Thursday, 31 March 2011

Not So Cheap

New smart meters will only save the average household £23 a year, with homeowners having to pay for their multi-billion pound roll out through their energy bills, the Government has said.

So-called "smart meters", digital devices which will be installed in all households and businesses, are designed to end unreliable estimated gas and electricity bills and stop the need for companies to send out meter inspectors. Instead, information about how much energy consumers have used will be sent electronically to their suppliers.

However, documents published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) have confirmed that households will have to pay for the £11.3 billion roll out, and that they will only save £23 a year by 2020.

More at TTel

More Extras

Passengers on Ryanair are facing a £2 a trip surcharge to cover the cost of paying compensation when flights are cancelled. 

Currently passengers whose flights are cancelled or significantly delayed are entitled to demand the reimbursement of an array of costs including food and accommodation under a regulation known as EU261.  Ryanair is demanding that airlines be exempted from the obligation to pay compensation when events are outside their control.  This would apply to extreme weather and strikes by outside organisations.

The airline said EU261 had cost more than £88 million last year, when it was forced to cancel 15 000 flights, hitting the journeys of 2.4 million of its passengers.  In many cases the amount of compensation paid was far higher than the original price of the plane ticket.

More at TTel.

The Price of One Europe

British taxpayers contributed an average of more than £300 each to the European Union last year, almost twice as much as in 2009, official figures have disclosed.  The British contribution increased from £5.3 billion in 2009 to £9.2 billion last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The increase is equivalent to the extra money being raised from the increase in National Insurance for higher-rate taxpayers, or the new 50p top rate of income tax.  Taxpayers are being forced to contribute more following BLiar’s decision to reduce the size of this country’s rebate.

The pound has also fallen in value compared with the Euro, which means Britain has to pay more.  The Treasury has also had to support EU bail-outs for Ireland and Greece.

Last night, Treasury sources reacted with dismay to the increase in payments and said they were working to restrict further rises.  How, I wonder?  Particularly as they seem surprised by the news.  Surely they should know this already?


Top Of The Pops is returning to television screens five years after it was axed, with the BBC showing weekly reruns of classic shows in the programme's original time slot.

Although the series began in 1964, originally recorded in a Manchester church, many editions were famously lost or taped over in the days when TV stations were less rigorous about cataloguing their shows.  Individual performances have been used for editions of TOTP2, but they have rarely been shown in full. It is hoped the reruns will continue to run for subsequent years.

But now the BBC is to draw on its huge cache to retransmit old editions of the programme, episode by episode, each Thursday night at 19:30 from 7th April on BBC Four, the digital channel.  The series will start at 1976, the point at which the BBC's full archive of shows begins.
The BBC showing repeats?  How novel...

I Don't

Marriage rates in the UK are at their lowest since records began, new sta-testicles show.  Just 21.3 out of every 1 000 males aged 16 plus were married in 2009, down from a rate of 22.0 in 2008, the ONS has revealed.  The proportion of women aged 16 plus who were married fell from 19.9 in 2008 to 19.2 in 2009.

The rates were the lowest since calculations of rates began in 1862.

Now You Know

Thieves find expensive London homes "too posh to pinch from", after a study found that most burglars consider a property worth more than £600 000 not worth the risk.  The research also reveals that burglars often decide on a target based on the car on the drive and are deterred by top marques.

Top of the list for burglars are cash, jewellery, alcohol and cigarettes followed by games consoles, BalckBerrys and iPhones.  One thieving scum bag said:

"There's no point in going for rich houses because they've only got the same stuff as ordinary houses but it's harder to find because there's more rooms plus they've got better security. You want a neighbourhood that is nice but not too nice - ideally a middle-class semi."

Cheap as Chips

With none in sight.

This is what dinner consisted of last night with the addition of a green curry sauce, that blew our heads off.  All items were under THB 5 (< 10 pence) except the noodles which were THB 10...  Noodles, rice, fish balls (and patties), plus bean sprouts.  Dinner for two at under fifty pence.  :o)

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games*

The LES asks a few poignant questions of Locog*, the body responsible for flogging the London Olympic Games.

