Friday, 29 February 2008

Nudge a Work Colleague

Dead bbbooooorrrrrrrriiiinnnnnnnngggggggg...

South Paws

Calling all cack handers out there, please count your toes. People with more than ten are eight times more likely to be left-handed.


Shades of Grey

Studies have found that office memos on blue paper are least likely to be ignored by workers/colleagues. So give the yellow Post Its a miss and gan for blue, like.

And don't use a blue ink either as it is a bit ghey, black is a far butcher colour.

More Greek Sayings

You'll miss them when they're gone:

The fava has a hole in it

Meaning: there's a catch somewhere; things aren't what they seem

Fava, is the yellow, polenta-like pasta made from boiling and crushing the fava bean and it is one of the staple of peasant foods, still served in tavernas as an appetiser with olive oil and onion. A plate of fava should present a smooth surface without being watery, and a badly cooked dish may have air bubbles lurking below the surface. Thus a sense that a certain situation is not all it seems to be.

Stinging them

Meaning: drinking heavily

This phrase is reserved more for the alcoholic than the occasional drinker, and refers more to whisky and hard liquors than beer or wine. "Them" is the number of glasses drunk, whilst "stinging" refers to the burning/smarting sensation of the alcohol on the throat.

There's Rhodes, there's the jump

Meaning: keep your promise; put your money where your mouth is

According to Aesop's Fables, there was an Athenian athlete who was a bit of a boaster/braggart and when he returned from a footrace in Rhodes, he bigged himself up. One of his friends called his bluff by drawing a line in the dust and on one side wrote "Rhodes" asking the blurk to jump over the line. "There's Rhodes, there's the jump". Realising that his pals were taking the mickey, the runner sloped off in shame.

Guess you had to be there for that one.

Happy New Year

No, really.

Today, 29th February, 2008 we have just received a Christmas/New Year card from our hosts, Alan & Eve, in England. Complete with snowy scenes and freezing temperatures, which we have pictured above in brilliant sunshine on the balcony.
Assuming that it was indeed sent some time prior to Christmas and before the end of 2007, that's only taken the Greek postal system a minimum of two months to deliver.
About on par with the TV broadcasting companies...
Thanks guys- this has really cheered us up- we don't miss England at all. :-D

Dancing on Your Grave?

The Cretan capital of Herakleion (we'll be visiting soon) has hit the headlines with its small pedestrian walkway. It seems that after 20 years of use, the tread of many feet has worn away the dirt on the marble slabs used to construct the path, revealing names.

Names of dead people. It seems that the materials used were stolen marble tombstones...

They are now in the process of replacing the stones.

What a Load of Bollocks

Crotch-grabbing is an ancient superstitious habit in Italy that is believed to ward off the evil eye; it is traditional for men to do it if passed by a hearse or when discussing serious illness or disasters. The phrase "Io mi tocco" ("I touch my") is as common as crossing fingers for good luck.

However, the Italian supreme court has outlawed men from touching their genitals in public, following a case where they had ruled that a man from Como had broken the law by "ostentatiously touching his genitals through his clothing". The court said his behaviour was an "act contrary to public decency" and that the rules "require everyone to abstain from conduct that is potentially offensive to collectively held feelings of decorum".

He was fined 200€ (~£152) and ordered to pay 1 000€ (~£762) in costs.

Many Italians are superstitious and common fears include the number 17, purple and black, which are colours of mourning, and leaving hats on beds - because a priest always leaves his hat on the bed while performing the last rites.

NB Burds

Today is the day when women traditionally propose to men.

If you can find them...


When Plod went to arrest a prisoner who breached the terms of his release at his given home address, they thought he was out, when they got no reply

However, they decided to call him on his mobile and heard its ring tone inside...


Since we have been using the new template on the Blog, we have been introduced to all new types of slick, trick, bits to flash it up a tad. Little slide show, footer (anyone even seen it? A virtual tenner to the first who recognises it...), colour and format changes; all sorts of good stuff to disguise the fact that the content is, well, pretty, shite, really.

It also breaks down the number of topics per month and in January, I remarked that we had published more posts than the entire year of 2006, our first year away from the UK. I thought that this was pretty indicative of the type of year we had had. Plenty of travelling/driving which occupied most of the time and offered us opportunity to see and do things away from the computer- if we even had access to the internet.

I also figured that we would not be able to repeat the feat and that January 2008 would be the record holder- 451 posts in one calendar month was quite prolific. Which is why beating that "score" yesterday was completely unexpected, particularly as February is the shortest month and didn't even need the extra leap year day.

Today we venture into unknown territories and I wonder how far can we get?

Not far, I think- the sun is out, we're due to ride off on Shonky to explore a bit further and then it is the Friday tradition to wander up to Alexander's later on today. And I very much doubt we will ever get close to the record again as we leave behind the comfort of Port Heli (and glorious full-fat broadband) exactly in a fortnight's time to fly to Crete.

Thereafter we once again pull on wander boots as we embrace the new, warmer season with a flurry of activity as we hit the road full time, with Rhodes a scant three weeks later, followed by our Turkish adventure beginning mid-April. Whilst travelling it is always hit and miss if we can access the internet, but we try our best and if we get lucky, you get (un)lucky.

Can't wait.

29th February 2008

As you are no doubt aware, this year is a leap year and if you check out a 2008 calendar, you will see that February has five Fridays; the month begins and ends on the same day of the week.
Between the years 1904 and 2096, leap years that share the same week day for each date, repeat only every 28 years and the last time in which February comprised of five Fridays was in 1980- the next time will be in 2036.
In the Gregorian calendar (used by most modern countries), the following three criteria determine which years will be leap years:
  1. Every year that is divisible by four is a leap year;
  2. of those years, if it can be divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless
  3. the year is divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

So that means that years 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are NOT leap years, while year 2000 and 2400 are. Note that 2000 was somewhat special as it was the first instance when the third criterion applies.

Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun (see well snazzy diagram, above). The vernal equinox is the time when the sun is directly above the Earth's equator, moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The mean (average) time between two successive vernal equinoxes is called a tropical year (also known as a solar year) and is 365.2422 days long.

Using a calendar with 365 days every year would result in a loss of 0.2422 days, or almost six hours per year, therefore by adding a leap year approximately every fourth year, the difference between the calendar and the seasons can be reduced significantly, and the calendar will align with the seasons much more accurately. (The term "day" is used to mean "solar day", which is the mean time between two transits of the sun across the meridian of the observer.)

More snippets:

  • The Gregorian calendar has a 400-year cycle until it repeats the same weekdays for every year–29th February, 2008, is a Friday and 29th February, 2408, will be a Friday.
  • The Gregorian calendar has 97 leap years during those 400 years.
  • The longest time between two leap years is eight years- the last time that occurred was between 1896 and 1904 and the next time will be between 2096 and 2104.

Go and impress your mates down the pub tonight...

Doing A Mate A Favour

From the BIKe Forum:

My band (Ritual Abuse) have been put up for nomination to play a massive festival in Slovenia this year called Metal Camp.

It is our dream to play this festival and I would massively appreciate it if you could spare a couple of minutes to vote for me and the band please! The link is:

Scroll down and find United Kingdom (for some reason it is under France...) You will be taken to a new page, then scroll down some more, find 'Ritual Abuse' and then click 'Place a Vote'.

It requires your name and email and that is all. Please please please please please vote for us! Thanks!

And if you want to see/hear some of Animals music, check it out here:

Cheers, all.

Damn, I miss Slovenia now.

South Park

Any other fans out there? You'll love their site then: South Park Stuff


Thursday, 28 February 2008

You What, Man?

