Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A New Kind of Stupid

I just had to blog today on the level of stupidity that I have seen in the news recently. Forget the stupid drivers, forget the stupid shoppers; today I have read news articles that show a new kind of stupid.

Take for example the news about the stricken cargo ship MSC Napoli. Containers have been strewn across Branscombe beach in Devon, and it is reported that looters have been turning up in droves to scavenge what they can find on the beach. This has rightly been condemned by the police and coast guard officials as the goods inside these containers obviously belong to other people, some of which are personal items.

However, as much as the greed of these people disgust me, the thing I found stupid beyond belief was a comment submitted to BBC News and quoted within the article:

“Let them keep what they find. They are removing rubbish from the beach!”
Ken Bolton from Manchester
Umm… no. You see this is rubbish (which is clearly being left behind):

What is actually being removed is barrels of wine and BMW motorbikes, and other valuable items.

Also in the news is a two year old boy who was banned from a shop for refusing to remove his “hoodie”:

And on a more serious note is the story of a man who lost his life during a mugging that went wrong. The Judge David Hodson is quoted as saying regarding the murderer:
“The dreadful catalogue of physical and emotional abuse you have been subjected to as a child has undoubtedly contributed to the anti-social behaviour disorder you suffer.”
I'm sure this statement will bring great comfort to the victims family. If you click on the link to the news article you can watch video phone footage of the murderer "suffering" from the affects of his anti-social behaviour disorder.

Two questions: Is anti-social behaviour a disorder?* And is physical and emotional abuse as a child a justifiable excuse for a completely unrelated murder in adulthood?

I'd just like to point out that I have friends who wrote the book on suffering physical and emotional abuse, and yet they are balanced, upright members of society. They don’t mug people; they don’t carry knives; and they don’t stab people to death.

*If so, I’m sorry kids but your ASBO no longer makes you look “tough” and “cool” – it just proves you’re a fruit cake.

Images from BBC News

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Magic Roundabout

Originally known as "Le Manège Enchanté" (The Enchanted Merry-go-round), "The Magic Roundabout" was an animated children's television programme created in France in 1963 by Serge Danot, assisted by British animator Ivor Wood, who was working at Danot's studio at the time. The programme was aired on British television from 1965 to 1977 and was narrated by Eric Thompson who, rather than translate the original script from French into English, narrated the program based on what he saw.

In 1972 the UK saw the introduction of large road traffic circulation systems with an unconventional layout, and the name “Magic Roundabout” soon became associated with any complex traffic roundabout.

I haven’t blogged about stupid drivers in ages. Actually, I haven’t seen any stupid drivers in ages. I presumed that they had all read my blog and were sitting at home sulking. Maybe they thought I had forgotten about them and so they decided to come out and drive again?

On Friday night I saw many of them, but by no means all of them. I went out to drop Mr Man off at his table tennis practice, and when I arrived back home I pulled over at the side of the road, ready to make my manoeuvre to reverse onto our drive (I’m a bit clever like that). In my rear view mirror I could see headlights, so I waited a moment. I then noticed that there were two vehicles coming along the road behind me, followed by blue flashing lights. As I waited I watched in disbelief as all three of them drove past; wondering why the two vehicles in front hadn’t pulled over. It was an ambulance by the way, not a police car, so they weren’t being chased!

On my way back to pick Mr Man up I approached a small roundabout. The car in front of me had stopped, although there were no other vehicles on or even approaching the roundabout from any other exit. Then a car appeared at the exit to the right. Giving way to his right, as he should, the car in front of me continued to wait. But then so did the numb skull to the right, although there was nothing coming from his right. Why do people struggle to use roundabouts so much? It’s not complicated is it? We’re talking about a small roundabout with three exits – nothing like this one:

Actually that reminds me, just before the Christmas period two cars nearly had a collision right in front of me on a mini roundabout. It was another one of those roundabouts with three exits, which used to be a “T” junction; they seem to be very common in our town. The car in front of me was turning right, but the car coming straight towards us from the opposite direction (which in roundabout terms was to our left) pulled out straight in front of him instead of giving way. I suppose it can be confusing to some people when the roundabout used to be a “T” junction, but for goodness sake, there are a few hints as to what to do – like the big round “roundabout” sign before you approach it, and the fact that there is a large round lump in the road painted white – I find that a little bit of a give away myself.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Desperate Measures

I don’t know why but I have this strange desire to share every useless piece of drivel that pops into my brain tonight – unfortunately for you, my dear reader.

