Saturday, 18 February 2006

Two in the wrong bed

I am going to post something here that comes from I've not hidden it as a link because I want to emphasise that it comes from a serving police officer. Talking about the way things are in his own force. One that has a mixed background of worthy and gallant service together with the dark edges of corruption. That corruption reached very high in the force - London is a rich city and there were some very tempting offers flying about. I knew many Met officers in the early '70s just as the clear-out started and was privy to much that was wrong. What I never heard then - and I suspect never happened then - was the suggestion that police would or could be used for overt political ends. That is very worrying. A turkey for the DI is one thing but allying the politicians with the law enforcers open the door into a very dark and foul-smelling room. This is what our detective says:

Political Police & The War On Terror

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch, has recently made a speech stressing the unprecedented threat from terrorism. He has made reference to a number of persons awaiting trial, and plots that the police have prevented.

The timing of this speech is interesting. Tony Blair's latest efforts to introduce new terrorism legislation has passed through the Commons recently, and is due for debate in the Lords shortly. What better support for New Labour than the cautionary words of Britain's most senior anti-terror police officer?

Offences under terrorist legislation are wide ranging. Which offences are the persons on remand accused of? What plots have been stopped? More detail can be revealed to the public without compromising police operations. As is usual in terrorist matters, the word of those charged with countering the threat to national security is expected to be sufficient for the public to support our political leaders.

Tony Blair continues in his efforts to introduce the offence of glorifying terrorism and moots an offence of indirect encouragement of terrorism. He is now making use of his supporters within the police service to drum up support for such controversial measures.

The terrorist threat to this country has increased by 70% since the invasion of Iraq. This is the unofficial figure used by the Anti-Terrorist Branch, Special Branch and the Security Services.
I hope this officer does not attract the attention of his seniors to his blogging. We have seen others on his force who have been warned off because of their honesty in their blogging life.

The other Window

Ah - Johari. Nice if you want your friends to open up and go off on a sunny voyage of self-discovery secure in the knowledge that hardly anyone will click on a 'nasty' box. The obverse is the Nohari window which aims to use the same technique to see where one is - shall we say - a little less lacking in the milk of human kindness. It is all down to the available adjectives. Do this one yourself first - maybe best when alone with the curtains drawn?

Friday, 17 February 2006

Just checking!!


(known to self and others)

bold, complex, organised

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

ingenious, self-assertive, trustworthy


(known only to self)

dependable, independent, spontaneous


(known to nobody)

able, accepting, adaptable, brave, calm, caring, cheerful, clever, confident, dignified, energetic, extroverted, friendly, giving, happy, helpful, idealistic, intelligent, introverted, kind, knowledgable, logical, loving, mature, modest, nervous, observant, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, reflective, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, self-conscious, sensible, sentimental, shy, silly, sympathetic, tense, warm, wise, witty

Dominant Traits

100% of people agree that BigFatJohn is bold
100% of people agree that BigFatJohn is complex
100% of people think that BigFatJohn is ingenious
100% of people agree that BigFatJohn is organised
100% of people think that BigFatJohn is self-assertive
100% of people think that BigFatJohn is trustworthy

All Percentages

able (0%) accepting (0%) adaptable (0%) bold (100%) brave (0%) calm (0%) caring (0%) cheerful (0%) clever (0%) complex (100%) confident (0%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (0%) giving (0%) happy (0%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (0%) ingenious (100%) intelligent (0%) introverted (0%) kind (0%) knowledgable (0%) logical (0%) loving (0%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (0%) organised (100%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (0%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (0%) self-assertive (100%) self-conscious (0%) sensible (0%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (0%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (100%) warm (0%) wise (0%) witty (0%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 17.2.2006, using data from 1 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view BigFatJohn's full data.


OK - not as dangerous as ouija boards or Tarot but can still be fun - an opportunity to insult with good motives!

Deep thought for an Early Morning

"I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." --Stephen F. Roberts

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Danger - Suicide bomber at work

Here in the West we are not allowed to see any realistic images from terrorist activities. This is from China and follows suicide bomb on a bus. Note the flash burns on this young woman. Those are not sausages on her stomach. As far as the dismemberment goes, this is not really very radical; at least the body parts are still joined together.
I've posted this just to try and explain what happens when people call for suicide bombings. How does one equate this sort of obscenity with a drawing of a man in a turban?

