Sunday, April 29, 2007
Anyway, although it's been a worrying time, you do have to laugh. As Mrs W became more human again, she began to earwig some of the conversations in neighbouring beds. The doctors had a set of questions to measure exactly how many sandwiches short the patients were. One of the things they ask (and you should take notes here, just in case you find yourself being asked in the future) is what the year is. One bloke was absolutely adamant it was 1991 and couldn't be shaken in his conviction. I think his name must have been Sam Tyler. The doctors weren't sure whether he was mad, in a coma or just travelling in time.
Another patient - a lady on this occasion - was asked her name. I won't reveal it for reasons of confidentiality, but let's just say it had a strong Teutonic flavour. The next question was whether she could name the dates of the Second World War. You really couldn't make this stuff up. Basil Fawlty is alive and well and striding the corridors of our local infirmary with a white coat and a stethoscope. (Incidentally, the gentleman who thought it was 1991 was also asked about World War II. He suggested 1914-1918 and was politely corrected. Perhaps he was getting his wars confused?)
I have never, in all my born days, heard such a quintessentially British load of old cobblers. If these questions were asked of teenagers in the local comprehensive, I expect half of them would be diagnosed with dementia.
And anyone would be demented if they stopped to think about the logic of the hospital's hygiene regime. There are posters everywhere warning about MRSA and C Difficile etc and telling you to wash your hands with Spirigel®, winner - according to the manufacturer's website - of The National Alcohol Hand Rub Contract. Now, I'm as big a hypochondriac as you're likely to find, but even I realise there's no point in washing your hands when you're about to enter a ward that has blood and old towels on the floor. Or about to leave the ward and press the button on a dilapidated elevator. I saw one doctor scrubbing his hands with gel while holding his car keys between his teeth. He then put the car keys down on a counter. No doubt they'd be back in his mouth when he left the premises and needed to scrub his hands again.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I was in the queue yesterday and noted a DVD lens cleaner, 85p water pistols and glue traps for cockroaches, mice and rats.
You'd have to be really sick to use glue to trap rats. And then to drown the poor, immobilised creature with a burst from your water gun. It doesn't bear thinking about.
But the post office shoppers aren't content with that. They want to film the whole episode, making sure that they get optimal playback on their DVD! Come on. That's bang out of order. This country is going down hill fast.
Monday, April 23, 2007
It must be one of the few times in life when we're actually glad that we've been deceived.
My personal view is that some properties are deceptively deceptive. At first glance, you think you're not being deceived, but when you step through the door, you realise you've been a complete mug.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
"You bought Chelsea Dagger. We recommend Walk this Way by Sugababes vs Girls Aloud and Back to Basics by Christine Aguilera."
Elsewhere, they offer me Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty.
Which I already have.
S*&t. They really have got under my skin.
I'm building up to some old skool punk like Siouxsie and the Banshees, but I'm worried it won't be enough.
You bought Playground Twist. We recommend Save your love by Renee and Renato.
The headline read:
FANCY A CRISPY DUCK?
The subhead said something like:
What Gary said to saucy blonde (and he WASN'T talking about a Chinese).
Another nice touch came in their follow-up to the story about the ladies from Plymouth who had forced two toddlers to fight on film. They are apparently known as "Nappy Slappers".
Friday, April 20, 2007
Victoria Machin, from the branch near Richmond underground station, tells us that 57 buyers who registered in February had over a million quid to spend on their new pad. Lack of supply means that she's currently unable to match them to a property.
Your heart just bleeds, doesn't it?
"One of the most common requests from families looking to buy in the area," writes Victoria, "is for a five or six bedroomed house at the top of Richmond Hill..."
That's one of my requests too, Vicky. Except that I'm a fiver or two short.
Know a publication by its advertisers. The inside front cover of this glossy title features a full-page promotion for Emporio Armani. The back cover is given over to Lavazza.
It will look very smart in my recycling bin.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
She wants to communicate with a pal who's heading off to Australia in the not-too-distant.
