This woman is cleverer, funnier and stronger than I am. So she can certainly kick YOUR ass...


So many deadlines and dinosaur incursions, so little time...


Lay back and think of the air-miles I'm earning...

This is default featured post 4 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.This theme is Bloggerized by Lasantha Bandara -

This is default featured post 5 title

Go to Blogger edit html and find these sentences.Now replace these sentences with your own descriptions.This theme is Bloggerized by Lasantha Bandara -

Yes, it's been an age - but I've had so many things on the back-burner that the back-burner was starting to look like a nuclear barbeque and so things needed to be attended to and anyway, look... over there... a distraction. Those of you looking at this on the actual blogsite will notice a radical new look for the page. As usual, it's a work in progress and will be tweaked and rolled-out across the various ThereGoesTheDay pages in the next couple of weeks.

So, where was I?  Well, the month of May was a radically bad month for me and just about everyone I know. My brother's and sister-in-law's house was broken into (the burglars not only stealing some electronic stuff but sparing the time to go out of their way to trash my nephew's toys - which takes a special kind of bastard to want to do), my girlfriend's cars seriously broke down twice (her recent car specatcularly dying en route to us getting a new netbook on my birthday  and the subsequent newest car - purchased a week ago - having its brakes fail yesterday (Jilly unharmed but very unimpressed. Both cars checked in advance, so much gnashing of teeth but what can you do?) .

Earlier in the month Jilly and I had our eyes on a local house going for a massively reduced price in the current market and yet JUST out of our reach. On the day that we finally worked out enough algebra and wish-making to have purchased it, it was sold. Ah, how would we measure the heights of joy without the depths of the bog of eternal-stench of bad-timing? Peh.

The end of the month brought other news which didn't exactly send me spinning into dances of joy (which wouldn't have been pretty anyway) and I'm awaiting specifics and confirmation of those details which I'll mention here if and when they solidify.  However, despite everything Jilly and remain resolutely sane and determined - which probably means we're insane, completely misunderstand everything and should just go cry in a corner somewhere.

On the good news front,  the trip to Iowa was great (I took on a battle with a shed and it came out as a tie), a new netbook was a must given the performance of my laptop (which will go in for repair shortly due to irritable vowel key syndrome, dodgy sound and a malevolent DVD-drive) and though I couldn't get a cheaper US version, the UK variant I got on my return was reasonably cheap and does what it says on the tin. (If the tin says 'HP' on it). I went down for the X-Men: First Class press stuff and was very impressed with the finished film, not to mention an early, EARLY morning visit to Marble Arch where I spotted the jelly-babies in the photo above).

Anyway, May is done with and June promises sunshine.  I'd like that in writing, please. Preferably in triplicate and on the back of a $100 bill.

~ John
(PS: I'm ebaying a ton of rare movie stuff, so please check that out!  -   )

So, I don't blog for a while... tons to do and a reshaping of this blog presence going on behind the scenes... did I miss *anything*?

But seriously...  so... Libya.

A week ago I was arguing with others that whatever was or wasn't done in regards to Libya would have consequences. It was simply too flippant or naive to say there was a definitive answer to either option. Doing *something* clearly had consequences, but NOT doing something was equivalent to doing something - ie: inaction being an action itself (like standing by and watching a car-crash if you could stop it). To be fair, I thought there were some valid points on all sides. it had all the receipes of giant clusterfuck and, let's be honest, we've had quite enough of those in recent memory.

So these are my basic questions and I think they're the ones we need answers to as soon as possible...

1) Why are we there?  Officially to prevent attacks against sections of the Libyan populace who were facing defeat at the hands of the governmental supporters. The UN resolution allows for a no-fly zone to prevent attacks by planes and also a clause that adds the prevention of activities likely to cause such death and destruction. However it seems that the 'necessary' missions to take out anti-aircraft gunsd etc as part of the 'no-fly' zone has been expanded to use missiles on other facilities.

2) Is the aim regime change? The official position says no, it's just to stop atrocities, though it seems to defy any element of common sense that you can attack one side's forces and still claim you aren't taking sides? Currently Cameron refuses to answer whether the anti-aggression rules apply to both sides and whether the rebels are effectively moving forward under Coalition protection.

3) Is Gaddafi a legitimate target?  The official position says "absolutely not, the UN Resolution forbids it "(as per Head of Defence Gen, Sir David Richard's response when asked that). When the likes of PM David Cameron and Hague are asked they say they aren't deliberately targetting him but the UN Resolution wouldn't disallow it. Gaddafi's personal compound was hit last night and apparently again tonight.

