Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Colombo Investigates...

I keep getting stopped in the streets by strangers and asking me why these blog entries seem to come in waves.

"Hey, FMO! Why can't you update your blog a bit more often, eh?" They often cry.

Well, the fact is, it's quite hard work being inspired at times. Even if you've been on an adventure, it doesn't necessarily translate into something you can make a blog out of. For example, I went to Africa last month. To Uganda and to Zanzibar. "Oooh, how exotic!" you might think - "tell us all about it!".

But despite it being a trip and a half packed full of incidence, it's not that which has inspired me to write again. What has inspired me was an argument I had yesterday with a lady from a call centre about the roaming charges I'd just received on my mobile phone bill from said trip. Strange that, isn't it?

I guess anything that allows me a passive-aggressive rant and moan at the inadequacies of the service industry (a la Larry David) is as good a starting point as any, so here is what happened...

Upon receipt yesterday of my bill from - let's call them YodaFoam, to hide their identity - I noticed that alongside the expected charges for using my phone in Uganda and Tanzania, there were also £15 of charges for using my phone in Sri Lanka.

Now, I hadn't been to Sri Lanka. I flew to Uganda and to Tanzania, with short transits in Ethiopia and Kenya only, then flew home. I didn't go near Sri Lanka. I didn't even visit the same continent as Sri Lanka. As you will see from the below map (click on it for full view), Sri Lanka is not anywhere near Uganda. It is in fact around 3,300 miles away across the Indian Ocean. Clearly there was a mistake here.

I phoned the call centre.

Here is an approximated transcript of what occurred. There may have been a bit more swearing, in reality.

FMO: Hello there, you have made a mistake on my bill. You have put on roaming charges in Sri Lanka, when I didn't go to Sri Lanka.
Call Centre: Let me have a look at the bill here sir. Yes, that's correct, you have £15 of charges from when you were in Sri Lanka.
FMO: No, as stated, I didn't go to Sri Lanka.
Call Centre: Hmm. But that doesn't make sense sir, as your phone picked up the Sri Lanka Signal. Are you sure you might not have gone there at some point?
FMO: Oh good point. I might have slipped across the border by mistake. I'll just check my passport. No, no stamp. So it appears I didn't go to Sri Lanka and forget all about it.
Call Centre: There is no need to be sarcastic sir. I was merely pointing out that sometimes you can pick up the signal of a neighbouring country if you are close to the border.
FMO: Well I wasn't close to the border.
Call Centre: You were in Uganda and Kenya - is it not possible you were near the Sri Lanka border? The signal can be stronger from one country you see, so even if you are in another country the neighbouring signal is picked up.
FMO: Kenya and Uganda are not near Sri Lanka. I'm pretty sure of this from basic geography knowledge, but I've just checked and yes - there are indeed 3,000 miles of ocean in between them.
Call Centre: Ahh, I see what the problem could be - You could have sailed out into the range of the Sri Lankan signal. It often happens to people on cruises that they pick up a signal in between ports.
FMO: I haven't been on a ruddy cruise!!! I was in Uganda the whole time that your bill says I was in Sri Lanka!
Call Centre: Even if you were in port in Uganda, as I said the signal from the other country across the sea could be stronger and you might pick that up.
FMO: I wasn't in a Ugandan port. Uganda is in fact, landlocked. I've also double-checked this residual knowledge and can confirm, the nearest bit of ocean is 600 miles from Uganda. And Sri Lanka is 3,000 miles across that.
Call Centre: Right OK. Obviously though although I believe you there is always the chance you did fly over Sri Lanka and weren't aware? You can pick up the signal from the air sometimes.
FMO:  NO THERE ISN'T! I was flying from London to Africa. You don't go via South-East Asia to do this journey. Again, I've double-checked this for you just in case my whole concept of world geography is as mind-numbingly shit as yours is. 
Call Centre: Very funny sir. That doesn't explain away why you have been in Sri Lanka though according to the bill...
FMO: Have you even looked at the bill?!! It has me in Uganda on July 2nd-3rd, Sri Lanka on July 4th, in BOTH countries on July 6th and 7th, in Sri Lanka again on July 8th and then back in Uganda on Jul 10th. So unless I was doing some drug-running between continents that week, I suggest your invoice is bollocks!!!
Call Centre: There is no need to swear, sir. I have to agree though that this does seem unlikely. Just checking one last thing though - did you perhaps lend your phone to someone else?
FMO:  Had I lent my phone to someone else (someone who apparently takes daily flights between Uganda and Sri Lanka), FIRSTLY - it might have already occurred to me that this would be the reason Sri Lankan charges appear on my bill. So I probably would have already mentioned that, don't you think? SECONDLY - it wouldn't alter the fact that the phone still appears to be in different countries on the same day according to your fucking bill!
Call Centre: OK, OK, please try and be patient. I'm sorry sir we just have to explore all avenues as you wouldn't believe some of the scams people have going.
FMO: Do any of these scams actually involve people hopping about between two countries on a daily basis and then denying they did so for the purposes of avoiding mobile charges?
Call Centre: Well, not in my experience, but they could do.
FMO: If they did, I would imagine the soaring cost of aviation every day would be more of a worry to them than £15 of text messaging charges. Now, can you please take these charges off my bill?
Call Centre: Yes sir, as a gesture of goodwill we will do this.
FMO: Thank you.
Call Centre: *click*
FMO: How rude.
More opportunities for my to give myself an aneurysm next time, folks!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Save The Date!

