Friday, February 29, 2008


Mobile phones and the internet are wonderful inventions, fellow denizens of the blogosphere.

This evening, at an impromptu post-work pub-based social gathering, I used the wonderful Any Question Answered service to settle a debate.

Safe in the knowledge that I was right, I announced that the woman who sang the oft-imitated, never-bettered advertisement for ladies' sanitary wear Bodyform was the same woman who voiced Susie, the spoilt brat from the Trio adverts.

Frankly, my companions were disparaging in their assessment of my claim. Even after hearing my a capella versions of BOTH tracks.

And so, I sent a text to the magical number 63336, worded as follows: "Is the woman who sang the Bodyform advert the same woman who sang the Trio advert?"

Within minutes, I received my answer: "The woman who roared 'Whoa, Bodyform, Bodyform for you', was Stevie Vann Lange. She also voiced Susie in the Trio adverts. She now works as a vocal coach."

I'm guessing that Any Question Answered is just a couple of guys with Google, but hey, their service works.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Tonight I am listening to Ray Charles and gospel music and eating lollipops.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

For Sale

There comes a time in every man's life when it's time to sell up and move on, starting afresh elsewhere.

It's not everyone who faces the prospect of selling a funfair, ranch and and mansion simply to pay the bills though.

Michael Jackson at 50 is a strange thought, and it must be a stranger thought for the man himself, given that he's spent more than half of those years trying to recapture a childhood that never existed in the first place.

As a pop icon, his star waned a long time ago, but he still commands the headlines and public imagination like no-one else on Earth.

I wonder how many buyers will come forward looking to snap up Neverland on the cheap? The ranch will be forever tainted by those allegations, although the place is bound to have potential as a tourist trap for fans of the King of Pop.

Though his personal life is undoubtedly the most fascinating aspect of his life, an interesting question mark also hangs over his professional life.

Will he ever release new material? According to Wikipedia, Jacko has been recording new music in Ireland.

Now, I'm no expert on the workings of the soul pop recording industry, but I'm willing to speculate that it doesn't have its heart in downtown Cork. For a true resurgence, Jackson should get Quincy Jones back on board, ditch the wishy-washy ballads and get some real funk back in the music.

Oh, and invest in a new chimpanzee.

(If anyone would like to read a previous Michael Jackson post I wrote, pop on over to Celebrity Litigation.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Highly Charged

Ladies and Gentleman, and those of you who are neither, it seems that an English grandmother is staking a claim to be the first real-life member of the Heroes team to turn up here in Little Britain.

Sixty-year-old Mavis Price of Telford, Shropshire, claims she only has to touch an electrical appliance to break it.

Apparently, Mavis' explosive problem is caused by her body generating too much static electricity.

Understandably, she's a bit perturbed at this affliction, but I can't help feeling that she's missing an incredible employment opportunity.

Maybe the possibility of being a circus "freak" doesn't appeal too much to Granny Mavis, and that's to be accepted.

But just think how much her powers would be worth in a military capacity, to housebreakers or terrorists - she could take out vehicles, CCTV cameras, computers, tracking systems and the like just by touching them. Burglar alarms could be rendered useless just by having Mavis wave her electrohands in their general vicinity.

Admittedly, a robust lady in her 60s isn't the easiest addition to the master criminal's toolbag, but the advantages are bound to outweigh the difficulties.

Let's get her an ancient samurai sword, a natty costume and film her in action - sounds like a great show to me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sore One

The injury sustained by Eduardo as a result of Martin Taylor's flying tackle in Saturday's Birmingham v Arsenal match is amongst the worst I've ever seen in all my years of watching football.

Having seen the incident in slow motion on Match Of The Day, I don't think the tackle was intentionally malicious - Taylor was simply beaten by a much faster, much more skilfull player.

I broke a fellow youngster's ankle with a tackle when I was only 10 or 11, and it's one of the most sickening feelings in the world, knowing that your own clumsiness or overzealous tackling has screwed up someone's leg for at least a couple of months.

Thankfully, the injury I inflicted on my opponent wasn't as serious as that picked up by Eduardo, whose leg is broken in three places and who will now miss the rest of the season and the European Championships.

He is, however, lucky that he doesn't play in the Scottish pub leagues - he'd have been called a poof and told to run it off.

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Paul Gascoigne

Alastair has posted on the sorry tale of Paul Gascoigne, who was sectioned under the mental health act yesterday, and my post here is a re-hash and embellishment on a comment I made on that post.

