Thursday, 27 October 2016

Marmite Body Mass Jungle Ban

Marmite sales have rocketed 61% since the price row between Tesco and Unilever. A marketing man's dream! Threaten to put up the price and everyone (or at least the 50% who like it) goes nuts thinking there will be a national Marmite shortage. Well, either that or those dastardly continentals have cottoned on to it as a cheap weedkiller.

The Advertising Standards Agency has banned a slimming advert and called it socially irresponsible, saying it preys on women's body insecurities. Doesn't all advertising prey on some insecurity? "Buy the latest gee-gaw and simper when among your friends." What with today's epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, people's body image is exactly what advertisers should be focusing on! The ASA fully facilitate fast-food and sugary drink adverts, and if anything is socially irresponsible, then that has to be. I'm currently about a stone overweight (developing my winter plumage), and I'm not exactly ecstatic about it. No person in their right mind would be happy about being overweight and the massive health implications of that. I hope there's an appeal. More people need to be encouraged to take control of their lives, as being overweight is not attractive, nor is it healthy.

Christ! I'm starting to sound like Katie Hopkins.

The Jungle at Calais. There is a solution here and it's entirely in the hands of the French - just declare the Treaty of Brétigny valid and Calais once more becomes English - along with Guyenne and Gascony, Poitou, Saintonge and Aunis, Agenais, Périgord, Limousin, Quercy, Bigorre, the countship of Gauré, Angoumois, Rouergue, Montreuil-sur-Mer, Ponthieu, Sangatte, Ham and the countship of Guînes. The Jungle will then be our problem and the refugees/economic migrants will already, de facto, be in the UK without moving an inch.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Titans of Pop in Devon Art Runways

The 3rd runway at Heathrow - I think it's just a ruse to forcibly relocate the entire population of Harmondsworth to a remote island off the coast of Scotland because a) they don't vote Tory, or b) they're not really into being Londoners.

I noted yesterday the deaths of Bobby Vee and Pete Burns, whom the BBC news website inexplicably called 'Titans of Pop'. Bobby  Vee was before my time, but to call Pete Burns a  Titan of Pop is stretching credulity somewhat. He was a one hit wonder, for heaven's sake! Vee at least had 38 hits and 10 Top 20s, which was a good record for the 1960s.

Saw a Facebook post this morning from an outfit calling itself Refugees Not Welcome in Devon, filled with hateful invective from small minded Neanderthals. I wouldn't mind, but half  the people in Devon are refugees from the Midlands.

There is a counter page called Refugees ARE Welcome in Devon.

In Hamburg yesterday I spotted this painting in a conference room.

Now the passenger ship is decked out in Blue Funnel Line's colours - a blue funnel with a black top.

Above is the signature, which looks like R. Gutschmidt, or Richard Gutschmidt, who was the first illustrator or the Sherlock Holmes stories. Here's one of his illustrations and an example of his signature from another painting.

The conundrum is that Gutschmidt died in 1926 and the vessels in the painting look later than that date. On top of that, none of my Blue Funnel (also known as Alfred Holt and Co.) friends can recognise the vessel in question.

It was painted in Hamburg and you'll also see that the tugs have the same funnel colour. Now Blue Funnel Line didn't have tugs, and certainly not in Hamburg, so the only conclusion is that either a) the blue funnel was copied by a German shipping line, or b) the blue wasn't originally blue and has somehow turned into blue with age.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Cats' Whisker Wi-Fi Burqa

Quick jaunt over the Hamburg today, leaving two teenagers in charge of the house, as Hay is in Nice on business for the week.

Don't ask me why, but our neighbour's cats have taken to kipping next to the BT Wi-Fi router.

Whether it be the warmth, a comforting, ultrasound hum or the fact they're tuned into the 2.4GHz signal and downloading cat porn, I know not. Apparently it's quite common, although our own Kitty doesn't do it. These two are blokes though - or were.

Saw some post on Facebook yesterday about banning the burqa. The wearing of the burqa in France was extremely rare prior to the ban; since then it has gone exponential and the ban has become a red rag to a bull, Not only that, but ISIS are using the ban as a recruitment tool. Sheer stupidity and typical Lecteur de Courrier Quotidien stuff.

As people become older their lives become less relevant and meaningful, with the consequence that they retreat into a mythical past and keep muttering; "The country's going to the dogs," despite this being manifestly untrue. Lower crime, less poverty, better education, improved health, etc. Change frightens them, even change from which they are insulated. Little things get blown out of proportion as their influence declines.

The ironic thing is that Britain invaded half the world, imposing its culture and religion on the locals, and then the people that hark back to that very Empire have the nerve to say they don't like a few immigrants and their culture.

