Sunday, 31 August 2008

Diana Watch

To be honest I haven’t got much to say this week, it’s been a quiet week all round. I’ve been confused by John McCain’s choice of running mate, not because Sarah Palin isn’t a good candidate for Vice President but the message that it is trying to send out. This is American politics after all and these things don’t happen by accident, people aren’t chosen for their ability and suitability for the post but for who they will appeal to and to send and a message, I’m just not sure what the Republicans are trying to say. Barack Obama chose his running mate to deflect the criticisms of inexperience and a lack of knowledge about foreign policy but these are not things that can be applied to old man McCain. In a stroke they seem to have neutralised one of their only attacks on the Democrats, as they don’t seem to bother with policy on America. Is it to show that Republicans like women? We know this to be untrue as McCain voted against equal pay for women and both of them wish to over turn Roe vs. Wade. If someone out there knows I would really like to know what you think because I’m beginning to think it’s because she is photogenic. Now I don’t like having this thought because it reduces her to the level of totty and she is clearly more than that because she is a governor of a very big state indeed but I don’t see what she bring to the campaign, so if you can help me I would be grateful.
The Democrats, however, put on a little show but didn’t really say that much new. There were some policy ideas and some commitments that you really do have to hold him to but not much else so let’s move on.
A fantastic and socially important policy was announced by the Labour Party back in England this week but it just sort of sulked out. The policy is to pay people a proper wage that stay at home and care for sick and dying relatives. It is estimated that they save the state £85 million a year. This is an incredibly
Socially progressive policy but did you hear about it? Probably not. For some reason I only heard about it on two news bulletins on radio 4 but no where else. Was this a failing of the Labour party or of the news programs? I don’t know but as a policy it should be celebrated.

Very little else happened really this week. I made Rose Petal Ice Cream and it was lovely. Google the recipe and give it a go, you won’t be disappointed. I have learnt that facial beauty is ruled by a ratio of 1.6 and the ideal hip to waist ratio is 0.7. This means very little to me but significant other said the her hip to waist ratio is 0.7, nice.

Some websites you might be interested in,

BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. A book registered on BookCrossing is ready for adventure.
Leave it on a park bench, a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. Share it with a friend or tuck it onto a bookshelf at the gym -- anywhere it might find a new reader! What happens next is up to fate, and we never know where our books might travel. Track the book's journey around the world as it is passed on from person to person. This can be found at

Also we have Guerrilla Gardening, the site that promotes illicit gardening on unloved bits of land, mostly in London to be honest but you can do it were you are. This can be found at, it’s a good blog with some lovely pictures.

And for a bit of a giggle I give the Onion News Network at

Only one award this week,

The Award for Biggest Bastard of the My Week,

This goes to the git that stole the front lights from my bike. It was in a locked bike shed at work which means a colleague stole them at that is an upsetting thought. That and the fact that I then had to walk home because it was dark and push my bike with me.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Are You People Idiots?

Dear Hilary Clinton supporters,
How petty and stupid are you? Come on answer the question, unless of course you are too stupid to actually understand this simple query. I am not referring to all of you because I believe there to be about 15million of you and I’m pretty sure you could have me in a fight, no, I’m referring to those I saw on channel 4 news. Those of you who seem to have failed to understand how the whole political party thing works. the ones who seem to think that they are trying to get their BF ( best friend) elected class president, it’s a tiny bit more important than that. This is to see who will become the most powerful person in the world and with it, the ruling party and able to influence the most powerful person in the world. I am referring to those of you who are encouraging follow Hilaryites (is that a word?) to vote, not for the person chosen by your PARTY to be their candidate to be President, oh no, you are asking them to vote for John bloody McCann. I ask again, how stupid are you people? Because your candidate lost you’re are asking people to vote against your own, moderately liberal party and vote for a man who, if you check his voting record, has voted against equal pay for women and against abortion. Whilst I agree that Hilary was given a very hard time in your press, both print and tv media, and it could be seen as sexist, well let’s be honest, it was sexist but that was not Obama’s fault or the party’s. The rest of the world is begging you to sort yourselves out and not let a Republican back in. Despite President Bush having the lowest approval rating of any sitting president you still keen on losing one of the most winnable elections in many years. The only people with a lower approval rating then George 2 is congress which, despite being run by Democrats has done nothing. It has shown no moral leadership at all. Yes President Bush would have vetoed you blocking his Iraq funding bills but you could have at least made a stand.
If you do not all pull together and continue to put forward genuinely radical policies about healthcare and America’s place in the world rather than the bland mutterings that have started to emanate from the Obama camp you will loose and the rest of the world cannot except this,

