Friday, 30 April 2010

The Inequality of Choice

A relationship counsellor's bid to challenge his sacking for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples has been turned down by the High Court. Said counsellor, Gary McFarlane from Bristol, said: "I have the ability to provide counselling services to same sex couples; however, because of my Christian beliefs and principles, there should be allowances taken in to account whereby individuals like me can actually avoid having to contradict their very strongly-held Christian principles."

One would assume that Mr McFarlane, on the basis of his Christian principles, also discriminates against couples who are not married. If not, then why not – or is he only selectively bigoted against gays?

A Christian is, by definition, someone who adheres to the teachings of Jesus. If anyone can show me a single pronouncement attributable to Jesus on homosexual discrimination then I will eat my hat. Jesus was at pains to point out the evils of discrimination and I would suggest that there is no place for discrimination of any sort within true Christianity.

I wonder how Mr McFarlane would react is someone refused him service simply because he happens to be black (which he is), and the person discriminating against him had deeply held religious convictions about black people being inferior – as Christians once did. Religion is no more than one opinion among many, dressed up in spiritual mumbo-jumbo to give it weight.

If we are to cater for Christian beliefs when making laws, then we must also give equal weight to all religions’ beliefs – and that is plainly impossible unless we allow people to decide under which laws they wish to live. But what then happens when people of different religions are in legal conflict?

It is a truism that when people are given choice, then inequality is a logical consequence further down the path. Politicians who advocate choice in public services should take note of this when proposing choice in health or education. Choice, however, is also the mother of innovation.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Children on the Menu?

Yesterday’s comment on politicians not being able to afford to say what they think was quite prescient.

This song is for Gordon Brown following his gaffe of yesterday:

Who first came up with the children’s menu? Time was when a children’s menu was merely the same as what the grown-ups ate, but in smaller portions – if you were lucky.

I was reading a review of The Munro – a gastro pub which, despite being located in a somewhat run-down area of Liverpool, looks rather nice and an ideal venue for taking some of my clients for lunch (their office is over the road).

I noticed someone complaining because there was no children’s menu – oh, how unfortunate. For a start, please don’t take children to a restaurant where grown-ups eat – they won’t appreciate unruly, wild animals running all over the place, causing mayhem or screaming at the top of their voices that there are no pizzas or Turkey Twzzlers.

If you do take your progeny and I’m there, I shall scowl at you, waiting to pounce on you at the first sign of unruliness and demand you take Algernon and Portia out of the establishment post haste; children belong in children’s establishments – like MacDonald’s, TGI Friday’s or preferably your home, not places where human beings eat.

No – if you have children, then keep them to yourself and don’t inflict them on others who are looking for a pleasant dining experience.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Brown Denies Sex-Change!

A prospective Labour Party candidate has been suspended after saying he would not be best pleased if one of his kids married a Muslim.

I must admit I’d feel the same way if any of my kids wanted marry a Muslim, or a Catholic, or a creationist. However, I can recognise the fact that none of the political parties can afford to piss off any section of the voting public, as it puts their position at risk. It’s not so much what he said – everyone is entitled to their opinions – it’s the position he said it from. Like the Queen, politicians have to keep their opinions to themselves, and in that manner I don’t envy them.

Having said that, I’d much rather vote for a politician whose views I knew, as how else could I trust him or her? That’s the dilemma of politics and what makes it (and royalty) a dirty business.

Spotted this yesterday during my lunchtime walk. It was sited on a nondescript suburban street corner and must obviously be a legacy from Victorian times.

This is its usual position, so no wonder I’ve never noticed it before.

View Larger Map

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get really pissed off an the partisan electoral reporting in newspapers. The low-brow rags seem determined to put the candidates they are not lobbying on behalf of in the worst possible light by smearing them in an oblique way in the manner of the ‘have you stopped beating your wife’ question.

I thought I’d come up with a few of my own:

  • Cameron denies killing a poor person for fun when a member of the Bullingdon Club.
  • Brown denies sex-change.
  • Clegg denies kinky three-in-a-bed sex romp with Susan Boyle and Heather Mills McCartney.
See what I mean? It put a thought into your head that you would not otherwise consider – except possibly ……. all of them, come to think of it.

