Friday, 21 July 2017

MORE THAN ME JOBSWORTH INNIT

Criminals are getting younger.

In this picture, Andre Spicer shows his daughter
flagrantly flouting trading regulations.

The BBC is reporting the story of how a group of trading enforcement officers working for Tower Hamlets council issued a £150 fine to a five year old girl who was selling lemonade on a stall she had set up in the street.

Local resident Andre Spicer decided to allow his daughter to sell 50p glasses of lemonade to people passing by on their way to a local festival when the full weight of the law descended on her.

This brings me to a point I have been making for some time about our education system.

As you know, the primary function of schools is to meet targets and in the processing of achieving that, are now filled with head teachers who are very good at manipulating the system to get the desired results but lack any real teaching skills or even a modicum of common sense.

This is clearly demonstrated by the many stories you can read about how schools are banning pupils from lessons for various petty reasons such as not having shiny enough shoes, slightly the wrong shade of colour on their school shirt, not having a nice hairdonot enough pleats in their skirts, or even for sewing sequins on their socks.

The children do learn an important lesson from this. The lesson isn't that their appearance is more important than their education, although they might be forgiven for thinking this; it's about the perennial jobsworth.

The jobsworth is the person with limited ability to actually do their job and, in some cases, missing important social skills and who will compensate for their shortcomings by an obsessive, single minded pursuit of petty regulations which they consider more important than life itself.

By the process of throwing common sense out of the window at the expense their education, teachers give children an early lesson in what they can expect from life.

In an interesting ironic reversal, young Miss Spicer, who will, at the age of five, only just begun her school career, will have learned her first lesson about the world of adult petty mindedness from a bunch of council officials and this will, hopefully, prepare her for her similar treatment from her teachers.



IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD -

AGAIN.




The Daily Express or, to give it its proper name, The Daily Migrant is currently on the receiving end of a campaign by pressure group Stop Funding Hate to get companies to stop advertising in it's pages. The campaign also includes the Sun and the Daily Mail.

Their principal concern is the hate fuelled racist headlines, often misleading and sometimes downright dishonest these papers routinely publish.

"After what it called “decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion”, last year the United Nations accused some British newspapers of “hate speech”. UK experts are now warning that hate crime is being “fuelled and legitimised” by the media. Relentlessly hostile and often inaccurate headlines have been described by charities as “dangerous”. But, indirectly, nearly all of us are funding them". (Stop Funding Hate)"

Summer weather according to
the Daily Express.
The daily Express also likes to brighten up our day with apocalyptic weather forecasts courtesy of James Madden from Exacta Weather

I wrote about the Daily Express penchant for printing bizarre weather stories in an earlier blog and here is the Guardian article by George Monbiot that I quoted quite extensively from.

This time a huge solar flare is going to hit the Earth causing a massive heatwave in August. This rather implausible event is going to result in temperatures reaching 40°C across the country.

The idea that a solar flare could cause a heatwave is about as likely as the unique alignment of planets, once predicted as an April Fools joke by the broadcaster Patrick Moore, causing gravity to disappear. You might as well say that homoeopathy works.

Winter weather according to
the Daily Express.
However, once you get past the mad headline, they make no further mention of solar flares until much later in the story when they mention that solar activity can affect the weather. although not in the way they described

In the mean time you have to wade through endless pictures of women posing in swim suits; I suppose that after looking at all of them, you will have forgotten what the beginning of the story looked like.

In the mean time, if you fancy whiling away your idle time on a game of Express Bingo, you can find the page here.







Thursday, 6 July 2017

Sugar Shortage


The BBC is reporting that Peder Tuborgh, the boss of the dairy producer Arla Foods, is forecasting a butter shortage by Christmas as a result of there not being enough milk producers in the UK.

Reading the story, it took me back to the mid 1970s and all the supposed shortages that cropped up regularly at that time. There was a paper shortage which resulted in shops refusing give out paper bags to shoppers. There were fuel shortages, leading to huge queues at garages as desperate motorists tried to buy petrol and of course, the sugar shortage.

The fact is that there never was a genuine shortage of these products due to lack of production, it was all the result of a self-fulfilling prophesy where the media predicted a shortage then the public set about panic buying, stripping shop and supermarket shelves and thereby creating the forecast shortage by their own actions. 

For example, the petrol shortage was the consequence of every petrol tank in every car in the country now being full of petrol and those with the capacity, storing it in cans elsewhere. Something which would never happen in the normal course of events.

In our household, this phenomena manifested it most apparently in the sugar mountain that my Wife managed to accumulate. With just two adults and a baby, a two pound bag of sugar would normally last us about two months. She however, fully wrapped up in the general hysteria would buy another bag of the stuff at every opportunity. 

