Monday, 30 March 2009

Monday 30/03/09

Still can’t seem to shake off the AdSense adverts for c-a-r-a-v-a-n holidays - they must be a permanent feature due to the mention in my profile (note I'm trying to disguise the word so as to fool AdSense).

Three Unfunnys yesterday, offset by a three Guffaws and a smattering of Laughs. I guess the comment on Goody touched a few raw nerves – although my main target is those who willingly fund and promote people like Goody, rather than unfortunate people like Goody herself.

I stand by my comments though, even if some find them uncomfortable. It does however show how celebrity culture polarizes the country into those who find it distasteful and those who revel in it. As a nation we seem to be heading toward celebration of the mediocre, if not the downright tawdry - we award A* to pupils for merely knowing the basics; we accept the worst customer service in the civilised world; responsibility has been replaced by rights; striving has been replaced by the just acceptable; quality has been replaced by enough to avoid too many complaints.

When government actively promotes a culture of where everyone gets a prize for simply entering the competition then everyone will accept garbage, and there’s an old IT adage which states ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’.

Here’s another example of intellectual vacuosity. Sir James Dyson has had his plan for an engineering academy in Bath turned down in favour of an institution to teach entrepreneurship sponsored by Dragon’s Den star, Peter Jones. For a start you can’t teach entrepreneurship, secondly this country is in dire need of engineers and thirdly you need things to sell before you can do any selling – unless you’re capitalising on celebrity. The reason given by the Learning and Skills Council for preferring Jones’ plan over Dyson’s is that the LSC would get more publicity from someone who is on prime time TV. Is that a case of dumbing down, or what? Next it will be Max Clifford announcing the creation of the Jade Goody Burberry Chair of Public Engagement in Celebrity Culture at the University of East Angular. Whatever happened to meritocracy?

Talking of celebrities, Madonna has started her search for a new accessorised kid to adopt in Malawi to match the one she already has. I wonder whether she’d be willing to adopt Russell Brand, or even Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt? Rather than adopting the whole of Malawi, why on earth can’t she just sponsor a couple of families in Malawi instead? Or how about building a school or two? Even a few wells might find favour with the locals. She probably thinks it’s her right.

The police have paid for an advertising campaign to inform the public about the Policing Pledge. Rather than spending £3.5m telling the public the bloody obvious during the biggest recession since the war, they’d be better advised telling the police about what their responsibilities are, which if you read the pledge seems to be exactly what we’ve always expected of the police and what they actually did before the 1980s. £3.5m would go a long way toward paying for a few more police, who I note are now being told to patrol alone, rather than hunting in pairs – which is a positive step forward and instantly doubles police coverage.

To be honest, I can’t remember when I last saw a policeman on the beat. Whether walking the streets is an efficient use of resources might be a moot point, but seeing the police certainly makes people feel safer, and much of the problem with crime today is to do with perception, rather than actuality – especially among the elderly.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron, speaking at a Cardiff conference, said that if elected, the Conservatives would seek to reduce family breakdown by reducing the pressures that help cause it. One presumes he means a complete ban on money, kids, sex and by association that also means infidelity and adultery. Of course he’d also have to ban immaturity, intellectual incompatibility and cultural differences. It might also be an idea to ban any men who are not mind readers from getting married too. Finally, toilet seats are going to have to be welded down and any male forbidden to go within 100 metres of a loo that a female might happen to use. A tall order by any measure.

I wish Gordon Brown would give Cameron a fiscal stimulus.

It’s a bit late to mention Home Secretary Jacqui Smith facing questions after her husband mistakenly claimed the cost of two adult films on Commons expenses. However, it’s a bit rich for Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik to say she has been compromised by her husband when he’s done an excellent job of compromising himself through his own actions with 24-year-old Gabriela Irimia of the pop music double-act The Cheeky Girls.

Went for a walk yesterday and wandered around the local quarry where Hanson, who own it, have a number of offices. The photo below shows an innovative use of their own product in the construction of an office on the site – 200mm chunks of limestone in gabion cages as cladding. Highly effective and stylish.

