Life, The Universe and Small Things all covered in one friendly blog.
Remember DON'T PANIC! .

20 December, 2007

Going shopping - Do you need anything?

I was in the local shop earlier today, I had gone there for just 3 items and was looking for the shortest queue, the shop does not have a few items checkout. I spotted one with a woman being served and just one other in the line so joined the queue.
It was only after a minute or so that I realised that there were a whole load of "NEXT CUSTOMER" plastic thingies on the belt although there was just the 3 of us. Then it happened.
The woman, possibly in her mid 60s, with a 1960s painted face got our her purse, she slowly sorted through a handful of coins picking out the pennies and putting them not into the cashiers hand but onto the desk, then putting the coins away she got out the notes. She found several fivers and took one off the bunch, now where she got perfect five pound notes from is a mystery, after much fiddling she paid and put the purse back into her bag.
The cashier put the next 3 items through the till and the same woman paced them into another carrier bag. After a moment she again got out the purse and started to sort through the coins.
At this point you may be thinking that I am making a really long episode of this, well it was nothing to the time this woman took to sort out a few coins.
Then we were back to the notes then the purse back in the bag. At last she was through, but, oh for heavens sake, the next couple of items behind the next customer barrier were hers too and it became painfully clear that we had to wait for another purse session. The woman behind her and in front of me looked at me, she said nothing, nothing was needed, we were thinking the same.
Obviously this woman, when not washing and ironing five pound notes, goes to all her friends and asks if they need anything from the shop. Not only is she too daft to know that faces painted in blue, green and black makeup went out years ago she is not clever enough to do simple maths and divide up one bill after leaving the store.
Now don't get me wrong, she has every right to paint her face, every right to be a little batty, but just don't ever let her in front of you in a shop queue.

16 December, 2007

Saving the planet

Something somewhere has gone wrong.

Everywhere we look we are being told that we have to save the planet and unless we do the latest GREEN fad we are all doomed, as Corporal Fraser used to say (Don't know who he is? oh dear I am getting old).

There are some things that seem good ideas, recycle what you can, don't waste things and respect the environment but something I saw the other day just didn't seem right.
Written on a pack of dustbin bags it says "Biodegradable - this bag will degrade 30 times faster than any other" . My black bag rubbish consists of all the things that I can not recycle including the wrong types of plastic, that take a billion years to degrade, anything that's broken and has a mixture of metal and plastics etc. But now I can throw them all into landfill safe in the knowledge that although they will be there for ever the bag they are in will degrade virtually as they hit the ground.
What a great idea.
It isn't just me is it, this really is a total waste of the extra money they cost?

Happy Christmas

Its that time of year again, the time that I head for the airport to escape from, but this year we moved house and its hard to justify spending loads of money to escape Christmas.
All around where we now live people are saying to hell with global warming lets ramp up the electricity bill and cover the house with lights and fan powered snow men and see how much CO2 we can generate. Which is rather a strange thing to do for a country obsessed with wanting a White Christmas.
For those who wish to celebrate the religious side of Christmas it must get harder each year as it has become more and more retail and less and less religion. We also know its actually the wrong time of year to celebrate Christmas and that many years ago certain people hijacked a pagan festival and turned it into religion.
But what is all the hype that we call Christmas. I find it very difficult to understand why people go about for weeks before hand saying things like "If I don't see you before, have a happy Christmas". Do they mean forget the other 364 days of the year, I could not give a fig how they are for you, but have one good day. And there is the "What are you doing for Christmas this year?" Which usually starts in October. But to most people who won't be going to church Christmas is just one day; like any other one day. Even the local Spa will be open.
So as we head for that one day, that people talk about for months and plan for for weeks, the day that costs money tries patients and builds stress may I take this opportunity of wishing anyone reading my blog a happy day everyday, from the 1st of January to the 31st of December every year.
Oh, and that includes a happy Christmas

06 December, 2007

South Yorkshire's chief constable caught speeding

Yesterday a Chief Constable was in the news for speeding, he was doing 90mph in a 60 limit. This officer had also been, according to the news, "the top traffic policeman in the country", which means he held meetings rather than actually did police work.
But there is one angle that the news did not look at. If the top traffic cop was doing 90mph then you can kind of assume it must have been safe at that time to be doing that speed on that road.
The news found the usual dippy woman from some road campaign to say how "speeding kills and she should have known better", as I have said on news groups, speed does not kill; inappropriate speed kills.
There are many people who are a danger doing 20mph but I expect the chief constable will have done some police driver training and will be a far better driver than the average.
The one thing this case has highlighted is that speed restrictions are stupid. They are arbitrary and there is no actual reason that 60 is safer than 90 and the "doing 70 saves X% petrol than doing 80 or 90" is rubbish.
People kill not speed. If it was simply speed then having driven legally at up to 140mph on many roads I should have died years ago. The dippy blond doing 30 on the school run, cell phone in one hand handbag on the lap looking for dinner money is the risk, the 70year old who can not see that doing 30 in a 60 is frustrating the hell out of every other driver is a risk, the idiot reading a map driving a 38 tonne truck is a risk, not the well trained driver doing an appropriate high speed concentrating on the road.

22 November, 2007

Revenue and Customs T-shirt Offer

I am please to tell you that I have secured a contract to supply Revenue and Customs security T-shirts. To obtain yours send details of your bank account and sort code, plus your pin, name address and mothers maiden name, first school attended, pets name and favorite colour.

21 November, 2007

Gordon Brown and the fight against terror

Gordon lay in his bed waiting for his father to come and say goodnight. Clutching the sheets around him he watched the door hoping that when it opened it would only be his father.
The door opened "arrr noo" he yelled.
"Its only me Gordon" said his fathers reassuring voice. "The bogey man won't get you I keep telling you its ok"
"Dad, put my soldiers along the window ledge please and put the heavy books beside the cupboard door"
"Ok, your just getting yourself all worked up again, the window is shut and the glass will stop any bogey man better than plastic soldiers"
"No, I want the soldiers there too dad, please and put the mirror so that I can see behind the wardrobe too I want to know its safe"
"Look Gordon your nearly 16 its time you stopped being so worried about these childish things"
"Its not childish dad, Simon got eaten by the bogey man"
"Simon is just a storybook Gordon he didn't really get eaten by anything, especially not a bogey man" said his father frantically trying to get out of the room.
"Give me the bible dad I want it under my pillow too, and my compass that you gave me I want that here"
"Now stop, stop, this is getting so silly, just settle down and get to sleep"
"But what if the bogey man can get through the light sockets, or through the taps, put something there dad, please I don't feel at all safe here, we need to get more security on the house put up a new fence maybe"
"Right that's it I have had enough of this nonsense and you are getting sillier every night, goodnight I am going downstairs"
Gordon pulled the covers up tight and watched the mirror at the side of the wardrobe, eventually he fell to sleep.
.........YEARS LATER........
"Prime Minister are you sure that putting security scanners at 250 railway stations will actually do anything, after all there are over 2500 stations in the country?" asked the Home Secretary
"I have a duty to the people of this country to keep them safe" Said Gordon.
"P.M. why do you keep watching that mirror."

19 November, 2007

PC Niddy fights the green war on Terror

Following on from the last episode of PC Niddy, today he helps to save the planet:-

PC Niddy left the police station with a spring in his step. Today he was going to make a difference and do exactly what the nice Gordon Brown had asked him to, fight the war against green terror.
"Hello PC Niddy" Said Mrs Miggins as Niddy walked into the shop "Lovely day isn't it "
"Not so good" replied Niddy
"Oh come on the sun is out there is a lovely autumn chill in the air and my jam tarts are just finished" said Mrs Miggins.
"Mrs Miggins I am arresting you for terrorism" said PC Niddy.
"You what, oh you are funny some times, do you want one of my jam tarts, I have apricot ones"
"No Mrs Miggins I don't want a tart, you are under arrest. we have had a report from the council recycling team that you have not recycled a single thing for weeks and in my books that is an attack on the planet, under the green terrorism laws I now have to arrest you before you destroy the Earth, we also have you on four separate CCTV screens putting a cardboard box into your black sack rubbish"
"Niddy, I have always liked you but today you have really gone bonkers" replied Mrs Miggins.
"You would say that, as a terrorist you will say anything to get away with it, that is why we can now lock you away for months until you confess to your wrong doings" Said Niddy as he took hold of Mrs Miggins arm.
"I don't have time for your games, I have another 50 pies in the oven and rolls to bake" Said Mrs Miggins as he shrugged away from Niddy.
"You really have to come with me, I am also arresting you for giving out plastic carrier bags and for not having energy efficient light bulbs in the shop under the Gordon Brown act of 2007" Said Niddy.
"Right! That's it! get out of my pie shop you have gone raving mad, if you don't get out Ill do something you really can arrest me for" shouted Mrs Miggins as she picked up a large french loaf."
Mrs Miggins hit PC Niddy with the french stick as he pushed him towards the door.
"There is no need to do this, you are only making things worse, come on Mrs Miggins"
"You have totally lost it Niddy, get out and don't come back unless you calm down and get over all this green terrorism rubbish. You are not going to save the planet all you will do is waste all my pies when they burn, look you have already caused me to ruin a French stick"
Niddy walked out of the shop.
"Ill be back"

15 November, 2007

Baby on board.




