why not available in the UK? Why not? This is cruel.

Sharpie® | Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker

National Ledger - Gas Prices and the Four-Day Work Week: Can You Qualify?

I've been banging on about how everyone working less hours a week forever, so it's always interesting to find something that supports my views. Hah!

National Ledger - Gas Prices and the Four-Day Work Week: Can You Qualify?

Quite Random » Flickr has become a comedy goldmine

snickr snickr

it's funny because it's true.

Quite Random » Flickr has become a comedy goldmine

just today unemployment figures soar by an extra 68000

well, well, well - that's a bit unfortunate isn't it? What with us being in the worst recession since... well, I dunno when - since they keep changing the decades in the headlines.

But those lone parents eh, drain on the economy they are. So they've got to stop it now. Get a job.

Training? Education? Anything that will help someone who's been out of the job market for a long time to get a job? Don't be silly. That sort of stuff is expensive. So there will be none of that. In fact, it'll be really good if the occasional lone parent was to say, not look for jobs enough, or refuse an offer to take a job hundreds of miles away from home and impossible to get to, or whatever, because then the job centre can stop paying out their job seekers allowance for a fortnight, or a month, or even up to six months if the claimant is persistantly awkward. That'll save the state some money. Good job kids are small and don't need as much food - they can probably get all their nutritional needs from dumpster diving behind supermarkets. Wouldn't be so good if they died though - because state funerals are expensive...

So they'll be joined by disabled folk, and yet still no one is asking where all these thousands of extra jobs are supposed to be coming from...

yahoo, yahoo, yahoo

Well in the UK the tv ads have hit the screen - they're loud and they're shouty and - er, that's it. Pretty pointless really. Certainly nothing there it in any way makes me think - 'golly, I must go to Yahoo - they've got their finger on the pulse - they know what I need from the internets' (other than Flickr of course - but that's Flickr being flickr wholly in spite of Yahoo.)

Has Yahoo peed the carpet with its new ad campaign?

Oh dear god, how tacky: Yahoo go-go girls.

Yahoo Seen Posting Declines In Profit And Sales For 3Q.
but then:
Yahoo celebrates as profits rise.

aaaah - "but the good news largely resulted from an unpleasant reality -- the company keeps tossing people and furniture out the window, with expenses falling 18% versus a 15% decline in revenue."

Moir's second non-apology

For an ex-restaurant critic - she really does take the biscuit.

It's all still sleazy apparently...

Jan Moir apologises for timing of Stephen Gately article.

With the threat of a PCC complaint in the wings she's in with a 'quick' bit of damage limitation. So an apology for the timing - uh? in anyone else plain old common decency would have meant she'd have held off with the slander before he was buried - but there you go... and a somewhat late apology to Stephen Gately's friends and family. Although she now adds that she still thinks Gately's lifestyle was 'louche'. So that's nice of her. *Eyebrow raise*

But being disingenuous doesn't help:
"If he had been a heterosexual member of a boy band, I would have written exactly the same article"
um? Exactly? Word for word? Even the bit about civil partnerships - and their 'myth of happy-ever after'? and the tying in of the suicide of Kevin McGee - just to hammer the point home (with just the two examples) that somehow gay marriages end in tragedy and death?. Exactly? and then she further 'apologises' with: "I thought it a louche lifestyle; one that raised questions about health and personal safety."

Huh? What is she saying here? So don't have threesomes boys and girls - because that too could end in tragedy and death...

"I can't help wondering: is there a compulsion today to see bigotry and social intolerance where none exists by people who are determined to be outraged? Or was it a failure of communication on my part?"

No, there's no compulsion Moir - it was there - your bigotry and social intolerance was plain for all to see. 'Was it failure of communication?' - well, either you were pandering to your readership (which after all is exactly what you're paid for - since you are SO NOT in any way a campaigner for tolerance and understanding, I have read some of your other sneering articles) in which case -job well done. Your silent majority which you imagine must be out there - somewhere - will be very happy with you. Or you *have* failed to communicate - in which case then you're not fit for purpose in your job - the proof being you've had the opportunity to 'explain' (there's been no real apology yet) your original article not once - but twice. And STILL caused righteous indignation - because you still can't see what it is you've done wrong. How callous can one person be?

