Monday, November 22, 2004

Same Old Same Old

Sorry folks, on the road once again, following in last weeks footsteps and visiting the exact same schools doing follow ups, Hopefully ill be back blogging soon, as I have missed it! Plus I have forgotten the 2 million great ideas I had whilst driving last week, must be something to do with the lose of brain cells while listening to Radio 2!

ipod playing 'On the Road again'

Hurrah more motorway sandwiches or will I be good this week?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Animal Magic

It was of some interest that while I was watching the Remembrance Day parade last Sunday that they mentioned that there was a memorial for the ‘Animals of War’. This, it seems, is a memorial for all the animals, dogs, horses and pigeons and so on that served human kind during their darkest hours and suffered the greatest penalty.

Intrigued by this passing reference I decided to do a little more research into the subject and in this blog I will pass on my findings about these courageous animals.

It turns out that a wide variety of animals served including: elephants, camels, cats, canaries and of course glow worms.

However, it seems that a number of animal hero’s have been forgotten and lost to the records. I will attempt to put this wrong right

For instance little is known about the battalions of hedgehogs that were specially trained to work undercover in enemy territory.

Each hedgehog, once dropped into enemy territory would make their way to where the Hun were camped up. Once there the hedgehogs would create a LUP (SAS slang for ‘lying up position’) and wait for night to fall. Ever watchful the hedgehogs would wait under banks of leaves and bonfires waiting to be lit until the German soldiers had had their fill of schnapps and sauerkraut and had staggered off to bed. When all was quiet these brave hedgehogs would snuffle up close to the tents and await their moment, quills a quiver. An hour or two later the unsuspecting soldier would stagger out of the tent bursting for a piss and then the hedgehog would strike, placing them selves selflessly under the feet of the soldiers causing massive trauma to the soles and stopping them marching the next day. Many hedgehogs never survived these encounters and there are countless more lost in the forests of France not knowing that the war has been over for the last 60 years.

In a further futile effort many of these hedgehogs attempted to stop the movement of the Tiger Tanks towards the French Coast and ultimately England by throwing themselves under the tank tracks all a-bristle but to little avail.

Also unknown to us were the vast armies of lice that were trained to live in the clothes of the enemy soldier slowly sucking their blood until said soldier was too weak to even abuse the local French Peasantry. Unfortunately it was not known until more later that these lice had no patriotism or pride in the flag at all as they soon deserted in their millions as the new fresh and clean (somewhat cleaner than the continentals) bodies of the British Soldier clambered up the sandy beaches of France as the invasion started. These traitors, when found, were summarily executed by either vast amounts of DDT or simply crushing between fingernails and burning all ones clothes.

More successful were the VD bacteria let lose on the foreign armies. This has been a traditional way of attacking the enemy since the days of Wellington. During the Second World War a single regular solider, Reg Smith, was chosen to be the carrier. Reg comes from a long line of infected soldiers. Once across the Channel as part of the invasion force Reg had his wicked way with as many unsuspecting French Girls as he could. Once the bacteria was in place it was able then to attack the unsuspecting German soldiers as they raped their way across Europe. This was so successful that it is believed it is this selfless action by the bacteria that finally got the Higher Command, infecting Hitler, Gobbels and all rotting their minds.

Unfortunately, once again, this action was let down by the soldiers of France who, also fancied a bit after a prolonged action and bedded the infected French agents. To this day the boys and girls of England are warned off bedding the French! Mothers say it’s because they don’t wash and smell of Garlic, but we now know the truth!

So friends, lets not forget those selfless creatures that serve on our behalf. At this moment in the war torn areas of the world there are countless animals serving. Our cats are digging up gardens and pooping in Israel. Battalions of pigs are on stand by for Iraq, and of course the friendly butterfly – the A bomb of our time, is awaiting Tony Blair’s word to be shipped out to the far east where it will flap its wings in China and create Chaos across the world!

We will remember them!

Research Report

Aim of Research
To get out of my office and travel the highways and byways of SW England earning my salary, visiting schools, eating motorway sandwiches and driving too quickly in rental car while thinking about future blogs.

Executive summary

An interesting by product of this research is that I now seem to be suffering from DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) from sitting in my car for the last four days. Also my arse has probably grown an inch along with my stomach due to the intake of crap Service Station Sandwiches. (and chocolate!)

