Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

That’s life

112 – not out.

Yisrael Kristal was born in Zarnow, Poland on September 15, 1903

That is remarkable. He was born three months before a couple of brothers from Ohio thought railways were a bit passé.

He survived WWI, WWII and was also was put in Auschwitz. I have been there though in happier times. The birds do sing. There is a myth that they don’t. What isn’t a myth is the pond with the mortal remains of 600,000 people. More of course were gassed and then burned.

Right. I have an Airfix to make. It is a P-51D-25 with Invasion Stripes. 6x’.50s is the sound of freedom. I am peering now over this Lenovo lappy at me (me!) in the forward ‘pit of a DH Tiger Moth. Irvin jacket and goggles and all that. That was at IWM Duxford and exit via the gift shop and all that. I quite fancied an Irvin jacket to own yet they were GBP 700! That is more than my wife’s Vauxhall Corsa is worth on the open market. I bought a mug instead. “We sweep the skies”. I alas (RG colour-blindness) am a Quaker warden so rather than sweeping the skies I mop the toilets. But then I am taller then Tom Cruise and not a twat. And Tom Cruise is a twat. And I can handle an F-14 better than him.

But anyway- I ramble – getting to 112 is a feat. Best of luck sir! I guess if you can survive a NAZI death camp you can take on anything.

PS He might also recall Newcastle winning the league. The last time they did that was 1927. I was born in 1973.

“Darwin Award” Is Barely Adequate

Down below, Paul has written a post about the “fall of the Moron civilisation”, and a very good post it is too. It describes how a certain South American civilisation, facing the invasion of the Conquistadores, responded by, er, killing their own people and setting fire to their pyramids, which turned out not to be the optimal strategy. That however was a form of organised moronism. Our society increasingly specialises in the individual form, largely it appears because it has now so regulated everything that individuals have entirely lost the capacity to take the most simple care of themselves. Which brings us to 46 year old Diane Hill, who set herself on fire with petrol.

Now burning yourself isn’t automatically moronic. Petrol is flammable. Under certain circumstances it can spontaneously combust (if you soak a heap of rags in it, then something to do with latent heat that our Physics expert Nick can no doubt explain). Or, more likely you can have a stray spark if there is a sufficient concentration of vapour, or…

She was using her cooker at the same time as pouring petrol from one container to another using a jug after her daughter had asked for some petrol.


The woman was cooking dinner while decanting the fuel from an “appropriate petrol container” into a glass jug when the vapours ignited [...] that “created panic,” causing the woman to spill the petrol, which “resulted in spillage on the lady’s clothes which ignited as well”.


Lee Smith, one of the fire officers called to the scene, told BBC Radio 5 Live that firefighters did not need to extinguish any flames but had to deal with “a lot of smoke”.

I bet they did.

So here we have a woman so stupid that she decanted petrol into a jug next to a cooker (this was a gas cooker wasn’t it, Mrs Hill? The one with the naked flames?) and who gets the blame for this? The government.

Now come on. I’m no fan of the Coalition, but we can hardly blame the government for presiding over people so stupid that the advice to keep a bit of extra petrol in results in them pouring it from jug to jug while stir frying dinner, can we?

Labour peer Lord Harris called for Francis Maude to resign after the woman, named locally as Diane Hill, suffered 40 per cent burns when she tried to pour petrol into a jug in her kitchen after her daughter’s car needed refuelling.

Because Francis Maude didn’t take into account how close to the fall of the Moron civilisation we actually are. Presumably if he’d advised people to buy cutlery, he’d be responsible for some woman deliberately stabbing herself in the eyes with a fork, because he hadn’t actually specified she shouldn’t do that.

I think we may as well give up on this “libertarian” thing, guys. With raw material like this, hoping for a society of self-reliant individuals is really asking too much, isn’t it?

