Wednesday, 30 December 2009

One of the great mysteries of 2009 has been solved

Throughout 2009 I have been asking myself ‘Where are the Tory policies?’
Well today the answer was revealed (much as I suspected) – they don’t have any.

They want you to invent them, and if things go wrong, then you can also get the blame.
They are offering a £1 million prize from tax-payers money for the best web design for a site that will enable all of us to contribute to their policy creation.

Wow!!! - Wiki policies.
Welcome to the new age of Wiki politics.

Well, for a start – how about these suggestions:

1. Nationalize all public utilities, especially the railways – and run them properly
2. Make higher education free
3. Actually have joined up thinking in the NHS and stop wasting so much money on stupid management consultants
Feel free to add you own …

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Cracker facts for nerds

The Christmas cracker was invented by Tom Smith in 1847

Scientists at the University of Surrey have come up with a formula for the perfect way to pull a Christmas cracker:
(It involves a complex equation that looks mind-boggling)
P = the ‘probability’ - between 1 where you have no chance of winning and 10 for certainty that you will win the pull…
J = the ‘jerk factor’ - The ratio of how much you are pulling compared to your opponent. This ranges between 1 where you are keeping dead still - where as your opponent is doing all the active pulling, through to 10, the reverse situation, when you are tugging hard.
T = the ‘twist factor’ - This again ranges between 1 and 10. 1 means you are not twisting your end of the cracker away from the cracker body, and 10 is for the extreme situation when you twist your end to be right angles to the body of the cracker.
Ny and No = the total number of times you and your opponent respectively have won when pulling crackers.
S = the ‘stare factor’- It takes into account how good you are in a psychological battle with your opponent. Rate yourself from 0 if you are useless to 10 if you would always be able to stare them out!
A = the number of units of alcohol you have drunk compared to your opponent. - If you have drunk less or the same you can set A to 0.
Yawn.........This is all too complicated – just pull it

Have a great Christmas!

Sprouts – love them or hate them?

I will be cooking sprouts tomorrow. Christmas is the only day of the year that I have a sprout – yes just the one. I don’t like them, but it is traditional to have sprouts with the Christmas dinner isn’t it?

Apparently this festive delicacy is experiencing a surge in popularity.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says that the secret is not to cook them for too long.
Xanthe Clay says smother them in butter – no thanks, that sounds horrid.
The bad weather has caused anxiety that there will be a shortage of the green beasts, but no such luck in Shropshire – we have abundance in the shops.
So, to all you sprout lovers out there enjoy, and to those of you who don’t like them, you have my sympathy and understanding.

A very merry Christmas to one and all

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Mandelson screws students for Christmas

This one has been slipped in under the Christmas radar.
£533 million will be cut from the higher education budget. Universities that exceeded their student quotas will have to pay back £3, 700 per excess student. There is talk of larger classes and two year fast-track degrees. These intensive degrees will be a nightmare for students who have to work part-time to pay for their degrees.
All this is on top of the prospect of higher tuition fees.
The Tories have said they will increase the number of university places by 10,000 – but no mention of how this will be paid for (or any sign of policies on anything for that matter).

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


This is the season to be jolly and I expect you will all be having a drink or five, despite the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson’s campaign against the evils of drink.
If you have a bit too much you will soon know about it the next day: headache, nausea, dizziness, feeling weird etc – feel free to add to the list.
According to regular imbibers, the darker drinks such as red wine, whiskey and Bourbon cause worse hangovers than clear fluids such as vodka and champers.

Well, a research project carried out by Brown University in Rhode Island has now proved it scientifically – it is all down to the ‘congeners’.
Bet you are glad you know that now.

If you don’t want to feel awful - stick to water and fruit juice.

Here is a little ditty on the subject of alcohol fuelled festivities:

I wish I could drink like a lady
I can only drink one at the most
Two and I’m under the table
Three and I’m under the host

Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas number one

Which is your favourite Christmas number one hit?

What do you think about this year’s winner, Killing in the name by Rage Against The Machine?

It is radically different. You'll either love it or hate it. It is not very Christmassy, but well done to everyone who made this happen, and raised money for Shelter in the process.
I think people are sick of Simon Cowell trotting out the same mushy ballads and monopolizing the music scene especially at Christmas time. RATM gives a two-fingered salute to Cowell - and about time too.
I feel sorry for poor Joe, he seems a genuinely nice lad, and has been inadvertently caught up in the protest.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Something for the creative writers

I know a lot of you write copious quantities of short stories. If you have something with a Christmas theme then why not have a go at The One Show Christmas story competition.
Last term we did flash fiction, and this story must be no longer than 200 words. Unfortunately the deadline is noon on Monday (sorry – I only heard about it yesterday).
The lucky winner will have their story read out on the show by Bernard Cribbins. He is looking for something to ‘make him laugh and keep him captivated’.

So, fellow writers, if you have something suitable send it in - the link is below.
Good Luck!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Another Christmas treat for you all to enjoy

Carol Ann Duffy does a magnificent summary of the year in this poem.

The Twelve Days of Christmas 2009


a buzzard on a branch.

In Afghanistan, no partridge, pear tree;

but my true love sent to me a card from home.

I sat alone,

crouched in yellow dust,

and traced the grins of my kids

with my thumb. Somewhere down the line,

for another father, husband,

brother, son, a bullet

with his name on.


that Shakespeare loved –

turr turr, turr turr –

endangered now

by herbicide,

the chopping down

of where they hide –

turr turr, turr turr –

hawthorn thickets,

hedgerows, woodland.

