Monday, 31 December 2007
I went to the shop this afternoon to buy ingredients for New Year buns. I'll post the recipe on the Recipe Book journal at some stage. Somerfield store was absolutely and positively heaving. On return, I proceeded to make the buns, which left me slaving over a very hot stove for an hour or so. After that, it was sweet & sour spicy.
At 7.45, I went out to Goat Island to capture pictures of the fireworks display. I don't know if the webcam caught it; only about 4 people actually watched it on there. Pictures are disappointing - the cold brought on a thin mist, which wreaked havoc with the background. Anyway, it was as impressive as ever.
I've just made my way through more than 80 alerts, the largest batch I've seen for a long time. For now, I'll be awaiting the stroke of midnight, just under two hours away.
Happy New Year!
If you let off fireworks, please be careful.
If you drink alcohol tonight, do not drive for at least 8 hours after your last beverage
There was a dearth of these vegetables across the UK this Christmas. I know where they all went. To supermarkets in Stornoway. We were swimming in them, trolley loads of them. They couldn't shift them, sprouts got sold at 25 p per punnet. And I can't stand the sight of them anymore.
There will be a fireworks display in Stornoway, which I shall relay on the webcam from 8pm onwards. The start is booked for 8pm, but may be delayed if the ferry is late coming in. The display will take place adjacent to the shipping channel, used by the ferry, and it is obviously not safe for the vessel to pass through a shower of burning debris.
Australia has started to welcome the new year, with the famous fireworks display on the Sydney harbour bridge heralding 2008. The celebrations in Oz are being hampered by poor weather up and down the country.
Sunday, 30 December 2007
I do make exceptions, and particularly in the case of the captain of Motherwell FC, who collapsed on the pitch during a game against Edinburgh side Hibernian on Saturday. Motherwell is a town on the southeastern outskirts of Glasgow.
Phil O'Donnell was stretchered off the pitch and transferred to hospital by ambulance. He died at 5.18pm on Saturday, not long after the match had finished 5-3 for Motherwell. He is hailed as a model player and a role model to young fans of the game. All of Motherwell's games in the next 7 days have been called off as a mark of respect.
And you spend the entire fortnight getting intimately acquainted with your en-suite lavatory facilities, as a novo-virus is stalking the ship. Causing diarrhoea and vomiting.
Well that's what happened to some 80 passengers on board the QV, which is due back in Southampton on January 6th.
For me, 2007 has actually passed more rapidly than I thought possible at the start of the year. It seems like only yesterday that I was on-line on New Year's Eve 2006, wishing one of our Australian J-landers Happy New Year at 1 pm my time. What 2008 will bring, I do not know. Nobody gets a menu for the dinner of life, as it used to be said.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all in J-land good luck, good health and good prosperity for the New Year. May it bring all you desire, and spare you from what you do not.
Tropical cyclone Melanie is staying offshore from Western Australia, and poses no threat. The system is a strong tropical storm, but will weaken, even more so when it hits cool ocean waters as it drifts west. Other tropical disturbances are dotted around the Indian Ocean, and there is one in the mid Atlantic. This poses no threat to land either.
This container is thought to have fallen overboard from a ship and has washed ashore at Stinky Bay in Benbecula, 80 miles south of Stornoway. Nobody knows what is in it, although it's probably empty. It stands 27 metres (90 feet) high. Stinky Bay is the local name for a beach where seaweed tends to aggregate and rot, creating a bad smell.
Saturday, 29 December 2007
Rottweiler dogs can grow up to 7 to 10 stones (45 to 65 kg) in weight. This animal was not initially thought to have been aggressive in the past, although neighbours did mention to reporters that it had behaved in a threatening fashion on a previous occasion. At present, the incident is being dealt with as a tragic accident by police.
I would like to extend my sympathies to the family on their tragic loss.
"Now listen to me, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow.
I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!"
A smart-arsed chappie at the back of the room raised his hand and asked, "What would happen if I came in tomorrow suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?"
The entire class was reduced to laughter and sniggering.
When silence was restored, the teacher smiled knowingly at the student, shook her head and sweetly said, "Well, I suppose you'd have to write the exam with your other hand".
