Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind

t the weekend, I saw an episode of the Simpsons called Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind. 's a pretty good episode (the standard is always high anyway of course, on the best TV programme ever) - but there was a sequence in it that was brilliant. The episode's title, and the plot, refer to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Homer has lost 24 hours of his life and thinks he has ruined everyone's lives he loves during that period - so he throws himself off a bridge to commit suicide. His life then flashes before his eyes...

Homer's life appears in the form of a Youtube video which is a spoof of Noah Kalina's "
Noah Takes a Photo of Himself Every Day for 6 Years" which in itself is an amazing 5 minutes and 45 seconds and worth watching. The music used for both is called Everyday by Carly Comando.

Unfortunately, Fox doesn't like people promoting The Simpsons for them for free and keep removing the Utube clip - there is currently a version of the clip HERE.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Time Out 40 Years

Time Out is 40 years old this week (starting in London and then going global). Despite not going to many events in London, I have always enjoyed reading it. But I was shocked and a little disappointed when I read the Time Out 40 Years special edition this week.

I am no prude (just look at my favourites on Explorer), but I found the statement on page 118 in an article about Pete Townsend - "…had Paul Weller wanking himself dry for days…” to be in extremely bad taste. Time Out is not a 'lads mag' or the 'Sunday Sport', so why drag it down to their very low gutter level?

Time Out has set standards that few magazines have or will ever reach, so why ruin that legacy with such poor editorial judgement?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Am I fattist?

As I write this, it's Wednesday the 24th September at 6.20pm. I am writing in good old fashioned pencil and will obviously type it word for word later.

I am currently sitting on an Easyjet flight from Luton to Edinburgh. As you may know, the Easyjet seats are not massive as you get what you pay for and I understand and support the Easyjet business model. However, tonight I am crammed against the window as one of the fattest men I have seen has chosen the middle seat in this row of three.

How he got into the seat, I may never understand. I am seriously concerned how he will get out again and how I would get out in an Emergency. I have already worked out a route climbing over the man in front of me who looks quite small.

We have been flying for 10 minutes and Fat man is now sleeping and I cant move. To prove how much space he is taking up, I try to open my table and can't as it hits his arms and is close to his gut. His frame is taking up around a quarter of my space. He is too fat to sit right back in the seat and therefore his legs are wide open to avoid the seat in front.

I force my table open in the hope that he moves over a little and allow my lungs to expand again. It works... for about 30 seconds and then he's back.

Do these comments make me fattist? Let me be specific here, I am not talking about overweight people, this man is really obese and I would reckon on 30+ stone (that's 420 pounds or 190kg).

I have nothing against obese people in theory, but I have read stories that a significant part of the NHS costs are due to conditions caused by weight. Should we be subsidising those who choose to mistreat their bodies? And, should he pay for 2 seats and be put at the front - partly for other people's comfort, but mainly for safety?

I will have to give some thought to my prejudice and whether I am simply wrong. However, at this time I am more concerned about my safety.

At the end of the flight, he struggled to free himself from the seat and I had to look away with embarrassment as he strained to release his body. It took a good minute and I wondered if Easyjet engineers would have to bring some grease.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Text and driving

On BBC Breakfast last week, they reported on the 'youth of today' and how they think that writing/sending a text while driving was acceptable and not dangerous. The piece stated that tests have shown that texting impairs motorists more than being under the influence of drink or drugs. [Insert sarcastic voice here] Well who would have thought it?!

Nearly 50% of drivers aged between 18 and 24 texted while driving, the research said. Now I cant quite believe that people in this age bracket are so stupid as to think the practice is not dangerous.

Anyway, the penalties are now a little more harsh (a small fine and 3 points on the license). When people start losing licenses after accumulating points, the word of mouth will hopefully get around and make scummy people think about what they are doing. However, I think we should be even harder on those who give little thought to those around them!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Freebie night - cheers to Sandra

Courtesy of the lovely Sandra, this weekend was a little unusual. Pete and myself spent Saturday from around 1.30pm through to Sunday morning as mystery shoppers at a top London hotel. I wont name the place, but it was very rather nice. The location was Kensington and that's always nice. However, I did notice that TK Max had moved in - that must have ruffled some feathers.

