The Greatest Frustration Duolingo Can Give… @duolingo #duolingo

… is when you get a sentence wrong because you idiotically made a mistake on the ENGLISH!!😀

DuolingoFail

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

Football World Cup and Olympics Host Nation Idea

Putin

The 2016 Rio Olympics are a shambles. The stadiums aren’t ready, people are dying. It’s a joke. Sounds eerily familiar, though, doesn’t it? Step forward, Qatar 2022! There have even been rumblings that Qatar could be stripped of the World Cup (although that won’t happen, of course). Now Russia has been banned from the 2016 Olympics for endemic, state-sponsored doping — yet Russia will host the next football world cup in 2018!

1280px-Kallimarmaron_stadium

The ancient Panathenaic Stadium in Greece.

It’s clear that the two biggest sporting events in the world, the Olympics and the Football World Cup, have become a joke. Given the cultural, political, and economic importance of these two events, things need to be fundamentally addressed. The whole bidding process was always open to corruption. After all, if one side has something (the event) that the other side desperately wants to host, then the risk of corruption is ever-present. But now the bribes and cheating have gone well beyond having lunch and a selfie with Wills and Becks.

So how can we fix the in-built risk of corruption involved in the host nation bidding systems? Here’s a suggestion.

  1. Let any nation put forward a bid, but only those nations that already have adequate infrastructure at the time of placing their bid will be considered. If that means every other World Cup or Olympic Games is held in England, France, or Germany, so be it.
  2. Do away with bidding altogether: the nations that put their name forward (above) are put into a hat; the name pulled out of the hat hosts the tournament. The only proviso: nations cannot go into the hat if they hosted the last games (So no London 2012, London 2016, London 2020, and so on).

Or we could just go back to the original idea of the Modern Olympics: host every single Olympic Games in Greece, in the Panathenaic Stadium. Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics; England, the birthplace of football: you know who should host every World Cup!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://vipmedia.globalnews.ca/2014/03/putin-sochi-march-8.jpg?w=672&h=448&crop=1

image of the Panathenaic Stadium from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panathenaic_Stadium

Direct Democracy Petition: Update #DirectDemocracy #TakeControl #Switzerland #BindingReferendums #Referendum

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My direct democracy petition has finally gone live (a few weeks after setting it up). So please share the below link and sign the petition (if you agree with me, of course!) I probably should have set this up a few weeks ago, though, before the bruising EU referendum campaign turned people off referendums.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/157241

If a petition gets 250,000 signatures, it should trigger a national referendum

Engagement with politics is continuing to decline. Direct democracy is part of the solution.

When an official petition receives around 250,000 signatures, it should result in an official, binding referendum.

More details:

In Switzerland, when around 0.6% of the population signs a petition, it triggers a referendum (https://www.ch.ch/en/referendum/). This system works well in a country of more than eight million people, and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work well in the UK.

A committee or group should be set up to administer these petitions so they do not needlessly consume government time. Note that only a small number of petitions a year would receive the needed signatures.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://petition.parliament.uk

Euro 2016: The Review

UEFA_Euro_2016_Logo_svgBack in 2007, I scoffed at Euro 2012 being awarded to Ukraine and Poland. I mean, they didn’t have the infrastructure. And Ukraine at least was full of violent ultras. I kept scoffing right up until kick-off. How wrong I was. It turned out that Euro 2012 was the best Euros I have seen in my life. Who can forget the high-scoring matches (4-1, 3-2, 3-1, 4-0, 3-2, 4-2) including the 4-0 final victory by Spain or Spain being the first nation to retain the Henri Delaunay trophy?

It perfected the format. It felt that the Euros had finally come of age.

So I was disgusted that Euro 2016 would expand to 24 teams. I said it would water down the tournament. Third place teams qualifying for the next round? This is as ridiculous as the bloated farce that the Europa League and the Champions League have become. Sure, there are more “countries” than ever in Europe including latterly the likes of Gibraltar, so an expanded format makes sense on the face of it. But of course it’s all about money, not giving a fair chance to all nations. A 24 team tournament always seemed a step too far.

