Sunday, 31 July 2011

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Veggie Loyalty Card for Games

Chairman Bill has discovered that being vegetarian does not necessarily mean someonewho eats vegetables. No.1 son has a friend staying for the few days. He was advertised as being vegetarian, but when asked what vegetables he likes, he said; "None." So, what's the name for a kid who doesn't eat meat, nor vegetables. I'd say the correct term is 'normal kid'.

Hay is wondering whether to risk life and limb by poking a stick with a pizza on the end of it into their cage.

Experiments with monkeys have shown that loyalty cards can work on those with limited intelligence. That's why computer game shops give them to kids. Perhaps parents should develop loyalty cards for their kids to get them to do jobs around the house.

Why is it that kids buy PS3 games that depict men as massive, muscle-bound thugs festooned with all manner of weaponry? There's simply no market for games called 'Atomic Scientist III', 'Revenge of the Mathematicians' or 'Accountancy Wars'.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Overheard in the Meeting

My company's HR Director is doing a 30 minute slot on the company HR policy and challenges.

Chairman Bill: "And are you ever intending to implement psychometric testing, which, for some inexplicable reason, seems to be all the rage in the UK?"

HR Director: "No."

CEO: "If we did, 40% of the people in the company wouldn't be here."

Monday, 25 July 2011

Hiatus Territory Marker

Overheard in the Caravan:

Hay: "Where did you put your dirty clothes?"

Chairman: "In the bedroom."

Hay: "You've left them in a pile in the corner. Why do you do that?"

Chairman: "Male thing - territory marker."

Hay: "It is, isn't it? Just because you can't get down and do a poo in the corner to mark your territory, you leave your soiled clothing there."

No posts for a few days. Am at a global sales conference at HQ in Israel till Wednesday. Taken No. 1 son with me this time to give him an experience. Might wean him off his PS3, although that is perhaps too much to hope for.

Was going to fly BA, but I didn't relish the idea of showing the steward to his seat or serving him his lunch and drinks in return for the privilege of flying with him aboard. Went KLM instead.

We're all off to dinner tonight with the CEO; they've kindly No.1 son along too. Nice people. It is a refreshing change to work for a company led by nice people.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Doctor Bill's Winehouse Vision

There was an item on the news earlier this week about tall people being more susceptible to cancer. Now this might be down to nothing more complex than the fact there are more cells in their bodies, and the higher the number of cells, the more there are to mutate and become cancerous.

Chairman Bill therefore has this recommendation for avoiding cancer - amputate extraneous limbs and hack out the bits you can do without, thus reducing your total number of cells and leaving less to go wrong. Simples!

The Chairman has warned Hayley repeatedly about the dangers of leaving the toilet seat down when going to bed, but does she listen? The Chairman navigates to the loo during the night, using his super-seeker night time sense (which means stumbling around in the dark and not switching on the light) and the result is absolute carnage - a bit like the result when one of your mates at school put cling film over the loo as a joke.

Amy Winehouse... A disaster waiting to happen - such a shame when she had so much talent. The irony is that, like so many pop stars before her, by her early death she has ensured her immortality in the pop firmament.

Below is an amusing image I came across.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Heated Greek Markets - Innit?

Overheard in the Caravan:

No.1 Son; "Hey dad, the grammar they teach at school is well bad, innit?"

A punishing heatwave has settled over central and eastern parts of the US, pushing temperatures as high as 37C (99F) and causing up to 22 deaths. That's nothing - we experienced 41.5 degrees in Rome last week. Mind you, I'm not sure whether they were suffering it day after day though.

Markets - you know, those entities which defy gravity and the laws of physics - have risen on the news that the spendthrift Greeks have been given yet more billions to fritter away on non-existent public sector jobs and a half day week. Surely dad (or German mum, in this case) paying off overextended son's bills - again - does not instil confidence in said son's ability to manage his finances responsibly.

