Seriously Silly

This area is dedicated to silly behaviour, from the life-threatening to the simply divine.

An act too hard to follow?

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, August 21, 2009 11:47:26

Despite howls of outrage from the US, and pressure by a supine British Government, Scotland – a small nation of just 5 million souls showed the world this week that despite the alleged murder of so many innocents over Lockerbie, showing compassion for the imminent death of the main suspect, would override any dubious satisfaction obtained by further adding to this man’s suffering by letting him rot in a jail in Scotland.

Posturing by politicians, including O’Bama, is disgraceful. Everyone knows that the terrible incident over Lockerbie was just one of the acts of terrorism carried out on behalf of the government of Libya – aka Gaddafi. Even if this man is guilty, and there are many that doubt this, he is simply a pawn. It suited the British Governments and the US at the time to go after the foot-soldiers rather than the General – literally. It suits them now to go on making noises about this man – rather than the Libyan government, because they are engaged in deals with this countries dictator for it’s oil, and they don’t want to ‘rock the boat’. Welcome to real politique.

They are playing the same game in Afghanistan – the installation of a warlord and murderer – Hamed Karzai, as an American puppet is vital in the strategy to keep control of vital oil pipelines in Afgahnistan. Meantime, Gordon Brown insists that keeping troops there is vital for the protection of the British people – when we are all aware that the terrorists committing atrocities in our cities are disillusioned young Pakistani men from HERE IN BRITAIN.

Both this country and the US need to regain the respect of the rest of the world. Recent revelations of atrocities carried out by Americans and British soldiers in Iraq, and the torture carried out by the US, condoned secretly by a spineless British Government, have done nothing but harm to both our countries, and rendered us incapable of the criticism of anyone else carrying out such atrocities against humanity. The Scots have shown mercy and compassion – two qualities that sadly are lacking by the reactionary US and British governments alike. The path ahead has been shown to them – but will they follow?


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Revenge Of The Red Pirate

StoriesPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, August 16, 2009 12:14:39

The Red Pirate exacts a terrible price from the 'baddie' in this short story. Revenge of The Red Pirate


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Bandits at 3 O'clock skipper - shit! Too late!

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, August 15, 2009 19:05:16

Oh The seagulls have a white house, In Mobil;
Oh The seagulls have a white house, In Mobil,
Oh The seagulls have a white house, and they use it as a shitehouse;
Oh The seagulls have a white house, In Mobil.

Oh The seagulls they fly high, In Mobil;
Oh The seagulls they fly high, In Mobil,
Oh The seagulls they fly high, and they shite in your eye;
It's a good job cows don't fly, In Mobil.

This one extends 2ft high, by about 1ft across. Maybe Cullercoats seagulls have been cavorting with cattle?


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Struck down in my prime

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, August 12, 2009 21:13:37

Obviously jealous of all you sweet young things and your piggy 'flu, my frail old frame has decided to come up with an alternative. Since Sunday I've been trying to put a name to what I've got but can't. I've got a slightly-runny nose, a dry ticklish cough, itchy eyes and each day since the weekend starts OK but by lunch-time I have a blinding headache, a temperature and nausea.

This couldn't have happened in a worse week, as today I had to MOT the car, so had to give it a good talking-to on both Monday and Tuesday mornings, because every afternoon has been spent half-dozing in bed. It passed thankfully.

I've been up an hour simply because I ache, but I'm now off back to bed. Sorry, no rants this week - I haven't got the energy.

Oh, BTW, a letter from NHS informs me of an 'up to 18 weeks' wait for surgery on my left knee - no hurry there then!


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The BBC: From Exemplar to sloppy also-ran

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, August 11, 2009 09:22:32

I hate sloppiness. Let me re-phrase that: I hate sloppiness in those whose raison d'etre is to inform and educate. Now that most newspapers are simply comics, pandering celebrity pap to the masses, I expect that at least the BBC would retain it's high standards in the reporting of news and presentation of it's programs.

Two things annoyed me last week. The first was in the trailing of the excellent swedish-language crime series Wallander - using a picture of Kenneth Brannagh?!

Yes, I know the BBC made it's 'own' version of Wallander - to much acclaim, however, I regard the swedish version vastly superior. Is it pettiness, ignorance or just sloppiness that allows misinformation and misdirection such as this to take place?

Number two annoyance was caused by a radio news reader describing the USA as Britain's 'oldest' ally! This is at best, extremely contentious, at worst, plain stupid, and smacks of hastily-written copy gleaned from that font of all misdirection - WIKI, which as everyone knows can be altered - is altered - at the whim of anyone with a revisionist streak.

The BBC were first to criticise this bunch of crooks we call a government for obtaining it's 'intelligence' regarding Saddam's WMD's from a 19-year old student's essay he'd published on the Web, but apparently they themselves are no different. Perhaps if the job of reporting news was done by reporters, instead of 'readers', we might recover some of the accuracy that the BBC used to excel in and which is now woefully lacking.

Welcome to the dumbed-down 21st Century BBC.


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When Terror Strikes

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, August 10, 2009 10:50:50

In conversation with a friend yesterday, I had touched briefly on the subject of risky behaviour, and with the benefit of insight how the most dangerous aspects of mania can be avoided by simply staying in the house and keeping your blue cape and red knickers locked in a closet, as an antidote for when, in your worst moments you feel like superman.

The conversation had triggered recollections of the most bizarre and downright foolhardiness of some of the things I’ve done in the past - a lot of which I cringe to think about, and which would not bear scrutiny even in these enlightened times, however I dressed them up. I couldn’t bear knowing that when face to face with friends, they might be thinking ‘this man did that‘, and questioning themselves as to why they still talk to me.

The world is well aware of the risk-taking propensity of young men, and despite the rate of attrition, it has been accepted that this behaviour is as necessary for the survival of our species as taking breath. Those young men that do survive tend to act more sensibly as they mature or ‘mellow’ - making way for the ‘young bucks’ to have their time too. However, my experience has been that manic behaviour manifests itself ‘out of the blue’, and worse than that, triggers pleasure receptors that should be long dormant given my mature years. Then there can be terrible moments of reality - when for a brief (and thankful) second I realise that I am acting out a scene purely because of the ‘high’, and I’m left attempting to extricate myself from the very sticky stuff I’ve willingly jumped into. The tendency to panic in such a situation is very strong, and it’s probably only my pig-headed stubbornness to admit defeat, that has allowed me to exit left, with at least a little dignity remaining.

Knowing what to look for has enabled me to recognise the same behaviour in other people - who it might be said of that they should know better. As a result, I tend to be more tolerant of aberrant behaviour than I might have done in the past. I also sympathise when I see another’s actions go terribly wrong, and would unhesitatingly give assistance should it be required.

The worst case of ‘lost bottle’ I have witnessed first-hand, took place just up the road from here, at the Whitley Bay Ice Rink and Bowling Alley. I was a young man at the time and was employed as a steel erector involved in building the Bowling Alley above the existing Ice Rink. Steel erectors are notorious risk-takers and I admit to pushing myself to the point of silliness, in an effort to be like my other, more mature, workmates.

There was one man, in his middle-forties who although heavily built, could shin up a stanchion, and walk along 3 inch horizontal ties as if he was a wire-walking monkey. It came as a great shock then, one afternoon, to hear him calling for help, which set everyone running. Barry (name changed) was sat on a cross beam arms clinging to a large stanchion about 45ft above the ground. I joined the others below him whilst the foreman tried to coax him down, and I’ve never witnessed such terror in anyones eyes either before or since. His face was contorted with fear, tears streaming down his face, and he didn’t reply to any of the foreman’s coaxing - just sat there, visibly shaking and paralysed with fear.

When it was realised that he wasn’t going to be talked down, the foreman and another workmate shinned up the stanchion to just below where he sat, and another man climbed up another stanchion and worked his way along the cross beam until he could sit beside Barry. The presence of these brave souls both beside and below him seemed to calm Barry enough for him to loosen his grip and be persuaded to move out and onto the stanchion - his feet guided into place. Thus it was that two men - one behind him, the other to one side shuffled and shinned Barry and themselves painfully slowly to the ground.

Barry was plied with hot, sugary tea, and when he had calmed down sufficiently, was taken home by one of his mates, and I never saw him again. I had asked the foreman (my father) why it had happened and he had simply shrugged: ‘Who knows - it just happens’. I had suspected that this wasn’t the first case he had ever witnessed, and like so many of the other awful events he had seen, he simply accepted it and probably considered trying to analyse or evaluate it a waste of time. What he also obviously accepted without question, was a responsibility to help his workmate, despite a very real threat to his own life.

JWBD4 Monday 10th August 2009

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Pass my Voltarol Dear - there's a vulture in the garden!

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, August 06, 2009 18:46:58

The 'wonder' drug Sodium Diclofenac has been blamed for a catastrophic 97% decrease in certain vulture populations in India. The widespread (ab)use of the drug in domestic animals has lead to vultures ending up with kidney failure and worse. As someone who took these seriously nasty little pills for too damn long, one sentence in the BBC report speaks volumes, and I quote:

'Early signs that the raptors are affected can be seen from the way they hang their heads down to their feet for long periods.'

Yeah, I know how they feel!

So, Voltarol joins the ever-growing list of 'miracle' cures that turn out to have devastating effect on the other animals with which we share our planet.

Full story here


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Through The Keyhole - of my Knees

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, August 06, 2009 11:30:40

The visit to the Consultant this morning confirmed suspicions about the damage to both knees. Keyhole surgery is to be used to both examine and attempt a repair to the medial meniscus in both knees - starting with the left, because of it's greater damage.

I'm assured that 'only as much cartilage will be removed as is necessary', and recovery 'will depend on actual damage found'. Also initial weight-bearing will need assistance from a stick.

Both Ops will involve attendances to a day clinic, but a general anaesthetic, so escort from Hospital is assumed.

I'm assuming that because of normal Hospital delays, a date for the 1st Op will be well after my Grand Tour in the last week of this month.

That's all for now, I'm going to have a cook-out to celebrate. As Mr. Craddock allegedly said:- May all your Doughnuts turn out like Fannies!


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Rant of the day - The Lies We are Told

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, August 06, 2009 11:13:30

1. Kneel before God every Sunday on a f**cking hard stool in Church and He will love you and take care of you.

2. Hard work never did anyone any harm, so when you've finished your homework, get that floor scrubbed.

3. Exercise is good for you, get out there and have a game of football.

4. Climbing stairs is good for you because it gives your body an all-over workout.

5. Get on your bike and do a 100 miles each weekend, to make up for all the sitting-around you do at school.

Yes, there are more, but I've said enough. The fact is sadly, that all of this shite was drummed into me as a schoolboy, and I'm now paying the price for nearly 12 years of abuse to my young skeleton as a result of these no-doubt well-meaning exhortations from parents.

But what the Hell? The sun's shining, get out there and have a game of football...


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Ankles, Photos and Tunnelling

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, August 01, 2009 01:40:27

Visit to Physiotherapy Dept. today.

The lovely Nicola was delighted to find that my right ankle muscles have improved, due to the exercises and extra support I've given both feet by disposing of flimsy slippers and wearing shoes full time with thicker socks. She agrees that full mobility is still compromised by the serious damage to both knees, but she intimated that she expects the consultant will offer surgery for both knees. We'll find out more on the 6th.

TripAdvisor have accepted and published three of the photos of Cullercoats I took recently, these are here:

I intend going tunnelling this weekend - through the original pedestrian/cyclists tunnel under the Tyne - a short hop from the much (newer) road tunnel.

I remember my old man taking us kids on our bikes back in the early fifties, and standing on what was at the time the longest escalator (made of wood!!) in the world, as at the time the lifts never worked. The journey started at home in the centre of Gateshead following the old coast road through Pelaw to Jarrow, under the Tyne, then back home via the north side of the river. At that time of course, it was a very different river scene than it is today, with industrial activity all the way up both banks.

Info on the tunnel is here:


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Even more Knews from Wounded Knee...

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, July 30, 2009 16:01:58

Report of MRI scan of both knees arrived this morning, and I quote verbatim:

'The MRI scan of both his knees has identified on the right knee a horizontal oblique tear of the medial meniscus and on the left knee a complex medial meniscal tear.'

I see the consultant again on 6th August.

Wiki has this to say about the medial meniscus. The outlook is grim, and Nicola's assertion that the ankle problems are probably caused by gait distortion due to the knee weaknesses looks more and more likely. (previous post regarding ankles)

I see Nicola again tomorrow. Although I have been attempting to strengthen the ankle muscles with exercise, the right one is no better. I have discovered that wearing thicker socks with my shoes enables me to walk further, and no doubt this is due to the added support, so I have taken to wearing my shoes round the house, instead of flimsy slippers.

Hey ho! On a different tack, Wot happened to the summer? Did I blink? Pictures of campers in Keswick watching Swans swimming in between their tents and talk of the Met. Office finally abandoning their long-range forecasts in disgust - not before time either. If there's one thing that dosn't change - it's the changeability of the British weather. Plus ca la change, non ca la change.


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Commuter Cat Conundrum

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, July 30, 2009 08:56:57

At last a heartwarming story makes it onto the news:

A cat has become such a well-known user of a Devon bus service that its drivers know where to let him off.

Casper has been queuing with other passengers to get the number three service from his home in Plymouth for months, bus company First said.

<full story here>

This reminds me of my first real spell of working in London. I used to catch the Tube from Paddington to Baker Street every morning. Pigeons would wait patiently for a train to arrive, walk sedately into a carriage, then get out at Edgware or Baker Street. At the same time as arriving at Baker St., other pigeons waiting at Baker St., would board the train as others were leaving. I never grew tired of watching these animals taking free rides, rather than flying, and my respect at their intelligence grew with each day I watched them.

Although not a frequent traveller on Tyne & Wear Metro, I do still use it, but have never seen similar behaviour here - perhaps Geordie pigeons lack the sophistication of their southern brethren?

Have a good morning.


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Massive Parallelism - or something a little more spooky?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, July 27, 2009 11:01:53

Another example of co-incidence in our massively parallel world.

I had included a photo of the Mendocino coast on the 1st page of MTHYTOB (Music To Have Your Teeth Out By), and had written to the photo owner (sbelli) in USA to thank her for permission to use it - it turns out she is a Dental Assistant!!

Wot a way to start the day.


RE: Your lovely photo From: sbelli Status: You replied to this message at today, 5:41

I'm happy you could use it! By the way, I happen to work for a DENTIST! I am a dental assistant........ pretty funny...............

