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Tuesday, July 31, 2012


i have a hellacious toothache.
this is worrying.

i am scared of dentists. it is not a rational fear.
at the moment i can cope with the ache - but i can feel it getting worse.

looks like i am going to have to gird my loins and make the trip to the dental school and let a trainee dentist have their evil way with me. not keen on that at all.
maybe i'll wait a couple of more days, just in case the pain goes away.


twitter isn't something i use that much.
i am on it. i even look at it occasionally. as someone still trying to get to grips with texting twitter really isn't aimed at me. i can almost see the attraction of it, yet its very unique selling point (usp to you and me) is the very thing that makes it so dangerous and in some ways so limited.

you can't say much in 140 characters - yet at the same time you can say a lot that will get you misunderstood (hi rio). you can also send you message in haste only to repent at your leisure (or more often at her majesty's leisure).

twitter is the home for celebs to get their views to their fans. their wit and wisdom laid bared for all of us to marvel at. the nature of twitter allows their many fans to get back to them - sometimes the replies and comments are not complimentary and this causes upset for some. tough shit. you put yourself out there use social media to promote yourself then you are going to have to put up with some anti-social comments. i am not condoning bullying, just saying you have to learn to take the rough with the smooth - you are not going to be loved by everyone. get over yourselves.

twitter is also the home of champions of free speech - who oddly use their twitter celebrity to persuade their fans that what someone else has said or written is wrong and needs to be stopped. because we know speech is only free when it agrees with what we agree with.

you would have thought that twitter users would understand the potential problems there is attached to it and learn to ignore most of it.

seems what twitter really does is make everyone thin skinned.

Monday, July 30, 2012


he came to get money. he left with egg on his face.
i have no reason to like mitt romney, from what little i know i am pretty sure he won’t be a great president (though ironically he will probably be more supportive of the uk than president obama). yet i can’t help feel sorry for him. he came to the uk to whip up some support from the ex-pat community, and to get some of their money, and he just seems to have been gaffe prone.
as we all know by now, mr. romney was involved with the utah winter olympics of 2002. he joined it in 1999 when it was thought that the games would have to be scaled back because of lack of funding. he also had to deal with increased security needs following the september 9th 2001 terrorist attack. the utah games managed to get all the funding it needed, they went ahead and made a profit. mr. romney even donated his salary to charity. it is true to say that there is some debate about how much of the credit for the success of the games should go to mr. romney, but it is safe to say he knows something about putting on an olympic games.
so he was asked what he thought of london’s preparations for the games.
now i am sure that mitt has a lot of things on his mind at the moment – he is running for president and he needs to raise a bit of cash for that – so he probably hasn’t been keeping abreast of all the ins and outs of the olympic build up. if he had been paying attention to our press then he would have thought that the games were doomed to failure. the gloom merchants having been out in force about this, that and the other when it came to the readiness of the games.  then throw in a potential strike or two, a scandal about overseas tickets on the black market and g4s being crap and well you have the makings of a problem.
naturally romney was asked about the london olympics. he said "there were a few things that were disconcerting," "it's hard to know just how well it will turn out."
given the way the run up to the olympics had been covered this seemed like a pretty reasonable i am going to hedge my bets kind of answer.
it caused a shit storm. boris was supposed to have been scathing about mr. romney, when in reality he just asked a very large crowd to shout out that london was ready (take that you republican dandy you), it was left to david cameron to get in the one good hit, that he is much easier to put on an olympic games in the middle of nowhere (bitch slapped).
all of a sudden all the press was onside. the london olympics are wonderful. problems? we have never written about them? concerns? we have not a one. complaints? how could we have? all was well in the land of stratford – in fact this part of the east end was now a place of milk and honey.
mitt romney may have appeared to be a gaffe machine – but he did something that boris couldn’t do, that seb couldn’t do, and that livingstone and cameron couldn’t do: he made the uk love the london olympics.
hats off to mitt.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


when the recent disappointing gdp figures came out george osborne said that he would give a 110% of his energy to solving the economic crisis. we may not have believed him, but we all knew what he meant.
the ‘giving 110%’ or ‘gave 110%’ is one of the sports clich├ęs that normally goes with losing. the coach will use it to say how proud he is, and how he can’t ask for more because they gave 110%. or it will be used by the plucky underdog to show just how committed they are even though there is a large likelihood that they will be royally trounced.
like decimate – it has moved on from the correct meaning and has become something else entirely.
it wasn’t a good couple of days for mr. osborne as several people called from him to be replaced (william hague being the lead contender, and i am sure that vince cable is enjoying the discomfort of mr. osborne). a few even called him a work experience chancellor (though not on the ‘pay’ that the con/dems want to give those that they put on work experience).

