Friday, May 25, 2007

I was much relieved to listen to Feedback this afternoon and find my career as a Radio 4 raving phone-in loony pundit didn't happen. I can now breath more easily knowing I haven't become an instant hate figure for the English Middle classes. Mums in Chelsea Tractors doing the school run all over the country have been spared having my incoherent rantings shoved down their ears. My faith in the BBC is restored.

I have recently become fed up with the way this blog looks. I mean, white lettering on a black background. It's such a teenagery thing to do.

Actually, thinking about it, Writin mi Blog Like this wud B much more teenagery...

I may fiddle with the colours and other tweakeries over the next few days in lieu of anything interesting happening to me. At the moment all I seem to be doing is housework all day followed by a couple of hours in the evening woodworking at Mags and Simon's cottage - by the time I get there I am far too tired to be operating anything with sharp points, powerful electric motors, or both. After a day running around after Daisy and Holly trying to keep the peace, doing joinery is beyond me. Trying to remember which zapper does what on the TV is beyond me. I spent a very frustrating five minutes the other night trying to change channels with the DVD remote.

Today was a tough old day. Tonight for instance, at tea, Daisy was inconsolable, refused to eat anything for a good fifteen minutes and howled like I'd just shot her puppy in front of her and told her Father Christmas wasn't real - all because she couldn't get the fork she wanted. Holly was eating with it. After about ten minutes of constant crying and kicking I had managed to convince Daisy that going and asking Holly if she could have the "smiley" fork instead of just screaming "I want it! I want it! I want it!" over and over again might be a better way of getting a result. She went and asked Holly very nicely if she could have the fork. Holly said no. Daisy started screaming again. I kissed goodbye any chance of eating any hot food for the third night in a row and went and collected every possible fork I could find in the kitchen and laid them all out for Daisy. She eventually chose a blue one and started eating. thirty seconds later she was a happy smiling little girl again. The whole day seems to have been like that (it wasn't - but it felt like it). It's exhausting. It is so damn tiring having to negotiate or arbitrate about every single bloody thing, every damn minute of the day.

Merriol was home late from work after a whole load of meetings that went on longer than planned which lead on to things that needed doing on the spot, not later, and I'm afraid that when she turned up home, I just legged it out of the door .

Hello. Here's your tea. I'm off.

Off to the peace and quiet of a building site where I didn't have to spend ten minutes convincing bits of wood they wanted to be sawn up, and then having to let the saw horse choose which saw I used to saw them up because it liked the one with the yellow plastic handle better than the sharp one I was going to use. Semi-bliss.

Sorry Merriol.

Ilona sent me a mail today saying she has booked the hall for the panto in December and it would be good to see a copy of the first draft of the script "by June".

I don't know why I'm doing this script.

That's far funnier than anything than I've written so far...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Of My Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

In 1968 Andy Warhol said: "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."

So far I reckon I have had about 2 of mine (acknowledging of course that the whole notion of 'fame' has become totally debased in the last 40 years. In 1968 The Beatles were famous, in 2007 whoever is presenting a repeat of a regionally produced game show broadcast at 9.30 AM on a free-to-air satellite channel is 'famous' - and has a book deal).

Another 15 seconds worth of my 15 minutes is coming up - maybe. I just got interviewed by the BBC.

Listening to Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago, I caught The Ugly American, a very funny little autobiographical play by Mike Daisey, a few days later, by total a hapenstance, I caught Feedback (a Radio 4 listeners' complaints / issues show) in which the play was attacked from all sides for daring to even mention the word 'rape' in a play broadcast during daytime hours. I wrote a mail (like I do) saying "No no no! they got it all wrong they didn't listen. It wasn't about rape, it was about the actor who was being asked to portray the act of rape on stage...."

A woman with a drop-dead gorgeous voice from Feedback phoned last night and asked if I would say all that into a microphone being one of the handful of people who came to the play's defence. I said yes. About half an hour ago they recorded my burblings and spleen venting down the phone. Don't know if they will use it but I'm now terrified that if they do I will come over as a raging pervert who wants to fill the nation's earwaves with pornographic radio plays.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One of my not very said out loud new year's resolutions was that I was going to write more this year. I was going to start / finish 'the novel' - whatever it was about. (Probably a plotless ramble about a middle-aged man with an unhealthy fascination with cheap bad science fiction movies which he watches endlessly instead of doing something constructive).

