Monthly Archives: October 2009

Suicide Is Painless….

….unless you’re caught in the fallout.

So yesterday I left work early.  Not terribly exciting or out of the ordinary, but I did.  Did I get home early?  No, no I did not.  Did I get home, buoyed by the happy satisfaction attained by leaving work early?  No, I arrived home seething.  If the cat lived downstairs I’d have kicked him.  It’s a good job the dogs have him living, Anne Frank style, upstairs.  (As far as I know, he’s not keeping a diary).

Dropped onto the M90, which was no busier than normal, until I’d just gotten past the last chance to exit the thing before the Forth Road Bridge, where the queue started.  Soon the crawl became a stop.  Turns out some attention seeking miserabilist had driven onto the bridge, stopped his car at the mid point, gotten out, climbed over three barriers and was now standing on the outside of the bridge, holding onto the rail and making the wholly empty threat of jumping.

Two hours the bridge was closed for, TWO HOURS!!!  All so four police offers could coo at this whiner in an attempt to get him to come back over.  It’s time we stopped kid gloving these time wasters.  If he were really determined on jumping, he’d have done it as soon as he got to his launch pad.  But, no, he just wanted a cuddle.  Mummy didn’t give him enough teat or something.  I hope everyone who was forced to go 40 miles out of their way in a diversion sues him to recoup the extra fuel he cost them.

In future the police should just offer a push.  Or get a marksman out to pick these wasters off sniper style.  Instead of mollycoddling, give them an ultimatum.  “You’ve got 10 minutes, either piss or get off the pot.  If you don’t we’re getting you off your perch one-way or the other.”  If they need someone to do the pushing, I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of volunteers in the traffic queue.

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Just how bad is children’s TV these days?  Just how low can it go?  If recent experience is any guide, the possibilities would appear infinite.

Due to the recent half term break, I’ve had the chance to “enjoy” rather more kid’s TV than I’d like.  There appears to be a cornucopia of choice out there in the area of the digibox between the Haji channels and the munters bouncing on a mattress with a mobile in their hands.  Closer inspection reveals a far more hideous truth.  It’s all the same!!!  Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Jetix et al all appear to show the same programs in some sort of incestuous love in.  Worse, they are obviously sending out some sort of signal that prevents children from remembering what they’ve seen as they’ll watch it again a few hours later oblivious to the fact they’ve seen it all before.

The modern cartoons seem to all be incredibly badly drawn (Ed, Edd & Eddy springs to mind) and thoroughly mindless with all the subtlety of a Trident missile.  The “live action” shows seem to be populated by a procession of identikit “stars”, all of them horribly, smugly precocious or actually 15 years older than their characters but unable to get any other job.  If these shows weren’t American they’d be slated for being so horribly middle class and aspirational.  Designed purely to sell merchandise, they are soulless and despite laugh tracks to the contrary, thoroughly unfunny, I defy anyone to crack even a scintilla of a smile at any point in the entire run of “The Suite Life of Zak and Cody” or it’s even more painful sequel, “Suite Life on Deck”.  Quite how you can take a character designed to send up Paris Hilton and end up with something that makes the real life caricature infinitely more rounded and interesting is almost a work of genius.

The BBC offerings aren’t much better, caught as they are between the ‘lashings of ginger beer’ of Enid Blyton and a cloying need to educate.  Where’s Rentaghost?  The Pink Windmill?  Chorlton and the Wheelies??  Murphy’s Mob?   OK, two of those shows are not like the others, but the point stands.  There is nothing out there at the moment that will be reminisced quite as much as the shows from the 70’s and early 80’s.  No icons of childrens entertainment are being created at the moment, no seminal moments in shows that will be remembered forever.  Every child of the 80’s could tell you who Joey Deacon was.

Maybe I’m just an old fart these days, but surely John Noakes slipping in elephant piss is a better role model than Miley bloody Cyrus.  Once again quantity has replaced quality.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to my bunker with Ms Popov.

