Thursday, June 28, 2007

That Brown Cabinet

One of the good things we can say about Brown's accession to the top seat is that it should spell the end of Charlie Falconer's frontline political career.

Of all the New Labour faces who have annoyed me over the years, "Lord" Falconer is the one who gets me shouting at the telly the most. Why? Well, say what you like (or don't like) about Ruth Kelly, Charles Clarke and co, but at least they were elected. Elected by morons, most likely, but that's the beauty of democracy.

Falconer, on the other hand, failed to get a seat in 1997 - the only Labour party member who didn't that year - and as result was elevated to the peerage by Tony Blair. What had he done to deserve this position of power? Er, um, well, he is a rich lawyer and oh, was also Tony Blair's flatmate in the 1970s.

Falconer was Blair's best mate and was a government spokesman on issues from the Dome to constitutional reform, before becoming Lord Chancellor. To see someone with so little apparent merit wielding such influence in public life wound me up no end and I'm thrilled to see him go.

Let's hope GB isn't tempted to make a legislator or cabinet minister out of any of his old school chums, and that Falconer and his bloated ego have blighted the Today programme for he last time.

Ok, rant over. Anyone see this about former Durham graduate, Jonathan Edwards? Finally I can fully respect him.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Not Gathering Moss

The fact that I have to work today (normally Mondays are a sacred free day of idleness) is a real bastard.

However, the suffering is somewhat mitigated by the fact I'm off to see these grizzled veterans tonight. 45 years and still rocking, not bad by anyone's standards - to think that about a dozen years ago I thought I'd missed my chance to catch them live (or alive):

I said "yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!"

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Maidenhead Story

Another evangelical Christian is whinging about her rights to express her primitive, misguided beliefs. Lydia Playfoot, of Horsham, wants to wear a "purity ring" to school, in contravention of its no jewellery policy.

My first reaction is, why don't just wait until you die and get to heaven, then you can have the last laugh. Bloody hell, sex is fun and nothing to be ashamed of.

Unfortunately that's not the attitude Lydia Playfoot (or more likely, her parents - daddy's a happy-clappy preacher) is taking on these things. The case is being heard in the High Court today.

If she wins the case, and girls are allowed to wear the rings, there could be some practical implications though: are there going to be hymen inspections to check that the girls really are as "pure" as they claim? If there are, who is they going to pay for them? Will schools start advertising for maidenhead monitors?

As a footnote, some people might be wondering whether teenage boys would be allowed the same dispensation to wear the rings, but this is a red herring. If anyone can find a teenage boy who "wants" to remain a virgin until he's married, I'll eat my slippers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Save the planet - move to Portugal

So, I finally calculated my carbon footprint, using the brand-new government website (as trailed by Dizzy and the Devil) - the good news is it's working now, boys; bad news is it's slow as a dog and quite flawed. I'm not sure why for the home section it doesn't just ask for my total electricity and gas usage as listed on my bills. Surely that's all that is needed to calculate my home carbon consumption as a whole. And as it takes about half an hour to go through the process, DEFRA could save some me and the planet some electricity by speeding up the website.

Anyway, the good news is that my footprint is about half the national (UK) average, probably because I live in a warm country, require no central heating and I don't drive. Considering it includes flights to and fro I think it's quite a good set of figures. That doesn't stop the government giving me an even more stringent target to aim for, mind.

Your carbon footprint

Congratulations. You've successfully completed the Act on CO2 calculator. This table represents your CO2 emissions from all three areas of your lifestyle.

Your CO2 result is 2.46 tonnes per year

Your target footprint total is 1.97 tonnes per year

Everybody likes to have a target to reach their goals. Here we have given you an aspirational 20% reduction target to reach. This is spread evenly through your three areas of Home; Appliances and Transport, however, if you can see that your transport CO2 emissions are high, you can concentrate on reducing that area.

The national average total is 4.47 tonnes per year

CO2 emissions from all three areas of your lifestyle
Your Carbon Footprint-------0.6-----------0.16------------1.7
Target Footprint------------0.48----------0.13------------1.36
National Average------------2.00----------0.68------------1.79

Tonnes per year

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

End of term's coming, let's watch a video

Sorry, more YouTube.

Is this the creepiest number one ever? Chain-smoking Bond villain serenades decapitated head:

via BoingBoing

Monday, June 18, 2007

Northern comics...

Bernard Manning wasn't funny, but this is:

La Dolce Vita

Via Norm, this is a very funny little animated piece about how life in Italy is a little different from the rest of the world.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The next few days

For the next few days I'll be entertaining guests, so I doubt I'll be posting much.

I suggest you go out and enjoy the summer weather while it lasts.

Until next week...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lisa Loves London

Someone has asked me to comment on the new Olympic logo. I don't think I can surpass this from Towcestarian on the Daily Telegraph's blog:

Once the organisers realise that it looks like Lisa Simpson doing something very rude on her knees, it will be dropped very sharpish.

Here she is:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It was ninety years ago today...

I'm making a flying visit back to the UK this weekend to celebrate a special anniversary.

Not the birth of Edward Elgar, nor Thomas Hardy, nor the Waugh twins, nor the Marquis de Sade. Not the release of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, nor the first running of the Derby.

Nope, today is my grandmother's 90th birthday - which is about the age you should start really celebrating them. She is of course, partly to blame responsible for my existence on this planet, so I guess she could claim some hand in this blog (although I doubt she'd want to...).

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Nana, and I'll see you tomorrow at the party!

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's not sport, but it is incredible

Every Thursday, the Guardian's excellent online sports section has a YouTube blog. It features classic video moments from sport, with readers invited to send in their own favourites. It's a very cheap way of producing a "newspaper", i.e. getting the readers to write it for you, but sometimes the results are worth that risk.

Usually, the column descends into rival compilations of the greatest or most obscure goals from football leagues around the world, but amongst this today is a fascinating video that isn't really sport at all. Well, unless you count the tug-of-war in the middle.

From South Africa's Kruger National Park, the real "rumble in the jungle":

Lion v. Buffalo v. Crocodile