Newcastle is the noisiest urban area in England, with residents facing severe hearing and health problems, according to a new report. The North East city topped a traffic noise table with 80.4 decibels, said to be the equivalent of a loud alarm clock constantly ringing in a person's ear.

Here's what it's sounding like around the country:


1 Newcastle - 80.4 decibels
2 Birmingham - 79.1 decibels
3 London - 78.5 decibels
4 Darlington - 78.3 decibels
= Doncaster - 78.3 decibels


1 Torquay - 60.2 decibels
2 Paignton - 65.7 decibels
3 Scunthorpe - 66.4 decibels
4 Folkestone - 66.8 decibels
5 Colchester - 68.1 decibels

Couple that with people grumbling about Wor Kev's mismanagement of the Toon, it'll sound like Concorde taking off...


Did you know that Plod are not required to clean up a crime scene once evidence has been gathered?

Cheques Checked

It's not just M & S who are dumping cheques next week, so are Tesco, so before they disappear, here's how it all kicked off (ta to the Beeb):

According to the British Bankers' Association, the concept of cheques first came about in the 16th Century, when merchants had goldsmiths look after their gold and wrote notes to other merchants, asking that a certain amount of gold be paid to the bearer of the note. The first actual example of a cheque as we now know it dates from 1659. There were over 4.4 million personal and business cheques issued every day in 2007. This is compared with 11 million in 1990, the peak year for cheque usage. It is predicted there will be only 2.3 million per day by 2016.

  • 5 m people regularly use guaranteed cheques, compared with 16 m in 1996
  • Women make almost 52% more guaranteed cheque payments than men
  • Less than one in ten regular bills paid by cheque, compared with one in three in 1995
  • 4% of retail spending is paid by cheque, compared with over 60% by debit or credit card
  • More than 4.4 m business and personal cheques issued each day in 2007, compared with 11m in 1990

I can't even recall the last time I wrote out a cheque and reckon I've only used perhaps less than half a dozen in the last ten years. Nowadays, cash is king- but we are abroad of course.

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

Don McLean has reportedly written a lengthy note explaining the meaning of his song "American Pie", which is to be published following his death.

Does anyone really care?


Seems we had quite a few typos in the last batch of posts -mild sun stroke, perhaps? :0)

Wifey has since proof read them and they are all now (hopefully) amended to what should be correct offerings, with fancy stuff like proper spellings and grammar, like. Man.


Counting the Cost of War

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winner in economics, claims that the Iraq war has cost $3 trillion so far, which "could have fixed America's social security problem for half a century."

Full story here: The Guardian

Made in the UK

They're not, but they are certainly in keeping with the country's obsession with CCTV. The latest designs in floor standing, standard lamps. Quite nifty, as it goes.

Clothesen Hangeren Uppen Cock Up

An elderly German who hid a stolen suit under his clothes was caught... because he forgot to take it off the hanger.

A sales assistant at a men's outfitter in the western city of Aachen (we've been, lovely place) noticed the hanger bulging out when the man told her he had decided against buying anything.

How do these people actually reach old age?

Do Your Homework

If you're going to turn over a club, try and be a bit sensible about picking which one. Two armed thieves picked the wrong night to rob a Sydney club, disturbing a meeting of 50 motorcycle bikers, who tackled and hog-tied one of the thieves until police arrived.

The Southern Cross Cruiser Club was staging its monthly meeting when two men armed with machetes entered the club and ordered patrons to lie on the ground and surrender their money. Unfortunately for the balaclava-wearing bandits, they did not realise there were 50 bikers in the next room.

Not the kind of people you'd want to mess around with, even on a good day. Well done chaps; thanks for proving that not all riders are society's drop outs.

Happy Birthday

To Marlis, one of mum's longest school friends who so generously put up with a couple of idle layabouts when we stayed with her in Hamburg in 2006 for five weeks.

Currently on holiday in Thailand, meeting up with hubby who's been out there for several weeks already (and who recently got his passport, ID card, travel docs, cash and credit cards nicked- hope all is well again) we'd like to wish her a very happy birthday and to enjoy the shopping malls of Bangkok. I'm sure she will. ;-)

Don't Bank On It...

Ever wondered who owns whom in the murky world of "finance"? The Times (who else) has listed banks, building societies, credit card companies and insurers all in alphabetical order, so follow the link and scroll down to find out who owns yours.

The Money Men

Council Tax

Full listings of what your council is charging you, and around the country, broken down into who's in control, % change since last year, how much you're being fleeced in Band D (£) 2008-09 and whether there is an election this year or not: The Times

All's Well That Ends Well

Remember the shopkeeper who fought back and killed a knifeman who tried to rob him?

He has been told that he will not face a murder charge.

Common sense does make a rare appearance at the CPS after all.

On the Never-Never

It seems that Micheal Jackson is having problems clearing his tax bill; currently around $25 million (~£12.5 million) and so may have to sell his fantasyland, Neverland. Amazing, when it is considered that he has earned $1 billion during his 42-year career.
— Jackson started building Neverland in 1988, when riding high on the success of the albums Thriller and Bad

— At its peak, the ranch employed 160 people and had a zoo with giraffes, orangutans, tigers and reptiles

— Invited guests could entertain themselves on 16 amusement park rides, a miniature train and at the Michael Jackson museum

— The mansion had an arcade and a doll room

— The annual upkeep was an estimated $4 million (£2 million)

— In 1991 Elizabeth Taylor married her seventh husband, Larry Fortensky, in the grounds

— During the 2005 sex abuse trial, scores of wellwishers camped outside and when Jackson was acquitted hundreds more descended to celebrate

— The animals have all been relocated to neighbouring zoos

No Nutella

Nearly 100 tonnes of chocolate spread, worth around £210 000, were stolen from a factory in Haifa, northern Israel (we've been there). It's been estimated that to haul that amount of the sweet stuff away, five large lorries would have been required for the theft.

El Tel(aviv) Plod have little to go on so far as the alarm had been turned off and surveillance footage was also stolen.

Sweet success for the chocolate addicts, indeed.

Rough Justice

Three off-duty policemen were lynched in the Bolivian town of Epizana after being accused of extorting money from a man driving without number plates. Ten people have been lynched in Bolivia this year so far, due to anger at the slow justice system and corruption, rife in the country.

I think we'll cross that of our list of must see countries for a while...


We mentioned that Athens was going to be the first city in Greece to begin charging shoppers for supermarket plastic bags last week or so. It appears that Marks and Spencer is going to be one of the first British companies to do the same.

It is to charge its customers for plastic bags for food purchases from 6th May 2008, and money raised from the sale of the 5p bags will go to Groundwork, an environmental charity. The decision comes after a trial in which use of carrier bags was cut by 70% when charges were introduced.

Back to Work

Despite Friday, 29th February being a week day and an unpaid working day, employees have no right to take tomorrow off.

An employment law specialist said, staff must work the entire calendar year, not just 365 days a year. “When there is a leap year, there are 29 calendar days in February, not 28.”

Unlucky guys.

Mercedes Cars are Named After an Austrian Girl.

In 1897, Austrian businessman Emil Jellinek, travelled from his home in Nice, France to purchase a car from the Daimler factory in Cannstatt, Germany. On his return to the French Riviera, his sporting Daimler Phoenix caused such a sensation that he decided to enter it into a local touring competition, under the name of "Mercedes" after his favourite 9 year old daughter.

Realising the business potential for the new car, he not only placed an order for 36 more, but also secured the franchise for selling them in several countries. Gottlieb Daimler also agreed to having them sold under the name of "Mercedes."

The Mercedes trade name was registered after Daimler's death in 1900 and the 3-pointed star became the trade mark. Daimler had once drawn the emblem on a postcard to his wife, the star symbolising the growth of the business into transport on land, sea and air.

