Thursday, November 30, 2006

Red Bull Gives You Wings

Last night, I motivated myself to go out to the restaurant where my friend works. When he closes, he gives me food they have left for free. The only problem is that I often can't be bothered to drag myself out after midnight to meet him there. I threw some clothes on and headed out the door. I decided to top off my car's radiator, first, as I can never seem to manage to have enough time to do it in the morning. My car has a leak in the cooling system, so I need to fill the cooling system periodically, otherwise I will have no heat.
I have done this procedure hundreds of times. I unscrewed the cap to the fill bottle, placing it on top of the radiator. For some reason, this time I knocked the cap and it fell inside the engine compartment. I poured a couple of liters of water into the fill bottle, then bent down to pick the cap up, off the ground. Problem. It wasn't on the ground. Some genius decided to put a shield under the engine. This protects the engine compartment from stuff splashing up from the road surface. Unfortunately, it also prevents filler caps dropped in the engine compartment from falling through, where they can be easily retrieved.
I lay on my back, under the front bumper, and banged on this thick, plastic shield. I could hear the cap rattling inside. I tried to reach down from the top, through the fan, but I couldn't feel the cap. Due to all the hoses and whatnot, I could reach very little of the area under the engine. I picked up a stick of wood from the gutter and tried to push the cap into the area I could reach. No success. I removed a section of the induction hose so I could get my arm down better. No success. I tried knocking the cap from underneath, hoping to get it near to where I could reach. No success.
I tried for an hour and a half to retrieve the cap. Then I gave up. I was tired, scratched, and my arms were covered in grease. Forget the restaurant, I was going to go to bed. I contemplated the cost of having a mechanic remove the shielding and retrieving the cap. I decided it would be more cost effective to buy a new cap. I would have to do so after work. The big question was, how to drive my car without a radiator filler bottle cap? What effect would that have on the cooling system? I decided to improvise a cap till I could buy a new one. What could I stick in the hole that would withstand the heated coolant? Rooting around in my recycling bin, I tried an empty, plastic bottle. No good. Then a can. Too big. Then I had a brainstorm. My housemate, S1, drinks Red Bull. The Red Bull cans are smaller than regular drink cans. One of those might be the right size.
Wouldn't you know it? I couldn't find a Red Bull can in the recycling bin. I looked inside the kitchen. Sure enough, there was an empty Red Bull can, sitting on the kitchen table, where he'd left it. I used my wire cutters to cut the can in half. The remaining half just fit, snugly, over the filler bottle opening. I secured it with a rubberband. This morning, I drove to work, no problem. I must have the only BMW kept running with electrical tape, old cans, and rubberbands. After work, I visited a BMW parts department and acquired a new filler bottle cap. As Roseanne Roseannadana used to say, "if it isn't one thing, it's another."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hurry Saturday

On Saturday, my housemate, S1, will complete his move out and my Italian, ex-housemate, Nando, will move in. I can hardly wait. Tonight, almost like a parting gift, S1 subjected me to a lot of the behaviors that bother me. First of all, he brought that very non-charming child of his around. Back from its trip to Australia, it had been here for two days. It's at that useless age where it can walk, but doesn't talk intelligibly, yet. It just mumbles noises. When I got home from work, I just shut myself in my room and listened to Iain Lee, on LBC 97.3, London. I fell asleep for a nice rest.
When I awoke, I read some email, then decided to go downstairs and watch TV. There wasn't much on, tonight, but I can always find something on Sky, as it has like 1,000 channels. Perhaps a nice documentary. No. When I get into the lounge, S1 is in there watching the Sky he has never helped pay for. And what does he have on? "Smokey and the Bandit 2." As much as I love "Smokey and the Bandit," everyone knows "Smokey 2" is rubbish. He says he's put it on while he's cooking his dinner. When his dinner is ready, he walks in from the kitchen with it, frozen pizza, on one of my plates. There are house plates, yet people keep using my personal plates.
Another thing about S1, he never washes dishes. Now that he's moving out, he's brought down most of my glasses from his room, where he's been hoarding them. They are all dirty, so he leaves them by the side of the sink, in case someone wants to wash them. After he finishes his dinner, he walks into the kitchen to make a phone call, on his mobile. He puts his (my) dirty dinner plate on the side, not even bothering to put it IN the sink to soak. I don't know if he goes into the kitchen for privacy, or to avoid disturbing me watching the tele, but he accomplishes neither. He speaks so loudly, I can hear his entire conversation, and, from time to time, he puts his mobile on speaker or something, and I can hear the bird who's talking to him, as well. Now, I don't mind eavesdropping on a conversation...if it's interesting. This one wasn't. It had something to do with going to a pub on Friday night and S1 not wanting to get in the middle of this bird and someone else, if they start arguing. He just kept repeating the same stuff, over and over, and over. "Smokey 2" ended and I would like to know if he's coming back to watch TV, so we can pick something else to watch. After a series of adverts, the next film comes on. It's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." A pretty decent film, but I've seen it.
Eventually, his repetitive phone conversation ends and he returns to the lounge. "Charlie and the Chocolate factory," he says. No shit, Sherlock. Referring to me as "Papa Smurf," he confesses to having seen "Charlie" before it was in the cinemas, on a pirate DVD. He gets something from the ironing board and goes upstairs to fetch another load of laundry. By now, I am hungry. Watching the beginning of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" has given me a strange craving for a Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar. I am pretty sure I have one left, in the fridge. Before I indulge myself on chocolate, I have a light dinner. It's a hot dog, some cole slaw and potato salad. I can't find any interesting documentaries, so I flip through the music video channels.
One last parting behavior, from S1. He goes upstairs, to bed, I suppose, but leaves every light in the common areas on. He leaves the utility room light on, the kitchen light on, the foyer light, the stairs light, and the lounge light. That's worse than M1, who usually misses out on the utility room light. I thought young people were supposed to be "green?" These two waste electricity like it's a profession. After I finish eating, I turn off all the lights except the stairs. For some reason, the it baby likes the stairs light on while it sleeps. I find my last Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar, in the fridge, where I have been saving it for months. The chocolate tastes so good. I savor each bite, while watching music videos. "Three more days," I keep telling myself, then Nando will be here. Hurry Saturday.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Favorite Christmas Film

It's getting to be that time of year again, when talk turns to Christmas. I don't do decorations. I don't really celebrate Christmas much, since my divorce. When I was married, my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, used to like to do the Christmas thing, for her children. Also, she and I exchanged gifts with each other. Being on my own, there doesn't seem much point in it.
Nando came over, Sunday night, to watch "Lost." He moves in this Saturday and I found out he's not going to Italy this Christmas, so I will have him around for the holidays. When Nando arrived, I was watching a film, "Bad Santa." Up till now, "A Christmas Story" has been my favorite Christmas film. The story of a boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas, it's very amusing. I now think this must fall to second place, after "Bad Santa." "Bad Santa" stars Billy Bob Thornton, whose most notable achievement once was being married to Angelina Jolie. Thornton plays a crook who, with his partner, poses as Santa and helper, so they can rob department stores. Their criminal enterprise comes undone after Thornton befriends a troubled kid.
This is Santa for adults and the dialogue includes very liberal use of profanity. I found the film hilarious. I laughed out loud many times, which is always a good sign if I am watching a comedy. Nando missed the beginning, but from where he came in, even he laughed out loud and Nando is a very tough audience. He rarely likes comedies, preferring action films, instead. It's probably not a good idea to show this film to young children who are still dopey enough to believe in Santa Claus. For the rest of us, especially the jaded, cynical, bah humbug types, this is the perfect Christmas film.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Police Drama Outside My Window

There wasn't much I could find to watch on TV, tonight. After "Eastenders," I watched a "Seinfeld" episode, then a documentary on "Intelligence Failures." All the films on, tonight, were ones I have seen before. I decided to have an early night and went upstairs to my computer. I tuned in the Clive Bull show, on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177, or via the net at: ), for background, while I checked my email.
I opened an email from Jason Young, the film director. Over the weekend, I learned that I have been shortlisted for a small role in a short film project he's working on. In the email, he asks me to give him a call. As it was before 10:30PM, I decided to do so, right away. When he answered, he asked me if I had my copy of the script handy. As it was emailed to me, I have it on my computer. He asked me to read the lines of the character I am being considered for. "Lines?" Actually, my character only has one line. So, he's having me do a read, over the phone. Okay. I started scrolling through the script. The problem is that my character's one line is a good way toward the end of the script. I could almost feel the clock ticking, while I struggle to find my one line. Finally, I find it and read it out loud. Mr. Young gave virtually no reaction and says he'll be back in touch. I could have done it different ways. The character I am up for is a historical figure. Did he want me to attempt to imitate the real person? Oh well, directors who don't say anything get exactly what they ask for.
With my email out of the way, I started pondering what I would write about, tonight. On the Clive Bull show, a caller was discussing the latest James Bond film, "Casino Royale." Clive has finally seen it. Somehow, this caller managed to get things confused and was claiming that George Lazenby played James Bond in the original "Casino Royale," back in 1967. Clive questioned this, but wasn't sure, admitting he's no James Bond expert. I decided to call the show and clarify matters. Lazenby played James Bond in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," in 1969. Everybody knows that. David Niven played Bond, in "Casino Royale (1967). Clive's producer, Bob, answered and I told him what I was calling about. He said he'd call back and it wouldn't be long. It's been an hour now and he still hasn't called back. I suspect he isn't going to. This is the first time Bob hasn't called me back.
While waiting for the call that will never come, I went back to pondering what I will write about, tonight. I flipped through a couple of newspapers, looking for stories that might be interesting to write about. Nothing is really exciting me. All of the sudden, I heard talking outside. My bedroom window looks out onto the street in front of my house. The talking was fairly loud, so I pulled the curtain aside to see what's going on. I observed three police officers questioning a young man wearing a hoodie. Are people wearing hoodies in America? Just in case they're not, and I certainly hope they aren't, a "hoodie" is a sweatshirt with a hood. They seem to have become one of the fashion icons for chavish, street sub-culture, here in the UK. Associated in the public mindset with young, thuggish yobs, It's no wonder these police officers are questioning the man. He looks like he's up to no good. What did they see that led them to stop this fellow? Now I wished I had looked sooner.
One of the police officers is holding a flashlight (they say "torch," here) and appears to be looking at the young man's ID. I turned down the radio to try to hear what is being said. It's frustrating, but I can't make out what's going on. Because most British police don't carry guns, I am unlikely to witness a shootout. Still, I might get to see a beating, with truncheons. Just as I settle in to watch the evening's entertainment, they let the fellow go. He proceeds to walk up the street, while the three cops walk down. Even this element of real life, police drama is disappointing. I closed the curtain, then turned Clive Bull back up. I almost never see police walking down my street. Once in a while, one of their cars whizzes up the road, but that's about it. So what the heck were three of them doing walking down the street at this time of night?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A British Rose By Any Other Name