Yours Hopefully,
Martyn xx

Monday, 25 August 2008

Diana Watch

And so it’s over. I will miss it. I will have to find something else to watch for hours now. I might even have to get back to watching the news, which is a shame. Ahh, the Olympics. A celebration of human sporting achievement without much to be cynical about which has come as a bit of a shock to me. Yes there are still many things wrong with China but we can’t really complain because we buy most of our cheap products from them because of the way that their people are treated. What we have been reminded of is the fact that we can be proud of our country. In the final medals table we came 4th, only passed by Russia on the final day of competition, which is a fantastic achievement. Like it or not sport does bring people together. I give you the image of a Consultant, a patient and myself standing by the patient’s bed watching and cheering on the rowing. Pride is seeping out of everywhere. Even the cynical British press, who after the world championships last year had a picture of Christine Ohuruogu and the headline “don’t let this be the face of London 2012”, have in the last week had picture of her on the front pages and headlines about being proud to be British, even the Daily Mail had nothing to be down on. But now it is our turn to host the event and let us all hope that we have finally learnt that in order to win we need to fund sport properly, except football because they have enough money to fund themselves properly. You just need to look at are tremendous cycling and swimming teams to see how much difference proper funding makes. This was Chris Hoy’s 3rd Olympics, at his first the funding for cycling was so poor he had to provide his own tracksuit, not any more and now he has won 3 gold medals.
Those we complain and moan about sports funding being a waste of money are the same people who complain about arts funding being cut but they don’t understand. Arts broaden the mind and lift the soul, it is a cerebral event and is to be celebrated and funded properly but it rarely fills a nation with pride. A massive sporting success can and does do this. I give you the example of England winning back to ashes a few years ago, the country want mad for cricket and there was pride. That, of course, all faded when we went to Australia 18 months later and got stuffed but you see my point. Australians are a very good example of my, as yet, unmade point, continued sporting success gives a country pride in it’s self which leads to a confident nation and a confident nation can get things done. The whole nation feels better and I believe it will also lead to a higher level of social cohesion. One of the problems with Britain is a major lack of pride in it’s self. It isn’t really surprising given the none existent levels of joy in all of the British press but I don’t, for once, completely blame them. Since the cold war it has been the job of Government to keep the populace scared and controlled. This is finally starting to back fire. It has always been my view that the job of government is, as well as the general running of the state, is to help fill the nation with joy. I know it seems abstract but just making the schools work is not enough. Sports and Arts lift the spirits and doing well at them more so. Cheer the nation and we all will feel better. I promise you that it will work. One of the columns in the Observer described the Olympics as an expensive distraction. Well, yes it is. That’s the point. For 10 seconds, well 9.69 seconds, we can watch the incredible Usain Bolt and forget about the constant use of the phrase “credit crunch”. For us it exists to make us feel a little bit better when someone does well so we don’t have to think about the possibility of recession, even just for the briefest time.
So London, are you going to be ready? Of course you are. Even here, the country that invented the progress stifling committee, I think we can get it done. This is mostly because we have to. There are one or two things that worry me a little and they are all personal. I want to go and see several of the events, including the sailing that is taking place about 10 miles away from where I live in Dorchester. The problem is that Weymouth is impenetrable if you are in a car. Even on a slightly sunny day you can’t get into it, which isn’t usually a problem but for this I will want to be there. Now, they have talked about building a new road and then they talked about building a new road and then they talked about building a new road and then they talked about building a new road but as yet haven’t really done much more. I think that now is sort of a good time to GET THE HELL ON WITH IT. Roads take quite a long time to build and you only have 4 years to work out how to get all those people to Portland harbour. Whilst we are at it may I suggest some sort of mass transit system, maybe a monorail, Monorail, MONORAIL! Sorry, Simpsons flashback. Most of the track bed is still there, from Weymouth station to Portland in, say, 8 minutes. And after everyone has left scale down the service a bit and use it instead of the buses.
One of the other things that worries me is the security at the venues. In Beijing it took about 5 minutes to get through the security but I’ve been to a UK airport and I can assure you it takes a lot longer then that. Whilst I know that security is important so is my enjoyment of the event and standing for 2 hours whilst some grumpy bloke check babies nappies and pushchair (diapers and strollers for any American readers) for bombs or water not purchased from an official retailer is not my idea of fun. And so I come to my last point, much to the relief of anyone still reading and if you are, well done you, ticket pricing. The Games in London are our games. We have already paid for them with taxes and though the lottery and so everyone in the country has a right to be able to see them and so fair pricing for the tickets is essential. No more then £15 is my idea but I’m sure they will be more then that. Also I really don’t want to see hundreds of empty seat because they have gone to corporate hospitality companies and they people sitting in them haven’t finished their lunch yet. I give you the horrid example of the vast number of empty seats at the halfway line at every kick off of every international game at the new Wembley stadium. Please don’t let this happen. My idea is to have at least the first 10 rows all around the stadium as a family area, mums, dads and their extremely enthusiastic children and not some bored man who don’t really want to be there but the tickets were free from a sponsor. Sort these things out and I’m sure we are all in for a brilliant time. Bring it on, I can hardly wait.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Diana Watch