For Karl Benz, a name for his automobile was simple: he enclosed his name in a cogwheel to exemplify the solidness of his engineering works at Mannheim. The cogwheel later became a laurel wreath. After the First World War the Daimler and Benz companies worked closer together, generally advertising on the same posters. They amalgamated in 1926, combining the laurel wreath and 3-pointed star as their trade mark.

Interestingly, although Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz were two of the major pioneers in the automotive industry, they probably never met, even though they lived only 100km (60 miles) from each other in Germany. Daimler passed away in 1900. Daimler-Benz amalgamated in 1926.

So now you know.


The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is supposedly the most difficult in the English language. Unless you have a lisp...

Yeah, Now Who's laughing?

Pretty much a life-size piccie of this morning's visitor. Sure, you're all brave and tough sitting at your pc, giving it "what a big gurl's blouse you are", but face to face, this thing was so hard that it rips off its own limbs to throw at you in mocking defiance.
They don't fly particularly well, mind. Ha!

Catching the Sun

Following our day trip to Spetses the other day, we have sure caught the rays just by walking around in the sun for a few hours. I look like Sidney Poitier.

Except even better looking.

It's going to be a long, hot summer.


I Hear You Knocking

Heard a sound at the door and thought that it was a bit odd as it is still quite early. Got up, opened the door and looked out to find no one there. Probably next door's kids playing silly sods on their way to school. Heading back to the 'pooter, heard the sound again, accompanied by a slight tremor.

"Uh, oh; we're in for another earthquake" I thought to myself, as I tried to find the source of this heavy knocking.

It seemed to be emanating from the kitchen sink now and as I approached, I had a feeling of foreboding. Something wasn't quite right and I felt I was about to be exposed to this "something"- and it was not going to be good.

Then I caught a glimpse of it. Well, part of it. A hairy, scaly, antenna, poking over the sink, all brown and shiny. I was starting to feel faint at this point already, but had to explore further due to some morbid fascination which compels us to watch horror movies. As I inched forward like some shy teenager approaching the class' hottest burd at the school disco, I gingerly peered at the monster from the depths and was faced with the mother of all cockroaches.

After a couple of laps around the room, screaming quietly (wifey still in bed) to myself and arms waving frantically above my head in a one-man-band-Mexican wave, realisation dawned. I had to deal with it and it seemed to be getting ready for the encounter. It was doing press ups in the stainless steel sink, one handed (clawed) and each time it dropped, the block of flats sank a further two inches into the foundations.

I weigh around 9.5 stone (~ 60 kilo) and it's fair to say that description accurately describes my shape too. Round. Due to a long hard winter holing up, conserving energy and warmth, I've been stoking my temple with takeaway food, beer and generally exercising no more than a stroll to the local taverna and back. This beastie from the dark had been in serious training and looked like it could whip me in a one on one arm wrestle without breaking sweat. I needed cunning to survive the encounter and used all my street savvy to overcome the scuttling death machine.

I reached...




More through luck than good fortune (I was doing this with one hand covering my eyes) I managed to entrap the creepy-crawlie, nuclear fall out survivor and lobbed the glass fair and square over the little (?) bastid. Followed up with the classic "slide a beer mat under the glass" routine I introduced the morning wake up call to the delights of free falling from the balcony. I could have sworn, that as the Devil's disciple sailed through the air, it was giving me the finger (hook). I had the last laugh though; it landed with an all mighty crash into the field behind the apartment, where it demolished an olive tree.

I thought I had the last laugh. It barely flinched and with a look from its beady eye(s?) gave me the nod; "I'll be back".

Sod that, next time it's wifey's turn- she can do all that Kung Fu shit on its arse.

Well, I Woke Up This Morning...

Is usually how good old blues tunes kick off and then go on to say how wifey had left, the dog had died and all other manner of things had turned out just plain wrong. Which is how yesterday panned out. This morning, however, all is well.

The water is back to full pressure, by virtue of being able to post on the Blog demonstrates we have power and broadband access (which is super whizzy fast again, after yesterday's s-l-o-w efforts) and it's waaaay to early to check that the television is working. By TV, I don't mean the actual unit, but the transmission of course, so our hosts can stop panicking, all is well here.

Once again, all good, and ktelontour's happy equilibrium has been restored. Until I heard a knock at the door a short while ago...

What Not To Do On Tour

With a big ta to The Guardian:

1. Doing the thumbs-up sign in Iran

Here in the UK the cheery thumbs-up sign is an easy way to show you're having a good time or that everything's OK. Not so in Iran, where the very same gesture is called the bilakh and is an unquestioned insult, with the literal meaning of "sit on this!" Another hand gesture to watch out for is the American OK sign, where thumb meets forefinger in a circle. Though adopted internationally by scuba-divers to mean "I'm fine", in Turkey and Brazil this suggests you are comparing someone to the filthiest part of their anatomy, a point to remember if diving the waters off Ilha Grande.

2. Patting someone on the head in Thailand

In Buddhist countries, the head is considered to be sacred, the seat of the soul, and touching the top of it is highly insulting, even for a child. Other familiar movements to watch out for include pointing with a finger, which is considered rude in Malaysia, where they point with a closed fist, the thumb at the top indicating direction. Filipinos are even more low-key, singling out an object by shifting their eyes towards it or pursing their lips and pointing with their mouth.

3. Referring to Ireland as one of 'the British Isles'

Conversational pitfalls abroad often centre around an innocent political inquiry. Ask about the Aboriginal situation in Australia, human rights in China, dowry deaths in India, even bullfighting in Spain and your potential to cause offence quadruples instantly. Americans who mistake Ireland for one of the British isles or want to know why they use euros and not pounds in a Dublin bar will soon find this out. When you get chatting to new people in a new country, it's always wisest to stick with food, children, sport or the beauty of the landscape. You can rarely go wrong saying nice things about the meal you've just eaten or the football prowess of the local or national team.

4. Going to a barbecue in Argentina dressed as a gaucho

There's a certain type of traveller who can't resist trying on the local dress – or what they assume is the local dress. And indeed, wearing the semi-transparent, decorated shirt known as the barong Tagolog in the Philippines or the batik in Indonesia is absolutely fine. But just as we find portly Americans clad in kilts and tam o'shanters absurd, so an Argentinian would find a European pitching up to the evening asado (barbecue) dressed as a gaucho or in Native Indian costume ridiculous.

5. Keeping your shoes on in a Japanese home or temple

Not just in Japan, but all over the East, you should be ready to remove your shoes at the drop of a hat. In Japan you'll often be given slippers to take you from front door to living room, where they should be removed before you step on the tatami (reed mat). It's always as well to be wearing good clean socks in these places – and be careful when you leave not to do so in someone else's slip-ons. Earlier this year, in Rajasthan, Elizabeth Hurley caused major offence when she refused to remove her shoes before entering the mandap (sacred marriage place) at her own wedding.

6. Taking a bunch of 12 wrapped carnations to a German dinner party

Flowers may seem like the perfect gift to delight your gracious hostess with, but beware, in many countries particular varieties, colours and even numbers have unlikely associations. Carnations are used for funerals in Germany, Poland and Sweden, as are chrysanthemums in Belgium, Italy, France, Spain and Turkey. In Austria and France red roses might suggest a romantic interest, while in Mexico and Chile yellow flowers signify grief or separation. A bunch of flowers should always be given unwrapped in Germany, Sweden and Poland. An odd number of blooms is unlucky in China and Indonesia; an even number in India, Turkey, Russia and Germany.

