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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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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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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"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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

Blog Image

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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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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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