I have never wanted 'To Write' (in a capital letters, reading A S Byatt sort of way) but I enjoy it. Apart from anything else, it makes me appreciate what bloody hard work it is to get clarity on the page, and how difficult it is slide things into a story without waving a big red flag with LOOK! HERE'S A PLOT POINT! written all over it. There's nothing quite like trying to do something for yourself to make you appreciate the skill and hard work that goes into making something look easy.


That was the sound of my brain collapsing as I listened to Ella Fitzgerald singing Cream's Sunshine of Your Love. It's about 15 minutes in on this archived program of MFWU's Incorrect Music show if you want to suffer a similar short term synaptic short out.

Good god!

I now have absolutely no idea at all what I was going to say.

I'll come back to this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You Can Get More Smells Up Your Nose Because You Have Bigger Nostrils

Another cartoon today - and I broke my world land speed record. Today was the shortest time I have had between getting the annoying little idea and getting it onto neatly arranged piles of pixels. About an hour from the stupid idea to the moment I was happy with the picture. And that wasn't a solid hour sat in front of the pooter, it was done just grabbing a few moments each time as I was passing. I love 'cut' and 'paste'. I mean one sheep looks pretty much like another after all.

I am afflicted with a terrible disease. I can't stop reading. All my life I have been an avid reader, ever since the age of four or so I have read anything and everything that passes in front of me. As a child I remember being told to stop reading while I was eating and put my book down. I have an abiding childhood memory of munching breakfast reading the backs of the only thing with words that were allowed on the table - cereal packets. I'm sure I could have recited the Kellogg's Corn Flake added vitamin list at the drop of a hat.

Even these days I still read packets and instructions without noticing I'm doing it - until something stupid about them sits up and hits me. The other day I noticed a packet of Scottish Blend tea bags had this helpful health factoid written on the side:
'Tea is a good source of fluids'
Wow! I never knew that. Did you know that? Tea, a product that is 99.9+% water, is a good source of fluids! What will they think of next? Why do they put this patronising crap on the sides of packets?

Today I noticed this on a pack of Daisy's nappies:
Huggies Little Walkers
Nappy Pants

All the absorbency of a nappy,
with all the freedom of a pant.

Simple comme une culotte,
super absorbante comme une couche.
'All the freedom of a pant'? What does that mean? What the hell is A pant?

The odd thing is that the French appears to be as weirdly meaningless as well. I have very little French but had always understood the word culottes was a plural. Wikipedia (peace be upon it) says:.
..the term "culottes" in French is now used to describe womens panties, an article of clothing that has little or no relation to true culottes*.
'Une culotte' is French for 'a pant'.

Annoying as I found this irritating bit of meaningless puff on a product I had already bought, I consoled myself with the thought that it must be very annoying to Canadians.

*I was going to remove the link in this quote but I didn't just in case anyone was tempted to look up panties, I know I am from time to time - but don't tell Merriol.

And if you are asking yourself just how much lower will this man stoop to make a cheap joke? I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you right now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I can't work out which disturbs me the most about this: the fact that I understand it, that I thought of it in the first place, that I find it funny, or that I spent an hour with Illustrator drawing it.

Which or whatever you find the most disturbing, they are all sure and certain signs that I need to get out and mix with people more...

Oh my GOD! - Real people are in 3D!


Can Ducks Kiss?

No more sighting of The Box to report, dammit! but I have been busy this week shopping, and watching Eurovision round at Mike and Morag's - at last! proof that there are more lesbians in Europe who know how to operate a telephone than gay blokes.

Go watch The Ukraine's (2nd place) and Serbia's (first).

Just to point out these are videos from the semi-finals. The guys from The Ukraine really camped it up for the final, and the Serbian dancers got a whole touchy-feely, uniformed lipstick lesbian thing going. I'm sure you could find their performances on the final on You Tube if you went looking.

The UK Entry (as usual) was pretty fucking dreadful - when will we learn that camp heterosexuality doesn't work. We came second last out of a field of lots.