Here I was, blissfully logging on to AOL this morning, quietly content at a job well done.
Here was an email saying the relevant screenie was still on-line, if idle.
Here was an email saying the journal MileyWorld was still on the AOL servers, if private.
Here was an email from AOL Journals last night, saying the culprit's account had been terminated, along with the journals it contained.
Someone is telling a pack of fibs.
I sincerely hope mileyworld.com will throw the legal book at the culprit, and at AOL.
Tropical cyclone Melanie, now off Western Australia, is likely to stay offshore. The cyclone will reach hurricane strength tomorrow, and the coastal strip west of Port Hedland might get hurricane force winds and might get heavy rains.
The webbrowser Netscape will cease to be supported as of February 1, 2008. Netscape was one of the first browsers, at one point commanding 90% of the market. However, stiff competition from Microsoft's Internet Explorer and a withdrawal of support from main sponsor AOL (familiar with that one?) meant that Netscape will no longer be updated. Its staff will be transferred to the Mozilla foundation to work on the Firefox browser, which presently holds 16% of the market.
I am one of their users, and I have to say it is more userfriendly and safer than IE. Internet Explorer 7 is a dead duck to me, as I cannot get it to work properly. Internet Explorer 6 has holes in it, which recently allowed a spyware toolbar to install itself, after I made use of it. I do use IE, but only for uploading large batches of pictures. AOL's Picture tools only work on IE, not on Firefox. Once they come up with a You've got Pictures that allows bulk uploads on Firefox, that'll be the end for IE as far as I'm concerned.
Just want to close the matter of the Impersonation with these notes.
I have been forwarded copies of IMs between two J-landers and the impersonator. In both of them, the culprit claimed to be innocent of trying to get credit card info from people on her first blog, Lilyland. She also said that "nobody" had visited that journal. It should be pointed out that last weekend, she claimed that 1.3 million people had visited the site.
Furthermore, the culprit changed names from Lily to Miley (like you do), changed ages from 15 to 17 within 24 hours. "Other people" had put the offending material in the journal, ostensibly. If you spoke to the impersonator before she was taken off air, do not be fooled. This was a scammer at work. It wasn't even certain we're talking about a female; it might well have been a male.
Anyway, on to the last weekend of the year.
Friday, 28 December 2007
Australia is looking its first tropical cyclone of their season in the eye, but Melanie will probably veer away from the Kimberley before it gets too close for comfort. Other low pressure systems across the northern end of Australia are grumbling as well, so things are getting decidedly hot underfoot down under.
I have advised the legal team behind the impersonated celebrity of the nefarious website I mentioned last night. I am not giving full details on an open blog, but suffice to say I had a reply, saying they're looking into it. AOL has been notified, as has the Journals Team. It is decidedly undesirable to have someone on the Net, grooming gullible young teenagers by dint of impersonating a popular, 15-year old star.
Al Qa'eda have claimed responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, yesterday. It was a major triumph for that Medusa of an organisation, destabilising a key ally of the USA in their battle with Al Qa'eda. Ms Bhutto had returned to Pakistan only recently, and was gearing up to stand against Pervez Musharraf, the current president. Please ignore any claims of religious imperative when viewing events there - there is a wider picture to be observed, and that has grown a shade darker since yesterday.
Culprit is back on the road again, and now impersonating an American celebrity. Have notified AOL for copyright infringement, and danger of grooming.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Here we are, after two days of loss, after what is usually billed as the best two days of the year, but can equally turn out to be the worst two days of the year.
We lost Kim and Lahoma to illness, not unexpected, but certainly a blow. Many were genuinely upset and in tears last night and the evening before. I think nearly 150 comments have been left on Kim's blog, since it was announced that she had died. Why?
I mean, only a handful of us will actually have met Kim. But through her writings, we have come to empathise with her condition, with her situation, with her suffering. We came to admire her spirit. But still, just by words on a screen, in the cold light of day, J-land came to show its best.
Conversely, by words on a screen, J-land can come out at its worst too. The troll phenomenon is only too well known, yet I'd like to know why somebody decides to act like a troll. Just on account of what someone writes on an Internet blog? Someone you're not likely to meet, ever. Still, what is it that makes us form an opinion of someone, that gives us license to praise or to abuse? To cry with, or to jeer to? I read a story of people that went to meet up, who had been the best of buddies on-line - yet fell out big time.
