What if David Cameron is an evil genius?

Frankie Boyle nails David Cameron. Britons (or English people, anyway) take note: This is what you voted for.

‘They abolished the Human Rights Act” sounds like the first sentence of an Aldous Huxley novel. The Conservatives actually campaigned on a manifesto pledge to get rid of human rights and people voted for it. As electoral choices go, it’s not far off choosing to be ruled by a dry, whispering voice taunting you from an antique mirror.

Here, in what may well be the final years of our civilisation, I would like to ask a question that has been worrying me for some time. What if David Cameron is a genius? A shrewd and malevolent psychopath who thinks two moves deeper into the game than any of his opponents? What if there sits in Downing Street today a modern-day Moriarty, living in a world where his schemes are only kept in check by the deductive brilliance of Harriet Harman? As Holmes would say, look at the evidence. Cameron has managed to set England against Scotland, Scotland against Labour. He has given his enemies the referendums they asked for, and won. He has left Nick Clegg looking like one of those terrified mouse faces that you find in an owl pellet. He has successfully pursued an agenda more radical than Thatcher’s with less popular support than John Major.

Most impressively, Cameron has managed all this without anybody being terribly worried by him. Immediately after his re-election he announced: “For too long we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens so long as you obey the law we will leave you alone.” A statement so far to the right that it conceded the political centre ground to Judge Dredd.

via What if David Cameron is an evil genius? | Comment is free | The Guardian.

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Royal Caribbean Customer service Experience

My cruise on the Oasis in October 2014 was a disappointment from start to finish: I arrived on the dock with my invite in hand for priority check in, only to find thousands of people ahead of me. I joined the back of the line while carrying my 45lb backpack, and then had to stand in line for over 1.5 hours to get to the customs and wait lounge. It was in the lounge that an individual – not one of the RCI-logo-wearing employees at the dock – informed me that the luggage check in had been BEHIND the lineup downstairs, and that I could’ve checked my bag and done the wait without the weight. When I finally got into the lounge, the lineup was snaking around for another couple of hours’ wait, and we were told to sit down and colour coded tags would be handed to us, to group us for processing. I took a seat and played a game to pass time, and at the end of my game looked up to see everyone around me holding tags – they had skipped me entirely. Frustrated, I decided to leave. I checked my bag and went for a walk around Rotterdam, thinking the line would be shorter when I came back. It wasn’t. I had to wait in line again (thankfully without the bag this time) for another 1.5 hours, and re-arrived in the hall to find the lineup there just as bad. After a half an hour, I noticed someone going to a rep standing at the far left hand side of the hall and being admitted. A few others noticed too, and about 20 of us arrived at the same time to what turned out to be the priority check in – it was obfuscated by the waiting room chairs and the huge lineup which turned out to be the customs line for EU citizens. From there we were processed quickly, but it took over 5 hours to get to that point.

When I was checked in I was given Emerald status, which was disappointing because I had calculated my sail days as putting me at Diamond status for this trip. I had been expecting the switchover and was disappointed, but assumed RCI could keep track of its own records better than me and that I’d made a mistake. Just today, when I noticed my cruise points had still not been assigned, I called RCI customer service and was told that, due to a glitch in your system, my C&A points have been miscalculated for several cruises because of a duplication. A new C&A membership number had been generated for me, but this information had not been passed along to me, or it seems your ships. Speaking with Jay at C&A customer service, it turns out I should have had my diamond status on the Brilliance, too – my solo traveller bonus points had not been credited. I’ve missed out on Diamond status for TWO Transatlantic sailings!

My sailing on the Oasis made me realize that class of ship is not for me – I had an inside cabin, there were very few public lounges where the ocean could be seen, the TV channel was focused on the Promenade instead of the bow cam, and we were locked in for the first week due to rough seas. In addition to the stir-craziness this caused (two passengers wound up in a fistfight at the enrichment lectures one day) I’ve never felt so disconnected from the ocean on a cruise before. My one attempt to correct this – specifically requesting a seat at a window at lunch – was undone when the next diners to arrive complained that they didn’t like looking at the water, and we were all moved to a table far away from the windows. I did see the Diamond Lounge through the locked doors, and know it would’ve been a place where I could’ve sat and watched the ocean. I’m very disappointed that this
opportunity was denied to me due to a glitch, and even more disappointed that I had to figure this glitch out for myself – no notification was given me that a new C&A number was generated, and your system did not recognize the updated points when I signed up for the new sailings.