I can't believe I've been wasting my time arguing with myself about voting reform for the past few weeks. Why didn't I do something more worthwhile with my time?

You see, it was my last chance to do something - because the end of the world starts tomorrow. No, seriously it does. May 21st 2011. End of the World.

I guess if you hadn't known, that will have come as quite a shock. Sorry about that, but I didn't really know how to break softly to you the news of the coming of Armageddon.

For those who haven't heard - Another raving religious fucking lunatic has managed to get more media attention than he deserves by declaring The Rapture will occur tomorrow.

This guy is called Harold Camping, and he's positive he's got it right this time (after already making an incorrect proclamation in 1994).
End of The World: AWESOME!
You can read about it all right here, at Harold Camping's 'Family Radio' website. So, what are the signs that has led Harold to believe we are at The End of Days? Well, amongst other things;

"The re-establishment of National Israel in 1948, the emergence of the 'Gay Pride Movement', and the complete disregard of the Bible in all of society today".

Wow. So why did Jesus want to wait so long to come back and save us? Why didn't he come back before the Jews and the gays had had chance to establish themselves?

Surely he should have looked down in 1948 and gone "Hey, hang on a minute! That holocaust thing a few years ago might have been a bit close to the bone, but this establishment of a state of Israel takes the fucking biscuit! Prepare for The Rapture, Dad, I'm going in!"

Perhaps he missed that at the time. But could he really have missed all the gay pride marches for the past 30 years? You'd have thought, after seeing one he'd have stepped in and said "That's it now guys, you've gone too far. I'm taking my buddies up with me now so stop bumming."

Perhaps it's just got worse and worse over the years, and this year's marching season was just too camp, even for a liberal-minded guy like Jesus. Either way, he's fucking had enough of it all, and he's coming back, people.

So, now we've established that Judgement Day is tomorrow - what can we expect? Let's go back to our Family Radio website for the answers:

"On May 21, 2011 two events will occur....the one more wonderful than can be imagined; the other more horrific than can be imagined."

Harold Camping: silly old cunt.

Well firstly - let me just stop you there, Harold old chum. You should know that I have a pretty vivid imagination, especially after seeing SAW III.

"A great earthquake will occur the Bible describes it as "such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." "

OK, so according to the list of most powerful earthquakes ever - we are talking 9.5 magnitude or above here. That is some serious shit.

 "This earthquake will be so powerful it will throw open all graves. The remains of the all the believers who have ever lived will be instantly transformed into glorified spiritual bodies to be forever with God."

OK, sounds like I should have my camera ready for this!

"On the other hand the bodies of all unsaved people will be thrown out upon the ground to be shamed."Oh, now that's a bit harsh. All this because Jesus doesn't like Jews and gays? Can't he just go to a BNP rally or something and get it out of his system that way?