I do not have an explanation. I only observe.
I'll focus on the positive, and beautiful aspects of internet friendship, and dedicate today's entries to those that went ahead this year. Once the immediate sorrow, hurt and loss has worn away, let's remember their faces, for as much as I could find portraits.
Kim's cancer was particularly virulent and developed with frightening rapidity. Only a few weeks after completing initial treatment, secondary tumours were diagnosed in various locations, which means there is no hope of a cure. I did not say so at the time, but I knew it was only a question of time before yesterday's events would come about. Kim was a strong spirit and an example to many.
Lahoma did not have an easy time in J-land on account of trolls and the like. Her cancer recurred in September, for the third and final time. After being hospitalised in November, she returned home not that long ago, basically to die. She was a good friend to many people in J-land.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007
It was pointed out to me that Kim (demandnlilchit) has been given only a very short period to live, anything from 3 days to 3 weeks. She has fought cancer valiantly, but the writing was on the wall from the moment she was diagnosed with untreatable secondaries earlier this year. There are already several dozen comments following this announcement. If you are keeping up to date with developments, I suggest you place Kim's journal on comments alerts.
I have placed the recording of Bach's St Matthew's Passion above this post for a reason. It is the final choral, one of the few pieces of music at the end of which I will have gone through an entire box of tissues. Roughly translated the verse runs: "We sit down in tears". After the Christmas we've had in J-land, that's not an exaggeration.
During 2007, J-landers lost relatives and friends, and I would like to dedicate this post to those who passed on this year, either writers themselves, or those near to them. This is not just family, or friends, but also J-land pets. I do not want to cause distress by naming those who lost loved ones this year, as in many instances the loss is still keenly felt.
Several people, or those near to them, also continue to suffer ill health, and I hope their fortunes will improve in the new year.
In memory of J-landers
Jim - halliday0957 - a self-professed teenage killer, in other words a veteran of World War II. He was not long with us, but left an indelible impression with some pretty forthright writing of his exploits in the East Indies. His son, who lives in the US, gave him cause for grave concern, not knowing he would pass to the parade ground in the sky only a few weeks later.
Pennie - penniepooh - was a popular writer from Ohio, who passed away in October, following a recurrence of cancer.
Barbara - babeboo73 - suffered a relapse of cancer in the autumn and died in November.
Lahoma - mzgoochi - died only last night (December 25), after a third battle with cancer.
Kim - demandnlilchit - died late on December 26th after valiantly battling an aggressive form of cancer. She was an example to many.
All sadly missed, but not forgotten. If I have inadvertently missed out any J-landers who have passed on in 2007, please leave a note.
Australia could be in line for a tropical cyclone by the end of this week, according to the tropical forecasters. Something is brewing southeast of the island of Java in Indonesia, which could move south towards Australia.
This has a direct link to the severe flooding currently affecting Java. Landslides have buried dozens of people as heavy rains continue. Deforestation is blamed for the landslips, as wet weather is normal for this time of year in Indonesia. There was a degree of apprehension, as today is the 3rd anniversary of the tsunami, which killed 250,000 people, possibly more, in countries around the Indian Ocean. It arose following an sub-sea earthquake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale, west of Sumatra.
This tiger escaped its enclosure in a zoo in San Francisco yesterday, and attacked several visitors. One was killed and two severely injured. The cat was shot dead; last year it had mauled one of its keepers, prompting a redesign of the big cat enclosure.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
March came in like a lamb, but went out like a lion. Some pretty awful weather conditions along the way, with a day of snow for good measure. Equinoctial spring tides went so low that it was possible to pick scallops from the seabed without getting wet. But March ended on a high note, with some great sunny days.
Point of this tale is to suggest to install reliable anti-spyware software. Adaware 2007 and Spybot Search and Destroy 1.4 are the most common ones - they are both free. A sweep every week is advisable.
Please be careful when cooking your turkey. If you don't want to spend your Boxing Day spewing, ensure the bird is thoroughly cooked at a high temperature and the juices run clear. If you are driving after your dinner, do not drink.
