Saturday, 29 November 2014

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Pointless Sales

Black Friday sales across the country are descending into bloodbaths, according to those brave enough to take part.
With shoppers seemingly willing end the lives of people standing between them and a 20% discounted television, reports say the number of victims could run into the thousands.
Shopper Simon Williams told us, “I was hoping to get a cheap tablet at my local megastore, but when the guy in front of me pulled out a crossbow and started firing into the crowd in front of him I changed my mind.”
“It’s almost like the prospect of saving a few quid turns people into raging bloodthirsty sociopaths.”
“It’s not just manners that appear go out of the window, but basic human decency – it soon became survival of the fittest if you wanted to get anything good.”
“I was going to head back to my car but ended up climbing over dead bodies, so I gave up. It was horrific.”
“There’s actually a woman over by the laptops guarding them with a trident. I can’t say for certain if she’s actually used it, but it is literally covered in blood.”
“She’s about to be attacked by a woman with a sword over a £50 Chromebook so I’ve really got to go, this is getting interesting.”

Durham in the Doldrums- 20

1. You’re Not Actually A Nazi
Even though someone saw fit to draw a Swastika on your sign…

Durham in the Doldrums- 19

2. You Were So Close To Being Able To Say You Invented This…
Mmmmmmm, parmo. Invented just outside of the County Durham border, unfortunately.

Durham in the Doldrums- 18

3. This Family Guy Clip Offends You Ever So Slightly


Durham in the Doldrums- 17

4. You’re A Bit Jealous Of How Cool & Laid Back Its North Carolina Namesake Is

Hands up if you’d rather live there?

Durham in the Doldrums- 16

5. And There Are More Of Them Than Anywhere Else In The Country

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
Seriously, have you been in to any town or city in County Durham lately? It’s STILL like an epidemic.

Durham in the Doldrums- 15

6. It’s “Charver” Not “Chav”

While there is debate about the exact origins of the word, people in County Durham insist they’re responsible for it and, at the very least, it definitely originated in the North East area.
It’s just such a shame that everyone else in the country fails to bloody pronounce it properly.

Durham in the Doldrums- 14

7. House Prices

Live in County Durham? Trying to sell your house? Well get ready for some frighteningly falling house prices. The average home in County Durham is £114,554 – £17,742 cheaper than before the 2008 financial crisis – giving the region the highest percentage fall in house prices compared with pre-crisis levels. Maybe just stay put, eh?

Durham in the Doldrums- 13

8. Shopping Options Are Terrible
Where is County Durham’s version of the Metro Centre, the Meadowhall Centre, the Trafford Centre or Westfield? The likes of Milburngate and the Cornmill Centre just don’t cut it.

Durham in the Doldrums- 12

9. Nobody Understands Your Jargon/Slang
“Me and wor lass met a hellish gadgie in Bish Vegas, didn’t we pet? Aye he was proper canny, but his missus had proper minging nashers. A reet charver munter she was. There was defo summet wrong with her like”.
“Erm, what?”

Durham in the Doldrums- 11

10. “Rahs”
Red trouser wearing, cash-rich students from the South who invade to take advantage of the good credentials of the University and leave without ever enriching the region, leaving only faint memories of their ridiculous affected accents and comedy clothes. Good riddance, we don’t like you either.

Durham in the Doldrums- 10

11. …Or A Working Class Rogue
There is literally no in-between. But Durham isn’t all about miners and drunks either…

Durham in the Doldrums- 9

12. People Either Think You’re A Snob…
Because Durham University has given the whole county that reputation as far as some people are concerned.

Durham in the Doldrums- 8

13. This Is Your County’s Most Famous YouTube Hit

An accurate representation of how most nights end in County Durham.

Durham in the Doldrums- 7

14. This Guy Represented You For 24 Years

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Because nothing says “County Durham” more than Sedgefield’s finest greedy warmonger, Tony Blair. He represented the United Kingdom as its Prime Minister for ten years, but he was a County Durham MP for two and a half times the length of that stretch.

Durham in the Doldrums- 6

15. In Fact A Huge Percentage Of People Are Depressed / CBS / CBS
In statistics revealed last year, the North East – and in particular County Durham – was revealed to be the worst hit area in a national depression boom. The number of patients prescribed anti-depressants in County Durham was higher than the number of people estimated to suffer from depression and anxiety by the NHS England’s Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (63,700 to 55,300). So yeah – not that cheerful.

Durham in the Doldrums- 5

16. You Can’t Be Friendly & Cheerful All The Time
Given that the most places south of County Durham have a reputation as being somewhat less friendly (London, for example, is one of the most unsociable places on Earth), everyone from outside the area seems to expect you to be happy, cheerful and sociable 100% of the time, as if we’re all some sort of performing monkeys. We have bad days too.

