Friday, 30 November 2012

Vilifying Leveson - Woof

Was watching Rolf Harris' Animal Clinic thing on TV last night. There was a Yorkshire Terrier with a tumour and and it must have cost his owner a small fortune in radiation treatment to have it zapped and add no more than 6 months to its life. An hour and a half on gas mark 6 with an onion up its bum would have sorted it much more economically, and afforded a nice meal for four afterwards too. I detest Yorkies (or rather their owners) - they're not so much pets as surrogate children.

I wonder which national daily will be printing salacious details from Lord Leveon's lurid past? The Daily Mail is already calling him Old Liverspot. Will they never learn? The piece was written by one Quentin Letts, who is a member of the suspiciously named Savile Club....

Yes, the innocent do have recourse to legal means to prosecute newspapers for defamatory stories, but not everyone has the cash reserves that newspapers have to fight a protracted battle. Using the law is a war of attrition, with money as the arsenal.

In the years of the Press Complaints Committee's existence till 2009, it had received over 24,000 complaints. 90% were rejected on technical grounds without even being investigated; 1,000 were rejected due to not being filed in time; 2,000 were rejected due to being made by 3rd parties; 7,000 complaints were deemed outside their remit.

In all, the PCC has actually investigated 2,770. 2,322 were resolved (according to the PCC) by the news organ printing a hasty retraction before an adjudication (and we all know how small they are). Only 448 complaints  resulted in an adjudication by the PCC, half of which were rejected. Only 197, or 0.69%, were upheld. (Source - Flat Earth News) Not a very good record - and the Daily Mail (unsurprisingly) is the worst offender.

I wonder when St Noel Edmonds will fall foul of the dailies for some past indisctetion?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Health Scare!

Apparently there's concern over the amount of salt in salt, fat in butter and sugar in sugar.

Meths Pricing

So strong lager is to go up. Thank God they didn't touch meths! As it is I've worked out it's going to cost me £2k a year extra.

If people are prepared to go deep into debt to buy iPhones, flat-screen TVs, kitchens, etc, (and history has proven that they are), then a few bob on the price of a bottle of lager ain't exactly going to faze them.

Mind you, the good swag shouldn't go up at all (in theory), as it's already far too expensive.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

CSI Gourmet Burger

I was reading a TripAdvisor review on a place in Bath with a disproportionately high number of Excellent reviews - it goes thus:: "I have been to this cafe/restaurant a couple of times now and loved it both times. The quality of the food is outstanding - really outstanding. Without doubt the best burger I have ever eaten."

That last sentence kind of ruined the mental image the writer was building in my mind...

Question: why do the CSI people on the Channel 5 TV program always seem to to their office work in the middle of the night?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tribal Rules for the Galaxy Note 2

A poll suggests British pupils should learn more about Christianity and how it has affected British history. I do tend to agree. More than half (58%) said it was important for children to know about the history of Christianity, major Christian festivals (56%) and how it distinguishes right from wrong (51%).

The latter appears to have be determined by some arbitrary (and in some cases illogical) decisions made by a bloke who wrote down some tribal laws about 3,000 years ago in a patriarchal society far, far away from here. Surely it's about time some of these rules were updated by Act of Parliament (and logic) and made relevant to the here and now?

I adore the Damsung Galaxy Note 2 I got last week - bloody fantastic. However, I have one complaint - the charging port is in the wrong position. It's in the base, which means if you want a flip cover, you can only charge it with the flip open, as there's no suitable hole in the cover (even if it had a hole, you couldn't open the cover while charging. There's also the issue of extracting the S Pen from the bottom of the device, which is nigh impossible with a vertical flip.

So I bought another cover that flipped open sideways - but it flips to the left, making opening it to take a call a bit of a nightmare and you have to bend the lid right back on itself so you can get your hand around the machine, which ain't going to make the cover last all that long. Worth the hassle though.