Aside from Brian Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne is the most talented player I’ve ever had the pleasure to see in a Rangers shirt. On his day and at the top of his game, he was simply unplayable, and I was fortunate enough to have a pitch-side seat the day he single-handedly destroyed Aberdeen at Ibrox to win the Premier League in 1996.

Unfortunately, he is also one of the most unstable, misguided, naive and easily-led individuals ever to have been sucked into the world of professional football. Hangers-on like Mel Stein, Jimmy Gardner and even fellow celebrities like Chris Evans and Danny Baker were happy to ride Gascoigne’s coat-tails whilst the gravy train was rattling on at a fair pace, but I doubt many will be there to pick up the pieces now.

Mad? Frequently. Bad? Occasionally. Sad? As his life has spiralled downwards in tandem with his prodigious abilities, most definitely.

Had his career blossomed ten years later than it did, Gascoigne would probably have been the world's first £100,000-a-week player, and a superstar on a par with David Beckham. Beckham, talented though he is, doesn't bear comparison with Gascoigne. But Beckham is more able to handle the fame and its associated pressures, and has made far more of his less bountiful gifts.

Gascoigne may have enjoyed his greatest successes and most stable years of his career whilst at Rangers, but the nine-in-a-row dressing room was not the ideal place for an alocholic to spend the peak years of his profession. Alongside fellow party lovers Ally McCoist, Ian Durrant and Andy Goram, Gascoigne was famously part of the "dressing room from hell", not renowned for its sobriety and quiet living. Infamously, all of those players sat out the 1998 World Cup, despite all easily being amongst the most talented players in their respective countries.

Whilst Gascoigne may have been a forerunner of today’s Beckham and Rooney hysteria, unlike Beckham he seemed patently unsuited to life under that kind of media microscope, and unfortunately has been paying the price of that fame since he was only a boy. I, for one, hope he has a speedy and full recovery.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Changing Times

Just as all good things must come to an end, so must all semi-good things.

After a fortnight away from the office, I have returned, the bandages removed from my toes and my butchered feet confined within shoes for the first time since they were sliced and diced by the surgeon's skilled hands.

Undertaking the morning commute for the first time in two weeks meant getting up at 6.15am.
I've said it before, but 6.15am is an ungodly hour to be up and about, even for those of us who don't believe in God.

I mean, Sweet Jesus (hmmm, I should probably rethink my choice of exclamations if I don't believe in God), why do we force ourselves to get up and commute to work when it's still dark?
Wouldn't life be so much easier if we just had a four-hour working day? No early morning or early evening travelling, no waking up long before the cocks have crowed, and no more forcing ourselves to stay awake at our desks.

A four-hour working day without a break. 11am until 3pm. Batter through the work in the time it should really take and be home or in the pub by 5pm.

Well, when I'm Supreme Uber-Leader and Commander of All Earth, that'll be the new rule. Prepare yourselves.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Been and Gone

The 20,000th visitor, predictably, was someone who arrived at 3.55am seeking pictures of Evangeline Lilly.

So, if you were that student (lecturer?) from St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada who was magic number 20,000, let me know and you can claim your prize.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Twenty-thousand People Can't Be Wrong

If the number of visitors dropping by at this humble and far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb keeps up at its usual pace, the 20,000th visitor will cross the threshold either today or tomorrow.

Frankly, I'm astonished that there have been 20,000 individual visits to this site in 18 months. I know that lots of those visits have been as a result of searching for various things on the internet - quite often pictures of Uluru, Evangeline Lilly and Kylie Minogue, all of which have featured in my barely-literate rants at least once.

Others come seeking unwholesome things involving jocks, jockstraps and other jock-related activities.

But a few hardy souls seem to return fairly often, presumably to read the nonsense spouted on these pages.

With the big 20k moving closer, I'd like to thank all of those who visit daily, weekly, or less often, and those who find my ramblings interesting, entertaining or infuriating enough to comment.

Haste ye back.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Another weekend has passed, and I'm now into my last few days of home-based working.

Both big toes are healing well, thanks to (or despite) my own cack-handed attempts at applying my own dressings.

Having been out of the office for the best part of a fortnight, I may find it difficult returning to a real 9-5 routine.

Take yesterday for example: instead of heading to bed early, I decided to watch In The Name Of The Father for the first time, because you can never get enough of Daniel Day-Lewis shouting in a Belfast accent.

