The call is “austerity”. We mustn’t spend more than we need.
Apparently this doesn’t hold when an elderly lady dies. Whatever your views on this particular old lady it does seem odd that someone who championed the view that public money shouldn’t be spent when private money could do the job is going to be buried at huge public cost. Where’s the bidding process for the lowest priced contractor? She’d be horrified.
Not only that but the blinking parliament was recalled. For what? That process in itself was costly as MPs get money back for cancelled plans and travel and housing costs. I read the Mail yesterday. They were complaining that around 150 Labour MPs didn’t show up to eulogise their sainted Baroness. In any other circumstance MPs refusing to show up for a pointless session thus saving quite a decent whack of money would be lauded by them as making a stand against wasteful government.
Why does parliament get recalled anyway? Previous recalls involved discussions about mobilising to war (Gulf war, Bosnia, Falklands) or discussions about how to deal with terrorist attacks (WTC and Ulster). The only one I can find where it was recalled for someone dying was the late Queen Mother. And I’d argue that this was pointless and wasteful too.
Nothing like a whopping great dose of hypocrisy from both the government and their spokesrag.
R just checked her phone bill and there’s a £9 bill for something called “payforit”. Then she gets a text saying that some company called KKO Mobile are charging her £4.50 per week for their services (whatever they are, it’s not obvious from the text) BUT if she texts STOP then they’ll stop.
That sounds very dodgy to me. How can they just take money without her authorising anything?
A quick googling showed a whole bunch of forums full of people spitting feathers about the exact same issue. It seems KKO are thieving shysters of the highest order. After complaining the most people are seeming to get is half the money back as a “good will” gesture. Nice business no? Charge people a fortune for a service that none use then only pay back half that fortune.
I’ve spoken to my network provider who say that they can’t do anything. Well they bloody will be doing if KKO don’t pay anything back. Taking this money from my account without permission = taking without consent in my book. Is that not the definition of “theft”?
We got a bigger car on Saturday (Zafira) but it was untaxed. Not only that but previous owner was disabled so we had to go to the DVLA (in Nottingham) to change the tax status of the car.
They needed a valid MOT certificate (got), the V5 cert (got), and proof of insurance. Annoyingly the new insurers wouldn’t send a pdf via email so we’d have to wait for one in the post. Hmm, not a plan with a car with no tax disc sitting on the road.
Phone call to insurers. “Oh we’ll fax you a copy”. As we’re not in the 1990′s we don’t have a fax machine. “Oh go to the DVLA and ask them to phone us and we’ll fax it through to them”. Sound idea.
So we got to the DVLA. “No we can’t get faxes through here.” So couldn’t tax it. Grr. After a think we figured that Ruth’s brother-in-law would have a fax machine. He did! So they faxed a certificate through to him.
By this time we didn’t have enough time to get back to the DVLA before I was due to teach a Pilates class in Belper. So R and J had to stay in Derby while I did that. I reckoned it would be best if I went straight to Nottingham after my class. Once there I noticed all the big signs up saying “We don’t accept faxed copies”. Aargh!
Luckily they’d recently tweaked things to allow faxed copies (but not photocopies apparently). They also allow pdfs wot have been printed (what’s the difference?)
So eventually the thing gets taxed. After lots of faff and driving (about 90 miles in all) and stress.
“This iPod cannot be used because the Apple Mobile Device service is not started.”
Well bloody start it then! Or maybe how about offering me an option somewhere, anywhere, to bloody start it myself? And while you’re at it how about explaining just why doing something the very same way I do it every other time would possibly mean that NOW it stops.
Once I’ve figured out how to use the new(ish) phone to do everything that the iPod does then maybe I’ll start using this piece of Apple dross for its most obviously useful purpose, stopping wobbly tables wobble so much. Piece of over-expensive cobbled together shite.
There was a health news story in the local rag yesterday. In short there’s young woman with paralysis via a non-physical cause. She’s been in hospital for ages both in the US and Nottingham and Leicester. The doctors can find no physical cause despite plenty of looking.
She’s in no acute danger so they quite reasonably wanted her to stop taking up a bed in the hospital. All good so far.
The hospital got to the point of asking for the best part of £300 a day if she continued to take up space unnecessarily. Still all good.
The bad seems to be that the family are outraged. Why?
When I worked in a hospital we had a bed-blocker whose son wouldn’t let her be discharged on the basis of “Well what if she falls again?” Well if that happens she either gets up and dusts herself off or comes back into hospital.
These people seem to want to use the hospital as a care home. That’s not what it’s for. The saddest thing is that this latest story should really be a non-story. All she’s doing is parading her mental health issues through the media which will likely have 2 effects.
