Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup 2010 Qualifiers

No prizes for guessing the only country at the World Cup without its own government, national public holiday and national anthem. Thanks to Toque for the code.

TeamNational HolidayNat GovtAnthem
AlgeriaRevolution Day ,
1st Nov
ArgentinaIndependence Day,
25th May
YesHimno Nacional
AustraliaAustralia Day, 26th JanYesAdvance Australia Fair

BrazilIndependence Day,
7th Sept
YesHino Nacional Brasileiro

CameroonRepublic Day, 20th MayYesO Cameroun, Berceau
denos Ancêtres
ChileIndependence Day, 18th SeptYesHimno Nacional de Chile

Côte d'IvoireIndependence Day,
7th Aug
DenmarkConstitution Day,
5th Jun
YesDer er et yndigt land

EnglandNo National HolidayNoNo official national anthem
FranceBastille Day, 14th JulyYesLa Marseillaise
GermanyUnity Day, 3rd OctYesDas Deutschlandlied
GhanaIndependence Day,
6th Mar
YesGod Bless Our Homeland
GreeceIndependence Day,
5th Mar
YesÝmnos eis tīn Eleutherían
HondurasIndependence Day,
15th Sep
YesHimno Nacional de
ItalyRepublic Day, 2nd JuneYesIl Canto degli Italiani

JapanBirthday of Emperor Akihito, 23rd DecYesKimi ga Yo
Korea DPRFounding Day, 9th SepYesAegukka
Korea RepublicLiberation Day,
15th Aug
MexicoIndependence Day,
16th Sep
YesHimno Nacional Mexicano
NetherlandsQueen's Day,
30th Apr
YesHet Wilhelmus
New ZealandWaitangi Day,
6th Feb
YesGod Defend New Zealand
NigeriaIndependence Day,
6th Feb
YesArise O Compatriots,
Nigeria's Call Obey
ParaguayIndependence Day,
14-15th May
YesParaguayos, República
o Muerte
PortugalPortugal Day,
10th Jun
YesA Portuguesa
SerbiaNational Day,
15th Feb
YesBože pravde
SlovakiaConstitution Day,
1st Sep
YesNad Tatrou sa blýska
SloveniaStatehood Day,
25th Jun
South AfricaFreedom Day,
27th Apr
YesNational anthem of
South Africa
SpainNational Day,
12th Oct
YesLa Marcha Real
SwitzerlandConfederation Day,
1st Aug
UruguayIndependence Day,
25th Aug
YesHimno Nacional
USAIndependence Day,
4th Jul
YesThe Star-Spangled

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sir Nicholas Winterton on Nolan

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Introduction to social media training for BBC Vision

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Putsch is the word of the moment.

It's a word that is all over the media this week in reference to the damp squib of a coup that was orchestrated against Gordon Brown by passed-over former Cabinet Ministers and out-going MPs, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt.

Pat and Geoff (pictured) may not know what a putsch is either but they knew it was a big one - and sadly it got away!

So what's a putsch?

The OED describes a 'putsch' as:

An attempt to overthrow a government, especially by violent means; an insurrection or coup d'état.

I havn't noticed Hoon and Hewitt burning the barricades and lobbing the Molotov cocktails so has the OED got anything else to offer?

In a weakened sense: a sudden or forceful attempt to take control of an organization, business, etc.; a sudden vigorous effort, a concerted drive or campaign.

Right. Can anyone else see the irony in the use of the term 'forceful' when applied to YewittanYoon's wet fish display (pictured)?

So why are the media calling it a putsch? Heaven knows, but in media mileage, what's a coup compared with the putsch that gave a push to the putz*?

*(A stupid or worthless person; a fool. Yiddish, ‘penis’)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Twelfth Night

Tonight is “the evening before Twelfth-day, formerly observed as a time of merry-making”, Twelfth Night or Wassail Eve.

