Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year - Europe

Happy New Year to all in Western Europe!

New Year's Eve notes II

Nice bright weather is bringing us a very cold night, temperatures barely above zero.

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

Sprouts


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.

New Year's Eve notes

Brilliantly sunny day, with hardly a breath of wind.

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

Call for support - good news variety

For a change some good news out of J-land. Kerry-Anne (kerryanne73) has announced she is 19 weeks pregnant, and all is going well. A year ago, she gave birth to a baby daughter Laila who tragically was born asleep. As I indicate, Kerry is halfway down the pregnancy, and tests reveal nothing untoward - unlike during her pregnancy of Laila. Please call round!

Died in armour

I don't normally mention sports on here - I'm not a sports buff, and certainly footballers can expect to be met with a good dose of vitriol.

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.

Vomit Comet

Fancy shelling out anything between £1,100 and £24,400 ($2,200 and $48,800) for a cruise round the Canary Islands. You join Cunard's newest luxury liner, the Queen Victoria. It has seven restaurants, three swimming pools, a library with 6,000 books.

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.

Counting down to 2008

Another 32 hours to go before 2007 is history. As per usual, it was a year with its fair share of ups and downs - where the balance lies I cannot tell. J-land has had another roller coaster, with several people lost to disease or other causes. The ugly side, trolls, continues to rumble on, and to what end? On the upside, the community has pulled together at times when it mattered.

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.



Call for support

Please call round to Jeanie's blog as her brother is in a serious condition in hospital. He is not expected to live.

A year in pictures - October 2007

October saw the first few gales of the winter season. I went down to Glasgow in the middle of the month, travelling through Skye and with a little sidestep to the Isle of Rum.

A year in pictures - September 2007

The cruiseliner season comes to a close this month, and the weather gradually assumes a more autumnal hue. Fortunately, it was a benign autumn at this point.

Sunday notes

Pale sunshine, seen through thin high-level clouds. We can expect rain overnight, let's hope it's dry for the New Year to come in at midnight tomorrow.

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

Fatal dog attack

A boy of 13 months of age was killed yesterday by a Rottweiler dog in Yorkshire. The baby had been staying at the house of his aunt, aged 16, and was being carried by the aunt's 7-year old sister when he was snatched from her arms by the dog. It carried him into the yard and proceeded to attack him. Emergency services were called, and police marksmen arrived a few minutes after the ambulance. They shot the dog, still at large in the yard. The baby could not be saved.

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.

DIY

A teacher at a polytechnic college reminded her pupils of tomorrow's final exam.

"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".

Impersonation - 29 December

I am very angry with AOL, and have forwarded a copy of the offending journal to the legal team at Mileyworld.com. The journal is private now, and only accessible to those that the user sees fit to allow. However, the user could reinstate it at any point. The danger is therefore NOT past. I'll consider whether to relay a copy to all, for you to forward to mileyworld as well.

Fibbing


Here I was, blissfully logging on to AOL this morning, quietly content at a job well done.


Not so.

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.

Saturday notes

Overcast with rain moving away east. Not very warm, only 6C.

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.

Close of day

Time I was off to bed.
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

J-land Angels

Sunny (blazensun) has had an excellent idea, and opened a shared journal for people to share memories of those in the community that have passed away. It is open to all in J-land, so hop over to J-land Angels if you have a story to tell.

Impersonation

The offending journal has been taken down, and the relevant AOL account terminated.

A year in pictures - August 2007

Days start to shorten in August, although it is still fully summer. The weather was pretty good, boats kept coming and going, and we had the Carnival.

A year in pictures - July 2007

July was the height of summer, with the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Sail Hebrides and other events. Cruiseliners came and went, as per usual. The weather was mainly sunny although not very warm this year.

Friday notes

A very late first entry, as I was late out of bed and a couple of things needed doing first. Here we are, just before sunset. It is growing increasingly cloudy here, and rain is less than 30 miles away, according to the weather radar. Not terribly warm or cold at 6C.

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.

Note to previous entry

Regarding the impersonation, things are rolling on several fronts. Haven't got time immediately, but will address later this afternoon - it's 1.30pm here now.

Again

Remember last weekend, when I sent round an email about someone scamming for credit card information? Journal got closed down.

