Saturday, 21 May 2005
Raining on the Cheviots.
That lump on the horizon is the Cheviot Hills. Flighty Miss Weathergirl said it would be sunny there and I had planned to combine a trip down there with a visit to Barter Books in Alnwick. Given this view of things I decided my career as seller of unwanted books would have to be put on hold. Borne up in my disappointment by fact that about 3 pm'ish the sun comes through the bedroom window onto my bed. I usually go up through Hidden Valley but that requires a permit so I would have to have gone up from the river parking place. After all the rain we have been getting this would have been tough and I don't like the final mile or so. It is just like walking over a Ground Force marathon where they have put down hundreds of metres of decking.
Friday, 20 May 2005
Something falls off of your car, you wonder how much weight you just saved.
You thoroughly enjoy showing the tailgater behind how to drive around a highway off-ramp.
You walk proper lines through the grocery store.
You drift your shopping cart around the isles.
Exasperated, you've been known to yell "It means 'check your mirrors!!" at your television.
You buy new parts because you don't know where you put the spares.
You look at the purchase of tools as a long term investment.
You have enough spare parts to build another car
After your answer to "What did you do this weekend?" the next question is always: "And you do this for fun? Right?"
You talk to other cars on the road, calling them by the manufacturer's name.
Your criteria for selecting a significant other include auto repair skills. Air tools optional.
You complain when cars in front of you on highway off or on-ramps don't stay on the line, causing you to scrub speed before the apex.
You refer to the corner down the street from your house as "Turn One."
You look at the fire hydrant at that corner and see an apex marker.
You always late apex the intersection and try to pass a few cars coming out.
Everywhere you go, you try to find the fastest line through the turn.
You think that traction control and ABS are for those who can't drive.
You save broken car parts as "mementos".
Your last several motorway forays included just brushing the curbs as you apexed the on-ramps perfectly.
The shop manager at your local car dealer mutters "dear Lord" under his breath every time he sees you.
You would choose a rollbar over air conditioning if it were an option.
You know the "racing line" of every turn in your daily commute, including your alternate routes, and practice hitting them every day.
You tell whom ever happens to be driving you around, 'you know you missed that apex right?'.
And finally, no matter where you are going the drive is more exciting than the destination..
Anyone have any idea where this week has gone? Seems like last time I looked it was Tuesday and now here we are; wife to weekly hairdresser thing, fish on the table and odds and ends from Outlook Tasks for me all mean the week-end is upon us. I’m quite happy now when time roars on at this sort of pace. Tempus fugit – yeah.
Something that may have moved things along is the extra availability that broadband gives. I found I had about 30 blogs bookmarked and just checking History confirms that I get to most of them on a day to day basis. I go looking into photo galleries more and pay attention to a number of forum/formi/forus – whatever. I was not too bothered with going broadband – didn’t think I needed it. Bit like sex – don’t know you want it till you try it. Still, on that basis I’ll be OK if someone takes it away.
Tony Baloney’s bad back? I reckon it is the good Lord paying him back for the revelations regarding the frequency of his Man Thing with Portmanteau Chops. At the time he made the claim I thought he was a bit sad and naff but it seems he has got his comeuppance. I had an old boss who used to say, ‘there’s always a day called catchem’ and he was a great practitioner of delayed retribution.
My fat dog is just amazing. Got downstairs for walkies about this morning. On opening the door, we see it is raining hard. She planted her feet and refuses to move. After three or four attempts, I give up and we return; me to breakfast and her to bed. Norma went out about and rain had stopped but Chubs still declined the offer. She finally went out and drained off at having held onto things from 11 last night. I don’t know what she is on but I could do with some of it.
Bit of a result on PC Gonzales. His Ch Con has outlawed any such freelance low level flying and has asked ACPO (Ch Cons 'union') to do the same or come up with a policy.
Thursday, 19 May 2005
Just came across this. Says it all for me. Newsweek has explained how it made the error of publishing. What I cannot understand is how anyone with the slightest idea of Muslim thinking could imagine that the allegation that pages were flushed down the pan would do anything but create a massive aggro attack. Maybe related is the statistic that in percentage terms very very few septics have ever been outside the US of A - how the heck would they know what goes on elsewhere in the big wide world.
There has been much criticism of the new graphics on the BBC TV Weather service. I cannot see much of a change really – there is rainy stuff where they think it is going to rain and sun-shiny things where they expect sun. I take little notice of the forecasts anyway. When I have to go out, it is because the dog wants exercise or something else of importance. I have found that looking up at the sky gives a far better idea of what the weather is. Seems to work quite well. I’m pretty sure that the farmers and fisher folk have a much better system than looking at some flibberty-gibbet girl waffling on. The complaints must really be due to that old British trait – dislike of anything new.
