August 19, 2014


After much work, my ebook is finally complete!  Check it out and support an indie author.

The Great Facepalm: The Farce of 21st Century Normality

"Have you ever taken a long, hard look at today's society, slapped your hand over your face, and wondered how we've made it this far as a species?

In The Great Facepalm: The Farce of 21st Century Normality, author Phillip McCarron recounts the sordid state of our culture, observing how society has begun to parody its own preposterous stereotypes as it plummets to the same grisly end as the fallen civilizations of yesteryear. Through a blend of brazen humor and philosophical insight, humanity’s corrosive tendencies are made readily apparent. 

Touching on the more superficial matters in life such as the absurdity of today's bar scene, soulless fame-junkies, and our toxic obsession with social media, the author provides an amusing commentary on our deluded self-image and the gross compulsion to over-share our over-hyped achievements. Delving into the more grievous issues plaguing our society, he also weighs in on political dysfunction, the American healthcare fiasco, the indignity of shameless consumerism, and the growing disconnect between education and employment. 

This collection of articles offers up the unique perspective of one man’s observations, musings, and opinions on the ridiculousness of everyday life. Analyzing hot-button social issues, to which we can all relate, and exposing the follies of an all-too-familiar cast of characters, it skirts the line between hilarious and grim, as the tragedy of reality is as manic as it is depressing. So prepare to have your belief systems probed, your sense of humor stretched to the limit, and your snow globe smashed with sledgehammer on an enlightening journey through the world’s fractured collective psyche."

July 22, 2013

Blurred Lines or Black and White

I love my 'quick office polls', not sure if anyone else does though.

This is the time of day when I decide to ask work colleagues and friends a random question abut something I've read in the news.
Anyway, my latest quick poll was 'Do you think that the Robin Thicke tune is sexist or at least a bit creepy?' Bearing in mind I keep reading articles and blogs about how misogynistic both the video and song are.

You see, the video (if you didn't already know) for 'Blurred Lines' has 2 versions, a completely NSFW version that had even been banned by YouTube and a tree-hugging-hippy version that is still an bit on the dodgy side but at least the models wear some clothes (emphasis on some).

Add in some suggestive references to drugs, bestiality, a gigantic cigarette lighter and some '#' words being flashed across the screen and that's the long and short of Diane Martel's video.
The general consensus of opinion was that no one had actually noticed (possibly as they hadn't actually seen the video)

They thought it was nothing more than a summery anthem type tune by some guy no one had heard off, singing with Pharrell Williams (who some knew) and TI, though the majority of my 'test' subjects had no idea who the hell he is, (especially when I called him Clifford Harris Jr)

When I explained how the lyrics sounded like it was justifying rape and pointed out that when combined with the video it made women appear like sex objects, degraded them and  pushed the whole feminist movement back 100 years, my guinea pigs looked at me like I was on drugs.

'How's that?'
'Seriously?' And 'hahahaha, shnortle, guffaw' were the most sensible answers I got.

So, I spoke to my version of Yoda at work. She pondered a while and pointed out that it was all a bit 'Benny Hill'

It depends on how you look at it really. It does play a bit on the 'men-are-stupid-when-pretty-girls-are-there' theme. It maybe doesn't quite 'empower' them, but it certainly does appear to suggest that even though the women are carrying fluffy animals, (real and fake) and outrageously huge cigarette lighters, sitting on bicycles with added height that they aren't quite submissive or threatened by 3 guys.

It did appear to change the opinion of women I spoke to when they watched the video though. Maybe I'm too liberal these days, but I will admit, I do get really nervous when my 9 year old asks me what Ke$ha is singing.....

June 12, 2013

Office work going to the dogs

I'm very sure that many of us in the big bad rat race have worked with some right donkeys in our time. In fact, there are even some times when I've uttered the words 'good lord, even my dog could do better than that'.

So when I read the story of Misty the blue Merle border collie becoming an administrator at Burlington Stone in Kirby-in-Furness part of me reckoned that it was a wise idea.

Misty not only returns credit/debit cards and cash back to customers (without teeth marks, but sometimes slobber), she takes weighbridge tickets for processing and doesn't argue with anyone.

Sounds very much like the perfect employee to me.

But what do customers think of being served by a dog? Do think that it's cute or that they aren't important enough to be attended to be a human?
According to the Telegraph, Lex Ward, who is using the quarry's slate to makeover his garden, said that he has no issues being served by Misty, adding: “She lovely. She doesn't argue and I was delighted to see her when I came here for the first time."

Misty's owner Elaine Prickett first brought her to work as a pup and by the time she grew up she had become a valuable asset to the company.

The other staff enjoy having her around the office too which backs up the claim by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management last year, that having a dog in the office can reduce stress levels.

When I worked in a nightclub I would often take my dog to work, he was great for security, have-a-go thieves will think twice about stealing from a place with a German shepherd kicking about. He would play fetch with the cleaners kids and keep them occupied with cuddles and kisses, as long as he got a bit of their rusks.