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

Relationships


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
Lahoma
Barbara
Jim

Penny

Sackable offences


This is the most hilarious videocompilation of a Bad Day at the Office I've ever seen.

A year in pictures - June 2007

Moving towards high summer, with short nights and very long days. Plenty of boats in and out of the harbour, and mainly good weather.

A year in pictures - May 2007

I spent a week in Glasgow at the start of the month. Cruiseliners began attending Stornoway in earnest, at the start of the summer cruise season. One liner had to leave its passengers ashore overnight when the tenders were unable to bring them back.

Pakistan

It is reported just in the last few minutes that someone shot opposition politician Benazir Bhutto, then exploded a suicide bomb. It happened at a pre-election rally in Rawalpindi, near Lahore. Ms Bhutto died in the attack.

Tribute addition

In reaction to the deaths of Lahoma and Kim, I can only say it has been a very sad Christmas for J-land. Both ladies succumbed to cancer, although Lahoma was suffering from leukaemia (blood cancer) and Kim from breast cancer, which had spread.

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.

J-land Tribute - addition

J-land Tribute : I have added a few lines about Kim, who passed away a few hours after I completed the tribute yesterday.

J-land mourns

I am now profoundly saddened to report that Kim peacefully passed away at 5pm EST, some 2½ hours ago. Her family was by her side.


Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Late night notes


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.

J-land Tribute



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.

A year in pictures - April 2007

April finally heralded the arrival of spring, with some fantastic weather and the start of the wild flowering season. Lambs popped up all over the island, which I was traversing in search of wargraves.

J-land mourns

Lahoma, mzgoochi, who wrote Lahoma's Laments, passed away at 9.50pm EST on Christmas Day. At least her suffering is over, but please keep her teenage son in thoughts at this very difficult time for him and his family.


Boxing Day notes

Wet and windy is the summary for today's weather. Not cold though. A warning for (severe) gales is outstanding for later this afternoon. Not very good.

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

Christmas Dinner

Just to share a few pics of dinner and setting.

Nonsense

My Tropical Cyclones blog attracted the most ridiculous comment today. A website suggesting the definitive solution to the devastation wrought by hurricanes. Pump seawater under the phenomenon, and it'll go away. Ok, pull the other one.

Xmas supper

Is about to be served, in the shape of roast chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce. Missed the Queen's speech, but can always watch her later in the podcast. Aye, Buck House is in the 21st century. Whenever you're having yours, enjoy!

A year in pictures - March 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.

Spyware

This is a novel variety of virus, which has been giving me a few headaches over the past 12 months. They surreptitiously install themselves on the PC and proceed to pass information to people you don't want it to go to. Spyware also interferes with the proper running of the PC, as experienced by myself. The first indication is an unsollicited change of page in your internet browser, usually to that of a site pretending to sell anti-spyware software. If you fall for that ruse, you are more than likely to be severely compromised.

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.

Christmas Day notes

Morning all, and hope you're enjoying your Christmas, wherever you are. Here in the Western Isles of Scotland, it's a typically Hebridean day: heavy showers, interspersed with painfully bright sunny intervals. Continually changing cloudscapes means it'll be a good day, if a short one, for photography.

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.

Classical corner - Christmas

I cannot embed the video of the Monteverdi Choir singing the "Jauchzet, frohlocket" from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, so just link to it. Well worth popping over for.

Have a great day!

Monday, 24 December 2007

A year in pictures - February

February saw a gale or two, and the only snowfall amounting to anything of the whole winter 2006/7. It lasted barely 24 hours. Spring promised an early arrival, but the wild variations in the weather show up well.

A year in pictures - January

I have selected one picture out of every day this year so far, and will put them on the blog over the next 7 days, as 2007 comes to a close. Hope you enjoy.

Nowhere to hide

Prosecutors in the central German state of Sachsen-Anhalt are seeking the prosecution of 12,000 members of an alleged child-pornography ring on the Internet. An Internet Service Provider became suspicious of high volumes of traffic, and looked into the matter. They then informed police, as it became clear that people in up to 70 countries were downloading or being in possession of pornographic images of children, which is a criminal offence.