I have driven about 1500 miles in the last 4 days this is equivalent to driving to my wife’s house in Vinnitsa, Ukraine (which I did in the summer)

I was about to rant about the bad driving behaviour of all the other drivers on the road this week, but realised that probably somewhere in the blog world somebody else is ranting about my bad driving behaviour so all is equal.

I am only worried about one possible speeding fine

Drive rented Car (Ford Focus) at extreme speeds through the highways and byways of South West England visiting Schools and talking to 17/18 yr old students (mainly young women!) trying not to get flashed (by speed cameras of course, what else!) trying to generate interesting insights into the cynical marketing ploys of this great University. This amounts to 40 minutes talking and usually about 8 hours driving to get there and back.

And yes in this case I have to do it all again next week! And go to Cardiff as well! (This is a bonus because I am moving house next week!)

Research Findings

The main findings of the research are as follows:

A. It is winter so all the teenage schoolgirls are wearing thick sweaters and jackets which of course impacts directly upon my work enjoyment and satisfaction levels
B. There seems to be a direct correlation and inverse relationship between the urgency of needing a toilet and the availability of ‘comfort stops’
C. Sandwich choice for vegetarians in service stations are limited to Cheese Ploughmans and Cheese and Onion (egg don’t count)
D. I have heard the Band Aid record 15 times on the radio which is 14 times too many.
E. 4 hours of chewing gum results in a locked jaw
F. Drivers with hats equals slow drivers - why?

Get off fat arse and do more exercise to counteract the sandwiches and crisps diet favoured by travelling salesmen

Try to stop at roadside supermarkets and buy fresh fruit and healthy things for lunch

Think about summer and the unveiling of the belly buttons again

Buy one of those radar things which clocks the speed traps ahead or drive more slowly

Play soothing music on cd player rather than inane radio FM – I favour Motorhead

Beautiful women in fast cars will not stop for anonymous sex in a lay-by despite one’s fantasies when bored in traffic jams

Friday, November 12, 2004

Out of Office Reply

Sorry Folks I am out of the Office doing what they pay me for, for a change. Out on the open road researching. Visiting schools in Cornwall, Dorset and Cardiff, so watch out Wales. May be in the office for a brief spell on Monday and then probably not till Friday. So its a week of Motorway coffee and sandwiches YUM! My heart is fluttering just thinking about it. The upside is, is that I will be able to swan around in a new Mondeo or something pretending it's mine, the downside is, I tend to drive too fast in them and then worry for weeks that I have been flashed, or that'll I'll do something stupid like kerb the thing, (I did it to my last car, it had alloy wheels but I don't think they noticed and there was only 65 miles on the clock when I got it!)

Anyway it'll give me lots of time to dream up new blogs while I drive.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Crossdressing? Is it Pants?

Today I have been thinking about becoming a cross dresser. Not going the whole hog you understand but just parts of me and no make up. Well perhaps a little eyeliner that was de rigueur for the ‘pretty things’ in the late 1970’s as we trooped off to see Ziggy Stardust, as a bit of a homage.

Why you might ask do I want to cross dress? Well lets get this straight, it’s nothing to do with any deep down perviness I might feel (and to all my CD readers the word perviness is used for humorous reasons only, you’re not pervy honest!) or the need to get in touch with my feminine side but as a result of my sad collection of pants. (For American readers read underwear not trousers)

It came to me this morning as I was hunting in my pant drawers dragging out pair after pair of tired old greying holey stretched trunks that what I really wanted was a much sexier choice. Something that would give my day a bit of a zing. I mean, you always hear women saying:

‘It gives me a real thrill knowing that under my severe grey work suit I have on really sexy undies, it makes me feel sexy all day’.

Well I want to feel sexy all day too! Why not, why can’t we men have a range of undies we can wear as the occasion fits? Sexy when we need to be and a bit more severe but comfortable when doing some rugged manly thing like out hunting bears (fortunately we have no bears in England so I would just be stuck with the sexy ones!), a bit like Bridget Jones’ Big Knickers.

I know people will write back in their thousands and tell me ‘but Dr. Rob you can buy silky satiny pants for men’. Yes I know but they usually have some crass advertising on them like Homer Simpson, or the Union Jack, or Hearts so you can wear them to bed after your missus has bought you them for Christmas and then in the New Year they are lost for ever – accidentally of course. And don’t get me going on posing pouches either.

