Saturday, 5 May 2007


Don't know if the system will allow you to see my site meter record of places from where this blog has been accessed. Just looking, seems I have lived in or visited the majority of them - excluding Oz and Kiwi Land.

So - come on, don't be shy. Drop me a quick note about how things are there right now. I may be able to tell you what they were like for me going back anything up to 55 years ago. Save looking in the profile -

Taking refuge in MY World

I know the preamble to this page points out that when here you are in MY World and it may not be exactly what this modern pc loving world is used to.

However, there are times when I am very glad that we live in two separate worlds. I still cannot get used to people on mobile phones announcing to all and sundry that they are on The Train.

Fresh meat

I bet a few of the Bearded Ladies are looking forward to her arrival in their midst.

Change in slow motion.

So, the local elections that were forecast as likely to drastically change the face of politics are now over. Quite a few changes but my own opinion is that they were a bit of a slow burn rather than a bonfire. What did surprise me was that apathy seems to have protected B.Liar from a nation where criticism of his final years was strong.

Maybe this means that there is a silent majority at work here. Or was it due to the moral majority? We seem to have a resurrection of the Silent Majority (UK Branch)but it seems few took notice of this rabid bunch. I doubt that we here in UK could ever sustain a Moral Majority movement but my only knowledge of that organisation was gained from Jerry Falwell's preaching heard on Sunday TV in America waiting for the football to start.

ID Cards - the full story

I wrote about ID cards a day or so ago. My home-grown IT guru has responded. Sounds that the idea is as daft as I suspected. Even before the government adds it's own cock-ups to the weak idea that the ID card is any guarantee of identity.

Any form of digital ID is going to be very difficult. How will you decide that I am the me that I pretend to be, who will authorise you to issue me with a certificate, and how will you prevent people from duplicating that chain of events? If we assume that you have some magical trick that allows you to verify who I am and who you are in a manner that authorises you to issue me with a certificate of some sort, what do we do about reading, writing and updating the data that is on the chip. If for example my doctor is able to read my medical history, what is to prevent the insurance company from also being able to do this? When they discover that gene-x-102 is a very clear sign that I have a 99% chance of having a heart attack some days prior to my 64th birthday, who will be able to read that from my card? Passports were supposed to be quite difficult to copy. The criminals avoid this problem by paying large sums of money to people who issue them with real passports. Money is supposed to be very difficult to copy, but the criminals managed to do that one reasonably easily. Chip&Pin was already broken before they issued it in the UK. In other parts of the world, they capture information at the cash machine, generate a copy of your card and go off and use this for a few hours. The same thing will happen with digital
ID.The problem is that the great unwashed will all think that everything is hyper secure when the exact opposite is actually the case.Look at the requirements.

I want to have a secure card.I want to store more than one set of information on that card.I want more than one group of readers to be able to access ONLY the data that relates to them.I want to be able to have some form of appeals process as a means to correct information that is inaccurate. Four little requirements that mean that dual-key public/private password schemes will
not work for this. Just thinking about some form of secure authentication protocol that allows some authority to issue empty cards is horrendous. There are people who do not have a current passport or driving license. There are other people who have very good forged passports and driving licenses. My bank and credit card is not proof of who I am. Whilst I could get my mum to write a letter explaining who I am, how will you know that she is my mum? What happens to the droves of people in the UK who do not speak English. Just as I am able to obtain a passport, credit card, drivers license, P45 and letter from my family doctor saying I am who I am, I could reasonably easily get the same set of documents to prove that I was Mandy Smith. If you are prepared to issue them on the basis of my showing you my claim slip for unemployment and a bill from the
gas board, then I am not prepared to accept them as proof of who you are.Lets do the next clever trick. How will the copper know that the person and the card belong together. Clearly a photo is not enough or you would be happy with a passport or drivers license. You would need some form of scanner. You would need to have quite a lot of these scanners. Anyone that wanted to read my card and verify that it really was me would have to have one. Lets assume that we are only talking about 100,000 scanners. 2% of these would be bent. So 200 chances
that someone can circumvent the system. That is 199 more than I wanted to know about. Now lets assume that they manage to resolve all of those problems.What will they do about buggers like you and me who refuse to get one? What will they do for people like me who are British citizens who live abroad? What will they do when I bring Katrin on a visit to the UK?If they managed to introduce something today, it would take less than three weeks to work out how to crack it. It would then take only a few days until we saw the first card copying and duplication.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Attn Ms Rice

Current affairs have put this lady's image back on the media.

All I have to say is that if she wants to make an old man very happy spending his last few years in her company, she knows where I am!

Some mistake surely?

I think it is an accepted fact that what industry chooses to call Customer Service is just a disaster. And that was before they out-sourced things to India. As a racist bigot, I have to refrain from commenting on what happens there. So, it was nice to see what happened when someone escalated his Mac complaint up to the very gates of executive heaven. Steve Jobs, the man himself. We have to believe that it was a Jobs initiative and not his executive assistant doing good by stealth.

I went Mac after a particularly harrowing period with the Microsh*t system. My usual IT guru declined interest so I had to do it all without that helping hand that technophobes need. And yet, it was all so easy. Everything seemed simple and intuitive once one had grasped some basic ideas and rules. I did once get the whole thing so corrupted that it had to go into a local Centre to get it's guts straightened out but that was easy, quick and cheap to achieve. I've had to come back to Gates Land for the Internet but one day I will set off down the Mac yellow brick road and learn how to get what I want from my Apple.

Thursday, 3 May 2007


Rory Bremner is very clever. The make-up people deserve every penny they get. This sketch contains all the Blair tics and tacs. Pity the real man could not have been so productive.

Land of the Brave.

America is known as Land of the Brave, Home of the Free. There are many brave men and women risking their health, limbs and life to maintain the Freedom so it seems a little strange that they themselves are having their freedom limited.

I am sure that the ability to openly express one's fears and feelings is a great morale booster for service people in settings of constant danger. There will also be occasions when they are frustrated by their commanders or by the general bloody-mindedness of military life. To limit their ability to open up is to lessen their morale.

I cannot see that any restriction will greatly improve any security aspects. There will always be ways for an enemy to judge the will and drive of their opponents without reading their mail. There are many locals who have access to military camps and they would be a good source. My suspicion is that the new moves are designed to make sure that the spin and propaganda put out by the top brass is not questioned. There are those on the ground who have doubts.

National ID cards

I have to confess that I am not sure where lies the project to issue us with ID cards. I do know that it generated immense argument into the pro and cons. These concerned not just the question of having the cards but also what information they might contain as part of the verification process and just where they would be necessary. The cost was enormous.

Our government has a history of fouled up IT projects. Late delivery, inadequate satisfaction of the design criteria, cost over-runs; just about anything that could go wrong does. On the other hand, America seems capable of implementing such systems. So, it was interesting to read of concerns about the setting up and administration of a national ID card there. My own 2P worth which I will throw in for free is that old security adage that what one man is capable of designing, there will always be another man who will know how to circumvent the safeguards.

A right turn up - trousering the cash

Whilst fully understanding the place of litigation in American society, I think this Judge might be said to be - er - tearing the arse out of things. I suppose the higher the threat, the more likely the party being sued will settle for a far lesser sum outside court.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Almost a perfect day

I spent most of yesterday out and about or reading and it was not until about eleven o'clock last night that I heard any news broadcast. Standing there in my crisp clean jim jams stirring my cup of Horlicks, I wasn't really listening even then. However, I was suddenly aware of some sort of subliminal message "Brown" "Indiscretion" "Gay lover" "Resigns".

Dash to lounge and volume upwards turned. Damn. Wrong Brown. This is one of those with a 'e' at the end. Yet another victim of the press hyena pack. I'm quite sure that his being gay was not exactly a state secret - people working at his level have few secrets. Still lives with his mother - hmnn. It was for quite another reason he resigned. Fiscal integrity and personal standards are essentials when at the top of the tree where one's decisions have the effect that his do. He left because he had had to admit to telling lies in a court of law. And yet, the gay thing was responsible in a way. He so feared disclosure that he lied. To be ambarrassed about that in this day and age does seem unusual; goodness knows, we have enough who wave their difference like a banner and revel in their sexual choice.

But, he chose to come out in a very public way. Good luck to him. Apart from any other concern, the financial impact was pretty sensational. It seems he has certainly lost £3.5 million he would have been entitled to and may well lose a further £12 million. Ouch. And it does not end there. As we heteros would say, "No piece of ass is worth that much"

Royal Tour

Our Queen has a hectic tour of America on her agenda. There is a lot there for anyone but when we think of an aged person doing all this we have to show respect. So long as she stays away from the little old ladies with blue rinse hair and tennis shoes, she'll be OK. We got taken on by the Little League ladies and they ran us right off our feet being so keen to show us all their treasures.

The suggestion that the main part of her visit will be to apologise for B.Lair has not been officially discounted said a Palace spokeswoman.

Joining up

Wonder what he did to get such personal attention?

In Memoriam

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Own goal - sort of

I think ironic is the word I am looking for here.

A fundamentalist group leader is killed, not by a hovering Apache helicopter or screming A10 fighter plane but in an internal struggle. Saved us the job and a good result so I suppose it does not really matter how one describes it.

Look back in anger - Ten Years down the drain

As the tenth anniversary (is that the right word - I've always thought that anniversaries were things to be celebrated; maybe commerated is a better choice?) draws near the craze seems to be to try and identify what that man has done for us during his reign. (Given his style - reign is exactly the right word). Already, I have seen a nice comment on his effect upon our identity where I think his collected efforts were a disaster.

I am going to cheat slightly. Well, seems appropriate given the individual we are discussing. I regret that he has wasted ten years. He came into power with a truly overwhelming majority and surging support for his NewLabour ideas. After the dying years of the Tory long innings there was much to correct and much scope for new initiatives. Yet, looking at what has actually happened it is hard to see where he has achieved anything. The indication of what was to come should have been apparent with the saga of the Millennium Dome where they took over the Hesseltine project when the government changed. The opening night was a defining moment in my attitude to the new boys in town. Guests stranded far away, Old Langs Syne with the Queen forced into an up market Knees Up Mother Brown routine, dodgy fireworks - all the clues were there.

There has been no lack of new clothes for the Emperor. But, time and again, once the initial euphoria has faded we see that there is nothing underneath the spin and, sometimes, downright lies of the Mandelsons and Campbells. When detected in these twists and untruths, their corrective measures also failed. The new legislation seems to be applied in something like an Elastoplast wound dressing manner. So, marks out of 10? Twist my arm? Maybe two.

And so, Farewell

I have often said I'd like to see the back of Cherie Blair nee Booth. When it came, this image is NOT what I had wished for.

As she fades away into her considerable property assets (funded dubiously) interspersed with well paid lecture/freebie gathering tours, it is clear that either the Cameron cutie or the Brown babe will have to watch their p's and q's lest they be compared with dear departed Cherie The Wide Mouth Frog.


It is all to easy to blame MI5 for what seemed to be a slack approach in targetting some and missing others. They do not have limitless resources - they have been forced to advertise for trainee spooks - and doubtless felt they had a better developed case against those who were weighed off yesterday.

This blogger says it well. All about priorities. My own 2P worth? Had they chosen the eventual 7/7 London transport bombers and prevented those at the cost of the other lot getting into Brent Cross Shopping Centre - there would have been the same volume of comment as we have now.

NHS had 24 hours to live

Well, seems that is what B.Liar said when he came to power. If it were moribund then, it must have the survivor assets of Jack Bauer. The Guest Blog sets out to explore ways that what we have left may be improved.

First off, there needs to be realisation that money allocated to Health goes into a bottomless pit. Demand is created for, say, IVF for women of 50. That is achieved and the women of 55 start knocking on doors for their chance. Then along come the 60 year olds. Medicine can possibly do everything given enough funds but at the moment we do not seem to have any machinery for evualating just what should be done. We have NICE messing around ruling on drugs but nothing seems to happen on the really major, broad brush, questions. It has to be taken on board that left to it's own demands, the NHS will swallow every penny abstracted from us by way of taxes. Every day people are given the devestating news that they have the big C and that nothing can be done to prevent their death in x months or weeks. They accept that and most go away to settle their affairs and look for a dignified and pain-free exit. The same 'telling it like it is' needs to be adopted across all illnesses and medical demands. Childless at 50? Well, sorry. The NHS will do nothing.

Having done something to limit the financial demands, there needs to be better finalcial planning. Big industry manages to get it's budgets right. We do not read that XXY Inc has run out of money just two thirds of the way through the year and is having to stop functioning because there is no money. Cars are not made and set aside because there is no money to buy wheels and tyres. Yet, regularly we read of NHS Trusts having to suspend operations as the money has gone, buildings are falling apart for lack of funds or that doctors and consultants are being laid off as they cannot be paid. This must cease. Having a firm grip on what is to be done is a prime essential to budgetting so the two things I reckon we need are conjoined.

Will we get it? I doubt it. Politicians are driven bythe need to get re-elected. The public will want Auntie Ruth aged 60 to become, overnight, Mummy Ruth with the threat of, at least, twins. Telling her she has left it too late will not go down well with the tabloid press who will highlight the political fallout. And so it goes on.

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How can we improve the NHS? Good question.

Ouch - that's gotta hurt

I am finally, as an old man, getting used to the TV adverts showing a pack of cotton and blue ink. I can accept that if they work as illustrated, they must impart real feelings of security.

The concept of security has just been extended. Remember the old sergeant in Hill Street 'Just be careful out there'

Monday, 30 April 2007

Singing poodle

My dog sometimes 'sings' along with me if I am in turn doing a Willie Nelson duet.

Nice to see that poodle B.Liar has the same ability.

Security cock-up - Yes or No?

There will doubtless be heated calls for an Inquiry as to how it was that our MI5 people missed the plotters of the 7/7 transport bombings in London. I found this (below) in the ether that surounds us. Not my words but I agree the sentiment. As a witness in the Saville Inquiry regarding Bloody Sunday, I well know just what riches these produce for the legal profession and how little new material they disclose.

Via ChickenYoghurt, there's a petition to sign if you think it'll do any good. Basically, it goes like this:
We, the undersigned, call on the government to initiate another vastly expensive whitewash which will waste enormous amounts of public money whilst exonerating the current government and security services of any wrongdoing whatsoever. It may or may not cost less than the £500 million, or whatever the f**k it is, that the massively fruitless (and yet-to-report) Bloody Sunday enquiry has paid to lawyers so far but I simply cannnot imagine a better way to spend the cash. Certainly, giving it to the Security Services and thus allowing them more resources to ensure that another 7/7 never happens is definitely not the best use of that money. Really.

Can you tell that I'm a wee bit sceptical?

Oily Limpics

The more I hear about our 2012 Olympics, the less I like it. There is a story rolling about that £1 billion of costs was conveniently 'lost' in the preliminary calculations and now we have the revelation as to how the security will be handled.

I well remember the pictures of the Olympics in Germany when the terrorists seized the Israeli athletes and the bungled attempt at rescuing them led to many deaths of the hostages. The security situation is surely much more tense than back then so it is vital we have the best. Choosing a contractor on the basis of their sponsorship seems a sad way of getting the best. It makes a selection from a limited pool.

And this is before the drugs sagas start .........

Wise words

Have to start off with a quote.

Bear with me. Blood, sweat, and tears When someone truly cares about us, we almost automatically start to care about them. All the great leaders of the past have known this. Napoleon talked personally with his soldiers and handed out medals to show them that he cared about their hurts and valued their bravery.They responded by fighting for him until the last. Winston Churchill walked in the bombed ruins of London and spoke the words the defiant people would have spoken if they’d had his eloquence. He didn’t talk about abstractions, like overall war plans or strategic objectives. He spoke about real things: blood, sweat and tears. He embodied the values the nation was fighting for. He gave meaning to people’s efforts to stay alive and fight back. Hand people instructions and they’ll do no more than you tell them to—and maybe not even that. Give them rules and they’ll find ways around them. Talk about financial ratios, profitability, and return on investment, and their eyes will glaze over. But give people something to believe in—a sense of meaning and purpose in what they do— and show them that they matter, and they’ll produce efforts and results you wouldn’t have imagined possible.