Some imagine twelfth night to be the evening of the 6th January but they are mistaken, since the ancients counted from sunset not sunrise. So Christmas night was the evening of 24th December, we count the twelve days of Christmas from there.

There is a tradition that it is unlucky to keep Christmas decorations after twelfth night while others that they should stay up until Candlemas eve (1st February).

Either way don’t send your Christmas greenery for recycling – burn it! This ancient maxim was recorded in the Exeter Book in 1072,
“Holly must be burned, a dead man's legacy divided. Good fame is ever best.”

William Hone, in his Every Day Book of 1827 refers to a glossary to the Exmore dialect that has “Watsail – a drinking song on twelfth-day eve, throwing toast to the apple trees, in order to have a fruitful year, which seems to be a relic of the heathen sacrifice to Pomona.”

So sup up, by the fire and cheers!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

George Osbourne & namesake

Watching the Shadow Chancellor's speech at Conservative Party Conference I was struck by an uncanny similarity.

George is a dead ringer for, well, George, the Prince Regent.

This brings one to wonder about his ambitions for the throne and to postulate that he will probably run to fat.

On a completely different note, in searching for pictures to confirm my suspicions about Osbourne, I discovered that George IV ...

...undoubtedly evolved into John Sessions

Not sure what this means for the Suc-Session! (Groan!)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brown's Conference Speech

My live commentary:

Yeah mate if you wanted to do something for the country you love you should have stayed in Scotland!

Hard working families #1 and counting...

The rock of stability and fairness
Empowering people
Pro market party
Hard work effort and enterprise
Not to provide everything but to enable everyone...

Has he joined the conservative party?

Investment in coal? OMG he's going to reopen the mines!!!!!

Value hard work effort and enterprise #2
The party of Law and order.
Security and dignity for pensioners (going for the blue rinses?)
The party of the family.

He HAS joined the Conservative party!

3 million more people are in work, yes, but they're all Polish!

Oh it's Labour's NHS is it?

One life, one family, one vote at a time (that would be Disraeli's One Nation Tories then!)

Do unto others? (oh purleese!!! He's nicked JCs script now!)

Hard work effort and enterprise #3

Enshrine in the law of the land Labour's pledge to end child poverty. (Not sure how that works)

Read write and count (adding and subtracting are perhaps a bridge too far?)

Families who can't afford to buy food in Sainsburys will have access to cheap food on e-Bay!

The NHS saved my good eye too! It's a miracle!

Free check ups for the over 40s? Don't we have free GP access now?

NHS available to all and personal to each. (I am sooo relieved my doctor won't be treating someone else's itchy parts during my appointment!)

Staying in your own home longer apparently ensures 'greater protection against the cost of care'. No shit Sherlock!(But no free personal care for the English like the Scots then?)

A Victims Tsar! Just what we need!

Punishment where the public can see it? Chain gangs? Stocks?

Votes for Working Men and Women? Now he's claiming them a century late? Surely this is scraping the bottom of the barrel?

Labour, the party protecting homeowners? yeah right!

Yes Tory public spending cuts - that's what we want!!!!

Hard working families #2

Don't start me on the iniquities of the EMA!

Now he's claiming credit for the not being broken by Fascists! Yes yes Gordie - it's your Dunkirk spirit - la la la...

You believe in Scotland mate not Britain. Oh right you'll complete the process of devolution in Northern Ireland will you? What about England??????

By all means bring democracy to Zimbabwe and Darfur but bring it here too!

Ask the people what they want about the EU, Scotland and the democratic deficit - the democratic answer will be so unpalatable that none of the turkeys will ever put Christmas to the vote!

United we are a great movement? Well that says it all! A great big poop!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin in Stars & Stripes Bikini

Actually, you can make this up! Here's the original picture before Palin's head was photoshopped on.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Well flip me round the face and call me a democrat then!

I got an email today, from Number 10 if you please. It was one of those thanks but now do fuck off Mr Corder and stop bothering us emails.

I had had the temerity to sign a petition:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to grant the English people a referendum on independence forEngland.”