Now no one likes a show off but I don’t care. We are doing so well at the Olympics at the moment that I’m going too. Great Britain are 3rd in the medal table behind the enormous countries of China and America. See what happens when you fund sport properly. Suddenly you are good at sports but nothing ranty, I’m saving that for next week. Great Britain are 3rd. Fantastic performances from the cyclists, rowers, sailors and swimmers, oh and we’ve just won a gymnastics medal. An all round team performance of an incredible high standard and a tear or two has been shed in our house watching them win and collect there medals. Also a quick mention for Usain Bolt who broke the world 100m record again with an outstanding 9.69 seconds. He started to celebrate at about 80 metres and was pulling up towards the end, as a rightly proud Jamaican supporter send an the news when interviewed “He broke the world record running sideways!” This is the depressing thing for all other sprinters of the world, he can run even faster. He won be .2 of a second whilst pulling up; they don’t stand a chance for years to come.

I bring you some great news, until now I only knew what size fun was thanks to the tiny, tiny Mars bars and Milky Way but now thanks to Pringles I now know what size a party is.


I can now sleep so much more soundly now knowing that so thank you to the makers of this reformed, artificially flavoured, potato snack.

So when we went to the cinema we saw the trailer for Mama Mia. Now, I haven’t seen the film so it may be a little harsh to criticise but that not going to stop me. The trailer hinted at the story line and as far as I can tell it is an episode of Jeremy Kyle set to the lovely tunes of Benny and Bjorn. From what I understand of the plot, a young woman is getting married and she does not know who her father is, when she asks her mother who her father is in order to give her away, her mother replies that it could be one of three men. If this story was shown on Trisha there would be all manner of tut-tutting from Daily Mail and Express readers, yet if you set it on a beautiful Greek island, holiday destination of many a middle class family, and you some how turn it into the suburban 2 car family hit film of the year. Oh and middle class musical hit of several years ago. How has this been done? The writer is a genius. Oh and also a couple of points about the trailer, 1, no olive skinned people appeared in it at all. How is this possible? It’s set on a Greek Island. Plenty of Americans and British people but not Greek sorts, odd. 2, when the serious voice over man announces who is staring in the film we have Meryl Streep, the girl who plays her daughter, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth. Sorry? Aren’t there 3 men in this film? She has 3 potential fathers. Who is this 3rd man? Ooh, it sounds like a 50 or 60’s spying drama, it isn’t. It’s just another example of middle class hypocrisy.

And so to the weekly awards,

Phrase That Annoyed Me Most This Week,

This goes to the phrase “on trend” as utter by celebrity seamstress Gok Wan almost once every 5 minutes on his current channel 4 program.

Advertising Tagline That Made Me Laugh The Most,

The line is “Daily Radiance Wipes” made me laugh so much, it’s from some silly beauty ad of some sort but it for some reason it really amused me. Such a pointless combination of words.

Hope you all have a nice week; we’ve just harvested our onions and potatoes and it’s made us very happy indeed.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

A-levels and Jelly fish

So here we go again. I think I wrote this last year but please can we let students who are receiving their A-level results celebrate their success before everyone else weighs in telling them how worthless their hard-worked for qualifications are. It really isn’t very nice and it must be a little upsetting. Most of the time young people are being criticised for all the crime and anti-social behaviour in the country, statistics show that most of it isn’t them, but when they work hard, study and get useful qualifications, obviously I’m not including media studies in that list, they are criticised again. Stop it. At least wait until they have drunk their own weight in WKD.