Statistically, people are in more danger form Type II diabetes than women in burqas; however, they're curiously reluctant to do anything about that though. If you're frightened of a woman in a burqa, you wouldn't have been much bloody use in running an empire, unless you were standing at the back urging the fearless on. Colonel Blimp and the Earl of Cardigan would turn in their graves. Doubly ironic is that these people are predominantly Brexiteers who revere glorious, yet utterly futile and doomed actions like the Charge of the Light Brigade (you can just imaging the good Earl stroking his magnificent whiskers [back to the whiskers] saying; "Total disaster, yes, but it'll teach those Roosians not to trifle with us - harrumph, what, what!").

I somehow suspect that not a single Brit would be upset by the people in the photo above confronting them on the tube in London, which just goes to prove something. I shan't say what, as it's bloody obvious.

I can't prove it, but I'd bet a pound to a pinch of poo that it's predominantly Christians who are anti-burqa and atheists couldn't really give a monkey's nut about the issue. The type of Christians who wear their religion on their sleeves and yet seem ignorant of Jesus' teachings.

Talking of Christians, Gay Cakegate got a result this week - the baker who refused to do a job for a gay couple had his appeal dismissed. Christians who maintain they are being persecuted seem to forget Jesus was a Jew and kept Jewish laws. Christians seem to cherry pick the laws that conform to their prejudices and conveniently forget the rest (dietary laws, the actual affirmation of the Covenant, etc.,) as they're either inconvenient or not acceptable in polite society. The anti-gay thing is one of the last bastions they are trying to defend under the pretense of religion, freedom of speech and the right to be a bigot. Some would say Jesus  made a new Covenant and the OT is redundant, but in that case, Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality or women being 2nd class citizens (in fact, the early Jerusalem church had female bishops) and the; "Let him who is without sin," saying trumps all.

If you hand't guessed, I'm feeling particularly anti-hypocrite today.

Monday, 24 October 2016

4 Day Week

I wonder why we haven't moved on to a 4 day working week? I'm convinced that, for those who work in offices, what's achieved in 5 days could easily be achieved in 4. When you consider that most people don't work full pelt for 5 days and a lot of what we do is answering people just because they also happen to be in the office for 5 days, one day less would probably make no difference, providing all were working 4 days.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


Was walking through town doing the weekly shopping yesterday and spotted a bloke in a hoodie that said Hollister. My immediate reaction was to chuckle. Hay asked me what I was giggling about and I said I thought it amusing that someone would wear a hoodie bearing the name of our local ironmonger, Hollister's being where I get LPG gas bottles, tools, lightbulbs, plugs, etc.

Hay then inducted me into the mysterious world of the latest fashions.

I'm obviously fast becoming a dinosaur when it comes to the satrorial matters. I genuinely thought Hollister's had started giving their staff hoodies emblazoned with their name as an advertising exercise and blokey was out on his lunch break.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Brexit Buy British

Given the rancour between Brexiteers and Remainers, perhaps the UK should be partitioned like India in 1947. We could have Brexitstan - the nationalistic, inward looking, yet impoverished part filled with fundamentalists who hanker after a glorious but mythical past, and Remindia, an expanding land of vast riches, opportunity and free trade.

Here's a list of British cars. In the spirit of Brexit, the government should perhaps ditch the Mercs and BMWs in favour of a British manufactured car - but which should it be?
  • McLaren - would be nice, but impractical and a tad costly.
  • Rover - more Mrs Queen, and they haven't been the same since the P4B.
  • Bentley or Rolls - too vulgar these days.
  • Bristol - lots of prestige, but too sporty and cramped.
  • Morgan - mmmm.
  • Caterham - nice, but Mrs May's hair would suffer.
  • Jaguar - I suppose it has to be the Jag, but they're not what they used to be. Ideal for Brexit though - trading on heritage, but having lost a lot of prestige.

What's your suggestion, and why?

Friday, 21 October 2016

Squash Refusenik Gays

I don't get it. If Trump loses the election he's not President. If he refuses to accept the result he's still not President. Does it matter one jot if he refuses to acknowledge the result if Clinton wins?

Talking of Trump, apparently that gorilla that escaped from London zoo managed to glug 5 litres of undiluted blackcurrant squash while on the loose. That's him headed for Type II diabetes then. Wonder if he used it to wash down a battered, deep-fried Mars Bar? He'll be asking for a Costa hazelnut syrup frappuccino next. I suspect he'll have a dicky botty for a few days. I wonder if Ribena will use his as a mascot?

Gay men being pardoned for having been found guilty of homosexual acts committed before 1967, when homosexual activity was on the staute book as an offence. Rather than applauding the fact that this government has done something about it, some are demanding an apology from the very same government.

