Where’s There’s Muck There’s Money

One of the consequences of Brexit over the past three years is the governments abandonment of ongoing national issues. For the past three years and nothing seems to be coming out of Westminster. The most visual signs throughout the country being the grotesque level of fly tipping rubbish.

The situation is potentially being exacerbated by councils charging for the disposal or collection of household waste. This has tempted the less socially minded members of the population to dispose of their rubbish in other ways. It has also seen the growth of organised disposable operations led by illegal gangs who have dumped truckloads in the highways and byways of the UK.

In the defence of councils their central funding has been seriously reduced over the years requiring councils to impose waste charges which have done the opposite to resolve the problem. Some councils seem to have applied inverse logic to the problem. Restrictions on the shape, size and content have resulted in alternative disposal plans.

One council have restricted the disposal of waste engine oil to one litre per resident per six months. The collection tank was too small and they needed to be “fair to all residents”. As the average car engine has an oil capacity of five litres this would require the diligent resident to make five trips over two and half years. Ironically waste oil has a residual value. It can be sold for reprocessing or use as a low grade heating oil in industry; both a source of additional income whilst saving the countryside from being used as a vast alternative land fill site. All that is needed is an entrepreneurial approach by councils.

Brand Offer

A key role of marketing is to promote a product that we need to rush out and buy or start tapping furiously to buy on line, preferably immediately.

Yet there is a strange logic as to how different categories of product are promoted. Most give you an idea of the end result; paint that is easily washed, mattresses that induce sleep just by looking at them. But a weird category is associated with hair and teeth care. These tend to give you the start point. Shampoo for dandruff, broken ends, oily scalp. Toothpaste for cavities, bad breath or stained teeth. Get the marketing message the wrong way and you enter a whole new and rather disconcerting world.

The same goes for the corporate slogan dreamt up by the advertising agency. The vast majority depict a utopian world known only by the chief marketing guru of the company. Next time you are following a truck have a look at the slogan and see if you can work out what the company does. Around 90 per cent are so all grand they look ludicrous. “Making the world a better place” is a classic. Joe Bloggs “famous pork pies” tells you exactly what they do. But my all time favourite is “We shovel shit ”  on the side of a cess pool emptying truck.

X Marks The Spotify

The campaign for the general election, although only a day old is already stirring up issues many of us have only dreamt of…mostly in nightmares. Cue some dark and dramatic mood music from Spotify whilst you read on.

As a marker the conservatives appear to backing leaving the EU on a deal that is indistinguishable from staying in the EU. Thus raising the question why bother.

Labour wants us to either stay in the EU or leave it. Either way they have massive plans to spend buckets of money buying everything the government does not currently own. Interestingly the money to achieve this involves some very clever maths that is to become part of the national curriculum. You sell your company to the labour government in exchange for several Blue Peter badges and the altruistic chance to make Britain great again. No money need change hands thus avoiding the need for bank charges and shady accountancy firms to be involved.

The conservatives want to leave the EU table but still eat their cake. The competence needed to negotiate a deal was a little spartan within our civil service. They were all trying to work out why smart meters were actually really stupid and why HS2 needed to go north as no one in the government goes there, and anyway none understood what the EU wanted in a deal. It was all in French and double Dutch they said.

The liberals comprise of anyone who fell or was pushed out of their own party. Some ricocheting through several other parties en route. They believe the word referendum is very, very rude and should never be mentioned in public unless you put money in a cuss box.

The Brexit party want to leave the EU as it was their idea first and nobody else should mess it up, least of all the British public. They don’t have any plans beyond that. That’s all they have to say on this matter as Donald Trump hasn’t yet sent them a tweet as to what to say next.

The SNP want to remain in the EU, leave the UK, rebuild Hadrian’s wall and double the price of haggis before Burn’s night. They are furious someone nerd mentioned the need for an English backstop to do this. They pointed out that nobody from London goes to Scotland so the guys in Westminster would ever notice they had left.

