29 January 2007

26 January 2007

Quotation of the Day

I have, for many years now, become very frustrated with both national and local newpapers when they misquote, take quotations out of context and generally screw up articles because they simply get the basic facts wrong.

I am a living example of how the press gets it wrong - apparently, as a baby, I was seriously injured in a bad car accident, which is pretty amazing, considering the fact that I wasn't even in the car at the time (I was at home) and the bad car accident was a slight bump resulting in a cracked indicator lens.

Tom Reynolds, star of the Internet and publishing world has discovered a wonderful quotation, attributed to Richard Sambrook, and I had to repeat it here because I love it.

"Bloggers suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, journalists suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder."

New booby trap

The terrorists have sunk to a new low. Roadside bombs, suicide bombers, bombs strapped to babies, but this ... it's just wrong!

Thanks to Bob Mc for sending me that one :o)

24 January 2007

If we could hold conversations with animals, would we all be vegetarians?

Love to Lead's discussion of the week :

'If we could hold conversations with animals, would we all be vegetarians?'

Of course not. The scientists would immediately begin to breed animals which could express a preference on how they wished to be cooked and perhaps suggest suitable recipes, putting the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay out of business.

But what about the animal rights lobby? Euthanasia is already illegal for humans, so perhaps the killing of animals would become illegal too, even for the ones which tell you that they wish to die. Since when have the do-gooders ever listened to what people want for themselves?

The number of vegetarians would probably increase slightly. After all, we don't eat all of the people we kill, do we? Well, most of us don't, anyway. if we did, there wouldn't be so many problems caused by famine in third-world countries.

I'm certain that there are many people who would leave a very bad taste in the mouth. Saying that, the meat in most donner kebabs is unrecognisable anyway, there may already be a bit of human rump in there.

Press illiteracy

Today's headline in numerous media sources

"Reid: Send Less People to Jail".

Fewer! The word is 'fewer', not 'less'!

It's no wonder that some of the children of today are struggling with literacy when they are surrounded by ill-educated journalists. It's about time someone who has an O-level (or GCSE) in Engligh proof-read these articles before publishing them. I'm pleased to see the BBC got it right though.

Of course, it could be that the Minister's press release writer is the one initially to blame ...?

23 January 2007

999 Petition

I've been an avid reader of the wonderful Nee Naw Blog for a couple of years now, and I've just spotted a post about a new petition calling upon the Government to educate people about the proper use of the 999 emergency telephone number.

Go and sign it now, please, and then go and read about when not to call 999.

Nee Naw is an excellent source of information and still manages to be humourous in the right places.

Here's a few of my favourite links from Nee Naw:

Common Beliefs Held By The General Public about Calling 999

Hoaxes and Other Abuses of the 999 Service

The 10 Commandments of Dialling 999

101 Embarrassing Sexual Accidents (I nearly wet myself laughing at parts of this one. Am I a bad Womble?)

America's dumbest criminals...

Who stole GPS systems in New York. Guess how they found them?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6290261.stm

21 January 2007

Home Office

At last the Government has been forced to admit what we've been telling them for years. The Telegraph's 'Matt' sums it up nicely:

19 January 2007

It's a bit windy, dear...

Well it was yesterday, anyway. When I got out of bed and peered, bleary-eyed, out of my bedroom window, I thought "I don't want to go to work, I want to stay in bed." Wearily, I dragged myself to the bathroom and did those things one does in the morning and, once clothed, set off to work.

The car journey was 'interesting', with things blowing all over the place. I was just very glad I wasn't out on the bike. It was very windy and the traffic was lighter than usual, probably because many people had actually said 'sod it' and stayed in bed. All day, at work, I could hear the wind whistling round the building and, every so often, the blinds in my office would blow inwards. By about 3.30, I'd decided I'd had enough and started packing up.