to add to his woes martin lewis, the money expert (and he most know what he is talking about as he has sold his website for quite a lot of moolah) decided that he would also have a pop at mr. osborne for his innumeracy, stating that mr. osborne should know better than to say he was going to give 110%. someone tried to defend mr. osborne, using the defence i have outlined above, but mr. lewis was having none of that – saying that mr. osborne should be providing a role model for numeracy, especially considering how poor numeracy is supposed to be in the country.
mr. lewis has a point.
it may also be that he might have directed us to why the government’s plans and forecasts always have to be revised. perhaps, just perhaps, mr. osborne is indeed innumerate and has problems with simple calculations. that following on in the footsteps of the footballers he supports he has indeed done some of his sums using 110%, just because it sounds better.
just a possibility.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


my bag has died.
it has been a trusty companion for a fair few years. it has done me proud. it will be missed.

when i walked out with the bag slung over my shoulder i could pretend that i was either jack bauer or kwai chang cain, it was that sort of a bag.

with my trusty, but now deceased, shoulder bag i sometimes felt like i was jack bauer. true i never had to stop a terrorist incident, however there were many a dammits as i walked down the road and a few times when i might have happily tortured any of the texting twats who didn't look where they were going.
(i hasten to add my bag was gunless).

then there were the times when i would be out walking with the bag and having deep thoughts filled with profound wisdom that dripped off the tongue in clever epigrams. this would have happened more often if my walks had been accompanied by a horse. 

just a shame i never treated the bag with the same loving care that jack and caine showered on their bags. my problem with a bag is that if there is space in it i will try to fill it, you never know when you might need that thing or the other thing. a bag is never complete unless it is carrying some pens, a couple of notebooks, maybe more depending on the situation, a book (or two), chargers (phone and camera), bottle of water; just the basic stuff. by the time i would be coming home there might be a lot more in it.

i never set out to fill it to bursting point. it is just that often i did.
all too often there would be too much stuff in the bag and after a day of walking around my back would be twinging. not that i heeded the message, as it wouldn't take long for me to go out again only to return with another full bag.

i could get a smaller bag. i would still fill it to the brim. just less stuff. (or additional bags).
i could get a bigger bag - though that would just mean i start off with more stuff.

right now i am going to stick to the rucksuck i have - it is not as cool as the bag i mourn i have no flights of fancy when i carting it around with me (and in this weather it does guarantee that i am a total sweat monster), but for now it will serve a purpose until i can decide on a replacement bag.

it will tough to find a replacement. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


did i ever tell you about the olympic job i nearly applied for just because it was so silly?
oh i haven't? well settle back and enjoy. or not as the case may be.

the last time i was unemployed the first tranche of people were being employed by the london organising committee of the olympic games (locog to you and me). every time you stepped into the jobcentre there was another job from locog up for grabs.
except they were all jobs that only certain people could do and seemed odd being advertised in the local jobcentre (though at least it was local to the games site). so i could have applied to be the team manager of the british basketball team, or the weightlifting team, or fencing, or... well you get the idea.
my pal paul reckoned that as these were jobs that involved public money they had to be advertised to the general public regardless of how specialised they were. he was probably right - except that there have been a number of very high profile jobs such as kit designer and director of ceremonies that i never saw advertised (and to be honest i could have done a better job than stella - but then i think pretty much anyone could have done a better job).

then i saw the job i should have gone for. it was to be the master of the flag ceremonies. the key responsibilities were to make sure that the right flags went up in the right places and in the right way. of course i realised that there was more to the job than just that - after all you would have to make sure you had enough flags for all the locations, that you had the right flags at the right locations, after all not all countries are going to be competing at all events. then you had to make sure that you had the right flags available for the medal ceremonies.
so a logistical headache for sure, but not impossible: after all how hard can it be? by the time the games kick off you know how many countries are coming (barring a civil war or two) and you know how many venues there are - so that gives you a rough idea of how many flags you are going to need. then you also know what countries are going to be competing in what events - that again goes towards what flags you need where and how many.
crikey it is just a few spreadsheets - or several pages of a notebook.

