Category: News

Posts about current news (UK or World)

Mixed Fruit

I do feel a little guilty doing this kind of post for the second time in as many days but.. well.. see the previous post as to why.

So let’s start with, and you knew it would be this way, the recent Apple ‘event’ (product launch). If that doesn’t interest you, skip the next paragraph and read on from there, can you help me get out of my contract with Orange!

Is the “iPod Touch” a fallback position because they couldn’t garner contracts with the mobile telecoms in Europe? Why DID they add Video to the Nano, it was perfectly suited as a music only player and if they are keeping the Shuffle as a highly focussed product, why are the others all starting to converge? Why WILL it take Starbucks until 2009 to roll out their partnership stuff and, frankly, do I even care?

Apples and Oranges, purely coincidence I promise.

I have a contract with Orange which lasts another 8 months or so (it’s an 18mth contract). However, I’m less than happy with their services, coverage at our house is appalling, and the handset whilst not broken is full of annoying faults which force me to hang up on calls now and then (the sliding mechanism doesn’t always seem to lock in).

I’ve spoken to them about the handset but, and I think I’ve got this correct, if the fault isn’t listed on their system then they can’t offer replacement handset. I argued that one for a while but eventually gave up, as even the ‘supervisor’ (presuming it was actually said person) confirmed that the ‘system’ wouldn’t allow such things. Handy that, eh?

That, coupled with various other interactions with their customer service department, has me cringing every time something goes wrong with my account or my mobile phone. So I wanna ditch them before the end of my contract? Any suggestions? Saying that I’m going to working abroad for the next year is an option perhaps??

So it’s R.I.P. for Pavarotti. I’m not a fan of opera, but he seemed a nice big chap, didn’t he. Couldn’t half warble. Admittedly I’m less than thrilled that the airwaves will be filled with Nessun Dorma for the next day or so as I’m sure that he had better highlights but, well you’ve got to pander to the proles don’t you. I’m sure Gert will be expressing her sadness.

And finally, bananas. I used to work with a woman who found them wholly disturbing things, couldn’t even look at one. Isn’t that odd?

Terror! Inept?

Some brief thoughts that sparked through my head after the “terror” attack on Glasgow Airport.

1. Glasgow, my home city. All of a sudden it’s close to home. Doubly so as I drive right past the runway every day on my way to work every day.

2. Glasgow, isn’t a capital city, why didn’t they hit Edinburgh?

3. If they HAD gotten the vehicle inside it would have been awful.. queues of people waiting to checkin would’ve been about 15 feet from the doorway the car hit.

4. Ummm the car was too wide for the doors?

5. Ummmm they only used one car, and were targetting one end of a long narrow building. Even if they HAD have gotten in… the building would probably still be usable…

6. Can we stop reporting that the terrorists are Asian? It’s wholly pointless really.

7. Who was the last white terrorist?

8. BBC News 24 is awful. The fact that “some ministers have been seen heading for No.10” is NOT news!

9. I seem to be de-sensitised to this already. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

So today I’ll watch the French Grand Prix, do a little work and try, again, to get my Wifi connection to play nicely with my Mac.

Just another Sunday really. Except it’s not, it’s now tainted with thoughts of car bombs and suspicion is creeping in… paranoia to follow?

Hit me, baby, one more time

Another tragic day in the US, another gun related crime (amongst many).

The same arguments will be wheeled out, debated, and forgotten as we move on with our daily lives, the blessing of the unaffected.

Spare a moment, a thought, for those who won’t be able to move on, who will suffer, who are in pain.

And then pause and wonder when it will change. If it will change. Will it change? Will it? How long must it take? How many dead bodies need to be piled up?

Too.. many.. posts..

Anyone else get this?

Over the past couple of weeks I struggled to find inspiration for posts, I kinda clawed at a few things just to fill the space but I was aware it was an effort. Didn’t bother all that much, I’d just started a new job and my brain was busy processing a gazillion other things, but it still annoyed me.

This week though, bloody hell, I can’t STOP coming up with post ideas. So, and with the caveat that this may, or may not, be expanded at a later date (ohh who am I kidding, I’ll chuck them in this post and forget about them), here are some of those potential blog post topics in brief:

News item 1
Prisoners should have the right to vote.
My thought: They lost that right when they broke the law!

Driving thought 1
Just what IS the percentage of guys that pick their nose whilst sitting at traffic lights?

Bloggies 2007
Naked Blog for lifetime achievement, but.. dammit.. beautiful revolution or unreliable witness. I’m torn!