7. Getting your host's name the wrong way round in China

Getting into a muddle about names is all too easy. In the Far East our normal order is reversed, with the surname first, followed by a middle generational name, then a given name. So calling Mr Li Wong Chee of Beijing "Mr Chee" would be like calling Mr John William Smith of London, "Mr John". But things are never simple: so as not to confuse foreigners, some Chinese people now reverse the order of their names when dealing with the West. So Mr Li Wong Chee may after all be Li Chee, from the generation Wong.

8. Giving a bottle of cognac in a pigskin bottle holder to an Arab host

This would be a double-whammy. If Muslims drink, they certainly don't do so publicly, so drawing attention to your host's private love of Armagnac or Glenfiddich would not be the best idea. Like the dog, the pig is unclean in Arab countries, so however beautifully-made the executive bottle holder, pigskin only adds to the offence. In general when abroad you should always consult with the locals before giving gifts: a clock is unlucky in China, anything with a logo is regarded as cheap in Colombia, and in Korea they don't like being given stuff "Made in Korea".

9. Drinking or talking during a toast in Georgia or Azerbaijan

Drinking toasts are taken seriously across northern Europe, Russia and into the countries of the old Soviet Union. In Scandinavia or Germany, you should always meet your host's eye when saying Skål or Prost! In Russia the vodka should be drained in a single gulp. Further south, in Georgia and Azerbaijan, the toasts can often go on for hours, orchestrated by the tamada, or toastmaster. Talking to your neighbour or sipping your drink between toasts will soon bring on the tut-tuts and raised eyebrows.

10. Leaving your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice in China or Japan

Chopsticks should be held two-thirds up; the farther away from your food, the more sophisticated you're deemed to be. You should never spear food with your chopsticks, cross them over each other, rest them on opposite sides of your plate, point at people with them, use them to pull your bowl closer, or – worst of all – stick them upright in the rice. This mimics a Japanese funeral rite, when chopsticks and rice are left by the bedside of the newly deceased.

Happy travels. :-D

God Who?

Having mentioned the Catholic faith earlier, here's another little gem: 16% of Catholics say they don't believe in God...

Holding the Folding

How people count their cash around the world; fascinating.

At ktelontour we have a far easier system- we vigorously shake the piggy bank and keeping our fingers crossed, hope we can hear a few coins rattle...

Hat Trick

Public services in Greece. *sigh*

This morning, having just brushed my teeth, the water stopped. No forewarning, no notice; it just disappeared into a trickle and then nowt.

As we left to go to the shops, the road was being dug up with three blurks leaning on spades, enjoying the sun and doing little more. That would explain the water concern then.

We got back to discover the electricity had taken sympathy with the water strike and had followed suit. Nix on the leccie front then.

When we did get power back (a short while ago), we turned on the television and found to our amusement we had 12 channels of absolutely bugger all.

On the plus side, the water is now "back", we have a continual stream of mist which allows the toilet cistern to refill at three day intervals.

As the song goes, two out of three ain't bad.

Public services in Greece. *sigh*

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

We're Sorry. Ish. Tough. Have Some More.

The BBC has apologised on its website today, for subjecting viewers to almost 12 hours of continuous sport during its sporting marathon last Saturday, including England versus France in the Six Nations. It said:

"We are sorry that some viewers felt the BBC1 schedule … contained too much sport. Competition for sports rights has intensified enormously in recent years and since the Six Nations tournament came back to the BBC, there has been a picture of growth in audiences watching our coverage of the sport.

We realise that not everyone enjoys watching sport but there is undeniably a large section of our audience who do and as a public service broadcaster, we are obligated to cater for them as and when we can. The audience ratings alone justified our decision to show the three matches."

Clearly they are really sorry. The weekend after next, it will again show continuous coverage of three more rugby matches and at least two FA Cup quarter final games.

The BBC, robbing the people to give them what they don't want.

BBC 1 sports schedule began at 12.10 pm with Football Focus and finished with Match of the Day at 11.40 pm that evening; the only non-sports programme that was broadcast, apart from news bulletins, was an edition of Out-Take TV devoted to Anne Robinson's The Weakest Link. Superb weekend viewing...

Toot Toot

Bored with your run of the mill car horn? Fear not.

An American company (who else?) has released a new gadget which allows you to store up to ten different horn tones, and comes with a USB plug socket to allow you to add your own ideas. At $300 (~£152), the device ain't cheap, but it does offer some suggestions, including playing the music from the Empire Strikes Back when outside the tax office; the Back to the Future theme as you approach eighty-eight miles an hour (only on German autobahns, right...) and the Road-Runner's irritating "meep-meep".

How about a voice that booms out "get the feck out of the way you myopic get"?

NOTE: Sirens, bells and whistles, such as those used by emergency services, are illegal on a private car.

One is Not Amused

An Australian showing of the award-winning film The Queen was unwittingly turned into a farce by woefully poor subtitles for its screening to an audience of deaf and hard of hearing in Sydney. Quality translations such as:
  • "Buckingham Palace" = "Burking in Paris"
  • "did you vote?" = "dead in a boat"
  • "educated at Fettes" = "educated the fattest".
  • "every newspaper proprietor has blood on his hands today" = "every newspaper proprietor has blown in his hands today"
  • "BLiar" = "smug-faced, big, fat-git liar"*

Personally, I prefer the sub-titled version...

*Entirely accurate and entirely made up.


To commemorate the Euro's 10th birthday next year, the EU asked for suggestions on what should go on the back of the two Euro coin.
The winning design was by Greek sculptor George Stamatopoulos,who chose a primitive stick figure blending into the euro symbol, which was selected by 41% of the 140 000 Europeans who cast votes in an online poll at It will appear from January 2009 on some 90 million coins that will be issued by all 15 nations that use the Euro.

Acabion GTBO

Partly built in the UK, this is the fastest-ever road vehicle with its 1300 cc turbo-charged engine capable of making 800 brake horsepower. The GTBO reaches 300 mph in just thirty seconds, with a top end of 340 mph, which it is a full 90mph quicker than its nearest rival, the Bugatti Veyron, which takes 55 seconds to reach its 250 mph top speed.

It looks like a motorbike with stabilisers to me...


Approximately eight eggs are consumed each year, for every person on earth.

School's Out

Do you know how much this government has spent on encouraging kids to attend schools and boost attendance? One billion quid. £1 000 000 000 000 since 1997. That's a shed load of dosh all right, and one would expect some kind of a result from investing such a vast sum of readies, right?

Aye; there's a result all right- truancy in England’s schools rose to record levels last year, with 63 000 pupils bunking off class every day. 2006/7 saw nearly 273 000 pupils missing at least one day of school every week through truancy, illness and other reasons, but overall absence (which includes children off sick with permission), has reached a record low.

Good work fellahs...

Catholic Church in Crisis

As Ireland, a country that exports its Catholic clergy around the world, is running out of priests. One hundred and sixty priests died last year but only nine were ordained and the figures for nuns were even more dramatic, with the deaths of 228 nuns and only two taking final vows for service in religious life. Based upon these figures it is predicted that the number of priests will drop from the current 4 752 to about 1 500 by 2028.

