Seriously Silly

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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Big Chief Replies

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Thu, December 18, 2008 16:44:35

My friendly postman today delivered a reply from Mr. Jim Mackey (AKA Big Chief) to my letter of the 18th November. (post 0 on this blog)

The letter is both courteous and frank, and rather than me describing what Mr. Mackey has to say I've uploaded images of the scanned letter to here. My reply is published below.


FAO: Mr. Jim Mackey
Your Ref: JM.GW 5th December 2008

Dear Mr. Mackey,

Thank you for your letter above-referenced. I appreciate that you have spent time in investigating the unfortunate incidents outlined in my last letter, and I am pleased that you have taken the time to write to me and give me explanations for these. In my last letter I said that I wanted to see a positive outcome from my efforts, and it appears that you have instigated actions designed to address the various problems, and for this I am glad.

As far as I am concerned, I’m satisfied with the outcome and I will be putting these unfortunate experiences behind me. To finish then, there was one final incident which you haven’t mentioned in your letter - that my GP – Dr. Angus McManners, had been misinformed that I didn’t keep an appointment on the 6th August to see Mr. Attwood.
Perversely, this incident was ‘the last straw’ that prompted me to put my indignation into words in the first place. I have to admit that being falsely-accused is not something I deal with at all well – no doubt due to childhood experiences!

Yours sincerely,


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A Response!

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Wed, December 10, 2008 17:41:47

I used the trust's website feedback form to point to this Blog and this is their response!


Dear Sir

Thank you for using our website feedback form. I have spoken with staff in the Chief Executive's office and the letter you refer to in your message has not arrived. Could you tell me the address and date when this was sent so that we can look into this matter further. It would also be appreciated if you could forward a copy of the letter again.

Thank you for help in this matter.

Eileen White

Eileen White
Communications Officer
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
0191 293 4096

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Here For You Telephone: 0844 811 8111 The information in this e-mail is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. Access to this e-mail by anyone else is unauthorised. If you are not the intended recipient any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to public disclosure under the NHS Code of Openness or the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We may monitor any emails sent or received by us, or on our behalf. If we do, this will be in line with relevant law and our own policies.

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I've become a member of the Trust!!

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Mon, December 08, 2008 18:16:07

No, I have not received a response from Jim Mackey. (Mr. Big Chief in my earlier post) Nada. Nothing.

I have given Mr. Mackey quite a long time to reply, but it appears that he is too busy. What I did get in the post a week or so ago was a brochure (and form) from Northumbria Healthcare (saying "Here for you......" in the heading) which informs me that:

"You have become a member (of the Trust) in one of the following ways:

* If you have had an out-patient appointment at one of our hospitals.

* By filling in a form to join the foundation trust.

* You are a member of staff."

I feel very proud and deeply touched that they are 'there' for me. (where?)

Obviously making a complaint has also made me a 'member'. Perhaps they should add that to the list above.

I won't be writing to Mr. Mackey again - what's the point? He dosn't seem to be 'there' for me. For now I've emailed with links to this page. Will she be 'there' for me? - I'll let you know one way or the other.


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Doctors attack 'dangerous' NHS dress code

Misery from misinformationPosted by El Grande de JB de Forth Fri, November 21, 2008 13:15:09

From the Guardian 1pm GMT

David Batty and agencies, Friday January 4 2008 14.18 GMT

A new government dress code for NHS staff, meant to combat the spread of hospital superbugs, is potentially dangerous and unscientific, doctors said today. Under the "bare below the elbows" dress code, which comes into force across all acute trusts this month, staff should wear only short sleeves, no wristwatch, no jewellery, and no ties during clinical practice.

The measures, first outlined by the health secretary, Alan Johnson, in September, are intended to curb the spread of dangerous hospital bugs, including Clostridium difficile and MRSA. They will also ban doctors from wearing traditional white coats. But today, in a letter to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), two hospital doctors warned that banning wristwatches could hinder doctors from taking accurate pulse and respiratory rates. They wrote that doctors need a second hand to measure pulse and respiratory rates, particularly in emergency situations.