Apropos of stupid newspapers (and this is positively my last word on Benedictgate), here’s a headline from yesterday’s Daily Mail; ‘Imagine the furore if the Foreign Office had insulted the Prophet Mohammed’.

So now the pope is being elevated to the position of Mohammed and, by association, Jesus? I wouldn’t mind, but this was written by a former ambassador to the US, Christopher Meyer, who one would have thought had a scintilla of intelligence. If anything, Benedictgate is like insulting an incumbent Ayatollah or the Archbish of Cadbury - and that ain’t even blasphemy.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Benedictgate & Blood on My Hands

Gave blood again yesterday. They managed to find a vein without too much digging around (which is unusual for me) and I was finished in half the time it normally takes. They must have struck a gusher. I enquired about bone marrow donation but apparently I’m far too old – the cut-off being 50. Probably just as well as it’s rather painful.

It’s strange, but I don’t feel 55 – and I don’t behave like my father did when he was 55. He seemed terribly sensible and – well, old, but I suppose my children think I’m terribly sensible and old (however immature Hay thinks I actually am).

Is David Blane the son of God, or would your vote go to David Copperfield?

Ref the paypal scandal; one highly-placed source in the Vatican talking of the Benedictgate Condom affair said: “This could have very severe repercussions and is embarrassing for the British government - one has to question whether the action taken is enough.” Another Vatican source mentioned ‘dark forces’ at work in British Foreign Office.

I guess having a go at the pope is infinitely more reprehensible in the People’s Democratic Republic of Vatican than covering up paedophilia of epidemic proportions.

Oh please let this hideous orc and his vile entourage come to the UK!

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Social Transaction

The pope may now not come to the UK because of the Foreign Office gaffe. I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but perhaps in this case it was indeed a conspiracy to keep him out, knowing full well the problems a visit by this man will cause.

Saw a really idiotic headline in one of the right-wing papers yesterday while assisting Hay with her paper round. It suggested that house prices are now increasing by 10%, which is apparently good news. Why should a new housing bubble be good news? Why should the fact that house prices are going far beyond first-time-buyers’ means be good news? Why should it be good news that if you want to go up the housing ladder it’s going to cost you a damned sight more? The only people who could possibly be pleased are property speculators and those downsizing.

My next subject is gift lists, whether for weddings or children’s birthdays. Don’t you agree they’re in such bad taste? The minute money enters the dynamic (and a gift list imposes a minimum value), the social benefit of giving or receiving gifts is replaced by the cut and thrust of the marketplace. The worst and most crass example is the recent habit of asking people to contribute to the cost of your honeymoon. If someone asked me to contribute money or gave me a gift list, I’d send them a few Argos vouchers and ensure I never met up with them again.

How would you feel if you’d invited some people round for dinner and they brought you a nice bottle of wine? You’d probably be enormously pleased. How would you feel if they slapped a £10 note on the table? I can guarantee you’d be mortally offended. Even if someone brought round a menial bottle of wine costing under 3 quid you probably wouldn’t feel offended in the slightest – but a £50 note would offend you enormously. The closer the social transaction comes to money the more the dynamic changes into a trade - we detest it and think it the height of bad manners. Transactions that belong in the marketplace should never encroach on social occasions.

Psychologists once did an experiment. They placed a 6 pack of Cokes in a university dormitory fridge. Within a few days all the Cokes had been nicked. They then replaced the Cokes with 6 saucers of money, being the equivalent of the price of a can of Coke. The saucers remained untouched. The lesson is that the further removed from hard cash something is the more we can be tempted into dishonesty over it.

Talking of social transactions; yesterday I was looking at weird wedding rings at (Hay and I are intending to marry sometime in the next 20 years). Below is a good one for me – it’s called the Remember Ring. The idea is that the ring will warm to a slightly uncomfortable degree for 10 seconds every hour starting 24 hours before your anniversary. When you’re as forgetful as me, then every little helps.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Benedict Condoms

Some loudmouth in the Foreign Office has blurted to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper the fact that a menial has made some jokes at the expense of the pope. Had the loudmouth not said anything, and had the Sunday Telegraph been a bit more responsible, no-one would have known and the pope would have been none-the-wiser. It makes me suspect the motives of the loudmouth. Obviously a disgruntled left-footer who wants to divert attention from the paedophilia scandal surrounding the papacy. Personally I think the jokes were quite funny.

