Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Not bloody happy.

Well, today was a write-off from about 2pm onwards.

That was the time I got back from the Council Dump (garden waste disposal), and began working on replacing a faulty part on my Series 3 Land Rover.

What got me pissed off? I had originally thought that it was the one of the shambolic :evil: moronic pea-brained halfwit cost-cutting round-spectacled office-bound HB-pencil-wielding financial times-reading ACCOUNTANT cretins (I don't hold the profession in much esteem, despite my late Dad being one) who cost-specified the parts and materials that went into a 1983 Land Rover.

But, it now transpires, it may well not have been the afore-mentioned penny-pinchers.

So, what set my temper to a dial setting of 4½?

I had the part. I had the tools. I had the time available and then some. I was in the mood for some easy, if time-consuming, electro-mechanical messing about. The sun was out, and it was shaping up to be a really nice day.

So much for that bloody idea.

I was about to replace the blower motor switch on the dash board of my Landie. I got the damn thing out (no mean feat), and was about to test the new one, when the combination Wiper/Washer Switch (Land Rover part number 579006) literally fell apart as I nudged an errant wire out of the way.




Seriously: It just took a brush past of a finger, and it fell to bits. The bits were now all over the ruddy floor of the cab of the wagon. And a simple job that should have taken no more than two hours, took my wagon off the bloody road until I can get yet another new part in, and fit it.

A part to replace something that was, it seems, made out of :evil: BAKELITE?!?!?!?!?!?!?! What the blue bleedin' hell?!

I swear to whatever deity you believe in, I was THAT sodding livid.

I wanted to know what kind of :evil: LUNATIC specified a fragile, frangible, degradable material like bloody BAKELITE for a vehicle designed to go boldly and roughly over the landscape, and which was built in the ruddy 1980s?! I was so angry I wanted to find them all, round 'em all up, and do unspeakably evil things that would have made the middle ages Spanish Inquisition run home to Mummy, screaming in terror. THAT'S how angry I was. :evil:

And just to add insult to injury, I had to go and order a replacement part AFTER the next-day delivery slots had gone, so my wagon was, and is currently, off-road until I can get a new part, and fit it.

Did I say how thoroughly bloody livid I was?

I was NOT bloody happy :evil:

A few hours later...

As I edit this Blant, I'm down to a slow burn, rather than a full-blown homicidal fury.

Having talked to a couple of people I know, it seems that the shattered switch may well have been an after-market part; in other words, after the Landie left military service, a later owner of the wagon fitted another manufacturers part: one not supplied to Land Rover by Lucas, the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) of choice for Land Rover at the time, but with something that is these days called a 'pattern part'. Pattern parts are components that are no longer made by the manufacturer of the original equipment, so can fairly safely be made by other companies without to much worry over legal issues.

By the time I acquired the wagon, this pattern part had obviously passed it's use-by date (to coin a phrase) as it shattered with barely a light touch applied in passing, so a replacement would have been required at some point in the near future anyhow so, best it shattered now, than while I was driving down the motorway in thick pelting rain, I suppose. I'm still angry that it shattered of course, but the alternative could have been much, much more problematic.

And I STILL have to order a replacement switch, dammit.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Statesmanship, shmatesmanship (on the West Lothian Question)...

I don't often rant about politics on here. It tends to be a very contentious issue with many people.


Mr Brown today accused the current Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, of being unstatesmanlike. All, it would seem, because Mr. Cameron (whose party I did NOT vote for) is suggesting that Scottish Members of Parliament be barred on voting for issues that affect only those in England.

Really? This is what's blown Mr Browns kilt up over his head?!

Ye gods.

Mr. Brown needs to revisit the issue in question. It's called the West Lothian Question, and boiled down, says this:

The so-called West Lothian (or English) Question asks why MPs from the non-English parts of the UK can vote on all English matters, while English MPs cannot generally vote on Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish domestic matters (which have largely become the responsibility of the devolved bodies).

Source: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-for-the-new-parliament/decentralisation-of-power/england-in-the-union/ (third paragraph)
Mr Cameron has already stated that he is opposed to a purely English parliament; I presume, because England is the founder of the Union (originally through conquest, as was the way that most countries in those days expanded themselves), we can't devolve ourselves from it. I guess that makes sense, in a somewhat cockeyed manner, though.

So, in the fullness of time, should Mr. Camerons ideas on English issues come to fruition, while the Houses of Parliament (including Scottish MPs) will still vote on matters affecting the Union as a whole, no-one but MPs representing English wards will be permitted to vote on those issues affecting only England - at least, that's how I understand his ideas; if I'm wrong, I suspect someone reading this might correct me on it!

