Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ironic, Milky Phone Calls

I guess blokes with huge guts wearing football-type shirts emblazoned with the word Sportsman do not appreciate irony.

Was in a business meeting in Newcastle yesterday. Four of us were sat in my company's HQ meeting room when the teleconference phone suddenly rang. We all looked at each other with mild surprise on our faces and eventually one of us flicked the switch to see who could be calling us. After a second or two, a pre-recorded voice kicked into action and said; "We're calling you about your PPI refund...." 

I heard Nadine Dorries on the radio the other say saying the Remain campaign leaders were a bunch of posh boys who don't know the price of a pint of milk. I'm afraid I'm not a posh boy and I couldn't tell you the price of a container of milk (it comes in 1.136 litre plastic containers now Nadine - which is 2 pints), or the price per kilo of beef or the price of washing up liquid. I have my eye on the bigger picture, like the total cost of the weekly shop - and the vouchers, which make a big difference. I think that's the difference between the Leave and Remain camps - one focuses on a single item and makes an untoward fuss about that, whereas the other has the bigger picture in mind, like the entire economy.

I wonder why we still sell milk in multiples of pints rather than straight litres?

Driving home from Heathrow last night I heard a short broadcast from the Leave campaign and they are still using the discredited and false claim of £350m a week being sent to the EU. They obviously don't have their eye on the shopping basket at all.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Hay Fever Cure for Lawn Mowers

On Sunday evening, what with No.1 Son being in London, we decided not to bother cooking and go out to our local pub, The Dog, for dinner. Now I'm a hay fever sufferer and a pint and a half of Pheasant Plucker cider may have exacerbated it (booze is apparently loaded with histamine), but, on having a small scotch just after dinner the symptoms miraculously vanished almost the moment the scotch touched my lips. It might have been coincidence, but my guess is that scotch is a cure. My symptoms are always worst in the morning and evening but, in the interests of a scientific trial, Hay won't let me have a scotch every morning. I did, however, give it another go last  night with Lidl scotch and, although it took a few minutes longer, it did actually work again. I'd be interested if any other sufferers report similar effects.

On the strength of my recommendation, Vicky at The Dog is now marketing Dalmore scotch as a hay fever cure.

On Saturday the cutting deck belt of my ride-on lawnmower parted. Found a site where they sell all manner of lawnmower spares and they listed two alternatives - a genuine manufacturer's part at £96 and an identical, non-genuine part for £19.95. Guess which I'm going for?

Monday, 30 May 2016

Sock Universe Times

Further to Saturday's theory of bubble universes being created by my keys, and other items, ripping apart the spacetime continuum under the influence of vacuum fluctuations; I have developed the theory a little further.

Some universes created by items you think you've lost are oscillating universes; i.e. they expand for some billions of their years and then contract again into a singularity, the other side of which is our universe - the origin universe. The logical consequence of this is that the object you have lost (normally a key, or something reasonably dense) rematerialises, but not where you know, with the certainty that only someone over 60 possesses, that you last put it. That is best explained by the fact the centre of the bubble universe the lost object created may have moved many billions of lightyears within its own spatio-temporal reference frame, but that could be just a few metres from the position in which the object disappeared within our universe (it's all relative). One benefit of this theory is that you can now stop blaming your wife for moving your keys.

This part of the theory will be of interest to the ladies. Now some items have a proclivity to create bubble universes with a positive cosmological constant, meaning they undergo accelerating expansion and suffer a heat death, with no chance of ever collapsing again to form a singularity. The consequence is that the lost items never return and are permanently trapped in the interstices of spacetime as a dying universe. The objects that generally behave in this manner are less dense, such as socks, especially ones which enter the washing machine in pairs. Now, as all quantum physicists know, a pair of socks are quantum entangled; this means you can take a pair of socks, separate them over vast distances and observing the state of one sock  will let you know immediately the state of the other - if one is unwashed, then other will be unwashed; if one is clean, the other will be clean; if one has holes the other will have holes; of one is black, the other will be black. There's obviously some field produced by washing machines, possibly a form of warp drive, that, a) breaks the quantum entanglement of a pair of socks, and b) produces the positive cosmological constant such that one of the pair winks out of existence, never to be seen again,  leaving its companion bereft and isolated within the washing machine drum. Toe cheese could also be the culprit and sentient life forms are highly likely within such universes (especially those of the Trump variety, which are not that highly evolved, but nonetheless have some basic thought processes).

