Monday, 25 May 2015

Stanley Baxter

THE better half stayed up late last night to watch a documentary about the brilliant Stanley Baxter. The young whippersnappers among you have probably never heard of him. He was an actor/impressionist, very popular in the 1970/80s. Last year Scotsman Baxter, who is 89, was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence before the referendum. 

Here's a sketch he did about Mastermind. 









Friday, 15 May 2015

Targeted Advertising


I DON'T really mind, although occasionally find it worrying, that my every move is being tracked on the internet and every little bit of information about me is being gathered by firms desperate to sell me their goods.

Hence, my Facebook page is full of ads for wrinkle cream and weight loss products - can't think why -  and I'm later invited to buy every book I've ever glanced at on Amazon. If I order a double-widget screw facilitating hammer drill (or something) for the dearly beloved (a cabinet-maker), I am later bombarded with ads for other extremely interesting (as in, dull as ditchwater) wood-working gadgets.

I get "hilarious" posts from cat websites, all convinced that I desperately want to see yet another moggie climbing the curtains. Not that I mind those....

If I look wistfully at dresses that would just about fit around one leg, those self-same dresses later appear as ads on another website I happen to be looking at.

I accept all that but WHY in the name of all that's holy did I get THIS on my Facebook page?



A catheter? What on earth have I looked at on the internet that makes anybody think I would be at all interested in buying my own catheter? How does that even work? (No, please don't answer that.)

I'd look it up on the internet - or even apply for that "free sample" - but I'm scared of being inundated with similar ads.

Just for the record, I would like it to be known that as an adult, I HAVE NEVER PEED MYSELF.



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Monday, 11 May 2015

Three Rants In Three Minutes




NEVER, ever be in the same room as the dearly beloved when he is reading a newspaper. He caught me on the hop at the weekend and had started reading from the Daily Diatribe before I had time to hide it under several layers of less spleen-inducing publications like Lovely Little Pussycats or Pollyanna Periodical.

I had to suffer three rants in as many minutes as he tore through the paper from news to sport.

First up was a picture of the lovely Rebecca Adlington. He likes and admires Rebecca but the misguided young swimmer had made the dastardly mistake of posing in RIPPED JEANS.

You would have thought that this designer statement would be way above the concerns of a working class boy brought up wearing short trousers and buckle straps. But no. The working class bit was germane to his whole rant.

"Ripped jeans? With all her money? I wore those when I was ten, not  because I was an effing model [hardly....] but because we didn't have any effing money for new jeans. Who do they think they're kidding? It's all 'oo, look at me. I have so much money I can wear ripped jeans and everyone will know I paid an effing fortune for them'."

"Yes, dear, you're so right, dear."

Then it was on to the Barclays Manager of the Month award. That's football, by the way. A columnist admitted they had never voted for Chelsea's Jose Mourinho, despite the team winning the league this season.The dearly beloved likes and admires Mourinho too - but this wasn't the reason for the rant. No, it was the line in the story that said the voting panel consisted of a cross-section of the media, administrators, ex-players and fans based overseas and in the UK.

"OVERSEAS? Why should fans OVERSEAS have any say in it? I don't expect they're even going to any games. What do they know? OVERSEAS? They've probably watched half a game on some wonky TV in the arse end of beyond." He said this in the tone of voice that implied they were all paid-up members of Al Qaeda.

"Yes, dear, you're so right, dear."

Then it was the possible relegation of Newcastle. Apologies to all Newcastle fans but the team is not flavour of the month with the dearly beloved. He "likes and admires" ex-players like Alan Shearer and David Ginola and a few of the present squad have received some grudging admiration. No, his beef with Newcastle is that the team is sponsored by pay-day lender Wonga. Please don't get him started on pay-day lenders. Please don't.

"Effing Wonga was charging nearly 6,000% APR at one point. SIX THOUSAND PER CENT. It's obscene and no football team should be encouraging it. Effing Newcastle, I hope they get relegated."

I was going to point out that Wonga isn't charging that much at the moment and the government has capped the annual interest rate of pay-day lenders at 1,500% - but I didn't want to encourage another explosion. After all, 1,500% is still a huge amount.

