Boggart Blog Select #3
May 10 2005
GreenteethMM. Green teeth, yeuch right? Wrong.
My choice of name for a new multi media web project has caused some amusement among American friends. "Why are you building a web site dedicated to the shortcomings of British dentistry," they ask. The first time I noticed this particular vein of American humour was during the run up to the recent Presidential election. A U.K. newspaper and a U.S. media group arranged an e-mail tie up to get some interaction between Brits and Americans on issues of mutual concern; Iraq, Globalisation, the environment etc. While the British expressed dismay at the prospect of another Bush victory the Americans involved, mostly from industrial communities in the mid - west assailed us with advice about how we should stop trying to interfere in American politics and instead concentrate on getting our "lousy teeth" fixed.
The obvious knee - jerk response is to retort "we will get our teeth fixed when you guys get your fat arses fixed so you don't have to complain about doors in British Hotels being too narrow." A slightly more reasoned response would be to point out that Austin Powers is a movie and Homer Simpson is a cartoon character. Name calling and insult hurling is good fun of course and now that such activities have been ousted from domestic politics it is nice to see them flourishing in the international arena. The simple minded do tend to take it literally however and are soon on the slippery slope towards more addictive forms of racism and xenophobia.
So what about British teeth. Well in Europe generally we have not yet succumbed to the ideal of outward physical perfection. If they ain't broke don't fix it is our attitude, especially to noses and in Britain particularly the perfect, even smile is viewed with some suspicion for very good reasons. Thanks to our nation's pioneering the concept of state funded health care the brilliant white, even toothed smile, so essential in the U.S.A for anybody planning to leave the house, here became a sexual turn - off. The Osmond grin possessed by far more Britons than Americans in the 1950 and 60s was not an indicator of our concern for dental health but the result of obsessive bureaucratic meddling in our lives. At the first sign of a cavity in a fully grown adult dentists would be paid by the state to pull out entire sets of perfectly good gnashers with years of chomping left in them. Doubting twenty - one year olds who complained through bloody gums "mutt I yiked my deeth" were told by representatives of the nanny state. "It is for the best, you will get a free set of dentures and will have no more trouble for the rest of your life," Those old fashioned removable false teeth gave lots of trouble of course, they were painful and had a terrible habit of slipping out just when the owner was trying to impress somebody. And kissing with tongues was a very high risk adventure.
So here you have the explanation of why us Brits are so attached to our crooked, uneven, slightly off - white smiles. These imperfections show that we have the teeth we were programmed to grow from the moment of conception, which is a great comfort to prospective sexual partners. You see when one has been charmed by a perfect smile and managed to get lucky with the person behind it, there is nothing more horrific than to awake the following morning and see that same smile grinning out from a glass of water at the bedside.
NOTE: Ian wishes it to be known that at age fifty six he still has all his teeth (except for the one he broke biting the cap off a beer bottle years ago) and that they are not the chalky white of soft teeth that will crumble if they are shown sugar, but the waxy white of teeth that will still be around if he lives another fifty six years
May 10 2005
In my school days, admittedly more years ago than I care to remember, trying to justify the non - delivery of homework projects with the excuse "please Sir, the dog ate it," was not exactly fresh and original but was still guaranteed to raise a ripple of laughter from classmates. Now of course it is a tired and lame excuse used as a last resort only by the terminally dull - witted. Family pets have advanced in status so much they can actually make a positive contribution to academic achievement.
Britain's leading examination boards announced this week that results may be upgraded if it is know that the candidate has suffered an emotionally distressing experience in the run up to the exam. Qualifying experiences include death of a parent or sibling (5% upgrade) parent or sibling being diagnosed with a serious illness (5%) death of a distant relative (3%) a broken limb within 48 hours (3%) a broken limb on the mend (2%) - this throws a whole new light on the theatrical expression of encouragement "break a leg" - and so on, with the death of Fido or Tiddles weighing in at 2% if it happens within 48 hours of the exam or 1% between to days and a week prior. Monty Python fans will be emotionally distressed to learn that the death of a parrot warrants nothing.
A spokesperson for one of the examination boards responding to criticism that the scheme is politically correct mollycoddling of the young said that the maximum upgrade had been set at 5% in order to discourage abuse of the system. As she does not say whether the upgrades will be cumulative I fear the bureaucrats have once more underestimated the ingenuity of ordinary punters. Consider the possibilities in a literature examination…
QUESTION: In Shakespearean tragedy the downfall of the main character is often a result of a failure to address obvious flaws in his own character. Discuss this with particular reference to Hamlet and Macbeth.
ANSWER: Both Hamlet and Macbeth are…Oh GOD! WHAT IS THE POINT? Why should I sit this exam when with a bare bodkin I could my quietus make. Who cares about qualifications and careers. Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Shakespeare's tragedies? Are there not enough tragedies in the real world. To write or not to write that is the question, when all our yesterdays have lit the way of fools to dusty death.
Only yesterday my beloved Labrador Bonzo shuffled off this mortal coil when a car, driven by my uncle Jim, mowed him down. Jim did try to avoid Bonzo but lost control of the car and perished himself when he hit a wall.
I felt guilty about having let Bonzo off the leash and rushed to cradle the poor dogs noble head as he breathed his last. When the paramedics led me away I noticed my hands were covered in blood. "Will all Neptune's great ocean was clean the blood from this my hand I cried out.
Just then my mobile phone rang. It was my mother calling from the hospital to tell me she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and within six months would be heading for that unexplored country from in whose bourne no traveller returns.
In a perfect world I would be able to turn for comfort to my Dad, a virtuous man, but as it says in Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2 "Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes and Dad has been paralysed these three years.
I asked my sister, a Goth to let me have some of her downers. Each man is but a poor player who frets and struts his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more I said.