1 is for other people to give unwarranted reinforcement to her delusion thus locking her in to it some more. And 2 is to allow plenty of us to say “£300? Is that all?” I found an Irish study that suggests a stay on a ward in Ireland would be about €850. A US study suggested an overnight stay in a Swiss hospital would be US$617 whereas one in the US would be around $3600.
I think £300 is pretty good value for unnecessary acute medical care.
Anyway here’s hoping she gets the help she needs. Best wishes.
Was out at R’s parents’ last night. Her mum has a Kindle and downloads a goodish number of books for it. She reads a variety of genres but something odd had happened to the search function on the thing.
Now the “suggested searches” thingy seems to have been programmed by someone a little bit inept.
She keeps getting suggestions NOT based on content, genre, author or theme. However she is getting suggestions based on the title. What this means in practice is that she’s getting quite a lot of suggested incestuous pornography. Fine you can skip it but it does give a bad taste when it just keeps on being suggested. Not nice. The somewhat unsubtle hint of paedophilia isn’t really wanted either. Surprised that Amazon and Kindle are pushing this stuff without people having to ask for an opt-in. Surely the “suggested reads” search shouldn’t send this stuff to people who haven’t asked for it.
It’s the 30th November 2011. The day of the biggest strike in recent years. Somewhere in the region of 2.7m people on strike today.
And all to inconvenience the hard working people of this country who don’t have the luxury of working for the state.
Well if you read the Mail that is. So what’s going on?
As far as I can tell people are complaining about yet another devaluation of current pension schemes (last devalued 3 years ago) and a salary freeze. Add to that the general dissatisfaction inherent in any system when lunatics at the top screw up the whole system in order to flog off the things to the highest bidders who not at all incidentally fund the bosses political party. Reference here: the boss of Care UK funds the health minister.
The main arguments against seem to be:
1 – How can health staff leave patients to suffer? Well we’re not really. If anything we’re protecting the services for people into the future. The RCN never strike and the doctors are still at work (for now). Physios and many nurses are off (amongst others). I don’t think any of my colleagues want to do this but they’re angrier than I’ve ever seen. It’s difficult to stand by watching your own future degrade as well as the dismantling of the services that cater so well for so much of the population. If these changes go unchallenged then the NHS that so many fought for will be gone, probably for ever. All to line the pockets of private health care companies; there is no other good nor valid reason for the current changes to the NHS.
2 – The pensions are better than private pensions. If so then why the hell are people not fighting for better private pensions? The bankers ripped off millions with dodgy pension management and they’re continuing to do very well with massive salaries and bonuses for their abject failure. But it’s the public pensions that are seen as too generous. Typical rhetoric to insist all are brought down; just when did people get so cowed that they’d rather that than fight for their own benefit?
3 – The pensions are unsustainable. That’s simply not true. The pension scheme is currently getting more in than it’s paying out and this is predicted to continue this way for a goodly number of years into the future. So why mess with it? A pessimist would say so that it’ll annoy the unions, cause strife (along with reducing real funding to services) and then they can stop the NHS providing services and flog a “failing” service to the private sector.
There was a lovely letter in The Times on Monday that referred to the strikes. The author stated that “2.7m people are to strike” and also that “we hear that 2.72m people are now unemployed and would be glad of the work” so the conclusion is “The solution to this problem seems obvious!”
If I follow correctly then he’s suggesting that the 2.72m unemployed be brought in to do the jobs that the strikers are not doing today. Not sure how well the hordes of uneducated and feckless included in that number would be as teachers, physios, nurses, court staff and more. Maybe people actually think that qualifications are simply pointless exams rather than a pre-requisite to demonstrate that you know enough to do the job. Bizarre letter.
If I were working today then I wouldn’t be working.
There’s always the argument that people shouldn’t necessarily know the same stuff as each other and I subscribe to this. However I think we can agree that there are certain things that people should just be expected to know.
For instance that the Earth circles the sun and not vice versa. Things like knowing what vice versa means etc… And knowing what etc mean….
Two incidents have shaken this belief in me recently.
First was watching an episode of Millionaire. There was a bloke on it who was an English teacher. OK? An ENGLISH teacher. I emphasise for good reason.
One question: “What is the latin for cast list?” OK I might not have answered straight away but on Millionaire they have multi-choice. I can’t actually remember the options but they were as obvious as these:
A: Vice versa, B: Cave canum, C: Modus operandi, D: Dramatis personae
He had to use a life-line! Unbelievable. And this was at only £1000, hardly high up the ladder.
This bloke knew nothing at all. Had only one question that required no life-line and that was question number 1. He eventually gave up on the 5th question which was about a Dickens character and which novel was he in. Now I actually didn’t know the answer as I’ve not particularly read any Dickens but I return you to the fact that he was an ENGLISH teacher. Surely some Dickens would have been on some syllabus somewhere in his past if not his own reading for pleasure. Honestly.