4) Isn't this a moral imperative to stop ordinary people being killed?  Arguably so, but it's clear it's gone from what was perceived as a popular uprising by the majority against the minority government, to something that is essentially a civil war in which Gaddafi's forces clearly had the upper hand until 48hrs ago. Cameron says it is not a civil war and say they are there to protect the rights of the average Libyan citizen against opression. No news so far whether any of the other countries in the area, also oppresisng their citizens and shooting them down in crowds are perceived as being worthy of a simialr response.  Worth noting, of course, that until a few months ago, he was still considered a tyrant, but one we were actively trading arms with and so the righteous indignation etc is a whole new thing...

5) Why isn't the Middle East policing its own area?  There has been a promise of co-operation from countries in the region and tactile approval for a no-fly zone, but within 24hrs of the bombing strarting, there were complaints that the US, UK etc had over-stepped the boundaries of the Resolution. While it's fair to say that the Resolution's remit seems to be widely open to interpreation, it also isn't possible to have a no-fly zone WITHOUT taking out some anti-aircraft. The coalition has refused to name specific Middle-East countries which may be helping more directly and it's also worth noting that some of the key Arab figures will be playing to their domestic audience as they look for votes in forth-coming elections.. and therefore will probably avoid any direct approval of any military action.

6) What's the exit strategy?  It doesn't seem there is one. Several politicians are saying Gadaffi's postion is compeltely unviable, but if they won't call for his removal then legitimately everything could continue indefinitely, including ongoing civil warfare, a stand-off. Indeed, the only way the situation COULD improve is if one side triumphs definitively over the other. At this point the coalition seems to eb supporting the rebels... the maths.

7) This is Obama's fault isn't it?  Clearly so. He waited too long and then made America look weak by not being decisive or taking the international lead, nor acting aggressively enough and.... no wait, it's his fault because he's committed too much, taken too much of a lead and being too aggressive when he should have done nothing, wait... I....look, over there, isn't that David Cameron?

8) Most importantly, how do you spell Gaddafi?  Sometimes with one D, with one F, possibly with a Q and a U depending what news service, channel or country you look at. It appears the name isn't important when you go to war.

9) Have we learned nothing? On the contrary, we've continued to refine the art of selling arms to keep the peace and arming one side and then the other depending on how long we can pinch our nose and which way the winds blow.

Ah, so... we enter a new year full of hope, of resolution that it will be the best of times, celebrating life and.... what, excuse me? What channel? Oh, right, THAT didn't take long to screw up, now did it?

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, her entourage - and members of the public in the vicinity of the mall they were speaking at - were shot at around 11:00am local time on Saturday. The attempt at assassianting a public figure is  understanably news-worthy and after the immdiate facts were known  it took less than an hour for the blame game began in earnest - the minute that news networks had air-time to fill, there was an accumulation of speculation with only a few reporters actually brave enough to say 'We think we know 'X', but until we're absolutely sure we're not giving the information out'. The person accused of doing it was was one Jared Lee Loughner who, by default, was clearly mentally lacking in the self-control department (let's not get into amateur-hour diagnosis on specifics because that way lies badly defined madness - see the worthy ). It was also clear that Giffords had survived the initial attack and her condition was better than expected with the understated caveat of 'given the circumstances'. Those who died at the scene included a district judge, John Roll and a nine year old girl called Christina Greene, who was there because she interested in politics and taken to the mall as a treat to meet Gifford. If the story needed any more poignancy - and it arguably doesn't - the press noted that Giffords is the wife of a veteran, serving astronaut and that Christina Greene was born on 11th September 2001. You can almost smell a Lifetime Movie of the Week being prepped.

Here's another scenario: If a man regularly takes his friend out, gets him unfeasibly drunk on cheap alcohol, tells him stuff that gets him angry and then, at the end of the night tells him about the moral right to drive a car under whatever conditions he likes... who do you hold responsible if the man's friend subsequently drives home blind-drunk and angry one night, skids on the ice, loses control and runs over and kills a child en route?

Legally and pragmatically it's the driver because, when all is said and done, said moron has to accept a personal responsibility that each of us retains whenever we do anything. No deposit and no return... no-one tied him to the wheel, no-one forced those last bottles down his throat. Slam - and as they say - dunk. But more broadly speaking there are other factors at play. There's obviously a massive culpability to the friend who created a situation in which tragedy was somehow (by the laws of averages and Darwin) eventually inevitable. There's the cheap drink factor: hmmmm, too readly available?  And, hey, did the area have sufficent funds and resources to grit properly?

