Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Really Stupid People

It’s been a while since I did a little research on the internet so I thought I would fill that gap. It wasn’t long before I once again  drifted off at a tangent, having stumbled on a few items that highlighted just how stupid some people can be.

As I trawled through page after page of examples of idiocy, my mind boggled at how these people actually manage to get out of bed and leave the house on the morning.

Here are some examples from the usual sources; Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and a few other places. Who is the dumbest out of the following group of muppets?

The person who asked if he could pay for things bought on the internet by putting their credit card in the DVD drive.

The person who started an ill-fated campaign to get “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” banned because he thought it was disrespectful to the memory of 911.

The person who thought that “Titanic” was just a movie and not based on a real event.

The President who thought that Africa was a country.

The person who thought that “#” was invented just for Twitter.

The person who thought that Mount Rushmore was a natural rock formation.

Carved by Mother Nature herself!!
The Presidential running mate who thought that Africa was a country.

The person who thinks that it takes 18 months for twins to be born.

The person who thinks Kanye West is brilliant for introducing us all to a new artist: Sir Paul McCartney.

The person who thinks there are only seven countries in the world: Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, North America, South America and Europe.

The person who thinks that it is stupid to have a button in the lift for the floor he is on.

The person who thinks that it is dangerous to look at a picture of the sun.

DO NOT LOOK AT THIS PICTURE! IT IS DANGEROUS FOR YOUR EYES!
The person who thinks they have no toilet paper in Canada.


The person who thinks it never rains in Australia since “the rain falls into space because it is at the bottom of the world”.

The person who asked “What is Obama’s last name?”

The British person who thinks “Barraco Barner” is the British President.

"My name is Obama Barraco Barner! And I am taking over your country!"
The person who thinks that England and Ireland are the same country and therefore can’t play each other at sport.

The person who asked “Who was the first person to walk on the sun”?

The person who thinks that Christian Bale must be Christian because his name is Christian.

The person who thought that planet Earth was 2014 years old in the year 2014.

The person who thinks that the huge tower in Paris is called the “Ifold” Tower.

The Republican Party candidate who thinks we need Global Warming to combat the freezing snow in New York.

The person who doesn’t know where the North Pole is.

The person who thinks that it hurts to be cremated.

The people in a town in North Carolina who rejected a solar panel farm project because they thought that the panels would “suck up all the energy from the sun”.

So who do you think is the most stupid, dear reader?

Thursday, 4 February 2016

I Can't Help It


Attention all women …

I am not a mind reader and don’t know what you are thinking. Please tell me what you want me to do.

I know that I always moan about romantic comedies. The romance is unrealistic and they are not funny, ergo they shouldn’t be called “romantic comedies”.

I don’t want to know why Sandra is upset. I don’t care that Sandra’s husband, Bill, is always in a bad mood. He’s probably in a bad mood because Sandra was telling Bill about Tabitha’s problems with her husband, Clive, while he was trying to watch the football. Bill has never met Tabitha or Clive. Bill probably never will meet Tabitha or Clive.  I have never met Sandra, Bill, Tabitha or Clive and I probably never will. And the football is on.

Talking of which – football is important, certainly more important than Sandra’s woes.

Man flu exists. It has been proven that men suffer more than women. Here is proof from a FEMALE neuroscientist.

Your hair looks wonderful. It always looks wonderful. Stop asking me how your hair looks.

I love your eyebrows. I will always love your eyebrows. Stop asking me about them.

I will buy you flowers, just not on Valentine’s Day because the price trebles.

I do not need to use products on my hair.

The phone call was from Fred. Yes, I know we chatted for five minutes but he didn’t tell me his life story so I can’t tell you.

Yes, I know I can be immature.

Please don’t take me shopping. I can’t bear standing in the lingerie department again while you try on your fourteenth different dress in three different sizes and then reject all of them.

I still think that the Twilight saga was rubbish and I always will think that it is rubbish.

You look beautiful. You are beautiful. You are always beautiful. Stop asking me if you look good.

I am asking you where my gloves are because they are not in the place where I put them.  I put them there so that I would know where they are. They are not there now. You must have moved them. That’s why I am asking you where they are.

I don’t need an hour to get ready to go out. Please let me finish my video game; we have another hour before the taxi arrives.

I’ll take the small suitcase. Yes I can fit all the clothes I need for a week in it.