Tajikistan is once again in the news, this time following an accident involving a train. A minibus drove into the path of a train in the capital Dushanbe. The resulting collision killed 9 passengers on board the bus. Its driver appears to have been at fault.
The snowy conditions in the States continue to claim lives. At last count, according to a report issued at 8.30pm EST, 22 people had died in weather-related accidents.
Monday, 24 December 2007
Snow storms in the central US have claimed 11 lives, as a major cold front pushes east, dumping large amounts of snow. I hope no further fatalities will occur.
Following the death of 16 people in a ferry incident on the River Nile in Egypt a day or so ago, another accident is feared to have claimed more lives. A 12-storey towerblock has collapsed in the northern city of Alexandria. There are no definitive numbers of casualties. Many buildings in Egypt are not constructed according to regulations.
Sunday, 23 December 2007
I'm glad the Classical Corner feature has gone down well, although I appreciate that a pop-band is slightly out of remit.
An accident on a ferry on the River Nile in Egypt has left 16 people dead, after their minibus slid off the craft and into the water. Accidents on public transport in Egypt are common, as there is little regulation, apparently.
After the UK government lost data on 25 million child benefit claimants, and on 3 million learner drivers, the scandal has expanded into the NHS. The following 9 NHS trusts have lost data on patients:
It would appear that reassurance about the safety of our data in government or NHS care are hollow. More details here.
Saturday, 22 December 2007
This video (effectively audio only) contains a recording of one of my all-time classical favourites. I should add that the pop-scene is largely lost on me (and has been for a long time), as I am notoriously picky when it comes to music. Above piece, written by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, is nicely upbeat, even if the performance in the videoclip is on the slow side.
Sibelius is Finland's national composer, and has some of the most evocative music in the classical repertoire on his name. His main piece, Finlandia, is effectively his country's national anthem. It gained prominence in the 1939/40 war between the Soviet Union and Finland.
I have consulted with Malika (one of the journals editors), and she says NEVER to give out credit card info. The blog in question will be dealt with after the weekend. You don't need a credit card to join a shared journal. That permission is granted on the basis of trust.
Fifteen people were killed in the central Asian republic of Tadjikistan when an avalanche engulfed the road between the capital Dushanbe and the country's second city and the Chinese border. Dozens of cars are still buried under snow.
At 7.11 GMT this morning, an earthquake struck the eastern Indonesian area of Papua (western section of the island of Papua New Guinea) at a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale. No reports of damage or casualties have come in.
Friday, 21 December 2007
I am updating the entry entitled "Ferries and money", as I have now got two newspaper reports in front of me, with diametrically opposed views of events. The West Highland Free Press (firebrand weekly from the Isle of Skye) gave the information I relayed in the original post.
The Press and Journal (daily broadsheet from Aberdeen) reports that the option of redeploying the ferry Lord of the Isles would be detrimental to other island communities. Furthermore, the Transport Minister has asked Calmac to review the shipping market, with a view to find a suitable vessel that could be chartered to ply the Mallaig - Lochboisdale route (Lochboisdale being the primary ferryport in South Uist).
I don't know what to make of all this, I'm sure in the fullness of time the truth will come out.
Caledonian MacBrayne announced this week that one of the options for shifting the port from Oban to Mallaig would cost only £600,000 per annum, and would only involve the redeployment of an existing ferry, the MV Lord of the Isles. Questions are now being asked why Mr Stevenson swept this under the carpet, and why our local parliamentary representatives didn't speak up about this. In principle, the new link could be up and running as early as next summer. Redeployment of other vessels in the Calmac fleet would also carry benefits for the islands of Coll and Tiree, situated just west of Mull, as well as Colonsay, between Mull and Islay.
This week, Louise Campbell announced that it was impossible for her to communicate with her daughter (now aged 13) by either phone or Internet, as the phone number had been changed and the PC in Pakistan was reportedly broken. If these communications are not re-established, then court proceedings are likely. It is the latest stage in a sorry saga.
