Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:17:15 AM
BBC Radio 4. 1:00pm. Time signal. "Here is the news".
Less than two minutes running through the headlines.
20 minutes in and they're still talking about Olympic seating.
I switched off.
I mean, come on, there are some subjects about which it is possible to pontificate for over 20 minutes, but Olympic seating? What was this, a really really slow news day?
I get it. If I'd been told there were no more seats and then saw rows and rows of the things empty on TV I too would be more than somewhat truculent, but there's only so much that can be said on the matter. What it comes down to is that part of the deal when 'winning' the 2012 Olympics (Oops, just broke the law again...) was that we had to give free tickets to the IOC for their families and friends, and when people get things for free they often don't use them. They were probably in Stratford-upon-Avon by mistake, or in Bicester Village, by mistake, or maybe looking around the Tower and scaring off the ravens (Deliberately). What did it matter to them? It's not like they'd paid for the seats themselves or anything.
What the British Olympic Committee should do is hand over the tickets on the clear understanding that they will be used or lost. I don't see how the IOC could object to that since objecting would be to admit that they weren't going to use them.
There, I've sorted it. Can I have some proper news now, please?
Saturday, July 28, 2012 1:30:07 PM
I first came across Google as just one of many search engines on a huge list of the things on a website called Search Engine Watch.
Today, for no discernible reason that I can think of, I decided to have a look at it again, just to see if Google had any likely rivals in the near future.
It's grown up.
Actually the only thing it has in common with the original site is its URL. I suspect it's a completely different organisation. It's now a web marketing 'tool', that will help you with your online marketing needs. Oh good, that's just what I need.
Then just as I was about to go elsewhere, I noticed this:-http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2194736/Google-Facebook-Amazon-Quietly-Forming-Tech-Lobbying-Group
Why do I find this frightening?
It's not just the thought of a bunch of big-business Johnny-come-latelys having the gall to call themselves the 'Internet Association', it's what big business might see as being the way forward for the internet as opposed to what I might see in that general direction.
The internet was once the new frontier, and just like the old frontier it was ordinary people who first moved in, and set up small businesses. Then came big business, and started screwing them over.
The first greeeedy cattle baron to settle the area was Microsoft, then other barons took over Amazon and Google, are you following the metaphor? In the old new frontier it finally became time for a little law and order to be brought in. I think the internet may have just reached that point.
But personally I'd rather have original settlers W3C running the joint than the Cattle Baron's Association.
Yes, I have just been watching 'Brisco County Jnr.' on DVD.
Friday, July 27, 2012 7:09:18 PM
Y'see, it goes like this.
Magicians lead you to believe that they're playing tricks. The hand deceives the eye, it's all done with mirrors, no animal was harmed in the making of this trick, and, most importantly, we're not allowed to tell you how this trick is done, it would spoil the illusion.
I've had this suspicion for years now. In my life as a musician I've seen dozens of these guys, I've seen the ones who don't like you standing just there because you might see how the trick's done, and I've sat about 3 feet behind a guy who could make a girl float in the air, a local girl in a local village hall using only two local village hall chairs, on a stage that the band had been playing on only minutes earlier, a stage that I hadn't left.
But the clincher came this morning. I'd just removed two tablets from a bottle of the things and put the lid back on when it slipped out of my hand. It hit the ground top down and tipped on its side, undamaged. I picked it up and about 30 tables came pouring out and onto the floor.
The lid was still on, the bottle was undamaged, filled with water there was nary a leak.
How the hell did those tablets get out?
If I knew that I'd be on stage telling people that it was all a trick, the hand deceives the eye, it's all done with mirrors, no animal was harmed in the making of this trick, and, most importantly, we're not allowed to tell you how this trick is done, it would spoil the illusion.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:46:00 PM
This fortnight's Private Eye has a G4S timeline. It goes:-
February: G4S wins 'Security company of the year'
May: They win 'Best recruitment strategy'. Head of resourcing says that "The quality of workers and the speed in which we can recruit, train, and deploy them is critically important."
July: They cock-up their Olympics job so badly they have to be bailed out.