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Not all the same

Last November, 1st Sgt. Brad Kasal and Lance Cpl. Alex Nicoll were seriously injured in one of the fiercest battles of the Iraq war.

Kasal and Nicoll had been with a Marine unit conducting house-to-house searches for insurgents in Fallujah. When fellow Marines entered one house, they were injured by insurgents inside. Nicoll and Kasal went in to retrieve their comrades, but soon were severely wounded themselves while temporarily cornered in a room on the bottom floor.

In the past, their wounds might have killed them. But thanks to better body armor, battlefront mini-hospitals and quick flights back to the United States for treatment, American troops injured in Iraq are probably receiving better medical care than ever.

Yes - I'm a bit of a geek for 'brave soldier' stories and photographs. This is not a Walter Mitty complex on my part. I think that military training is a tremendous thing that the majority of civilians will never understand. It is not all about the quite disgusting beating of young men but who knows whether one or more of the soldiers seen beating the prisoners would not have performed acts of heroism had their duty called for it?

In this case, the sergeant went to reinforce his men. Whilst in the house, he saved a colleagues life by covering his body when a grenade was thrown at them. He sustained over 40 wounds - note he still carries his pistol in a warlike manner?

38th Parallel revisited.

I do not listen to a lot of BBC Radio 4. When it is good, it is very good but when it is dreck etc. However, right now they are broadcasting extracts from James Cameron's book about his war reporting from Korea. This cannot be anything but excellent. Cameron was an excellent writer and made sure he was where the action was. Listening to him puts some balance into the sort of thing we are getting from Iraq such is the contrast. The living conditions, the kit that was provided and the close and fatal involvement of the civil population - they are all there. The service where we can go back and hear the readings is excellent. I commend it to this House - as that nice Mr Brown says.

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Valentines Day

Valentines Day has become a rip-off par excellence. Dodgy restaurants make great point of special menus at much inflated prices. The special gift shops come up with themed gifts at, again, unrealistic prices. Florists gather long stemmed red roses from around the world and sell them at British Airways prices for an Easy Jet product. We had long resisted the allure of all these special arrangements but one year the guard slipped and I decided we would see just what was so attractive to so many other people.
Reservation at a top hotel was out of the question. We were starting too late and the cost was totally unjustifiable. However, Norma did a lot of looking around and a lesser hostelry was found where accommodation was reserved at not much more than the cost of a small car. Further expenditure ensured that the proper smart and only slightly informal clothing was ready.
The hotel room was all that one could wish. Conveniently situated within the building yet away from likely noise pollution. Discreet lighting in the bedroom but film star dressing room lighting in the very well appointed bathroom. Bath big enough for too. Smelly soap and lotions. Monster super-fluffy towels. The bed was super king-size with proper blankets and not a continental duvet. A large TV screen set up for viewing from the bed.
Pre-dinner drinks were partaken. The service was attentive but not overpowering. The meal was selected at leisure with good advice from the obviously experienced waiter. There was a sommelier to advise on wine to accompany the food we had chosen. All without any rushing or hassle.
Dinner was served in a fine old dining room. The best china and silver cutlery with snow-white and substantial napery. Courses were served at our pace. I called for a pause between the main course and the refresher and this caused no problems. Coffee was taken in another room where a five piece combo played jazzy classics at just the right volume.  Instead of brandy, a fine old Armanjac provided at the correct temperature in a glass of the finest crystal. Petit fours.
Then a good cigar overlooking the floodlit garden before adjournement to the bedroom. I’ll skip the rest.
After a slow drive home I felt totally relaxed. All that money had been well spent. Great value.
However, Norma was looking a little out of sorts. Not as happy as I would have thought.
“Norma dear” I said, “What is the problem?” I asked.
“Oh – just that I would have liked to have been there as well” she said.