I love you. I will always love you. I tell you all the time. Stop asking me if I love you.

I would rather extract all of my teeth with a hammer than go with you to see One Direction. It would be less painful.

I’ve just redecorated the entire house on my own. Stop shouting at me because I didn’t do the washing up.

I will take you out for a meal, just not on Valentine’s Day because on that day the restaurant will be full of blokes who don’t want to be there, each having a “romantic set meal for two” that is half the size of the usual meals and three times the normal price. Heart-shaped food and millions of tiny little heart-shaped bits of glitter don’t justify the extra cost.

No, I don’t know what the difference is between day cream and night cream. Nor do I want to know.

No, your “bum does not look big in this”.

Please explain to me what is going on in your head.

Why am I in trouble again? I don’t know what I’ve done. I can’t read your mind.

No, I don’t remember what I did on 5th April 1999. And how is it relevant to the current argument?

Bring me a beer and we can resolve all of our differences.

Please take note of the above.

I can’t help it! 

I’m a man!

Just remember this quote:

Women spend more time thinking about what men think than men actually spend thinking.

So true.




Saturday, 30 January 2016

Address To The Haggis


I am from England and I speak English, the language of the land where I was born and have lived all of my life. Yet, last Saturday night, I witnessed a tradition that I have never seen before, in a language that I struggled to understand, yet was actually English.

What’s more bizarre are the circumstances. The orator was reciting a poem to a big plate upon which nestled a haggis. The aforementioned Scottish dish had been brought in accompanied by a piper wearing full Scottish regalia and wrestling what looked like a tartan octopus, which made a noise like a cat being strangled.

The man carrying the haggis was accompanied by another rather sinister man holding two very sharp and disturbing knives. The orator spoke these words:



If you didn't understand him, here are the first four verses of what he said:

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is it easier to understand written down? For me neither.
After the address, we all applauded and the sassenachs amongst us (a sassenach being an Englishman) asked each other what exactly had been said.

This was my first ever Burn’s Supper, a formal dinner celebrating the birthday of Scotland’s finest poet, Robert Burns, a man held in such high esteem by our Scottish brethren that every year, Scots the length and breadth of the country eat traditional Scottish fare (or “fayre”) and recite the great man’s poems in big booming voices.

If you have never heard of Robert Burns you will almost certainly have heard of, arguably, his most famous work, which is sung as the bells chime to bring in the New Year – Auld Lang Syne. He was born on 25th January 1759 and died at the tender age of 37 in 1796. Our Scottish brethren have been celebrating his birthday since the early 19th century.

The poem above is called Address To A Haggis and was written by Burns in 1786 and is traditionally read out during each and every Burns Supper.

Such was the bonhomie that the Scottish organisers of the event allowed lots of sassenachs to attend and appreciate the great man’s poetry. The dinner consisted of traditional Scottish dishes, starting with:

Cock-a-leekie soup

before moving on to:

Traditional haggis neeps and tatties

I can almost hear you asking: What on earth are “neeps” and “tatties”?

“Neeps” are turnips and “tatties” are mashed potatoes.

Dessert was cranachan, a traditional Scottish sweet made of raspberries, whipped cream, honey and oatmeal, all with a dash of whiskey.

It was a great meal and only the second time I had eaten haggis, a dish made up of sheep’s offal, mixed with oatmeal and suet, before being stitched up into a sheep’s stomach and boiled for a couple of hours.

It sounds disgusting but actually, with the neeps and tatties it is very nice.

After dinner, and a couple of humorous speeches, including more lines of poetry from Burns, we were encouraged to dance in a two hour ceilidh during which an instructor showed us a whole bunch of traditional Gaelic dances and we then proceeded to make fools of ourselves attempting to master them.

This involved one of two things:

(1) Mrs PM and I dancing around together, attempting to recall the instructions but ultimately colliding with other similarly inept dancing couples in a melee of laughter and humiliation.

(2) Dancing with just about every woman at the ball, either swinging them around or being swung around, resulting in more collisions in a melee of laughter and humiliation.

“Hi I’m Dave,” I said as I linked arms with each strange woman.

“Hi, I’m WOOOAAAHHHH!!!” she replied as we were both spun around and released before meeting our next partner.

This is how it should be done/

ceilidh is a great way to meet new people. Even if you are the shyest person in the room, who wouldn't normally say boo to a goose, you can't help but have fun and talk to random strangers as you are hurled around the dance floor.
Personally, we had a bloody great time.