Much heat is being generated at the police driver who apparently chose to test out his unmarked police car at speeds up to 159 mph. He knew that he had the car video camera running. At some stage, he observed a traffic accident and turned the video in to the police investigating that matter. There is no suggestion he was in any way connected with the accident. The fuzz who viewed the TV saw what speeds he had achieved and – as one does – shopped him to the bosses. Initially, he was found guilty of dangerous driving but escaped on appeal. Magistrate – local lawyer sitting alone – accepted defence that as a fast driver he had to keep up his skills somewhere. He also took on board that no police witness said there was dangerous driving in the video. Driver walks away with a smirk around his dodgy moustache.
Once again, police have gone down a path that further widens the gap between them and us. The car testing and skills maintenance could have been done on a race track – his highest speed was on a motorway which hardly tests skills. Police have been criticised for high speed chases where the runner dies because of their inability to cope and crashes. The police have ample means and communications to block escapers without running them into the ground. Back in the days when my lad had a great big Kamikaze motor-bike, I’d have been very annoyed if they tried to outrun him and not used Stingers and suchlike.
I’ve taken notice of Baldermort’s problem with commenting. The setting that required him to join is a default thing I had not noticed. Sorry #1 son. All reset now.
The publicity over the damned Kylie cancer scare is getting on my teats. Good opportunity to bring home need for examination but surely a bit overdone. We are already at a Dead Diana level of self-indulgent sympathy and that is before anyone has released the scale of the problem. It’s not as if we are getting footage of the affected area.
Wednesday, 18 May 2005
Ages from 55 to 64
This purports to be a photo of American air stewardesses who pension plans seem to have flown away. They have produced a 14 page 'Womens Institute' sort of calendar to publicise their plight.
I have great difficulty with the 55 to 64 bit. Admittedly, any female with a pulse (even weak) and over 60 looks attractive to me but these look extremely well preserved. My guess is that Grandma is the slightly heavy-thighed one with her foot up on the tyre. Given, the other tyre pusher seems to have Boots No 14-type makeup so it may be her. None of those bikini bottoms looks like enough to cover a double strength incontinence pad. Opinions anyone? This picture has put some pressure on my wifey as I have challenged her to produce a photo where she looks like any of these at any age.
My visit from The Police yesterday went off very well. First question was 'did I remember murder of (soldier's name) in 1971'. The brain snapped shut like a $500 rat trap and I was able to remember his regiment and manner of death. They went through a number of other questions and my recollection was as clear as yesterday. They then produced my report into the shooting and asked specific questions from that. Again, on the ball. I could have done Do You Want To Be A Millionaire all the way through with no life lines. As happens, other things came up as we went along - I even remembered covering the shooting and death some 12 months later of the IRA man who killed the soldier. We had some good chatting - all in that sort of language and style confined to police. For just a few hours, I felt that I was not really a useless, oxygen- stealing, coffin-dodging old fart. Given the volume of work I did whilst in NI, they may well have to come again on other queries. Bring them on!
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
I have seen the future and it is quite …. interesting. The houses fronting onto the market square here are really maisonettes over shop premises. This means that they are four storey buildings which pose problems for window cleaners. They need long ladders but there is the danger that passing vehicles will drive into them – indeed, it was such an accident that caused the change I saw this morning. The cleaner had a very long telescopic aluminium pole. At one end was a large brush. The other end was connected to a rubber hose leading back to a van with a small tanker on the back. Using a trigger on the handle of the tube the cleaner sprayed water on the glass, mopped it with the brush and then gave it another squirt of water. No squeegee was needed. Talking with the guy revealed that the water was specially treated not to leave smears. Isn’t science wonderful – who would have thought that such an old-established craft as window cleaning could be improved?
This led me onto other thoughts in my grasshopper mind. Having seen this at the end of my life, I thought how nice it would be if I could also lay claim to have been around when they pushed small boys up chimneys as part of the sweeping procedure. I had a Google of Chimney Cleaning Small Boys. (Very few hits on chimney cleaning but zillions about small boys – another change in my lifetime.) Moving swiftly on, I discovered that a group concerned about the exploitation of children founded the "Society for Superseding Climbing Boys" (1803). George Smart invented effective equipment. Joseph Glass made important improvements (1828). The use of the equipment, however, did not catch on. Master sweeps were reluctant to change, especially because the use of boys was cheaper then the equipment.