Summer's music

fainter, farther…

the spreading drought

of the Sahara.


un, deux, trois –

do not know

that French they are.

Three Welsh lambs –

un, dau, tri –

do not know that Welsh they baa.

Newborn babies –

one, two, three –

only know

you human be.

Only know

you human be.


The Condor calls from the USA.

The Wood Stork calls from its wetlands.

The Albatross calls from the sea,

on the fourth day of Christmas.

The Yellow-eared Parrot is calling.

The Kakapo calls from NZ. The Blue-throated Macaw is calling.

The Little Tern calls from Japan, calls

my true love sent to me.

The Corncrake is calling; the Osprey.

The Baikal Teal calls from Korea.

The Cuckoo is calling from England,

four calling birds.


bankers' profits fired in greed.

The second ring outshone the sun,

fuelled by carbon, doused by none.

Ring three was black gold, O for oil –

a serpent swallowing its tail.

The fourth ring was Celebrity;

Fool's Gold, winking on TV.

Ring five, religion's halo, slipped –

a blind for eyes or gag for lips.

With these five gold rings they you wed,

then slip them off when you are dead.

With these five go-o-o-old rings.


This goose laid Barack Obama.

I bought a magic goose from a friendly fellow.

This goose laid Fabio Capello.

I bought a magic goose from a maiden (comely).

This goose laid Joanna Lumley.

I bought a magic goose from a busker (poor).

This goose laid Anish Kapoor.

I bought a magic goose from a bargain bin, it

was the goose laid Alan Bennett.

I bought a poisoned goose from a crook (sick, whiffing).

This foul goose laid Nick Griffin.


of a broken heart, one half.

The Mersey Swans, flying

for Hillsborough, wings of justice.

Two, married and mute on the Thames,

watching The Wave.

A Swan for Adrian Mitchell

and a Swan for UA Fanthorpe,

swansongs for poetry.

The Queen's birds, paired

for life, beauty and truth.


Two milked voters to float her boat.

Three milked Parliament to flip her flat.

Four milked Government to snip her cat.

Five milked the dead for close-up tears.

Six milked the tax-payer for years andyears and years…

Seven milked the system to Botox her brow.

Eight milked herself – the selfish cow.


But the lady in the Detention Centre does not dance.

But the honour killing lady does not dance.

But the drowned policeman's lady does not dance.

But the lady in the filthy hospital ward does not dance.

But the lady in Wootton Bassett does not dance.

But the gangmaster's lady does not dance.

But the lady with the pit bull terrier does not dance.

But another dead soldier's lady does not dance.

10 LORDS DON'T LEAP. They sleep.


fir 'Royal Bank;

twa pipers each

fir Fred and Phil,

fir Finlay, Fraser, Frank.

Too big tae fail!

The wee dog laughed! The dish ran awa' wi' the spoon…

We paid the bluddy pipers,

but we dinnae call the tune.


banging their warning?

On the twelfth day in Copenhagen

was global warming stopped in its tracks

by Brown and Barack and Hu Jintao,

by Meles Zenawi and Al Sabban,

by Yvo de Boer and Hedegaard?

Did they strike a match

or strike a bargain,

the politicos in Copenhagen?

Did they twiddle their thumbs?

Or hear the drums

and hear the drums

and hear the drums?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A Christmas treat

Here is an early Christmas treat for all fans of costume dramas – especially Mr. Darcy fans.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Excitement on the university shuttle bus

This has been an eventful week, and it was rounded off tonight on the shuttle bus.

The bus had just turned into Lichfield Street, when a man in a luminous yellow jacket and Santa hat hurled himself in front of the bus waving frantically. We just thought it was one of the locals who congregate by the church to indulge in cans of Strongbow and other substances, before forcing copies of the Big Issue onto unsuspecting students. The driver carried on, ignoring him, only to grind to a halt a few yards later at the metal barrier erected over the zebra crossing by the bank in Queen’s Square. Another character in a yellow jacket and Santa hat knocked on the bus window
‘It’ll be about fifteen minutes mate’
That was helpful – What will be fifteen minutes??
We soon found out.
A cloud of billowing smoke appeared near Beatties accompanied by the drone of bagpipes. There was a thunderous snort and the ground began to vibrate as an object resembling the Loch Ness monster trundled up the hill.
This was most bizarre
As it came closer we could see that it was a mechanical contraption, decked out in purple fairy lights. An ambulance followed three feet behind.
A lone piper stood by the bank droning a lament as the monster drew closer.
The chill wind lapped round the piper’s kilt and sporran - the Christmas lights highlighting his varicose veins.
One of the lecturers on the bus announced ‘It’s the ghost of Fred Dinbnah’. The monster turned out to be a steam engine. We were totally bemused. I got off the bus to find out what was going on.
It was Santa, arriving in Queen’s Square, but from a different direction – complete with men in red on stilts and strange characters in blue Lurex and grey wigs. The steam engine seemed incidental and the ambulance a precaution in case anyone was overcome by too much excitement.
I did not get to see Santa - he was swamped by hundreds of screaming kids.
The festive spectacle was rounded off by an excellent display of fireworks from Beatties’ roof.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Here’s something for the boys

If Santa forgets to leave Katherine Jenkins, Cheryl Cole or Jordan in your stocking this Christmas, you might like to consider the tips and strategies for wooing the love of your life offered in The John Bercow Guide to Understanding Women.

