Thursday, 30 September 2010

What's the point?

I took the opportunity to do some TV upgrades when I moved into the mansion. Which raised the question of To HD or Not To HD. Did I want a telly the size of a desktop - an actual desk not the desktop you get on a computer - which I could view from across one of the rooms of the mansion and still read captions on the screen? Or even something the size of a wall? Or would I be better off with a 32" or 36" TV and a comfortable chair about 6 feet away, which was the system I developed for my 25" widescreen TV.

The question prompted some market research on myself. And I found that while I watched some sports coverage of the sort available on HD channels, most of my viewing was of the minor league digital channels. The only time I watch the BBC channels is for Grands Prix and MotoGP, I rarely engage with ITV 1 and Channel 4, but I do watch a fair bit of rubbish on Channel 5.

Of the stuff watched on the minor digital channels, most of them don't have an HD version and quite a lot of the vintage programmes I watch are a 3 x 4 island in the middle of the 9 x 16 widescreen. So my conclusion was that there's no point in going HD and HUGE screen because the content isn't there.

Same with 3D TV, which is being launched with the same sense of optimism as attended the launching of the Titanic. Or Pale Pink Ed, the wrong Miliband. There isn't the content, all the old stuff I watch ain't in 3D and never will be, and you have to wear the stupid glasses, which give you migraines. So if you ever catch me watching TV, I'll be the bloke in the comfy chair parked 6 feet from a 36", non-HD model.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Whose cash is it anyway?

So Lord Ashcroft had the good sense to put £17 million out of range of the taxman and saved his heirs and assigns from a tax bill of over 3 million quid when he shuffles off. Good for him. What right does the government have to rob the graves of people who didn’t blow all their money in life, like Gordon bloody Brown on triple steroids, and give the cash to their friends or use it to buy votes? Absolutely none.

Which is why I am making damn sure that my squillions will go to more deserving candidates than the bloody taxman when I exit, worn our by a couple of decades of enjoying myself with serious intent.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Winners Whether or Not the Wind Blows

For the benefit of those wondering where I’ve been for the last week or so, I’ve been investing some of my millions in the Great Windmill Scam. The level of government subsidies available is truly AWESOME: for construction, power production and the illusion of creating “green” jobs.

Getting in on the ground floor of this racket – before the bubble bursts – is like winning the lottery all over again.

The only cloud on the horizon is the need to keep a close eye on the investment to be ready to get out before the public start refusing to be ripped off by electricity suppliers and the whole deal goes south.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

“You can get anything you want!”

It’s amazing what you can find in someone else’s record collection. Is lordship has hundreds of vinyl LPs, and all the gear to play them freshly fettled up with new drive belts, etc. That’s where I found Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. It’s a hoot! Check it out if you can find it. Is Lordship has 2 versions; the studio version with the Alice’s Restaurant Massacree on one side, and the film soundtrack with a split version; so he must have been impressed by it. The main story is all about crime and law enforcement and the draft in the USA in the 1960s. Great stuff.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


I have bin commanded by his lordship to pass these pearls on to his adoring public as he’s off enjoying himself ‘somewhere in France’ (if that’s at all possible seeing the Frogs are so stroppy).
   Does anyone feel sorry for Gordon Brown, who invited the Pope to Britain, hoping for a BIG photo-opportunity, only to be booted out of office by an ungrateful nation because he spent all their money and got them so deep into debt, their grandchildren will still be paying it off?
   Sometimes the gods really do manage to grot on someone who really, really deserves it.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Gods do grot on the deserving occasionally

You start to think that the Gods might not be as dead as advertised when you consider the fate of the guy in charge of the Income Tax. Last week, Deadleg Dave Hartnett could see nothing wrong with HMRC failing to get tax codes right and taking the wrong amount of tax from anywhere between 6 million and 18 million "customers".

This serial grabber of corporate hospitality even went on TV to say he has nothing to apologize for. Next thing you know, he was running his arse ragged, apologizing to ministers at the Treasury, Parliament and everyone in sight for his arrogance and uselessness. His partner-in-crime, Lesley Strathie, a Dame of the pantomime sort, is still in the arrogance phase, ducking responsibility while talking bollocks about "The Customer Experience" at HMRC. But that might be as far as she gets.

With any luck, the IRA will decide that these two specimens are just as deserving as bankers and blow the pair of them up. Yes, the Gods are definitely still with us, but obviously working only part-time.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The March of Technology

Being a man of more leisure than I ever thought possible, I decided to sort out my CD-ROM collection. I’ve amassed a fair number over the years but a lot of them went the way of all those 12" video discs made to celebrate “The Millennium” (as if there was only ever one) by the likes of the BBC, only for the format and the players to vanish, leaving all the information inaccessible.

