Wednesday, May 28, 2003

FIAT Punto - Safety Recall News

I took the Punto to the FIAT dealers today, following the safety recall, and the inspection revealed some corrosion on the brake pipes. Result: four new brake pipes fitted free.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Who Says Crime Doesn't Pay?

In a monumental miscarriage of justice John Palmer who was jailed for 8 years for his part in a timeshare scam, had his assets of £33M returned by the Britains most senior judge Lord Woolf.

The assets had been confiscated by a judge in a previous trial, but our all knowing pratt Lord Woolf said that the law had been misunderstood, and misapplied.

I am sorry Lord Woolf the only misunderstanding that I can see is that you are a legal expert. In the eyes of he law abiding public, you are an idiot who have sided with the criminals.

That this miscreant is allowed to keep his ill gotten gains is the real miscarriage of justice. It begs the question. Who pays Mr Woolf?

David Wilson Freed From Greek Hell Hole

David Wilson has been freed at last, the British lorry driver David Wilson has finally arrived home after been freed on bail by the Greek courts.

Unfortunately Mr Wilson will have to return to Greece to fight his appeal agianst his sentence on November 4th. Until Mr Wilson receives the justice he deserve then I will carry on my one man boycott of all things Greek.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Blogless Week Warning

As I am taking a week off work next week, what another one, yes another one, I'm providing you with advance warning that this blog may seem deserted for a while. I'll be returning to work on 2nd June, when entries may start to appear again.

First Series Fiat Punto - Vehicle Safety Recall

Whilst attending a party last weekend, a friend pulled me to one side and asked me if I had received a letter from Fiat, to inform me of a possible safety problem with the first series Punto model (pictured), as he knew that I owned one. I hadn't had such a letter, so he showed me the one that he had received for the Punto he had recently sold.

The letter states: On some first series Fiat Punto vehicles operating in aggressive environmental conditions and where ice prevention road salt is used, corrosion could occur on the rigid metal brake pipes. Over a period of time, perforation could also occur resulting in reduction of braking efficiency in one of the two circuits.

It goes on to say that the owner should immediately book the car in to the nearest Fiat dealer and they would check the pipes and do any necessary repairs, and apply corrosive protection treatment to the pipes, free of charge, on production of the letter. If the car had been sold then the letter should be passed on to the new owners.

Well, having not received a letter and having moved houses 4 years previously, I decided that Fiat probably didn't know my new address, so phoned up the Fiat garage that I had bought it from. Eventually after supplying the dealer with the Chassis Number, it was revealed that the letter had been sent to the first ever owner of the car (Hertz the car rental company), I can't see them passing the letter on, so the dealer said it didn't matter anyway, I could book it in and they would do the checks as I'd given the necessary details to them. It's booked in for next Wednesday.

What I want to know is why are FIAT using their own completely out of date database to contact Punto owners about such a dangerous defect. I would have thought that DVLC would have been a better place to start with vehicle recall notifications, after all the manufactures have an arrangement with DVLC for this sort of thing. The other route should be to advertise in national newspapers. I guess as the letter is the first recall notice that they may extend there notifications to those options latter, or am I being too optimistic?

If you have got this far down the blog, then you are probably wondering if there is a related link, well not really but I did find this site: Arnold Clark Important Customer Information, where a number of people are sounding off about rough deals they have had with the Arnold Clark dealership. Incidentally it even includes a comment from a former employee.

Mmmmm? Salesmen promising things that they can't deliver? It almost sounds like the Computer Software industry. Oh! it seems someone else has a grievance against Arnold Clark. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Dildo Used In Russian Army Punishments

An Ananova news report has brought attention to a Russian army commander who beat his junior officers with a black latex dildo. The officer has been stripped of his rank and removed from his post for his offences. However his officers defended the Captain at a military court hearing saying that he only hit them lightly with the 'baton'.

If you are thinking: "did Captain Damir Ilyasov use it on his own privates?"