I was delighted to be proven wrong about 2012; I am disappointed to be proven right by 2016. What a turgid affair these Euros were.

Firstly, the idea that a team finishing third in a group should go onto lift the trophy, when they would have been eliminated in every other instantiation of the competition in history, is not the stuff of fairy stories; it’s straight up ridiculous. No offence to Portugal, but drawing all three of your group matches is not what inspires my dreams. Indeed, of Portugal’s seven matches, they only won one in the 90 minutes — their semi-final against Wales!

Portugal’s win exemplified the tournament as a whole; it was a boring win in a boring, lifeless competition. I could barely stay awake during the final.

UEFA talk about how their new format gave us the gems of Wales and Iceland. And it’s true; Wales and Iceland were pretty much the only good things about the tournament. But in all fairness, Wales and Iceland both came second in their qualifying groups and would have ended up qualifying even if there were only sixteen teams in the finals. Indeed, Northern Ireland, another minnow, topped their qualifying group.

UEFA_Euro_2016_qualifying_map_svg

Who *didn’t* qualify for Euro 2016??

The ridiculousness of the current format is exemplified by this graphic: blues qualified, yellows didn’t.

We might as well just go whole hog, dispense with the qualifying campaign, and divide the 53 teams into groups of four (perhaps with an initial pre-qualifying round for the lowest six ranked nations so as to make it an even 48*, or else add another side for 54). Then run it more-or-less like the Champions League. Perhaps with a second group round.

Sounds stupid, but why not?

They’re already moving away from the host nation format with Euro 2020 which will be hosted across Europe. Why not just carry it on. The whole thing can be a bloated, never-ending, money-making mess exhibition of football at its purest! If UEFA cared about football, there would be sixteen teams in the finals. At a stretch, twenty teams. If we’re really pushing it out, second and third placed teams could play-off (in a 16 or 20 team format) leading to another round before the quarters. But 24 teams? Third place teams going through on draws. No way.

Congratulations to Portugal, but nobody is going to remember this tournament.

*This would also gives us the mini-comp “Champion of the Minnows”, where the likes of San Marino and Gibraltar would duke it out to qualify at all

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

images from Wikipedia

Wisdom Tooth Haemorrhoids #WisdomTooth #Haemorrhoids #Hemorrhoids #Dentistry

Two-Chocolate-Lego-Bricks

After six months of my face ballooning, and my diet largely being made up of antibiotics, I had all of my wisdom teeth taken out last week. I was really not keen on getting it done as I had a fear they were accidentally going to nick my inferior alveolar nerve nerve and paralyse my face. But it had to be done.

Seven days later:

  • Yes, my tooth socket areas hurt a lot.
  • Yes, they necessarily did a hatchet job on my gums, which also hurt.
  • Yes, my mouth is riddled with infections and what are known as “major” ulcers.
  • Yes, an extremely limited liquid diet, so as to not agitate the tooth sockets or the ulcers, is boring the hell out of me.

But the worst bit about having all of my wisdom teeth out? The haemorrhoids.

That’s a worry that didn’t cross my mind, pre-op.

But with a diet consisting wholly of water, yoghurt, ice lollies, and cold cream of tomato soup (the last turns out to be a no-no as it is making my infection worse!), I am simply unable to poo.

I’ve never had that problem before. A slightly excessive amount of coffee, chilli, and Jakeman’s sweets, has meant my bumhole has always been thoroughly lubricated, and my plop healthily medium soft.

But now I am laying actual bricks.

Yet I can’t lay them.

The lavvy routine is the same each time. The jagged, baby-sized turd very slowly creeps down my bot-canal. It stretches my rim till tears fill my eyes. Yet it won’t come out. My arse ring just contracts further and further, yet there’s no epidural to hand, and no sign of my red baby’s head.