Bercow gives tips on how to pick up drunken girls and virgins as well as refined girls. He has another section entitled how to get rid of them, and he advocates lying. (I would have thought lying was a prerequisite for a politician any way).

Apparently he wrote this in a student magazine, and the Metro brought this story to light (what a mine of information the Metro is turning out to be for the blogging community).
Bercow penned this piece in 1986, and published it in Armageddon, a low-budget magazine said to have a “tiny circulation” (It is a magazine for Tory students).

According to Bercow, girls will fall for ‘anything that has a credit card and breathes’

(obviously worked for him then) – so now you know everything you will ever need to know about women - and good luck!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

How to be subversive

I’ve been mulling over the prospect of paywalls for online news (what a saddo, you are probably thinking, this nerd girl needs to get a life)
Well ,I was struck with a thought in the middle of the night, (when these bright ideas usually manifest themselves) what if some bloggers - who were subscribing to online newspapers , when we no longer have free online access– copied and pasted news articles into their blogs, then whored them round the internet for all to read – that would be subversive indeed.

Then I was struck with a moral dilemma.

We do need journalists to expose the evil and corruption in society. Someone has to pay for proper investigative journalism. If the newspaper industry died, we would be faced with the prospect of having a chaotic system in which corruption could spawn unchallenged.
I know I hate greedy capitalists, and that Rupert Murdoch’s mantra is: “Good journalism costs money”, but I would not want to live in ignorance – would you?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

What does the future hold for bloggers?

Things in the newspaper industry are in a state of flux. The circulation figures for most of the daily national and Sunday papers are showing a consistent year on year downturn. Papers have responded to the internet revolution by putting newspapers online. The Guardian was at the forefront of this and has become the most popular site. It has also attracted a lot of readers in the USA.
Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch however are moving to change our free access to the news. Google, under pressure from Murdoch announced this week that it is going to limit the number of news searches we can make. Murdoch is already charging for the online Wall Street Journal and plans are afoot to make us pay for reading online news. This could affect bloggers who like to comment on the news. If papers erect paywalls for news, then the days of free news surfing are numbered, and blogging could become expensive .
I suppose Murdoch is in the media game to make a fortune, not provide a public service.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Will your partner be faithful?

I’m doing a Shakespeare module at Uni at the moment, and one of the key themes is imagined infidelity.
Poor Othello is duped into thinking his wife is a strumpet, and is driven nuts by the evil Iago. He commits a brutal act of misogynistic violence with tragic consequences.
In The Winter’s Tale Leontes develops delusional jealousy at the sight of his wife talking to his best mate, but I won’t spoil the ending if you have not finished reading it yet.
Sadly, these misguided gentlemen did not have the benefit of the Metro.

According to an article in the Metro (the free newspaper that helps to offset the pain of astronomical rail fares, and astronomical parking charges) a person is likely to stray if their ring finger is longer than their index finger. So, have a quick look if you have doubts about the potential loyalty of your partner.

If you are still unsure then why not do the psychological questionnaire on infidelity on the BBC web site, (and get the suspect partner to join in).

Poor Leontes and Othello did not have the benefit of all this modern technology, but I suspect they would have just used it to confirm their worst suspicions.

Here is the link to the adultery test:

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Summary of Student Meeting

Last night we had a meeting for all students. I will not bore you with minor issues, but focus on the things that got people upset and annoyed.

Jane Nelson told us about the curriculum changes. The 6 x 20 credit modules look like a fait accompli – so I don’t think that we can do anything about this. Ditto - the plan to claw back £8m by making staff redundant. Note the slippery language: ‘2 Big Projects’ and ‘repositioning’.
Apparently our university has not had an increase in applications like other places, and in the student survey apparently said we wanted more consistency in modules, and the new 6 x 20 thing will give us this wonderful new learning experience.

The big question from the students was: ‘will we be paying more for less ?’

This was answered by Aaron Porter, the vice-president of the NUS. He is an excellent speaker.
Aaron has been involved in meetings with Peter Mandelson and David Lammy. There is a plan by government to increase tuition fees once the election is over (irrespective of which of the three main parties gets elected). Universities could have a mandate to charge what they like, and prestigious universities could charge astronomical amounts. Figures bandied around for average universities are £5 -10K a year - resulting in a system of higher education based on the ability to pay, which excludes talented people who can’t afford it.
The body looking into tuition fees is comprised of business people (who must live on another planet). There is a token student rep, with no power on the committee. Aaron was told by Mandelson that he would have to resign from the NUS if he wanted to be on this committee.
Write to your MP about tuition fees – bet you don’t get a straightforward answer though.

There is also a protest meeting about tuition fees arranged for 3rd December outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office at Birmingham University.

Just to end these jolly tidings – staff at the useless SLC were paid £2 million in bonuses for cocking up people’s loans.

We live in a mad world!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Who’s been on the fiddle?

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has called for the mass resignation of governors at a university accused of misusing public funds.
The University in question is the London Metropolitan University. The university falsely claimed for thousands of students, and has to repay £36m. This will result in innocent staff losing their jobs in an attempt to claw back the cash.
London Met takes students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and has a 16.6% drop out rate for first years, putting it eighth from the bottom in league tables.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Congratulations Herman

I knew you would win.

In response to your fellow Belgians slagging us off this week, I thought I would do the same.
Sadly I have nothing derogatory to say about Belgium, having spent many happy hours there as a child.

