Friday, September 05, 2003

More things I didn't know…..

Well, not strictly me - this bit should be known as more things the record breaking balloonists in St Ives didn't know. For a start, they were trying to launch the balloon in the wrong sort of gravity. They needed to find the sort of gravity that pulls you away from the earth's surface, not keeps you planted on it.

They obviously didn't know that accidents DO happen - so it would have shown a bit of forethought if one of the crew had stowed some blu-tack or some old post-it notes in their back pockets to seal any gaping wound that may arise in the canopy - which of course, it did… and they didn't…..

I didn't know that ….
We are THE World authority for the disposal of 150 decrepit American Navy Warships, filled to the gunnels (and funnels) with PCBs', heavy metals and other man made horrors.

Well, apparently, we are. Just imagine, throughout the entire seaboard of the World's most powerful and sophisticated super state there isn't one, NOT ONE dockyard that has the technology to decommission and dispose of these floating ticking environmental time bombs.

One American Senator recently described this fleet of festering metal as "An environmental time bomb waiting to go off - we need to get these hulks out of United States waters NOW!"

In all, the US Navy has about 300 of these ships, they have sent the first 50 to such 'hive of industry techno regions' as Bangladesh, and the west coast of Africa for scrapping. The locals have complained however - especially as some of them have started to grow third eyes, webbed feet and exterior breathing apparatus.

Who would have thought it. We can't as a nation deal with soggy leaves on a railway line. We can't as a nation deal with the wrong kind of snow (white), the wet kind of rain (damp) and the sunny kind of sunshine (phew, what a scorcher). But we can handle extremely dangerous garbage from our Super-pal because we are so damn good at it …... apparently.

Anyway, the hub of the crud - disposable World is Hartlepool - for that is where these hulks are going to. I wonder if the locals realise they are living in such a World Class skill centre?

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The balloon goes up …..

The World's biggest pile of polyethylene has just been dumped into St Ives Bay, Cornwall. All that is left of the prophylactic that was 'Kinetic 1'.

Apparently, says Mission Damage Limitation Control. "The wrong kind of glue was used on one of the seams"

"What kind of glue WAS used then?"

"The kind that doesn't stick"

All that high tech' back-up. The cutting edge bullshit, the media drama queens…..

It reminds me of the American - Russian Space Race in the '60's and '70's. The Yanks wanted to invent a writing implement that would work in zero gravity and upside down in orbiting spacecraft. $6 billion later, and 10 years development, NASA proudly announced the launch of their 'Space Pen'. A technological marvel, each pen has a little pumping heart that delivers just the correct amount of ink to the tip of the nib - brilliant. You may have seen it advertised in those 'must have' catalogues that plop out of your Sunday Supplement……..

What did the Russians do, beaten to a pulp by the techno muscle of America's finest brains? Well they went round to the local stationery shop and bought some HB pencils ….

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Self fulfilling prophecies ……
The Government is launching an urgent and expensive enquiry as to why the Nation’s kids are hitting new levels of obesity……….Duhrrr.

Location: Council offices, Somewheresville.
Time: Early June, 1994.

"OK people. The proposition is this….. We need to realise some assets – and quick. Have you seen these expense forms? PLUS, don’t forget the twinning junket planned for next month, Tuscany isn’t cheap you know! Any ideas?"

"Hmmm", Hillary, toyed with his newly inscribed triangular name plaque. It was not what he had expected. He'd just been appointed Director of Education for the City – and already he was being asked to scratch around for cash by the Committee.

Suddenly, as if by divine intervention, he gets the ‘Don Corleone’ of ideas.

"I’m thinking how we can turn VERDANT GREEN into VERDANT GREENBACKS! I’m thinking two up - two down. I’m thinking town houses and imaginatively designed family sized suburban dwelling units for the discerning buyer. But I’m really thinking about a million quid an acre"


"Listen, we’ve got ‘assets’. And the best thing is, nobody will notice if we ‘realise’ them. School playing fields – they’re only used now and again, we could flog them off for housing and ‘trouser’, sorry commit those newly realised funds to urgently needed education projects"

"Brilliant – that deserves a pay rise"

"But what knock-on effects would there be?"

"Look, apart from the dinner hour, the 2 daily play times, the sports days, the football, cricket, hockey & rugby teams, the track & field sports, the Summer fetes, the Autumn fairs, the after schools pastimes……… It’s not doing ANYTHING – It’s just damn well lying there, growing".

"Like a big flat green elephant?"

"Well, I was thinking more along the lines of a huge big green fatted calf actually"


"Look, the kids don’t use it, it won’t be missed – and we’ll make a fortune. Anyway, if we DO build on it, the kids will turn to academia. This way we will force them to take up their studies instead of humping a football around. It’s win-win!"

"Right, that’s that sorted, what’s next on the agenda?"

"Closing school canteens and replacing them with vending machines ……."

Monday, September 01, 2003

Wear bling-bling – and get ahead…..

Watching the World Athletics Championships on the box last week, I was struck by the amount of winners that wore wall to wall ‘bling-bling’. Time and again the ‘slo-mo’ would show chiselled athlete after chiselled athlete dip to breast the tape with their bling. The blingless losers (usually British) wallowed through, in 5th, 6th, last position, dazzled by the bling-fest they had just witnessed. Cool winners got even cooler by being awarded even more bling in the form of gold medals.

Where were our athletes in the bling medal table? Nowhere! That’s why we lost every event. Sure, we had the odd subtle necklace, or the finely honed earring, but no bling-bling. No ‘smack you in the gob’ bog chains. No links forged for ocean going liners around OUR athletes’ necks. Just a few wispy pieces that looked as if they had been fashioned from 13 amp fuse wire and some old ‘Rolo’ toffee wrappers.

Blingyness is something we want more of – there should be a Euro directive. We need more Bling-Bling.

I wonder how it would look if I got some? Would it go with my wool mix grey suit, white Rael-Brook shirt and paisley tie. Would I have the neck muscles to support it? Would people think ‘Christ, what a lot of dynamic Bling – he MUST be a winner!’

Should I wear it whilst jogging? Or maybe when I’m playing snooker? Surely wearing a ‘subtle as a brick in the chops’ piece of Bling is as good as a 50 break?

Wake up Britain, get some ‘Bling-Bling into your life!

The power of suggestion ……

Mars. Bom, bom bom bormmmm. Bom, bom bom bormmmm.
Harbinger of doom, celestial neighbour and brooding red sky marble is the closest it has been for 60,000 years.

Wow, 60,000 years! From Neanderthals to Neon, I REALLY must find the old binoculars and show the kids. Yeh, I really must do that ……. I'll just watch this really interesting programme on 101 things you can do with twine......

Youngest son, "Dad, have you found the bins, have you Dad? Have you?"

"There’s no point, it’s too misty, too cloudy, too clear, too dark, too light, I’m too tired"………. Well, that delayed actually having to find the binoculars for a good week. Pretty soon though, I ran out of excuses. Rog’ had done his last dodge, I would have to find the bins’. Two hours and much swearing later, I emerge triumphant from the garage. "Let’s go Mars hunting!"

"Now Son, hold them carefully now. Look through the eye-pieces, point them up to the sky, over there towards the South East. Now, focus, twiddlle the knurled ring until the Red Brooder sharpens up".

"Can you see it yet?"

"No" ……….."Wait!" …… "I see it! I see it. Dad, I see it!"

"Are you sure?"

"Well, I THINK I can see it – sort of"

"I’ll take off the lens caps"