If you have daft policies which offend most rational and morally minded people, then you have to learn to take some stick.

Here are some important questions:

How do they make chickens lay all year round?

What would you see if you were massless and could travel at the speed of light?

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Putting The Boot In

The other day I had occasion to visit the local farmers’ emporium to obtain a new drive belt for the lawnmower. This place is a man’s heaven, being stacked to the rafters with all kinds of tool and machinery – machinery whose use you haven’t an inkling about, but just feel you’re going to need at some time in the future. I was nearly overcome by an irresistible urge to purchase half a dozen humungous shackles, convinced I would have a use for them before I die.

I spotted the items below on a display of work boots:

They are a couple of pairs (although strictly speaking one of a pair of each) of steel toe-capped trainers.

Why on earth would anyone want to train in trainers that feel as if they are made of osmium (much heavier than lead)? While I’m at it, why would anyone want a work boot that looks like a trainer? I can’t think of anything more incongruous, except perhaps Paris Hilton on University Challenge.

I hear that the tourists who have been repatriated following a week of being stuck at airports in all kinds of exotic locations are desperate to be returned to those exotic locations. Apparently they were unaware an election was taking place. Had they known then they wouldn’t have come back, or at least have arranged for a one-way ticket to a euthanasia parlour in Switzerland.

Why do people put these political signs showing which party they support in their front gardens? As if I care what my neighbour votes! His espousal of the BNP certainly isn’t going to influence my decision. They make the place look untidy. Some of them are easily confused with estate agents’ for sale signs.

There’s a rumour that Nick Griffin of the BNP has offered to go into a coalition with Darth Benedict XVI (have you noticed how he looks eerily like Darth Sidious), but I think it’s a political slur as the BNP can’t surely be as far-right as the Magisterium.

I’ve just had an idea that should both save money and ensure tax money goes to where it should in terms of benefits. Firstly make child benefit means tested – let’s use a figure of a combined family income of £15k p.a. – they are the people who really need it. Next we issue mothers to whom the benefit applies a debit card, which is the only way in which they can claim the benefit. The card is linked to only certain items, such as children’s clothing, food, etc. The card account is automatically charged up on a weekly basis with the benefit payment, cannot be used to draw cash and cannot be used if there is a zero balance in the account. Shops already collect data on the items one purchases when using plastic, and the data can be sent along with the financial transaction through the point of sale system to the government ‘bank’. Any items that the mother attempts to purchase that are not on the accepted list of child purchases have the transaction refused. Comments?

Here, for your edification, is the political manifesto of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (I have corrected the spelling mistakes):

1. Health & Safety: We propose to ban Self Responsibility on the grounds that it may be dangerous to your health.

2. MPs’ Expenses: We propose that instead of a second home allowance MPs will have a caravan which will be parked outside the Houses of Parliament. This will make it easier as flipping a caravan is easier than flipping homes.

3. Eurofit: The European Constitution which will be sorted out by going for a long Walk. "As everyone knows that walking is good for the constitution".

4. The speaker in the House of Commons will be replaced by the latest audio equipment.

5. To help the Israel/Palestinian Problem, we will get rid of the old road map, and replace it with a new sat nav instead.

6. European Union: It is proposed that the European Union end its discrimination by creating a "Court of Human Lefts" because their present policy is one-sided.

7. Education: We will increase the number of Women teachers throughout the education System as we are strong believers of 'Female Intuition'.

8. Immigration and Population: I propose that we cap the population of this country. We have too many people for such a small country, so we will Cap the number of people residing here at present rates (approximately 63 million, give or take 10 mill ) on the basis of one out, one in (excluding Births).

Regarding Immigration... Any Person who can prove that they or their descendants emigrated to the U.K before 55 A.D can stay. All the others will be repatriated to their original country. (Well we have to draw the line somewhere).

9. We will ban all forms of Greyhound racing. This will help stop the country going to the dogs.

10. Afghanistan, Iraq and the War on terror. There’s is nothing funny about this. However, as we have not found any Taliban terrorists in Derbyshire. Our Soldiers can all come home now.

