So here is part two of the collected rants of a grumpy old shop keeper.
Rant from May 2007
We had an unexpected visitor last week..... The local vicar dropped into the shop....... Now, most Pagan shopkeepers would feel a little uneasy when the local clergy visit... but fortunately our local vicar is a very nice bloke. He is about to retire and is moving out of the vicarage, so he was looking for some boxes to transport his beloved album collection in. We got chatting about the good old days of vinyl and discovered that he was a serious heavy metal fan and had loads of old metal albums by Led Zep, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden........ and yes he admitted that he had several Black Sabbath albums in his collection........... It's a great shame he is retiring. We just hope his replacement will not be a fire and brimstone type on a crusade to sweep the village clean of Pagans, witches and "devil worshippers"...... EEEEEEEEK!
Well what's wound me up this month..... At this point I should tell you that after 35 years as a 20 a day smoker, I have finally decided that I have pushed my luck as far as I dare and have given up smoking. As I type this, I have not had a cigarette for over 3 weeks....... So as you can imagine, over the last 3 weeks, just about everything has wound me up........ I have managed to aviod killing anyone so far, but I should issue a warning to anyone who is planning to visit the shop in the near future........ If I am behind the counter...... Do not under any circumstances (A). Ask if the witch hanging outside the shop is for sale. (B). Tell me how nice the shop looks since we painted it pink. (C). Ask me if I sell thimbles (D). Try to buy a 50p bird whistle with a credit card. (E). Tell me you are the new vicar and that you are on a mission from God to drive all Pagans and "Devil Worshippers" out of the village and into the sea......
Then there is British Telecon who have lied, cheated and used deliberately misleading sales techniques to try and swindle money out of us over the last month or so...... No.... It's not just the giving up smoking thing.... I'ts true they really have...... but I'm sure you have all suffered at BTs hands in the past and it would take at least 5 newsletters to cover the enormity of their crimes..... and I would have probably started smoking again by the time I'd finished. So I will let this one pass. Just surfice it to say that I would rather stick my private parts in a food blender than do business with these dishonest, reprehensible, morally bankrupt, shiesters ever again.
And then there is televison commercials. It's not just the fact that commercial breaks are getting more frequent and ever longer so that each hour of TV now includes 20 minutes of commercials...... It's the content. I am so fed up with Barry Scott screaming at me about Cilit Bang..... I just keep thinking "Colt 45.. Bang! and Barry Scott is gone"...... and the jerk who alternatly shouts and then wispers about confused.com which leaves me bemused.com. The stupid bloke and his parot from Admiral insurance...... and as for Churchill...... I'm an animal lover, but that bloody dog needs putting down...... Ooooh Yessss! Adverts for hair products that make you look like you have a blind hairdresser.... LLoyds Bank want to give me a credit card and every time I use it they will round up the transaction to the nearest pound and save this money for me in a sort of savings account?????? Hold on run this by me again..... they are going to overcahrge me on every card transaction then charge me interest on these unneccessary overspends... and they are trying to sell this to me as good idea..... Then the strange Honda adds that don't show you any cars...... probably just as well as the latest Honda has door handles that look like 1950's sci fi movie space ships and a bizzar trophy cabinet on the front which houses a Honda badge that looks more valuable than the car..... I think they have lost the plot. And all those strange adds for very expensive perfumes that try to convice you that a few drops will turn you into a ravishing, exotic, sophisticated, irresistable femme fetal...... when in fact they just make you smell like a randy musk ox.
And that's another thing.... Chanel No5 seems very popular, but you never hear about Chanel No4. I can only assume that Chanel No1 must have smelt like old socks. There are all sorts of products like this.... E45 Cream What about E42 cream... did that bring people up in a rash.... E1 cream probably gave you warts.... WD40, did WD1 seize all your bolts up and make everything it touched turn into a pile of rust. You have to admire their perseverance, most people would have given up when they discovered that WD37 was a brilliant lubricant with amazing waterproofing properties but gave anyone who touched it Ameobic Disentery.
Speaking of perseverance. Did you know that they use a strange substance called issenglass in beer brewing. It is used to clear all the sediment out of the beer and make it bright and clear. Did you also know that issenglass is made from the shredded stomach of a fish caled a sturgeon. Now think about it....... just how many other things must the brewers have tried before they got around to trying shredded sturgeon stomach to clear their beer. It probably came just after they tried pickled rat testicles, belly button fluff and badgers ear wax. But we are straying away from the subject here.... as usual.....
The big problem I have with TV commercials is how much they cost me..... think about it.... How do companies finance the big budget advertising campaigns .... by raising the price of the product to cover the advertising costs. So it stands to reason that the products with the biggest advertising campaigns are the worst value for money....... The next time you are tempted to spend £120 on a pair of Nike trainers it's worth remembering that these trainers cost about £5 to manufacture and £35 of what you pay goes on advertising costs. So the next time you see a big budget production advert on the television for a product you use regularly..... You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you payed for the brilliant ad.
Rant from June 2007
We would like to thank all those who have sent Bazz messages of support, for his efforts to give up smoking. The good news is that he has now gone 7 weeks without a cigarette..... And still no one has been murdered....... or even badly beaten so far.... Although Rose had to dissuade him at one point, from taking a group of badly behaved children for a swim in the harbour. Then there was the incident where Bazz came very close to assaulting a police officer who was yet again giving him a hard time about unloading outside the shop.................. but that is a long story......... What? You mean you want to hear it?..... OK, It's about time for the monthly rant section anyway.