The Welsh want everyone to know they are furious about what’s going on just as soon as they understand what actually is going on.

The clearest route ahead is promoted by ex labour MP’s who said whatever we do vote conservative as labour have already ordered several hundred statues of Karl Marx and Leo Trotsky to be stuck on the front of every train and power station chimney. Some really tiny ones will flow out in the water from ours taps like smart water.

Fast Food Man Fried

At the top of many large organisations there are individuals that are manipulated by power or profit. It is difficult to argue they have not achieved something good but in their wake many leave a trail of intrigue bordering on corruption.

The recent demise of the global head of McDonald’s is a strange case. The exceptional and rigid moral standards of the company have been crossed resulting in the abrupt exclusion of the top man. Yet this is a company producing foodstuffs of questionable standard, employing personnel on zero hours contracts, whilst our man in question earns £12m a year. He is also set to be paid £6m severance. During his tenure he jacked up the share price by 100 per cent and generated handsome profits. Yet he crossed a consensual “moral line” and has to go. Admitting a gross error of judgement, possibly of his own rules, the poor lady in question has since been dumped. The executive instigating the departure, turning a blind eye to the many other moral issues previously mentioned, appear happier with the profit he made.

Brexit Finished What Guy Fawkes Started.

The old adage “How long is a piece of string?” has been updated. Future generations will be able to say “How long does is a Brexit?” The three and a half years so far is way beyond any prediction. Parliament has been ripped apart in such a comprehensive way we need to rewrite the history book.

In 1605 Guy Fawkes and a few of his mates failed to blow up the houses of parliament. He can rest in piece now; 414 years later current members of parliament have done it all by themselves. Concern now pervades as to whether parliament can ever recover and start to run the country again after three and half years of achieving nowt.

A real irony of the Guy Fawkes story is that our man Guy – also had an alias; ‘John Johnson’. And he wasn’t even the ring leader, this fell to Robert Catesby. Thus history is repeating itself. The real ring leader of Brexit could be considered to either Nigel Farage or David Cameron. We could possibly chuck in another three ringleaders; add your selection here…… and we have the Brexit plot. Eat your heart out Guy Fawkes!

Nationwide Ban On B Words

As Britain sloshes along on the crest of wave nobody wishes to ride, a novel solution has been designed that will help alleviate the British Nation from parliamentary overload.

The scheme aims to ban all words, written or spoken for one week that begin with the letter ‘B’

The following are examples of such banned words:

  • Brexit
  • Boris
  • Blonde
  • Bercow
  • Backstop
  • Brussels
  • Breakaway
  • Bollocks
  • Banter
  • Behaviour
  • Barnier
  • Brainstorm
  • Bruising
  • Britain
  • Ballot

Terms And Conditions

In the ‘olden days’, customer relations management (CRM) was designed to entice customers to stay with a supplier. Now in the modern era it seems this mantra has almost disappeared.

The rise of the comparison sites fed the inevitable desire to avoid being screwed by your existing supplier. Car, house, travel insurance for example saw the renewal hiked in the knowledge most of us would take it as a given and not bother to review things.

Virtually every contract needed to be scrutinised at the renewal point as virtually every supplier applied the ‘screw you’ algorithm. But there is spark hovering common sense, the emergence of CRM and OK some smokey legislation are outlawing the practice. Suppliers are having a minor rethink – until a new way to screw you has evolved. But as testament to the bad old days the above notice gives potential customers the terms and conditions placed on all customers wanting to buy a new pair of Adidas trainers in Singapore. Wow is all I can say.

Concrete Not To Be Messed With

One of those intriguing signs which perhaps states the bleeding obvious, or does it? Is it a fun prevention scheme, a vital lesson in life or maybe ‘concrete’ is a pseudonym for some recreational drug.