Actually, if you can be bothered adding yet another plug-in to your over burdened browser you can watch the whole final here if you should wish.

That was Saturday taken care of.

Sunday, the most constructive thing I did was spend an hour or so fixing Mike and Morag's cooker door. One of the hinges had collapsed. With a lot of swearing, and a carefully crafted piece from an old Spam tin I got it fixed again. Hurray me! I love fixing things...

...and watching a couple of dreadful movies. One of them, Future War, was about a Belgian kick-boxer from outer-space who teams up with a novice, ex-hooker nun to defeat pursuing alien android overlords and their self-destructing, variably-sized, trained, killer dinosaurs.

It must have looked soooo good on paper...

A bit like the UK's Eurovision entry.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another sighting of the box!

Yesterday's cardboard box has turned up again. It's 28 pounds in the catalogue, it's 27 pounds on the Lulasapphire website and now, in an interior decorating porn mag that turns up in our house from time to time it's on sale for 25 pounds from the same people. Has the bottom fallen out of the stupidly over-priced cardboard box market?

I will keep my eyes open.

I'm not sure where the interior decorating porn mag comes from (I suspect Merriol buys it) but it quickly moves into the bathroom, because any one of its identical articles (paint everything white, buy expensive furniture and don't look like you actually do anything as crass as actually live in your phoney show home) can be read in the time it takes to void your bowels in a satisfying manner.

Sometimes I sit and stare at the pictures in the thing and wonder if I would be having a happier toilet experience sitting on a 400 pound hand-carved Carrera Marble crapper with a solid extinct Nigerian hardwood seat, and then wiping with individual sheet-ettes of hand-made flax paper toilet roll subtly decorated with life-enhancing mandalas... but I doubt it.

On a wider scale of things. Tony Blair will be out of our lives in 49 days. Get out the bunting. I feel a street party coming on.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The world has gone totally mad (in a Daily Mail "Loony Lefties Ban Tuesdays" sort of way) or I have finally turned into a the grumpy old git that I have been threatening to turn into for years? (These are not incompatible states.)

In a catalogue of kids stuff that has been lying around the house for a while (we are prone to outbreaks of catalogues of kid's stuff lying around in this house) Merriol and I found...

It's a cardboard box.

You can now buy special, "eco friendly" cardboard boxes for your kids to play with. A snip at a mere twenty eight pounds*

Here's a picture from the facing page of the catalogue of two delighted kids playing with the slightly smaller version of the "eco friendly" cardboard box - priced at an even more bargainsome twenty-one pounds.

Mum? Are we having fun yet?

You can just tell that the one on the left is just so fucked off with Mum and Dad for throwing away the box that this came in can't you?

Ban Tuesdays.

*About fifty-six US Dollars


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

First midge today. This means no one in the Highlands will be able to go outside and stand still until September.

I occurred to me today that in a few years Holly and Daisy we be able to read this blog.

Maybe you are Holly and Daisy reading this in the future, if so I have a few words I would like to say to you my darling daughters:

Holly - do your homework. Daisy - stop pestering your sister and go set the table for tea.

It's more than likely that Holly Daisy and I ate a fair proportion of a toad this afternoon.

A few days ago one of the ducks was running around the garden trying to eat a toad and making a fair go at it too.

Tonight the girls and I had pancakes made with duck eggs.

It's statistically impossible (assuming the duck that ate the toad laid at least one of the eggs) that some of the ex toad molecules weren't now egg molecules - and are now becoming Me, Daisy and Holly molecules.

I love the idea that every day we ingest hundreds (Thousands? Millions?) of atoms that have, over the years, been through hundreds of famous people. Think of the millions and millions of atoms you breath, pee, and shed, or excrete via a variety of other methods every day: we shed thousands of skin cells and hairs every day, and then there's earwax, bogeys, poo - the list isn't endless but it's long.

Wherever we go we leave trails of ourselves behind which settle to the bottom of the food chain, get eaten by microbes and slowly work their way up, getting reprocessed over and over again until somone else shoves then in their mouths, or breathes them in, and they become part of another person for a while. There are bits of me that were once bits of Cleopatra, Gengis Khan, Hitler and George Formby - all four of the Beatles, Grace Kelly, Chaucer, every King and Queen of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and (I presume) some from that bloke who used to play Albert Tatlock in Coronation Street.