There's no such thing as a free lunch said
Henry Wallace, but the only cost for this was some travel expenses and a little time in filling out a spreadsheet. Having my spy hat on did change my view of the hotel and it's staff, as I was expected to be explicitly critical throughout the 20 or so hours at their establishment. In general, the staff were very good and the food... Well, the New York strip steak was absolutely superb! However, we didn't need 3 tons of cheese for the final course, but that would be moaning for the sake of it. Having a swim, steam and sauna is a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Freebies are great of course. There are plenty of websites around promoting free "stuff", but you need to beware that you're not just inviting junk mail. I wonder how many freebies I could get in a week if I really tried? It seems far too easy to find free bets, free dog food, free gym trials, free downloads, free family history research, etc etc etc.

The only thing to niggle me over the weekend was the ****ers walking around with their collars up. Another blog coming up on that topic perhaps!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The death of local radio?

Ever since I was little, I have loved to listen to the radio - and not just one station or type. I am also interested in the history of radio. When I first read about Pirate Radio from the 1960's, I was totally hooked. DAB has added another level of interest for me.

When Independent local radio started in 1973 with Capital and LBC, the IBA wanted high quality broadcasting that closely reflected the local area and they put in place strict rules to ensure that each radio station appealed to as wide an audience as possible and that it included many local items.

Over the years, the rules have been relaxed, partly to ensure that profits could be made, but this has meant that quality has suffered. What we have now are bland radio stations playing safe chart hits - avoiding too much new music and completely avoiding anything that might "educate" listeners with something unusual. Would a ILR station now take a risk with someone with natural talent like Kenny Everitt?

The DJs appear to come off a production line after being trained by Smashy and Nicey - with names like Andy Roberts, Dave Stevens, Jamie Peters (you have to have a surname that is a christian name with an 's' on the end).
How many male/female combinations line up each day for a Morning Zoo or similar? Why do they think that Shalamar must be played once every hour? Don't all the jingles sound the same? Each station now seems to ignore the local area it's in, with no local news or events and as such, they are all almost identical.

There is a lack of originality in the programming and styles. When was the last time that a local independent radio station won a radio award for a documentary, comedy show, live broadcast, concert broadcast etc etc etc

Unfortunately, my hope that the quality of local radio could improve in the UK came to an end this week with the announcement that 30 local radio stations are to be re-named Heart as part of a shake-up by their owner. So almost national uniform blandness becomes official. Of course, I have the option not to listen to independent local radio and therefore I rarely do.

My hopes are therefore placed on DAB and we have some good stations available with some exciting ones to come from Channel 4 and partners. Time will tell...

For Sonny...

Who thought the blog may be too serious...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Matthew Mitcham - hero/hunk

I don't want to get into too many gay themes on this blog, as I think other people deal with them really well. But one person I would like mention is Matthew Mitcham who recently competed at the Olympics in China.

The Australian 20 year old took part in the 10 metre platform diving and finished FIRST - he happens to be gay. Amazingly, of the 11,028 competitors at the games, only 11 are openly gay. Of those 11, only Matthew is male (no butch Lesbian jokes please).

Do the sums, if 1 in 10 are said to be gay, then a thousand athletes were in the closet at the games. A big topic for another day is gay footballers and the homophobic views in football. But the sums don't work there either - of the 500 or so professionals in the premier league , there are no out gay guys - take a ultra conservative 1 in 20 and you should see 25 gay players. They are there, so I hope to see them able to be come out one day soon.

There are two reasons to mention Matthew specifically - firstly, to celebrate his bravery at coming out. It takes guts to do it, but even more so when you are in the public eye as he already was. The second (and more important) reason, is that it gives me the opportunity to post a picture of an almost naked fit guy on the blog and no-one can accuse me of anything!

Matthew is like many gay men in that, being gay could be said to be the least interesting thing about him. He's an Athlete first and foremost. It's such a shame that despite all the advances, there are still plenty of "famous" people who have to live a lie, let alone the "average" man or woman. There are plenty of bigots around, but coming out stamps on those prejudices.

I have been toying with the idea of collecting coming-out and not-coming-out stories together to hopefully inspire people. Watch this, or another, space.

Well done to Matthew for just doing the deed and then getting on with the more important things in life.


The UK inflation rate has been rising over the past year, though is still historically low. I think that the Government is only partly responsible for the economic problems we are experiencing at the moment - though the could have put aside some reserves had they been a little more prudent in recent years.

Anyway, this blog entry is about inflation and, more importantly, how it is presented. I think it's important to keep up with developments in the economy, but all statistics should be considered as a rough guide and not set in stone.

The BBC has a clever calculator that works out your personal inflation figure based on RPI. Compared to overall national inflation rate of 4.8% per year, my personal rate is 6.4%. I am not surprised that my personal RPI figure is higher than the national figure - mainly due to the increase in fuel costs over the past year, buying hardcore porn, food etc.