Now don't get me wrong here, I don't have a problem with the police usually. I know for the most part they are decent people doing a dangerous job often under very difficult circumstances. But every now and then someone lets the whole side down.
Those of you who have visited us will know that there is a small forecourt at the front of the shop which we use to put out various items of stock and our advertising board etc.
For those who haven't visited please see picture below.
Now this forecourt is jointly owned by the shop, the restaurant next door and the flat above the shop, we all have a door opening onto it and we all have a shared right of way across it. It is therefore private property and not a public right of way. Nor is it part of the public highway. We quite often park our van on the forecourt when we arrive in the morning to unload new stock and we often park there in the evenings to load up rubbish sacks etc. One morning we found a plastic envelope stuck to the windscreen with an official police warning inside which said that we were illegally parked and if we did it again we would get a parking ticket. We just thought someone was having a joke and threw it away. A couple of days later I caught a policeman standing on the forecourt writing out a parking ticket for our van. I was very polite and asked him what he was doing. He said "You have been warned about parking here before so now I am going to issue you with a parking ticket for obstructing the public highway" I explained to him that it was private property and not part of the highway and that the only thing I was obstructing was my own shop doorway. He said "My sargent has told me to clamp down on parking outside this shop. And the council are not happy about you putting all your stock out here and blocking the public footpath" At which point I kind of lost it...... You know those moments when your mouth starts running and a bit of your brain is thinking "You shouldn't be saying this... you are going to get into so much trouble unless you stop right now" but your mouth just keeps on going........... My response to him ran something like this (I have omitted some of the choice expletives so as not to offend our younger readers. "You can tell your bloody sargent that this is private property and he can shove his poxy parking tickets where the sun don't shine. And you can tell the bloody council that this is not a public right of way and if I chose to, I could build a bloody wall all the way round it to keep the bloody police, the bloody council and any stray pedestrians out. In fact you are standing on private property right now without the owners permission and without a warrant and if you don't leave immediately I will call the police and have you arrested for trespassing." The poor bloke just stood there looking gobsmacked. I was sure by this time that he knew I was in the right because I had just sworn and shouted at a policeman and I wasn't spreadeagled across the bonnet of my van wearing handcuffs.... So I pressed on "Well don't just stand there looking at me, go and arrest some real criminals and stop harassing law abiding citizens going about there lawful business."
Since that time there has been no mention of parking tickets. however if I have as much as a millimeter of tyre overhanging the edge of the forecourt the parking wardens still give me a hard time.
Now you may feel that I went off the deep end here but this event was hot on the heels of another incident which made my blood boil....... A few months back we had a quite a bit of trouble where we live in St. Austell. Cars were being vandalised on the road, graffiti was being sprayed everywhere, eggs were being thrown at windows regularly and no end of things being stolen from gardens. and funnily enough there were three teenage lads who always seemed to be in the vicinity when anything happened. No one had actually seen them do anything but it was becoming obvious that there was more than coincidence involved here. One of our neighbours called the police to complain about the problems we were experiencing and to their credit, the police sent someone down to talk to residents in the area about the problem. They called at our house (but we were at the shop) and they spoke to our friend Ian who was doing some building work at the house for us at the time. He told them that we had experienced similar problems and that we were so frustrated with the situation, and it had been going on for so long, that if we actually caught the culprits in the act we were likely to deal with the matter ourselves. We then received a call at the shop from a police woman...... Now did she call to say that they knew who these lads were and that they were going to keep an eye on them..... No..... Did she say they would put on extra patrols in the area....... NO (not enough resources... too busy harassing people for parking on their own property).... What she had called for was to give me a good telling off for making threats towards these lads and to tell me what a dim view they took of people taking the law into their own hands. And if I caught them dismantling my car, I should leave them to it and call the police and let them deal with it. She also tried to tell me that because we had bats and pentagrams painted on our van, that we were asking for trouble and implied that we deserved everything we got. So when did they pass a law that said "those who paint bats and pentagrams on their van are fair game for vandals." Suffice it to say that one or two hard words were spoken to these lads including "baseball bat", "Axe", "Death", "Blood" etc.. (mostly by our mate Ian who caught them up to no good in our back garden) and the problems seem to have gone away since then. No thanks to the local police.
And here it is... The van the police think is so inflamatory, it deserves to be attacked by vandals and should be given bogus parking tickets at every oportunity.
And then there are oranges....... What has happened to oranges..... ASDA seem be stocking things that look like oranges which come in packs ambiguously marked as "Soft Citrus"... Some of them peel like satsumas but taste like lemons. Others have half inch thick peel and taste like grapefruits.... What is going on here...... This has to be some sort of GM thing going on. It's getting harder and harder to buy good old fashioned oranges anymore. Then there are the strawberries. They all seem to be massive things which don't taste of strawberries anymore... now tell me they are not GM. You just have to be so careful what you eat these days.... There is only one thing worse than eating something that disagrees with you...... is being eaten by something you disagreed with.