The only way to get the crap packet out of my bleeding rear eye is to rhythmically clench my butt cheeks and breaks little pieces of dung off, and then suck the vitriolic little shit back up into my rectum. I’ve been chiselling away at this bum boulder in this manner for a day now.

Solutions? No idea. The laxatives aren’t working. I just never thought I’d get piles from having my teeth out.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.bitrebels.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Two-Chocolate-Lego-Bricks.jpg

Brexit… Lite? @vote_leave #takecontrol #voteleave #brexit

EUStates

Immediately after the EU Referendum, people were talking about whether we would really leave the EU or not. But now that people have more-or-less accepted the result, everyone is talking about whether we’ll opt for “Brexit Lite” (The Independent, The Scotsman, Digital Look) or full-blown Brexit.

But given the once-in-a-lifetime, Remain or Leave, “you can’t be half-pregnant”, binary nature of this referendum, how could there be a “Brexit Lite“, and what does that even mean? I thought I would pass on the above graphic to bring light to the situation.

The more of those circles you are in, the more locked into the “European Project” you are. Note particularly the circles which read “European Union” and “Eurozone”. But it is very possible to be involved in some parts of European co-operation without being a state of the EU. Brexit-lite would simply mean being outside of the “European Union” (without presumably becoming Eurozone or Schengen Area), but not leaving all of the other circles. Full blown Brexit would presumably be leaving all or almost all the circles. Simple. The question is: which circles will we join or stay in?

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.aegee.org/yvote2014/voting-guide/how-does-the-eu-works/

 

Random Images 20: Reverse Poem

hint: read top to bottom, then bottom to top.

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EU Referendum by Region @vote_leave #takecontrol #voteleave #brexit

_90083268_eu_ref_uk_regions_leave_remain_gra624_sorted

This should probably be familiar to you all by now, at least in broad outline, but I wanted to put it on my blog just for reference’s sake. Here’s how the 12 NUTS1 regions of the UK (the EU-designed regions of the UK) voted in the EU Referendum.

Note that eight of the nine regions of England voted LEAVE. See a full breakdown of results on the BBC website here.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36605656

 

Swiss-Style Referenda #TakeControl #Switzerland #BindingReferendums #Referendum

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Engagement with politics is continuing to decline. Direct democracy is part of the solution.

If a petition gets around 250,000 signatures on the official government petition site (https://petition.parliament.uk), I believe it should trigger an official, binding referendum.

In Switzerland, when around 0.6% of the population signs a petition, it triggers a referendum (https://www.ch.ch/en/referendum/). This system works well in a country of more than eight million people, and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work well in the UK.

A committee or group should be set up to administer these petitions so they do not needlessly consume government time. Note that only a small number of petitions a year would receive the needed signatures.

If you agree, and are a British resident, please sign my petition here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/157241

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://petition.parliament.uk

[new petition page link updated 22.07.2016]

EU Referendum: Vote Leave LIED!? @susannareid100 @Nigel_Farage @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

Nigel-Farage-ITVs-Good-Morning-Britain-Susanna-Reid

There’s been a bit of a stir because Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, has “admitted” that he can’t guarantee when, if ever, the money we currently send to the EU will be spent on the NHS and other public services. People are saying they’ve been lied to.

How is this news? Of course Farage can’t promise it! He’s not even in the government, let alone Prime Minister! Furthermore, he wasn’t part of the official Vote Leave campaign. It’s embarrassing to see Susanna Reid pretend to be a hard-hitting journalist, a female sexier Paxman, by pushing Farage on this. Typical ITV nonsense. Have a go at the BBC, and yes it doesn’t have a slight bias, but she wouldn’t have been able to go after Farage, tabloid-style, and pretend this is a scoop.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/newsnights-evan-davis-loses-brexit-8281875#Z0mv3SYpsa8HhXOQ.97