On Jul 24, 2009, at 09:21 PM connectable wrote:
I thought you would like to know I've retained your lovely photo on the new MTHYTOB (Music To Have Your Teeth Out By ) page on my site at:

Thanks once again
Joe Brown

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Photos of Whitley Bay & Seaton Sluice taken this morning

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, July 25, 2009 12:52:51

I thought my friends in the south would like a look at the other bits of local coastline up here in the north , so took these of Whitley Bay & Seaton Sluice earlier this morning. Maybe later next week I'll take a trip further up and grab the turbines at Blyth, plus Newbiggin-by-the-sea, Cresswell etc. I know, you can't wait - patience please! The photos have been added to the cullercoats gallery at:



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Save Money! Save Hassle! Take my Rhodes Old Town Virtual Tour - Free!!

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, July 24, 2009 19:37:07

Sometimes it's good to take the slow lane for a while. So I wandered out earlier today and as well as taking some local photos, had a sugar-cone 99 and later a half of Bass. I've uploaded the photos, but started browsing amongst stuff I'd taken over the last couple of years and came across my shots of Rhodes (old town) - Yes that's Rhodes in Greece - not USA.

To save everyone the hassle of crowds, and sore feet I've uploaded my scenic wander through the old town for your benefit. Mind you, if you do find yourself in Marmaris (Turkey) and fancy a jaunt on the (very fast) hydro to Rhodes - do it. There are a lot of very lovely eating places and the people ('specially the girls) are smashing.

The photos I've uploaded today are in a gallery called 'cullercoats' on, and there are currently 3 albums I've uploaded this afternoon.

Gallery URL:

Rhodes Old Town Album:

Tall Ships Race on Tyne 1986

Snaps of Cullercoats today:


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Are they looking over my shoulder as I type?

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, July 23, 2009 10:20:01

Back in school, as part of a History lesson, I can remember 'Chang' Lee giving one of his 'specials' on printing. Mr. Lee, to give him his correct name was one of those superb teachers, who although there were several like him at Elgin Sec. School, were already becoming as rare as hen's teeth. But I digress. Chang was a great story-teller, and I loved his lessons. His exposition on Caxtons printing press and the great clamour for anything that had been printed fascinated me. That later on in time, broadsheet sellers would have their papers ripped from their grasp as they emerged into the street demonstrated that even though most of the public could not read, their appetite for what was 'new', was boundless.

After a terrible day yesterday, when nausea and faint-headedness forced me to bed 3 times in the afternoon, naturally I was still awake, mind racing at 3:00am this morning. Since I was starting to ache with simply lying there, I got up and busied myself with finishing a few tasks that had been put on hold. One of these was a story that I'd started weeks ago and didn't finish, so I completed it, spell-checked and put a PDF version on That was at about 5:45am this morning. I then went back to bed and half-dozed until 9:15am when I got up again.

I'd left the computer on so I refreshed the page I'd created to cast a critical eye over my ghost-shift efforts. I was very surprised to see that there had been 7 views of the page since I'd created it a few hours ago. Silly, really, but it felt like no sooner had I written the page, but it had been snatched and read straight away.

Good morning. I hope everyone has a great day.


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Wild Thing

StoriesPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, July 22, 2009 13:22:37

Reg Presley (of The Troggs) is famously quoted as having said that he ‘wrote Wild Thing on a ciggy packet whilst in the toilet’ and that ‘it was the most productive dump I ever had’. This may be apocryphal, but it dosn’t matter - the song, along with other’s he wrote, has become a timeless classic, and was partly the inspiration for this story.

Wild Thing;
You make my heart sing.
You make everything;
I said: ‘Wild Thing’

Wild Thing, I think I love you;
But I wanna know for sure
Come on, hold me tight;
I love you

This story contains explicit sexual references. If you are easily offended, then please do not read it.

Wild Thing


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DISH - Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, July 19, 2009 13:56:01

I've just completed a 1st draft of an essay on DISH-associated Dysphagia, plus an introductory web page on DISH.

The Dysphagia page address is:

and the DISH introductory is here:


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Fresh-faced but brimming with talent

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, July 17, 2009 17:19:12

How refreshing! A visit to the Hospital to consult someone that not only knows what she's talking about, but enthusiastic about her job as well.

1:00pm saw me ushered into the Physio Dept. at Rake Lane to meet Nicola. After many searching questions and a thorough examination of my legs and feet, she demonstrated that it's a muscle under the ankle that is dodgy - not any of the ligaments. She talked me through the principles and I'm convinced - to my great relief, that it isn't more serious - i.e. another manifestation of the dreaded DISH.

This is just another confirmation that 'consultants' look no bloody further than the 'likliest' candidate, rather than taking a holistic view. It is also apparent that it's probably best to see a proficient physiotherpaist BEFORE waiting months to see a consultant, not to mention of course, that she's a lot prettier!

I've been given some strengthening exercises to do and another visit in 2 weeks time. As a BTW, that means that once again a whole month is eaten into by hospital visits - now 3 before the end of the month.

Any possibility of a 'Grand Tour' now moves to August.

More later.


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The Word.

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, July 15, 2009 17:43:34

Spread the word and you'll be free
Spread the word and be like me
Spread the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?

Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way
It's the word I'm thinking of
And the only word is love

(Lennon & McCartney)

Never in modern man's 60,000 years of history, has there been so many individuals documenting events, both important and/or trivial/ephemoral, on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps it will be the literal capture of ephemera that will prove most fascinating by future history students, as it is these events that in the past were not documented and prove to be of most interest to us today.

The almost insatiable appetite of some for the most insignificant thoughts/actions of 'celebrities' is demonstrated by the huge numbers who follow these folks on sites like Twitter. Individuals (myself included) simply tell anyone/everyone 'out there' what they are thinking/doing and this is captured for posterity on digital media.

Engines such as Google constantly scrutinise and tag the whole WWW so that it forms a coherent, easily accessed medium, storing the collective thoughts/actions of a billion blog/website scribblers. A recent comment by a Google analyst when questioned about 'privacy' said: 'Forget it - it's too late to do anything about it.'

My thoughts go back to prognosis made in the sixties, both by authors and scientists, about what life would be like now. Worries at the time about Big Brother 1984, and conversely, the happy prospects of non-stop leisure as autonomous robots did all of our work. All of the forecasts were not just wrong, they didn't contain one grain of the reality that has been brought about by the inexorable rise in power of - the written word.

Yeah, I know, you probably thought I was going to say 'computer'. But without the words forming the instructions to the machine from us, a computer is simply a useless aggregation of expensive bits and pieces. That the primary role of most computers today is the acquisition and distribution of words fully completes the circle.


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Now I know how Lot's wife felt...

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, July 15, 2009 16:49:06

The dying embers of the night a fire that slowly fades till dawn
Still glow upon the wall so bright burning burning burning
The tired streets that hide away from here to everywhere they go
Roll past my door into the day in my blue world

I turn to stone when you are gone, I turn to stone.
Turn to stone when you comin home, I cant go on.
Turn to stone when you are gone, I turn to stone.

(Jeff Lynne)

It's just as well that I don't believe that I'm being punished for past sins by being turned to stone - surely I didn't commit that many! - just that coping with the process is punishing in itself.

Recent visits to wise consultants results in opinions that are now ludicrously easy to forecast - because these learned individuals inevitably all come to the same conclusion - they have no strategy for dealing with this condition.

I append the pertinent part of a letter I received this morning wrt a visit a few weeks ago.

The scary part is in the last paragraph: 'Unless his investigations show any particular cause for concern I have not arranged a further follow up but I would be happy to see him in the future'

'Cause for concern'? It's my humble opinion that losing completely the use of my legs is something I would regard as 'Cause for concern'.

Note that as yet there is no mention of results from the blood tests and X-rays taken at the same time.


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Too many Joes

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, July 14, 2009 05:20:09

Whilst lying awake this morning, I was going over one or two coincidences that have occurred lately, and my mind drifted back to the short lecture I gave the development team at ICL Fujitsu back in 2000AD. This lecture was on the subject of coincidence, and was mostly an admonishment by me to all and sundry that rather than be the exception, coincidence is the norm - simply because we live in a massively-parallel world. I was surprised by the number of otherwise-gifted engineers who when asked to think about it in that way, obviously had their opinions altered somewhat.

Now a question. In a small community on the north-east coast - a place in which there are two pubs, when probably that's one-too-many - what is the chance of three men, all of which are roughly the same age, build and intelligence, all drink bitter and all three are called Joe?

You think I'm making this up don't you? Well I'm not. Back in the late-eighties, two of my regular drinking pals were also called Joe - to the delight of some of the other locals who would tease strangers into making silly bets.

What was even stranger, was that neither of the other Joes like football, but both liked a game of pool, neither was married, but both had a live-in partner.

A lot of our early conversations were questions about just how similar we were - apart from the name that is, and we all obviously enjoyed each-other's company.

Strange? Not really, when you consider how popular the name 'Joe' was to parents of baby-boomer male children. Yes, it's as simple as that.

What sparked this off? Well I've been trying to dream up a scheme to knock Joe Brown out of 1st place on a Google search, and having done that, another scheme to ensure that the other Joe Brown dosn't replace Joe Brown, in 1st place but both of them to be 2nd and 3rd to my 1st, not to mention the 3rd Joe Brown that sells clothes.

Bloody pop singer, mountain climber and tailor!!


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Wide-awake Cullercoats Man Discovers Triffid!

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, July 14, 2009 04:49:25

Having been up and down all night, at 4:15am I decided I'd had enough, so got up, made a pot of coffee and started making shopping list. Last place I checked was Veg cupboard and guess what sprang out to greet me? Yes, it sprung out as I opened the door, and I must admit to taking two steps backward. This sort of thing ain't good for anybody in a state of raised awareness to start with!

Just shows how long it is since I had potatoes.

Sleep well you lucky, lucky people.


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"Your opinions are important to us" - Yeah, right!

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, July 12, 2009 13:29:40

There's plenty of web activity regarding the 118800 pricks making money by selling our privacy, so I won't say any more than I have already on that specific subject.

I've spent a while this morning reading what others have said about the above, and I've been surprised by a small number of young individuals who are demonstrating what I believe is a very mature reaction to the almost total commoditization of our free time by one foul means or another.

The abuse of social networks, the email system, landline telephones and now the cellphone networks were quoted as a good reason for leaving their phone at home, or as I did for many years treat it a facility that only they could use and kept it switched-off quite a lot of the time, and only turning it on to make a call, before returning it to 'dormant'.

The rationale for this is: 'that if the message is important, then the person will find some way of contacting me'.

I first heard those words - almost verbatim - many years ago in my late teens, when a friend (he knows who he is) related to me an incident from his first term at university.

Near the end of term, a friendly psychology lecturer had said to him: 'Mr X, do you realize that for the whole term, you haven't checked your mailbox once, and that it contains many unopened and unanswered items?' To which Mr. X had given the reply I quoted above.

His approach apparently interested the lecturer so much that Mr. X was invited to take part in a series of tests to determine his personality 'type'. The result? - he was pronounced a 'stable extrovert'.

Over a long number of years, I've been criticised by my long-term girlfriend for turning off my mobile, and I've tried to explain that I don't regard it in the same way that she did hers. That it was a facility for 'me' and only 'me', was a concept that was entirely alien to her. Asking her to consider if her call was important, or could wait, met with blank stares.

My short affair with June was accompanied with waking up to text messages from her - every morning - proclaiming her love and devotion for me. It's great that someone loves you, but I was slowly suffocating with her continued presence - even though she wasn't physically here in the room - all because of the telephone!

My friend's (Mr. X) experience, and the wisdom of his action long ago have stuck with me, and in the large part I've adhered to the philosophy, but, not answering all of the time is not an option. Now, instead of getting annoyed and frustrated by the 'ghost' telephone calls and the unending requests to speak to 'Mr. Harper' I have started to try and look upon the interruptions as a reminder to leave my chair and walk about from time-to-time - which I know is good for me.

There is also the fun of answering abruptly: 'No, you can't!' when requested by the caller: 'Can I speak to Mr. Harper?' This is usually met with surprise by the poor call-centre worker, who is only able to deal with replies that are on the screen in front of her. By the time she recovers, I've already put the phone down.

Well, that's rant #1 over with - Already the week looks better!

My love to you all, aren't you glad I prefer not to send text messages?


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Confirmation of a decadent and corrupt society

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, July 10, 2009 06:40:06

It's the turn of the gutter press to be under the searchlight this week. The criminal activities of some newspapers are at last about to receive public scrutiny, despite Police efforts to hush the whole thing up.

We all knew that a large percentage of journalists broke the law to obtain their 'stories'. It is now confirmed that a corrupt cohort of policemen are being bribed via 'private investigators' to provide information about us that police and government departments are entrusted to hold private.

Anyone that thinks that the details of their lives held by the state are protected is living in a dream-world - these details are commoditised by our so-called public servants and sold to the highest bidder. Anyone still believing that our society is protected by it's government is a fool.

Tot up the events since the start of the year and it's plain to see what I have believed for a long while - the only person who gives a flying-f**k about you is yourself - get wise and volunteer no information whatsoever, give up only what you are forced to do so by law.


Rant count so far this week - 2. Verdict? Must try harder!

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Mobile phone directory - more shit in your ear

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, July 09, 2009 10:18:41

Once again the British public are being fed like slaughtered lambs to Big Business. This time it's our Mobile numbers. Already on landlines telecoms companies charge us if we want to block 'unknown' numbers, and for myself I'm sick to the back teeth of picking the 'phone up only to hear silence. Now, I inevitably slam the phone down straight-away rather than waiting for the inevitable request to speak to 'Mr Harper'. (most of my calls are for him)

Significantly the company 118800 site is down this morning - hopefully this is because of the deluge of requests for number removal from an indignant public.

I regard my telephones as a convenience for me, my relatives and friends - not as a selling opportunity for a greedy uncaring corporate shitpile, who dosn't care a jot about me - only the money they can make from me.

Well, thats the rant for the day. Having got that off my chest, I wish everybody a Merry Pancake Friday from


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You'll enjoy it - just suspend your belief systems?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, July 08, 2009 06:17:49

On Monday we were informed that Yolande (who is now apparently an executive for the chain of mini-marts) has insisted that everyone should pay 5p for a plastic bag in the Eastenders mini-mart, and that this is to help with global warning.

But it's a lie! She's actually in hospital and the charge for the bags is to pay her medical fees. The cat was let out of the bag when 3 million viewers saw her lying in a ward at Holby hospital last night.

Also seen last night - Always, the feminine towel manufacturers, have discovered they can turn their products into pin-ball machines! I saw it! On the telly! Last night! Just add two ball-bearings!


