Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Is It Too Early?

This is just a quickie this evening, tee hee, and there has been a last minute subject change, sort of. I was going to moan about, what a surprise you are thinking to yourselves, about “Back to School” sales starting just as your lovely children start their summer holidays because I wondered through town on Monday and they had already started and I was reminded of how much this used to annoy me as a child but I was top trumped on the things starting to early front by my brother who sent me this picture taken in Weymouth this afternoon,


Now really, August has not yet begun and you’re selling Christmas cards. You don’t think that might be a tiny bit early?

Just another quick note, we went to see Wall-E yesterday and it is fantastic, on every level. The animated short before the main feature is perhaps the funniest thing that Pixar have ever made. The film it’s self is a joy. The animation is just unbelievable, it’s beautiful. The story is touching and funny. There is hardly any dialogue. It’s great in general, obviously there are one or two problems i.e. the anti-capitalist slant of the film rubbing against the 3 or 4 product endorsement in last Saturdays Guardian magazine and the fact that it’s a DISNEY film but I’m being picky so I’ll stop now. Go and see it, it’s great.

Monday, 28 July 2008

More Awards, well 2 more

Two awards that I should have done yesterday,

Most Incredible Use of a Beard,

This has to go to alleged war criminal Radovan Karadzic. In the press, following his arrest, there were many stories whose slant was why wasn’t this man court. Have a look at these pictures and tell me honestly that you could tell the bearded one is the same man as the clean shaven version.


Biggest Sandcastle of the Week,

Have you been to Weymouth? No, of course you haven’t, no one in their right mind has so I have saved you the bother with some pictures of the sandcastle hotel. 1000 tonnes of sand where used in it’s construction, that and a spot of sea water and some dedicated people but dedication is what you need if you want to be a record breaker.


Sunday, 27 July 2008

Diana Watch

Oh good, some more wedding photos! I’ve seen so many. These are the official ones, which are great; don’t get me wrong, but so many photos. I would like to start this week with a question that I’m sure you will all have an opinion on, are Nickleback the worst band ever, in the history of everything? No mentions of Princess Diana this week but not you expected any did you? Although there were 3 uses of the word “stunning” by my Mother this afternoon. I’m pretty sure that this is the only descriptive noun she knows.

You have to admire the Governments sense of timing. In a week that began with more revelations about the marking of SATS tests, by a private company, a not for profit company I grant you, but a private company with a terrible worldwide reputation for messing up test marking none the less, they announced that they would like to privatise some aspects of the welfare state. I’m sure this can only go well. Private companies are to be used to “help” the long term unemployed back into work by not paying them benefits after a shortish period of unemployment. They are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. This is a system similar to one used in some American states were, if people don’t find jobs, they have all their benefits stopped and they are left to fend for themselves surviving on food stamps and hand-outs. Now I know that I am a bleeding heart, weak willed liberal but that really doesn’t sound like a nice way to run a system to me and when challenged about this rather nasty sounding policy the Minister in charge of introducing it said that this was the point were other benefits would kicking in so no one would go hungry. I’m sorry? They would then get other benefits? Then what is the point in changing the system? Where are the fiscal saving in this plan then? I genuinely don’t understand. There is also the point that they decide to change the system and make it harder to get the benefit just as we are in this “necessary downturn in the economic cycle” as it was described in The Economists podcast, ah the loving, caring views of the capitalist. At a time of rising unemployment and rising prices, your caring, sharing Labour government want to make it harder for you to get support. Yes, the idea is to give the companies incentives to help you find work, I refuse to use the word “incentivise” because it’s horrible, i.e. they get paid for finding you a job regardless of what that job is or your qualifications are, out of work teachers burger flipping or engineers cleaning toilets, but, as is my understanding, they don’t get a financial punishment for not finding you a job and leaving you with no unemployment benefit. I’ve just had a thought, this is dependent on how much each person who is found gainful employment is worth to the company though, why not employ them yourselves? You get paid for finding them a job, they get a job and unemployment is down. It’s a win, win, win situation. Obviously it will only work if they get more for finding them a job than they pay them but I think it’s worth looking into.

There was a terrible story on the front of our local paper this week. The story was about a married couple who were also local councillors and were both Liberal Democrats but the husband has now decided that he wants to be a………….., I can hardly bring myself to type it, a tory. Can you imagine the suffering of the poor wife? You devote your life to someone and you think you know someone. Why couldn’t he just be gay or wanted a sex change? Why a tory? The shame will never end.