The main index used by the Government is the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) which a good index for comparing economies across Europe. It uses different stats compared to RPI but the experts are split over whether it is a fair index and a true measure of the increase in prices experienced by individuals and families. The fact is, there can never really be a fair index as it will always be an average across the economy - there is no answer to that. The pensioner doesn't download music or eat out as often as a young person, who in turn will not spend much on other items.

Have a go at the BBC inflation calc as it's a useful tool to see where perhaps you can make changes to expenditure and it also highlights that the national headline rate is pretty useless. Some people will see their personal inflation nearing 10%, so don't be fooled by the Politians when they say that inflation is under control!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Jonas Brothers

So how long will it be before one of the Jonas Brothers (those Disney endorsed, Christian virgins who love everybody on the planet), becomes involved in some drug crazed, sex fueled breakdown?

Cynical... me?! Don't tell me that these lads aren't just being packaged by The Man to sell their rather bland, overly produced pop to young girls. I somehow don't see them being a success in the UK - their "message" is not one that their UK target market is used to hearing and will be seen through. Male teenagers, even American ones, can't be THIS clean cut!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Saturday the 13th

The sun shone! It took a while for me to realise what the light in the sky was, but wikipedia helped to identify it.

And Crystal Palace won a game scoring 2 goals at home. That's 2 goals at home, in total, for the whole season! I'll post a rant about Palace at some point I think.

And now for a 3 course meal...

Friday, 12 September 2008

Prison Holiday

When you commit a crime, you deserve to be punished. This could mean a fine or prison. If the punishment is prison, you are being taken out of society to protect the public and this should also mean that you lose access to the best that life has to offer.

So when I read that
prisoners recently had a party, I was stunned at how PC and stupidly liberal we have become – we can’t upset anyone, not even a criminal. Treating such people as misunderstood and in need of help misses the point, in my opinion. They need to be educated, to allow them to offer something back to society and also shocked into not breaking the law again.

Prison should simply be an awful place to live, to make sure that people never want to return. “We” are making prison easy and, from what I read on various websites, quite an agreeable place to live! I’m not quite advocating flogging, but let’s get back to basics with a removal of the pleasant things in life like TV, games consoles, ipods, etc. The prisoners should really want to get out – and we should make sure that they have the tools (i.e. education and skills) to get on with life when they have served their sentence. That way, we all win… the criminal doesn’t want to go back to prison and hopefully will avoid crime, and we get skilled people able to work so don’t need to rely on benefits.

And if you want to know how ludicrous it has become – one quote from a year or so ago jumped out at me on my google search:
“Violent and disruptive prisoners are being paid by the Prison Service to play Scrabble, look after fish tanks and learn the guitar.”

Sounds more like a holiday to me...

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Who the hell is...? - #1 Jonathan Wilkes

I caught a little of the charity football on TV this weekend (a worthy cause) and playing as a "celeb" was this guy. His name is Jonathan Wilkes and he scored the winning goal.

What confused me was, who the hell is he!?? and why does he seem to get in camera shot during every interview acting like he is an A-lister with talent???

OK, I admit that I do know that he is a friend of Robbie Williams, but he just winds me up with that over-the-top showing off. That "look at me because I am great" manner doesn't seem to tally with his achievements. Wikipedia never lies.... on the face of it, he's a failed pop star and failed TV presenter that now appears on the stage and the odd reality TV programme.

Now don't get me wrong - in private he might be a really nice guy, albeit a bit geeky looking. But... on camera, I think he's just one of those Z-List people who will just annoy me - mainly due to the supercilious attitude and that he seems to really believe that his is special (and expects everyone to agree). There are far too many of this kind of celeb on TV and perhaps we need to return to the good old days... when our celebs had some talent and were modest enough not to act like Americans with the obligatory whooping and shouting.

Monday, 8 September 2008

4 x 4 owners

Parked opposite my house is a BIG 4x4. Not only is it blocking the pavement as it's parked half on the pavement, half on the road... it's blocking light as well.

Why on earth would you want one in this town?....

Safety? Nope, they are no safer to passengers that good quality saloon cars. In fact, they cause more deaths to pedestrians than cars.

Fun? Nope, it's never been off road!!!!

Status? Nope, they are not green and everyone knows you got into debt to buy it.

It's a penis extension - that's the only answer. Get a life saddo. If you see a 4x4, you may wish to stick the picture below to it.