Monday, January 28, 2008

Addiction and the effect on families

Can you only be addicted to drink or drugs? That's what the new family court seems to suggest. Not so long ago, there was a pledge to give more help for gambling addicts, but that seems to have gone out of the window. The obviously physical downsides of addiction to drink and drugs make it easier to identify, but the social problems brought on by addiction to gambling are just as damaging to families.

And addiction to gambling doesn't come much bigger than the case of Jérôme Kerviel. The man just couldn't stop, throwing good money after bad as anyone who has properly been into the horses will understand, though I'd suggest £3.5bn rather puts any bet I've made into quite a bit of shade. The lad needs some help.

Gizza job

How many jobs is too many? Tony bleedin' Blair - remember him? - has yet another one. Methinks a 'peace envoy' (irony-o-meter goes off the scale whenever I hear that mentioned) needs to dedicate more time to that crucial role rather than advise two big merchant banks. And don't forget the inevitable book. It makes you wonder how much envoying he's actually doing.

Idiot

With Labour falling over themselves in a rush to cock up donations, the opposition had a great opportunity to make hay. Now, thanks to one Tory idiot, they're buggered. And the LibDems aren't any better off, what with them having to return a whopping donation from a crook.
For all the talk, post-Blair, of a new politics, it appears to the layman that it's the same old same old amd if you're trying to re-enfranchise a non-plussed public, this ain't the way.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Spam free

Having quit IT, I've been on a bit of mission to remove my details from various IT recruitment agencies which I've previously registered with and, lo, does a mountain of spam miraculously disappear from my inbox. If I'd known it was so simple, I'd have done it years ago.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Binge

We're constantly told about the perils of binge drinking, but why is it only booze that's bad for you if you binge?
Spending, for example. We're now subjected to myriad warnings of dire financial peril. None of this would happen if, during the boom times, everyone retained a sense of moderation and didn't go overboard. Greed creates the boom and, consequently, the bust. Can't City folk just calm down? How many yachts and cottages in Provence do people need anyway? This slump-boom cycle isn't something that needs to be accepted as an inevitability.
However, all this does rather tarnish the previous Chancellor's reputation for prudence somewhat. I wonder what happened to that bloke....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

'I know what fans want'

So says Kevin Keegan on his return to the post of Newcastle United manager. That's nothing special - so do I.
They want the moon on a stick.
And if it isn't that, then relegation so long as every game is lost 4-3.

Since when?

I must have missed it, but somewhere there must have been a decree stating that, henceforth, the words 'less' and 'fewer' are to be synonymous. Otherwise, why would people do it so often?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Schadenfreude

On Wednesday, my better half got a copy of the local rag and the front page was adorned with this bloke. I would have aimed the story slightly differently. "Desperate landlord seeks free publicity" would have been my angle. Or maybe "Landlord admits 'we don't have a smoking area'".
He'd previously been on local news with a live link up from his pub in Greetland and he struck me as a bit of a pillock then. This piece does nothing to change my opinion. However, local newspapers being local newspapers, it's been dominating the news round these parts. Yesterday, there was a stand-off as the pub's owners and police attempted to evict him. Today, I drove past the pub while I was on my rounds and a chap was just finishing boarding the place up. And laughed.

My thoughts on the smoking ban are mixed. I don't smoke, so the biggest niggle I have is when out with smokers who all feck off outside at the same time, buggering up the rounds as I'm left inside supping ale. I don't doubt that some pubs have felt a drop-off in trade, but my regular watering hole hasn't. They get by on the general bonhomie of the place (it sure ain't the beer) and that, surely, is the key.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Never break a vow

Many years ago, I had two cars: a Renault 5 and a Peugeot 205. Both were fine, but things do go wrong with cars and both were so randomly put together that simple fixes took ages. Eventually, I made a vow. Never buy another French car. After some other mixed experiences, I widened this to never buy anything that isn't either German, Japanese or Swedish. And that worked. German motors (including ones that were bolted together in Prague) have rarely let me down since.