A recent examination of British birth certificates has revealed that a number of parents are choosing to name their children after celebrities. 426 boys are named "Dre," after Dr, Dre. There are 27 Tupacs, six Jay-Zs and three Snoops. It's not just boys names that are following the celebrity route. 288 girls have been named, "Madonna." Britney is the name of choice for 1,611 girls. There are 2,614 Shakiras and 7,261 Kylies. 36 boys and girls have been named "Arsenal," after my favorite Premiership football team, Arsenal F. C. 6,074 girls have been named Keira, supposedly after Keira Knightley. Six boys have been named "Gandalf." 265 girls are named "Beyonce." Two boys are named, "Superman" and one "Harry Potter."
I feel like saying, "and a partridge in a pear tree." What are these parents thinking? Sarah Malone, a marketing executive with, attributes some of this trend to "the famous British sense of humour." Are parents who treat their child's name as a joke thinking about the welfare of their child? Surely, some of these children will be teased by other children, because of their names. It reminds me of when Frank Zappa named his daughter, Moon Unit. Thankfully, the most popular names in Britain remain Jack, Joshua, Thomas, Sophie, Jessica, and Emily. But maybe Jack is inspired by the character from "Lost." "Thomas" could be inspired by Thomas the Tank Engine. Joshua? That's a bit biblical, innit?

The Flower Brings Me Another Gift

Speaking of "Casino Royale," I was watching the original "Casino Royale," last night, on ITV 3 or ITV 4, or something like that. If you haven't seen the 1967 version, it's a spoof of Bond films and one of the most bizarre films I have ever seen. Anyway, I am in my usual repose on my settee, when in walk M1 and the Exotic Flower. The Flower gleefully tells me that she has a present for me. The last time she brought me a present, it was left-over popcorn from the cinema. Curious as to what she'd brought this time, I looked up inquiringly. She seemed really excited and produced a long loaf of French bread. She'd bought me a French stick. How thrilling. Nothing to go in it, just the bread.
The flower and M1 had stopped at the local Shell petrol station, which has a Sainsbury's Express shop. In the evenings, the staff mark down stuff that's reached its sell by date. The Flower had spotted French bread marked down to ten Pence per loaf. Unable to resist such a bargain, she purchased one loaf for her and M1, and one for me. The Flower was proud that she had taken my advice and started buying bargains. She asked me if I liked French stick. I assured her I did. I used to have some with the Black Queen, when I was married. The BQ would purchase French stick, cold cuts, cheese, and some cole slaw, spread a tablecloth on the floor of the lounge, and we would have a picnic in front of the tele. The only problem I had now was that I don't have any cold cuts.
I congratulated the Flower on passing her Driving Theory (written) exam. The mismatched couple didn't fancy watching "Casino Royale" (1967) and asked if they could put something else on. I agreed, having seen it before. I asked the Flower if she had seen "War of the Worlds" (2005), as I had watched the premier of it on Sky, earlier. She told me that she hadn't seen it, but had wanted to. I checked Sky multi-start, and there was a showing that had only recently started. I put it on for her and it was at the point where the action is about to start. Suddenly, she jumps up and says she is going to run upstairs, and change into her PJs. I warned her that if she went right then, she would miss a good bit. Of course, she goes anyway and misses the whole sequence of the first tripod attacking.
Upon her return, she proceeds to ask me if there is anything scary in the film. "Not to me," I replied. She doesn't look reassured by this response. It seems that the bossy Exotic Flower is terrified of scary films. Attempting to watch "War of the Worlds," she says that she gets interested in these films, but is too scared to watch them. She starts getting paranoid after seeing them. "So, you think alien machines are buried beneath us and are about to attack?" I hoped that hearing how absurd she sounded might embarrass her out of being frightened. She asked me what happens in the end. M1 then announces that the humans must lose, because how could they fight such superior technology. "War of the Worlds," originally a novel by H. G. Wells, has been a radio play, a couple of films, and a TV series. I wondered how anyone, in this day and age, could not know what happens in the end? The Flower observes that the music in the film keeps building as if something is about to happen.
"Do you ever see the aliens?" she asks.
"Eventually," I reply, helpfully.
Finally, after about twenty minutes, she and M1 abandon the film and go upstairs to watch a rebroadcast of "The X Factor." "You can watch it down here," I call after them, but it's too late. They have shut themselves in M1's room. I ended up deprived of the Flower's company.

Artist of the Week: Fry and Wilson (Again)

This week, my Artist of the Week is Fry and Wilson, again. Because I posted my Artist of the Week late, last week, they didn't have a full week. I decided to keep them for another week, to make it up to them. Besides, their "Casino Royale" track is fabulous. Some of you seem to have listened to their tracks at their Myspace ( ), because the number of plays counters have gone up. However, I am disappointed that you have not been leaving them comments. Naughty, naught, naughty. Anyway, if you have not listened yet, go to their Myspace and check out "Casino Royale" and their other tracks. Add them as friends and leave a comment!!! Make sure you mention that I sent you, in your comment.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How Depressing

Recently, a four-year-old girl was diagnosed with "depression" because she couldn't go to the same school as her friends. Mollie Murphy was refused a place in East Herrington Primary School, Sunderland, England, because the class was full. A representative of the Sunderland City Council said that Mollie's application for school was received late and all places had been allocated already. She was assigned to another nearby school, instead. After starting at the school in September, she suffered with vomiting and bed wetting. Then she completely refused to go.
Mollie's mother, Victoria Anderson, aged 26, then took her daughter to the doctor. Victoria said that Mollie refuses to go to bed at night, cries all night, wets the bed and makes herself vomit. Victoria claims that the doctor blames Mollies behavior on stress and depression. Oh for Pete's sake! When I was four, I just went to whatever school my folks told me I was going to. After a year at a nursery school, I did kindergarten at a different school. None of my friends, if I even had any, from the nursery school were ever seen again. I don't think I liked the kids in the nursery class very much. My only memory of the school is of kids there teasing me, because of one of my drawings. I went to a private primary school and none of my friends from the neighborhood where I lived, went there. So what I didn't care. I developed a set of friends at school and another set at home. Guess what? I'm not in contact with anyone from my primary school anymore, either. I think Mollie has figured out a new way to get mommy Victoria to dance on her puppet strings.
Can a four-year-old be depressed? Here in England, General Practicioners (GPs) routinely make psychiatric diagnoses, which they have little training to make. GPs even prescribe powerful, psycotropic drugs, like Prozac, for patients. In America, one had to see a Psychiatrist for that. Yes, I'm suggesting that the doctor may not have a bloody clue. If Mollie's this much of a mess now, what will she be like at 25? My mother thought I was bad when I was a kid, she should be thankful she didn't have a little drama queen, like Mollie. Am I the only one who noticed that mother, Victoria, as a different surname to Mollie? This suggests that Victoria is with a different fellow, now than Mollie's Dad. Perhaps there is more to Mollie's behavior than Victoria is picking up on. In any case, Victoria, take charge, girl. Don't let this four-year-old run you around like a blue arsed fly, as the Black Queen used to day. She'll soon adjust to the new school. I can't even remember the names of anyone I went to school with when I was four.

Taxing Reading

I was visiting Britain in 1997 and was here for the election, that year. Back then, I predicted that if Labour won the election, taxes would increase. A recent study by the World Bank has found that, since coming to power in 1997, the Labour Party has introduced over 4,600 pages of new tax laws. That's 4,600 plus pages of tax law ADDED to the tax laws that were already on the books, bringing Britain's total of primary tax legislation to 8,300 pages. The only country in the study which had more pages was India, with 9,000. As a former British colony, I wonder where they learned it from.
As bad as tax legislation is in America, America totaled out at 5,100 pages. Germany has 1,700 pages, France has 1,300, and Switzerland only has 300. The folks in Switzerland have also been clever enough to stay out of the European Union. Come to think of it, they stayed out of World War II, as well. They make nice watches, too. Gordon Brown, the man who has presided over wringing more and more money out of the British taxpayer, is now on his way to becoming the next "Prime Minister." Not nearly as charismatic as Tony Blair, it's likely that when Blair resigns, Brown will end up losing the next election to the Conservatives. This may not provide any respite for the victims in all of this, the public, because the Conservatives have stated that they won't guarantee to reduced taxes.
It makes no difference which wing of the Labour-Conservative-Liberal-Democrat Party wins the elections, we, the people, end up paying for it. They all keep coming up ways to fleece wealth from those of us who create it, like the blood-sucking parasites that they are. The same thing happens in America, with the Demopublicans. Those who advocate for the enactment of government legislation ought to keep something in mind: it seems to be much harder getting rid of regulation than it is to enact it in the first place. More addictive than cigarettes, just say, "no," to legislation, in the first place. Remember friends, taxation is theft.

