Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Arise Sir Sir Fred

Relax, I'm not advocating a rise in Sir Fred Goodwin's already obscene pension. Instead, I suggest a second knighthood.
In 2010, we need to be imaginative in taking whatever measures we deem necessary to recoup our losses of 2009.
So why not bestow this unique honour upon Sir Fred? It costs nothing to hand out a knighthood and in doing so we can raise a small fortune for the taxpayer from whoever bids the highest to bring the sword down (gently) upon Sir Sir Fred.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Does my Astra look big in this?

No. In fact, quite the contrary.
I note that a shopping centre in China's Hebei province has built a car park with wider spaces especially for women drivers.
One must not underestimate the significance of this decision in helping to control China's population explosion.
Well, what else could result from giving women such a wide berth?

The greatest 'occi'-moron of our time?

Airport security.
I don't know how they deal with security in the East, but when is the West going to get the message that we are the number one target for terrorist attacks?

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Doobie doobie doo

Doobie doobie doo?
Isn't it amazing that no matter what drivel you write, if you set it to a catchy tune it can become instantly memorable and immediately recognisable.
Are there any takers out there who would like to set my blog to music?

The £6 million protection racket

I believe that it costs the taxpayer £6 million each year to protect Tony Blair as he jets around the world earning megabucks as a pathetic peripatetic global megaphone.
If you accept that the world is a more dangerous place because of his guided missiles and misguided policies, can we not sue him to get our money back?

Pâté de foie gras

It’s inhumane.
All that force feeding.
It’s the same every Christmas.
Nothing changes.
I’ve eaten far too much pâté de foie gras.
And that’s just for starters.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Head of Church and church off head!

Last night the Head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, was pushed to the ground by someone purportedly suffering from mental problems.
Last week it was President Berlusconi's turn to be attacked when a statue of a church bounced off his head. Again it involved someone with mental problems.
It didn't escape my notice that Berlusconi was the one who immediately needed to get his head seen to.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Street crime to explode in 2010

At some point in the first half of 2010 there will be a General Election. At that point, upwards of 120 MP’s will be off. Well off.
In fact, bloody well off.
After years of pickpocketing, mugging and shafting the taxpayer, they are about to hit the streets of Britain with their finely honed skills.
You might want to look upon it as a mass prison breakout.
They will no longer be in the Commons but on the common. But, be warned, they will still be on the take.
They know no other way.
To help you identify them, just remember this: they might look presentable and speak in concerned tones, but the ‘realpolitik’ is that they are like a cross between a spider and an octopus. They can spin a web of deceit while still keeping eight tentacles free to remove your last squid. Sorry, quid.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

My first is in...

It's 90 minutes long.
It's a game of two halves (one "themed" - so we are told).
One ref.
A left winger, a right winger and a centre.
Partisan supporters.
One goal.
Number Ten.
Brown? Cameron? Clegg?
Let the debates begin.
I'm waiting with 'debated' breath.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe...

...she had a very nice brogue.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Eurostar. An apology.

On behalf of Eurostar, I would like to apologise for their apology.
The tunnel might have been completed a few years ago, yet Eurostar are still digging.
And they’ve struck cold.
So cold, in fact, their trains can’t deal with the “fluffier snow”.
What a load of claptrap.
When Eurostar say “only travel when it is absolutely necessary”, what they really mean is: if you want to get there for Christmas, you’ll be quicker by donkey.
All wise men know that much.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

scowl n. & v. - the etymology

1. A contraction of Simon Cowell following the indignation he showed when (at long bloody last) he was outmanoeuvred for the coveted 2009 Christmas number one spot.
2. The anger people express at his contribution to the celebrity culture that pervades society.
3. To wear your trousers so high they form a cowl.

Honeypots and pension pots, the whole world has gone to pot!

Can there be anything worse in life than being told that you only have so long to live? Would you seek solace from your faith? Would you endeavour to do the things that you always promised yourself? Or might you decide to blow it all in one last hurrah? It is not a subject that I even like to contemplate.
As Copenhagen has just proved, 2009 was the year that the world's leaders finally realised that planet Earth is doomed. So what did they do?
They blew the lot!
Savings, pension pots, honeypots, stocks, shares, currencies. Not their money. Ours.
It's all gone!
With global warming, you could say it has gone with the wind.
The problem is I don't think enough of us give a damn.

