Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, ...

This post is a little crude.

I apologise for that in advance but I feel I need to post about something that has irritated me for the past year or two.

I have two personal email accounts, one for this blog and one other.

The email for for this blog is fairly anonymous and serves to inform me when people have commented on the blog, people who have decided to follow me on Twitter and other fairly mundane stuff.

I get a few emails as you would imagine. However, I get thousands of emails in a folder called Spam.

I feel like I’ve been to this transport cafĂ©:

I have never used my email account to tell anybody about any problems, even anonymously. Yet I am discovering that people want to help me, in many different ways, to improve my personal life. And they are sending me thousands of emails to tell me.

And these people are persistent, I can tell you.

I don’t ever recall telling anybody that I am having trouble in the bedroom department. And before you start sniggering, I am functioning perfectly.

Yet somebody somewhere feels the need to continually offer me a solution to a non-existent problem, in the form of a little blue pill called Viagra.

And it’s not just one email – its loads of them – from many different sources.

If really did have the problem that Viagra solves, do you think I would send out an email to lots of random people saying:

Hey guys, have you got a cure for erectile dysfunction? I have a real problem with that - and PLEASE don’t tell my mates.

It’s bad enough seeing an email like:

Hey, Plastic, do you have problems between the sheets? We guarantee to give you the power to make a HUGE tent in your bed.

without the ignominy of a mate seeing the email and saying:

Is there something you want to tell us, Dave? Hey lads, it looks like Dave needs some help in the trouser department.

It’s not just Viagra spam. Other emails offer a more drastic solution to problems in that area.

Hey Plastic, do girls laugh at your small winkie? With our winkie extension procedure we can guarantee that you will positively WANT to slowly change your underwear in a room full of hot women. Most will faint and those that don’t will want to jump on you. What’s more, you’ll be so proud that your winkie has turned into a monster that you will want to show it off to your mates.

Change my underwear slowly in a room full of women? Show my mates? I don’t think I could survive either of those without violent pain or eternal savaging.

I’ve heard that the procedure possibly involves a needle or worse.

Why would I even consider such drastic action?

As well as offering bodily enhancements, I have been offered brides from various parts of the world.

Hey Plastic, are you desperately lonely? Do you want to meet Russian women? Or Chinese women? Or Thai women? Or French women? Or American women? Or British women? Or any women from anywhere in the world? We can guarantee that you will meet and marry a voluptuous woman, even if you look like the rear end of a baboon and have the personality of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

And it’s worse than that. These people know where I live.

Hey Plastic, join our dating site and we guarantee you will find the love of your life. We have thousands of HOT WOMEN in the Manchester area ALL dying to meet you.

Presumably if they know I have been receiving emails about erectile dysfunction, winkie extensions and mail order brides they will come armed with Viagra, needles and weapons of pain.

I’m half expecting them to knock on my door asking for a guy called Plastic Mancunian, a name that, when I think about it, makes me sound like some weird pervert.

I would like to just say one thing to anybody who reads this and who happens to send me these spammy emails.


Your emails only end up in a folder labelled Spam and I delete them without reading them (even though they have amusing titles).

Perhaps I should just change my email address and the name of my blog and the pseudonym I use.

How about one of these?

Rock Hammer

Goliath Fist

Brutus Bonecrusher

None of them are really me and I would bet I would still receive emails like:

Hey Goliath, are you ashamed of your winkie?

Perhaps I should just call myself Chuck Norris. That might work here are some Chuck Norris facts that might deter spammers:

Chuck Norris never sleeps – he waits

Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors

Ghosts are caused by Chuck Norris killing people faster than the Grim Reaper can process them

Chuck Norris can build a snowman out of rain

Chuck Norris doesn’t do press-ups. He pushes the earth down

Chuck Norris can do a wheelie on a unicycle

Chuck Norris died ten years ago but the Grim Reaper is too afraid to tell him

Giraffes were created when Chuck Norris uppercutted a horse

Chuck Norris is the only man on earth who can kick you in the back of the face

Chuck Norris can punch a man in the soul

An important fact I could spread is

Chuck Norris tracks down spammers and makes them eat their own Viagra.

Actually on second thoughts please don’t tell Chuck Norris that a guy called Plastic is trying to use his name; I think I’d rather take my chances with the Viagra.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Introducing Liquorice

There is a pecking order in my house and I am firmly entrenched at the bottom. Until last Tuesday I was fourth.