"But in that sleep of death what dreams may come, she quipped rather wittily in the circumstances just before she fell downstairs and broke her leg.
Then I heard a terrible sound coming from the kitchen and rushed in just in time to see poor Tiddles choke to death on a furball.
I tried to sleep last night, for after all, we are such stuff as dreams are made of, our little lives are rounded with a sleep.
But what will it avail me if I pass this examination. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy Mr. Examination Marker.
And if you add it all up that should be worth a pass.
12 May 2005
An interesting news item reports that prostitutes could soon be touting for business in shopping centres in Budapest. Hungary's Interior Ministry is thinking of allowing some malls where prostitutes could strike deals for sex, as long as they "move to a place of their own to enact the transaction." A spokesperson for the Hungarian government says there is "nothing intrinsically wrong" with an entertainment centre without gratification."
If this is correct then the former communist state could be leading the way to a new area of commercial activity that our traditional Western capitalists have yet failed to appreciate the potential of. Free Enterprise in Britain and America has in my opinion always been too ready to acquiesce to the moral strictures of extreme religion. How can any red - blooded capitalist be against commercial sex. OK I know it degrades women, it is exploitative, can lead to abuse and some insist it subverts the values of Christian society (I don't recall Jesus condemning the hooker though...) Let's stop being mealy mouthed, hell, we are talking about capitalists here, the people who are happy to profit from making bombs, land - mines and napalm and selling them to third world tyrants; people who are prepared to manipulate the financial markets and consign millions of honest, average citizens to an impoverished old age in order to line their own pockets. We are talking about the morality of the rat - pack.
If we lived in an honest world Wal-Mart would be into the brothel business like a ferret into a rabbit hole. Tesco would not be far behind and both would face stiff competition from German cut - price chain Aldi offering shoddy but heavily discounted sex thrills from Eastern Europe. And that is just the low end of the market (I was going to say "bottom end" but that would be open to misunderstanding.) What about demand from the high class shopper. Posh people's chain Harvey Nicholls would do well offering refined young ladies from "old money" families, a thousand pounds up front and you fund her habit. Nieman Marcus on the other hand could specialise in the exotic, a Russian Princess maybe (only a few left in the world), a critically acclaimed writer whose dreary feminist tomes do not sell, a fashion model who grew breasts whilst in rehab. thus ruinging her career. Retiring to private place to "enact the transaction" would not be a problem either. Most malls could install travel - lodge style accommodation on a mezzanine floor without inconveniencing shoppers who merely wanted a few essential food items.
It could all be very discreet and properly organised just like buying any other goods or services. Without the fear of being arrested in a police sting or mugged by the accomplice of a woman posing as a respectable working girl the customer experience would be enhanced.
And of course the embarrassment of paying a lady of negotiable affection for her services would be lessened if you knew she was going to say "thank you sir, and do you have a loyalty card
May 14, 2005
The once fashionable and prosperous ship-building centre of Dumbarton is the centre of an apparent spate of canine "suicides" after at least five dogs are said to have jumped from a historic bridge in the past six months. Animal behaviourists are warning owners to keep their dogs on a strong leash when crossing Overtoun bridge.
Canine social worker Jock McMutt said "Crivens, its no canine depression the wee doggies are sufferin' fra. The lads are in fine fettle inside thur heids, theyse enthusiastic an' ready tae chase anything. The problem's cause by teenagers hoyin' thur empty carry - oots ower the rail. The wee doggie thinks its a game and sets off tae fetch."
Reverend Jock Mc.Holyjoe retorted "Dinnae lissen tae politically correct social workers, youse'll be thinking these dogs go wrong because they came frae a broken hame. The truth is if they'd stay off'n the Buckie and let Jaysus intae their lives then they wad see the light an' no feel the need to jump frae bridges after a wee dram o' the demon drink.
I know that is an unconvincing Scottish accent but I was brought up in Shropshire:- Ian
Is it time for a Protestant Pope?
May 16, 2005
The new Pope has proved a disappointment to many people already, having made it clear that the Catholic church's stance on abortion, contraception, celibate priests (i.e. no sex, but fiddling with the altar boys does not count) homosexuality (i.e. no same gender sex, but fiddling with the altar boys does not count) and women will not change one iota. And there will be lots of new saints. And lots of new Saint merchandising opportunities.
A problem for all of us regardless of our faith is that whoever is chosen as Pope will automatically become a major player on the world political stage but will represent only Roman Catholics and only rich Roman Catholics at that. Imagine the furore if President Bush had been inaugurated only to represent Southern Baptists, Tony Blair's loyal oath bound him only to consider the interests of Church of England members, or Jaques Chirac decided only to act on behalf of Jaques Chirac… ah - erm Jaques Chirac does only act on behalf of Jaques Chirac doesn't he?
The problem with this whole Pope business lies in the fact that Catholics are such a close bunch, all that "one true church" business and the mystery of transubstantiation and stuff like that has put it into their collective consciousness that the rest of us do not deserve a say in what happens in the world of silly hats and candlesticks, that the whole ecumenical movement is for us to learn from them but not for them to learn from us. And so our suggestions that maybe God gave us condoms because He was trying to tell us there are enough people now and He does not want anybody to go hungry fall on deaf ears.
That they are so clannish is a great pity because the catholic and protestant movements are closer to each other now than at any time since the schism.
When Martin Luther went to Rome to discuss the problems German communicants were having with certain superstitions, particularly the business of communion bread and wine turning into the flesh and blood of Jesus he met similar intransigence.
"Give us a break," Luther said to Pope Leo, "we're not barbarians in Germany. We can live with the communion symbolising the flesh and blood, but actually changing in our mouths, that's gross."
"Eff off," said Leo. "I'm the Pope, its my church and what I say goes, if you don't like it start your own church."
Luther went off in a huff and months later news drifted back to Rome that he was into the Diet of Worms.
