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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

 

‘Tis the season to be…miserable?

You can tell it’s the beginning of the festive season as all the miserable sods who give you verbal (Even when it’s not their car you’re booking) are wearing ridiculous ‘Festive’ headgear. It’s not only that, it’s the stupid yappy arrogant voices they seem to affect when addressing people who enforce the parking laws. Maybe it’s because they know as a council employee you’re not allowed to bite back.

Know this; oh thou scathing personages, thou art both wellspring and sink of thine own unhappiness.

Have the same crap Christmas you had last year. You owe it to yourselves. You deserve it. Just don’t inflict it on the rest of us poor mortals. Oh yes, and you can take your damn silly hats with you.

Now which is your car?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

 

Slippery when cold

Not much to write home about today, just the usual battle against the greedy and short sighted. Traffic was pretty light, but I put that down to the British lack of ability to cope with more than an inch of snow on the road. Those I saw were still driving as if it were a dry sunny day with no ice.

Don’t ask me what it is. Maybe it’s because we see snow so infrequently in Britain that we forget a few simple techniques to keep your vehicle on the road going in the direction you want it to go. Maybe it’s down to people just not paying attention to what they’re doing while they’re yakking on their mobile phones, arguing with their kids, spouses, significant other, or (saddest of all) the Radio as they drive. Perhaps they never learned how to drive in adverse conditions in the first place.

As a driver with twenty odd years of driving anything from a moped to a 7.5 tonne truck, I often watch from the sidewalk with barely veiled horror. How do these people get out of bed in the morning without breaking their necks? Some Guardian Angels must be on time and a half keeping so many distracted drivers from harm. On the other hand it could be that modern cars are so safe it lulls people into a false sense of security. I’m all in favour of installing a new safety device in all cars – a six inch spike in the middle of the steering wheel. Maybe that would teach people to pay attention when they drive.

No wonder most of them can’t parallel park properly. See the diagram on this web site for how to do it properly.

Any old road up, it’s cold, I’m going to bed to snuggle up in my duvet and annoy Mrs Sticker with my off-key snoring.

Monday, November 28, 2005

 

Yo! Snow – oh.

Well, after all the fuss and palaver – where was it? What happened to the snow, the huge deluge of white stuff that was coming to bring the nation to a standstill? With the exception of the Okehampton bypass in Devon and Cornwall, Wales and Scotland that is. For the past week the weathermen have been predicting chaos, confusion and mayhem in our locale. What I wanted to ask is; right chaps, where was the snow? Coming right down the back of my neck this afternoon - that’s where.

Today we got a forecast for a showery morning and cloud with sunny spells in the afternoon, then what happens? Nice dry early morning with the odd bit of sun poking through - then down it comes. So much for the morning weather forecast.

Now it’s been bloody cold out on patrol this last few days, but that’s about it. No white crystalline precipitation, nada. I felt rather cheated. Nothing out of the ordinary apart from near constant scolding of errant Christmas shoppers who whine “But it’s Christmas!” at you when they double park, block the streets and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

Sometimes it’s like being a school teacher with a multitude of naughty children to look after. They know the rules, complain like buggery when someone else is at fault but don’t seem to see why the rules should apply to them. Then the minute you’ve cleared a street and turned the corner, they’re back again. So you get into the habit of playing a grown up version of the kids game, ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’, leaving the end of a street and back tracking five minutes later to catch all the idiots who think that we won’t be back for half an hour at least.

At least it cleared the streets. All the would-be malefactors sought spaces in the multi-storey car parks where their shiny pride and joy wouldn’t get all that nasty cold white stuff all over them. I slunk off into one of the multi storeys on my beat and pretended to patrol there until tea time. As the snow was beginning to stick and road markings became obscured by slush, we all got pulled off patrol.

Now I’m not too fussed about rain and snow, it can precipitate as hard as it likes and I’ll just find myself a dry little nook to see and be seen from. Not that there was much booking to do when the white stuff started drifting down from the skies.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

 

10 reasons to love and hate Christmas

Less than a month to go again and I’m seriously tempted to renew my membership of the Ebenezer Scrooge appreciation society. Bah! Humbug!

The festival itself I have no quarrel with; good old hijacked midwinter solstice feast that it is. A time of good food, wine and forgiveness to celebrate surviving another year. Good will to all men? Within reason, of course. What turns my normal sunny disposition to that of lemon sucking misanthrope is the insistence that everyone has to join in the ‘fun’; when ‘fun’ entails leaving drunken saliva snail trails over the nearest total stranger. Good grief! If nothing else it’s all so damned unhygienic.

With this in mind I have compiled ten major issues about Christmas which every year threaten to turn Mr Nice Guy (Me) into a raging homicidal psychopath who’s just got his chainsaw out of the shed for a little pre-festive sharpening.

First; Date. The date and the association with Christianity is incorrect. 25th December is the wrong date for Christians to celebrate Christmas. It’s an historical fudge, a compromise between 6th December, 19th December, 22nd December, 7th January or 25th January depending upon which Christian / Pagan sect you belong to. As for the year, if you’re a Christian, about as close as you’ll get is six years either side of 0 AD; and that’s just from official sources.

Second; Presents and shopping. This asinine insistence that you have to drive yourself into near bankruptcy giving overpriced, unwanted gifts to everyone you know. This may sound like heresy and probably is; but I would rather have no gifts at all than a gift without a genuine kind thought behind it. I especially don’t like being dragged in and out of the same five or six stores four times each only to find that we could have bought everything on line.

Third; Enforced jollity. There is no greater torture to a civilised mind than forcing someone to enjoy themselves whether they want to or not. I am quite capable of being happy without outside interference thank you very much. My major dread is that in the near future Mr Blair’s Thought Police will deem it a crime not to be smiling and joyful at mandatory times and places. Perhaps this will be something else to be handed an ‘On the spot’ £60 fixed whizzer from your local Community Support Officer (Or heaven forfend, me.). The sheer horror of it defies all thought.

Fourth; Inappropriate headgear. The wearing of fluorescent antlers, tinsel and artificial fur bobbled conical hats three sizes too small, not to mention those jesters style confections made of poor quality red, yellow and green felt with bells on. Apparently there’s some strange, arcane folk belief that wearing such headgear actually makes everything you say and do amusing. Such as telling unfunny jokes, committing random sexual assaults or urinating in the street. Trust me, it doesn’t work. Strangely enough, recent research has proven conclusively that the majority of people donning such headgear instantly turn into annoying pillocks. Forcing your dog to wear any such item should instantly engender an instant charge of animal cruelty punishable by thirty strokes of the cat (A bad tempered feral Tom cat brought in specially, for preference.).

