Fake news has its moments!

Generally I find all these ‘fake news’ websites about as entertaining as watching paint dry, yes, really that good. Generally, for me at least, they are so ridiculous that even if you dont know they are fake (some are less subtle about the matter than others), that anyone with half an ounce of sense can see through them. Unfortunately, at times there seem to be more than a number of people who clearly lack that half ounce, but in a sense, it doesnt matter, I just laugh it off, and move on…

But yes, sometimes, they just get scary!

Let me just say that it didnt take me very long to spot one big difference between the UK, and the US, its the playing of the national anthem at sporting events. Over here, generally, unless its an International match (or a cup final) of some kind, the national anthem doesnt get played. In the US however, its played everywhere, and every time! Fine, each to their own, and I always sing the US anthem when at a sporting event over there, and indeed the Canadian one, when I went to a baseball game in Toronto. Oh, and an Ice Hockey game in Seattle, when the opponents were from north of the border too! In truth, I prefer both to our own, but anyway…

Last year, rightly, or otherwise, a quarterback from San Francisco (though the team actually now play some distance from that city) decided not to stand for the US national anthem, to protest against police violence, or something. Personally, I think he was wrong, but if it was his stance, and he was free to do so…?

Anyway, to keep it brief, end of last season, he, and his team parted ways. I believe he was a free agent, but as a ‘fair’ player of his position, you’d expect him to be snapped up by someone as a back up at least. No, they havent! Related issues, quite likely, it seems!

OK, as a follower of the Buffalo Bills (no, I dont get passionate enough about any sports team to really qualify as a fan), I sort of follow a few related pages about them. Last night, on Facebook, someone posted an obviously fake news page saying that this quarterback (Colin Kaepernick, if you hadnt already worked it out) had signed for one of their divisional rivals.

Basically several hundred comments erupted on the thread, and if ten of them could be read by children, I’d be amazed! The vitriol relating to what they would do to Kaepernick, Jets staff, or in general, anyone even who supported the Jets was awful! Let me say that I dont know if this is a general rabid NFL fans syndrome, specifically a Bills one, or what? Given its only a fan board, I’m not expecting the team to comment on the matter, but if that kind of Neanderthal thinking sums up Bills fans only, I think I want to support another team! I suspect its worse than that, but hopefully not! Equally, I guess this is the reaction only of a small minority, but it makes me sad, all the same.

So no, I might not agree with Kaepernick’s stance, but if this is the reaction of others, to a piece of fake news, then yes, it scares, and depresses me!

Video time. A piece of 70’s kitsch, and not even a good one. But given what his original protest was about the treatment of, by police, I couldnt resist. Yes, clothes were really this awful in the 70’s believe me!

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A residence in Hollywood? Just maybe?

A funny thing happened during my job hunting this week. Normally, when you apply for a job, the start is going to be (relatively) soon, exactly how soon depending on the whims, and needs of your potential employers. But the job that I should have registered for on Monday, and been assessed on Tuesday, but for events mentioned earlier in the week, wouldnt actually start until November. Why, because it would be working at the brand spanking new shopping centre in Bradford, which only actually opens to the public on the 5th November. Yes, the Westfield shopping centre, only a “few” years late is finally going to open for business! Guess what, they are looking for concierge agents already, well in advance.

Good news, on Thursday, when I got there, seems there are still vacancies. And there will be an assessment day, for those roles on the 20th. And if you pass, you hear soon after, great stuff. The thing is, thats quite a gap between getting the job, and starting work, and getting paid. I know, I could look for something temporary in the meanwhile, and maybe I would, and should. Though as mentioned before, finding anything at present, for someone of my age, quite challenging! And as an ex workmate has already discovered, our ‘Dear Leader PM’ has decided that for whatever reason you’re not genuinely job hunting, you’re not going to get paid benefits. Lovely chap, so glad I didnt vote for him (yes, sarcasm alert there). So they might get equally feisty with me, probably would, such a ghastly bunch!

In the mean while, I’m carrying on the search for more current jobs, though I’m beginning to get to that ghastly window where employers arent going to be so keen on me, given I’m going away on holiday in 6 weeks time, and those with longer training periods arent going to be interested. Already had one, agency enquired this week, no holidays in first 8 weeks, and I havent even started the process yet!

So, as is my way, I started thinking laterally. Dangerous thing I know, but all the same. No, I dont mean thinking, but if anyone wants to solve that problem, offering me a position, I wouldnt say no! No, I meant the lateral thinking bit lol. Suppose I know I’ve got a job at the end of August, which doesnt start till the beginning of November, what options does it open up? Well, given the fact I’ve been pretty miserly with my redundancy money, one idea came to me. A month away, in the US, in my own rented apartment somewhere, living like a local, with a local address (of sorts). And yes, Hollywood did come to mind, though a couple of other West Coast cities also came to mind (Seattle, San Francisco) because lets face it, for a week, they are a lot of travelling. But for 4 weeks, hmm… And before you say that I’ve only recently spent 10 days in Hollywood, believe me when I say I barely scraped the LA area in that time. Long Beach, Anaheim, Burbank, most of down town…not at all.