Epic Fails

So I switch on BBC News and it is the funeral of Vaclav Havel. And you know what these rolling news things are like. In the left pane of the screen is “Live From Prague: Vaclav Havel’s funeral” and in a smaller right pane they have on shuffle Mr Havel’s “greatest hits” – Mr Havel, greets Bill Clinton, Mr Havel signs a treaty etc. This the BBC helpfully flags as “library pictures”. You don’t say.

(At this point I don’t have to remark on the difference in tone of the morning for the two “Father’s of their Nations” who recently joined the choir invisible).

Anyways now onto something else. I went out for some washing powder this morning and I clocked the single cashpoint (the other one was in the Co-op and was stolen months back and not replaced) in the village I live in. It belongs to one of the two banks on my high street – the NatWest. It is out of monies. Great! The day before Christmas Eve. Anyone betting that it won’t be in service till the day after Boxing Day at the earliest? Now this does happen but it has happened more often since that bank only opened on Mondays and Fridays to “cut costs”. Fair enough and all but the other bank in the village is an RBS (and doesn’t have a cashpoint). Now call me simple-minded but seeing as NatWest and RBS are the same companies nationalized institutions a more sensible and prudent option would have been to maintain full service at one of the buildings and sell the other one. NatWest’s advertising slogan is “Helpful Banking” and they boast things like “UK only call centres”. Magic! But you know what I’d find helpful (and I bank with NatWest) is being able to get to my money.

If WWII happened now…

…I think we’d hear about it like this.

H/T Infidel753

PC World

I’m typing this on my wife’s new Lenovo IdeaPad (S205). Lovely little machine. OK it’s on spesh offer at PC World in Stockport. Now normally I hate dealing with PC World but it’s a good deal and damn it she wanted it. So we’d looked at the netbooks and I think it’s the best deal and she’d really fallen for it. So we find one of their twonks and say we’ll take that one. So he disappears out back and there are none in stock. OK suggest I, we’ll take the display model (angling for a discount). So he looks at the price tag and shock horreurs it’s white, not yellow so we can’t have it. Yes, you read that right they wouldn’t sell the demo model of a computer they didn’t have in stock and had no idea when they might get some more in. So I say, “can we order one?” And he looks at me like I’ve requested a mermaid riding a unicorn. He then stands around like a tick-bet presumably hoping we’d go for the neighbouring Acer. So we go next door to Currys (yes, I know they’re both DSG so why have two in the same location?) and there’s a useful guy there who looks up on the computer about availability of the machine. There are two in the North West of England. Well, I say on the computer but I mean he tries but the till computer internet is down. So it’s the phone. OK, there is one in Warrington and one in Liverpool. So we get Warrington (this is not store policy!) to hold it. At Warrington it’s a combined Curry’s/PC World. the transaction there almost doesn’t go through because they’ve lost till ‘net too so they can’t process payment. Well they sort that… eventually.

Meanwhile I look at some top-end desktop cases. The bloke tells me they probably aren’t in stock but he can look… I tell him not to bother. I’ll get something at Aria Tech in Manchester where they know what the fuck they are doing. At the till the kid (he looks like Justin Bieber) who processes the buy does the usual of selling “extras”. The old extended warranty routine. He also tells my wife a cock and bull story about how MS Office 2000/2003 won’t work on Win 7. Absolute hogglewash. Outlook doesn’t remember passwords but that’s it. Outlook Express works fine. He’s trying to scoop 70 extra quid for Office 2010 which is utter shite. You see staff at DSG are on basic plus commission and that’s largely aimed not at actual items but the little extras which is where the real mark-up is.

So we left with just the computer. I like it. It’s a cracker. But Jeez was that an ordeal! Like I said a reasonable price but hell’s teeth PC World couldn’t get a fuck in a monkey whorehouse with a sack-full of bananas. Oh, and we’re flying to Poland the next day.

