Neologism: Parchment Contract

So, me and some workmates were talking about older work contracts today and how people on older contracts have much better terms and conditions than people on new contracts. It’s like, it gets progressively worse over the last thirty years. Seems to be common across organisations. Anyway, I said,  ‘Of course so-and-so was entitled to such-and-such a benefit; their contract is so old it’s written on parchment’. And then I was, okay, “parchment contracts”.

So there we are, I offer my nonce word up as a useful new word:

parchment contract n. phr. an older contract with preferential terms and conditions and pay, specifically used in bitter reference to how such contracts are now ancient, long-forgotten, history, and never likely to return.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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About Page Updated (2018)

For your information, I’ve updated my “About” page for the first time in three years! Check it out.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

Netflix Film Review: The Circle (2017) #150WordReview @Netflix

check out my film review and Netflix blog at https://filmmovietvblog.wordpress.com

The Circle is the world’s number one tech business, a Facebook-Google-Apple mash-up led by a kind of Steve Zuckerjobs (Tom Hanks). Young intern Mae (Emma Watson) scores a dream opportunity to work for the firm, but the dream quickly turns into a nightmare. The set-up is compelling: the darkside of social media and modern technology, the invasion of people’s privacy and the loss of anonymity, as perpetrated by floppy-haired, latte-supping, trendy technologistas, under the guise of techtopian idealism.

Sadly, a well-realised world deserves a well-realised film. Most characters are cardboard cut-outs that we don’t care for. The development of Emma Watson’s character is illogical; the more she suffers the folly of this Brave New World, the more she seems to buy into it. And the ending is unfulfilling and makes no sense; Mae’s reaction is the literal opposite of the logical end point of her story arc. Watson does the best she can, and Tom Hanks is compelling, but the lack of through-line in the script makes for a frustrating what-might-have-been mess.

2/5

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm2345938944

 

Random Quotes 1: Juncker #Brexit

If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘On we go’, and if it’s a No, we will say, ‘We Continue’.
Jean-Claude Juncker, EC President, on the 2005 French vote on the EU Constitution

featured image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Ioannes_Claudius_Juncker_die_7_Martis_2014.jpg

Random Images 35: Zidaned! #Random #RandomImages

Zidaned

Sci-Fi Musical Instrument: Yaybahar #Yaybahar #GörkemŞen @HostilesMovie #Hostiles @KermodeMovie

Mark Kermode mentions that a unique musical instrument called the “Yaybahar” is used in the film Hostiles. He said only one existed in the world at the time the film was made and that the sound is unlike anything else; this piqued my interest. So I looked it up on YouTube. Seriously, the inventor of this musical instrument, Görkem Şen, is some kind of genius. I’ve never heard anything like this before. Incredible. Watch and enjoy.

https://youtu.be/_aY6TxC1ojA

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/j_LW-eUYt7Y/maxresdefault.jpg

Netflix Film Review: Annihilation (2018) #200WordReview @Netflix #Annihilation @AnnihilationMov @AlexGarland

check out my new film, TV, and Netflix review blog at www.filmmovietvblog.wordpress.com

An isolated area of countryside is cut off from the world by an eerie shimmering light which surrounds it; no one who enters “the shimmer” is heard from again. Communication in and out of the shimmer is impossible. And with the shimmer slowly growing in size daily, engulfing the surrounding area, the government is called in to carry out a classified investigation under the guise of a chemical clean-up operation.

An all-female team, led by a biology professor (Natalie Portman) and a psychologist (Jennifer Jason) Leigh, each with their own agendas and ulterior motives, are the latest to enter. The world they find within the shimmer is an Alice-in-Wonderland, LSD trip gone wrong. A nightmarish hallucination, which is both utterly unlike anything you’ve seen before, and completely convincing.

The film is a genre-defying science fiction-horror-thriller-psychological thriller-creature feature which shares genetic strands with Sphere (1998), Event Horizon (1997), Contact (1997), and Cloverfield (2008). But this is all par for the course for writer-director, Alex Garland, whose previous accomplishments include Ex Machina and 28 Days Later.

This film is tense and, yes, genuinely scary. A horrifying slow-burn with some first rate acting.

5/5

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://media.aintitcool.com/media/uploads/2018/big_eyes/annihilation-movie-poster-snippet_huge.jpg

 

Term-time holiday dad loses court battle @tfa4freedom #Libertarianism #NannyState

The UK Supreme Court has decided that parents are not allowed to take their own children on holiday during school term time regardless of the child’s overall attendance, punctuality and attainment rates, or the needs of the family.

