Archive for October 2009

The deck of cards comes falling down

October 28, 2009

The proposed scheme of introducing identity cards in the UK has taken a step closer. This national identity scheme, which calls for an easy to use and extremely secure system of personal identification for UK residents only, needs some fine tuning (hummmm) before it becomes law. You won’t need any more cards.

All identity cards have biometric information to prevent them being used in a fraudulent manner. Biometric information simply means fingerprints, retina scans and a freckle count. Foreign nationals have already been issued with cards and various parts of the country, on a staggered scale, will be able to apply for them. 2012 will see the full population identity carded. Britain will be a nation of cards.

All forms of personal information will be stored on a unique chip and this will be useful. At the moment the average person has fifty different cards. Wallets, nay suitcases are too small to hold all these important data cards and the businessman needs a wheeled cart to carry all these cards. This explains the preponderance of men in suits dashing about the City with supermarket trolleys. The rolling trolley in the photograph is about to be snatched by the aching arms of this management consultant. Don’t let the nonchalance fool you, he spies an opportunity.

The one card does all would save a lot of space. Recyclable card bins would have to be erected in every town for the redundant old cards. (If any entrepreneur ever does this, I’ll see them in court). Debit cards, credit cards, bank cards, store loyalty cards, library cards, birthday cards, bus pass cards and personalised business cards would all be plastic dinosaurs. Football fans with season “tickets” or swipe cards which they use today can throw them away; the vast majority normally does halfway through the season any way.

Don’t anybody start worrying about what to do if you lose your card. A trip to the master computer and a few biometric details –nose hair analysis, maybe- and you’ll be on your merry way again. However, it takes extreme stupidity to lose a card; I mean c’mon, it’s not as if it’s a remote control or a favourite shirt or the board game Deal or no Deal.

Now that that takes care of the card conundrum it’s time to pester your MP with a one key does all scheme. Where did all these keys come from? When you include the key rings, it’s like walking about with a ball and chain. And you’re jingling like Santa Claus. Ho ho ho.

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The safest way to travel

October 21, 2009

The Japanese joint venture company Hero Honda has seen a massive boost in sales mainly down to the premium Motorcycles it produces such as Splendour and Karizma. At their main headquarters in Delhi, India I was invited to a tour of their premises with their new Sales Executive Hairyukky Needsawashy.

Mr Needsawashy showed me the finished models of the brand new motor cycle called the Hero Honda Hunk. Hiding my smile I asked the high flyer how they choose names for their bikes. A lot of thought goes into it he said and they have to make sure that the name doesn’t translate rudely into another language and all languages are checked beforehand. The Hunk was named after Bruce Banner’s green monster alter-ego from Marvel Comics. Japanese technology has combusted with this typo.

Walking onto the forecourt I was cajoled into taking a spin with the Hunk. The test track was not what I expected. It consisted of two ramps and fifteen double decker buses. Nearby employees were goading me on and asking where’s the British courage? Now I’d watched Ghost Rider recently and if Nicholas Cage can do it…Get me my leathers and my helmet I barked.

Revving the two-stroke engine to full throttle I unleashed the Derby winning horse power beneath me and hurtled up the ramp. Soon I was airborne and absurdly, thinking about Alton Towers. I looked down at Needsawashy, he resembled a Formicidae. There really is nothing to do when you’re in this situation. For instance, you can’t read a newspaper and adrenaline bored I stifled a yawn.

Hitting the opposite ramp I hit the brakes and made doughnut rings with my tyres and then just to be original I made some Hexagons. The Hero Honda employees mobbed me and smothered me with kisses. Kissing in public is not a Japanese or Indian custom but I suppose I was on a Hunk.

Needsawashy was thrilled and informed me that Evel Knievel’s record was fourteen buses. He was fulsome in his admiration and asked me all manners of questions relating to the Dream Machine. Did it need any modifications? Is the seat comfy? Are the handlebars good to grip? Is the Motor cycle up to scratch? I said listen Hairyukky it’s fine but where can I put all my groceries after I’ve visited the supermarket? He pondered and walked slowly back to his drawing board.

Standing on the shoulders of Digger Barnes

October 15, 2009

At one time or another all human beings have copied or followed in somebody’s footsteps. This occurred to me while watching Discovery Channel’s Oil Prospectors programme. The series records how individual oilmen strive to find the Black Gold. Perilous and financially ruinous are two things that can happen in this dangerous and more often than not fruitless venture. However, if they hit a “gusher” they are onto untold riches. Oil is a very precious commodity as no one needs reminding.

As an expert on geography and one who can remember most of the capital cities of the world I felt I had a chance in this high stakes game and elected to become an oil baron. Apparently to be any good at Hydrocarbon exploration it is geology one must be well versed in but give or take a few letters I considered myself a master because I knew about topographical stuff.

The prospectors lugged about the country lots of heavy machinery and hi-tech geophysics computer technology. Travellin’ light was always my mode of baggage so I went rigging armed only with a spade and a bucket. But twas not the seaside I headed for it was the Campsie Mountains.

Exhausted and braving all sorts of elements I had made it a good way up the south face. This is tough work right enough so I stopped for sandwiches and water, I think I might even have dozed off. Coming to I set to on the path to my hopefully lucrative enterprise. The ground was as tough as a gear change from second to fourth but I could see cracks in the rocks appearing. I dug and dug and dug; I did more dugs than Battersea.

Then a fountain of dark brown liquid exploded from the earth. My first thought was I’ve hit a sewage pipe and covered in dark brown mucous I feared the worst; I might need to take a bath when I got home. However the substance didn’t taste like filth and I started whooping like a Red Indian as I imagined I was going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams.

Drinking lots of the brown Gold it dawned on me this can’t be oil. Oil is not for human consumption and like they say on the telly, don’t try this at home. Somehow I had tapped into a small Coca-Cola well and the porous soda was sinking back into the ground as the spray subsided. Utilising my bucket I managed to salvage a few litres. My Hydrocarbon experience might not have resulted the way it was planned but I drank plenty of carbonated fizz.

It’s good for you but it hurts

October 7, 2009

The Conservative party conference in Manchester this week revealed some of the measures they will implement to help the limping economy. The retirement age for men will go up to sixty-six. Talk about beating a man with a walking stick. This extra year will save £13 billion pound of pension payments. To add insult to injury, the year proposed, 2016, is a leap year. So that’s one more day I need to work.

Swinging cuts in the public sector and savage pay reductions for bureaucrats will also alleviate the strain and drain on public debt. A lot of unripe quangos will be quashed. Quangos do sound like a kind of orange, don’t they? The Tories aim to peel the red tape from this poisonous fruit and suck out all the badness. Indeed, the whole country is in dire need of medicine and the cure will be painful.

This links us nicely to quack medicine. Having a history of back problems the slogan for the new product by the Bed Of Nails PLC caught my eye like the arrow that speared King Harold Godwinson at Hastings. “Acupuncture while you sleep and the kids won’t ever jump on this bed.”

Unfortunately I didn’t read the small print and the bed came flat pack. I had to hammer one thousand and one nails into the wooden mattress. A good few sore thumbs- now bandaged up- later and I was that tired I could have slept on a bed of coals. I lay down on the bed of nails and believe it or not, it was comfortable. During the night I got an itch but one short rub on a nail and it was gone.

The nailed bed is so comfy it has lowered my snoring to the noise of a pin drop. Other fringe benefits include an increased immune system and high pain threshold. In these harsh economic times, if nothing else, it’s good to be healthy. The only drawback I have noticed since slumbering on the bed of nails is that when I drink the liquid sieves out my back like a fountain.