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Deep Baby, Deep, Deep Down

Listening to the radio in the car on the way to work this morning and there was much discussion of the increase in the number of Down’s Syndrome babies being detected by testing.

Typically a lot of the discussion revolved around the decision to abort versus the decision to carry a downs baby.  The soul searching, the tales of shock at the birth, turning to stories of triumph and unbridled joy as the child grew up.  Even an attempted hi-jack by the ‘barren brigade’ about how they’d love the chance to be in a position to even consider a termination.

I wonder just what would have happened centuries ago had Australopithecus had access to screening technology.  Would the evolution into Homo Habilis have been stopped as millions of parents to be were told their unborn child was “different” and perhaps it would be best to terminate?

Are we in danger of derailing evolution with all the screening, testing and general clamour for the perfect human being that genetic science is leading us to believe is out there?  I’m no religious zealot.  I may have been brought up in the Catholic faith, but outside of deaths and marriages, haven’t been in a church since I was 17.  I don’t particularly believe in the idea of an all powerful force that controls everything, but neither am I blinkered enough to believe there isn’t some “magic” at work out there that led evolution to work as it has.  I mean, I understand the biology and the physics and to a degree the chemistry of life, but, at the end of the day just what is it that makes us alive??

Anyway, I digress slightly.  My point, I think, is that there seems to be an acceptance in general that science has all the answers.  That “this is how we are”, and, “this is how we should be”, so that anything that differs from the template is wrong.  I don’t know about that.  What I do know is that mankind, developed and evolved quite well for millions of years without the ability to screen and test for birth “defects”.  I wonder is it possible that we do more harm than good with our recent mania for perfection.  One man’s imperfection may just be another man’s great evolutionary leap forward.

I touched upon the ‘barren brigade’ above.  They are another phenomena of the last 20 years or so.  The idea that it is everyone’s inalienable right to have a child.  Is it?  Again, this seems like so much tampering with nature and the natural order of things.  The population of the planet has grown over thousands of years, despite regular warfare and the lack of fertility treatments.  So much so that the planet is getting close to the point where it won’t be able to sustain the number of people on it.

Enter scientists and the answer to a question hardly anyone was asking.  Now, we have an artificially contrived movement demanding that every woman be allowed to fulfill her basic human right to a child.  Is it a basic human right?  Or has science created that myth to make money?

If everyone were supposed to have a child, then infertility in men and women would not exist.  Infertility is one of the natural worlds defences against over population, by messing around with IVF we override this natural defence mechanism.  Not only that, but, infertility treatments tend to lead to multiple births rather than single.  When coupled with the other “advances” we make in medical science leading to people living longer, is it any wonder we face a shortage of power, food, water and who knows what other natural resources that I would argue are far more inalienable basic human rights than procreation.

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Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

What a week for them eh?  As if it wasn’t bad enough for Rangers fans that they had their own little “Artmedia moment” last week, losing 4-1 at home to Urine A-Mess or whatever the Romanian champions are called, but now we hear tales of their financial problems.  No wonder both them and the other half of the Bigot Brothers are so keen to join up with the English Premier League.

Will it happen?  Not anytime soon.  The existing EPL clubs don’t need them.  No teams in England are going to allow them to just walk into the top league, replacing them or blocking others from progressing.

The only way it would happen in England is if they were to be invited in at the point of creation of a new Premier League set up.  It would be interesting to watch, if only because large swathes of their support go into apoplexy when they lose, something that would happen on a regular basis in the EPL.  The idiots actually believe they’d be challenging for the title.  Sorry, you’ll be challenging for mid table mediocrity at best.

The rest of Scottish football would survive, albeit on smaller crumbs for a while.  By default you’d be looking at Aberdeen, Dundee United, Hearts and Hibs as the main title runners, but the league would be closer and more interesting than at any time since the eighties.

