Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Sky thing

Share the joy as my buddy Martin starts talking about a story that wasn't in the script! i love showbiz!


Monday, December 15, 2008

These people just keep proving my point

Remember what I was saying the other day? It just got righter:

City 'experts' ? - Absolutely no clue what they're doing

Military strategists - No idea how to do their jobs

The security services safeguarding our country?  - Jerks

Local government officers, of more or less any stripe? - Jackasses

The geniuses who made it through the 'very competitive 'selection procedure for the BBC? - Idiots

The people who are charged with educating our children? - Clowns

And this is just one day's news from one newspaper. Trust me, if anyone tells you they know what they're doing, don't believe them. There's no evidence that anyone on Earth - including me - is doing anything better than bluffing it and hoping they don't get rumbled.

Top 10 locations ruined by tourism

It's a great list that underlines just how many gap-year nitwits are destroying the environments that they profess to admire. And that's not me talking, that's National Geographic Magazine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Expert Myth

Ownership of an electric guitar ought to, as far I can ascertain, confer upon one instant membership of the counterculture. Stars from Elvis the Rolling Stones to the Sex Pistols have felt obliged to rail against the establishment until either an interview with Richard Nixon or a knighthood or a lucrative butter advert intervened.

Not me though. I’ve got two very fine electric guitars, but I still can’t help respecting authority. When I meet doctors, traffic wardens, even liveried waiters I automatically adopt a deferential, almost obsequious demeanour. I’m a borderline cop groupie. The same automatic respect for authority has always underpinned my faith in politicians, Whichever party was actually in power I always believed that the cabinet would be composed of people who were better educated, more insightful and basically brainier then me.

The ruling class seemed to be qualitatively different to the people I knew. They had their own special books, giving prizes to their favoured authors to celebrate the fact that they weren’t Stephen King, Maeve Binchy or the late but still perplexingly prolific Robert Ludlum. They have their own special music too. You need only listen to a couple of episodes of Desert Island Discs to realise that the people that actually run the country listen to very old music from Germany, or Italy or one of the other old Axis powers rather than the new pop music that’s so popular with the general populace. If you’re easily impressed, as I am, it’s all very impressive.

The events of the past month or so have shaken that faith. The behaviour of both the main political parties has betrayed more than just a temporary fallibility. It’s more like a freewheeling cluelessness that suggests that they have never understood the world financial system.Further, once you read a some of the news coverage it’s increasingly clear that no-one does. Very few financial commentators foresaw the global economic cataclysm triggered by the transparent short-termism of the sub-prime farrago. Those few that claim they did clearly didn’t voice sufficiently convincing warnings in the correct circles, or we wouldn’t be in this pickle.

Despite the received wisdom that City moguls are a breed apart, to be paid staggering sums for their expertise in guiding the powerhouse at the heart of the British economy, the most tempting conclusion to be drawn from recent developments is that the City boys just got lucky for a while and that now the vast tide of money that has been sloshing around the world since the last recession a decade ago has receded are exposed as the bluffers the always were.

The regular cabinet reshuffles give the lie to the idea that our ministers are experts in their particular rĂ´les, or indeed in anything particular. They aren’t even political idealists in the main. They’re just people who have quite understandably plumped for a job that has a decent wage, a subsidized canteen with a late bar licence and an even chance of a peerage at the end of it all. Who among us wouldn’t make the same choices, given the option?

We, the unqualified electorate, are content to bob along like corks borne upon the great torrent of history without really understanding the forces that drive us. But here’s the thing, a realisation that is at first terrifying but after a short time becomes strangely empowering: No-one really understands any of it. If you look at it in the right light, all human history can be seen as a succession of egregious cock-ups perpetrated by people who ought to have known better. And yet we endure. MPs, the security services, BBC producers and journalists will make terrible mistakes again. They always have before. And everything will be fine.

Monday, December 01, 2008

More Sky action: I can't pretend this was a complete triumph

Note the nervous glances to the monitor in those pregnant pauses when I'd said my piece and the presenter's being a bit too quiet:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

See? I TOLD you! Security staff will nick anything..



And in this 'period of heightened security' who's going to stop them?

Transportation Security Administration baggage screener Pythias Brown is the reason you hate flying with expensive gear in your bag, especially if you ever flew out of Newark airport. Over the last few years, he stole at least $200,000 worth of electronics. Not just a camcorder here, a laptop there, or an Xbox 360 or two, either. No, this guy had balls. Among his biggest hauls—literally—was an HBO employee's $47,900 camera.


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