Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wednesday 25/02/09

Made another slight change to the banner across the top. It’s caused by the ‘smoke’ from my e-cigar making me blink. I was horrified to discover yesterday that the e-cigarette company is no longer selling the e-cigar, maintaining there’s not much demand for the cigar version. I suspect it’s more to do with the number of returns I’ve had to send them for faulty ones. It’s a bit of a bugger, as I now have to source them from China, along with the special batteries, of which I’m currently in need of a couple. Perhaps I can persuade Hay to get me a supply when she visits China in April. I have a vague suspicion that some government busy-body is going to ban the damned things because they haven’t been tested by some authorised government agency set up to protect us from ourselves. As if I give a toss! If it means it saves me £300 a month in baccy and that I no longer have to use my Ventolin inhaler, then I couldn’t care less. We smokers are use to dicing with death in the pursuit of our vices.

Before anyone asks, yes it really is an image of me in the banner.

Missed commenting about Gail Trimble yesterday. Gail almost single handedly helped the Corpus Christi College team win the 2009 University Challenge title (that’s our version of College Bowl for the Americans amongst you). Now that’s a woman who should be a celebrity and not the dull and inarticulate Jade Goody. What a role model for women! I heartily congratulate her. She should bring out her own perfume; it could be called ‘Callidus’.

Many people (including Hay) detest Jeremy Paxman, University Challenge’s quiz master, for his aggressive interviewing style in his role as a journalist on news programmes. When between jobs I once collected and delivered his car for him, which was being serviced at the local Volvo garage in Reading where I had temporary employment. The bugger never tipped me. I do, however, like his interviewing style, along with that of John Humphrys. The comedian Graeme Garden once said that one way to improve Newsnight’s ratings would be to arm Paxman. I don’t know why he hasn’t brought out his own brand of aftershave – it would have to be called ‘Smug’.

Hay was in a London yesterday and caught sight of a cabbie reading Taxi Today Monthly, which seems a somewhat odd title. Surely Taxi Monthly would suffice, or Taxi This Month? The headline read, ‘Whitcomb Street, the truth!’

For the uninitiated, Whitcomb Street runs north-south between Shaftesbury Ave and Pall Mall and is on the western edge of London’s Chinatown. Wong Kei’s restaurant lies on the left as travelling in a southerly direction, and as any aficionado of London’s Chinese cuisine knows, you go to Wong Kei’s for very low-priced but delicious Chinese grub and to be abused by the staff, who are renowned the world over for their disdain of customers. Go there any Saturday afternoon and the place is a zoo, with waiters shouting at customers to either get on with ordering or get the @*$? Out of the place and make room for more time-conscious punters.

Desperate to know the truth of Whitcomb Street I performed some perfunctory research. The London Taxi Cab PR blog mentions “the farce of Whitcomb Street” in its final paragraph for a posting on the 11th Feb, but that made me none-the-wiser, unless there’s a Brian Rix farce in the process of being staged in the middle of Whitcomb Street, which I would agree would upset black cab drivers a bit.

Of course Alessandro Cagliostro, the 18th century Italian occultist, took apartments in Whitcomb Street when he had to flee France. There may be the remains of some strange inter-dimensional portal to the other world, which makes Whitcomb Street the London equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, and could feasibly explain the reason why there are so many London cabs around Shaftesbury Ave, but then they inexplicably vanish when you want one to go south of the river after midnight.

I’m surprised that the cabbies’ magazine isn’t full of suggestions as to where Gordon Brown is going wrong with the economy, or what America should do in Iran. Could it be that your very own Chairman Bill is actually a frustrated London cabbie?

Are you OCD? I think I am. You know those light switches that control two lights and have a corresponding switch elsewhere to control the same two lights – for example the light switches controlling your upstairs and downstairs hall lights? How do you feel if one of the switches on a double switch control is in the up position and the other is down, but both lights are off, or both are on? Do you start running up and downstairs fiddling with the light switches to ensure each control has its switches in the same position for the same effect? Got one of these switches at work, and if the upstairs switch is down for on, then I feel uncomfortable if the downstairs one is up. I don’t actually do anything about it, but I do feel a tug from the downstairs switch to go down and harmonise the two. If you’re honest, I’ll bet you do too. The real test is whether you do anything about it.