However, as cute and stress relieving as having a dog at work with you can be its not all fun and games as Tatler found out when their office dachshund Alan was killed in a revolving door accident.

I'm not sure that Alan had a job to there or whether he was more an office mascot.
I'd like to take my dog to work with me, but I'm not sure she would be any good answering the phone.

The rest of these pictures are courtesy of my fabulous mum. I can't take any credit for them, but they are widely available on the old t'internet. 

Enjoy them any way.

June 10, 2013

Sarah Connor, Edward Snowden and AI

According to ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ set just after the film Terminator 2, at 8:11pm on the 19th of April, SKYNET would become self-aware and us humans would more or less be crushed by their superior might and the fact that they didn’t give a hoot about having a lunch break and a coffee.

As this time and date has passed, it is easy for me to keep typing into the computer and with big bold letters say ‘HA! WRONG!’

Then, after some poking about on the internet I had the awful realisation that this date may have passed, but James Cameron’s pre-science prediction may be very close to reality.

Consider this:

IBM’s Watson, yup the very supercomputer who beat previous winners on the US game show ‘Jeopardy’

The Generalized Integrated Learning Architecture (GILA) system is pure military artificial intelligence. This system not only monitors military air traffic it can also serve as a ‘support’ for new air traffic controllers.
How many times have you heard Google is SKYNET? I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t heard of Google, it is everywhere. What if all this data was stored somehow, somewhere? That’s right every search you do, everything you type, translate or think…

I had never heard of The Blue Brain Project, though I think this might be a real contender. Henry Markham has decided to reverse engineer the human brain and make an artificial one. Don’t roll your eyes at me in disbelief, he has already mapped the important bits of a rat’ brain.
ECHELON, according to PC Magazine, says it a code name for the government system that monitors communications of all kinds. Duncan Campbell even published an article in ‘New Statesman’ about it, in….ready for this? 1988! What ECHELON does is monitors certain key words or phrases to look for people that may be up to slightly more than a bit of mischief.
Especially when Edward Snowden now says that the NSA (National Security Agency) is spying on us all.
Worried now? Oh yeah. says, after all, us ‘humans have a history full of war, suffering, disease, greed and pettinesses and ‘Humans had no quality control. They were weak, short lived, inferior biological machines with impaired operating systems. No two were alike yet they were all the same. SKYNET found it illogical to try to protect such a flawed species, a species clearly dedicated to its own destruction.’

Me? I’m scared as hell.

March 1, 2013

Celebrate Life or Mourn Loss

I was such a grandad's girl growing up that his death hit me very badly. I couldn't believe that he would never be with me again. We would never walk the dog in the park, or go along the town to 'Lows' for the 'messages'. We would never faff about the garden & I would never learn any more Latin names for the flowers he had. I would never play in the Volkswagen Beetle again or sit on the towel rail bumpers. He would never be making making soup for my lunch from a small cube packet or collect me from the Brownies.

My grandad made me bunk beds for dolls, a K9 so I could go to a fancy dress party as Dr Who's assistant Leia.

My dad died when I was very young and Ernie took over the roll as father, protector, playmate, teacher and confidant.

I could tell my grandad anything, he never judged me. Apart from when my 1st car wasn't a Ford Scorpio Cosworth. (I think he was a bit disappointed that he didn't get to drive one) but he did seem to like my taste in Sciroccos.

Even 15 years since he died I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the hospital called me. I was taking paint of skirting boards and listening to The Verve, aptly listening to 'The Drugs Don't Work', it took me years to be able to listen to it without bursting into tears.

If I can be half the person my grandad was then I'll be happy.

The major thing I need to acknowledge is that he wasn't just my grandad, he was a son, brother, husband, father and friend too.

My grandad's death affected me more than I thought it would, I know deep down it was a blessing as after several strokes and cancer took hold, there wasn't really much left of the man himself. He was just a shell who looked like Ernie.

I travelled to the hospital after hearing the news about my grandad, taking chocolates for the nurses who had cared for him. Bizarre but true, they had lost a fabulous patient too.

I was shell shocked and scarred by my grandma sitting at his beside repeatedly telling me that her husband wasn't dead, he was still breathing, she could hear him. I had to tell her that she was wrong, she was imagining it, her life's love had gone.

The Drugs Don't Work
However, she was the only one who was allowed to grieve. We had no right to, we hadn't loved him as much, we hadn't known him as long.

I supported my grandma as much as I could, but it wasn't enough, I wasn't my grandad and I wasn't strong enough. I failed her and failed him because I couldn't keep him alive.

So, yeah I miss Ernie. I mourn the loss of a great guy and celebrate the RAF flight engineer who came to work in Grangemouth and apart from 4 years in Egypt fixing aeroplanes, never left.

Even now, I carry him with me along with the memories of rain dances for grow his roses and being convinced every time I had a cut or scrape that 'New Skin' wouldn't nip.

Delighted to have known him, I'm super happy that my son has a fabulous papa too.