I wonder, however, what the lifespan of the galvanised cages is. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near one after it had rusted through or else you’d be caught up in an avalanche.

Hay had a go at defluffing my ears and nose yesterday, however I rejected the offer of a Brazilian and a bum bleaching as a step too far. She’s off to Dublin today, but she’s not sure how she’ll cope with the jet lag. She’d dreading it as she has to mix with a bunch of Dutch and Swedish people who seem to have an incurable genetic urge to book a bicycle the minute they step off the plane and cycle everywhere.


  1. I disagree about the worst customer service in the world. France wins hands down!

  2. Linda: I have to concede the point.

  3. Your ad at the moment is for Burnout and is a Dutch company ... better than caravans?

  4. And I've got 3 ads for building products and that bloody get rich quick scheme for the credulous one is back !

    Today's post borders on grumpy old man so I've given it an unfunny but doesn't mean I didn't like it.

    Why can't politicians do what needs to be done - make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and food to eat would be a start but then they could go on to stop companies from laying people off while handing out huge dividends to shareholders and give money to public services instead of private banks and business (who only use it to buy each other out or gamble on the stock market). Um, I'll get down of my soap box now.

  5. Louise: Is that Burnout the PS2 game? I'm now getting ads for wire mesh cages. Must be something to do with cage fighting.

    Kapgaf: You take that Unfunny back this moment! I'm allowed the odd grump.

  6. Not sure that Jade Goody ever referred to herself as unfortunate - even when she was terminal. I find that something to admire - even though no doubt you will find better examples! Plenty more out there that are less loud and less burberry'd.

    As for Madonna... looks like she is ahead of you on the school front... see A bit more ambitious than Angelina's $300,000 school in Cambodia. Not that I am knocking Angelina - when was the last time I built a school...?

  7. Kabbalah: That's the tragedy of Jade Goody - she didn't see herself as unfortunate.

    You've probably subscribed to more schools than you can name. It's called 3rd World Aid, but unfortunately most of it goes into the pockets of 3rd World leaders.

  8. Seem to have shaken off the c-a-r-a-v-a-n adverts. For Christ's sake, please do not mention c-a-r-a-v-a-n-s in you comments.

  9. Kapgaf: You're giving the blog a good hammering today! You must be looking at every page since I started it.

  10. Did someone mention Caravans? Gypsy Caravans? Vintage Airstream Caravans? The song Caravan, by Barbara Dickson? The Caravanserei, in fact? Caravan the band? Dutch Barges, Caravans on Canals? Galvanized Steel Caravans? Caravan-Cage Fighters? The Cheeky Caravan Girls? That Great Waste of Space Lembit Opik, the caravan-plonker? Caravan Cake? Chocolate Caravans? No?! Sorry, I must have been caravanning?

  11. Woman: No - you meant mesh. Mesh gratings, mesh fencing, meshed potatoes, mesh be becaush I'm drunk, what a mesh, spam and mesh, I'meshure!

  12. Bugger - they're the bloody c-a-r-a-v-a-n-s- are back and doing battle with wire MESH.

  13. Hi Bill. With reference to your first point about Jade and that. The really lowest point I saw about that was OK magazine doing a tribute to her before the girl had actually died! That really is rotten to the core!

    take care xxx

  14. Jenny: But that was done with Goody's approval!

  15. Hello Bill,
    I totally agree with you about Madonna. What would also make sense, if she absolutely has to adopt another child, is to adopt one of the many needy children here in the UK. Now there's a thought, eh?
    Take care.

  16. Mum: Should a woman with her busy schedule be thinking of adopting a baby? Just think of the childcare bill. Can she afford it?

  17. I just popped in to say : don't be fazed by the feedjit - I'm researching the archives (and saving comments that I'll send you later - probably in a document via e-mail because it would be too big for the comments) and I see that you have already commented on this.
    Yes, I'm giving myself a treat day today - I have completed my professional tax returns and paid my VAT so my treat is your blog. Nice, no ?

    P.S. I will not take back my unfunny. You'll just have to get over it !

  18. All FOUR ads are about blogging now ! That's put paid to those homes on wheels !

  19. Shit, now adsense is meshing with my mind....