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Sorry, she dosn't exist. I simply made her up.

The Occasional DiaristPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, July 06, 2009 17:18:21

During another sleepless night last night (this morning) I heard an interview on Radio 5 live with the author Andrew Martin. (The Last Train to Scarborough) He and the interviewer were talking as they took in the scenery of the Bluebell Railway line in Sussex, whilst travelling on one of its trains. Whilst I found the whole interview quite absorbing, one remark of Andrew's stuck in my mind. While discussing the construction of The Last Train To Scarborough he said that: "I got to know the inmates of the Bed & Breakfast very well." (or words to that effect) Now although he had spent one night in a B&B in Scarbororough for real, to soak up the atmosphere, he wasn't referring to this - but the characters he had created in the story.

I have been scribbling furiously on and off for the last few weeks and have to confess that I too have been starting to regard some of the created characters as living entities - a feeling I had tried to dissuade myself from because it struck me as yet another path to madness. I have found thoughts of actions and dialogue by these characters popping in and out of my consciousness, even when doing something totally different e.g. assembling stepper-motor driver boards.

Another thought had struck me earlier today, that even people who you would consider should know better can be guilty of making sweeping generalisations and stereotyping the actions of others. One eminent psychiatrist has said that 'Writers sometimes don't know where the next sentence is coming from, they just sit down and out it pops.' (again: words to that effect)

This is plain dumb, and ignores completely accepted facts about cognition - and the progress of a person from beginner to expert. I'm not sure on what basis she makes this assertion, but it is probably accepting verbatim the answers given to her by her interviewee when asked 'where does this stuff come from?' It is disheartening to read these naive remarks by 'eminent' authorities of topics so serious as Bipolar Disorder, because if her reasoning falls over at what is really beginners stuff - what worth can we put on her other opinions? Putting these two things together has made me realise that far from going mad, I am simply beginning to enter the 'Unconscious Competence' phase of composition.


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Deja Vu - Again?

The Occasional DiaristPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, July 06, 2009 03:16:02

I've briefly touched on this subject before, but as it remains a strong feature of what I do, I'm strongly drawn to analyse what is happening and try to make some sense of it. I refer to Deja Vu - yes I know - we've been there before! (Sorry about that, I couldn't resist it) More seriously, this phenomenon has cost me no little time and effort because of the nature and frequency of it's occurences. Whether it's writing a short essay, article or even lines of code, I sometimes have to stop myself and ask the question: "Haven't I already done this?" If I shrug the 'feeling' off, and carry on with writing, I'm again later interrupted by an even stronger conviction that I've already completed or near-completed the work already. At this point I usually have to check the relevant directories on the hard disk for evidence of this conviction, but have never (yet) found any. This is most frustrating, and I suppose it's a little like an OCD-sufferer returning to his door over and over again to ensure that he locked it.

Now what I do know is that the problem is closely allied to the way I work, or have worked in the past. Usually, when I sit down to write anything (this for example) I've already made up my mind exactly what to say, and the writing is a fairly obvious (and mundane) repetition of stuff I have already gone over several times mentally. I suppose the root cause of the problem is that my brain refuses to believe the plain truth that no amount of mental effort will actually put the words on paper. A lot of what I do is considered/concocted during sleepless nights and/or affected by severe mood-swings, so reality gets somewhat bent on occasions.

The obsessive part I believe comes from my background in programming. Early on, I was taught several bitter lessons about 'losing' code. The unhappy events meant re-writing everything that had taken maybe several weeks of effort. One such occasion made an important 'fact' (or more honestly 'belief') become apparent - I never was able to write the replacement code exactly the way I had done it the first time, and I know this because on that specific occasion only, I came across my 'lost' code on a cassette (ah happy days!) that had fallen behind the desk I used. When I compared this with my latter effort, it was significantly different - not in it's function, but in its implementation. I examined both sets of code, and decided that the 1st (lost) version was definitely better than its replacement. So it seems that this one event has coloured my cognitive processes, and it is simple paranoia that makes me search in vain for work I imagine I've already done, as of course, my 'lost' work will naturally be 'better'.

This is almost laughable looking at it in retrospect, and the simple recollection of the original event that possibly caused the paranoia will make it a lot easier to deal with in future.

There is a lesson here for those that would accuse others of 'dwelling' on the past, as if it were a 'bad' thing. What we are now is because of what we did or what was done to us then. An understanding of the relevant triggers, and correcting our emotional responses to these, may necessitate a rigorous examination of our past. Unfortunately, a large part of the 'programming' in our heads remains hidden - like orphaned files on a crashed hard disk, and requires expert help and guidance, and a large amount of effort on our part also, to reveal its structure and content.

CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is the current 'buzz' and apparently a solution to almost everything, if we believed it's pundits. My opinion is that it barely scrapes the surface, and in truth the quality of so-called CBT therapists, despite their fancy certificates, mandates that they are incapable of giving real help to someone who badly needs it. For an understanding of how your mind works, and what you can do about re-programming some of it's gliches, I recommend you to buy a good book on NLP. (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)


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Wallander is Back!

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, July 06, 2009 01:43:56

After the 2 pilot episodes last year I was disappointed there were no more - Now there are! All 13 episodes (including the first 2 pilots) of this outstanding original Swedish-language version of Wallander is being broadcast on BBC Four. This puts the much-hyped Kenneth Brannagh version deeply in the shade, the tense nuances of the native language matching the writing of each taut episode to a fine tee.

BTW if you are a Geordie, like me, you will find this very easy to follow, as a lot of the day-to-day dialog is the same as 'wats spoaken hya man'. The on-screen english translation is terse, but sufficiently helpful with some of the more 'technical' police terms.

Don't miss this, you will regret it if you do.


next episode

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StoriesPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, July 05, 2009 17:51:37


© 2009 J.W.Brown

First published on July 3, 2009

“Excuse me mister.”
He whirled round yelling; “What!”
I jumped back involuntarily & stared at one of the most angry faces I had ever seen.
“Would you like some tea?” I stammered to get the words out as I took in the black and blue bruises across his nose and cheekbones, and two eyes that were red with broken veins.
“No!” he almost shouted again, and turned on his heels to resume tightening bolts on the crane's jib. I walked away, but couldn't help but glance nervously over my shoulder as I went, fearing the worst. He shouted: “Hey kid!” I turned around and he was walking towards me, I was apprehensive but stood resolutely to the spot. “I'm sorry I shouted at you.”

I started breathing again. He said slowly: “I'm not fit for company, so I'll pass on the tea.”
“I can bring it to you” I said. His face broke into a sad distorted smile and he mumbled “Thanks, that would be great.”

I made my way back to our site cabin and made a full can of tea using scalding water from the boiler, stirred in a large quantity of sweetened, condensed milk then added two heaped teaspoons of sugar. Our foreman was watching me, and as I picked up the tea-can and a couple of Penguin biscuits he said quietly: “Watch out for yourself Joe.”
I nodded and said “OK” then left the cabin to walk back to where the crane driver was still tightening bolts.

I had spent a large part of the morning watching the progress of the driver and his mate as they built up the jib of the massive self-erecting crane in the access road next to our compound. I had been there at 7:30am when the crane and trailer had arrived, pulling into the compound – only to be ordered out again by our officious CEGB site engineer McPherson. There had been a heated discussion between the driver and McPherson, about where the crane was to be built, and although I wasn't close enough to hear, it was fairly easy to deduce that our site engineer was doing his usual bossy 'I know best' act. I had noticed the bruising on the driver's face – even from a distance it looked bad, and one of our crew intimated that the man had been involved in a brawl the night before.

I handed him the can and biscuits and he hitched himself up until he was sitting on the jib of the crane. Pouring himself a cup, he took a bite of biscuit and sipped the tea. “Thanks kid, that's great – I've had a helluva morning.” Again that sad lop-sided smile.
“You're welcome” I said, “Don't let that engineer get to you – he's an idiot. Just do what he says, and watch shit happen.”
He looked at me and lifted his head in a question. I joined him sitting on the jib and he sat drinking his tea, as I told him the saga of our experiences since we came on site.

Our job was to build a 35-ton girder some 150ft long and erect it at the edge of the compound where it would form a gable to support the construction of an extension to the massive switch-house at Delaval-Bois power-station. The girder parts were all of high-strength steel, as were the bolts, and in that lay a serious problem. During the construction of the girder, the old CEGB engineer we knew had retired and his place taken by McPherson, who had made his presence felt around the whole Power Station and especially with us. He had insisted first of all, that each of the 11/2 inch diameter bolts on the main truss had to be tightened with a torque wrench to 450 ft/lbs. As the youngest and smallest in our crew, I had to add a small scaffolding pudlock onto the handle of the wrench before I could turn it.

Almost as soon as we had finished re-tightening every bolt, McPherson decided that this wasn't good enough. He had discovered that despite being torqued to 450 ft/lbs, he could still get a feeler-gauge under the head of some of the bolts. These special bolts had 3 raised blips on the underside of each bolt-head, and McPherson insisted that these had to be forced into the steelwork to indicate that each bolt was tight enough. The simple truth was that they were just an aid to stop the head turning whilst the nut was tightened. As a remedy to these 'slack' bolts, we were ordered to re-tighten these until we couldn't insert the feeler gauge under each bolt head.

The results were inevitable. First of all I wasn't strong enough to tighten the bolts even with a full-sized scaffold pudlock adding to the wrench length, the second was that bolts started snapping. I was intrigued to discover that it wasn't the threads that failed as I had expected, but the shaft of each bolt simply lengthened and reduced in diameter until it failed. Samples of these stretched and snapped bolts were delivered to McPherson's office by our foreman, without comment.

Subsequently a new delivery of replacement bolts arrived with new instructions that these were to be torqued to 450ft/lbs as before. So, the girder was built, and ready to lift into place hence the giant crane.

I finished talking and was aware that he had been listening attentively to every word. He nodded his head and asked me: “What's your name kid?”
“I'm Joe”, I replied. He offered his huge hand to me and as I took it he said: “I'm Gary, and thanks Joe, my morning just got better.” We both slid off our perches on the crane jib, and I went back to the cabin, while he continued building the jib.

It was early afternoon before the crane was ready, and our crew stood outside and watched it crawl along the road very slowly, with the jib lowered very close to the ground. Loud yelling was heard and McPherson came running down the road, shouting and waving his hands at the crane. The driver brought the crane to a halt and we could hear McPherson yelling at the driver about regulations that the jib of the crane must be fully up whilst moving around the site. To everyone's surprise the crane driver had simply nodded and slowly the jib was pulled up until it was almost vertical, when the crane once more progressed along the road on it's way into the compound.

We all stood and watched in horror as McPherson walked backward down the road in front of the crane signalling instructions to the driver. Just as the crane approached the compound there was a series of very loud explosions, and brilliant blue lights as the crane jib cut into the first series of 75Kvolt overhead cables that crossed the road. The foremost sections of the jib were instantly vapourised and it swan-necked forward until the higher section landed on the second tier overhead cables. Again there were a terrific series of explosions and the jib now fell to the ground, completely severed by the white heat of the short circuits. Meanwhile the melted cables whipped back each side of the road and they left trailing blazes of fire and sparks on the ground. McPherson was transfixed – both hands up to his head - which was just as well, for if he had moved he would have been in the path of the deadly snaking cables, and would have surely been killed.

The driver stopped the crane and jumped down from his cabin, With not even a passing glance at McPherson, he walked towards us putting on his coat. As he passed he looked across at me and slowly winked, then turned and walked off site. I never saw him again.

This article is also available as a PDF file here

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StoriesPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, July 05, 2009 17:23:13

© 2009 J.W.Brown
First published on July 2, 2009

Hush a-bye, Don't you cry
Go to sleep little baby
When you awake, You shall have cake
And all the pretty little horses

There were no cars parked in our street – no-one owned one. They were to be seen on the High Street and Sunderland Road, along with Trams and Lorries, but not very many. Most deliveries in and around where we lived were done by horse-drawn carts. The men on the Ice-cream carts from Dragone's and Mark Tony's would announce their presence to children with a shrill whistle, and I would go outside and standing as near as I dared, stroke the horses head. I loved their earthy smell and in winter the breath from their nostrils would not be unlike the exhaust from the steam engines in Central Station.

Nearby, Ringtons had their tea depot and stables. Every weekday morning a magnificent procession of immaculately turned-out horses would emerge from the depot pulling 2-wheel hansoms, each with a driver perched high up, and the carriages full of tea parcels.

On the High Street, horses stilled pulled a lot of the carts delivering goods to the shops. A common sight also, was seeing a drover relieve himself at the kerbside, in full view of passers-by. Many years later, I discovered that this was indeed allowed by local bye-laws, as the drover was not permitted to leave his animal unattended.

Coal was delivered to each house from the narrow, scruffy, back-lanes that ran behind the houses, and this was another opportunity for me to make friends with the coalmans horse - usually by standing to the side of the animals head and talking nonsense to it. On one such occasion I got more than I bargained for, when the horse decided to urinate without any warning whatsoever. I recall standing, with my back pressed hard to the wall, gasping, with hands over my face, while scalding hot urine showered over me as it bounced up from the hard cobbles in the lane. I also recall that the coalman and his labourer thought this mightily funny and they were still roaring with laughter as I walked away drenched to the skin in hot horse pee. My Mum, on the other hand, was not so amused, and I was upbraided loudly and ordered into our backyard where the still warm, wet clothes were roughly pulled off me until I stood shocked, shaking, and naked. I was warned never to get that close to a horse again. You know what? - I never listened, and perversely, although I couldn't help but admire these animals, on almost every occasion I've gotten close to one, it inevitably turns out to be a very uncomfortable experience.

A few years after the above, the whole family were on a camping holiday on a farm that overlooked the Iron Foundry in Alston. The farmers daughter had a small horse, which she insisted I had to ride around the field. She helped me up into the saddle, and barely had I got hold of the reins, when the animal took off – not a walk, nor even a sedate trot, but a full gallop. A few yards later - off I fell, but my left foot was tangled in the stirrup and consequently I was dragged around the field face down through cattle muck, thistles and worst of all – nettles. Apparently this scene afforded the farmers daughter – and my sister, with much merriment, and they were still crying with laughter as eventually they brought the horse under control and my foot was freed. I had tram-line scrapes down my face and my torso, and was covered in cow dung and nettle rash. Nevertheless, later my father pronounced me 'lucky' that I hadn't been seriously injured. This really didn't help because I felt that I had indeed been seriously injured – I had a few very uncomfortable days while the various bumps, scratches and stings mended. For the rest of the holiday, every time the farmers daughter saw me she burst into uncontrollable laughter – I couldn't see the joke.

