Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spam update

I'd be the first to admit that Washed and Ready to Eat has been a tad neglected of late. This is mainly due to my birthday madness (see www.p40b.com), but I shouldn't allow myself any excuses. It's time to update loyal readers on the latest spam filling the inbox at Woodford Towers.

Aleksey Ivanov has written to me twice this month to warn me about a major German car manufacturer. I won't mention its name, as I suspect the author's observations might be construed as defamatory, but the essence of the message is "Achtung!" A Russian mate of Aleksey's (who was transporting his mother and her wheelchair around) discovered something wrong with the brakes on a particular model of motor and Aleksey now sees it as his moral duty to warn the world. He is contacting the manufacturer, "mass media agencies" and auto-dealers around the world. Oh, and me as well.

"...Recently thanks to GOD," my Russian correspondent writes, "they did not participate in the car-crash on the federal road due to the not-reveal disrepair of the brake and the BAS/ESP system."

Thanks to GOD, indeed, Aleksey. And through your helpful spam campaign, I'm sure that others will saved from reliance on divine intervention in the future.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guitar man



I just saw this great Commodores vid on VH1 Classic and was concerned by the sheer weirdness of the dude playing the guitar on the right of the screen about a minute in. First of all, he's holding his instrument vertically, which I think we can safely say isn't normal. And his facial expressions are something else as well. Not sure the grainy reproduction on youtube does them justice, but you may get some of the vibe. Nice song though.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Graphic design goes to the dogs

Any graphic designer who clicks to enlarge this picture of Wimbledon dog track in south London will surely marvel at the sophistication of the logo. The perfect complement to the highly attractive stadium. I suspect punters are not deterred by the aesthetics, however. As long as the four dog makes it past the line by a nose, they're happy bunnies. Or should that be hares?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some clues in the hunt for bin Laden

The discovery that barmy former psychiatrist Radovan Karadzic was happily earning a living as an alternative therapist in Belgrade is perhaps rather unfortunate news for advocates of complementary medicine. It should, however, help us to think more laterally about the search for that other notorious fugitive, Osama bin Laden. Has anyone thought of looking for a rather gentle, clean-shaven old bloke who spends his spare time as a marriage guidance counsellor in Kabul?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And it's goodnight from the Express...

Reading the Daily Express yesterday at my health club was an invigorating experience. A double-page spread was given over to a call for the return of National Service and the paper provided commentary from a number of celebrities who'd done their own square-bashing back in the 50s and 60s.

One of the ex-squaddies was none other than Ronnie Corbett of Two Ronnies fame. Just as well a war didn't kick off when he was in uniform. You can imagine how he would have put the fear of God into the enemy, can't you? Were there really no height restrictions? Given that you could get an exemption for flat feet or by pretending that you couldn't see the optician's board, it all seems a little bit odd.

I'm now imagining Ron's capture and interrogation by a KGB official.

"We need to know the details of your service in the British forces, Mr Corbett."

"Service? Well, it's strange you should mention that. Because the standard of service in the BBC canteen has really gone downhill recently. In fact, the other day, an Englishman, an Irishman and a Russian were all trying to get served, when..."

Half baked ideas

Feasting on new basil and parmesan Bruschettine from Bertolli, I notice that the tasty crouton-style snacks are "hand baked in Italy". That hand baking must be difficult work. Especially when the oven gets hot.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crazy ideas signal the end of an era

When governments are in terminal decline, policy proposals start becoming increasingly bizarre. Remember John Major's much-derided suggestion of a "cones hotline", for instance, back in the 1990s? People could ring up if they saw traffic cones on the road that had no business being there. Wikipedia helpfully reminds of the phone number, although I somehow doubt there's anyone at the other end now. Unless, of course, former Prime Minister Major has time on his hands between cricket matches.

Yesterday's suggestion from Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that young offenders should go on guided tours of accident and emergency departments is one of the barmiest things I have heard in recent years. So barmy, in fact, that it's been pretty much dropped within 24 hours. How exactly would it have worked?

My first observation would be that my local A&E department is full of young offenders anyway, so they don't need to be on a government programme to observe its workings at first hand. My second would be that they could easily wait five hours being triaged before even getting to meet a victim of knife crime.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh, Strongbow...

Before I forget, I caught a documentary the other day late at night on the BBC. The programme featured a man with 20 children, most of whom seemed to live in his small house along with a new partner. One of his grandchildren was there too. I opted out after about a quarter of an hour, but had already learned more about life in modern Britain than I probably wanted to know.

Two things particularly stick in my mind. The first was the star giving a rendition of his own song, "Oh, Strongbow", which he'd set to the tune of "Mandy" by Barry Manilow. The second was the extensive family tree which he'd had tattooed on his back. Bizarrely, one of his estranged relatives - a daughter perhaps? - had seen it on display at some open-air event and had managed to work out that she was a blood relation. Who needs those genealogy websites, eh?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Staggering sign

This afternoon, I passed the entrance to the car park for the Hampton Court Flower Show. Motorists were being greeted by official looking signs which stated: "Please stagger your journey home."

How exactly does an individual driver stagger his or her journey?

While it might be a good idea if the owners didn't all return to their vehicles simultaneously, I doubt they're in much of a position to know when the other visitors have had enough of the flowers.

I wonder what a psychology professor would make of it all? Or a philosopher?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why not go the whole hog?

When I took some of my birthday hats down to the post office earlier in the week, the guy needed to check the weight and size of the packages. He produced an extraordinary device that had a letterbox-size hole in the middle of it and then proceeded to try to stuff my hats through it.

The aim was obviously to simulate the actual task facing a postie, but how realistic was the experiment? I think it's time the Royal Mail added a draught excluder to their pretend letter box. Or maybe erected a full-size front door in front of the counter. You'd be able to post your own package through to the counter assistant. And if it didn't fit, you'd be forced to ring the doorbell.

Doing time

The new prison-based sitcom on the BBC - The Visit - will inevitably draw comparisons with the classic Porridge featuring Ronnie Barker. Indeed, it's rather difficult to imagine how the concept was pitched to TV bosses in the first place.

"We have this great idea for a new comedy. It's set in a prison."

"Really? That's a highly original idea. I'm surprised no one's suggested it before."

Perhaps the executives are too young to remember the 1970s? Or maybe they didn't have the guts to tell the writers to naff orf.