In the Giffords case, it's easy to see who the 'driver' is (even if we're not sure yet if he had a 'passenger' or 'navigator' onboard to help). The cheap drink, the ungritted road and the 'friend'... well, those are the factors open to debate. Is it Sarah Palin who specifically picked out a group of her opposition in the political arena and placed a literal target emblem over each area on her map telling supporters to 'reload' on her behalf? Is it  Sharron Angle's quote about 'second ammendment remedies' if goverment wasn't careful and 'taking Harry Reid out'...'?  Maybe Glenn Beck's hushed whispers of conspiracies and an upcoming revolution in the making... or Fox News seeing no problems with - indeed arguably promoting  citizens bringing fire-arms to town meetings in a blatant display of  both civil rights and machismo?

And lest this sounds like an anti-Right tirade, was Loughner leaning towards extreme ideas in either direction (Left or Right?) Tea-Party members and anti Tea Party members lined up to cast doubt on motives, speculate and, let's be brutally honest here, make their own capital out of it before any bodies were cold. Some anti-Palin sites have been as horribly extreme as some of her own extreme fanbase. Though this site kinda destroys ANY faith in humanity:

We don't know.

But here's the thing. Sooner or later the subtext becomes the text. The argument used to be that violence or sexual imagry on television and games would innately corrupt you. I never bought into that thinking unless it ever became the sole over-powering output of any such media. There was an argument (which perhaps holds just a little more water) that extreme content desensitises us to the horrendous, though even that is open to debate.'s not TV or games, it's real life. Or at least the blogosphere where everyone can be infamous for fifteen minutes. More inexcusably, it's also the news outlets who should know better.

Today in Britain it's perfectly possible to be arrested near Downing Street for wearing a t-shirt saying 'Fuck Blair' (though, point of fact, that's SO last decade!)  merely because it could incite public disorder and it's not much better in the US. However, bizarely you can go on (inter)national television or stage and use almost whatever inflammatory language you want under freedom of speech/the First Amendment (that, irony-alert,  Congresswoman Giffords read out at the Constitution time-waster show of patriotism earlier in the week) as long as you bracket it in metaphor . Who needs proof when you have an ISP and encouragement?

To take us full circle, it's possible to make a case that an individual acts alone and is solely responsible for their actions and isn't influenced by rhetoric or spin. If so then there's no need for election campaigns or any type of gun control and there's no absolutely need for representatves and public figures to make any call for more subtle language or for those compeltely co-incidental 'targets' to be removed from Palin's website. Yet, thy've already been removed, so clearly people think they might.

As was duly noted by a colleague: (New House Speaker) Boehner faced criticism last year for saying that Rep. Dreihaus (D-Ohio) 'may be a dead man' for voting for the health-care bill.

'These comments made by Republican leaders can serve as... an excuse or perhaps permission for people who may be unbalanced,' Dreihaus said in March 2010. 'It doesn't really matter the way you meant it, nor the way I accept it. It's how the least sane person in my district accepts it.'"

You can't always cater for the least sane person, but you don't need to effectively send them recruitement forms, either.  If the last sane person isn't saying 'enough is enough', could they at least, please,  turn the TV off?

So, that was the year that was, so it was. As I start typing this it's still technically 1st January 2011 here (1.1.11, rejoice binary fans!) in Iowa. I'm always wary of this day as it feels like a new volume when the old one never seems quite finished or perhaps not fully read, but I guess that's the nature of life.

2010 was an up and down year. I had a lot more - and varied - work to keep me busy, but I also had to spend far too much time chasing monies owed to me and reminding people that 'the cheque is in the post' is the second oldest promise in the world and was getting even older by the nature of month-on-month repetition. Having said that, some of the jobs were interesting and educational and with all £ now finally received, it's a level playing field once more. Once again, I'm open to any design work if anyone wants to alk about projects/rates etc...

Travel-wise I got to spend some quality time with my lovely Jilly and I intend to start spending even more time here in the future (after all, they already have a Civil War hero already named after me). I also managed a break in Paris with the ladies of Highlander WorldWide and the likes of the ever-brilliant David Abramowitz, Peter Wingfield, Lizzie Gracen, Jim Byrnes and Adrian Paul.  It was mostly a con-coverage jaunt, but I also managed to squeeze in some evening sight-seeing in the almost tropical climate, got prezzies for the parentals (and Jilly) and also found myself a dab hand at entertaining kids by default. Much thanks needs to go to Carmel, Victoria and Annie who have been responsible for some of my most marvellous international opportunities over the last decade. Though it's often a reciprocal arrangement with both sides doing well ( I hope), I've never forgotten the immense generosity I've gotten in return for my work and it bears putting that down in print/type/pixels etc and repeating how much I value them.

P365 (the photograph-a-day assignment at, was huge fun to be part of. It began as a vague idea and one I wondered if any of us would actually complete, but thanks to the tech efforts of Simon and Steve and the support of other members, it feels really good to have had the discipline to get through it all. If only I had the same discipline for chocolate. (Another thing, I need to diet a bit more successfully in 2011).

