Saturday, 29 April 2006
Pointy nose dog and I were looking through a fence at a farm where we buy their meat. Just sizing up my dinner to come! Sable knows that all forms of livestock are off limits but this lamb was clearly curious and came towards us. The angle makes it difficult to show but it was for all the world as if the damn thing was pointing at us like a bird dog. Maybe a new breed - North Northumberland shorthaired sheep?
Nice day so we were looking for somewhere to visit. New. Ended up at Fenton Grange which is a field centre. They are due to open a Birds of Prey Centre tomorrow but such is our charm that we had a guided preview. Most of the birds are rescue animals. Well displayed in open shelters. DEFRA had to stick their oar in over the main cages and insisted on use of very fine mesh screens. Something to do with avian flue precautions but it makes the birds almost invisible. The size of the mesh is such they must fear mosquite flue to be next. The keeper is a local bloke from near to Duns and originally hailed from a village s0me 5 miles from Norma's ancestral home so it was chatter chatter chatter all the while. Couldn't hear the birds!
We rounded the outing out with a trip down to Rothbury for a "Just for old times sake" walk in the Simonside Hills. The countryside is looking its usual wonderful self. Enjoyed. Pointy nosed dog had much exercise with loads of water sports thrown in so she was happy as well.
We here seem to know how demands for Englishstan are coming along. My guest has gathered together quite a bit of information that shows just how insidious this has been.
The beliefs of another culture are supposed to be out of bounds to comment. There must be circumstances where this convention is abandoned. Take this report from today's Daily Telegraph. Just how many of us could imagine anywhere in the world where the sale of womens' undergarments was controlled at the point of sale by men. Some may say that they have no need to imagine it as it is something that will never bother them either way. But this situation exists in a country with a large influence in world affairs and we need to know that they are at a different level of development to ourselves and many others in the world community. Something along the lines of "Would you buy a used car from this man?"
It is hailed as a major step forward for women's emancipation in Saudi Arabia: in the coming weeks they will enjoy the right to buy lingerie from female shop assistants.
This may be a far cry from bra-burning feminism but in Saudi Arabia the notion of buying one's brassiere from a woman is nothing short of revolutionary.
A new decree requiring shop owners to hire female staff to sell undergarments illustrates the cautious liberalisation the kingdom is undergoing - and how far it has yet to travel.
Friday, 28 April 2006
Call me a suspicious old cynic but this news strikes me as an attempt to take some of the heat off 2 Shags, Skippy Hewitt and the Bat Eared Bustard. The residual sympathy for Mo will lead a lot of people to be receptive to the idea that her husband is getting a life back after his loss. The suggestion that he is doing this with Ms Short heightens public interest - who? her? didn't think she was like that? etc.
As a certified cynic, I also feel that the 2 Shags news was meant to come under the shield of a "good day to publish bad news" scenario. Let the cat out of the bag whilst all eyes were on Noddy and Skippy.
Whilst there is much valid criticism of our media, now and again, jusy occasionally, one of them comes up with something good. This is the case with this excerpt:
A significant proportion of past or present cabinet ministers
have some sort of misdeed attached to them. Take your pick:
Blair and his freebies; Blunkett and the Kimberly Quinn affair;
Mandelson and the mortgage application and Hinduja brothers
affair; Jowell and the Berlusconi cash; Hoon and burying bad
news; Hewitt and the GP pay fuck-up plus other NHS mismanagement.
There are other, lesser misjudgements almost too numerous to
mention: Lord Derry and his wallpaper; Lord Levy and tax; the
mysterious case of Alan Milburn spontaneously deciding to spend
more time with his family. Even relative newcomer Ruth Kelly was
quickly in trouble over the paedos-in-schools cock-up. Worse
still, she's a member of creepy Opus Dei...
As scandals go, none of the above are as nakedly salacious as the
Profumo affair or Jeremy Thorpe being charged with murder. But
it's the sheer number that's amazing. If the cabinet *was* a
normal office, of, say, 20 people, ten of them would be having
extramarital affairs, five would be fiddling their expenses, two
of them wouldn't have a fucking clue how to do their job, two
would be congenital liars and one of them would be a
Scientologist. Maybe this is what's meant by UK plc.
Much has been written and said about the way in which senior Ministers have been acting. This is from someone who has good cause to be a tad harsh as a bomb victim and as a rape victim (all that in one life) but who makes her point with great clarity
Is it child abuse to be brought up as the offspring of a politician?