According to a team at the Balearic University in Palma de Mallorca, a beautiful scene evokes a different response in men's brains than in women's. Photographs of natural and urban scenes were shown to volunteers who were then asked to classify each scene as beautiful or not beautiful whilst having their electrical brain activity measured. Both men and women showed increased activity in the parietal region. While this increase occurred in both hemispheres of the brain in women, it was restricted mainly to the right hemisphere in men. The researchers suggest that in early humans men tended to be hunters and thus developed mental maps based on distance and direction, while women tended to gather plant foods and thus oriented themselves by means of landmarks. This is the reason why men get into so much trouble for not recognising such fundamental landmarks as new hairdos and new clothes on women and why women remember landmarks such as birthdays and anniversaries better than men.

I heard on the news this morning that Tiger Woods is coming back into competition after having been off work for a while with a stress fracture. How the hell do you get a stress fracture when playing an old man’s game, unless you’re breaking golf clubs over your knee or having a Jade & Jack special edition golf club broken over your head?

Remember my post on Tuesday of last week about Pakistan signing a peace deal with a Taliban group that will lead to the enforcement of the Islamic Sharia law in the Swat valley? Well, I’ve done a bit of research into the chap who’s leading the drive – one Maulana Fazlullah. He does have some interesting points to support his enlightened position.

Firstly he seeks the eradication of vices such as music, dancing, TVs, CDs, computers and other video equipments by burning the electronics or the shops in which they are housed. Now I wouldn’t go so far as banning all music, just Country & Western, which is a major blight on western civilisation. If we all had to give up computers, we’d live normal lives again and actually have to meet people, which I consider a healthy thing. Banning dancing would do all men a favour, as we’re renowned for our lack of rhythm when shaking a tail feather – particularly when over 50.

Secondly he has threatened barbers who shaved their customers' beards. Again, as an inveterate beardie, I can relate to that. I’d even go so far as to say that your salary should be linked to the length of your beard.

Thirdly he has warned against girls attending schools and wants the enforcement of a complete ban on female education. Now if we were to introduce this little innovation into western society – especially at the present time – it would mean the freeing up of millions of jobs which would naturally be filled by men, thereby eliminating at a stroke mass unemployment and allowing men to come home to healthy, home-cooked dinners prepared by docile and subservient mem-sahibs.

Fourthly and lastly, he opposed an anti-polio drive in North-West Frontier Province claiming it was a conspiracy of the Jews and Christians to keep Muslims impotent. Well, that’s just paranoia. I’ve never liked polio and thought it was a stupid game played by chinless wonders and cruel to horses. However, I wouldn’t risk being beheaded by opposing him on this. You know what the Indians and Pakistanis are like with their fanaticism for ball games played with a bat – they’re almost as fanatical as the British. Did you know that the Afghans invented the game of polio, so it’s hardly surprising Faslullah is so keen on it?
Stop Press - Wong Kei's lies on the right, not the left.


  1. Alternative reality hits me again - are we on the same planet? Polio polo, mint flavoured no doubt...

  2. About this lightswitches-neurotic disorder, I have the solution for that. Our lightswitches do click-click, so they always return to their original position. Very cool thing to have actually, those lightswitches. And it saves a lot on therapy sessions. So does blogging apparently. Until 'followers' leave you without even saying goodbye. *sigh*
    Thanks for finding me in blogland for it means that I found your blog too.

  3. As for the OCD - I have often mocked others for their afflictions - like polo, and then I find the more I blog about myself, the more OCD traces I find - Perhaps it's something about the creative instinct in us?!

    I loved the bit about the Cabbie! I could see you doing that, funnily enough...

    And as for Paxo - my boss saw him in Cornwall in the summer, and he said one so far up himself you would not wish to meet!

  4. LOL. I come to you for funnies at the end of a long day!