Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Drowning The Silence

Back in 2001, I wrote a short book about my experiences from ending one relationship to starting a new one.

I called it 'Drowning The Silence' - a reference to coming to terms with the change, to being the only person in your home in the evening, to dealing with the loss and starting over.

It was well received by friends, family and third-parties - though sadly not by publishers - so I've taken the decision to publish the book online.

You'll be able to find it HERE, and the plan is to publish one or two chapters a week. The first will be posted this evening.

I hope that you enjoy it - all comments are, as ever, very welcome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Plus ca Change, Plus C'est la Meme Chose

I see that Pravda are reporting that Chief Caterpillar-Balancer Darling is to 'relax the fiscal rules' put in place by his prudent predecessor.

Yeah, like they haven't been relaxed like a cottager's sphincter since all this started. Snotty McBroon's much-vaunted 'prudent' Budgets never did add up, and the only brilliance about them was the legerdemain with which he hid his 'tax and spend' clobbering.

Apparently, our public finances are in a "position of strength" with debt lower than in other major economies.


As the very logical John Redwood has pointed out, nothing could be further from the truth. The government forecast 43 Billion in borrowing for this year - we're already at 37bn, and the overall figure is a not-inconsiderable 123 Billion Pounds.

Starting borrowing requirement £43bn
Extra spending and reduced revenue in year £22bn
Bank shares purchase £37bn
Bradford and Bingley £18bn
Northern Rock extra capital £3bn

Add on the PFI schemes and other off-balance-sheet shenanigans, and you start to wonder when, exactly, we're going to be doing a Hungary and going, begging-bowl in hand, to the IMF. After all, Labour have form for that anyway.

And now, when we're bankrupt, General Melchett-Brown and Captain Darling want to borrow and spend some more. Yeah, I should try that with my bank manager, as Obnoxio did.

Ladies and Gentlemen - I give you New Labour spending. Same as Old Labour spending.

I was five in 1976. I never thought I'd be living through what my parents did in those dark days.

Wot A Pair of Pwats

So after all the wecwiminations, complaints and public outwage, the BBC have done the decent thing and suspended Wussell Bwand and Jonathan Woss.


Their actions were insulting and demeaning, and how this pair of twats and their wespective 'pwoducers' could have considered this amusing is beyond me.

Wule of thumb, gentlemen - if your 'pwank' is something that would, if delivered face-to-face, get you a punch on the nose then it's pwobably something you shouldn't do.

Of course, I also fail to understand the need for our worthy politicians to stick their oars in - while the cwass actions of these two embawwassingly-coiffed 'slebs' were outwageous, it's a matter for their Management, not our so-called Leaders. So I think we've probably heard enough about these two jumped-up, overpaid and infantile idiots and their asinine antics - they'll suffer enough in the long wun.

I've never liked Bwand anyway. It seemed to me that his only talents were the dwess-sense of a Kings Cwoss dosser and hair by Van De Gwaaff.

Oh, and Wossie? I had your missus mate. Hurgh hurgh hurgh. Yeah, that's dead funny that.

A couple of wight woyal rankers, both of 'em.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

'Quantum of Correctness'

To salve the outrageous conscience of Mr Finlo Rohrer, I'd like to present my screenplay for a new, PC Bond for the 21st Century.

James Bond 007 in 'Quantum of Correctness'

James Bond, 007 (License to Resolve things in a non-threatening and egalitarian manner), discovers a dastardly plot by George W Globaliser to increase carbon emissions at his factory, thereby risking the endangered freshwater newts in a nearby pond.

Q-Branch issue Bond with his latest gadgets, including a G-Wiz with a tuned battery capable of 35mph and super-secret solar panel technology and special sandals made of recycled hemp.

Bond is aided in his attempts to save the world by the feminist environmental activist Pussy Nonever, and Bond is entranced by her charm. To woo her, he makes her his trademark elderflower and mineral-water cocktail, before sweeping her to the night of her life - a group Yoga session on Hampstead Heath.

Acting with no regard for his own safety, Bond organises a meeting with Globaliser, reminding him of his responsibilities under the Kyoto Accords, but he's rejected by the evil Globaliser and attacked by Globaliser's henchmen.

Bond deals quickly with the henchmen, inviting them to take part in a joint counselling session to explore the reasons for their propensity to violence, before disabling them with a therapeutic Reiki massage.

Escaping his captors, Bond confronts Globaliser, and the two settle their differences 'mano a mano' over an organic Vente Latte, before reaching an agreement to reduce CO2 emissions with the help of an EU monitoring team.

Bond drives off into the sunset in his G-Wiz, charged from renewable sources, and enters into a civil partnership with Pussy Nonever at Vauxhall Cross Registry Office, witnessed by M.

And they all live happily ever after.

Yeah, I'd want to see that. Er....perhaps not.

Is James Bond Loathsome?

So the very serious Mr Finlo Rohrer has graced us with his opinions on the BBC Website.

Apparently, we shouldn't enjoy the movies of the Bond franchise because of their sexism, racism, product placement and unbelievability.

Wow, Finlo. With that sort of attitude to life, you must be a real riot at parties.


Main Entry: en·ter·tain·ment
Pronunciation: \ˌen-tər-ˈtān-mənt\
Function: noun
Date: 15th century

1: the act of entertaining...3 a: amusement or diversion provided especially by performers b: something diverting or engaging: as (1): a public performance (2): a usually light comic or adventure novel

It's ENTERTAINMENT. It's supposed to be completely over-the-top. Watching 007 spend 72 hours on surveillance before obtaining a warrant really wouldn't make for a fun movie, would it?

While serious people such as yourself get aerated over the subtexts, most normal human beings are watching a bit of escapist fun, not an instruction manual for modern interpersonal relationships.

Finlo, you can wring your sandals in outraged post-feminist horreur that Sean Connery slaps a woman's behind in 'Goldfinger' - the rest of us have sufficient intellect to work out that a movie made in 1964 is unlikely to have the same social strictures as one made today. Of course the attitude to women is different to today! The books were written over 50 years ago.

Of course the villians were never English - this was pretty much the canon for the detective and spy novel of the time. Try reading a Modesty Blaise book or two, and you'll see exactly the same thing. You also missed the fact that in numerous instances, the villians are revealed as rank bad hats not because of their megalomania or murderous tendencies, but because they cheat at cards!

Of course there are all sorts of product placements. If you read the books, you'd see that Bond is an insufferable 'brand snob', having even his cigarettes made to his personal specifications. He also drives a Bentley, rather than the Astons of the films. And these days, without product placement and the investment that comes from it, films don't get made. There are many worse examples of this than the Bond franchise.

Oh, and if you want your PC bollocks to be taken seriously when you're ranting about stuff, get your facts right as well. In Casino Royale, he didn't drive a Ford Focus - it was a pre-production Ford Mondeo. Who, incidentally, own Aston Martin. And most of the other cars in the film as well.