It has been two weeks since the 6.6 million Olympic tickets went on sale to the public and games chiefs are reporting "steady" activity at the virtual box office which is open for five more weeks. The website has won acclaim from experts and applicants alike as being relatively easy to navigate. But flaws in the system - the world's third biggest retail website - have inevitably emerged. Consumer groups and would-be ticket holders have all raised issues. Here we call for answers from games organisers, Locog, to the six most commonly asked questions:

1 Why is there so little information on ticket availability in each sport?

One of the biggest complaints from the public is that they have little idea of their chances of success. Locog insist that they cannot be more specific at this stage because of uncertainty about final venue capacity. But as a first step they could be more upfront about the proportion of tickets available to the public for each sport. At some athletics finals only 35 per cent of seats might go to the public with the remainder for VIPs. The public demands to know the full breakdown beyond the somewhat pat line that 75 per cent of ticket are on sale to the public.

2 Why can't they make the applications and payments more user friendly?

There are several serious flaws throughout the process, which does not put the customer first. The ballot system encourages people to bid for more than they want - remember Games chiefs have tried stoked demand by forecasting they will sell out. But Locog will penalise those lucky enough to get all they asked for because they will have to purchase everything and cannot hand back tickets, or legally resell them for another six months when an official exchange opens. Why don't they simply allow people to decline the offer as is possible in the Wimbledon tennis ballot? If this winner-must-take-all system is a deterrent to being inundated with speculative applications, then why not introduce a cap per applicant?
Also, how can Locog justify taking payments up to six weeks before they even notify people what tickets they have been allocated. Surely they can guarantee to send an e-mail 48 hours before payment is taken to avoid people going into the red and paying unauthorised overdraft fees.
Under this system those who have drawn a blank in the a ballot will first notice by the lack of action in their back account; no news will be bad news.
A PR disaster waiting to happen.

3 Why is there so little information on the next stage of the process?

All Locog will say at the moment is that after the sale closes on 26 April, the next stage will be a one-month window starting on 10 May when the first payments will be taken and all applicants will be informed by 24 June. Surely they can give some indication as to what events will be charged first. All that is known so far is that oversubscribed events - those that need to be decided in the automated ballot - will be dealt with first.

4 Why is there so much secrecy surrounding ticket allocations for the opening ceremony?
There is a great amount of uncertainty over Locog's pricing policy for the opening ceremony. All they will say at the moment is that there will be equal amounts for the cheapest (£20) and most expensive (£2012) tickets. But they have not said how many of these there will be, nor have they said how they intend to divide up the published price categories in between, other than by saying it will be based on the level of demand. Is the "ordinary" fan about to be priced out of the spectacular curtainraiser?

5 Why no seating plan?

Pop concert promoters and airlines publish seating plans to assist their customers so why not do the same for the publicly-funded Olympics? Layouts already exist - indeed many events are taking place in existing venues such as Wembley and the O2 Arena - so why not put the information online?

6 Why the £6 surcharge?

Locog charges a compulsory £6 for recorded delivery of tickets which it insists is merely to cover costs. Consumer group Which? believes if this is the case then they are not getting a good deal from their postal company.

Poor Show

The Tube will run just an hour later during the Olympics and there will be not be a 24 hour service, transport chiefs have said.  The schedule to cope with 20 million extra journeys was outlined as TfL opened pay talks covering next year with unions.

Transport for London said the last trains will leave the Olympic Park at about 01:00 each day and central London at 02:00 and the service will wind down by )2:30- an hour later than usual.

A round-the-clock service remains possible only after the opening ceremony, which may finish as late as midnight.

The Central, District, Hammersmith & City and Jubilee lines serving venues in east London will operate extra trains each day between 22:00 and 23:30 to take spectators home, while on  Sundays, the Tube will start up to 45 minutes earlier at about 06:00.

So much for encouraging people to use public transport.


These are the people we entrust to run the country?  I've seen better behaved kids in junior school.

Cameraman said that he finds Ed Balls "the most annoying man in modern politics", after an outburst in the Commons where he said he wished the shadow chancellor would "occasionally shut up".

Labour immediately accused the Prime Minister of losing his cool under pressure.

The exchange came at the end of a 30-minute session of Prime Minister's Questions, in which Balls allegedly kept up a stream of low-level heckling.  As Cameraman fielded questions, the shadow chancellor was said to have pointed his finger and jeered: "You're not briefed. You're not briefed."

