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September 2008
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October 2008

To Rant or Not to Rant…Has that carpet always been brown?

Brown stained carpet

I like a good moan once in a while. It’s great to get things off my chest and vent some spleen. But the things I, as a grumpy old man, moan about are all things I can’t personally change. I don’t mean the weather, wasps and other natural phenomena, because there’s nothing anybody can do about those, so you’re on a hiding to nothing if you fume away instead of just accepting that they are as they are.


No, my complaints are all about the things somebody else, or society as a whole, ought to do differently, like forcing traffic wardens to face the human consequences of their disgusting little tickets, or bringing back the death penalty, specifically for car clampers and purveyors of reality TV.

What I would never do is say to somebody else, “Don’t you dare go ahead and fix the problem until I’ve finished ranting about it”. But that’s the difference between a man-rant and a woman-rant. If it’s possible to correct a situation, I’d rather just mention it to the person who’s in a position to do something about it, and maybe I’d throw in a few helpful suggestions where appropriate. Or fix it myself if that’s possible.

Women don’t think that way. It drives them crazy if you start looking for answers before they’ve agonised about a problem in the minutest detail. The dog’s just dumped on the carpet?


Man solution: get some toilet paper, pick up the cack and flush it down the loo,

clean the carpet, abuse the dog, end of problem.


Woman solution: describe it in all its awfulness (size, smell, texture), make it perfectly clear how upset you are, hunt through all your old invoices to prove how much the carpet cost, declare that it will never be the same again, ask whose job it was to house-train the dog (yours, of course), imagine a situation where somebody comes to visit with a baby crawling across that very spot, picking up God-knows-what infections and going blind… and now comes the really clever bit. Criticise the man for just standing there while the guggy soaks into the carpet, or if he’s leapt into action already, complain that he never takes the time to really listen to you.
Not only is it impossible for the man to win in a situation like this, but at the end of it, he’ll be just as much in the dark as he ever was about ways to avoid it happening again. Chalk another one up to the little lady, even though the man isn’t playing the same game at all.

I'd pay for the old boot to join the Bingo club if I could only find one in Timbuktu.

Ah. that's better.


Concrete Penis and is Pokey too popular? What a Cock up!

A fellow blogger, a nice lady found a concrete penis drawn outside her house on the pavement, if this wasn’t bad enough for this respectable housewife, the penis seemed to be pointing towards her house.  Helen claimed that the penis was in fact due to her husband moving furniture and scrapping said furniture on the paving stone, you judge for yourself.

Penis sketch


Now I don’t know about you but I was never that handy with an etch-a-sketch, let alone a dresser!

I did hear that after a couple weeks of strange people calling at their house, they decided to replace the offending slab with a non-arty one.  Me, I would have sold it to the local art museum telling them it was an early Banksy.

Is Pokey too popular?

If any of you have tendencies towards guilt look away now.

No, I’m not talking about sexual intercourse….you are a smutty lot!

Nor prison… though it is a slang term in some parts and indeed it’s popularity is at an

all-time high.  Or even a child’s version of poker, though I’m sure in my lifetime

gambling for the under 18’s will be legalised.


 No…..This is the ideal pet for the busy person or a great idea for kids that are pestering you for one, It’s a computer puppy dog.  If you are a member of facebook or myspace. You can at no cost load this program in. You choose your puppy describe him/her and then play.   You give your puppy water and in a very cute fashion he comes and gets the water bowl, drags it and a hand fills the bowl with bottled water.  Then you can feed your puppy, which earns you a bone (you uses bones to get more puppy food).  You can also scratch and pet your puppy that earns another bone.   Much credit should go to the creators for making such a life-like computer puppy, but perhaps therein lies the rub.  You see I, a grumpy old man started to feel guilty about feeding or not feeding Chocolate the puppy.  Wait a damn minute…then if I spoke to my 5-year-old daughter she would ask, “Have you fed Chocolate Daddy?”


And now that my ex is also on Facebook so daddy can be checked up on …to see if he is telling porkies. And if all that guilt wasn’t bad enough other facebook members can stop by and feed your puppy if they think he has been neglected!!!!!!!!