The next year saw us camping again – this time at Cresswell, next to the beautiful Druridge Bay on the Northumberland coast. It didn't take me long to make friends with the few local kids there were, and a special friendship with a girl called Emma. She was very pretty, in an impish way, had a well-developed sense-of-humour for one so young, and clearly enjoyed my company as much as I did hers.
One favourite game – Relevo - was played in the semi-ruins of the local manor house. Emma and I would go together and hide amongst hay that was stored above one of the old stables. There we would sit and talk, hold hands and kiss until we were found by 'the pack'.
Emma had a pony and had asked me on several occasions if I wanted to ride it. Mostly I demurred – my recent experience in Alston still all-too-fresh in my memory, but inevitably I was drawn in until one day when I decided to triumph over my fears, and I was coaxed up onto the saddle. Now Emma was a slightly-built 13-year-old, but even though I was the same age, already my body was starting to take the shape – and weight, of a muscular youth. Whatever it was, either my weight or my smell I don't know, but the pony refused point-blank to budge – until, that is, Emma gave it a healthy whack on the backside with a thin stick. It moved – I didn't, and found myself lying on my back, on the ground, after it had bucked and then accelerated away.
Once again this appeared to be a great source of amusement as Emma and other assorted friends crippled with laughter at my discomfort. Fortunately my only injury this time was a bruised bum. I never attempted to ride a horse again, preferring to admire these beautiful animals with my feet on the ground, rather than in the stirrups.

A PDF version of this article is here

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A 'Good Day' to bury bad news?

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, June 26, 2009 10:58:32

The event of Michael Jacksons demise seems to have shocked the whole world, and according to MSN, even 'slowed down the Internet'. Whilst it is always sad to hear about the untimely death of anyone, sadly it seems that it is apparently once again an excuse for mawkish behaviour of the type we witnessed a few years ago when 'she' died in a car crash.

If half as much attention was paid to other, far more important news, in my opinion the world would be a far, far, better place. As an example, take a look at the latest news from Zambia, which I feel has been almost neglected by reporters and the public.

Monkey urinates on Zambian president


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The Tweet Is Mightier Than The Sword

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, June 17, 2009 04:01:23

Are we seeing another revolution in Iran? Will the tweeted word prove to be the undoing of this religious dictatorship? After all, the crumbling and final demise of the Soviet Union was brought about - we are told reliably - by The Beatles - well, by Western Pop Music anyway. The availability of the Twitter website was considered so important by the USA administration that they mandated an imminent upgrade by it’s proprietors to be delayed - until further notice.

Meanwhile that sad little git in 10 Downing Street is back on form with his spinning and self-puffery with an announcement that ‘Britain is to be the technological capital of the World’ with the provision of 20MBit broadband into every home. Hasn’t anyone dared to tell this idiot that a large number of countries have already left Britain way behind in the broadband bandwidth stakes - Singapore, an ex-British colony - has access to rates as high as 100MBits, for example.

The Internet is proving that it can be a force for good - despite recent examples of its abuse by child-molesters. This, and the mobile camera-phone have proved to be a match and more for facists - both in this country and abroad. Actions by sick policemen and over-zealous security forces the world over are captured by individuals on their phones and find their way onto YouTube etc., etc., in a matter of minutes. These are both seen and copied many times over by anyone else in the world with access to the Net. The Net embodies the very nature of Pandora - the giver of all - despite completely fruitless attempts to slam down the lid by these corrupt states.


First published on Wed. 17th June 2009

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The Synth Is Dead - Long Live the Synth

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, May 30, 2009 14:14:01

As an avid consumer of pop music for over 50 years, it would be easy for me to say that I think I’ve heard it all, but I’m glad I don’t because being wrong isn’t something I enjoy. Every now and again, an act comes along which is refreshingly different - yet familar enough to remind of pleasures past. If, like me you have been following the decidedly tongue-firmly-in-cheek series The Guardian, on Five, the catchy song In For the Kill is one of those damned tunes that you can’t get out of your head. Even after hearing it for the first time when the current series started, I found myself humming, then latterly singing, the first lines of the chorus.

At first I thought the singer was a youngish man doing an impressive counter-tenor, or falsetto if you prefer, a la Communards, but the voice is subtly different, and when I looked up the artists that comprise La Roux, and realised the singer was a girl, it started to make sense. The delicious difference here is that the androgenous sound that usually emanates from a male throat - is this time coming from a female one. Learning that Elly Jackson was bullied at school because of her ‘androgenous style’ ( completes the picture.

This strangely lovely voice is coupled with a lo-fi synthesizer sound, and an instantly recognizable story in the lyrics, to make one of the freshest performances for a long while. A little bit of Déja Vu here is the use of the 123 123 12 rythm pattern I talked about in another post: Anatomy of a Pop Classic at the start of May, which makes the song a hit with dance addicts. In fact the song may well end up as ‘classic’ as Duel did for the synth band Propaganda. So, another synth band, another hit - who said synth music was dead?

I won’t post the song here, but prompt you to have a listen to it on Spotify where there are two other mixes as well, including a rather good exclusive Spotify ‘live session’.

We can fight our desires;
Oooh but when we start making fires,
We get ever so hot.
Oooh whether we like it or not

They say we can love who we trust;
Oooh but what is love without lust?
Two hearts with accurate devotions;
Oooh but what are feelings without emotions?

I’m going in for the kill
I’m doing it for a thrill
I’m hoping you’ll understand,
And not let go of my hand

I’m going in for the kill
I’m doing it for a thrill
I’m hoping you’ll understand,
And not let go of my hand

I hang my hopes out on the line;
Oooh will they be ready for you in time,
If you leave them out too long
Oooh they’ll be withered by the sun

Full stops and exclamation marks
Oooh my words stumble before I start
How far can you send emotions?
Oooh can this bridge cross the ocean?

I’m going in for the kill
I’m doing it for a thrill
I’m hoping you’ll understand,
And not let go of my hand

I’m going in for the kill
I’m doing it for a thrill
I’m hoping you’ll understand,
And not let go of my hand

Let’s go to wars to make peace
Let’s be cold to create heat
I hope in darkness we can see
And you’re not blinded by the light from me

Oooooh Oooooh Oooooh Oooooh Ooooooooooh

I’m going in for the kill
I’m doing it for a thrill
I’m hoping you’ll understand
And not let go of my hand

First published on

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Forlorn spindly plant actually flowers

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, May 26, 2009 17:26:41

And I thought this was dead! Bought last year and faded as soon as in my possession, this clematis has 3 lovely blooms.

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The Hard Facts

The Occasional DiaristPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, May 26, 2009 15:55:46
The last few days have been difficult, I have to drive myself very hard to get things done at times like these. It is made especially so, when some projects that looked so attractive before, and had been set about with vigour and enthusiasm, now appear pointless, ill-considered and at best naive. With the benefit of hindsight however, I’ve learned not to abandon these, but rather to set them aside for ‘review’, because I’ve found that there’s usually some part of a project that either has merit in itself, or can be converted (morphed) into something that has.

Way back when I was at school, I was very keen on books. I was encouraged to read at a very early age by my father, and could read most things when I started school. This gave me a tremendous ‘boost’, and for most of the rest of my time at school, I was a year ahead of the children of my own age. Language fascinated me, and books given out to last a term were usually read within a matter of days, which made me very popular with at least one English Language teacher. I also found I could write essays and stories in a way that others would enjoy - A big fan was my father, who normally pounced on my english homework when it was finished, and spend 10 minutes or so, reading it and laughing to himself.

For a large part of my adult life, I’ve written - mostly technical work, but always had a hankering to re-visit earlier days and write short stories. To complete the circle then, I’ve tried putting down some of the stories going around in my head, but whilst I thought this was worthwhile when writing these - it is now apparent to me, that most of what I wanted to say has been said already, and a number of these works will probably never see the light of day. I should probably stick to documenting my technical projects - that is a field where I know just exactly what to say, and what to leave out. Putting it more bluntly - the stories are mostly a collection of cliches - sad ones at that.


First published on 26th May 2009

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NLP Practitioners - 21st Century Snake-Oil?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, May 23, 2009 13:38:53

I'm always very interested in techniques that promise better self-understanding and harmony, and naturally I'm not alone. Anyone attempting to better themselves certainly needs to open their minds, or will probably never reach 1st base, but needs to be very aware that in doing so, we leave ourselves slightly vulnerable to the attention of charlatans. The rise and rise of the internet has seen the reach of these parasites extend to every part of the globe. Occasionally though, I come across stuff that is very, very funny - because it is blatantly obvious in it's intent. I tried to demonstrate what I mean here on this blog, but unfortunately some of my articles are not shown as I would like. The article is published in full here.


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The Downside - part 2

The Occasional DiaristPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, May 21, 2009 18:05:30
Thursday 21st May 2009 17:26
Just finished a lovely meal - main course stewed shin beef, new potatoes and peas followed by (forbidden) rhubarb pie. AND two big glasses of good french red wine. I’ve thought of a TLA for times like this: BBS - Brittle Behaviour Syndrome. This very accurately describes the rest of my afternoon. I needed to shop so jumped in the car, sat at the roundabout at the top of the road and cursed/fumed/shouted abuse at those people who, although have been driving for years, still don’t know how to use a roundabout. In the supermarket, I managed to upset the guy in front of me in the checkout, when he dropped some of his change - he didn’t even look at me when I remarked that he obviously had too much money, and would he give some of it to me. Then, on the way home, was pulled over by a snot-nosed policeman in a jam sandwich who proceeded to lecture me on the correct behaviour at traffic lights on RED. Followed that up by dispensing unwelcome advice to my friendly electronics shop proprietor on how to stop malicious propaganda about them on the web. All-in-all I suppose I should be glad that I arrived back home in one piece, but couldn’t resist attacking the wine. It has made me feel a little better, but sadly, the effects are only transitory.
So, while everyone is still in the mood, take a listen to this very lovely version of ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’ by Cathy Jordan: Boots of Spanish Leather - her rendition of this feels like someone tenderly caressing my heart.


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The Downside

The Occasional DiaristPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, May 21, 2009 15:37:49

It seems like only yesterday, instead of January, when I put all projects on hold, because of the need to sort out the long-endured problems with my main development PC. Those of you who had followed that saga will know that I was so pleased with the resulting home-built PC, I built another. This was quickly followed by non-too subtle alterations in my working environment, including new shelves, changing of rooms for my musical instruments etc. Add to this the launch of another website, and the collation/re-arrangement of material for that, plus numerous visits to the hospital, and the whole lot totals up to a fairly busy time since Christmas - then today arrived.

I’ve been sleeping better in the last week or so - until last night. I’d had about 2 hours and woke up to lie awake for what seemed like another 2, when I must have dozed off again - until 11:30am! This scares me, as when I dragged myself from the bed, understandably stiff and aching, I still felt very tired. When I went downstairs I was shocked at the mess - it’s as if in the last 2 days a whole family of gibbons have been living in my kitchen. I breakfasted and spent nearly an hour washing up almost all the crockery that usually lives untouched in the cupboard. As usual I switched on the mp3 player/photo case while I worked, but had to turn it off because the music was upsetting me.

Strange then, that it was only yesterday that I was ready to pick up halted projects, starting with documenting the DRO, (finally) and had set up the camera on stilts over it’s LCD display, ready to start this morning. Instead, since tidying up I’ve wandered around the house seeking diversion and finding none that I wanted to do. I’ve never sat down and documented severe mood transitions before, and thinking that the downside is never going to happen again is part of the euphoric state. Writing this today, I realise that the actual swing down took place a couple of days ago - evidenced by the mess in the kitchen. At the moment, all of what I was doing seems pretty pointless, and I feel isolated and lonely.

A quick look back over the last week or so dosn’t shed much light on any particular trigger - a letter regarding another appointment about my knees - on August 13 (no it’s a Thursday) just annoyed me at yet another delay - something I usually take in my stride. So I’ll just blame it on my brain chemistry and keep plodding on.


Also published at:

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Why aren't politicians perfect?

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, May 13, 2009 02:04:24

Much noise is being made wrt our honourable ladies and gentlemen dipping their snouts into taxpayers pockets - more noise in fact than the cries of shame over Freddie the Shreddie and his £700,000 per year pension, and all of the other outrageous rapes of the British taxpayer of late.

I don't very often agree with Stephen Fry - I have to admit to taking an opposite view immediately he opens his mouth about anything, but on this occasion?

Well, let us see: Our politicians are our elected representatives who form HM Government & Opposition. They are chosen from amongst us, and let's face it, things would be in a very serious state (no pun intended) if they were in any shape or form unlike us.

We should all be a little glad that they are like the rest of us and behaving in exactly the same way - petty stealing, petty fraud, buck-passing, lying, rewarding incompetence, celebrating greed. It makes us feel that we aren't so bad after all.

Welcome to 21st century Britain

Now where's that pile of stones?


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Yet More Girls

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, May 11, 2009 17:45:52

I've added more girls to the 'Remedies For Troubled Souls' and there's an embedded album here.


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Knitted Kitten?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, May 11, 2009 17:40:19

She dosn't look pleased with her Christmas present.


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Nothing Good Ever Came Out Of EDF

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, May 11, 2009 11:46:25

Now I don't know about you, but I'm p*ss*d off with the crummy EDF advert that pronounces that 'nothing good ever came out of the seventies' - especially when this rubbish Ad was probably written by some snot-nosed little git of an copy-writer who was still shitting in his nappies in 1982.

The following track encapsulates exactly my feelings regarding all the crap that passes as adverts on the TV.

This, and other Who tracks are as iconic now as they were thirty years ago. Small wonder then, that some of the most popular US crime dramas use Pete Townshend/Roger Daltrey's music as their themes.

Won't Get Fooled Again


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9/11 Reprise - Idiot Sacked

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, May 09, 2009 11:18:17

The following regarding the dipstick who organised the 9/11 reprise over New York appeared on the ITN news-site on Friday

A White House military aide who authorised an Air Force flyover of New York which caused panic among some people in the city has resigned.

Louis Caldera said in a resignation letter to President Barack Obama that the controversy over the mission - a photo shoot of a jumbo jet used as Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty in the background - made it impossible for him to lead the White House Military Office.

The flight over lower Manhattan for a photo shoot scared some New Yorkers who remembered the September 11 attacks in 2001 involving hijacked airliners that destroyed the World Trade Centre. Some people panicked and evacuated office buildings when the planes flew over.

Mr Caldera had approved the mission. His resignation came on the same day Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in a letter to Senator John McCain that the photo shoot cost US taxpayers as much as $357,000 (£234,000).