I think you have:

Great beer – nothing nicer than a tin of chilled Stella
Your chips with mayonnaise are to die for
Your smoked prawns ditto
As for your chocolate – yummmmmmmmmmmmm
You also created one of my favourite childhood heroes – Tintin
And no, we are not offended that you think we are a load of ignorant drunks.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Ha Ha Tony’s got a rival

Poor old Tony - and I must say he is looking a wee bit stressed these days – No wonder - he has a rival for the hottest job in Europe.
Yes Herman Van Rompuy – no I had not heard of him either until this week. Apparently he is the Belgian Prime Minister (yes, those folk who were slagging off the British in yesterday’s blog posting).
Mr. Rompuy is a closet poet, and a shrewd economist. He sounds like a steady sort of chap for the job. It will all be over soon. The powers that be in Europe will be deciding tonight.
I think it will be ….

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

What our EU mates really think about us

Apparently the Belgians egged on by the French have been slagging us off. According to them we have:
- the worst food in the world
- Britain is inhabited by drunks who actually like warm beer
- our tabloids are obsessed with scandal
- our climate is atrocious
- we drive on the wrong side of the road
- we think Britain is the centre of the universe
- we think English is the only language.

This all seems a bit harsh. We don’t all fall into this stereotypical pattern.

Never mind, they do think that we have nice gardens and they have not forgotten that we rushed to their aid in the war.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jack the Ripper – the victims

In 1888 five prostitutes were murdered in Whitechapel over an eleven week period. In JtR films the victims are usually played by beautiful young actresses in glamorous Victorian gowns.
On the tour Lesley pointed out that four of the prostitutes were in their forties and only the last victim was in her twenties. Most prostitutes at that time would have been in their 40s to 60s. They would have been filthy, riddled with sexually transmitted diseases, edentulous, pock marked, and most of them were homeless alcoholics – so far from the image portrayed in the media. They were poor and desperate. They would have charged 4d. for the full works, but would have settled for less. A single bed for the night in a doss house cost 4d. Most homeless people however, would pay 1d. to lean over a canvass hammock with several others in a doss house room.
Prostitutes often congregated around the area of St. Botolph’s church where they met their customers. They were easy targets for JtR.
(1) Mary Ann Nichols: died aged 43 on 31.8.1888. She had been married at 13 to a Fleet Street printer. She left her husband in 1888. On the night she died she had been in the area of the docks looking for doss money. She had a new bonnet which she had been showing off. Her mutilated body was found in Buck’s Row. Her throat had been slit
(2) Annie Chapman: aged 47 with three children. She was last seen alive 8th September 1888. Her body was found in a garden. Her throat had been slit and she had been disembowelled. Her ovaries, spleen and uterus had been taken away. People reported seeing her with a man who had dark hair and a moustache, 5’6” tall, aged 30 – 40, with a black frock coat. Someone thought he wore a deerstalker hat.
The police sent officers dressed as women to pose as prostitutes I the area, but they refused to shave off their moustaches and beards, so not surprisingly none of them got picked up by the ripper.
(3) Elizabeth Stride: she was tall – 5’6” and Swedish. ‘Long Lizzie’ was last seen alive on 30.9.1888. Her throat had been slit but she escaped the mutilation suffered by the other victims. It is thought the ripper was disturbed because he murdered again the same night.
(4) Catherine Eddowes: she was 46, and from Wolverhampton. She had been arrested that night for impersonating a fire engine. After being turned out of the police station she met her death in Mitre Square. A bloodstained apron was found on a stairway leading to 108-119 Wentworth Model dwellings, Goulston Street. A message was written in chalk on the wall above the apron ‘The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing’. Catherine’s throat had been slashed, she had been disembowelled and mutilated, and one of her kidneys had been taken away. V shaped marks had been cut into her face; parts of her nose and ear had been sliced off.
(5) Mary Jane Kelly: aged 25. This murder took place in the victim’s house. The ripper completely mutilated her over a period of hours. Her throat had been cut, and pieces of her body had been removed and placed ritualistically around her. A witness reported seeing a dark haired aristocratic sounding man in the vicinity.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Jack the Ripper - The Suspects

‘Jack the Ripper’ continues to fascinate people because he was never captured. His acts were shocking and horrific, generating an atmosphere of terror on the streets of London.
Today there is a multi million pound industry in ‘Jack the Ripper’ because of the mystery that surrounds his barbaric deeds, and all we can do is continue to speculate about who he/ she /it was.

Many people have been put forward as possible suspects. The ones Lesley talked about on the walk were:

Aaron Kosminski – he was a Polish Jew. At the time people were suspicious of Jews and ‘foreigners’ anyway, and may have preferred to blame someone fitting this profile. Kosminski was a local butcher and a back street abortionist. He had a major problem – he hated women, and was known to be violent to them. He ended up in an asylum for the insane, but escaped during August 1888 and was captured in November 1888, shortly after Mary Kelly was murdered.
Is this a coincidence?
Kosminski had paranoid schizophrenia, but he did not fit the physical description of the ‘ripper’ suspect.

Montague Druitt – He fits the physical description of the ‘ripper’.
Blood stained clothes were found in his rooms, and he had written a note saying he was ‘going the same way as his mother’. She committed suicide. So, there was a history of mental instability in his family. His cousin was a Dr. Druitt, and Montague lodged with him for a time, giving him access to surgical knives, and anatomical text books etc.

Francis Tumblety – he was a visiting ‘quack’ from the states, and was in London at the time of the murders. He was a liar and a fantasist who also hated prostitutes. He kept female sex organs preserved in jars. He moved to France and then back to the states where he died nineteen years later.

The Duke of Clarence was also a suspect.