I was annoyed when I found that a fair number of excellent CD-ROMs wouldn’t run on the combination of hardware and Windows XP offered by the cheap but good PCs I bought from about 2007 on. By then, the older PCs, on which the disks still ran, were limping along and tedious to use.

My new-found leisure has allowed me to screen the collection for those which will still run on an up-to-date PC and do something about making the older PCs work better. The first thing I noticed was that they had Alzheimer’s. Luckily, new coin-cell back-up batteries are readily available at my local hardware shop. Unluckily, they have to be fitted in the most inaccessible part of the motherboard imaginable.

Irwin was able to find me some memory boards for the make-over. It’s truly amazing how much difference doubling the memory of a computer makes. And at the Mansion, I have room to deploy my collection of obsolete PCs and the ability to enjoy the ‘lost’ CD-ROMs on a revived PC which zips along instead of clunking. Super!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Get In The Queue

I don’t know if he was having me on but we were discussing ordering some stock for the wine cellar, which is HUGE at the mansion, like you’d expect, and Irwin got a phone call. Only it was one of these stupid texts. It was just a capital Q with an arrow pointing to the right, like this: Q-->

Apparently, he’d been winding up one of his mates with some false information and the mate had just found out that his leg was being pulled. And instead of expressing himself verbally, he’d gone for a new symbol, which is supposed to be all the rage with the people who send each other pointless texts.

The symbol, Irwin explained when he’d got over his incredulity at my ignorance, is an invitation to join the “far queue”. Or as Frank Zappa might have put it: “Far queue. Far queue very much!“

The trick is to say it with the right accent and the right degree of conviction and vehemence.

I just thought I’d share that with my adoring public in case there are any like me who refuse to text.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

NBCN (Not Before the Crack of Noon)

The great thing about not having to work any more is you can do daft things. Like staying up late on Monday nights to watch Monday Night Football matches which you didn’t see the first time around on ESPN. Like the Bears pulling off a shock overtime win against the Vikings, Brett Favre and all. With most of the ads and messing about cut out, so the match rattles along at a reasonable pace.

Like walking into a fancy art gallery and looking at the crap on the walls and knowing you could afford to buy all of it, have a bonfire and do the art world a bit of good without putting a noticeable crimp in your bank account.

Imagine my surprise when I actually saw something I liked about a fortnight after I moved into the redecorated mansion. Grossly overpriced, of course. So I made a point of getting in touch with the artist and offering him 37.5% of the asking price in cash in a padded envelope and not a word to his agent or the gallery. And he went for it. After some token scoffing at the deal. He even delivered the picture himself, all snugged up in bubblewrap with an outer layer of brown paper.

So I now have Sunrise Behind A Half-Open Barn Door installed where the fireplace used to be in the "exercise room". The previous owner had his and hers exercise bikes facing twin widescreen TVs in here, or so the estate agent told me. I've just got a lot of empty space until I think of something else to go in here as well as the picture.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Loose End & New Stuff

Going back to the memoirs briefly, I think the world should also know my part in saving the world by deflecting 3 killer asteroids and a comet in the 1990s. But seriously, those pictures of the earthquake in New Zealand set me thinking about how many I’ve been in. Would you believe 11? None of any great consequence, though. The 'worst' in this country was being 12 miles or so from the epicenter of one a couple of years ago, which was 5 on the Richter scale. Just a bit of structural damage and nobody killed.

A couple of years before that, I was on a job in Athens when there was a Richter 7 earthquake. Luckily, it was over 100 miles away and it felt no more severe than a good earthquake in England. You were quivered for about 10-15 seconds, you had time to think, "Cool! I’m in an earthquake!" and have a look around to see if lights were swinging and stuff like that. But there was never any sense of, "Oh, sod it! I’m going to die and I still have some money in the bank."

The most surprising picture from New Zealand was the one of the railway lines with side-to-side waves in them, which made them look like the track for a train in a theme park. But if people insist on building them in areas subject to violent geological events, it’s always going to be good for photographers.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Memories, Memories

I have been somewhat silent this week because I’ve been inspired to work on my memoirs. I’m sure the world will be eager to read how I saved it from the Spanish Armada, the Black Death and Global Warming in the early mediaeval period, and How I Brought Peace To Iraq & Afghanistan Single-Handedly.

I took a break to watch the lunchtime news today, and I was cheered to see that bloke who used to be prime minister (who was sacked a couple of years ago) being shielded from a barrage of eggs and shoes by lots of big blokes with umbrellas.

The BBC was able to round up a bunch of planted stooges(?) to say nice things about the old war criminal and, no doubt, the Blair Broadcasting Company censored anyone who didn’t think he’s wonderful.

I bet the Irish taxpayer will be thrilled to pay the bill for shutting down the centre of Dublin and all those umbrellas.