Same as you.

Though I guess if you are reading this in Mongolia the chances of you having bits of Ghengis Khan in you at any one time are higher than mine, but I probably out percentage you in Shakespeare, Albert Tatlock guy - and toad.

At the end of last year (or the start of this one, I can't remember) I punted up here a list of every movie I had watched through the year. Some people seemed to find it an intimidatingly huge list, others were just bewildered by the sheer, and hitherto unrealised levels of, anal retentiveness I sink to when left alone for more than five minutes with anything with serial numbers, or dates on the spines - or just about anything that can be stacked neatly. Leave me alone with a stack of magazines, or a shelf full of books for more than ten minutes and I get twitchy and start wanting to neaten the piles and alphabetise them.

Like, I am so in touch with my inner Monika, yeah?

Just to keep Ilona from feeling too intimidated, this year I'm going to do it in 4 easy to digest, bite-sized quarterly Nugget McLists. And to keep Phoebe from thinking I'm an even bigger freak than she thinks me already I didn't put them in alphabetical order...


I make a New Year's resolution to watch fewer crap movies... Three days later I watch:
  1. Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD - A streetwise New York cop is, by a twist of fate at the opening night of the first kabuki production of The Odd Couple, transformed into a Crime-fighting Japanese Superhero! I have NO WILLPOWER! Things can only get better as the year goes on...
  2. The Train (aka "John Frankenheimer's The Train") - a film that just gets better every time I see it.
  3. Daughter of Horror - Public domain weirdness downloaded from here. Aka Dementia this has got to be the oddest movie I have seen in ages, a silent journey into madness that looks like it was shot by Ed Wood and Orson Wells on alternate days from a script idea by David Lynch - and made in 1955! The movie is most famous for being the film that was playing in the movie house in The Blob (is that 'famous'?).
  4. La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio - coo! forrun fillums! The New Year's resolution taking hold? The American title of this badly dubbed 1958 Franco - Italian co-production was The Day the Sky Exploded. Hides head in shame and sneaks off to watch:
  5. Teenage Zombies - I need help. A Jerry Warren movie. Not as bad as some of Jerry Warren's movies - but still worse than 99.9% of all movies ever made
  6. The Corpse Bride - A real disappointment. I am going to start avoiding movies with Danny Elfman scores.
  7. Agency - I watched a Lee Majors movie‽
  8. Sabotage - early sound Hitchcock, beautiful stuff.
  1. Alien Autopsy - slight but fun little movie. Surprised to see my mate Paul as a TV exec. I'd forgotten he'd told me he'd worked on it. Harry Dean Stanton as ever was just plain brilliant. The man does less and less and just gets better and better.
  2. L.A. Confidential - it would have been a but (and I feel like a total prick for saying this) Kim Bassinger was too old for her part. There was a really crappy edit that hit me in the face too - a weird little double action when Pierce's character goes to pull out his badge twice before going on to insult Lana Turner - which reminded me it was a movie - which I hate when I'm engrossed (as I was).
  3. Spontaneous Combustion - laughably awful Tobe Hooper thing about people who burst into flames after nuclear experiments. So bad it was weirdly good.
  4. The Saphead - (1920) which has not stood the test of time and would have easily vanished into oblivion unnoticed, if it wasn't for the sole fact it was Buster Keaton's first feature length film. Because it IS Buster Keaton's first feature length film it is available on DVD with a couple of his brilliant shorts.
  5. The Apartment - one of those film I always thought I had seen but, as it turns out, hadn't. Loved it!
  6. Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory - aka I Married a Werewolf. 1962 Austrian Italian werewolf movie with far less T&A than the title would suggest - well, none to be exact - Poo!
  7. The Alpha Incident - Dull, low budget 'SF' the only plus side being it did contain slightly more boobage than last night's werewolf movie.
  8. UFO: Target Earth - Sublimely incomprehensible awfulness that took 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Close Encounters Of the Third Kind, added a budget of nothing, and scored a massive 9 on my What-the-fuck?-o-meter.
  9. The Doomsday Machine - Lurid trash SF which started filming in 1967 but was abandoned half way through shooting and shelved. Five or so years later a different director, who couldn't afford to hire any of the original cast - or anything else for that matter - 'completed' it. It's a shambles. I loved it.
  10. Prisoners of the Lost Universe - The scriptwriters ran out of ideas after they came up with the title.
  11. The End of the World - Killer aliens disguised as nuns!
  12. Evil Brain From Outer Space - 1950s Japanese kid's Super-hero movie serial edited down to one baffling indigestible feature-length chunk.
  1. The Manster - Misguided Japanese scientist turns nice guy American newspaperman into two-headed homicidal fiend. Better than it sounds - but not much.
  2. They (aka Invasion from Inner Earth) - Indie, no budget, no idea SF movie about Martians from the earth's core incoherently destroying the world.
  3. Robot Pilot - Boring 1941 B pic.
  4. Ring of Terror - Dreadful 1962 drive-in crap.
  5. Frozen Alive - dull
  6. Hercules in New York - Bad oh sooo bad bad bad bad bad. Best line:"He is but an impetuous youth, Zeus!" Try saying it; it's a line that fits the mouth like an old sock.
  7. Octopus 2 - Jaws with a giant Octopus. In New York.
  8. TC2000 - moronic 'SF' kick boxing movie. Two lines of exposition followed by five minutes of take-it-turns-to-kick-each-other-into-piles-of-things fighting followed by two lines of exposition etc.
  9. Im Stahlnetz des Dr. Mabuse (The Return of Dr. Mabuse)- Gert Frobe, lots of John Alton type 'one big light' cinematography, dodgy dubbing, and Tarzan in a suit.
  10. Flight to Mars - cheap 1951 SF from a company more used to making westerns.
  11. The Lost World - the first 1925 silent version.
  12. This Is Not A Drill - 1962 cold war no budgeter that could have been a lot better but was still better than the sum of its parts.
  13. Bakterion (aka Panic) - Godawful Spanish / Italian 'horror' flick starring a Kiwi and a Swede, set in the UK and containing the dullest 'chasing a monster through a sewer' sequence ever shot. Dire.
  14. Funeral In Berlin - OK-ish sequel to the staggering work of genius that is The Ipcress File.
  15. Le Dernier Métro - two hours of my life spent watching other men snog Catherine Deneuve - I now officially hate Gérard Depardieu.
  16. Memento - I'm sure there are holes in the plot you could drive a bus through, but interesting nevertheless.
  17. The Pink Panther - sad I know, but I laughed like a drain.
  18. Masters of the Universe - He-Man with a mullet? Come on!
  19. The Mistress of Atlantis (1932) - weirdly hypnotic tale about two French Foreign Legionnaires discovering Atlantis in the Sahara.
  20. Night Fright - 1967 Drive in shit in which Middle-aged Teenagers are terrorised (a bit) by a Gorilla-suited 'mutant'.
  21. Young Einstein - a deeply stupid little movie which I love to bits for all sorts of reasons.
  22. Eternal Evil - Canadian TV 'The Hunger' wannabee which was a confusing mess but had a couple of nice moments - and Karen Black. I love Karen Black.
  23. The Brute Man - (MST3K remix) Not even Mike and the Bots could make this sad little film anything but a tasteless waste of time.
  1. The Norman Rockwell Code - Funny little parody of Dan Brown's thing. See it here.
  2. Gremloids - silly low-budget Star Wars spoofoid, that makes me laugh.
  3. Death Race 2000 - I finally got to see it! I've been trying to get to see this movie for about 20 years on and off and there it was on some Free to Air low rent movie channel. Movies4Men 2 or some such. Dated but it still has it's moments.
  4. Alien Contamination - Gory cheapo Italian Alien rip-off with an interesting solution to the famous and perennial Bad Italian Movie Dubbing Problem - gas masks.
  5. How To Get Ahead in Advertising - Hmmmmmm my internal jury is still out.
  6. Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell - (MST3K) - Oh I am so overwhelmed with indifference.
  7. Blue Velvet - I just love the weird unearthly quality of Lynch's movies. They are like semi lucid bad dreams.
  8. Memoirs of an Invisible Man - brain dead mediocrity from John Carpenter that kept my eyes occupied as I kept the sofa warm. (24 hours later the true horror of what I had done hit me. I had watched an ENTIRE Chevy Chase movie... and laughed.) Then, going from the rediculous to the sublime, the next night I watched:
  9. Cyrano de Bergerac - The 1990 version with Gérard Depardieu. I was hooked from the opening shot and I was in tears by the end. A magnificent movie. Why did it take me so long to get round to watching it? Why don't I speak French? and then some. Gérard Depardieu is forgiven for snogging Catherine Deneuve. Next night, wanting to avoid any disappointment by watching anything that might suffer by comparison, I sat down to:
  10. Good Against Evil - a 1977 total of a Rosemary's Baby / Exorcist clone TV pilot. I kid you not. A TV pilot about a lone wanderer and his priest sidekick/mentor seeking, week after week, his one true love who an evil sect have groomed since her birth to be the bride of the devil Astaroth. I can just see the light bulb going on over the producer's head "The Exorcist: The TV Series? How can it fail?!" Praise the lord and pass the ammunition! It did.
  11. Alien Zone - A 1978 portmanteaux 'Horror' film made in Oklahoma. However bad that sounds to you the reality was worse.

