Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Goosebumps are actually caused by a muscle. It is called the arrector pili muscle.

A First?

I watched the rest of MotD yesterday and they featured a lady commentator.  It sounded a little odd at first, probably as it has long been overdue but it sure as hell beats the shite of John Motson's nasal whines and banal comments.  Put him out to pasture and lets not only have more women describing the action but also pundits to analyse the game.

We have professional female players, so why not on the panel of "experts"?

News Thump

The 4.1 million people who signed a government petition asking for a second EU referendum are confident that that signing a petition to keep Donald Trump from meeting the Queen will be more successful.
With 1.3 million people now having signed the petition calling on the government to deny Donald Trump a state visit when he comes to the UK, signatories remain convinced that signing online petitions is the definitely the best way to achieve your stated aims.
Professional petition signer Derek Matthews told us, “Yeah, I signed it. Course I did.
“Ask anyone, I’m a really big fan of futile gestures, so this was right up my street.
“Yeah, I also signed the one asking for a new referendum, but this is different, because this is now and I really really care about this one.”
However, voter Simon Williams told us, “Look, I realise our government considers us plebs with barely concealed disdain, and I genuinely believe this petition will have literally zero impact on Donald Trump’s proposed visit.
“But – and it’s a big but – you also have to remember that Donald Trump is an egomaniacal man-child with a pathological need to be popular, who won’t be able to deal with the fact that in the nation of his mother’s birth everyone thinks he’s an arsehole.
“And that’s a result I can definitely live with.”

Viz's Top Tip of the Day

Learner skateboarders:  carry an old paint roller in each hand.  They can be used as "stabilisers" whenever you lose your balance.

Well Said

Nothing is impossible. Some things are just less likely than others.
Jonathan Winters

FA Cup Last 16

Fulham, then.  Lucky Arse.

Burnley v Lincoln City
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United
Sutton United v Arsenal
Middlesbrough v Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City
Millwall v Derby County/Leicester City

Life Hack

Not too Shabby

Just had our reminder through to renew our building's insurance on the flat back in the UK.  An increase of about twenty quid is no too bad at all so rather pleased.

All I need now is for my medical insurance to start- we have taken up a policy that works well for me but wifey is now waiting to find something a little more suited to her, but they haven't processed the paperwork so far.

Tonight's Games

We face rock bottom Sunderland and I am fully expecting a shock result.  I do hope I am wrong and the b-i-l's team stay in their place for at least another week.



As I walked into the Kiwi I saw a face who shouldn't have been here- Murray.  He was supposedly flying back to Australia on Sunday and yet here he was.

He had checked in on-line and arrived at the airport in good time to be informed that his flight had left early and he had been advised of this via email.

Obviously he hadn't and when he asked how come, if the flight had been changed, could he still check in?   No reply except to be told to take it up with his booking agent.

He said he was looking at her... he had booked directly with them.

In the end they offered him a flight for today in business class at an extra cost of Aus$ 1 000 (Murray refused as it was their fault and he only paid that for a round trip) or one for next week.

The plus side is he gets an extra week in Bangkok, the downer is the additional expense of taxis to the airport and back and then a trip to Immigration, plus a visa renewal and a week's additional accommodation.

I do so hope he makes the airline cough for their error.


I picked up a new HDD but they are more expensive here than in the UK, despite being manufactured here.  Still, done is done and I can now begin to sort out our files and back ups.

C & H

Monday, 30 January 2017

The Oatmeal


Viz's Top Tip of the Day

Mums- underpants with with the leg holes sewn up make brilliant hats.  Our teenage daughter must be the envy of all her school friends which wearing a pair which my husband discarded several years ago.

I Hated it Too

I had the misfortune to be in the class that was forced to read this predictable load of girlie non-sense for my English literature "O" level (way back when we had proper exams) and I still cannot adequately describe the loathing of this stupid book.

I am still somewhat surprised that I managed to get top marks in this subject considering the other reading material was "The Merchant of Venice", a real load of arse from the over rated Shakespeare, and some choice poetry.