One of those days you'll always remember - what did I do when I heard PanAm flight 103 had gone down into Lockerbie? I was watching television, when a special news flash came on. I had visited Lockerbie some 10 years before whilst on holiday in the Borders town of Newcastleton. The images showed a mix of familiarity, like the roadsigns along the A74 trunkroad, which links Glasgow to England. The description of families in the town itself, watching the 9 o'clock news to learn what had happened in their own town a few hundred yards away. The above image of the cockpit of the jetliner, slammed into a field north of the village, where 11 people died when the aircraft impacted the ground.
This link to Wikipedia gives a rundown of events surrounding the crash.
In the aftermath, two Libyans were tried on charges related to the incident at a special court in the Netherlands, declared to be Scottish soil for the duration. One of them was acquitted, the other was sentenced to jail. It has always appeared to me that these two individuals were singled out as scapegoats by Colonel Gadaffi, Libya's leading nutcase. He was the one that should have stood trial there.
This entry is devoted to the memory of the 270 people who lost their lives that day.
New Zealand was struck by a powerful earthquake yesterday evening (GMT). At 7.55 am local time Friday (that's 8.55pm GMT) a tremor measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale shook the city of Gisborne. The epicentre was located 50 km offshore. Powerful aftershocks continued to rock the country; the main quake was felt nationwide. One person died of a heart attack, and 11 were injured. Several buildings, mainly older edifices, collapsed. The image (courtesy BBC) shows the scene in Gisborne library, where books were thrown off the shelves.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
It would appear that Cindy's son-in-law was wearing proper safety equipment when he slipped on the towerblock (see previous Call for support, entry before this one). As a result, his injuries (broken bones) are far less severe than would otherwise have been the case.
Big Company Ltd
Dear Big Employee
As a result of the reduction of money budgeted for department areas, we are in the position where we must cut down on our number of personnel. However, we must ensure the retention of younger people who represent our future, Therefore, a programme to phase out older personnel by the end of the current fiscal year will be put into immediate effect.
This new programme is known as SLAP (Severance of Late-aged Personnel). Employees who are slapped be given the opportunity to look for jobs outside Big. Slapped employees may request a review of their employment records before actual retirement takes place. This review phase of the programme is called SCREW (Survey of Capabilities of Retiring Early Workers). All employees who have been slapped and screwed may file an appeal with senior management.
This new appeal process is called SHAFT (Study by Higher Authority Following Termination). Under the terms of the new policy, an employee may be slapped once, screwed twice but may be shafted as many times as Big deems appropriate. If an employee follows the above procedure, he or she will be entitled to contract HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel's Early Severance) or CLAP (Combined Lump-sum Assistance Payment).
As HERPES and CLAP are the new benefit plans, any employee who has received HERPES or CLAP will no longer be slapped or screwed by Big. Management wishes to assure the younger employees remaining on board that Big will continue its policy of improving staff capabilities through our Special High Intensity Training (SHIT).
We take pride in the amount of SHIT our employees get. We have given our staff more SHIT than any employer in our area. If any employee feels they do not receive enough SHIT on the job, see your immediate supervisor. Your line manager should already be fully equipped to make sure you get as much SHIT as possible.
And once again, thanks for all your years of service.
A Nonny Mous
We all like food on our plates, and I like lamb with mint-sauce as much as the next person, but you don't want to know what happened between a happy, woolly sheep standing in a field and that chunk of meat on your plate.
This morning, the sun rose at 9.11 am. It will set again at 3.34pm this afternoon, making it the shortest day of the year - either today, or tomorrow. The sun will grace us with his presence for all of 6 hours and 23 minutes today. Just as well there are no clouds. The strange thing was that in the hour before sunrise, the mainland hills, 60 miles away, were as clear as a bell. After sunrise, i.e. now, I cannot see them at all.
Local council have egg on their face this week. In a civil action by a local company, they were ordered to pay £140k ($280k) in compensation, plus an estimated £100k in costs. Back in 1996, the company had tendered for a contract to provide streetlighting. It was the second lowest offer, but the council awarded the contract to its own contractor, the DSO. In doing so, it overlooked the fact that the DSO did not have the assets in place to carry out the work and had not budgeted for them. After the external company started litigation, a breathtaking litany of procrastination, obstruction and non-cooperation followed, which stretched for a decade. Last Monday, the court made the above decision, vindicating the company, which nearly went bust. It is alleged that that might have been the objective of the procrastination.