Train stopped

The overnight sleeper train between London Euston and Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fort William and Glasgow was brought to an unexpected stop at Beattock Summit, halfway between Glasgow and Carlisle at around 3.15 am. The train, which was travelling at 80 mph, struck material left on the track and came to a sudden stop. It did not derail, meaning that there were no casualties. At daybreak, passengers were transferred to Carstairs station, then to their onward destinations by coach. Some had taken the sleeper train to avoid disruptions to flights out of London airports, caused by fog.

Christmas Eve notes

Morning all, from a sunny but cold Stornoway. It's only 4C / 39F outside, but nice and sunny. The weather radar shows widely dispersed showers coming in from the Atlantic, and glancing outside shows several anvil clouds in the vicinity. A hard frost is expected for mainland Scotland tonight. Not a bad day in other words. It is very wet in western England and Wales though. There is a chance of a White Christmas in the mountains, when hillsnow pushes across tonight.


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

Call for support

Winivere is having a hard time at the moment, in terms of money. Please call round for some moral support.

Stormforce winds

Winds are increasing at the moment, with winds of force 10 at the Butt of Lewis. Windspeeds of 56 mph, gusting to 90 mph according to the latest reports. The shipping forecast warns of violent storm 11. Bit of a breeze.

Merry Christmas


I would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, have a great time with friends and family, or in whichever way you celebrate the festival.


Malaria cure from the deep?

The humble sea-cucumber might hold the key in the battle against malaria. This creatures lives on the ocean floor. It produces a protein, lectin, which inhibits the growth of one of the stages in the life of the malaria parasite. Researchers have bred mosquitoes with a modification in their DNA that makes them produce the protein in their stomachs. When the malarial parasite passes through the mosquito's stomach wall, its development will be impeded by the lectin. Read more here.

Sunday notes

Very poor weather today, with pouring rain and winds close to gale force. These are expected to increase to severe gale force, so it's back to the usual. Not cold, 8C.

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:

City and Hackney (London)
Bolton Royal Hospital
Sutton and Merton
Sefton Merseyside
Mid-Essex Care Trust
Norfolk and Norwich
Gloucester Partnership Foundation Trust
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells
East and North Hertfordshire

It would appear that reassurance about the safety of our data in government or NHS care are hollow. More details here.

Classical corner - III

This is pop from 1977, but of a high musical standard. Mark and Clark Band's "Worn Down Piano". Unfortunately, no video, but I don't even know if any video was ever taken of these guys. Says enough that this was my pop-scene lol

Saturday, 22 December 2007

AOL Sign-In

Classical corner - II

This clip, with both audio and video, shows a girl of 13 giving a magnificent performance of the the 1st movement from the 1st Piano Concerto by Beethoven. Another of my favourites, although the 3rd movement tops the list of Beethoven faves. If I find a decent recording of that, I'll put it up as well. One note of warning: the video does not make it to the end of the piece. YouTube have a 10 minute limit on duration of their videos.


Classical corner


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.

Credit card info

In recent days, the Journals Chatroom has seen one journaler plugging their journal, which is what it's there for. When I checked out the blog in question, it contained a questionnaire which asked for all sorts of personal details, including credit card number, security number associated with credit cards etcetera. This is needed, according to the blogger in question, to join the journal and be allowed to write on that 'shared journal'.

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.

Saturday notes

After a night of strong winds and heavy rain, Saturday dawned bright and sunny but with some showers. It's not as cold as of late, with the mercury at 6C. The weather radar shows a band of rain stretching from northern Scotland all the way to Cornwall. The rain will fall as snow on higher ground, and freeze when falling in sub-zero air or on frozen ground. This applies to eastern Scotland.


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

Ferries and money - update

MV Lord of the Isles, courtesy Calmac.

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.

Ferries and money

The communities of Barra and South Uist, some 100 miles south of Stornoway, are linked to the Scottish mainland by ferry to Oban. This is a 5 to 6 hour journey. Calls have long been made by the islanders for a link to Mallaig, 3 hours by ferry. The Scottish Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson, rejected those calls some weeks ago, saying it would cost £25m, the cost of a new vessel.

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.