What chance did a young teenage boy stand?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that few books are as beloved as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which was published on January 28, 1813. It appears on best-loved literature lists across the globe, is a fixture in high school classrooms, and has spawned a rabid fan base and countless film and television adaptations.
The story of how Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s disdain for the wealthy, prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy turned to love has never been out of print, and has sold more than 20 million copies since its first appearance more than 200 years ago. Austen’s family, however, probably didn’t see much of that success: She sold the novel’s copyright to her publisher for £110 (just over $10,000 in today's dollars) and died just a few years later, in 1817. Though the novel was reviewed positively and was well-received by the upper classes at the time, it was no widespread sensation. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the book and its author were rediscovered and lifted to the rarefied place in the English literature pantheon they hold today.
Since then, few books have been reinvented as much and as often as Pride and Prejudice: In addition to the straightforward adaptations for film and stage, the story has been re-set in 20th century London (Bridget Jones’s Diary), in Bollywood (Bride and Prejudice), at a Mormon university (Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy), in modern-day Israel, around New York’s rock scene, during a zombie apocalypse, and put to music (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Musical).
It’s been re-told from Darcy’s perspective (Darcy’s Story), shifted to America (Darcy on the Hudson), and, of course, transformed into soft-core Regency-era erotica (Pride & Prejudice: Hidden LustsPride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition). It’s been expanded in hundreds of pieces of published fan fiction, from best-selling crime novelist P.D. James’ Death Comes To Pemberley to Mrs. Darcy Versus the Aliens, which is exactly what it sounds like. In 2009, Sir Elton John’s Rocket Pictures even talked about producing Pride and Predator, a mash-up pairing Regency England with the be-mandibled aliens of the Predator movies (regrettably, it doesn’t seem to have panned out).
But despite how beloved Pride and Prejudice is, there have been plenty of people who hated it. Here are seven of them.


In 1848, 41 years after Austen’s death, Charlotte Brontë picked up Pride and Prejudice on the recommendation of friend and literary critic George Henry Lewes. Brontë, author of the grim “romance” Jane Eyre, wasn’t backwards about coming forward with her criticism: “Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point,” she wrote, explaining that she got the book after Lewes talked it up. “And what did I find? An accurate, daguerreotyped portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully-fenced, high-cultivated garden with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.”
Two years later, Brontë took up the theme again, in a letter to another friend: “[A]nything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such demonstrations the authoress would have met with a well-bred sneer, would have calmly scorned as outré or extravagant. She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well ... [But] She no more, with her mind’s eye, beholds the heart of her race than each man, with bodily vision, sees the heart in his heaving breast. Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady, but a very incomplete and rather insensible (not senseless) woman.”


It's a little too strong to say that Winston Churchill hated Pride and Prejudice, as Britain’s beloved Prime Minister seems to have found some comfort in the book as the Second World War ground on. But he did have some mild complaint about it: “What calm lives they had, those people! No worries about the French Revolution or the crashing struggle of the Napoleonic Wars. Only manners controlling natural passion as far as they could, together with cultural explanations of any mischances.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson, having read both Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice, bemoaned the fact that all anyone in the books seemed to care about was money and marriage: “I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen’s novels at so high a rate, which seems to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in their wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and so narrow ... Suicide is more respectable.”


The Mrs. Dalloway writer, in a 1932 letter to a friend, had faint praise for Austen: “Whatever ‘Bloomsbury’ may think of Jane Austen, she is not by any means one of my favourites. I’d give all she ever wrote for half what the Brontës wrote—if my reason did not compel me to see that she is a magnificent artist.”


D.H. Lawrence, author of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (published in 1928), intensely disliked the England Jane Austen represented both in her novels and personally. In 1930, he wrote, “This again, is the tragedy of social life today. In the old England, the curious blood-connection held the classes together. The squires might be arrogant, violent, bullying and unjust, yet in some ways, they were at one with the people, part of the same blood-stream. We feel it in Defoe or Fielding. And then, in the mean Jane Austen, it is gone. Already this old maid typifies 'personality' instead of character, the sharp knowing in apartness instead of togetherness, and she is, to my feeling, English in the bad, mean snobbish sense of the word, just as Fielding is English in the good generous sense.”


This French-speaking Swiss writer, a great patron of the literary salon who lived contemporaneously with Jane Austen (they even died in the same year), pronounced Pride and Prejudice "vulgaire."


It was that great American man of letters, Mark Twain, who had the meanest thing to say about poor, dead Jane Austen and her books: “I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone!”
Many thanks to Gary Dexter’s fabulous Poisoned Pens: Literary Invective from Amis to Zola for corralling a number of these quotes.


Ancient Greeks believed that wearing amethysts would help prevent a person from getting drunk.

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