"The inhabitants who survive this terrible earthquake will exist in a world of horror and chaos beyond description."

Are we all going to be forced to move to Swindon?

"Each day people will die until October 21, 2011 when God will completely destroy this earth and its surviving inhabitants."

Hand of God: Terry Butcher is still fucked off with it.
Seems a bit like throwing your toys out of the pram from old God there. Couldn't he just send another flood or something? Mind you, 5 months in Swindon and I'm sure we'll all be welcoming the end.
You feel silly now, don't you? You atheist idiots! You are going to be kicking yourselves tomorrow when you wake up to do your normal round of blaspheming and fornicating, only to find Jesus at the end of your bed with a disappointed look on his face.

But hang on - what if (and I know it's a silly question!) May 21st ends and nothing has occurred?

The Biblical evidence is too overwhelming and specific to be wrong. Christ's people can look with great confidence to this date...Judgment Day on May 21, 2011 will occur because the bible declares it. Anyone whom God has not saved will arrive at that day with no hope for salvation. God warns simply the "door will be shut."

Well, that pretty much sorts that out then. So, assuming all these godly folks won't be around after tomorrow, and us heathens are fucked anyway, I suggest we all go around to their houses today and take all their stuff. They won't need it in heaven after all - and we could all still get up to 5 months' use out of it all. It's a win-win situation for us all. Well, until God kills us of course.

Then again - it might just not be true. This video is quite a good riposte.

JESUS IS COMING, PEOPLE. Prepare yourselves.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ennui To Apathy

I know it's a couple of weeks ago now, but I can't help still being disappointed with the result of the AV Referendum. I expected the NO vote to win after hearing expert opinions and polls telling me where things were heading. But I really didn't expect it to be so one-sided.
67.9% NO to 32.1% YES.

I didn't realise the twitching curtains of fearful-of-change Middle-Britain were still in the ascendancy these days. I thought we lived in a more progressive nation than that.

You know, a tolerant, thoughtful society that treats change not as a piss-stained vagrant to be passed quickly on the roadside; but as a welcome traveller, greeted into our homes as if a friend and treated not with an expectation that he will have an axe and a severed head in his rucksack, but with the hope that he will in time become a trusted confidant.

What annoys me most about the 68% that voted NO is that I'd wager most of them did it for the wrong reasons. I wouldn't be so disappointed if the majority of NO voters had looked properly at the reform on offer and thought "Hmm, yes there are many problems with how things are, but I'd rather stick with it over this other thing which just isn't my cup of tea."

What actually happened was, they were either bamboozled by the bullshit that came out of the NO2AV campaign, or they saw something a bit different they didn't understand straight away, couldn't be bothered to have it explained to them and went "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Not today thank you!" As if the idea of voting reform was an annoying charity mugger ruining your lunch break in the high street.

But what is even worse than that is those that didn't think it even worth their time voting.

This is why Britain is broken. It's not the chavs on the slum estates, the binge-drinking, the breakdown of multiculturalism, the benefits culture, or even those twitching curtains. It's the apathy.

It's an unwillingness of people to engage with things. The close-mindedness of  "what we have got will do" or "what difference can I make?" and a lack of desire to press for something better. That's what's wrong with Britain today.


To be honest, I'm getting a little apathetic about complaining about the apathetic myself, thanks to the pervading sense of apathy everywhere, seeping into my very being. You can almost see the conglomerated lassitude caused by association pouring out of my ears.

One thing that did cheer me up though was that although only 10 voting areas out of 440 in the whole country voted YES - 2 of them were my current home the London Borough of Camden, and my beloved City of Oxford. God bless you, progressive Camdonites and Oxonians.

As a final thought on the matter before returning to more frivolous stuff again, Those NO2AVers must actually be livid at the result though. This is exactly the sort of situation they were worried about in the first place - the second best option winning.

Haha I did a joke.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Why you should vote YES TO AV today

Whilst not wishing to get a reputation for being a woolly liberal leftie*, I'm still going to follow up yesterday's quite murky (and perhaps ill-advised) defence of liberal views with a plea today that you vote YES in today's UK Referendum on voting reform.

