Archive for October, 2008

Well, it’s bound to be. Or else, it’s not dangerous per se (annoying phrase and possibly miss-spelled but I’m too tired to think of another one) but ‘studies’ somewhere, at some point, will show that too much of it (breathing), or doing it in a manner other than a technique prescribed by experts and approved of by the government, is not only life-threatening but dangerous to others — especially unborn babies.  This threat will have a name which begins with the word ‘passive’. If you continue to get your breathing wrong and fail to take advice  you will then be a social pariah and a child-killer, just because you didn’t listen to the experts  — whose livelihoods largely depend on them drawing our attention to how everything will kill us and how we are (passively) killing everyone else.

They’re on about ‘environmentally-friendly’ lightbulbs now and how they may be a threat to health. Of course. I’m sorry to gloat but I’m glad it’s something that was previously on the ‘approved’ list (in fact, I’m almost certain that ‘they’ — raving environmentalists — were getting ready to force us to use these type of lightbulbs to the exclusion of all others).  Zealots can never admit they were wrong, though, so they’ll probably issue some statements saying that any damning study was flawed (but all studies which support their views are, of course, totally spot-on and cannot be questioned).

I tried to get a carrier bag to carry home my shopping this week and had to face an interrogation by a supermarket cashier, who wasn’t even impressed by my defense that I had brought my own bag but couldn’t fit everything in, as I’d bought some products which were on a special two-for-one offer (in an attempt to keep myself and loved-ones out of the poorhouse). I pleaded my case as best I could but she didn’t care that I would have to struggle home on public transport with bananas sticking out my coat pocket or that my half-price bloomer would be flattened to the size of a pancake by the time I got through my front door. She was a member of the bag-police and had right on her side. My only consolation was that she had horribly misshapen rabbit teeth. As she lectured me and gave me the evil eye, all I could think was: rabbit, rabbit, rabbit; orthodontist, orthodontist, orthodontist… The tooth thing had probably warped her mind and ruined her life — I might have been doing her a favour if I had punched her teeth out right there and then (only joking, Word Police).

You can read more about all the lightbulb business over at The World’s Gone Mad. I love that blog. Sometimes I get so mad about things that I can hardly speak about them, let alone write about them. And sometimes I get so annoyed that I’m beside myself and we look at each other and don’t know what to think. It’s then that I head over to the ‘Gone Mad’ blog to find out what Billy Seggars has to say about things. Billy usually has a nicely controlled rant but manages to stay witty and coherent throughout.

Read Full Post »

Or will there be some benefits brought about by the current/upcoming recession? Alice Thomson on the Times Online tries to put a positive spin on things, in her Why the Recession is a Blessing in Disguise  article. From the tone taken by a good number of people who left comments on the article, I don’t think there’s a great deal of agreement with Thomson’s take on the situation. But I guess when individuals are faced with the loss of their livelihoods, their savings and possibly their homes, you can see why it irritates the hell out of them when they’re told we should look on the bright side of things.

I think it’s the uncertainty and the sense of powerless that gets to people the most, however much they try to think positively. And there’s comes a point when there is a fine line between being a positive thinker and being in denial.

It didn’t help that Thomson opened her piece with the information that some of her friends had now used the current crisis as an opportunity to ‘downscale’ and had taken off to Venice for a bit. Seemingly, their family were loving it (we’re so pleased for them). She did acknowledge that, unlike those ‘City folk’ the rest of us will just have to ‘sit it out’ but I still had the impression that she is seriously out of touch with how most people live; the idea of ‘downscaling’ to Venice should have rang a few alarm bells with her — even if she was attempting some irony/sarcasm.

Thomson points to a cheaper cost of living as one benefit of the recession. She mentions that high street prices are dropping and draws attention to the biggest discounting in years: cheaper toothbrushs, £1 pizzas (no thanks), home entertainment centres now around a third cheaper than they were three months ago. Whoopee doo. When I read that, the first thing I thought of was that yet more small businesses will be put under unbearable financial strain when they can’t compete with the large-scale discounters and that the whole situation has job losses written all over it. And I don’t think her friends in Venice will be feasting on £1 pizzas. It is also a pretty safe bet that — whilst those on lower incomes may be able to have a field day in the discount stores (and the the middle-incomes may be forced to slum it for some basics) — we will be squeezed dry in all other manner of ways and find ourselves in an overall poorer state.

So we are totally in the shit and it’s going to get worse. Or perhaps not. That’s the thing about the current situation — nobody really seems to know just deep it will go or how bad it will get — and if they do know, they’re not saying, in case it induces yet more panic.  Panicking makes it worse and it seems that panic itself, together with a lack of confidence and trust (and not forgetting, an extraordinary level of greed), has had a large part to play in the whole crisis. Depending how all this plays out, it may be the case that we look back on this time as a point when the madness ended. On a smaller scale it may bring home to us just how much we are all caught-up in  a set of circumstances where a great many of us try to shop our way out of unhappiness  — and on a larger scale it may be seen as a time when the craziness behind the global financial systems was finally exposed to the masses. It might be too much to expect but perhaps the banks and the ‘bankers’ may lose some of their arrogance now they have been exposed as greedy incompetents and have had to suffer the indignity of being subject to various bail-out measures.

So, Thomson does have a point: there will be some good from this but it’s pretty callous to celebrate the gains without fully acknowledging the losses. We can never ignore the untold misery brought about by a desperate lack of money and I think many people are rather too nervous about the current situation to look on the bright side just yet. And there is a massive amount of resentment out there just now — a feeling that this situation was brought about by greed and mismanagement and there is an almost certain knowledge that if there’s any suffering to be done, the pain will be in no way equally shared.

Read Full Post »

I haven’t ever thought about writing on a banknote (I never have one long enough to do anything other than hand them over) — though, now that I have thought about it, it seems a bit of a wasted opportunity not to add a bit of artwork or some commentary. Of course, like practically everything these days, it is probably illegal.

 Anyway, I’ve just been over at de-noted — a site devoted to the ‘adornment’ of banknotes — where the image pictured above has prompted a bit of a debate in the comments section on whether The Catcher in the Rye was a good book. One commentator referred to Holden Caulfield as a ‘pathetic emo kid’ and there seems to be a fair division between people who really loved the book and those who hated it, mainly because they despised the character of Caulfield (whiney, self-obsessed, spoiled little rich-kid, etc). I loved the book and actually quite liked old Caulfield (as he might have said).

Read Full Post »

At haha.nu — Strange Statues Around the World

This one reminds me of our government’s attitude towards the country’s economic situation over the past few years. Ours, too, I suppose — I still can’t believe we didn’t see it coming. Or maybe we did but just didn’t want to think about it…

Read Full Post »

Miss Doxie doesn’t write on her blog that often these days but posts like Cookie and the Geese make the wait so worthwhile.

Read Full Post »