Friends have even found me a couple of sites, with plenty of suitable places to rest my head wherever I choose to. But given how badly this job hunt has gone, can you seriously see this playing out as I’m planning it? I wish! Mind, if I could find a call centre that was prepared to interview me now, offer me a job to start in November, that would be handy! Its not like these places dont recruit all the time, but I suspect ‘regulations’ wouldnt permit it.

But yes, I must admit, it didnt take long (a matter of hours, in all honesty) for the idea to grow on me, if I could work it. Yes, even if its not truly my place, the idea of having a Hollywood address of my own, even for just 4 weeks, would be wonderful.

OK, I’ll wake up to the reality now, its not going to happen, I’m sure, but I can wish, and plot…No, I’m sure the dream wont go as far as finding a job in LA lol, but again…! If someone wants me to dress up as Iron Man (girl) or something, and have photos taken, I wouldnt say no. Not sure the Jean Harlow look would be popular enough nowadays.

Right, the video. A room (or more strictly, an apartment) with a Hollywood view? Wouldnt that be something, if only for 4 glorious weeks

World Series 2014: Kansas City and San Francisco, a personal look

Yes, tomorrow night, in Kansas City, the culmination of the baseball season begins. Given that the game will actually start at 1.00 am in the UK, on Wednesday morning, I wont be watching. But in spirit, albeit a sleeping spirit, I will be there.

Its a rare treat, in that I have actually been to both stadiums where the games will take place, and actually enjoyed visiting both of them. The last time there was a World Series when that happened, 1993 when Toronto took on Philadelphia. The Toronto stadium at that time, was the once I visited, but the Philadelphia one wasnt, having being demolished in 2004, and replaced by a very modern stadium that well, I didnt fall in love with!
The last Series between 2 teams I have seen play is far more recent, just 2 years ago, when San Francisco played Detroit. I saw Detroit play, in the now demolished Metrodome in Minneapolis.

But these two…

So lets start with where people leave their heart, San Francisco. AT&T Park is probably one of my all time favourites, probably helped by the fact that the first time I went there (have been twice), I went to an evening game, and not only did I get to watch the baseball, in a wonderful setting, I got to see the sunset over San Francisco Bay, and that was worth the money in itself.
But all in all, its a wonderful setting to see baseball played, though sadly, no one hit a home run into the water while I was there. Have seen it on TV a couple of times, but…

So yes, ironically, under any other circumstances, I would happily support them against most teams, but not this time around.

Because they are playing Kansas City!

So far, I’ve only had the one visit to Kaufman Stadium, about a month ago, when they lost to Boston. As was mentioned in the blog at the time, the service that Kate and I got from the staff, was truly amazing. And seeing those famous fountains, at the other end of the stadium…really good!

I must admit, there are 2 ladies who are the reason I follow Kansas City, Brooks and Harlow. One came from the city, one came from the state of Kansas, so all in all…a big soft spot for me. Neither of course saw the Royals play, they only started playing in 1969. Lets face it, pre war, travel made it impossible for teams to play that far west. And when teams started moving west, California became the big target, so…

And before you ask, I have absolutely no evidence that either lady ever saw a baseball match anywhere!

Given that San Francisco have won it all twice in the last 4 years, Kansas hadnt even made the play offs since 1985, when they actually won the World Series themselves, I might have supported KC anyway. But now, probably the first time I’ve really rooted against SF in all honesty.

Hopefully KC will win, as that would be perfect for me. But at the same time, if a National League team has to win it, well, San Francisco might be my call. But even so, I have to say it, go Royals!

The video, well its about KC, and produced in Cherryvale, surely the perfect combination? I have to thank my friend, Tina for posting it on Facebook in the first place.

Oh, and if any manip/photoshop experts out there want to send me a picture of Jean Harlow, in either a Royals top, or cap, I would so love it, and would post it up. I know, wherever she is watching it from, she’ll be rooting for her home town team

A pair of NFL farewells

Its a fact of life that time moves on, as I know too well myself. At 55, I’ve probably got a few more years left in this life, but in all likelihood, not as many as I’ve had already, by a long stretch!

But when it comes to sports stadiums, it seems to get hit and miss. Fenway Park has been around for over a century, and Wrigley Field hits that landmark next year as well. But others seem to have a brief life, and then pass away, usually in a cloud of smoke, from demolition, by explosions.

Last Monday saw the last NFL game at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, and today, the same event is happening in Minneapolis, at the Metrodome. Both will be demolished at some point in the New Year. In the case of the 49ers, the new stadium will be ready for next season, though it will be in Santa Clara, not San Francisco, but I assume, no change of name? The Vikings will be playing outdoors for a couple of seasons or so, while the new stadium is built, and that wont be fun in December!