In any case, it makes sense, really. MPs from Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland can vote on issues affecting their parts of the Union, and due in part to to devolution, English MPs cannot, so it seems only right and proper that those from non-English wards be barred from voting on issues that affect only England.

So, I'll ask again: What IS it about this issue that has Mr. Browns kilt over his head?

Is it possibly because he's no longer the PM, and can't set the agenda (in other words, if this is the case, then he's a sore loser), or that he just doesn't like Mr. Cameron (not unheard of)? Or is it something else less palatable (let's not go into the culinary delights of either side of the border!)?

Time will tell, I suppose, but in the interim, I would put it to Mr. Brown that it might just be that we, the English voters, know what we want for England, in the same way that Scottish voters know what they want for Scotland, and that maybe, just maybe, he should take the bloody hint, and keep his ruddy mitts of OUR damn country, and concentrate on the issues facing his, instead?

Thank you. I'll return you to the irregularly scheduled Blanting now ;-)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Time to find a new team to follow :-(

With todays announcement that Wasps Rugby Football Club is set to move even furter away from London, from Adams park in Oxford to Coventry, it has finally nailed shut the notion that it's "London Wasps" for all time. As a result, and because I live within the M25 belt, and am a firm believer in supporting a team from London as I'm a Londoner, I am having to find another team to follow.

There have been ups and downs over the last couple of decades that I've followed Wasps. I've enjoyed them all, for the most part (even the losses), but the new ownership of the club, under Mr. Derek Richardson, appears to have completely ignored the wishes of the fans who have supported the club through thick and thin, and whose gate returns helped, in whatever small way, keep the club afloat. In any case, the management decided that they knew best for the club (and would appear to have decided, on the face of it, to capitalise on the name of the "brand"). Well, maybe they know best, and maybe they don't. But they certainly alienated this former fan, and I know for a fact that they've done the same or similar with many others. This has been commented on by others, too.

So, enough is enough, thus it's high time for me to return my attention and loyalty to a club based in London.

The London rugby scene has shown some of the best rugby I've seen - with the possible exception of Bath and a certain northern team who I shall not mention (even if crying into me beer when they regularly - almost annually - pounded the trys out of Wasps in the Heineken cup!) - so it's going to be a hard act to follow. Of the remaining London teams, London Irish play in Reading, so are disqualified (even though I travel over to the area regualrly); London Scottish, well, I'm English (and don't like Haggis, and no offence to any Scots reading this!); so, this leaves either Harlequins, or Saracens.

Both are good teams, and both have had problems over the years, Quins with the infamous "bloodgate" affair, and Saries with their nomadic grounds last year. Both have managed to put those issues behind them. And both have hammered Wasps one time or another over the years.

It's going to be a hard choice as to which one to follow....

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Time to wave a placard in the air and yell: "Male Rights now!"... or is it...?

BBC News - Liverpool hairdresser bans women from Barber Barber salon http://bbc.in/1AAMeFt

I think it's high time that someone took a stand for modern male rights, and this barber would appear to be the first to do so.

For me, it's the utterly tunnel-visioned mania of the feminist movement that grates. Let's look at this objectively for a moment. Having been treated like second-class citizens for a massive percentage of recorded history, women quite obviously have a damn good basis for wanting equality, and requiring that both society as a whole, and the the law, respects and upholds this - I agree that wholeheartedly. However, the way that the feminist movement, and certain band-wagon politicians, seem to imply that men-only places are bad and evil is rank hypocrisy on their part.

There are an ever-increasing number of places such as shops, gyms, and clubs that prohibit men from even being on the premises - I'm not arguing this, there's obviously a demand for such from women. And yet they're screaming blue murder about there being places that prohibit women from being on the premises, such as, oh, shops, gyms, and clubs? Hmm. What does that smell like to you?

Let's face it squarely: Without question, there IS a case for mono-sex places and establishments: At the most basic need, seperate public toilet facilities are a perfect example. In the broader sense, though, a bit of common sense is desperately needed, so, wether a stunt or dead serious, this stance by mens barber is a perfect example of why we neeed places where only men are permitted.

Politically Correct? No. Not even close. But Perfectly Sensible? Definately.

Carry on, that man!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A manifestly unfair and draconian new procedure...

