Thursday, 26 July 2007

Death Cat For Cutie

You Looking At Me? There's this cat in Rhoda Island, USA, which can apparently predict when nursing home patients are about to die. [It lives in Providence - which is incredibly ironic, don't you think?]

"Predict"? Or are the nursing home staff just taking their eyes off the ball? I reckon 'cute' little Oscar just waits until no-one is paying attention, then curls up on the face of his latest victim, smothering them to death.
It's the purr-fect crime. Everyone's expecting the person to die anyway, so Oscar just helps the process along a little. It's a mercy kitten.

You can bet that if 25 patients died within 2 hours of being visited by a particular nurse or orderly, the local sheriff would soon be taking them into custody for questioning.

I find it ironic that Harold Shipman is in prison for killing all those old people, yet his faithful golden retriever, Kervorkian, is running free, eating his fill of Pedigree Chum and chicken-flavoured biscuits.

Tigger 'Hotwire' JohnsonEdit: And now I read that another one of the wannabe-tiger scum has been caught in the act trying to steal a car! I publish his picture here so that you can turn him in to the car police if he tries to rob you too.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


I see that Jordan and Peter André have named their new daughter 'Princess Tiaamii'. Right. We'll take them both much more seriously now, won't we!

If I ever have a son, I shall be calling him 'Raylord'. It's a name I thought I discovered when looking through old birth records, though in fact it was just 'Raymond' and was a bit smudged. Raylord, however, is a fantastic name. It's a bit futuristic (like ray-gun) and a bit royal (it's got 'lord' in it - which is a bit religious too, I suppose) and it's wholly original.

Yes, Raylord Moore, my future offspring. With a strong manly name like that, there's absolutely no chance of him being called "Gaylord" or "Raymongo" or something cruel by the other kids at school, is there?

Of course, my heart is so set on Raylord that I've no idea what to do if we had a girl baby instead. It's a toss-up between somethign sophisticated like 'Sauvignon' ('Sovie' for short) or something pretty like 'Geranium'...


Damn! I've just Googled for Raylord and there are a few people with that name out there. If it's not unique then I don't want to use it.

Mind you - one of the people I found was called Raylord Focker. True!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


We went to Gloucestershire at the weekend to attend the 30th birthday party of my cousin and her husband. There was a fancy dress theme: School Disco.

So, lots of girls (and boys!) in gymslips and pigtails.

I chose to go as a teacher, so it was on with the gown and mortar-board (thanks to Mum for the loan of those!).

The best costume for me was my nephew Thomas's. He decided he'd be a science teacher. For some bizarre reason he had an uncanny resemblance to Mark Heap as Dr Statham in 'Green Wing'...



The garage have rung. I've just found out how much it's going to cost to get my car fixed.

Does anyone know this week's National Lottery numbers?

Actually, what I really need is a new car. Something a little bit bigger, with 5 doors. I don't mind if it's cheap and tacky, as long as it goes and doesn't cost a fortune to run.

But it's difficult to save up for a new car when you keep having to pay out expensive gold bullion to keep the present car running...

Monday, 16 July 2007

Oh, no. Not again?!

Errr... yes, sorry, but I'm doing another charity bike ride.

This time I'm going to be riding a 55-mile course from Aldershot (where I live - which is handy) through the Hampshire countryside, as far as Alresford, and finishing back at home.
It's the Wish Pedlars 2007 ride in aid of the Make-A-Wish foundation. You can read more about them at their website.

If you'd like to sponsor me (and believe me, I may need the inspiration and motivation that sponsorship brings to keep me going once I've done 40-odd miles!) you can visit my JustGiving page here:

Friday, 13 July 2007

What's Under The Sheet?

The news about David Beckham moving to Los Angeles to play for the LA Galaxy team reminds me of something that I meant to post about some time ago, but never did.

Go and read the story now, then come back here.

You'll notice that the headline says that Beckham is to be "unveiled" by LA Galaxy. This is a verb which is used in respect to any footballer who is about to start playing for a new team. Why "unveiled" though? Mr Beckham and his footballing ilk do often make odd fashion choices, but I've never seen any of them wearing a veil.

Usually, you "unveil" something because it's been hidden for some time. The object to be disclosed is obfusctated by a large piece of fabric (ususally red silk, though blue velvet curtains with gold trim are acceptable). A ceremony is performed to build up a sense of tension and expectation and then... in a sweeping gesture... the object of desire is revealed to all those gathered; accompanied by gasps of surprise, astonished murmurings and blinding flashes from paparazzi cameras.