"See, I told you they are barbarians, Catholics will stick with Atkins variants," Pope Leo told his Cardinals.
For a few centuries it looked as if the two sides would never see eye to eye but in the late twentieth century a tide of social change began after The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper. The traditional churches had to respond to the new popularity of Eastern mysticism and crackpot New Age belief systems. Both Catholic and fundamentalist protestant dogma adapted to embrace extreme ideas. Both factions dislike contraception, abortion, homosexuality and women. Especially women.
It seems obvious therefore that if both sides can find a little goodwill and flexibility there is no reason why we cannot have a Protestant candidate for the papacy. I deliberately exclude The Church of England on grounds that not only is it not a protestant church that has no problem with abortion, contraception, homosexuality and women but also that it does seem to have a bit of a problem with concept of God. You might wonder where this is heading, after all if Protestant and Catholic are so similar nothing would change much anyway. Ah the perils of short - termism.
Given the obvious flaws in the democratic system of The Church of Rome and commitments expressed by Bush and Blair to spreading true democracy ought we not to be badgering our politicians to occupy the Vatican, effect regime change and pave the way for future Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist and Moonie Popes. A Protestant Pope would just be the single step with which ever journey begins. Imagine a world in which Pope Dalai Lama the first had some influence.
Time is of the essence because the new bloke is well past seventy and unlikely to stick around for twenty odd years.
Demand a Protestant Pope now, you know it makes sense.
Bowling For Cult Status
17 May 2005
London had hosted its first "Dude" convention, so named in honour of the central character in the cult movie The Big Lebowski.
Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy but it seems to me the world if full to overflowing with cults (I said CULTS, OK?) Each cult spawns its crop of conventions of course, so why not The Big Lebowski, at least "Dude" clones do not dress as aliens and go around talking in funny voices and making hand gestures that would have christian fundamentalists diving for cover.
Cult followers, or in the case of cult gay movie Pricilla, Queen of the Desert camp followers perhaps, find an escape from the mind rotting tedium of modern life by dressing up as characters in films or TV shows, debating the philosophical significance of the fact that the Xnrg from Yarble galaxy are giant, talking turds or re-enacting famous scenes and trying to cop off with somebody dressed as a giant, talking turd. By comparison imitating The Dude who spends most of his life hanging around a bowling alley drinking White Russians and the remainder accidentally stealing money from the mob and trying not to get killed by the mob begins to look like the behaviour we associate with sane, rational people.
Doyen of cult follows are the Trekkies. Trekkies have been with us for years. Most are content to put on spandex suits and a pair of pointy ears or a cod Scottish accent but some extremists insist on putting half eaten Cornish Pasties on their heads and saying they are Klingons. So well entrenched in society are the Trekkies that many Universities now offer degree courses in Klingon studies. Oh well, I suppose it is as good a choice career wise as a degree in creative writing or sports centre management. The best thing about Trekkie conventions is that the good looking females simply put on spandex jump suits and draw a few lines on their noses or have henna tattoos on their necks. Why would a good looking female want to cover herself in strips of green plastic or be wrapped in aluminium foil.
Trekkies were followed by Whoies, fans of Doctor Who. (not to be confused with WHOIS, a way of finding out what subterranean stinkpit the bastard that hacked your computer might be hiding.) After that come Star Wars cult fanatics. Anyone know a collective noun for these? Starries sounds like a convention for celebrity stalkers while Waries are surely members of the Bush Administration.
I have nothing against cult members but I do wonder at their motivation. Surely a couple of hours in the pub on a Friday night will provide ample opportunity to meet people who dress outlandishly and talk absolute bollocks. Surely to acknowledge being a cult member is an admission of chronic sadness almost equal to being seen entering a line dancing club.
For asctors and writers /producers / directors being part of a cult show or movie is different of course. It means they will never have to work again. Which is nice as many never do work again.
Back to The Big Lebowski:
To make a White Russian
(click here for more cocktails)
Fill a tumbler with crushed ice and add
1 shot of Vodka
We need to be wary of cults though, a very dangerous bunch of nutters has infiltrated the British Government and are (allegedly) behind Labour's Latest Sleaze Scandal
1 shot of Kahula (coffee liqueur)
float 1 shot of whipping cream on top of this.
Don't be a Stoner wasting your money on illicit drugs like The Dude, Boggart Blog brings you exciting news of a new legal high in Need To Chill? Why Not Skin Up A Toad?
A couple of quickies
May 19, 2005
Think positive - next year
An expert challenged to find the ideal day for positive thinking said that today was the best date for life-changing resolutions. Dr Cliff Arnall, a psychologist at Cardiff University, devised a formula showing that New Year resolutions stood a better chance of success if they were made on 18 May.
Now if you had been putting off making your New Year resolutions until a more propitious time I do apologise for getting this news to you a day late. All these soothsayers like to hedge their bets of course and the news only hit the TV screens at quarter to midnight. And at that time I was positively ready for bed and positive I was not going to go online to bring the information to the world.
Procrastination is the theif of time of course so make a not in your seven year diaries now that next May 18 is the first day of the rest of your life.
High Minded Debate
The Dutch parliament is to debate marijuana policy after a cabinet minister called for the drug to be legalised across Europe. Alexander Pechtold said this would solve the problem of tourists flocking to the Nether lands to buy the drug, which is technically illegal, but openly sold in some cafes.
Let's hope this goes better than the last time they tried to debate the subject. One member of the House suggested that informed debate was not possible unless everybody knew what they were talking about. A colleague then handed out some spliff and explained how to skin up and draw on the joint for best effect. After a few tokes each the Members of that august body spent the next hour rolling around on the floor laughing hysterically, after which they ordered and ate a very large quantity of chocolate.
May 20, 2005
The time has come when I ought really to start promoting this blog seriously. And that means inviting people to become my friends.
Maybe its a generation thing but I havesomething of a resistance to inviting people to be my friend. "How Billy-No-Mates is that?" I think to myself. I am the same with Microsoft's systemic anal-retentiveness; 'my computer', 'my documents', 'my music', 'my pictures' etc. "Its a bloody PERSONAL computer," I want to shout, "whose stuff would it be for God's sake?"
You only have to look at Bill Gates to know that he would have beenBilly - No - Mates at school, the kind of kid who would write on each text book's fly leaf "This book belongs to W.F. Gates, form 3b. Anybody removing this book from the desk of said W.F.Gates will suffer death by being force fed lumpy custard." You know the type, the one who always shaved the paint off the top inch of his pencil so he could write The BFG, hys pencille or something. And when he grew up, his only friend was a computer.
Now I used to work with proper computers. By that I mean computers that although they were big as a small house and had less memory than a goldfish with Alzheimer's disease they did not require ninety percent of their processing power to run themselves. (ho yus, back in my day we 'ad propah computers, driven by steam they wuz and with lots of shiny brass fittings what had to be kept polished or the FAT controller would have your guts for garters. None of your beige plastic then, we took pride in our computers. And we respected other department's computers too, you could leave the front door of your computer open all day in them days and nobody would steal your password or plant a virus.)
Computer people had lives then. We finished work -flexible hours of course, genius does not work nine to five - went home and did real things like home improvements, car maintenance, poetry performances (I was weird OK.) We did not get twitchy because we were away from the computer.
All that changed with the advent of the IBM PC architecture.
With proper computers only a logical but pragmatic minset could understand them. Because the operating system on an IBM PC was designed by geeks only geeks understood it. Well, only geeks wanted to understand it, it was a power trip for them.
The advent of the 486, the first IBM PC that was remotely useful for anything meant the Biblical prophecy "the geeks shall inherit the earth" came true. The old guard realised we had witnessed the end of civilisation as we knew it and went off to be Management Consultants. There was a big demand for consultants, geeks could do anything with personal computers except what they were supposed to be doing.
"Look!" geeky-boy would say proudly, "when the user hits control/f a row of dancing mice pop up."
"Yes, but what happens to the effing payroll calculations?" the consultant would ask through clenched teeth.
Things became progressively worse through the advent of the net, the launch of Win 95, the launch of Win95-in-full-working-order-so-it-is-now-called Win98, the roll out of broadband to the domestic user.
In 1992 I used to log on to the net with a 4800bps modem and get very uncomplicated text pages of useful stuff in a matter of seconds. Now I log on with a midband connection (that BT rather cheekily call Broadband) to a server that is not running fast enough to push a 56kbps modem to its limit and I wait for several minutes while a load of irritating and frankly bloody pointless Flash graphics download. And when the full page has arrived, because Flash is not a suitable tool for building text pages, the characters are so tiny that that they could not be read from twelve inches away through powerful binoculars.
My computer tries to engage me by convincing me that this is MY world, where I can contact MY friends, and share with them MY documents, MY music and MY pictures, direct them to MY favourite websites via MY links.
MY arse! I'm off to the pub.
I think blog sites have become so popular because they bypass the webbie bullshit and get back to delivering readable material in a simple presentation.
Prosecuting One's Suit
May 21, 2005
Prosecuting one's suit, or pressing one's suit.
How archaic these phrases now seem for describing the process of courting a lady's favour seems now. How quaint the word courting itself seems. So why do I not just talk about "copping off?" Well…
A flyer circulating in London's legal district advertises a special speed dating event for lawyers looking for love. Call me an old cynic if you like but "lawyer" and "love" are not words I can easily associate. Surely people whose entire life is spent examining evidence in forensic detail in the hope of closing loopholes, tying up loose ends, eliminating ambiguity and negotiating compromises can have little room in their souls for anything so indefinable, so unpredictable, so illogical as love? And speed dating?
Anybody who has had the experience of dealing with legal matters will know that "lawyer" and "speed" do not belong in the same sentence, or even the same article. (unless the article refers to the case of a lawyer being disbarred for substance abuse.) Layers are people to whom "due diligence" means sitting on their arse doing nothing for long periods while us poor punters pay them by the hour. When dealing with lawyers things happen "in the fullness of time" rather than now or PDQ.
All things considered then, both de fact and de juris, I must conclude that the entrepreneur who has invested his hard - earned in this venture has behaved in a reckless and foolhardy, but not criminal manner.
What little I know of speed - dating is that people have three minutes in each other's company after which they must decide if they are up for a casual shag with the person opposite. The idea of a lawyer doing anything in three minutes stretches the credulity of even the most credulous. It would take the speediest lawyer two and a half minutes to shuffle their papers and clear their throat before saying "My Lord, Members of the Jury…" The whole mystique of the legal profession is built on longwindedness, their speeches are full of notwithstandings and heretofores and are peppered with Latin phrases ordinary mortals cannot understand, pro bono ego. Lawyers are not equipped to formulate or respond to questions like :
"Veal or Pasta?"
"Nissan or Jaguar?"
"J-lo or Mariah?"
"Missionary or Spoons?"
but are more likely to begin "bearing in mind that you are still under oath could you tell me, in your own words and without regard to anything you may have read in the press, would Chinese or Italian be preferable for a first dinner date?" and jump on the response like so "You say Chinese, but if you cast your mind back to your divorce, did you or did you not claim that your partner's obsession with Thai food, which I think you will agree is similar to Chinese, had bored the pants off you?"
Assuming some kind of date is eventually agreed, that would only be the start of the trouble. Imagine negotiating a pre-date contract.
"It shall be understood by both parties that the party of the first part will, on the first date, pay for dinner in full, including wine and tips without prejudice to the party of the second part's right to withhold the reciprocal sexual favours should the party of the second part deem the party of the first part to be minging, unhygienic or in any way pervy."
The party of the first part will then be advised that should the party of the second part exercise the withholding of sexual favours clause pending further perusal of the party of the first part's social and sexual acceptability the party of the first part must have the right to demand that the bill be split down the middle.
Such a love affair would be certain to end in tears of course. Or lawsuits.
May 23, 2005
Number of the Beast
Returning from a visit to my mother yesterday I had just left the motorway and joined the A666 towards Clitheroe. Glancing at my instrument panel my eye was drawn to the trip meter just as it turned to 666. I do not use the trip meter and normally am unaware of its presence so what mysterious force drew my gaze to it? Was someone or something trying to get a message to me? A coincidence the cynical might say, but how often do we encounter two instances of The Number Of The Beast in our daily lives. I am normally a level headed sort myself, always ready to scoff at those American fundamentalists who see the hand of the Devil in everything. But sometimes you just get a feeling deep in your guts…..
With my attention back on the road as I headed eastward I noticed an unusually dense black cloud on the horizon, not a raincloud but something more sinister. As I watched I saw that it was an enormous flock of Ravens; moving as one creature the constantly swirled and turned choreographed by that mystical force morphic resonance until when they filled my entire field of vision, at which point they formed into a monstrous shape, the head of a primeval horned God.
Wanting only to get home as quickly as I could I pressed on, disregarding the shadowy figure of a black cowled monk floating on the periphery of my vision. Once safely inside the house I described on the floor a pentacle of salt and putting up some garlic sandwiches and a bottle of water from a sacred spring took refuge in my home made sanctuary where I spent a long night fingering a silver ankh until the bright dawn drove away the negative energies.
I feel rather weak and exhausted today but will be back online as soon as the large black dog that took up residence on the lawn just after I arrived home has departed.
BUT REALLY I knackerd something deep in my very fragile hip while trying to negotiate the lunar landscape in front of my mother's flat in Morecambe, and had to rest for a couple of days. The A666 is true though, it’s a road the bikers just love. The trip meter bit is also true and that would be enough to give some people the squits.
Back to proper blogging tomorrow I hope.
Back to Basics - the Gobbett - Broadsides #1
May 24, 2005
Back to Basics
Sir Hector Gobbitt - Broadsides MP (Conservative, Rawtenborough)
As the battle lines are drawn in the fight for the heart and soul (?) of the Conservative party a new front runner has emerged. Sir Hector Gobbitt - Broadsides has been in Parliament since 1832 He is known for a deep commitment to traditional values and opposition to progress of any kind. Also said to favour the return of capital punishment as part of his solution to social issues like crime, unemployment, non payment of parking fines and the problem of single parent families. After a long period in the wilderness occupied only by the baby - eating wing of the conservative movement Broadsides has recently re- emerged as an influential political thinker.
On the Conservative benches in Parliament my colleagues and I, the party that stands for old fasdhioned values, sincerely believe that education is a good thing. So much so in fact that we aim to bring about its return, in a limited way of course, in state schools. Not this touchy - feely stuff that passes for education nowadays; there is quite enough touchy feely stuff in the exclusive private schools favoured by the wealthy, and quite right too. Boys will be boys but let us remember that gender preferences are for the rich. The poor must work hard, be thrifty and concentrate their energy on the redemption of their mortal souls I say. Taxpayers are footing the bill and they have a right to expect value for money.
Victorian values in education, that's what we need. Remedial beatings and ritual humiliation. The problem with modern education is that it teaches aspirations don't y'see. And aspirations are no good to people who have no hope of getting anywhere. I'm always hearing from my constituents that the young have no respect. That, I put it to you, can only be a result of not being taught their place. Forget all this social science gobbledegook, empowerment, equality and such, the class system is very simple really. The function of the upper class is to remind us all of our place. They get drunk, take drugs, catch syphilis, gamble away the family fortune, have homosexual love affairs with married women, and go hunting. And we all respect them because they are upper class and therefore the rules do not apply to them.
The middle class work as managers or in the professions and are respectable because if they start trying to have a good time the whole system collapses. How do the middle class know they are respectable? Well, because the upper class and the working class aren't of course. Now the working class, there's a rum bunch for you. They got along quite well, working long hours for starvation pay, living in vile conditions, catching diseases that left them twisted and misshapen, breeding like rabbits, being miserable and dying until all this socialism and free thinking came along. Now they have washing machines and social workers, but are any of 'em happy? I think not.
In my Grandfather's day, and that isn't so long ago - the Old Queen, God bless him, was taught to expect deference, in Grandfather's day the working class knew their place and were grateful. They knew who they had to thank for misery, rickets, consumption, malnutrition, cholera and all the rest and they knew they had no business being ambitious or wanting equality. And as for education, what business of their was it that Newton invented gravity hmm? If they were hit on the head by an apple it was because they were poor and so deserved the pain for being so presumptuous as to sit under an apple tree without paying the going rate. People knew better than to want something for nothing in those days. In those days the poor were very careful not to go to prison because they could not afford to pay for their food and shelter. Oh yes, the way to solve all this crime is to make sure the people most likely to commit crimes can't afford to be criminals.
Then the socialists came along and started saying there should be equal opportunities and before you can say Consumption they are wanting equal education and public health care, demanding social justice, better housing, paid holidays, a ninety - five hour working week and more. And where has it got them eh? Into therapy, that's where. They're all dysfunctional. How about that hmm? Should have been grateful for misery and malnutrition and they'd have been a lot happier. Didn't hear of anybody being dysfunctional when they had rickets and cholera to think about did you? Lack of gratitude, that's what makes them dysfunctional. So how do we propose to build a better world? Flogging and ritual humiliation that's how. Teach 'em the 3 'R's, Reading, Respect and Retribution. First lesson every morning in the New Educational Order will be groveling, forelock tugging and cap doffing with punishments for those who don't come up to scratch. More than one mistake and they will be stripped naked and made to stand on one leg in a bucket of pease porridge all day. And anybody who is absent or late for register without a note from a doctor, police officer or magistrate will have his legs cut off. How's that for education hmm? That will teach them to know their place and be grateful. Our policies will soon have the country back on its feet.
Monster Raving Loony party - the real alternative
Sun Sand and Sweaty Feet. ( travel in Croatia)
May 25, 2005
The Dalmatian coast of Croatia is a wonderful place to travel for a holiday, its sandy beaches are lapped by the azure waters of the Adriatic sea, its towns and villages are picturesque and imposing mountains rise steeply from the shore line. Visitors can enjoy reasonably priced food and absorb the rich local culture or they make just prefer to head for the beach and chill out while having their feet sniffed by a government inspector...CLICK Button to read full post
May 26, 2005
The Power of Positive
When I was in rehab learning to cope with the consequences of a brain haemorrhage (rehab is not just for those suffering from having too much fun for too long) well meaning but very serious little people would come up to my bed and say "you must be positive."
I was always positive, some days I was positive I would get better, other times I was positive I wanted to go home and die.
Positivity is an overrated quality. Misery is good, we all need misery to keep us grounded. What is so wrong with being negative after all we live in a negative universe, let loose a few atoms with positively charged protons instead of negatively charged electrons (aka anti - matter) and in a million years or so, two shakes of a comet's tail in cosmic terms, the Universe would have gone pffffht!
Sometimes all the positive crap really gets up my nostrils. Be cheerful, look on the bright side? Why? I am not against happiness per se its just that being a pragmatist I reckon that in order to know we are happy we have to experience unhappiness. And if we never knew we were happy, if we never had the hope that things could get better how depressing would that be?
Don't you hate it when people ask "is your glass half full or half empty?" People whose glass is always half full have an air of desperation, as if they are trying to cover a great void inside them. Think about it logically. Is your glass half full or half empty? You bought a drink, you drank and with luck enjoyed half of it. Stop fretting over what people think of you and enjoy the other half before it goes rancid. What good is half a glass of stale whatever to anybody? You can always get another drink if you want more when that is gone.
There, see what I mean. Your glass is not empty, your drink has simply relocated to where it can do most good.
Another one that winds me up is "it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Bollocks! Anybody who says this in the hope of consoling a dumpee is obviously incapable of love and probably of experiencing any powerful emotion. Half the fun of falling in love in the anticipation of that glorious wallow in self pity that follows being dumped. Anybody who has loved truly, madly, deeply and been dumped will know the only cure is abject misery accompanied by large doses of strong drink. "I will never love again," wails the dumpee, "for I could never find another who is nearly so wonderful. And with that they throw themselves into bottle after bottle of beer / wine / vodka without ever stopping to ask if the glass is half full or half empty. The obligatory vow to withdraw from society and follow the celibate path of a hermit lasts just until the next time an attractive stranger makes eye contact and ventures a half smile.
Misery is like germs. Those never exposed to it do not build an immunity and so when their bubble is eventually burst they have nothing to cushion their fall.
In business too the line between positive thinking and delusion is drawn faint and fine. Is it more positive to say "we did not achieve the outcome we hoped for but many valuable lessons were learned," or "it was a cock up from start to finish." It should be simple of course, but whole libraries of serious little books have been written on the subject of positive thinking or the art of lying to ourselves. One such, dedicated to teaching us to model ourselves on "highly effective people" stresses the importance of always "positioning ourselves to take advantage of our opportunity." OK, here's a situation, its early evening and you just got out of work. You had a hell of a day and missed lunch. You pass a fast food restaurant and the smell of frying makes your mouth water. Do you position yourself to take advantage of an opportunity to consume a portion of minced lips and arseholes with onions and relish on a bread roll, or do you grab a burger?
OK so you are a corporate type and you are sitting consuming your portion of minced lips and arsehole and reflecting on your day. It was disappointing to miss out on that promotion. Do you think "I know my value and will resolve to market myself in the corporate environment more effectively in future." This is actually the attitude of a lost soul, somebody prepared to swallow all the corporate bullshit we are spoon-fed. The truly positive person would think "they can stuff their bloody buggering job up their corporate holes, I'd rather starve than swallow any more of their bullshit."
In short, people who try to place every experience in a positive context are afraid of facing reality. They hide their insecurities in a thin skin of conformist attitudes thus sacrificing their individuality. Sadly they also miss out on half of life's rich tapestry. Maybe they should seek counselling.
The Freak Show On Trial
May 27, 2005
Fans of Michael Jackson might want to take a couple of beta blockers before they read this...
The last place one would expect a freak show to be staged is in a courtroom in politically correct California. Yet for several months (or is it years) the dysfunctional and dismembered have paraded their physical and mental weirdnesses. To the utter boredom of the world at large.
Michael Jackson, alleged serial kiddie fiddler and one time pop star, has been brought before the courts again. I suppose the law officers who brought the case have to be seen to be doing the job taxpayers pay them to do but by now does anybody really think that anybody - anybody at all who is associated with Michael Jackson in any way can be so sufficiently aware of what planet they are on as to be able to give credible evidence in a court case. Is there a plague of self delusion happening over there.
Now I am a liberal and a libertarian and believe in the right of every predatory paedophile to a fair trial, but if you want my opinion on the case Jackson should have been banged up decades ago for that record about the effing rat. Michael's whole career has been a triumph of marketing over mediocrity. We were told that Micheal was prodigiously talented, despite the lack of evidence enough people believed it to make him a star. We were told the "Michael invented the moonwalk" and enough of us erased memories of our childhood visits to the circus where we watched clowns doing that very thing as they had for centuries. We went along with the myth that "Michael invented body popping despite hearing our grandparents talk of vaudeville acts whose contortions to music made Jackson's prancing look like a tasteless impression of an epileptic on speed.