Goodbye Old Friend

The trousers I have been wearing to work at the restaurant have been worn for the last time. They developed a hole in an indiscreet location. Having previously saved them from split seams and a cut in the thigh, this hole in the fabric proved too much for my limited sewing abilities. Originally given to me by my mother, years ago, before I moved to England, I had come to rely on them for work. Mother being the practical person she is, bought me five pair, in two colors. They must have been on sale. She liked the fact that the waistband had elastic, which enabled these garments to remain useful, despite changes to my waistline. Three pair were dark blue and two were light grey. They are so old, I don't even remember when I got them, They are at least 10 years old and, possibly, older. This was the last of the blue pair, all three of which perished in the line of duty, over the past year and a half. It hit my like the passing of an old and trusted friend. They are survived by the light greys, which haven't seen as much usage, as the color isn't appropriate for the particular work I have been doing.
On the way home from work, I stopped in Tesco to do a big shop. I purchased a new pair of trousers, there. These are the first new trousers I have bought in two and a half years. They were on sale, so I got 20% off. I also got Tesco Clubcard points. Because of purchasing the trousers, my shopping bill was double what it would have otherwise been. I used this time to redeem a voucher I had for double Clubcard points. Isn't that clever?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day is a Thursday

Thanksgiving isn't a holiday in Britain. It's just another Thursday. It's been nine years since I attended a proper Thanksgiving dinner. Eight of those have occurred since I moved to England. One was my last Thanksgiving in America, back in 1997. I was dating my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen (BQ), back then. My mother informed me that she wasn't bothering with a Thanksgiving dinner, that year, not that she would welcome a girlfriend of mine to it, even if she had been doing one. At some point, maybe in October or sometime, one half of this married couple who are friends of mine, Tim and Barbara, told me I was welcome to join them on the day. I have this suspicion it was Tim, but it's been so long, I just don't remember. In any case, I was relieved, because it gave me a real family Thanksgiving to attend.
I planned on taking the BQ. Being from England, she had never attended a Thanksgiving before. In those days, she was acting all nice and romantic. The poor sucker that I am, I was keen to take her to an American Thanksgiving dinner. Based on the invitation to Tim and Barbara's, I arranged for the BQ to fly over to New York for the holiday. She flew in Wednesday night, the night before. I phoned Barbara to check what time she wanted us to arrive. Barbara told me that she had decided not to do a Thanksgiving dinner, that year. I think she was having a disagreement with Tim, or something. This is why I suspect that it was Tim who had invited me...and neglected to tell Barbara. If she had known I was supposed to be coming, with the BQ, I don't think she would have cancelled.
There I was, the night before, my half Chinese, half English girlfriend having flown all the way to America, and I suddenly had no dinner to take her to. The only thing I could think of was to try to find a restaurant doing a Thanksgiving dinner and take her there. So, I ended up on Thanksgiving Day, looking through the newspaper, trying to find a restaurant advertising Thanksgiving dinner, where I didn't have a reservation in advance, and that was reasonably priced. At the time, I was working on a temporary contract for British Airways and the pay was minimal. Many places I looked at were too expensive. I called a few and they were fully booked. Finally, I found a Jewish deli/restaurant that was reasonably priced and still had availability.
I made a reservation and took the BQ there. I had never tried going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, before. To me, it's an event to have in a home, with lots of friends and family around. When we arrived at the restaurant, the atmosphere just didn't seem right. Also, we were alone, no friends and family with us. No kids and old relatives you forget most of the time, except around the holidays. No distant, elderly aunts and uncles, who squint behind big glasses and tell jokes that aren't funny, but people laugh anyway. The restaurant did the whole turkey thing but some of the sides tasted a bit deli-like and the whole thing just wasn't right. I apologized to the BQ and felt very bad about it. She didn't seem to mind. She didn't know what she was missing, anyway.
We got married the next year, in June, of course. During our engagement, she talked me into moving to England. She had two children by a former victim and that next year, we couldn't afford to fly all four of us to America to attend a Thanksgiving. I had work on the day and when I came home, the BQ had a surprise for me. She'd checked with an American internet friend of hers and come up with a traditional Thanksgiving menu. She cooked a turkey, potatoes, vegetables, gravy, the whole bit. When I got home, her and the sprogs had laid out the dining table. They had the fancy table cloth out and all the places settings. They had even lit candles. It had all been done as a surprise for me. It was small, just the four of us...oh, and the dog. It wasn't a big, American, extended family Thanksgiving. There were no holiday shows on the TV and I had work in the morning. Still, it was a lovely gesture and I felt very touched. This was back when she was all nice and sweet. Before she turned to the dark side.
After that, I longed to take her and the sprogs to America, one year, to a big American Thanksgiving dinner. Somehow, it never happened. Then, in 2002, she filed for divorce. Not patient enough to wait till the divorce was settled, she locked me out of the house in early November. That year, I spent Thanksgiving living in my car, in a layby on the side of the road. The same person had managed to give me one of the most touching Thanksgivings I ever had and also the worst. For the past three years, I have spent Thanksgiving on my own. At least I'm not living in my car. A couple of times, I got small cuts of turkey and cooked myself a Thanksgiving dinner, of sorts Thanksgiving dinner for one. This year, money is very tight, so I haven't bothered with that. I settled for a Thanksgiving hot dog, with some cole slaw on the side, and some left-over cake, from work, for dessert. To anyone who cares, Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Now I Remember Why I Hate Bankers

One of my policies is to not do business with an organization, if that organization fails to provide the service that I expect. I have developed a pattern, throughout my life, of changing banks, from time to time, whenever a bank's staff behave in a way that I don't like. About 20 years ago, I concluded that I disliked bankers, lawyers, and insurance companies. The reason is that, more often than not, instead of acting like businessmen, they act like impediments to doing business. All three engage in unholy alliances with "government," to foist themselves upon us.
When I moved to the UK, just over eight years ago, I opened an account with a major UK bank. I picked them simply upon the recommendation of the Black Queen. She banked with them and took me down to the local branch, where she introduced me as her new husband. At the time, the staff seemed most accommodating. They opened a current account (checking, for American readers), provided me with a debit card and opened a Visa account for me. In the years that followed, they upgraded me to one of their premium customers. I don't know if I am getting mellow in my old age, or what, but I stayed a loyal customer for over eight years. In the last half of our relationship, I have encountered a slowly growing number of problems from them, but still, I didn't change. Probably it's not me being more mellow, it's just I couldn't be bothered with the hassle. Besides, two decades have taught me that, inevitably, one bank is as bad as another.
Recently, I have had a growing urge to open an account with a different bank. Last Saturday, I finally decided, enough is enough. I planned to go to one of their competitors and open a second current account. The idea was to shift most of my dealings to one of their competitors. I wanted to do it after work, on Monday. However, I ended up getting out of work too late. The same thing happened on Tuesday. Finally, today, I was out at a decent time and I headed to a place I dread, Bracknell high street. It's not really the high street I dread, it's the parking. I had selected NatWest Bank as the intended beneficiary of my new custom. They are frequently advertising for people to switch accounts to them and claim to be better than other high street banks at customer service. Besides, they are one of the few banks I am not already annoyed with, for one reason or another.
When I arrived at the branch, I found they close at 4:30PM. My current bank stays open till 5PM, so I wasn't impressed. Still, it was only 4:15PM, so I entered with a cheque for £93 burning a hole in my pocket, just itching to be deposited in a new account. After glancing over a brochure describing the different accounts they offer, I sauntered over to the customer service desk. It was staffed by two people, a man and an attractive blond woman. The man was busy, so I was "helped" by the blond. I informed her that I was interested in opening an account. She asked me if I had ID. I did. She then asked me if I had a bank account with another bank. When I admitted that I did, she then asked if I had a bank statement, with me. At first I said "no," because I didn't think I did. She then said they couldn't open an account for me unless I had a bank statement from my current bank. Looking through my briefcase, I discovered that I had two with me, but from July and August. I asked her if they would be sufficient? No, she informed me, I needed three months of statements. I was starting not to like her. I then did something which she was totally unprepared for I asked her, "why?"
The only answer she could manage was, "you just do." In other words, she didn't know why and had never been interested enough in her job to find out. I proceeded to question the wisdom of being willing to open an account for someone with no bank account, but not open one for someone with one, but who only had two statements, not three. She told me that without the three, they would only be able to open the most basic account. It had all the features I wanted except a checkbook, but I hardly ever write a cheque anymore, anyway. I told her that would be fine. By now, she had probably sized me up as the type of customer who wouldn't just accept any old bullshit that is fobbed off on him, but who will ask embarrassing questions. So, she passed me up the chain to a person who does the account opening, washing her hands of me.
A tall man introduced himself, wearing that surface, customer service smile that seems to be an essential requirement for most face to face sales positions, these days. He took me in a private office and we sat down. I asked him why I needed three bank statements for the account one up from thebottomm. At least he had an answer. "It's so we can see if the account is being managed properly," he replied. It's the answer I expected, but blondie should have known it. I asked him if I could, subsequently, provide the three statements, could I upgrade the basic account and he assured me that I could. Fine. Let's get the show on the road. I laid out the cheque that I had with me. In the old days, the sight of money used to tantalize bankers, having a similar effect to a woman flashing a man a glimpse of her ample cleavage. He then asked me if I had ID. I produced my drivers license, which is a photo one. He asked if the address on it was my current address. I admitted it was not. I had moved this year, but hadn't yet changed the address on my license. Problem. They needed proof of my address. I whipped out a utility bill addressed to my new address. Not good enough. Credit card statement. Not good enough. He asked if I had a passport. I whipped out my trusty American passport. I didn't point out that it was expired. Hopefully, he wouldn't notice. He did. Because it was expired, he said he couldn't accept it. Hang on a minute, sunshine. The department of Work and Pensions had accepted my expired passport as ID, combined with the utility bills, bank statements, credit card statements, drivers license, and car registration. They are a "government" department. If they would accept that, surely some measly bank would? No. I waved my cheque at him, pointing out that it was a benefit cheque, which I had been awarded, based on my expired passport as ID. I mentioned I had wage statements, sent to my new address, with me. I had my car registration. I had a photo ID card around my neck, on a strap, from the company who's offices the restaurant serviced. I had passed a security check to get that and once again, done so with my expired passport. No good. I had an American, photo drivers license. No good. He asked if I had the award letter that told me of my benefit. Had I gotten one of those? I handed him the letter that came with the cheque and he went to consult "higher authority," to see if he could use that. You can tell how well you're doing by how many levels of an organization you can get passed up.
Is the absurdity of this situation apparent, yet? I had four forms of photo ID on me, three of which were government issued. Only one was expired. Clearly, there can be no doubt that I am the person in the photos. I had a utility bill, two bank statements, several wage statements, a credit card statement, and my car registration, all with my new address. Surely there can be no doubt that I am at that address. I only wanted to open an account and deposit money. I wasn't asking for the keys to the bloody vault, for Pete's sake.
The British have a word, "jobsworth," used to refer to a person who insists on following regulations to the letter. It's so common here, they have coined a word for it. Historians claim that the Nazis planned, if they were successful in invading and conqueringBritainn, to rule it by using British bureaucrats, because they have such a reputation for obsessive rule following. To make matters worse, most British "officials" won't even accept a bribe. What good is being an "official," if you won't take a bribe? Even in the Soviet Union, they used to take bribes.
Tall man comes back. New wrinkle. After consulting "higher authority," he was now refusing to open any account for me without an unexpired passport. Of course I asked, "why?"
"Because you're not a British citizen."
"So? I have been living here for over eight years. I am a resident. There is no legal requirement for me to obtain a passport, so long as I am not traveling anywhere." I might as well have saved my breath. Trying to employ logic with a jobsworth is pointless. Robots have more sense. The only reason I hadn't yet renewed my passport is that it costs more money than I spend on food in a month and I have no money to travel anywhere, so it is an unnecessary expense. I grabbed all my "papers" and my cheque, muttered something about taking my business elsewhere and left.
I walked down the high street. Next stop, Abbey National. They advertise as being all customer friendly, although they aren't as big as NatWest. Abbey was open till 5PM. A plus already. This time, I didn't mention the passport at all. I offered my drivers license. "Is this your current address?" the Abbey woman asked. I should have just lied. If the papers were sent to my old address, I have my mail forwarded to the new address and I could just change the address, latter. I'm too in the habit of being honest. I admitted that it wasn't. She shut down then. "We need ID associated with your new address." She wasn't interested in any of my other papers. I muttered something about wasting my time and walked out.
It seemed like I would have this problem at any of them. It seems that this is the result of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) and tightened security due to identity theft. The humanbots who work for these organizations have so completely numbed their brain cells, they can't recognize their own absurdity. Recently, there was a report in the news about high street banks leaving customer information in the curbside rubbish, where it can be rifled by identity thieves. I gave up and went home. We are all doomed.
If you live in the US, boycott Direct Merchants Bank, they're muppets.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Love Is Not On the Game (a short story)

