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About me

Hospital to treat pets to reduce debts?

From the Press Association:

A cash-strapped hospital could open its doors to dogs and cats in a bid to raise extra funds, it has emerged.

Ipswich Hospital is proposing to use its state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment, which lies dormant at weekends, to treat family pets with cancer at special Saturday morning clinics.

It’s like something from The Thick of It. When the NHS is so cash-strapped that hospitals are thinking of treating animals, things aren’t going well. Why do I suspect the hand of Mad Pat in this? Just to remind you, other proposals she’s come up with include closing unpopular hospital departments, making those who spread MRSA face criminal charges, announcing that the doubling of NHS debt means the financial crisis is “stabilising”, and, perhaps most famously, announcing that this year was the NHS’s “best year ever”. Compared to those gaffes, suggesting that NHS hospitals start treating pets seems relatively sane.

How is this woman still in her job?

This 987th post was filed under: Health, News and Comment, Politics.

Torture or interrogation?

Essential reading, part one:

Dick Cheney, US vice-president, has endorsed the use of “water boarding” for terror suspects and confirmed that the controversial interrogation technique was used on Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the senior al-Qaeda operative now being held at Guantánamo Bay… Mr Cheney was responding to a conservative radio interviewer who asked whether water boarding, which involves simulated drowning, was a “no-brainer” if the information it yielded would save American lives. “It’s a no-brainer for me,” Mr Cheney replied.

Essential reading, part two:

The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in.

Essential viewing (disturbing scenes).

These sources certainly don’t show the USA as a flag-waving leader of the free world, ever going to new lengths to promote freedom. They look like the works of a barbaric mediaeval dictatorship. As they say, if it has feathers and quacks like a duck…

Waterboarding and other forms of torture should be outlawed. Full stop. Whether we call them torture or not is irrelevant – stop doing them. We might be suffering Jack Bauer syndrome, but we should stop taking it out on others. It is unacceptable, and needs to stop now.

This 986th post was filed under: News and Comment.

Can 12,000,000 people be wrong?

This spoof of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” has been viewed over 12,000,000 times, according to Google Video… So maybe they can…

[flashvideo filename=”http://sjhoward.co.uk/video/shakira.flv” /]

This 985th post was filed under: Video.

Funeral music… Top ten and my picks

The release of a top-ten chart of funeral music requests got me thinking morbid thoughts a few weeks ago. The top ten, for those who missed it, were:

1. Goodbye My Lover – James Blunt
2. Angels – Robbie Williams
3. I’ve Had the Time of My Life – Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
4. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
5. Pie Jesu – Requiem
6. Candle in the Wind – Elton John
7. With or Without You – U2
8. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
9. Every Breath You Take – The Police
10. Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers

There’s not a one on that list that I’d want at my funeral. And it seems I’m not the only one. The blogging world has been abuzz with suggestions, from Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien and Always Look On The Bright Side of Life to Where Eagles Have Been and See You in the Next One.

But what would I want? Well, I’ve come up with a list of three. I know that’s pushing it a bit, but hey, it’s my funeral… It’s not as if I’m going to be too bothered if it drags on…

Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah:
It’s the defining death scene song of a generation – anybody who’s anybody in anything dies to this song, to the point where it’s almost a meaningless cliché. But it’s a nice song, and kinda sets the mood for a funeral, I think.

My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade:
Pushing the boundaries of acceptable funeral music… It’s a new release, so a new one to add onto the list (bumping Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars off, I think). It says everything I’d want to say I my own funeral – remember me for who I was and what I did in life, not for how I died – however that might be! And ‘carry on’ without me.

Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now:
It seems so appropriate… I think I’ve wanted this ever since Jonny Kennedy had it at his funeral, so I guess it’s a tribute to him in a way. It would serve as a reflection on a happy life I’d enjoyed living. And it’s kinda upbeat, which would be nice for the end of a funeral, I think. Leave people celebrating life, not dreading death.

So there you go. That’s a cheery thought and a half. Hopefully, I’ll have an awful lot of time to be rethinking and rejigging this list in the future…!

Oh, and I’ve probably broken a gazillion copyright laws in this post, so if any record company wants anything removed, feel free to get in touch. And then I’ll write to the Daily Mail and tell them that the big bad corporation wouldn’t even let me tell people what music I wanted at my funeral. Or maybe not.

This 984th post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

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