Driving yesterday I came up behind a people carrier being driven far too slowly and was immediately alerted to the sticker in the back window "Baby on board" which got me wondering what people think it means.

The way this particular vehicle was being driven I could have easily believed the baby was driving and I am reasonably sure it could not have done a worse job. But what do the people who put the stickers in car windows think they say. Is it "drive more carefully", in which case do they think its OK to crash into the back of cars with no sticker or is it that they simply want to tell everyone, "hey I am driving like a complete moron because I am changing the baby and about to breast feed it as soon as we get into a 30 limit". I guess it could be beware baby on board the woman driver may have post natal depression and likely to do something stupid at any moment.


The other sticker that goes with the same way of thinking is , in my opinion, the stupid "Princess on board". All these stickers only do one thing and that is distract the driver behind who while they are reading the sticker may fail to notice the brake lights .


Of course "Princess on board takes on a different picture when connected with this one


14 November, 2007

H5N1 Bird Flu

No one can have escaped the fact that we are getting near to Christmas, its been in the shops for the past 3 months and turkeys all over the UK are getting scared. So scared in fact that they are committing mass suicide to escape the Christmas table. Unfortunately they don't know its suicide "gobble, gobble, hey sneeze on me give me that cold I hear they let you go if you have a cold, most of the barn next door is empty cos they all caught it, gobble, gobble , sneeze"
There are the usual joke conspiracies going about that the beef industry has started it because they lose out at Christmas or that the Government is about to do something they want us to miss so have called up a few thousand more dead animals, it always works to distract. That sounds the most feasible. A writer in a well knows paper keeps referring to Gordon Brown's policies as all "gobble, gobble" so it could be connected
Yet I digress.
My main question is why the media have to confuse us with technical details, H5N1, means what and to who, we are told there are different strains of it, so is that H5N2 or H6N1 and does it matter. I know you must not confuse H2O with H2SO4 but what is H5N1 is it just a name or do we need to know what it stands for.

12 November, 2007

Speeding Kills - Speed cameras only kill the fun of driving.

Excellent, the government wants to change the way people are fined for speeding and to increase the number of 20mph limits. Now it would be cynical of me to think that this is all about money.
There are many things about driving that need to be changed but, I suggest, speeding penalties should be very low on the list at the moment.
If I drive at 36mph in a 30 limit I stand to get a fine and points on my licence, these points will mean that my car insurance may also go up. If, on the other hand, I drive my car into someone else, maybe kill or injure a few I can go to court. It is in my favour that with the right lawyer and some daft people on the jury I stand a good chance it being "just an accident" and I won't even get a fine. So 6mph over the limit is a fine but others dead or injured is nothing. No don't scoff it happens all the time.
With all these slow speed limits that you have to keep a good eye on the speedo to stick to 30, to stay at 20 you won't have chance to look at the road you will need to have both eyes glues to the speedo, how does this make the roads safer. There used to be a law that a man with a red flag walked in front of a horseless carriage, if we drop speed limits a little more we can re-introduce that maybe.
I followed a driver for about 8 miles along lanes where there was no chance of overtaking, he was driving at between 25 and 30 mph all the way, the speed limit was 60. I found it wonderful to sit at 25mph watching his brake lights every time a leaf blew into the road or the road changed direction by a degree. Was he a good safe driver, no way , he was the kind of driver that should be fined and made to take a taxi. But I bet the anti speed campaign lobby would love him.
Speed does not kill, Inappropriate speed kills, there is a very big difference.

08 November, 2007

Research? Who needs it we have Ministers!

Am I the only one to notice that no matter who has conducted research, carried out tests or spent billions of pounds on experiments there is one person who already knew the answer and just needed to be asked.
Last week a study by experts stated that the millions of pounds that has been spent on teaching children to read and write has not made any difference. These people looked at all the fact and information and did a lot of research. But "Nonsense " says a minister you are wrong!
Train companies published details of how they need to increase their train capacities and how things are really not going very well when it comes to fitting passengers into trains, they say that they need to increase capacity by X% by 2012. "Nonsense" says a minister you are wrong its all going fantastically.
Army leaders "Our troops need more equipment" - Minister "no everything is fine "
Motoring organisations "Research shows using the hard shoulder as a driving lane is dangerous" - Minister "No its perfect and wont cause any problems"
Almost anything that you can think of that has ever been researched and published results in the government finding some half brain of a minister to say "your wrong, everything is fantastic".
So if these ministers are so darn clever why are people wasting billions of pounds doing any research at all, just have a room full of ministers and ask them anything you need to know.
Or maybe get sneaky, and publish "research shows that the Gordon Brown is the best thing for Britain since sliced bread" go on minister, your turn.

01 November, 2007

Healthy Eating.

An article yesterday informed me that I should not eat Pork or Ham or Bacon as this will increase my risk of cancer and that red wine is also going to increase the risk, yet hold on red wine was good for my heart a few days ago, so its a toss up between cancer or heart disease, how the hell do we make that choice.
It is time that we had a total up on what we can and can't eat or drink so here goes based on actual articles:-
Avoid cakes and biscuits as as they have too much fat oh and sugar. Avoid healthy eating health bars because they have too much sugar (probably not enough fat). Stay well away from red meat and chicken often has added pork fat so avoid that too. Bacon as I have already said is now off and so is ham
Chocolate is definitely a no no and ice cream, forget it.
Don't go near dairy produce and beware that a lot of vegetables have traces of chemicals in them from spraying etc.
Keep off the beer and spirits and remember many fruit juices have too much sugar, if they don't then they probably have too much fruit acid so best to be avoided. Likewise an apple a day will rot your teeth
Its best to avoid breads as too much wheat is not good and not all tin food is as fresh as we think so maybe pass on that.
We are left with water, which if you buy bottled may contain way too many elements you would be better off not having but I think tap water is still allowed although there are two opinions on too much or too little being bad for me.
So that's clear then, don't eat any of the above, maybe risk the odd glass of water and you can live forever.

31 October, 2007

Education, Education - etc.

Good old Gordon Brown has a solution to everything. Today he has announced that if a school does not have at least 30% of pupils getting 5 GCSEs (or whatever they are called this month) labour will close the school. And to replace them with what. You guessed it he has an answer to that one, Privately funded academies. This sounds just a tad American.
So we have the new academies staffed I guess by some teachers, now I wonder where they will come from, oh yes the school that has just been closed because some one dared to fail his GCSE. We are on a roll with this one, we have an academy, the same teachers and pupils but it is all going to be different and everyone will get 5 GCSEs grade A. Nothing to do with the standards of exams being lowered maybe.
Gordon Brown - Nice but dim!

17 October, 2007

Oi Fatty- Have Another Burger!

Oi Fatty have another burger, no really please do, its OK its not your fault that you look like an elephant from behind.
I have just been reading the report published saying that fat people, "hey it's not your fault", you can't help it. It says that because our bodies are designed to store fat that the 21st century is making people fat. One "expert" says it amazing anyone stays slim. You can't help it you don't have any exercise to do and you simply must have more cakes and chocolates because the shop makes you, its just modern life.
Oh come on! It's dinner time and the fat person wants something to eat, um lets see, a nice salad, tuna, some tomatoes and a slice of wholemeal bread, or, a huge burger dripping in fat and extra large chips followed by some more chips. That will the the chips then won't it fatty. But hey its not your fault, the report says so, its just the way society is, so go on get an arse bigger than the average sofa and make people feel sick as you waddle along the street because your legs are too huge to walk like a human. It's OK.
Well actually its not OK, it is your fault you fat gits out there, stop eating badly, do some exercise and stop making the rest of us feel ill every time we have to suffer the sight of you.
And if anyone is offended by the tone of this blog, its not my fault, it's society made me like this.

11 October, 2007

Essex Police - It just gets better and better!

Some time ago I wrote about how Essex Police are really losing it and since then I have still not heard a good word for them but this one takes it to the limit.
I have changed the addresses but it goes something like this:-
Two pensioners are sitting in their house late one evening and there is a knock at the door number 35 Wotsit Road.
The gentleman goes to the door to find a uniformed member of Essex Police there.
"Ello Ello Ello" , OK I might have made that bit up "Can you tell me where 35 Yourlost Avenue is ?"
Um what the blinkin hell are they on. For a start its completely obvious that 35 Wotsit Road is nowhere near Yourlost Avenue and why the ###### don't Essex Police have maps so they don't have to disturb elderly people to ask directions.
Maybe being lost also explains why after a call at 3am to people damaging property the only thing they did was send 2 PCSOs at 10am the following day to look at the destruction caused.
Now didn't they do well!

10 October, 2007

America- Land of strange shaped people?