After a question that Labour thought the PM had sidestepped, Balls called out: "Why don't you just say 'I'll write to you' if you don't know the answer?"

Eventually Cameraman snapped: "I wish the shadow chancellor would occasionally shut up and listen to the argument."

Labour leader Ed Miliband led a chorus of Labour "oohs" at the comment, while the Prime Minister carried on: "I may be alone in finding him the most annoying person in modern politics."

An excited Miliband turned with a grin to congratulate Balls and laughed at the Prime Minister, who coolly warned him: "I've got a feeling that one day the Leader of the Opposition will agree with me."


Holed Out

Local authorities need more than £10 billion to get their roads back into reasonable condition, according to a report.  The shortfall in the highway maintenance budget received from central Government by England and Wales councils in 2011 amounted to £895 million, 12% up on last year, said the report from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

The total number of potholes filled in 2010/11 reached more than 2.2 million- a 59% increase on 2009/10, the AIA added.

According to highways engineers, one in five local roads in England were considered to be in poor condition, with the figure for London being as high as 25%.  In addition, 17% of Welsh local roads were thought to be in a poor condition.

They're All Bankers

Barclays Bank is now the most complained-about bank in Britain, new figures show.

Almost 10 000 people complained about the major high street banks every day, according to the useless Financial Services Authority as Barclays had more than 205 000 complaints in the six months to 31st December.

Shitander fell from the top spot to second place with 165 000 complaints.   Lloyds TSB was in third place with 89 811 complaints received for its banking services, while NatWest came fourth with 87 271 complaints.

The number of complaints across the sector rose 3% to 1.79 million- nearly 10 000 a day.


Scotch whisky is raising a cheer after adding £109 a second to the country’s economy, figures show.  It added £3.45 billion to all Britain’s exports in 2010 in what was a record year, up from £3.13billion in 2009, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

America remained the biggest importer of scotch, with £499 million worth of the spirit sent across the Atlantic, but sales also soared in the so-called  BRIC developing countries.  Brazil saw  a 12% increase to £67 million,  Russia went up 61% to £31 million, India up 46% to £41 million and China increased sales by 24% to £55 million.


275x250.jpg A house in Swansea has become the centre of world-wide internet attention after it was noticed the residence bares more than a passing resemblance to Hitler.

The terraced house in Swansea has apparently shot to fame after a photo of it was posted to Twitter with some people claiming the slanting roof of the Port Tennant Road house resembles the German warmonger's fringe, while the door lintel is his famous moustache and the top windows are his eyes.

What next, Jesus's face on a tea towel?

How WW Pays the Bills

The 6 Worst Jobs Wonder Woman Ever Had

She hasn't always had the most prestigious of jobs, has she? 

6) Identity Thieving Army Nurse

Ever wonder where the identity of Diana Prince came from? Well, Wonder Woman kind of borrowed it... along with a job she wasn't remotely qualified for. You see, back in Sensation Comics #1, Wonder Woman met Lt. Diana Prince, an Army nurse who was freaked out that her fiancé had just been transferred to California. And since she looked just like Wonder Woman, the obvious decision was for Wonder Woman to bribe her to take over her identity and nursing job, because there's no way having absolutely no medical experience would be a problem when you're treating wounded soldiers. Oh, and did we mention that she wanted to be at the hospital so she could stay close to injured pilot Steve Trevor? So, not only did she potentially kill soldiers with her inexperience, but she did it to stalk a guy. It's a wonder she was ever hired for anything else.

5) Army Secretary

After her mercifully short stint as a creepy nurse, Wondy joined up with the army... but not in any type of I-could-really-use-my-superhuman-skills-to-fight-Nazis warfront position. Nope, she was a secretary to a Washington colonel, because... you guessed it, she wanted to stay close to Steve Trevor (she did realize there were other men, right?). So, the most powerful woman in the world spent her nine to fives taking dictation from an old man who probably made sexist remarks about her as she made him coffee (it was the '40s after all).