This sounds kind of reasonable, right? Surely, we need to protect kids from neglectful parents who harm their children by not giving enough regard to their educational attainment. However, bookings and flights are much more expensive during the school holidays. Many parents simply cannot afford these prices. Therefore, parents will often choose to miss some days of school, opting for a term-time holiday, than have their child miss no school time but perhaps forfeiting a holiday altogether. Yet even with this fine, it will still often be cheaper to take children on holiday out of term. Well, for wealthier parents, that is. What this fine means is that many poorer parents will not be able to have a holiday at all as they are less able to afford to pay the fine or the premium non-term time prices.

This is an outrageous decision. I grew up on a council estate, my parents were literally too poor to afford nappies. The only holiday I ever had from age 0-20 was when when I was 12, and it was paid for by people other than my parents. I never even went on these one-off school trips to places like Wales. I know the stress that no time away, no R & R, can have in a family and on school grades.

Sure, Mr Platt, the parent at the centre of this court case, isn’t trapped on a council estate like I was, but this decision applies to everyone. The decision is morally wrong for two fundamental reasons.

1. If a child’s attendance, punctuality, and attainment are otherwise good — that is, the child is being well cared for by their parents –, this ruling still does not allow parents to manage their children as they see fit. As it has been put today, parents must seek permission from the headmaster. This is a disgraceful decision, incredibly statist, and goes against the longstanding established liberal British and common sense mindset. It’s well-known that regular breaks from work or study yield greater periods of productivity.

2. It has been stated that taking kids out of school hampers the individual kid and their classmates from getting good GCSE graces due to the disruption caused. Well, you know what also hampers good GCSE grades? Tired, stressed, fatigued parents and children who don’t go on holiday or who can only holiday through excessive sacrifice in other areas. Trust me, I know.

It also needs to be said that GCSE attainment is far from the be-all-and-end-all of, well, anything. Lasting bonding time, fond memories, and a stress-free body will stand the child in good stead. That one holiday I took left me with more good memories, love for my family, and a rounded outlook than all the good GCSE grades I ultimately got. GCSEs have got me nowhere; when you’ve got A Levels, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, that’s what counts.

This case just goes to show that even in our fair, rational, and outstandingly excellent legal system, atrocious decisions are made which affect peoples lives badly.

Note: I wrote this post at the time when this story came out, but I suffered an enforced hiatus from posting. However, whilst Mr. Platt’s story is no longer current, the issue which it refers to is still relevant. Thus, I have decided it’s still very much worth posting.

© 2017-2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39504338

Brexit, A Second Referendum, and Double Jeopardy @juliahb1 #Brexit

Many opponents of Brexit (which I am sure you know refers to Britain exiting the European Union) say that we the British people should get a second vote, just to make sure that we still want to leave. Such people include former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major. After all, we voted almost two years ago, and so much has changed since then. This proposed second vote would specifically be based on the yet-to-be-agreed final deal that the Government is currently trying to negotiate with the EU. If we the people don’t like the final deal, then we the people should have the right to change our minds. After all, they say, isn’t that the essence of democratic choice? If we don’t like a particular politician we’ve voted in, we can always vote them out again come the next election. So why shouldn’t we be able to change our mind about this too? It is the supporters of Brexit who, despite their cries about “democracy”, are the true anti-democrats.

Well, that’s how heavyweight remain supporters such as Alistair Campbell, John Major, Tony Blair, Kenneth Clarke, and, err, Femi Oluwole have it.

But this view, despite being superficially highly convincing, is nonsense.

Firstly, their analogy is flawed; when we elect a politician, we don’t then have a second vote to see if we really do want them to be elected. Rather, the politician is in fact elected. Likewise, Brexit should in fact happen. Sure, if we change our minds at a future date, we should be free to try to reapply to the EU. And in fact, we would be free to reapply. Just as we would be free to not re-elect that politician.

Secondly, as I pointed out in my 26th June 2016 blog post, where I predict a second referendum and that the UK would never leave the EU, the people are almost never asked if they want to go along with the ever-closer union and integration. Former Prime Minister John Major, who is so shrill in claiming democracy requires a second EU referendum, never gave his own parliamentary party, let alone the people, a free vote on the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty which created so much of what is now the EU. Indeed, he insisted on brutal discipline to get the vote through parliament, including secretly flying in hospitalised MPs and making them vote his way(!), famously calling his few uncowed parliamentary opponents “bastards”. (As a point of interest, the Maastricht Treaty and the atrocious way Major handled the whole thing, directly resulted in the formation of UKIP.) Second votes are apparently only required when things don’t goes John Major’s way.

