"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Sales

Well I ventured out today at 9am to take in the Christmas sales and see what clothing bargains I could get. I took my new and very fetching Tartan Shopper (TS) with extra-wide gusset (a "Granny" special) that my mum had got me for Crimbo, to save me juggling about 12 carrier bags on only 10 fingers.

I also didn't bother to do my hair, since it was already pelting down with snow and wind, so what was the point of a nice coiff? Add to the fact I had another crap nights sleep, had dark shadows under my eyes, and with the addition of my duffle coat I resembled a fully fledged Bag Lady.

On hitting the shops looking like said Bag Lady, I realised the TS was a bad idea - I think every single shop attendant eyed me up as I walked in with duffle coat and Big Bag and scruffy hair, and immediately thought "shoplifter!!!" and as I browsed the racks with an armful of clothes, I felt the Young Trendy Shop Girls closing in, ready to pounce should I make a dash for the door. After I duly tried the clothes on then paid for them, refusing a carrier bag (horrid plastic!) and putting the clothes in my TS, I think they relaxed somewhat. However I still felt like the biggest frump in the cosmiverse and wished I had done my hair and worn a different coat.

As I trailed from shop to shop and bought stuff, the TS got heavier and heavier. Why is it that every single bloody item I touched on a clothes rack promptly fell off the hangar and onto the floor, leaving me with the choice of walking off and leaving it, or struggling with TS, armful of clothes, and said item of clothing?? This while other rude nubile size 8s shoved past me, kneeing my TS and staring at the Funny Bag Lady swearing at a coathanger....

I also have realised that Top Shop trousers will NEVER fit me - they are obviously styled for today's pear-shaped girl who has a beer belly overhang and no waist - every pair I tried on stuck out like a champagne class around my hips and waist, as if waiting for me to suddenly expand into them.

Changing rooms left a lot to be desired, with most having little or no hooks to hang your coat and clothes. Some hooks helpfully pointed downwards and had no ends on them, so your clothes fell straight off onto the floor. Others smelt of niffy feet, and all were manned by sullen teens who looked down their noses at you as if to say "HA that won't suit YOU, Bag Lady!!!" and eyed my bulging TS with suspicion.

In every shop there were helpless-looking men standing around looking utterly fed up, or following their women around the racks and nodding listlessley at their ravings about the sparkly pink top with 40% off, or sitting outside changing rooms with "FFS HURRY UP!" written all over their faces. All these trendy clothes shops need a seating area and copious amounts of Top Gear magazine/Maxim/GQ to keep these poor guys from going insane.

As usual the young girls serving at the counter were as polite as always (see earlier Whinge at http://spaces.msn.com/members/whinges/Blog/cns!1phRy8Dn8LuYsTPHFr5S_KOQ!120.entry), and only Bay Trading got top marks for customer service and the remotest hint of frendliness. Every other shop not a word was spoken as the jumped up little teens took my money and avoided my eye contact. If they were pissed off to be working over Christmas then TOUGH SHIT, don't work in retail! But be the F*CK nice to us Bag Ladies, we may be eccentric millionaires that could change your life ....

I went to Chapelfield, the new shopping centre in Norwich, and bloody hell it was carnage in there - at 1pm I gave up - just too many people...I hobbled along with my heavy TS, and started to not care I was kneecapping people with it as I shoved through the crowds of slowly-walking Chavs and fat girls in hipsters. I caught one (rather nice looking) young man staring at me with an amused smile on his face. I wondered if he'd noticed the trance-like look of "get me out" desperation in my face as I hobbled along, or whether he was laughing at the Funny Ginger Bag Lady. Other young lads walked around in t-shirts outsidfe - WTF? It had started to SNOW heavily and these idiots were in t-shirts?!

I finally got to my car and worked my way out of town. In true Norwich City Council style, none of the roads had been gritted, and a slushy buildup had started. Cars crawled along, and one irritating twat in an Audi put his fog lights on - AS IF THAT WOULD HELP YOU IDIOT. Is it foggy?!? NO! Then f*cking turn off those dazzling lights before I ram you on purpose!

Smug Gits in 4x4s were everywhere, being Smug and thinking "I'm in a 4x4 so I can get through the snow, HA HAAAA I'M KING OF THE ROAD". Er not quite - the sight of one wheelspinning up Rose Lane was hilarious. 4x4s are even more lethal in slippery weather because they are more likely to roll in the event of a skid, and smash into ickle Golf drivers like me. Specially when they don't bother to scrape their side and rear windows and are driving blind - their already limited all-round vision is limited even more by their sheer laziness in window-scraping.

Bought a loads of luvvly Crimbo decorations at 50% off for next year, then went home and unpacked, only to discover that the funky china roll-top bath I'd purchased with requisite bath smellies and a teddy stuffed inside, had got smashed in bloody TS, and was useless - waste of a fiver. I only wanted the little rolltop bath to use in the new bathroom, and all I was left with was a ruddy teddy and some sickly pink bath smellies. Charity Shop!!!!

After cleaning the lounge and doing the ironing and making a sossie casserole for tea (yum) I'm now going to attempt to relax and sew another Snuggle Hammock for my neglected ickle ratties.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

No tat for me this Christmas

Well it seems my rantings against tat and for buying useful presents didn't fall on deaf ears....boyfriend produced a temptingly heavy big parcel on Christmas Eve; oooh I sniffed it I shook it I wondered what it was .... so this morning came and I ripped into it first thing.

Beneath the wrapping paper was a brown box with a software make all over it. Oooh what was it! A GPS car thingie, something cool for my digicam?

No - it was 10 bottles of Fructis shampoo and 2 bottles of bubble bath. Boyfriend smirked at me and said "well, you told me you'd appreciate 6 months worth of shampoo, cos it'd be useful and you'd not charity shop it". He then laughed and produced my real present - a Kylie "Showgirl" DVD.

Smug git .....

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Reports are saying that over 200,000 people in the UK are still paying off last Christmas, while spending too much money again THIS Christmas. As a results, debts soar and credit cards cash in, as stupid people are pressured to have a huge Christmas every year, to have bigger meals, a bigger tree, more presents, more booze, more parties.

Why can't they just say "NO SORRY we're having a small Christmas this year, we're a bit skint". Are they that scared what other people will think? Who gives a toss what they think, if you're in debt you don't go and bloody spend even more money, no matter how much your kids whinge for the latest expensive piece of tat. They should be told and learn that when mummy and daddy have no money, everybody will have to miss out a bit and just deal with it.

Think small, be thankful for what you HAVE got, and that you are happy, healthy and have a roof over your head. Then think about all the other people out there who have less than nothing, but deal with it and get on with their lives. Or spend shitloads you haven't got on booze and tat .... it probably still won't feel very good ...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Happy Birthday Jesus??

The idea of celebrating the Nativity on December 25 was first suggested early in the fourth century CE, a clever move on the part of Church fathers who wished to eclipse the December 25 festivities of a rival pagan religion, Mithraism, which threatened the existence of Christianity.

In ancient times, Dec. 25 was the date of the lavish Roman festival of Saturnalia. It was a time when gifts were exchanged; homes, streets and buildings were decorated; people came home for the holidays and everybody was in a happy, party mood. It has been said that early Christians chose the date of the Saturnalia in order to avoid attention and thus escape persecution.

When the Roman emperor Constantine officially adopted Christianity in the 4th century, the date of Christmas remained Dec. 25.

Christs birth almost certainly did not occur 2,002 years ago. Our present chronology by which the years are numbered as AD or BC was conceived by the Roman abbot Dionysius Exiguus around 523 AD.

Unfortunately, Dionysius made two significant errors in his calculations. The first was his placement of 1 AD immediately following 1 BC, completely disregarding the mathematically required 0 in between. Back then in Europe, zero was not considered a number. So, for instance, the year we now call 3 BC, is actually 2 numerically speaking.

Second, Dionysius accepted the statement of Clement of Alexandria that Jesus was born in the 28th year of the reign of the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus. But Dionysius failed to realize that during the first four years of his reign this Roman ruler was known by his original name Octavianus, until the Roman senate proclaimed him "Augustus." So here alone we have an error of four years, but by the time it was realized our chronology was too well entrenched to be changed.


An interesting article from an astronomy website. So when exactly was Jesus born then, (if he was at all), and have we just celebrated the Millennium too late or too early?

Friday, December 16, 2005

What if ....


After reading this very upsetting article I got to thinking:

"What if animals could talk?"

If they did, there would have to be a completely new set of rules for EVERYTHING set up, to include animals and their rights, because they would be able to speak for themselves.

Just imagine - Humans would not be able to breed them in conditions like that, because they would speak out - if we wanted to keep one as a pet they'd very likely say "er no thanks, would rather run free thanks!" Or we'd be subject to stringent checks to see if new animal was happy with its surroundings. Reptile owners would be stuffed because animals would refuse to be bred as Feeders.

We'd totally not be able to eat meat anymore, all animals would say "HEY you're not killing us to eat, get lost!" Same for fur, leather etc etc. A whole new clothing system would have to be developed!

If we squashed a bunny or a pheasant on the roads, our number plates would be taken by a vigilant animal and we'd be held responsible.

Pet shops would go out of business or be VERY carefully monitored - all pets would have to be kept in absolute freedom or luxury to their own requirements - they'd have a say in all aspects of their own care, including which TV channel they wanted to watch!

What would happen to animal testing and experimentation???

There would no doubt be a new terrorist underground established that held animals prisoner and used them as feeders/lab fodder etc whether they liked it or not.

What else would happen to our world if animals could speak?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


These extracts from an article on the Sovereignity website:

Our Armed Forces are for the defence of British national interests, at home and abroad, which includes our people wherever they may be, our territory and borders, and our vital strategic interests worldwide.

Our Forces are not for the promotion of foreign interests. If we commit our precious and brave servicemen and women to conflict, then we need to be sure, firstly, that it is in our national interest so to do.