Friday, 23 April 2010

A Leap of Faith

Yesterday’s post highlighted some of the more far-right-wing policies of the Christian Party in Chippenham.

The Christian Party is what is termed a faith party, but when one votes in an election one has to realise that faith has a very important role to play; faith that you have chosen to support the policies that best suit the needs of the country as a whole (as opposed to those serving just the individual), and even more faith that the politicians will deliver on election promises – and that takes a massive leap of faith.

It’s a sad fact of life that most people are deeply prejudiced and that more than anything influences their party allegiance; they vote with the tribe, be it family, class, or religion. Newspapers, who see themselves as tribal leaders, use this to try to influence the voting process. Rarely do voters actually stop to analyse policies.

As I mentioned before, Hay has taken to doing an early morning paper round in order to get some fresh air and earn a few bob more to contribute to the house build. This morning all the papers were late due to the election debate. She’s considering becoming the local town crier instead so as to ensure the village gets its news on time.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Right Wing Politics

Some of the major political parties in Chippenham (but not the Liberals) have refused to participate in a debate if the British National Party is allowed to speak. While I am not a fan of the BNP, I am no fan of censorship. If you disagree with someone, then expose them in debate in a democratic manner, don’t just try to silence them undemocratically.

I note that Chippenham is also fielding a Christian Party electoral candidate. Given what I know of Christian bigotry, I can’t really see that much difference between the Christian Party and the BNP. If you look at their policies, many are quite good, but then there is also a large number that make them seem about as cuddly as the Taliban.
  • Re-instate mandatory Christian religious education in schools.
  • Seek sanctions for schools that refused to comply with their obligation to assemble pupils for an act of daily worship. Such acts of worship should be Christian.
  • Ensure that the United Kingdom’s Christian heritage is properly reflected in the National Curriculum.
  • Ensure that proper balanced teaching and debate occurs in schools around the concepts of ‘Evolution’ and ‘Creation/Design in the universe’.
  • Ensure that schools are not forced to change their values by employing those who disagree with those values.
  • Call for the end of the promotion and teaching in schools of homosexuality as a family relationship.
  • Reject all attempts to re-define marriage.
  • Outlaw voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia by omission or by direct act, including neonatal euthanasia.
  • Support legislation to prevent the patenting of natural genetic material, modifications to the human gene line and the trade in sperm, ova and human beings at the embryonic stage of development.
  • End the practise of human cloning and the destruction of human embryos.
  • Oppose moves to impose abortion on Northern Ireland.
  • Withdraw government aid from any agency which promotes abortion or euthanasia.
  • Challenge the culture of death by seeking legislation which confers the full protection of the law on all human life from the conception until natural death.
I've started a Facebook campaign to get Nick Clogg (or is it Clagg) to the top of the Download Charts by May 6th.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Immodest Volcanoes & Plane Elections

Immodest women cause earthquakes claims Iranian religious nutter.

An Iranian cleric has claimed that earthquakes in Iran are caused by women showing their hair and wearing tight clothes. Just goes to show that there is such a thing as reverse evolution.

If earthquakes are caused by immodest women, then parts of Britain should be quivering like a jelly – especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Perhaps we should get some scientists on ‘back-to-work’ schemes to conduct a controlled experiment in Bristol city centre.

I wonder if there’s any variant of immodesty that guarantees a warm summer or that Charlie Boy will win the 4:30 at Kempton Park at 33 to 1.

My God! Perhaps the eruption of that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano was caused by exposed muffin-tops brought on by the warmer weather!

Want to see where planes are flying at the moment? Then look here. It shows the tracks of all aircraft over Europe (give it a few moments to locate the aircraft).

This site is a similar one for ships. Click on an area to zoom in and see the details of the vessels around the various ports.

Here’s a good link which will tell you how you should vote in the forthcoming election. It’s based on your opinions and you might be surprised and find that you generally vote on the basis of prejudice and not policy.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Act of God?

Try saying, ‘leading scientists today’ enunciating every letter. The ‘tists today’ bit doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue; makes you feel the language was developed by someone with loose teeth, don’t you think?

Why is it considered kind to put down animals that are in pain, but inhuman to put down people who are in pain?