I watched a TV program the other night about people in America who have plastic surgery.
I knew about boob jobs and liposuction but I didn't realise that men also have implants in there chests, arms , biceps and just about any other place rather than work out at a gym.
There were some total freaks on the program with surgeons justifying their actions with "here in the USA people care how they look, I don't know what its like in the UK".
Yes people care how they look, but in the main fifty year old men don't have arms full of silicon and the majority of people are not having new boobs every weekend.
More and more people in parts of the USA are having bits of themselves taken away, bits added, changed, re-shaped and enhanced. One woman had a $1000 a day image consultant following her about clapping every time she said something and telling here to have a brow lift. Get a life please dear.
These people are so screwed up that they actually think its normal to have boobs that look like over inflated rugby balls or biceps that can act as emergency floats in the event of a sudden flood.
One of the more scary things is that these people even get to vote. But then again it is America and it doesn't matter who you vote for Hillary will still get in. But that's another story.

Gold Rush

There was an article in the news last week about a mine, not just any old mine but the world deepest goldmine in South Africa. It goes into the earth over 2 and a half miles. Or for those who have gone metric nearly 4km. WOW!
The reason that it was in the news was because they broke the lift. Yes, one lift that takes hundreds of workers at a time to the bottom of the mine was smashed and the workers were stranded for some time while emergency measures were taken to bring them back to the surface. Everyone was OK.
That was one piece of news, but the week before there was news closer to the UK. They suggested that some of the gold in the Bank of England was less pure than it should be. Shock horror.
I didn't realise this but there is about 250 tonnes of gold under the Bank of England. (There used to be a lot more but Gordon Brown sold off many tonnes when he was Chancellor- um )
Also, unless you believe the conspiracy theory that the gold in Fort Knocks had been spirited away by President Johnson, there could be another 8500 tones there.
So give or take we have about 9000 tonnes of gold sitting in just 2 buildings doing absolutely nothing. Its just "The Gold Reserve" that sits there and well that's it.
OK, so where am I going with this. Back to the story about the mine in South Africa.
Many thousand people work in this mine and although I don't remember the exact figure around 160 people got killed there last year and about 250 the year before and one year there were over 500 deaths. All they are doing remember is getting gold out the earth.
Hold on , we have that 9000 tonnes that we know about doing nothing so why dig for more and more.
Here is the plan. These guys are damn good at digging holes. Dig one under the Bank of England, your guaranteed to find 250 tonnes of already purified gold. Even if Assistant Commissioner Hayman's shooter are out they are unlikely to shoot 160 of you without someone protesting, our prisons are full and the courts useless so your on a real winner.
Once your done head for Fort Knocks.

27 September, 2007

British Gas

I moved house a couple of months ago and when I did I told loads of people, like the post office, several credit and banking organisations etc. The thing is none of them actually did anything about it. They all said thank you and sounded like they made a note but even those who send me emails saying they got my change of address still kept on writing to me at the last house.
You may have read the blog I wrote about Barclaycard and trying to tell them about the move, well British Gas are even worse. And the seriously annoying thing is I don't want to be with them anyway, but someone else didn't take note that I moved.
It started like this:-

Dear occupier, we hope you are settled in your new home, tell us who you are so we can update the records.

I phoned them, it took ages to get through and then ages to do battle with the press 1 for a life etc. (Thank heaven for http://www.saynoto0870.com/ and the 0800 listings they have for just about everything.) I explained I didn't want their gas or electricity but until it was sorted out properly here are my details.

The next day :- Dear Occupier , We wrote to you recently (yes it was yesterday) requesting your details but as we have not heard from you, if you don't contact us within 7 days we will assume the property is empty and disconnect the supply.

Well that's nice of them, I phoned them. I explained that I had explained already and the lovely woman in another country kept telling me it was their gas and electricity and I had to pay for it. Yes dear, I know, that's why I am on the phone to you now.

I got home, a card on the door mat from British Gas - We called to change your meter we will apply for a warrant if you don't let us change it. Oh excellent more grief. I phoned them.

Five days later the man arrives to change the meter, but he can't change it because the house is not shown in my name on his computer, and if I am changing supplier he will have to change it again anyway. Thats new to me.

Today a bill, to "The Occupier" its calculated by someone on the new Government training scheme and works like:- If you use 250 units in 41 days then we estimate you will use 520 units in the next 19 days that's 28 units a day. Oh for heavens sake.

I can't stand to phone again so I filled out a web page, gave them all the explanations and details. I pressed send .........

"A SYSTEM ERROR HAS OCCURRED PLEASE TRY AGAIN"

I don't think so.

26 September, 2007

BlueTongue

Baaarrr, went Sally sheep, "come one lets go and get some more."
Baaaaaa, "No my mum said I mustn't it dangerous". replied Liam Lamb.
"Your such a woos Liam I don't know why I hang about with you, you always do what mummy says and never have any fun" said Sally before she wandered off down the field.
I wish I could go, they do look really good, thought Liam
He wandered back up the field to where his mummy was.
Sally stood by the hedge eating, they were lovely, she had never thought about them before but one of her rare breed cow friends had told her about them and since then she wondered why she had never tried them.
"why are you looking so woolly" asked Liams mum. "Its no fun just standing about eating grass all day", moaned Liam, "Sally is off down the field and having so much more fun"
"I have told you its too dangerous" said his mum.
"Oh its only a few thorns our tongues are so thick they don't hurt at all, your such a spoil sport.

Derek from DEFRA shouted to his colleague"hey we got another one here"
BANG !
The world went black for Sally and she slumped into the grass.
"That's why you don't eat Blackberries Liam" Said his mum

25 September, 2007

Yes Gordon, you told us that before!

The Country waited, trembling with anticipation and excitement, agog with wonder at what this great man would say, how he would change the world, remove poverty and bring happiness to all. No, you didn't? Well just as well because in the end we had to make do with another load of hog wash from Gordon Brown at the Labour Party Conference, a man who has not quite grasped the fact that he is Prime Minister now and no longer Chancellor.

He told everyone, yet again, how he grew up, and oh did I tell you before that My father was a Church Minister, then he really got going.
He is going to remove guns from the streets - they were not there before Labour.
Teach children to read and write and with one-to-one tuition for 300,000 maths and English - that's a hell of a lot of teachers to find.

By 2010 he is going to have 2million more home owners than in 1997, Um, I have a sneaky suspicion that there have probably been just short of that number already or an I just being a sceptic.
Gordon will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime and that Education, Eductation , etc etc, you know the rest.

Gordon is going to employ another 5000 hospital Matrons and give them the power to make sure hospitals are clean and the power to order additional cleaning. Really, wow, so at the moment they just stand by the pile of vomit saying I really wish we could get this cleaned up but I just don't have the power.

At the end of his speech Gordon tells us this "
So this is my pledge to the British people:I will not let you down. [well not too much ]
I will stand up for our schools and our hospitals. [And you will stand too because there are not enough beds or school places.]
I will stand up for British values. [After all Britain pays twice as much as anyone else.]
I will stand up for a strong Britain . [With an independent Ireland, Wales and Scotland how strong can Britain be.]
And I will always stand up for you. - Yes of course you will Gordon.

24 September, 2007

Happy Christmas

I went to bed on the 23rd of September and slept so well I woke up and its December. Well I think it is.
I have just been shopping and in one shop a quarter of the ground floor is tinsel and Christmas crap, sorry I mean decorations.
Something is so terribly wrong with my sleep pattern.
No, I have checked, it is still September so what the on earth is going on. This month we have had The feast of the birth of Mary(Christian) Ramadan (Muslim) , Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu) and Yom Kippur (Jewish) and there are many other religious festivals before Christmas so why oh why are shops setting up 3 months before the event with tons of rubbish that has nothing to do with anything but store profit. If they need to be prepared so far ahead I can see another problem. Next year Easter falls less than 3 months after Christmas so in December the shop will have to clear down and set up for Easter before Christmas, or maybe they will sell Christmas crackers containing chocolate eggs and small bunnies.
Its time to start a new Crusade, against "Retail Christmas "

23 September, 2007

Warning- May Contain Nuts

Earlier this year I took a flight, in order to ensure my carbon footprint doesn't drop too low, and on the flight the attendant informed us that "we will not be serving peanuts on this flight because there is a baby on board that might have a nut allergy and we don't know if it might be airborne". Crazy, this child is to spend its life in a large sealed bag I presume in case someone walks past eating a fruit and nut bar. Which brings me to the point of this blog entry.

This week a well known chocolate manufacturer has recalled thousands of bars of chocolate. There is nothing wrong with the chocolate but they forgot to print on the wrapper that the bars are made in a factory where nuts are also used. We have become a nation of warnings.
Taps that have "Warning- the water from this tap might be hot" where we used to just have a just red cap, "This drink may be hot" printed on the side of coffee cups etc.
No one is expected to think for themselves any more about what could be a danger.
Yet when we undertake something that needs a warning they are rather lacking. Take driving for example. You get behind the wheel of a car and you can do what the hell you like. It doesn't matter if you will injure or kill yourself, or maybe a line of people in a bus queue, there is no warning as you start the engine of the devastation you can cause.
But thankfully as you unwrap your bar of chocolate you will soon do so safe in the knowledge that there might be nuts in Cadbury's factory.