- You would be pilloried at school as every new scandal is broken in the press
- You have no parental concept of right and wrong
- You have no concept of truth or lies
- You have no concept of honest or dishonesty
- You would be dragged out on photo shoots whenever the parents were in need of votes or sympathy
The speed at which blogging has grown means that Rules have not been formally introduced. More like Topsy I suppose. The sense of freedom in broadcasting one's opinions to the world has occasionally been too intoxicating and problems have arisen where employers have found problems in the comments of their employees. Here in UK we recently had a loss of some journals when the Metropolitian Police served warning of action against police officers who were a tad critical.
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
I think these are wise words. I see them as common sense rather than Rules. But then, maybe it is because I was employed by some very devious and unpleasant people?
Thursday, 27 April 2006
So, whether the work was original or not interested me not at all. However, it seems that the Judgement handed down by the man in the horsehair wig contains its own coded message. I think this is a rather neat idea. What if others follow suit? Will we get something where a judge refutes his finding by some code only discernable after his death?
Whilst being only "somewhat" interested in the judgement, my rage is running high about a tale of dog abandonment. I think I might say things that I would later regret (and that is saying something for me!), I'll leave you to read it for yourself. I learned a new phrase the other day "lower than whale shit". So soon, I've found a reason to use it.
Having in my own way come into occasional contact with The Public I know well just how awkward and frustrating they can be. Sometimes, that can be due to the stress they find themselves suffering. Luckily, I did not have to bear them as a constant part of my daily working life. I drew attention the other day to a guy who works in a emergency despatch room.
My guest here offers further insight to just what fun it can be!!
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
Go read about him. Give thanks you have just a normally rotten job.
Today is one of the Great Handicraft Days. Fortnightly, vast quantities of material and mechanical resources gather at a little hut in the middle of nowhere and the Ladies of Leisure stitch and cut and plan quilts. Special arrangements are made locally to provide the electricity for Tea Making. Extra traffic police are drafted in to cope with the exodus when Ladies decamp at the end of the session. Over-stimulated at the wheel of their funny little cars, the country lanes become veritable death traps. Why do little old ladies buy cars that so much resemble invalid chairs? The whole thing is such a blast that they get together to do it again on Saturday. Just to stave off the boredom, a different venue is selected.
The tone of my comments may suggest that I have little patience with this enterprise. Such perceptive readers I have!
If you find yourself with a limitd amount of time to cut through the media hype (or, as in my case),little patience with the twisted agenda they have, you might want to cut to the chase and read Melanie. She has not got around to 2 Shags yet but she will.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006
I reported a couple of days ago on the saga of changing my hair colour. Having rectified the situation by getting my hair cut like a bouncer, I can now get amusement out of the misfortunes of others. Hence, this Guest Blog.
Why can these politicians not keep their zips done up?
Apart from my opinion that for the money they get, we should expect their full attention all of the time there is the doubt it throws upon their integrity. In addition - and I'm contributing to it in my small way - there will be a media frenzy over something that is dead and buried. His consideration for his wife seems to have dipped from the days when he fixed a car ride for 200 yards so she would not spoil her hair. Now he has got her tearing it out.
This seems to nominate itself.
Tuesday, 25 April 2006
My guest blogger makes it all seem somewhat akin to the machinations needed to get a majority vote in the UN. Judge for yourself if she is just too picky.
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
See what the waitress is having.
She kept her head down and got on with cleaning up her image in the very best way - by rehabilitating herself in her profession just by being professional. Not a whisper has been heard of her failing to perform where and when wanted. No prima-donna demands (can you hear me Naomi?). Just doing what she does so well. Drawing peoples' eyes.
Where will it all end I ask. Noddy's friend Big Ears keeps breaking wind through his mouth with announcements about new initiatives and measures to reduce crime or, as he would no doubt put it, "the unnecessary fear of crime". Then he has to make an admission like thisMore than 1,000 foreign prisoners who should have been considered
for deportation at the end of their sentences were freed with no action
being taken, Home Secretary Charles Clarke admitted.
The offenders included three murderers and nine rapists, Home Office
figures showed. Mr Clarke apologised for the failure and conceded that
some of the public would be angered by the oversight.
I especially like the bit about "some of the public might be angered". Might - indeed. If I were related to someone killed by these escapees or had been raped by one of them, I'd be quite 'angered' by the oversight.
I'm also angered by the low percentage of positive actions they have got from the few so far traced. Doubtless, at the time, great play was made of the "recommended for deportation" sanction. More gas escaping from the bowels of our crime fighting supremo.
I hope my brand-new template is not to be a waste of time and effort. Posting to Blogger yesterday was - for me - a pain in the butt end. I lost two compositions altogether - just wandered off into the ether and got eaten by Mysterons I suppose. Others got to - where - somewhere? They showed up in Dashboard but not anywhere for public viewing.