Oh wait - no matter - my opinion doesn't count: because according to Jan 1. I'm either part of an orchestrated rent-a-mob, OR 2. simply determined to be outraged by an article I've never read (cough - splutter) OR 3. Not part of this 'silent majority' that supports her views.

I wonder if she is so apologetic that she wouldn't mind contributing the fees she received for her original article and the two following articles to the Caudwell Children Charity? It might be a step in the right direction for once.

posted a version of this as a comment on the Guardian website - and lo! it got put up without moderation - quick! - read it in situ before it gets pulled.

I know - sorry

I couldn't help myself but here's another comment I've left on the Daily Mail site:

While I'm disappointed to the point of disgust that Jan Moir has chosen not to apologize properly for what amounts to gay bashing of a young man who died too young and whose family and friends will be currently too steeped in grief to to fight back. (Obviously her own ignorance and sheer arrogance shields her from the realization that she has done something so utterly tasteless and so very wrong. I guess we'll have to wait for the PCC or Gately's family to take her to court for the penny to finally drop.)

I am however heartened to see that the Mail columnists Suzanne Moore and Janet Street-Porter in their articles today have kinder, far more sensible and more humane things to say on the subject - and have taken pains to disassociate themselves from the views expressed by Moir. Pity the editorship of the Mail hasn't the guts to do the same. But hey ho. That would be political correctness gone mad.

let's see if that gets put up. (I doubt it.)

Update: Yup. Not been put up. Funny that - and yet so many comments floating around about Moir being entitled to *her* free speech...

Plenty of time devoted to editing comments on their forums - obviously - so much so that there's none left over to reign in their columnists to stop them making asses of themselves. Go figure...

more Moir

Being gay killed a man last week - but he wasn't Stephen Gately by Janet Street-Porter - going some way to countering the nonsense written by that nasty piece of work Jan Moir.

By the by - according to the Mail - the outrage over the weekend constitutes - a 'debate' - and the more typical Mail readers are back in there commenting away - all in support of their new heroine, apparently it's all: 'political correctness gone mad', and 'our Jan is being bullied into silence', there's someone who 'finds the idea of three way sex revolting, cheap,nasty and totally immoral' (so I guess that means in their eyes that Gately totally deserved to die) - but whatever - it looks like Jan's job is safe and secure for the moment. I imagine there was a big cake waiting for her when she went into work this morning. Controversy - woooo big hits... "well done Jan. You've put us back on the map."

ugly goggles

seriously ugly prescription goggles - but the cheapest i coul... on Twitpic

Ever since I moved to Worthing I've lived across from the swimming pool - yet I've only ever been in once to check out the facilities. I always meant to go in and start swimming again (I'm really unfit these days) what's stopped me is not having either contact lenses or prescription goggles - my eyes are so bad I'm blind without them. Tonight I finally got around to ordering a pair - they are the fugliest goggles I have ever seen - but my prescription is so 'complex' the other online opticians as asking silly prices for them. Hey oh - But so long as they do the job...

A strange, lonely and troubling Daily Mail columnist ...

Jan Moir - A strange, lonely and troubling Daily Mail columnist
Here's my comment which I've left on the Daily Mail site in response to Jan Moir's rather bizarre, deeply spiteful and breath-takingly nasty little piece on Stephen Gately's death:

A strange, lonely and troubling death . . .

(and that's the toned down headline - which used to be: "Why there was nothing 'natural' about Stephen Gately's death.")

(no doubt it won't be published there. I never have any luck getting my comments published on official sites. It's a conspiracy I TELLS YOU - EITHER THAT OR IT'S BECAUSE I DON'T USE ALL CAPS and don't sound demented enough. Especially for the Daily Mail site - if this is the calibre of people it is employing...)

Jan Moir - I just simply cannot believe what I have just read what you have written about Stephen Gately - I really can't. How heartless, wrong headed and downright nasty can one person be to pour out this utter bile? Seriously - you either need to seek out some sort of psychiatric help - since you have some pretty warped, very dark fantasies about gay men's lifestyles - or else you need to stand as a candidate for the BNP - because it's plain to see what you certainly shouldn't be doing is working as a journalist for any national newspaper. Not when you couldn't be bothered to let even the tiniest bit of research get in the way of pouring out your despicable prejudices. What I find even more worrying is the thought that you might even thrive on the attention this will bring you.

Nevertheless I shall be adding my voice in complaint about this article to the Press Complaints Commission.

Here's Charlie Brooker on the issue - he's a professional so does this sort thing a lot better than me.

now the boss of ASDA adds his own criticism of the UK education standards:

Andy Clarke, Asda’s chief operating officer pipes up with:

“No one can deny that Britain has spawned a generation of young people who struggle to read, write or do simple maths. That’s why we’re finding packs of nappies discarded in the booze aisle, as the last few pounds are spent on alcohol rather than childcare.”

Mmmm. That's charming - way to diss your customer base Andy. (And anyway I think disposable nappies should be banned - they're an environmental hazard - whoever had the bright idea of wrapping baby's arses in non-biodegradable plastic so they can fill them with piss and shit and sent off to landfills to not rot for who-knows how many years? That's just insane. That's the nappies -not the babies I'm talking about there -you fool.)

And the BT boss Sir Michael Rake wants to scrap GSCEs and A levels altogether - for something called the Baccalaureate. No - I'd never heard of it before now either.

But in all this have you noticed something? This is Industry leaders having a good grumble about the educational system - Industry leaders who have had the ears of the Government in all of this time - for crying out loud - the Tesco boss is on the Board of the excellence in Educational thing and used to be all pally-pally with Gordon Brown(and I'm presuming with Blair before him). It's not as if they've all been living off on Mars and watching on aghast and helpless as that wicked evil Labour Government have been running around deliberately crushing down standards. I'll bet the chances are they ended up messing everything up so badly by doing a lot of the very things they thought business wanted them to do.

compare and contrast:

This article: One in four A-levels passed at grade A.

Record numbers of students get one of top three grades as proportion of A grades rises for 27th year running.

with this article: Tesco boss slams school standards as 'woefully low'.

So which is the more likely scenario here? Are school kids at A and Graduate levels becoming increasingly hyper-intelligent year after year? Or are -as some claim, standards dropping and A levels are a lot easier these days than they used to be? Or have schools got so much more proficient at streamlining their pupils through the exams? Or is it that Tesco really bad at recruiting anyone with even half decent academic qualifications to work for them? (The 'pay peanuts - got only monkeys' thingy.)

Moreover, what's the boss of Tesco doing on the board of the 'National Council for Educational Excellence' anyway? What does someone who sells cans of beans know about education? Let alone 'excellent' education. That's just weird.

Oh, and meanwhile: Our Govt. shows it's commitment to "educashun, edukatsion, headukaneshon" by capping the number of university places on offer this year:
30,000 missed out on a university place, figures show.

when is a cot death - a cot death?

Sky News: Parents' Drug And Booze Link To Cot Deaths

Now I remember a few years ago when a cot death (aka 'Sudden Infant Death Syndrome'(SIDS)) meant the parents had put down their baby to sleep for the night in a COT (starting to get the drift here?) usually in a separate bedroom only to go in the morning to find the baby had died. There was a big stink at the time because many parents were being accused of having somehow killed their babies and were trying to cover it up. As if, if they had indeed killed their child, they couldn't think up of a better excuse than -'oh it just died in the night'. A cot death was a cot death because the baby died in a cot - not because the parent had got drunk or drugged up and had rolled over and crushed it in the night, or dropped it off the sofa onto the floor - or whatever... Yet now we've seeing those cases being called cot deaths as well? What is this - is it simply lazy research and/or lazy journalism (I stumbled upon this in Sky News after all) or (puts on tinfoil hat) another one of those 'let's blame the underclass for everything again' schtick so beloved of authoritarian states the world over? The hint being in the article's title - 'Booze and drugs' - middle class people don't 'booze' do they.

[I left a comment saying this - let's see if they bother to put it up there. (I've got a history of leaving comments on moderated places like the BBC and Guardian websites for them to never see the light of day - while seeing responses from the likes of 'Mr Angry from Tumbridge Wells' and from the ALL CAPS brigade get published instead. Funny that.)

Update: There's no sign of the comment.

cuts cuts cuts - snip snip snip - and hair shirts for everyone - so vote for us

Am I missing something?

Seriously. So there's Cameron in his speech banging on about the need for deep, deep cuts in public spending – and before him Clegg was calling for cuts and before him Brown has copped to needing to be making cuts.

Which is all a bit odd – because before the super-sized global economic shit hit the fan – everything was all so very hunky dory – and then all of a sudden Government had to plough in Billions to keep that stinking hulk of various corrupt banks afloat. Isn't this precisely why there's no money left. So how is this now being (oh so conveniently) forgotten? Why is the public being expected to tighten their belts and suffer for the mess the damn bankers and politicians have gotten everyone into? Why aren't bankers being hauled out from their offices and off their golf courses and out from the massage parlours by angry mobs and getting at the least tarred and feathered – and made to pay back all the money they've sapped out of the economy? As it is they've got away with it Scott free. Not only are we being told there absolutely has to be these various cuts but we're being told to vote for it, and to like it as well? Vote for the party that's going to cut the most services and make things a lot harder for everyone. While they're at it – they should get turkeys to vote for Christmas.

The Tories make me puke for saying they've going to force people off incapacity benefits and onto the lower rate Job Seekers Allowance – (which let me tell you, incase you didn't know: IS NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH FOR ANYONE TO LIVE ON!) While all the time pretending that somehow millions of jobs are going to magically appear to replace the millions that have been lost in the current ongoing recession.

Labour make me puke for already doing the same thing.

Now that the two parties are now pretty much indistinguishable from each other neither will ever admit to the blindingly plain and simple truth that there's so much unemployment around – because there are (gasp) more people than there are jobs waiting to be filled. If they really want to move a little bit closer to having full employment – how's about reducing the working week to four or even three days – and employ another person to do the other days work that need to be done. Yes – let's bring back that 1960s promise that in the future we'd have so much more leisure time. Of course conservative-minded business people will be throwing their arms up in horror bleating that can't ever hope to afford that? But why ever not? The Government has been very adept at finding astonishingly huge amounts of money to wage war in the Middle East and to bail out the banks... it'd be nice if they could do something that would be beneficial for the whole of the general population for once - rather than slavishly doing whatever big business, large corporations and the banks and financial sector think they should be doing... (because let's face it - all they really want is everyone to be slaves.)

I can't get over how the hell we let them all get away with this. But we do.

Here's someone who's written a better blog post about this sort of thing than me:
Selling the furniture.

bears shit in the woods, the Pope is a Catholic, water is wet

Get this little gem:
"While Apple owners tend to own more computers and more electronic devices, there is also a high correlation among Apple owners and more affluent consumer households," NDP's vice-president of industry analysis Stephen Baker said.
That's because with the 'Steve Jobs tax' - they'd have to be. Duh.

I need to set up my own company - I'll call it 'Bleedin' Obvious' and I'll just print out pretty looking statements that anyone with the slightest bit of common sense would already know and sell them to CEOs of big corporations. I'd be a multi-millionaire in no time.

Most Mac owners getting Windows on the side • The Register

Call for research into pesticides blamed for vanishing bees - Telegraph

Let's re-read this article and re-order it...

Ending sentence:
"The Government says there is no evidence of an unacceptable risk to bees from the neonicotinoids."
"Paul Monaghan, head of Social Goals at the retailer, said none of the £10 million set aside by the Government for bee health is going towards research into pesticides."
Which I guess means the Government isn't exactly lying - because strictly speaking there isn't any evidence - but that'll be because it hasn't bothered looking for any.

Mind you, not that it would matter if there was any research - our Govt. has a history of ignoring anything it doesn't happen to agree with. Wouldn't surprise me if they're just sat around thinking - 'oh it's just bees - who cares about a bunch of nasty insects? We've got an election to fight and we need to keep on to our expenses claims -dammit.'

Call for research into pesticides blamed for vanishing bees - Telegraph