Which means that I finally hit the sack at around 1am. And I got up around 9am - well I didn't get up, I just switched on the laptop and worked from the comfort of my pit.

So how will I cope with having to rise at 6.15am, and not being able to work in bed? How will I operate without my mid-afternoon Neighbours break?

I want to retire.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

He's Got Fashion

Quite aside from the pain and discomfort my double toenailectomy is causing me, and the enforced absence of work that has come in its wake, the operation has seen me commit some heinous crimes against fashion.

Whilst I am no slave to fashion, I'm usually fairly well turned out and groomed. But being in a situation where I can't put shoes on means that I'm currently waging a one-man war on sartorial elegance.

For lounging about the house, I've been going barefoot, save for the arresting bandages that cover both my big toes. But on my rare forays beyond the confines of Dungroanin', I need something sturdy underfoot.

I'm not averse to wearing sandals whilst roaming the beaches of some Mediterranean, Caribbean or Pacific paradise, but I'm not renowned for wearing them on Scottish soil. I'm even less well known for strutting around the streets of Montrose or Aberdeen whilst wearing a pair of sandals.

There's good reason for this: (sandals + Scotland) x February = bloody cold toes.

However, needs must, and on my expeditions to the nurse to have my dressings changed, I've slipped into a pair of sandals left over from my honeymoon almost two years ago.

But, on the occasions since the operation that Mrs Wife and I have sought entertainment outwith the homestead, I've decided to spare the residents of Aberdeen the sight of my hobbit feet. Unfortunately, as I've already noted, I can't yet fit shoes on my feet.

I can, however, slip a loose pair of thermal socks over them.

And so, I've been seen in public on two separate occasions wearing black thermal socks and grey sandals. At the same time.

I can only hope that no-one I know has seen me commit such an offence. This fashion disaster has been accentuated by the fact that today marked the first day in a week in which I have shaved.

As I have been excused attendance at the office over the past week, I've been rather lax in my face-scraping duties, and so, for the first time since I started shaving half a lifetime ago, I've had a six-day beard.

I'd like to say that I looked like John Lennon circa 1969 or Jim Morrison in 1971, but sadly, even after almost a whole razor-free week, I looked more like a teenager trying to grow a beard for the first time in a lame attempt to get served at the local off licence.

So, if anyone is in the Aberdeen or Montrose areas over the next few days and sees a limping man wearing black socks and sandals and scratching at a patchy beard, don't be alarmed. Just be sympathetic.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Keep The Home Fires Burning

Whilst I am recuperating from my double toenailectomy, my employer has thoughtfully given me a laptop to work from home.

Aside from scuppering any plans I may have had for trawling through the vast backlog of DVDs I have to watch here at Dungroanin', this development has shown me the perils of home working for the first time.

Firstly, just actually starting work can be a difficult task requiring self discipline and commitment. There's no rush to get out of bed and ensure that the morning commute starts on time. There's no boss waiting at the door to ensure that I'm ready for work at 8am sharp, and no-one watching how long lunch lasts.

But besides those initial time-keeping hindrances, there are just so many distractions when working from home. Notwithstanding the vast CD and DVD collections here at the homestead, and the lowest common denominator fare offered by satellite TV, I find myself constantly distracted by the ready availability of food in the kitchen, and the need to put on the washing/switch on the dishwasher/make the bed/have a shower. (If you're reading this Mrs Wife, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Nonetheless, I have managed to power through a fair amount of work during the first three days of my enforced absence from the coalface. I'm hoping to be back at work before I go completely stir crazy - or have the doctor decree that that I shouldn't be working at all and suggest instead that I spend a week watching Thundercats DVDs on the couch.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ad-vanced Warfare

Mike, a friend of mine so good that he employed both myself and Eric at the same time, sent me this link to's "If Banner Ads Were Forced To Tell The Truth" competition.

And, is is the way of useless shite on the worldwide interweb, it got me thinking.

How do these sites stay afloat? Surely there can't be that many idiots walking this little blue planet?

But, after a moment's thought, the question kinda got flipped around - "Why aren't there more sites fleecing gullible mugs?"

As I was replying to Mike's email, an advert at the top of my Hotmail window flashed up urging me to claim my free £10 whilst playing Deal or No Deal for £405,000 - a jackpot which rose by a penny every second.

Surely anyone with half a brain can realise that:

1) Companies do not achieve success through giving everyone on the internet free tenners.