We had a sideboard in the living room where both cupboards were absolutely packed with the stuff. Once the "crisis" ended, we didn't have to buy any sugar for about the next three years. I recall a cartoon in the paper which showed the Husband sitting on an armchair made totally out of bags of sugar with his wife triumphantly holding up another bag she had managed to buy.

I'm going to end this piece now as I have an urgent need to go shopping.


Psionic Quantumness


Back in March of last year I wrote a piece about technobabble. To quote from Wikipedia

"Authors and others who wish to convey a feeling of technical sophistication may write or talk in technobabble. They may use jargon without considering what it actually means to give an impression that they know things that their readers or listeners do not. However, if the jargon is decoded, it becomes apparent that the originator does not really understand what has been said or is deliberately being unclear."

Nowhere is the use of technobabble more readily used than in the so-called "alternative" health care industry and here is one of the finest examples I have ever seen. To be honest, at first I thought it must be a hoax and I'm still not really sure even now, but I've had a good look at the website and it seems to be genuine.

This label appears on the back of a bottle of Starfire™ water and if anyone reading this can explain what any of it means I will buy you a year's supply of the stuff.

For anyone having trouble reading the wording on the label, here it is transcribed.



Thirst The Fire
Legend has it that the mystical "Starfire" was the liquid manna 
of the divine, used by the ancients for ultra-focus, extreme
performance, and even enlightenment.
In that vein, we introduce Starfire Water™, a 
proprietary alkaline, performance, holographic "living" water
produced using breakthrough, 21st century, quantum water
technology. Starfire Water™  is treated with ultraviolet, ozonation, 
infra-red stimulation and electromagnetism for a 
negative (-) ion charged water, as in nature, allowing deep, cellular
intake through your aquaporins, the floodgates to hydration.
Vortex induced, using a solar-helix and
pyramid grid system, to give it a hexagonal structure,
and infused with monatomic elements, we are able
to achieve a water with cosmic healing energy. This water is 
amplified with a psionic wave oscillation tuned to the 
Universe's frequency, helping to synchronise you with the heartbeat of
our Earth. Starfire water™ is treated with Sacred Sound Resonance 
Transmission™ to vibrationally transform you on the deepest
molecular level. All together, we've created the world's finest premium
alkaline, performance, "living" hexagonal , super-structured water.

For what it's worth, my spell checker is going insane on account of half the words don't have any meaning, that is, they're not actually words in the proper sense. As for the rest, all I can say is "David Avocado Wolfe, eat your heart out" because it trumps any of the nonsense he has ever spouted, and believe me, that's saying something.

In my 2016 blog, I referred to something called a "Turbo-Encabulator". This was the title of a paper published as a prank by an engineering student in an engineering magazine in the 1940s, describing a fantastical device which performed seemingly complex functions using purely invented processes.

Over the years, the gag had grown in the re-telling, eventually evolving into the "Retro-Proto-Turbo-Encabulator.






Friday, 16 June 2017

Lesnes Abbey

During the 1980s I lived in Belvedere and often used to visit Lesnes Abbey Woods, either to walk the dog or to explore the wildlife that could be found there. After the 1987 storm which saw hundreds of trees blown down, the opening up of the ground to daylight saw an explosion of new plants and flowers that I hadn't ever seen before. 

This is what triggered my interest in nature and I would spend many happy hours identifying and recording the new plant life that had appeared. Eventually, and with the help of the newly formed "Bexley Ranger Service" I managed to set up a conservation group and we would go out on Sundays to carry out conservation work in the woods. When I moved away, I passed the group on to others and as far as I have been told, the present volunteer group working in Lesnes Woods dates back to that original one.

The Bexley Ranger Service didn't last all that long; the rangers themselves were all qualified conservationists and the Bexley councillors who oversaw the project never really got the hang of it. As far as they were concerned, the rangers were nothing more than glorified park keepers who should be wearing uniforms with peak caps, going round telling people off for breaking the rules. Attempts at genuine conservation work were often prevented for seemingly bizarre reasons; one of the councillors wouldn't let them carry out Rhododendron eradication work because she thought the flowers looked pretty. 

Eventually, they all left to find proper jobs elsewhere.

Anyway, I have been following the progress of the redevelopment of the woods and Abbey with some interest and took a visit to the Abbey a couple of days ago. Here are some of the pictures I took.


Panoramic view of the Abbey and gardens


One of the entrance points, this one is from Abbey Road.




There are several areas of wildflower meadow that have a wide variety of plants.


Although the nicotine addicts have to make their mark as well. Walking around the site, I started counting the number of cigarette filters on the ground but eventually gave up: it was spoiling my enjoyment of the park.








Some views around an about. I do like the way they have redesigned the site of the old flower beds, this looks much more interesting.




