Good idea, bad timing
The Greek government has hit on the obvious idea of selling off, or leasing, some of its multitude of islands to make a few bob. Shudda done it sooner, guys. Large numbers of the super-rich have got over the novelty of owning their own island, the market is saturated as they attempt to unload and move on to a new craze, and island prices everywhere are tumbling rapidly
A bad idea circumvented!
The European Commission has banned the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favour of compact fluorescent bulbs, which cost at least 6x as much, don't give out the same quantity or quality of light, don't last anywhere near the 8,000+ hours claimed on the box and contain the lethal chemical mercury.
But the EC banned only the domestic version of incandescent bulbs. So the discerning householder is free to buy the industrial version, which is an identical product but built more robustly to cope with the workplace. These bulbs have the same light properties, they are dimmable and they cost just a bit more than the domestic variety.
The National Measurement Office, the mealy-mouthed government agency responsible for enforcing the ban, is trying to pretend that using rough-service bulbs will void home insurance policies. Quite how using a superior product places a home in greater danger has not been explained (and won't be).
A good scam never goes away
Del Boy Trotter bottled tap water and sold it as Peckham Spring in the 1992 Xmas special of the sit-com Only Fools & Horses, and did quite well out of his enterprise.
In 2004, Coca-Cola offered filtered tap water for sale under the fancy name Dasani at 95p for a 500 ml bottle, and fell foul of the National Mineral Water Association and the Food Standards Agency. [See BFN for March 2004]
Eight years on, Tesco and Asda are up to the same trick, flogging off filtered tap water and parking this "basics" product beside the bottled water sold at fancy prices to deceive by association.
The filtration process actually creates an inferior product. It removes the minute amounts of chlorine, which are present in tap water to prevent the growth of bacteria. Which is why the stuff has to be consumed within a couple of days of opening.
Lots of them in Lymington
The Royal Mail has been painting the odd pillar box gold to cash in on the Olympics. But when a local resident tried to celebrate the sailing medal won by Ben Ainslie, who lives in Lymington, he was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage. Which was stoopid for a couple of reasons.
Firstly: if the pillar boxes in Lymington are anything like the sorry object on the left, which graces the main road through Romiley and looks like it hasn't been painted since the Coronation, Mr. R. Smith was doing the Royal Mail a favour. Secondly: applying a coat of gold paint to a piece of street furniture doesn't damage it, and any copper who thinks different should be booted out of the police "service" on the grounds of inadequate common sense.
Fortunately, the local police decided not to press the charge against Mr. Smith in the interests of avoiding further adverse publicity and the Royal Mail decided not to reverse his paint job.
[Just a thought, but maybe if someone splashes a bit of paint (not necessarily gold) on the box in Romiley, the Royal Mail might give it a fresh coat of red paint. Ed.
On second thoughts, that line of thinking makes too much sense. Ed.]
Something for the Telly News after the Olympics?
The Foreign Office actually thought that it could get away with an assault on the Ecuadorian embassy by the SAS, along the lines of the 1980 raid on the Iranian embassy, to kidnap J. Assange, political refugee of WikiLeaks fame. What has that Willy Hague been smoking!
Earth now 16, Mars Gremlins still 24
It has travelled 570 million miles and it is so heavy (900 kg) that it needed a Skycrane rocket pack to slow its descent to the surface of Mars for a survivable landing. But Curiosity has made it to Gale Crater without creating a new, Curiosity Crater, and it started to send back images as it followed its unpacking script. If everything has survived the long journey, NASA expects to get at least 2 years' work out of a $2,500,000,000 investment.
Launched in November last year, Curiosity is the biggest piece of kit ever sent to Mars. The rover has a plutonium reactor to generate electricity, just like the Russian Lunokhod probes, which never received their due in publicity as they roamed the Moon during the secretive Soviet era. Curiosity's mission is to explore a very old, deep crater (4,500 m below the mean surface level) and study rocks which were laid down when there was still liquid water on Mars. The images already received include some video of the descent to the Martian surface.
Another Space Face
Perhaps embarrassed by the "Face on Mars" in low resolution Viking pictures taken in 1976, NASA has been keeping quiet about another space face.