I recall the rules and regulations at my local swimming pool, as a child were a much smaller affair. No running, diving or petting. This last restriction caused concern; why would you bring rabbit to a swimming pool? Once puberty was reached I thought this rule to be a truly draconian affair.

In Australia the pool rules are published in full. In case you were wondering if they held any clout, here are the rules and retribution applied to a particular pool – should you be caught messing about on concrete. You may need to enlarge the image to see the details.

Crackle and Fizz

There is always a fine line between saving the planet and living efficiently.

The latest quest was to descale the coffee machine. Not that this was a driven thought, no in amongst its many, many communications with mankind before it is prepared to make a cup of coffee lies the abrupt read-out “descale”.

It pops up with alarming regularity. OK it’s linked to the hardnes of the the water supply and we live in area where you can shovel water, but it still seems to be obsessed with having it bits, pieces and tubing flushed of anything to do with calcium carbonate.

Whereas fill water tank, empty grinds, fill beans (it’s a bean to cup thingy) can be taken in one’s stride, unless it’s the better half who believes the damn thing can sense her presence and demands attention like an errant child devoid of affection. The descale process, however, requires a fair bit of time input.

Selecting an environmental friendly descaling agent inevitably sold at a premium, unless you buy citrus acid trading as lemon juice which does the same. Mixing the descaler with water and pressing all the right buttons , in the right sequence of course, damn multi function buttons – the curse of modern living, the mixture is dutifully pumped through your precious coffee machine entrails.

This is not the time for the faint hearted. You must accept deep down that the pumping noises, squirting water and fizzing that goes on is good for you. It takes ages and requires a little ingenuity as to how to get a large enough receptical to catch the effluent under the outlet nozzle without overbalancing as it fills.

Then a new thought strikes home. The effluent from the coffee machine must still have some active ingredient. Wouldn’t it be good to the world to use this liquor to descale the kettle, and then the iron and the shower rose. And whilst we are in descale mode isn’t it time to do battle with the dishwasher and washing machine. Hell yes we are eliminating the world of calcium carbonate big time. The house is gently fizzing as the calcium carbonate reacts with citric acid to produce – carbon dioxide. Bugger. Now I’ve got to find a carbon exchange facility to offload the greenhouse gas produced. And coffee plantations are involved in deforestation, and producing billions of little aluminium pots that the other coffee machine use. So we need to switch to tea except they have eroded wild life habitat, so it’s soft drinks now but they are stuffed full of sugar, so onto hot water, which is about as boring as life can get. And you can’t drink beer all day as the NHS jump on your back assuming you haven’t already fallen over.

The only answer seems to be move house to area that is served by distilled water. Let the fizzing stop.


How to maximise DVD viewing

Although the trend is to watch films via download or streaming services there is still a lot of fun to be had by watching a video.

There are ways to extract every last inch of a DVD viewing benefits. Normally we watch and forget after which the DVD gets shoved in a drawer or on a shelf. Actually, the shelf is a great idea to impress visitors. They get to see what a broad-minded, cosmopolitan soul you are. You can drop a few steers in this direction with the purchase of a couple of eclectic productions you have no intention of watching. Just make sure you have removed the cellophane wrapper, always a giveaway.

In quiet moment mainly whilst ‘match of the day’ – again fills the airways you pop the DVD into the player and off you go. This is where the fun starts. You need to carefully watch the opening credits; all that bumpf about who produced the film that no one apart from the producer cares about, especially when there are five of the beggars. Now you watch around 10 minutes of the film and nod off. At random intervals, you wake, watch a few more minutes and nod off again.

As you perfect the technique like the pro like me you can watch the opening and closing credits with n’owt in between. This is utopia. I have watched one movie six times. Once for the first 15 minutes then skipped to the closing credits. The second attempt allowed to watch the middle bit, this was topped up by another 30 minutes towards the end, and so on. OK, I was constantly trying to fathom out the plot. This led to all manner of conjecture. Mostly false but after the fifth viewing it finally made sense, just. By now the intended 100 minutes run time had been extended to around 500 minutes. Result.

