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A Surreal Year So Far

Posted in From The Editor's Perspective

It’s the end of August, and I’m glad summer is nearly over as fall is my favorite month. Monday 21 August, was quite a day with a solar eclipse, and also the day renovations works on Big Ben begin. Allegedly it will take four years to complete, which means there will be no regular chimes until 2021! The chimes in its 157 year history have been halted before only during the war and during refurbishments in 1983 and 2007, so it will be strange not to hear the chimes that Londoners rely on, I for one used to rely on Big Ben whilst running for the number 11 home and would point to the clock if the driver disputed the time. Still, isn’t four years a bit long? The chimes will still be heard on New Years Day and special occasions, but from what I hear they are planning to build a lift, install a toilet (necessary for the workers), and a kitchen so they can make a cup of tea. I’m not sure about the last one, because surely if there is a lift someone can bring up food and drink as and when necessary.

As per usual there isn’t a week that goes by where someone hasn’t been fired or has resigned from the White House. The latest is Steve Bannon who says he resigned and others said he was fired. Either way, no one expected him to stay for long. I remember catching a smug glimpse of him and Conway on the inauguration day, both looking as if they managed to pull off a coup and fool the public. It’s seems like a game of Monopoly where the world is betting on who is next to leave the White House.

What is tragic is the seemingly worrying rising trend in Nazism and KKK activity and those who defend it. While the First Amendment protects free speech, that doesn’t mean racism is moral or right, and the beliefs behind both groups are based on racism and prejudices. The protests in Charlottesville have pushed those who have defended the current administration to the brink of their limits. There is no place for racism or prejudice based on color in a modern democracy. I was also horrified that in the US people are proudly displaying Nazi flags outside their homes. Yes, if it is private property and not rented they have a right to do so, but what message are they sending out? America has never been so divided since the days of slavery, but one wonders how these ever increasing rifts can be healed?

A couple of athletes have decided to call it a day, and I imagine it’s hard when you decide to retire at the top. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah recently competed in their final athletics championships; Bolt got bronze, and Farah got Silver as they leave the sport and let some new talent make their mark.

The BBC has announced that Jodie Whittaker will be the new Time Lord and first female to play Dr. Who. It came with a mixed reception from fans, leaving some wondering whether this was to appease those who protest for equality (I believe in equality, but don’t feel the need to protest, simply because you can’t change the minds of those who can’t see that it is right) or if they did it for publicity. I think this role a little like James Bond, a coveted role where people have been pushing for females to play the role or for a black actor, but should that matter? Surely it’s about the quality of the actor and the character they are able to convey? Some people have been disappointed with this choice, others are willing to give it a chance, while die hard fans are elated. Dr. Who was a show I grew up with, when there were few channels to watch. Tom Baker was my first Dr. and I dipped in and out of the show when I hit my teens. Whittaker is an actress who can hold her own, but is she right for this role? Only time will tell because it’s more about how the fans take to the actor more than anything. The new companion has been named as Bradley Walsh, and he is a popular figure on television. Perhaps it can work because Walsh has a huge fan base already, whereas Whittaker’s may have been slimmer until recently.

There are so many changes happening, as Daniel Craig has agreed to do another Bond movie scheduled for 2019, while people are still speculating on who will be the next Bond. For those of us who are concerned about the impending WWIII, most are hoping a change in the White House will alleviate the threat of a war with North Korea. A battle of words between the countries has not gone unnoticed by their neighbors, in particular China and Russia. Who is to blame? It’s like a playground where the blame will fall on the person who made the first move, as they will be blamed. While North Korea has always been unstable and a threat, diplomacy has kept an even stalemate—basically don’t poke a mad bear and he will leave you alone. If you throw things at him, roar and upset him, then that’s when they attack. Don’t provoke and you stand a better chance of surviving. The small island of Guam rather than the continental US has been the target, and I doubt many are comforted by the actions of #45. I had to do a double take when I heard #45 telling the Governor of Guam that he had made the island famous and that tourism would increase because of it. It’s not fake news, it was recorded live, and I fail to see how any sane person would consider that comment remotely intelligent.

I stumbled by chance while channel surfing on #45 comparing himself to all US Presidents, declaring he had done more than any other President with the exception of Abraham Lincoln. There have been some exceptional Presidents that have made their mark in the history of the USA (and others that failed to do more than not get assassinated), and that was an arrogant and egotistical (and ill informed statement) to make. Anyone with any American history knows that statement to be untrue, and am sure Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and George Washington are shaking their heads in disbelief right now.

Soon it will be the last Bank Holiday of summer in the UK and Labor Day in the US where people will make the most of the warm weather and spend time with family and friends. It’s a nice time of year, but brace yourself for the stores stocking Christmas gifts. Yes, the shops seem to display Christmas stock as soon as they can because it’s only four months away (123 days http://www.xmasclock.com/). Roll on September.

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