At the end of the evening, we had made new friends, semi-mastered some of the dances and done more exercise in an evening than we probably had in a week.

I would like to thank a long dead Scottish poet for a great evening.

Here's to you, Rabbie Burns! Long may your poems remain, my auld Scottish friend.

I'm just sorry that I don’t understand a bloody word of them.

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Eccentric Englishman


I read a news article about David Bowie last week in which he was described as the perfect example of an eccentric Englishman.

And that got me thinking (which is always a dangerous thing).

It’s well known that we, as a nation, are considered a little weird by our European cousins, and, dare I say, by the rest of the world. Eccentricity is in our genes and we express ourselves in bizarre ways.

If you don’t believe me, here are two examples.

First, we have gurning competitions.  Are you wondering what gurning is? It’s basically pulling a funny face and we have competitions throughout the country.



(Cheeky) people have suggested that I could win the World Gurning Championship with very little effort whatsoever.

Second, we have Morris Dancing. I used to work with a Morris Dancer and she turned up to a fancy dress party, clad in her full regalia, whereupon, after a couple of glasses of wine, she stunned us all by performing a solo Morris Dance in the middle of a crowded room, with lots of applause, mainly because we appreciated the eccentric nature of her display. She was passionate about her art, so passionate that she eventually married a fellow Morris Dancer. I wasn’t invited to the wedding but I can imagine that the entertainment would have involved bells, waving hankies and shaking sticks.

Here’s an example of Morris Dancing:



Strange, isn’t it?

There are more examples of British weirdness, such as cheese rolling and bog snorkelling that may make any foreigner wonder whether we are all slightly unhinged.

While the whole world has produced eccentrics, I feel that we have more than our fair share.

We have people like Paloma Faith, Noel Fielding, Eddie Izzard,  Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed  and, though it pains me to say it, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson could be a future Prime Minister - God help us all!

Brian Blessed - "GORDON'S ALIVE!!!"

Eddie Izzard - Very funny and very surreal

Noel Fielding in one of his more sensible moments

Ozzy will soon have a frog in his throat.

Paloma Faith? Eccentric? HA HA HA!!

Stephen Fry - A man so intelligent it makes the rest of us look totally thick!

Of course, there are honorary foreign eccentrics worth a mention too, like Björk and Lady Gaga but I like to think that these people are also outrageous, something that we Englishmen are a little reluctant to be (with the possible exception of Ozzy Osbourne).

To be honest, when you look at the royal family, and the upper classes there are many weird people mingling in those big houses and palaces.

Possibly my favourite is Prince Phillip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, a man who constantly makes us cringe with his ill-considered outbursts. Political correctness isn’t one of his strong point.

"Have I embarrassed you again, my dear?"
Here are some of the things he has said:

(To a Scottish driving instructor) “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough for them to get them through the test?”

(To a 13 year old boy while visiting the Space Shuttle) “Well, you’ll never fly in it. You’re too fat to be an astronaut.”

(To a female sea cadet) “Do you work in a strip club?”

(To a Kenyan woman) “You are a woman, aren’t you?”

Eccentricity is a Scottish trait too as I discovered last Saturday when I attended a Burns Ball. That sounds a lot ruder than it is – I will reveal all in my next post.

I’ll leave you with a song by Paloma Faith that I actually like (much to Mrs PM’s utter shock):

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Smart Conversation


The art of conversation is slowly dying.

The only people who are currently keeping it active are those above a certain age, like me, who like to have a good old fashioned conversation (or a “chinwag”) with one or more people in pleasant surroundings such as a restaurant, pub of coffee shop.

However, there are a certain group of people (to whom I shall refer as the youth of today) who prefer other means of communication.

I am referring to the smartphone.

Actually, it’s not just the youth of today – some people my age are equally guilty of this crime against humanity.

Picture the scene:

Mrs PM and I walk into a pub and approach the bar. After ordering our drinks we find a seat and chat to each other about our day at work, next year’s holiday plans, what a great guy I am and how lucky she is to have me – you know the kind of thing.