It would be nice for the Old Firm to learn some schadenfreude, if only because most of them can’t spell CAT when given the C_T.

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Meanwhile, in London, a sporting event with altogether more money than humility rolled into Wembley last weekend.

For the third year running the NFL brought a regular season game to these shores.  I went to the first one, wasn’t able to get tickets last year and just plain couldn’t afford it this year.  (Thankfully, having to watch the Cheatriots and their cheating head coach Bill Belicheat would not have been good).

I have mixed feelings on the event.  As a fan of the sport since 1984 when it appeared on Channel 4, I loved being able to go and see a proper competitive game as opposed to the exhibition games we had in the late 80’s/early 90’s.  Games where the star players would be on the field for 5 minutes before making way for scrubs and tryouts who wouldn’t be on the team when the real business started.

I went to watch the Claymores on numerous occasions when NFLE was a part of the spring/summer over here.  A league where all the scrubs and tryouts got a second chance to play their way in to the NFL.  Good times but visibly second rate.  Players who looked good, dominating statistical categories in NFLE, barely got a sniff in the NFL proper, left you wondering how good the real thing was.

So we get the real thing, once a year, at Wembley.  Except it’s not really the real thing.  It’s a party for the UK and European NFL fans.  You see fans wearing shirts of their favourite team.  You’ll see all 32 NFL teams represented in the stands.  The “home” team may not have the loudest support.  In fact, because comparatively few fans have a vested interest in the game, it tends to be a fairly quiet atmosphere at times.  A far cry from the atmosphere that comes across on the TV, week after week.

I’m conflicted on the London issue now.  If the Jets were coming over would I be after a ticket?  Probably, although it’s almost as cost effective for me to go to New York for a weekend as it is London.  But, putting the boot on the other foot.  An NFL team has 8 guaranteed home games per season.  That means season ticket holders have to give up 1/8th of their season for their team to come over here.  The outcry was huge when the EPL posited adding a game to be played abroad, imagine if they’d suggested each team losing 1/8th of their home games to overseas!

It now seems likely two games will be played here next year, with a plan to increase that to four by 2012 and possibly a franchise after that.  What I think the NFL don’t see in this push for 4 games/a franchise is that the demand at the moment is artificially inflated. The game draws fans from all over Britain and indeed from Europe, fans of all 32 teams, because it’s a proper competitive game, and it’s a one off each year. Exhibition games died on their arse in this country 20 years ago as fans got sick of only seeing the star players for one series if they were lucky. This way, we get the big names. It draws people in, it becomes a weekend event for the majority of fans at the game.

Increase the number of games available, and people will get more choosy. They will cherry pick. Mainly because added to the not inconsiderable ticket price, many have to travel and spend 1 or 2 nights in a hotel. Not necessarily feasable for more than 1 or 2 occasions in a season.

The rumour is that there will be two games in the UK next year, one at the end of September and one end October. I can see the current logistics working well enough in those time frames as regards bye weeks after etc, but if the 4 game experiment is to follow the same model, I cannot see any team willing to travel/give up a home game at end November/end December when homes games are getting fewer and playoff chances could be on the line.

Squeezing all these games into the first half of the season would have an adverse effect on the demand for tickets for all those reasons outlined above.  The fans going to Wembley are not just from the London area, and the demand for a franchise as such just isn’t there.  The latest rumour doing the rounds is that the NFL would like to have one team come over every year to grow it’s own fan base.  Again, this seems an ill-conceived notion.  We have fans of all teams in this country with allegiances made stronger due to time zones and distance and the sheer effort required to follow your team, particularly in the pre-internet age.  These allegiances won’t be dumped just because Jacksonville are here every year or the British Bulldogs have won a place at the NFL table.

If the NFL really want to grow their fan base in this country they need to get live prime time coverage on terrestrial TV, not hide it away in the Sky Sports ghetto.

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It’s the finaaaal Countdown….

…or it just might be soon.