Good to see Pandemian in there too, well deserved. Blog of the year for me is Lifehacker (from the choices).

Although the entire thing is getting a little samey in some categories. Surely Heather and Zoe should retire from the competition to give the other poor buggers a chance!

And yes, once again I wasn’t shortlisted for “best kept secret”. Tell you what, next year I don’t WANT to be nominated. Reverse what? Sorry, no idea what you are talking about.

WordPress 2.1
Is worth an upgrade SOLELY for the auto-save feature. Never lose a blog post again! Start writing, accidentally close your browser after three paragraphs… and your post is still there! GENIUS!

This site
Or more accurately, a new site that I’m toying with starting. That’s what triggered the minipost query about shuffling the blog to a subdirectory. Or possibly a sub-domain of… still to be decided.

Driving thought 2
When you are on a dual-carriageway, and you want to overtake the car in front, pulling out into the outside lane is fine. But is there any chance that you could check the road behind you first? I don’t mean for the car that is already in the outside lane (that’s a given to be honest) but could you also check what’s BEHIND that car.

‘Cos if there is nothing behind him for, say, a mile or so, then pausing for a split second to let him past BEFORE swerving out into his path might just stop him almost ending up in your boot and calling you a “WANKFUCK” at the top of his voice.

And for the record I was doing about 74mph at the time, and he didn’t fucking indicate.

Mine that is. I’m toying with doing an MA in Technical Communications. I don’t actually have any formal qualifications for my profession you see. This won’t be until September, as I’m hoping my company will pay for it (or part of it) and asking them to do that in February when I’ve only been there a month is a bit cheeky (mainly because I also want them to send me to a couple of conferences first). Still just an idea, and I’m holding off committing to it too much as I’m aware I’m still in the ‘enthused zone’ as I’ve just changed jobs.

News item 2
Well not one item as such but a variety. From the catholic adoption agencies, to the football (soccer) team in the USA, it’s so disheartening to see such horrible horrible prejudices still alive and well. Is this really the world we live in?

I is not racist

Deary me. Such a silly little TV programme causing such a stir. Let me just mount my “I haven’t been watching it this time” high horse, and we can get started.

Firstly I’ll state that I’m not interested in who said what, as my firm belief is that any kind of racist statement is a deplorable outcome of ill-education.

Secondly I’ll state that whilst I haven’t really been following this, it does seem to be very much a “reap what you sow” kind of situation, with the sickening implication that Channel 4 are probably, privately, pleased with the increased viewing figures and profile for the show.

Thirdly, it would seem that the main conflict isn’t race but intellect*.

After an exchange of words with Shetty, in which Shetty told Goody she needed elocution lessons, Goody launched into an expletive-ridden rant to Lloyd and O’Meara in which she said “fake” Shetty needed “a day in the slums”. [via]

The key issue, for me, is not how we correct this now, but how we MUST act to correct this for the future. And yes, as ever, it’ll be back to that old adage, education, education, education.
Read More

Thank you


First of all I’d like to say what an honour it has been to be a part of this, what an incredible privilege that has been bestowed on me, one which I will treasure and keep with me at all times. I certainly never expected to receive anything like this and I’m both surprised and thrilled that is has been awarded.

Of course I need to thank some people. My parents, without whom I wouldn’t be standing here today, my family for keeping me grounded and never letting me forget my roots, and last but never ever least my darling wife. She completes me and without her this award would be meaningless.

Thank you again to everyone else involved, we are ALL wonderful people and richly deserve this honour. I feel decidedly under-equipped to receive this award on behalf of you, but I shoulder the burden as best I can.

We ARE the people. YOU are the winners.

Thank you Time magazine, thank you.

Ban the outcasts

George Bush has recently called for a ban on gay marriages. He said:

Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.

So what of the husband and wife who love each other but don’t have children? Are they not qualified to get married? Do children make a marriage? Will this legislation include a clause that states that married people must promote the welfare of children? And what the hell does that mean anyway?

You could easily write this off as just another way to win votes but the sentiment behind this last statement sickens me to the core. Apparently it’s no longer acceptable to say that, if re-elected, you’ll cut taxes, increase spending on schools or anything that may have an actually, positive, change to everyday life of everyday people. No, these days it seems to be fashionable to attack various groups of people, ostracizing and vilifying are the methods of choice.

What kind of way is that to run a country? What is the benefit to the great good?