Then there is Tesco who keep telling me that they have taken all my favorite foods and reduced the salt and the fat in them..... Well sorry but they probably won't be my favorite foods anymore. It is just becoming impossible to buy real food anymore. Even crisps haven't escaped. you just can't buy a descent packet of crisps without reduced fat and reduced salt. Even walkers crisps are pale imitations of their former selves. Surely salt and vinegar flavor crisps with reduced salt are just vinegar flavor crisps...... It's just not the same. The reason I am so wound up about this is that I am reasonably fit and healthy, I have perfect blood pressure, I have very low cholesterol, my heart is in great shape. I eat a good balanced diet but once in a blue moon I fancy some good old fashioned high fat, high salt, full strength, full flavor, bad for you junk food..... but you just can't buy it anymore. Everything is Good for you, low fat low salt, low sugar, low calorie even bloody McDonald's is going healthy on us.... Although it's worth going there just to see all the staff wearing sweatshirts that say "I'm Loving It" when you can see from their sullen miserable dejected expressions that they are obviously loathing every minute of it. Thank the Goddess we still have a kebab shop in town. The last bastion of full fat, full salt, full flavor food in St. Austell.
Rant from October 2007
Some of you may remember the last newsletter where Bazz had a moan about some of our over zealous police officers in Mevagissey..... well would you believe it.... a couple of days after the newsletter went out we had an unexpected visit from a very nice young lad and a pretty young blonde in police uniform....... I though for one awful moment they were going to be strippergrams..... then we thought they had been sent in to take vengeance for my daring to moan about the local police....... but no, they kept their clothes on and they didn't arrest me for wearing a loud shirt in built up area....... they told us they were new to the area and had just dropped in to get to know us. They chatted and were very pleasant and friendly and they now smile and wave as they pass the shop and stick their heads in the door to say hello. So maybe.... just maybe someone at the local police station had read the newsletter and decided that a public relations exercise was in order. Interestingly enough I haven't had any grief about parking on the shop forecourt since the last newsletter.
Some of our local readers may have been surprised to see pictures of Rose plastered all over Cornwall........ I must admit we were a bit surprised as well. We were standing in a queue in ASDA and I said "look that woman in that poster looks just like you". Rose looked and said "Bloody hell that is me EEEEEEK!". It seems that the Cornish Guardian have been trawling their old photo stocks to put an advertising poster together and have found an old photo of Rose from a Red Nose Day fund raising event and decided she was the happy smiling face of Cornwall. She is very embarrassed but I see this as my justification for pressganging her into modeling duties on our clothing pages and on my CD covers. It's just a shame she isn't being paid for her modeling services....... and what's worse, when she phoned the Cornish Guardian (twice now) and asked if it would be possible to have a copy of the poster, they said they would get back to her and never did. We even asked in ASDA if we could have a copy but they were unwilling to part with one...... I must admit that we had to resort to stealing one in the end...... OOOOPS!.... I shouldn't have said that.....just when we were getting back on friendly terms with the local police.
So onto Bazz's Rant Of The Month
The thing that has been winding me up all summer is the number of chain emails I get from well meaning people which are full of sentimental dross and end up by saying that if you send this email to 20 of your friends, something wonderful will happen...... You know the one's..... Lets face it, the only wonderful thing that will happen is that you and 20 of your friends will be added to a list of live email addresses which will be sold all over the world to viagra salesmen and you will all receive a lifetime supply of junk mail and spam.
Even worse are the ones that try to persuade you send them on by threatening you with years of bad luck and all manner of unpleasantness. You know the one's that say John from Sidcup didn't pass this email on and the next day was involved in a serious accident with a giant mechanical claw......... His wife's legs fell off..... His children fell through a wormhole in space and are now living on the planet Zarg..... and to top it all his pet hamster Cedric went down with a bad case of alopecia.
So lets make it clear.... if anyone wants to send me an email telling me what a valued friend I am and telling me what a special relationship we have, then at least make the effort and write one yourself rather than sending secondhand sentiments stuffed with viruses..... and also don't threaten me with death and destruction if I don't send it back to you OK.
So having got that off my chest I would just like to say that if you pass this email on to 20 of your friends something wonderful will happen......... (we will get 20 new customers and we will be eternally grateful to you). Dave from Weston-super-mare didn't pass this email on to his friends and absolutely nothing happened to him for several months.... But it's a bit dull in Weston-super-mare at the best of times.
The other thing that has been winding me up was a report on the news that many companies are claiming to be "carbon neutral" when in fact they are not carbon neutral at all. What they are doing is paying companies in India and China to reduce carbon emissions while they continue to pollute the atmosphere regardless. This practice is called buying carbon emissions credits.
Now I may be a bit dense here, but isn't that like the a bloke saying it's OK to beat up his wife as long as he pays his neighbor a tenner a week not to do the same to his wife...... Or the police allowing a mugger to go about his business unhindered because he pays some of his profits into a criminal rehabilitation charity. Mind you things don't change do they...... In medieval times the crusaders used to pay huge sums of money to monks to pray for their souls while they were off slaughtering innocent people in the holy land.
Hold on.... I've just had a great idea..... any of you who want to give up smoking......... You can make this a painless exercise..... You just continue to smoke and pay me £10 a week to not smoke for you..... I'm more than happy to sell you as many nonsmoking credits as you need.