4) Costumed Secretary
super secretary 1.jpg
Now, Wonder Woman didn't just accept menial jobs in her secret identity. You see, when she tried to join the premier (and only) super group of the day, The Justice Society of America, the boys club weren't having none of it. So, despite the fact that she could lick just about all of them, they refused her membership and only offered her a a secretary job. And instead of simply beating them into submission, she happily accepted and it was years before she became a full member. Sure it was a different time and all, but it's starting to sound like she kinda brought this on herself. Oh, and just for kicks, here's two panels from later the same issue:
super secretary 2.jpg
Yep, the JSA left her at home while they went off to fight WWII. Hey, who would be there to fix the martinis when they got home if she didn't? 

3) Mod Boutique Owner

Back in the '60s, DC decided to make Wonder Woman more relatable by removing her powers, training her in judo and having her wander the Earth as some sort of Emma Peel knock-off. But to pay the bills, they decided that she should get away from traditional "women's jobs" like nurse or secretary and do something empowering... like making dresses. Yep, she opened up "Di's Mod Boutique" and sold pretty frocks to ladies, including Supergirl's weird '70s thigh-high boots outfit. The only good thing we can say about it was that at least she wasn't doing it to impress Steve Trevor.

2) Broadway Shooting Target

When Wonder Woman first landed in America, there just weren't many jobs for an Amazon princess wearing a skimpy U.S.-themed costume. Luckily, sleazy promoter Al Kane showed up to put her on the stage in a show called "bullets and bracelets," which apparently consisted of having a theater usher shoot at her for several hours. Now, I don't care how many fancy backdrops were behind it, that's a pretty boring show. She must've agreed, because she quit the moment Steve Trevor woke up from a coma. Man, she gave up show business for him? And of course, by "show business" we mean almost getting shot in the face.

1) Taco Stand Waitress

  Back in Wonder Woman volume 2 Issue 73, Wonder Woman had some problems. Her home island of Themyscira was gone, she had no money and she couldn't find a job (although the fact that she kept going to job interviews wearing her tiara probably didn't help). So, she took the only job she could find and worked the counter at the local Taco Whiz franchise. She only stayed there for one issue before she ditched it and got work as a private eye, which was infinitely cooler than getting repeatedly burped at by customers.

Groovy Baby

One in 10 000 babies is born with hyperalop, a medical condition causing hair to grow at twice its normal rate.  Good for heavy metal fans.

Upset from Tundbridge Wells

ENRAGED people may be forced to return to their slightly depressing lives unless they can find a new cause, it has emerged.

Is there anything more quintessentially English than an angry mob at a loose end?
The angry mob, who had been shouting a lot outside a building they believed was the site of a trial but was actually the remains of a Courts Furniture Superstore, have been enjoying being definitely the goodies for once.

Mob member Tom Logan said: "I'm not saying I like it when awful things happen, but it does sort of make things reassuringly simple.

"It's nice when we're all agreed on something for a change.

"Looking around at the other mob members, I'm fairly certain I have in the past hit several of them with big bits of wood while drunk. Yet here we all are, united by our common humanity."

He added: "Being in an angry mob is a really good social experience. I've swapped email addresses with other mob members and we will definitely stay in touch.

"But I don't think our current cause will last forever. And if we don't figure out a new one soon it'll be back to standing outside Wetherspoons in the afternoon while looking menacing."

Mob veteran, Bill McKay, said: "Apparently someone called Darth Vader is building something called a Death Star. And he thinks he can get away with it just because he's a fictional character.

"So we could go and shout at that, in outer space."

He added: "Regardless of whether you think it's a good idea to spend your afternoons yelling 'string him up by the balls' while burning down a paediatrician's house, at least we have the courage of our our convictions."


Getting Hitched

ED Miliband thinks getting married should do the trick, it has been confirmed.

It's actually very sweet, in a transparently political kind of way
Following the Labour leader's decision to be the warm up act for an anarchist riot, Miliband hopes to win over middle England by finally getting round to marrying the mother of his two children.

Miliband insisted the decision is based solely on the 'twin pillars of romance and commitment' but insiders said the move carried the unmistakable stench of Campbell.

A senior Labour source said: "Alastair always believes in taking control of the story. That's why when he found out the
News of the World was going to splash on Robin Cook's affair he told Robin to dump his wife of 28 years while they were at an airport.

"Sure enough, the agenda was changed and the foreign secretary wound up looking like an even bigger piece of shit.