If you are still undecided, or at least open to my attempts at persuasion - please just read on a bit and tell me you are not convinced by the end of it.

If you want to see a list of the virtues of AV - go here.

What I thought I'd do briefly was my own refutation of some of the No campaign's so-called 'facts' about how terrible AV will be for us.

It will cost us millions to implement AV.
This is bullshit. All it takes is a pencil capable of marking 1,2,3 rather than a 'X' on the ballot paper. At most it'll use up a few more pencils in polling stations.

Apart from the cost of the referendum itself (which is obviously unavoidable if we are going to change our voting system), AV will not require any further additional expense to count the votes. The electronic counting machines the No Campaign have been going on about do not exist either - AV votes are hand-counted in Australia and they will almost certainly be hand-counted here. Voting reform taking money away from hospitals and schools is, quite frankly, a scare-mongering fabrication.

AV is too confusing!
Only if you are a fucking idiot, or haven't actually had it explained to you.

Few people would honestly be confused by AV if they took the time to watch this video. It explains it quite simply with an analogy about going to the pub. Cheers!

Under First Past The Post someone can get elected when over 50% of the voters didn't actually want them elected.

Under AV, an MP will need at least 50% of the voters to vote for them. If they get more than 50%, they are elected, straight-away. If they do not have 50% support, only then do people's preferences come into play.

Knowing people's preferences then eliminates the chances of politicians being elected by a minority of voters.
Common sense, no?

AV Will let the extremist parties in!
No it won't. That's why the likes of the BNP are actually campaigning for a NO vote. Actually, extremist parties have a lot more chance of being elected by FPTP than they do by AV.

Under FPTP, MPs can be elected to Westminster with support from less than 1 in every 3 voters. That's why there was a perceived danger in the 2010 election of the BNP scraping an MP in - they only needed 30% of the vote in a constituency.

Under AV, the BNP and other extremists have no real chance of ever having an MP elected, as they will need the backing of more than 50% of voters. Unless they move their politics towards the centre-ground of opinion, this is never going to happen.

AV is unpopular - only 3 countries use it!
It is true that only Three countries use AV for elections to their national parliament at present. This seems to be brought out quite a lot to justify why it must therefore be an unpopular, bad system.

However, firstly consider how hard it is to get an existing government to commit to a referendum to change an electoral system.  As they got voted in on the existing system, why the hell would they wish to change it?!! Turkey's don't tend to vote for Christmas! We've only got a referendum today because it was a carrot dangled in front of the Lib Dems to convince them to join the coalition, not because the largest party actually wanted change.

Therefore, how many more countries might chose to move over to a fairer system where their vote counts more, if their politicians actually gave them the chance to?

Another point to make is that AV is actually used quite regularly worldwide and even in the UK already - just not necessarily for national parliamentary elections. The Conservative and Labour party even use it to elect their own leaders. And Hawaii is among many US states/cities that has recently adopted AV for it's elections. Fancy that!

AV means some people get more than one vote!
No, For crying out loud, it doesn't. You still have one person, one vote - but with multiple preferences, in case no-one gets 50% in the first round.

If your first choice gets knocked out, your vote becomes whatever your 2nd preference was. It's not a 2nd vote - it's the same single vote, in another round of counting, worth the same as anyone else's.

Compare that to FPTP, where thousands of people effectively have a vote that doesn't count at all, because their seat is safe for the incumbent party, despite many not even having a simple majority.

AV will result in more hung parliaments than FPTP.
Umm, 2010? Wasn't that a hung parliament? Wasn't that FPTP?

The fact is, the more the vote gets split between more than two parties, the more likely we are to have some form of coalition or hung parliament, irrespective of which voting system is used.

For example: Canada used FPTP and always has hung parliaments. Australia on the other hand uses AV and has had 1 hung parliament from the last 38 elections. Hung parliaments can occur regardless of the voting system used. At least under AV the elected representatives will better represent their electors.

And why all the negativity towards hung parliaments and coalition governments anyway? Countries like Germany get along quite fine with them and have done for decades. We only have angst about it last year because we haven't had one for ages. We'll get used to it.

FPTP works fine. Why change something that isn't broken?
Because it is broken. In today's political world we need a system that reflects a modern, multi-party system.