Well Ananova reports that the offences came to light at the trial of Private Ruslan Machnev who was on trial for desertion, having been unable to take the nightly beatings from Captain Damir Ilyasov and his dildo. No one knows if the dildo was bought specifically for the punishments or whether there were other personal reasons for the purchase.

Pensioner Conquers Everest!

A 70-year-old Japanese man has scaled Mount Everest, a week before the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the peak, becoming the oldest person to climb the world's highest mountain....

Actually Yuichiro Miura is a high school headmaster from Sapporo in Japan, he reached the 8,850 metre (29,035 foot) summit on Thursday (I presume 15th May), which for anyone must rank as a major achievement, even if climbing it is becoming more of a tourist event these days.

The article states that a total of 31 people reached the summit that day which is a lot in anyones language. This follows on the back of the Chinese team who broadcast the First live television pictures from Everest summit on Wednesday (I presume 14th May).

Luther Latest

For those searching for the latest Luther Vandross news here's the latest update I could find:

Areatha Franklin lent her voice and spirit with a prayer for Luther at the Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit: Extra has the story. Luthers mother says he is very much awake, and he follows her movements with his eyes.

Link to previous Luther news click here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Quiz Night: Which X-Men Character Are You?

You are Wolverine!

A loner by nature, you feel uncomfortable when
around those you don't know and even those you
do. You are awkward when it comes to
relationships, but fiercely loyal to those you

Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Wonderful World Of Weird Search Engine Questions

One can only wonder at some of questions asked of search engines these days, I mean I know of people that use the power of vaguely pornographic terms to generate hits from Google. I've had a hit from someone looking for a pet mole, but checking my account at ServuStats today revealed a weird hit from Yahoo, namely a search on: moles worm pizza residents.

At first it set me thinking that there was a device available to ensnare moles using worm pizzas, but as my mind boggled at the very idea, I investigated further and found that Worm Pizza was a CD with a collection of re-recorded songs about Moles produced to celebrate the 30th anniverary of a group called The Residents.

A copy of the CD can actually be purchased, ordering details are available at this site.

Tractor Jousting! A New Form Of Entertainment?

An article on Reuters Oddly Enough - Weird, Funny and Strange News Stories site struck a chord with me today not because of the oddity, but because of the location, Ansbach in Germany.

I once wrote, what could only be loosely called, a Championship Manager story on The Dugout. The story centred around a lowly German football team based in Ansbach and was called: There Ansbach Again, for anyone that is bored enough to be interested. I'll warn you now it only lasted just over two seasons, as I quickly got bored with the scenario.

It Could Only Happen In Luton

Authorities worked 12 hours to track the frequency and determined that a baby monitor Lisa Spratley's house, located near the airport, was broadcasting her baby's cries to the cockpits of approaching planes, the BBC reported on Monday.

It seems that landing instructions to aircraft bound for Luton Airport have been recently drowned out by the sounds of a baby crying.

Monday, May 19, 2003

A Colourful Kaleidoscope Of A Way Of Life Long Gone

Have you ever wondered what the real meaning of your home town or village name is? Then your days of wondering are over, the purchase of Adrian Room's Dictionary of British Place Names will answer all your questions.

What's the reason for Blubberhouses and Wigwig? Open the book and find out, you'll find that Blubberhouses means "houses by the bubbling spring", or:

Citizens of the Shropshire hamlet of Wigwig are actually living on "Wicga's dairy farm", while those in the Norfolk village of Great Snoring inhabit the "greater place of Snear's people".

More chillingly my firend 'Moo Ski" might be worried to learn that Morpeth's, meaning of "murder path" might send house prices plummeting in his part of the world.

I Could Have Told You That, If Only You'd Thought To Ask!

Apparently science has now proven that politicians lie, tell us something we didn't know already.

The study informs us that if you want politicians to tell less lies, then you shouldn't ask them so many questions.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Man Not Arrested For Not Having Drugs

A news article on the 9th May reports that John Randolph, a school bus driver from Dublin is a very honest fellow, so honest in fact that when he found some items missing from his home following a burglary, he phoned the police and reported the theft.