The south coast of England is a dangerous place to be. Scary wild animals roam free in our seas. Hark! The sound of a cello! That’s a joke about the theme from Jaws by the way. What is this terrifying, vicious animal running rampant through the English Channel? Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish! Ok it’s not that scary but they can grow up to 150ft long and can be fatal, in really rare circumstances. To be honest only 14 have been found over the entire length of the south coast but you don’t get this level of sensible writing in the national press, “Invasion of the killer jellyfish!” yells the Mirror, “Coastal alert as killer jellyfish invade the shoreline of Britain” they continue, “Britain's beaches have been invaded by poisonous jellyfish that can kill with a single sting.” They then use the “swarms”. There have only been 14, for god’s sake, calm down.


Sunday, 10 August 2008

Diana Watch

If I’m honest I have been obsessing with the Olympics most of the week and very little else has entered my radar so I want to start of by congratulating Nicole Cooke, the winner of Great Britain’s medal which happened to be a gold, in the woman’s cycling road race. A fantastic effort in remarkable poor weather. My first small tear of the games was shed.
I do appreciate the irony of watching the world finest athletes for 2 weeks whilst slumped on my sofa drinking tea and snacking.
Did you watch the opening ceremony though? Now that was how you do it. You get a remarkable film director, in this case it was Zhang Yimou who has directed House of Flying Daggers and Hero, tell him roughly what you want and then letting him get on with it. It really was a thing of remarkable beauty and it really laid down a challenge for London 2012. Obviously there was a remarkable amount of hypocrisy in the section of the ceremony about the environment when China has 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities but I’m just being picky now. The section that involved the lighting of the stadiums Olympic flame was incredible with a man running round the inside of the stadiums roof along the massive 30ft high plasma screen that runs along the inside rim of the stadium. This is the best video of it I could find on Youtube, sorry the quality is not great.

And hurray for George Bush who really does have a fantastic sense of irony. Whilst on his way to the games he made a speech in Thailand in which he criticised China’s human right record. Reasonable point you may think and I would agree with you but he made this speech on the same day as Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s former driver, was found guilty at Guantanamo Bay by a military tribunal, a system that most people think is unfair. It had also been stated by the U.S. government that what ever happened, i.e. found innocent, he would still remain incarcerated because of the legal definition of the prisoners being enemy combatants and the U.S. claims that it can hold them till the end of the “War on Terror”. So they claim that they COULD hold a man who had been found innocent for as long as they decided for no reason and China is the one with the human rights problems is it President Bush?

I have had a look at the papers this week and great news for the Express with the release of the Portuguese’s police files into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. This has meant that the paper can select a page at random each day and publish sections from it as its headline for that day. Now there are 22,000 pages of information in the file so this could go on for a while. This week they have been reporting some of the alleged sightings of the child and claiming that they were not investigated properly despite the facts and they have never let that stand in their way before. The first alleged sighting was on CCTV and when it was shown to the parents they said that it wasn’t their child, this information was not in the Express’s headline, and the second was by a Dutch woman who claimed a number of things about a child who had been in her shop but the easily disproved part was the fact that the child referred to herself as “Maddie” which the child never did, according to her parents, and it is a construct of the press. No story here then but front page of the Express.

Went to see Batman, The Dark Knight yesterday and it is a great film. The first half an hour is a little hurried and edited by a blind man and in a few places the music is so loud that you can not hear the dialogue but I’m being picky, it’s very entertaining and very violent. Which brings me to it’s classification, it’s rated as a 12a which means that the film is suitable for 12 years and over. No-one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult, thank you to the BBFC website for that definition. At our showing at 2 o’clock in the afternoon were many very young children, so as young as 6 and it is really, really violent, all the way through. Whilst it is within the rules for a 12a because there is no drug taking, swearing or scenes of a sexual nature and most of the violence is implied I feel that they are pushing the boundaries a bit and I wouldn’t want a child of mine to see it until they were 15. Oh and Heath Ledger is pretty good but isn’t in it that much.