On that subject... Yes I have gone past the 6 month mark without a cigarette. I must confess that the cravings have not completely gone away but the overwhelming need to scream, snarl and kill things has now subsided and the only casualty has been my waistline. Which wasn't as trim as it should have been to start with. Never mind, I'm sure that I will work off the extra pounds with the huge rush of mail order we will be dealing with in the run up to the festive season. So order lots of stuff now and help me get slim.... Hold on I would be more than happy to sell people weight loss credits which they can use when they go to weightwatchers. How does a tenner per kilo sound.... So the next time you are tempted buy a really yummy cream cake but feel you should restrain yourself...... Just put a fiver in an envelope and post it to me..... I will promise not to eat cream cakes for a whole day and you can munch your cake without the slightest feeling of guilt.
Rant from November 2007
Newsnight Review...... what's that all about?
There is always one twat who looks for nonexistant allagories and metaphores in action movies (until you feel like shaking him by the throat and screaming "sometimes an action movie is just an action movie OK"). Then there is the one who always disagrees with what the first one says on principal. There is the one who goes off on some strange personal tangent and leaves you wondering if they read the same book as the other 3. And finally there is the one who is a bit down to earth (someone like Billy Bragg) who talks sense but is them roundly abused by the other 3 for dispelling the psuedo intellectual smog they have so lovingly crafted. How anyone could ever make a decision on whether to buy a book or see a movie based on their opinions is just beyond me. I sometimes pray to the media Gods and Goddesses that one day I may be chosen to be a guest critic on Newsnight Review...... I could have so much fun........
The other thing that wound me up was my own brain...... now this may sound a bit odd but there I was just packing up getting ready to go home one evening, when suddenly a tune started going round in my brain..... Now what was this song that just popped into my head from nowhere..... It was "My Boy Lollypop" by Millie.........
It is probably only some of our more mature customers who will remember this one as it was a hit for Millie in 1964, reaching number 2 in both the UK and US charts. As 60s pop songs go it was actually quite good and it is said that the harmonica player was a certain football mad gravedigger who went on to become a star in his own right..... Rod Stewart....
OK so why should the fact that this inoffensive and innocuous tune entered my head wind me up...... particularly when it gives me an opportunity to show off my encyclopedic knowledge of the history of rock and pop music........
Well the problem I have is this....... I have not to my knowledge heard this song played for about 30 years. It has never popped into my brain before and all the information I have stored about it has never been of any use to me. However there it is residing in my brain. This is not just the music but the lyrics and background information all cross referenced and I can replay the full video I have stored in my head of her singing it on "Ready Steady Go" (an early form of Top of The Pops for our younger readers.)
I can even remember Cathy McGowan (Pretty Goth looking 60s pop show presenter) Introducing Millie. Just for more irrelevant background info... Cathy Married actor Hywel Bennett but later divorced him and now lives with Michael Ball who was 20 years younger than her..... OOOO Young Man!
Mind you... as this recent photo shows, she is ageing much better than he is. In fact she looks amazing for a woman of 64. Now here is my problem........ even if my brain stored the music as an MP3 and the video was held in fairly low quality, and all the background info was held as a compressed text file with no video footage attached, this would still take up quite a few Megabytes of my internal memory...... And this on board memory has been used to store all this completely irrelevant date for over 40 years. And this is just one of the many hundreds of thousands of ancient pop tunes I have stored in my biological iPod....
This is all particularly annoying as there is obviously a major shortage of RAM in my head as my brain can't seem to find anywhere to store useful data like where I left my car keys 10 minutes ago..... Where I parked my car last night..... My mothers birthday..... Rose's mobile phone number..... or even what day of the week it is sometimes........ You see my problem here......
So if next time you visit the shop you see a USB cable hanging out of my ear...... do not be alarmed as it will just be me archiving all my 1960's pop trivia onto hard disk. There's a thought I could sell copies of that to pop quiz enthusiasts......
The only explanation for all this I can think of, is that in 1964 the psychic synapse in my brain predicted that in 43 years time, I would be struggling to finish the November Newsletter and this stuff might just come in handy......... And you know what..... It was bloody right.......
The other thing that has been winding me up is the number of websites these days that use subliminal advertising to market their goods. Some of these unscrupulous people even use images of cute kittens to lure you in. I think these people are completely reprehensible and morally bankrupt. These people are as bad as the blatantly sexist sites that just use pictures of sexy young women to promote their wares.
Anyway that's enough from me until next Year.
So until then, Bright Yuletide Blessings from Bazz and Rose.... We hope you have a great Yule/Christmas/Feast of the great prophet Garglethrup or any other festive event that you may celebrate..... and if your religion doesn't allow eating, drinking and being merry at this time of year..... It's about time you found one that did.... Bacchus might be a good bloke to talk too.....
May your God(s), Goddess(es), many tentacled green furry thing(s) from arcturus 5, Stone Idols, Angels, Spirit Guides and Elvis himself be with you, watch over you, exalt you to further excessive self flagellation.... etc...... delete or amend as appropriate.
and we will leave you with a nice picture of our cute kitten Alice....... And a nice picture of our good friend Trace.
Rant from December 2007
Does anyone remember when coffee only came in two varieties..... Black and White.... rather than a skinny mini farty latte chocca shocker latino mochachino with pistachios floating on top and a heat resistant goldfish swimming about in it. Just how many ways are there of combining coffee, water and milk anyway.... let me see.
1. Coffee, milk, water, & cup ----- Thats a a white coffee then...fine so far
2. Coffee water, cup & no milk ------That's a black coffee then....sounds OK
3. Coffee milk, cup and no water ------ That's a gritachino.. a bit crunchy for my taste
4 Coffee, water milk & no cup---- That's a sloshachino... a bit messy for me
5 Water, cup, milk & no coffee.... That's a warm watery cup of milk
6. coffee, cup, no water and no milk ---- that's dust.....