I’ve had trouble with my sinuses over the last couple of days and I think I may be coming down with a head cold or have some kind of infection, so I’ve been dosing myself up on chopped, raw, garlic – unfortunately for Mr Man.

You’ll be glad to know that I haven’t decided to adopt the rather unusual method of self administration by inserting a whole garlic clove into my bottom, as demonstrated by an auditionee on last years Xtra Factor!* Instead I have been washing the garlic down with diet Pepsi, which probably isn’t the best choice of beverage for health benefits, but at least it makes the garlic semi palatable. I have a piece of metal in my kitchen which, when used to wash ones hands with, removes odours from the skin. It’s magic! So I decided to use it to wash my tongue with as well. It worked a little, but I couldn’t get to the roof of my mouth with it. Needless to say I am getting through quite a bit of mouthwash at the moment. It’s worth it though as garlic has amazing health benefits, including antibiotic properties. I always use it when I suspect an infection (that green stuff you cough up is usually a bit of a giveaway) rather than going to the doctors for antibiotics. Mr Man said to me on Friday “You should go to the doctors about it” to which I replied: “No, I was only there a couple of days ago, he’ll think I fancy him!”.

A friend told me today that garlic can also be rubbed into the soles of the feet and absorbed into the body in this way, but this would bring a whole new meaning to the term “smelly feet” which couldn’t be contained with mouthwash.

Mr Mans answer to everything is Lemsip. My answer to everything (or head colds at least) is a hot drink with a measure of Bailey’s in it. It clears the head and eases aches and pains far better than any of these modern day cold and ‘flu remedies. The trouble is I haven’t actually got any at the moment, so I decided to try hot chocolate with Malibu instead (I didn’t think the coconut flavour would mix well with Barley Cup).

The other problem I had was measuring it. I don’t usually measure anything in the kitchen; cooking always seems to go horribly wrong the moment I start weighing ingredients, so I usually use the old fashioned method of guessing, taught to me by my mother. But I’m actually supposed to be dieting again/still/at the moment so I wanted to be sure of the amount I was drinking. I finally managed to find a measuring cup for cough medicine and I used that to measure out my 25mls!

The drink worked quite well, but you can’t beat a bit of Bailey’s in a hot drink, which of course is made from Whiskey – the original cold remedy.

*The Xtra Factor was the itv2 “behind the scenes” show of The X Factor, presented by Ben Shepherd. The auditionee didn’t literally insert a garlic clove into his bottom live on air, but demonstrated the most effective method by inserting it into a clenched fist!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Today's Top Tip

Don't walk into a room naked when it's dark outside, the curtains are open, and the light is on.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Hilarious (mis)Adventures of Funky Monkey's Mother

Meet Funky Monkey. She is a normal, if hormonal, 15 year old girl with parents old enough to be her grandparents. Her (much) older siblings have all married and moved on, leaving Funky Monkey to cope with the growing pains of adolescence in the company of her two near retirement age parents, who grew up in a much simpler place in time. Their rural accents and outlook on life are far removed from Funky Monkey’s lipstick and posters, but their warm nature endears you to them. Funky Monkey’s Mother is homely and mothering, and bears a simplistic innocence that prevents her from grasping the concepts of today’s modern living; and so are born The Hilarious (mis)Adventures of Funky Monkey’s Mother…

I realise that many of these tales may be seen as “you had to be there” moments; I only hope I can do these true life tales justice. Funky Monkey’s Mother is just so loveable, and easily the funniest woman I have ever met, but she doesn’t even know she’s doing it. Her reputation precedes her, and no dinner party, day trip, or holiday is deemed complete without her.

Mr Man and I settled down to a game of “Articulate” in which a member of a team has to explain the word written on a card to the other team members without actually saying the word, and then those team members have to guess the word on the card. Funky Monkey, her Mother and her sister were also playing, while Funky Monkey’s Father slouched in front of the TV.

