Sunday, 31 January 2010

Saturday, 30 January 2010

A Nightmare in Nightwear

In a blog entitled “Every Lidl helps” that I posted on 24th November 2009, I expounded the view that we are all due Tesco a debt of gratitude.
That debt has just become greater.
By banning customers who fall out of bed and into their stores, Tesco are doing us all a favour.
For every pyjama wearer who might tempt you to turn your head, there are 99 who will turn your stomach.
I don’t know which wag it was who once observed that Tesco were created to keep the riff-raff out of Waitrose, but I just wonder where they will sleep-walk to next.
Maybe they will revert to shopping online – providing they can get their computers out of sleep mode.

Stupidity with (a) largesse

The idea of giving British taxpayers' money to the Taliban in Afghanistan as an inducement to stop them fighting our forces is Stupidity with a large ‘S’.
I would like to introduce a worthy analogy but am struggling to find one daft enough.
Try this:
Why don’t we pay Fred Goodwin £750,000 a year if he agrees to stop drawing his pension?

Friday, 29 January 2010

Alex Salmond. The virtuoso of the base line.

Whatever the discipline, I am a great fan of virtuosity.
For that reason - more than national fervour - I hope that Andy Murray wins the Australian Open on Sunday.
Except for one big concern.
Should a Scot become the first Brit in 74 years to win a Grand Slam men's singles title, the pug-faced Alex Salmond will be basking in the limelight as if he had won it himself.
I dare not elaborate on the potential for welcoming parties, official functions, etc. lest Salmond reads my blogs. The self-styled arriviste needs no encouragement.
Suffice to say he will probably trot out the usual mantra:
"It woz independence wot done it."

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Belt up!

Yesterday I surmised in one of my blogs about how the less well off have to tighten their belts while the rich merely heighten them.
Imagine my surprise then to learn from today's Daily Telegraph(28.1.10.) that research has proved that the older a man becomes, the higher he wears his belt. Bearing in mind that you have to be of a certain age to have accumulated some wealth, I was not too far out.
But it does raise a couple of questions:

1. Just how old is Simon Methuselah Cowell?
2. How old and depressed do you need to be before you start slipping the belt around your neck rather than your waist?

The article in the Telegraph was by Harry Wallop whose middle name might as well be Cods.
Maybe he would like to do a guest piece for my blog.
Would that then make it a Codspiece?

Blair. The moment of truth?

Or is a moment too long?
Tomorrow, in some people's eyes, there is a score to be settled around 9/11 which led to the Iraq War.

The date tomorrow?

29 1 10

20 (a score) wrapped around 9/11.

Contrived or connived?


I've heard about contemplating your navel but the above suggestion is beyond ridiculous.
Or that's what you might think until I tell you that it forms the first part of Google Analytics.
Okay, so it's still ridiculous.
But if you had experienced the problems I have with Google's tracking code, then you might glean a clue from above about precisely where I would like to stick it.
In the "Edit template" section of my blog.
Where were you thinking?

Cameron told he "must raise the game"

Does that mean he needs a grouse beater?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The economy grew by 0.1% in the last quarter

(That's lucky, 'cos I'm down to my last quarter.)
Meanwhile, Alistair Darling's nose grew by 10%.
There are rich pickings ahead.

The rich are raising the bar...and their belts

The gap between the rich and poor is at its widest since the Second World War. So while most of us have to tighten our belts, the rich, such as Simon Cowell, simply heighten their belts.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

You're a star, Eurostar

I'd like to think that it was in reaction to my blog on 21st December 2009 that Eurostar have recognised the error of their ways.
From launching an independent inquiry to modifying their trains so that they actually run in the winter, the company are now back on track. And their drivers are under no illusion that just because it might be cold and dark outside, when they enter a tunnel, it should not act as a trigger for them to enter hibernation. Eurostar will even provide faster information for all customers and staff. No more: "This is the night mail crossing the border, bringing the cheque and the postal order". Pigeons are it. Or rather, with Eurostar, pigeons are IT.
But most of all, Eurostar are listening.
They have even met with customers involved in the disruption over the festive season. A spokesman for Eurostar said "Tracking them down was easy. They were still sitting on the train at Platform 1."
A very Merry Christmas to them all.

A fix for a fix

The more I read about bankers and their bonuses, the clearer it is becoming.
They have a problem which, in effect, is our problem.
Bankers have an addiction and bonuses are their fix.
So what can we do about it?
As part of their ongoing training, it is proposed that bankers should spend one week every year in The Priority Clinic.
On admission, they will be introduced to method one.
That involves going straight into de-talks. No glib gibberish. Just action.
They will be taught where their priorities ought to lie rather than habitually lie about their priorities - as is their wont.
And to help them understand that there are consequences to their actions, a series of potential pitfalls will be set up throughout The Priority Clinic to test their progress. For example, in the gym there will be a huge pile of cash. When a banker attempts to remove it, a large weight will come crashing down in the hope of knocking some sense into him.
The scheme has already been trialled with rats as it was felt that they were as close as it was possible to get to a real banker.
In time, the rats returned happily to their sewers.
Hopefully, bankers will do likewise.

Monday, 25 January 2010

It beggars belief

The streets of London, they say, are paved with gold.
Try telling that to a beggar who receives his pay in his cap.....or to a banker at Goldman Sachs whose pay has also been 'capped'.
At a poultry £1 million a year.
How will they both get by?

PS. Yes, I meant 'poultry'. After all, £1 million is chicken feed to a banker.

Heartache or headache?

I note that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been seeking advice on how best to split their £205 million fortune as they decide to go their separate ways.
Now that's what I call a splitting headache.

Prepare for battle

So it's official. The General Election will be on May the 6th.
Either Bob Ainsworth thought the date was a no-brainer or he has no brain.
Let the voters decide.
As Defence Secretary, I wonder which other 'buttons' his finger might be on.....?
The exit button?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The taxman is among my favourites!

Sunday morning seemed like as good a time as any to pay my tax, so that's what I did.
Online and on time.
I was doing very well to block out of my mind the things that my tax might be used for until I reached the point where I had to fill in an imaginary security question.
What about: if Fred Goodwin were a plant, which would it be?
(That's when I remembered where all my tax was going.)
I thought that 'nettle' would be a pretty decent answer as we've all been stung by one.
Then I began to worry that nettles were not severe enough until I thought: you can make soup from nettles and that is precisely where we've all ended up.
Thanks Fred.
I just wish that he had come from better stock.

Payment complete, I was then invited by HMRC to bookmark their website to make future payments easier.....but no less painful.
So I did and up popped a box "Add as Favourite".
The taxman? A favourite? Who said irony was dead?
However, this is where I arrive at my real concern.
Whenever I visit a website, I worry about the possibility of a virus.
If you accept the loose definition of a virus as something that gets up your nose and causes nausea, I think it is fair to assume that the taxman is a virus.
And, as we all know, a virus can be difficult to avoid.
Unless, of course, you are Fred Goodwin.
The swine flu abroad.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

My writing is losing me work

As a freelancer, my writing goes on working for my clients much longer than I do.
You could say I've been sentenced by my sentences.

The Original Man of Straw?

The possibly eponymous and most emphatically pusillanimous Jack Straw attended the Iraq Inquiry this week. It transpires that he sent a letter marked “secret and personal” to Tony Blair expressing his concerns about the impending war in Iraq. Patently, he was not concerned enough to resign from his post on a point of principle.
What amused me, however, was the thought that he might have abbreviated “secret and personal” and addressed the letter to Blair as “Sap”.
Coming from Jack (the man of) Straw, that really would plumb new depths of cynicism.
Maybe we can hold an inquiry to find out the truth. We seem to be holding inquiries for just about everything else.

Placebo Domingo does nothing for me

Friday, 22 January 2010

Brown bred

In a recent interview Gordon Brown proudly asserted that the motley crew who we know as his cabinet are all of his own choosing.
To me, that makes the Labour Government Brown bred as well as brown bread.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Blair's Day of Judgement

Much was made of Tony Blair's highly publicised conversion to Roman Catholicism. While his Government professed - perhaps that should read confessed - to "not doing God", one always sensed that his faith played a big part in the big decisions.
That's why next Friday will be a big day for our former PM.
He will appear before JC or, to give him his full title, Sir John Chilcot who is conducting the Iraq Inquiry.
The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on two tablets of stone so maybe we should just send Blair away with the advice "keep taking the tablets".
Like the rest of us, he will be properly judged at the end of time.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Be more fly than a spider

A spider moved its furtive way
across my bedroom wall,
and as I lay and watched it creep
my flesh began to crawl.
While there upon an old pot plant
its web it did detect.
And yet for reasons known too well,
it just could not connect.

And the moral of my story is: if at first you don't connect, try a new provider.

One a day keeps the doctor away

The Daily Mail, that is.
Open it any day of the week and you will find a miraculous cure for one medical condition or another.
From flat feet to curvature of the spine, from feeling the blues to squeezing blackheads and from a failing memory to that other condition that begins with a 'p'. Oh yes, incontinence.
Sometimes I think the Daily Mail is taking the proverbial p#*s.
That's why I choose to spend my recommended daily allowance on The Beano.

On the pull

I note in my local supermarket that they are now grading their chickens according to how well they were brought up or, perhaps more pertinently, reared.
Grading is all very well but, personally, I find it degrading that I have to seek recourse in the poultry section in my quest to find that 'Class A bird' that has always eluded me.
On the other hand, I ought not to complain if she is happy with being corn fed.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

No comeback with Ryanair?

What is it about Ryanair that they have taken to advertising one way tickets?
Surely most of their customers need to return....?
Today's ad in the Daily Telegraph is a case in point.
One way to Porto - £10.

Could it be because:

1. the return fare is so outrageously expensive, the total price is no different from any other airline?

2. the airport that Ryanair flies you to is so remote from the destination city advertised, they realise that you only have a remote chance of finding it again?

3. your experience on the way out was so bloody awful, you would rather crawl back on all fours while pushing a pea with your nose along the way. (Travellers please note, the 'pea' will cost you more on Ryanair.)

Whichever way I choose to go on holiday this year, there is 'one way' I certainly won't be going.

With those crack of dawn, fly-by-nighters.

I've just completed my self-assessment

Tall, good looking and talented.
Would like to meet girl with huge rebate.

'Split' timing

When the property market collapsed, I timed my house move to perfection.
Three in the morning.
Just don't tell the bailiffs.

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Scotsman has had its chips

Blaming Buckfast for the ills of society because of the potent mixture of alcohol and caffeine contained therein is like blaming the Scotsman for the poor health caused by the greasy chips served in yesterday's paper.
The editorial in today's Scotsman is wrong to blame the drink.
God forbid - and I use that term advisedly - that the Benedictine monks who make Buckfast ever get together with the Capuchin monks after whom the cappuccino is named.
All hell will break loose - and I don't use that term lightly.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Want to hear a joke?

Good one.
Sorry, Goodwin.
Surely RMJM are not serious....?
The architects who were complicit in building our Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, a memorial to one of the most shameful episodes in our history, have appointed Fred Goodwin as goodwill ambassador.
When even architects don't know where to draw the line, we have a problem.
As for Fred - who we know is drawing a decent pension - what is he thinking about?
Alright, it has been a severe winter and Fred probably isn't quite old enough to qualify for cold weather payments, but hell would need to freeze over before he had to sit up and take notice of a heating bill...or indeed, take the blame for his misdemeanours.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Off the hook!

Today marked the beginning of the salmon season on the River Tay in Scotland.
I've often worried about those among us who choose to spend their spare time trying to outwit a fish.
But now I'm really worried.
Once caught, anglers have agreed to immediately return the salmon to the waters whence they came.
The belief is that this 'catch and release' policy will help to replenish the stocks.
On the one hand, I am inclined to believe that the memory of such a ghastly experience would deter the salmon from ever returning to the Tay, thus depleting their numbers even further.
On the other hand, this 'catch and release' policy has worked wonders for our ever-increasing criminal underclass.
It's a 'reel' dilemma.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

World Exclusive. An interview with Sir Fred Goodwin.

I tracked down Sir Fred Anderson Goodwin to Sicily where he is living in a small pensione. The irony of his abode did not escape me.
He agreed to meet me in a local hostelry overlooking the Mediterranean on one condition: I paid for the meal. Some things never change.

Me: Fred, why Sicily?
FAG: I wanted to experience life down at heel. But seriously, I like the people here. They are honest. I trust them and they trust me. They are good at keeping secrets.
Me: Regrets?
FAG: I’ve had a feud.
Me: Would you like to expand….?
FAG: No, I made that mistake at RBS.
Me: How do you fill in your day?
FAG: Each morning I wake up, I count my blessings. It’s much quicker than counting my money.
Me: How would you like to be remembered?
FAG: I’d rather people forgot. You’ll not tell them I’m here, will you?
Me: Do you believe in reincarnation?
FAG: I have to. I killed off RBS and just look at it now.
Me: If you had the choice, what would you like to come back as?
FAG: Probably a rat.
Me: Sorry Fred, you can’t be the same thing twice.

And at that, Sir Fred stormed out. I forgot to remind him that this was a cliff top trattoria and that it is not only shares prices that can plummet.

2010. A year of two halves.

Pre-election. Post election.
Whether you vote Brown or Cameron, they both have what it takes to take what you have.
So what you have now, you can halve later.

He low, he low, he low!

You might need to work on that headline as it falls a bit short of my usual standard, but that's just the point.
I was approached by someone in the High Street (a most unfortunate street name in this case) who greeted me in the time-honoured way.
"Hello, hello, hello."
Who said that?
It was a five foot tall policeman. His 'headline' also fell a little short.
Even the PC's have gone PC.
Not only are they looking younger, they are actually getting smaller.
Maybe they should consider a new recruiting campaign:
We don't discriminate, we only discriminalate.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Beware the prevailing wind

Re the email asking me about what kind of a place Broughty Ferry is:

It's a tiny former fishing village that is a suburb of a slightly less tiny village (Dundee) which, in turn, is a suburb somewhere on the edge of civilisation.
Often abbreviated to B. Ferry to prevent the signs from extending into the neighbouring borough.
It's the kind of place where you would find it difficult to fart (excuse me) without someone getting wind of it.
The air is good.

The cook? The thief? His wife? Her lover?

I've had a number of hits on my blog recently from the West Coast of America. Most notably, Beverly Hills.
It has led me to fantasise about the possibility of a celebrity follower. Then I saw Celebrity Big Brother.
Only the above are welcome.

Sexed-up dossers

No, not a misspelling of the document that is interesting the Iraq Inquiry.
I refer to the inmates in Celebrity Big Brother.

Monkey business at RBS

If you truly believe in the concept of infinity, then you have to subscribe to the belief that a monkey equipped with a keyboard will eventually type out all of Shakespeare's plays. Word perfect.
That is assuming the monkey lives long enough!
Put a monkey in charge of RBS - formerly Right Bloody Shambles - and the probability of success will be much higher.
When Stephen Heister (I prefer that spelling) was appointed Chief Executive, he must have thought he had won the lottery, as indeed he did.
And he didn't even need to buy a ticket.
He took over a business with an endless stream of customers with nowhere else to go and who need to use services for which they have no option other than to pay.
And as if all that wasn't good enough, the taxpayer underwrites the lot.
So why then is Stephen Heister in line for a bumper £10 million pay package?
I'll tell you why. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
It's a bit late now but that is the currency that we should have been dealing in.
Money saved. Job done.

Risk a verse?

My apologies. I wrote this blog four days ago. This was just a pathetic excuse to post another cheap and tacky ditty.
I hope you like it!

Through the tee shirt of a barmaid I met
You could see because it was wet.
With the queues at her bar
Stretching ever so far,
To her bouncers she owes a great debt.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Risk a verse?

On the chest of a barmaid I knew
Was a highly distinctive tattoo.
It seemed to suggest
That if gently caressed
She'd oblige with her own Special Brew.

The recent big freeze has merely served to underline one of the big problems with Britain.
We are risk averse.
For the last few weeks, kids have been playing happily on the ice. That was until Health and Safety officials intervened.
You can't do this and you can't do that and, if you do need to go to hospital, you can't because it is full of sick people.
But none so sick as the fools that are running our Health and Safety executive.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Saved by the weather!

In politics, as in life, if you can’t be good, be lucky.
Take Tony Blair.
One day soon, very soon, he will appear before the Iraq Inquiry.
We were all primed to disbelieve him. At the very least, we were ready to take whatever he said with a liberal pinch of salt.
Sadly, because of the big freeze, there is no salt.
So what else can we do other than believe every word he says?
Since his conversion, I’m beginning to wonder if he is indeed controlling the weather.
As they say: there, but for the grace of God, goes God.

Britain once ruled the waves

Now we simply waive the rules.
The dripping roast (a.k.a. the taxpayer) that has served our MP's so well through the years by way of sundry expenses will continue to drip for a long time yet.
The new Parliamentary regulator said he was planning to water down the proposed reforms.
But it's not all bad.
Allowing MP's to continue to speculate on first homes, second homes, duck houses and bell towers might just help to kick start the property market.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Labour's attempt to 'flip' their leader fails

Never mind the second home. Come the next general election, Labour will come home second.

"Ministers lining up behind Brown"

Brown's last words in office:
"Is that a dagger (which) I see behind me?"

The H-bomb?

Hoon? Hewitt?
As Labour contemplate election defeat, a leadership challenge at this stage would be like equipping lemmings with parachutes.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Take a hike

When John Hirst, Chief Executive of the Met Office, asked for a salary increase after failing so miserably to predict our weather, he was told to take a hike.
And that is exactly what he did.
He took a 25% hike in his salary and now earns more than our PM. No, not Peter Mandelson, but our Prime Minister - although the confusion is understandable.

Buildings of the world

The new Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Unfathomable foundations. 164 floors. Truly unbelievable.
Blair's Fabrications on Iraq. Without foundation. One tall 'storey' after another. Definitely unbelievable.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A sandwich short of a picnic

The lunar month has 29.53059 days.
Any month that falls one or two days short of that time is referred to as a loony month.

Shamefully, I've just watched the introduction to Celebrity Big Brother. Guess how long it is scheduled to last?
27 days!

I don't suppose it matters that I can't understand the plot.
The ersatz celebrities taking part lost the plot a long time ago.

A big 'blow' for global warming

It seems that the great preponderance of global warming sceptics will never be convinced. But that's not to say that they can't make a contribution to saving the planet.
Why don't we round them up and whip them?

Sorry, my phone went.

Why don't we round them up and whip them up into a frenzy?
Then as they huff and they puff, we can utilise all that extra wind as a new source of renewable energy.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

On the subject of oxymorons...

A company by the name of BEAR Scotland with vans bearing (sorry) the message:


Enough said.

They haven't the foggiest!

According to the Met office, last summer was meant to be a "BBQ summer". If what they really meant was Better Be Quick just in case you miss it, then they were spot on.
This winter was meant to be "generally benign".
I am sitting here looking out at yet another snowstorm wondering if that is their idea of a sick joke as in: when the weather eventually begins to get milder, the temperature will be 8 before it be 9.

Education. Educashon. Ejucashin.

Things are getting worser under Labour.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Damn it. It's just cracked.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Do not resuscitate. Vote Labour.

So Gordon Brown doesn't want us to vote Tory lest they wreck the recovery.
In some distant day, salvage experts will come across HMS Britain which sunk in the 21st Century as a result of global warming. Either that or there were just too many anchors on board.
Maybe on the bridge they will find the skeletal remains of one Captain Brown.
Make no bones about it, he has scuppered our economy.
Global warming will merely cover his tracks and therein lies the reason why he is not taking that issue seriously.