Holy facts, Batman:

— Priests in Ireland work six days a week. They are encouraged to take one day off. In quieter parishes, some priests also get Sunday afternoons to themselves

— They receive the statutory 21 days’ holiday every year, although they are expected to work on Bank Holidays

— Priests are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will respond immediately to midnight phone calls summoning them to the bedsides of seriously ill patients

— Would-be priests who enter seminary spend seven years training. The retention rate of those who enter compared with those who get ordained is about 60%

— Priests are self-employed and receive a stipend of 1 000€ (~£750) a month. This grows dependent on years of service and can also increase if priests take on extra jobs outside their parish responsibilities

— Retirement age for priests is 75 but most continue if they are in good health. Older priests give up their parish administrative duties but continue to celebrate Mass and the sacraments

— On 13th April a national year of vocation begins in Ireland that will try to boost the numbers of young men entering seminaries

The decline in vocations is attributed to the loss of the Church’s authority after a string of sex-abuse scandals. In 1994 the Government collapsed over the mishandling of the case of a paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. The scandals broke a code of silence, prompting apologies from both the Church and the Government for the abuse of children and women who passed through religious institutions. An estimated 1€ billion (~£750,000) are being paid out in compensation to victims.
Regular church attendance, which was at 90% at the start of the 1990s, has suffered a collapse, mitigated partially in recent years by the mass influx of Polish workers, and a further concern is that most priests are already close to normal retirement age- the average age of Irish priests is currently 61.

Shake Rattle & Roll

We hear you guys have experienced quite a tremor this morning (12:56:45 to be exact), measuring 5.3 on the old Richter scale. Spooky, isn't it, the first time the ground starts to shake? We've had a couple since we've been in the Peloponnese and are now old hands at the game of earthquakes.

Hope you're all well and no lasting damage occurred to any of your property. And if you want to know more about the phenomenom, here's a good bit from The Times:

An earthquake is a sudden tremor or movement of the earth's crust, which originates at or below the surface.
There are two main causes of earthquakes. They can be linked to explosive volcanic eruptions or can be triggered by tectonic activity, with the latter being the cause of most earthquakes.
Earthquakes in the UK are all tectonic quakes, triggered when the Earth’s crust is subjected to strain and eventually moves.
At the start of a quake there is a sudden movement within the Earth's crust and shock waves move out from that point.
The focus of the earthquake or tremor is often deep below the surface and difficult to map, so what is normally called the epicentre is taken as the point on the Earth directly above it.
There are two scales for defining the strength of an earthquake, the Mercalli Scale and the Richter Scale.
Earthquakes emit three types of waves which have their own characteristics.
Primary waves are identical in character to sound waves. The ground is forced to move forwards and backwards as it is compressed and decompressed.
Secondary waves travel more slowly and arrive after the P-waves. They move in all directions, at speeds which depend upon the density of the rocks through which they are moving. They cannot move through liquids. They can move walls and fences, leaving them 'S' shaped.
Surface waves are formed close to the epicentre and can only travel through the outer part of the Earth’s crust. They are responsible for the majority of the buildings damaged by earthquakes. The ground is made to move in a circular motion, causing it to rise and fall as visible waves move across the ground.

Sitting in Judgement

The Lord Chancellor has bottled it and backed down in ordering judges to retire at the age of 65. Instead, hundreds of judges will be allowed to stay in their jobs until the age of 70, after they successfully claimed it was age discrimination.

So, does that now allow other professions to do the same? I very much doubt it.

The Sword of Damocles

Six people have been killed in the past three days by icicles falling from buildings in central Russia.

We've been to Russia and other countries that suffer harsh winter conditions where icicles are deadly, and what usually happens is that pavements are cordoned off by barriers to divert people from walking directly below these monster, killer spikes. It is seriously a good move to check gutterings and overhangs to see what is lurking above if you are in countries where snow and ice is a way of life.


A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices. - William James

I like that.

For Real

Chief Technology Officer

Ivan Arce, who is a co-founder of Core, sets the technical direction for the company and is responsible for overseeing the development, testing and deployment of all Core products. Arce, who has three patents to his credit, also writes for numerous technical publications, speaks frequently at industry events and is commonly quoted in industry publications. He also currently serves as the Associate Editor of the IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine.Prior to co-founding Core, Arce most recently served as vice president of research and development at VirtualFon, a computer telephony-integration company where he was responsible for the development, testing and deployment of mission-critical computer telephony applications. Previously, Arce spent 8 years as an information security consultant and software developer for banks, government agencies and financial and telecommunications corporations.

For no other reason than this guy has a cracking name. Full marks to his parents for effort. :o)

More Bike Bliss

And how to really ride it...KTM 990 sm

TV's Top 25 Put-Downs

The list of put-downs covers the last 40 years from British and American TV and was compiled by Radio Times magazine. Enjoy:

  • Basil Fawlty - Fawlty Towers. To Sybil: "Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in your eclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn't have time to perm your ears?"
  • Mrs Merton - The Mrs Merton Show. To Debbie McGee: "So what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
  • Edmund Blackadder - Blackadder II. To Lord Percy: "The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn't he, Percy?"
  • Roseanne Conner - Roseanne. To husband Dan: "Your idea of romance is popping the can away from my face."
  • Father Jack Hackett - Father Ted. "Drink! Feck! Arse! Girls!"
  • Carla - Cheers. Cliff: "I'm ashamed God made me a man." Carla: "I don't think God's doing a lot of bragging about it either."
  • Patsy Stone - Absolutely Fabulous. "One more facelift on this one and she'll have a beard."
  • Jim Royle - The Royle Family. Nana: "Is this hat too far forward?" Jim: "No. We can still see your face."
  • Malcolm Tucker - The Thick Of It. To a junior minister: "All these hands all over the place! You were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra! It was like watching John Leslie at work!"
  • Statler and Waldorf - The Muppet Show. Statler: "Wake up, you old fool, you slept through the show." Waldorf: "Who's a fool? You watched it."
  • Inspector Monkfish - The Fast Show. To a bereaved woman: "I realise this must be a very difficult time for you, so put your knickers on and go and make me a cup of tea."
  • No Offence - The Fast Show. "I notice you're not wearing a wedding ring which, given your age, means you're divorced or a lesbian."
  • Rupert Rigsby - Rising Damp. To lodger Alan, who complains his room is too cold to study in: "The only thing you study is your navel. You even shave lying down."
  • Nan - The Catherine Tate Show. Describing an encounter with an overweight hospital volunteer: "She said to me last time, 'You look bored, Mrs Taylor. I've got three words for you: Barbara Taylor Bradford.' So I said, 'Yeah? I've got three words for you too: calorie controlled diet."'
  • The Professor - The Mary Whitehouse Experience. "I have here a copy of your book, Origins of the Crimean War. It smells of poo." "That's because it's been inside your mum's bra."
  • Alf Garnett - Till Death Us Do Part. "You Scouse git!"
  • Alexis Carrington - Dynasty. "I'm glad to see your father had your teeth fixed - if not your mouth."
  • JR Ewing - Dallas. "Ray never was comfortable eating with the family - we do use knives and forks."
  • Dr Perry Cox - Scrubs. Dr Elliot Reid: "I don't think you understand the severity of the situation here. I am dangerously close to giving up men altogether." Dr Cox: "Then on behalf of men everywhere - and I do mean everywhere, including the ones in little mud huts - let me be the first to say thanks and hallelujah."
  • Dr Gregory House - House. "You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to stop thinking."
  • Gary Strang - Men Behaving Badly. "Let's face it, Tony, the only way you're gonna be in there is if you're both marooned on a desert island and she eats a poisonous berry or a nut which makes her temporarily deaf, dumb, stupid, forgetful and desperate for sex."
  • Arnold Rimmer - Red Dwarf. "Look, we all have something to bring to this discussion. But I think from now on the thing you should bring is silence."
  • Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm. "Switzerland is a place where they don't like to fight, so they get people to do their fighting for them while they ski and eat chocolate."
  • Sam Tyler - Life On Mars. To Gene Hunt: "I think you've forgotten who you're talking to." Sam: "An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding?"
  • Captain Mainwaring - Dad's Army. "You stupid boy!"

Some real classics amongst the selection, and good to see House get a mention; still the highlight of the week for us to see this brilliant programme.