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr Obama had accepted the resignation.

Mr Obama had been described as furious when the incident occurred on April 27 and demanded a review.

Mr McCain, who lost to Mr Obama in last year's presidential election and is the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the incident an "Air Farce One photo op."

The report of the review said ultimately Mr Caldera did not notify relevant White House officials about the flyover in advance.

It said: "When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation. He stated that it was not a conscious decision - he did not intend not to notify them. Instead, he suggested that it may have been an oversight."

Also released was a photo of the Air Force jet over the State of Liberty from the mission.

Mr Gates, providing details demanded by Mr McCain in the wake of the incident, said the cost of a jumbo jet that is used as the president's plane, Air Force One, was estimated between $300,658 and $328,835.

The cost of two accompanying F-16 jets was $28,177 for a total of $357,012, Mr Gates said.


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Abuse - Fact or Fad?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, May 06, 2009 19:44:37

There was a loosely-structured but interesting debate on Radio 5 live last night on the subject of 'Misery' books. Apparently The World & his Wife are all attempting to milk the cash-cow of auto-biographies about child-abuse, sexual and physical, real or imagined. Several high-profile law-suits have come about as a result of some of the 'revelations' that apparently don't bear even the most minimal of examination.

It was mentioned on the programme that there were 'shelves and shelves' of this pap in bookshops, and I felt that was going a little too far. No, it's the truth. This afternoon whilst in Newcastle buying 'Comte' cheese, I called in at Waterstones and checked the statement. The 'Biographies' section of six shelves was mostly taken up with auto-biographies, (time to change the section notice) and most of these were of the 'misery' type described above. I hesitate to say it here, but the majority of Authors names were female.

It is an accepted fact now that adults suffering personality disorders due to abuse carried out when they were children, fare better after properly 'externalising' their experiences. For most of us, this will probably mean an series of open and honest discussions in a controlled environment, with a psychologist who has only one interest - yours. Sadly, more and more of us seem to think that either the problems get better quicker, the more people there are in their audience, or use the exposure of their problems to make money, or both.

With this in mind, I wonder how much of this stuff is true, or if true, really is abuse. Further I'm going to stick my head right up above the parapet here and say that the definition of abuse - as it is used to describe a criminal act, is far too general. Now I know that there are sub-classifications of this term, but even with the mildest form of the so-called abuse - sometimes referred to as 'inappropriate behaviour' - it is still a criminal act.

The Wiki definition of Child Abuse is: The physical or psychological/emotional mistreatment of children.

This definition is further qualified as: 'Most child abuse happens in a child's home, with a smaller amount occurring in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

The clue to resolution of the above I believe is in the formal definition with the word 'mistreatment'. I understand this word (in the context of children) to mean treatment that will engender fear, treatment that will corrupt, treatment that causes physical pain or wounding, and the last catch-all: treatment that interrupts in any other way, the natural and proper growth of the child, both mentally and physically. Note that this covers maintenance of a proper loving relationship between the child, its parents and siblings. (note I'm not a Doctor - this is just my humble opinion)

One of the problems with 'externalising' is that it's a bit like taking a perception-altering drug. You really don't know what's going to happen until you do it. Moreover, like the effects of altered-perception, you may handle it badly, or in your stride. Either way - it will affect you, to a greater or lesser degree.

From personal experience I can say that stuff floods back into the foreground, things and events long-forgotten become both real and vividly fresh. The real up-side to this is that all of the memories can be re-evaluated with the benefit of maturity, and the perception of these events altered to reflect reality - shorn of the lies and mixed-emotions surrounding the original event. There is a down-side. The protagonists of the original acts are seen in a very different light by their 'victim'. This may lead to catastrophic breakdown of relationships within a family, and worse. Exposing such material wider than the immediate family leads to problems of libel etc., mentioned above.

On a more positive note, laying bare the experiences of the past also allows a re-living of the more pleasant events of your young life. (I hope you had some!) Again from experience I can say that it is as if a very heavy blanket has been removed - a blanket that had muffled and made insignificant some events in my life that had given me great joy in the past, and ones that I can now celebrate again.

Here's the 'sticky' bit. There were at least two experiences in my young life that I would have put in the latter, 'pleasant' category, but had the acts been brought to the attention of the authorities, would have been classed as abuse - of the sexual kind, and the protagonists would have been charged as appropriate under the law. No amount of protest by me, that I had neither been hurt, upset etc., would have made a blind bit of difference - as legally a child, I could not be deemed mature enough to know right from wrong.

Of the two relationships, one would have probably been classed as 'wholly inappropriate' behaviour, as the mature woman involved only took matters so far, her sexual overtures stopped, probably by her conscience, despite my all-too-apparent wishes that she continued.

Of the second relationship, this was very different. I was just a boy. I'd had no sexual experiences whatsoever, and yet became a willing partner of a sexually-active young woman.

I terminated this very illicit relationship because she had a boyfriend, who although much older than me, I liked very much, but I couldn't tolerate the way I felt whenever we chanced to meet. Nevertheless, this young woman and I remained firm friends for a very long while after.

I have to say here that I did not feel in the least abused - I felt loved and wanted, and I'm glad to this day that she unlocked my sexuality in such a loving and gentle way, irrespective of whether it was legal or not.


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Rare Moments Of Clarity

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, May 05, 2009 12:49:40

There is a perception in my mind, that one of my weaknesses is that I fail to see what should be glaringly obvious. Another is to be a creature of habit, carrying out some tasks/operations without giving them a second thought. Now the latter is a very natural state to fall into, given the way in which we master a successful progression through some of the tasks in life - in other words the 4 stages of cognition, which you are probably aware of:

1. Unconscious Incompetence.

2. Conscious Incompetence.

3. Conscious Competence.

4. Unconscious Competence.

However, there is a (mostly ignored) caveat in the last stage, that some argue the model should show iteration in stage 4. i.e. the need for long-standing unconscious competence to be checked periodically against new standards/requirements - in other words on-going re-evaluation.

During the latter years of my career, one of my roles was mentoring other team members in the use of techniques to build brick-outhouse-safe software. This could be argued as the stage 5 in the cognition matrix above, and is sometimes given the awful name: 'Conscious competence of unconscious competence'. Put more descriptively , this is an ability to recognise immature cognition in others and help them to develop individual unconscious incompetence in the chosen complex tasks.

When I'm busy upstairs in front of the computer I'm using to script this, I occasionally break off, and take a leak, or go downstairs and make (yet) another cup of coffee. During these periods of mental activity I tend to use coffee pods, so each cup has to be made individually - I've discounted bringing a full coffee percolator upstairs - it would be a dangerous hazard given the nature of my workshop. I also don't like coffee that has been standing with heat applied constantly to it for any length of time.

Yesterday in Wilkinsons I came across a shelf containing Thermos Flasks, and it was as if someone had taken my head in both hands and said: 'Look at this!'

I chose a 1 litre stainless-steel model after some deliberation - reflecting that the last time I had held one of these contraptions in my hand was as a kid on a family outing. This morning I made a big jug of my favourite blend, warmed the inside of the flask with hot water, filled it with the coffee, and brought it upstairs. Since then I've drunk the lot. It was on the second cup that I pondered: 'Why the Hell, did I not think of this before?'

Where was my Coffee-Drinking Mentor? As Alan Heslop (a previous business partner) used to say: 'Nobody's perfect - not even Joe Brown!'


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Terrorism - Perception or Reality?

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, April 29, 2009 11:19:33

To a very large numbers of New-Yorkers on Monday, the sight of a large passenger jet being 'chased' by an F16 must have been the ultimate nightmare - that it was all happening again, for some would be almost too much to bear.

Doctors have fancy names togther with soundbite acronymns that roll off the tongue, but the fact is that the fight/flight instinct in all of us is still very much alive and kicking - just as well, because the instinct that has preserved us as a species is very active and receives constant updates because of incidents such as 9/11.

The crassness of an administration that carries out such a stunt as that seen over the skies of New York is almost beyond imagination. The cynical/conspiracy theorists amongst us might say that it was done purposefully, simply to justify the removal of yet more of citizens civil liberties.

I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing the word 'sorry' from administrations that couldn't organise their way out of a paper bag. It is time for some 'natural justice'.

One suggestion I have is that the Mayor of New York arranges for a set of stocks be erected near Ground Zero and that as well as being stripped of their jobs and pensions, these cack-handed idiots should be put in them on a daily basis. New-Yorkers can then be invited to show/tell them exactly what they think of the stunt, and pelt them with rotten food donated from the cities' restaurants.


Yes, we still supply these in Britain!: Stocks for Sale

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Create Yourself a Beautiful Partner?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 25, 2009 20:11:14

This startlingly beautiful image is actually an average of 5 different girls faces I chose at random. (The clue is in the wavy perimeter stuff) Try creating your own perfect imaginary partner from a selection of images, or even upload some of your own to average at this quirky site:


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Benjamin & Dorcas sum it all up.

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 25, 2009 18:41:21

All the hen-folk are hatchin'
While their men-folk are scratchin'
To ensure the survival of each brand new arrival.

Each nest is twitterin',
They're all baby-sitterin',
Spring, Spring, Spring

(Photo taken in my back garden with Samsung SGH-J700 Cellphone this afternoon)


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My little stick of Blackpool Rock

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, April 24, 2009 12:37:15

I've just come back after a visit to Blackpool and my partner was very angry with me when I presented her with a stick of Whitley Bay Rock. Let me explain, I promised her I'd bring her back a stick of Blackpool Rock and I forgot. Rather than 'fess up, I called in to 'The Candyman' sweet shop on the way home and bought a stick of local rock (which has 'Whitley Bay' written all the way through it) thinking she wouldn't notice, but of course she did. She stormed off in one of her tempers and her last words were - 'keep your promise, and get me a stick of Blackpool Rock, or I'll never speak to you again!'

I hunted around on the Internet and came across a Church in America that says that anything is possible if you try hard enough, so I emailed them regarding changing the lettering in the middle of my rock.

I was surprised and a little hurt when the Pastor replied to my email reprimanding me for my frivolous and disrespectful request.

Now I would have thought that if this Church can convert Gay men into Heterosexuals, it should be a cinch to sort out my Rock problem.

Whaddya Fink?


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Darling, How Stealthy You Are!

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, April 23, 2009 13:04:10

Like everyone else, despite their protests to the contrary, I love to say 'I told you so'.

Comrade Darling produced the reddest Budget in the life of 'New Labour' yesterday, but failed to mention once the devastating effect that the huge burden off Govt. debt will produce, and looking directly at us, lied through his teeth regarding projected growth. It reminds me of how a contractor (who will remain nameless) produced his year-end accounts and started by putting two totals (credits and debits) into a spreadsheet, then progressively working backwards, filling in any old rubbish until he acheived the result desired.

Analysts unpicked Darlings' garbage very quickly and the consensus is quite clear, and as predicted by me weeks ago:

1. There will be a period of severe austerity in this country that will last for at least a decade.

2. The 'Financial Industry' (I called it 'a rigged-card game' a few weeks ago) will (and it already has begun) contract by at least 25%.

The upside? A unique chance for those that still have access to some cash to invest in emerging technologies. If there is to be a future for this country, then this is where it lies. Sadly this Budget dosn't even mention it. Just more strutting, with chests stuck out by Brothers Brown & Darling.


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The Terrible Tape-Loop of Time

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, April 22, 2009 11:40:02

A while ago, whilst I was watching the latest terrible punishment of Gaza Palestinians by their Israeli 'neighbours', the resulting scene of devastation struck a chord with me and I found myself wondering why it was all-too-familiar. Then I remembered. A few weeks earlier I had watched 'The Pianist' - a movie depiction of the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman who survived the rape and destruction of Jewish Warsaw by the Nazis. Near the end of the story, he emerges from hiding and all that can be seen is utter destruction - a metaphor for Hitlers intention of global eradication of Jewry.

It is hard to imagine what it feels like to be an Israeli. It would seem that a large number of their immediate neighbours are bent on their annihilation. Constant rocket attacks create fear and great anxiety for their citizens. A natural reaction is to hit out and make every blow count. Yet it is this very lack of proportionality that not only loses them friends, but makes their enemies more bitter and determined, and radicalises new generations of Palestinian youth to take the place of any the Israelis kill - a little like trying to cut off the head of The Hydra.

How familiar does this sound? Memos regarding torture by America have confirmed what everyone believed, but what has been denied for so long. If the West, and that includes Israel, wants to silence the ravings of Ahmadinejad, then we must give him no excuses to do so - simply walking out of a UN meeting will not do. As it is, a large number of people in the world believe the Iranian president to be correct when he accuses the Israelis of genocide - especially when their actions serve no other useful purpose than confirm this suspicion.


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Sometimes prose is not enough

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, April 20, 2009 14:30:14

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey there mister blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Ev'rybody smiles at you

(Jeff Lynne)

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Innocent victims?

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 18, 2009 20:00:38

The two events that have dominated the week both concern crowds of people, and unnecessary deaths.

One of course is the recent demo at the G20 in London - like shit on your shoe, more unacceptable thuggery is being revealed as the weight of camera-supported evidence supplied by the public is reported/submitted.

The other is the 20th anniversary of the notorious cup-final at Hillsborough. The event/service/gathering at Annfield was widely reported on TV and Radio, and the same old questions were dragged down from the shelf, the dust blown off them and the now-familiar mawkish behaviour trotted out by all and sundry. Whilst I have great sympathy for the families that have lost relations in this disaster, I'm surprised that they are still demanding a public enquiry. All of the circumstances that brought about the tragedy are all now known. Let me enumerate them:

1. Greed. The greed of Football-club owners and players knows no bounds. Totally inadequate safety provisions and a complete denial of duty-of-care to spectators was and in many cases still is, rampant.

2. Stupidity. The herd-like mentality of a drunken rabble who pushed forward disregarding everyones' safety including their own.

3. Incompetence. Police should never have allowed the doors to be opened to allow what they themselves described as an unruly mob, to surge through them. That their fellow officers inside the ground then treated the escape attempts by innocent fans who were being crushed to death, as a riot, would be high farce if it hadn't been so tragic.

The truth often hurts - when the Sun newspaper commented at the time on the disaster and dared to suggest that the main protagonists were a bunch of drunken fans, it was duly boycotted by everyone in Liverpool.

I've another suggestion to make to Liverpool supporters - just because a lot of people in red jerseys have convinced themselves in denial to believe in something, that dosn't make it a fact - it is still just a belief until it is proven.

Let's look at the truth:

It is true that Football Clubs employ underpaid Asians in faraway sweat-shops to make shirts etc., which are then sold to fans at a grossly-inflated price that is in itself insulting - but fans keep on paying.