then you need your i-spy book of flags (or to bring it up to day - the dummies guides to flags) to make sure you get them the right way around (though you would think that flag manufacturers make them so that they can only go on the flag pole one way - and if they don't they can take my suggestion and go to the head of the pack).
learn how all the flags go.
have several practice drills of getting hold of the flags from france, brazil and japan and running them up the flag pole.

there you go. what more can there be to the job?

now the funny thing about all these early job ads there was always a caveat that made the whole thing a joke. in the previous experience part of the job description there was a bit saying it would be great if the applicant had previous olympic or global event experience.

i reckon that makes the pool of candidates pretty small. probably less than there are british gold medallists. it is also such a specialised job that you suspect that there is a little black book with all the people who could do the job listed in it. no doubt that those who are specialised global flag masters also know when the olympics are coming up and so put their names forward.
hell i am just guessing here - maybe it is one of those things they do fresh at each global event.

anyway i didn't apply for the job. this is why i am currently unemployed.

obviously locog decided not to employ a flag master and gave the job the g4(flag)s - which is the only way to explain the cock-up with the north korean women's football team.
oh look they have given them the south korean flag instead.
when you consider that north and south korea are still officially at war with each other, and that bill clinton once described the border between the two countries as the 'scariest place on earth' this isn't the one to get wrong. add to that it was the first event of the olympics (a few of the events start early - no i don't understand it either) you would have taken that bit of extra care, maybe even shown the video package to those concerned to make sure they were happy with the information. (see i would have been so good at that job).

oh well. 20-20 and all that (though it hasn't been decided where that is going to take place, but did you like what i did there)?
this is the north korean flag

this isn't the north korean flag, 
(nor is it an attempt to smuggle pepsi advertising into the olympic venues)

funny thing is this wasn't going to be about that, it was just a long preamble to get to the meat of it all 
there are several things that could be said of me: that i am not diplomatic, this is not because i am some paragon who can only speak the truth no matter what the cost, more that my mouth is faster than my brain and often my foot ends up in it. second thing that could be said of me is that i do like the oriental ladies. furthermore i couldn’t deny an accusation that i like porn.

the liking porn puts me in good company – not only are my pals shep and jay partial to a blue movie or two but so was kim jong il. the dear leader was supposed to have a very large collection of western porn (it is a coffee table book in waiting – the leader’s porn: 50 shades of red. come on you all know it is a winner).
upon the death of his father kim jong un became ‘the great successor’ and is now the supreme leader of north korea. when he was studying in the west it was said that he was a shy likeable chap who was a fan of basketball. he likes basketball, and i am betting he has a great collection of basketball dvds. he was also supposed to be awkward around women. i can relate to that – even if i wasn’t trying to keep secret that my dad was the leader of north korea.

well let me tell you boys and girls ‘the glorious leader’ has come out of his shell and bagged himself a hottie. yes kim jong un has married ri sol ju, a north korean singer whose hits include ‘in the footsteps of soldiers’. even though i don’t want to cause an international incident i have to say she is a cutie: i’d give up my basketball dvds for her.

ri sol ju in action

i’d even make sure i flew the right flag.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


glass empty is probably the best way to describe. i am one of life's natural pessimist. if it can go wrong; it will. the upside to this is that i am always pleased when things go right.

yet even by my standards i would have trouble being disappointed at results posted by apple.

pretty much everyone acknowledges we are in a pretty major recession - the capitalist world is having a pretty rum time of it, and is not crawling out of the big hole it put itself in thanks to the stupidity of the financial services.
not a lot of people have money to burn right now.

yet apple are 'disappointed' with their figures, though happy with the sales of ipads.
even the markets are not pleased as the share price in apple dropped by 5%
must be pretty dire then.

just what are the figures?
they made a net profit of $8 billion in the three months to june of this year.
that is a 21% increase on last year's sales.
it sold 26 million iphones, a 28% increase, but less than forecast.

by all reasonable measures apple are hitting it out of the park, but they didn't hit the forecasts. as we know oh so well economic forecasting isn't a science, it isn't even close. economic forecasting just seems to be numbers that are plucked from a hat to be changed in the next few days or weeks.
who am i to say that the analysts who study apple shouldn't have been shocked at it missing the forecasts - after all they are probably getting data about the company all the time. there should have been no surprises here for them and they would have done what they needed to do with the shares.

look at those figures again. profit up, over $8 billion - that is a lot of money. sales are up,
for me that is success - in a time of economic turmoil you have someone making oodles. for the market it is a reason to 'sell, sell, sell'.
profits up. sales up. shares down.

there my friend is what is wrong with capitalism, or more accurately the market. unblinking illogical greed is at the heart of it. so what if your profits are prodigious you have missed a forecast therefore you can't be any good.

truly the world of market inhabits a looking glass world - where profits will never be enough unless they match or beat a forecast - doesn't matter that you have billions in profits, you missed the forecast - so you can't be any good.

no wonder the markets are fucked. 