Included in the thieves haul were four bags of marijuana, which John also reported missing. The police have not arrested the man, think about it, drugs charges relate to possession, he doesn't possess any anymore, but the school authorities are investigating.

Perhaps John can cadge a spliff from one of the pupils, on his bus, if he get's desperate for a joint.

Alcohol Misuse

You may have thought that over indulgence of the amber nectar or black stuff is a fun pastime, well these warnings may persuade you otherwise.

The Rise Of The Second Superpower

What is The Second Superpower? Click the link and find out.

This is all well and good, but how does it relate to Google? Read this article and all will be explained. If it doesn't explain it enough, then I think it will set you thinking.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Ear Piercing, Tongue and Or Naval Studs, What Next?

Ears with two, three, even five piercings are ancient history. Studs in tongues and navels are, for many, no big deal. And who doesn't have a tattoo? These days, the attention-grabbing look is tongue-splitting: cutting the tongue to make it forked.

The mad thing about this whole episode is that the pillock's, seemingly retarded parents, actually paid $500 for him to have the operation carried out. Shades of V?

If The Mountain Won't Come To Mohammed....

With rapidly falling attendances throughtout the country, will the World's First Inflatable Church breathe new life into Christianity by letting preachers take their message to communities?

The church has a blow-up organ, a polyvinyl pulpit, an air-filled altar and fake stained glass windows. The news item claims a priest can carry it around on the back of a truck, and set up on patches of grass or in village squares for impromtu services. It only takes 3 hours to fully inflate.

At $35,000, the 47-foot-high church will be too costly for many parishes, so would the truck I reckon. I can't see it catching on in the UK somehow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Childhood Memories?

I mentioned buying LP's from my Gran's 'Empire Stores' catalogue in a recent blog, I don't know if it set Stu', at Axis, thinking or what, but his blog last night, standards compliant, may seem to be strike a common chord for what many adolescent boys will/did experience when confronted by such a tome of enlightenment.

It probably brings back some memories for many who used to do that sort of thing.

Blogwise It's Official

This site is now officially listed on www.blogwise.com.

I Couldn't Resist It

I just couldn't resist blogging The Foul Mouthed C**t pub (don't click it if you are easily offended), but full credit for finding it has to go to Terry who writes the Master Of The House blog.

It's a cracker Terry, I hope you don't mind me stealing the link.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Tories To Abolish Tuition Fees

So the Tories have announced plans to abolish university tuition fees, if they ever manage to achieve a position of power within this country again. Now in my mind that's really rich coming from the party who were planning to introduce such fees in the first place. Only New Labour's overwheming win in the 1997 general election prevented the Tories from taking the ultimate blame. Don't forget the Tories are also the party who laid down the foundations for the abolishion of student grants too, though they will blame the equally incompetant New Labour for the final act.

They are becoming a party famous for 'U' Turns of proposed policy, if you ask me. You only have to remember the biggist U-Turn of the lot, when they mis-judged the public mood regarding the poll tax in 1990. It sounded the death knell of Thatcherism.

Don't get me wrong on all this, I'm not defending the idiots that are currently in power and rapidly trying to sell us all out, to an unelected body somewhere in mainland Europe. They are just as bad. The man leading the country, up this particular garden path, took an oath of allegience to the crown and to uphold the countries best interests during his tenure as Prime Minister. Now in his second term of power he is willing to sign over the authority to make all the important decisions concerning the nation, to an unelected European body without thought for the peoples wishes. This same man, Tony Blair, actually said the Iraquis should be entitled to a referendum saying how their country should be governed, but denies that his own people should have the same choice, on such an important issue as to who will rule the country in the future.

Tony Blair, your actions could be considered treasonable and againt the interests of the nation and/or people of the nation, they are cerntainly opposed to your oath of allegience. Now I ask would any of Blair's opponents in Parliament, be big or brave enough, to stand up and demand that he be arrested and charged with treason?

Are You A Virgin Or A Whore?

Take The Virgin-Whore Dichotomy test and find out:

take the virgin-whore dichotomy quiz.

and go to mewing.net. where we're all studs.

