Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Aphonetic alphabet

We all know the phonetics the police, among others, use in spelling out words, i.e. alpha, bravo, charlie, delta etc etc etc. Well I thought it'd be amusing to mess with people's heads by using this aphonetic alphabet. It's not quite complete though, so any suggestions for F and N are gratefully received and together we can annoy call centre staff the world over!

A - aeon
B - bdellium
C - chutzpah
D - djibouti
E - einstein
F - ???
G - gnome
H - hour
I - ian
J - junta
K - knot
L - łodz
M - mnemonic
N - ???
O - oestrogen
P - psychosis
Q - qi
R - rzsezów
S - schapska
T - tsar
U - uakiri
V - veldt
W - wrath
X - xenon
Y - ypres
Z - zaragoza


UPDATE - My brother in-law suggested 'fillip' for F, as most people would assume it begins with a P. I remain to be convinced, but have no other suggestions as yet.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sit down, don't shut up

News delivered standing up does not make it any more noteworthy. In fact, delivering it stood up removes gravitas.


They DO NOT WORK in an urban environment. If you desire to carry your dozen pronged instrument of death, then allow me to even to odds up by attempting to stab you in the eye with a pencil.
And I'm no golfist so I don't understand why you would need such a huge brolly out on the fairways, but I do know that one tit in a suit does not need an umbrella that covers the area of a small central African republic in order get from the railway station to the office.

Big Brother may be watching me...

Big Brother's back. Will someone please save me from this abomination. Please.

The World Cup cometh

You may have noticed by the amount of drag-inducing fuel-wasting flags hanging off people's car windows that there is a major football tournament approaching. This time, it is the World Cup, a competition which England, for some bizarre reason known only to the meatheads who I would guess are backing them, are among the favourites.
I loved the World Cup as a kid. It was in far off locations like Spain (for a child who'd only ever holidayed in Scarborough for the first umpteen years of life, that is far away) and Mexico. Then football went bonkers after the 1990 competition in Italy that England proved to be very good in. Despite that, England butchered the qualification for 1994 in America and what happened..?? We had the best World Cup ever. The coverage was good, the punditry didn't involve flag-waving and you could enjoy football without jingoism. That will not happen this time round. You see it in TV adverts already with football being involved in the most spurious ways to promote things we don't really need. The hype surrounding England is unbelievable and totally unjustified for a team that lost to Northern Ireland recently.
The sooner England go out, the better for football, the better for the tournament, the better for the nation, the better all round. So I'm throwing my support behind Paraguay, Trinidad and Sweden.

EDIT: This song by some Irish chaps from a couple of years ago sums up my feelings

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I admit it - I've never read it. I won't be going to see it either. This is not the result of religious outrage masquerading as morality though. Fact is, I'm just not interested.
The problem I have with the whole thing is this outrage about it being blasphemous and undermining to Christianity. Surely if you actually believe in the tosh that Christian doctrine alludes to, you should have enough courage in your convictions that the religion will stand up to alternative opinions. It smacks to me of panic, a chronic lack of belief, a worry that some people might not actually fall for the brainwashing techniques of organised religion.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Mount Everest - the forehead of the sky - seems to be getting climbed far too often these days. Yesterday it was a New Zealander with no legs, today it's two British teenagers. Hats off for doing it, especially if you've not got any legs, but with the number of people attempting it I imagine there's a big queue of people who all have to take a ticket to be allowed to the top, much like Tesco's deli counter. And what were British teenagers doing there anyway? Surely, if the Daily Mail is to be believed (and as the most popular daily newspaper (how?) in Britain surely it can't be wrong), they ought to have been upsetting old people whilst hanging around outside their local takeaway.

Anyway, forget Everest. Even Brian Blessed has conquered it. Mauna Kea in Hawaii is where it's at. I'd like to see someone try that one without oxygen...

UPDATE: It turns out yer no-legged man left a fellow climber to die. Presumably he'd have missed his spot in the hour-long queues to get to the summit had he waited with the dying man.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The old book

Bear in mind this was written a few years ago...