7. cup with no coffee no milk and no water----- That's a vending machino....
I think that about covers it.
And why do coffee shops now sell coffee in such large cups.... the smallest coffee you can order seems to be a tall one which can be as much as a pint. Last time I went into a coffee bar they asked me if I wanted a regular or large. I made the big mistake of ordering a large. I then found myself staggering down the street with an enormous cardboard bucket of boiling hot coffee clutched to my chest and trying not to slosh gallons of scalding hot liquid all over innocent bystanders. I did my best and continued drinking until my stomach was bloated and started sloshing from side to side as I walked, however I couldn't manage to drink the last 17 gallons. I couldn't find a rubbish basket big enough to contain it so I just left it on the pavement. It was still there last time I looked and following the arrival of a large flock of Hooper Swans who have adopted it as a breeding ground, it has now been designated as a nature reserve by the world wildlife trust.
Also following on from last months comments about using pictures of sexy young women to sell products....... Our good friends Rosy and Gerald sent us possibly the most bizarre example of this practice. An Italian firm of undertakers have produced a 2008 callendar featuring scantily clad young ladies draped over their range of luxury coffins.
Needless to say we have ordered our copy. Aparently they are selling like hot cakes....... as are the coffins.
And just so no one can accuse us of using sexy young ladies to sell our products here is a picture of a sexy old lady advertising our products
(Yes since her recent birthday, Rose is now 57....... that's 3 years until she gets her bus pass)
So now we move on to The Planet La La award for the most bizare product of the month. We were shopping for some bulbs in B&Q this week and noticed this very strange light fitting.....
We are not sure what the inspiration was for this design.... was it a really bad head cold..... or maybe a very energetic porn movie........ but there is just something about the slimy off white droplets that make you feel a bit queasy. The droplets are actually luminous...... (which takes us into a whole new world of queasieness)..... So how does that work then... you turn the light off and it doesn't turn off.... What sort of maddness is that.
OK..... I've been skirting around it ....... and trying to stay in the spirit of peace, love and goodwill to all men........ but I have a rant bubbling away under the surface and I just can't keep it in any longer.
You know those phone calls where the phone rings and when you pick it up there is no one there. These are from call centres who use automated dialers to call several phone numbers at the same time and they only talk to the one who answers first. That is annoying enough particularly when they have done it 15 times in an hour. However these calls have taken an even more annoying turn. I answered the phone yesterday and a recorded voice said "This is RDA marketing... We are sorry but none of our operatives are available to talk to you at present. We will call you again later."............ Then it hung up. I must admit I was a little gobsmacked....... So let me get this straight.... Someone I've never heard off and don't have the slightest interest in talking to, has called me to tell me that they are too busy to talk to me. Then to add insult to injury, they are going to call me again later..... probably to tell me that they are still too busy to talk to me...... Now let me see.... What sort of response do you think they are going to get when they eventually do have an operative available to talk to me........ I feel an attack of sudden onset tourettes syndrome coming on..... particularly as they have given me advance warning and enough time to craft a package of expletives and verbal pyrotechnics that is nothing short of poetry.
Rant from March 2008
This month I have been completely wound up by a tiny little red light. Well, not the red light exactly, but the advert on the television which says I should reduce my carbon footprint by not leaving my television on standby. Now lets just put a few things into perspective here. India and China are both going through the biggest industrial revolution in human history and parts of Africa will not be far behind. It is said that if we scrapped all the cars in England and we all rode bikes, all those cars would be replaced by the increase in cars expected in India over the next year. We have George Bush who refuses to sign up to the Kyoto treaty. and even those countries that have signed up to the treaty are just setting emissions targets that they have allready met. And just how big a carbon footprint has the ongoing war in Iraq generated. Our government doesn't have the balls to put any serious pressure on industry to cut emissions or put any real preassure on India, China or George Bush.... But they do have the audacity to tell us that we should knacker our eyesight trying to read by low wattage bulbs, wash our clothes in cold water, drive around in dirty cars and sit shivering in winter because we ought to turn our heating down. Now I will go along with all this, but turning the standby light on my TV off is the final straw. I am one of the people who has been trying to tell the government about environmental problems for many decades. Since long before they ever decided that green issues were a vote winner. I have been recycling since the times when anyone who talked about the environment was considered a fanatical loony or a mad hippy tree hugger. Now they have the nerve to tell ME that global warming is MY fault because I leave my TV on standby. Lets face it the energy used to make the TV commercial and broadcast it is more than my TV will use if I left it on standby for 1,000 years. Do you think The Prime Minister sits shivering in 10 Downing St at night. Does he get picked up in a dirty limo. Do you really think his Y fronts get washed at 30 degrees and hung out on a washing line rather than use the tumble dryer.... I don't think so. I find it completely galling when people tell me how green they are because they turn their TV off every night and how they recycle their copy of the Daily Mail every day but still drive their kids to school in a huge 4 x 4 off road vehicle and fly abroad for their holidays twice a year. It's about time we all woke up and realise that global warming is a global problem. If everyone in the UK never turned their TVs on ever again, it would make NO DIFFERENCE at all on a global scale. As I am writing this there is an item on the news saying that coal fired power stations will continue to be the mainstay of the governments energy strategy for the forseeable future.... Not Wind or Wave power But COAL. There is a government minister sitting there telling me that they have to continue using coal while they develop alternative power sources. Now hold on....... If they had made a serious investment in alternative power sources 20 years ago when us "loony hippy tree huggers" were suggesting it, there would be no further need for coal fueled power stations. This massive coal burning policy on it's own will counterbalance any efforts that any of us make to reduce our carbon footprints. So, I am making a personal stand here. I am going to leave my TV on standby until the day comes when the government stops paying lip service to the issue and actually takes some effective steps towards stopping global warming. And until I see a government building that doesn't have lights, computers, photocopiers, printers etc left on in empty offices all night, my red light stays on.