I am pleased to note that the email commenter feature has disappeared from blogs this morning. I think a concerted effort by us all has made an impact.
Driving whilst on the mobile, whether handheld or handsfree, could land you in prison. If you are found guilty of dangerous driving, this can carry a maximum jailterm of 2 years. Talking on the mobile distracts the mind, more so than talking to a passenger. A passenger is aware of what goes on around the moving vehicle, but the person on the other end of the line is not. One transport company has banned all its employees from using a mobile whilst at work.
The search for the three men, missing after a tug overturned in the Clyde near Glasgow, resumed at first light this morning. The fog lifted on the river, but hopes for the survival of the three crewmembers are fading. Water temperatures are only 2.5C, and air temperatures 0C.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Langoustines are caught in the Minch, east of Stornoway (shown above). They are then frozen and transferred by lorry to Annan, on the border between Scotland and England. From there, the prawns are taken to Rotterdam and shipped by containership to Thailand. Yep, that's about 8,500 miles. Out there, they are shelled by hand, then repackaged and returned to Rotterdam, and then back to the UK to the eastern English port of Grimsby. The company who supplies the scampi, Young's seafood, says that the consumer prefers hand-shelled langoustines for their scampi, rather than machine-processed ones. They also claim that the 17,000 mile journey to and from Thailand has less of a carbon-footprint per scampi than shelling the things by machine.
I just don't buy that. I really don't. Why not have them hand-shelled here? In Stornoway, or elsewhere in the UK. Cuts out the round-the-world trip, doesn't it?
Belgium has an interim government, after 6 months of stalemate. Outgoing PM Guy Verhofstadt has assembled a cabinet, which will remain in office for 3 months, allowing the winners of last June's elections to form a government themselves. The crisis prompted fears the country could be split along linguistical lines.
Action is being urged on the issue of broadband speeds in the UK. I certainly agree with that. Although my ISP says it provides up to 8 Mbps, in reality it's not much above 1 Mbps. Admittedly, I'm 650 miles from their base, but that's no excuse. Read more here. Test your own speed (anywhere in the world) with this site.
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
A 12-month custodial sentence and/or £10,000 fine was the maximum penalty available. The youth has expressed his deep regret over the stupidity of his actions, and his parents have donated £500 to the SSPCA (Scottish RSPCA), which he has to pay them back. Sentence sounds too lenient to me.
I have written to the journalseditor in relation to the comments spam issue, telling her that the email and comments alerts features should be taken down immediately. No reaction as yet.
Monday, 17 December 2007
There is speculation that this could herald the end of Belgium as a nation. It came into existence in 1830, after the southern provinces rose up in rebellion against the Netherlands. Belgium was overrun by its eastern neighbour German in war twice, first in 1914 , latterly in 1940. As reported a week or so ago, strife between the two main language groups has led to violence in the past. Attitudes between the Flemish and Wallonians are deeply entrenched. French-speakers will not admit to understanding Flemish, even if they do. When spoken to in Flemish, a terse "comment?" [what?] is apparently all you're likely to get by way of reply from a Wallonian.
The woman who was sentenced to 200 lashes and a term in prison in Saudi Arabia has been pardoned. The sentence, on appeal by the victim increased from 90 lashes, had been imposed as it is a crime under Saudi law for a woman to be alone with a man who is not a close family relative. She had been taken to a secluded spot and raped by 7 men; her male companion had been put through the same ordeal. Muslims are currently celebrating Eid al-Adha, the end of the month of fasting known as Ramadan, and King Abdullah of Saudi-Arabia frequently uses that festival to pardon convicted criminals, particularly if doing so is in the public interest.
Two hundred people were found to be over the limit across Scotland this weekend. Several of this number were pulled up in the Western Isles. One person, in mainland Scotland, had crashed his car, did not have a license, did not have insurance, and had failed to stop after an accident. He'll get the book thrown at him.
Sunday, 16 December 2007
"Just spit it out son. That's what everybody else has done with it".
A man enters a barbershop for a shave. While the barber is foaming him up, he mentions the problems he has getting a close shave around the cheeks.