James Henderson, a specialist registrar in plastic surgery at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS trust, and Sarah McCracken, a specialist registrar in geriatric medicine at Ipswich Hospital, cited a study that showed doctors were unable to safely estimate pulse and respiratory rates without wearing a watch. Only one of the 20 doctors tested was able to give values for each reading that "would not have been potentially dangerous in a clinical setting", they said. "Most beds and examination couches in hospitals do not currently allow sight of a clock," they said. "This study highlights the necessity for doctors to have sight of [a watch] when assessing patients, especially in emergency situations where a clock might not be present," the doctors wrote.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "A bare-below-the-elbows dress code for clinicians helps to support effective hand-washing and so reduces the risk of patients catching infections. "It does not prevent clinicians from doing their job. We would expect clinicians to use clocks to measure pulse rates as this is good clinical practice."

The British Medical Association said it backed the government's "bare below the elbows" dress code, including the ban on wristwatches. But its head of science and ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said: "Basic diagnostic procedures, such as taking someone's pulse or monitoring breathing, require a clock with a second hand. "The health service will have to make sure there is access to a suitable timepiece in all treatment areas, or it could cause more problems than it will solve."

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It's true what everyone says... Hospitals make you ill - very ill

Misery from misinformationPosted by Joe Wed, November 19, 2008 19:07:43

Now I had a lump. It was a small lump - just under the skin and located on the anterior wall of my chest. It grew slowly over a matter of months and became quite painful when knocked. I showed it to my GP, who diagnosed a fibroma and arranged an appointment with a consultant to confirm his diagnosis. That was earlier in the year. I duly received a letter confirming an appointment with a consultant on the 6th August. I duly attended the appointment and it was decided that the lump should be excised and it's histology investigated. A date was set for the minor procedure on the 2nd of October. The lump was finally removed on the 6th of November and the scar is healing nicely - thank you very much. Unfortunately, the stress and upset I have been through in the last few weeks make me wish that I'd simply not bothered, and put up with both the lump and the physical discomfort. But it's not over yet.... just yesterday I received a handwritten note from my doctors' receptionist - But here I'll break off and simply publish the contents of the 2 letters I wrote yesterday. I've made the NHS trust, Hospital and individuals involved all anonymous - for now.

Copy of letter to my Doctor sent today 19th Nov. 2008

FAO: Dr. Nice Man,
Druridge Bay Health Centre,
Broken Leg Walk,
Druridge Bay,
RightLand BE90 3HK

Cc: Mr. Big Chief, CEO Umbria Healthcare Trust

WRT Handwritten note delivered 18th November from Druridge Bay Health Centre

El Grande de JB de Forth
NHS No. (lots and lots)
Trust Ref. (more lots and lots)
D.O.B (too shy to reveal)

Dear Doctor Nice Man,

I’m afraid that you have been misinformed with respect to my alleged non-attendance at a hospital appointment on the 6th August. I had two hospital appointments in August, on the 5th and the 6th, both of which I attended. The appointment on the 6th wasn’t for an operation – just to see the consultant. (In fact I received a copy of the letter from the consultant Mr. StitchInTime addressed to you, with his diagnosis, and I also received a letter from the Trust confirming that I attended an appointment on 6th of August and inviting me to complete a survey.) This mischievous misinformation is just one more example of the serious maladministration at Protect The Innocent General Hospital, in a long string of such events in the last two months. I have refrained from reacting vigorously up until now, but receiving the note from your receptionist M**** this morning is, I’m afraid, the last straw. I have written a letter today to the Executive Officer of the Trust setting out the catalogue of events pertaining to the procedure to remove a lump from my chest, and I’ve included a copy of this, and all of the other relevant communications received by me, should you wish to refer to these. (The procedure was finally carried out on the 6th Nov. and the scar is healing nicely.)

I should stress that I have no criticism of the care I have received at the Health Centre. I have found that you & your staff are at all times diligent, helpful and understanding. What a pity this is simply not true in the case of the administration at the hospital.

