Fingernails down a chalkboard

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison” the old saying goes. I imagine it means that taste is a personal thing. We are all individuals who make up our own minds on subjective matters such as food preference, art, entertainment, literature and music.

It’s not true, though, is it? Continue reading

Upsell me!

I went to the local shops yesterday. Has an email recently gone out instructing all retailers to hustle for extra business?

First, to the post office to send a parcel. “Whatever is the cheapest way, please.” Would I like to insure the parcel? No thanks. Would I like proof of delivery? No thanks. Do I have a credit card? Er, yes. Do I go abroad? Hmm. Yes. Would I be interested in the post office’s own credit card which is the only one not to charge for foreign transactions? Nope. I use the Nationwide credit card which also doesn’t charge for foreign transactions, thanks. Bye.
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Old Trafford in the summer sunshine

Purists deride the new-fangled Twenty20 cricket format. Me? Well I don’t know the first thing about the game, so it may well be an ersatz imitation of proper cricket. But I know what I like, and that’s a few hours on a balmy June evening sipping beer and watching a fast-paced game in a family atmosphere.

As you walk up the steps to choose a seat, there is something quite thrilling about the wide green vista which opens before you. It is almost unreal. This is Old Trafford – the Old Trafford! Continue reading

Shami Chakrabarti in joke binoculars prank

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti was the victim of joke binoculars yesterday, and had to hold her chin up with her fist to stop herself suing the prankster.

This blow came on the same day she wasted time threatening the culture secretary, Andy Burnham with legal action when she should be out there campaigning for the protection of civil liberties.

Shami ChakrabartiSomeone should tell Ms Chakrabarti to behave a bit more like RMT leader Bob Crow, and to get over herself.

Remove chewing gum from carpet

Somebody walked chewing gum in on the sole of their shoe yesterday. Now in most households, a quick scrape of the laminate flooring would deal with the offensive blob. However, we have an old-fashioned floor covering called carpet which is ideal for creating a challenging mess in the middle of your living room. The gum clings tenaciously to every fibre and seems impossible to remove. However, I found that a combination of technology, chemistry, physics and perseverance will triumph over Wrigley’s most obnoxious waste product.

Here’s what I did. Continue reading

Stockport railspeak

Whilst waiting at Stockport rail station yesterday I heard each train announced thus:

The next train to arrive to platform one will be …

Arrive to? What happened to “arrive at” or “arrive on”?

Is this a national thing? Maybe it is peculiar to Stockport. After all, there aren’t many stations which have a platform zero. Stockport does. They were obliged to designate the new platform “zero” when they added it next to platform one. If Stockport station is expanded further, we could get a platform minus one.

Just get on with it!

Years ago, the British telephone organisation (now BT, but formerly the General Post Office or GPO) got into trouble when its bean counters decreed that operators should not end the call with a thank you or goodbye, because that took time, and time is money. There was a public outcry at this hard-nosed attitude to manners, and the decision was reversed.

Now we have BT Answer the free automated call answering service. There is nobody really there of course, but the system talks to us using a recorded woman’s voice. She tells us if we have no messages, or if we do have messages, she introduces each one and afterwards presents us with options to delete, listen again, save or return the call. All very clever, but so commonplace that we don’t give this sort of thing a moment’s thought any longer. And with familiarity comes … impatience. Continue reading

Give up your rights – just in case

Taking Liberties DVDYesterday the British government won – by a majority of only nine – its proposal to extend the time a suspect could be held without charge from 28 days to 42 days.

An overhaul of counter-terrorism laws in 2000 introduced the basic 48-hour detention, extendable to seven days with the permission of the courts. In 2003 that was doubled to 14 days – and the Terrorism Act 2006 took it to 28 days. Can you see a pattern here?
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