2) Companies do not achieve success through giving away £405,000 to idiots on the internet.

3) A jackpot that rose by a penny EVERY SECOND would rise by £1 every 100 seconds, or 60p a minute. 60p a minute = £3.60 an hour = £86.40 a day = £604.80 a week. A jackpot rising by more than £600 a week, in a game people pay for free. Does anyone see any potential problems with that? Such as the source of this wonderful bounty?

And yet, I have absolutely no doubt that there are idiots out there clicking the advert every single second in the hope of brightening their weekend to the tune of four hundred grand.

Presumably, to feature within an advert within Hotmail, the company behind the advert can't be short of a bob or two, and must be (comparitively) legitimate.

But if you're stupid enough to click on a link that says "Free Britney Sex Tape" - well, you deserve the spyware, don't you?

I think I should go and take some painkillers for my toes now.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Top Of The Hops

Fear not, dear readers, for once again I have survived surgery.

Where once I had mangled toe nails, I now have bleeding stumps.

Today's surgeon seemed more focussed than the one who previously fixed my left foot, and he went about his duties with gusto.

As before, the worst part was the anaesthetic injection, which was a tad painful, but from then on, the procedure passed with barely a hitch. In fact, it made for interesting viewing from my vantage point six feet away, and the surgeon saw fit to remark on the depth to which my hobbit nails had dug themselves.

(He also asked if I was a dancer, which wasn't quite so welcome.)

So now I find myself alone in Dungroanin', save for Pepper the rabbit, who seems bemused by my presence in the house during the day, and a little annoyed that she is not allowed out of her cage. But hey, I can't be chasing rabbits, not in my condition.

I know, fellow denizens of the blogosphere, that you will be keen to see the surgeon's handiwork. And so, through the miracles of mobile camera phones, here is the evidence you so crave:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Rage Against The Machine

As a small update to the post below, it seems that my rant against the Touch'n'Fresh advert has been read by at least three people within SC Johnson (a family company).

Shortly after I posted my diatribe, someone arrived at this humble outpost of the worldwide interweb having searched for SC Johnson on Google.

Then, having been directed to my outburst on the ludicrousness of the advert, this person emailed it to at least two other people. All of these people looked at my post from internet accounts registered in Wisconsin. And one of the IP addresses traced back to SC Johnson.

So, I'm guessing that SC Johnson has an office, perhaps a headquarters, in Wisconsin. And that at least three of its employees have read my rant.

Which begs the question - have I done enough to get the advert pulled from television?

Let's hope so.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Not So Fresh

Maybe it's symptomatic of the fact that I'm prematurely turning into a Grumpy Old Man, but recently, I've found myself arguing with the television.

Well, not so much arguing. Basically, something will happen or be said on screen that I don't agree with, and I will loudly and vociferously state my opinion as to why this doesn't agree with my own perfectly-formed world view.

It doesn't matter what the programme is - the news, soap operas, even kids' TV. But recently, I've been most irritated by the advertisement for Glade Touch'n'Fresh, a handy bathroom-based air freshener for those days when opening the window isn't enough to dispel those bowel-based aromas.

The whole advert, from start to finish, irritates me. I urge you to watch it before reading the rant below, so you can understand my fury.

Watched it? OK, let the critique begin:

1) I know we live in a multi-cultural society, but I would imagine the number of caucasian mothers who give birth to oriental children is still relatively small. But I'm willing to let this one slide as part of my vision of a world untroubled by the colour of someone's skin.

2) The little oriental boy is a voice-thrower of world-class standard. He manages to speak in such a way that his mouth movements bear no relation to the words he's speaking. Hey SC Johnson (a family company), if you can't even be arsed to film new adverts for this country, don't bother dubbing them badly then showing them over here.

3) Where does the little oriental boy find a piece of paper and pen? And instead of drawing a crude picture of the empty air freshener container, why doesn't he just tell his mum that the air freshener is empty? Does he draw the picture whilst sitting on the pan, or does he use the hard surface offered by the floor? Does he then waddle across the room, pants and trousers around his ankles, to post the magically-procured drawing underneath the door? Then waddle back in the same fashion before his mother returns with the refill? If he's gone all that way, why not just open the door and hand her the piece of paper (or just say "Where do you keep the air freshener?)

You see - I'm practically incandescent with rage already, just from a 21-second advert for a product I'll never buy.

I need to go and lie down.