Concern for the template arises because I have a very short fuse when it comes to things that do not work. Of course, nothing from Blogger. Seems the last outages they deem worthy of mentioning are ones that might have impinged on Charles Dickens posting but nothing about yesterday.TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
This comes from someone commenting on new traffic laws. Not something that would normally cause much of a flicker in our household. Until one gets to the suggestion regarding multi-storage car parks. The legislation here is one that, members of my family will attest, comes from me quite frequently
Monday, 24 April 2006
Today's Guestblogs are selected against the farcical statement from Skippy Hewitt that we have never had a better NHS. Obviously, she has just dropped in from the planet Zarg and hasn't a clue about her subject. I do not see there will ever be any solution to the NHS problem. We spend vast sums on fertility treatment for women of 50. When that works, we spend yet more money seeing if we can get yummy mummies at 60. We pull babies through at 28 weeks. Having accomplished that, we try for viable births at 25 weeks. The pressures of medical work mean that no one wants to give up and say "Enough is enough". Some people will have to forego paternity, some premature births will not survive. Death is a reality.
How To Hold Back Tears
Joey is twelve. No, wait, fifteen. His face is twelve. His neck, scarred from pepper spray, is a bitter eighteen. His abdomen, with a line from a stab wound, is a harsh twenty-five. I guess it averages out. Okay then, fifteen it is.
Joey is the third minor I see by myself today at a well-child checkup in Fremont; his parents are working. I’m starting to get the hang of it—medical history is quick, social history is long and involved. Tells me his grandmother had just passed away and his one-year old daughter—yes, daughter—was sick in the hospital with pneumonia. (I double-check his age, yes, he’s 15.)
Our dramas in UK
The UK National Health Service (NHS) is going to be cutting about 15,000 to 20,000 healthcare jobs this year in an attempt to reduce the deficit of £1bn. Government officials are, of course, saying that patient care will not be compromised. But, most healthcare workers like Dr. Greg Hopkinson disagrees.
Ladies who care
BERLIN (Reuters) - German prostitutes are signing up for a career change, training to become nurses to tend to the country's aging population or working phones as tele-marketers.
Thirty prostitutes have enlisted in a church-funded project in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia and more are on a waiting list, project coordinator Gisela Zohren said.
"Competition in prostitution is fierce and the days when one could make a decent living out of it are long gone, especially once you hit the thirties," Zohren said.
She said prostitutes' fees had hit rock bottom and they were well suited to jobs on offer in the retraining program.
"After years of prostitution, they know how to listen, look after people and are savvy in selling over the phone," she said.
Experts in the care industry for the aged also welcomed the initiative. (Ed note - And, of course, they will not have concerns about 'inappropriate touching') I'm not too sure how nurses might see this "Too old and raddled to earn your keep as a working girl. Come and be a nurse" is a harsh recruitment come-on
Sunday, 23 April 2006
I often sit and dream about the brain-power behind the Internet. The programmers who dream up the software and make it all work. The way in which they can set things up to take account of different operating systems. Thwarting the efforts of the black-hats who try - with, it must be admitted, equal craft, to try and do all sorts of naughties. Mind you, to me, even the simple act of running a spell checker seems magic.
What I would like to see is some sign that we are fighting back. Why is there nothing really positive to deal with those who seize upon my email address and those of others with such ease? How come they can make a profit selling them at not much per thousand to others who send out many thousands of spam emails and again make money?
What I would like to have is some sort of deal where I can reverse the tables. Cause the bad guys some trouble and aggro. Seize upon his filthy spam and track it back to the machine of the sender. Then, some thousands of volts would follow the trail and cook-out the errant p.c. If a white-hat cannot do it, introduce me to one of the other sort.
My guest blogger here is having trouble. Bet he would like something bigger and better as a counter-measure to the sort of trouble the brainless are causing him. Read on....TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
One might expect that someone whose job surely involves dealing with stress, would be fairly relaxed about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. This guy is possibly the exception that proves the point. I certainly understand his annoyance; I've had to moderate my own comments following targetting by the sort of morons he describes here
I never cease to be amazed at people. Look what the new trend is in having patterns pricked onto your skin.
Teenagers have already popularized tattoos with their favorite sports team names, and even the occasional Nike swoosh. Enterprising companies, of course, have taken notice. Dunkin' Donuts has paid students to wear temporary tattoos of its logo on their heads, for an estimated $50 to $100. Reebok tried the same thing at the Boston Marathon, paying 100 runners to wear temporary tattoos. Caught up in the spirit of things, another 1,000 participants wore them for free.
Not that stupid? Please!