I think I can go back a little further.
Many years ago, before G4 got their 'S', we were parked on a village green somewhere having a sandwich and a cup of tea when a guy dressed in overall came trotting across the green, stood just in front of us looking up and down the road, then moved on. I don't know where, we weren't that interested. Moments later two guys in G4 uniforms came tearing across the green, perspiring heavily. They stopped for a moment at the road, then ran in different directions till one shouted to the other who turned and ran back after him
I've no idea what it was all about, but I know what it looked like.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:35:21 AM
I used to cringe every time someone said that in my presence. Be it a line manager or a managing director, my reaction was always the same.
"Is there any other kind?"
If you were to approach a total stranger and ask "What are you thinking?" and they replied "Squid", would you be satisfied with that, or would you press on and ask "Aha, yes but are you thinking of the plight of the Giant Squid, the word's largest invertebrate, or mayhap the episode of the online comic 'The Anthronauts' entitled 'Plight of the squid', or perhaps you are thinking of a fond pet, or an exotic meal, or do you think only of a Cockneyesque slang term for money?" would you be prepared to accept the reply "I don't know, I haven't got that far yet"?
This is a subject which seems to feature a lot in my blogiary and here we go again.
Yesterday, while we were out, someone snuck down our road putting up notices to say that there would be no onstreet parking today because they would be doing road resurfacing work.
I noticed the problem immediately. Today is the day of the refuse disposal operative. No one could be that stupid, can they?
Yes, they can.
There are men with big lorries out there struggling to resurface the road whilst others struggle to empty our recycling into their big lorries around them.
What we need is joined up thinking.
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:05:48 PM
Spain's borrowing rate has gone up to 7½%. In other words they're getting ever closer to needing a bailout.
But whoever sets these lending rates knows that, so why do it? It's not because they're afraid of not getting their money back because it makes it more likely, and not because they think they'll get more money out of the country because they obviously won't.
The advice I'm always given is "Follow the money".
So someone tell me, who stands to gain out of Spain going bust?
I think we should be told.
Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:37:02 PM
© 2012 Artful Doodlers Limited
Ah yes, summertime is here, and just in time for the Olympics too. And now at last our fellow Europeans across the channel in France can see why we got the 2012 tournament, and they didn't.
We agreed to sell the souls of everyone in the country to the
I've just broken the law of the land with the title of this blog. Did you spot it? I put the words 'Summer' and '2012' next to each other in a sentence. This is illegal for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics. This blog could be shut down
for this offence because I am apparently implying that I am in some way, shape, or form, connected to the grand event.
But it probably won't. The Trading Standards police have assured us that they are going to take only "Sensible precautions" and won't come down on every unsuspecting transgressor who has harmlessly broken the regulations.
Enter a small scale sausage manufacturer. A butcher, in fact, who makes his own sausages. True aficionados of sausages will be aware that they come in all shapes and sizes, including circular. I personally only know about these circular sausage treats because at a music fair that I used to attend annually there was always a stand selling 'Sausageburgers', which were identical to regular burgers except that they were powered by a circular sausage.
This butcher placed 5 of his circular sausages in his window display, in the shape of the Olympic rings. You all know what happened next.
Yup. He received a visitation from the Trading Standards arm of the Olympic juggernaut and told to rearrange the window design, re. the placement of his circular sausages.
The Olympic Cafe has been told to change its name for the duration of the games. It's now called the 'lympic cafe.
Little Chef are currently defying the law and continuing to advertise their Olympic breakfasts.
'Gold', 'silver', and 'bronze' are all restricted in the usage they can be put to...
France. Next time I really hope you get the games.
Why should we be the only ones to suffer?
Sunday, July 15, 2012 12:51:05 PM
Radio waves are just a thing. A thing that's there and it can be used for doing stuff. It belongs to nobody, so naturally the government, as it always does, claims ownership upon everyone's behalf and sells it to the highest bidders.
Only we never seem to get the money.
The thing is, the people doing all this buying and selling appear to have absolutely no comprehension of what this thing known as radio is.