Fifth; Alcohol. Actually this is a bit of a moot point. I am greatly in favour of some forms of alcohol as it is a great social lubricant (I said SOCIAL. Honestly, some people.). A good pint, bottle of wine, or warming Single Malt in good company is wonderfully relaxing. Sometimes I can be very friendly with an entire bottle of whiskey all to myself. This is something anyone can do anywhere. Sometimes its nice to hide in the cellar with a good book, headphones on and some rock music blasting any potentially festive thoughts from my seasonally stressed synapses. Be warned; excessive consumption not only damages your liver and wallet but also turns you into another slobbering maudlin festive idiot.

Sixth; Office / work related parties. Or as Oscar Wilde might have said had he ever been to one, ‘The unattainable attended by the unlovable’. Watching what you drink in case you say exactly what you feel about your boss or an influential colleague; no matter how incompetent / unpleasant / overbearing they might be. I hate such events and whenever invited to ‘socialise’ in this fashion with workmates make a creative and plausible excuse not to be there. Ones I’ve found that work very well are; Previous engagement with family, as far from the event as possible; feigned illness; faked domestic emergency requiring your urgent presence at home – all of these are good. One cautionary note, use a different excuse every year or be labelled ‘Anti Christmas’ and find all those more important invitations disappear.

Seventh; Christmas lunch. All that hard work put in to produce a table groaning feast to be met by refusal. For example an announcement by your wife’s sister / daughter (insert own preference here) that she’s become a Vegan without telling anyone; then flounces off when you, quite reasonably, refuse to specially cook a nut roast for everyone at five minutes notice because she can’t bear to be within fifty yards of that poor murdered Turkey. Another might be the kids whinging that they want to go to Burger MacWossnames for a “double death by cholesterol and fries”; refusing to eat anything green that hasn’t got four kilo’s of sugar in it. I think Christmas lunches should be all ticket affairs. If you want to be there, be there. If you don’t – sod off and be miserable on your own.

Eighth; Christmas Television. Especially those vomit inducing saccharine Coca Cola adverts. The endless TV repeats of Christmas specials of ‘Only Fools and Horses’, and what’s going on in Emmerdale Enders. ‘The Sound of Music’ again. ‘Celebrity’ Christmas specials. Thank God for DVD’s. Don’t even get me started about Hogmanay specials. All I want from New Years Eve is a hot toddy, an early night and a clear head on a crisp winters morning, enjoying the peace and quiet.

Ninth; Christmas Number Ones. All of them. Especially (In no particular order) Slade’s ‘So here it is Merry Christmas’, Band Aid’s ‘Do they know it’s Christmas time’ and Aled Jones ‘Walking in the air’. When you’ve heard them sung extremely badly four or five hundred times by drunken cracked voices at up to half past four in the morning, you’ll agree all modern Christmas tunes should be banned by international treaty.

Tenth; Carol Singers. Not proper Carol Singers like in church choirs, they’re very pleasant and always welcome. I’m talking about the avaricious little sods who turn up on your doorstep for a quick bit of extortion a month before the official date. I think we’re all familiar with them; expecting you to give them money for an abysmal one chorus rendition of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ when half of them don’t know the words and the other half are miming. Two years ago I handed out some warmed over vegetarian mince pies to the last lot who dared darken my doorstep, and joy of joys, haven’t seen any since.

The above list is nowhere near definitive as I’m sure many of you can come up with your own reasons for wanting to spend your midwinter holiday overseas. The nicest Christmas day I ever spent was alone with my wife in Barcelona. Getting soaked in torrential rain and messing around in near deserted streets like a couple of school kids, no cooking, no turkey, wonderful Irish coffee in a bar where the staff were grooving energetically to Ricky Martins ‘La vida loca’ full blast on the sound system. Ganneting a quarter kilo of ‘Chocolat Naranja’ between us while drying out, watching an unfestive CNN News in the Hotel room. No tinsel, no tackiness and a thoroughly civilised time was had by both of us. Bliss.

Addendum: Have just checked my Statistics counter and found a link from one of the most well known blogs, Waiter Rant. Wow. Hope it’s not a mistake. I am deeply honoured.

Friday, November 25, 2005

 

Buy this book

My poisonous scribblings are on pages 113-114, but there’s plenty of really good stuff in there.

Go on - buy a copy, stick it in your windscreen. Park on double yellows. It won't do you any good.

On the plus side, the considered polemics of the better British bloggers are in there, so it's worth a tickle. Some very thought provoking reading for your darker moments. The Advert is in my sidebar, and it's cheap too.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

 

Moonbat?

I’ve been cruising various sites and repeatedly come across the term ‘Moonbat’, a corruption of ‘Monbiot’, after a George Monbiot who writes a column for the Guardian. Rather than have to go through all the time and trouble of cruising said sites to snipe at their opinions, I thought I’d just equip my own blog with a couple of ‘Virtual Moonbats’. Just for a bit of a giggle.

I’m wet and I’m cold, and I deserve a laugh or two.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

 

Racist, moi?

This is another post I’ve saved up until management memory dims. A few months ago I had a little confrontation with a person who thought that by simply claiming my motives were suspect, they could stop me issuing a ticket. The vehicle in question was a black Range Rover Freelander sat cheeky as you please on double yellows not five feet (1.5m) from a busy junction; loading restriction in force, no disabled badge or permit visible. Gotcha! I’m busy signing the ticket and stuffing it in the envelope when up pops the driver in full whinge mode.

