If, like me, you’ve got lost in GTA V, you’ll find this interactive map of the game really useful. I’m off later to do as many of the stunt jumps as possible.
Now, the 1980’s generation who served in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet was not exactly the epitome of political talent, but the Labour Party of the time would have seen today’s successors to Norman Tebbitt, Nigel Lawson, Geoffrey Howe et al as dream opponents by contrast. Yes, the modern Tory Party is as mediocre as it has ever been, not only intellectually, but also in terms of moral fibre. With the odd exception here and there, today’s Tories are neither intelligent, nor ethical, nor courageous. Defeating them therefore, for anyone with a half-decent brain, really should just be a matter of holding one’s nerve.
For what it is worth, I do think there are some half-decent minds in the higher echelons of the current Labour Party. I would probably not accuse the likes of Harriet Harman, their fill-in leader, or Andrew Burnham, their present ‘pin-up boy’, of being dim-witted. But I do seriously question their nerve. We need only examine their public behaviour during the run-up to the forthcoming leadership contest to see their shortcomings.
A teenager in Newcastle is on trial, accused of plotting mass murder at his former college. He had pipe bombs and handguns, and wrote about the death and destruction he planned to wreak. Other reports have mentioned how he thought of Anders Breivik as a hero.
You may not know about this. I only heard about this case because I was in Cumbria for a couple of days last week, and it was on the local news. It didn’t make it onto the national news, though the trial of another teen, who ‘incited’ a terror attack in Australia (which also never happened), did.
One of these teen terrorists is white, the other is brown, and muslim. Guess which is which.
World War 2 still has secrets to give up, even seventy years on.
The collection of more than 200 coins discovered under a tree in Lueneburg were likely stolen from the Deutsche Reichbank’s gold reserves, archaeologists says.
He loaded his cargo on to the Empire Candida cargo ship for the first leg of the journey to the Tunisian port of Bizerte with the Germans in hot pursuit. When the ship came under fire from a U-boat, Douglas had an idea.“I think our Tiger is going to go hunting,” he said as he climbed into his tank and turned its guns on the submarine.
Pure Boys’ Own adventuring. Of course, if they made a film of it, the major would somehow become an American
When I refer to the “wagons” in Pickers, these- but driven by electric motors, armoured and loaded with salvage- are close to what I see.
Source: Globecruiser Motor Home | Aravua
Out on 1st August.
Remy and his family have made it back to The Valley, which they left ten years before. Now they have to persuade the town- led by Remy’s brother Julien- to give them the resources they need for their expedition to the seed vault.
But there are problems. Raiders block the best route to the vault, and not everyone is happy to see them back after all these years.
The roads were mostly memories, scars through the landscape. But the rough, pockmarked surface generally grew smoother around settlements. It made sense for the route to and from the fields to be easier.
They had just rumbled off rough track onto a tarred single lane which arced away to the right, disappearing behind the gentle roll of hill down to the valley floor they travelled along. The surface change made little difference to the quality of the ride in the wagons. The big wheels and long travel suspension soaked up the ruts and potholes with ease. Maxine accelerated, and the pitch of the whine from the electric motors and rumble of the tyres rose. Behind her, Remy said, “Let’s not go so fast. Something is not quite right here. I’ll go up top and have a look.” He turned in his seat and stepped directly onto the short ladder to the roof hatch.
In the passenger seat, Chloe watched as Remy stood, halfway up the ladder, whilst the captain’s chair unfolded from its storage place in the roof. She turned to Maxine, who was now sitting up straighter, paying more attention to the road ahead and off to the sides. “What could be wrong?”
Maxine opened her mouth to say that she didn’t know, but recognised what her father had seen before she spoke. After a knowing nod, she said, “There’s no crop in the fields, just wild grass. They haven’t been tended.”
Remy reached down to the rack beside the ladder and took one of the hunting rifles, then climbed all the way out onto the roof. The hatch slammed down as he kicked it into place. Maxine reached down to the centre console and clasped, without looking for it, the pistol she had stowed there. She nodded, reassured by its presence, but it was a move that had Chloe wondering where her catapult and darts were. “There’s probably nothing to endanger us.” Maxine said. “Farms and settlements are abandoned all the time. We just like to be on alert when we spot things like this. Just in case.”
“I’m going to get my catapult.”
Sat with the catapult in her lap while she twisted a dart in her hand, Chloe felt silly. Inadequate, certain she would be no use if there was any trouble. She looked across at Maxine, watching the way her eyes scanned the road ahead, then darted left and right, checking the fields and the slope of the hill. She told herself that she wasn’t going to fall in love with this pretty, dark woman, the way she had with her friend Tania. Probably not, anyway, she only had a few days on the road with her.
“Smoke up ahead.” Remy’s voice came from a speaker above them, making Chloe jump so that she poked the dart into her thumb. Maxine looked across at the noise, to find Chloe shaking her head with embarrassment.
“Hold tight.” Maxine warned, as she spun the steering wheel hard and they turned sharp left off the paving and into the grass. The tall vehicle leant a long way over, and Chloe held tight to the arm rest. She hoped Remy was strapped in up above.
They could see buildings up ahead now, and the wagon straightened out to head toward them. Chloe pulled herself up straight in the seat again, and looked out of the window to her right. Wagon two had accelerated to catch up with them, but was still running along the road.
The grass was wild and high, it would have come up almost to Maxine’s shoulders. But it barely reached higher than the bottom of the doors of the wagons. They left a cloud of chaff behind them as they cut a line across the field.