"If Alastair was not involved in a decision as crass, transparent and badly timed as this then it means we have finally found his successor."

But experts stressed that following the hype of the Royal wedding it will be good for Britain to be brought back to reality by the soul crushing spectacle of a pair of socialists reluctantly giving in to the
Daily Mail.

Nathan Muir, professor of celebrity weddings at Reading University, said: "It'll probably be a civil ceremony with communist hippy vows and they'll go on honeymoon to Neil Kinnock's birthplace.

"The whole thing will be utterly fucking hellish."

Meanwhile the Labour leader stressed he will not have a best man because the last thing he needs is his bride looking at his brother and wishing she was with the other Miliband.



A poll conducted for BBC World Service has found that the current process of brainwashing people against China is working so well, that all coverage of Chinese people should carry an 18 certificate.

The survey was carried out to measure the success of scare tactics used by western governments against the world’s only remaining superpower, and found that almost a third of people now view the average Chinese person in the same light as Count Dracula, Freddie Krueger or a brain-eating body snatcher.

“The Chinese are the new Muslims,” declared BBC analyst Richard Donald. “Or so our governments keep telling us.”

“So we at the Beeb thought we’d find out just how scared of the Chinese everybody was, while filling even more people with fear by asking the question in the first place.”

“A lot of people didn’t know that being scared of the Chinese was even an option.”

“What we have found is that people are generally terrified of the emergence of a new superpower, but only when that new superpower isn’t them.”

Across all the countries surveyed, an average of 50% of people were not yet losing a lot of sleep about China, but a remarkable 33% reacted in a way that is usually reserved for the most most harrowing scenes in a horror movie.

“It used to just be their food that scared me,” confessed Ellen Williamson.

“But now just seeing them on the TV makes me jump behind the couch and unleash a blood curdling scream.”

“I’ll stop for a bit when I run out of breath or the kids start crying too, though I still won’t come out until the newsreader has told me that it’s safe.”

“What scares me most, however, is that this thing was conducted by the BBC,” she added, “and that they might be turning into the Daily Mail.”

BBC reports featuring Chinese people will now be preceded by a warning that viewers may find the following scenes disturbing.


post office

An urgent investigation has been launched into how a fake bomb was posted in the UK and yet was delivered on time and to the correct address in a completely different country.

The UK Department said it was taking the incident very seriously, and a full enquiry would look at how it made everything else delivered from the UK look completely inefficient.

A spokesperson said, “There are lessons to be learned here, definitely. If they can do it this once, there is no reason why all of our parcels can’t be delivered correctly. That should be the target.”

“We’re not saying it will be easy, but we have a dream that one day everything posted gets where it’s supposed to in a time-frame any normal person would consider reasonable.”

“Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

Though the accurate and timely delivery has impressed many logistics analysts, there are a number of consumers left angry by the seemingly preferential treatment given to pretend terrorists.

Regular user of a number of postal services Mike Jameson told us, “I want answers, and I want them now!”

“How is it that this fake bomb can arrive in Istanbul precisely when expected, yet the birthday present I sent my sister arrived a week late and was given to an old lady on the next street?”

“It’s simply unacceptable. And I bet this enquiry will be a complete whitewash – they’ll probably attribute the successful delivery to a series of one-off coincidences, and fortuitous circumstances.”

“It’s one rule for the pretend terrorists, and another for the rest of us.”



Need to see if this gets through...

Edit:  Jolly good, we have success.

Move along people, nothing to see here now.

Oh, OK- it's our APRIL FOOL'S DAY post.  Did we catch you out?  The first was pretty obvious as we left in a load of clues:

It’s Haringey council, not Haringay Council  It’s Daniel Levy not Levi  and he’s got feck all to do with jeans.  The ghastly song as called Diamond Lights, not Highlights and it's Chris Waddle not Clint.
The rest, well, what do you expect?  :o)


A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories.  After about an hour, the manager came out of the office, and asked them to disperse. "But why," they asked, as they moved off.

"Because," he said. "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

'Toons in Real Life Situations

These are clever:

Click the gallery to view more- from Photshoppers.

Graveyard Shift

Sweden has a higher percentage of its workforce on the night shift than any other country.

Which may account for their highest suicide rates?