We cannot use modern forensic testing on the victims as most of them were buried in mass graves.

My preferred suspect is Kosminski, but we will never know who did it - will we?

Monday, 9 November 2009

Jack the Ripper Walk – London 8.11.2009

Staff, with students and their friends and families from our university went on a ‘Jack the Ripper’ tour in London yesterday.
I thought you might like to know about ‘Jack’ and his evil doings, so I will do a summary of the tour in daily instalments.
Our tour guide was Lesley, and she joined us outside Tower Hill tube station. We followed her to the ruins of the medieval wall that divided the paupers of the east end from the rich of the financial district. At the time of the ripper the east end was heaving with homeless people. There was high unemployment, and people were starving. The life expectancy of a man was 30 years and 55% of children died before the age of five. Women turned to prostitution to survive. Today there are 14 million people in London, and 5,000 – 6,000 prostitutes. In 1888 the population of London was 1 million, and there were 40,000 – 60,000 prostitutes, and one in seven houses were brothels. There were high rates of alcoholism, and many people drank ‘gin’ a grain based, 120% proof drink that killed 2/3 of its consumers. The east end was a site for ‘sex tourism’. It is possible the ripper was an outsider, but in 1888 the area where the murders occurred was a warren of alley ways dating from medieval times, and the ripper may have had local knowledge enabling him to slip away unnoticed…’like the London fog, he evaporated into the night’.
So you have an area of abject poverty, with lots of prostitutes and alcoholics.
The police force was unprepared for the ripper. The city police and the Metropolitan police were divided, and did not cooperate fully. Serial killers were not really known then.
Prostitutes charged up to a maximum of 4d. for a ‘knee trembler’. Many were 40+ years old and homeless alcoholics – filthy, and diseased.
The murders took place between 31st August and 8th November 1888.
The tour took us to the actual sites of two of the murders, and we stood on the spot in Mitre Square where Catherine Eddowes was murdered. We were taken to the area near St Botolph’s church where the prostitutes and customers congregated.
We walked along claustrophobic alleyways and finished the tour at ‘The Ten Bells' pub.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Ideas for next year’s Halloween

If you are the sort of person who likes to celebrate Halloween then you might consider copying the Halloween fun at Boulder in Colorado.
They really celebrate in style there by running round the streets naked with nothing but a pumpkin on the head. It adds a whole new dimension to the concept of meeting strangers at Masked balls.
The miserable police however decided to stop the entertainment this year and 100 officers were stationed around the town ready to pounce on anybody in an undressed state and do them for indecent exposure.
Disgruntled pumpkin people complained on their website about the violation of their rights.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Let us write your speeches Mr. Prime Minister

Dear Gordon,
I read in the Guardian today that you paid $40,000 out of your own pocket for some speeches by ‘West Wing Writers’.
Why go to the states for your speeches when you have a goldmine of writing talent here in the West Midlands.
Let me introduce you to ‘Wolverhampton Writers’. We could knock up as many speeches as you need.
There is the incredibly intelligent Dr. Vole. He knows everything about politics, and can extend a metaphor further than anybody else I know.
If you need something to mock the opposition parties, then Mr. Ewarwoowar is your man. He is a perceptive people-person renowned for his brilliant satires of the Shropshire Star.
It is comedy you want, look no further than Britain’s foremost comic genius Dr. Paul McDonald. He will have them rolling off their seats wetting themselves with his double entendres and slapstick.
We also have lots of creative writing students who would be happy to do it for nothing for a bit of writing practice.
So, what are you waiting for, contact Wolverhampton Writers today.

Sue xxx

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The new face at Tesco?

My favourite person just can’t keep out of the limelight.
No – honestly just ignore the rumours- I don’t keep writing about Tony Bliar because I fancy him, I write about him because he annoys me.
Now he’s trying to get a well paid job promoting Tesco in the Middle East. Is there no end to this man’s global meddling?
There is a word in Arabic for people like our Tony – ‘eghtina’ which means using your public status to rake in loads of money.
One expects capitalist types to be on the look out for a bit of profit, but historically Labour Prime Ministers have had more affinity with their voters and tended to be mindful of the less fortunate. How times have changed.

Monday, 2 November 2009

How do you fancy earning 80K?

There is a really prestigious and well paid job going if you fancy it.
I hear on the grapevine that Uncle Gordon is looking for a Downing Street spin-doctor - no sorry a media PR person.
A lot of high profile people have apparently shunned this tempting offer for various reasons.
Simon Lewis, Gordon’s current director of communications wishes to take a more backseat role after taking up a post as director of communications three months ago.
Poor old Gordon has not had much luck so far with his media representatives, and has got through five at least since moving to number 10 - Remember Damian McBride and his e-mails.

It would be brilliant if whoever gets this job could be given a magic truth telling drug – it would be fascinating to hear the absolute truth for once about politicians and policies – not a load of spin.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

What do you have for your lunch?

What do you like to have for lunch my lovely readers?

When I am at Uni I have peanut butter sandwiches. They are quick to make, especially when I have to leave the house by 7.25am to get to a 9am lecture. Peanut butter sandwiches are easy to transport, very very yummy and easy to scoff discreetly during lectures, when the lecturer is not looking. When I am not at Uni I have more time to make exciting sandwiches.

If you are lucky enough to have time for lunch would you fancy this?

White truffle carpaccio, veal Milanese, truffle tagliolini with extra parmesan cheese, accompanied by a few glasses of Chateau Petrus, Cristal rosé champagne, tawny port and a dash of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
This is what oligarch Roman Abramovich and guests had for their lunch at Nello’s restaurant in New York. The whole lot, together with service charges, only cost £28,793.