But it doesn’t stop there. I subsequently look-up the reviews. And they are are a mixed bag of assorted fruits. Every review that calls it a “net-book” is highly praising and every review that treats it against the likes of the MacBook Air (at 4 times the price!) criticises it for things it doesn’t even pretend to have. If I may make so bold nobody would buy that computer as anything other than a satellite to another “proper” computer. I really like it (the pad is too small – but then I’m a tit-fancier myself anyway) but it’s so dinky for a pretty neat deck with a dual core CPU and 3GB of RAM*, separate graphics, top-notch screen, good keyboard, great battery life, and a 320GB HD.

*A lot of similarly priced net-books shipped with 1GB of RAM which is deeply pathetic for Win 7.

Back to the future…

I accidentally saw some of Jools Holland’s show on TV tonight.

There was some bugger who had his first record for 13 years. “Lazy fucker” opined the missus*. I said it sounded like ZZ Top and added the truly remarkable fact that whilst ZZ Top are noted for the beards of the two front men but the third Top is a clean-shaven drummer who is actually called Frank Beard. The missus said, “You could dine out on that anecdote for a month”. So I fucked myself off to the shed but not before I heard this:

Now correct me if I am wrong but does that not sound like U2 c. Joshua Tree? I had had a taco and a kip and woke up in the ’80s. It feels like the mid-’80s except I remember that as a time of general optimism. Things were generally getting better and I had a funny teacher who wore dark glasses and all that. But not now. It’s all fucking misery now. Each child born or immigrant who enters these Shittish Isles* is a “burden” on front-line services and all that. The very thought that they might just be the next Alan Turing seems lost. As does the more prosaic idea that that immigrant might well be a nurse or doctor who will work for the NHS so in what sense are they a burden on the NHS?

Pop music is a fickle thing and that is why it is so important as a cultural marker. These days “serious” popular music is dominated by professional miserablists such as Blandplay. The ’80s I seem to recall had bands that were clever but not The Smiths. I mean even semi-goths had a larf then… But now. Nothing is taken culturally seriously unless it mongers The Doom. Newsnight on BBC2 was muntering on about what Fukushima means for the UK nuclear industry. Yeah, like Sellafield often gets hit by tsunamis… Today’s Indy front page was ranting about the huge amount of plutonium there. Might I draw Occam’s razor here and carve out a solution based on the fact we are currently sort of at war with Libya…

2011 – it’s like 1986 shouted through the megaphone of a “You’re all going to die!” street ranter. Maybe I am reflecting on the golden days of youth too fondly but at least you could have a pint and a fag in the pub to console yourself back then. We are now so obsessed with the ways we can die we have forgotten how to live.

So I wander down to my shack (where my computers are) with a light ale and the missus says, “Be careful – beer, the dark and low-slung trousers are a recipe for disaster”. Well, maybe but I had my LED torch to lead me and anyway… Back in my salad days, “beer, the dark and low-slung trousers” was the recipe for a good night out leading on to questionable things…

Now, I’m depressed.

*A phrase I owe to Viz. They also did a map of “Cuntinental Europe” which caused a minor storm by portraying the Finns as all pissed and the Irish as either terrorists or kiddie-fiddling priests.

*That is potentially a great title for a novel. Just a shame I don’t have characters or a plot… They tend to help.


Now I make no apologies for saying I hate the Co-op. The Co-op doesn’t even pretend to compete on price or service. It competes on Righteousness. Having said that it is a necessary weevil because where I live there is a butcher, a baker, a deli, a bakery and a newsagent and the Co-op. Now much though I try to push all my passing trade the way of the independents* there is always the Co-op. It would be nice to say it isn’t needed but it is. It would be nice to say I walk on by because they sell over-priced crap with an eternal smugness – they sell “ethical water” for example** – and the staff can’t be arsed.

Now, I have worked in shops and by and large most people in shops in Britain work bloody hard. There are exceptions and the ones that can’t hack telling lies in Curry’s*** wind-up slacking at the Co-op. So… imagine my delight when I overheard this gem…

“Well, Blackpool were 2-0 up against Manchester United so I stuck the last of my wages on Blackpool to win at half-time.”