Is it me, or has the once informative Sunday Times magazine slowly transformed into a lifestyle magazine? Hay noticed something similar during her stay in Whitby - what was once known as a chip shop has now become a purveyor of "street food",  and in a cone too.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Marketing Universal Bands

This last week I've been putting the old Merc at the end of our track, as we have a good record of selling cars there due to the fact we're on the main road into Yate and beyond and catch all the people travelling into and from work, but it hasn't produced much interest. It suddenly struck me that I had the marketing all wrong - the car is a convertible, but I left it with the hard top on. I may prefer its looks with the hard top, but the whole proposition behind the car is the fact it's a drophead. Took the hard top off yesterday morning and I had a steady stream of people calling to ask questions about it. Got at least two people very interested. Now was that because of the Bank Holiday weekend, or due to the Merc looking attractive as summer car - I suspect the latter.

I misheard something Hay said last night while we were watching some 70s rock videos on YouTube (we don't watch TV on a Saturday night anymore - it's just so dire). The upshot is that we developed a new name for a band - Icarus Puss-Puss.

I created two new universes yesterday - key based and vaping stick based..

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Big Bang

What with Hay having been away for the week, No.1 Son and I have been cooking for ourselves - or rather I've been cooking for both of us. That usually means lots of steak and lots of chips.

Last night I was getting the chip oil up to temperature, for which I use a temperature probe to ensue the oil is hot enough and to avoid a chip pan fire. Well, I got distracted and put the probe down. I could have sworn I'd put it next to the chip pan, but could I find it again? No! I proceeded without the probe.

Spent an hour or more searching around downstairs but to no  avail/  I was eventually convinced it had become subject to a  quantum fluctuation and disappeared into the interstices of spacetime to form a new universe, the life forms evolving within it being based on chip oil, rather than carbon - although oils are indeed carbon-based.

I pondered whether my God-like creation of this new universe would mean that the beings that evolve in there would necessarily want to worship me, despite the fact I'm totally oblivious as to whether they're actually there or not, as I  can't possibly interact with them due to them being in a bubble universe isolated from our spacetime. Would they develop God-men who claim me as their father (and all the nasty child benefits that may be incurred within their chip oil based legal system).

I eventually found the probe in my file next to my laptop. The universe I'd possibly created disappeared in a puff of smoke as the probe rematerialised (well, either that or I'd put it there when distracted by an email and it never disappeared at all, but I think not). What for me was about an hour could have been billions upon billions of years within the chip oil universe's spacetime. It was created, lived and died during the time my probe was missing.

Just think about that the next time you lose your keys. They're not lost, merely busy creating a new universe.

All this Brexit stuff must be getting to me.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Football Flower Barber

Hay spotted this in a barber's window in Whitby:

Another ethereal photo of Whitby from Hay:


Apparently 50% of abusive, misogynistic tweets on Twitter are made by women. I've never suffered abusive, misogyny on Twitter, but that's perhaps because I'm not on Twitter.

If a European superstate actually comes about, does that mean we'll end up with a USE football team for the World Cup? Surely that would be unbeatable?

Has anyone ever seen a Swiss cheese plant flower? Apparently they're a member of the Arum family and the flower is identical, but it's notoriously difficult to get them to flower in captivity. Here's my beauty, which is under the spiral staircase, but rapidly outgrowing the space:

Been trying to excise some scratches on the near side window of the car using a buffer and jeweler's rouge. The scratches are from grit that was trapped in the rubber, with continuous use over 23 years having scored the glass in one area quite deeply. While I've had some success, it's toughened glass and at this rate it will take several days of solid buffing to remove them all. Finally decided to buy a 2nd hand window from a breaker's yard for £75. Should have done that in the first place, but I was so convinced jeweler's rouge would do the job. Damned stuff gets into any crevice on paint, door handles - anywhere with a rough surface, and is the very  devil to remove.

I've written a 4 page defence of staying in the EU, refuting most of the bollocks being put about by Boris' mates, as well as misconceptions that for some reason keep persisting in the popular consciousness - or lack of it, from what I've seen. Was going to post it today, but thought I'd stress test it first. Posted it on an Exit Facebook page and managed to get a  bite, but the bugger used the old lawyer's trick of focusing on one word (the use of 'overwhelming' for 64% support for the EU in Scotland) and one reference (my use of Wiki as a source for the UK's budget expenditure) - unjustifiably, as I provided backup data - and rubbishing the whole thing on that basis. Of course they wouldn't argue with me, despite me having broken it up into logical chunks for ease of reference. Never mind - I'll sanity check it elsewhere before posting it. Volunteers welcome.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Latest updates from Hay in Whitby. I'm sure she said this is the Capt. Hook Museum, but she never mentioned whether there was a ticking crocodile there:

I beat her to it with this one:

The beach looks a bit chilly:

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Project Fear vs Project Foolhardy

Hay sent me this photo of Whitby Abbey yesterday:

I edited it to this for a more ethereal feel:

If you walk over a high cliff, there's a more than evens chance you're going to kill yourself. Wander across a busy road with earphones and a blindfold and I wouldn't give much for your chances of reaching the other side in one piece. Nor would the RAC, your local council, the National Trust or any other organisation involved in either cliffs or road safety.