Many moons ago they decided, by looking at a chart of frequency usage, that there was room for another TV channel in the UK. H'ray! More money for them! And the frequencies were flogged off to the cunningly named Channel 5.
Then they had to buy off the video company that already owned the name.
Before C5 even started test broadcasts the company was already complaining that it was only going to cover about 60% of the country. No problem, decided the government, just slip them a few more of those frequency things. Unfortunately those new frequencies were the ones in use by video recorders and video games.
At C5's expense an army of engineers took to the streets to convert every video game and recorder in the land to some other frequency that wasn't in use in their area. My Colecovision has never worked since, and my Intellivision has been a bit flaky as well. The engineer had never seen either of them before.
It seems that they just don't learn.
The latest major conversion has been to get us all on to digital TV. Another army of engineers has been going around the country, but this time, unless you were 'special needs', you had to pay for the conversion yourself. Good for the economy you see. The job is now almost completely over, Britain is now digital and all the better for it, with endless channels showing repeats, reality shows, repeats of reality shows, and channel after channel of inane mindless crap, each one with a glowing name-tag permanently on-screen because we're all too stupid to know what channel we're watching.
Enter the G4 mobile 'phone network.
It seems this new network is going to interfere with the new digital TV service. Estimates range from "It will affect almost half the country" to "It will affect 10% of all households".
Another army of engineers is being assembled.
Sunday, July 8, 2012 7:31:30 PM
Judge-led enquiries? Please, pause whilst I scoff. Who needs judges when we have MPs?
There'll be Conservatives asking questions, they'll be the ones who are always bearing in mind that the banks fund 55% of their party. There'll be Labourites in full probe mode, always remembering in the back of their minds that these are the b@$#@£ds who sabotaged them right before an election. There will probably also be the odd Liberal or two trying to be incisive without upsetting anyone and always carrying the nagging knowledge that these are the guys who never gave them any money. And finally there may be a real minority candidate if they can find one, who will feel that they have something to prove and nothing to lose, and who will in any any case firmly believe that all bankers should be shot.
I can hardly wait.
Not that judges would be any kind of guarantee of quality. For example, Crown v Levitt. Levitt was a 'businessman' arrested by the serious fraud office on charges of deception amounting to £65m. It also cost almost one and a half million quid to bring him to trial. Levitt cunningly agreed to plead guilty on a "Specimen charge", and was sentenced to, wait for it, 180 hours community service.
Two thugs, in an unprovoked attack, beat a young man senseless with an iron bar. For reasons known only to himself the judge decided not to send them to jail, the boy's father then swore at the judge and hit one of the men. The judge immediately sentenced the father to 3 months in prison. He might have gone harder on him were it not for the fact that he had less than a year to live due to terminal cancer.
The former owner of Walsall Football Club was found guilty of fraudulently acquiring £90m of the money investors had put into his company. The judge decided against prison because he said he'd received "Moving" letters from the man's friends and colleagues.
Ernest Saunders, former head of the Guinness liquid refreshment empire, was found guilty of theft, conspiracy, and false accounting. The trial set we-the-people back to the tune of £20m, in return for which we got him put away for two and a half years. Except that after 10 months he was released on the grounds of 'pre-senile dementia'. He suffered an instant recovery, trousered £150,000 tax-free from Guinness and jetted off to work as a consultant in Switzerland.
Roger Seelig, also a part of the Guinness scandal, didn't wait that long to get taken not well. We-the-people funded his defence, to the tune of $400,000. The judge then abandoned the trial because Seelig was apparently "Bewildered" and "Unable to think straight". So bewildered was he that he promptly landed a job as director of Norman Hay Ltd.
It's amazing what you pick up if you watch Have I Got News For You for long enough.
Friday, July 6, 2012 11:57:27 PM
David Cameron said in a recent speech that too many of Britain's top athletes were public schoolboys and girls. He asked why it was that independent schools accounted for more than a third of Britain's Olympic medal winners despite boasting only 7 percent of the nation's pupils.
Has he taken a look at the members of his cabinet recently?
I think we should be told.
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