Yours sincerely,

El Grande de JB de Forth

Enclosed: Photocopies of relevant material.


Copy of letter to Mr. Big Chief, CEO Umbria Healthcare Trust sent today 19th Nov. 2008

FAO: Mr. Big Chief
CEO Umbria Healthcare Trust,

Protect The Innocent General Hospital
Ruination Road
Killing Fields
Wine & Beer

cc Dr. Nice man.

18th November 2008

El Grande de JB de Forth
NHS No. (lots and lots)
Trust Ref. (more lots and lots)
D.O.B (too shy to reveal)

Dear Mr. Big Chief,

Please could you arrange that I receive a full and true copy of all of the information that the Trust holds on me, including both electronic and paper records. You may at this point be asking yourself why I am writing to you – as Executive Officer, and not Maud Ling, the Medical Records Manager, at Protect The Innocent General Hospital. Put simply, I do not have any faith in the administrative staff at the Hospital to carry out my request diligently or honestly. I am heartily sick of having to repeatedly correct wrongful assumptions & misinformation that results from the hodge-podge of maladministration at Protect The Innocent General Hospital The latest idiocy is that my GP – Dr. Nice Man, has been misinformed that I didn’t keep an appointment on the 6th August to see Mr. StitchInTime. Naturally, my Doctor has asked me why I allegedly missed this appointment.

Let me start at the beginning. Dr. Nice Man arranged for me to see Mr. StitchInTime on the 6th August to investigate a painful lump in my chest. (Attached: img097.jpg) I attended the appointment, and Dr. Nice Man's diagnosis of a fibroma was confirmed by Mr. StichInTime and one of his colleagues. Mr. StichInTime consulted his diary and I was given an appointment for an excision procedure to be carried out on the 2nd of October. I received a copy of the proposed procedure and signed a consent form. (Attached: img095.jpg) As requested in the appointment invitation I provided Mr. StitchInTime with a list of my current medication. (Attached: currentMedicines.doc) I later received a letter from the Patient Care Advisor (Inpatients) (unsigned) confirming the appointment on the 2nd October. This letter was retained by the Surgical Day Unit when I attended on 2nd October, and unfortunately I haven’t a copy of it. It was identical in content (except for the date) to a later one. (attached: img093.jpg) I also received a copy of Mr. StichInTime's letter to Dr. Nice man regarding his diagnosis. (Attached: img094.jpg)

I duly reported to the Surgical Day Unit at 8am on 2nd October, and was taken to a waiting area, where after a short while my BP was measured and the nurse asked what medication I was on. I informed her and she expressed concern when she discovered that I take Warfarin and had not been instructed to reduce my dose to bring my INR down to 1. Later, some blood was taken from my arm for testing, and later still I was informed that my INR was too high and that Mr. StitchInTime was unwilling to proceed with the excision – presumably because of the risk of haematoma. By now it was nearly midday, and the nurse apologized on behalf of the hospital and informed me that I would be contacted in the afternoon or next day with respect to making another appointment. I was given some tea and toast and left the hospital around 12:30.

No contact was made by the hospital either that afternoon, or the following day. In fact the next communication from the hospital was the following week, dated the 6th Nov. from the Patient Care Advisor, (Inpatients) (again unsigned) (attached: img089.jpg) accusing me of not attending my operation appointment on the 2nd Oct., and advising me that my name had been ‘removed from our waiting list’.
I telephoned the Contact Centre and spoke with one of the operators. I explained the facts to her, and she told me that the Surgical Day Unit had informed the Contact Centre that I was a ‘DNA’ and had not attended on the 2nd of October for my operation. I asked the young lady who spoke to me if she could arrange for me to talk to her supervisor, which she did and I received a telephone call on my mobile the following day from Sean Brotherhood. She apologized for the mix-up and confirmed that I had attended and the cancellation was due to an excessively high INR. I asked Sean if she would confirm our conversation in writing, and also correct any computer records recording a DNA by myself. Sean wrote to me on the 10th of October confirming our conversation. (Attached: img090.jpg)

I subsequently received a letter on the 31st October from the Contact Centre dated 30th October confirming that a new appointment for surgery had been arranged for the 6th November at the Surgical Day Unit at 8am. (Attached: img096.jpg) Although this letter exhorted me to ‘READ THIS LETTER CAREFULLY FOR IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS’, it makes no reference to arranging a deduction in my INR.