Markets - funny things - never trust 'em, they're about as reliable as a News Corp witness.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Orthodoxy of Trade Pilgrimage

The grave holding the remains of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess has been destroyed to stop it being used as a pilgrimage site by Daily Mail readers.

Did you know that until this week, any beverage containing less than 10% alcohol was classed by the Russian government as a foodstuff? Unbelievable!

I hear Eurozone finance ministers have administered a shot of £93.3bn to the Greek economy to stop it imploding. Isn't that like treating an alcoholic with alcohol?

I also hear Prince is to quit being a UK trade envoy, but what a popular American singer/songwriter was doing promoting UK trade is anyone's guess.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Just Teach 'Em

All schools in England should channel university scholarships to their poorest pupils, the deputy Liberal Democrat leader Simon Hughes has said.

I'd be happy if they just taught kids to read, write and do sums, regardless of their backgrounds. Now that would be a vast improvement.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Separated at Birth by a Custard Pie

I was watching BBC reporter John Sergeant doing a piece on TV the other night and it struck me how much he looks like the comedienne Jo Brand. Separated at Birth?

Speaking of media people, I hear Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon, has been linked to sleazy MPs.

Rumour has it that the police had a trestle table set up outside the select committee meeting room and were offering all and sundry who wanted them some nice big custard pies.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sweetie Success

We've discovered how to successfully hide sweeties and chocolate from No.1 son - put them in the packaging of healthy looking foods, such as muesli packets or sachets of nuts.

I wonder if he'll read this.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Enemy Spy Plane Incoming

Overheard in the Caravan:

Chairman's No.1 son is playing Call of Duty (Black Ops) on his PS3 and the words; "Enemy spy plane incoming," are heard coming repeatedly from his room.

Hay: "That would be a brilliant name for a rock band."

Sunday, 17 July 2011

British Airways Sells Snake Oil

When flying out to Italy on British Airways, I saw one of these jobbies being sold onboard through the in-flight magazine.

This is being advertised as an energising bracelet made by LunaVit, for the princely sum of £59.99, which is a rip-off of the highest order.

Have a look at the blurb (click on the image to expand) and notice how it is a master class of slippery suggestion, without actually making any definite scientific claim of efficacy (in fact, the company website contains a disclaimer). Anyone purchasing one of these items deserves to be ripped off.

It makes a claim that the bracelet emits deep infra-red radiation - what that means is it reflects your own body heat, as all metals do when placed on the skin. It can't emit any itself, as it has no power source.

It is claimed it has all manner of approvals (CE mark, FDA approval, etc.). That simply means it won't kill you, not that it works.

It is claimed that the magnets in the device refresh you; there's not a shred of scientific evidence for that claim. The magnets are .06 Tesla in strength - that's less than a fridge magnet. They are also polarized on bio north; magnets are polarized only to magnetic north and south - I have no idea what bio north is and it's probably marketing mumbo-jumbo.

If magnets produced any health benefits, then people having undergone MRI would feel totally rejuvenated after a scan - they don't.

On the return flight I wanted to buy a bottle of gin. The staff were making their way down the aisle with the duty free trolley, I looked out of the window for a few seconds and meanwhile they had done a Shergar past my row and were at the back of the aircraft.

I pressed the call-button in the hope of attracting one of the flight attendants, but it took 15 minutes before any of them noticed the light, by which time it was 5 minutes to landing. When one of them did notice the light, they simply came to my row, switched off the light and did a runner before I could say anything. So much for customer service from the world's favourite airline.

Kitty is certain her mobile phone has been hacked.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Tempus Fugit

Overheard in the Caravan:

The Chairman has just returned from Milan, having tried a Cartier Eau de Cologne at the airport duty free (which is an oxymoron, as you can get anything in a duty free cheaper on the streets). It must be noted that The Chairman doesn't usually wear foo-foo.

Hay: "Mmmm, that foo-foo you're wearing smells nice, what is it?"

