Monday, 26 January 2015

Pet That's Not a Pet

Hay found this NorthFace coat on eBay.

Advertised as from a smoke-free, pet-free home. One of the photos shows an interloper.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Overheard in the Bedroom

The Chairman wants to have a shower:

Chairman to Hay: "Are you having a shower?"

Hay: "Yes."

Chairman: "When?"

Hay: "In a minute."

Chairman looks at Hay quizically.

Chairman: "I know your minutes."

Hay: "OK, half an hour."

An hour and a half later:

Hay: "Just going for a shower."

Saw this story yesterday:

It was followed by comments from Christians ridiculing the people involved for their belief, especially the pastor. Yet belief in the power of this chap to help women get husbands through kissing their bare backsides is no less ridiculous than;
  1. a belief that wine and bread can transmogrify into blood and flesh when a magical incantation is uttered over them, or 
  2. that water can be turned into wine without a detailed knowledge of organic chemistry, or
  3. that a sky god impregnated a virgin, resulting in a man-god (that one was quite ubiquitous in antiquity, but apparently only the Christian one was the genuine article), or
  4. that a man can walk on water, or
  5. that a man can come back to life after death, or
  6. the dogma of the Trinity (which is truly the most mind-boggling and illogical piece of tomfoolery you could wish to hear, and even those who believe in it have difficulty explaining it).
If you believe in any of the above, then you simply have to believe anything anyone ever tells you, as you've obviously lost the power to discriminate between reality and blatant quackery.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Americans & Obama?

A certain section of the American public is really strange and stupid.

Spotted something on Facebook from Fox News (which is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun) comparing Bush with Obama, and the comments from people in support of Bush and vociferously attacking Obama were incredulous and naive. The fact Bush was considered a buffoon in the rest of the world is lost on them.

While GDP is up, debt down and unemployment falling (which most economists, and sane people, will take as proof of an improving economy), the comments were overwhelmingly negative and saying the economy has been trashed by Obama (among other patently ludicrous charges).

Some Americans (especially right wing ones) never seem to allow facts to cloud their views, as demonstrated by the Fox News debacle.

Click the image below to blow it up and see some of the more outlandish Obama conspiracy theories emanating from the American right, many of which were repeated as fact on the Facebook comments.

Also try watching this (I can't embed it). OK, they may have been cherry-picked, but the comments are nevertheless unbelievable and demonstrate congenital stupidity on the part of people Obama's policies are helping - and these people have a vote.

Thursday, 22 January 2015


Feminists decry the Sun Page 3 Girls while at the same time being all for mothers breastfeeding in public. Talk about cognitive dissonance! Make up your minds girls...

Perhaps it's not breasts in themselves, but what you do with them - a question of context. However, one has a choice whether to buy the Sun or not.

Perhaps breastfeeding mums should shield their breasts from the public gaze with pages from the Sun? Or Page 3 Girls should only be shown breastfeeding?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Upcycling Sun

What with up-cycling some old forks as napkin rings a while ago, we're having a drive to see what other old dross we can up-cycle into a new and chic forms. Apparently it's all the rage in the middle classes now.

We have turned this heart I dug out of an old tramp into a tasteful ornament and conversation piece by encasing it in ceramic.

Some of these old apothecary bottles will shortly be turned into either drinks decanters (nice little personal touch, with Hay being a biochemist), or oil lamps (if I can find wick holders - you only seem to be able to get them in the USA).

One hears the Sun actually contains news. Disgusting!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Contraceptive Sky Priority Mosaic Scenes

I hear the pope has been saying what popes are expected to say about contraception. I've always wondered whether the Catholic church is against artificial conception in the same manner as it is against artificial contraception.

Discovered how the municipal governments in Holland deal with abandoned bikes. They apparently go around putting stickers on what look like abandoned bikes, warning that the bikes will be removed within so many days if the bike is seen again with the sticker.

Coming back from Schiphol last night, I was rather amused by the fact that passengers who had paid 12 Euros for Sky Priority had bought themselves nothing more than the privilege of getting on the bus first at the gate. Naturally, if they are first on the bus, they are last off and consequently last on the plane. I'd be demanding for my money back.

Not sure about you, but from my photo collection, and what I've seen of the collections of others, it's apparent that while old fashioned paper photos were mainly of people, modern digital photos are preponderantly of scenes.

Stayed at a great little B&B in the heart of the Jordaan area of Amsterdam, comprising a self-contained ground-floor flat on one of the canals. The owners are Greet and Neils. Greet is a ceramicist and makes mosaics, having made some beautiful ones for the flat we stayed in.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Atheist, Coffee Making, 112 Year-Old Pope on a Conveyor Belt

I've sussed why the Dutch are happy riding old bone-shaker bikes; bike envy just doesn't exist here, whereas it's rife in the UK.

I often wonder how the Dutch government deals with old bikes that have been abandoned, or where the owners have died. That's probably why there are so many bikes here - they've been lying around for decades and no-one has bothered to gather them up. Millions of dead people's bikes littering the streets.

We've been frequenting a bar in town that serves the best beers in Europe (Gollem). The problem is it's very small, and thus the opportunity for expanding the business is severely limited - it's all down to throughput. I think they should reverse the Japanese fast food restaurant concept - the one where you have a conveyor belt of food going past the diners - and instead have the customers on a conveyor belt so they have to finish their drink by the time they've done a circuit of the pub. The bar staff can then speed up the conveyor during busy times, or slow it down in slack periods.

The Britain's oldest woman celebrated her 112th birthday yesterday (no, not Hay - it was only her 50th). Do you think that, like most women, she was lying about her age?