I nearly got arrested in Roundhay Park for being in a possession of an offensive camera - actually merely escorted from the premises by a phallanx of bouncer-types - and then subsequently got a very humble apology and a meerkat experience from Leeds City Council to make up or it. I think Charles Darwin has a theory which covers that.

Evolution-wise, I now have a perfectly adorable baby nephew, Zack, so the Mosby generation will continue thanks to Steve and Lynn. If the gene pool is strong, I fully expect he'll be getting tattoos and writing for money before kindergarten.  :)

No real resolutions or 2011 except to blog more, get more of my own novel done, get a bit more cash coming in on a predictable monthly basis, do something about my unreliable keyboard  (the 'e' is unreliable) and to worry less about the mornonic bleatings of Palin and Beck.

Until then, as it's now the 2nd January, I raise a glass or few to you all.

The HMS Vaguely Optimistic is underway...


Since David Fury recommended it a couple of years ago I finally dragged myself onto Facebook and now often post (or respond to one) a few times a day.  But though it's a notable socialising site to keep in touch with friends, I've actively avoided most of the various trends and memes that come along out of the blue. Posting the colour of your bra-strap or extolling the graceful virtues of your invisible deity of choice is all well and good if it floats your boat, but they aren't partiular carts to which I'd attach my virtual horse, so to mix metaphors. It's not that I look down on such activity, I just find it largely irrelevent and occasionally like virtual debris on my Wall. Don't even get me started on many of the personal details-grabbing 'games'. (As someone pointed out...can you grow dope on Farmville to sell on the streets of Mafia Wars?)

Despite that, once in a while, I'll forward on a good cause or show my 'Like' for others' efforts. So when, a few days ago, several friends decided to follow the trend of changing their icons to their childhood cartoon character of choice (showing some abstract support for anti-child abuse charities) I figured what the heck and changed mine to a Clanger (Yes, I'm aware that Freud would have a field-day!).  It didn't require any real effort and I didn't anticipate any controversy. I was amused when challenged as to whether a woolly clanger was suitable for a 'cartoon' choice  (my argument: it's stop-animation!) but that was it. But, of course, things are never quite that simple, are they?

NOW comes a new message, spreading even faster than the original idea, proclaiming that we've all been hoodwinked and the original meme was all the work of dastardly paedophiles and we've been shamedly roped into spreading their peversion. SHOCK! HORROR!  SHAME! I... Wait. Really?   I mean... SERIOUSLY?   Actually, no. Could we perhaps stop to think for a moment before we spread that kind of accusation?

In what POSSIBLE way could this benefit a paedophile?  The general stereotype is a dirty old man trawling the 'Net for kids to abuse by pretending to be younger and the argument seems to be that if a huge amount of people suddenly change their icon to reflect cartoon characters, then it'll be harder for people to judge ages. Which makes no sense at all, if thought about for more than a indignant minute, because...

a)  If everyone's doing it then a paedophile has no way of working out if he's communicating with a child or not. I'm pretty sure a dirty old man would be horrified to find out he's actually grooming another dirty old man rather than a school-kid, so murking the waters surely works against their peversion to begin with.

b) This isn't pretending to be kids, it's remembering your childhood. Surely people using icons of characters that were popular TWO or THREE decades ago gives a bit of a clue to their pop culture demographic. If you're featuring Noggin the Nog, Trumpton, Bagpuss,  Danger Mouse and - yes - a Clanger, dammit - I'd feel safe in betting you weren't born yesterday. So unless the nefarious plan is to target all those who DON'T feature Barnaby the Bear, Babar the Elephant or the original Wombles, then it all seems somewhat self-defeating.

c) Dear Parents. If you're allowing your children to surf ANY massive social-networking sites without observation and safety measures and which has a 'poke' option,  YOU'RE the ones putting your kids at risk. Now, put that nice TV remote down and come meet your offspring...

d) The NSPCC reports that though it has no idea who started the idea and that it has no official backing, they HAVE seen a marked increase in traffic to their website. So - while I wouldn't have actually ever believed my Clanger would really affect things one way or another - it appears something positive has been generated. So even if the original plan WAS conceived by the love-child of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, turnaround is fair play and it has acheived something positive. *Yay*, no?

So what have we learned today, kids?

Firstly, I don't wear bra-straps and while I kinda like your invisible deity of choice, I don't appreciate cold-calls on his behalf. AND - perhaps - that Facebook can be a valued communication tool and a cause for good...but with a little mixture of apathy and armchair alarm, also has all the power and indiscrimate damage-control of a ballistic chain letter or a copy of the Daily Mail.

And, dammit,  a Clanger IS an animated character.