And it was a petition based on a pretty reasonable premise:
“68% of English people want an English Parliament. 59% of English people want Scotland to leave the UK. The will of the English people for self-rule within the United Kingdom is flagrantly ignored because, we are told, an English Parliament within a federal UK would break up the Union. Well maybe English people would prefer independence to being 3rd class citizens within a United Kingdom. Let’s ask them.”

In spite of the properly sourced and numerous opinion polls to the contrary, the response from Number 10 was,
"we do not believe that there is a groundswell of support for an English Parliament"

OK IGNORE the opinion polls, nameless Government-Wallah, but isn't that what actually asking the people is about?

And on.

The Government believes that it is not necessary to establish a separate English Parliament to balance the current devolution settlements in the United Kingdom as England is already the dominant partner and English interests are fully represented.

Not really, since the Scottish Labour MPs voted to penalise English constituents , voting for English student fees, English personal care for the elderly, no medication for English cancer sufferers; while their MSP colleagues (who actually DO represent the people of Scotland in their constituencies) vote in free personal care, free tertiary education, bags of drugs etc.

Far from being dominant, England in this Union is bullied by a bunch of Scots who don't even have a mandate to represent their OWN constituents on such matters and yet they presume to vote against the wishes of the English people. Who didn't elect them. At all.

An English Parliament would only be a fraction smaller than the existing UK Parliament.

So what? It would be a parliament without interference from devolved peoples who have no interest in England. The new governing body - the UK Overview Team - or old UK Parliament - would be slimline as a result. And what a result! It doesn't need to remain unwieldy as it now is.

It would be likely to become bureaucratic and difficult to pass legislation, particularly if there were a different party in Government at Westminster, than that of the suggested English Parliament.

Really? So remind me who is in power in Scotland? Umm. That would be the Scottish Nationalists. And who is in power in the United Kingdom, errr Labour. So what's good for the goose is not good for the gander? Come on who are these people kidding.
The Government is taking steps to increase regional accountability including through the introduction of Regional Ministers.

England doesn't want to be regions, England wants to be democratically free! And yes England commands more votes than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tough titty. That's democracy!

It is not palatable for the Labour Party to devolve England as it derives it's controlling votes from north of the border and in Wales. That is the point.

Forget the goose and the gander. To get equality we have to get the turkeys to vote for Christmas. Come on David Cameron, Nick Clegg, someone has to get the ball rolling. The English are a bit bloody pissed off! You guys can get yourselves elected to the UK Overview Team as well - then you have a MANDATE!

There IS a groundswell of support whether they like it or not.
There ARE more English who would kiss goodbye to the Scots if asked than Scots who want independence.

If this government and its successor which I must presume will be the Tories, won't grasp the nettle, (or to mix my metaphors, hold its tiny thumb on the lever), then as the pin is already out, (second analogy) then someone's really going to blow these Islands apart.

After that, what?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

National Health is Filthy & Infested

Filthy NHS wards are being plagued by pests - with maggots found in slippers and rats in maternity units, reports the Daily Mail
Hospitals are so dirty that pest controllers were called out to 20,000 infestations in the past two years.

Experts warned that the appalling levels of hygiene added to the danger to patients from the deadly superbugs MRSA and C.diff, which multiply in the same environments as pests.

Well, what a pretty pass have we come to? While politicians of various colours throw seven shades of political shit at each other about who is to blame, and people try to weasel out of responsibility, may I give you the words of an expert.

"If a nurse declines to do these kinds of things for her patient because it is not her business I should say that nursing was not her calling.

I have seen surgical sisters women whose hands were worth to them two or three guineas a week down upon their knees scouring a room or hut because they thought it otherwise not fit for their patients to go into. I am far from wishing nurses to scour. It is a waste of power.

But I do say that these women had the true nurse calling the good of their sick first and second only the consideration what it was their place to do and that women who wait for the housemaid to do this or for the charwoman to do that when then patients are suffering have not the making of a nurse in them"

And who was the expert I quoted? Florence Nightingale, in Notes on Nursing: What it Is, and what it is Not, published 1860.