Chairman: "Oh, I can't remember the manufacturer...... they make watches."

Hay: "Timex Pour Homme?"

PS - given a choice of Paris or Rome, give me Rome any day. Can't see what people see in Paris - hideous place, all white with homogeneous architecture. Look down over Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower and it looks the same in every direction.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

When in Rome

Experienced (or rather suffered) Roman driving for the first time last night. It didn't help that my driver was my Israeli colleague, who himself has a habit of stalling the car. Was scared shitless!

I'm going to be here quite frequently in the future, but there is no way I am ever going to hire a car and drive here.

Met this chap while scouting for a restaurant.

I think he must have lost his legion somewhere in northern Britain.

Milan this afternoon.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Basket Case?

If the Euro is a basket case, then why was I getting nearly 1 for 1 against the £ (with commission and service charges) at Travelex yesterday?

If Italy is the next country to become a financial basket case, why does it cost 10 Euros for a bowl of cereal or a yoghurt, 16 Euros for a tomato and mozzarella salad and 13 Euros for a bowl of soup?

I thought the wines were good value at between 11 and 17 Euros (it being Italy), before I realised it was for a glass and not a bottle.

If you're thinking of holidaying in Italy - don't. I now fully expect European finance ministers to criticise my recommendation and accuse me of starting a run on the banks throughout Europe.

Also try to avoid LHR T5 like the plague - it's like Tesco on a Saturday morning, except the goods on display are overpriced and tacky. The only normal shop there is WH Smith; the rest I wouldn't step into if my life depended on it.

Particularly avoid the ersatz sushi shop - the food is a monstrous facsimile of Japanese food at the price of the genuine article, but looked so obviously 'English' as to be off-putting to anyone who has eaten real Japanese food. It looked like Japanese food from the Tesco Value range. Hideous!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Immigration Responsibilities 7

Overheard in the Caravan:

Hay and the Chairman are watching a naturalist on TV handling some lemurs.

Hay: "Aaah - can't we get one of those?"

Chairman: "What's his name?"

Hay: "The presenter? Terry Nutkins."

Chairman: "No, we're not getting a Terry Nutkins. Anyway, didn't he use to be a squirrel?"

International Court of Human Responsibilities

Did you hear about the fat bloke who is taking his local NHS Trust to court to force them to give him a gastric band as a human right? I sometimes think we should set up a Court of Human Responsibilities.

He maintains an extreme calorie-restricted diet has failed to have any effect on his weight, which is an outright lie, as he is saying physics is wrong. What he's actually saying is that he's not sticking to his diet and stuffing his face. If you reduce your calorie intake below that being burned, you must lose weight.

This bloke should be prosecuted for wasting NHS resources.

Immigration & the Queue

Forgot to mention my little kerfuffle with immigration on Saturday evening when returning to the UK.

The immigration queues at LHR Terminal 5 were at their usual couple of hundred metres long. After some 15 minutes of queueing I noticed there was a separate underpopulated area for e-passports. I checked my passport, and surprise surprise, mine was indeed an e-passport.

I left the manual queue and joined the queue of about 5 other people for e-passports, only to be told by a female official that the e-passport queue was now closed and I should go back to the manual immigration queue - obviously going to the back of it and spending at least another half hour queueing.

I blew a fuse and bellowed; "Do you know who I am?" to which the official responded she hadn't the faintest - obviously. I then said; "Well, if you don't allow me through you'll certainly know who I am, as I will become your worst nightmare." I and a couple of fellow queuers were then allowed to pass through the e-passport cubicles with no further problem, although I dare say my cards (or passport) are marked.

The 1st rule of Queue Management (and don't forget that the Brits are grand masters of the orderly queue) is that if you are going to close a queue, you make sure everyone who is likely to leave another queue for your queue is stopped from so doing before you close your queue. To do otherwise is bound to lead to mass violence and blood-letting.