Great (?) Britain

Our politicians, Labour, Conservative, Liberal and others, homosexual, paedophile, drunkards, all tell us what a wonderful world we share. They all care. They are all on top of their job. They have respect for everyone and everything.
So, how the fcuk is there even just one person like this:

By Victoria Kennedy

ROSE Williams looks longingly out of her living-room window. It's a crisp February morning and the sky is a bright blue. But the 77-year-old won't be going out today.

Nor tomorrow. Nor the next day.

A part from the nurse and carer who will lift her out of bed and change the bandages on her ulcerated legs there will be no visitors, either. There'll be no one to chat to over a cup of tea, no one to help out with her favourite crossword.

But Rose, who lives in a town in the North East of England, is not unusual. She is one of 200,000 older people in Britain who describe themselves as always lonely.

Research by Help the Aged shows that almost 820,000 people feel cut off from society. A quarter of a million of them say they have no friends or family. And one in six regularly go an entire week without speaking to anyone they know.

They are statistics which should shock and shame us all.

Today the Daily Mirror is linking up with Help the Aged to launch the Helping Unite Generations (Hug) campaign to raise funds and awareness to help end loneliness and isolation among older people.

Here, Rose reveals what it is like for so many elderly people as she records three normal days in her life.


7 AM

MY carer Katie arrives and greets me with a "Brrrr!", putting her icy hands on my arm to show how cold it is. It reminds me how much I miss going outside' breathing in fresh air and watching children on the way to school.

I can't really walk because my legs are so swollen from ulcers and water retention so I haven't left the house in three months. A volunteer used to push me out in my wheelchair but he can't come any more so I'm stuck here instead.

I've got two children who visit when they can, but my daughter lives 300 miles away with her family and my son is so busy with his job. He lives in my town, but I don't like to ask him to take me out. He has enough on his plate without worrying about me.

7.30 MY legs are so bad I can no longer get in the shower, so Katie washes me down with a sponge, then dresses me. It's pretty humiliating, but the thing I dread most is when she empties my commode. I always apologise if I've done anything more than pass water.

8.0 I GET on my stairlift and slowly make my way to the living-room. From my bed to armchair takes 15 minutes - I used to get down the corner shop and back in that time! This chair is my life now.

When Katie leaves she puts a Thermos with hot water and some teabags on the table next to me and a couple of sachets of Cuppa Soup for lunch.

Then there's my tapestry set and a pack of cards. Playing patience passes the time. Katie says goodbye and the house feels empty until the nurse arrives at 10am to change the bandages on my legs. She comes twice a day and is a lovely woman, but they keep her so busy she hasn't time to chat.

1.0 I'M having a bit of a down day today. This time on a Tuesday I used to be at the local day centre, having a roast dinner and a natter. It was the highlight of my week, but since the volunteer who took me there injured his back in December I haven't been. When I think about it too much I start crying. Sound a bit silly, don't I?

4.0 HAVE been staring out the window for three hours, watching the birds play on the hedge at the front. It's funny the way things have changed. When my children were little I'd send them round to check on the old lady next door. No one checks on me. Everyone seems so busy.

A few years ago I asked the teenager across the road if he could cut my lawn for a few pounds - but he said he could earn more staying in bed!

6.0 ISN'T it silly, but making my tea is the hardest part of the day.

Normally it takes me a couple of tries to get out of the chair, up to my walking frame and into the kitchen. But today the nurse left my frame just out of reach. I spent 20 minutes working out how to reach it. Finally I took a deep breath, summoned up all my strength and pushed myself towards it. But I rocked back into my chair. I could feel tears in my eyes from the frustration and pain in my legs.

So I pushed everything off a side table and leant on that instead. I could feel it shaking, but eventually shuffled across to my frame. By the time I got there I was dripping with sweat and my heart was racing.

It must have taken half an hour to get to the kitchen, where I put a jacket potato and some fish in the microwave. Then it was a massive juggling act, balancing the dinner plate on my walking frame, to get back to my chair.

A few times I've dropped the plate on the floor. It just has to stay there until the next morning.