Now I am fifth.

We have a new cat, who has popped in to the pecking order chart ahead of me.

Here she is:

Why have we acquired a third cat?

Mrs PM has a friend in London who is moving to Abu Dhabi and she wanted her cat to go to a home where she would be loved and well looked after, preferably by somebody she knew.

Mrs PM was the obvious choice.

Regular readers will know that we already own two black cats called Jasper and Poppy, who are the undisputed masters of our home. In their eyes I am a mere servant (and a very poor one at that) and my place in the pecking order reflects the position that these two moggies have placed me.

To them, I am a mere slave; I feed them, I clean up after them, I pamper them, I groom them, I play with them and, when it takes their fancy, I am their prey.

I have learned my place over nine long arduous years and in that time I have suffered - here are some examples:

  • Jasper, a huge fat bloater of a moggy, leaping from a wardrobe while I was asleep, and landing on my stomach; it felt like I had been body-slammed by a crazed wrestler.
  • Walking, blind, to the toilet in the middle of the night and stepping into cat shit or vomit with my bare feet.
  • Having my bare feet attacked by both cats in the middle of the night.
  • Receiving “gifts” of dead mice, birds, frogs and even next door’s paintbrushes. My next door neighbour still thinks I am a weird pervert.
  • Dropping a live mouse on Mrs PM while she was asleep (I still think that is hilarious).
  • Having my finger bitten by Poppy as I tried to give her a pill and, when escaping, using my face as her chosen route to safety, leaving my already weird face now covered in scratches.

There are many more examples.

Nevertheless, I love cats and have tolerated their foibles and demands and accepted my place. The rewards are there for all to see.

Now what about this third cat?

I have met her a few times and each time, without fail, she has attacked me. She is nine years old, the same age as our cats, and also, like them she is black.

Her name is Liquorice.

When Mrs PM suggested that we inherit Liquorice, I said two things.

“That cat hates me.”

“We are changing her name.”

Mrs PM replied.

“Well she likes me”.

“We are NOT changing her name.”

I tried suggesting a few other names that reflect her violent personality, like Fang, Tank, Miss T, Chomper, Medusa, Shredder, Ripper, Raptor, Boudica, Claws and Piranha.


She arrived last Tuesday and since now we are in the middle of a period where Liquorice needs to settle. She is not allowed out of the house for two weeks, which means that we have to revert to using a litter tray for all three cats.

I hate litter trays – particularly full ones.

So how is Liquorice settling in?

It’s a difficult question to answer because I can’t communicate with cats. Even if I could they would probably ignore me. I can only give you the evidence and let you judge for yourself. Here’s what has happened since Liquorice moved in:

Liquorice has allowed me to stroke her. At first, I thought that perhaps she actually liked me. Sadly, she was lulling me into a false sense of security and has bitten me three times and scratched me twice.

Liquorice hates Jasper and Poppy. When they appear within her sight, Liquorice becomes a hissing, growling black ball of rage and attacks anything that enters her personal space – like me when I tried to comfort her by stroking her head. She seized my hand in her jaw and I only just managed to remove it in one piece.

Liquorice has explored our house and decided that our bedroom is her favourite room. Unfortunately, when Jasper or Poppy enter the room, she reverts to her Mrs Hyde state and becomes the hissing, growling ball of rage, usually at four o’clock in the morning and waking me up.

Liquorice can be very friendly and has fallen asleep on me in bed, allowing me to stroke her. I even managed to get a few purrs out of her.

Jasper and Poppy have allowed Liquorice to enter their kingdom with nothing more sinister than passing curiosity. Take today for example. Liquorice was sitting next to the settee when Jasper decided that he wanted to sniff her. He marched up to Liquorice and sat just two feet away staring at her. Liquorice responded with prolonged hissing and growling and then attacked my hand.

Poor Poppy doesn’t know what to make of Liquorice. She has tried to be friendly but so far been met with the same venomous growling and hissing.

How do we feel?

Mrs PM loves Liquorice and now has “a third baby”, despite Liquorice attacking her once or twice.

Me? I like her too. I like feisty cats and Liquorice has proved to be very feisty. She is also very agile and seeks sanctuary in the highest places in the house, like the top of the kitchen units or our wardrobes. She has also proven to be very friendly despite the trauma of now having to live with two other cats.

