The new NFL season began in New England with warm rain from the tail end of Hurricane Frances soaking Foxborough stadium. We had a display of strong offenses overcoming weaker defenses, and the final result was left in doubt right up to the end. The Indianapolis Colts don't usually win at the home of the Patriots, who are the current Super Bowl champions. They didn't win again this year because they kept self-destructing in the red zone.
Rules which must be obeyed without question!
The referee for a Southern League match between Leighton Town and Harlow held up the start by 45 minutes when he found that the goalposts were two inches too low. That was how long it took groundsmen and the home team's physiotherapist and vice chairman to dig a trench around the offending posts. The match ended in a 2-all draw and a Football Association spokesman said the ref did "a brilliant job of applying the rules".
Europe beat the USA at golf in the Ryder Cup thrashed, more like and there were all sorts of snide remarks about how easily the British become Europeans when they're on the winning side. Which encourages the obvious reply that Europe's politicians make us feel like we're permanently on the losing side and that's why we don't want to know them.
Congrats to the Chinese government for building a Formula One track at Shanghai with places where the drivers can overtake. If F1 is to drag itself out of the doldrums, it needs to encourage the construction of new venues like this one and junk the old courses where overtaking is impossible and the 'race' is just a dull procession: e.g. Monaco.
The Royal Mail has missed all 15 of its targets for deliveries for the period April-June 2004. So the government, which is no great expert at hitting its own arbitrary targets, is going to impose a huge fine as a penalty for failure.
New Labour, New Sneaky Taxes, New Swindles
Note for collectors: the stamps come from the Great Mugs Of Our Time miniature sheet
David Mills, boss of the Post Office, is a bit of a cheeky chappy on the quiet. He's quite happy to cut staff numbers and build up long queues because he reckons standing in a queue is "a social experience for most people".
New venture in Philatelic Advertising
The Austrian postal service has commissioned a stamp with a surface coating of actual glass crystal. Coating manufacturer Swarovski reckons that their product is tough enough to stand up to the battering which it will receive in automatic sorting machinery. The coating is 'ironed' on to the conventional paper base of the stamps using a specially created adhesive and it is decorated with the Swarovski swan motif.
Police in unexpected places
The post office at Watton, Norfolk, has added a new line to its range of services it's now a part-time police station. As well as buying stamps and collecting their pension, customers can now hand in lost property, leave messages for coppers who will probably ignore them and get basic advice on crime prevention.
Home Secretary Blunk announced a radical upgrade in security at royal palaces this month. The latest moves are designed to accommodate the Royal Family's wish that Buckingham Palace should remain accessible to the people of the UK and not become a fortress.
Michael Howard, if elected to the nation's top job, will eliminate MRSA from New Labour's dirty hospitals. He will put in place 'a sustained and effective programme of action'. The government responded by saying it had set a target for MRSA reduction.
Self-justification exercise hits the rocks
The London Safety Camera Partnership issued a self-congratulatory leaflet in which it claimed that "speeding causes over one-quarter of all deaths on London's roads". But the leaflets had to be pulped when the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the claim was totally bogus. Motoring organizations were surprised but pleased to find that a little truth can sometimes leak into the government propaganda campaigns around its Stealth Tax activities.
Work & Pensions Secretary Andrew Smith has been sacked for being crap at his job and a Brownite to boot. He failed to do anything about the devastation to state and private pensions caused by New Labour's predations, and he thought it was okay to let people make fraudulent incapacity benefit claims.
The Scottish Parliament Scotland's Millennium Dome has opened for business even though this typical example of New Labour in action is not yet working properly they couldn't find the key to open the front door, for instance. The carbuncle is 3 years late and 11 times over budget at £438 million. And, with so many Scots persons in the government, no one should be surprised to learn that English taxpayers had to cough up a big chunk of the dosh.