More News On Luther For The Google Hitters

I've had a number of hits from Google relating to the Luther Vandross (or Luther Van Dross as I originally logged his name) blog from last week. This blog is added as a service to any that return looking for more news on the singer. Apparently Luther contracted pneumonia following the stroke and required a tracheotomy to help him breathe. His representatives say the operation has not affected his vocal chords, but they unable to say whether he has suffered any neurological damage.

Further details can be found at: this site, though even this news is dated 29th April 2003.

Despite him being unconcious since his stroke on 16th April, Luther's mother is optimistic of a full recovery.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Monkeys Can't Write Novels I Give You The Proof!

Remember the old story about giving 100 typewriters to 100 monkeys, leaving them to there own devices long enough and they will eventually write a classic novel. Well it's not true, or at least that's the opinion of a bunch of researchers at Plymouth University, who claim to have disproved the adage.

Well in my opinion the researchers know diddly squat about researching.

1. they only used 6 monkeys
2. they only gave them one PC
3. the adage quite clearly states that typewriters should be used, not PC's, monkeys are obviously not trained in the use of PC's yet.

I really do object to researchers wasting public money, on experiments that they are quite clearly not up to carrying out.

Self Imposed Music Interrogation

What Was The First Single You Ever Bought?

There's a little story to this: Though I liked listening to 'pop' music of the time from around 1963/64ish I didn't have a record player to play anything on. So most of my listening was done via the radio, and via the few 'pop' shows that were on TV around that time onward. I'm thinking of things like 'The Six Five Special', Jukebox Jury, and 'Top Of The Pops'. Mum and Dad had a rather old gramaphone and loads of old 78's, some of which were listenable to when I was younger, but I was rapidly going off thier taste in music by the mid 1960s. Having said that, I still don't mind Listening to their Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and Fats Domino stuff.

I finally got my first record player (something like a Dansette) for my 14th birthday in 1969. The Hits from 1969 as you can see if you clicked the link included some cracking tunes though being a Dutch site it's based on the Dutch charts at the time. Along with the record player came my first singles bought by my mother, these were:

1. Get Back by The Beatles, (For once my mum remembered that I liked it)
2. Hello Suzie by Amen Corner (sort of alright at the time, my 'girlfriend' at the time liked it)
3 Goodbye by Mary Hopkin (Urghhhh)
4. Man of the World by Fleetwood Mac (classic stuff)
5. Sentimental Friend by Hermans Hermits who are currently touring in the USA. It was dreadful but my mum liked it. I can't believe he still has a following.
6. Something called 'Always' by a duo that I instantly forgot.

I had been saving some money over months to buy a record or two of my own, so looking at my limited play selection I went out and bought myself The Ballad Of John And Yoko by The Beatles, so, I class this as the first ever single that I bought and paid for myself.

What Was The First Album You Ever Bought?

That's easy, being skint and having pocket money as my only source of income, I quickly delved into my gandma's Empire Stores catalogue to see what was available. There were only two albums that weren't by Herp Albert or James Last, so I ordered them on the never never: Donovans Greatest Hits, and Bookends By Simon and Garfunkel.

Name Your Favourite Band

That's difficult, I've liked many bands over the years from The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Mott The Hoople, and so on through to The Beat, U2, UB40, The Pretenders, The Eurythmics and so on. In fact my favourite band changes with my mood, but one I keep coming back to surprisingly over and over again is Cockney Rebel.

Name Your Favourite Male Singer

Two names immediately spring to mind: David Bowie and Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople fame. I can't make my mind up which singer I prefer so will declare this a tie.

Name Your Favourite Female Singer

Again it's a tie between Annie Lennox (Eurythmics) and Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders).

What Was The First Concert You Ever Attended?

Mmm? That's a hard one, I can't remember if it was Atomic Rooster at Kirby College, Middlesbrough or String Driven Thing at Teesside Polytechnic way back in 1973, a gig at which I bought their 3rd album The Machine That Cried.