Driver “What are you doing?” How original, is he blind?
515 “This Your vehicle sir?” Better go through the motions.
Driver “You cannot do this!” Sez who?
515 “Yes I can sir. If this is your vehicle you are breaking the law.”
Driver “You cannot do this!” Oh yes I ca-an.
515 “Sir, your vehicle is in clear contravention of the parking rules so I am issuing a fixed penalty notice. Okay?” On the windscreen, snap, snap, grin, grin, say no more. Job done.
Driver “You only do this because I’m not white.” What? Oh-oh. Trouble.
515 “How was I to know that sir?” Let’s confuse him with facts.
Driver “You saw me and said to yourself, he’s not white, I’ll book him.”
515 “Really sir?” He’s trying to get me to say something racist. Dipshit.
Driver (Pointing aggressively right in my face) “You are racist! You only book my car because I’m not white.”
515 “That’s odd sir. I only noticed your vehicle, not you.” This guy isn’t going to get away with this crap.
Driver “I will report you! What’s your name?”
515 “Officer 515, sir.”
Driver “Don’t you bullshit me you racist pig! I want your name!” You shouldn’t have said that, pal. Time to call in the cavalry.
515 “Just a moment sir.” Key radio, wait a second. “515 to control; respond please, over.”
Driver “What are you doing!” Stupid as well as blind.
515 “Calling my control; if you’ll excuse me sir.” Turn and take three paces away. Silly bastards following.
CCTV “515, good morning. Over.” A familiar voice brings relief. Thank God for that, it’s one of the better CCTV operators.
515 “Hello control; got a problem. Can you get a camera on the corner of High Street opposite the bank please? I may have an awkward customer.”
CCTV “Okay 515, have you visual. I see your problem, do you require assistance?” CCTV can see chummy sticking his finger in my face.
515 “Any CSO’s close by?” Might as well give them some exercise.
CCTV “I’ll see what I can do.”
515 “Much obliged control.” At this point, my manager chimes in over the airwaves.
Kerry “Okay 515, can you get out of there please.”
Driver “You white pig!” He’s really upset, not ready to kick off just yet, but I’m not going to give him an excuse to start a barney by turning my back. I could do, but experience tells me that he’ll only get madder and I may end up looking for my teeth in the gutter.
515 “Will do, as soon as I can do so safely. Over and out.” Now I’m going to give him my full, undivided attention. I take time to look him right in the eyes with a long, cool, Bill Sticker patented Look. “Right sir. I’ve issued that ticket because I believe your vehicle was in contravention of the parking rules. If you disagree with me you can challenge it using the procedure on the back of the ticket.”
Driver “You only give me it because I’m not white. I have you sacked for racism!” He doesn’t sound so convinced now, but he really is dumb because I’m now well and truly pissed off and in no mood to back down. I pause and choose my next words very carefully indeed.
515 “Sir, the only racism I hear right now isn’t coming from me. The only colour I concern myself with is the colour of the road markings and the colour of your vehicle. Your personal colour or religion is immaterial. Complain if you must, but I will make my own report.” More sodding form filling. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.” Open notebook; take out pen.
Over his shoulder I can see two of our local PCSO’s grinning their way into view at the far end of the High Street, must be a slow day. Driver catches my brief, slightly smug smile, looks over his shoulder at them and suddenly decides discretion is the better part of valour. He snatches the ticket off his windscreen, throws it at me, oh good he’ll pay the full amount then, and leaps into the drivers seat of his big silly 4x4 before roaring away.

The two PCSO’s arrive. “You okay?”
“Yeah, fine. Thought he could avoid a ticket by playing the racism card.”
“Oh, one of those.” They must hear this stuff all the time.
“’Fraid so. Thought he was going to kick off for a moment there.” We share one of those ‘another day at the office’ shrugs and I start filling out my notebook, getting ready to do the form filling back at base. Writers cramp ensues.

Several months on nothing has come of it; so chummy obviously didn’t make good his threat to report me. Had me sweating for a while there, as even accusations of racist abuse can get you fired on the spot, no appeal, no reprieve; and a black, if you’ll pardon the pun, mark on your employment record that will never wash off. Oh yes, the ticket stuck with chummy paying the full amount. Serve the racist right.

Monday, November 21, 2005

 

Brr!

Much as I like being out on foot patrol, sometimes the elements get the better of me. It’s not so bad on the town centre beats as there are a couple of big stores with nice toasty air curtains operating at full blast that you can take advantage of. Unfortunately, I’ve been pounding the leafy suburbs for the past couple of days, so there hasn’t been much of a chance to get warm.

When we first did our training, we had an ex traffic inspector as our instructor who made a comment which has stuck with me ever since; “A good officer never gets wet.” I’ve kind of extended this principle to cover a wide variety of discomforts. On hot days you pick a path that keeps you mostly in the shade. On wet days you pick a vantage point out of the rain but visible to the erring public. On windy days you avoid the streets you know from experience act like wind tunnels, and so on. You can’t always get away with it, but a little intelligence correctly applied usually helps.

Regrettably, cold foggy days like the last few offer few opportunities for slacking in some form of shelter. On the plus side it means that your distinctive silhouette doesn’t register on the malefactors Traffic Warden Radar until it’s too late, but then your fingers freeze while writing out the damned ticket. Not only that but fingers of probing coldness seem to find a way through your clothing at the most inopportune places and times. Gets very cheeky in the nethers sometimes, despite a thick coat and thermal underwear.

You might scoff, but when you are out on patrol for between two and four hours at a stretch, especially when you’re too far out to take your tea break at base in weather like this, the heat leaches right out of you. A couple of hours vigorous walk in these damp foggy conditions could be called bracing; however, walking slowly as we have to out in damp sub zero temperatures all day can turn into a real tyre kicker.

Despite the thickest socks your toes go first. Followed shortly thereafter by your fingers, ears and nose, in that order. In spite of your best intentions you often develop a dripping nose where a clear droplet gathers on the web of flesh between your nostrils (It’s so embarrassing when that happens.).

Doesn’t improve a normally sunny disposition either, when upon returning home, hoping to spend half an hour in a hot bath to get some heat into a partly chilled carcase, this relief is denied. Especially when stepkids have invited all their excitable (The squealing and squeaking noise is like having a houseful of hyperactive mice sometimes, it drives the dog bananas.) little friends round with their excitable little bladders and guess what? There’s only one lavatory in the house and they all want to use it - NOW! So guess who has to haul his lardy arse out of his baths restoring warmth so the little darlings don’t have to put a cork in it. Got it in one. You’d think I’d be used to it all by now. When I’ve finally warmed up a bit I’ll think about that.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

 

I think Ian Blair has a point....

About the kind of Police service the public and the politicians are demanding. As an interested bystander who occasionally gets the opportunity to watch the coppers up close, I do get to see the conflicting demands of an uncooperative public foisted upon them.

Everyone wants to feel safe and have clean quiet streets to live in, but own up, how many of you out there are willing to stand up and do the ‘right thing’? For those of you who might make immature, sneering ‘Dudley do-right’ remarks, I’d say, what’s wrong with doing the right thing? What is wrong with being fair, honest and decent? Not behaving in an anti social manner, doing stuff for your local community. Okay, yes, yes, I was a boy scout once (Until that little game of ‘spin the bottle’ with that Girl Guide troop. Well, nobody’s perfect.).

The public wants to feel safe on the streets. They want to see more uniformed foot patrols. However, it is my personal experience that (With notable exceptions) the public does not want their little Johnny / Jane arrested for being drunk and abusive in a public place because their darling child couldn’t possibly be guilty. The attitude seems to be, “Arrest him officer, not me. What this baseball bat? Oh no, I was on my way to play a game really.” How many times have the media interviewed tearful parents of malefactors saying things like, “’E were a good boy. ‘E wouldn’t do nuffin like that.” (The middle classes really have gone downhill lately: -).