Sunday, 2nd March 2008

Is Mothering Sunday in the UK. So not only can you not say you'd forgotten, but we've even given you forewarning so that you can go and sort a treat out for your long suffering mums.

No idea what to do? How about booking up a table here: Park View Suite where it is utterly brilliant and is run by our pal Helen.

Mine's getting the best present ever; I won't be there so she can really relax and have a good time. ;-)

Key Fact

Next time you get a spare or replacement key cut, bear this in mind. The International Key Maker's Guild reports that one in two of keys copied in the UK are improperly cut, and either can't open the lock they were made to open or severely damage the lock with each use.

Spetses Town

And for those of you who can't be bothered to go to Flickr, a sample of what you are missing. :0D

Day Trip To Spetses

It was a glorious day yesterday and so we decided to mount the Shonker, ride to Costa and take the ferry to the island of Spetses. We've been meaning to do it for a while, but wifey has been reading the best seller "The Magus"* by John Fowles (the guy who was born in Leigh on Sea as we recently discovered; small world) which is based on the island and so she wanted to complete the novel first.

The ferry took perhaps fifteen minutes to deliver us to our destination and we arrived full of expectation in glorious sunshine; it must have been in the early 20s yesterday. What a picturesque place, it was clean, compact and had plenty of little shops and tavernas, but having caught the 13:30 crossing, it was of course lunch time and out of season, everything was C-L-O-S-E-D...

A pity, because most of the businesses were taking the opportunity to refurb their establishments for the forthcoming season and it looked (and tasted- cement dust everywhere) like one sprawling building site. However, with weather as good as we had, a jolly fine key-bab and salad followed by a rigorous walk around, it was a lovely afternoon out.

Catching the ferry back was a doddle (16.30) and our funky moped had been left unmolested, including our "helmets" which we had simply left on the grab rail. Most places they would have long since vanished, but here everything is as safe as houses. Ordinarily we don't bother with our crash lids, but if we do distance, it's more comfortable as they have visors and a wasp in the eye at high speeds is not pleasant at all. Mind you, describing the performance of the mobile kettle as a "high speed" machine is perhaps a tad generous...

For those with reading difficulties, here are the pictures: Spetses Photies

*Superbly written but the story is utterly crap, apparently.

Logo Answers

1.Iberia (Spain)
2.Lufthansa (Germany)
3.Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
4.Mahan (Middle East)
5.Quantas (Australia)
6.Pakistan International Airlines (Pakistan)
7.Aer Lingus (Eire)
8.American Eagle (USA)
9.British Airways (UK)
10.Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
11.United (USA)
12Trans Asia Airways (Tiapei)
13.Thai (Thailand)
14. Bangkok Airways (Thai)
15. Monarch Airlines (UK)
16.KLM Royal Dutch (Holland)
17Air Canada (Canada)
18.Iran Air (Iran)
19.Delta (USA)
20.China Southern (China)
21.Air France (France)
22.Gulf Air (UAE)
23.Continental (USA)
24 Swiss (Switzerland)

Any cock ups not down to me, as I just nicked this from another site and don't care.

Going Underground

Supposedly all true driver announcements on London's tube:

1) 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction.'

2) 'Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let you know any further information as soon as I'm given any.'

3) 'Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Stratford and East Ham, which means we probably won't reach our destination.'

4) 'Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay, but there is a security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let's take our minds off it and pass some time together. All together now.... 'Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall.....'.'

5) 'We are now travelling through Baker Street... As you can see, Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if they had actually told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don't think about things like that'.

6) 'Beggars are operating on this train. Please do NOT encourage these professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity. Failing that, give it to me.'

7) During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced in a West Indian drawl: 'Step right this way for the sauna, ladies and gentleman... unfortunately, towels are not provided.'

8) 'Let the passengers off the train FIRST!' (Pause.) 'Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care - I'm going home....'

9) 'Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with 'Please hold the doors open.' The two are distinct and separate instructions.'

10) 'Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors.'

11) 'We can't move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.'

12) 'To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage - what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you understand?'

13) 'Please move all baggage away from the doors.' (Pause..) 'Please move ALL belongings away from the doors.' (Pause...) 'This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bl**dy golf clubs away from the door before I come down there and shove them up your a**e sideways!'

14) 'May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint, it's only fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage.'


(1) Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, 'We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.'

(The Daily Telegraph)

2) Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her underwear. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend.

(The Manchester Evening News)

3) Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It's a Special Branch vehicle and they don't want the public to know what it looks like.

(The Guardian)

4) A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast guard spokesman commented, 'This sort of thing is all too common'.

(The Times)

5) At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff.

(Aberdeen Evening Express)

6) Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. 'He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out 'Heil Hitler.''

(Bournemouth Evening Echo)

Number (6) a clear winner. :o)

Plane Spotting

Click to enlarge and see how many you can recognise. Answers in a few posts' time.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


Not so good news if you've just bought a new computer, fully half of all new computers suffer a hardware failure that requires a critical part to be replaced within their first year.

Make sure you back up your bits regularly.

Birds and Bees for the Wees

Ministers are reviewing the current "Sex and Relationship Education" programme in primary and secondary schools and there is a strong possibility that they will recommend that children as young as five could be given compulsory sex education.

Is there nothing that this current, vile, government will not keep sacred?

Texting Traces

Want to spy on someone?

Then get yourself a gadget called a text message reader which allows messages to be retrieved from mobile phones by uploading them directly to your computer. At less than £70, all you need is the SIM card, a USB port and you'll be able access not just the personal phone book details, but also text messages, even if they have been deleted from the phone.

I expect the Government is applying for bulk discount as we speak...

Patient Parking

Via the FoI (Freedom of Information) act, it has been disclosed that hospitals across England and Wales "earned" more than £100 million in parking fees last year.

It seems they feel this is reasonable as, once the cost of car park maintenance has been covered, any surplus profit is put towards patients' services.

Erm, aren't we already paying towards NHS costs?

Happy Birthday x 3

It's quite remarkable for a family to have two babies born on the same calendar day, albeit in differing years. But three? At odds of 130 000 to one, that is exactly what a British couple from Gloucester are celebrating with their third child born on 29th January.

Good luck to them all, especially when it comes to buying the presents in years to come.

On the Buses

Last year we mentioned that senior citizens were due a much needed boost as their free, regional bus pass was going to be expanded out country wide.

Most current bus pass holders are able to travel free on services only in their local council areas, but, from 1st April 2008 (no joke) they will be able to use buses free anywhere in England after 9.30am. The free bus pass will cover all local services, including open-top tour buses, but will not be valid on most long-distance coaches.

Despite the Government giving local authorities £212 million to fund the nationwide project, the whinging has already begun, with local councils threatening financial cuts to libraries, parks and leisure centres.

Shut yer belly-aching and start paying up from the coffers of loot stolen from the poor motorist or perhaps cut back on your junkets abroad on "fact finding missions". Let's start to get our priorities right for a change and look after the elderly instead of ignoring them.

The Tax Man Cometh

Tax authorities in Britain have started investigations into some of the hundred people named by a whistleblower as having accounts in Liechtenstein, and are aiming to collect more than £200 million in unpaid taxes and fines.
HM Revenue & Customs estimates that it is owed £100 million in backdated tax from the account-holders named in a DVD it bought from an informant several weeks ago.
The Revenue has yet to contact some of the names on the list, but it is estimated that they could have placed as much as £5 billion in accounts in the principality.

If you're crapping yourself, here's the full story: The Times

Time Out Time

Here's an interesting idea, mooted by Pope Benedict XVI.

He has called for those caring for the dying to be granted “death leave” akin to maternity leave for couples having children. “Similar rights should be granted to family members caring for the terminally ill,” he said.

I make him right.