Odd Factuals

From here:

1. Criminals who are generally considered to be physically unattractive receive, on average, a 50% longer jail sentence for their crime than good looking criminals.

2. By the time an average American child leaves elementary school, they have seen 200,000 violent acts and 40,000 murders on television.

3.  If you wash towels with underwear there is a very good chance that they will be contaminated with faeces (according to “The Secret Life of Germs”).

4.  In the 2000s, up to 29 albino children have been murdered by being hacked apart with a machete in Tanzania, to supply a trade in their body parts to people who think it will help them achieve great wealth.

4.  In the 2000s, up to 29 albino children have been murdered by being hacked apart with a machete in Tanzania, to supply a trade in their body parts to people who think it will help them achieve great wealth.

6.  Are you reading this while eating at your office desk? You might want to reconsider. There are more than 400 times the bacteria on an office desk than on a toilet.

7. Martin Luther, the religious reformer, reputedly ate one spoonful of his own faeces every day, stating that he “couldn’t understand the generosity of a God who freely gave such important and useful remedies.”

So Difficult

If this is too small, follow the link to the original. 
A Transparency

Alive & Kung Fu Kicking

Twitter has been buzzing with micro-reports of Jackie Chan's heart attack and subsequent passing, but the martial arts star is not dead.  It's just another Twitter hoax that has crept into the trending topics.

Hundreds of Twitter users are now retweeting, "Jackie Chan did not die. RIP means: Really Inspiring #Person," to clear up any confusion surrounding the fifth place trend.

Amazon is promoting its new Cloud Player music streaming service with first place term "Cloud Player," while the rest of Twitter is using the term to tweet about their experience with the music locker and news headlines about the service.

Today's top three Twitter hashtags are "#uknoyoughettowhen," "#r1bw" and "#idontunderstandwhy."

Indian model "Poonam Pandey" has said she will "go nude" if the Indian cricket team wins the World Cup.

"With both Veena Malik & Poonam Pandey at the India-Pakistan match, there are going to be lots of legs before wickets," joke microbloggers.

"?Single ?Taken" moves down on place to number seven, the name of American actress "Stacy Dash" is in eighth place, and "Justine Thornton," the partner of UK Labour leader Ed Miliband, is in tenth place.

Microbloggers are using their 140 characters to urge people with any information about missing BBC Bristol presenter "Peter Rowell" to call police.

The top 10 most talked about topics on Twitter on March 30 at 7:30 AM GMT are:
  1. Cloud Player (promoted)
  2. #uknoyoughettowhen (new)
  3. #r1bw (new)
  4. #idontunderstandwhy (-1)
  5. RIP Jackie Chan (new)
  6. Poonam Pandey (new)
  7. ?Single ?Taken (-1)
  8. Stacy Dash (new)
  9. Peter Rowell (new)
  10. Justine Thornton (new)
I really have no idea about Twitter.  Thankfully.

The Oatmeal

The Terrible C-Word
The Honda Cunt

BSc Bollocks

Nine out of ten college graduates say their degrees were "not a good preparation" for their current job.

Which begs the question; why take them in the first place?  How hard is it to flip burgers anyway?

Need Ideas For Tomorrow?

guyism has plenty:

