Monday, 31 August 2009

Dirty Students

Most of you are looking forward to going back to university, but be warned - some of our fellow students may be harbouring some filthy habits.
The Beckmann cleaning company did a student survey and found that many male students only wash their knickers once a fortnight, and their socks once every four days.
The girls were guilty too - many only wash their bras every couple of months.
The smell of unwashed clothes is masked by generous squirts of aftershave or deodorant.

Shockingly, two thirds of male freshers arrive at university not knowing how to use a washing machine.
Is it the credit crunch and poverty that is driving students to shun washing?
Or are students literally 'the great unwashed' as people suspect?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Mercury poisoning, Shakespeare and Victorian crime novels

This villain could have graced the pages of a Victorian novel as a sly poisoner.
Sixty-nine year old William Dowling tired to woo back his estranged wife by poisoning her!
Poor unsuspecting Mrs. Dowling used to visit him weekly for a cup of tea. Mr Dowling served it to her in a bone china cup, but the tea had hidden extras.
Dowling, a retired electrician had a secret stash of mercury in his cellar, and was slipping it into her tea cup in the hope that she would become unwell and he could nurse her back to health. (No wonder she had left him in the first place – what a psycho)
Mrs Dowling became suspicious when she noticed small silvery ball-bearing like bits in the bottom of the cup. She also began to feel unwell.
Thankfully Mrs Dowling was seen at her local hospital, correctly diagnosed, and advised to report him to the police.
Prosecuting barrister Mark Lamberty kept alluding to Shakespeare in the trial (why he did this I do not know, unless he was trying to elevate the tone of the proceedings)

See if any of you can spot where the two quotes he used came from,
‘This even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips…

‘No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest—

Answers on a post card, or in the comments section below, and have a great week-end!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Does it pay to be nice?

Apparently being nice at work may not be such a good idea. Drs Nicoletti and Nandi at Essex University undertook a research project on three thousand working males between the ages of 24 – 64. The team classified the men into different personality types by using personality traits such as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. What the study found was that men with extravert personalities who were ‘open to new experiences’ earned 6% more than their ‘nicer’ more introverted colleagues.
Does this suggest that men should stop being nice at work?
I suspect most people would prefer to be happy at work and have pleasant, agreeable colleagues.
I wonder if employers are more inclined to give pay rises to loud, opinionated or aggressive men because they would make a fuss and complain if they didn’t.
Nice men might be less inclined to complain and employers could exploit them, knowing they would be unlikely to cause trouble.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Who do you think you are?

Well, according to research done by Dr. Jason Rentfrow at Cambridge University, your taste in music says a lot about your personality.
Our personalities influence the types of music we like to listen to and those we avoid.
So be careful about letting a new love interest look at your iPod collection, because this is what your taste in music says about you.

People who like classic/folk and jazz are creative and imaginative, with good verbal ability.
(Though the classical music lovers are perceived as less attractive and a bit boring)

Pop music fans are sociable extroverts who are warm, chatty and dependable, but less intelligent.

Rock fans are natural rebels who are artistic, imaginative but emotionally unstable.

Rap fans are more hostile than the rest, but are energetic, self-respecting and athletic

Electronica fans are a bit neurotic.

(Having confessed to liking Pendulum on my blog a few weeks ago I think I’ll keep quiet about my taste in music after this!)

Friday, 21 August 2009

The Oxfam bestsellers list

I read an interesting fact today. Dan Brown’s books are the ones most likely to end up being donated to charity. It seems that this best selling author’s works are only worth a one-off read. Unlike well written works of literary fiction that people keep, and read time and time again.
Dan Brown has been incredibly successful with his page turning plots, buts his books are otherwise lacking in depth and complexity, so it is not surprising that they get recycled.

Does anybody in blogland like Dan Brown and rate him as a writer, or is he more of a literary entertainer?
Should creative writing students be trying to emulate his style, or should they aim to follow the advice in The Art of Fiction by John Gardner?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A new form of Darwinian low life - or the origin of specious?

Prison officers were angry this week when ex-prison officer John Darwin flouted rule 39 by smuggling his memoires out of Everthorpe prison. The fifty-nine year old conman faked his own death in a ‘canoeing accident’ in 2002, which lead to £150,000 being wasted by the emergency services in searching for him. He conned £250,000 out of an insurance company and ‘disappeared’ to Panama. The most dreadful aspect of this case was the way Darwin and his wife Anne (an ex-convent school girl) callously conned their grieving sons into thinking he was dead.
Now this rogue is hoping to make £1 million from the book of his escapades.
Darwin was able to smuggle his manuscript out of jail by using a bogus legal firm set up by a fellow conman he met in Durham Jail.
Darwin would have known that under rule 39 prison officers are not allowed to open correspondence between prisoners and their legal advisers, unless there are ‘special circumstances’.
Rule 39 needs to be reviewed if people like Darwin can blatantly abuse the system for profit, and other suspect activities.
It is left to be seen which publication agrees to pay the £1m this slippery individual is demanding for his ‘memoires’.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Girls behaving badly