FPTP works fine in a two-party system - as mentioned in the video link above in the 1950s, 90% of votes were for Conservative or Labour, so MPs were always elected by a majority in their constituencies, and as such had a popular mandate.

These days, with so many other parties gaining sizeable voting percentages in each constituency, MPs are often elected under FPTP when the majority of their constituency didn't want them. ⅔ of MPs elected in 2010 did so with the support of less than half of the voters in their constituency.

Under AV, even if it's a 2nd or 3rd preference, at least the MP elected will have done so with a mandate by voters who actually chose them.

So, that's my take on how some of the negative stuff you've heard is basically a load of old cock. So what's stopping you voting yes then?

This is an important day for British politics as if the NO vote wins today, the chances of another reform of our voting system is unlikely to come up again for decades, if at all. AV ain't perfect, but it's better than what we've got.

So I urge you to get off your arse and vote YES TO AV today.

Even if that does make me a woolly liberal.

*I refer you back to my earlier diatribe against the tuition fee protests - entitled "Pay Your Fees, Crusties!". I also quite admire Hitler, but for all the right reasons, obviously. Like the Autobahns and that.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I've Let Myself Down with my Liberal Views

It's been almost six months since I updated my Rubbish Blog. This has been for many reasons, including that it's a very busy period at work for me, plus I've been focusing more on my football blog, and my real life.

Plus I havn't really had much to say, so didn't want to bother you lovely people with a load of old tripe.

However, I've been motivated to write a new entry by a shameful revelation about myself that I've been alerted to by an astute member of the public on an internet forum -

I have let myself down big time with my liberal views.

Now I have been publically shamed, in an effort to cleanse myself of this horrid liberalism and tolerance, I wish to replicate here for all to see my shameful comments extolling the virtues of free speech, and the resultant chastising I got for daring to air them.

Now, to give you some background, this revelation came on a football forum (Don't worry you non-football people, there is nothing about football itself in this entry).

The basic jist is that there is this one guy on the forum that is often on the wind-up - let's call him 'NaughtyMan'.

For reasons known only to himself, NaughtyMan decided to have Osama bin Laden as his forum avatar with RIP written beneath it. Yeah, I know - what an idiot. I wasn't defending his actions, just his right to do so. Clearly NaughtyMan was just on the wind-up and it's not even very funny, for all it's controversial nature*.

This annoyed someone - let's call him 'OffendedMan' - enough to post a thread demanding NaughtyMan be banned from the site. I said he was over-reacting and backed up my liberal views with the old 'it's a free country' chestnut (I know, what a cliché!).

This really got up the nostrils of a third fellow - who we'll call 'VeryOffendedMan' - and leads to the resultant exchange below.

« Thread Started Yesterday at 08:07am by OffendedMan »
Title: "NaughtyMan, get the twat off here"
As there is no nob head section, Im posting this here.

NaughtyMan is a prat at the best of times, but having his picture of Osama Bin Laden, with r.i.p written underneath, is bang out if order. NaughtyMan may think Bin Laden was some sort of circus, but he was responsible for thousands of deaths, including 52 in our own capital city.

Get him off here, this is a step to far.

« Reply Yesterday at 08:16am by FantasticMrOx » Calm down dear. He can put whatever he likes as his avatar. That's what living in a free country is all about.

« Reply Yesterday at 08:29am by OffendedMan » Yeah its a free country, but where do you draw the line. Personally I don't think saying Bin Laden should rest in peace is acceptable. I think its disgusting
« Reply Yesterday at 08:41am by FantasticMrOx » I think you are entitled to be disgusted. No more than that.

« Reply Yesterday at 5:17pm by VeryOffendedMan »
FMO – whilst your blog is a good ‘un, I fear that you have let yourself down big time with your liberal views.

Having a view is one thing – to this extent and claiming free speech - quite another.
Whilst one would never renounce the right of free speech, “that's what living in a free country is all about” your post takes this meaning to a whole new dimension.

Ultimately, this is an OUFC forum. If someone has extreme sympathy or extreme anger – fine. It is just that here is not the place. Doing a blog does not make you almighty.