Top night out this week. We went to see the comedian Robin Ince on Friday evening at the Dorchester Arts Centre. Significant other did refer to him as Paul Ince a couple of times which was funny when we remembered that Paul Ince was a black footballer and Robin Ince is a white, book loving comedy performer. This show was the last of a 5 month run, 1 show a month, which Robin has done in Dorchester in order to work on new material and to try out new ideas. Previous to seeing him we have been listening to his podcasts, there are 6 on Itunes and 6 on the Paramount Comedy website and they are very funny indeed, check them out, go on, you know you want to, Josie Long is also on them and she is very nice. The show itself was very funny, a little disjointed but what do you expect form a man with a new baby how hasn’t slept properly for 4 nights and is reading various subject lists from note books. It made me laugh and that’s the important thing here.

And so to the awards,

Man Who Annoyed Me The Most This Week,

We have a runner up and a winner this week. The runner up is Matthew Taylor, a Lib-Dem MP, who wrote a report called 'Living Working Countryside'. Mr Taylor notes the high degree of planning in Poundbury, my personal hell, its community spirit and the quality of its design and architecture. No, you are wrong. It was designed in 1850 at the latest and it has no community spirit. Most people there don’t get along and they have nothing to do with people from Dorchester. It is a disgrace. It is all that is wrong with main stream British house design and building. You are wrong, you tasteless fool.
The winner, however, is some teenage boy who was in the Gardens yesterday afternoon with his friends and seem to be convinced that he was some sort of rapper. He did at one point bellow across the Gardens to his friend, “oh, Brian, where’s your bitch?” I’m sorry, you’re Bitch? Oh please. This and his really bad rapping that seemed to emanate from nowhere and for no good reason which at one point did prompt one of his drinking biddies to shout “for god’s sake! Shut the fuck up!” and this was his friend. If all teenagers are that annoying it’s no wonder they all seem to get stabbed.

Idiot Of The Week,

A man was taken to hospital today with burns after an explosion in his garage. He was trying to make his own Bio-diesel.

Sorry the awards are a bit negative this week, I’ll try and be positive again next week.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Sun is Out

Dear The British,
What is it with you and the sun? No really, tell me. It has been sunny for only 3 days, and those were work days so you should have been indoors, but look at the sun burn. You really can’t help yourself can you? If it’s free you over do it. I’ve seen you at an all you can eat breakfast, balancing as much bacon as you can on the plate. And why does the British man have to take his top off? It gets to 18 degrees Celsius and he’s wondering around town with his nipples out and it’s not a pretty site,

Yours Sun Creamed Up,
Martyn xx

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Diana Watch

An exciting thing happened on Saturday morning, our tickets for this years End of the Road Festival arrived an as usual they had a free CD of some of the acts playing, so now, after a listen in the car on the way to Kent, we have a whole new set of bands that we are looking forward to seeing.
Anyway, not a bad week in all. Lots of working for both myself and significant other but also time at the allotment and it looks lovely. Starting to pay dividends now. Much too eat that we have grown, which is nice. Despite this weeks hard work I have managed to keep an eye on the papers and there were no front page headlines or stories about Princess Diana, no great surprise really. One story that did interest me this week was a report that came from the Office of Fair Trading claiming that high street banks are making £8 billion from current accounts that are supposed to be free. Just read that again, high street banks are making £8 billion from current accounts that are supposed to be free. That is more than credit cards and savings accounts combined. So not only are the banks reasonable for the current, worldwide, financial crisis but what money you do have is being ripped away from you by your friendly faced bank.
Some terribly good news from the world of television, this is to be the last series of Australian version of Big Brother. This is a start I think you’ll agree. Only most of the world to go.

I don’t want to be overly cynical, but I think you know me well enough to know that that is what will happen, and I haven’t actually seen the new Pixar/Disney effort Wall-E but I have seen the little robot at the centre of the film who is called, well, Wall-E. Does he not look like a little like ET? A robot ET but ET never the less.


And so to the awards,

Most Surprised Media Outlets By The Fact That Old People Aren’t All Rubbish and Ugly Looking,

This goes to all of them. We have had a picture of Helen Mirren on holiday in a bikini, she looked very good indeed, though I’m not allowed to say “for her age” according to Barbara Allen in today’s Observer, and Gregg Norman playing very well in golf’s Open Championship and all we have heard about is how old he is.

Most Over Use of Laminated Signs,

Whilst in Kent yesterday we went to a Golf Club for dinner and almost every surface within the club house was covered in home-made laminated signs of a very bossy nature, “This television to be operated only from the bar” and “No mobile phones to be used in the poolside bar” but my favourite was the sign outside of the shop,


Thursday, 17 July 2008

Scary Fans

Ok, I admit it; I’m a bit of a Dr Who geek. I think the new incarnation of this classic Sci-Fi series, which was always a bit rubbish, has been excellent. The acting and writing has been excellent, some of the CGI has been a little poor, but I’m splitting hairs. However, my geekdom is dwarfed by some of the posts, mostly by girls, on Youtube. I have put some here for you to enjoy xx

I think thats enough, all I can say is too much time on their hands and terrible taste in music. Harmless I’m sure.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Look More Carefully

There seems to be a more subtle and less publicised effect of the “credit crunch”/talk of recession. If you listen and look very closely you begin to notice many companies and governments going back on their promises on the environment, workers rights and aid pledges. Many of the leaders meeting at last weeks G8 meeting in Japan have not met and probably will not meet the pledges they made on doubling African aid and the reasons were mumbled under their breath, holes in government finances from lower spending by the public, despite massive increases in VAT returns and other taxes due to the high oil prices. It is a mumbled excuse because it doesn’t add up and is just that, an excuse. Today I have listened too/read 2 other stories that are using the same reasoning. On the Today program this morning there was a discussion about maternity leave and whether or not it should be made more flexible some that fathers can take some of the leave instead of the mothers, a very good idea by the way, but the representative of small businesses countered with the usual argument about the cost of maternity leave for the small business, which is a reasonable argument is suppose and which I do understand but if all companies did the same the costs would be equal so it wouldn’t matter in terms of competition, but he then raised the spectra of the credit crunch and recession. The politics of fear has a new weapon to scare people into allowing government spending cuts and cuts in working conditions. The second story was on the MSN website about George Bush wanting to encourage off shore drilling, by American companies I would assume, which was banned by his father. Now the excuse he is using is of course the high oil price, the credit crunch and the possibility of a recession. The reasoning of bringing down oil prices is just silly because it will take many, many years to bring this oil to the market so there has to be another reason. What do you think may be behind the former oil man’s decision? Just out of idle curiosity did you know that there is an oil-tanker called Condoleezza Rice? I don’t wish to try and for an opinion for you, just pointing out the facts. Oh and Dick Cheney sort of still works for energy giant Halliburton. Luckily he cannot enact this policy on his own and he needs a vote from Congress as well. This sort of decision making is a well documented way of making massively unpopular decisions and forcing them through. This is a low level example but I recommend that you read “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein which explains it far better than I can.


Oh and this is the man who bought down the IndyMac. He is Sen. Charles Schumer and is the man who leads the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve and economic policy. He was the one who questioned whether the bank was in financial trouble despite the bank denying this. Follow this one mans questions $1billion dollars was taken from the bank causing its then collapse. One man caused this. The massive bill to American tax payers was caused by this man. Capitalism is great, isn’t it?


Dear People Who Chew Gum,
I just wanted to clear one thing up, you do realise that constantly chewing gum makes you look thick, really really thick? You do understand this? And yet you carry on doing it. Oh well, your choice,

Yours not chewing,
Martyn xx

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Diana Watch

Just a short one this week as very little has really happened this week, as fair as I can tell. Russia and China condoned Robert Mugebe this week by vetoing a UN resolution calling for sanctions against the Zimbabwe leadership, effectively extending his leadership indefinitely. But we will start with a question, how many prison officers does it take to guard a dead prisoner in hospital? 2 is the answer. It’s not a joke.
No Diana stuff at all this week but lots of Max Mosley stuff, which is all a little disturbing. Do we want to know about an old man getting spanked? No, no we don’t but we do want to know how the Daily Mail is covering it. You see the Daily Mail was a very keen supporter of Max’s Father, the renowned fascist and I am curious to see how they are covering his son, who also stood for his father’s nasty fascist party as a candidate. Will they be overly harsh on an old man who thinks it’s ok to rent a flat in London at £35000 per year for the purposes of rogering whores and getting humiliated, he must be loving this court case, or will they be nice to him because they really liked his dad and all his nasty racist ideas? I have no idea. Sorry about that, I couldn’t bring myself to look at them. I’m really no help here am I?

We had some new towels as a wedding present and have just started using them. Yes we have washed them but today I got out of the bath and after the towelling down, painting pictures with words here, So much fluff had adhered to me I looked like a blue muppet!

When did Peter O’Toole die? Have you seen the advert he’s doing at the moment on the television? He looks awful. It possible he died sometime before they started shooting ad.

