Friday, October 30, 2009

It's a bit of a worry

Redundancy at its best:

It's time for Wonko the sane to rebuild his asylum.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Groß in Deutschland

I feel a lot better now my library fines are paid off and I can borrow books again. I have been enjoying my re-readings of Terry Pratchett, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to have something new.

I don't know what it is about library books 'though: despite having the ability to renew them online I have this mental block about doing it, as if rabid librarians are about to leap out of the screen and savage me with their dictionaries. It's ridiculous to allow the fines to build up to a size of a cow.

Well, a calf with a limp.

It occurs to me that I ought to read some Rosamunde Pilcher as she is a. Cornish and b. I've been lucky enough to be on the periphery of the filming of one of her novels. Apparently she's very big in Germany. As more of a tv movie, it was nothing like as big & exciting as last year's major film production, (which I'm not allowed to talk about. Squeak "I'm the mascot of an evil corporation!"[/Simpsons]) but it was still interesting. At least until my feet were getting cold and they did the same scene for the nth time from a slightly different angle.

Pilcher is definitely not my usual sort of author, but I might give her a go, just to see: it might have been pure assumption and misplaced intellectual snobbery based on automatically disliking something that a certain person would read. Argh, the pettiness. Or is it just knowing my own taste compared to hers? Or somewhere in between?

If anyone reads Pilcher*, don't be shy, tell me why she's good or why she appeals to Germans or if I'll enjoy her.

Hasselhoff appeals to the Germans musically, I believe.

* And don't be concerned that it might have been you I was being petty about disliking the things that they liked, because a. I didn't know you read Pilcher or I'd have been more circumspect, and b. I wouldn't have been petty about it here if it was you I was being petty about. So neah.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ghastly little man

I daresay I'm late to the party. Well, damned sure I'm late to the party about Question Time and the appearance of Nick Griffin, but I thought I'd write about it anyway before I look around and read other blogs and what have you online. (I'm not using the internet as much lately, which is probably a good thing, but means that I am a bit behind).

I thought he was a sweaty 'orrible little man and he was caught several times in outright lies & misdirections and felt quite satisfied that the man had made an utter tit of himself.

What worried me, however, is the idea that was suggested in the Andrew Neil prog afterwards that maybe some people would feel sorry for him as he seemed outnumbered.

This was borne out to me personally a few days later when some of the people I was working with, older middle-class people, were saying exactly that. They felt sorry for him and maybe he did have a point about immigration. They didn't seem to have noticed the stuff about holocaust-denial, nor where Griffin lied or fudged about holocaust-denial being illegal in this country, which it isn't.

I guess this is confirmation bias at work. When I see Nick Griffin's performance, I see a disgusting toad of a man, trying to weasel out of his own words. But when more right-leaning types see him they might see a much misunderstood, much beset fellow? Alarming. I hope no credibility was gained by him through the programme.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Petty little thing, let me light your candle

I like to take the moral highground when I can, but sometimes I indulge in reassuring fantasies of petty revenge. Or petty fantasies of reassuring revenge.

My boss who has done me wrong (you'll have to take my word for it and be on my side without knowing all facts as is meet and right on my very own blog, for I will explain no further) left his winkle-pickers unattended this morning and I amused myself well with notions of what to fill them with.

Would it be feasible that a squashed olive had managed to insert itself into the toe? A few crumbs might have crept in? Would he notice if a trampled chip were ground into the sole? What if the mop should drip by accident some bleachified dirty water? Would a stale drink seep out or slosh around inside? What if someone had mistaken them for a toilet brush? Could they mysteriously become ornament to the lamp-shades?

These musings kept me amused throughout my work and occasionally made me cackle out-loud like a lunatic. Fortunately shielded by the noise of the vacuum.

Alas, I contented myself with hanging them up out of the way (although in a manner that amused me mightily in my pathetic impotence) - and the fact that they are winkle-pickers and that's probably punishment enough.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Memories are made of this.

Ah, children. The first time they smile, the first time they laugh, their first steps. The first time they accuse you of treating them like a filthy slave, no less (for having the audacity to expect them to tidy their rooms).

These are the moments that make it all worthwhile and will raise a smile forever.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Never, without permission

There's a frankly terrifying shampoo advert on telly. I was too traumatised* to remember what the product was, but it was shampoo alright.

A woman is in a hairdresser's and some chappie is touching her silky tresses. Nothing so sinister about that, until you realise the frightening bit.

The frightening bit is that he turns out to be the water-delivery guy.

The mad woman smiles sexily as he pushes out his trolley, having been discovered, but that's because in stupid-fucking-advert-land women find it a compliment for weirdo strangers to pretend to work in their hairdresser's and rub one out** on their hair.