Manchester United came out after the break (and presumably some uncouth language from Sir Alex) and scored three. End result: 3-2 to The Reds or as far as said Co-op minion is concerned seventy quid he ain’t seeing again (he mentioned the figure). What a twat! I mean (a) Man U are the come-back Kings – you saw ‘em against Bayern Munich in the final of the ’99 European Cup? Two goals in injury time, right? The words “crest fallen” have never applied more correctly to a bunch of lederhosen since the heady summer of ’45. And (b) let’s assume it finished 2-0 to Blackpool then… Well, what dismal odds he must have got. Half-time, two in the back of the opposing onion bag and you bet on a win? Who taught him the subtle art of gambling – Gordon Brown? “Well, if we do achieve 25% annual economic growth because of my ‘investments’ then…” Yeah, right, and if I win the National Mockery then all the Kitty Kounters can have umbrella drinks in Bermuda****. And no one (I promise) will have to dodge a flying Nokia*****. Anyhoo, it warmed the cockles to see this mouth-breather berate his dismal bet not working out.

It amused me. That is all. I am not a follower of Manchester United per se but I do appreciate class when I see it. I’m a Newcastle fan which isn’t so much about the football but about developing a Geordie form of stoicism. There were Greek chaps with long pondering beards who didn’t know as much about that as some fella with a pie in row F of the Jackie Milburn Stand watching yet another goal-less draw against The Baggies.

I know I shouldn’t laugh but, once out of the shop, I guffawed. There is always someone less fortunate than me and I had Northern Rock shares!

*With the arguable exception of Sayeed’s Newsagent – he stocks Dr Who magazines and is not backward in coming forward about it. I am married to a lovely woman but she’s also a Whovian and Sayeed knows this…
**Presumably this water not only quenches thirst but writes 2000 words on Spinoza.
***They really have zilch product knowledge but pretend otherwise. It’s profound, “It goes up to 11, it’s 1 louder” territory.
****Worth it just to see Paul Marks in a Hawaiian shirt!
*****Ed Balls is now shadow chancellor. Ed Balls first surfaced – am I wrong? – as Brown’s economics advisor. There is a reason I’m not a political novelist – I couldn’t make shit like that up.

A Certain Age

My mother is now back in Blighty. She saw her dream lover on the boards in New York. She said she was a bit miffed because he wasn’t eaxctly love’s young dream. Yup, Al Pacino was playing Shylock which is not generally considered a romantic lead…

My mother has a thing for Mr Pacino. I like this. You can tell a lot about a woman by their “things”. I mean if she had a thing for De Niro then… I will gloss over the fact my mother also has a thing for Ian McKellen because – well, do I need to draw a diagram. My mum and me saw him play a kick-ass Lear and saw him in Godot (also excellent) but I reckon I have marginally more chance of sleeping with Sir Ian than my mum. I had a South African friend who was Lord Owen’s house-keeper and he lives next door to Sir Ian. I have dropped cannabis ash on Sir Ian’s patio. So Mum, kick that inta touch! I even rolled the spliff whilst looking at the family piccies. Yeah, David Owen fishing with Helmut Kohl (like you do). Bizarre because it was just stuck on the sort of kitchen noticeboard that in my house has a Post It from the missus saying, “Buy some milk for fuck’s sake!”. I also once dated a woman who nearly defenestrated Newt Gingrich from the US Capitol but that really is getting way off topic. Sir Ian is also hung like a rutting stallion. Yes, he dropped his pants in Lear. I have indeed seen Gandalf’s staff. I can honsetly say his wilfull homosexualism is depriving the ladies. I mean I’m not the smallest donkey in the park but fuck me… My brother turned a peculiar colour.