New and improved - What were they selling me before?
Dermatologically tested - If you're not going to tell me whether it passed the dermatological tests, why bother mentioning it? Just a pseudo-scientific buzzword.
Ambulance chasing lawyers and misery chasing debt managemnt companies - Leeches of modern society
Jamie Oliver
In fact, all celebrity chefs
Take it further, why not? All these talentless oxygen thieves that are for some reason famous and rammed down our throats in all corners of the media 24/7
I hate the phrase 24/7 as well and now I've used it twice...
Txt msgng - wr ppl dny s vwls n thr wrds. It's lazy, ignorant and unreadable, which leads me to...
Poor English - I use mobile phones. I think they're a boon. But text messaging has speeded up the decline in language standards, spelling in particular. Forget about punctuation.
There, they're and their. It's easy. Same as here and hear.
Manufactured pop bands - I accept that a lot of these kids can sing, but bloody hell... S Club bleedin' Juniors? Cheap karaoke.
Stupid names - Where do you start? John. that's a name. Chadlie. That's just a poor Scrabble hand and yes it does exist.
Adverts that are obviously dubbed from a foreign accent so the person on it is generically British. I can cope with more than one accent, thank you very much.
Except cockney.
The word 'ask' is not a noun. It's a verb.
American versions of British sitcoms. Fawlty Towers - comedy genius. The American version - Utterly terrible.
British versions of American sitcoms aren't much better. Why not just show the original?
50 channels. All rubbish.
I used to think Americans were insular. Then I worked in Surrey. The vast majority of people I met didn't know anything of the world beyond the M25. Speaking of which...
The M25. If there's a road that epitomises everything wrong with driving in this country, it's the M2-bleedin'-5. You'll average no more than 10mph. You'll be cut up every 100 yards. There'll be two dozen drivers every mile who don't realise they've got their fog lights on. Tip for you - it's dark, not foggy. Middle lane hogs, too fast, too slow, too close.
Sunny Delight. Never seen a fruit and turns you orange.
Non-stick pans. Good idea until the non-stick bit your food doesn't stick to also releases it's grip in the pan, leaving you with a chicken and teflon curry.
Gap adverts.
Footballers whinging about tiredness. As much in a month as a top class RL player gets in a year and playing three times in a week is too much for the darling prima donnas.
Childrens TV presenters. If they're role models, the youth of today don't have a chance.
The Daily Mail.
I don't hate football. I hate what it's become. It was never on the front pages when I was a lad, and no-one gave a stuff what Lee Chapman did on his days off. It's inescapable now. The way advertisers try to sneak some football reference in everywhere. The way everybody assumes I'm a fan. OK, so I'm a York City fan, but just because I'm a male in my late twenties [obviously I'm not any more...], it's assumed. I like a lot of things, but none of it assumed simply because I fit a certain demographic.
The crumbling rail infrastructure. If ever there was something ideal for not privatising, the railway is it. Why was it nationalised in the first place? To provide an integrated transport system. It got time unifiedacross the UK as well. I went to York from Huddersfield once. It takes an hour. I set off back at half nine in the evening to get back for last orders. Got back at 1.30am.
Pokemon. What the fudge?
The way any cricketer who shows aptitude with bat and ball gets labelled 'the new Ian Botham'. Great idea to destroy them before they have a chance.
Ex-soap stars who try to do other things. Lord save us! Same goes for 'stars' of reality TV shows.
Why does your boss review your work as staff, but you never get to say how you think he/she shapes up as a manager?
Tabloid led public grief. Possibly the prime British export these days. It's sick. OK, bad things happen, but life goes on. I don't get these ghouls who put flowers down never having met the victim. I mean, Soham... Yes, terrible. So let's get in the car and go there? Err, no.
Football thugs. Yes, I mean you in the Burberry hat and Paul & Shark jumper.
In fact, Burberry. Someone finds a load of material that looks like bad curtains and suddenly everyone has to have it. Why? It doesn't even look nice.
London. Can't stand the place. It's grimy, impersonal, far too busy, but you meet someone from London and they'll tell you it's the greatest place on earth despite all evidence to the contrary. The water tastes nasty and isn't wetting. You can't get a decent pint and then you pay through the nose for it.
Perfume adverts. Make no sense.
You can't but a hi-fi system with a turntable any more. We're not all under 20 y'know. I've got a stack of vinyl and an old rubbishy player. Without spending a fortune, I'm stuffed.
Newspapers that won't print obscenities. We're all civilised. These words form our language. Sanctimonius ****s.
When shopping, don't take your entourage of nineteen ill-behaved illegitimate brats with you to run amok while you block every aisle with your six trolleys.
Corporate twaddle. My employers [at the time, I hasten to add] are masters of it. Don'[t say in a sentence what could be spun out to a 4-page memo. The announcement about redundancies was laughable: "Thanks for your efforts, but in the current climate blah blah blah..." or "No pay rises and 5% of you can get stuffed" which is what was meant. Lawyers letters fall into the same category.
Baby on board stickers. I understand they can be useful, but you see too many in cars with no bairn in them, which is counter-productive. And 'small person on board'? Get lost.
ntl Customer Support. It would be a nice idea.
It's not 'would of'. It's 'would have'.
Rogue apostrophes. I once saw an advert for "Cornish pastie's", which is just too wrong. Our local chippy is very bad for it.
Star Wars. It really isn't that good.
And Star Trek's crap too.
Is there really a need for Celine Dion?
Or Mariah Carey.
Pointless shop rearrangement. You go into Tesco for a tin of soup, go to where the soup is only to be confronted by Pringles. Then you get used to the new layout and it moves again. Stop it!
And Christmas gets earlier. last year, I saw some mince pies in Christmassy packaging on sale in September. The best before was in November.
'Metric martyrs'. It's a pound whether it's 16oz or 454g. You lost. Get over it.
They Think It's All Over. Ha ha. Gower's posh. Ha ha. Gary's got big ears. Ha ha. Rory's fat. For half an hour.
If you listen to Hollywood, you'd think the yanks were responsible for every military victory ever. Black Hawk Down was bad enough, but U-571..?? Lies!
Scousers who claim that all other scousers are somehow genetically funny. The contrary version presents Boardman, Tarbuck and Ken Dodd.
Jamiroquai. Anyone with a hat that big obviously has something to hide.
People who say 'and I want it yesterday'. Whilst accepting that if you travel at a speed significantly above that of light, it is theoretically possible to go back in time, I have yet to develop the ability to test the theory. If you want something yesterday, you really should have asked before yesterday.
The Disney corp. Schmaltz-r-us more like. And when is a DVD not a DVD? When it's a Disney DVD of course.
OK, so I've held off so far, but here goes. Rugby union. I find it tedious in the extreme. It's so stop-start. Fitness levels are poor for pro sportsmen. Skill levels both with ball in hand and in defence. It attracts poor crowds both live and on TV and yet you read the dailiesor watch the news and you could be forgiven for thinking it's just behind football in the national psyche. The coverage, in particular contrast to League is completely disproportionate. I hate it when RL players that they're off to union 'for the challenge'. That's no challenge to a top League man. If it's a challenge you want, go to the NRL. I hate the rank hypocrisy - how come being paid is now acceptbale? Abandonment of principles if you ask me. Not that they were amateur anyway. I hated the treatment of Keiron Cunningham. he decides he doesn't want to play their game so they say he's not Welsh. Union players have pockets in their shorts y'know. 82-6. Remember that? No-one remembers that Wigan withdrew Farrell, Paul, Botica and Robinson after half an hour, that they rotated goal kickers such that we were treated to Neil Cowie having a pop, that Bath were allowed unlimited subs second half and that Wigan played with 12 men for the last 20 minutes. When Bradford won the union sevens, Jeremy Guscott - convicted road rager and notbale absentee in the 82-6 game - was allowed to say live on our public service broadcaster that the League boys 'are looking for a union deal'. The excuse in 1995 when Wigan won it was that they were pros. What was teh excuse against Bradford? I hate it that you generally only see League in the papers when there's something bad to report (I except the Mirror and Independent from that) like Bloem being banned for steroids when the real story was the miracle rise of Doncaster to the big league. I hate the way Question Of Sportonly ever get Offiah or Edwards out of the cupboard when they want a League player. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw Paul Sculthorpe on there once. I'll leave it there...
AQI. It's so annoying. The theory is that it stems from a lack of self confidence - seeking validation for every sentence. I don't buy that.
McDonalds. Insidious example of corporate white America and all the evil that stands for.
Those Homebase adverts with Neil Morrissey and Leslie Ash. Please, please stop.
It's a Reliant Robin, not a Robin Reliant. No-one's ever called it a Cortina Ford, so I don't know where this comes from.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bustin' yo' ass