Molly Campbell

Those of you who have read my journal for more than a year will be familiar with this name. Molly was taken out of her school in Stornoway by her father and taken to Pakistan. It did not happen against the girl's will, I should add. Molly, of mixed Pakistani / British parentage, became the object of a tug-of-war between mother and father (Sajid Rana), who had separated. Louise, Molly's mother, still lives in a village just outside Stornoway with a new partner and a new baby. After a 6 months' court battle, Louise had to give up the fight, as the drain on her financial and emotional resources had become too great. An access arrangement was set up, by which Molly (now named Misbah Rana) would be able to communicate with her mother by phone and Internet. Louise had converted to Islam upon marrying Sajid, but had abandoned the religion after her estrangement. This had led to death threats against her, which meant that she felt unsafe to visit Pakistan in person.

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.

21 December 1988


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.

Solstice notes

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. I watched the sun rise above the mainland hills at 9.13 am - it is another glorious morning in the islands. It's not cold, by recent standards, with the thermometer at +6C / 43F. Over on the mainland, the mercury is stuck at -7C, which is slightly less cold than recent nights. An Atlantic front is heading our way, which is already pushing milder air ahead of it.

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

Call for support II

Jenny (jennyp51) has informed us that her mother passed away after a short illness two days ago, at the age of 83. Please call round.

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.

Call for support

Sugar has passed the message that Cindy's son-in-law, Dan, has fallen 30 stories at work. Cindy's journal has (as yet) not been updated to reflect the incident, and no further details of his condition appear to be available at present. Please keep Dan and his family in thoughts at this time.

Cat plays in water

This Polish kitty is playing with the surface of the water - IN THE WATER.

All change

After lunch, cloud moved up from the south, and covered the sky. At 3pm, a little rain fell, and it's now fully overcast as it gets dark. Oh well, the day did start quite nice - this was taken at 8.10 am, one hour before sunrise.


Staff reductions

All employees
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.

Yours etc
A Nonny Mous
Chief Executive

Contemplating

The other day I walked past the local slaughterhouse (two streets away), and people were pulling in with trailers full of sheep. It was December 18th, and I remembered the ad in the local paper, announcing the opening of the abattoir that day. As I crossed the road, I distinctly heard a bang from inside the premises.

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.

Thursday notes

Morning all from a very sunny but also very cold Stornoway. It is barely +1C / 34F, and the grass is white with hoarfrost. Altnaharra and Aviemore are still at -10C as I type. A change is on the way, as the weather radar shows rain moving into southern Ireland. Milder weather and increasing southerly winds are on the cards for my region.

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

Comments spam - update

In the course of this evening / night, the Journals Team will be disabling the Email commenter feature, that many of us have blamed for the at times large volume of spam mails. It will only be available for journal owners who are signed in. Please read the entry on Magic Smoke for details.

Mad food

This evening, the BBC reported the crazy trail that some of our food takes. The example quoted was scampi. This is made from langoustines (prawns), dipped in batter and fried. The result is frozen and sold in the supermarket.


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?

Tug overturned

A tug, the Red Jasmine, has run aground and overturned in the River Clyde, west of Glasgow, this evening. One person managed to swim ashore at Clydebank, but three others are still missing. Coastguard personnel has been scouring the water since 6.30pm, but conditions are poor, with a dense freezing fog blanketing the area. This meant that a helicopter, which had flown in from Prestwick, had to turn back.

Comment spam

I emailed one of the journalseditors, Malikas4478, on Monday regarding this problem. Got a reply today, 2 days later, saying my mail had been forwarded to the team for perusal. Wonder what that flurry of spam-messages looked like in the Inbox her end.

Call for support II

Jimmy [stupidsheetguy] pointed out a journal by Catherine, who is having major problems following head injuries, which she sustained in 2002 and 2007. Depression appears to be featuring in a major way at the moment, and is blighting her life. Please call round.

Call for support

It was pointed out to me that in a recent comment on Kim's journal (I shaved my legs for this?), people were asked to keep her in prayers at this particular time. I can only echo that; Kim has not updated her journal for a month, and the only conclusion can be that her health has deteriorated. With thanks to Debbie (sugerb6, no journal) for highlighting.