Consider the arguments being used to justify the War:

"Saddam is in Breach of UN Resolutions"
UN resolutions? So what! Other countries are in breach of UN resolutions. Anyway, UN resolutions do not have the force of law, and there is nothing in our constitution which requires a British government to seek to enforce them as if they did. Most especially, it is not our job to run about the world imposing UN resolutions. It is not our job to strengthen globalist institutions like the UN.

"We Should Oppose Brutal States Like Iraq"
Every state can be brutal, and every state can be accused of being brutal by someone else.
It is not our business to oppose a state simply because it is "brutal", by someone's definition. If we decide to oppose all "brutal" regimes then we will either have a lot of opposing to do, or we will need to become highly selective and, consequently, hypocritical. We should only get involved when it is our business, and when it is in the best interests of our own country and people.

"Saddam is an Evil Tyrant"
Again, so what! The premise from which to argue is: It is for the Iraqi people to deal with Saddam, if they choose so to do. It is not for us to get involved. It is frankly, none of our business. Even if he eats babies for breakfast, it is none of our business, unless he is threatening British people or our interests. If he eats babies for breakfast then it is for the Iraqi people to bother about it, and deal with him, and organise so to do, if and when they see fit. If he's a bad leader then it is up to the Iraqis to decide when to depose him. This they may have done eventually if Iraq had been treated like a normal nation, and the punitive sanctions it suffered under for 12 years had been dropped.

For us to get involved is for us to interfere in other people's business, to impose our "morality" on them, and to be full of hypocrisy because whoever replaces him will likely be just as bad, and the people now calling for Saddam's head will look the other way when the new regime tortures and murders its old opponents.
It is also absurd to measure Iraq by our Western "democratic" standards.

"We Must Not Appease Dictators"
The "appeasement" issue only arises if he's a direct threat to our country and people. Otherwise, it's not our business.

"Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction"
Self-defence for self-determination is a principle of sovereignty. Iraq has a fundamental right to be a self-determining sovereign nation. Every self-determining nation is entitled to defend itself. Every self-determining nation has a perfect right to possess whatever weapons it wants.

Even if Iraq did have "weapons of mass destruction" there would be no reason for us to attack it. Such weapons would be of no direct threat to Britain, or even threaten our interests in the region.

Who, and for whose foreign interests, will our soldiers be required to fight and die for next?

From a patriotic point of view, there's nothing good in this war for Britain. We get zero benefit. We get nothing positive out of it. We've nothing to gain. It is absurd to talk about "winning", when there is nothing for us to "win".

Sovereignty recommends that the best way to support our troops is to ensure they do not ever again serve foreign interests, and that they should only be deployed where they are needed to defend our own British interests.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nutty Woman with Green Box

Amusing happenings this morning as I chased a binman around our cul-de-sac in my Ugg boots and dressing gown. I've just got a Green Box for recycling stuff, and the last collection missed my box, so it was full to bursting for this collection. I knew they came early but I'd not put the box out on the doorstep (where they don't bloody see it), so I was listening for their dump truck. Then I spotted a guy in a fluorescent vest taking the boxes by hand out of the cul-de-sac. Argh! I dashed downstairs, grabbed the box and ran outside, following him lugging my green box and calling after him. I didn't realise but he was plugged into some music so didn't hear me.

Then has he put the box down and turned to empty it, he saw me in the morning darkness flapping along in my Ugg boots with dressing gown all wonky, hair a mess and mascara smudges under my eyes, going "Scuse me, can you take this from no. 28 please". The look on his face was a picture, but he took the box without a word and duly returned it to my doorstep.

I wonder if he'll be scared to return for the next collection ....

On a different note, ratties were put into their palatial new home last night. At first they were like but then they gingerly started to explore and climb tentatively onto the upper levels, whilst sniffing everything warily. Within 15 minutes they were doing banzai rattie-leaps up to the other levels, and scrapping with eachother for who gets to snuggle into the fluffy hat-nest first. I put a mini roll-top bath in there for their water dish, which they stand on and dip their paws delicately into the water to drink and wash themselves, it looks soooo sweet. It's amazing how they have such huge personalities, specially for animals so young, and I've only had them for a week! Winston seems to be the mummies boy who always wants my attention and is first to get out of the cage when I open the door. He also looks all pissed off if I get Franklin out to fuss over him, at one point even starting to gnaw at the bars to try to get out to me! He's the smaller of the two rats but the most dominant at the moment, it's strange to see him flip Franklin onto his back and do some rattie-dominance intensive preening, as if to say "Oi, I'm in charge here".

Franklin happily lies back and allows himself to be tickled, as he does whenever my hand flips him over for a tickle. He enjoys sitting on my shoulder for a doze, while Winston won't sit still and insists on crawling all over my clothes and trying to dive onto the floor from my shoulder.

Sad rattie-geek that I am, I have loads of digicam movies of their japes, that I upload onto rattie web forums for other like-minded owners to "oooh" and "aaah" over. Normal people swoon over baby movies, not me - only furry baby movies for me!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Imagine this Christmas

This great entry on Jamie's Big Voice blog ...

I think John Lennon had it right when he wrote the words imagine all those people. It's easy if you try. So what I want you to do is close your eyes and imagine it's Christmas eve at 11 58 in the evening and Christmas day is just moments away and there is a stillness in the air. No cars are driving by as usual. No one chattering. No couples kissing in shop doorways on their way home. Just silence. Then you hear the clocks strike midnight. Its Christmas day and yet your still alone, cold, feeling sad and maybe your hungry too, but you know you have to save what you have because the shops that are open are expensive and you know you'll have to wait for the cheaper ones to open. So all there is, is you and your memories of how it was and how you wish it could be. Imagine how lonely that must feel.

It doesn't matter whether you're ill, a drug addict or an alcoholic or just homeless. No one should be alone at Christmas it's a time for family and friends. It's not a time to be on your own thinking of the could have beens and the maybe's. It's the same all over the world for the homeless and the lost at Christmas but just imagine what could be achieved with a little bit of hope and compassion? Not just here in the UK but all over the world. What a sight it would be if everyone just went out and handed a blanket or a sandwich and hot drink. What a few days this Christmas would be and say if you spoke to someone say at that hostel or place you don't really know to much about. You know about it because of its reputation. I think you'd be surprised how normal people are.

I think it would be an outstanding Christmas if it happened because it doesn't have to be gifts at Christmas. It just has to be a bit of humanity. Anyway that's my wish list for Christmas as stupid as it may sound.


Amen to that Jamie ....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Merry Bullshitmas

An excellent post on this blog I found, summing up my feelings exactly:


TV adverts have increasingly pissed me off this last week, with schmaltzy commercial taglines such as "Christmas is for families" and "Because giving feels so good .... give more!" and "Feel the Magic of Christmas". WHAT MAGIC? The magic of running up credit card debts because little Timmy wants a £200 XBox and won't be happy until he gets it? The magic of feeling pressured to cook huge meals "just because it's Christmas dinner" then throwing away 50% of the food? The magic of ramming yourself through crowds of po-faced shoppers who push past you and drag the bags out of your hands with their impatience to get past?

Why is Christmas for families? What about every other day of the year? Why should you only GIVE at Christmas? All these things should count ever day of the year, not just some commercially-dictated spending frenzy. Think of your family every day, be generous every day to everbody .... visit Grandma Bessie or old Arthur down the road more often, don't just think about relatives and loved ones at Christmas. They are there 365 days of the year not just during Crimbo week.

On Sun morning I was listening to the radio (at bloody 5.30am when I woke up) and listening to this preacher dude talking about Christmas. He recited the usual Crimbo story of the Shepherds and the stable and the angels, and he *really believed it*. I thought "how can anyone believe something that has absolutely no foundations or evidence, apart from what's written in an old book" - a book that has been rewritten and twisted to suit various powerful people's aims throughout the centuries.....

No one knows what day Jesus Christ was born on. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ’s birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?

Christmas has pagan and roman origins, I'm not going to go into it here, just Google it. Even the red-faced fat jolly Santa we know and love is bullsh*t - The Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862; Santa was shown as a small elf-like figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years and along the way changed the color of his coat from tan to the now traditional red.

He then made an appearance in Coca-Cola advertising in 1930. Artist Fred Mizen painted a department store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke. The ad featured the world's largest soda fountain, which was located in the department store of Famous Barr Co. in St. Louis, Mo. Mizen's painting was used in print ads that Christmas season, appearing in the Saturday Evening Post on December 27, 1930. And so it continued, the image was cemented. For the real Saint Nick, click here (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=38).

So what exactly are we celebrating apart from a hodgepodge of fabrications? And the demise of our bank accounts?

I've felt strangely separated from Christmas this year and I'm glad. The house is still too full of DIY stuff to warrant a tree and decorations, a lot of my friends aren't sending cards because they are as disillusioned as I am; we're also not buying needless tat but instead stuff we will USE and appreciate, or we just get together and have a few drinks instead. I gave two charity shoeboxes to Romanians, and this week I've applied for some vountary work for various organisations. It helps me to feel less pissed off by what I see around me. I'd rather spend Christmas making other people smile and feel less alone than indluging in an orgy of overeating, overspending and overcommercialisation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Couples suck - well to be precise, the type of Couple that Bridget Jones described as "Smug Marrieds". She is spot on and I hope I never turn into one or you will have free license to shoot me.

Some Couples are cool, they are fun, they do stuff together and seperately, they don't live and breathe off eachother, you can tolerate their presence. Other Couples do EVERYTHING together - and refuse to do ANYTHING apart. And if one person doesn't want to do something but the other does, they still stay together but one looks miserable while the other has a whale of a time. They turn into a single unit - a two-headed monster, so stupidly dependent on eachother that they have to ask permission just to go down the shops and buy some milk.