Only one award this week,

Advert that most sounds like sexual innuendo,

We have joint winners for this, the muller yoghurt advert with the strap line “Lick the lid of life”, sounds a bit rude to me, and the KFC advert for it’s chicken lollipops which is loaded with innuendo, “hot rods”, “dipping”, come on this is porn, they also come in boxes by the way.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Diana Watch

I think we have to have a new agreement. There haven’t been any mentions of Princess Diana for months so unless there is one I’m going to stop mentioning it but I will still call this Diana Watch though because I am still looking out for them.
The Olympics start on Friday, well actually they start on Wednesday if you’re a footballer but the opening ceremony is on Friday, and it seems that the air is finally clearing, both physically and metaphorically. The air around Beijing does seem to be getting better, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, and some journalists can now get full access to the internet. Why do they need this? The fuss was made about human rights sites such as amnesty but they are sports journalists, why do they need these sites? No, what they want to see is porn whilst they work. Personally I think that it is unfair to politicise the games. I can see why it happens, what with China’s human rights record and the huge amount of money and publicity they will make/get from the coverage but the athletes have nothing to do with this. They have trained and sacrificed, sacrificed and trained in order to get to the highest competition in their chosen field. This is the culmination of their life’s dream and no hand wringing should deprive them of this. Let them run their race and we should cheer them as loud as we can.

I had a nice experience this week as I was trying to sell my PSP in the shop Game. They were offering me a reasonably small amount of money for it and the several games that went with it, the man behind me in the queue overheard the amount they were offering me and offered me the same. Should I give a chain shop a healthy profit or sell it to the nice man behind me? Can you guess what I did? Of course I sold it to the man behind me, we trotted off to the Cash machine and money and technology were exchanged. A good day out I think you will agree.

It seems we have the power. The power to change things. Well ok, I don’t think that my ramblings on here are of any import but I wrote a while ago about tips being used to bring the pay of waiters and waitresses up to the minimum wage but this week the government announced that they were going to ban this practise which is fantastic news I think you will agree.

And so to the weekly awards,

The Spectacular Over Reaction Of The Week,

This goes to American law enforcement. A Scottish gentleman by the name of Gary McKinnon has been charged with a “malicious crime” after hacking into 97 US military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002. He claims that he was looking for information about UFOs. The American government doesn’t see it in quite the same way and claim that he was hacking in order to intimidating the US government. They wish to extradite him to America using anti-terrorist legislation and if found guilty he could be imprisoned for up to 70 years. A little over the top don’t you think?

The Oops, I Don’t Think That Was Your Plan Award,

Tony Blair’s daughter Kathryn’s personal profile on the social networking site Facebook was left unlocked, allowing access to highly sensitive details regarding the former Prime Minister with just two clicks of a button. As you can imagine this sparked a major security alert because the site contained information about her family’s holiday movements. The Blair’s security arrangement currently cost the tax payer about £2 million.

Just a quick point, the sale of British Energy PLC to EDF Energy has fallen through, well for the moment anyway, but the sale it’s self doesn’t make sense to me. Look at it in this way, the largest single share holder and major driver of the deal is the British Government and EDF is owned by……………… the French Government. Why when we are being told that we need energy independence are our government selling our generating capacity to a foreign power? Odd if you ask me.

Friday, 1 August 2008

We Have A Winner!!!

Well that didn’t take long. Ladies and Gentleman, we have a winner. Sky News are running footage of some people moving behind some sheets getting into the back of a plane. They are the scummiest 24hr news channel but I think we knew that really, deep down.

How Scummy Are 24hr News Channels?

When lying in bed this morning listening to the Today program, which was nice because there was no John Humphrys, and there was a report that said that Ben Mullany, the husband of Dr Catherine Mullany who were both shot in the island of Antigua, she, of course, was killed in the shooting but he was left in a coma, was being flown back to Wales today. My first thought was I bet we will see this on the 24hr news channels. There is no need for us to see this and a man in coma who will probably die is not in the public interest so why do we need to see it. I think we can judge just how scummy our 24hr news channels are, we can use this as a little game. If they show “Live” pictures of this, the embarking and disembarking, then we can confidently describe them as scummy. Go on, play along.

Something very strange happens to me at the gym, I become incredibly shy. I don’t stand up fully and I lurk very close to the machines. This is a little strange but it always backfires. I am trying to be as discrete as possible but today I walked into a machine because I was too close and Tuesday I knocked a barbell onto my leg, which really hurt. People looked. Doh!

Why, in the video for “Sweet about me”, is Gabriella Cimli dressed as Russel Brand? No really. She dressed exactly the same. Back-combed hair, skinny jeans, pointy shoes, black T-shirt thing, exactly the same.