I’ve come across many quite ‘respectable’ people (Nice house, nice car, nice clothes, you know, ‘nice.’) who wouldn’t cross the street to someone in need. People who wouldn’t even call the Police if there was a problem in their street. So long as they are safe, they don’t care. They don’t want to get involved. Yet if their little foibles get found out they scream the house down and demand ‘fair’ treatment (Or at least their lawyers do.). These are the very same people who think that they can abuse the parking regulations, then bitch about a lousy parking ticket when they get caught.

By contrast, I’ve encountered less well off folk who have not hesitated to help and ‘step into the breach’ when occasion demanded. There are a lot of people out there who want to be left in peace to get on with their lives, raising families, making good homes that will turn out if there is a problem.

Let’s face it; the problems we face aren’t going to be solved just by politicians passing laws. If it were that easy we’d already be living in a peaceful paradise (Or rather not, it seems to be part of the human condition never to be satisfied.). The problem is how, if said laws are fully enforced, do we cope with the consequences?

People are screaming out for more beat officers, but do not see the pressures of budget and resources the Police face. On the one hand you have the law abiding people who want a visible Police presence, but they want only the ‘bad’ people arrested. The very self same seem to people forget that in Britain we have historically had consensual policing. This means that the Police need the active cooperation of the public they serve. Without it they cannot function effectively. Without that consent and cooperation they need draconian repressive powers to function in the way the public, via their elected representatives demand; and what does absolute power do children? Got it in one.

Discounting some of the stranger aspects of his recent speech, I would reiterate a paraphrased version of Ian Blair’s question. What do the British public want from their Police? Apart from everything that is.
 

Gun crime

Two women Police officers shot, one murdered in a raid on a Travel Agents in Bradford. Three (Now five) arrests made at the time of writing.

Now I’m lucky, I live in a ‘nice’ part of town away from the low life’s such as drug dealers, although there is one widely recognised ‘house’ less than two hundred metres away, which CID regularly haul two or three small time users out of; before their lawyers get them out on bail. No guns have found their way into our local drug abusers hands as yet, although the local feeling is it’s only going to be a matter of time. We’ve had quite a few knife attacks, and the usual drunken punch ups, but no one killed for quite a while. This, I am convinced, will change. The inevitability of it is almost frightening.

Funny thing though, aren’t we supposed to live in a ‘safe’ country where the owning of handguns such as revolvers and automatic pistols are banned? Wasn’t the 1997 legislation meant to bring an end to gun deaths on the street? The knee jerk furore after the 1996 Dunblane Massacre only took these items out of the hands of the law abiding. Apparently you can get an illegal handgun down in the Smoke for as little as £2-300. The resultant removal of licensing and tracking of handguns means ironically that the Police were deprived of a tool for tracing at least a percentage of said firearms.

Dunblane was where the handgun licensing system fell down catastrophically. The reality seems to be that the local Police should have been round talking to Thomas Hamilton, confiscating his guns and revoking his firearms permit before he finally cracked. Ideally, the accusations that brought the crisis to a head and the resultant death of 16 children and their teacher should have been properly addressed, but it is wonderful to be wise in hindsight. Instead there was the subsequent outcry, and some poorly thought out legislation was enacted. Now we are in the tragic-comic situation that our national Pistol team has to leave the country to practice for the Olympics, yet gun crime has escalated.

There are two axioms; firstly, that legal bans only affect the law abiding. Secondly, crooks don’t give a toss (If they did then they wouldn’t be criminals, be fair.). So the whole ‘Let’s pass a law against it’ approach does not, on it’s own solve anything. Instead it raises a whole new crop of demons by criminalizing previously law abiding people, thus breeding resentment and overstretching the necessary contract between law abider and enforcer. The same situation is emerging with regard to the ban on hunting foxes with hounds. Another bad law for the wrong reasons.

Personally I cannot see a solution to the escalation in gun crime, unless of course a few murderers were executed for their crimes. The original principles of the 1957 homicide act would be as good a piece of legislation as any if such sanction were to be brought back. If, as seems the case, prevention proves impossible, then surely the old standby of deterrence should be brought back. Not that this will happen in the short term unless the French break with the European Unions Human rights legislation to deal with their own internal unrest. Because it will take one of the original member states of the EU to set such a precedent. Then, and only then, might the UK publics repeated demands for the restitution of the death penalty be heeded. As I have pointed out before, the reoffending rate does tend to be zero where ultimate sanction is applied.

Friday, November 18, 2005

 

Many apologies for the inconwenience

The template for this site has been changed because of a problem installing Adsense. Sadly, while trying to remove the 'Adsense' code I also managed to mess up the entire template so a complete revamp had to be done.

All posts and Haloscan comments have been rescued. Looks like I will have to go back to school as far as DHTML, XML, and Java are concerned.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

 

Paxo, no stuffing.

Have just watched the cut down BBCTV Newsnight interview of David Cameron by Jeremy Paxman. I put Cameron down as scoring a points victory with a much better performance than David Davis. He came over very well, despite the predictable inferences about class A drugs. As Mrs Sticker pointed out, a man who can’t make mistakes can’t do anything (Bless her). So Paxo, I feel, did not stuff Cameron.

From a personal viewpoint, I would like to see David Cameron win the Conservative party leadership and become a little sharper, a little harder. Preferably forming a Cameron / Davis team where David Cameron is the front man and David Davis his firm right hand. Rather like the iron fist in the velvet glove. That I could vote for.

In my politics I am classed as an ABB (Anything But Blair). I would vote Monster Raving Loony but now David Sutch is gone, I feel the party has lost its way. Blairs cod-socialism and increasingly intrusive governmental style goes against the principle that a Government is the servant of the people, not the other way around.

Now I must to bed – or else says Mrs Sticker - Oh boy.
 

Odd moment

I’m a bit out of sorts at the moment. Today I decided to find somewhere nice and quiet for my morning tea break and hit on the bright idea of the local cemetery, as it was on my beat.

Cap off, I wandered in and looked around for a bench in a sunny spot to drink in the peace and quiet. Just as I’m passing the side door of the Chapel of Rest I got a distinct sensation of someone coming the other way, so I instinctively stepped aside without really looking, like you do. Looking up I saw no one. I stopped, turned, and had a good look around; no one within a good fifty metres. That’s odd, I found myself thinking, my normally reliable instincts were telling me I’d almost walked into someone, but there was nobody there. Wee-ird.

Not being someone who is easily ‘spooked’ if you’ll pardon the pun, I carried on and picked a bench, sitting back to enjoy the meagre warmth of a bright November morning. Damn me if there wasn’t that feeling again after I’d sat down. Nothing unfriendly, just the mildly impatient sensation of someone who was in a hurry and really wanted to get past. I looked all around again; over on the far side of the cemetery some of the gravediggers were filling in after a funeral earlier that morning, but no one was anywhere close.