It is true that footballers take home the lions-share of premier league club profits in obscene wage packets and bonuses.

It is true that fans attending matches are regularly spending more per visit than it costs me to go to the Opera.

It is true that fans are still involved in drunken brawls with opposition supporters in the stupid belief that they are 'supporting' their team. In Newcastle this manifests itself as 'The Toon Army', when all they are is a bunch of drunken tossers, whose behaviour the rest of the population is totally pissed off with.

It is true that a large number of owners/directors of Football clubs have nothing but contempt for the fans. Sadly it is also true that the behaviour of a large number of these 'fans' puts them beneath my contempt.

Now I wonder where I put my cap and rattle?


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Last Chance to be Cheerfull This Week!

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 18, 2009 18:58:27

I was rooting around on the Web this afternoon for some photos to go with the Sophie Ellis-Bextor tracks I have and I went to her personal website. I was also listening to 'Today The Suns on Us'. Most spookily, that's the very track that auto-plays when you enter her site. Access to the full video can be gained by registering. There is also a photo gallery with some stunning pictures of this hauntingly beautiful young woman with the dark, dark voice. I've thumb-nailed a couple of these below.


Trip The Light Fantastic

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That Was The Week I Wish Wasn't

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 18, 2009 12:23:23

Thankfully it's nearly over - the week that is. Despite trying to keep busy, in an effort to bring my sleeping patterns back into 'normal' time, all I've succeeded in doing is bringing on a weariness which couldn't be allayed other than by lying down and dozing - through the day that is. A pattern has emerged where I am now taking 2 naps in the afternoon, one after lunch and another around tea-time, going to bed 'as normal' at around midnight, but lying awake until around 3am, taking another dose of paracetamol and reading until about 4am and finally drifting off around 4:20 or so, only to wake again at around 7:30am. A look at the clock, I then moan and whinge a bit and try to dose 'til around 9:00am when I drag myself out of bed to start the whole weary process over again.

There has been a study in America of the neurological processes that go awry caused by Jet Lag. These also appertain to those amongst us who can't sleep properly and/or become partially/totally nocturnal. Using rats, (mental picture of rats flying1st class from Paris to New York!) the study concludes that we have two internal clocks, rather than one, and that when these become out-of-sync, that's when the problems start. It's early days yet, but the research team hope to develop drugs to overcome the worst affects of sleep disorder. I can't wait.

Thursday afternoon seen me lying with just my head sticking out of a great big superconducting electromagnet for nearly an hour, as each knee had all the Hydrogen protons jiggled around, in an effort to ascertain the extent of the calcification of ligaments in each. I watched the progress of the program on an LED display above my head, as the racket caused by the various stepping sequences of coils nearly deafened me, despite wearing ear defenders. Now another wait whilst the consultant ruminates over the results before calling me in to hear the worst.

It's back to Winter again. Grey skies, cold and generally uncomfortable. Writing this I've been racking my brains to think of anything good that's happened this week, but I can't, so I'll shut up.


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'Evil' Genius Guilty Of Murder

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 18, 2009 11:39:03

There was a 20-minute retrospective of the career of Phil Spector on Radio 5 live at 1:40 am today. Dotun Adebayo discussed this very scary man and his enormous acheivements, and played a few of the hits he was responsible for. Anyone who is over 50 will remember the famous 'wall of sound' he produced by cramming as many musicians into the studio as was humanly possible.

I for one loved his slightly over-the-shoulder creations, although these have been criticised as too 'samey' by others.

The facts are easy to see; this man, usually single-handedly, produced some of the most memorable music of the sixties - and wrote quite a lot of the hits as well as producing them.

His 'friends' (he didn't have many) are now saying that his personality implosion has been a long time coming. The great sadness is that he has taken someone else's life in the conclusion of this awful process. The family of the woman murdered by Phil have claimed that he 'must face the consequences of his actions', but what else could they say? The almost unbearable pain of their loss can only be imagined.

Spector was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, but like so many other passionate, creative people, it is more likely that he was a psychotic manic-depressive. As such he has no doubt been chased by demons for almost all of his life. The 'consequences of his actions' will be all-too-clear to him in his saner moments, when the acknowledgement of his guilt will be an all-consuming torture.

At this point if I was a Christian, I would probably be asking everyone to pray for him. As I'm not, I'll just say instead that the next time you hear that very distinctive and timeless sound, remember the huge cost that ultimately has been paid for his almost-unrivalled contribution to popular music.


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My Spring Break - Up In the Clouds Above Cuckoo-Land

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, April 12, 2009 15:16:29

After almost a whole lifetime of experiencing euphoria followed by a descent into despondency, one would imagine that in my 62nd year I would have by now been able to curb the most reckless thoughts and desires that I'm seized with.

Apparently not, because a couple of days ago, after having had one decent nights' sleep of just over 5 hours, I thought: “I know – although I can't go away for a couple of weeks, I'll attempt to fit in 2 days in-between hospital visits.” I considered some destinations reasonably close to home, and finally plumped for a visit to the North York Moors.

You may not be familiar with this area of the country, but it is incredibly pretty, and despite close proximity to 'Chemical City' (Middlesborough aka 'The Armpit Of The Universe'), is very peaceful and not too well known that it's crowded with visitors – at least not at this time of year. It is also an area I spent some considerable time in so long ago as a teenager, with some very strong and happy memories.

I'm still a member of the YHA, so first of all considered staying at the YHA hostel in Osmotherly. This lovely little village is on the North-West margin of the moors, with easy access from the A19 – and most importantly – it has 3 pubs! Why the YHA? - because it's cheap – these days I try to conserve cash, saving it for more 'essential' items – such as electronics hardware for example.

Now although the YHA hostels are cheap to stay in, they do lack an important aspect – privacy, and whilst I have no problem sharing a dorm with other males – I have to say that with my restlessness accompanied by groans and moans when turning over in bed, my stay might not be as popular as I would like for my dorm-mates. So with privacy in mind I looked at camping – there is a campsite, set in a pleasant spot only a half-mile or so from Osmotherly, so I sent them an email and they quoted me £12.50 per night for the 2 nights stay. This is good, so I spent a large part of the afternoon planning my itinerary.

The next day brought a sideways shift back to reality. After spending a large part of the night tossing and turning, I eventually decided to get up – that was 3:30 am, and naturally the rest of the day was something of a hodge-podge of activity and weariness. The thought of spending a comfortable night in a sleeping-bag , with only an air bed between me and the hard ground, is so far from reality as to be hilariously funny, and as my father would have said: 'You just don't think, do you?”

As my life has gone on, when I have had more time to do some introspection, his words, that were a hurtful barb at the time, together with what I now know, have demonstrated to me, that to him, I must have appeared to behave like an alien being – but one not placed on Earth to conquer, but simply to self-destruct. The fact is that whilst in this state-of-mind, normal reality is suspended, and my behaviour, although making perfect sense to me at the time, may appear to be almost insane to anyone else. The urge to act there and then is very powerful, and in the past has created a trail of destruction. Nowadays, despite the moods, there is a little voice that says to me: “wait until tomorrow before you do this”, and insistingly the next day says the same thing, so that the worst excesses are avoided as the euphoria subsides – sometimes.

No I haven't given up the idea, I have a secluded back-garden and I'm tempted to try a night in the tent there, just to see how I cope – with the respite of the kitchen door a matter of a few yards away, what can go wrong? Well, that's todays thoughts anyway – perhaps tomorrow it may appear differently?

I hope everyone is having a happy Easter break.


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My Plans For Spring - Aborted, Once again

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, April 09, 2009 16:55:09

I've received two letters from the hospital, one of which confirms an MRI scan of both knees on Thursday 16th April, the other from the Consultant saying that he will be seeing me again shortly after the results of the scans are known. This means that yet another Spring is to be spent unable to make any firm arrangements for visits, because of the uncertainty of Hospital appointments. For this I apologise to everyone who has been expecting to see me this Spring. I will post any further developments here.


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Weapons of Personal Destruction

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, April 09, 2009 10:34:57

The whole world watched again yesterday, last weeks' actions of a British Police Force that is starting to resemble that of a Banana Republic, with yet another cowardly murder of an innocent citizen. There was no bomb threat for to blame this time - the murder being carried out by a masked psychopath who attacked his victim from behind for apparently no reason other than his own grisly satisfaction.

Now to make matters worse, we as British citizens are being lied to when told - as if it is some sort of mitigation - that 'the officer concerned has come forward'. Well of course he has, he's been ordered to say that he has as part of the tissue of lies, excuses and finger-pointing that has ensued. That the offending thug is seen talking to a clearly-visible and recognisable senior officer informs everyone that there really is no hiding place for him.

This is, I believe the final nail in the coffin of the relationship of trust that used to exist between the British Public and its' Police Force. Politicians may dissemble and try to convince us that we are still policed by consent - I for one do not want to be policed by masked, cowardly thugs. This low-life should have his mask removed and his face revealed to everyone - so that we all know him for what he is, then he should be thrown into prison.

I'm not even curious to know how such a coward attains his position in the force - we just need to look at the incompetent tosser of an Assistant Commisioner waving raid plans to the whole world to understand that a large number of the people who are responsible for directing police operations are either equally as stupid, or a bunch of state-sponsored fascists.


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Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley, but she's my little nicoteen gal.

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, April 06, 2009 16:48:52

There was an interesting discussion on 'You and Yours' (Radio 4) today. I don't normally listen to this, but exhaustion forced me to lie down just after 12.00 this afternoon. The discussion was about the issues pertaining to Government legislation regarding the display (or rather the non-display) of tobacco products in shops. When 1st mooted, I thought that it was simply a matter of putting up cupboards with sliding doors so that the ciggies etc., are not on general view. The Govt. estimated the cost of doing this in the 'average' corner shop as being between 300 and 700 Euros - reasonable you would think, but it's not actually the truth.

The legislation does not permit the shelves containing tobacco products to be seen at any time - even by the person actually buying a tobacco product. This opens a whole new bag of worms when it comes to accessing the packets of cigarettes. These will have to be in some sort of re-fillable chutes - very like the cigarette machines are - but less the transparent front, and consequently the costs are very much higher than Govt. estimates. The experience in Ireland has shown that depending on size, costs are between 3 and 8 times more. This seems like a sledge-hammer and nut job to me, but the point seems to be that if children see row upon row of cigarettes on display, it will instantly turn them into fag-end freaks, unable to resist the urge to try out every cigarette on display.

The finger-wagging nannies are quick to point out that cigarettes are displayed next to sweets - so temptation can't be avoided. Indeed it has been said that wicked shopkeepers put their ciggies next to sweetie displays 'on purpose'.

Someone needs to tell these self-appointed sages that more children are headed for an early grave due to obesity than they are through either lung-cancer or smoking-related heart disease.

With all the above in mind here are my proposals: - ALL food/confectionary that has either a high calorific value, contains too much fat or salt is to be hid away in cupboards in both shops and supermarkets.

Each product can only be accessed by pulling the appropriate drawer at the bottom of the cupboard.

Introduction of ID cards should be brought forward and have the facilty added to ration each individual with their fat, carbohydrate, and cholestrol allowance - non-production of the card will result in the customer being denied sale of an offending product.

Similarly, each ID card for over 21's will have an alcohol allowance in units per day - these will not be accumulative - if you don't use up your units for a particular day they cannot be taken forward to the next.

In Pubs, you will have to produce your ID card each time you order a drink, and the card will be swiped and the relevant number of units removed from it - if you haven't already used them up.

The roll-out of the ID cards is to be only an interim step to having everyone fitted with an RFID tag inserted in their skull shortly after birth, hence no need to carry the ID card around with you.

Whaddya fink?


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Let me take you by the hand - and lead you through the Streets of London

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, April 04, 2009 18:40:44

What a shower, What a wasted week. There was Gordon huffing and puffing, and very much the Grand Old Duke Of York, at the front of all the other world-class idiots, all prostrating themselves in front of King Obama of America. When all the marching up and down was finished what did they agree? A paltry Trillion Dollars - and much like Gordons' silly gesture politics with the VAT reduction, a derisory sum when compared to the value of the worlds economy, of which there is an estimated 630 Trillion Dollars in derivatives alone. If 2.5% off VAT is ineffectual how does 0.159% injected into the world economy sound? - and as I say that's just in derivatives.
Meanwhile in the streets of London - many innocent visitors were corralled - the common buzz word is 'kettled'- alongside what were mostly a decent bunch of demonstrators, with, of course, the usual suspects - all of which are known by the Police and should have been pounced on - but weren't. The innocents among those thus herded were shouted at, pushed, pulled and assaulted by Police - another example of our Police State.

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brush-wood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England -- now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops--at the bent spray's edge--
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
-- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

(Robert Browning)


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Latest kneews from Wounded Knee

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, April 02, 2009 11:13:28

I've just returned from the hospital after seeing Mr. Asaad for a 'review' of my knee problems after his treatment of the left knee last month. Mr. Asaad was clearly disappointed to learn that the beneficial effects of the cortisone injection in the left knee has only lasted for the following day. So, before he proceeds further, he wishes to arrange an MRI scan of both knees - for which I'll have to wait another 2 weeks. (at least)

I'm getting an impression here - in which the words 'grasping' and 'straws' figure largely.

Ah well! The sun is shining this morning, and it's a lovely day - if a little cool. The blossom will be appearing on my Cherry trees shortly and it's nearly time to break out the grass cutter from it's 4 month hibernation, and also get stuck into sawing bits of wood and stuff.


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No Bowel Cancer Here Thankyou!

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, April 01, 2009 12:33:28

This letter from The Bowel Cancer Screening Unit arrived this morning, and says that my recent Occult Blood tests are 'normal', and that I'll be invited to take part in another test in 2 years time. Hats off to this new unit for their alacrity - I only posted the test samples on Saturday. It's good news - I wasn't relishing the prospect of another colonoscopy - I still wince thinking about the last one 5 years ago!


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Sleep-walking into a Police State

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, March 22, 2009 09:30:42

Instead of doing the job they are paid to do, and using laws that already exist to tackle widespread anti-social behaviour, politicians - aided and abetted by both Police and stupid people alike are taking us closer & closer to being one of the most proscribed populations ever. We are already the most spied-upon citizens in the world and it is quite obvious that the government simply dosn't trust us - any of us, to behave in a responsible and proper way.

All of us are to be treat as terrorist suspects.

All of us are to be treat as potential drunks.

All of us are to be treat as knife-wielding thugs - especially the children amongst us.

All of us are to be treated as potential thieves.