There were major delays in the construction of the new resource centre and cafe. My understanding is that a number of significant archaeological finds delayed things for quite a while. I don't suppose it helped that the original company hired to do the work went bankrupt half way through the project. It is looking good though. I didn't take any pictures inside as there seemed to be some sort of meeting going on.


I understand that Councillor Craske still plans to remove all the dog waste bins from the Borough. I don't know if this is still the case.


I saw this fellow in the process of being sculpted; nice to see it finished.


There is now water level access to the old fish pond which is now described as a dipping pond.



I was going to Photoshop the litter from this picture but then thought 'someone has gone to all the trouble to put it there so they must want to see it.


And of course, not forgetting....................................




The Black Mulberry tree has been fenced off to protect the roots and to discourage people from climbing on it. I must admit, it does look a lot healthier. It grows the way it does because it was planted against the wall of the old farmhouse that stood on the site. The tree grew towards the light, hence the extreme angle.



Some thoughts on the election result.

During last years London Mayoral election, the Tory party ran a campaign of vindictive personal attacks on the Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan with ever increasingly hysterical claims about how disastrous it would be for London if we elected him. It backfired on them in a huge way and they got suitably trashed.

You would think they would have learned their lesson but instead, they ran an almost identical campaign against Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election and, unsurprisingly, finished up with a similar result. So why do it?

The reality is that they didn't have much choice. They could hardly campaign on their own policies - selling off the NHS and removing welfare benefits from pensioners and the disabled was never going to get the public flocking to the polling station to vote for them; and that's before they even had any real discussion on the decriminalisation of blood sports or why Theresa May had taken over 25,000 Police Officers off our streets, or why she had reduced our armed forces to pre-Napoleonic War levels, etc., etc.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Some information about the party that will be ruling Britain for the next five years - the Democratic Unionist Party.

The party which once championed a cause called "Save Ulster from Sodomy", they actually make UKIP appear moderate. Their party strongly opposes same-sex marriage and has been instrumental, along with the Catholic Church in ensuring that Northern Irish women have to travel to the UK if they need an abortion.

DUP environment spokesman, Sammy Wilson, along with Donald Trump and most of the American Republican party believes that climate change is a hoax. They actually made him their environment minister.

Mervyn Storey, the party's former education spokesman believes that creationism should be taught in schools as a science subject. Creationists believe that the world and everything on it was created at 9:30am on Thursday 23 October 4004 BC and that dinosaurs lived at the same time a humans, as it says in the Flintstones.

One of their MPs, Trevor Clarke believed that you could only contract HIV if you were a homosexual and it fell to a local charity to make him aware of the facts.



They come from everywhere.


I've just had my first hit from Turkmenistan. I get pageview entries from many countries outside the UK, most of them from the US but a good smattering from the rest of the world. I'm not really sure why, I suppose some of them are just bots but it would be nice to know for sure.

Also, my first search using the Dalvik browser which is a discontinued bit of the Android operating system used in earlier versions of Android such as Kit Kat.

According to webwiki, my blog is the 745,983rd most popular by rank and in the next few days I will have reached my 30,000th hit. Given that my blog will be four years old in September, I have to wonder why I bother with such a small fan base. The trouble is, whenever I stop publishing for any length of time, I keep getting messages from people asking where I have got to and when am I going to write again. I may not have many fans but at least they are loyal and it would be a shame to disappoint them.



Friday, 9 June 2017

THERE NOW FOLLOWS A STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE THAMESMEAD GRUMP REGARDING THE RESULT OF THE GENERAL ELECTION.


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Monday, 5 June 2017

In the spirit of my recent promise not to comment on the forthcoming general election, here are some comments on the forthcoming general election.



Five reasons Why you should not vote for the Liberal Democrats.


The Liberal Democrats want the British public to be allowed to vote in a referendum on whether they agree to the Brexit terms negotiated by the government.

Are they totally out of their freaking minds? 

The last time we had a referendum, we voted to leave the EU; which is precicely what happens when you allow ill-informed and gullible members of the public to make important decisions about the nation's future. And now they want to do it again.

Let's make it absolutely clear, the terms of Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe, and indeed the world should be decided by government ministers and government ministers alone. The British people should not, under any circumstances have any say in what those terms are.

A vote for the Lib-Dems would hand ordinary people the right to a say in their future: this must not be allowed to happen. The only way to prevent this is to vote for the Torylabour party.