The sensation didn’t come again, so I just stayed where I was enjoying the sunlit peace and quiet for fifteen minutes (Honestly boss). Maybe it was my mind adjusting to the abruptly differing pace spent dodging busy pedestrians and the sheer personal space I was suddenly in. Maybe one of the local ghosts took exception to the presence of a Parking Enforcement Officer, thinking I was there to book their hearse. Who knows? I’ve never thought of myself as psychic before, nor do I now.

Maybe I’ve been eating too much junk food lately, or I’ve missed too much sleep in the past couple of weeks what with my poor firework traumatised dog and all. Before anyone makes any ‘clever’ comments; no, I didn’t actually see or hear anything so it’s not one for the Fortean Times.

Mind you, it did leave me with a strange ‘disconnected’ feeling for the next half an hour. The moment I was back on beat and started booking again I was, as they say, ‘back in the groove’ and playing my usual supporting role in other peoples’ life stories. Notably as the villain. Speaking of which, if I’m to be replaced by CCTV with ANPR software in the next year or two, I’m available for the pantomime season if anyone’s interested.

Addition to Blogroll: World weary detective

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

 

Big brother and the end of the Traffic Warden?

If you believe what was written in the Guardian recently, new technology may mean that yours truly had better go looking for more stable employment. Recently released (10th November) CCTV Licence plate recognition software could just put me and these aching feet out of a job.

Don’t start cheering just yet though. You lot might have thought that we were bad or heartless; remember how people used to whine about Police speed traps before speed cameras were brought in? Now there will be no hiding place. Leave your vehicle on an active restriction, even for a moment, and a PCN will be in the post almost before you’ve come out of the shop.

What happens at present in our district is more like a game. A person stops by an ATM or shop, pops in for a ‘few moments’ leaving their vehicle unattended. If they’re unlucky, one of us Parking Enforcement Officers trundles along, takes down their vehicles number, then has to wait for five minutes to be sure no loading is taking place (Unless the offender is in a disabled bay etc, in which case it goes straight on the windscreen.) before handing out a penalty charge notice. It’s reasonably sporting, the offender gets a chance to leg it before the five minutes are up and so escape a fine for contravening the parking regulations and the traffic keeps moving.

With the new cameras will come no mercy, no human face to wheedle, cajole, or insult. Science fiction? Nope, first installations (On bus routes since 2002) are already working in Camden, Lambeth, London and Haringey, others will be up and running by late 2005 / early 2006 in Newham, Croydon, Barking & Dagenham. Rest assured other parts of the country will follow shortly.

I know that our Local Authority is interested and will be introducing some form of the technology by 2006 / 7. I’m sure they aren’t the only ones. Ho hum, looks like another career change is on the cards. No use emigrating either, the bloody things are going to be everywhere.

Now where’d I put my CV?

Monday, November 14, 2005

 

Censorship? – Not conspiracy – Cock up.

Got an e-mail before I left for work this morning about comments being ‘blue pencilled’, which is something I very rarely do as you’re all such nice polite people (Don’t prove me wrong, please.). Apologies. I managed to switch on the ‘moderation’ feature in my ‘beta’ Haloscan account settings. The fault has now been rectified and you can carry on taking pot shots at my rabid drivel without undue interference from me.


Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Funny, I thought I WANTED TO BE DEATH.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

 

Nice peaceful Sunday – Well it was

I am sitting at my desk, gently steaming. Two reasons; firstly there is a nationwide problem with our powers as Parking Enforcement Officers. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but the legislators who drafted the decriminalisation legislation forgot to include a particular restriction in the 1991 act under which we are empowered. What this means is that any ticket issued by local authority Parking Enforcement Officer on this particular type of restriction will be invalid. Only a Police Officer or old style Traffic Warden can issue a valid Parking Ticket on this specific type of restriction. Such was the news I was handed when I returned to base late this afternoon. Well, great.

Up until then I was a pretty relaxed fellow. I’d managed to spend fifteen minutes quiet contemplation in the Garden of Remembrance with a couple of like minded colleagues. Turned out all three of us had the same idea, so we snuck in caps off, and quietly read the names on the memorial and wreaths after all the British Legion members had paraded off to Church. Unlike my last visit, no one bothered us while we paid our respects.

The other cause for discombobulation is my two stepdaughters. The real reason is estranged Daddy, who spoils them with expensive gifts (Holidays, clothes, the whole nine yards) every time he breezes into view in order to assuage what Mrs Sticker calls ‘his guilt’ for not taking a bigger role in their upbringing. They have got used to a Father who cannot say ‘No’ to their every whim. What this gives me is two stepkids who fly into a hissy fit every time I or Mrs Sticker refuse their demands (“Why can’t we have SKY?”, “I want a new mobile phone and you pay the £80 a month bill”, “I wanna Napster account on your credit card!” sort of thing.). One tries to redress the balance by standing firm, but sometimes you just want to go home and let your mental armour down, but the emotional violence cuts loose and you can’t help but get hit by the shrapnel. Now it’s got to a point where the gift demanded is so large (Brand new car), that even Daddy’s wallet is creaking under the pressure. He is going to have to say ‘No’ to them but doesn’t know how, and is wondering how to make it look like I or Mrs Sticker are to blame. I’d say this could be fun to watch, but as I’m the first poor sod in the firing line it certainly won’t be.

The major issue here is that if I intervene I am in the wrong no matter which way I turn, and if I don’t do anything the shit still hits my rotating cooling device. My current state of armed neutrality is wearing a bit thin.

It’s so much easier out on the streets. At least there I have the privilege of maintaining my ‘professional’ persona. Maybe I should just pack my bags and run like the sensible coward I am. Take the Wife and dog leaving no forwarding address.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

 

The Menin Gate

A couple of years ago my wife and I took a trip around Europe. We had a great time pootling around the highways and byways of the continent. The only off key thing about the trip was in the last couple of days before returning across the channel. As a day out while staying in St Omer, out of simple curiosity we went to Ypres in Belgium to sample the frites and the chocolate. The whole town had been almost wiped off the map in the 1914-18 war and completely rebuilt in the 1920’s. It is also the location of the famous Menin gate, where the names of all the British servicemen who have no known grave are engraved. It was a tremendously humbling experience. It is a huge list of names, regiment after regiment, I couldn't count them all.

Up on the Menin gate we saw three names; all subsequently turned out to be connected with our immediate families. We stayed for the ‘Last Post’ ceremony that evening. I shall never consider Belgians (Unless they are Brussels bureaucrats) boring or risible, ever again.

I think I shall spend a little time in the Garden of Remembrance on Sunday on my afternoon tea break (My beat should take me past there.). For the Great Uncles I never knew.
 