On the table next to us are three people all with drinks who obviously know each other. None of them are talking to each other. Instead, each one of them has a smartphone in their hand and each one of them is doing something like:

(1) Surfing the internet looking at crazy You Tube videos

(2) Posting their status in Facebook (“I’m having a great time with Kate and Paul in The Blue Hippo and am just about to quaff a pint of Old Skunkwarbler”)

(3) Posting their status on Twitter (“Drnkng Old Skunkwarbler with m8s in pub – LOL - #Drunkasskunk)

(4) Texting other friends who aren’t there (“CU L8er @BlueHippo – wot’s ur eta?”)

We sat there watching them and nobody spoke until one of them ran out of beer and asked whose round it was.

A more extreme case occurred in my own house. I was with Mrs PM, my son and his girlfriend. Mrs PM and I were watching TV and the kids were busy typing on their phones. Suddenly, my lad’s phone chirped – he had received a text message. That text message was from his girlfriend who was sitting a yard away and had texted him asking for a drink.

We like his girlfriend a lot and I have told her that she can help herself to anything in my house (apart from my beer of course!) – and usually she does.

Even my lad was surprised.

He turned to her and said “Get your own drink!”

“What?” I said incredulously. “Have you just texted him to ask for a drink?”

“Yes,” she confessed.

As you can imagine, my soapbox came out and I started ranting about how smartphones are turning people into robotic ignoramuses and that the logical evolutionary conclusion will be that people eventually forget how to speak, only able to communicate with grunts and superfast typing on their devices with their oversized thumbs.

“Ignore him,” said my lad as he got up to fulfil his girlfriend’s request. “He’s old!

“Don’t tell me you’re actually going to get her a drink?” I said.

“Shut up!” shouted Mrs PM, bringing my rant to an abrupt end. My lad and his girlfriend just laughed (as they usually do).

I have now banned the use of phones when I am out with Mrs PM and my immediate family and their girlfriends unless they receive an important text or a phone call.

Actually, that’s another thing. People these days communicate by text instead of ringing each other up. If you want to have a serious chat with somebody or arrange something you cannot do it with a text that is written in the stupid abbreviated slangy language, known as text speak.

You can achieve so much in a five minute conversation. If you text to each other it takes hours to do this, and in my case most of that time is taken trying to decipher the idiotic language that’s used.


Does the following really make sense?

OMG RUOK? UR BF is a dick IYKWIM! TIME! TTYL! HAK! Kate

What this means is

“Oh my God! Are you OK? Your boyfriend is a dick, if you know what I mean. There are tears in my eyes. Talk to you later. Hugs and kisses. Kate.”

Actually, she won’t “talk to you later” because she will send you a tweet, post you a message on Facebook or text you.


Don’t get me wrong; I am a technophile who LOVES my smartphone. The difference between me and the youth of today is that I use my phone for learning Spanish, navigating, receiving emails, reading, taking photos, checking the weather, measuring my walking distance and speed, organising my calendar, watching TV via Google Chromecast, converting currencies, translating from English to other languages and vice versa, checking the time, storing useful information, brain training, simulating a torch, reading the news, posting photos on Instagram, checking the names of actors in films, learning other subjects, identifying songs, checking the latest gigs, recording voice notes and looking at You Tube videos.

I hasten to add that I only do this when I am on my own and not when I am in the company of one or more people.

I use my phone in a pub, for example, when Mrs PM has gone to the toilet and I am on my own waiting for her to return. If I am with several people, my phone stays in my pocket.

And that’s the way it should be.

I don’t want the art of conversation to die. While social media has revolutionised communication, it should not be used to communicate with people who are in the same room as you.

People need to talk to each other.

It’s ridiculous.

Anyway, rant over.

I’ve got to go. Mrs PM has just texted me to tell me to start cooking dinner because her favourite television programme is on.

Bloody smartphones!!!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

America Saves The Day - Again


Before I go on, let me just reiterate the fact that I love America and Americans.

Now that’s out of the way, I have a complaint.

Last year, I went to the cinema with Mrs PM to watch San Andreas, a spectacular disaster movie full of earthquakes, tsunamis and The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson). I loved the film and scoffed my popcorn with a huge smile on my face…until the end.

My enjoyment was stained by the final scene when we saw our hero hugging his family while standing in Golden Gate Park looking over the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

The dialogue went something like this:

Carla Gugino: What happens now?

The Rock: We rebuild.

The camera pans to the ruined bridge and we see the Stars and Stripes unfurl over the disaster area as if that makes everything alright.

I have a request for Hollywood.