I have extended the technique to include foreign language films. Normally you need to stay awake if they are subtitled which can be a bind. But I have just ploughed my way through a comedy in French, again. The first viewing taxed the schoolboy french a tad but I followed the plot, I thought. To check I bought another copy this time in English, only it wasn’t. Thank you, Amazon. The second viewing brought more of the plot into focus. But then hitting the wrong button on the remote to eject the thing opened up some HTML code, and you really don’t want to mess with that stuff. But it then said, in French do you want the subtitles En Angleterre, which I found intriguing; why would you ask this question in French? Anyhow a swift click and I watched the blighter for the third time but now with English subs. Result. Three viewing for the price of one and my interpreation of the plot was 85% correct. Result again as I was pretty carp at French at school. Long story.

Films With A Different View

Over the years I have perfected a way to get the maximum benefit from watching videos.

After you wack in the DVD and set it to play it is normal essential you stay awake if you are to watch the films as the director intended. But you can adjust things to suit yourself and in the process see a completely different films from that intended.

I first discovered this technique many years, in fact, many, many years ago whilst an engineer officer cadet at sea. One of the functions performed by cadets was to show the films to fellow crew members on precious ‘films night’. Way before DVD’s was spawned, the films were 16mm acetate monsters clattering from one reel to another through the projection gate. A feature film generally comprised of four reels each held in a circular tin. Apart from reel one which you can preload in readiness subsequent reels had to fed through the projector gate at some speed before the audience became arsey. 20 secs was the allowable maximum before the reel had the shown. It was like being in the army loading a field gun

Back in the day 16mm films had to be shown in a darkened room to be seen and herein lay the problem. Changing a film in the dark – at speed left very little room for error, and your honour, it was all too easy to grab the wrong film tin in the dark. Thus showing a mystery film in the order of reels 1, 3, 2, 4 added an extra and often much appreciated twist to the drama, although clearly it best to never let on.

Moving on few decades I happened to be recently subjected to the Mama Mia 2 (MM2) DVD. To an outsider, that is a person who missed Mama Mia the original, I struggled to get the complex interrelationship of the cast in any focus.

The gist of it is that Cher plays Meryl Streep’s mother although they are the same age. Meryl Streep doesn’t officially appear in MM2 and is played by a younger actress, although right at the end of the film Meryl Streep does appear playing herself- but at an older age than the younger actress. The granddaughter of Meryl Streep has three fathers which imply that Meryl Streep got v. busy in the MM1.

The three Dad actors played themselves both in MM1 and MM2 even though there were further flashbacks showing the dads as being much younger and played by younger actors although the rest of the cast didn’t appear to age forward or backwards as the film zipped back and forwards faster that Dr Who’s Tardis. You are getting the gist of all this?

The outcome, apart from incessant questions to clarify the plot, was quite bewildering. But as per the 16mm film reel mix-ups you are able to re-run the DVD many times to try and wprk the plot out, and thus get extrordinary vlue for mony.

Groundhog Brexit

One of the downsides of a campaign primarily based on assumption is the annoying emergence of facts. These pop up with the primary objective to irritate and annoy.

Most of the U.K. and all of the EU are clearly sick of Brexit. It has ruined many a good lunch in Brussels. If we had behaved and not critised the immense gravy train that is the Brussels, or that 50% of all EU projects have no cear audit trail of expenditure. Or they required two massive locations (Brusels and Strassburg) or the mass exodus of MEP’s every Friday morning after they had claimed their expenses for the day, none of the Brexit thing would have arisen.

Instead, we are witnessing 650 guys in Westminster running around like headless chickens trying to look both important and indignant. Brussels is insistent that we invent the rules of the Brexit game whilst they stand with their arms crossed muttering and rejecting stuff for the hell of it attempt to look important and make the departure damn difficult – in case the other guys are tempted to think about it.

