30 Sep 2011

WARNING - If you're sat down reading this, you're facing the wrong way...

Two "Victor Meldrew shouting at the telly" moments this morning on BBC Breakfast got the day off to a good start pour moi.

First up was an item introduced along the lines of "Health officials are concerned about the spread of e-coli through the handling of muddy vegetables". In best Meldrew fashion I grunt at the telly "Not if the fuckwits wash their spuds and then their hands before cooking the buggers". Sure enough a minute or so later a food safety expert informs the proletariat that it'll be ok if you remember to WASH YOUR HANDS. Keerist On A Bike! Sez me, "Can I have your job, you're probably paid at least six times what I earn". Then of course I remember that this country is full of drooling clodheads who need a warning sign to be told which way to sit on a toilet.

Later we had an item on the Welsh Assembly's sensible decision to slap a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags from tomorrow in a bid to reduce the huge number that end up slowly decomposing over hundreds of years in landfill sites. Off go the Breakfast team to ask some Joneses and Evanses what they think of this. One woman's comment was "5p? That's far too much. 2p yes, but 5p?". Cue Meldrew "THAT'S THE BLEEDIN' POINT YOU NOOB. It's supposed to scare you off from using the blighters". Another environmentally challenged leek follower reckoned it was "outrageous". Twat.
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Clothing/face mismatch of the day award - Walking to work this bootiful sunny morn, I espy a geezer wearing a green shirt, brown tie, sensible trousers and shoes. Nothing unusual about that, but what made me almost laugh out loud was the fact that he also sported a short but bright red Mohican haircut and enough facial accoutrements to start his own scrap metal business. Obviously on his way to work, one wonders what he does for a living - I would bet he isn't an accountant!
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Apparently the South West of the country has the highest proportion of folk defining themselves as bisexual (0.9% - watch out Mike!), according to the Annual Integrated Household Survey. People get paid taxpayers' cash to find out this stuff for us, and bloody grateful we are too. We all know how vital it is to be aware of how many bat for both sides, and where they live is, don't we?
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Keeping with the theme of all-round utter bollocks, you may have heard of the lg Nobel Prizes, a spoof alternative to the mainstream Nobels wherein awards are given to what seems to be completely pointless but genuine science. A comprehensive list of recent winners is here, including a study to find out why we sigh, and another to determine if a tortoise can "catch" a yawn from another, and my fave, a study that found out that "Dizziness in discus throwers is related to motion sickness generated while spinning". Really? Well I never. Essential work all of this of course!

On the other hand a fire alarm for the deaf based on the the expellation of Wasabi fumes seems, on the face of it, to be quite useful until one ponders that once awoken by the stinging odour of Wasabi (a very strong horseradish) the deaf person would probably be blinded by the tears in their eyes and end up walking straight into the fire! Marvellous...:)
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BBC website news headline of the day: "Fox attacks MoD as Navy cuts loom" - that fox has some balls, and how do financial restrictions "loom"? I want to know.
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This "summer" sure has been odd, bookended by April and September's sun, with barely a day over 20C in between. Ah, well, at least it's been drier than in recent years. Any of you who are moaning about the current unseasonal warm weather (yes, you) can shut up. After the coolest summer I can recall, which probably delighted the same people who are moaning now, surely you can have the good grace to allow the rest of us to enjoy a few days of decent weather before the floods followed by ten foot of snow descend on us?

Now what I need is a gratuitous pic of a bikini clad lovely or two......

There you go...Clapham Common apparently


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And finally....from our local rag, this prospective employer must be the only one advertising who receives a number of applicants exactly equalling the number of vacancies...

28 Sep 2011

Luke Rhinehart - The Dice Man

If you're over 30 but have not read this book, you've probably heard of it, so when I saw it on a market stall at a very reasonable £2.50 just prior to going away for a week, I thought it would make an ideal holiday read.

The basic premise concerns the author, a successful New York therapist, who, after years of living a "normal" indulgent suburban life and becoming bored shitless with it (we've all been there), decides to do something about it. He invents dice theory, where eventually all ones life choices are determined by the shake of one or more dice, the ostensible aim being to destroy the self, or ego.

Live your life at random by rule of the die - sounds mad but worth a try until you realise that the choices presented to our by now thoroughly unlikable hero are all his own in the first place. Surely a true random experience is only to be had by taking arbitrary choices that you haven't come up with yourself in the first instance?

It's a good theory, ruined by shoddy practice combined with a level of amorality that only a self-obsessed overpaid 1970s middle class American could come up with. Indeed there is an irony in attempting to destroy the self and replacing it with an existence that is the ultimate in selfism. A good half of his choices end up in some form of coitus, which after the second or third instance becomes predictable and boring.

If you get past the first expression of dice living where the protagonist decides by dice to rape his downstairs neighbour, who also happens to be his business partner's wife (and that is only the start of an amoral slide to depravity) then good luck to you, I wish I hadn't.

Oh, one other thing, this guy, who claims to be a shrink and therefore should know what he's talking about claims that the most difficult emotion to express is self-pity. Huh? That has to be a joke surely, although it's hard to tell to be honest.


Still gets 3 out of 5 for sheer brazenness!

26 Sep 2011

You win some, you lose some...

Brit TV is currently showing its usual mix of populist trash, but hidden away in there are some real gems. Spooks, sadly in its final series, continues to show that Brit writers can do complex thrillers without coming across as hackneyed or laughably cheap. The big question is will Harry and Ruth finally get it on, after tip-toeing round each other for years? Probably not - my guess is one or other will get to meet their maker, just as lips are about to touch. Why is it that in the US any old bollocks, and most of it is, gets season runs of twenty plus episodes, and if even slightly successful go on for ever and a day, while over here, a series (never have liked "season", a word that should only apply to the weather, cooking, or sports) is rarely more than six episodes? Bit of a rhetorical one that, it's money of course!

Warning - very minor spoiler alert...

Last night we caught up with episode one of The Fades which shows promise as BBC Three's next Being Human. All kinds of weird shit going down here, including a teenage schoolboy hero (it is BBC Three after all) Paul (the suitably angsty Iain De Caestecker) who can see the dead, and has nightmares of impending apocalypse, his mate, who is not troubled by those social hang-ups, zombie-like creatures (SFX - very good) who can move lightning fast (I've always wondered why zombies have to move sooooo slooowwwwlllyy, which in reality renders their threat negligible), gun toting female clergy, unfortunately killed off. Female interest is supplied Natalie Dormer who played Ann Boelyn in The Tudors, who although she dies, can of course be seen by our hero and his older mentor figure. She is (was) married to a history teacher who plys his trade at our hero's school, and will obviously get involved in the shenanigans at some point soon. The shenanigans appear to involve the impending apocalypse as seen in hero's nightmare (SFX - dodgy) which obviously the unresolved dead have something to do with. You see, some of the dead disappear, not "go to heaven", merely disappear when their soul-light envelops them, others stay on earth when instead that light merely goes out, the selection being purely random in a fitting dystopian fashion.

An interesting premise, with a fair bit of gore. Marvellous!

I was going to go on about Dr Who but Phill has said it all here. The sooner the modern DW is put back in his Tardis the better in my opinion. Utter bollocks enlivened by the occasional joke, and the luvvly River Song, who everyone else seems to hate - all the more for me then!

"Knit for me, or die..."
As for foreign TV, we await the new series of Forbrydelsen with mucho anticipation. The chunky sweaters! The constant gloom! The Scandinavian introspection! The minute detail! And Sofie Gråbøl's perfect jean clad bottom is always a joy!

15 Sep 2011

Heaveee

"Oh no...it's gone all heavy, maaan"
There would be no more appropriate title for this missive, for, ladies and gents we are going to be talking metaphysics, religion and....stuff.

Walking to work this morning, apropos of nowt at all, I got to thinking about the role religion has played in the shaping of the human race, and whether or not there is a God, as you do. Having been brought up in a conservative (small c) and religious family, whose church going antics ceased to appeal round about the age of fourteen, I feel have enough experience of organised religion to comment, so there!

Since time immemorial religion has been used as a cover for murder, rape and pillage in the name of a greater god, opposing sides fighting with equal conviction that their religion, or even more narrowly, their branch of it was better than the other lot's so only "we" can win. In the times Before Science (or BS) a complete and blind conviction in the preposterous teachings of one's favoured religious text was taken as a certain truth, no matter how unlikely those writings. In the case of The Bible writing about something of which there was no record hundreds of years after the supposed events being a case in point. There are people today who go under the oxymoronic banner of Creationists who still take every word literally in the face of insurmountable evidence to the contrary. In a way I admire their conviction, although it is utterly impossible to have any kind of debate with them.

With the advent of modern science when Copernicus discovered that the Earth went round the Sun and not vice-versa, small chinks in perceived tenets began to appear until, fast forwarding hundreds of years, we arrive at Darwin who proved conclusively that the human race evolved, and didn't fall out of an apple tree, modesty preserved by a fig leaf, or summat. The ridiculous nature of religious dogma was once comically summed up by Rowan Atkinson, waaay back in the Hell Sketch on Not The Nine O'Clock News where Rowan as The Devil is welcoming in the new intake to Hell..."Christians, ah yes, I'm afraid the Jews were right". Heehee.

Therefore one has to ask, is there or is there not God? It would be so easy to declare myself an atheist as there seems little evidence of a God, benign or malign, as stuff just happens, seemingly at random. Go ask the Japanese if you don't believe me. Being a "glass half full" type, I am a committed agnostic, or 100% ambivalent, who knows? I consider it is impossible to prove one way or t'other if there is, is not, or even was, however briefly, a God. Something sparked the Big Bang, maybe that was God, and it lasted for a quantum fraction of the smallest amount of time possible, but exist it did. Or not. And he certainly wasn't a bloke with a white beard sitting on a cloud.