Monday, July 23, 2012


sun sun go away - come back another day (but not soon).
while it is true that i would like to see the back of rupert murdoch's paper, i am referring to the yellow ball that has suddenly decided to come and brighten up out summer. yes i know the whole point of summer is sun, but too much of a good thing is never a good thing - in fact too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
just trust me on this.

so we have had two days of sun. sunday - bright and hot. monday - bright and baking.
yes it is nice to see all the young ladies out in their short shorts and skimpy summer dresses - however that always has to be balanced against the increasing number of overweight men with their tops off and the lo-slung jeans now hanging lower and more crack being shown. it's not pretty.

just a day of it and i am thinking no more please. let's go back to slightly overcast, breezy and warm.
no more bright and hot. please!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


at first i was cynically sniggering at the amount of official olympic merchandise that had suddenly sprouted to life on the shelves of my local sainsbury’s. lots of wenlocks and mandevilles, lots of household bric-a-brac with olympic rings or the awful stella mccartney reimagined union flag. not to mention the lapel pins – so many of them.
i was in total sneer mode. olympic spirit my fat spotty arse! corporate sell-out more like it.

then i saw it.

memories came flooding back and a big silly grin spread across my face.

when i was a kid i occasionally had to pay the milkman. he’d come around early on a saturday morning when my parents were still fast asleep. i’d give him the money and watch as he would take the £5 or £10 note and put it in his wallet and then with a quick open, close and open again the loose note would be snugly secured under elastic bands that kept all the notes safe.
the bloke who collected the insurance money from my mum also had one of these trick wallets. i was endlessly fascinated with them. i never knew how they worked, just that they worked like magic.

i still don’t know how they work.

i do know that among the london 2012 olympic tat that sainsbury’s is selling is an olympic ring trick wallet and i must have spent 10 minutes playing with it. the card that came with the wallet would be free and then it would be secure and then it would be free and then it would be secure. open. close. open close. open close.
when the olympics are over and the all the tat starts getting sold off cheap i do hope there are some trick wallets left, because i quite fancy one. 

it is the small things that keep me happy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


there i was in the library. i was reading a trade paperback (x-men legacy: aftermath by mike carey if you must know). my read was interrupted by a bloke who wanted to know if i was white and over not over 50. i am. did i want a free health check? oh ok if you must. well it was free and it would have been rude to refuse.

it was to see about what my risks of a cardiovascular event (not a good thing) are.

as i was filling out the papers they handed me i started to have second thoughts. why? when it comes to my health i can be incredibly pessimistic. i quite like blissful ignorance as opposed to bad news. however i overcame my nerves and went in for the tests.

first up was height, weight and waist measurement. height was a revelation i seem to have grown two inches. weight – still a fat bastard. waist – bigger than it should be.

then it was the blood sample. just a little prick. now i have spent a whole bunch of hours being tattooed, an electric needle inking designs into my skin – no problem. a needle to take my blood and i come over all shivery and filled with the heebie jeebies: so i am a wuss. while the sucked up blood was being tested i was asked the questions – do i exercise enough? no. do i eat well? no. do i have regular check-up? no. the only place i seemed to be virtuous was in not drinking or smoking. yay me.

then i get the results. blood sugar, ok. not diabetic. cholesterol within limits, though i need to be careful. blood pressure within limits, fine and dandy. body mass index – oh deary deary me – well outside the limits. i was told that i needed to lose weight and that i needed to get down to my target weight range – which even at the highest part of it is still 30kgs lighter than i am. no chance. it did make me smile though.

in short i was told i wasn’t that bad and that a some exercise and better diet and my risks would be reduced further.

later that day i was walking (hey it’s exercise) when i thought ‘hold on’ wasn’t my risk 48%? that’s not good, this is pretty shit – it’s a one in two chance. panic.
turns out that the 48% was actually 4.8% and that was the average risk for someone of my height and age. my risk was 8.7% not quite twice the risk for my age and height, still much much better than 48%.

from this i learnt that i am shit at numbers and i could risk a pack of doughnuts.
They were yummy (if you must know).