I am heartily sick of being lumped-in with a very small percentage of jihadists, alcoholics, thugs and thieves.

At a national level - acres of newsprint is given over to doctors pontificating about alcohol consumption - locally more & more reports of 'alcohol-exclusion' zones.

If this useless bunch of pricks we call a Government would put right some of the glaring inequalities in our society, a large percentage of offenses would simply not be committed. The latest figures for the cost of the much-vaunted ID card scheme is being put at £18 Billion - just think of the positive-effect that this huge amount of money could have in making Britain a more inclusive society.


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Apple to revolutionise eating?

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, March 14, 2009 09:47:11

iCrap - Steps removed and sequence shortened.


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NHS FOB test rollout catches me up

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, March 12, 2009 17:27:54

"Mr. Brown, we would like you to wipe your bum on a piece of paper and post it to us."

The NHS FOB (Faecal Occult Blood) test rollout in the North-east started in February 2008, and now it's my turn. Today I received a letter explaining the test and it's implications. There's a website which explains everything, but you basically do what I've put at the top of this missive.

It's encouraging that the NHS is taking on more proactive practises - especially where there's a possibility of cancer.


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Ed Zachary Disease

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, March 08, 2009 17:55:57

A woman was very distraught at the fact that she had not had a date or any sex in quite some time. She was afraid she might have something wrong with her, so she decided to seek the medical expertise of a sex therapist.

Her doctor recommended that she see the well known Chinese sex
therapist Dr. Chang.

So she went to see him. Upon entering the examination room Dr. Chang
said 'OK take off all your crose.'

The woman did as she was told.

'Now get down and craw reery, reery fass to odderside of room.'

Again the woman did as she was instructed. Dr. Chang then said 'OK, now
craw reery, reery fass back to me.' So she did.

Dr.Chang shook his head slowly and said, 'Your probrem vewy bad. You
haf Ed Zachary disease. Worse case I ever see. Dat why you not haf sex or dates.'

Worried the woman asked anxiously, 'Oh my God Dr.Chang what is Ed
Zachary Disease?'

Dr. Chang sighed deeply and replied, 'Ed Zachary Disease is when your
face look Ed Zachary like your arse.'

(The old'uns are always the best! thankyou Martin!)


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Frog gets loan easily despite Credit Crunch

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, March 06, 2009 12:53:27

A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.

"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."

Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.

Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral. The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.

Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office. She finds the manager and says:

"There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."

She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"

The bank manager looks back at her and says:

"It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan; His old man's a Rolling Stone."

(do I hear groaning?)


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More Knee Stuff

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, March 05, 2009 16:31:57

Any more of this, and it will probably be worth creating a special domain for knees. (unfortunately & are already taken)

I've received a copy of Mr. Asaads letter to my GP (given below - click on the page to view readable scan)

Despite my unfailing optimism, and the time spent by myself as well as that of the consultant, the left knee is no better. I had complete relief until very late on thursday evening (1 whole day), and back to 'normal' on Friday, with both knees just sore in the morning, and progressively worsening as the day proceeded, so that by 6:00pm I was back to dragging myself upstairs by my arms, because putting any strain on the left knee caused unbearable pain.

In recent conversation regarding the problem, a suggestion to put a lift into the second stairwell of my house - meant as a joke - is becoming a strong possibility.

For those unfamiliar with the layout of my house, when I took up residency it had a completely self-contained granny-flat, including a separate stairwell. I ripped out these stairs (along with the kitchen, shower and extra loo) and created more rooms, the lower of which is used as a small workshop. I will lose this space if I install a stair-lift there.


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Wii Bad for your Knee?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, March 05, 2009 16:27:26

Have you seen this?

Now I don't have a Wii - but do have bad knees, so it seems a bit like smoking, there are those of us (not me) who have developed Lung Cancer even though they never smoked, whilst others (including me) have a completely clear set of lungs - to date, anyway - and smoked for a large part of their life . It dosn't seem fair that I've been deprived of all of the fun and enjoyment that Wii can bring, yet I'm still afflicted with knee problems. Mind you, I'm an inveterate shaker of Tuna tins - which looks a bit like using the Wii, so maybe that's the cause.

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Is Northumbria Water taking The Piss?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, March 04, 2009 17:38:23

'Well, er.. yes' I hear you say, "and hopefully the other stuff as well."

My water bill dropped onto the mat yesterday, and it's the same story every year - an eye-watering increase far above inflation. This year it's £455.63. Now that's £8.75 per week, (according to my 57p calculator) and I really can't see any justification for it - especially as 'The Newcastle & Gateshead Water Co. Ltd.' used to be owned by Newcastle and Gateshead ratepayers and was mugged from us by Thatcher and her cronies.

This is another 'utility' where it's CEO - (a euphemism for Parasite) pays himself enormous sums of money for doing absolutely SFA., and will retire on a Kings Ransom - they really are taking the piss.


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Breaking News From Broken Knee

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, February 25, 2009 19:25:47

From our not-so-badly-limping reporter:

It's about an hour now, since I left the consultants' room at NTGH. There's bad news and er... good news. First the bad news - my spinal condition is now manifesting itself (as per prognosis) in other parts of my body. This time it's the ligaments of the knees - particularly the one at the very front of the knee, connected to the main front muscle of the thigh. Although the pain and disability is worse in the left, perversely, the amount of ligament converted to bone is worse on the right - which I could plainly see on the X-rays shown to me. The good news: The knees themselves are 'beautiful' according to Mr. Asaad - well I'll have to take his word for it, but it's a great relief to know that there will be no need for replacements, not yet anyway.

Mr. Asaad gave me an injection of cortisone and local anaesthetic into the offending ligament, and as a result, I was able to walk up my stairs without having to drag myself up by the arms. The right one, although sensitive has been left as-is, and I'm seeing the consultant again in 4 weeks for review.

Although the news is not all good - and confirms my own suspicions, I came away from the Hospital with a general sense of relief.


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Blue Meanies take over Hospital

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, February 21, 2009 11:44:25

Every upside apparently has it's downside, every head, a tail, and so it was with North Tyneside General Hospital this week. After praising the greatly-improved appointment waiting times in one of my posts this week, two bits of news broke on local TV and Radio, to the effect that NTGH had decided to increase parking charges (to patients and visitors) AND to make a whopping 140% increase in charges made to in-patients for use of a TV and telephone. The former is scandalous, the latter quite shocking - is there no limit to the greed of the privatised providers of TV/Telephone services. Estimates are that TV will now cost patients £7.00 per day.

Years ago, before an outright ban of smoking on NHS property, in-patients were asked not to smoke, and 'to look upon their visit to hospital as an opportunity to cut down their cigarette-smoking', but also to reflect on 'if they really did want to continue smoking'.

I've got something to say to patients paying these muggers - 'look upon your visit to hospital as an opportunity to stop watching as much TV', and 'In-patients should vote with their purses, switch off the televisions and tell these extortionists to get lost'.


(For those readers born in the post-Beatle years, Blue Meanies appeared in the film 'Yellow Submarine' where they patrolled the outskirts of Pepperland and caught Jeremy in the 'Sea of Holes'. (don't ask!) When Ringo jumps on to a green hole - the 'Sea of Green' - and actually a door through space-time, they arrive in Pepperland.)

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Get off your face(book)

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, February 21, 2009 09:58:37

This article puts some meat on the bald announcements on the news regarding this guys' views on social networking sites:

A psychologist is urging people to get off Facebook and other social networking sites, and get a life instead.
Dr Aric Sigman says the amount of time we spend with each other has slumped dramatically and in turn is damaging our health.

Get off Facebook and get a life. He says our devotion to such sites could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, and the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

Levels of hormones such as the "cuddle chemical" oxytocin, which promotes bonding, altered according to whether people were in close contact or not. This could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia.

Dr Sigman spells out his warning in the latest issue of Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology, and maintains that social networking sites have played a significant role in people becoming more isolated. He said: "Social networking is the internet's biggest growth area, particular among young children. "A quarter of British children have a laptop or computer in their room by the age of five and they have their own social networking sites, like the BBC's myCBBC. It's causing huge changes." Dr Sigman said 209 "socially regulated" genes have been identified, including ones involved in the immune system, cell proliferation and responses to stress.

Electronic media is also undermining the ability of children and young people to learn vital social skills and read body language, he said. Dr Sigman continued: "One of the most pronounced changes in the daily habits of British citizens is a reduction in the number of minutes per day that they interact with another human being. "In less than two decades, the number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled. "Parents spend less time with their children than they did only a decade ago. Britain has the lowest proportion of children in all of Europe who eat with their parents at the table.

The proportion of people who work at home alone continues to rise. "I am worried about where this is all leading. It's not that I'm old fashioned in terms of new technology, but the purpose of any new technology should be to provide a tool that enhances our lives. "Social networking sites should allow us to embellish our social lives, but what we find is very different.

The tail is wagging the dog. These are not tools that enhance, they are tools that displace." Research suggests the number of hours people spend interacting face-to-face has fallen dramatically since 1987 as electronic media use increases.

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One dollar is now worth $2m

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, February 20, 2009 12:22:11

I came across this recently, and the phrase 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves' came to mind - now where's that King Edward penny I used to have...

From 'The Independent' Tuesday, 31 August 1999

AN 1804 SILVER dollar minted as a gift for the Sultan of Muscat was expected to attract record-breaking bids of up to $2m (pounds 1.3m) at auction last night.

Carried on a secret mission to the Middle East by Edmund Robert, a sea trader and emissary for US President Andrew Jackson, the rare coin was a present for the Sultan of Muscat - now Oman - after a new trade treaty was ratified, allowing America into markets previously dominated by European powers.

The Sultan of Muscat coin, known to collectors as one of the "King of US coins," was one of eight silver dollars minted in 1834. The coin is dated 1804 because silver dollars were not being minted at the time and an old coin mould had to be used.

"To coin collectors this is like the Mona Lisa or the Holy Grail," said Q David Bowers, chairman of Auctions by Bowers and Merena, which conducted the sale at the Park Lane Hotel in Manhattan. The coin last sold in 1945 for $5,000.

Another 1804 coin was sold by Bowers and Merena in 1997 to a West Coast coin dealer for a record $1.8m. "If the calls we are getting are any indication, we expect to top that bid," Mr Bowers said.

"The Sultan of Muscat coin is virtually in the same condition as the day it was minted," he said. "It's never been mishandled or dropped. It's never been cleaned or polished; for that to happen over a period of 150 years is truly amazing."

Because it has never been cleaned, the coin has acquired a soft blue and gold patina over its true silver colour. It has been kept in a velvet- lined drawer in a wooden cabinet inside a bank.


I've also left the second-part of the same article here - mainly because of it's grossness:

A shotgun that belonged to the Marquess of Ripon, considered one of the greatest shots of all time, fetched £40,000 at Sotheby's yesterday.

When the peer died in 1923, reputedly with gun in hand after bagging 51 grouse, he had recorded 556,813 head of game - an unequalled tally.

On one occasion he was reported to have had seven dead pheasants in the air at once and was also recorded as killing 28 birds in one minute.

In his life, he accounted for nearly 250,000 pheasants at his Yorkshire estate, Studley Royal, and other leading estates. On one day alone, 6 December 1905, he and friends bagged 1,078 pheasants, 65 hares, 30 rabbits and 16 partridges.

... and people moan about cats killing birds?


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What's in a name?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, February 19, 2009 11:52:51

I've been asked (again) about the moniker I use on this site, so I'm putting the story up here to satisfy the curious - some of my friends will know the story already so I beg their indulgence.

A long, long, time ago, in a Galaxy... Sorry! It was a while ago - back in the early eighties, and at the time I had a close relationship with Jim Golightly & Alan Heslop of HCCS Associates. (in Low Fell, Gateshead) We got to market first with a Forth Compiler for the BBC Microcomputer, and this evidently annoyed Acorn, but more so, the high chief of Forth at the time, a guy called Richard de Grandis Harrison - don't laugh, that really was his name. Well, to cut a long story short, Mr. De Grandis Harrison accused me of copying his implementation of Forth on the Acorn Atom, and implementing same on the BBC Machine. Now this was simply untrue, I'd used the standard 1979 Fig Forth for the 6502 and whilst it was true I'd used an Acorn Atom, this was because I wanted to put the Forth at 0x8000 in the Acorn Atom memory-map, which happened to be the sideways ROM space in the BBC Machine. Moreover, I'd used my own assembler to implement the Forth.

Well, copyright lawyers were consulted and the whole thing eventually went quiet - except for Alan Heslops' sense-of-humour. One Friday afternoon in the pub, after a few drinks, Al, before buying the next round came out with: 'Well, what does El Grande de Joe Brown de Forth want to drink?" - at which everyone broke up in howls of laughter. The joke lasted for weeks, and thereafter, Al used to mark any correspondence he wanted me to look at with 'JWBD4'.

So now you know. A lot of time has passed, but I still regard Jim & Alan as two of the best guys I've ever known, and remember both of them with fondness.


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Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones...

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, February 19, 2009 11:21:12

On Jan 16, I posted WRT a visit to the Doc's, about my knees. (post #22) Today I received an appointment notification for an Orthopaedic Consultant on the 25th Feb. (next week) This must be something of a record - just over a month wait - and a very welcome improvement in waiting times at my local hospital. Mind you, they never were as bad as some other parts of the country. I know to my cost how long things can take in the South-east, even for a Doctors' visit. I remember my landlady in Sunbury having to wait 2 weeks to see her GP - I was quite shocked.

I'll let everyone know how things go next week.


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So you think it's cold here?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, February 12, 2009 12:29:44

The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

by Robert W. Service

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Dangerous Little Pills

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, January 28, 2009 20:02:16

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple"
By the use of this ointment – one shilling the box –
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

(Lewis Caroll 1832-1898)

We are currently being bombarded with TV Ads for Voltarol Pain-eze at the moment, as Potassium Diclofenac is now available as an OTC medication. (Over The Counter) Even Amazon are getting in on the act! -

However, before you are tempted to try any of these vicious little pills, take a look at:

I hope this will put you off even considering them. This drug has so many serious problems with it; I can’t think why it can be sold to be taken without supervision by a GP.

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Don't shoot the messenger!