As a fiercely independent girlie I will never understand this. I've seen equally fiercely independent girlfriends of mine meet a guy, and suddenly they transmogrify into Coupledom, and suddenly they no longer want to go out anywhere unless he comes, they're happy to just sit around and watch TV instead, as long as he's watching it too. If he goes out with his mates they sulk and pout and whinge and get paranoid in case he's talking to other girls....she can't attach herself to him while he's out having a lark so instead of saying "sod you then I'm off out on the piss too", she stays in and whines and shrivels the night away.

Luckily the guy I'm with at the moment doesn't expect this element of Coupledom from me, I think he knows that if he tried it I'd tell him where to stick it. However, we do socialise quite a lot with some Smug Marrieds, and every time we've been together as a foursome (ugh I hate those couply nights out) the Smugs NEVER FAIL TO MENTION MARRIAGE. Phrases such as "when you two get married...." and "You may as well be married cos you bicker like you already are....." and "You've got a house now so you should get married..." leave me waning to scream at them. Why do the Smugs always want everyone around them who is unmarried or single, to get hitched? Why? So we can all turn into them? Such fun!

I can't understand why some girls don't want to keep seperate interests up...it's nice to go off and do your own thing for a day, leave him to do his, then meet up later on. Keeps things fresh. You have something that's still just for you, despite sharing everything else. I would get so bored and frustrated living in someone's pocket and I'm sure he'd get bored and fed up of me too!

But I'm 34 in January and a lot of my mates are getting hitched .... I don't feel left behind, marriage has never been a Life Goal Reason Why I Was Put On This Earth, but I do dread having to see all my friends at gatherings if they turn into Smug Marrieds and constantly ask me why I'm not married like them yet, and teasing me about being a spinster. Rather a Spinster who is independent, than a two-headed monster!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Sue Society continues....

More news from the Ridiculous World of the "Sue Sue Sue" Society, where a Muslim office worker has sued his employees for "making him feel left out" after they passed around bottles of wine for Christmas gifts, but did not include him as he is Muslim and doesn't drink alcohol.

Erm fair engouh, a bit insensitive of them not to give him an alternative and more suitable gift. By all means go speak to your manager and say "Oi this isn't on mate". But there's no need to bloody sue him!!!!!! What good will that do your career now? Not much good if you decide to stay with the same company methinks! I envisage people plopping greenies into his coffee now, or drawing pins on his chair ....

Worst of all was the case of a chef who cut his finger and is suing a hotel for £25,000 compensation by claiming no-one warned him about the danger posed by an avocado.

Michael McCarthy sliced into his hand when the unripened avocado he was trying to cut slipped and he lost control of his kitchen knife. He claims he had been shown how to cut the fruit, but had not been told the avocado might not be ripe.

The writ states: "He had not been given any instruction that this may happen. The knife went through the avocado and sliced his finger. The knife was 10 inches long."

The chef, who lost less than £1,000 in wages, claims he cannot pursue his hoped-for career as a chef in the RAF.

FOR A CUT LITTLE FINGER?? And he used a 10" knife to cut a tiny avocado? FFS! Why wasn't he laughed out of court? If he was a chef you'd think he'd have cut avocados before .... just another case of a lazy youngster who wants an easy life of a fat compensation cheque rather than work for it like the rest of us. How will this affect the future when a hotel or a restaurant hire a chef? If he had burned himself on the oven would he have sued because "the hotel didn't tell me ovens were hot"?? I should hope the hotel would counter-sue because "he didn't tell us he was stupid when he applied for this job".

Are restaurants going to make employees sign a document saying they will not sue if they are injured thru their own actions? Are they going to have to take out insurance policies to protect themselves from people like Michael?

When is this all going to stop? Oh no, I'm so angry I've banged the keys too hard and now my fingers are bruised - who can I sue! MICROSOFT! It's their fault! They should have put padded keys on here for people like me who type angry!!! I want a million dollars please, I'm scarred for life!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What a waste

Oxfam research reports that £1BILLION will be spent on unwanted Christmas presents this year, money that could fund Oxfam's projects for 12 YEARS.

I dunno how they reached these figures but apparently 83% of us receive at least one unwanted gift, which either festers in the loft or goes to a charity shop.

Such a waste! The only benefits are the charity shops or eBay! Why don't we stop this tide of waste by ASKING people what they NEED instead of PRESUMING what they want, then buying useless tat they DON'T NEED.

I'd be thrilled if someone bought me 6 months supply of shampoo and conditioner, or an Asda food voucher, or some gardening compost, or a sackful of flour for my bread machine or a months supply of rattie food - cos ultimately it wil all get used and save me money - the best sort of gift! Not a bit of plastic tat that I find amusing then discard after 30 minutes.

"But it spoils the surprise" you all whinge - erm so what? If you want a surprise, give your mate a list of 3 DVDs and tell her to choose ONE for your present, then the surprise will be WHICH ONE she buys - ooooh!

We should all just ask eachother what we need, and buy that, and sod the surprise. That's what our family all do now and we are left pleased at Christmas because we have a pile of stuff we needed and now don't have to buy ourselves, instead of wondering which charity shop to cart all our unwanted crap to. We are a very wasteful society and the CommercialFest that is "Christmas" only adds to that tenfold.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

So it was all true .....

Iraqis face the dire prospect of losing up to $200bn (£116bn) of the wealth of their country if an American-inspired plan to hand over development of its oil reserves to US and British multinationals comes into force next year. A report produced by American and British pressure groups warns Iraq will be caught in an "old colonial trap" if it allows foreign companies to take a share of its vast energy reserves. The report is certain to reawaken fears that the real purpose of the 2003 war on Iraq was to ensure its oil came under Western control.

The Iraqi government has announced plans to seek foreign investment to exploit its oil reserves after the general election, which will be held next month. Iraq has 115 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, the third largest in the world.

According to the report, from groups including War on Want and the New Economics Foundation (NEF), the new Iraqi constitution opened the way for greater foreign investment. Negotiations with oil companies are already under way ahead of next month's election and before legislation is passed, it said.

The groups said they had amassed details of high-level pressure from the US and UK governments on Iraq to look to foreign companies to rebuild its oil industry.

Earlier this year a BBC Newsnight report claimed to have uncovered documents showing the Bush administration made plans to secure Iraqi oil even before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US.

Louise Richards, chief executive of War on Want, said: "People have increasingly come to realise the Iraq war was about oil, profits and plunder. Despite claims from politicians that this is a conspiracy theory, our report gives detailed evidence to show Iraq's oil profits are well within the sights of the oil multinationals."

Monday, November 21, 2005

You pay for what you do to yourself ....

Interesting article on the BBC website today stating that a poll of more than 2,000 people by private health provider BUPA found 34% supported charges for treatment for people who smoke, drink or are obese.

Various quotes from medical bods said "There is clear evidence from this study to support the view that individuals feel they should be accountable for their own health and well-being." and "We have a health service that is free at the point of need, and you can't start changing the rules just because you don't like somebody's lifestyle."

This is an interesting point to debate - while I thoroughly agree that smokers and drinkers should pay more, not so sure about obese people, as their obesity can be caused by other factors apart from just a love of chocolate. If doctors could somehow prove that the obesity was caused by eating all the wrong food all the time, then yes - charge them more for the treatment.

Like these people on "You are what you eat" who openly admit to loving cakes, fry-ups, late-night bags of chips, and pizzas. "But they don't know any better, its how they were brought up", the do-gooders say - erm EVERYBODY KNOWS that eating fruit and veggies is better for you than a pizza! Supermarkets sell fruit and veg, bookshops and the internet provide information and recipes - it's up to YOU to make the choice. If you choose to eat crap and get fat then you should be billed for it when you need a hip replacement or your arteries de-clogged.

Other people would argue about the drinkers, and say that alcoholism is a "disease" and can be caused by other factors like a hard life, abuse etc etc. But if that person was proven to have failed in numerous alcoholic treatment clinics etc, then what - do you charge them? Or would people say "it's not easy to stay on the wagon so not fair to charge those who keep falling off it". A good example is George Best, still drinking on his new liver and now costing the health service £££ to try and keep him alive as his whole body shuts down.

Smokers however have no excuse. Smoking isn't triggered by a hard life or abuse, you choose to buy those packs, you choose to inhale smoke and carbon monoxide into your healthy lungs turning them black and sticky, and costing the NHS billions when you get older and start coughing your guts up.

The NHS has been crippled for years now and it will only get worse in our culture of fast food, sugary crap, chemical processed junk, and lazy people who can't be arsed to cook. We can't carry on supporting these people, we will HAVE to charge, there is no alternative.

Or maybe these people will know that ultimately we as a nation would never leave someone to die in the gutter just because they can't pay for their medical treatment, so they will go on abusing themselves safe in the knowledge that the State MUST pick up the tab. So then what - do we reposess cars and houses? Introduce complex repayment schemes that require layers of bureacracy? Raid the kids Uni funds to pay for dad's 50 a day habit consequences? Then do we have to deal with someone sueing the State because they are homeless thanks to the NHS reposessing their bungalow to pay for Auntie Joan's liver transplant??

Never never ever ever

Last night we went round to an old schoolfriend's of Alans for a meal - they had 3 kids, two very young boys and an older girl.

After spending 4 hours in the house with the two boys I NEVER EVER EVER EVER want to have kids - EVER. George Clooney himself could beg to reproduce with me but I would say no. I've never been a maternal girl but now I have totally made my mind up - and at nearly 34 if I'm not maternal now, I never will be.

I didn't relax for 4 hours - I avoided eye contact with them so they would leave me alone.....I know what kids are like, if you engage with them once that's it - I suffered at the mercy of two 6 year old twin girls years ago cos I engaged with them, and after 3 hours of using me as a trampoline and pulling my hair and screaming in my ear, we had to leave because my throat was constricting due to my dust allergy after all the crap they had kicked up in their antics.

These two boys screamed and yelled and screamed and screamed and bounced around and ran and fell over and dropped stuff and spilled stuff and had to be monitored EVERY SECOND. And I know you are thinking "that's just the way they were brought up", but it's more than that - it's the fact that their house was a f*cking tip, the parents looked worn out, their kitchen was a bombsight, the cat was hiding for fear of its life, and you will NEVER EVER get a minute to yourself, until those kids have grown up - then they are even worse when they are teens!

