The Plastic Hippo

December 17, 2012

A child`s Christmas in Connecticut

Filed under: Education,Law,Politics,Rights,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 6:23 pm

Image via

In a political bear pit that regards any evidence of real emotion as a sign of weakness; when the most powerful man on the planet pauses to wipe away tears we can safely assume that something is very, very wrong.

It is impossible to describe or even to begin to understand the horror that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut but the sad and astonishing fact is that the parents grieving for lost children violently taken are not the first to experience the desolation and anguish of random and indiscriminate barbarity. When two teenage schoolboys killed themselves after shooting and killing 12 classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado in April 1999, some people dared to question the God-given right of US citizens to bear arms as enshrined in the constitution. Nothing happened. (more…)

December 14, 2012

Generation F

Filed under: Education,Politics,Sport,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 12:51 pm

Midwich cuckoos
League tables, as any supporter of Walsall Football Club will tell you, are not very important unless you find yourself at the very top or at the very bottom. However, a drop of 70 places even in a meaningless and hollow taxonomy is not the best of news for a beleaguered yet still proud town.

With Walsall sixth from bottom in the npower League One Table, just three points away from the relegation zone and with a dreadful goal difference of minus 12, questions as to the future of manager Dean Smith are beginning to be asked. Only an emphatic win against Yeovil on Saturday will go some way to silence the critics and avoid the long journey into League Two and away fixtures at Exeter and Gillingham. Football in Walsall, though, still has a chance to survive with the noble forces of courage, commitment, dedication and hard work. Sadly, the same cannot be said of education in Walsall. (more…)

December 12, 2012

A blast from the past

Filed under: Environment,Politics,Society,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 1:05 pm
Image via The YamYam

Image via The YamYam

In an uncertain and changing world, it is good to know that some things remain fixed and immutable. Walsall Council cabinet meet tonight (Wednesday) to discuss what to cut from what`s left of public services.

As the majority of the populous acquiesce in either ignorance of apathy, a few courageous folk are determined to expose the disarray and duplicity of local government in Walsall. The formidable Linda Mason and the excellent Save Walsall`s Green Spaces and Countryside Services campaign have uncovered evidence of either deception or incompetence in senior council echelons when dealing with genuine and articulate concerns from members of the public. The redoubtable Brownhills Bob details the sordid goings on in this forensic analysis. It would seem that a “consultation” makes everything better regardless of the conclusion. It is a little like asking inhabitants of a turkey farm if they prefer chestnut stuffing to sage and onion. The great Walsall public have been “consulted” on the proposed increase in the cost of school meals as part of the draft budget yet cabinet tonight will receive a report recommending that all Walsall children be given a free school meal for very sound nutritional and educational reasons. At the very least, says the report, the cost of a school meal should be capped at £1. Does anyone at the Council House or the Civic Centre have a bloody clue what they are doing? Meaningless inconsequential “consultation”, corporate deniability, concealment and contempt for the public it is supposed to serve would suggest that Walsall council is slavishly mimicking national government. Strangely, the opposite is true. (more…)

December 11, 2012

The land that time forgot

Filed under: History,Law,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 12:50 pm

Life was more straightforward when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Prior to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, only two things occupied tiny minds; eating things and avoiding being eaten by other things. Existence is now more complex.

Tiny minds capable of loud roars, however, remain and continue to graze and hunt and make loud noises in blissful ignorance of their impending demise. The rather puzzling stand taken by David Cameron over the issue of same sex marriages in places of worship has resulted in all manner of Dinosauria emerging from the Triassic woodwork to bellow defiance at the incoming lump of heaven. Given that members of the coalition front bench are stupid, devious or both, Cameron`s championing of gay rights is somewhat perplexing. His lurch towards something resembling basic humanity and common sense is disturbingly out of character and one must question his motives in upsetting the big, lumbering beasts of the Conservative party and the unpleasant throw-backs who describe themselves as men of God. (more…)

December 9, 2012

`Twas on a Monday morning

Filed under: Literature,Society,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 7:12 pm

Image via
Image via

There are some weeks that are best forgotten. Forget slings and arrows, when sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions. The central heating boiler stopped working.

On an unusually cold Saturday morning, the usual descent toward the kitchen for toast and coffee was interrupted by the adolescent braying of the Neanderthal that shares this household. “Dad, the computer`s not working.” The tone of voice and rising inflection, mercifully different to the usual monosyllabic grunt, suggested that this was some sort of instruction rather than a sharing of information. Sitting in my tasteful office chair that swivels and everything, sitting at my computer, this barbarian made in my image demanded that I fix it in order for him to continue playing something called Minecraft.

Trouble is, the only experience of data retrieval enjoyed by this simple Luddite was the removal of a table top Space Invader machine from a hotel bar on a notoriously debauched tour of the West Country in the early 80`s. Fear not, no felony was committed. We were simply taking it upstairs to one of our rooms to continue playing and we left a note telling the staff where it was. The duty manager, however, seeing four young men struggling upwards with the Taito Corporation`s finest, feared the worst. Checking our occupations on the hotel register, he seemed convinced that we were about to hurl Tomohiro Nishikoda`s greatest achievement out of the window. He seemed disappointed when we put it back in the morning. Not a lot went on in Exeter back then. (more…)

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