Sunday, 18 July 2010

Warning - Don't go and live in a "soap" street

After the "Bias in Eastenders" talk yesterday, I have been reading a study by the British Medical Journal (like you do ! ) who's objective was "To measure mortality among characters in British soap operas on television. "

(with thanks to the Ugley Vicar blogspot for discussing the subject and the BMJ http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/315/7123/1649 )

I am finding the subject of people's responses to soap operas quite fascinating and thought you might be interested in the Key Messages from the analysis.

"Characters in soap operas lead very dangerous lives
Their lives are more dangerous even than those of Formula One racing drivers or bomb disposal experts
People suffering from many forms of cancer and other serious diseases have better five year survival rates than do these characters
Could the exaggerated portrayal of these violent and dangerous lives be contributing to our distorted national perceptions about violent crime and death? "

It seems that the best way to get viewers to watch soaps is for them to show issues that are as violent, depressing and upsetting as possible. Is this what we now class as "entertainment" or are our perceptions becoming distorted as the question suggests? With the Raoul Moat situation following his death and the Facebook pages, it seems that society is becoming more "disturbed" than ever.
Is it ?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Bias on Eastenders ?

There's been "complaints" that Eastenders shows an "anti Christian bias". The BBC has had to defend a storyline after viewers accusations.The plotline in question shows a Christian Pentecostal pastor, as a mad killer whose actions are motivated by his Christian faith.
And now over 100 viewers have written to the BBC saying that they find the storyline deeply offensive.
Years ago whenever Eastenders started my children were "banned" by me from watching it after having seen a bit of an episode when someone got hit on the head with a chair on the Christmas Day episode, I think it was. I didn't think it was suitable viewing for me as an adult never mind my impressionable offspring.
Now they accuse me of hypocrisy (jokingly, I think) as about 6 months ago I started watching it and now follow it regularly. My children are grown up enough now to choose if they wish to watch or not - most of the time they are too busy with their own children to have time to. I haven't changed my views on the content of the programme,only that now I see it as more of a satire on "perceived" East London life. Certainly there are murders, adulteries, thefts, suicides and the rest in London as in any town or city but it is the concentration of such things within one small area that makes the whole thing unreal and, to me, humorous though black humour I should say. To suggest then that there is an "anti-Christian bias" or any other bias in the programme just seems like complaining for complaining's sake.

Perhaps it's the people who watch the "soaps" who have the problem as a lot really think they are a true portrayal of real life. Or maybe it's the writers fault who will write anything that is likely to be sensationalist just to get viewers. Then we could argue the "on/off switch" on the TV theory.
The reception on my TV is currently quite poor - must be the weather or something.So luckily it's Saturday and there are no soaps on.
Then again, I could always watch repeats online.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Never holiday with kids or dogs

Yesterday I was reading how a fellow blogger was bemoaning the prices of child care so that parents can work and also the ridiculous increase in prices for package holidays and flights during the school holidays. I agreed and sympathised with her. I never understood that business of "if everyone wants something then it's more expensive". To me if the demand is high then whatever it is should be cheaper. (Of course, I didn't fail my Economics O'level for nothing)

However I felt I had a solution for her and now today having assessed the situation further, I am sure of it.
I have been to look at boarding kennels for my 2 dogs while I go away for a few days. The cost of a small dog is £10.50 a day, a medium dog £11 per day. Luckily for me they decided that mine are both small and so I get a 10% discount for taking two. The kennels are great. There are regular walks and treats for good behaviour, all food is provided, there are games to play etc etc.
So.. how about all you people with kids put them in the kennels (cheaper than day care)and then the holiday for adults will be cheaper too (and no ice creams to buy and stuff). I am convinced this is the way forward for the future. I have told my dogs about their upcoming holiday and they are already looking for things to pack - though I have told them that all they need is a blanket.
Let me know how your holidays go if you try out this idea. I wish I had thought of it when my offspring were children ...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Empty Rooms

Not much topical, intellectual or discussable stuff in my mind at the moment (well, not that I can blog about anyway )so here's a piece to keep the blog on a "writing" theme. The title could be substituted for "Empty Brain" if wanted.Empty Rooms

In the silence of another sleepless night
with shadows from the moon’s pale light
Blues and blacks shine through the window pane
Like shadows calling out your name.

And did you ever know
That although you said that you would go
I never thought it would be so

I watch the moonlight in the place
where colours once bathed around your face
And fragrant flowers are in the air
The scent is here though you’re not there.

And I wonder if you know
That I never thought you’d go
But you did and I’m alone.

Morning goes with more regret
of the evening and memories I can't forget.
Empty rooms and I climb the stairs
where clothes lie draped on empty chairs.

And I wonder if you knew
how I always understood
that although you said you'd go
I never thought you would.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Save water - shower with a friend

Well, here we are seven days into July and some parts of the country are starting with hose pipe bans.
Now I know we must not waste water, after all it's one of the most precious natural things we have available to us - after air, and maybe the sun (and no doubt a few more things)
Anyway, it's precious, we know that. And my tomato plants not only have black fly - which is probably caused by being too dry - but they are all shrivelled too and so are the beans and the potatoes are not looking too clever. But I won't worry - I shall use the dirty washing up water on them, which I understand will kill the blackfly and water them at the same time. (It's the washing up liquid the blackfly hate, not the grease and bits of food)

But come on. We are an island. You can't travel much further than 50 or 60 miles and you reach water. Salted yes, but didn't someone invent something to get rid of the salt for drinking? I am no expert (on anything at all) but even I know you can collect water to drink when you are lost at sea in your dinghy by collecting condensation on a piece of plastic or metal. Now if I know that, there's got to be some clever brains out there to work on this.
As for washing, I read somewhere that it's better to only bathe twice a week. I suppose some people carry this through to the extreme.

So - apparently we are short of water again. Places like Spain which are usually "hot" don't seem to have this problem. They water their perfectly groomed green lawns almost 24 hours a day and I never heard of hose pipe bans there.
No doubt I will get aspersions cast on my ignorance about climate change and all that stuff, but this is the way I say it from the "man in the street" 's point of view. When it rains, save some. When it doesn't, use that which you saved before. Where's the problem.

(Just need to point out that the title of this blog is taken from an incident when I was twelve and my RE teacher sent me to the Headmaster for having it written on the from of my notebook. Thanks Mr Tarn, you saved me a lot of thinking time there ! )