The nation rejoices as Alan "Quitter" Milburn returns to government after abandoning his beloved family to become Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He will become Minister for Getting New Labour Re-elected a strictly party-political job for which he will receive a fat salary paid out of the taxpayer's pocket.
New Labour plans 24-hour schools to let working parents choose their own attendance hours for maximum convenience.
Comment : reshuffling a bunch of deadlegs still gives you a bunch of deadlegs.
After the wettest August in the whole history of the universe, Yorkshire Water has launched a campaign to get its customers to 'use water sparingly'. Notorious for having the country's leakiest pipes and doing least about them, the company now seems to be suffering from leaky thinking.
The Welsh Development Agency has banned the use of the term nick-picking (first use recorded in 1951) because it thinks it has something to do with slave trading (abolished 200 years ago) and might offend ethnic minorities. The term Brain-storming is also banned because it might offend brainless idiots, like the people running the WDA.
Taking a nap for precisely an hour and a quarter during the afternoon is the secret of health, a long life and increased productivity.
Researchers at the prestigious London Institute for Political Studies have achieved an empirical proof of the maxim: "If a politician tells you something 3 times, he (or she) is lying." Analysis of the recent publication New Labour: The Compleat Speeches is believed to have provided the conclusive elements of the proof.
Go out in the sun and you'll die of cancer. Stay indoors and you'll die of vitamin D deficiency. Decisions, decisions!
Downing Street scriptwriters on strike for more time off
They worked round the clock on the Lord 'Bouffant' Bragg revelation about Prime Monster Bliar contemplating resigning 'for family reasons'. And when it produced derision rather than the anticipated sympathy, they had to work round the clock again to rewrite Mrs. Bliar's script for her appearance on TV to flog her book.
Rural affairs minister Alun Michael pulled out of a celebration of the 'right to tramp all over other people's land' because he wanted to avoid thuggery and violence by envious Socialists.
Scoring 46% in an Edexcel GCSE higher maths exam is worth an A-Grade!
The government is purging the civil service of all those with right-wing views. But Communists, Trots, Maoists (if any survive) and envious Socialists will be allowed to remain on the public payroll. If this is New Labour's idea of balanced government, it's time for the customers to reach for the Trade Descriptions Act!
"I will not negotiate with terrorists," Vice-Prez Bliar said, referring to the Iraqi criminals who are threatening to murder Briton Ken Bigley. Mr. Bliar made his announcement right after leaving a negotiating session with the IRA, an Irish terrorist gang which uses exactly the same methods as their fellow criminals in Iraq.
New Stealth Tax on the way
The government is currently raking in £105 million per year from insurance companies for treating road accident victims in NHS hospitals. Its next move is to extend this wheeze to accidents at work and it expects to rake in a further £150 million per year.
Government duplicity on migration exposed
263,000 migrant 'workers' came to the UK in 2002 but the government, for its own reasons, said the figure was 150,600. 270,000 'workers' arrived in 2003. And instead of working, 8% of them promptly signed on for unemployment or disability benefit. But the government would prefer its customers not to know this.
The speech to his party conference by Chancellor Broon, the man who put the steal in Stealth Tax, whipped the delegates into such a frenzy that Poland started to become nervous about another invasion.
An enterprising bloke living near an army training site in Morozovo, Novosibirsk, Russia, found an interesting use for some surplus shells. He built a burglar-deterrent fence out of them. Unfortunately, busy-body police officers spotted the fence and called in a bomb disposal unit of the Russian army.
Bizarre, incompetent and dishonest
It took 5 months' digging by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee but the truth is now out when it comes to 'recycling' Britain's overseas real estate, the Foreign Office can be relied on to make a hash of it.
The Blood Transfusion Service in Prague has discovered an excellent way to bring in customers. Instead of a cup of tea and a biscuit, new Czech blood donors are offered 2 free pints of beer and a year's subscription to a beer magazine. Punters are now arriving by the busload from all over the place.