Beckhams in Tribute to Logan's Run

The Beckhams have had a daughter who they have named Harper 7, obviously as a tribute to the 1976 sci-fi film Logan's Run.

It's Tuesday, so I'm off to Italy till Friday - may be late in posting.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Back to Jerusalem

Back to Friday's trip around Jerusalem.

Below is the Wailing Wall, where more magic occurs, but this time of the Jewish variety. Messages on scraps of paper are pushed into the cracks in the wall and God somehow reads them. Seems a bit pointless if you are able to merely pray.

Here we have the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where a bloke will sell you what are meant to be tiny sprigs of the olive trees there. If the sprigs were indeed from the (quite small) Garden of Gethsemane, then given the number of visitors, the place would be stripped bare in a month. This particular olive tree is said to date from the time of Jesus, which is eminently possible given the great age to which olive trees can grow.

As for people's belief in magic - experiments with humans have demonstrated time-after-time that, providing enough emotional investment has been expended in its pursuit, there is nothing a human is not prepared to believe.

An observation from the coach; you know those black dots that are used on glass to prevent the glare of the sun coming through? Well, the black absorbs the sun's energy and re-radiates it into you car, coach, or whatever. Why don't they use white dots so as to reflect both the heat and the light? I'm sure some physicist can illuminate me.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Holy Upabove Stone of Netanya

Didn't have time to do a proper post, as I didn't get back till late last night.

At The Folly we have a tradition of bringing back a rock from places we've been. These are called upabove stones - don't ask me why, it's just a tradition.

Yesterday, while walking along the beach, I came across this example - which I am calling the Holy Upabove Stone of Netanya. Doubtless it will become a relic. In fact, I'm sure that if you look at it in the right light from the right angle, you will see the face of Brian Cohen.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Jesus Theme Park

The company paid for my US colleague and myself to do a guided tour of Jerusalem yesterday. The tour was very oriented to Christian magic, as you'll see.

One of the first stops was a magic shop, selling all manner of magical items and spells that confer protection on the owner. I suspect the tour guide got a cut of anything sold - which of course was on a 50% off offer (yet the 50% off seemed suspiciously high for the tat available). I was horrified to see some of the party actually buying some of it.

The following is a rather fetching wizard's suit, which was available at the foregoing magic shop..

The box-set below is a really special deal - you get Holy water (useful against vampires, if I'm correct), Holy earth (not too sure of its value, but it obviously will enable plants to grow miraculously), Holy oil (an improvement on 20/W50) and Holy incense (better than AirWick).

This is a special little corner of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where some extra special magic occurred some 2000 years ago.

This non-magical stone below, somehow transfers magical dust to any non-magical item rubbed or placed on it. People were rubbing all manner of things on it - I tried my mobile phone, but I still only just managed to get a 12 hours from a full charge, thus I'd send the stone back to the makers declaring it obviously faulty under warranty.

Now this place below (literally) is supposed to be the burial place of the Christians' God - but I can tell you he's not actually there (the guide told me so in a conspiratorial whisper), so it's a bit of a scam. However, I do think it was quite clever of the Magicians to ensure the place of their God's death, anointing and subsequent burial are all within a few yards of each other - saves on buying property and keeps your market in one place so they can be fleeced to the max.

Apparently this most holy of Christian sites is also the place where the most hatred is shown between the different sects. The guide told us that, until quite recently, fights regularly broke out between two of the sects because they couldn't agree who had the right to pray there at certain times. Jesus would turn in his grave - if he had one. Religion, eh? Who needs it?

I could have sworn that this T shirt (in the Arab Quarter) said "Guns 'n' Noses" when I took the photo - it must have miraculously transmogrified inside my camera.

More photos of the Jesus Theme Park tomorrow, If I'm not too knackered on returning to Blighty.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

For VSAT Nerds

Just for any nerds, the 7107 I showed yesterday is the middle product - for compactness there is the 7103, shown below. Whereas the 7107 operates in global C-band, the 7103 works in Ku-band, which is regional.