I make a Quarter Of The Way Through The Year resolution to watch fewer crap movies...

And those are just the ones I got to the end of. Titles in groovy clicko-text will take you to my fuller reviews on the IMDb
More in four months time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Here! Søren, Done Any Good Philosophing Recently?

New cartoon tonight. Since no one got my hilarious Renaissance Dance Craze funny last week I thought I would go back to cute animals. Be warned though, I've got some cracking jokes about Kierkegaard and some other Danish philosophers lined up. While I was looking up Kierkegaard just now to make sure I'd spelled his name correctly, I read on Wikipedia that Mr K was a "prolific 19th century Danish philosopher". A prolific philosopher. What a weird concept. Prolific songwriters, poets, and musicians I had come across, but a prolific philosopher?

Int. Day. A Coffee Shop in Copenhagen sometime in the 19th Century.

Hello Sven, I see you're reading Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments. How're you getting on with it?
Another Sven:
Not bad, he's having a good old go at Hegel ain't he?
Yeah. I really enjoyed it. I won't spoil the ending for you but let's just say the Hegelian claim that "The Rational is the Real and the Real is the Rational" gets a right bashing. Read Dialectical Result of a Literary Police Action yet?
Another Sven:
Nah, I'll wait for the movie, but I've heard it's not as good as The Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates. Now that was a good bit of philosophy that was. Had me thinking all night that one did. I woke the missus up I was thinking so much. She said: "what you doing?" I said "thinking", she said "well stop it".

As usual I find I am making very little sense and I have no idea what I'm on about. Therefore I am going to bed.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rant Rant Rant!

I'm in huge fucking rant mode so forgive me.

There is nothing the Scottish people (me included) enjoy more than a good spectacular fuck up. Just look at our record in The World Cup for example. We take a perverse Calvanistic national delight in a kind of weird masochistic, own-goal, Self-Schadenfruende - I'm sure there's a German word for this, there is after all a German word for everything (sitzpinkle!), but I'm too lazy to look it up.

We had an election in Scotland yesterday and somehow - god knows how - somehow we seem to have fucked it up. Elections in this country are simple. You get a piece of paper with a list on it. You stick a cross next to the name of the least objectionable of the arsesholes lying for your attention. You then shove the list in a box and walk away with a vague feeling you have had some say in the way the country is run for the next couple of years. You don't even have to take your own pencil, pencils are provided.

This time it was a little bit more complicated. We were given two pieces of paper!


This is what the the pieces of paper looked like:

Every house in Scotland should have received a leaflet telling you how to fill in the papers - I know we did. There were instructions in the press and in the polling stations and actually on top of the papers. They were not complicated instructions. Put an X next to the people you wanted to vote for on the coloured piece of paper. Only put one cross on the peach list, only put one cross on the purple list. On the other bit of paper it says:

"Instead of a cross, number the candidates in the order of your choice.

Put the number 1 next to the name of the candidate who is your first choice, 2 next to your second choice, 3 next to your third choice, 4 next to your fourth choice and so on

You can mark as many or as few choices as you like."