Time for nursing to get back to basics perhaps?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Crime slashed

No comment required.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Identity Theft

While we're on the subject, a sentient artificial lifeform has been spotted. He has a rational, analytical mind and finds humans hard to understand, and through his attempts to understand human behaviour, the creators comment on certain aspects of humanity. He is drawn to the concept of humanity, being intensely curious about humans and constantly trying to emulate them in all forms with hilarious results.

Here he is again.


Whatever happened to Maxine Carr?

Maxine who? You know the girlfriend of Soham murderer Ian Huntley. Well she's been spotted recently arriving at Downing Street for a cabinet meeting.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sumer is Icumen In

It's May Day, and for those of you who are observing the customs of the season, dancing the May Pole and consumating the joys of the season with your Queen of the May, I commend to you the words of Kipling:

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
Or he would call it a sin;
But we have been out in the woods all night,
A-conjuring Summer in!

The celebration began at sunset yesterday, because our forefathers always reckoned their days from sunset to sunset. This is true of the both Celts and the Germanic tribes who celebrate Walpurgisnacht.
However for the misguided New Agers, I should like to point out that it is not Beltane until the sun is 15% of Taurus which is Monday 5th May 2008.

Which, as it happens, is a Bank Holiday in Britain this year. And a new moon. Very auspicious! Nudge, nudge...

Plenty of time to buff up my May Pole....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rugby World Cup

Well I dunno about you, but I don't think that it's too much to expect the Sunday Times journos writing up the multi-page Rugby World Cup special, on page four (of the news section, mark you, not Sport), to notice that the All Blacks play for New Zealand not Australia. Well really! Is it too much to ask?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A close shave?

Listening to the radio about the criminal conviction of a chap's 'moustache related violence', I was pretty much gob (upper lip) smacked. MOUSTACHE RELATED VIOLENCE?!!

But apparently, this chap, Charles Law, keeps getting into fights over his handle-bars, and has now had his come-uppance.

He's got to lose the 'tache and pay the little toerags 75 quid each for their trouble.

Well flip me round the chops with a wet lettuce, obviously this chap is barking... Yerrr Obviously. But that's not the point.

If he wishes to bristle with the best then he can. This is a free country.

And this comes in a week which saw the publication of a very erudite book which reminds us that it was not the 'hand that rocked the cradle', that ruled the Empire; it was the handlebar that terrified the natives!

So the little scrotes really should have known better and our beloved judiciary should have advised that ignorance of the effect is no defense.

It's only common sense Health and Safety advice, after all, DON'T pick on the unhinged gentleman with the bristling 'tache! Judge should have given them a clip round the ears (back and sides)!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nutter on the bus

Remember the Jasper Carrott sketch from the 70s, "The Nutter on the Bus"? Well you might if you are a certain age, but if not you can listen to the sketch here, but if you can't wait for it to load, it goes something like this:

When the nutter gets on the bus, why does the nutter always sit next to me?

I was on the bus the other day and I could hear this nutter getting on behind me. I can tell he's a nutter because he's calling out...

'Eeek! Has anyone seen my camel!!?'

And everyone on the bus is praying quietly ‘Please God don’t let the nutter sit next to me. I’ll do anything you want but please don’t let the nutter sit next to me’

Nutters love showing you things, "I've got an atom bomb in here!"

And he shows me a corned beef tin ...

Well once you've got the nutter everyone else can enjoy it...

Anyway this sketch came to mind this week when Radio 5 Live had on a very strange man indeed. Some bloke called Theodore Zeldin (which is a name for a mad professor, if ever I heard one), who claims that a new pressing issue for humanity is the need for real conversation. I could name a few more pressing ones, but I listened on.

Work, the decline of the family, cars and technology have, he says, all helped to isolate us and he feels it's his duty to try to make us all sit down and talk face to face about things that really matter. OK I think to myself, fair enough.