Of course it's unbelievable and full of plot holes. it's MEANT TO BE, you plank. If I want serious, believable drama all the time I'll watch f&*%ing News 24. Sometimes we want escapism - fistfights, car chases, casinos, explosions and the occasional spot of casual shagging. If you don't like that, then don't watch it - but please, spare us all your sanctimonious critic's drivel.

However, to make you happy I'll post a screenplay of YOUR sort of Bond movie shortly - watch this space.

PS: Twat.

Review: Cafe de Paris, Monaco 18 October 2008

Cafe de Paris is one of the main tourist traps in Monte Carlo, situated as it is on Casino Square.

For a quick coffee while touring the Principality, there's nowhere better, and you can sit in the square watching the tourists dribble over the vast array of supercars parked outside the Casino and Hotel de Paris. The hot chocolate is especially good, served in a jug rather than just a small cup.

As for dinner - that was more of a mixed blessing really.

Firstly, it's a good idea to dress for dinner - while there seemed to be no public statement of the fact, simply everyone, French or otherwise, were outfitted in suits and dresses.

Despite its size, service from the waistcoated staff is quick and attentive.

Our starters were both excellent - Gerry went for their onion soup, which was fresh and tasty (though not as deeply flavoured as others) and I chose a soupe de poisson, served with side dishes of grated cheese, croutons and rouille. It was fully flavoured, and deeply satisfying. First class. However, while my main course of grilled whole seabass was as good as my starter, Gerry's chicken was disappointing - slightly overcooked and a little dry.

The meal was washed down with a bottle of white, and we skipped desserts.

Overall, this meal was an enjoyable experience, but not really worth the 135-Euro price tag. It was merely a good meal, and for that sort of cost in the UK I would expect excellence, which sadly wasn't delivered.

In conclusion - you should definitely visit Cafe de Paris. But go there during the day for coffee, and find somewhere else for dinner.

(Also published on Dungeekins Eatings and on Qype).

Discipline is the Aim...

The more astute among you may notice that I have a tendency to write in bursts - nothing for a few days, then sometimes as many as three or four posts in a day.

It's always bugged me that I seem to lack the discipline to write regularly. I've always got ideas in my head, and when watching the news or reading a book can even frame most of an article mentally - but I often fail to transfer thought to keyboard to Web.

Therefore, in an attempt to learn how to be disciplined and meet deadlines, I've signed up for NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month.

The tenet is simple. One post per day, for a month, starting on 1 November. I foresee some 'post-queueing' going on during those times when inspiration strikes.

Keep watching for updates. Hopefully daily!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sony Ericsson K850i - New Shiny! Toy!

So the newest Shiny Toy arrived at Dungeekin Towers today.

It's a Sony Ericsson K850i - the 'Cybershot'-branded camera phone, replacing the basic and buggy Nokia 6300 I had been using.

The SE is my latest attempt to get a phone that does just what I want it to, and does it well. I originally went for a Nokia N95, which was a brilliantly featured phone yet too bulky and over-specced for my needs. I didn't need wi-fi, I don't need GPS. So that went onto eBay and was replaced by a Nokia 6300 - which had a great UI, and was light and easy to use. But the 2MP camera was shoddy and the 2GB Micro-SD card I bought for it wouldn't work. Neither would any other card.

This time, I put together a list of my wants before ordering a phone. It was surprisingly short, really. Phone calls, SMS messages, MMS messaging and a good camera - which leads me to the K850i.

With Cybershot internals, the K850i is, essentially, a camera with a phone attached rather than a phone with a camera attached. It feels less bulky to the hand than the N95, the screen's large and bright, and a few test pictures so far show excellent picture quality and, most importantly, a fast shutter reaction time.

I'm initially less impressed with the keypad, and I do worry about the super-shiny surface which shows fingerprints if you so much as look at the phone, but they're small niggles. I'm sure I'll get used to the keys quickly enough.

The K850i also accepted, formatted and is using my 2GB card, and did so without fuss or hassle, which is a major plus.

So now it's time for a few weeks of using the phone, and I'll post a fuller, more detailed review once I've lived with it for a while.

Book Review: 'Dad Rules', by Andrew Clover

(Published on babyworld, October 2008)

They say 'first impressions count', but in all honesty I'm not so sure.

In 1863 the Chicago Times said ""The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States." - about Lincoln's Gerrysburg Address. Seventy years ago, Mr Chamberlain thought that a former Army Corporal was a reasonable man Britain could do business with. Ten years ago, I met a bloke who, quite frankly, I wanted to punch within about 30 minutes of meeting him. I'm glad I didn't - he's still my best and closest friend.

The fact is, first impressions can be - and frequently are - completely erroneous. So it was with 'Dad Rules' by Andrew Clover.

The first time I tried to read this book, I managed to get about a third of the way through it before giving up in frustration. I hated it. I detested this name-dropping, self-absorbed wannabe celeb bemoaning having to do childcare instead of writing 'comedy' that, quite clearly, nobody wanted. I eagerly awaited writing this review, looking forward to the savaging I intended to give it. I dreamed of somehow getting corporal punishment back on the statute book, so I could call for the public flogging of the author, the editor and anyone involved in the publication of what I felt, strongly, was turgid, self-reverential and irrelevant tosh.

And then I read the book again. And I discovered that I was wrong.

'Dad Rules' isn't really a parenting handbook. Andrew Clover just tells you what worked for him. Yet despite disagreeing with some of his ideas (he's a little too much of a rabid 'Guardianista' when it comes to the children not having sweets, for example), what works for him is what tends to work for me with the boys.

The first part of the book, describing his fear of having kids and so on, I could live without - but once he gets going as a parent Andrew Clover brings his relationship with Grace and Cassady to life, and you end up sharing in the pleasure he gets from his girls. He gives us the secret that has worked for him - playing with his children, and learning to enjoy life the same way they do by sharing their world.

Clover shows us how playing with the kids at every opportunity has helped with every aspect of their development, even eating and food. His experiences are good suggestions for us all, and an object lesson in the use of diversion tactics to offset tantrums and the like.

On Saturday, we were out with Josh, who has apparently learned about frogs at school.. and I found myself frog-hopping along with Josh through Oxford's covered market, 'ribbiting' as I did so, completely oblivious to the stares of adults and conscious of little other than the joyous giggling of my froggie son.

And I thought - Andrew Clover gets it. He really does. This is what being a parent should be about.

On second reading, I love this book, and I give it a solid five stars as both an enjoyable read and for the advice it contains. And trust me - if you hate it the first time, go and mess about with your kids for a while, and read it again. You'll change your mind.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Very Good Idea - 1984 Campaign

Reproduced from 'The Devil's Kitchen'.

On November 5th 1605 Guido Fawkes, 'the only man to enter Parliament with honest intent', sought to end the repressive rule of a King from Scotland who brought repression to the Country. The rule of the Stuarts ended on the battlefield of Naseby, with Absolutism subordinate to the rule of Law and Parliament.

The United Kingdom has now become riven with Cameras, unaccountable Local Authorities losing millions in Iceland. Who are speaking up for the people of this Country, as we are plundered as taxpayers to prop up the Banks, not the MPs that's for sure.

We want to send a message to Parliament, we want 646 copies of '1984', one to be sent to each member of Parliament - make your pledge at to send a copy to arrive on November 5th.

The Libertarian Party with the support of other organisations will ensure that each member of the Cabinet will get a copy, with an appropriate message.

As of today, there are 531 pledges, sending 531 copies of 1984 to 531 Members of Parliament. I urge you to join in, and make your pledge to

Back to His Old Tricks

It would appear that The Dark Lord has (allegedly) been telling porkies again. Quelle surprise.

After an attempt to engineer a smear attack on George Osborne through his mate Nat Rothschild - one that has failed with the Electoral Commission, despite Pravda's best attempts - it appears Lord Mandy of Spin has, as ever, been economical with the truth about his association with one Oleg Deripaska. Money quote from the Grauniad:

"Mandelson's officials in Brussels, where he served as trade commissioner before returning to a role in the government earlier this month, said the two men met "at a few social gatherings in 2006 and 2007", but had never discussed aluminium, the main source of Deripaska's wealth.

However, Mandelson and Deripaska were seen together at a Moscow restaurant in October 2004, after he had been appointed trade commissioner, but before he formally took up the post."

We're back to the bad old days of spin and sleaze with Mandelson. Bereft of policies or ideas, Snotty McBroon has turned to the arch-smearer himself to divert attention from the truth of the crisis engulfing Britain.

All the while neatly ignoring the fact that while making an issue of a £50,000 donation that didn't happen, ZanuLieBore has quietly trousered over 80 times that amount from one Lakshmi Mittal - an Indian national (hat-tip to Guido).

Lies, more lies and a grasping hand in the till. With Mandy back, ZanuLieBore are definitely back to their old ways.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A BUisness Proposal For Msieur Sarkozy

(In honour of this piece of beautiful luserism from the worthy Gentleman. Hat-tip to Loudmouthman for the link).

Dear TheHonourable Mr Nicola Sarkozy

I have heard from many sources that you are an honourabel person of good character, ant it is to you that I extend the greetings of the Presbyteran Church and entreat do business with you worshipful selves.

I am Mr Gibbon Brooni lately Prime Minstor of THe United Kingdom of Graet Britain and Eire, and I have been entrusted the disposition of the banks of Britain to interested person in confidential transaction.

The owners of banks HBOS, Northern Rock and LloydsTBS have all departed this shores for new offices in the Cayman Islands, and in the absence of other beneficiaries you are nominated by virtue of the entrys in Domesday Book of 1068 as new owner, elegible for the Dividend payment of Thirty Seven Billion Six Hundred Million Pounds UK Sterling (£37,600,000,000) into nominated account of Your choice.

To benefit from this beneficiary please respond this mail, including reference of the France Central Bank account number and sorting code so that we may initiate the credit of your funds.

I Have The Hon0ur To Remain, Sir, Your Freind And Servant

Giboon Brooni

Prime Minotaur
United Kingdmo Of Great Birtain and Eireland.

Panem Et Circenses

You couldn't make it up. In a time of economic crisis, we have two major stories, apparently:


First - a new attempt by a British team to break the Land Speed Record held by - the same British team. Peachy, and engineering feats like this are something I'm normally right up for. Except...

This one is Government-funded, and we've already neatly been lied to about this by Pravda, who quote, "Apart from the not-insubstantial in-kind support of the MoD in the loan of the EJ200s, Bloodhound is a private project that will need to raise some £10m in financing. "

Hat-tip to the Vultures at El Reg, for pointing out who the sponsors actually are; "Except that the sponsors include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Ministry of Defence, the National Physical Laboratory and at least two universities. So yes, government is funding it.".

Now perhaps I've merely got my miserly trousers on today, but it seems to me that with Goonverment borrowing already far beyond predictions, all sorts of off-balance-sheet shenanigans, a recession looming and the entire economy teetering on the brink, perhaps now isn't the time to be funding an attempt to drive very quickly indeed?

Or is it perhaps that the publicity for this will hopefully foster national pride, and development announcements can be used as a good time to bury other news.....hmmm, I wonder.


Another hat-tip is due to the most excellent Obnoxio The Clown, who spotted DEFRA's Press Release lauding a record wheat harvest. Apparently. Jane Kennedy MP has so far alluded to the "reduction to 0% set-aside" - no doubt by the time Snotty McBroon mentions this, Goonverment Policy will be the sole reason for the large harvest.

Aren't we all lucky people? I can't wait to see the statistics on tractor production and the number of boots produced.

Odds on seeing a drop in the retail price of a loaf of bread, anyone?

Review - BeefBar, Monaco 17 October 2008

42, quai Jean-Charles Rey
98000 Monte-Carlo, Principauté de Monaco
Tel. +377 97 77 09 29

Monaco. The glittering Principality with petrol in its veins, and a place where a simple steak frites can be elevated to fine dining.

BeefBar is situated overlooking the harbour in the Fontveille quarter, so you enjoy your meal while gazing covetously at the superyachts moored there. There's no dress code (which seems quite rare for the better restaurants in the area), however we were advised by the concierge at our hotel that I would be 'more comfortable' wearing a shirt. Thankfully, a tie wasn't necessary!

The menu is simple - a few starters, some cold meat dishes, and a range of cuts of beef, arranged on the menu not by cut, but by nationality, with a description of the key points of each nations' offering.

I started with pan-fried foie gras served topped with ground nuts and figs, which was absolutely sublime - however, I actually preferred Gerry's starter of chunks of seared tuna, marinated in garlic, shallots, wine vinegar and ginger, served with individual pots of wasabi cream and ground pistachio. It was almost, but not quite, a ceviche, and utterly fantastic.

Both of us chose sirloin steaks for our main course - Gerry opting for an Argentinian steak, which was as good as Argentine beef always is - and I went for a Kansas beef, from a slightly older animal (27 months as opposed to 18). Both were superb - the differences in flavour were clear, with the Kansas beef more intense and with a fuller, herbier flavour.

The steaks were served with a small pot of creamed potato, which I think will become my accompaniment of choice for beef in future. However, as no mention was made of this accompaniment on the menu, we also ordered some side dishes, and this was unfortunately where we were a little disappointed.

The frites were excellent, and the dish of steamed legumes also well cooked and presented - however the kitchen forgot about our leek gratin, and when it did come out was cold and the parmesan topping unmelted. The waiter handled our complaint well, and as one would expect we weren't charged for the offending dish.

The whole meal was washed down with a bottle of decent French red, surprisingly reasonable given the cost of the rest of the meal!

We didn't bother with desserts, as the portions of the previous courses were more than adequate (especially the 400g steaks). Though the portion of creamed potato was a touch small for two.

Total cost for the two courses, including wine and service, was a not-inconsiderable 195 Euros. However, given that this was in Monaco, which is somewhere we're unlikely to visit very often, it was worthwhile even at that cost.

(This review is also published on Dungeekin's Eatings and on Qype.)

Photoshoot - Update

So the viewing last night went very well - Venture Portraits in Witney (and especially our photographer Jen) had done a sterling job, especially of the boys. There were a couple of photographs that quite simply put a lump in your throat.

The viewing itself is a bit of a trial - it's quite heavily scripted, as it understandably has to act as a sales pitch as well. That said, it was well presented, and the initial slideshow, set to music, is a nice touch and brings back the memories of the shoot itself.

Needless to say, we ended up spending a quite amazing amount of money for a total of 20 photos - a set of four 10x8 framed shots, one 10x8 'gift' shot, and an album including the five framed ones and another 10 that we liked but which wouldn't fit the frames.

The only slight downside is that they don't provide electronic copies of the photos (for obvious reasons, I suppose). But apparently, we can remove and replace photos from the album should we wish to change the order. Not scan them at all. Obviously.

The photo at the top is from Venture, though not one of ours - they'll be ready in about six weeks, so we will have our new family photos on the wall in time for Christmas. Expensive - but well worth the money, in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monaco and Photoshoots

So the Darling G and I celebrated our third anniversary (Happy Anniversary, darl', by the way. xx) with a trip to the Principality of Monaco.

I haven't sorted out the photos yet, and will do a proper writeup of Monaco once I've done so and posted them to Flickr. I've also got two restaurant reviews to complete for the Principality as well, so keep your eyes peeled on Dungeekin's Eatings (and Qype) for them too.

However, let me just say that it's AMAZING. Wonderful people, lovely food, amazing cars and stunning superyachts. And motorsport.

Tonight's an exciting night too - we're off to Venture Portraits for the viewing session of the photoshoot we had with the boys the other weekend. I think they're going to be fantastic pics, and I have this feeling that the credit card's about to take a battering from which it will not soon recover!

Add to that 'story-time' tomorrow, the three articles I have to write for other places and, of course, the incessant time-sink that is the day job, and I'll post a more detailed account when I get A Round Tuit.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Next Step - The Thought Police?

The Database State looms ever larger, despite misgivings of the few (relatively) honest MPs and the best efforts of David Davis MP.

Quote from 'The Independent': "officials are concentrating on capturing huge amounts of so-called "communications data" – background information about when and to whom electronic and phone messages are sent."

Amazingly, the Goonverment have even managed to get the Sandalistas at the Grauniad up in arms on this, with their article titled 'New powers for state snoopers on the net'.

Now of course, Thought Police Chief Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is at pains to point out the need for proper legal safeguards, there are some very scary points to what is being proposed.

The term being used (according to the Guardian) is "communications data", which identifies the location and name of the person making the communication but not the contents of their calls or messages. OK, fine and dandy. Except it's not.

With the ever-increasing amount of data the Government holds, it's no leap of imagination to go from location (or IP address) to account details, to home address, bank accounts, Passport details and CCTV images of where you were standing when you made the call. Anonymity, already teetering on the precipice of extinction, will be legislated into a historical artifact.

Pseudonyms, such as my own, will become completely irrelevant. And if you choose, quite legitimately, to make yourself anonymous using proxy services such as YouHide, Zend2 or Proxify - well, obviously you have something to hide, Citizen. At which point the second part of the legislation will kick in and you will be more deeply surveilled.

This leads me to the second, more scary element of this new Thought Police legislation. As we've seen with the new counter-terrorism laws, once they're on the statute book, they are twisted in new and interesting ways - terror laws have been used to spy on binmen, littering and even underage smoking, to say nothing of freezing the assets of Icelandic banks.

ID Cards, CCTV, the DNA database you can't get off even if you were never charged, your communications monitored. Everything adding to Government control, Government monitoring, your right to go about your business peacefully and privately eroded to nothing but a memory.

The line in the sand between privacy and Big Brother will again be redrawn by this legislation. And it will be redrawn again,and again, until the words you use over the phone, or in an email to your friend, will be surveilled and flagged to the Government if they don't meet the accepted criteria. Which, of course you won't know. So you'll self-censor your conversations to avoid criticising the State. And you won't know you've offended.

At least, until you hear the knock on your door and see the Thought Police standing there.

This man was not a novelist, not a writer of fiction. It turns out he was a prophet.

This has to stop.

Ultio Ultionis Superne

It's not the network. No, seriously, it's not.

My network is fine. It has a single, relatively simple job. Packets come in, packets go out. Job done.

It's not the network. I'll only believe it MIGHT be the network when one of my switches is a puddle of molten slag on the server room floor, the fire-suppression system's gone into overdrive and your entire staff are evacuated.

Even then, you'd better have done diagnostics on every single Windoze box, wired or wireless, in a three-mile radius of my network.

Specifically in this case, when you've had a power outage, and the 27 dynamically-addressed PCs in the office can't pick up DHCP, you'd best make damn sure you've started the Domain Controller for the network BEFORE you log a trouble ticket with the Networks engineers.

Oh look. You hadn't checked the DC. And it wasn't up. So no DHCP.

OADS will be delivering to your location shortly - I can honestly say that this will hurt you much more than it will me.

Remember this, on pain of pain.

It Is Not The Network.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review: Haynes 'Toddlers Owners Workshop Manual'

Published on babyworld, 23 October 2008

The Haynes Manual.

First resort of every man who thinks he's a mechanic, oily, well-thumbed copies of Haynes Manuals reside in garages all over the world.

But while the mechanical benefits of the Haynes Manual are well-known and documented, how effective can such a Manual be in the face of the most difficult of all devices - the Human Toddler?

Well - truth be told, quite well actually.

Presented in majestic, Manly hardback in precisely the same style as the car manuals, the Haynes Toddler Owners Workshop Manual is concise, clear, and written by a man other blokes can respect - Dr Ian Banks, who's a recognised expert and, more importantly, has been there and done it a total of four times.

Dr. Banks' advice is well-written and worded in a style aimed clearly at men, and he conveys his required message effectively. For example, "no amount of forcing them to sit on a Daffy Duck potty in the sitting room during Blue Peter will bring self confidence any sooner. If anything, you will still be wiping up the mess by the time Top Gear comes on".

Words to live by, I think we can all agree.

The Manual deals with an exhaustive range of topics, from the standards of potty-training and bedtime routines, through employment and work advice for Dads, to the emotional issues that can come along with being a new father. All are dealt with with empathy, but without sugar-coating the issues - good, sensible advice from an experienced man that other men can respect for his experience.

For the more nervous Dads among us, the Manual also includes a welcome section on dealing with a number of ailments including poisoning, vomiting rashes and earache - all are presented in a simple flowchart style, so that Dads can make a clear diagnosis and, hopefully, avoid being yelled at by our loved ones for screwing up.

Retailing at £14.99 according to Amazon, the Haynes Toddler Owners Workshop Manual isn't the cheapest of books. But it's well worthwhile. I want to keep this copy.

If you're a Man with a Toddler - I recommend you buy one.

A True Man's Dinner

A recipe for the times we Men are alone, and cooking just for ourselves.

1 Steak (see below for specifications);
1 Griddle Pan;
A good handful of peppery salad;
A large handful of asparagus spears;
1 Bottle good Scotch, plus the mixer of your choice;
Salt & Pepper to taste.

First, take your bottle and pour a large Scotch.

Next, place the griddle pan on a high heat, turn on the extractor fan and open a window. You'll need it.

Heat the griddle pan until it's smoking hot. Then heat it some more. And some more. Heat until you can hear the cast-iron singing and the kitchen feels like a sauna.

Heat some more.

Take 1 steak. Sirloin. This is not for preference, it's mandatory. Aged darker than an Aboriginal's arms, streaked through with yellow-tinged fat, thick as two of your fingers. Cheap Tesco meat is not an option here.

Add the steak to your griddle pan.

Cook for three minutes. Revel in the sweat pouring off you. Pour another large Scotch to replace the fluids lost.

Turn the steak. Ignore the flames and smoke. Cook for another three minutes. Boil 2 inches of lightly-salted water in a steamer. Pour another Scotch -for medicinal purposes.

Remove the steak from the pan, and the pan from the heat. Place on a bed of peppery salad (I recommend Waitrose Watercress, Rocket & Spinach) and leave to relax for ten minutes.

Put the asparagus onto the steamer, and cook for ten minutes while the steak is relaxing.

Season to taste, and serve it all with a peppercorn sauce if you must. Bearnaise is for girls.

Revel in the glory of being both man and cook.

Enjoy. And pour another Scotch.

On Poverty

It's hard, I think, for those of us here in the privileged UK to truly conceive what poverty means.

We hear the newsreaders and our esteemed politicians pontificate on poverty in this country, yet the truth of real poverty is something that doesn't really exist here in the UK.

In many countries, poverty means watching your children die of malnutrition in front of you. Here, it means you don't get to order a pizza.

In this country, we have a welfare 'safety net' ensuring that the vast majority of the poor in this country have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. In other nations, the only safety net is having enough surviving children bringing in a couple of dollars a day. We have full state education, allowing the children of the poor the chance of lifting themselves out of their situation through aspiration. In truly poor nations, children scavenge landfill for anything worth cash and for their daily sustenance.

I don't know how to fix the problem. The problem of poverty isn't my normal subject matter.

But let me focus on what IS - and I'll allow you to draw your own inferences and opinions from that.

In the UK alone, we've spent billions in credit sustaining an artificial boom economy. To salvage that, this Government has spent (so far) over £500bn. Let me spell that out.

Five Hundred Billion Pounds Sterling.

The US Government has so far bailed its bankers out to the tune of $950bn.

Nine Hundred and Fifty Billion Dollars.

Regime-change in Iraq has so far cost in excess of $500bn.

Five Hundred Billion Dollars.

Perhaps we need to change our priorities - to start asking questions, specifically asking our statesmen why, if all this money can be found at the drop of a share price, we wilfully refuse to use a small portion of these astronomical sums to change, permanently, the lives of those who really do need it.

We can ask the same question of those who profit from the poor and their cheap labour - companies like Nike, Gap and the like who have previously been alleged to profit from cheap labour in poverty-stricken nations.

We as ordinary citizens can - and in most cases do - make contributions, through charities like Children in Need, telethons and sponsorships. But we can't do it ourselves. The time has come, I believe, when Governments across the world need to stand up and say 'no more', and make some of the vast billions used to support their financial industries work for a right and proper cause.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Praise of Foxmarks

In common with many geeks, I have more than one computer. In my case, I have three - work laptop (meh), personal desktop/file server and the much-stickered Dell D430 that's my personal laptop and the source of most of the gibberish I spout here.

Now because I sometimes have to work at night, and because my work laptop is a steaming, creaking, barely-functional piece of HP Pentium M crud (and also because I'm lazy) I like to be able to use a personal machine to do so rather than wait three days for the work machine to boot.

So it's important for me that whichever machine I'm on, I can access the same information with equal ease. I've tried but never really got on with it - besides, I have things like webmail accounts with multiple clients that I don't really want to publish on there.

Step forward and take a bow, Foxmarks.

Foxmarks simply synchronises my bookmarks with a central server, meaning that I get the same bookmarks in the same order on any machine I've installed the add-on to. If I add any new ones, Foxmarks regularly resyncs, so the next time I open Firefox on one of the other machines - there they are, ordered and ready to use.

If I'm somewhere else without my personal laptop, I can simply log into my account on the Web and, from there, access and go to any of my bookmarks from any machine with Web access - but without the privacy concerns caused by publishing a public links list as with

Oh, and it's free too, which is a bonus.

I've been using Foxmarks now for about five months, and it's become pretty much indispensable. It's such a simple, sensible idea, well implemented and one that I'd recommend to any Firefox user who has multiple PCs.

'Weekend Dads' Should Still Be Parents

So The Darling G and I were in Yo! Sushi on Saturday, and sat opposite us was a father with a somewhat uncooperative teenager. A bit of eavesdropping over our makis indicated that what we were seeing was a Weekend Dad.

They finished lunch quickly - Dad trying (and failing) to communicate, and in doing so showing a woeful lack of understanding of his son's life and activities. They then rolled off, with Dad asking directions to the cinema. I suppose the cinema made it easier for him - after all, one doesn't have to talk when watching a movie.

This is, I would imagine, a scene repeated in burger bars and tourist attractions across the country every weekend. And it got me thinking - does it really have to be like that?

I am one of the many Weekend Dads in this country. But I don't believe that being a dad at weekends means you have to be a Weekend Dad.

I see my son every Thursday evening to do bedtime stories, and we have him overnight for three weekends in every four. Additionally, we also take my former stepson, as his father only visits once every five weeks (if he's not doing anything else) and let's face it - every boy needs a regular male influence. Both The Darling G and I (and, I'm proud to say, the rest of my family) make a point of ensuring that Josh and Jay are treated absolutely equally, and both are referred to and treated as my sons. (But that's another post).