On Sunday morning we had the Great Old Sodbury Landslide, caused by the excess water in the escarpment up the road. 6 houses were evacuated to The Dog - I expect those taking up residence weren't too upset (no damage to the houses, but plenty of booze on tap).

Still recovering from my bout of severe Man Flu and coughing up all manner of nasty bits. The worrying thing is that I've completely lost my sense of taste (and I don't mean sartorial - that went when I turned 50).

Monday, 26 November 2012

Uniform Post

You know those adverts for What happens to people who meet on it and then one of them gets made redundant? Is that the end of the relationship?

Not the best basis for a relationship, I think...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The National Elf

Overheard in the Caravan, Watching a Film 

Hay: "Is Hugo Weaving Australian or a New Zealander?"

Chairman: "Neither - Elven."

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Lunatics Are Running the Asylum

If news reports are to be believed (and they rarely are), the lunatics are indeed running the asylum in Rotherham.

As someone who has voted UKIP and has views aligned with UKIP on most issues, I find myself branded as racist by social workers in the People's Republic of Rotherham.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Other Half

One hears that Chelsea is to pay Roberto Di Matteo £60k a week until he finds a new job. Heartless bastards!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Distaff Side

The irony of the failure of the CofE to vote for female bishops is that their supreme governor is a woman - Her Majesty the Queen, who is senior to any bishop.

However, it doesn't affect me as I'm not an Anglican, nor indeed a Christian.

I blame crypto-Catholics...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Load of Horse Poo in Superman's Gaol

If swear I'll explode if I hear one more government minister blame "the mess we inherited from the last government" for their own incompetence. How long can they go on trying to fool all the people all the time? They don't seem to realise it makes them sound out-of-touch, arrogant and impotent. They seem to think we're the kind of idiots who will believe anything, so long as it's repeated often enough.

One hears there's a new proposal to kit out old lags with a mentor when they come out of prison. I reckon what's needed is a mentor for ex MPs to stop them standing for another constituency and going back to a life of crime and corruption. Also a mentor for Cameron to stop him consorting with and hiring people of dubious reputation.

Talking about complete disconnections with reality - listening to the Egyptian President having a go at Israel, it's hard to believe he's trying to broker a ceasefire. With brokers like that it's surprising there's not a war breaking out right now between Israel and Egypt! I'd say that Hamas is definitely in the weaker position and for their leaders to be dictating terms to the Israelis is hubris at its apogee. Remember what I said on Sunday about compromise not featuring in the middle east psyche? Monster-macho posturing is the order of the day.

Jockey Frankie Dettori has apparently tested positive for a performance enhancer. I wonder what a jockey can take that makes his horse run faster - a laxative perhaps?

Was doing a Wiki on my old cowboy TV program heroes from when I was a kid - Cheyenne (Clint Walker), Bronco Layne (Ty Hardin - or Orison Whipple Hungerford, Jr), Rifleman (Chuck Connors), Branded (Chuck Connors). I always thought Clint Walker would have made a fine Superman. I was surprised to find he's still alive.

Get my new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 today - if I can drag myself out of my sickbed. Man Flu again!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Time-Wasting Arab Celebrations

Cameron is apparently waging a war on time-wasting appeals. I wish the same philosophy had been applied to time-wasting elections for Police and Crime Commissioners. Is the man short of a few brain cells?

Anyone remember this clip from Harry and Paul?

Monday, 19 November 2012

Price of Alcohol in Gaza

Another attempt to control the price of alcohol is in the wind. Why don't they just legislate for the volume of alcohol in drinks, rather than trying to muck about with pricing? I'm sure I wouldn't notice all that much if beer, wine or spirits had their alcohol content reduced by say 10% or 15%.

Was watching tweets and email feeds about the Gaza situation on the BBC website yesterday and saw this one:

"John, Great Cacapon, USA emails: Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods... and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile.."