Better quality pictures of the region of Mars in question from 1998 showed that the "face" was just a consequence of a lack of detail. But the same cannot be said about the high-resolution pictures of the asteroid Vesta taken by the probe Dawn in September last year.
There is no mistaking that this face is very real. Which is probably why NASA has been hoping that no one spots it and starts another embarrassing round of "We are not alone" speculation.
Yet Another Space Face
One of our sharp-eyed associates spotted this creature in one of the early photographs of Gale crater returned by the new rover on Mars. This view of the base of Mount Sharp contains a view of a snake-like, duck-billed dinosaur emerging from a tunnel.
A zoomed view in the bottom-right corner of the picture has been enhanced to show up the creature better. The diameter of its body is about 8x the height of Curiosity. With things like this around, "not being alone" is not necessarily a consummation devoutly to be wished!
They are really taking the piss now
The Indian government has announced that its space agency will be sending a mission to Mars next year. The plan is to study the Red Planet's climate and geology, and its contribution is expected to be negligible next to the data being gathered by NASA, which has just increased its stock of surface rovers by Curiosity.
India's Mars Orbiter Mission will cost the British taxpayer £54,000,000 thanks to the current government's refusal to stop financing the Indian space programme with foreign aid [just peanuts, according to the president] given to a country which has its own foreign aid programme.
Neil Armstrong, astronaut, 82
A Korean War veteran then a military test pilot, he joined the US astronaut corps in 1962. His first trip into space was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966. His second and final space mission was Apollo 11 in 1969. Watched by a live television audience estimated at 600 million people, he became the first man to set foot on the Moon, closely followed by "Buzz" Aldrin.
Mr. Armstrong was always a reluctant celebrity, but it cannot be denied that it was his skills as a pilot which brought the Lunar lander Eagle safely down onto the surface of the Moon as its fuel ran out. After NASA, he divided his life between business and the academic world. In 2010, he joined other astronauts in opposing Pres. O'Bummer's decision to end NASA's manned spaceflight plans.
In November last year, Mr. Armstrong received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the US, to accompany the Presidential Medal of Freedom received from President Nixon and the Congressional Space Medal of Honour received from President Carter.
The 4- to 5-Year Cycle
Dateline: Berlin, 2003 The German Justice Minister protests to the Italian government about the series of historic wine bottle labels featuring A. Hitler and prominenti from the Third Reich period.
Dateline: Bolozano, 2007 The Italian local state prosecutor seizes labels from the "Der Führer" range of wines from the Lunardelli winery. Labels bearing pictures of B. Mussolini are left alone, as are labels for wines commemorating N. Bonaparte, C. Guevara and other terrorists.
Dateline: Garda, 2012 This time, it's an American tourist complaining about the wine in a supermarket. Yet another Italian prosecutor opens an inquiry into the sale of wine from an Alessandro Lunardelli historical series.
Production of the wines of the Historical Series began in 1995. They are "wines of optimal quality with labels that remind us of the lives of celebrated personages of Italian and world political history". In addition to the Third Reich sequence, there are wines celebrating the Italian army, Il Ventennio, world Communism, the 18th century, bikers and various iconic figures, e.g. Winston Churchill and Count Dracula.
MITT brand Magic Mormon Pants
They protect against car crashes, fires, nuclear attack and a whole range of natural disasters!
Can Boy Beckham Pants do anything like that?
EXCLUSIVE to Romiley Pants, 22b Riverside Drive SK6.
Sir Bernard Lovell, astronomer, 98
His monument is the iconic radio telescope at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory a site chosen to get away from electrical interference cause by Manchester's trams. He joined Manchester U's Department of Physics in 1936, led a team developing radar technology during the war (for which he collected an OBE), and returned to academic life. The radio telescope with a 250-foot dish was completed in 1957; in nice time to track the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 the first artificial satellite. The telescope was also able to receive communications from Lunar probes and share them with the world. He was knighted in 1961 and the telescope was named after him in 1987.
