Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Final Curtain

For those of you who have been following her progress through this blog, I'm sorry to report that Rebecca "Bob" Kaye has lost her long fight with metastatic melanoma. She died last night at home, with her family by her side.

Her dad sent the last update to her blog, which you can read here

When I'm in more of a fit state to comment, I'll post a tribute to her on here.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Man From UEFA Being Funny Shock.

You may not care, but there was "ticketing chaos" in the Athens stadium where this year's UEFA Champions League Final was taking place. Apparently, hundreds of supporters with genuine tickets were kept outside the stadium as lots of people were already inside having used fake tickets.

So Michael Howard (remember him?) was on the radio this morning complaining that: "I didn't think the match should have been held at the stadium. It's not a football stadium and is not equipped to cope with that number of people. That is not acceptable and Uefa really need to look at their procedures and make sure everything is all in order."

To which Uefa spokesman William Gaillard said: "It is very easy to say it is not a suitable stadium, coming from the man that invented the poll tax."

Which doesn't really make a fantastic amount of sense when you think about it, but is miles better than, "why don't you just shut up and fuck off" which is essentially what it does say. And it's funny, I think.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Have I Got News For You!?!

Went to see the recording of this week's "Have I Got News For You" this evening at the London Studios with Lianna Ovenden. Having previously attempted and failed to get in - as they always issue more than there is space - we had guaranteed admittance tickets this time and ended up being three rows behind Ian Hislop and pretty much opposite Paul Merton.

Guests were James May from "Top Gear" and the BBC's Political Editor, Nick Robinson. The celebrity host this week was Alexander Armstrong (one half of Armstrong and Miller) and more recently whoring Pimms in the television adverts.

Be interested to see what gets into the final edit, as I'm not sure Paul Merton's repeated suggestion that Prince Philip was responsible for the fire on the Cutty Sark will get past the lawyers. Nor the suggestion that Gordon Brown and David Cameron are having a homosexual affair with each other.

If you don't want to know the result, don't look in the comments.


Need A Credit Card? Try This!

From the ever helpful tech bible, Slashdot, how to find hidden treasure troves of credit card numbers online.

Just to show how actually secure you are while online. Not as a hint for criminals.


Camera In Your Hat? Or Are You Just Pleased To Fine Me?

Traffic wardens in Manchester are being issued hats with cameras so they have evidence of anti-social behaviour. Traffic wardens can issue fixed penalty tickets for littering - and have done so recently with such aplomb - and allowing dog's to foul the pavement.

Not anything helpful in Manchester then, like gangs, supplying drugs, shooting people or stuff like that. Not entirely sure why people who abide by the majority of the laws get hunted for fines quite as often as they seem to be. It's almost like the Government have thought "Suckers! Let's milk them!" and completely ignored the actual crimes that deserve punishment.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"I Use It To Get Up, Not To Get IT Up"

Great news for the impotent, you can now use the excuse that you're taking Viagra to help overcome jetlag! Studies on mice - who I didn't think would do much international jet-setting, but there you go - have suggested that by combining Viagra with light therapy you can overcome the jet lag suffered from travelling East to West a lot quicker.

Presumably, this is because it's easier falling asleep with a light on than with a hard on.


I thank you.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Mars Now Vegetarian - Again!

In a spectacular U-turn that many a Government would be proud of, Masterfoods has announced that it will be going back to using non-animal rennet in its production methods.

So quick was this return to the original recipe, it's almost like they intentionally announced something they had no plans to do just to increase brand perception amongst consumers. Like when Heinz announced plans to withdraw Salad Cream, then "changed their minds". Or when Coke launched New Coke and then brought back Classic Coke.

Maybe that's just me being cynical, and the company have genuinely realised that they made a mistake.

Welcome To The New Regime

There is a recommendation being circulated at Westminster that any public official who *thinks* that someone is likely to become a violent criminal should immediately inform the police. While this does seem initially a sensible idea, how does one define who will become a threat?

If you happened to deal with, for example, the Housing Benefits department of Enfield Borough Council and had to wait 12 weeks for them to send you any money that you needed in order to pay your rent and therefore have somewhere to live, you might get a bit annoyed whenever you had to deal with the incredible amounts of ineptitude that can sometimes be displayed by council officials.

So if you were to get a bit shouty at one of them, nothing personal directed at the official, but just born of the frustration of the system, and that same official has had three or four previous people shout at them, there's a fair chance they might just go "that bloke is likely to become violent towards me", and suddenly the police are informed that you are a threat to society as a whole.

Now, just from that one Housing Office, there could be hundreds of potential threats raised each month. Who is going to look at all these files and decide whether you are or aren't an actual threat? What happens to you if you are put on some meta-list of potential offenders? Who gets to see this list? What appeals process do you have if you're put on this list? Remembering of course that you haven't *actually* done anything or even necessarily *threatened* to do anything.

This seems to be just one step away from the favoured trick of the secret police in Communist-era Eastern Bloc countries and Nazi Germany where people were actually encouraged to inform on neighbours who they thought were acting suspiciously.

And to quote the old adage, who will stand up for you when you're taken away if everyone else has already been taken?

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Friday, May 18, 2007

A Question For Scientists

Can anyone explain why, when the Police or whoever seize large amounts of cocaine, they set fire to it? Surely this releases some of it into the air, to be inhaled by anyone who happens to be in the area? Never understood the point of that.

So if anyone can explain why they do this, please let me know.


Dubya Becomes Self-Aware

I know, I was as surprised as the rest of you, but it seems that George Bush Jnr has finally realised that there might be global consequences to his actions.

Speaking yesterday at a White House Press Conference, Dubya admitted that he "could be" partially responsible for the early departure of Tony Blair from his time as Prime Minister.

Which is a good start. Now let's just see if he can come to terms with America's contribution to climate change, global terrorism, and how the Geneva Convention works and why they should actually be following it.

No wonder he likes to be in bed by 9pm normally, I'm sure with his previous blinkers on he slept comfortably for 12 hours. Perhaps now he'll lie there awake, nervously twitching every time he thinks of another country that justifiably hates him.


Giving Up Drinking

This may come as a surprise to many people, but I've decided to give up drinking alcohol for the next month. If anyone sees me drinking alcohol of any kind, please be good enough to slap me senseless and inform the bar that I'm in that I shouldn't be served any more.

I've hurt, annoyed, upset, irritated, angered and pissed off far too many people who are very important to me while I've been drunk. My latest effort was on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning and totally accidental, but wouldn't have happened had I not been drunk. And I hate myself for it.

So I am quitting booze for the next month and we shall see how it goes from there.

This may seem drastic action - particularly given that I probably only drink two or three times a week and not especially loads then - but I think it's about time I stopped for a while, just to see if I still can.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lara Croft Bust

From The Daily Mail (sorry) via The Register comes a story of a man (David Williams) in Manchester who, after calling the police to report 'nuisance phone calls' gets a visit from the boys in blue. Unfortunately, they spy the silhouette of his Lara Croft mannequin and assume he's being held hostage.

Following procedure, they then cordone off the street and call for armed back up. Given recent events regarding the death of officers in the line of duty, this isn't so unusual, and would normally be commended. The armed back-up arrive and duly smash their way into his house through the back door.

Now at this point, you'd kind of hope they might realise their mistake. But no, the Greater Manchester Police actually seem to compound it - by arresting Mr Williams and holding him at the scene for 13 hours, before bailing him on firearm offences. He will apparently find out next month if the police are planning on taking the matter further.

Weirldly enough, Mr Williams is talking to his lawyer about "suing for a possible claim for wrongful arrest".


Monday, May 14, 2007

Abuse Richard Littlejohn!

Some of you may remember how fantastic the reviews of Jordan & Peter Andre's album were on Amazon. And how unbelievable the reviews were. Well, I'm delighted to say that the same thing has happened with the Richard Littlejohn book

Join in the fun!

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Maybe It's Just Me

But you know that girl who disappeared in Portugal, I just can't help thinking that there's something a bit fishy about it. Maybe it says more about me, but surely I'm not the only person who thinks that her parents could have had something to do with it?

The ones who just "celebrated" her fourth birthday party while her whereabouts were unknown. The ones who just announced on Friday that she has an easily identifiable eye condition (where the pupil extends into the iris) which would be very difficult to hide - over a week after she disappeared. The ones who left their children alone while they went and had dinner.

Seriously, who leaves a (nearly) 4 year old alone in a holiday villa? That's the sort of age they easily get up and wander around by themselves. They can open doors and windows, and turn cookers and baths on - you don't leave them alone for 30mins at a time. And, if you're looking to steal a child, why would you take the oldest one? If you kidnap a really young baby then the kid isn't even going to know it's been kidnapped.

Hopefully this is just my cynical mind and she'll be found. But really, it can't be just me who thinks the parents have something to do with it, can it?

Vegetarians Beware

Particularly those amongst you who like the odd bit of chocolate. Mars, the manufacturers of, well, Mars and various other bits of chocolatey goodness have decided that they will be using animal rennet in their products.

I only discovered yesterday just what animal rennet actually was, and that put me off eating anything with it in, and I'm not a vegetarian!

Why Mars are doing this is beyond me. It doesn't seem to make sense from an economic point of view to actively reduce the potential number of buyers of your product (by stopping the increasing number of vegetarians from purchasing it) or to stop using a product (non-animal rennet) which has increased in supply (thus reduced in cost).


Friday, May 11, 2007

Oral Sex And Throat Cancer

A 300 person study by the good folks of John Hopkins "showed" that there was an increased chance of contracting a specific form of throat cancer if you'd performed oral sex on more than six people. Now, I won't go into the backgrounds of the scientists who conducted this study, but let's just say they thought SIX people was a high number.

Which is weird, as 300 is definitely not a high number of people for a survey. Particularly one that has been given so much prominence in the press. Although the oral sex part probably made it unlikely that the press wouldn't cover it. But, being the press, they haven't really looked at the underlying information or how the study was done.

First of all, who sponsored the survey? Was there a puritanical reason behind suggesting that oral sex is bad? And the actual results show that age and tobacco are still higher factors in getting the extremely rare form of throat cancer.

I have a suspicion that Ben Goldacre will be covering this far more fully than I could ever hope to on his excellent Bad Science blog when he's calmed down enough to type.

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Rejoice! He's Announced He's Leaving!

No, I'm not late on the Blair story. I'm talking about a man with an ego even larger than that. A man who also has a single minded belief in his own opinions being facts. A man who also is unable to count to three.

Graham Poll is giving up refereeing! Some would argue (and I would probably be one of them) that he gave up the actual refereeing many years ago and has actually become - in his own mind at least - more important than the football matches he was supposed to be officiating.

Good riddance you twat.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Rock! I Really Do Rock!

Sorry for the self-congratulatory tone of this post, but I've just got back from the Mucky Pup quiz, and I won!

Yep, not "we won", I won. By FIVE clear points!

Due to none of the rest of the usual suspects turning up this week, I decided to give it a go by myself. With the team name "The Sound Of One Man Clapping" I paid my £1.50 in, and came out with £25 and a super-inflated ego.

I must have done surprisingly well in the second half as I was in joint fourth after the first two rounds (despite doing reasonably well, I'd thought) three points off the leaders (a team of two called "Bono Is A Twat") who actually ended up fifth.

There's no grand point to this, just me being very pleased with myself. w00t!!!

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Gilbert & George

I'm not a huge fan of modern art - even though I do like Banksy and some Warhol stuff - but I watched the Imagine show on Gilbert & George's retrospective at the Tate Modern with great interest last night. While I dislike some of their stuff, I do admire the way in which they have pushed the boundaries of their art both in terms of content and the technology they use to create it.

If you would like to own an original Gilbert & George piece, or would like to see more about them go to this site although the artwork can only be downloaded until 11.35pm (BST) on May 10th.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Virgin In Quiz Win Shock

Congratulations to our team who won spectacularly well at the Mucky Pup quiz. We were ably assisted by Rebecca/Dave (and I know, it's odd that two girls I know called Rebecca both have male names) whose knowledge of shoes and girl singers (two rounds the rest of us would have struggled on) and odd songs from the 60s virtually guaranteed our win.

Additional kudos to Charlie who pretty much single handedly got the somewhat cryptic picture round.

Me and Jamie just made up the numbers and looked pretty this week.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Brought To You By My Inner Geek

This will be of little use to most people who read this, but hey, it's one way of spreading the news. The HD-DVD Encryption key is as follows;

09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

Rip away!

Apparently the revolution will now be televised in 1080p.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

IC Wakes Up, Smells Coffee, Shows Coffee To MPs

Richard Thomas, the UKs Information Commissioner, has issued a damning statement about the Government's plans for a surveillance society. As reported by the BBC, he said a "climate of fear" may be created unless he gets greater powers to counteract "excessive surveillance".

This is almost perfect timing, coming on the back of John Reid's announcement that in order to reduce iPod and mobile phone theft, manufacturers should make them operated by fingerprint. Rather than increase street numbers of police, deal with the inequalities in society that encourage people to steal, or even suggest not taking expensive items out of your pocket in public and avoid bad areas.

Because if you give your fingerprint to the company who make the mobile/mp3 player then the Government could probably justify taking that information and adding it to a database for "security reasons". You know, so they could ring you when it gets found, that kind of thing. Or know who to come and visit should you be illegally downloading mp3s or anything suspicious like phoning someone in Pakistan/Iran/North Korea.

I sincerely hope that the IC gets his point across to the many MPs who seem all to keen to let the UK "sleep walk into a surveillance society"

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