The next stop, of course, was permanent tattoos. And sure enough, there are now at least two people who have "GoldenPalace .com" imprinted on their foreheads in thick, black letters. Forevermore. One is a Canadian with the nickname "The Human Pincushion." Not a big stretch there. But the other is a single mom in her 30s from Bountiful, Utah, who went ahead with the skin billboard -- even after the tattoo artist spent seven hours trying to talk her out of it -- for $10,000.
I think we're on the brink of a full-fledged fad here. It won't be long before people are baring more "skinvertisement" than skin.
Skeptical? Let me see if I can anticipate your arguments.
1. People aren't that hard up for money.
To which I say: Please.
2. People aren't that stupid.
To which I say: Please!
The thing about tattoos is that people rarely have just one. When you've already collected the rose, the Celtic cross, the Chinese symbol for "chaos," the barbed wire ankle wrap and "Ricky rocks my world," why not throw in a "United Economy Plus" if it means a little mad money for you?
There are plenty of brand names that teens would wear for free, too: Abercrombie & Fitch, iPod, Coca-Cola Blak. Something like "7-Eleven Introduces the P'EatZZa Sandwich: $3.69 While Supplies Last" might be a tougher sell, but if it'll pay the car insurance, why not?
The old guard will be outraged that today's youth is cynical, selling out, and spelling "Budweiser" wrong. Celebrities will step up and sport tattoos advertising their upcoming movie releases ("Snakes on a Plane 2: Hisssstory Repeats Itself").
Tattoos will finally have a little shock value again.
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
Just ben thinking about my old labrador Sheba. Realised that she was a blogger as she kept a journal when we were on holiday. Purpose of this was to enable the kids who had not come on the holiday catch up on her doings. What follows is one day in April 1991.
We are most surely going to have a very wet week ahead. The weather yesterday and today has been really perfect with bright sunshine and just a hint of a breeze. They have tried this trick before of getting us sunburnt on the first couple of days and then washing everything out in the rest of the week. The journey up was easy enough although there was a lot of other traffic. People going to the Harrogate flower show make the road works between Wetherby and Harrogate worse.
We had planned to have lunch and a swim at Linton but the place was too crowded - both for the pub and for the river. We went on to the church and I had my usual swim there. He had lunch at the pub in Litton and then we came on here. She arrived about ten minutes after we got the keys and opened up. Not a lot seems to have changed since we were last here and that is nice to see in these days when memories are vandalised behind one's back.
The hillside behind us has a flock of sheep and newborn lambs. -At least, what passes for a flock up here. It is nothing like a Kent flock but there again the hillside is not like a Kent hillside either! We have heard pheasants calling and they have seen them from the upstairs lounge window. Usual cussedness; the sills are too high for me to see over so 1 had to content myself with pushing them and whining as they watched. I have not had to resort to this level to attract attention for a long while.
They went off in the evening and I was left on guard with his sweaty cap. When they came back they were on about the bikers they met and the Harley Davidson food processors. One thing I have discovered is that I have to be very careful when they offer a blocking up here. The whole place is so wide open that one could end up doing God knows how many miles just to get round a block. I have found a way down into the river at the bottom of the garden and 1 showed her how clever I was at scrambling down into it when all she thought was that I was doing a garden cheek. They keep my towels on the radiators up here and it is nice to come in to a warm towelling, I've only been here five or so hours and already we have three towels drying so the legs should soon be back on form.
A wealth playboy met a beautiful young girl in an exclusive lounge. He took her to his lavish apartment where he soon discovered she was not a tramp, but was well groomed and apparently very intelligent. Hoping to get her into bed he began showing her his collection of expensive paintings, first editions by famous authors and offered her a glass of wine.
He asked whether she preferred Port or Sherry and she said, "Oh, Sherry by all means. To me it's the nectar of the gods. Just looking at it in a crystal-clear decanter fills me with a glorious sense of anticipation. When the stopper is removed and the gorgeous liquid is poured into my glass, I inhale the enchanting aroma and I'm lifted on the wings of ecstasy. It seems as though I'm about to drink a magic potion and my whole being begins to glow. The sound of a thousand violins being softly played fills my ears and I'm transported into another world.
"On the other hand, Port makes me fart"
Whilst nationalism in Wales and Scotland is on the up, poor old George is faced with multi-culturism in his land. Where he once rode out to slay dragons and rescue maidens, people are looking for obscure interpretations of action that might, maybe, just possibly be seen as offensive to some extremist hothead looking hard for something about which to express a warped opinion and demand special recognition.
No sweat though. It's been tried before and failed. The opposition this time is stronger and the road to recovery will be longer.
My guest today is a bit of a plain speaker. Nothing wrong with that.