Derek Scott, political advisor, 65
As an economic advisor to New Labour prime minister T.B. Liar, he got an up-close view of chancellor G. Broon's obstructive attitude. He was able to contrast that relationship with the relative harmony enjoyed by prime minster J. Callaghan and chancellor D. Healey, to whom Mr. Scott was an advisor. He left Labour to join the Social Democrats, but returned when the SDP threw in their lot with the Liberals. After Mr. Bliar got the boot, he had the doubtful privilege of trying to tell new prime monster G. Broon to do nothing when a news item set him flapping. A tendency which is also very strong in the current prime monster.
Louise Mench, parachuted MP, 2 (at Westminster)
A successful novelist, her parachute dropped her at Corby in 2010 as part of a Tory party image-moulding strategy inspired by the "Bliar Babes" of the previous regime. After a couple of years, she has had enough of life as one of Dave's A-List tokens not to mention commuting between London and her family home in New York. In retirement, she plans to spend more time with her personal social-networking website.
Is it a monster? Is it a seal?
George Edwards, who runs monster-spotting tours at Loch Ness, reckons that he has taken the definitive photograph of Nessie, the world's most elusive monster (in November last year), and the time is right to unload it on an astounded world. Right in the middle of the tourist season.
This is not a publicity stunt. And it's definitely not a picture of a sturgeon, before you ask. The picture is a triumphal high-point in a 26-year search for proof of the monster's existence, and it has been independently verified by a team of US military monster experts (don't ask who, don't ask for credentials) as well as a self-styled Nessie sighting specialist (ditto).
Cuts? What cuts?
Greece, the home of a truly monster national debt and a country which is broke and being bailed out, has managed to grow its debt by £20,000,000,000 in the last 3 months. Which leaves us wondering if a certain Wee Gordie Broon might not be working as a consulant to their Treasury.
Thank you very much, but no way!
The nation's Arts Mafia have turned down the chance to be saddled with Charles Saachi's collection of modern tat. Mr. Saachi has blown millions on assembling installations and junk from "leading contemporary artists", but overflowing galleries up and down the country have decided they don't need any more trivia.
Romiley Welcomes Careful Drivers but doesn't always get them
This is what the BP petrol station looks like after the driver of a stolen car crashed right into the shop, demolishing a bit of wall in the process, after side-swiping one of the petrol pumps on the evening of the first Sunday of the month.
Romiley says "YES" but is the government listening?[Not this one. Ed.]
The campaign for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union is holding polls nationally to find out what the much ignored British electorate thinks about this issue as the current EU is very different from the Common Market, which was the subject of a referendum in 1975.
The Liberal-held constituencies Cheadle & Hazel Grove (which includes Romiley) were included in the campaign this month. 35% of those eligible to vote did so, which is about what you get in a good local council election, and the proportions AGREEING that there should be a referendum were 86.6% (Cheadle) and 88.5% (Hazel Grove). Both local MPs, M. Hunter & A. Stunell, are not interested in letting their constituents have a say on this issue. Which is not surprising as many top Liberals are on the EU payroll or have a pension with an anti-boat-rocking clause.
The poll was conduced for The People's Pledge by Electoral Reform Services Ltd., a leading independeng balloting service.
Less means more, as far as the Royal Mail is concerned
Mr. D. Schofield, our Delivery Sector Manager, has written to Romiley residents from his base in Plymouth PL1 9DB to let us know about some important changes. As fewer letters are being posted every day, delivery times have been extended and Romiley residents will be lucky to get their morning mail by tea-time. 'Elf 'n' nazi regulations are also playing their part in our mail taking longer to arrive. Despite these handicaps, Mr. Schofield remains confident of providing "the reliable, friendly service you have come to expect from us over many years".
Phone scammers are at it again
Indians pretending to be working for MicroSoft are on the phone to the people of Romiley this month. It's the usual story about the victim's computer being infested by malware, which antivirus programs and a firewall can't block. The quickest way to get rid of them is to deny having a computer. Telling them you have an Apple Mac should also work.
If the number that comes back from a 1471 check is 052785576, then it was a scam call.
The Olympics are making "tired & emotional" take on a whole new meaning. Every interview seems to become a blubbing contest between the athlete and the dolt (or doltess) with the microphone. Oh, for the good old daysof 1948, when we still had an empire (sort of), upper lips were stiff and people still had dignity.
Another Chocolate teapot?
Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, sat on a Standard Chartered bank committee, which was charged with making sure that the bank followed the rules and behaved properly. He was on the committee whilst the bank, allegedly, set world records for laundering money for terrorists and rogue regimes.
The New York Department of Financial Services is accusing the bank (hysterically) of laundering £16 BILLION of Iranian cash. SC is admitting to by-passing US sanctions on just £9 MILLION. So we're dealing with a HUGE credibility gap.
London to need "bullet in foot" operation?
"Keep out of London for the Games" was the message. And the pictures of empty shopping streets confirmed that lots of people got the message. The question now is whether the people who used to go to London learnt, during their enforced exile, that, come to think of it, going to London was just a bad habit and they never return. London as a 21st century ghost town, anyone?
Reason to be cheerful
Apparently, Britain's economy is going through a period of stagnation, rather than a double-dip recession, so there's nothing to worry about.
Free, at last!
Two men, who were arrested in January, have been freed without charge. They were held on suspicion of illegally importing the bum of a statue of Saddam Hussein (former dictator of Iraq), which failed to reach its reserve price of £250,000 at auction.
A spokesminion for Scotland Yard's International Buttock Squad said, "We take all movement of buttocks across international borders very seriously indeed."
A Leftie annual event?
Residents and shopkeepers in inner cities areas are advised to make sure that their shutters are secure and their insurance is paid up to date as the left-wing press and the usual leftie suspects are agitating for another round of riots this summer.
Levelling the playing field
A campaign has begun to redress the balance of power between ordinary citizens and officers of local authorities. At present, and thanks to a vast catalogue of new laws passed by New Labour, council officers can slap fines and penalties on their local residents, and suffer no personal inconvenience when the "offence" is found to be imaginary or the result of stretching legislation beyond the intentions of Parliament.
A new Local Authorities (Misconduct) Act will make it a criminal offence for a council officer to pursue an irresponsible prosecution, and the burden of proving that the decision to inconvenience a member of the public was not malicious will be upon the accused. Fines of up to 6 months' salary will be available with a gaol term not exceeding 36 months (time actually served) as an optional extra.
No bloody wonder they're short of cash!
The Metropolitan police are spending £50,000 per day on laying siege to the embassy of the People's Republik of Ecuador, where WikiLeaks proprietor J. Assange (Australian) has been granted political asylum to avoid being sent to Sweden and then on to the United States and Guantanamo Bay for leaking US diplomatic secrets.
Wasting police time?
Former SAS soldier Nigel Ely was working with a TV company during the 2003 Iraq war. He was in Baghdad when the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in April and bashed a bit off it with a sledgehammer. The police tried to arrest him for being in possession of plunder when he returned to Kuwait, but he told them that his Saddam buttock was a piece of armour for his truck.
In October last year, Mr. Ely tried to sell his trophy at an auction held in Derby. Mr. Ely set a reserve price of £250,000 he wanted to make a reasonable donation to charities for injured ex-servicemen but the highest bid was a mere £21,000.
In January of this year, Mr. Ely and Mr. J. Thorpe of the Derby-based war art relic company Trebletap were arrested after the Iraqi government made a complaint to the Derbyshire police, demanding the return of their "cultural property". Mr. Ely had a complete response to the charge. "How can it be classed as cultural property when it was put up by the biggest tyrant since Attila the Hun?" he asked.
He added that the buttock had been given to him by American Marines at a time when Iraq was under American control and there was no Iraqi government in existence. He likened possessing the buttock to having a chunk of the Berlin Wall a part of history and not "cultural property".
Having wasted a small fortune on an inconclusive investigation, Derbyshire police released Mr. Fry and Mr. Thorpe without charge at the beginning of this month.
Give him a Sad, Lefty Git Award
Would someone at the BBC kindly kick the DG up the bum and remind M. Thompson that it's the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation and there's nothing wrong with doing patriotic news bulletins. We know that in his sad, leftie world, Great Britain's achievements have to come last but it's a bit much after we have been obliged to spend ONE BILLION BLOODY QUID on hosting an Olympic games and we've won some medals.
Be there with dosh, please!