Wednesday notes

Never a day the same in this place. It is a bright day, but with a fair amount of cloud about. You can watch the ever-changing pattern on my webcam. It's playing up right now, but it should be on-line at 1pm GMT (that's 8 am EST). It is less cold than yesterday (5C is not warm or even mild in my book), but it's very calm. Over in mainland Scotland, the mercury is stuck at -9C / 16F right now.

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.

Call for support

Nina has returned to J-land following a spell in hospital. She suffered a heart attack, but appears to be doing well at the moment. Please call round. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Animal cruelty

A youth of 17 was sentenced to 200 hours community service, and banned from keeping animals for 10 years at Inverness Sheriff Court. Earlier this year, he was having an outside party near the village of Cannich, west of Inverness, when he went to remove a lamb from its mother. Although he initially put the animal back, he later picked it up again and threw it on a bonfire. It was so severely burned that one of the culprit's friends killed it.

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.

Sunrise

Sunrise at 9.10 am this morning.

Tuesday notes

Brilliantly sunny morning, but very cold. Current temperatures only just above freezing, and spare a thought for mainland Scotland, which went down to -11C overnight. Fortunately, there is little wind. The readings on the NWS website were way off last night, giving us temperatures of 1F instead of 1C. There is a difference of about 20 degrees C between the two.

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.

Comment spam

Both Jeannette (jeanno43) and Donna (nightmaremom) have experienced comment-related spam. I have spoken about this to the journalseditor about this, who said that no action is likely to be taken until the New Year.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Call for support

Met a lady in the Journals Chatroom, who is involved in sending mail to soldiers out on foreign assignments, like Iraq and Afghanistan. She has encountered difficulties, which she wants to give a broader airing, in order that others do not run into the same problems. If you are involved with this yourself, or know someone who is, please drop by Geessugarshack.

Sunny day

Not a cloud in the sky today, and actually we had the highest temperatures in the country. As I type, the village of Altnaharra on the north coast of mainland Scotland is reporting a temperature of -8.8C, 16F. We're at +1.4C. Very, very cold night in prospect, with a forecast minimum of -11C, 12F. I took the above pictures this afternoon, as I went for an amble round the bay.

Belgium

Back in June of this year, elections were held in that country. No government has been formed, resulting from a stalemate in negotiations between Flemish and Wallonian (Dutch and French speaking, respectively) parties. The winning party has not been able to form a government, so King Albert II has now charged the outgoing prime-minister with forming an interim cabinet. This will take care of current affairs, and implementing constitutional reform.

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.

Monday notes

Bright and sunny, if hazy day today. As is normal in winter, temperatures have therefore fallen to 6C. Tonight, temperatures in the Highlands may fall as low as -10C, but the Gulf Stream will keep us mostly frost free. I hope those affected by snowstorms across the eastern USA will be safe.

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

Call for readers

Pamela (pamal3) has recently discovered J-land, and I think she can do with some readers. She does know how to catch a bus, but I don't recommend her procedure.

Lump

A young man had been invited to the house of his future in-laws for a meal. Things had gone very well, and the mother-in-law had prepared a gorgeous meal. Steak, vegetables and a huge pan of mashed potatoes. The suitor helped himself and proceeded to tuck in. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, until he encountered this glassy potato. You know, the one that will never boil to any degree of softness, even if you boil it for an hour. He sat there, thinking how he could get rid of the offending orb, until his future father-in-law spoke up.
"Just spit it out son. That's what everybody else has done with it".

Barbershop

with thanks to Lisa

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."

Sunday notes

Yet another windy, grey and overcast day in Stornoway.

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

Call for support

Sue (catslittertray) lost her wee cat Princess a few days ago, and is basically gone to pieces with it. Please call round.

The shadowside of Christmas

Christmas is a time of jolliness, family gatherings, plenty food, lights and carols.

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?

WARNING

Received a fake email from AOL today (in other words, it was not from AOL), telling me that my latest payment had ostensibly not gone through, and could I please follow that link. No, I will not follow that link, as it does not lead to anything related to AOL.

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.

Thank you,

Michael Baldger
AOL Billing Center


Addition

Scanners are manufactured to specification, and each hospital has a different set-up. This applies to space, technical capability etcetera. Also, the English scanner probably wouldn't fit in the room in Australia and vice-versa.