When one browses around Marks and Spencers for example the women’s undie section is a veritable forest of silk and satin, lace, colour, shiny stuff which takes a good 30 minutes of browsing (more if the wife’s not with you) before the selection is made. Compare this to the men’s pant section, what choice to we have? Briefs, Boxers or Trunks in black, grey and white and god forbid paisley! (Never buy white pants - major faux pas there, and who wears Paisley pattern pants, own up now!) All in tidy boring packages of 3 or 5. There is no time to stop and stare in the men’s pants department; there are only two choices, style and quantity.

I think I would personally draw a line at a thong, there’s something not quite right about having a piece of material up your bum crack all day (it’s not a nice image I know) but maybe some slinky hipsters, or high cut panties made for ‘The Real Man’. I think there is a bit of a niche market here and some one could make a lot of money, so this idea is copyright right!

So actually I’m not taking about cross-dressing at all (phew!) what I am making a plea for is a range of men’s pants that add a bit of a sparkle to our life, that don’t make one grimace as one searches through the pant drawer glancing enviously at the avalanche of silk, satin and lace pouring from the wife’s drawer as she searches for big knickers because, for her it’s not a work day. Something to make us feel sexy in the office, something that as we shift and shuffle around on our office seats sends a little shiver of expectation run up our spines. Plus you girls could then join in with the Thong Snooker games as you walked past building sites and holes in the road, it would give ‘builders bum’ a whole new meaning.

In the mean time, it’s the wife’s pants for me from now on. Don’t tell her hey!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Teenagers- all you need to know

Teenagers – why? That is the focus of today’s blog.

First we need to understand the historical development of this phenomenon. We need to delve into the texts, search out learned papers and the scientific insights into why these creatures roam the world in their never ending search for Pizza, their cries of ‘Get outta my life’, ‘I hate you’ and ‘where is my T-Shirt’ echoing around suburbia.

We have to first accept that the teenager is not one of God’s creations. This is based upon a number of points. The first is God made men and women in his image, not you might notice in the image of a spotty adolescent with BO. He might have thought about it fleetingly because in the bible we find this quote “We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” This suggests that maybe God was a bit of a punk rocker on the side but probably gave it up for Lent or Something. Of course if God had created teenagers they would have been around for a lot longer and we would have all become desensitised to them and by now they would be hardly noticeable.

So I think we have to turn to Darwin and evolutionism (I know this will raise the debate once again in the Southern States of the US but it has to be said). It is clear in the history books that ‘teenagers’ suddenly appeared in the 1950’s. Spookily this happened in the UK and the US at about the same time. Clearly in these two countries the climate was ripe for this major change in the evolutionary track of the Homo Sapien. Pizza had been invented, McDonalds came onto the scene (1954), and partially formed teenagers had been sighted in the new moving media (Elvis, Gene Vincent, Cliff Richards). This change in diet and the move from working down t’pit 23 hours a day allowed for such a swift evolutionary change.

It is clear that evolution has, in her time, thrown up some specially designed creatures, one thinks of the Duckbilled Platypus, the Giraffe, the Blue Whale, all of which Darwin claims are the result of Natural Selection. So too is the teenager subject to the forces of natural selection, the forces of evolution forming this being into the malevolent force we find ourselves living with today.

For instance the modern teenager has adapted some of the natural behaviour of the North American Brown Bear. This creature, like the teenager, spends much of its life asleep; when not asleep it is out foraging for food. It lives in a den like cave, living in a sort of half sleep, occasionally getting up and rummaging around. One knows when a teenager is in residence because like the Brown Bear there is a certain stench that emanates from the lair and strange grunting and rumbling noises are heard during the early part of the day.

The teenager has also evolved to the point where it has become incredibly hard to get off their fat arses and walk anywhere. This is despite the interesting evolutionary contradiction that their feet seem to be getting bigger. This is in total contrast to the amount of walking or exercise involving the use of the legs. This is probably where the teenager is in an evolutionary limbo point waiting for the development of jetpacks, or the Star Trek type transporters that they have been promised over the years in programmes like Tomorrows World or films like the Matrix which they believe are documentaries. In the mean time there is always the use of the family taxi that is available 24/7 and just a phone call away.

