Archive for November, 2006

Perception is Everything

November 29th, 2006

Two mornings a week I join a friend in the local park and we practise martial arts together. Our training ranges from Chinese breathing exercises (Qigong) during the first few minutes, to battering the hell out of each other’s arms and legs closer to eight a.m.

Over time, I have come to recognise different people who walk through the park of a morning and I’ve started to give them names: Cecil-the-Accountant (with his briefcase, wool overcoat, bad shoes and woolly hat), Two-Dogs-Brady (an old lady who has two dogs), Paperboy (who is a paperboy, even though he’s around fifty).

Of course, all these characters come along at specific times and each one only ever gets to see a particular aspect of our training. It occurred to me that each of them probably has a completely different view of what we do, and therefore of us.

Cecil always strides past on his way to work at around 7.05. It’s always 7.05, so I reckon he lives five minutes away and leaves the house at 7.00. Cecil only ever gets to see us practising Qigong and probably thinks we’re a pair of tree-hugging, yoghurt knitters. Hmmm… maybe on Friday I’ll actually start hugging a tree as he walks past.

Paperboy cycles past at about 7.20 when we are just practising kicks and punches. He probably thinks we just like throwing shapes and if you asked him what we were doing, he’d probably say “Tae Kwon Do” because to him, all martial arts are called Tae Kwon Do.

Two-Dogs-Brady (I just call her “Two-Dogs” when I’m in a more affectionate mood) walks by at around 7.45 with her two grumpy looking Miniature Schnauzers. I’ve never seen a dog with such a “What-the-fuck-are-you-looking-at?” expression on its face. I’m sure Mrs. Brady would be shocked to learn that her dogs swear like troopers. Anyway, Two-Dogs always goes by when we are whacking the crap out of each other and probably thinks we are a couple of thugs who are still drunk from the night before. I guess it doesn’t help that I wear a hoodie in the winter.

The police, on the other hand, get to see the whole thing, because we train right under a CCTV camera. I’d say by now there are a few self-proclaimed Kung Fu experts down at the station who reckon they have learned a thing or two on the morning shift.

Anyway, it occurred to me that if these characters really are pigeon-holing me based on the two-minute glimpse they get of me a couple of days a week, then perhaps I should broaden my view of them.

So I’ve decided that Cecil-the-Accuntant is only an accountant by day. By night he participates in illegal motorcycle races down back streets and docklands and dates gorgeous, identical twin sisters.

Paperboy is actually a multi-millionaire newspaper magnate who does a paper round each morning because his doctor told him to get more exercise.

Two-Dogs gets home from walking her grumpy dogs, makes herself a cooked breakfast, then settles down to her day-job as webmaster of a swingers website.

At the end of the day, we’re all just books with covers.

UK’s Cocaine Problem ‘Worst In Europe’

November 23rd, 2006

According to a news article today, Britain has the “highest levels of serious drug abuse in Europe”. When you consider that Britain also has the highest levels of obesity in Europe (see When Fruit Goes Bad on this ballog), there is only one logical conclusion: hard drugs make you fat.

Kate Moss is in the clear! With her skeletal frame, she is clearly not addicted to the lard-loaded cocaine. The average Sumo wrestler on the other hand…

Perhaps the link between drugs and obesity should be used as a marketing tactic by health officials: “Cocaine turns you into a lard arse.” Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Diet Coke”.

A cocaine addict yesterday.

Musing #4

November 17th, 2006

If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does anyone give a fuck?

This is just offensive!

November 13th, 2006

Does anyone else find this photo offensive?

Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on it's way!!

I think it’s an absolute disgrace!

There shouldn’t be an apostrophe in “its“.

it’s” means “it is” or “it has“.

“Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on it is way.”
“Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on it has way.”

Neither of these makes any sense. No wonder he is hiding his face! He probably arrived at the march, his scarf wrapped round his neck to keep the cold out, all proud of the placard he had made with his brand new box of crayons. Then the cop pointed out the the dreadful punctuation faux pas and the demonstrator, sorry… loony-toon, decided the shame was too great and so covered up.

This kind of mindless misuse of the apostrophe is why the world is going to hell in a handbasket!

Why can’t people just learn to respect good punctuation?

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Safety First with Fireworks

November 12th, 2006

So if you had one of these:

How would you choose to launch it?