When I was her age, I didn't even know what a webcam was. In fact, nobody did.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
He's come up with a useful set of questions that could be used by medical staff and law enforcement officials worldwide in the quest to identify future mass murderers. It's not quite Minority Report in terms of its sophistication, but I think it has potential. I'm reproducing the checklist here on Washed and Ready with Jon's kind permission:
1. Do you consider yourself highly intelligent but teachers or fellow colleagues don’t take you seriously?
2. Do you subscribe to Military magazines?
3. Do you constantly have to re-pave your patio due mysterious subsidence/lumps?
4. Do you collect military figures or toy soldiers?
5. Are relationships with girls difficult because they: don’t understand you/don’t return your
calls/think that hanging outside their bedroom window at 3am is strange?
6. How’s the shrine to Debbie from accounts? [NB: this question might catch them off guard]
7. If someone bumps into you in the street do you think: 1) never mind, 2) silly person, or 3) you’ll pay, one day you’ll all pay.
8. What’s better: an Uzi 99mm or M16 semi-automatic?
9. Do you keep yourself to yourself?
Jon writes: "Whatever they answer from 1-8 doesn’t really matter. If the answer to 9 is “yes” then bang ‘em up and throw away the key."
Monday, April 16, 2007
The star of the show - Gilles Elmalih - did have a bit of the 1970s Vegas crooner about him, but sounded pretty bloody awful. His 17-year-old son (a medium who was in regular contact with Elvis) actually sang a lot better. Unfortunately performances were restricted to the front room, only attracting interest from BBC TV crews and an eccentric element of LA's Jewish community.
We learned that the real Elvis often communicated with his adopted family by writing on pieces of paper, screwing them up and chucking them around the room. Occasionally he'd also supply toilet paper when it was in short supply in the lav. When the documentary crew wanted direct contact with Elvis, however, there were two problems. One was his rock 'n' roll schedule. He gave shows in the afterlife and was quite busy. The other was a language barrier. As you'd expect, the official language of heaven is Hebrew.
Could things get even more bizarre? You betcha. Uri Geller was on hand to explain how he'd been cheated out of a $900,000 purchase on ebay. The world's best-known spoon bender had tried to buy one of The King's former properties and had been gazumped at the last minute. He sought reassurance via the teenage medium that things would work out ok in the end.
With a fair bit of Jewish blood in my own veins, I think I'm entitled to say enough already and Elvis Schmelvis. Phil Woodford has left the building.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
In the event, I was disappointed to find no evidence of any chef, peripatetic or otherwise. Just regular sandwiches at £3.55 and crisps at 85p a packet.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Paignton Zoo is a very large and impressive complex. They take trouble over animal welfare and have created some sizeable enclosures. The only problem is that they're so vast, you have trouble actually spotting the animals.
Mrs W was reading the Zoo's guidebook after the event and told me that giraffes have particularly high blood pressure. I wondered whether this made them more prone to stroke and heart disease. They also sleep for only 20 minutes a day. A bit like Maggie Thatcher used to.
The main problem was getting the mini-Ws to sleep in the hotel room. We'd been out for a meal with relatives and they were excitable. I mean the kids were excitable, not the relatives. Anyway, I didn't manage to tune in until DCI Frank Morgan was escorting Dr Sam Beckett... err... sorry, DI Sam Tyler... around a graveyard. What followed over the next 35 minutes was the biggest load of confused hocus-pocus you could ever imagine, which was obviously designed to be interpreted by conspiracy theorists in 15 different ways for the next 50 years.
At a creative level, the logical end point was Sam jumping off the top of a building in 2007. Thanks to the advice of the empath behind the bar in 1973, he realised that he was actually more alive in the past than he was in the present and we could draw our own conclusion that his apparent suicide was a bid to return to the world of Wagon Wheels and mixed veg. But in an unusual twist, the scriptwriters followed him back to the seventies. This allowed for resolution of the love interest and created the opportunity for a couple of pretty good comical asides, but also created some anomalies. I couldn't understand, for instance, why Sam's treachery (in supposedly being a spy for Frank Morgan) could suddenly be forgiven and forgotten by his long-haired colleagues. OK, he saved Gene Hunt's life. But did that make everything right in their book? There was also a sense in the final bar scene of the staff of the nick welcoming him back to 1973. But surely he'd never been away? He landed right back at the point he'd disappeared - in the railway tunnel with shooters going off left and right.