I've just got sorted in a lovely house, we have plans for trackdays in Europe and the UK next year, we can go where we like when we like, we can do what we like and have total freedom - why the f*ck destroy all of that to have your life ruled and your finances wrecked by screaming brats?! Add into the mix the crap schools, crap society, crap climate that limits so much activities, and it's really not worth reproducing these days.

I politely told Alan this in not as many words, he thought it was highly amusing but he has yet to say anything more. Well we've only been together a year today, but I thought I'd just make myself clear RIGHT NOW.

But is it selfish of me to not want kids if he does? And is it selfish of him to force me to have them just because HE does? Loggerheads! But nothing short of a Lottery win will make me change my mind (then I can have a bespoke behavioural chip implanted in them).

On another subject, I'm getting some baby RATS at the start of December, yaaaaay! Two black boys! I'm getting more gooey and excited about them than I ever will about human babies!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pickled Rat

An amusing story about a woman at ASDA who opened a jar of gherkins to discover a pickled RAT in there, gave way to when it was discovered that she had seen the rat in the jar and had bought it on purpose, in order to try to claim compensation.

She was initially "horrified" and "shocked" at her discovery and an apologetic ASDA offered her a free trolley dash as compensation. But then they looked at the CCTV footage and saw her examining the jar, calling her husband over to look at it, then putting it in her trolley to buy it.

She knew it was in there all along, and she had pretended to be shocked and upset in order to get money or freebies. What a stupid cow, she deserves everything she gets now. ASDA have withdrawn the trolley dash offer, no surprise.

Yet another case of our compensation culture gone mad. Heavens, if this had been Wartime they'd have considered the rat as extra meat and enjoyed it as a main course!!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Words fail me ....

A teenager has successfully challenged a court bid forcing her to wear an electronic ankle tag as she said it would not look right with a skirt. Natasha Hughes of Arboretum, Worcester, was described in court as a woman who liked to dress in a feminine way.

Worcester Magistrates' Court heard she should wear a tag for breaching the terms of her bail curfew. Ms Hughes, 18, said: "I didn't want to wear a tag because they are really bulky and embarrassing." 'It looks stupid'

She is on bail accused of assaulting another woman causing grievous bodily harm. On Tuesday, she admitted breaching the terms of her bail curfew, which states she must answer her front door to police whenever they call. The court heard Hughes did not answer the door at 0235 GMT on 1 November, claiming she was asleep at the time.

She added: "I like to wear skirts which means people can see it and it looks stupid. I am pleased at the decision and am glad I don't have to be tagged."

Prosecutor Douglas Marshall said Hughes should be forced to wear a tag to prove in future she was at home when she said she was. But David Taylor, defending, said this was not necessary and would interfere with his client's dress sense. He said: "She wants to wear skirts, not trousers, which would cover the tag. "Perhaps she could arrange for a doorbell that could be linked to her bedroom."

Poppy Day

It's Poppy Day today. Can you tell me what that means, what it represents? Today on Breakfast TV they showed a speeded-up film of a Veteran jangling his Poppy tin and being walked past by tons of people. Nobody stopped to buy a Poppy and chat to him.

They interviewed kids of my generation and some of them admitted they didn't know what the Poppies were sold for. One girl said "errrmmm it's for a charity isn't it but I dunno which one". Another young guy said "they could make them a bit more funky then maybe they'd sell more". IT ISN'T A FASHION ACCESSORY. Should it be turned into one, just to get people to buy one? Should it be the Wartime equivalent of a red AIDS ribbon? Or a pink breast cancer ribbon?

One older guy said that maybe the First and Second World Wars now seem so long ago tht we are numb of them, ignorant to what happened, blind to the suffering and sacrifice that happened all those decades ago.
But Poppy day isn't JUST for WW1 and 2 servicemen, it is for ALL servicemen, to help them and their families out. We are still fighting wars today and will shamefully continue to fight wars. I have ranted until I'm blue in the face about the fact that nobody is learning from the needless deaths of thousands of young men and women. Still we keep killing.

Maybe Poppy Day SHOULD be related more to todays wars and servicemen, but does that mean that WW1 and 2 will definitely be forgotten? WW1 was 91 years ago, very few veterans and people who lived through it are with us now. When they die, the stories die, and so too the remembering may die.

Should we see soldiers in modern uniforms jingling Poppy cans? It would definitely create more interest, which can only be good. Today's soldiers can help to educate our generation about ALL the wars, especially WW1 and 2 when so many men died. Wars today don't seem to take the volumes of soldier lives as they used to.

Are the schools to blame? Should they take the kids out on school trips to military museums, to memorials, to cemetaries? YES THEY SHOULD. We should stop insulating kids from the horrors of the past, present or future. Only by shocking them can we make them remember and realise how powerful their actions can be, how they can stop this happening in the future.

We need to show them the war in a way that they can smell it, touch it, feel it, visit the old buildings, see the photos, touch the uniforms, watch the film footage, read the stories or let them talk to the veterans themselves. But most of all, take them to the cemetaries and show them the memorials and the graves - let them walk down those rows and rows of pristine white tombstones, and read the names upon them - the miles and miles of names - each one a son, a father, a brother, a husband. Each young life snuffed out all for the power whims of a few evil men.

Last September I went to Normandy with my dad and we did the battlefield tour, and we went to Omaha Beach cemetary. It was the first really big WW2 cemetary I had ever visited, and I was both shocked, awed, upset and angry all at once at the sight before me. As I padded along on the damp dewy grass down the endless rows of white crosses, each white cross whispered to me as I walked past - "Never forget", never forget what we did for you", and most of all, "NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN".

But it is happening again, all over the world we still have wars, and all over the world men and women are dying, for the power whims of a few evil men. When will it stop, WILL IT EVER STOP?

If the children of my generation and all future generations can learn from the acres of white crosses in the cemetaries all over the world, if it makes them resolve to never let it happen again, then your work will be done, that will be your legacy. The future lies with them, make them understand that this has to NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

Now go out and buy a Poppy, chat to the old veteran who is selling them - he may be full of remarkable stories, he may have been a tank commander, he may have stormed the beaches of Normandy, he may have captured German soldiers. It is also highly likely that he saw his closest friends blown to pieces, or held him as the life slipped away from him, or said goodbye to him one day then posted his personal effects off to his family the next. He deserves a few minutes of your precious time and some money for a Poppy. Him and his generation will not be around for much longer, and the world will be an emptier place for it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What a day ....

I have aged ten years today, I have grey streaks in my hair ....

Got to work for 0840am in readiness for advanced ticket sales for Robbie Willliams' tour (I was one of the mugs who paid £25 to get 9am advance tickets 10 days before the public sale). Finally got logged on at 0850, got to the venue selection page, selected 4 tiks for Wembley then the clock hit 9am and CRASH - everything died.

The rest of the day was spent refreshing, refreshing, re-loggin in, crash - refresh - relogin - it was taking the piss. There were no phone lines to get tickets, you HAD to get in via the official website. Exactly how did they think the site would cope with a five-figure sum of people hammering away at it trying to get access???? Sometimes I got thru long enough to choose tickets, then the WorldPay payment site crashed and I was back to square 1.

Then all the best seats sold out, and it crashed again, so I gave up. By now there was a thread on Handbag.com forums that was 50 pages long, filled with girls ranting their frustrations at not being able to get the tickets. Radio 1 issued a statement to try and calm people down because they had been flooded with complaints. Only 3 venues are listed for the UK leg of his tour - and SIX in bloody Germany! I gave up and resigned to the fact that there MUST be more tour dates and tickets to be announced.

We all received emails telling us that the site would be up again at 2.30pm, so I duly logged in again only to see a neat row of SOLD OUT next to all the venues. I kept refreshing and then tickets became available again, but not the premium ones. I kept refreshing and suddenly there they were - Premium Standing at Roundhay Park Leeds. Uber-fast typing and I'd bagged four of them and collapsed on a heap on the floor with stress-induced psychosis. Meanwhile, fans are furious because by then they'd bought lesser crap-view tickets, only for the site to release more Premium tickets.

And on eBay, idiots were bidding over £300 for pairs of ticket put up there by greedy w*nkers out to make a profit. Ticket agencies were also offering the Wembley tickets for £125 each (face value £46). The BBC news website issued a statement from Robbie urging people not to buy from unlicensed touts, and expressing his anger at the profiteering. Was that just cos you're not getting a cut of the £ Robbie?? It's bad enough him extorting £25 out of fans just to get the advance tickets!

By now it was nearly 4pm and I'll probably get sacked if anyone reads my internet logs. 10000s of hits on robbiewilliamstickets.com, BBC news, Radio1 and handbag.com, I was lucky to get any work done at all. Some girls took the DAY OFF to try and get tickets, one girl was postponing getting pregnant so she could go to the concert!

Robster tickets aside, the previous day I had ordered an "Omni Knuckle massager" for Alan and his bad back for Christmas (http://www.iwantoneofthose.com/search.do?productCode=OMNKNU). It was duly delivered - IN BRIGHT PINK. It looks like a fucked-up Rampant Rabbit FFS!

I also ordered two other items for friends (who may read this page so not saying what it is) from eBay, only to be sent just ONE, and in the wrong colour. Then some sink taps I've bought also on eBay - they're trying to make me pay £12 for 48 hour courier delivery when I don't WANT or NEED the taps that quickly. And a very rare book I won weeks ago STILL hasn't arrived!!!

aaaaaaaarggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh .........

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rich Girls

Since finally getting Digital TV I've noticed an explosion of "reality" programmes centreing around the lives ofthe rich and priveliged, mainly young American girls who want for nothing and spend all their lives shopping, partying, spending, and talking about nonsensical shite.

My mouth fell open at the weekend as I watched one girl ceelbrate her 16th birthday with her parents giving her a brand new white top of the range Landrover, plus a birthday party that included an Arabian Nights theme and a bevvy of male models for photoshoots - the bill for these gifts was $200,000. And it's only her 16th birthday?? What about her 18th, and 21st, are they going to be equally expensive affairs or do they have to be MORE expensive so they top the last one?!?!

Her dad said as he signed the bill "she's worth it". Holy Crap man, what kind of father are you?? What example are you setting your daughter, what has she to be ambitious about for her future life, apart from where to fly to in her Lear Jet to shop for shoes, or how to better her friends with the next big social event that costs $$$$$$. Another Rich Girl programme showed her attending an audition that mummy had arranged for her, for a stage musical. Fuck me she could NOT sing, I think the casting woman said she could simply because there was a camera in her face and mummy had probably bunged her $500 to say nice things about little Kristy.

I wonder if her father even encourages her to have a goal for her future other than spending his money - his money that may not be there next week or next year if business suddenly turns bad, or if his investment portfolio goes tits up or if he's caught out with a bad lawsuit. Then what will she do, how will she cope? And will her friends be there for her if she no longer has the money and needs REAL friends?

Another interesting programme that was on a while back was when a rich girl swapped places with a "normal girl", and the Rich Girl went to work every day for the minimum wage, lived in a "normal" family home, washed the dishes, and had to shop at Primark (she couldn't believe you could get trousers for £6), while the "normal" girl partied the night away on £200 bottles of champers, and shopped at Harvey Nicks. The reactions of the two girls to their new lives were interesting. The Rich Girl was hoplessley inadequate in all life skills and thoroughly intolerant of having to work every day, but she noticed the closeness of the family she was living with and compared it to her own family relationships and didn't like what she saw.... Meanwhile the poor girl was missing home, thinking her new life was repetitive and empty, and longing to get back to the grind.

All these wealthy children should be made to spend Christmas volunteering in an orphanage, an animal rescue centre, a homeless shelter, or a battered women's shelter, just to introduce them to the realities of real life and show them that their money that they throw around on their silly parties and their $1000 shoes could be used for the greater good and to make a difference in someone else's life. It would also keep their feet on the ground by showing them that life can turn bad for anybody at any time, regardless of their status, and you'd better be prepared and ready for it when it comes at you.

I'd love to take part in one of these Life Swap programmes simply to see whether suddenly having troughloads of money would make me look at life in a new perspective. Would I suddenly feel powerful and safe, and start spending like an idiot? Or would I argue with my New Rich Friends that they were idiots spending £200 on a bottle of booze that probably cost a tenner to buy at cost price, or spending £500 on a new top when H&M sell them for a more reasonable £25.

Having lived in the Real World all my life and seen the shit that goes on and how money can help somewhat to alleviate that shit for a lot of people, I would sleep better at night knowing that if I was going to throw away $100k, I'd rather do it for a good cause other than my own birthday party.

Programmes like this can have one of thre effects on teens who watch it - they will either be ambitious enough to think "I want to live like that" and get off their arses, work hard and go and get a fabulous career, or they will compare their lives with the Rich Girl lives and be despondent and depressed, cos they want that life but have no self belief that they can go and get it. Or they will react like I did, flinging cushions at the TV screen and screeching "you daft worthless empty headed spoiled little brat!"

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Goodbye tooth fairy

Reports yesterday said that a 4 year old girl who had 4 teeth removed in hospital was told she couldn't take them home for the Tooth Fairy because "they were body parts and had to be disposed of according to procedures".

So the tooth fairy is now being stamped out by bureacracy - fantastic! Couldn't the dentist/nurse who was in charge of the little tyke just winked at her and put the teeth in her pocket with a whispered "don't tell anyone kid" ???? FFS .....

Thursday, October 27, 2005


George Best is dying - do we care??? I sure don't. He was famous for being a great footballer what, 30+ years ago? So what? A footballer big wow, did he invent a cure for aids, did he invent a new wonder drug that saved millions of lives, did he do ANYTHING of worth since his footballing and shagging days? No! He drank himself into oblivion, produced a useless offspring who is now whoring himself on reality TV shows, and married a gold digging bimbo who took years off his life and drove him to drink even more.

They're trying to blame the immuno-suppressants he's been taking since his liver transplant 3 years ago (a liver that he ruined by starting to drink again, infuriating the parents of the dead boy who donated it). He has no-one to blame but himself and his endless boozing. Stand by for Alex Best HELLO magazine articles "I loved George really", "my mourning hell", "I plan to be buried alive with him".

I say good riddance to a faded hero.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sex Ed for 5 year olds???????

Unbelieveable - Government ministers want Sex Education classes for FIVE YEAR OLDS to begin in our schools. They think it's the only way to "curb teenage pregnancies".

What a pile of steaming bollocks, the only way to stop teen pregnancies is to stop our children growing up too fast, to stop bombarding them with sexual images in the form of teen magazines, sexy fashions for young girls, sexy kids TV programmes and presenters, sexy dolls such as "Bratz" that encourage young girls to obsess about their appearance. Argos selling thongs for fucks sake .... and the parents don't seem to be trying to stop all this.

My biggest whinge and one of the root causes of this sexualisation of girls that are far too young to be even thinking about sex, is TEEN MAGAZINES. I saw a copy of "More" magazine once that had a sealed tinfoil booklet on the front titled "Blow Jobs - all you want to know" and it included information on how to do them, techniques, and probably pictures too. Do newsagents police who buys these magazines, do they say to the 10 year old girl "sorry love can't sell it to you"? Of course they don't! So many teen magazines now are making girls obsess about body image, makeup, being sexy, flirting, getting a boyfriend, having sex, and having sex in every possible position and style that is possible. There is rarely anything of substance in any of these magazines to give young girls ambitions in life other than to look pretty and get laid.

Sure, they have the odd paragraph in them about "making a mature choice" about whether to have sex or not, but that is only a whisper amongst the pages of sex toys sex talk blow jobs, flirting and french kissing.

When I was growing up Sky TV and the internet didn't exist, and kids TV was presented by adults, not screaming frantic slang-talking teens showing their midriffs off. TV and advertising and films didn't shove sex in my face 24/7, and nobody wore tshirts with FCUK on them. I went through my early school years being blissfully unaware of blow jobs, STDs, flirting, and french kissing I read JACKIE magazine and wanted a pony, I did my homework and I was madly in love with a boy called Matthew McCoid in the year above me, and I also fancied Dan Aykroyd in "Ghostbusters" (no accounting for taste). I never wore makeup cos I didn't have a clue how to put it on, and my fashion sense left a lot to be desired....When I was 5 a boy at primary school showed me his willy, I just laughed and ran away and wondered what all the fuss was about (darn it I could have sued him for billions for "emotional upset"...)

I remember a one-off sex ed class when I was about 14, it was in the lecture theatre and we tittered and giggled all through it when the teacher talked about condoms and periods. All of us apart from a small group of tarty girls, were untroubled by the pressures of shagging. My mother never sat me down and "had the talk" with me, although she did with my brother, strangely enough. All she said to me was that if I had sex before I was married she'd kill me (I broke that rule but she didn't find out for years!)

A lot of you would say that to be so ignorant about sex in this day and age would be dangerous, and I guess I have to agree - because I wasn't bombarded with sex from all angles, being ignorant about it wasn't as bad back then, it just passed us all by until we were properly grown up.

I progressed through my teenage years a plain frump who attracted no interest from the opposite sex. Some would say "how fucking sad is that" but I don't mind now when I look back - I did my homework, got on with my schooling and now I have a good job with a good wage. Many of the girls in my class who had boyfriends and spent their schooldays daydreaming or crying over them, have fared a lot worse off with their broken marriages and multiple kids by different men and crap jobs.

It seems that there is no way to stop this sexual assault on our teens - no matter how much we talk now about responsibility and thinking things through before sex and always using a condom, it just isn't working, and now these new morals are seeping through into the next generation we are seeing a 12 year old who is the youngest mother of triplets in Europe, while the father of the children is already saying he wants nothing to do with them. It seems that the fundamental instinct that having sex when you are in your teens is wrong, is missing from the new generation. Nobody thinks twice about one night stands now, about screwing a guy you barely know, and doing it WITHOUT protection. Teens aren't mature enough to cope with the emotional explosion of sex and intimacy (no matter how much they pout and say they are), and the results are plain for all to see in our national teenage pregnancy rate.

Giving sex ed classes to five year olds is not the way, they are FAR too young to comprehend anything about sex - they should be reading stories, playing with toys, watching Disney cartoons, and writing to santa, not worrying about whether their first boyfriend will want anal sex after a week of dating.

Friday, October 21, 2005

TV dinners

The ridiculous announcement today that our Government are going to start a public campaign to get parents and their kids to all sit down together at the table for their evening meals. They want families to talk to eachother once more and discuss their daily happenings, instead of all skulking off to their respective TV sets with their microwaved crap, to never utter a word for the rest of the night.

I'm very interested to see how the Govt intend to enforce this. Erm, they can't! It's up to each family, and if they can't be arsed with the furore of denying little Timmy the pleasure of watching Sponngebob Squarepants while he guzzles down his chemical meals, then they just won't ever bother. To parents today, it's easier to let kids have their own way than risk a yelling match when, heaven forbid, they try to assert themselves as a parent.

Having just moved into a house that has a kitchen big enough to have a dining table in it, and after over 7 years of TV meals with no table, I delight in sitting down away from the TV and scoffing in peace or in good conversation without someone turning up the volume when I dare to speak. It would do families a great deal of good to have a good convo over their meal, and would improve the communication skills of kids today, who can barely do more than grunt.

I was also pleased to see that teachers are going to be given powers to "restrain disruptive pupils" in schools once more. WHY ON EARTH were these powers removed in the first place?

Only after several expensive court cases and several injured teachers, plus the growing tide of classroom violence, is this stupid "hands off or I sue" law being revoked. We need to get back to the days when you got a clip round the ear if you did not respect your teacher. Lack of respect for authority figures is rife amongst kids today - they walk around arrogantly sneering that they know their rights and you can't touch them, even if they have just spat in your face or keyed your car. I wouldn't think twice of twatting a sarky kid if he ever got in my face, and let the courts try to catch me afterwards.....

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Turner Prize

Well it's that time of the year again - when some hapless no-talent Twit walks away with £25k because Art critics are all W*nkers.

On the news this morning they showed one of the nominees for the Turner Prize, and it was ....


A fucking shed....that had been knocked down and rebuilt as a boat, then knocked down again and rebuilt by the "artist" as a shed.

Can someone PLEASE explain to me the art behind this, and why this twat deserves to win £25k. Does this mean that the B&Q special down my garden can win me megabucks, if I think up of some stupid arty reason why I built it and fool a bunch of pretentious rich twats to give me loads of money for it?

I hate modern art, in fact I refuse to call it modern ART cos it's not - it's worthless shite.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Down with hipsters!!!

Joy upon joy, can it really be happening? Can that bloody awful symbol of "fashion", the hipster skirt and trousers, really be dying at last? An article in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/gender/story/0,11812,1574728,00.html) speaks of all the European and American fashion houses sporting nipped-in wasts, corsets, and skirts/trousers with HIGH WAISTS and belts that show your waistline off.

Yaaaaaay! So I can finally walk down the street in my 1940s-style trousers with a waistline that goes ABOVE my belly button, without getting weird looks from people cos I'm not in bloody hipsters! I can live in hope that soon trousers and skirts and dresses that flatter the waistline and NOT hang below it will soon be available in mainline fashion shops!

Fashion writers are talking about the old-style screen goddesses like Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, who wore fabulous outfits that showed off their perfect figures. They are talking about the old "feminine" shape that turns heads and set the movie screens alight.

But the article also talks about a threat to this rising new fashion - the fact that women today are "built like refrigerators" and do not seem to have waists anymore! In 1951, the average British woman had a 27.5-inch waist. Now, she boasts a 34-incher. That's a growth of more than an inch a decade.

Quite why we're growing at such a rate may seem obvious. We eat too much. But it's not just about quantity. The way we eat, and what we eat, has altered radically over the past half-century. As Emma Stiles, nutritional scientist at the University of Westminster, says, "The waist-hip ratio has changed over the past 100 years because of a change in the macronutrients in our diet. Our intake of carbohydrates and sugars has grown rapidly, which increases insulin production. This in turn aids fat-cell deposits on the torso rather than anywhere else on the body."

So does this mean we are stuck with hipsters forever, or straight-waisted clothes to suit our new shape? NOOOOOOOO! Hipsters are even WORSE for the figure that waisted clothes! I am sick of seeing beer-bellied women spilling over the waistlines of their trousers! If you haven't got a washboard stomach then you simply CANNOT wear hipsters. But similarly, if you have a girl-beer-belly then a high waist will be tight and uncomfortable....just as uncomfortable as hipsters digging into you as you sit down though, where is the happy medium!!!!

But high-waisted clothes aren't all M&S or Simon Cowell - if they are cut and made properly they can emphasies a fairly slim waist, hide a multitude of sins, and make those lucky enough already to be slim, look SUPER-SLIM. Just sit and watch a few classic 1940s films, or the DiCaprio film "The Aviator" to see the fabulous shapes of the women in those clothes.

The campaign starts here - down with hipsters down with hipsters!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Invisible crusts

I had to laugh at Hovis' new revelation "Invisible Crust Bread" (http://www.hovisbakery.co.uk/invisible/). They claim to have baked a bread without the crust so "there will be no waste" and so kids won't leave their crusts. It took TWO YEARS of research and God knows how many £ to achieve this.

As a serial crust-leaver (only the top crusts though not the other 3 edges!) I remember my parents nagging me to eat my crusts and saying they'd make my hair curly. I didn't want curly hair so I used to go to tea at my Gran's and leave the crusts in a nice circle under the rim of my plate. Gran would clear the table, lift my plate up, and there was a perfect circle of my crusts. Again I received nagging, but I just don't LIKE the top crust!

I never dreamed that people would bow to the fact I hated crusts and bake me a bread without one. So now little Timmy doesn't have to be nagged at! He can get away with it! He doesn't have to face the trauma of his parents actually TELLING him to eat his crusts!

The Hovis press section proudly tell us that "35% of mothers waste their time cutting off the crusts, and also wasting 45% of the bread by cutting the crusts off". The loaf also has an "internal crumb structure" to stop the crustless bread tearing when you cut it. WTF!

So if this loaf is lacking crust is it bigger in size? is the price more or less? Are you actually getting more for your money? Are we that rushed for time that we can't even be arsed to spend 2 minutes cutting crusts off bread? What about the poor ducks or garden birds that always used to benefit from my crusts? They will starve!!!!

The Guardian newspaper says that crustless bread is helping to expand the culture of "lazy food" that is sweeping the world. Things like plastic bowls of cereal with the milk in one half and the cereal in another - ready-sliced mushrooms - ready-to-go stir frys - frozen chopped onions - and the funniest of them all - frozen mashed potato.

I've been touring loads of DIY and furniture shops as a new house buyer, and the kitchens on offer are beautiful - lovely cupboards, workbenches, very cool cookers, built-in fridges, and tons of cool kitchen gadgets to help you prepare food. I love kitchens and would happily spend hours in a lovely old fashioned one with a stone floor and a big aga, cooking up miracles. Why are we then bothering with these fab kitchens if we seem to loathe spending any time in them! If we don't want to stand and chop mushrooms, or mash potatoes, or cut off crusts? We seem to want to dash in, throw something in the microwave, empty our frozen mash into a pan, serve it then eat it in front of the telly, while not conversing at all with our kids, who sit there getting fat on processed crap and chemicals. Why not do away with the kitchen totally and just improve the lounge to have a microwave and a dishwasher next to the telly?!?!?!?!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Petrol Part IV

Interesting and good news to hear that Asda, Tesco and Esso have taken 4p off the price of petrol. Also interesting the resounding silence from the Government about this. A few days ago Gordon Brown was saying how he can't reduce petrol prices right now, but today Esso have said they are reducing their prices "due to the falling cost of oil". But Gordon stayed silent.

So exactly who is in charge of giving permission to reduce petrol prices? The Government? Or Asda, Tesco and Esso, who seemed to have taken things into their own hands and announced the price drop. If they had not done this would Gordon have stayed silent and continued to reap the rewards of the inflated fuel tax? I bloody bet he would have.

Bird Flu

You can tell I'm not very busy at work today :-D Another entry!

Been reading Boris Johnson's blog (http://www.boris-johnson.com) and found an entry about Ken Livingston the London mayor. Apparently he is spending £1m of the congestion charge raised on 100,000 doses of anti chicken flu medication....They have drawn up a list of "elite" figures, mainly government ministers and BBC high-ups, who would be required to keep the country going in the event of the chicken plague, and who must therefore receive free doses of the wonderdrug.

He says "What drives me mad is not that I am excluded from this list (opposition politicians, you will not be surprised to learn, are thought to be dispensable to the running of Britain), but that we are getting in a flap about a chicken disease which has killed a grand total of 57 human beings since it was detected in 2003, most of them Asian owners of fighting-cocks who chose to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to their spifflicated birds.

To get these figures in proportion, you should know that nine million people are suffering from tuberculosis, of which two million will die in the next year, and half a billion people are suffering from malaria. So why are we scaring ourselves witless about this Asian fowl pest? "

Well said Boris and what a scandalous waste of money. It seems that they have picked up on the media-panic about chicken flu and are convinced it's going to wipe out the globe. Like the SUDAN-1 scare - it made me piss myself laughing to see people so scared of eating a Pot Noodle or a curry "in case I get cancer", then they carry on with their 50-a-day habit and their cancer causing unhealthy lifestyles. But the media once again created the panic, and we drank it in like George Best.

Diseases such as malaria and TB are such a part of our everyday vocabulary that we ignore the millions of deaths caused by it. There is no scandal, no glamour, no frontpage news to be had about it, and because it doesn't really affect us Brits then once again we close our eyes to it.


Interesting to see how most of the papers are highlighting Freddie Flintock's 48 hour booze-athon following his Ashes win, and chuckling about it and joking how he had to stop the victory parade to nip into some Starbuck's toilets to throw up. "Well done Freddie you deserve a good piss-up" they say. Flintock himself boasts about how he can't remember the past few days celebration because he was so utterly bladdered.

Strange how only two weeks ago the same media were tutting and preaching about 24-hour licensing and binge-drinking amongst teens and the evils of drink and the cost to the health service.

But if you manage to win a pathetic egg-cup of an ashes trophy for our country it's fine to drink yourself into a stupor and to set a shining example to the next generation who adore our sports "personalities" and try to emulate everything they do, including marathon pissups. And you get a thumbs up from the two-faced media for doing so!

From Carole Malone in The Mirror

IT almost beggars belief... Last week a gang of under-age yobs who admitted tying 13-year-old Kyle Parker to a tree, putting a monkey mask on him before setting fire to him - all the while filming it on their mobiles - were told by the Crown Prosecution Service they wouldn't be charged because they were all of previous good character.

What kind of farcical reason is that for this gutless, inept organisation not to prosecute a group of boys who tried to kill another boy? ALL criminals are of previous good character until they commit their first crime.

So, 13 teenagers who try to kill a defenceless boy and have the audacity to call it Happy Slapping (a misnomer for a vicious, premeditated crime) get off scot- free, yet just days later 71-year-old retired vicar Alfred Ridley, who has a serious heart condition, was thrown into one of Britain's toughest jails for refusing to pay £63 he owed in council tax.

It will cost taxpayers more than £3,000 to keep Alfred locked up in Woodhill top- security jail for his 28-day sentence and God only knows what will happen to him in an institution which counts murderers, rapists and robbers among its inmates.

Until he was banged up Mr Ridley lived with his wife in a council house on an income of £530 a month, but he withheld £63 from his £970 council tax bill because he maintained that an 8.5 per cent rise imposed by South Northamptonshire Council in 2003 was illegal.

What the hell is wrong with this country when muggers, burglars, robbers and kids who think it is OK to try and kill other kids, are allowed to manipulate our increasingly soft legal system yet decent men like Alfred Ridley, who has devoted his life to helping others, is chucked in jail for a piddling £63?

You can bet if he was some scrounging layabout on benefits who hadn't paid £63 worth of fines he'd be sitting on his sofa at home now instead of slopping out at Woodhill. You can bet if he'd been an asylum seeker bleating about his human rights he'd have had a boat-load of compensation already.

It's a disgrace that our courts use the full force of the law to punish soft targets yet hardened criminals who know how to manipulate it get treated with kid gloves - especially if they utter those magic words "human rights".

One inmate released from Woodhill last week said when Alfred arrived: "He looked depressed and shaken up. He had his head down and was just staring at the floor."

Of course he was! He was ashamed for God's sake. A decent, law-abiding man like Alfred Ridley will carry the shame of being slung in jail until his dying day - unlike some ofthe other wasters in there with him who see "doing time" as a bit of a holiday.

And just as the magistrates who put him in jail should be sacked for having zero judgment, what excuse do the fools at South Northamptonshire Council have for deciding to waive Alfred's arrears two days after he was jailed? Why didn't they do it months ago, which would have saved Alfred a lot of life-threatening distress, not to mention a costly court case?

And while we're at it, this Government must also shoulder some of the blame. How dare they put hard-up pensioners in the intolerable position of having to spend vast amounts of the little money they have on extortionate council tax demands?

It's shameful that elderly people who've worked their entire lives are having to spend what should be a peaceful retirement worrying how they're going to pay their council tax from a pension that barely gives them enough to feed, heat and clothe themselves.

Tony and Cherie Blair come from working-class stock. They know only too well the hardships that elderly people face, yet they're presiding over a Government which is bullying pensioners into early graves. The real disgrace here is that we elected Tony Blair on a socialist ticket. Sadly, the closest he and Cherie get to socialism these days is when they have an intellectual debate about it over champagne and canapes with their posh friends.

The words hypocrites and traitors come to mind.

Hollow apology

How nice of Bush to take responsibility for the cock-up that is New Orleans ... how nice of him to promise between $60-200 BILLION to rebuild the town - a town that is UNDER sea-level and which some people say should have have been built in the first place.

Where are these billions going to come from? He can't fund the Iraq war AND rebuild New Orleans surely, plus keep his promise of all that aid to the Asian Tsunami appeal, AND the relief money for Africa? My guess is all other country aid will be pulled in favour of New Orleans, which is maybe a good and a bad thing.

I note he didn't apologise for CAUSING the destruction in the first place by pulling the levy funding that would have bolstered the city's defences and maybe prevented the flooding? How much money did he save by doing this? I bet it now seems pennies compared to the outlay to rebuild the entire town. Not to mention the cost of supporting all those people while their houses, jobs, lives, education, medicare and basic support systems are put back into place.

Well done George hope you're happy with your pennypinching. His apology means nothing to me and doubtless means nothing to him - he's not up for re-election anymore so doesn't need to placate his people in order to win another term in the White House. In short he couldn't give a stuff what happens to the people of NO - cos he doesn't need them to vote him in any more.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sick f*ckers

The chance to make a quick buck from Hurricane Katrina has not escaped some, with items on eBay including a "rain-soaked newspaper" delivered on the day the storm hit the American south, jars of rainwater and a message in a bottle that supposedly led to the rescue of several families.

Among other items on sale on eBay yesterday was a scribbling that a Texan "artist" claims he drew after waking from a dream 10 days before the storm, which uncannily resembles satellite pictures of Katrina. One man, claiming to be a survivor of the catastrophe, is offering the rights to his story, starting at $12,500 (£6,800).

This kind of thing disgusts me - is nothing sacred for people to try to make money out of?????

However, one bumper sticker that is for sale amused me - it says "Disaster Relief: Get Rid of Bush".

Homeless and hungry

This from Jamies Big Voice, an excellent blog written b an ex-homeless heroin addict who cleaned up: http://www.jamiesbigvoice.blogspot.com/

When you become homeless it's not really by choice. There doesn't seem any other choice. Things just happen beyond your control. Take the teenager bullied and the one that's abused at home, he or she runs away. It's in that instant they made that decisive move to leave, to get away. There was no thought of the future.

They couldn't see beyond the relief of finally getting away from the life that is, to a life that could be. It's like saying to a thief but didn't you think about the consequences before you committed the crime. What thief does. It's only as the years go by and you are still living with nothing but your wits and believe me when I say you need them. Do they want to live on the streets trying to survive? The answer sadly is, sometimes their life is sometimes better than it was.

After a while you get what they called street wise, you learn to survive. It's then the streets are home. What's the definition of home ( a place where one lives, a place where a family or social unit lives, a place one can call a refuge.) People on the streets have there own social circles they can often been seen in groups after all they are no longer part of society on the whole. Is it true that homeless people are second class citizens? I would have to say yes. The sadness of it all is that this is a way of life to some and it's by our giving the little we do give to the beggars that some people do actually survive like me for instance why I am still here I haven't got a bloody clue but I wouldn't be here if you hadn't given every morning. Yes it did go on drugs to make me something like a normal human being everyday but it also went on food. You helped me survive.

When I am now asked the question would I give? I do, but I speak to the person before I give that way I have an idea what the money is going on. If I think it's going on drugs then I will buy them a sandwich and give then a couple of bob. They might not thank me for it but at least I am helping them survive. For charities and organizations to come out shouting don't give to beggars is alarming in itself. I know this might sound absurd but aren't charities doing the same but only legally?

I don't want to run charities down because some do a fantastic job with the little resources they have. I just wanted to point out that ones legal and ones not but I was merely asking the question why? As the goal of survival is the same. I don't condone drug taking but as I see more and more youngsters on the streets and using drugs. I want to help if this means giving a few bob and a sandwich so be it. Survival is the name of the game on the streets. To get where I am today I needed to survive.

So when you see someone with the words homeless and hungry on a piece of cardboard look at them as a person. Maybe even speak to them you never know they might surprise you.

Store cards

News reports of how consumers are being ripped off with store cards made me laugh. Consumers are whingeing that they are being charged 20 or 30% interest rates on their store cards, compared to 15% on a normal credit card, and how disgusting it is.

Erm - READ THE SMALL PRINT and ask what the interest rate is before you sign up! Idiots! Are you blind? I never use store cards, even if they DO offer you 10% off a prchase when you first apply - one look at the ridiculous interest rate is enough for me to walk away - so why can't everyone else????

Monday, September 12, 2005

Petrol Part III

The news this morning warned us of an imminent petrol protest that was going to start on Wednesday. It apparently is going to be a non-blocking-of-fuel-supplies protest, so we shouldn't worry about not being able to get any fuel. Nevertheless, petrol stations were full this morning of people "topping up just in case". Admittedly, even I did as I'm on low and need to get to work.

I started to feel a hint of the apprehension I last felt at the time of the serious fuel protests in 2000, when the whole country was starved of the precious lifeblood of petrol. Sitting in a queue en route to work I thought about how people would cope when fuel does eventually dry out. It would be hell on earth. Panic buying at the supermarkets would clear their stocks, then the supers themselves wouldn't be able to restock because their distribution centres are miles away. Smaller local food outlets would then be squeezed dry, followed by the raiding of neighbourhood allotments at every opportunity.

Rural communities would probably survive better for longer, the proximity of farms and supplies of farm grown food and animals, plus the fact they would be miles away from the desperate citygoers and their empty cars, and out of the reach of food looters.

Businesses would suffer because they'd not be able to get fresh stock, and their workers may not be able to get to work at all. Fat kids who are driven to school would suffer because heaven fordib, they'd have to WALK or cycle to school! But then, if teachers can't get to the school what will happen to the education infrastructure?

No doubt emergency service vehicles would get raided for their fuel, just like in 2000 when nurses had their cars broken into and their fuel siphoned out by some desperate idiot who no doubt thought that his job of pushing paper around a desk is more important than a nurses job of potentially saving someone's life.

How would food be brought to us? By the emergency services? What if even THEY had no fuel? What would we do apart from raid garden centres to get seeds to grow our own food, buy a bread machine and then try to get shitloads of flour and yeast? What if you live in a flat with no garden? What would happen to our rubbish bins if no binmen could clear them away and take our waste to the landfills? The stench of rotting rubbish would bring forth a wave of rats and scavengers, not to mention disease and germs.

How much we would be willing to compromise when fuel does run out? Would we still insist on a wide range of fresh food on our plates from all around the country/world? Would we whinge about the fact that yes we'd have to cycle or walk to work, even in crappy cold wet weather? Walk miles to get some food then queue for hours for our rationed portions of 1 loaf of bread, some beans and some apples? Would we bleat because Fat Timmy wants his dino-shaped chicken nuggets and must HAVE his dino-shaped chicken nuggets, petrol or no petrol? Would we accept the fact that until this mess is sorted out, us and our kids may actually have to eat less and have fewer choices and waste less? Back to wartime recipies using dripping and home-ground flour, and no complaining please ....

Would we patrol our allotments with a shotgun and in true New Orleans style, put signs up that said "Loot and I Shoot"? Would we steal other people's hybrid cars to get around? Or would we turn back into a community and pull together to help eachother out? Would we turn vicious and violent in our desperation, stealing and conniving to get what we need for OURSELVES, and fuck everyone else?

It's so scary to me that our entire life is now dependent on petrol. We can't get anywhere or do anything without it, we are helpless, crippled without it. I hate the addiction we have. I hope petrol never runs out in my lifetime, or I hope that soon the new emerging culture and demand for hybrid and electric cars will start to really gather pace and begin a tide of change towards breaking the addiction.