On the way home, I realised just how windy it had been. Within a few hundred yards of my workplace, a tree had snapped halfway up the trunk and was lying in the road. I went round it and a bit further up the road, at Queen's Park, another tree, very old and very large, had snapped off at ground level and was lying forlornly on the grass. There was debris scuttering all over the place and Central Park in Westhoughton had a couple of trees broken and busted at the edge of the road, and the housing estates were like wheelie-bin graveyards.

As I turned into my street, I started to feel a little sick. The house on the end of the street had a small group of people gathered outside, staring upwards at the roof, which had one corner peeled upwards like a giant sardine tin, and tiles all over the garden. Almost every house I could see had ridge and other tiles missing. My house is set back from the others and, as I approached, I breathed a huge sigh of relief - my roof was intact. In fact all 12 properties at the bottom of the street were undamaged, as far as I could see; the other 18 weren't so lucky. No matter in which direction I looked, there were damaged roofs, not just in our street, but in the surrounding streets too.

Just past 7pm, I was sitting in my chair, chatting on the telephone to HappyBiker, telling him how relieved I was not to have any structural damage to my home when, POP! The electricity went off, and so did the phone, being of the cordless variety. Bugger. I nipped outside, to see all my neighbours doing the same. 'Ho hum' thought I, and lit a couple of candles. I rummaged around in the drawer to find my old telephone, plugged it in and it rang immediately. It was HappyBiker. "Oh, so you've decided to answer this time!", says he. So I explained. Then I rang mum, more to whinge than anything else. She said 'Oh don't worry, dear, it'll come back on in a few minutes'. Ha! Yeah, right.


I had a look out of the window again and saw that a few of my neighbours seemed to have no lighting, so I grabbed a handful of candles and my lighter and knocked on a couple of doors to ask if they were OK. One neighbour, a doctor, said "It's very kind of you, I do have some candles but I'm enjoying just relaxing in the dark." Fairy nuff, sounds good to me.

Now, Internet-less, I wandered around the house like a lost child before deciding to while away the time playing my fiddle, which was quite fun, really. Eventually, I got bored and I wanted a brew, so I had a rummage in my rally kit to see if I could find my little gas cooker. Nope, it wasn't there. See, when I say 'my little gas cooker', what I really mean is 'Smurf's little gas cooker', which I suspect is sitting in Smurf's house as I type. Doh! Note to self - buy a little gas cooker! Anyway, I gave up and had a can of Pepsi instead.

Round about 10pm, I thought 'stuff it' and went to bed. Half an hour later, I was rudely awoken by a neighbour's burglar alarm, and then another, and another. Yep, we had power :o) So I went round the house checking that things were switched off and then got back in bed.

So, what have I learned from this powercut?

  1. Lightswitches don't work, no matter how many times you try them.
  2. My fiddle playing improves in the dark; my piano playing goes to shit.
  3. It's very peaceful, when there's no electricity on. It was lovely to experience almost-total quiet.
  4. A vanilla candle may smell lovely when it's lit, but when you snuff it out, the smell of the smoke ain't so good.
  5. The battery indicator on the Laptop might say '2 hours remaining' but what it really means is '25 minutes remaining'
  6. Keeping the house tidy is a definite advantage - I didn't fall over anything!
  7. I need to buy some matches - OK, I had a cigarette lighter in the drawer, but it took me a while to find it. I'll put some matches in the candle box (ok, cupboard) then I'll know where to find them.
  8. Backup batteries on alarm clocks are great - except when they reset the clock to run 10 minutes fast...

Black Sheep

Oh Defarter, thank you so much for finding this!

17 January 2007

Help out a future Queen's Guide

Go on, click the link.

Baseball caps and cops

Great quotation from Paul Routledge in the The Mirror:

"COPS in North Wales have been issued with American-style baseball hats instead of helmets - despite a ban on wearing such headgear in Rhyl pubs to combat hooliganism.

"As I have observed here before, the baseball hat is at all times and in all places the uniform of the idiot. But if the cap fits...
"

Body beautiful

It seems that more and more women are rebelling against the so-called 'norms' of ripping out their body hair and painting their faces with expensive muck in the name of 'beauty'.

