Sunday, 15 February 2009

Sunday 15/02/09

Why don’t chocolate manufacturers produce chocolate hearts that look like the real thing? All lumpy, covered in blue and red arteries and encased in a latticework of fat. All that would be needed is a little vegetable dye. Imaging your Valentine’s reaction on opening one.

Been thinking about Geert Wilders’ desire to have the Qur’an banned. I heard something on the radio yesterday that Khomeini’s fatwā of death against Salman Rudhdie is now 20 years old and has never been rescinded. In fact it was reaffirmed in 2005 by Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While scholars are of the opinion that a fatwā is binding only on its author, I have nevertheless reached the conclusion that any religion having the fatwā of death in its armoury is basically incompatible with western democracy.

I was listening to some farming programme on the radio while driving down to Cornwall yesterday. Did you know that lambs are currently fetching £45 on the market, yet they cost farmers £60 to rear. So if a ewe produces a lamb this spring, the farmer immediately loses himself £15. If he’s really unlucky his ewe might produce two lambs, losing him £30. It’s a sobering thought that a British farmer is financially better off not allowing his sheep to reproduce at all.

I also learned that you can get a stewardship subsidy for having a donkey paddock, without even needing to have a donkey on it. Given we have the field, I think I’ll investigate that little earner in more depth.

Called in at a service station that had Dyson Airblade hand dryers (ref 11th Sept 2008 post), and I have to say I’m very impressed. Less than 10 seconds and your hands are perfectly dry – but much thinner.

All the nation’s favourite busy-bodies – Iain Duncan-Smith, Anne Widdecombe, etc - are up in arms about Alfie Patten becoming a father at the age of 13 and how it’s a symptom of ‘moral anarchy’ and imploding social values across the entire country. For God’s sake – you can’t generalise from an isolated incident. The whole country is not going to hell in a handcart because one kid becomes a father. Teenage pregnancies were de-rigueur less than a century ago, as kids got married virtually the minute they left school at 16 (or earlier). Putting off parenthood till becoming a pensioner is a phenomenon that only started in last 20 years.

Have you noticed how TV channels are playing with our TVs volume levels? The sound is turned up temporarily when the adverts come on, as well as when news programmes give us a reprise of the headlines.


  1. There used to be a device on sale in the USA that detected the increase in volume when the adverts started and turned the sound off - I have no idea how well it worked though


  2. I don't find a lot of teenage pregnancies in my family tree - in fact and although most of my forebears were "Ag Labs" or seamen they seem to have married at "full age"

    AND - you must remember that we have more teenage pregnancies in the UK per head of population than any other European country - I suspect that this is to do with our appalling record on sex education.

    Richard x x x

  3. Our farmers cannot make any sort of profit until the great British public is prepared to start paying the correct price for food and that means that meat should cost about twice as much as it does now - Meat is not something that you HAVE to eat at every meal and my family certainly didn't in the 50s and 60s but that seems to have become the norm.

    Richard x x

  4. //AND - you must remember that we have more teenage pregnancies in the UK per head of population than any other European country - I suspect that this is to do with our appalling record on sex education.//

    However, the percentage has remained steady. It must be down to the simple and obvious fact that we have more chavs than anywhere else, except the USA.

  5. Also, don't forget that 'teenage pregnancy' includes anything up to 19 years and 354 days.

    Additionally, the father could be 10 years (or more) older.

    Statistics can be very misleading.

  6. I heard a rumour from a therapist once that the reason the volume on adverts is louder is due to the hyponotic trance that is induced whilst watching TV. You switch on and then get sucked in (look in to my eyes, look in to my eyes... you're under) and then the adverts come on and oh! back in the room!
    I always thought that the adverts were simply louder so that you could hear them when you were in the kitchen making a cup of tea....