Amazingly some 100,000 people managed to fuck it up. Some huge % of the population who bothered to vote in the first place couldn't work out how to do something slightly less complicated than opening a tin of beans.

How? How can you fuck up something so simple? I have seen Kinder Egg toys with more complicated instructions!

Just to prove how simple this is I drew up a play ballot paper with a choice of teas for the kids and asked Holly to put a cross next to the one she wanted: Sausage And Chips, Spaghetti, or Cous-cous - and then asked her to put a bunch of LazyTown characters in the order she liked them best by writing numbers next to them.* No problem. A five year old girl can do this!

And Robby Rotten for First Minister? Makes sense to me.

The People's Choice

OK, The cock-ups wasn't all 'the people's' fault. It didn't help that the machines employed to count the votes couldn't cope with folded, damp, upside-down, or smudged ballots, or those torn to pieces by golf club wielding lunatics and glued back together with tape, and it couldn't be helped that the helicopters needed to shift papers from the more remote islands to the place of counting were fog bound. This sort of thing happens to the best regulated elections anywhere in the world, especially those countries where bananas are major part of the export market. Well, maybe not the golf club wielding nutter. A very peculiarly Scottish dangerous weapon is a golf club.

What makes the whole thing ultra laughable is serious grown up pundits like The BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson are saying things like:

"...confusing ballot papers robbed tens of thousands of people of their chance to vote."

No they didn't. The thousands of people had the chance to vote. They did vote - and they wasted it. They fucked up.

These are the same morons who regularly pick Bonus Ball numbers for the insanely complicated National Lottery, spend hours filling out Pools Coupons and "Are You A Nagging Friend" questionnaires in 'Women's' magazines and phone in votes by their million for Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor, The Eurovision Song Contest and god knows what else.

What was so difficult?

Nearly everything that is advertised in this country is sold by 'cute' cartoon characters. From Churchill Insurance's nodding dog, to the Post Office's little red ants, it seems like these days we have become so imbecilic and childish we are unable to comprehend anything without having cartoon characters telling us what to do and how to do it. Maybe this is where the election fell over. Maybe the Government should have invested all their money in some cuddly elephant with a pencil in its hand showing us how to vote. Mind you, carry this to its logical conclusion and we'll get Prime Minister's Questions being done with glove puppets.

What's that, Secretary of Defence?
Saddam Hussein has weapons of Mass destruction?
He's been a naughty boy and hidden them? Naughty Saddam.
Do you think we should invade Iraq boys and girls?

Who am I kidding? Politics will never get that dumbed down and stupid - will it?

Rant over. Normal 'mildly amusing burblings about my kids' service will be resumed as soon as possible.

*Actually the bit about making up a toy ballot paper for Holly is a total lie - but I will do it tomorrow. That's a pledge and a priority - but not a manifesto commitment.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My Brain Is Filling Up With Custard And My Neurons Are Swimming About In It Help! Help!

I twatted my back today. I got fed up walking round the three quarters of a ton of sand that has been sitting in a bag in my front garden since... hasty search of the blog later... since Tuesday, April 18, 2006. Which is over a year. Long enough to have been walking around anything. Today, with a little help from my mum, and an even littler help from Daisy, I moved it.

Half-way through shovelling the sand into a wheel barrow I felt my back go 'twang'. My own stupid fault. I know how to shovel stuff. I know how to lift stuff. I have spent enough of my life lifting and shovelling stuff. I have been paid to lift and shovel stuff.

As William Macy said in his role as the superhero The Shoveller in Mystery Men:
"God's given me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well."
Today I didn't.

Talking of mysteries, the mystery card senders have been identified. My mum's sister's grand daughter and family. I didn't know I had a mum's sister's grand daughter and my brain just can't work out what the relationship between them and my kids would be called: 'Cousins removed to the Nth degree' or somesuch.

Any doubts I had about Daisy being any less weird a child than Holly were dispelled the other day when she stated doing a little dance pointing vigorously at her crotch while singing:

I'm pointing at my bum, I'm pointing at my bum, I'm pointing at my bum!

Why are you pointing at your bum?

Because I want to.

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Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

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