Fuckwit of the Month

There are times I’m glad I’m not a copper, like when crap like this gets handed out by a bureaucratically obsessed management. Sorry, but when you’re out saving lives and facing down the bad guys, a bit more latitude should be given. If, as in this case, the person attempting self-harm / harm to others gets a little battered and bruised in the process, so what? Poor sod gets reprimanded for using a ‘non home office approved hold’ on a person attempting self harm. When without the officer in questions intervention there is a strong probability that the person thus restrained would have succeeded in terminating themselves.

There have been times in my own life when I’ve gone and almost done something extremely dumb, caught my lumps and been damned grateful to the person who put me (However roughly) back on the straight and narrow. Thanks Dad, Mum and a couple of other good friends (A couple of Coppers and several Teachers). Without them I probably wouldn’t be here.

Bearing this in mind, I would like to instigate the Bill Sticker “Fuckwit of the Month” award. This is a prestigious nomination for the most irrational, blinkered, bureaucratic response to a courageous act.

Any and all future nominations for this prestigious non-award should be forwarded to billsticker at gmail dot com.

Oh yes, have just received my brand spanking new ID card. See it here. Do you think the photographer got my good side?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Bill Sticker and the case of the missing Blue badge

The scene on a typical grey English morning was a previously deserted Disabled bay, only frequented by wind blown litter and scattered hopes. I pulled out my notepad and noted the sign needed cleaning. Otherwise it was okay.

Checking off the location on my hand held computer, I slid it back into its hiding place in my coat pocket. The radio was quiet, too quiet for my liking. Just in case I flipped the call button. “This is 515 for a radio check. Anyone out there, over?”
“507 responding 515. You getting lonely out there?”
“Just seeing if youse guys is awake, is all.”
“Naw Bill. You just keep on goin’ - we’ll call yer if we needs yer.” So much for feeling wanted. I carried on walking, watching for people who showed signs of pulling up on my double yellow lines. No one did.

From half way down the street I see this guy pull into the disabled bay and lock up his vehicle. He looks in his fifties, pretty spry but that’s no clue. There’s no one else with him. He walks briskly (Too energetically) up the street and passes me as I’m talking to a cabbie who’s whinging about people parking in the ranks (As usual). Hmm. Following a hunch I backtrack to the disabled bays and guess what? The guy don’t have no disabled badge, so I take his details and I’m just about to print when:

Driver (Out of breath from running) “What are you doing?”
515 “Issuing a Penalty charge notice sir.” Gee is this guy dumb.
Driver “You can’t do that!” I know what’s coming now “I’m disabled!”
515 “That is as may be sir, but you are not displaying your disabled badge in a clearly marked disabled bay.” And you can run like Bugs Bunny on steroids.
Driver “I’m telling you I am disabled!”
515 (Printing ticket and signing it) “Tell you what sir, you write in to my office and produce your blue badge and they’ll cancel this ticket.”
Driver “I’m going to complain!” Sure you are blue eyes.
515 “Please do sir, just say you spoke to officer 515.”
Driver “I’m disabled!” But you just broke the world 100 metres to tell me that.
515 “But I can’t see your disabled badge sir.” ‘Cause you’re not levelling with me sweetheart.
Driver “Isn’t my word enough?” Oh really. Spare me.
515 “To you sir, possibly.” Places ticket in envelope on windscreen and takes picture in situ. “But I can only go on what I observe or do not observe, sir.” I give the Driver a bright brittle smile. “You are parked in a disabled bay without clearly displaying a blue disabled badge. Whether you are disabled or not is not something I am qualified to judge.” Pause half a beat. “The challenge procedure is on the back of the ticket. Good day sir.”
Driver “So you won’t take it back, then?”
515 “Once it’s on the windscreen and logged it’s out of my hands sir. You have to take it up with my office.”
Driver “You can’t do that – I’m disabled!”
515 “You might say so sir, but you don’t have a badge to prove it. Good day.” Time to leave this burgh.
Driver “I’m going to complain! You tricked me!” Nice try, but no ceegar. Now go ‘way sonny, you’re bothering me.
515 (Leaves angrily gesticulating Driver) “Good day sir.”

What does anyone else think? I think someone who has been caught like a naughty child with their hand in the cookie jar will say anything to try and get away with it. At no time did the guy offer to produce a blue badge or any other evidence to disprove my observation. I reckon that ticket will stick. Next time he might think twice about using a space he’s not entitled to. Not that I’m holding my breath you understand.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

 

I blame the TV

Mrs Sticker and I have had a little bit of an argument. Not quite a blazing row leading to me sleeping downstairs with the dog, but a “Bill You Are Going To Buy Some New Clothes And I Am Going To Help You Choose Them Because You Have No Dress Sense” kind of argument.

Yeah, she’s been watching Trinny and Suzannah in ‘What not to wear’ – again. This time they chose two guys going through a mid life crisis (Who needs the ‘mid’ bit as an excuse, my whole life’s one long crisis.) to makeover. Why are women like this? She knew what I was like when she married me so why do I need a whole new wardrobe now? Junior stepdaughter waded in with a “I think it’s a good idea mummy. He needs new kit.” Vile traitress! To think I said nice things about her school food tech results! How like a serpents tooth is a thankless child!

Yes, I know, I do need a new suit. My old one is just so saggy and baggy that a self respecting scarecrow wouldn’t touch it. I really need some formal stuff; always had a hankering for one of those Bankers frock coats. Black shirt with fine vertical gold stripes. Something a little less plain. I wear a plain uniform every day of my working life and it looks reasonably smart. However, I could do with something a bit more, colourful – whatever. Maybe I do need help, badly. Mind you, with my current budget I’ll be lucky to end up with a pair of dark trousers and a shirt.

Hi-ho, of such small steps is sartorial elegance constructed. I still blame the TV.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

 

Target setting

The latest edicts have come down to us from on high, based on the results obtained by the little god of tick boxes; and today children, the lesson is target setting.

I can hear the sympathetic groans already. ‘Target setting’ is the new plague on society, an insidious malaise of indeterminate cause. Target setting reduces people to things, holds a tiny mirror up to reality, then trims off all the bits off the things that don’t fit on the mirror with an axe. There is no subtlety, no allowance or encouragement for initiative or intelligent problem solving. We must do as we are told even if what we are told contradicts much of our previous training and real on-street experience.

This time round, the target setters have been at work ‘appraising’ beats, checking how long it takes to walk from one location to another. Based on an unladen, non-uniformed, fully rested persons ability, not taking into consideration such minor delaying factors as steep hills, busy roads and concerned members of the public; we, fully laden with kit, wearing heavy boots, carrying pocketfuls of the various things we need to carry out our appointed tasks, printer, hand held computer, notebook etc must carry our patrols out – in exactly the same time or faster. Day in, day out.

