And the issue is?

Seriously, I feel no sympathy for the diplomats and politicians now affected by this. It has only shown what was already suspected by many – that sections of the world look down on other sections of the world and that diplomacy (like anything that involves government) is just bursting with doublespeak.

Though perhaps one of the saddest revelations in the leaks has been the intractability of the US government over the case of hacker Gary McKinnon. This has been reported by the Guardian today.

Highlights of the leaks that have been causing the most chin wagging can be found on The Daily Beast. Or you can read the Tweet below:

Though it’s not as if WikiLeaks have been going through this whole thing unscathed. They’ve been having problems with distributed denial of service attacks:

Okay, so maybe I’m feeling a bit of empathy towards WikiLeaks in all this, and Mr McKinnon.

I know we talk about the weather a great deal, but…

Can you blame us British people for talking about the weather when you wake and it’s snowed for second time in seventy-two hours…

Saturday outside my house...

My footprints, on snowy grass, trying to get in and out of the house (have very steep driveway).

Saturday morning...

Then Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday it was beginning to melt away, but over night…

Front of the house Monday morning.

The back whilst it fell a little bit less for a while.

And several minutes later it really started coming down again.

Not sure if I’ll be going anywhere today as I was intending to do so. It may not look like much snow, but where I live (due to a lack of preparation, as snow is so rare here (or use to be)), the stuff really does disrupt things. Especially when it’s accompanied by thunder and lightning that knocks out a local radio station, Pirate FM, sometime after six this morning.

When Big Tobacco Comes Calling…

“What I was doing last year was I was smoking loads of cigars and it was messing my chest up and my voice was getting bad. Plus I’ve suddenly developed allergies and asthma.”

Ozzy Osborne, NY Times 1/7/98

A field full of tobacco plants...

The last thing I expect to happen, amongst a couple of other things, on a Sunday morning is to be polled for a health questionnaire – over the phone – for none other than Big Tobacco itself: Philip Morris. Not that I was told what Philip Morris specifically did, by the woman who phoned my number. It’s not like the company’s name gets mentioned much over here these days, though it may do whilst the current government considers plans to make cigarettes and related tobacco products even less attractive to the masses.

Regardless I quickly Googled the name Philip Morris (I was sat beside my laptop), as it sounded familiar for all the wrong reasons. I soon knew why.

I’m pretty sure it was the tobacco giant Philip Morris, as opposed to any other business. They’re the only ones with that name who would be concerned with whether or not you’re a smoker (I don’t smoke and never have), age, gender and then a whole host of health questions about how your health has been over the last year. Plus a couple of socio-economic questions sprinkled on top.

I expect to be rung for random surveys on my opinion on various things, but to answer non-identifying health questions for one of the world’s largest tobacco firms… it felt a little weird. I went through with the fifteen minute survey and was left wondering: “Just what on Earth do they plan to do with all this data? What do they need it for?”

I speculate that the data (and this is pure speculation) may be their attempt to show that the health of non-smokers is the same as smokers or worse. After all they wouldn’t want to show that non-smokers are healthier… right?

Moment of Distraction #2

New warm socks

Apart from buying new People Tree socks yesterday, from Uneeka’s Uneeka.life store in Truro, for the purpose of wearing around the house and keeping my feet warm (I get stupidly cold during the winter), there wouldn’t be much else to blog about, except…

Well, after I’m done doing my funky thing for BeefJack this morning, I plan to play some more Resonance of Fate. Playing that game is the main thing I plan to do this weekend, except…

The creation of The Backlog page has made me realise how many other cool things I’ve got waiting for me to spend some quality time with. However, I plan to stick with Resonance of Fate until I’ve completed it. Or at least I’ll try… no, must not get distracted >_<

Here are just the games that I need to complete:

