Can the can

I was mooching on the net yesterday, wondering if the irritation in my nasal passages was Swine Flu or just pepper from teatime. (Spicy burgers don’t y’know.)
Anyway, I had next to me my trusty can of coke (other beverages are available) and I got to thinking that this little guy had done nearly as many miles as the dreaded lurgy.

I couldn’t decide whether I should be appalled or impressed by the coke can. On the one hand it’s amazing that you can mine aluminium, move the metal half way across the world, produce a can from it, print on it, fill it with a liquid and sell it in a multi-pack and all for a few pence.  It truly is a modern wonder.

But then again what an amazing waste of resources! All that effort just so I can have 330ml. of fizzy, frothy, nothing.

So I finished my drink and pondered, “How can we justify the enormous infrastructure that it requires just to present the bloated Westerner with a piddly bit of a drink?”

And went and got another …

can

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.)
“Hello?”
“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 …”

Costa lot

Gennaro Pelliccia’s tongue is worth £10m ($13.95m). That’s a lot of money for a tongue. It’s a lot of money for a body. Heck it’s a lot of money for a whole neighbourhood.

He’s the chief taster at Costa coffee and so his wriggling muscle has been insured by Lloyds of London for a huge salivating amount.
I wonder if the small print in the insurance policy has restrictions on usage similar to car insurance where you can’t off road etc.
Clauses like no tongue piercing, no overly aggressive French kissing, no sticking out of tongue at friends or colleagues, no licking of frozen metal. Why you would want to do the last one is beyond me but some people seem to be fascinated with doing it.

I imagine this tongue has a great responsibility for ensuring the coffee is a good as it possibly could be. There’s a lot tasting on this tongue. The most expensive tongue there has ever bean.

I just hope the tongue hasn’t had a curry the night before.

No kissing please, I don't want to lose my no-claims bonus!

No kissing please, I don't want to lose my no-claims bonus!

The postman never rings twice

I don’t know about you but the arrival of the post can be something of a trauma. Not only because I don’t welcome most of my post which consists mainly of bills, but it’s the times when the posty has to knock on your door to deliver a large or bulky item or one requiring a signature.

I know I’m not the only one who’s realised that the post person will only wait for a nano-second before depositing a little red ‘I was here, you weren’t quick enough, I’ve now gone’ card through the door. They then magically disappear into thin air, like a genie in a lamp, in the 5 seconds it takes you to get to the door.

As I’m mainly working upstairs when the knock on the door does come, I experience a heart pounding, cardiac arrest inducing, scrambling around looking for the front door key, dash to get there in time only to find it has all been for nothing.
Little red rooster is lying on the hallway mat.

What do you do? I try and up my game a bit by going into training. Limbering up in the morning and practicing fast starts to try and increase my speed. All to no avail.

Inevitably I have to endure a five mile trip into town to the ‘local’ (local?) sorting office to queue up to collect my stuff, along with most of my neighbourhood. Trouble is the sorting office is only open for a few hours per day and that includes Saturdays.

So I end up stuck in a huge log jam tailback with no available car parking because everyone has arrived together.

I remember once seeing a huge notice pinned to someone’s front door. So being ever curious I went to investigate. On it was written in huge capitals something like,

“To the postman.
Please wait!!
I am in.
I’ve been in all week
but you won’t wait
2 minutes for me
to get to the door!”

I’ve now taken to hanging out of my front bedroom window and shouting, “Hang on. I’ll be down in a second (or two.)”

This amuses me as they look wildly around in all directions trying to work out where this dis-embodied voice is coming from before looking up and seeing me.
But I’m sure I detect a slightly crestfallen look on their faces as they are usually in the process of filling in their calling card which they then have to abandon.

Never mind. They’ll be delivering it very soon I guess.

Welcome to Spamabit!

Well I really feel that I have arrived.

“Why is that ?” You may ask. Other people mentioning your site on their blogs? BBC talking about an in depth article (Ha Ha) you wrote on their website?

Nah don’t be daft. I’ve just started receiving spam!

Good old spam. You always know that someone or something has noticed you when those little spambots come a’ callin’. Up to now I’ve received two spam comments for my posts. I know, I know that’s nothing but one has to start somewhere.

One of them is reasonably clever. It quotes part of the post and makes it appear that it is being talked about on the particular forum that the website leads to.

The other one is just spammy, consisting of a load of links to crappy websites.

The overall intention is clear. To get me to post the comment which contains outbound links to their sites so that google will think better of them and rank them higher in search requests.

Thankfully I’ve got a spam blocker to bar those bots (sounds like an advert for toilet fresheners), so we hopefully won’t be seeing any meaty antics on this site anytime soon.

Still that could be famous last words!

A not so special relationship

A Special Relationship: Anglo American Relations from the Cold War to Iraq

A Special Relationship: Anglo American Relations from the Cold War to Iraq

I saw the two secretaries of state for the U.K. and U.S.A do a joint press conference the other day.
David Miliband and Hillary Clinton representing their respective countries.

I have to admit I find it hard to take David Miliband very seriously. I mean he looks so young!
As I saw them both walk to their pedestals it did look a bit like a proud mum taking her son to college on his first day.

Which almost feels a little bit like the relationship we as a country have with America. Indulgent, slightly dismissive with a feeling that whatever you do you’ll only ever be mommy’s little boy.

This ‘special relationship’ has been talked about at length and a lot of people say that there is no special relationship at all. In fact the relationship is often considered one-sided. Many years ago a short sketch on ‘Spitting Image’ summed up a general feeling when it had a foamy Ronald Reagan kissing a foamy Margaret Thatcher goodbye and waving her off at the airport. As she departs he says something like, “Pity I’m only screwing the country.”

Recently the film ‘Love Actually’ portrayed the relationship between the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and the U.S. president (Billy Bob Thornton) in much the same way. But in this case Hugh told the president during a press conference basically where he can get off. He explained the relationship was supposed to be give and take, not an all take situation and in future Britain would be standing up for itself.

This all went down fantastically well in the movie with the British public (maybe it would if Gordon Brown said it in real life.) It leads me to think are we just the 51st. state or should we stop trying to be what it suits America for us to be and be independent?

When the new president was elected it was a hotly contested competition to see which countries leader and which foreign secretary would receive the first phone call from the new administration.
Britain won on both counts and I’m sure they were very pleased to do so. The British government would crawl over their respective grandmothers to be the recipients of the first phone call. Why this is important is not entirely clear. Is it supposed to give us some kind of advantage over our European allies? Does it make us feel that our relationship with the U.S. is on a different level? I don’t think so.

In times like this you have to admire the French. They don’t seem to give a toss what everyone else thinks and if they don’t like it then they’ll tell you and if there are consequences to that then so be it. Maybe we too shouldn’t be so scared.

Politicians would vehemently disagree but I always feel like we never make our own decisions. We just go along with whatever the U.S. decides. Like going to see a film with friends and then hating every bit of it because it wasn’t the one we really wanted to see but they were more forward about suggesting what THEY wanted.
(Hmm that’s a bad analogy. The consequences are far more serious than a wasted evening.)

It would be easier to take the consequences for our own actions if it was truly felt it was our actions we were taking responsibility for and not being puppet driven by a lord and master.

Let’s face it. You can only ride on someones coat-tails for so long before you eventually fall off.

Snow, snow, quick, quick snow!

The Wrong Kind of Snow

The Wrong Kind of Snow

Well you’ll probably have heard by now that the UK (i.e. London and the South East) has had the worse snowfalls for eighteen years.

What’s a modern First World industrialised, techno-savvy society to do?
Well the answer is simple, stay home.

Yep, that’s the answer. Other countries have far worse weather conditions to deal with. They get them all the time and for longer periods and do you hear them bleating and carrying on?
Nope.

Terrorist threats are nothing compared to the damage a special kind of water can do to this country.

You’ll probably hear a lot of reasons why we failed to keep good ol’ blighty running in the next few days (they have a whole list of them, pre-prepared. About the only thing that ever is.)

‘Only make the journey if it’s absolutely essential’, you’ll be told. Funny that, but most people are not in the habit of getting their cars out and randomly driving around in them.

We usually have a pretty good reason for venturing out, e.g. work, feeding yourself and family, picketing an oil refinery / power station etc.

What will really annoy a large chunk of the UK population will be the coverage this sort of event will get.

Scotland is well use to this sort of weather and complains about it very rarely but you only have to have one snowflake land on central London and that’s it. It all goes a bit biblical. Blanket news coverage to compete with the blanket of snow.

At least the poor TV reporters and camera crew don’t have far to trudge to get their stories and show off their North Face jackets.

The way they go on you’d think that Londoners will be eating the dead by nightfall.

Ah well. Us Brits like to talk about the weather a lot. We just don’t like to experience it.

p.s. Apparently all of London headed for the underground to sing blitz songs after the first snowfall but they found it shut …