12 September, 2007

Carbon Offsetting Abuse

I know, its boring. Everywhere the hot topic of the moment is carbon offsetting. But it was only recently that I realised what carbon offsetting is all about. I bet you, like me, thought it was all about saving the planet. Well no.
The first thing its about is money, and lots of it. But it seems, and you could not make this up, the other thing is about abusing people in poor areas of the world. For example one company will offset your carbon by buying a foot operated water pump. Sounds reasonable?
The way this offsets the carbon you generated on your holiday flight is to take away a diesel powered water pump from a family in some less fortunate area of the world and give them the foot operated pump. They then work for 3 hours a day to pump the water they need but they don't generate any diesel fumes. Excellent, well for you on your flight anyway.
How can someone in the West ever think taking away powered equipment from a poorer nation is in any way offsetting, its just abuse.
The company doing this justifies their action by saying that the people no longer have to go to work to earn money to hire the diesel pump so they have a better quality of life as well. Tosh.
The next step could be to bring this closer to home, find everyone who can only afford say a 4 year old ford car, take it away from them and give them running shoes to offset the carbon generated by those who can afford a new BMW say.
Or take the heating away from everyone who lives in a flat and give them pullovers to offset the carbon generated by those living in large houses.
Sounds crazy doesn't it, but its exactly how some companies are offsetting your carbon, its just that those getting abused are not in this country.

31 August, 2007

From todays News

There is an interesting article in the news today about the McCanns and their missing daughter. They are to sue a newspaper that published an article saying that they had killed her, possibly in an accident. The McCanns claim that the article is a deformation of character.
Now I may be wrong, but surely to sue someone you have to prove that what they say is a lie or wrong in some way.
No one seems to know where their daughter has gone so how can the McCanns prove that they are not involved in her disappearance and therefore the paper is wrong.
Maybe they are involved, maybe they are not.
Interesting.

24 August, 2007

PC Niddy and the stolen car- A children's Story

There is a story behind this story, but I am not allowed to tell you it other than to say perhaps that it involves a senior police officer who, for some reason heaven only knows, has decided to spend tax payers money and commission a children's story about the police. This story is my offering to her, but I am not hopeful of getting the work.
Remember its a children's story:-
Niddy and the Stolen Car
The rain was drizzling in Chelmsford as PC Niddy walked back to the police station. He was not in a good mood, he was really unhappy. He was walking back but it was not his turn to be on foot patrol. The kids from the North estate had taken his police car again and he knew the Inspector would not be happy. This was the third time this week and he knew he had locked it; he even had the keys to prove it.

As he wandered he suddenly jumped as a car horn blasted as it drove past.
“Hey Niddy we got your mota, init”. One of the boys in the car shouted as they splashed him driving through a puddle.

Poor Niddy, he was now soaking wet and covered in the dirty water from the puddle as he saw his police car drive off down the road with the one blue light that still worked flashing.

Ill get those boys, he though, and when I do they will go to prison for minutes for taking my cars.

Niddy walked into the police station. “Oh no, you haven’t lost another one” the sergeant said and he saw Niddy.
“Yes I have, it’s the boys from the North estate again, they drove past and splashed me too”

“Well don’t worry too much Niddy, once we catch them we will give them a jolly good telling off this time and I will make sure they only get to watch 5 of the sports channels in the cells ” said sergeant Doddles. Niddy felt a bit better, that will really teach them.

Niddy filled in his forms about the lost police car and then went to change his wet cloths before he went to find the Inspector to ask for another car. As he walked through the police station everyone laughed “Niddy lost his police car, Niddy lost his police car” they chanted.

Niddy was very unhappy.

“You have done what” the Inspector yelled, “how can one policeman, I mean police officer lose 3 cars in a week?” he continued bellowing at Niddy
“It’s the boys from North estate” said Niddy rather sheepishly.
“Well jolly well go out and arrest them then!” replied the Inspector.

Niddy got into another police car, this was a Smart car and Niddy hated it, he knew everyone would laugh as he drove past them in it. It was covered in signs too saying how nice the police were and how they worked with the community. Niddy hated the signs.

Niddy stopped by one of the girls off the North estate, who was smoking outside the supermarket, and got out the car.
“hello “ he said in a friendly tone.
“I ain’t done nuffin” said the girl and she threw the butt of cigarette onto the pavement
“I am looking for the boys who took my car” said Niddy.
“Well I ain’t seen em, like and if I ad I wouldn’t tell you nuffin”.
Niddy got back into his car.

Further down the road Niddy saw Chavney and stopped to talk to her, he felt sure she would know who took his police car and he thought it might be her brother Scally.
“Hello Chavney, “
“Oh leave if out, What now” she replied
“Have you seen Scally today?”
“Like I’m gona tell you, anyway he got like 4 ASBOs anyhow so he don’t need to go nicking your mota, like and so like leave me alone I’m trying to get some booze”.
Niddy was cross, he didn’t like it when Chavney spoke to him like that and the fact that she mentioned his police car he knew she must know something about it.
“Look Chavney I don’t want to have to get cross with you, if you know where my police car is then you should tell me” said Niddy, remembering his conflict resolution model and that he could not hit Chavney around the ears any more.
Chavney looked at Niddy and then walked off.

It was raining again and Niddy was getting wet so he got back into his Smart car. His coat was in the police car that was stolen and the uniform store would only give him another if it was Wednesday and today was Thursday so Niddy was feeling unhappy again.

“PC NIDDY call control” his radio burst into life
“Yes this is PC Niddy go ahead”
“PC NIDDY there is someone says he has seen your police car parked on the playing field with four boys in it, can you go and look “
“OK on my way”

He drove as fast as he could to the playing field, he got up to 38 miles per hour on the main road, the tyres on the Smart car almost squealed as he went around one bend and people looked. He wished he had blue lights to flash but he kept beeping the horn instead.

As he got to the playing field PC Niddy was cross. His police car was there but it was burning. Flames were coming out the open doors and the open boot. My coat was in there, he thought as he drove towards the burning car.

“PC Niddy to control – over”
“Yes PC Niddy”
“I have found my police car, but can you get the fire brigade the boys have set it on fire”
“Ok PC Niddy”
He stood near to the burning car, at least it was warm.

Four boys walked towards him.
“Oi Niddy, like the mota, it’s well hot” one shouted. The boys laughed.
But PC Niddy was cross.
“I know you did this Scally, and you won’t get away with it this time”

“Yeah right , like you got evidence, oh looks its burning up said Scally as he threw his empty beer can into the burning car.
“That’s littering too” Said Niddy
“Whatever “Scally replied as he walked off.

Back at the fire station the firemen were almost rushing to get out of the station to attend the burning police car but Niddy didn’t wait for them to arrive, he had to get back to the police station, he had lots of forms to fill in after talking to so many people.

After he had finished writing his forms it was time for him to have his lunch.
He went to find somewhere to sit to eat but the only place he could find was in his car. He picked up his paper and began to read.

“Chief Constable announces zero crimes in Chelmsford” said the headline.

Niddy felt happy, knowing that everything was fine.

22 August, 2007

Give them my regards!

We had friends visiting the other day and my mum phoned while they were here. "oh give her my love" mum said when I told her who was visiting.

Funny isn't it the things we say to each other. Give her my love, tell him I send my regards, give them my best wishes when you see them. What does it all mean.

How do you give someone the love from someone else, love is an intangible emotion that you can feel for someone or something but you can't give it to someone on behalf of another.
What are regards, why send them. Is saying "SEND her my regards" the same as "GIVE her my regards", or when asked to send the regards do I have to actually post then even if I am seeing the person.

Assuming regards, best wishes, love or whatever can be given by a third party it seems lazy, rude even, to expect someone to give them on our behalf. Most people have a phone, cell phone, email or an address to which a letter can be sent, yet how often have you picked up the phone and the caller simply said "I just called to give you my regards, goodbye" or opened the letter to find "Regards" the only word inside.

So come on, don't ask me to give your regards, pick up the phone, pick up a pen or type an email and darn well give them yourself.

13 August, 2007

Marketing ploys

I was using the hose the other evening when I noticed the writing on it, it said that my hose was a "HOSELOCK PROFESSIONAL".
Now this struck me as interesting, someone somewhere when as what they do for a living says "I am a hose pipe user" do they.
Come on get serious what on earth is a Professional hose, and why would it be any better than say a general garden hose or maybe a weekend car washing hose.
I would hazard to guess that the professional hose differs from any other hose by about £1 a metre.
After carefully rolling up my hose onto the wall mounted winder, taking care to remember that I am not a professional so am really rather lucky to be using such a fantastic hose, I was also interested to see that the scrubbing brush was no ordinary one but a "deluxe scrubbing brush 99p". Now this is amazing not only do I have a professional hose but a deluxe scrubbing brush too. Although to me deluxe should mean something nice, cosy, well made and my scrubbing brush is just plastic flimsy and rubbish.
Could it be that we are being dooped with words into thinking things are more than they actually are. Or am I just lucky to have the best of everything, even my scrubbing brush

31 July, 2007

A problem with the Post Box

Something struck me as I was walking around the new place we live.
I was looking for a post box, to post the many letters one has to write when changing address, when I saw, about 100 yards in the distance, the distinctive red box on a post by the side of the road.
Excellent, that was easy I though as I wandered towards it. But oh no, what a mistake to make.
Am I the only one or has no one ever thought this through before.
The post box was a dog poop bin.
Who ever decided to make dog doodo bins red and about the size of a post box.
Ok, I was not fooled and spotted my mistake from a good 50 yards away, but I can't help wondering how many elderly folk, or those with eyesight problems, have not spotted the mistake and wonder why their letters never arrive.