"The people of this country have an absolute right to wander around in the chamber of the House of Commons and keep an eye on what the New Labour spivs are up to."
It Wisnae Me!
Lord Fraser's report on the Scottish Parliament Building scandal has been published. He concluded, predictably, that no one is to blame for the shambles.
Commons security safe in his hands?
Peter Hain, minister for digging up cricket pitches and general vandalism, believes that he is just the person to take over security of the House of Commons. Although he has never held a proper job in his life, he was arrested regularly in his youth and he is confident that he knows how the criminal mind works.
Time for a common language English
The EU has shot itself in the foot again. It doesn't have enough translators to handle every combination of the 20 official languages (up from 11 since the last enlargement). Worse, there aren't enough qualified translators around in Europe to staff the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the Strasbourg Parliament. So anyone from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia or any of the newcomers can forget about offering their point of view to a committee or the full works.
The astronomer and expert on comets, meteors and meteorites has died at 97. In the 1950s, when he was professor of astronomy at Harvard University, he published his concept of the comet as a 'dirty snowball' consisting of rocky debris glued together with ices of methane, carbon dioxide and water. He met often savage criticism from those who believed that comets were nebulous clouds of dust and small rocky particles but he was proved right in 1986 when the European Space Agency's Giotto probe arrived at comet Halley. The probe returned pictures of a splintered, rocky nucleus which was rich in frozen gases, and confirmed that jets of gas cause a comet's orbit to vary slightly, as Whipple had suggested.
The amateur weatherman extraordinary, and the last of his line, has died at 91. Building on a family obsession with the weather dating back to the great Yorkshire storm of 1771, he based his predictions on his family's records and observations of the natural world seaweed, pine cones and the activities of animals. He achieved national celebrity in 1985, when he correctly predicted a thaw as the Met Office was promising several weeks of blizzards. He also predicted the great storm of October 1987, which was famously dismissed by TV weatherman Michael Fish because it wasn't going to be a hurricane. Although his level of forecasting accuracy was never as good as the myth, he was always able to do at least as well as contemporary Met Office computer systems in the short term.
The footballer turned manager, the man who was never afraid to tell people that he was right, has died at 69. Brian Clough's successful career as a player was cut short by injury and he turned to management. He turned 2nd division Derby County into league champions and then he took his personal blend of arrogance and tyranny to Nottingham Forest. The club became league champions and enjoyed back to back victories in the European Cup in 1979/1980.
The Trading Standards Institute has warned that the practice of injecting salty water into fresh pork (to increase the weight so that water can be sold as meat to boost profits) is putting lives at risk.
The wet August of dismal memory did British apples and pears a power of good. It filled them up with water, nutrients and sweetness. Worcester apples are now 40% bigger than usual and further enlarged varieties will be hitting the shops in the second half of September. And massive Conference pears are on the way soon.
Check colour before releasing protest missile
Anyone who wants to protest by chucking a tomato at a German politician has to think twice before doing it. The courts take the colour of the missile into consideration when handing out punishment. Yellow tomatoes are harder than red ones and merit a harsher penalty. And anyone chucking a solid, unripe green one is lucky to get off with their life!
WARNING! Supermarket mince may contain twice as much fat as the label claims. Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury are all offenders against the Fat Code.
WARNING! The sweet manufacturers' claim that they are abolishing jumbo size chocolate bars will not stand up to close scrutiny. All they plan to do is chop their monster bars into 2 or 4 portions. So the customer will get the same calorie overload in a different packaging and probably at a higher price to cover the cost of the messing about.
The ancient Greeks gave us a word for it hubris. Just when the Greek government had been bragging about how its security operation had been 100% tight for the Olympic games, another intruder strolled into view.
In yer dreams, Rudi!
Republican ankle-grabber Rudolf Giuliani got up on his hind legs and had the cheek to tell the convention in New York that George Dubya Bush is another Winston Churchill. So we've assembled a few facts to let our readers decide through which orifice Giuliani was talking. (Clue: he had to deliver his address standing up so that it didn't come out muffled.)