One of the delights of a “staycation” is watching Countdown, (rock and roll) although if the cunning plan of Channel 4 is to succeed, it might not be for much longer.  Having seen the clothes they are pouring the new Vorderperson into I fear large sections of their audience may be shuffling off this mortal coil at an increased rate.  Those “greyhound” dresses, you know, the just about reach the hair, are fantastically short and tight, but given the blood pressure of the average OAP, they must be playing havoc with grandma and grandad’s circulation.  (Insert cheap stroke gag here.)

No wonder Stelling is smiling, and it’s not because he’s away from the unbelievable Chris Kamara for a few days.  If she drops a letter, she may end up winking at him as she picks it up.  Actually, that’s the one thing she has in common with the audience.  It seems necessary to wear sensible, big-ass, granny pants.  They need something substantial to hang the microphone battery pack on.

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I saw “The Quick and The Dead” last night.  Long story, but it was the only western available I hadn’t seen.   It’s OK I guess, the story is familiar to anyone who has seen a western.  The twist being, the “hero” is a *gasp* woman.  Anyway, about midway through came the obligatory “Sharon Stone gets her tits out” scene as she cosied up to Russell Crowe.  Got me wondering, has anyone else ever had their career so completely upstaged by their own va-jay-jay?  The only other person I could think of who has seen their career so completely killed off in this way is Michael Douglas.  Yep, the Stone bush casts a large shadow.

In 20 years time, when Ms Stone stars in the remake of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”, I have this horrific image of her uttering the immortal line, “I’m ready for my close up Mr De Mille”, only for us viewers  to be treated to a loving soft focus tracking shot starting from her head, then moving down, taking about 15 seconds to travel the length of her spaniels ears, until finally reaching her waist, where her distented nipples will finally be seen, pointing floorwards. *shudders*

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So, “Nasty” Nick Griffin, the man who would be Austrian is going to be on BBC Question Time tonight.  Seems it’s an issue that has divided the country.  Whilst his fascist outlook is unwelcome, I do believe it’s time these guys were given the chance to be seen and heard for what they are.  Unfortunately, Question Time isn’t the right platform in my mind.  It tends to deal with the issues of the day, in a semi scripted manner with pre-chosen questions.  So, tonight it will likely cover The Postal Strike, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.  I doubt they’ll let Joe Public ask anything that’s likely to prove overly controversial, and whilst Griffin is undoubtedly an idiot, even he isn’t going to be so foolish as to start ranting about “Jews, Paki’s, blacks and the wholesale destruction of all that is pure and white and British.”

What’s really needed is a debate style program where every party in the UK political scene gets to appear and give the public a proper insight into their policies etc, show how each differs in regards to particular issues.  This would be far more effective in enabling the true colours of each party to show through.  The big danger tonight is that Griffin comes across as reasonable…..

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Isn’t It a Wonder…

Hmm, brief hiatus there.

Well, what’s been going on? Stephen Gately went on a massive bender…and didn’t wake up…..the perils of ‘glory holing’ in Majorcan nightclubs??

Nice to see his former bandmates dropping everything to fly out there. For what? Hmm, would that be to get their faces in the press? Let’s face it, three of them are about to witness the remains of their careers go up in smoke. Just as soon as the cremation can be arranged, anyway. I reckon even the most rabid of moist pantied scream-agers would recognise the three backing singers on the street. Now that the reunion tours are scuppered, what’ve they got left? Louis has the X-Factor, and Ronan’s got whatever it is he does, other than cultivate bland. But Paddy, Mick and Dave??? They are the real victims in all this. Maybe DEC could have an appeal.
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Give us your fuckin money….as Sir Bob never actually said, but maybe he would if he could get a face to face with our MP’s. Not content with being caught snuffling at the trough, the buggers now have the cheek to complain about having to pay some of it back. Oh, how they laughed as we complained about the retrospective tax rises they brought in a time ago. Now the boot is on the other foot, they squirm like stuck little piggies.

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