Yet, in football transfers, there is usually a prolonged stream of rumours preceding the transfer and the deal is done, and publicised, days before the player makes his first appearance at the new team's ground or board-room. So the press-call and announcement is never a real suprise - just a confirmation that the deal has been done and the player's chauffeur has managed to find the place without getting lost or killed.

Journalists should probably try to come up with some new words to replace "unveil". As I am kind and lovely, I will provide some good and bad examples for their guidance.

Good: show-off; make public; publicise; divulge; display; exhibit; parade; present.

Bad: unmask; uncover; reveal; unroll; unfurl; expose; flourish; demonstrate; unshroud.

I thank you.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

8 Things You Hate About Me

Oooh! Darn you Allen. These tagging things are really annoying. I like reading other peoples' lists, but I hate thinking up my own. Then again, it beats working!

[Disclaimer - regular readers of this blog may already know some of this stuff.]

Here are the rules:

The rules are simple…Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
1. Habit: I have a scab on the crown of my head which I keep picking at. I got the original scar many years ago at Open University summer school, when someone under the influence of mucho alcohol fell off a bar table onto me, squashing the sunglasses which I had perched on my head. I now pick at the scab when concentrating, bored, anxious or on any other occasions when I require a bleeding and painful scalp. On the positive side, I hardly bite my fingernails anymore.

2. Fact: I was born exactly 1,887 years after Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Actually, that's not quite true, as it doesn't take into account the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1752. So, all 'anniversaries' commemorating events prior to that year are actually 11 days out.

3. Habit: This is somewhat of a confession. I've recently become hooked on "Project Runway" (the US version of UK's "Project Catwalk"). It's as Camp as David and it's entirely based on the world of fashion (which I find alternately boring or despicable), yet I find the weekly dose of cattiness, sketching, designing and stitching incredibly entertaining. But this doesn't make me gay. Oh no. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh, maybe I'm hooked on Heidi Klum? Yup, that's what it is.

4. Fact: I can juggle. Only the standard 3 balls and only in the ordinary way - no fancy patterns. But I learned once and never forgot how.

5. I usually read about 3 books at once (is that a habit, or a fact? I've decided it's a habit). I'll have one or two tomes in the loo, one by the bed and maybe one or two more lying around the house. I seem to have no problem picking up the story.

6. Fact: Today I visited a banana ripening and distribution warehouse in Swindon. The nice man who showed us round knew everything there is to know about bananas. All the bananas I saw today had come from Brazil, though many other countries produce bananas, including Cameroon, Columbia, Winward Islands and Iceland. The most common variety of banana eaten in Europe is the dwarf cavendish. So there!

7. Habit: I'm addicted to email. I can't communicate with people unless it's via email. People will ask me to do something for them, face to face, but I ask them to send me an email, or I'll forget to do it. And I hate phoning people to ask them things, so I email instead - even though phone would be quicker and more reliable.

8. Fact: I have eaten lamb's brains, but I don't like broccoli.

Okey dokey. I've found some things to write about. Now it's your turn: Mum, Jo, Dave, Chuckie, David, Mary and Clare (sorry only 7 not 8 - I don't know enough people!).

Edit: Ooh! I know someone new! Welcome Rion, and thanks for picking up the baton.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

I'm Not Bad - Just Misguided

Now look. I know that some of you (well, one of you!) thinks that my comments about Alzheimers collection people was a bit naughty. But, in fact, it makes perfect sense.

Do let me explain:

As a carefree and happy-go-lucky sort of chap I'm sure that if I was ever struck down with any sort of dementia I would face it with fortitude and good humour.

However, being demented I wouldn't know what was happening to me and I'd therefore be unable to apply my cutting-edge wit to my rapidly failing mental faculties.

So I'm getting all the jokes out of the way now - while I still can!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Well I'll be Burgered.

While we're on the subject of old people, I went along to Twickenham stadium to see Genesis last night, with a handful of chums.

Sadly, Genesis haven't persuaded Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett to join the reunion: Gabriel's off around Europe playing all his old songs and giving his long-term fans what they want, while Hackett's (sadly) finding it hard to get arrested these days.

Unfortunately, the Genesis crowd seemed largely made up of people who know the band primarly through Phil Collins and the band's more syrupy ballads from Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance.

Now, I may be grouchy about this, but I'm happy to sit there and listen while the band play their more 'poppy' songs. After all, everyone's paid their money and each group of supporters should be allowed to hear their favourite tracks.

But what I found really annoying was the pair of fools sat in front of us, who decided that every time Genesis played a song they didn't recognise, they would stand up, forcing the entire row to stand, shuffle off slowly (but talking loudly) to replenish their alcohol and nicotine levels. Fifteen minutes later, they were back; having fucked up "Afterglow" for us, here they were to shuffle along, gurning and giggling inanely to ruin "Ripples".