Now, some would call these warnings Project Fear. I merely call them sensible warnings of highly probable, self-inflicted outcomes. There would be a high chance of you killing yourself, but there's also a lower chance you'd merely suffer a catastrophic injury. There's a very slim chance you'd be totally unscathed, but it would only be a teeny weeny chance.

Project Foolhardy, on the other hand, will say; "Don't worry - it'll be OK. Those warnings are coming from fearmongerers and The Establishment - they all have vested interests. We have a plan that will avoid you hitting the beach or being hit by a car. Can't tell you what that plan is yet, the cost, what it involves or when we're going to implement it. You'll just have to trust us and believe we can do it because we're a great and resourceful nation, have the Commonwealth and had the greatest empire the world has ever seen. We're also politicians and you can trust us to have your best interests at heart."

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Transgender Whitby Truckers

Overheard in the house:

No.1 Son: "Dad, is Eddie Stobart transgender?"

Chairman: "He's dead. I think you mean Eddie Izzard, and no, he's a transvestite."

Hay is now in Whitby. Looks quite nice too, if a bit too Yorkshireish for me:

Monday, 23 May 2016

Overheard in the Lions' Den

The Chairman wanders into the cabin where Hay is emptying the composting toilet:

Hay: "What are you doing?"

Chairman: "Helping you - by keeping out of the way."

The cattle have been let out on the common and they'll be there now till September. People walking past just don't bother them.

Even our hedgehog decided to come out for a snuffle during the day.

Hay has gone off to Whitby with her dad and his girlfriend for the week. No.1 Son and I are left to look after ourselves, which I think we'll accomplish quite satisfactorily.

Steve Hilton, Cameron's strategy advisor has said; "A decision to leave the EU is not without risk. But I believe it is the ideal and idealistic choice for our times: taking back power from arrogant, unaccountable, hubristic elites and putting it where it belongs - in people's hands." Doesn't he really mean in the hands of another hubristic elite called the government?

Duncan Smith has dismissed the latest Treasury forecast saying no-one ever believes Treasury forecasts. Doesn't that then destroy any Treasury forecast - including any he may later want to rely on to justify an action? I suspect those words will come back to haunt him.

I poked my head into the lion's mouth over the weekend, posting a long and, I believe, well-reasoned argument for remaining in the EU on the Leave.EU Facebook page. My reasoning was based on jobs and the economy, I attracted the usual intelligent rants, like; "Load of crap," and; "With a name like that, go back to where you came from," in obvious reference to my part-Dutch heritage and regardless of the fact I'd been here longer than the ranter.

I was accused of speculation about the impact of Brexit. Well, yesterday it was speculative to say I'd be in work this morning, but, on the basis of probabilities, it was an almost dead cert. While trying to pinpoint-forecast the currency exchange rate or interest rate three months hence may be impossible, estimating general market reaction to a stimulus is a vastly more certain proposition. While individual forecasts vary, they are remarkably consistent on the direction in the event of Brexit. Duncan Smith may trash the Treasury forecast - and indeed any forecast which disagrees with his view - but he singularly fails to produce his own forecast or at least explain why the consensus is wrong.

Some of them did attempt to debate with me, but there was a distinct lack of reasoned argument on their part. Pensions were brought into the conversation, as if the EU is responsible for that particular Ponzi scheme, the basis of which (i.e. a steady ratio of the number of working people required to maintain a pensioner in state pension) has been eroding since its inception. I did point out that the solution to pensions is simple - higher tax, lower pensions, later pensions or immigration. Well, that went down like a lead zeppelin. They were, however, totally disarmed when I refused to trade insults and challenged them to back up their bland statement with some logic.

One had the temerity to say I had no empathy for poorly paid people - as if concern for jobs isn't empathetic toward poorly paid people. The bugger also called me a Tory to boot, which is grossly inaccurate and an insult - perhaps he meant it that way.

Next to immigration, the subject of sovereignty seems to be foremost; however, ask them in which area they feel emasculated or which EU laws they find objectionable and they fall silent. They are merely regurgitating the Exit mantra without any analysis or thought and areas of legislation totally within the remit of our government are attributed to the EU.

Most of them are living in a rosy past of tea on the lawn, full employment, a thriving shipbuilding industry, marvelous British cars that never rust or break down and trusting this will all return merely by wishing it so. However, not a single person had a valid argument to counter mine, demonstrating that the Out camp is basing its decisions on emotion, not reason. One even admitted that the heart said Out while the head said In.

If you haven't seen their Facebook pages yet, I advise a look. It's a tour de force of wrongheadedness, blissful ignorance of the EU itself, wild conspiracy theories, blatant misinformation and invective. If you respond with competing invective they just froth at the mouth, so don't; just politely ask them to justify their assertions and they just melt away. Many of them - not all - seem to prefer the Daily Mail or Sun to a critical use of Google or Wikipedia.