Back to the point (if there ever was one). The point is that my mother has a soft-spot for Al. OK, fine, superstar actor and a good-looking chap and all but… My mother-in-law has a soft spot for Al too. Indeed every non-lesbian woman with a bus-pass has a thing for The Pacino. Am I criticising women old enough to be grandmothers? No. Because I was born in ’73 and have therefore had girlfriends and a wife of a similar vintage. Whilst they have all (to the extent to which this was discussed) said, “Yeah, Al’s an attractive guy but…”. The “but” is always the same. The “but” is always Johnnie Depp. It’s a generational thing I guess. I am 37 and every single girl I have slept with had a thing for Johnnie Depp. All of them. Even a lesbian (long story). Obviously she wasn’t entirely a lesbian but you know like whatever!

So that’s just me saying women my sort of age like Depp and women my mother’s age like Al… Oh, no… Because the same applies to the male of the species. That is why long-term readers will have noted that I have posted vids of Kylie Minogue, The Cardigans and Alison Goldfrapp. I mean when I was 19 I kinda liked 19 year olds but I’m not 19 anymore. To be fair sex back then was pretty ropey (frewuently gropey). You see my point? My iconic shags that never happened are all about my age or older. I even carry a torch for Debbie Harry but then who doesn’t? Ye Gods she is awesome! When I first saw Blondie play the Manchester Apollo…. I was about 2m from Debbie and she sounded like God burning a bush. It was that good and she’s still got legs to die for and a voice like an air-raid siren. And you just know, you do don’t you? That if you get her into bed she’d be unbelievably filthy. Debbie is bisexual so knock yourself out ladies – as long as I get the SD.

I pity the lasses who are twelve because they only have Just in Beaver (the dismally hung Canadian he truly is). My mum has Al and I have Kylie. I reckon both of us lucked out.

But it is odd. Is it not? I don’t fancy girls under thirty. Because I only like women who burn like the nuclear furnaces of the stars. And I mean a Type Ia supernova here. That is 10 to the power 58 Hiroshimas (let’s go nuclear!). That is a “Way hay – duck and cover time!!!” That is a hypersonic flying fuck. That is something else. That is serious fucking. That is Biblical. That is one wish fulfilled tonight. The alterntive is frankly pointless.

Take it away Nina…

Yeah, that’s my only wish this Crimbletide. Utter filth with a lady that knows what she is doing. What else?

An F-16 would also be nice.

“A rigid feminine pleasure device”.

GURNEE, Ill. — Suburban Chicago police said a woman who allegedly skipped out on a restaurant tab was arrested after allegedly attacking a police officer with a sex toy.

A police incident report said Carolee Bildsten, 56, of Gurnee, allegedly left a Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant in the town without paying Tuesday and an officer went to Bildsten’s residence to investigate, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

Gurnee Police Cmdr. Jay Patrick said the woman attacked the officer with “a rigid feminine pleasure device.”

Bildsten, who has been accused of not paying her check at the same restaurant in the past, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and theft of labor or services.

I assume “Joe’s Crab Shack” is a chain though I have never seen one. I have never seen anyone assault a police officer with a dildo either. I think I must have had a rather sheltered life.

H/T to commentator Sunfish.


We had the electricians round this morning.

Guess what?

Compact fluorescents interfere with T-loops for the hard of hearing.

So you can have the deaf or the Green but not both. It’s an either / or.

Guess what decision my wife made (I was still in my pants) but it involves tungsten….

Modern Life

During the evening Wilkinson texted Mr Lord whilst they were in the living room together and the messages became intimate.

You know there was a time when that might have seemed odd but then nowadays there’s an app for that.

Shamelessly stolen from JuliaM.

Runaway Horses

So… I’m on the phone tonight arranging a trip into town for Manchester Pride tomorrow and I hand it over to the missus to arrange the details with our mate (she’d spoken to him before on the subject). And he mentions – in passing – that he was there last night and that Belinda Carlisle was playing and that he “sort of recognised her from the ’80s”. The divine flame-haired temptress of my youth and she didn’t even leave a light on for me! Why do I feel like that time Homer Simpson failed to see Mr T at the mall? I pity the fool! The fool is me, alas.