The world believed the myth of Jackson's talent when all the evidence screamed that he was a spoiled child who demanded to be told he was wonderful because he had done the most mundane things.
Perhaps it is because people have short memories. "Oh poor little dear to be so afflicted," they mutter on seeing his mutilated face. Let's not forget that face is entirely self inflicted.
Setting aside Michael Jackson's nose (something he does every night we assume) it is important to examine the psyche of a man who seems to have created himself simply be believing his own publicity. How can any forty - five year old man be so divorced from the world that he can believe it is a healthy and beautiful thing to invite adolescent boys to share his bed? How come none of the parasites that surround him ever thought to take him to one side and say "you know Michael, this is a worse idea than your last nose job."
Am I the greatest soul singer ever?" he asks a music journalist who has been primed with lavish gifts, "of course you are, and I will write it in my magazine so the whole world knows." And by the time the hype machine has worked through a mile long queue of music journos the world believes. Step aside Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Wilson Pickett. Those poignant, unforgettable songs dripping with real, raw emotion are nothing when set against the minnie mouse voiced warblings of a child - man singing about AN EFFING RAT!
What is really sad abut the trial in Santa Maria is that it is the untimate expression of a warped philosophy that holds much of America in thrall, a post modern way of thinking in which self - obession is the central plank of culture. It runs like this : "there are no facts, perception is all. This kind of thinking is very destructive to civilisation of course. It is not the fact that Jackson chooses to believe he is a megatalented genius or that it is fine for an adult male to share a bed with a boy so long as he can afford to shell out $20million in gifts (that only an English curmudgeon would refer to as "hush money") but people's willingness to let him believe that, to murmer mealy - mouthed platitudes such as "we must not deny him the right to explore his individual truth" that is damaging.
If we are willing to accept that Michael's truth is as good as anybody's then we must also be willing to accept that it is better than most peoples' simply because Michael, though near bankruptcy still have enough money to buy the truth that suits him. Just as in post - modern America corporations and politicians may buy for themselves the "truth" that serves their interests. Michael Jackson is not the disease, merely a symptom.
And so we all choose to live in our own little reality, forgetting about the third world farmers working for five pence an hour to put exotic food on our western tables as we continue to believe that the banks and corporations are run by Santa Claus and will never call in our debts.
And so we can all be Michael Jackson, cocooning ourselves in candy floss, safe within the certasinty that reality is never more than skin deep.
FOR GOD'S SAKE AMERICA, FIND JACKSON GUILTY OF SOMETHING EVEN IF IT IS ONLY FRIGHTENING THE HORSES!
Copyright © 2005 Ian R. Thorpe
Say No More dept. - Michael's "hands on" relationship with Bubbles the Chimp
Guilty or Not Guilty
(this is the bit that gets me sues)
Are the clues in the songs?
2. In The Closet
3. Give In To Me
4. The Lost Children
6. Get On The Floor
7. Billy's Jeans (groan)
I was going to do a "top ten but I got bored.
Your Father Told You It Would Make You Go Blind.
May 29, 2005
Sad news for fans of male potency drug Viagra. Research has show that regular users incur a risk of blindness.
Coming hard on the heels of a report that the increased stress of modern living coupled with dietary factors is causing men to experience erectile dysfunction earlier and more frequently it will be a bitter pill for the rising number of men who have relied on the drug to jack up their libido after a hard day's work. Relationships will fail in the face of female scorn that is the standard riposte when a woman's amorous advances are met with a limp response.
The little blue lozenge has in the years since its launch stiffened the resolve of legions of men as it provided insurance against the embarrassment of sexual failure. At first the Pfizer product had a monopoly in a tumescent market but recently it has faced stiff competition from rival products and from natural aphrodisiacs.
A spokesman for the medical regulatory body said today "we are not calling for the erection of barriers to halt trade in Viagra and do not want doubts about the drug's safety to become a bone of contention. There is a slight risk to people who use the drug frequently and for long periods. A lot of people see Viagra as the horn of plenty but as with all drugs there are side effects. Users should exercise caution.
Well I have always found a healthy diet, regular exercise and a varied diet keeps me in trim so I am going to have six oysters and some braised asparagus before I shoot off to see my girlfriend.
(This news item was an absolute gift.)
May 30, 2005
Its been a bit of a heavy week in the news - nothing really odd or surreal going on. Let's finish on a political satire and hope to get off the wall again next week.
Do you remember Bernard Matthews, the smug git who used to claim that the gobs of gloop shaped roughly like bits of dead turkeys and bearing his name were "Bootiful"?
Although nobody quite bought the idea of Matthews the jolly farmer that the ad agency tried to portray his TV commercials never generated the kind of rabid hatred stirred up recently by Crazy Frog. But it seems we underestimated bootiful Bernard. As the first generation fed on his turkey twizzlers grows to puberty it turns out our jolly farmer was Beelzebub, The Great Whore Babylon and Vernon effing Kaye all rolled into one.
Where Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn, Sultan Suleman and Adolf Hitler, all backed up by vast and well equipped armies tried and failed to destroy western civilisation it looks like the Bootiful one has succeeded. Not single handed of course, he did have a ruthless and amoral advertising agency and some particularly warped chemists equipped with unlimited supplies of brain rotting chemicals at his disposal.
Fed on Sugar, artificial flavourings, Agent Orange coating and monosodium glutamate from the moment they had teeth our children's behaviour soon began to resemble that of monkeys on speed. They roam the streets vomiting up bellyfuls of artificially flavoured and coloured alcopops and the chemical sludge of half digested snack foods onto the soil of civic gardens thus polluting the water table so that these toxins reach all of us. It is as if evolution had gone into reverse. Darwin did not see that one coming.