“I can’t read the writing, I haven’t got my glasses on” said Funky Monkey’s Mother, who we will call Peggy. “Wait a minute” she said as she walked over to Funky Monkey’s Father and whipped the glasses from his face, suddenly waking him from his doze. “That’s better” she said, putting on the glasses and joining us again. “Now. It’s a place, and it’s also a cheese” she stated. A stream of guesses quickly followed from all the players, as it was an “All Play”:
“Cheddar” Mr Man suggested.
Peggy quickly spun round to face Mr Man and hand gestured for him to expand on his answer.
“Cheddar Gorge” he quickly added.
“Yes, that’s it!” She exclaimed.
“Oh, well done Mr Man” “It’s Mr Man again” “He’s too good for us” came the varying responses from the rest of us.
“No, wait a minute” Peggy interrupted. She sat there thinking for a moment.
“What?” we all asked.
“Was it Cheddar Gorge?” she asked herself as she held the card to her chest. “I can’t remember” she said. The rest of us just laughed.
“Why don’t you just look at the card?” Mr Man asked, and we all laughed louder.
She looked at the card again; “No, that’s not right” she confirmed.
A roar of laughter followed from Funky Monkey, her sister and I. We'd been guessing frantically for ages and she couldn't even remember what the answer was! (And I'm sure someone had actually guessed the correct answer, Chester (Is that a cheese?) earlier) Thankfully she’s not easily offended and she’s used to people laughing at the silly things she does.

When it was Funky Monkeys turn to read the card, she described the word “Muppet” as:
“An insult that [Funky Sister] doesn’t like”
“Bitch!” shouted the mild, sweet, innocent Funky Monkey’s Mother.
Shocked, we all burst into screams of laughter.
“No? Is that not right?” she asked innocently…

More Hilarious (mis)Adventures of Funky Monkey’s Mother coming soon!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Diagnosis: Hypochondria

My emotions are in a constant state of flux at the moment; one minute I think I’m going to die from a deadly illness and the next minute I’m relieved to find out that I’m going to live… long enough to discover that I’m dying from a different deadly illness.

There are three little words that no one ever wants to have to say or hear: "pea sized lump". I found one of those in my armpit the other week, and although I tried desperately to convince Mr Man (and myself) that it was nothing more than a swollen lymph node, I couldn’t help thinking to myself “What if…” I’d decided it would be best to get it checked out, but it was the start of the weekend so the doctors surgery was closed… then of course we had the bank holiday… then I was actually too ill to go to the doctors, and by the time I felt well enough to make an appointment it had gone – just as the results of my Google searches had predicted. Phew.

That was a couple of days ago.

Tonight I had a “funny turn”. (Why do people call it that? Has anyone ever actually had a “turn” that was funny?) It wasn’t funny, although I was laughing my head off just before it happened. The next minute I was crying and saying “I don’t feel well”. Everyone was asking me what was wrong and all I could say was “I don’t know, I just don’t feel well”. I wasn’t really aware of what was going on around me, and once I came “out of it” I found it really hard to explain what had happened. I’d experienced some numbness and tingling at the time, so probably due to that and my confusion, Mr Man thought I might have had a mini Stroke. I felt fine afterwards though - if a bit stupid - apart from the head ache it had left me with. Still, I decided to call the "out of hours doctor" service for a bit of advice to put Mr Mans (and my own) mind at rest, and they asked me to “pop along” (as if it was just down the road - it’s actually in the next town) to get checked out. I felt so incredibly stupid driving myself there; there’s obviously not a lot wrong with me if I can drive myself to the next town to get checked out! It was decided that I wasn’t in need of an emergency hospital admission (no, really?) but I was advised to make an appointment to see my GP tomorrow to have some investigations done.

I still feel really stupid about the whole thing, probably because I can’t even explain very well what happened. I’m just really glad that I never did go to the doctors about my death dealing “pea sized lump” because with my “mini Stroke” as well I think the diagnosis would definitely be: “a severe case of hypochondria”.

Do you think I could get a sick note for that?