Well fuck it! I’m not doing it! They can go and stick their sodding targets where the suns light does not normally penetrate. I said as much to Kerry my line manager after the meeting. Her reaction was a resigned shrug. Afterwards we gave our Union rep serious stick for allowing us to get bombed like this. He’s supposed to keep us informed of incoming shit of this nature.

Now I’m no slacker. I’m out there on patrol doing the job. I like my job. You develop an approach that works and fulfil your primary objective which is keeping the streets clear. You try to catch the parking cheats and slap one on them, hopefully they learn the lesson. Your job is to provide both a deterrent and on site sanction against those who would make everyone else’s lives more difficult. Shit like this just gets in the way.

Grr. I get so cross!

You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

Captain Jack Sparrow

83%

William Wallace

83%

El Zorro

83%

Neo, the "One"

79%

The Terminator

75%

Maximus

67%

Lara Croft

54%

Indiana Jones

54%

The Amazing Spider-Man

46%

Batman, the Dark Knight

38%

James Bond, Agent 007

33%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Monday, November 07, 2005

 

Shameless Plug

This blog has the odd phrase or two included in Tim Worstall’s latest publication. So it’s high time I did my bit and stuck the Amazon Ad for this worthy tome into the infrastructure of my blog.

It’s full of words of wisdom, or not as the case may be, from some of the bloggers Tim and friends consider to have something worthwhile to say in a lucid and cogent fashion. Why they’ve asked to include some of my rabid nonsense in there, God alone knows.

Buy it for a friend with a heartfelt dedication to show them in what esteem you hold them; or for an enemy with a terse note conveying your contempt. Either will do.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

 

Nervous breakdown narrowly averted

Dog had a good nights kip despite a short firefight in the early hours which woke me up. I tucked him up in his basket in the cellar. He usually doesn’t sleep down there but I left the light on and all ‘twas all roses ‘til diggerdog. No nasty little brown smelly present, just a happy wagging tail and free face wash for me as I took out his makeshift earplugs this morning. Huge sigh of relief from me. Must do it next time when the idiots across the way want to throw their money into space again.

Thoroughly wet day on duty today, so we skulked in car parks and cleaned up the office and mess room. Did manage to pop out to have a quick terrorise of the surrounding streets around lunchtime, but it was Sunday and dead as the proverbial doornail out there. We drove past several supermarket car parks which were utterly packed, but nothing to do with us.

Hate to keep harping on about fireworks; but after a natter with some of the other guys, came to the conclusion that the damn things are getting bigger and louder. Living in town as we do there’s no getting away from it. Every pub and club with a courtyard or open space was at it last night. Tonight thanks to the rain it’s all quiet so Mrs Sticker and I went out for that civilised drink we promised ourselves two nights ago and never got.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

 

Bright ideas

The combatants are at it again tonight and there’s no escape. My dog is a quivering mess in the corner and I’m not happy either. Poor animal doesn’t know which way to turn. Upstairs the bangs from fireworks get louder and there are three separate factions within a hundred metres of our front and back doors throwing money into space with ever louder bangs.

Some of you out there might think I’m exaggerating wildly about it sounding like a war zone out there tonight. Okay, most of you have never been in a war zone so I’ll just describe how it sounds to me right as it happens. There were a number of sharp cracks going off that sounded like aimed single shot rifle fire a few seconds ago, followed by one large ‘crump’ that shook my front windows a second later. Three other ‘crump’ noises about a hundred metres away followed by the distinctive whistle of a rocket. Then ten seconds later from the other direction, much further off, another two rockets. There is a hiatus of about a minute, then one large ‘boom’ noise about two hundred metres off, that must have cost a few pennies. Three heavy calibre, almost like the rounded bang of a 12 gauge shotgun from one side and then the other, followed by the flatter crack of a rifle-like report. Five rocket whistles from half way across town in rapid succession. Then there is another pause before it all starts up again, fire dopplering from one side of town to the other, now a rapid series of what sound like the distinctive bark of an AK47. Now the shotgun like sounds, like several gunmen shooting at each other from the opposite ends of a nearby street. A few moments for the protagonists to reload and it starts again further down the road. All of a sudden there’s one less than fifty metres away three AK rounds rapid fire. Another two loud ‘crump’ noises followed by a ‘boom’. Do people really enjoy this?

This is absolutely no bullshit. I just typed that down as I heard it with no embellishments whatsoever. No wonder the poor bloody dog looks so damn traumatised.

I know bonfire night only happens once a year, but how come they need to make the bangs so damn loud? As I posted last night, some of the fireworks sold nowadays have more explosive within them than some 19th century artillery munitions. I know this because antique firearms are a little bit of a hobby with me.

This still leaves me with no solution; the dog is a neurotic wreck who can’t lie still and I’m debating going over to the closest party with a fire extinguisher and a baseball bat for a little heart to heart with noisy neighbours. Wits end looms like an oncoming train and no solution in sight.

Suddenly brainwave! One quick trip to the bathroom later I dig out one of the girls’ facial cleansing pads and cut it in half. Grab hold of terrified mutt by the collar and gently insert half cotton pad in one ear, half in the other. Half an hour later, he only looks up when there is a really close near miss from a big one. He’s even come out when I offered him a dog treat. Still a bit wary, but a lot calmer. So no need to start World War 3 with inconsiderate neighbours.

Things seem to be dying down around now (21:45 GMT) as the firework money runs out, but I’m not letting my guard down. I’m sure there’s a bunch of twats who’ll come back from the pub, all brimful of beer and bullshit, to restart proceedings at eleven through to one in the morning. I know it’s the weekend guys but come on.

This fireworks business has got out of hand. Maybe we ought to impose extra import duty on fireworks and black powder based explosives, just to get the bang size reduced to more sociable levels. Better still, why don’t we remove the safety restrictions on them completely and let the daft buggers who like keeping their neighbours up all night blow themselves up altogether? They get killed; average human intelligence goes up by point one of a percent. Win-win. Unless you happen to be in the fire or ambulance services. Having said that, I’ve seen no new material from Tom Reynolds since Wednesday, so I can only guess at what he thinks of it all.

Still, with his makeshift earplugs in my dog is a lot calmer and is even stretching lazily after the odd snooze. As a result, I am feeling a lot more relaxed. The Sticker household is once more a tranquil haven. Until the kids get back. Can’t have everything I suppose.

Friday, November 04, 2005

 

War Zone

Bonfire. Interesting word, and not strictly speaking of English derivation. To delve into the etymology for a moment, ‘bon’, meaning good in French and fire derived from ‘feu’. Literally a ‘good fire’. Would that it were always so.