Now society is cowering under an avalanche of ABSOs as gangs roam the streets looking for more chemicals to stuff their faces with. Everywhere they destroyed all signs of civilisation (well, if you call bus stops and wheelie bins signs of civilisation.) Chemically loaded convenience foods have been proved to be responsible for all society's ills…..WAIT!
Is it fair to make Bootiful Bernard a scapegoat for so much that has gone wrong and is the government's announcement that all school catering staff will in future be taught to cook just a placebo? Does the source of the malaise that poisons our society lie just a little deeper. Fifty years ago the Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan said "poverty of aspiration leads to poverty of spirit." The state Bevan was instrumental in creating was on in which the working classes were for the first time given the opportunity to raise their expectations, to aspire to something more than a life of drudgery and a premature death. They were encouraged to shake off the shackles of oppressive religion and an inflexible class system. In the vocabulary of Bevan and socialists like him "aspiration" meant a desire to improve one's quality of life and to consider the common good as well as narrow personal advantage.
Obviously that sort of silly nonsense could not be allowed to continue. Every great economic empire has been built on some kind of slavery. Free the wage slaves and who would replace them?
Business and the establishment closed ranks and engineered the first known example of a paradigm shift. Instead of human beings we all became economic units. If we all worked harder and spent more money everyone would get rich. They did not mention that some would get obscenely rich while others got debt rich. We were all tricked into believing that "aspiration" was a synonym of greed and we learned to aspire to trade up from a Mondeo to a Beemer, to live in a bigger house, own a forty - two inch TV.
If Bevan had been the socialist messiah, Margaret Thatcher cast herself as the antichrist when she declared "there is no such thing as society, only individuals." The mass of new middle class mortgage owners embraced her creed and gleefully set about acquiring the trappings of their new status.
Somewhere along the way though we forgot that humans function best in communities.
Ironically the people who now complain loudest about the anti social behaviour of the dispossessed, dysfunctional, degenerate underclass are those who created them. The selfish society, Thatcher's children.
"They have no respect for anything," the whingers complain as another car gets torched.
"You did not respect us reply," the hooded hoards, "you privatised the playing fields, you made education a bureaucratic minefield, you exported the manufacturing jobs that gave our father's lives a little meaning and you destroyed our hopes. Where are the communities that should nurture and protect us. You fucked with our fish and chips and now our brains are poisoned with Turkey Twizzlers yet you complain if we choose to poison ourselves with booze and drugs. You poisoned our world with greed and now we poison yours with our presence."
Natural Justice is BOOTIFUL !!!
To The Barricades
May 31, 2005
Before the French referendum result was known the would be grandees of the Imperial Federal European Superstate Empire tried to threaten us. "Votez 'non' et Europe est banjaxed" they warned. A no vote in any of the member states would wreck the constitution treaty we were promised. Almost as soon as the French "Non" was announced slippery tongues eurorats were saying "ah…..um…..er…..well, when we said dead we meant the constitution is not dead, but that we shall have to think again about how we will move forward. We need a new road maps to integration. Politicians are keen on road maps.
What the evasive and obfuscative weasel words are actually saying of course is "if you will not volunteer to give up your hard won rights and freedoms we will just take them off you.
I have always been a supporter of international co-operation, freedom from border controls, duty free drinks etc. but I have always believed Ken Livingstone's maxim "if voting changed anything they would abolish it. When a referendum on a question of national importance does not deliver the right answer is not telling to voters to go through the whole process again until they get it right the same as abolishing the democratic vote?
What the French vote ought to have changed is the transition of the European Union from a loose affiliation of independent nations to a federal superstate. What it looks likely to change is our perception that the voice of the people counts for something. Our only hope is the traditional bloody mindedness of the French. You can bet if M. Chirac tries to wriggle out of the corner the vote has put him in, the French farmers and lorry drivers will be blocking the ports and motorways, French cooks will be looking up recipes for fricassee du rat avec champignons and burly, bearded housewives in Gascony will be manning the barricades.
Would we do the same I wonder if Blair tried to ignore a British "No" or worse, if he now engages in political jiggery - pokery in order to deny us the right to vote. We need a referendum in order to find out if British bloody mindedness is a spent force.
Over the past few decades we have surrendered our position in the world in so many areas that I fear our natural leadership of the global awkward squad has been usurped. Are we truly so enslaved by our mortgages that we will stand by and allow Les Crapauds to block the route to bureaucratic dictatorship?
It is our job to offer resolute resistance while the French run around collaborating. The French are always collaborating with somebody, the Scots, the Americans, the Spanish. French obstinacy is of a lower calibre because it always serves French interests. The Bulldog breed are obstinate on principle, we seek no gain, our intransigence is for the greatest good of the greatest number. The "No" that dismantles the European Constitution is Britain's by right. No sneaky, nasal NON from the perfidious French will do for this job, only a resounding British NO will be heard around the globe. And the message it will give to tyrants is this; "we have shafted ourselves and now we can shaft you."
To the barricades my countrymen, we will reclaim the NO that is our birthright. We must blockade the ports and airports to prevent supplies of soft, smelly cheese from flooding British markets while the honest cheesemakers of Cheddar and their families starve. We must put the French in their place for all time and if that means battering their baguettes to breadcrumbs, widdling in their wine vats and putting paid to their pate then so be it. There is only room in Europe for one bunch of really awkward bastards.
After we have routed their foppish food we may have to retaliate with Anglo Saxon grub, we should batter them with Yorkshire Pudding, hurl hot pots from a mangonel and if necessary show them our Spotted Dicks.
Albion must prevail unless we want to see Europeanisation in our back yard.
Mangonel, a medieval seige weapon for hurling stones, fireballs, dead animals and poo over the walls of the beseiged citadel.