It is a highly efficient dual-offset Gregorian 1.15m (45”) Ku-band antenna housed in a low-loss 1.28m (50”) radome. This little chap, which due to its ruggedness finds favour in the offshore oil and gas segment and navies, would set you back a minimum of $57k. I'll bet you found that interesting!

Came back to the hotel last night to find my complimentary dressing gown had been taken away.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Had a helluva job logging into Blogger this morning - everything was written in Hebrew.

This is our latest product - the 7107. If ever you're on a cruise liner have make use of the telephone to call ashore, or use the internet, then you'll be doing it over something like this.

It's called a VSAT - or Very Small Aperture Terminal. Essentially it's a satellite dish, but whereas your average TV sat dish doesn't have to cope with a moving building, one of a ship does, and has to maintain a pointing accuracy of well under a degree - hence all the technical stuff surrounding the basic dish. Unlike your average home sat dish, this one is for both sending and receiving data and costs around $94k.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Now My Countrymen Are Nazis

Taking off from Heathrow:

Coming in to land at Tel Aviv:

The view this morning from my hotel bedroom:

On the plane I was reading the complimentary copy of the Jewish Chronicle. Apparently the Dutch have banned the ritual slaughter of animals. The Jewish Chronicle's take on this was to call the Dutch Nazis, which I thought was a particularly nasty piece of victimhood journalism.

Regardless of your view as to whether a stun bolt on the head before killing or a very sharp knife to the jugular is more humane, immediately portraying yourself and your religion as a victim of modern Nazis is not going to get you much in the way of sympathy from anyone.

Holland is not the only country to ban ritual slaughter as barbaric - most Nordic countries have done so, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, while Switzerland permits the kosher slaughter only of chickens.

Personally I don't think there's much between the two methods and am happy to go with the science, which does seem to suggest ritual slaughter ain't as bad as people make out. Turn the animal into an anthropomorphic Peter Rabbit and your attitude is bound to change.

Breakfast at the hotel (which is really a bunch of apartments) is to die for. I'm looking a bit like a pig at present, thus I made do with smoked salmon and several varieties of herring.

While I sit writing this in my room with the door to the patio open, the sound of the Mediterranean surf lapping at the beach below is pissing me off.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Nuisance Texts - and People

Had one of those texts that tells you you may be in line for compensation is you took out a loan before a certain date?

I got 3 last week - all within 2 minutes and from the same outfit. I replied to one, simply to get someone to call me so I could have a bloody good go at them for sending me unsolicited texts - which if I'm abroad I have to pay for.

Well knock me down with a feather, but no-one called back. Bloody annoying when you purposely want someone to call back because you don't want them to annoy you and they don't. Doubly annoyed!

Yesterday I was reading about government plans to cap what an individual pays toward their care when elderly so as to prevent them having to sell their home. FOR GOD'S SAKE WHY - it's not as if the buggers are going to live there any more. Yet another plan to make the taxpayer pay for what individuals, or their kids, should be paying for.

There are 'heart-rending' stories about arseholes having to sell their parents' houses to pay for care. Well, sorry, but isn't that right and proper? It's as if children are entitled to their parents' houses, come what may. Isn't that morally and ethically wrong?

Care for the elderly should be means tested - the test being applied to both the old person and their kids. If the CSA can chase wayward parents (both make and female) for child maintenance payments, then surely children can be chased for parental maintenance costs - and the money taken from them at source? They should set up the PSA - the Parental Support Agency.

This is what I mean a few days ago about the misplaced sense of self-entitlement that is pervading our society. The state should be there as a last resort for the destitute, not a first resort to protect a middle class individual's investment or inheritance.

Oh, and while I'm at it - the government reducing the tick boxes for school trips and making them easier to organise isn't going to stop greedy and overly litigious parents taking schools to court if something goes wrong and they sense the chance of making a few bob in compensation, which is what puts most schools off organising trips.