I think she will settle and in a couple of weeks we will try to introduce her to the cat flap so that she can explore the outside of the house.

And, of course, she will undoubtedly start to treat me like the lowly minion I am. In fact that has already started – she has just managed to fill the litter tray with an enormous turd.

I know my place.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Supermarket Syndrome

Yesterday I returned from (yet another) holiday – this time to Ibiza.

Before you judge me – I am too old to go cavorting around night clubs, enduring foam parties and the general dreadful DOOF DOOF of pounding and utterly shit dance music.

I am now heading towards my fifties so the last place I want to be is watching a bunch of overrated DJ’s with stupid names making awful and loud noises on whatever contraption they use, to a crowd of people aged 18 to 25 who are leaping up and down in rapturous ecstasy as these so called maestros destroy music in front of me, having paid a minimum of 40 Euros for the privilege.

I wouldn’t mind so much if I could find solace in a pint – the only problem is that any liquid in these clubs costs a bloody fortune. The closest I got to one of these hellish places was when a lovely young lady tried to entice me into a bar playing this awful brain shattering tripe with the words:

“It’s Happy Hour!”

“How much is a beer?” I asked .

“Hang on I’ll check,” she said. Out of curiosity I waited. She returned and when she spoke Mrs PM had to pick me up off the floor.

“Eight Euros – and you get a free shot.”


I was dragged away by my eighteen year old lad before I could get the soapbox out and scream the words “THAT’S DAYLIGHT ROBBERY!!!!”

Anyway, I digress.

I returned home and opened the fridge – as I normally do – to try to find something to eat after a long journey with nothing to eat other than cardboard plane food. The fridge was just like Old Mother Hubbard’s miserable cupboard – totally and utterly devoid of food. Had I the desire to eat ice I might have been happy.

This meant one thing and one thing only: I uttered the terrible phrase to Mrs PM:

“We have to go shopping – and we have to go TOGETHER!”

Oh God NO!!!” she cried.

Regular readers of the tripe I post will know that I hate shopping. Alas – I hate shopping for food even more and spend my time ranting internally as I wander around Tesco. When Mrs PM is there, I rant to her – that’s why she hates shopping with me.

Usually we take it in turns with the weekly shop and she is spared the vitriolic gobbledygook that somehow helps me through this tedious necessity. On times such as a return from holiday we do the shopping together- and she hates it; so do I.

Eventually, after a bit of a moan, we set off. I was hungry so the chances of a soapbox moment were exponentially more likely to occur.

Such is the ubiquitous nature of Tesco, our supermarket of choice, that we have two of them very close to where we live. I shop at the smaller of the two. Why? Because I know where everything is and it only takes me about half an hour, depending on queues, to get in and then out of the hellish place.

Mrs PM prefers the other because it is a Tesco Extra – an enormous warehouse of a supermarket that sells everything you would ever need. I hate it because it takes approximately three days to find anything. Mrs PM hates the smaller one because they invariably do not stock essentials in such large quantities; essentials like Felix "As Good As It Looks" Senior (for Cats 7+ Years) Mixed Selection in Jelly.

The Tesco I prefer does not normally have the “As Good As It Looks” tag so the cats have to put up with plain old Felix Senior (for Cats 7+ Years) Mixed Selection in Jelly.

Apparently the cats don’t like that – fussy little buggers. This means that I am consistently on the receiving end of a bollocking for buying the “wrong” cat food.

“They want to think themselves lucky I don’t buy the cheap value cat food,” I rant. “They’ll eat it when they’re hungry,”

“How DARE you even consider buying substandard food for my babies,” she replies.

As you may have already guessed, we ended up at the big Tesco – a Tesco that had around one thousand trollies, each of which had a wobbly wheel and a knackered brake, which meant that I had to wrestle with the thing as it sought to collide with shelves, fridges and other shoppers.

To make matters worse, Mrs PM presented me with a list. “Off you go,” she said. “I need to go to the toilet and get some cash – you start and I’ll see you in five minutes.”

Before I could protest, she had disappeared into the huge shop leaving me doing battle with a trolley that was intent on getting me beaten up and charged with damaging Tesco property.