The Golden Raspberry Awards

Hot on the heels of the Oscars, come the 28th annual spoof awards. Far more enlightening and entertaining, here are the "winners":

Worst Picture:
I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Actor:
Eddie Murphy (as Norbit)

Worst Actress (TIE) :
Lindsay Lohan (as Aubrey) and
Lindsay Lohan (as Dakota)

Worst Supporting Actress:
Eddie Murphy (as Rasputia)

Worst Supporting Actor:
Eddie Murphy (as Mr. Wong)

Worst Screen Couple:
Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan(as The Yang to Her Own Yin)
I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Remake Or Rip-off:
I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Prequel or Sequel:
Daddy Day Camp

Worst Director:
Chris Siverston
I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Screenplay:
I Know Who Killed Me
Written by Jeffrey Hammond

Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie:(New Category!)
I Know Who Killed Me

"Wins" Per Picture:
I KNOW WHO KILLED ME = 8 Awards:(A New RAZZIE® Record!)Worst Screen Couple, Horror Movie,Screenplay, Director, Remake or Rip-Off,Actress (2x), Picture

NORBIT = 3 Awards: (All "Won" by Eddie Murphy)Worst Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Actor

DADDY DAY CAMP = 1 Award: Worst Prequel or Sequel

The press release to cover the event:

Eddie & Lindsay Both Achieve Trifectas of Trash, Lohan's KILLED ME Cops New RAZZIE® Record

Murphy & Lohan All But Shut Out Competitionat 28th Worst Film Awards

Many a RAZZIE® record was broken at this weekend's 28th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards, which dis-honor Worst Achievements in Film.
Lindsay Lohan and Eddie Murphy, each starring in one of 2007's Worst Picture nominees, both managed the unenviable feat of securing three of the gold spray-painted, $4.89 trophies apiece. Murphy became the first performer ever to win three of the four Worst Acting trophies in a single year — all for his multiple roles in the film everyone assumes cost him last year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for DREAMGIRLS. As the nerdy title character in NORBIT, Eddie was named Worst Actor. Painted orange and sporting about four pounds of Latex, Murphy was also chosen Worst Supporting Actor for his ethnically insensitive portrayal of "Mr. Wong." And, in a wig and sporting about 400-pounds of Latex, Murphy took the trophy as Worst Supporting Actress for his portrayal of the foul-mouthed, ill-tempered harpy Rasputia in the same film. Playing two characters who may (or may not) have been twins in I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, Lohan equaled Eddie's triple "achievement." Nominated individually for each of her characters, Lindsay "won" a pair of Worst Actress statuettes when she received the same number of votes for both roles. And, for a scene in which she appears opposite herself at the film's finale, Lohan was also RAZZed as the year's Worst Screen Couple. The film itself, with a less-than-grand total of 8 "wins" from its 9 nominations, broke the long-standing record for most RAZZIES® "won" by a single film. SHOWGIRLS and BATTLEFIELD EARTH, each with 7 "wins," had previously been the champions. In addition to Lindsay's twinsy "wins," KILLED ME copped the awards as Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie and Worst Remake or Rip-Off (where it competed as both a rip-off of the HOSTEL and SAW teen-torture-porn movies and an oddball remake of the 1960s sitcom THE PATTY DUKE SHOW).

The lone "winner" not associated with either KILLED ME or NORBIT still had something to do with Eddie Murphy. An Eddie-Murphy-Sequel-without-Eddie-Murphy, the pooping, belching, vomiting, cacophonous kiddy "comedy" DADDY DAY CAMP was crowned Worst Prequel or Sequel. A complete list of "winners" is included with this release.

The ceremonies were held at the Abracadabra Theatre at Magicopolis in Santa Monica. "Winners" were determined by mailing ballots to more than 750 voters in 44 U.S. states and 18 foreign countries. The RAZZIES® were created in 1980 as a logical antidote to Tinsel Town's annual glut of self-congratulations by John Wilson, author of EVERYTHING I KNOW I LEARNED AT THE MOVIES and THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.

For more information on the RAZZIE® Awards' history, or to arrange an interview with John Wilson, please visit or contact

Wanna read more? Go here: The Razzies

Help the Aged

The building industry has been given two years to introduce new changes to give the elderly population more consideration and make their lives easier. It has been issued with a list of 16 features that must be included in new homes, including staircases that can carry stair lifts, wide doorways, space for a downstairs bathroom and bays for turning wheelchairs.


**NSFW Garfield**

That would wipe the smug smirk off his to enlarge. :-)

Turkey- The Silk Trail

After we return to Turkey following our second cruise, we start our Turkish adventure in earnest. We mentioned this rather amazing company, Fez Travel, and they offer just about any combination of tours one could wish for. We'll be joining their "Silk Tour" with the following "loose" itinerary (see below). Whilst the holiday is designed to be crammed into a minimum of seven days, time is one luxury we can afford and so we hope to spend at least a couple of months, taking pit stops en route, to ensure we get maximum experience of this real Turkish delight.

Again, remarkable VFM- at just over a hundred quid per head, that takes care of all our travel requirements for our time in the country and takes us to all the places we just have to see, including our final passage to Istanbul, where we'll also take the opportunity to pop over to the Black Sea. The buses run continuously with English speaking guides (who also recommend discounted accommodation along the way) and we just hop off and on at will or when the fancy takes us.

The Silk Trail

This pass was created to cater for passengers coming to & from the Greek Islands. Therefore, the pass commences from Kusadasi, the most popular travellers' entry point from Greece into Turkey, arriving by ferry from Samos. The pass covers the circuit through to its finish in Istanbul. Valid all season. Minimum time to complete circuit is 7 days.

Sector 3

Kusadasi/Selcuk to Koycegiz via Ephesus & Marmaris Absorb yourself in history this morning with an optional tour of the former capital of Roman Asia and best-preserved ancient city in Turkey, Ephesus. Early afternoon we drive to the picturesque lakeside town of Koycegiz, known for the nearby turtle beach and mud baths. On the way we stop at Milas, which is the drop off point for those heading to the beach resort of Bodrum, and then Marmaris, an access point to the Greek Isle of Rhodes.

Sector 4

Koycegiz to Fethiye/Oludeniz via Saklikent GorgeExperience one of Turkey's highlights today as we trek up Saklikent Gorge, Turkey's longest and deepest canyon. Saklikent (hidden valley) is awesome, it's literally a mountain split down the middle by an earthquake. On the way we get to learn a little about famous Turkish carpets and village life, then enjoy lunch by the river. Tonight, you choose to stay in either the harbour town of Fethiye or the beachside resort of Oludeniz, famous for paragliding. *If you are sailing on a Gulet, then consider the Gulet departure dates when planning your trip and remember: you may need to spend extra daysin Fethiye to coincide with your Gulet departure date or arrival date.

Sector 5

Fethiye/Oludeniz to Olympos via KasWe drive along the Mediterranean coast today stopping for a swim in the turquoise waters of Kaputas Beach, on the way to Kas, traditionally a small Turkish fishing village. We have a chance to look around the town before driving east to our overnight stop at the ancient city of Olympos, also home to the world famous tree houses. This evening, you can visit the natural wonder of the eternal flames of Chimaera.

Sector 6

Olympos to Egirdir via Lake GolbasiThis afternoon we drive to resort town of Antalya famous for ancient sites and waterfalls and then head inland towards Lake Egirdir, stopping for a short time to visit the natural beauty of Lake Golbasi.

Sector 7

Egirdir to Cappadocia via Sultanhani Caravanserai and ObrukToday, we follow an ancient silk trade route across the Anatolian Plain towards the amazing lunar landscapes of the Cappadocia region, where you can sleep, eat and drink in man-made caves and visit underground cities On the way you will visit Sultanhani Caravanserai and Obruk just as the ancient traders did. We recommend that tonight you don't miss the optional Turkish Folklore evening, which includes all the food, beer, wine and raki you can handle!

