Friday, February 27, 2004


This is cheating - I haven't got time to do much today, so this is a comment I left on IMAO earlier. It was in response to a frothy-mouthed attack on FrankJ by a British email-fiend. I felt I needed to explain things to my compatriot. Maybe you needed to be there...

Embarrassed though I am at the uninspiring sight of a fellow Brit waving his tiny fists, I have to get involved. I think, in his defence, he's just confused and maybe I can straighten him out. I'd like to address him in person rather than you, Frank, because you're obviously a bit rattled by his assault.

Hi, fellow-countryman, a couple of things...there may be some swearing early on, but I'll try to moderate it as we go along.

1) I gather from your initial tirade that you probably consider yourself "left-wing". Well my considered response is "Fuck off! I'm left-wing and you're embarrassing me!" If I am then I don't want you to be, so you're not. "Bat-wing" or "wingding" is what you are. Probably. And I bet you like John Lennon and think he was really sincere and didn't want possessions. Twat.*

2) No citizen of any country in the world gives a toss about any other country's DOMESTIC policies. You've obviously just come out of a coma and heard people muttering about the U.S. It's FOREIGN policy, you buffoon. Repeat after me "If they bomb us, we care. If there are poor people in Alabama, we don't." Got that? Good. (We have our own poor people. Worry about them.)

3) To Americans the phrase "Land of the Free" is intended to be ironic, and is usually said with a sly wink while lightly tapping the side of the nose with the forefinger. (Best to use your own nose and forefinger unless you're really good friends with the other person.) So there really isn't an oxymoron there. And even without irony "Land of the Free" isn't an oxymoron. "British and U.S. Intelligence", now that's an oxymoron.

4) What's with the gypsy thing? In a minute you'll try to tell me that there's "prejudice" against "travellers" because we envy their "freedom" and don't understand their "culture". Wrong. Everybody in Britain hates (note the word "hate", not "prejudice" but "hate", the distinction's important) gypsies because they steal anything that isn't bolted down, smash stuff up for fun or firewood and leave piles of excrement everywhere they've been. (Oops, I think we might have wandered back into U.S. foreign policy again.)

5) I'm pissed off because I don't know who Ann Coulter is and you do, so I don't like you because you've made me feel small.

6) Bush isn't history. If anything he's anthropology, going by the eyebrow-ridges. Or if you want to go back to U.S. foreign policy, he's probably geography.

7) Errrm...bored now. Just stop giving us a bad name.

* British slang - "Twat" is a term meaning "female genitalia", more offensive than "p***y" but less offensive than "c**t". (On second thoughts other British bloke, you're probably a c**t.) Actually as Frank seems to be au fait ** with "wanker" this is probably. unnecessary.

**Note use of French to cause mild irritation in Americans - another trick you could try.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

And blast!

And there they are back again, the little bastards. What did I do to fix it? Don't be stupid. That's it, no more technology. I'm off to illuminate a few manuscripts.


Sooner or later, everyone hits that technological cut - off where they realise they can't cope. My mother's is the push-button telephone (no, really). At the moment I'm trying to cope with the 190-page manual that comes with a digital 8-track home recording studio,and just about managing. Where I'm hitting the brick wall is in understanding why all the comments have disappeared from my blog!

At first I thought it might have been Libertybob, and that the apparent uneasy alliance we seem to have forged was merely a ruse. Then I remembered that Americans don't do "ruse", they just do "Blam! Ooops, sorry, maybe that bomb wasn't as "smart" as we thought."

Anyway, I don't understand what's happened and I'm going away to think about it. Be right back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Foxhunting Lobby Q & A

The hunting ban has faded from view recently because of much more important errm, stuff in the news. I think that's a shame...

Q: Isn't the ban just a case of urbanites' lack of understanding of our rural traditions?
A: No. We understand you perfectly. If you're talking about traditions like incest and shooting prowlers in the back there are already laws against both of those, and actually we'd like you to stop doing that too.

Q: Won't the ban be impossible to police effectively?
A: Not at all. I admit that there may be initial reluctance by police to arrest middle-class white people, especially someone they recognise and had to address as "M'Lud" as recently as the previous week, but I'm confident that this can be overcome with the proper training. The sort of thing we have in mind is a series of hypno-sleep tapes on which grating, plummy voices will patronise the trainees using phrases like "Don't you know who I am, Constable?" and "You realise, don't you, that I pay your salary?", and "But my uncle's a Q.C." A photograph of Lord Charles Brocket on the bedside cabinet will also do the trick.