Why is the government having to rescue people who are stranded abroad because of the flight ban? Can’t these people get a hire car, a train or a ferry from the nearest place that’s not affected? Why do the Brits have a tendency to demand that the government always come to their rescue?

There are all kinds of comments in the media about travel insurance not covering repatriation costs due to the volcanic ash cloud covering Europe being an act of God. In my opinion anyone who believes in a God should consequently have no recourse to insurance compensation. Only atheists have a case for the insurers to prove it is indeed an act of God.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Britian Starves

Critical supplies of mange touts, sugar-snap peas and cut lilies are running dangerously low due to the air traffic situation and it is feared the middle classes may starve as a consequence.

Airlines are calling for the skies to be declared safe, which shows that business cannot be entrusted with our safety or be relied upon to advise the Conservative party as to what it best for Britain.

On a serious note, it’s worrying when global capitalism is so fragile that a couple of weeks of no air transport can result in Kenya potentially going bust due to it relying so heavily on air transport for its exports – exports which are simply fripperies in the importing countries.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Recipe for Disaster

An Australian publisher has had to pulp and reprint a cook-book after one recipe listed "salt and freshly ground black people" instead of black pepper.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Foolish Punishments and Foolish Bigots

A woman from some hell-hole in midlands has become the first person to have a nationwide Drinking Banning Order made against her. She cannot enter a pub, club, off-licence, or drink alcohol in a public place for two years.

What on earth is the point of an order which cannot feasibly be enforced outside of the couple of pubs in her locale where she is probably instantly recognisable? What is it meant to achieve, other than to attract derisory comments from people like myself who have more than two brain cells?

A barrister representing a sacked Christian relationship counsellor has said that judges risk "civil unrest" by ignoring religious beliefs in their rulings. The chap concerned, Gary McFarlane from Bristol, refused to give sex therapy to homosexual couples. Ex Archbish of Cadbury, Lord Carey, said: “It was but a short step from the dismissal of a sincere Christian from employment to a religious bar to any employment by Christians."

Sincere Christian? Sincere bigot, more like. The true test of a Christian is to ask what Jesus would have done, and I doubt Jesus would be a bigot, after all, he consorted with all kinds of people – even tax collectors.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Popular Front for the Liberation of Old Sodbury

Well, we had the televised election debate last night and I am sorely disappointed. Not once did any of the contenders mention what they'd do for Old Sodbury. They never even mentioned the words Old Sodbury!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sporadic Tic-Tac-Toe

I'm on my way to Truro to collect No.1 son while this is being published.

The Conservatives are proposing 3-strikes-and-you’re-out with respect to benefit fraud as a means of saving money. To me that sounds a bit like the Daily Mail solution.

Benefit fraudsters form only a very small proportion of our population, and they are invariably the type of people who, for one reason or another, are beyond redemption. Take away their benefits and what happens to them – especially if they have vast numbers of children? Because they have children, the chances are they won’t be sent to jail, meaning they will revert to other forms of criminal activity with the economic consequences to the rest of us.

Should they indeed be put in jail, then the cost of keeping them in jail will far outweigh cost of the benefits they were claiming – especially if their children have to put into care – never mind about the problem that children in care bring in later years.

If the Tories think this will save money, then I think they have another think coming. In my opinion, we as a society have to accept that the vast majority of the population is honest, and only a small percentage would indeed resort to benefit fraud (including politicians) – and consequently it’s something we just have to accept as a modern and civilised society.

It’s the Grand National horse race today. Why do racing horses have such stupid names? I keep looking for one called simply Neddy or Trigger. One of the horses running is called Comply Or Die, which could easily have been trained by a few women I’ve known.

Did you know that tic-tac men now use radio communications?

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Inheritors of Punk

Malcolm McLaren has died in Switzerland. It is said that without McLaren there would not have been a British punk movement. To be brutally honest, I don’t think Britain would have suffered because of that. I always saw punk as an anarchic statement – a cynical one at that - rather than music. I never really liked McLaren’s relentless self-publicism. His legacy was a decade of hideous music (during which I turned to the USA for my sounds) and Simon Cowell.

The UK election battle lines are drawn over whether to levy an increase in National Insurance (a tax), or to find £12bn in cost savings. Which ever way you look at it, money is needed – and desperately.