Minor mistake

A CT scanner, built by Philips in Holland, was ordered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, England from Philips in Amsterdam. Meanwhile another CT scanner was ordered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia from Philips in Amsterdam.  The scanner for England ended up in Australia, whilst the machine destined for Adelaide ended up in King's Lynn.

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.

December's Artsy Essay

JudithHeartsong has published the subject for this month's Artsy Essay: The funniest gift I ever given or received. You have until the end of the year, midnight EST on 31 December, to write your piece.

Call for support

Please call round at Julie's [midwestvintage] as her mother-in-law passed away after a battle with cancer.

Update

I was informed this morning that Lahoma [mzgoochi, Lahoma's Laments] was sent home in an ambulance, as there was nothing further the hospital could do for her. I do not know whether she will be able to update her journal, but please keep her in thoughts at this time. I sincerely hope Lahoma will be comfortable and not in any pain or distress.

Saturday notes

It's another grey day with chinks in the clouds, and the wind has dropped back another notch to force 6. At least it's dry, but the 9C feels cold in the wind.

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

Christmas Graphics

Golden oldie

"Hello, is this the Sheriff's Office?"
"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?"
"Yeah!"
"Did they chop your firewood?"
"Yep!"
"Happy Birthday, buddy!"
(Rednecks know how to git-R-dun).. ..)


The twelve dayze of Christmas

12 Daze of Christmas at AOL (with thanks to Rosie)

On the 1st day of Christmas AOL gave to me........
unlimited hours with a flat fee.


On the 2nd day of Christmas AOL gave to me......
2 buddy lists and unlimited hours with a flat fee.

On the 3rd day of Christmas AOL gave to me......
3 Emails, 2 buddy lists and unlimited hours
 with a flat fee.

On the 4th day of Christmas AOL gave to me.......
4 frozen screens, 3 E~mails, 2 buddy lists
and unlimited hours with a flat fee.

On the 5th day of Christmas AOL gave to me......
5 Chat Room brawls!!! 4 frozen screens,
3 E~mails, 2 buddy lists and unlimited hours
 with a flat fee.

On the 6th day of Christmas AOL gave to me......
6 pervs annoying, 5 Chat Room brawls!!!
 4 frozen screens, 3 E~mails, 2 buddy lists
 and unlimited hours with a flat fee.

On the 7th day of Christmas AOL gave
 to me......7 hackers hacking, 6 prats annoying,
 5 Chat Room brawls!!! 4 frozen screens, 3
E~mails, 2 buddy lists and unlimited
hours with a flat fee.

On the 8th day of Christmas AOL gave
to me........8 wavs playing, 7 hackers
 hacking, 6 prats annoying, 5 Chat Room
brawls!!! 4 frozen screens, 3 E~mails, 2
 buddy lists and unlimited hours
with a flat fee.

On the 9th day of Christmas AOL gave
 to me.......9 creeps IMing, 8 wavs playing,
 7 hackers hacking, 6 prats annoying, 5 Chat
 Room brawls!!! 4 frozen screens, 3 E~mails,
 2 buddy lists and unlimited hours with
 a flat fee.

On the 10th day of Christmas AOL gave
 to me.....10 fingers cramping, 9 creeps IMing,
 8 wavs playing, 7 hackers hacking, 6 prats
annoying, 5 ChatRoom brawls!!! 4 frozen
 screens, 3 E~mails, 2 buddy lists and
unlimited hours with a flat fee.
 
On the 11th day of Christmas AOL gave
to me......11 Hosts T.O.S.ing. 10 fingers
cramping, 9 creeps IMing, 8 wavs playing, 7
hackers hacking, 6 prats annoying, 5 Chat
 Room brawls!!!! 4 frozen screens, 3 E~mails,
 2 buddy lists and unlimited hours with
a flat fee.

(OK....Once more time with feeling....Everybody join in!)

On the 12 th day of Christmas AOL gave to me.......
12 Emoticons smiling :-), 11 Hosts T.O.S. ing,
 10 fingers cramping, 9 creeps IMing, 8 wavs
 playing, 7 hackers hacking, 6 prats annoying,
 5 CHAT ROOM BRAWLS!!!!  4 frozen
screens, 3 E~mails, 2 buddy lists AND
UNLIMITED HOURS WITH A FLAT FEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!