I felt the urge of trying my hand at some creative writing. The following is a short story, inspired by "My Love Is Not a Game," a short story by Naiomi Pitre. Before you read mine, you should read hers, at her Myspace: . Then come back here.
Back? Okay.
"My Love Is Not On the Game," by Joseph in the Bracknell
People keep saying that my girls is on the game, but she's not, so stop saying that, okay? Stop saying it, or I'll thump you.
My name is Dijon, like the mustard. I don't get how so many brothers get off treating their women with so much disrespect. I don't understand how beautiful Black queens allow themselves to be dissed like that. Okay, the ugly ones I can understand, but not the beautiful ones. How can you say you love someone, then belittle and berate her? Sure, smack her around a little bit, just to show you care, but don't belittle and berate her. I wouldn't do that to my girl. Does she appreciate the love that I show her? Does she understand that I don't want her on the game? She tells me to back off and leave her alone, but I can't. I just can't. I want to make her my trouble and strife.
Three year ago, I met her in Waterloo Station, on the south bank of the Thames, in London. My mate, Tee, and I were chillin' at a pub, in Surrey Quays, having a couple of pints. Tee's parents had a big dispute about what to name him. His mother wanted to name him Tracey. His dad said, "that's a girl's name." He wanted to name him Trevor. His mum thought Trevor sounded like the name of a paedophile school teacher. At the end of the day, they compromised and since both names shared the same first letter, they called him "Tee." Tee had to be back at the London School of Economics, for a class at one fifteen, so I decided to head back to my flat. He shared a Jubilee Line train with me, as far as Waterloo, then we parted ways. He stayed on the Underground, while I headed upstairs to Southwest Trains. It is a quicker way to get to Richmond, where my flat is. That's when I first laid eyes on her.
There was this bird, standing all alone by platform 19, waiting on the next train to Reading. I gave her a butcher's, noticing her long, dark hair, twisted into a French plait, crowning her gorgeous head. There aren't many shorties who can rock that style, without ending up looking lie one of the dudes from McFly, but my girl was working it for real. Her face was soft, delicate, and sweet, like a light brown fairy princess that had fallen from the sky and landed face down, in a pile of shit. She was wearing tight black trousers and a yellow crop top, which showed off her pierced belly button, and her cleavage. She had nice shoulders, too, but I'm a man, so I was starring at her tits, innit? I had to suppress the urge to run over to her and suffocate her, so I could have my way with her. I had to find out more about her---to find out what made her tick. It turns out that it's stress. When she's stressed, she gets that facial tick, know what I mean?
I approached her and said, "alright shitface, what's your name?" She told me it was Neenaneenaneena, which is an Urdu word for, "up yours, twatface." I hoped that I would soon be up her twat. Not long after witnessing her ample breasts rise and fall, teasingly, as she breathed, I feel in love. I also got a stiffy. Her nips were erect, promising milk for my thirsting soul.
Neena eventually told me of her dream to become a devoted wife to a man, one day. She also liked to dress up in a wedding gown and white stockings, with suspenders. She seemed old fashioned and wanted a man to take care of her, although she wanted to keep working, too. She fanatsized about being the mother of some man's lucky children, showering their puke off her and besting them at knowledge games. It was as if someone was whispering into her ear all of the things I wanted in a wife and she was just parroting them back to me. We spent many hours together. I longed to explore every inch of her luscious frame with my lips. She insisted we take things slowly and only snogged me, and let me cop a feel of her tits. My mates were neglected. I stopped hanging out with them and going to the pub. All of that seemed pretty pointless, when I had Neena to occupy my time.
See, I don't get these fools out here, who could be banging their women, at home, but choose to do pub crawls with their mates. Cherish your woman and treat her like the twat she is. Who wants to hang out with hairy leg feckers, when you have someone soft, gentle, and who shaves her legs, waiting for you at home? What utter nonsense! I made sure Neena understood that I wasn't going to occupy my time with such nonsense. I didn't expect her to occupy her time with it, either. Why did she need to spend time with those cows she used to kick it with? All they did was gossip about who's man had gotten it off with whom, behind his woman's back. I didn't need Neena being influenced by that mess. I didn't want her thinking about me cheating on her, otherwise, she might get the idea to catch me out. She started living with me, in my flat, which was cool.
Sometimes, Neena's family would get on my last nerve. Her father was this real strict Muslim geezer, named Imran. Her mother was a submissive. I have a few Pakistani homies from secondary school and they always told me it was a myth that Pakistani men made their women walk two steps behind them. Her folks must have been seriously old school. Whatever Imran said, went! Neena had not made him very happy when she moved into my home. He was constantly trying to intimidate her into coming back home.
I had to cut that shit out straight away. I told her that if she was going to be with me, she would have to tell her dad to chill. She didn't like me talking about her old man like that, but I knew she'd make the right decision. It wasn't like she had to work. I brought home plenty of dosh from my mechanic's job, at Halfords. She never wanted for anything. She had noting to complain about. I let her go to the corner shops and everything. I even let her use my Switch card. I took care of her now, not her old man. If she went home now, they'd make her work in their 99 Pence shop, selling cheap rubbish. That was the last thing she was interested in doing.
I took her to all the fancy restaurants down the West End. I took her to Covent Garden. I never let her rim me in the bedroom. The lips that would, one day, kiss my son goodnight, where too precious to do anything that dirty. I offered to lick her flange as much as possible. I tell you, if she had been on the game, I wouldn't have done that. She refused, saying that she wanted to save that for later, and gave me blowies, instead.
I caught my girl out, one time. At first, I thought it must be a mistake. One day, while I was riding in her car, which I had bought her just two months earlier, I noticed a tie on the floor of the backseat. I had never known Neena to wear a tie and it wasn't one of mine. I decided I would leave the tie there and pretend I hadn't seen it. I followed her a few times, after that day, trying to catch her out. I never did catch her in the middle of any mess, but I did notice that the tie disappeared from her car, after that. I started looking for the man in our social circles who wore that tie and I planned on killing him when I found him.
Three weeks later, I went to pick up Neena from the hair salon where she was getting her French plait tightened. She had always told me that the woman who did her hair was a lesbian. I have nothing against lesbians. In fact, they are kind of a turn on, but this one was one of those butch ones. I prefer lipstick lesbians. When I cam to pick Neena up, I saw her kissing the dyke on the cheek and I saw the same turquoise blue and white tie around the dyke's neck! That got me thinking, what would be the perfect place to pull babes, if you were a lesbo? Working at a women's hair salon. What was the dyke doing in Neena's car in the first place, dropping her tie?
I went off on her, in the car. She started crying after I slapped her face. She went on and on, screaming that he would never let no woman lay hands on her. She denied that Butchy Brenda and her had anything going on which I didn't know about. I told her that I knew about the tie. Neena claimed to have borrowed it, one day, and was just returning it. Did she really expect me to believe that? I was even more angry that she would get me so angry that I would slap her like that. I grabbed a handful of her hair and cracked her head against the passenger side window. Almost cracked the window, as well.
I drove off and on the way home, I asked her over and over, why she would make me do this to her. Couldn't she just tell me the truth? If she fancied women, why not pull a nice lipstick lesbian, so we could share? Neena just sat pressing herself into the passenger door, like she thought I would kill her. She said nothing, just cried and cried.
When we got home she tried to lock herself in the bathroom., but I blocked her way. So instead, she threw herself onto the bed and curled into a ball. I told Neena I was willing to forgive her lying and cheating on me, but I wanted her to admit to the truth. "you want the truth," she screamed, tearfully. "Okay, the truth is I borrowed that tie to wear, when I went to visit my family. I am a pre-op transexual, Dijon, but my family won't accept it, being strict Muslims and all. When I go visit them, they insist I dress as a man."
I was flabbergasted! No wonder she had refused to have intercourse all this time. Yet, I found myself getting hard. One of her breasts had popped out of the tube top she was wearing that day. I wrapped my lips around the brown nipple and sucked hard. She cried out in pain, but I hadn't meant to hurt her. All I could think about was how long she had denied me intercourse. That drove my passion further along and I rubbed my growing erection against the silk of her knickers. She was wearing a short skirt, which was now hiked up. Neena shook her head, vigorously. I unzipped my trousers and unleashed the dragon.
"What is wrong with you?" Neenaneenaneena screamed at me, her eyes wide with terror.
"Nothing, Neen. I just love you, can't you see?" I pleaded with her.
"Let go of me, Dijon. Let GO!"
I grabbed her harder and felt my cock slide past the elastic of her underwear. I was at the entrance of her anus and I shoved myself inside her with a vengeance. Neena screamed again and I could see tears rolling down the sides of her face. I hadn't used any lubrication and I could feel some serious friction as I eased myself up her rectum. The sensation was so different from any normal woman I had ever been with. It was like sliding on sandpaper. Somehow, it still felt amazing.
Neena went limp underneath me. Her eyes were blank. I couldn't stop myself pumping in and out of her, like a mental. I knew this lovemaking would bring us closer together. I started getting that familiar sensation. Orgasm was on the way. She couldn't get pregnant, so I just let fly with my man muck all up inside her hot bottom.
Neena left me the next day. When I told Tee, he said she might have worked as a Tranny prostitute. "How else could she afford all those hormones," he added. I refuse to believe that my T-girl was on the game. She may have been gone, but I found myself hooked on T-girls.

I Saw Casino Royale

On Sunday, we finished shooting much earlier than I had expected. By 11:30AM, I was on my way home. Nando was due to come over and watch "Lost" with me, that evening, but I had a sudden brainstorm. I could stop at a cinema and see "Casino Royale," on the way home. I altered my course just enough to pass near the Showcase Cinema, Reading, which is actually in Winnersh. Showcase is owned and operated by National Amusements, an American company. It is one of my two favorite, local, cinemas. I didn't know what time the showings were, but I figured that had to be a matinee at some time.
Upon arrival, I took advantage of the free parking offered by Showcase. An ex-friend of mine used to prefer the Vue Cinema (formerly known as Warner Village Cinemas), at the Oracle, Reading. I could never understand that, because the Oracle is twice as far away from where we live, there is no free parking, and they didn't have butter for the popcorn. Those of you in America will probably find it hard to believe that a cinema could sell popcorn without offering butter, but that is the way it is here, in Britain. When I was married to the Black Queen, we went to great lengths to find those few cinemas which offered butter. She liked butter on her popcorn, as well, which goes to show that we did have something in common, contrary to her claims. The only cinemas we found with butter were the Showcase and CGI Cinemas. I went to the box office and looked at the board displaying showtimes. The first show was 2PM. Looking at my mobile, the time was 12:30. I had an hour and a half to kill.
One of the things I like about the Showcase is that it has a video game room. One of the games available is Time Crisis III. When I am early, I play a couple of games of Time Crisis III, to pass the time. I couldn't afford to do it for and hour and a half, so I sat in my car and listened to Steve Allen's Sunday afternoon show, on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177, or via the net, at: ). Steve, who's openly gay, spends the bulk of his show "bitching" about celebrities. I find him very amusing, especially when he has his friend, John Warrington, in the studio with him. Although Steve can be heard weekday mornings, between 5AM and 7AM, I prefer his Sunday show, which starts at noon, because I am rarely up at 5AM.
After an hour with Steve, I went in to buy my ticket. I was still dressed in my suit and tie, which I had worn for the shoot, plus my black trench coat. I am not usually dressed so formally, when I go to the cinema. I hope people didn't think I had dressed up as James Bond, or something. That would be too geeky. The price had gone up again, since the last time I went to see a film. The ticket cost me £6.25. Then I headed to the Time Crisis III machine, to pass the final twenty-odd minutes till show time. I did so well, that it was past 2PM when I finished my second game. No need to worry, cinemas, here, have advertising before the feature. The Showcase usually runs about ten minutes of ads, then ten minutes of coming attractions, before the feature actually starts. I still had time to buy popcorn before the coming attractions started. I like seeing the coming attractions. I picked the shortest queue and waited impatiently, reading a book. I had a bottle of water in my coat pocket, from the shoot, so I would save money on drink and only buy popcorn. I love having moviepopcornn with hot butter, while watching a film. Whene it was my turn, I asked the bloke behind the counter for a large salted popcorn, with butter. You have to specify "salted," or else you might getcaramell corn, known as "sweet," here. The concessions bloke informed me that they didn't offer butter for popcorn. What??? Bastards! It seems that the Showcase ditched the butter, since the last time I had been there. If I had known that, I would have gone to the UCI, in Bracknell. I told him to forget the popcorn. Without the butter, it's hardly worth the exorbitant prices.
I was pissed off about the butter, as it has been so long since I have had hot, movie popcorn. True, the Exotic Flower had recently brought me some left-over popcorn, from the cinema, but it wasn't hot and fresh. Since I was pissed off, I decided to have a piss in the men's room. Then, I entered the cinema auditorium being used for the 2PM "Casino Royale." I always sit in the front row. I like being able to stretch my legs and not have anyone's head in front of me. The advertisements were still running and I saw some people wandering, slowly, up the aisle, looking for empty seats. It was crowded, but I wasn't concerned, as few people seem to like the front row. I walk purposefully to the front and had my second shock of the day. The front row was almost completely full. There was an empty seat between two groups of people. I don't like sitting next to strangers, but I had little choice, so I went for it. I managed to get myself settled, just before the coming attractions started.
I bet you were expecting me to review the film. Okay. It was alright. I didn't think it was as good as so many seem to be saying, but it was better than the last Pierce Brosnan one, "Die Another Day." It takes Bond in a new direction, being much darker and grittier than any previous Bond films. When Bond gets into a fight, in this film, he has visible scars, afterwards. "Casino Royale" restarts the Bond story, with James newly promoted to 00 status. One continuity problem with this is that Dame Judi Dench returns as M, again, which seems strange, given that she was the boss of the previous incarnation of Bond. The gadgetry has been downplayed quite a lot. In fact, there's hardly any. There's no Q and no Miss Moneypenny, although there is a humorous reference, when Bond meets his main Bond girl for this outing, Vesper Lynd, who says, "I'm the money." Bond responds with, "and worth every penny..." Gone are the silhouettes of nude women, that featured in the majority of Bond title sequences. There are some good action sequences, especially the foot chase in Madagascar, early in the film. At 2 hours and 24 minutes, it's long for a Bond film and, at times, feels it. I think it drags a bit near the end, with some romantic scenes that are probably more involved than they needed to be. Also, a touch too much card playing. I would have liked a bit more action.
It's a well made film, overall. A friend of mine, Todd Seavy, in New York, considers it the best Bond film in thirty years. I don't rate it that highly. I was left with an odd feeling. Daniel Craig's acting is great and I have no problem with him playing Bond, but the differences in the film left me feeling as if what I had seen wasn't really a Bond film, at least not as we have come to expect them. It felt a little like a Jason Bourne film. The big question is, where will they go from here? Having restarted the Bond character, will they remake all the Ian Fleming Bond novels, or go off on all new stories? Will there ever be a Q and a Miss Moneypenny? There is an opportunity to show the beginning of Bond and Moneypenny's relationship, which we never had in the older films. Given how well it seems to be doing at the box office, one thing is for sure, there will probably be another.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Artist of the Week: Fry and Wilson

Keeping with the James Bond theme, in recognition of the opening of "Casino Royale," my artist of the week, this week, is Fry and Wilson. I have been intending to feature them for some time, but I was saving them till "Casino Royale" was released. Fry and Wilson submitted a song, appropriately entitled, "Casino Royale," for the soundtrack of the new bond film, some months ago. Unfortunately, their song was not chosen as the theme song for the film. Still, it is so good, I think it should have been included in the film. Because it is slow, it could have been used for one of the romantic moments. I have selected it as my profile song, this week.
Fry and Wilson are composed of Justin Fry and Chris Wilson. Chris is a personal, friend of mine and does the vocals. I didn't just pick them because he's my friend. If I didn't think their music was any good, I wouldn't have picked them. The "Casino Royale" track is my favorite of theirs, so far. It also represents the latest in a couple of bad breaks for the boys. They signed with One Little Indian Records in May of the year and released a single of their England Football song, "England Win With Ease," hoping to coincide with the World Cup. I think it's the best England World Cup song to come out this summer. Unfortunately, the single was released a bit late, and other artists' efforts were already getting airplay on UK radio. I tried to get a few of you, who are in UK radio, to take notice of "England Win With Ease," but I didn't see any evidence that you did. That's a shame. Sales of the single were not as strong as they might have been, had One Little Indian got it out earlier.
I don't know much about Justin Fry. He started making music when he was 12, on a Commodore Amiga computer. He's also a DJ and has performed in America, Australia, and Europe. Chris Wilson and I became friends while we were both working at Gemstone Travel, in Bracknell. He's also the lead singer for the local band, The Point. Those of you who have been long time readers of my blog may remember that I went to see Chris and The Point perform, locally, in Bracknell, over the summer. He was kind enough to mention me, while he was performing and that's not the first time he has done that. Me being the publicity whore that I am, I was, understandably, thrilled. I remember Chris once told me he had an audition for "The X Factor," but didn't attend. I was disappointed to hear that. He is gifted with a wonderful voice and perfect pitch. I hope he achieves the musical success he deserves.
Fry and Wilson are working on an album. After waiting months for the new Bond film to come out, I was looking at the boy's Myspace, not too long ago and noticed they had removed the "Casino Royale" track from their music player, there. I panicked, because I needed it to be there in order to add the track to my profile, which is one of the conditions for being Artist of the Week. With only a couple of weeks to go, I started sending them messages through Myspace, urging them to put the track back up. It seems that they listened, because it is back. You can also hear "England Win With Ease," and "Love is the War," their latest effort, in collaboration with another The Point band member, Nugget, at the Fry and Wilson Myspace profile: . Add the boys as friends and tell them I sent you.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

When Should I Go See Casino Royale?