So what I said was: "Yes, dear, you're so right, dear."

He opened his mouth for, I feared, another rant. So I quickly offered to make a cup of tea. I took mine to drink in the garden, the rants reduced to a distant rumble in a faraway room.
For anyone who doesn't know what a buckle strap is - a very fetching belt from the 1950s, early 60s.




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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Surely Not Spam



I GET very depressed when I start thinking about all those villains spread across the globe who only want to con you and part you from your cash.

I frequently get emails from "friends" who have been stranded while on holiday and only need me to transfer £2,000 to a bank account so they can get back home to dear old Britain. My friends must be a dopey lot - because they're ALWAYS getting into trouble somewhere in the world.

There's the African president who would like to send me billions of pounds because he can't get the money out of his country after his father died of beri-beri and there was a military a coup. I'm puzzled why he picked on an old Devon maid like me - but soooo honoured. Must remember to send him all my bank details a.s.a.p.

I've lost count of the number of competitions and lotteries I've won, which is a miracle because I haven't entered any competitions or lotteries.

Then there are the spam comments that, thankfully, my blog intercepts. I got this one only yesterday. But I'm not sure that it's spam. What do you think?

Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept Here is my blog post italian learning software on etc.

I think it's genuine. I must click through....

Here's another:

I think this is among the so much vital info for me. And i'm satisfied studying your article. But wanna commentary on some common things, The site taste is wonderful, the articles is actually excellent : D. Just right task, cheers Here is my website: etc

What is even more depressing than the snake oil salesmen and the con artists thinking you just might fall for their spiel is that there must be people out there who actually do get conned or the crooks would be out of business.

Who in their right mind thinks they have won $1,000,000 in the Louisiana state lottery when they've never bought a ticket or visited the place? Why would Prince Mtobobo choose an ordinary person who's never been further than the Costa Del Sol on a Thomas Cook package holiday as a conduit through which to send billions of Djiboutian francs, or whatever? Or that a website which advertises itself as "the go-get premier agency for lucid collaring" is genuine?

Some people almost deserve everything they get.



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Friday, 24 April 2015

The Future Me


I CAN'T help it if I'm gearing up to be one of those woman who die alone and is eaten by her cats. I like cats. In fact, I like cats better than I like a lot of people. 

Not that I'm yet wandering the streets with half a dozen cats in a pram talking to myself and swearing at random passers-by - no matter how tempting that sounds. 

And I'm not one of those women who lives in a house with 56 cats, all pooping where they please. I live with a normal-ish man and just one cat. None of us poops where we shouldn't. Not even after a night on the beer (that's the man, not me or the cat). 

But I found the picture below on the internet and I fear this is how I'm going to end up - aggressive, friendless, toothless, badly-dressed (have already achieved that one) and living with my cats. Can't wait.








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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Long-Tailed Tits In A Tree

IN an effort to prove to my sister Doubting Thomasina that I get long-tailed tits in my garden, I took this picture of them in a tree.



I think I was a bit late.

Bloody things.

May as well tell her I get golden eagles.





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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Man Shoots Computer

Come on computer, make my day






WE'VE all been there. You're sitting at your computer with lots of work to do and it starts to go slower than a snail on Valium. Or some Russian gangster inserts a Trojan horse into your registry and suddenly a virus is galloping its way through your system and before you know it you're being charged for buying an old Second World War tank and a load of spiv gear from Russianmafia R Us. 

So I wasn't particularly surprised to hear that a man from Colorado Springs in America became so enraged with his computer that he took it outside and shot it eight times. It was - you won't be surprised to hear - completely destroyed. 

Unfortunately Lucas Hinch was arrested on charges of discharging a firearm within the city.

According to friends and family, Mr Hinch is a nice man but he cracked under the strain of doing battle with his computer day after day. In a fit of fury he took it to the back alley by his house, stood it up against a wall and shot it.  As you do.

I wonder if he asked it if it had any last requests?

"Please, could you just switch me off and on for one last time....."

Now Mr Hinch, who said he didn't know he was breaking the law, has to face the judge. I hope he is lenient.

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