Friday, 18 December 2009

BA to merge with BMI

With the present difficulties being experienced by the airline industry in general and BA in particular, it might make sense for BA to merge with BMI and use both their names to call the new airline BAMBI.
After all, compared to certain other carriers, they are a 'little deer'.

Nave strikes knave

As despicable a character as Berlusconi might be, nobody deserves to be clattered in such a violent manner.
Perhaps I can recommend a faith healer....?

Talking turkey on global warming

Take all the world's leaders. Add a liberal sprinkling of cynicism. Pop them in a large freezer room and set to defrost. Check after one hour taking great care with the melting ice.....the water! Turn the temperature up by 5 degrees Celsius and continue to monitor at regular intervals. Increase the temperature by 5 degrees each time. After a few hours, open the door. Once the temperature reaches 30 degrees, they should really be talking turkey. If not, continue to increase the temperature until it produces the desired effect.
At some stage they will realise just how unpleasant global warming can be.
When they are ready to sign an agreement, take one squid, squeeze to get some ink.
What's sauce for the goose, turkey, etc. etc.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Stand and deliver!

How often have you heard it said that MP’s don’t enter politics for the money?
Hands up if you believe it.
Now keep your hands up. This is a hold up. Pass me your wallet!
That little scenario above was a bit of role playing in which I was your average MP. And believe me, they are very average. And believe me again, he/she already has at least one hand on your wallet.
Take a look at your own MP and ask yourself: if they were lucky enough to find a job outwith the cloistered honeypot that is Westminster, what kind of salary do you honestly think they could command?
The truth is, Parliament is full of nincompoops who stand on a promise that they never deliver and for which they are paid a salary that is tantamount to daylight robbery.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

SOS (Save our Savings)

It's Christmas so let's be charitable.
Isn't it nice how some of the world's most influential leaders are showing great concern for the smaller island states lest they disappear under the sea due to global warming?
I'm prepared to overlook the possibility that the same leaders have squirrelled away their* 'cache' to those selfsame tax havens.
'Notes' on a small island?

*In politics, 'their' can often be used as a synonym for 'our'.

The voter IS a fool

MP's from all sides are forever telling us that the voter is not a fool.
Well how do we explain our MP's?

Heat-seeking missals!

I note that Iran claims to have successfully tested a medium-range missile.
And we're worried about global warming.....?
It's time to give up warfare and indulge in some mind games starting with heat-seeking missals.
Let's send them on a wing and a prayer.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Freddie the Hoodwinking Hoody

Little has been seen or heard of Fred Goodwin, Britain’s richest pensioner. Rumours abound that he is Christmas shopping in Edinburgh at night while sporting a hood.
Ah well, good to hear his ‘night hood’ isn't totally useless yet.

The Ministers went there two by two, hurrah! hurrah!

In the beginning – or at around that time – Noah built his ark, but technology has moved on.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and I think I’m on to it.
First of all our money disappeared. Then Fred Goodwin went. Now the world’s leaders are heading there and they are arriving two by two. By Friday they will all be there.
It’s Copenhagen, of course.
Global warming, it seems, is getting too hot for some.
Last week Sir Richard Branson launched Virgin Galactic.
Coincidence? I think not.
He too is in Copenhagen.
The engines of his 21st Century 'ark' are primed and raring to go with the occasional ‘sub-prime’ injection just to make Fred feel a little more at home.
Fred has a window seat and is ready to bail out with the money as only he knows how.
All other seats are taken.
There’s the brown seat. Yes, Darling is still worrying about the economy.
Brown’s seat is next to him.
Barack Obama is late. His seat is initialled BO. It might prove difficult to keep Sarkozy out of it. Berlusconi is always out of it. Has anyone seen Angela Merkel?
Never mind, time is running out.
Prepare for take off.
The world is doomed.
Which planet to ravage and lay waste to next?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Copenhagen - Britain leads the way

Which other nation can boast a national carrier that selflessly cancels all flights over Christmas to help reduce their carbon footprint?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Frederick Anderson Goodwin

Capital Punishment? Think about it.

Avoid all Bookies and Bankers

Had someone approached me on the eve of the 2009 Open at Turnberry and convinced me that on Sunday an American with the initials of TW would have a short putt to win, I’d have mortgaged my house, gone to the bookies and backed Tiger Woods.
I’d have also gone to the poorhouse.
Had Tom Watson dared to suggest in 1975 when he won his first Open that he would have a short putt to win 34 years hence, he’d have gone to the madhouse.
My point is there is no such thing as a banker.
If only there was no such ‘thing’ as that banker Freddie Goodwin, the world would be a better place and our money would be better placed.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Friday, 11 December 2009

Never in the field of human con-tricks was so much owed by so many to so few

What would Churchill have made of our MP's expenses?
No, I don't mean the great politician. I'm referring to the insurance company of that name.
It's a brilliant solution, let's appoint Churchill.
When it comes to MP's expenses, nobody is better qualified to find a reason not to pay out on a claim than an insurance company.
If only MP's had observed - "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give" - we wouldn't be in the fine mess that we are now in.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Not now Darling. There's a 'buy' election looming.

Alastair Darling's blueprint for our economic recovery:
Buy now. Bye later.

Please sir, can I have some more?

The Daily Telegraph today (9th Dec. 2009) gave a foretaste of the latest round of our martyrs' expenses due to be published by Parliament tomorrow.
Prepare yourself for a bad aftertaste.
A few pages later, reference is made to Sir Thomas More the patron saint of politicians.
Can there be a more appropriate name?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas is coming…..just don’t tell anyone!

I don’t know if it is politically correct to couch it in these terms but the lunatics are running the asylum.
In Dundee, we recently held a Winter Light Night ceremony.
It involved the switching on of certain coloured spheres. Let’s not refer to them by any other name lest we upset any other person.
Whatever next?
Will EASTer run the risk of offending those living in the North, South and West?
I honestly don’t know.
It seems we lost our moral compass a long time ago.

Precious mettle

It would be difficult to accuse the present leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Annabel Goldie, of lacking ‘mettle’. Everyone knows it is a prerequisite for the job.
But what possesses her to think that she can kick Alex Salmond’s independence dreams into touch by denying voters the opportunity to do exactly that with our long hoped for referendum?
She has a brass neck, her initials are silver and her name is Goldie.
If the Tories are to salvage anything from Scotland, it’s time they took her to the scrap yard.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Would the last person to leave the planet please turn ON the lights!

Global warming?
You really don’t know what to believe.
“What we need is more renewable energy” they said.
“Build a wind farm” they suggested.
A farm?
So we did.
But rather than erect turbines that look silly and out of place, I thought, let’s buy some cows.
They look nicer.
That way, at least we can get milk from one end and no end of wind from the other.
“Sorry, it’s the wrong type of wind. You’re not helping. You’re making the planet worse.”
I’ll plug them.
Oh no, plugs are out.
I’ll need to think of some other bright idea that isn’t so bright that it illuminates the bulb just above my head.
What about wave power?
Now there’s an idea.
Let’s harness the entire population of the world and at precisely the same time we can all wave goodbye to planet earth.
And if that doesn’t generate enough lift, maybe Sir Richard Branson with his intergalactic ambitions can take us to some other world.

Planet earth is getting warmer and wetter.
Our policy makers are in Copenhagen generating yet more hot air.
And from that, still more confusion ‘reigns’.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The bigotry that dare not speak its name

Tiger should know better than anyone about the importance of commitment. From agonising between a 4-iron and a 5-iron, once you make a decision, you need to commit to the shot.
Otherwise, as with his marriage, you are in danger of ending up in the long grass.
Now I’m not going to get on my moral high horse - mine rode out of town a long time ago - but I can’t condone what he has done.
However, when it comes to attracting detractors, Tiger seems to have managed it on an industrial scale and he has achieved it in a celebrity culture where, at times, marriage and affairs seem to go together like.....well.....a horse and carriage.
It just doesn’t add up.
My suspicion is that too many of these latter-day critics – including many fellow professionals – see this as no more than an opportunity to vent their spleen. They have never accepted that the world’s predominant golfer is, shall we say, in their minds, different.
Shame on them for that. Shame on Tiger for the other.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Survival of the fattest

We’ve all seen those awesome (and some) Sir David Attenborough nature programmes in which a pack of ruthless wolves moves in on their prey or a herd of buffalo stampedes towards a watering hole or a voracity of vultures (sounds like a good collective noun to me!) circles their next square meal. But have you ever wondered about the human equivalent? Well, I’ve just discovered it.
It’s called the Christmas shop at Asda.
I nipped in for what I thought would be a straightforward shop and picked up a basket at the entrance. Little did I realise how many ‘basket cases’ were already ahead of me, all wielding trolleys. But just in case you have any preconceived ideas, an Asda trolley is no ordinary trolley.
An Asda trolley is ergonomically designed for its driver to slouch forward onto the handle in order to steer it around the retail jungle in his own inimitable monocoque fashion. When I say ‘steer’, to the driver that word is more likely to conjure up an image of the back end of some humongous beast that he somehow has to prise from the freezer and hump in to his trolley among the booze, nuts, crisps and other delicacies.

In essence, an Asda trolley is the supreme hunter-gatherer invention. It’s a veritable food bearing Zimmer.

Unlike the wild, however, (admittedly, Asda is not too unlike the wild) we are not talking here about the survival of the fittest.
How do I know that?
Well having scanned and paid for my items, an electronic voice shouts out:
"Thank you for using the fat lane!"
Or was it the fast lane?
At Asda, you can never be too sure.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Making a good fist of it!

I read in the Dundee Courier recently about yet another indecent assault. It led me to think: what exactly constitutes a decent assault?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Father's Day confuses some kids!

We are all morally bereft.
As taxpayers, we subscribe to a system that encourages unmarried teenage girls to get pregnant. By providing them with financial rewards, housing and numerous other benefits, we lead them (on) to a lifestyle that they might otherwise take years to attain.
But I am not suggesting for one moment that we abandon them as readily as we seem to have abandoned hope. Of course we need to help, but we ought not to create that need through our misguided ways.
There are many single mothers who have come by their unfortunate circumstances through no fault of their own. But when a young girl who is not yet 20 has three children with two different fathers (known as a three by two), neither of whom she can - or will - name, something has gone far wrong with our society.
As unwitting accomplices, we are all complicit in placing Britain at the top of yet another European league for the all the wrong reasons.
Let’s try to turn the ‘tables’.

Royal Bank of Scotland directors threaten to resign

Now that's what I call a bonus!
The truth is, had the government (ie. the taxpayer) and the main shareholder (the taxpayer again) not steadied the ship, these bankers wouldn't even be in employment. In a free market it's difficult not to pay them a bonus but let's only hope that their investments show a little more more appreciation than they do.

How many roads must a man go down.....

.....before he realises his sat nav was a waste of money?

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Rake's Progress

Have you ever tried to get ‘BT’ and ‘exemplary service’ in the same sentence?
There you are, I’ve just managed it!
Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of BT has achieved it in the same village.
Whether his preferential shares entitle him to preferential treatment, one can only guess. But whatever the reason, the service has been denied to all other villagers.
The excuse? Sir Michael is trialling broadband enabling technology (BET) at home.
I BET he is!
It might seem like stating the obvious to suggest that you need to be ‘well connected’ in order to obtain a decent broadband service, but I just wonder how many calls Sir Michael had to make to the sub-continent before the wheels of the BT monolith started turning.
The irony is, it seems that one of the most aggrieved parties in this whole tawdry affair is a company trading under the name of Abacus Recruitment. They, of all people, ought to have known that you can never ‘count’ on BT.
Meanwhile, all other villagers will need to content themselves in the local pub where they can happily 'down loads'!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Hardy or just foolhardy?

It is one of life’s great mysteries.
We have reached that time of the year when the temperature begins to drop. It’s called winter.
And yet I despair.
In downtown Dundee, there are still a few sleeveless T-shirt wearing boneheads wandering around as if it is high summer. And while they wander, I wonder.
Should I deride them for their asinine qualities or admire them for their ability to thole the cold?
Indeed, the temperature may have dropped, but how long will it take for the penny to finally drop?
Surprise, surprise, I have a theory.
Could it just be that by the time the message is relayed from their extremities to their brains that it is starting to get mild again?
Who knows? I daren’t ask!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Thumbs up to my dentist!

Last week I went to the dentist. I let him know that I had just started a blog and forewarned him that, if my experience was particularly unpleasant, I might just write about it.
Threatening your dentist before your treatment is probably not the most advisable tack to adopt.
All things considered, all went well.
This was partly due to some advice I had heeded about acupressure.
Apparently, the body has certain points that, when excess pressure is applied, pain can be deflected away from other sensitive areas. To deflect it from your teeth, for example, one should press very hard at the back of your thumbs.
Apart from two broken thumbs, I never felt a thing.

‘Current’ accounts?

This year the big banks went bust because of lack of liquidity. Meanwhile, the river banks burst because of too much liquidity.
On average then, all is well in Blighty.

Friday, 27 November 2009

How's this for a 'call'?

You’ve not caught me in a good mood.
I’ve just been on the phone to British Gas to register for the privilege of receiving accurate bills with their new Energy Smart initiative.
Privileged indeed!
But that is not what has set me off on this latest rant.
This one is about that phenomenon that plagues all our lives now and again or, in my case, again and again.
Call waiting.
How often do you phone up some faceless organisation and are exhorted to press a combination of numbers on your telephone keypad that makes the odds of winning the National Lottery seem like a near certainty?
Then, when you eventually arrive at your chosen destination, you have to endure some mind-numbing music that really tests your will to live.
But that’s not what really gets me.
Suddenly the music stops and we are then subjected to some pompous corporate message. “Did you know this and did you know that and did you know that British Gas have their heads so far up their own corporate ass that they can smell gas before anyone else?”
And it’s certainly not Nitrous Oxide because I don’t hear anyone laughing.
Let’s petition for a law whereby every company that keeps you waiting on their phones is legally bound to donate that dead time to rival companies to give them the opportunity to promote their own corporate message.
If nothing else, I suspect it would encourage all companies to process our calls a damn sight smarter than is the case at the moment.

The Jeremy Kyle Inquiry into the Iraq War

It all started with a fruitless search for the weapons of mass destruction.
The futile search is now on to find the truth.
The Sir John Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war has just begun but rather than waste yet more public money, I suggest that we draft in Jeremy Kyle.
After all, this was trumped up to be the Mother of all battles, so who better to find out the true identity of the father?
But before we carry out a DNA test to see if it was Tony or George…or both, let’s put them through a lie detector test.
Tony, did you at any time have sexual contact with the sexed up dossier that warned us that it could be all over in 45 minutes?
George, was this war simply the product of pent-up Pentagon frustration or did you deliberately set out to screw Iraq the way you subsequently screwed up the world economy?
We’ll be back with the results after this short break.....in hostilities.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


It’s one of my favourite analogies and, used in the correct context, can sum up a situation perfectly.
But I’ve come up with one of my own:

The hen may lay the egg but the oxen bear the yoke.

I just need to iron out the finer points regarding its meaning and then find some suitable context in which it can be used – other than on a blog!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Every Lidl helps

What is there in the psyche of Britain that we derive a certain pleasure from giving a good kicking to the most successful among us?
Take Tesco, for example.
They’re too big. They sell too much. They should stick to groceries. There are too many stores. They screw the suppliers. They shaft their customers.
If there is one area that Tesco have yet to monopolise, then that’s the business of envy.
There’s not a businessman worthy of the description who wouldn’t buy low, sell high and increase his margins wherever possible. And there’s not a customer who would want to return to the good old ‘daze’ when Spam was Sunday lunch rather than email and when dust was something you found on old tins of mushroom soup rather than the sweet sprinkling adorning freshly baked pastries from the in-store bakery.
We all owe Tesco a debt of gratitude because retailers everywhere have had to sharpen up their act lest they go the same way as Woolworths, MFI, Threshers, et al.
And before you even begin to accuse Tesco of stifling competition, take a look at how Lidl, for example, have carved out their own market quiche. Sorry, niche.
In such dull economic times, Tesco's star is still the brightest in the firmament.
But every Lidl helps.


Yes, but what did Europe ever do for us?

Directives. Red tape. Loss of national identity. Sooner or later, a single currency. Higher subscriptions. Fiscal control. Lack of accountability. Lack of accounts ability. A single language? The list goes on.
We're in Europe and we're in it deep.
But what did Europe ever do for us?
They took Neil Kinnock.
Will we ever be able to repay them?

I am intelligent. Relatively.

When you read the above headline, I will forgive you for believing that either this guy is a bit full of himself or else he is making a fool of himself. Neither of these assumptions is good, but bear with me.
I watched a fascinating programme the other day in which the world’s leading physicists propounded their latest theories on black holes. Although Albert Einstein had theorised about their existence, he came to the conclusion that Mother Nature could not support them in reality.
The consensus now is that they certainly do exist with a gravitational pull so intense that scientists’ minds have been bent towards them and not even light cannot escape.
Hence their name.
As I understand it, their very existence is even calling into question some of Einstein’s theories on General Relativity.

It is generally accepted that our capacity to absorb and retain information is finite. If you also accept that knowledge, like the universe itself, is not only infinite, but expanding, then in common with the world’s leading brains, I know relatively little.
That’s quite a nice club to be a member of and you are welcome to join.
Indeed, I am advantaged in that, unlike these very clever scientists, I am less aware than they are of how much I don’t know. While that in itself does not make me cleverer than them, it has the potential to make me think I am. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself lest one – or both – of the two assumptions above come true.
My overriding impression of the programme, however, is what fun the scientists are having in exploring the mysteries of life, the Universe and everything.
But not nearly as much fun as some greater being must be having watching them groping in the dark.
Literally and theoretically.

Monday, 23 November 2009

More British Airways' cuts

Did I notice the head (yes, the actual head) of British Airways sporting a new hairdo the other day or is it simply that Britain's favourite hairline is receding?
Now there's a metaphor.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

You can say that again. But mind your step.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes some Munros more popular than others? Is it the area they area in? Could it be the stunning views from atop when you’ve made the effort to bag them? Or might it be something a little bit more obscure? Their names maybe?
Yes. That’s it. It’s their names.
Admittedly, Ben Nevis was always going to be popular by virtue of being the highest, but the ease with which you can pronounce its name also speaks volumes.
I mean, do you know anyone who has ever climbed Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain or, for that matter, was able to tell you that they climbed it? What about Stob Coire Sgreamhach? Or Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan? These Munros all have one thing in common. They are eminently easier to climb than their names are to pronounce.
You try arranging a weekend with Mullach na Dheiragain at the centre of your plans.
If you need to ask directions for certain Munros, you’ve no hope. Unless, of course, you are heading for Ben Hope. How easy does that sound?
Also, not everyone sets off with the intention of bagging all 283 Munros. When someone says they want to do more, maybe they simply mean Ben More.
Why can’t they all be that easy?
Well, next weekend I’m heading for K2.
Now there’s a real walk in the park..........to pronounce.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Global Warming

Would global warming have saved the Titanic?
Also, if global warming is just the tip of the iceberg, should we worry about the rest of it?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Herman Van Rompuy - the new bloc head

We went into Iraq on a lie. It has cost us many lives but the hope is that one day we will get out.
We went into Europe on a lie. It is costing us an arm and a leg and we've no hope of getting out.
With Iraq it has been a high price for freedom. With Europe it is a high price for giving up our freedom.
We're the real blockheads.

Once upon a time...

Are you all sitting comfortably?
Then get off your bloody butt. You're spending far too much time at the computer.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


There’s nothing quite like a good whine.
So here goes.
Can someone please enlighten me as to precisely what it is that makes a wine snob so anally retentive? (Maybe anal retention is a quality I ought to admire if you knew where I would like to stick the cork from my recently opened Merlot.)
Why can’t oenophiles be left to enjoy the simple pleasures of wine without having to endure the wrist-gnawingly boring descriptions that self-appointed wine critics use to have us reaching for yet another glass?
For the life of me, I can’t think of a single adjective that can adequately describe the plethora of adjectives that WC’s (wine critics) deem appropriate to describe wine. But maybe that’s the point.
Think of a number between one and ten and they’ll say twenty. Yes, WC’s really are that perverse. And yet, as excruciatingly painful as their descriptions are, the one that really does it for me is..........wait for it..........“this is a good wine”.
What exactly IS a good wine and who gave WC’s the authority to become the presiding arbiters of taste?
To compare one car to another, for example, might involve looking at aspects such as performance, economy and comfort. You might choose to conclude then that a Mini is better than a Rolls Royce if economy is your chosen benchmark.
But wine?
Either you enjoy it or you don’t. Full stop. So please fools, stop.
My main bone of contention is that nobody knows better than me about what goes on between my palate and my brain.
If sticking my tongue in an old car battery gives me a buzz, then why pay a premium for a wine that is purportedly redolent of the dying embers of an autumn fire infused with the warm scent of a newly hatched chicken that brushed its backside against the pollen laden plants that adorn the graveyard?
Let me taste it. If I like it, then I think it’s good and that’s good enough for me.
But I wouldn't ever presume to then tell the world that here is a good wine.
No matter how presumptuous that wine may be.
Oh no. I’ve started.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Now Here Nowhere Years

As the last century came to an end, much was made of the name that we ought to attribute to the early years of this century, and so they came to be known as the Noughties.
Such perspicacity is rare. From ground zero to zero per cent interest, it seems that Man has learned nothing and achieved nothing.
The Noughties indeed.
I guess we are now moving towards what will come to be known as the Teens for reasons too obvious to relate. However, as 2010, 2011 and 2012 are not really Noughties and patently don't carry the suffix teen, what name can we assign to those years?
Bearing in mind that they are almost 'now here' and that, with our busted economy, we will spend them going 'nowhere', what about a contraction of the 'Now Here Nowhere' years?
So instead of the boom and bust of the Yo-Yo years, let me introduce you to the 'dust to dust' of the No-No years!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A Born Winner

What is it that makes Rupert Murdoch tick? Like him or loathe him, Rupert is a winner. Rupert.....? Yes, Rupert! Who on earth gave him that moniker?
Well.....his parents.....I assume.
So instead of receiving a legacy on their deaths, Rupert was given a leg-up at birth because I subscribe to that old Johnny Cash hit – A Boy Named Sue.
You know the one where the father walked out having figured that if his son was going to survive in this bad old world, he would need something to toughen him up and so called him Sue.
Rupert? In Australia?
(Apologies to Ruperts everywhere.)

Monday, 9 November 2009


President Blair? Do not despair.
He's not yet got the vote.
It could be worse, Fred holds the purse
and Brown pens the sooicide note!

A bad 'spell' in office

Gordon Brown has a frown that borders on a scowl.
His look is so dismissive, I call it ‘cheek’ by jowl!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The heavier they are...

So David slew Goliath. Or to give them their correct names, David Haye did for Nikolay Valuev.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Or to deliver a jab rather than a haymaker, I don’t particularly like the stink that permeates boxing.
The governing bodies have not been without corruption and despite a glaring mismatch, the underdog achieved the upper hand.
None of which unduly concerns me except for the fact that it seems horribly like a metaphor for Afghanistan.

Friday, 6 November 2009


From flagship to flagging ship.
Let's just go by ship.


I was two minutes late for my meeting in Broughty Ferry which in itself was not a disaster. However, the reason for my sloppy timekeeping is contributing towards a catastrophe that will one day beset our beautiful planet.
Just as I was approaching a set of traffic lights, they turned red. On some days the air might well have turned blue but, for once, I was showing great forbearance. Five or six cars quickly bunched up behind me with a similar number opposite. There were probably as many to the left and the same again to the right. Twenty four cars in total idling for two minutes or, if you prefer, forty eight idling minutes.
Each burning fuel. Each polluting our planet.
Some knucklehead had pressed the button for the green man to appear. Rather than wait, he jay walked his way merrily to the other side before strutting up the road, oblivious – one hopes – to the real gravity of his actions.
Multiply this by the number of traffic lights in my poky little town, multiply it again by the number of towns and cities across the country and then across the world. In fact, you would need to use the ‘x’ sign so often, there would scarcely be enough of them left to kiss goodbye to our beautiful world.
Why is nothing ever said or done about this continual abuse of pedestrian crossings?
Either we act now or it is just possible that one day soon we will need to join the little green men on some other planet.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Remember this

With Remembrance Sunday almost upon us again, it's time to pay homage to the tragic dead to whom we owe our very freedom.
Sadly, it's also time to remember something that struck me a few years ago and continues to niggle me every time I see a war memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in World Wars I and II.
The sentiments read "To those who gave their lives."
That is all very well for those who genuinely did give their lives. While we are quite rightly eternally in their debt, I would also like to point out that others had no choice. They were conscripted.
In their memory, let's amend the wording to: "To those who gave their lives and to those who had their lives taken."

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


At a recent conference in Dundee, Gordon Brown got up.
Our noses could sense.....
Sorry, I got my punctuation totally wrong. I’ll start again.
At a recent conference in Dundee, Gordon Brown got up our noses.
“Could sense prevail?” I pondered.
Blood, they say, is thicker than water. Yet even Brown’s closest brothers in the Labour movement must have sensed their blood curdling as they were served a veritable feast of bah, humbug and hogwash with extra lashings of chutzpah.
Not so much as a clap, but no shortage of claptrap.
One hesitates to describe it as a liberal helping of horse manure as that might malign another party. (I’ll leave that for a later blog.)
“The banks” he said “are in need of more regulation.”
To continue the allusion to all things equine, forget that old cliché about bolting the stable door. With the British economy, there is no stable and certainly no stability.
Does Gordon Brown seriously expect us to believe that he was unaware of what was going on in the financial sector throughout his long tenure as Chancellor?
I suspect not, but I do have a theory. Such crass incompetence would be difficult to perpetrate without conscious effort.
Brown the Clown was so desperate for the keys to the kingdom of Number 10, is it just possible that he conspired with Fred the Shred and his cohorts to screw the British economy in a perverse effort to oust Blair?
The problem is that whatever else you may choose to level at Blair, you can’t accuse him of bad timing.
Blair got out, Brown got in, Fred got off and we all got shafted.

Checkout this!

So that’s good. Our beautiful planet can be saved. All we need do is ban the supply of free plastic bags by supermarkets. Never mind the fact that their cabriolet freezers work overtime spewing cold air into an already fuel heated atmosphere. Never mind either that they fly a few leaves from far flung corners of the globe and market them under the guise of some exotic vegetable. Also, let’s disregard their obsession with out-of-town sites that necessitate myriad lorry deliveries and car crazy customers.
What worries me about the proposed ban, however, is that the supermarkets seem compliant.
From their perspective, what they hope will be perceived as an enhancement of their green credentials is really just another cynical ploy to cut costs, improve margins and reward their directors and shareholders.
After all, is that not business?
Well I’ve a much better idea.
Every supermarket, by law, should be free to supply as many plastic bags as they wish under one very important condition - the bags carry promotional offers for rival supermarkets.
Let's see how many they give away then.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

MP's and their expenses

Let’s reward our MP’s.
Why pillory them for their peccadilloes when they have gone beyond the call of duty (as in the synonym for tax) in providing us with such enterprising entertainment?
Instead, let’s grant immunity from prosecution to those MP's who come up with the most imaginative justification for their fibs and foibles.
David Heathcoat-Amory, for example, the Minister with irresponsibility to procure manure, might have argued that he was about to table a ‘motion’ in the Commons. David Cameron could be commended for doing his part to keep in check the mass wisteria surrounding this whole tawdry issue – while keeping his gardener in even bigger cheques.
And for those who fail to amuse, make the punishment fit the crime. A good start would be to de-moat Douglas Hogg.
I put the motion to the house.
Before it flips altogether.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The C-food diet

If it begins with 'c', don't touch it.
Chips, cheese, cakes. Worse still, cheesecakes.
Coffee, chocolate, cream.....don't even mention chocolate cream.
Crisps, candies, curries. All washed down with Coke. The list goes on.
Even coffee isn't exactly good for you and certainly not in the quantities I drink.
So here's my advice.
Next time you embark on a diet, forget about counting the calories - it's that dreaded letter again! Instead, simply avoid anything beginning with a 'c'.
Okay, so you might miss out on cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery and even chard, but do you care?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


You know what it's like when milk turns. It's not good. Well it happened to me.
Last year I turned 50.
Now I don't want you to think that I've gone completely white and sour, but I'm certainly not as fresh as I once was. In fact, to be perfectly blunt, I'm well past my sell-by date and yet, for some inexplicable reason, I've been left on the shelf. Therein lies the difference between being sour and being bitter, but that's for another blog.
This one is about about how I'm coping with ageing through:

a. fitness and b. attitude

(Read that as beatitude if you wish!)

When I was younger, I used to run in shifts and shift when I ran. I was very fit and focused. On the odd occasion when I slowed down to a walk through the lack of mental stamina, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of having failed.
Now, although I only power walk, there are times when I break into a run and the warm glow of success descends upon me!
The balance of walking and running might be entirely the same
pre-50 as post-50 but, whereas before I was deflated, now I am elated.
So the moral of my story is, it doesn't matter how fast you run, time will catch up with you eventually.
And remember, when you accept a change of pace, it is easier to adapt to the pace of change.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Don't you just hate it when people take you for a fool? Well more fool them.
I know a chap - who is but one among many - who likes to impress with all that he says and all that he does. But that counts as nothing when compared to what he says he does.
And when it comes to who he claims to know, then he knows no bounds.
There's not a mover or shaker who he has not just spoken to, or golfed with, or dined with or bored the bloody pants off!
But I've rumbled him. I now know exactly when he is talking tosh - his lips are moving.
I also know the etymology of movers and shakers.
One sight of him, you begin to shake, then quickly move.
Not unlike the collywobbles.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


Okay. I'll level with you. I do hold my views. But why would anyone want to call me opinionated?
I'll tell you why - for the simple reason that my opinions don't coincide with theirs. Because if they did, rather than call me opinionated, they would describe me as a top bloke. Sound as a pound - probably not the best currency to be tied to these days.
I suppose I could fake it but I don't do humility. Besides, that would be insincere and I don't do insincerity either.
So if you prefer iodine to anodyne, keep an eye on my blogs. Some will have a sting in their tale.