L'coq-up, the Games organizer, is taking back tickets from the Freebie Mafia at a rate of 4,000/day to address the empty seat problem at the Olympics. One or two small problems: there are about 60,000 empty seats/day due to Mafia no-shows, and the tickets are on sale for such a short period of time before the event starts that only people lurking about outside with a fistful of cash are likely to get them.
L'coq-up's next job will be to empty the North Sea using only a broken teaspoon.
Tautologies for the 21st Century
+ + + bent banker + + + thieving politician + + + useless copper + + + blundering taxman + + + undeserved bonus + + +
- Suggestions for days, fortnights, weeks and even months away
- Do it on the cheap, do it on the dear!
- The essential companion for the summer of 2012
The excellent hardback book is yours for just £19.99 / €34.49 plus NO VAT because we don't believe in it.
Buy it @ Romiley Bookstore, 101, Riverside Drive, Romiley
This Month's SOBOB** Award . . .
. . .has to go to Culture Minister J. Hunt, who won't believe that London is a ghost town thanks to all the Olympics alarmism over travel chaos but what does he know, seeing as how Parliament is on holiday?
** son-of-a-bitch oxygen breather
Metal candidates only
The usual big rush to claim asylum by visiting athletes has resulted in diasppointment for most. The Foreign Office has decided that in this Olympics year, only claims from medal winners will be considered.
Miracles of the Age Explained
No. 37 How does the Vauxhaul Ampera electric car manage to do 360 miles on a single battery charge?
Easy it has a small petrol engine to haul it the remaining 310 miles after the battery runs out when it has managed 50 miles.
No. 38. How can the Vauxhaul Ampera call itself an electric car when it also has a petrol engine?
Easy the petrol engine drives a generator to make electricity for the electric motors, it doesn't drive the wheels directly.
No. 39. How do Vauxhaul get away with it?
They don't. The Advertising Standards Agency has banned the advert they made with taxpayers' money because the degree of obfuscation made it misleading.
Cheating on an epic scale
It seems, it's quite common for Chinese badminton teams to lose matches by design at a group stage to make sure they don't meet another Chinese team in the next round. But the China No. 1 team tried to lose an Olympics match so badly that their opponents figured out what they were doing and also tried to lose to avoid China No. 2 in the next round. And 4 teams in all were dumped for being bad losers by the end of the day.
Maybe they'll make match-fixing an official sport in time for the next Games!
Right for the wrong reason
You're supposed to stand in respectful silence during the national anthem, which is not a sing-along. But anyone who does this to be curmudgeonly, rather than right, deserves all the stick they receive.
Let's not get too excited about financial regulation in our time
Anybody who rigs an interest rate of the significance of Liebor COULD face prosecution, the FSA says. But this is only a PROPOSAL and nothing is likely to happen before NEXT YEAR, and it is quite probably that NOTHING AT ALL WILL BE DONE.
When the Olympics and summer holidays are out of the way, the Ed Milly Band will be going on the road for a grand Elect Me tour. The band will include a new signing: former national axe-hero Tony B. Liar on guitar.
Fun, fun, fun!
What do the Essex police do when they're feeling a bit bored on a Sunday afternoon? They go on a lion hunt in the countryside around Clacton-on-Sea with marksmen and helicopters. So that's one police "service" that's not feeling the cuts?
Having had a jolly good time, and having questioned a host of witnesses and found no evidence of the famous lion, the police concluded that they had been chasing a big pussy cat.
More Cash For The Lawyers
Some universities are using suspect social loadings to promote less able students over middle-class students during the selection process. Victims of this generic discrimination are now being encouraged to take class action against universities which indulged in crude social engineering based on unreliable data at their expense.
University administrators expect to become involved in a scandal at the level of the PPI insurance fraud perpetrated by the banks. Some universities might have to raise their annual tuition fee to the level of £30,000-40,000 to remain solvent when the compensation payments reach a serious level.
That shall ye not know . . .
The Attorney General, D. Grieve, has ruled that the truth about the lies told to the nation by Tony B. Liar and his partners in crime about the illegal war with Iraq will be suppressed for 30 years, and so the £6 MILLION of taxpayers' cash blown on the Chilcot inquiry is yet more money down the government's drain.
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