The second incident was at work the other day. It was a team meeting on a morning after I’d had a rotten night of no sleep so I was drowsy and narky to say to the least. I can’t really remember quite how we got there but I needed to know the name of the 1st president of the US (some obscure point about honesty I think) and my sleep-deprived mind couldn’t bring it forward so I asked the team.
“Oh you know the 1st American president, oh what’s his name oh you know…” etc.
And they didn’t answer. They couldn’t answer. Well one could, one who’d also done O-levels may I say. But the others looked at me and I couldn’t tell why. Nobody said anything. I became mildly agitated as I assumed they were just being pains and annoying me. Surely they knew such a simple piece of info as this. So I asked again.
“No come on what’s his name? You know chopped down the tree, can’t tell a lie father etc…”
At which point one of the brightest and most able team-members turned to me and asked:
“Alby. Why would we know American history?”
Gobsmacked I was. Reminded me of a time long ago when I used the word “posthumous” in the office and not a single person in this office (a large dept in a major bank) knew what it meant. I think it’s people’s lack of interest in knowing stuff that genuinely upsets me. Very disappointed.
I have a bunch of podcasts wot I’ve downloaded (not via iTunes) and want to put onto the iPod. It won’t let me put them in the Podcast’s section. Is this in any way possible? If not, why the hell not?
OK so assuming iTunes won’t let me do something you’d think would be pretty straightforward how’s about this then?
Load them up as an album into the “Music” section. Easy you’d think eh?
Well I’ve tried multiple times to use “Add folder to library”. This has the wondrous effect of putting 3 of the 18 episodes into iTunes and leaving the other 15. These three seem to be at random and I have no clue why those three and not the others. I’ve changed the tags on the files to all be the same in terms of artist and album, the series is in order with track numbers from 1 to 18. The only difference is the title of each episode where only the episode number is different. There are no other differences at all in the tag info.
So that doesn’t work.
So I try “Add file to library” and pick the ones I wanted. This apparently does nothing. None of the episodes that wouldn’t import from “add folder” will import into iTunes. Why the hell not?
So once again the user-friendly company wot makes such easy to use products so ever so well has made something that should be easy in a couple of clicks apparently impossible. Bloody ludicrous.
Any ideas how to easily import an audio file into iTunes without a bloody aneurism-inducing fanny around palaver?
I was in a local shop today and whilst waiting to be served I saw the newspaper stand with all its blaring headlines. One stuck out as it was a story that wasn’t about a footballer getting a valuable away goal or some geordie lass whose accent would never have played in America. It was the Mail on Sunday’s headline in fact.
No in fact it was the entire front page as far as I could see. There was a story about the BBC (filth-ridden, tax burdenous scum the lot of them) and how they scandalised the nation by broadcasting a rude word, no THE rudest word, at 6.30pm on a Friday a few months back.
I don’t know how we all missed the story when it happened as it was obviously a massive thing to be deserving of a whole front page of a national newspaper. Clearly there can be no other things of national and international importance ongoing that deserve precedence over this outrage.
I wasn’t about to buy the rag so I looked online when I got home again.
Once into the detail of the story it turns out that they didn’t broadcast the word at all, merely hinting at it in a scripted link between questions on an episode of the News Quiz. So could this be right? A national front page story about a swear word that wasn’t even uttered? Apparently so.
Brace yourselves, I am about to repeat the joke:
“The tories, putting the n into cuts”
A little risque but hardly deserving of moral outrage. Despite the not-at-all feigned outrage, of this utter non-story the paper even then re-prints the joke in full without any censorship. So not even a slight bit hypocritical then?
The BBC has had a long history of risque comedy on the radio from the Goon Show’s “Hugh Jampton” through Round the Horne’s beautifully disgraceful pushing of the boundaries to near breaking point to ISIHAC (“brushing the dust and wax off in the dark”) and more. So what’s special about this incident?
And isn’t radio 4 supposed to be a grown-ups channel? I hardly think there’ll be a million bored and impressionable teens sat listening to the News Quiz of a Friday evening.
Was it a cavalcade of complaints that set this off? No? In fact there was a startling total of 1 complaint. Yes, 1. Against one of radio 4′s most listened to shows. Thankfully the complaint was thrown out. This was what kicked off the news story.
But what’s the actual story here? Could it be the Mail’s relentless campaign to use any ammo whatsoever to try and kill the BBC? The most respected broadcaster anywhere in the world? Probably. What a depressing world it would be if the piece of vile nastiness that is the Mail manages to impoverish the culture of this country yet further.