The Conservatives say that to increase National Insurance will mean job cuts as businesses struggle to maintain profits. However, business leaders said that about the minimum wage and jobs didn’t suffer one iota. They are somewhat overly fond of crying wolf – and who would blame them when they are paid to protect the shareholders’ profits, not jobs.

Gordon Brown says that the business leaders have been deceived by Cameron. I’d say the business leaders know exactly what they are saying and Brown is being too polite – they’re saying: “Make the public’s pips squeak, not ours.”

Cameron is also on record as saying that it was absolutely crazy to insult the business leaders who would lead Britain out of the recession. I have news for Mr Cameron – it’s not business leaders who will bring Britain out of recession, but consumers having the confidence to spend, and that depends on them having money in their pockets and job security. Recessions are about public confidence - jobs are created by having customers walking through the door once they have that confdence.

However, to save £12bn from public expenditure must mean a loss of jobs, as budgets are already stretched to the limit. That means public service jobs (40,000 according to estimates), and doubtless more from the private sector jobs that depend on the public sector.

So there you have it; either business shoulders its fair share through higher NI, or we the public suffer a death of a thousand cuts, as well as the inevitable higher taxes somewhere along the line.

I see the Conservatives as the inheritors of the punk philosophy – they seem to have a lack of underlying substance and conviction. They’ve additionally received the kiss of death by having the support of the banking community.

I know who I’d want to share in my pain, and I’ve been a life-long Conservative voter. Which is your choice?

I'm on holiday for a week from today, so I may be sporadic.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Crusade - The Musical

A nurse moved to a desk job after refusing to remove her crucifix at work has lost a discrimination claim against her employers. Shirley Chaplin, from Exeter, had argued the cross "ban" prevented her from expressing her religious beliefs.

Hellfire Smith, The Arch-Inquisitor of the Church of The Hardline Ten Commandments, said: “Shirley is a heretic and needs to be burned at the stake for wearing a graven image, which is in direct contravention of the Second Commandment, being second only to the First Commandment, but more important that the Third or subsequent Commandments.”

He continued: “And the bezan shall be huge and black, and the eyes thereof red with the blood of living creatures, and the whore of Babylon shall ride forth on a three-headed serpent, and throughout the lands, there will be a great rubbing of parts.”

Shirley hit back with the assertion that all Muslims should be treated the same as her and forcibly have their hijabs removed.

The Health & Safety Executive pointed out that her crucifix – a miniature representation of an instrument of torture- presented a safety hazard to patients in that it could scratch them and introduce MRSA – or even worse, a severe case of religious fundamentalism. Besides, they’d never heard of someone being stabbed to death with a hijab (they are not generally weapons of choice, except by practitioners of Thuggee, who were eradicated by the forces of Godly and Christian Britain in the 1830s and are not thought to be resurgent in the National Health Service - yet).

The Pope waded into the argument by suggesting a holy war against Moslems be started and millions of people be slaughtered in the name of a perfectly merciful God. He stated there was a precedent on this from everal of his infallible predecessors and thus it was a matter of dogma and he was going to pen an encyclical about it and possibly put it to music. - Andrew Lloyd Webber has expressed an interest The Archbish of Cadbury commented that at least it would divert attention from the Pope’s current woes.

Not to be outdone, Grand Ayatollah Cardiff pronounced a fatwa against Shirley for being anti-Muslim and a woman. He added that in any case the testimony of a woman is of no value.

Peter Tatchell responded by saying he was offended by Shirley’s openly professed homophobia, as evidenced by her blatant Christianity. He then attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest on the Pope.

One lone, entirely logical and rational person suggested Shirley’s commitment to her faith be tested by getting her to recite the Nicene creed in the tribunal without a prompt, as that single act, more than any wearing of a cross, would test whether she was indeed a devout Christian or just making mischief for the sake of an item of jewellery to which she’d become attached.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Sigh of Relief

We’re breathing a sigh of relief. A few weeks ago Hay discovered a lump in her breast. Her GP gave her a hospital appointment to see a consultant and have a mammogram – that was yesterday.

I’m pleased to say she received the all-clear, although I’m now insisting on checking her breasts every week, or possibly every day if I can get away with it. She said that was OK, provided she could check my prostate on a daily basis.