So thats it then..... You can tell all your grandchildren that when the planet is devestated by the effects of global warming... it wasn't the government's lack of any serious action or China's/India's industrial revolution, or George Bush's reluctance to do anything about the problem..... It was that bastard Bazz, who destroyed the planet because he refused to turn his bloody standby light off.
I was going to leave the ranting there , but I have BBC news 24 running on my TV (Oh shame on me for daring to use electricity) as I type this newsletter and it's all getting quite surreal it seems that the Vatican has just issued an new set of deadly sins aimed at the modern world. One of which is that it is now a deadly sin to be an environmental polluter..... so the standby light on my TV is not only responsible for the destruction of the planet... but my eternal soul is going to be damned to burn in hell.... Come on guys, give me a break here.Obscene wealth is also included in the new list as a deadly sin... could this mean the end of the Catholic church... or will the Pope just go to confession and confess to being obscenely rich and be absolved by saying a hail Mary or three. I bet the pope leaves his TV on standby and I bet he dries his purple Y fronts in a tumble dryer..... I don't remember seeing him in a dirty Popemobile either. I had better end here before the news gets any more bizarre....
Rant from November 2008
This month I have been wound up by the weather reports on the TV. It seems that the BBC have come up with a new ploy to coverup for the fact that they don't have a clue what the weather is going be like in the next ten minutes never mind the next few days. This cunning ploy involves using weather reporters who either have a strange physical abnormality (Like Sian Lloyd's huge and bizarrely animated mouth that goes from ear to ear and makes her look like a character from Wallace and Gromit. Is it any wonder that her boyfriend dumped her for one of the Cheeky Girls... He was probably afraid she would suck his eyeballs out while she was kissing him) otherwise the weather reporters have some form of odd speech impediment. For instance, a few weeks ago they had a young chap who has the strangest spooky, bulging, starey eyes...(I suspect he has been kissing Sian Lloyd) When he is giving the forecast I get so spooked out by him that I don't take in a single word he is saying.... Then a few days later they have a nice young lady who appears to be so heavily pregnant that you fear she is going to start contractions in the middle of the long range weather forecast.... Again you find yourself at the end of the forecast and you have no recollection of what the weather was going to be like. Then the next night you find a perfectly normal looking middle aged guy and you think, So far so good. But then he opens his mouth and he has the strangest speach patterns you have ever heard, which range from an inaudable mutter to a soaring crescendo which leaves your ears bleeding... He then runs sentences together and at the same time inserts long pauses in inappropriate places so that you don't know where one sentence ends and the next one starts. At the end of it you feel like you have just watched a weather forecast in Urdu... Then the next night they throw you a real curved ball.... They have a very pretty young lady with no obvious physical abnormality and no discernable speech impediment, but now you are so accustomed to weather readers having these irregularities, you spend 3 minutes trying to work out what is wrong with her and totally miss the weather forecast anyway...
So that's all the minor grumbles out of the way and we move onto the main rant for this month. Now this is a subject which has been covered by many people in the past but nothing ever seems to improve.... We are talking pens, pen lids, socks and all manner of other items that just seem to vanish into thin air. You know the problem.... You find that you need to leave a note for the milkman and there isn't a single writing implement in the house, so you end up writing him a note on a very large sheet of paper in deep red lipstick.... which he interprets as a sexual come on and then stands on the doorstep leering at you for several weeks afterwards. It is at that point that you wish you had slashed your wrist and written it in blood. So you go to the local pound shop and buy 36 biros for a pound. Thinking that they will probably last you until the year 2036... but Oh No! the next time you need a pen, you can search the house from top to bottom and there is no trace of a single pen anywhere. It seems like they have all made their escape through a wormhole in the space time continueum and gone to the planet Biro to lead and idylic Biroid existance free from the demands of mankind. So you go back to the pound shop and buy a super strength industrial biro which you drill a hole in and attached a length of chain to it with an industrial padlock and nail the other end to a kitchen worktop and hire a team of security guards to patrol the kitchen 24 hours a day to make sure no one goes near it.... Then the next time you need a pen.... There it is, exactly where you left it nailed to the worktop.... but halfway through writing your note to the overly amourous milkman... it runs out of ink (due to the security guards using it to fill out their time sheets) .....