What John seems to forget is that Gaza has a 11 km border with Egypt, where there's a border crossing called Rafah. One could  equally ask why medicine, water, electricity and food don't cross this border from Egypt and the Palestinians have to resort to using tunnels to smuggle goods and weapons. The answer is because the Egyptians closed the crossing when Hamas took over - even the Egyptians don't like Hamas.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

20 Turbines Please in Gaza

Why is it people are so against wind turbines? Would they rather have a coal-fired power station on their doorstep? I know which I'd prefer, not that I believe they are a long term solution to our power needs - that can only come from nuclear fusion.

The common complaint is that that turbines blight the landscape - so why don't we put them in areas that are already blighted, like Manchester, Birkenhead, Birmingham and Hackney? Problem solved...

Talking of blighted areas, what's to happen in Gaza? The problem is that we in the West use negotiation to solve these kind of problems, which invariably involves both sides making concessions. This concept is alien to the Semitic mind; concession is interpreted in the Middle East as a sign of weakness that is is despised and to be taken advantage of.

Our solutions are not applicable to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the root cause of which goes back a century and a half and not just to 1948 or even the Balfour Declaration - it could even be said to have its seeds in the destruction of Jerusalem by Hadrian. You can't go poking a dog with a stick and not expect it to bite you - and that applies equally to both sides in the conflict.

The tragedy is that people view conflict only from their own position and trying to attach blame when the history goes so far back is an exercise in utter futility. We are where we are, as they say.

I've just heard that Lord McAlpine is a Tory. Disgusting!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

PCC Travisty in IKEA for Celebs in Need

I do believe we have Tarquin Fim Bim Lim Bim Wim Bim Bus Stop F'tang-F'tang Ole Biscuit Barrel as our PCC. Can't be any worse than the other monkeys who were standing, despite us knowing absolutely bugger all about any of them and their identical Daily Mail policing policies. At least she's an independent rather than a party apparatchik, but still knows diddley squat about the police.

Join the revolt!

It never surprises me how politicians, like Cameron and Damian Green, are so adept at sticking their heads in the sand and transforming an absolute and humiliating drubbing into a brilliant victory. The spirit of Dunkirk - or is it total and utter disconnection with reality - is alive and well in politics. They haven't exactly covered themselves in glory!

You know, I thought the local Bristol IKEA staff sounded a bit German and looked somewhat undernourished.

Dave Lee Travis arrested. It's a Travisty! So the guy allegedly groped some full-grown women in the 70s and 80s. I'd better make a full confession then, 'cos I sure as hell did similar. What the hell is the world coming to when we judge the distant past according to the overly PC mores of today? Methinks the backlash against political correctness is not too distant.

Talking of DJs - John Torode and Dr Fox - separated at birth?

Was watching Celebs in Need on TV last night. Bit of a bugger when they start to use canned laughter. It's getting somewhat self-indulgent, what with charity money for bereavement counsellors for children who have lost their mothers to breast cancer. What happened to the days when your family and friends were your bereavement counsellors? Bloody woo-woo parasitic industry!

Am I getting a tad cynical in my middle years, or is it just that the world seems to be going completely gaga with mass hysteria? I blame eating meat.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Out of Hand

Just can't help feeling this Jimmy Savile extension thing is getting a bit out of hand. I'm sure Jeremy Paxman looked at me a bit funny through the TV when I was watching University Challenge the other night. Can I sue?

Is CBBC nothing more that a front for grooming children?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Standards in Journalism at Hotels

I was listening to the BBC News on TV last night and there was an item about nursing cuts. The Royal College of Nursing said something about 20% staffing cuts; the government said the RCN was scaremongering. I was left none-the-wiser. This seems to typify news reporting - put one side and then put the other, with no attempt whatsoever to dig deeper and deliver the truth to the viewer/listener. It's all about "balance" and not "truth". I remember the days when journalism was about analysis and finding the truth within stories.

Heard an item on the news just now that schizophrenics are not receiving the care they need - or so the voices in their heads are telling them.

