Archive for March 2012

Time for a break

March 27, 2012

Hello friends,

For some time my father has been ill and he has taken a turn for the worse. As you can imagine all the family are upset, not least, my mum. My sisters and I have been looking in to make sure she is coping alright. Because of this I will be ceasing blogging for awhile. Recently, I have not been online much, just popping in to add the odd blog or two.

One thing I did not foresee when I started blogging was the interaction I would have with other cyber friends. This was a bonus, talking to lovely, friendly people. I’d like to thank you all for the fun times we’ve had over the years.

Apologies in advance for not responding to comments. I will be back when I think the time is right.

Thank you for reading.


When good journalists walked the Earth

March 19, 2012

It’s been apparent for some time that the quality of journalism in this country has gone to the dogs. This could be blamed on a few factors, including laziness and drunkenness . Since the demise of the delightful, picturesque Sunday Sport there has been a lack of imagination in the press. As Bert Einstein said “imagination is more important than knowledge”. Standards have definitely slipped to the prehistoric era and reading some articles can be as infuriating as a stuck zip, and you can make that excruciating if it’s a stuck zip in the trouser department.

All journalists should have on hand a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. This handy volume of synonyms can liven up the dullest prose by negating the use of repetition. How horrible would it be if you were writing a story about a smelly tramp and you referred to the individual as a smelly tramp throughout the tale. This would be the type of stale writing that would make the reader fall asleep like a smelly tramp with the paper in his lap.

The synonyms of smelly are bountiful: fetid, rank, reeking, putrid, stinking to name just five. Furthermore, the word smelly is food and drink for any self-respecting creator of neologisms. Underarmedfungied, socksmoking and brouffing (the “ou” spoken strongly as in cow) are just a few alternatives to the run of the mill smelly. I’m of the opinion that synonyms should be overused. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. That last line is from the fine wand of Ayn Rand.

Speaking to an elderly hack of the old school he ascertains that the depreciation of newsprint is down to the fact that they don’t use the ancient mechanical typewriters anymore. This contraption instilled discipline. He maintains that every writer loved the clickety-clack of the keys combined with the anticipation of the bell when they reached the end of the line. And the greatest pleasure of all was hurling the machine back to the left side with a handbrake ripping noise.
I was enjoying the interview until the old dinosaur illustrated the bad points of the typewriter.
“They don’t know they’re born. Today’s lot. In my day some typewriters had keys missing. Have you any idea how hard it is to write a story without having a, Y, for example? And losing a vowel was like losing a limb. Changing a roller was-”
He was banging out words twenty to the dozen. I left him there.


Coal on the rocks

March 17, 2012

No one needs reminded that fossil fuels are a finite commodity. Eventually, alternative energy sources will have to be refined. The prediction on what reserves are left varies from one poll to another as forecasting these amounts is an inexact science. One thing that is undeniable is the huge cost to consumers as costs are always rising in this industry.

If I can play the Cassandra card here I forecast that one commodity that will last forever is cola. Since cola was invented it has had its knockers even though it has always been top drawer material.

Just as whisky connoisseurs have a preference, Coca-Cola is my favourite cola. Originally marketed as a medicine, the first cokes were laced with cocaine. That’s right, a dose of coke was dabbed in the cola. How stimulating must that concoction have been? Before long the cocaine was left out of the beverage and the new coca-cola went on to rule the world until they made new coke and had to backtrack.

Although Coca-Cola is it, I do imbibe other brands. So as not to let the waitress feel saddened when she informs me that they only have Pepsi, when I make my order I utter “cola” to avoid any unseemly incidents. In passing I would like to say that Virgin cola has a pleasant taste. Sadly, it seems to have slipped off a lot of menus and is hard to find these days.

The bad press that Coca-Cola receives can get out of hand as everyone wants to kick those at the top. And then I saw this.

Now I like sugar like any daddy, faithfully taking two spoonfuls in every cup of tea, but these pyramids were food for thought. I swear some of my teeth fell out just looking at the picture. It was time to wean myself off the caramel based toxin. It has been a struggle. Withdrawal is pure hot chicken. My taste buds have felt the pungent liquid of Lilt and Orangeade as I seek alternative “softies”. The doctor suggested milk and I replied I already take that with corn flakes and a ladle of sugar. The last resort is to go back to the brown stuff and drink beer only.

Don’t forget your stabilisers

March 6, 2012

The only coincidence that is somewhat linked to my current mishap is my reading of a review of a new book on the five times Tour de France winner, Eddy Merckx. His desire to win rivalled that of the similarly-driven Formula One champion, the late Ayrton Senna. As usual my mind wandered into the unhinged dominion of Absurdica. I imagined the scenario of Merckx and Senna having a speed duel on camels. That’s right, camels. The most famous Belgian, arguably, against the Saint from Sao Paulo with not a wheel in sight, racing on sand.

Anyway, this is not what this is all about, for once this is a serious blog. At the weekend my son left his bike unlocked outside the sports centre. He was in a rush; forget to chain it up and when he returned it was gone. Bad as it is, these things happen and I was not angry with him. Some situations call for cool and cucumber was the order of the day. We didn’t report the incident as there are no CCTV cameras in the grounds. Without witnesses on hand there was no chance of recovery. We wrote it off.

It still left me with the job of replacing said vehicle. Mentioning the economic gloom to him I could only promise a bike at the lower end of the market. He was happy with this as he only uses the bike a few times a week. While not discouraging him from the extra exercise cycling brings I worry when he is on the road. For his wellbeing I make sure he is Hi-Vis’ed to the nines. None of this skimpy aerodynamic lycra for him, I have him padded up like a linebacker.

Halfords seems a logical destination to start the search for a decent two-wheeler. Some breaking news for you. Bicycles to car parts retailer Halfords Group Plc reported a drop in sales in the run-up to Christmas so they’ll like our custom. I might show this page to their manager in the hope of a discount. After all, this is a free plug for them. Sometime next week my son and I will pencil in a date that is suitable for both of us.

Cycling has never rocked my boat, nor have cars either for that matter, though in my youth it was a badge of honour to own a chopper. Only the kids with the well-off parents could drive these machines; envy was rife along with the legendary plea “Gonnae give me a shot?”
This was the Ferrari of bikes.

Just add salt and pepper

March 5, 2012

This is a true story.

Why do women like snakes? It beats me. A friend told me last week of a female work colleague that owned a pet python. She loved this reptile as if it were a bunny rabbit. Notwithstanding the fact the snake could probably eat a bunny rabbit. The woman and the snake were devoted partners and she let the slitherer sleep in the same room as her.

The snake’s usual diet was rats. It went off rats. Weeks turned into months and the snake was refusing to eat. Alarmed, the woman surmised something was wrong and took the snake to the vet. It was there that the animal doctor came away with the chilling comment.

“There’s nothing wrong with the python. It has been sizing you up as you are on the petite side and was intending to eat you.”​

The woman, deflated, though thankfully not squashed could only murmur.

“Are you telling me my pet is a cannibal?”

“Not at all, lady. As a vet, I can assure you, you are not a snake.”