Ohhh but of course that’s just naive little me, forgetting that politicians aren’t there to serve the people that elected them (or, perhaps DIDN’T elect them in this case). And “they” wonder why so many people can’t be bothered to vote. What’s the point? What say do we really have?

Now, I’m not suggesting for a minute that we all stop voting… ohh wait, maybe that’s the answer!! If everybody doesn’t vote, and I mean not one single vote, what happens?

Anyway as a heterosexual male, who is happily married and who is in a relationship that is BY CHOICE without children, where do we fit in? We aren’t… what was it… “promoting the welfare of children and the stability of society” so are we to be classed as outcasts as well?

Or is it ok for us because, you know, we’re not “one of them”.

And people wonder why we don’t have children, what kind of world is this to bring a child into?

No smoking

It’s such an historic occasion that I can’t let it pass quietly…

Scotland is now, legally, a “non-smoking in enclosed areas” country. Uproar and nonsense have been spewed forth on this topic for many months now, and loathed as I am to add to it I feel compelled to put forth a non-smokers view.

First let me explain why I don’t smoke, in fact I’ve only tried it twice and both times I was young enough and drunk enough to think I was impressing my peers, and both times the experience left me with a disgusting taste in my mouth and sick feeling in my stomach. To this day I can’t fathom the appeal (ahh but it’s an addiction now, isn’t it).

My Grandpa used to smoke. I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not entirely sure it was solely to blame for his death but I can easily state that watching someone you love deteriorate through several strokes is a horrible and prolonged experience. To all extents and purposes the last year or two of his life were just that, a long slow progression towards his death. It was, and is, horrible.

I wouldn’t put anyone through that, having seen the toll it takes on a family, and I’ll happily chalk that up as one selfish strike against those of you who smoke. Of course that’s overly harsh to people of my Grandpa’s generation as the negative impact of smoking was well-known, but for those of you reading this now there is no excuse. You know it’s bad for you.

So the question has to be, and I’ve asked most of the smokers I know, if you KNOW it’s bad for you why do you keep doing it? It’s an easy question to ask, of course, but a far harder one to answer. Nicotine is an addictive substance but there are many many people who have successfully stopped smoking so it must be possible. Is it purely a matter of want and will? Or do you need a push?

Obviously the main focus of the smoking ban has the impact on pubs. Several ‘commentators’ have voiced their opinions against the ban, accusing it of removing their right to socialise, and an infringement of civil rights. Which is, of course, complete and utter tosh. It’s a bit like an alcoholic saying that pubs shouldn’t serve alcohol lest they have temptation placed in their path and anyway, as others have said, blowing smoke in all over the place is hardly a ‘social’ act, is it?

And what of class? Dare I bring that into this argument? Is it possible that it plays a role in the position of smoking in society? Well it would be foolish to say that it doesn’t as the evidence is quite to the contrary. The trendy winebars and coffee houses will suffer dips in custom I’m sure but it’s the out of town pubs, where the out of work or retired spend their day supping pints in a haze that will feel the brunt in the longer term (presuming the policing of the ban isn’t seen as an after-thought, a possible side-effect of the promised, initial, softly-softly approach). Or am I stereotyping? And does it matter anyway? It’s not about class after all, as the Scottish Executive keeps telling us, it’s about getting people to stop smoking.

Next up the cry of human rights and the so-called denial of them in the form of ‘basic’, and occasionally ‘god given’, form (whatever that means, I’m not sure God drew up a manifesto of rights when he created man, but I guess he hoped we wouldn’t have fucked things up quite as spectacularly as we seem to be doing). Apparently if someone chooses an activity, and that activity has cause to influence (or waft over) others then it’s the person who chose the activity that gets to make any decisions about it. Of course. How silly of me.

In defence of smokers, I would warrant that many don’t even realise that they have been forcing people to make decisions for a long time now. For example, if I’m sitting in a pub, and the table next to me is suddenly occupied by a couple of smokers I’ll usually CHOOSE to move. After all, I CHOSE to enter that pub, and CHOSE to sit down at that table. Right? Ohhh I’ve just realised that last sentence should’ve been written in the past tense… such subtle joys.

To say the smoking ban forces people to be anti-social may be, in part, true. I can sympathise to an extent with smokers as a lot of them are considerate, smoke only in designated areas and are polite enough to at least pretend they are embarassed when their residue leaves you choking over your dinner (although why they waft their hands about in front of themselves I’ll never understand… it’s the smoke under MY nose that is the problem.. it’s a nice gesture though). To force people outside regardless of the weather seems a little harsh. After all they CHOSE to enter that pub, and they CHOOSE to smoke… ohhh hang on…

And therein lies the flaw in the argument. The smoking ban does not force anyone to CHOOSE to be anti-social. It forces you to CHOOSE to smoke or not. Is THAT a violation of civil rights, an insult to free choice and a threat to democracy? In direct context, yes, but you need to delve a little deeper.