"I have just the thing," says the barber taking a small wooden ball from a nearby drawer. "Just place this between your cheek and gum."
The client places the ball in his mouth and the barber proceeds with the closest shave the man has ever experienced. After a few strokes, the client asks in garbled speech, "And what if I swallow it?"
"No problem," says the barber. "Just bring it back tomorrow like everyone else does."
In J-land, Lahoma is home and back at computer. She's still weak and the hospice have sent a hospital bed. But at least she's in good spirits.
Thanks very much for the appreciative comments on my Guest Editor's Picks. I hope it will go from strength to strength from here on.
Over in Belgium, 18,000 people have marched through Brussels to protest against rising food and fuel prices, and against the paralysis in politics. Since elections in June, no government has been formed and the situation is impacting the economy adversely. Belgium is split along linguistical lines. Let's hope the people will give the politicians that much-needed kick up the backside, it's getting stupid.
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Christmas is a time of profound depression, loneliness, a recurring sense of loss and long, empty days with barely any daylight.
Which applies to you?
Which applies to those around you?
Do you dare to admit?
The link leads to a script on the website of a Danish company.
I've forwarded the mail to COSAction to be dealt with.
DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM
The email appears in your Inbox as coming from American-Online-No-Replay-V, and is headed by subject AOL(tm) Member - Your Account Suspension Notice.
The text of the email runs as follows, and is set on a white panel with a light-blue border, made to look like an official email from AOL.
Dear Valued Member,
We were unable to process your most recent payment. Please verify that your billing information is correct to avoid interruption of your Aol Services.
To ensure that your account is not interrupted, please update your billing information by clicking here:
http://billing.aol.com (link disabled)
If your information on file is not updated within 48 hours, we will temporarily suspend your Aol account.
AOL Billing Center
Both machines have now been dismantled and will be shipped to their correct destinations. I can imagine the captains of the relevant ships waving to each other as they pass in opposite directions. Philips have apologised, and will bear the cost of the transfer.
Thanks for the approbation on my choices as Guest Editor, it was a difficult job, but done with pleasure. I have outlined the reasoning behind my choices on Magic Smoke. I am looking forward to next week's picks. It was pointed out to me that a write-up on John Scalzi can be anticipated, as John is leaving AOL Journals at the end of the year. I was asked to do that, but as I don't read John (sorry, you can't read all journals) I would not do the man justice.
A woman in the southern English county of Wiltshire lost an arm, and is danger of losing the other following a vicious attack by a Rottweiler dog. The animal has been destroyed. The Rottweiler, a large and powerful breed, has had a very bad press in recent times, following several well publicised cases of severe injury or death as a result of attacks. In this particular case, the dog was picked up on the streets, straying in villages near Salisbury. The animal showed no signs of aggression, but when a handler approached it in kennels, it turned on her. In trying to defend her throat, the dog mauled her arms, one of which had to be amputated. An investigation is on-going, as the dog was abandoned by its previous owner; she has been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.
In my mind, large dogs can only be kept by people who know how to handle them, and who know how to keep them under control. As soon as a dog thinks it's boss, that's where problems start. Vicious dogs are MADE vicious, although some do have a bad temperament by their nature.
Friday, 14 December 2007
"Hello, is this the Sheriff's
"Yes. What can I do for you?"
"I'm calling to report 'bout my neighbor Virgil Smith....He' s hidin' marijuana inside his firewood! Don't quite know how he gets it inside them logs, but he's hidin' it there."
"Thank you very much for the call, sir."
The next day, the Sheriff's Deputies descend on Virgil's house. They search the shed where the firewood is kept. Using axes, they bust open every piece of wood, but find no Marijuana.
They sneer at Virgil and leave.
Shortly, the phone rings at Virgil's house.
"Hey, Virgil! This here's Floyd....did the Sheriff come?"
"Did they chop your firewood?"
"Happy Birthday, buddy!"
(Rednecks know how to git-R-dun).. ..)
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On the 7th day of Christmas AOL gave
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On the 9th day of Christmas AOL gave
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On the 10th day of Christmas AOL gave
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On the 11th day of Christmas AOL gave
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(OK....Once more time with feeling....Everybody join in!)
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