I didn’t like the way she was eyeing the Marigolds when she said that, so we’ve agreed we’ll each do our own checking.

Got the shock of my life last night. Given I’ve never voted in our constituency before, I was somewhat ignorant of who our candidates were. I was horrified to discover that our local Labour candidate is a 20 year-old student who is studying at Greenwich University. While I don’t wish to deride her enthusiasm, I can’t but feel that Labour have given up in our constituency, which has traditionally favoured the Liberal Democrats.

Roxanne Egan - prospective Labour candidate.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Conversational Abilities of Cats.

I have a theory as to why cats can’t speak. Put simply, it’s because they are taken from their mothers at too early an age, and therefore they don’t have time to learn to speak. It’s a different matter with cows and sheep – they have longer with their mothers, which is why they at least have rudimentary conversational abilities.

There’s a Zen koan which goes like this; if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? Yesterday I heard a variant; if a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman there to hear it, is he still wrong?

Off to deliver the papers with Hay now. We have a very special delivery this morning. Can’t say who it is, but if I mention cyclone technology then you may get a clue. Another clue is the name Sir James Dyson.

If you like sheep (well, I have picked up a few readers in Wales), enjoy this.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Northern European Cuisine & Change

Overheard in an Italian restaurant in Marlbrough:

Chairman: “Do you have British restaurants in Italy? In fact, do you have any northern European restaurants in Italy?

Italian Waiter: “What is typical northern European cuisine, sir?

Chairman: “Sausages, potatoes and cabbage I suppose. OK, I guess I’ve answered that myself."

Italian Waiter: “Precisely, sir, it would not be economically viable.

I love this:

If you're not from the UK, then the reference above is to a popular UK TV show - Life On Mars.

I note the Conservatives felt compelled to use a more airbrushed image of Cameron.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

When in Rome, Fiddle

Overheard in Lidl.

Hay: “I need some baked rolls.

Chairman: “Baked voles?

Hay: “I really worry about your hearing.

Chairman: “My gearing?

Arch Hierophant of Cadbury, Ron Atkinson, seems poised to benefit from the RC kiddie fiddling scandal. He’s reported as saying that the Irish church has lost all street cred. He obviously senses a mass influx of Catholics to the C of E, which is poetic justice when you consider how the Pope was trying to steal his congregation a few months ago.

The RC hierarchy is trying to deflect criticism of the Pope by likening it to anti-Semitism – how low can these people get? I think a lot of the Catholic priesthood is going to be burning in hell for a long time over this.

‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is taking on a whole new meaning.

When all this news broke, I thought it was something to do with PayPal.

A lack of female directors in the City of London may have worsened the crisis in the financial sector, a Commons Treasury Committee report has said. The MPs said the lack of diversity in the boardroom "may have...made effective challenge and scrutiny of executive decisions less effective".

"We are not saying that had women been in charge the crisis wouldn't have happened, but we are highlighting the fact that women are poorly represented in the financial sector, particularly at board level," said the Committee's chairman, John McFall.

So if they’re not saying what they are saying, then what exactly are they saying, and what is the relevance of their point to what they are saying or not saying?

It’s like saying that the low number of woodpeckers in the countryside may have contributed to the severity of the financial crisis, and then saying that you’re not saying that had the number of woodpeckers been greater then the crisis would not have happened – merely that you’re pointing out the low number of woodpeckers.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Daily Grind

Fellow bloggers are becoming lethargic and my own hits are waning. I wonder why I bother. However, I do love to pontificate, so I shall gird my loins and prevail in the face of adversity and dredge my mind for subject matter.

Hay has taken on an early morning paper round in the village to earn a few bob and do something within the community (I call it care in the community). What with the village post office / shop (with local things for local people) closing down, the newspaper shop in Chipping Sodbury has taken over the village paper round. However, given the distance from Chipping Sodbury to Old Sodbury it requires an adult with a car rather than one of the local cracked-up hoodies from Yate who would stab you for 10p – although strangely enough I do see some of them driving round in cars at weekends.

As I was having a mid morning meeting yesterday, I decided to work from home and was thus able to accompany her as her minder-cum-driver. It was interesting to do a socio-political analysis of the village based on what newspapers are delivered.