Spoilsport of the week,

This goes to the Mail on Sunday with has attempted to reveal the identity of the artist Banksy. Why? Why would you do this? Can we not have a little mystery in our lives?

Monday, 7 July 2008

More Moans And Grumbles But Some Happy Bits

I was in a bit of a hurry yesterday so there were a few things that I didn’t moan about yesterday but because listening to or reading moaning so I will add some more positive things as well.
First off a moan. I am in the middle of moving my current account for the Abbey to the Co-operative bank, a process that should be simple or at least that’s how it’s sold to us. So far it’s taken about 5 weeks and I still have 2 current accounts, one has been opened but the first one has yet to be closed. I spoke to a nice lady at the Co-operative bank at the end of last week and she said that my balance would be transferred into my new account on the 8th but it would take a while to get there because Abbey send it in the form of a cheque. A CHEQUE! Oh yes, they don’t have any form of electronic transfer system. No wonder there is a global financial crisis if this is how the major banks conduct themselves. I can transfer money instantly from one bank to another via the medium of the interweb so why can’t they? Significant other gets paid by GP surgeries in the middle of nowhere in the Dorset country side by electronic transfer but huge banks can not.

Just a quick note to Dr Who geeks as we have just watch the series finale again on the BBC iplayer and at the end of the internet version there is a teaser trailer for the Christmas episode which I don’t think was on the original broadcast and we have the return of the Cybermen. Very exciting.

So the General Synod is meeting at the moment to discuss, amongst other things, women bishops. Now I listened to a debate this morning on the radio between the two sides of the church, one for and one against the ordination of woman bishops, and the arguments went as follows, “this is roughly the debate we had over the ordination of women priests and we all got over that” “well it’s not a argument over sexism, it’s a theological discussion because Christ only chose men to be his disciples.” Now I don’t wish to simplify their what is, I’m sure, a complicated theological argument made more complicated by priests but it is about sexism and a pathetic attempt to cover up sexism. Christ chose 12 men about 2000 YEARS AGO and I’m pretty sure that it was a male dominated society so there was a certain pressure on their imaginary friend. There are no verses in the bible that say “No woman can be bishops” mostly because there were no bishops at the time. It is a made up rule by man for man and anyone who supports this is sexist whether they be men or woman. I would like to see the church taken to court over there employment rules, no woman, no gays. Hardly inclusive is it? If it happened in a business of any sort there would be an employment tribunal but no one wants to offend the church, bunch of wimps. The synod was also debating a call to ask Government to help in the upkeep of parish churches. Oh no, it’s yours and you pay for it.

And now the moaning is over. Quick bit of sport now and Sunday evening saw perhaps the greatest Men’s singles final ever at Wimbledon. It was incredible. I’m not a sports writer so I can’t really do it justice but it was so tense. So nail- biting and the look on Roger Federer’s face when he was presented with the runners –up trophy was so very, very sad. The shots that the two players made were so incredible that I don’t think you will ever so shots look that again. The backhand passing shot that Federer played when he had a championship against him at the end of the fourth set was perhaps the finest shot played during the match and he looked lovely in his monogrammed cardigan. Sad but lovely.
There should always be rain at a Grand Prix. The British Grand Prix was fantastic fun. Cars flying off the track all over the place and some fantastic driving by those who managed to keep it on the road and special mention to Lewis Hamilton, whose talent I have doubted but no more, who won by over a minute, which is a massive margin.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Diana Watch

So I confidently said that Diana Watch would be back on Sunday, which it, technically, is, but I foolishly assumed that I would have a normal sort of “on holiday” week but I haven’t. Not going to moan though because I’ve had a lovely week and I’ve not done much. A certain lack of commitment form me if I’m honest but as far as I can tell there have not been any Diana based headlines this week.
The problem with doing this thing every week is the fact that I have to wade through the bucket of crap that is the British press on a daily basis and the Sunday’s are the worst as most of them are obsessed with someone else’s sex life. It’s the most depressing thing in the world I promise you. If you look at the front of the papers every day you world view will be become deeply depressed. I know I don’t have to do it but my ego is such that this weekly venting of my spleen is very useful to me. I’m pretty sure that my generation will be the first generation not to contribute anything meaningful to society. We will have given the world rampant consumerism that will devour the world and Big Brother and Heat magazine. But this is the view you get from the British press and it’s not really correct. The attitude that they have to the current generation of teenagers was neatly summed up by My Chemical Romance when they said “Teenagers scare the living shit out of me.” Now it may sound like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles but it sums up the British presses attitude to teenagers perfectly in the same way that the Kaiser Chiefs got Daily Mail and Express readers exactly when they said “We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day, we know who we like, we know who we hate but we’re also easily swayed”. What is true is that this is the first generation whose life expectance is shorter than that of their parents, because of the drinking and eating far too much, so in some ways we are a very unselfish as we are sorting out the pensions crisis with no help from the Government as we won’t need them as we’ll all be dead before we can claim them. Ah, that warm feeling you get when you help others or it might be chest pain, who knows.