Boner revived

The Cerne Abbas giant also known as the rude giant has been in danger of disappearing. Thankfully some concerned volunteers took turns this September to dig and hack at the outline of this most eccentric hill figure, replacing the old, grubby chalk and making sure the figure can be seen from miles around.

The job was a tough one. It took about a week for the existing chalk to be excavated to a depth of around 10cm (3in). Seventeen tonnes of new chalk was then be poured in and tamped down by hand.  The 180 ft (55 m) high, 167 ft (51 m) wide figure is carved into the side of a steep hill and is best viewed from the opposite side of the valley or from the air.  In his right hand, the giant holds a knobbed  club 120 ft (37 m) in length.  * Now those are my notes I read and wrote for myself but I’m not quite sure what a knobbed club is?  Chris said it’s a sex club on the outskirts of Watford.  I asked him how he knew that and he just smiled.  I then said like a fool, “Well if you know about this club…what’s it called?   “The Watford Gap”, he answered smugly.



I wanted to say that

Last night I made a long train journey, for the whole of which the young oik on the seat across the aisle from mine had his boots on the seat opposite him.


I was considering saying something to him, at the risk of starting a rumpus that would hold the train up even more than it already had been (damp tracks or something) when his mobile rang and he started mouthing off a stream of high-octane swearing at the person on the other end, oblivious to the fact that there were young children in the carriage. He seemed to think he was in a soundproof bubble, if he was thinking at all.


Everybody pretended not to notice, until a young mum said to him, "Oi, you ignorant little sod, mind your language in front of my kids. And get your bleedin' feet off the seat while you're about it!"

And he said, "Sorry, missus" and put his feet on the floor.


Now, what really annoys me about this is the fact that it had to be a woman. Before I became a grumpy old man, confronting oiks was a man's job, and people could be shamed into behaving themselves with a few well-chosen words, man to man. Now it seems as if only women are entitled to display any balls at all. AAAAARRRGGGGHHH !!!


Cutty Sarcastic

Cuttysark before

No, I’m not talking about a bottle whisky or even a crate.

No, my story has it’s beginnings in Tea, which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows amongst my American cousins.


You see that is what she moved, in such a graceful and wind-filled manner.  Against all odds, against all comers, she was the fastest all right.  You think with a description like that she must be loose, but no she was as tight and tidy a ship as any in her day: The Tea clipper called the Cutty Sark.


Cutty Sark's name derives from the famous poem "Tam O' Shanter" by Robert Burns; about Tam being chased by a scantily-clad witch called Nannie, dressed only in a cutty sark (an archaic Scottish name for a short nightdress).  Yes, they're a strange lot the Scots…………. and maybe I was wrong about her not being loose?


Built to last only 30 years in 1869, the clipper was in urgent need of conservation work by the end of 2006 when The Cutty Sark Conservation Project started. The ship is of composite construction, and so the conservation process is a complicated one! 



Unfortunately, this long restoration became an ever more daunting task when a fire broke at 4.45am on 21st May 2007.   The London fire service worked heroically and managed to put the fire out by 06.28am. 


Millions of viewers watching part of our famous heritage go up in flames on the national news.  I remember the speculation at the time that perhaps vandals had done this terrible act, or even worse?


The damage was so great it was feared this great ship could be lost, but thank god the experts were able to restart the restoration work.


Then just the other day the newspaper report finally cleared up the mystery of who tried to burn down the Cutty Sark, who had done this callous act?  


Thankfully the culprits turned out to be lazy British workmen.  You see at the end of each day an industrial vacuum cleaner was used to clear up the mess and being lazy in the best traditional way, they often left this cleaner switched on.  The cleaner filled, I presume, with all kinds of wood shavings etcetera when it over-heated was bound to set a fire.  This was then further compounded by the dishonest security guards who the newspaper story alleges did not actually visit the site that night and indeed filled out a report dated the morning of the fire timed at 7am…..all’s well nothing to report.