Another battering for Florida
As an encore to last month's assault from Hurricane Charley, Florida closed its airports at the beginning of the month and evacuated 2.5 million people as Hurricane Frances closed in. Last month's Tropical Storm Bonnie turned out to be a busted flush but Frances will deliver the second leg of the first double hurricane strike in a matter of weeks for over a century. Will there be much left of Florida for the next hurricane to wreck? Doesn't look like it!
The things some people will do to get off a sinking ship! Ex-Prez Bill Clinton, for instance, faked a heart attack to get out of campaigning for John Kerry in the current race to be Mr. Prez of the USA. Slick Willy is now planning to spend the rest of the year promoting his autobiography instead of working for free for Mr. Kerry's campaign.
The United States of Europe has its collective hand out again
The latest massaged 'accounts' from the European Commission fail to show that the UK handed over £2.8billion nett to the European Union (after our rebate of £2.7billion). This puts us second in the league table after Germany, which paid out £5.9billion, and way ahead of France and Italy, who both coughed up a measly £1billion nett after their massive subsidies. The European Commission's latest message to the UK taxpayer is that we should surrender our rebate (won for us by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, lest anyone forget) and brace ourselves for a huge increase in EU spending.
The future is nuclear, EU decides
Gas prices are soaring, sending up the price of electricity generated from gas in sympathy. So the EU is back-peddling furiously on over-ambition regulations for the nuclear industry. The UK, Germany, Finland and Sweden have decided that they don't want the Brussels bureaucrats messing with their nuclear affairs and the EU's energy commissioner has been forced to listen to the big money.
Professor Manfred Walzl of the Graz Neurological Clinic in Austria has found that beer reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks, improves the circulation, and can act as an aphrodisiac if not taken to excess. Men can drink a litre per day, and women half of that, to do themselves a lot of good. Wolfgang Clement, Germany's economics minister, who can down a beer in 1.5 seconds, reckons it should be available to the customers via his country's health service.
The Justice Department in Rio de Janeiro is investigating why 6 police cars rushed to a restaurant to arrest a bloke who was smoking a cigar in a smoking zone. A female customer phoned her daughter, a policewoman, when the man refused to put his cigar out. But when the cops tried to intimidate him, the man set his dad on them. His father is a colonel in the Brazilian air force and he soon routed the cops.
Since a version of The Scream and The Madonna were stolen from the Munch museum in Oslo last month, attendances have soared by 25%. The museum authorities are saying that the rise in visitor numbers is due to the publicity generated by the robbery, and not due to punters flocking to mock the security arrangements and gaze at 2 blank stretches of wall.
Tsar Vlad returns Russia to the black night of totalitarianism
Vladimir Putin, president of all the Russias, thinks democracy is great; which is why he's going to restore it as soon as possible. In the meantime, he's cracking down on dissent in the name of waging a war on terrorism. Newspapers and TV channels which fail to support him 100% will be closed down. And on the political front, he intends to evict the small parties from parliament, appoint regional governors personally rather than let his customers vote in the candidate of their choice, and where voting is allowed, the customers will get a list of candidates of Tsar Vlad's personal choice.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has confirmed officially that the 2003 Iraq war illegal. It was not sanctioned by the UN security council and it was not in conformity with the UN charter.
Hang 'em high as you like!
The citizens of Ayo Ayo, Bolivia, had a mayor who was an embezzler. He refused to resign after he was arrested and taken to court. So after the court proceedings had dragged on for 2 years, the good citizens of the town decided to dispense their own brand of justice.
US gets tough with Islamic tourists
The pop person formerly known as Cat Stevens, now rebranded as Yusuf Islam, got the bum's rush when he tried to sneak into the USA on a scheduled flight. "Anyone with a name like that is an obvious security threat," said a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department. "And we are through rolling the dice where national security is concerned."