12.0 I'M still in my armchair, waiting for the nurse to come and dress my legs before bed. She's often called on emergencies so I just have to wait. I'm doing some tapestry. By 1am the nurse has been and I finally get on my stairlift up to bed. Once it broke down and I got stuck halfway up. My daughter was staying at the time, but I'm terrified it will happen again.


7 AM I'VE only had a couple of hours' sleep because my legs were bad again.

11.0 THE newspaper boy is late and I find myself crying. You must think I'm just a daft old woman, but I so like doing the crossword.

12.0 THE lady who does my shopping pops in and asks if there is anything else I want. I say: "Just some arsenic." She thinks I'm joking.

I used to get angry when old people talked about commiting suicide, but these days I understand what they mean. Who would actually care if I wasn't here?'

My kids don't really understand. When they ring I just say: "I'm fine." They've got their own problems.

1.0 I CALL my friend Grace. Before, we went for lunch once a month, but we've lost touch now that I can't go out. She tells me about day trips she's been on. I don't think she realises how sad I find that. I sit and remember how I and my husband, George, used to go on day trips to the beach.

3.0 I PLAY patience. I do one game but lose and decide to do best of three - 11 games later I still haven't won. It is a bad day.

6.0 SOME good news: I've got an appointment with the chiropodist next Tuesday. I can't cut my own toenails, so they've been growing for a year and are curling under my feet. It'll be agony, but it'll be a trip out. What a treat!

3AM MY legs are so painful I decide I might as well get out of bed. A few months ago I fell over in the middle of the night and it took me five hours to get up again.

I had to shift around the floor on my bum. I'd never heard of carpet burn before that night.

I usually wear a panic button around my neck, but I take it off at night in case I press it by accident. I'd hate to cause a false alarm.

One night when I was up like this I heard someone trying to break in. I was terrified.


8 AM I WATCH the postman walk past my door. Nothing for me today.

Last week he knocked with a parcel but it took me five minutes to get to the door, by which time he'd gone. In my rush I bumped into the wall and got a huge bruise on my arm.

11.0 I'VE spent an hour flicking through a clothes catalogue, looking for a new cardi. A woman at the hospital once asked me why I made such an effort to dress up when no one ever sees me. The cheek! It seems when you're old you're not allowed to want to look your best.

1.0 AM playing another few games of patience. It would be nice to have someone to play cards with. My son tries to pop in on a Sunday if he's on his way out with his family.

But I know they care about me. I may not be rich, but I'm rich in love.

Katie has worked for me for five years and she's wonderful. I live in fear she might leave. When she goes on holiday I get temporary carers but they have such an attitude. One made such a fuss about emptying my commode that I felt terrible.

4.30 I DON'T watch much telly, but I love Ready Steady Cook. Before I got ill I loved cooking and would invite sometimes as many as 10 friends round for a roast. My speciality was bread and butter pudding. The microwave meals don't compare and I'm not sure what happened to all those friends.

7.0 I SPEND the evening reading an Agatha Christie. I love crime books. Once I get reading, the hours fly by.

A few months ago my light bulb went. I couldn't ask my carer to change it as it's not in her job description, so I went for three days without any light. It meant I couldn't read my book for days until my son came round.

3 AM ANOTHER night with no sleep, so I came downstairs to play patience. Someone asked me once why I don't cheat to win - but what's the point?

Oh well, it'll be light in three hours. Another day.

Lead in his pencil?

From Ananova:

A Serbian man needed emergency surgery after sticking a pencil inside his penis to keep it stiff during sex.

Zeljko Tupic, from Belgrade, told doctors he had experienced erectile difficulties in the past.

So as he prepared for a night with his new lover, he decided to insert a thin pencil into his penis.

Monday, 13 February 2006

No comment needed

As we are daily assailed with a barrage of loony stories, it does the soul good to occasionally sit back and take stock of The State We’re In. For that reason, I present for your delectation a snapshot of life in 21st Century Britain. Oh. one of the following has been made up. See if you can guess which one.

A head teacher at a school in Ipswich has banned hot cross buns in case they offend pupils who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ms Tina Jackson (and why are all the worst barmpots female?) is worried in case the “religious imagery of the cross” might upset non-believers.