To give an example: I choose to watch my speed when I pass a school for I am aware that my CHOICE may have an impact (pun unintended) on others. Some smokers seem to think that their choice to smoke is theirs alone, a solitary decision, for no-one but them to make.

And if they want it that way then they have made another choice. The choice to turn their back on society, on community, and go it alone. EVERY choice we make has an impact, no matter how indirectly, on others. Everyone has to make those choices, every single day; I choose not to smoke. I choose to go to the pub. Of those two choices, none have any impact on anyone else (except perhaps the pub itself…). Yet if a smoker chooses to go to the pub (and chooses to light up), their choice has a direct impact on everyone else.

Yes, the smoking ban is aimed at getting people to stop smoking. Yes, stopping smoking may be hard. But what I still can’t fathom is why there is such uproar about this. I really, sincerely, hope it’s just the press generating news. Otherwise we have a bigger problem on our hands, namely that the people who smoke aren’t even smart enough to see that the ban is designed to help them live longer.

It may be a generation or two before the real benefits of the smoking ban are felt, but for once it’s good to see politicians taking a bold stand. I can’t wait until Friday night rolls around.

Mixed message

Aretha caresses my ear as the headlines leap off the page and stab my eye.

News of a Home Office campaign to warn men that “having sex without consent could lead to a prison sentence” is launched today. I didn’t think that was something new, but it turns out it’s more to do with raising awareness and re-educating minds. A good thing I’m sure you’ll agree.

However, it does make me wonder. Will future liasons be marked with the presentation of a pre-printed card.

Fancy a shag?

   Yes            No

Sign here ____________________


Bloggies 2006 results and many congratulations to, as Anna graciously puts it,”Girl, Tokyo Girl and Zoe (“ZoeGirl”?), you are all fabulous, and now even more officially so”.

I’m trying to claim some credit as they are all on my blogroll but I’ll concede that that was probably NOT a swaying decision when the votes were being counted. Those results aside it seems that Post Secret and Boing Boing took every other award. Sad really and seems to prove, as many have suggested, that the competition is becoming a little bit exclusive. Sorry, yer names not down, you ain’t gettin’ in.

And a quick word for the despairing losers. Velocity. (sorry, couldn’t resist, and no it’s not my joke)



Kept me up until 1 a.m. that did, and it STILL doesn’t bloody work!


Back to Aretha singing the classics, yours for only £6.97. It’s worth every penny and much much more. So much class on such a tiny silver disc. Hard to believe sometimes.

And, with my soul being serenaded and the strings of my heart being plucked, I’ll leave; to dally here any longer would ruin everything.

My ears are being caressed and it’s sure to be a good day.

50 million

£50million, that’s a lot of money. Makes me wonder….

Would it spoil some vast eternal plan
If I were a wealthy man? – Topol

Personally I don’t think the uppermost priority in my mind would be to build a house with “one long staircase just going up, and one even longer coming down, and one more leading nowhere just for show” as, frankly, if I had a house built and the architect put in a staircase “just for show” I’d have him taken to the top of it and shoved off.

Since the introduction of the National Lottery a common pondering is “what would you do if you won?”. A more common pondering is “why do they STILL have those crappy game shows, can’t they just show the numbers during a break between programs?”, but I digress. I have to admit my first answer to the “you’ve won, now what” question is always:

“Turn up at the airport with my passport and take the first long-distance flight to somewhere exotic.”

This is mainly because I like the “devil may care” attitude it suggests, unlike my normal pragmatic approach to life, and also because I’m absolutely, unmoveably certain that I’d make much better decisions about how to spend my new found wealth if I was lying on a beach somewhere sipping Margaritas from the belly-button of a svelte yet buxom groupie (by which, obviously, I mean my darling wife… ).

Anyway, it’s nice to ponder such impossibilities, but as I don’t buy lottery tickets anymore and have never really thought of myself as the type to commit armed robbery as guess they will remain dreams.

Either way, it’s much nicer than contemplating a day of wrestling with Microsoft Word templates and staring out of the window at the dreich, dank day that is unfolding.

So, presuming there are no limits and you only have your own moral compass to guide you (god save us all) what would YOU do with £50million?