I walked into the place and realised that I didn’t know where anything was. I also had to decipher Mrs PM’s cryptic list of items that we needed – or should I say things that SHE needed. One of the most traumatic things I have to endure when shopping is buying items for Mrs PM. I have stood in front of a huge shelf with thousands of different kinds of shampoo for thin hair, dry hair, coloured hair, unmanageable hair, greasy hair with all sorts of weird ingredients and claims of increased bounciness, reduced frizzing and all manner of other outrageous and indecipherable claims. All she has written is:

Shampoo for me

What the hell am I supposed to buy?

Sometimes, she puts down another word that strikes terror into my soul:


Does she mean hair conditioner? And which of the ten thousand hair conditioners should I buy? And what if she means clothes conditioner?

And it can get worse, dear reader. As you can imagine, there are lots of other “female hygiene products” that get included in the list. I don’t even know what half of them are, let alone having to wander up to a female assistant, looking like a total dork, asking her if I have chosen the right “product”. Why can’t she buy them when it’s HER turn?

Anyway, to cut a long story short (and I am aware that I am rambling a bit), I got lost in this huge maze that was Tesco and almost burst into tears when Mrs PM said “Oh – we’ve forgotten tomatoes. Can you just pop back and get some?”

“I don’t know where the tomatoes are,” I wailed. “And what if you’ve gone when I get back? What if I can’t find you?”

I did find her thankfully and I managed to escape within an hour or two thanks to Mrs PM’s expertise with this particular shop.

And we also managed to stock up on our supplies of Felix As Good As It Looks Senior (for Cats 7+ Years) Mixed Selection in Jelly.

And “Shampoo for me”.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mr Rude

Allow me to introduce you to Mr Rude. You’ve almost certainly met him but just in case you have been lucky enough to have lived your life without bumping into this prize pillock, let me describe him for you.

Mr Rude is the man who drives a car right up your bumper on the motorway at 70 miles per hour because he is clearly in more of a hurry than you.

Mr Rude also flashes his lights at you while tailgating.

Mr Rude is the man who yells into his mobile phone when sitting next to you on a train (“I’m on a train, yah, heading to London for a high-powered meeting where I shall shout lots of business bullshit to people who are less well off than me.”).

Mr Rude is the man who has an ego that is so massive that he butts into a private conversation and refuses to go away despite blatant hints that his presence is not welcome.

Mr Rude is the man who tries to chat up your girlfriend right in front of you, despite the fact that she is holding your hand.

Mr Rude is the man who pushes into the front of the queue and then shrugs his shoulders when somebody speaks up, replying “What’s your problem?”

Mr Rude is the man who pushes in at the bar screaming “two pints of lager” and then when chastised by the likes of me, says “I was here first!”

Mr Rude is the man who decides that playing loud music on a Sunday night at 3am is totally acceptable and then, when confronted by his neighbours, says “What’s your problem?”

Mr Rude is the man who allows his dog to crap on your front lawn.

Mr Rude is the man who is sitting in the seats reserved for old and disabled people and refuses to give up his seat “on principle”.

Mr Rude is the man who parks in front of your drive, blocking you in and then says “The road’s not YOURS you know – what’s your problem?”

Mr Rude is the man who blows his nose in a handkerchief and then insists on showing it to you.

Mr Rude is also the man who coughs and sneezes at you without a handkerchief.

Mr Rude is the cigar smoking dickhead who blows his smoke into your face.

Mr Rude is the English tourist who shouts at foreigners in English, and gets upset when they walk away in disgust.

Mr Rude is the man who gobs right in front of you.

Mr Rude is the motorist who hogs the middle lane of the motorway.

Mr Rude is the man who wants to be in Business Class on a flight and then decides to take it out on the stewardesses when he fails to get an upgrade from Economy Class (presumably because he was rude at the check in desk).

Mr Rude is the person who is more interested in texting somebody than talking to you.

Mr Rude is the man who belches while eating and sprays tiny globules of food all over those eating next to him as he talks with his mouth full of food.

Mr Rude is the man who refuses to hold a door open for you as you approach with your hands full.

Mr Rude is the man who invites himself to your social events even when nobody wants him to be there.

Mr Rude is also a Keyboard Warrior.

We all know Mr Rude. And don’t forget, he has a sister called Ms Rude.

Have you met Mr Rude?