Archive for December, 2006

Last minute

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

On the 1st January 2006 I made ten predictions about the coming year. Now that we have reached the end of the year then it’s time to see how I did.

Prediction number 1: There will be bad publicity for Mr D. Tennant for some un-Doctor like behaviour.
Actuality: Nothing too bad really – though a current rumour is bad news, depending on your viewpoint.
Accuracy of prediction: Somewhere off-planet

Prediction number 2: The US will be confronted unpleasantly with the realities of global warming.
Actuality: Not a lot strong contenders for this one but there appears to be a growing acceptance stateside that global warming is a reality. Perhaps one of the most significant official moves, which seems to imply governmental acceptance of the effects of climate change, is the recent proposed listing of polar bears as a threatened species because of declining Arctic ice levels.
Accuracy of prediction: Lukewarm

Prediction number 3: There will be a royal scandal.
Actuality: In August it was reported that the Royal Voicemail had been illegitimately accessed by tabloid journalists. Apparently, the technique used is quite widely known and most people do not protect their voicemail boxes and are thus vulnerable to this form of hacking. Oh what fun awaits.
Accuracy of prediction: Royal flush

Prediction number 4: July will be very hot in the UK.
Actuality: UK July temperatures were at a record high; a 95 year record was broken on the 19th July with a reading of 36.5°c at Wisley.
Accuracy of prediction: Sizzling

Prediction number 5: A famous animal will expire.
Actuality: Desert Orchid carked it in November. This is the first obituary I’ve ever seen for a horse.
Accuracy of prediction: Evens

Prediction number 6: A member of Take That will suffer from ‘exhaustion’.
Actuality: If only I had used ‘former’ as my second word then I’d have been spot on with this one.
Accuracy of prediction: I was Robbied

Prediction number 7: Tony Blair will still be prime minister in December.
Actuality: It all looked a bit shaky from early in the year, culminating in an autumnal near-meltdown. However, there was life in the old dog and not a dry seat in the house when he gave his ‘farewell speech’ to the Labour Conference in September. This has to be one of the longest farewells in history as he’s still here – or rather he’s sunning himself in Miami. [ Bastard ].
Accuracy of prediction: Number 10 out of 10

Prediction number 8: Something really exciting and positive will happen to me.
Actuality: Well, it’s been a pretty good year. When I wrote this particular prediction, though, I was envisaging something unexpected. Sadly, I can’t think of a single thing that would fit this description. Ah well, maybe next year.
Accuracy of prediction: Nul pwan.

Prediction number 9: An unexpected happening of national note will occur on the South Coast of England.
Actuality: I’ve struggled with this one. The biggest story I could find, if I’m being strictly coastal, is the closure of Hastings Pier in East Sussex after it was deemed to be unsafe by the borough council. [ Contain yourselves ]
However, five miles from the Sussex coast lies the town of Lewes and earlier this month there was a massive explosion at a fireworks factory which definitely did hit the headlines.
Accuracy of prediction: Almost explosive

Prediction number 10: Shayne X Factor will join Gareth, Michelle and Steve in the Simon Cowell Secure Wheely Bin For Discarded Things That Make No Money.
Actuality: According to Shayne’s website, “2006 has been an absolutely phenomenal year for Shayne. After celebrating a record breaking Christmas no 1 last year, he has gone on to achieve global success with his chart topping debut album and huge concerts around the world.”
Shayne’s tour ends in Feb ’07 and he’s due to produce a new album sometime during the year. Looks like I’ve been a bit premature about this one. [ Story of my life ].
Accuracy of prediction: factor Z

So I got about 50% correct, which is not bad in my view.

How did you do?
I also invited readers to make their own predictions and received 35 additional predictions including,
“England will do remarkably well at the World Cup and the nation and its expats shall experience Svenitus.”
“BBC and ITV will do the honourable thing and cancel Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor respectively.”
“Prince Phillip will die and the Queen may abdicate.”

So now’s the time to evaluate your own predictions – were you right?

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Western Hemisphere Recruitment Inc
Unique opportunity !

Bluff !
Bravado !
Conspicuous Consumption !
Indiscriminate Oppression and Cruelty !
Death Wish !

If this sounds like you we want to hear from you.

Following the successful vertical realignment of the previous postholder a vacancy has arisen in our Middle East division for a General Bogeyman / Pariah.

This is a key role underpinning the international arms, media and novelty face mask industries.

The successful candidate will be skilled in attracting derision, bile and condemnation from the key client group: genitally challenged western politicians (GCWP). You will achieve this through a mix of crude violence ( both in house and in selected foreign territories ), regular taunting via Al Jazeera TV and megalomaniacal personality cultism ( lapel badges will be provided to the appointee ).

You should be experienced in dysfunctional diplomacy, indiscretion, public use of frightening looking guns, cigar smoking and instilling fear into small children.
It is likely that you will have several years experience in a senior villainy position in a dubious organisation, previously unknown.
( A list of choices is available upon application to the CIA ).

Language skills are vital, you must sound foreign and need an interpreter so that we can make up scary stories with the voiceovers. A large moustache is preferred, especially if you are female. Your name should be too long for TV name banners and have add on bits to confuse people.

Salary is dependent on experience and is subject to an annual ‘hate rating’ derived from: negative media headlines, diversionary speech opportunities for GCWP and frequency of caricature videos on YouTube. A special one-off War Starter Bonus is payable when we invade / bomb to stone age.