The House of Lords voted down a bill to ban the use of children under 10 as chimney sweeps (1804). MP H. Bennett sponsored legislation to stop the most serious abuse of child sweeps (1817-19). The issue was debated by notable figures of the day like William Wilberforce (the anti-slavery crusader) and the Earl of Lauderdale. No progress was made until a law was finally passed prohibiting anyone less than 21 years of age from climbing chimneys (1840). The law proved ineffective because the fines were so small. It was until the publication of The Water-Babies that public opinion finally demanded action (1862-63. Lord Shaftsbury introduced an act which imposed a £10 fine. At the time this was a considerable fine for a master-sweep to pay. Passage of the act finally ended the practice of child sweeps (1864). 61 years to get a change – obviously not deemed an urgent measure.
So, thwarted about what happened in my life span, I shall have to console myself with, “In my grandfather’s day they sent small boys up chimneys and now we have mechanised window cleaning”
Saw this somewhere today, “Almost every act of the social democratic state says: don't worry, you're not responsible, leave it to us, we know best. The social democratic state is, in that sense, profoundly anti-social and ultimately anti-democratic” Sorry about lack of attribution but it was just something that popped up and drew my attention long enough for me to note it down. From here, I wandered to whether democracy is such as good thing in these ‘modern’ times. We now have such a broad spread of beliefs – not just religious but life style as well – such that finding any consensus must be almost impossible. Some centrally imposed governance must decide what is best for the community as a whole. OK, but how does one attain a government that has some idea or claim as to the consensus? Hardly the way we do it now when the ruling body is there despite the imbalance of for and against votes. I’ve figured out that we need to vote for a party on a national basis rather than a ward or electorate. This gets over the gerrymandering of electoral areas. I’m stuck on how we might get a local MP from the share out that the national preference gives us. Maybe one MP per 5,000 voters. It is all too complex for me – I’m off to watch a violent video.
Just having a quick look at Huffington's blog. Monster production - obviously she has a crew size of The Times production. Found this little story
Boy and girl have sex. While girl is on top, girl shifts her body in a way that causes a painful injury to boy. (Really, I hear this sort of injury is indeed extremely painful and debilitating.)
Boy then sues girl, for negligence. Hey, boy's lawyer doubtless argued (I'm guessing on this, though everything else is true): If girl had hit boy with her car, or had fallen on boy from a ladder, she would have been liable if a jury found that she hadn't exercise reasonable care. Why not here?
A Massachusetts appellate court just yesterday told boy to take a hike. Interestingly enough, his legal claim was far from outlandish: The general rule is that people who injure others can be held liable if they were acting negligently (i.e., didn't exercise the care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the circumstances). Still, the court got it right -- do we really want trials about how exactly the Reasonable Sexual Partner would have had Reasonable Sex?I love the law; never a dull moment. How long, by the way, until this plot makes it onto one of the law TV shows? Or has it already, and I've missed it?
And, no, I don't know what 'movement of her body' was involved! I'm not even going there. For those who deem it worth further study - follow the Appellate link above.
Monday, 16 May 2005
Main event tonight at
The sun of the weekend has gone away somewhere else. It was nice whilst it lasted. Strange really, we saw lots of swallows and they are supposed to mark a summer. I’ve suggested that we keep a bag each packed and ready and, as soon as we see even a glimmer of sun somewhere, we dash off in that direction and call it a holiday when we get there.
My mention the other day of
One of the blogs I follow is by a magistrate. He has been explaining the thinking behind some sentences. This helps to understand why they sometimes appear to be unduly lenient. The thing I get from his writing is the exposure in his work life to sad, wicked or just helpless people who are unable to surmount even the slightest difficulty or, seemingly, control their lives. I remember an old boss whose adage was “If you enjoyed your work, they wouldn’t call it work” but I have a great sympathy for this magistrate. To face a daily fare of unremitting misery must take some strength of character. I had jobs that had a fair share of wretchedness included but there was always one day or even just one victory that made the work/life balance tolerable.
The rear windows of our upper floor overlook the back yard of the newsagents. They are Pakistani. Some weeks back they acquired three lambs which were quartered in this yard. There is plenty of grass and space for them. The young daughter was obviously appointed to look after them and often fed them from a bottle. The Hound Dog was most interested and used to spend long hours sitting on the staircase watching these lambs. This practice of having a private lamb is a Muslim tradition. The idea being that they know how the animal has lived in the weeks leading up to a festival when they kill and eat it. I thought this is what was going on at my neighbours. Last week the lambs disappeared. I saw the mother in the shop over the weekend and asked her how they had enjoyed their lamb. Turns out that they were not destined for an appointment with mint sauce and new potatoes. The daughter is studying to be a vet and the keeping of the lambs was a sort of work experience thing.
Have to be careful – the Thought Police will accuse me of racial stereotyping.
Sunday, 15 May 2005
Going to have a look at this Huffington woman's blog - supposed to be the dog's dangly bits. I met her at Ashridge College many times when she was with Bernard Levin. Amazing intellect but very good company. She's at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/