly technique (other than a reminder to point my toes) and when I asked why he wasn’t saying anything, he said he didn’t need to because I was doing it right
  • 13/03/16 – lovely cuddle with the cat before getting out of bed (several more of these)
  • 29/08/16- took the cat for a walk in the Queen’s Park and he scampered around in the grass while I read my book
  • 01/12/16 – a client who has been quite difficult at times apologised for his behaviour and gave me a home-made curry
  • 14/03/16 – managed 2 x 15m of full stroke butterfly
  • 22/09/16 – allowed to bring the cat home after an overnight stay at the vet
  • 01/09/16 – saw an exhibition of Royal fashion through the decades with my mum at Holyrood palace
  • 30/08/16 – went through to Dunbar and spent time with my mum, her sister and brother in law, and his parents who are well into their 90s
  • 08/04/16 – student finished placement and left a very thoughtful card and a positive evaluation

 

That’s a nice variety!

George Michael

Anyone who has heard Wham!’s Ray of Sunshine knows that George Michael understood the joy that music can bring to people’s lives. I was a teenager in the 80s, and I was a Whamette. I loved other music too, particularly Queen, but Wham! were my teenage love band. I had my first slow dance with a boy to Careless Whisper.

Then Wham! came to a natural end, George went solo, and I stayed a fan. His voice is still the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. There’s a lot being written today about his gay activism, his generous donations to charity and to individuals in need, and, of course, his incredible talent. One day soon I’m sure I’ll be ready to think about all of those things, and to listen to the joyful songs – Club Tropicana, Outside, Amazing, Bad Boys, but for now, all I feel is grief and loss and sadness.

Making fists with your toes: Towards a feminist analysis of Die Hard

Excellent analysis

Another angry woman

Content note: This post contains spoilers for the film Die Hard, which you will have probably seen already since it came out in 1988. It discusses death and guns.

It gives me life when a certain sector of thin-skinned Nazis get sad about films I like. From Fury Road to Star Wars, their tears bring me joy. Since, like many other people, my favourite Christmas film is Die Hard, it is my intention to highlight how this film is in fact a celebration of femininity, and perhaps one could even call it feminist, for a rather Eighties value of feminism. Am I trolling? I don’t even know any more.

die-hard-t

Our hero John McClane is more of an Ellen Ripley than the Roy Rogers he insists that he is when talking to other men. There are some explicit parallels between Ripley and McClane: both deal with their terror by talking…

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In Defense of Self Defense: Why The MacDonalds Workers are Heroes

Media Diversified

Rethinking Violence

by Aisha Mirza 

In 2001 I was sent to my first day of secondary school with the instruction that I am clever and beautiful and that if anyone hits me I am to hit them back ten times harder. Survival knowledge. But I still close my eyes during battle scenes. You know. I don’t like violence, I don’t choose it. It makes me feel sick. In fact, I still haven’t watched the video of the MacDonald’s employees beating a man who called them “fucking pakis” while they were at work last Saturday night. I haven’t watched it because I do not want to expose myself to the physical attack, nor have to endure the psychic violence of witnessing racial abuse…again. I haven’t watched it, because I don’t need to see it to know they are heroes.

When I first heard this had happened, streets away from where I…

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Great Pussy Bake Off: the results

Good science here!

Another angry woman

This post appeared last month on my Patreon, as a Patron-only post. Sometimes, I post patron-first content. If you’d like to read this work before anyone else, become a patron

Originally posted August 4th 2016.

Content note: this post discusses food

Tragically, my original, controversial sourdough starter passed away recently, due to me being such a good pet owner that I forgot to feed a bloody sourdough starter for over a fortnight. On the fortunate side, this presented me with an ideal opportunity to undertake the more-scientific approach I’d wanted to take since pretty much 24 hours after I first mixed flour, water and a vaginal sample.

So, this time round, I decided to do a head-to-head comparison. The question I wanted to address was:

Is the growth of my sourdough starter due to the vaginal yeast, or would it grow anyway with just wild yeast?

The tl;dr answer…

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Mother Teresa: The biggest Con Job of the Twentieth Century.

Very interesting, saddening and annoying.

STOP The Missionaries of Charity

Join us: fb.com/missionariesofcharity

Mother Teresa: The biggest Con Job of the Twentieth Century.

What does it take to create a sensation? An icon who perfectly fits the image that an overwhelming majority of the populace is willing to believe in, a public relations agency (read propaganda team) willing to work to build a brand and a powerful organization to provide the social network and the financial services required to manufacture a favorable image of the ambassador you are pinning your hopes on. Thus, it happened that one Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, born into an ordinary family in an ordinary city went on to become the Mother Teresa that we all know today and most people cherish. But amidst all the hullabaloo and the attempt by several institutions and organizations to brand any criticism of her as bigotry, the truth that lies beneath the carefully constructed image that was presented and projected…

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The Smell of Bullshit, part 73: Fire Hazards and Sexual Harassment – What a Place to Work!

Another email from an ex-employee of Lush, who worked at a shop in south-east England. I’m not going to reproduce it here whole because I don’t want the woman identified, and also, some of what she says could well entice the trolls who think women are asking for it. There is some discussion of sexual harassment in this post.