50. Borrow someone’s cell phone and change the language setting to a foreign language.
49. Change the language for Google on someone’s computer.
48. Change the coffee in the office coffee maker to decaf.
47. Swap the signs on the men’s and ladies’ rest rooms.
46. Hide scented air fresheners all over someone’s office.
45. Add food colouring to milk that comes in a cardboard container.
44. Add food colouring to the wind shield washer fluid of someone’s car.
43. Switch around random keys on someone’s keyboard who isn’t a very good typist.
42. Switch the Push and Pull signs on a set of doors.
41. Hide food in a trash can and when someone comes by grab some and eat it.
40. Replace Oreo cream-filling with toothpaste and offer one to someone.
39. Dip the tips of someone’s cigarettes in Orajel so their lips will go numb.
38. Bring multiple sets of clothes to work, change every hour, and act like nothing’s different.
37. Cup some water in your hand and pretend to sneeze on the back of someone’s head.
36. Take something from someone’s office and leave them a ransom note.
35. Add several odd appointments with alarms set to go off during the day to a co-worker’s Outlook calendar.
34. Hide all of the desktop icons on someone’s computer and replace the monitor’s wallpaper with a screen-shot of their desktop.
33. Put a “Please Use Other Door” sign on the entrance to your office building if it only has one entrance.
32. Put a balloon on the tailpipe of a someone’s car so it will pop when they start their car.
31. Glue the headset of someone’s phone down to the cradle.
30. Take the door knob off a door and put it back on backwards, then lock it and leave the door open.
29. Put plastic wrap around the door frame of a commonly used door.
28. Cover a toilet seat with plastic wrap.
27. Take a squirt gun into the rest room stall next to someone and shoot little drops over the wall every couple of seconds while pretending to pee.
26. Leave a note on someone’s car apologizing for an accident that never actually happened.
25. Glue all the eggs into the carton.
24. Hard boil all the eggs in the carton and place them back in the refrigerator.
23. Paint a bar of soap completely with clear nail polish so it won’t suds up.
22. Turn every setting in someone’s car to the maximum: the heat, the radio, the wipers, the seats, etc.
21. Place a small piece of Post-it note over the ball under someone’s computer mouse so that it won’t work.
20. Switch the handles on the refrigerator to the side that doesn’t open.
19. Conference call two people then don’t say anything, just listen.
18. Place a ‘house for sale’ ad in the newspaper for someone’s home.
17. Paint the tips of someone’s pen and pencil with clear nail polish so none of them work.
16. Hide a small radio in the ceiling tiles above someone’s desk and turn it on very softly.
15. Fill someone’s hair-dryer with baby powder.
14. Put marbles in the hubcaps of someone’s car.
13. Leave cryptic notes warning someone of an impending prank then do nothing all day.
12. Rubber band the sprayer on the kitchen sink into the “on” position.
11. Place a pair of pants and shoes inside the only toilet stall in a rest room to make it appear someone is using it all day.
10. Pour vegetable oil on the exhaust of someone’s car so it will smoke when started up.
9. Hide an alarm clock in someone’s bedroom and set it for 3:00 a.m.
8. Remove the shower head and place a Lifesavers candy in it, then put the head back on.
7. Remove the shower head and place a chicken bouillon cube in it, then put the head back on.
6. Rearrange somebody’s drawers or file cabinets in a different order.
5. Tape magnets to the bottom of a cup, put it on the roof of your car and drive around.
4. Put food coloring in the hand soap dispenser.
3. Put an ad in the paper for a garage sale at someone’s house beginning at 6 a.m.
2. Buy some underwear, write a co-worker’s name in them, then leave them on the floor of the office bathroom.
1. Install the Blue Screen of Death screen-saver on someone’s computer.

Top One Hundred

100 words

Just Words

England's Italian football manager Fabio Capello claims he can manage his players with just 100 words. So how far could you get with a vocabulary of that size?

Despite his sometimes colourful language, communicating with Wayne Rooney does not require a Shakespearean command of English.

That's just as well, as the England manager has admitted he's having problems learning some of the basics.

"If I need to speak about the economy or other things, I can't speak," he told reporters.

"But when you speak about tactics, you don't use a lot of words. I don't have to speak about a lot of different things. Maximum 100 words."

In Capello's defence, his vocabulary appears to be far wider than 100 words and it was probably a throwaway remark. But his comment raises an interesting question - how far could such a limited knowledge of English take you?

Not very far, says Peter Howarth, deputy director of Leeds University's language centre.

"It's a ridiculously small number, you could learn 100 words in a couple of days, particularly when you're in the country surrounded by the language," he says.

"People do say that from a learner's point of view, English is relatively easy to use without too much grammar... but Fabio Capello needs a range, presumably, and to communicate emotions and a bit of nuance."

He says when you start to learn English, it's fairly easy to get some kind of meaning across - which is why the language has spread so widely - but people end up speaking "tourist English".

"A hundred words wouldn't get you beyond some very familiar situations in a phrase book - a weekend in London, how to get a hotel room or order a meal," he says.

"A lot of us have done that in foreign countries: managed to get by, but in a pretty limited range of situations."

A grasp of 1,500 words is needed to communicate at an intermediate level with "some range", he suggests.