I started this journey of revelations this morning by calling a phone rep – Dawn – at the RCI contact-us number. It was Dawn who informed me that my C&A number was somehow duplicated, and said I have a new number. She attempted to relay this to me, but I tried to explain that, as I log in using my RCI online account, I have no way of seeing the correct membership number or using the correct membership info. It was Jay – 2 phone calls later – who helpfully walked me through the process of creating a new account and gave me the new membership number so I could access my true C&A information. Jay was the only helpful employee I dealt with today.

When I mentioned my disappointment at realizing that I lost out on Diamond perqs, Dawn reacted with an oh-well shrug: “I can’t do anything about that because that was back then.” She then deflected my follow up questions, and I wound up ending the call feeling really upset and dissatisfied.

I called the customer relations number different to Dawn’s, thinking a CR rep rather than a sales rep might show more interest in my situation, but instead I got Neil. I explained some of the above situation to Neil, but as soon as he heard “Crown and Anchor” he put me on hold and COLD TRANSFERRED me to the C&A phone queue – not even a warm transfer to a rep. Very disappointing customer service!

I would like to reserve my one spot of praise for Jay. She was understanding, patient and helpful. I can’t say the same for any of the other RCI reps I spoke with today, or with the port employees at Rotterdam.

I will state that I abandoned RCI for my spring transatlantic this year because of the misadventures noted above, and the more-than-double single supplement fee that applies to most of the sailings. I am thinking of booking a Studio Interior stateroom on the Serenade for the August transatlantic crossing, but before I commit I want to know what steps RCI will take to make up for the privileges I lost on my last two RCI cruises.

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Artisan Politics

Love this little feature from the WaPo on Presidential doodles. Who knew such artists were wasted in the Oval Office?

Artisan Politics – Washington Post.

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Desexualising dolls

This Australian lady has been buying those hypersexualised Bratz dolls and modifying them with makeup remover – ironically – to show what they look like when they wake up in the morning. Fantastic idea and fun craft.

She Takes Off A Doll’s Face With Nail Polish Remover. When You See The Result You’ll Want One! – LittleThings.com.

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Classic Bran Muffins Recipe

I added some nutmeg and cinnamon, but otherwise followed the recipe. These are delicious!

Classic Bran Muffins Recipe – Allrecipes.com.

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Sunday Sketches

I adore Christoph Niemann’s Sunday Sketches. So simple, so artistic, so witty.

20 Creative Drawings Completed Using Everyday Objects By Christoph Niemann | Bored Panda.

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Terminally Ill Woman Is Taken to the Rijksmuseum

This is really lovely. Reminds me of the story which made Cardinal Mazarin my favourite French historical figure: As he was dying, he had servants carry him around so he could say goodbye to all his favourite paintings.


Terminally Ill Woman Is Taken by Ambulance to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam So She Can Visit It One Last Time.

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50 Shades of Tubes: Going Underground

Radio host replaces 50 Shades of Gray words with Underground stations.

audioBoom / 50 Shades of Tubes: Going Underground.

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Washing their hands of sanity

Not sure what kind of play the Republicans are making here – this “let them decide” now seems to be the party line. If it means more braindead sheep removed from the voting pool, I’m all for it. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep washing my hands and avoid shaking hands with this Senatorial idiot.

A US senator has suggested that restaurants should not have to make their employees wash their hands after toilet visits.

Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, made the comments on Monday during a speech criticising business regulations.

"Let them decide" such issues, the newly elected lawmaker said.

His argument was that restaurants which did not require workers to wash their hands would quickly go out of business.

"But I think it’s good to illustrate the point, that that’s the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country," Mr Tillis said.

He suggested that restaurants that did not require hand washing would have to alert customers with prominently displayed signs – itself a regulation.

via BBC News – US senator questions forcing food workers to wash hands.

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The Croppy Acre

I walked past this stark memorial when I visited the Collins Barracks museum in Dublin. No signs or notes explained what it was. I’m glad to have seen it, and find out after the fact, but it’s a surprising oversight given how plaqued-up the rest of Dublin is. Ireland is a country that knows and acknowledges its history, so for this large site not to open or signposted is surprising.

Following the defeat of the 1798 Uprising, the bodies of the republican rebels were dumped into unmarked, mass graves across the country. These graves became known as ‘Croppy Pits’ or ‘Croppy Holes’, a reference to the United Irishmen who wore their hair cropped in the style of revolutionary France.

These Irish revolutionaries often carried barley oats as a source of nutrition to sustain them in battle. Several months after a Croppy grave had been filled and covered over, barley often began to grow up and mark the spot. If barley is cut down it only comes back stronger. Though it was lost on the British, the people quickly realised the significance and barley became a defiant symbol of republicanism.

via Dublin People | Remembering the Croppy Acre.

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