Like this?

Like this?

Or like this?

Now read this news report from the BBC. Make sure you’re not drinking anything.

Update: ajyoung has added a comment which includes a link to a video clip of the incident.

Offending Muslims

November 11th, 2006

It seems a lot of politically correct dullards are afraid of offending Muslims these days. Torbay Council ordered the removal of a cross from the local crematorium chapel, the Royal Mail have issued Christmas stamps this year with no Christian theme and a few years ago, Birmingham Council tried to rename Christmas as “Winterval”.

The Archbishop of York has been critical of Britain’s apparent attempts to hide Christianity under the rug. Now I was raised as a catholic and went to a catholic school. Despite that I turned out agnostic and I accept that I’m going to burn in a Hell in which I don’t believe. Yet despite my agnosticism, I respect the fact that Christmas is a Christian festival and I find myself agreeing with the Archbishop to a certain extent.

You don’t offend Muslims by putting Christ on stamps. You don’t offend Muslims by calling Christmas “Christmas”. You offend Muslims by having a disproportionately large number of Muslim graduates out of work. You offend Muslims by spending billions on a contrived war in Iraq instead of on resolving the Palestinian issue. You offend Muslims by using your Western values to assume it’s OK to insult the Prophet in a cartoon and then whine about freedom of speech when it all goes pear-shaped. You offend Muslims by assuming they are all fanatics who foam at the mouth when they see a cross or hear the name “Christ”.

Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of their religion. Neither should Muslims. No one should. I don’t have any faith in God but I respect those who do, as long as they aren’t shoving it down other people’s throats. I don’t believe in Jesus or Allah but I’d fight to defend the rights of others to believe. Unless they then tried to force me to “believe” too, in which case I’d fight for my right to burn in Hell.

I think it’s crazy to “rebrand” Christian traditions in order not to risk offending people who aren’t going to be offended anyway. It just goes to show how little mutual understanding there is. Perhaps the way forward is to secularise all schools. Keep your God in your life. Keep your God in your family. Wear your emblem of your devotion to your God whether you are going to school or reading the news on TV. But keep God off the syllabus and maybe our children will grow up understanding each other better.

Coming soon: The Astounding Tarantuman!

November 9th, 2006


The Astounding Tarantuman

Racism in Ireland

November 7th, 2006

Despite my mixed parentage (Irish/Sri Lankan) and English birth, I consider myself 100% Irish and growing up in Ireland I saw the racist face of some of the Irish at an early age. The Irish have always been considered hospitable and eager to welcome foreigners. However, I’ve long been of the opinion that this would be true as long as they were tourists, not staying and not plentiful.

Now, it seems, I was right. According to recent research, 35% of foreign nationals have been racially harassed on the streets of Ireland. Black people in particular have suffered racial insults.

In response, I would mention two names to any Irish people who participate in such behaviour: Phil Lynott and Paul McGrath.

Here’s a further thought for you: there isn’t a single person living on the island of Ireland who is not descended from immigrants.

Dublin, 986 AD

What to Do With Dangerous Liquids

November 7th, 2006

In a moment of gobshitery, I brought an 18 year old bottle of Rioja with me to Manchester airport last Saturday with a view to opening it on my brother’s birthday during my trip home. I was convinced I had read a news report which stated that the ban on carrying liquids on board planes had been lifted. I was mistaken. Now before any of you cry: “What a dolt!”, you’ve all been guilty at some point of similar doltery, so point those fingers elsewhere.

Anyway, when I realised my mistake it was too late, so I had to surrender that beautiful liquid to the security staff. I was concerned that it would be destroyed, as I felt someone should enjoy it. The staff assured me that it would be raffled off and the proceeds would go to charity. I felt a little better about that.

It occurs to me since, however, that it was taken from me because it was considered potentially lethal. Yet this divine fluid, deemed so dangerous by the authorities, was further deemed safe enough to raffle off for charity.

Damn those needy!


November 7th, 2006

I’m on a trip back home to Dublin at the moment. I was on a bus heading back out to my parents’ place from the city centre yesterday when I caught a glimpse of someone else’s newspaper. The headline for a story inside was:

Civil Servants in Male Prostitute Ring Probe

All I can say to that is: Phnar!

I’ll try to find an on-line version of the article and post the URL here. Hmmm… might merit a cartoon.

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