Then there are the socks.... these cunning creatures convince you that they are inanimate and inert... but as soon as you turn your back.... they suddenly become very animate and seriously ert.... You always buy them in pairs but any time you go to your sock drawer, you find 36 unique and individual socks with no matching pair in sight. Women seem to have the same problem with matching (or ultimately non matching) underwear so I am told. So you throw away all your socks and buy 24 identical pairs of black socks. You then sit back and feel very smug at having outwitted the mischievious little buggers. Then about 2 months down the road, you wake up with a hangover and reach into the sock drawer.... The first thing you pull out is the pair of woollen fingerless gloves your wife has put in there because she couldn't think of a better place to store them. After about 10 minutes of gazing at the ends of your toes sticking out of your sock, you realise what is going on and try again.... but you find that you have 27 socks which are either a unique shade of grey, or if you find a pair that are the same shade of grey, one is small enough for a Cornish Piskie to wear and the other seems to have been designed for a Yeti... It is at that point you give in and start wearing completely unmatching socks and start taking great delight in wearing one blue sock which barely covers your ankle and one orange one which comes up over your knee.
And then there is the pen lid..... As much as I aspire to be a good egalaterian and have a good deal of sympathy for the feminist viewpoint, I have found that nothing defines the difference between men and women quite so clearly as their approach to pen lids. Now men seem to grasp the concept that if you put a pen lid down somewhere, when you come back for it, it will be gone.... summoned by the Goddess Pentop to a special place where the penlid is held in high esteem and they are allowed to roam free without being permenantly shackled to mere pens. So when men take the lid off one end of a pen .... they very quickly ram it onto the other end of the pen thereby preventing it's escape. Women, on the other hand , just take the top off a pen and discard it willy nilly and then make the fatal mistrake of letting it out of their sight.... That's when the magic happens and they wink out of existance. This is particularly annoying when it is a very expensive and much treasured CD marker pen which very quickly dries up without it's lid securely in place (Women just don't understand the importance of such things do they... a man without his trusty CD marker pen is virtually emasculated. but do they care....)
Speaking of the differences between men and women, there is this very odd phenomena which Rose and I know as the Technological Gulf. I believe we are not the only ones to have noticed this phenomena. Why is it that Rose can understand the meaning of all of the mystical symbols printed on clothing labels and can use these to programme the washing machine to not only clean the aforementioned garment, but it manages to come through the washing process and retains it's original shape, size and colour. But she doesn't even know where to find the volume control on the CD player. On the other hand I have mastered the intricacies of a whole recording studio full of state of the art computer technology but am completly and utterly flummoxed (not to mention bamboozled) by the hyroglyphs on the control panel of our dishwasher.... It would seem that the Goddess has endowed each of us with a unique set of arcane skills and abilities which are mutually exclusive. I would be interested to hear from any gay couples as to how they cope with this problem. Do female couples not listen to CDs... Do male couples have to go down to the river and beat their clothing with rocks to get them clean....
Speaking of dishwashers.... It seems that they are somehow becoming overly complicated. I sometimes see even Rose (who has been granted secret wisdom and special magickal dishwasher powers by the Goddess) looking perplexed with a four in one dishwasher tablet in one hand and an enormous bag of salt in the other. In fact we have a whole shelf in the utility room which is used to store the special ingredients and magickal potions required to perform the various spells, incantations and rituals required to summon the dish washer demon and force him to do your bidding. Now I may be wrong here, but I do have a great deal of experience with washing dishes which I have done on many occasions prior to the invention of dishwashers. As far as I recall, all that was required was some hot water and some washing up liquid I don't recall ever having to pour a sack full of salt into the washing up bowl. And to rinse things, you just ran them under the cold tap.... No rinse aid was ever needed. And the greatest mystery of all is the four in one tablet. OK you have ... detergent... and salt... and rinse aid... but what is the fourth ingredient. Is it fairy dust or some magickal herb gathered by monks from a mountainside in Tibet, or brimstone perhaps. Whatever it is I often find myself standing and staring in awe at the dishwasher performing it's magick with the rumblings and hissings and all manner of squirty noises that tell me there is some form of alchemical mixing of the elements of earth, air, fire and water going on unside that is way beyond my understanding. I would ask Rose to explain it all to me but I know she is not allowed to divulge the sacred kitchen appliance knowledge handed down from mother to daughter since the creation of the very first labour saving kitchen device way back in the murky depths of antiquity. And that is the irony of it all. We all spend half our lives labouring away to earn to money to buy the latest labour saving devices.
and whille we are on the subject of the differences between men and women.... I might as well get hung for a sheep as a lamb.... but I was just wondering if there was anyone else out there who suffers from the "Veil of Vagueness" Why are you all looking blankly at the computer screen... OK let me explain. You know that point in the lunar cycle when some women become a little bit irritable and a little less tolerant of mens inadequacies... Well the problem I have is that Rose is so full of wonderfull sweet lovelyness that she just isn't capable of turning into a shrieking razor tongued harpie like some women do. She just hasn't got it in her. Her hormones seem to work in a different way. Sometimes the Veil of Vagueness just descends in mid conversation and from that point on any form of reasonable communication becomes almost impossible.... For example... I will say something simple like "can you pass the scissors please Rose?" She just looks at me and it's not that she hasn't heard the words, it's just that she doesn't know what they mean. I can almost see the thought processes going on in her mind, which run something like.... "Errrrm.... what are scissors,,,, who are you..... why are you calling me Rose when my name is errrrm!.... where am I?...... who am I.... why am I here..... Have I had my dinner yet...." I in the meantime am trying desperately to work out how to rephrase he words "Pass the scissors" into a more easily understandable sentance and usually resort to some form of mine or sign language. So if you ever come into the shop and I am doing a very bad impression of a pair of scissors. Don't panic, I have not lost the plot.... Just the will to live. Fortunately this only lasts for a few days, I suppose I should just count myself lucky that she doesn't go down the shrieking harpie route.