Time travel is a tiring and bewildering old business, isn't it? Can the sequel really be set in 1980 and called Ashes to Ashes or is this just people on the web having a laugh?
Monday, April 09, 2007
I'm not paranoid or anything, but the truth is out there.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
It got me thinking about a whole new collection of memorial benches.
"In loving tribute to John, who spent many a happy hour on the Hanger Lane Gyratory System. 1954 - A406."
Friday, April 06, 2007
Strangely, the way in which this crackpot inventor tackled the project is not that far removed from the approach of Caractacus Potts in the original book/movie. It was all a labour of love in the back yard.
But, as the mini-Ws have pointed out, the motor don't fly.
I've been wondering what would happen if I were to download some unlikely and out-of-character tracks. Will the computer program become confused and self-destruct as it grapples with my eclectic tastes?
I've started today by splashing 79p on "Chelsea Dagger" by the The Fratellis. I'll keep you posted.
"What if the sun split into two?" she asked.
I said that this would probably be a fairly newsworthy event.
"What if it split into four quarters?" she continued. "It would be shining from four different places."
Mrs W then suggested that this would be very good news from the point of view of estate agents, as all gardens would have favourable aspects. (We didn't discuss whether some of the fractional suns would be brighter than the others and therefore still allow people to claim a premium price for their property.)
When mini-W started on about the sun splitting into eight quarters, I decided it was time to bring the conversation to an end. And start teaching some maths.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
The first conclusion I'd draw is that these men - particularly the officers, who were shown on Iranian TV hosting what looked like weather forecasts - were formidable communicators. If any of us found ourselves in similar circumstances, we'd all spout whatever b*****ks our captors wanted us to, but these guys actually managed to do it quite professionally and slipped in the odd aside to suggest they were distancing themselves from the content. Political careers in the UK are now surely on the cards.
This leads me to my second observation. None of the blokes looked particularly scary. One of them was called Arthur and seemed to be about fifteen. What happened to the days when a punch-up with a couple of sailors in Portsmouth on a Saturday night would end up with twenty lads in the local A&E? Where were the "Hong Kong" tattoos and the missing teeth?
Imagine if those live interviews with President Ahmadinejad had taken an ugly turn. After all, a small bloke with a beard has come up to you and has started giving it some.
First reaction: "You got some kind of problem, mate?"
He doesn't listen and just carries on.
Time for a slap.
Given that we all want to avoid a nuclear confrontation, it's just as well that our military crews are now better versed in PR than pugilism.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I was also disturbed the other day to see the captives pictured in front of what appeared to be a rather nasty floral shower curtain.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards need to tread carefully. You can push the British so far, but no further.
Monday, April 02, 2007
If you answer in the affirmative, the chances are that you're in the market for Anatrim.
"We believe that you hate the unsightly appearance of people like those and the low status they have in modern society," writes Brendan Dominguez. "Or, maybe," he continues, "you can not resist a siege of your terrible eating habits. The astonishing thing about Anatrim is it improves the quality of your life by making you eat less and giving you better cheer."
Blimey. No wonder it's the "newest and most enchanting product for corpulent people available."
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Check out http://www.godhatesamerica.com/html/faq.html for one of the weirdest set of FAQs you're ever likely to find on the web.
Two things struck me as particularly odd about the Westboro Church. The first was that although they crusade against gay sex, they're also keen to avoid the heterosexual version. The young women in the group claimed not to be interested in men and didn't even consider the possibility of getting married. (If Gramps had taken the same view, these young women wouldn't be here today, but that point seemed to pass them by.) To them, marriage was a distraction that would just take up too much time. How could you possibly get hitched when you had a funeral of a dead soldier to picket?
The second weird aspect of the dogma was the belief that no one else on earth met the criteria for admission to heaven or seemed likely to qualify in the near future. We can only assume that life beyond the Pearly Gates is therefore some kind of extension of the Church's own back yard, perhaps complete with pickets and placards. The only difference would be the absence of the six billion fallen sinners that surround them here on earth. When Louis questioned whether the Church members really were the only people going upstairs on the Day of Judgement, he was told that if anyone else were preaching the true word of the Lord, news would surely have reached them by now.
Weird and wonderful telly.