And then I bought the Peugeot diesel. It's been in the shop for 8 days now and I still won't get it back while tomorrow. The alternator belt broke almost exactly a week ago from time of writing. I knew there were a couple of other niggles - it was leaking oil and one trackrod end needed sorting - so I checked it into the local Peugeot dealers for a proper going over. It's also been spewing diesel, which came as a surprise. And the cylinder head has been back to France for some work. For all the hassle, I could have just gone and got another car. I've not been able to do any work since last Tuesday and I am, frankly, pissed off.

I love France and the French. They don't half make some shonky motors though.

Things I don't understand about football

Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age or maybe it's because I'm a fan of a small club, but on watching the Liverpool v Luton game yesterday, a number of things struck me as odd.
A bit of background for the non-football fans out there. I'm sure there are some, despite what television, newspapers and adverts would have us believe. Anyway, Liverpool - big club. Won some trophies many years ago. Owned by some Americans and were recently reported to be up for sale for about £500m. Luton - not a big club, but punched above their weight about 20 years ago. Spent money chasing a return to the glory days and are now in serious financial strife. Selling players to pay others. About to be taken over by former tv-am host Nick Owen. They are the have-nots to the haves of Liverpool.

When leading 5-0 with moments to go against a club much smaller, why rant on at the referee about how you should have had a throw in?
Why celebrate a goal in such a mismatch as though you've just won the World Cup? This goes for players and fans alike.
With the big club leading 5-0 at the end of 90 minutes in a knockout competition, why bother adding any time for stoppages? What difference could it possibly make?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Three reasons...

There are, according to the Guardian today, three reasons not to sign up to Facebook.
I can think of a fourth: I really can't be arsed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Only in sport...

...can having no legs be an unfair advantage. I'd suggest that for a runner, operable legs were a necessity.
Anyway, the advantage thing is a bit of a red herring. The point must surely be that allowing a Paralympian into the Olympics, you undermine the former. But with Pistorius having massively outgrown the Paralympic competition, such is his relative ability, where else can he go?

Sub of the day

Subway tell us in their latest adverts that you can have the 'sub of the day' however we wish. How far can you push it? Is it worth attempting to, if the sub of the day is chicken salad, have it with meatballs instead of the chicken and tomato sauce instead of the salad?
The situation reminded my better half of an old Burger King promotion, back when we were students. A bacon double cheeseburger was 5p more than if you got a double cheeseburger with extra bacon. So we'd ask for 'double cheesburger with extra bacon' to which Johnny No-Stars would say 'bacon double cheeseburger?'. We had to make it quite clear what they should ring in the till. We must have cost the company literally tens of pence with that wheeze.

New clear

Many moons ago, way back when I started this thing, the prospect of new nuclear generators were proposed as a method of filling the gap in the UK's energy requirements. I wrote this in response at the time, and feel the need to reiterate it as we're now told these new plants have got the go-ahead. Nowhere in any of the multitude of pieces written about this have the concerns I raised about CO2 emissions been mentioned. It's as if it's been accepted that it is a zero-emission method of generation when in actual fact it just shifts the problem elsewhere - Australia mainly (though at least Kevin Rudd's new Australian administration has ratified Kyoto, unlike John Howard's bunch of neo-cons).
Plenty of other concerns over waste fuel and decommissioning are raised and raised eloquently all over the papers, but the telling quote of the day comes from the shadow business secretary Alan Duncan who, in the Guardian, is quoted as saying "Our position is, by and large, similar to the government's". That, for me, is indicative of two things.
1 - The general malaise in politics in Britain, given that there is little discernible difference between the two major parties. This should give Nick Clegg - admirable performer in his first PMQ session the other day - and the LibDems room to establish themselves, though we all await
the usual splits and eventual implosion there once again.
2 - Why is the shadow business secretary talking about energy generation and environmental concerns? Cameron can drone on as much as he wants about a new conservativism, but it's just the same old.