Estimates for the average size of a person's vocabulary vary, but TV lexicographer and dictionary expert Susie Dent says it's about 20,000 active words and 40,000 passive ones.

She says it's important to distinguish between the active words we know and use and those we might know but don't use.

"Of course 100 words is limiting, but it's important to stress his [Capello's] passive language, otherwise how would he handle press conferences?" she says.

"It may be that for simple instruction on the pitch, 100 words is all he needs - it's not as absurd as perhaps it looks at face value."

She says the 100 most frequently used words - predominantly Old English - form the bedrock of everyday language (although you may find the task of writing something meaningful with them quite a challenge).

Ripe v mature

But according to Fiona Douglas, an English language lecturer at Leeds University, that figure of 100 is still well short of the number of words even a basic foreign language student usually commands.

She says advanced students using learner dictionaries to grasp the most frequently used and useful words, typically master around 7,500, and basic learners about 2,000.

NHS guidelines suggest that by two years old, toddlers can say around 100 words and start putting them into short sentences.

Ms Douglas questioned whether somebody with just 100 words at their disposal would be able to form sentences with full grammatical syntax structures.

"Perhaps they would just concentrate on nouns or verbs like 'football', 'kick' or 'harder'," she says.

"It seems very optimistic that you could get by on that number, but then do people know what their active lexicon is? It's quite a hard question to answer."

Part of the problem when learning a language is understanding the context in which words should be used, she adds.

"If you read a dictionary, the words 'old', 'ripe' and 'mature' share something in meaning," she says.

"If you called an older woman 'mature' you might get away with it, but if you called her 'ripe' you might get a cuff round the ear.

"It's about learning how and when to use the vocabulary, which is why learner dictionaries are very useful."

Manage Team Eng-er-land?  Who needs 100 words when three will suffice; "you're fecking shite"...


Good For Him

We're huge fans of Le Carre and his stance on this is very refreshing.  Shame the others don't respect his wishes.

Author John Le Carre has asked judges to withdraw his name from the Man Booker International Prize short list saying he does not wish to take part.  The British thriller writer said he was "enormously flattered" but added: "I do not compete for literary prizes."

However, the chief judge said he and his panel were "great admirers" of Le Carre and that his name would, "of course, remain on the list".  The full list of the contenders:
  • Wang Anyi (China)
  • Juan Goytisolo (Spain)
  • James Kelman (UK)
  • John le Carre (UK)
  • Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)
  • David Malouf (Australia)
  • Dacia Maraini (Italy)
  • Rohinton Mistry (India/Canada)
  • Philip Pullman (UK)
  • Marilynne Robinson (USA)
  • Philip Roth (US)
  • Su Tong (China)
  • Anne Tyler (US)

Black Hole

Technical problems with the BBC website saw a total outage of the news site, iPlayer and other web services yesterday.  The disruption lasted for around an hour on yesterday (Tuesday) evening.

BBC bosses admitted that there had been a "major network problem" caused by multiple systems and their backups failing and the outage set Twitter alight with angry fans questioning how such a breakdown happened.

How pathetic is that?  Shit happens and yet people get all "outraged from Tundbridge Wells?"  Get a life.

This Could Be Fun

Top Gear once again in the soup.  I wonder how often they do bend the facts to make theor shows "entertaining"?

The BBC is being sued by the makers of the electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, over claims a race on Top Gear was rigged.

Tesla Motors claims the test set up by Jeremy Clarkson on a 2008 edition of the show was rigged to make it look like the Tesla ran out of power when racing a petrol powered Lotus.

The Tesla Roadster is the world's fastest production electric car.

A Top Gear spokesman said the BBC would be "vigorously defending" the claim.

On the programme Jeremy Clarkson claimed: "Although Tesla say it'll do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles." 'Driven aggressively'

But in a statement on its website, Tesla said the Roadster's miles per charge had been certified at 211 miles by a third party European Union (EU) test.

It argued that because the car was "driven aggressively" on Top Gear the charge didn't last as long, but that if driven "mindfully" charges could last for 313 miles.

The statement also disagreed with several other elements of the show.

A Top Gear spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that we have received notification that Tesla have issued proceedings against the BBC.

"The BBC stands by the programme and will be vigorously defending this claim."