As operations are cancelled and wards closed, the National Health Service admits to spending £9million on “art” in the past two years. The items bought included a £70,000 giant pebble at University College Hospital and a £35,000 cartoon mural at Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge.

An Olympic Road Network is to be set up across London with special VIP lanes allowing big-wigs, politicians and corporate sponsors to sweep past traffic jams. Ordinary motorists found straying into the lanes will be fined £5,000. Whether or not the government has ordered a fleet of Russian Zil limousines is unknown.

So many students have collected a full house of A grade A-levels that universities are finding it impossible to distinguish between them. Consequently 10,000 straight-A students have been rejected by Oxford and Cambridge. Meanwhile the basic pass rate has increased to almost 97 per cent and even the Welsh are scraping a couple of Es.

Since her release from prison in May, 2004, taxpayers have spent £700,000 a year on providing 24-hour police protection for Maxine Carr, the former girlfriend of Ian Huntley. Her most recent demands were for a three-bedroom house in Switzerland or Holland, a £30,000-a-year income and free tickets to fly home four times a year. No-one knows if this request was granted.

A policeman who took to the beat in Mansfield on a mountain bike and consequently made 309 arrests in a year has been banned from going near a day centre for problem teenagers because of complaints that he was nicking too many “vulnerable young people”. The ban was agreed to by his area commander, Inspector Samantha Wilson, a woman.

Cherie Blair has become the first prime minister’s spouse to be given an official government car and driver for her personal use, including shopping trips and visits to the gym. The cost to the taxpayers of this bullet-proof perk is estimated to be £50,000 a year. The information had to be dragged from the government under the Freedom of Information Act. Whether or not the car in question is a Russian Zil limousine is unknown.

All 41 fire stations across Greater Manchester have been issued with comfy reclining chairs that can convert to beds at a cost of £130,000. Unfortunately firemen are not allowed to sit or lie in them for health and safety reasons because they are yet to be trained in how to use them. You may think this is madness; anyone who’s ever trapped their finger in a collapsing deckchair will beg to differ.

A builder who tried to advertise for a carpenter who could “understand English, written and verbal, as he will be dealing with clients” was told by his local JobCentre that it wouldn’t take the advert because it was racist. The builder, who regularly employs non-English staff, received a letter from the wonderfully titled JobCentre Plus Diversity and Race Equality Team warning him that he may even have broken the law. Whether or not the letter was delivered by a Russian Zil limousine is unknown.

The government has decreed that all children must be weighed by the State at the ages of four and 10 because of growing worries about childhood obesity. Meanwhile “elitist” games and PE lessons have been all but abolished and school playing fields continue to be sold off to provide subsidised housing for public sector apparatchiks.

A butcher's shop in Oldham has been ordered to remove posters advertising its award-winning black pudding from windows in case the term offends members of the Asian community who might pass by. Stormtroopers from the council's crack Community Cohesion Unit have also asked staff to refer to the delicacy as "blood pudding" in future.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has drawn up new legislation guaranteeing family pets five “freedoms”. As well as being fed an appropriate diet, little Tiddles must also have suitable living conditions; companionship or solitude as appropriate; monitoring for abnormal behaviour; protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease; and a hidden away place for her litter tray so she can have a poo in private. Whether or not special inspectors will be turning up at midnight in Russian Zil limousines to check if you’re feeding Tiddles Felix Chunks or Tesco Value cat food is unknown.

Up to 16 million adults are holding down jobs despite having reading and writing skills no better than those expected of 11-year-old children leaving primary school. This is approximately half of our national workforce. Meanwhile Hampshire County Council has spent £50,000 on a piece of library “artwork” which consists of a spinning plasma TV screen attached to a pole. It has subsequently broken down and ceased spinning. You may think that 10,000 new books would have been a wiser investment.

A girl of six has been banned from wearing a Barbie watch to school after a teacher decided that fellow pupils might be scratched by the metal winder when she put her hand up to answer a question. The girl had been given the watch by her parents so she could learn to tell the time. Hampshire County Council – yes, them again – said: “The teacher may have been overzealous.” It is thought that pupils are soon to be issued with rubber pencils in case of accidental stabbing incidents.