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sun, January 25, 2009 12:15:51

There is outcry currently at the BBC position on the Gaza appeal. The BBC has been accused of being an ‘apologist’ and worse, for their decision not to broadcast the appeal. There has also been criticism of their coverage of the recent atrocities committed by Israel on the Gaza populace. I have to say that in my opinion I’ve found the coverage by the BBC to be of it’s usual high standard, and has pulled no punches in it’s reporting of this recent terrible conflict.
The Islamic community have lambasted the BBC, protested with dolls and the like and in the process seem to have totally missed the point. They need to focus their ire on the real culprits who are the Israeli government, the British and American Governments, but finally and most culpable of all, their so-called brothers in the wider islamic community. The oil-rich Saudi government alone is capable of providing enough support forever to the desperate communities both in Gaza and the West Bank, and in applying more leverage to the Americans in forcing this rabid Israeli Government to behave with proportionality. The only friends the Palestinians seem to have locally are Jordan and Egypt, neither of which acting alone can give very much help to the Palestinians, but token support.

Ian Black writing in The Guardian on Tuesday last week draws stark attention to the very real culpability of the Palestinian’s ‘brothers’.


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Final letter from Mr. Mackey

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Sat, January 24, 2009 13:25:50

Today I received another (and probably the last) letter from Mr. Jim Mackey. I said at the very start of this affair that I wanted to see a positive outcome from my efforts and I believe that this has been achieved. (Click on letter for readable view)

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Beans and David Dimbleby

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, January 23, 2009 12:19:07

smug: adjective self-satisfied, superior, complacent, conceited, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, priggish, self-opinionated

rude: adjective impolite, insulting, cheeky, abrupt, short, blunt, abusive, curt, churlish, disrespectful, brusque, offhand, impertinent, insolent, inconsiderate, peremptory, impudent, discourteous, uncivil, unmannerly, ill-mannered

overbearing: adjective domineering, lordly, superior, arrogant, authoritarian, oppressive, autocratic, masterful, dictatorial, coercive, bossy, imperious, haughty, tyrannical, magisterial, despotic, peremptory, supercilious, officious, overweening

From Collins Essential Thesaurus 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2005, 2006

I have baked beans a couple of times per year. If asked why I don't have more, it's simple: I don't like them. If then asked why do I have them at all, the answer is: to remind me of how much I don't like them.

So it was with Question Time on BBC1 last night. It's been quite a momentous week, and being keen to see what opinions there are about the week's events I sat and watched Question Time. Dimbleby was not just on form, he demonstrated all the signs of a man at the very top of his powers.

Throughout the programme, Dimbleby subjected both Dr. Liam Fox and Caroline Flint to a ceaseless barrage of nagging, pointless interruptions. These culminated in an unseemly barracking of Caroline Flint to the point where as a result of his interfering nagging, she was unable to answer the question. He then accused her of filibustering!

Let me take a stab at describing what I think Mr. Dimbleby's role should be:

1. Invite a question from the audience.
2. Put the question to each member of the panel in turn.
3. Try to ensure that each member at least makes an attempt to answer the question.
4. Ensure that any points raised by a panel member can be countered by other panel members wishing to comment.

Is this too difficult for Dimbleby? Please Mr. Director General, get rid of this insufferably silly man and give us a Chairman worthy of the programme.


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Yes! it's true! I can see the green shoots...

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, January 16, 2009 21:14:34

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Did you play any games at Christmas?

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, January 16, 2009 20:57:52

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Knee body knows the trouble I've had...

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, January 16, 2009 20:43:39

Two more 'serial failures'. For quite a number of years, I've had periodic problems with my knees - particularly the left. This offending article was giving me problems way back when I had my big toe joints replaced. Well is seems to be 'crunch' time, (groan) both are bad - the left is very bad, so much so that on occaisions in the last 3 weeks I've been using a stick. Getting up/down stairs is a particular problem, and also attempting to kneel to access low cupboards or the fridge.

I saw the Doc. this week and he sent me for X-rays and wrote to a consultant at North Tyneside General Hospital. Smiling, he had first of all asked me if I wanted to visit the Freeman (in Newcastle) rather than NTGH. (A quiet reference to recent problems - see post#0) He also printed off a rather gruesome set of web pages demonstrating current practise in full knee replacement - I can't wait!!

More on this when I have further news.


P.S. On the subject of surgery:

Five Surgeons were in a pub swapping experiences.

The first, a Manchester surgeon, says: 'I like to see accountants on my
operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is

The second, a Liverpool surgeon, responds: 'Yeah, but you should try
electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded.'

The third, a Newcastle surgeon, says: 'No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.'

The fourth, a Birmingham surgeon, chimes in: 'You know, I like
construction workers...those guys always understand when you have a few
parts left over.

But the fifth, a London surgeon, shuts them all up when he observed:
You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no
guts, no heart, no balls, no brains and no spine, and the head and the
arse are interchangeable.

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.....Knowing me?

The things we doPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, January 15, 2009 20:37:33

I took the trouble to answer 120 questions on an online dating site today. It was one of those 'limited multiple-choice' affairs in which you are not really allowed to express exactly the answer you feel fits yourself. I'll be honest - the resulting analysis is uncomfortably close to the truth. (no NOT in a Derren Brown way!)

Well here it is - warts and all. What do you think?




Main character features:

Dynamic, uneasy, desires to surpass others.

Positive features:

Ambitious, determined, dislikes laziness.

Acceptable disadvantages:

Sensitive to provocation, inefficient, deceptive, impatient, irritable.

General Characteristics

Social (‘How do they act’ i.e. Attitude towards others in social situations)

Performers are self-confident and unstoppable go-getters – they know what they want and remain active even when others are passive. They do not hide their feelings – indeed, they are proud of them and their mood is reflected in both their words and actions. They certainly do not shy away from love – getting it both physically and mentally as required, even if only in the short term. They know what they need from a partner and they dictate, rather than adjust. They are optimistic and will attempt to solve a problem however complicated it might appear.

The Performer gains satisfaction from their effect on people – it is natural for them to be the centre of attention, and they will defend this position from competition. They do not worry about obviously manipulating those around them to gain dominance. It is more normal for them to criticize than to compliment.

They are never satisfied with ‘no’, or the fact that someone does not like them or their close friends. Hostility from those around will stimulate, rather than depress, and if you show a Performer you do not like them, they will look for the reasons and take measures to change this. If you show disrespect you will find an irreconcilable enemy. Usually they have an innate sense of good taste and will dress well and expect the same of work colleagues and their partner. The Performer is extremely communicative; making contacts and winning sympathy is very easy for them. They are capable of social manipulation, such as playing a ‘cute little lamb’ role, if it will benefit them.

(BTW The test is the 'SoulMate' one on

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Pets in Crisis

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, January 02, 2009 13:02:32

Joe was very disappointed to return after his holiday only to find that his secretary had forgotten to feed his pet wasps.

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Mission: Planet Earth

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, December 31, 2008 05:22:58

Two aliens landed in the New Mexico desert near a petrol station that had been closed for the night. They approached one of the pumps and the younger of the two Aliens addressed it:"Greetings, Earthling.We come in peace.Take us to your leader."

The pump didn't respond (of course).The younger alien started to get mad at the lack of response and the older one said: "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

The younger alien ignored the warning and repeated the greeting. Again, there was no response. Annoyed by what he perceived to be the pump's haughty attitude, he drew his ray gun and said impatiently:

"Greetings Earthling. We come in peace. Do not ignore us in this way! Take us to your leader, or I will fire."

The older alien again warned his comrade: "You don't want to do that. You really don't want to make him mad!"

"Rubbish!" replied the younger alien.

He aimed his weapon at the pump and fired. There was a huge explosion. A massive fireball roared outwards and towards them and blew the younger alien off his feet and deposited him in a burnt and crumpled mess 200 yards away in a cactus patch.

Thirty-five Earth minutes later when he finally regained consciousness, refocused his three eyes and straightened his bent antenna, he looked dazedly up at the wiser one who was standing over him, slowly shaking his big green head.

"What a ferocious creature!" said the young fried one.

"It damn near killed us! How did you know it was so dangerous?"

The older alien leaned over, placed a friendly feeler on the younger one's now crispy peeling flesh and shared some knowledge:

"If there's one thing I've learned during my travels through the galaxy" said the wise old alien.

"When a guy has a willy he can wrap around himself twice and then stick it in his ear, you don't mess with him!!"

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The Doctor-Patient Relationship

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, December 31, 2008 05:15:47

Doctor Dave had sex with one of his patients and felt guilty all day long.

No matter how much he tried to forget about it, he couldn't. The guilt and sense of betrayal was overwhelming. But every once in a while he'd hear an internal, reassuring voice that said: "Dave, don't worry about it. You aren't the first doctor to sleep with one of their patients and you won't be the last. And you're single.
Just let it go."

But invariably another voice would bring him back to reality, whispering:

"Dave, you're a vet."

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The Convert

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, December 31, 2008 04:58:20

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself. As he continued walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes Turning to look, he saw a 7 foot grizzly charging towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the bear was closing in on him. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear raising his paw to take a swipe at him. At that instant the atheist cried out:

"Oh my God!"

Time stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent. It was then that a bright light shone upon the man and a voice came out of the sky saying: "You deny my existence for all of these years, told others I didn't exist and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light and said: "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps - could you make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

The light went out, and the sounds of the forest resumed.

And then the bear lowered his paw, bowed his head and spoke:

"For which we are about to receive, may The Lord make us truly thankful".

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Green Sex?

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, December 31, 2008 04:40:00

A man enters a confessional and says to the Irish Priest: "Father, it's been one month since my last confession. I've had sex with Fannie Green every week for the last month".

The priest tells the sinner: "You are forgiven. Go out and say three Hail Mary's."
Soon, another man enters the confessional. "Father, it has been two months since my last confession. I have had sex with Fannie Green twice a week for the last two months."
This time the priest asks: "Who is this Fannie Green?"
"A new woman in the neighborhood" the sinner replies.

"Very well," says the priest. "Go and say ten Hail Mary's".

The next morning in church, the priest is preparing to deliver his sermon when a gorgeous, tall woman enters the church. All the men's eyes fall upon her as she slowly sashays up the aisle and sits down in front of the altar. Her dress is green and very short, with matching shiny emerald green shoes. The priest and altar boy gasp as the woman sits down with her legs slightly spread apart, Sharon Stone-style.

The priest turns to the altar boy and in a hushed tone asks:

"Is that Fannie Green?

The altar boy replies: "No Father, I think its just the reflection off her shoes".

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Pets at Risk due to economic downturn

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, December 30, 2008 18:49:19

Animal refuges all over the country are being overwhelmed by the huge increase in animals being brought to them, mainly because their owners have found that the necessary care and upkeep is a burden they can no longer support in the economic downturn. I'm happy to receive details/photos of any animal that refuges chose to submit, in an effort to bring about a satisfactory re-homing of a once-loved pet.

After contacting Newcastle's Animal Refuge this afternoon, they have already provided me with the details/photo of a Parador for re-homing. (see below) Please contact the refuge direct should you be keen to adopt any of the friendly and sometimes unusual pets added to this section.

Name: Trish

Breed: Parador

Gender: Female

Age: 3 years

County: Northumberland

Registered (YY/MM/DD): 2008-12-30

History: Trish is a 3 year old Parador. Due to a change in circumstances her owner Marg is now having to work full time and Trish is being left alone through the day. Marg feels it would be better for Trish if she finds her a new home where someone is with her for the majority of the day and can give her the attention she deserves. Ideally she needs an owner who has experience with Paradors or similar breeds as she needs a loving but firm hand. Trish is good with cats, dogs and other animals.

Rescue Organisation : Newcastle Animal Refuge


picture of Trish

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So you have a son?

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, December 30, 2008 18:37:17

Does he want to be a Frogman?

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Is your surname Waterson?

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Is your son head of the family?

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Does he take after his father?

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Did things go rapidly downhill?

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Is he interested in people?

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Is he a true hunter-gatherer?

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Does My Bum look big in this?

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Barclays Crack Down on Student Loans

News & CommentPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Tue, December 30, 2008 16:38:40

Barclays have countered against claims of treating students badly by limiting their loans to only £100bn.

Their head of student loans commented that “students would have to start acting responsibly, and reign in their spending like the rest of us”.

Details from the BBC

Similar miserly behaviour - this time from the TSB

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Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, December 22, 2008 17:44:14

Sincere Apologies To Everyone.

Over the past few months I have forwarded funny pictures and jokes to friends who I thought shared the same sense of humour. Unfortunately this wasn't the case and I seem to have upset quite a few people who have accused me of being sexist and shallow. If you were one of these people, please accept my humblest apologies.
From now on I will only send emails with a cultural or educational content such as old monuments, nature and other interesting structures such as the picture below of the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris.
P.S. For those of you who are interested, Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris and took 26 years to build. Construction began in 1578 and ended in 1604. "Le Pont Neuf" is actually made of 2 independent bridges, one with seven arches and the other with five arches .

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Salesman of The Year

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, December 22, 2008 17:22:52

A young Geordie lad moved to London and went to Harrods looking for a job. The manager asked "Do you have any sales experience?"
The young man answered "Eye, hods, I was a canny salesman back in Newcastle." The manager liked the Geordie so he gave him the job.
His first day on the job was challenging and busy, but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the manager came down and asked "OK, so how many sales did you make today?" The Geordie said "Just the one, Marra." The manager groaned and continued "Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?"

" £124,237.64" replied the Geordie. The manager choked and exclaimed "£124,237.64, what the hell did you sell him?"

"Well, forst I selt him a smaal fish hook, then a medium fish hook, and then I selt him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was gannin' fishing and he said doon at the coast, so I telt him he would need a boat, so we went doon tiv the boat department and I selt him that twin-engined Power Cat. Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him doon tiv the car sales and I selt him the 4 x 4 Suzuki".

The manager, incredulous, said "You mean to tell me....a guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and 4x4?"

"Nah, nah......he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his ladyfriend and I said......... 'Well, since ya weekend's f**ked, you might as well gan fishing'."

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Excuses, Excuses

Bad BehaviourPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, December 22, 2008 17:13:47

A Banbury senior citizen drove his brand new BMW Z3 convertible out of the car salesroom. Taking off down the motorway, he floored it to 90 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left. "Amazing!" he thought as he flew down the M40, enjoying pushing the pedal to the metal even more. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a police car behind him, blue lights flashing and siren blaring "I can get away from him - no problem!" thought the elderly nutcase as he floored it to 110mph, then 120, then 130mph.
Suddenly, he thought, "What on earth am I doing? I'm too old for this nonsense!" So he pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the police car to catch up with him. Pulling in behind him, the police officer walked up to the driver's side of the BMW, looked at his watch and said, "Sir, my shift ends in 10 minutes. Today is Friday and I'm taking off for the weekend. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go.

"The man, looked very seriously at the policeman, thought awhile, and replied: "Years ago, my wife ran off with a policeman. I thought you were bringing her back."

"Have a good day, Sir," said the policeman

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