The coccyx. A small, triangular bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and tailless apes, consisting of several fused rudimentary vertebrae. I cracked mine when I was 14 whilst messing about on a BMX that was far too small for me and to this day it remains a total pain in the arse.

The nuclear solution

Listening to Radio 4's Today programme this morning, the new secretary of state for the environment, David Miliband, was extolling the virtues of nuclear power as a zero-emission method of electricity generation. Super - that's all our problems sorted then? No. It is as far away from a zero-emission process as you can get. Sure, once the uranium comes into the plant and electricity is generated, that produces no CO2. That conveniently ignores the process of digging the uranium out of the ground - a hugely intensive process that has massive effects on the local environment as well as all the emissions of the huge tools required to do the job - and dealing with the spent fuel once used. Not to mention dealing with old reactors that a majorly conservative estimate would suggest requires encasing in concrete for 25 years before it becomes safe. In reality, decades more need to be added to this figure as we learn more from day-to-day.
Nuclear power is not a panacea. It is not a zero-emission method of generation. It is not the answer.


Some years ago, my lovely wife, fed up of listening to me whinge and moan about this that and the other, told me in no uncertain terms to stop bothering her while she's watching Casualty and that if I feel the need to rant, write it down. So I did. I found that book the other day and, needless to say, there are other things which grind my gears since then that I feel I need to share with the world. So that's what this is all about. I'll post the historic rants as well as whatever bothers me. Some of it will, I hope, amuse, some of it's more serious. If it causes someone - anyone - to pause and think about something, so much the better. Expect the following: bad jokes, terrible puns and opinion.