The latest James Bond film, "Casino Royale," has finally opened to general release, here in the UK, yesterday. I haven't been to see a film at the cinema for months. After my divorce, I used to go every week. Last year, to save money, I stopped going so much, as it's cheaper to watch the films on Sky. The last four films I paid to see were "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," "Serenity," "Memoirs of a Geisha," and "V for Vendetta." I have seen every "Star Wars" film at the cinema, so there was no way I was missing that. "Serenity" and "V" I wanted to support, because they have freedom messages. "Geisha," my date wanted to see. I have seen every James Bond film ever made, in the cinema, except for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," which I saw on television. I was only a kid when it came out and my mommy didn't take me. Well, it's George Lazenby, innit?
I have been waiting for the release of "Casino Royale" and it's finally here. I have decided that I will go see it at the cinema. The only problem is, when? Last night, I didn't want to miss "Eastenders," which turned out to be pre-empted by "Children in Need." Furthermore, last night was the premiere of "Duce Bigelow, Male Gigelo," on Sky. I liked the first "Duce Bigelow" so much, I wanted to see this one. If I went tonight, it would mean leaving the house when I otherwise don't have to. Also, because I am doing a film shoot tomorrow, today is the only day I have to rest this week. There's also a premiere on Sky every Saturday night. I will probably be at the shoot all day, tomorrow, then Nando wants to come over to watch "Lost," as he doesn't have access to Sky at the place he's at now. I don't want to miss "Lost," either, as the third series starts on Sky One, tomorrow night. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I have "Eastenders" again and I am usually so tired when I get home from the restaurant, that I don't feel like going out. So, do I wait till next weekend? Maybe I can go Wednesday, after work? Decisions, decisions. What would 007 do? By the way, my initials are the same as James Bond. J. B., innit? That seemed important, when I was a boy. Now, it doesn't seem to matter so much.

I Just Scared Myself, Recycling

I went downstairs to have a late lunch, about a half hour ago. I took some old newspapers, which I didn't want anymore, with me, to put in the recycling bin, outside. Yes, I recycle, not because I am a big fan of recycling, nor because I am worried about the environment (I'm not). The reason I recycle is because the local council, here in Bracknell, has cut the rubbish collection from once per week, to once every two weeks. As I keep stressing to my housemates, if we don't recycle, our rubbish bin will be full way before the two weeks goes by. Last time, I had to put one bag of rubbish into the German woman's bin, next door. She's on her own and never fills hers. So far, I am the only one in the house committed to it. I often find bottles, cans, cardboard, and newspapers in the kitchen bin. I end up fishing them out and putting them outside, in the recycling bins. I thought young people were supposed to be all into this green nonsense?
I also keep as many lights off as I can, to save electricity. Not because I am concerned about CO2 emissions (I'm not), but because I don't want the landlord putting my rent up, due to increased power costs. The two young lads are oblivious and often leave lights on about the house, when they have gone out. One morning, recently, I got up to find the lounge light left on, probably all night. As it's dark early this time of year, it was dark when I went downstairs. I opened the door and put the newspapers in one of the two bins we have, outside. When I turned around, to go back inside, I saw the figure of a man that had been behind me, now in front of me as I turned. I was completely startled as I hadn't heard anyone behind me, or even in the house. Who was this strange person confronting me?
I instantly recognized him. It was my shadow. How embarrassing. I was grateful nobody was home to witness this. Scared by my own shadow. How awful. The Black Queen used to say I looked like a thug and would frighten people, if they ran into me in a dark alley. Maybe she had a point

Britney, Britney, Britney

The Britney Spears divorce took an unexpected turn, when it came to light that her estranged husband, Kevin Federline, has a four hour videotape of the couple having sex. Kevin is demanding a payment of £16 million and custody of their two kids, or he will sell the tape. Under the terms of their pre-nuptial agreement, Federline is only entitled to £2 million and half the value of their home. Sources say that he's already been offered £26 million for the tape. Darling Britney is worried that the tape could destroy her wholesome image and ruin the changes of a career comeback.
My advice to Britney? Tell him to get stuffed. The release of a sex tape of Paris Hilton didn't do her career much harm. Your image isn't all that wholesome anyway. In fact, the tape could raise your appeal to a whole new audience. This is what happens when you are impatient and marry any old guy who you happen to find good looking. If you'd been patient and waited till you met me, this would never have happened. Just tough it out and get on with your career. By the way, I loved the "Toxic" video. More like that, please.
What have we learned from this? If you are female and famous, do not make sex tapes with a guy, no matter how much you think you are in love. They will come back to haunt you, one day. Ladies, you see what some men are like. I didn't do anything like this to my evil ex-wife, the "Black Queen." Even after she cheated me out of a fair share of the equity in out house, I didn't sell any sex tapes of us. Granted, I didn't have any sex tapes of us, but that's a minor point.
Kevin, trying to blackmail Britney over the tape just makes you look bad. Why settle for £16 million? Sell the tape for the £26 million. Add that to the £5 million odd you will be getting via the pre-nupt and let her keep the kids. At 28, you don't want to be bogged down as a single dad, with two very young children. You'll get visitation with the kids in the divorce, anyway, and you can always make more. You don't really want the kids, do you? It's just a way of hurting Britney, right? The kids will be better off with her, anyway. They'll be with their mother and she has more money than you do.
Celebrities, always consult me BEFORE you do anything. Before you get married, before you file for divorce, and before you make sex tapes. Ain't love grand?

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Blow to Freedom of Speech

Today, Ofcom (which stands for Office of Communications...isn't that clever?) announced that TV advertising of junk foods would be banned from all children's programs, plus adult programs that appeal to those under 16. The purpose of this bit of censorship? To combat the growing obesity of British children. Unlike America, Britain has no constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. Britain doesn't even have a written constitution. This latest piece of "nanny state" regulation is expected to cost broadcasters an estimated £39 million in lost revenues.
What's particularly distressing is that I saw one poll, today, in which 66% of respondents thought this was a good idea. Not only is it NOT a good idea, and probably won't work, it's not necessary. Most children don't have very large incomes, nor do they control the family purse. It's not children who buy junk food, it's their parents. If these parents don't want their children to eat junk food, they simply can chose not to buy it. It seems as if many parents in the UK have a problem saying, "no." Instead, it's easier to abdicate from their parental duties and let the nanny state do it for them.
When I was a kid, I used to ask my folks for cereals that advertised great toys inside. We ended up with about two dozen boxes of uneatten cereal, of various brands, sitting on the top of the refridgerator. After trying a bowl of each, I found that I didn't like most of them. I was a fussy eater, as a kid. No one said anything to me about this situation, I just figured it out for myself. The toys never ended up being as good as they looked in the advertising, or on the picture on the box. I concluded that it was useless having my folks buy cereals that I don't like, just for some rubbish toy inside. So, I stopped doing it and concentrated on the one or two brands I really liked. Instead of banning things, people should take the opportunity to teach children to think about the choices they are making. In the end, you can just say, "no." If you don't like saying no, you can use an alternative strategy that I used, at times, with my step-children. Say, "yes," but... When the kids asked me for things, I would say, "yes, you can have soon as you figure out how to pay for it." They never managed to get around that one. Eventually, they stopped asking me for so much. It's great fun, as well. When little master or madam corners you in the supermarket, with some sought after swag in his or her hot little hands and gives you the old, "can I have this..." whatever it is, give him or her an enthusiastic, "sure," followed up by, "how are you going to pay for it?" The looks on the little cherubs' faces are just...priceless!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Maybe I Would Have Done Better in School

A teacher charged with having sex with a 15-year-old pupil has been found "not guilty" by a jury, in England. Rebecca Poole, who's 26 and married, admitted performing oral sex on the boy, but said he forced her. She went down on him in the drama studio, at the school where she teaches. Talk about drama! In her version, he held a screwdriver to the back of her neck. The pupil recorded the event on his mobile phone. Mrs. Poole was arrested, last year, after the boy's parents found the video recording. The boy testified at the trial (what a dirty rat...she gives him blowies and he testifies against her?) that they had a consensual relationship and used to have sex in Mrs. Poole's husband's Porsche. The jury seems to have bought her version of events. Either that, or like me, they wonder why this case was even brought to court.
American readers should be aware that the age of consent here, in Britain, is 16. So, the "victim" was less than a year below age. Surely this case was a complete waste of taxpayer's money. Instead of prosecuting the poor teacher, the government should encourage more teachers to offer teen boys a sexual reward, if they get good grades. When I was 15, I lusted after my English teacher, Dr. Barry. She had a PhD. I have always been partial towards educated women. I used to fantasize about her giving me a ride home, after school. Hey! We won't go into that. This isn't smut, you know.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business?

I went to two jobs, today. First, I did most of my shift at the restaurant. The management agreed to let me go a little bit early, so I could go to my second job, which was a costume fitting at Shepperton Studios, for a motion picture I am working on. So much is done on location, these days, that this was my first time actually going to a major motion picture studio. I'm not counting that time I went to Universal Studios, in California, back in 1981. That was to ride the "Jaws" and "Battlestar Galactica" rides and I wasn't paid for that.
Walking around Shepperton Studios was cool. It's like a whole town of its own. I passed a couple of different model maker's shops, the studio barbershop, a restaurant, a camera warehouse, and several sets of offices. Now, these costume fittings I keep going to seem a bit misnamed, as I end up providing my own clothing. I seem to be typecast already, as a guy in a suit. I was lugging all this stuff I ended up not needing. My agent said to bring alternative shirts and ties, plus a jacket, a bag and a briefcase. How many hands do they think I have? Okay, the selection of ties came in handy. The woman who seemed to be making all the decisions didn't like the tie I chose to wear. "Do you have any other ties," she asked?
"I brought a selection, with me,"I responded cheerfully. Then I opened my bag and pulled out an assortment. She was pleased I had done this. First, she picked up a paisley one a gay guy gave me. She was about to pick that one, but then she spotted a dark blue one underneath. She put down the paisley and picked up the dark blue.
"Wear this one," she commanded. Now? She walked off to fiddle with someone else. Did she want me to put it on, right then? They took some Polaroids of other people, so I decided to put the tie on. A young woman asked if the first woman, the older one, had seen my tie.
"Not on me," I replied. She led me to another area, where I caught up to the first woman again. She confirmed that I should wear the tie I was now wearing to the shoot, on Sunday. I signed my pay slip and I was done. In less than ten minutes, I had earned almost as much as I earn in a full day at the restaurant. I think I spent more time walking back and forth from my car, than I did actually "working," if you can call wearing your own clothes and being looked at, work.
Driving home, I tuned in to "the 3 and 1/2 Hour, 3-6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show," on LBC 97.3, London (Sky 0177 or via the net, at: ). Iain went to some music hall of fame event, last night. He was talking about it and discussing James Brown, who performed at this event. Iain said he never thought he would have seen James Brown perform live. He seemed underwhelmed by James' performance, saying that the singer spent brief periods of time on stage, letting his band play the rest of the time. I remembered that the darling of UK radio DJs, Opal Bonfante, had attended the same event. There has been an ongoing controversy regarding Iain and Opal. Iain claims they are friends, but Opal denies this. I wondered if Iain bumped into her and if he'd mention it on his show.
It was early enough that I decided that I could get home in time to phone Iain on air and ask him about Opal. Another topic Iain was talking about was if it was possible to change your accent. I decided to tell Iain that my accent changed, when I phoned in. Then I would ask if he saw Opal. His producer, Agent Chris, answered the phone, as usual. When he asked what I wanted to talk to Iain about, I mentioned the changing accents, first, as it was "on topic." Chris feigned excitement at that and said he'd call me back shortly, before I got to mention asking about the music hall of fame event. Of course he didn't call back and Iain never mentioned Opal.
Listening to Opal, tonight, she was talking about the same event. She also mentioned James Brown, but she seemed really impressed with his performance. Opal said James shouldn't have just been the opening act. Ironically, I have a distant cousin who looks like James Brown, only female. She could be his sister, I swear. So who's the hardest working man in show business now, James Brown, or me? Hey, James Brown and I have the same initials, J. B. Coincidence?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who's Picking These Films?

I was digging around for something to watch, tonight. After watching "Eastenders" with me, S1 went out to meet a friend at a pub, because there was "bugger all" on tele, this evening. Not having any friend to meet and not wanting to spend my limited funds at the pub, I persevered. I must have something like 1000 channels on Sky, but sometimes it's still hard to find something to watch. If there's crap on the five terrestrial channels, having 1000 channels just seems to result in 1000 times the crap. The movie channels let me down, as I had seen just about everything being offered.
I put on a documentary about the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (S.E.T.I.), but I soon realized that I had seen it before. So, I switched to the tail end of "Sienfeld." The channel running "Sienfeld" does two episodes, back to back, so I caught the second one in its entirety. That took me to 9PM and some more movie start times. I dug deep and found that TCM was showing "Bright Lights, Big City," which I had never seen. My dinner was ready, so I decided to give this film a try. It's from 1988 and stars Michael J. Fox, with Kiefer Sutherland and Phobe Cates supporting. I used to have such a crush on Phobe Cates, from the first time I saw her, in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." She has that look I like so much...dark hair and eyes, with soft skin that has a hint of olive coloring. In "Bright Lights," she has her hair short again, like she did in "Gremlins." I much prefer it long, like she had in "Fast Times."
Anyway...Michael J. Fox plays a young, aspiring writer, working in the editorial research department of a magazine, in New York City. He turns to drugs and alcohol, in order to handle his wife leaving him and his mother's death. This is like the third film in a row! What is it with the programmers? First "Amelie," where the title character's mother dies, leaving her father a despondent widower. Then, "Under the Tuscan Sun," which is about a divorced American woman, who moves to Italy. Now, a film about a guy who's wife left him. The wife, played by Phobe Cates, is a fashion model. I dated a model, once. That would be the Great Michelle. At one point, Fox goes to a fashion show, to confront her. I wouldn't go somewhere I knew my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, was going to be. It's bad enough when I go back to the village where I lived with her, to get my hair cut. I am always worried I might bump into her. Can't they put some films on that don't cause me to focus on being divorced and on my own?

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Problem With Young Women

After work today, I got stuck in a traffic jam. Because of that, I couldn't make it to the Post Office before it closed. Arriving home late, I entered the house to find the Exotic Flower and M1, watching "Home and Away." After changing out of my work clothes, I joined them, in the lounge. I told the Flower about watching "Amelie," last night. I asked her if she had ever seen the film and she claimed she had. However, she didn't like it. She called it "dated." I pointed out that the film had only come out in 1991 I was disappointed about that. Her tastes are rather unsophisticated and under-developed. I have to remind myself that she is only 17.
That's the problem with young women. They are young. They look great, but their tastes are usually under-developed. There was some other film she didn't like, either, but I don't remember what it was.
Tonight, I watched "Under the Tuscan Sun." It probably wasn't a good idea watching a film about a divorcee, when I am divorced, myself. It was a good film, but I started feeling sad, watching it. The film is about a divorced, American woman, who moves to Italy. I kind of did it in the reverse. I moved to Europe first, then got divorced.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Three Broken Plates

I was trying to find something to watch, tonight, when I saw "Amelie," listed on the menu for Film Four. Also known as "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain," ("The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain"), this 2001 French film is oddly funny, in a way that only French films can be. The title character, played by the lovely Audrey Tautou, is an eccentric, naive young woman in Paris, who falls in love with an eccentric young man, while trying to help people around her. I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did. Tautou is fabulous and has the biggest brown eyes I have seen in quite a while. Something about Audrey Tautou reminds me of Kelly Lucas, my first fiancee. The film is in French, with subtitles, which seems to put off a lot of people, both in America and in Britain. Personally, I have no problem with watching foreign language films with subtitles. I prefer that to having them dubbed into English. I like hearing the sound of the original language, even when I can't understand it. I do know the odd word of French, so it's nice to put it into practice. I used to have a close friend, here in England, who wanted to go see "Hero," as he was a Jet Li fan. He invited me to go with him, but cancelled at the last minute, when he found out "Hero" had subtitles. "I don't do subtitles," he said, and I have never seen "Hero," to date. After years of friendship, we had a falling out this past summer, over money.

As I was watching "Amelie," I thought of Paula. Paula was the woman I went out with right before I met my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen. The youngest of three sisters, Paula was born in New York, while her sisters had all been born in Jamaica. Her mother had come to New York pregnant and Paula grew up as the only member of her family not to have a Jamaican accent. We dated between 1991 and the end of 1996. On one of our early dates, Paula invite me to go see a French film, "Tatie Danielle" (1990), playing at an art house in Manhattan. "Tatie Danielle" is another odd French comedy and after the film, Paula asked me how I liked it. I told her I loved the film, because I did. However, she was convinced that I was just saying this to be nice, because she had picked the film. She hadn't yet learned that I will say what I really think, rather than pretend to spare people's feelings. No matter what I said, she just wouldn't accept that I really did like it. I think I liked it more than she did. "Amelie" is the kind of film Paula would like.
In the film, Amelie is startled when she hears the news that Princess Diana has been killed in a car crash. Amelie drops a bottle top and, when she picks it up, discovers a secret compartment in the wall of her flat. She finds an old box hidden inside, with a photograph and some child's toys inside. She decides to find the original owner and return the box. This is the first of what becomes a series of her doing things to help people. The scene reminded me of where I was when I heard about the death of Diana. I was visiting the Black Queen, for a long weekend, as we had been dating for four months. She went downstairs for something, while I remained up in bed. The BQ knew I fancied Princess Diana. Suddenly, the BQ shouted up to me, "you've missed your chance, dear." She then told me that Diana had been killed. In "Amelie," one of the minor characters seems obsessed with Princess Diana. This silly film has managed to remind me of Kelly Lucas, Paula, and the Black Queen.

I also dreamed about the Black Queen, last night. In my dream, we were living in the same house, although she was divorcing me. I was trying to persuade her to reconcile. In the dream, we seemed to be getting along much better than we actually did, at that stage in our relationship. Ironically, it was four years ago, this month, that the Black Queen locked me out of the house. I ended up living in my car for almost two months. At least it was a BMW.

While watching, "Amelie," I decided I fancied some popcorn. During one of Film Four's commercial breaks, I zipped into the kitchen and removed a packet of Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn from the cupboard. Strange things have been happening, lately, when I have been microwaving popcorn. A couple of weeks ago, I was microwaving popcorn one night, when I heard a loud bang come from the microwave. I didn't think much of it at the time, but when the bell went off, signaling the timer had run out, and I opened the oven, I found that the revolving, glass platter in the bottom of the microwave had split in half.

Since then, I have been using half the platter. I tried putting microwaveable popcorn on the broken platter and the bag wouldn't rotate properly. For some reason, the popcorn wasn't popping fully and I was ending up with a lot of old maids. I decided to try putting the popcorn bag on a plate first, the sitting the plate onto the remaining half of the platter. The popcorn still didn't pop fully, so I tried running the oven for an extra minute. When I went to take the plate out after the extra minute, it was so hot, it burned my fingers, so I dropped it on the counter. The plate split in half, just like the microwave platter had done. I was surprised at this, since I hadn't dropped it very far. The popcorn had popped fully, though. After that, I have used a tea towel to remove the plate, so as not to burn myself and drop it.

Tonight, I put in the packet of popcorn without a plate, but setting the timer for a longer than normal duration. I guess it was a little too long, because the popcorn came out partially burned. I could only eat part of the bag. I sat there, wondering if I should pop another bag. What the heck, I decided to go for it. This time, I put the bag on a plate, again. I cut down the time by about thirty seconds. Sitting on the settee, waiting for the popcorn to finish, I heard a loud bang, again, just like when the platter had broken. When I opened the microwave oven, the plate I had sat the popcorn bag on had split in half. If you count the rotation platter, this is the third plate I have split in the microwave, within three weeks. Each time, it was while I was popping popcorn. How bizarre.

Artist of the Week: Shirley Bassey

With the new James Bond film, "Casino Royale," due out in UK cinemas later this week, it seemed only appropriate to honor a singer who will always be associated with Bond films. My Artist of the Week, this week is Dame Shirley Bassey. She is the only singer to record more than one Bond theme song, having done three: "Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever," and "Moonraker." My favorite of her Bond songs is "Diamonds Are Forever," and it's that which I have selected as my profile song for the week. "Diamonds Are Forever" also happens to be my favorite Bond film, of all time.
Born in 1937 (the same year as my mother), in Cardiff, Wales, to a Nigerian father and English mother, she was the youngest of seven children. When she first left school, she worked in a factory and supplemented her income by singing in local pubs and clubs. Shirley Bassey has had, to date, 31 hits in the UK Singles Chart and 35 hit albums in the UK Albums chart, over a 42 year period. She is Britain's most successful female chart artist of all time. Her career isn't over yet. She has a new single, "The Living Tree," due out soon, with a new album to follow. You can check her out on Myspace, at: . Add her as a friend and tell her I sent you. Ladies and gentlemen, Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Who's Zoomin' Who?

In a survey, the women only car insurance company, Sheilas' Wheels, found that women drivers feel intimidated by "blokey" mechanics. One third of women would continue to drive a car with a problem for more than a month, before taking it to get repairs. Over a third find the staff at repair shops patronizing, rude, and find the atmosphere intimidating. One in eight arrange for a man to take the car for repairs for them. I find this a bit ironic, given that many men feel intimidated by beautiful women. Beautiful women shouldn't feel intimidated. They can have the men eating out of the palm of their hands. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, was able to get a string of men falling all over themselves to fix her car for her. Could it be that the ones who feel intimidated are the ugly ones? Or perhaps, they are the ones who don't realize how beautiful they are, as I don't think there are that many ugly women. For a small fee, I will teach any woman how not to feel intimidated by mechanics. For a little more, I will teach a woman how to have men eating out of the palm of her hand. Remember the words of Nando, my Italian housemate: "women choose, men beg." Guys, for a little larger fee, I will teach you how not to feel intimidated by beautiful women.

Do You Remember?

Today is "Remembrance Day," here in the UK. Known as "Veteran's Day," in America, it is a day to commemorate the veterans of Britain's wars. The tradition began in 1919 and uses the date that World War I ended, the year before. UK tradition includes two minutes of silence, starting at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, because that's the time (in the UK) that the guns stopped at the end of World War I.
Another British tradition associated with Remembrance Day, is buying and wearing red, paper "poppies." The Royal British Legion, a veteran's charity, sells these paper poppies to raise money. Why poppies? It was inspired by the poem, "In Flanders Fields," by Canadian, John McCrae. The poem refers to poppies which grew in the place where the war dead were buried. While I have no objection to donating money to charity, I don't like the wearing of the paper poppies. It looks a bit silly, to me. Opium is made from poppies. Surely the British Legion could raise more money selling opium, or something else useful, like tax free cigarettes, or guns, or something.
In the run up to Remembrance Day, you see tables of volunteers selling paper poppies for the British Legion, often at supermarkets and other prominent places in town centres. The volunteers usually look like they personally remember World War I. What the British Legion should do to increase sales is ditch the grannies and have hot, young women selling the poppies. Then guys would line up to buy them. Better yet, the hotties could sell kisses. Guys and gals could buy a snog with one of the lovelies, with the proceeds going to the British Legion. Why don't these charities ever consult me? I used to be in charge of fund raising for a charity, back in America. Why didn't I ever think up these bright ideas, then? I guess I was too young, back then. Older and wiser, now.

He's Lost That Polish Feeling

A 24-year-old, Polish immigrant, Thomasz Stepniowski, appeared in court on Monday, to answer charges of sexual assault. He was approaching female strangers on the streets of Weymouth, in Dorset, and fondling their breasts, pinching their asses, and making grunting noises. When questioned by police, he told them that he didn't realize this sort of thing was illegal in Britain. Stepniowski said such a thing would not be considered illegal, back in Poland. His female interpreter interrupted police questioning to say that such behavior is considered "flirtatious," in Eastern Europe. This is the perfect excuse, if you are an immigrant. If I ever have a confrontation with British police, over anything, I will say, "I am an immigrant. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong. Such behavior isn't illegal in America."
I have worked with several Poles, over the past year. I notice that the males always seem so happy and pleasant. Maybe this is why. A spokesman for the Polish Embassy denied Stepniowski's claim and said indecent assault is against Polish law. Well, he would say that. The point isn't whether Poland has laws against indecent assault, it's whether anyone would file a complaint for such behavior. Typical politician's answer: say something that doesn't directly address the issue under consideration. I think the Polish diplomatic service blew a great opportunity to boost the country's tourist industry. They should own up to it, if the practice is commonplace. Horny British men would then flock to Poland, on vacation, to sample the local fruits, as it were.
We have a new, female, Polish catering assistant, at the restaurant. Chef Anthony and I were discussing the possible ramifications, the other day. He suggested that we should go give her bits a squeeze. I advised against it. Poland has been on my list of places to visit, for some time. If only I could afford a trip right now.

Friday, November 10, 2006

McDonald's Retreats

Not long ago, McDonald's, in Britain, introduced "healthier" options to their menu, including salads, fruit, and deli sandwiches. Now, it seems that adding these foods to the menu is being blamed for a 66% drop in profits. It seems that the fast-food giant paid too much attention to critics and whinny health advocates, who happened to be out of sync with consumers. McDonald's customers don't want fruit, salads, and deli sandwiches. They want hamburgers! Sales of the healthy items reached about 10%, then stopped growing. The result has been one of the worst years for Mickey D's since the company entered the UK market, back in 1974.
McDonald's management are listening and have decided to implement a back to basics, strategy, focusing on traditional favorites of burgers, fries, and carbonated beverages. Health advocates are upset, as is to be expected. They had better be careful, of they might burst a blood vessel. Let that be a lesson to other large corporations. Health advocates haven't got a clue as to what the consumer wants. I feel like having a Big Mac and a Coke, to celebrate.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Burger King's Latest Bid to Beat McDonald's?

Two police officers, in America, are suing Burger King, after they were given burgers sprinkled with cannabis. Supposedly, Mark Landavazo and Henry Gabaldon were suspicious after eating half their burgers. After using a "field kit" to test and confirm that a substance in the burgers was, in fact, cannabis, they went to a hospital for medical evaluation. They want damages form Burger King, for "personal injury." The only problem is, in what way were they injured? Usually, you have to pay extra for cannabis. They got it free.
I have my own suspicions about these two. They are "tribal police," which means they are police for an Indian tribe, not proper police. Also, they were in uniform and driving a marked car, so why would the Burger King employees put marijuana in their burgers? Who wastes pot like that, anyway? I am suspicious these two might have planted the pot, themselves, just so they could sue. Maybe Burger King should settle with these two, as it might be the greatest publicity BK has ever gotten. How many potheads will be queuing up to buy BK burgers, hoping to score? What will McDonald's do in response? Put ecstasy in McFlurries?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oops, I Did It Again!

Britney Spears has filed for divorce from her husband, Kevin Federline. This is the second marriage that the 24-year-old, princess of pop has ended. Such an outcome is not surprising, when women are impatient and end up settling for other men, before they give themselves a chance to meet me. The often blond Britney, joins Jessica Simpson in returning to singledom. Britney and Simpson are two thirds of my trilogy of favorite blondes. The third one is Emma Bunton, who is due to make a similar mistake, as she is engaged to be married. Perhaps I should add Girls Aloud's, Sarah Harding, to make it a a foursome of favorite blondes. These women buck the predominant trend, which is for me to prefer brunette females. So far, Sarah hasn't made the classic nuptial mistake. Which one of these four will be the first to contact me? I bet bookies are setting odds, even as we speak.
A lot of UK media are reporting that this will be Britney's second divorce. According to my information, that is incorrect. Her first marriage, to Jason Alexander, was annulled after two days, thus it was not a divorce. Get your facts right, guys. Sources say Spears gave Federline the bad news via text message. I guess she's not so innocent.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Toilet Humor

On Saturday, I had to attend a costume fitting, in London, for the feature film I am working on. It got me out of the house fairly early, but once I got there, it didn't last long. I was home again, by midday. When I walked inside the house, I discovered M1 and the Exotic Flower, downstairs, watching TV. After changing clothes, I noticed that my shampoo bottle was sitting on the side of the tub, in the bathroom. That wasn't where I left it. S1 had gone out before me, that morning. Then I had showered and left. That seemed to indicate that either the Flower, or M1, had moved it. The bottle was almost empty and the culprit had put it upside down, to make it easier to get the remainder out.
Back downstairs, I told the couple that my shampoo had been moved and asked if one of them had used it. The Flower immediately denied that either of them would use it. I noticed that M1 didn't say anything. The Flower explained that they only used expensive shampoo and wouldn't use my Tesco store brand. If neither of them used it, one of them moved the bottle, I countered, because S1 went out before me and I used it when I showered. They were the only people in the house, until I came back. She denied moving it, but I noticed that M1 hadn't said anything, yet. I pointed that out to the Flower. She asked him if he'd moved it, but he didn't answer. The Flower then said it felt like a detective investigation. "That's how things are detected," I said. She repeated that they wouldn't use such cheap shampoo. "What a stuck up cow," I thought. She sounded like she's been watching too much "My Super Sweet 16." Perhaps, if they used cheaper shampoo, they could afford to pay all their bills, like contributing to Sky.
The Flower suggested that the only reason either of them would touch my shampoo was if one of them knocked it over. She then prompted M1, saying, "you tend to knock things over when you clean the bath tub, don't cha?" Still, he didn't answer. I gave them the out that possibly, it was S1 who'd been using the shampoo, but that, in the future, if they knock over my shampoo bottle, to please put it back where it was originally.
The next day, I slept late. I didn't get up till past 1PM. When I went down for Sunday brunch (I really hate the expression, "brunch." I should stop saying it.), once again, M1 and the Flower were in the lounge, watching Sky. The Flower asked me if I put the toilet seat down, after peeing. Don't even go there...that's one of my pet peeves. "Do you put it up, after you've peed?" I think she was getting even with me for the shampoo inquiry the day before.
"I'm not having a go, I just wondered," she said, maneuvering for the diplomatic high ground. "It's just icky to have to touch the seat."
"So, I should have to touch it twice, just so you don't have to once?" Why do so many women go on about toilet seats? It's just as inconvenient for a man to have to put it up as it is for a woman to have to put it down. When I pointed out that M1 and I need it up, she countered by informing me that M1 pees sitting down, like a woman. "What?" What's wrong with that boy? Then she stated asking me how often I clean the toilet. She complained that she cleans it every time she comes over. This was getting out of hand. She doesn't even live here, technically, just stays over half the week. Maybe she can pull this crap on M1, because she threatens to withhold sex, if she doesn't get her way. However, she doesn't have sex with me, so that ploy won't work with me. I told her that she was free to clean it any time she wasn't happy with the state of it. I went into the kitchen to prepare my meal, effectively cutting the conversation short. She may be hot and sexy, but that will only get her so far.
I returned to the lounge and sat down with my first meal of the day. My old favorite of a hot dog, with yellow mustard, some cole slaw and potato salad. As I started to enjoy my food, the Flower asked, "how can you eat cole slaw with a hot dog?"
"Like this," I said, and then I took a fork full of cole slaw and put it into my mouth. M1 found my reply amusing. The Flower looked on with her babydoll, brown eyes, then asked M1 what was in the other container.
"Potato salad," he replied. That's one mystery solved.