Hotels have generally implemented a system where you have to use your room card to operate the lift. Not sure why - I've evaded such systems many a time by simply using the stairs (if it's a couple of flights) or jumping in straight after someone else. Sometimes these systems aren't at all intuitive, especially after you've lost all your intuition after a good dinner and a skinfull of booze with a client or mate you haven't seen in years.

There were one or two interesting things to be seen at the exhibition yesterday:

A nice model of a megayacht.

A nice teak and stainless steel gangway.

I just seem to have a thing about chandeliers at the moment.

Oops - don't know how that one got in there.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Excess as a Lifestyle Choice

I'm in Amsterdam at a super/megayacht exhibition for the next couple of days. How the other half live - there will be more money at this exhibition than you could shake a Coutts account at!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Eton Mess

Yesterday I was perusing a Sunday Telegraph's school photo of Archbishop Justin Welby during his time at Eton. It was startling that the overwhelming majority of the names on the photo seem to have parasitic jobs in finance, stocks and hedge funds rather than jobs involved in making things. Eton seems to have a stranglehold on the money markets.

The media is bleating that regulation is not the way to clean its Augean stable of bad journalism and fabrication, yet not so long ago the very same media was howling for tighter regulation of the financial industry. Both industries peddle falsehood and have the power to make innocent people's lives a misery - as far as I'm concerned, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The occasions of the Daily Mail being in the dock and having to apologise for fabricated stories are legion. It costs them less, however, to keep paying compensation than to get their facts right.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

It's an Air-Source Heat Pump Jim, But Not as We Know it

Hay has renamed the oven mitt, Romney.

Been having problems over the last 4 weeks with the air-source heat pump tripping. I suspected it was something to do with overheating of the warp-core, a paucity in the quality of the dilithium crystals or flux density fluctuations in the gravimetric couplings. The engineer sent to have a look thought it was a couple of micro-switches which hadn't been set properly. He was right and all is now hunky-dory.

I have to say that this under-floor heating is marvellous - the house is warm, but there's no indication of where the heat is coming from; it's just nice and cosy. Also the house is heated with water at only 45 degrees and setting the room thermostats to 18 degrees is more than ample. Once a week a thermostat cuts in and an immersion heater warms the water to 65 degrees to kill any Legionella. 

During the day the power to the air-source pump (and everything else in the house) comes from the solar PV array, and if the sun is around in the mornings or afternoons then the solar thermal panels heat the water in the tank.

I'm altogether well-pleased with the system.

At some time in the future we may invest in a rainwater capture system and use the water to flush the loos.

Still can't see us being in the house before Xmas, as the bathrooms still need lining with limestone and the bathroom furniture fitting, the oak flooring needs to be laid, the spiral staircase needs erecting and the cooker/range and backup wood-burner need to be delivered and installed.

If everything arrived tomorrow, then there would be a good chance of getting in before Xmas, but scheduling deliveries is problematic and everything remaining is on the critical path to completion - sequentially.

We went into Bristol yesterday to do some clothes shopping. There should be some theraputic emporia in the middle of towns where women can go just to fondle clothes - it's all the ever seem to do in shops. I'm convinced at least two thirds of shop assistants' time is spent re-folding the stuff women rumple up with all their fondling. We men only ever fondle or try clothes on if our womenfolk are with us - otherwise we just buy what we consider to be our size, and if it's wrong, then tough, it just goes to the back of the wardrobe.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Nominations for the Daily Mail

Apropos of yesterday's post on the new Archbish of Cadbury - apparently this young whippersnapper has only been a bish for a year. It won't be long before they choose someone who has never even been ordained.

Actually, I think they did that before - although Thomas Beckett was actually ordained the day before he was appointed to the post.

I wonder if the new appointee will  find a deposit of shale oil below Lambeth Palace?

Who would be your non-ordained nomination for the role of Arch Fantasist of Cadbury (he must be a fantasist - he said he sees a rosy future for the CofE at a time it's tearing itself apart)?