The black police bodyguard who protected the Duchess of Cornwall has won £30,000 compensation after complaining that he was “over-promoted” due to political correctness. Sergeant Leslie Turner (not a woman) argued that he was only given the prestigious role because he was black. He said he wasn’t ready for the job, wasn’t trained properly, and subsequently made mistakes which led to him being reassigned. The Metropolitan Police settled out of court. With your money.

John Prescott, everyone’s favourite lunatic, has given the nod to a two-year project which will examine if fire engines should continue to be painted red and if their sirens should go “wee’wah” or “wah-wee”. Extensive foreign travel is envisaged for the lucky Guardian readers who will get the two planned jobs. Estimated cost is £100,000. Meanwhile 46 local fire control rooms are being closed across the country to be replaced with eight “regional” centres which better fit with the NuLabour masterplan of European federation.

And finally, at Marks and Spencer it’s actually cheaper to buy a new ironing board, complete with cover, than it is to buy a replacement ironing board cover on its own. It’s consumerism gone mad. Expect mountains of discarded ironing boards blocking Olympic VIP car lanes by 2010.

A Great New Day

Tony B Liar’s stand-in for PM has come up with the idea for another commerative day. As I seem to have missed Gordos generous treatment of veterans and their families in his treasury role, his previous speeches extolling their virtues, his morale raising tours of our bases in Iraq, his grieving appearances at military funerals, and his compassionate visits to the returned wounded mark me down as a cynic. And disgusted at this use of people who deserve better. We have a day for this – November 11th. There are, of course, many days that could be celebrated in connection with our forces. We could have a Combat Stress Day, a Day for Homeless Ex-servicemen, a day to record Government Responsibility for sending soldiers ill-equipped in battle. The options are almost endless.

Blue jobs amuse themselves

This is a Navy thing but might interest some

Sunday, 12 February 2006

Ready Rants & One by me

At the risk of repeating myself – oh, go on then – do it.
This Internet thing is quite amazing when one sits down and thinks about it. Even within my grandchildren’s lives it has come from nothing and is now almost all things to all men – like it or not.
Someone wrote a small rant on a forum I read. One of those in a vein that seems attractive right now. “Immigrants. If you don’t like it go home” sort of things. Nothing too fiery, Pushed the line that the English were what they were and that compliance with these standards was obligatory for assimilation.
I have not found a ‘standard’ Englishman. The line being pushed was that we all spoke English. Our National flag was the Cross of St. George and that type of thing. I posted a refutation of every ‘standard’ assumption. There is Welsh, Cornish, Gaelic even before we get into dialect that is not common everywhere. Your St. David cross is not often seen in Edinburgh. Having satisfied my pedantic leanings, I decided to look around and see if there was any central pool from which such rants came – I thought maybe BNP or some such.
Well of course, the Internet caters for all. There is just such a place that supplies ready made rants.  They are all there – suburban BMW X5 users, shoe sizes. You name it – they’ve got it. All ready in HMTL for a neat cut and paste job.
Something that will cause far more problems than stupid bespoke rants is the latest soldier nasty from Iraq showing violence by our soldiers towards Iraqis arrested after some sort of rioting. I’ve seen the extract from the video that the newspaper has used as the basis for their revelations. There can be no suggestion that this was anything other than genuine and not faked like the one published by the Mirror. There are a few weird things about it that raise questions but none that take away the fact that this happened.
There will inevitably be physical resistance at the time of arrest and immediately after the event. The soldiers are armed with batons for a purpose and they use them in their arrest procedures. What we see here is the violence continuing long after arrest when there is absolutely no need for it. It seems that the events took place some two years ago so there can be no connection with heightened tension in Iraq or events such as 7/7 in UK. As an old soldier – ahem – I have carried out arrests in just such the conditions shown. I’ve witnessed very many more and investigated a considerable number where violence overflowed. The qualifies me to state quite clearly I hope that there is no reason for this type of treatment. It must be rooted out with such severity extending high into the command chain that we can be confident no one will ever again even contemplate such stupidity. There is no excuse or reason for soldiers suppressing riots to become rioters.