Of course fuel isn't just goint to run out just like that and leave us stranded. But one day it will grow less, and less, and less, and the panic will set in and not go away because we will discover that it is actually running out and this time there will be no respite. I hope when that day comes that electric cars are ready and waiting in the wings, and that the seamless transition will take place, and life will go on as always, dino-shaped chicken nuggets and all.


It's amusing to me today to listen to the news and read what people are saying about the blasted cricket. Countless people have been quoted as saying "we're crossing our fingers for the weather to stay bad" or "we just need the Aussies to screw up again and we've won", or the news reporters saying that "the onset of more bad weather will return the Ashes to England after 18 years".

What's wrong with these quotes? They are all beautifully negative towards the skills of our England cricket team, in fact they don't even mention the team! We are all counting on either bad weather, or the OTHER TEAM'S misfortune for us to win! Not the skills of our own team!

This once again highlights Brit attitudes to sport. We trumpet that we're great, but really we just take the piss and we know we're crap. Jonathan Ross was saying the other day how the athletics commentators make excuses for and run down each member of the England team before they've even thrown a javelin or left the starting blocks .... "oh, she had a cold three months ago so she'll be a bit delicate today", "well his dog died last week so obviously he's missed training and will be a bit rusty". They're almost apologising for them because they know they're going to do crap before they start! I had noticed this way back in the Olympics and was greatly relieved to hear someone else agreeing.

So now we're reduced to hoping anything other than our team, will help our team win. Roll on the London Olympics, plenty of time to make excuses up and have them at the ready for each and every athlete!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Poverty of America

The disaster in New Orleans sheds new light on the nature of poverty in the rich world, according to writer Jeremy Seabrook.


The human toll of Hurricane Katrina is still being counted as the fetid waters that drowned a city recede or evaporate in the hot sun. Much has been written about how the 'war on terror' diverted spending from the defences of New Orleans. The absence of large numbers of the National Guard, on duty in Iraq, further delayed help to the stricken. The lack of clarity in responsibility between federal, state and local authorities exacerbated the disaster. The somnolence of George W Bush, deep, no doubt, in dreams of redistributing yet more wealth from poor to rich on his long holiday in Texas, made him slow to react to the enormity of what had happened. It has also uncovered unexpected vulnerabilities in this, the most powerful country on earth. It has laid bare, in the starkest and most tangible form, what is well known in theory: that this society is constructed upon a celebration of inequality, ingrown violence and great historic wrongs, which, for their sustenance, require continuous human sacrifice.

People in India often ask me whether poverty exists in the West. I tell them it is widespread. They accept the truth of this, but look puzzled. They find it hard to reconcile the ubiquitous imagery of abundance and luxury from the West with what they know of poverty as they experience it - the emaciation of extreme want. Do people labour in the fields for less than a day's wage? Do they suffer hunger? Must they work 16 hours a day? Do they send their children to work? Must they wait till evening for the money that enables them to eat?

No, it isn't like that. Poverty in the West is, assuredly, a violent visitation. But it has a different face from the poverty of India. It is hard to describe to those who have never been out of India the face of poverty in the richest societies in the world.

The effects of Hurricane Katrina have made it easier to explain, since it has demonstrated to everyone the nature of exclusion and resourcelessness in a country whose prodigious wealth inspires both envy and desire in the peoples of the earth.

For the waters that swept through New Orleans did more than inundate a beautiful and historic city. Among the debris of buildings, stores, churches, casinos, factories and fields, a human wreckage was deposited on the desolate streets. Pictures of used-up humanity - the shut-ins and the locked-aways, an incarcerated populace, a concealed people, those who pay the true cost of the expensive maintenance of the American Dream - have been beamed into the gilded dwelling-places of wealth.

Of course, no-one in the path of the violent storm that gathered such intensity from the overheated waters of the Gulf could have resisted its violence. But the spectacle of lives washed up on hard city pavements was instructive of how far the poor of America are, in the ordinary conduct of their daily lives, without resources. If this seems a statement of the obvious, it shows nevertheless the dissimilarity between poverty in rich and poor countries. The stranded survivors of New Orleans were devoid of basic skills for survival, since survival in America depends totally upon money.

Even the poorest people of Bangladesh, Niger, Brazil or India are not poor in the same way. The poor of the US have been remade in the image of wealth; that is to say, their lives have been fashioned by the same values, influences and expectations as the rest of society, which are those of the well-to-do. They are just as dependent upon money as the rich are, only they do not have the wherewithal to participate in a society constructed on the assumption that all human needs, wants and comforts must be bought in from the market. Nothing is grown, made, invented or created by the people for themselves and for others. Wealth means simply the ability to buy; to be cut off from this fundamental activity is to excluded, exiled from the society, an exile dramatically made worse when they were unable to move out of the path of the swirling floodwater.

In the developing world, poor people have learned to cope with what is lacking in their lives - not always successfully, it is true, but they have not yet learned the superior wisdom of the West, that nothing can be done without money. This is why the urban poor in Dhaka, Mumbai, Nairobi and Lagos still build their own shelters, create their own livelihoods, seek out their own fuel and grow food on any small parcel of land they can find.

But it is at times of catastrophic suffering and loss that the difference is most visible. That people in New Orleans left bodies unattended in the putrid waters of the Gulf and plundered the dispossessed is shocking and incomprehensible to the poor of India, Bangladesh or Africa. For when disaster strikes in the poor world - as it so regularly does - people do not loot and steal. They do not fire guns at rescue helicopters. They do not rob the hospitals of their drugs. They do not barricade themselves inside their rough shelters and write in white paint on their walls, Loot and Be Shot. The instinctive response of the poor in the 'underdeveloped' world is to succour those weaker than themselves, to share with them such meagre resources as they possess, to show a fundamental solidarity: the dereliction of others is not seen as an opportunity for gain. This is why they feel a bewildered compassion for the destructive rage of deprivation in the US.

Some commentators in America described scenes in New Orleans as 'reminiscent of the Third World.' They could not have been more wrong. This was an entirely 'First World' phenomenon: gun battles between looters and the National Guard, who operate a shoot-to-kill policy against predators, bloated corpses abandoned on riverbanks and sidewalks, or simply floating, unclaimed on the toxic flood - these are scenes which occur only in the lands of privilege.

This is what the poor of India and all the other hopeful countries of the world have been taught to envy and to long for. This is the supreme achievement of the richest societies the world has ever known; and it is the model, not merely preached, but actually imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the governments of the G8. That they are in no position to tell anyone else what to do is the enduring lesson from the disaster which has befallen, not merely Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, but American society itself, as it has demonstrated to the world its indifference towards those for whom the designation 'loser', 'no-hoper', 'failure' is applied as a stigma of moral, as well as material, incapacity.

It has long been clear that the West could easily provide a comfortable sufficiency for all the people of its own societies, if it chose to do so. It does not, for the simple reason that the fate of the poor must be maintained, as a warning and example to all who might otherwise be tempted to drop out, to relax their vigilance, to withdraw from the competitive ethos that drives people on to accumulate.

It is not ambition that drives the creation of wealth but the coercive fear of this ghastly version of poverty, this human-made construct that creates outcasts of plenty, human scarecrows brandished at dissenters to urge them to conform with this, the American or Western Dream. An indispensable component of its promise of wealth and affluence is its threat of a desperate, contrived and brutal form of poverty, of which the poor of India remain, at least for the moment, still innocent.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Congress has approved £52 BILLION aid money to help the New Orleans disaster recovery. £52 BILLION. Where does this money come from???? If America has such a huge surplus why can't they spend some of it on some of the other disasters in their country - namely tackling obesity, inadequate and junky food school meals, medical care, housing, homeless people, RESEARCH INTO ALTERNATIVE FUELS FOR CARS??

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Don't forget ....

In the wake of all the media splurging over New Orleans, we are all forgetting the huge cleanup operation that's still going on following the Asian Tsunami. These people are still rebuilding their shattered lives and homes, still trying to find friends and relatives, but they are old news now, forgotten, been there done that, TV crews packed up and gone. Is anyone checking whether the millions of $ in aid promised from the world has actually been delivered to them? Or is it all being diverted to help America now, America who is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the rest of the world I'm sure .

Also we are coming up to the Sept 11th anniversary too, where no doubt New York will come to a standstill and we will all have to drop everything and think about what happened in 2001, when needless thousands died because their President ignored repeated security warnings. Over 4000 people lost their lives that day and the world has to stop to remember them. But nobody thinks of the tens of thousands, if not more, of innocent lives lost all over the world thanks to Bush's megalomanic desire to rule the it with his own form of "Democracy". Lies, lies, pretence, corruption, needless wars, corporate greed, personal agendas, more lies, more war, more destruction, and more innocent deaths and misery for so many families.

Everybody knows there were serious mistakes made in the run up to 9/11 and in the aftermath and clean up, but still nobody stands up and shouts and demands justice. So many unanswered questions still ignored, so many of the relatives shoved into a corner and told to shut up. They impeached Clinton over a fucking spunk stain on a dress FFS, why not impeach Bush for murdering over 3000 people???? Or stealing elections? Or any other of the Heinous crimes he has committed? Thank God he can't be re-elected.

When the fuck are we going to find someone who will work their way through the ranks of Government and remain uncorrupted? Is it even possible? A shred of me will always believe that YES, this is possible and one day it will happen. I think we all need that hope, else what's the point?? But at the same time the possibility seems so absolutely remote that I may as well laugh at myself for even having that shred of hope in the first place. But it won't die inside me, no matter how much you tell yourself it's useless.

We all want the Hollywood America, where the President is Bill Pullman or Harrison Ford, a good guy, a guy who has morals and principles and actually cares about his people, and tells the corrupt wankers to piss off and go to hell because his country comes before the $$ in his bank account. I wish I could just step into the cinema screen and go live in a world like that.