Rant from November 2009
So where do I start???? There is so much to rant about and so little time, so I'll get stuck straight in with my old favourite the weather forecasters.... I know I have a go at them in every newsletter, but they seem to be going out of their way to wind me up just lately. My current problem with them is showers.... I know we have had rather a lot of them this summer, but the BBC weather forecasters have suddenly started using about 50 different words to describe showers, some of which are totally meaningless. let me give you a few examples here. We have this summer (according to the BBC) had
Now I have always understood that a shower was a downfall of rain for a short period of time which then stops and possibly starts up again at a later stage, so why do we need all of these other descriptive terms to differentiate between things that are essentially the same thing.... So, I tried to look at each of the types of showers to try to work out what it's all about. Now light and heavy showers are fairly straightforward and I'll go along with those but..... When exactly do heavy showers become light rain. Is there some measurement they use to tell a shower from rain.
Persistant showers... surely by their very nature, showers are not persistant and I would suggest that a persistant shower is actually rain. So why not just call it rain.
Rogue showers - is this a small black cloud that suddenly scampers into a clear blue sky, dumps it's load, and scampers away again. Leaving us all muttering... "Oh you little rogue...... you little scallywag"
Random showers - Is that when it suddenly starts raining fish out of the sky and we all mutter.... "WOW that's pretty random"
And what is a sharp shower.... is it a shower that lasts for only 3 seconds and then stops as in short and sharp, or is it when it starts raining razor blades... but that just brings us back to random showers again.
So come on you lot at the Met Office, either issue some definitions here or stop trying to distract us from the fact that you are useless at predicting the weather.
So moving swiftly along.... the next thing that tickled my ranting muscle was a sign on the back of a van. Now most large companies these days seem to have a department that comes up with odd signs and warning and bizarre rules and procedures. It is usually a subsection of the health and safety department, which I tend to call the "Wankerage and Muppetry Department". These department seem to provide jobs for the most pedantic people on the planet who will not use a pencil sharpener without a full risk assesment and protective safety clothing. I'm sure you all know who I am talking about... Anyway, getting back to the van. I was driving along behind this red van(I will not reveal which company it belonged to for legal reasons). It was a perfectly normal red van (an LDV van in fact) with two perfectly normal doors on the back and a fairly standard door catch... You know, the type where you pull the flap to open the door... Now, someone in the Wankerage and Muppetry department in their infinite wisdom had decided to put a sign under the door catch in very large white lettering, which said "TO OPEN DOOR, LIFT FLAP"
What I find most disturbing about this is that firstly they had decided that there might just possibly be someone on the planet who couldn't work out how to open the door. But even more disturbing was the fact that they thought the company might actually employ someone who couldn't work out how to open the door, as a driver.... And even more disturbing still.... The sign was written in very large type so that if the driver was visually impaired, he could still read the sign... I'm not sure I feel safe on the roads anymore.
Anyway as Christmas is fast approaching, I feel we should end on a Christmassy note. There has been a major archeological discovery here in Cornwall, several 2000 year old scrolls have been discovered on Bodmin Moor, which shed new light on the traditional Christmas story.
What these scrolls tell us is that the three wise men made a dreadful error 2000 years ago and due to a speck of dust on their telescope lens, they ended following the wrong star all the way to Bethlehem, when they should have been following another star altogether to Bethel (just outside St. Austell in Cornwall). So there they were in Bethlehem and the real Messiah (Denzil Trethewey) was here in Cornwall. The organisers were not best pleased as they had fireworks and marquees and a huge buffet lunch ready for the birth which all went to waste. God was furious as you can imagine. However the three wise men refused to admit their mistake, as admitting that they were wrong would invalidate their claim to being wise men. This proved to be a turning point in human history. They were suposed to be in Bethel bringing gifts of pasties, clotted cream and fudge to the new born Messiah, but here they were hunting around Bethlehem for someone willing to be a stand in Messiah. They ended up in a cattle shed with the only couple in Bethlehem who would agree to their terms. i.e. some gold and some incense (which had to come from the Lavender pillow in Mevagissey... very reasonably priced at two duckets a pack). This was the big mistake the wise men made as they didn't read the small print that Joseph had inserted in the contarct.... That was it, Jesus now had the rights to call himself the Messiah and to sell the franchises for the whole operation to various religious sects across the world. God was even forced to adopt Jesus as his own and abandon his real son Denzil. In later years Denzil tried to reassert his claim to the title but was unsuccessful. Even turning water into scrumpy failed to impress anyone. There was also the time he and his 12 drinking buddies (the 12 pissediples) managed to cater for a party of 5000 people with only 5 pasties and 7 pilchards...... but again people just said "They must have been Trace's giant family size pasties" and no one batted an eyelid. (For those who have never sampled Trace's pasties.... they are so huge that they overhang the sides of a large steak plate and even Bazz can only eat one at a single sitting). So that was it really.... what should have been Tretheweyanity became Christianity and Tretheweymass is now only celebrated in a small corner of Darkest Cornwall.
So on that note..... I will just wish you a happy Yule/Christmas/Tretheweymass/Great feast of the Prophet Zaarg etc.. Etc...