It's fairly obvious to me that God and the Devil are simply metaphors for the two sides of human nature, a consciousness that has always strived to know why we are here and what is our purpose. Religion was born out of a need to put a framework on these unanswerable questions methinks.

Modern Christian religion seems at odds with the world it exists in and struggles for relevance, and seems to me to largely act as a salve for the conscience of those who believe. If I find a fiver in the street, or swear at a motorist it'll be ok after a few Hail Marys or whatever.

In the USA in particular there exists a small but vociferous minority of ultra right wing Christians, that bloody awful Palin woman among them, who if they ever attain the power they seek will cause havoc in the world, havoc to equal that already meted out by the equally slavering Muslim extremists and the ensuing chaos and carnage caused by the reply to their actions carried out in our names. Not that I know enough about it to comment, but there seem to be a lot of Muslim countries that still exist in a BS state, and some of the more manipulative and grudgeful religious leaders there have used that ignorance to their own black-hearted ends.

While all this was going through my head, I looked up, and lo the Wellingborough Road had parted, and Ed Milibrand was leading his people to freedom.....

8 Sep 2011

The Crack Of Dawn

A lovely thing it is too....

As you may know I am undergoing a series of operations adjusting the wonky wires and pulleys in my hands, or to use the technical term, corrective procedures for Dupuytrens Contracture. Operation No.3 has been in the pipeline for a while now, and I told those lovely people at Trauma & Orthopaedics that a date in September would not suit as I am somewhat busy this month.

The appointment letter arrived today, my date is now 12th October. On the 13th and 14th I have gigs scheduled, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem as I now know what pain and discomfort level to expect, and both concerts are "sit down" jobbies. No, what made me harrumph was the time of the appointment. They want me there at 7:15 am!!

Hairymofo of God, why so early? Mind you I know for a fact that the actual op could be up to two hours after this time, during which I'm given a five minute cross examination to see if I've contracted Beri-Beri or grown a second head, and the rest is an interminable wait. I'm a grumpy sod in the early morning at the best of times, but as well as having to put up with getting up with the sun, I will not have been allowed to eat anything from 2:30 am, and can only drink water from 6:30 am. Boy am I going to be in good mood. The taxi driver better know where he's going or I may well be up for murder.

6 Sep 2011

A Face That Says "Punch Me"

When discourse turns to televisual entertainments, my best mates delight in telling anyone who will listen that they have never watched ITV ever, unless by accident, as it is shite. I have to say that having sat through two thirds of Syco's latest offering "Red or Black" last night (I was knackered having returned home after four nights under canvas - that's my excuse anyway) that the Halls' somewhat extreme opinions on our oldest commercial channel are entirely justified, if a little on the understated side.

That Cowell fella has hit a new nadir with this, his latest so-called entertainment. Basically a quiz show with the quiz element removed so as not to over-tax the atrophied grey matter of the prole participants, Red or Black is a waste of an hour and half of anyone's life, even the fuckwits who bay and howl at it from the audience pit. Tarted up with all sorts of tacky razzmatazz and fronted by those icons of godawful barrel scraping TV, Ant & Dec, who managed to fill minute upon minute upon minute of nothing happening at all with their usual inane chimperings, and filmed in front of a an audience that gave the impression that they were all gonzoid on Angel Dust, a contestant could win a million quid if they could manage to make a correct 50/50 guess on red or black ten times on the trot. Never in my 51 years on this planet have I seen such a festering pile of fetid galloping brain death stinking shite masquerading as entertainment. Even Big Brother looks like Chekov next to this steaming heap of re-fried skunk vomit.

Apparently some guy who actually won the million quid last time turns out to have a criminal record for assault and burglary, similar methinks to the offences committed on the senses and wallets of the gullible by Cowell. Oh, the irony! There is a bit of a hoo-hah about whether or not ITV, who knew of the contestant's dodgy past, should have let him on the show. Well I reckon you get the participants and audience you deserve.

Simon Cowell, the man who is lowest common denominator TV made flesh, will doubtless be knighted at some point in the future for his services to exports and ludicrous trousers or somesuch, but if I were the lucky monarch with the sword I think I'd chop his self-satisfied grinning fizog to kingdom come. What a pointless little man he is.

Ah, that feels much better......
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While I'm in a Mr Angry frame of mind - those Murdochs are a tight fisted bunch of joyless fuckers, are they not? While I was away camping at the weekend I left B with the request to record the highlights of the England footy game against Bulgaria on Friday last. It turns out there were none on free to air TV, as clan Murdoch retained complete control over the TV rights, probably laughing manically as they rubbed their oleaginous hands together Uriah Heep stylee.

Put them all on a rocket ship with Cowell and the Gadhafis and fire it at the Sun I say......the celestial object, not Wapping I hasten to add, although come to think of it...
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After eulogising Doctor Who from a couple of weeks ago, Saturday's episode was back to "meh" territory for me, but I can see how the kiddies might have been scared by it. It is good to see that DW has not forgotten that it is after all essentially a children's TV program. That's why it's on at tea time on a Saturday evening you know.
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