Been listening to more party political hot air on the role of the Police and Crime Commissioners. Everyone standing is crowing (while wearing a party political hat) that the role of the PCC should not be politicised - so why are the vast majority of candidates standing on a party ticket and being funded by the parties? Shouldn't the political parties just stand aside and say it's up to individuals to get nominated? It's scandalous, rank hypocrisy!

Democracy is only of value when there's an informed electorate - and your average bloke on the Clapham Omnibus (which includes me) hasn't a clue about policing. Democratising the role of who oversees the local police force is therefore a total nonsense - you may as well democratise pest control.

I'm upgrading the shiny thing later this month and have been preparing my HTC Sensation to make the transition to a Galaxy Note 2 as smooth as possible - with 1,500 odd contacts, photos, music and a plethora of apps, that won't be easy. While playing with the HTC I thought I'd download the Daily Mail app for a few minutes' amusement - it was like spending 10 minutes in a lunatic asylum. Just imaging the savings to the public purse by ridding ourselves of the judiciary and the police and instituting "Trial By Daily Mail" - or even "Trial By BBC Newsnight" after what happened this week!

I've been reading a book (Flat Earth News, by Nick Davies) about the parlous state of British journalism, caused by the commercial motive of people like Murdoch and the pressure to get stories filed for publication. Apparently it leaves no time at all (or even people) for checking facts, with predictable results and even complete fabrication of stories. One is reminded of dodgy dossiers and how the media can be cynically and easily manipulated by those who understand its workings. Apparently most of what we read or hear as news is recycled feeds from just two sources - Associated Press and Reuters. Insert your story into those feeds and you're guaranteed publication.

I see a bloke has developed a baby video camera system so parents can now go to the pub, or even on holiday, with complete ease of mind while their children safely sleep at home.

Friday, 9 November 2012

It's An Age Thing for Archbishops

It used to be that seeing young policemen made me feel old, now it's seeing Archbishops of Cadbury who are younger than me. The really worrying time will be when Chinese leaders look younger than me.

Apropos of the new Archbish - we Brits have a natural distrust of religious people who exhibit absolute certainty over that about which it's absolutely impossible to be absolutely certain, like Mitt Romney and fundamentalist Muslims. We prefer our religious people to exhibit a bit of rational doubt over a few thorny theological issues (like whether Jesus actually rose from the dead or was the son of God) and to maintain at least one foot in reality. Mild eccentricity, as opposed to fundamental certainty, is the hallmark of our religious leaders - we find them less threatening and far less likely to want to force us to believe in unsubstantiated opinion.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Female of the Species

A friend who reads my blog challenged me yesterday over my assertion that women are psychic. It seemed to come as a surprise to him.

It is a little known fact among young males of the species that women have an innate and transcendent ability to tune into the abstract. They cast their psychic aura into the interstices of subspace and gather such esoteric knowledge as the date of their own birthday, those of their children and various anniversaries that have deep significance (obviously only to them), like wedding anniversaries. Believe it or not, they even seem to know what day it is without reference to a newspaper or their computer's clock. It's almost as if they are one with some cosmic quantum-calendar.

I've heard it said that some women even have the ability to correctly recall the ages and names of all their children and to not mix the kids' names up during times of stress or general disinterest. This is a truly prodigious feat of recall which cannot in any way be called natural.

Take Hay, for example. She has an almost Godlike ability to precisely predict bin day and recycling collection day. These days are so obviously arbitrary that I have concluded they are selected each week by a roll of the dice at the local depot. If Hay happens to be away for any reasonable length of time then I'm in grave danger of drowning in a sea of cardboard, plastic, glass and tin.

Women are also telepathic, which can sometimes be the cause of friction with their male partners, as women are curiously oblivious the the fact that men are not similarly endowed. Even when told that men are not mind readers, the information simply doesn't seem to sink in - many are the times in my life I have used the phrase; "I'm not a bloody mind reader, you know!", but to no avail. It's as if there's a mental block to assimilating that nugget of information. Women just assume that men must be similarly in possession of their metaphysical telepathy and precognition.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tight Fit

I've been putting on a bit of weight recently and appear to have migrated from a 34 inch waist to a just under a size 36 - although I believe it has more to do with clothes manufacturers under-sizing trousers than weight gain.

