Sunday, 13 March 2011

Going Japanese

The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan certainly took me by surprise - to watch the TV and see cars bobbing up and down like rubber ducks shows the truly epic scale of the disaster, the tragedy for the Japanese people, and the task of rebuilding. It has gained the attention of religious crazies who consider it divine punishment, even though, if I did believe in God, I might think that he wanted to ensure that the third world didn't receive all the natural disasters and suffering, as part of a quota to achieve racial equality or something. Having watched the new Louis Theroux documentary on the Westboro Baptist Church, it is obvious that this view is shared by more than one person. But if the wackiness of views was to be modelled as a standard distribution, there are so many people in the world that statistically at least a few will have wacky views.

Meanwhile our best album - er -greenest government in the world... Ever! is up to its usual ploy of trying to appease the "hard pressed motorist" with a cut in fuel duty. Except it had already increased VAT on everything, so even capital M motorists were unimpressed. Luckily I had the chance to question MP and cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt about this, even though my fellow scholars are more likely to mention the mispronunciation of his name. To be honest, that's what he'll be remembered for. And he went for the hard pressed motorist line, although he did accept the cost of rail travel was excessive when pushed on this. But then, it's easy to accept that lots of things are true, and an entirely different matter to take action.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Crocodile Dundee

This blog is about the pathetically underwhelming things in life, as compared to the magnificent and / or excessive things which pwn them in an epic fashion, a bit like the way Usain Bolt runs compared with everyone else, or the way a jet fighter is faster than a paper plane.

Truth is, there is stuff out there which is sometimes claimed to be the shiznit, but is evidently not. Fortunately we Brits are not alone in that, as these pathetic cycle paths, installed circa 1992, in Barcelona, show. If you tire of the challenges of outdated town planning and pathetic engineering, alternately one could ride a pedal powered monorail. This gives you the freedom to - er - follow a fixed route in a glass coffin. If I wanted the recumbent position, I could spend a few thousand Euros on one of these. That isn't actually a bicycle, because it has 3 wheels, but it's far more of a bicycle than one of these objects.

Alternately, there are those that aren't interested in exaggerating their worthiness and would rather we didn't know what they were up to. We already knew Fred Goodwin was a banker, so what the flying fuck is he doing with this super injunction preventing news reports from referring to him as such? Were we supposed to call him a crook instead or something? He is obviously an idiot because he thought he could defeat the Streisand Effect in regards to something that was in the public domain already. It would be like Uwe Boll seeking an injunction against us calling him a director because he didn't like the way his films got slated.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

In the Black Stuff

Colonel Gaddafi has been the centre of attention recently for his eccentric fashion sense, his deranged ranting, and his, er, flagrant human rights abuses. Most people only "achieve" one of those, so I am simultaneously humoured and appalled by him. The humour comes from comparing his rants to Charlie Sheen's and creating my own Gaddafi-esque speech, the "appalled" comes from, well, this place.

The wider Arab world is also in a state of unrest at present, which has lead to an increase in oil prices. Something I would be interested to find out is what the response of the West would be if these protests spread to a regime where women are deprived of all civil rights and homosexuals stoned to death. A regime such as Saudi Arabia, with the world's largest conventional oil reserves. I somehow suspect that keeping motorcades moving will be the priority and our leaders will blithly ignore the suppression of political groups in order to keep cars moving, ideally on the way to homes with raised thermostats in a futile attempt to emulate Saudi desert heat on a cold February morning. Apparently Chris Huhne is saying we need to wean ourselves off oil, which is why the Transport Secretary is proposing raising motorway speed limits so we can get rid of it faster.

You also need oil to fuel helicopters to launch a bungled SAS mission and fly Prince Andrew around. A more sensible and economical use could be to ride around on scooters like you're in a folk rock group.