In many countries the post box has and opening lid into which to deposit your letters. So when the tourists wonder why the post cards never get home it could just turn out that its not because the post office is shit after all.

17 July, 2007

Change of address.

We are moving house so are in the process of telling all the different utilities, banks and other people who need to know.

Some of these have been so easy, a web page, a 5 minute phone call or a letter. But Barclaycard win the prize for taking the longest to sort out.

I started on the web page, which directed me to a phone number, excellent, nope its a 0870 number stating 8pence a minute minimum charge. Oh good news the fantastic say no to 0870 site has a free phone number for them.

Its rings and a lovely Indian sounding lady answers. I tell here what I want to do. She replies "so Mr arains (close enough I let it pass) you want to give me a new address to update your details" "yes", "I need to transfer you so I will do that, is there anything else that I can do for you?", "no thank you". "OK Mr arains (its on the screen please try to pronounce it correctly) I will now transfer you"

Ring, ring ,ring, "welcome to Barclaycard calls may be recorded ....bla ... bla bla...... press 1 if you ...... press 2 if ...... press 3 if your shoes are black ....... press....press... press 6 if you want to notify us of a change of address"
SIX ------ ring ring ------- "Barclaycard Chris speaking (English accent)" "Hello I want to notify you of my new address" "I can't do that I will have to transfer you" I pressed 6 I know I did argh....

Ring, ring, ring, ring --------ring, "please key in your 16 digit account number" 4976 9029 8643 8743 (don't even think I am that stupid) "please key in your date of birth" beepbeep beep - ring, ring , "Barclaycard Simon speaking" (Simon, strange, sounds Indian to me) "How may I help you" "I want to give you my new address" " you want to give me your new address?" "yes".

"sigh, OK What is the last four digits of the card" "8743" " and for security how long have you had a Barclaycard" "Um how would I know, since I was about 17 I think, so thats, well a long time" " It says on my screen" (yes but what bloody use is that to me) "Oh I don't know maybe 25years" "well no but I can see on my screen" (yes so you said).

Help I was beginning to lose the will to go on. Eventually he decided that I had held a Barclaycard for a long time but I still don't know what it said on his screen.

We are all so used to giving the address by post code first I was amazed that he asked for the address as it was written next.

"22 Brimbledinn" "22 Cinpallkin" "No, B R I M B L E D I N N" " Dinklefin" "No, B R I M B L E D I N N" Five attempts and I still think its going to be wrong if I ever see another statement.

That is "West Mersea. W E S T M E R S E A" " wedmonsey" "NO NO." The only thing stopping me giving up was the thought that my address was no so corrupted on the computer my chance of ever seeing a statement was nill.

Eventually, after persuading him yes Essex is in the UK, I got to the post code
"CO" "PO?" "NOOOOO C O" "CO?" "yes" "8KP" "HKD" "No 8 " "H for harry?" " No 8 as in after 7 before 9" Big mistake, my post code read back was COH79HKP, please surley someone there must have been told a post code format.

I don't expect to ever see another statement from Barclaycard, and don't have a clue what to do about it. Maybe I'll just spend spend spend, after all the fraud squad will be looking for me on a small island off the coast of Australia for all I know.

12 July, 2007

Disabled - Look after your bloody self!

My faith in the world had just been shattered.
Walking home from the town I saw a girl in a wheelchair, going in the same direction as me. Having spent much of my life trying to do right and help people I could see that she was having a hard time, struggling to push herself up the road and looked like she might appreciate some help.

Forgetting that we live in a political correct world corrupted by idiots I said to the girl. " do you want a push?" Big mistake, very big mistake. "F@£* off" was the reply that greeted my offer of help.
Now maybe its me, but would a "No thank you I am quite able to look after myself," "I'm OK" or "no I rather struggle so passing people can feel sorry for me" have done far better.

When the heck did the world changed so that an offer of help is seen as something detrimental or condescending. Where does this stop. Can I ever offer to help anyone again.
I am over 6ft tall so now someone says mind your head as I walk towards a low doorway should I take exception to it and shout abuse, your only saying that because I am tall?

So, let it be know that from now on, struggle, suffer, fall, hurt and cry in pain, and don't expect any help from me if your in a wheelchair.
If you would really love some help then blame the girl in the chair tonight when I don't offer, she has really annoyed the hell out of me.

01 July, 2007

Guide to Terror Alerts

In case no one noticed we have a new Prime Minister and in order to show that he is now running the country and telling us what to do he needs to get the "Terror Fear Factor" back.

After a liberal spread of "attacks" the alert status has just been raised to Critical so here I explain what the levels are:-

CRITICAL - Don't panic, expect to be blown to bits any time any place anywhere.
SEVERE - Don't panic, there is a good chance you'll be blown up some place.
SUBSTANTIAL - Don't panic but you could be blown to bits some place.
MODERATE - Don't panic but you might be blown to bits.
LOW - Don't panic but if you do get blown up we will say "blimey that was a surprise"

There is nothing different that you can do whether the status is low or critical, it means nothing. The alert state can have no effect on the way we go about our day because we have to be aware of what is going on about us no matter what level the government is trying to scare us with.
We might as well be told "today the alert status is SAUSAGE" is means the same.

27 June, 2007

Wimbledon and Brown. Too much for one week!

There are many things that can not be explained, today two of them are bugging me.

One bugs me this time every year, Wimbledon. More specifically the tennis.
Firstly who cares, it is so much hype and secondly why the hell does no one know how to count. It is little wonder the country is in a mess when we have two weeks where people count 0-15-30-40-advantage, and for the love of sanity what the hell is a deuce.
How did this start and why oh why does it continue.
Ill guess, is it because tennis is a poncey game that has for too long been associated with people who think England still has an Empire?
Please, as if it matters, the BBC change their programming to cover two weeks of a sport that a minority of people are interested in. I loath Wimbledon, the insane way people queue overnight to get into watch it. What is the matter with them. If you camped out on any other street in London you would quite rightly be arrested for being a vagrant, but outside Wimbledon, instead of being committed to the asylum you get interviewed on TV. Total madness.

The second thing bugging me is Brown and slimy, no I am not referring to the streets of Sheffield after the floods, I meant the other slimy Brown, Gordon.
Can anyone explain how he is Prime Minister, yet no one in England, Wales or N. Ireland has ever voted for him and he has not even been voted P.M. by the Labour party.
Every news bulletin is going on about "his middle class background" "his father was a church minister". So what. His background is from being the Chancellor who for 10years has refused to listen to people, those telling him to change the stamp duty taxes, those who told him to review inheritance tax, those from whom he took millions of pounds of pensions. A man who has put the country into enormous debt.
And now, as P.M. he is going to "listen to the people"
Yes of course he is!

23 June, 2007

Another glass of red ?

It astounds me how many people are happy to throw all manner of rubbish onto the streets.
I have recently exchanged a number of emails with the local council asking why none of it is picked up by the litter collectors any more. As I expected they went to great lengths to send me the stock "cut and paste" reply which made me realise I am not the only one disgusted with the rubbish tip that is now Chelmsfords streets.

Plastic bottles, cigarette butts and packets seem to be most prevalent but I have also seen used babies nappies in road gutters. How very pleasant, and certainly shows the child will be brought up as a fine member of the community. Help!

Litter was not going to be the subject of this blog but somehow I had distracted myself from what I though I was going to write about and that is the latest government plan to stop me drinking.

Apparently my glass of wine in the evening, or a few pints in the pub now and again are costing the NHS too much money and I need to be stopped. Trust me, if I didn't have a few glassed of red to de-stress the NHS would be spending far more.
What amazed me about an article I read was that one of the problems that stopping me drinking too much red wine "at home" will solve is antisocial behaviour, such as urinating in the streets. Wot?! Strangely, as far as I can recall anyway, I have never felt the need to rush out the front door after a few glasses of wine and urinate in the road. And, unless the neighbour's cat was likely to be in range, in which case its get my own back time, I can't see me doing so.
Guessing from the bottle recycling bins on Fridays others in my road enjoy a glass or 6 of wine at home too, and again I've never seen any of them taking a quick slash by the front door.
On what planet do these government advisers live, or are they going on the behaviour of those in the 1800s when a guest would either relieve themselves in the street or behind a hanging tapestry in more upper classes homes. Sounds delightful doesn't it.

The article then goes on to explain that those who urinate in the street walking home from the pub can expect to be given a £80 fixed penalty fine to discourage both heavy drinking and antisocial behaviour.

Which kind of links in with the start of this blog, in a society that does not fine or otherwise deter people from dropping litter, including poo filled nappies, we are going to somehow find the resources to fine people for urinating on the way home from the pub, as a way of deterring people from drinking too much and save the NHS money.

Someone is taking the piss!

22 June, 2007

Mortgage - Apply online. Its a rather long blog!

We are moving house and I am after a small mortgage and thought I would share the story so far.