Yesterday I went to the local charity shop and managed to find 3 pairs of trousers of the 36 inch variety which are identical to 3 pairs of the 34 inch variety I already own. St Peter's Hospice shops are good like that, they get all the brand new Marks Spencer rejects and end of season stuff, so you can almost guarantee you'll get the same trousers time after time - and in a range of sizes (where else can you get 3 pairs of trews for £17?).

Over dinner I mentioned to Hay that my (supposedly) 34 inch waist trousers are getting a bit large and showed her the slight excess of waist-band, hoping she'd stop bugging me about piling on the pork and the waxing girth - at least for a while. Rather than praising me, she said she'll take them to the charity shop and get me some 32 inch waist trousers.

Another brilliant idea scuppered by a bloody woman. Just wondering when I should fess-up - although with her being psychic (all women are), I suspect she knew all along...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I Wonder About Politicians

I wonder how much ash dieback disease will be transmitted by the 500 odd, well-meaning inspectors charging up and down the country inspecting ash trees for signs of ash dieback disease.

I wonder how many companies will reduce the wages of their staff to the entirely voluntary (and hence completely fatuous) Living Wage and then crow in all their marketing material that they pay their staff a Living Wage?

Got another batch of voting stuff for the Police and Crime Commissioner thing yesterday. Put them with the other PCC stuff that came through the post - in the kindling bucket. Pointless exercise - crime has gone down here by 6% and these damned-fool politicos are saying they will reduce crime by putting more police on the streets. How the hell are they going to do that (not that it's even necessary) when central government has reduced police numbers? Boycott the damned thing, I say - exercise in democracy, my arse! More like jobs for failed politicians. If it ain't broke, don't try fixing it.

I looked up the website of the only independent candidate - the usual clap-trap about impossible aims and democracy, but not one word about her background or expertise in management or policing.

I hear that the police investigating the Jimmy Savile case are following up allegations that Freddy Starr is a comedian.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Teenage Mobile Winter Clothes Syndrome

The one sure way of curing No.1 Son's desire for new clothes is to take him clothes shopping in Bath.

Had our first touch of winter yesterday - 6" of snow on the Cotswolds on the way to Bath.

My mobile contract expires on the 22nd. Thinking of migrating from the HTC to a (rather large) Samsung Galaxy S3. Have you noticed how the iPhone doesn't seem to have changed at all? The 5 looks exactly like the 4, which looks exactly like the 3. Are they stuck in a rut?

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Yesterday I was rather concerned that I kept finding bits of porridge in my hair - couldn't for the life of me think how it got there.

This morning all became clear - it's that bloody oatmeal soap Hay bought. Bloody stuff sticks like nuclear glue - hadn't washed it out properly.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Magical Religions & Bras

No.1 Son: "God knows why we have the do RE at school - I might as well learn magic. Actually, magic would be more fun!"

Why didn't the StarTrek people ever commercialise and mass produce 7 of 9's bra? It would have sold out in seconds and cornered the market. In fact, a complete range of 7 of 9 lingerie would have sold well.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Savile Enquiry.

In the rush to eradicate Jimmy Savile's name from hospitals to new towns, do you think Savile Row will suffer?

A whole swathe of Top of the Pops re-runs will now have to be trashed and BBC2's output has been compromised.

What about the name Jimmy - will St James' Hospital (known as Jimmy's) have to change its name.

Will anyone called Jimmy be hounded out of the local community and be forced to live on the streets?

Will going for a Jimmy take on a whole new meaning?

Will anyone be able to go down to the Gym without hanging their heads in shame?

From the latest arrest, it would appear Ringo Starr is going to have to revert to his real surname of Starkey.