Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gordon Brown - Has He Finally Lost The Plot ?

Has Gordon Brown finaly lost it completely?

I'm happy to admit that I've never liked Labour, and I dislike Gordon Brown as a person even more. But even putting such bias aside, I can't help but wonder has this country ever had such a rude, arrogant, delusional, incompetent, self-contradictory, out of touch and out of his depth leader in it's history? 

Just like I'm starting to feel sorry for a few Portsmouth supporting friends who are already resigned to relegation this season, I am actually starting to feel sorry for the rank-and-file grass rots labour membership. They must already be asking themselves what is the point of campaigning once the next election arrives with such a buffoon undermining any efforts they put in.

Here he is being interviewed by Adam Boulton this morning.  Watch it, and remember - this man is in charge of our country!  Gordon, there is a reason your name starts with the word GO.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

First Sighting Of The Year

Today, 23rd September at approximately 10.30 a.m. I had this years first sighting of Father Christmas. He went past my shop on the back of a lorry, waving and ringing his bell. Unfortunately I was too slow to get photographic proof, despite him going round the block and coming past again 5 minutes later.

Look out for Easter eggs, presumably coming to a shop near you soon. 

Monday, 21 September 2009

Ow, Bloody L

How quickly does our life pass us by? It only seems a short time ago that my eldest daughter was toddling off down the road for her first day at school. Now she's already got her own car and is currently taking driving lessons. Where did those years go?

Just before her birthday I was letting her drive my car round an empty car park near home to get the feel of thing before her first lesson with a proper instructor. Which, although she done OK for a first time behind the wheel, was pretty scary. A few short weeks later and we went out for a drive last night, already she seems confident and in control. I'm not a good passenger at the best of times but I felt quite relaxed with her driving.

She wanted to practice reversing into parking bays, so we headed for a car park not far from my shop. I've no idea why this car park was ever built, it's in an area where no one is ever likely to want to park and the only cars you ever see in there are learners practising. My Mum learned in there as did I and my brothers, now my daughter was making use of it, as were 2 others who were doing the same thing at the same time

Her reversing into bays was soon nice and straight and controlled but it seemed to me she was stopping well short, even though she thought she was reversing as far back as she could . So I decided to stand behind her whilst she reversed , telling her to stop when she thought she was within inches of my legs. First she stopped about 4 feet short which I indicated with my arms wide apart. She edged back a bit more but was still about 2 feet short, with me doing the appropriate "I caught one this big" with my hands. Now she thought it would be funny to scare me so she put her foot down and - much to her amusement and that of her little sister sat in the back - proceeded to drive straight over my foot!

Surprisingly the weight of a Ford Ka and two occupants didn't actually hurt very much and hasn't done any damage - at least none I can see although I do keep getting a funny tingling in my toes. It could have been worse, I thought I would be wearing flippers to work this morning. Once they'd stopped laughing her main concern was that I wouldn't be claiming any compensation from her insurance as she didn't want to lose her no claims bonus before she's even taken her test.

Still, as no examiner is likely to be stupid enough to stand behind an examninee (is that a word?) it's not a situation she's likely to encounter in her test, so hopefully she'll pass first time and soon she can drive her old Dad down the pub and buy him a pint by way of an apology. Except she won't be able to do the latter as she's not 18 till next summer - maybe time doesn't fly fast enough after all.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

WurzelTip #2

Last Sunday I dropped my mobile in a cup of tea. Don't ask how, I've no idea, I just watched as it jumped out of my hand, arced through the air in slow motion and landed dead centre with an almighty splash in a full cup of tea . Needless to say, one dead Nokia.

Hours of blasting it with a hair dryer finally resulted in it switching back on but no signal. Next day I stuffed it into my air conditioner vent for the day, giving it a constant blast of dry air. Still no signal and the phone was now behaving rather strangely.

Then a couple of people suggested sealing it in an airtight bag full of rice, rice being a gerat moisture absorber. I tried this, placing it on a radiator for good measure to add warmth and was surprised at quite how much condensation started to appear on the inside of the bag 2 days on from my first attempts at drying it out. The condensation vanished, obviously absorbed into the ice as predicted. By the end of the day I had a fully functioning phone again.

Derren Brown and The Lottey Numbers

Last night was one of those intriguing pieces of television that you can't quite believe you saw, then spend hours thinking about it. Derren Brown, he of the great mind control act/tricks/illusions, call it what you will, was going to predict the nights Lottery numbers.

He couldn't reveal his prediction before they were drawn as, he claimed, the BBC have sole rights to revealing the numbers first. This immediately made me realise it was definitely some kind of trick, as many magazines carry fortune telling type predictions of the weeks numbers all the time. Instead he had a stand with six ping-pong sized balls in shot at all time, which, once the numbers had been announced, he turned to reveal that each ball was marked with a number. You can watch the entire programme here . Im sure I won't be spoiling the surprise by telling you he gets 6 out of 6 correct.

I love this type of trick/illusion/whatever, and I find Derren Brown fascinating to watch. I know it's not magic, nor (unlike a lot of his regular act) is it any kind of suggestion/mind control. It definitely wasn't a delayed transmission of the lottery, I had that on silmultaneously on the PC. So how was it done?

He has promised to show us how on Friday. Afer lots of theories which disprove themselves once I give them more thought I can only come up with one logical conclusion - a camera trick. The set up reminded me of this video of the team from the Real Hustle taking a boy into the Tardis which of course was much bigger inside than out. That was done by switching the right hand edge of the "from above" shot with a still photo after they had been seen to walk around it, hiding the back of the tardis opening up to allow them to enter a large set, unseen from the above. Last night the stand on the left containing the balls could similarly have been switched to a still shot after DB had walked around it, and switched back to the live shot just before he walks back to it, enabling the correct balls to be quickly placed on the stand unseen by the viewer as they were announced. The lack of an audience would add weight to this idea as do a couple of momentary apparent shot freezes at the relevant times.

I can't wait to see the reveal on Friday. If I've guessed it right I'll feel a bit smug but also a bit disappointed that such a great act needs to resort to camera trickery.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Pasing On The Reins - A Radio Legacy

As a teenager I got up in the morning, ate breakfast and, reluctantly, left for school to the sound of Terry Wogan on the radio. Even as a teenager I loved his self effacing humour, his sarcasm and his dry, subtle wit.

30 years on I have spent the last few years waking up with him again - not quite true, the radio actually comes on during Sarah Kennedy's show but she is so boring it's Wogan that actually wakes me. Whilst on tv he appears slightly more rounded (don't we all) and more reliant on the toupee than I remember (allegedly), on the radio he doesn't seem to have changed one bit.

For me (and probably many others of my generation) he is more than an entertainer, he is an institution, and would be the first on my list of "if you could invite x number of famous people to dinner .... ". He broadcasts to in excess of 8.5 million listeners yet has that unique style that gives the impresssion that he is in the same room chatting with you. The audience interaction with his shows are possibly second to none, and certainly form an integral part of it's charm.

So it was with regret that I heard today that he is to stand down from the show from next year. There are some things in life that are hard to imagine not being there, and Terry in the morning is one of them. Having said that, it is definitely better to bow out at the top than to carry on untill you become a pale shadow of your former self.

He is to be replaced by Chris Evans. On tv years ago in shows like TFI Friday and The Big Breakfast Chris was, to put it bluntly, a total knob. But he has changed over the years and I have been a great fan of his Drivetime radio show for a couple of years now, possibly the most entertaining shows on radio. It's not clear at present if the whle team that help make up his present show will transfer to the breakfast slot or whether he will be hosting a totally new style show. I feel that Wogans legacy will be passed on into good and capable hands, my only reservation is whether I can handle such a lively bubbly personality so early in the morning.

When the NHS Works it Works Well

On Saturday evening my daughter Li'l Wurzel came home claiming that her foot was too painful to walk properly. New school shoes had rubbed her heel, but as her sister pointed out, it hadn't stopped her walking around the shops, and Dad being Dad decided that she was just trying yet another excuse for me to do her paper round for her.

By Sunday morning even I was admitting that yes, it did look more than a little swollen and very hot and red. We had a birthday party to go to so we stayed for an hour before making our excuses and left, heading for the local NHS Walk-In Centre. Within 20 minutes she'd been seen, diagnosed with an infected blister that was still spreading up her leg and would get worse before it got better, wound dressed, advice given, course of anti-biotics dispensed, and on our way home. All done in a caring and friendly manner. A total contrast to tales of long waiting lists and people left unattended for hours.

Of course we could have just been lucky with the timing, it could yet be that they got it wrong and her leg falls off, but yesterdays experience was the NHS at it's best.

(If only they had a mobile phone department, maybe they'd be able to get my Nokia up and running again after it decided to dive into a cup if tea later the same afternoon.)