Monday, 2 March 2009

Monday 02/03/09

We were watching the film Jumanji on TV last night. I said to Hay that it must be awful being trapped inside a game for the majority of your life. Hay replied, “You mean like Jade Goody?” Does Goody look to you like someone who is at death’s door? She’s plump and has her eyebrows, which is not symptomatic of someone on chemo with only a couple of weeks to live. She’s also seems to have boundless energy with which to have blazing rows with her neighbours in front of cameras. Again, not typical of someone on their death bed. A friend sent me a text about her yesterday; it said there’s a rumour going around that she’s signed up for the next 4 series of the program ‘Most Haunted’. Personally I think she misread the lab report – what it actually said was canker.

Yesterday we had a tajine. I told Hay that I’d cook, but she said I needn’t bother as she wasn’t overly enamoured of tajine made with lard, cream, copious quantities of chilli sauce and ingredients which are exorbitantly expensive by virtue of the fact they can only be picked by the light of a full moon on the 3rd Sunday of August in a year ending in 5.

She revoked my fire monitor’s badge again yesterday. For some reason, of late it has taken me two attempts to start the wood burner going in the evenings. I am obviously a traitor to my gender and no longer the master of fire and beasts that I was.

I was reading Louise’s post yesterday where she asked what her readers intended to give up for Lent. It struck me that giving something up for Lent is indulging in pointless self-flagellation. Rather than giving something up, why not take up something new, something life-enhancing and positive – such as mountain climbing, impersonating policemen or opening supermarkets? How long is it you have to excoriate yourself for during Lent? Is it 40 days, or is that the length of time you have to stand outside in the rain during a flood? Hay is of the opinion that if people must insist on giving something up, then perhaps they should consider giving up thinking about themselves for a week or two.

There’s skullduggery afoot in the hallowed halls of University Challenge! It’s been alleged that one of the contestants in the winning team was no longer a student at the time of the final. I wouldn’t have thought that was much of a problem, as long as the contestant was a student at some time during the contest and not an itinerant pub quiz contestant. People do graduate from university occasionally.

I was listening to someone on the radio extolling the virtues of Islamic finance. Islam forbids lending money at interest, although it is permissible to make a profit on a sale. The way the Islam overcomes the interest rate stumbling block to house purchase is by calling the transaction an investment, rather than lending. If one applies for an Islamic mortgage the ‘lender’ buys the house and then sells it on at a profit to the prospective purchaser, allowing the purchaser to pay in instalments. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just semantics and the effect is 100% the same as borrowing money at interest. Can God, if he exists, be fooled by this? I don’t think he’s quite that na├»ve; however, if he is, then I wouldn’t mind playing him a coupe of hands of poker.

We’ve got a local story in Bristol – a black councillor called an Asian councillor a coconut, which is apparently a term used by blacks to denote someone who is ‘brown on the outside and white on the inside’. She later apologised, but then asked how she could be accused of racism when she’s black. Methinks she is of the opinion that racism can only be committed against black people, rather than by them. My problem is not that she called an Asian a name, but that her choice of epithet suggests that all white people are essentially different from black people – and that’s surely racist against whites. I think I’ll become mortally offended and demand a public apology – vowing never eating coconut again until the apology is made.

There’s a story that Harriet Harman has told Sir Fred Goodwin (although not to his face) that he should not count on holding on to his £693k pension. That sounds to my untrained ear like a threat. Governments can enact legislation and make it retrospective, which I consider something to be extremely worried about. It will have implications for contract law, effectively saying to anyone with an ounce of sense that you shouldn’t have a contract with the government, as they can renege on it at their will. Not only that, but it has implications for human rights too. I think the government (and Harman in particular) is mishandling this big time.

Harman’s words were: "It may be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it is not enforceable in the court of public opinion. And that is where the government steps in." That, to me, sounds like lynch-mob mentality.

Asked Hay if she’ll guest blog for me, as I’m going away on business for a couple of days. She’s considering it.


The Irascible Fairy said...

To be fair to Jade Goody of the 3 (perhaps 4) chemotherapies I have been on, only one resulted in hair loss and even then I retained eyebrows and some eyelashes.

I say perhaps 4 as the fourth one is administered in tablet form - the other tree are all drips - but all 4 are disgusting!

Equally the after effects of all 3 are different - one left me sitting in a chair like a rabbit caught in the headlights for 5 or 6 days - the effects of the other two were much reduced.

Richard x x x

The Irascible Fairy said...

I think it extremely dangerous to ask Fred Goodwin for his pension back - the pension pot was - presumably - built up during the good times and then was awarded on his leaving the Bank - Now it's the bad times and they want the money back!

Well my pension was built up with contributions from my company during the good times - now they have a lot of ships laid up. charter rates are going through the floor and will they want my pension back?

Richard x x x x

Chairman Bill said...


On the first point - perhaps her eyebrows are painted on.

On the second - they may try. Your pension would be reduced due to the losses in the pot, but they should not be able to touch the pot (unless Cap'n Bob got there first).

Jinksy said...

How did you contain such thoughts within your head before blogging allowed you to vent your spleen? Love the let loose diatribe...

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Phil, I have an award for you over at my blog (later) today - I hope that you can accept it - It also goes to Richard, even tho' he hasn't a blog, but writes like one who ought!

Perhaps Hay can accept it, not only for putting up with irascible you, but also for her fire-setting capabilities, among so many other talents?

Chairman Bill said...

Jinksy - they just vaped into thin air.

Woman - I shall accept it on Hay's behalf. As you so rightly guessed, I don't do accolades myself. Anyway, which one is it? The cool one with Fonzy?

Louise | Italy said...

Thanks for mentioning my post. I think it's a great idea to start something life-enhancing during Lent, especially if one's New Year's resolutions have failed. I don't see abstinence during Lent as a type of self-flagellation, though, more a type of self-discipline. 40 days was the length of time Christ was in the Wilderness being tempted by the devil, before he was ready to start his final onslaught on Jerusalem itself...

PS Who's Jane Goody?
PPS Wine corks soaked in turps make good firelighters, and walnut shells make good kindling...