It started 5 weeks ago, I went into the building society branch, lets call them Nationthin Building Society. (CUSTOMER SATISFACTION LEVEL 100%)
I took my place in a queue and got to the window. "Id like to talk to someone about a mortgage", "You need to speak to the woman at the front" (C.S.L.98%) I join a strange queue to see a woman standing in the middle of the shop behind a small desk and computer. After listening to the confidential money affairs of the people in front, its impossible not to, it was my turn. "Id like to speak to someone about a mortgage please" "We don't do that in the branch". (C.S.L. 85%) Well silly old me, thinking I could sort out a mortgage in a building society. "You can fill in the application on line, or take a form and post it in".
Ok, I enjoyed the walk into town anyway, Ill walk back and turn on the computer.

I opened the website and filled in loads of details. It gave me a print of what I wanted so I spent a few hours doing the same on every other bank and building society I could think of. Excellent Nationthin have the best rate for what I want.

I fill in the form and hit submit. I will have a phone call or message in 24 hours with a decision, it tells me.
Six days, nothing. (C.S.L 80%) I send one of the online banking messages enquiring.
The next day a reply, Sorry, they said, we have not given you a very good service, this stage is approved please complete the rest of the form.

Form completed, hit send, ERROR PAGE TIMED OUT, bugger. (C.S.L 75%). Oh excellent not only a time out but all the details are lost. I try again, and again, and again. Nope it won't accept the details.

I can see your getting bored here so Ill skip forward.

A few phone calls and visits to the website later I get the form to go through. I pay loads of money for fees and surveys and within no time at all a phone text. We have arranged the survey. Fantastic.

Oh, another text, "please see your online messages". OK , online message "the product you requested is no longer available". Oh, I thought it was a mortgage but I will play along with the new business speak. (C.S.L 70%)

I phone Nationthin the next day. My call is so important to them they can't be bothered to have staff its a voice recognition computer telling me to speak to it. I say "mortgage" "I think you said mortgage" the voice replied "if so say yes". I obey. I get another 6 selections then get to music on hold for about 15 minutes. Then click. brrrrrrr. "the other person has cleared" . (C.S.L 50%)

Ring again, the computer voice drives me crazy so I hit zeros until it rings and "switchboard" answers. I get put through. Detailed explanation, "you need sales" - transferred, - detailed explanation, "you need the mortgage department" - transferred back, "no you do need sales" - brrrrrr - cut off. (C.S.L 30%).
I phone a third time, 4th time, 5th time, 6th time over two days, and explain again and again to a series of disinterested call centre staff. I ask for the supervisor, but they can't put me through to one . (C.S.L ZERO). "

I am boring myself with this so lets skip forward to today.

Five weeks after the application started, 8 hours on 15 or so phone calls over several weeks, my mortgage offer is here. Yes it arrived.

Its wrong!


21 June, 2007

Free Alan


I walked past the local BBC radio station yesterday and all around, planted like some strange forest are laminated signs. They show a picture of Alan Johnston and have the words "Free Alan Johnston".
Alan is the BBC correspondent kidnapped in Gaza, and everyone hopes that he will be released soon, but what I am being asked by these posters to do.

Are these signs to raise awareness, but what does that achieve in Chelmsford, OK so I am aware of his plight but actually can't do damn all about it, are they saying that I have to free him, in which case, sorry can't help there either, my hot line to the terrorists has been cut. Are they saying that there is a free Alan Johnston available at the receptions.
Someone in the BBC decided to spend the licence money on signs that serve no purpose and have no impact on the release of Alan, unless, maybe his captors happen to drive through Chelmsford, see the signs and suddenly think "yes I think we will free him".
Not only did they place one sign they placed about 15 and everyone driving and walking past must look at the signs and think the same, what the hell are they saying to me?

Please if you know the point of these posters hit the email button and let me know.

17 June, 2007

Dirty Dishcloth.

There are some things that defy understanding, standing at the sink washing up the breakfast things I notice one of them. How come that the dishcloth, that is less than a week old, looks grubby already.

It started life all white and fresh but in 4 days it has become off white and in need of bleaching. The troubling thing, for me at least, is that the dish cloth is in hot detergent water for most of its working life, being plunged and squeezed and generally agitates in a detergent that is specifically designed to shift grease and dirt from all manner of pots and pans.

I checked the content of the washing up liquid it its main cleaning agent is something called "non-ionic surfactants" which seems to be the exact same thing that makes up washing machine liquid. So the question is, how does a dish cloth get dirty washing about in the same cleaning stuff that gets clothes clean in the washer.
I suspect is connected with my next dilemma- Why do dishwashers need cleaning.

Every time a dishwasher is in use you put in it the latest wonder agent that will wash cleaner than anyone ever believes is possible. Yet as the plates get cleaned the machine gets dirty. How do they make a cleaning substance that knows it is only to clean the pots and pans and leave the dishwasher greasy?
No, really, how do they? As I said its the same thing that makes the dishcloth dirty.
I didn't say I knew what it was.

10 June, 2007

Cancer drugs- A Rather Political blog

There has been a lot of talk about the NHS not funding drugs for people who have cancer, and when a friend announced he is doing a run for "cancer research" I started wondering where the money he raises actually goes.

Those that have lived through cancer and others who have relatives and friend who had, or have cancer, are always raising money but there are very few articles on "free cancer drugs for all patients".

Should I be worried, am I being cynical as usual, or is all this money being ploughed, directly or indirectly, into the pockets of the share holders of the Pharmaceutical industry.

If you look at the sites about cancer research fund raising they say they support scientists and organisations who are finding new cures and ways to treat cancer and save lives. This sounds excellent and I would certainly support this.

There is another interesting organisation that crops up on TV adverts. Its often seen as "recommended by" in regard to magical wrinkle cream. But don't be fooled.

This "Foundation" is an organisation that is funded by cosmetic companies (strangely their web page on funding is no longer available) and no prize for guessing that the products they "recommend" are made by the companies they are funded by.
It is very much a case of Mr Whippy recommends Whippy Ice cream!
The foundation, another registered charity, is also running skin cancer research fund raising events.

So if your tempted to walk for skin or run for cancer maybe remember one of the big pharmaceutical companies only made £7.9 billion last year. Come on run faster!

08 June, 2007

Exclusive from the G8

I have obtained exclusive rights to publish a short transcript of a conversation overheard when a microphone was left on at the G8 summit earlier today:-

Bush – Hi ya Putin hows it going.
Putin – Not so good, Not so good at all.
Bush – What’s up buddy.
Putin - I have told my people that we are going to arm ourselves against the evils of the USA but I don’t have the money.
Bush – Well I just might be able to help there.
Putin – I see.
Bush - I have a load of spares nukes that were supposed to be found in Iraq, they didn’t get there in time, the weapons inspectors had checked all the credible hiding places before they were in place.
Putin – I see
Bush – I can let you have them for say 50billion barrels of oil and a promise that you won’t fire them at us.
Putin – I think that seems fair. After all if I fire them then no one will buy my gas and oil so Russia will starve. But won’t the rest of Europe think its suspicious we have US weapons.
Bush – We have had them painted in Iraq flags already, we can do a paint job for you for say another billions barrels.
Putin – OK
Bush – so it will be alright if we go ahead with the Son of Star Wars in your back yard then?
Putin – Yes no problem. What are the chances of the system actually working?
Bush – Not much, but it gives us an excuse to station troops in Europe.
Putin- When can you deliver?
Bush – Well we have then stashed in the UK so after the paint job probably within the month.
Putin – Excellent, excellent I am most grateful.
Blair – Hello, I’m Tony, this is my farewell conference.
Putin / Bush – Yes Tony we know, you have told us 5 times.
Bush – Is this mic on? Bash , bash – Oh hell not again.

Click

Big Brother - Reality TV or not?

I don't watch Big Brother but unfortunately others decide that what happens on there is national news. I am still awaiting the one based on the book by Ben Elton "Dead Famous" where someone in the Big Brother house is murdered on live TV but no one knows who done it.

The last UK Big Brother was the Jade incidents, this time its a "racial" incidents again.

No one seriously believes that Jade was voted out. She was about the only interesting thing going on, so why would the people who watch it vote for her to leave. They would want her there to see what other chaos she could cause. So I suspect another TV phone in fraud to protect the narrow minded watchers who could not make up their own mind about the whole racial abuse thing.

Now another person has been "removed" from the house for using the word "Nigger". Quick someone get me a chair I need to sit down.

The definition of the word reality includes defining it as "everything that exists" and, rightly or wrongly, the word nigger definitely exists in use in the UK, it is in the Oxford English Dictionary too.
Nigger was not always a disparaging term, it comes from the Latin for black which is "Niger". But some how it is became acceptable, even encouraged, to call a black person black but not to call them black in Latin.

While discussing unacceptable, you may not call some one a PAKI but its OK to call someone a BRIT. Correct me if I am wrong but PAKI is short for Pakistani and Brit is the same number of letters from the word British, but we British are not allowed to be offended by that.

Returning swiftly to my point here, Big Brother is billed as a Reality TV show. - The reality of life is that people say things that others may find offensive. - If anything that may be offensive is removed from reality then you no longer have reality.