Muslims in Niger attacking and burning churches. Isn't that a bit like the UK declaring war on Mexico at the start of WWI or WWII? The stupidity of religious fanatics simply astounds me - it has no bounds. I would posit that the majority of the people poking Islam through Charlie Hebdo are not in the least bit identifiable as Christians in the first place. The problem is you can't attack atheist churches, so you have to make do with the next best thing. Crass idiocy!

"The pope is God's representative on earth, and so speaking to him is like communicating directly with God." Saw that on the BBC news site yesterday concerning the pope's visit to the Philippines. Got news for the Filipinos - the pope is an old bloke, voted for by some other old blokes, in response to political developments in a multinational conglomerate known as the Catholic Church. I don't think God had much to do with it, if anything. Dead phone line!

Can I expect a papal punch after that?

Talking of God, was a tad surprised yesterday. Jesus is not dead, he's alive and well and working in an Amsterdam sandwich shop (at least the western idealised version of Christ depicted in Renaissance art as a blonde Nordic type)..

Philips Senseo Up coffee maker - 70 Euros in Holland (50 Euros if you look hard); £229 on eBay in the UK (although you can find them for £99 on the Cool Shop website, which took a bit of finding). Rip-off Britain?

Holiday over and back to Blighty this evening.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Ultimate Designer Shop

Overheard is the street in Amsterdam:

A woman is walking toward us wearing a cloche hat and one of those huge ladies' coats from between the wars - looking like a refugee from Downton Abbey.

Hay: "I've got one of those coats. Haven't worn it since...."

Chairman: "1922?"

Saw so many designer shops yesterday. I have a morbid desire to create the ultimate designer shop - would call it The Shop,  decorated in stark black and white, staffed by a bearded hipster with a withering sneer and having just a single, tiny item for sale, placed on a white plinth in the centre of the shop. Perhaps have some very expensive coffee served.

You wouldn't believe how popular the G Plan Danish Modern range of furniture is here, as a vintage design classic! Mind you, it's becoming pretty sought after in the UK too.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Hipster Bike Loos in Amsterdam

Overheard on the plane to Amsterdam:

The Chairman went to the back of the plane to find the loo, but couldn't find it. He then went to the front of the plane, but there was no loo there. He returned to the back of the plane and found the loo. He then returns to his seat.

Hay: "So how come you didn't find the loo the first time you went back there?"

Chairman: "It was cunningly camouflaged behind a door."

They must have had an incident at Schiphol - this plane appears to have landed on the terminal buidling.

I'd like to see all religious people demonstrate their faith by not visiting Accident and Emergency or a doctor for the rest of their lives. Now that's a test of faith that I would respect.

Have constantly risked being scythed down by bikes here in Amsterdam. The Dutch just ride along dressed in business suits with nothing more protective than an umbrella and cycle clips, whereas the Brit has to be resplendent in the full regalia of dorky Lycra, protective headgear, obligatory TdF yellow jersey, special shoes that clip on to the pedals and a bike costing 3 or 4 grand.

Have you noticed how bikes are now a status symbol in the UK? Whereas you used ot be able to get a decent bike from Halford's for a couple of hundred quid, they now cost 10 times as much.

Now this is a bike I like:

Went past an art gallery opening yesterday. Lots of svelte, slim hipsters, glasses of white wine clutched in their paws, cooing appreciatively over pieces of coloured plastic. Looked a bit pseud to me.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Respect Repeat Birthdays

The pope says people's faiths should be respected. I guess he means that if people believe in magic, god-men, parthenogenesis in humans, the power of prayer (despite all evidence to the contrary), men teleporting, the death sentence for apostasy, evil spirits taking over pigs, bread turning into flesh, putting a dirty milk glass and a plate from a roast beef sandwich in the same dishwasher can contaminate your soul, beheading, subjugation of women, hostility to homosexuals, sacred underwear protects believers from spiritual contamination and, according to some adherents, from fire and speeding bullets, stoning to death, genital mutilation, etc., we should respect that. Sorry pope old chap - you have another think coming. I live in the 21st century, not the 10th.

Respect is a positive emotion, and to respect the above you have to respect every crackpot, pseudoscientific theory anyone ever came up with. If science were to operate like that we wouldn't have progressed beyond alchemy and we wouldn't have Accident and Emergency departments bursting at the seams. It's an abdication of both moral and intellectual responsibility to automatically accord the same respect to all beliefs.

Tolerance and respect are two different things and the right to criticise has the same basis as the right to believe. While I may tolerate some of the hare-brained things above, I can't respect them - that would be stretching credulity beyond all bounds.

Criticism is essential to seeking truth, and most believers (illogically) portray themselves as seekers of truth; seekers of self-delusion, more like.

I wonder if the pope respects astrology or homeopathy - he probably does.

Talking of science, yesterday I collected my final, paid, repeat prescription. The next one will be totally free, as I'll have reached that magical age of 60. The next milestone will be the free bus pass at age 65, although I imagine the age qualification will have increased to 70 by the time it's my turn. I really don't know why governments give all this free stuff away - surely it should be means tested and given only those who actually need it?

We're off to Amsterdam today for a long weekend to celebrate Hayley's 50th. The original idea was to go to Belgium to see the grave of Hay's great uncle who died in the early stages of WWI, but the thought of trudging through fields in January was not attractive. Far better to go and have a look at the Foam Museum, or the Museum of Prostitution in Hamsterjam.

Left No.1 Son in charge of the house and the cat. Will I regret it?

I do like this. Couldn't stop laughing when I saw it: