Archives for 2009

The pen is mightier than the sword

(Especially if you’re using one to fill in a claim form. A bit easier too.)

I’ve got an expenses claim form I’ve been struggling with.

The problem isn’t what items I can claim for. You know, should I claim for that coffee? Was the taxi really necessary or should I have got the bus? Nah, I can claim for whatever the hell I want basically. The problem I’m having is I don’t know when to stop.

“What!” You cry, which company do you work for? Well I’m joking really (how could you tell?). I do need to worry about claiming for coffee and claiming for a taxi to take me to my garage is very much frowned upon.

But it seems that our erstwhile elected leaders don’t need to worry too much. Now that it’s been revealed that MP’s can legitimately claim for wide-screen TV’s and their kids Xmas present list on their allowances I thought it might be interesting to come up with a few new definitions for the initials MP.

They are (in no particular order):-

Morally Pliable
Mightily imPlausible
Maybe Presentable
Mainly Predictable
Mastercard Preferable

Most of these claims are within the rules but as rules go they are incredibly flexible. What is emerging is that our golden ones have well and truly claimed the moral low-ground with their expense claims. If it’s within the rules and everyone is doing it then why the hell not?

It’s an attitude of mind I find hard to trust. If you can stoop so low as to claim £40,000 for wages paid to your son, supposedly as a researcher, when in reality they are a full time student in Newcastle, then why should I trust you?

Really they should be above, above suspicion. No wonder we vote with our arses, by keeping them firmly attached to the sofa on Polling Day.

By the way, what’s the difference between my sofa and an MP’s sofa?

Well you guessed it pretty easily.

I paid for mine.

Sources: BBCbbc (again)

… and lots more. Go discover!

Crap: A Guide to Politics

             Quick! Claim for your lives!

G2 or not G2? That is the question

So what’s this G20 thing all about?
Apart from, that is, the chance for certain well known leaders to hang around Obama and catch a bit of the glow?
Is it a meeting to solve all the Worlds financial ills? I don’t think so, they’ll hardly have time to get their abacuses out before it’s roll up the red carpet time.

Looking at Gordon Brown’s beaming face through the numerous photo opportunities it almost looks like he thinks it’s job done already.
“I’m a world statesman.”

“My place in history is assured.”

“Don’t I look good in this suit?”

Blah, blah, or Blair, Blair as that seems to be the diplomatic model he’s copying.

But why not knock the Zero off and call it G2, after all isn’t this what the whole thing is about?

Apart from Sarkozy threatening to throw his toys out of the pram and have a hissy fit and some very upset people giving the police a chance to try out some new public order tactics, isn’t all this just a smokescreen?

It looks like a summit between a superpower and an emerging one, namely USA and China, on neutral territory. Or put another way the meeting of a client (US) and a banker (China.)

America may be the world’s biggest economy but it’s also the world’s biggest debtor, hocked up to it’s eyeballs. And China is the one holding them balls. Estimated at 1 to 1.5 Trillion Dollars.
China doesn’t want the US to fail. It can’t afford for it to fail, it’s necessary for it’s continued growth. But it’s important to show the US and the West that they hold the purse strings now.
This is their chance to subtly do just that.

Yeah, the Chinese will be incredibly polite and subservient to the great West but it’ll be made clear that if your country wants a new overdraft then you’ll have to show this particular banker some new found respect.

The other 18 are little more than munchkins dancing attendance who gather round to queue up and utter the immortal line, “Please Sir, can I borrow some more?”

Their task will be (with the exception of the dear old French, trust them to try and ruin the party) to shut up, put up and tow the line as well as turn up for breakfast and piccies for the family album outside numerous doors and on various steps.

Oh and the UK has one other additional, very important, responsibility …

… pass the hors d’œuvres round.

For what we are about to claim …

… may the Lords (house of) make us truly thankful (that we don’t get caught.)

You know you couldn’t make this stuff up better if you tried. I can’t imagine the atmosphere in Jacqui Smith’s household right now, but I imagine it’s a right Carry On.

The country’s going to the dogs and all the while someone’s fiddling (in more ways than one) while Rome burns.
It would be nice to see the Government’s finest tightening their belts, rather than watching people undoing them, in these troubled times and lightening the load (ahem!) on the taxpayer by avoiding outlandish claims.

There’s lots of jokes n’ puns I could use here but I must restrain (ooh!) myself and not view the situation too pessimistically. Maybe parliamentary instructions are not explicit (aah!) enough for layman’s (sigh!) interpretation.
Let’s face it, legal small print is usually too hardcore (Mmm) for most of us to swallow (now stop it!)

But hey give them a break. After all, where on the allowance claim form does it say you CAN’T claim for porn?

Maybe it was research?

Oh this has been a fun post to write.

Help! Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn

Help! Someone I Know Has a Problem with Porn

The answer my friend …

I love having an answer machine on the telephone and I hate leaving a message on an answer machine. Yes life is full of contradictions isn’t it?

I usually never answer a call, letting our ‘phone take messages. Mainly because we are so sick of calls encouraging use to claim money for unlawful bank charges, or telling us of opportunities to ‘Get out of debt’ free.

I did once answer it and wound up the person on the other end of the line, who was trying to sell me a mobile, so much they ended up calling me a mother******.
I have now been banned by my other half from picking up the ‘phone.

We have a snooty lady as the pre-recorded message on our answer machine. I have never bothered to re-record my own crappy attempt. The ones I’ve heard on other people’s are usually very boring and mechanical or depressingly un-funny.

Apart from genuine friends calling no-one usually leaves a reply. You just get beep, beep, beep but occasionally you get some interesting recordings.

One such was from a school that was convinced we were the parents of an errant truant and would we please confirm that Jonny (not his real name) was at home because he certainly wasn’t at school.

Then there was,

“Hello?” (in a male, squealing, pre-pubescent voice.)
“Pick up the phone.”
“P  p  p  pick up the phone.”
“Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone, Pick up the phone.”
“P  p  p  pick up the phone WHOOH!”

This went on for a couple of minutes. That’s a long time. Try it at home (make sure nobody is listening.)

I’m sure my messages on other people’s machines are just as bad. I feel a bit of an idiot and forget what I want to say.

They consist mainly of  “… errs …”

Cat Time is Unit Time

When I see cats going about their daily business I’m always reminded of the film ‘About a Boy’ where Hugh Grant is talking about filling up his day with units. One unit being equal to 30 minutes.
One unit for watching countdown, two units for web based ‘research’ etc.

I think cats are just the same. Each day stretches away into the distance for them so to make it a bit more cope-able (a long day with no appointments planned is just too stressful) they may divide their day up as follows:-

Wake up, stretch, clean – 1 unit
Breakfast – 1 unit
Clean – 1 unit
Fuss – 2 units
Nap – 4 units
Lunch -1 unit
Clean – 1 unit
Sit outside and watch the world going by – 3 units
Wind up dog over the road by dangling tail in their garden – 1 unit
Come inside for a quick pre-dinner nap – 3 units
Pre-dinner fuss (hanging around owners feet as they try to cook) – 1 unit
Dinner  – 1 unit
Clean – 2 units
Nap on sofa – 3 units
Fuss (draping yourself all over owners new black jumper) – 1 unit
Supper – 1 unit
Clean – 2 units
Stare at dark corner of Lounge looking for sudden movement – 2 units
Re-upholster sofa back using claws – 1 unit
Midnight snack – 1 unit
Clean – 1 unit
Short power nap – 2 units
Go upstairs and mither the owners (for any reason really) who’ve gone to bed – 1 unit
Sitting in the garden after being kicked out at god forsaken am – 2 units
Skulk back inside for a quick pre-breakfast snack – 1 unit
Clean – 1 unit
Sleep – 8 units

Repeat above.

Simple really.

I mustn't fall behind schedule ...

I mustn't fall behind schedule ...

Power Lyrics

I heard on my in-car entertainment system (yeah okay, my car radio) Rod Stewart’s ‘You Wear It Well’ recently and I remembered how much I like this song. It’s got a great tune, is sung well (apart from in the YouTube clip below which was the best I could find) and has fantastic lyrics.

One particular line that I always find myself singing along to is, “But I ain’t forgetting that you were once mine” and then the corker “But I blew it without even trying.”

The second line, “But I blew it without even trying”, is such a great line. It says a lot in only seven words.

It reveals a lot about the character in the song. It implies that he regularly messes up his relationships but this one he screwed up without even breaking a sweat. In that one line I can almost picture the guy. His attitude, how he looks upon life. His reactions to certain situations.

That’s what I call a ‘Power Lyric.’ A line that economically and succinctly puts over a meaning but in a length of line that you wouldn’t normally expect that amount of meaning to be conveyed on.

(Yikes! There you go, case in point, 29 words to labour over one.)

I have to admit I don’t really listen, or only half listen, to lyrics these days. Mainly because so much of it is the, “I love you, you love me”, stuff with which we are often force fed.

Anyway that’s my Power Lyric. I’m sure you’ve got your own.

The Apprentice – you’re inspired!

Lock the doors, take the ‘phone off the hook, give the cat some prawns, banish the kids to their bedrooms, get granny an extra sherry. Yes The Apprentice is back!

March 25th. (Wednesday) sees the welcome return of this classic suited n’ booted, tycoon finding, knockout TV extravaganza.

Hosted as usual by the Sid James of the corporate boardroom, as Jonathan Ross refers to Alan Sugar, The Financial Times readers version of X-Factor returns for a Fifth series.

I love it when the contestants all start off luvey duvey with each other, talking about team building and giving their all, while all the time hoping and planning to stuff up one anothers chances at the first opportunity.

Though I do think some of the contestants must be looking to be awarded the business persons version of the V.C. because they seem very keen to put themselves right in the firing line.

For example who’d be a team leader in the first programme? Whew, lamb to the slaughter or what? Anyone who’s smart won’t do it but you always get some schmuck who’s talked into doing it by having their vanity massaged.

“We think you’d be great.”
“As soon as we saw you we thought you were the one to lead us in this first task.”
(Titter, titter)
“Aw shuks, sure okay then, ‘course I’ll do it.”

You can almost hear the taxi driver starting his black cab up, ready to whisk them off to business oblivion land. (Though personally I reckon they just get dropped off by the bustop at the end of the road, London taxi fares, do me a favour!)
They won’t be remembered by anybody except possibly some drunken guest at their next party, “Oh you were the prat that went out first weren’t you? You got well stiched up!”

Sometimes their personal competition winning tactics also seem a bit strange to me. Do they not realise that if they get in the bad books of that weeks Team Leader they are going into the boardroom for sure?
If you don’t agree with your boss, shutup, look helpful and take solace in the fact that their gonna’ get theirs sometime soon and you’ll be smiling right at them when they do.

“Et tu, Brute?”
“Damn right matey. BIFF!”

It’s nice to see that Alan Sugar’s cockney accent hasn’t been rounded off by his many years of champagne and limos. It will be a welcome return of some of his not so chirpy cockney catchphrases including:-

“You’re not pissin’ my money up the wall!”
“I don’t like liars, I don’t like cheats. I don’t like bullshitters.I don’t like schmoozers. I don’t like arse-lickers.”
“You’ve gone out and lost me money!”

His accent is so strong I keep expecting him to say, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”, at any minute.

But it does beg the question what will the eventual winners actually be doing? I thought he’d sold his manufacturing empire and was just involved with property?

Perhaps they’ll just end up as glorified secretaries.

If that’s so I do hope the winner has brushed up on their shorthand and typing.

The Apprentice - The Best Of [DVD]

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