Durham in the Doldrums- 4

17. Nightlife Options Are Terrible / New Line Cinema / New Line Cinema
Yeah, laugh it up Newcastle residents: you’ve got the nightlife, you love to boogie. Sadly, for those who come to Durham expecting the same thing, the closest you can hope for is Klute in Durham, The Hoskins in Darlington, Bishop Auckland’s hilariously mis-named Monaco and anywhere in Chester-Le-Street, where you’ll be lucky to get home with your teeth.

Durham in the Doldrums- 3

18. The Distinct Lack Of Professional Football Clubs
Since the 2009-10 season, when Darlington were relegated to what was then the Football Conference, County Durham has lacked any real football presence in the top four professional leagues.
Hartlepool United remain, but they are more strongly associated with Cleveland and Teesside, and they’re terrible. As a result, pledging your allegiance to a club when you’re born in County Durham is more of a task than anywhere else in the country.

Durham in the Doldrums- 2

19. “You Sound Like Ant & Dec”
“No we don’t, because we AREN’T GEORDIES!”

Durham in the Doldrums- 1

20. Everyone Thinks You’re A Geordie

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a Geordie but, to people from County Durham, assuming they’re Geordies is like assuming a Bristolian is Welsh or that a Brummie is Cornish.
Durham is a completely different county to Tyne and Wear, but anyone from South of North Yorkshire makes that assumption.

Durham in the Doldrums- Intro

Seeing as wifey is a Durhamite, this will cheer her up- she now lives (mostly) in Bangkok.  :o)

Every single city, town, village or any other kind of settlement on this planet has its fair share of flaws and its problems – no matter which county it’s in. Nobody in the world would ever say the place in which they live is completely perfect.
For example, if you live in Stoke-On-Trent, Middlesbrough, Hull, Dundee, Glasgow or even London, you’re residing in a place that has, at some point, been named on a list as one of the very worst places to live in the entire United Kingdom.
While County Durham doesn’t have many cities and towns that feature on such lists, it certainly has its problems – some serious, some inconvenient and some that residents can simply laugh off – and they’re generally apply solely to people living in or from the area.
So, if you’re from Durham, Darlington, Bishop Auckland, West Auckland, Stanhope, Seaham, Hartlepool, Newton Aycliffe, Spennymoor, Chester-le-Street, Chilton, Ferryhill, Barnard Castle, Billingham, Binchester, Consett, Peterlee, Sedgefield, Shildon or any other settlement in the County Durham area, this article is definitely for you.
Without further ado, here are twenty problems only people from Durham (county and city) will understand…
What Culture



UKIP & Schrödinger

schrodinger's immigrant UKIP
UKIP have updated Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment by insisting that immigrants exist in a state of both lazing around on benefits whilst simultaneously being out there stealing British jobs.
A UKIP spokesman declared the observation true until said immigrant is directly observed, and that there was a dire need for further studies on the phenomenon.
UKIP’s Roy Jenks explained, “These people clearly need further observation. EU bureaucrats in Brussels have somehow introduced ambiguous and confusing red tape that threatens our widely held lazy stereotypes.”
He continued “Some bloke down the pub who knows – for definite – told me that Romanians in particular have been stealing his job, and if that’s not bad enough, they’re also too lazy to work because cause they’re all on the dole.”
Hobbs added “So it’s tricky.”
“They need to be studied extensively, secure and in isolation for a prolonged period of time for objective results. Many people are surprised how closely these scientific conditions resemble a prison cell in Strangeways.”

Schrödinger’s immigrant

We tried to verify these allegations with several migrant workers, though all claimed to be unable to follow Mr Jenks’ line of thinking.
One worker who wished to remain anonymous stated, “He is stupid prick, yes?”
Local employer Simon Williams said that he fully supported UKIP’s latest thought experiment.
“I employ a couple of Europeans, yes. And sure, they certainly put a shift in when they’re at work.  But they could equally be at home at the same time being lazy and claiming benefits, couldn’t they?”
“I don’t see what the issue is?”
“This UKIP fella ‘Schrödinger’ sounds smart, how can I vote for him?”

It's Good For You

Society’s knowledge of exercise and fitness has grown exponentially since the early 20th century, when strongmen boasted of eating 24 eggs and three pounds of bacon for breakfast. Then again, the enduring popularity of infomercial abdominal devices indicates we’re still prone to using dubious pieces of equipment if installment payments are offered. Here are a few contraptions that, while well-intentioned, may have been more hazardous than helpful to one’s health.     


The best fitness machine imaginable would involve seeing results while putting in absolutely no effort whatsoever. That was the primary selling point of the Relax-A-cizor [sic], an electrical stimulation device fitted around the stomach that promised to melt away belly fat. “It’s effortless!” promised print ads. “You REST!” (And for the easily confused: “Not a bicycle or chair.”)
While reducing adipose tissue in the absence of exertion was tempting, the U.S. government was less enthused: after being on the market for decades, Relaxacizor, Inc. suffered a permanent injunction in federal court from selling any more of the units. In the 1970 finding, Judge William Gray admonished that the device’s unpredictable currents (delivered via damp electrodes) were unsafe and could conceivably cause “headache, hernia…loss of consciousness…diarrhea…” and that it “may be capable of causing a miscarriage.” More than 400,000 units were sold before Gray halted sales.   