Some awards then,

Girl Most Likely To Be Crushed By The Press As She Grows Up,

Congratulations to 14 year old Laura Robson who won the junior Wimbledon championship yesterday in a flurry of positive press i.e. on the front of all of today’s papers declaring her the next great British hope. Please somebody protect her from them because they will ruin her. And while we are talking about tennis I would like to point out to those who keep saying “Well, Andy Murray is still young, he will improve”, Rafa Nadal is only 6 months older than him. I don’t want to be down on Murray but he really does have on awfully long way to come if he wants to win anything. He was crushed by Nadal.

The Scare Yourself into Recession Award,

This goes to all the British news outlets that constantly go on about how bad the financial situation is and then act surprised when they get one of those pointless consumer confidence surveys in and wonder why everyone seems so concerned about it. And a special mention to British banks who release surveys about the reductions in Mortgage approvals being down when they are the ones who approve mortgages. Way to talk yourself into a housing market crash. If the Banks are so concerned about the drop in mortgage approvals than approve some more, it’s quite simple. What they don’t seem to understand is that these things are self-fulfilling prophecies. You constantly go on about how crappy the housing/financial markets are and they will become so.

Best Television of the Week,

Clearly this has to go to Dr Who which was bloody fantastic. Brilliantly written and some fantastic acting, especially from David Tennant and the underused and underrated Bernard Cribbins who, with David Tennant, extracted a small tear from my eye in the last scene. Top work all round. Thank you BBC.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Hello Again

Well hello to you all. We’re back from honeymoon and all is well. Very well to be honest. Paris is a fantastic city. I don’t consider myself a city person but I could picture myself living there, maybe an overly romantic image but hey, who cares, we were on honeymoon. The wedding went very well as well. Everyone had a good time, I think, nothing went wrong, the food was lovely, it didn’t rain and significant other looked beautiful, who could ask for more. I do have one complaint though; the Parisians ruined my game of over-dressing for fun. It’s a very easy game to play, you wear overly posh/smart clothes for carrying out your normal lives, i.e. going shopping, posting a letter etc, it’s fun and it makes the English stare, the French, however, stare if you don’t over-dress. I felt I had to put the effort in every day, no real problem if I’m honest. Good clothes make me feel good. I will lower the tone for just a moment if you’ll indulge me; Paris is a fantastic city for lovers of MILFs. If you don’t know the term probably best you don’t Google it, it’s a little rude. The city is filled with fantastically good looking, well dressed middle-aged women.
Ah well, enough of that, lovely though it was, normal life goes on and a small amount of bile was raised whilst watching a little BBC World news whilst away. If you have ever wondered who runs the world I give you this story. You may remember that in 1989 an oil tanker belonging to Exxon Mobil ran aground in Prince William Sound spilling 40.9 million liters of crude oil into the sound, widely considered to be the worst oil spill in history, covering some 11,000 square miles (28,000 km²) of ocean. In 1994 they were fined $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages, 1 years profits for the company. Then they appealed in 20002 and the jugde reduced the fine to $4 billion. Exxon appealed again and the judge raised it to $4.5 billion. They appealed again in 2006 and the judge reduced it to $2.5 billion. Then on June 25th, Justice David Souter issued the judgment of the court, vacating the $2.5 billion award and remanding the case back to a lower court, finding that the damages were excessive with respect to maritime common law and reduced the fine to $507.5 million. 1/10th of the original fine for a company that destroyed a huge area of the planet. Courts that find for big buisiness, what a surprise and Exxon recovered a significant portion of clean-up and legal expenses through insurance claims and tax deductions for the loss of the Valdez so it has cost them virtually nothing at all.

Sky News has moved closer to being the Day Today with a story that’s headline was “Pidgeons Carry Drugs Into Jails”. According to the joke channel tiny backpacks are being made for birds and stuffed with drugs and then flown over prisons walls. I have no idea if this is true but it made me laugh.

Glad to be back. Diana Watch will be back on Sunday.