Teenagers have a natural affinity with the colour black as it saves having to change clothes everyday and time spent on needlessly choosing which outfit to wear today. On the day of their thirteen birthday they evolve, like beautiful butterflies into a Goth. They start to ‘enjoy’ the sound of Marilyn Manson, and bizarrely begin to look like him too; this is in part the effect of the chameleon gene, which allows them to blend in with any situation. This is why when your son/daughter of darkness brings friends home; they are the nicest sweetest kids you have met. Don’t be fooled it’s just the chameleon gene kicking in. Your kid’s gene only works by default in other kids houses. It also kicks in when visiting the grandparents, but that’s only because they know there’s probably a 20 quid gift coming their way later as you leave.

The girls get their periods, breasts and attitude all in one day, while the boys get their first erection and discover the joys of masturbation. This is a bed friendly activity so for many it is the only exercise they will get. This activity goes some way to explaining both the stench and the grunting that comes from a teenage boy’s bedroom.

A few facts that will help the parents understand this:

According to if said teenager were to masturbate 3 times a day (conservative estimate) from age 13 to 19 he would have:

Made 29.859375 gallons and 249.1885475625 lbs. of Jizz,
If you lined up the ejaculations in 1 inch pools end to end it would stretch the length of 2.1233333333333 football fields!He would have killed approximately 1,375,920,000,000 little swimmers.He would have killed 7644 kittens.

And of course, each masturbation uses about 5 calories; no wonder a guy needs Pizza!

This also, of course, explains the crispy sheets and why the toilet roll only lasts a day at a time.

The modern female teenager also seems to share a common gene with the artic penguin in that they never seem to feel the cold. Consequently the female teenager can wear the smallest, lightest, thinnest, most revealing clothing even on a day when the outside temperature is hitting minus 30 with out a single goose bump. This ability to stand outside without succumbing to the blistering cold is of some interest to scientists, who on many occasions have invited said teenagers back to their labs for ‘further research’ but have been rebuffed in a language that they don’t understand. For example: "Get out of my grill. You a busta!" Why you always cappin' on me? Don't make me open up a can on you, I'm going to cap your booty”

Teenage boys on the other hand have little in common with the teenage girls but seem to be strangely attracted to them. This takes away the males ability to speak and they have to resort to grunts and strange hand and arm gestures which include cupping genitals (maybe sore after all that wanking)
Crossing arms across chest and posing like Tupac, and waving hands around pointing and gesticulating to emphasise each word said, often punctuated with a ‘yo’ sound. This seems to work best when the baseball cap, used to keep brain warm, is placed on head and is facing the other way.

This inability to communicate face to face is of course the evolutionary result of the use of the mobile phone. If one can’t yet get to visit one’s friends through the use of a jetpack or transporter system, the mobile phone is the best solution; further natural selection has also engineered the use of language. So the simplest of messages uses ‘lingo’
Hi wot U doin 2nt Shall we git a <)
(Hello what are you up to tonight, shall we get a pizza?)

This use of the mobile phone has also given teenagers an unnaturally mobile thumb so that they are able to tap out the longest txt message in seconds. The contrary result of this is the inability to finish any schoolwork on time, especially if it has to be written with a pen in English. Txtese or lingo is so much easier and one doesn’t have to bother to learn to spell (not when there’s spell checker). The comfortable ease and familiarity with technology is another evolutionary sign that the teenager is being naturally selected for modern life. When said teenager has to enter the world of work it will be one that suits the lifestyle. Sat in front of a computer on his/her fat arse, eating pizza communicating in a techno language be it Pascal or txt or lingo, or if really lucky, working from home on the laptop from bed, never having to communicate face to face, having cybersex with some other techno nerd who calls himself Julie and having pizza delivered by some other spotty teenager on a moped.

If your house is being invaded by strange smells and grunts don’t worry it’s not a poltergeist it’s probably a teenager. Here’s a checklist to help you out.

Teenager Alert!!!!
1. He will begin to smell but won't take a bath and can't smell his own odour
1a She will smell like a chemical factory from overuse of cheap deodorant
2. He will want you outta his life, but only after you have driven him to the mall
2a She will too
3. He will eat EVERYTHING in the Fridge
3a She will not want to eat anything so you worry about anorexia but in her bedroom she has 20 bags of crisps and 14 mars bars
4. He will spend hours in his bedroom doing NOTHING right!
4aShe will spend hours doing her makeup so she looks like an extra in frightnite!
5. Sleep will become a major occupation
6. You will lose all access to the internet as he plays games online 24/7
6a She will become obsessed with boys 24/7
7. He will resent you, the family, and the world for being dorky, while he is SO COOL
7a She will resent you too, be nice to her father, and flirt with any other male in a 5 mile vicinity
8. Black will be his favourite colour for the next 7 years
8a Black will be her favourite colour too but you will worry about the lacy black thongs and bras hanging in the bathroom
9. You will start sounding like your mother when you chastise him and her
10. His friends will be the nicest boys you have ever met, why does yours have to be the sulky great hulking sweaty hungry one?
10a You will never meet her friends

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Honest Car Mechanic - another oxymoron.