One boring fact, did you know that will only leave 1 stadium which both an NFL team, and an MLB team have called home, Oakland. SF Giants left at the turn of the century, the Minnesota Twins just a few years ago, but until then, they were both joint sport stadiums. Now the only one will be the Oakland Coliseum, and there is talk of one, or indeed both teams leaving there too!

I did see a game of Baseball at the Metrodome, but never made it to Candlestick Park. Now I will never visit either again. Farewell to both of you, but your mark in the history of the NFL, and MLB will remain

The video, lets call this the moment that probably broke the Metrodome’s back!

Go West!

Yes, I know, I will be, in just under 9 weeks time, but thats not the point of this blog, before anyone assumes it is. Oh, and word of warning, if anyone was in any doubt, and is homophobic, this post is very much LGBT related.

What some people today dont realise, is that back in the 60’s and 70’s, we may have had free love, and all that, but it was supposed to be strictly one man, and one woman, and nothing more. Sadly, even if some of us didnt realise it back then (I was still only 21 at the end of the 70’s), life isnt as simple as that for everyone. Back before 1967 it was even illegal in the UK, and even after that, it really wasnt for many years before it gained even reasonable acceptance amongst the general public. Indeed some today still vociferously oppose it, and indeed some ‘so called’ religious groups claim they can cure gays, a sad thing for these groups to suggest, let alone try to change.

And yes, I suspect that my sexual confusion, combined with my mothers stance on the matter is probably the reason I got turned off to sex in the first place, and havent missed it in the slightest over the last 12 years.

Right, back to the story. Before the end of the 70’s, there had been gay pop stars, of both genders, though few, if any had admitted it by then. One of those earlier famous ones appeared in a blog video only a little while ago, Dusty Springfield. But yes, it was certainly not known in the 60’s that she was a lesbian by the public, even if close friends did. But then, towards the end of the 70’s appeared a group who seemingly were proud of being gay men, and stood up for the fact. Yes, the Village People, as some might have guessed. Of course the irony there in time was that it came out that several of the group werent gay after all lol. But they stood up for gay rights and all that, so really, who cares? Video one…

Of course, though strictly not mentioned as being their target, even back then San Francisco had an openly gay population block, and everyone was pretty laid back about the matter. And yes, it was very much west from New York, where the Village People came from. Though did I realise at the time strictly the significance of the song in that sense, no, of course I didnt. I did a few short years later, but…

I have visited SF a couple of times in more recent years, and yes, its a wonderfully laid back city. I swear I could have gone downtown, dressed in a full metallic robot suit, and hardly anyone would blink. If it was tight enough, my boobs might have got checked out, but otherwise…Yes, I love the place, hardly surprising really.

Of course nowadays, we have civil unions, will soon have same sex marriage over here, and everything, it has changed so much, all for the better of course. Hopefully one day the whole of the US will catch up, or at least a greater percentage of it will at least. A few states are ahead of us on same sex marriage, but sadly only a few.

So now, back to the song. And a fine case of how a cover version of a song can bring a whole different meaning to it. Fast forward to 1993, shortly after the fall of the iron Curtain, and the Soviet Empire, and enter the Pet Shop Boys, to give the song a whole different meaning. Given that the Soviet rule of iron had just ended just adds to the irony of this video

Oh, and for anyone interested, the whole history of the song can be found at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_West_(song)

The game of brotherly love

Yes, I know, hardly surprising tonight, the subject matter is the Superbowl, a little over 2 hours away at the time of posting at least. One thing is for certain, the winning coaches surname will be Harbaugh lol! Which brother, whole different matter though.

Given my love of San Francisco, combined with the fact that as of yet, I’ve never been to Baltimore, its not hard to work out where my support lies. Mind, given my tipping record in the play offs so far, they might as well give the trophy to Baltimore now, I’ve been awful!

The most ‘entertaining’ thing I’ve noticed so far this week, has been that wonderful ‘foot in mouth’ moment from one SF player, saying some not very nice things about gay and transgender people. And seriously, he lives and plays in San Francisco, given the nature of that city in the LGBT field, oh dear lol! Ah well, such is life I guess?

In the old days, I used to stay up and watch the first half of the Superbowl, but then working hours changed, I tended to be working early on Monday, so I stopped doing so. Tomorrow, I’m not working, so yes, I’m thinking about staying up for the first half at least. Stamina might come into it, I’d done 9 days out of 10 prior to today at work, and its definitely all caught up with me. So by 11, or indeed 11.30 when the game starts, I might only be ready for bed! But we will see…

Right, the video, 2 for the price of 1 tonight, though really you only need to select one, its the same song. If you want to see the group lip synching to it back in 1967, select this version

Yes, its that man of many groups, Tony Burrows again singing lead.

If you want the song, with visual shots of a wonderful city, select this one

And that silver robot that briefly appears. No it isnt me lol!