Would you fancy that for your lunch?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Plight of the honeybee

Einstein said that if the honeybee became extinct, so would mankind. Bees are vital to all our lives.
It is frightening that over the past few years there has been an inexplicable decline in the honeybee population. Bees are a barometer of the health of the environment, and their decline is telling us that we have serious problems and time is running out.
No one seems to know exactly why they are dying. Is it a virus, is it something in the environment – no one has the answer.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has agreed to fund research at Warwick University.
I hope they find out what the problem is, because if Einstein is right (and I am afraid I have to agree with him) then we could be heading for trouble.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Talking in lectures

It seems the norm for students to take phone calls and to chat to their friends during lectures.
What do you all think about this?
Should we be allowed to do this, after all we have a right to free speech don’t we.

Or do you find it extremely irritating and disrespectful. Is the background noise in lectures disrupting your learning experience?
Can you hear what the lecturer is saying above the din of conversation about who did what to whom at the Hog’s Head the night before - Yes, we would all like to know the latest salacious gossip too, and would appreciate it if you spoke a bit louder so that we could all be party to it.

Should the culprits be made to stand at the front and take over the lecture – then the lecturers could sit at the front and heckle them, to make them see what it feels like to give a lecture with a lot of background noise.

What is the general consensus on this one – should chatting be allowed or is it wrong?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Now is the winter of our discontent

It looks as if we will be in for an interesting winter. I’m not talking about the weather, but the rumblings of rebellion that are stirring in the masses.
The postmen are planning mass walk-outs, and run the risk of playing into the government's hands regarding privatisation. Bin workers up north are striking, and so are fire-fighters in Warwickshire.

At a university in the West Midlands there are rumblings of a different kind. Students are being gagged for wanting to express an opinion about 250 staff redundancies. This is not acceptable. What has democracy been reduced to if people can’t complain about things?

So, if any passing readers (especially journalists) are appalled by this, feel free to comment here and elsewhere.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Have you seen this?

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Stephen Gately RIP

17th March 1976 - 10th October 2009

Stephen was adored by millions of fans across the globe. Louis Walsh said that he was his ‘very, very best friend’.
People were horrified however by the article penned by Jan Moir in yesterday’s Daily Wail. The article, entitled ‘A strange, lonely and troubling death’, was a homophobic diatribe against Gately, insinuating that his life-style choice was the cause of his death. She also managed to link Gately’s death to Kevin Mc Gee’s suicide (ex husband of Matt Lucas), implying there was something sinister about it as well.
Well, people unfortunately do die suddenly from natural causes at all ages.
People do sadly commit suicide over failed love affairs.
Gately was gay – so what Jan Moir.
A lot of people liked him.

Friday, 16 October 2009


Apparently the latest fashion trend for men is to flaunt a large fuzzy beard.
Lots of celebs are jumping on the beardy bandwagon, and even David Beckham is following the fashion trend rather than instigating it.

Do men think beards make them more sexy and appealing to women?
Is it a way to advertise ones masculinity?
According to a survey by Lynx (the spray stuff that is supposed to make women throw themselves at your feet) there is a division of opinion on the subject of beards.
63% of men polled reckoned that beards made them look more manly, and attractive.
Whereas 92% of women said they preferred clean shaven men.
95% of women did not want to be kissed by a beardy bloke.

So what is going on here?
Are men staging a manly rebellion against women by growing breads?
What do you think about beards – do you love them or hate them?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Grow your own

In Scotland it has been suggested that some of the golf courses should be turned into allotments. This sounds like an excellent idea to me.

In the Times this week, Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that we should all get back to nature and start growing our own crops on allotments. I think he has a point. We seem to have become an overworked, consumer driven society. I think a lot of us have lost touch with simple things like the pleasure of producing something.
There is nothing nicer than freshly picked organic produce…yum. The earth has a natural seasonality, which has been lost with the globalization of the food industry.

I’m sure some of you will disagree and not want an allotment. You may not like fruit and vegetables, or the thought of getting dirt under the fingernails does not appeal.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


The latest form of mindless stupid behaviour seems to be to flash laser lights at planes coming in to land on runways. Aeroplane and helicopter pilots have reported being temporarily blinded by these laser lights.
This dangerous form of anti-social behaviour began a few years ago, but the number of reported cases has started to rise exponentially. There have already been >400 reported incidents this year. It is only a matter of time before there is a serious mishap.
The laser lights are easily purchased on the internet.
I’m terrified of flying at the best of times, but a twerp armed with a laser adds another, totally unnecessary, element of fear to the process.

Monday, 12 October 2009

National Identity Fraud Prevention Week

This week is National Identity Fraud Prevention Week

Did you know that 79% of businesses make no effort to protect your personal information?
In the UK 4.3 million people have already become the victims of ID thieves, and there has been a steep rise since the recession.
The link below will give you information on ID fraud.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Here is a list of the ways ID thieves get your personal information:
1. They raid bins for bank statements, utility bills etc – so shred your stuff before you stick it in the bin
2. Remember to get your mail forwarded if you move house
3. Tell random unsolicited callers wanting personal information to piss off.
4. If you use Facebook, be careful about how much personal information you disclose.
5. Phishing – delete any weird looking e-mails claiming to be from your bank requesting urgent personal information.
6. Thefts of purses and wallets.
7. Card skimming.