Every late October and early November it’s the same old story. The neighbourhood show-offs decide to have a bonfire party in every street on every night. My dog doesn’t like it at all. He and most of the animals in our street hate the mini artillery barrage and small arms fire that is as I write being exchanged between two rival factions on the big new posh housing on one side, and the early 20th century part of suburbia on the other. He has been hiding under my desk every night of the last week or so, cute little paws over his terrified soulful brown trusting eyes, and will be there for the next two weeks.

For myself I’m not too fussed, it’s their money, why should I care. Sure, bonfire night is one of those things which are for the kids. No problem there mate, your kids need a childhood, and bonfire night is an important event in that calendar. Yep, let them watch their Dad light the fuse of something with enough gunpowder in it to leave a foot wide crater in the patio if it all goes pear shaped. Let them laugh hysterically as he’s carted off to casualty with second degree burns after going back to light a dud with his fag. This is all part of the rich, sweet fabric of which 21st century childhood is made.

Now if you think I’m turning this into an anti fireworks rant I’m not. I like fireworks in their place. That place is up until ten pm at night after which all hostilities should cease. This lets me and all the other pet owners allow their captive tame predators outside to give the nocturnal rodent population a hard time, or wander round with tails wagging; sniffing at the odour of burned gunpowder and being able to void their bowels. All I ask is to be able to walk my dog after ten o’clock without risk of the odd stray round detonating nearby and causing immediate constipation, much to my chagrin when the terror fades around four in the morning and I’m greeted by a little brown present in the back room at half past six.

One thing though; is it my imagination or have fireworks become much bigger? I was passing through Tesco’s the other night having done a little late night shopping for Mrs Sticker, who was at a residents association meeting, and I saw several items that dwarfed my childhood recollection by a factor of ten. I’d hate to be anyone of Middle Eastern appearance who gets collared carrying one of those, the firearms boys would not muck about I’m sure. Bang-bang. “Er, Sarge, I don’t think wasn’t he was a suicide bomber.”
“How do you know that constable?”
“It says ‘Standard Fireworks’ on the box Sarge.”

I need a drink.

I am Rabies. Grrrrrrrr!
Which Horrible Affliction are you?
A Rum and Monkey disease.

 

Teenie porn

I’m writing this first thing in the morning as it’s my day off today. I am actually ‘blogging in my pyjamas’ or would be if I had any. Jim-jams? Who gets dressed to go to bed? There’s something vaguely juvenile if not pervy about that. A gentleman should wear a dressing gown (Old joke; Is anything worn under it – no, everything’s working fine.).

Mrs Sticker had switched on the TV and was munching her museli whilst idly looking at music video’s on channel 4 I think. I stopped on my way through the room to admire the mobile scenery on screen.

Now call me an old fogey if you like, but my musical tastes, in ‘popular’ music at least, require that performers write their own tunes and play their own instruments, rather than the rather anodyne tunes punched into the current music charts. I’m also fond of the odd bit of JS Bach and Stravinski, but that’s rather off topic. What I saw was just clone-nineteen year old girls singing, dancing and clever camera tricks. Albeit some very highly skilled choreography and camerawork. Overall impression that raised itself in my mind (and lower down) yes, was the vague, but very male, thought that it might be nice to shag all the female artistes. I used to feel the same way about the female dancers when ‘Top of the pops’ was at it’s height.

The dance routines themselves seemed to owe more to lap dancing than being driven by the music itself. Not that I’ve got anything about lap dancing. Apart from the prices you understand.

I’m always reminded some of the lyrics from the old Dire Straits number, ‘Money for nothing’ when I see stuff like this. The ‘sexy’ dance routines seem to me at least to be rather pornographic from a vacuous ‘look at me I’m gorgeous’ point of view. Empty as celebrity and as forgettable as last years politics (Unless you keep a copy of Hansard.).

Oh dear. Mrs Sticker has read this over my shoulder and made some pointed remarks about buckets of cold water and possible divorce if action should follow thought. Time to get dressed and walk the dog.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

 

More about Copyright on a blustery day

After my little polemic on breach of copyright, one newspaper has given an example of what actually constitutes ‘fair use’ of copyright material. Now it surprised me more than a little, as the publication in question is not usually reputed to have that good a reputation on this score. A tabloid giving lessons to more ‘upmarket’ dailies on what constitutes ‘fair use’? Has the world gone stark staring bonkers?

All I have to say to them is this; thank you for the mention guys. Which publication? Sorry, didn’t I mention? Would you believe one of the ‘Red Top tabloids’ – to wit the super soaraway Sun? Lectrice (Not Letrice, Corinne please.) of the blackboard Jungle, my old mate Lennie Briscoe the Criminal Solicitors blog and blogging newcomer Polly Pharmacy from the NHS confessional also got covered. Now they'll be blogrolled too.

For my reaction, rearrange the following words into a well known saying: Feather a knock me with well down.

All this excitement after a day full of hats being blown off in the wind and sudden showers that almost catch you out in the open. I must have spent half this morning standing under trees getting covered in leaves. Better than getting soaked I suppose. Saw a couple of kids sticking leaflets under car windscreen wipers, too far away to shout at. By the time they’d gotten to the end of one street, eighty percent of their leaflets were doing a Bob Dylan (Blowing in the wind). Who said it pays to advertise?

That’s enough from me; I’m off for a lie down in a darkened room. Maybe a long soak in the bath. My feet ache.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

 

What’s in a domain?

After a long day on foot, it’s rather nice to just sit down and write. One of the other quite narcissistic things I do is have a run through my ‘visitors log’ which tells me where someone linked from to get to this blog, who their service provider is, IP address, usual stuff.

For example, there’s a fair bit of traffic that comes from ISP servers based in Lambeth. One visitor today actually tracked back from the Houses of Parliament Domain. The guys from the revenue via Harrogate paid me a call, not on a professional basis I hope. Loads of traffic via Dave Copperfields blog (Cheers Dave), Argos_Employee (Likewise Dark Forces) and visits from The Muppetlord and a few other blogging friends.

To be honest, I find certain Domain names rather comforting and even try to put bloggers names to them. Like I’m pretty sure James up at Edinburgh University paid this blog a visit today. Not sure who the guys at Salford, Nottingham Kent or Cranfield are though. Down under there’s Dodderyoldfart from North Island New Zealand who wanders my way via xtra.co.nz and Antikva from Sydney, New South Wales. Over in the good old US of A Simon from Wisconsin and a whole host of others dropped by. Howdy folks.

A couple of new visitors came from Mick Photoman (Bradford) and Samantha Burns (British Columbia, Canada). I’ll get round to blogrolling them in the next day or so.

If you really want to the tools are readily available to track visitors right back to individual firewalls and machines, but that’s not the point.

What the hell, it’s been a nice day overall with no real aggravation to unload and I’m actually feeling quite mellow; so I’m off to get a glass of red and drink a toast to all my visitors – whoever and wherever you are.
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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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