Whilst Brussels have proven without a doubt they are aloof the impasse has revealed Westminster to be equally a bunch of muppets. Their London centric outlook has mirrored all the ills of the EU. The history books will become massive in order to contain all the facts and figures of the Brexit debate. And directors will struggle to portray the key issues in any film under 6 hours.

Tixerb; novel way to start the day

We have adopted a new game in the household. How long after the start of a news bulletin does the newscaster mention the word Brexit. For months now the record held at around 5 seconds. But the other day this record was smashed. The very first word uttered by the poor chap was ‘Brexit’, rather like an involuntary sneeze.

Two years into the game and most are getting a tad tired of the rules, not that we actually know what they are. Luckily nobody else does either, well except from the infamous M. Barnier. He knows the rules backwards, they are written on a piece of paper he holds in his lap, in French. Fat chance we will ever get to see this bit of paper, even if we did we wouldn’t understand what is written. Its in French.

The Brexit game is akin to tit for tat, hide and seek, and British Bulldog all rolled into one. The rules are bent, re-bent and adapted as the game goes along such that at one time no player actually knows the state of play. The end point is to become a ballon debate where the better orator wins and gets to chuck the opponent out of the “balloon”.

In the meantime our troops in Westminster are running around like headless chickens. The only outcome so far is to chuck up a load of dust in a vain attempt to confuse the enemy. Regretfully they forgot the dust will also confuse our own troops.

Some of us wonder over the origins ig the word referendum. Ignoring the dictionary, which says it is a general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision. A more accurate definition now being: The outcome when Westminster looses all sense of reason, and ability to control anything then decides to hold a referendum in order to blame the electorate.

Finally, just in case you wondered about the word Tixerb it means Brexit backwards, rather app description of Westminster.

Daily Grind Creates Havoc

A year or two ago I banged on about coffee machines. They still feature in the daily routine, but there are a few side effects.

Starting with the positives, hell this is the New Year and we need to talk things up; the coffee machine is doing its job and the end product is a cup of coffee. The much clanging, grinding, squeezing and throbbing noises that emit during the process are all part of the dream. We are talking of bean to cup thingys here, none of your aluminium capsules costing lots of pennies and filing landfills. Nope, the beans to cup (BTC) boys reduce the choice from the bewildering arrays of coloured capsules with exotic names in Italian to what ever you can find in a bag on the supermarket shelves. OK here’s the first drawback of a BTC. The selection is pretty limited but the advantage is you therefore don’t have to ponder long. Do you want this one or that one, job done and it’s in the basket.

Like all modern pieces of equipment the average BTC machine is equipped with an array of options and twiddly bits you never need or understand. Once you have mastered the basic commands the machine is inevitably left stuck on the same programme. To use the correct vernacular as it is computer driven that should read “program”, but this spelling derivative always irks so we won’t bother.

Now the downside. The average BTC thingy is a tad lumpy and requires at least four reposioning trials beofre a location is reached that is primarily not in the bleeding way yet somethow accessible for all the little maintenance chores. The final destination in our abode lies adjacent to the TV in the kitchen. This meets all the domestic criteria for a blissful realtionship with fellow residents but with a sting. One of the little electric motors that goes whirr at apparently random moments to suit itself is electrically unsuppressed. Actually to be honest this motor drives the bean squeezing process that achieves the ideal compression of the grinds before the hot liquor is pumped through, according to the book of words. This process operates with surprising frequency and sends the TV into spasm. The picture freezes, pixelates or the sound distorts. Drawing attention to its presence in this manner creates unnessary domestic friction. Glowering looks, as headlines or critical parts of a drama are missed in a cocophony of whirs and buzzs.

There is always tea and instant coffee I hear you say, but ever since I descaled the bleeding kettle it boils like the Royal Marine band drums brigade. Thus for 2019 I am rather taken with exploring the delights of orange juice.