Friday, 29 April 2011

The News of the World may Roo the day

So Wayne Rooney's phone has been hacked.
Low and behold.
I daren't even fantasize as to what pearls his conversations must have contained and please, don't anyone tell me. I am still recovering from reading the transcript of Prince Charles' confab with Camilla where gruesome things were imagined.
All of which illustrates a very interesting point.
On the day when Kate ceased to be a commoner by virtue of marrying Prince William, it hammers home the fact that we are all the same whichever part of the so-called social divide we come from.
This morning, Kate woke up as a commoner. Tonight she will go to bed as a Royal.....and with a Royal. Is she really any different? I think not.
But anyway, that wasn't the point of my blog. I've meandered.
It transpires that documents belonging to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire - who was jailed in 2007 following the original phone hacking investigation - contained phone numbers that allegedly belonged to Wayne Rooney.
Once it was established that they were indeed Wayne's phone numbers and not the numbers on his pay slip, legal action was considered.
But rather than allow phone hacking to distract him from hacking opponents and displaying occasional glimpses of genius, Wayne has put the matter in the hands of sharper brains. For all I know, that might even include Rio Ferdinand.
It has been well documented that Wayne has pursued a somewhat colourful private life but most of those stories are 'old'.
Commenting on the phone hacking issue, Wayne's wife Coleen described it as both "desperate and disgusting".
I wonder just how often she has had occasion to use those terms?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

With a fair wind, I knew I'd make the dictionary

AM for PM?

A super-injunction sounds to me like a grammatical term and maybe that’s where I should leave it. Anyway, I prefer the term ‘gagging order’. It is more germane in that it is invariably used to hide the fact that someone, at some time, in some place and with someone else, was gagging for it.
But Andrew Marr – I ask you?
And an even bigger question I ask you – with whom?
For years, I have watched Andrew Marr get ripped in to politicians.
He has accused them of deceitfulness, duplicity and all those other words that begin with ‘d’, not least of which is dallying.
And all the time he was hiding behind a gagging order.
In his defence, he claims he was trying to protect his wife and family.
Maybe he ought to have considered them before he sowed his wild oats, the results of which he is now reaping.
Having being exposed as a cad and a bounder, I now propose a new career in politics.
He certainly has the prerequisite qualities to make him the consummate politician.
From the lustings to the hustings.
I say AM for PM!
Who’s with me on that one?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Would someone please shoot the ascending lark

Classic FM, the radio station that has helped to bring classical music to the hoi polloi (how elitist is that?) has announced Britain's favourite piece of classical music.
And the winner is.....Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2.
Thank bloody goodness for that.
Not just because it is an awesome concerto but, year on year, I'm fed up hearing that Ralph Vaughan Williams' Lark has ascended to the top of the poll yet again.
The Lark Ascending might be an evocative piece but does it really deserve to secure top perch above Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, to name but three? You can choose almost any piece from their respective oeuvres and I'm sure that piece would get my vote.
But who am I to judge?
Well, I'm not English and I just wonder how much nationalism influences the poll.
What makes it worse is that the three composers I mention above are all German.
Alright, I concede, that is a petty, small-minded view, but if you've ever watched the Eurovision Song Contest, you will be aware of just how many petty, small-minded people there are.
And they're not all English.

I've just read a book that was a real potboiler

Quite literally. A potboiler.
Cover to cover. From pap to pulp.
Gas mark 4.

Monday, 25 April 2011

'Wave' goodbye to your money

Even I would struggle to come up with a blog that has a more prosaic start than this.
The whole world is in debt and no doubt you are sick fed up hearing about it.
But rather than consider the awesome scale of how much we are in hock to the future, I'm wondering if the debt really means anything at all.
After all, it is implicit in the word 'debt' that one day a score will be settled.
Not this time it ain't.
It's just too darned big.
Yet it's still out there and it manifests itself in a poorer standard of living than we would otherwise have.
But I have a scenario that might make things even worse.
Imagine, if you can, that each country's debt is akin to a financial tectonic plate.
Britain's debt is nudged up against American debt which is suffering major friction as it comes up against Japanese debt.
And so on around the world.
It is widely known that the major financial markets are already under great strain.
Something has to give and it could result in a financial tsunami that would make previous disasters seem like ripples.
So what should you do?
Okay, it may precipitate the tsunami but if you sit back and simply wait for it to happen, you risk 'waving' goodbye to your money as it is devalued into oblivion.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Answer me this

In my arithmetic exam, I got full marks because I knew 10/10 = 1.
In English, my essay was marked 10/10.
Does that mean I got top marks or did I score only 1?
Now in my logic exam...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Guilty by proxy

It is not because it's Easter that I suggest we spare a thought for those less well off than ourselves around the world.
But, among other countries, I suggest we spare a thought for the ensuing humanitarian crisis in Libya.
After all, we've played our part.
I'm sick fed up listening to detractors in the West berating our leaders for supplying arms to these brutal regimes in the first place.
As voters in our great democratic system, are we not responsible for charging them with that very task?
We are all guilty by proxy.
Then again, maybe it's because it is Easter that I suggest that the blood on our hands is now relevant to believers and non-believers alike.

The story of the Songs of the Thrush and the Blackbird

It was the day before Easter and five in the morning when I rose from the dead.
An unearthly hour to get up, I admit, but there is nothing that sharpens my senses quite like an early morning walk.
And so, before I had second thoughts, my training shoes were on and I was on my way.
I can't imagine what Easter must be like in the Southern Hemisphere. Spring seems such a natural time for a celebration of hope.
The sights, sounds and scents of an early morning more than make up for my loss of sleep.
Yet none compares to the beauty of the songs of the thrush and the blackbird.
The song thrush perches atop the highest point, breast proudly preened, singing its little heart out. And a beautiful song it is too.
The blackbird, just as mellifluous, is more normally found a few feet below the tip of a tree.
In life, don't make the mistake of believing that those who like to be seen as well as heard are necessarily the most gifted.
You might be a blackbird and worth listening to every bit as much.

Friday, 22 April 2011

All promises are the same when they are broken

They say that there are two subjects to avoid if you want to avoid falling out with friends.
Religion and politics.
Both play a huge part in my life.
And while I like to think that religion also plays a huge part in the way that I lead my life, I hate to think, whether I like it or not, that so does politics.
So for the purpose of this blog, I'd like to put my religion to one side except for the following analogy.
Not long after Easter Sunday, we will all have a cross to bear at the ballot box.
Do you listen to politicians? Do you listen to your conscience? Or do you listen to me?
I've lost count of the number of times I've voted and pinned my hopes on politicians when it might have been better to pin a tail on a donkey. I've even sold my soul to the Devil on the promise of a better life. Oops! There's my religion sneaking back in.
But remember this, whenever a politician promises you the earth, you can be sure of one thing. You're future has already been soiled.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

It's not news. The Sun has been bugging us for years.

The moment a hand of cruelty is lifted against a poor defenceless creature, animal activists everywhere appear from nowhere.
And a good thing too.
As the so-called superior race, we ought to know better.
So I ask you, where are all the dissenting voices when a camera is stuck on the back of a penguin as is the case in a recent study?
There can scarcely be a more clear-cut case of invasion of privacy.
The reason I bring it to your attention is to draw an analogy between this heinous practice and the phone hacking scandal that continues to bedevil The Sun.
Surely such precedents leave an open door for Rupert Murdoch’s defence team?
After all, the courts are there to deal with miscreants who offend against either man or beast.
How would Lord Prescott feel, for example, if we were to strap a camera to his carcase rather than merely tapping his phone line?
Let's not even dwell on what that would throw up.
And why is it okay to poke a camera lens into a bird’s nest to see how many eggs it has laid and yet refrain from probing inside Peter Stringfellow’s love nest to see precisely what he’s laid?
There has to be consistency.
If not, before you know it, we’ll be peeping at Toms, eavesdropping bats and bugging bugs.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Daddy of all SI Units

The International System of Units, more commonly abbreviated to SI, is devised around seven base units.
But none is more base than the newly introduced eighth.
Self-Interest (SI).
Unlike other SI units which have the convenience of the number ten, this one has the inconvenience of being linked to politicians.
The inconvenience is theirs.
As the world’s most widely used system of measurement, it recognises the fact that, whether from the Outer Hebrides or Outer Mongolia, all politicians are slimeballs.
Ask your local MP what his SI value is.
If yours is lower, you're a banker.
And for once, that is not rhyming slang.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

President Trump to save the Newspaper Industry

The headlines are already out there. Donald Trump has designs on the White House.
At this stage, like me, you might be tempted to ask "why doesn't he just buy the whole bloody lot?" Then I remembered that's how every President gets in, so it's back to a level playing field.
Or is it?
Name another candidate.
You can't!
Donald Trump is not only a man of the media, he is media-savvy.
He stands head and shoulders above all others. (He doesn't really, but his hair gets him there.) For a man who made billions from iconic buildings such as Trump Towers where the storeys reach to the sky, it seems somewhat fitting that Donald sticks with his two-storey hairdo.
The problem for Donald, however, is that the hairdo doesn't always stick with him.
But despair not.
From such adversity, great leaders are forged.
Would Napoleon have been the same with the use of both eyes?
Or would Admiral Nelson have regarded two arms as a handicap?
How would Hitler have juggled with two balls?
With two storeys, President Trump might not be in control of his hairline, but he certainly makes a good headline.
Look out Gaddafi. You're about to be trumped by two-storey Donald.

Monday, 18 April 2011

All in the best possible taste

Today’s Daily Mail has a story to die for about the latest innovation from America.
It’s a drive-thru mortuary.
You know it makes sense.
The Robert L. Adams Mortuary in California is offering the opportunity to have your dead relative exhibited in an open casket behind a drive-thru window display.
That way, you can pay your last respects without having to pay for parking.
And maybe the idea is not as bizarre as you may think. After all, every time you go to a drive-thru McDonald's, there's very little on display other than dead meat.
At the mortuary, however, there are no French fries and maybe that’s not a bad thing either. Do you really want to hear the Grim Reaper telling you that “You’ve had your chips”?
But I’ve an idea that I think goes one better.
Motorised coffins.
At a difficult time when you might prefer to stay at home, your dead relative can be placed in a glass-sided, motorised coffin. With modern technology cloned from cruise missiles and sat navs, the coffin can then be set off on a tour of family and friends.
Details of its journey can be sent out in advance so that those wishing to say goodbye don’t even need to leave the comfort of their own living room.
And there’s more.
Mortuaries can be smaller as, at any one time, half the corpses could be touring the country.
Car journeys to the mortuary will be reduced, thus helping to save the planet.
Traffic congestion will be eased - as well as the attendant risk of death on the roads. Ironically, by putting death on the road!
And any corpses that are starting to smell will surely benefit from being out in the open air.
Finally, if a coffin is involved in a smash, for at least for one party, there will be no risk of death or injury.
Trial runs are scheduled to begin soon.
So if you see one passing through your neighbourhood, doff your cap, be grateful that it's not you and let RIP with those immortal words:
"It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in."

I went to Cliché for my holidays

At the end of the day, it was just another meaningless place.

What do you do if Google doesn't know the answer?

Search me.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Defecate no more. It's time to defect.

I ask you.
What kind of crazy world are we living in?
On the one hand, we hound Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, like the mad dog that he is.
On the other hand, we let Moussa Koussa slip in and out of Britain in the most slimy manner possible.
For years, Moussa Koussa was a cohort of that original Mad Dog, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
He was part of the regime that sat (I've left the 'h' out deliberately) on its poor subjugated people.
It is the same regime that is implicated in the cold-blooded murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London.
Again, it's the regime that is fingered as being behind the blowing up of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie and the murder of another 270 innocent people.
You get the picture.
Libya was getting a bit too hot for Moussa Koussa.
So he fled to Britain.
So why did we let him go?
Well, he had 'secret knowledge'.
Is that not what Julian Assange had?
And the moral of my story?
Knowledge alone is not power. It's how you use it.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

If you don't want to know the score, look away now

Not you Gomes, you bloody oaf!

(Goalkeeper pays price for not paying attention.)

A short sharp sentence. Or two.

You do four years at Uni, study hard and make new friends.
You graduate, come out in debt but can't find a job.
You grow bitter.

You do four years inside, learn a thing or or two and meet a few interesting characters.
You get parole, come out debt-free then do a few 'jobs'.
You grow rich.

I rest my case.
Dammit! Has anyone seen my case?

I am useless with money

I am useless without money.
Solution: Use less.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I am an ex-voter. Not an 'x' voter.

It is well-nigh possible to open a newspaper these days without reading one headline or another about AV - the alternative vote.
As readers of my blogs are doubtless aware, when it comes to matters of great import, no-one has their finger on the pulse quite as firmly as I do. So it may surprise you to learn that, for me, this particular pulse has gone dead.
In fact, I wonder if it has ever been alive.
I have always maintained that my right NOT to vote is a vote in itself.
This may not enlighten the psephologists as to which candidate I would back, but it is my contention that voting doesn't necessarily convey that either. Were I to exercise my vote, it might just as easily be interpreted to mean that I decided my chosen candidate was only marginally less of a tosspot than the next one.
After all, let's suppose your ballot paper gave you the choice between Hitler, Hussein and Blair.
Who would you vote for?
What has eventually pushed me over the edge with regard to AV is the plethora of celebrity endorsements from nonentities like Peter Stringfellow and Tony Hadley.
Do I really want to know what they think when I can listen to the eloquent and cogent arguments put forward by Lord Prescott, for example?
Okay Jordan. Tell me what you think.
I'm ready to listen as well as look.

I only asked my dentist for a single new denture

He gave me a mouthful.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The difference between Heaven and Hell

You are 21 or 22 years old, give or take a little fluff on your chin.
You wake up in Paradise, also known as Augusta, Georgia.
You pinch yourself.
Yes, you really are there.
Well almost.
Today you are going to take a 4-stroke lead into the final round of The US Masters.

Before you begin, you indulge yourself for breakfast with an exceedingly good cake from that chap who wrote exceedingly good poetry and you remember his percipient words:
"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs."

Rory McIlroy was that young boy. Today he wakes up a man.
Having so miserably lost the Championship, he never once lost his head.
The interview that he gave in the immediate aftermath of his defeat should reassure everyone that he is well enough placed to cope with such adversity.

Then I cast my mind to the hellish conditions his contemporaries experience in places like Afghanistan where losing limbs is more likely to impact on their lives than losing a golf competition.
Yes, I take my hat off to Rory McIlroy. But I take my freedom from the selfless acts of our real heroes in the less attractive parts of the world.

Punctuality and punctuation are one and the same

But only when you arrive on the dot.

I am a writer. I write.

Aye right.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Formula One.
For all my brilliance, I'm stumped. I've tried and I've failed.
Formula One has passed me by.
Admittedly, at great speed. But pass me by it did.
And yet, for others, it's like a religion.
Religion? Sport? Business?
Whatever the attraction, its following is massive.
So massive, in fact, I hesitate to criticise it.
But stuff it!
He who hesitates is toast.
As a spectator sport, I find it wrist-gnawingly boring. So boring, I sometimes wonder whether the cars that pass across your screen with such metronomic regularity are slowly hypnotising you into subservient submission.
"Love me. Love my logos".
The mantra can be clearly heard above the deafening din.
Yes, it's business and it's big business that drives the cars.
Everyone else falls into place.
Me? I simply fall asleep.
I hope I've not been hypnotised.

Friday, 8 April 2011

And the noble prize goes to.....Lord Rees of Ludlow

Lord Rees of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal, is an atheist, so I believe.
So it came as a shock to fellow scientists when he accepted the Templeton Prize in London for contributions to life's spiritual dimension.
Not only were they shocked, they cried boo-hoo. Had they cried boo-hoo-hoo, they would have had the same number of 0's in their woeful whimpers as Lord Rees received in his accompanying £1 million cheque.
What must be reassuring for lesser mortals than me is that such eminent scientists are prone to throwing their toys out of their prams.
In particular, I refer to Professor Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts, both Fellows of the Royal Society.
Lord Rees' decision to accept the prize can be interpreted in several different ways. That these two scientists' minds are not open to those possibilities, regardless of what they consider to be the probability, suggests to me that they would never be worthy winners of the prize themselves.
Maybe that's what has got their goat.
Personally, I'm prepared to entertain other theories, such is the receptive nature of my mind.
As they say, like a parachute, it works best when open.
Having come back down to earth with one almighty thump (I assume that the Almighty still controls gravity) Kroto and Roberts have now gone public with their spat.
They don't like the fact that there is another viewpoint that might test their theories that little bit further.
Maybe Lord Rees agrees with them but believes the money could be used to great effect in countering those opposing views.
Maybe he has a distant relative in Outer Mongolia who needs life-saving surgery.
Maybe he decided that the future welfare of his family matters most and who can argue with that?
Whatever his reasons, as Astronomer Royal investigating phenomena such as dark matter, I don't doubt that Lord Rees has enough grey matter to rise above the scurrilous remarks that are swilling around in this cosmic soup.
Meanwhile, for all their pre-eminence and pomposity, Kroto and Roberts have most emphatically been laid low by Lord Rees of Ludlow.

I'm taking a year out to bite a rook

It's a homophonic spoonerism. A tough old bird.

The Eighth Wonder of the World. The Viagra Falls.

It's a water fountain.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

This little PIG went to market

The PIG I allude to is Portugal, Ireland and Greece.
The market? Well, that’s the one that had started off as the eminently sensible Common Market and evolved into the uncontrollable monster that we know today as the European Union.
But it is still a market - a money market where member states, bankrupt and bereft of morals, go for hand-outs.
Big ones.
It’s where Dick Turpin and turpitude come together.
Portugal, we now learn, would like their hard working, economically prudent neighbours around Europe to dig deep. Deep enough to find 80 billion euros to patch up their profligacy.
It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s not on.
Except that it is….on, I mean.
But why?
Well, that’s easy.
Our unelected representatives collect prodigious sums of money from member states.
They then skim off the cream to cover their salaries, pensions and expense accounts. And when I say expense accounts, I really mean the pâté de foie gravitas of expense accounts.
It’s serious stuff.
From what is left, they then exercise vicarious munificence in doling out our dosh.
It is in their interest to keep the show on the road, the train on the track and their snouts in the trough.
Pigs all.
So what’s the solution?
Instead of hand-outs, let’s offer secured loans.
In return, the Portuguese might offer the Algarve, the French their vineyards, the Italians their art treasures and the Germans their sausage industry.
Fortunately, Britain didn’t subscribe to the Euro. But if we had, what could we have offered that Europe would possibly want?
Well, probably nothing of any real value except the desperate promise that one day we would take back Neil and Glenys Kinnock.
Poor Europe has suffered for long enough.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Okay, not a fag. But what about a cigar?

So Silvio Berlusconi goes on trial yet again and this time it concerns nothing so mundane as previous defences against fraud and corruption.

No. This one involves having sex with an underage prostitute whom he believed to be the daughter of a former Egyptian leader. Maybe that last sentence isn’t imbued with pinpoint accuracy but who cares? It adds to the intrigue.

If only he could follow the example of that fine upstanding ex-President Bill Clinton and enjoy the occasional cigar.

It would certainly help to improve the bad smell that is forever surrounding his leadership.

I am useless at my work

Bloody space bar!
I amuse less at my work.

I went to The Wattle and Daub last night

...and got plastered.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

At last! I've managed to get my poetry to scan.

Rooney's foul language charge a charade

Poor Wayne Rooney. It seems the whole world is on his case.
There, there, there.
One minute he turns up in an old folks home partaking in some old-time favourites like charades, next minute he turns out for Man U.
Before he even has a chance to get his brain in gear - remember, it's a slow gear change - he pops up at the far corner of the pitch.
An overexcited fan screams "CROSS!". Thinking he was still playing charades, Wayne gives the nearest camera his full range, thus doubling Fabio Capello's vocabulary into the bargain.
"And so Your Honour, my client's case should be dismissed."
Well done Mr Loophole.
Not even Wayne could lace your boots.

BREAKING NEWS: Gaddafi defects

Flat feet
Bad breath
Trapped wind

With so many defects, maybe we should exchange him?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Fire and brimstone. Without the brimstone.

Without getting too bogged down in science lessons, among other things, free radicals are known to play an important part in combustion.
Perhaps it is this inflammatory aspect that is the catalyst behind that other type of free radical, Terry Jones.
You may remember, he is the pastor from Florida who threatened to burn the Koran in protest against...well, radicals.
For a while I wondered what the hell he was thinking about.
Then I thought, I wonder if he is thinking about hell?
Eventually I came to the conclusion that he just wasn't thinking.
Not unless he was trying to create his own version of a heat seeking missal.
And here was me thinking he was an idiot.

George Osborne has an inflated opinion of himself. And...'s index-linked.

I can't cope with homophonic experiences

So I'm going into my herb garden to take time out.