I think it's important, though, that weekend visits and the like don't descend into the 'easy stuff' - cinema, wildlife park, McDonalds and so on - because in doing so, the Weekend Dad is making it easy for himself, not his child.

Rather, I believe that it's better to take the harder route - involve the children in the normal minutae of weekends, with the normal treats that would come to a child in a normal relationship. For us, this can mean taking the boys to Argos to choose some new bedding for their bunks, then to buy some new shoes for Joshua, and stopping for a drink in Mostly Books in Abingdon rather than a fat-laden snack at Burger King. We do Jason's homework together and in the evening we eat together at the table, with no TV (and no multiple-choice dining either, there's only one choice). They get a joint bedtime story, with Jason helping me read to Josh, and they don't get outlandish bedtimes.

We keep to the same rules and discipline as anyone else would, with the same consequences.

Instead of the guilt-trip overload of expensive substitutes, the boys get regular love and affection as a child should. They get stability, a degree of routine and the ability to talk about things normally rather than, as Mr Weekend Dad was doing, an interrogation on what's happening devoid of emotional understanding.

Being a Weekend Dad is not an easy thing to do (it's even harder when one of the children has no biological link to either of you at all). I wouldn't profess to have all the answers. But I do think that by creating a family unit for the times you see the kids, rather than making every time a special occasion, you get to know your children better and establish a more stable, lasting and positive relationship.

(Published on Dad-O-Matic 14/10/2008.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tinfoil Hats Abound in these Interesting Times

In these dark times of global financial meltdown, with 24-hour rolling coverage of collapses, crashes, crunches and calamities, it's incumbent upon us to seek our own entertainment.

One highly-amusing outcome of the current shenanigans is the way it's brought the conspiracy theorists out from their lead-lined bunkers, blinking mole-like in the bright light of a sun they rarely see.

I present, for your amusement, education and edification, a small selection of recent comments regarding the banking crisis from our tinfoil-capped brethren:

Quote 1:
The Global elite have the polititians in their pockets they are gonna rape you for everything you have. Then try and set up a global banking system to enslave you and destroy your nations independance.
Quote 2:
Our financial collapse has been engineered by forces we know little about and collectively do not understand. Cameron however clearly knows them well and understands them perfectly. As does also Vince Cable, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Where else, but the mother of modern democracy, could one better demonstrate to the ENTIRE WORLD that the illusionary sham, that is representative democratic government has been finally put out of its agony?
Quote 3:
It is the British EMPIRE's renegade banking fraternity who are behind this utter chaos in the financial sewage system...If we can stop them or seriously slow them down for a while, they will start to lose control, and we will be finally free from their satanic clutches.

Absolutely brilliant. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Greater-Spotted Net Kook, straying far from his normal habitat to grace us with the brilliance of his intuition and attempting to show us lesser mortals what only they can see and warn of. They do, however, provide great material for my Bloggeries.

It's not normally my habit to feed the Trolls, but let's just take a look at these beliefs and dissect them a little, shall we? We might even have a little fun on the way....

Let's imagine for a moment that I'm not an ordinary peon, but that I am, in fact, a senior and elite financier with superlative Masonic connections, political ties and a hotline to the Rothschilds. I eat at all the right dinner parties, and the head of Bilderberg is on my speed dial (or rather my PA's speed-dial, of course).

Now of course, I share the same purpose as my plutocrat comrades - total world domination and ownership of absolutely everything, from major industry down to those shoes you bought from Oxfam last week. However, I of course want to keep this secret from the proles.

Now, which course would I choose?

Will I choose Option A: ensure that sufficient virtual credit is washing around the system to keep the humble masses in flat-screen TVs, sunny holidays, moronic 'reality TV' and junk food, thus making certain that they remain dulled and uncaring of my dastardly plan for a New World Order;


Option B: completely screw up the entire financial system worldwide, causing these same humble masses to lose their savings, their jobs and their homes, wipe out any available cash or credit with which to buy the consumer goods from my factories and, in doing so, create a huge mass of pissed-off proletariat with nothing to do and a score to settle?

Hmm, difficult choice that.

Let's face it. If this is part of some dastardly, devilish plan by Satanic schemers to take over the world, then it's not exactly been handled with any great degree of competence by the 'Global Elite', has it?

But the Conspiracy Theorists will continue to spout their deluded ideas, and after a while will go back to their darkened bedrooms to research how Princess Diana was actually killed by President Kennedy because she found out he was a space alien. Or something.

Keep your tinfoil hats on, boys. But if you'd be kind enough to put them over your mouths, that would be just peachy. Thanks.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Know Why He's Smiling

So we had the misfortune to see Snotty McBroon grinning and joking about the tsunami of financial crises breaking against our shores the other night.

Of course, Pravda are spinning it as a positive, including an article this morning on the positive psychological effects of humour in a crisis.

Well I'm sorry, but I don't want to hear Snotty trying to be Jimmy Carr.

The only reason he's got a grin on his face is the increase in power granted to him by this crisis.

With a cabinet full of nonentities and sycophantic, fawning lickspittles, a Chancellor totally subservient, an Opposition backed into a corner and bereft of alternatives, a Parliamentary Labour Party terrified for their seats and the privilege they covet and an electorate cowed by the crisis and its damage to their pension funds, Snotty can indulge in the complete imposition of his will and the execution of absolute power.

He will continue to spend money he doesn't have to stem a crisis of his own creation. He will further mortgage our futures and the lives of our children in spiralling, crippling debt. He will carry on stalking the world stage, believing himself to be a colossus and a grand statesman and exhorting other nations to follow 'his' lead.

He knows that in such a situation as today, his opponents will never challenge him. The plotters in the PLP are swept aside by current events, the Opposition dare not question him for fear of accusations of 'playing party politics'.

Brown isn't grinning and joking as a psychological defence mechanism. Sociopaths have no need of the same social mores and structures as bind the rest of us. He's grinning because he has achieved his dream.

(Hat-tip to Guido for the above pic).

This is his dream - power over all of us. He has it now, and while calamity follows calamity cannot be ousted. Make no mistake - if there is still even the perception of a financial crisis in 2010, we WILL see the imposition of the Civil Contingencies Act to delay a General Election. Brown has tasted total power unlike that ever granted in modern Britain outside Wartime. He is not one that will willingly concede that power.

And he will bankrupt this country in pursuit of his own twisted ego-trip.

(Hat-tip to Guido as always)

I'm not the only one who thinks Snotty McBroon is a complete Loon. Psychologist Lucy Beresford describes him as 'deeply insecure', 'compulsive spending' and having a 'Freudian compulsion' bordering on 'self-mutilating behaviour'! Scary stuff - and on Pravda as well!

Warning: Banality Overload

So I woke up this morning and, as usual, flipped on the news to see what the latest was.

Sky News were running on the collapse of the Dow, the 9.6% drop on the Nikkei, and the downgrading of General Motors. It was their lead story, and after a brief run-through of other news they were straight back onto it as a rolling story, with multiple correspondents reporting from various locations.

I quickly flipped over to Pravda to see how they were spinning it.

To find Susannah Reid and her cohort with guests on the sofa, earnestly discussing the merits of putting coffee-shops in municipal libraries.

At which point my head exploded.

Crisis? What crisis?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Being A Story-Teller

When you take a look inside a book Who knows what you might see? A story or rhyme - so take the time And read along with me!

The job of Storyteller has a long and worthy history in this country and is, I'm happy to say, an old tradition that in recent years has been resurrected - and rightly so.

However, I don't think it's just the role of an official storyteller, or that of teachers, to introduce children to the wonders of the written word.

To me, teaching our kids to read and instilling them with a love of books and literature is, quite simply, one of the best gifts of love a parent can bestow.

We have the chance to show them whole new worlds inhabiting the pages; to enhance their imaginations and creative skills by showing them how characters can come to life inside their minds; to instil in them a love of the knowledge they can find within books; and to teach them that they need never be bored while there's a library nearby.

We're blessed in that we have such a vast range of authors and genres which we can use to do this. From Dr Seuss to Roald Dahl, from AA Milne to JK Rowling. It's all there for us to read to, and with, our children.

I'm not fortunate enough to be with my two boys 24/7, but I'm luckier than many in that I have plenty of access and I make time to spend with them as well. And for me, the best part of that time is reading with them, which I do every Thursday evening as well as at weekends.

With Josh, who's just three, it's mostly bedtime stories and Dr Seuss - but to see his eyes light up when we read 'The Cat in the Hat' together is just amazing. I've also started introducing him to poetry - today, for example, we were walking around the living room to AA Milne's 'Lines and Squares', stepping in time to the rhythm of the verse, both of us shouting, "Bears!" at the appropriate moment.

Then there was the wonderful moment of reciting 'Jabberwocky' - chasing a screaming Josh around the room, being 'the jaws that bite, the claws that catch'. He loves it, and he doesn't even know he's learning.

Jay, at 10, is more difficult, however Roald Dahl is always a winner. His characters are so vibrant and rounded, his goodies so good and his villians so vile, that it gains and holds the attention of even an older boy. And of course, the graphic descriptions of baddies meeting sticky ends is always popular. We're doing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - and we share the reading, so he both learns and is entertained at the same time.

I've also started bringing poetry to Jay - he needs a little help with his reading at the moment, and the cadence and structure of simple poems seems to aid both his concentration on the words and also on his expressiveness when reading. The choice of subject matter also helps - I find that snot-related verse seems to have the desired effect!

My best friend Loudmouthman recently wrote an excellent piece on the Duty and Responsibility of being a Dad, which I urge you to read. However, I believe that a big part of that responsibility is very simple.

Read with your kids.

You never know - it might even be fun.

(This piece is published on Dad-o-Matic. There's good stuff there. Go and read it.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brown's Big Bank Bailout

Behold! After boring briefings, the broad brush-strokes of Brown's Big Bank Bailout become bare. Billions of British brass will be brought to bear on the task, and big banks must beg to borrow their bit.

Basically, £50 Billion 'borrowed' by the banks, the brunt of the bill borne by the British taxpayer.

But that is but the basics of a bigger, broader, bastard of a bugbear for us Brits.

The Brown Bureaucracy has brought Britain to the brink of bankruptcy, with big bills beholden by every breadwinner in benighted Britain.

A bill of £24,700 borne by every British boy, belle and baby becomes bigger by £2000 with Brown's Big Bank Bailout.

Blame Brown. By borrowing beyond a balanced basis, Brown's bolloxed British society for both us and those we beget. Britain's Bank Balance under Brown beggars belief.

Banished Boom & Bust? Bullshit. Boom's been banned, there's but Bust to befall Britain.

But the best bit - basically, it's buggered from the beginning. The barrow-boys in business bade it no heed (FTSE burrowing below 4350 as I bruit).

This was billed as Brown's Big Bank Bailout.

It's become Brown's Black Wednesday.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Review: Carluccio's Oxford, 5 October 2008

42 Oxford Castle, OXFORD OX1 1AY
Tel: 01865 24413

I have to confess that the idea of a quick lunch in Carluccio's Oxford didnt fill me with huge anticipation. To be honest, I was expecing Yet Another Generic Italian Restaurant - and my feelings about those are well documented in prior reviews!

However, I was utterly mistaken in my expectations, and ended up pleasantly surprised!

The place itself feels a little strange, walking through the deli area to get to the tables. While we had a table tucked away at the back, well away from the main door and any potential draughts, I would think it would feel a little exposed sitting near the retail area.

The shop itself is, of course, an Aladdin's Cave for a foodie, with a wide range of traditional Italian delicacies, along with other treats and dry goods. The only thing missing was the smell - while there's lots of good food around, there wasn't the welcoming smell of fresh produce and herbs that one might expect.

For lunch, we started with the savoury bread tin, which comprised a lovely range of breads including a delightful focaccia, with a light texture and a well-salted crust. There was also an excellent sun-dried tomato and walnut (I think) wholemeal. All was served with a first-class, fruity olive oil for dipping.

Our antipasti were a chicken pate for The Darling G (good flavour, and with a firmer texture than most, which gave it a more substantial feel), and for me a surprising dish - Vitello Tonnata. This was thin slices of medium-rare veal, topped with a tuna mayonnaise and capers. I was surprised at how well they went together, and thankfully the capers added to the overall dish rather than overpowering it, as they can so often do.

On to the main courses, where Gerry went for Penne Luganica, which was a delicious ragu made with sausagemeat. I opted for Linguine al Frutti Di Mare, which was packed with seafood and had a clean, clear sauce sparkling with garlic and chilli.

Portions for both courses were more than adequate!

We were in a hurry, so skipped desserts and coffees, but if they were anything like the other courses then I'm sure they'd be good. The bill was reasonable at £41 including a tip for (excellent) service, however neither of us were drinking which pushed the overall cost down.

In all, and as I mentioned at the start, this is anything but a Generic Italian Restaurant. The food's excellent, the service quick and attentive, and the price reasonable. While the nature of Carluccios would make it less attractive for an intimate dinner for two, for a good lunch it's hard to fault it.

(This review is also published on Dungeekin's Eatings and on Qype).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Review: Frankie & Benny's, 4 October 2008

Frankie & Bennys

New York Italian Restaurant and Bar
Ozone Leisure Park, Oxford OX4 4XP

So last weekend Gerry and I took the boys out tenpin bowling, and we decided we'd stop for a spot of lunch beforehand.

We're trying to avoid the usual haunts of McDonalds and Burger King, and take the boys to places they may not have been before, so for a combination of convenience and speed decided to use Frankie & Benny's - after all, it's right next to the bowling alley!

In all honesty, we wouldn't use it for any other reason.

In style, look, decor and even menu, Frankie & Benny's feels like the poor Italian-American cousin of TFI Friday. And let's face it, even that's not saying much.

We didn't bother with starters, instead choosing to share some garlic & tomato bread - a simple pizza base that is almost impossible to mess up, and so it proved on this occasion.

The boys both had pasta dishes from the kids' menu, Gerry went for Chicken Penne Romana, and I plumped for the Manhattan burger.

The food was - alright. Average. Filling without being satisfying. My burger, for example, was large and well-topped, yet the meat was a touch overcooked and despite the amount, the cheese was strangely tasteless. The pasta dishes for the boys were bland and the portions too large, especially for a three-year-old. Our youngest's spaghetti bolognese was a pretty daunting size, even to my gluttonous eyes!

Another small niggle I have - and this is aimed at ALL restaurants which have a children's menu - why do you not have smaller cutlery for children? What's the point in having a small portion, if the knife and fork are too large for small hands? A teaspoon, while a nice offer from a helpful waiter, ain't much use for spaghetti really, is it?

that said, in their defence they offered a well-stocked goodie bag to each of the kids, who also left with a balloon.

Service was attentive throughout, except when it came to paying the bill. I was kept waiting far too long while the waiter chattered with a colleague, and the longer we waited the more fractious the kids became.

Overall, F&B's offered distinctly average food and an equally average experience, not quite managing to be good in any area, while avoiding complete awfulness. Pricing as well was distinctly average, coming out at £38 including service.

In all, then, Frankie & Benny's is a place I'd avoid. Mediocrity is never something I enjoy where my stomach's concerned, and sadly mediocrity seems to be all that F&B can manage.

(This review is also published on Dungeekin's Eatings and on Qype).

Friday, October 03, 2008

Let Me Speak Clearly

Following an announcement from The Powers That Be at work this very afternoon, I think it's important to make my feelings on the matter abundantly clear.

I shan't make the actual topic public in these Bloggeries, but needless to say it was one that swiftly and efficiently garnered The Wrath Of Dungeekin. Which, I confess, doesn't narrow it down much.

It's been said before that I have a potty mouth, and I enjoyed a very cathartic session of Anglo-Saxon vernacular in another recent post, so for the sake of my more delicate readers and The Darling G I will endeavour to keep this clean.

You can CENSORED my CENSORED and CENSORED it up your CENSORED CENSORED with a RUSTY CENSORED - it's CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED's felching CENSORED CENSORED goat-sucking CENSORED interfering with CENSORED, on CENSORED CENSORED Spanish Inquisition. CENSORED CENSORED of a SYPHYLITIC MOOSE and, anyway, CENSORED CENSORED on a CENSORED up CENSORED you fetid CENSORED . If you CENSORED with a CENSORED underpants of an unwashed Frenchman's CENSORED CENSORED on a red-hot soldering iron, 440V and CENSORED, your CENSORED smelled of elderberries and CENSORED CENSORED, oozing pustules of CENSORED .

So CENSORED and have a nice CENSORED. And your little dog, too.

I feel better for that. I think it needed to be said.

Oh, $DEITY, Please NO!

Seen this morning on BBC News:

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is to return to the government, as Gordon Brown reshuffles his cabinet.

Oh, dear sweet merciful {insert deity of choice} NO.

The Goonverment has scraped well past the bottom of the barrel with this one. Does Snotty McBroon seriously - SERIOUSLY - think that we have no memory?

This pillock has had to resign from the Cabinet not once, but twice, both times with the stench of (alleged) corruption following him out of the door.

The Robinson Loan.
The Hinduja Affair.

Is anyone in the business community or the wider electorate, therefore, going to see Mandy as a straight arrow? (No pun or slight on the worthy gentleman's orientation intended of course.)

A laughable, cretinous, truly risible announcement from a Government that's in a corner, against the ropes and on the way down. HM needs to do the decent thing, dissolve Parliament and put this freak-show out of our misery. Proof - as if further evidence were required - that Snotty McBroon lacks any competence whatsoever - despite his protestations that he's 'getting on with the job'.

(Hat-tip to Droopy, a co-conspirator of Guido for the Facebook link to this pic.)

I shall be scouring other potential sources for more information, with more than the usual dread that I get whenever I read a ZanuLiebore announcement of any kind. As of 10:00, Sky News are running it too. Apparently he's up for Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).

I see that Pravda's on the case - the weaselly Nick Robinson has unfurled his tongue and, in one smooth motion, re-inserted it into Snotty McBroon's crevice:

Peter Mandelson is back. Gordon Brown, for so long said to lack courage and to be unwilling to reach out to his enemies in the Labour party, has now shown that he does by putting Mandy back into the cabinet.

No mention of Mandy's TWO resignations following allegations of corruption.

Right now, to use Rimmer Robinson's phrase, I'm too 'gobsmacked' to put together a rant of adequate proportions.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Divided We Stand, United We Fall

I was most amused this evening to see this story on Sky News, with British bankers 'slamming' the Irish Government's decision to guarantee depsits at all the main Irish banks.

The EU position has also been covered, somewhat more gently, on Pravda.

This is just great - double schadenfreude!

On the one side, we have the poor, unloved British bankers, already suffering the slings and arrows of an outrageous credit crunch, watching first their profits, then their bonuses , then their very banks disappear.

They've taken not just their rightful share of the blame for their decisions to follow profitability ahead of long-term liquidity - they've had to shoulder the blame from those teflon-shouldered 'leaders' who played a massive part in causing the problem - a starring role that they now deny they ever played.

Now, the poor unfortunate financiers, down to their last Maserati and their sole remaining bottle of Bollinger, have to deal with their depositors buggering off for the Emerald Isle!

And as if that wasn't sweet enough, we hear that those worthies at the EU are up in arms, decrying the unilateral action of the Irish government in protecting their investors.

We have Neelie Kroes bleating: "I make a plea to national governments today not to act unilaterally but to continue the practice of involving the Commission".

We have European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso saying that Europe needs stronger central supervision of government-led deposit guarantee schemes such as that in Ireland.

Oh dear, the financial cataclysm currently upon us is wreaking merry havoc with the EUtopian dreams of those who wish for a federal EUSSR, isn't it?

Let's be honest - when the ordure of financial failure hits the ventilation device of reality, the first instinct of every human is to protect themselves and their own. The same is true of DECENT politicians (Snotty McBroon take note). The Irish have done what any sensible nation would do - as evidenced by the actions of other nations including France.

This is one of those situations where divided, nations may just survive - yet united, we're royally and collectively about to fall and fall hard. No nation can be criticised for acting decisively in defending the interests of their own citizens.

Well done to the Irish government.

And a hearty, well-rounded cullachs to the bankers and the EUSSR!