Anyway, next weekend, there is an opportunity for me to see a joust, the Red Arrows and Alan Titchmarsh all on the same day at Chatsworth.

I’m not missing Mr T at the mall twice. That would look like carelessness.

I think I ought to draw the threads together here but I just can’t. Can you? I can’t… So take it away Ms Carlisle…

Wookey Hole

Now I thought that was just a polite way of explaining how Han Solo relieved sexual tension on those long, long flights when Leia had the painters in.

I was wrong.

A witch at Wookey Hole caves is facing disciplinary action after her boss spotted her on X Factor when she was supposed to be off work with flu.

Yes, they have a witch.

Fiona Robertson, 25, performed in front of Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole in a routine as the Wicked Witch of the West in April this year.

Keeping in character I see.

Yup, that’s a witch alright.

But she is now facing disciplinary action after she was recognised by her bosses at Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset, where she works as an entertainer.

Daniel Medley, Director of Wookey Hole Caves, said: ”We have been extremely pleased with how well Fiona has settled in and taken to the role – she has an enchanting way with people.

They have a “cave director” and an “enchanting witch”. I thought Terry Pratchett wrote this stuff as fantasy.

”But we now feel very let-down and cannot believe that she has used her fame from Wookey Hole Caves to further her career whilst still working for us.”

”We feel we have been used. I was genuinely shocked when I saw her in the papers, she was even wearing her Wookey Witch costume.

”And to think she may have taken a day’s sick leave as well to attend the audition, this is just totally unacceptable and we are considering disciplinary action.”

Beyond any comment.

”I’m not a bad singer but the three judges weren’t very impressed and I think the fact that I was dressed as a witch shocked them a bit.”

”I performed the day before Cheryl Cole was diagnosed with malaria and she certainly didn’t have much patience for me.”

Dear God. I am now speechless.

Of course this is the second Wookey Witch. The first was sacked for (and how could I make this up?) not being a “people person”. God almighty she was a former estate agent which is pretty much the definition of a sociopath.

Try everything once except…

When Allaetin Can, a kebab shop owner, appeared in court on Thursday, a judge adjourned the case and ordered police to watch a DVD of dancers performing the “kolbasti” then decide whether to drop the charge against him.

Officers were called after a passer-by reported seeing Mr Can hitting, kicking, and strangling his wife Elmas during a fracas in a car park outside their shop.

After Mr Can had entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of “male assaults female”, defence counsel Greg Vosseler produced the DVD in evidence.

Outside the court, in the small North Island town of Hawera, Mr Can said later that he, his wife and their two teenage children had been celebrating an exceptionally profitable lunchtime shift in their High Street kebab shop.

Leaping around, their celebrations spilled out from the kitchen into the car park.

The frenetic dance, which originated in the 1930s, involves simulated fighting, with much arm throwing, slapping and wrestling moves that include headlocks.

“We are always dancing,” Mr Can said.

“I’m happy to dance with my wife and my family. What’s wrong with that?”

“My wife was nervous and confused when police came,” he told the Taranaki Daily News.

“Her English no good. If English was good, no case.”

Kolbasti was born in the Black Sea port of Trabzon, in the northeast of Turkey, and has gained popularity across the country in the decades since.

The dance is said to have been devised by the city’s drunks, who were regularly rounded up by nightly police patrols, and the lyrics include the words: “They came, they caught us, they beat us.”

Popular at weddings, when large numbers of people join in and dance until the fast-paced music stops, it is also a favourite of young men who like to show off in front of girls.

The name kolbasti translates as “caught red-handed by the police”.

Mrs Can saw the irony.

“My husband is a good man,” she said in her broken English.

Another theme

Lets hear it for the many attractions of Disneyland.

%d bloggers like this: