Monday, 29 February 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Lidl Quality

According to a recent survey of property prices in Leigh On Sea, house prices have fallen by 25% since the opening of a Lidl in Eastwood last December – an immediate campaign has been launched to get it converted into a Waitrose with a petition that has already gathered 75,000 signatures.

Local estate agent Marvin Sneer of Sneer and Sneer Estates in Leigh Broadway confirmed the findings to our Chief Reporter, and he said: ‘The good news is that Lidl are yet to open within the boundaries of Leigh On Sea – the impact on house prices would have been catastrophic. However, in the meantime, our immediate concern is that a new branch of the discount supermarket has opened in Eastwood, and this means that there are now two adjoining districts with a Lidl if you include Hadleigh. Chuck in the popular Aldi in Chalkwell and we have a perfect storm of factors that have had an incredible effect upon house prices in the area, and being within easy driving distance of so many low-level supermarkets has forced a worrying number of Leigh homeowners into negative equity.’
He added: ‘Even with the recent trouble, there has never been a better time to buy or sell a home in Leigh On Sea.’
Pauline Feltch purchased a one-bed flat in Percy Road for £875,000 in December 2014 so that her daughter could be in the West Leigh catchment area, and a recent valuation for £195,000 has left her feeling ‘angry and upset.’ She said: ‘I am supporting the campaign to get the Eastwood Lidl converted into a Waitrose, and I have also got together with a number of other Leigh homeowners to launch collective legal proceedings against the supermarket chain. We believe that we are all entitled to compensation amounting to the lost property value since the supermarket opened, and our main argument is that we had no idea that so many cheap supermarkets would be built at the time of purchase.’
According to a source within Lidl, the residents’ legal claims have ‘absolutely no grounds,’ but they also conceded that any affected homeowners would be given a voucher for 10% off a pack of Chorizo to ‘break the ice’ with a whole new retail audience.



In 1956, East Germany decided to honor the death of native composer Robert Schumann by featuring him on a stamp. The design included a commemorative portrait of the artist against the backdrop of one of his musical scores.  Unfortunately, the musical manuscript they used was that of fellow composer Franz Schubert.

Commuting- 3

The CEO who takes a 10-hour transcontinental flight to work every week

The CEO who takes a 10-hour transcontinental flight to work every week
A few years back, JetBlue Airways founder David Neeleman left his company and launched a new airline in Brazil. Azul flies 22 million people a year, employs 12,000, and is the fastest-growing carrier in the region.

You'd think running such a large, complex operation would require a move to South America. But Neeleman commutes to his Sao Paulo headquarters every week from his home in Connecticut, taking the 10-hour redeye on Sunday nights and returning on Thursdays. This way, he says, he doesn't have to uproot his family of ten kids. (Source)

The man who commutes to work on a snowboard

The man who commutes to work on a snowboard
The video below captures a man boarding to work. Tired of his usual commute, Joel Paredes decided to take advantage of the snow and snowboard home instead.

Paredes, an experienced snowboarder from Montreal, Quebec, ditched the traffic and made the most of a record-breaking week of snowfall.


The man who uses a paramotor to commute to work

The man who uses a paramotor to commute to work
High-flyer Paul Cox is beating the early-morning rush — by paragliding into work. He takes to the skies in a paramotor for the 10-mile journey to Holyhead Boatyard from his back garden in Gwalchmai, North Wales, whenever the weather allows. 

The Royal Navy overseer swapped his pushbike for a paramotor in 2012 after discovering the activity on a holiday to Alicante, Spain.


The Filipina teacher who walks for 2 hours and crosses 5 rivers to teach her students

The Filipina teacher who walks for 2 hours and crosses 5 rivers to teach her students
She is the only woman on our list, but Elizabeth Miranda sure takes the top prize. She hikes for several hours, but that doesn't stop her from teaching her students. 

In Sitio Barogante, Occidental Mindoro, she traverses five rivers and trails for several hours just to reach her anticipating students. Her feet and legs get wet when crossing, but she says it is all worth it. Some rivers require a lifebuoy or “salbabida” in Filipino (locally called Timbulan), but that doesn't stop her from going to school.

The way to the school is no joke. Crossing raging waters can be life-threatening, but she continues to do so. She admits being discouraged at times, but the faces of her students continue to give her strength.


Commuting- 2

The man who saves money on London rent by commuting from Barcelona

The man who saves money on London rent by commuting from Barcelona
A London office worker who was sick of the city's prices discovered that he would spend less commuting to his job from Spain and in May 2015, he actually did it.

Sam Cookney now lives in the center of Barcelona and catches a cheap flight to London's Stansted Airport each morning, reaching his desk by 9.30am — and he's still saving money.

The social media manager came to the end of his tether in 2013 when he realized he couldn't afford to rent a place in the city on his own.

His 1500-kilometer commute takes five-and-a-half hours one-way, but Sam says he's able to have a quick nap on the flight. He's lucky enough to be able to work from home on occasion, but even traveling to the office four days a week would cost just $1424 a month. Add that to his rent, and he's spending $2724 a month — an impressive $878 less than he would be paying to live and work in London. (Source)

The Detroit man whose 21 mile walk earned him a car

The Detroit man whose 21 mile walk earned him a car
James Robertson's story came to national attention after an article in the Detroit Free Press went viral. The 56-year-old Detroit resident's work commute consisted of a 42-mile round trip, every day. It involved twenty-one miles of walking, thanks to Detroit's extremely spotty bus service and a car that broke down a decade ago.

Robertson is a humble man, who works the 2pm-10pm shift. The job pays him $10.55 an hour, and he has a perfect attendance record. 

19-year-old Wayne State University student Evan Leedy saw the story and launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding site. He set a goal of $5,000, enough to get Robertson a modest but dependable car. Strangers from around the world showed their support for the quiet Detroit man who never asked anyone for help and the fund swelled to over $300,000. 

But the icing on the cake came a week later. Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, Michigan, gave Robertson a gift to recognize and relieve the years he spent slogging without fail to the job that he loves — a brand new 2015 Ford Taurus, metallic red with black interior. (Source 1 | Source 2)

The man who won "America's Longest Commute" contest for his 372-mile daily journey

The man who won 'America's Longest Commute' contest for his 372-mile daily journey
If you're howling about paying a lot more to fill up these days, thank your lucky nozzle you're not David Givens of California. Every weekday, Givens drives 372 miles from Mariposa to his job at Cisco in San Jose. He spends $40 a day, $200 a week, $800 a month on gas. 

For his daily round-trip journey, Givens won the "America's Longest Commute" contest conducted by Midas Muffler, which received nearly 3,000 entries from New York to the Golden State as part of a 50th-anniversary celebration. Considering the average one-way commute in the US is 25.5 minutes, you can call Givens a runaway winner. 

For the past two years, the 46-year-old electrical engineer has traveled every workday, from the Sierra through the Central Valley to the Bay Area alternating over Pacheco Pass or the Altamont Pass, depending on traffic. That's 3 1/2 hours one way — a decent trade-off, insists Givens, for living the outdoor lifestyle he and his wife relish in the pristine mountains of Mariposa County. (Source)

Commuting- 1

The 71-year old librarian who commutes to work by rowing

The 71-year old librarian who commutes to work by rowing
Gabriel Horchler is the Head of Cataloging at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He likes to row. 15 years ago, Horchler realized that most of his daily commute from his home in Cheverly, Maryland ran parallel to the Anacostia River. He could either drive through heavy traffic, or he could row along the almost vacant river.

Now, even at the age of 71, Horchler begins his day by biking to a neighborhood park, then pushing his rowing shell into the water. He pilots it down the river to a community boathouse, where he keeps his second bike and takes that bike to the Library of Congress.

The entire trip takes him 90 minutes, and the daily workout has kept him in great physical condition. (Source)

The NYC man who commutes to work by unicycle

The NYC man who commutes to work by unicycle
In 1990, Benjamin Kieffer started riding a unicycle when he signed up for circus school. Today, the 33-year-old rides his unicycle to work every day in midtown Manhattan. Kieffer says that his commute is the part of the day he enjoys the most. According to him, subways are cramped, taxis are expensive, and walking is boring, so he settled on a unicycle for his commute while wearing a suit and tie. (Source)

The teacher who swims through a river every day to get to his students

The teacher who swims through a river every day to get to his students
One teacher in Malappuram, India, will not let anything keep him from reaching his students — not even a river. Each day, Abdul Mallik wades through the neck-high water to get to the primary school where he's worked for 20 years.

Why? Because it's the fastest way to get to class. "If I go by bus, it takes me three hours to cover the 12-kilometer (7.5 miles) distance," he said. 

Once he crosses the river, he changes into a dry set of clothes and then continues the walk to school. How's that for dedication? (Source)



Murphy's Law


The so-called law is usually expressed as 'If anything can go wrong, it will'.


Murphy's Law parallels two other common terms for what is essentially the same pessimistic idea - Sod's Law and Finagle's Law. Of these three, Murphy's Law is by far the more commonly used. The notion that 'if anything can go wrong, it will' is the simplest version of a notion that has been expressed in numerous ways. Many of these pre-date 'Murphy':
- Once a job is botched, any attempts to fix it make it worse.
Bread always falls buttered side down.
- Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.
The list of names for the supposed phenomenon is also arbitrarily long and, as well as the above 'laws', includes: The Fourth Law of ThermodynamicsNewton's Fourth Law of MotionThe Inverse Midas Touch, etc, etc.
In the use of MurphySod and Finagle and also the less common Reilly's Law, the coiners of these names seem to have settled on a theme which calls on perceived negative allusions to the Irish. There is, in fact, nothing to link any of those names to anyone Irish, but they certainly sound as though there could be.
In reality, Murphy is commonly thought to be Captain Edward A. Murphy, an American aerospace engineer, who performed studies on deceleration for the U.S. Air Force in 1949. During the experiments, in which he had a less than cordial relationship with other members of the research team, he noted that if things could be done wrongly, they would be. In subsequent interviews, various team members have stated that they referred to the notion as 'Murphy's Law'. The expression wasn't put into print by them at the time though and the earliest citation of it is in Anne Roe's book The Making of a Scientist, 1952:
"There were a number of particularly delightful incidents. There is, for example, the physicist who introduced me to one of my favorite 'laws,' which he described as 'Murphy's law or the fourth law of thermodynamics' (actually there were only three last I heard) which states: 'If anything can go wrong it will.'"
Other sources have questioned that the Murphy in the name was an actual person. In his memoire Into Orbit, 1962, John Glenn states that:
"We blamed human errors like this on what aviation engineers call 'Murphy's Law'. 'Murphy' was a fictitious character who appeared in a series of educational cartoons put out by the U.S. Navy... Murphy was a careless, all-thumbs mechanic who was prone to make such mistakes as installing a propeller backwards."
The case for Edward A. Murphy being the source is fairly strong, but perhaps not quite 'beyond all reasonable doubt'.
Sod and Finagle certainly weren't real people. Sod's Law isn't known until later and the first example of it that I can find is from The New Statesman, October 1970:
"Sod's Law... is the force in nature which causes it to rain mostly at weekends, which makes you get flu when you are on holiday, and which makes the phone ring just as you've got into the bath."
This is a stronger variant of Murphy's Law, using the expletive 'sod' for accentuation. The term is, of course, short for 'sodomite', although the word had weakened into a general non-sexual term of abuse by 1970 - along the same lines of 'bugger'.
Finagle's Law follows a similar pattern. Finagle has been used in the USA, as a verb meaning 'to obtain a result by trickery; to deceive; to wangle'. A finagler is recorded in the American Dialect Society's Dialect Notes, 1922 as:
"One who stalls until someone else pays the check"
Soon afterwards (1926), Harold Wentworth listed it in the American Dialect Dictionary as 'US political cant.
The term probably had its origin in England. The English Dialect Dictionarylists the words fainaigue and feneague - meaning 'to cheat'.
The first example I have of 'Finagle's Law' in print dates from The Indiana Gazette, April 1979, although there are assertions that it dates from the 1940s. There's some evidence to show that Finagle's Law, while no doubt having been influenced by Murphy's Law, is not merely the same notion under another name. Finagle's Law is more often applied specifically as a spoof version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and is stated as 'The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum'. This pseudo-science background also applies to 'Finagle's Constant' - a mythical mathematical constant which is added to one side of an equation to obtain a result when the facts don't match the theory.