Vagrant Story – PlayStation did start

Koudelka – PlayStation did start

Shadow Hearts – PlayStation 2 did start

Shadow Hearts: Covenant PlayStation 2

Shadow Hearts: From the New World PlayStation 2

Final Fantasy VI – PlayStation

Final Fantasy XII – PlayStation 2 did start

Unlimited Saga – PlayStation 2 did start

.hack//Outbreak – PlayStation 2

.hack//Quarantine –  PlayStation 2

Dino Crisis – PlayStation did start

XIII – PlayStation 2 did start, got near to the end

Star Ocean: Until the End of Time – PlayStation 2 did start

Silent Hill – PlayStation did start

Silent Hill 2 – PlayStation 2

Silent Hill 3 – PlayStation 2

Silent Hill 4 – PlayStation 2

Half-Life – PlayStation 2

Summoner – PlayStation 2 did start

Summoner 2 – PlayStation 2

Glass Rose – PlayStation 2 did start

Velvet Assassin – Xbox 360 did start

Lost Planet – Xbox 360 did start

F.E.A.R. – Xbox 360 did start

Lost Odyssey – Xbox 360 did start

Beautiful Katamari – Xbox 360 did start

Star Ocean: The Last Hope – Xbox 360

Vanquish – Xbox 360

Resonance of Fate – Xbox 360 currently being played when I have the time

Kameo – Xbox 360 did start

Infinite Undiscovery – Xbox 360 did start, got almost to the end

The Last Remnant – Xbox 360 did start

MadWorld – Wii

The Conduit – Wii

No More Heroes – Wii

Super Paper Mario – Wii did start, got almost to the end

Super Mario Galaxy – Wii did start

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Wii did start

The Longest Journey – PC did start

Deus Ex – PC did start

Once Resonance of Fate is out of the way, I’ll start on another one of these. An older game preferably.

Guess where I went today

Mrs Palm recently opened in Truro, Cornwall

This week, news that Truro’s first dedicated “sex shop” could be “forced” to close by a Christian pressure group (The Christian Institute), who are taking legal action, was no surprise. As is usual with anything that doesn’t fit in with the small-mindedness of some groups of Christians, they’re condemning something without even going in and having a look at what it is that they’re objecting to.

Or rather they are going in, and then acting in an extremely un-Christian manner towards the few staff and owners that run the store. At least, that’s according to the store manager that I met with today.

I’m seriously hoping that the courts throw this out as a waste of time. Because it is a waste of time, as can be seen when you read the rest of my post…

The stock in there is no more offensive than what is currently carried in the local Anne Summers, newsagent, DVD rental place, Waterstone’s and a particular novelty gift store up behind the local Sommerfield. The only difference is that owners of Mrs Palm have a clear license to sell what they do in they way that they do.

The stock in the shop is tame compared to many websites and sex shops further upcountry (like Plymouth), and doesn’t appear interested in becoming any more extreme anytime soon. It’s catering to local tastes: women and men who are interested in spicing up their love life either by themselves or as a couple for either straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals. There’s a whole range of lingerie, fetish outfits and accessories, sex toys, a very small selection of porn DVDs and magazines (all of a legal level of ‘coreness), other love aids, maybe some erotic fiction and some sexy calenders.

Stock items in the store don’t degrade women, so that phoney feminist argument won’t work, because much of the stock is about enhancing the sexual pleasure and enjoyment of women for women. Those who have issues with individuals -who are of consenting age – enjoying sex and aspects of sexuality have no right in dictating the sexual morals of others. What people get up to in their homes is no concern to the rest of the public, so long as no one is being physically or mentally hurt.

The cries of “think of the children” are beyond ridiculous. There is no true moral objection to this. The objections are entirely based on their particular brand of religion. Okay, so the store is right next to another store that sells school uniforms and other clothing items for children, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that kids may end up being within twenty metres of a dildo or a pair of suspenders.

Maybe you’re crying, “How the hell does that not matter? Think of the children!” And I am. I’m thinking about the simple fact of life that the majority of parents in this country, who tend not to be so sexually repressed, have sex in a bedroom next door to the bedroom/s that their child/children are sleeping in and quite often that is how siblings are conceived.

You may, in fact, be hard pressed to find anywhere – in many houses – that parents haven’t somehow “defiled” by getting down to bumping uglies, hiding the pickle, hiding the pickle in unexpected places, boinking, bonking, hiding the sausage, f*****g, s******g and generally just having sex. And all that of has often happened when little kiddie winks have been asleep or been distracted by alternative parenting methods i.e. the TV.

Due to the fact that the only sex that’s happening in the shop Mrs Palm is an entire quota of zero, it’s safer for children to walk past it’s discreet window display and hidden front door, than to knock on their parents’ bedroom door and then open it.

Now, I shall leave you with the Mrs Palm Twitter page and the suggestion that the next time you need a sex toy or something naughty to wear, go and support a local business like Mrs Palm. That is all.