The return of Spitting Image

Although I was too young to get into Spitting Image when it first aired in the eighties, I daresay there’s  never been  a better time for this news  of the revival of the legendary satirical show. As the article says, with absurd characters like Trump and Johnson doing the rounds, this is an era  which virtually satirises itself. Something to look forward to watching, then, if just  to see what the real puppet masters can tell us about the wooden, soulless mannequins currently up on the political stage.

Hooking Charlton Park up with Hebden Green

I had another of my random, crazy ideas this morning. I still like to help out at Charlton Park Academy, a local special school. Believe it or not, I’ve now been volunteering  there for nine years. Heading there this morning, I started to wonder about somehow putting them into contact with my  old special school in Winsford. I haven’t visited Hebden Green in over fifteen years, so it’s probably totally different to the place I  knew; but it seems to me there could be a lot of potential in introducing the schools to each other. Hebden always had a strong communication and AAC focus, something I doubt it will have lost. If that is so, think what both schools could  organise together. As well as that, imagine  what they could generate artistically.

Of course this is just another of my off-the-wall ideas; nothing may come of it,  although Caroline, the lady I work with at school, seemed quite  keen on the idea. I suppose part of me is looking for ways to hook my old world up  with my new one. Yet life has  taught me that there is always potential  for awesomeness.  In establishing links between two fairly unique schools on different sides of the country, who knows where we could end up or what could be created.

Two over-privileged white jerks held to account

With impeachment proceedings finally beginning against trump and Boris’ shenanigans over Brexit slowly being unravelled, it seems  at last  both messes began in  2016 are finally being cleared up. At last the two blonde assholes currently in charge of the UK and USA are being brought to  justice. It’s quite clear both Trump and Johnson are two over-privileged white men with no right being where they are, and  that they both should face justice. In trying to prorogue parliament and in trying to get Ukraine to interfere in US politics, what both men did was clearly unlawful, so let’s hope both spoiled  blonde pricks are held  to account. Rather than being above the law, it’s good to see the law catching both men up.

Project Euphonia

While I could of course post a rant about the ongoing political farce, Caroline, the lady I work with at Charlton Park Academy, has sent me  something far, far more interesting. Google has started to develop speech recognition software for people whose disabilities distort their  speech. According to the link she sent me ”if you have a speech disorder cause by a neurological impairment like ALS or multiple sclerosis, then using Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa will be off-limits to you. In today’s tech environment, that means missing out on a lot.

”That’s why Google is launching a new initiative to make speech technology more accessible to those with disabilities. It’s called Project Euphonia, and it incorporates a wide array of research directions, alongside collaborations with nonprofits and volunteers.”

Google is asking for volunteers whose speech is distorted to go in so it  can model the patterns of  their speech. Frankly though, I’m not sure how useful such an approach would be, since speech like mine isn’t that consistent: I might try to verbalise the same word or phrase twice, but it won’t necessarily sound the same. Nonetheless, this is certainly worth keeping my eye  on: being able to use things like Siri could make stuff much easier and faster.

What has happened to British politics?

At a  time when the Tories are a laughing stock facing their possible demise as a party, Labour not only fail to capitalise, but try to upstage the Tories by having a crisis of it’s own. The majority of labour voters and members want  to remain; Brexit flies in the face of everything the party stands for. Why, then, did it today vote not to openly back remaining in the EU? More to the point, can anyone tell me what the smeg has happened to British politics?

Visiting Kew with John

One of the things I like most about London is the number of ways you can get around. It’s quite a big city, but there is all kinds of public transport you can use to get from place to place. John and I ended up  using three of them yesterday. Lovely, sunny day that it was, we decided a day trip to Kew gardens was in order; but rather than just using the boring old tube to get there, we opted to go by boat up the Thames to Westminster. We could then take the District line down to kew. Although it wasn’t the quickest route, it certainly was pretty: the  city looked stunning in the autumn sunshine yesterday.

We eventually got to Kew at about four, but that still left plenty of time to have a look around before the gardens closed. I’d been there once before on a solo visit last year, but I only got a brief look then. Yesterday John and I started to explore the gardens properly, looking around the famous glasshouses and palaces. I say ‘started to explore’, of course, because the place is so vast that you could never fit it all in  in  one visit. Nonetheless, what we saw was sublime: I especially liked the Japanese pagoda, and the range of plants was truly mindblowing. Kew definitely is one of London’s treasures, and John and I are planning a return visit (perhaps with Lyn) soon.

London’s variety of public transport may be cool, but the range of places you can visit here is even cooler.