Why you would pay £60 for tickets to a gig, then watch/listen to less than half the set, preferring instead to spend over the odds on watered down fizzy pop...?


But on the whole, the concert was good. From where we were sitting, the sound tended to be a bit muddy during the loud, bombastic, old, epic numbers (the ones our gang like), but not too much to spoil things.

Highlights for me were "Mama" - very crisp and a genuinely disturbing turn from 'cuddly' Phil Collins - and the slightly overlong (but superbly arranged) drum duet with the segue into "Los Endos" - surely this should have been the final piece of the entire show? As it was, the show seemed to end on a bit of an anti-climax with "The Carpet Crawlers" - a great song, but I felt that we were too far from the stage to be part of the emotion of the piece.

[I can't help recalling a small-scale Genesis gig at Southampton's Rose(?) Theatre some 15 years ago - "Carpet Crawlers" then was a superb highlight. Big stadia just kill off a real connection to the music, I think.]

I'd just like to pause a moment here to talk about the catering. Martin queued up to get us all some food - we all ordered the same thing, to make it easier: four cheeseburgers. When we started to eat it, I discovered that my burger had no meat in it. Just a bun filled with shredded lettuce, onion and sauce. A burger-free burger. Cheek! Anyway, Martin kindly shared his meaty feast with me, and I (even more generously) let him have half of the empty burger in return. But really! If you're in the business of selling burgers to the public, surely you should appreciate which one of the four key ingredients you could leave out without disappointing the paying punter!

And finally, a moan about South-West Trains. Heading into London from Twickeham would have been no problem. There were about 8 trains an hour - even at 11pm on Sunday. But heading west...! No way mate. Only 4 trains an hour, 2 of which were of no use to the majority of people. Approximately 2,000 people queuing to try to take the westbound train. We left the stadium around 10.30pm. The 10 minute walk to the station took 30 minutes because of poor signage and stewarding to the stadium exits and the huge crowds heading towards the station. Then an hour long queue to get down onto the platform. I finally got on a train at 23:55.

I also managed to get separated from my compadres in the melee, so they arrived back at the car in Staines about 20 minutes before I did. I eventuallygot home (thanks Andy!) around 1am, but Lord knows when the others got back. Andy had another hour's drive down to Southampton and the others were zooming round the M25 to Kent, so they probably got in around 2am too...

It's all very well telling people to take public transport to these events - but maybe someone needs to consider getting the train companies to put on additional services. Or maybe the train companies need to wake up to the fact that Sunday is no longer the 'day of rest' that it used to be and that the same timetables should be used all week long?

Friday, 6 July 2007

Shake, Rattle and, errr, where was I?

I went to Tesco at lunchtime. To buy some lunch. And to get some petrol for the car

[It's important to get these things the right way around: Vauxhall Tigras don't run very well on cheese & ham sandwiches, and drinking petrol makes my breath smell.]

As usual, I had to run the gamut of charity collectors by the supermarket entrance. Today there were a couple of old chaps, well into their seventies, shaking collection tins for the Alzheimer's Society.

It occurred to me that they were unlikely to make much money. Any savvy punter will be able to avoid donating: "Alzheimer's Society? I put money in the tin earlier on. Don't you remember?"

And what if the old boys forget to hand the money in to HQ? In fact, for all we know, they didn't even know why they were standing there in the first place; mid-rattle they are likely to wander off and buy some cat-food, Daz and some steradent...

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Good Time George

Sad news as George Melly has passed on.

When I was a teenager, I knew him as a jazz singer because my parents would often venture out to see him performing with John Chilton's Feetwarmers.

Over the years, though, he's popped up as a film and TV critic and a commentator on art whose opinions actually seemed worth hearing: he really knew his stuff - those years hanging out with the likes of Dali, Bunuel and the rest of the surrealist gang.

George was a national treasure and I'll be digging out one of his old cassettes when I get home.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Nearly Pro

I got a message from a Flickr contact a few weeks ago, asking whether the travel firm he works for could use one of my photos (taken on honeymoon in Shanghai) to illustrate one of the pages on their website.

As I'm a lovely bloke, I graciously gave my permission.

And now, all of a sudden, my picture's being used on a commercial site! You can see it here.

I'm dead chuffed. It's not like they're paying me, or anything, but I'm really happy that someone noticed my humble photo and thought it good enough to grace their own site.

Here's the original pic:

Shanghai Dongtai Lu Market 2

Yes, definitely chuffed!