Monday, July 30, 2007

Good Analysing There Fella

According to a report (covered by the BBC) from Fitch, the credit rating agency, the UK Housing Market "is over valued by 20%" which is hardly a surprise. What is slightly more of a surprise is that total mortgage lending rose by £9.6bn in June, up from £8.7bn in May, which would lead me to expect a rise interest rates again (which I did predict a few months back).

Weirdly though, and back to the original report, the UK is only the THIRD most vulnerable housing market to higher interest rates, behind both New Zealand and Denmark. Apparently the obsession with variable rates is the cause of this and if you want to avoid this problem, buy in Italy, Germany or that oasis of cheap property, Japan.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Talk About Segues!

Following on from Filipinos in prison, here's something from the "Magandang Balita UK", one of SEVEN papers for the Filipino in London, provided by Suzi as she *knew* I'd find it funny. From page 22 (in the current edition, available until September) a piece called "Having A Groovy Time In The Legend Palawan"

"For your next vacation" it starts "think quality time of free-spirited fun with the whole family" and I know you're now as desperate as I was to know more.

"During my most recent visit in Puerto Princessa" your unnamed but observant reporter notes "I noticed the surge of local visitors now coming in by groups and most specially by families not just from Manila but also by foreigners". Oh yes, not just locals, or locals from Manila, but local foreigners!

And I think I know why: The Honda Bay Island Tour! "While the boat ride itself is an exhilarating experience, the thrill of discovering islands of fine white-sand beaches will give you a different high". I'm suspecting that "white-sand" is a local euphemism for cocaine.

But if that's not enough for you, can I (and the "reporter") recommend a trip on the "Underground River Adventure Tour"? "Although you may opt to have the toddlers and their nannies stay at the hotel's day-care for this one, kids of school age, especially those with a thirst for excitement, will treasure the experience". But, and an important one, "We'll let you be the judge on who can come along". Thanks for that, as I'm guessing it's me who'll be paying and all.

But what of the tour itself? "The adventure actually begins as you trek your way towards the beautiful lagoon that lies outside the river's mouth. As you follow the trail, you'll walk past rare Philippine tree species..." (now, is that just rare for the Philippines, or rare generally, do you think we'd be very "oh look, Oak") "...monkeys and monitor lizards". Well if the trees are more interesting than monkeys, bring them on I say!

"Aboard a fibreglass paddle boat, with life-vests safely secured to each of you..." (and you suspect this statement covers up something sinister that happened recently) "...your family's journey into the Underground River kicks off."

And I swear I haven't made up the next bit.

"The ride will bring you midway through the 8km cave festooned with centuries-old stalagmite and stalactite formations. Viewing these "artworks" by nature is awe-inspiring and quite interesting" Wow. Awe inspiring, but only *quite* interesting. That's a dichotomy to be sure. Loved that, but it gets better, oh yes, but only works by re-reading the whole sentence.

"Viewing these "artworks" by nature is awe-inspiring and quite interesting as some of the formations resemble actual shapes and objects" Oh yeah! Some of these stalagmite and stalactites resemble actual objects, possibly like stalagmites or stalactites if you could imagine such a thing. Although to the Filipino, these must be abstract concepts and they look like an icicle or an upside down icicle, I can only guess. But it's not just me: "Your kids' imaginations will run wild."

"After the thrill of your lives..." (I think I'll be the judge of that, if you don't mind) "...your discovery tour continues with a side trip to the Vietnamese Village on your way back to the hotel"

Come on then, where do I sign up? And to think, I got from Mike Reid dying to here without missing a beat! I love the internet.


Absolute Genius

Fuck Mike Reid, Bernard Manning et al, if you want true comedy, your best bet appears to be with incarcerated Filipinos. Thanks go to Mia for this link


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Runaround Now! Oh, You Can't, You're Dead

Following just two weeks from the death of Bernard Manning, Mike Reid (not the bloke who decided Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" should be banned from Radio 1 playlists, but the other bloke who used to be on "Eastenders") has died from a suspected heart attack.

I can only imagine that Frank Carson, Roy "Slow Talker" Walker & Stan Boardman are shitting themselves over who is likely to die next - seeing as they all benefitted from "The Comedians" (never had the joy of speech marks been so readily apparent) - and these things do tend to come in threes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Well Done Newcastle!

No this isn't a comment about Newcastle's surprisingly entertaining win over Celtic last night (4-1 if anyone's interested, and Luque scored twice!), but more a congratulation aimed at Newcastle City Council.

Obviously keen to show that they are at least as capable as the RBOS & HSBC in releasing confidential details of their clients, they've let the credit and debit card records of 54,000 people be displayed on t'internet for all and sundry to view.

As reported on the BBC they only discovered this when an independent expert was hired to check the security of their systems. So I suppose they are to be congratulated for actually checking to see if they were being idiots. Which, of course, they were.

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Fear Of Fear

The Register have been publishing a series of articles this week from Thomas C Greene about how the media have been responsible for pushing the Government message without question. As it's something I've been mentioning on here in the past, I've linked to the three articles should anyone who reads this be interested in seeing what a professional journalism says about it, rather than re-read my rantings of previous months.

The first one is here. The second one is here. The third and final one is here.

In the comments section of the third piece, someone makes a point I've also made previously: why is it that this sort of article isn't on a more mainstream site? It seems the BBC/ITV/Sky News bodies aren't interested in looking at themselves, leaving (in the UK) Mark Thomas and Bremner, Bird & Fortune (and in the US) Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" to actually question the motives of politicians and Governments.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Iraq or Wearside?

Some entertaining news in - unless you happen to be a member of the Great Unwashed - from the crazy world of Royston Keane.

Al Gharafa's Iraqi striker Younis Mahmoud admitted he had turned down a move to S*nderland because his father would prefer to live in peaceful Iraq than war torn Wearside. "My father likes it there and won't go," he sighed. "Maybe next year I'll move."

On a happier note for the Mackems, I shall be visiting you in August and wearing a Newcastle top so I'll be easier to spot.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Channel 4 Aren't Replying To Me

Following my earlier post about Gillian McKeith's "Three Fat Brides And One Thin Dress" I mailed Channel 4 for an explanation and I received nothing back. Nothing within the 7 days they promise on the website, nor the 10 days they mentioned on the automated response back. Nor in the 10 days after that when I replied to the automated email asking where my reply was.

So I've just mailed the following to Ofcom;

"I am shocked that Gillian McKeith - who until recently purported to be a doctor - is allowed to present a show which forces people to diet in a competitive manner.

This encourages bad eating habits and may well lead to serious medical problems.

The people in these shows often seem to be close to a breakdown and any failure to "win" would surely compound any feelings of inadequacy that they were already feeling.

This, in my opinion, a sick and disgustingly exploitative show, relying on unproven ideas proposed by a woman with no scientific or medical training whatsoever.

I have attempted on two previous occasions to contact Channel 4 regarding this matter and I am yet to receive a reply."

So I'm hoping to get some sort of response from them.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Roskilde Festival

Got back last night from Roskilde, a tired, dirty and still slightly damp man.

I arrived in Denmark midway through 36 hours of rain - the worst day in July in 150 years - and pretty much everything in my rucksack was wet by the time I eventually got to my tent. Thanks to Suzi, Karel and Andy at least my tent was dry and still attached to the ground, which is more than could be said for quite a lot of the camp's residents. The rain did eventually stop on Friday morning and the fun began.

Met a whole load of great people, saw a good few bands, drank a pleasantly large amount of beer and have an enormous amount of happy memories. I will definitely be going back next year (as everyone kept saying "it can't be worse than this year") but I think I may try to get there in an RV rather than attempt camping again.

Briefly about the bands; Machinehead - excellent, but too short a set; My Chemical Romance - very good, but maybe a bigger stage next year; Flaming Lips - not that impressed at all, I can see why you need that many people on stage to divert attention from being so ponderous; Arctic Monkeys - looked lost working a crowd that large for the third day and third festival in a row; Muse - pretty good, shame it was still daylight when they came on; Basement Jaxx - excellent end to the festival.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Roskilde Here I Come!

Tomorrow I will be flying from London Stansted to Copenhagen, then getting a train to Roskilde and a bus to the festival site gates - where I'll be exchanging my (hopefully real) ticket for a wristband - then jumping on another bus to camping South where my tent will await me!

Four days of Tuborg, festival food, great bands and brilliant friends later, I'll be wending my weary way back to the UK and be back at work on Tuesday.

So you all have a lovely weekend, I'm fairly certain I will.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Know This Is A Day Early

Happy Independence Day. Be sure to realise you'll be a colony again. We know where the eggs are.

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