They say the biggest stress comes with moving house. I disagree; it comes with moving house and then having to find a new mechanic for the car. Not all of us can afford new cars and the prices that main dealers charge for servicing and repairs are just too outrageous. Some of us, I know it’s hard to believe, have to run second-hand cars that are a few years old with a few thousand (with mine read 100,000) miles on the clock.

Where I live at the moment Chris is my local mechanic, it’s his own business and it is always choc-a-bloc with customers’ cars. Why? Because Chris is as honest as the day he was born. I’ll just repeat that for the hard of reading and the unbelievers. I said ‘Chris, my mechanic and owner of the garage, is honest’. He will always fit you in. Always does the job he says he will do. Never overcharges and bills you 30 days later with another 30 days to pay! I can leave my car with him and tell him to fix it and go away in the secure knowledge that he will not find that the Scruton flange is not attached to the Foucault sprocket and that it will (sharp intake of breath followed by head shaking) cost me an arm and a leg.

Now I have to move to sunny Plymouth where I have lived before and have experienced mechanics. Now in Hollywood/Gangsta parlance a ‘Mechanic’ is slang for an assassin. This is a good enough analogy because the mechanics I’ve had dealings with in Plymouth have attempted to assassinate the contents of my wallet, do to death my bank account and strangle my cash flow.

Some examples:

My ex wife, when she was the wife, had some problems with the Car (she was in Plymouth studying I was in Bridgwater being househusband and kiddy sitter) She rang me, I said take it to a garage, one of the big chains. She did, she rang me back telling me that the steering rack was broken and the car needed a new one.

‘O’ I said ‘How much’?

‘Lots’ she said

‘Ring the AA and get them to tow it home’ I said

I took it to the local garage over the road (not Chris unfortunately), it was a Renault Dealer and they showed me where one of the engine brackets had lost its rubber.

It cost me about £3 and half an hour to fix!

Another time, I had lost the MOT certificate to my car, I needed to Tax the car. So the quickest way, I thought was to put it through another test as It had only been tested one month before (this was a new car I had bought with 12 months MOT). The FORD garage I took it to rang me with the bad news.

‘Can’t MOT this mate’
‘Why Not’
‘It’s a wreck’
‘What do you mean I just bought it with 12 months MOT’?
‘Nah looks like its been in a smack and the Baudrillard joints are all out’
‘How much to fix it then’?
‘O (swift intake of breath and probably shaking of head) about a 1000 quid’
Given that I’d only just spent about £800 on it (a Fiesta) it seemed a bit unreasonable
‘I’ll come and get it’
‘OK but it’s dangerous we should fix the Hume brackets at least’
‘No Thanks’

So I got the car, took it to a local garage that had done some reasonable work for me, where it flew through the MOT except for a bulb that needed replacing and a little bit of welding underneath. The mechanic there could find no evidence of it being in a crash, the guy I bought it off checked back with the auction house he got it from and no, it hadn’t been listed as crashed.

So they were all a bunch of robbing bastards. (and I have more examples)

So what to do now? I need to find a nice honest mechanic, I would think that was an oxymoron if it wasn’t for Chris, maybe I should just drive the 30 miles every time I need something done. O the stress!

Perhaps I’ll just sell the car and walk.

Home By Christmas- 4 down how many to go?

Yup a festive Hercules transporter plane will soon be delivering another of 'our boys' home for Christmas - in a box! Along with his mates wounded in a roadside bomb. Another 'success for Tony!

Plus I heard an American Officer being interviewed on the radio this morning, he is part of the force attacking Fallujah, he was quite suprised that the Iraqies were, I quote, 'firing back at us'
duh! Perhaps he thought that they would welcome him with arabic charm and mint tea!

Monday, November 08, 2004

America the Brave

I have been thinking some more on my attitude towards America and Americans. You will be aware from my earlier writing that I just don’t have the time to hate all Americans and as Altruistic Dad reminds me ‘It would be far better (and fairer) to say you're anti-Bush, anti-Republican, or anti-American-conservativism’. Well maybe that’ll do for the time being.