There were two buildings ahead, at right angles to each other, with a gap between them filled in by a low wall. Both single storey, they were constructed from jigsaws of light brown stone with roofs a patchwork of red tile and corrugated metal. The shorter building had two storeys and several windows, whilst the longer one was a tall single story with blank walls facing them. Something on the other side of them was burning, sending a dark smudge of smoke up into the sky.
Ahead of them, the colour and texture of the foliage changed, to the golden green of wheat nearly ripened. Maxine slowed the wagon and turned left to keep from going through a viable crop. “Track ahead of us.” Remy said through the speaker. Maxine pulled on the steering wheel to stand up from her seat a moment, nodding when she spotted the stone littered line her father had been referring to. She aimed for it, heading for a strip of darker greenery that ran parallel.
They reached the deep green strip, and the wagon tipped forward. Suddenly, the foliage was as high as the windscreen. Chloe’s hand slapped the console in front of her as she stopped herself being thrown forward. Remy shouted some words she didn’t recognise, and could only presume were curses.
Just as suddenly as they had dropped into the gulley, they hit the bottom, splashing into shallow water. Maxine twisted a control on the steering column, sending more power to the motor driving the front wheels, and they soon regained their lost momentum. The grass and reeds were denser and taller in the stream bed, but they gave way to the mass of the wagon. They started climbing the opposite bank.
As the wagon left the channel, its nose reared up, front wheels off the ground. Maxine twisted the power controller again, transferring drive to the rear pair of axles. They passed the point of balance, and the front end came back down again, bouncing once before Maxine had the power back to all six wheels equally and they were accelerating away from the obstacle.
Now they were raising dust, rather than hay, as they raced along the track. A spur from the gravel covered road turned sharply around the end of the farm house. Maxine scrubbed off speed as they approached, then turned in sharply. They stopped sharply on the cobbled yard, and Maxine was out of her seat almost immediately, pausing only to grab her 9mm from the middle console.
Pickers 2: The Trip is available from Amazon on July 18th. Pre-order it now.
Pickers 1: The Find is available now.
A few years ago, Motörhead gave their name to a bunch of earphones and headphones. Which seems logical enough. I work for a hifi shop, and put several of the ‘phones onto the website.
I doubt I’ll be doing listings for their latest piece of branding. The band has teamed up with online sex toy shop Lovehoney to release a brand of sex toys, each named for one of their songs. There’s no information in the report of which songs and what type of toys- that’ll be announced later this month- so feel free to make your best Ace of Spades puns.
(It should come as no surprise that the links above go to rude places. You have been warned, if you hadn’t already guessed.)
B-Movie Night, the collection of book and movie reviews from Spinneyhead, has been revised and expanded.As well as a new layout, there are now improved links, that will redirect to your local Amazon, rather than only going to Amazon.co.uk. I can’t promise that every film is available in every country- some of them are quite obscure- but it will be easier for you to find out. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for free.
B-Movie Night is an ongoing project, with new reviews added every so often, so there’ll be further revisions in the future as well.
Wednesday was Britain’s hottest July day on record, and got a lot of prerss coverage because it was a record breaker, and because we’re British, and love to talk about the weather.
It’s also a pointer to the way this year is shaping up to be the hottest year on record*, so the deniers need to make themselves feel better by pretending it, somehow, didn’t happen.
Take John Redwood, the Tory MP who looks like a house elf and is supposedly rather clever. In a post entitled What a scorcher?, he desperately tries to insinuate that the media is putting out climate change propaganda, by pretending they reported it as the hottest day ever. It appears that many of his readers are gullible enough to fall for his dim trick.
Britain’s hottest day on record was in August 2003**. What desperate lies are Redwood and the like going to come out with if we have a day this year that tops it?
*Beating out last year, isn’t it odd how the ten hottest years on record have happened during the eighteen years when the climate change deniers like to claim there’s been no warming.
**Oddly enough, a year that fell in those eighteen years when the deniers claim the world’s not been getting warmer.
In a climate changed future, Pickers travel the badlands between towns and farms, finding what they can to salvage from before the collapse.
One family of Pickers is about to start a search for a prize that could change everything.
Part 1 of 4- The Find.
Remy, his daughters, and his son in law, are on the hunt for a seed bank, hidden away before climate change crashed everything. The trail has led them to a hidden bunker, and what they find inside is going to set them on a long journey, back to the community they ran away from ten years ago.
Pickers 1: The Find, is out now.
Here’s an alternative view of the Greek financial crisis. In Britain, the poor and vulnerable are suffering the most for the failures of the rich and greedy in power. In Greece, it’s the whole country that’s being punished.
The people of Europe need to realise that they were all played, too. Taxpayers’ money was pumped, not into Greece, but into failing banks, like everywhere else. Profit has been privatised and risk nationalised. They need to stop blaming the canary for coming up from the mine half dead.
Source: How Europe Played Greece
All the wildlife is coming out to see me. Wish I’d brought a better camera than the one on my phone.
A rather spectacular moon last night. Sadly, the camera on the phone over exposed it and you can’t see the surface detail.
The guy who set up this crowdfunding campaign- to raise 1.6 billion Euros and bail out Greece- sounds perfectly earnest, and certainly has a more intelligent and realistic take on economics than any of the austerity mad politicians out there.
To help an economy recover we need investment and stimulus, not cuts and austerity.
The proposed new, and (deliberately?) vague, ways of defining child poverty look like yet another attempt to blame the poor for their own plight. There may have been faults in the previous definition- maybe it should have been based upon the Living Wage rather than the moving target of median income- but at least it gave something easily measurable to aim for.
I get the feeling the Tories know they’re failing- even deliberately hurting- the worst off, so they’ll just keep bringing in victim blaming targets and telling us it’s our own fault.
We’re watching wabbits.