* Hyperbole. And it turned out to be Head & Shoulders when I had misfortune to see it again.
**I may be overstating the case slightly: no actual masturbation going on as that would probably not pass the censors, haha. But it's still not a compliment and it's still not sexy for some strange man to help himself to parts of a woman's body. Gerroff.

Stop! This programme is getting far too silly... Attention director.... Wait for it!

I'm enjoying the new American series FlashForward so far, but the most recent episode I've seen, episode 3, **spoilers follow, highlight to read** features the FBI going over to Germany and releasing an ex-Nazi from prison.

Now this strained credulity beyond the stretchiest of stretchy-out things. What about German sovereignty? What about what Israel would have to say about it? What about internal American politics and lobbyists? What about an international stink kicked-up by the UN (and everywhere) surely? How come it takes a couple of phone calls, about five minutes and it's done?

Even given wide-spread devastation and fear, it wouldn't be a matter of 'let my Nazis go'. Extraordinary rendition when they sweep him off to Gitmo and water-board him til he squeaks maybe I could believe, but a bit of moralising from colleagues and yay, on with the plot?

Well, it was pushing it a bit, I felt.

Maybe all that'll come into play next episode. As it stands, it's a bit of jingoistic US arrogance in the plotting there.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Saturday night's alright for blighting

Saturday nights on the BBC are a masterwork of programming. The early evening contains possibly the most bizarre series ever, Hole in the Wall, where y*-list celebrities dress as tubes of toothpaste and attempt to form shapes before a polystyrene wall pushes them into a pool of water. When they add the piranhas, it'll attain a whole new level of joy to watch.

Hosted by Anton du Beke, a positive grinning machine of 'affectionate' racism, it features other Strictly people, notably Austin Healey's manhood. I mean, it features Austin Healey's package. I mean, it features Austin Healey's meat and two veg. I mean, it features Austin Healey's groin. I mean, it features Austin Healey's cock. You know, I just can't get that sentence out properly... It's mesmerising. You can't help but look, the eye is drawn... He might as well have an arrow painted on his chest pointing down there. It wouldn't damage the overall sartorial message.

Then there's Merlin, which is a reworking of Arthurian legend. It's interesting and good fun although historicity is probably not its strong point. Not that the legends belong reliably to any time period. But things like Arthur's interest in Guinevere (she is cast as a servant) which in those times (whenever they weren't) he'd probably have satiated by simply ordering her to his bed. I like the series in much the same way I liked Smallville initially, the taking of the material and making it their own rather than trying to remain faithful to what's gone before.

And then there's Strictly Come Dancing, which spawned the likes of Du Beke and Healey's package onto our screens, and for that it's hard to know what to feel. Oily pricks aside, I have to watch Strictly.

It's that or the X-factor and at least Strictly doesn't have those lousy 'heart-warming' sob-stories where I may throw up. I caught a bit of one episode where Cheryl Cole got up on stage to hug & comfort a competitor: it was the most awkward and faky looking thing. I don't think the fact that CC could barely walk in her high heels and had the tiniest tightest skirt on helped. She looked in need of the sea-witch to give her her tail back more than anything. Dressing impractically has its upsides no doubt, but walking naturally and being able to give a hug are not part of 'em.

Oh I enjoy Saturday nights viewing.

No, really, I do.

* As in "Whyyyyy?!" What have the poor British public done to deserve this? Apart from not bothering to vote and reading the Daily Fail, the bastards. And suffering Richard LittleJohn to live still. They deserve all they get.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Media and public health

I think it's very worrying the way that news about public health is handled in the media. In the last few days regarding Natalie Morton, the media were very quick to lash the HPV vaccine and her death together. Yet it seems today that the underlying medical condition she had was a tumour and the vaccination has been ruled out as a cause of death entirely.

This relieves my mind as a parent who has to make those vaccination decisions, although I can't imagine the grief of the bereaved family. How awful it must be for them to have her death (and then have it compounded by the attendant media interest).

I think the media should be more responsible and measured.

I think that the government could handle things better: with the MMR, they did these scary and patronising adverts of babies and cliff-tops and lions, irrc. Those made me quite angry. Their leaflets actually made me more distrustful because they didn't give me facts, it gave me spin, and I can recognise spin. I feel they would have been more successful in getting their message through if they had trusted people with the hard information. It's plain that they think poorly of their audience's comprehension, but if science is presented simply & well and isn't shrouded by a lot of patronising guff, I do think that most people would be able to weigh it up for themselves. Maybe I'm being naive, but then their cynicism about people doesn't work. An attitude of 'we need to bamboozle you' because you won't understand the facts backfired rather well I think, and the anti-vaxxers ended up sounding more genuine.

On the bright side, they now have Health News from NHS Choices, which tells you about the research papers and strengths/weaknesses of them that the Daily Fail et al fish out their striking 'facts' from, to help you put such stories into perspective. I urge you to pass on the url to anyone who swallows medical 'news' stories whole.