Q: What about all the people who will lose their jobs as a result of the ban?
A: Presumably there was an outcry about the streets being full of unemployed bull-baiters at one point, but they got over it. And I don't remember you marching in support of the miners.

Q: But what will we do with the hundreds of foxhounds which will no longer be required?
A: We are currently negotiating a contract with a prominent Korean businessman who apparently runs an animal refuge as well as his successful restaurant chain. He seems more than happy to take care of the dogs.

Q: But don't you realise that foxes are vermin?
A: If you mean like rats, then yes, you may well be right. And I personally have absolutely no problem with you hunting rats on horseback, although you might want to try terriers instead of the ones with the floppy ears. Unfortunately the "hunting with dogs" ban was forced upon us.

Q: Have you ever seen the inside of a hen-house after a fox has got in?
A: Strangely, no. Perhaps some kind of "door" could be employed to prevent that kind of thing happening. I'm sure there are E.U. grants available.

Q: What other options did you consider before deciding on a ban?
A: My own preference was to allow hunting to continue, but with the fox replaced by something a bit more interesting.

Q: Like what?
A: Like a leopard. I was told it was "inhumane". Disappointing, that. They want the heady excitement of the chase, they can have it, I said. No, they said. Pathetic.

Q: And what about The Countryside Alliance? Remember that huge march?
A: Remember the anti-war march the week after? Remember how successful that was? Bye now.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Death By Mole

I wrote a piece about Britain being better than America because of the harmless nature of our wildlife - Libertybob commented:

"You're missing out on the benefits of natural selection. By sending hippies out into the wilderness, we thin the herd a bit. That's why we have programs to re-populate entire areas with wolves, mountain lions, badgers, and Republicans."

Thanks, Libertybob, having you visit this site is a real education - I've never given any thought at all to the use of predators to "optimise" the unworthy, unnecessary and unpleasant. (In rural parts of the U.K. we do have a tradition of feeding dead burglars to pigs, but as far as I know, noone's given it a political slant.) Brilliant! You'll be hearing more of this - watch the British press - "Leader of the Opposition Michael Howard unexpectedly slain in multiple ferret tragedy". I like the sound of it. Bring me my Master of Moles.:

Bugbear: "Molemaster?!" (Think Patrick McGoohan as Edward Longshanks here)
Molemaster: "Yes, Lord Bear" (cringe, cringe, tug greasy forelock, etc, etc)
BB: "Are your tiny charges ready?"
MM: "Yes, my Lord. They have been starved for days and prevented from copulating. They are angry and yearn for the flesh of those who would oppose you."
BB: " How fast are these creatures?"
MM: "They dig through the Earth faster than a man can run".
BB: "What kind of man?"
MM: "A slightly porky, dissolute man, my Liege."
BB: "That'll do just fine. The Young Conservative picnic will never know what hit it. I am so filled with joy that even going "Muh-ha-ha-ha" doesn't do it for me, somehow. Never mind. Unleash Hell."

Fade to Runnymede riverbank scene, where thirty or forty braying and shrieking examples of upper-middle-class idiocy are plucking expensive things from Fortnum hampers and flicking them at each other in a languid manner. FX:Sound of scrabbling feet and squeaking (try recording rats or mice and overlaying some backward guitar, I'm thinking The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" here. In fact the whole track would be perfect for this scene - it's got a lazy feel and has lyrics about "relax and go downstream". Or something. Anyway, can't get bogged down in detail.)

Close-up of Angus and Jocasta:
Angus: "Oh, Pooh-Pooh, I'm so happy." They try to kiss, but generations of in-breeding have their way, and their foreheads bang lightly together.

The picnic in front of them explodes as thousands of ravening moles hurtle from the Earth and launch themselves on the the helpless young people. The screen fills with a mist of shredded flesh.

Fade to Bugbear and the Master of Moles rocking with helpless Muh-ha-ha.

That's the kind of thing I have in mind (a lot of the time, which is a worry in itself). In any case, Libertybob, I take your point that here in the U.K. we have to put a lot more effort into this kind of thing, whereas in the U.S. you might have to syphon some petrol or rub the occasional backpack with bacon rind, but that'd be about it.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Ohh, Alanna

This was posted on the Godulike website early in February. I had to reply. I haven't heard from Alanna since. Some people are just rude...

It was my first attempt at being really really funny. (Snorfle)

Hello forum members,

I am a development researcher at Optomen Television, where I am currently working on a new religion series for C4. The series looks at the idea that, today, we just 'pick and mix' our religious beliefs/practices. With this in mind, we'll take one member of the public per week, look at their lifestyle, create a religious 'package' using elements from the world religions and then get them to live by it for a couple of weeks.

