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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.


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.