Cuttysark fire

So if like old sailing ships or even scantily-clad  Nannie’s please visit their site and if able give a little to preserve the past and tell ‘em two grumpy old men sent you. 



Have Britain's Parents Gone AWOL?

Chav couple

It seems that there is a growing gap between reality and the comfort of perception.  Supposed good, caring parents are allowing their teenage kids to get drunk and get into all kinds of experimental sexual behaviour.


Being in the restaurant business I often come into contact with teenagers and the things they say…in a very matter of fact way would curl your hair.  Girls telling me that at 14 they often sneaked back into the house drunk after drinking sessions at the park.  Now I’m not talking about the typical troubled kids that are constantly in and out of court…no…I am talking about nice girls and boys studying for A levels. …when they are sober enough!

The Web

Young women, I work with told me about her 15-year-old sister who was in trouble with her dad for posting semi-naked and suggestive pics of herself on the Web. A handful of social sites like myspace, facebook, Bebo and others need to be a lot tougher on the issue of policing the age and the content they allow young teenagers to post.  Basically, the Internet is akin to the Wild West where anything goes, and they drag their collective feet and whine about censoring our freedoms when they are challenged. If a teenager…. your teenager sees this behaviour by their new “so-called web buddies”….. there’s lots of temptation to copy.

In trying to promote my blogs I recently joined several of these social networks and I couldn’t believe the stuff I saw!! Young teenagers offering cam-to-cam sex to other teenagers of either sex!  The Media Often reports things like paedophiles trying to groom teenagers but never to my knowledge tackles this bigger issue of so much unsupervised Internet activity.

Computer Games

Any creative game writer must know that his or her games are played by a much wider audience than the so-called viewer ratings (which are mostly ignored by parents).  Writers of such violent games like Grand Thief Auto which is basically a training video for wannabe criminals…. those writers should be forced to do community work in deprived and dangerous inner city areas to understand the social cost that their hate filled (especially authority) game generates. You only have to talk to teenagers to realise their opinions on sex and violence has moved way outside the line of what was considered normal 10 or 15 years ago.  

The Culprits

Parents make lots of excuses for their children, To the teachers at their schools To concerned grandparents who don’t understand where they went wrong To ex-partners who don’t approve of their kids behaviour since the divorce They used to use Television as a cheap babysitter (out of sight etc) but now the Internet with its total lack of decency or use of common sense. Plan of Action There needs to be a big clamp down on any shop that sells alcohol to underage people. And if during a stop and search police find kids drunk the parents should be fined. If these social networks cannot police the behaviour of teenage users then they should ban all teenagers from using them before the age of 18.  

Parents make lots of excuses for their children; to the teachers at their schools, to concerned grandparents who don’t understand where they went wrong,  to ex-partners who don’t approve of their kid's behaviour since the divorce.  Too often these days Television is used as a cheap babysitter (out of sight etc).  But now the Internet with its total lack of decency or use of common sense much much more.

Plan of Action

There needs to be a big clamp down on any shop that sells alcohol to underage people. And if during a stop and search police find kids drunk the parents should be fined. If these social networks cannot police the behaviour of teenage users then they should ban all teenagers from using them before the age of 18.   Government, should also bring pressure to bear on these Internet companies that are having a profound effect on our teenagers and fine them heavily because that is the only rule they go by, hurt their profit margin and suddenly they will find a moral backbone.  

Again if we as a society cannot keep 12-17 years away from the hate mongering and violence glorifying in games like Grand Thief Auto then they need to be banned. Finally…to parents (that supposedly love their kids) this is what you do to regain control over your children.  Remove all TV’s and computers from bedrooms, allowing kids to watch and use them only up until bedtime.  No mobile phones to be taken to bedrooms after bedtime. Harsh yes…. tough love definitely!! It might cause strange reactions like more talking between the family members, more sharing and interaction, they might even go to bed before 3am and be fresh and alert at school.  I know at first the reaction from kids will be hateful, but part of being a parent is keeping your child safe from harm…especially when that harm is already in their bedrooms.