All you are doing in making such crass statements is that you reserve the right of free speech wherever.

Well pal, so do I. But I take a great fucking deal of umbrage for the reason that I knew at least two killed in 9/11 – colleagues, no less.

And for right or for wrong, before you spout some more diatribe, your views – whatever they are – let them rest – or at least leave them off a football forum.

All this does is place you into the same bracket as NaughtyMan, an ignoramus whose view is always right, 100% of the time, no exceptions.

« Reply Today at 8:14am by FantasticMrOx »

I'm sorry that I've let myself down with my liberal views. I'll try to be a bit more conservative and reactionary in future. It's my own fault I know - I'm clearly not reading the daily mail enough.

I'll try a little harder from now on to be disgusted and outraged by people having different views than me, and wherever possible i'll censure people for their liberal views.

VeryOffendedMan, pal (I'm glad we are pals, by the way) - seriously though, I know you told me this wasn't the place to air an opinion in answer to a non-football post because it's a football forum - I just want a right of reply, liberal ignoramus that I am.

I am not always right, 100% of the time, and nor do I think I am. Your comment that I am an ignoramus who believes otherwise is, ironically, rather a crass one (And I might be wrong on this point).

I do actually reserve the right to change an opinion based on new evidence, and I reserve the right to admit being wrong about something and retracting a previously-held view without giving my reasons.

I was perhaps too quick to jump on OffendedMan for requesting someone's banning. I have this natural aversion to the idea of banning people's right to be in a debate you see - must be that liberalness that so afflicts me.

But I see now that he did have a right to be upset about it - and to tell people he was upset about it. Then again, I had a right to tell him he was over-reacting too. It's a never-ending circle or agreeableness and acceptance, this liberalism, innit? I can see why it's so terribly annoying to the illiberal!

On this point, I believe (and hey - I might be wrong you know!) you are letting your own sensitivities to the particular issue cloud your judgement by the tone of your response.

It's my contention that NaughtyMan can write what the hell he likes on this forum, and if you don't like it you have the right to either ignore it or respond - or even complain about it like OffendedMan did, or even complain about the percieved pettiness of his complaining, like I did. Or even call me an ignoramus and tell me I have no right to air my own views, like you did.

And although you also have a right to tell me I shouldn't respond to your views, I have a right to take umbridge to your comment that, to paraphrase, went like this:

"Hey pal, I'm allowed to call you an ignoramus, but don't you dare come back at me and call me one because this should be the end of the debate now because it's a football forum."

And by the way, what does me having a blog have to do with this, anyway? Do you think I wouldn't be prone to let myself down with my liberal views if I didn't have a blog?

Oh by the way, please don't respond to this. It's a football forum.

Plus I am ALMIGHTY. ;o)

Ha ha, do you see what I did there? I'm not really ashamed of my liberal views, I'm using this guy's ammunition against him! I'm very clever. And almighty!

For what it's worth, I should point out that I'm publishing this on my blog because it was an interesting and funny exchange more than anything else - I do actually think this guy had a point and it often takes someone to say "Hey, hang on a minute, I know someone who died/was affected by x or y and that's out of order" before you realise how insensitive liberal views of freedom of speech can actually be.

Would I have told OffendedMan to calm down if he'd said his mum had died at the hands al-Qaeda?

Probably not - and there lies a shameful inconsistency.

In the interest of fair play - this is VeryOffendedMan's subsequent response to mine above, which I think is brilliant:

« Reply Today at 10:17pm by VeryOffendedMan »
Dear Almighty FMO

 Thank you for your reply and for reminding me of your right to it. I stand forcibly reprimanded.
 My rant was perhaps unfairly directed at you, whereas perhaps it should have been more a rant at NaughtyMan directly and his gross insensitivity. I do think, however, that you have slightly misinterpreted my post.

 My point to you was that your calling this “an over-reaction and that some people need to learn not to get offended so easily” places you into the same bracket as NaughtyMan. Upon reflection, this is perhaps rather unfair as from your blog and posts that I have read to date, you do not tick the boxes required to reach the esteemed and consistent levels of being a tosser that NaughtyMan has made into a unique and extraordinary art form. My post could have been better worded in this respect, so my apologies nevertheless if this was not clear.
 The gist of my post was that by effectively endorsing rather than denouncing NaughtyMan’s avatar is crass in the extreme. Free speech is one thing sure, but anyone who cannot see the gross insensitivity of having Osama Bin Laden as their avatar will need to learn pretty damn quickly that abuse is going to come their way.