But what does he do to facilitate this? He holds a birthday party at his house which is only for strangers, who are prepared to hold conversations off a menu of his devising!

Quite apart from the fact that going on the radio and inviting everyone over to your address (with postcode) is plainly batty behaviour, he was very strange with the callers. He was quite agressive actually. He berated, one woman for engaging in "talk" rather than "conversation" and when she said she wasn't responsible for all the pain and suffering in the world so wasn't going to let it get her down, boy did he give her jip!

Lots of (predominently northern) people rang in to say they talked to everyone, on the bus, in the street, on planes; and others (mainly southern) texted in saying they died a thousand deaths when such ghastly people attempted to talk at them on journeys. Naturally Jasper Carrott's sketch sprang to mind.

Then I got an email with the solution.

The next time you find yourself on a plane, train or a bus sitting next to someone who cannot resist chattering to you endlessly, I urge you to quietly pull your laptop out of your bag, carefully open the screen (ensuring the irritating person next to you can see it), and hit this link

Be part of the problem!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rum, sodomy and the lash....

How would Nelson have fared if he had been subject to modern health and safety regulations?

"Order the signal to be sent, Hardy."

"Aye, aye sir."

"Hold on, that's not what I dictated to the signal officer. What's the meaning of this?"

"Sorry sir?"

"England expects every person to do his duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. What gobbledegook is this?"

"Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

"Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

"Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments."

"In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."

"The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It's part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

"Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it. Full speed ahead."

"I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

"Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest, please."

"That won't be possible, sir."


"Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness. And they said that rope ladder doesn't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

"Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

"He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle Admiral."

"Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

"Health and Safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

"Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

"Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

"Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

"A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and Safety won't let the crew up the rigging without crash helmets. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

"I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

"The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

"What? This is mutiny."

"It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

"Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

"Actually, sir, we're not."

"We're not?"

"No, sir. The Frenchies and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

"But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

"I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on a disciplinary charge."

"You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King."

"Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules."

"Don't tell me - Health and Safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

"As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu. And now there's a ban on corporal punishment."

"What about sodomy?"

"I believe it's to be encouraged, sir."

"In that case... kiss me, Hardy."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer's over

What, you blinked and missed it? Word has it that Father Christmas has already shown up at Harrods.

Well you can't buy a pair of sandals or a swimming cozzie to save your life. What is it with 'getting ready for the next season'? Does no-one actually purchase things when they need them, rather than five months in advance? Is it only me who is either disorganised or impulsive (dependent on your outlook)?

Anyway I spotted this Back to School sale sign, and had to share the lurve...

On a bit of a tangent but not dissimilar tack, my local rag is bleating about the apparent crime wave (that is their take on the fact that this information has been made available under the Freedom of Information Act).

They have this very useful information:

Age of youngest person arrested for gun /firearm possession: 12

What a load of inflammatory alarmist clap trap! The kid in question (not one of mine) had a toy gun that shoots yellow plastic beads!

We do NOT have marauding gangs of gun toting feral children in this sleepy Berkshire backwater. It is frankly pathetic, to log a child with a toy gun as a firearms offense.

What is it with everyone in this country? One minute parents are criticised for wrapping their obese kids in cotton wool and force feeding them a virtual video world. The next a kid out playing with a toy gun is nicked on a firearms charge!

I had some splendid weaponry as a child. (My older relatives had the real deal as they were brought up playing on bomb sites in London, and handguns with live ammunition were widely available). But I was given a tremendous long arm spud gun from the 50s (by an older relative, who had grown out of it) which didn't half make the back of your legs sting when you took a plug. Then I had a proper air rifle. Now I rejoice in a longbow, with which I or my sons, were we so inclined, could do a dammed sight more harm than with an air gun that pings plastic balls.

Surely childhood is the time to work out your cowboys from your indians, to learn your cops from your robbers, by crawling about in the long grass, camouflaged up, armed to the teeth, pouncing on pirates?