C Manoharan Snake Manu of Madras, India, hopes to put his name in the record books through his snake act.
A suicidal Austrian snake trader defended himself with 2 five-foot cobras when the police broke down his door and tried to stop him killing himself. He menaced them with the snakes so the cops shot him in the leg, he fell down and both cobras bit him! And the bloke had to be rushed to hospital to receive the antidote to the snakes' poisonous venom before the bullet was removed.
The evening news about Virgin on Radio Four was that the fancy new trains were conking out one of them due to a faulty wheel, which had gone square or something and the passengers had lots of less than complimentary things to say about broken journeys which took a couple of hours longer than the timetable.
The French anti-terrorist police got their knickers in a twist when they found 3 tunnels under La Santé, allegedly a high-security prison in Paris. It was the prisoners themselves who reported hearing mysterious noises from beneath their feet last month. The most dangerous inmates; fraudsters, corrupt politicians and terrorists; were promptly moved to other gaols.
A German truck driver thought a car parked outside a bank looked like a getaway vehicle, especially when he saw a crowbar and some tools on the back seat So he demolished it with his lorry and called the police to boast about doing their job for them. The car's owner, a self-employed carpenter, was not amused when he returned to his vehicle. So the lorry driver had to pay a €5,500 fine, he lost his licence and he had to pay out more cash to get his lorry repaired.
Pebble Police combat beach bandits
Chesil Bank used to have 100 million tons of pebbles, which defend part of the Dorset coast against erosion by the sea. But it is under severe threat from the landward side. Inspired by TV makeover shows, gardeners have been arriving by night with shovels and wheelbarrows to steal the pebbles. As a result, the chief warden has been forced to mount patrols against the pebble-rustlers, and they set the police on stroppy thieves who refused to return their loot.
Hysterical police assault hunt-ban protesters
"We all saw them on TV, clobbering the protesters in Parliament Square with batons. And they weren't even wearing balaclavas and ski-masks to cover their faces up. A naive person might ask: 'How do they get away with it?'"
Blunk's Big Idea a Coppers' Con Trick
Our Home Secretary has come up with another winner to improve relations between the public and the police. His big idea is for the police to be polite on the phone to customers who ring in to report crimes. The customers will also be assigned to a Personal Police Facilitator, who will keep in touch with them and seek comments on their treatment.
Indian Ghost-Buster busted
Ambika Rai came up with the brilliant idea of dressing up in black and scaring people in the night-time streets of Siliguri, West Bengal. He then tracked down his victims and offered to perform rituals to drive the ghost away. Some of the mugs paid up large amounts of money but some rotten sod phoned the police, who chased and caught the black ghost. Mr. Rai has been charged with deception and stealing the gifts which his victims wanted him to give to the 'ghost'. Who says the spirit of free enterprise isn't alive and thriving?
Illegal traffic wardens persecute Southwark motorists
The residents of this London borough are getting a holiday from parking regulations after the Immigration Police busted the entire complement of traffic wardens. Motorists who received a ticket from these illegal migrants to our fair land now have 2 lines of hope for an appeal.
Dotty old judges go totally soft on criminals
The Sentencing Guidance Panel, a retirement home for judges who are too decrepit to make the bench, has proposed radical sentence reductions for criminals who admit their guilt without messing about.
Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has ordered the CPS to put British soldiers in front of civilian courts to face charges related to their service in Iraq, e.g. murder. This is being seen as an attempt by the government to shift attention away from its own criminal activities, such as sending British troops to Iraq to fight an illegal war with defective equipment, and withdrawing life-protecting equipment from front-line troops. Lest anyone forget, this policy has led to the death of troops who were forced to do without a flak jacket.
The 11 staff members of a school in eastern India hit on a brilliant scam in February 1981. They all skived off on full pay, turning up just for 2 official occasions per year, and the headmaster hired 3 'dummy teachers' at six quid a month [currently £14] to take their places. The racket was busted this year when the local school examination board performed a snap inspection and found that in addition to a ghost staff, most of the school's pupils existed only on paper.