Please cut the jingoism out of your movies.


There – I’ve said it.

If I have annoyed any American readers then I apologise but that’s the way I feel.

The United States of America is not the only country in the world. There are 196 more, including my own and to be honest I don't find myself emotionally charged by the American flag flowing in the sky after yet another disaster has been averted.

It's just not necessary.

I can understand that a lot of American citizens are very patriotic but I do wonder how many of them cringe like I do when a movie is ruined by quotes like:

“God Bless America” 

and when Superman stands for “Truth, Justice and the American Way”.

A lot of movies portray the President of the United States in the new role of World President. The worst example for me is a movie that I have ripped to shreds before on this blog. The very title irritates me:

Independence Day

Ignoring the fact that America defeats the aliens on 4th July, we have to put up with America leading the way and the British seemingly doing bugger all until the big American plan pops up:



The special effects were marvelous but the entire story was a joke.

Also I love super hero films and the latest instalments featuring the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor are fantastic. But I have a slight problem with Captain America because he personifies this jingoism. Don’t get me wrong; I like the character but I would have preferred him to be called Captain Shield or something like that.


If any American readers are still reading, can I ask a question?

Does jingoism actually make a film more enjoyable?

Would audiences flock away if the American flag wasn’t unfurled in a blaze of patriotism with a square jawed hero uttering an iconic phrase about freedom, America and justice?

And I have another complaint: why does the bad guy always seem to be English?

Is there something about the English accent that makes us sound like psychopathic lunatics?


Growing up, I was always confused by the comparison between British films and American ones. I concede that in the past we have added our own elements of patriotism, particularly in the decades following the war, with our stiff upper lips, drinking a cup of tea as bombs explode in the vicinity.

Such scenes are usually missing from our films or are completely ridiculed by the likes of Monty Python:



And when we have a national disaster, for example in the brilliant 28 Days Later, there is not even a hint of jingoism with Britain saving the day and defeating the zombie-making virus.

I suppose James Bond has always been quintessentially British and I suppose there are elements of patriotism in his behaviour – and yes – he always saves the day. However, I prefer to think of him as a sex mad psychopath. 


I don’t honestly feel patriotic and have no desperate urge to wave my Union Jack when he vanquishes yet another villain with maximum prejudice.

You may disagree. If you do, let me know.

Thankfully, I think things are changing. Some of the amazing TV shows coming out of America are removing this image of Americans saving the day and involve flawed Presidents, evil politicians and the hero not always saving the day or at least if he does, he does so at a price.

That’s what we like over here in the UK.

More importantly that’s what I want.

Let’s have more of the same please.

Actually, as a footnote, I hear that there is a sequel to Independence Day this year. There is a part of me that is hoping that this time they do it right and don't make it all about America - apparently the rest of the world suffered too. I am a big science fiction geek and I know that it will be popular over here, despite this whinging post.

All we need to defeat the aliens is Jack Bauer and James Bond working together in the name of Planet Earth.

That should sort those alien invaders out.

You know it makes sense,

Monday, 11 January 2016

David Bowie



This is my 600th post and it was going to sing the praises of being British. However, I have shelved that idea due to the sad news I heard today: the death of one of my musical heroes, David Bowie,

A few years ago, I posted my favourite David Bowie songs (which you can read here) and to be honest, I am a huge fan of the really early stuff, from Space Oddity all the way up to Scary Monsters at the start of the 1980’s, where for me at least his music drifted away to the fringe of my musical taste,

Don’t get me wrong, there were a few gems there but I still stand by my assertion that his greatest triumphs were in the 1970’s. At that time, my musical taste fluctuated between pop music, dance music, rock music and heavy metal, but somehow the music of David Bowie transcended the entire spectrum, not fitting into a genre of its own but complementing everything else.

I have always loved his music – I think I always will. Every time one of his songs pops onto my iPod, I smile and sing along with it.

It’s difficult to believe that he has died; it’s almost as if I thought he would live forever. The truth is that he will live forever through his music.

I’ll leave you with a couple of wonderful David Bowie songs that didn’t quite make the top ten post listed above but are deeply embedded in the roots of my favourite music.

Lady Grinning Soul



Queen Bitch



Fashion



Cat People (Putting Out Fire)



Heroes

I think this song is the most apt. David Bowie was a hero to me.



Rest in Peace David  - and thanks for all the music.