 You probably have a valid point when you say that I am letting my own sensitivities to the particular issue cloud my judgement by the tone of my response. But the problem, pal, is that when individuals have been directly affected by such an incident, then these individuals are going to get upset, which I think you’ll agree, it pretty much fair dinkum.
 Sure, nobody was to know of this link, but does that make it any less insensitive? I think not.
 Please forward me your address and I’ll sign you up for a subscription to the Daily Mail ;o)
 Your pal, VeryOffendedMan

Great response, wasn't it?

Must admit, I'd probably have been a tad more sarcastic back myself, so perhaps he's a better man than me. Although clearly not as ALMIGHTY!

We'll probably become great pals, now, you know.

*For what it's worth, I wonder if it would have been deemed acceptable to those offended if NaughtyMan had instead put up a picture of bin Laden's dead body and written "USA! USA!" underneath it? Because that would have offended me. I'm not a fan of gloating, even if it is at the death of a murderer.

The fact was though, NaughtyMan didn't wish to parody the unpleasant (to these liberal eyes at least) scenes in Washington of people celebrating the death of a man - he just wanted to be a controversial cock.

There is a moral in there somewhere.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Keep To the Left!

I often get stopped in the street and recognised, and I'm always asked the same thing.

"Hey, you're that Fantastic Mr Ox chap aren't you?"
"Yes, Yes I am. would you like an autograph?"
"Oh, yes please! But can you first answer me a question - What is your blog actually about?"

Well, to stop the man in the street from needing to ask me this question again, I will tell you now.

Fantastic Mr Ox's Rubbish Blog is a blog about life itself. My life, in particular.
It's about things I see, things that interest me, things that annoy me, things that bore me, things that probably bore you. It's about things.

Sometimes, my life feels quite monotonous and I struggle to write about anything of interest as very few things have interested me, or indeed happened to me. Sometimes, I notice a thing happening, and think "That'll be brilliant to put in the blog!" but when I get down to write it, realise that there is very little to say about that thing and it's probably not worth the time writing it down.

One such incident occurred yesterday evening as I was walking twixt mainline train and tube at St Pancras station, via the underground walkway that links the two.

There was a man walking ahead of me on the left hand side of the barrier who all of a sudden threw a massive wobbly. The reason for this was that someone was walking in the opposite direction to him, and was not keeping to the left.

Instead of adjusting his walk to avoid a collision as any normal human being would do though, he went out of his way to walk into the man coming towards him, shouting "Keep to the left! Keep to the Left!! Keep to the Left!"

As if this wasn't enough, he brandished an umbrella and used it to whack the man on his back as he passed him, adding to the verbal assault with "We Keep to the left in this country, you bastards!"

I burst into laughter myself, but most of the other commuters saw the incident for the true horror it was- the actions of a man with a mental problem. There was another lady about to also receive a poke with his umbrella who hadn't kept to the left, but very quickly took evasive action and ducked under the barrier out of the enraged idiot's way.

He looked around heartily chuffed at having made his point. He even gave me a little "Tsk, people eh?" flick of the head when he noticed me looking at him. It was quite unnerving as I didn't wish to engage with this lunatic, but I did manage to avoid a jab of his umbrella and I guess the whole escapade made me more likely to keep to the left if I'm ever down there again.

I've summarised the events in this accurate, to scale picture. Double-click on it for all it's glory.

And that's all there is to that story really. It really happened and ended up being rather uneventful after the initial umbrella-smacking. The nutter walked calmly off. The man attacked shook his head and also walked off, and that was that. Sorry if you were expecting it to be the start of a mad umbrella-rampage.

You'd be amazed how many 'drafts' I've got lurking in the background of this blog unpublished; half-heartedly abandoned for being shit or not striking the right cord. Amazed more so perhaps, considering some of the utter dross I have published.

Like this one.