Until the Sexual Offences Act came about it was a criminal offence, so a pardon is apt - I don't know what could be 'more than a pardon'. A government apology for something that happened more than 50 years ago, when the act was illegal, makes me feel uneasy and it doesn't sit well with me that governments are held responsible for the actions of previous governments. Governments could be apologising for every conceivable offence caused by previous governments since time immemorial. What about the women who were denied their right to vote? They'd have to set up a special department - the Department of Silly Apologies, apologising for things they were never involved with in the first place. I certainly wouldn't dream of apologising for something my parents did (unless I personally benefited from it) - it was nothing to do with me (and I have a problem with apologies anyway - at least Hay believes that). This presupposes that responsibility is not only institutional, but that the sins of the father are visited on the children forever. The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

Now compensation is possibly another matter and something I could feasibly agree with. But that could spawn a host of associated problems, and offering compensation could, in itself, be interpreted as an admission of liability. That said, compensation has been paid to people without admission of liability. A thorny issue.

Take for example Nazi loot from WWII. You'd expect a child of a Nazi looter having some art treasure in his or her possession to hand it back to the original owner. However, theft was and still remains a crime. Possession of stolen goods was and remains a crime.

Wrongful conviction is precisely that - a miscarriage of justice. But prior to '67 homosexual acts were illegal, like it or not, so because the law was subsequently changed you can't simply claim wrongful conviction by retrospectively applying the laws of today to the past.

I'm not entirely clear in my own thoughts on this one. Any opinions?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Absentminded Trump

Had a business meeting in Chelmsford yesterday. Could have sworn it was at 11:30. When I turned up the receptionist said the chap I was to meet was in the Colchester office. While she was frantically trying to contact him, I looked at  the email from last week again and was horrified to read; "Before 11:30 or after 14:30." Luckily the chap my contact wanted me to see was working from home some 10 minutes away and I had a meeting with him instead. Day saved! Must learn to read emails properly.

Trump vs Clinton. Is it just me, or is Trump adopting the tactics favoured by his hero, Putin? It  does seem rather ironic to me that an establishment figure (and millionaire to boot) is positioning himself as an anti-establishment candidate.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Victor Mentality II

Was having a chat with an old school friend yesterday who works for Cammell Laird's and talk got round to the MoD and its Byzantine procurement processes. He quipped that with the number of RFA vessels laid up there, Cammell Laird's in Birkenhead must be the UK's largest Royal Navy base.

I have personal experience of selling things to the MoD. When some new technology is ordered they require spares for at least 10 years to guarantee continued availability - the fact that the spares sit in a warehouse, degrade and go out of warranty seems lost on them. Not only that, but the technology itself becomes redundant in half that time, resulting in subsequent spares being astronomically priced due having to retain tooling to make them. Additionally, you have to fill a myriad forms that take forever to collate. Someone has to pay for this, which invariably results in the price of a pencil rising to well over 3 times the price of buying one in Rymans. The waste is just phenomenal.

A friend over the road makes a mint from repairing UK Navy technology for which they don't have the expertise to repair themselves, or was fitted badly (by the RN) in the first place.

I'm convinced a Merchant Navy ship management company (of which there are hundreds, and several within the UK) could run, staff and provision the UK Navy for less than a tenth of what it costs using the MoD's own bureaucracy. That would free up money for recruiting staff, rather than having vessels laid up due to the lack of suitably qualified and experienced technical senior rates .

It's another example of the public believing we have one of the world's premier navies, when in reality most of the vessels never put to sea due to having no-one to man them. Victor Mentality at work again.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Victor Mentality

I wonder why Melania Trump felt the need to forgive the millionaire, Donald Trump, his locker talk?

On swapping my phones and transferring the data, I happened to look at the notes on the old Galaxy Note 3, where I jot down thoughts for blog entries and spotted one from a few weeks ago about the Victor Mentality, which I never got down to posting.

This was mentioned by an army officer with respect to the proposed creation of a European Army. The officer mentioned that the UK's army is woefully inadequate, with respect to both manpower and materiel, should even a minor war kick off, but that there's a certain amount of reluctance to countenance this within the general population. She put this down to the Victor Mentality - a cognitive dissonance manifesting in us not facing up to reality and still living in a glorious past.

There are many reasons for leaving the EU, some very good (the return of duty free, not that you'll be able to afford it) and some woefully bad. However, the level of a lot of the arguments hinge on this Victor Mentality and a totally false view of the UK's abilities. Merely wishing for things to be a certain way can sometimes have a positive outcome, but if the reality is so divergent from the rosy image and the forces for change are ranged against that change, then the outlook ain't too bright. Ken Loach summed that up in the news today by referring to Britian's obsession with fake, sugar-coated period dramas that don't reflect reality.

We have;  the lowest GDP of any northwestern continental nation, unions who consistently prove themselves incapable of supporting productivity improvements unless they are attached to massive wage increases which immediately wipe out any productivity gains, a pound that's practically in free-fall, increases in ethnic attacks. Doesn't look good in the harsh light of reality. Should solve the immigration problem through - no-one in their right mind would want to come here and, failing that, we could absorb increased unemployment by deploying job seekers as border guards.

The fact we have two thirds of the Top Gear team in the government, however, bodes well - May and Hammond. We just need Clarkson to join them for any real movement on getting caravans off the roads.