When I was at high school in the late 1980s, I had a really good Home Economics teacher (hello Mrs. Taylor!) who made a comment that the top layer of your skin is already dead, so why waste money slapping expensive chemical preparations on it? She pointed out that the key to healthy-looking skin was in your diet. Eat well, look good.

The 'hair scare' first came to light when Julia Roberts's photograph was published, showing, horror of horrors, armpit hair! "Oh my God! She has armpit hair!" the paparazzi announced. No shit, Sherlocks! Almost everyone has. Shazia Mizra, the comedian has decided that she can't be arsed shaving, plucking or waxing either. After all, it's natural, innit?

I think that Kasandra Mason has got it right. She says " I know body hair is natural, so why is so much money and time invested in getting rid of it?" ... "My comfort is more important to me than the opinions of total strangers." Spot on, missus! How I agree.

Personally, I don't shave my pits and bits because I can't be arsed either. Like Ms. Mason, I haven't worn makeup since I was 18, because I don't see the point. Women spend millions of pounds each year on makeup and beauty products. Me, I use soap, shampoo and water. That's it. (OK, so I've dyed my hair black a few times; it's dark brown naturally.)

I reckon that if you need to wear makeup, you're not confident enough in yourself. Makeup is for people who think they're not good looking, and perfume is for people who think they smell bad and need to mask it.

Unfair bank charges?

Not any more! You may remember, back in March that I told you about a move to reclaim unfair bank charges. The BBC's 'Money Programme' featured the issue on 12 December 2006 in an item entitled 'Bank Robbery!'. Even the Open University has investigated the issue.

Well, hopefully, in the near future, you won't have to claim these charges back, because they may be stopped from imposing high charges in the first place. The average charge at the moment is about £30.

Treasury Minister Ed Balls has, apparently agreed that penalty charges imposed by banks should be no more than the real administrative cost to the bank.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Social Exclusion spokesman, Matthew Taylor said

"Ministers confirmed what we have known all along - that banks, like credit card companies, cannot justify penalty charges for anything above their administrative costs.

" The law says bank charges must be drastically slashed. If the banks postpone reducing their charges until the OFT findings are published, they are clearly ripping off their customers to make billions of pounds in unfair profits.

" Everyone needs to know that their penalty charges are illegal and they should phone their bank to claim them back. The £4.5 billion in penalty charges each year by Britain's top banks is the biggest bank robbery in Britain - against their own customers. It must be stopped."

16 January 2007

Stolen bike alert

Please keep your eyes open for a Honda Varadero, stolen from a house near the hospital in Burnley between 4.30-7.30pm on Monday 15 January 2007.

Reg number is PN05 0LU got a top box in black and stickers on it saying http://www.printinginprogress.com and half an 'L' plate on the back!

If you have any info, please leave a comment on this blog and I'll get back to you.

UPDATE - the owner has now got the bike back, and one of his neighbours now has a fatwah on him ...

Grrrrrr!

A couple of weeks ago, I sent off for my student ID card. My application was returned in the post yesterday, with a note saying I'd filled in the wrong form and giving me a link on the website to download a new one.

So I duly went to the website, followed the link and, guess what? It's the same bloody form!

So I rang them, and the girl who answered was unable to explain why my form had been sent back and suggested that I just return it.

To add insult to injury, the form states "Do not staple or glue your photograph to this form", so I carefully paperclipped it. It came back stapled to the form. Gits.

13 January 2007

Seasick Steve

I have Grav to thank for this one :o)


10 January 2007

Drugs and common sense

There's a petition on the 10 Downing Street website which actually makes sense:

Heroin addicts are known to steal and commit crime to pay for their habits. If the cost of heroin to the addict was reduced to zero by prescribing it on the nhs (subject to counselling) the reduction in expenditure in police time spent due to related offences could be used to offset the cost. It may even be cheaper for the government to do this, and it may also be possible for these heroin addicts to then find suitable employment, through the use of a counselling system, which would enable them to earn money and pay tax. (which could further be used to pay towards the cost of the treatment)

Go on, sign it.

08 January 2007