Police to seize mobiles in EVERY car crash http://dailym.ai/1rjoCzY via @MailOnline

Don't get me wrong: I understand why they will now be doing this, but it's also a dangerous move. My phone is literally my lifeline - I'm a former heart patient, and not having my mobile phone to hand could be the difference between receiving life-saving medical help, and dying. Further, it's more often than not the only way my relatives can get hold of me. It's the way I can access the internet. It holds immensely personal data on myself, my partner, and the contact details of all manner of people, businesses, and organisations that I know, work with, or do business with.

In short, it would be not only a personal disaster for my phone to be seized, but a professional one as well - all because some damn fool shunts me up the khyber because he wasn't bloody looking.

I appreciate that it's difficult for the Police and prosecuting authorities to gain successful convictions for certain offences, but this is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

I drive practically every day. I use my phone to navigate, warn me of traffic delays and congestion (satnav applications), and yes, to receive calls via my bluetooth headset (thus ensuring that I don't handle the phone when I'm driving), which IS legal.

Moreover, being a bus driver, I'm not permitted, BY LAW, to even use a hands-free headset or headphones, while I'm in control of a bus, let alone driving one (PSV regulations are much more draconian in this regard than for mere car and van drivers).

Yet, the old bill will seize the phone if some other bugger smacks me while I'm driving.

Patently, this is manifestly and grossly unfair.

Equally as obvious, it's treating everyone as being guilty before being proved so in a court.

So much for a cornerstone of English Justice, that of the presumption of innocence.

I wonder what it'll take for Liberty to get involved in this mile-wide paintbrush of draconian practice?

Monday, 21 July 2014

An Oxymoron for Fundamental extremists...

BBC News - Iraqi Christians flee after Isis issue Mosul ultimatum http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28397528

Let's be clear: I am NOT singling out any one particular faith: ALL faiths and beliefs have fundamental extremists. The above news article demonstrates why I have a major issue with such extremist fundamentalism of whatever faith you care to name: "If you don't do what we, the (insert name/type/brand of Fundamental Extremism here) tell you to do, we'll lop off your bodily parts wholesale". The language tends to vary, but the overall theme is there.

Fundamental extremists do not give a tinkers cuss about tolerance.

Fundamental extremists do not give a tinkers cuss about freedom of expression or faith.

Fundamental extremists twist and utterly abuse the words of the faith they claim to follow to meet their own, frequently harsh, often horribly cruel, certainly irrational, excessively demanding, and narrow world view, and condemn those who do not agree with them to death, in usually a quite barbarous and inhumane manner.

Many years ago, I was told a very apropos oxymoron: "Kill all extremists".

I am not suggesting for one moment that this be done, but one can't help but think that there's some rather pointed irony in there, somehow.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Speed cameras & SatNav systems (part two)...

This is a follow-up post to the one below regarding Waze.

OK, as I got no response on the original posting on the forums, I posted a brand new thread in another section of the forums, and this time, got a response within about a day of posting, which was nice :-)

The bad news is that there is no way to suppress the pop-ups.

This leaves a massive problem, as while I like Waze, and find it incredibly useful, I cannot use it during the dark hours, as the pop-ups are a massive distraction - imagine a bright light coming on as you look down a dark lane, in the rain. NOT good, NOT safe, and, in fact, blooody dangerous. Someone at Waze would not appear to have thought this through fully.

The problem of the bright pop-ups in Waze is not that they're bright enough to dazzle - they aren't that bright. No, the problem is a distraction issue. The human eye instinctively moves to view bright light. As a result, your eyes move off the road, and you could miss that car pulling out in front of you, and BANG. T-Bone time. Not good, by any stretch of the imagination. The lack of the facility to stop or suppress those pop-ups is regrettable, to say the least.

So, it's back to using my paid-for application, Sygic. Don't get me wrong: There's absolutely nothing wrong with Sygic, or their business model: They produce a truly excellent SatNav package for Android, but I LIKE the concept of some of the features of Waze, such as the ETA notification, or even the progress tracking, that you can sent to others via text or email as you set out on a journey - it provides real-time reassurance that you're (1) on the way, and (2) of your progress along the route.Those are both very handy features that simply don't appear to exist in other SatNav applications that I have. But, without the ability to suppress the appearance of the pop-up warnings that waze gives, I personally find the application hazardous to safe driving at night, simply because it can distract you from looking at what's on the road to your front, which is potentially disasterous.

So, with regret, I'll not be using Waze at night; likely as not, I may wind up not using it at all, as it's far simpler to regularly use one navigation application on longer drives, especially if ypu're gping to drive past dusk into the dark hours. Which is when I prefer to do my longer distance driving, as there's generally less traffic.

So, if Waze introduces pop-up suppression, then I'll go back to using it at night. But not until then.