Monday, July 31, 2006

Good Feeling

Today I have a letter of resignation in my pocket. I will hand it in later this morning. With any luck they won't ask me to work my notice. In which case I will have a (short) enforced holiday.

It's a great feeling.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Licence to Harrass

Some time ago I decided not to renew the TV licence. I wrote to the licencing people explaining that we weren't going to use the telly anymore for broadcast pictures, but we would continue using it for playing legal, pre-recorded videos.

They were very nice about it generally. I think I wrote about it in my blog.

My friend has just moved into a new house and she simply doesn't have a telly. The TV licence people are on to her with an altogether more aggressive tone with veiled legal threats and a general bolshy attitude.

They obviously consider there are two types of people: those that have a TV licence and law breakers. She will take no action and await "the next action in this investigation".

In truth, I don't think there is anything they can do these days, even if she had a telly (she doesn't). I've heard that detector vans don't work on these new flat screen TVs.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Trial of Saddam Hussein

I heard today that the jury has retired to consider its verdict.

A verdict is expected some time in October.

Why?

I also heard that, if guilty, he prefers to be shot rather than hung.

Luckily, it's not the sort of thing I've given much consideration.

I wonder if it will be televised?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mission Statement

It's official: space flight is bad for the planet.

Until recently, NASA's mission statement was:

"To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can."

Understanding and protecting the planet has been dropped. It now reads:

"To pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.".

It's good to see that NASA is on board with President Bush's policy on the environment.

New York Times story here.

Tony Blair is a Wanker

After yesterday's post, this hardly seems a criticism. As my friend Richard always says, "there are two types of blokes: wankers and liars".

The point of the title is to emphasise that we are free to criticise our politicians. This is not the case everywhere. Companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google have all complied with demands from the Chinese government to censor their Chinese-based search engines.

Our politicians continually bleat on about how lucky we are to have these freedoms while, at the same time, working to remove them. We are not lucky. It is our right. It is the Chinese (and others) who are unlucky.

Sign the Irepressible.Info pledge (see sidebar) and do what you can to help people like Shi Tao who was imprisoned for ten years for sending an email to an overseas website about the Chinese governments restrictions on coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Do what you can.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Eye Test

I am going to have my eyes tested today. I get it done free on account of my being diabetic.

Sadly, years of wanking have taken their toll. Luckily, I'm not as badly off as some.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pet Hate Number One

I detest electric hand dryers in toilets.

It's not just that your wet hands drip all over the floor.

It's not just that it takes ages to dry your hands and you have to stand there like a lemon.

It's not just that the hot air makes the toilet room uncomfortable, especially in this hot weather.

It's not just the noise they make and the way you can't shut some of them up.

It's not just the fact that they are more unhealthy than towels because they blow all the germs into the air.

It's not just that they waste energy compared to towels.

It's not just the expense of them.

It's not just the fact that some of them have a little sign on them saying how using them is green and saves trees which of course is utter bollocks.

It's not just that they're imported from China or worse, the USA.

It's all these things and the very notion that bolting to the loo wall two kilograms of stainless steel with a two kilowatt motor might even possibly be a good idea.

They're junk.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Peak Oil

It's time I bleated on about this again.

In case you hadn't noticed, it is happening. Gradually but gradually people are waking up to the fact. The oil price is now hovering at just under 80 dollars a barrel. There is absolutely no prospect of it reducing significantly. Only a few months ago, 50 dollars was considered a critical maximum.

The political establishment still seems to be in denial.

Gordon Brown has just taken the misguided step of freezing the duty on petrol (it was due to go up in September) because "oil prices are so volatile".

For "volatile" read "high". Things aren't going to change. The sooner the oil price goes up, the better we will be able to cope.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hot Weather Top Tip

In this hot weather, at lunchtime buy yourself a small punnet of cherry tomatoes. These are readily available from your local supermarket.

Remove the plastic wrapper and place on the passenger seat of your car. If you have one, allow the sunlight through your glass sunroof.

When you return to your car in the afternoon, the tomatoes will be nicely braised. All the skins will have been removed and they'll be the nicest tomatoes you've ever tasted.

Eat them hot.