Does no-one today remember Peter Pan? The epitome of childhood is the waging of bloodthirsty wars and doing noble and heroic deeds at great personal danger. If we don't expose our children to this traditional role play and physical activity, we are doomed to a nation of children who are either too timid to cross a road alone by the time they go to university, or so insular and anally retentive that they believe on-line gaming to be reality and with no empathy or proper role models, just go and blow people away. For real.

Yes it's obscene that young lads are gunning each other down in their beds and on the streets. But those children have not been allowed to be children. They are old before their time. And some of them are in their graves. Well before their time. Many of these children are bullied into crime by their older 'friends' who hide behind the children's relative immunity under the laws of criminal responsibility. This is different issue. And the mingling is silly tabloid journalism at best, at worst it will lead to a generation of desperately dysfunctional people.

The fear of litigation and the conflation of play with actual crime has led to a dichotomy in society whereby we have the pussycats on the one hand and the thugs on the other.

The Scandinavians are deliberately building risk back into children's playgrounds, the contention being that without risk-taking in play, children do not learn risk assessment and as a consequence are unable to see how to master risk situations when they do arise. Bless 'em, they can actually see that a bit of rope burn and scraped knees make our children safer, not the reverse.

I contend that unless children work out their fantasies with imaginative play in the physical world, they are in grave danger of being unable to cope with the reality that those of my generation know.

There is a bit of a backlash and Conn Iggulden's Dangerous Book for Boys is a joy and a delight to any parent of sons. But even that is tamer than it sounds. To my younger son's great chagrin, there was nothing in it at all about explosions...

Wherever did English childhood go? Where are the endless summers of youth? And what have we in store from a generation of children who never played? Let's build the risk back in and have society grow up a bit by remembering what childhood really is.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Better than the wolf?

What do you say then folks?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Goodbye. I don't think we'll miss you."

Mrs Blair, never noted for being the shy retiring type, has today been pilloried for being a Silly Gobby Mare again on the steps of Number 10. Well, bless her it was her last chance!And a thread to that effect appeared on the 5Live Message Board which for reasons unknown dissolved into verse.

While I am unversed (ho ho ho!)in the subtleties of Haiku (I don't think we had those when I were a lad) I was delighted to be invested as Poet Lorry commuted to Poet Lolly (for my native tongue).


Farewell to Mrs C Blair
(She, of the flyaway hair
And a mouth like a slot
Which says such a lot
Unwisely, some say, to be fair).

With a mouth that begs for a letter,
Mrs Blair should really know better,
Than to open her gob
In front of a mob,
All of whom are just out to get her.

Poet Lolly is speaking in tongues
So draw a deep breath in your lungs
And shout from the rooves
The disturbing truths
Of peerages dished out for bungs!

I'm using the lingua franca
To find a word after which we all hanker.
Poet Lolly can't be licked
With rhymes that are nicked
From the dark side of the mind of a banker.

Now that Number Ten has a new occupant,
I think it's about time that we learnt
How the English feel really
About taxes costing us dearly
(And pulling this post took some front!)

(Cheeky moderators thought that jock, unelected and runt should not be coupled! Obviously a better rhyme springs to mind, but I refrained from that one as in banker above...)

For a mandate Brown just hasn't got
(Reserved matters come to not a lot)
For if the whole of Kirkcaldy
Were to vote as a body,
They could influence Brown not a jot.

He can't talk on health, education or training
Nor farming or fishing (even when it is raining )
Not housing or planning, the police or the law
Nor aspects of transport, the buses, or sport.
It's because they're devolved
That Brown can't be involved
He must interfere in our affairs never more!

I've done another verse I'm afraid I can't help myself, sorry...

"Goodbye. I don't think we'll miss you."
Forgive me while I weep in a tissue.
For she is a Blair
Who has never had a care
'Cos democracy's not been a real issue.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stalinist Brown

Well the permanent secretary to the Treasury for four years under Brown should know what he's talking about...

Image stolen shamelessly from Alfie at Waking Hereward

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The White House

You know how it is. Sometimes, you think to yourself, I don't really want to be challenged with my reading material. A rip roaring good historical yarn would just about do me right now. So long as it's well researched.

So it was this morning. I had a slow morning so I ran myself a nice hot bath, stepped in, and settled myself with a Bernard Cornwell that I hadn't read. Much as the TV series with Sean Bean is absolute crap, (largely because Sean Bean can't act), the stories aren't bad (even though they have nothing in the way of characterisation, sub plot and offer nothing to a discussion of the human condition).

However I digress.

So in I get. I ALWAYS read the foreword, preface, introduction or whatever. (Actually I have an Honours degree in English from a damn good university on the strength of reading the foreword, preface, introduction or whatever. But that's another story).

In this case it was a foreword not a whatever.

And I quote:

Later that year [1814] in the same kind of operation, though on a much larger scale, [the British were] responsible for the capture and destruction of Washington itself. Among the many buildings that were burned was the president's mansion. The lower walls were of stone, so they survived, but when the mansion was rebuilt those walls were painted white to hide the scorch marks and it has been known as the White House ever since.

"Oh that's interesting", I thought. However in an idle moment at lunchtime, (told you it was a slack day), I thought further on it. "I know", I thought, "I'll read up a bit on that British assault", only to learn that Cornwell has perpetuated a myth, of which it seems, every American school child is aware.

The house acquired its nickname early on. Congressman Abijah Bigelow wrote to a colleague on March 18, 1812 (three months before the United States entered war with England): "There is much trouble at the White House, as we call it, I mean the President's" (quoted in W. B. Bryan, "The Name White House," Records of the Columbia Historical Society 34-35 [1932]: 308). The name, though in common use, remained a nickname until September 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt made it official.

Hmmm. A tiny spot of research tells us 'it aint so Joe'.

Look, I know historical novels are ultimately fiction and so about storytelling not academic rigour. And hey, we all make mistakes while attempting to be thorough in research.

But surely something so fundamentally flawed in the foreword (not in the narrative) of a book first published 20 years ago should have been corrected by now?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Apologies for absence

To anyone who is actually still looking, thankyou.

I'll try and post something real after a bit of sleep.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Les Paul Junior

One of my blog buddies has uploaded one of his own compositions, given that his screen identity is Les Paul Junior (pictured above), I should have guessed he could play a bit!

Have a listen.

Mind you I wasn't expecting it to be quite so mellow, given his favourite video is this one. Talk about shit faced!

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Bogey Man

This is one more reason why this man MUST not be our Prime Minister! Please God Labour party members come to their senses...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cameron snubs young fan.

This is brilliant - hats off to creator bert grr.

Tough on Crime...

Credit to Stewpot.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hoodie 'shoots' Cameron...

...and causes uproar. Under the headline: Teenage 'pistol' hoodie gloats, the Sun predictably wallows in disgust.
"A TEENAGE hoodie told last night how he ran up behind Tory leader David Cameron and pretended to shoot him.

Tagged thug Ryan Florence, 17, said he made the sick gun gesture to impress gang pals who were watching."

And the Great British public is whipped into a frenzy of comment, like this, typical of the Daily Mail.
"This young thug is a good reason why we all should be armed with guns.

- John Smith, Ulverston UK"
Oh Purleeease!

Wikipedia is quite ambivalent about the 'bang bang' hand gesture.
"This imitation of the action of a revolver pistol is often meant to represent a handgun in children's games. It may also be used menacingly to mean "I'm gonna kill you", or simply as a playful greeting."

The gesture is represented in stock photo libraries under the Business section. The gesture here surely implies, "Spot on!" or "Right on the money!", "Yes! We're going places!" or some such.

And for fans of wrestling's "Cactus Jack" the double handed gesture is a signature.