Which Was The Best Concert You Ever Attended?

Easy the David Bowie gig at the Milton Keynes Bowl, 2nd July 1983, in his world encompassing Serious Moonlight Tour. Support Bands included The Beat and Icehouse. The sun was scorching hot, the beer was cold, the music was brilliant and what's more I had a free ticket.

Playing The Stock Exchange With No Money

Alright, it's not the real Stock Exchange this is Celebdaq the BBC's version of the stock exchange. The idea is to buy shares in various celebrities and try to make your money grow. You start out with a mythical £10,000 to spend on shares in a varied list of celebrities.

The value of the shares in a particular celebrity goes up and down depending upon how often the celebrity appears in the news. The aim is to make over £1M at which point you are deemed a millionaire and get a symbol against your login to represent how many millions you have made over the course of playing the game. Once you have made a million or more you have to start again with another £10,000. I'm currently on my way to my fourth million since starting the game and rank at around 7405th out of around 40,000 players.

To make the game a bit more interesting the BBC award a weekly £100 prize to the player who is ranked top for the week on a Wednesday morning, but you have to supply some details about yourself to enter for this draw. You also need to supply a phone number at which you can be reached at a particular time on a Wednesday morning. If they phone and you aren't in, then they move onto the next placed player.

Give it a go, it's fun for a while.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Luther Van Dross

It came as a surprise yesterday, to hear a DJ on a local radio station talking about the fact that Luther Van Dross was in hospital recovering from a stroke. The surprise wasn't that he had had a stroke, as the 52 year old singer had been beset by weight problems and diabetes throughout his career, it was more that I hadn't heard the news before. The British media being what it is, seems to be more interested in how various 'D' list celebreties have been making fools of themselves, on the latest garbage that passes for TV entertainment: I'm A Celebrity Get me Out Of Here.

I'm not a big fan of Luther, that distinction falls to Pauline my partner, and she is saddened by the news. I took Pauline to see Luther live at the MEN Arena in November last year. It was part of her birthday present and whilst I say I'm not a fan, I have to admit the guy could sing, and he certainly put on a powerful performance for his many fans, all in all it was a good nights entertainment, and was well worth the entrance fee. It was at this concert that I was surprised to learn, that Luther had once been a backing singer to David Bowie, one of my all time favourite singers.

The hospital, at which Luther is recovering, has not been particularly forthcoming on his current status and no one is sure if his motor skills have been or will be affected. One thing is sure there are a lot of fans out there praying for the big mans full recovery, as the world of rythmn & blues will be a sadder place if his talent is lost.

Following Up On The Rainford Vandalism

As a follow up to my previous rant about vandalism in Rainford, I feel I should inform you all that the police eventually contacted the business concerned, late last week. Yes that's over a week after the incident. The police informed the owner of the business that they would be patrolling the area for 4 days and would keep an eye out for any trouble.

Why only four days? Well it seems that the policeman on patrol has to cover a number of villages in the area and he has to patrol each village for a number of days in turn. Great so once the wrongdoers suss out where and when the police are on patrol, they just go somewhere where there isn't a police presence. Well we should be grateful I suppose, they resonded in some sort of way, which is more than the British public can normally expect.

It seems that the police know the probable hooligans who cause the problems, but are unable to do anything about it unless they are caught in the act, or on video footage. The police also indicated that the perpetrators were likely to be dealing drugs as well, but the stop and search powers that the police have for suspected drug dealing instances, which were granted by the local authorities, are negated by the ludicrous rights, of the suspect, to able to refuse to be searched, also granted by the local authorities. The whole process is madness, only a politician could have thought it up, either that or a lawyer looking for more Legal Aid fees from the defence of criminal rights.

Oh well, with the holiday weekend finished there have been no further incidents to report, well I suppose it's difficult to smash windows when they have large wooden boards over them. These are to remain in place until the metal security shutters are installed.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

A Time To Take Responsibility

There has to be a time when a parent should take some responsibility for the actions of their offspring. The nanny state cannot be expected to ban everything.

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