I am looking for a presenter/expert for the series at the moment. They need to have a good grasp of the world religions plus a great sense of humour, energy, warmth and passion for the subject. They might have studied Theology/Religious Studies at university, be an RS teacher or have some other interesting life that involves a multi-faith background.

If anyone in the forum knows of anyone who fits the bill, I'd be really grateful if you could get in touch ASAP!


Firstly, I’m sorry, Alanna, I don’t know anybody who fits the bill. (Alanna stops reading.)

Secondly, I’d like to hijack this posting for my own purposes. (Everyone else stops reading.) I’d like to hear your views on whether the “pick and mix” approach is a relatively new thing or not. My own view is that the fact that one Bible has spawned a plethora of different sects suggests the biggest “pick and mix” of all. The big difference is that these days the church has no power to force us to sign up to the stuff we don’t like. (Unlike the Mediaeval Approach: “Well, we’d have let you off for the Sugar Mice, but I’m afraid that for the Gummi Bears, well, we’re going to have to burn you. You’re bloody lucky it’s a first offence.”)

Thirdly, if you’re still reading, Alanna, and there’s ever an opportunity at Optomen for a slightly jowly but still strangely attractive man with a fair-to-good command of the English language who has absolutely no problem wrestling with his conscience over the contradictions implicit in being both politically to the left and holding down an undemanding but hugely overpaid job in the media, then I’m your man.

Fourthly, wasn’t Optoman one of the Fantastic Four? Does this mean there were two of him? Why weren’t we told?

Fifthly, I was twenty-nine before I had a girlfriend. And then she left me. Actually, she escaped. I like the name Alanna. I bet you’re very pretty. Where do you live?

I’ll have to stop now because I’m starting to frighten myself. I’m afraid there’s a lot more where this came from.

I reserve the right to use any or all of this stuff on my blogsite if I think it’s funny. If there’s a problem with using “Optomen” or “Alanna” then let me know BEFORE you call your lawyer.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"Mikey" (gosh, they even have "names") writes:

What the hell are you talking about? Bush pronounces nuclur exactly right. Come on down to Texas and see for yourself.
As for figuring out what we are doing that pisses people off, and then stopping doing what pisses people off, the people who want to kill us are pissed because we allow women equal rights, have religious freedom, drink alcohol, and just generally kick ass. We ain't stopping any of those things!
Instead, what we might stop doing is restraining ourselves from dropping some nuclurs all over the people who are trying to kill us. If some of them are hiding near you, might be a good time to visit the U.S.

Well then, allow me to retort:

Mikey, repeat after me:
Bugbear: "New"
Mikey: "Noo."
Bugbear:"Close enough. Now try "Clear"."
Mikey: "Clear".
Bugbear: "Now put them together, Mikey."
Mikey: "Noocyular"
Bugbear: "Well, Mikey, I'm afraid I'm going to have to hit you in the face with a cricket bat. Crumpets, anyone?" (Skips off like that nancy-boy from Brideshead Revisited. The tall one.)

Maybe I should visit the U.S. Just don't make me go to Buffalo.

Some advice

My mind tends to wander during telephone calls at work. During one call this morning I listened to the transatlantic accents and came up with a short list of pieces of advice for Americans.

1 - There's no such word as "snuck". (If you're going to get creative with the past tense of words that rhyme with "wreak", then it should be "snought", you buffoons.)

2 - Say "the 11th of September". A "911" is a Porsche.

3 - As you're probably going to kill us all, at least learn how to say "nuclear". I't's just embarrassing to be immolated by somebody who can't even pronounce his own ordnance.

4 - If you find people hate you and want to kill you, why not try to figure out what it is you're doing that pisses them off, and uh, stop doing it.

5 - Of course we're grateful for your winning WW2 for us (although I seem to remember you hung around for a couple of years until you realised you could make money out of it), but I think you'll find that was ages ago - consider yourselves thanked.

6 - Try and use knives as well as forks, rather than doing the chimp-pointy-stick thing.

7 - If you're travelling in Britain, don't drink the coffee. There's a good reason why Americans complain that the coffee they get here tastes like piss and waiters have knowing smiles.

8 - Yeah, yeah, Saddam bad. We good. Mmmmm, doughnuts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Speaking in tongues

I work for a large corporation, and like employees in most big organisations, I use a lot of jargon. It can't really be avoided; it's shorthand that my colleagues all understand and employ, and no matter how queasy it makes you feel, well, you’ve got to join in. There are several different categories – here a few of them, together with translations…

Some just substitute one word for another. These are quite useful, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up too badly when we use them – for example:
- "Delta" = "Difference"
- "Disconnect"= "Unexpected difference”
- "Serious disconnect" = "Mistake" (Implied)
- "Serious mistake" = "We're all going to die."