Indeed, when the people are from time to time asked, they almost invariably vote against the European Project. Yet they are always asked to vote a second time, just to make sure. And of course, with the right pressure and scare-mongering, they unfailingly return a vote in favour of the EU.

I’ve gotten into arguments with people who don’t understand why the people changing their minds in a second vote or a second vote at all would for me constitute an egregious violation of democracy. The best analogy I can give is to the famous legal rule of “double jeopardy”.

Double jeopardy states that an individual cannot be tried again for the same or similar offence on the same or similar evidence once acquitted. The logic is that, if they could be tried again, they would never truly be free or be able to live freely or in peace. Why not? Because the powers that be could simply try the individual again and again and again and again, grinding the defendant’s willpower, money, and life into the dust, until he is no longer able to fight back, and/or until a judge or jury can be found who would find in favour of the prosecution.

Yes, whilst it might sense to try the defendant again if new evidence comes to light, the rule of double jeopardy is clearly in fact one of the greatest tools defending individual liberty. Or at least, it was, until 2003 when the Labour government of Tony Blair and his henchman Alistair Campbell went a long way to “abrogating”, that is, removing, this ancient liberty.

And perhaps that is why Blair, Campbell, and all their ilk don’t understand why a second vote would be undemocratic. They simply don’t buy into the notion of democracy, even though they probably think that they do; rather, they buy into the Aristotelian and continental European view,  that the plebs are too stupid to know what’s good for themselves, and only an elite Philosopher-King, or a committee version thereof, is able to rule the people and thereby allow the people to be free by preventing them from allowing their own plebbish baseness to cause harm to themselves. Like children, we should be free, but like children, if allowed total freedom, we would soon end ourselves. Yet this is the very opposite of democracy.

But to the rest of us, trying an acquitted person again and again and again, is a flagrant abuse of freedom. And to get the people to vote again, but this time the “right way”, is an equal abuse. We voted to leave knowing that, whilst there were countless ramifications to that decision — just as there are when we vote in any referendum or election –, we would in fact leave.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2016-10-05-1475670108-7560650-brexit1.jpg

Brexit, The Deal, and the EU’s Long Game #Brexit

I’ll keep this to the point.

If the UK does not fully leave the Customs Union (CU), the Single Market (SM), and the European Court of Justice (ECJ), then the UK will not be able to take back control of our borders, our laws, and our trade deals. We’ll be a vassal of the EU. And in ten years’ time when Brexit has not worked out well due to our being hamstrung from the get-go, I fear that enough of the people will buy the hype that we will be sold: that we never should have left the EU.

I saw one person on Twitter deride Brexiteers saying that, ‘when Brexit fails, you guys will say what all the old communists said after the USSR failed: “but they didn’t do it right!”‘. There is a grain of truth in this, except this 140 character journalist got one thing wrong. Even though I oppose communism, the USSR didn’t actually do it right: Marx and Engels were clear that Communism would only work if the society evolved through and past capitalism, but would fail if a society “jumped” a social stage. Well, the USSR did indeed jump from agricultural straight into communism, by-passing capitalism. Likewise, if we are not free to pursue our own path 100% freely, whether that path be Corbynistic Commie Heaven, or a Singapore-on-the-Thames style tax haven, or anything in between, then Brexit will fail.

I think the EU supporters, within and without our nation, are playing the long game here. They know that the semblance of a true Brexit, coupled with things not working out as well as we would like, plus another 8 years or so of EU influence and propaganda, will soften up the pro-Brexit side to the point where, they reckon, we will be begging to rejoin the EU — on any terms. And that means joining the Euro. We’ll be nothing but a non-sovereign state, a Mississippi or an Idaho.

We cannot take our eye off the ball. And if our generally useless leaders succeed in giving us a true Brexit, then I foresee most hardcore remainers ten years from now, claiming, ‘Well, I was never really anti-Brexit; I always knew it was going to work out’. But we must make sure that we leave the CU, the SM, and the ECJ.

© 2017-2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2016-10-05-1475670108-7560650-brexit1.jpg