If Big Brother is no longer reality then why bother.

06 June, 2007

Amazing News

I was in the gym changing today and Sky News was on. This in itself is strange considering the battle with Virgin Media and Sky and the fact I was in a Virgin Gym, but what was also strange was the News. "The Prime Ministers' plane has landed in Germany and we now go there live" . "The British Airways plane landed here a few moments ago and very soon the Prime Minister will be getting off the plane and into the helicopter which will take him to the summit."

Back to the studio and where we were told "As soon as the Prime Minister starts to get off the place we will go back to Germany live"

Now despite the fact that the British Airways jet was probably the only one to leave on time today, and he probably was not asked to pay £200 for each bag then searched twice, although as one of the biggest threats to world peace I think he should have been, there really is nothing at all interesting about his plane landing in Germany.

And as for going back to Germany live when he gets off, the only interesting thing there would be if they forgot the ramp and he fell out of the plane. Thank you Sky news, we know what a plane looks like, we also unfortunately know what the Prime Minister looks like.

What would be news is if they explained why someone, who won't be in the job for much longer, is flying to a summit that has no effect on anything important.

Hopefully at this great piss up at our expense he will remember all his government advice and not drink, smoke, eat salt fat or sugar and to watch his carbon footprint. But then as he has just taken a jumbo jet and helicopter to Germany from London I don't hold out much hope.

05 June, 2007

Jump on the Band Wagon


There is one thing about a blog that is rather amazing. I can write about anything I like and billions of people all over the world can read it. Maybe not everyone will read it all at once, but it is still rather fun thinking that perhaps they might.

I can't let today go past without a comment on the Olympic Games logo.
I thinks its fantastic. Its brilliant, the best logo that I have ever seen. It just shouts Zoooooooo. If you add an M at the end it would shout zoom, which is going fast, and that is what the Olympics is all about.
And Loony lord Coe said so many lovely management speak words about it, it must be the best thing since the last best thing he told us was brilliant.
Just because millions of us think its crap is because we are not Lords so can't begin to understand the complexity and fantasticness of it.
Well done Loony Lord Coe and all your loony mates, spending £400,000 on a logo I could have designed for a tenner when you want the public to find you £9billion to put on the games. No wonder your a Lord.

Ten Items or Less

I only have a little space for this entry as I am restricted to 25 words:-

When I walked up to get a newspaper at the weekend I was amazed at how many people get up early to go shopping. It must have got to the stage where it would be better to get up late and find everyone else has finished and gone home.
I only wanted a paper, well I wanted a bar of chocolate too but as I reached for it I heard that woman off the telly, you know the one, McKeith, shouting in my ear, "Its full of fat, Don't you know how much sugar there is in enjoying yourself". I am thinking of taking her to court, she has ruined my life. Every time I see something nice to eat or drink there she is, screaming, it will kill me if I dare to buy it.
So I moved carefully past the chocolates and battled the voices in my head "go on I dare you" "Its full of fat" "yes but its so nice" " I can't believe you would buy such rubbish" and eventually got to the checkout.
I nearly made the mistake of going to the new self scan self pay one, but call centre automation leaves me screaming at computer voices so I could not trust myself not to smash the hell out of a checkout telling me "sorry the bar code is not recognised, please key in the 2000 digit number followed but a 500 word description of the item", so I went to the 10 items or less.
I know now, because I saw it as I left the shop, that I could have paid for a newspaper at the tobacco counter but I thought I would risk taking the paper and the 25 inserts that come with a weekend paper through as less than 10 items.
Ok, yes, I know it's sill but as I queued I could not help but notice the woman 2 in front had taken 11 items through. What is it with these people, it's less than 10, not less than 12 or 15 its 10. But the checkout operator doesn't say a word, just "have you got a club card" then takes the money.
Then I see it, the basket of the next woman. It's a good job I don't work there, 17 items, mostly tins of cat food. Its less than 10, what is so bloody difficult about that. Then out comes a wad of discount vouchers, none of which the computer accepts and each are scanned and handed back.

I have got rid of McKeith from my head and now have Mr angry shouting "for Christ sake you are already treading on thin ice with 17 items, just pay and leave" .
Some how I, and the queue behind me, remain calm and pretend counting goes 1-9, 17, 10.

29 May, 2007

Buying a House

We are trying to move home. Its the fist time I have moved in 14years and I had forgotten how bureaucratic and stupid house buying in this country is.
There are the obvious gripes, like why the hell should I pay the government a percentage of the house price in the way of stamp duty, but then these is the other amazing thing called a solicitor.
These people think its the 1800s, that the only form of communication is by stage coach and that they are doing you a favour by accepting your work.

At last there is good news. In order to standardise the way everything is purchased all shopping will be conducted along the same lines as a house purchase.

I have managed to obtain a copy of the new rules for supermarkets:-

1) Upon entering the store please select a trolley, the use of the trolley will attract a £25 non refundable charge. No shopping may be conducted without a trolley.

2) Before selecting any items it is necessary to have a trolley safety certificate. This certificate costs £10. No trolley may be used without the safety check certificate and a new certificate must be issued to each customer.

3) In order to use the trolley in the store you must have the trolley searched to ensure nothing has been left in the trolley. Even if this search has been conducted as you selected the trolley another must be done before you select the first item. This search will cost £15.

3) You can now select the items you want. The store is sorry but we can not tell you the price of items until you reach the checkout as the prices may change as you do your shopping.

4) At the end of your shopping please present a photo id before offering payment. This is a government requirement to prevent something but they have not decided what yet. We will need to phone to check the details you provide are correct. This call will cost £20

5) You may now offer payment. However you wish to pay we will need to send a telex confirming the payment to your bank. This telex will cost you £35.

6) After completing your shopping and making your payment please leave your trolley and goods in the store where they can be collected 4 weeks later. There will be a charge of £220 to register the goods in your name.

Tooth Ache

A friend of mine visited today, she recently had root canal work and a crown on a tooth. She was amazed how painless it all was. After all everyone says it will really hurt and cost a fortune. Luckily there is a great dentist in the town that actually still does NHS work so it cost her just under £200.

The thing is, she has now got tooth ache and that's actually not possible when you have had the root out, so she thinks there might be a problem.

As she was passing she went into the dentist to get an appointment. "Next Tuesday" the receptionist announced. "sorry Ill be on holiday and I would like to get it seen to before I go, in case it gets worse" she replied. "Well you can get an emergency appointment tomorrow" "Excellent Ill have one of those please" "you need to phone in tomorrow morning, but its best to call in at 8am because they go fast".

What, hold on, she was there, standing in front of the receptionist that she will speak to on the phone tomorrow and she was telling her to go away and phone in. Something is definitely wrong.

Despite protests she has come away and will phone in the morning and hope the appointment, that she knows was available as she stood in front of the desk, might still be available if she manages to get through at 8am.

If it was me I would have sat down and refused to leave until either 8am or they allocated me the appointment.

Then I realised it is not just the dentist that operates this ludicrous system. If I go to my doctor, at say 4pm, and there isn't any appointments left but there are loads left for the following day then I too have go home and phone at 8am. Despite actually standing in the waiting room 16hours before talking to the very same person that will answer the phone.

Is it me or has the whole world gone mad?

27 May, 2007

It's a War you know

At last 1984 is here.
The power mad Government of the UK is saying that the police should have the powers to stop and question anyone for no other reason than to stop and question us.
We are at War against terror and so anything goes we are told.
Well, actually we are not at war against anyone, its all a government ploy to make us comply with any thing they tell us to. If we don't then we must be a terrorist and so need to be locked up for the good of the country.
We are one small step away from a police state. And knowing how mad the local Chief Constable is he will jump as any new powers to bolster his dismal crime detection figures.

Having just read several news comment pages of people saying "if you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear". I have to disagree.
Already if I drive about the town my car registration is scanned and recorded many time. I am captured on CCTV walking, cycling or shopping all over the place and phone call, text message or email are recorded and kept.
I have nothing to worry about because I have done nothing wrong? So if I have done nothing wrong what right has the local council, the local tesco, the local shop to record me and keep these recording.
I used to work in an organisation into which CCTV was relayed. One evening the screen was zooming in on the rather large busts of a female as she walked doing nothing wrong in the High Street. Was she concealing some terrorist weapon, was she a threat to the safety of the people of Essex.
No. The CCTV operator was abusing his authority and powers and also did not know that the two other people working in my office were females who had no interest what so ever in the woman's breasts.
We have a government that is abusing its powers and wants to treat us all as if we are all criminals, if we don't comply them we must have something to hide.

The only things being hidden are the real plans of this government who will not be happy until they can trace everyone of us every second of the day and have total control over our lives.
Be scared someone is watching you, even if you are doing nothing wrong.

23 May, 2007

Another theory on Global Warming.

I have another new theory on global warming, its being caused by fat people.
Yes that's right. If you have ever put your hand on the side of a car wheel at the end of a journey you know its hot. That's friction. It's caused by the bearing spinning at several thousand rpm causing them to heat up. A wheel with greater mass heats up more because it takes more energy to turn it and so there is greater friction.
The earth is a spinning globe in space and we are surrounded with atmosphere, the more mass there is the more friction there is and so the hotter things will get.
And so my theory is that as there are more fat people there is more mass and so more friction equals more heat. Therefore we have global warming.