What galls me more, I guess, than American fast food culture and all that this entails is the bullying, we’re right you’re wrong and we’ll fight you for it attitude. Where does this attitude come from? Okay America is a big strong country. We know that, they know that, everybody knows that, so why does America have this inclination to throw its weight around? It’s the Mike Tyson of nations. It is probably an urban myth but it seems to me, from watching TV, that a lot of big physical men, fighting men are pussycats. They are content with their strength. They don’t have to prove to all and sundry that they are tough, take Muhhamed Ali for instance, I have never seen a bad headline about Ali beating on people other than those who chose to step in a ring with him, he even refused to fight in Vietnam. Yet Tyson seems unable to control his rage, his anger and strength. He bites peoples ears off, rapes women, he’s a big bad angry man. And so to is the USA a big, bad and angry nation.

Why is this? I think it is simply to do with History. The United States is still an adolescent in the family of Western Nations. It is young, barely out of its teens whereas the rest of the Western Nations are well into middle age, mature, solid, sure of themselves. These Western European Nations have been at it for centuries, we have a history. We’ve had our squabbles, spats, fights and Wars over more than 1000 years. We’ve bloodied noses and bit off ears with the best of them, before even the US was a twinkle in someone’s eye.

Now I think the US is jealous, they want to flex a bit of muscle, they want to do what their older brothers have done. I mean all of us in the family of nations have even had colonies. Why once little Old Britain owned most of the civalised world, we ruled the seas, Emperors and Kings bowed at the knees of our Monarchs (I’m not saying this was a good thing per se but it’s the truth). Even little bitty nations like, Belgium and Austria had colonies. The Big boys, Britain, France and Spain were regularly beating the shit out of each other and anyone else that got in their way.

But now we’re older, mature, content with the status quo. We can look after ourselves without having a hissy fit if someone tries to get funny with us (i.e the IRA). Whilst the US is acting like the new punk on the block. She acts like a punk dancing in the mosh pit at a gig, all elbows and knees not giving a fuck who eyes and groins she mashes her elbows into - thinking ‘look at me look at me, I’m the hardest toughest kid around’. Whilst in the shadows, at the back, the old big guys, the guys who once were tough snort and do their own thing. The Russian Mafia guys sell girls and guns and wonder if they can get a Mac Donalds franchise, the Chinese Tong guys are more worried about where their next chop sui is coming from and all the other big fish are back at home in Europe wondering when the young punk will come and shit in our backyard.

But America is smart enough to know that the West would not put up with it’s hissy fits for too long. So the bullyboys of the USA march into countries where the armies they fight are basically miltia made up of boys and men with old AK47’s. And yet not smart enough to realize that they get beat all the time. (Vietnam - Strategic withdrawal, Korea – lost, WW2 - steal the glory from the Soviet people who died in their millions for victory over the Nazi’s, Battle of Little Big Horn – get the picture!)

The United States is not learning the lessons of history, they lose at this type of war, these wars are unwinnable, like Vietnam, because people are fighting not for political ideologies such as the Nazi’s did but they are fighting for their homes and families, for the right to live how they want to live. Britain and the rest of the West learnt these lessons long ago, why do you think we gave up our empire, because it was a mission impossible to maintain any form of legal authority over the people with out degenerating into an armed struggle that would carry on for year after deadly year with casulty and dead numbers rising and rising.

The United States and it’s people need to grow up, they need to become adults and learn from their mistakes. Don’t think you can force your ideas of liberty, democracy and freedom on whom you so chose. We tried it and failed. Learn the lessons of history. Unfortunatly given the results of the recent election there is still some growing up and hard learning to be done!

Home By Christmas Part 2.

With reference to my earlier blog Home by Christmas - I see Tony Blair is keeping his word as 3 Black Watch soldiers are being sent home from Iraq in Boxes and others will be following in ambulances. Well Done Tony! I’m sure their families will be thinking of you this Christmas Day.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The sound of silence - rememberance

I recently went into my local library. A notice on the door proclaimed that at 11am on the 11th Novemeber there would be a 2 minutes silence in the library. How will they know? Perhaps there should be a 2 minutes yelling instead, that would bring it to the readers attention, wouldn't it?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Secret Santa Ho Ho Errr!