With only 6 days to go until the procedure was to be carried out, it was obvious to me that if I was to avoid another cancellation of the surgical procedure, I had to arrange reduction of the INR and have it tested on the 5th November. I contacted the Anti-Coagulation clinic and on the nurses' advice ceased my Warfarin dose and made an appointment to attend for an INR check on the 5th Nov.

The procedure was duly carried out on the 6th Nov., and I’m pleased to say that the wound – if a little itchy – is healing nicely. I had considered reporting my experience to the hospital, but I lead a full and interesting life and since the episode was over (I thought) was not prepared to commit my time to write a letter complaining – until this morning when I received a handwritten note from my Doctor’s receptionist, (attached img085.jpg, img086.jpg) which brings me round full circle to the start of my letter.

Mr. Big Chief, I’m 61 and retired in 2001 completely burned out from the stress of travelling to London each Monday, living out of a suitcase during the week, and having to travel back to WilliamsCastle on a Friday evening. In a period of 15 years, I had to put up with airplane cancellations, late departures, lies, excuses, bad food etc. etc., and that’s just travelling. Up until my retirement in 2001 I suffered from stress-related complaints amongst which were IBS, frustration and exhaustion. These days the only events in my life that can bring on comparable levels of frustration, upset & stomach-churning contempt in me, are related entirely to those of your hospital. I have only detailed the most recent examples of bad experiences with the Umbria Healthcare Trust. I haven’t complained in writing to date because I felt that it would be a complete waste of time on my part, and my observations would be dismissed as sour grapes.

When anyone writes personal information down on a piece of paper, and puts that paper in a folder in a filing cabinet and locks the cabinet, the information exists in one place and is not freely available to all. When anyone commits that information to a computer file, that information will be copied and referred to by many. Fine, if only the designated staff have access to the information, and don’t make ‘backups’ they can leave on a train. Fine, if the information is correct. Quite evidently, the information that is held about my hospital visits is incorrect. I want it corrected, and I want evidence that it has been corrected. I also want to check that there is no more rubbish recorded about me. Having been goaded into taking the action of writing to you, I want to see a positive outcome from my efforts. If I’m disappointed, then I will take the matter further.

If observance of correct protocols had been carried out, then surgery would have been carried out on the 2nd October as planned. As it is, nurse’s time, administration staff’s time, my doctor’s time, and my time, have all been wasted unnecessarily. The above episode coupled with the other experiences I have of your hospital have demonstrated to me that with a few notable exceptions, departments at the hospital are beset with systemic failures, procedural non-conformance, and flawed processes, with medical staff heroically having to muddle through using ad-hoc solutions of their own, because of broken procedures, whilst patients are lied to, kept waiting inordinately long times in waiting areas, and need to be very, very, aware that any duty-of-care is a process that they themselves must take ownership of, because if they don’t, no-one else will. Now that’s fine for someone who is still capable, but pity the weak, infirm, and vulnerable, because they will inevitably suffer – maybe even die?

I mention exceptions in the above and I am pleased to single out the following departments for their exemplary behaviour:
1. The Anti-Coagulation Clinic staff – helpful, friendly and understanding at all times.
2. The Physiotherapy department – friendly and very committed.
3. The Endoscopy Unit – well run with sympathetic and understanding staff.

Finally, I couldn’t find the name of the operational officer for Protect The Innocent General Hospital on the website – perhaps it is there, but I simply couldn’t find it. Similarly, letters from the hospital are invariably unsigned – leaving patients no personal point-of-contact. What is the reason for this anonymity do you suppose?

Sincerely Yours,
El Grande de JB de Forth

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