One of the comments most often made about B.Liar is his absence from the hospital wards where victims of his ego-centered war are held. He will fly off to Iraq whenever a photo-opportunity is needed. He has caused his government to issue much new legislation - i.e. instructions. He declaims how wonderful his works are in the worlds of finance - i.e. financial ratios etc. He creates Rules which are swiftly circumvented.

What he does not do is give people in the wider community something to believe in, meaning and purpose. That lack certainly has great effect in the military where increasing numbers say "Enough - I'm off". I am sure his dismal performance in real terms is down to that lack of meaning.

New lamps for old

As should be clear by now, I am not a woman. Neither am I Muslim. I did spend some considerable time in the Middle East and in an Asian country where the majority of people were Muslims.

So, on many counts, I seem unqualified to comment on what is reported as a rising trend in, at least, France. However, as a well-travelled, red-blooded heterosexual, I do have views on virginity. Its purpose, significance and place in a loving relationship. I never attached a great deal of thought or importance to the existence or otherwise of a small piece of skin. So much for the practical side of the matter. I do admit that my attitude towards those who worried about virginity was to regard it in the same way as one might consider employing a chauffeur. Would you want one who had never driven?

We live in a world where very relaxed moral values exist alongside almost pre-civilisation attitudes. Possibly none more so than where sex is involved. If the parties involved feel that falsely obtained 'evidence' of chastity is significant, I have no objection to their going down that route. Especially as it seems that the earth may be moving for some.

Insight - How Things Work

So, OK, how does the arrow of your mouse work? What makes it move?

I know now. This will keep me enthralled for th rest of the day, I'm sure.

Right says Fred

There are many things about America that get my approval. Big deal I hear you say, Bush can sleep soundly tonight. This is a guy who regularly sets out his feelings on racial differences. He seems to do it without NAACP or KKK forming up on his lawn. His latest blog is another example. Here in UK, this sort of thing would have him ASBO'd within hours. I understand that he has a readership and is not just some evil voice sounding off where he cannot be heard. This in a country that many of us here see as dominated by pc in all it's forms.

Is it 'cos I is fat?

Patsy Hewitt, our purported Health Minister, has encouraged NHS Trusts who decline to treat fatties on grounds of their size or smokers because of their disgusting habit. Well, fine. She has been involved in wrong decision on other things. More than once. Almost several times in fact. I'm sure you get the picture.

However, it seems strange that we will not allow people to prematurely terminate their own lives but condemn others to death because they have a problem outside their control. I might see something in the ruling if there were a requirement to aggressively treat the addiction or whatever causes obesity or smoking. Participation in this treatment would be compulsory for those who need other treatments where overweight or smoking is a contra-indication.

I should declare an interest. "My name is John and I am a fatty". 12 Steps will not cure an atheist.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Why is he so attractive?

Sven-Goran Ericsson claims he cannot see why his private life attracted so much interest.

May I give him a clue? Just rate in degrees of attraction to the opposite sex the man himself and the three women with whom we know he played hunt the sausage.


And this is the reaction of the PM who was going to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

There seems to be no area where the idiot has not reversed his actions and claims to improve things.

Truly, "In the name of God - go!"

Rich List

There is an uncanny fascination for me in reading The Rich List. Cannot really sort out why; it is so obvious that I will never figure even on the final rung. Not envy or jealousy. Only sometimes does it drive me off to thinking what I would do with some massive sum.

There was one year I really enjoyed it. Linked in was the story about a mega mega rich man who heard someone boasting about being worth £5 million. "Toss you for it" he said. I wish I could do that.

Stand Up, speak up. Shut up. Sit down

Having been a soldier I know the difference that often exists between what one is told and what one knows to be true and correct. So, it is good to hear the opinion of a soldier turned politician. Not that he says much new; the blogs from Iraq are very current. We even had a private soldier speaking out in the media saying what a waste it all was. The author of this analysis is the man sacked by Dopey Dave Cameron. Reading this has just about wiped out any support I may have had for Cameron.