Secret Santa

Ho Ho Ho, Its that time of year again, yes we’ve hardly entered November and the buzz around the office is the Secret Santa event. This is where a member of staff is designated to put all the names of our work colleagues into a hat and then we have to troop down and take a pick. The name you choose then becomes the recipient of an anonymous gift from you at the Christmas Lunch.

This means that I have to pick a name and then go and spend, to the maximum of £5, my money on somebody I don’t really know and if the odds are against me somebody I really loathe. Of course this also means that I will be the lucky recipient of a gift somebody has tried to buy me on the basis of what they know about me. For the life of me I cannot remember even one gift that I have received in all the times I have participated in this event.

Oh I know everyone will say stop being a ‘humbug’ and enjoy it, it’s Christmas after all! So? Goodwill to all persons and all that! So? I don’t have much goodwill when it comes to the people I work with. Ok I don’t hate them per se, but they’re not my mates either. I work-therefore I am.

Maybe I should go out with them more on the social events and get to know them. But I live over 30 miles away and their idea of a good time is going to the local bars and getting bladdered. Now I don’t mind having a drink, I am not a stick in the mud or a party pooper, but what fun is it to stand with a group of drunken work colleagues while you sip mineral water and stare around boredly.

So I have to do this Secret Santa thing and think about what gift I can possibly get for someone I don’t know that will raise an uproarious laugh around the table as the recipient is slightly humiliated by the content of the packet. Because that’s what people do isn’t it? Search out the slight flaw in the character that everybody knows about and selects a present that points right at it. The guy who’s the office letch with bad breath gets given something that lets him know everybody knows what he’s up to, like mouth wash, the office slag gets the blow up boob’s because hers are always on display. The Boss some arselicking present that costs way more than £5. Me, something I don’t even remember (perhaps I should worry about that!)

And then of course there is the Office Christmas Dinner. Booked in May into some god awful restaurant offering cheap Xmas lunches to the corporate Christmas Junket seekers.

First problem is we have to pay for it ourselves, that’s because our boss makes Scrooge look like Paul Getty giving his money away. So that’s going to be about £20 for lunch! So everybody gets their Turkey etc with all the trimmings, funny hats and crackers. As a vegetarian I am really not sure what to have, either the festive veggie lasagne, or the Christmassy veggie pastry covered thing I forget what they call it but it’s trendy because it has feta cheese and cranberries in it! Okay I know I’m bitching a bit, and you might say its my fault for being a veggie, but all I am asking is that the chef is a little more thoughtful about what he/she can offer as a festive meal – its not that hard!

So you can tell I am looking forward to this event, which I believe is happening around the 10th December, because May was too late to book anywhere remotely near to the day we finish – December 24th. I can’t even look forward to getting drunk and then necking with one of the office juniors in the photocopy cupboard. 1. Because the photocopy cupboard is now my office (so I suppose technically the option is still open*) 2. Because we have to come back to work after lunch, so there is no opportunity to get drunk (and I still have the long drive home) and 3. I have to buy a stupid Secret Santa gift.

(*but my wife would somehow know psychically and kill me)

Any ideas for the perfect gift which seem fine but is slightly insulting in a humorous way? All gratefully received.

Ho Ho Ho Happy Holidays (to my American readers) and Happy Christmas to the rest of you!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Four More Years of Bush!

Four more years of Bush

I guess it depends on how quickly you say this as to whether it brings a smile to your lips or you break down in tears. I guess it also depends on whether you have the mentality of a thirteen year old boy or you are serious about your politics. (I hope I am in the latter category) – (Well not too serious!)

So Freedom and Democracy is safe for another four years. I don’t really know how afraid I am when I write this. But I send a word of sympathy to all the good thinking people of the US.

An online dictionary from Princeton University in the US tell us that Freedom is:

the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.

Is this the ‘freedom’ that Bush jnr. Is imposing on Iraq and Afghanistan? Because is seems to me that this ‘freedom’ Bush talks about comes with a lot of strings and external imposed (by the US) restraints – that’s not Freedom is it?

Another definition is:

Not being under another's control; the power to say or do as one pleases, e.g., freedom of speech or belief or freedom of economic decision making.

None of these, to my mind, is what’s on offer when the United States, through its figurehead Bush, starts to influence the citizens of those countries with displays of military strength and bombing by its Air Force. What about freedom of belief, and freedom of economic decision making? None of these will be part of Bush’s plan (Bush being, I am sure, a part of the ultra-right Christian Evangelical movement for whom Islam would be an anathema)

This leads us to another definition of freedom:

The societal condition that exists when every individual has 100% control over their own property."