Have a nice week!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

I was delighted to read yesterday that Barak Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He stated that the prize should be shared ‘with everyone who strives for justice and dignity’. The Nobel Prizes have been awarded since 1901.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel (21.10.1833 – 10.12.1896), was a Swedish engineer, chemist and business man. He bequeathed his vast fortune in 1895 to set up the Nobel foundation to award prizes for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The first awards were granted in 1901. Nobel invented dynamite. He never married, but he had three close relationships. The most enduring was with Sophie Hess, a Viennese flower seller.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Election fever??

The political parties are all getting ready for the next General Election.

Are you excited about this?
Can you be bothered to vote?
Do the three main parties all look fairly similar?

YouGov figures out today suggest that the Conservatives are currently the most popular party: Con 40% Lab 31% LibDem 18% and the rest 11%

Vince Cable is the person most preferred for Chancellor, but only by a small percentage: Cable 19%, Osborne 17%, Darling 16%

Over the past year or so the Conservatives have enjoyed a rise in popularity. Is their lead in the ratings war due to their policies or has Labour failed to live up to its promise. Are people disenchanted with Gordon Brown?
60%of people polled rated David Cameron as too posh to understand the problems of real people. Do you agree with them?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Booker prize winner 2009

This year’s Booker prize has been won by Hilary Mantel for her book Wolf Hall, a Tudor tale of intrigue focusing on the life of Thomas Cromwell.
Looking at the reviews of Wolf Hall today it looks like a book I would love to read, but critics have described it as a ‘hard’ book to read. Unfortunately I will probably have to wait until I have finished my degree before I tackle it.
Last year’s Booker winner White Tiger was excellent, and I would strongly recommend it if you haven’t had time to read it yet.
The 2007 winner was The Gathering by Anne Enright - a very well written book, but it left me feeling emotionally drained at the end.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Does anyone else think that good TV comedy programmes are a thing of the past?
Today David Attenborough lamented the passing of ‘Porridge’, saying that it ‘entertained and educated, gave you insight into psychology and current affairs, and was the greatest programme we've ever seen’.
Does anyone agree with him?
David Attenborough believes that as the number of channels increases, dwindling audiences will lead to a diluting of quality which bodes ill for the future.
Do people feel that the days of good programmes are numbered?
Or do programmes like the IT Crowd and Peep Show surpass Porridge for comic brilliance?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

On the make

Apologies to all you TB fans out there, but I couldn’t resist this one.
I can’t forgive him for plodding into Iraq, and I hate people who profess to be socialists, but live like Royalty.
Well, if TB gets the Presidency then he will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Salary: £270,000 per annum
Housing allowance: £40,500 pa
Removal fees: £45,000
Residence allowance: £40,500
Incredibly generous ‘household’ and school fees allowances
Entertainment allowance: £15,663 pa, as well as numerous payments and pensions when he leaves.
I’m hopeless at maths, but that looks like an awful lot of money.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

President Ahmadinejad

I couldn’t believe it today when I read that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hails from Jewish roots. As you all probably know President Ahmadinejad of Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel, and denied the Holocaust.
During the 2008 elections he held up his identity card. A close-up of the document revealed that his family had been previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.

An internet blogger, Mehdi Khazali, called for an investigation of Mr. Ahmadinejad's roots but was arrested this summer.

Friday, 2 October 2009


The bookies bets in Ireland are on a ‘yes’ vote in today’s referendum on the Lisbon treaty. But we will need to wait till tomorrow to find out if they are right. A consequence of a ‘yes’ vote is that we might see the return of a prominent public figure, yes Tony Bliar. He is a hot favourite for the position of president of the EU, and even Frau Merkel might be amenable to his appointment, although she would rather the job went to someone from a country that has embraced the Euro.
A yes vote will cause problems for the Tories, as they have promised a referendum if they get in at the next election.
This is a tense time.
Will Ireland vote yes?
Will Europe want TB as its president?
Will Tony accept?
Will Irish ayes be smiling?
Watch this space…

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

How to be a success with women

According to a recent poll, chat-up lines are supposed to impress most women, but the remarks need to be funny and succinct.
Women love confident men with a good sense of humour, and a witty chat-up line can be a good way to demonstrate this quality, and get a woman’s attention.

The five most successful chat up lines are:

‘Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?’
‘I’ve had a really bad day and it always makes me feel better to see a pretty girl smile. So, would you smile for me?’
‘Apart from being beautiful, what do you do for a living?’
‘Shall we talk, or continue flirting from a distance?’
‘I seem to have lost my number, can I have yours instead?’

Chat-up lines to avoid (apparently) are:

Smash an ice cube than announce ‘Now I’ve broken the ice, let’s talk’
‘I guess you can kiss heaven goodbye, it has got to be a sin to look that good’
‘Were you arrested earlier? It’s got to be illegal to look that good’
‘I’ve lost that loving feeling. Will you help me find it?’
‘Do you have a map, because I keep getting lost in your eyes?’