According to the Daily Star, arch self-publicist Ms Jordan is frightened that the Russian Mafia are planning to kidnap her in Marbella when she arrives there to promote her latest range equestrian clothes. She has been in the news headlines most days with her sexploits since her ‘split’ with Mr. PA.
Apparently KP has been bragging that she is nearly a billionaire, and she is listed as twelfth in the Sunday Times young person’s rich list. The gangsters are said to be plotting to whisk her away to the Med on a yacht
How do people know the details of the gangsters’ alleged plot?
I think that this must be another of KP’s publicity stunts.
She is without doubt one of the shrewdest business women on the planet, and rapidly becoming one of the wealthiest.

Girls behaving badly

Kerry Katona has lost her £250,000 a year contract with Iceland foods. The dopey mother of two was secretly filmed snorting coke with a £20 note, whilst her two daughters aged six and seven were in the house.
I never understood why the Iceland supermarket chain chose a boozy drug sorter with a dodgy taste in partners for its ‘mum’s gone to Iceland’ adverts. She is the antithesis of what a sensible loving mother, devoted to her family should be like – unless lots of children have mothers just like her, and she is actually – God forbid – a realistic representation of modern parenting – Yikes!!!!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Oh La La

French men love parading about in their Speedos - in fact in a lot of swimming pools in France they are mandatory. In England however, the topic of male swimwear is causing controversy. Speedos were banned at Alton Towers this week, on the grounds that they are not suitable for a ‘family friendly’ venue - and anybody caught wearing them could be subjected to a bikini waxing.
I find it weird that they are compulsory in France yet regarded with shock and horror in Staffordshire.

Is this just a publicity stunt on the part of Alton Towers?
Are Speedos really so shocking and offensive?
Is the British male a modest creature, preferring to hide in large trunks and Bermuda shorts?
Do French men have better bodies, ou sont-ils les poseurs?

What do you think?

Friday, 7 August 2009

Loan Sharks

Here is another scum bag for the ‘being bad’ wall of shame. ‘Johnny Boy Kieley’ a loan shark, terrorized his victims over a six year period in the Manchester area. He would lend money, and then demand extortionate interest, of more than 2000%, with menaces. He targeted hard-up people, and struggling families living on Manchester’s housing estates.
Kieley set up his ‘business’ in 2003 and used threats and blackmail to extort ridiculous interest payments from his ‘customers’. If that failed, he resorted to violence by proxy from his gang of hired thugs.
This beast made over £3 million from ripping off the poor, lording over his victims in his black range rover with ‘BOY’ personalized number plates.

If you are the victim of a loan shark report them to the trading standards office – these scumbags should not be allowed to get away with this appalling behaviour.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Credit card crisis

The international monetary fund has sent out a warning that Britain could be plunged into more economic gloom as people are unable to pay off their credit card bills. The IMF has estimated that £1.5 billion will not be paid off, and most of this will be in Britain. This has already happened in the USA.
Calls to the Natonal Debtline have doubled.
The country faces ever increasing interest on its debts too. The outcome of all this is that we will all be poorer (except bankers of course), have to work longer (that is if we are lucky enough to have jobs), and will face ongoing cut backs in key services.

We will all have to tighten our belts - that is if we can still afford them.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Rip off Britain?

I’m feeling cross this morning. I looked on Wolf, and saw that 250 jobs are going at our university. I know there were rumours in the press a while ago that the West Midlands was going to loose 450 jobs in higher education, but 250 at Wolverhampton seems disproportionate as well as horrendous.
What annoyed me as well was the news that banks are making billion pound profits again, from investment banking (i.e. gambling)

Has the world has gone mad?
Are the British a load of mugs?

Why are we standing by, letting the health service and education - the basic building bricks of society - be plundered, while banks are allowed to make obscene profits?

I don’t understand it – does anybody else?

Saturday, 1 August 2009

How do you quantify honesty?

It is very difficult to define what constitutes honest behaviour. We probably all have our own versions of what is morally right and wrong, and this is influenced by our own individual values, and the characteristics of the person being judged as potentially dishonest.
The judicial system has no definition of dishonesty and the concept is very blurred round the edges. Dr. Stefan Fafinski and Dr Emily Finch, experts I criminal law at Brunel University have devised an online survey to evaluate the boundaries between honest and dishonest behaviour. The survey is open to all and involves an on-line questionnaire of video clips of various scenarios. To take part visit

The results will be presented at the British Science Festival in September, and it is hoped they will be used improve decision making in law policy, which in turn could alter the way legal trials are conducted.