Less an exercise device than a human rotisserie, the Molby Hammock assured users it would “make your spine young!” Hung by the feet and neck, purchasers would enjoy relaxed spinal nerves with no nervous system “tension.” Sold throughout the 1920s, the Molby seemingly pre-dated the concept of tort lawsuits and mass litigation—though it may have fueled a rise in chiropractors.  


A gift from clever Japanese minds circa 1995, the Velcro Home Jogger was a stepper-style platform made of Velcro that “caught” the soles of its matching sneakers, creating resistance as the user tried to extricate their feet from the adhesion of the two surfaces.


Perched atop this giant, adult-supporting turntable, 1970s fitness enthusiasts could contort their core to stimulate—well, something. Dynamic Classics, the company that produced this and other equipment, was unclear on what exactly the Twist ‘N Tone could accomplish. Reporter Landon Hall, who purchased one on eBay for an Orange County Register article, described it as “two pieces of plastic, with one rotating on top of the other. It looks like a TV dinner tray without legs.” A personal trainer that Hall consulted asserted that anything the device purported to do could be done standing on a floor—for free.


Bodybuilding icon Joe Weider of Muscle and Fitness fame was in a perfect position to monetize the popularity of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1970s.  As Weider had helped with Arnold’s training and gotten him a role in his first movie (by claiming that Arnold was aGerman Shakespearean actor), perhaps Arnold felt a debt of gratitude when agreeing to endorse his lead-stuffed bracelets. Promising to turn “every arm movement into an instant arm builder,” the gaudy fashion accessory sold as a pair for $14.95. If your biceps didn’t “ooze 100% more power…and look ferocious,” the ad copy promised, you could return them for a full refund. 


A kind of stopgap for aspiring gymnasts who were wary of breaking their necks, the ‘30s-era Gymno Frame looks like something you’d find in the traction ward of a hospital—where users might conceivably end up. The Frame assisted in cartwheels, somersaults, and other head-over-heels maneuvers. Photographed in British football clubs, the contraption never appeared to make it stateside.  


Sold in the 1880s and free of any pesky laws governing medical claims, the spring-equipped Jolting Chair assured prospective buyers that it “preserves health, cures diseases, and prolongs life.” Curative effects include relief from “constipation…melancholia...” and anything resulting from “lack of nerve force.” A lever on the chair would seem to indicate some kind of gyration or movement, suitable even for those “crippled from paralysis.” 
Sadly, these claims could not be substantiated. The Jolting Chair was one of the many devices that led to the Federal Trade Commission finding their own nerve force and forcing advertisers to back up their claims beginning in 1938.
Mental Floss


The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more


USB plugs that stick out too far, thus making me knock into them every time I use the mouse.  Ggrr...

The Hobbit Part III

Having been conned out of my hard earned with The Hobbit being stretched into a farcical trilogy and then advised there will a tedious 45 minute fight "scene", I shall take great pleasure in viewing this movie outside of the cinema for as cheaply as possible.

Christmas Must Sees?- 10

Most Violent Year

Writer-director JC Chandor follows Margin Call and All is Lost with a thriller set in 1981 – statistically one of the most crime-ridden years in New York City’s history. Starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, it follows the lives of an immigrant and his family battling corruption as they chase the American Dream. Chandor has been praised for his versatility: “Just when we're settling into the film being a Lumet-ian character-driven portrait of ambitious connivers, Chandor will, on more than one occasion, organically segue to an adrenaline-packed truck chase that's as exciting as any big action-movie moment of recent memory.” Released 31 December in Canada, France and the US. (Before the Door Pictures)

Christmas Must Sees?- 9

The Interview

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This is the End) incurred the wrath of the North Korean regime when details of their latest comedy were announced. Rogan and James Franco star as two talk show hosts given the chance to interview Kim Jong Un; enlisted by the US government as undercover agents, they are tasked with assassinating the dictator. In response, the North Korean government has promised a “merciless” retaliation against the US if The Interview is released, calling the film an “act of war”. In a statement published by the state-run KCNA news agency, the movie was said to be the work of “gangster moviemakers”, being labelled a “wanton act of terror.” Released 25 December in Iraq, Lebanon and the US. (Ed Araquel/CTMG Inc)

Christmas Must Sees?- 8

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The final instalment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy sees plenty of fighting – and a lot of flames – as the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) rains his fiery wrath down on Lake-Town. Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins, alongside Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, in an epic fantasy that is set to culminate in a 45-minute battle scene. Dwarves, elves, goblins and orcs are among those battling it out for their right to the treasure of Erebor; Jackson has promised that the final scene does not get monotonous: “We have a rule that we’re not allowed to go more than two or three shots of anonymous people fighting without cutting back to our principal characters.” Released 10 December in Austria, 11 December in New Zealand and 17 December in the US. (PR)