Smug Bugger arrested by Sand Police for drawing unauthorized lines : "He was reckless and persistent, and he deserves everything he gets," said the arresting officer.
All those who followed the progress of the ill-fated British Beagle 2 mission to Mars put on a small smile when they saw the Genesis probe parked up to its neck in the Nevada desert. The probe had spent 3 years gathering atoms from the solar wind; material blown into space by the Sun's nuclear furnace. NASA was hoping that analyzing the particles would help to explain how the Sun and its planets formed.
Doomsday postponed again
If you are reading this, the death rock Toutatis didn't hit Earth on Wednesday, 29th September. It missed us by a million miles (4 times the distance between Earth and the Moon); and that's the closest the asteroid will come to Earth for the next 500 years. 4179 Toutatis was discovered in 1989 by French astronomers. They named their find after the Celtic/Gallic god whose name is invoked Astérix the Gaul and his pals in the cartoon books by Goscinny and Uderzo.
SpaceShip One heads for its place in history
Mojave Aerospace Ventures' SpaceShip One successfully completed the first of two fully-laden $10 million Ansari X-Prize flights on the 29th of this month. It's White Knight carrier aircraft released SS1 at 48,000 feet and pilot Mike Melvill carried on to a height of 358,000 feet (as measured by ground radar).
The progressive Billa supermarket of Purkersdorf, Austria, felt good about introduced speaking shopping trolleys to tell customers about bargains and cleaning robots which politely asked shoppers to shift out of the way. But the trolleys were withdrawn when customers started complaining and putting their hands over the speakers in the handles to shut up the grating voices.
WARNING! If you buy anything from Panasonic and it breaks down, you will NOT be able to get through on their customer service department on the telephone line and they will IGNORE any emails you send them.
Speed may kill, but there is good speeding and bad speeding. This is the government's deliberately confused message on this subject. It would appear that one of the government's stooges had decided that tinkering with speeding fines by introducing 3 levels of penalties instead of one level will draw the public's attention away from the illegal war in Iraq.
Reckless cyclists in Bournemouth are in for a shock from now on. If they charge along the town's promenade or pavements at more than 10 mph, they will get a good talking to. The council has appointed a team of wardens and armed them with speed guns to harass cycling pests. Unfortunately, the council cannot impose fines at present but maybe there's a by-law on the way.
No escape from the UK Parking Police
There's a well-known racket involving spivs sending out demands for cash dressed up to look like genuine invoices and lazy companies paying up without doing any checks. Euro Parking Collections, a firm which acts as an agent for 40+ local authorities across Europe, seems to have borrowed the idea and built on it.
This season's railway excuse
Midland Mainline, which runs trains between London and Yorkshire, has announced that its services are being delayed by the wrong sort of sunshine. It invades the driver's cab, which has plenty of windows, and turns the cab into a hothouse. So trains have to be parked in the shade until the driver's cab cools to an acceptable working temperature. Midland Mainline is now working to beef up the air-conditioning and installing heat-reflecting sun blinds. A spokesman for the company said, "No one told us the weather in this country can be sunny and hot".
The Appeal Court has ruled that there is nothing wrong with gypsy travellers ignoring planning regulations and the requirement to have planning permission for construction projects. So if anyone is having problems with their council's planning department, the remedy is clear. All they have to do is claim they're gypsies and howl that their Human Rights are being abused, and they they'll be able to get away with murder.
Anyone planning to travel to the United States of America should be prepared to stand in a queue for 3-5 hours in the immigration hall, where the staff have to check passports, take fingerprints, photograph the customers and cope with a slow, crash-prone computer logging system. And if the traveller misses a connection, he/she will have to pay for an overnight stay at a hotel as the delay is not the airline's fault.
|Created for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.|
Sole © RAL, September 2004.