Contract length depends on your continued success as a loose wheelnut on the axle of evil.

Don’t hang around – apply now!

It's the TBeeGees!

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Miami top 30

1. You win again
2. Don’t let it happen again
3. Every day I have to cry
4. He’s a liar
5. If only only I had my mind on something else
6. Exit
7. Giving up the ghost
8. Guilty
9. House of Lords
10. I’ve gotta get a message to you
11. Letting go
12. Life goes on
13. A man for all seasons
14. Misunderstood
15. Please lock me away
16. Promise the earth
17. Sacred trust
18. Saying goodbye
19. We lost the road
20. Smoke and mirrors
21. Swan song
22. Wind of change
23. Temptation
24. Tint of blue
25. Treacle Brown
26. Up the revolution
27. Shape of things to come
28. Soldiers
29. Stayin alive
30. When he’s gone

Boxed off

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Bad old Saddam last appeared on the Feast of Stephen
When the sentence was confirmed Bush and Blair got even
Brightly shone the stocks that day though his fate was cruel
When the oil firms came in sight gathering high grade fuel

Happy Christmas

Monday, December 25th, 2006

I took this photo on Lanzarote at Christmas a couple of years ago.
It’s a perky little succulent bursting forth in winter sunshine from unpromising stony black volcanic soil. [ Metaphorical? moi? ]
Wishing you a succulent and perky Christmas. Whatever you do, do it with a glad heart – remember, you could be working on emergency callout for That’s far worse than listening to Aunty Gladys’ stories about knitting now isn’t it?

Hip happening

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

At last the oppressive fog blanket has blown off into the ether. Out in the garden earlier. Cutting great hanging lengths of ivy to make Christmas wreaths. The fresh green and white singing out at me. It was cold and the leaves were dripping with moisture, the ground was slimy underfoot. But I felt a bit connected. It’s all a bit quiet round here at the moment. People locked up in their boxes, watching their boxes or wrapping their boxes. Lights on, curtains drawn, boilers pumping out steam and CO2 into the grey air. So it was as though I was the only one outside, quietly snip snipping and thinking. About it all. And this annual thing we do. And as I cut and laid out the lengths of ivy, there glowing at the end of the garden, against the gathering gloom, a bunch of rosehips all glossy and crimson – last blush of distant summer sunshine stored up just for me.

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Quick question
Is New Blogger any better than New Labour?
Will there, for example, come a time when non-existent bugs of mass destruction will fail to obliterate my archives and I will become the pariah of the right thinking liberal western hemisphere? Just asking like.

Bashed in teeth and split lip agogo
Via the slimevine I learn that someone – who
a. Caused me immense grief in the past.
b. Has been frequently rude to my face.
c. Incited others to do likewise and
d. Been calculatedly evil in their actions toward me – has suffered an especially painful and temporarily disfiguring facial injury just in time for chrimbo.
Would it be 1. Evil or 2. Understandable to purr inwardly with pleasure in karmic appreciation of their Punishment sad misfortune?
Do you now see how Catholicism has warped my mind?

Cheap clothing at Tesco?
Read this first.

Weekend paranoia

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Back in July I posed a few questions following the plan to computerise UK medical records. Knowing how easy it is for information to leak out of supposedly secure databases I don’t want to have anything to do with this system. I don’t trust computer systems. Only today, it’s emerged that up to 700,000 people may be adversely affected by an Inland Revenue computer cock up. Our vulnerability to infrastructure dependency is also highlighted by the mayhem caused today in Birmingham by the loss of a single power substation. Is it inconceivable that simultaneous malicious targeting of power or data infrastructures might occur? After all, this is the first thing that the US and UK did in the Iraq invasion. So, to an ‘enemy’ it’s a logical first move. So what will happen to our vital medical records if such infrastructure damage occurs? What’s to stop, too, medical data being acquired by those who’ll misuse it in any number of ways? The plans announced today have received various interpretations. Some commentators suggest that patients will be given an easy opt-out of the system. Others, that one would have to prove that the system would cause them ‘substantial mental distress’ to be exempted. The exact nature of the system remains cloudy. One thing is clear to me. Alongside the creeping ‘identity card culture’, more and more detailed personal information is being collected on government databases. Any illusion of privacy is being stealthily and steadily removed.

I’m wondering
…whilst we’re on the subject of privacy, why was US intelligence bugging Princess Diana’s phone conversations during the period leading up to her death? Why has so little fuss been made about this and the questions it raises for us all?

…also, how is it possible to get on board an aircraft, either originating or destined for the UK, carrying radioactive material? You would think that if ‘security’ can detect a nail file in your underpants from sixty feet away they might be able to pick up the odd stream of gamma rays coming out of your handbag now wouldn’t you?


Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Why don’t you read
About pushbutton cheese.
About when recycling gets out of control.
A yuletide reappraisal of Gary Glitter.
Pervy postulations on Chav culture from Drub.
An argument for bloggistic minimalism from Anna.
Middle class controversy for the Radio 4 generation.
Sobering thoughts from a recovering chaffinch.
Too much information from da geezer.
…or just look at some brilliant pictures.

From Damo – thankyoumuchly Sir.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Unfortunately named spokespersons on the benefits of circumcision: no 1
Dr Kevin De Cock.