Sector 8

Cappadocia to Istanbul via Ankara (overnight bus)We take an overnight bus tonight as we head back to Istanbul, via Ankara. We arrive in the early hours stopping outside the Fez office, which is situated in the old city Sultanahmet - close to many hostels and the majority of the tourist sites all within a short walking distance. Start with Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, the Hippodrome, Underground Cistern and the Grand Bazaar. If you have a couple of days to spare, take a ferry along the Bosphorous.

Fez bus inclusions

• English speaking onboard tour leader giving you a wealth of super interesting and useful info

• Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking bus

Non inclusions

• Suggested optional activities and sightseeing

• Entrance fees to the various sites

Please Note:-Your departure date AND departure point MUST be advised to Fez at least 48 hours before departure and may be amended any time up until 48 hours before departure. Otherwise your travel on the Fez bus will be on a standby basis and will be dependant upon availability.

Shaz & Dave

Are my delightful bruv & sis-in-law and we've just arranged to meet up in Greece for a week. They fell in love with Agistri, a tiny, unspoilt island in the Aegean Sea, not too far from us in Port Heli, and they visit at least a couple of times a year. However, when they heard about our proposed easyCruise, it was too good to resist.

Hence, not only are we meeting up with my mother-in-law on the tour of the Grecian islands in April, we come back and do the whole lot again with more family pals in May. Looks like we will be fairly well acquainted with the islands by the end of this trip.

Oddly enough, when we booked the cruise up yesterday, despite it being a month later (and one would imagine warmer and more popular), the price for the week's cruise was less than in April; a piffling £106- for two. Aye, a shade over £15 per cabin, for accommodation and travel. It turns out we went posh for the first outing, as wifey booked us a cabin with a window. Like I don't know what the sea looks like?

The guys will embark at Piraeus, Greece and a couple of days later we get on at Bodrum, Turkey and so we share five nights on board. They'll then go back to Agistri and we will then start our tour of Turkey for real. This is going to be such a great summer.

Entry Fee

Perhaps a little known fact for anyone wishing to visit Greece from outside of the European Union. Following a new directive which began at the start of the new year, anyone from outside of the EU will need to show they have at least 50€/day's stay in cash with them or a minimum of 300€ for up to a five day stay.

And kids don't get off lightly either- all minors have to show at least 25€ per day.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Keegan's Klangers

Yet more profound pontificating from Wor Keegan as he came out with this beauty:

"I’m 110% committed to this club and you can’t get more committed than that"

Not wishing to come across as pedantic, Kev, but you can if we follow your example.

What about 111%? Or 175%? Maybe infinity%? Hang on, you're good at this, you'll go for infinity + 1%, right? ;o)

The CarToon Army's record so far, under King Kevin:

  • Keegan’s six games in charge have ended in two draws and four defeats
  • They have scored three and conceded 16 goals
  • Newcastle haven’t won in the league since beating Fulham 2-1 on 15th December; that’s 11 league matches without a win
  • Their longest run without a win is 14 games in 1999
  • When Keegan took over they were 11th with 26 points from 22 games; before yesterday they were 13th with 28 points from 26

Still higher than Bielefeld, mind, although we are still amazingly in 15th place as both teams below them fail to gain points.


Geology rocks.

I Hope You Die

Republican presidential front-runner John McCain suggested recently that he hoped retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro would die soon and said Castro's brother will be a worse leader.

"I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon," McCain told a town-hall style meeting of about 150 people, referring to communist theoretician Marx who died on March 14, 1883.

What an utterly delightful chap this man seems to be, and he's hoping to become the next president of the USA? What a particularly revolting idea.

Send us a Postcard

A most fitting and apt quote for my sister-in-law (substitute "man" for "burd", man...):

No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one. - Elbert Hubbard

See you soon on our Greek island's cruise. :oD

Angel of the North

That is what this rather impressive monument is called and chances are many of you will never have clapped eyes on it. Why? Well, brace's up...North.
A recent report claims that 4.9 million southerners (about 15%), have never visited "the north" believing it is "bleak and unsophisticated" and "awash with chip shops and made up mainly of mining villages".
Conversely, one in 10 Northerners (about 2.3 million), have never bothered to venture south and their opinions are equally disparaging, thinking their southern neighbours are "arrogant 'Sloane Ranger' types, men in pinstripe suits and snobbish". The survey shows almost three quarters of the English, 72%, are prejudiced against their northern or southern counterparts.
Me? I love all the Brits equally having had the best of both worlds with my parents in the south and wifey's family in the north, but best of all I'm dead chuffed that I don't live in the UK anymore...


Winners and stuff for 2008, for the 80th time...

Best Picture: "No Country for Old Men,"
Other nominees: "Atonement," "Juno," "Michael Clayton," "There Will Be Blood."

Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Other nominees: Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Jason Reitman, "Juno"; Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"; Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood."

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
Other nominees: George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"; Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street"; Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah"; Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises."

Foreign Film: Counterfeiters," Austria
Other nominees: "Beaufort," Israel; "The "Katyn," Poland; "Mongol," Kazakhstan; "12," Russia.

Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, "Juno"
Other nominess: Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"; Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"; Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco, "Ratatouille"; Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages."

Documentary Feature: "Taxi to the Dark Side"
Other nominees: "No End in Sight," "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience," "Sicko," "War/Dance"

Documentary (short subject): "Freeheld"
Other nominees:"La Corona (The Crown)," "Salim Baba," "Sari's Mother."

Original Score: "Atonement," Dario Marianelli
Other nominees: "The Kite Runner," Alberto Iglesias; "Michael Clayton," James Newton Howard; "Ratatouille," Michael Giacchino; "3:10 to Yuma," Marco Beltrami

Cinematography: "There Will Be Blood"
Other nominees: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "Atonement," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "No Country for Old Men,"

Original Song: "Falling Slowly" from "Once," Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Other nominees: "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; "Raise It Up" from "August Rush," Nominees to be determined; "So Close" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; "That's How You Know" from "Enchanted," Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

Film Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum"
Other nominees: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Into the Wild," "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood."

Actress: Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"
Other nominees: Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"; Julie Christie, "Away From Her"; Laura Linney, "The Savages"; Ellen Page, "Juno."

Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"
Other nominees: Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"; Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton."

Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton."
Other nominees: Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"; Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"; Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement"; Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone";

Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Other nominees: Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"; Sarah Polley, "Away from Her"; Ronald Harwood, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood."

Animated Feature Film: "Ratatouille"
Other nominees: "Persepolis"; "Surf's Up."

Art Direction: "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Other nominees: "American Gangster," "Atonement," "The Golden Compass," "There Will Be Blood."

Sound Mixing: "The Bourne Ultimatum"
Other nominees: "No Country for Old Men," "Ratatouille," "3:10 to Yuma," "Transformers."

Sound Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum"
Other nominees: "No Country for Old Men," "Ratatouille," "There Will Be Blood," "Transformers."

Costume: "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Other nominees: "Across the Universe," "Atonement," "La Vie en Rose," "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

Makeup: "La Vie en Rose"
Other nominees: "Norbit," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

Animated Short Film: "Peter & the Wolf."
Other nominees: "I Met the Walrus," "Madame Tutli-Putli," "Meme Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)," "My Love (Moya Lyubov),"

Live Action Short Film:"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)"
Other nominees: "At Night," "Il Supplente (The Substitute)," "Tanghi Argentini," "The Tonto Woman."

Visual Effects: "The Golden Compass"
Other nominees: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Transformers."

Hello? Anyone still there?