The final tally was:

5 Daily Expresses
1 Guardian
3 Daily Mails
5 Daily Telegraphs
6 Western Daily Presses
9 Gloucester Gazettes
1 Independent and
4 Times

There are the crypto-communist at No.13 Cat’s Mews (Grauniad), the unreconstructed fascists at No.12 Berchtesgaden Terrace (Daily Mail and Western Daily Press) and the couple at No.22, who I predict will be divorcing soon (Torygraph and Grauniad). We appear to have no trade union shop stewards or chavs (Sun or Star), however there is a retired truck driver who simply can’t let go (Commercial Vehicle Magazine).

Don’t you just detest people who neglect to put a number on their house and simply give it a name – especially when they live on a long road? Makes deliveries a bloody nightmare. They’ll get their come-uppance when they need an ambulance in a hurry.

Saw a headline in some rag Hay was toting around yesterday – Gordon Brown was saying: “Immigrants must respect our values.” I suppose that means homophobia, getting rat-arsed and eating shed-loads of junk food?

I somehow think there should be a quid-pro-quo in terms of the Brits respecting other cultures’ values – unless of course they happen to clash head-on with ours, in which case we are superior because we’re the Master Race. The old adage of when in Rome do what the Romans do was created by St Ambrose, an Italian, not the Huns or Visigoths, who pretty much did what the hell they liked, wherever they liked and whenever they liked.

We’re thinking of opening the caravan to the public. We’re particularly proud of the Elizabethan kitchen and the Renaissance porch. Do you think it would be worthwhile?

For some inexplicable reason Hay and I were talking about underpants last night. Who remembers calling them shreddies?

Thursday, 1 April 2010


UK business leaders say tough choices are needed – take money away from them in the from of higher National Insurance to help pay for the national debt, or don’t take money from them. Surprisingly, and totally counter-intuitively, 20 of them have nailed their colours to the Tory political mast and say ‘stuff the national debt’ and have gone for profits.

Had this comment come from 20 leading economists (not that I think that predictions made by economists are any more accurate than the 30 day weather forecast), I may have given it some credence, but business leaders do have somewhat vested interests.

Today I want to talk in depth about that heinous class of drugs I mentioned yesterday, the amfootiemines.

Amfootiemine users experience massive mood swing over a period of about 90 minutes, usually on Saturdays. Habitual users can become aggressive if the amfootiemines are mixed with alcohol; they lose their higher brain functions and get insatiable cravings for kebabs.

Long term users are overcome with a desire to wear incredibly unfashionable nylon shirts in garish colours, cheap trainers and ill-fitting jeans. They invariably also suffer from shaven heads, distended bellies and vocal distortions resembling chanting – usually along the lines of, “’Ere we go, ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go.”

Long term use can also affect the ability to make friends outside one’s local town and relationships with family and work colleagues can suffer. Addicts usually only associate with fellow addicts wearing similar coloured nylon shirts and have a desire to analyse their highs and lows to the Nth degree in language which is incomprehensible to non-users.

I’m sure you will agree with me that amfootiemines are a public danger to life and limb and the political parties should make an immediate election pledge to ban them.

Having done the economy to death, the political parties in the UK have moved on to immigration.

Blasted foreigners. They come here and take over our neighbourhoods / jobs / hospitals / schools (replace according to your preference).

It’s a fact that immigration affects hardly anyone in the UK. The media stokes up irrational fears of foreigners and their disgusting foreign ways, lambasting them for having the temerity to be, well, different and hard working.

Do you know of anyone who lost a job to an immigrant? I do know quite a few Brits who wouldn’t touch the kind of jobs immigrants are prepared to do, despite these immigrants being well over qualified for those jobs.

The kind of people who rail against immigrants taking our jobs are the ones who can’t be bothered to get off their arses and find a job in the first place, or are so unreliable as to be incapable of holding down a job for more than a nanosecond.

Has a bunch of foreigners taken over your village mosque? Of course not!

Has your local farmers’ souk suddenly started selling organic cheese and turnips? How ridiculous!

Has your town madrassa been infiltrated by Christian fundamentalists? As if!

All these illegal immigrants sitting in outside cafes, drinking coffee and reading intellectual newspapers. Disgusting; they should integrate by stumbling around drunk and pissing against walls like the rest of we Brits.