Cameron's Big Society should be geared to the above - making citizens take responsibility for themselves and their families. Saving for pensions, caring for their kids, caring for their elderly parents; not expecting the tax payer to fund everything, as that leads to everyone losing out in the long run.

However, people are only human, and scientific tests on humans have demonstrated time after time that if humans are offered money by government, they will grab it with both hands. Government should not be in the business of putting temptation in the way of humans in this manner - it's cruel.

Don't get me wrong - I have no problem at all with the poorest in society availing themselves of state aid; it's the smug, well-off, middle class people who seem to think they're owed everything under the sun that really get my goat. Avaricious, self-centred bastards!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Warning! This Blog Contains Flash Photography & Nuts

The government is publishing new guidelines for teachers in England which it hopes will mean parents can once more send their kids on dangerous school trips in the hope they don't return.

The Chairman has heard that Prince Rainier has married again - to a facsimile of Princess Grace. I suppose Princess Charlene sounds better in French than it does in English.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, supermodel Naomi Campbell and a whole host of pointless people attended the lavish example of overindulgence and garish wealth.

You know this mantra of British jobs for British people? I know how this can be achieved without resorting to illegal ethnic discrimination - make it law that any foreigner getting a job in the UK must become a British citizen and give up their foreign passport. That's not such a daft idea - I had to give up my Dutch passport on becoming British, as the Dutch would not allow Dutch nationals to have another passport.

I'm starting to get a bit pissed off by some of the myths surrounding public sector workers. People keep saying how public sector workers are dedicated to public service - rubbish! They're dedicated, like the rest of us, to one thing and one thing only - earning a living and getting by. If they were the paragons of virtue some describe them as, they would never, ever consider striking.

Public sector workers are often described as doing vitally important work. Again I say rubbish - we all do vitally important work, even (despite what I said in the 2nd paragraph) Naomi Campbell and Prince Rainier are important to some part of the global economy, which at the end of the day pays public sector wages. All jobs are interconnected in the global perspective within a capitalist system - it's how capitalism works.

Public and private sector are not that different - we just have different employers, one being rather massive. What is wrong is that some people, regardless of whether they work in the private or public sectors, have a self-righteous and misplaced sense of entitlement.


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Taking Our Jobs in Canada & Israel

Poor old Tim Henman - did you see him play Nidal last night? It was like watching an eastern European taking your job from under your nose. Foregone conclusion though - he's not English after all; northern European or something. Apparently an Englishman last won Wimbers in 1254.

The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge are really popular in Canada. Chairman Bill wonders when the Duchess of Cambridge will bring out her first album and be invited to be a judge on X-Factor.

I do wish she'd stop wearing those ridiculous little hats. She should opt for a flower instead - like that Suzie Q - or whatever that Burmese Woman's name is.

The Chairman is off to HQ in Israel again on Monday for some product training (satellite communications technology). They're keeping me over for Friday and most of Saturday to show me some typical Israeli hospitality - I just hope it's not a bit of gratuitous blockading.

My Israeli colleagues have advised me that when I return to Blighty I should get to Tel Aviv airport just in time; apparently if you arrive early and the security staff have some spare time on their hands they make sport of foreigners and single them out for "special love and attention".

Can't help feeling I've taken some Israeli's job.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Duncan-Smith Working For Japanese

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan-Smith, who is part Japanese on his mother's side, stands accused of secretly working for the Japanese and attempting to destroy British industry.

In a speech to some foreign Johnnies yesterday, Duncan-Smith urged British businesses to engage in a bit of illegal ethnic discrimination by not selecting foreign workers showing aptitude, willingness and a work ethic, and choosing instead young British people who really don't want to work at all, thereby dragging British business to the bottom of the productivity league tables and allowing Japan to recover unhindered from its recent problems.