Apparently "Cactus Jack" Mick Foley took his trademark catchphrase "Bang, Bang!" from the B-52's song "Love Shack." The song was running through his head at the end of a match, and he held his fingers up like pistols while reciting the "bang bang bang on the door..." verse.

But what, (honestly), is the difference between the top image and this one?

I put it to you that a little boy in Manchester was hamming it up for the camera. No more. No less.

Feel free to comment here and there is further discussion on the message board.

English Holiday

Prime Minister Blair, not feeling well and concerned about his mortality goes to consult a psychic about the date of his death.

Closing her eyes and silently reaching into the realm of the future she finds the answer: "You will die on an English holiday."

"Which one?" Blair asks nervously.

"It doesn't matter," replied the psychic. "Whenever you die, it will be an English holiday".

Saturday, February 10, 2007

EU laws threaten Earl Grey tea

The producers of the citrus fruit bergamot, which is unique to Earl Grey tea, will not be able to afford to comply with the new EU Reach directive. Under the health and safety regulations the bergamot oil, which is mainly used in the production of perfume, is classified as potentially poisonous and is therefore required to be tested and registered with the European Chemical Agency.

The extra £35,000 cost this would entail is beyond the means of the small Italian farms which grow the commodity and may lead to the farms changing the crops they grow.

They tried to straighten bananas, they're talking of doing away with the pint, but the Brussels bureaucrats have taken a step too far. Sign away our inalienable rights under Magna Carta but dammit, we won't stand for Johnny Foreigner buggering about with our tea! That's really taking the rich tea biscuit!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Today is Imbolc

As the light lengthens, so the cold strengthens
Traditional saying

Imbolc is defined as a cross-quarter day, midway between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara). The precise astrological midpoint in the Northern hemisphere is when the sun reaches fifteen degrees of Aquarius.

The term "Imbolc" translates as either "in milk" or "in the belly," and marked the birth and nursing of the spring lambs as a sign of the first stirrings of spring in the middle of winter.

It may also have been celebrated with the lighting of candles, as slightly longer days begin to be noticeable at this time of year.

Since the Celtic year was based on both lunar and solar cycles, it is most likely that the holiday would be celebrated on the full moon nearest the midpoint between the winter solstice and vernal equinox, or when the primroses, dandelions, or other spring flowers rise up through the snow.

There's a big fuck-off clock up in the sky tonight.

It's called Candlemas in the Christian calendar and is the last feast in the Christian year that is dated by reference to Christmas - forty days after the nativity.

Under Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a man-child was considered unclean for seven days; moreover she was to remain for three and thirty days "in the blood of her purification." Candlemas therefore corresponds to the day on which Mary, according to Jewish law should have attended a ceremony of ritual purification.

The ceremony was usual in medieval England, where it was called 'churching'. New mothers who had yet to be churched were regarded as attractive to the fairies, and so in danger of being kidnapped by them.

The term "Candlemas" refers to the practice found in former Roman Missals whereby a priest on February 2 would bless the candles for use during the year (said candles must be of beeswax).

"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall"

— Robert Herrick (1591–1674), "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve"

As the poem by Robert Herrick records, the eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes; for traces of berries, holly and so forth will bring death among the congregation before another year is out.

Another tradition holds that anyone who hears funeral bells tolling on Candlemas will soon hear of the death of a close friend or relative; each toll of the bell represents a day that will pass before the unfortunate news is learned.

Good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later. In America Candlemas evolved into Groundhog Day celebrated on the same date.

In France, Candlemas is celebrated with crêpes, which must be eaten only after eight p.m. If the cook can flip a crêpe while holding a coin in the other hand, the family is assured of prosperity throughout the coming year.

There are those who would argue that that Candlemas is not a Christianisation of the pagan festival of Imbolc.

Yeah, right!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Be aware of this. I had a lucky escape.

I walked into B&Q at lunchtime and some old guy dressed in orange asked me if I wanted decking.

Fortunately, I got the first punch in and that was the end of that.

Those less suspecting might not be so lucky.