The Plastic Hippo

February 28, 2014

The great gates of Kiev



By any stretch of the imagination, it has been a difficult week for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Setting aside allegations of electoral fraud, the poisoning of his main political opponent and the imprisonment and torture of a woman Prime Minister, poor Viktor has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Imagine being a democratically elected leader and being forced to flee your native land with only a large Antonov transport aircraft stuffed with gold bullion for comfort. Fortunately he is now under the protection of Putin and continues to claim legitimacy even as Russian troops mass on the border with Ukraine. The people of Kiev and the western provinces might include right-wing fascists armed with Kalashnikovs but they can all spot a crook when they see one. (more…)

February 21, 2014

Last orders

Park Tavern 9-00am

Park Tavern 9-00am

In those far off mid-summer days, when the sun was shining and England had a manly test cricket team, this blog mused on the sudden and mysterious closure of the Park Tavern on Broadway North in the sleepy, picturesque village of Walsall. The mystery is now solved; the boozer is to become a granny farm.

Granny farming has become rather lucrative since both national and local government abandoned any responsibility for the care of senior citizens in their twilight years. Caring for pensioners is expensive and time consuming as they do tend to go on and on about how they defeated fascism, how they created the NHS, how they fought for employment rights, a decent education for their children and how much tax and national insurance they have paid since starting work in factories, mills and coal mines at the age of seven. No longer paying tax and now claiming state benefits; Derby and Joan are becoming something of a burden on an economy that requires greater profit margins and increased bonuses for bankers. (more…)

January 12, 2014

Reality and illusion

Filed under: Education,Health,History,Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 4:34 am
Tags: , ,
M C Escher (1898 - 1972)

M C Escher (1898 – 1972)

Even after thousands and thousands of years during which lots and lots of very, very clever people tried to define reality, we are still no closer to a universal proof of anything; the only certainty is that nothing is certain.

Since the days of Plato, successive governments have understood that everything is open to interpretation and have carefully exploited the benefits of chaos theory whist simultaneously denying that chaos actually exists. Our current bunch of self-appointed masters having ditched any notion of logic applied to economic policy are now systematically working their way through the sum of human knowledge discarding most of it as being irrelevant.

The rules of valid reasoning, logical argument and proof based analysis no longer seem to apply and we now enter a period of history when reverse logic takes the place of actual fact. So when an A and E department in Belfast declares a major incident because it cannot cope with the numbers of people who require treatment, it is described by some talking head in a suit from the Northern Ireland Assembly as a “one off” and nothing to worry about. A major incident usually involves some traumatic event such as an aircraft no longer being an aircraft, a train that has decided not to be a train anymore or, given that particular part of the world`s unhappy history, a bloody big bomb going off. (more…)

November 27, 2013

Where did it hit you?

Filed under: Health,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 3:05 am
Tags: , ,
Mike Gatting image via

Mike Gatting image via

Cricket aficionados might remember the day back in 1986 when Mike Gatting left bits of his skull on the crease at Sabina Park, Kingston Jamaica. Taking the full force of a ferocious Malcolm Marshall bouncer right between the eyes, insult was added to injury as the ball dropped gently onto the wicket and Gatting was out if not quite down. As the batsman was led away for urgent medical attention, the ball was tossed back to the bowler to continue the onslaught. In abject horror, Marshall dropped the ball as he discovered a piece of bone had embedded itself into the leather. At the time, those with more than a passing knowledge of cricket and neurological surgery suggested that Gatting was lucky not to have died.

He was flown back to the UK for treatment and after just three weeks was astonishingly back at the crease facing the ferocious West Indies pace attack in the third test. He was luckier in that innings; only a quick delivery hitting the handle resulted in a broken thumb and it is difficult to shift from the mind the image of Monty Python`s Black Knight shouting; “come back here and I`ll bite your legs off” . Even given his considerable ability with a bat, this derring-do confirmed Gatting as a national hero. Consider then, the return of Jonathan Trott from Australia. (more…)

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