That is, if it has not been bombed into dust, along with the rest of your extended family!

Freedom is one of those tricky words that mean different things to different people. For some CCTV is a means to freedom, for others is an abuse of a persons freedom to walk freely without being observed. There is, through the use of CCTV for instance, an implied guilt, that we all have to be observed in some way, like in Orwell’s 1984, and of course its all in the name of the people for the good of the people.

It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face… was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime Orwell 1984

It’s like the bringing together the two words Freedom and Terrorism can be used as a sort of a talisman that allows bullies like Bush and his Government (Which it appears over 50% of the US population support – so using guilt by association, the US is a country of bullies – and not just the red necked sort apparently) to enter legal states around the world and to enforce this thing ‘Freedom’.

Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." Orwell 1984.

To be honest I do not want America’s ideas Freedom, I do not want the US to even suggest to me that their freedom’s are better than the freedom’s enjoyed by me in my country. I do not support any invasion of another country in the name of Bush’s idea of Freedom. I do not want the American Dream because from this side of the Atlantic it looks much more like an American Nightmare. The pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness seems to be some sort of horrendous joke when it is applied to whats happening in the Middle East.

Remember Bush and co one day you will be bought to account:

"It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same—everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same—people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world." Orwell 1984

Four More Years
Don’t Dry the Tears
On the mothers sallow cheek

When Soldier Boys
Have Lost their Toys
And return in the Brittle Box

A folded flag
Just a political gag
Placed in the Mothers hands

In Dusty Street
Other Sad Mothers weep
For the children dead in arms

It’s Freedoms stain
Americas Shameful Bloody Pain
Four More Years of Bush

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Super Star DJ

Am I getting old or is it that I just do not understand the superstar DJ phenomenon?
Why is it that these guys are so famous, just for playing music? Not that they are actually playing the music, merely putting the CD in the machine or cueing up a track on some vinyl. Some don’t even choose the music, most radio DJ’s have producers who choose the music according to the play list. They just press a few buttons. In America I believe all you have to do to become a DJ is shout loudly and swear.

It seems to me to have all got a little disjointed and out of hand. A bit like Ferrari mechanics becoming more famous than Schumacher! And they all have such stupid names like Flat Boy Dim, DJ Bang, DJ Jazzy Deff, DJ Funkmaster Drunk. Come on, it’s not that hard is it?

Get down to Maplin’s get your ‘DJ in a Box’ kit (160quid) then off to the car boot sales and charity shops for the albums and singles and you’re away on your new career – don’t forget the crazy name!

I did DJ’ing for a bit one summer down in Newquay. It’s not hard. My day went like this.

Wait on Breakfast
Clean Bars
Serve bars
Afternoon off
Wait on Dinner
Serve bar till about 9 ish
Be a superstar DJ till 2 in the morning.

It was easy. My bar mate would ensure a constant surreptitious supply of bottled Pils (on the house of course) and I would be off.

Here are some tips for the likes of Flat Boy that I picked up when DJ’ing to the holiday crowd in Newquay during the summer of 81 – they are probably still relevant today.

Get some red jeans – cos you gotta look the part!
The Nolan Sisters – I’m in the Mood For Dancing will fill the dance floor pronto, especially useful if you have a moody crowd.
Play the Gap Band - Oops Upside Your Head about 5 times in a row, while the dance floor goes mad with everybody doing the ‘rowing’ dance
Save the slow ones for the end, cos every one likes a smooch and it’s a guys last chance to cop a shag after all the nice girls have been picked by the dance floor John Travolta’s.
Remember the context, so in Newquay the Beach Boys always goes down well with the surfer crowd, if you are touring your act for example try not to use a mega mix of the Dam Busters March and the Theme to the Battle of Britain in Berlin, they might prefer David Hasselhof or Kraftwerk better.
Remember Americans can’t dance (apart from aforesaid Travolta, Gene Kelly and Astair) play something they can stamp their feet to like Dueling Banjo’s, it makes them feel at home or a nice polka.

So there you go - all the inside knowledge of what it takes to be a superstar DJ. Follow these tips and you will probably have a number one hit and be a big star by the summer when you can zoom off to Ibiza for fun in the sun.

Mail me your DJ name so I can watch out for you. Good Luck