What do you think?
Would you approach some unsuspecting female with one of the above?
Would you be impressed if some random bloke uttered one of the above examples?
Has anyone actually used any of these, or said them to you?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Anglo-Saxon Gold

The discovery of a hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure in a field in Staffordshire caused great excitement last week. The treasure probably dates from the late seventh century, when Mercia was extending its boundaries. The beauty and intricacy of the treasure casts doubts on our perception of Anglo-Saxon culture, as the ‘dark ages’.
The hoard was discovered by Terry Herbert using a metal detector in a field near Burntwood.
The treasure is currently on show at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until the 13th of October.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Follow-up to the snouts in trough saga

Some months ago the world at Westminster was thrown into turmoil when the Daily Telegraph began the slow leak of information regarding the abuse of the expenses and allowances system by some MPs.
Well, today the Telegraph revealed that the mole was linked to moonlighting service personnel who were incensed by what they found whilst temping in The Stationery Office. Apparently they were having to work during leave periods to pay for their own body armour etc, and were not amused.
They have done the world a favour by bringing this information to light, but it is not surprising that a book on the subject is due to be published today!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sydney turns red overnight

No, this is not a political posting, but a dire warning for all of us.
Australia is currently experiencing freak weather conditions. Residents of Sydney woke up to find their city enveloped in clouds of red and orange dust. The harbour bridge was obscured by an eerie glow, making it look like something out of an alien space invasion film. Flights were grounded and travelling by road was hazardous.
In Adelaide heavy rain caused flooding. Melbourne was hit by a couple of earth tremors. Hail stones the size of cricket balls fell on New South Wales and Queensland is suffering from bush fires.
It was also reported today that China and the USA are finally waking up to the problem of global warming, and have pledged to do something about it.
Well, they had better hurry up about it. The weather conditions in Australia are a warning that time is running out
Society needs to be less reliant on excessive consumerism, and more focused on saving the planet.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Who do you think is a good role model?

It is hardly surprising news that many children do not respect their parents and have little regard for adults in general. In a poll by the Children’s Society David Beckham and Cheryl Cole were rated as good role models. In the world of politics one third saw David Cameron as a good role model and only a fifth rated Gordon Brown.
Poor old Homer Simpson was seen as the ultimate bad role model. This seems a bit harsh. Homer is a devoted family man. He may drink a few Duff beers with the lads, but he is not out scoring drugs or chasing other women, and he holds down a job. I think it is unfair that poor Homer has been given this accolade. I can think of far worse examples than him.
Who do you think is a good role model for young people and who is a really bad one?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Bring back pyjamas

According to a survey this week ,sales of Pyjamas are increasing astronomically, and top designers are featuring pyjamas in their couture collections. Sales of women’s pyjamas have trebled in the last decade (could this be something to do with Bridget Jones’s Diary?).
Pyjamas were appropriated by ex-pats in India in the seventeenth-century. They became popular in England in the nineteenth-century, replacing the Wee Willie Winkie nightshirts that were ubiquitous. The fifties was probably the golden age of pyjama wearing, with a sharp decline from the seventies onwards when duvets became popular and more houses had central heating.
Thanks to the credit crunch and extortionate fuel bills, pyjamas are making a dramatic come back as people strive to keep warm. There may even be a resurgence of the ‘pyjama and bottle’ parties that were all the rage in the roaring twenties.

There is something deliciously decadent don’t you think about slobbing around the house in pyjamas – now at least it is the latest a fashion craze, and not a lazy student thing!

More bad news for students

The Confederation of British Industry announced today that the problems caused by greedy bankers should be passed down the line to students. They advised that the government could save £1.4 billion by screwing students. They want tuition fees raised, grants limited, and student loan repayments brought in line with mainstream interest rates. They suggest that tuition fees should be £5,000+
These increases could help to stave of the proposed cutbacks in higher education, but are they fair?
In my opinion, for what it is worth, in a civilized society top quality education and health care should be free for everybody.
Politicians should go back to the drawing board and have a hard look at the real reasons why the world is in a mess.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Happy Birthday to me

Today is my birthday.

Unfortunately thanks to Mr. Bin Laden my birthday is no longer a happy occasion.
11.9.2001 was a terrible day when the world seemed to change for ever, and thousands of innocent people lost their lives.
I feel at a loss to understand why Al-Qaeda et al hate their fellow humans so much, and feel compelled to destroy them.
What alternative model of society is Al-Qaeda trying to promote? Judging by their actions it seems to be a violent and destructive ideology that does not respect the lives of others. Only the sick, psychopathic, and deluded could find such a way of life appealing.
If any of you understand what their aim is please feel free to enlighten me, because I am struggling to understand what the issues are.

All I want for my birthday is for people to live in peace. I wish all the bloodshed and corruption in the world would stop, and that everyone could focus on real issues like poverty and global warming.

Thank you.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Who’s hot and who’s not?

Who do you think deserves the title of hottest looking person around, and who makes you want to rush for the nearest exit?

I love costume dramas. I recently watched Desperate Romantics and the sight of Aidan Turner, who played Dante Gabriel Rossetti, sent my pulse racing. He definitely gets my vote for best looking man.

I ended up with three joint contenders for the accolade of least appealing though.
Michael Winner - because he seems arrogant and self-satisfied
Alistair Darling - because he has the charm and looks of a dodgy car salesman
And last but not least Gordon Brown who has less appeal and charisma than a bowl of gruel.

Who do you rate or hate???

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

What will happen today?

Today is the 9th day of the ninth month and the year is 2009 → 999
Doom mongers have been predicting that today could be the end of the world or at the very least something nasty could happen.
Some fans of numerology and Nostrodamus are anxiously waiting for us all to be sucked into a black hole caused by the Hadron Collider in Switzerland, or something more sinister.
Others think that 999 might herald a terrorist attack, mimicking the 9/11 attack in America (emergency call numbers)
Can anyone predict the future? , or are these predictions just a load of nonsense.
Well, we will soon find out.
I was going to post this at nine minutes past nine, but I’m going out now.

Have a nice day !!!!!!!!!