As a theory its total nonsense but I though I would share it with you anyway.

20 May, 2007

Lost Pen

I went on holiday and took with me my favorite pen. Its a lovely pen very nice and to me priceless and totally irreplaceable. Its a pen I have had for nearly 4 years and has gone everywhere with me.
Anyway the thing is I left my pen on its own in the hotel lounge while I popped out and had a tapas in the bar just a few yards away. It really wasn't far away and I thought that I would hear the pen roll off the table if it did and so it would be alright while I had my dinner. It was after all just the best pen I could ever own and so I knew it would be fine left on a table on its own.
Well, when I got back to the hotel I found, bloody hell my pen has gone. I ran to the hotel reception and asked them where my pen was. "sorry I don't think we have seen it" .
I called the police. They came and I told them I just left my irreplaceable pen on a table while I went for dinner. It was with two small pencils that I had also left there. The local police had a look, but well to tell you the truth I am not very impressed with them they just didn't seem to know how to go about looking for a lost pen.
I called the press and told them about my pen and they sent some reporters who knew how to look for lost pens and how to get the police working properly.
The reporters also called back to the UK and got some politicians involved at saying how badly the local police were at looking for my lost pen and even got them to talk about it in the House of Commons.
I went on TV and told everyone how I had loved my pen and how I was so very careful not to lose it and all I did was leave it on a table and go off to dinner.
Everyone was so nice and told me that it was not my fault and that someone must have taken my pen and leaving it on a table was a perfectly acceptable thing to do.
That nice footballer Beakman made an appeal for my pen to be returned and people are offering rewards.
I took part in a film begging for my pen to be returned and it is being shown all over Europe. Millions of people thousands of miles away are watching the film and we have even made everyone at Wembley watch the film although I am not sure how that will help as my pen was not lost anywhere near there.
Next week shops will be displaying pictures of my pen all over the UK and even the nice people at Vodkaphone and Q2 are going to send unsolicited text messages to thousands of people asking them to look for my pen.
I know lots of pens go missing each year but the whole country knows that my pen is special and that its the only pen that matters. I am told that pen tracking firms are being swamped with enquiries from people for tracking devices that fit on pens so I am pleased that I am always in the news. The press are so very good, every time anyone mentions my pen they are filming it or printing about it. They keep asking me to show the two pencil that were also on the table but I have them safe in my pocket.
I don't feel a bit guilty for leaving the pen and its not my fault one bit if there are pen snatchers about.
Overkill? How very dare you!

16 May, 2007

Save the Dolphins

I was in the town centre the other morning and went to buy some coffee beans. The shop that sells coffee beans, as apposed to the coffee shop (see earlier posting) is never that busy and as I went in I was the only customer. The woman assistant came over as I looked at the coffee and I selected Monsoon Malabar 500g just the beans.
These she poured onto the scales, which I am sure automatically go to 250 or 500g because they seem to be able to pour any amount in and bingo, it hits exactly the amount you asked for. The beans were then poured into a bag and sealed with tape. At the till I gave over my loyalty card and the required amount of money as she reached for a carrier bag.
"Don't worry about a bag I have one already Ill use, so long as you don't mind not getting the advertising". "Oh", blank look, "OK then". She handed me over the coffee and I put it in my carrier bag.
"We are all being told not to waste carrier bags, but I don't expect I'll save the planet" I Said.
"They are giving out paper bags in one shop" she replied "and in the co-op they are using bio-degradable ones"
"Really, I wonder how long they take to degrade?" I asked "Five years" She replied. She is obviously well into this I realised and wondered why she had tried to give me the unnecessary carrier in the first place.
"I hear that there is also a problem with sea creatures and dolphins eating carrier bags because they think they are jellyfish" I added.
"Really!?"
"Yes, although I think it would be easily solved, just add, under the bit that says plastic bags are dangerous don't let children play with them, large easily readable letters, I AM NOT A JELLYFISH"
She didn't reply. The shop seemed really quiet. I left quickly.

10 May, 2007

Very Important News

Sorry for the silence on the blog but I can at last tell you when I shall be telling you when I will be posting the next blog informing you when I shall be posting next. I know that everyone is waiting for this information.
As you all know I will be posting another blog entry soon and it is important for you to trust me on that and to trust that when the time is right I will tell you when I will post it.
So for the moment I hope that you will see it is best that you let me get on with the business of working out what to post here and not to keep wondering when I will post it.
When the time is right and posting an entry will not cause you to lose sight of the importance of my blog I will post and you can trust me on that.
So for the moment don't ask me any questions regarding my next post but wait for me to excite you with the information when I feel it is right to post.
Regards all
Tony B --- I mean Chris

27 April, 2007

The Bells.

Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clement's, You owe me five farthings say the bells of St. Martin's.
All very lovely and very poetic, but church bells are not quite what they used to be. Well not in Chelmsford at least.
Church bells are believed to have come to use in the Christian churches about the year 400 although the sounding of bells goes back well beyond that date back into an age when the bell was the loudest sound around and could be used to call the faithful the pray or warn of impending danger.

The world has changed just a trifle since those days, yet as I walked into the town at the weekend the cathedral bells were ringing.
Against the traffic noise, the rumble of a thousand shoppers and the nearby station public address announcing the 10.15 to Liverpool Street, the sound was anything but poetic or melodic.
The bell ringers, safely protected from the noise within the centuries old stone bell tower, were desperately trying to produce their designated peel but always someone was just a little bit early or late resulting in the impression that Les Dawson was involved somewhere.
Chelmsford was listed in a recent survey of noisy cities, although its not officially a city so someone got that wrong too, and listening to the row from the cathedral bells it is no wonder. What a terrible din. In a world that is full of so much noise church bells no longer have a place, I suggest that an ASBO is needed as soon as possible.

25 April, 2007

Can you do something for me - please?

I know we all hate chain letters and definitely hate spam emails so there are no bad events if you don't do this, and once you have you don't have to tell anyone else, although if you want to feel free.

The theory goes that if everyone tells two other people something and those two people tell another two etc that within 25 steps everyone on the planet will know the information. It works on paper but reality is going to be different I am sure.
Not everyone on the planet has the Internet but come on lets give it a go and see how many hits from different places we can get on this site.
Give two people this blog address, either pass it to them on a piece of paper, email two friends or just in conversation and ask them to visit the blog and read this posting.
I make nothing out of this, the web site makes nothing and there are no hidden catches its just a bit of fun. The site hit counter will let us know how this goes.

23 April, 2007

Now here is a Great Idea

I have an amazing idea, it solves two problems in one hit. I thought of it while on holiday a couple of weeks ago and its so simple I just can not believe no one is doing it already. Its brilliant, although I know I should not say so myself such a great idea.
Oh sorry, I should share it with you so you can decide how great it is, but I get carried away at the mere thought of the idea.
My idea is this, graffiti fat people. No, not with me, well let me explain.

Thousands, maybe millions, of pounds a year is spent cleaning off graffiti from walls, phone boxes, underpasses, you name it someone will graffiti it.
Not all graffiti is bad, there is an old coal yard not far from me that displays some very good graffiti that is always worth a look when I am cycling in the area.

So, and this is the really clever bit, a lot of very fat people are an eye sore. You know what I mean, rear the size of an elephant, blotting out the light as they lumber along denting the pavements in lycra, burger fat dribbling off their chins. If I had my way I would make them stay in their houses until after dark, but my idea changes all this. They provide an enormous free canvas for graffiti artists. Granted we may need to persuade them into cotton rather than lycra so the paint doesn't run but its a win win situation.

If the graffiti is good then it will help to reduce the pain of seeing the fat people wobbling about all over the place, and if it is bad then given time it will wobble away saving the council the expense of cleaning walls.

If you are in any way offended by this idea, then lay off the burgers and go for the salad option for a few weeks and you should be safe.

The Last and Final Call

I was at the airport the other day and found myself listening to the announcements that were being made for other flights.
"Bong Bing, this it the final call for flight BMX500 to Scunthorpe, would all remaining passengers please go immediately to gate 24"
Fair enough, nothing wrong with that.
Then 3 minutes later - "Bong Bing, this is the last and final call for the last remaining passengers on BMX500 ....... " Nope, I can't take that, we just had the final call so by its very definition there won't be another call.
Yet there were a further 4 calls which got worse. "Bong Bong (OK Ill stop that bit now, take it as there) "This is the final call for the last remaining passenger Miss Dit on flight BMX500 please go to gate 24 where your gate is closing and your flight is awaiting an immediate on time departure"
Now I am not sure which part of that one annoyed me the most, we are still having final calls and they just said it was an immediate departure so that means, well immediate, so if they are waiting for the woman then its not going to be departing immediately and probably not on time, is it.
If people don't know that once they have checked-in at an airport they have to actually go and get on a place you have to wonder if they should be allowed on anyway. If they need to be called 4 times then just maybe it would be safer to leave them behind, because you only get the safety briefing once and I could be depending upon Miss Dit to remember to keep walking in the direction of the lights until she comes to an exit. I certainly hope not.