Happy Strawberry Day

For Saturday...

Happy National Strawberry Day! Dazzle your friends with these seven juicy tidbits about the fruit.


Technically speaking, strawberries are accessory fruits. By “accessory fruits” we don’t mean they make great earrings (although they might); we mean that they’re part of a class of fruitthat includes apples, common figs, and pineapples.


There are several folk theories, including that the fruit got its name from its growth patterns over the ground like straw spread in a stable, but modern etymologists are not buying it.


Emmbean via Wikipedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
The garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) dominates our produce aisles and farmers markets, but it’s far from the only strawberry out there. The pineberry, shown above, looks like a sick strawberry but tastes like pineapple. Then there’s the Himalayan strawberry, Fragaria x daltonia, which looks like a sneaker from the '90s and is apparently not worth eating (it has been described as "virtually flavourless.")


Every year, the Lebanon Strawberry Festival is home to the world’s largest shortcake. The cake, which is made by a bakery in a local grocery story, requires 992 cups of flour, 514 cups of sugar, and 18 cups of vanilla, and can feed more than 15,000 people.


Tierra Smiley Evans/UC Davis
Everyone knows it’s hard to get saliva from a wild monkey. It’s their saliva, and they intend to keep it … unless there’s jam to be had. Clever primate researchers figured out that they couldsmear strawberry jam on a rope, then casually leave it lying around in the monkeys’ territory. The monkey comes along, chews on the rope, then leaves, providing scientists with a lovely—if gooey—spit sample.


A large orange provides about 86 calories and 98 milligrams of Vitamin C, or 163 percent of your daily recommended intake. A serving of strawberries (about 10 strawberries) is 60 calories and offers almost 177 percent of your Vitamin C for the day.


Hieronymous Bosch via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
From 2000 to 2012, American strawberry consumption rose by 60 percent. Agricultural experts credit improved growing techniques, which make the fruit taste better, and increased availability as we import more and more produce from Central and South America.

My Favourites

Prawn Cocktail crisps small
Sales of prawn cocktail crisps are holding steady at zero.
The oddly flavoured potato snacks have not sold at all since the mid-1980s when the cold prawn dish proved a popular choice of starter amongst hideous wankers.
“We’ve got 51 boxes of the fuckers,” sighed corner-shop owner, Simon Williams.
“Ideally I’d stop ordering them but if you want to try to decipher the crisp company’s automated telephone menu system then be my guest.
“I tried dropping them off at a homeless shelter once and they thought I was taking the piss and told me to get off their property, which seems an ironic statement in retrospect.
“Anyway, help yourself. Please.”
Crisp company owner, Elizabeth King, said “Gary Lineker really likes them, which is the only reason we still make them.
“He’s told us he will stop doing our adverts if we stop making them, and honestly we can’t think of anyone else who could stand there and grin at or near some crisps like he does.
“He is a truly, truly evil human being.”

Well Said

Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.
Quotations by unknown authors

Viz Bits

Rio Ferdinand

Clear Second

4Man City262047
5Man Utd271044
6West Ham271043
13West Brom27-735
14Crystal Palace27-632
20Aston Villa27-2716