However, don't anyone say I'm not even-handed when it comes to passing on information about our local candidates so, in alphabetical order we have:-

Tory Government record
speaking for itself
Edward Baxter (Conservative). I don't know anything about Edward Baxter that can't be obtained from a standard Google search so there's not much point in repeating what readers can easily obtain for themselves. As to Tory policy generally, their record speaks for itself (as Amber Rudd rather foolishly said on Question Time). I'm not a fox so at least they don't seem to want to actually kill me although if my Wife still has her disability benefit by the end of the year, I'll be surprised. One thing they have promised to do is implement the Naylor Report which will result in all the assets currently owned by the NHS on behalf of the people being sold off to private businesses; the majority of which are foreign based so they won't have to pay any of those pesky taxes that you and I are burdened with.

Ronie Johnson (UKIP). Ronie has been trying to get elected in Erith & Thamesmead for some time now. To be honest, it doesn't really matter what he stands for personally as he is never going to be elected and even if he was, UKIP are as disorganised a bunch of half-wits as they have ever been and trying to get a cohesive policy out of them about anything at all is pretty unlikely. Apart from still chanting "Out, Out Out" they don't have much else to say. I think a lot of them have run away; they're really like a bunch of naughty schoolboys who thought it would be a good prank to set fire to the science lab and are now watching the whole school burn down. Much of their support came from disenchanted BNP supporters and I wonder if we might see a resurgence of support for them now that UKIP is disappearing up it's own fundament. According to the Bexley Times, which I'm shamelessly plagerising to write this post, "he's campaigning for Australian-style boarder controls" although I don't think he's talking about lodgers.

Candidate 105950
Claudine Letsae (Green Party). Claudine is a "Woman of Mystery"; no-one seems to know anything about her. The Green Party website doesn't even seem to know anything about her either other that she appears to be candidate No. 105950, and I am reduced to stealing what information I can from a Bexley is Bonkers article written by Malcolm Knight who actually took the trouble to go to the local hustings meeting on 28th May; I might have attended if I had known it was happening but then again, maybe I wouldn't. In any case, it's just general "let's do good" stuff so not really worth bothering with. Click the BiB link if you're interested. The trouble is, saying anything nasty about the Green Party is a bit like kicking a kitten. They do, in truth, have about as much political savvy as a kitten, but it still seems cruel so I'm not even going to mention Unicor..............

Doro Oddiri (Independent). Describing himself as "easy going, with liberal political views", one has to wonder why he isn't a member of the Liberal Democrats. Doing a Google search produced a News Shopper and other news accounts of him suffering serious injuries in a road accident in 2010 but there is nothing else about him.  Again, with no other sources of information, I am going to steal from my favourite, previously mentioned sources. Not only have his liberal views not endeared him to the Lib-Dems, he is actually quite scathing about them: they must have done something that has seriously upset him. Other than that, his rather simplistic approach to most of the world's problems, quaint though they are, will not be enough to cause me to vote for him.

Temi Olodu (Christian People's Alliance). A unilateral disarmer and anti-abortionist. As he wasn't at the hustings meeting attended by Malcolm Knight, I can't steal any of his copy so, doing my own research, I can't find much about his political opinions. Having said that, I really don't like the Christian People's Alliance. They seem to attract all that is worst in religious bigotry although it was the UKIP candidate David Sylvester who claimed that UK storms were caused by Gay Marriage.

Teresa Pearce (Labour). I can't really think of anything bad to say about Teresa. I have met her once or twice, generally at Royal British Legion Remembrance events but I've never had any other dealings with her. She seems to take an interest in local affairs which goes beyond the usual requirement of an MP. As far as The Labour Party generally goes, I support most of their policies but still remember the last time they were in power. Tony Blair's slavish support of reckless American foreign policy strategies, the Toryesque unwillingness to tackle tax avoidance by large corporations or it's desperate attempts to be anything other than a Tory party with a conscience still makes me highly suspicious of them. Although, to be fair, I don't see Jeremy Corbyn suffering those sort of policies much.

Simon Waddington (Liberal Democrat). Simon's election leaflet has just arrived as I am writing this although I can't say I'm much better informed as a consequence. First, they want to legalise drugs. This is never going to happen; not only is any chances of legislation going to be blocked by an unholy coalition of religionists, do-gooders and of course, all the crooked individuals in government and law enforcement agencies who do very nicely on the bribes paid to them to look the other way. There is also the huge lobby against de-regulation from all the vested interests that need the drugs trade to be illegal. Vast amounts of money are spent by law enforcement agencies trying to combat the trade. The amount they spend on equipment and materials, premises and the like is estimated to be around $100 billion a year worldwide according to "Count the Costs", a pressure group dedicated to de-regulation. How accurate this figure is may be open to question but it cannot be far wrong. Plus the hundreds of thousands of people who would be out of a job. I used to be a member of the Lib-Dems as I have recounted in earlier posts but finally lost patience with them when they refused to support a House of Commons vote which would have given the public a vote on the new terms of our EU membership. Ironic, that they seem to have changed their minds about that.