Many seem to have been created to avoid using the word "problem", which is seen as having negative and upsetting connotations. (I have to admit to having used at least two of these in earnest already today. (I'll let you worry about which ones.) For example:
- "I'm not sure we're on track" = "Is there a problem?"
- "We've hit some turbulence" = "There is a problem."
- "What's the gating factor?" = "What is the problem?"
- "What's the materiality level?" "How serious is the problem?"
- "We need to put together a recovery plan" = "We don't understand the problem"
- "It's not within the scope of my role" = "It's not my problem"
- "Who's the owner and what's the significant event?" = "Who has to do what to fix the problem?"
- "I feel more confident now that you've taken ownership" = "Yay! It's your problem! Sucker. "

Note: Sometimes the "P"-word can be used, but only when it's aimed and fired at someone else, thus ensuring that they're the ones who look negative, as in:
- "The difference between us is that I look for solutions while you look for problems." = "I am an unprincipled toady who would suck every dick in the building, including my own, rather than show any hesitation when asked by a more senior manager to perform any task, no matter how difficult, because I will dump it on the poor hapless bastards who work for me. Last year I was responsible for three resignations, one suicide, two attempts on my life, (one resulting in minor abrasions and other in the regrettable mutilation of George from Fleet Services, who was cleaning my car unaware that it contained what I seem to remember the Bomb Squad called a “device”), and the decision to put Prozac in the water-cooler. You, on the other hand, seem to have retained a few shards of realism and integrity. I pray that one day you will work for me and then, oh how you'll pay. Muh-ha-ha-ha."

Sorry, got a bit carried away on that one. He knows who he is…

And some seem to have no other function than to avoid the word "Okay":
- "I think I can sign up to that" = "Okay"
- "I don't have a problem with that" = "Okay"
- "Sounds good to me" = "Okay"
- "Okay" = "I wasn't listening to what you said, but as you out-rank me I'll just say "Okay"."

And then there's the career-orientated stuff:
- "I'm a great believer in empowering the people in my team" = "Don't come into my office until you've got something nice to tell me"
- "We need to discuss your Development Plan" = "You're in the wrong job. Remind me why we hired you?"
- "I'm not sure about your commitment" = "I know we hired you because of your tits, but we sort of hoped you'd do some work"
- "You really need to take some time to think this through" = "You're a fucking halfwit. If you ever have a creative thought your head will explode like the guy in that Cronenberg movie. And I'll be glad. And I’ll pretend that thought was my thought."
- "Id really value your opinion" = "Don't even think about it"

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Reasons why Britain is better than America

There are a lot of blogs concentrating on "political" stuff, which these days means that they're either written by Americans telling Europeans that they're a bunch of whining Saddamites or Europeans telling Americans that they're nothing but Nazis. The latter is clearly not true. Nazis, or at least the S.S., had much better dress-sense. (Black and red is still so sexy, while Americans dress like Rupert The Bear. ) Incidentally - nobody thought the S.S. were camp until "Cabaret" - before then they were dead scary.

I'd like to get away from politics and personalities and concentrate on the real basics. This will be an occasional and irregular series, and in fact may fizzle out altogether, because I get bored easily. I will be basing my observations on my in-depth knowledge of America gained from watching British T.V. since childhood and from having visited Buffalo, N.Y. for three weeks in 1990. My sound grasp of Britain, its culture, its people, and where to buy the best drugs, has been gathered during rare but vivid periods of sobriety over the last thirty years of living here. If you can call it living.

As on all other blogs, an almost complete ignorance of any subject will not prevent me from forming and sharing an opinion, using excessive violence if necessary.

I reserve the right to go off on a totally different tangent if I feel like it, and never come back.

Some important reasons why Britain is better than America.

1) In Britain, if you have to go into a forest, even at night, it's very unlikely that you will be killed and eaten by an animal.
There has to be an implicit emphasis on the words "indigenous" and "species" here. Obviously if there's been a major breakout at the zoo, or the Animal Liberation Front have breached security at a nearby research facility, resulting in the unexpected liberation of a large number of rampaging carnivorous, errm, things that might be monkeys but you can't be sure because they've mutated to the point where they're not easily identifiable as any known animal, then all bets are off. But it's unlikely. And in any case they might eat the A.L.F.s and fall asleep, and then you'd be okay.

Oh, but if you are sleeping rough and you smell like a dustbin, foxes might try to chew bits off you. I forgot about that one.

They probably are monkeys.